Our Lady of Medjugorje
|Our Lady of Medjugorje|
Statue of Our Lady of Tihaljina, often mistaken for the Gospa of Medjugorje (see Description in article)
|Location||Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Holy See approval||Pending approval by the Holy See|
|Part of a series of articles on
|Catholic Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Our Lady of Medjugorje (also called Queen of Peace) is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by those who believe that she appeared in 1981 to six Herzegovinian children in Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina (at the time in SFR Yugoslavia). The visionaries often refer to the apparition as the "Gospa" which is Croatian for "Lady".
On 24 June 1981, young Mirjana Dragicevic and Ivanka Ivanković reported seeing an apparition of the Virgin Mary in a village in what is now in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The following day another vision was reported, this time also by four other young people:, Marija Pavlović Jakov Colo, Vicka Ivanković, and Ivan Dragicevic.
The children claim that they saw an apparition on the hill Crnica (on the place called Podbrdo); the alleged apparition was a white form with a child in her arms. Surprised and scared, they did not approach. The next day at the same time four of the youths returned, and were later joined by the other two.
For several years the six visionaries reported seeing daily apparitions from the Virgin Mary and Medjugorje became crowded with pilgrims. It has been reported that Our Lady of Medjugorje has been appearing daily to three of these visionaries ever since, some say that they have stopped having daily apparitions.
At the time of the first alleged apparition Vicka Ivanković was sixteen years old. She claims to have prayed with Our Lady and talked to her; she also claims to have been given nine "secrets".
Her "prayer mission", said to have been given by the Blessed Virgin Mary, is to pray for the sick. Vicka says that her daily apparitions have not yet stopped. Vicka claims to have received a biography of Mary's life, contained in two hand written notebooks, which Vicka has said will be published when the Blessed Virgin Mary tells her to do so.
Vicka Ivanković continues to meet with pilgrims to Medjugorje, which she has done for over twenty one years. Vicka is often called "the smiling visionary" because she always has a smile filled with joy on her face.
Regarding her alleged visions, Vicka once stated:
- "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 (Mary) began, in January 1983, to tell me Her life story, which took over two years."
Reported messages and visions
In the nearly 33 years that she has purportedly been appearing to the six visionaries, they have been reporting receiving messages from the Virgin Mary asking for people to pray often, fast and do penance.
Many phenomena have been reported at Medjugorje, such as the sun spinning, dancing in the sky, turning colours, or being surrounded by objects such as hearts or crosses. Many have reported that they have been able to look at the sun during those times without any damage to their eyes. The tall cement cross erected on Mount Podbrdo (where many of the apparitions had taken place) has reportedly disappeared and reappeared or else glowed as if lit with lights, although there is no electricity on the mountain. Not everyone reports seeing the same miracles at the same time. Miraculous healing has also been reported.
Description of Mary
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Franciscan Fr. Janko Bubalo questioned the visionaries and asked them to describe Mary's appearance. According to how they saw Our Lady, she is 18 to 20 years old, slender and around 165 centimetres (5 ft 5 in) tall. Her face is long and oval. She has black hair. Her eyes are blue with delicate eyelashes and thin black eyebrows. She has a nice, little nose and rosy cheeks. She has beautiful reddish thin lips and her smile is more like some indescribable gentleness. It's visible as if somehow under her skin.
Her simple dress is bluish-grey and falls freely all the way down to the little whitish cloud on which she is standing. Her veil is pure white and covers her head and shoulders. It also reaches down to the little cloud. She has a crown of twelve golden stars on her head.
Finally he asked, “Is Our Lady really beautiful, as you have said?” Their answer was, “Well, really we haven't told you anything about that. Her beauty cannot be described. It is not our kind of beauty. It is something ethereal, something heavenly, something that we'll only see in Paradise and then only to a certain degree.”
Official position of the church
As is typical for all claims of private revelation the Catholic Church follows a standard criterion for evaluating apparitions. There are two possible judgments: constat de supernaturalitate ("It is confirmed to be of supernatural origin") and non constat... ("It is not confirmed...") . The Catholic Church has made successive comments on the status of the Medjugorje apparitions. Each has declared non constat; that is, it cannot confirm the supernatural nature of the apparitions. The Vatican commission set up to study Medjugorje concluded on Jan 18, 2014, but its results have not been published yet. On 7 May 2015, Pope Francis announced the results would come soon. On 11 June 2015, the Vatican’s chief spokesman communicated that no decision is expected until the fall of 2015.
Critics consider the apparitions to be a hoax, and have stated that the reports of mysterious lights on the hill could easily be explained by illusions produced by atmospheric conditions, or fires that were lit by local youths.
I acknowledge that the children’s initial encounters with the Virgin may well have been caused by personal factors. For example, Ivanka, who was the first to perceive a visitation, had just lost her natural mother. The perception of apparitional experiences spread rapidly among her intimate peer group... The region’s tension and anxiety likely exacerbated this contagion process and the need to believe among the youthful protagonists.
Skeptical investigator Joe Nickell has noted that there are a number of reasons for doubting the authenticity of the apparitions such as contradictions in the stories. For example on the first sighting, the children claimed they had visited Podbrdo Hill to smoke. They later retracted this, claiming they had gone to the hill to pick flowers. According to Nickell there is also a problem of the "embarrassingly illiterate" nature of the messages.
- Our Lady in Tihaljina statue at medjugorje.org online store. Accessed 2011-05-16.
- "A short history of Our Lady's apparitions in Medjugorje". Medjugorje.ws. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Questionable Games Surrounding the Great Sign" Ratko Perić, Bishop of Mostar-Duvno, Diocesan website. Accessed 2011-05-16.
- "Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo". Medjugorje.com. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Ivanka Ivankovic-Elez". Medjugorje.com. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti". Medjugorje.com. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Jakov Colo". Medjugorje.com. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic". Medjugorje.com. Retrieved 01. Check date values in:
- "Ivan Dragicevic". Medjugorje.com. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- The Life of the Madonna The Madonna this evening has begun to narrate her life. She tells them and they follow her in her growth. She said she will tell them, in episodes, her life. She has forbidden them to tell it to others until she has said everything. She has assigned to each of them the task to write her biography. [Kronika ukazanja (Chronicle of the Apparitions), vol. I, 07/01/1983, p. 353. Original text: Gospa večeras počela pričati svoj život. Priča im i gledaju je u njenom razvoju. Rekla im je da će im u nastavcima ispričati svoj život. O tome im je zabranila drugima pričati dok im sve ne rekne. Naglasila je svakomu od njih da piše njezin životopis.]
- "Medjugorje website". Medjugorje.org. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- ""The Gospels According to Christ? Combining the Study of the Historical Jesus with Modern Mysticism", Daniel Klimek" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Vicka Ivanković 1988 interview". Mariavaltortawebring.com. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Our Lady's Annual Messages – Medjugorje Messages". Medjugorje.com. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Miracle at Medjugorje – Visit To Medjugorje". Medjugorje.org. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Testimonies of Physical Healings". Medjugorje.com. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Description of Our Lady of Medjugorje". Medjugorjeusa.org. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- Normae Congregationis
- Medjugorje: Secrets, messages, vocations, prayers, confessions, commissions
- News.Va: Commission to submit study on Medjugorje
- Nickell, Joe. (1993). Looking for a Miracle: Weeping Icons, Relics, Stigmata, Visions & Healing Cures. Prometheus Books. pp. 190-194. ISBN 1-57392-680-9
- "Politicizing the Virgin Mary: The Instance of the Madonna of Medjugorje". Csicop.org. Retrieved 2015-08-02.
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