Monday, August 31, 2009

“Town of Mary”

A Radio Interview with Father José Maria Delgado
by Santiago Lanus, Co-ordinator - Argentina

Franciscan Priest Father José María, is an eyewitness to the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Garabandal. Both his mother and grandmother lived there. He is also a close friend to the visionary Conchita and as per
his own testimony he owes his Priesthood to the apparitions of Our Lady in Garabandal.

Before starting this chronicle I would like to let you know that Fr José has been invited to spend a few days in Buenos Aires – Argentina during the last week of May.

As a highlight on that day, Father José will offer the medal kissed by Our Blessed Virgin in Garabandal and given to him by Conchita to be venerated by the crowd. We are all aware of the promises by Our Blessed Mother, “Through this Kiss I have given, my Son will do wonders”.

Father José begins with his first programme titled “Town of María” by telling us that his mother lived in Garabandal until she married and that his father was from Seville in southern Spain. When his parents married
they went to live in Seville. The Cardinal of Seville is related to them.

Going to Garabandal for Fr José was like returning home. Not just going back to his mother’s house but also to the house of his heavenly mother. His mother’s house still exists and some of his relatives still li
ve there.
Localización de Cantabria respecto a EspañaImage via Wikipedia

“Garabandal is the one piece of land that Our Mother Mary blessed in this area of Cantabria. She came down and blessed each and every one of the houses and each and every rock that we have there. That touches me tremendously because I understand that my priestly vocation happened due to the appearances of the Blessed Virgin. Mary’s arrival saved me from the world, and I don’t mean it in a negative way, but she rescued me for herself so that I would be hers constantly and continuously”.

I would like to add that Father’s words remind me of Pope Paul VI words: “It is like the second life of the most Holy Virgin on earth and there are no words to thank her. It is the most beautiful story of humanity since the birth of Christ”.

Garabandal Village 1Image by garabandal archives via Flickr

Father continues saying that for him Garabandal is special.

“I was in Garabandal during the apparitions of 1961 - 1963. I used to go back to Garabandal during the summer months because the Friary allowed us seminarians to go home during that period. I never lacked obedience because I used to literally go home to see my grandmother, my aunts … when I say to lack obedience I mean that at the time the Church was against me being present at the place of the apparitions, but I simply went there to visit my family. Once I was there I saw the events, the gifts that the Holy Virgin gave us”.

So I asked Father, What did you see? Do you still remember that first day you were in Garabandal during the apparitions?

“I remember it as if it was today and many years have already passed! I remember seeing the girls with their heads tilted backwards or walking over the rocky ground. I would see them running backwards and they would not trip or fall. I remember the day the Archangel Saint Michael gave Holy Communion to the girls. For me that was very important because I think that Jesus is very present in the life of every Marian apparition and He was there present in the Eucharist. And the reason why He had been present in the Eucharist during the apparitions was for us not to abandon the Eucharist, for us to always be aware of the Eucharistic Adoration. That is very important. Our Most Holy Virgin wanted to put Eucharistic Adoration in the hearts of all those present. With these precious apparitions and these beautiful manifestations, the Most Holy Virgin wants us to
Garabandal Ecstatsy 1Image by garabandal archives via Flickr

be aware that Her Son is there for us”.

I mentioned to Father and wondered how it would have been to find this sort of “spectacle” in his town, a town that he knew since his childhood. I asked him if he believed that the town was predestined for these apparitions as many people believe because it maintained a very Christian “culture”.

“That’s it. To this day the community in the town, the people and the entire village gather to pray the Ángelus, gather for the Eucharist, gather to pray the Rosary as a whole community. To this day that culture still exists in our town and is hardly ever seen in Spain”.

Fr José continues by telling us about the great project that he has for the town of Garabandal:
“Our Order has given us permission to have a guest house for pilgrims in the town of Garabandal to use for retreats so that people can learn about the Most Holy Virgin, for Marian education and for the constant message of the Blessed Virgin to be known. For some time now I have been asking the Most Holy Virgin to gather the people she wants so that together we give fruit to her work”.

Father continues talking about a house that is located just in front of the place of the apparitions that started with the visions of Saint Michael the Archangel prior to those of the Blessed Virgin. The house belongs
to Paquita (Conchita’s sister-inlaw) and faces the Pines. Up until now Paquita has worked very hard receiving pilgrims but now due to her age, she can no longer continue. Paquita does not want to sell the house because it is a special place. Father has asked her if she would sell it to the Order and she has agreed. But then Father was thinking, “What are we going to buy it with? Imagine a poor friar with such a project and without a single cent” and he laughs ... although he does not worry about it because he knows that the Lord Who has planned it all and knows everything will know how to go about it all. For the meantime Father José is asking for many prayers for this project.

“One must dream! Imagine if we could not dream. Besides it is all for our Blessed Mother. For many years now I have asked my superiors to give me permission to do the project. And some Bishop friends of mine have encouraged me to do so. So I hope that with the grace of God it will eventually happen”.

Father was asked how he received these gifts from Our Lady of Garabandal in his heart.
“I was a young priest at the time of the apparitions and I believe I was in as much “ecstasy” as the girls because for me the presence of Our Mother fills me with so much and gives me great joy which is the greatest thing we can ever experience. It filled my heart with an extreme happiness to the point that at home, they almost had to force me to leave when it was time for me to go because I did not want to leave the town. I could have become a hermit in those little mountains. Staying there to praise and bless the Most Holy Virgin Mary would have been my joy”.

I interrupted to say that I have experienced the same thing ever since I visited Garabandal. I still consider it as “my little town”. It is just that Garabandal remains in your heart even when you have not witnessed any of the apparitions.
Marcel LefebvreImage via Wikipedia

Then Father continues saying: “Padre Pio, who never went to Garabandal, always told the pilgrims that visited him to go to Garabandal”. And it is the same Padre Pio who encouraged Joey Lomangino (the great blind Apostle of Garabandal) to go to the town. He told him literally, THE BLESSED VIRGIN IS IN GARABANDAL.

Father draws a comparison of what was lived in the 12th century during the times of St Francis of Assisi and the theology of being “crazy for God”. And that is the sort of craziness that I want. We can say that it will all happen again with the help of the Warning and the Great Miracle.

We then asked Father to join our next programme again on Monday 9th March and he replies humbly, “provided you invite me, I am always at your service, to serve God’s people, each and every one of you, all my brothers and sisters”.

I asked him if he knew Padre Pio and he said yes, that as a young priest he used to accompany his father for confession with Padre Pio. “I went with him about three times. I used to also accompany both mum and my sister, a Franciscan of Mary nun, who was killed in Rwanda during the revolution of 1996."

