Beginning Days of the Apparitions
The Story of Medjugorje
Since June 24, 1981, the village of Medjugorje has been the center of a phenomenon, where six people began a lasting dialogue with the Virgin Mary. Medjugorje is a small village in the former Yugoslavia, now present-day Bosnia-Hercegovina. Though not in Croatia, the majority of the population of Medjugorje is Croatian. See map here.
On June 24, 1981, two young girls, Ivanka Ivankovic, 15 years old, and Mirjana Dragicevic, 16 years old, went for a walk along the base of a rocky hill in Medjugorje. Glancing up the hill called Mt. Podbrdo, one of the girls saw a shimmering light in the figure of a woman. The figure beckoned to them, but the two girls became frightened and ran off. What follows below, is the detailed account of the first nine days of the apparitions of Medjugorje.
Day One of the Apparitions | June 24, 1981 | Feast of St. John the Baptist
It was on June 24, 1981, the Feast of St. John the Baptist, that Our Lady was first seen, on that now famous small mountain, known as Podbrdo, overlooking the parish of Medjugorje. Two young friends, Ivanka Ivankovic, 15 years old, and Mirjana Dragicevic, 16 years old, were the first to see her. Ivanka was born in the small hamlet at the foot of Podbrdo, but was living in Mostar at the time, and Mirjana’s family was from Sarajevo, but was visiting her grandparents who lived in Medjugorje. Ivanka describes the event as it began:
Ivanka Ivankovic was 15-years-old the first time she saw Our Lady. Having just lost her mother two months earlier, she quickly felt loved and intimately connected with the Mother of Mothers, Our Lady.
Day Two of the Apparitions | June 25, 1981 | The Anniversary of the Apparitions | Feast of Our Lady Queen of Peace
The children, who had seen the vision the day before, spent this day working in the fields. As they finished their work, a little earlier than usual, four of them decided to see if Our Lady would return: Ivanka, Mirjana, Vicka and Ivan Dragicevic. Mirjana said,
Can anyone imagine an encounter with Heaven at 10-years-old? Jakov Colo literally grew up in Our Lady’s presence.
Marija Pavlovic, 16 at the time the apparitions began, went with the others on the second day Our Lady appeared, because her sister Milka was unable to go. In her humility, she wanted only to “be there” with Our Lady, but then she was chosen to be one of the six.
The apparition lasted for almost 15 minutes. All the visionaries were weeping upon coming down from the hill. They were both moved and frightened by their experience.
Marinko Ivankovic, a man of about 40 years in age, lived across the street from Milka and Marija, and just down the street from Vicka’s house. He knew the children well, and knew them to be ‘good girls.’ He had come across Marija and Vicka on Thursday morning and heard, for the first time, the strange occurrences of the day before. He was shaken by the story and decided, if the children returned to the hill, he would keep a close watch on them. However, he arrived at the wrong time, and was there only to see the children, who were frightened and upset, coming down from the mountain. He said,
And thus ended the second day of the apparitions. It was on this day that Heaven made known its final determination of those who would be the only “eye-witnesses” of Our Lady in the apparitions. The six children who went up the hill that day compiled the permanent group of visionaries: For this reason, among others perhaps, June 25th became the anniversary of the apparitions and eventually was named, the Feast of Our Lady Queen of Peace, at the request of Our Lady, herself.
Day Three of the Apparitions | June 26, 1981
Some of the older women had told the visionaries to sprinkle the apparition with the water to see if it would ‘flee’.16
On this day Our Lady used a different means to attract the visionaries attention. A brilliant light flashed three times, announcing Our Lady’s arrival. Seeing the light the visionaries began bounding up the mountain, telling Marinko exactly where they were headed so he could keep up with them. They were then, followed by a multitude of children and adults. Vicka stated,
The children said that on this day they prayed and sang in the apparition. Marinko had told Ivanka to ask the Lady why She has come.
“Mirjana wanted to know about her grandfather who had recently died.
