At the Death of David Toribio, Garabandal Witness
On April 15, 2020, David Toribio, one of the most important surviving witnesses to the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Garabandal, died at the age of 85. David patiently repeated the facts that he had witnessed to each of of the hundreds—perhaps thousands—of pilgrims who questioned him over the years. He stated clearly, "Every day I am surer that it was true. Each day I am surer." Yet David did not always speak with the same certainty about the supernatural nature of Garabandal's apparitions. To understand, we have to go back to the days of the apparitions.
David was 26 years old when, on June 18, 1961, Saint Michael the Archangel began to appear to the four girls—Conchita, Jacinta, Mari Loli and Mari Cruz—preparing them for the Virgin Mary’s visit. The next day, he was sitting with some other young men along the road into the town when Conchita happened to pass by. One of the young men asked the oldest of the girls with a sarcastic air, "So, what was the angel like? Was he carrying a bag? Did he have a walking stick? What did he look like?" Conchita went away, embarrassed at the boys' teasing as they continued to mock the girls, but only until they saw the first ecstasy. At that moment, their initial skepticism was cut short. David confessed, "What a sight... the girls were not themselves anymore. Everything about them had changed: their smile, their way of speaking ... You could not even recognize them. It was an extremely powerful sensation." David could not help being moved by remembering the girls' relationship with the Virgin Mary: "It was a very intimate relationship, one of a very great love. They became so happy. 'Oh, you are leaving? But you've only been here for a few minutes.' They wanted to be with Her. The relationship was incredible."
That first summer—1961—almost all the ecstasies took place in the Calleja, a stone path on the outskirts of the town that goes up to the Pines. After a few days, as word spread, a growing number of outsiders gathered around the girls in ecstasy. Young men had to help protect them from the crowd. With some stakes well-nailed into the ground and some planks, the boys made a square space that they named El Cuadro. Only the girls were allowed to step inside and, along with them, doctors and priests authorized by the families. And that was enough because, as David recalled, "When the girls were on their knees in ecstasy, people would stick things in their legs, or burn them. They did all kinds of things!" When the girls began to leave El Cuadro, walking in their "ecstatic marches" through the streets of the town, the young men tried to follow them to protect them. And on the day the girls announced the Virgin Mary's first message, October 18, 1961, they were also there, organizing a human chain to surround them and prevent them from being crushed.
From that privileged position, David saw incredible things that deeply affected him. "Later on," he explained, "comments from knowledgeable people started to come, and you found yourself sitting on the fence about what to believe." He went down to the Torrelavega Cattle Fair, where ranchers from other towns burst out in mockery and jokes when they found out that he came from the town of the apparitions, and David became confused. Or he would read in the newspapers that "the events in Garabandal was a girls’ game" or a problem of "four hysterical girls." So he thought, "But how can the newspapers say that? How can these people who say they know, who say they understand, speak like this? And one day someone—I don't know if it was Ángel—said, 'What is more important, what we see with our own eyes, or what these people say and write?' We replied, 'No! What we see is much more important!' 'Ah, well then, they say one thing and we see another.' It was a difficult time. It was a strange time."
The poor bastianos, the name of the inhabitants of San Sebastián de Garabandal, suffered a lot at that time. But later on, they would see once again the overwhelming display of extraordinary and scientifically inexplicable signs that were accumulated in the ecstasies, and hope was rekindled in their hearts. David recalled one of those times that impressed him a lot: "One day when [the girls] went up to the Pines, the whole town went up with them. And when the four of them were looking at the Pine where Our Lady is now, at one point, they started going backwards, and backwards, and backwards, and they went backwards all the way down to the town. But there is a rock there, about three yards high. And they went down backwards. It is totally impossible. […] How did the girls go down that way? No one saw how. Someone brought them down. Someone. If not, it is impossible." David was convinced that the "someone" who took the girls down the incline safely was the Virgin. So he repeated the exclamation he heard from the writer Mercedes Salisachs: "Well, if these girls do not see the Virgin, if it is not the Virgin who is carrying them, they must have eyes on their feet, because they never stumble or fall in the mud puddles."
After a couple of years witnessing how Heaven came down to his village every afternoon, David moved for work and left Spain. When he returned, after years, it was all over. For quite some time he kept away from the flow of the pilgrims. Until one morning, some thirty years ago, "the lightning strike happened in the Pines." That day, David changed his attitude radically.
What happened? "One night there was a huge storm. A powerful crash of thunder woke me up. The house shook, and I thought to myself, 'Lightning hit somewhere in the town.'" But the fact is that, when leaving home, he found that the town had not been struck by lightning. David had a premonition: "It hit the Pines." Indeed, it had. The lightning had struck one of the pine trees, exactly the second one coming up from the Calleja: "I went to the Pines and, before reaching the top, I saw what happened. I couldn't believe it. That day I was in shock. It was an incredible miracle." At the time, there was a small image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on that tree, supported by iron plates. It had been put up by some Valencians in 1961 and had remained there even though later another image of the Virgin Mary was put up in an enclosed casing in the central Pine, where people drew near to pray. David explained: "When [lightning] hits a tree, it follows a course. The lightning has to go down to the bottom the tree until it ends in land or water. [The lightning bolt] struck one of those very long branches and went to the trunk that was like this, very big. It went down the trunk and when it reached the image, it disappeared. It turned and [jumped] to the first pine tree. The lightning broke the branches of the first pine. I was amazed. If it had continued, if it hadn't made the curve, it would have hit the Virgin, it would have completely destroyed the statue. Now the image has been taken away, although you can still see the iron plates where the steel sheet rested. But you can see how the lightning didn't continue its normal course."
For those of us who were "city kids," this anecdote may not say a whole lot. But a man like David Toribio, born and raised in the mountains, who lived the laws of nature and knew that they are immutable, understood that he was standing before a miracle, a new sign of supernaturality. The lightning bolt had diverged from its natural path to avoid damaging the statue of the Virgin Mary: "That day I was left... I cried there. Because we, who know the mountains and know how this works... Of course, it was something incredible. That day, I remembered things [that I had seen during the apparitions] and I promised Our Lady, there, on my knees, that I would change totally, because I had to! I had to!"
During the last years of his life, it was easy to find David in the Calleja at dusk, the place where he had witnessed so many events. He used to walk silently, pondering his memories. His memories became prayer, because for him, remembering all he lived in that place meant entering into dialogue with Our Blessed Mother in Heaven. If you were able to find him in those moments, he would begin to murmur quietly, "You know? Do you know what happened one day?" And you received the gift of one more piece of the precious history lived in those mountains between the Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the four village girls.
We pray for David's soul, heartfully wishing that this man, who possessed the wisdom of simple souls who open themselves to God, is already in Heaven seeing the face of Our Blessed Mother.
