Interview with Vicka Ivankovic by Kresimir Sego

Meetings with Pilgrims

When speaking of the fruits of the apparitions of the Queen of Peace in the parish of Medjugorje, looking superficially, it seems as if nothing had changed. Men are still far away from God, but when we consider how many have come to the shrine of the Queen of Peace - millions - how many have been converted, the world is much more different in 1996 than it used to be in 1981, both in our people and in the world. What are, in your opinion, the most important fruits of the apparitions?

I have already told you, the most important fruit of the apparitions is the acceptance of her message. Our Lady wants us to be the bearers of her message, to change our hearts.

You are always, every day, in front of your house in Podbrdo, praying with the pilgrims and talking friendly, with a smile. If you are not at home, then you are in countries all over the world. Vicka, what is it that interests pilgrims most in the meetings with visionaries, with you for example?

Every morning, in wintertime, I start working with people about nine o'clock, or at eight in summertime, so that I could talk to as many people as possible. People come with various problems and wishes, and I try to help them as much as I can. I take pains to hear each of them out and say a few good words. I make efforts to find some time for everybody, but sometimes it is simply impossible so that I myself feel sometimes sorry, for I think I could have done more. However, I have noticed lately that people ask less and less questions. For example, I received recently a group of about a thousand people: Americans, Poles, about five busses of Checks and Slovaks, etc. But it is interesting that nobody basked me anything. It is enough for them that I pray over them and say a few words to make them happy.

Are there those who would like to speak to you in private, and what do they expect from you?

Yes, of course, there are, and I believe that every man has a problem that bothers him and that he would like to get rid of. People expect from me to be open in the first place, to convey Our Lady's message to them and to give them hope. I repeat, I try as much as I can, and I can tell by their look that they are satisfied after the talk with me.

What does a typical meeting of yours with the pilgrims look like?

For example, I get up at eight o'clock in the morning, when I have a meeting with Italian pilgrims. Of course, first I tell them Our Lady's message, after that they have a meeting with Mirjana at nine o'clock. afterwards I have a meeting with English and American pilgrims. I would like to stress that the Americans always want me to bless them, which I always do. The talk with them takes about an hour or so, depending on the number of pilgrims, and they are followed by the Brazilians, etc. In general, the day passes in talks and prayer.

You travel a lot. Which countries have you visited?

I have visited many countries. I have been to Canada, several times to the United States, to Brazil, and I have also visited most European countries. Sister Elvira, leader of the community for the treatment of drug addicts, who is here in Medjugorje, has opened a new sanatorium in Brazil, near Sao Paolo, and so we are about to visit this place. On our way there we would first visit Florida, where there are such communities, too.

I was with you on a praying tour, and I am happy about that, and I saw how delighted the people were at meeting with you. At such meetings people experience Medjugorje in a concentrated prayer. What do people most often expect from such meetings and what do you recommend to them?

People, for sure, expect a lot sometimes, but I am always the same. What I offered in one place I shall offer in another, too. It is mainly the people who have never been to Medjugorje, and all that is new for them, so that they expect a lot from such meetings. I manage to do much of what they expect. I have a programme by which I work and which is mainly made according to their wishes.

How do you personally feel at such prayer meetings? Tell us something about your most important ones.

I always look forward to such meetings, and each meeting is special to me, but I would single out the meeting with an Indian tribe in Canada. We visited their wigwams, attended the Holy Mass together with them, and I was very much impressed by the meeting with their priest and by the respect they received us with. For Communion they all lined up and took Communion, which surprised me very much. There followed the Adoration, and then they prepared various traditional festivities, too, which was magnificent for me indeed. And it all was happening in the open air, under a cross. Everything happens under that cross with great mental concentration, no matter if it's rainy or windy.

Had they known anything about the apparitions in Medjugorje before your coming?

Yes, they had, but nobody had visited it before. Father Slavko had also met Indians elsewhere but he had not been in those parts. Father Svetozar and I visited that place at the suggestion of the organizer.

