According to six visionaries, as well as millions of believers, the Virgin Mary began appearing in the tiny Balkan village of Medjugorje (med-you-gor-yeh) on June 24th, 1981. She has appeared every day since. Her messages, intended for all humanity, ask people to place God first in their lives.
The visionaries…Ivan, Marija, Ivanka, Jakov, Vicka and Mirjana… claim that Gospa -- the Croatian word for 'Our Lady' -- has been giving them each ten secrets concerning the future of the world. These secrets are said to include miracles and worldwide events that will be sent by God to convert humanity. The daily apparitions stopped for Mirjana, Ivanka and Jakov after they received all ten secrets. However, Ivan, Marija and Vicka still see the Virgin Mary every day.
The Bishop of Mostar is not supportive of the Medjugorje apparitions, but the Vatican continues to show a great deal of interest. In fact, many bishops, priests and other clergy claim that Pope John Paul the Second strongly believed in Medugorje. He had met personally with at least three of the visionaries. After Pope John Paul II's death, the Medjugorje visionary Ivan saw him during an apparition with Our Lady. The Pope appeared young and joyful.
According to Catholic history, Mary is playing a significant role in the salvation of mankind. This was highlighted in a recent Church breakthrough when, in October, 2002, Pope John Paul the Second introduced a fourth set of mysteries for the rosary, called the Luminous Mysteries. He asked that the Rosary be prayed particularly for the causes of world peace and the strengthening of family life, coincidentally also the two most urgent pleas from Mary in Medjugorje.
According to the Medjugorje visionary Ivan Dragicevic, "Basically what Our Lady has been telling us in these twenty years is everything that is written in the Bible, in the Gospel. She's trying to put it in a simple way so it is easy for us to understand."
Although miracles have been recorded at most Marian apparition sites of the past, it can be said that miracles are daily occurrences in Medjugorje. Recently, a bronze statue representing the Risen Christ in Medjugorje began seeping a watery substance. This occurrence, already attributed to miraculous healings, is believed by some to represent water as a means of purification. Other "Little Miracles" include the common miracle of the sun, where people can look directly at the sun without any discomfort and often see it "dance" around the sky.
When one takes into account the endless stream of good fruits emanating from Medjugorje, it seems evident that the Blessed Mother is truly appearing here. With such a multitude of pilgrims reporting conversions and healings, it's often hard for believers to understand why the local Bishop is not supportive of the apparitions.
The third secret of the ten that were given to the Medjugorje visionaries promises the appearance of a permanent sign on Apparition Hill, where the visitations began. According to Mary, the sign will be a gift from God to show the world that He exists. It will be possible to see, photograph and film this sign, but not touch it. Our Lady, however, is careful to point out that we should not be waiting for the sign. "You faithful already have signs, and you yourselves must become signs to unbelievers…You must not wait for the sign before you are converted. Convert yourselves soon, for this is a time of grace for you. This time is for deepening your faith and conversion. When the sign comes it will be too late for many."
Through messages relayed by the visionaries, Our Lady continually reminds us that her apparitions in Medjugorje represent a period of special grace and a time for conversion. As an example, people who visit this blessed village find their souls renewed and refreshed.
According to the visionary Jakov Colo, "The messages that Our Lady is giving here in Medjugorje are for the whole world, for all humanity."
The fact that Our Lady is appearing every day now in Medjugorje further confirms her plan. The Balkan region is the geographical crossroads between Christianity and Islam. Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Muslims are forced to live here as neighbors. After the fall of communism in Yugoslavia, the ensuing struggle for power led to a horrible ethnic war, despite Mary's constant calls to peace. This atrocity should serve as a warning of what could happen on a global level if people still do not listen.
Today, the fruits of Medjugorje are obvious. Multitudes of people still come to this village, almost always leaving with renewed faith in God. They go on to spread the messages of Our Lady to all who will listen. Often, they echo the urgent words that she has spoken in Medjugorje:
"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 the world; but I plead with you, be converted. You cannot imagine 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."