December 8, 2017

The Story of Colleen Willard (Part I)

In honor of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the prior series of stories involving St. Gertrude will be interrupted. The following story involves Our Lady Herself, and Her Son, Our Lord, truly present in the Eucharist.

It was 2003. Colleen Willard sat in the airport. Her face and legs were greatly swollen and she could not talk very much at all. There, in her wheelchair waiting to be checked in, she had to take morphine for the pain. Just the night before, she had collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital. But, the next day, she was at O’Hare Airport, waiting to begin her trip to Medjugorje.

She was not traveling there to seek a miracle. She was simply going because she felt a need to go, because she felt she was being told to go, because she wanted to see for herself what was taking place there. She had plenty of cause, however, for which a miracle could be the only answer. Colleen suffered from an inoperable brain tumor, metabolic bone disease, myofacial-fibromylalgia, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, connective tissue disease, adrenal insufficiency, severe osteomalacia, lymphedema, pulmonary disease and severe daily headaches.

One doctor had already refused to give her medical clearance for the trip, fearing she might die on the way. Yet, she persevered and found another who would. She had to be carried on and off buses and other points between where she could be placed in a seat. Trying to walk herself was out of the question. She could not even lift a glass, her bones were so brittle and her strength so weak.

The day after Colleen and her husband, John, arrived in Medjugorje, they went to a courtyard for a talk being given by a woman named Vicka. She was one of the six people known as visionaries. Vicka, it was said, had daily apparitions from the Blessed Mother.

The courtyard was crowded, and in their zeal to hear Vicka, many of the people failed to be courteous. People stood between the wheels of Colleen’s wheelchair, and children were passed over her head. As they passed, some of them knocked into Colleen or stepped on her. The pain which resulted from this was excruciating.

As she listened to Vicka speak of a time when the Mother of Our Lord had led her and Jakov by the hand on a certain journey, Colleen prayed to God, thanking Him for the pain. She had come to know pain as her cross to bear, and she bore the pain she was feeling now with a head bowed, so people could not see her cry.

Then, she prayed to see Vicka up close, to see the woman who had seen His Mother. Then, she boldly prayed to even touch Vicka’s hand, to touch the hand that had touched Our Blessed Mother’s hand. At that precise time, she heard Vicka announce, “Momento, Momento.” The next thing she saw was the crowd moving out of the way and Vicka standing in front of her. Vicka hugged her tightly, which caused her no pain. Colleen feverishly told Vicka that she did not come for herself, and only asked that Vicka tell Our Blessed Mother of her request for the prayers of all those she had ever known to be answered.

Vicka released the hug, and for the next five minutes, prayed over Colleen, with her hand on Colleen’s head. After it was over, Colleen said her head felt like it was burning, like “hot coals going all through my head.” There was, however, no pain from the heat.

While further extraordinary gifts were to come, these would await the Mass, and culminate with the Eucharist.

As they then drove to St. James for Mass, Colleen still felt the heat. She said it lasted for about forty minutes. In fact, it was still there when, just before the consecration, Colleen heard a voice. It was clear and distinct. It said, “Now will you give me your whole heart and your whole soul for My Son?” Colleen said, “Yes, I will.” Then She said, “Now will you give your whole heart and your whole soul to the Father?” Colleen said, “Yes, I will.” Then She said, “Now will you give me your whole heart and your whole soul to My Spouse, the Holy Spirit?” Colleen said, “Yes, I will.” Then She said, “You are My daughter.” At that moment, the heat was gone. In fact, all the pain in her body was gone.

The priest then came to the back of the church, where she sat in her wheelchair, and gave her Communion. Colleen said that, at that time, there were no other people in the church for her. There was only her and God. Colleen then had an understanding of the depth of what Our Blessed Mother had been asking. She had been asking for complete surrender, a surrender such that our mind and our soul can focus only on God.

After Communion, she asked her husband to get her out of her wheelchair. After Mass, she did walk, on her own, out of her wheelchair. At dinner that evening, she spun around in excitement and was even able to bend down and touch the floor.

That evening, Colleen had a second extraordinary experience involving His Real Presence in the Eucharist. That, and the rest of Colleen’s story will wait until tomorrow.

Source: Eck, Larry and Mary Sue, Medjugorje Miracles of Physical Healings (Westmont, Illinois, Medjugorje Magazine, 2004), p. 1-18.

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