The appearance of the Mother of God in Paulovac

Preface

After the end of the Second World War, the village is left without technical equipment and with inherited mortgage debts. A new state is created – the Socijalist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia with Josip Broz Tito as the head of the state. Instead of democracy there was the dictatorship of the Communist party, i. e. a narrow group of the followers of the party with Tito as the leader, who had a complete control over all the fields of social and political life, following the example of the Soviet Union. The law of agrarian reform and colonization was passed on 23rd August, 1945, on the basis of which the land was taken from all the peasant farms (kulaks)which had more than 35 hectares of cultivable land. Later, this maximum was lowered to ten hectares of cultivable land. The land was allocated to the state and cooperative farms and 2-3 hectares to meritorious landless and small peasants. The ministry of agriculture appointed commissions who went around the villages and took an inventory of the assetsThis caused a great discontent among the rich peasants, since every year they had to give without compensation the so-called ‘obligatory surplus’ of their grain, cattle, meat and other products to the state, which amounted to more than a half of iheir total crops. The communist regime showed a special intolerance towards the Catholic Church, whose estates and real property was taken away, a lot of priests were killed or sentenced in political procedures to a longtime prison. Although the war was over, people who disagreed with the communist repression were often killed, so people continued to live in fear. As people worshiped God, they prayed every day to God asking for help.Their cries for help were heard in Heaven, so on 3rd August 1946, Saint Mary appeared in the forest of Paulovac,demanding that a church be built on that place, where she could listen to human suffering, tears and pain.There is a moral and divine obligation to build a church there with the help of believers and donors,with an access path, where pilgrims from all over Croatia and from abroad would come.

(Author)

The appearance of the Mother of God in the forest in Paulovacy

The village of Paulovac is the most modern village in the district of the Great Trinity, as it developed only in 1900, when the railwai was built and when a group of Hungarians built a tile and brick factory there. Although the factory had a small capacity and bad working conditions people found work there.Before the Second World War the factory owners were Heraković and Ivanović, who built the housing for the workers and their families. After the war, the state took the factory away from the earlier owners, so now it worked as part of county industrial enterprise of Bjelovar. The factory employed about sixty seasonal workers, who worked from April to November. Next to the factory there was a big meadow, where two boys brought cows on pasture during the summer and the autumn. Children played hide- and-seek there,they played with a ball made of cloth or they rolled a hoop of an old barrel.

On Saturday morning, 3rd August 1946, at about nine o’clock, a fifteen – years old girl Stefa Ded shouted as loud as she could:

– People, people…., look at that light in the shape of fire on the edge of the forest!

Women and children came running from workers flats, and from the factory circle there came a woman from Podravina, who had been loading tile with her husband into their waggon. After her, a few workers came running. The children on the pasture ground stopped playing. They all gazed at the strange light of a five-metre diameter.

– People, this isn’t earthly light because it’s so strong you can’t look at it!, said the woman from Podravina.

After a short while the light started to withdraw into the forest. At that moment a fifteen-year- -old girl Marija Globlek shouted:

– People, look at the top the thicket,above the light, I see a woman in white.

– This is the Mother of God! Let’s follow the light!- shouted the woman from Podravina.

A few workers, the women and the children followed the light into the forest Five hundred metres away from the factory,the light stopped on a lime tree. All the seers came to the lime tree and gazed at the strong light in its crown. At that moment, Stefa Ded, who was the first to see the light, shouted:

– People, in the tree crown I see a woman in a white dress with a red veil over her head and shoulders. Her hands are clasped and she is holding a rosary in her hands.

– What did I tell you? This is the Mother of God – said the woman from Podravina, got down on her knees and started praying aloud. All the people and children fell down on their knees and started praying aloud Our Father and I Believe in God. At that moment the thirteen- -year-old girl Milica Martan, who was leaning against the lime tree all the time,spoke:

– People, I’ve just heard a voice from the tree stump saying that a churc must be built here where people will come on pilgrimages. The woman from Podravina sang a Marian song, supported by the other present people.

