Thirty years! Seventy-eight pilgrimages! It is hard to believe, but it is true!

~ Sr. Isabel Bettwy 

Early in 1982 when I first heard about the reported apparitions in Medjugorje, I would never have believed that my life would be so impacted by the events that have changed to believing world. In October, 1983, I made my first pilgrimage to the “village between the mountains” where I experienced the deep peace that I continue to find when I am in Medjugorje.
Many things have changed, and changed drastically and dramatically. From dirt roads and no running water to paved streets and pension in-room bathrooms; from no restaurants and very little electricity to eating places on every corner and streaming live television; from only the parish gift shop to a myriad of shops, things have definitely changed in these thirty years. People ask me if all the shops and restaurants bother me. My response is always the same. They answer a need for the many pilgrims and that is good.
I find the mountains more difficult to climb these days, not only because I am older but because the thousands and thousands of pilgrims who have climbed the mountains have worn away the surface and the rocks protrude higher than ever before. A little bit of rain and a wind carry away the loose soil and up come the rocks. This only makes the climb more grace-filled as we stop along the way to pray the mysteries of the Rosary–which weren’t there in 1983–or the Stations of the Cross which were numbers painted on a rock with two branches of a tree to make a cross at each place.  
The only thing that hasn’t changed in these thirty years is the message of peace through prayer, repentance and reconciliation, penance and fasting and, most important, faith. The core word from Our Lady echos the words of Our Lord, “Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand” and the charge He gave the disciples to go out and proclaim that the kingdom of God is at hand. The Scriptural basis of Our Lady’s messages has always impressed me and convinced me of their authenticity, even though we await the final decision of Church authorities. Our Lady’s desire that all her children be with her in eternity impels her to continue visiting the visionaries and enhancing the core message with her monthly message. We should be a grateful people to be alive during these days of Our Lady’s visitation. Some people say that “there is nothing new in her messages.” While that is true, that, for me, continues to convince me of Our Lady’s presence. There is nothing new in the Gospel message.
Our Lady’s presence has been and is a true blessing to me and to the world. I shall be ever grateful to the priest who first told me about her reported apparitions and who gave me my first rosary blessed by Our Lady. I still have that rosary and I cherish it among my “special” rosaries. 
To Our lady, Queen of Peace, we pray for the Church and for our world which is in great need of true and lasting peace. Prayer is the secret, according to Our Lady. May we all follow her call and be blessed abundantly by doing so.

Last Updated ( Friday, 07 December 2012 )