Visions of the Children: The Apparitions of the Blessed Mother at Medjugorje

Visions of the Children: The Apparitions of the Blessed Mother at Medjugorje

by Janice T. Connell

Paperback(Second Edition, Revised)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312361976
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 05/28/2007
Edition description: Second Edition, Revised
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 555,644
Product dimensions: 5.54(w) x 8.26(h) x 1.32(d)

About the Author

Janice T. Connell is an attorney and the author of Angel Power and Meetings with Mary. She is a prolific and dynamic lecturer who speaks all over the United States and abroad. She lives in Arizona.

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Chapter 1

In the Beginning

It shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all mankind: Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. Indeed, upon my servants and my handmaids I will pour out a portion of my spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy. And I will work wonders in the heavens above, and signs on the earth below: blood, fire, and a cloud of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the coming of that great and glorious day of the Lord. Then shall everyone be saved who calls on the name of the Lord.

Acts 2: 17-21

In the rural hamlet of Medjugorje, nestled in the mountains of southwestern Yugoslavia, where Marxist-Leninism was once the state-imposed Communist regime, the Blessed Mother of Jesus Christ appeared quite suddenly one evening to two teenager girls. Shocked, frightened, and confused, they fled. Later that same evening, June 24, 1981, the two girls and several other teenagers again saw the Blessed Virgin Mary at the same place, Mount Podbrdo, now known as Apparition Hill. This time she was holding the Infant Jesus. Several claim she called to them and they heard her, and that they saw her and the Child quite clearly, though the distance was at least three soccer fields away. Such a humble beginning augured what may be the most profound and important series of apparitions in history, for the Blessed Mother says this is her last apparition on earth in this way. Twenty-five years later she continues to appear daily to three of the original visionaries. She has given ten secrets that allegedly contain the final chapters in the history of the world. She states, according to the visionaries, that after the secrets are fulfilled, she will not need to come to earth again.

The place of the apparitions, which have occurred daily since 1981, is fraught with a violent, bloodstained history that goes back at least one thousand years. It contains scars of such violence to this day. The Blessed Mother tells the visionaries:

I am the Queen of Peace

I am the Mother of God

I am the Mother of All People on Earth

They say she appears standing on a cloud wearing a gray dress, a white veil, and a crown of twelve stars. The cloud itself is significant in that never have the visionaries seen her feet or shoes. Her contact with the bloodstained earth is six young people who became the visionaries of Medjugorje: Mirjana Dragicevic Soldo, Ivanka Ivankovic Elez, Ivan Dragicevic, Marija Pavlovic Lunetti, Jacov Colo, and Vicka Ivankovic Mijatovic (no relation to Ivanka).

Are these the last days? Does mankind stand on the abyss of self-extinction? Is that what the Blessed Mother comes to tell the world? The weapons for such a cataclysm exist. Kindergarten children have seen the means of their own global annihilation on the television screen as death and destruction have exploded for years in the Middle East. Yet the Blessed Mother calls herself the Queen of Peace. The visionaries say she is so beautiful that there are no words to describe her. They say she is "pure love." The appearance of "pure love" juxtaposed with a region so bloody produces a dramatic contrast. The area itself is harsh. The people, for the most part, give evidence in their demeanor of the lived memories of oppression and deprivation.

Medjugorje means "Between the Mountains," and so it is. Thousands of years ago the sea covered the valley that separates the ranges. Here in the poorest, most economically undeveloped region of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the earth itself is often stony and stingy. Though tobacco and grapes have been harvested since the Middle Ages, the crop yield is never abundant. Currency was in such short supply at the time of the first apparition that it was standard for the able-bodied men to labor as migrant workers in West Germany or Italy, while the women and children kept the fields and the animals.1 The hard currency the men were able to earn abroad bought cars and televisions, indoor bathrooms, and even washing machines.

The great-grandmothers of the village still dress in the traditional black garb of widows, since most are indeed widows. World War II took its toll on the older men, and those who survived were often debilitated by excessively hard work and malnutrition. Assets that were desirable in Medjugorje, as recently as 1981, were sheep, cows, chickens, donkeys, and goats, which would wander over the dirt roads. The women and children tended the animals in this village of four hundred families, who live in small stucco houses with red roofs. Each has a little garden, but the land is rarely fertile. The great-grandfathers, who are the increasingly few survivors of World War II, find joy for the most part in rest. Many spend their summers sitting in the hot sun silently staring at life around them; in winter they sit by the woodstove or play cards and drink schnapps. And some do work in the fields. With growth and development of the shrine, fewer and fewer local homes lack modern equipment and heating. Farming is giving way to commerce.

