2010 January

*Jan 1: Let’s start with the gifts received!

Janet has given us a pack of insulated cups with lids! We have looked in Bosnia / Herzegovina and in Croatia for an item like this and we could not find it!

A wonderful gift which we are so excited to receive!!

We look forward to the day when we can find such items here in bulk in order to be able to feed the fellows some hot items as well as some of Mary’s home made soup.

Alexandra has returned from the States and we relinquish the music responsibility. Free at last!

Feb. 8th will be the 23rd anniversary of Alexandra’s consecration.




New Year’s Day at Joseph’s for a group of us. Father Kevin gets first crack at the food table.

and a second crack

and again??

We really just want to show you Joseph’s apartment from different angles. Father is actually very modest in his eating habits.

A different ‘niche’. This is Janet’s area (we know that Joseph is helping with this also). A home on the river bank for a cluster of gypsies. Always in need of food, clothes, medical help and compassion.


A success story! Janet has managed to move a ‘container home’ next to this family’s shack and they have transferred themselves and their worldly goods.

The baby of the family needed a heart operation and Janet managed the baby and the mother for a trip to Florida, to receive the operation and a return to their ‘new home’.

The gypsies in this area were scheduled to be moved to a nearby apartment building promised by the politicians but not the highest priority. We had chipped in earlier but nothing has gone forward.

A special blessing. A group of pilgrims are here from South Korea. They sang “THE HYMN OF MEDJUGORJE” in Korean and then in English at the Holy Mass!!! We remember from a couple of years ago that a group of mainland Chinese pilgrims were here and sang this hymn in Chinese, then in Croatian and then in English!


Rain, rain, go away. The village stream is flowing so swiftly; the day workers are in despair and waiting for the sun.

Mon: We taxi to Caplina with Ron and Marie for shopping at larger grocery stores!

Tuesday, Jan 5th 22 fellows today.

-request for food for sick girlfriend by fellow with broken arm; and he needs 18 KM
-request for help with daughter’s tuition for nursing
-request for prescription meds for painful leg


Thurs. Jan 7th:

re: request for help with daughter’s tuition for nursing. Mary phoned mother of this student in the village of Zeneca to get more details. And yes Samira wants to be a nurse.


Jelka and Mario and Nikoli had invited us for coffee to their home in Vitina. We said no today as it would cost us 60 KM for the taxi, not practical for a social visit. They drove to us and brought us gifts of a chicken, fish, figs, tomatoes, cabbages, fresh cheese.
Told us that “we have made them wealthy”! Bogu hvala=thanks be to God.

But they need a “little help”.

This is a summertime picture.


A visit to Vinka and Sima along with Joseph. Vinka has a problem with her back and is trying all kinds of suggested remedies along with trips to the doctors.


Friday: food for the fellows today; should have scheduled it for Wed. (Feast of the Epiphany) but told the fellows on Tuesday that we would delay until Friday rather than the two lunches so close together. They were very agreeable to this. 31 showed up for lunch. Lots of sad faces; raining for days with no work. Passed out the prescription meds. Discussed nursing school with father. One of the women asked for help with a house mold situation & her utility bills. They asked us if we can go to Kosovo and distribute food there. One of the fellows passed a note to us. It includes a report from 1999 detailing an ultrasound (echo) showing a kidney problem. “His child is sick again and back in the hospital and he has not found work and he wants to go home to check”; at least 30 KM requested. We must say no this time as we did help with this 2 weeks ago. We have a few cabbages and tomatoes to pass out. Not enough for everyone. We get down to the last few and a number of the fellows say to “give them to the women”.

Alexandra has brought us a DVD; The 13th Day, the story of Fatima. Joseph has also bought one. We are anxious to watch it.



the nursing school dilemma

The father: 43 years old. No work in the home town. Here there is a chance. If he can go home with 50 KM a month that’s it ($38).

The mother: 5 kids, 4 years to 22 wait at home in Zenica and hope. The oldest girl studied to be a cook but can find nothing yet. Priority right now? the middle boy needs a size 43 (8 1/2) pair of shoes.

The 18 year old girl who wants to be a nurse sounds eager and bright on the phone with Mary.

The school: we have the contact and the phone for verification.


The price: The father quotes 800 KM a year; he does not know much more than that. He probably ‘shut down” when he was told that part.Their shack does not have water into it.

The mother says 150 to 200 KM ($112 to $160) is needed in Feb. to be a down payment on the August school start.

The girl will get specifics from the school and the schools payment chart. We made no promises but “wouldn’t it be wonderful”?

A 4 year course but planned for 1 year at a time. And then there will be the $BOOKS$. The family probably has not even thought about that because going to higher school is just something to dream about.

Tue., Jan 12th: 27 fellows today (including 3 of the women).

While going home we stopped at a produce market to pick up some greens. Bob sat, waiting patiently, in the car. One of the ladies from the food program stopped by and went through the “cast offs” in the bin area outside the market. Lucky day for her! She found some lettuce leaves and two onions! Sad.

Wed. the 13th: Mary is off with St. Joseph the Worker. They are joined by Mik (Australian volunteer at Nancy and Patrick’s); a great guy and loves to work.

