Garabandal visionary, Conchita Gonzalez Keena went with friends to Mexico for the canonization of the visionary of Guadalupe, Juan Diego. Jesuit Father Xavier Escalada noted her presence and wrote the following article for the July 30, 2002, edition of EXCELSIOR, a Mexico City newspaper. The article appeared the day before the canonization.
The most notable characteristic of the Pope's visit is an authentic overflow of social forces that cannot be classified as being within the ambience of everyday life in the city, filling all with an impetuosity and uncontainable joy that is already close to mad expectation.
The total conquest of the Pope, beyond the limits of streets and plazas, into the souls of those who arose this day in the city, is now before the eyes of the entire world, eyes that know Mexico and know the intensity with which we react here to these kinds of emotions.
However in the midst of all the excitement, there are many whose souls are steeped in silence and meditation that enable them to penetrate to the root cause of this unique experience.
I know a person who has come to Mexico to savor in her spirit, the joy of Juan Diego glorified by God the Father. This person has seen the Virgin, has enjoyed and been enriched by continuous supernatural apparitions of Mary, receiving messages to transmit to the world and is in Mexico today because she finds in our precious Juan Diego, a pioneer of her own profound experiences from 1961 to 1965. Pope Paul VI said to her: "I bless you, and with me, the whole Church blesses you."
That scene, where she saw Mary, is wonderfully majestic in the foothills leading up to the Picos de Europa, the mountain chain of Cantabria in the north of Spain when she was just twelve years old. She wrote a diary of those unimaginable joys, written with the flavor of the loving presence of Mary: "I want to love you, mother, and make others love you as you love us."
Photo: Conchita with Father Escalada by the statue of Juan Diego's uncle, Juan Bernardino.
In the midst of phenomena of mystical theology: ecstasies, levitations, ecstatic marches, prophecies, total physical insensitivity and various other things, she never lost her simple, gentle, retiring and loving character. At the beginning of one year, she prayed to the Virgin in this manner: "Mother, I ask of you for this new year that I not be vain. I pray also for sincerity, gratitude and love for you. Lord, this is what I ask of you throughout this year: give me a spirit of sacrifice and of prayer. Grant that I may receive Communion with more fervor and to go and visit you in the Blessed Sacrament. Lord, I ask for pardon. Thank you for all the benefits you have given us. Thank you for all the benefits you have given my family and pardon us for not corresponding with the graces received. Lord, thank you for this new year and grant pardon for the year that has just passed."
This is a privileged soul who breathes goodness in a well-refined spirituality. She does not like to speak about those sublime days and I hope she will pardon me for having ventured to raise a corner of the discreet veil that covers all her recollections of those glorious days.
One thing I am sure of: that Juan Diego looks with benevolent eyes on the presence of this visionary, who very much desired to be here for the moment that the Pope declared to the world that Juan Diego is a saint of the Universal Church.
Reprinted from Garabandal Journal Sept.-Oct. 2002