October 18, 1961: "We must make many sacrifices, perform much penance, and visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. But first, we must lead good lives. If we do not, a great chastisement will befall us. The cup is already filling up, and if we do not change, a very great chastisement will come upon us."
June 18, 1965: "As my message of October 18 has not been complied with and has not been made known to the world, I am advising you that this is the last one. Before, the cup was filling up. Now it is flowing over. Many cardinals, many bishops and many priests are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them. Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist. You should turn the wrath of God away from yourselves by your efforts. If you ask His forgiveness with sincere hearts, He will pardon you. I, your mother, through the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel, ask you to amend your lives. You are now receiving the last warnings. I love you very much and do not want your condemnation. Pray to us with sincerity and we will grant your requests. You should make more sacrifices. Think about the passion of Jesus."
| From left to right:
Mari Cruz, Mari Loli+, and Jacinta
In an interview in 1973, Conchita clarifies the nature of the Warning (see transcript below). The complete interview may be viewed in the movie player above by scrolling through the playlist and clicking on "Interview with Conchita, Part 3 ".
Interviewer: What will occur on the day of the warning? Conchita: The most important thing about the warning is that every person--everyone in the whole world--will see a sign, a grace, or a punishment within themselves. In other words, a warning. They will find themselves all alone in the world, no matter where they are at the time, alone with their conscience right before God. They will then see all their sins, and what their sins have caused (In 1965, Conchita added, "We would prefer to be dead than to experience the warning...those who do not despair will experience great good from it for their sanctification." In the 1972 elaborates further, "It will be a terrible feeling. You will suffer terror, but without physical pain."). Interviewer: [snip] No matter where I am, I am going to feel it? Conchita: Any place you are. Interviewer: Who will feel this warning? Catholics, Protestants, Jews? Conchita: Everyone that lives in the world. Interviewer: Will we all feel it at the same time? Conchita: Yes, at the same time. Interviewer: How long will it last? Conchita: I do not know how long it will last. However, everyone is going to feel it differently...[snip]...We will feel it differently, because it will depend on our conscience. The warning will be very personal. Therefore, we will all react differently to it...[snip]...(In 1965, Conchita adds; "This warning, like the chastisement, is a very fearful thing for the good as well as for the wicked. It will draw the good closer to God and it will warn the wicked that the end of time is coming and that these are the last warnings.") Interviewer: Will something happen to me because of my sins? I mean, will physical harm come upon me as a result of my sins? Conchita: No, unless it is something that results from the shock, for example, a heart attack. Interviewer: How about the good things? Will I see them also? Conchita: No, this will be only a warning, to see what you have done will your sins. It will be a purification before the miracle, to see if, with this warning and the miracle, we will be converted. Interviewer: This will occur before the miracle? Conchita: Yes, before the miracle. Interviewer: So this can occur any day now? Conchita: Yes, but I do not know the date when it will occur.
Interviewer: I would like you to tell me everything you can about the day of the great miracle that is coming. Conchita, that day did not come yet did it? Conchita: No, not yet. Interviewer: What is going to happen on that day? Conchita: I will tell you all that I can, as the Virgin told it to me. The Virgin told me that God was going to perform a great miracle. There will be no doubt about this miracle; it would be a miracle coming directly from God. There would be no human intervention. The day would come. She told me the day, the month, and the year. So I know the exact date...[snip]..Interviewer: Is it coming soon? Conchita: Yes, I cannot tell until eight days before the date. Interviewer: What is going to happen on that day? Conchita: I cannot say exactly what it consists of. But I can say that the Virgin said that everyone who would go [to Garabandal] on that day would see it. The sick will be cured, no matter what their disease or religion. However, they have to be there. Interviewer: So there will be no exceptions; whether the person has cancer, is paralyzed, blind, or deaf? Conchita: No. There will be no exceptions. The sick will be cured...[snip]...Interviewer: Who will be able to see this miracle, only the Catholics who are present? Conchita: Everyone who is present. Interviewer: On the day of the miracle, did she say that those present will be converted? Conchita: The Virgin said that everyone present would believe, since they would see that this is directly from God. Sinners will be converted. She also said that from that moment on, there would be a permanent sign at the pines that could be photographed or televised. Everyone present there could view it. The sign will remain for ever, at the pines. The sign would be visible, and could be touched, but not felt. I cannot explain it...[snip]..It would be like smoke. You could touch it, but not feel it. (In 1971, Conchita added that the miracle "will be a miracle of the love of God, something that will prove and manifest His love to us in an outstanding way.")
Interviewer: With respect to the sick people, since this is what really interests me, I think the Virgin named one particular person by name; a blind man, named Joey Lomangino (see; interview with Mother Angelica). What did she say about him? Conchita: She said that on the day of the miracle, he will recover his sight. He will be able to see. She also talked about a paralyzed boy who's parents came from my village. The boy also will be cured...
