A little more than a month ago, on June 24, tens of thousands of Marian devotees celebrated the anniversary of an event that, unknown to many, is still having an impact on the world.

It was the 31st anniversary of the apparitions of Medjugorje.

Thirty-one years? Has it been that long? In that period of time, much has changed in the world, and it seems, not for the better. Technology may make it seem that we have progressed, but morally it may be the opposite, and the environment appears to support the fears that the world is in upheaval.

When the Madonna appeared in 1981, tears would flow from her eyes, and she reiterated “peace, peace, peace.”

A few years after, a horrifying civil war erupted and divided up what used to be their country of Yugoslavia. Now what remains are separate nations, and Medjugorje, though Croatian in culture and language, is located in what is now known as Bosnia and Herzegovina.

It was essentially a religious conflict: Orthodox Christians, Muslims, and Catholics killed, tortured and maimed each other—even those who had been neighbors and friends. Children and elderly were slaughtered, entire villages destroyed.

In all this violence and evil, one place remained safe and a center of peace: Medjugorje. In fact, the United Nations made it one of their headquarters, and parked their vehicles and equipment in and around the village. The UN military would often be seen praying in the church.

‘Pray, pray, pray’

A bomb was dropped on the plaza in front of the church, but it didn’t explode. It landed on its nose directly at the base of the statue of Our Lady of Peace.

The inhabitants of Medugorje knew they were spared because they took our Lady’s messages to heart: “pray, pray, pray”; “return to the sacraments”; “I am here to tell you that God really does exist, but that you must be aware that Satan seeks to destroy your peace.”  The Virgin asked them to leave their fields and work early enough to attend Mass and prayers, saying great blessings and peace would come from this.