Saturday, February 28, 2009


World-conversion has happened before in history. Twice before, a "whole world" (as its inhabitants thought it to be) has been converted. The Mediterranean world in the early centuries of the Church's mission was completely turned around by the preaching of the Gospel. Another world, the New World of Central and South America, was evangelized
with extreme rapidity when Our Lady "of Guadalupe" appeared to Juan Diego, a humble Indian newly converted. His testimony about his encounter with the Mother of God, together with the miraculous image she imprinted of herself on his cloak, led all God's people in that country into the Church. The conversion of Mexico took only seven years
thereafter, as eight million were converted. The whole of South America followed the same course, so that today almost half the baptized Catholics in the world live in that "New World."

[To be continued . . .]

Friday, February 27, 2009



Chapter Ten

"All Will Love Our Hearts"

The whole world will be converted. To the mind that does not literally believe that "nothing is impossible with God", the previous sentence would seem utterly absurd. Yet, this is what Our Lord assured Conchita would happen when she asked Him the purpose of The Miracle at Garabandal. It would be, He revealed to her, not only for the conversion of Russia that The Miracle would be worked by the Lord, but for the
conversion of the whole world. Then, to indicate that this conversion would actually be brought about by The Miracle, He stated further, "Thus, all will love Our Hearts." Jesus told Conchita that by The Great Miracle at Garabandal the entire world---"todos" (everybody)---will be converted. Evangelization, the task Jesus handed over to the Church when He ascended, will at last be universally accomplished. The whole world will become The Church.

[To be continued . . .]

Thursday, February 26, 2009


The Era of Peace can arrive very soon. We can hope for a short interval between The Miracle and The Era of Peace, and that The Punishment will not intervene. Should the world be rapidly converted by the marvelous events we have begun to experience in The Warning, it is possible for the Era of Peace to come quickly. After all, "nothing is
impossible with God." Perhaps the great wave of intercessory prayer that will well up in the faithful for the conversion of the world will be so effective that The Era of Peace will come without delay. But we have to admit that a longer, even a much longer interval is also possible, and perhaps more likely (given our record of poor response to the messages), and that it may take many hard years before The Triumph is complete and The Era of Peace begins. We simply have no knowledge of how long it will be, after The Miracle, for The Era of Peace to be given to us. Peace may in fact appear only after The Punishment, which God surely will not be eager to see us suffer. We can hope The Era of Peace will come soon, so that through repentance, no punishment will be necessary to bring peace. May the peace of the Lord be with us all by the intercession of Mary, Mother of God. "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now," in our times, that we may know world-wide peace again, in the Heart of Jesus and your Immaculate Heart.

[To be continued . . .]

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009


The Illuminating Fire



WHAT exactly will happen during the Illumination of Conscience? It is an event in which souls will encounter the living flame of Love who is Truth.


Purgatory is a state of grace given to redeemed souls who are not yet "holy and without blemish" (Eph 5:27). It is not a second chance, but a purification to prepare the soul for union with God. My sins may be forgiven, but my love for Him may still be mingled with self-love; I may have forgiven my neighbour, but my charity toward him may still be imperfect; I may have given alms to the poor, but remain attached to temporal things. God can only take to Himself that which is pure and holy, and therefore, everything which is not of Him is "burned up," so to speak, in the fire of Mercy. Hell, on the other hand, is not a fire which purifies—for the unrepentant soul has chosen to cling to his sin, and therefore, it burns eternally in the fire of Justice.

The coming Illumination, or "warning," is to reveal to humanity this impurity beforehand, which at this time in history, unlike previous generations, has an eschatological character as revealed through St. Faustina:

Write this: before I come as the just Judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy. Before the day of justice arrives, there will be given to people a sign in the heavens of this sort: All light in the heavens will be extinguished, and there will be great darkness over the whole earth. Then the sign of the cross will be seen in the sky, and from the openings where the hands and the feet of the Savior were nailed will come forth great lights which will light up the earth for a period of time… You have to speak to the world about His great mercy and prepare the world for the Second Coming of Him who will come, not as a merciful Savior, but as a just Judge… Speak to souls about this great mercy while it is still the time for [granting] mercy. —Mary speaking to St. Faustina, Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul, n. 83, 635

The Illumination is a last chance for the world to change its course, and thus, it is a fire which at once illumines and saves. In his encyclical, Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict could almost be describing this salient event when he refers to the particular judgment each one of us will face at the end of our lives, which may require "purgatory"—purging fire:

The fire which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour. The encounter with him is the decisive act of judgement. Before his gaze all falsehood melts away. This encounter with him, as it burns us, transforms and frees us, allowing us to become truly ourselves. All that we build during our lives can prove to be mere straw, pure bluster, and it collapses. Yet in the pain of this encounter, when the impurity and sickness of our lives become evident to us, there lies salvation. His gaze, the touch of his heart heals us through an undeniably painful transformation “as through fire.” But it is a blessed pain, in which the holy power of his love sears through us like a flame, enabling us to become totally ourselves and thus totally of God. Spe Salvi "Saved In Hope", n. 47

Yes, the Illumination is both a warning to repent, and an invitation to "become totally ourselves and thus totally of God." What joy and zeal will be set afire in those who accept this invitation; what anger and darkness will consume those who refuse it. Salvation is open to all, and the souls of all will be laid bare as though it were a judgment in miniature:

Each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. (1 Cor 3:13)


Some people have asked me if the Illumination is already happening. While, according to the mystics, the Illumination is definitely a global event, certainly God is constantly illuminating, purifying, and uniting our hearts to Him in so far as we give our "Great Yes." In these days, I believe God has "sped up" the process, and is pouring out an ocean of graces, for the time is short. But these graces, while also for yourself, are intended to prepare you for the new evangelization which is here and coming. It is for this reason precisely that Jesus and Mary are preparing you now to become a living flame of love so that the grace of the Illumination may continue burning in souls whom you will encounter.

