by Marco Corvaglia
Medjugorje in 1981 was a very poor and backward hamlet in the Communist Yugoslavia. Most of the approximately 3,000 inhabitants worked as shepherds or tobacco and grape vine growers.
The six who, since then, claim to see the Queen of Peace come from just two families:
Mirjana Dragičević (daughter of Jozo)
Jakov Čolo (the maiden name of his mother, Jaca, was Dragičević)
Marija Pavlović (the maiden name of her mother, Iva, was Dragičević)
Ivan Dragičević (son of Stanko)
Mirjana, Jakov and Marija are sons of a brother and two sisters, who were first cousins of Stanko, the father of Ivan.
Besides, there are:
A reconstruction of the family relationship between the six self-styled seers is in the book by Élisabeth Claverie (research director at the prestigious Centre national de la recherche scientifique) Les guerres de la Vierge. Une anthropologie des apparitions (Gallimard, Paris, 2003), pp. 371-373 (since 1987 the French scholar has led anthropological field research in Medjugorje).
Additionally, the two groups of cousins were linked by bonds of friendship.
Ivanka and Vicka were close friends to Mirjana. Reporting what happened on the first day of the apparitions, Vicka said:
Mirjana and Ivanka stopped by. We previously made plans that we would go for a bit of a walk at dusk. We are continually together.
[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. 5]
Vicka knew Marija and Jakov very well, too: she was the one who promised them (who had not been present on the first day) that she would call them if the apparition returned:
I told Marija and little Jakov that I would call them if we see anything.
[ibid., p. 10]
Updated on 10 August 2016
Thanks to Pete for revising the English translation of some passages in this article of mine.