“The visionaries requested a sign for those who don’t see Our Lady to prove that the apparition was really the Gospa.
“More questions from the visionaries: ‘Why are you appearing to us? We are no better than others.’
It was now 7:00 in the evening. The apparition had ended and both Mirjana and Ivanka felt faint. Marinko, their ever present guardian cleared a path for them through the crowd, helping them down the mountain. Marija began descending herself. She was half way down when she felt herself mysteriously pushed to the side of the trail by an unseen force. She sees the Virgin again. Our Lady is crying and there is a bare wooden cross behind Her.
Vicka tells it this way: “She, Marija, is rather swift footed. She went a bit ahead: with us. And suddenly, she as though she was tossed, not knowing how,… was tossed off to the side…There, the Virgin appeared with a big cross to Marija alone. Marija said the Virgin was very sad, and that She spoke to her through tears. Marija was very frightened. She was unable to stand on her feet…At that point, we also arrived. We spotted her and helped her until she got her wits about her. And, slowly we managed to get home.22
“It was an overwhelming experience,” said Marija. “I saw the Madonna weeping, and the sight drove me to commit myself totally to Her request. She had come to inspire all of us to search for peace-peace in our own hearts, peace within our families, peace in the world.”23
Day three then was an eventful day. From this time forward, three flashes of light would preceed each apparition. Our Lady revealed Her identity saying,
According to Vicka it was pronounced ‘loud and clear.’24 She revealed why She had come,
By following a brilliant light that would flash three times, the visionaries could all meet before Our Lady at the same spot, even if the crowds had dispersed them. This helped even the most skeptic believer because they knew it was impossible to separately move through thousands of people not able to see 2 feet (.6 meters) in front of them and end up at the same spot, then drop to their knees at the same moment.
What a range of emotions must have filled Ivanka’s heart in those days. From losing her earthly mother without having closing words with her, to being able to ask the Queen of Heaven about her mother and receiving answers, she experienced the bittersweetness of life.
From the beginning days to the present, Medjugorje is home to many family flocks of sheep. It seems consistent with God’s plans to choose this village to send His Mother to, and to choose the children who were accustomed to this simple, humble life.
Day Four of the Apparitions | June 27, 1981
Saturday came and with it, new trials for the six children and their families. That afternoon the local government authorities had the children picked up and brought to the police station in near by Citluk for questioning. The children never wavered in their testimony, even before the police. They had seen the Virgin Mary up on Podbrdo, in their village of Medjugorje. In an attempt to have them labeled “mentally unfit,” they were sent to be examined by the doctor on duty. Ivan was the first to be called in and an entire hour had passed before the doctor came out to call the next one. By this time it was getting late in the afternoon. Due to Vicka’s insistence, the doctor released them. He later stated that he had found the children to be normal, well-balanced and healthy. The time was 6 p.m. All but Ivan, jumped in a taxi and headed back to Medjugorje for the apparition. Ivan’s mother, seeing trouble beginning to rise with the authorities, asked her son to stay, that evening, at home. By 6:30, the other five children were at the foot of the hill ready to ascend. Mirjana, Ivanka and Vicka began going up together, while Marija and Jakov waited down below looking up towards the hill. Suddenly, Marija saw a light. A Franciscan priest, who was walking with them, reported the following:
“Marija and Jakov were walking with me when suddenly Marija’s face flushed scarlet. “Look! Look! Look!” she said. Jakov said nothing, but together they ran ahead at what seemed to be a superhuman speed. Marija was wearing a white blouse and red skirt, so I could see her distinctly as she ran, almost seeming to fly. It was impossible to keep up with her.”26
Reaching the top, Marija found herself standing in front of Our Lady, alone without the other visionaries. But then the Blessed Mother disappeared leaving Marija with a puzzled look on her face.