A cold log burns briefly as it passes through the fire, but if it is held above a flame, it will eventually catch fire. You are to be that flame. But as we know, flames may have varying colors, depending upon what is burning ("gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw…" cf. 1 Cor 3:12). The hottest fire known to science is invisible. However, when impurities are added, colors can be emitted. The purer our hearts, the less the colors of "self" and the more the invisible, searing, transcendent presence of God can come through. That is why so many of us are suffering painful trials—not because God does not love us—but because He is drawing us deeper into His Sacred Heart so that we ourselves will eventually burst into pure flames of love!

Consider that as an object moves toward the Sun, it begins to glow more and more in its light. The closer it gets to the Sun, the more the object warms until it becomes so hot that it begins to transform. The closer it gets, the more radically the object is changed becoming more and more like the Sun to which it hastens until, at last, the object is so close to its goal, that it bursts into flame. It begins to rapidly change into the Sun itself until finally nothing of the object remains but fire, glowing, flickering, exploding flame as though itself were a Sun. While the object does not have the power and boundless energy of the Sun, nonetheless, it takes on the characteristics of the Sun such that the object and Sun are indistinguishable.

That which was at one time lost in the cold of space has now become Flame, itself casting light upon the universe.

The "living flame of love," of which St. John [of the Cross] speaks, is above all a purifying fire. The mystical nights described by this great Doctor of the Church on the basis of his own experience corresponds, in a certain sense, to Purgatory. God makes man pass through such an interior purgatory of his sensual and spiritual nature in order to bring him into union with Himself. Here we do not find ourselves before a mere tribunal. We present ourselves before the power of love itself. Before all else, it is Love that judges. God, who is Love, judges through love. It is love that demands purification, before man can be made ready for that union with God which is his ultimate vocation and destiny. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, p. 186-187

All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven… sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the "temporal punishment" of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1030, 1472

Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you. But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly. (1 Peter 4:12-13)

Published in: DAILY JOURNAL, SPIRITUALITY | on February 25th, 2009 |
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What to Know about the Warning and Miracle

Dear Friends, There has been a recent increase in interest concerning the Warning and Miracle. We have briefly summarized the events in the text below and provided links to the most essential materials on our site. More information is contained in the various books and articles found there, however the following links highlight the necessary information everyone should know.

The Warning, which will not be announced in advance, will be experienced by the entire world and while shocking will be for the benefit of all people. It will serve to correct the conscience and purify the world for the coming Miracle.

The Great Miracle, which will follow the Warning within twelve months and will be announced eight days in advance, will be experienced by those in or near the village of Garabandal. Those present will experience a miraculous outpouring of grace. There will be physical healings and spiritual conversions. The Miracle will conclude with a visible sign left at the pines until the end of time.

The Warning by Connie Hoebich
Warning and Miracle Leaflet
Warning and Miracle Magazine

The best explanation on video of the coming events was given by Conchita in the early 1980s. If you would like a DVD of the BBC Interview After the Visions, we would be happy to send one complimentary copy to members of our email list. Please send an email to with ATV in the subject line. Please include your name, address, city, country and zip code. Supplies are limited to one per email, first come first served.

The best preparation for the Events is to live the Message and remain in the state of grace through prayer and frequent reception of the sacraments. Please continue to pray and promote. P.O. Box 606, Lindenhurst, NY 11757-0606


Peace is a gift for the heart, and if a heart is at peace, it can give away peace. Peace in me can make the world around me a more peaceful place for others. By my peace, I am ready to be in friendly relationship with everyone I meet. Peaceful nations are made up of peaceful persons who have chosen peace as a way of life for themselves. There can be no war between nations full of peaceful men and women. A heart transformed by one's own inner peace can give to the world the peace that the world cannot give itself. It is those who share, through repentance and conversion, the peace of Jesus, who will inaugurate the Era of Peace promised to us all.

For these reasons, we must wait, we know not how long, for the Era of Peace. It can be hastened by people of peace, delayed by people who reject peace and embrace sin. We only know that it will certainly come, this mysterious "peace." The Immaculate Heart has promised it.

[To be continued . . .]
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


The Era of Peace awaits The Triumph. Measuring the time that remains before peace arrives is not possible, since the coming of peace depends on The Triumph happening in us beforehand. We must first hold in our hearts the sinlessness of the Immaculate Heart before peace can come. Repentance must route sin before any peace can be ours. Love must override every other consideration, reconciling us all in gentleness, before we can see peace come. Families and neighborhoods, towns and cities, countries and nations must be reconciled before there can be peace. Above all, Christians must be brought together again in one Body which is the Church, before peace can descend on us from heaven. And the peace must be from heaven. Our Lady referred to this by assuring us that peace will "be given" to the world. It will come from God.

Thus the Era of Peace must wait until The Triumph is complete. Already it has begun in
those who have heard the message of Our Lady and have changed their lives, striving daily to become holy and pleasing to God, seeking to imitate the Immaculate Heart of Mary with their own hearts. The Warning has already torn untold millions from their sins; in them especially, The Triumph is gaining a foothold. The Miracle will confirm
their decision for them and convert many more to follow Jesus. The grace of repentance flowing from these events may well so advance The Triumph that The Punishment will never happen. But the Era of Peace will not arrive until the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart is so complete that the hearts of all of us will have already been converted to peace.

[To be continued . . .]

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Monday, February 23, 2009


19th century painting of Our Lady.Image via Wikipedia

"In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph . . . and an Era of Peace will be given to the world." This promise is unconditional. Peace is coming. It will be the peace that Jesus gives, not that which is given by "the world." People will finally do as she asks, and there will be peace. Peace, and era of peace, is surely on its way. It is not an illusion to believe this. The Mother of God has predicted it. Despite human considerations and doubts, failures and sins, wars or punishment, her prophecy will come true "in the end."

