15 Years Of Apparitions By:
The Queen Of Peace In Medjugorje
An interview with Vicka Ivankovic, by: Kresimir Sego
Vicka, will you please describe what the feeling of a person is that has been meeting with the Mother of God every day now for fifteen years?
This feeling cannot possibly be put in words, for there are no words to describe it. It is something special, a special peace, satisfaction, a joy that cannot be experienced with any man, but only with Our Lady.
Are you and the other visionaries different from the others in your same age group?
I cannot see that we are any different from the others in our same age group. We have been called to be different, yet we also try to be like others. But the important thing is that we are spreading Our Lady’s messages because Our Lady has chosen us. We have nothing specially different from other people, but we do have the responsibility to carry out what Our Lady tells.
Why were you and the group of children from your neighborhood chosen to convey Our Lady’s messages? Have you ever put this question to yourself, or have you talked about that with the Mother of God?
I could have never dreamt of that. We did ask her once why she had chosen us and she said it had been God’s will, not hers.
Tell us what the Queen of Peace wanted of the visionaries and whether what she wanted has been achieved?
Our Lady wants us to be actually the bearers of her messages. I can personally say of myself that I really try to accomplish this mission Our Lady asks of me.
And what did she want of the people?
Our Lady’s main messages are that people accept prayer, conversion, fasting, penance and peace. This is what we should accept and live, that is what she wants of us.
Will you describe to us, by what you have learned from the meetings with Our Lady, what a Christian should be like today, what the Mother of God expects?
Our Lady does not expect anything special. She says she is not here to bring new messages, to tell us something new, rather she is here to wake us up, for we had fallen asleep and got away from her message.
So, there is nothing new in all that. We only ought to renew the words of the Scriptures and live by them.
Is the man of today moving towards such a description of a Christian, or is he getting away from it?
Well, it could be said that he’s going toward it, but it could still be much better.
Will you please repeat the main messages that the Queen of Peace said fifteen years ago and that are still being repeated today?
I think I have already mentioned these messages, but, here, I shall repeat them once again, for there’s never enough repetition of Our Lady’s messages. Our Lady’s main messages are prayer, conversion, fasting, penance and peace. When Our Lady tells us to pray, she is not asking us to pray only with words. She wants us to open our hearts day after day so that prayer might be a real joy for us. Our Lady explained this by a wonderful example. She says:“You all have a flowerpot in your families. If you put two or three drops of water into the pot every day, you will see the flower growing, developing, and there is a beautiful rose in the end.” The same happens with our heart. If we put two or three words of prayer into our heart every day, it will grow and develop like that flower does. But if we fail to give water to the flower for two days or so, we shall see it disappearing as if it had never been there. Our Lady says that we, too, many times, when prayer time comes, say: I do not feel like praying today, I am tired, I will do it tomorrow, and so tomorrow comes and the day after tomorrow… That way every day we get ourselves farther away from prayer and everything that comes from that bad side starts to enter into our heart. For Our Lady says: “As a flower cannot live without water, so we cannot live without God’s grace. For the prayer of the heart can never be learnt; the prayer of the heart can only be lived, by making one step forward day after day.”
When Our Lady recommends fasting, she is not asking the sick to fast on bread and water, but to give up something they like best; while the persons who are healthy but say they cannot fast because they get a headache or dizziness, lack strong will. Our Lady says, if we fast out of love for Jesus and herself then there will be no problems, for all that we lack is strong will. When Our Lady says “peace”, she herself came here and said: “I am the Queen of Peace and have come to bring peace.” But she has not come only to bring peace to the world; she came first of all to bring peace into our hearts, into our families. And only when we have that peace, can we pray for peace in the world. For if we pray for peace in the world, but have no personal peace in our heart, such prayer is not worth much.
Furthermore, Our Lady calls us to complete conversion. Our Lady says that when we are in problems, difficulties, in troubles, we always think that she and Jesus are far from us but that is not true. Our Lady and Jesus are always by our side. We should open our hearts in order to understand how much Our Lady loves us.
Likewise, Our Lady points out in a special way to put Holy Mass in the first place and that it is the most important and the most sacred moment for it is the living Jesus who comes at that moment and we receive Him into our hearts. Through all that time we prepare ourselves in a special way so that we could receive Jesus with love and in the most worthy manner possible.
Our Lady then recommends that we go to confession once a month, and also, she says, as the need may arise, as an individual may feel. We must not take confession as something routine: just go and get rid of sins and then continue living as before, but we must change and become new persons asking advice from the priest how to make a step forward.
Does Our Lady talk with you about the fruits of the apparitions, the fruits of her messages?
