Testimony: Antonia Gonzalez
What She Saw and Heard
Reprinted with kind permission from GARABANDAL JOURNAL / June-August 2021
Antonia Gonzalez was an aunt of Conchita and although living in another town, Cabezon de la Sal, she saw many ecstasies of the seers. This is her story.
Yes, I knew all four visionaries well. After Conchita’s father died, I had her with me for five months and she never complained about anything. She stayed in my home with my daughter and they attended school at Cabezon de la Sal. I spanked both of them once because they brought other kids into the house, and she didn’t cry. Another time, she was playing and got a piece of wood stuck in her leg. We pulled it out and she didn’t flinch; she is very brave. Her mother made her work hard. She didn’t seem any different from the other girls. She was somewhat serious, same as my daughter.
Just a week or two before the apparitions began, I had been reminiscing about someone in my youth who had told me about some apparitions and I’d said to myself that those things happened in the past, but not now. We used to talk with Don Antonio, a doctor who was here and his wife, both from Liebana, about those old apparitions. I believed when I was young but now I thought they couldn’t have been true. And it was only a week later when the apparitions of Garabandal began.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS :
I was going to Cabezon and about halfway there I met a girl who said to me, “Do you know what’s happening in San Sebastian?” I answered, “I suppose something out of this world?” I had many doubts about the faith. And the girl said, “Yes, apparitions are occurring there.” I believed instantly, but I didn’t let on; something happened inside me that made me believe. “Well, how about that!”
“Ah, you already knew about it.”
I answered that I didn’t. Then she asked, “Do you know who it is?’’ and again I answered that I didn’t. And she said, “Oh, yes, you do! It’s your niece!”
“That’s hard to believe!”
And I continued my trip. I was nervous and didn’t want to talk anymore. It had been a long time since my last confession, at least two months, and I had doubts about the faith, disquieting doubts. I even ate meat on Fridays. When I arrived at Cabezon I went frequently to the church and said, “I thank you, Lord, and I’ll go and make a good confession, but I’m not going to go see those apparitions.” Lots of people were going to Garabandal to see the girls in ecstasy during their apparitions, but I said to myself, “I don’t need to go; I believe it from here.” Everywhere friends and neighbors were puzzled that Conchita’s aunt didn’t go to the apparitions. I didn’t go because I was afraid.
Maximina [Antonia’s sister] wrote me letters that I still have, asking me to go to Garabandal, that Conchita asked me to come and visit like I did before, and since there were no more apparitions [just a temporary lull], come and visit now, and they would meet me at Cosio. Then I went with my daughter.
Since there were no more apparitions I was happy. I looked around and there seemed to be many strangers in Garabandal; there was also a professor there that some seemed to think had a hand in the apparitions. I stayed fifteen days. One day somebody said, “The girls are in the cuadro.” So I said, “Why don’t we go?” Nobody wanted to go since there were no more apparitions but I went anyway and found a little corner to hide in. Then some students from a religious academy came up to me and said, “The church bells are ringing; time for the Rosary.” (The town prays the Rosary every day at 7:30 p.m.) And I said, “You pray so much; lets pray that the apparitions come, otherwise I won’t see them!” I was saying that as a joke; I didn’t really believe the apparitions would return. But as soon as the girls crossed themselves they went into ecstasy and bent over backwards. I was next to Conchita, very close, so close I could have touched her, but I was afraid. I began to feel great sorrow and remorse for all the sins of my life. If God would have taken me at that moment I would have gone straight to heaven, so great was my sorrow and repentance for all my sins. I felt better than after going to confession. No guilt was left in me.
THE APPEARANCE OF THEIR FACES:
They looked luminous, like fluorescent, not natural nor like a light bulb or oil lamp, but a very clear and transparent light. They seemed to be plugged into a light source and totally changed. They looked very beautiful. They spoke very softly and I couldn’t make out what they were saying. This was the first ecstasy I witnessed. Afterwards I saw many more. I stayed at Conchita’s house for one month in 1961.