(The testimony has been transcribed in the same way that Serafín gave it, with his own peculiar way of speaking)
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 up in the mountains. I heard about the apparitions for the first time in Torrelavega. When I arrived in Torrelavega, we got off at the North Station. A young man 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 answered, “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 arrived, it was already known as the “cuadro.” This was towards the end of June, early July. The “cuadro” is a place in the road (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. [It is] just that some were ecstasies kneeling down, some while walking, 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 speed 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 my limbs - through the narrow streets of the village. There are streets that are very narrow with no electricity, and at night they are very dark. I had to slow down there because I was afraid of hitting a corner. It was then that she would get away from me, with her arms in a cross and her head 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 once 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 down and went on her knees all the way to where the first apparitions had occurred. I thought that her knees would be destroyed. I went down 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. They were clean; there were no marks, not even a single bruise. I thought to myself, “Wow! We have to do what we are told.” 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 18, 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, because 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, despite 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 in 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, but 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. 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 mountain 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 Him. 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. 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. I was bent down, and 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 a while. 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 turned up, at least while she prayed the Rosary, a very long Rosary; 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, very quickly. No part of their bodies was in a good position for running; 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 of 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. 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 reason of those ecstatic walks, but one would have to know the whole 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 a race, and Avelina who tells the following incident:
“[Her daughter said], ‘Stay with the little girl, mother, since there are many people.’ The child’s grandmother and I stayed. I said, ‘Let's pray the Rosary.’ When we had finished praying the Rosary, I heard a noise because the people were in the Pines, a message was going to be given there. 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.’ At 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 reward the conduct of the grandmother and Avelina, who had stayed in the house, looking after the child.
The incident with the athlete is the following:
“On one occasion, a young man who was a good athlete arrived and said, ‘No one can beat me running. No girl can beat me.’ One of the girls had an ecstasy and set off running, and this young man ran after her. It was clear that the Blessed Virgin wasn’t trying to outrun him in the race, but at one point the girl was running so fast toward the wall of a house that he thought, ‘If this is not from God, this girl will kill herself running into that wall.’ He had to slow down, but the girl continued running without stopping until she reached the wall. She then stopped in an instant. She said to the Blessed Virgin, ‘Oh, it is so he will believe!’ The young man heard this and believed, because 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 didn't. “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, it is actually the opposite, or at least exteriorly it seems so. 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 studied Conchita’s reactions at home without asking her anything. I saw that they didn’t come from her, and she wasn’t sick either because the doctors had already ruled that out. [Everything] 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 could see that it was something from God. I based things on everything I saw and heard, and how everything developed. 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, that's the way it is, 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. However, 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 then. Many people who came at that time, 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 to prove that it was nothing. All this made many people stop believing 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, 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 Lord's Passion.
I remember that when [the girls] would go 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 and that started to go again.
The Virgin told them that a Warning would come to purify humanity and 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? With all of the Messages and through the Miracle, exactly how it was announced. We live in difficult times. That is why 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 them 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.
Simon González, Jacinta's father
When the Angel appeared for the first time, Jacinta told us that night. She said that she had seen an Angel, but I didn’t believe her. We didn’t tell anyone at all, but eventually it became common knowledge.
Her brother Miguel Ángel said, “It was probably just a big bird. She’s just exaggerating.” And I said, “That’s enough!”
But by the way she explained it, I knew that something different was happening. The first day that people from the town went to accompany the girls, I did not go. But when they came down from the calleja (a stone path that leads to the pines), and told me what had happened, I wished I had gone!
A few days later, I went for the first time. I had read a little bit about what ecstasies are, but it’s one thing to read it on paper, and it’s quite another to actually see it… It brought me to tears. It took place in the calleja. Whenever I went to accompany the girls, there were always people from the village and from further away. From the beginning, people who had heard about the visions by word-of-mouth came from outside of Garabandal—from different provinces and towns close by. I was especially touched when the Angel gave them communion. Jacinta came and told us that the Angel gave them Communion. They told us about it, and we could see that the Angel would start at one side of the line of the four girls and end on the other side. Each girl put out her tongue and yes, we could see each girl swallow the Host.
Once we saw that the Angel didn’t give Jacinta Communion. Apparently, she had quarreled with her mother. The next day, I was working in the fields and I asked, “Where is Jacinta?” I was told that she had left. She had heard the church-bells ring for Mass, and she went to go to confession. When she got to the Church, Father Valentín was already celebrating Mass. After Mass, she went to confession and that afternoon my wife and I spoke, and we said, “Let’s see if the Angel gives her Communion, now that she has gone to confession.” We looked closely and yes, he did give her communion.
Sometimes the Angel didn’t give communion to the other girls as well. As for my daughter, I think the reason he didn’t give her communion was because of her disobedience to her mother. So he didn’t give her communion until she went to confession.
Some people said that the visionaries were sick or pretending. But I observed Jacinta. Often, as she slept, I observed her. But I didn’t recognize any sickness in her! They prayed without a rosary in their hands while they were in ecstasy. They said that the Blessed Virgin taught them. Jacinta learned the Litanies to Our Lady and the mysteries of the rosary all at once; she learned very quickly. The four of them prayed the rosary in ecstasy in the Church, before the main altar.
They prayed so beautifully, with long pauses. They never brought rosaries in their hands. But the prayed so well! When they left the main altar to go to another altar or to leave the Church, they always left walking backwards. They never turned their backs to the Tabernacle in ecstasy, never. So in that way they taught us to respect the Blessed Sacrament.
Their faces were angelic. Their faces did not look like their own faces. They looked like angels!
I often saw them run very quickly, extremely quickly. And they stopped suddenly. I saw them go down stairs backwards, but nothing ever happened. One day, Jacinta ran for four hours without rest in an ecstasy. Another night, for seven hours, but that time she did rest. It lasted a long time. Other times, it was only a half hour, one hour, or 15 minutes.
There were people from the village and from outside of the village, from all sorts of different places. The girls had the apparitions in the Pines, in the Church, on the street or at home. They also went to the cemetery.
On a certain occasion, Jacinta had an apparition, and the Blessed Virgin said to her, “I’ll be back in a month.” That was in November of the first year of the apparitions. Jacinta had many rosaries and crucifixes at home, because people brought them to be kissed by Our Lady, and since she didn’t have any apparitions, the religious objects started to pile up.
Exactly one month later, the Blessed Virgin came, just as she had said.
There were many people in my house and I said, “Where is Jacinta?”
“She left for school already.”
Then Jacinta arrived and a woman from Cosío gave her a few apples. Jacinta didn’t want the apples, so I said, “Just take them. I know you like apples. And if not, take them and give them to me.” She went to her room, and we knew that she had received an interior call from Our Lady while she was at school. When she received the third interior call, she left, and a man from Valladolid and I were the last to leave the house. Outside, Father Amador was waiting, a priest who was substituting Father Valentín, the parish priest. Father Valentín was told to leave because some blamed him for what was going on. Father Amador didn’t believe anything because he still hadn’t seen the apparitions. Father Amador was a good priest.