Interviewer: Do I understand you right, that besides the warning and the miracle, there will also be a punishment? Conchita: The Virgin said that if we did not convert with the warning and the miracle, then there will be a punishment. This however, is not absolute. Interviewer: [snip] Both the warning and the miracle are just aides to help us fulfill the message. The message is the main thing in the apparitions. Conchita: Yes. (In 1965, Conchita added; "Jesus is not going to send the chastisement to discourage us, but to help us and to reprimand us for not heeding Him." In another letter, she added; "I have seen the chastisement. I can assure you that if it comes, it is worse than being enveloped in fire, worse than having fire above and beneath you...When I saw it, I felt a very great fear and that notwithstanding I was looking at the Blessed Virgin...[It will be] in keeping with what we deserve." )
Teachings of the Lady
It has been approximated that the girls received nearly two-thousand apparitions during the years between 1961 and 1965. During this time, the Blessed Virgin instructed the children on many tenets of faith, particularly in regards to the Eucharist, the Rosary, obedience, the Priesthood, and penance. Listed below are few exerts of these instructions;
The priesthood was so essential to the messages at Garabandal, that, according to Conchita, the Blessed Virgin asked for prayers for priests during every apparition to the children. In his book; "Our Lady Comes to Garabandal", Joseph Pelletier (page reference will be 'jp' henceforth) notes; "It is important to know that Our Lady did start speaking to the girls about priests from the first days of the apparitions in 1961. She stressed the need of praying for them so that they might be holy and lead others to holiness by their example." He later states; "[Conchita] has declared that the Blessed Virgin began asking for these prayers at the start of the apparitions, and that She spoke of this almost every time She came." (jp111) In another place, he notes; "The girls were always especially happy when priests came to the village, and they treated them with very special consideration, although they themselves were not always treated this way by the priests."
Conchita, diary, jp94: "...she told us about the worth [el valor] of a priest. She compared him with an angel and said that if we saw an angel and a priest we should acknowledge the priest first or fall on our knees in front of the priest rather than the angel. She told us that it was because the priest consecrated, because he held Jesus Christ in his hands and the angel did not.
Mary Loli, letter, 1963: "The Virgin has made me know when a priest is in sin. She has helped me to know that he needs many prayers and sacrifices."
Conchita, interview, 1973: "I remember during that time, many priests used to come, and many wearing civilian dress. I do not know how, but we always knew who were the priests, even if there were a lot of people. One night in particular, while seeing the Virgin, there were a lot of people. The Virgin told us to hold out our arms, so we did. When it was over, we found out that everyone to whom we had given the crucifix to kiss was a priest in civilian clothes."
Conchita, diary, jp111: "Concerning priests, he [the angel] told me that we should pray much for them so that they may be holy and fulfill their duty properly and make others better....pray much for priests, who are the salt of the earth."
In 1970, Conchita was asked; "why are priests are leaving the Church today" (This, during the confusion after the Council). She replied; "Because they do not have a love for the Blessed Virgin."
The Eucharist also played a prominent part in the events at Garabandal, most notably in Our Lady's repeated exhortations to visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently, and showing the children how to receive the Eucharist properly. Conchita recounts in 1970, that the Blessed Virgin led the children nearly every day (and sometimes several times a day) to visit the Blessed Sacrament in church. Joseph Pelletier notes; "And when the diocesan authorities ordered them not to go into the church in ecstasy, Our Lady made them kneel in ecstasy at the door of the church, or She led them in ecstasy around the church, making them recite the rosary as they walked." (jp95)
| Loli, holding up rosaries that people gave her for the Lady to kiss
Conchita, diary, jp94: "..she told us that it was a greater grace to receive Jesus [in Holy Communion] than to see her."
Conchita, diary, jp188: "She also said to me:'"Conchita, why do you not go more often to visit my Son in the tabernacle? He waits for you there day and night.'"
Conchita, diary, jp94: "...he [the angel] gave us unconsecrated hosts in order to teach us how to receive Jesus with due respect. Then afterwards, he quickly began to give us Communion with consecrated Hosts, when he knew that there was no priest in the village."
"Had there been...the possibility of receiving Communion in the church from the hands of a priest, Communion from an angel would not have taken place." (Joseph Pelletier, jp94)
According to St. Louis De Montfort, the Rosary is the most powerful devotional prayer in the Church; so powerful that demons flee at the very site of it. Padre Pio called the Rosary his "weapon", the "atomic bomb" of all prayers. It is thus fitting that, in the apparitions of Garabandal, the Virgin would spend so much time instructing the children on how to pray it well. Most notably, She taught the girls how to say that rosary "properly, and slowly", and recited the rosary together during each apparition. Joseph Pelletier writes; "From a series of questions sent to Conchita in April, 1969, it was learned that Our Lady 'ordered - mando' the children to recite the rosary each time they saw her and that they actually did recite it during every apparition." (jp89). He later added; "The girls said the rosary in ecstasy as they walked the village streets, entered the homes of the sick, visited the cemetery, and walked around the church....She taught the girls to say all their prayers (and not only the rosary) slowly and thoughtfully. Tape recordings of the girls praying in ecstasy show us exactly what Our Lady wanted from the children and from us. These tapes show the girls praying very, very slowly, articulating each word carefully..." (jp210) [example here ]
Conchita, diary, jp89: "The rosary is a very important part of the Blessed Virgin's message"..."She recited the prayer very slowly--muy lento"
Conchita, diary, jp65: "When we arrived at the altar...she started to say the Creed very slowly with the Blessed Virgin. Mari Cruz said that the Blessed Virgin took the lead and recited the prayer first, in order to teach her how to pray slowly. After the Creed, she said the Hail Holy Queen and then she made the sign of the cross very slowly and very properly--muy despcio, muy bien" (The Virgin first taught the girls how to say each prayer individually, before teaching the complete Rosary).