I asked him how other priests view “Garabandal”.
“All the priests in this friary are in love with Garabandal. Last October I went to the Diocese of Alaska to preach at the priest’s retreat and the first thing I talked about was Garabandal. I played a DVD with a documentary on Garabandal and the following day they were all asking me about the apparitions. Then the Bishop of the Diocese asked me to take a group of priests to Garabandal”.

“The Alaskan Diocese is a Diocese of sacrifices and much work and it is only through prayers and with the help of Our Most Holy Virgin Mary that we can evangelise over there. The Bishop has realised how important is Our Blessed Virgin and wants priests to fall in love with Her. I will ‘introduce’ them to the Most Holy Virgin there in Garabandal. The Bishop was so taken to learn that the Blessed Virgin had come to the remote “country side”, a very humble place. He wants his priests to know the area and to fall in love with that place and to learn the messages of the Blessed Virgin. Imagine how happy I am to take them there!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dr. Luis Morales

Reprinted with kind permission from GARABANDAL JOURNAL July-August 2004
Translated from Spanish by Dr. Edward Serrano
Doctor Luis Morales, now 86, has no interest in hearing people praise his long professional career which made him an institution in the area of mental health throughout Cantabria. He has lost his faith in psychiatry, but has regained his faith in God and — more risky yet in scientific circles — in the Virgin. As a member of the original bishop's commission appointed to study Garabandal, he declared at the time that the events were not authentic. He has since recanted his previous declarations and even goes so far as to say that there never was a formal investigation — that the whole thing was a farce.
    In 1961, Doctor Morales was in charge of mental hygiene for the province of Santander and as the maximal authority in psychiatry, he had been appointed by the Catholic Church to investigate other alleged Marian apparitions. While he never hesitated to pronounce the others "false," he never used that word in referring to Garabandal.
PHOTO: Dr. Morales, now deceased, in Garabandal a few years ago.
    When he first declared against the authenticity of Garabandal, he was given recognition, but when he retracted his formerly negative assessment of Garabandal placing it in the same spiritual league as Lourdes and Guadalupe, he was ignored.
    "I recognize the Virgin as our intercessor with God and have no fear of making a mistake when I affirm that the events of San Sebastian of Garabandal are of the same nature as Lourdes and Fatima, even to the point of involving children of similar ages living in remote areas," he explains.
    For this doctor there is no natural explanation for the events.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Meeting With the Bishop of Santander

Reprinted with kind permission from GARABANDAL JOURNAL November-December 2005
Excerpted from LOS MILAGROS O FAVORES DE NUESTRA MADRE DE GARABANDAL by Maria Josefa Villa de Gallego
Translated from Spanish by Dr. Edward Serrano
    Recently I had two interviews with the Bishop of the diocese of Santander, Don Juan Antonio del Val, who is the only authority in the Church responsible for pronouncements concerning the apparitions of Garabandal.
    My first meeting with Don Juan Antonio occurred September 4, 1978, and lasted 90 minutes. During the meeting I presented him with the official message sent to him by the delegates of the World Marian Congress on Garabandal that met in Lourdes in August of 1978. Bishop del Val asked me to thank the delegates.
    The delegates asked his Excellency to invite without delay all the living witnesses of the apparitions to give their testimony as a permanent record. His Excellency answered saying, "This work has already been entrusted to the pastor of Puentenansa and Garabandal, Don Juan Gonzalez." This step had never been taken before.
<>    This meeting with Don Antonio in a friendly atmosphere of trust and warmth was for me a fountain of information, inspiration and encouragement. [PHOTO: Father Francis A. Benac, S.J. (d. 1997).]
    Recently, on February 7, 1979 (this year), I was welcomed to a second meeting with His Excellency that lasted 80 minutes. This took place in the Major Diocesan Seminary where he was meeting with deacons. I was greeted by the Vicar General who took me to Bishop del Val's office. The Bishop was appreciative of the information I brought to him about my meetings with important experts, theologians and writers concerning Garabandal such as: Fathers Joseph Pelletier, A.A., U.S.A.; Francois Turner, O.P., France; A. Combe, France; Canon Julio Porro, from the Tarragon Cathedral, Spain; Valentin Marichalar, priest of Cosio and first-hand witness to the apparitions; Juan Gonzalez, the present priest of Garabandal, and lawyer Francisco Sanchez Ventura, who has written one of the most popular books about Garabandal now in its nineteenth edition.
    I also included a report on my meeting with three of the visionaries and with Father Ramon Maria Andreu, S.J., witness to many apparitions in Garabandal. The main topic of conversation with Bishop del Val was about the ambiguous words published by his office of public relations in Santander, in April 1978. My two long meetings with Bishop del Val could be summarized as follows:
1. That Garabandal is not a closed issue.
2. That the Bishop is willing to listen to testimony of the witnesses to the apparitions and that he has appointed the parish priest of Puentenansa and Garabandal to record those testimonies.
3. That he always has been open, non-judgmental and willing to consider any new phenomena that may occur there.
4. That he considers the happenings at Garabandal a difficult problem that has not yet been resolved.
5. That he has never condemned Garabandal.
6. That he admits it has been astounding how the messages of Garabandal have reached the four corners of the world, as was demonstrated by the presence of 200 delegates from 26 countries in all the five continents at the World Marian Congress on Garabandal.
7. That he would have no objection should the Holy See, in collaboration with the Diocese of Santander, form a new Pontifical Commission to examine all the phenomena.
8. That he continues asking for our prayers.
    Besides my meetings with the Bishop of Santander, providence granted me two other opportunities that I consider important for any future investigation by the Church.
    Dr. Luis Morales from Santander, a well known psychiatrist, had directed the investigations on Garabandal in 1961. In a conversation with the psychiatrist from Barcelona, Dr. Ricardo Puncernau, I found out that Dr. Morales had told him that he was interested in Garabandal and that he had changed his opinion about the apparitions. Before I went for my first visit with Bishop del Val, I asked Dr. Morales for an interview that was granted to me. You will be interested to know why he changed his attitude so drastically with the passing of the years.
    In 1961, Dr. Luis Morales was appointed with a few others to investigate the events at Garabandal. The commission acted very superficially, interviewing the girls only a few times, and Dr. Morales, in a testimony of 136 words, declared that "The events at Garabandal are nothing more than a vulgar, hysterical exhibition."
    On September 3, 1978, my first visit with Dr. Morales was recorded in its totality with his consent and lasted two hours. During the interview he was somewhat reserved in explaining his change of position on Garabandal and finally, because of my insistence, he said, "Now I see the existential reality of Our Lady in Garabandal. I think of Garabandal as Fatima: a gift of Divine Providence for humanity. Garabandal truly is a gift to us from Christ through his Mother..." At the end of the interview he answered my last question by saying, "Oh, yes! Garabandal has been a manifestation of Divine Grace...!"
    A typed copy of this conversation was presented to Bishop del Val. He reacted with a mixture of surprise and satisfaction to the change of opinion of Dr. Morales.
    February 8, 1979, I had a second interview with Dr. Morales and found him calm, happier and very open. In this friendly atmosphere he answered my pointed questions by saying that he accepted Garabandal as supernatural and that the messages came directly from God.
    Then he told me how, a month before his wife died of cancer, he had borrowed from another cancer patient a crucifix kissed by the Virgin of Garabandal and presented it to his wife to kiss. Her pains disappeared and she remained with interior peace until the end. He also told me, with evident joy, that the patient from whom he'd borrowed the crucifix miraculously recovered completely from his cancer and now works in a bank.
    This should be enough to illustrate to the reader the position of the Church on Garabandal. To understand the apparently long wait from the ecclesiastical authorities to pronounce a judgment on Garabandal it is convenient to remember that when the Fatima apparitions occurred in 1917 the Church never made a pronouncement until 1930, when the Bishop of Leiria made a short statement about them.
Signed: Father Francis A. Benac, S.J.,
Bombay, India
Reprinted with kind permission from GARABANDAL JOURNAL November-December 2005