Jakov, who had not seen the light, joined the other three visionaries and Marija soon discovered them as well. It was not such an easy task for the visionaries to find each other on the hill as each day, the number of people present for the apparition increased. In fact, as the apparitions continued, often the visionaries were separated from each other. But when the light flashed, announcing Our Lady’s arrival, no matter where they were on the hill…the six came together, led by the light, much as the wise men were led by the star to the stable in Bethlehem. With thousands on the hillside, this gave clear validity to the children’s testimony, as it would be impossible to find each other in such crowds that were gathered.
As the visionaries began to sing and pray together, the people joined them, pressing all the more closer to them. Those closest to the visionaries, seeing the expressions change on their faces, realized the apparition was taking place and moved more tightly in towards the children. The children, while still in ecstasy, began to excitedly tell the people to move, as the children were shocked to see them stepping on the Blessed Mother’s long veil, but the crowds were out of control and wouldn’t listen. Our Lady then disappeared a second time. Marinko with a handful of villagers made a circle around the visionaries to help control the crowd. Our Lady re-appeared, but again disappeared when another boy stepped on Her veil. The visionaries noticed that Our Lady hadn’t said goodbye, which had been Her custom. They began praying again, hoping that Our Lady would return. But when She did not, they began to move back down the hill.
That day on the mountain, the visionaries asked Our Lady several questions.
The six visionaries had been established from June 25, 1981. Beginning from the left – Mirjana, Vicka, Ivanka, Ivan, Marija, and Jakov in the front.
“Jakov wanted to know what the Virgin expected of the Franciscans in Medjugorje.
“Mirjana and Jakov were concerned because the people were treating them like liars. They asked Our Lady to leave a sign for the people.
Meanwhile, Ivan had felt very dejected, not being on the hill this evening. He had left his house, to go a short distance towards the hill and it was there, on the side of the road, that Our Lady appeared to him. “She greeted him, told him to be at peace and to take courage, and then smiled as She left him.”28 Vicka was asked if perhaps Our Lady faulted him for not being present with the rest of the visionaries. She replied,
And for the last time on this day Our Lady disappeared.30
This was an important apparition for those who were concerned that the children were making the whole story up. Fr. Joseph Pelletier, author of The Queen of Peace Visits Medjugorje, spoke to this point.
“The first sign was the way in which Our Lady appeared on this fourth day. It was completely different from the manner in which the apparition had occurred previously. It was so complicated and involved that it would seem to surpass the capacity of the young people to have thought it up by themselves. Marija broke away from Jakov and raced up the mountain alone. Our Lady appeared to her alone at a different place than before and then mysteriously disappeared. When Our Lady appeared to the five seers together, the people saw the light, which immediately preceded Her coming. During this apparition, She disappeared again to the five as they returned home and, finally, She appeared to Ivan alone, Her sixth appearance in that single day. Many people felt that the pattern of what happened proved the apparitions were not under the control of the seers. In this regard, the apparition to the five seers on their way home was particularly impressive. Together, they all pulled away from the people who were supporting them and together they suddenly saw Our Lady.”31
As it ended, Ivan’s mother, seeing how miserable Ivan was in not being able to be with the other five upon the hill, did not interfere any longer, and allowed him to go at the appointed times. At the same time, she suffered terribly, especially as the harassment of the police began to increase. All the parents were in anguish, having to look after their other children, the house, their fields. Several of the fathers were not in the village at the time, working in Germany or other locations. This left the mother’s alone to cope with these strange happenings involving their children. Only a few days into the apparitions, Vicka’s mother, very distraught, sat outside Fr. Jozo’s office as the children were being questioned. Fr. Tomislav Pervan was present in the room with her, in her anxiety, she cried to him,
Day Five of the Apparitions | June 28, 1981 | Sunday
The parish priest, Fr. Jozo, had been more than 248 miles/400 km away from Medjugorje during the first few days of the apparitions. This left the responsibility of dealing with the children up to his assistant pastor, Fr. Zrinko Cuvalo. He was a gruff man and intimidating. As he did not readily believe in the apparitions, he challenged the children with questions trying to trip them up. He tried to frighten them into confessing the whole thing was fabricated and accused them of being on drugs. He was not successful in leading them towards a confession that they had made up the story.
