The message of impending disaster allegedly revealed at Garabandal was repeated, with more detail, in Yugoslavia a decade later. In June 1981, six young people from the mountain village of Medjugorje reportedly encountered Mary near the top of Mount Podbrdo, a small mountain located in central Yugoslavia. In a series of apparitions that still continues, but with much less frequency, she reportedly sent a message of faith, prayer, fasting, conversion and peace. In these apparitions Mary said she came to bring humanity back to her Son; and warned that Satan is especially active in these times and that it was necessary to pray fervently and often to ward off his advances.
During the early 1980s, Medjugorje became well known initially throughout Europe, with newspaper reports in Le Monde and the Financial Times; by the late ’80s it had become known throughout the world. As a result of its growing fame, more than ten million pilgrims had visited it by the tenth anniversary of the first apparition. On the tenth anniversary, conflict broke out among the Bosnian Serbs and Croats. Despite this conflict, thousands of pilgrims still manage to make the dangerous journey to Medjugorje each year.
Since the apparitions have lasted for such a long time, it has been possible to subject the visionaries to a number of medical, physical and psychological tests. Physiological and psychological tests showed them to be bright, well-adjusted teenagers.
In the reports of her appearances here, Mary is said to ask each of us to become aware of the active and destructive role that Satan plays in the modern world and to protect ourselves against Satan’s actions. To emphasize the urgency of her requests, she will entrust each of the visionaries with ten secrets detailing the events that will transpire if humanity fails to correct itself. At this time (1997), two of the visionaries have received the ten secrets. The remaining visionaries have received nine. She has also told the visionaries that when the apparitions cease at Medjugorje, they will cease at all other Marian apparition sites. When this occurs, the events described in the secrets will begin to unfold.
The ten secrets of Medjugorje appear to be a continuation of the Fatima Secrets and are similar in general character to the secrets described at Garabandal. A report sent from the Bishop of Mostar to the Pope stated, “According to Mirjana, during the apparition on December 25, 1982, the Madonna confided the tenth and last secret to her, and she revealed the dates on which the various secrets will come to pass. The Blessed Virgin revealed many aspects of the future to Mirjana, many more up to now than to the other seers. For that reason, I relate now what Mirjana told me in a conversation on November 5, 1983 I shall summarize the essential things she said, without any literal quotations. Before the visible sign is given to humanity, there will be three warnings to the world. The warnings will be warnings on the earth. Mirjana will witness them. Three days before one of these warnings, she will advise a priest of her choice. Mirjana’s testimony will be a confirmation of the apparitions and an incentive for the conversion of the world. After these warnings, the visible sign will be given for all humanity at the place of the apparitions in Medjugorje. The sign will be given as the testimony of the apparitions and a call back to faith.”
The Bishop’s letter continued, “The ninth and tenth secrets are grave matters. They are a chastisement for the sins of the world. The punishment is inevitable because we cannot expect the conversion of the entire world. The chastisement can be mitigated by prayers and penance. It cannot be suppressed. After the first warning, the others will follow within a rather brief period of time. So it is that people will have time for conversion. This time is a period of grace and conversion. After the visible sign, those who are still alive will have little time for conversion. For that reason, the Blessed Virgin calls for urgent conversion and reconciliation. The invitation to prayer and penance is destined to ward off evil and war and above all to save souls. We are close to the events predicted by the Blessed Virgin. Convert yourselves as quickly as possible. Open your hearts to God. This is a message to all mankind.”
In addition to these remarks, one Father Tomislav added the following observations in August, 1983, “They say that, with the realization of the secrets entrusted to them by Our Lady, life in the world will change. Afterwards, men will believe like in ancient times. What will change and how it will change, we don’t know, given that the seers don’t want to say anything about the secrets.”
A further clarification of the character of the initial secrets came from a series of interviews conducted by Janice Connell several years after Father Tomislav’s report. In her interview with Marijana, she asked for any additional information about the secrets that Marijana was permitted to disclose. Marijana responded, “The first two secrets will be warnings to the world — events that will occur before a visible sign is given to humanity. These will happen in my lifetime. Ten days before the first secret and the second secret, I will notify Father Petar Ljubicic. He will pray and fast for seven days, and then he will announce these to the world.”
