Our Medjugorje Pilgrimage in 1995

by admin on August 26, 2009

Medjugorje FamilyHere is a picture of one of the tour groups we took to Medjugorje in 1995. All of these good people stayed with the families we help with our rosary sales. Many of them have been back to Medjugorje a number of times. We always had at least one Catholic priest travel with our tours as a spiritual advisor. The most experienced for our groups is Fr. Robert Lane, the former Chaplan at St. Dominic High School in O’Fallon, Missouri, a priest of the St. Louis archdiocese. Fr. Bob has traveled to Medjugorje with us about 30 times. Though Fr. Bob is not in this picture (we’ll find a good one of him and post it ASAP), he regards his trips as a retreat with the Blessed Mother. We will try to have regular updates to our website for everyone to give you more of the history of Medjugorje and the behind the scenes information that none of the people who use commercial travel agencies would ever possibly find out. We thought that learning more about the families we help would make your purchase of a rosary much more meaningful.

Thanks for visiting our site. SMC Divine Mercy Memorial….I will be back soon with more material, make sure you subscribe!


The Marinko and Madlinka Family

by admin on August 23, 2009


As it turned out, on our very first trip  we were assigned to the home of Marinko and Madlinka Pavlovic1. This is a picture of them and their son and daughter, Thomas and Anna. Thomas is now a college graduate with a degree in Physical Education (he is an outstanding soccer player and co-captain of the local mens soccer team). One difficulty is that even with a college degree he cannot get a job anywhere, because they cannot afford even a used car, and with no car, there is no job. Anna will be a college freshman, and is going to school in Mostar. She takes a local bus each morning at 7:00 for the 45 minute trip, and hopes to someday to be a grade school administrator.

Marinko has worked at the APRO winery in Citluk (about 5 miles from Medjugorje) his whole life. The winery was heavyly damaged during the war in 1994 and has never been completly repaired.  Marinko has not received a full days wage since 1994, but still goes to work each day for a couple of hours because the company continues to pay the medical insurance for his family. Since Marinko has no income, Madlinka now works 12 to 14 hours a day as head cook at a 3 story Italian hotel in Medjugorje that caters exclusively to pilgrims from Italy. Commercial travel agencies in Italy bring in tours of 60 to 110 at a time and Madlinka is responsible for preparing 2 meals a day for each tour while they are in town. Needless to say, Anna does the cooking at home most of the time, as Mom has no time after a 14 hour day for much of anything. Marinko tends a huge garden at home as they sell fresh vegetables and produce to 2 hotels in town; that helps the family income alot.

As you might imagine, being able to house pilgrims directly without giving up half of the income to the large travel agencies was a boost to these families while it lasted. But when the agencies built their own hotels, these families were left high and dry. Marinko and Madlinka have not had a group of pilgrims at their home for over 6 years. This holds true for all of Marinko’s neighbors and relatives who have been in the same situation for the same period of time. The income from the sale of the rosaries we have has helped these families survive and educate their children.

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The Man Behind the Scenes

by admin on August 22, 2009


Previously on our website you may have recalled me talking about Dragan, after looking though an old photo album of our Medjugorje trips where I found this  good picture of Dragan Zovko and his wife Maja. Dragan (a very common name in this region of Bosnia), is the most experienced tour guide in Medjugorje. We first met him in 1986 when he helped with the religious tour we were traveling with (our first pilgrimage to Medjugorje) through 206 Tours of New York. It was a commercial tour arranged through a travel agency here in St. Louis. Back then, there was very little housing available, and most of the pilgrims traveling to Medjugorje were housed with individual families who had signed agreements with the commercial travel agencies to provide room and board to the pilgrims assigned to them during their stay.
The catch in the agreement was that the travel agencies got to keep half of the fee charged to the pilgrims for the room and board. That may not sound too bad, but you must understand that each and every one of these families spend their life savings updating and remodeling their homes to provide the most modern facilites possible to their guests. To this day, most of these families have not been able to replace that original loss of funds.