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Flerida Gutierrez had little idea that her pilgrimage to Medjugorje in June, with Trinity Pilgrimages and Michael Brown of Spirit Daily, would mean revealing to approximately eight million viewers across the nation that she was a woman of faith, and that she was a woman with stage four cancer.
On this pilgrimage, ABC News producer, Jenna Millman, and Nightline co-anchor, Bill Weir, along with a camera man, accompanied the pilgrimage to film the Medjugorje portion of their special on the Virgin Mary, which aired Wednesday, July 13th. The diminutive, humble, yet vocal Philippina woman, affectionately known as Flerida, was filmed being prayed over by the Medjugorje visionary, Vicka, who placed her loving hand on Flerida’s bowed head. Flerida was “slain in the Spirit” and rested peacefully on her side for a full half hour. So what happened to her during that time?
Here is Flerida’s full story, in her own words . . .
In November of 2010, I received test results showing that I had three cancerous nodules in my liver. I traveled to Medjugorje, to ask the Blessed Mother to pray for my healing, but I also completely surrendered to the idea of death. None of us are going to stay here on earth forever. We’re going to go back home.
On the day of the pilgrimage, when we went to see Vicka give her talk, on the steps of her parents’ small Medjugorje home, I was hoping to be one of the three hundred pilgrims in the crowd to receive prayer from Vicka, who individually laid her hands on every pilgrim present. I felt like I needed her prayers, but since our group arrived later than other pilgrims, some of whom had been waiting now for an hour or two to hear Vicka speak, I assumed I wouldn’t be able to get close to her. “But even if she doesn’t pray over me,” I said in my heart, “I know, Mother Mary, that you will pray to Jesus for me.”
Then our pilgrimage guide, Miki Musa, suddenly whisked me away from where I was standing. My husband, Max, standing next to me, turned around, and I was gone. Miki didn’t tell me where we were going, and I assumed he was bringing me closer to Vicka. “How can we get through these crowds?” I asked.
“Just trust me,” he said, and proceeded to press forward, holding my hand, parting waves in the crowd, saying, “Excuse me, excuse me.”