The most troubling aspect of the apparitions at Garabandal and Medjugorje, aside from their marathon duration, is the predestination implied in the warning messages. Unlike previous apparitions, there is no contingency clause to the prophecies such as “Unless men convert…” The visionaries say that they know NOW the dates when each of these events will occur.
For example, at Garabandal Our Lady reportedly stated that the Miracle will occur on a Thursday evening at 8:30 p.m. (Garabandal time) between the 8th and 16th of either March, April or May. The Miracle will coincide with an important event in the Church and on a feast day of a martyr of the Eucharist. Russia will finally be converted after the Miracle occurs.
The Lady has promised to leave a visible sign on the mountain where she first appeared. “This sign will be given for the atheists. You faithful already have signs, and you have become the sign for the atheists. You faithful must not wait for the sign before you convert; convert soon. This time is a time of grace for you. You can never thank God enough for His grace. The time is for deepening your faith and for your conversion. When the sign comes, it will be too late for many.”
There will then be three warnings given to the world, and they will be visibile on earth. Mirjana will hear of them beforehand. Three days before one of these warnings, she will advise a priest of her choice (Father Pero Ljubicic), who will then announce what, where, and when the warning is to take place. Mirjana’s testimony will be a confirmation of the validity of the apparitions and an incentive for the conversion of the world. After the first warning, the others will follow within a rather brief period of time. After the three warnings, the permanent visible sign will be left on the mountain where The Lady first appeared in Medjugorje. Those who are still alive will have little time for conversion.
The ninth and tenth secrets are grave matters. They are a chastisement for the sins of the world. The punishment is inevitable because we can not expect the conversion of the entire world. The chastisement can be lessened by prayers and penance, but it can not be suppressed entirely. An evil which threatened the world according to the seventh secret, had been eliminated through prayer and fasting. For that reason the Blessed Virgin continues to ask for prayer and fasting. The invitation to prayer and penance is destined to ward off evil and war and above all to save souls. Our Lady says, “You have forgotten that with prayer and fasting you can ward off wars, suspend natural laws.”
On June 12, 1973, in Japan, Sr. Agnes Sasagawa, after “hearing” (She was deaf.) the urgings of an angelic voice, went to the chapel to pray. There she saw brilliant rays coming from the tabernacle. This light reoccurred on the next two days. On her left hand appeared a cross-shaped wound, painful with profuse bleeding on June 28.
Sr. Agnes was praying in the chapel on July 6 when she heard a voice coming from the statue of the Virgin Mary. That same day, a few of her colleagues noticed blood flowing from the statue’s right hand; this was repeated on four occasions, finally disappearing on September 29. On that day, the sisters was the statue “sweat” from the neck and forehead. Two years later, the statue began to “weep” and this continued for over six years.
JULY 6, 1973: “Is the infirmity of your ears painful? Your deafness will be healed. Does the wound of your hand cause you to suffer? Pray in reparation for the sins of men. [The apparition gave the text of a prayer.] Pray very much for the pope, bishops, and priests. Tell your superior all that passed today…”
AUGUST 3, 1973: “If you love the Lord, listen to what I have to say to you. It is very important; you will convey it to your superior. Many men in this world afflict the Lord. I desire souls to console him to soften the anger of the heavenly father. I wish, with my son, for souls who will repair by their suffering and their poverty for the sinners and ingrates.
“In order that the world might know his anger, the heavenly father is preparing to inflict a great chastisement on all mankind. I have intervened so many times to appease the wrath of the father. I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering him the sufferings of the son on the cross, his precious blood, and beloved souls who console him forming a cohort of victim souls. Prayer, penance and courageous sacrifices can soften the father’s anger… Even in a secular institute prayer is necessary. Already souls who wish to pray are on the way to being gathered together. Without attaching too much attention to the form, be faithful and fervent in prayer to console the master.”
OCTOBER 13, 1973: “My dear daughter, listen well to what I have to say to you. You will inform your superior. As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead… The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres… churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises, and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them. Today is the last time that I will speak to you in living voice. From now on you will obey the one sent to you and your superior.”
The angel who had originally spoken to Sr. Agnes continued to speak to her for the next nine years. The messages given at Akita are thought by some to have disclose the third secret of Fatima. Mary seemed to emphasize the urgency of her plea for the conversion of all humanity by making herself known to a much wider audience. A Japanese TV crew filmed the statue “crying” while reporting on the events at Akita.