Monday, August 24, 2009

An Incredible Healing Story from Australia

Fr.  Benac S. J.

By Roland Otto

I am writing this testimony in appreciation for everyone who
has prayed for me during my illness. My name is Roland Otto, I
am married to Joy and have four grown-up children. Originally
from Durban, South Africa, I have lived in Melbourne for
twenty-three years. In 2008 I was diagnosed with prostrate cancer
with a P.S.A. reading of 1106, the normal reading is between 1
– 5. The medical diagnosis was dire. The cancer has spread to
my bones and into my brain. My doctor had told me as delicately
as possible that my wife, Joy, had to nurse me until the end.

The word of my condition had spread and people were praying for
me in Queensland, New SouthWales, Western Australia and South Africa,
none more passionately than my own family. My sister, Helene, married
to Geoff Pandy, has grown up with the Kissane family in Brisbane, was
also on the prayers. Geoff, by the way, spoke at the Second Garabandal
conference held in Brisbane in 1984 when Father Benac S.J. was the key
note speaker.

Tony, on hearing of my condition, kindly sent me a Garabandal Relic
which contained a piece of Missal kissed by Our Lady at Garabandal
with the promise that “through this kiss My Son Jesus will perform
miracles”. I placed the relic around my neck and would hold it tenderly
as I said the Rosary every night. I had been saying the Rosary every night
and sometimes during the day since the 24th December 2008.

I opened my eyes, and there she was, standing in the middle of my
bed, between my wife and I, on my left side, with her face less than two
feet from mine. I looked into her hazel eyes and said “It is the Virgin
Mary”. She gave me the biggest smile. I looked around my room and
realized I was not dreaming. She held her hands as if she was about
to receive Holy Communion. She plunged her hands into my chest. I
was not afraid, I had a sense of calm all over my body. I felt her hands go
through my stomach into my pelvic area in a wiping, scooping motion. I
opened my eyes. She said to me, “I am not taking all of it, you must get
rid of the rest”.

When I awoke the next morning I felt very different, better than I had
felt in years. I told my wife what had happened during the night. She
replied, “You are very blessed”. The following day I had another
blood test. When I saw the doctor, he couldn’t give me the results due
to a black out in the area, however he did phone when he had the results.
He said “This is quite amazing, it is quite incredible really, your count is
46”. It had dropped from 1106 to 46.

I know that happened immediately after Mother Mary had visited me.
I see my Oncologist on the 4th June 2009, am waiting to hear what
he has to say. My PSA count is now down to 1.3. I have a print out of my
blood count history, CT and MRI scans verifying the extent of my

I have offered my services to the Lord and will do whatever I can
to praise and glorify His Precious Name. I endeavour to say the Rosary
every night and ask God to bless all the people who have prayed for me
during my illness.

God bless you all and remember, we are always in the Presence of
the Lord.

Friday, August 21, 2009


This is an interesting and timely post from my friend Mark Mallett, who believes strongly in the coming Divine Warning!

Deacon John

The Vindication of Wisdom


Creation of Adam, Michelangelo, c. 1511

THE Day of the Lord is drawing nearer. It is a Day when the manifold Wisdom of God will be made known to the nations.

Wisdom… hastens to make herself known in anticipation of men’s desire; he who watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate. (Wis 6:12-14)
The question may be asked, "Why would the Lord purify the earth for a ‘thousand year’ period of peace? Why wouldn’t He just return and usher in the New Heavens and New Earth for eternity?"
The answer I hear is,
The vindication of Wisdom.

Didn’t God promise that the meek would inherit the earth? Didn’t He promise that the Jewish people would return to their land to live in peace? Is there not the promise of a Sabbath rest for the People of God? Furthermore, should the cry of the poor go unheeded? Should Satan have the last say, that God could not bring peace and justice to the earth as the Angels announced to the Shepherds? Should the saints never reign, the Gospel fail to reach all nations, and the glory of God fall short of the ends of the earth?
No, God is not going to fold His hands and say, "Well, I tried." Rather, His Word promises that the Saints will triumph and that the Woman will crush the serpent beneath her heel. That within the period of time and history, before Satan’s last attempt to crush the seed of the Woman, God will vindicate His children.
So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, Until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch. Nations shall behold your vindication, and all kings your glory; You shall be called by a new name pronounced by the mouth of the LORD… To the victor I shall give some of the hidden manna; I shall also give a white amulet upon which is inscribed a new name, which no one knows except the one who receives it. (Isaiah 62:1-2; Rev 2:17)

In Prophetic Perspective, I explained that the promises of God are directed toward the Church as a whole, that is, the trunk and branches—not the leaves alone, that is, individuals. Thus, souls will come and go, but the Tree itself will continue to grow until God’s promises are fulfilled.
Wisdom is vindicated by all her children. (Luke 7:35)
The plan of God, unfolding in our time, is not divided from the Body of Christ already in Heaven, nor from the part of the Body being purified in Purgatory. They are mystically united to the Tree on earth, and as such, participate in the vindication of the plans of God through their prayers and communion with us through the Holy Eucharist
We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses. (Heb 12:1) 
So when we say that Mary will triumph through the little remnant being formed today, that is her heel, it is a vindication of all those before us who have chosen the path of repentance and spiritual childhood. This is why there is a "first resurrection"—so that the Saints, in supernatural ways, can participate in the "era of vindication" (see The Coming Resurrection).  Thus, Mary’s Magnificat becomes a word that is both fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled.
His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever. (Luke 1:50-55)
Within the Blessed Mother’s prayer lies the vindication which Christ has brought, and is yet to bring: the humbling of the mighty, the fall of Babylon and worldly powers, the answer to the cry of the poor, and the fulfillment of the covenant with the descendants of Abraham as Zechariah also prophesied (see Luke 1:68-73).

