Maria Herrero de Gallardo was present at more than 30 apparitions in San Sebastián de Garabandal. Here are some of the extraordinary events she witnessed during her first visit.
“After several quick walks through the village, the girls went to the church. There, before the open door, they fell on their knees and prayed... Then Jacinta laughed and said to her vision that she did not dare to jump over the threshold to enter the temple. The vision must have insisted, and then she, with the utmost naturalness, very gently, without any contradiction of her body—just as she was, with her hands clasped before her chest and on her knees—jumped inside, over the obstacles of the threshold, to the stupefaction of all present. She smiled at the vision.
“The two girls went towards the altar as if they were playing. There, on the balustrade of the presbytery, they continued with their heavenly game. It scandalized a few (all this was taken to the bishopric of Santander, from where came later a formal prohibition for the girls to enter the church in ecstasy, and for that reason they closed it during the trances).
I can attest that the beauty of attitudes during their "game" was indeed captivating. They then fell down, very gently, in front of the tabernacle: Jacinta on her side, with her clothes covering her legs very modestly, her hands folded over her chest; Loli, in a similar way, but resting her head on Jacinta's knees. During this situation, which was certainly very touching (there were priests there as witnesses, who watched it with all respect), they carried on a very long, very intimate dialogue, which I hardly understood, but which gave me the impression of being like a conversation between little daughters and their mother, to whom they tell everything about themselves and their surroundings.”
Maria witnessed how the girls climbed into the choir and began to play between the bars:
"At some moments they made the impression that they were about to take flight. They told me later that the Blessed Virgin had told them then to follow her without fear, but they did not dare. They said, 'If we had obeyed, we would have flown.’
"After a long time, they walked, still in ecstasy, towards the square. Next to Fania’s house, they fell to the ground again, as tall as they were, Lola got up first and knelt in prayer with a splendid look in her eyes full of light. She recited the Hail Mary in a truly moving way, and tears flowed from her eyes. She was completely engrossed in what she was seeing, and perhaps it was then that she saw the Holy Family as in a painting.
A priest at my side pointed out that the trance had started two hours and twenty-five minutes ago. At that moment a young couple arrived with a three-year-old daughter, born without eyes. The mother, with her eyes full of tears, asked the Virgin for a miracle insistently. The ecstatic little girls joined her in her request. The silence over this scene was incredible. Suddenly, the little blind girl broke into a lovely song, full of joy. The emotion overtook us.
“Finally, Jacinta and Lola started towards Lola's house. And, as if in a whirlwind—we could not follow them—they went up to the second floor, where the apparition continued. Shortly afterwards the window burst open, and we saw the girls throwing themselves out and pleading to the vision not to leave them, but to take them with her. Their vehemence was quite impressive. Shortly after, they began to wave goodbye with their hands, as if the vision was leaving them toward the horizon, to the left of the Pines."