Comprehending Medjugorje : Original Documents And Conversations with Arnaud Dumouch
Reference (Croatian Edition) :
Daria Klanac, Razumjeti Međugorje : Izvorni dokumenti i razgovor s teologom Arnaudom Dumouchom, Informativni centar Mir, Međugorje, 2009 [ISBN 978-9958-36-033-6], Prilog II (Svjedočanstvo dr. Darinke Glamuzine), pages 153 à 159 de l’édition croate.
English Translation by Duško Čondić
I was born in Osijek, Croatia but lived in Đakovo, Croatia, where I completed my elementary school and high school. I studied medicine in Zagreb where I met my husband, who, by birth, was from Brotnja, Herzegovina, where I moved after marrying him. I worked there as a general practitioner for several months when an event happened that completely changed my spiritual outlook.
I was “new” to that part of the country, and didn’t quite know the customs or the people all that well. Despite all the crudeness that I sensed in the mentality of the region, I felt that this seeming exterior roughness of manner was ultimately the product of hundreds of years of suffering, and that the people were, nonetheless, emotive and warm hearted.
One June day in 1981, the ambulance driver who by birth was from Medjugorje, excitedly reported to us that “some kids” saw the Virgin, and that people were beginning to gather around them. I ignored the tale since I had known other young girls in various villages also reported seeing the Virgin and that the usual result was a case of attempting to resolve their psychological problems by creating imaginary stories. Even though I had gone through regular catechism classes in Đakovo, years of having studied medicine made a skeptic of me. I was critical of everthing that could not be measured, weighed, felt, or scientifically verified. As a higly ambitious doctor of medicine, I was educated in a sprit of exactness and materialism. I felt that every unsubstantiated tale must be exposed and that light must be shed on the matter. I considered the tale told by the driver to be a bit strange and less than serious.
As though in a theater, I eagerly awaited the outcome of the “events in the village” that agitated the people as well as all the ghosts in this region and in the nation. It was unbelievable to me that a small group of children telling some sort of “fantasy inspired tale” could arouse so large a group of people. And, after a few days, I continued to wonder why the “event” did not quite down. Instead, it “worsened.” I thought to myself: this is a matter of the primitivism of ordinary folks, and that the authorities who attempted to control the matter seemed to be incapable and not quite up to the task.
Under continued such thinking, I was confronted with the arrival of the “visionaries” to our Health Clinic, after our ambulance driver had returned them from their examination by a psychiatrist in Mostar. The Director of the Clinic called a few of us doctors to come and “converse” with the children,” so as to get an impression of them.
I engaged them in conversation with a good deal of interest in the manner of a detective seeking to uncover the “weaknesses” of this “fantastic fable,” so that this farce would be resolved in a medical and scientific manner as quickly as possible. We put questions to the children as to how, where, and what they saw. The children responded. They are convinced of that which they assert, the story has a sense of continuity, and one could see that they, indeed, did have some sort of experience and, in some manner, (that for me at that time seemed very strange, since I did not expect this) they were brave and unflappable. (Naturally, we attempted to confound them!) I was surprised and taken aback by their responses since they seemed to be amazingly mature and integrated in their response when one takes into account the level of education they had.
I was fully aware of a psychiatric phenomenon, namely, that through hypnosis, one can achieve such a state in a person who has been manipulated and that the person can have very real somatic symptoms as suggested by the manipulator. I was in doubt: either it is a matter of some sort of hypnosis wherein the children are being manipulated, or it is an actual other-worldly physical manifestation—(perhaps, too many Sci-Fi novels rolling around in my head). While deep in thought about the matter, the Clinic’s Director encountered me and asked me to be present with him during one of the apparitions in Bijakovići, so that we might “develop” some sort of medical insight on site of the events. He, as an important person in the County, most likely had been given the task of at least having some sort of medical oversight over the events that seem to be quickly slipping through the fingers of the entire community. I did not receive any sort of obligatory tasks; rather, I was to serve more as a formal observer (or, at least, that is what I understood), as a medical doctor.
First, we arrived at the home of the visionary Vicka in the village of Bijakovići, Both the road and the house were overflowing with people. The Director knew the family, and they also knew him. He introduced us and said that we must be present so long as this “occurrence” continues. The family did not have any objections. All were praying, rosary in hand. They also offered me a rosary. All of a sudden, Vicka and the rest arose and hurried up the hill. The Director and I also followed them. We had the impression that several thousand people were already gathered on the hill. This shocked me. It was an exceptionally hot June afternoon, and the Sun was still rather high in the sky.
