The Croat Jožef Ratković lives in Austria and made something amazing. He decided to walk from Zürich to Medjugorje by foot to fulfill his solemn promise: to pray for healing of his wife because she suffers from multiple sclerosis. And so he walked in 42 days around 1,400 km. He said: “I do believe in God and I hope for his help. I also pray for peace with God and with people. For me, peace is when we reach out to another and great another. This is basic.”
The first thing he did after his arriving in Medjugorje was going to the church to thank God. He says that he is not a bit tired, in spite of his age of 69. “I was always practicing sport. With my bicycle, I crossed millions of kilometers. I have been all over Europe with my bicycle.”
He heard about Medjugorje for the first time something around 15 years ago, while he was still working. “When I was retired, I went on a pilgrimage to Spain, to Santiago de Compostela in 2002. I walked 82 days and crossed 2,500 km. Two years later, I walked to Mariazel, 1350 km in 43 days. And now – Medjugorje. I am a Croat, but never visited either Croatia, or Medjugorje.”
His ancestry moved from Gospić to Stikapron 300 years ago. He also lived the first years of his life in Stikapron (Steinbrunn) in Austria. He graduated in Mathematics in Vienna, and moved to Zürich, Switzerland, where he was working in the computer technology.
His family: two daughters, one son and seven grandchildren. He says that he always was religious “I`m a believer since my childhood, I love to meditate and to pray. Prayer is for me a dialogue with God who feeds the hungry and gives drink to the thirsty”. And he loves good communication with people. One very important thing in his family is tolerance, because his wife, his son and one of his daughters belong to other denominations. “We reach to one another, this is important. God is one, we only approach him differently”.
He says that young people often aspire to fun, and not to God. “They live without God, but when something goes wrong, they do aspire to Him”.
He described this pilgrimage to Medjugorje with following words: “Walking alone is so good for meditation. I aspire to answers to different questions: Why am I on earth, What are my intentions? What do I want? What do I have to do? When you live, you have to act. This is my life, and my life is important. This is my moment, and in this moment, I have to do what God want me to do. He wants me to work for peace with Him and with people and peace is possible if I accept other people as brothers and sisters. People that I meet – I consider them brothers and sisters, I cannot do differently. For me, it is important to know that God is here, all around me.”
Medjugorje became an important place for Jožef. “I pray for my wife’s health, and whatever happens will be the will of God. I want to tell Mother Mary that I am here and ask her what I have to do”. He will go back to Zürich by bicycle. He said:”It will take around two weeks, because I want to visit Gospić to investigate the origins of the Ratković family”.
He made many experiences as a pilgrim who walked many weeks in silence and he says: “We need to walk alone, to be alone, this is when ideas and visions come. It is different when we drive a car. In this ways, we have time to think. It is great to be alone, to have time. It is a little school of life.”
If you also want to make a special experience visit Medjugorje, stay at one of its beautiful Medjugorje and feel the magic.