Father Amador was leaving the school and walking towards the entrance of the Church. “Father Amador! We’re going to go see Jacinta!” I said to him. “I can’t go, because I have to give catechesis. But if something happens, come get me.” He hadn’t seen an apparition. We went to the cuadro (a place where many apparitions took place, at the beginning of a stone path), and people were already there.
As soon as we arrived, Jacinta fell into ecstasy. I said, “Tell someone to go get Father Amador!”
It was late, because in December the days are short. So Father Amador came and started to write. He brought a flashlight and started writing and writing, and he kept moving his lips as if he wanted to talk. Father Amador started to understand that the apparitions were genuine and that it was serious. He realized that Father Valentín was right. Jacinta got up and went to the entrance of the Church. She stayed there for a few minutes, and then came home.
She went into our house and gathered the rosaries and everything she had to give to the Blessed Virgin Mary so she could kiss them. One rosary fell, but she picked it up without looking at the ground. She untangled everything with ease, without looking.
She went out to the street, and Conchita, who was not in ecstasy, said to her, “Jacinta, come to my house, because I also have things that people want her to kiss.” So, Jacinta went to Conchita’s house, and there were even more things there than in our house. Jacinta gave our Lady each object so she could kiss it.
Then she left and went to the cuadro. She stayed there for a few minutes, and then the ecstasy ended. A crowd of people arrived behind her and Father Amador said to her, “You’ve given us quite a work-out!” “Me? No…” Jacinta answered. “Yes, you! You made us run around the whole town,” he insisted. “I didn’t move from this place. I came here, and here I am!”
When they were in ecstasy, they didn’t realize what they were doing unless the Blessed Virgin told them. “You went to the entrance of the Church, you went to your house, and to Conchita’s house,” Fr. Amador said to her. “I already told you: I came here, and here I am,” Jacinta insisted.
The Blessed Virgin had told her that she would come in one month, and that’s exactly what happened, just as she said. I was brought to tears on the night of the feast day of the Incarnation. I thought to myself, “If these visions are from God, something special must happen today.”
It was March 24th, 1962. At 12:00 a.m. Jacinta fell into ecstasy at home. She left, and we followed her. She went to the entrance of the Church, stayed there for a few moments, and then went to Ceferino’s house. There weren’t many people there. It was close to 1:00 a.m. when Loli fell into ecstasy as well. They left and started to walk on the street. We followed them. Conchita, also in ecstasy, was in the street with her family. The three of them met up there. They went to the entrance of the Church and began to pray the rosary. They started to sing the mysteries of the rosary, which they had never done before. Their voices were angelic!
I was brought to tears when the girls said, “The Blessed Virgin Mary wants all of you to sing out loud.” I sung with all my heart. Everyone who could get out of bed came because when the rosary ended, the entire village was there. We had walked through the streets several times, because an entire rosary sung takes a long time. The entire village was moved. After the rosary, I thought to myself, “Since it’s the feast of the Incarnation, we really should sing some hymns.” It’s as if the girls could read my thoughts because they started to sing. After singing, they continued to walk, and they stopped. The Blessed Virgin asked them to sing one again, and the girls said, “Ah! If you don’t tell us how it goes, we won’t remember it!” They were new songs that the girls didn’t know. But it was exciting, and it was the day of the feast of the Incarnation.
All of the ecstasies were very beautiful. On one occasion, there was a man from Odanera, I believe, and he followed behind the girls. He was very tired from running after the girls. He hit his head on a little beam at a certain point because he was so tall. Then he thought, “What does this mean? I don’t understand anything.” Still following the girls, he thought, “I will believe if the girl who is in the middle turns around and gives me the crucifix so I can kiss it, and then goes back to her spot between the other girls. That would make me believe.”
Right after he thought that, the girl who was in the middle turned around, stood in front of him, made the sign of the cross on him, and gave him the crucifix so he could kiss it. He couldn’t believe it. Then the girl went back to her spot. It was close to the entrance of the Church. When the vision ended, he sat there and told us what had happened. He said, “I’ve seen enough for tonight.”
Another man from San Vicente de la Barquera, named Jacinto, had given the girls a rosary for the Blessed Virgin to kiss two months earlier. He had heard that the Blessed Virgin didn’t kiss rosaries more than once, and he said, “I’m going to go see if it’s true, just to make sure.” He came here and no one knew that he had come. It was 12:00 p.m. and we were in Ceferino’s house. Father Valentín and many others were there as well.
When Jacinta fell into ecstasy, the man from San Vicente said to Loli, “Here, give this rosary to Jacinta, so the Blessed Virgin can kiss it.” Loli gave it to Jacinta, and Jacinta said, “She already kissed it.” Loli gave it back to the man. Father Valentín asked him, “Are you sure it has already been kissed?” He said to the priest, “Yes, I am certain. She kissed it two months ago in the calleja.”
Once, Conchita was looking for a sheep of hers, who was a little bit deaf. She found it, but the sheep didn’t want to come home, and Conchita grabbed onto it and started to drag it. In that moment she fell into ecstasy while holding onto the sheep. We were unable to take the sheep away from her. Conchita was on her knees, and the sheep was in her arms. Her brother Serafín came, and he wasn’t able to take it from her either. Then Loli came, and she didn’t have to do anything. She just said, “Conchita, why don’t you let the sheep go?” And she let it go. I was present, and Jacinta was in ecstasy as well.
Once a man from Cabrujo came here and brought his niece, who was very fast and agile. His niece wanted to do everything the girls did while in ecstasy, but she couldn’t.
Another day a group of 40 people came, and we had no idea that they were coming. I left with Jacinta at 6 in the morning; it was February. I left with my lamp, like every morning, to pray in the calleja. When we went past Piedad’s house, she came out of her house with numerous rosaries and medals and said, “Here, for when you have an apparition.” I said, “How am I supposed to know when she’s going to have an apparition?” “Well, tell her to keep them in her coat.” She put them in her coat, and we went up towards the calleja, and Loli came to pray with her. We went up the calleja, and when we got there, the two girls started to pray the rosary. And suddenly many young women and different people came and started to crowd around the girls to see their faces. The lamp I had was lit. When they finished praying the rosary, they fell into ecstasy.
The people exclaimed, “This is amazing!” They had never seen the girls in ecstasy. They started to take our rosaries and crucifixes so Our Lady could kiss them, and they looked towards where the girls looked, to see if they could see Her. They were very moved. Some women started to cry just from seeing the girls in ecstasy. The girls walked towards the entrance of the Church in ecstasy and then to the plaza in front of Ceferino’s house. A young woman was leaning against a door, alone. Jacinta had a large crucifix in her hands and offered it to several people who were there so they could kiss it.
