by Marco Corvaglia
This concept seemed somehow clear to Vicka by 1983 when, for the interview-book of Father Janko Bubalo, she stated:
VICKA: Think about it: how would all this seem if the Virgin had appeared only ten or twenty times, and then disappeared. Why, in the hustle and bustle it would have been forgotten by now.
[Janko Bubalo, A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje. The Seer Vicka Speaks of Her Experiences, Friends of Medjugorje, Chicago, 1987, p. 187]
In 1991, the then "official" historian of Medjugorje and a great advocate of these apparitions, Father René Laurentin, speaking of the "spiritual risks" that the seers had to deal with, stated that Marija "had gone from the poorest family among all the visionaries to a condition of wealth that led her to a very different culture and to an easy and brilliant life" ["Eco di Medjugorje", No 84, July 1991, p. 6] and the twenty-six-year-old Ivan "has begun to like playboy clothing and has developed an exaggerated care for his own person" [ibid.].
In 1994, Father René Laurentin admitted:
Ivan now owns a beautiful new house, which will allow him earn a living by hosting pilgrims. This is already the source of income for Mirjana, Ivanka, Vicka and soon Jakov.
[René Laurentin, Dernières Nouvelles de Medjugorje, No 13, O.E.I.L., Paris, 1994, p. 24]
Well, here is the problem: if the apparitions ceased, the visionaries (and many of their relatives) would find themselves deprived of their current sources of income. Actually, like many people there, they own guesthouses, in which they accommodate pilgrims.
The seer Marija Pavlović divides her time between the Italian town of Monza (where she officially resides with her husband, Paolo Lunetti) and Bijakovići, a village that is part of the Medjugorje parish.
In 2010, she founded the Antares Association (reg. R-1003/10 of the Cantonal Ministry of Justice), with the aim of collecting, among the devotees, funds for contributing to the construction of an accomodation facility, named "Magnificat", on a land owned by her, in Bijakovići (for donations, also a bank account, titled “Antares Association”, was opened at Banca Prossima, agency of Milan, Paolo Ferrari Square, 10 [IBAN IT42Q0335901600100000015985]).
This facility is presented as follows by the Italian newspaper L'Arena, in an article that advertises a meeting of Marija with the faithful:
With the support of trusted persons Marija founded the Antares association, recognized by the local government, through which she intends to support the building of the center of hospitality and spirituality. It was conceived as a large conference room, chapel and rooms for seminars, courses and retreats, and accommodation for up to 120 people, with a staff dedicated to the practical needs and the assistance of the pilgrims.
[Arriva la veggente di Medjugorje, by V. Zambaldo, "L’Arena", 21 August 2011]
All this led the Diocese of Alessandria, in the person of the Bishop Msgr. Giuseppe Versaldi (now Cardinal), to issue, on 16 June 2011, a Clarification on Medjugorje by Msgr. Versaldi:
As also in the Diocese of Alessandria some faithful and faith groups are involved in the events that have happened in Medjugorje since 1981, and go on pilgrimages there and meet here to practice their devotion to Mary and since recently in these meetings there is an alleged seer [...] I [also] ask the priests to not allow, during celebrations within our churches, offerings to be given to private persons (even if they are alleged seers), intended for private works, in order to avoid exploitation and suspicion.
[La Chiesa e Medjugorje. Precisazioni del Vescovo, "La voce alessandrina. Settimanale di informazione e opinione della Diocesi di Alessandria", No 23, 17 June 2011, p. 12]
The "Magnificat" was built, as we said, on the land owned by Marija Pavlović, near her house in Bijakovići, and was opened in the summer of 2012.
The "Magnificat", the 120 bed-facility, in the advertising brochure of an Italian travel agency (Rusconi Viaggi). In it one can read that "Marija Pavlovic [...] will be often present in the center to give her testimony." The brochure also contains the charge for organized groups (travel and three nights).
On 18 August 2010, the BBC, during the program Newsnight, broadcasted an interview with Ivan Dragičević in Medjugorje. Here are two short fragments of the report:
On 16 June 2011, Italian TV (Rai News, L'Inchiesta - I misteri di Medjugorje) made known what follows:
Given the large flux of pilgrims, Mirjana has recently expanded her hotel with a new wing.
The new wing built by Mirjana, mentioned in the Rai News report, is a guesthouse, which opened in the spring of 2011, and offers double and triple accomodations. Its name is Mirjana i Marko (ie, "Mirjana and Marko", after the name of the visionary and of her husband, Marko Soldo) and is located between Mirjana’s house and the one of the visionary Ivan's parents.
Through this page people can book a stay in the new Mirjana’s guesthouse.
Updated on 2 February 2013