At two o’clock in the afternoon, the parking of St. Nicholas church bustled with activity as people gathered in front of the church or on the side lawn. While some drove their own cars, many came in groups in rented bus from Miami, Northern Florida, and a person flew in from San Salvadore. On a beautiful 75o evening in Fort Lauderdale, every one was excited about the big event of Saturday night: the visit of the Medjougorje visionary, Ivan Dragieevic.

Volunteers organized the faithful lining up outside the church for hours. Blue and white rosaries were distributed around. At four thirty pm, the ushers opened the door and admitted the parishioners. The choir chanted various canticles during the service attended by about 1500 people. Since the church could accommodate a maximum of 500 people only, most of the congregation sat outside on beach chairs or blankets. A video camera recorded the whole ceremony that was projected on a huge screen set on the loan.

Our pastor thanked Ivan for coming to St. Nicholas. At six o’clock, the whole congragation prayed the Rosary and sang the Ave Maria between the mysteries.

At six forty, Ivan kneeled on the first step of the altar and we all dropped to our knees, holding our rosaries. From my place in the front side, facing the choir, I had an excellent view. I saw Ivan talking. His lips moved. He often nodded. His expression changed. At one moment, he frowned and then nodded again and smiled. I felt a divine presence, wiped my tears and prayed Our Lady, presenting my petitions. For fifteen minutes, you could hear a pin dropped as people trembled or silently cried, and prayed while Ivan conversed with his apparition. After a final nod, he made the sign of the cross and rose. We all followed suite. We crossed ourselves and sat, silently waiting and keeping in our heart what we have just witnessed. Our pastor celebrated the Mass.

After Mass, Ivan told us about the first apparition of the Virgin Mary. I wrote his words translated from Slavic to English by the interpreter:

On June 24, 1981, it was Wednesday and the feast of St. John the Baptist. Our home was a small poor village under communist regime. In those days there were five or six televisions in the whole village. My friends and I gathered to watch the football (soccer) game at the house that had a TV. After the game we walked back together. I was a shy sixteen years old. Three girls stopped to talk to us. I continued walking with another boy. My house was the last one of the village. Before we arrived, the girls and another boy came running after us and stopped us, saying, “You have to come with us. We just saw a lady up there in the hill. Our Lady, the Virgin Mary.”

At first we didn’t believe them. But they insisted and we went with them. We saw Our Lady floating on the clouds. She called us, saying, “Come my dear children. Don’t be afraid.” When I went back home, I was very scared because our regime didn’t allow us to talk about religion openly. I didn’t know about Fatima or Lourdes and asked myself: Is it possible? I locked myself in my room hoping to forget, hoping it would all go away.

The next day, many people were at our door. The other children had talked about what they saw and the villagers insisted we should go back and they came with us to the place of the apparition. Before we even reached the hill, I saw her. Our Lady holding a Baby. She called us. We came closer. It was such a beautiful moment. She was looking at us with such a beautiful smile I can’t describe. She said: My dear children, I am your Mother. I love you. I will protect you and guide you. I am the Queen of Peace. Please, please, be strong. The world and mankind are in danger and threaten to destroy themselves.

Ivan said he was not a saint .and was not converted overnight. He kept asking the apparition: “Why me? Mother, why did you choose me?” She told me: “ My dear child, I am not looking for the best ones. You need to be an instrument in my hands.” It was an enormous responsibility. But whoever received a lot, is expected to give a lot.

After each apparition Ivan said he needed a few hours to come back to reality. Our lady told him she wanted peace in the world and that it could be only accomplished by putting peace and love and prayers in the families. She kept asking for love and prayers in the families every day.

Ivan said the Virgin Mary appeared to him every day for the past twenty-nine years. EVERY DAY around seven pm wherever he is. He prays, falls on his knees and sees her. She talks to him for ten to fifteen minutes. She complains that the world has no peace and is spiritually sick, that people have abandoned prayers, that families are collapsing. People don’t have time for each other. Parents have no time for their children. She asks parents to give love to their children and pray with them. She said, she comes to us as the Mother of Hope and asks us to be strong. Ivan also said that the Lady gave him a message for ALL her dear children. All includes all race and nationalities.