Certainly, she does. She says there are enough fruits but again it depends on us, on how much we are ready to pick Our Lady’s messages. For Our Lady does nothing by force. It is all our will, for God gave us all freedom.
Our Lady has not come to force one to believe, to tell him or her: “You shall believe, you must believe!” He who wants to believe, believes; he who does not, is free to do so.
From the messages that Our Lady gives monthly through Marija, I can see that she sometimes says, “I am happy” and sometimes, “I am sad”. What most of all makes her happy or again most of all makes her unhappy?
I cannot comment on the message that Our Lady gives every 25th in the month, because she does not tell it to me but to Marija. When Our Lady tells a message to me, I am able to explain it to you, but when I hear it from Marija, I hear it like all others.
Our Lady is most happy when we accept her message.
What is the main reason that the effects of Our Lady’s messages are not felt more strongly, so that people accept them with difficulty?
That depends most of all on the person. We should try to pray for the grace from Jesus and Our Lady to help us, naturally along with our good will, to open our hearts. If we”manage” to open them, there will be no problems accepting Our Lady’s message.
Our Lady once said that people are afraid of changing their life, because at that moment they might be feeling well and think, if they accept the message, who knows what lies in store for them. I say they have nothing to be afraid of, for they have not been at ease so far anyway.
If we are not ready to open our heart and surrender ourselves to God’s love, then we shall be in fear all our life and shall never be free.
Family life is the mainstay for a healthy Christian life. Which of Our Lady’s messages would be crucial for achieving Christian life in a family?
Our Lady says she would be especially happy if the prayer of the rosary were renewed in our families. Parents ought to pray with the children and the children with the parents, so that Satan may not be able to do us any harm. Lately Our Lady has been especially pointing out how strong Satan is. Satan wants to hamper us in everything: in our peace, in our families. That is why Our Lady wants us to pray the rosary, and that is the mightiest weapon against Satan. Only in this way, through prayer, sharing, conversation, and Bible reading, can a family of today hold out.
It is usually up to the parents to start praying in the families, but nowadays, unfortunately, it is the children who seem to be starting first, not the parents. But for Our Lady it is not important who it will be, it is important to start. If there is somebody in the family who opposes it, one should not force him, one should leave it to his will. We are here to help him with our way of life and example, so that our prayer might find its way to his heart and that he may come to know the joy of it.
So we have to be patient, for we cannot achieve anything by shouting and cursing. All we can do is to bring it home to him by our example that he, too, ought to change.
Young people are exposed to many pitfalls today. What should be done essentially in order to protect youth from these dangers? I mean, there are young people who have already got into huge problems, for example with drugs, and who are being cured, but what about those who have no opportunity to be treated, for example, against drugs?
Yes. But the main problem is not that these unhappy boys and girls have no opportunity for treatment. The main problem is that such young people, although addicted, will not admit to themselves or to others that they are needy of help. You see, here in Medjugorje we have one such community where the young are being cured from drug addiction, and I know these boys are not ashamed of openly talking about their life. They lead prayers, go around schools and give lectures on addiction. But today’s parents are ashamed to admit they have an addict in the family, they will not admit it to themselves and will not talk about it with the children. Today the parents are afraid of coming closer to their child.
It is not all right for the parents to say to their children, “Here, take this or that much money, go wherever you want and do whatever you please!” and I think it is exactly here that the root of this ruin lies. And today, in these times, just in these areas of Medjugorje, Bijakovici and Citluk and other places, people have the chance of making money, but it is exactly with money that most evils come. For if people themselves are not able to distinguish between good and evil, and are not asking for a special blessing, they will end up in sin.
Our Lady says herself that the young are in a very difficult situation at the moment and says she is worried herself. We can only help them with our prayer and love.
How should we approach young people and urge them to start thinking themselves more seriously about that?
The young need guidance today. I know for sure that priests can do very much in this respect, and if they can’t, nobody else can. This is the moment when something should be done indeed. I often get disappointed when talking to young people: they rarely look into your eyes. Their eyes are void of joy. I try to make them smile a bit, but there is no response, they look completely uninterested, as if they lacked will for life.
Tell me what impressed you most about Our Lady?
Well, I couldn’t say anything special. Each time the meeting with Our Lady makes me marvel so much as if it were the first time. I never ask for anything special. But speaking about the details, I can say that it is magnificent to see Our Lady for Christmas when she appears with baby Jesus in her arms. Two years ago she came with the “big” Jesus on Good Friday. He was in wounds all over, in torn clothes and with a crown of thorns on the head. Our Lady says, “I have come for you to see how much Jesus suffered for you”, and so we saw Him both when he was a baby and at the moment of his passion, of his death. Well, I point this out because it refers to Jesus, but as for Our Lady, I couldn’t single out anything, for all her appearance is simply magnificent.
