My name is Candace Evans. I am 43 years old and live in New Hampshire (USA) with my husband and nine year old son. My parents, both deceased, were Jewish. My mother was an atheist. We never spoke of religion in our home so I never had any spiritual teaching or guidance as a child, nor later as an adult.
In 1977 I was diagnosed by biopsy with chronic active liver disease. This is a terminal disease with deterioration of bodily function as the liver gets weaker and fails to filter the blood. The disease progressed slowly over the years until spring of 1993, when many things happened - none of them very good! I was working at night with developmentally disabled adults. One night a man I was working with broke his wheelchair over my back. This left me totally disabled. I could not move without being in tremendous pain - especially in my back and my legs. Also about this same time, I found a lump in my breast. I went to a doctor who performed a biopsy and said that it must be removed immediately. He scheduled the surgery. But the pre-op blood work showed that my liver enzymes were extremely elevated and, after consultation, he told me he could not operate - that I could not possibly tolerate the surgery.
Now, due to the trauma to my back, my liver began to fail rapidly. Soon I could no longer eat solid food because I could not metabolize it or digest it. I was very weak and had great difficulty breathing. I could not leave my house for more than an hour or so because I was afraid I would not make it back again. My skin lost all its elasticity and was grayish yellow in color. Then I began to lose my eyesight and could no longer read. The doctors did many tests. After obtaining the results, they told my husband and me that there was nothing more they could do. So I went home. All I could do at this point was watch TV. This was near Easter time of 1994. A show about Medjugorje came on the television. I really didn't pay much attention because it was about religion, of which I knew nothing. All I retained was that it was about the Catholic Church, the former Yugoslavia and a place called 'Medjugorje'. I felt an urge to find out about it. After searching my son's maps with no luck, I found a National Geographic with a picture of a hill covered with crosses, labeled 'Medjugorje.' I was SO happy!! I had found it! When my husband came home - I told him I must go to this place! He thought I was crazy!
I called a Catholic church and asked them if they knew of this place. The lady said yes, she would have someone phone me. A few days later, a lady called and said that she organized 'pilgrimages' to Medjugorje. I didn't even know what a 'pilgrimage' was but she said that she was going there soon, so I told her I wanted to go also! That was it.
Amazingly, on May 28, 1994, I left for Medjugorje. The next day we went to the church. St. James Church in Medjugorje was the very first church I had ever been in! I knew nothing of church ceremony so I just did what everyone else did. I saw everyone going to receive communion, and I felt great comfort in the presence of the Eucharist, though I had no idea what it was (Actually, at the time I thought they were each going up to receive a cookie!). I felt as though a blanket of peace had been dropped over me. I found myself totally immersed in a tremendous peace which I had never experienced before... and it was too beautiful. A few days later, we went to Fr. Jozo's. Watching Fr. Jozo speak of Our Lady with such love and devotion was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. He gave us all a rosary and beautiful picture of Our Lady. Then everyone began going to the front of the church again (I thought maybe to receive another cookie). Remembering the peace that had enveloped me during Mass in St. James, I joined the rest in going forward. I saw that the priests were praying over the people, and some of them were falling on the floor. I found myself standing there, and then Fr. Jozo prayed over me and I, too, fell. It felt so safe, so soft and so very secure, as if I had fallen in the arms of a mother who loves me very, very much. I do not remember much about the rest of that day but when I woke up the next morning, right away I noticed the large mass (my liver that had turned to fat and scar tissue) was gone! My skin was normal! I felt no weakness or pain at all! I was fine.
I went home. My husband could see right away how different I was. He was very happy. After returning home, all I wanted to do was to pray and learn about Jesus. I studied very hard. At the Easter Vigil the following year, my husband, my son and I were all baptized and confirmed in the Roman Catholic faith. My son has his mother, my husband has his wife, and we all have a very strong faith. I am, we all are, so very grateful! I try to live the messages of Our Lady of Medjugorje. I am very grateful that She invites us to pray, fast, read the Bible, go to confession and receive the Eucharist. We all would like to know how to improve our lives. Our lady is telling us. This is our invitation to heaven!
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