2011 August

  Aug. 1, 2011 Youth Festival this week.

priests at the outdoor Holy Mass plus priests all over the place hearing

Our dear friend, Father Rick is here
this week from West Bend, WI, so we will be on our best behavior.

 60 countries have registered so far. 
  These are some of the ‘confession lines’.

Each year Father Kevin co-ordinates the flag banners
for the English speaking nations; some nations bring their own;
others are not aware until they are here.  Here is a pic of some of
the USA volunteers. 

Each of the countries representative carries a sign
board and, alphabetically, proceeds to the outdoor rotunda on Day 1 and
gives greetings from his/her country to the immense crowd.

One of the countries who ‘stood out’ were the Chinese.
They gave their greeting in the Croatian language and ended up with “we
are made in China’. Cute.

Sister Olga is right in the middle of the action!

Action is an understatement!

And the presence of so many priests; they ‘overflow’ to
rows in front of the rotunda altar.

But it is back to work!  Back to the hills!   Joseph is carrying a
flat of tomatoes for the two sisters.  We have potatoes and onions
and water and stuff.

  But the house is locked and we can not find
them; wait, here they come up the dirt road.  They have been to a
neighbor’s field where he is pulling up the bean plantings.  They
ask; he tells them to take whatever they can carry!
are each carrying water from the stream which, we find, is more than a
mile and a half away!

  They ask for help in carrying the load.



Joseph carries Anica’s water pail.

  Anica is exhausted and must ‘take a breather’.

OK we have all rested; now a quiet moment.

  Mirror, mirror, off the wall

who is the
fairest of them all?

  Jelka offers each of us a swig from the fresh
spring water she has just carried.


  Dragica, Antonia, Katarina, & Marija have
celebrated the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (Aug 15) by walking,
barefoot, from (and back) their home in Vitina to the church in Medjugorje
(Sylvia, the youngest did not take part; someone had to stay home with
Tata (father).  The walk to the church took all night.

They tell us it was to thank the Blessed Mother for all the blessings they
have received.

 A view of the Castle in Ljubuski. Will it ever be
renovated and modified as condos?

  Friends from Belgium are here for three weeks.
Father, Toni, is doing the readings. Karol is serving at the altar along
with his sisters. 
  It is good to
see them.
  Father Rick is here from the States; he was part
of the ‘bus accident’ group who came 4 or so years ago.

  We meet a group from Mumbai (used to be Bombay in my
geography book years ago).

  Mary helps with
suggestions on what to see and where to go!

  Aug 9, 2011.  We need to go back for a
return visit.  We have brought sandals
and tie shoes for each of the sisters;  we get warm smiles.
  And we bring Father Rick along with us!  The ladies are thrilled to have a priest visit them in their

  They take advantage of the chance to tell Father
of their need for a home remodeling job.
  The sisters want the older house re roofed and re built!

  They explain that this side of the house is for the chickens so
that part won’t need too much work.
  But this side would be the preferred side.

  Father takes on the role of Spiderman? 

 Father Rick is listening to the sisters telling him to “go ahead;
it’s just a little cobweb; that won’t hurt you”.

Father goes for it!

Next stop is to Jagoda & husband and we ‘guys’ are hanging back.

  We have paused at Jagoda’s with a little bit of
food and Mary sees that Jagoda’s eyes are still kind of inflamed.  We
had left some funds for medicine on our last visit and Mary examines the
purchase (it is not effective enough).
  The husband is at home (we rarely see him); he is so glad to see

  Did we hear him say “you all come back now, you hear”.

  Now we are off to Jelka and family; just up the

  And Jelka, too, is thrilled at the visit from a
Jelka’s mom died just this past week and we extend our sympathies and

  Afterwards we get to have lunch at the ‘Etno Selo’ restaurant; one of
our favorites.

  Aug 11:  Mary is off with Sister Muriel to
interview a lady for the Retirement Home.

