Michael Sepal

My Conversion Story

My interest in Medjugorje began in the summer of 1995 when I read Janice
Connell's book "The Visions of the Children" upon the recommendation of
a bookstore owner.

Even though the happenings in Medjugorje had been occurring for 14
years, I only had a vague idea what they were. Upon reading the in-depth
interviews that Janice Connell conducted with the six visionaries of
Medjugorje, I couldn't help but believe what they told her was true.

They told her the Blessed Virgin Mary says, "Hurry and be converted. Do
not wait. The time is now."

It was impossible for me to read these years of Our Lady's messages and
not be struck by their simplicity, patience, and love. She always called
or invited us to conversion, she never commanded us. She allowed us our
free will to make a choice.

So what would my choice be? I was faced with a dilemma. I believed in
the validity of the messages that the visionaries said they were given,
but should I follow them?

These messages contained the example Jesus gave us in the Gospels:
prayer, fasting, conversion, penance, and a firm faith.

Although, I was born a Catholic, I had drifted away from the Church
after leaving high school, entering the Army, and later college. I not
only drifted away from the Church, I drifted away from God, and for 20
years I thought I could live my life without Him.

Now I was experiencing something new. I was being given a choice, a
decision that only I could make, and that was to start living God's
will, instead of my own.

So, for several weeks I thought about this and then one day I decided to
go to the Bible for some guidance. It had been a long time since I had
last opened up the Word of God. Not knowing where to begin, I did
something I had never done before or since. I closed my eyes, opened up
the Bible, and planted my finger down on one of the pages. I opened my
eyes and looked at the verse where my finger rested. It was John 20:27,
"Then He said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here and see my hands, and
bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but

I got the message, to say the least.

Shortly after that, the federal government shut down and I was off work
for a week. During that time I contacted the local Catholic Church and
went to confession, and started attending Mass and saying the Rosary.

I also called a local Catholic bookstore to find out about travel to
Medjugorje. The manager of the bookstore said, "Just a minute, my
daughter just returned from Medjugorje yesterday. She's standing right
here." So I got the name and telephone number of who to contact and,
shortly after, paid the down payment for a 15th Anniversary trip in

I had no idea how I would come up with the remaining balance. Being
married with one child, a house to pay for and only one income, I was
living pretty much from paycheck to paycheck. But soon the federal
government shut down for another two weeks in December, and I ended up
working 100 hours of overtime over the next three months to reduce the
backlog of work. The amount of overtime pay I received just covered the
balance due for my trip.

The trip to Medjugorje lasted ten days, and our group of pilgrims did
what most groups do as shown in the photographs in my photo gallery on
this homepage. But there is one thing I would like to mention. While
attending the evening Croatian Mass, which was held outdoors, on June
24, 1996, I and thousands of others were witness to a solar phenomena.
This was the Feast Day of St. John the Baptist and the 15th anniversary
of when Our Lady first appeared in Medjugorje.

The sky had been cloudy during the entire day except for the far western
sky, which was cloudless and blue. I don't believe the sun had shown
that day prior to the Croatian Mass at 7:00 pm. Father Jozo gave the
homily and during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the sun appeared for the
first time in the cloudless part of the western sky. It seemed unusually
large and appeared to be almost totally covered with a white disc which
was oscillating. Around the edges of this disc was a rim of bright
sunlight. Unlike a normal sun at that hour on June 24, this did not
cause me to squint to look at it, and I was not wearing sunglasses. Many
other people were also looking and some were pointing. No one appeared
excited, but many were touched, including myself.

After going to communion and receiving the Host, I knelt beneath a small
tree. During this time I could feel the peace and love of God fill my
heart, and I gave thanks as the tears ran down my cheeks.

It has been 3 1/2 years since my first pilgrimage to Medjugorje, and I
am continuing on my road to conversion.  I have since learned that
conversion is a process that I have to work at daily and will only end
when I take my final breath.  I am deeply grateful to God and Our Lady
for all the graces bestowed on me, and I feel a deep responsibility to
share God's love and peace with others.  I feel blessed to be a member
of the IIPG - Queen of Peace and to have known its founder, Nedjo
Brecic.  Nedjo was clearly an instrument of God's peace and an example
of how I should live Our Lady's messages. 

Take care and God bless,
Michael Sepal

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