For seven hundred years, the people have had a Lenten tradition of fasting on only bread and water. This tradition dates back to the days when Saint Francis of Assisi sent his first group of missionaries to Herzegovina and on to Medjugorje. The church has been the center of village life ever since. Saint James Church is large, with twin towers. It holds about sixteen hundred people. Behind the church, across the fields, stands Cross Mountain, thirteen hundred meters high and dotted with fourteen Stations of the Cross erected along a rocky and treacherous path that culminates at the summit where a high, gray concrete cross was erected by the villagers in 1933.

The concrete cross was constructed to commemorate the nineteen hundredth anniversary of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. There is a practical purpose to the cross. Since its erection, the devastating hailstorms that had bombarded the village, bringing destruction and death, have stopped. A popular legend in Medjugorje has it that Pope Pius XI had a dream in which an angel commanded him to have a high cross erected on Mount Sipovac. It is then by Pontifical Commission that Mount Sipovac became the recipient of the high cross built by the villagers, who changed not only the name of the mountain to Mount Krizevac (Cross Mountain) but the very course of their lives.2

Opposite Mount Krizevac is another, smaller mountain known as Podbrdo. This is where the Blessed Virgin Mary first appeared to two teenage girls as they walked along a dusty road in the area of Bijakovici. They were friends of long standing. Fifteen-year-old Ivanka Ivankovic lived in Mostar but spent summers with her grandparents in Bijakovici, where her family owned a small vineyard. Mirjana Dragicevic, sixteen, who lived in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, also spent summers with her grandmother in Bijakovici.

On the feast day of Saint John the Baptist, June 24, 1981, a mysterious light hovered over the small mountain (Mount Podbrdo) in Medjugorje. In that brilliant light, the two teenagers saw a beautiful woman holding an infant whom she was uncovering to show to them. Incredulous, they heard her call to them. They fled in fear.

The young girls talked to their friends, and a group of them returned to the foot of the mountain. There she was! They wondered if she could really be the Blessed Virgin Mary. They all ran away in terror. "Why would she come here?" the young people's families asked. "You are not holy," someone thundered at Ivan, sixteen, who was in the group who saw. "How dare you suggest you have seen the Mother of God! It's blasphemy!" various members of the families challenged.

Sixteen-year-old Vicka, also one of the group, has a mother who was more sympathetic. "Did you really see the Virgin?" she asked. Vicka was so certain that she said she was ready to die, if it should come to that, rather than deny the apparition.

"Maybe it's the devil. Sometimes he disguises himself as an angel of light to fool people," said Vicka's wise old grandmother.

"How would I know?" asked Vicka. "She was so beautiful! I know she was from heaven."

"If you ever see her again, take holy water and throw it at the apparition. The devil can't stand holy water. Then you'll know for sure," Vicka's grandmother asserted. Soon everyone was talking.3

Vicka's neighbor Marinko gave Vicka and her friend Marija a ride to school the next morning. As they drove past the parish church of Saint James, Marija quietly said, "Marinko, Vicka and some others saw the Blessed Mother last night."

Marinko laughed. "Teenage girls and all their fantasies," he mumbled. "Too early for jokes."

It was five a.m. Marinko's wife looked hard at Vicka, who was silent. For Vicka that was strange. She was known for her forthright, opinionated chatter. On June 25, 1981, Vicka seemed unaware of everybody in the car. Marinko's wife asked, "Did you see the Blessed Virgin Mary, Vicka?"

Suddenly Vicka's eyes blazed. "I did. It was the Blessed Mother. And she held the baby Jesus, too. She was showing Him to us."

Marinko had had enough. "Who else was with you, Vicka?" he asked.

"Ivanka and Mirjana and Milka [Marija's sister] and Ivan," Vicka said.

"Ivan Dragicevic?" Marinko interrupted.

"Yes, Ivan Dragicevic," said Vicka.

"If Ivan says he saw the Virgin, I might believe you, Vicka," said Marinko. "Ivan! Amazing, he's not the kind who would have fantasies like you foolish girls."

"How I would love to be where the Blessed Mother is," Marija sighed. "Just to be near her would be enough for me." Vicka was quiet, pensive, lost in thought the rest of the road trip to C?itluk, a nearby town where Marinko dropped the two girls off for school.4

That evening, June 25, 1981, Vicka set off for the small mountain with a tiny jar of holy water. She encountered Mirjana, who had nine-year-old Jacov, a neighbor boy, with her. He was so excited that he kept pulling at Mirjana's arm. Vicka heard him say, "I would like to see the Blessed Mother more than anything else in the whole world! Tell me again. What did she look like?" Vicka didn't know Jacov well, but everyone knew he had a difficult home life. People said it was sad, especially since his father had abandoned the family when he was young.