[To be continued . . .]

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Sunday, February 22, 2009


Chapter Nine

The Era of Peace

"If people do as I ask, there will be peace." These words of hope spoken by Our Lady of Fatima preceded a long litany of misfortunes that she predicted would come upon the world if her requests were not taken seriously. It is imperative to realize that her assertion still holds: there definitely will be peace, if people do as she asks. If, even now, during
the "last warnings," we respond with repentance, letting our hearts be cleansed of sin by God's forgiving grace, there will indeed be peace: peace first in each person's heart, then throughout the whole world in society, initiating an Era of Peace, which she prophesied would inevitably arrive.

Had we listened at the beginning or at any time over the years she was remonstrating with us, we could have averted "wars, famine, persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father." Many good people would have been spared martyrdom, hunger would not have ravaged nations, Russia would have already been converted, and never would she have been able to "spread her errors throughout the world," The Second World War would never have happened.

But these afflictions did take place. Has peace been lost forever? Will the human race
obliterate itself with global nuclear war? Is peace a dream, an illusion?

[To be continued . . .]

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Saturday, February 21, 2009


Consecration opens itself totally to the immeasurable power of God coming through the vessel of the Immaculate Heart. She is one of God's secrets, one that we can never fully comprehend: measureless love and grace reach down to us by means of the littlest one, Mary. The lowliest, the poorest, are always the chosen. The most humble and unpretentious are the ones most likely to be singled out by the Lord to be channels of His might. Consecration to the Immaculate Heart lives in this kind of faith. It believes that God can do His most powerful works through someone as simple and weak as Mary, the Virgin of Nazareth. She is not God, but one of us, sharing our human estate and helplessness. Nonetheless, she is filled with God's strength like the stone water-jars at Cana, overflowing by God's power with rich wine for the wedding. She pours out this wine of grace for others. She gives it to us to drink through her love and prayer.

shares in the mediation of Christ. This should cause us no embarrassment. We members of His Body mediate the same grace of Christ as we baptize, forgive, intercede, love. But in her there does not exist the impediment to sharing God's grace which belongs to us because of our sinfulness. In her case, because she is Immaculate (sinless), the Spirit of Jesus rushes upon us through her Heart with such exuberant fullness that there is nothing beyond the ambit of her influence.

Consecration acknowledges her universal reign with
Christ and welcomes it. The person consecrated to the Immaculate Heart has submitted willingly to God's plan to act through Mary, and revels in the joy of having made that decision. Consecration is an act of humility, by which we bend low as Jesus did when He washed His disciples' feet. In the littleness it admits of itself, it opens the human heart to miracles of transformation. It hastens the reformation of hearts the world over. It quickens The Triumph and the Era of Peace. It averts The Punishment by availing itself of God's mercy, coming through the Mother of Mercy. It shortens the time of The Tribulation, even turning it aside. Consecration assures us of salvation and empowers us to intercede more earnestly and effectively for the salvation of sinners. It is a most necessary ingredient of Our Lady's peace-plan, and will hurry on its fulfillment.

[To be continued . . .]
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Friday, February 20, 2009


Consecration is a simple matter. We hand over our whole being into the mystery of being mothered by Mary. In this we imitate Jesus, who, as a little infant, was hers, and who never revoked this gift of Himself to her. We say "Yes" to Mary as He did. We believe God works powerfully through her, and that we are surrendering to that power as it comes through her Heart. Consecration can be expressed more concisely by affirming that it is the same as saying "Yes" to Mary, the Immaculate Heart, just as she is, and just as God gives her to us. We accept the gift of her that Jesus made to us when He said from the Cross to the "beloved disciple," "This is your Mother." We "take her into our own," that is, into everything we have and are.

We attribute no more to her, and no less, than God himself does. Since He made her His Mother, we acknowledge this. We allege also that she is our Mother because He gave her to us when He died on the Cross. She reigns with Him; we let her reign over us. She is sinless, and we aspire to be sinless too. She is full of love and we want to be like her. We consecrate ourselves to all these truths about Mary as we consecrate ourselves to her person. We relate to her just as God has revealed her to be, and we hold back from her none of the glory that God Himself has granted her.

[To be continued . . .]

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Thursday, February 19, 2009


The consecrated heart is dedicated to becoming like Mary's Immaculate Heart: sinless, full of love. Those who live their consecration witness to The Triumph already realized in them. They have made the choice to allow themselves to be converted. They follow Jesus without reservation. They invited others to the same whole-hearted self-giving to the Lord. Their hearts reflect the goodness and kindness of Mary's Heart. The Immaculate Heart of Mary, the perfect response to Jesus, becomes visible in the lives of those consecrated to that Heart.*

For these reasons, all should seriously consider consecrating themselves to the Immaculate Heart personally. Those who have already done so can testify to consecration's quiet transforming power. They sense that because they have commended themselves completely into the protecting arms of their Mother, she is continually present to them in a new way. They know they are receiving graces they would otherwise not have, because their Mother, Mary Immaculate, is looking after them. They allow her to be for them what God wants her to be. They rely on her acting in them as Mother and Queen. They know her in a new way because of their consecration, and they understand that being devoted to her Immaculate Heart will be the assurance of their salvation.

*This is a beautiful explanation of the devotion of the Scapular of Mt. Carmel. See the book: Sign of Her Heart, AMI Press, Washington, NJ 07882.

[To be continued . . .]