Mother of God of Paulovac pray for us
we are your children. bless us.
Our hands reach for you,our hears greet you,
hail, hail, hail Mary.

After the song the manager came for is workers and the husband of the woman from Podravina came for her, while the women and children stayed till late in the afternoon.

The news of the appearance of the Mother of God spread with lightning speed,so the next day on the site of her appearance there were hundreds of pilgrims who gazed at the lime tree crown expecting to see the Mother of God. Besides the smell of the forest flowers, in the vicinity of the site of appearance the smell of roses was felt. During the loudes prayer of all the pilgrims,a sixteen-year old boy shouted:

– People, in the lime tree crown I see a beautiful woman in a white dress with a blue veil over her head and shoulders.

It was Pavao Madjerić from the Small Trinity, who immediately fell down on his knees and started praving aloud. Other pilgrims joined the prayer. After Our Father and I Believe in God, Pavao lost Saint Mary’s image in the lime tree crown. At the same moment fourteen-year- -old boy Ivan Migac from Paulovac, who was leaning against the lime tree, spoke:

– People,I’ve just heard a woman’s voice from the tree stump, demanding that a church be built here where people would come on pilgrimages. A woman’s voice was heard immediately, singing:

You dwell around the lime tree,
you reign in Heaven,
hail, hail, hail Mary.

After that the Marian song ‘Oh dear Mary in Heaven’ followed:

Oh dear Mary in Heaven,
You patroness of believers,
listen to our voice, look at us,
pray for our salvation.

When our soul is weary,
burdened with worries,
we all pray to you,
and You relieve our misery and woe.

You opened the paradise for us,
when you gave birth to Jesus,
without him we would all be wretched,
we would lose eternal happiness.

The sound of this song was so strong, as if together with the pilgrims the Heaven with thousands of angels was singing. Because of the hot weather the demand for water was great.The forest spring of clear drinking water, in the vicinity of which the light appeared, dried out that day. A woman talked loudly of how she drank water from Saint Mary’s well twice that day and didn’t feel the pain in her stomach which she hadn’t been able to get rid of for several months. At the end of the day three members of the Board for the building of the church came to Saint Mary’s lime tree and collected money which in the evening they counted and noted down on a piece of paper. The next week hundreds of pilgrims came to the place of Saint Mary’s appearance every day. Some of the children often pointed their hands at the lime tree crown where they saw a woman in white. In the middle of the week the police came and dispelled the pilgrims by force, taking all the money which the pilgrims had given to Saint Mary for the building of the church.Then they arrested the first seers,Marija and Stefa, and took them to a hearing in Bjelovar.

On Sunday 11th August, seas of pilgrims from Bjelovar and Podravina came by train, as well as endless streams of foot travellers from the broader area of Bjelovar and Djurđevac. On that day there were over five thousand pilgrims in the forest,but only one boy saw the image of Saint Mary in the crown of the lime tree.It was the deaf-mute fourteen-year old boy Vinko Horvat, who came from Podravina with his mother. He couldn’t pray, but he persistantly gazed at the crown of the lime tree. Suddenly, he went all red, raised his hand towards the crown of the lime tree and started making inarticulate sounds. It lasted for a few minutes,until somebody hit him on his shoulder. Then he calmed down and communicated with his mother by mimic(with his hands). After the communication, his mother announced that her son had seen the Mother of God with the little Jesus in the lime tree crown. Immediately, a woman sang a Marian song, and the other pilgrims followed.

Hear us Mother,our hope,
we all pray to you.
Each of us gives you his heart,
a heart full of love.
Take,take,dear Mother,our hearts.
That’s all your children can give you.

Hapy is the one who will
call you his mother,
because you will defend him
from evil.
Take,take,dear Mother,our hearts.
That’s all your children can give you.

The song was followed by prayers and other Marian songs.This pilgrims’ idyl was interrupted by the police, who dispelled the pilgrims by force.That week about a hundred pilgrims came to the site of the appearance of Saint Mary every day and every day they were dispelled by the police by force.

