Documentation

loringFather Jorge Loring and Garabandal

LET'S GO TO GARABANDAL

 Father Jorge Loring Miró, S.J., was a great Spanish apologist, author of the best seller To Save You and well known for television appearances and lectures around the world, especially the two thousand talks he gave on the Holy Shroud. He died on December 25, 2013 at age 92, leaving an enormous legacy of surrender to God and love for the Church. Fr. Loring never hid his conviction about the supernatural nature of Garabandal's phenomena. Román Martínez del Cerro, intimate friend of Fr. Loring and witness of Garabandal's events, explains so in this article.


 

At the Death of David Toribio, Garabandal Witness

2013 10 27 David Toribio

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.

pemanJosé María Pemán and Garabandal

AN EXPERIENCE  IN GARABANDAL

 

 


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

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

A visit fills and marks your whole life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cádiz, July 29, 2019
Román Martínez del Cerro

 

laffineurFather Laffineur

GARABANDAL MISSIONARY

 

 


Father Materne Laffineur was one of the first promoters of the apparitions in Garabandal outside Spain. Witness of several ecstasies, confidant of the seers, zealous priest and of a deep spirituality, he gathered his experiences and reflections on Garabandal in a book entitled The Star on the Mountain.
Sixteen medals received in the two wars he took part in show how much he is worth. We will find his deep spirituality and love for the Virgin of Garabandal in the following passages—taken from his letters and notebooks—included in the remembrance card that were given to his family and friends after his death.
Below, we offer the full translation of Father Laffineur's remembrance card, as a tribute to this priest in love with Most Holy Mary of Garabandal.

“Jesus, Jesus, oh Jesus!” (These were his last words).

Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady of Garabandal, grant eternal joy and happiness to our dear Father Materne Laffineur.

Born in Walcourt Belgium on August 27, 1897

Veteran of two wars (16 medals)

Ordained priest in Namur, Belgium, on November 22, 1924

Dominican
Collaborator of the canonical process of the apparitions of Beauraing, Belgium
Parish priest of Rousseloy (Oise, France) from 1949 to 1957 and successively of Mars-sur-Allier (Nièvre, France) from 1957 to 1967

Tireless missionary of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Called by God on November 28, 1970 in an outburst of love for Jesus and Mary

Mom and all of you, my beloved, you offered me the good God. I gave myself completely to Him through and in the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Rejoice, I am happy. Oh, I thank you so much!
Priest and soldier. My God, how beautiful!

(In the trenches. August 26, 1917).

Once I had a dream that I lived in the time of Joan of Arc simply to be one of her men of arms, at her side to fight like her and with her
(October 15, 1967).

Not knowing how to take risks
means no longer being a leader.
Living
is acting
fighting
being moved,
moving others...
It is winning!
Cardinal Mercier (Maxim that Fr. Laffineur took as his own)

Garabandal!
We must fight.
We must be generals.
We must have an army,
and lead it to victory.
Living Garabandal,
is the perfect dream.
It is the most beautiful of adventures.

(October 15, 1967. Fr. Laffineur)

Pray for my conversion.
Yes, from a little love to Jesus... to a lot of love to Jesus (1969).

The Lord leads me along an often very painful path that is simply the great intellectual life of reason.
There is never anything useless in our life. “Where God directs us everything is providential.”
How beautiful life is for brave and invincible soldiers with a child's heart!

(May or June 1969)

Let us remain united, small as our dear Thérèse, but firm in the faith, as St. Peter desires: "Estote fortes in fide." Firmness that gives freedom and keeps the faith of the flock unshakable
(January 13, 1970).

The gifts of the Holy Spirit take care of everything, especially piety. Living it herself in a prodigious way, Thérèse was responsible for explaining it to the world. We are the "infinitely small children of his Love," and our song is the Magnificat of the smallest of all: Our Lady of Garabandal (March 19, 1970).

We know very well that the world must be redeemed through blood, true blood. Also that of our hearts (March 28, 1970).

I thank God for having grown old with his Merciful Love (April 1, 1970).

Nothing is impossible for those who have faith, because you have to live bare faith (August 26, 1970).

There is no other life, no other way than that of penance, sacrifice and humiliation. The climb to Mount Carmel is always that way, and in Garabandal, too.
Because Garabandal is the solitude of Carmel... it is the solitude of John of the Cross, the solitude of Teresa of Ávila and also the solitude of Thérèse (August 26, 1970).

In the spiritual life, it is sometimes necessary to be a little crazy. It is necessary to have that madness of faith, this madness of love... It is necessary to have what goes beyond what one can see and hear. It is necessary to give oneself (August 26, 1970).

