I wasn’t here when the Apparitions began; they started around fifteen days before I arrived. I was in the province of León, between Lugo and León. Miguel and I were on the mountain. I heard about the Apparitions for the first time in Torrelavega. When I arrived in Torrelavega, we got off at the North Station. A boy who had been in the military with me was working there.
“Hey! Serafín! What’s going on in your village?”
“Oh, don’t ask me, I don’t know! It’s been two months since I’ve been there.”
We went down to Torrelavega, and in Torrelavega we entered a store where we had ordered some clothes when we left. We had to pick them up when we came back. Of course, those at the store also knew that we were from Garabandal. They asked the same thing to which I reponded, “Well, I don’t know.” When I came here, the Apparitions had already been going on for many days. The first day, I saw them at the “cuadro.” When I came it was already known as “el cuadro”. This was towards the end of June, early July. The “cuadro” is a place in the road (la calleja) that leads up to the Pines; it is where the first Apparitions took place. It is called the “cuadro” (square) because they put some logs in a square-shaped section to protect the girls.
The ecstasies were the same, just that some were ecstasies kneeling down, some while walking in ecstasy, there were some where they ran a lot and some where they remained in the same place. For me, the ecstasies were the same at the beginning as they were at the end. There were ecstatic races that were very fast, and other times they walked. At the beginning, the first apparitions were only on their knees in one place, but later on they began walking through the village, in ecstatic walks, sometimes walking backwards. They raced at such a velocity that it was almost impossible to follow them. One time, I was running behind Conchita when they were walking in ecstasy at great speed; she was running with her arms in the form of a cross and her head bent back, like this. Conchita was running like that and I was running normally with help from all of the limbs, through the narrow streets of the village. There are streets that are very narrow that have no electricity and at night those roads are very dark. There I had to slow down because I was afraid of tripping around a corner. It was there that she would get away from me, with her arms in a cross and her head was up like this; it was impossible to walk in this position.
For me, all of the Apparitions were important and impressive, but the one that impressed me most, although it is not of great importance, was one time when we went up to the Pines at night. There were three or four of us. Conchita was in ecstasy and when leaving the Pines, she knelt and descended on her knees all the way to where the first apparitions had occurred. I thought that her knees would be destroyed. I descended with a lantern, and I could see where her knees landed. Sometimes she hit her knee against an edge that should have cut her, I said to myself: “The Blessed Virgin should leave us in peace, I can’t deal with this. She is going to destroy her knees on these rocks.” The ecstasy ended, and I went to look at her knees, and they were clean, there were no marks, not even a single bruise. I thought to myself, “Wow! We have to do whatever she tells us to.” The Blessed Virgin must have placed her hands underneath Conchita’s knees, because if not, it was impossible.
The day of the first Message, October 18th, 1961
There were many people, and it was raining a lot. We went up to the Pines, and there were a ton of people. We had to fight our way through so that the girls wouldn’t be stepped on, since they went up in a normal state. They gave the message. Fr. Valentín, the parish priest, read the paper there in the Pines. The weather was terrible that night, and there were many people. Even with the rocky terrain on the paths and roads, I didn’t see anyone get hurt, even with all of the people who were there. We had had a few days of terrible weather, but the day of the first message was one of the worst days we could have had, with rain, storms, and hail. The rain fell by the buckets, and there were many people in the village.
On one occasion, Conchita’s knee was swollen. I don’t know how she got hurt, she was using a brace for her knee. She fell into ecstasy and hit the floor several times, which should have damaged her knee even more, but nothing happened, and her knee was cured.
On the night of the screams, the girls saw the Chastisement. Everyone believed in the Apparitions then, and they all went to confession. The people came down from the mountains every night, and they left their jobs to pray the Rosary in the Church. Now it is different; they don’t come down so easily.
Conchita announced that a Warning and a Miracle would come. The Chastisement also, but the Chastisement was already announced in the first message. The world will see that the Warning is not something produced by men, but will come, according to how she described it, directly from God, so that all of humanity will know that it is from God. This will be to prepare all of humanity for the Miracle that will come afterwards. She explained that the Warning is for the whole world, the entire world will feel it. The world will feel terror and panic, but nothing will happen as a result of the Warning. It will be direct intervention from God.