Fr. Jozo had arrived home Saturday and was shocked and deeply troubled upon discovering the events taking place in his parish over the past three days. It wasn’t until after Mass on Sunday that he, himself was able to meet and question the children. Vicka reported in an interview with Fr. Janko Bubalo, “After Church, Fr. Jozo called us into the parish house and began to question each of us individually…” What did he ask? “Everything. Everything…whatever came to his head…There was no end.”34 Fr. Jozo began tape recording conversations with the children:
Being that it was Sunday, thousands came this day to the hillside; an estimated 15,000. The days had been extremely hot and people had come without food or water. Many had climbed the hill already by noon on this day and sat baking in the sun. Others stationed themselves by the houses of the children.
Around 5:30 p.m. the visionaries gathered and began to squeeze through the crowd. Vicka said,
Once up on the hill, the crowd made a little room for the six and they began to pray with the people. Almost immediately the light flashed and Our Lady was amongst them all. On this day one of the villagers had brought a tape recorder and taped the whole conversation of the visionaries with Our Lady. They could hear the visionaries ask the questions and then after Our Lady replied, they reported Her response to the people. Following is a transcription of the tape.
Children: “Dear Madonna! What do you wish from us, i.e., the children?
Madonna: “Faith and respect for Me.
Children: “Dear Madonna! What do you wish from our priests?
Madonna: “That they firmly believe.
Children: “Dear Madonna! Why don’t you appear in the Church so that everybody sees you?
Madonna: “Blessed are they who have not seen and believe.
Children: “Dear Madonna! Will you come again? ‘She will; She will come to the same place. She will come.’ Dear Madonna! Which do you like better: that we pray to You or sing to you?
Madonna: “Do both: sing and pray.
Children: “Dear Madonna! What do you wish from these people who have gathered here? At this point, the children said, the Madonna, before She answered: ‘Looked at all the people and smiled.’
Madonna: “Let them believe as if they see.
Children: “She is disappearing. She is gone.”
The Blessed Mother had, indeed, disappeared, but She had not said, “Go in God’s peace,” as was usual. Vicka then said: “We will pray again. She did not say anything to us, meaning She did not say good-bye.” They then joined together to pray two Our Father’s, two Hail Mary’s and two Glory Be’s.
Children: “There She is again! Let us sing a song! Marija began to sing a song: ‘Marijo, Marijo, o kako lijepa si…’
Madonna: “My Angels, my dear angels!
Children: “Dear Madonna! What do You wish from these people here?
Madonna: “Let these people, who do not see me, believe the same as the six of you, who see me.
Children: “Dear Madonna! Will you leave us some sign, here on earth, so that we can convince people that we are not liars, that we do not lie, that we do not play games with You?
Madonna: “Go in God’s peace!
Children: “She left! There’s a light behind Her! She is gone!37
The children then sang well-known Croatian religious songs: “Sred te se pecine,” “Marijo, O Marijo,” “Kiste; u tvoje ime.” Then the tape ends.38
Day Six of the Apparitions | June 29, 1981 | Monday | The Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul
They were brought to the neuropsychiatric department of Mostar hospital where Dr. Mulija Dzuda, a professional psychiatrist was ready to examine them, in a second attempt by the authorities to have them diagnosed as mentally ill. The experience was not pleasant and it upset the children. In the midst of the examination, they were brought down to the mortuary and the interrogation was continued there, but in the end they passed every test and were declared sound in mind and body. In fact Dr. Dzuda stated before they left that,
The visionaries wanted to know if the Gospa was happy to see so many people present.
They asked, “How long will you stay?”
They questioned Our Lady about Her expectations about those who came despite the heat and brambles.
“What do you expect of us?” the visionaries inquired.
