December 10, 2011 A.D.
“When Our Lady appeared, I recommended everyone and their intentions to Our Lady. She responded by extending Her arms and prayed over us for a very long time. Then Our Lady looked at each of us present. I then asked Our Lady if She had anything to tell us. Smiling, Our Lady said:
“Then Our Lady blessed us with the Sign of the Cross and left. Our Lady said that tomorrow’s apparition would be at the “same time, same place.”
On December 10, 1999, in the dark morning at 5:00 a.m. prayer, those who arrived early immediately noticed the familiar shape of Our Lady’s statue set upon the large mound of rocks was missing. Approaching the mound we were distressed to discover that the statue had fallen to the ground and broken into pieces. We knew this was not something that had happened on its own, but that someone had come in the middle of the night and thrust the statue down. We discovered, as well, that the head of the statue was missing. News of Marija’s visit and of Our Lady’s apparitions was being reported not only by local newspapers and TV networks, but also national outlets were picking up the story. By and large the stories were very positive and coverage was very positive and many people who had never heard of Medjugorje were suddenly learning of the events from this news coverage around the nation. Though we never discovered who was the one responsible for desecrating Our Lady’s statue, it was obvious to everyone that it was a satanic strike against an event that was bringing about much attention to Our Lady and Medjugorje, as well as tremendous conversions among many people.
When Marija learned of the desecration of the statue, she immediately accompanied our founder to the Field to see this for herself. The morning sun had not yet risen, but dawn could be seen breaking behind the mountain overlooking the Field. When she saw it, she knelt down, began to pray the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be while moving slowly around the statue in a circle on her knees. Our founder with the community immediately joined her, and then all the pilgrims in the Field who were witnessing this joined with us, on their knees around Our Lady’s statue. Marija explained that in the Croatian Catholic culture whenever a blasphemous act takes place against something holy they will circle that object seven times on their knees as an act of reparation against the blasphemy. It was a very powerful and moving experience for everyone who was present, and a beautiful witness as well. In fact, we went around the statue more than seven times, singing and praying, and as new pilgrims arrived, many were moved to join in the sacrifice as well.
Before leaving the Field, Marija told our founder that we needed to immediately find another statue that could fill the empty spot caused by the desecration. In God’s Providence, we had just acquired a beautiful statue from a nearby convent that was closing. The statue was of Our Lady holding the Child Jesus. When Marija returned to the Field later that morning, she greeted the crowd of pilgrims and said, “Do you see how God always brings good out of evil. Yesterday we had only Our Lady. Today we have Our Lady and Baby Jesus.” In fact, just as the new statue transformed the empty spot that had created a somber and chilling effect because of this act of hatred against Our Lady, it transformed the hearts of everyone, and joy began to return especially as with the events of the Five Days of Prayer, we were turning towards the celebration of Christmas in the Field.
In front of the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages, Marija delights the crowd with stories of her experiences with Our Lady. Her, and our, long time friend, Kathleen Martin, who lived with Marija in Medjugorje for several years, accompanied Marjia to Caritas to help translate for her. Marija has a gift of communicating joy and love to those who listen to her speak and it is always one of the greatest joys of our gatherings when Marija shares her testimony. For this talk from December 1999, see Marija Speaks