The virtue of obedience is one of the greatest indicators for determining the authenticity of alleged apparitions. According to the Saints, it is the only virtue the devil cannot imitate (who, by his nature, is disobedient), and is therefore the hallmark of authentic apparitions. To be obedient, says Venerable Mary of Agreda, is to cancel the sin of Lucifer, who knew what to do and chose not to do it. The Franciscan school teaches, in the religious state, the vow of obedience is the greatest of the three vows (poverty, chastity, obedience). In her diary, Jesus tells Saints Faustina that obedience merits more grace than any other external work.
The Saint even goes so far as to say that God, in a sense, bends His will to that of the direction of His clergy; "Jesus says; 'Obedience. I have come to do My Father’s will. I obeyed my Parents, I obeyed My tormentors and now I obey the Priests'
...I understood that our efforts, no matter how great, are not pleasing to God if they do not bear the seal of obedience....Obeying our superiors, we obey God. It makes no difference whether it is an angel or a man who, acting in God’s stead, gives me orders; I must always obey." -(diary of Saint Faustina)
In the apparitions of Garabandal the examples of obedience are so numerous and varying, that one can say that it permeated from all facets of the girls' lives. Most notably, the Blessed Virgin instructed the children on the importance of obedience, especially to the Bishop. In fact, She told the children to obey the Bishop even before her; "She taught us to obey the Bishop before her." (Interview with Conchita, 1972). What is most striking, is even the Blessed Virgin Herself, in the apparitions, obeyed the commands of the bishop, as detailed in the account below;
Conchita, interview, 1973: "At the beginning, we used to go into the Church (editor's note; The Blessed Virgin often led the girls into a local church, where She would recite the Rosary together with them). But then the people, because they wanted to be first when we extended our arms, would make a big disturbance. So the bishop said we could not go into the church anymore. Then the Virgin, from the time the bishop said not to go into the church, never would let us in there again." Conchita recounts that, from that day forward, the Blessed Virgin no longer entered the Church, but instead remained outside.
The children learned from the example of the Virgin, and followed it themselves. The girls were not only obedient and docile to the bishops, but also to their parents, interrogations by doctors, physical exams, psychological tests, criticisms and slander, and so forth.
They went along with everything imposed on them. Joseph Pelletier notes; "This simple unquestioning obedience to the commission manifested by the girls on this occasion is typical of their attitude and conduct toward the Church and clergy all during the apparitions" (jp53)
In 1965, in response to those eager to spread the message of Garabandal, Conchita writes; "This is agreeable to the Blessed Virgin. She is very pleased to have us work to spread the message. That is what She wants. But she wants us to obey the Church, for in this way we will give greater glory to God. She will provide time for the message to be spread with the permission of the Church." Six years later, Conchita expresses similar sentiments; "Reflect on this. If something is God's work, He will see that it triumphs in the best way over all obstacles. It is God who does everything. Sometimes He acts through us, but He can also bypass us to perform great miracles and prodigies. What we should do is sacrifice ourselves, be faithful in prayer and in the recitation of the Holy Rosary, and visit the Blessed Sacrament often." (jp181)
Penance and Sacrifice
The exhortation to sacrifice and do penance was undoubtedly an important part of the apparitions of Garabandal. It is no coincidence that the first message begins with this exhortation ("We must make many sacrifices, perform much penance..."), and the last message ends with a similar exhortation ("You should make more sacrifices. Think about the passion of Jesus."). It is thus that the call to penance and sacrifice are the 'book ends' of the Garabandal message. And rightly so. There has not been a Saint in history who has attained the heights of holiness without penance and sacrifice. By it, we become purified and detached from wordly affections, so that our hearts may be prepared to love and suffer for the salvation of souls [read more here].
| Conchita, in her room
Conchita, diary jp204, 1966: He [Jesus] replied..."I want to tell you, Conchita, that before the miracle occurs, you will suffer much, for few people will believe you. Your own family will believe that you have deceived them. I am the one who wants all this, as I have already told you, for your sanctification and so that the world may comply with the message. I wish to advise you that the remainder of your life will be a continual suffering. Do not be freightened. In your suffering you will find me and also Mary whom you love very much... I will be with whoever suffers for me."
Conchita, Interview, 1973: "One day, on the last apparition, on November 13th, 1965, I had a piece of gum in my mouth. The moment I saw the Virgin, I put it in my cheek and didn't chew it anymore. She said; "Why don't you dispose of that gum. Offer it up for me." I thought She hadn't seen it, but She knew I had it. So I took the gum out of my mouth. For me, this is an example that She is not asking for big sacrifices, but small ones, so that we can continually offer them out of love for Her."
