The Miracle Detective
Startled by reports about a sighting of the Virgin Mary in Northeastern Oregon in 1994 Sullivan takes on the job of a self-styled “miracle detective”. He first travels to the small hamlet Boardman, where Irma Munoz, a Mexican, has seen the Virgin Mary appear in a glow of light in a “spectacularly ugly” oil painting. He is shown a video-tape of the apparition, but can only see a sudden flaring light. Nevertheless his curiosity is arosed and he interviews everybody he can take hold of.
His research leads him to Medjugorje, a small village in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where a group of children had been claiming daily discourses with the Madonna since the early 1980s. Consequently he travels there in 1995, through war-torn Croatia, only just controlled by UN-forces. He can stay at one of the Seers´ house and makes friends with the Franciscans, who obviously control the whole affair. Sullivan visits “Apparition Hill” where the Virgin Mary first showed herself to the six young seers and climbs Mount Crizevac, where he himself seems to have a mystical experience. He stays in Medjugorje for several weeks, reads all the available documents about medical and clerical investigations the seers went through. And more and more he feels himself involved in this small society. He finds out, that you can only try to understand if you look at the history of Bosnians, Serbs and Croats as far back as the 12th century.
In concentric circles Sullivan describes his real quest, his own religious awakening over a period of eight years.
The most astonishing aspect for the sceptical reader is the fact, that “the Sacred Congregation of the Causes for Saints” headed by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, are even more sceptical than any agnostic, when it comes to miracles.