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Chapter Eight

Consecration and devotion to the Immaculate Heart

Consecration is a form of devotion. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart can be embraced in a variety of ways, but the one that seems most appropriate today is "consecration." Our Lady of Fatima asked for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart, and promised that this would bring about that country's conversion. Consecration is immensely powerful, capable of bringing down graces from heaven that render
impossible things possible. In the light of the prophecy about Russia's conversion through consecration, a multitude of Catholics have chosen to consecrate themselves to Mary's Immaculate Heart, thereby expressing in the most adequate way they know their devotion to that Heart. Even though individual consecration was not demanded by Our Lady in any
of her apparitions, it would nonetheless appear to be the most complete method to express "devotion" to her Immaculate Heart, and to live that devotion out in everyday life. Those consecrated to her are decided in their own hearts to be continually devoted to her and to carry out her requests. Consecration is the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart
happening in their hearts.

[To be continued . . .]

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009


this is my own work, I took the picture at hom...Image via Wikipedia

Consecration to the Immaculate Heart will hasten The Triumph. To amend our lives so radically, however, is like moving a mountain. Surely this is why the Lord wants to establish in the world Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She proclaimed, "To those who embrace this devotion I promise salvation." Devotion to her Heart will bring us the graces we need to thoroughly amend our lives. We need to seriously consider how to embrace this devotion and remain faithful to it. It assures our own victory over the sin within us. Our being devoted to her Immaculate Heart will hasten the world-wide Triumph over evil which has been prophesied by Our Lady of Fatima.

next chapter of this little book deserves special attention.
In the final vision of Fatima Our Lady appeared as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (as she
appeared at Garabandal) holding the Brown Scapular of Carmel out to the world.
When Lucia was asked why this apparition of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel with the Scapular she replied:

"Because She wants everyone to wear it. It is the sign of consecration to Her
Immaculate Heart."
In the next chapter Fr. Bebie explains the meaning of this consecration realized through the Scapular Devotion without going into details about the Scapular itself. For further information we urge the reader to consult a classic book on this subject titled Sign of Her Heart, published by AMI Press, Washington, NJ 077882 . . . also a new book soon to appear: Her Glorious Title.

[To be continued . . .]
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Monday, February 16, 2009


The Personal Story of Our Pilgrimage

Although it has been 8 months since our trip, I’m compelled to share the experiences Susan and I had. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t spend some time reflecting on this incredible journey. It has changed our lives forever and strengthened our faith and hope in our beliefs. It seems almost every day someone asks us about Garabandal and every time we talk about it we remember something else that happened to us. So, I’ve decided … or have been guided … to recount this marvelous experience in full detail as it unfolded.
We planned our trip as a vacation and Mini-Pilgrimage to Fatima and Lourdes. We were all booked for our Trans-Atlantic cruise and the car and hotels for the land trip thru Spain and France. But this story really begins before we left.
It happened at a restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens, a luncheon in honor of our friend Fr. Buckley. We were told to meet at 12:00 noon, but when we arrived no one was there and the hostess informed us that the luncheon was scheduled for 12:45. Instead of leaving we decided to have a Bloody Mary and wait at the bar. About ten minutes later a woman came into the bar looking lost. She told us she was also there for the party, also being told 12:00. We invited her to join us and she ordered a Bloody Mary also. Our conversation somehow proceeded to our upcoming trip. Her interest was keen and upon telling her that we would be in Northern Spain she told us that we had to try to go to Garabandal, a very small village located in the Cantabrian Mountains in Northern Spain. She told us of the story of the Apparitions of our Blessed Mother to 4 young girls in the village that lasted from 1961 to 1965. Intrigued by the events and the thought of a chance to visit another Apparition site, a change of plans were already forming in my head.
Soon after other people began to arrive and confusion reigned, Lunch was announced so Susan and I grabbed our drinks and looked for our new friend hoping to sit together and talk some more. Her drink was still on the bar, untouched, and she was no where to be found. We didn’t know what to think and this event seemed insignificant at the time. That day I went home got online and rebooked part of the trip to include Garabandal after looking up as much information I could find.
The night before we left on our journey, as we prepared ourselves for bed the smell of roses filled the room. I told Susan I liked her perfume, she said she didn’t have any on. We went to bed knowing the meaning of the smell of roses, but we just laid down and neither of us said anymore.
Our journey began in New York aboard a Trans-Atlantic cruise. The second stop was Lisbon and the only shore excursion we booked, Fatima, a two hour bus trip from the port. Fatima was overwhelming and magnificent yet very peaceful and spiritually fulfilling. We only had a short time here but we were blessed with Mass and Communion at the location of the Apparitions and did manage to visit the Basilica and to light candles for friends in need since the crowds were light. We saw pilgrims making the long trek from the entrance to the Shrine on their knees; some so ill they had several people helping them. Some were doing this just to honor Our Lady, while the others were hoping and Praying for a miracle. The sight was overwhelming. Finally it was time to go but we both really didn’t want to leave.
On the rest of the cruise we would visit each port on our own, Always looking for old Cathedrals and Churches as we explored the towns. It was amazing that the first Church or Cathedral we would visit a Mass would begin almost immediately or soon after we arrived.
At the end of the cruise we spent two walking days exploring Barcelona and we managed to visit 10 Cathedrals and Churches, one more beautiful than the next. Anxious to get on the road we cut our stay short a day and headed to Montserrat, 50 miles north of Barcelona, a beautiful mountain Monastery and Shrine dedicated to the Black Madonna. From there we headed to Lourdes, part 2 of our Pilgrimage, via a trip over the Pyrenees Mountains. Words can’t describe the views or the drive.
Lourdes is incredible. Although the town is very commercial with all the tourist shops, once you enter the Basilica grounds it becomes another world. The surroundings are very peaceful even with the throngs of people. Again as we entered the Basilica on our first morning Mass began but we opted to explore and find the shrine to Our Lady where She appeared to Bernadette. As we approached the Shrine a Mass for the infirmed began, of course we stayed. What an experience to have been a witness to the great faith and hope of those present yet sadness overcame us to see so much suffering and pain, a humbling experience. Later in the day we were able to walk thru the Grotto, twice, since the first time we missed the spring. The water flowing from the spring was like a gusher, sending gallons of water to the fountains and baths and the water which we later got to taste was as pure as any we have ever drunk. Then we got to touch the weeping rocks below Our Lady’s feet. It was incredible. The feeling of a greater presence was every where.