  Meanwhile, back in Wichita, Kansas, our nephew
Chris is giving his visiting Bishop a really special hug.

Hey Chris, save some hugs for us.

Paprika: Oh, oh.

  A local friend of ours
in the sausage business was curious as to why the flavor was not
consistent in some of the sausages.  A batch of the paprika was sent
for chemical analysis.

  Turns out that the paprika was adulterated with shavings from
the ‘red cinder like blocks’ which are used in European construction!

Aug. 15, 2011:

McCLUSKEY Arthur (Castle Court, Kilbride, Portarlington, Co. Laois) –
August 12, 2011 (unexpectedly) at home. Sadly missed by his loving sisters
Beryl, Maureen, Eveleen, Anne, Breda and Pat, nieces, nephews, and a wide
circle of close friends. RIP. Reposing at home tomorrow (Tuesday) from 2
o’c to 8 o’clock Removal from home on Wednesday at 11.20 o’c arriving at
St. Paul’s Church Emo for Requiem Mass at 12 o’clock Interment afterwards
in adjoining cemetery.

Annie & Romain are here for the 24th time from
Belgium!  They have driven all the way.

Aug. 16:  we are off to Metkovic in Croatia.  We
do a ‘pause’ at the Serbian family on the way.  Janet has raised &
has left some funds for them to put a new roof on their house and we want
to see how they are coming along with it.
  The work is in
progress;  as usual in rehab construction, unexpected problems turn

  Joseph is going up on the home made ladder to check
on the roof job!
  Yep, there is the new roof;  this has to
‘cure’ for two weeks or so.

  After the time has passed then the temporary
supports can be removed. 

 The old roof was never quite right (bombed out)
and dampness and mold was in every room.

 After the two weeks the family (husband, pregnant wife, two
daughters and Grandmama (wheelchair bound) can start working on the inside.

  We pass on a little bit of help.


  We continue to Metkovic and then look for a new
place to eat.  We find ‘KONOBA LANTERNA’ & we take an outdoor table.

  What a find!  The waitress has been working here for 10
years and she offers good suggestions as to their daily specialties ‘gotovo
jelo’.  Later she treats us to a free fruit plate; delicious!


We pick up a business card and promise to come back.

  No, they are not out searching for Moses;
it is Joseph!
  The restaurant had some cute ‘background’
for us to stick our head through!

We talk to the owner who shows us his neat museum.

Aug. 18:  A trip for Mary to the hill country with
Sister Muriel (Saint Joseph the Worker), Nancy (Canada) and Roxanne (New

  At one of Sister Muriel’s regular ‘clients’,
Nancy and Roxanne carry in the food from St. Joseph the Worker.

   In a beautiful setting, the beautiful
people discuss the next visits.

But wait, who is that wending her way up the lane?

Anica is coming home.  Yeh!

  Home, home at last.  A shoulder is found to
talk about troubles and how wonderful it is that the Blessed Mother is
looking after her…

After a bit, the ladies take a break and go to St. Joseph the
Worker Retirement Home.

  They meet up with Sister Petra.  Sister has spent 3 months in Ireland and has a very
good command of the English language as well as nursing skills.

A group of Italian volunteers are working at the Home.
They will be dancing and singing and entertaining the residents.

I wonder if they know that.

They know it!

The residents wheel in and surround the dance floor.

OK, you are surrounded; now start the entertainment!

  A 90 something year old resident starts the
conga line; “the sheep have always followed me”!

Then it is time to check out Sister Muriel’s and Mary

 Grand opening is now set for Divine Mercy Sunday
on April 15, 2012.

  The stained glass windows are still looking
really good; they are show stoppers!

The plumbing is in!

  Aug. 20:  Joseph, Mary & I are riding with
Annie & Romain to the ‘hills’.  They have been coming to Medjugorje
since 1984 and we know that they know a lot of neat destinations outside
the village.
  We have stopped at the grocery store
(veggies, water etc) and at the hardware store (clothes line, clothes
pins, eye hooks).

