“Queen of Peace”
MEDJUGORJE, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA (1981 — present)
Nobody could have predicted what was about to transform the tiny village of Medjugorje in the mountains of Bosnia-Hercegovina, starting in 1981 … … or did they? Back in 1933, the parish priest, Father Bernardin Smoljan, enthusiastically inspired his followers to haul stones, steel, cement, and wood up the rocky, thorny Krizevac Hill to erect an impressive 30-foot tall concrete cross on the 1,500 foot-high summit. This was to commemorate the 1900th anniversary of the death and resurrection of Jesus. This achievement certainly did not go unnoticed by Our Blessed Mother. Did it perhaps draw her attention? (She later told the visionaries that this cross had been part of God’s plan.)
A poor, humble, illiterate man, Mate Sego, born in 1901, repeated his prophetic predictions over many years that little Medjugorje would become a very important place one day with people from all nations coming to pray in a new church that would be built. Yet the crowds would be so vast that no church would be able to accommodate them all. He said that the Virgin Mary would come there! Before he died in 1979, he stated,
“I’m telling you this now! I will not see any of this, but you children will! There will be lots of buildings – not like the houses we have nowadays – some of the buildings will be huge. Our folks will sell their land to foreigners who will build hotels. Medjugorje and the surrounding hills will be a holy place. There will be so many people on our Crnica that you won’t be able to sleep at night. They will come for my Gospa (Blessed Mary)! Be kind and hospitable to those who come here, and all will go well for you.”
At the time, nobody took him very seriously, but just two years after his death, Our Blessed Mary began making her appearances in Medjugorje. True to his predictions, so many thousands of pilgrims prayed and sang songs through the night on Crnica, making it difficult to sleep. Hotels, large stores, and other big buildings developed over the next thirty years – accommodating the estimated 50 million pilgrims from many nations who have visited this holy place and experienced wondrous things.
Several other things happened prior to Mary’s first appearance. When the new St. James Church was completed in 1969, none of the local people could quite understand why it had been built so much larger than what this little village would ever need. Vlado Falak finished a painting in 1974 that hangs in the church choir loft – depicting the Virgin Mary appearing in the skies over Krizevac Hill. And Mary appeared there just 7 years later.
Just two months before the first apparition, Franjo, the youngest brother of Vicka Ivankovic (one of the visionaries) was preparing to take the family’s little tractor and trailer out to collect wood at 6:00 a.m. one morning. As he was gathering tools to place in the trailer, he discovered two sets of Rosary beads lying in the back of the trailer. One had a beautifully carved crucifix in ivory, depicting the scenes of all 14 Stations of the Cross. Franjo took them to his mother and grandmother, joking with them that this must be a sign from Mary, suggesting that “you need to pray more!” Nobody in the village claimed the beads or had ever seen them before.
But when the apparitions began just two months later – and his sister Vicka became one of the visionaries, the mother asked Vicka to ask Blessed Mary where the Rosary beads had come from. Mary replied,
“They were a special gift from me to your family…”
The final prophetic event occurred at the beginning of June, 1981 – just weeks before the first apparition. Father Tomislav Vlasic, a Franciscan priest from the Medjugorje region, had been feeling depressed and rather hopeless about the future of the church. He had recently resigned from his own Franciscan council, saying, “No one can do anything about the problems of the Church. All we can do is pray.” He decided to attend the International Leader’s Conference of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Rome for inspiration. Attended by around 700 participants from around the world, he asked to be prayed over for the healing of the Church.
Two of the religious participants praying over him received impressive responses. Father Emiliano Tardif from the Dominican Republic, who was reputed to have special healing powers, relayed the following locution that he received:
“Do not be afraid. I am sending you My Mother.”
Sister Briege McKenna, a sister of Saint Clare from Tampa, Florida, was also known for her special charismatic gifts – and related the following prophetic vision to him:
“I see a church with two large steeples high in the mountains. You are at the altar sitting in the celebrant’s chair. A spring of water gushes forth from behind you and flows through the church. Thousands come forth to drink of this water.”
Several months later in August of 1981, Father Tomislav Vlasic was transferred to Medjugorje – and immediately recognized the twin steeples of the church in the mountains as those described in Sister McKenna’s vision! He remained there through 1984, helping out through those amazing first several years.
The apparitions began on Wednesday, June 24, 1981 – Feast Day of John the Baptist. The day began with a violent thunderstorm and driving rains. But by late morning, all traces of the storm were gone, and the stifling June heat had returned. As the quiet evening approached, two close friends, Ivanka Ivankovic (15) and Mirjana Dragicevic (16), were walking between villages along a country road toward the slopes of Crnica. Ivanka was still grieving the sudden death of her mother, Jagoda, from just over a month before. Mirjana was a blonde-headed, street-wise teen from Sarajevo, who was visiting her relatives in Medjugorje for the summer. Some report that they were smoking cigarettes and listening to rock music as they walked along.
When Ivanka glanced up the slope of Crnica Hill, she saw something white or gray standing in the distance. “Look – the Gospa (Croatian word for Virgin Mary).” Mirjana studied her friend’s face, assuming that her grief must be causing such a vision, and said, dismissively, “Why would the Gospa be likely to appear to us?” They continued walking along with Ivanka occasionally looking up, trying to catch another glimpse of the strange figure on the rugged hillside. Milka Pavlovic (13) ran into them and asked for their help to bring her sheep down from the slopes of Crnica. They agreed to help, but Ivanka could not contain herself and begged the other two to return to the spot in the road where she saw the vision on the hillside. They agreed and returned to the spot where they had an unrestricted view of the slopes of Crnica.
Ivanka pointed up the hill with excitement – “The Gospa!” Milka and Mirjana both saw the figure now, too. About a thousand feet up the slope they saw a beautiful young woman holding a baby. Despite the distance they saw everything in very precise detail: a beautiful, graceful, young girl of about 18, silver-gray long dress, white veil, dark brown hair, dark eyelashes, and a crown of twelve stars. She held a child in her arms which she covered and uncovered with her veil. The long dress covered her feet, and she stood on a small, vaporous cloud, which seemed to hover slightly above the ground.
Another friend, Vicka Ivankovic (16) came along the road at this point, thinking that they must be watching some animal or snake on the hillside. But when she saw the apparition, she became overwhelmed with awe and fled, leaving her sandals behind in her haste to leave. Further down the road she sat down to rest on a boulder and burst into tears.
Two neighboring young men, Ivan Dragicevic (16) and Ivan Ivankovic (20) came along the road at this time and offered Vicka an apple from their bag. She blurted out her tale of what she had seen and begged them to accompany her back to the other three girls. The boys agreed to check it out with her, but when 16 year-old Ivan saw the mysterious sight, he turned, dropped his bag of apples, and ran home! They sensed that Mary was beckoning them to come closer, but nobody was brave enough to do so — and so eventually they left when it started to rain.
The next day, June 25, 1981, four of the kids (Ivanka, Mirjana, Ivan(16), and Vicka) decided they must investigate more closely. Both Milka and Ivan(20) could not return as they had other obligations. But Milka’s older sister, Marija Pavlovic (16) and friend Jakov Colo (10) asked if they could be included if Mary should appear again. The first four kids returned to the foot of Crnica Hill at the same time of the evening – and after three flashes of light, they immediately saw the apparition again. Excitedly, Vicka ran back to get Marija and Jakov, and now all six of these kids became filled with joy – not fear — at seeing her.
The Vision summoned the children to come up to her. They were utterly amazed at the ease and speed with which they advanced up the steep and treacherous slope – full of sharp-edged stones and prickly, thorny briers. Vicka describes that moment:
“We ran quickly up the hill. It was not like walking on the ground. Nor did we look for the path. We simply ran toward her. In less than five minutes we were up the hill – as if something had pulled us through the air. I was afraid. I was also barefoot, but no thorns had scratched me.”
The other kids described it as if they were flying up the rugged hillside. Those who were watching from below were astonished at the speed of the children’s ascent and did not even try to follow them (usually takes 15-20 minutes to climb – not two minutes!).
“When we were about two meters (six feet) away from the Madonna, we felt as if we were thrown to our knees. Jakov was thrown kneeling into a thorny bush, and I thought he would be injured. But he came out of it without a scratch.”
Now the six children were kneeling in front of the beautiful, shining Madonna with her slightly curly black hair, light blue eyes, rosy cheeks, slender build, and coffee-colored gown with a veil covering her head and flowing down over her body as she stood on a little cloud. Very little was said. Ivanka was finally the first to speak.
Ivanka: “Where is my mother?”
Blessed Mary: “Do not worry, my child. She is happy. She is with me.”
Jakov: “Will you return tomorrow?”
Blessed Mary: (nods YES) “Do not worry. I’ll pray with you always.”
Mirjana: “Dear Gospa, they will not believe us when we go home. They will tell us that we are crazy. Please give us a sign.”
Blessed Mary: (smiles) “Good-bye, my angels. Go in God’s peace.”
News of the apparitions spread fast; several thousand people from near and far were gathered in anticipation of a third evening appearance on Friday, June 26. Others were able to see the three flashes of light that seemed to precede every appearance. Vicka shares her thoughts at this point in time:
“On the third day, we went up the hill again. My grandmother told me to bring holy water with me. When Our Lady comes, I should use holy water and make the Sign of the Cross. So when Our Lady came, I used the holy water and said, ‘If you are Our Lady, stay with us, and if you are not, you better go away.’ Our Lady just smiled. As I threw it toward her, I could see the drops of holy water vanishing in the air. That was a sign, a sure sign for us, that it really was Our Lady.”
The essential dialogue of the third apparition goes as follows:
Blessed Mary: “Praised be Jesus.”
Vicka: (sprinkles Mary with holy water) “If you are the Gospa, stay with us. If not, go away.”
Blessed Mary: (smiles)
Ivanka: “Why have you come here?”
Blessed Mary: “I have come because there are enough true believers here. I wish to be with you to convert and to reconcile the whole world.”
Ivanka: “Did my mother say anything?”
Blessed Mary: “Obey your grandmother and help her because she is old.”
Mirjana: “How is my grandfather? (recently died)”
Blessed Mary: “He is well.”
Others: “Give us a sign which will prove your presence.”
Blessed Mary: “Blessed are those who have not seen and who believe.”
Mirjana: “Who are you?”
Blessed Mary: “I am the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.”
Others: “Why are you appearing to us? We are not better than others.”
Blessed Mary: “I do not necessarily choose the best.”
Others: “Will you come back?”
Blessed Mary: “Yes, to the same place as yesterday. Go in the peace of God.”
The next morning the government authorities from nearby Citluk had the police interrogate the children, but they stood firm in their claims. A police psychiatrist could not detect any mental issues.
When the children arrived at the hill that evening, a large crowd was already on the hill, awaiting them. The three flashes of light were often visible to many in the crowd. When Mary arrived, the children would suddenly stop the group prayer on the exact same word and drop to their knees in uncanny synchronization. It was very crowded, so when Mary appeared to them, the mass of praying, singing witnesses was a bit too close. When they saw the crowd accidentally step on the Virgin’s long veil, she would disappear. When some order was established, she would reappear. But then a boy stepped on her veil, and she disappeared again. With tears in their eyes the children cried out, “Be careful! You are standing on parts of her gown, and she keeps disappearing each time you do that!”
A few protective adults cordoned off an area to give the visionaries the space they needed for Mary to appear. The Virgin did not vanish after they did so. The children would focus on the same spot and each would be in conversation with her, separate from the others. Their mouths moved to form words but without audible sound to the onlookers.
Here is their summary of this fourth apparition on Saturday, June 27th.
Blessed Mary: “Praised be Jesus!”
Jakov: “What do you expect of our Franciscans?”
Blessed Mary: “Have them persevere in the faith and protect the faith of others.”
(Mirjana had been greatly concerned by the allegations of skeptics who attributed the visions simply to hallucinations induced by drug abuse:)
Mirjana: “Leave us a sign because the people treat us as liars.”
Blessed Mary: “My angels, do not be afraid of injustice. It has always existed.”
Others: “How must we pray?”
Blessed Mary: “Continue to recite seven Our Father’s and seven Hail Mary’s and Glory Be to the Father’s … but also add the Creed. Good-bye, my angels. Go in the peace of God.”
Ivan had not been present — either due to stomach cramps or his mother forbidding him to attend. Nevertheless, he was depressed about it and did take a short walk. (Mary had noted his absence and asked the others where he was.) The Blessed Virgin surprised him with a special appearance by the side of the road and said to him,
“Be in peace and take courage. Go in God’s peace.”
(Then she gave him a beautiful smile that he would never ever forget.)
On the fifth day of visitations, Sunday, June 28, some 15,000 people had gathered to watch. Blessed Mary appeared promptly at 6:30 p.m. again while the crowd was singing.
Blessed Mary: “Praised be Jesus!”
Visionaries: “Dear Gospa, what do you wish?”
Blessed Mary: “That people believe and persevere in the faith.”
Vicka: “What do you expect from the priests?”
Blessed Mary: “That they remain strong in the faith and that they help you.”
Visionaries: “Why don’t you appear to everyone in the church?”
Blessed Mary: “Blessed are they who believe without having seen.”
Visionaries: “Will you come back?”
Blessed Mary: “Yes, to the same place.”
Visionaries: “Do you prefer prayer or singing?”
Blessed Mary: “Both – pray and sing.
Vicka: “What do you wish from the crowd which has gathered here?
(Mary gives her a loving look, a smile, and vanishes for a few minutes. The children prayed and sang a song, and she reappeared.
Visionaries: “There she is! Let us sing a song!” (Marija leads a song …)
Blessed Mary: “My angels, my dear angels!”
Vicka: “Gospa, what do you expect of these people?” (repeats twice more)
Blessed Mary: “That those who do not see believe as those who see.”
Vicka: “Will you leave us a sign so that people believe that we are not liars or charlatans?”
Blessed Mary: (simply smiles) “Go in the peace of God.”
Visionaries: “She has left! There’s a light behind her! She is gone!”
On Monday, June 29, the children were again summoned by the authorities and sent to the neuro-psychiatric department at the hospital in Mostar. They were subjected to harsh interrogations. Attempts were made to frighten them by exposing them to severely demented patients at the hospital. They were shown dead bodies in the mortuary. But they passed every test, confidently answering every question without hesitation. A Muslim psychiatrist, Dr. Mulija Dzudza, declared,
“I have not seen more normal children than these. It is those who brought them here who should be declared insane!”
That evening, the sixth apparition appeared on the hillside:
Visionaries: “Dear Gospa, are you happy to see so many people here today?”
Blessed Mary: (smiling radiantly) “More than happy!”
Visionaries: “How long will you stay with us?”
Blessed Mary: “As long as you want me to, my angels.”
Visionaries: “What do you expect of the people who have come in spite of brambles and the heat?”
Blessed Mary: “There is only one God, one faith. Let the people believe firmly and do not fear anything.”
Visionaries: “What do you expect of us?”
Blessed Mary: “That you have a solid faith and maintain confidence.
Visionaries: “Will we be able to endure persecutions which will come to us because of you?”
Blessed Mary: “You will be able to, my angels. Do not fear. You will be able to endure everything. You must believe and have confidence in me.”
A local doctor from Citluk, Dr. Darinka Glamuzina, was sent by the authorities to observe the children. She came forward and asked the children if she could touch “this heavenly person” that they claimed to be seeing.
Vicka: “May this lady touch you?”
Blessed Mary: “There have always been unbelieving Judases, but let her touch me. She may come closer.”
Vicka shows the lady where to stretch out her hand; the doctor moves her hand to touch the Blessed Virgin. Suddenly, Dr. Glamuzina became instantly fearful and jerked her hand away. The Virgin then disappeared. The doctor described her experience:
“I felt something metallic and shocking … It sent shivers throughout my body. It was at that moment that I knew something was really happening here!”
Then Blessed Mary reappeared and the dialogue continued:
Visionaries: “The light! The light! Here she is!”
(The parents of a three-year old boy, suffering from septicemia since his first week of life, step forward, asking the visionaries to petition Our Lady for the handicapped child.)
“Dear Gospa, is little Daniel going to speak some day? Cure him so that they all will believe us. These people love you very much, dear Gospa.
Perform a miracle … Dear Gospa, say something …”
Blessed Mary: “Have them believe strongly and pray for his cure.
Go in the peace of God.”
Visionaries: “She is gone. Look! The light!”
Little Daniel could neither hear nor speak, and he walked with a limp. Although the parents were disappointed that there was no instant cure given to their son, they did as the Virgin had asked and prayed fervently and continuously on their long trip home. Later that evening, the family stopped at a small restaurant for dinner. As they discussed the day’s events at Medjugorje, little Daniel grabbed a cup and banged it on the table, exclaiming in a loud voice, “Momma, I want milk!” Several months later, Daniel could hear and speak just fine. Soon, he was running and playing with other boys. Now in his late thirties, he is completely healthy.
On Tuesday, June 30, two social workers (from the government) took the children on a long day of treats and sightseeing, deliberately away from the site of the apparitions. As the rendezvous time of 6:30 p.m. approached, the children demanded to be let out of the car. They were on the opposite side of Crnica Hill while thousands of people awaited their arrival on the other hillside. A light began to illuminate the area where the crowds had gathered but then started moving toward the children who were several miles away. Ivanka asked the social workers if they saw the light – and they did. The children knelt and Mary appeared to them. They asked if she was upset that they were not at the regular location, and she indicated that it did not make a difference. Then they asked Mary if she had any objection to meeting in the church, instead, from this time on. After some thought, she said that she would not mind at all.
Father Jozo Zovko, the parish priest, had respectfully listened to the children’s encounters and asked them many questions, but he was cautious to jump to any conclusion. What convinced him that these apparitions were genuine was his own experience on Wednesday, July 1.
“Sometime in the middle of the day, the police came to find the children because the two social workers had failed to stop them (They actually resigned after their experience). The children were evading the authorities the best that they could that day. I was alone in the church, praying, when I heard a clear voice say, ‘Come out and protect the children.’ I left my Bible and hurried to the door of the church. With my foot still in the air, and the door handle in my hand, the children were running toward me from the left, trying to escape the police. They begged me to hide them as they gathered around me, crying. I embraced the children and took them to an unoccupied room of the rectory, locking them inside. Shortly afterwards, Our Lady came to them in that room.”
Father Jozo was able to end the police pursuits by invoking an existing law that prevented the interrogation of minors without parental consent. Father Jozo was privileged to share in a “silent apparition” with the children (in the choir loft) on one evening that summer at 6:30 p.m. in which “he saw her and was stupefied.” This solidified his belief beyond any doubt.
In mid-July, Our Lady asked the children to meet her on the hillside at 11:00 p.m.; the children also invited thirty of their closest followers. One of the adults saw the sky opening up and a great, intense light coming toward them. Everyone exclaimed that they could see this light. Then a globe of light came out of the old wooden cross at this site and burst into thousands of bright stars – causing some children to panic and scream. Marija cried out, “Be calm. Our Lady is with us.” Everyone knelt and prayed for 40 solemn minutes.
Then the visionaries declared, “Our Lady is looking at all of you and telling you that those who would like to touch her may do so.” The children led the others to her, but if they stepped on her veil, she would disappear momentarily. Those that touched her described a “numbing of the hands.” If a sinner touched her, her dress would turn darker, and if too many sinners touched her dress, it would turn black and she would disappear. Marija insisted that people needed to “come clean” and go to confession. The next day there were long lines for confessions at the church!
After August 12, the apparitions began appearing in the church parish, by the road, or in private homes on a daily basis. Mary spoke simple messages of reconciliation in a voice that “was like a bell that rings softly.” She said, “Prayer and fasting can prevent even war.” Impressively, almost everybody began attending the 3-hour long Masses at St. James church. Father Jozo preached passionate and inspired messages during those days.
But the government authorities ordered him to stop these church services. His refusal to cease and his loyalty to the children led to his arrest on August 17, 1981.
The Virgin reassured the children that she would watch over Father Jozo in prison. And there were indeed signs of her supernatural presence: Prisoners and guards claimed they could see a glowing aura around the priest. The guards would turn off all the lights in his prison cell – yet his cell was always strangely illuminated by a supernatural light! The guards would lock his cell door, but it would always open as they started to walk away. No matter how hard they tried, they could never keep his cell door locked. Frightened and shaken, the guards quit trying. When Vicka asked Blessed Mary about this, she told the children on August 30 that she had been responsible for those tricks! He was finally released 18 months later.
Bishop Pavao Zanic of the Mostar-Duvno Diocese (which includes Medjugorje) believed so strongly in the apparitions during the early weeks that he visited the parish five times and met several times with Father Jozo. The bishop was anxious to meet and talk with the visionaries; once arranged, he spoke at length with all of them. He especially liked Marija with whom he quickly developed a warm relationship. He believed that these were authentic appearances of the Virgin Mary, and that in no way could these children be lying in such a consistent manner for such a period of time. Bishop Zanic concluded – as told to Father Jozo,
“I am 100% sure that it is Gospa (Virgin Mary) who is appearing to these children. I am even more certain of it than of Fatima or Lourdes! Furthermore, I am convinced that the children are not lying. They are saying only what they profoundly believe.”
Heavy pressure from the government was placed on Bishop Zanic to put an end to these apparitions and the huge, disturbing chaos that it was creating. He urgently met with Father Jozo again and told him,
“Father, today I have been summoned to come to Sarajevo. They told me that if I protected Medjugorje, if I stood by Medjugorje, they would lock me up! I cannot go to prison for Medjugorje – I am a bishop!”
A few days later, a hastily-assembled, anti-Medjugorje group of 12 priests came from Rome and threatened the bishop. If he continued his support for Medjugorje, they would “chase him out of the diocese.” Bishop Zanic cringed at such a prospect. Father Jozo was dumbfounded that he could go against what he knew was truth in his heart just to keep his position as bishop. Therefore, to save himself, the bishop immediately denounced the apparitions as false, claiming the visionaries were lying, and that the Franciscan priests were manipulating them and making up the messages—all as a grand scheme to make money and gain power for their order. He maintained this position for 12 years until his retirement in 1993!
Did the children feel betrayed, angry, or depressed about this? Apparently, they kept their emotions in check and maintained appropriate reverent respect for the bishop. Led by Marija, they went to visit him around 1985 and joyfully sang “Happy Birthday” to him when he answered the door. Marija reassured him that they were not “trying to soften him up” as he proposed but simply sharing their love and respect for him.
Father Ratko Peric became bishop upon Zanic’s retirement in 1993, and things only got worse. Bishop Peric immediately took a negative stance toward the apparitions – simply because Bishop Peric does not believe in ANY apparitions of the Virgin Mary, past or present, including Fatima, Lourdes, and Guadalupe! Bishop Peric never conducted a personal or official investigation, and he never has talked with any of the visionaries! Because the local bishop is the first important step in any approval process, Medjugorje seemed doomed for any legitimate approval. But we shall see, later on, how the Vatican cleverly removed that decision-making power away from this biased bishop in an unprecedented move in 2009 in order to finally allow a fair assessment of the miraculous happenings in Medjugorje.
None of the children had known about the earlier apparitions at Lourdes, Fatima, or anywhere else in the world when all of this began for them in Medjugorje – until one of the priests showed them a book much later on Lourdes.
In early October of 1981, Vicka received a surprise while visiting Jakov at his home. The Virgin Mary suddenly appeared and announced that she was going to take them to see Heaven. Jakov became frightened, thinking that they would not return and said, “Why don’t you just take Vicka? She has many brothers and sisters, but I am the only child of my mother.” The Virgin just smiled sweetly and took the two of them by their hands. Vicka describes the experience:
“I was wondering how many days we would be traveling (to get to heaven), and whether we would go through the sky or the ground. Our Lady took my right hand and Jakov’s left hand and took us with her. We saw the ceiling opening, giving us just enough space to go through, and within the wink of an eye, we found ourselves in heaven. Heaven is one huge endless space. There is a special kind of life that does not exist on the earth at all. We saw people dressed in pink, yellow, and gray gowns. Nobody was older than 33 years old. They were walking, praying, and singing, and there were small angels circling around. We saw people praying and singing, together in groups, but we could not understand what they were saying. It must have been some heavenly language. We experienced a special indescribable joy. Our Lady told us to have a good look at how overjoyed all those who were in heaven were. It was a special kind of joy that cannot be experienced on the earth. Everything is definitely so much more beautiful. When you are entering heaven, you experience an enormous feeling of separation from this life and enter a special new life.”
Mary: “All those who are faithful to God will have that. I did this so you could see the happiness which awaits those who love God.”
Then Our Lady took them through Purgatory; they described it as “dark and gloomy” and filled with “a gray-brown mist” and “something like ashes.” They did not actually see anybody but “felt anguish,” a sense of suffering, and a “strong yearning for peace.”
Mary: “These people are waiting for your prayers and sacrifices.”
The vision of Hell was so upsetting that Jakov refuses to describe it – even today! Vicka is reluctant to do so, but she does give us the following account:
“Fire … demons … awful. We literally saw a teenage blonde girl going into the flames and coming out as a horrendously disfigured, animal-like creature. The more they are against the Will of God, the deeper they enter into the fire, and the deeper they go, the more they rage against Him. When they come out of the fire, they don’t have a human shape any more. They are more like grotesque animals, but unlike anything on earth. It is as if they were never human beings before. They were horrible, ugly, angry! And each was different – no two looked alike. When they came out (of the flames), they were raging and smashing everything around – hissing and gnashing and screeching.”
Mary: “Do not be afraid! I have shown you hell so that you may know the state of those who are there. Keep the faith, fast, and pray. The devil is trying to conquer us. Do not permit him. I will be with you at every step.”
The children were not dreaming this, nor were they just given visions. They were physically absent from Jakov’s house for exactly twenty minutes. Jakov’s mother saw them in the home right before they departed. When she couldn’t find them a moment later, she frantically searched everywhere for them, inside and outside of the house for twenty minutes. She was becoming very fearful when they suddenly reappeared within the home, telling her where Blessed Mary had just taken them.
Vicka adds this bit of awareness, many years later:
“We all know that there are persons on this earth who simply don’t admit that God exists, even though He helps them. He tries to nudge them onto the path of holiness. But they say that they don’t believe, and they deny Him. They deny Him even when it is time to die. They continue to deny Him after they are dead. It is their choice. It is their will that they go to hell. They choose hell. When the illumination of the soul occurs in each individual (at death), they immediately have full knowledge of God and of all truths. Thus, they know where they are to go.” (also confirmed later in a message from Mary)
Speaking of Heaven, Ivanka was granted a special request by Our Lady on May 7, 1985.
“I never saw Mary so beautiful as on this evening. She wore the most beautiful gown I have ever seen in my life. Her gown, veil, and crown had gold and silver sequins of light. There were two angels with her – I don’t have words to describe this! Our Lady asked me if I had some wish. I told her I would like to see my earthly mother (deceased). She smiled, nodded her head, and my mother immediately appeared. She was smiling. Our Lady told me to stand up. I did, and my mother embraced and kissed me, and said, ‘My child, I am so proud of you.’ Then she kissed me and disappeared. After this, I asked Our Lady if I could kiss Her. She nodded her head, and I kissed Our Lady. She blessed me, smiled, and said, ‘Go in God’s peace.’”
Ivanka said later that her mother looked the same but much prettier with no evidence of the suffering that she had gone through in the last years. But her body was no longer like our earthly bodies. Ivanka added that touching Our Lady’s body was different than that – and that her dress had a “metallic” feel to it. Ivanka adds,
“Many people do not believe there is life after this life. But I am here as a living witness, and I can say there is life after life because I was able to see my Mom. This witnessing was not just for me, but for all mankind.”
In October of 1984, six thousand priests from all over the world attended a charismatic retreat in Rome – privileged to hear both Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II speak. After this retreat, 110 priests (most were American) from three countries felt compelled to visit Medjugorje. On October 13, (one of Mary’s favorite dates) they met in the late afternoon; four of the visionaries were in the hall beneath them. Our Lady appeared to the children and related a message for these priests:
“My dear sons, today the Lord has permitted me to gather you here to give you the message which is for all those who love me. My dear sons, pray and always ask God to continue to inspire you. In everything you do in the future, always seek the will of God. My dear sons, thank you for having answered my call to come here.”
In 1982, she told the six children that she would give each of them ten secrets, gradually released over time — and they would not see her as often. The credibility of the six visionaries has remained intact over the years. They have never contradicted themselves in relating messages of the Blessed Mary. They have been subjected periodically to every type of medical and scientific examination available. The following comments were the conclusions of seventeen renowned scientists, doctors, psychiatrists, and theologians from their long and detailed research on January 14, 1986 in Paina near Milan, Italy.
“The results proved that the apparitions, to which the visionaries testify, are a phenomenon that surpasses modern science – and that all points toward some other level of happening.”
Another team of specialists from the University of Montpellier, France ran many tests on five of the visionaries during their apparitions. Here are their findings:
- Within one-fifth of a second, they simultaneously knelt and looked precisely at the same spot in the air without any visible reference point when the Virgin Mary appeared to them.
- All eye movements ceased in a time period lasting from 3 minutes up to 45 minutes.
- Nobody blinked in response to any eye being touched.
- They did not react to any pain they were subjected to – including an algometer which causes lesions or skin burns.
- There was a complete absence of sensitivity.
- They showed no reaction to a hearing test – an input of 90 decibels (equal to a loud explosion) in their ears.
- They did not blink when a 1000-watt light bulb was placed in front of their eyes.
- Their regular voices stopped during the vision – yet all muscles of the mouth, jaw, and throat that are involved in speech continued, but the larynx (voice box) was shut off. This is physically impossible.
The French team concluded,
“Nothing in the physical realm interferes with their experience. This phenomenon seems to be a state of active, intense prayer, partially disconnected from the external world, in a state of contemplation with a separate person whom they can alone see, hear, and touch.”
During Bosnia’s bloody war, the conflict came to within five miles of Medjugorje. All the surrounding villages were destroyed by the enemy and most of their people massacred. But Medjugorje seemed protected – as if in a safe bubble from all evil, maintaining a tranquil, peaceful atmosphere. Even when bombs were directed at the village, they would explode safely high in the air or lie unexploded in nearby fields.
Finally, on a clear, blue-sky morning, two Russian-made MIG fighter jets approached Medjugorje to destroy it. On this cloudless morning, a dense fog suddenly appeared, mysteriously covering the entire town and obstructing their vision. They were unable to drop their bombs, and for some reason, one of the jets went down, killing the pilot. The other jet returned safely to base. Apparently, the surviving pilot was so unnerved by the bizarre incident that he defected from his military unit. The peacefulness of Medjugorje continues to only be disturbed by the church bells ringing and roosters crowing!
On August 2, 1981, (Feast of Our Lady, Queen of Angels) a series of celestial displays began and have continued to the present day. Just like at Fatima in 1917, the sun was seen to spin on its own axis just before sunset. Witnessed by 150 people that day, they could stare at the sun without hurting their eyes. It seemed to come toward those who were watching it and then recede back to its position in the sky. As it came closer, great darkness appeared behind it. The reaction of the 150 witnesses varied from praying to crying to panic and running away. After fifteen minutes, it ceased spinning as a white cloud was seen coming down over the mountain and toward the sun. A large number of people also saw numerous globes of different colors moving around the sun, while others claimed they saw Our Lady, the Sacred Heart, a great number of angels with trumpets coming out of the dimmer sun. Others also saw a large heart with six smaller hearts beneath it (the Virgin and the six children?).
Father Umberto Loncar, a Franciscan priest, describes the supernatural events of August 3rd and 4th.
“Many pilgrims observed that the sun had become pale, and that it had bright rings around it. These rings were casting reddish rays on the parish church of Medjugorje. A little later, they saw bright globes of different colors rotating around the sun. All of this was seen while Our Lady was appearing to the seers from 6:20 to 6:40 p.m. I, myself, had not bothered to look at the sky and so I didn’t really believe in them. The next day, I did gaze carefully toward the sun and did observe what the pilgrims had been reporting, but I assumed there must be natural explanations. But the next day was a different matter: At exactly 6:20 p.m. the sun paled, a breeze sprang up, and a most unusual, reddish-violet cloud traveled with considerable speed – much faster than clouds usually do – toward the huge cross on Mount Krizevac. It hovered over the huge cross for a minute or two, then started to move eastward and down toward the earth. I was awe-struck with what I saw next: a magnificent, reddish-violet figure of Our Lady, rising from Mount Crnica (Podbrdo). As it rose majestically in the sky, it slowly lost its delightful reddish-violet color and began slowly disappearing. But, I saw her unusually white veil, fluttering elegantly in the air under Our Lady’s feet for about a half-minute.”
On December 9, 1983, (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) a group of pilgrims reported their deeply-moving experience:
“We had a sun miracle at 1:00 p.m. We had just walked behind the church when a storm commenced … the church seemed to shake. Clouds as dark as night were driven across the sky by this brief storm. Suddenly, the sun broke through with spectacular rays. Then we saw the sun spin – seen most clearly by our most skeptical members! Everyone got on their knees because we all saw the darting and fiery rays breaking through the dark clouds in various directions. As the clouds disappeared, the sky became rose-red, and the sun paled. Seen in the sun was the Andrew cross. As it disappeared, a huge cross made of light began to be raised above the sun, peaked by a crown. Around it the darkness grew again – as though the judgment of God was at hand. All of this time, the huge cross on the mountain was invisible! The spectacular rose colors grew brighter and brighter, twirling around the cross of light above the sun.”
A number of times in the early years, the word “MIR” (“Peace”) was written in large bright letters in the evening sky above the cross on Mount Krizevac. The pastor and many others witnessed this phenomenon on many occasions. The most frequently observed phenomena have involved the cross on Mount Krizevac. People have seen the huge cross transform into a column of light. At other times the cross bar of the cross and its lower part have turned bright white, forming a “T” or a tau cross. At other times, the whole 30-foot tall cross has changed into the bright, luminous form of a young lady that matches the description of Mary given by the children – but with less clear detail. This occurred with most intensity for 30 minutes during the trial of Father Jozo on October 21-22, 1981. Father Luka Vlasic gives the following report:
“I noticed that the cross was gone from the mountain! In its place was now a large, white bright column. Soon this changed into a statue with the contour of a woman. She had her hands extended. She was looking towards the parish church. At times it appeared as if she was bowing to the left, then to the right. A strong thought came to my mind, ‘This is a reward from Our Lady for the long and exhausting four months of hearing confessions in Medjugorje.’ (He and three other priests had traveled to help with that!) Many pilgrims around the church and coming out of the church witnessed the appearance. Their faces were aglow with exultation. I am willing to confirm the truthfulness of this testimony by oath at any time.”
Father Janko Bubalo described his moving experience as well.
“I looked out the rectory window a little after 5:00 p.m. and saw two of the nuns kneeling on the wet ground with their arms wide open. Near them were some seventy men and women, kneeling and quite oblivious of the falling rain. Some were crying, some praying, and others singing religious hymns. They were all looking toward the cross (on the mountain), but it had disappeared! In its place was a strange, pale, rose-colored light without equivalent in real life. Through binoculars, I saw the silhouette of a woman. Her arms were open, and her feet were hidden in a luminous cloud at the base of the pedestal of the cross. I was filled with joy! All the villagers who looked were able to see her. The people prevailed upon the seers to ask Our Lady about the significance of this happening, and she told the children that it had been Her appearing on the mountain.”
Father Stanko Vasilj added a few more details from his perspective through binoculars:
“I saw the silhouette of a woman with a very light and luminous grey cape. At a certain moment, a ray of sparkling light issued from her right cheek. Everyone was on their knees outside. Three Carmelite priests arrived by car at that moment, having witnessed her from their car for the last mile and a half. At the end, a cloud rose up from the site of the cross. It was clear and transparent and divided in two, in the form of a fan. It was followed by another cloud, dark and somber, that came down like a curtain on each side of the cross. The cross finally reappeared, resuming its usual appearance. I affirm all of this, fully aware of my great responsibility before God and the Church.”
The visionaries added that Blessed Mary told them that “all of these signs are meant to reawaken the people’s faith. Every day I pray to My Son in front of that cross, asking Him to forgive the world.”
On December 11, the eve of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a “dance of the sun” took place shortly after 3:00 p.m. as described by an American woman:
“The sun started to quiver and shake as if it wanted to rip itself loose from the sky. It looked like it had a disc covering it – which also shook. The natives call this “the Host.” Then the sun started to rotate clockwise toward us. It was spectacular and awesome! It came toward us and then spun back, counterclockwise. It lasted until about 3:40 p.m.”
At 2:50 p.m. the next day, she and her friends were treated to another performance:
“The sun started to quiver and shake and then spin toward us. The more we prayed, the more spectacular the sight became. The sun started to spin faster and faster, and all of a sudden, we could see a beautiful red glow around it. This changed to yellow, orange, and a most beautiful violet. It started back again, and it came toward us, again changing colors around it. The lady next to me from England was bathed in the colors that the sun was throwing off. I also saw the ground bathed in red, yellow, orange, and violet. Suddenly, the sun jumped across the sky as if it were going down in the West behind the mountain. But just as fast as it jumped over, it jumped back. After that, it zigzagged up and down. My husband and all the others saw it, too! This spectacle lasted one full hour.”
At the end of May, 1984, Our Lady told Ivan that August 5th would be the 2,000th anniversary of her birthday (The Church actually celebrates it on Sept. 8th). That would make Our Lady about 15-16 years old when she gave birth to Jesus. Our Lady told Ivan that Jesus would present her with a special gift of many conversions throughout the world. In preparation for this day, Our Lady asked for three days of prayer and fasting just prior to August 5th, 1984. She also requested that her birthday be a special day of prayer,
“I have dedicated all my life to you through the centuries. Let it not be too much to give that day to me. There will be conversions, changes in the lives of people, in those who are psychologically ill, in sinners. Young people especially will accept me.”
The area responded with great enthusiasm; close to 40,000 followers came for Mary’s birthday. The children stated that Our Lady appeared “more brilliant than ever,” glowing, very happy, and very pleased with the widespread response to her request for prayer and fasting. “Pray, pray – never stop praying!” Around 7:00 a.m. that morning, a number of people reported seeing Blessed Mary on Mount Krizevac for 15 minutes. Her hands were uplifted, and she turned slowly, dressed in brilliant white. Somewhere around this time, the huge concrete cross was seen spinning for about one minute. Two American women reported that many pilgrims saw the “sun spinning furiously” and not hurting their eyes at all. Mary’s birthday was truly a spiritual celebration in many ways!
The most remarkable healing comes with the story of Colleen Willard from Chicago, Illinois in September of 2003. Besides having an inoperable brain tumor which threatened to end her life, Colleen had 15 other major ailments – like critical adrenal insufficiency and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. No airline wanted to accept the responsibility of flying her to Medjugorje. She was so weak from her infirmities that she could barely talk and hold her head upright. Medical clearance was somehow, miraculously obtained, and she accompanied the tour group to Vicka’s house upon arriving in Medjugorje.
It was so crowded there that the jostling, pushing, and tight quarters became a dangerous situation for this frail woman in her wheelchair. Just being touched could cause searing pain; a bang to her head could kill her. Her head dropped, and the tour leader was fearful that she had died. But her husband pushed his way to give her some medicine, and she revived. Vicka saw what was happening while she was talking. When she finished, Vicka pushed her way through the crowd and pulled Colleen from her wheelchair into a loving embrace. Placing her left hand on Colleen’s head, Vicka prayed over her.
Colleen felt a strong heat throughout her body. Many witnessed what looked like a “golden globe coming from Vicka’s hand.” Colleen felt like her head was burning. Vicka stopped the loving prayers and embrace after 10 minutes. Colleen was wheeled away to prepare for Mass and was positioned at the very front of the packed church. As the priest began to consecrate the host, Colleen heard Our Blessed Mother say,
“My daughter, will you surrender to God the Father? Will you surrender to my Spouse, the Holy Spirit? Will you surrender to My Son Jesus? Will you surrender now?”
Colleen agreed and began to feel her legs tingle. As she received the Eucharist, she could feel the heat and pain leaving her body. To the shock of everyone, Colleen stood up and left her wheelchair. After Mass, she was soon laughing and moving about freely. Everyone had tears of joy. That night Colleen danced with her husband in the joyous celebration that ensued. The next day, Colleen climbed Mount Krizevac without any trouble! Upon returning home to Chicago, she stunned the medical personnel of her doctor’s office with her healthy, vibrant presence.
The Vatican recognized that politics and personalities had tainted the formation of two biased investigating committees and had not given Medjugorje a fair assessment. Sending a clear message, the Vatican overruled the negative findings of those two commissions and made an unprecedented move to take the authority out of the hands of any local bishop there and place it, instead, with the Conference of Bishops of Yugoslavia. Furthermore, Cardinal Christoff Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna and close friend to Pope Benedict XVI, came to Medjugorje on September 15, 2009:
“Who could make these things up? Man? No, this is not a human act. When I see the fruits of Medjugorje back at home (in Austria), I can only say that the tree is surely good. You can see a superpower of Mercy … I would advise for patience. The Mother of God is so patient with us that for nearly 29 years here, in a very direct way, she is showing her closeness and care for the parish of Medjugorje and numerous pilgrims. We can peacefully wait and have patience!”
After his trip there, the Vatican approved a new three-year, 17-member commission on March 17, 2010 to study Medjugorje, supposedly wrapping up its findings in 2013. On September 23, 2010, Cardinal Schonborn hosted visionaries Ivan and Marija at his cathedral in Vienna. With thousands of people in attendance and getting to ask questions of the seers for an hour, this high-ranking Vatican official was certainly giving informal acceptance for these events. Blessed Mary came to them in the cathedral for the children’s daily apparition. Pope John Paul II had unwavering informal support and belief in the apparitions, making numerous positive statements on many occasions. He was even quoted as saying that if he were no longer a pope, he would be in Medjugorje hearing confessions!
Regarding the power of prayer, Our Blessed Mother shared:
“Today, I am calling you to prayer. You know, dear children, that God grants special graces in prayer … I call you, dear children, to prayer with the heart. Without unceasing prayer, you cannot experience the beauty and greatness of the grace which God is offering you. May prayer reign in the whole world. You know that I love you and am coming here out of love, so I could show you the path of peace and salvation for your souls. I want you to not permit Satan to seduce you. Dear children, Satan is strong enough! Therefore, I ask you to dedicate your prayers so that those under his (Satan’s) influence may be saved. Give witness by your life; sacrifice your lives for the salvation of the world … Therefore, do not be afraid. If you pray, Satan cannot injure you, not even a little, because you are God’s children, and He is watching over you. Pray, and let the Rosary always be in your hands.”
Regarding the effects of fasting, Our Lady tells us:
“Fast strictly on Wednesdays and Fridays. The best fast is on bread and water. Through fasting and prayer one can stop wars, one can suspend the natural laws of nature … Works of charity cannot replace fasting … Everyone except the sick has to fast … There is only one path – prayer, strong faith, and fasting …”
Regarding confession, the Virgin Mary reminds us:
“Make your peace with God and among yourselves. If confession does not mean anything for you, really, you will be converted with great difficulty. Pray, pray! It is necessary to believe firmly, to go to confession regularly and likewise, to receive Holy Communion. It is the only salvation. One must invite people to go to confession each month, especially on the first Saturday. Monthly confession will be a remedy for the Church in the West. One must convey this message to the West. Do not go to confession through habit. Confession should give an impulse to your faith. It should stimulate you and bring you closer to Jesus.”
Regarding the Mass and the Eucharist, Mother Mary tells us the following:
“Jesus gives you His graces in the Mass. Let the Holy Mass be your life. Mass is the greatest prayer of God. You will never be able to understand its greatness. That is why you must be perfect and humble at Mass, and you should prepare yourselves for it … for an hour at least. May the Mass, the most exalted and most powerful act of your prayer, be the center of your spiritual life. Receive Holy Communion with an open and pure heart …”
Regarding Purgatory, Our Blessed Mother explains:
“There are many souls in Purgatory. Pray for their intentions – at least the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be: seven times each – and the Creed. I recommend it to you. There is a large number of souls who have been in Purgatory for a long time because no one prays for them. These persons wait for your prayers and your sacrifices.”