How long did these trances last? Probably about an hour; I can’t say for sure. I saw them at different hours at different places with different people present. Conchita would run out of the house when she had the call to go and meet the Virgin. I never noticed her to be tired or fatigued or nervous.
CHANGE IN WEIGHT:
Did I ever lift or touch Conchita or the other girls? I don’t remember. Wait. Once in Ceferino’s house, while Mari Loli was in ecstasy, I tried to lift her hand and I couldn’t do it; her hand was like a hard thing—just that, hard. There was one there whose name was Baldino, Fabiola’s man (This had to be King Baudouin of Belgium, whom she refers to so familiarly). I don’t know if it was really him, but the girls said it was. Conchita stepped on his foot in ecstasy, and he said, “She doesn’t weigh anything, but I cannot remove my foot from under hers.” People could not lift them but they lifted each other without effort, even if one was not in ecstasy.
Several times I have seen the other girls in ecstasy come to the home of Conchita, but she didn’t necessarily go into ecstasy when that happened. Several times I saw her go into ecstasy even while she was eating; she would become nervous and her face would color. Sometimes we would be getting ready to eat and Conchita would smile as if to say, “The second call.” When the third call came she would fly out the door and run to the church, to the Pines or wherever the ecstasy was going to occur.
Sometimes there would be a long time between the first and the second call. The day of the miracle of the visible Communion was like that. A long time went by between the first and second calls.
All grew impatient and her brother Miguel said, “They’re deceiving us all. Lets leave; this is a game.” Conchita said, “No, wait a little longer.” I was there in the kitchen and heard her ask permission from a priest if she could drink water because she was going to receive Holy Communion. The priest said, “Yes, yes, you can drink water.” Then Conchita said to her brother, “Be quiet and wait,” and the boy angrily went off to bed saying that he had been fooled, that it was all a game. But soon she said, “I’ve had the second call,” then her brother returned and Conchita started running; everyone began to run behind her pushing and shoving each other.
THE MILAGRUCU (LITTLE MIRACLE) :
I was there but didn’t see the Host. My son Manolin was shoved, but saw the Host. I did not see it because I did not want to see it. I was afraid to see how It would come from heaven. The place was very crowded.
LACK OF INJURIES:
They fell with such force on their knees on the rocks so many times that I was sure they had fractured them. If I’d done that. I’d surely have broken something. I thought we should put a pillow or something under them, but they didn’t want it. No sign of injury was ever found.
REVELATION OF THOUGHT:
In another ecstasy I thought to myself: “If this is truly from God, let Conchita offer me the crucifix to kiss.” I heard Conchita say to the Virgin, “The one who is asking that I give her the crucifix to kiss, shall I….?” And she came and gave it to me to kiss. That was in front of my sister Aniceta’s house.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE NEGATIONS AND MIRACLE:
We were in Conchita’s home and I heard this distinctly. I don’t remember if her mother and we family members were alone or if others were present. Conchita said in ecstasy, “We, ourselves will deny everything and contradict each other, and that’s when the Miracle will come?”
Let’s see, what else did she say? Oh, yes—I don’t ever want to forget this. “When people quit coming to Garabandal and all stop believing, then that’s when You will perform the Miracle?” This is what I heard her say and nothing more, “Then the Miracle will come? When everybody quits believing; not even the priests will believe? And nobody else either? Then the Miracle will come?” I heard this myself in Conchita’s house, “And we ourselves will retract everything, and the families too.” Maybe I’m not saying it exactly the way I heard it.
One night in Ceferino’s house it seemed like they were talking to Father Andreu. I was there and heard them say in ecstasy, “All the churches will unite, they will come together.” It seemed to me they were saying that all the churches would become one. During, this ecstasy they also said, and I heard it myself, that if we don’t amend, Russia will take over everything, and great punishments will come. And they said it many times. They said that the Cardinals—and they said this many times, too—will all be against... this is all happening. I don’t know if this is from God or from the devil, but there is something here.
The apparitions have done so much for me, and through Garabandal I have received many graces, but I am very… I can never repay what I owe the Virgin. □
Reprinted with kind permission from GARABANDAL JOURNAL / June-August 2021