In the shrine of Our Lady of Kondžilo, in the parish of the Assumption of the BVM Komushin in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on Saturday, June 8, on the eve of the Feast of Pentecost, a votive pilgrimage of members of the Miraculous Medal Association was held at the Center of the Croatian Province of the Sisters of Mary of the Miraculous Medal.

Pilgrims from Zagreb, Osijek, Nova Kapela, Štivica, Strmac, and from the central area of Bosnia and Hercegovina and the priests who accompanied them were warmly greeted by Rev. Boris Salapic, pastor of the local parish and guardian of the shrine. He especially welcomed The Sisters of the Miraculous Medal with their provincial leader, Sr. Kaja Ljubas. He said that through pilgrimages the love of the believers towards Our Lady is visible, and Our Lady of Kondžila has been worshiped here since ancient times, through the centuries-old devotion of the Marian pilgrims to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He asked Our Lady to receive all the pilgrims in her hands and in her heart.

Then the Eucharistic celebration started. In his sermon, he emphasized, among other things, the importance of praying to the Virgin Mary, as our ancestors were doing for centuries. It is very important to pray. The soul which prays, he said, is connected to God. She understands God’s closeness and it is dear to God. He urged present pilgrims to follow Mary and to be ready to accept the will of God as Mary did: “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word.”

At the end of the Mass, the Provincial of the Sisters of Mary, Sr. Kaja Ljubas, thanked Our Lady for all the graces that we received that day, especially for the highlight of the meeting – the Holy Eucharist, for Father Salapic, and also for the priests who were available to hear confessions. She recalled the beginnings of Community when it had a small number of worshipers, followers of the miraculous medal, and compared it with today’s number of followers which is much higher. She thanked God for that, saying that the Sisters are only mediators who listen to God’s inspiration, and by the grace of God – the work grows. She thanked the leaders of the Community groups, especially Sr. Magdalena Baresic, Coordinator of the Miraculous Medal Association, and then other sisters for their help: Sr. Jelena, Sr. Cecilia, Sr. Daniela, Sr. Samuela, Sr. Martina and all who are always available to believers. She emphasized that the Croatian Community of Worshiper became a member of the International Miraculous Medal Association, led by the General Director, Father Tomaž Mavrič, who is the General Superior of the Congregation of the Mission of St. Vincent de Paul (CM) based in Rome. Sr. Kaja recalled last year’s visit of Vice President of the International Association of the Miraculous Medal – Father Carl Pieber, CM, who then expressed his satisfaction with spreading the devotion of the Miraculous Medal in our region and provided concrete advice on how to join and be an active part of the Association. Sister Kaja thanked God for this great deed.

She said that all worshipers brought to Our Lady their hearts, their needs, their families, that they came here to seek a new strength. And that, with Mary’s help and protection, they can grow more in faith in God.

Representatives of the worshipers then presented a gift to the priest Boris Salapic, the host of the meeting, and Sr. Ljubas wished him to always be a priest close to the Heart of Jesus and Mary, and a devoted guardian of Our Lady’s sanctuary.

The believers then went by bus and some of them on foot to Mount Kondžilo, where the priest introduced to them rich history of Our Lady of Kondžilo and the valuable image of Our Lady. He said that Kondžilo, or Komushina, is the largest and most famous Marian shrine in Bosnia and Hercegovina, with about fifty thousand pilgrims annually, and about thirty thousand pilgrims, devoted to Mary, for the Feast of the Assumption.

After the refreshments, the program of the votive pilgrimage continued in the parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Komušina with a wonderful spiritual meditation prepared by Sr. Samuela Markanović. The Pilgrims also prayed the Eternal Novena, then the BVM Blessing Prayer and sang the hymn “Our Lady of Kondžilo”. The whole day was a good preparation for the feast of Pentecost, but also the highlight of the gatherings of the followers of the Miraculous Medal, this year, around the gracious figure of our Lady of Kondžilo.

by Višnja Mikić