I will attempt to convey to you everything she wishes to say because her desire is that we do only those things that will bring us to her Son.
I will begin from the very beginning. The apparitions in Medjugorje began June 24, 1981. We were children at that time. And Medjugorje is a small village and in this village God was always in the first place in peoples' lives and [in] every home people prayed together in the evenings. And so we children grew up in the faith, but we never had the opportunity to hear about previous apparitions of Our Lady like at Lourdes or Fatima because we were raised in a different system than you were raised in; we were raised in communism. For us it was possible only to pray in our homes and only once a week to go to church. But about Lourdes and Fatima or apparitions of Our Lady, we couldn't speak about these things because of the fear.
And that day, June 24, 1981, I went out for a walk with Ivanka. It was the Feast of St. John the Baptist, and so that day no one was working. The two of us went for a walk below the hill that is now called the Hill of Apparitions, and we talked about ordinary things, the kinds of things young girls talk about. And in one moment Ivanka said to me, "I think Our Lady is on the hill." She said that very matter-of-factly. I said, "Well, she has nothing better to do than come to the two of us." Because I thought that was [an] impossible thing. And I returned home and left Ivanka there. And when I came to the first houses of the village, I felt a need to return to the place. I needed to see what she was doing. And when I returned, I saw Ivanka in the same place. And she said to me, "Look, please, I am begging you." And I looked and I saw a woman with a long grey dress and she was holding a child in her arms. It was very strange because on that hill nobody ever went up there, especially with a child in their arms. The two of us just stared because all of our emotions were all confused within us.
And in that moment, Ivan, one of the other visionaries, came also because that was the way he would normally walk to get to his home. I remember it like it was today. He was carrying apples in his arms and when he saw what the two of us were looking at, like every brave man, he dropped everything and ran. And then I said to Ivanka, "Who knows what this is; maybe it is better we leave also."
We returned home right away, and we told everyone that we have seen Our Lady but nobody believed us. My grandmother said, "Take a rosary and pray and leave Our Lady alone." I had the desire within me to be alone to pray. And so that entire night we spent in prayer, so that God could help us understand what was happening to us.
And the next day Jakov and Marija were the only ones who said, "How lucky you are, we wish we could have seen Our Lady also." And the next day we all found ourselves at the Hill of Apparitions without having called one another there. And with us came our parents or our uncles. I could say to you that it was probably the entire village gathered there because everyone wanted to see what was happening to the children. And we saw Our Lady in the same place, but this time she didn't have a child in her arms. And that second day, June 25, 1981, is the first time we went to Our Lady, and that day many people from the village saw many signs from Our Lady, so they believed us because without them we could not have endured some of the stuff we endured later. I think that might have been Our Lady's plan, to help them understand that it was true. And in the former Yugoslavia it was not easy to be a believer but especially not easy to be a visionary.
After a few days, the army immediately encircled the hill, and they said if anyone would go up on the hill, they would go to jail immediately. And so, we had to have the apparitions in secret places, and many of the people in our village helped with this. And so, I think it was Our Lady who truly helped them to understand and believe we were speaking the truth because we needed their help. My parents at that time were in Sarajevo. My aunt felt a responsibility, and she called my parents. My aunt said, "Something is happening to her." And my mother got very scared and she said, "Well, what is it?" And my aunt said, "Well, she is saying she is seeing Our Lady." And my mother asked, "Is she normal?" And my aunt said, "Well, she looks the same as she looked before." And then my mom said, "Well, then she is speaking the truth."
The daily apparitions lasted for me through Christmas Day 1982 and on Christmas Day 1982, I received the tenth and last secret. And Our Lady told me then that I would no longer have daily apparitions with her. She told me that I would have an apparition of her on the 18th of March every year of my life. And she also told me that I would also have some extraordinary apparitions also. And that is what happened to Ivanka also when she received the tenth secret; her daily apparitions ended. And now she has apparitions once a year on the Anniversary of Medjugorje for the rest of her life.
And now I need to tell you something that happened last night. I was with Jakov last night during the apparition. When the apparition ended, he asked me to go and talk with him alone. He said, "I need you." Because he knows I have passed through this, and he said, "Our Lady tomorrow will tell me the tenth secret." And she told Jakov to prepare himself. And so we prayed a lot last night that the Lord would help him to understand that that is the way it must be. And when he receives the tenth secret, then his daily apparitions will cease.
I needed to choose a priest to whom I would tell the ten secrets. And I chose Fr. Petar Ljubicic, and I need to tell him what will happen and when it will happen. And he is to announce it to everyone. He cannot choose whether he will or will not tell the secret, he must tell the secret. Our Lady always says, "Do not talk about the secrets, pray," because the one who experiences me as their mother and God as their father, should have fear of nothing. Those who do not believe are the only ones who have fear. I always say to people, we don't need to be like Fr. Petar, this priest to whom I will reveal the secrets. He always says to me, "Come to confession to me and at least tell me one of them right now."
I can tell you this, that Our Lady's heart will conquer. I want to tell you that I have heard about lots of different apparitions, some here in America, where reportedly Our Lady is talking about some horrible times to come where there is going to be floods and all kinds of disasters. And I always say, with a full heart, that that's not truly Our Lady speaking because Our Lady is our mother and she loves her children, and it is not her desire that people love her because they fear. That is not true faith. She changes us with her smile and with love. And so we don't need to fear anything, but we need to place our lives in her hands and we must not think about what will happen tomorrow. Our Lady desires that we think about what is going to happen now, in this moment, because who amongst us here can say in ten minutes we will still be alive. Our Lady desires that every second of our lives we're prepared to return to God.
