The date was June 24, 1981, the feast day of St. John the Baptist, which was being celebrated in the small quiet village of Medjugorje – located between two mountains in what is today known as Bosnia Herzegovina. While the world was focusing on events like the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II, John Hinkley’s attempt on the life of Ronald Reagon, and the birth of the first test tube baby, six children from this small unknown village in the former Yugoslavia were to experience a supernatural occurrence which would have permanent and long lasting effects far beyond the news headlines of the day. Some would say that the events occurring there, even to the present, are the completion and fulfillment of biblical history.
In this small farming village called Medjugorje located in what was at that time the former communist country of Yugoslavia, six Croatian children ranging in age from nine to sixteen reported seeing a brilliant light on the side of the hill called Pobrdo on the outskirts of Medjugorje. Within the light, the children saw the figure of a beautiful woman. Perplexed and frightened, they turned and ran back to their homes in the nearby village. A couple of them reported what they saw to their families, the others did not for fear of ridicule or punishment.
On the second day, June 25, 1981, four of the children had a strong internal call to return to the same place that they had witnessed the light. On that day two children stayed behind for fear of repercussion, and two other children joined them, and now there were six children who were able to see and speak with the “beautiful lady”. She later identified herself as the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of Peace. By that time, half the village had heard about what had happened the day before and came out to see what was going on. Again, six children saw the light and ran to it but no one else from the village could see the figure. It was on that second day that the woman spoke to them for the first time beginning with the words “Be Not Afraid”. The children spoke of her indescribable beauty. The Lady told them that God has sent her to our world and that for the period of time that she is with us, it is considered a time of Grace granted by God. “I have come to tell the world that God exists. He is the fullness of life, and to enjoy this fullness and peace, you must return to God”. She later identified herself as the Blessed Virgin Mary and said that her mission is one of Peace; that she has come to the earth to instruct us; to help us to convert and to return to God.
At that time the village was under atheistic communist rule, and the children and families were forcibly pressured to deny the visions. They suffered incredible persecution during the early days but the children would not deny what they were seeing and experiencing. The threat of jail, removal from their families, severe persecution, loss of working privileges for their parents, and even physical harm surrounded them for many years. Even the youngest one, Jakov, who was just nine at the time of the beginning of the apparitions could not be forced to deny what he was seeing – even under the threats of the communist guard.
The six children, now adults, continue to see the Virgin Mary to this day and give the messages to the world. The children describe themselves as “instruments” through which God communicates. They are Ivanka Ivankovic, Mirjana Dragecivic, Vicka Ivankovic, Maria Pavlovic, Ivan Dragecvic, and Jakov Colo.
In addition to Her public messages, the Blessed Virgin Mary also told the children that she would reveal to them 10 events, or secrets, that are to happen in the world in the near future. Some of the secrets pertain to the whole world while others concern the visionaries themselves and the local village of Medjugorje. When each of the visionaries has received all ten of the secrets, it will be the fulfillment of the time period and the secrets will be revealed. One of the visionaries, Mirjana, has been chosen to reveal the secrets, through a priest. She will pray and fast with the priest 10 days before an event, and it would be revealed to the world 3 days before it occurs. It will not be a choice to reveal or not to reveal the secrets; the priest will have to share the message with the whole world.
The children have stated that the first three secrets are warnings for the world, but that people should begin a conversion of heart now. The only secret that the visionaries have been granted permission to reveal (partially) is the third secret. We are told that the third secret will be a permanent, visible, and indestructible sign at the sight of the first apparition that will be supernatural, and cannot be created by human hands. This will be a sign of the authenticity of the Virgin Mary’s appearance. If people have not had a conversion of heart by then, it will be too late for many. There will always be people who will doubt or seek explanations, but God has granted this period as a time of great grace and conversion for anyone who choses to respond. There is an urgency about the messages.
To date three of the visionaries have received all of the ten secrets and three of the visionaries have nine of the secrets and are awaiting the tenth. When all of the visionaries have the tenth secret, the events foretold them will take place. The three who have only nine secrets continue to receive daily apparitions (Vicka, Maria, and Ivan) and the three who have all ten secrets (Ivanka, Mirjana, and Jakov) see her on designated days during the year after they received the tenth secret. These six individuals continue to receive apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary since June 24, 1981 and do not know when the apparitions will stop.
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