After returning from the mountain on the third morning, Easter Sunday, Joseph noticed what he describes as an "incredible, mysterious triangular cloud" which hovered overhead. He instantly thought of the Blessed Trinity -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- and he said the cloud seemed, "very powerful, and was moving within itself, like the powerful, billowing smoke you see in a volcano plume or moving storm clouds..." As he was in a hurry to get to 10AM English Mass, he did not at that moment see the distinct image of Christ with His staff, nor the many other images which appear in this cloud formation (e.g., the Father, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, a lost sheep...) He did, however, suspect that the cloud was very, very special.
Once Joseph returned to the US and realized just how amazing the photo was, he made over a thousand copies of it on which he handwrote,"©Copyright 1988, The Risen Christ" which was the name he originally gave to the photo, and under which he originally copyrighted it in order to validate it and protect its authenticity. He then returned to Medjugorje to freely distribute the copies.
On a subsequent journey back to Medjugorje in July/August of 1988, he encountered an Immaculate Heart of Mary nun, Sr. Marie Paschal, who lived near his home of Chester County, PA (Immaculata College, Malvern, PA). Sister recognized the photo from others who had shared it with her back in PA, and she told Joseph, "This is not the 'Risen Christ'... this is an image of Jesus, the Good Shepherd..."
Joseph's reaction was abrupt, and in retrospect, a mistake. "Sister, I took the photo, so I get to name it..." he began.
Sister continued, apparently unaffected by his declaration of "ownership". "I also see God the Father to Jesus's left -- so Jesus is to the right of the Father, as he should be," sister continued, "and I see the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove... a shepherd's staff and a lamb..." Sister proceeded to point out many special manifestations which God gave her eyes to see in the photo, and which hundreds of other people have subsequently confirmed that they also recognize in the photo, but which Joseph himself hadn't noticed.
Sister then paused and, looking directly at Joseph, said something he will never forget. "I see another face..." sister began slowly. "This is your face... you're the Repentant Sinner.... the lost lamb.... This is definitely the Good Shepherd..."
Joseph recalls his feelings at that moment, which he did not dare to speak outloud: "How did she know...?"
After returning to America that August, and unable to deny the truth of Sister Paschal's words, he re-copyrighted the photo by its current name, "The Good Shepherd." Both copyrights remain on file with the US Copyright office as validation of these events.
Joseph repeated this same journey back to Medjugorje from Pennsylvania several times, and eventually, the photo became so popular that witness letters and requests for copies began arriving from all over the globe. Before the onset of the internet and digital communications, keeping up with the many requests was a daunting task which he fulfilled in his free time to the best of his abilities.
This image has been broadcast and published worldwide. FOX BROADCASTING features both the Good Shepherd and the White Cross photos on their recurrent special, "Miraclues and Visions: Fact or Fiction?" Numerous newscasts and television shows, national and local newspapers, worldwide media outlets and entertainment shows have also featured the incredible images, coupled with probing questions by experts or the curious, who are left with a shift in emotions or merely a scratching of their heads. The authenticity of these photographs has been verified by independent photo labs. Those who may doubt or question are welcome to investigate their origin and authenticity.
The testimonies of other witnesses to this inspirational photograph will be posted shortly on this site, and a documentary detailing persons and events is in prayer. (Please join us by praying that God's will may be done in this regard.)
Most importantly, the Good Shepherd photo has been a
source of inspiration and conversion to thousands. Even the most hardened
atheists have a hard time ignorning the fact that "something incredible" did
indeed happen at the moment the picture was taken.
Joseph Hooker can be emailed directly at:
If a physical copy of The Good Shepherd is required, click here.
(However, we encourage instead the free download/digital distribution
of this image whenever possible. Please include copyright info authentication.)