So too, says St. Paul, does all creation groan awaiting this vindication of the children of God. And thus it says in Matthew 11:19:
Wisdom is vindicated by her works. (Matt 11:19)
Nature is tied to the fate of man in so far as man responds to nature as either its steward or its oppressor. And thus, as the Day of the Lord nears, the very foundations of the earth will shake, the winds will speak, and the creatures of the sea, air, and land will rebel against the sins of man until Christ the King liberates creation too. His plan in nature will also be vindicated until at last He ushers in a New heavens and New earth at the end of time. For as St. Thomas Aquinas said, creation is the "first gospel"; God has made his power and divinity known through creation, and will speak through it again.
Until the end, we renew our hope in a Sabbath, a rest for God’s people, a Great Jubilee when Wisdom is vindicated. 

There is a Jubilee to be experienced by the People of God before the Final Coming of Christ.
…that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Eph 2:7)
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. Wherefore he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the contrite of heart, to preach deliverance to the captives, and sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of reward. (Luke 4:18-19)
In the Latin Vulgate, it says et diem retributionis "a day of retribution". The literal meaning of "retribution" here is "giving back", that is justice, a just recompense for the good as well as for the bad, reward as well as punishment. Thus the Day of the Lord which is dawning is both terrible and good. It is terrible for those who do not repent, but good for those who trust in the mercy and promises of Jesus. And thus, Heaven calls us again through Mary to "prepare!"
The Jubilee which is coming is the one prophesied by Pope John Paul II—a "millennium" of peace when the Prince of Peace’s law of love will be established; when the Will of God will be men’s food; when God’s designs in creation will prove to be right (revealing the wrongness of man’s pride in taking power through genetic modifications); when the glory and purpose of human sexuality will renew the face of the earth; when the Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist will shine forth before the nations; when the prayer for unity Jesus offered comes into fruition, when Jews and Gentiles worship together the same Messiah… when the bride of Christ will be made beautiful and spotless, ready to be presented to Him for His final return in glory

Is not the Heavenly Father the grower of this Tree we call the Church? There is coming a day when the Father will prune the dead branches, and from the remnant, a purified trunk, will rise a humble people who will reign with His Eucharistic Son—a beautiful, productive vine, bearing fruit through the Holy Spirit. Jesus has already fulfilled this promise in His first coming, and will fulfill it again in history through the vindication of His Word—the Sword coming from the mouth of the Rider upon the white Horse—and then will fulfill it finally and for all eternity at the end of time, when He returns in glory.
Through the tender mercy of our God… the day shall dawn upon us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:78-79)
Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end. The Last Judgment will reveal that God’s justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God’s love is stronger than death. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.1040

First published December 18th, 2007.
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Published in: DAILY JOURNAL, THE ERA OF PEACE | on August 19th, 2009 |
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Garabandal: The Chastisement

Written by Barry Hanratty   
Of the three great prophesied supernatural events of Garabandal, only the Chastisement is conditional. It can be averted. Whether or not it will be depends entirely on how the world responds to the Message after the Warning and Miracle.
In biblical times, God used the prophets to warn His people when their transgressions against the law were reaching the breaking point. In our time, it is the Blessed Virgin, queen of prophets, who fulfills that role. At Fatima she foretold the Second World War and the spread of atheistic communism if the world did not change. At Garabandal, she warns of the greatest cataclysm in human history since the deluge if mankind does not reform.
While the Chastisement has never been the favorite topic for discussion when it comes to Garabandal, it was primarily to warn us of this potential event that the Blessed Virgin appeared. This is supported by the fact that in the first Message of October 18, 1961, the message of Garabandal, the whole second part, more than fifty percent of the text of the entire Message, is devoted to the Chastisement. The first part tells us what we must do to prevent it from happening.
In the second Message of June 18, 1965, delivered to Conchita by St. Michael on behalf of the Virgin, reference to the Chastisement is again made when Our Lady says: "Before the cup was filling up; now it is flowing over.... You should turn the wrath of God away from yourselves by your efforts."
Neither the Warning nor the Miracle are mentioned in the two formal Messages, but they play an important role nonetheless in regard to the Chastisement. If it is true that God always warns before He strikes, then the world should know of the threat of this Chastisement which at the present time it does not. But after the worldwide Warning and the great Miracle, the appearances of the Blessed Virgin at Garabandal, with her Message (containing the threat of a Chastisement), should become common knowledge. It will be at this point, when the Message is universally known, that the way will be cleared for the Chastisement to take place if that is what divine justice decrees.
In his book The Apparitions of Garabandal, Francisco Sanchez-Venture y Pascual includes the following note written by Conchita about the Chastisement:

The Chastisement is conditional and depends on whether or not mankind heeds the messages of the Blessed Virgin and the Miracle. If it should take place, I know what it will consist of because the Blessed Virgin told me about it, but I am not permitted to say what it is. Moreover, I have seen the Chastisement. I can assure you that if it comes, it will be worse than being enveloped in fire, worse than having fire above and beneath you. I do not know how much time will elapse between the Miracle and the Chastisement.
Rosary Madonna by the Tyrolean sculptor :de:Fr...Image via Wikipedia

On the feast of the Holy Rosary, October 7, 1962, Maria Herrero de Gallardo was in Garabandal and took the occasion to question Mari Loli about the visions of June 19-20, 1962 (the Nights of the Screams), and what she and the other visionaries could possibly have seen to cause them to cry out in such a terrifying manner. Senora Herrero reported:

"Oh!" exclaimed the girl. "That was horrible to see. We were really frightened, and I know no words that could explain it. We saw rivers change into blood.... Fire fell from the sky.... And something much worse still, which I'm not able to reveal now." (1)

Further information from Loli was contained in messages bearing her signature that were presented to Maria Saraco and published in 1970 by Fernand Corteville in his newsletter L'Impartial (No. 31):

In spite of continuing to see the Virgin, (during the Nights of the Screams) we saw a great multitude of people who were suffering intensely and screaming in terror. The Blessed Virgin explained to us that this great tribulation, which was not even the Chastisement, would come because a time would arrive when the Church would appear to be on the point of perishing. It would pass through a terrible trial. We asked the Virgin what this great trial was called and she told us it was "Communism." Then she showed us how the great Chastisement for all mankind would come, and that it would come directly from God.
At a certain moment, not a single motor or machine would function; a terrible heat wave will strike the earth and men will begin to feel a great thirst. In desperation they will seek water, but this will evaporate from the heat. Then almost everyone will despair and they will seek to kill one another. But they will lose their strength and fall to the ground. Then it will be understood that it is God alone Who has permitted this.
Then we saw a crowd in the midst of flames. The people ran to hurl themselves into the lakes and seas. But the water seemed to boil, and instead of putting out the flames, it seemed to enkindle them even more. It was so horrible that I asked the Blessed Virgin to take all the young children with her before all this happened. But the Virgin told us that by the time it came, they would all be adults.