Will you describe to us the appearance, the figure, the disposition of the Queen of Peace the way you see and experience her?
Each time before Our Lady comes, we see a light three times, which is a sign that she is coming. When she appears, she has a white veil, a crown of stars on her head, her eyes are blue, the hair black, the cheeks rosy; she is hovering in the air on a great cloud, so she does not touch the ground. For some greater festivities, for example Christmas and Easter, or for her birthday, she wears a robe of gold.
Is she a woman from the distant past or is she a woman of our times?
I personally experience her as a person from our times, therefore, as though she were living at this time.
Have people responded to Our Lady’s messages, to her calls to conversion, prayer and penance?
Once Our Lady said that there are a lot of people who accept a message, start living it and then they sort of get tired. But she would much prefer, she says, if we accepted a message with the heart and went a step forward without stopping. People accept everything all at once and then stop all at once.
We should accept the messages gradually, start living them and pray, and then we shall not become tired, if we, of course, accept them with the heart. This is a bit more difficult to explain to people. If Our Lady says at this moment, “Pray three rosaries”:, she does not mean that we should recite three rosaries the same moment. She first said, “Pray at least seven Our Fathers”, after seven Our Fathers she said, “Pray joyful mysteries”, but no hurry: today we shall do one mystery, tomorrow another, or today we shall live one Our Father, tomorrow another, etc. Then after half a year she said, “Pray sorrowful mysteries”, and in a year we shall pray glorious ones, etc. So, nothing was sudden. At this moment it may seem too much to people, but at that moment it was not much, everything was gradual. Today, when I convey Our Lady’s message, that is after fifteen years, I can’t say, “You pray a decade today,” for I am obliged to report fully what Our Lady says.
Do we know how to hear the messages, are we changing?
We know very well how to hear and understand the message quite well. The trouble is that we resort to the messages mostly when we have some problem, but you see, God even uses that way so He can draw people closer to Himself.
You mean that, through the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, people are after all growing in faith, that fruits are visible?
Of course. Our Lady says herself that faith is a great gift, and if we want this gift to grow in our heart we have to pray to God daily. For it is not difficult to say, “I believe”, for it is only words. A man has to show by his deeds what and how strong he believes.
During her second apparition Our Lady said she was the Queen of Peace. One of the main messages, of the main calls upon people, was the call to peace. How did you, as a young lady then, experience that call to peace, did you understand it, since there was no war here or in Europe at that time?
May I correct you on this point? Namely, at her second apparition Our Lady said, “I am the Blessed Virgin Mary”, and a few days later she said, “I am the Queen of Peace and I have come to bring peace”. Yes, I myself was puzzled why Our Lady should say, “I have come to bring you peace”. For it was rather peaceful in Europe then, and I could not really understand what she meant by that. But Our Lady kept repeating through her messages, “Pray for peace”,“Through prayer and fasting even wars may be warded off”, etc. We did sometimes hear of wars in Iran and Iraq, but we hardly knew where that was until finally one day this war of ours occurred.
Our Lady said she had been among us for ten full years giving us messages to help her prevent this war, but we failed to respond to her call.
In the present meetings what does Our Lady say about peace or war?
At the moment Our Lady is speaking mostly about the family and young people who are, as I have already said, in a very difficult situation today. She is calling us to peace, too, but to peace of mind, a peace that people are supposed to find by the spirit. Presently, she isn’t saying anything about wars.
In 1981 mankind was divided in two opposing halves in regard to a life of faith. Namely, in communism faith was forbidden and undesirable, so that in many countries few people were practising their faith. In the free noncommunist world faith was not practised much either for conformist reasons; people bent on material goods crave after them ever more, getting away from God more and more. The apparitions in Medjugorje were a call to both to come back to God, to get free?
Our Lady says, “I am the Mother of all people”, and she loves us all equally. She does not make distinction between men, that is she does not divide them. It was rather men who made such divisions so that these men have got very far from each other, meaning, first of all, nations, peoples, or origins. But we are all equal before God, for God is one for all. Well, let us take me as an example: I have visions, that is, I speak with Our Lady, but it does not mean she loves me more than others; I personally think she loves us all alike, the only difference being that I have the favour of conversing with Our Lady.
You got to know the Blessed Virgin Mary, God’s wishes and demands on us most directly. How, from your experience, do you view the return to God, that is, are men returning to God?
Yes, men are returning to God, and this can lately be seen most clearly by Our Lady’s look, for it can really be noticed that she is much happier. But again, on the other side, they are not returning in the number Our Lady would expect and wish.
The Queen of Peace always addresses us with gentleness, even when reprimanding us. However, in this gentleness of a Mother the demands are very strict – strict in terms of conversion, prayer, fasting. In one word, she demands self-denial. How do you see a life of faith?
