June 25th

Milka Pavlovic, visionary for only one day, on the Hill of Apparitions in the early 1980s. It would take years for her to come to terms with her cross of having seen the Virgin Mary only once, and never again

Affected by the teasings from his fellow villagers and telling himself that “this is only for children”, 20 years old Ivan Ivankovic did not follow the other visionaries when, the next day around the same time, they returned to the hill  to see if the Virgin Mary would appear again. Neither did 12 years old Milka Pavlovic return: To make sure that she did not, her mother had sent her off to work in the most distantly located vineyard that the Pavlovic family owned.

Instead of them two other youngsters went along when Ivanka, Mirjana  and Vicka took off to see what would happen: Milka’s 16 years old sister Marija and little Jakov Colo, aged only 10. If the Virgin re-appeared, Vicka had promised to go and pick up both of them.

The visionaries did not know what to expect. “If we see her, that is okay. If we don’t, what can we do?” Vicka summed up their attitude.

The Virgin did re-appear, and once again Ivanka saw her first, then Vicka and Mirjana. Immediately Vicka recognized her face, eyes, hair and gown. During the first days of the apparitions, the visionaries were not yet in complete ecstacy, as if drawn from the world, when they had the Virgin before them. And so Vicka went to call Marija and Jakov who came immediately.

Marija Pavlovic in the early 1980s. Having finished her work in the kitchen, on day 2 she was allowed by her mother to follow the visionaries instead of her younger sister, Milka. “Marija can go. One of you is enough”, their mother said

With her hand the Virgin motioned the visionaries, trying to have them come closer, and unlike the day before, the visionaries responded by rushing up the hill. On top of it they met Ivan who had come up another way along with some of his friends.

“It was not like walking on the ground. Nor did we look for the path. We simply ran toward her. In five minutes we were on the hill – as if something had pulled us through the air. I was afraid. I also was barefoot, but no thorns had scratched me”, Vicka recalled during an interview  in March 1982.

The visionaries ran through thorn shrubs. Two adults and some more children followed them, more than 15 people all in all. They later testified that they were amazed  by the speed of  the visionaries whom they were far from able to keep pace with. One of the men was Mirjana’s uncle who later testified: “It takes at least 12 minutes to get up there, yet they did it in two. It scared me to death”.

When the visionaries were about two meters away from the Virgin, they felt as if they were thrown to their knees. In Vicka’s words “Jakov was thrown kneeling into a thorny bush, and I thought he would be injured. But he came out of it without a scratch”. It was the first little miracles among the countless numbers that were later to take place in Medjugorje.

For the first time the visionaries spoke to the apparition before them. Ivanka asked about her mother who had died a few months earlier, and was greatly consoled to hear that she was in Heaven with the Virgin.

Ivan Dragicevic in the early 1980s. Not particularly religious by the time the apparitions began and very, very shy throughout his childhood, people who knew him found it very much unlikely that he would ever take part in inventing visions of the Virgin or seek out the attention bestowed on the visionaries from the day the apparitions began

Mirjana complained that no one would believe the visionaries, just be telling them that they were crazy. According to Vicka, the Virgin Mary just smiled in response.

Aside of this, the visionaries prayed seven Our Fathers with the Virgin. “We were praying because we did not know what else to do. We were crying a little and praying a little” Vicka later explained.

The vision lasted between 10 and 15 minutes. Then, according to the visionaries, the Virgin Mary left them with the words “Go in God’s peace”.

Marveled by the otherworldly beauty of the woman before them, but also confused and full of many questions, it would take a little while until the seers were able to feel the peace of God. On the contrary, Ivanka wept all the way down the hill. Marinko Ivankovic, a 38 years old mechanic, was unable to console her when he met her and the other visionaries at the foot of Podbrdo.

Feeling that the priests should be informed, Marinko went to the church, only to find the parish priest, Fr. Jozo Zovko, out of town – and realizing that his assistant pastor, Fr. Zrinko Cuvalo, wanted nothing to do with the story. Disappointed at this, Marinko went back and talked to the seers himself.

This was when Marinko started thinking to himself that maybe the youngsters were actually telling the truth. He knew Ivanka very well and considered her a level-headed, studious girl. He also knew the Pavlovic sisters, Marija and Milka, as they used to come by to help his wife, Dragica, in doing the dishes. The more he listened to them, the more he believed.

See what happened next

Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic: “The Apparitions of Our Lady at Medjugorje”, third English edition, Informativni Centar “Mir” Medjugorje 2010

Fr. René Laurentin: “Learning From Medjugorje”, The Word Among Us Press 1988

Stipe Cavar: “The First Months of the Apparitions in Medjugorje”, Ziral 2000

Mary Craig: “Spark From Heaven”, Ave Maria Press 1988