Reprinted with permission fron GARABANDAL
JOURNAL • JULY-AUGUST 2003
Excerpted from Los MILAGROS o FAVORES DE NUESTRA MADRE DE GARABANDAL by Maria Josefa Villa de Gallego
I went to say goodbye to my mother and tell her of our plans to go to Morelia and eventually meet her and my father there. Before I left, my mother brought out a little card that had been kissed by the Virgin of Carmel of Garabandal, and made the sign of the cross several times over my head, arms and chest. She had never done this before and didn't know why she was doing it now.
As it was getting late on November 1, 1973, my wife and I thought it might be better to wait until the following day to leave. But despite us both having an inexplicable feeling of apprehension — we didn't say anything at the time and only later found out we both sensed the same thing — we decided to go as planned.
Except for one of the rear tires not being in the best of shape, my car was in good running condition after an expensive tuneup to improve its performance for the 1,000 kilometer trip. We had brought along some audio cassette tapes of music and were looking forward to an enjoyable and carefree trip.
As we made our way to Toluca, the first town on our route, the weather started turning bad, and the further we went up the mountain, the darker the sky became. Rain that had fallen earlier froze over making the road slippery. This, I think, was the first critical moment of the trip. If I had applied the brakes when the car started to skid, I could have slid right into the oncoming traffic. But for some reason, I never did and I consider this forgetfulness the first favor the Blessed Mother granted me.
Our trip continued without any major problems. Soon the sun was out again, and after passing through Toluca, dusk began falling. By the time we reached Vitacuaro it was night and we stopped for refreshments. I remember very well that our little son, Luis Francisco, was delighted every time we passed a car in our little Renault.
Our next objective was to reach Ciudad Hidalgo and we made good time getting there. As we continued on, I became irritated with the driver of a large car directly behind us who had his high beams on and wouldn't lower them. To get away from him, I stepped on the gas, and after going around several curves, finally lost him.
We arrived at a fork in the road with one way leading to Mil Cumbres and the other to Cinapecuaro which is the one we took. What a horrible road!
As if it were a supernatural warning, something began to make a loud racket in the rear of the car. I stopped to see what it was but couldn't find anything. As we continued on, I was driving slower than before and had turned on a powerful spotlight to light up the road.
We were going uphill again and the curves became increasingly sharper, and the road more and more narrow. Suddenly, without warning, the car slid on the sand covering the road surface and started to go. I panicked and slammed on the brakes, but it was too late; the road curved to the left and the car continued straight ahead over the precipice.
The headlights shown into a ravine many meters deep, full of trees and obstacles. The car began tumbling over and over, and all the windows shattered into a million pieces. Our mouths were full of dirt and bits of plants. I vaguely remember moaning.
We were being thrown violently around with every kind of thing hitting our bodies and faces; but miraculously absolutely nothing happened to us. I distinctly remember thinking I was going to die. In those few seconds I was terrified, wondering if I were to die or if I were already dead. I felt a strong Presence coming for me; I felt it was God, and He had plenty of reasons to be angry with me. Suddenly I felt it stop, as though somehow its arrival had been interrupted, as though "someone" had come between the force and me.
It was terrible! All this happened so fast that I didn't even have time to say an act of contrition. I was so frightened, so terrified, that I even forgot about my wife and son until it was all over.
I got out of the car screaming. It was upside down, the roof smashed against the seats except where I had been sitting as if the holy hand of the Virgin had been protecting my head. I began shouting for my wife and year-and-a-half-old son who I imagined had been torn apart. The last image I had was of him jumping around happily in the back seat, and now, after all this, I had no hope of seeing him alive.
My wife answered me, standing near the car, with our son right beside her. What a miracle from our Our Mother and Queen of Heaven, as Our Lady of Carmel of Garabandal! There they were, both of them without a scratch. The car had crashed against a tree trunk which had stopped it going any further down the slope. There were no broken bones, nothing; all I had was a sore chest from hitting against the non-collapsible steering wheel. Later the doctor's examination showed the ribs had been bruised from the force of the blow, but were not broken. I assume my wife left the car through one of the doors and our son through the windshield, which now had no glass left in it.
When we realized we were ok, we prayed in thanksgiving to God and the Holy Virgin for this miracle.
We had to climb about 45 feet to get back to the road where we found help. Then I went back down with a flashlight to pick up some of our belongings. Looking at the car again sent tremors down my spine. It was totally crushed (except where my head had been), upside down with the windows all broken out and doors either smashed in or wide open. How we came out of this alive was totally inexplicable. The tree trunk that had stopped us could just as easily have fallen on us had it been just a few centimeters away from where it was.
When I went to claim the car, which had been towed to Zinapecuaro, the commander of the zone said to me, "You can't be alive. Everyone who has gone off that curve has died." It used to be called the Rabbit Curve, but now the Devil's Curve because of the number of fatal accidents that have occurred there. It is located about four kilometers away from the place known as "The Train."
My family and I are always ready to provide proof of the truth of this extraordinary miracle. I will never forget that blessing my mother gave me, touching me with the miraculous card of the Blessed Virgin of Garabandal. Many thanks, pure and Most Holy Virgin of Carmel of Garabandal!
Signed: Luis Porfirio Martinez Alvarez y Cristina
Calva de Martinez, Mexico
from GARABANDAL JOURNAL, July-August 2003
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