Will It Happen?
According to the first Message of Our Lady, the Chastisement is conditional and can be averted. However, if history repeats itself, as it usually does, then it's hard to see it not happening. Both at La Salette and Fatima conditions were given by Our Lady that, if met, would forestall the impending threatened punishments. The warnings were not heeded and the rest is history.
Did the Chastisement change from being conditional to unavoidable during the events themselves? The first Message of Our Lady delivered on October 18, 1961, had virtually no effect, and so after the first Night of Screams on June 19, 1962, Mari Loli and Jacinta wrote a message which was followed a few days later by a second one. These messages can only be described as dire.
On August 7, 1971, in a message to American Garabandal workers, Conchita twice made reference to the Chastisement and her belief that it would indeed take place:

We are now in the last warnings, in the final moments. God has already prepared us for all the last things, even the Chastisement, for it is needed. The Chastisement must come because the Miracle will not suffice by itself to make us change. It is true that we will change after seeing the Miracle, but then we will fall again. That is why all of us who hear these words should prepare ourselves and induce all those around us, all those within our reach, to change their lives...
... However, it will not be possible to avoid the Chastisement because we have now lost even the sense of sin. We have reached such an extremity that God cannot now avoid sending the Chastisement. We need it for our own good. Those who survive the Chastisement will change very much and then we shall live for God until the end of time, which will also arrive. (1)

Regarding the above statements of Conchita, which the visionary herself acknowledged were only her own opinion, Father Joseph Pelletier had this to say:
Conchita's opinion... must always be considered as strictly her own. No matter how much one may be tempted to agree with her position on the matter, that position does not reflect Our Lady's very precise words which always have presented the Chastisement as conditional, as a thing that can be avoided. Let us heed Conchita and not attach an importance to her words that they do not warrant. What Our Lady has said is one thing. What Conchita conjectures will happen, may very well happen. But it is always her conjecture and she could be wrong. (2)
That certainly is a fair analysis. In fact, when interviewed by Father Francis Benac, S.J., in 1978, (3) Conchita expressed a different view:

Father Benac: We read in the books (on Garabandal) that on that Night of the Screams, Our Lady advised that nobody should be around you, that she wanted you girls to be all alone. Could you explain that? Was it about the Chastisement? Did you see it and if so, how would you describe it?
Conchita: Oh I don't know; I don't remember. I don't want to remember.
Benac: Would you mind repeating that?
Conchita: No, that I don't want to even remember it, it was so terrible.
Benac: Would it be a Chastisement such as an atomic war?
Conchita: I don't know; I have never seen such a thing in my life nor could I imagine it.
Benac: Do you think the Chastisement can be averted with prayer?
Conchita: I think so. I don't think that it should take place; I think it won't happen. It seems to me that it would be impossible for such a thing to happen. It is for this reason that I believe God is sending us the Aviso (Warning) so that we may acknowledge all the evil within us. Later He will send us the Miracle to manifest His love and His presence amongst us.... I feel that it is impossible that after this we should not change.

However, two years later in 1980, when Conchita was interviewed by the BBC, she again expressed her view that the Chastisement would come: "I think we're going to get the punishment."
Another statement made by her suggests that it's a foregone conclusion: "Prior to this, the Blessed Virgin had told me that Jesus is not going to send the Chastisement to discourage us, but to help us and to reprimand us for not heeding Him." (4)
Other Sources
Blessed Anna-Maria Taigi saw a future "Three Days of Darkness" which is generally believed to be the same event as the Chastisement prophesied at Garabandal. Blessed Elizabeth Canori-Mora, a contemporary of Blessed Anna Maria, also saw this same event.
While all this points to the actuality of the Chastisement, it nevertheless still can be avoided simply because the Blessed Virgin said so. Much must happen first: the communist tribulation, the Warning and the Miracle. According to Conchita's locution with Jesus on June 21, 1963, He told her that as a result of the Miracle, Russia and other countries would be converted. This seems to suggest that if the Chastisement does come, it will not be for a while although we really don't know.
Final Reflections
In November, 1967, Spanish artist Isabel Daganzo, who wanted to commit to canvas representational images of the visions of Garabandal, had a number of interviews with Conchita while the visionary was at school in Burgos. One of the questions she asked was: "Could you speak about something that I could put on canvas that could cause fear?" Conchita replied: "No. What I have seen that could cause fear is the Chastisement, and I can't tell you about that. Besides, terror and fear are not the best means to move souls."
This shows good insight on the part of Conchita. To dwell too much on the destructive nature of the Chastisement could lead to moroseness and would oppose a healthy spiritual outlook. Everything happens within the providence of God, even the Chastisement if it should come. If it does happen, it will be because that is the best and most necessary thing to happen at that particular time. And even in this cataclysmic event can be seen divine mercy. If the glory of God in the world is on the verge of being overwhelmed by evil, He will intervene to preserve the good.

Barry Hanratty is Editor of Garabandal Journal, PO Box 1796, St. Cloud, MN 56302-1796, U.S.A. This article was republished with permission from the Journal. 
(1) She Went in Haste to the Mountain.
(2) Our Lady Comes to Garabandal by Joseph Pelletier, A.A.
(3) Ibid.
(4) The Call of Garabandal.
(5) Our Lady Comes to Garabandal.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Miracle at Garabandal