Conchita, Interview, 1972: "The Lady explained about the sacrifices, and said that they ought to be remembered every moment of the day, as we are always in the presence of God...[Once] we wore tight knotted belts. We were trying to do things so that the Lady would notice that we were sacrificing. She noticed, and smiled, telling us that this was not the penance She meant; never to harm ourselves, but to accept what God gives us in every day life...just small things in every day life."
Mary Loli, letter, 1963: "The Virgin has made me know when a priest is in sin. She has helped me to know that he needs many prayers and sacrifices. She has given me to understand the Crucifixion in The Holy Mass, since I comprehend the humility, the sacrifice for the world. I spoke with The Virgin in a locution and asked Her to give me a cross to suffer for priests. She told me to bear everything with patience and to be humble, which was what pleased God the most. And I said to Her, 'Am I going to die soon?' And She said to me: 'No. You have to remain in the world to suffer. In whatever place you are you will suffer.' She also told me, 'Pray the Rosary everyday. Pray for priests, since there are some who need more sacrifices for them every day."(It should be noted that Mary Loli died on April 20th, 2009. She was diagnosed with lupus, pulmonary fibrosis, and many other health complications, which she had to endure for the last 23 years of her life.)
Conchita, diary jp97, 1961: "During Holy Week, the Blessed Virgin ordered me to go at five in the morning [as opposed to the regular time of six], which I did, because the Blessed Virgin always wants us to do penance."
Conchita, Interview, 1973: "With respect to penance and sacrifice, penance is what we impose on ourselves, sacrifice is giving up things as the situation suggests. For example, a person who scolds us, not to answer them back. Or if we receive a blow, to offer it to God."
Conchita, final vision, 1965: "Then She said to me: "You will recall what I told you on your patronal feast day [the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8], that you would suffer much on earth? Well, have confidence in us and offer your suffering generously to our Hearts for the welfare of your brethren. In this way, you will feel how close we are to you." (jp186)
Eye Witness Accounts
The following are small snippets of eye witness accounts of various supernatural phenomenon. It should be noted from the outset that the purpose of this section is not to convince the reader of authenticity, but merely to give the reader a small impression of some of the extraordinary events that took place in Garabandal, from the mouth of those who witnessed it.
Fr. Ramon Andreu, S.J., jp63
In the beginning, Fr. Ramon did not believe in the apparitions, and only came to Garabandal at the insistence of some friends. He soon got the opportunity to stand very close to the girls while they were in one of their ecstasies. According to his testimony, Fr. Ramon at first considered the usual interpretations of hysteria or hypnotism, but quickly ruled out those possibilities;
"I had already seen the two girls enter and come out of the state of ecstasy together. I had the impression that they had but one soul. What I thought at that time did not seem to me to make much sense, but I thought it all the same: May one of these two girls return to her normal state and the other remain in ecstasy. At this precise moment, LoIi, who was very close to me, returned to normal, turned slightly and looked at me with a smile. I asked her:
"You aren't seeing the Blessed Virgin any more?" "No, Sir."
"And why?", I insisted. "Because she has gone."
Jacinta was still in ecstasy. I said to Loli: "Look at Jacinta."
The child looked at her and smiled at seeing her in ecstasy, for it was the first time that, being out of the ecstatic state herself, she saw one of her companions in that condition. I asked another question:
"What did the Blessed Virgin tell you?"
She was about to answer when she went back into ecstasy, her head tilted backward. I then heard the following dialogue between the two girls and the vision:
Jacinta: "Loli, why did you leave?"
Loli (addressing herself to the apparition): "Why did you withdraw yourself?"
Then, after a short pause:
"Oh! That's why? It was so that he would believe!"
On hearing that I rejoined my brother Luis and said to him:
"Be careful what you think. The transmission of thought ill like lightning here!"
Fr. Luis Andreu, S.J., jp64,69,74
Fr. Luis Andreu is considered the "5th visionary" at Garabandal, in that he, and only he, received a vision of the miracle. Conchita recounts in her diary; "When we arrived at the pines, Fr. Luis Maria, who had followed us, said; "miracle, miracle," and he kept staring upward. We could see him. Now, in our ecstasies we never see anyone (except the Blessed Virgin). But we saw Father Luis and the Blessed Virgin told us that he was seeing her too." Fr. Luis was heard to say the following;
"This is the happiest day of my life! What a wonderful mother we have in heaven!"
Don Valentin Marichalar recounts that, later than night, Fr. Luis spoke these words to him; "Don Valentin, what the children say is true, but I ask you not to repeat what I have just told you, for the Church can never be prudent enough in this kind of affair."
It was on this very night that Fr. Luis Andreu died, on the way home from his visit to Garabandal. According to the witnesses in the car, just before he passed away, he exclaimed with great joy the following words;
"I am so happy. What a favor the Blessed Virgin has bestowed on me. How fortunate we are to have a mother like her in heaven! There is no reason to fear the supernatural life. The girls have given us an example of how must act with the Blessed Virgin. There is no doubt in my mind that the things involving the girls are true. Why should the Blessed Virgin have chosen us? This is the happiest day of my life."
