Medjugorje visionary Marija Lunetti spoke to Italian and English pilgrims on August 10, 2009. Marija walked pilgrims through the first month of the apparitions and though the story is well known amongst many of the pilgrims, there were a few surprises in Marija’s rendition of the events that transpired from day to day when Our Lady began to appearing to the six visionaries of Medjugorje. Part I of Marija’s talk is included here. Part II will be available tomorrow, August 12th.
As there has been recently, there are always so many people who come to Medjugorje for the first time. Most of them have already read about Medjugorje or maybe had an experience through someone who had an experience of Medjugorje. With my own experience I desire to bring you even closer to Our Lady. You know that there are six of us visionaries and three of us still receive daily apparitions. Vicka, Ivan and I still have daily apparitions. Ivanka, Jakov and Mirjana do not receive daily apparitions anymore. Ivanka receives an apparition once a year every June 25th and Jakov on the day of Christmas.
Medjugorje visionary Mirjana has been receiving annual apparitions on March 18th, which is also the day of her birthday. But since 1987, Our Lady started appearing to Mirjana on a monthly basis on every second of the month which became like a prayer for nonbelievers. On every second of the month Our Lady has been appearing and is offering to us to pray for those who do not believe. Our Lady also referred to that in Fatima, to pray for those who do not pray, to adore for those who do not adore, to believe for those who do not believe, and to love for those who do not love. And Our Lady desires that all these prayer groups that are being born every single day all over the world, thanks to Medjugorje, to be Our Lady’s extended hands for those who do not know, who do not love God yet.
You know that Our Lady appeared here with the name Queen of Peace. On the third day of the apparitions Vicka’s grandmother gave us some Holy Water in order to say “If you are from God remain with us, if you are from the devil, you better go away.” And Vicka sprinkled the Holy Water on Her. And when Vicka sprinkled the Holy Water on Our Lady, Our Lady simply replied, “I am the Mother of God. My name is Queen of Peace.” And Our Lady invited us to pray for peace and also She wanted us to know that peace comes first of all from God through our own prayer. Our Lady invited us to pray in our families, to do our individual prayers, but also to pray in a prayer group and to put the Holy Scripture in a visible place in our homes and read it everyday. And Our Lady so invited us, starting from our own homes, to convert ourselves and to start a new life. I remember in our home it was our grandmother who was leading the Rosary. And we started falling in love with the Rosary even though we did not know the mysteries by heart, same as grandmother most likely didn’t know it, but we started really falling in love with Our Lady and showing gestures of appreciation like bringing Our Lady flowers, or something like that.
We were practical Catholic families. We would never eat before we said the prayers, we would never go to bed before we would say a prayer. So we were not pagans. We were Christians, but we were not so strong in that. And as we lived under communism, it was suffocating really to us. I was one of those last generations ever taught by communists that the faith, religion is the opium for people. There was no catechism in schools but we had to learn Marxism, we had to learn from these old communist books their ideologies. There was no freedom of religion.
It was a year after the death of Tito who was always trying to keep Yugoslavia as one country, when the apparitions began. It was St. John the Baptist’s feast day. We were children of the people of the village and no one would go and work in the fields that day because that was a feast day. And as we were children of the people of the village, this means we were Catholics and we respected the obligation of no work on this day. On that particular day, June 24, 1981, from the foot of Apparition Hill we were able to see Our Lady on the Hill. Vicka was the oldest one, but she was completely frightened. When she saw Our Lady on the Hill she became so frightened that she immediately ran away and threw aside her slippers. She never found them again.
I will explain what the situation was like. The first day I wasn’t there and Jakov was not there either. Though I wasn’t there the first day, my younger sister Milka was and she saw Our Lady. My parents being somewhat worried about what would happen the next day took my sister and went with her to another part of the village with an excuse that they had to go and work in the fields. But someone simply had to stay at home to make the dinner, and also to feed the animals we had, like the chickens and cows, etc. And my mother decided that I would stay at home. Later, Jakov was passing by our home. And I said, “Be with me, stay with me,” as I was preparing potatoes.
