The Cross from Medugorje
The following article, written by reader VLAD MOSMONDOR, is an account of his family’s visit to, and experience of, Medugorje.
On a beautiful European autumn day in late October 2017, I found myself with my wife and daughter in Medugorje. This was a mission, promise and pilgrimage instigated by my daughter and we as parents accompanied our daughter to give her support on her pilgrimage.
This was a first time visit to Medugorje for my daughter and I but a second one for my wife. My feelings were mixed about Medugorje.
I was unsure if I truly believed the Virgin Mary’s continuous apparitions there after 30 plus years. I was open to challenges that I may encounter in Medugorje but firmly believed that the Virgin Mary will not appear to me personally.
I am a practising Catholic and on that beautiful autumn day when we started the walk towards the hill Krizevac, we were praying for all the family and friends. I was excited to finally find out for myself what Medugorje is and to understand that place.
Reaching the foot of the hill, I was faced with a wide base of the hill with huge sharp rocks/boulders scattered all over it and a looming hill that rises sharply.
My first impression was: You have to be crazy to walk over these rocks. Anyone in his or her right mind would not even think to go there. In any other place if someone made you climb under those conditions, there would be lawsuits coming left, right and centre.
I looked around myself and saw just a few meters away some people already returning from the hill barefoot. At that moment I realized that my daughter had already started the climb while my wife was battling with the rocks a few meters away from me.
People on that hill looked like goats, scattered among the rocks. Walking up was a challenge. There is not a particular way to walk or follow any path. You have to find your own way and straggle with the rocks that you encounter.
There were 14 Stations of the Cross on the Hill, 14 places along the way to stop, pray and meditate. Even though we were blessed with a beautiful day, the chill when the gust of wind hit you went through your bones when the ‘Bura’ that was blowing from the sea became more pronounced the higher we climbed.
I couldn’t take my eyes of the elderly couple negotiating the sharp edge of the rocks while their feet were blue with cold. Granted, over time, millions of people walked across and polished the rocks with their feet and made the rocks today much friendlier for us to walk on, than they were for the early pilgrims.
It was a very satisfying and awe-inspiring experience to reach the summit and find the gleaming white concrete cross. I let my mind and eyes wonder free around the place. There were only few people around and I took some video shots and few still photographs of the place.
I observed my daughter and wife deeply in prayers while I was wondering in my own thoughts and asking myself again what is the meaning of Medugorje and still not finding any answers.
In a way it was sad to leave the serenity of the place. Walking down the hill was much more challenging. I needed all my concentration to assist my wife. It was on the journey down that I had epiphany and in my own way I could interpret and understand Medugorje.
Like our lives
Krizevac and Apparition hills represent our lives. At the bottom of the hills and with our free will we are choosing the way and direction that our life would take us.
Naturally, we all would try to find an easier path, but even if that path starts easy, along the way on every path we would encounter rocks, boulders and blockages that would make us deviate from our path. We have to be alert and conscious because every step we choose to take has a different consequence.
- We have to have faith. The belief in God’s love and Divine protection sustains us on our difficult journey ahead.
- Stations of the cross give us an opportunity to stop, take a break, pray and reflect on our mission and our life.
- Reaching the summit is filled with euphoria, and a sense of accomplishment. Like in our life’s when we feel ‘on top of the world’.
- Journey down from the summit is even more treacherous and in order not to be hurt a deeper concentration and alertness is required. Without it, we will slip and fall, metaphorically and virtually.
- Reaching the safety of a shelter at the bottom of the hill makes you feel full of gratitude and satisfaction. Depending which path we take and how we behaved on our journey will shape our final steps to safety.
- All of this is on a beautiful calm day. But when you throw into equation rain and weather unpredictability, need for alertness, concentration, faith and right choice is amplified. How we weather storms in our own lives is also dependent on those factors in order for us not to slip.
The Miracle of Medugorje is that people come here in millions to pray and seek peace. They may still seek miracle and visions as well but the power of prayer is not to be underestimated. Finally, I was satisfied with my own understanding of Medugorje.
At the bottom of the hill, a few meters away from the last rock that you pass on the way down, there is a souvenir shop with some refreshments. The three of us made a few steps into the shop when my daughter stopped suddenly and couldn’t move.