Dr. G du Pilier, jp59
Dr. Pilier read several signed testimonies of persons who witnessed an unusual event. In Conchita's diary, we read the following; "..as my mother and I were returning from the fields, we met my godmother Maximina Gonzalez. She was very excited and said to us: 'Don't you know that the voice of the Blessed Virgin has been heard on a tape recorder?' 'What did she say?,' I asked. 'Loli and Jacinta asked her [the Blessed Virgin]; 'Speak, please, speak!' And the people heard the answer: 'No, I won't speak.' My godmother told me that the people began to cry because they were very moved at having heard the Blessed Virgin's voice." The following is Dr. Pilier's summary of the event;
"The girl spoke to the apparition: 'There is a man there who came with an instrument 'that takes all the words.' Why don't you talk into it? It is not for us, it is so that they will believe . . . Speak, say a few words so that they will believe!' After the ecstasy, the people listened to the tape. There were about fifty persons present. You could hear the voice of the children perfectly. When the replay came to the fervent supplication: "Speak, say a few words so that they will believe," the tape reached the end. At that very moment, a voice that the witnesses unanimously described as 'very sweet- tres douce', came forth from the instrument: 'No, no hablo-No, I won't speak.'
As can be imagined, the impression produced on the witnesses was very great. A person declared that day on leaving Garabandal: 'To the day I die, I shall have the certainty of having heard the Blessed Virgin's voice.' It should be noted, as a conclusion to this story, that in subsequent replays of the tape, the phenomenon did not recur. In any case, whatever interpretation one may wish to attach to these events, their objective reality is certain, especially since it is based on a dozen testimonies."
Fr. Ramon Andreu, S.J., jp83,53
Fr. Ramon describes a painful interior crisis that he began to experience following the death of his brother, Father Luis Andreu. This interior struggle occured at the same time the children were in an ecstasy. He describes it in the following manner;
"I experienced suddenly and brutally an intense interior bitterness. It was, if you wish, a mixture of painful impressions and depressing feelings. Everything seemed to get out of joint. I had just entered a moral desert. The past became obscure. The only thing that remained clear and evident was the death of my brother Luis, which had occurred a little more than two months before. Then this state of interior suffering began to get worse. I believe I can affirm that never in all my life have I exxperienced such spiritual and moral desolation...I was tempted to leave. 'These four children are just simply sick'" I told myself. 'Why are you still here? You can see that all this is only a miserable act put on by backkward countryfolk! ... "
At the same time that Fr. Ramon was ungoing this struggle, the the children were in ecstasy at the pines. Conchita records in her diary part of the message of that day;
"The Virgin appeared to us and She said to me; 'At this moment, Father Ramon Maria Andreu is having doubts.' Because I was very surprised, she told me where he had started to doubt, what he had been thinking about, and everything else."
Later on that day, Fr. Ramon reluctantly met up with the children. After speaking with Loli briefly, he then spoke with Conchita;
"Before I had opened my mouth, Conchita smiled and asked me: "Father, are you happy or are you still sad?"
"I don't know," I replied. "LoIi told me that the apparition spoke to you quite a bit about me. Is it true?"
"Oh, yes! at least a quarter of an hour."
"And what did she tell you?"
"I can't tell you," the child answered.
"Then, I am just where I was before," I thought out loud. Conchita smiled.
"There is something I can tell you, however," she resumed.
"When you came up, you were happy; when you went back down, you were sad."
And the child added: "And she told me everything you were thinking about, and the place where you thought it.
You thought: 'Now I shall return to Central America.' At another spot, you thought: 'I don't want to hear anything further about such and such a person.' And you were sufferring a lot. The Blessed Virgin asked me to tell you this, and to let you know that all this happened so that henceforth you would remember these events and never doubt again."
I was dumbfounded. The following day, Conchita pointed out to me on a photo the precise places where each thought had invaded my mind."
G. du Pilier, who was interviewing Father Ramon, then asked him if Conchita had been accurate when she indicated the places where his different thoughts had occurred. "Absolutely accurate," he replied. "And so was all that she had told me the preceding evening." (jp83) It is also interesting to note that, according to the Saints, demons cannot read minds, whereas God of course can. Such accounts as this (and the first account listed), therefore, seem to rule out the possibility of diabolical influence.
The official position of the Church is still pending, as Garabandal has neither been positively approved, nor negatively condemned. The Vatican has yet to make a public pronouncement, likely because the Church is awaiting to see if the prophecies will be fulfilled.
At the local level, the Bishops of Santander have not affirmed supernatural origin, but also have been careful not to condemn Garabandal either;
Bishop Eugenio Beitia, of Santander, 1965
"we have not found anything deserving of ecclesiastical censorship or condemnation either in the doctrine or in the spiritual recommendations that have been publicized as having been addressed to the faithful, for these contain an exhortation to prayer and sacrifice, to Eucharistic devotion, to veneration of Our Lady in traditional praiseworthy ways, and to holy fear of God offended by our sins. They simply repeat the common doctrine of the Church in these matters.”
Bishop Juan Antonio del, of Santander, 1992
"The previous bishops did not admit that the apparitions were supernatural, but to condemn them, no, that word has never been used."