The visionaries wanted to know if they would be strong enough to endure persecutions because of their beliefs.
On the mountain that night was a doctor by the name of Drinka Glamuzina, working for the government. She made her way to Vicka and asked if she could touch Our Lady. Vicka said, “We asked the Virgin, and the Virgin said:
Vicka never saw her again. Some who saw her descend the mountain said she stumbled down the hill in a state of shock.
It was in this apparition that they presented to Our Lady, for the first time a sick person and asked Our Lady to heal him. He was a small boy by the name of Daniel Setka. Vicka relates,
And then, once again, even after this long day, the crowds from the mountain descended upon the homes of the Visionaries. Vicka later told Fr. Jozo:
Day Seven of the Apparitions | June 30, 1981 | Tuesday
These days remained troubling for both Fr. Jozo and Fr. Zrinko. Fr. Zrinko put it this way,
As the number in the crowds continued to swell into the thousands each day, the police became more, and more concerned. The communist government, who always has reason to fear when scared that an uprising among the people was beginning to develop and that these “demonstrations”, as they saw them, on the mountain were moving the people toward a revolution. The local authorities, were therefore, getting pressure from Belgrade and Sarajevo, to stop the ‘sedition.’ Their plan was to stop the gatherings on the hillside. Orders went out to the villagers to stop going up the mountain. With those orders came threats. They forced some of the villagers, themselves, to block everyone going up-and if they failed to do so-they’re homes and fields would be confiscated. In a communist country, the greatest threat to a family’s existence was the loss of their home and land. There was no welfare, so you and your family starved. And so some villagers stood with guns and pitchforks blocking the entrance to the mountain, while others refused to allow threats to separate them from the apparitions of Our Lady. They were placed in a position to make a choice.
The communists had also hatched a plan to keep the seers off the mountain this day. They arranged for two social workers, young women near the ages of the older visionaries, both who were known by the visionaries and their families, to offer to take them for a little afternoon excursion. Considering it a relief to get away for a bit, all but Ivan agreed to go. The two girls drove the five other visionaries all throughout the local region. It eventually became apparent to them, that they had been led into a trick, as the social workers prevented the children from being back in time to climb the hill for the apparition. Seeing the hill the visionaries asked the girls to stop the car, but their request was ignored. Vicka stated,
Mirjana was next:
Ivanka added that the apparitions would be at the same time.
The visionaries had asked the two social workers to bring them to the parish office after the apparition because quite frankly, they were afraid to go to the hill after having disappointed the thousands who had wanted for them this evening. The police had warned them not to go back to the hill as well. The Visionaries were divided as to what they should do.
It was then that they decided to go to Fr. Jozo.
Fr. Jozo learning that they had not been on the mountain that night, began to question them-each one individually and then altogether, until near 9 p.m. at night. Arriving at home, they learned that their parents had been terribly upset, wondering what had happened to their children, if they had been taken by the police, if they had gotten into an accident. They imagined everything possible. And so began the long explanation of their day, not ending until late into the night. As they got into bed, grateful to see the end of this day. But it was not meant to be. News came to them this late night that Marinko had been arrested. Accused and suffering because of them, the visionaries went to find him and though they were unsuccessful, they protested his arrest and told them at the police station…
Having the children gathered there the police let loose upon them a great deal of threats and verbal abuse. Finally, at 2 a.m., they were sent home.
The outcome of this very long, agonizing day was that the apparitions would begin taking place in the Church. The government authorities would be happy to have the crowds off the mountains.
This statement was made by the Chairman of the League of Communists in Citluk. And so ended the seventh day.
