Medjugorje is a small village hidden in the mountains of the former Republic of Yugoslavia or what is now known as Bosnia. This village, known to locals as the "oasis of peace," is a home for Catholics, Muslims, Croats, and Serbs alike. It has served as a peaceful place where the "East meets the West."
On June 24th, 1981 this village was illuminated by a light seeming to come from above a nearby mountain known as Podbrdo. Two teenage girls, Mirjana Dragicevic from Sarajevo and her friend Ivanka Ivankovic from Mostar, saw what they described as a "beautiful woman holding a child surrounded by a brilliant white light" standing on the top of Mount Podbrdo. They were more than three soccer fields away from this light, and yet they saw the vision as clearly as if they were standing next to Her. This vision was of Mary, the Virgin Mother of Jesus Christ. This was Mary's first appearance in Medjugorje, but far from her last. As time progressed Mary appeared not only to Mirjana and Ivanka, but also to four other children: Jakov, Ivan, Vicka, and Marija. She continues to appear to some of these children today, as well as certain feast days, and a somewhat regular appearance on the 24th or 25th of each month. In the visions, Mary passes messages to the children for all the world to hear. These messages (over 170 had been recorded as of 1988), while varied in length and tone, can be summarized into nine basic themes:
1. God is revealing himself to man in order to help man prepare for the coming days.
2. Faith: Without it, it is impossible to please God as you cannot love Him if you do not believe.
3. Love God as love is the power behind our faith.
4. Convert: Give your heart to God.
5. Reconcile: Reconciliation is the way to open your heart to God's love.
6. Pray: Through prayer you will come to know the greatest joy and the way out of every situation that has no way out (Mary's message of March 29th 1985).
7. Fast: Fasting brings union of thought, spirit and body.
8. Acceptance: Accept the will of God to bring you clarity of soul and peace in your heart.
9. Peace: Peace in our hearts, peace in our family, peace in our community and finally peace in our world
During these visitations, Mary revealed more than just messages for the world; she also revealed secrets to these children. These secrets are given to the visionaries only and cannot be revealed without Mary's approval. There are 10 secrets, all of which teach of impending worldly disasters and the ways to relieve them. Not all of the children have been told all ten of these secrets. Mirjana and Ivanka (the two who first saw the Blessed Mother) are the only ones who know all of the secrets. Only one of the ten was allowed to be made public. This secret speaks of a visible and permanent sign on the sight of the first apparition. This sign will be irrefutable and will serve as proof for non-believers.
Other phenomena have been witnessed in Medjugorje since the apparitions have begun. The sun dancing in the sky, a luminous female figure appearing at the first apparition sight, a column of light above Mount Krizevac (aka The Mountain of the Cross), and a spontaneous inferno leaving no ash or charred earth have all been witnessed by many people both great and small in number. These signs are preliminary signs of the Great Sign according to the Blessed Mother.
Since 1981 between 20 and 30 million people of all races and creeds have visited this apparition sight to decide for themselves what significance this place and these messages hold. The Roman Catholic Church has yet to declare Medjugorje an authentic sight of Marian or other apparitions.