Marija came hurrying up the dusty road. "Milka [who had been among those in the small group who saw the Blessed Virgin the preceding night] couldn't come," she said. "My mother had chores for her to do. Just let me tag along with you," she pleaded to the group.

"I know we'll see her," Vicka said jubilantly, "and I brought the holy water. Won't Baba [Grandmother] be surprised when she finds out it really is the Blessed Mother!"

"What if she doesn't come?" asked Ivan.

"She'll come, I know it," declared Vicka.

When they arrived at the place of the previous evening's sighting, they found Ivanka already there. "Do you think we'll see her again?" Ivanka questioned excitedly. "I want to ask her about my mother."5

By now, the whole village of Medjugorje was praying for Ivanka. Her mother had died suddenly in mid-May. A woman still young--religious and very beautiful--her death had shocked and saddened everyone. Ivanka had wept uncontrollably in the funeral procession, and at the graveside she fell upon the coffin, not wanting the gravediggers to bury her mother. From that day on, Ivanka became a child to every family in the village. Everyone wanted to help her.

Friends of the children and other curiosity-seekers arrived that evening, though no one remembers how many were there at 6:40 p.m. The six young people who were to become possibly the most famous visionaries in the history of Christianity all say they experienced an internal urge or call to come to the mountain, a summons they could not ignore. Now great flashes of light preceded the apparition.

Then they saw. Falling to their knees, the six visionaries were in ecstasy. That ecstasy has been repeated daily now for more than a quarter century, and the six--Mirjana, Ivanka, Ivan, Marija, Jacov, and Vicka--have, since that June night in 1981, a story to tell of God's love, God's presence in the world in people's lives, and God's plan for each person on earth. The most studied and tested visionaries in history, they were then humble, simple mountain children.6 In the intervening years, they have become symbols of humanity as they have grown into adulthood under the intense scrutiny of the ancient rites of the Roman Catholic Church and the telecommunication systems of the modern world. As far as is known, no others in history have ever claimed to see the Blessed Mother daily for twenty-five years and possess the means to deliver her messages of peace and enlightenment to the entire world. What truly happened that second night, June 25, 1981, when the Queen of Peace identified herself?

"We went up to the hill. In front of us we could see a big wall of light." They were all terrified to pass through it because there appeared to be no way through it. "We thought the hill was going to melt." And thinking that would happen, "We ran away."7

After running about thirty meters, they turned around while fleeing to see if the light was following them. To their astonishment, they saw the light moving toward the cross on top of Cross Mountain, next to Mount Podbrdo, where they were.

From behind the light there began to emerge a woman of such beauty that her presence was almost blinding. The children were running even faster now. Then, after running another twenty meters in terror through thornbushes and mountain scrub, over the jagged rocks of the rugged terrain, they tried to focus on the beautiful lady who, by now, seemed to be clothed in a light so intense that they thought she was "clothed with the sun."

They heard her calling to them. They saw her beckon to them with her arms extended. Fear overwhelmed them and they continued to flee. Reaching their homes they regained their strength. The fear began to subside amid the familiar surroundings. Now the words came tumbling out of their mouths. "I saw a big light!" "So did I." Only six of them said, "After the light, I saw the Blessed Mother. She is so beautiful." The others saw only the light.8

No one in the village slept that night. Everyone, it seems, remembers that night and the words of the young people in the group. The villagers, for the most part, were skeptical about the claims of the visionaries. Only the little children believed them, and they said, "I want to go with you tomorrow. Will you take me? I want to see the Blessed Mother, too." Not even they could sleep because they were so excited. The rest of the townspeople couldn't sleep because of fear. The parents of the visionaries could not sleep because of an overwhelming feeling of sadness.

The persecution was about to begin, and the parents sensed it. They admonished the children not to repeat their story, begging, "Please don't say such things. It's a sin. How can you say you saw the Blessed Mother?" The parents were worried that night that the children were ill, perhaps because of the heat; perhaps they were disturbed because of Ivanka's sorrow. Perhaps there were other reasons they didn't know. What if all the children were unbalanced? They watched the children, especially the six visionaries, closely. They realized that the children seemed very normal about everything save the event on the mountain. They were wondering, "What has happened? Perhaps the children were manipulated. Perhaps somebody told them to say all these things." They rejected the visionaries, refusing to believe their extraordinary claims. "Impossible," they all agreed. "These children aren't holy. The Blessed Mother would never come here." The six visionaries found themselves repeating the same story a hundred times or more to all who came to their houses.9

The night passed. And then the dawn came. Many people decided to accompany the children to the mountain the following night. They would see for themselves.