Jacinta approached the young woman and made the sign of the cross on her with the crucifix, and she offered it to her to kiss it. But the young woman pushed it away with her elbow, as if she didn’t want it. The woman didn’t say a word, but I said to her, “Go ahead and take it, Miss; she wants to give it to you.” She took it, and realized that it belonged to her. She bit her lip trying not to cry, just like little girls do. They had to carry her to her house because she couldn’t stop crying. Piedad had given that crucifix to the girls along with several other things, but the young woman didn’t know that the girls had it. We didn’t know either. But it was amazing to see her reaction when she realized that the crucifix was hers even though she had not given it to the girls, and the girls could not have known whose it was.
That young woman was an only child, and she decided to enter the convent. Her parents wouldn’t let her go, but she wrote to Jacinta, asking her to ask the Blessed Virgin if she could leave home to become a nun, and that’s exactly what happened. Another night, a girl brought Jacinta a crucifix and said, “Here, give this crucifix to the Blessed Virgin so she can kiss it, and then return it to its owner.”
During her ecstasy, she went to several different houses with the crucifix, and then she went to Josefa’s house and gave it to Josefa, the baker. We didn’t know to whom it belonged, but in the end it was Josefa’s. Josefa had given it to a girl from the village saying, “Give this to Jacinta so that the Blessed Virgin can kiss it during an ecstasy, and tell her to return it to its owner afterwards.
There were many, many similar cases. Obedience to your parents comes first. On a certain occasion, Jacinta said to me, “Dad, wake me up at four, because I’m going to have an apparition.” I replied, “OK, but go to bed and sleep well, I’ll come wake you up.” I didn’t get to bed until 2 a.m. and the last thing I wanted to do was to get up so early. So I woke her, but at six. “What time is it?” When I told her six, she asked, “Why didn’t you come at four?!” “Why didn’t the vision wake you up?” I asked. I was very tired and I didn’t want to be up all night. The Blessed Virgin didn’t wake them up if they were asleep. Jacinta got up, almost in tears, and we went to pray the rosary.
Jacinta didn’t have an apparition that day, and almost a month passed by. My conscience was bothering me because Jacinta was starting to lose weight: She was suffering. And when the other girls came over, Jacinta said to them, “Ask the Blessed Virgin when she’s going to come and see me.” But whenever they asked her, she didn’t say anything at all. Mr. Máximo, who was a German who had a conversion here in Garabandal found out that Jacinta wasn’t having visions anymore. So he wrote to Jacinta and told her that he was asking the Blessed Virgin to appear to her. A month later, he came here and stayed in the village for three days.
He went to the Church and asked the Blessed Virgin with all his heart if she would please appear to Jacinta in his presence. We were at home, and Loli came over while she was in ecstasy. Jacinta said to her, “Ask the Blessed Virgin when I’m going to see her.” Loli said to the Blessed Virgin, “When are you going to come see Jacinta?”
The Blessed Virgin responded immediately, and Loli said, “Ah, you’re going to come soon? She’s going to be so happy!” Not too much later, Jacinta fell into ecstasy. A month had passed since she had last seen the Blessed Virgin.
Some doctors said that the girls fell into ecstasy whenever they wanted. If it had been so, she would have been in ecstasy many times during that month. But I saw clearly that my little girl had lost weight; she didn’t feel well. My conscience wouldn’t leave me alone because I thought, “This is my fault.” I suffered a lot in those days.
It was summertime, so the boys didn’t come to the house because they had work to do. So I had to walk with her, because we couldn’t let her go alone. My legs hurt, but when she fell into ecstasy, all of a sudden nothing hurt anymore!
What made me suffer most was when people told me that one of the girls was going to die, and it was Jacinta. The photographer told me that, and I said, “Well I haven’t heard anything about that, and I’m her father.” “Oh, I’m so sorry to have said that to you!” he replied. And he told me because there were rumors going around.
I don’t know what it was based on, I have no idea, because I never noticed any illness in her. I suffered a lot in the beginning. I would walk away towards the mountain so they wouldn’t have to see me cry. But nothing happened in the end. I especially didn’t want my wife, María to find out, because the doctors from the Commission said that my daughter was sick, and the Bishop was certain that the visions were not from God.
But I was absolutely certain that my little girl was perfectly well and that she didn’t lie. In that situation, with so many contradictions, I thought I was going to go crazy.
On another occasion, Jacinta and Loli were at Ceferino’s house. Ceferino and Father Valentín were good friends, and Father Valentín was there as well. The girls fell into ecstasy. Other than Fr. Valentín, only the families of the girls were there. But then a man with a sheep-skin jacket came in—I didn’t know where he had come from. Jacinta was in ecstasy, and the man approached her and touched her shoulder. “Hey, don’t touch her,” I said to him. He said that he was a priest, but I said, “It doesn’t matter if you’re a priest or not.” He had a cassock with him, under his coat. He didn’t say anything.
Afterwards, he took out a big crucifix and said to Loli, “Here, give this to the girl and ask her whose it is.” Loli gave Jacinta the crucifix and said, “Jacinta, who does the crucifix belong to?” “To a priest.” “Where is the priest?” “Here.” “There is no priest here. I don’t see a cassock!” “Well he has the cassock with him, under his sheepskin-jacket.”
The priest said to Loli, “Ask her who gave it to him.” Loli asked Jacinta, “Who gave it to him?” “The Bishop,” Jacinta responded immediately. The priest said, “And who gave it to the Bishop?” “The Pope.” I asked him, “Is that true?” “Yes. The pope sent these crucifixes to seminarians who had finished their studies; and among those students was the future bishop,” responded the priest. I don’t remember the name of the priest. I think he was from Asturias.
A Jewish woman named Catherine came, with a lady from Burgos. Her parents were Jewish, not Catholic, but she wanted to be baptized. She came here during the apparitions, and she always came to my house with the lady from Burgos named Chón (short for Asunción).
María was nervous about the Apparitions because she worried that it was the devil who appeared to them. She gave Jacinta and Loli a bottle of Holy Water and said, “When you have an apparition, throw this Holy Water at the vision.” When they had an apparition, they threw the Holy Water at her, but the water didn’t go towards the vision, but it curved around backwards and fell on Catherine, the Jewish woman. It was a sign that the Blessed Virgin wanted her to be baptized.
