The Apparitions of Our Lady at Garabandal
1961-1965, San Sebastián de Garabandal, Spain
The apparitions of Garabandal are apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary that have occurred between 1961 and 1965 to four young schoolgirls in the rural village of San Sebastián de Garabandal, in the Sierra de Peña Sagra, in the Autonomous Community of Cantabria, in northern Spain. Sometimes Our Lady held the infant Jesus, sometimes she was accompanied by angels, including St. Michael.
The visits numbered in the thousands, attracted large crowds and presented phenomena, many of them filmed or photographed, with thousands of witnesses.
The Virgin Mary in this series of visitations is often referred to as "Our Lady of Mount Carmel of Garabandal", because her appearance and clothing resembled portraits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The Garabandal apparitions are sometimes referred to as "the continuation of Fatima."
History of Garabandal
On June 18, 1961, an angel appeared to four young girls, Conchita Gonzalez (12 years old), Jacinta Gonzalez (12), Maria-Dolores (called Mari Loli) (12) and Mari Cruz (11) at the upper end of the village, near the Casa Serafin house, but he did not speak to them at first or on the following days, but on July 1, 1961, he revealed himself to be the Archangel St. Michael. A memorial on the hollow way commemorates this first apparition of the angel. He announced to the children on that July 1 that the next day, Sunday, July 2, 1961, the Blessed Virgin Mary would appear to them at the place he had indicated. It is a little further up in the hollow way that leads to the hill of the pines, (los pinos). There, too, is a memorial commemorating the first apparition.
From left to right: María "Conchita" Concepción González, Mari Cruz Gonzalez, Mari Loli Mazón, Jacinta González
Like wildfire, the news had spread throughout the area and a large crowd witnessed the ecstasies of the four girls that Sunday, during which they spoke to a beautiful lady dressed in white, with a brown scapular hanging from her right wrist and her head adorned with a crown of twelve sparkling stars.
She was accompanied by two angels. One they knew from the day before and the other they thought was his twin brother because he looked so much like him.
When the girls were in ecstasy, their bodies were not moved by gravity or material things. They also had no idea what was happening to them. For example, they could lift each other up with the greatest of ease. On the other hand, it was just about possible for two grown men to move a single child when he was in ecstasy.
Mari Loli Elevated
During this ecstasy, the visionaries were insensitive to pain, pinpricks and fire. Tests were made, like hard stabbing, but brought no reaction. When they crashed to the ground on their knees with tremendous force, they showed not the slightest sign of pain. An absolutely reliable eyewitness was deeply impressed by an event when Maria Loly fell and her head hit the corner of a staircase step. The staircase was made of concrete. The eyewitness said that the bystanders screamed terribly, but the child remained sitting calmly on the floor, smiling and chatting happily with the Virgin. When the ecstasy was over, she was asked if she had felt the blow. But she knew of nothing. The blessed virgin gave the four children many secrets about the crucial future events in the world with their timings. But the children were not allowed to give time details. Conchita made the following remarks.
Purpose of the Garabandal apparitions
Already at this first apparition, which was followed by many others, Mary spoke to the children about the reason for her coming and asked them to come again to this place on the following day or on the day she had mentioned. The children said that the Blessed Virgin was bringing a message from God for the people of our time. They went on to say that the Blessed Virgin wanted them to make this message known to everyone on October 18, 1961. This is the first message of Garabandal, which, in childlike simplicity, calls us to the absolute commitment of veneration and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and to conversion, penance and prayer.
Mary did not give them the text of this message in preconceived words, but she only explained to her "little friends" in all detail and clarity the intention to be expressed in it. The children were to say in their own words what was the concern of their Heavenly Mother. Although they felt overwhelmed, the apparition insisted that they were quite capable of saying it in their own words, since she thought they had understood everything well. Thus, the four girls formulated the message in the following words message with the following words:
"One must make many sacrifices, do much penance; often visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. But above all, we must be very good.(*) If we do not do this, then a judgment will come. The chalice is filling up, if we do not change, a very great judgment will come upon us".
(*) To be very good here means to live a good and responsible life in the sense of God's commandments and to give Him, the Almighty, the place due to Him in our daily routine. Thus: daily prayer; increased devotion to God; regular reception of the sacraments.
Mary said another time: "I do not ask of you anything extraordinary, nothing excessive, but I desire that you live worthily as human beings before God and give Him, the Almighty, His due place in your daily life." This is a perfect and easy to fulfill life program for all of us!
The children begged the apparition, in view of the many doubters and unbelievers, very soon for a miracle, "...so that then all can believe". Finally, this request was granted and the angel who appeared to them again and again promised Conchita a miracle.
The angel taught her to receive Holy Communion in a dignified manner several times, as he said "with unaltered hosts".