On Thursday 15th August on the Feast of the Assumption, endless streams of pilgrims came by train from Bjelovar and Podravina, as well as long lines of foot travellers and horse-drawn carts from the broader area of Bjelovar and Djurđevac, and from as far as Zagreb and Varaždin. A lorry drove about twenty pilgrims, among whom there was an invalid on crutches. Again there were about five thousand pilgrims in the forest.

After a two – hour prayer and singing of Marian songs, a child’s voice was heard, tho voice of the nine-year-old Pavao Budrovcan from Great Pisanica, who came on pilgrimage with his grandma:

– Grandma, look at that tree, there I see a woman in white, and next to her there are two angels,one on each side.

– Pavao,and where do you see this?

– There on that tree-said he, pointing his hand at the lime tree crown. Don’t you see a white woman and two angels, and a great light around them?

– I can’t see anything.

– How can you not see, look how the woman is smiling.

– People, my grandson sees the Mother of God – shouted the woman.

The pilgrims fell on their knees and started praying aloud ‘Our Father’ and ‘I Believe in God’, and a lot of women said their rosaries. After the prayers a woman’s a voice sang a Marian song, supported by other pilgrims.

You are beautiful,Virgin Mary,
you are worshiped in Heaven.
Angels sing and bow to you.

Look at us, dear Mother,
turn your precious eyes to the poor.
Hear us, oh dear Mother, don’t leave your
children alone.

You are, Mother, our only hope
in our earthly sorrows and sufferings.
Those who come to you for shelter will be comforted.

The sound of this song was so strong that it seemed as if the whole of Bilogora and Heaven with thousands of angels were singing. Tears of joy were pouring down many pilgrims’ faces. After a few more Marian songs had been sung, the police came and dispelled the pilgrims by force. The man on the clutches then opposed the police, saying:

– Leave us alone.We aren’t disturbing anyone here in the forest. Every pilgrim wants to plead for the support of the Mother of God for themselves and their family. Why are you spitting on things that are sacred to us?I believe God will punish you sooner or later! People, God is here, that is why we should come here on pilgrimage and pray for ourselves and our families, but also for these bandits so that God may enlighten their minds to respect God and people.

Two policemen grabbed the man, who dropped one of the clutches, and took him by force to a hearing in Bjelovar.Again they dispelled the pilgrims by force and collected the money presented to Our Lady at the lime tree for the building of the church.

On Sunday 18th August since the dawn streams of pilgrims were pouring in to the site by train, on foot, in horse – drawn carts and lorries. In the morning hours the police tried to stop the procession of about three hundred pilgrims in the centre of the Great Trinity. A very brave woman called Marica Majcan opposed them then and was taken to a hearing in Bjelovar by force.

In the morning there were already over five thousand pilgrims from all the parts of the north-western Croatia in the forest, wanting to pray for the support of the Mother of God for themselves and their families.During a prayer, they suddenly heard the voice of a seven-year-old child called Josip Jandokovic from Great Ciglena, who was with his mother on a clearing five hundred metres away from Our Lady’s lime tree. He was pointing his hand at Our Lady’s lime tree and shouting:

– Look, mom, at that tree. I see a little girl there dressed in a white dress.

– And where, Josip?

– There on the top of that tree-said the child, pointing his hand at the lime tree.Can’t you see her dressed in white like a little girl?

– People, my son sees the Mother of God – shouted the woman.

People fell on their knees and started praying. They soon stopped praying when they heard the angry voice of a forty-year-old unbeliever and a communist agent provocateur from Drljanovac:

– People,have you gone mad? These are nothing more than children’s hallucinations. Do you really believe these crazy children? I’ll show you now that there’s nothing on that lime tree.