My wishes: Jesus! I ask of You just one thing: to love you more and more, and one day die of love. You are free to choose the external expressions of this love, the visible way of my death.
Mother, You who from the mountain of Garabandal look upon the horizon where we are tonight, come. Descend. Stay. Take us in your arms and finish what you started (August 27, 1970).

The moment is grave... All right! If necessary, I offer myself in martyrdom (August 30, 1970).

From the mystical depths of our Garabandal, onward in union with Jesus and with Our Lady for the salvation of souls, through and in this union (November 18, 1970).

The Three Popes and the End of Times in Garabandal

One of the topics that has set people talking about Garabandal is the so-called prophecy of the three popes, linked to the proclamation of an imminent end of time. It is such a delicate topic that it can be misunderstood and misinterpreted. Therefore, we are going to reflect using the information we have, taking care not to interpret what is not up to us to decide but rather up to the Church.

This is an excerpt from Conchita's diary in which she herself tells what happened on July 2, 1965, the day of the First Apparition of the Virgin Mary in Garabandal.

An Urgent Exhortation

In his book, Garabandal Message of Hope: Recent Marian Apparitions, Fr. José Luis Saavedra tells us that the Virgin Mary’s messages in Garabandal are an "urgent exhortation to remedy the situation.”

pmorelosFr. Gustavo Morelos

THE BISHOP OF JALAPA, MEXICO, AND GARABANDAL

 

 


Fr. Gustavo Morelos was a Mexican priest who passed away on March 7, 2015, at 87 years of age. He had news of what was taking place in San Sebastián de Garabandal in 1965, when the apparitions were in their final stages. He managed to spend nearly three months in Garabandal that very year, studying the phenomena and interviewing the girls, their parents and siblings, and several witnesses. He lived to see his nephew’s surprising recovery from an illness doctors considered hopeless (read the article here). He always attributed this healing to the Virgin of Garabandal. Since then and until his death, he worked to spread the messages of Garabandal.

Faithful son of the Church as he was, in each diocese he sought the bishop’s permission before speaking about Garabandal. Thanks to this, we conserve a series of interesting documents that testify to the positive reception of the messages of Garabandal by Mexican bishops. These documents also contribute important references to the information the bishops had about Garabandal and why they felt moved to open their diocese to Fr. Morelos’ work.

In this letter, dated July 8, 1966, Manuel Pío López, Archbishop of Jalapa, Mexico, approves and blesses the spreading of Garabandal’s messages in his diocese. Firstly, he does so because of the content of the messages, which contain, “opportune, useful and salutary warnings to obtain eternal salvation.” Secondly, he approves and blesses the spreading of the messages because of the testimony of Msgr. Philippi, an official of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 

Below is the text of the letter. Here you can see the original scanned version. (Spanish only)

Fr. Gustavo Morelos


Dear Father,

Taking into account the indications of the Holy See and the Ordinary of Santander, Spain, as well as those prescribed by the Code of Canon Law, we approve and bless the publishing of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary’s message in Garabandal in our Archdiocese. In the light of Divine Revelation, we know that there is a great need for more prayer and sacrifice; for reverence for the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary; and for obedience, love, and filial adherence to the Vicar of Christ and the Holy Church.

Therefore, we do not find anything contrary to the Faith and customs in this message, attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary; rather we consider them opportune, useful, and salutary warnings to obtain eternal salvation.

It has been characteristic of those who received these apparitions to obey the Church’s dispositions promptly and with filial respect. This is a certain indication for all of us that God is at work here.

The Holy Church has manifested great prudence in this important matter through attentive study and pastoral vigilance, and by no means through prohibition and rejection.

One of the officials of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Msgr. Philippi, declared to Fr. Elias, Superior of the Carmel in the city of Puebla, that he consulted in Rome about the Blessed Virgin Mary’s apparitions in Garabandal. He was told that the fact that Saint Pio, recognized for his virtue, wisdom, and adherence to the Holy See, approves these apparitions and encourages the four girls to propagate the Blessed Virgin Mary’s message, is proof of their veracity.

Given at Jalapa of the Immaculate on July 8, 1966

Manuel Pío López, Archbishop of Jalapa, Mexico

The retraction of Dr. Morales according to the Diario Montañés

Dr. Luis Morales Noriega— well-known psychiatrist of Santander (in Cantabria, Spain)— was part of the commission appointed by the Bishopric of Santander for the study of the apparitions of San Sebastián de Garabandal since they began in the summer of 1961. He never hid his negative opinion on the matter, a position that had a decisive influence on the Bishopric’s stance. On the basis of the reports of that commission— in large part, Morales's studies— several episcopal notes were published in which it affirmed "It is not confirmed to be of supernatural origin" in the events of Garabandal.

juanhervasDr. Juan Hervás Palazón

INTERVIEW


 

Juan A. Hervás Palazón is a medical physician, university professor and specialist in pediatrics. He has developed his professional life in the United States (Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Harvard Medical School) and in Spain (Valencian Community and Mallorca), where he has been the head of the Pediatric Department in two hospitals. He has recently retired.