When they visited houses, they often went up to the beds. They made the sign of the cross over the headboard. If two people slept there, they made two. Once, they made three crosses, and it turned out that in that house one of the little boys was sick, and he slept with them. So if they made three crosses it was because three people slept there. And if the husband was unfaithful, the girls knew it. In my sister Tiva’s house, they entered a bedroom and made the sign of the cross on the head board, and then on the other side. And it turned out that one of the girls slept with her head on the other side of the bed. Whenever they entered a house, they knew exactly what went on in the house. But no one told them. If they saw a boy and a girl being overly affectionate, they said, “Wow, you’re acting like you’re married.”
A man from Galicia, in the province of Orense came here. I worked in the province of Orense. He was born in Palencia, and he had been to Garabandal several times. He came with rosaries that had already been kissed by the Blessed Virgin, and he brought more. He gave them all to one of the girls who was in ecstasy, but the girl set aside the ones that had already been kissed and only gave to Our Lady the ones that hadn´t been kissed. How could they have known which ones had been kissed?
Miguel González, Conchita's brother
"I attended the school in the village until I was 14 years old. Fr. Valentín, the parish priest, came from Cosio and gave catechism classes on Saturdays in the church. Fr. Valentín would sleep in the village in order to celebrate the Sunday Mass. Every evening the Rosary was prayed in the church. I have worked during the winter months ever since I was 10; it was a hard job. It’s a lot easier now because there are machines, but back then, everything had to be done by hand. People carried heavy loads on their sholders and had to walk long distances throughout the day because they had to store up hay for the winter. When I was young and worked in the fields, the church bell would ring at noon each day. Everyone stopped what they were doing, even those working with the livestock, and we would pray the Angelus. In the evening, everyone – men, women, children – everyone went home to later return to the church to pray the Rosary. This happened each day.
"My dad was taller than my brother Serafín. He died of a lung disease due to too much dust in his lungs. When the hay stored in the barns is taken out during the winter, it creates lots of dust, and my father worked with that his whole life. Conchita was 12 years old when the apparitions began. She always went to Mass and received Communion whenever the priest celebrated Mass in the village. At my mother’s house, as soon as we finished eating dinner, we would pray the Rosary. I think that my brother Aniceto, who died when he was 28 years old in 1966, was the most religious of us all. He prayed the Rosary every night with the village people in the church. My mother was not only religious, but was also very strict with her children. If I was outside at a later hour, she would wait in the kitchen until I came home. When there wasn’t Mass in Garabandal, my mother would walk a little over 5 kilometers to the church in Cosio to go to Mass at 6:00 in the morning and then walk back home to begin working. She would do this rain or shine, whether it was summer or winter. Many young people from the village emigrated. I have been living in New York since 1969, working for Allied Sanitation, Inc., owned and run by Joey Lomangino.
"When the apparitions started, Serafín and I were working in the province of León. I was 18 at the time. My brother Serafín and I were on our way home. We arrived to Torrelavega around 7:00 in the morning on July 13, 1961. While we were eating breakfast in a restaurant in Torrelavega, one of Serafín’s friends approached us and said, “Did you know that an Angel appeared to 4 girls in the village of San Sebastián of Garabandal?” We didn’t know anything about it because, although my brother Aniceto had written to us in León, the letter didn’t arrive until after we had gone home. When he first told us, we didn’t believe it much. We went to my uncle Paulino’s house in Torralavega. Uncle Paulino, my mother’s brother, said to us when we arrived, “Did you know that, according to the newspapers, an Angel appeared to 4 girls, and that one of those girls is your sister?” There was a picture of my sister Conchita in the newspaper, and that’s when we took the apparitions seriously. I told my brother Serafín, “We have to go home immediately.” Serafín said, “No, we’re very tired, we can go tomorrow.” The next day, July 14, 1961, we went to Pesués, where we got on a bus to Cosio. From Cosio, with our luggage in hand, we walked up to Garabandal. There were lots of people on the road. Some were walking towards the village, others were leaving. The ones who were leaving came up to us and said, “These must be Conchita’s brothers because during the apparition, she said her brothers would arrive today.” When we arrived home there were a lot of people both outside and inside the house. My brother Aniceto was in the kitchen. I thought to myself, “with the peaceful life we lived and now this.”
I knew my sister well and I knew she was telling the truth. The things that occured during the apparitions were incredible and everything amazed me so much that I remember it all as if it were yesterday. I was deeply impacted when I witnessed an apparition for the first time, because I heard the girls pray the Rosary, saw them climb to the pine trees, and come back down backwards.
I was really nervous the first time I witnessed it because I had never seen something like that and I didn’t really understand much of what was happening. For example, when they would shine a strong light in Conchita’s eyes or pinch her, I could see how she didn’t react. The doctors tried to lift Conchita from the ground but they couldn’t.
From July 18, 1961 until early October, I witnessed the ecstasis every day. There was either one, two or three visits from the Virgin Mary between eight o’clock in the evening and five or six in the morning. After that year, I was only in Garabandal at Christmas time and the summer, because I had to return to work.
One day I decided to do a test myself. Everyone spoke about how fast the girls would run to the Apparition site when they received the third call. I told myself, "They won’t outrun me because they are only 12 years old and I’m 18." I normally ran a lot more than them. One evening in July, at around eight, Jacinta, Mari Cruz, and Conchita were sitting in the kitchen at my house eating sandwiches. I can’t remember if Mari Loli was there or not. They had eaten a few bites when they felt the third call and they began to run. I ran behind them and before I reached the part of the road called the “Cuadro,” I heard the noise of their knees against the rocks as they fell into ecstasy. It was impossible for me to keep up with them, even when I ran as fast as I could. I also tried to lift Conchita up from the ground but was unable to do so. She was as firm as a rock; I couldn’t even move her arms. Mi brother Serafín used to be able to lift even the heaviest weights. One day he tried to lift her, not because he wanted to but because everyone asked him to, and he couldn’t move her. However, often times when the girls said goodbye to the Virgin Mary, they lifted each other up without the least effort; they did this to be able to reach her level, where they saw her and to kiss her. Other times the Virgin Mary lowered herself to their level and kissed them.
The great proof of the truth of the apparitions for me happened shortly before the Miracle of the visible Communion received by Conchita on July 18, 1961. Conchita asked me, “Do you have a medal or a chain?” I told her, “No, I must have lost it.” She gave me a new medal and told me, “When a priest comes, ask him to bless it.”
Later, one evening when she had the apparition in the kitchen, she had lots of rosaries, chains, and scapulars in her hand to give to the Virgin for her to kiss; I was in the room, in the corner, somewhat apart from everyone else. She was kneeling down and she stood up to give the Virgin Mary all she was holding for her to kiss. I thought, “Why didn’t she give my chain to the Virgin Mary to kiss?” I hadn’t even finished thinking this thought when Conchita, with her hand still raised high, turned and walked towards me. She took the medal off my neck and gave it to the Virgin Mary to kiss. Then she put the chain with the medal back around my neck. A priest told me that the girls should get a change of atmosphere. They told me that it would be best for Conchita to go to the beach in Santander for a few days. They even said it would be good for Conchita to cut her hair because her braids would make her more recognizable and that she would attract too much attention. In Santander, they cut her hair and on one occacion there, she had an apparition and fell into ecstasy as she was walking down the street. Many people, priests included, gathered around her and tried to take her into the nearby church. But it was impossible to lift her from the ground. They were finally able to take her into the church, where she continued in ecstasy.
