[The following is the testimony of Colm Cahill (slightly edited by me) taken from his own article which I found at www.medjugorjeusa.org]:
It was October 1988.
I was in the car coming home from an activity with my dad. I was sitting in the back at the left side.
We were driving through St Peters on our usual route home. At this time I did not know that this car journey would affect me for the next seven years. We stopped at a junction letting some cars go past. The cars had gone and my dad put the car into gear and released the hand brake. Then out of nowhere the loudest screeching of brakes you could imagine.
I turned round to see what it was: a blue Ford Escort van skidding towards our car. It went straight into the back of us. We got catapulted down the road about 100 yards and the car stopped about half a metre before a granite wall. A week later I was sitting at my desk in class, I went to FCJ School in class 7/year 3.
I think it was a Thursday. I can’t really remember this day that well. I sat quite near the front on the right side of the room where we were doing reading. Mrs Le Braye was my teacher. She called my name to come up and read to her. I stood up and started to walk towards her. I suddenly was very dizzy. It was like the room split in two. I stopped dead. I could hear her calling my name: “Colm, Colm, Colm.” Then everything went dark. I could just hear voices.
Sometime later that year I had another episode in school. This scared me a little as I was only seven years old. When I was told it was seizures I didn’t really know how serious it was.
For the first couple of years it was quite mild, but they still made me scared because having my first, I thought it was a one off, then the second and it made me realise it could happen again.
As I went into year 5/6, life got hard at school because some of the teachers and pupils did not understand how my illness affected me even when I wasn’t in a seizure. I was labelled as a daydreamer and a lazy pupil. It was because of absence of seizures that they couldn’t seem to understand.
As the seizures got worse I was made to feel like an outcast. I was hidden from others and made to do lessons when the others had PE because I was a risk. I needed special medication for long seizures and none of the staff would agree to be trained to help me. There had been a member of staff (First Aider) who had been very kind to me and had helped me in the early days, even from my first seizure but she had retired. Some staff tried to understand but I was unable to stay in the school.
Already at this time the drugs were affecting me in a negative way. For example, tempers, tiredness and mood swings. They did not know if this was partly my illness too. Car journeys to school were the worst.
I was not at FCJ any more for reasons I will keep private. I was now at Bel Royal Primary School. Car journeys improved and became quite pleasant partly due to the fact I was isolated from my brothers and sisters. Bel Royal accepted me with open arms. I was looked at like a normal child which had a positive effect on my self-confidence. I became very much involved with sports and other activities with the school, like sailing. Things which I could not have dreamed of before at FCJ. Bel Royal gave me a positive start into secondary school where my seizures still continued to occur.
Year 7 is quite blurred in my memory as my seizures were worse. I was like a yoyo in and out of hospital. I seem to remember a lot of time in sick bay with Mrs Mallet my first aider and Phil my counsellor with my dad too alongside when I woke up from a seizure. This gave me a lot of help. I had two good friends who acted as buddies for me to keep me safe from hurting myself.
I developed a desire to have a dog as they seemed to have a very calming effect on me. Sometimes I just needed a best friend to give me a hug. So Mum and Dad decided to get a dog. She was a girl called Celtie (Border Collie, sheepdog). She became my best friend. Of course I had a bunch of good friends at school but she was much more special to me. When I had seizures at home, as I came round I felt happy to see Mum, Dad and Celtie’s eyes staring at me.
My brothers and sisters went through a really hard time due to my seizures and moods. They didn’t complain and I will always be grateful to them. They often had to go to other people at short notice and give up their plans. Elizabeth in particular helped Mum a lot with first aid and in coping with me. Patrick supported Mum and Dad by helping with the little ones. Even my little brother and sister knew what to do for seizures.
I don’t remember much about year 8 but I do remember one occasion when I was in Science. I went in and sat down, I took out my pen, touched the paper and then like magic I was in hospital. My seizure had not lasted all that time as when I came round I was eating sweets. There had been a gap in my memory. I had a drip in my arm and Mum was by my bed. I was terrified. I remember nothing of the gap.
I began to drop activities and seizures got more common at home and school. A ride in an ambulance would seem exciting to some but to me it was scary and common. My sister would hear the siren coming to school and would know it would be me. Poor Dad spent more time with me than at his desk. It became that I was hardly ever in school and I couldn’t keep up with my friends very well as I was never in school and so my relationship with Celtie grew.
My life was wrecked. I really did not see the purpose of Colm John Cahill. I was useless. I couldn’t do anything unsupervised at this time. I saw no point in church, it was a load of rubbish. But this all changed when we got our new parish priest Fr. Peter Glas. He talked a lot about Medjugorje. He came to hospital, anointed me and prayed with me. One day he came to my house and spoke to me privately. He said “Colm, I want to ask you something.” I replied “Yes, what?” He said “I am going to Medjugorje. I would like to dedicate my whole pilgrimage to you. For seven days every prayer will be for your healing. Is that okay with you?” I was speechless. I replied: “Yes, I will pray too.”
It was Friday night. I was in the garden praying and it was so noisy and windy. I was praying the Rosary and I had lit ten candles. I had got on to my third decade and the time was exactly 9:00 pm and ten o’clock in Medjugorje, the time of the apparition. Suddenly the world stopped and the wind fell. It was completely still and there was no traffic. I felt completely at peace which I had not felt for seven years. It was indescribable. At five minutes past nine all the candles I had lit went out and there was no wind. After the candles went out the noise came back and soon after the wind did too. I believe I as healed at that time. I haver never had a seizure since.