The hosts always remained invisible to the bystanders who witnessed such events. The miracle was supposed to be that the Holy Host would be seen by the bystanders on that day, July 18, 1962. Since the children did not know that the hosts were never seen when the angel brought them communion, Conchita thought it was a strange little miracle and doubted whether it would be enough to dispel people's disbelief. This event, known as the Host Miracle, occurred not far from Conchita's parents' house at midnight of the predicted day.
After Conchita held her tongue out of her mouth to receive Holy Communion, a host suddenly became visible on her tongue, emitting a strong white light that did not dazzle the eyes. This light was sufficient to expose a few frames of a cine film taken by a person present with an 8mm camera. The event is well attested by credible men who stood immediately by Conchita and did not take their eyes off her during the whole time.
Conchita receiving a host
Since this miracle did not convince everyone and the children did not stop asking for a credible sign for the unbelievers, "...so that all may believe", the Blessed Virgin promised them a great miracle, which will be so great that afterwards there will be no doubt that it comes from God.
At this miracle, which will be the greatest miracle that her Son ever worked for mankind and at the same time the last until the end of time, the unbelievers among those present will be converted and the sick among those present will be healed. Do not worry about the transportation of the seriously ill, she said, "because God will grant special graces and protection of life and limb to all who want to come to the miracle." The time of the miracle she confided only to Conchita, who, however, may announce the day only eight days before. It will be in the evening at the same hour as the first appearance of the angel and will last about 15 minutes. The miracle will take place by the pines and will be visible from Garabandal and the surrounding mountains.
Afterwards, a permanent sign will remain in this place, which can be looked at and photographed, but cannot be touched, since it is not made of matter. In this context, it is worth knowing that Mary once said to the visionaries during an apparition at the Pines, "I love this place very much because God loves it. This place is holy!"
However, before this miracle, an "aviso" will occur, which is also called small judgment, warning or enlightenment of conscience. It will be a momentary stopping of time around the world, with all people then seeing the spiritual condition of their souls, and how they must mend their ways.
Conchita is very afraid of this warning, for, she says:
"It will be like the chastisement (the punishment), with the one difference that one will not suffer death as a direct result of it. There will be no doubt that it does not come from men. But one will see oneself as one stands before God at that moment (one will have to suffer the knowledge of one's conscience)."
On June 18, 1965, St. Michael the Archangel delivered another message from the Blessed Virgin, which is said to be on God's behalf for all mankind. It happened again in the hollow way, at about the upper end, about below the now fenced-in area of St. Michael's Chapel on the mountain. Conchita, who was given this message during the angel's vision, wrote down the following wording: Message addressed to the world by the Blessed Virgin through the mouth of St. Michael:
The angel said:
Since my message of October 18 has not been fulfilled and not much has been made known, I will tell you that this is the last one. Before the cup was getting full, now it's overflowing.
Priests, Bishops and Cardinals go many on the road to perdition and with them they lead many more souls.
The Eucharist is given less and less importance. We must avoid the wrath of God upon us with our efforts. If you ask His forgiveness with a sincere soul, He will forgive you.
I, your Mother, through the intercession of the Angel St. Michael, want to tell you to make amends. You are already in the last warnings.
I love you very much and I do not want your condemnation. Ask us sincerely and we will give it to you. You must sacrifice more, think of the Passion of Jesus.
Now you are being given the final warnings. I love you very much, and I do not want your condemnation. Ask sincerely of Us and We will grant your supplication. You must do more sacrifices. Reflect on the Passion of Jesus.
The second message caused particular controversy when it was revealed that Conchita had written "many cardinals, many bishops and many priests are following the path of perdition."
She was asked many times to verify this information. The young woman said many times that Mary emphasized the importance of the priesthood and focused her attention on priests above all others.
Until now, the bishop in charge waited with the whole Church for the fulfillment of the prophecy given in Garabandal. Now he is emeritus and the Archbishop of Oviedo is the current administrator.
Mary said to the children:
"My visits to you will not be recognized by the Church until after the great miracle." Before the miracle, the bishop will receive a sign, after which he will lift all prohibitions about Garabandal. Padre Pio was mysteriously connected with Garabandal and confirmed the same, but with the remark:
"The Church will not believe the apparitions of the Mother of the Lord in Garabandal until it is already too late."
At no time was it forbidden by the Church to personally believe in the apparitions of Garabandal, although up to the present time no official confirmation of their supernatural origin could be given. In the village church, however, it was not allowed to preach about the events.
The last apparition occurred in Garabandal on November 13, 1965. Between 1961 and 1965, Mary appeared in this place at times every day. During this time, it was the time of Vatican Council II, she gave the four girls a regular catechesis on the principles of the faith that were to be dealt with at the Council and recast for the future in an age that had become more modern. This catechesis is very well presented in the book "Thus Spoke Mary in Garabandal" by Robert Francois.