In 1991, I was operated on for a cancerous tumor above my right eye. The tumor was removed, but gradually the sight in that eye became seriously impaired. After I retired in 1994, I was given permission to travel to Lourdes on a pilgrimage.
After washing my face several times in the Lourdes water, I got pink eye in my good eye. On the morning of the third day at Lourdes, some American soldiers invited me to go with them to a little village in northern Spain called Garabandal where our Blessed Lady visited four Spanish girls, aged 11 and 12 at the start of the events, from 1961 to 1965. Presently, the Church has neither approved nor disapproved the events in Garabandal.
During our five hour ride from France to Garabandal, Spain, we said several rosaries for the spiritually and physically ill. One soldier's dad was seriously ill, another was praying for a promotion, another fpr his dying grandmother. I made no mention to any of the soldiers of my cancerous condition.
When we arrived in Garabandal, the soldiers went to the restaurant while I went to the parish church. After saying many prayers I went outside and sat on a stone bench all by myself. I was wearing a white shirt, black pants and sandals. Then along came a little girl five or six years old. She paused for a moment and then asked me if I would like to have Jacinta (one of the visionaries who happened to be in the village) put her hand on my forehead. I said, "Why would she want to do that?" The girl replied, "Aren't you the priest with cancer?" I froze. I could not believe what I had just heard and still shiver when I remember her words. I had not said a word to anyone, either the soldiers or anyone in the village, about my condition.
The church bell began to ring and a few minutes later, Jacinta came along. She walked toward me and placed her right hand with her rosary (kissed by the Virgin) in it, on my forehead. She smiled without saying anything and went into the church. I only learned it was Jacinta after another lady asked me what Jacinta had said to me.
I then entered the church and began saying the rosary in Latin. At the last Hail Mary of the rosary, the sight in my right eye was nearly perfect. I could easily see the altar and gold tabernacle. I was not only in a state of joy and fear -- I was in a state of shock!
That night I sat in a rocking chair all night long saying one rosary after the other the whole night. I was afraid if I fell asleep I wouldn't be able to see out of my right eye in the morning. Believe me, I was still in a state of shock.
In the morning, I went to an eye doctor. I would up seeing three of them who all told me I couldn't see because the laser beam from the radiation to kill the cancer had atrophied the blood vessels of the right eye. They wanted to see my medical records so I sent them. I haven't heard from them since.
Father George Costigan, Chaplain
(ret. colonel), U.S. Military Vicariate
Reprinted with permission from Garabandal Journal, January-February 2004