News and Tribune

Columns

May 6, 2014

BEAM: Of Mary and miracles in Medjugorje

— Miracles happen every day, according to New Albany resident Sandra Bierly. Wonderful miracles of healing and answered prayers, of divine gifts and hope.

The former middle school science teacher should know. In her travels to a small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina, she’s experienced such wonders. And those revelations with the Almighty and his messengers have had a profound impact on both Bierly’s faith and life.

It began in a place called Medjugorje.

In 1981, six Herzegovinian children reported seeing an apparition of Jesus’s mother, the Virgin Mary, on a hill in this village. As time passed, the aging visionaries continued to witness and, at times, hear the Blessed Mother. For close to 33 years, more than 30 million believers have made the pilgrimage to discover what mysteries the Eastern European village might reveal.

“Medjugorje touched my heart unlike any place on earth,” Bierly said. “It’s like heaven on Earth. Each person experiences personally what they are meant to experience, so your experience would be completely different from mine.”

Bierly’s first experience occurred in 2002 around 20 minutes before noon EST, the time the visionaries have said the Holy Mother appears. Praying with her eyes closed, Bierly noticed that a blue sky filled her vision. Upon opening her eyes, she saw a lady in front of her. Eyes shut again, Bierly then witnessed the sky parting. Instantly she said she traveled through the parted skies and arrived at an altar in Lourdes, another city famous for its Marian apparitions.

For a moment, Bierly enjoyed the serenity. Despite not really wanting to leave, she was again transported back to her body at Medjugorje. Little if no time had elapsed.

“Back then, I trusted mostly in myself and not in a greater power,” she said. “In Medjugorje, I found peace unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before in my life. I was just flooded with it.”

Since her personal revelation, Bierly has returned to the village on five separate trips. Each visit brings something unexpected and new.

On one occasion, after climbing the mountain and the accompanying Stations of the Cross, a bulging disk in her back that had hindered her walking was healed. Another time she asked the Holy Mother to bless her poetry writing. Soon after, her submissions were accepted in a Catholic magazine.

In all, Bierly said more than 130 recorded miracles have occurred at Medjugorje.

And then there are the spiritual transformations that may be a little harder to document.

During a visit to the site in 2013, Bierly witnessed something she calls a blessing. A video she recorded of the sun immediately prior to the apparitions scheduled appearance time shows, she said, an angel and a sign. A white orb transforms throughout the two minute recording in to what Bierly believes is a Host (also known as communion bread), then a chalice, followed by a monstrance (a vessel used to display the Eucharist during communion), all of which culminate in the blessed sacrament.

Following the recording of this video, Bierly also said she had been gifted with the miracle of the sun.

“I can look at the sun, anytime, anyplace, anywhere, and don’t see the sun at all. I see a host in front of the sun,” she said.

Blessings aren’t a one way street. Bierly has given back to her church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and her community. She serves her parish in numerous ways, including as its pro-life coordinator, lector and choir member.

In addition, the 65-year-old spends her free time making rosaries and distributing them worldwide, all the while helping to spread her faith to those she believes to be in spiritual need. Since 2011, 15,000 have been completed by her own hands.

While the pilgrimages to Medjugorje helped Bierly transform her life, overseas expeditions aren’t always needed. Salvation, as always, can be found within.

“God meets you where you’re at. He meets every person where they’re at and he gives you what you need to sustain you until he’s ready to take you someplace else,” Bierly said. “It’s powerful.”

— Amanda Beam is a Floyd County resident and Jeffersonville native. Contact her by email at adbeam47@aol.com

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
LOCAL MAGAZINES
Easter 2014 photos


Click on any photo to purchase it.

SPECIAL CONTENT
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.