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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
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: