It was late afternoon on June 24, 1981. Two pretty girls were out for a walk.
Fifteen-year-old Ivanka Ivankovic, suddenly noticed a light high up on Mount Podbrdo, the large hill behind her village. Glancing up, she saw a figure shining with light, hovering above the ground. It stood a good distance away, perhaps over 200 yards. As she looked, speechless, their conversation forgotten, the figure seemed to form the shape of a young woman. Although she wasn't at all sure, she exclaimed to her friend, "Mirjana, look. There is Gospa." (Gospa is the Croatian word for Our Lady.)
Mirjana was sure Ivanka was joking. She didn't even bother to look where her friend was pointing. "Come on," she said, mockingly, "Would Our Lady appear to us?"
Convinced, Ivanka said no more and they walked on. A younger girl, Milka Pavlovic, asked for help rounding up her goats. Arriving back at the spot, all three now saw the figure. This time they knelt down. Vicka Ivankovic, another friend, happened by. "Look up there," they told her. Terrified, Vicka kicked off her shoes and ran. She met sixteen-year-old Ivan Dragicevic and his friend Ivan Ivankovic. Telling them what happened, they convinced her to take them to check it out. They, too, saw the vision. Ivan Dragicevic took off on a dead run for home.
Next day, four of the children felt drawn back to the spot.
Vicka then ran to get her friend, Marija, (Milka's sister) and ten-year-old Jakov Colo. They, too, saw the apparition the second day. Milka and Ivan Ivankovic did not return and never saw Our Lady again.
Gospa has appeared every day since then. The six young people say Our Lady looks about nineteen years old, is extremely beautiful, and has dark hair with blue eyes. She appears to the visionaries every day at 5:40 p.m.
Her overall message through the years is peace - to reconcile ourselves with God and with each other. Mary says she has come to bring the world back to her Son, Jesus. She asks us to pray, go to Mass, confess once a month, fast on Wednesday and Friday on bread and water and say the fifteen decade rosary every day. Three of the visionaries, Ivanka, Mirjana and Jakov have received ten secrets and no longer have daily apparitions. Vicka, Marija and Ivan have received only nine of the secrets and still have daily apparitions. The visionaries, except Vicka, are all married and have two or more children.
Mirjana has been chosen to reveal the secrets and will tell a Franciscan priest, Fr. Petar Ljubicic, ten days before each one occurs. After prayer and fasting, he will tell the secret to the world three days before it happens. Our Lady also promised that a lasting sign would be left at the spot of her first apparition.
Each month, on the 25th, Our Lady gives a message for the world to Marija, who writes it down for the priests of St. James' Church to translate and send out.
Between twenty and thirty million pilgrims have been to Medjugorje, including priests, bishops and cardinals.
From Medjugorje Magazine
Visit www.medjugormag.com for more info.
Jakov Colo, Ivan Dragicevic and Marija Pavlovic during an apparition.
Born in 1964, Vicka is the oldest of the visionaries. Her prayer mission from Our Lady is to pray for the sick. She has been the visionary most attached to Medjugorje, which she only rarely leaves, and she continues to receive pilgrims every day. Vicka prays with them and for them, and tells the message of Our Lady very simply and powerfully. She is known to have suffered a variety of serious, but never fully diagnosed, illnesses which seem to have a penitential purpose. Recently married, she and her husband Mario have a daughter born in January 2003. Our Lady has so far confided nine secrets to her.
Learn more about these events at Medjugorje.hr. Visit Sister Emmanuel Maillard's
Children of Medjugorje.com.
IVAN: Questions & Answers
The following were questions given to Ivan Dragicevic in Villa Park, Illinois in Sept. of 2000.
Q.What does Our Mother say about television and movies?
A. When Our Lady speaks about families and about young people, she particularly warns families about what negative things television can bring to young people and children. That is why Our Lady is inviting us, that within our families, through family conversations and talks we can show our children and direct our children to the things that are good, the things that are educational, so that through this they can grow. Then they wouldn't look at the things on television and the media which would destroy the spiritual dimension that has been built into them. That's why it's very important for mother, father and the children to gather communally and to put limits on things, to say what is good and what is not good. Very often it happens today that children watch on television what their parents watch and the children do what their parents do. That's a great problem today. We have wished to help, through these nineteen years, by praying for this, together with Our Lady. Our Lady invites all of us to pray for this intention - to begin to change these things.
Q. How do you suggest we bring our older, adult children closer to God through Mary?
A. Our Lady is speaking to young people and families through her messages. She is concerned for young people today. She is concerned for the future of young people. She particularly prays that prayer begin in families. Our Lady knows what this modern world, this modern civilization offers to young people and to all of us. The rearing of children is a process which has to begin at the earliest of age. We must be patient with it. We have to pray about it.
Our Lady says, when she speaks about prayer groups, "My dear children, may each one of your families be a prayer group. You and your children begin to pray together and through that prayer you will build a community, a unity and a trust." In one message Our Lady said, "Let the father be the priest who will guide the children in the family." So, through prayer, we have to create a new atmosphere in the family, an atmosphere of spiritual growth and development. If a child is three years old, we won't expect that child or force that child to pray the whole rosary. Let him pray three Our Fathers and maybe at age five he prays five Our Fathers and at age six, seven Our Fathers.
We must have patience and a peace must exist in the family. Then, in your rearing of the child, he will sense your love, warmth, gentleness, security, lack of fear and lack of criticism, through which you will give counsel. We are always asking our children if they have difficulties and problems. People are always asking me what they should say to young people. Whenever Our Lady speaks, she speaks to young people and families, to father and mothers and children, to everyone, and that's the proper way.
We can't begin to raise a child when they are twenty-five. There has to be an earlier beginning. And when your child enters into a marriage you cannot say, "I am finished now." Even then we can help our children. We can give advice and counsel. We have to help lead them, warn them.
Q. According to Mary, the best fast is on bread and water. Is it true that we don't have to go hungry - that is, does Mary say to eat enough bread so as not to be hungry?
A. Eat and drink in a measured way. In America, we have fifty kinds of bread. You can feed yourselves very well from those fifty kinds of bread.
Q. I understand that Mary says when the Church finally accepts what is happening in Medjugorje it will be too late. Too late for what?
A. In one message Our Lady said that. What she means is that many will have a guilty conscience and ask themselves why they waited so long to start their conversion, missing all of the fruits they could have had earlier. Because of this, Our Lady will leave a sign that will be there for the whole world to see. But Our Lady asks of each of us to be a living sign now. That's the most important thing for all of us.
Q. On the internet it stated that you said there would be no more messages from the Blue Cross. Is that temporary or only when you are in the United States?
A. Our Lady said that in the first week of August at the Blue Cross. What she said is that the messages which she gives on the Hill (or at the Blue Cross), when the prayer group meets, would be only for the prayer group. They won't be for the world and they won't be publicized in the world.
Q. When Mary blesses our rosaries, do they have to be blessed by a priest?
A. Yes, whenever Our Lady blesses things it is her desire that a priest bless them.
Q. What has Blessed Mary told you about Purgatory and what can you tell us about your personal observation?
A. In one message, Our Lady said that we have to pray for the Souls in Purgatory because they are in need of our prayers. So let us pray.
Q. Are our prayers helping to change the world?
A. Yes. Why is Our Lady coming if not to invite us to prayer so that we can change the world? It is very simple.
Q. Is it true that after the visionaries receive all ten secrets they will then be revealed? Which visionaries have received all ten?
A. Marija, Vicka and I have received only nine secrets. Mirjana, Ivanka and Jakov have received the ten secrets. . . The secrets will be revealed when the time comes for them to be revealed.