Written by Barry Hanratty   
Of the three great prophesied events of Garabandal: the Warning, Miracle and Chastisement, the one that has always aroused the greatest interest and the one that everyone looks forward to the most is the great Miracle. The main reason for this is that the Miracle is of a positive nature while the other two are negative. The Warning and Chastisement deal with punishment and pain, which are contrary to our human nature while the Miracle is joyful, glorious, healing, fructifying, unifying, restorative. We don't know what immediate effect it will have on those who watch it on television, if it even is televised, but for those who see it in person the impact will be so great that, as the Virgin told Conchita, they will need a special grace to keep from dying of joy.
A Manifestation of Christ
When Conchita was asked how non-Christians would interpret the Warning, she said that they will believe it is a warning from God. While this would be expected, can it nevertheless not be said that the Warning will come from Him? Didn't He Himself say: "All power has been given to Me in heaven and in earth" (Mt 28:18)?
But Jesus does not reveal Himself universally to everyone in the Warning. In the Miracle, however, there is no doubt since Conchita has told us in advance that "it will be the greatest Miracle Jesus has ever performed for the world." (1) We cannot help looking forward to this world-changing event and the effect it will have on Christians and non-Christians alike.
Is the Miracle greater than the Warning? When one considers that the Warning will touch the entire population of the world, it doesn't seem that anything could be more all-encompassing. But Conchita has said that the Warning would "correct the conscience of the world and prepare it for the great Miracle." Something that is in preparation for something else is normally subordinate to it. So how is the Miracle greater than the Warning? It is greater in its purpose. While the Warning is meant to illumine and correct all consciences, it is not designed to convert the world. That is reserved for the Miracle. In Conchita's locution with Our Lord dated July 20, 1963, she asked Him: "Why is the Miracle going to take place, to convert many people?" And He answered: "To convert the whole world."
While the Miracle will only take place in one geographical location, the graces that will radiate out from there will cover the entire world.
The Unfolding
The most important thing about Garabandal is the Message. To deliver the Message was why Our Lady appeared in the first place and the Warning and Miracle are means to augment a true and widespread living of that Message. But those two supernatural events nonetheless, in their role as means to an end, have very great importance, and for the Miracle, that importance can be measured by how early in the events its revelation begins to emerge.
The notes of village pastor, Father Valentin Marichalar, inform us that on the night of September 3-4, 1961, two months after Our Lady's first appearance, Jacinta, Loli and Conchita had a marvelous ecstasy in front of the church door that lasted until three o'clock in the morning. As the girls lay on the ground formed in one of those remarkably beautiful group sculptures, Conchita was heard to say: "How beautiful the Miracle is! How I would like you to perform it soon! Why haven't you done so already? Do it, even if it would be only for those who believe. For those who don't believe, it doesn't matter."
On October 20, 1961, two days after the Message was read at the Pines and caused so much disappointment, Jacinta was heard to say in ecstasy: "No one believes us anymore, do you know?... So you can perform a very great miracle in order that many will believe again." The Virgin smiled and responded: "They will believe."
On March 16, 1962, Mari Loli was asking Our Lady with insistence for the cure of a woman who was losing her eyesight and finally exclaimed loudly: "Go ahead! Cure this woman, Alicia's mother, who already does not see out of one eye, and will not see the miracle that you will make in the sky." (2)
In early July 1962, when Conchita informed Dr. Celestino Ortiz of Santander about the Miracle of the Visible Host that would take place on July 18, 1962, he told her it was a very great miracle for something to be announced in advance and then realized. She responded: "But to me this seems to be a very little miracle. Later the Virgin's miracle will come, and that will be a Miracle! Then there won't be any doubt."
As the Garabandal events continued to progress and more about the Miracle was gradually revealed, it became increasingly clear that of the visionaries, only Conchita would know any thing about it.
Toward the end of an ecstasy in the early morning hours of September 5, 1962, while someone had a microphone near her mouth, Conchita said to her Vision: "You say there's going to be a miracle? And the miracle is going to be that?... And the Virgin will be seen?... And when?... So far off?... With me alone... No, I don't want that... Don't do that! Perform it with the four..."
A few days later on September 9, 1962, Dr. Ortiz, his wife and his wife's cousin were about to sit down for a meal in Conchita's Aunt Maximina's house when Conchita stopped by. Maximina started kidding her: "We already know your secrets—that there is going to be a miracle! You can't deny it, since it's been recorded on tape." Conchita smiled, and after a moment of silence said, "Yes, there's going to be a miracle. The Virgin told me, and it's going to be very great..."
"When will it be?"
"I don't know."
"Then none of us will see it."
"Everyone will see it who is here. And the pope, from wherever he is. And also Padre Pio. Every day I pray that the miracle will be with all (four) of us. But don't say anything to anyone."
While Conchita would be the one fully informed about the Miracle, in a letter dated October 8, 1962, to Father José Ramón Garcia de la Riva, Mari Loli made it clear that the other visionaries had at least been told about it: "To Father José Ramón: the Virgin told us there is going to be a miracle."
More Information
During an early morning ecstasy on November 25, 1962, Placido Ruiloba was present with his recorder and taped what Conchita was saying in ecstasy regarding the Miracle. Later she confirmed what was heard on the tape which was summarized as follows:
• The miracle will be at 8:30 in the evening, same as the first apparition.
• It would last a quarter of an hour.
• It would be seen in the sky, and so clearly, that there would be no doubt that it came from God.
• The sick who come on that day will be cured.
But what about the date when it will occur? Dr. Ortiz, who was present during the above mentioned ecstasy, reported: "After the ecstasy, the girl was radiant with joy. We insisted she tell us the date of the Miracle, but she said the time hadn't come and that we should have patience. She could only reveal the date eight days in advance but said that the Miracle would definitely come, since the Virgin had said it, and she could not lie."
If Conchita did not know the exact date by this time, she knew approximately when it would occur and that eventually she would be told the date.
On December 6, 1962, she had a 90 minute ecstasy around 5:30 in the afternoon after which, she provided two more pieces of information regarding the Miracle: 1. One day, a little before the Miracle, something will happen that will cause many people to stop believing in the apparitions of Garabandal. The doubts and desertions will not be due to an excessive delay of the Miracle. 2. On the day of the Miracle, the note that she signed in Santander (stating that the apparitions were not authentic) will disappear.
The revelations about the Miracle for 1962 ended on December 15 as recorded in Father Valentin's notes: "Conchita told Mercedes Salisachs that a totally paralyzed man would be cured on the day of the Miracle wherever he was."
On January 15, 1963, by which time Mari Cruz, Jacinta and Mari Loli had stopped having visions, Conchita again fell into ecstasy. Later in the day she said to her Aunt Maximina: "Look Aunt, don't tell this to my mother, but today the angel told me the date of the Miracle."
From this point on, Conchita would have only four more apparitions: one more in 1963, none in 1964 and three in 1965 with the last one being on November 13, 1965. However, beginning in March, 1963, she began having locutions, and significantly enough, her first locution had to do with the Miracle.
When the other three visionaries stopped having visions, they immediately began to doubt their experiences, as Our Lady said they would, and Conchita also seems to have been smitten as she explains in her diary:

I also doubted a bit whether the miracle would take place. And one day when I was in my room doubting if the miracle would occur, I heard a voice that said: "Conchita, do not doubt that my Son will perform a miracle!" I heard it interiorly, as clearly as if through my ears and even better than if it had been through words. It left me with a peace and a joy even greater than that experienced when I saw her.