Everybody in the village was talking about what had happened the day before. But we thought it was an isolated case and that it was over. A little after 5:00 p.m., Vicka was passing by. She said, “I really feel inside my heart that I have to go back.” And Ivanka and Mirjana were passing as well. Ivan as well and they too said “We have to go back there.” And we said if there’s anything that seems to start to happen, we also would be interested to go to see what’s happening. I checked to see if everything was in order in the kitchen and I realized I may go to see. So I went with them and Jakov as well. We went and Our Lady appeared to us. We were at the foot of Apparition Hill and Our Lady was on the Hill. She was standing on a cloud with baby Jesus in Her arms. And the little Infant was covered with the veil of Our Lady. And Our Lady was inviting us with Her hand to come close to Her. And I said, “If She is calling us to come then we should go.” And we started running. Some other people approached as well. We were running up the Hill and people were behind us and they saw that we were like flying and that little Jakov, when we reached the spot where the apparition was happening, he knelt in the middle of bushes with thorns and there were a lot of bees over there. We thought that as we six children saw, every other person with us could also see. We started praying with Our Lady. She’s the one who started the Our Father prayer with us. And She started singing with us songs that we knew. And then after the prayer with Her we felt within ourselves to ask Her, “Will You come again? Will you visit us again?” And She said, “Yes, I will come tomorrow as well.”
And from that moment our adventure with Our Lady began. We started to pray. Our prayer was so poor; you know the prayers that usually children would say. We were always schooled, of course we knew how to write, how to read but nothing else. But in our hearts we felt the desire to know Our Lady more. And in the beginning days we first just prayed an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. When we would say the prayer ‘Hail Mary’, Our Lady would encourage us to go on because when we would say the prayer Hail Mary, Our Lady would not say that prayer with us. Only the six of us were responding together. Then we would sing a song called “Beautiful You Are, Our Lady.” When we were singing this, Our Lady was not really feeling so….as, as if She was kind of shy as we were singing that to Her. And we would sing even more because we could see we were giving Her joy, and we would sing even more because we realized we give joy to Our Lady through this singing. And it was day by day that we were falling in love with Our Lady more and more.
When Our Lady would encourage us to pray more, we would pray more. And then She invited us to create prayer groups in our families and our parishes. The dearest place to us was the place on Apparition Hill among those bushes and rocks. And then little by little we noticed that Our Lady’s taking us towards the church. We thought, yes, the church should be the center, but we somehow felt better on the Hill because we didn’t know the catechism well, maybe some prayers we were not familiar with either. And then little by little Our Lady really allowed that we may fall in love with Her. Then special police forces came and they started prohibiting us to climb Apparition Hill. We said, “Our Lady what are we suppose to do about it.” And She said, “Go to the church and there you will be protected.”
We were kind of having fear of Fr. Jozo, we were afraid of him because he was a new parish priest, because we never had a person-to-person encounter person with him. He was preoccupied because he said always people, hundreds, maybe thousands, were walking by the church, passing by where the Holy Eucharist is, and they would all go to the Hill. And no one had fear even from the police. They would climb the Hill during the day and during the night. And Fr. Jozo said, “God, Lord, give me the sign. What am I suppose to do?” He was in the church praying. And a couple of times we asked Our Lady, “Do we truly have to go to church?” With a smile Our Lady said, “Go to church.”
In the afternoon there was usually no program in the church, the church was closed. And we thought most likely Our Lady would open the door for us and Fr. Jozo would not see, will not even realize that we are inside. But the reality was that Fr. Jozo was in the church and the church was open. At that very moment we entered, and Fr. Jozo said ‘Be not afraid.’ We said to him, Our Lady guided us to come to the church, we do not know why. He said, “That’s O.K. Just come and kneel down with me and let us pray.” And we prayed three or four Rosaries on our knees without feeling difficulty or a heavy burden. And then Our Lady appeared. And when Our Lady appeared She said, ask from your parish priest to celebrate the Holy Mass after the apparition. And all those people who would go to the Hill before finally started coming to church. And we started a beautiful procession in the church. And then people who were coming to the village started climbing Apparition Hill, Cross Mountain, but first of all they would all come to church as our most important point. And Our Lady started teaching us that Jesus should be the center of our life.
Click on the following to continue with “Beautiful You Are, Our Lady” - Part II
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