We found the Stations of the Cross. To walk them there was a steep mountain to climb which had life size depictions of the Passion of Christ along the way. Susan and I began to say the Rosary, our first one alone together, finishing near the top at the Crucifixion. The feeling, the view and the day were just magnificent. After our climb we decided to see everything we could. This being the 150 Jubilee Year, we managed to walk the path of Bernadette, as well as go to Confession, Mass, Communion and taking time to pray for the Pope’s intentions. For doing this we received a Plenary Indulgence from the Church bestowed upon pilgrims as part of the Jubilee celebration, a new start so to speak. That night we took part in the rosary procession at the Basilica. What an incredible sight to see.
We ended our journey there the following day after buying religious articles for family and friends and filling a large bottle of water from the well to take home. On our way out we asked a French Priest to Bless all that we had and we departed for the third stop of our Pilgrimage. I think Our Lady of Lourdes prepared us for what we were about to experience next, a visit to Our Lady of Garabandal.
After a five hour delay needing to get a new car, since the one we had broke down, my fault … I put regular gas in the diesel tank, we arrived at Santander around ten at night. We were anxious to go to Garabandal but the next day it rained so we decided to wait for the weather to change Saturday. The reports were wrong as we head out the following morning around sunrise to our destination. Driving the winding roads in the pouring rain was a little harrowing to say the least. We got lost once but manage to find our way without help, even stopping a couple of time to take pictures of the magnificent views, when you could see them.
Finally we made the final turn up the mountain to San Sebastian de Garabandal, the sign said 5 kilometers. The road narrowed, hardly room for two small cars to pass. With the clouds on top of us and the heavy rain we slowly and cautiously made our way. Just a mile or so short of our goal as we rounded a bend we saw this globe of light in the sky. Both of us in tandem said “what’s that”. I stopped the car and shot a few pictures. Afraid to linger to long on the road we continued on driving and staring at this phenomenon at the same time as it seemed to light the road and our way. As we entered the village it vanished.
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As we drove through this tiny Hamlet is seemed virtually deserted. We happened by four older men under the cover of a porch enjoying a stogie and each others company. Proudly in Spanish I asked “Los Pinos”, the pines, and in tandem they pointed. We left the car, small umbrella in hand and began our trek in the rain up to the pines. We had seen pictures of the climb up the mountain thru this rocky gorge, but with a heavy stream of water cascading down the rocks it looked impossible to navigate. We took out our Rosary and began praying it aloud together and started our assent. The climb was treacherous and Sue tried to follow my lead from stone to stone. We stopped once at a Small Shrine to St. Michael. Statutes and pictures of the Blessed Mother, St. Michael, Pope John Paul II and St. Padre Pio, adorned this humble shrine. Padre Pio was said to have seen the miracle before he died. Some day this will be the location of a Great Basilica to St. Michael. We continued up and managed to take a break at each of the Stations of the Cross that marked the hillside upwards as we continued to pray our Rosary. Sue fell once trying to climb and hold an umbrella I insisted she carry. I would constantly turn around and help her up until I realized she was doing fine on her own. Later she told me she seemed to see large footsteps on the path and just put her feet into them with little trouble climbing.
We were so intent on our path that it took a moment to realize that we had reached our destination. An immediate feeling of peace and tranquility overcame us. The rain was still pouring down, yet we finished our Rosary and the Stations of the Cross and ended amid the “The Pines”. A small Shrine was marked by a small encased Statue of “Our Lady” in one of the pines surrounded by colorful yet fake flowers. We don’t know how long we stood there … absolutely mesmerized with the moments in time we were experiencing. We finally walked to a bench to rest since it finally stopped pouring for the moment and as we sat there we became like giddy children. We tempted “Our Lady” by promising her that we would attend Daily Mass two days a week if the Sun would just come out. After more prodding, we finally changed our promise to her that we would attend Mass every day in return for her favor of allowing the Sun to appear … Alas … No Sun!, but the clouds lifted for awhile and the view was wonderful.
As we were starting to leave “The Pines”, I quickly went back to the Shrine of Our Blessed Mother and bent to dig into the muddy ground to collect soil from the land. Susan gave me a baggie that she had in her purse and I filled it with the precious dirt to bring home for ourselves, our family and friends. Afraid to navigate our way down the gorge we found another path, a road that had been made to make the pines more accessible for all. The entrance to the road was marked with a monument to Padre Pio.
Finally returning to the village we looked everywhere for a place to go since it appeared that the only restaurant in the town was closed. We happened to see a small hotel (Posada) that seemed open … our last hope. I sent Susan in and she emerged with a middle aged fellow. As it turned out, he told Susan that he was from Ireland and that he comes every year with a group from Ireland on Pilgrimage to Garabandal. We asked him if he knew of anywhere that we could obtain information on Garabandal to bring home to share with others. He immediately told us he would go and collect information for us and instructed us to go to the restaurant we “thought” was closed and to meet him inside. We told him it appeared the restaurant was closed. He told us to go there and open the door which we did. When we arrived, sure enough, we opened the door to the restaurant and entered.
Before entering, I took off the cap I had been wearing and left it in the car. It felt like it weighed two pounds from absorbing all of the rain for so long. We entered the restaurant and ordered coffee. As we sat sipping our coffee, both of us suddenly realized that our unprotected clothing was not the least bit wet … except for my cap. Our feet, our sneakers, jogging pants and hair were as if we hadn’t been in the rain at all … let alone for several hours. We marveled at the fact that even though the temperature were in the 50’s and damp we never felt cold the whole trip to the “The Pines” and back to the village. It was just too difficult to comprehend!