On August 2, 1964, Conchita wrote a letter to Father Ramón Andreu which included this startling revelation: "On July 18, (1964) the feast day of San Sebastian de Garabandal, I had a locution, and in this locution, I was told that on the day after the Miracle your brother (Father Luis Andreu) will be taken out of his tomb and his body will be found incorrupt."
Golden Thread
The revelation of the Miracle at Garabandal was like a golden thread woven throughout the rich tapestry of the events starting not long after the beginning and continuing throughout. Finally, when Conchita had received the full revelation, she was able to tell Francisco Sanchez-Ventura all she was permitted to say which he published in his book Las Apariciones No Son Un Mito:

I am the only one to whom the Blessed Virgin spoke of the miracle. She forbade me to say what it will consist of. I can't announce the date either until eight days before it is due to occur. What I can reveal is that it will coincide with an event in the Church and with the feast of a saint, martyr of the Eucharist; that it will take place at eight thirty on a Thursday evening; that it will be visible to all those who are in the village and surrounding mountains; that the sick who are present will be cured and the incredulous will believe. It will be the greatest miracle that Jesus has performed for the world. There won't be the slightest doubt that it comes from God and that it is for the good of mankind. A sign of the miracle which it will be possible to film or televise, will remain forever at the pines.

"Conchita, do not doubt that my Son will perform a miracle!"

In this summary, however, Conchita made one omission that is included in her diary and should come right after she says "the incredulous will believe," and it is that "sinners will be converted."
With so many people pressing Conchita for more information about the Miracle, she consented to state the following: it will occur between the eighth and sixteenth of either March, April or May.
Its Impact
We don't know for certain what the worldwide impact of the Miracle will be, but all indications are that it will be massive. In her locution with Our Lord on July 20, 1963, Conchita asked Him if as a result of the Miracle Russia will be converted. He replied: "Yes, she also will be converted, and thus everybody will love Our hearts." The word "also" has been italicized here because of its significance. In Father Pelletier's otherwise excellent translation of this locution in his book Our Lady Comes to Garabandal (page 144) the word "also" is left out, but it does appear in Conchita's original handwritten diary. It indicates that other countries besides Russia will be converted.
Will the Miracle initiate the unification of all Christians? We don't know, but that unification has also been foretold by Our Lady at Garabandal.
Seal of the Events
The greatest event in human history was the Incarnation when the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity took on human flesh. No other event can ever compare with that. But it took another great event, the Resurrection, to confirm that the first one really happened. For if Christ did not rise on the third day as He said He would, then He could not have been the Messiah and therefore there could not have been the Incarnation. All His great teachings and miracles would have been discounted and explained away had there not been an empty tomb on that third day. But He did rise and the rest is salvation history.
With Garabandal, an analogy can be made in the sense that one event will serve to confirm the authenticity of all that preceded it. For Garabandal, everything rides on the Miracle. If there is no miracle then all the marvelous ecstasies and the extraordinary phenomena associated with them, the messages, prophecies—everything—will be discredited.
But to help our belief that the Miracle will happen, abundant proofs of the divine origin of the events themselves have not only been given, but we also have the testimony of those who have already seen the Miracle in the persons of Father Luis Andreu and Saint Padre Pio.
Furthermore, we have been able to see for ourselves the fulfillment of prophecies made at Garabandal. So why should we doubt that the Miracle also will happen? Another point to consider is that, as demonstrated in this article, the promise of a great miracle was imbedded in the events, events that have proven their worthiness. How could the predicted Miracle, as part of those events, fail to have equal integrity? Besides, by the time of the Miracle, we will already have been conditioned for the spectacular event since the Warning will by then have taken place.
One final reason why we should not doubt the Miracle is that we need it. In Conchita's diary is this entry:
The Blessed Virgin advised me of a great miracle that God, Our Lord, will perform through her intercession. Just as the chastisement will be very, very great, in keeping with what we deserve, so too, the miracle will be extremely great, in keeping with the needs of the world.
Hope is one of the three theological virtues and in that context, we hope for our eternal salvation. But even for the needs of everyday life we have to have hope, especially today in an increasingly secularized—and dangerous—world. The Miracle gives us hope for better days when it ushers in the period of peace promised by Our Lady.

Barry Hanratty is Editor of Garabandal Journal. This article was republished with permission from Garabandal Journal, PO Box 1796, St. Cloud, MN 56302-1796, U.S.A.
(1) All quoted passages in this article are taken from She Went in Haste to the Mountain by Eusebio Garcia de Pesquera, O.F.M., Cap., unless otherwise indicated.
(2) From Father Valentin's notes.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Warning of Garabandal

Written by Barry Hanratty   
The first of the three great prophesied supernatural events of Garabandal will be unprecedented in human history. It's been called different names. The Warning is the most common in the English language although this is not the best translation of Conchita's Spanish word for it: Aviso. Blessed Anna Maria Taigi referred to it as the Illumination of All Consciences which seems like a good description based on what has been revealed about it. And there is yet another name, the one the Blessed Virgin herself gave it that Conchita says begins with the letter "A" in Spanish but which she has never disclosed.
Every human being on the face of the earth will experience the Aviso from the smallest babies to the most elderly senior citizens, from the mentally retarded to the greatest intellects, from people of faith to agnostics and atheists. All races and all religions will experience it and people of all conditions of life. There are very few mystics in the world, probably only a small fraction of one percent of the total population. And yet at the moment of the Aviso, everyone on earth, for however long it lasts, will have a mystical experience.
Its Purpose
The Aviso will serve a number of purposes. The first although not the primary one, will be the most expedient from a practical point of view: to put an end to the communist aggression which will have engulfed the world. The second is the primary, as Conchita has said: "to correct the conscience of the world and prepare it for the great Miracle." And how the conscience of the world needs to be corrected, much more today than at any time from the apparitions until now!
The last purpose of the Aviso is "to serve notice" which, by the way, is the principal translation of the word aviso. But serve notice of what? That we're being given the last chance to avoid the Chastisement.
What Will It Be Like?
It's been said, and rightfully so, that one cannot imagine what one has never experienced. What's it like to jump out of an airplane if you have never done it? So no matter what the visionaries tell us about the Warning we will not really know what it is until we go through it. And it may well be an act of God's mercy that we don't know.
What we can say, based on the statements of the seers, is that it will be a devastating experience—the sinner suddenly seeing his soul in the light of the All Perfect One. St. Catherine of Genoa once said regarding the judgments of God: "He finds fault with everything."
What our reaction will be remains to be seen. Conchita has said: "I think that those who do not despair will draw great good from it for their sanctification." (1)
When Dr. J. Dominguez asked Conchita how long it would last, she said five minutes would be sufficient. Due to the intense interior suffering which the experience will entail, it might seem like a long time, and if it lasted any longer who could stand it? (If you O Lord laid bare our guilt who could endure it?).
Reflecting on this impending event ought to be sufficient incentive to "do much penance, make many sacrifices, visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently and lead good lives" in preparation.
When Will It Happen?
…This excerpt is taken from the German book by Albrecht Weber, Garabandal—Der Zeigefinger Gottes (Garabandal—The Finger of God) (2):

Conchita told the author in 1965 when everything would be set in motion:
"When communism comes again everything will happen."
The author responded: "What do you mean by comes again?"
"Yes, when it newly comes again," she replied.
"Does that mean that communism will go away before that?"
"I don't know," she said in reply, "the Blessed Virgin simply said 'when communism comes again'."