  We go then to the sisters; Anica and Jelka.


We check out the current drying ‘system’ (and
sometimes washing also).

  The ladies are having fun and have a group
picture taken (while the guys are working at something substantial).

Romain and Joseph set up a real clothes line system
complete with the forked stick (Bob stands around).

Then Mary, Joseph, Romain and Jelka decide to go to
the spring, the regular source of the sisters water supply.

When they return, we hear it is 2 miles or so across
a bad path and the ‘spring’ is almost dry! 

It has been an hour and a half and Anica is
whimpering; afraid that Jelka has been taken from her.  We all stand
by the car and try to reassure.

  On to check with Antonia and family and see how
bad   the family car is; pretty bad.  Romain says the body
is almost detached from the frame; maybe we could find a car body from a

The neighbor has been harvesting their tobacco
leaves; they are threaded so as to hang under cover and go through a
drying process.

Jelka has a part time job helping with this.

  Romain and Annie share one of their favorite
spots; a small but impressive Roman ruin.
  We can see Mary
and Romain.

Spring water is gushing from out of the mountain at
various sites; the water is tunneled and distributed, perhaps, to the
valley crops.

Joseph stands guard.

  And Bob, we can’t get him away from the Roman
ruins;  he just can’t believe that it older than he is (did he tell
you his birthday is on Wednesday the 7th?)

And just down the road; a swimming hole!  It
used to be (in the old Roman times) a spot for 4 or more grain grinding
wheels, side by side.

Aug 24:  Oh, oh.  Mrs. Beljo is at the
7:30 early Croatian Mass.  She has brought us grapes and figs and
blitva and other greens.
  She asks for help with the school
books and the school bus costs and asks whether we have running shoes and
jeans and underwear etc.

  We help a little and, later, put together a box with shoes
and some clothes.  We will go shopping for the underwear.


Aug 25:  Sister Krunoslava has returned from her
retreat and vacation and brings us greetings from Mary’s relatives in that
area (they have sent us a box of delicious home made cookies)!

  The new beds for the home are to arrive in
September; the 10th anniversary of the Holy Family & Nazareth House is to be celebrated
on Sept 22nd (we are invited).  They are already making cookies!

(We get a little sample).

sample cookie was bigger than this.

Aug. 26:  We find some new stuff and some not so
new stuff for the Beljo family.  We put together a food package and
are all set to make the delivery.  Thank you Joseph.

Aug. 27:  Romain and Annie have come up with an
idea!  Ivan, our driver, still has his old taxi in his driveway; it
could be for sale for 1400 euros!

  Ivan has told us that, if we want it for one
of the families, he will donate it!

  Romain goes to look at it (he is in the
business back in Belgium) and decides he and Annie will offer 1000 euros!

Crying time again.  We call and deliver the car;
joy and sadness.  The father, Mile, has been taken to the Mostar
Hospital and the family has no car and no funds to go visit.

Now it is possible.  Romain and Annie pass some
funds for gas and documenting.


Two good hearted fellows; we are so privileged to be
their friends.

Thank you Ivan and Romain.


  Joseph, Mary and I make a ‘food run’ to
‘Joseph’s special family’; eight children and, we just found out, a 9th
child is coming this week!!
  Some clothes are delivered;
Joseph leaves funds for winter firewood (now is the time to order).

Tata (papa) is working in the Village of Neum; leaves
early, early to hitch hike to the gathering place for the workers.
They are then trucked to the work place.

Mama (and kids) tend to the chickens, the pigs, and
all walk to where the cow has found temporary housing.

  Mama’s priority (wish list) is a small barn on
the property for the cow;  Joseph’s wish list is for doors and
windows on the second floor.
  Another priority is for
village water to be brought to the house; now they depend on rain to fill
the cistern and there is just not enough rain.


the youngest (for now), a real cutie.

And more good looking kids.

  We go into September with Ivan’s old car gone,
Ivan’s newer car in the shop for what looks to be, like weeks.