We came to a small clearing where I suddenly spied all of the visionaries together. They were in a row and began to pray the rosary. Holding my rosary—only formally so that I could approach close to them—I looked to see how they behaved, thinking that I would thereby quickly learn as to “what state of mind” they were in, and thus, uncover some possible manipulation or some sort of para-psychological manifestation caused by some as of yet unidentified cosmic manifestation.
Nevertheless, that which began to unfold surpasses all my suppositions and completely confused me. After having prayed the rosary, all the children suddenly knelt and yelled: “Here she is!” Their response was so simultaneous that I was taken aback. The children began to listen to the “vision.” I observed that all of them were communicating with that vision. Their eyes were flashing. They also asked questions and nodded with their heads (received response to their questions). All of a sudden, I was caught up in the excitement of an investigator. I wanted to “investigate” the nature of the manifestation to its conclusion. Up to that point, my stance towards God can be said, at the very least, to be that of an agnostic and that this was the Virgin, I simply could not accept. What is more, I wished that the matter would soon come to a conclusion, and that my “findings” would serve as being decisive. In order that my doubts as to manipulation or “something else” might be confirmed, I felt I needed to expose myself to some sort of personal experience. I wished to verify it all for myself.
I asked the children if I, too, could pose a question to that manifestation. To my utter shock, the children first consulted with the manifestation asking permission. I then proceeded to pose several questions, among which were questions such as “Who she was, and why was she appearing precisely in Bijakovići (at that time, I thought of the village as being the end of the Earth!) The manifestation said that she was the Queen of Peace. I know this based on my own shock at the response—what sort of peace—why there is peace in the world, and why such a stress on peace? As regards Bijakovići, the response was that she was thee because there were many people of strong belief to be found there. After posing several questions, I wished to experience the presence of the vision to its fullest and asked if I could touch her. Actually, I still did not believe in the apparition of the Virgin, and wished to find some manner to unmask the visionaries in a scientific manner. The visionaries, once again, asked the Gospa if I could approach, and she confirmed that I could. They pointed out where I should come and where the Gospa was. I began to approach (by now I was frightened, but there was no turning back—the desire was there that I should investigate the manifestation. My ego is stronger than my weak faith in the possibility of such a truth. I attempt to feel something with my hand, but… nothing.
At that same moment, the children cried out: “Otišla je!” [She has departed!] Out of shame, I began to think that she departed because of me. As it turned out, that, indeed, was the case. I approached Vicka. She was somewhat afraid (because of me). She said that the Gospa said: “There always were disloyal Judases.” I, too, became taken aback by that message. I could not believe that it applied to me. (It was only later that I came to understand the depth and truth of that message.) At first, I was offended. I withdrew to the side and continued to observe the event as well as the behavior of the children and the mass of people around them. The people sought aid for this one or that one. All of this seemed too dramatic for me. The longer I am among the visionaries, the more they seem to be immersed in the unfolding event: each of them in their own particular manner. They seemed overflowing in some sort of internal joy and even rapture—such as no known case of external manipulation ever achieved.
Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with a feeling that was certain, uncontaminated, and clear: the children see. They all see the same thing. Truly, that is the Gospa they see!
Truly, I was a disloyal Judas! I did not believe them. I had hopes of exposing them as frauds. I intended to betray them. And that is a fact. Instead of my having unmasked them as frauds, I myself was unmasked as being a fraud: I am my own Judas!!! Now then, even if the message of the Gospa meant for me as a public figure, was one that was absolutely crushing and devastating, nonetheless, at the same time I was filled with an overflowing and greatest possible deep sense of joy that was inexplicable. It simply was inexpressible in words. It clearly was generated by a deep-seated cognition: God is present in this place. The Gospa is truly here. And, the children truly see her. The fact that I was unprepared for such a manifestation, is my personal problem; however, it also was meant as a challenge for me to take on a new life—one with a very different spirit.
My God! What a difficult as well as fascinating task lay before me: to become a new being. I felt that I received a well-deserved slap from my Mother—a slap meant to make a disobedient child understand and to lead to the straight and narrow path. I was thoroughly ashamed of myself and felt very humble before this magnificent manifestation that was able to read me like a book, and that gave me a warning as well as directive instructions. This is truly a good Mother! Somewhat later, my spiritual transformation began to take place. The Gospa, in her own manner, conducted that transformation—and continues to do so even today! But, then, that is a story for another occasion and for another time.