I couldn’t say Our Lady reprimands us, at least not in the true sense of the word. Our Lady always has a smile on her face, but many times I felt she was sad. When she appears, I can always tell whether she is happy or unhappy. She always has mild eyes, and I have never had a feeling that she might be reprimanding us. Her reprimand is maybe her very love, her cherishing us so much.
What charms you most in the apparitions, what fascinates and enchants you most?
Maybe the feeling as if you were no more on earth, as if you were suspended in air.
From the very beginning of the apparitions the visionaries have been in a privileged position for us ordinary believers. You have been initiated into many secrets, you have been shown paradise, hell and purgatory. Vicka, what is it like to live with the secrets that have been confided to you by the Mother of God?
So far Our Lady has given me nine out of ten possible secrets. That is no burden for me, for when she gave me the secrets, she also gave me the strength to cope with them. I live as if I did not have them at all.
Do you know when the tenth secret will be imparted?
No, I don’t.
Do you think about the secrets, is it difficult to bear them, are they something of a burden to you?
Yes, I certainly think about them, for the secrets contain the future, but I am not burdened with it.
Do you know when the secrets will be available to people?
No, I don’t know that either.
Our Lady has narrated her biography to you. Can you say anything about her life now? When will that be available?
Our Lady has told me all her biography, from birth till Assumption. I could not say anything about it at the moment, for I have no authorization to do so. Our Lady’s whole lifetime is contained in three notebooks in which I was putting down what Our Lady was telling me. Sometimes I would write one page, another time two, sometimes only half a page.
When speaking of the fruits of the apparitions of the Queen of Peace in the parish of Medjugorje, looking superficially, it seems as if nothing had changed. Men are still far away from God, but when we consider how many have come to the shrine of the Queen of Peace – millions – how many have been converted, the world is much more different in 1996 than it used to be in 1981, both in our people and in the world. What are, in your opinion, the most important fruits of the apparitions?
I have already told you, the most important fruit of the apparitions is the acceptance of her message. Our Lady wants us to be the bearers of her message, to change our hearts.
You are always, every day, in front of your house in Podbrdo, praying with the pilgrims and talking friendly, with a smile. If you are not at home, then you are in countries all over the world. Vicka, what is it that interests pilgrims most in the meetings with visionaries, with you for example?
Every morning, in wintertime, I start working with people about nine o’clock, or at eight in summertime, so that I could talk to as many people as possible. People come with various problems and wishes, and I try to help them as much as I can. I take pains to hear each of them out and say a few good words. I make efforts to find some time for everybody, but sometimes it is simply impossible so that I myself feel sometimes sorry, for I think I could have done more. However, I have noticed lately that people ask less and less questions. For example, I received recently a group of about a thousand people: Americans, Poles, about five busses of Checks and Slovaks, etc. But it is interesting that nobody basked me anything. It is enough for them that I pray over them and say a few words to make them happy.
Are there those who would like to speak to you in private, and what do they expect from you?
Yes, of course, there are, and I believe that every man has a problem that bothers him and that he would like to get rid of. People expect from me to be open in the first place, to convey Our Lady’s message to them and to give them hope. I repeat, I try as much as I can, and I can tell by their look that they are satisfied after the talk with me.
What does a typical meeting of yours with the pilgrims look like?
For example, I get up at eight o’clock in the morning, when I have a meeting with Italian pilgrims. Of course, first I tell them Our Lady’s message, after that they have a meeting with Mirjana at nine o’clock. afterwards I have a meeting with English and American pilgrims. I would like to stress that the Americans always want me to bless them, which I always do. The talk with them takes about an hour or so, depending on the number of pilgrims, and they are followed by the Brazilians, etc. In general, the day passes in talks and prayer.
You travel a lot. Which countries have you visited?
I have visited many countries. I have been to Canada, several times to the United States, to Brazil, and I have also visited most European countries. Sister Elvira, leader of the community for the treatment of drug addicts, who is here in Medjugorje, has opened a new sanatorium in Brazil, near Sao Paolo, and so we are about to visit this place. On our way there we would first visit Florida, where there are such communities, too.
I was with you on a praying tour, and I am happy about that, and I saw how delighted the people were at meeting with you. At such meetings people experience Medjugorje in a concentrated prayer. What do people most often expect from such meetings and what do you recommend to them?
People, for sure, expect a lot sometimes, but I am always the same. What I offered in one place I shall offer in another, too. It is mainly the people who have never been to Medjugorje, and all that is new for them, so that they expect a lot from such meetings. I manage to do much of what they expect. I have a programme by which I work and which is mainly made according to their wishes.