The Church has a very strict and precise terminology for judging alleged apparitions (very few apparitions are officially approved). According to the norms of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, alleged apparitions are classified in one of three categories;
1. Constat de supernaturalitate -- It is certain that the events are of supernatural origin.
2. Constat de non supernaturalitate -- It is certain that the events are not of supernatural origin.
3. Non-constat de supernaturalitate -- It is not certain that the events are of supernatural origin.
Garabandal has been classified in the 3rd category, Non-constat de supernaturalitate, meaning; it is not certain/confirmed that the events were of supernatural origin.
Even though the Church has not given official approval yet, a Catholic may in good standing believe in the events at Garabandal (see section; "Reasons to Believe").
But what about Cardinal Seper's Letter? [Link] ...
What about Bishop Vilaplana's Letter? [Link]
There are some who argue that Garabandal has been condemned, based on a poor English translation of a 1993 letter from Bishop Jose Vilaplana [see Response to Bishop Jose Vilaplana's Letter], or a misapplication of a 1973 letter from Cardinal Seper [see Response to Cardinal Seper's Letter] . Such claims are unfounded, as the previous links will show. The local ordinaries have been very clear to avoid condemnation. In fact, the Bishops allow private pilgrimages to Garabandal--a typical practice when an alleged apparition has not yet been approved or condemned. The Church will allow private pilgrimages, but discourage official diocese/church pilgrimages. Such is the case with Garabandal (in contrast to Bayside, for example, which has been condemned and consequently forbids pilgrimages).
Reasons to Believe
The following list was compiled to give a brief summary of reasons that would suggest Garabandal is authentic. Please be advised, the points put forth here are not meant to be a proof of authenticity, since the author is not the pope, nor does he speak for the Magisterium. Ulimately, of course, it will be the Church to decide definitively.
7 Reasons Why Garabandal is "Worthy of Belief"
1. No Moral or Doctrinal Errors. The messages are theologically sound, and in total conformity to the teachings of the Church (confirmed by the Bishop Eugenio Beitia). They do not purport any new/novel doctrine, as is common with false apparitions. Nor do the messages exalt the visionaries in any way. The messages are simply a call to prayer and penance, and to visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. Bishop del Val (who commissioned the second investigation) upon retiring from office stated hat the message of Garabandal was "important" and "theologically correct." Undoubtedly, the apparitions at Garabandal conform in every way to the criterion for judging apparitions outlined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (see; "Norms for Proceeding in Judging Alleged Apparitions", CDF, 1978).
2. The Seers were Children. The majority of approved apparitions are given to children (Fatima, Lourdes, La Salette, Pontmain, etc.). In fact, there has never been an apparition condemned by the Holy See in which the visionary was a child. There is something to be said of the innocence of a child, which allows little room for deception, and permits grace to work without hindrance. (If a child is ever involved in a false apparition, then it will be very transparently demonic or counterfeit.)
3. The Moral Character of the Children. The children were simple peasant children, who spent their early childhood working on a farm for their family. They did not seek profit, nor fame. They were faithful Catholics, who went to Mass frequently, prayed the Rosary, and were active in the sacramental life of the Church. They continued on with their lives, in poverty and submission to their parents. In her diary from 1962, Conchita writes; "We continued to go about our ordinary life doing whatever our parents told us.". According to the CDF, a criterion for determining the authenticity is the "ability to return to the normal manner of a life of faith".
In 1961, the children were 11 & 12 years old. Today, they are full grown adults who continue to hold to the same message they were given so long ago. It is very unlikely that four children can sustain the same lie for a lifetime, especially without any incentive for doing so.
4. The Obedience of the Children. The children were obedient in every facet of their lives (especially to the bishops) even while being subjected to numerous psychological tests, experiments, and interrogations. For example, one doctor theorized that Conchita's braids were hypnotizing people. Thus, he justified cutting her hair off. Other skeptics and doctors poked the children with pins, pinched them, and clawed at their skin with fingernails, leaving marks on their skin (however the girls felt none of this). According to eyewitnesses, one doctor even lifted up Conchita and dropped her from a height of about three feet onto hard stone. Yet despite all this, the girls remained docile and obedient, and even grew in obedience as the apparitions continued. Their family doctor reported; "Their behavior with their families, their obedience toward their parents and superiors, improved after the apparitions began." Most especially, the children learned from the example set by the Blessed Virgin, in Her obedience to the bishops. On occasion, Conchita reminded the people; "you must continue to obey His Excellency, the Bishop."
5. The Fruits of Garabandal. "By their fruits you shall know them." The events at Garabandal have drawn many souls to God over the years (which is further collaborated by the hundreds of eye-witness accounts, testimonies, conversions, miraculous healings, and supernatural phenomenon).
In the lives of the children, the most notable fruits - greater than miracles (since the Adversary can imitate miracles) - is the fruit of increased charity and desire to suffer for the salvation of souls. Conchita recounts after the final vision of 1965; "Once again they have left my soul filled with peace and joy and a great desire to overcome my faults and to love with all my strength the Hearts of Jesus and Mary that love us so much..." At another time she wrote; "I prefer to have Jesus in me--Jesus who will give me the cross to purify me, and who through my crosses will permit me to do something for the world with the help of God, for by myself I can do nothing." (Remember, this is 13 year old girl writing.)