Day Eight of the Apparitions | July 1, 1981 | Wednesday
On day eight, a new threat was leveled at the children. The Secret Security police made an announcement to the villagers that the children were banned from both the hill and the Church. This pronouncement was made in a meeting held in the Medjugorje School after a summons went out to all the villagers. What if they refused? The parents were threatened that if they did not cooperate, it would be spread that they are mentally unfit, would have no more possibility of future education, and that they would face defamation of themselves and families. Even with the threats, the parents deferred their children. Fr. Jozo would say later,
“Those poor parents were treated terribly bad. They were really the heroes who took the brunt of this treatment and by us priests, by the Communists and by the sensation-seekers. I think the parents were the real martyrs of these days.”54
Of the time Marija said,
The two social workers, who had participated in yesterdays trick, were greatly moved by the apparition they had witnessed. They ended up resigning their position with the government as they had a change of heart and became believers. Even so, a police van pulled up the next day, apparently with the same plan-to keep the children from going to the hill. The police officers were content, at first to watch from their car, but as the time of the apparition neared, they forced the seers in the van. Jakov’s mother was able to drag her son out before the doors closed. Inside were Marija, Vicka and Ivanka. The police drove them past the hill and past the Church-all the while they were beating their fists on the windows until they finally stopped the van.
And yet even in the midst of all this commotion, the children had the apparition. Vicka tells what happened to Fr. Bubalo.
Janko: You didn’t see the Virgin that day?
Vicka: Why of course! And how we did! Why, I’ll never forget it.
Janko: Where did you see Her?
Vicka: Why, in the car!
Janko: In the car?
Vicka: Yes, yes. Right in the car!
Janko: And how? Was the car in motion at the time or stopped?
Vicka: That I don’t know.
Janko: And how is that, again?
Vicka: Quite simple! At the time, nothing of the car could be seen.
Janko: I don’t understand!
Vicka: When the Virgin appeared, there was neither a sign of the car, or of anyone.
Janko: Again, I don’t comprehend.
Vicka: Why, it’s the same as when we see the Virgin in that room. We see the Virgin, but we don’t see anything else or sense anything else.
Janko: And did you pray that the Virgin appear?
Vicka: No, no. Who could even think of it at the time?
Janko: Then how?
Vicka: Why, the Virgin, as on so many other occasions, appeared among us, and that was it!
Janko: Were you surprised, frightened, or…
Vicka: Why, you didn’t even have time to think of anything!
Janko: Nonetheless, that was strange!
Vicka: Why, yes. They were quite frightened, but I wasn’t at all.
Janko: Who is, they?
Vicka: Marija and Ivanka. They became actually stiff from fear. That’s why those two called them witches, and everything else…
Janko: How long did the Virgin remain with you?
Vicka: Not long. She said something to us smiled, and left.
Janko: What did She say to you?
Vicka: Nothing special. She told us not to fear. And the like…Her main concern was to appear to us; that She didn’t forget us. The Virgin is good!56
And so ended the eight day.
Once the apparition ended, the police left them off at the Church.
And so for the second day in a row the people waited in the rain for the children and the Virgin. The visionaries felt very badly for them, those who waited and prayed. Yet the people did not give up. The faith sustained them as they waited, being that Our Lady would not disappoint their faith.
Day Nine of the Apparitions | July 2, 1981 | Thursday
The police continued their harassment of the children on this day as well, showing up near their homes around noon. The children, realizing what they meant to do again, slipped out of their houses in an effort to elude them.
“We really didn’t know where to hide.” Vicka told Fra Janko Bubalo. “In the end we went towards the church, not via the road, but through our tobacco fields and vineyards, so that they wouldn’t spot us. The church was locked…We thought, ‘Oh God, where can we go now?’ But, as luck would have it, one of the friars was praying in the church and…”57
As the children were running through fields and vineyards trying to escape, Fr. Jozo was alone in the church, in deep anguish over the situation in his parish. He had, at this moment, placed himself before God crying out to Him to understand what he must do.
“I was in anguish because of all the events. It was at this time that something began to happen in me, which led me to become more than just a listener to the children’s reports.
“People from the government service were brought in to put a stop to the events. Those who were believers did not do it happily. The two girls who had experienced the events at Cerno resigned because of their own experience. The police came to intervene directly. Someone came to Vicka’s mother and said, ‘Zlota, let the children go no more to the church, let the children give that up. It is going to be difficult for you.’
