Collections of Reflections about Garabandal
All the Garabandal events were extraordinary and in this new series we want to single out some of the best. We began with a few extracts from the testimony of Brigadier Juan A. Seco who was in charge of the Civil Guard at the time of the apparitions and saw a great number of ecstasies. This is followed by some stunning phenomena. by Barry Hanratty Editor, Garabandal Journal
Reprinted with kind permission from Garabandal Australia / April-June 2020
One afternoon a friend of mine, a painter, came back to Garabandal with a married couple. He already had been to Garabandal and witnessed a previous apparition, and had been given a medal kissed by the Virgin. But now he returned wondering if the medal had really been kissed. I remember very well what happened that day. We were in Ceferino’s cafe. The painter gave two of his own medals and a third one to Mari Loli. One was an ordinary medal of the Virgin, and the other was oval shaped with the word “Alicia” on one side and a cross imprinted on the reverse. Mari Loli was somewhat surprised, and not particularly interested in presenting it to the Virgin as she could not see Her image on it. Finally, she agreed to offer it to Our Lady to kiss.
When she went into ecstasy and offered the painter’s medal, Mari Loli said, “Just look how ugly you look here, when you are so beautiful. When she offered my friend’s medal to the Virgin we heard Mari Loli ask, “This one has been kissed already?” My friend became very pale and disconcerted at this wonderful proof for all of us. His wife, who had wanted to take a nap instead of coming to see the ecstasy, was grateful that she saw with her own eyes how the Virgin identified the already kissed medal.
The story is as follows: The Indiano’s elderly mother lived in Garabandal and he came to visit her from Mexico leaving his wife behind to manage his business. As soon as his daughter finished her school year, she and her mother came to join him. Having learned what was happening in Garabandal, Etaquio’s wife brought with her a medal that Etaquio had left in Mexico. Once in Garabandal. without telling him anything, she gave four chains, each with an attached medal, to Loli and told her, “After you give these medals to the Virgin to kiss, put them on each of their respective owners.”
Loli fell into ecstasy in her room and I went upstairs to witness the scene. After offering the medals to the Virgin to kiss, she took one and placed it around Etaquio’s wife’s neck who upon seeing it, was so overwhelmed that she began to cry. Then Loli took another medal and placed it on their daughter. A third medal belonging to their son who was not present, was given by Loli to the wife for him. Holding onto the last one, she went downstairs to the bar-cafe below and walked through a crowd of people until she found the Indiano who was having a few drinks. When she was about to place the medal around his neck, he backed off and said, “This girl is mistaken. I didn’t give her any medals. But then, he looked at the medal and said, “Dear God, this is the medal I left in Mexico. ” His wife had wanted to carry out this test witnessed by all of us. It was just one of so many wonderful events that occurred in Garabandal.
Another Indiano, cousin of a man name Joseito from Cosio, had given several medals to Mari Loli for the Virgin to kiss. I remember that among those medals Loli in ecstasy picked up one and said, “This medal has been kissed by Pope Pius X” (or XI; I don’t remember exactly which). In any case the Indiano confirmed what Loli said.
One day my friend Brigadier Crecencio of the Santander Civil Guard and nephew of Don Valentin (the priest at Garabandal), gave me a medal to give to one of the girls to have kissed by the Virgin. I don’t remember for sure, but I think I gave it to Loli. When this was done I returned the medal to him in Santander. After some time another nephew of Don Valentin was hospitalised at the Casa de Salud de Valdecilla with an inflamed abdomen. They said only a miracle could save him. They applied the above mentioned medal kissed by the Virgin, and he began to urinate something like a “poison” and was miraculously healed.
In another ecstasy Conchita had five gold wedding rings on the kitchen table. One was Dr. Oritz’s, another his wife’s, and I don’t remember to whom the others belonged. She picked them up, offered them to the Virgin to kiss and put them back on the table. She came toward me and I thought she was going to offer me the crucifix to kiss as she and the other seers always did when I was in Garabandal. Instead, she offered me one of the rings, telling me, “Take it, so you can take it to Barcelona.” The ring belonged to a sister of Paquita Olivella from Barcelona, who told me that one day she saw it gleaming.
The priest who had replaced Don Valentin was present at that ecstasy and Conchita was heard telling the Virgin, “A new priest has arrived to relieve Father Valentin.” She then proceded to remove the priest’s glasses so she could make the sign of the cross over him. From his first day in Garabandal, this priest received plenty of proofs. According to what I was told, when Don Valentin came back to the village and his replacement returned to his destination, the Bishop said to him, “/ sent you to prove that the apparitions were false, and you come hack more convinced of their truth than the girls themselves.”
Two priests from Bilbao were making fun of Conchita while she was in ecstasy and offering the crucifix to the pilgrims to kiss. She did not offer it to them and repentant, they went to Jacinta and asked her to pray a rosary with them in reparation for their behaviour. After the Rosary, Mari Cruz in ecstasy came and offered them the crucifix and they felt at peace, and thanked the girls.
I mentioned that the doctors sent by the Bishop’s commission in July, 1961, were only in the village three days. The first day, as reported to me by Mr. Roche de la Nansa, was when the girls were (supposedly) not going to the cuadro to meet the Virgin because Dr. Morales was going to stop them in the street and hypnotise them. This turned out to be a great failure for Dr. Morales.