The evening in which Conchita received the visible Communion from the hands of the Angel was, for me, a great joy. There were lots of people in Garabandal because it was the feast of St. Sebastian. His feast day is on January 20, but it is too cold to celebrate it then, and that’s why we celebrate in on July 18. Many people thought that if there was a dance, that the Virgin Mary wouldn’t appear that day. A young boy asked Conchita, “Is it okay that there will be a dance today?” Conchita replied, “With the dance or without it, the miracle will occur this evening.” Around ten o’clock that evening my mother told me, “Miguel, go stand in the doorway so that no one else can come in the house because there isn’t any more room.” The door was open and I sat in the doorway so that no one could pass through, but no one cared and they came in anyways.
A little after 11 p.m. I closed the door and said to Conchita, “I’m going to bed because nothing will happen tonight.” Conchita begged me, “Wait a little longer, I’m going to be leaving shortly. I think I had the first call.” An hour later, Conchita went up to her room where there were a few family members and other people. With the third call she left the house, passing through the crowd of people there. I was able to follow her with difficulty, and I arrived just in time as she was kneeling. She made the Sign of the Cross and prayed the Act of Contrition. All of this is completely engraved in my mind. She put out her tongue, and shortly after, in an instant, all of the sudden, the Sacred Host appeared on her tongue. It was there for more than a minute. After receiving Communion she made the Sign of the Cross, she stood up and she left. I had heard that a man from Barcelona, Mr. Damians, recorded part of the Miracle, but I had never met him personally until Joey introduced me to him at his house in January 1972.
I remember how much importance was given to praying the Rosary during the times of the apparitions. On one occasion, during a stormy and snowy night, Conchita had an apparition and she walked through the streets praying the Rosary. She went to the Pines and to the church. It was about three in the morning. When the people heard her, they got up and accompanied her while she prayed.
One of Serafín’s friends had expressed his desire to be present during one of the Apparitions. But he worked from six in the morning until nine at night and it was difficult for him to be awake during those hours of the night. One day, around one in the morning, Conchita, in ecstasy, began praying the Rosary. She went to this man’s house and stood outside praying the Rosary until he woke up, got dressed, and joined the group of people praying with her.
On one occasion there were about 500 people in front of Mari Loli’s house. Conchita had between 10 and 20 medals and chains around her neck. I saw her take off one chain that was, in reality, impossible to take off because it was too small to fit over her head. Afterwards they tried to put it back on over her head but it was impossible because they would have had to open the latch first. I saw how she took it off, with the medal hanging from the chain as she said to the Virgin Mary, “Is this it?” Then she went through the crowd and put it on its owner.
I had seen how Conchita, in order to put it around her neck, opened the latch of the chain and put it on normally. But she took it off during the ecstasies without opening the latch; despite the fact that the chain wouldn’t fit around her head. I saw Mari Loli do the same thing on another occasion.
Some of the priests who went to Garabandal believed it, while some others did not. One night there were three or four priests in my mother’s kitchen and my sister was sleeping in a chair. A Franciscan said to the others, “What time do the apparitions start?” At that my sister woke up and said, “Why do you ask if you don’t believe?” The priest had not told anyone that he didn’t believe. But he admitted that it was true, and he was impressed that Conchita had known.
I saw a lot of things, every day was different. Conchita often had an apparition around three in the morning and went through the village praying the Rosary. During the summer this was okay, but during the winter, when it snowed, it was a big sacrifice to go out at three in the morning to accompany her in prayer throughout the streets. My mother told me that on one stormy night she prayed that my sister wouldn’t go out. She had barely thought that when Conchita had an apparition and after, went out into the streets. Despite the terrible storm, she went outside. Shortly after Conchita went outside the storm stopped and my mother went outside to pray the Rosary with her.
As Miguel says, the ecstasies each had something special or a special significance which made them different; all this filled him with a deep emotion. The following is an example among many that occurred.
Conchita and the snow:
One night Conchita had already received two calls, which meant that she could be expected to enter into a ecstasy at any moment. Aniceta never left her alone in these circumstances, and especially not at night. But that night she wasn’t able to keep watch of Conchita herself, so she begged Aniceto to remain by his sister’s side instead of going to sleep. Around 2:30 in the morning, Conchita entered into ecstasy and left the house. Cetuco [Aniceto] took a lantern and followed her. It was a winter night, everything was white due to the snow and it was very cold. Conchita quickly clmibed up to the Pines as if she were flying over the white snow. Cetuco was no longer cold for the mere effort of trying to follow her.
A little while later, Aniceta, all bundled up, went out into the street to meet her children. The cold was incredible, but the total silence and dimmed splendor of the snow was even more incredible. When Aniceta at last reached the Pines out of breath, she was left speechless at the sight: there, amongst the snow were her two children, kneeling down and praying. Conchita led the Rosary, focused on the Virgin Mary, while Cetuco responded devoutly. Afterwards, Conchita stood up. Her mother stood up in order to descend first and to prepare the path as best she could, moving the snow out of the way where the path was difficult. But it was a useless worry since the girl glided downwards over the white layer of snow as if she were following some invisible pathway, while on her knees and going backwards! The extraordinary ecstatic descent ended behind her mother’s house, in the little alleyway where the Miracle of the visible Communion would take place a few months later.
In the words of Miguel:
As for me, I had always practiced my religion, but now I reflect and meditate more about my life in relation to the apparitions and Messages of Garabandal. I truly believe that the Archangel St. Michael and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel appeared in my village, in San Sebastián of Garabandal. Personally, I believe in the apparitions and that something extraordinary will happen, as it is prophesied.
Laura González, a resident of Garabandal during the apparitions
I know the girls very well. In the village of Saint Sebastian of Garabandal we all know each other.
In the beginning, when the girls began saying that they had seen the Angel, to be honest we didn´t really believe them because they would go by themselves. I myself did not believe them, no. We thought it was just the imagination of little girls. We would scold them, telling them not to say such things or else people would laugh at them. Later on the girls asked that four people would accompany them.
They were accompanied by four… or five women, I am not really sure. They saw how the girls fell down with their heads tilted back, without bruising themselves on those rocks, and how they turned very beautiful. They never tripped, and sometimes they would go so fast that we would say, “Oh, they are going to kill themselves! Oh, my God!”