Descending from the hilltop, my investigations continued. Only now, I was a completely different person: I have the impression that I experienced some sort of a metamorphosis and that nothing will ever be the same again. And, it never was again! I continued to ask the children about their vision that day. They were very happy and satisfied with that which they heard from the Virgin. Once again I asked one of them (I believe it was Mirjana), why they were allowed to see the Gospa, and I was not. She responded to my question with such innocence and sincerely (and this can only be the case with visionaries who are sincere and convinced in their visions, and with those who are in no manner manipulated): “O, but you can see the Gospa, but only if you wish to see her!” This can only be said by someone who truly sees that which he claims to see and who in his innocence thinks that there is no reason why everyone else cannot also do so. I asked what else the Gospa said when I asked to touch her. The following exchange took place: Eh! Why, there always were those who were loyal, those who were disloyal, and those who were Judas.” Why is the Gospa coming to this small village that is at the end of the world? : Because belief is firm in this place. What is necessary if we, too, are to be able to see the Gospa? One must believe, fast, and pray. Who is she? She is the Queen of Peace! Why? We don’t know, but that is what she says of herself.
I met up with my Clinic Director at the foot of the hill. He observed my demeanor and deportment and was somewhat disturbed. My behavior surpassed that which would have been required under such circumstances and in such an official capacity. I briefly related what had happened to me as we returned to Čitluk. I told my Director that I believe that the children see what they claim to see. I further told him that while on the hilltop, and at the moment that they said the Gospa was departing when I tried to touch her, that I had had an unbelievable feeling of awareness that she was departing and why she was departing. I went on to tell him that my suspicions were later confirmed by the visionaries. Simply put: I knew that the Gospa was present. I also knew because of that cognition that it does pay to live and to die.
When I returned to my home in Čitluk, I asked my Aunt who was babysitting my child, to pray the rosary with me that evening. We prayed a long time. I could not sleep that entire night from sheer excitement. The following days, I was exposed to a variety of comments—mostly negative—because of my deportment. I instinctively knew that I could not speak of that which I, as a person, experienced given the troubled times under which we lived. I knew I would be clearly misunderstood. Comments were even made that I was a communist spy—even though I had no particular political stance at the time. No one even bothered to or attempted to understand my true motives: they were overshadowed by the turbulent political scene of the day. I concluded that it was best for me to change my life spiritually, and to let my actions speak for themselves.
It is true; I was asked to speak with an official person some days following. I thought that our conversation was simply a friendly exchange of the theme of the day. It was only later that I came to realize that our conversation was, in reality, a formal and “official” interview by the party apparatus. He came to my consulting room, and we spoke of the events at Medjugorje. I told him that I believed the children saw what they claimed to see. He was upset, and told me that I must seriously investigate the matter. After some time, a representative of the Church’s “Commission” also came to see me so as to investigate my reactions to the event. We spoke of the event. He asked whether I personally had seen anything that day. I told him that I had not; but that the children did “see something.” After that, no one asked any more about the matter. I instinctively knew that many people had spun their own story about my visit to the hilltop that day, but it no longer bothered or concerned me as to what anyone thought of me or the matter. All that mattered to me, or that continues to matter to me even today, is my own deep conviction and cognition that day.
The visionaries live their very own lives but continue to serve as a great sacrifice on the altar of the Virgin. Knowing the sensitive work that I do, I decided to say as little as possible about the matter and to do as much as I can through my personal actions in the world. I thereby hope to demonstrate that a personal spiritual transformation is possible despite all that others had burdened me with both spiritually and emotionally. I also wish to show that it is possible for us to break the chains of one’s personal prejudices and lack of knowledge. As an important part of that path, I consider the need for education and for work on oneself to be an irreplaceable part of such formation. The Gospa serves as the most important guide on that path. My life since the Gospa entered it is quite different than it was before she became a part of it. Had I not been on that hilltop that day and at that moment, my spiritual life would be all the poorer, and unimaginably empty. Hence, I am grateful for each and every word said to me by the Gospa. It is true, there were many ups and downs on my journey forward; however, just like the start of a spiral, I know that I continue to advance upwards, and that the hand of the Gospa leads me forward.
All that happened at the top of the hill that day was not the end, but the very beginning of my communications with the Gospa. This communication continues through many significant hopes and messages which, later in life, proved to be accurate and prophetic for my personal growth with God.
I still continue to be filled and inspired by the Divine words and messages that come from the Gospa and the visionaries. I respect the visionaries and see them as being this age’s new apostles who have a difficult role in these times of spiritual depletion and stagnation. The visionaries are persons who despite any human failings—but also, all their human virtues that have been fostered by God’s good Providence, continue to show strength and courage, and also continue to give witness to the person of the Gospa as well as to her words. As a person who must be humble before the presence of the person of the Gospa, I continue to be embarrassed by my human weaknesses especially at this Christmas tide. I beg the Virgin to have pity on me and on all of mankind which finds itself in the state of depletion because of a lack of belief.
(Testamonial written in December of 2008)