How do you personally feel at such prayer meetings? Tell us something about your most important ones.
I always look forward to such meetings, and each meeting is special to me, but I would single out the meeting with an Indian tribe in Canada. We visited their wigwams, attended the Holy Mass together with them, and I was very much impressed by the meeting with their priest and by the respect they received us with. For Communion they all lined up and took Communion, which surprised me very much. There followed the Adoration, and then they prepared various traditional festivities, too, which was magnificent for me indeed. And it all was happening in the open air, under a cross. Everything happens under that cross with great mental concentration, no matter if it’s rainy or windy.
Had they known anything about the apparitions in Medjugorje before your coming?
Yes, they had, but nobody had visited it before. Father Slavko had also met Indians elsewhere but he had not been in those parts. Father Svetozar and I visited that place at the suggestion of the organizer.
How much effort is needed to start conversion and a life in accordance with the messages?
It does not require much effort. What matters most is that you want conversion. If you want conversion, it will come, and no effort is needed at all. But as long as you struggle, as long as there is a fight going on inside you, it means you are not determined to make that step. You’d better never start struggling if you are not persistent to the end, asking of God the favour of conversion.
Conversion is a grace, conversion will not drop down out of the blue sky, if you do not want it. Our conversion is our whole life. Who can say today, “I am converted”? Nobody. We have to go the way of conversion. Whoever says he is converted is lying, he hasn’t moved an inch. He who says he wants to be converted, he is on the way of conversion, he prays for conversion every day.
Apart from the meetings with pilgrims in our parish and prayer meetings, you also keep in touch with a lot of people from the world. What do such contacts mean to these people?
I keep mail and telephone contacts. Usually, people who cannot come call me by phone, they want to recommend themselves, to pray; the people who are at hospitals, who are dying, want to hear a word of consolation, of hope. They are aware of their condition, they want to recommend themselves, to pray one Our Father, or Hail Mary, with me on the phone. At any time, I accept such talks, for I know what they mean to such people. They feel as if they were in Medjugorje, they are relieved.
I cannot reply to every letter received, for it would hardly leave me any time for anything else. But where I see that it is urgent, where it is necessary, I do reply to such letters. I beg the people not to be angry when they do not get an answer to their letter, for I could be replying day and night. To those who send their letters through pilgrims, I reply with a few words, such as, “I pray for you”, “I greet you”, or the like, so that they may know I have received and read the letter.
Are you personally satisfied with the acceptance of the messages?
On the one hand, I am satisfied, on the other hand I am not. People accept and don’t accept the messages. I wouldn’t like to condemn anybody for not accepting the messages, or say that the messages are being accepted slowly. I don’t look upon it from the standpoint that I might condemn one, far from it. I look upon it this way: As much as I could do more, so should everyone. Nobody should be condemned or blamed. If I, as a visionary, think I can and should do more, so everyone should think: It’s high time I moved at least an inch.
Other apparitions lasted briefly, for a few days, while in Medjugorje they have been going on for fifteen years now?
Yes, once when we asked Our Lady how long she was going to stay, she replied, “Have you become bored with me?” Then we decided not to ask her again. Let it last as long as it will. Our Lady said she would finish here in Medjugorje what she had started in Fatima. She gave this in a message.
You, Ivan, Marija and Jakov have visions on a daily basis, and Mirjana and Ivanka only occasionally?
Yes, the four of us have a vision every day. For her birthday on March 18 Mirjana had a vision, and Ivanka will have a vision for the anniversary. Two of them once a year, and we every day.
How do you feel during an apparition? Has anything changed in comparison with the first days of apparitions?
Nothing has changed. To me the meeting is somehow always the same. You prepare yourself through prayer, and so the prayer builds up every meeting that comes. The more you pray, the more you prepare yourself, the more prepared you get of the meeting.
What does an apparition look like? Will you describe it to us?
The apparition takes place always at the same time: at twenty to six in the wintertime, or at twenty to seven in the summertime. Here there is nothing special. Other people are also present during an apparition. The rosary is recited, sometimes one, another time two decades, so that the meeting happens through prayer indeed. I usually convey people’s recommendations, or recommend somebody personally. (If there is some special question, I put it, await Our Lady’s message, what she is going to say.) There is no suspense at the apparitions, but at each meeting you feel different, for each day is a new day. I often say to the Blessed Virgin Mary, “Our Lady, you know that I am eager to help people”, then I pray with Our Lady for the needy.
How do you talk with Our Lady? Is it a free conversation?
The same as with you now, quite free, there is no difference.
Have you talked about the future of the apparitions?
No, I haven’t. She will tell it herself. When it comes to important questions, Our Lady will tell herself, so that I don’t ask it.
