Testimony of Fr. Eugenio Founder Priest of the Monastic Fraternity of the Disciples of Jesus.
I am Fr. Eugenio Maria Pirovano Barbera, founder of the MonasticFraternity of the Disciples of Jesus for the Glory of God Father. This Fraternity was born in Medjugorje, a small village of Bósnia-Herzegovina, old Yugoslavia, from a direct call of Our Lady Queen of Peace through the clairvoyant Vicka. In order to understand better the history of the foundation of our Fraternity,I'm going to talk a little about my life, so that you will be able to contemplate the plans of God who, since all the eternity as He planned and wanted this project, generated by Mary. I am an Italian priest, naturalized Brazilian now. I belonged to a Missionary Institute, the PIME (Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions). I initiated my mission in Brazil, in 1979, in São Paulo city, in the Parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, while I waited for the paperwork to get my permanent visa. Through this parish I got to know the "Catholic Charismatic Renewal" in aretire in Itaici preached by Fr. Emiliano Tardiff, occasion in which I received a new "effusion of the Holy Spirit. Returning from this retire, a weird prayer came out of my heart: "Lord, don't let me die like a spoiled priest in the parish in Brooklin, without any missionary experience". Some days later, while I was praying, I listened to a voice inside myself: "Come and follow me". I was afraid that I was not following Jesus. Then,I went to Mato Grosso, where only volunteers used to go there at that time. Iworked with other priests of the PIME, helping them to establish a new Diocese.
An this time, I lived in the city of Nioaque, teaching native indians who lived there. However, in obedience to my superior's order, I went to work as a spiritual director in the PIME Seminary of Londrina, and later in Palhoça, Santa Catarina.I finally came back to the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in São Paulo,where I had the chance to work in the well known slum called "Hot Hole". In 1987 I was in Rome, in a great inner crisis. My superiors had sent me to study in the Gregorian University because I had been calumniated by a co-brother. At that time, I established a group of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal,that still exists and which I visit every time I go to Italy. In October I got a phone call saying that my father had cancer in his bones. I left my studies and I went to Milan to take care of my father and, just before he past away, my brother went to jail. I was desperate and had decided to leave the priesthood. Not to get married, but to live my life and relax. Then I went home. After that, in May of 1988, a dear friend of mine who is a priest as well, Don Boggiano Pico, invited me to go to Medjugorje.
At that time, I did not believe anything about Medjugorje and I did not want to go. Due to his and other two friends' insistence, I ended up going.There was nothing in Medjugorje years ago. There was not even a hotel. People stayed at peasants' houses. I remember when we arrived I heard that Our Lady was going to appear. Then, after that, Ivan - one of the clairvoyants,told us that these appearances were exclusively for the prayer group. I remember that I got sad, but I started cheering myself, kidding, saying to my friends: "You see? Our Lady does not want you". Then we went to the peasants' house. One of my friends wanted to pray the via-crucis on the Cross Mountain. I didn't hesitate to say: "Listen, you do not want to pray the via-crucis, you want to go there because you are curious and you want to see Our Lady. So, if you believe it, be quiet and stay here". I remember that my friend was sad, upset and started arguing with me. How "unlucky" I was when I said: "Come on, we come to Medjugorje and we have already started arguing. Our Lady, who gives sign to everybody, will give a sign to Fr. Eugênio who does not believe anything". After that, we were having supper, it was raining, the door was opened and we could see through the Cross Mountain. Another friend of mine said: "Look at that, Fr. Eugênio, there's a star above the cross. It is the sign that Our Lady wants us to pray the via-crucis". I was always a little skeptical about these things and started arguing with him as well. I said: "Come on! You studied so much in the University. The Italian universities must have lowered their level. Now, a star is a sign of Our Lady! For God's sake!" He argued. I said: "Listen, people, we are here where they say Mary, the Queen of Peace appears and we have already fought.