Zlota answered, ‘I will see. I do not know. Who can order a child what to do?’
“Sometime in the middle of the day the police came to find the children, to try to stop them after the two girls had failed. They asked throughout the village where the children were. They wanted to remove them from the hill and from the people. The people responded in various ways: in the fields, in the village, here, there. Meanwhile, the children, who knew they were being sought, were running from the village through the vineyards, toward the church, in the process of escaping, they even changed their clothes in order to change their appearance. It was like playing a game of hide and go seek.
“While all this was going on, I was in the church praying, feeling great responsibility in front of God as pastor. The people were asking questions and I had to say something to the people, to the priests and the sisters. In a way, I felt like Moses before the Red Sea and I knew that I could speak only to God. No man could have answered my need. I prayed, ‘God, I know you talked to Abraham, to Moses and to others. Now there are thousands of people here these days. Tell me where the river is going. I do not know where the mouth of that river is, nor what its source is.’
“No one was in the church with me at that moment. And then, something happened that for me was important and decisive. It was both a turning point and a moment of revelation. While I was praying I heard a voice say,
I left my Bible and breviary, genuflected and with no further thought nor delay left the church. As I was leaving the church through the middle door, with my foot still in the air and the door handle in my hand, the children ran toward me from the left side of the church, escaping from the police. They told me, ‘The police are chasing us. Hide us.’ They had gathered around me and were crying. Ana, Vicka’s sister was with them, sharing their fate. I embraced the children and took them to the rectory. I locked them in an unoccupied room of the house.
“Soon the police came. They asked me, ‘Did you see the children?’ ‘I did,’ I answered. The police kept running very fast toward the village of Bijakovici to catch them. After the police left, I went to talk with the children. I asked them to stay in the rectory so they would not be caught. Shortly after the Madonna came to them in the room. Later there were seven visions in that same room.”58
For the third day in a row, there would be no visionaries up on the hill-and therefore, no apparition. But the crowds of people had still come. However, it began to circulate among them that there was going to be a service at the church that evening. Fr. Jozo said,
With the parish priest, Fr. Jozo, now behind the six visionaries, the villagers filled St. James Church, ready to respond to Our Lady’s call.
Fr. Jozo, that evening in his homily, spoke about Moses ‘leading the children of Israel out Egypt and across the Red Sea,’ how God granted them signs throughout their 40 year journey to show His love and His nearness to them. Of Mary, Fr. Jozo said, She was,
Fr. Jozo then brought the six children into the church, in the sanctuary behind the altar. The apparition had already taken place earlier in the day but, at the conclusion of Mass, the children prayed the seven Our Fathers, Hail Marys, Glory Be’s with the congregation.
And so from this day the people began to gather at the Church to pray the Rosary at 5 p.m., Holy Mass at 6 p.m. ending with the seven Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Glory Be’s. The visionaries continued to be harassed by the police in the days that followed, which prevented them from being at the church every evening. But often they would be there and the apparition would take place during the Rosary before Mass. Today, in Medjugorje, pilgrims who come become, as Fr. Jozo said, not mere spectators, but participants in the event of Medjugorje, in the life of Medjugorje.
A final revelation was made to the visionaries themselves on Saturday, July 4th. Fr. Jozo, in his first meeting with the visionaries questioned them about what they knew of other apparitions. Mirjana stated,
Fr. Jozo handed them a book called The Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin. Reading the stories in the book they became fascinated by Bernadette Soubirous, the visionary of Lourdes, France, in the apparition that took place in 1858. They read that she had had 18 apparitions and reasoned from there that they, too, would only have 18 apparitions. Counting up the number of their apparitions they already had, had they calculated their last one to be Friday, July 3rd.