We sat in the Café’ and attempted to converse with the owner who was behind the bar. Unfortunately, he did not speak English and he beckoned for his wife. She was very fluent in English and as friendly and warm as could be. We told her about how we happened upon Garabandal. We also told her that after learning of Garabandal from the “mysterious lady” in Florida, we found out that our very dear friend was related to “Uncle Joey” (another part of the incredible Garabandal story). We showed her magazines and photographs that our friend had given us to bring to Garabandal from her childhood … with pictures of her Uncle Joey with one of the Seers. It apparently gave credibility to our story and she really opened up in our discussion.
Shocking to us, she informed us that she was the sister of one of the Seers … Maria Loli. She shared with us a lot of the history and the wealth of information we learned from her was beautiful and captivating. She left us for a few moments and, low and behold, our “Irish Friend” came walking through the door. He brought with him several booklets and other information on Garabandal for us to bring back to share with others. He asked if we had been to La Salette, another apparition site of Our Lady, and when we said no he told us we had to go there. He said it was beautiful place high in the mountains, and in the morning you looked down and saw the clouds. We thanked him and he left … only to return in a few moments. He walked back through the door and walked over to us. He asked us to hold out our hands together and he draped a Rosary over our hands. It was hand-made plastic Rosary. He turned it over and showed us what he explained was a Relic … a piece of a Missal that Our Lady kissed during an apparition was embedded in the Rosary. It felt heavier than gold to us. He told us that he was very selective with whom he would give these Rosaries to and that he felt we were deserving because of our Pilgrimage and awe with Garabandal. Tears flowed from our eyes. Susan took a photo of me with this stranger. She gave him a business card and he promised to e-mail and then we said farewell and he left. We watched him as he walked off into the distance … away from the Posada where we first met him. He rounded a bend and dip in the road but never emerged on the higher end. He seemed to just vanish and we were speechless.
During all this a bus had arrived full of pilgrims from England and began to unload. Some came into the restaurant and others dispersed into the village. We met a few of them and they told us they just came from Fatima and were on their way to Lourdes. They were great and enthusiastic as we began to exchange stories of our journeys. We told them about some of what happened to us there and showed them our new acquired treasure. They all asked if they could kiss it. I said no of course, only kidding.
We were told a little later that there was mass being said so were directed by Maria Loli’s sister to the small Church in the village. We got there just as it ended. This was first time we hadn’t been to daily mass on the whole trip except when we were at sea. We decided to pray and entered the church. We were all alone except for one other young man who was in the Church. We had been told that mass was not available everyday but everyday around 5:00 P.M., this Church is filled with all of the local residents and those on Pilgrimages to Pray the Rosary to Our Lady.
After praying for awhile, Susan sat back in the Pew but I continued to meditate on our day while staring at the beautiful statue of our Blessed Mother at the Altar. I can’t explain what happened next or if my eyes just played tricks on me but I had an experience I will never forget. As I stared at our Blessed Mother everything around me disappeared from my eyesight except for the Statue of Her. All of a sudden, I saw the face of Christ as I know it … imposed over Our Lady’s. It was just for a brief moment but then it happened again, shocked and disoriented I finally grabbed Susan and asked her to quickly kneel next to me and look at the Statue. I was hoping she would be able to confirm what I was seeing. She knelt and later told me she did not see anything unusual … but she told me that while sitting back in the pew … and then as she knelt next to me when I called for her … I had been kneeling for a long, long time … just staring at Our Blessed Mother with a look of complete awe and a little “confusion”. This story I am sharing for the first time with anyone other than Susan. I have been afraid to. It’s not that I don’t believe that this could truly have happened to me, I just didn’t know what to think or believe until now.
We finally left the church and managed to visit a Gift Shop that was now opened, across the way. We bought more gifts and returned once again to the Restaurant to have coffee and reflect what just happened and on our day thus far. We needed to decide what to do with the remainder of the day since it was raining again and wanting to go back to “the Pines” seemed out of the question. I wanted to go to Santo Toribio, another Monastery just 30 short mountainous miles away. This Monastery is sacred and special because it contains the largest piece of the true Cross of Christ. As we later found out this piece of cypress had been tested many times and is proven to be over 2000 years old and believed to be a piece of the Real Cross. The wood is indigenous to the time and place of Christ’s death. St. Toribio was responsible for bringing this great relic there.
Susan didn’t know that this was the plan but agreed so we told our new found friends, Maria Loli’s sister, and her husband of our plans but she said we should go the next day, Sunday, when many people were around, and we would have a better chance seeing the Cross. Why? I don’t know! But I said that we should go now so we could get there by 4:00 p.m. Happy hour, right! Her husband gave me a very old and special magazine of his that had a map to help get us there. We bid our farewells and promised to return some day. We then began the next leg of this incredible day. Again we missed our turn and almost gave up. But we kept on and found our way, another narrow winding road through the mountains in the rain. We were thankful that we
Passed only one car the whole trip. At one point this was our view towards our destination. Does it look familiar?

