Zovko (Andy) – the self-sacrificing and unselfish person who
spreads the wonders of Medjugorje.
he was an obedient and faithful person who spread messages, only later
to discover his numerous gifts: healing of spiritual and physical
diseases, freeing people from evil spirits… So far he has taken
147 trips all over the world not recording the number of healings,
although he knows of 111 instances of casting out evil spirits.
Zovko was born on May 17, 1937 in Medjugorje and spent his youth in the
post war period in the poor region of Herzegovina, without any
perspectives or freedom of religion. For that reason, as well as for
economic ones, he left his birthplace in 1964 for Germany, and then
later went to America.
about the events in Medjugorje very quickly. In order to find out the
truth about the stories that began to spread he called his very devout
and God-fearing sister, Mara. With complete confidence she confirmed
that the miraculous events happening were true, that Gospa (Our Lady)
was revealing herself to children. Inspired by her witness, after only
two weeks he started to spread the truth and the messages of Medjugorje
in his area in Chicago.
beginning, this one was also very difficult. Andrija maintains that
although it was tough he heard a voice inside telling him to continue.
He didn’t give up; rather he gained more and more strength. In
1985 he asked Gospa (Our Lady) through one of the visionaries Vicka,
“In what way should I continue spreading the message?” He
received his answer, “Spread the messages just the way you hear
them.” Aside from this he received a confusing task in which he
was told, “Encourage people to pray.” He was afraid because
he had no idea how to begin. He often asked himself how he should
encourage people to pray when he wasn’t a priest, nor even a
layperson serving the Church. However, his task was clear. He continued
his calling with all his strength.
how he discovered his first gift of prayer in 1990. His encounter with
Marija Pavlovic, the visionary, in Medjugorje in November of that year
was also pivotal. She asked him if he would like to join her on the
hill where Gospa (Our Lady) revealed herself at the blue cross, where
Marija was to have a vision at ten o’clock in the evening. He
accepted her offer. Andrija states, “During the vision I held a
cross in my hand and prayed to the Blessed Virgin to bless that cross
and to help me heal the spiritually and physically sick. At that time I
didn’t hear or see anything, but I felt a special inner
peace.” On his way to Chicago he stopped in Zagreb for five days
to visit his brother, Kazimir. On the third day of his stay in Zagreb
his brother went into a coma. At two o’clock in the morning his
sister-in-law called him and told him that Kazimir was dying. Andrija
got up, took his cross and prayed over him. It was the first time that
he had taken the cross and prayed over someone. His sister-in-law said
that his brother was in a coma for more than 45 minutes. Andrija
didn’t stop, he just continued praying. His brother’s body
looked dead and at one point he opened his eyes. He didn’t know
how to describe what happened to him, or whether he had received the
gift of the Holy Spirit, but soon he recovered and is now in good
health. When he returned to Chicago he had an appointment in Las
Cruces, New Mexico from January 18th to the 20th in 1991. When he
finished his speech about Medjugorje and the messages he mentioned his
experiences and the case with his brother in Zagreb. The people asked
him if he would also pray over them and he accepted, although he had
never prayed over anyone before. After he placed his hands on the first
person, she fell and rested in the Spirit. On that evening all the
people testified that they received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
That’s the first time Andrija was convinced that he had truly
received the gift of healing in Medjugorje. When he consulted priests
about this they told him it was a gift from God and that he must use it
returned to America he started taking groups of people to Medjugorje.
Every year he took two groups, one in October and one in May.
Providence allowed him to find his own priest and Spiritual Director,
Fr. Charles Becker, who also went through his own conversion. They
continued to work together. Fr. Charles Becker would offer the Holy
Sacrifice of the Mass, hear confessions, and gives speeches, and
Andrija would pray for healings of all kinds, wherever they traveled.
Fr. Becker likewise leads prayer groups all over Chicago.
about Andrija’s gifts quickly spread around the world, and at the
request of different priests and bishops he began traveling around the
world. However, he maintains that he only goes where people invite him.
Since then he has had many travels throughout America, Canada, Mexico,
Central and South America, even the distant Philippines and Korea.
The years and a difficult life have taken their toll on Andrija’s
body. He has had three strokes. After the first stroke he offered up
his illness to God as a sacrifice for the conversion of sinners and for
the souls in Purgatory. He also had four heart attacks. The fourth time
he had open-heart surgery and diabetes problems. He remained as such
and never prayed for his own recovery; rather he asked that God’s
will be done. Despite all of his health problems he succeeded in taking
147 trips around the world, where he had to stand for hours and pray
over each person individually. The fruits of his gift began to
accumulate, but he didn’t even count their number. The only
number he kept track of was the number of people who were freed from
evil spirits: 111.
continues to spread the messages with self-sacrifice. He struggles with
his own difficulties and illness, but he always finds time for people
in distress, physical or spiritual. With his typical smile he spreads
the message of peace and conversion and acts as a mediator for the
fruits of his gifts.
an interview with Andrija(Andy) Zovko by Fr. Ivica Majstorovic, OFM
pastor of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac Croatian Catholic Mission,
Chicago,IL. and translated by Fr. Jozo Grbes, OFM pastor of St. Jerome
Croatian Catholic Church, Chicago, IL.