As I already said, Our Lady told me that I would also have some extraordinary apparitions as well. And those apparitions began on August 2, 1987, and they still continue today. And I don't know how long these apparitions will last. In those apparitions, we pray for nonbelievers, but Our Lady never says "nonbelievers", she always says "those who have not yet experienced the love of God." And she asks for our help also, and when I say "our help", I don't mean just the six of us visionaries. I mean the help of all those people who experience Our Lady as their mother because she says we are able to change nonbelievers, but only with our prayers and only with our example. She asks in our daily prayers that we place as a priority prayers for unbelievers because she says most of the evil things that happen in the world, like drugs, war, abortion, divorces, that these things stem from unbelievers. So Our Lady says, "My dear children, when you pray for them, you really pray for yourselves and for your future."
And in addition to our prayers, she is also asking for our example. She is not asking that we give lectures and talks; I don't mean to imply that priests are not allowed to give lectures and talks. Our Lady desires that we speak through our lives, that unbelievers can see God and the love of God in our lives. I would like to ask you most sincerely that you understand this with your whole hearts. Because if only once you saw the tears that Our Lady cries because of unbelievers, I think you would pray immediately. And her only desire that she told us in an apparition is that she present us all to her Son as a bouquet of flowers. She will not be happy as long as there is even one unbeliever. And so I always say that we don't need to tell Our Lady about the things that we desire because she is our mother and can read our hearts. Let us pray so we can help her, so that we can change our brothers and sisters who have not been as lucky as we have to have encountered the love of God.
Each one of us six visionaries has a special mission in these apparitions. Our Lady chose me to pray for unbelievers, Vicka and Jakov pray for the sick, Ivanka prays for families, Marija prays for sisters and souls in purgatory, Ivan prays for young people and priests.
The most important message that Our Lady constantly repeats is the Holy Mass, which shouldn't be something we just do on Sundays. Our Lady once said that if you have to choose between having visions of me and going to the Holy Mass, always choose the Holy Mass because during the time of the Holy Mass my Son is with you.
Because Our Lady has never said in these 17 years of apparitions, she has never said, "Pray, and I will give you your answer." She always says, "Pray, so that I can intercede to my Son for you." Jesus is always in the first place.
Our Lady desires that we return the rosary into the family. She said that nothing can unite a family like family prayer. When parents pray with their children, children are never too young to understand what their parents are doing. I want to tell you an example that I typically tell to pilgrims. This example touched me. When my older daughter was only 2 1/2 years old, I had never spoken to her to that point about the apparitions because I thought, "What could she understand at her age?" Then one day, she was playing with a friend of hers and I went in to check on them, and I heard that this friend of my daughter said to my daughter, "Well, my mom drives a car," and my Marija said to her, "Well, what is that? My mom talked to Our Lady every day." And then I understood that she understood, even without me having told her. Because Our Lady always places a great responsibility on parents, we are the ones who need to place the roots of faith in our children.
And Our Lady also asks that we fast on bread and water on Wednesdays and Fridays. She didn't explain why. And I want to tell you that when Our Lady gives a message, she gives it to you as much as she gives it to me. And she never says why and how come because for Our Lady we are all the same. We visionaries are no more privileged than any of you, for Our Lady we are all the same. She chose us so that through us she can send the messages, but she has also chosen all of you. Because to whom would we give these messages if she hadn't called you also? Because we are all her apostles. So when Our Lady asks that we fast on Wednesdays and Fridays on bread and water, she says that to me and you, together the same. Americans, whenever they come to Medjugorje, always ask, "Well, can we at least take some coffee in the morning?" And I always say, "Sure, why not, just do it before Our Lady wakes up." Because each one of us is going to choose what we can do and how we can respond. Our Lady doesn't ask those that are sick to fast on bread and water, those who are truly sick and not those who just have a headache or stomach ache. I remember an old grandmother, an old woman who lived near me. She fasted a lot, and I said to her, "Don't do this because you are old and live alone. What if something happens to you?" She gave me an answer that to this day still remains in my mind. She said to me, very seriously, "Mirjana, as long as you can go to the bathroom by yourself, you can fast."
Our Lady asks that we go to confession, that we go to confession monthly. Our Lady says there isn't a man on this earth that doesn't need monthly confession. She didn't mention women; Our Lady knows that women have enough crosses to bear!
Our Lady asks that we return the Bible into our families. She didn't say how much we need to read. She said the important thing is to return the Word of God into the family. If Jakov were here right now when I said this thing about confession, his reply would have been, "Yes, it is true that men need to go to confession monthly, but women need to go every day!"
Today, I want to conclude, asking you to pray for unbelievers. Every one of the prayers that we pray for unbelievers wipes the tears off the face of Our Lady. Our Lady asks, first of all, that we love unbelievers, that we experience them as our brothers and sisters, and that we do not judge them because God will judge all of us. And when we can experience this love for them, then we should pray for them because that is the only way we can change them. I am sure each one of us has an unbeliever close in our vicinity, and that unbeliever is our responsibility. And so let us pray, and let's place the lives of those unbelievers in the hands of Our Lady because only with Our Lady can they be converted and brought to Jesus.
I'd like to greet you most warmly again, and I hope that I was able to bring Medjugorje a little closer to you. But I always say it is not always the same thing to talk about Medjugorje as it is to experience it. It's different when you come to that hill yourself, and it's different when you enter into the church yourself, but I hope that I at least somewhat succeeded in bringing it closer to you. And tomorrow morning we will be together again.