On Sunday, we met Ivan at his hosts’ house. After rosary and apparition, he gave the message she told him, almost the same one again. He said he found it difficult to talk after the apparition, but he agreed to answer our questions.

Q: How does the lady looks? How old? Where do you see her?
A: Very beautiful. Between 30 and 40. She floats on a cloud.

Q: What does she wear?
A: A long grey robe and veil. On her holy days, Christmas, Easter, Assumption, …she wore a golden dress and veil

Q: Is she alone?
A: Sometimes with a baby, sometimes with three angels around her.

Q: Has the apparition changed your life?
A: Yes, it did. I was shy, but now I am strong. I have a message to give. I go around the world and give the message.

Q: How come you didn’t become a priest?
A: Our Lady didn’t ask me. Marriage is a sacrament too. My wife and two sons understand that my mission is special.

Q How about the other visionaries? Do They still see the Virgin Mary? Are they married?
A: We all have families. Three of them see the Virgin two times a month. One sees the Virgin once a month on the 25th, She gives her a message. Only one other sees the Virgin every day like me.

Q: Did you reveal everything she told you?
A: No She gave me secrets I am not allowed to reveal yet. And she gave the five other secrets too.

Q: Did you reveal them to a priest or to the Pope?”
A: No we are not allowed. We will do it when She allows us.

Q: Did you do any miracles?
A: I don’t do miracles. Our Lady does them. Thousands of people have been healed in Medjougorje but only 300 are official. There has been a lot of spiritual healing. Many vocations followed the visit to Medjougorje.

Q: The Pope and Catholic Church have not yet officially recognized the apparitions. There has been also some controversy about Medjougorje.
A: Yes, I am aware of it. The Pope needs time to carefully study the situation before officially calling Medjougorje an apparition site.


  1. Beth Trissel // January 25, 2010 at 4:08 PM  

    How very interesting. Thanks for shedding more light.

  2. Beth Trissel // January 25, 2010 at 4:08 PM  
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  3. Pamela Varnado // January 25, 2010 at 4:20 PM  

    Interesting subject and very thought provoking.

  4. Mary Marvella // January 25, 2010 at 4:25 PM  

    Mona, I'm not Catholic but that gave me chills! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Nightingale // January 25, 2010 at 5:20 PM  

    Lovely post, Mona. I could imagine being there. I'm sure it was a life-altering experience.

  6. Scarlet Pumpernickel // January 25, 2010 at 7:46 PM  

    What an interesting post. How very moving and touching. I am not Catholic, but I feel something in my heart for that religion because my paternal grandmother was. Then, too, having been raised in the Methodist church, our creed began with I believe in the holy catholic church. So perhaps that has something to do with it as well. What a timely message he has shared. Our world does indeed need peace. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Autumn Jordon // January 25, 2010 at 8:28 PM  

    I can only imagine the feeling you and others must've experienced. Amazing story.


  8. Mona Risk // January 25, 2010 at 8:38 PM  

    Ivan said Our Lady talked to" All My Children" and She explained, all means ALL. As a result he will visit a Baptist church and an Episcopal one soon. Harvard is also asking him to talk. The Lady's message is universal. Actually the Catholic Church hasn't recognized the apparitions yet. The bishop refused to attend because he's not officially allowed.

  9. Joelle Charbonneau // January 25, 2010 at 9:24 PM  

    Thanks for sharing this.

  10. Judy // January 26, 2010 at 7:58 AM  

    Fascinating post. You must have been very moved by the whole experience. The message is a good reminder for everyone.Thanks for sharing this with us....

  11. Mona Risk // January 26, 2010 at 8:12 AM  

    Hi Joelle, Judy, I am glad you enjoyed reading my spiritual experience.

  12. Joanne // January 26, 2010 at 9:15 AM  

    Beautiful and powerful post. As a Catholic, I have read many stories about Medjougorje. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Mary Ricksen // January 27, 2010 at 9:56 PM  

    This kind of thing really makes me wonder. Are they for real?
    Or what...