Medjugorje, meaning ‘between the hills,’ is a village in the southern part of Herzegovina in the present-day state ofBosnia. The small parish of about 4,000 has become famous due to a series of reported visions of the Virgin Mary that began in 1981 and still continues today.
The story goes like this: six In 1981 Croatian children saw a beautiful young woman with a child in her arms. She was silent, but gestured for them to come closer. The children were
afraid and did not do so.
The following day, four of the same children and two different ones returned to the hill in hopes of seeing the lady again. There was a sudden flash of light, and the lady appeared again, but this time without the child. The children kneeled and prayed the rosary, and the lady prayed with them except for the Hail Mary.
On the third day, the vision identified herself as the Blessed Virgin Mary and on the fifth day, a large crowd gathered for the apparition but only the children saw it. On the sixth day, a miraculous healing occurred and the next day the Virgin appeared to the children away from the original apparition site.
The messages of the Queen of Peace, as the apparition became known, usually center on such themes as peace, the importance of belief, and the efficacy of fasting. Each of the visionaries has also reported that the Virgin has disclosed either 9 or 10 'secrets" to them. The three visionaries who have received all 10 secrets no longer receive daily visions, but annual visions on their birthday, anniversary of the visions, or Christmas
Unlike most reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary, which are local and short-lived, the children of Medjugorje reported that she appeared to them regularly for more than a decade, no matter where they traveled.
Although the apparitions have not been validated by the Catholic Church and therefore official pilgrimages are not allowed, the Sanctuary of the Queen of Peace has attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists each year.
The Medjegurje is the largest pilgrimage site in the world that is not officially sanctioned by the Catholic Church. Over twenty million people have gone to walk up the hills where the apparition appeared, pray and fast.