On the afternoon of June 24, 1981, two girls, Ivanka Ivankovic (15) and Marjana Dragicevic (16), from the Bijakovici section of Medjugorje were returning home from a walk. Looking towards the hill called Crnica, Ivanka saw a bright silhouette of a woman. She said to Mirjana, “It is the Gospa!” (Our Lady). Marijana would not look and they both ran off in fear.
That evening around 6:00 PM they returned with four others. They all saw her on the hill above. That evening, their families and friends laughed at them thinking it was some kind of child’s prank.
On June 25, the following day,there were the two girls and four others: Vicka Ivankovic (16), and Ivan Dragicevic (16), who were present at the second apparition of June 24, plus Maria Pavlovic (16), and Jakov Colo who came for the first time.
The white figure on the hill beckoned them to approach. The six seers were seen to run up the hill so fast that it was as if they had been carried up the hill by some mysterious force.
Since that day, thirteen years ago, the Blessed Virgin Mary has continued to appear to the children almost every day, and sometimes more than once a day.
As part of our Lady’s appearances, she has promised to give ten secrets to each of the seers. After the apparitions have ended, the secrets will be revealed to the world. The third secret concerns a visible sign that will be left on the hill as a proof of her visitations.
On Christmas of 1982, Mirjana received the tenth secret, with the announcement that the apparitions would end for her, and on May 6th & 7th, 1985, the same happened to Ivanka.
However, the Blessed Virgin promised each of them that she would appear to them once yearly: for Mirjana, on her birthday, March 18th, and also when circumstances require it; for Ivanka, on the anniversary day of the first apparitions on the hill, June 25th. Mirjana received special apparitions in August, 1984 to help her prepare to reveal the secrets to a Priest.
The messages of our Lady can be summed up in a few words: conversion, faith, prayer, fasting, peace and reconciliation.
- Convert – This is the same message as we find throughout the Gospels. It is the message of Jesus Christ. Convert actually means to turn around; turn our lives around and away from those things that keep us from loving and serving God. We are called to change our ways and turn back to the ways of God.
- Faith – Believe in God. It may sound simplistic, but in this world of unbelief and pagan lifestyles – belief in God is of major importance. In response to the children’s questions, our Lady said her favorite prayer is “The Creed”, and she urged that we pray it often.
- Prayer – Without prayer we can not expect to grow in our relationship with God. Mary said that we must pray for our own conversion, the conversion of sinners, for peace, and for protection from the devil who seeks to destroy as many souls as possible. Our Lady wants us to pray the entirerosary every day (15 decades). Our prayers must not be rambling on, but we must pray with the heart. She also requests that we pray 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Marys, 7 Glory be’s and the Creed daily for peace; reading of the Scriptures and personal communication with God.
- Fasting – The Virgin Mary asks that we fast on bread and water on Wednesday and Friday. If we can not fast on bread and water, we should fast from other pleasures; such as television, and things that distract us from prayer. Fasting and prayer together are necessary to help us convert. It shows us our dependence on God and opens our hearts to His grace. Fasting takes power away from the devil.
- Peace – Mary has told the children that she is Queen of Peace and she invites us to peace in four ways: peace in our hearts through reconciliation; this is achieved through her request for monthly confession; peace in our family by making God the center of our homes; peace in the community by love and forgiveness of our neighbor; finally, peace in the world by conversion and union with God.
- Reconciliation – In the Our Father we pray, “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”. We must be reconciled with one another. Our Lady also calls us to monthly reception of the Sacrament of Penance.She said if all people did this the Church would be healed.