“I was Present during the Ecstasies of Garabandal.”

Marie-Therese Le Pelletier was an associate of Fr. Mastern Laffineur and with him, co-authored the book Star on the Mountain. Below is the transcript of her talk at a Garabandal conference in France in March of 1968.

Reprinted with kind permission from Garabandal Australia / July-September 2019

One day at Garabandal someone told me: “All who love Garabandal are brothers and sisters.” Since I was not a sister who was devout, I cannot refer to you as “My dear brothers and sisters,” but it is fine if in a sense of affection and brotherhood we take you by the hand and go up the mountain to Garabandal. Father Laffineur tells us readily that “there is the mountain of Carmel but there is also the mountain of Garabandal whose seven kilometres one must climb, often in a jeep or in vehicles that struggle up the dirt road cut into the side of a mountain. I have a Daft which is a very ordinary Dutch car. Last year when I sought to go up the mountain, I blew a hole in the oil pan. I truly believe that the Holy Virgin, or at least St Michael, prevented the oil from pouring out, because it leaked in drops, and yet when I arrived in Santander, there was still oil in the oil pan. Everyone was amazed especially the mechanics. 

Miss Deguia (a Spanish speaking Filipina woman living in Spain who served as a translator for English and perhaps French speakers), went up to Garabandal on foot. Father Laffineur picked her up, and even though we did not see her for a long time, in our hearts she remained one of us.

Beginning at the bottom of the valley we were ascending a difficult trail along the mountain of Garabandal. Many pilgrims go up the mountain on foot but those of us who were old and with bad legs, opted for a vehicle that was forty years old with limited horsepower and without a radiator, so we would put in water to the extent that it was needed. The route is long, arduous and full of stones. Often one blows out a tire and needs to put on chains, not on account of but because of the clay slurry. 

The Girls

I am now going to introduce you to these adorable little girls. In the picture Jacinta is on the right. A month ago we were at the Pontifical University of Comillas, and the venerable Father Rodrigo spoke to us about Jacinta. She is now 17 years old and spoke to us for three hours. Father Rodrigo told us with joy: “Jacinta is a little angel from Our Lady’s retinue. She allowed her to fall down to earth, a small angel before the fall.” Jacinta is the most contemplative soul. Second from the left is Conchita, the one who received the most graces, and in that sense, she was the one who was chosen to transmit the messages to the world.

Between Conchita and Jacinta is Mari Cruz, a very sorrowful young girl, who had perhaps the most deep and sorrowful ecstasies. Mari Loli, on the left of the picture, is the little mother as she had many little brothers and sisters. It was Loli who had the revelation of original sin, for from the moment when her little sister, Guadalupe, was born, she cried out: “Oh, a little sister, and already with sin on her soul, and she is so little.” Loli is an exquisite young girl, perhaps the most beautiful one, and perhaps the one who had the most ecstasies.

The Garabandal event in some ways resembles the beginning of the history of mankind. We have an apple tree, apples and an angel.

The little girls were playing and at one point they became bored because the adults in the village were dancing and they had nothing to do. At 11 and 12 years of age, they were not into dancing. And so they asked each other: “What should we do? Let’s go eat some green apples from the apple tree.” The apple tree belonged to the lady of the house who would tell me several months later: “It was truly out of malice, because it is not good at all to eat apples that are green.” But for those many parents among you, you must know as I do that our young children love to eat green apples and readily fill their pockets with these!

As the young girls began eating the apples, one of the girls had remorse and said; “My God, what a big sin we are in the process of committing.” In given their age, it was a big sin. She added: “No doubt the devil will be happy and our angel will be very sad. ” 

As they did not have holy water to drive the devil away, they picked up small stones from the path, with which they were playing. They then gathered some small stones and threw them to their left, because they said that this was where the devil was. 