How much time will there be between one event and another? I don’t know. Conchita told me that the Miracle will happen after an ecclesiastical event. She told me what the Miracle will consist of; I have it written on a holy card that was kissed by the Blessed Virgin. It is a small holy card, and I have it written there. I don’t know the date, I don’t have any idea about the date of the Miracle. According to what she told me, it will be after an ecclesiastical event. Conchita is different, I think she knows the exact date of the Miracle, but I don’t know, she didn’t tell me. I think my mother knows the same as I do.
This ecclesiastical event that will happen before the Miracle is an unusual event, important for the Church, and it will coincide with the day of the Miracle. For me, it all depends on the number of years it might take for this ecclesiastical event to arrive. If I am still living when the event happens, then I’ll know that the Miracle is coming. Until now, everything that the Blessed Virgin said would happen has been fulfilled, exactly as she said it would. According to what Conchita announced, it has to happen in her lifetime, since she said, “I will announce the Miracle eight days before, no matter where I am.” She didn’t say that she would necessarily be in Garabandal. She also announced that Joey Lomangino, who is blind, will recover his sight on the day of the Miracle.
In one photograph, I am right next to Conchita, trying to see how I can protect her, but I was bent down, so I can’t be seen among so many people. The day of the second message, Conchita gave the cross to two or three people to kiss, I think to a French priest, Fr. Pell, and two other French men.
I think that at the beginning of the Apparitions everyone believed and they believed for awhile. Then people began to come and give their own opinions, and the people began to doubt. All of this was foreseen; the Blessed Virgin told the girls that there would come a time when they themselves would doubt everything and contradict each other, despite their firm belief at the time. That time arrived when they doubted. When they doubted, people took advantage of their doubts to deny that everything was true. In Pamplona, during the time of the doubts and denials, four or five priests and a Bishop spoke with Conchita. She forgot everything about the Miracle, including the date, until right after the interview ended. If someone went to speak with the Bishop in favor of Garabandal, they were not admitted; they only wanted to hear the negative side. Conchita said that before the Miracle, the Bishop of Santander would have a sign or warning so that he would know it was true.
One night, my mother and I went out with her. It was a stormy night, with thunder and hail. Conchita was in ecstasy, and the hail fell in her eyes, but it did not impede her vision. Her head was looking up, at the very least while she prayed a Rosary, a very long Rosary, which she prayed very slowly, meditating on each word. It took a very long time for the Rosary to end. They would go out in ecstasy, in the ecstatic races at high speed, at full velocity. No part of their bodies was in a good position for running, from the way they carried their heads with their arms in a cross, nothing was positioned correctly for running, only their legs.
I followed behind them—I was a young 27 or 28-year-old man, and she was only twelve or thirteen; I ran twice as fast as she did in her normal state. But in ecstasy, in these ecstatic races and at this speed, passing through dark streets, I had to slow down and stay a little behind because I was afraid of hitting a wall; it was then that she would get away from me. I’d return to a lit-up street and catch up with her again. I would finish sweaty, and she was perfectly fresh and cool, as though she had just come out from the river. Someone was helping the girls and no one was helping the rest of us.
The first time I saw Conchita in an ecstatic race, when she came out of the ecstasy, she said that she was so happy, that it seemed like she was flying, and I was dead tired! Everything that Our Lady did in Garabandal, she did well, as she always does. There was a particular reason behind each thing she did. One might ask the motive of those ecstatic marches, but one would have to know the all of the circumstances and what the Blessed Virgin was saying to the girls. An example of this is the case of the athlete that believed because of this race, and Avelina who tells the following incident:
“‘You stay with the little girl, mother, since there are many people.’ The child’s grandmother and I stayed. I said: ‘We are going to pray the Rosary.’ When we had finished praying the Rosary, I heard a noise because the people were in the Pines, since there was going to be a Message given in the Pines. We heard the little girl clapping her hands. ‘How come the child is clapping? What does she see, what could she be hearing?’ I went out to the balcony and I saw the four girls alone in ecstasy, looking at the balcony. I said to the child’s grandmother, ‘Oh my goodness! The four girls are in ecstasy, looking like this with their hands like this.’ A that point Ceferino was the first to arrive, very tired from running because the girls had come so quickly that the people weren’t able to catch up with them. It is clear in this case, that Our Lady wanted to come alone with the girls to where the little girl was to reward the conduct of the grandmother and Avelina, who had stayed in the house and was looking after the child.