The second day they were there was October 18, 1962, when the first message was delivered. The girls were escorted by the Civil Guard to protect them from the crowd. Dr. Morales’ behaviour was less than edifying.Third time was when they tried to sneak the girls out of town at night when everyone was asleep, without permission from their parents or the town. (All of the above was told by the Brigadier in 1969).
The second day they were there was October 18, 1962, when the first message was delivered. The girls were escorted by the Civil Guard to protect them from the crowd. Dr. Morales’ behaviour was less than edifying.
Third time was when they tried to sneak the girls out of town at night when everyone was asleep, without permission from their parents or the town. (All of the above was told by the Brigadier in 1969).
In her Diary, Conchita recounts two stunning phenomen with Our Lady: “During one of our apparitions, as Loli and I were coming down from the Pines with a large number of people, we saw a thing like fire in the clouds. The people who were with us saw it and so did those who weren’t with us. The Virgin told us that is what she came in. During one of our other apparitions that occurred on the feast of Our Lady of Pilar (actually the early morning hours of the next day), as Loli and I were looking at the Blessed Virgin, we saw beneath her feet a star with a very long trail. A certain number saw it also. We asked the Blessed Virgin what it meant, but she didn’t answer us.”
Of this second occurrence, Father Eusebio Garcia de Pesquera explained in his book – She Went in Haste to the Mountain: “The experience of those other people mentioned by Conchita: ‘…. Toward 2.30 am, almost no one remained in the little village plaza except a small group consisting of responsible men …’ (They soon saw Conchita and Loli go under the balcony or terrace connected to the house of Loli’s grandmother. They were in ecstasy there, and raising up their arms, the two girls simultaneously let out a shout. Dr. Ortiz gives us his account of the event: ‘Instinctively, we looked toward the sky and saw a brilliant star cross from the north to the south (that is, in the direction of the Pines), leaving a trail that lasted several seconds.
I know that Maximina Gonzalez and other women of the village saw the star too. On the other hand some young boys, who were at the entrance of Ceferino’s house and who ran toward the girls on hearing the cry, didn’t see anything because they were under the balcony like the girls. After the star had passed, we went over by the girls and prayed as we accompanied them to the church where the ecstasy ended at the entrance way. Immediately we asked them;
“Why did you scream?’’
“Because we saw the Virgin throw down a star.”
“But you couldn’t have seen the star since you were under the balcony!”
“Well .we certainly saw it. It was the Virgin who did it”
Of this phenomenon, Father Valentin said in his notes:
“We were in the plaza. Conchita and Loli let out fearful shouts. Everyone was frightened. Some of the people looked at the girls; others looked at the sky. Those who did the latter said they saw a brilliant star that crossed from one part of the sky to another, and that it would not in any way be mistaken for a shooting star or comet After having shouted out, the girls laughed and went happily on their way as if dancing with joy.”
Another phenomenon occurred in the firmament on July 25, 1961. “July 25 is a great day in Spain when it celebrates the feast of its patron, Saint James the Apostle. ‘On that day,’ said Police Chief Juan Alvarez Seco, “ I had stationed two guards in the calleja, and two more in front of Conchita’s house. The four visionaries were playing in a field nearby on a beautiful afternoon without a cloud in the sky. Suddenly, toward 7.30, over the Peria Sagra (a high mountain seen from Garabandal), a very dark cloud appeared out of which a tremendous bolt of lightning struck down. The girls fell on their knees extremely fearful. The thunder which followed shook us all. But the girls remained there with a look of ecstasy on their faces. I remember Mari Cruz’s mother was screaming and I had to calm her down. For several minutes all was quiet. Afterward, someone said to me very seriously, but without giving it much importance, that he had seen above the cloud, one or two figures dressed like the Holy Father.’”
Our last case of celestial phenomena during the time of the events to be included here occurred during the evening of June 18, 1965, shortly before Saint Michael appeared to Conchita with the second message of Our Lady. This excerpt is taken from l’Etoile Dans la Montagne:
“Almost everyone was praying in a loud voice, in two choruses, the French and the Spanish alternating. What an extraordinary night! There was an unprecedented luminosity with innumerable stars shining as never before, even without a moon. Suddenly everyone looked up. From the northwest, a new star shot up, brighter than the others. It traced a great circle and returned to its starting point. Two minutes later, another star, splendid but smaller than the first, appeared straight above Conchita’s house. Advanced slowly in the sky and suddenly disappeared above the Pines. Everyone was talking with the person next to him about these extraordinary phenomen when at the bottom of the lane, in the light of the starry night and the flashlights, Conchita appeared, protected by a squad of police guards.
Letter from Mari Loli to Father Luis Retenaga dated November 13, 1963.
So you see, I am complying with what I promised to tell you. As I already told you, the Virgin gave me to understand that when a priest is in sin, he is in need of many prayers and sacrifices. Also, she made me understand the Crucifixion in the Mass so that I realise the humility and sacrifice for the world. She told me that a certain person was in need and that I should pray for her. She told me that this person does not say the Rosary. That person sent me a holy card so I could make a dedication on it for her and I wrote that she had to pray the Rosary. She then began to cry and she wrote and told me from that day on she has not failed to say it.
Well Father, another time I will tell you more. Best wishes from my family and in saying goodbye, I kiss your hand.
Reprinted with kind permission from Garabandal Australia / April-June 2020
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