On June 24, 1981, at about 6pm, six young parishioners from Medjugorje: Ivanka Ivankovic, Mirjana Dragicevic, Vicka Ivankovic, Ivan Dragicevic, Ivan Ivankovic and Milka Pavlovic, saw on the hill Crnica (on the place called Podbrdo) an apparition, a white form with a child in her arms. Surprised and scared, they did not approach.
The next day at the same time, June 25, 1981, four of them, Ivanka Ivankovic, Mirjana Dragicevic, Vicka Ivankovic and Ivan Dragicevic, felt strongly drawn towards the place where, the day before, they saw the One who they had recognised as Our Lady. Marija Pavlovic and Jakov Colo joined them. The group of Medjugorje visionaries was formed. They prayed with Our Lady and talked to Her. From that day onward, they had daily apparitions, together or separately. Milka Pavlovic and Ivan Ivankovic have never seen Our Lady any more.
Ivanka Ivankovic Elez was the first to see Our Lady on June 24, 1981, and is the youngest of the 4 girls and was born on July 21, 1966, in Bijakovici. Ivanka's prayer mission from Our Lady is to pray for families. Ivanka has one brother and one sister. Her Mother Jagoda, died in May 1981. When the apparitions first began, Ivanka asked the Blessed Mother about her mother. Our Lady told her that her mother was with her in heaven. God has allowed Ivanka to see and speak to her mother, who is in heaven, five times over the years.
She had daily apparitions from June 24, 1981, until May 7, 1985. On that day Our Lady confided to her the last of her ten secrets. Our Lady told her that for her entire life she will have an apparition every year on June 25, the anniversary of the apparitions. And so far it has been just that way. Ivanka is living in the parish of Medjugorje, is married and has three children.
Ivanka: "When the apparitions began, I was only a child. I prayed and went to church when my parents asked me to. Now when I pray, I feel united with God and Our Lady. Before, when I went to Mass, I didn't feel anything special.
Now, I know God is alive at the Holy Mass and gives Himself completely to us in the Host. Concerning my own future, I leave it completely to God - my path will go in the direction God leads me. I have some advice for young people: I want to tell them to turn to God as soon as possible because He's the only one who can lead them to happiness and truth. We simply must pray more and live the messages of Medjugorje."
Mirjana Dragicevic Soldo was born March 18th, 1965 in Sarajevo. Her prayer mission from Our Lady is to pray for all unbelievers. She is the second oldest of the seers. Very intelligent, Mirjana graduated from the University of Sarajevo where her family lived. Mirjana was the second to see the Blessed Mother that day, June 24th in Medjugorje. Although her family lived in Sarajevo, she spent the summers with her grandmother who lived in Bijakovici. That is how she came to be in Medjugorje that summer. She had daily apparitions from June 24, 1981 till December 25, 1982. On this date, Mirjana received her 10th and final secret from Our Lady. Mirjana was the first seer to receive all 10 secrets. Since that time, Our Lady only appeared to Mirjana once a year on her birthday (March 18) until August 2, 1987 when Our Lady also started appearing to Mirjana on the 2nd day of each month to pray with Mirjana for all unbelievers.
On March 18, 2020 Our Lady told Mirjana that she would no longer appear on the 2nd of each month as she has been doing for many years. Mirjana tells us that Our Lady defines "unbelievers" as those who have not yet felt God's love. She tells us that if we only once saw the tears in Our Lady's eyes for all unbelievers that we would all begin praying intensely for this intention. Mirjana lives in Medjugorje with her husband Marko Soldo. They have two daughters.
Mirjana: "I didn't know Marian apparitions existed. I never heard about Lourdes or Fatima. The first day Ivanka had the vision of Our Lady, she was full of enthusiasm and wanted me to look too. I thought: "This can't be real!" But, Our Lady gave us strength to accept Her as a Mother. I've changed a lot. I realize how empty my heart was. Now, I truly feel God, the Mother of God, and the faith. My relationship with Our Lady has become one of a mother and daughter. Jesus is like a friend, or an older brother. Whoever believes in God, and opens himself up to God, needn't be afraid. God will be with him in the future too. If everyone believed in God, there would be no war."
Vicka Ivankovic Mijatovic is the oldest of the visionaries, and was born on September 3, 1964, in Bijakovici. She comes from a family of 8 children. Her prayer mission given to her by Our Lady is to pray for the sick. Our Lady appeared to her for the first time on June 24, 1981. For her, the daily apparitions have not yet stopped. Our Lady has so far confided nine secrets to her. Vicka married on January 26, 2002, and lives with her husband Mario in the small village of Gradac, a few kilometers north of Medjugorje. They have two children.