In the first days of apparitions you and other visionaries were talking about a sign Our Lady was going to leave, a visible sign. Has anything changed about the sign, will it be given indeed?
Yes, it will. Nothing has changed. It is the third secret Our Lady gave. She will leave a sign on the apparition spot. The sign will be permanent, visible and indestructible, it will remain forever.
You know what kind of a sign it is?
Yes, we saw it once.
In the first days, months and years of apparitions a lot of people were expecting some kind of sign, a miracle, something extraordinary. Later on this seemed to be disappearing, and people prayed more, worked on their inner transformation. Is it so, and what do you have to say about that?
That’s right. There are a lot of people who, when they come, say they see the sun spinning, they see some changes on Mt. Krizevac, they say their rosaries changed color. Our Lady says these are only small tokens, but it is most important that we change inside, that we change our heart. If you are given such a sign, it means it’s time for you to start changing, and not to attach so much importance to it. It is important to change inside, but if you are given such a sign, then you must know that it was given because you should do something.
There have been some miraculous healings. Will you say something more about it?
Yes. But the parish office could give you a better answer for they have all the evidence of healings. The healed come to me after the event to say hello and give thanks, but I don’t keep records on that, that’s what the parish office does.
How is it possible to bring the rhythm, the speed of today’s way of life, into accord with the requests of Our Lady’s messages?
Nowadays we live very fast and we have to slow down. If we go on at such speed, go on living like this, we shall get nowhere. We should never say, “I have to, I have to”. God’s will is in everything, there’s time for everything. The problem is in us. We are the ones who dictate the rhythm. If we say to ourselves, “Easy!” then the world will change, too. It is up to us, it’s no fault of God, but ours. We imposed the speed on ourselves and assumed that we can’t do without it. That way, we are not free, and we are not free because we don’t want to be free. If you yourself want to be free, you will find the way to be so.
Which prayers does the Queen of Peace recommend most?
She recommends the Rosary. That is her favorite prayer: joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries. Every prayer, Our Lady says, which comes from the heart, which is said with love, is good.
And the Creed, seven Our Fathers, Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s?
That was the minimum. Later, after I had already been repeating these prayers for some time, she said, “We shall pray the rosary”, but, she says, it is important to meditate on every word you utter. It’s no use taking the rosary beads into the hands now, reciting three mysteries, if you remain as empty as before, maybe even emptier. Nothing will come of it. To say one Hail Mary, but so that it remains in your heart, avails more than your having said all the three rosaries without meditating.
The fifteenth year of apparitions is coming to its close. How much, in your opinion, has been realized of what the Blessed Virgin Mary has been recommending by her coming to Medjugorje?
I think that a lot has been realized. I can tell it by her look. But again, much more could have been done if we had been a bit different. A lot has been realized, Our Lady is not dissatisfied.
What is Our Lady expecting from us now?
At this moment? She is expecting what she has been expecting since the beginning. There are still people who are only starting, but there are also people who are going forward, so that Our Lady is expecting the same.
Are you in the position to discuss the future of the shrine?
I really can’t say anything. It would be of no avail. For what I would project, would be my own making, but Our Lady knows what she wants. Our Lady will be announcing little by little what should be, so I am not worried at all, nor am I encumbered by that. I know that Our Lady is in control of everything.
You practically don’t have a private life. You are always at the disposal of pilgrims and the sick, you take part in prayer meetings… Do you ever become tired of it?
No, it doesn’t bother me. It is God’s grace and God’s will. I never become tired a bit. I often say, if one wants and wishes to do something, to be at Our Lady’s service and do what she asks, he will never become tired of it. I often say, I can’t manage everything the way I would like it, but at least I try as much as I can.
Your prayer, meetings with people, with pilgrims, and all you are doing, you do with your familiar, constant smile. Do you ever get angry?
I don’t know. There’s no need or reason for anger. Maybe it’s a special grace, or I am of such character, I don’t know. I have no time to be angry.
What do you recommend to the people in our parish and to pilgrims?
I don’t recommend anything myself, anything out of my own head. I recommend Our Lady’s message, and nothing of my own making. Always when I talk to somebody, I point out what ismy advice, I warn him that it is mine, not Our Lady’s, just to avoid every misunderstanding. What Our Lady says, I point out. Nevertheless, people often convey that wrongly. I have no need to present what is mine if I have what is more important, what we are all told.
The messages that Our Lady gives on every 25th in the month always starts with “Dear children”. Who are her children, the visionaries or all men?
All. All of us who are willing to accept her message. We are all her children. When she gives us a message, she gives it for the whole world, for everybody who wants to be Our Lady’s child.