Later on we asked the girls, “Why do you run like that?” They weren´t aware that they ran so fast, they were only following the apparition in every moment. The apparition went ahead and the girls ran. The young boys of the village were not able to keep up with them.
They would often go out late at night, on several occasions they went out even after midnight. The people from out of town would say, “Well this can´t be so! The Blessed Virgin doesn´t allow one to go out at such an hour.” We would ask the girls, “Why do you go out so late at night?” They responded, “Because the Blessed Virgin said it is when the most sins are committed.”
When they fell into ecstasies the girls would become very beautiful; their skin would become like a soft pink. When they were in ecstasies they were no longer in this world, what I mean to say is that when they were in ecstasies you couldn´t talk to them, you couldn´t say anything because they weren´t able to hear you. You would have to say it to one of the girls who wasn´t in ecstasies at the time, Conchita or whichever one who wasn´t in ecstasies. She would then say it to the ones in ecstasies and they would hear her, but they wouldn´t hear you. The girls said that the Blessed Virgin told them that, before the Miracle takes place, many would stop believing in the apparitions.
The girls went to my sisters´ house, at least two times, in ecstasies. We were there on the balcony when they arrived on one occasion. The door was open and they went in and blessed my sister; they made the sign of the cross and left.
The most beautiful experience, in which we laughed a lot, was with a friar. When the girls were in ecstasies there were many people who went to ask them questions or try to get close, and if the girls grabbed someone by the arm that person was unable to get free. So we were there one night, oh and what a laugh we had, we were seated at some tables outside in the street below the house of Ceferino, when they said: “The girls are in ecstasies!” Conchita was holding onto a friar, and that friar had to run everywhere the girls went that night. We saw the poor friar running this way and that way until he was no longer able to run. What a laugh! We were almost ashamed to laugh but you couldn´t do anything else except laugh in such a situation.
The poor man had to run until the apparition ended. This friar stayed close to where my house is; I live right next to the Church, and he stayed in the house with the long balcony. The owner of that house told me that she had to hang up all of his clothes to dry from the sweat he worked up. How was it that that friar was unable to get free of a little girl? The friar was convinced that it was the Blessed Virgin testing him and taking away all of his doubts, because the girls never grew tired and he was exhausted; he never forgot that.
There was a married couple that came from Barcelona, my son went with them to work and ended up staying there and got married. Well the wife of this man confessed that she had never gone to Church; she never went to Mass except for a funeral or a wedding. She used to go out at night with her husband and they would waste 10,000 pesetas on worldly things. She told us that God had worked a miracle for her family. She had a son who at a young age had infantile paralysis, and they brought him here. They brought him twice and the child ended up being healed. He made his First Communion here; I have a photograph in my house. The four girls accompanied him dressed in white. Before all of this happened they weren´t practising Catholics but later on they converted.
Fr. Valentin said that before the apparitions Garabandal was the most religious and charitable village in the area. In Cabuérniga the bishop came one day and said in a homily, Cabuérnigos, can you give me your word that you will be like the village of Garabandal who doesn´t pass one day without reciting the rosary?
Today you can see who goes. It’s changed completely. They say that if everything is true that’s the way it has to be.
During the first aparitions we went up to the pines, and I said:
“Here, give this rock to the Blessed Virgin Mary and ask her to kiss it in the name of a son or daughter….” The people collected rocks and placed them so that the Blessed Virgin would kiss them, all together there were about a dozen or two of rocks. The girls gave them to the Blessed Virgin to kiss and they went putting them back in the same place that they had picked them up, without seeing where they were putting them. When the ecstasies ended the girls gave back to each person the rock that he or she had given them, without ever making a mistake.
I was there when Fr. Luis Andreu was at the foot of the pines, when he said, “Miracle, miracle! miracle, miracle!” Four times he repeated it. Fr. Luis Andreu said it outloud; I was there, and those who were with me heard him also.
Conchita said in her diary, “That day the Blessed Virgin appeared to us at night and at the end of the rosary we began to walk towards the pines. When we arrived there, Fr. Luis Maria said, ‘Miracle, miracle!’ We saw him and normally during our ecstasies we can´t see anyone, but we saw Fr. Luis, and the Blessed Virgin said that ‘he was seeing her and the miracle that is to come.’ The people said we prayed the Creed at the pines and that we went down towards the village in the same state and when we arrived at the Church the Blessed Virgin disappeared. As Mari Cruz had not seen the Blessed Virgin for a few days she continued in ecstasies, she went into the Church and at the altar of Our Lady of the Rosary and of Saint Michael she started to pray the Creed with the Blessed Virgin very slowly. Mari Cruz said that the Blessed Virgin was teaching her how to pray slowly. After praying the Creed and the Hail Holy Queen she blessed herself very slowly and very well. Then, talking with the Blessed Virgin she said, ‘Oh how good that the baby Jesus has come!...It has been such a long time! Why did you take so long in coming and why did the others see you more?’ Among those who heard Mari Cruz was Fr. Luis Maria Andreu, a seminarian, and Fr. Royo Marin. The next day the four of us went to sweep the Church and while we were sweeping Jacinta´s mom came in, frightened, and she told us that Fr. Luis Andreu had passed away. We couldn´t believe it because we had just seen him the day before. We left our brooms and went to find out what had happened. Just before he passed away his last words were, ‘Today is the happiest day of my life, how good is the Mother we have in heaven!’”
María González, Jacinta’s Mother
At the beginning it was very difficult for me to believe and I would say to Jacinta: “Oh, Jacinta, even before you were born you caused me trouble, and my God, what trouble you’re giving me now!”
We were in the kitchen, and Jacinta said to me: “Mama, we were picking apples and we were already in the Calleja when Conchita screamed. After she screamed, we saw that she was staring upwards. We also looked up and saw a great light and we remained in the same state as Conchita.”
The first time Jacinta spoke to me about this, I didn’t believe her. I didn’t speak about it to anyone, not even my family members. It didn’t occur to me to tell anyone because it seemed like a childish game to me, it went in one ear and out the other. I didn’t pay any attention, the other girls’ mothers didn’t say anything to me, and I didn’t say anything to them. We never got together to discuss it at all.
Eight days later, we called several neighbors, one of whom was Clementina. “Come with us, since you don’t believe us.” They were very impressed to see the girls like that. They told everyone about what was going on, and the people started to come. What I saw and felt the day I first saw the Apparitions will stay with me until I die.
I thought I was going crazy the first time I saw it! It was in the Calleja, and the four girls were there. When I heard some of the others talking about what they had seen, we all decided to go see it for ourselves. Simon watched from a distance, and later on he regretted not having gone closer.
When I saw my daughter like that, I began to scream loudly, so loudly that they covered my mouth. I had never seen anything like this before and I said: “Oh, my God! What can this be?” I didn’t know what to make of it. Jacinta had already told me about all she had seen and we didn’t believe her. One time she said: “Today, we saw a great light and some letters that we didn’t understand; it was a sign in the shape of a square.” One day, the priest told the girls that they should ask the Vision who she was and why she had come.