Contrary to the children’s expectations, however, the apparitions did not end on the Friday. So sure were they of the approaching end that they did not even meet on the Saturday evening. Ivan was at home stringing tobacco leaves for drying, Vicka was picking flowers to take to the hill. In the act of picking them, her hand went stiff, and she dropped to her knees. Marija walked into a room at home, and all
Her brother, Ante, who was with her, rushed out of the room, leaving her alone to pray.
And that was the beginning of the apparitions’ semi-clandestine phase. From now on, they would take place in random locations, wherever the children happened to be: in a neighbor’s house, out of doors, in the clergy house, and only sometimes in the church.
All six of them saw the Madonna that night. On Saturday, therefore,
And so the first 9 days of the apparitions began a foundation to change the direction of the world. No one could have imagined the apparitions would still continue three decades later. We still do not grasp, even a little, the magnitude of Medjugorje. But one thing is clear, had Our Lady not come, the world would be a complete inferno. Through these decades of apparitions, there is a separation of the light and the dark, and through Our Lady, we, at least, have hope the light will conquer.
1. Between Heaven and Earth, the story of Medjugorje, by a Friend of Medjugorje
2. Spark from Heaven, by Mary Craig
3. Between Heaven and Earth, the story of Medjugorje, by a Friend of Medjugorje
4. A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje, by Fr. Janko Bubalo O.F.M.
5. Queen of the Cosmos, by Janice Connell
6. The Visions of the Children, by Janice Connell
11. Queen of the Cosmos, by Janice Connell
12. Interview with Vicka by Fr. Tomislav Vlasic, March 15, 1982
13. Spark from Heaven, by Mary Craig
16. A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje, by Fr. Janko Bubalo O.F.M.
18. Between Heaven and Earth, the story of Medjugorje, by a Friend of Medjugorje
19. A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje, by Fr. Janko Bubalo O.F.M.
20. Words from Heaven, 11th edition, by A Friend of Medjugorje
22. A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje, by Fr.Janko Bubalo O.F.M.
23. Spark from Heaven, by Mary Craig
24. A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje, by Fr. Janko Bubalo O.F.M.
25. Interview with Vicka, March 3, 1982, by Fr. Tomislav Vlasic
26. Spark from Heaven, by Mary Craig
27. Words from Heaven, 11th edition, A Friend of Medjugorje
28. The Queen of Peace Visits Medjugorje, by Fr. Joseph A. Pelletier, A.A.
29. A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary In Medjugorje, by Fr. Janko Bubalo O.F.M.
31. The Queen of Peace Visits Medjugorje, Joseph A. Pelletier A.A.
32. In the Company of Mary, Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic O.F.M.
33. Queen of the Cosmos, by Janice Connell
35. Spark from Heaven, by Mary Craig
36. A Thousand Encounters with the Blesssed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje, by Fr. Janko Bubalo O.F.M.
37. The Apparitions of Our Lady at Medjugorje, Fr Svetozar Kraljevic O.F.M.
39. A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje, by Fr. Janko Bubalo O.F.M.
40. Spark from Heaven, by Mary Craig
42. Words from Heaven, 11th edition, by A Friend of Medjugorje
44. A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje, by Fr. Janko Bubalo O.F.M.
46. Spark from Heaven, by Mary Craig
48. A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje, by Fr. Janko Bubalo O.F.M.
49. Interview with the visionaries, June 30, 1981 by Fr. Jozo Zovko
50. Ibid .
51. A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje, by Fr. Janko Bubalo O.F.M.
52. Spark from Heaven, by Mary Craig
56. A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje, by Fr. Janko, Bubalo O.F.M.
57. Spark from Heaven, by Mary Craig.
58. The Apparitions of Our Lady at Medjugorje, by Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic O.F. M.
59. Spark from Heaven, by Mary Craig
60. Interview with Fr. Jozo, August 11, 1983, by Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic O.F.M.
61. Spark from Heaven, by Mary Craig
62. Interview with Fr. Jozo, August 11, 1983, by Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic O.F.M.
63. Spark from Heaven, by Mary Craig