2013 July

July 8: We head for the village dump at Capjlina; we won’t let no horses stand in our way!
No changes here; we look at the bright side and think; ‘wow, a little shack on the bank of the river Neretva’; what more would anyone want out of life?
Well, something (we don’t question what) is boiling in the pot!
and we have to hope it does not rain too much…
We have stopped at the store and brought a food supply for the families here.In turn we are offered a crate of ripe fruit; the crate is brought out from this house and we are asked to share it with a family who might be in need.
We peek in the doorway.
One of the men has gotten a fruit picking job!
July 9: We head for Dragica’s (the recent widow with 6 daughters); one or two more weeks will be a year since the death of father and the children will start wearing clothes other than in black; mama will continue in that color.Two daughters, Antonia and Mirjana are making their twice a week visit to Anica and Ilka; we settle that account.

Here is the youngest daughter, Sylvia.

The boy, Mele, is a grandson; really warming up now to our visits.

We buy potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini and a few red onions; mama always insists on us taking free extras.
Some of the Romani fruit is delivered here along with some potatoes and other veggies; we have stopped at the store and picked up coffee and slab smoked bacon and a roasted chicken and other stuff.Click to view
When we arrived Anica was peeling potatoes with a butter knife and having a frustrating time of it. Did we have a knife? Could we bring a knife?And do we know some poor person who would like sugar? They have 2 unopened of the 5 pound bags. Would we take and give it to someone?
We take the sugar and glad to get it; we head back to the mini-market and they do have a good butcher knife and also peeling knives.
We return with the new knives and get another snapshot of 3 smiling faces!
We give a call to Dijana and arrange for a meeting a few miles away. Dijana comes with two of the children and we catch up on current events and have a good cry together.We explain the sugar and Dijana can use it; we also have the tomatoes, onions, potatoes and stuff with us so that Dijana can pick and choose. They are going to cook and can the succorash (cooked tomatoes and peppers and spices)!Click to view Click to view
July 11: Esma and Suvad are not at home in this camp but two other families are, We introduce ourselves and find that one of the adults (Marko) is secretary of a local Roma association. We take notes and pass out food that we bought at the market along with the balance of the tomatoes, potatoes, onions and stuff.We meet Alaxander; he was born in 2009.

He is sitting on a favorite toy.

and then there is Ana; she was born in 2006; we get some smiling out of her when Joseph brings out the rubber balls!
and in 2004 Ajlana came so she must be around 9 years old.none of the kids go to school.
The youngest boy had found a new toy; you can sit on it and drive it around and it has holes to stick paper into!
Here’s mama Darija (Ninkovic) holding the youngest, Snjezana.
Tila is from the other family but both families are closely related; Tila is around 23 (born in 1990).
The kids (and probably everyone) are glad to see the food and immediately dig in to the tomatoes.
July 15: we travel with Joseph to one of his favored families; Joseph has bought a huge load of food; mama is not home; she has gone to Medjugorje to seek out additional sources of help for the family.Everyone helps carrying in the food.
Off to the camp in the Stolac area.Mary (and we) check to see how summer school is progressing and is asking each of the school goers just what they have learned this week!
Amelja amazes us by counting all the way up to 18! Rafajel is mastering division, Gabriela is succeeding with multiplication.All are happy.

Tanja, the Summer School teacher tells us that Rafajel greets her each morning with phrases such as “good morning teacher; I hope you have slept well”. Of course it will be in Bosnian.

Gabriel’s greeting is quite different; he continually asks for the time and whether school would be over soon.

The entire camp is interested in the progress of the school and maybe even gain some benefit from it personally.

“AMELJA” is printed out for us by none other than Amelja herself!Just turned 6 on July 5th & will be going into first grade this Fall!

A little undiscovered genius!

Mothers are asking us whether we know any hair dressers.

Eng is here for these past few weeks and journeys with us today; not shy and wonderful communicator with the kids.
Joseph is leading the conga line while singing Jingle Bells???The line keeps growing; the words keep changing; the melody of Jingle Bells stays the same.

When you have a good thing going; stay with it!

Payday!!A truck and crane has arrived and is taking (and paying for) a couple of piles of metal which has been collected over the past few months.
Later in the week we need to make a return trip to the area so we drop by and talk about the progress being made (or not made).
The camp on the psych grounds are revisited and we meet up with Marko’s brother, Marijano (a single guy). A local association has been started and Marijano is the secretary!The group is meeting with the Mayor of the Capljina area and will go to a proposed land site this evening; excitement!
Suvad and Esma are back in the house; they have not been told of our prior visit.Suvad had a short term job; his mother is retired in Germany and gets a pension of 300 Euros a month (600 KM or $400).

Mama has wired a gift of 181 Euros (351 KM) and they have bought a car!

They are again mobile and glad to see us.

Back in Medjugorje we had spotted a death notice on a couple of the stores and we had noticed Ivana (daughter of Daniel) wearing black (she is working at one of the mini markets).This is Daniel from Citluk, the driver of the red bus which was involved in the Sarajevo to Medjugorje accident in June of 2007.

We offer up one of our two daily indulgences for his holy soul.