Fine, we are going to do this via-crucis" I remember that it was raining, so I took my rain coat and we started heading to the Mountain. Then I said: "You stay on your knees and I am going to preach". I started my long sermon while they were on their knees. At a certain time, in the third cross station, the first fall of Jesus, I realized (it is something that I still do not know how), my rain coat was dry. How could it be dry, if it was raining! It should be wet! Then I touched the mountain and my2 hand was wet, because, of course, if was raining... I touched my coat and it was dry. This did not match with my "philosophical teses"... I touched myfriends, saying: "We are going to the next station". When I touched them I realized that they were wet because it was raining. Then I touched myself again and I was dry!I got scared because I think that when people do not know something they fear. Then, I finished the via crucis very quickly. We got up to the mountain and something weird happened: from only one star, it had formed several stars around the cross, and then it stopped raining.I told my friends: "Listen, let's stay here praying individualy". I rememberthat I did not pray that night. I relieved al the bitterness that had in my heart. I said to Our Lady: "Listen, I do not know if you appear here or not. But there's something you should know: I am not a good priest, I am an excellent priest.Then, why did all these disasters happen to me? I was calumniated, my father died of cancer, my brother is in jail. What have I done so bad to experience all these disasters?" I did not have reply. I prayed and then we went home to a retire room. Nothing happened. I went to bed.
I remember that one day later the priest who is my friend said: "Listen, Fr.Eugênio, I am writing a book about Medjugorje and I am going to speak with Fr.Jozo (Fr. Jozo was the parish priest of Medjugorje). He asked me if I could pray the rosary with the pilgrims in the Appearances Hill. I said: "Certainly, I will go. I fit's only to initiate the rosary I will go". And I went to the Hil with those people.We prayed the rosary. In the Hill of the Appearances, in Medjugorje, there are some crosses. I found a cross far away and seated by myself. At a certain time, I felt somebody touching my back and said: "Are you Fr. Eugênio La Barbera? I remember that my first thought (at that time, Yugoslavia was a communist country) was:"Maybe I am going to be under a communist arrest. My brother, at least, is in an Italian jail". And I answered: "Yes, I Am. And who are you?". He said: "I doesn'tmatter who I am. But I have a prophecy of Our Lord Jesus Christ for intercession of Mary about everything you asked on the Cross mountain yesterday. Do you want to listen to it?". I said: "Yes, I do". And he said: "Our Lady thinks that you are an excellent priest (I was happy!). But you cannot take away the simple faith of people, as you did in the Parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus when that young man wanted to speak with you about Medjugorje. (Only I could know about this: a young man in São Paulo, to who I forbid to talk about Medjugorje). And the person continued: "Our Lady says that your father is inparadise with your mother and your brother will leave the jail. Our Lord Jesus is preparing a parish in São Paulo for you - where a community from there wrote to Medjugorje asking for a priest who was indeed a priest -. Our Lady chose you. But, since you do not believe this, before you leave Medjugorje, Our Lady will give you a sign, especially for you.
After speaking with that person, I wanted to run to find my friend priest to go for a complete confession. It seemed to me like the woman in the Gospel that ran informing that Jesus was coming. I ran towards my friend saying:"Listen, I want to confess myself, because I found a person who told me everything about my life. I think I am going to die". This was my reaction. And I had a confession of all my life. On the other hand, I said to my priest friend: "Listen, I believe that OurLady appears. There are many coincidences. I believe. That's it! Then, I do not
want more signs. You, who believe it more than I and you are older..., you please inform to Our Lady that I do not want signs". Of course, my poor friend priest wanted to help to me. He said: "Our Lady wants to give a sign to you, this is a good thing". I said: "But I do not want it. In the next sign, I am going to have a heart attack".Then, a bus from Italy arrived and I was asked to pray the via-crucis with those Italian pilgrims. I remember that I prepared myself very well. During the prayer, a young guy who was on his twenties started crying, he was crying alot..., very loud! This was bothering me and making me a bit angry because everybody was looking at him, nobody was giving me attention while I was preaching? (And we, priests, also like to be listened to). But in that occasion I did not make any comment, because I was scared. I thought: "If I say: Be quiet!Our Lady will appear to me". Then I decided to keep quiet.The young man stopped crying and I got angry (I am Italian, I am a little angry...lol). I thought: now I will go there to find out what he had wrong. (I am very good at preaching but not that good to make people cry...). The guy turned to me and said: "Fr. Eugênio, I apologize for what happened. I saw all my sins like in a movie. I cried, I regretted, I cried and I saw another sins and I regretted againf".To tell you the truth, I must confess that I thought: "This guy must be a great sinner". Because he was only twenty-something years old and cried all via-crucis...And he said: "When you stopped preaching, I listened to a clear voice, that was not yours, saying: Your sins are forgiven, but the pardon from Church is necessary. Go and confess with Fr. Eugênio ".I confessed this young guy who had many sins, between parentheses, I am not disclosing a secret confession, but I forgave him and in a certain moment,he said: "Father, I have something to show you". Then, he rolled up his sleeves,showing his arms. It was all bruised. He injected pure heroine. (Later, I saw when he took heroine blisters from his pockets and broke them in a rock in the Mountain). I said: "Listen my son, I am not a doctor, but everybody knows that who injects pure heroine is not able to quit it overnight". I remember that he raised his arms and said: "Fr. Eugênio, I am cured. And this is the sign Our Lady offers you to believe".This was a great sign. From that year on, I started going to Medjugorje yearly, up to two times a year, in January and again in July. I also went there during war time and nothing happened to me. It was difficult for me to go there during this period, with the war, soldiers, but I was always faithful.
