Medjugorje on the Cover of LIFE Magazine

Much attention—and rightly so—has been given to Pope Francis appearing on the cover of Time Magazine as its “Person of the Year.” An equally fascinating fact—yet one that has gotten no attention—is that Life Magazine, in its most recent issue, has placed Medjugorje, the eminent Marian apparition site, on its cover. The issue is currently out until February 14, 2014.

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The cover highlights a prominent statue of the Virgin Mary being venerated in Medjugorje on Podbrdo (aka, “Apparition Hill”), the site where six children reported experiencing daily visitations from the Virgin in 1981. The edition of Life Magazine is called “Miracles: The Presence of God” and features a story of the visionaries and apparitions of Medjugorje, as well as other apparitions (from Lourdes and Fatima) and mystics (such as Padre Pio and Maximilian Kolbe).

The Life article astutely explains the uniqueness of the phenomenon in Medjugorje compared to other apparitions, enunciating: “A central difference betweenthe events in what was then Yugoslavia [Medjugore] and those that had occurred earlier in [Fatima] Portugal and [Lourdes] France is that Medjugorje, for better or worse, was and is a phenomenon of the postmodern age.” In other words, the apparitions in Medjugorje continue and it is an ongoing phenomena.

The Life article features a rare black-and-white photograph of three of the six visionaries (Vicka, Marija, and Jakov) standing in front of St. James Church, the parish around which the events started. It also features a stunning (and modern) two-page photograph of the village of Medjugorje, with a statue of the Mother of God, being venerated by prayerful pilgrims. A picture of Apparition Hill with a summary of the beginning of the apparitions is also present in the introduction of the issue, using Medjugorje as a modern model to speak about the phenomenon of visions and apparitions.

It’s a fascinating edition of Lifefeaturing the miracles of Catholic saints as well as scientific investigations that are applied to study miracles. Discretion is wise, however, as certain articles are written with greater objectivity than others. For example, while an article on the life of Maximilian Kolbe is beautifully written, even describing the vision that he had of the Virgin Mary as a child, prophesying his martyrdom in Ais terribly written, quoting nothing but Padre’s critics and citing (now discredited) criticisms.

Great honor is given to some saints in the edition while others do not receive the reverence they deserve. However, it is impressive and noteworthy that Life decided to publish an edition on supernatural and miraculous phenomena, as so prominently present in the Catholic Church and Faith.