On Friday, a visionary of the alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina was a guest on RTE’s “The Late Late Show.” She shared a summary of her daily experiences (and wisdom gained) from her daily meetings with the Mother of God.
In June 1981, six young children in the former Yugoslavia claimed they were having daily meetings with the Virgin Mary. These visions have continued to the present day.
Similar to former controversial mystics like St. (Padre) Pio and St. Faustina, author of the Divine Mercy diary, the visions in Medjugorje have been a cause for controversy in the Catholic Church over the last three decades. While the visions are currently under investigation by a Vatican commission (an unprecedented event in the history of the Church), lay faithful and clergy members alike are allowed to make private pilgrimages to Medjugorje — and over a million people do so each year.
Vicka the eldest of the visionaries appeared as a guest of “The Late Late Show’s” host Ryan Tubridy. Vicka has been known as an enthusiastic and charismatic visionary, full of gentle determination and a never-ending smile. Former editor of Rolling Stone Magazine, Randall Sullivan had the opportunity to interview Vicka while curiously visiting Medjugorje. Vicka had a profound effect on him, as he wrote in his book The Miracle Detective: “but the Dalai Lama had not reached me at the level Vicka did. Staring into the eyes of this plain young woman…I wasn’t sure if I felt awed or unnerved…I had become literally incapable of speech.”
Given Vicka’s enthusiasm, Tubridy was very kind and gentle toward her, treating her in a way a man would treat his own mother.
Vicka spoke in fluent Italian, translated to English by an interpreter. She began by thanking the audience and the program for allowing her the opportunity to share the messages of Our Lady. Vicka spoke for a few minutes about the visionaries’ first meetings with the Blessed Mother. She spoke of the physical appearance of Our Lady and of her beauty. Vicka gave advice of how the Mother of Jesus says we can be beautiful too:
“Our Lady says that we are too worried about external beauty and we forget the most important beauty which is the beauty of our soul and the beauty of our heart.”
In the most touching part of the interview, Vicka spoke of the great gift of suffering. Vicka has been afflicted with much physical suffering and illness since the apparitions began – something so many people in the world can identify with – and she offered the heavenly perspective on the beauty of suffering:
“I know you think, ‘How can it be a gift?’ But [Our Lady] told us it is a great gift…All we should ask of God is the strength to go on. Our Lady has already told us illness has a lot of value in the eyes of God.”
Irish singer-celebrity, Hazel Kaneswaran, was a guest in the audience and attributes the healing of her young son to Medjugorje. Tubridy pointed Kaneswaran out and asked her to share her story. Introduced to Medjugorje by a friend, she felt as if she had nowhere else in the world to turn with her son’s illness. After witnessing to many miracles in Medjugorje, Kaneswaran came to know the cause of her son’s illness and attributes that to Our Lady’s intercession at Medjugorje. Thousands of similar stories have been circulated over the last 29 years attributed to the intercessory power of Mary to her Son Jesus. Healings – physical, emotional and spiritual – are the most prevalent “fruit” of Medjugorje.
Tubridy asked his guest what she had to say to those who refuse to believe that Our Lady is appearing in Medjugorje. Vicka sweetly replied, “Look, I haven’t come here to force people to believe. I am here to tell you of my experience, to witness what I have lived and then it’s up to you to believe it or not. Our Lady always says God gives us freedom – complete freedom – we are all free. So if you want to believe, Our Lady will say, ‘Here I am,’ but if you don’t want to believe, she will wait.”
In the history of Marian apparitions, Vicka’s statement reflects the one and only reason why the Virgin Mary appears on earth: for our response.
The author of this article, Teresa Grodi, has spent the last six years studying Medjugorje as the subject of her Master’s thesis in History at Bowling Green State University. Much of the background information of this article comes from the depth of her study.
Bertone, Cardinal Tarcisio. The Last Secret of Fatima. Garden City: Doubleday, 2008. Page 94-95.
Interview with Vicka Ivankovic by Ryan Tubridy. The Late Late Show. 18 February 2011. Available from http://www.rte.ie/tv/latelate. Accessed on 18 February 2011.
“Statistics”. www.Medjugorje.hr. Available from http://www.medjugorje.hr/en/medjugorje-phenomenon/statistics. Acessed on 18 February 2011.
Sullivan, Randall. The Miracle Detective: An Investigation of Holy Visions. Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2004. Page 127.