The man started to make his way towards Our Lady’s lime tree, cursing and desecrating Heaven. The pilgrims started crossing themselves and shouting loudly for God and the Mother of God to punish him.Having made his way forcibly to Our Lady’s lime tree, he started to climb it. As soon as he stood on the first branch, he slipped and fell on the ground. Immediately he became unable to move, blind and deaf. Some men from Great Ciglena carried him to a horse-drawn cart and in the afternoon they drove him to Drljanovac. The pilgrims who weren’t real believers now started to believe in the existance of God and the Mother of God. All the pilgrims, and there were over five thousand of them, fell on their knees and started praying aloud ‘Our Father’ and ‘I Believe in God’, and many women started saying their rosaries. After about ten minutes somebody started singing a Marian song, followed by all the pilgrims:

Mother of God of Paulovac pray for us,
we are your children, bless us.
We hold our hands out to you,
greet you with our hearts,
hail, hail, hail Mary!

Make our faith greater and firmer,
make all the lost people come back to you.
We hold our hands out to you,
greet you with our hearts,
hail, hail, hail Mary!

Not even lilies will bloom unless you
show mercy,
our faith will be ruined unless jou help us.
We hold our hands out to you,
greet you with our hearts,
hail, hail, hail Mary!

The sound of the song sung by over five thousand pilgrims was so strong that it seemed Heaven with thousands of angels was singing with them, and bliss streamed through their bodies. A blissful smile was seen on the pilgrims’ faces, and in their eyes there were tears of joy. After this song a woman’s voice sang a new Marian song dedicated to Saint Virgin Mary of Paulovac, followed by many pilgrims:

Not far away from Paulovac
there’s a small forest,
where Mary of Bilogora appeared.
Hail, hail, hail Mary!

In the middle of the afternoon the police came and started to dispel the pilgrims by force. People wouldn’t go awai, but started with various expressions leveled against the police, such as: ‘Communists, bandits, non-christians, you people without heart and soul, is there anything human about you? You want to exterminate our faith, respected by our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers by force, but you won’t succeed in this as God and the Mother of God are with us’. The police then pointed rifles at the pilgrims, shouting that they would use force. The pilgrims started to withdraw slowly, and smaller groups even left. However,most pilgrims moved about a hundred metres away from Our Lady’s lime tree, but wouldn’t leave.

Seeing that people weren’t going away, the police took a big pile of money and left in a car to Bjelovar. During the next week, every day about a hundred pilgrims gathered at Our Lady’s lime tree. A lot of them went to Our Lady’s spring in the forest in order to drink the water which cured a lot of people with stomach ache. At the beginning of the week two workers from the forestry office in Bjelovar came to pull down Our Lady’s lime tree, but on that day the pilgrims wouldn’t let them.The next day they came again and started to saw, but one of them slipped and hurt his leg. Only in the early morning of the third day, the workers pulled down Our Lady’s lime tree, followed by the protests of a few pilgrims.

That day the invalid on crutches,who had been taken away by the police for a hearing, came back by train from Bjelovar. The man told the pilgrims how he had been tortured in Bjelovar, but with the help of the Mother of God, he could walk bit by bit with only one crutch.The next day the Mother of God appeared to a little girl on another lime tree near the one that had been pulled down. On Saturday morning, a single mother on crutches came there by train with her child. Although she didn’t believe in God, she came on pilgrimage urged by her neighbours, because the doctors couldn’t cure her legs.Because of the big crowd she managed to make her way to the lime tree only late in the afternoon after the police had left. She hugged the lime tree and in tears she begged the Mother of God to heal her legs. As her legs couldn’t endure standing all day, she fell down in the evening and couldn’t get up any more. Then she sent her child to bring help from the factory.As it was already getting dark,the child hardly managed to come to the workers’ flats, asking for help for its mother in tears. The child was kept by the tenants, and the mother was carried by two men to sleep over in a flat with her child.The next day she prayed since dawn at the lime tree and at noon she went with her child to the train station, in tears of joy and with only one clutch.