[Colm not only recovered and caught up with his education, he went into the seminary and is due to be ordained a Catholic priest in 2017. The following is the same story from Fr. Glas’ own testimony, again only slightly edited by me]:
In early 2004 I was a new parish priest in the west of Jersey Catholic Parish. I had been given this by the bishop the previous September. I was still finding my way around and meeting all the people. At that time I didn’t even really know Colm and the Cahill family. I had been warned that one of my altar servers was likely to collapse on the floor at any time. The previous parish priest told me not to be surprised and to just ignore it; someone would move him. I wasn’t even sure which one it was.
The first real contact was when I was asked to visit him in hospital. I went there to his room and saw a young boy in bed with his mum by his side. I prayed with him, anointed him and gave him some sweets. I also gave him a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I noticed in the weeks that followed he wasn’t always at Mass and had stopped serving on the altar. On one occasion after Mass I saw Mary crying with some women. I asked someone what was wrong. “Teenage problems,” was the reply, but I had a strong feeling it was more. I went with her and we spoke privately and she shared with me the true reality and horror of what was happening to Colm and how it was affecting the family. On that day in Mass she just lost the ability to put up a front that she coped.
One Sunday afternoon the family came to the presbytery to watch a DVD and relax. It was nearly time to go when Colm’s mood changed. He became aggressive. David was taking the first car full of kids home and would return for Colm and Mary. Colm was in the armchair dark-eyed and sullen. Mary warned me he was leading into a seizure. She laid him onto the floor with my help as it began. It was horrible, but then came the hallucinations. He was full of terror. I too was terrified. As it eased and David helped him to the car Mary said “That was mild.” When they left, I was in tears. I continued to support the family with prayers and for Mary as someone she could talk in confidence to about it all. They were in despair at times and seeking help anywhere they could find.
One Sunday in May 2004 I left one of the churches to go home. As I reached the junction I intended to turn left but found I had turned right. I didn’t know why. I decided that as I was heading in the wrong direction I would go and see the family. I felt as if a voice was saying “Go to them.” I found them at home and I asked Colm to join me in the garden. It was the Sunday before I was due to go to Medjugorje with the first Jersey pilgrimage. Without ever having thought about it, I found myself asking Colm if he would like me to offer my week for him. I told him the whole seven days of prayer would be for him to ask to find a way to cope and the best treatment. He said “Yes, please.” We agreed he would pray in Jersey and we would make a spiritual bridge between us. Mary found me a photo of him to take with me.
On the Wednesday I heard from Mary that he was having a horrible seizure. The fear, violence and hallucinations were terrifying.
On the Thursday I left with a group of 25 people. Only two knew the purpose of my pilgrimage. Colm’s picture was with me in my shirt pocket. Every Mass, prayer and Rosary I offered for him. It was my sixth visit to Medjugorje but I had never experienced such intensity and trust in prayer. One day we went to visit Fr. Jozo, a very charismatic priest who had been in Medjugorje at the start of the apparitions.
I asked him for a special prayer and blessing. I held the photo of Colm and he stood with one hand on it and one hand on my shoulder. We stood there for a long time and we both prayed together. I kept in touch daily with Mary and Colm. she was pleased to say they were having seizure free days.
We didn’t know but a special day was about to come. Friday 21st May 2004 our group was invited to go to Apparition Hill to be with Ivan the visionary as Our Lady was coming. At 10:00 pm she would come. I had arranged that at the same time (9:00 pm in Jersey) Colm and Mary would pray. I took Colm in my heart and was there holding his photo. Colm and Mary were with me too in prayer. I held the picture in front of me and when She came I presented him to Her and asked Her prayers. After the apparition Ivan explained through translators what She had said. Our Lady had said that She especially was interceding for all the sick who had been brought there in prayers that night. I went back to where we were staying and found a text message from Mary to say something extraordinary had happened to Colm. There was no detail and I didn’t know Colm’s story until I returned to Jersey.
On the last day, the Wednesday I made my last act of prayer. I was going up Mount Krizevac to pray the Stations of the Cross. I had with me Paul Le Claire and Deacon Paul Hagg and of course Colm in my pocket. It was 2:00 pm and incredibly hot for the climb. It was an amazing prayer experience with each of us praying for our intentions and me in particular for Colm. When I reached the top I stopped at the memorial to Fr. Slavko who had died at the top. Something told me to put Colm’s picture at the memorial and leave it. I was afraid it would blow away or someone may move it so I buried it under the stones on the memorial. I felt I had to hand him to Fr. Slavko’s prayers and intercessions. On my way down I felt I had left behind someone I had become so close to in that week. But I knew I had to do it. “Do what you can and leave the rest in the hands of God.” This I did with enormous love and trust in God.
On my return to Jersey there was great news. Colm had just had the first seizure free week for months. To this day he has never had another seizure.
I continued to support the family and Colm with prayers. He started a daily Rosary and personal consecration prayer to Our Lady which he still does to this day. The year was hard and he needed a lot of spiritual help and support to adjust to normal life. Coming off the medication was so difficult but he is now a healthy 14-year-old teenager. His life has changed but needs help and prayer as he catches up with the gaps in his life and development. Educationally he is so behind and desperate to achieve.
My life too, has changed. since May 2004 I have not missed the Rosary on one single day. It was a prayer I didn’t find easy before. Lots of people in Jersey are joining me for the Rosary and to be before the Blessed Sacrament for Holy Hours. I hope our story will bring hope and faith to many who have lost their way in the spiritual desert around us. May they put God into their lives. I have learned to pray and trust like a child without doubt.
I returned to Medjugorje in May 2005, this time with Colm.