Juan, why does a doctor believe in the apparitions of Garbandal?
Well, to believe in something, you have to be familiar with it. Twenty-five years ago I was fortunate to have heard about the apparitions of Garabandal from a priest and a bishop who were both from Mallorca: Fr. Miguel Lliteras and Bishop Damián Nicolau. They were both convinced that the apparitions were true.

I spent a week in Garabandal with Fr. Lliteras at Conchita’s brother’s home—Conchita was the main visionary of the apparitions. Listenting to what her brother told us, reading about everything written about Garabandal, and meeting other eye witnesses of the events, I became convinced that the phenomena did not have a natural explanation and that it could only be explained from a supernatural point of view.

What really happened there?
To sum up, what happened was the following: from 1961 to 1965 four girls (between the ages of 11 and 12) assisted at more than 2000 apparitions of the Virgin Mary in a remote, mountainous village in northern Spain, in the Cantabrian part of the Picos de Europa, or “Peaks of Europe.” I closely read the medical reports about everything from the pediatrician of Santander, Dr. Celestino Ortiz and the Catalonian psychiatrist, Dr. Puncernau, while also having the reports of other doctors who evaluated the girls. They all coincided in pointing out that the girls were normal, that they did not have any psychiatric pathology of any kind, and that what they observed did not have any natural explanation.

The girls went into ecstasy simultaneously, even when they were in different places. They began with an abrupt hyperextension of the head and had ocular and skin anesthesia (they did not notice lights being shined in their eyes, pintches, skin burnings, etc.); they became stiff and their bodily weight increased inexplicably (four people were unable to move them); the laws of gravity ceased to exist and they levitated or took on postures with anti-gravitational movements that were absolutely impossible; they seemed to race in ecstasy at an incredible velocity without sweating or increasing their heart rate; they went forwards and backwards, on foot or kneeling, going up and down the mountain (they went backwards down the mountain, which is humanly impossible); and eyewitnesses indicated that even under heavy rain they were not wet while they were in ecstasy. Moreover, the girls demonstrated other absolutely inexplicable phenomena, among which may be noted: knowledge of the thoughts or life of people, being able to recognize people (priested dressed as seculars, unmarried couples, etc.) or objects already kissed by the Virgin Mary, in addition to returning to each person their rosary or wedding rings kissed by the Virgin Mary without ever confusing them, without looking, and without previously being able to know whose they were.

Why, then, were the apparitions not approved by the Church?
We must say that the apparitions of Garabandal have never been condemned by the Church. As a matter of fact, they are open to later studies under the term “not confirmed to be of supernatural origin,” an expression which means “we do not know at the current moment.” Many other apparitions have been in this situation until they were finally approved. When the apparitions began, the Bishop of Santander named a psychiatrist, Dr. Luis Morales, aided by another doctor (Dr. Piñal), for what we could call an attempt to form a study commission. Nevertheless, both Dr. Morales and Dr. Piñal did not fulfill their responsibility. They went to the village very few times (less than five) and said that it was a girls’ game, without relying on the doctors’ reports who really studied them. Years later, specifically in 1983, Dr. Morales publicly retracted and said that his report was all a lie in a conference he gave at the Ateneo of Santander.

The number of contemporary saints and blesseds that believed in Garabandal has always drawn my attention, and they have been absolutely documented: Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Mother Esperanza, Mother Maravillas of Jesus, John Paul II, and others who are currently in the process of being beatified like Fr. Nieto, Marta Robin, or Fr. Gobbi. We have also known that St. Josemaría Escrivá, founder of Opus Dei, went up to Garabandal on three occasions in the summer of 1962.

But above all, it is well known that Pope Paul VI was very interested in the apparitions, which he knew about through Fr. Laffineur, and that he called Conchita to the Vatican where she went with Fr. Luna. Once there, he said, “Conchita, I bless you and with me the entire Church.” Paul VI, during an audience with the Jesuit priest, Fr. Escalada, concerning the apparitions of Garabandal said: “It is the most beautiful story of humanity since the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is like the second life of the Most Holy Virgin on earth and there are not enough words to give thanks.” On several occasions, both Paul VI and John Paul II, when asked if the apparitions could be made known publicly, said, “Make them known.” The truth of this information is absolutely confirmed.

