TESTIMONIES
Photos from Past Pilgrimages
My Medjugorje Journey

I never expected to be a pilgrim.  I have a strong faith in God, but I have always kept it fairly private, feeling a
little embarrassed to be considered too ‘religious’ amongst my friends and family many of whom are very
secular. For a long time I had felt an ever stronger calling to open my heart to God and deepen my faith,
however it was a call that I consciously resisted.  Making a decision to leave my four young children at home
with my husband to go on a pilgrimage with 26 strangers was quite a radical one for me personally, and I
found it a very difficult and almost tortuous one to make.

For me it was much more than just saying "YES, I will go on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje". I was really saying
"YES, I will make my faith more public", "YES, I will be prepared to stand out from the crowd", "YES, I will begin
a new life of putting God in the first place where He belongs", and begin to really accept the call from God and
Our Lady to lead me and take control of my life.

Arriving in Medjugorje I discovered a beautiful new upside down world where God was the number one
priority and He was adored and honoured. Faith was the first topic of conversation. Mary and Jesus were
words commonly on people’s lips, and you were more out of place if you were walking around without your
rosary beads, than if you had them hanging around your neck. Instead of feeling always the pressure to
conform and be molded to the secular and materialistic world, I was in a place and amongst people where I
was free to be myself and express my faith in God and this gave me a deep sense of relief and joy.

I loved having hours to meditate and to pray.  I loved going to beautiful masses, with the church full of people
who really wanted to be there, who sang and prayed and responded with joy and pride in their faith.  I loved
being surrounded with people who loved God, and wanted to talk about Him and their experience of His love,
and I had many wonderful and inspiring spiritual conversations with new friends in my group.

I had wondered how I would feel if I arrived in Medjugorje and felt somehow that the apparitions weren’t real
and Our Lady was not here at all. I felt my whole trip would have been a complete waste of time.  Six days in
Medjugorje though, led me on an unexpected spiritual journey to a destination that surprised me.  I had
hoped and expected to feel or perhaps even see, signs of Gods love for me. I had presumed that in
Medjugorje of all places I would be flooded with a special sense of heaven’s love and comfort. But nothing of
that sort happened to me, and at first I became discouraged as everything I craved to feel continued to elude
me. But it was in those few days of feeling apart from God, at times almost desolate, that my own personal
little miracle occurred.

I finally realised what FAITH really means.  It means believing in God without seeing Him, sometimes without
even really feeling Him. I realised that faith would be easy if we were constantly nourished with lovely feelings
of comfort and that what God was asking of me for now, was to love Him through faith and not feeling. It was
only after this revelation hit me, that I finally felt the pure and intense peace that so many feel in Medjugorje.
I understood Mary’s constant urgings to us not to focus on the apparitions or the visionaries, or supernatural
signs but to listen instead to what she is saying, which is to pray, open our hearts and allow her to change
us.

Since coming home from my pilgrimage I have endeavored to keep saying yes to God. I said yes when asked
to speak to classes at the local Catholic secondary school about my pilgrimage.  I will say yes to God if He
wants me to start up or join a prayer group, and I’m sure He will have other challenging plans for me as well
but I believe with his help I can conquer anything.  The easiest and yet the most difficult part is that very first
YES!

Angela De Grandi
Melbourne, Australia
A Wonderful Pilgrimage

Dear Kathryn,

I would like to thank you for organising that wonderful trip to Fatima in May this year. My 79 year old mum
loved it and I also really enjoyed seeing all those places.

As you know it takes a while to settle down again after seeing and experiencing such holy and spiritual
places.

My favourites were Montserrat , Fatima and Loyola. Fatima was lovely. Fancy having mother's day on Our Lady
of Fatima's feast day not many Aussies get to do that. I had never heard of St James story and that town
Santiago de Compostela was very interesting.
We were very well looked after by the bus hosts and all the accommodation people and I would highly
recommend your agency to others wanting an unforgettable experience of a lifetime.

Take care, Sincerely yours
Anne McGown and Mary McGown
An Enormous Adventure

I would like to share with you about the wonderful Pilgrimage I went on with O'Connor Travel World in
Oct/Nov 2012.

We went to five different countries in five weeks. France/Spain/Portugal/Bosnia Hercegovina and Italy. It is
the first time I have travelled so extensively and received so many, many blessings. What a joy to travel with
Fr Peter Hudson from Horsham and Denise Fowler, our very special co-ordinator. To visit Fatima on the 13th
October, the anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun was so special and of course Lourdes.

My grandmother had told me about these special places when I was a little girl and to actually say I have
been there is amazing. I especially loved Nevers where St. Bernadette's incorrupt body lies in a glass coffin
was expecially moving for me. I loved Santiago De Compostela as I had been given so much information about
this place and of the Camino walk. Garabandal was so simplistic and I loved this little village.

Thanks to Kathryn O'Connor and her wonderful works with Jesus and Mary as her guide.
God bless,
Helen Eldridge
Godparents of the Bosnia - Hercegovina Children's Fund

Dear Kathryn,

Once again many thanks to you and Eileen for the superb job you did in coordinating our 6th Pilgrimage to
Rome & Medjugorje for the Godparents of the Bosnia - Hercegovina Children’s Fund.  I can honestly say all in
our group experienced an overwhelming spiritual journey of peace, love and joy during our special time in
Medjugorje.

I would like others to know that “when they hear Our Lady’s call to go on pilgrimage to Medjugorje” they can
contact you and be assured of competent and caring assistance with all their travel arrangements for a
pilgrimage that will start in Medjugorje and continue for the rest of their lives.

Once again many thanks and I look forward to our next B.H.C.F. Pilgrimage planned for October 2010.

God Bless

Kindest Regards

Denise P Fowler
Treasurer - Australian Division
Bosnia - Hercegovina Children’s Fund
A Big Thank You

I would like to say a big THANKYOU for your apostolate to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate
Heart of Mary, it has made it possible for many people to travel to these Holy places which would otherwise
be quite difficult and I shall pray that your good work may continue to grow even stronger.

Love from,

Clydella
Within My Modest Budget

Having  recently made a pilgrimage to France with O'Connor Travel World, I cannot recommend it highly
enough. Everything was done so well, from accommodation to meals, choice of sites to be visited and not
least, choice of Airline. Singapore Airlines has not been voted best Airline in the world for nothing! An
additional and important factor for me was the cost of the pilgrimage which was within my modest budget. In
commending O'Connor Travel World to others, I would like to mention Kathryn O'Connor who so ably runs it
with kindness, understanding and efficiency. As a final testimony, I am about to go on another pilgrimage to
Rome and Medjugorje.

Robyn Marxsen
Inc. Pilgrimages Australia & NZ
SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS, NOT TOURS
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