My second great experience in Medjugorje happened in January of 1993,during a great pilgrimage that I participated. Our Lady appeared to Vicka, and, as normally happens with al the clairvoyant in the end of the appearance theygive Our Lady's message. Usually it is: "Ours Lady blessed us", "Our Lady placed her hands on you", and I was already used to listened to this type of message the clairvoyants continuously said Mary told them.I had never met Vicka at that time and I never look for any clairvoyants. I went the Medjugorje because of that experience I had with Our Lady. However,in 1993 after the appearance, Vicka, instead of saying Our Lady's message, she turned to thousands of pilgrims, asking: "Who is Eugênio, a priest in Brazil".I got anxious, because we were in the communist regimen and I didn't know what was going on. I kept quiet and left. But, at night, my curiosity was stronger than I and I decided to visit Vicka. It was the first time I went to a clairvoyant's house.I got there and said: "Vicka, today, after the appearance, you asked about Fr. Eugênio. I am Fr. Eugênio and I am a missionary in Brazil". She said: "It's you who I was calling.
Ours Lady said that you have to leave your parish, to leave your occupations and found a Community where people pray essentially,a contemplative community where monks, men and women, can pray and also take care of the street children".I looked at Vicka and thought that perhaps she could not see Our Lady,because that was an unusual proposal for a person like me who doesn't have any particular charisma... I doubted. Then, I said: "Asks Our Lady which Swissbank I should withdraw money from". Well , it would be necessary a lot of money to build a religious congregation! And Vicka was not impressed. She said: "Ok,Father. I am going to ask."I thought that this subject would be over and finished at that point. Next day I was passing by the old house of Vicka's grandmother, where she usually talks to the pilgrims, and Vicka greeted me and said: "I have something to tell you". I said: "Did Our Lady say which bank I can get the money from" "No", answered Vicka, "Our Lady said that you must spend the money you received from your inheritance, because what you received is for God. So, spend the money you got and go take care of your Fraternity. And remember that this is Mary's Fraternity".I was perplexed because nobody there knew my father had died, Vicka didn't know that I had got money, how could she know it....
I left Medjugorje with this feeling: what does God want from me? To tell you the truth, I did not want to tell anybody about that. But, to avoid a guilty conscience, I thought that I should tell at least my bishop. So I asked for a hearing with my bishop Fernando Antonio Figueiredo, and told him a little about what had happened to me. Since there is not many priests in Brazil, I was sure that my bishop would say: "No,you continue with your job". At that time, I was the director of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the Diocese of Saint Amaro. I was a priest of two different churches and I was doing a good job, as there were so many people attending the youth Mass and the police had to close the street in the evenings on Américo Brasiliense Avenue. On the other hand, I thought it was very important that I would have to continue with my apostolate as a priest and as a director of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
But, my bishop said: "Fr. Eugenio, we will pray during one year to discern what God's will is". I was surprised when he said: "We are going to pray",because I thought he was going to say: "No, continue doing your job". Months had been passed and I remember that in January of 1994 I went back to Medjugorje. My godmother had to go for a heart surgery that year. She did not have any relatives, so I went there to take care of her. And my surprise was when, after one year of my conversation with the bishop, on August 22,1994, in the Solemnity of Our Lady, my bishop called me up and asked me to write down everything that happened in Medjugorje, in order to give course to the new foundation.