Daniel had come over to visit with some of the veterans of the bus accident when they revisited Medjugorje in 200?Here Frankie and Daniel exchange hugs.
The accident pictures were sent to us by Clarice H. (in 2008) along with a note from Shirley R. that the photos were taken by Sue T.
We still are blessed to hear from some of these pilgrims
and to hear of spiritual support and to see material support for many of the poor here in the vicinity.
Two of our local accomplishers were Ellie and her spouse, Hara.
So thanks to all from Mary and her spouse, Bob.
We had promised to return soon to this camp as they were out of most of the food stuff. We have put as much as we can in the one car.
Amel has managed to gain hold of one of the individual packs of water flavoring powder which was just brought. The powder contains orange flavoring along with vitamins and is used with 6 quarts of water. Surprisingly Amel finally gets it opened and gets a little cup and goes to the camp spigot. Most of the powder is spilled but some she does manage to mix before mama swoops down on the tot.
Mary reviews the homework assignment given to Dean on our last visit; he needs much help with comprehension as well as with the basics taught in 1st grade.Challenging.
Dean wants to be a policeman; he is the oldest male child in the group and tends to be bossy to his mother and to others. Here it may be symbolic that he has drawn himself in a box; we will keep working with him. Mayhaps a policeman motif in the lessons will help?
Gabriela always is eager to learn, eager to help.Amelja is primping around today; anxious for compliments for her outfit; we oblige; she is looking great!
Gabriela turns in her assignment; she has created a story:Our world

Our world is big and beautiful
There are so many things
On our world the flowers grow, trees grow and the Bregava river flows greatly.

Our world is in all our hearts.
We have two large churches
I love our world”.


Special day today; it’s the 25th of the month and also St. James Feast Day, the once a year happening for this parish. For years and maybe centuries it has been the custom for people, local and distant, to be able to knock on any door here and get a meal!Maybe a coincidence but we have gotten calls yesterday through today from four mothers looking for help; mostly for food.


We arrange to meet up with one of the mothers; Dijana and son, Ivan. Dijana is really stressed out. Her husband had been beaten and put in the Mostar Hospital by a gang of local toughs.So many medical expenses have eaten up the family funds! We and them are so blessed to be able to give this family help. Funds for this family have been raised by the American charity; Help for the Hungry and Homeless and we pass on those contributions on an as needed basis.
We all go and interact with those others in need. We listen to the stories and help where we can.


A Generous Woman Helping a Homeless Man - Royalty Free Clipart Picture

MEÐUGORJE – ST. James the Apostle Assignments

Fra Marinko Šakota, pastor

Fra Viktor Kosir

Fra Karlo Lovric

Fra Ivan Dugandzic

Fra Mladen Herceg

Fra Dragan Ruzic

Fra Ivan Landeka

Fra Stanko Cosic

Brat Joseph Mary Katalinić



Lots of changes re the Franciscan priests; mostly to occur in August.
Fra Marinko Šakota, Pastorstays with us.
Fra Viktor Kosir stays with us.

Fra Karlo Lovrićstays with us.
Father Ivan Dugandži? returns to Medjugorje

Fra Ivan Dugandziccomes to us.

He has lived and worked in Medjugorje twice: from 1970-1972 and 1985-1988. Has been living and working in Citluk.

MOTHERS VILLAGE preschool educational institutions and social welfare

“The most notable name is that of the 69-year-old father Ivan Dugandžić. Father Dugandžić was in fact used twice already working in Medjugorje. A first time in the early seventies and later from 1985 to 1988.

It was during this second term that Father Dugandžić had with Pope John Paul II and on occasion with the Holy Father spoke about Medjugorje. Meet Blessed Pope John Paul II said to Father Dugandžić: “You can tell everyone that I pray every day for a good outcome of these events.” In issue 17 of the magazine “Medjugorje Messenger ‘from 1990 is the full story recorded:

“After the general audience on April 2, 1986 I had the great joy to meet. His Holy Father Pope John Paul II personally Obviously we spoke about Medjugorje. He showed himself very sad that it was a matter of such great importance not thoroughly investigated. He told me that he followed the events closely (We know that he asked for video and other material.) When I left, he called me back and whispered in my ear. “You can tell everyone that I pray every day for a success of these events. ” When he took leave of me with a hug. This evidence of the benevolence of our Holy Father fills with hope. “


Every Monday at are communities come sister Iva and Fr Mladen Herceg. In the chapel of the boys held contemplative prayer.Hour of prayer begins with the dog sits down in a circle and the story of Fr Mladen. With some actual event, story, song, or his experience, Fr Mladen relaxes us and introduced to the world of contemplative prayer. With five minutes of music recollect your thoughts and relax to our sister Iva read the gospel about which we think. The music that we listen to the instrumental, always light, sometimes with natural sounds such as waves, birds chirping. After that, get your hands uu gospel we read again with the music and think about it. To do this, we have 15 minutes of thoughts flying everywhere. Fr Mladen always says that this is our time. We can take a nap, thinking about their current problems, everything. Time to relax always goes too fast. After him we have a sharing of what we experienced while we were relaxing has everything. From some comments intersantnog a line in the Gospel or recounting an event from the past, to a simple sharing as we feel at the moment. Fr Mladen us always encouraging words that whatever we say can not be wrong. After a long working day, this hour, we mean a lot to renew yourself spiritually, but also physically, as if someone had removed all the tiredness from the lower ones back. Unfortunately, you always end quickly, so we can not wait next Monday.
Fra Mladen Hercegcomes to us.