Regarding going to Heaven, Our Lady tells us some details:
“You go to Heaven in full conscience – that which you have now. At the moment of death, you are conscious of the separation of the body and soul. It is false to teach people that you are reborn many times and that you pass to different bodies. One is born only once. The body, drawn from the earth, decomposes after death. It never comes back to life again. Man receives a transfigured body (in Heaven) …”
Regarding the sick, the Virgin suggests the following ideas:
“Have them believe and pray; I cannot help him who does not pray and does not sacrifice. The sick, just like those who are in good health, must pray and fast for the sick. The more you believe firmly, the more you pray and fast for the same intention, the greater is the grace and mercy of God.”
Regarding graces, Our Lady tells us the following details:
“I do not dispose all graces. I receive from God what I obtain through prayer. God has placed His complete trust in me. I particularly protect those who have been consecrated to me. The great sign has been granted. It will appear independently of the conversion of the people.”
Regarding the Virgin Mary’s role as an intercessor for prayers, she reveals:
“Jesus prefers that you address yourselves directly to Him rather than through an intermediary. In the meantime, if you wish to give yourselves completely to God, and if you wish that I be your protector, then confide to me all your intentions, your fasts, and your sacrifices so that I can dispose of them according to the will of God. I beseech you, Pray to Jesus! I am His Mother, and I intercede for you with Him. But all prayers go to Jesus. I will help, but everything does not depend solely on me, but also your strength, and the strength of those who pray.”
“The most beautiful thing is to believe. All prayers are good if they are said with faith.”
Mirjana inquired about and obtained more details from Mary about Hell and Purgatory:
“Men who go to Hell no longer want to receive any benefit from God. They do not repent nor do they cease to revolt and to blaspheme. They make up their mind to live in Hell and do not contemplate leaving it.”
“In Purgatory there are different levels; the lowest is close to Hell, and the highest gradually draws near to Heaven. It is not on All Souls Day, but at Christmas, that the greatest number of souls leave Purgatory. There are in Purgatory souls who pray ardently to God, but for whom no relative or friend prays on earth. God makes them benefit from the prayers of other people. It happens that God permits them to manifest themselves in different ways, close to their relatives on earth, in order to remind men of the existence of Purgatory and to solicit their prayers to come close to God, who is just, but good. The majority of people go to Purgatory. Many go to Hell. A small number go to Heaven.”
On June 24, 1983, Our Blessed Mother related the following urgent message:
“The sign will come; you must not worry about it. The only thing that I would want to tell you is to be converted. Make that known to all my children as quickly as possible. No pain, no suffering is too great for me in order to save you. I will pray to My Son not to punish the world; but I plead with you, be converted. You cannot imagine what is going to happen, or what the Eternal Father will send to earth. That is why you must be converted! Renounce everything. Do penance. Express my thanks to all my children who have prayed and fasted. I carry all this to My Divine Son in order to obtain an alleviation of His justice against the sins of mankind. I thank the people who have prayed and fasted. Persevere and help me to convert the world.”
“I know that many will not believe you, and that many who have an impassioned faith will cool off. You remain firm, and motivate people to instant prayer, penance, and conversion. At the end, you will be happier. When you suffer difficulties and need something, come to me.”
“Dear children, if you knew how much I love you, you would cry without ceasing!”
Other assorted messages over the years:
“Dear children! You are not aware of the importance of the messages which God is sending you through me. He is giving you great graces and you don’t realize it. Pray to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment. If you only knew how many graces God is giving you, you would pray without ceasing.” (November 8, 1984)
“Dear children! I wish to call you to grow in love. A flower cannot grow without water. Neither can you grow without God’s blessing. You should pray for His blessing from day to day so that you can grow normally and carry out your activities with God.” (April 10, 1986)
“Dear children! You are now preoccupied with material things, and in the material things you lose everything that God wants to give you. I invite you, dear children, to pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit that you need now, in order that you may give witness to my presence here and to everything I am giving you. Dear children abandon yourselves to me so that I can lead you totally. Do not be preoccupied with the material things of this world. Thank you for your response to my call.” (April 17, 1986)
“Dear children! I am calling you to begin to pray the rosary with a living faith. Only in that way will I be able to help you. You wish to receive many graces but you do not pray. I cannot help you if you do not undertake the task of prayer seriously. Dear children, I am calling you to pray the rosary. This prayer is a must, and you should pray it with joy. Only then will you begin to understand why I am with you for such a long time. I wish to teach you how to pray.” (June 12, 1986)
“Dear children! Today I would like to invite you to pray every day for the souls in Purgatory. Every soul needs prayer and grace in order to reach God and His love. By praying for these souls you will gain intercessors for yourselves who will be able to help you recognize in this life that earthly things hold no importance; that heaven is the only goal worth aspiring to. For this reason, dear children, pray without interruption so that you may help yourselves and those to whom your prayers bring joy.” (Nov. 6, 1986)
“Dear children! Today, also, I invite you to dedicate your life to me with love, so that I may be able to guide you with love. It is a very special love that I bear for you, dear children, and it is my desire to lead all of you to God in heaven. I want you to realize that this life is very short compared with that in heaven. Therefore, dear children, commit yourselves to God today. Only in that way can I show you how dear you are to me and how much I want all of you to be saved and to be with me in heaven.” (Nov. 27, 1986)
Mirjana had an apparition in 1982 that did not greet her in the usual fashion; Satan had come to her, disguised as the Blessed Virgin. He wanted her to renounce the Madonna and follow him toward true happiness – not the “suffering” that Mary was promoting. Wisely, Mirjana rejected him, Mary immediately appeared, and Satan vanished. Mary:
“Excuse me for this, but you must know that Satan exists. One day, he presented himself before the throne of God and asked permission to try the Church for a period of time. God permitted him to try it during one century. This century is under the power of the devil, but when the secrets which have been confided to you have been fulfilled, his power will be destroyed. Already now, he is beginning to lose his power, and he has become aggressive. He destroys marriages, stirs up division between priests, brings about obsessions and murders. You must protect yourself by fasting and prayer, especially community prayer. Carry blessed objects with you. Place them in your houses. Return to the use of holy water.” (February 14, 1982)
On January 28, 1987, Our Blessed Mother gave a message for the world through Mirjana while she was in Sarajevo:
“In the beginning, you had fear and distrust of the children I have chosen. Later, the majority accepted me in their hearts and started to carry out my motherly requests, but, unfortunately, that didn’t last long. Wherever I appear, My Son is with me – but Satan also follows. You have unwittingly allowed him to take charge of you and rule over you. Sometimes you understand that some of your deeds are not allowed by God but you soon suppress those thoughts. Do not give in, dear children. Wipe away from my face the tears which I shed as I watch what you do. Look around you. Take the time to come to God in the church. Come into your Father’s house. Take the time to meet for family prayer and ask for God’s grace. Remember your deceased; make them happy by offering Mass. Do not look down your nose at the poor man who is begging for a crust of bread. Do not send him away from your rich table. Help him and God will help you. … Do not fool yourself into thinking, ‘I am good – but my brother who lives next to me is not good.’ You will be mistaken. It is because I am your mother that I love you and that I warn you. There are secrets, my children. This is what is not known – and when it will be known, it will be too late.”
Meanwhile, the miracles, healings, and blessings continue for many of the 50 million visitors who travel to Medjugorje. Some see the sun dance in the sky; many see statues that weep, and a number have had their rosary beads turn to gold. So what happened to those six children as they grew up? What about the ten secrets that they were to receive?