In Conclusion
There have been major before and after events in human history. The first came at the very beginning when Adam and Eve sinned, irrevocably changing the course of that history. The Deluge was another, and the greatest of all was the Incarnation when God became man and dwelt among us.
There have been many others not of the same magnitude of the above but nevertheless of great significance, and the Warning promises to be one of them. How could the world ever be the same again afterwards?
In a letter dated December 11, 1965 to Fr. Jose Maria Alba, S.J., Conchita said: "The Blessed Virgin told me that we Catholic Christians do not think about the other world, heaven or hell. She said that we should think about them and that if we did, our lives would be united with Christ." The Warning will certainly cause us to think more of our final destiny.

This article was republished with permission from Garabandal Journal, PO Box 1796, St. Cloud, MN 56302-1796, U.S.A.
1. Father Joseph Pelletier, Our Lady Comes to Garabandal, p. 149.
2. Translated by Hans Enderle.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Sacred Heart at Garabandal

Written by Barry Hanratty   
Of all the visions that Jacinta (Gonzalez) Moynihan had at Garabandal, one stands out over all the rest—her vision of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
It happened at the very beginning of the apparitions, in June of 1961, while the four girls were seeing Saint Michael, before the Blessed Virgin appeared for the first time. Thanks to recent information from Jacinta and her husband, Jeff Moynihan, we can provide some details to fill out the story of when, where and how this vision took place.
On the day after the first apparition of Saint Michael on June 18, 1961, the four girls returned to the exact same place in the calleja hoping to see the angel again. Some boys, younger than the visionaries, saw them and threw stones at them. Consequently, on the next day, the girls went up a little higher in the lane (calleja) around the first bend to the right where they were hidden from view by the right side wall of the lane. It was here at this new location that they continued to see Saint Michael and where Jacinta saw her vision of the Sacred Heart. Jeff mentioned to me that one of the books on Garabandal has mistakenly said that the angel drew the girls higher up into the lane. What really happened was that from their new vantage point, the girls saw a large smooth stone further up upon which they could all kneel, and it was here that they went for the first vision of the Blessed Virgin.
Jacinta does not remember the exact date of her vision of Jesus, but it was not on the feast of the Sacred Heart, which in that year of 1961 was before June 18. How did the vision occur? On December 23, 1978, Jacinta was interviewed by Father Francis Benac, S.J., at her home in California. Here are excerpts from that interview:
Father Benac: We have read about your vision of the Sacred Heart. Please tell me about this experience.
Jacinta: I recall a day when the four of us went a little further up (in the lane) from where the angel had first appeared—no one from the village followed us—when suddenly the other three fell into ecstasy seeing the angel. I was a little behind and seeing them in ecstasy I said to myself: "But I don't see anything." Then suddenly like a flash, I saw the Sacred Heart of Jesus which made a deep impression on me. He did not speak to me, but His gaze penetrated deep into my heart.
Benac: What impressed you most?
Jacinta: His eyes, His look—a gaze that penetrated so deeply into me that I cannot explain it.
Benac: What were your thoughts at that moment?
Jacinta: Oh, Father, more than seeing Our Lady, this vision of the Sacred Heart had the greatest impact on me even though I did not see Him again. Whenever I see His image, I have an intense feeling of suddenly seeing someone very dear.
Benac: Do you still feel this?
Jacinta: Oh yes. Whenever I see His image or talk about Him just as we're doing now, I feel within me something I cannot explain.
Benac: When you passed through the period of the doubts, did you also doubt this vision?
Jacinta: No Father. This vision has always remained vivid in my mind. I remember telling my mother that I may have doubted seeing Our Lady or the angel, but regarding this vision of the Sacred Heart even if I were to die, I would insist on its truth. It is something I have never doubted.
Benac: Did this particular vision lead you to a greater love of God? Did you think that He wanted something special from you?
Jacinta: I can't answer that since He didn't speak to me. But my heart did grow much closer to His.

Description of the Vision

Ever since Jacinta first mentioned her vision of the Sacred Heart in 1976, she has been asked on occasion to give a description of it. The most recent time was August 2004. She had gone to the Spanish city of Logrono with Jeff and their daughter, Maria, to visit a paralyzed woman named Olga who had asked if the visionary would come to see her. During their visit, they were invited by the Garabandal group there of about 30 people to lunch in the nearby town of Navarrete. After lunch everyone wanted to hear about Jacinta's vision of the Sacred Heart, and she graciously complied providing all the details. Here is how she has consistently described it.
While the other three girls were in ecstasy seeing Saint Michael, Jacinta was seeing Jesus. He was about ten feet away standing on a small, white cloud slightly above the ground. He was incomparably beautiful; "the handsomest of men" as Jacinta said. His hair and beard were dark and His complexion "normal." He wore a white robe with a red outer garment that hung diagonally down across His body from the right shoulder. His heart, exposed off-center to His left, was a brilliant red with rays of both white and gold streaming from it. With His left hand, he pointed to His heart and with His right, He beckoned the girl to come. His entire body gave off brilliant rays that surpassed in brightness the subsequent appearances of Our Lady. The vision was set against a cloud-like background.
As mentioned above in the Father Benac interview, the most compelling part of this vision for Jacinta was the intensely loving, penetrating gaze of Jesus that transfixed her heart. That loving gaze of Our Lord was accompanied by the gestures of His hands inviting her and all of us to enter into His Sacred Heart.
Jeff related to me what Jacinta had just recently told him: that after all these years, she still clearly remembers her vision of the Sacred Heart and that each time she remembers it, she feels something very spiritual.

Barry Hanratty is Editor of Garabandal Journal. This article was republished with permission from Garabandal Journal, PO Box 1796, St. Cloud, MN 56302-1796, U.S.A.