We, the visionaries, have our faults, for sure, nobody is perfect. What matters most is that a man wants to change, to go forward, to help others. The most important thing is to live Our Lady’s message. If I am not ready to live it, why should I tell it to others? If you want to live Our Lady’s message, if you want to change, if you build it up in your heart, then you may tell it to others, too. As long as you do not undertake anything, you’d better keep silent.
Your family is burdened, too?
Yes, but they have accepted it. God gave them that gift and I really think they are bearing it all right. I have a wonderful family. They know what is mine, they know that every morning I have meetings with pilgrim groups. When I finish with it, I am at their disposal. As for my family, there is nothing that might obstruct my obligations towards the pilgrims.
Do you ever get tired of so many obligations, of so many people?
I don’t feel a bit tired. Never. My work always starts early in the morning and lasts until far into the night. Every day.
You are often with the sick. What are your experiences?
There are sick people. But those sick in spirit are more seriously ill than the physically sick. People need a word of consolation, they only ask for strength. it is hard to say today that sickness is a great gift of God, it’s unimaginable telling a sick person, who suffers of cancer, for example, or of any other disease, that it is a gift of God. Everybody tries to get rid of a disease. Far be it from him.
But, indeed, Our Lady says that sickness is a gift of God, for God knows why He has given this gift to me, to you, to anybody, and He knows when He will take it back, and He demands our patience. Nothing has been given without a reason; everything has its why, and so, she says, when it is given to you, say, “Thank you, O God, for this gift, if you have another such gift I am ready to accept it. But give me also the strength that I may do this for You with the heart and with love”. Our Lady once pointed out that we are not able even to imagine what an importance our suffering has in the eyes of God.
How do seriously ill people feel when you are with them?
The people are glad, for I pray over them, give them a word of consolation, convey them the message. They feel instantly relieved.
What does Medjugorje mean in the world today?
Medjugorje means a lot, for sure. I mean not Medjugorje as a place, but Medjugorje as a message certainly means a lot. It is really something that one cannot imagine, I mean that Our Lady’s message has spread all over the world, to its farthest corner. Judging by the messages I receive, by the letters from all over the world, people are delighted. This has become an oasis of peace; nowhere can a man find such a peace as here under Our Lady’s shelter, in her presence, covered with her mantle. That’s why it is so. But Medjugorje is great by Our Lady’s message and because Our Lady is still here, because her presence is still on a daily basis. Lourdes, Fatima and other places are pilgrim places, it’s wonderful to be in them but one has a different feeling in a place where Our Lady is “alive” . That’s why people feel that Medjugorje is great, because Heaven is still on Earth here, and because Our Lady is present every day.
One cannot compare this to anything, one cannot express in words what Medjugorje means. For all people who come, Medjugorje is holy ground.
Since the first days of apparitions you and all other visionaries have been claiming that Our Lady speaks to you in the Croatian language?
Yes, and there is no greater favour than that. But we are not aware of that favour. Our Lady has accepted us, our people, to speak to others through us, but we forget sometimes to say, “Thank you”. We do not appreciate enough what has been given to us.
In the war that has befallen us, Our Lady has protected us?
Our Lady knows, God knows best. God’s favour is endless and He forgets no nation. At this moment, in our difficult moments of war and everything, only now do we really see how much Our Lady loves us and how much God loves us. They had foreseen the war and all the destruction and that’s why she came to us. It is really a great favour beyond any comparison. We can never thank God enough; as long as one lives, he can never thank enough for this favour. The war came, true, but so did the help from people all over the world. The friends of Medjugorje are the friends of the Croatian people, which could be best felt during the war. Our Lady let our people be helped in this way, too.
Are you satisfied with the way journalists render your interviews?
Not even five percent do they convey of what I say. I cannot understand such twisting. I will do everything for the one who spreads Our Lady’s message. If needed, I won’t sleep for a month, only that good might be done.
Even during the most difficult war days Medjugorje was not without pilgrims?
No, it wasn’t. During the war the French were the most numerous. Before the war they had been very few, but when the war broke out, they started coming, at times five buses of them would come at once, which impressed me very much indeed. They keep on coming. Today they are among the most numerous pilgrims.
Vicka, what do the site of the apparitions, the Hill of Apparitions, Mt. Krizevac and the church mean to you?
The site of the apparitions is the spot Our Lady steps upon, it’s there that she comes, that is number one. Krizevac on the other hand is a place of penance, the Way of the Cross, a real Calvary. Our Lady comes to us on Mt. Krizevac when we go there with a prayer group, that’s great. And the church, again, is something special, for Our Lady says Mass is the most important. You climb Podbrdo and Krizevac, and then you return to the church and do all that is important during the day, Mass being the crown of everything. Our Lady said, “The presence of God at church is more important than my presence, my being here”. Although she is “Live” here, Our Lady wants to stress how much more important Jesus’ presence is.