On Sunday 25th August streams of pilgrims were pouring in since dawn, by train from Bjelovar and Podravina,in endless lines of foot travellers,horse-drawn carts and lorries.Around noon there were already nearly five thousand pilgrims there. Each pilgrim wanted to pray for the support of the Mother of God for themselves, for their families and relatives. After a few Marian song a voice of a nine-year- -old boy, who came with his parents and his sister,was heard shouting and pointing his hand at Our Lady’s lime tree:

– Mom,look there,on that tree I can see a white woman with her child in her lap.

– And where do you see her?

– There on that tree, she’s holding a little child in her hands, and there’s a great light around them. People, there on the lime tree there’s the Mother of God with Jesus.

The pilgrims immediately believed it and started praying aloud on their knees.This boy was again Pavao Budrovcan from Great Pisanica, who had seen the Mother of God with two angels a week before. About ten minutes after the prayer a woman’s voice sang the Marian song ‘Our Lady the Queen of Croats’, followed by other pilgrims.

Hail Our Lady, full of mercy,
covered in eternal sunshine,
around your forehean there’s a starry crown,
under your feet there moans a dragon from hell.

Heavenly Lady, Queen of Croats,
our mother, our golden dawn,
take a present from our devoted hearts,
take the ardour of our pure love.

A few Marian songs followed. The sound of these songs was so strong that it seemed it was sung by the whole of Bilogora. The pilgrims forgot all their troubles as bliss was streaming through their bodies. This bliss was interrupted by the police who starated dispelling the pilgrims by force.The pilgrims’ loud protests were heard from all sides, but the police threatened to use weapons, so people started to withdraw deeper into the forest and go back to their houses. The next week hundreds of pilgrims came there every day. Almost every day somebody saw a woman in a white dress in the lime tree crown.

On Sunday 1st September streams of pilgrims from Bjelovar and Podravina were pouring in again, as well as endless lines of foot passangers and some horse-drawn carts from the broader area of Bjelovar. Every pilgrim wanted to pray for the support of the Mother of God for themselves and their families. At the time of the prayer all of a sudden the voice of 22 year old Andjeline Pelikan from Prokljuvani breaks out pointing towards the lady’s lime tree:

-Look at that tree.I can see a woman in black dress with lovely but sad face.Angry young man who was a communistic provocator has approached the tree showing with his hand to the tree shouting:

-Look how she is jumping the branches like a squirrel.

Pilgrims have recognised the provocator and started to ask God and the Mother of God to punish him.After only five minutes that man has passed away. Now even people who didn’t believe started to beleive in God and the Mother of God.

As they were carrying him towards the carriage,a young man from Podravina who hugged Our Lady’s tree and prayed aloud crying all the time, pleading with the Mother of God to help him.Suddenly, he stopped praying, lowering his head to the stump of Our Lady’s lime tree and started listening. He got up soon and started crying bitterly.

– What’s happened to you?- the women next to him asked.

– I heard a woman’s voice from the stump, asking us to build a church here where people would come on pilgrimages. It shook me up because my father died in the war so now we hardly get by.

The woman told other pilgrims loudly about the event, remembering that this was the third time the Mother of God spoke to children, asking for the church to be built there, where people would come on pilgrimages. After that, prayers and Marian songs followed. A woman’s voice sang the song’A White Lily’:

A white lily in Heaven,
more beautiful and dearer than the sunshine,
fragrant flower of eternal paradise,
Queen of Heaven,give us your help.

Mother,listen to your children’s voice,
defend and protect us, pray for us.

Miraculous statue,beautiful flowers
you scattered over Croatian homes,
people come to you ecstatically,
praying to you and your Son.

Mother,listen to your children’s voice,
defend and protect us, pray for us.

On this day an invalid on crutches, who had come on pilgrimage a few times, healed.Going home, he raised the crutches in the air and shouted happily:

– Look, people, thanks to the Mother of God I can walk without crutches.

This pilgrims’ happiness was spoiled by the police who forcibly dispelled the pilgrims from the site of Our Lady’s appearance. The next week, about a hundred pilgrims came to the site every day.