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We arrived at the Monastery around 3:40 P.M. I parked in a very empty parking lot, except for a few other cars. We proceeded to the Monastery, it was old and beautiful. As we walked through the Monastery’s Church, we came across a Chaplet with locked heavy wrought iron gates. In the distance was an Altar atop of which was a large Gold Cross with a bright light shining on it. We knelt and peered through the gate and prayed. We were pretty sure that this was our “destination”.

At exactly 4:00 P.M., a man started giving a tour of the church and shortly thereafter, we were blessed when a Monk came out and turned on the lights and opened the gates. There were only about 10 people present at the time. We all entered the small Chapel and sat in the Pews as the Monk proceeded to remove the beautiful Cross from its encasement and placed it on the Altar. He spoke for a while in Spanish, of course and then he led us in prayer … obviously we had no idea what he was saying other that the Our Father but later, a young couple we met from Madrid interpreted everything for us.
The Monk then proceeded to lay the Gold Cross on a red clothed table near the Altar and motioned for all of us to come forward to venerate it. We were covered with “goose bumps” and tears filled our eyes. As we approached the Gold Cross, we could see the piece of cypress wood in the cross. Our minds were racing, could it really be a piece of the Cross that Our Lord died on. The wood was light colored and totally encased for protection with the exception of a small opening exposing a portion of the wood. The wood in the opening was mostly stained dark red. It is said that this was where the Left Hand of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, was nailed to the Cross (there is a nail hole in the wood but we didn’t know until later and we missed seeing it). We proceeded to Venerate and kiss the small area of wood and words cannot describe the emotions that took over. Our whole world from the experiences of the entire day became “surreal”! The peace we felt together was unexplainable! Emotionally spent we finally left and headed back to our hotel in Santandar not wanting to drive the mountains in the dark. We drove most of the way in silence.
We left the next day for Madrid and our return trip home on May 13th the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.
Were both felt we were blessed on this trip with so many incredible and spiritual experiences. We both wondered if were we being over-zealous with our beliefs and Faith and mistook what happened as supernatural yet was really natural. We received answers to our doubts when we returned home. More signs that all coincided and a miracle.
It began with a pine needle stuck in our pool screen the week after we got home. The closest pine is 400 yards away and this has never happened before and the pine needle is still there. It serves as a daily reminder of our trip.
The muddy dirt that I had dug up in front of Our Lady at “The Pines” we packaged it into small bags with small artificial roses to give to friends and families. The large baggie we carried the dirt in still contained some wet dirt after we were finished. Not wanting to throw it away in the garbage, I put water into the plastic bag to clean it. Then the question was … where do we put it???
In our backyard, we have an orchid plant sitting among the shrubs. This orchid was given to us on the day our “Papa Sam” passed away unexpectedly on Feb 21st, 2006. The orchid was beautiful but eventually died and we put it out in the yard and never touched it. The last two years the orchid has bloomed each year, when? exactly on the evening of the anniversary of “Our Papa’s” death. This is a strange phenomenon in itself that tweaked our imagination but never really grabbed our attention until the second year it happened again. I thought what better place than to put the remainder of the dirt from Garabandal than into the orchid planter. The dirt water from Garabandal was put in the planter the first week of June and the bloomed on July 2nd …with two flowers. We just realized this was the day of the First Apparition of Our Lady of Garabandal.
After that we started recounting our journey and the events that took place. I got on line and researched Our Lady of La Salette. ( When Our Lady appeared to these two children. She did so in a bright ball of light. Could it have been Her or St. Michael guiding us on that dark road? Or showing us the way to Santo Toribio. Should we go to La Salette?
Susan got on line and contacted the Garabandal organization in Ireland, since we hadn’t heard from the fellow we met. Explaining our experience and of our encounter and how he was so kind to us we were hoping to get his the name and address. The e-mail we received back informed us that there were no pilgrimages from Ireland in Garabandal at that time and they went on further to say that they felt that our experience was the Blessed Mother and St. Michael thanking us for our journey.
In late September of this year, Susan’s oldest brother had a very bad fall, causing serious brain damage. It was necessary for the surgeons to saw off part of his skull and insert it into his abdomen to preserve it. Susan’s brother, John, was in a coma and was on complete life support with a 2% chance of survival. The physicians offered little hope to our Sister-In-Law, Marsha started thinking about making Funeral plans for John.
A few days after John’s unfortunate accident, one of Susan’s other brothers, David, was leaving his home to visit John at the hospital. His 8 year old daughter, Olivia, asked her Dad to wait a moment because she had something for “Uncle Johnny” and she ran to her room and brought back her bottle of Holy Water we had given her after our trip to Lourdes. She gave David the bottle of Holy Water and asked her Dad to Bless Uncle Johnny with the Holy Water so that he would get better … but she made her Dad promise that he would bring the Holy Water back home because she would need it for other people who might get sick … an amazing thought from a young girl! David honored her wishes when he arrived at the hospital and saw John he blessed him.
A few days after this, John came out of his coma although he was still in grave danger with numerous health issues. When we learned of this, we express-mailed a full bottle of Lourdes Holy Water to his wife, Marsha. Marsha told us that each and every day she visited John, she would first begin her visit with Blessing him with the Holy Water and she would say Prayers for him. Each day, John showed more and more improvement but we still did not know if he was going to make it. Marsha continued with her daily Blessing with the Lourdes Water.
As a result of the serious injuries to the left side of his brain, John was pretty much paralyzed on his right side. One morning when Marsha arrived, she once again Blessed John with the Lourdes Water. John suddenly held up his left arm to reach for the bottle. Marsha asked him if he wanted to hold the Lourdes Water and he kept reaching for it. She handed him the bottle and he lifted his right arm and attempted to remove the cap on the bottle using his right hand!
