The Virgin Mary
is in the news once again. Eighteen members of a Catholic prayer community
in Northern California say that their rosary beads changed from a silver
to gold color both during and after a recent prayer retreat. The eighteen
believe the changes are miracles performed by the Virgin Mary as part
of her manifestation in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia. Changes in rosary beads
have been reported in other parts of the US and around the world, including
some 50 parishioners in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, who say their beads
changed from silver to a gold color after a member of their congregation
returned from Medjugorje last year.
Lila Somers, one of the Northern California Catholics who attended the
prayer retreat, says she was reciting the prayer of the rosary when
her beads changed color. "I looked at the rosary in my hand and it was
glowing," Somers says. She has had rosary beads for 40 years, she says,
and has never seen any of them change color the way hers did that day
at the retreat. In other parts of the US, metallurgists have examined
beads that people claim have changed color. The metallurgists have found
the rosaries not to be gold, but have yet to determine their actual
Mary Ann Serrano, one of the leaders of the Northern California prayer
community where the changes were reported, visited Medjugorje last year.
She called the experience „transformingš.
Millions of people from all over the world - Moslems, Russian Orthodox
Catholics, Protestants, and many others - visit Medjugorje each year,
Serrano says. "You cannot believe the faith in this place. It‚s like
Christmas and Easter every day. I awoke at 4:30 in the morning on my
first day at Medjugorje, and saw people walking down the street praying
the rosary, singing hymns, black-hooded women in black outfits, and
the farmers, praying and singing on their way to the 5 am mass."
Serrano says there are masses held all day in different languages at
St James Church, the place where visions of the Virgin Mary occur each
day to a group of young people. Priests from all over the world line
up next to the church to hear confessions in their respective languages.
At 5pm, people gather at St James to recite the rosary in their own
language - English, Croatian, French, Spanish, German, and so on.
"Then Mary appears," Serrano says. "At the time I was there in October,
she appeared around six o‚clock at night in the choir loft. There were
three young people receiving the vision."
On the 25th of each month, Mary gives a message to the world through
the children, urging people to return to the ways of God, and to become
at peace with God and their fellow man. The message of 25 April 1988
said: "Dear Children! God wants to make you holy. Therefore, through
me He is inviting you to complete surrender. Let Holy Mass be your life.
Understand that the church is God‚s Palace, the place in which I gather
you and want to show you the way to God. Come and pray. Neither look
at others nor slander them. But rather, let your life be a testimony
on the way of holiness. Churches desire respect on our part and are
holy because God, who became man, dwells in them day and night. Therefore,
little children, believe and pray that the Father increase your faith
and then ask for whatever you need. I am with you and I am rejoicing
because of your conversion, and I am protecting you with my Motherly
mantle. Thank you for the response to my call."
Phenomena of all types have been reported at Medjugorje. Physical healings
are common; the cross on one of the mountains lights up, and a woman's
figure is seen on the cross; the word MIR, the Croatian and Russian
word for peace, has been written across the sky in bright lights, and
seen by thousands of people; rosary beads in Medjugorje change from
silver to gold.
Mary Ann Serrano actually witnessed one of the more commonly reported
miracles at Medjugorje. "I had just come out of Mass. The sun was over
Mount Krisevac, a hill where people pray every day and where Mary has
actually appeared. All of a sudden I saw a crowd of people with their
faces in awe. And gold light on their faces. I turned and looked and
the sun was spinning across the sky, with great rainbows of light coming
out of it. Rainbows of light and most prominently a cross. You could
stare straight into the sun and you didn‚t have to blink. It didn‚t
hurt your eyes. And then all of a sudden it came back and was a normal
The phenomena at Medjugorje continue, but the children‚s visions of
the Virgin Mary are beginning to wind down, Serrano says. "Of the six
children originally receiving visions each day only two remain."
The Virgin Mary was to give the six children a series of 10 secrets,
or messages. Four of the children have received all 10 secrets and are
no longer visited each day by the Virgin. The young people were asked
not to reveal the contents of these messages until the proper time,
but some of the secrets apparently relate to events which are scheduled
to take place in the world. The messages will be visible signs to humanity
that the apparitions at Medjugorje are authentic and that people must
renew their faith in God. When the last two youths receive the 10th
secret, the Virgin Mary will no longer appear to them each day. Then,
as one of the children has reported, some of the secrets will begin
to be revealed, and the Virgin Mary will leave a permanent sign of her
presence at Medjugorje. A local priest spoke to one of the visionary
children about the secrets soon after the Virgin Mary manifestations
began. The priest summarized the young girl‚s remarks this way: "The
ninth and 10th secrets are grave matters. They are a chastisement for
the sins of the world... The chastisement can be mitigated by prayers
and penance. It cannot be suppressed. An evil which threatened the world,
according to the seventh secret, has been eliminated through prayer
and fasting. For that reason the Blessed Virgin continues to ask for
prayer and fasting: "You have forgotten that with prayer and fasting
you can ward off wars, suspend natural laws." Another priest at Medjugorje,
who himself receives inner, auditory messages from the Virgin Mary,
says he believes that as the close of the Marian Year of the Catholic
Church approaches, there will be a major sign at Medjugorje, and that
the predicted events may soon begin taking place.
Mary Ann Serrano says she also believes the secrets of Medjugorje will
soon be revealed. The imminence of events creates a sense of optimism
within her, she says. „Medjugorje is a sign of hope. It says prayer,
fasting and faith will change the planet. This is totally against all
the fundamentalists who say that we have to have Armageddon and that
the end of the world is coming. This is totally opposed to that. The
Blessed Mother leaves no doubt. She says: "In the end My immaculate
heart will triumph."
( from Share International, July-August 1988 )