Suddenly, Conchita, who turned first, saw the Angel. The others, being fearful, said: “What’s going on with her? She’s had an attack. Let’s go get her mother because she is all white”. In an instant, the other girls also saw the angel. Now, I want to introduce you to Saint Michael, the one who is in our church, St Michael whom you already know. Do you think that St Michael will resemble that St Michael? Certainly not the St Michael of the little girls of Garabandal. 

Last month, we were visiting Burgos with a lady with a great talent for painting and to whom Conchita was explaining each of her visions, one after the other. This lady from Barcelona told us:      “She has not forgotten a single detail about her apparitions.” 

What was St Michael like? He had rose coloured wings, wings the colour of fire, a sky-blue robe, a small face somewhat bronzed, with hair that curls up at the end. He was perhaps nine years of age and did not have any arms. In Burgos that very day, a friend of ours, a very learned geneticist, told us that “this is all very normal, inasmuch as in nature, when animals have wings they do not have arms. ” Consequently, the angel who is purely a supernatural that does not have a body, is represented nevertheless in a normal manner “But”, Conchita told us, “he had arms when he needed them. ” And therefore, with very real arms, he used to distribute Holy Communion to the seers. 

At the beginning St. Michael did not speak to the girls. Conchita wrote in her journal the following delightful words: “The first few days, it was just the five of us, I mean the four of us young girls and the angel. We were five.” This shows you how real she sensed and understood the presence of this fifth person who was the angel. 

The young girls had a lot of fear for the things that are truly supernatural. It has been said by the saints, St Catherine of Siena among others, and she is the one about whom I know the most, that the true apparitions initially provoke fright, then afterwards great joy and a great desire to see the being that one has been again. Well, this is exactly the case which occurred at Garabandal.Therefore we see them running in the back of the church, crying and trying to hide. Why did they cry? When the school mistress asked them why they cried, they said: “Because we have seen the angel.”

One day I spoke to Conchita, who told me: “Because we were full of vergogne, an old French word which means shame, regret for having eaten the apples, and at the same time feeling great joy at having seen the angel.”

On July 1st, 1961, the angel carried a sign that had both signs and letters. He told the young girls: “I am coming to announce that tomorrow you will see the Virgin under the title of Our Lady of Carmel. ” And what did the sign that you are carrying mean? The Virgin herself will tell you.

The following day, the Virgin came, I will show her to you. But she is not exactly as she appeared in the first vision. Nevertheless, imperfect as the image may be, it is for the present what we have that most resembles Conchita’s vision.

She has twelve stars over the head, a white robe, a blue mantle and in the first vision, above the Virgin, there was the eye of God. Conchita said that it was “an eye that was very bright, that illuminated everything and which went right through our body.”

In Burgos two months ago, Conchita insisted that to the right and left of the Virgin, there were two angels, one who was the first that they had already seen, and the other resembled that one as if he were his twin brother. The first angel that they had seen can be distinguished from the other because he gives the impression of strength, and that one is St Michael. Conchita added that when they encountered the contradictions of the Commission of Santander, she would tell St Michael: “Come on, St Michael, you are not defending your Queen! I beg of you, defend her.”

And so we now go after this first apparition to read what was on the angel’s sign. In reality, this message, which was the first, was made known briefly to the young girls, as they themselves were not to reveal it. It was the priests who were supposed to reveal it on October 18, 1961. 

In Burgos two months ago, Conchita insisted that to the right and left of the Virgin, there were two angels, one who was the first that they had already seen, and the other resembled that one as if he were his twin brother. The first angel that they had seen can be distinguished from the other because he gives the impression of strength, and that one is St Michael. Conchita added that when they encountered the contradictions of the Commission of Santander, she would tell St Michael: “Come on, St Michael, you are not defending your Queen! I beg of you, defend her.”

And so we now go after this first apparition to read what was on the angel’s sign. In reality, this message, which was the first, was made known briefly to the young girls, as they themselves were not to reveal it. It was the priests who were supposed to reveal it on October 18, 1961. 