At times I was convinced of the girls’ apparitions and would say to myself, “well, yes, there is really something going on here.” Other times, my doubts would return, “oh, my God! What could this be?”
The girls had never left the village; they were not very educated. We would rarely send Jacinta to school because she had to tend the sheep, she knew how to read but only a little.
One time I said to Mari Loli and Jacinta, “do you know what I am going to do? I am going to put a bottle of holy water here, and when the Apparition occurs, throw a little bit of holy water. If it’s the devil, he will leave.” What happened was so strange. When they had the Apparition they took the bottle of holy water. A woman named Chon (Asunción) from Burgos was there that day along with a lady named Catherine, who was Jewish. They threw the holy water at the Apparition, but all of it fell on Catherine who later converted. Normally, when you throw water it falls in front of you but that day the water went in the opposite direction of where they were throwing the water. This incident had a great impact on Catherine, who was later baptized.
I witnessed many of the ecstasies. I remember that in the beginning, the four girls usually had ecstasies at night. We would leave each of them in her own house, without a watch, to see if they would join together at the same time, and they did. Sometimes two of the would fall into ecstasy here and the other two a little ways behind. When the girls in the back began to pray or to bless themselves, the ones in the front did the same exact thing without ever looking at the girls behind them.
When they started to run while in ecstasy, they were always better off than those who ran after them. Sometimes my sons ran behind them. The oldest one was 19, and Jacinta was 12. He is strong and he would run behind them. The girls ran in ecstasy with their hands like this (crossed), and when the girls stopped, they stopped dead in their tracks: boom! The boys would come to a stop farther ahead. The girls were just as fresh as if they had never run at all.
Some nights they barely slept, but the next day they would go to work and could do everything. They always had a smile on their faces and acted as if nothing had happened.
Sometimes they would say, “I haven’t gone anywhere.” This is because many times the ecstasies ended in the same place where they had began, and the girls didn’t realize where they had been unless the Blessed Virgin told them.
Once, they went to a place called “the cuadro,” which was in the calleja. Only the family members and the priests were allowed to enter so that the people didn’t crowd the girls. We were there in the cuadro when they fell into ecstasies. When they fell on their knees, a doctor grabbed Jacinta’s foot while she was falling and her leg remained pinned under her against the stones, she only had one knee on the ground and she was like this for about an hour. When I saw this, I suffered but she didn’t. The other leg remained bent as the doctor had left it when he released it. It always happened like that. When they fell into ecstasy, their hands stayed the way they had them. People would often prick their legs, but they didn´t bleed. When the Apparition ended, Jacinta said, “Mama, the Virgin told me that they were pricking my legs!” They looked at her legs and saw where she had been pricked, but there was no blood.
I remember once when Jacinta had tonsillitis and was in bed. It was raining, and she had gotten up that day, this was in the old house. I didn’t think she was going to have an Apparition but when I least expected it, she fell on her knees and had an Apparition. I stayed by the door without saying anything to her, and I thought, “you won’t leave through here.” I thought this because it was raining and she had tonsillitis, but I didn’t say it. I looked at her, thinking, as she was giving objects for the Virgin to kiss. Then, she grabbed my arm and went out very slowly, and I couldn’t resist. I don’t even know how she grabbed me. When she touched my arm, I felt something rigid that was neither hot nor cold. I took her jacket and said to her, “Oh, for goodness sakes! Put on your jacket.” I went to put the jacket on her, but she wouldn’t take it, she let it fall off. I ran and gave it to Loli, who was not in ecstasy and I said, “put it on her.” She put it on. There were things they could do for each other easily when one was in ecstasy and the other wasn’t.
Once, Loli was unscrewing a lit light bulb when she fell into ecstasy, she still had the light bulb in her hand, but didn´t burn herself. Jacinta went and removed her hand from the bulb. No one in the house could remove it and they were so worried that she was going to burn her hand, but nothing happened.
I remember one time when Jacinta was in ecstasy and ran into the corner of Ciriaco’s house! It sounded like something hollow, like something completely empty. “Oh, my goodness, she must have hit really hard!” After the Apparition had passed, we went to see if she was alright, and nothing was wrong, thanks be to God, nothing had happened to her.
During the time of the apparitions, they were healthier and they ate more than they do now. I wish that Jacinta would eat more, but she never regained the appetite she had then.
Jacinta went out at six in the morning for half a year to pray the Rosary in “the cuadro,” and her father would go with her. In the winter, six in the morning was very early, the sun still hadn’t risen. When she got back, I gave her a cup of coffee, it was very cold. She went to school at ten and then returned home for lunch. She never had a headache, or anything, thanks be to God, even though they used to walk around barefoot.
On another occasion, Jacinta was in ecstasy and a man arrived and said, “Give this crucifix to Jacinta so that she can give it to the Virgin to be kissed, something happened with it that I will tell you about later.” Fr. Valentín was there, and he gave it to be kissed, and as soon as he gave it to Jacinta she said, “this crucifix has already been kissed.” The man replied, “it’s true, it has already been kissed. I gave it to this girl to be kissed, two months ago.” This man was from San Vicente.
Jacinta and María Dolores were there during the night of the screams. They had an Apparition and said, “we’re going to have another Apparition at ten o´clock tonight.” Conchita was sick, so it was only the two of them. They told us that at ten that night we should be in the place where they had indicated. We had to leave them alone. We left them alone, but while we were there, waiting to see what would happen, they began to scream! The kind of screams that make you want to run! I was going to go, but they stopped me. A Franciscan priest also witnessed this and he began to pray. When they cried, he prayed, and they quieted down. They’d begin to cry again, and so he continued to pray; all of the people cried. When the priest prayed, the screams stopped.
Later, they came down and I could go near them. They fell at the place where they had first seen the Angel and cried. Such tears! I said, “oh, my goodness! What could this mean? What are they seeing?” During this time, the girls didn’t say anything. They went to Ceferino’s house and wrote a message on a piece of paper. They said that all of the people should go to confession because a Chastisement was coming. Everyone went to confession. We were horribly frightened, we thought that the Chastisement was coming. The people confessed as if they were going to die; they made a good confession.
The next day, Conchita went along and the screams began again. They said that they had to stay in the calleja to pray. They stayed there the whole night, and I stayed with them. Many of us stayed with them, so as not to leave them alone.
All of the things they said have slowly come to happen. They said that they would deny everything, their own families would have many disagreements, and many other things were prophesied, and they have all happened. At the time, I didn’t think that so many things would actually happen. But later I realized that everything they said was starting to happen, and that everything will come to pass as the Blessed Virgin has told them.