Vicka – Her Story by Finbar O’Leary
(Columba Books, €9.99)
Finbar: On the first evening of Our Lady’s Apparitions, when Mirjana and Ivanka told you in great excitement that they had seen Our Lady, the ‘Gospa’, you ran away crying, thinking that they were mocking The Blessed Mother. Vicka will you recount this story please?
Vicka: That particular day, I returned from school at Mostar and my elder sister Stanka told me that my friends, Mirjana and Ivanka were looking for me. They wanted me to go for a walk with them. It was usual for us to go for a walk in that area but we never saw anything unusual.
On that evening Mirjana and Ivanka, accompanied by Marija’s sister Milka, went for a walk. They went to look for some sheep grazing near where the Community of Sr Elvera is now located. They wanted me to join them. I was about halfway, when I saw Milka running towards me. She was calling me, rushing, telling me to hurry up and to come over to where they were. I came to her all excited and she said to me ‘Vicka, there is Our Lady’, and I said ‘What? Our Lady?’ I took my shoes off and started to run.
As I was running away, I thought something must be happening to them, that they were not behaving normally. I could not imagine that Our Lady could be there. As I was running, I met the visionary Ivan and a friend of his, also called Ivan. I told them what Milka had told me and they said we don’t have to see Our Lady, but let’s go over there and see what is happening. Let’s just be there with them. As we were walking towards them (Mirjana and Ivanka), we tried to talk to them. Then I looked around and realised that the two boys were gone. The two boys were able to see Our Lady, but got so scared; they ran through the fields and into the woods.
I stood there, I wasn’t afraid of Our Lady. The girls kept asking me excitedly,
‘Vicka why don’t you come closer and have a look?’
Our Lady was standing there. She was motioning to us and carrying something in Her arms. We could not see anything clearly, because it was in the distance. I was in shock. I felt stiff and could not move. The girls were describing Our Lady. They described how beautiful Her gown was, the colour of Her gown and the way She was standing. I felt something strong was blocking me inside. It would not allow me to even look towards Apparition Hill.
Then in one moment, I could feel something unblocking inside of me. Something was coming out of my own heart and soul. As it did, my head went up and I was able to look towards Apparition Hill.
As I looked up, I was able to see exactly what the three of them, were describing to me. We were standing on the road and Our Lady was up on the Hill. We really could not see Her very clearly, not as distinctly as we can see Her now. We could see Our Lady beckoning to us, to come to Her, but we did not dare. It was not only that we were scared, we just were not relaxed and open enough to go to Her. Then we turned around and left the place.
When we got home, we decided not to tell the story to everybody. We decided to choose a few people to share it with, just to let them know. Everyone had a different opinion of what we had seen. Some people thought it could be something from space, like a flying saucer. Others said it was our imagination or something like that. But nobody could believe.
We decided between ourselves, that it did not matter what kind of reaction we got and that we would walk there at the same time the following day. We thought if Our Lady was really there, She would show up again. We did not want to cause any gossip or have people thinking that we were crazy.
Next day Mirjana, Ivanka and myself decided to return to the same spot. On this particular day Milka was not able to come, as she was doing some chores for her mother. Marija and Jacov asked us, if you really get to see Our Lady, why don’t you call us to join you. We don’t have to see Her, but we would like to be there.
As we got to the place Our Lady was already standing there and seemed to be waiting for us. I rushed back to get Marija and Jacov. Mirjana and Ivanka waited at the foot of Apparition Hill, Podbrodo.
We all got together and started to climb.We did not feel the stones or thorn bushes.That was not a problem. We seemed to betaken by the hand, by Our Lady. It felt like we were flying. We did not get a scratch or hurt ourselves at all.That was the first time that we were so near to Her. We were standing right at Her feet. Now almost twenty-five years later, I am still not able to put into words, even to myself, the feelings or emotions that I have,when I am with Her.
Millions of times I have described Our Lady by words, but those are just words. Her beauty, that sincere beauty of Hers, there are no words good enough to describe it.
On the third day, we went up Podbrodo again. My grandmother told me to bring Holy Water with me. She told me, when Our Lady comes, to use the Holy Water to make the sign of the cross. Grandmother said, if it was Our Lady, She would stay. But if it were from Satan it would go away.
When Our Lady arrived, I used the Holy Water and said, ‘If you are Our Lady stay with us and if you are not, you better go away.’ Our
Lady just smiled. I could see the drops of Holy Water vanishing in the air. That was a sign, a sure sign for us, that it really was Our Lady.
Finbar: Was this the night, the Blessed Mother introduced
Herself saying, ‘I am the Blessed Virgin Mary’?
Finbar: And those were her actual words?
Vicka: Her words, ‘I am the Blessed Virgin Mary and I come here because there are a lot of faithful people here.’
Finbar: How does Our Lady appear to you? Does She come as a real person?
Vicka: At the moment Our Lady is appearing to meat 5.40 p.m. in wintertime. But through the summer time it is 6.40 p.m. When She first started to appear it was 6.40 p.m.
Before She arrives, I see something like a big flash of light three times, as a sign from Our Lady that She is coming. She is usually dressed in a grey gown. She wears a white veil and a crown of stars. She has blue eyesand dark hair and reddish cheeks. She stands on a little cloud. She does not touch the ground.On big feast days like Easter, Christmas,Our Lady’s Birthday, the Feast of Our Lady of the Assumption etc., She is dressed in a shining,gold gown. At Christmas, Our Lady always comes with the Baby Jesus in Her arms.
Once, on Good Friday a few years ago, Our Lady came with Jesus, as a grown-up man. He was terribly wounded, all His clothes were torn apart and He wore a crown of thorns. Our Lady told us, the Visionaries, She wanted us to see how much Jesus had suffered for all of us.
We have the same normal relationship with Our Lady, as we have with each other. When She comes on our birthdays, She wishes us a happy birthday. On Her birthday we wish Her a happy birthday. We can hug and kiss Her. We can actually shake hands with Her. We can feel Her touch. When She gives us a kiss, we can feel it as a kiss. But it has a different feeling and different emotions.
Vicka – Her Story by Finbar O’Leary is available to purchase here.