|Just as the area of Herzegovina stretches from the coast to high mountain-land, so too the belts of woodland correspond to the different levels above the sea. During the winter, or during the summer drought when the vegetation completely dies out, some Herzegovinian landscapes look like a Karst desert.|
Dr. fra Slavko Barbaric
I. MAN IN HIS SEARCH FOR GOD
Pilgrimages are known in all religions. They are an expression of a person who searches for God in places where He has revealed Himself in a special way; where He has offered persons the possibility to feel His presence more easily or with particularly gifted persons, who - through their gifts - have become a special sign of God's presence. This is why there are places of pilgrimage which attract people and where they come in their search to experience God in a new manner, that is, to experience peace, joy, love and hope. With each pilgrimage, a person leaves behind his everyday life, his work, his family, his friends, his security and - longing for a new encounter with God - starts on his journey to places and to people who have proven themselves as "gifted", so as to help him in his new experience with God.
At the time of Our Lady’s first appearance, the people of the village under Communism lived simple, frugal lives. Many of the men who survived WW II were debilitated and little able to work; however, many of the younger men worked in Germany, United States, or Italy, sending money home to their families. Each family had a garden and struggled to grow food in the stubborn, unfertile soil. They grew small crops of tobacco and grapes, as well, plowing the fields with antique two-furrow plows and a faithful horse. The farmer scattered natural manure coarsely with a dung fork while his wife or children followed behind to chop and spread it, for everyone worked in the all-important cultivation of crops. Even so, the family’s income was meager since they sold their products for a low price set by the Communist government.
Domestic animals and chickens wandered over the dirt roads where children ran and played. The overall scene in the village remained quiet, seemingly caught in a perpetual pause in a filming of time. Life in Sarajevo or Dubrovnik moved more swiftly, but some of the villagers had never strayed that far from the hills and security of home.
Since 1981, in a small village in Bosnia-Hercegovina named Medjugorje, the Blessed Virgin Mary has been appearing and giving messages to the world. She tells us that God has sent Her to our world and, these years she is spending with us are a time of Grace granted by God. In Her own words She tells us, "I have come to tell the world that God exists. He is the fullness of life, and to enjoy this fullness and peace, you must return to God".
The majority of the Medjugorje things to do involve activities and sites established to commemorate the appearance of the Virgin Mary in 1981. This is a small town in Herzegovina that became a major tourist draw; thousands of people travel to Medjugorje in pilgrimage. Many people travel here to be healed, as several supposed miracles have occurred.