Pilgrims from various countries celebrate Holy Mass here in Medjugorje in their languages, English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Hungarian, Portuguese, Check, Slovak and other languages. However, a large number of them are present at the evening Mass. What attracts them in such large numbers to a Mass in the Croatian language, which they do not understand?
The evening Mass is a Mass for pilgrims, and for pilgrims it is quite enough to be present at it. Our Lady speaks Croatian to us, the Mass is in Croatian, Our Lady is present at that Mass. Of course there are no differences between Masses. We can see for ourselves how much the pilgrims are concentrated. Although they do not understand the language, they are profoundly participating in the Mass.
Do you still have visions on the Hill of Apparitions?
At this moment, no. When we all come together, we have visions both on the Hill of Apparitions and on Krizevac, it depends.
Our Lady tells you when a vision is going to take place on the Hill of Apparitions or on Krizevac?
Yes. She tells whether and when it will be, on Podbrdo or on Krizevac.
Otherwise, you have a vision every day?
Yes, every day.
How long does a vision last?
Anywhere between five minutes and half an hour, it depends.
We have had a war, people have suffered a lot, and now they are worried about the future, about their jobs, about their life. In fact, people all over the world are worried about their jobs, salaries, about their future. There is a general hustle and bustle everywhere. How to bring such a way of life into harmony with what Our Lady asks?
Man is too much worried and bothered. There is too much fear of loss, but one should not be afraid. God shall never abandon anybody; we here, with our experience of this war, are a proof for that.
Each of us should examine himself, find some time for his family, surrender oneself to God’s will, to His guidance. He who strives for material things is a million times poorer than the one who aspires after spiritual wealth.
There is nothing stronger than God’s spirit and Our Lady’s love. This must be clear to us. If we are seeking that, then our heart swells and all problems disappear. If you gave me the whole world now, I would say no thank you, I don’t need it; I am happier with what I have today and nobody can be happier.
For, as long as you are satisfied with what you have, you will go forward, but if you grab, you will lose even what you have got.
Abortion is a big problem in the world today. Have you talked with Our Lady about that?
Once Our Lady told me that the persons who do an abortion commit a grave sin. The children killed that way are little angels for whose death the persons who have done it are responsible.
One should put oneself the question how many people get killed in war, and how many in a mother’s womb. Those killed in war are mourned, but children just conceived as though they were not human. There is no difference whether one is killed in war or in an abortion. The responsibility is equal. But man’s conscience seems to have failed completely.
The visionaries are the apostles of Our Lady’s messages, and so are the priests who have accepted the messages. But the faithful who have accepted them are also their propagators. What should be done about spreading the messages?
Every man is called upon to spread Our Lady’s messages, just as we were chosen by God to convey the message to people. Our Lady says she is glad for every pilgrim who comes to Medjugorje, but she is even happier, she says, when they accept the message with the heart, live it themselves, and so spread it to other people through their life and example.
Has Our Lady maybe a special message for such people?
To accept the message is a great grace that Our Lady grants. Whoever has accepted the message, has also been given the gift of spreading it further.
At the beginning of the apparitions the visionaries had problems with the authorities. But even nowadays there are those who look with a sneer on the whole thing. Are you embarrassed when you meet such people?
The other visionaries and I never had problems with the authorities; rather it was the authorities who had problems with us. As concerns our situation, neither I nor any of the visionaries did anything bad, we bothered nobody, but the authorities were bothered. We have always been calm and we used to tell the authorities what I am telling you now or what I have been telling everybody for fifteen years. That they did not want to accept our words is up to them.
The one who looks at the messages and the apparitions with a sneer is making fun of himself, not us. It’s a time and a chance for his conversion, too.
With her messages in Medjugorje Our Lady urges people in many ways to change. what should be done so that people may take a greater part in the acceptance of the message and in the change?
Our Lady is constantly calling us to accept the messages. She often says that we are ready to accept the messages hastily, and then to cool down, to stop living by them. As if people got tired. She would be happier, she says, if we were changing slowly in our heart, in our inner selves. If we say we are ready to change and accept that gift, God will find a way for us to persevere. Then there are no problems. It is essential that we make a decision ourselves.
You and the other visionaries are at a meeting every day with Our Lady, that is with the other world, with paradise. Can this life be compared with the one that awaits us in the world beyond?
Our Lady says that we on earth can live paradise, hell or purgatory, depending on what a man will decide for. Likewise, she says that here on earth many think that death is the end of everything. Our Lady herself confirmed that we are only sojourners on earth and that never can we compare this world with what awaits us in heaven.