“The family is the first prayer group, and actually the best prayer group.” 1 - Jelena
When the Blessed Mother began appearing in 1981, while other children their age were out playing, Jelena Vasilj was praying to Our Lady. Jelena is not one of the original six visionaries, but was to receive a different gift from Our Lady.
Jelena grew up in a very devout family. Her father had built a family chapel in their home even before the apparitions began, and gathered his family together for prayer that he led on a daily basis. Jakov Colo, the youngest of the visionaries was just a year older than Jelena, and attended the same school. The experience of the apparitions profoundly impacted, not only Jelena, but also her entire family. They did their best, as a family, to respond to the requests Our Lady was making through the visionaries.
At just ten years old in December of 1982, Jelena began to hear Our Lady’s voice and see Her in an interior way, which she describes as “intense presence of Mary… an experience of the heart,” 2 or as seeing the Blessed Mother with “the eyes of the heart.” 3 These experiences are called “interior locutions.” Several months later in March of 1983, Jelena’s friend Marijana Vasilj (the two are friends but are not related) began to see Our Lady interiorly as well. Both girls hear Our Lady’s voice and see Her in two dimensions.
Jelena once asked Our Lady if she could know the ten secrets. Our Lady replied to her with these words:
Our Lady soon asked the two girls to bring together other young people within the parish who would respond to her invitation to join in a prayer group that Our Lady would lead through Jelena and Marijana.*
Jelena and Marijana’s messages are different from the messages of the other visionaries as they specifically relate to the teachings and guidance of this group who committed themselves to living intensely the messages of Our lady and to be used by Her for Her purposes. As both girls were young, the prayer group stayed together for many years, being assisted by Fr. Tomislav Vlasic and Fr. Slavko Barbaric. Eventually, after graduating from secondary school, Jelena came to the United States to attend Steubenville University, and later a University in Rome, while Marijana married and settled in a village near Medjugorje. Their interior locutions began to diminish until they eventually stopped altogether.
The messages of Our Lady through Jelena continue to give support and guidance to people around the world who seek to understand from Our Lady how to live a profound spiritual life. Among the most powerful words given by Our Lady to Jelena are the consecrations to the Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary given on November 28, 1983. Click Here to see the Consecration Prayers to the Two Hearts
Jelena is a beautiful, graceful and articulate woman with a deep desire to continue to live and share all the spiritual treasures Our Lady opened up to her in her life. For years she had abandoned her future into God’s hands, and prayed to know His will in regards to her future vocation, keeping herself open to wherever God would lead her. She was always very open and honest with pilgrims who questioned her about this process, a process that can be painful at times. Jelena married in 2002 and has four children. Jelena is the more visible of the two interior locutionists, as she at times gives talks to pilgrims and gives interviews in which she tells of her encounters with Our Lady and shares the wisdom that Our Lady has imparted to her about personal holiness. Marijana, on the other hand, remains somewhat private, but she can still be seen from time to time talking to pilgrims, filling in, in a sense, when the six main visionaries are not available to speak to pilgrims.
Both women have carried Our Lady’s lessons in holiness from the beginning days when they were young, single, and free from the obligations of married life into the realms of wifehood and motherhood. This spiritual direction received in their youth is instrumental in helping them to live the fullness of their vocations now. It is amazing to see the wisdom and growth in those to whom Our Lady has appeared. Jelena’s more recent interviews reflect a deep and mature spirituality that is evident in her words. She relayed in an interview in 2005,
“I would say that prayer must dilate the heart; and that often the heart is instead closed. Love is missing. The wine is missing, like at Cana. Gradually, one tires along the journey. We have to trust Our Lady; believe that She told us the truth; and we shouldn’t doubt, or lose our faith. I see that often people feel isolated, as if deciding for God meant withdrawal. Instead, when you decide for God, you enter into the heart of the world.” 4
With the Love of Our Lady,
A Friend of Medjugorje
* May 25, 1983
“Assemble about twenty young people who are ready to follow Jesus without reservation. Bring them together within a month’s notice. I will initiate them into the spiritual life. There can even be more than twenty. Even some adults and children can participate, all those who will accept the rule.
“I will ask these people to do penance for certain intentions. They will fast and pray for the Bishop. They will give up what they cherish the most: drink, coffee, pleasures, television. It is necessary to have persons who wish to consecrate themselves to religious life. Others have to be ready to consecrate themselves specially to prayer and fasting. I will give them rules to follow.
“The persons who will follow these rules, will be consecrated whatever their state in life may be.”
1. The Visions of the Children, by Janice T. Connell
2. Jelena speaks to Pilgrims, http://medjugorje.altervista.org/doc_en/jelena/lord.html
3. The Visions of the Children, by Janice T. Connell
4. Interview with Jelena, http://text.medjugorje.ws/en/articles/jelena-interviewed-our-lady-told-us-truth