First time in Medjugorje

date: 03.11.2015.

Fr. John Michael Fillie is 71 and even though he was born as Muslim, he is today a Catholic priest. Recently, he came to Medjugorje for the first time and gave interview at our radio station. He is a spiritan priest and a missionary. He is the youngest of 18 children in his family: „When I was ten years old I became Christian and after I completed high school, I decided to become a priest. My people completely rejected me because of that, as my parents were Muslims. My mother was eighth wife to my father and when I decided to become a Christian, I was rejected by my whole family and by the whole village where I lived. Regardless of all, in 1965, I went to Nigeria and spent few years there and then I went to Ireland“, said Fr. John and he later on shared with us his first encounter with the Christianity: „On one occasion, there was a missionary that came to our village. He preached to the people there and invited three of us to come and help him in his mission, to become altar boys. I was only 6 years old at the time when I left my village. After I spent 4 years with that priest, I decided to be baptised. I never looked back after I made that decision. My mother was one of the youngest wives of my father. It was during the time in the missions that I realised how my father never treated my as he did his other children. It seemed as if he only loved one of his wives and he would love others only occasionally. Eventually, as I learned more about the Christian faith, I realised that this was much better religion for me and I feel better as Christian.” When we asked him about the relationship with his family now, Fr. John told us: „They respect me, they respect my choice and sometimes I go to visit them. I also built the elementary school in the village where I was born, though they do not allow me to speak to the children about the Christianity.“ This is Fr. John’s first visit to Medjugorje and he heard about this place from one spiritan priest. After he returned from missions in 2012, this priest talked to him about Medjugorje a lot, but he did not have time to come here: „A month ago, Michael, gentleman that I work with in Dublin, invited me to come with him and his group to Medjugorje. After we arrived here, we climbed Apparition Hill and the story about the beginning that the guide shared with us, impressed me deeply. I wonder and ask myself, why did the Blessed Virgin Mary appear here? Perhaps I am wrong, but I have a feeling that She is here only for one reason. She embraced Jesus and brought him to this world so He would bring peace. There is so much violence in the world today. I think She is here so She would destroy that violence within us all and brought us peace. She is here to help us and to bring peace into the hearts of all people. That is what I received here and what I would bring back from Medjugorje. This morning I forgave my people for having rejected me after I became Christian. For me, that is the beginning of peace – to forgive all those who have hurt us.“