By Michael H. Brown
We’re not much for celebrity, and even wonder if it’s in God’s Plan. For sure we ponder that! In our culture we seem to use actors, actresses, and other prominent people to fill inner voids. The magic of television and the big screen turns folks into idols, which is not very healthy.
Note the word “magic,” and also the word “idol.” Often one is led to wonder from whence such charisma comes!
But that doesn’t mean celebrities are bad people. Some are wonderful (literally: full of wonders). We have reported on Former Treasury Secretary William Simon, who wrote about his rosary turning gold at Medjugorje (he had it analyzed by a metallurgist!). There is former football coach Don Shula, who also visited the famous apparition site, where his wife saw the miracle of the sun. There is actor Martin Sheen, who narrated a documentary on the place; who knows what he saw! The actor who played Jesus in The Passion has been there repeatedly. There have been ambassadors, royalty.
Now, to the formidable list of diplomats, cardinals, bishops, businessmen, royalty, singers, writers, politicians, actors, athletes, and assorted other famous people who have visited we can add Hollywood legend Loretta Young, a devout Catholic who died in 2000.
Before she passed, Loretta related the account of her pilgrimage for a book by Joan Wester Anderson, who writes all the wonderful angel books.
We weren’t aware of it until recently, but in an authorized biography called Forever Young, the actress cited several fascinating “alleged” supernatural occurrences at Medjugorje. So powerful were the experiences that afterward Young began to pray 15-decade Rosary daily as well as to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays!
“Medjugorje solidified everything I’d always hoped and prayed for,” said the superstar. “I have visited several shrines but no place has affected me quite as much.”
While purchasing a statue at the apparition site in 1988, Young suddenly heard a woman shouting to look at the sun. According to the biography, Loretta’s eyes had been scorched twice by klieg lights; if she stared at bright objects, her eyes would rather easily burn. “But before I realized what I was doing, I looked right at the sun, and it started to grow,” she recounted.
What the actress saw was a pulsating golden orb grow from avocado size to the size of a watermelon — changing to red, green, and white. “Then the Communion wafer appeared in the center of it,” she said.
Young — who in her heyday co-starred with the likes of Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., William Holden, and James Cagney — had her most incredible experience after tripping on a step inside St. James Church and severely twisting her ankle. She was with several companions, including her son. They figured it was a bad sprain. As pain shot through the famed actress, an Indian nun came from out of nowhere, telling them she was a physician and instructing them to bring Loretta outside.
There the physician left for a moment, “then returned, carrying what appeared to be a pot of mud and some bandages,” notes Anderson. “She slathered the goop on Loretta’s foot, and bound it up with bandages, telling her not to take the bandages off.
Diverted for a moment, neither Loretta nor those around her noticed that the nun had disappeared.
They never saw her again.
But, miraculously, what she had done caused the pain to disappear. Young was able to finish the pilgrimage.
When she returned, a visit to the doctor revealed that it wasn’t a sprain after all. Loretta, as it turns out, had broken six bones in that foot. When they took off the bandages, it suddenly swelled to twice its normal size!
Somehow those muddy bandages had kept her foot pain-free throughout the journey.
On a return trip there with her husband, Jean, their tour group stopped to speak with the seer Vicka. Later, when Jean went to take a rosary out of his pocket, everyone gasped.
As in the case of William Simon, the links had turned to gold.
“Abandonment to His will — isn’t it thrilling to watch it work?” asked the legendary actress.