11/15 – another warm, sunny day, and my hip is feeling better. Today we will climb Apparition Hill, where the six teens first saw Our Lady, Queen of Peace. It’s a two mile walk to the base of the hill, past hotels, souvenir shops and cafes. We are concerned that there don’t seem to be enough pilgrims to keep all these places in business. There are several new buildings that look like construction was abandoned halfway.
We reached the foot of the hill, and tried to determine the best route up. No clear trail has been established – people just start climbing from wherever they are.
Not too far up the hill are two blue crosses, which mark the spots where two of the children received their visions. Many stopped to pray their rosary here.
Despite the sharpness of the rocks, some, young and old, climb the hill barefoot. Many are assisted by their grown children or grandchildren. Many walk with a cane. There are reliefs depicting the mysteries of the rosary as we ascend.
At the summit is a life sized statue of Mary, on a base shaped like a star. Many are praying, kneeling and weeping here.
Behind the statue is a crucifix, where others kneel on the rocks.
We made our way back down the hill, passing those on their way up. I can feel my feet bruising from being squeezed in rock crevices and hitting sharp rock edges. I’ve turned my ankle, and can’t imagine what those in bare feet must be feeling. I consider that Medjugorje asks more of its pilgrims than the other Marian sites we’ve visited.
In the evening, we returned to the church. Jim wants to see if the Risen Christ statue is still seeping. He purchased some little cloths with the statue imprinted on them at the souvenir shop, sold expressly to catch this moisture. There are many more people now, and we have to wait in line for a turn near the knee. The knee is not seeping now.
The other Marian sites had large areas for lighting candles. We know there must be one here, but haven’t seen it. We walked all around the church until we found this little area tucked away in a corner, with a flowing fountain. Very pretty and very peaceful.