Vinka, a dear Croatian friend who lived & worked in Canada for years, is back at Holy Mass this morning; the pain has subsided enough for her to attend today. We consider this such a great blessing. Bogu hvala!

We were calculating the number of shoes and boots which passed through our hands for 2009. It was over 450 pairs!

Bogu hvala!

Bogu hvala!

Thanks be to God!

Translation in GMAIL! wow! We use GMAIL for our emailing and we are getting acquainted with a new feature. We have set up their “translation” utility so that when we get an email and it is in a language other than English we can utilize a “click the box” and GMAIL will translate for us. Not fool proof & not to be depended upon but it does give Bob a sense of the note.

Mary takes a snapshot of Sister:

“I’ll just chop up a little, enough to see the lady through 2012.”

Sat., Jan 15:

Mary is asked to look in at a couple of Sister Muriel’s clients (Sophia & Mara) and see if they are ‘prospects’ for magnifying glasses. They are asked to look at the ‘fine print’ and see which, if any, of the glasses we have brought with us can help. Success, both now sport their glasses.

One of the sisters here tells us that her problems started during one of the wars when a man was firing his gun while it was propped on her shoulder.



Oh, oh. Perhaps with a feeling of a new ‘me’ Mara is able to focus in on me (Bob) and come over and give a kiss!! Later, Mara asks Mary if it is all right if she kissed Mary’s husband!

Of course I feel irresistible.

Mary is given a sample of the way to give a guy the kiss.


Bob doesn’t come cheap; we leave with gifts of greens!

And eggs! The three of them negotiate. Was that smooch a 3 egger or a four? It is settled for four eggs.

I pray that I am not being put out for rental.

We all had a delightful time. Mary stops at the local Mini market, buys food. We return to the ladies with our gifts. They ask that we bring knitting wool sometimes.

We find that their income is 56 KM ($40) a month!


On the way back we stop at the Villa Rustica (also known as Villa of Mogorjelo). We wanted to stop many times before and now we are going to. The restaurant is built on the ruins of a first century property complex. Burned out in the 3rd Century, built over in the 4th. Laid waste in the 5th Century by the Visigoths; rebuilt and re-populated in the 8th or 9th. Always fought over then and later by the Romans and Turks.

And now it is Mary’s turn!

We admire the artist’s depiction in the restaurant. Two churches had been built at the corners.

We find a nice table by the fireplace, our waiter speaks English and they have ‘gotovo jelo’ (daily special) but we are too late for it!

Outside dining when it is warmer; marvelous grounds but be careful where you walk! There are horse stables on the grounds also.

Horses for rent. Walking horses for the kids complete with an attendant.

So many groups and tribes have left their mark here. Cemeteries on the grounds from the 5th to the 19th century.

Room after room after room.

Horses, ponies, donkeys, dogs all over the place!

Annette and Bob (Florida residents) are here in Medjugorje for a few months; we do hope they like this place so much that they will stay.

Jonathan is spending more time here in Medjugorje. Jonathan teaches at the University in Mostar.

Deanna (from Canada) is all prepared for the wintry snow and stays here for an extended period of time.

Mario and Stella are here for just a week or so and we are so glad to have met them.

When they leave here they go to Zimbabwe and that is a long long journey home.

Thank you for your help with the church Readings!

Two more of our ‘regular pilgrims and church helpers’ Anthony and Christine.

Anthony is a “permanent pilgrim’ here in Medjugorje. He has been all over the world and is able to identify with so many of the pilgrims who come here. It turned out recently that, in talking with a new pilgrim, they found that Anthony had stayed (boarded) with a relative of that pilgrim while Anthony was visiting Bombay years back!!

All ready to go out into the storm…Bob, Victorio, Alexandra and Larry. Three from the States, Vic from Canada.

And our Blessed Mother is waiting for you! (you can talk to her wherever you are).

Father Kevin has been including in his homilies reference to the beautiful blanket of snow resting peacefully undisturbed…

excepting when the snow falls in this home area then Mary tends to disturb it!

Tuesday, Jan 19th: 34 people for lunch today. Dragica called on Monday and had “blitva” (Swiss Chard) for sale so we bought a crate for 40 KM and she delivered it to the Mini Mart; the blitva was a big hit because it can be eaten as a fresh salad or cooked. Figs and walnuts had been donated from families we help so that was added to the food bags.

A new treat: we had a supply of aspirin, Aleve, Motrin in small bottles. Everyone had aches and pains and hands shot up in the air to receive these. The fellows continually ask for something for their nerves; to enable sleep; not something we can furnish.


Jan. 28th: Father Jakov, Father Lu (from Korea), Father Kevin with Annette doing the readings. What a team!!

Father Lu is anxious to come here for a six month stay and to learn English during that time. Wouldn’t that be wonderful.

Father Mulligan shared a number of Medjugorje pictures that he had received in London.

another pic from Father Mulligan’s email. Thank you, Father, for sharing these.


The pic of Columbo’s looked so inviting that we decided, once the snow mostly disappeared and daylight came, to venture out to Columbo’s for one of their vegetarian pizzas! Yeh!

We get our pick of the tables; we love the color scheme and we love the pizza. We are happy.