The incident with the athlete was this:
“On one occasion, a boy who was a good athlete arrived and said: ‘No one can beat me in a race. No girl can beat me.’ One of the girls had an ecstasy and set off running, and this boy ran after her. It was clear that the Blessed Virgin wasn’t trying to outrun him in the race, but at this point the girl was running at such a speed right toward the wall of a house that the boy thought: ‘If this is not from God, this girl will kill herself running into that wall.’ The boy had to stop to give him time to slow down, but the girl continued running without stopping until she reached the wall, and then she stopped in an instant. She said to the Blessed Virgin: ‘Oh, it is so he will believe…!’ The boy heard this and believed, since it was not humanly possible to stop in an instant at that speed.”
As a general rule, I did not ask about the ecstasies in the house. Other people did, but as a rule, I did not. “What did you see? Tell me this or that, what did the Virgin tell you?” No, I didn’t ask any of that. The village hasn’t responded to the messages. Exteriorly, it seems like the contrary. Interiorly, we cannot know if each person has responded. The Messages were perhaps lived out more before the Apparitions than they are today. I believe that the Miracle is going to occur. I am sure that it is going to happen. I was studying Conchita’s reaction in the house without asking anything myself. I saw that it didn’t come from her, and she wasn’t sick either because the doctors had already ruled that out. It could not have come from her, it was impossible. She couldn’t make all of that up. I know how smart she was during those years as a child, and I observed her carefully. Some people came who said that she could be sick—it could be this, or it could be that. I thought about all of this, but I went seeing that it was something from God. I went basing things on everything I saw and heard and how everything went developing. I listened to everything that was said, “It could be this or that, it could be a sickness;” I observed all of the different possibilities, and I realized that they were mistaken, and I could see better than ever that everything was from God. I thought: “It is the Work of God. I believe in God.” The Blessed Virgin can show herself at any time, for me it was like this, and that is what I believe.
I believe that the majority of people in the village do not believe that the Miracle will come. You cannot know what is going on inside each person, but in general they do not believe that the Miracle will come. But the majority of people do think that it wasn’t the girls who did all this, but that it was God and the Blessed Virgin. At that time, during the apparitions, the people believed. When the Miracle of the visible Communion happened, I think that they did believe, at least at the time. Many people who came then believed that it was from God.
There were many priests who believed, but there were also many who didn’t believe. The Bishop’s office has worked more in proving that it is nothing. All this made it so that many people no longer believe that the miracle is going to happen. You have to think that it was a work of God and that the Miracle is going to come as it was said. In those days the people used to believe in what the Church has always taught us, and the Messages confirm what the Church has taught us: to visit the Blessed Sacrament, to be good, to make sacrifices, and to meditate on the Passion of the Lord. I remember that when they went to the cemetery and the gate was closed, they would put the Cross between the bars of the gate so that it could be kissed. When cars began to come, they would also make the Sign of the Cross over them with the Crucifix. Before the Apparitions, the majority of people who were in the winter stables used to make an effort to go to Mass. This is not true today. That is to say that if they have to miss Mass, they miss it, and when it’s time to go to Mass, if they have to go up to the hills instead, they go up. Today, the people are colder towards religion than they were before the Apparitions. During the Apparitions, there were people who did not go to Mass before, and they started to go again.
The Virgin told them that a Warning would come to purify humanity to prepare them to receive the Miracle. People lead mediocre lives. Many people will change for the better, but how can the whole world change? Through all of the Messages and through the Miracle, exactly how it was announced. These are difficult times we live in, and for that reason, God sends a Warning and a Miracle so that the world will change.
In the Apparitions, it hard to know all that was said and what the Blessed Virgin explained to them. Many times you could only hear a few words, and we didn’t know what the Our Lady had told them unless the girls explained it.
The Rosaries were said slowly, to meditate the Rosary word by word. If you pray it quickly then you cannot meditate on what you pray. The way they prayed gave us a lot of time to think about what we were praying. When they prayed the Rosary, they walked at a slow, normal pace, and everyone could follow them easily.
I would love to live everything all over again. When I think about it, it was really incredible.