She was wearing boots with wedged hills and the souls on the boots just came off. She needed our help to make a few steps to the chair otherwise she would’ve fallen down, for her ankles were twisting with every move.
She just spent the last few hours on those rocks climbing up and down without any problems and when she stepped away from the last rock to safety, only then did her boots fell apart. She definitely had a guardian angel watch over her today.
For us that was a miracle.
On the way to the church that evening, both sides of the street were lined with shops selling all things religious and trying to cash in on the vulnerable pilgrims. There are a few shops that sell good quality Christian’s souvenirs, but the majority is just overprized kitsch.
Seeing all that took away from the religious experience we had at the St Jacob’s church that evening. I could not help thinking about the tables that Jesus overturned and vendors that he threw out from the Temple in Jerusalem.
The next day
The following day, early in the morning we went to the Apparition hill and stopped by the blue cross, at the bottom of the hill, a place where one of the visionaries supposedly still receives messages from the Virgin Mary.
Climbing the Apparition Hill was very similar to climbing the Krizevac hill the day before. If anything – rocks seemed sharper, clustered closer together but not as big in places. And the Hill was shorter, one-third in length of the Krizevac hill.
My daughter was leading the climb as on the day before and my wife had a walking stick today. Half way up the hill she was in front of me holding onto the walking stick with one hand and stretching the other behind her to hold onto my hand.
At one point she wobbled a bit and told me “Watch this rock”. With my next step I found myself directly above the rock and looking straight down on the unmistakable and highly recognised symbol of our faith – the cross.
I could not do anything but stare at the cross under my feet. My eyes wondered between the cross and a rock skull next to it.
After a few meters when we reached a bit of a clearing I left my wife and told her that I had to go back to the cross. I felt as if that cross was calling to me and I had to have it. There was no time for judgement or contemplation.
Call of the Cross
I looked around and spotted a larger loose rock on the ground. It was an instant decision to firmly tap on the left side and see what will happen. Clear sound of rocks hitting each other echoed across the peaceful silent hill in the crisp morning air.
The larger part of the rock stayed embedded while the small section of the 3 dimensional cross – dislodged.
I held this incredible rock in my hand and still could not believe what I had. I placed the rock in the bag and we continued to the top of the hill where we found a white statue of the Virgin Mary in the midst of a small garden of flowers.
We prayed, we meditated there but what all three of us felt there was an incredible, indescribable inner peace that enveloped us and made us feel loved, complete and content. It was an awe inspiring feeling that made it extremely difficult to go down and away from this hill.
Back in the hotel, I could examine the rock in details. The Cross is in a full 3 dimensional form and as such is visible from only one side of the rock face.
From another angle or the side there is visible an unmistakable shape of the fish. And the only broken section of the rock that I have separated from the big rock has the outline in the shape of the Virgin Mary.
Did Virgin Mary appear to me after all? Did she appear to me through the things that I have found in the natural form because she knew that as an artist I would see it differently to others? Or is all of this just another coincidence?
Whatever the answer may be, this is a very fascinating and humbling personal and visual experience. I feel that I am the guardian of this cross and feel compelled to tell this story and share my photographs with all people, with or without faith.
Rocks of Medugorje formed millions of years ago, existed long before any apparitions. For at least 35 years, millions of people have walked over the surface of those rocks and polished them with their shoes or bare feet unknowingly creating that clear visual and universally most recognised symbol in the world – the Cross.
People forming that cross had come from all corners of the Earth, they walked up and down that hill carrying with them all of their pain, sorrow, tears, love, hope and prayers. When you hold that cross, you hold all of that in your hand as well.
I am filled with deep gratitude to have had this experience in Medugorje.
Medugorje is faith in the making, and only time will tell. But one thing is for sure; there is something very, very spiritual there. And if you come with love and open heart, you just might find it.
In the end, I got my miracles without even seeking it.
After many months, my daughter left the confines’ of her bedroom.
I found my personal meaning of Medugorje.
I found this amazing Cross in Medugorje.
It’s more striking than all the commercial memorabilia put together in the town shops. It is real, beautiful and priceless because the pilgrims made it with their feet over the years and that in itself is a miracle.
Medugorie has not been approved by the Church. Catholic voice should not support it until it is approved if it ever will.