Every Monday evening, the website, marytv.tv broadcasts a wonderful program called “Fruit of Medjugorje” at 8:00 P.M. Each episode features the testimony of one or more people whose lives have been changed through Our Lady of Medjugorje. All of the programs can be accessed in the archives on their website. The following testimony was taken from Episode #133, which was originally aired on September 29, 2014. This is the testimony of Barbara Labrosse.
As she introduced herself, Barbara explained that she wanted to share a story that happened to her brother, Alan. She began by saying that her family was from a town in Northern Ireland called Ballymena. Her mother was Catholic and her father was Protestant. After her mother’s first pilgrimage to Medjugorje in the 1980s, she began leading pilgrimages there, and after 25 years of going there and praying, her father converted to Catholicism.
In 2009, Alan, the youngest of Barbara’s three brothers, was invited to go on a pilgrimage with his cousin and aunt. Alan protested, “I’m not going there among those holy rollers.” But his cousin did not want to go without him, so he finally agreed.
His aunt attested that Alan was the first one to come up with the deposit. Barbara was surprised at that, because Alan, who was 29 at the time, spent what little money he had for partying.
Ave Maria” spelled out in stones on Cross Mountain
The first day that Alan arrived in Medjugorje, he climbed Cross Mountain. He did the same on the second day. He said that he did not know why he was in Medjugorje, but he knew that there was a reason. On the third day, he mentioned to someone, “If there was anywhere I’d like to die in the world, it would be here.” On that same day, he climbed Cross Mountain again, while his friends waited for him in the café below. He asked them to keep an eye on him because it was very dark. He sent a text message which read, “I knew I was meant to come here. This is the most beautiful place on earth.” When he descended the mountain, he met his friends in the café.
As he was leaving, Alan phoned his mother, Teresa, in Ireland. He told her, “I love it here. It is the most beautiful place. I was meant to come here.” His mother said that he sounded happy and said that he had had a full Confession – a good Confession. His mother was pleased because he had not been attending Mass and had not gone to Confession for many years, although he had been brought up in the faith. His mother said, after that, there was a pause, as if he wanted to tell her something. But they hung up, and she went to bed at midnight, after saying her prayers. At 2:45, Teresa was awakened to use the facilities. Upon her return to the bedroom, she heard a voice she described as coming from the Holy Spirit, clearly say, “Teresa, you must pray for Alan’s soul.” She really didn’t think much of it, because she had just spoken with Alan hours before and he sounded good. Nevertheless, she prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet for him, and then went back to sleep.
The next morning, Barbara’s aunt went to awaken Alan and her cousin, who were sharing a room. As her cousin tried to wake Alan, he realized that Alan was no longer alive.
Barbara’s aunt called two priests in Ireland with the news and they came to the house to break the news to Teresa and her husband. Barbara was living in England at the time, so she flew back to Ireland. She tried to make some phone calls to find out about Alan’s body, but it was difficult with the language barrier. Finally she was able to connect with someone who spoke English. They explained to her that Alan’s body could not be released until an autopsy was done. Alan died on Saturday, September 26, 2009. The following Wednesday, they got a phone call saying that Alan’s body was sent to Mostar for the autopsy and would be sent home after that.
The undertaker who most of the Catholics in Ballymena used, Wally John, came to see Barbara and her family and explained that they would not be able to see Alan because he would not be embalmed. He said that in Bosnia, they do not embalm the bodies and usually bury them within a day because of the heat. Teresa and her husband were very distressed. Teresa cried, “I will not accept that. I need to see his face. I need to see that it was my son!” So Wally John explained that all he could do was put a glass thing over his face and under a special light, and they could see him for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, Barbara’s aunt was still in Medjugorje, and she shared with the people there how distressed Teresa was because she would not be able to see the face of her son. People in Medjugorje they didn’t even know started to fast and pray that Barbara’s mother and father would be able to see the face of their son.
After the autopsy in Mostar, Alan’s body was flown to Vienna and then on to Heathrow. His body stayed overnight there in a car and was brought to Belfast the next day, where it was picked up. It had been seven days now since Alan’s death. His body, which had not been embalmed, had traveled in the heat through all those different countries and climates.
When Wally John, the undertaker, arrived at their house, they were surprised to see a smile on his face. He brought the body into the sitting room. While they sat in another room waiting, Barbara dreaded what would happen when her parents would see their son. Soon Wally John called the family into the room and opened the coffin. They were all shocked when they saw that Alan had no signs of rigor mortis. There was not a mark on him. Barbara related, “He actually was dressed and looked like a saint. He had a black suit on him, a white shirt, and a black tie.” Wally John the airport that morning. Apparently a gentleman in Mostar dressed her brother. He personally bought the suit. On the pocket it said, “To my Mama.” This gentleman wrote a letter to explain that he wanted Alan’s mother to see her son in a beautiful suit to go home.
Wally John said that he couldn’t understand – that this was a miracle – a miracle due to the people’s prayer and fasting in Medjugorje. He said that after 25 years of being an undertaker, he could only describe it as a miracle. Alan was laid out until the third day. He was buried on the feast day of St. Faustina, October 5.
As if this were not incredible enough, Barbara said there was more to the story. When they got the autopsy report, it said that Alan had died of natural causes. It is called “Sudden Death Syndrome.” He did not have a heart attack; his heart just stopped beating. The report said that he had died between 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning, but the pathologist in Mostar said that his heart stopped beating at 3:00 A.M. When Barbara told her parents this information, her mother jumped off the sofa and was hysterical. After she calmed down, Teresa related that the night that Alan died, she was praying at 3:00 A.M. for her son’s soul as Our Lord had requested, as He was coming for him. Here she was thousands of miles away, praying for his soul as he passed away!
Theresa passed away 18 months later. Up until that time, she had been to Medjugorje 60 times! She had witnessed many miracles, but this one was the greatest. Barbara said, “And the greatest thing that Our Lady repaid her back for was my mother needed to see the face of her son. And [through] Our Lady – due to the people of Medjugorje praying and fasting and believing – she got her wish. She didn’t just get to see his face – she got to spend three beautiful days with him.” Barbara repeated that Alan was sent home looking like a saint – no marks or embellishments. She concluded her testimony: “And in his pocket, when his body was taken from the hotel where he had passed away – there was a medal. And on this medal was the Divine Mercy. It was sent home with him in his coffin. Amen.”
Following Barbara’s testimony was the testimony of a funeral director from Ireland. He said: “My name is Martin and I’m a funeral director in Ireland and I just listened to Barbara’s testimony and I’m just giving a professional opinion in regard to the human remains being dead for 10 days. We’re sitting here [in Medjugorje] at the minute and it’s into the middle of September, and it’s quite warm. The human body can start to break down quite quickly after death– within a very short period of time, discoloration of the body. The more the body is moved, the more discoloration takes place… I think the family has received a great grace from the prayers and fasting of the people of Medjugorje, that [they] were able to see their brother [and son], which is a very important part of Irish culture – to be able to see this body before burial. Our Lord came back to the apostles to let them see Him after the Resurrection. I think that tells us as human beings that a loving God has given them a great grace where he has allowed the family to do their goodbyes.” http://www.spiritofmedjugorje.org/Nov2014Article1.php