The message was that: We must make many sacrifices, perform much penance, and visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. But first, we must lead good lives. If we do not, a chastisement will befall us. The cup is already filling up, and if we do not change, a very great chastisement will come upon us.” The Virgin wishes that we listen to her so that God does not chastise us.

(NOTE: The Author now digresses and makes this reference to an event that took place in Garabandal regarding the parish priest during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). At that time, they locked Fr. Don Valentin up in a small storage room. And after the others were dead and the Reds (Communists) had retreated, the one who had wanted to kill him told him: “Now, save yourself and don V let us see you again, because I may not be able to save your life a second time.” I think it was the 150 rosaries prayed each day that inspired this Red to save Don Valentin.

We are now going to follow a moving procession. The visionaries go up the mountain to the Pines, they come down, they go to the cemetery, they come back and they go to their homes. When we went to Lourdes we went to the Virgin at the grotto to pray. In other places, such as Beauraing, it was at a hawthorn tree, but at Garabandal, there wasn’t a single place where one could build a sanctuary, choosing one place over another. Only next to the Pines, this past September 29th, upon the desire of the Virgin, a small chapel was built on private land as it has not been fully authorised. The chapel that the Virgin requested was not for herself but for St Michael. 

Veneration of the Crucifix

We shall now follow them while they go to get their crucifixes in their homes (the Virgin told them to do this), since they wanted Jesus in front. You already know the criticism that some people make regarding the cult of the Virgin Mary, pointing out that she hinders us from loving Jesus. Obviously, Our Lady wants us to follow Jesus! She always teaches us is to be true disciples of Jesus and to love Him more. 

The little girls walk with their crucifixes, and they would extend these to one person and then to another so that they would kiss them after the Virgin had kissed them. The Virgin did not cease kissing crucifixes at Garabandal and each time a person desired a kiss from the Virgin she would do so through the crucifix, through Jesus, but the Virgin always wanted to kiss it beforehand. 

Presently, we are going up to the Pines. We won’t reach there. Miss Deguia and I could not follow the fast pace of the young girls. And you can see the path, the rocks, Garabandal is the rockiest village in all of Spain. And the young girls ascended with a speed that was truly extraordinary. And when they wanted to come down, this is what we saw. As we were not able to follow their paths, they descended backwards over the rocky terrain, only looking at the Virgin who is above the head of Miss Eloisa (Deguia) and mine. The emotion we felt is one that we remembered for the rest of our lives. Dr. Ortiz who was also there that day told us: “You know, three days ago, they did not descend backwards, but on their knees. On that day they wore stockings and I examined their legs and their stockings were not missing a single thread.” The ladies who are here remarked as to the quality of such stockings. 

One day a Priest took Conchita to Santander. I can tell you ahead of time that there was a sad beginning to this story. This is because the priest who had called for her did so to instruct her, that is to say, to take away from her the taste for the apparitions and even the taste for modesty. He thought that by having her hair cut and permed and having this twelve-year-old peasant girl clothed in city clothes, she would be changed. 

Each evening the priests accompanied her to the movies in Santander, and I can assure you that they were not any better than the ones seen in Paris or in any other perverted city. I was in Santander last year and even though I did not go into the movie theatres, I nevertheless, saw the movie posters next to the front door. Taking this twelve-year- old little girl each evening to the movies was a mortal sin on the part of the priest who took her there. Additionally, they tried to trouble her conscience by trying to prevent her from going to Mass on Sunday. And Conchita would tell us later: “The Virgin told me that one need not obey priests when they order one to commit a mortal sin, but I did not know that, and therefore, on that occasion I obeyed. ”

To console her, the Virgin came to Santander in front of the Church of the Consolation to tell her: “try to have someone take you quickly to Garabandal.” Then in front of the Church of Consolation, people had begun to gather, commotion ensued and there was a traffic snarl in the street. 

