Friday, May 10, 2013

Fr. Ramon Andreu's Notes: Part Three, Post 35

Impressions of Mr. Foerschler after his visit to San Sebastián de Garabandal—October 14, 1961.

“Very affected by the death of Fr. Luís Andreu, S.J., with whom I had a long and good friendship, as with all of my brothers, I felt truly anxious to know what happened in San Sebastián de Garabandal. I had heard such different opinions, and I had a lot of interest in seeing what happened in that village with my own eyes. I can relate it without any passion, as I will show later.

I want to say in advance that I am not Catholic. I am an Evangelical Protestant, a fervent believer from my infancy, thanks to the example of Christian Education provided by my parents.
October 14, 1961 was the day chosen for my visit; I wanted to know what was happening in the village, and I had a great interest in seeing what happened before the date of the announced “message” which was October 18, 1961.
That day, I left Aguilar de Campoo around 4 in the afternoon. I was accompanied by Fr. Ramón Andreu S.J., and Mr. Rafael Fontaneda and one of his sons. We had the misfortune of an accident with another vehicle in a very dangerous site, but fortunately, nothing happened to any of the occupants of our car.

After traveling several hours on the highway, we arrived at Cossío around 10 at night and began our ascent to San Sebastián; we arrived there around 11. After an eventful ascent, filled with panic, we traveled the last kilometer on foot, wading in mud up to our knees, lighting our way with lanterns.
We crossed with many people who were returning to the village. They were totally disillusioned because they hadn’t seen a single one of the girls’ visions. They said it “would be more worthwhile to go home.”

When we were within 50 meters of the first houses we saw many people running with lanterns and they said that Mari Cruz had just left her house in ecstasy. When we arrived we verified that it was happening and we found ourselves in front of Ceferino’s tavern; all of the people were forming a group around her. We went inside the tavern and found Jacinta and María Dolores. A few minutes after entering, Mari Loli entered into a trance and went up to the second floor, where, in front of the stairway there was a table covered with a white table cloth and many holy cards, rosaries, etc. She gave them to be kissed, one after the other. When she finished this, she fell backwards, and her body hit the floor without any noise. Her head was suspended on the first step. This was the first thing that impressed me. Then, she extended her legs without supporting her hands, in which she held a crucifix, nor her feet. She turned halfway and then descended the stairs in three jumps. She advanced three meters more, and stayed in front of the tavern counter. She had a conversation in a low voice while smiling until she stood up and gave the crucifix to all of the people around her to kiss.
Around eleven thirty, Fr. Ramón was sick: his ankle was swollen, he had bad pains, was very pale, and had cold sweats. Two doctors from Santander and Burgos examined him—one of them was a bone specialist—and they determined that he had twisted or fractured his ankle and they recommended that he get an X-ray. They bandaged the ankle and applied ice, and then carried him to bed around 12 at night.

Around one in the morning he was eating, and they brought him a beer. Jacinta found the priest, and sat in a chair next to the night table. Mari Loli sat on the edge of the bed. When he saw me enter, Fr. Ramón told me that when his brother José María had come from Venezuela Jacinta was in bed with a sore throat, and they’d visited her. Now the Virgin had told them that the priest was sick and she had come to see him. In that moment, she entered into a trance, and since the chair had a high back, I felt that the girl would have hit very hard against it since her head was up high. I was behind them, so I tried to put my hand between her neck and the chair back. My first surprise came then when I realized that the girl was so connected with the chair and so rigid that she seemed like a block of granite that weighed a ton. I looked at her eyes, which in normal circumstances had a small red circle around them, and I observed that the circles had almost disappeared. While Jacinta was having the vision, little Mari Loli didn’t stop saying: “Tell the Virgin to call me.” When she returned from the trance, Fr. Ramón asked Jacinta if she was happy, and she answered: “Yes, Father, very.” When he asked her to tell what the Virgin had said, she answered simply, “No.”

Very impressed with what had happened, I got up to reunite myself with my other friends, who were in Ceferino’s house. Then Fr. Ramón signaled that Mari Loli had two calls and before I exited the room, Mari Loli entered into the trance.
Around two in the morning all of us went to sleep and I was staying in Fr. Ramón’s room. Cuquí Verduras and I were commenting about all that had happened when, at about three in the morning, we heard voices and people in the street, who were yelling at the owner of the house where we were staying: “Open up, Pifinia, Jacinta is coming.” Two seconds didn’t even pass from the moment the owner unlocked the door of the house until Jacinta arrived at the beds on the first floor. She was looking up and there was a crucifix in her hands. She was accompanied by Mari Loli, Mari Loli’s father, and many other people. Among them were some girls from Cadiz. Jacinta went directly to Fr. Andreu and gave him the crucifix to kiss. I was in bed with my back to her, but she didn’t offer the crucifix to me or to Cuquí. From that moment, and when she was saying goodbye to the vision, her arm returned, and without taking her vision from the fixed point, she came near me and gave me the crucifix to kiss and placed it exactly where my mouth was, so I didn’t have to move. Then Mari Loli said: “One more person needs to kiss it,” and asked Jacinta, “who.” She walked forward and gave it to Cuquí to kiss. Then she returned from the trance and stayed there until about 4 in the morning.

In view of the state of Fr. Ramón’s foot, Fr. Valentín was warned that he would have to come from Cossío to say Mass on the next day. At 8 in the morning, several doctors came to see Fr. Ramón’s foot. At 9 in the morning, Fr. Ramón was able to stand up, to the great surprise of all. Next, he went to say Mass, and was able to do it normally; he could even flex his foot, to the great astonishment of all.
Signed: Máximo Foerschler