In only three months, after two very serious brain surgeries, full life support, 5 hospitals and 3 rehabilitation facilities, John is walking with no assistance, talking in full conversations, eating without assistance and completely off any type of life support equipment. He remembers all of us (including nieces and nephews). We believe it is truly a “Miracle” and the doctors have told Marsha they have absolutely no explanation for his survival or the progress he has made. We went to see John recently and I wouldn’t believe his progress it if I hadn’t seen it.
What happened to us was a lot to comprehend starting with the lady at that bar, the smell of roses, the guiding light, the footsteps, our dry clothes, the man we met, the vision, the Cross, the pine needle, the orchid, the miracle. Did all these things really happen as we perceived them or are we nuts? Well we were there and that’s our story and we are sticking to it.
This year, God willing, we will be returning to Europe and will spend three weeks on another “personal Pilgrimage”, prompted by all that had happened and with the need to go to La Sallette. We have done extensive research and we will be driving to and visiting Holy Sites and Sites of Apparitions of Our Blessed Mother and Jesus in France, Belgium and Spain.
We will begin our trip by flying to Paris, France and will spend a few days since we have not been there. Our first stop will be Rue Du Bac, where St. Catherine Laboure received the Miraculous Medal from the Blessed Mother in 1830. Her incorrupt body lies there for all to see.
We plan to drive to and spend time in Banneux and Beauraing in Belgium where Our Lady appeared in the 1930’s, then back to France to visit L’ile Bouchard, Pellevoisin, the Tomb of St. Bernadette in Nevers, where she remains incorrupt since the 1800’s, Paray le Monial, where Jesus exposed His Sacred Heart to St. Margaret, LaSalette of course, Laus and Cotignac.
After a 3 day rest on the French Riviera we will be returning to Lourdes then onto Limpias as we make our way to return to the mystical village of San Sebastian de Garabandal on June 18, 2009, which again we just realized will be the Anniversaries of the First and Last Apparitions to the children in Garabandal from 1961 to 1965, delivered by St. Michael the Archangel. We have been invited to stay at the home of Maria Lucia, Conchita’s (one of the four seers) cousin whom we met last year.
We will go back to Santo Toribio, I’m not sure what time yet, and stop for the evening in Avila on our way to Madrid for our flight home. Fatima is too far away to return but still seems to add another dimension to this story. After mapping our trip and booking our hotels I just calculated our stops. There are 13 apparition and Holy sites for our Blessed Mother and Jesus. We are staying at 13 hotels on our 23 day trip. There are 13 segments to the Rosary, Sue and I met on the 13th, dad’s birthday was on the 13th, this story seems to be ending on page 13, May 13th is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, the miracle of the Sun at Fatima was on Oct. 13, 1917 and the 13th of Nov. 1965 was the final appearance of Our Lady at Garabandal. Coincidences, maybe?
On another note, the messages at Fatima and Garabandal seem connected. At both Fatima and Garabandal an Angel appeared first to prepare the way for the Blessed Virgin. At Garabandal it was St. Michael the Archangel and at Fatima the Angel of Portugal.
At both Fatima and Garabandal the visionaries received Communion from the Angel, the only two apparitions of Our Lady where this occurred.
At Fatima, the seers saw a vision of hell. At Garabandal, the seers saw visions of hell on earth in the tribulation and Chastisement.
At both Fatima and Garabandal a great miracle was/is to serve as a seal of authenticity for the events. At Fatima, Our Lady said She would perform a miracle so all would believe, the miracle of the sun. At Garabandal she said as a result of the miracle “all will believe”.
In the Sixth apparition at Fatima on Oct. 13, 1917, during the tableaux of visions, during the Miracle of the Sun, Our Lady appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel with a scapular on her wrist. On July 2, 1961 the Virgin appeared at Garabandal as Our Lady of Mount Carmel with a large brown scapular draped over her right arm.
At both Fatima and Garabandal, Russia was mentioned. At Fatima, Our Lady warned that if people did not change, Russia would scatter her errors throughout the world. At Garabandal she said that if people do not change, Russia would rule the world. At Fatima, the Virgin said that as a result of the Collegial Consecration Russia would be converted. At Garabandal, Conchita was told by Our Lord in a locution that Russia (and other countries) would be converted as a result of the great Miracle.
At Garabandal, St. Michael first appeared to the visionaries in the evening (8:30P.M.) of June 18, 1961, exactly 40 years (a biblical number) to the day (and even the same time of day) from the last vision at Fatima.
We have no great expectations for this next journey, but just as our last trip and the one we took to Greece and Italy a few years ago, we have been fortunate to have experienced several unexpected and special events. We always felt we were being guided and wonderful things happened for no apparent reason. We do look forward to once again feeling that overwhelming peace and spirituality that was present on our last trip at each stop of our pilgrimage.
Since we returned home from our last trip we completed the Act of Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary According to Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, something everyone should do.

Daily Prayers, Mass and the Rosary together have become a way of life. Other than that everything is normal and we haven’t changed, much, yet we are much more at peace.
Even though the sun did not come out that day in Garabandal, as we “tempted” Our Blessed Mother to no avail, She did give us something far more valuable… she showed us the way to her Beloved Son …

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Amendment of life will hasten The Triumph. "Men must amend their lives," Our Lady of Fatima declared. "They must stop offending Our Lord, who is already too much offended." We must give up sin and become imitators of Jesus and Mary if we are to bring about The Triumph sooner. Amendment of life is the central condition of the world's renewal. Unless we amend and change our lives, no amount of praying or penance will bring the Era of Peace. There will be no peace, no triumph, until we reform. The failure to heed this challenge is the reason why The Warning has finally confronted us. Sin threatens us with catastrophe. Sin must be abandoned. We must keep God's commandments and give up our wayward, selfish deeds. Destruction threatens our civilization, our security, our very lives. "Certain nations will be annihilated" if the present situation does not change. Amendment of life is the most determinative element in God's program to save us from disaster. More swiftly than anything else we can do, true repentance will avert The Punishment and hasten The Triumph. We must amend our lives, "for Our Lord is already too much offended."

[To be continued . . .]