Served as deacon this past year in Medjugorje, Fra Stanko Ćosić celebrated his First Holy Mass on Sunday, July 14, 2013 in the parish church of the Most Holy Trinity in Buhovo.

Father Stanko Cosic

stays with us.

Brother Josip Marija Katalinićstays with us.
Fra Danko Perutinamoved to Christ the King Parish in Citluk.
FraTomislav Pervanassigned nearby.
Fra Slaven Brekaloleaves us.
Fra Svetozar Kraljevićleaves us; going to Zagreb.

Fra Dragan Ruzic will be doing at least some of the tasks which Father Svet has been doing. Father Dragan is the main celebrant at the 7:30 am Holy Mass (Croatian) this week of August 26th. Father Dragan’s mother (Ruzica, a refugee from Konjic) resides in the Mothers Village area and helps to provide direct care for some of the children.

Fra Miljenko Šteko, newly elected Provincial of the Herzegovinian Franciscan Province.

Fra Miljenko was the main celebrant at the recent opening of this year’s Youth Festival

and, of course, Father Kevin is staying with us.
July 19th: Mr. and Mrs. Marić (Kristina & Zoran) ; a wedding has taken place which means that Ivan (our friend and driver) and Marina have given away their oldest daughter, Kristina.

We just love this picture; there are so many smiles and so much happiness!


Aug. 1st: Hearts are broken. We will no longer see Kristijan (Titi is his nickname). He was so happy and interactive and had registered for University this Fall. The wedding picture shows Kristijan at the very right.the things that may go through their minds of what they could have done , or seen or said … are no longer important… no one can see what is hidden in the mind and heart , no matter how close …. Only God…”
Thursday, August 15th: The Assumption Feast Day; Many of the families in the outlying villages will be walking to Medjugorje this early early morning; we know at least two of the families who we interact with will be coming bare footed and offering their blessings for us and for all of those who enable us. Thank you.


Marija-Zorka is celebrating her 16th birthday on this Feast Day so it is a good time to share a piece of birthday cake.
A couple (Romain & Annie) are here again from Belgium and we are happy to utilize him to check out and maybe repair some of the vehicles in use or in hope by some of the needy families. Romain has a car repair shop back home. This one is beyond repair.
Tanya has been using this car to travel to teach school at the camp in Stolac; it is near its last gasp!
Next stop for Romain is at Dijana & husband, Zeljko. Zeljko has picked up a smoking habit while in the psych hospital and shows Romain how to go from the uncut tobacco leaves to the plunger which pushes the prepared tobacco into the preformed smoking cylinder. They share a smoke.Romain checks out & repairs the car (thank you Janet) and gets wheels and tires for the little pull flat trailer
and also fixes the bike for Ivan! Wow!
Open wide.
A daddy’s love is always so special.
Any love goes a long way!
Jelka calls and she has to move some tomatoes and some peppers and stuff (they are ripe). A crate will bring only a couple of KM ($1.50) at the farmers market and she knows that we prefer to pay 5 times that amount!Jelka asks “can we help with the covering for a greenhouse”? They have found old iron forms which they can use for the structure.
Yes we can.Yes we will.
The store is delivering the bigger stuff and we talk while we wait; mostly about school and needs.More of the mothers are asking for help to get their kids into pre school.

Finally the truck is here and all help to unload.

Some of us make plans for school; we think it might start on the 2nd of Sept.What about books?
What about pencils?
What about lunches?
What about haircuts?
What about the kids for pre-school?
In the meantime Fadilla has baked a beautiful looking ‘pita’; mostly potato based.It looks good; it smells good.
Back home we reminisce over that delightful looking pita and wonder if we (Mary) can duplicate it.

Christina is back in Medjugorje. The “Queen of Peace” DVD produced by Christina Georgotas can be previewed & purchased online at

We have ordered a copy ($19.95 + shipping) and will view it on our trip to the States on Sept. 4th.
We hear that the DVD has received rave reviews even from one of the visionaries!

Barb & Scott have arrived in Medjugorje lugging two suitcases packed full of love and giving and blessings and clothes and school supplies and surprises!Just like the local elderly in the mountains here we say:

Bless those who thought of this,
bless those who contributed the cases,
bless those who gathered and bought and shared the goods,
bless those who packed these items,
bless those who lugged the stuff,
bless those who added to it along the way;

God bless everyone!

We get a visit from Kata and Marija and Cristina and Zoran.They have come to share pictures of the wedding (they are beautiful).

We have a wonderful chat!

We are going to the States on Sept. 4th for three weeks; we go to the Richmond, VA area first (son Dan is in that vicinity and will pick us up).Then we go to the Ocean City, MD area and Bob’s relatives will congregate there over the week.

Then to the Baltimore area to visit with friends and relatives.