(In response to my inquiries, I received this letter from Uruguay written by the mothers of two of the survivors of the aviation accident in the Andes.
- Maria Josefa Gallego)
It was twenty years ago that the marvelous miracle of the Andes occurred. Let me tell you how a group of mothers placed all their hopes in the Virgin of Garabandal.
Disconsolate, I was in church praying when someone tapped me on the shoulder and placed something in the pew beside me. A moment later, I turned around but there was no one in the church. What was left in the pew was a holy card with an image of Our Lady as I had never saw her depicted before. Returning home, my sister told me she had seen that image in a book that China Herran de Borgaleny had received the day before.
The next day we looked at the book with China and learned about the apparitions and messages of Garabandal.
Later, the grandmother of Roy Harley arrived from the United States, and after emptying her suitcases, a grandchild playing with them heard a noise inside. Thinking it was a forgotten toy she opened the suitcase and found a medal of the same Virgin (of Garabandal). The grandmother had no idea how that medal got there. None of us shouted "Miracle!" but it did give us something to think about.
A few days later, we group of mothers "of the Andes" received a call from Mrs. Pipia Ainas inviting us to see some slides of the Garabandal events. Pipia knew nothing about the happenings of the previous days. We got the message, however, and started praying for the intercession of Our Lady of Garabandal so our children would come back. Imploring her for the return of our children, we prayed the rosary with absolute faith that she, a mother like us, would obtain a miracle. We felt she was very near to us.
One day, however, our anguish reached a peak with the news that the search and rescue efforts had been terminated. We knew our children were alive somewhere but we were tortured by the thought of all the sufferings they were going through.
That day, when my sister and I got to the fifth Joyful Mystery of the rosary (the Finding in the Temple), I heard a very clear voice inside me say: "If I suffered so much at the loss of my Son for three days, I fully understand your sorrow after so many days of having lost yours. Be at peace, they will return; I promise you."
As the days passed, the number of people praying to the Virgin of Garabandal kept increasing, and we were the ones consoling those who came to comfort us.
Seventy two days went by. We assured the visitors that our children were alive and that Our Lady of Garabandal had promised they would return safely.
When the survivors were found, we flew to Chile to meet them. A curious thing happened. Only two names had been given as survivors and nobody knew who the others were. Two of my very dear friends did not show up at the airport since an inner voice had told them not to go. Our Lady did not want to give them false hopes.
In the plane I sat next to a priest and told him who we were and that we had been praying to the Virgin of Garabandal. He responded that he had been to Garabandal and had seen the Miracle [of the Host] with his own eyes [July 18, 1962]. I felt a great peace at that time.
A short while later, while my sister Rosina had her son Adolfito in her arms, I had my oldest son Eduardo in mine.
I regret not remembering the name of the priest in the plane and wish I could get in touch with him. We flew over the Andes together 20 years ago and the memory of him is forever engraved on my soul with the "miracle of the Andes."
Signed: Sara and Rosina Urioste de Strauch, Uruguay
More Information On The Same Event
The plane left Montevideo, Uruguay October 12,1972, and crashed the next day, the anniversary day of the last apparition of the Virgin of Fatima and the great miracle of Fatima.
A friend brought me a holy card of Our Lady of Mount Carmel of Garabandal and said to me: "The Virgin wants to make miracles so her Message, received by the little girls in Garabandal, will be made known."
This encouraged many mothers to get together every day to pray the rosary to the Virgin for a miracle to save our children stranded in a crashed plane on top of the snow covered Andes. This was such a hopeless situation that when it resolved favorably [for the survivors] it was called by the world, "The Miracle of the Andes."
The search for the airplane was carried out by government and private planes. People poured into our house with support and condolences, which we did not accept, telling them Our Lady of Garabandal will bring our children back by Christmas. Newspapers, magazines, radio and even ham radio operators from every corner of the globe were talking about Garabandal.
Funeral Masses were celebrated for the passengers and crew. We, the mothers, never doubted they were alive, but suffered thinking of what they were going through.
We read the book EL INTERROGANTE OF GARABANDAL by Francisco Sanchez Ventura y Pascal, saw films of the girls in ecstasy and even asked if after our miracle occurred we should report it to the Pope in Rome.
Someone from a group here that promotes Garabandal wrote to Conchita, telling her all that happened in Uruguay, but received no reply.
This is how, in those 72 days of hope, we met Our Lady of Garabandal. Signed: Rosina V. de Strauch, Uruguay
Reprinted with kind permission from Garabandal Journal July-August 2004
Excerpted from LOS MILAGROS O FAVORES DE NUESTRA DE GARABANDAL
Translated from Spanish by Dr. Edward Serrano