Spirit of Medjugorje

Featured article from January's Spirit of Medjugorje
Safely into the Blessed Mother's Arms
By Patrick Kelker
     On pilgrimage to Medjugorje in 2001, I was approached by an Irish woman who told me she had a word from God for me, "Your wife is going to die, but God is going to take care of you."
     We then both walked towards St. James Church, without speaking any more to each other. We came to the rear of the Church. I went to the left and she went to the right. I looked over her way again, and she was gone. My first thought was that I must have been entertained by an angel. My next thought was of my wife back home, who, when I left her, was in perfect health. I kept this unusual experience to myself and continued with my pilgrimage.
     Upon arrival at home, as I was crossing the threshold of our house, my wife, Jane, crumpled to the floor, holding her back, obviously in great pain. She had to have emergency surgery to remove her gall bladder.
     From that date on, Jane kept getting sick, for no apparent reason. She was feeling really rundown and had swollen lymph nodes. At that point, the doctor decided to biopsy one of the nodes. She was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia, a slow moving leukemia. Several doctors agreed, "We will just keep our eye on this until we need to treat it."

     Four years later, in 2005, Jane underwent her first round of chemotherapy to treat her disease. She united her suffering to Christ's suffering, and offered it up in union with His. Her suffering produced great fruit. Jane prayed for couples who were unable to conceive a child but were praying to have children. Throughout the years, and during her many rounds of chemotherapy, many babies were born to couples who were having trouble conceiving.
     I always believed that Jane's birthday, on December 28, the Catholic Church's Feast day of the Holy Innocents, was very appropriate. Jane loved children and had been a stayat- home-mother for most of her life. The neighborhood children all called her "Aunt Jane," and they loved to be with her.

     I asked Jane many times to go with me to Medjugorje, and she always refused. Finally, in 2008, she agreed to go and experience what I had been talking to her about for years. My wife was a convert to the Catholic faith. Praying to Mary was difficult for her and made her feel uncomfortable.

     After arriving in Medjugorje, I took Jane to the tomb of Fr. Slavko Barbaric. I told her to ask Fr. Slavko to intercede for her in obtaining what she was hoping to get from this pilgrimage. Jane heard that Vicka prayed over sick pilgrims so this is what she asked for. She had been on her knees before Father's tomb, and as she got up, she said, "I want Vicka to pray over me, and I also prayed that Father Jozo will bless our marriage." My heart sank. I knew both of these requests were probably not going to happen. Imagine my surprise when we walked by Vicka's old house that same day. Vicka was on her patio area with a small group of pilgrims. I told Jane to go and ask her for a blessing. When Jane reached the patio, Vicka turned and was heading up the stairs to enter the house. Jane said to me, "It must not have been God's Will for me to get a blessing." Immediately, Vicka turned around and came back down the stairs. Then she motioned Jane to come to her. She prayed over Jane for a long time, then picked her up off her knees and kissed her on the cheek.

     Jane, herself, had been praying for a healing during Vicka's prayers over her. When she got up, she came right over to me and said, "There are many ways of being healed." Then she told me that when Vicka prayed over her, an energy went through her body that she couldn't explain. She said she liked to think it was the Love of God. Jane knew, from that moment on, that she would not be healed. She began trying to live life to the fullest.

     When we went to hear Father Jozo speak, we couldn't even get near him because of the crowd of Italians. Fr. Jozo asked the crowd to go to the many priests available and get blessings from them. We did that, receiving a blessing from an elderly priest. Imagine our surprise, then, when we turned around and there stood Father Jozo. He immediately blessed us, together, on our foreheads. For both of us, it felt like a hot poker going through our head. What a wonderful blessing that was! 

     Upon arriving home from our pilgrimage, Jane began praying the Rosary daily. (She prayed it daily until she died.) She now found great comfort in the Blessed Mother. She remarked about those wonderful words of the Hail Mary: "Now, and at the hour of our death." She said she knew the Blessed Mother would be there for her at that time.
     The leukemia finally took its toll. In May of 2013, Jane's left arm became paralyzed. It was about two weeks before her death. In addition, her whole body was badly bruised. Two days before she died, she lay with her arms crossed on her stomach. My two daughters and I stood at her bedside and kept vigil.

     Shortly before Jane died, Christa, our eldest daughter, said she heard hundreds of voices speaking different languages, coming from afar and getting closer and closer to Jane. Sara and I did not hear these voices. Christa said the voices eventually ended up next to her mother. Jane opened her eyes for a second, looking above and beyond us at the foot of the bed. Then she closed her eyes. And slowly, very slowly, she opened her arms to a full embrace, then again very slowly, closed them – as slowly as they had opened. Her left arm had not moved for the prior two weeks of her life before she died. Her eyes opened for a brief second again, looking over our shoulders, and then closed. Again, her arms extended slowly into a full embrace, then closed, just as Jane released her last breath.
     The whole room exploded into the scent of roses. The bruises on Jane's body disappeared within 20 seconds, and her body resembled that of a 30 year-old! She was 58.

     I believe Jane is still interceding for couples who want children. One of Christa's friends became pregnant after saying a prayer to Jane at the funeral home, for her intercession.
     Jane has died, but the words I heard back on that pilgrimage in 2001, continue to come back to me: "God is going to take care of you." Thanks be to God.

     Editor's note: Patrick is from Fort Wayne, IN. When I spoke with him on the phone, he said that he wished everyone in the world could have been in Jane's room when she died. He said it was so phenomenal that there would be no unbelievers. He also said that he feels Jane's intercession for couples who want children is powerful, and that one couple, who tried for nine years to have a child, had twins! He gave me three of her holy cards from the funeral to share.

1 comment:

Ed Sousa, Sr. said...

"Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world."
Saint John Paul II