Of all the visions that Jacinta (Gonzalez) Moynihan had at Garabandal, one stands out over all the rest — her vision of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
It happened at the very beginning of the apparitions, in June of 1961, while the four girls were seeing Saint Michael before the Blessed Virgin appeared for the first time. Thanks to recent information from Jacinta and her husband, Jeff Moynihan, we can provide some details to fill out the story of when, where and how this vision took place.
On the day after the first apparition of Saint Michael on June 18, 1961, the four girls returned to the exact same place in the calleja hoping to see the angel again. Some boys, younger than the visionaries, saw them and threw stones at them. Consequently, on the next day, the girls went up a little higher in the lane (calleja) around the first bend to the right where they were hidden from view by the right side wall of the lane. It was here at this new location that they continued to see Saint Michael and where Jacinta saw her vision of the Sacred Heart. Jeff mentioned to me that one of the books on Garabandal has mistakenly said that the angel drew the girls higher up into the lane. What really happened was that from their new vantage point, the girls saw a large smooth stone further up upon which they could all kneel, and it was here that they went for the first vision of the Blessed Virgin.
Photo: Jacinta in ecstasy in 1961.
Jacinta does not remember the exact date of her vision of Jesus, but it was not on the feast of the Sacred Heart which in that year of 1961, was before June 18.
How did the vision occur? On December 23, 1978, Jacinta was interviewed by Father Francis Benac, S.J., at her home in California. Here are excerpts from that interview:
Father Benac We have read about your vision of the Sacred Heart. Please tell me about this experience.
Jacinta I recall a day when the four of us went a little further up [in the lane] from where the angel had first appeared — no one from the village followed us — when suddenly the other three fell into ecstasy seeing the angel. I was a little behind and seeing them in ecstasy I said to myself: "But I don't see anything." Then suddenly like a flash, I saw the Sacred Heart of Jesus which made a deep impression on me. He did not speak to me, but His gaze penetrated deep into my heart.
Benac What impressed you most?
Jacinta His eyes, His look — a gaze that penetrated so deeply into me that I cannot explain it.
>Benac What were your thoughts at that moment?
Jacinta Oh, Father, more than seeing Our Lady, this vision of the Sacred Heart had the greatest impact on me even though I did not see Him again. Whenever I see His image, I have an intense feeling of suddenly seeing someone very dear.
Photo: Part of the group at Navarrete, home of a beautiful baroque church, who asked Jacinta to describe her vision of the Sacred Heart. Jacinta is in the center in black with her husband, Jeff, directly in front of her. Their daughter, Maria, is standing third from the left.
Benac Do you still feel this?
JacintaOh yes. Whenever I see His image or talk about Him just as we're doing now, I feel within me something I cannot explain.
Benac When you passed through the period of the doubts, did you also doubt this vision?
Jacinta No Father. This vision has always remained vivid in my mind. I remember telling my mother that I may have doubted seeing Our Lady or the angel, but regarding this vision of the Sacred Heart even if I were to die, I would insist on its truth. It is something I have never doubted.
Benac Did this particular vision lead you to a greater love of God? Did you think that He wanted something special from you?
Jacinta I can't answer that since He didn't speak to me. But my heart did grow much closer to His.
Photo: Artist's depiction of Jacinta's vision.
Description of the Vision
Ever since Jacinta first mentioned her vision of the Sacred Heart in 1976, she has been asked on occasion to give a description of it. The most recent time was last August. She had gone to the Spanish city of Logroño with Jeff and their daughter, Maria, to visit a paralyzed woman named Olga who had asked if the visionary would come to see her. During their visit, they were invited by the Garabandal group there of about 30 people to lunch in the nearby town of Navarrete. After lunch everyone wanted to hear about Jacinta's vision of the Sacred Heart, and she graciously complied providing all the details. Here is how she has consistently described it.
While the other three girls were in ecstasy seeing Saint Michael, Jacinta was seeing Jesus. He was about ten feet away standing on a small, white cloud slightly above the ground. He was incomparably beautiful; "the handsomest of men" as Jacinta said. His hair and beard were dark and His complexion "normal." He wore a white robe with a red outer garment that hung diagonally down across His body from the right shoulder. His heart, exposed off-center to His left, was a brilliant red with rays of both white and gold streaming from it. With His left hand, he pointed to His heart and with His right, He beckoned the girl to come. His entire body gave off brilliant rays that surpassed in brightness the subsequent appearances of Our Lady. The vision was set against a cloud-like background.
As mentioned above in the Father Benac interview, the most compelling part of this vision for Jacinta was the intensely loving, penetrating gaze of Jesus that transfixed her heart. That loving gaze of Our Lord was accompanied by the gestures of His hands inviting her and all of us to enter into His Sacred Heart.
Jeff related to me what Jacinta had just recently told him: that after all these years, she still clearly remembers her vision of the Sacred Heart and that each time she remembers it, she feels something very spiritual.
Reprinted with kind permission from Garabandal Journal, May-June 2005, by Barry Hanratty