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The Very Rev. Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, provincial superior of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy Province, is joined by Shrine pilgrims Colleen Willard (left) and Maureen O’Connor.

Pilgrims Visit with a Miracle to Share

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By Felix Carroll (Nov 28, 2012)
Tuesday afternoon at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, the Very Rev. Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, was walking in the reception area when he came upon two women who were visiting for the day.

One of the women looked familiar to him, but he couldn't place her. Greeting them, he realized he had seen the woman in a DVD several years ago giving her account of what may have been a miraculous healing through the intercession of Our Lady of Medjugorje.

The women — Colleen Willard of Illinois and Maureen O'Connor from Massachusetts — arrived at the Shrine in Stockbridge, Mass., too late for the 2 p.m. Mass, so Fr. Kaz offered to celebrate an unscheduled Mass for them after hours in the Shrine.

"What a blessing," said Colleen, afterwards.

Their Shrine visit came about because Colleen was in the region giving her testimony to various parishes. (She shared some of her testimony with us, as you'll see in the video below). Maureen, who organized Colleen's speaking engagements, made time to take Colleen to the Shrine in Stockbridge, a place that's dear to her.

Colleen has always wanted to visit the Shrine after viewing the annual Shrine broadcast of Divine Mercy Sunday on EWTN and hearing about the Shrine through two Marian priests — Fr. Matthew Lamoureux, MIC, a Marian priest in Yorkville, Illinois, whom she met in Medjugorje, as well as Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, the author and popular speaker.

The Shrine visit was all the more meaningful because it was on the Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Both women cite Our Lady as bringing them closer to Jesus and helping them to grow in trust and faith. And Colleen, of course, is certain it was Our Lady who interceded for her 10 years ago.

Colleen shared with us her experiences with terminal cancer and her subsequent healing at the famous apparition site of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina on Sept. 3, 2003. (The Church has not yet approved Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, but the Church does not discourage pilgrimages there.)

By the time Colleen made her pilgrimage to Medjugorje with her husband John, she had been suffering with an inoperable brain tumor and multiple other health problems. She was wheelchair bound and in constant pain. Still, she was given the grace to embrace the cross. Knowing she was on the verge of death, she desired to go to Medjugorje not for a healing, but in order to give as many "gifts of prayers" as possible for all her family and friends.

But she received a healing. Her doctors confirmed it. Now she lives to tell about it.

"That's the greatest joy I have: speaking about Our Lady and the Lord's great presence and His great mercy for sinners," she said. "My whole life now is just to proclaim the presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist and His Divine Mercy."

We invite you to view Colleen's testimony as she shares it with Fr. Kaz:

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

Michele - Nov 28, 2012

What a miraculous healing and another example of our Lord's great mercy. Fathers, will Jesus have mercy on our great nation? My heart dispairs. I really shouldn't read the news. I just finished reading that an athetist group forced a small town, which was founded on the concept of freedom of religion, to remove a cross from their town seal. The town is complying because they can't afford to fight the lawsuit. Despairing, I turned to your website, and read this article of hope. I want to feel hope, but with the direction this country is going, is there hope for the US? I feel that the religious majority is being beaten down by a minority of athetists who has the media in their pocket. Fathers, continue your good work, and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY for this country. God bless you and the US!

Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC - Nov 28, 2012

Hey, Colleen! I'm so glad that you finally made it to the Shrine!

Mary - Nov 29, 2012

Colleen, I cannot explain how much your testimony means to me; I've listened to the video twice and will probably listen several more times. I got some "not very good news" about a medical test I had earlier this week - nothing compared to what you suffered or what others I know face everyday and your testimony is helping me to keep things in perspective and to believe this is God's way of showing how much he loves me. I first heard about the apparitions in the mid 1980's & I have a Rosary from Medjugorje the mother of a woman I worked with years ago gave me. From now on when I pray using those beads (it is my very favorite), I will remember your beautiful testimony about how Our Lady touches so many lives through the visionaries and people who are not afraid to talk about her great love for us and how she always leads us to her Son & now I know she wants us to give everything to the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. I pray that I will be able to go to Medjugorje next year; I want to experience the peace you and so many others talk about when they return. God bless you.

Carolyn - Jan 29, 2014

Ever since I left the Shrine last spring, I've been in spiritual darkness. In truth I felt that I'd reached my end and that there was no hope for me. After years of devout prayer and daily meditation I find myself viewing the world through dead eyes. It seems hard to imagine that I could have fallen as I have after being so close to His Sacred Heart, after seeing His face and painting His image.

Hearing this testimony has given me hope. Jesus heals the sick, causes the blind to see, and raises the dead, surely in his Mercy he can raise me back to life . Thank you Coleen. Pray for me.

David Murray - Jul 6, 2015

Medjugorje has been given negative reviews by both local Bishops.