Vicka: "Before, I prayed from pure habit. Now I've turned completely to prayer. I commit my life completely to God. I feel sorry for those who do not believe in God, because Our Lady wants no one to be lost. We can help each other find the right way to God. It's up to the people to obey the messages and be converted. Great things are happening here: Our Lady is among us. She wishes to attract everyone to Her Son. That's the reason She has been coming so long and so often. Here, everyone feels the nearness and the love of God. As role model and example, Gospa began, in January 1983, to tell me Her life story, which took over two years."
The information Our Lady dictated to Vicka over these two years is contained in two hand written notebooks and will be published when Our Lady tells Vicka it is time.
Ivan Dragicevic is the oldest of the two boys who see Our Lady and was born on May 25th, 1965 in Bijakovici. His prayer mission given by Our Lady is to pray for priests and the youth of the world.
Our Lady has appeared to him every day since June 24, 1981. Our Lady has confided nine secrets to Ivan. He is now married and resides half the year in the parish of Medjugorje, and half the year in Boston, MA. Ivan and his wife Laureen have four children.
Ivan: "The apparitions made a big difference in my life - the difference between heaven and earth. For example, I arrange my day now so that even during the day I find time to pray. Before, my life had no meaning. Now, I'm filled with inner contentment. The first time I saw Our Lady, a change occurred in my soul, and in my heart. Before, I often avoided prayer, but now the difference is so great, I really can't describe it. I'm confident and not afraid, because I know who leads me, and therefore, I'm not afraid of death. People in our parish, and all people, should feel that way."
Marija Pavlovic Lunetti is the third oldest of the visionaries. She was born on April 1, 1965, in Bijakovici. Her prayer mission given by Our Lady is to pray for all the souls in purgatory. She has three brothers and two sisters. When the apparitions started, she was studying in Mostar which is about eighteen miles away from Medjugorje.
Our Lady appeared to her for the first time on June 25, 1981. She still has apparitions every day, and is the visionary to whom Our Lady gives the public message to the world on the 25th of each month. Our Lady has confided nine secrets to her so far. Marija resides half the year in the parish of Medjugorje, and half the year in Italy.
Marija: "Everything has changed in Medjugorje. People started to pray and listen to Our Lady's messages. Before, I didn't pray enough. Now I want to pray more and more. I'm sure God gives much to everyone who's open to prayer. I tell people they should pray more, and Our Lady will give them peace in all that burdens them. It's not I, it's Our Lady who urges us to nurture prayer, to propagate peace, and to fast. She says that everyone who comes to Medjugorje, must be converted. They must encourage other people too, to pray and fast. God wishes us to pray and fast. God wishes to develop the parish and make it grow more and more in faith. If people accept the messages, God will lead them."
Jakov Colo is the youngest of the seers. He was born on March 6, 1971 in Bijakovici, and was only 10 years old when the apparitions started. His prayer mission given by Our Lady is to pray for the sick. Jakovs' mother Jaca, died on September 5th 1983 and it affected Jakov very deeply since he rarely saw his father who worked in Germany as many men did in those days with no jobs available in Medjugorje or the surrounding area.
He has had daily apparitions since June 25, 1981, and on September 12, 1998, Our Lady confided to him his 10th secret. Our Lady now appears to Jakov only once per year on Christmas Day. Our Lady literally raised Jakov since his mother died when he was so young. It was very difficult for him to accept that he would no longer see Our Lady every day. He wondered how he would continue, and struggled for months until he tells us that through prayer he realized that he was now like all of us who do not see Our Lady. He tells us that Our Lady is with each one of us always, and we can experience her in our hearts. Jakov lives in the parish of Medjugorje, is married and now has three children.
In the early years, the presence of the young fidgety boy among the group of seers is special in terms of the authenticity of the apparitions. It was highly improbable that he would come to church for two to three hours of prayer every single day, in winter as well as in summer, in bad weather as well as in good, and for well over three years, simply to make believe that he is seeing the Blessed Virgin.
Jakov: "From the time Our Lady first appeared to me, my life has entirely changed. Now, I pray more and go to Mass every evening. I try, more and more, to fulfill the messages that Our Lady gives us. I feel I'm closer to God now. I believe we have to pray that God's plans will be realized. I now want to live as a Christian. I begin the day with prayer, then go to school. when I get home, I help wherever necessary. To me, the Mass means an encounter with the living God. Our Lady always tells us to pray more."