The first approval was on February 11, 1995, occasion of the celebration of Our Lady of Lourdes, date that was received the recognition from the"Association of Parishers" on behalf of the Bishop of St. Amaro. After that, lotsapprovals happened and finally on March 19, 2005, in the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the Monastic Fraternity was recognized for the Holy Church as "SuiIuris" Regina Pacis. Our community's name is Monastic Fraternity of the Disciples of Jesus. Weare a Marian community, because it was born to follow the messages of Our Lady Queen of Peace and also to adopt the Benedictine spirituality, I mean, we have the prayers, the spiritual readings, called " Lectio Divine" as our priority,we work, therefore, we live the Saint Benedict's "rules", "ora et labora", "prayand work", that it's understood as following: "May our prayer, not our work bepriority in our day". Based on this, we get up at 5AM to initiate our day with theworship to the Holy Sacrament. Our daily activities are: the Gospel meditation, by the Lectio Divine, the complete rosary prayed in group, the celebration of the Saint Mass and worship to the Saint Cross every Friday, etc. After these years, we realize how much this project is blessed by God because we totally depend on the donation and our work.
Since 1999, we do not buy anything in the supermarket and, if we need anything, we ask God to send to us. God, through Mary, touches people's hearts. Our Lady said in a particular message directed to us through Vicka: "I am the superior of this Fraternity, I am the one who call people I need for this project, the consecrated ones, as well as the lay people who help you with the work and the material properties".Our Monastery has as Mother Church the diocese of St. Amaro, in the periphery, in Village Mirna, next to Varginha terminal situated on Av. Antonio Carlos Benjamin dos Santos, 3973. We have three Monasteries on the same land: the "Monastery Regina Pacis", which is the formation house and also the masculine monastery; the "Monastery of the Visitation", which is the feminine monastery and the "BabyJesus Monastery", where we receive youth, laypeople and religious people who desire to make a deep experience of prayer. We offer one-day retires everythird Sundays a month, and we also offer three and seven days retires (desertretires), according to Benedictine and Marian spirituality.
For more information on the retires, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or cal (11) 5226-2047. If you would like to check the retires schedule you can check the blog Queen of Peace In this blog you will find spirituality texts referring to Medjugorje. We also have in our structural complex the public church of "God Father", with daily masses from Monday to Saturday at 6PM, on Sundays at 11AM and 5PM, except the first Sunday of every month, when we have the "Cure Mass",presided by me at 3PM. We develop several types of job here. Every Tuesday we open ourMonastery to give soup to approximately 400 families in our hal "MammaMargherita".We also take care of the street children from our region, we help some day-care centers and we give a special attention to young people who go to ourMonastery to find the reason of their lives.We work in the formation and orientation of the Prayer Groups that want to follow the spirituality of Medjugorje. We also do manual works: icons, rosary,creams, etc., as a way to keep this project. Moreover, we take care of confessions in our Monastery daily and we give spiritual direction. We intend to expand our work with the construction of the"Sanctuary Queen of the Peace", that it is in process of approval in the public agencies. We are already praying in gratefulness to Our Lady Queen of Peace for people She will call and send for the conclusion of this mission. Our Monastic community is composed by laypeople, clergymen, men and women, celibatarians and couples, having as our charisma the prayer and the contemplation in the molds of the monastic life, developing work on children recovery, teenagers and youth and giving them a social and spiritual formation, providing them the integration in the society. Mary wanted this charisma extended to couples and laypeople as well so that they could consecrate themselves to Her and to Church through our Monastery, in order to follow the proposal of a prayer life for our Fraternity. Here, in our Monastery we have a particular privilege of Our Lady:. She guaranteed that every day, at 5:40 PM She is in our Monastery the same way She is in Medjugorje, blessing everyone who's with us. Therefore, every day, at this time, we ring the church bells; we kneel and pray a Hail Mary in gratefulness for many graces received. If you would like to receive our informative and formative folder called "THE DISCIPLE" you can write to us requesting your registration. Together with the folder you will receive a bank statement and will be able to help with any amount in favor of this project of Mary. And those who want to get to know a little more can contact us from Monday to Friday on the phone (11) 5526-2047, or email us:email@example.com or check our website.We will be happy to be visited by those who are interested in getting to know us personally..