Vicka was asked by the Virgin to accept special sufferings so that she could accomplish special intentions for others. Vicka experienced a deep coma for 40 days, several periods of total blindness for also 40 days each, and strict fasting. Vicka gladly helped Mary with these amazing requests, never losing her happy smile. Between January of 1983 and April of 1985, Our Lady recounted her life story to Vicka in great detail (filling three notebooks) – to be published at a later date when Mary says that it is time to do so. Today, Vicka assists many pilgrims in Medjugorje every day with “healing prayers.” She married in 2002 and has two children.
Ivanka receives an annual apparition on every June 25. Her mission is to “pray for families.” She married in 1986, has three children, and still lives in Medjugorje.
Jakov experienced daily apparitions until he received his tenth secret in 1998; now he just has an annual apparition on Christmas every year. His mission is to “promote prayer and fasting.” He married in 1993, has three children, and remains in Medjugorje.
Ivan has had daily apparitions since the beginning. His mission is to promote “praying with your heart.” He married in 1994 and has three children. They reside in both the United States and Medjugorje where he still leads a regular prayer group on the mountainside. Our Lady gave him a message about finding time to pray in a busy world:
“If you want to pray better, you always need to pray more. Time is not a problem. The problem is love. Because, if you love something and care about something, you will always find the time for it.”
Mirjana’s regular apparitions ceased early on with her obtaining the tenth secret on December 25, 1982. She was to only have an annual visual apparition every March 18, but a monthly locution that began on the 2nd of every month, starting in August of 1987, became a full visual apparition after ten years – and continues, regularly, to the present day. Her mission is to “pray for the unbelievers.” She married in 1989, has two daughters, and remains in Medjugorje.
Marija initially received a weekly apparition in the parish church every Thursday from March 1, 1984 until January 8, 1987. After that, she routinely receives an apparition on the 25th of every month – and still does today. Her mission is to “pray for the souls in Purgatory.” She married an Italian in 1993, has four children, and lives both in Italy and in Medjugorje. Her humble and sincere attitude still impresses everyone that she meets.
So what are these ten secrets? In the early months of the apparitions, Blessed Mary presented a strange parchment to Mirjana that contained all ten secrets written in an unknown language. The parchment was neither cloth nor paper, but of a material “unknown” on earth. It could be balled and wrinkled but not torn. As of this date, only Mirjana, Ivanka, and Jakov have been given all ten secrets, including the day and date of each. Mirjana was to select a priest, Father Petar Ljubicic, who is to be given the parchment ten days before the first secret is to be revealed. He will only be able to read the first one. After seven days of fasting and prayer and three days before the event, he must announce it to the world in whatever means he chooses.
According to 26-plus years of research and interviews, Wayne Weible, respected author of nine books on Medjugorje, gives us his best clues and details about these secrets:
Secret #1: There will be a “major upheaval” somewhere in the world that “will for last for a little while.” Mirjana says that it is necessary to “shake up the world a little” – and cause everyone to “pause and think.”
Secret #2: There will be an interior “illumination” of the soul, experienced by every living human being at a specific designated time. Through the Holy Spirit, it will suddenly permit every person to see his or her soul exactly as God sees it. Every sin and every good deed will be visible to each of us — as the world will literally stand still for a matter of time. Those who believe in God will experience great benefit. Those without belief will suffer the pain of the undeniable truth that God is real. Some will die from the shock of seeing themselves as God sees them. In fact, Mother Mary commented on this,
“Tongues of fire (Holy Spirit) will come down upon you all, my poor children, so ensnared and seduced by all the evil spirits who, during these years, have attained their greatest triumph, and thus, you will be illuminated by this divine light, and you will see your own selves in the mirror of the truth and the holiness of God. It will be like a judgment in miniature, which will open the door of your heart to receive the great gift of Divine Mercy.” (Pentecost Sunday, June 4, 1995)
Secret #3: A permanent sign will be visible at the site of the first apparition (and perhaps at the sites of all apparitions worldwide). It can be seen and photographed but not touched. It is mostly a sign for atheists and others to convert, and that God is indeed real. Mirjana says, “When the permanent sign appears, unbelievers will run to the hill and pray for forgiveness …”
Secrets #4-6: Virtually nothing is known about these three secrets.
Secret #7: This was to be the first of three chastisements to begin changing the world. However, Blessed Mary tells us now that the efforts of prayer, fasting, and penance by so many who are trying to follow her messages, have greatly reduced or eliminated this chastisement!
Secret #8: This is another chastisement for mankind – one that frightened Mirjana when she learned of it on November 6, 1982. She begged Mother Mary to lessen its intensity.
(Mary) “I have prayed; the punishment has been softened. Repeated prayers and fasting reduce punishments from God, but it is not possible to avoid entirely the chastisement. Go on the streets of the city – count those who glorify God and those who offend Him. God can no longer endure that.”
Secret #9: Another severe chastisement; prayer and fasting could lessen it.
Secret #10: This will be an unavoidable “purification” of the world through “three days of darkness.” (Sounds a bit like Passover…)
“It will begin on a bitterly cold winter night in the Northern hemisphere. The wind will howl and roar with lightning and thunderbolts of an unprecedented magnitude will strike the earth. The whole earth will shake. The moon and the stars will be disturbed and not be seen in a normal way. Then, every demon, every spirit will be released from hell and allowed to roam the earth. Terrifying apparitions will take place. Many will die from sheer fright. Fire will rain forth from the sky; all large cities will be destroyed and poisonous gases will fill the air. Cries and lamentations will be heard everywhere. The unbelievers will burn in the open like withered grass. The entire earth will be afflicted; it will look like a huge graveyard.
We are to go indoors, lock all doors and windows, pull down the blinds, and stick adhesive paper on vents and around windows and doors. We are not to answer calls and pleas from outside – which sound like our relatives, our children, and our friends – even though the temptation will be overwhelming to respond. In order to protect ourselves, we are to light blessed wax candles, which can be obtained by asking a priest to bless any wax candle. Nothing else will burn, but the candles will not be extinguished once lit. Nothing will put them out in the houses of the faithful, but they will not burn in the houses of the godless. Second, we should sprinkle holy water about the house and especially near doors and windows. The devils fear holy water. We are to bless ourselves with it and anoint our five senses with it – eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, feet, and forehead.
We should kneel and pray incessantly with outstretched arms – or prostrate on the floor. Pray the rosary and meditate on the Sorrowful mysteries. Mercifully, some people, especially children, will be taken up to Heaven beforehand to spare them the horror of these days. People caught outdoors will die instantly. Three-quarters of the human race will be exterminated, more men than women. When all seems lost and hopeless, in the blink of an eye, the ordeal will be over. The sun will rise and shine as in springtime over a purified earth.”
Although the terrifying and gloomy nature of this “secret” sounds so scary and depressing, think about what it is really saying: All evil abolished, the end of the devil’s influence, only sincere believers in God remaining, no crime, no deceit, no abuse – truly like a new Garden of Eden – an age of peace and love and harmony …truly a “world without end.” The Virgin Mary said to not waste energy worrying about the secrets. Believe in God and practice her messages from Jesus through how we live our lives. In conclusion, Our Blessed Mother tells us:
“Resist everything that wants to distance you from My Son …”
“Dear children! Give thanks with me to the Most High for my presence with you. My heart is joyful watching the love and joy in the living of my messages. Many of you have responded, but I wait for, and seek, all the hearts that have fallen asleep to awaken from the sleep of unbelief. Little children, draw even closer to my Immaculate Heart so that I can lead all of you toward eternity. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (June 25, 2011—the 30th anniversary)