On June 24, 1981, Our Lady first appeared in Medjugorje to two young woman, Mirjana Dragićević and Ivanka Ivanković. The next day she appeared again to the girls and four other young people. These six visionaries, aged 10 to 16, had no relation to one another. Three of the six still report daily apparitions, while the others, who have received all 10 promised secrets, experience an annual apparition.
Mirjana Dragićević was born in Sarajevo on March 18, 1965. Growing up, Mirjana would spend her summers in Medjugorje with her grandparents and on June 24, 1981, when she was 16 years old, she reported seeing Our Lady. Mirjana was the first of the group to be entrusted with all 10 secrets and was advised to choose a priest to whom, when the time came, she could reveal the secrets. When she became afraid she wouldn’t be able to remember the secrets, Mirjana was given a parchment by Our Lady which has all the secrets listed. Only Mirjana is able to read what is transcribed there. Mirjana is the only one of the visionaries to pursue university and completed a degree in Sarajavo. She later married Marco Soldo and they have two daughters together.
Vicka Ivanković, the oldest visionary, was born on September 3, 1964, in Bijakovici. Vicka was 16 years old at the time of the first apparition and is said to be the most expressive of the visionaries during apparitions. In September 1981, Vicka planned on leaving Medjugorje to attend school, but Our Lady dissuaded her given that many of the other visionaries were leaving. Vicka agreed to stay back and it proved to be a worthwhile decision as much of her time was taken with the tens of thousands of pilgrims descending on Medjugorje. Vicka is also the only visionary who Our Lady chose to reveal her life story. She married in January 2002 at the age of 37. She, her husband and their two children now live in Gruda, a small village a few miles north of Medjugorje.
❛❛Our Lady’s message has spread all over the world, to its farthest corner. Judging by the messages I receive, by the letters from all over the world, people are delighted. This has become an oasis of peace; nowhere can a man find such a peace as here under Our Lady’s shelter, in her presence, covered with her mantle.” – From interview with Visionary Vicka Ivanković. Excerpts taken from book: Krešimir Šego, Time of Grace.
Jakov Colo, the youngest Medjugorje visionary, was born on March 16, 1971. At just 10 years old when the apparitions began, Jakov convinced many people of the validity of the apparitions. These people couldn’t believe a boy of that age would endure three hours of prayer on his knees every night without missing a night. They suspect had the original apparition been a lie, there was no way he would have been able to keep up the lie. The daily apparitions of Our Lady brought solace to Jackov when his mother passed away, leaving him an orphan. He was 12 years old at the time. To Vicka, who was closest to Jakov, he appeared to have a special relationship with Our Lady beyond what the others had. After receiving the 10th secret in September of 1998, Jakov stopped receiving daily apparitions and began experiencing an annual occurrence on Christmas day. Today, Jakov lives in Medjugorje with his wife, Annalisa Barozzi and their three children. Of the six visionaries, he is the only one who would not say whether he would be alive when the permanent sign on Apparition Hill comes, saying instead it is a secret.
Ivanka Ivanković, born on June 21, 1966, was 15 years old when she saw the first of the apparitions on June 24, 1981. Ivanka’s mother had passed away a month before the apparition and the first time she spoke to Our Lady she enquired about her mother. Our Lady replied: “She is happy. She is with me.” After being told the 10th secret on May 7, 1985, Ivanka ceased receiving daily apparitions. She was the second visionary to experience all 10 secrets and she is graced with an annual apparition from Our Lady on June 25 – the anniversary of the first apparition. Ivanka married Raiko Elez on the Feast of the Holy Family, December 28, 1986, and as such was the first visionary to marry. The couple has three children.
Marija Pavlović was born on April 1, 1965, and grew up at the foot of Apparition Mountain. She was 16 years old when the apparitions began. In March of 1984, given the role that Medjugorje would play in the coming years for the conversion of sinners, Our Lady began entrusting Marija with a weekly message for the city’s parish. These messages, given every Thursday evening, were designed to spiritually guide the congregation. In January of 1987, three years after the first message, this weekly occurrence evolved to a monthly event which takes place on the 25th of each month. Marija is the only visionary who receives this message and it stays in her memory until she writes it down. After it is written, she can no longer repeat the message word for word. Marija initially had a calling to religious life, but after realising she would no longer be free to spread Our Lady’s messages, she opted instead to follow a vocationto family life. She married Paolo Lunetti in September 1993 and together they have four sons. The family resides primarily in Italy, but visit Medjugorje often.
Ivan Dragićević was born on May 25, 1965 and was 16 years old when the apparitions began. Though he wasn’t initially pious, upon seeing Our Lady, Ivan turned around his life and began to pray daily. He is one of the three visionaries who continue to have apparitions every day and has been given nine of the 10 secrets. Another secret Ivan received which is unique to him is that of his life story until his death. Our Lady has given instruction to Ivan about families and youth today and what hurts and affects them. When he speaks to crowds he refutes having any anxiety, believing instead that each person has a choice whether or not to believe what he’s saying as all will eventually be revealed. Ivan has stated that Our Lady asked him to write a book with her help about the disease of materialism, which he says is destroying the beauty of God’s people and the world he created. Ivan married American, Laureen Murphy, who experienced her own conversion in Medjugorje. Ivan and his family live half of the year in America and the other half in Medjugorje.