The daily apparitions
of the Blessed Mother (Mary) at Medjugorje, Bosnia, have now passed
their 11th anniversary. Six children in the village first saw the apparition
in 1981. Since then, millions of people have visited this small village
to experience what many say is a profound peace and even personal miracles.
In Visions of the Children, a new book on these apparitions,
Janice Connell focuses on the most important messages from the Blessed
Mother. Connell, a prominent US attorney, first travelled to Medjugorje
in 1987. She experienced for herself the miracle of healing, and witnessed
the miracle of light surrounding a concrete cross. During the same visit,
Connell was unexpectedly pulled from a crowd of tourists to meet with
the visionaries during the daily apparition. Since then, she has met
many times with the six young people.
In addition to her work as an author, Connell is a prolific and dynamic
lecturer who has spoken across the US and abroad. Sharing the messages
of Medjugorje with the world has become her most consuming task. Unlike
many other works on this topic, Visions of the Children includes
original interviews with the six visionaries. The words of these young
people reveal a fascinating mix of traditional Catholic theology and
Although recent apparitions of the Blessed Mother are claimed by many
in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe, only the six visionaries from
Medjugorje have continued to see apparitions and receive messages daily
over a period of 11 years. Many of the messages from the Blessed Mother
are for the world, and the visionaries often have opportunities to ask
Her questions during the apparition. Reading the questions of Janice
Connell and the responses of the visionaries, one immediately becomes
aware that these messages touch on familiar themes.
The visionaries, for example, talk about awareness, fear, illusion,
attachment and service. On attachment, visionary Vicka was asked to
explain a pure heart. She said: "A heart not attached to things." As
for service, Christians usually refer to humanity as servants of God.
However, Vicka says, referring to God, "He serves us", and uses the
phrase: "God as our servant". She goes on to say: "To whomever has been
given much, very much will be required. The Blessed Mother is sad because
often God's children wonāt serve each other as He serves us."
The main focus of the messages, however, is the Blessed Motherās call
for the world to convert, pray and fast. Although these are ordinary
terms used by Christians, the visionaries give them deeper meanings.
When asked for a meaning of the word conversion, one visionary said:
"Conversion is awareness that we live before God day and night". The
visionaries tell us that God is very close to us, within us, and that
awareness of this fact brings conversion. Vicka, one of the visionaries,
says: "Those who live in love live in God and God lives in them." Visionary
Marija says: "Each person created by God has access to God in the silence
of his heart". The conversations between Mrs Connell and the visionaries
make it clear again and again that God and man are not separate but
In addition to conversion, prayer is a major topic during the apparitions
of the Blessed Mother. It is important to know that the messages call
everyone to pray with their hearts. The messages suggest this is a learning
process. The visionaries insist that we can change the world when we
know how to use correct prayer. Group prayer is suggested. Visionary
Marija says: "The first condition for any effective prayer group is
to put away all fear from your heart for ever." Marija suggests that
we will never fear for anything if we are at one with God.
Visionary Ivanka says: "A person who does not fast does not know God."
She continues by saying the Blessed Mother says we must fast with our
eyes, our tongue, our hands, feet and ears. If we love God we will fast
from people, places and things, says Ivanka. "These experiences free
us from attachments that are transitory." The Blessed Mother told her
that fasting must be done with love or it has no value. Another subject
of interest to many following the story of Medjugorje is the visionariesā
message that signs will precede an expected great sign. The visionaries
hold 10 secrets about these signs or events which are expected to take
place in their lifetime. Visionary Marija says: "There are signs in
many places in the world now. Many people see luminary signs. Many experience
personal healings, both physical and spiritual, and also psychological.
Many have private signs." The great sign referred to by the visionaries
is the permanent sign that will be placed at Medjugorje when the apparitions
are completed. Visionary Jacov says: "It will be something that has
never been on the earth before."
Each of the 10 secrets will be released to the world 10 days before
the actual event or events which it describes. Although almost nothing
is known of these secrets kept by the visionaries, visionary Mirjana
has said that the power of Satan will be broken after the first secret
is realized. When Marija was asked if these secrets and events are related
to the Biblical Second Coming of Christ, she answered, "I never speak
of the Second Coming of Christ. Christ is alive. He is risen. He is
Many have asked the visionaries if the secrets are great catastrophes.
Visionary Marjana said: "God is peace. God is love. The messages of
the Blessed Mother here are messages of peace so that all her children
of the earth may experience Godās love." It is intriguing that the visionaries
say these will be the last apparitions on earth of the Blessed Mother,
since She will no longer be required after the great sign and the 10
secrets are revealed.
Although this book will appeal mostly to those in the Christian world,
the visionaries make it clear that "all religions are dear to Her and
Her Son." Many non-Christians, in fact, are attracted to Medjugorje.
Visionary Vicka said: "Medjugorje is a condition of the heart". Medjugorje
is also a message of hope for those who have lost their belief in God
or those who never felt the presence of God in themselves or their daily
lives. These visionaries tell us again and again that God is within
us and we can be aware of that presence if we wish. They tell us that
the Christ, "our Brother", as the visionaries call Him, has never left
humanity and is always serving humanity.
Since these apparitions began, people have wondered why these six visionaries
were selected to receive messages from the Blessed Mother. Even the
visionaries themselves, after 11 years of visions, admit to their continued
failure to perfect their devotion and prayer to God, just as most humans
fail at times to meet their own expectations. The visionaries speak
of their unworthiness to receive such important messages. It is well-documented
that their educational backgrounds are mostly very limited and several
come from homes with serious problems. Nevertheless, these six visionaries
learned that perfection is not necessary to receive visions and speak
directly with the Blessed Mother, nor necessary for conversion (knowing
that God is within). They know this is true no matter how unworthy they
feel themselves to be. Thus, these common and humble visionaries actively
live and express the message that all humanity is one with God. Man
has free will to recognize this fact and become aware if he wishes.
The Visions of the Children, by Janice Connell, published by St Martinās
Press is now available in book stores.
( from Share International, October 1992 )