Nonetheless, if the support of the Popes concerning supposed apparitions is important, the approval of them necessarily passes through the local bishop, and the ordinary’s decision usually receives the posterior approval of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and finally the ratification of the Pope.

Garabandal’s case is, therefore, in a situation of waiting for new studies or events and, in my opinion, it will continue as such until the prophetic part is confirmed in relation to the future warning and miracle.

What happened to the girls as they got older?
All of them got married. Three went to live in the US when they got married to Americans, and one lives in Spain. It should be noted that the visionaries have all been humble and pious woman, faithful to the Church and what the Bishop of Santander has requested of them. The few times they spoke during the eighties was with the permission of the Bishop of Santander, Bishop Val, and they have lived a hidden life dedicated to their families. Today, three of them are still alive.

With what intention did the Virgin Mary appear in Garbandal?
The Virgin Mary in Garabandal showed herself as Our Mother concerned about us, her children: “Speak to me about my children,” and “Tell my children,” are frequent words in her conversations with the girls. What also stands out is her maternity in the words of the Hail Mary which she taught the girls: “Holy Mary, Mother of God and Our Mother,” and that we, who love these apparitions of the Virgin Mary, so like to recite in the Holy Rosary. Equally amazing in these apparitions is the Virgin Mary’s very human manner of treating the girls, and it is surprising (and perhaps scandalizing for some) that she even played with them, just like an earthly mother would, and that she was concerned about everything that had to do with them and those who lived in or visited the village. These apparitions have unique aspects in the history of Marian apparitions.

Nonetheless, the Virgin came to Garabandal to give a message to the whole world. Our Lady of Garabandal gave two messages and they are the following:

The first message of October 18, 1961:

“We must make many sacrifices, do much penance, and visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. But first, we must lead good lives. If we do not, a chastisement will befall us. The cup is already filling up, and if we do not change, a very great chastisement will come upon us.”

The second message of June 18, 1965 (through St. Michael the Archangel since it was hard for her to do it):

“As my message of October 18 has not been fulfilled and has not been made known to the world, I tell you that this is my last message. Before, the cup was filling up. Now, it is overflowing. Many cardinals, many bishops, and many priests are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them. Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist. You should turn the wrath of God away from yourselves by your efforts. If you ask for His forgiveness with sincere hearts, He will forgive you. I, your Mother, through the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel, ask you to amend your lives. You are now receiving the last warnings. I love you very much and do not want your condemnation. Pray to us with sincerity, and we will grant your requests. You should make more sacrifices. Meditate on the Passion of Jesus.”

To sum up, the apparitions of Garabandal are meant to remind us about the following aspects of the Church’s doctrine: the Virgin Mary is Our Mother (“I am your Mother”), to believe in God and love Him, to be good, to repent of sin and do penance, to frequently visit the Blessed Sacrament; that is, to place Jesus (the Eucharist) in the center of our life, and that we should meditate on the Jesus’ Passion. In these apparitions, the Virgin Mary also said something that many did not like and that indeed was difficult to understand at the time. She said, “Priests, Bishops, and Cardinals are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them.” It seems very improbable to me that some twelve-year-old girls in a remote place of rural Spain in the sixties could invent something like that, but today we can see how the statement had been totally prophetic if we analyze the current situation of the Church. The Virgin Mary also said that the world would receive a warning of the existence of God, and after, a miracle would occur in Garabandal in which the sick would be cured and sinners converted, and that if we do not change, a chastisement will come.

What benefits can we have if we believe in the apparitions?
For me, specifically, the greatest effect that has taken place has been an increase in my love for the Virgin Mary, and with it, drawing closer to and a greater love for God. Knowing that I am not an orphan, that I have a Mother who loves me and takes care of me, has brought me great joy and great hope. A young 36-year-old priest, Fr. Luis María Andreu, saw the Virgin Mary one day at the beginning of the apparitions, and that same night, when he left the village in the car he said, “How lucky we are to have such a good Mother in heaven. Today is the happiest day of my life.” And saying that, he died. He did not have any known illness, nor did he show any sign to make you think it was a heart attack. I also believe that Fr. Andreu died of pure happiness.

 

An Official of the Doctrine of the Faith and Garabandal

Msgr. Manuel Pio Lopez, Archbishop of Jalapa, Mexico, wrote a letter dated July 8, 1966, in which he not only permitted the diffusion of San Sebastian de Garabandal’s apparitions, but even described his motives for doing so and facilitated the sources he obtained information in favor of the events from.

Simple and Normal Girls

After studying the girls from different points of view, numerous experts agreed in concluding that the girls were "simple and normal." This was affirmed, for example, by Dr. Jeronimo Dominguez after personally interviewing the girls.

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