Coast to Croatia: Medjugorje

Wednesday May 7th 

"Our Lady of Medjugorje" is the title given to the apparition by those who believe that Mary, mother of Jesus, has been appearing from 24 June 1981 until today to six children, now adults.

The visionary Marija Lunetti (Pavlović) and Mirjana Soldo (Dragičević) reports receiving messages from Mary every month.

Medjugorje has become one of the most popular pilgrimage sites for Catholics in the world and has turned into Europe's third most important apparition site.  More than 1 million people visit each year and an estimated 30 million pilgrims have come since the apparitions began in 1981.

During my visit, I came upon a small group of pilgrims wiping a bronze statue of Jesus at the right knee where water seeps out inexplicably.  I was told by one of the participating pilgrims that the fluid has the same chemical makeup of human tears.

Thousands also come to climb the nearby rocky apparition hill to pray.  It is a challenge for most.  The rocks are jagged and uneven all the way to the top.  However, the availability of merchandising of the site with souvenirs is only a few feet away as followers make their way up and down.

The route I took south via GPS directions was beautiful and sometimes treacherous.  The curvy roads became narrow enough for barely two cars to pass plus the border crossing stops became reminders of the most recent civil unrest.  At one point, the route led me to a guard station where I was told to turn around and go back because it was for "locals only."