How much effort is needed to start conversion and a life in accordance with the messages?

It does not require much effort. What matters most is that you want conversion. If you want conversion, it will come, and no effort is needed at all. But as long as you struggle, as long as there is a fight going on inside you, it means you are not determined to make that step. You'd better never start struggling if you are not persistent to the end, asking of God the favour of conversion.

Conversion is a grace, conversion will not drop down out of the blue sky, if you do not want it. Our conversion is our whole life. Who can say today, "I am converted"? Nobody. We have to go the way of conversion. Whoever says he is converted is lying, he hasn't moved an inch. He who says he wants to be converted, he is on the way of conversion, he prays for conversion every day.

Apart from the meetings with pilgrims in our parish and prayer meetings, you also keep in touch with a lot of people from the world. What do such contacts mean to these people?

I keep mail and telephone contacts. Usually, people who cannot come call me by phone, they want to recommend themselves, to pray; the people who are at hospitals, who are dying, want to hear a word of consolation, of hope. They are aware of their condition, they want to recommend themselves, to pray one Our Father, or Hail Mary, with me on the phone. At any time, I accept such talks, for I know what they mean to such people. They feel as if they were in Medjugorje, they are relieved.

I cannot reply to every letter received, for it would hardly leave me any time for anything else. But where I see that it is urgent, where it is necessary, I do reply to such letters. I beg the people not to be angry when they do not get an answer to their letter, for I could be replying day and night. To those who send their letters through pilgrims, I reply with a few words, such as, "I pray for you", "I greet you", or the like, so that they may know I have received and read the letter.

Are you personally satisfied with the acceptance of the messages?

On the one hand, I am satisfied, on the other hand I am not. People accept and don't accept the messages. I wouldn't like to condemn anybody for not accepting the messages, or say that the messages are being accepted slowly. I don't look upon it from the standpoint that I might condemn one, far from it. I look upon it this way: As much as I could do more, so should everyone. Nobody should be condemned or blamed. If I, as a visionary, think I can and should do more, so everyone should think: It's high time I moved at least an inch.

Other apparitions lasted briefly, for a few days, while in Medjugorje they have been going on for fifteen years now?

Yes, once when we asked Our Lady how long she was going to stay, she replied, "Have you become bored with me?" Then we decided not to ask her again. Let it last as long as it will. Our Lady said she would finish here in Medjugorje what she had started in Fatima. She gave this in a message.

You, Ivan, Marija and Jakov have visions on a daily basis, and Mirjana and Ivanka only occasionally?

Yes, the four of us have a vision every day. For her birthday on March 18 Mirjana had a vision, and Ivanka will have a vision for the anniversary. Two of them once a year, and we every day.

How do you feel during an apparition? Has anything changed in comparison with the first days of apparitions?

Nothing has changed. To me the meeting is somehow always the same. You prepare yourself through prayer, and so the prayer builds up every meeting that comes. The more you pray, the more you prepare yourself, the more prepared you get of the meeting.

What does an apparition look like? Will you describe it to us?

The apparition takes place always at the same time: at twenty to six in the wintertime, or at twenty to seven in the summertime. Here there is nothing special. Other people are also present during an apparition. The rosary is recited, sometimes one, another time two decades, so that the meeting happens through prayer indeed. I usually convey people's recommendations, or recommend somebody personally. (If there is some special question, I put it, await Our Lady's message, what she is going to say.) There is no suspense at the apparitions, but at each meeting you feel different, for each day is a new day. I often say to the Blessed Virgin Mary, "Our Lady, you know that I am eager to help people", then I pray with Our Lady for the needy.

How do you talk with Our Lady? Is it a free conversation?

The same as with you now, quite free, there is no difference.

Have you talked about the future of the apparitions?

No, I haven't. She will tell it herself. When it comes to important questions, Our Lady will tell herself, so that I don't ask it.


For God to live in your hearts, you must love.