The next day, June 26, almost everyone from the village was there. Some people came on foot, others came in the back of pickup trucks, some on donkeys and in donkey-drawn carts--it was a scene that suggested the nineteenth century more than the twilight of the twentieth. More than five thousand people assembled when the children began to pray. Vicka led the group in praying seven Our Fathers, seven Hail Marys, and seven Glory Be to the Fathers. Her grandmother told her it was appropriate to honor the seven sorrows of the Blessed Mother. Then Vicka led the group with the Apostles' Creed. She saw light come upon the mountain, and then great flashes of light flooded them. As the flashes finished, the heavenly lady stood there with a smile of such beauty that the children could not speak. Their eyes revealed pure love. The ecstasy had begun. Vicka stood up. She held a small jar of holy water in her left hand and a rose in her right hand. Sprinkling the holy water in the sign of the cross, she said: "If you are Satan, go away from us." The Blessed Mother, smiling with eternal love and joy, spoke:

Do not be afraid, dear angels.

I am the Mother of God.

I am the Queen of Peace.

I am the mother of all people.

Vicka turned to the crowd and said, "Can't you see now? We are all telling the truth."

No one had seen anything but the six in their ecstasy, bathed in immense light. "Is it the light of the Blessed Virgin?" someone whispered. They all saw the light. It was enough for them. Silence was their gift to the Blessed Mother from heaven, who was there with them on their mountain in the strange, mystical light.

From that moment on, all the parishioners followed the children, and they believed them. They had had their sign. They saw the light. The bishop came. He and many of the priests began to believe firmly in the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, which have continued each day at 6:40.10

Copyright © 1992, 1997, 2007 by Janice T. Connell. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     xi
Author's Note     xiii
Foreword   Robert Faricy, S.J.     xxi
Prologue     xxix
Medjugorje and the Phenomenon     1
In the Beginning     3
Signs, Wonders, and Warnings     17
Mary, Mother of All People     22
Visions     31
The Visionaries Today     33
The Visionaries
Mirjana     42
Ivanka     83
Jacov     98
Vicka     110
Marija     136
Ivan     155
The Locutionists: Jelena and Marijana     173
None of My Children Is Ever Lost     207
And the Pilgrims After Them     209
Cures and Luminary Phenomena     225
Medjugorje and the Visionaries Today     233
The Messages of the Blessed Mother     243
Epilogue     340
Notes     343
Selected Bibliography     353
Marian Groups and Associations     359

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Visions of the Children 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book changed my life. I read it six years ago and re-read every few years. I am an avid reader but it is by far the most emotional touching book I have ever read. Thank you Janice, you are a Saint, this book is truly a miracle for all who read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Visions of the Children' is absolutely awesome and awe inspiring. It cronicles the apparitions of Our Blessed Mother in Medjugorje from the beginning. This is a book I purchased years ago, and have ordered many copies since then. The additional copies I have passed on to friends. I am again sending for it, because I gave my last copy away, and don't want to be without it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book presents interviews with the six young adults, who receive visions and messages from Mary, the Mother of Jesus, which have spread the fruit of conversion throughout the world. The book¿s accounts from Medjugorje enkindle faith and a return to God through intense prayer and the Sacraments. Also included are the visionaries¿ stunning descriptions of heaven, purgatory, and hell, plus other details of miracles from those who have experienced the intense presence of God, through our Lady¿s call to the world from Medjugorje.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recommed this book to everyone of faith.
efm More than 1 year ago
I was a catholic in name only until I picked up this book and read it in 1992, it changed my life, I returned to the faith and practice daily, I am in no way perfect or even close but my mind is right and my prioritys are clear. My wife read the book and converted to Catholicism, we went to Medjugorje in 1996, we have given out over 200 of these books since 1992. Mary calls us all closer to her son and our rightful home and end in Heaven.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For almost thirty years, the Medjugorje visionaries and locutionists in The Visions of the Children claim they are seeing Mary, the Mother of Jesus, some of them every day. I found the serious, deposition-style interviews of the self-proclaimed visionaries in this book to be extraordinary. These farm people who grew up behind the Iron Curtain speak of Mary's messages for the whole world with authenticity and true wisdom. Reasonable people everywhere can find hope, strength and wisdom in these apparitions of Mary in Medjugorje. The Visions of the Children is the best Medjugorje book out there.