Book review: The Miracle Detective

by Randal Sullivan


In the war-torn country of Yugoslavia, late 1980’s, a cluster of children (ages up through 16) began seeing the Virgin Mary and reporting her words. Medjugorje, if you’ve ever heard of the place, appeared protected from the war by the madonna.

The Miracle Detective describes Sullivan’s trip into the world of miracles and the investigation of these miracles by the Catholic church. By the end of the book, even Sullivan has been deeply affected by his brush with the supernatural, and it is this personal journal by the author that makes the book most interesting.

Nearly all the experts that researched Medjugorje and interviewed (interrogated) the children came to the same conclusion: there was no attempt to deceive, and the children truly experienced the unexplainable. Others around them could not see Mary, yet the children’s eyes moved in unison as they tracked her progress through the air; they reported the same message from heaven; and they showed no response to any pain or attention-grabbing administered by the “experts” while in their vision state. Many other visitors to this sacred site experienced supernatural healings. Surely, the madonna herself was to be found in this place!

But what did the Church think? It’s still under investigation, 20-25 years later. As one priest explained to Sullivan, the Church does not merely test for the unexplainable; a true miracle from God must pass several tests, such as “theological correctness, usefulness to the Church, and a clear relationship between the messages the person reports and changes in the quality of their own lives.” Unquestionably, the experiences rocked the lives of these children and many others who visited (and still visit) Medjugorje, but what is the Church to think when Mary, queen of heaven, arrives with the message that we should respect all religions, even (perhaps especially) Islam?

I found the book interesting, one I’m glad I read, though it was a bit long. But, sorry, I’ve no opinion yet on the authenticity of the visions.  :)