6. The Messages Conform to other Approved Apparitions. The concept of a worldwide warning can be found in the diary of St. Faustina. A great chastisement was also mentioned in the apparitions at Fatima. The message that time is running out has been repeated by the Blessed Virgin in a number of approved apparitions (the sense of urgency among 20th century apparitions has been particularly striking).
Additionally, the three children at Fatima were given Communion by an angel, which is exactly what happened in Garabandal on numerous occasions. Furthermore, at Fatima, Our Lady told the children that in the end, Russia will be converted. Conchita stated in 1968 that "Russia will be converted as a consequence of the miracle." At Lourdes, the Blessed Virgin told Bernadette; "I cannot promise you happiness in this life; only in the next." In 1963, Conchita writes; "[The Virgin] added; 'Although you will not be happy on earth, you will be happy in heaven.'" The Blessed Virgin told the children of Fatima and Bernadette that they would have much to suffer, which is what the Virgin at Garabandal told Loli and Conchita (and indeed the children endured much suffering for the rest of their lives, particularly Loli and Conchita). At Fatima, the Blessed Virgin also ordered the children to pray the Rosary daily, which again corresponds to what the Virgin told the girls at Garabandal.
7. Support by Mother Teresa and Padre Pio. Mother Teresa was known for her support of Garabandal (this may be verified by contacting the Sisters of Charity in NY). And Padre Pio had voiced his support of Garabandal on a number of occasions, including to direct witnesses such a Joey Lomangino, who was told by Padre Pio to visit Garabandal. Father Bernardino, then acting Superior of Padre Pio's convent in San Giovanni Rotondo, wrote a letter in 1969, which contained the following; "While he was living, the same Pare Pio guaranteed the authenticity of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin. He met with Conchita at San Giovanni Rotondo. Even during the last days of his life, he talked about this to his brothers in religious life." (noting that Padre Pio was also careful not to take a public stance on them).
There can be no doubt that two of the greatest Saints in Church history (perhaps best qualified to discern supernatural origin) have positively discerned Garabandal to be authentic.
Additionally, Mother Angelica (EWTN) interviewed Joey Lomangino in 1995. To view this video interview, please click here.
This website was created on the belief that Garabandal is worthy of, at the very least, some attention and consideration. However, let the reader be reminded that, while private revelations are relevent to our times, they should nonetheless always be kept in their proper place, that is; subordinated to public revelation. No matter how important one may feel the message of Garabandal is, it is not public revelation (i.e., faith does not depend on it). Just as the Blessed Virgin was obedient to the bishops, so too should promoters of Garabandal be, and avoid public scandal, fanaticism, or promotion of disobedience in any form. The message merely repeats what is already part of the ordinary magisterium; what the Church has proclaimed for the past two-thousand years. The call of Garabandal is simply a call to reform our lives. As Conchita stated in 1965; "There is no use believing in the apparitions, if we do not comply with the message...if we fulfill the message, it does not matter if we believe in the apparitions." (jp207)
In this light, we may then consider what will happen if the apparitions are true...
The first fact we may conclude is that the Warning will occur very soon, within the next five or ten years perhaps. We know this because Joey Lomangino, who was told by Conchita that he will regain his physical sight on the day of the Miracle, is now in his early 80's. (Conversely, if Joey Lomangino dies and the miracle does not occur, we may also conclude that the apparitions are false.)
If/when the Warning occurs, it is not unreasonable to speculate that there will immediately follow a period of sudden and rapid spiritual renewal around the world. A revelation of this magnitude, as described by Conchita, will undoubtedly bring the world to its knees. Most notably, it will compel new fervor for sacrifice and penance, to expiate for the multitude of past sins in each persons life. Undoubtedly, masses of people will flock to churchs, religious communities, and seminaries, overflowing them with new vocations. There will also be many questions. And it will be the duty of those who know about the message of Garabandal (which of course points to, and is subordinated to the Church), to help educate those who are unaware. Perhaps even the greatest Saints will be formed in this crucible, to rise up to direct mankind to the Heavenly Jerusalem. A warning of this nature, as described by Conchita, will be a miracle greater than the world has known.
And, as the children will attest to, with any great grace, there is also a great cross. The warning is a great grace, in that it will help awaken mankind to its wickedness, acting as a catalyst for reform. Conversely, it is a great cross, in that it will entail a severe degree of immediate suffering, not unlike the sufferings in hell/purgatory. However, greater than this immediate effect, will be the remote effect, that is; it will demand a greater obligation on man, and place on him a great responsibility to change. Following the warning, man will have no excuse, then, as invincible ignorance will be virtually negated. A failure to amend one's life will mean almost certain damnation.