On Sunday 8th September, the day of Nativity of the Virgin Mary, over three thousand pilgrims came again to the forest of Paulovac, by train from Bjelovar and Podravina, in endless streams of foot passangers and horse- drawn carts from the broader area of Bilogora. They all wanted to pray for the support of the Mother of God for themselves and their family. Suddenly, the news spread among the pilgrims that the Mother of God had been seen by an older woman.A lot of pilgrims made their way through the crowd toward Our Lady’s lime tree, in order to meet the seer. It was a forty- year-old woman Marija Jandrokovic from Nevinac,whose cheek was bleeding.She spoke to a group of pilgrims.

– Dear pilgrims, I didn’t see the Mother of God,but I wanted to hear her voice so I put my head on the stump of the lime tree which had been pulled down. As I didn’t hear anything, I raised my head,and my cheek, which had been leaned on the stump of the lime tree, was bleeding. As I hadn’t felt a sting, I’m asking you to look for a scratch on my face.

A woman damped a handkirchief and wiped the blood, but there was no scratch anywhere. Then the pilgrims believed that the Mother of God was still present here and started praying and singing Marian songs. This atmosphere didn’t last for long, as the police came and dispelled the pilgrims by force, taking all the money at Our Lady’s lime tree. After the day of Nativity of the Virgin Mary, the pilgrims came less and less because they were always dispelled by the police. However, people occasionally came there for a few more years, individually or in smaller groups. The author of this book also came as a boy with his father and about twenty neighbours in April 1954 to see the site of Our Lady’s appearance. Because of the fear of the police then, none of the inhabitants of the village of Paulovac wanted to show the site of the appearance of the Virgin Mary. After an hour of unsuccessful walk through the forest, one of the groups, in which there were the author and his father, found the site of Our Lady’s appearance. They got a sign from God in the shape of three pigeons who flew away loudly from Our Lady’s lime tree. In the late fifties Marija Ded (of Vilim) built a wooden chapel with the help of the shephards and some villagers. The chapel was badly damaged by a storm in the nineties. A Bosnian refugee called Ivan Tolic built a new chapel with the help of the villagers, in which there is space only for the altar and the priest.That’s why there is a moral and divine obligation to build a church there with an access road, where pilgrims from Croatia and from abroad would come. As the brick factory has been closed down for a few years now, this place is ideal for the hotel accommodation with other facilities, as the place has a complete communal infrastructure except the sewage system planned to be built soon. In the time of Yugoslavia there was the communist dictatorship which forbade people religious freedom.With the creation of the independent Croatian state there came democracy and the religious freedom. An event which happened in August 1992 shows that life doesn’t finish with death. A Croatian soldier from Paulovac, where in 1946 the Mother of God appeared, died near Slavonski Brod.

One evening, a reporter from Bjelovar was driving back in his car from the village of Sandrovac to Bjelovar. At the end of the village a man stopped him whom he recognized to be Franjo from Paulovac. He asked him to drive him to the Great Trinity. The man opened the door and sat down on the rear seat. While driving a few kilometres through the forest, they talked about the independence war where innocent people were dying. The passanger also said that people should pray to God for this war to be over as soon as possible, and that they should build a church in Paulovac. When they came to the first houses in the Great Trinity, the passanger stopped talking. The reporter turned his head to the rear seat, but it was empty. Overcome by a great fear, he stepped on the accelerator and drove with great speed. Until today he doesn’t know how he arrived in Bjelovar without an accident.

Although nowadays many people have turned to money, most believers from the area of Bilogora ask for the building of a church in the forest of Paulovac where they will find God, i.e. their peace and happiness, which are especially needed today.This is the reason why “The association of believers for the building of the Church” is established and is asking believers and donors Croatia and abroad to help to build the church.As town Bjelovar has not got adequate hotel accomodation nor a swimming pool with warm water open whole year round,we are pleading for donations from Croatia and worldwide to build a hotel with the swimming pool instead of the former brick factory for pilgrims and other tourists to rest their body and soul.