This happened on January 17, 1967 in Seville, Spain. The following persons were involved: Mari Pepa Caballero, a nurse who possesses a rosary given to her by Conchita in Garabandal and Dona Carmen Garcia Geraldo. Carmen and her husband, Hernandez-Pinzon, have an eight-year-old son with an incurable condition since birth. They were told by Conchita that the Virgin said the child will be cured the day of the Miracle.
On Sunday January 15 at 11:30 P.M. a sister of Mrs. Hernandez-Pinzon phoned Mari Pepa and told her about a letter she had just received from a dear friend (and relative). This friend lived in North America with her husband, a well-known psychiatrist, both of them Spaniards. They have a son, an only child, who is three years old and has inoperable cancer of the throat with a very poor prognosis. Cobalt treatments were being applied to see if the size of the tumor could be reduced so an operation would be possible. The boy's mother had written asking for prayers and a relic from Garabandal, in which she had great faith, since they themselves did not have any objects kissed by the Blessed Virgin. She wrote to ask Mari Pepa if she had any.
Mari Pepa only had a rosary kissed by the Virgin that Conchita had given her and she prized it too highly to part with it. However, she decided to take one bead off the rosary and send it. On January 17, 1967, after Mass she went to the jewelry store so that the bead could be removed.
The jeweler stretched the rosary out on the counter and asked Mari Pepa which bead she wanted to be taken off. Mari Pepa said: "The one between the cross and the Hail Mary [the Our Father bead], then put the four beads left together to cover up the space left by the absent bead.
The jeweler proceeded to carry out the task. He separated this bead with the ring on one side and a bit of chain on the other, and reconnected the rest of the beads, from the crucifix to the Hail Mary. All this was done in front of Mari Pepa and the bead and chain taken out were put in a small box which Mari Pepa took with her.
Mari Pepa then went to the home of her friends and opened the box to give them the bead. They asked what part of the rosary had the bead come from, and Mari Pepa said: "From here," but to their astonishment the rosary was intact, with the five beads as before, but one in the box. They immediately fell to their knees and prayed a very emotional rosary.
Later, when they were more tranquil, Mrs. Hernandez-Pinzon said that when she first received the letter with the shocking news, in a moment of extreme motherly heroism, she prayed that if the healing of her American nephew would bring more souls to God than the healing of her own son Ramon, then trade the cure of her own son for that of the nephew, but then she thought: "Whatever will become of me, then, dear Blessed Mother, since knowing my son will be cured makes the cross lighter... but I can't, I don't want to take anything back. But you, dear Mother, can cure both of them! Cure them both! And if you are going to, give me a sign."
PHOTO: Left, Fr. Lucio Rodrigo, S.J., very well known in Spain, had been rector of the Pontifical University at Comillas. He died March 30,1973. Right, Francisla Manueco de Garay.
That same day, the seventeenth, they asked in a religious articles store and they asked priests if there are rosaries with six beads between the cross and the centerpiece. Everyone answered, no. The next day, the eighteenth, Mari Pepa and Mrs. Hernandez-Pinzon went to the jeweler who removed the bead and they showed him the rosary, complete with all its beads, explaining to him what had happened. He was astonished, and after giving it some thought, said: "Didn't you say this rosary was very holy? Well, this must be a miracle!" They asked him for a written testimony of what happened and he wrote it then and there.
Signed: Father Lucio Rodrigo, S.J. 29 January 1967
Father Rodrigo was well acquainted with Mari Pepa and the Hernandez-Pinzon family and affirmed they were not capable of making up such a farce.
Note: Father Rodrigo in his own handwriting said: "I am relating these facts following the letter of January 18, 1967, from Miss Maria Pepa and the letter from Mrs. Hernandez Pinzon in which they gave me all the details of these events. I have those letters in my possession.
Another Eyewitness Account
This is something that happened in Garabandal in 1961. At the time I did not know anything about the events. A friend introduced me to Mrs. X and as we were walking down the street she began to talk about Garabandal. I told her, "Don't talk to me about Garabandal." She responded, "What I've seen with my own eyes no bishop can tell me I didn't see. Besides, remember what happened at Fatima? It was true from the first moment and the Church took thirteen years to approve it."