Prudence also demands consideration of what will happen after the current generation passes away, and is succeeded by a new generation of men who will not have had the experience of these events. It may be all the more pressing, then, for this generation to act quickly and resolutely, before the forgetfulness of human nature draws man back to its old ways. Indeed, this time of penance and reform must also expand into every facet of society - including government - for the moral benefit of future society; to pass legislation banning abortion, pornography, homosexual marriage, embryonic stem cell research, and all forms of sin and vice, to which the world has become numb and indifferent to. The faithful should work to restore the sense of the sacred in our parishes; to make all the necessary changes to implant deep roots into society, so that what germinates from them in future generations, will be ordered towards God.
Lastly, we have copied below an exert from the final vision that Conchita received (Nov. 13th, 1965), which was the very last vision of Garabandal;
And I said to her: "How unworthy I am, dear Mother, of the numerous graces I have received through you. And yet, you come to me today to lighten the little cross that I now carry."
She answered: "Conchita, I have not come for your sake alone. I have come for all my children, so that I may draw them closer to our Hearts." Then she said: "Give me everything you have brought so that I may kiss it." I gave her everything. I had a crucifix with me. She kissed that also and said: "Place it in the hands of the Infant Jesus." This I did. The Infant did not say anything to me.
I asked the Blessed Virgin: "This cross, will I take it to the convent with me?" She did not answer me. After having kissed everything, she said to me: "Through the kiss I have bestowed on these objects, my Son will perform prodigies. Distribute them to others."
"I will be glad to do this" I replied. She asked me to tell her about the petitions that requested I transmit to her. And I told her about them. Then she said: "Talk to me, Conchita, talk to me about my children. I hold them all beneath my mantle."
"It is very small, we can't all get under it," I replied.
She smiled: "Do you know, Conchita, why I did not come myself on June 18, to deliver the message for the world? Because it hurt me to give it to you myself. But I must give it to you for your own good, and if you heed it, for the glory of God. I love you very much and I desire your salvation and your reunion here in heaven with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We can count on you, Conchita, can we not?"
"If I were to see you continually, I would say, yes. But, if not I don't know, because I am so bad," I answered.
"You do everything that you can, and we will help you." She stayed only a very short while. "This will be the last time you see me here-Sera la ultima vez que me yea aqui. But I shall always be with you and with all my children," she said. She also said to me: "Conchita, why do you not go more often to visit my Son in the tabernacle? He waits for you there day and night."
As I stated above, it was raining heavily but the Blessed Virgin and the Infant Jesus didn't get wet at all. While I was looking at them, I did not realize that it was raining. However, afterwards I was drenched. I told the Blessed Virgin: "I am so happy when I see both of you. Why don't you take me now to heaven with you?"
"Remember what I told you on your patronal feast day [The Immaculate Conception] ," she replied. "When you present yourself before God, your hands must be filled with good works done for your brothers and for his glory. But at the present time, your hands are empty."
It is all over now. The happy moments when I was with my heavenly mama and my best friend - mi mama del cielo y mi mejor amiga - and the Infant Jesus. I have ceased seeing them, but I have not stopped feeling their presence. Once again, they have left my soul filled with peace and joy and a great desire to overcome my faults and to love with all my strength the Hearts of Jesus and Mary that love us so much..." (jp188)
As a final note, we leave you with words of encouragement from Conchita, written to a group of youth working to spread the message of Our Lady. This letter is copied in its entirety below;
My dear young people, the Virgin wants you to help Her to convert the world and to turn the anger of God away from us, sinners. She relies upon you, so that by your example and your sacrifice you may serve as an example to other young people, who have not had the graces you have had to understand her messages. She asks you to have a great spirit of repentance, sacrifice, and prayer. Without these weapons, we can do nothing. We do not have much time, but it is sufficient to escape the great chastisement and to satisfy the Sacred Heart of our Mother.
It is in the Blessed Sacrament that you will find enough strength to begin the life which the Blessed Virgin constantly demands of you. Visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. Empty your heart of the worldly things that prevent you from listening to God. If you do this, you will begin to lead a happy life, because the happiness that you have never experienced, you will find only in giving yourself to God and Our Lady. Pray for one another, for yourselves, pray to Our Lady. Pray to her with faith and confidence. She will give you all that is good for you.
And now, I beg you to pray to God and to Our Lady for my friends and for me, in order that we may be humble, that we may have the spirit of sacrifice, and that all of us may always think more and more about the passion of Jesus, so that we may forget ourselves.
In union of prayers. And, that one day, we may be in heaven forever, there to enjoy eternal happiness.
Signed + Conchita
||Our Lady Comes to Garabandal (Conchita's diary, with extensive commentary and eye witness accounts)
|by Joseph Albert Pelletier
Three Popes and Garabandal, Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck
The Church's True Position Regarding Garabandal Geoffrey A. P.Groesbeck
The Warning -- Our Upcoming Damascus Gabriel Garnica
Garabandal, and the Church's Criteria for Approval, Colin B. Donovan, STL (EWTN Expert)
Apparitions and Private Revelations, Colin B. Donovan, STL (EWTN Expert)
Interview with Joey Lomangino, Mother Angelica (EWTN), 1995
Norms of the Congregation for Proceeding in Judging Alleged Apparitions and Revelations
Articles, Interviews, and Testimonies
Additional articles may be found here.
Videos & Media made available by: Catholic Webcast and Garabandal Archives