A Visit from an Angel
San Sebastian de Garabandal is a tiny village located in the Cantabrian Mountains in northwest Spain. On June 18, 1961 four young girls, Mari Loli Mazon, Jacinta Gonzalez, Mari Cruz Gonzalez, and Conchita Gonzalez were playing on the outskirts of the village when they heard a thunderous sound. In the blink of an eye, an angel appeared to them; he said nothing and quickly vanished. The girls, shaken and pale from what they had just witnessed, ran back to their village church. News of the apparition spread around Garabandal quite rapidly. Over the next twelve days, the angel appeared to them several more times and then, on
July 1, he spoke for the very first time announcing that on the following day the Blessed Virgin would appear to them as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Our Lady Appears to the Children
Many gathered to be present for the apparition of Our Lady, including many priests. At approximately 6:00 p.m., the children headed to the spot where the angel had been appearing to them. The Blessed Virgin then appeared with an angel on either side. They immediately recognized one of the angels, who was later identified as St. Michael the Archangel, while the other angel looked to be identical. Above Our Lady was a large eye that the girls thought to be the eye of God. The four children spoke openly with Our Blessed Mother and said the rosary in her presence. Over the next year and a half, the Virgin Mary would appear hundreds of times- frequently appearing several times in a single day.
Interior Calls and Ecstatic Raptures
The girls' visions were preceded by three interior calls (llamadas, as they are known in Spanish) each becoming stronger than the last. After the third call they would run to the sunken lane where the visions first began and, falling to their knees on the jagged rocks, enter into a state of heavenly rapture. Their heads were thrown back, the pupils of their eyes dilated, and their faces imbued with an angelic countenance. They were insensitive to pin pricks, burns, physical contact or bright spotlights shone directly into their eyes. Moreover, their physical weight changed so significantly that two grown men had great difficulty in lifting one 12-year-old girl; nevertheless, the girls could lift each other up to offer kisses to Our Lady.
Ecstatic Walks and Falls Defying Natural Laws
As the apparitions continued new phenomena began to occur. With their heads thrown back and unable to see where they were going, the girls in ecstasy would march arm in arm backward and forward, treading over very hazardous terrain without the slightest difficulty and sometimes at a pace so rapid that onlookers running at full speed were unable to march. During these ecstatic "flights" they were able to stop instantly, defying the laws of physics as the following crowd, like a speeding car trying to come to a screeching halt, would go right past them. Afterwards, the visionaries were neither out of breath nor perspiring and their pulses were at resting rates.
The girls also began to make spectacular falls in ecstasy either collectively or individually. Sometimes they would fall straights backwards, stiff as boards, without bending any part of their bodies or using their hands to cushion their falls. The loud thuds made when they crashed to the ground frightened onlookers but the visionaries were never hurt. From this prone position, they would rise without pushing themselves up in any way. In collective falls they were described by witnesses as "beautiful sculptures" and their clothing was never ruffled.
Our Lady Kisses Religious Objects
When witnesses heard that Our Lady wanted to kiss religious objects, many rosaries, medals, crucifixes and wedding rings were given to the seers to present to the Virgin. Often, the objects were given to the visionaries in such a way that they could not possibly know to whom each belonged, the articles having either been placed on a table set aside for this purpose when the seers were not present or being handed to them by persons other than the rightful owners. Nevertheless, in ecstasy, guided by Our Lady, they never made a mistake in returning wedding rings and other articles to the right person. On the Virgin's last visit to Garabandal she told Conchita, "Through the kiss I have bestowed on these objects my Son will perform prodigies..." This promise has been fulfilled in numerous reported cures from around the world.
Our Lady's Two Messages Given for the
World at Garabandal
October 18, 1961 - We must make many sacrifices, perform much penance, and visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. But first, we must lead good lives. If we do not, a chastisement will befall us. The cup is already filling up, and if we do not change, a very great chastisement will come upon us.
June 18, 1965 - As my message of October 18 has not been complied with and has not been made known to the world, I am advising you that this is the last one. Before, the cup was filling up. Now it is flowing over. Many cardinals, many bishops and many priests are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them. Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist. You should turn the wrath of God away from yourselves by your efforts. If you ask His forgiveness with sincere hearts, He will pardon you. I, your mother, through the intercessions of Saint Michael the Archangel, ask you to amend your lives. You are now receiving the last warning. I love you very much and do not want your condemnation. Pray to us with sincerity and we will grant you requests. You should make more sacrifices. Think about the Passion of Jesus.
Three great supernatural events were prophesied at Garabandal. The first is a worldwide Warning from God to be seen and then felt interiorly by everyone on Earth. At that moment we will see the wrong we've done and the good we failed to do. The Warning will be sent to correct the conscience of the world and prepare it for the Great Miracle.
The Miracle will take place at the grove of pine trees on a bluff overlooking the village of Garabandal. It will occur on a Thursday evening at 8:30 on or between the eighth and the sixteenth of March, April, or May; Conchita Gonzalez, one of the visionaries, knows the date and will announce it eight days in advance. It will be on the feast day of a martyr of the Eucharist and coincide with an event in the Church. All those either in the village or on the surrounding mountains will see it. The sick who are present will be cured, sinners converted and the incredulous will believe. As a result of the Miracle, Russia will be converted.
After the Miracle, a permanent visible supernatural "sign" will remain at the pines until the end of time.
If the world still does not change after the Miracle, then God will send the Chastisement.
Miracle of the Visible Communion
To confirm the supernatural character of the events, St. Michael told Conchita that on a certain date, the invisible Communion he had given her would become visible on her tongue. So, in the early morning hours of July 19, 1962, she left her house in ecstasy, turned a corner, and fell to her knees in an adjacent street. As the crowd pressed around her, she put out her tongue and those just inches away affirmed that it was bare and the mouth empty. Then, faster than the eye could see, a movie camera a few feet away and only flashlight illumination was able to film the last few moments of the miracle.
Events Have No Natural Explanation
The visionaries in ecstasy were carefully studied by eminent doctors and psychiatrists. One child specialist certified that the girls were always completely normal and that the ecstasies did not fall under any known physiological phenomena. Dr. Ricardo Puncernau, leading Spanish neuropsychiatrist stated, "From a strictly scientific point of view, one cannot deny the possibility of a supernatural cause in all these Phenomena." Dr. Garcia Ruiz and Dr. Ortiz Gonzalez said, "To keep silent would be true scientific cowardice... we do not find any convincing explanation for such phenomena."
The Blind Apostle and the Spread of the
Message Around the World
The the age of 16, Brooklyn-born Joseph Lomangino was blinded and had his olifactory nerve severed in a freak accident. He journeyed through life sightless and without a sense of smell until 1963 when his faculty for smelling was miraculously restored through the intercession of Padre Pio at San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. While there, Joey asked the famed stigmatist if Our Lady was truly appearing in Spain. When the Padre said yes, Joey went to Garabandal, was deeply impressed, and decided to do what he could to tell others about it. He began with local talks in his hometown of Lindenhurst, New York. Other people came to help him. The local talks became lectures and spread to other parts of the country and overseas. An organization was established which would fulfill Our Lady's 1964 prophecy to Conchita: "The house of charity that he (Joey) will establish in New York will bring great glory to God." Garabandal promoters in other countries aligned themselves with Joey and the New York headquarters. Now the Message of Garabandal is being spread in a great number of countries on all five continents.
The Visionaries Today
Three of the four visionaries have married Americans and live in the United States. They lead exemplary Christian lives totally dedicated to their vocations as wives and mothers. Conchita has four children, Mari Loli three and Jacinta one. Mari Cruz is also married, lives in Spain, and has four children.