Maria, Carmen (in center) and Candy together in San Toribio near Garabandal
I never dreamt I would ever experience the privilege of going on a pilgrimage to where our Blessed Mother appeared. Through our prayers we felt assured we were to stay at Garabandal only. There was no doubt this was the answer to our prayers and we knew it would be "A Pilgrimage for Priests for the whole world."
We arrived in Garabandal on May 10, 2001 and stayed at "Posada Paquita" which happens to be the nearest to La Calleja de los Pines. (the path to the Pine Trees where many of the apparitions happened in Garabandal). We climbed this path and prayed often at the pines.
So many blessings kept happening during our ten day stay — a joy beyond understanding! The awesome Cantabrian Mountains are so breathtaking. These Peaks of Europe are like cathedrals and at times in mist as though wearing a veil. They were most condusive to give thanks and praise to God for the beauty He gives us. It reminded me of what Fr.Neville Emmanuel from Sri Lanka said very often, "Beauty is Holiness and Holiness is Beauty." All beauty is the echo of the Voice of God and also the Thumbprint of God.
While in Garabandal, we met The Workers of Our Lady from Canada group with Bishop Roman Danylak, Dr.and Helen Rozeluk. We celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of Mass with them in the St.Sebastian Church. We prayed together in the evening with them. We wanted to go to the San Toribio Monastery but had no way to get there and then, unexpectedly, Dr. Mike came and told us that they were waiting for us to come and join them. We were flabbergasted as we had not told them about our desire to go. We were invited to go with them on a trip to San Toribio Monastery where the largest single piece of the True Cross is venerated. We were blessed in being able to kiss the True Cross and I placed my rosaries and wedding ring on the True Cross. We were also given a third class relic of the True Cross. In the chapel, we pilgrims, this group with Bishop Danylak, chanted the ancient Hymn:"We bow down before Your Cross, O Christ, and we praise Your Resurrection." O what love we felt for Him through these wonderful moments.
So many different groups came to Garabandal. We met wonderful people from Korea, Canada, Ireland, India, Czechoslavakia, Italy, Spain and Hungary. We were so thankful to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of Mass with them in their languages.
We were able to pray the Stations of the Cross as we climbed to the site of the future Miracle, the Pine Trees. Our Lady has promised that it will be the Great Miracle. We also Prayed the Holy Rosary as we walked the path up the beautiful Rosary Mountain. During this time, the importance of the Holy Rosary and the Scapular became much more vivid in my heart. We must learn to pray the Rosary slowly as Our Lady taught the children. We prayed it slowly in order to think and love as we pray. When we do, our hearts will follow. Our Lady appeared in Garabandal with the brown scapular as Our Lady of Mt.Carmel. Wearing the Scapular makes us "Hers" in a special way. Her special love surrounds us as we are in Her safe keeping. She said by wearing the Scapular many will be saved.
In 1952, after giving birth to our fourth child, I suddenly found myself with violent headaches from temple to temple with such pain it caused me to vomit bile. Through the years and many doctors, the cause was never found. I was told they were not migraine headaches. My mother had the same kind of headache. The consistent symptoms were: waking up in the morning with the pain and not being able to function until late afternoon. Every sound was excruciating. In planning our pilgrimage I brought my prescription for headaches to help me cope. The pills were not needed! Not one headache occurred while I was in Garabandal! I wasn't aware of being healed until returning home. I had this ailment for fifty-one years and now at the age of eighty-one, since our trip to Garabandal, there has been no pain for two years and three months. I thank and praise God! God is so good!
There is more. Just before we left for our pilgrimage, I was scheduled to have arthroscopic knee surgery. However, on the scheduled date, I came down with the flu and had to cancel. While at San Sabastian de Garabandal, I had no trouble. I could walk without pain on that whole pilgrimage. No longer is it necessary to limp and I have no pain any longer. I never had that planned surgery. These two healings remind me so often to thank and praise God. I wake up in the morning without a headache and I am not limping because of my knee.
Isn't it wonderful — full of wonder — that we know the Greatest Physician in the whole world! JESUS!!! Thank you Jesus. I praise and adore You. I never asked for a healing. I prayed for God's Will for those in need while in Garabandal and was rewarded.