What was up with this little girl? Who was this young girl who seemed to be in an extraordinary state (she fell into ecstasy)? So they called the police who took Conchita to the police station where they questioned her and found out that she was a young girl from the mountains, from Garabandal. Can you imagine that at the same time Conchita was seeing the Virgin in front of the Church of Consolation, the others were also in ecstasy in Garabandal with the police and gendarmes next to them? And when the little girls’ ecstasy was over, the gendarmes went down to Cosio because there wasn’t a single phone in Garabandal. And when they arrived at Cosio, the police at Santander telephoned Cosio saying: 

“We have a little girl here who says she’s from down there. 

“Yes, we know, said the policeman from Cosio.”

But how? How do you know since that just happened?”

“Yes, we know. She saw the Virgin in ‘Santander.”

“And how do you know that?”

“Because the Holy Virgin told us.”

I think this is the only time only time in the world when a police report states; We learned about something from the Holy Virgin.

Look at a picture of Jacinta and Loli and you will see the reflection of the Virgin on the faces of the little girls. 

During this extraordinary procession, Father Laffineur remained next to the door of the church with Miss Maria, the governess, the friend whom we should have left back in France on account of her health which did not allow her to make long trips such as the one we had now undertaken. She is very dear to us and she has shared all of the joys of Garabandal.

Now the little girls have returned once more after climbing up to the Pines, and Father Laffineur tried to photograph them, but they had already turned their backs and made an about face. And I, who had gone there without being altogether convinced, still had Beauraing in my heart, where I had been present during the apparitions and where I had received big graces. At Garabandal, I was not yet convinced so I told the Holy Virgin that I am going to confess something to you, and that is that even though I am a third order Dominican, I do not like to say the Rosary. At that time, I did not like to say the Rosary at all, finding it too long and tedious. I therefore told the Holy Virgin: “Well, if you have really come to Garabandal, give me henceforth the grace to love saying the Rosary. ”

Then the young girls came to the door of the church once, twice and three times. I said to myself that if they came to the door of the church five times, my wish would be fulfilled, and it happened. By the third time, I was able to follow them once more around the church, and the most extraordinary thing happened. I heard laughter, but it was an incredible laughter, delightful, resembling a bell. 

While not being convinced, I asked myself whether one could laugh while one was in ecstasy. After the apparition, Conchita told me, but of course! It was the Virgin whom you heard laughing. She laughed because we chanted pretty poorly.

I hesitated in going to Garabandal in November of 1962 because I needed to play the pump organ for Christmas Mass, a task which was quite difficult for me? I had been telling myself that if I missed out on the rehearsals it would not go very well on Christmas night. And in light of this, I said to myself: “the Holy Virgin will help me.” When I returned home, I warned the pastor about the off musical notes because the Holy Virgin would laugh at us .

(Now back to Garabandal and the ecstasy the author witnessed.) The photo that you see was taken of the marches. The girls arrived at the church and at the fifth time, they fell in front of the door. The poor girls could not go inside because the door was locked as the Priests from Santander banned the Virgin from returning to the interior of the church. My God, and since the Virgin was obedient, she did not go inside again. 

All the same the little girls who adored the Blessed Sacrament inside the church, fell on their knees in front of the locked door. Afterwards, when they stood up they allowed us to see an extraordinary thing. Conchita took Loli twice giving the Virgin a kiss. Afterwards, she held out her cheek and she received a kiss on each cheek. Conchita did so with great dexterity and alacrity. You can see that their clothing was hardly touched as when the children lifted each other they had no weight. However, that was not the case when others tried to do so. Father Laffineur tried before our very eyes to lift Conchita up from the ground when she was in ecstasy, but it was absolutely impossible because she weighed more than a thousand kilos. 

Well, after that Loli took Conchita, and each — and how many times! – received the kiss of the Virgin and returned it. Subsequently, almost in an instant, they went from a state of ecstasy to their natural state and they said; “Tonight the Holy Virgin will return at our homes.”

Reprinted with kind permission from Garabandal Australia / July-September 2019

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