pemanJosé María Pemán and Garabandal




Román Martínez del Cerro was an eyewitness of the apparitions at San Sebastián de Garabandal during eleven days in July 1962. His father, Miguel Martínez del Cerro, was a good friend of the prestigious, Spanish writer who cultivated all literary genres: José María Pemán. Both professors worked together in the summer classes at the University of Seville in Cádiz. In this article, Román relates the moment in which his father told José María Pemán about his experience in Garabandal. José María Pemán never stated his opinion publicly on the topic, however it is likely that his friendship and appreciation for Miguel Martínez del Cerro inclined him toward an openness to the possibility of the supernatural character of the events, awaiting the Church’s final statement.

If I had to summarize in one sentence the sensations I perceived at San Sebastián de Garabandal during those eleven days I spent there in July 1962, I would say: “Our Blessed Mother’s happy and delightful visit.”

A visit fills and marks your whole life.

This quote of St. Peter’s on Mount Tabor comes to mind: “It is well that we are here.”

What else can one say before a divine manifestation?
As soon as he arrived to Cosío, the first town that had a telegraph, my father wrote a telegram to the Bishop at the time of Cádiz and Ceuta, Antonio Añoveros, communicating the astounding and joyful experience of eleven days in Garabandal. He also promised him a visit to give full details of such marvelous events. If a correspondence archive exists in the Bishopric in Cádiz, the telegraph I am referring to is probably stored there with the date July 23, 1962.

The need to tell the amazing experience does not end there. There were many talks and even a duplicated publication made over the following days. Even the most unlikely places became occasions to spread the experience. I will tell you a story:
At the University of Seville in Cádiz, there were Summer Courses at the end of July and the beginning of August. José María Pemán was the rector and my father, Miguel Martínez del Cerro was the Head of Studies. Fundamentally the university students that attended were foreigners. Classes were in the morning, and in the afternoon there were concerts, theatrical performances, dances, conferences, etc. At the end of the morning they took the students in bus to Victoria Beach in Cádiz.

Shortly after returning from Garabandal, José María Pemán and my father went to the beach with the students, in suit and tie because of their position as professors. Since my father had a tremendous need to tell someone about the marvelous and joyful days he spent in Garabandal, he made the most of the occasion to tell his friend José María Pemán about it. Of course, Pemán did not go unnoticed on the beach. Neither did my father, although a bit less. But the amazing story that he was telling, went even less unnoticed. When both of them realized this, they were surrounded by swimmers, students and curious people who listened, astonished, to the stories he told.

That joy impelled him to write this simple poem on August 22, 1962:

The Queen of Heaven’s
Eyes I saw one day.
I saw them reflected
In the eyes of a few girls.

Speak no more of pain to me.
Now I know what joy is!
The Queen of Heaven’s
Eyes I saw one day.

Cádiz, July 29, 2019
Román Martínez del Cerro


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