I told her I didn't want to hear about Garabandal, but then suddenly it seemed to me as if a veil had been removed from my eyes and I could see clearly that Garabandal was true. Then I thought, if the Virgin Mary came down to Lourdes and Fatima, who was I to think that the Virgin couldn't come back to earth again? And this is how I began to believe in Garabandal. Here is what Mrs. X had told me:
I went to Garabandal in 1961 when very few people knew about it; because of this I managed to enter Mari Loli's house; there were five of us in the kitchen. Mari Loli had had the first call already and while awaiting the next calls, she climbed on top of the kitchen stove to catch the warmth irradiating from the stove's dying embers. I said to her: "Mari Loli, here are two rosaries. Ask the Virgin to kiss them." Shortly thereafter, she fell to her knees from the top of the stove upon the hard floor entering into ecstasy. Her knees made a loud crack as they struck the floor and we were afraid she had broken some bones. As she stood up to give the rosaries to the Virgin to kiss we examined her knees and there was not a mark on them. They were not even reddened.
Another lady who was in the room had put a large gold medal on the table so that Mari Loli would have the Virgin kiss it. After my rosaries had been kissed, Loli picked up the gold medal, and holding it in her hand with her eyes gazing upwards (as was usual while in ecstasy) she left the house—it was midnight and raining buckets— and went to the door of the church. Those of us who were in the kitchen accompanied her to the church. She came back to the house in ecstasy, and upon entering, returned to her normal state. While in ecstasy her face was impressive; it looked luminous, like mother of pearl—it was completely transformed. As always, she carried the crucifix in her hand. When she brought the crucifix up to her face, her hands seemed as though they belonged to someone else, as they were rough and hardened by farm work.
When she came out of ecstasy, the lady who owned the gold medal asked her: "Where is my medal?" Mari Loli answered: "I lost it."
The lady became very upset as the medal was a family heirloom, but she calmed down when Mari Loli told her that the Virgin would be back at 2:00 A.M., "and always when we lose something she finds it for us."
Exactly at that hour the Virgin returned. Mari Loli again fell into ecstasy, and leaving the house, walked to the church in the pouring rain. The streets are very steep on this mountainside, and the water streams down with considerable force from the Pines to Cosio, dislodging rocks as it goes. On the way back to the house from the church, they saw Mari Loli, without ever looking down, put her hand in a puddle of water, and all said: "She must have the medal." And so it was. When she got back to the house, she came out of ecstasy, opened her hand, and told the lady: "You see how the Virgin always tells us where to find what we lost?" We were amazed, but this is what happened.
My friend Mrs. X also related to me the following:
While in ecstasy the girls used to give wedding rings to Our Lady to kiss, and then always looking upwards and guided by the Virgin, they would return the wedding rings placing them directly on the fingers of the owners, never making a mistake, even though sometimes the husband would be on one side of the room and the wife on the other. On one occasion, while returning wedding rings to a couple, Mari Loli in ecstasy, was heard to say: "Why do I have to put this on the left hand? Ah, because they are from Valencia!"
Mrs. X also told me this anecdote:
Two couples approached Conchita and gave her four wedding rings, so that in her next ecstasy she would give them to be kissed by the Virgin. As Conchita offered the rings to Our Lady, she was heard to say: "You don't want to kiss them? But I don't understand. Ah! So I have to tell them to straighten out their lives and be good?" After the ecstasy, Conchita returned the rings to the man who had given them to her and told him and his companions what the Virgin had said. He was very embarrassed and said, "We came here to prove Garabandal was false if the girls gave us back the rings on our fingers, because none of us are married and we only bought the rings for this occasion."
—Francisla Manueco de Garay
Our thanks to Edward Serrano, M.D., and his wife, Gay, for the translation of the above accounts.
Reprinted with kind permission from GARABANDAL JOURNAL, May-June 2003
Excerpted from the Spanish book, Los MILAGROS o FAVORES DE NUESTRA MADRE DE GARABANDAL by Maria Josefa Villa de Gallego.