Incredulity Gone: Doctor José de la Vega

Translation from Spanish by Pablo A. Gonzalez Herrera

Reprinted with kind permission from GARABANDAL JOURNAL / March-April 2021

This is the account given by Doctor José de la Vega about the apparitions of the Virgin in Garabandal after an article published in “El Pensamiento Alavés”. Since June 18 th of last year, the Virgin is appearing in a little village nestling on a mountainside near the Picos de Europa (Cantabrian Mountains). This is what is affirmed by four young girls aged between 11 and 13 bom and raised in this village and with little formal education. This little village of barely seventy homes has been living for ten months in great disarray. The four girls, every day, one or several times a day, and at a set time, pray, talk, and kiss the Virgin while in a deep ecstasy. Their relatives are understandably afraid.

The Church, wisely, doesn’t have yet an official position. Doctors, even those incredulous, end up attesting that there is no logical explanation to the events. But every day thousands of pilgrims, tearful and full of fervor, are coming to this village from very distant places, finding the answers they were looking for in the faith as the only possible explanations to the events taking place in this village within the Santander province. I have spent Easter among them. I have heard the villagers and onlookers talking to the girls before and after their visions. From my professional point of view, I have no explanation to what I have witnessed. I have to believe in the prodigy.

“Have you seen the Virgin?” they ask me.

“I haven’t seen Her, though I have felt Her within my heart.”

A Jesuit Father who comes with me used to tell me: “Doctor, I think you are very skeptical about all this.”

“I am not. Father, at all. The thing is, I am completely baffled. I wish I had the faith of the girls and of all those around them but you know better than me that faith is a God-given gift not depending on one’s abilities.”

Some hours later I witnessed quite closely the second apparition. It took place during the small hours of Holy Saturday. It was raining cats and dogs and the whole village seemed a big cake made of mud and stone. We were speedily following with lanterns one of the girls who in ecstasy was pressing a crucifix against her chest with both her hands. She had her head craned back, her eyes raised on high smilingly. From time to time she fell to her knees, then prayed and kissed the crucifix. Half the villagers and all visitors, including children, followed her, taken aback by what they were witnessing. We had just seen her in her humble kitchen, where she was drowsily talking to us at 4:00 in the morning, falling abruptly into ecstasy in such a way that when she fell to her knees she did so right in the middle of the hearth’s heated stones without getting any bum at all. Then as if transported by angels she got up and began to walk through the village while we tried to keep pace with her though instead we stumbled with difficulty and got covered with mud.I was ardently asking God for the “blind faith” so often mentioned in the parochial sermons for I needed it so much in order to feel that I was witnessing a miracle that couldn’t be explained away by natural reasons.

Following the little visionary we went through all the village’s alleys, then to the church, to the cemetery and to the mountain where they first saw the Virgin. The roughness of the path, the darkness of the night, and my urban habits made me stumble with so many loose stones that I started to lag behind and decided to stop and wait for them to return. My wife though gasping for breath didn’t stop and went along, asking for help against my incredulity.

Suddenly the girl, who was heading towards the mountain, stops and retraces her steps backwards with her eyes always raised on high and smiling. She comes down towards where I stand then falls to her knees, hitting the stones as if they were part of a comfortable mg. Then, holding on high the crucifix she gave it to me to kiss. Around her neck were the medals and rosaries of many bystanders. She then looks for some particular medal while whispering something to her invisible apparition: “Tell me which one is it? This one?”

She raised in her hand the medal to give it to the Virgin to kiss then we all heard her whispering again:

“Tell me who is it from?”

Then, she turns towards my wife without hesitation and closing and opening the chain’s golden fastener she places it on her neck. Deeply moved and dewy-eyed, she falls to her knees, just like I do, as well as others who are witnesses to this moment. Then the girl gives her to kiss the medal blessed by the holy breath of the Virgin and helps lift my wife with an angelic look we will never forget.

In the same way and with similar words, she places my own medal around my neck. I couldn’t control anymore my emotions and began to weep.

At that point I was able to find an explanation to what I hadn’t yet understood. That angelic look was a mirror to the heavenly invisible presence of Our Lady of Mount Carmen over us. I fell to my knees deeply touched and asked God forgiveness for my incredulity.

I have to return to San Sebastian de Garabandal as do all those who go up. I will bring along with me some friends who are also doctors and ask them to try to explain the prodigies of those girls from that mountainous village. But with all my heart I ask God that the emotion that I felt that night never leaves me. It is so beautiful to believe in miracles!

Doctor José de la Vega Madrid 25th April 1962

Reprinted with kind permission from GARABANDAL JOURNAL / March-April 2021

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