|The Village of Garabandal, Spain|
Between 1961-1965 Our Lady of Mt Carmel appeared to four, simple, unsophisticated girls, Conchita Gonzalez, Mari Loli Mazon, Jacinta Gonzalez and Mari Cruz Gonzalez, aged between 11 and 12, in the village of San Sebastian de Garabandal, Spain. Whilst surnames of three of the girls are identical, they are unrelated.
The visionaries were first visited by an angel later identified as St Michael the Archangel whose mission was to prepare them for Our Lady’s visit and to be her messengers.
|Photo probably taken in June or July of 1961 at “El Cuadro.” From left to right: Conchita, Jacinta, Mari Loli, and Mari Cruz|
Our Lady Of Garabandal Prophesised The Following:
- A world-wide Warning from God to correct the conscience of the world.
- A great Miracle to occur at Garabandal within a year of the warning
- A permanent Sign will be left at the Pines after the Miracle.
- A conditional Chastisement from God if people do not amend their ways
Why should we believe the Apparitions and Messages of Garabandal?
1. No Moral or Doctrinal Errors. The messages are theologically sound, and in total conformity to the teachings of the Church (confirmed by the Bishop Eugenio Beitia). They do not purport any new/novel doctrine, as is common with false apparitions. Nor do the messages exalt the visionaries in any way. The messages are simply a call to prayer and penance, and to visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. Bishop del Val (who commissioned the second investigation) upon retiring from office stated hat the message of Garabandal was “important” and “theologically correct.” Undoubtedly, the apparitions at Garabandal conform in every way to the criterion for judging apparitions outlined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (see; “Norms for Proceeding in Judging Alleged Apparitions”, CDF, 1978).
2. The Seers were Children. The majority of approved apparitions are given to children (Fatima, Lourdes, La Salette, Pontmain, etc.). In fact, there has never been an apparition condemned by the Holy See in which the visionary was a child. There is something to be said of the innocence of a child, which allows little room for deception, and permits grace to work without hindrance. (If a child is ever involved in a false apparition, then it will be very transparently demonic or counterfeit.)
3. The Moral Character of the Children. The children were simple peasant children, who spent their early childhood working on a farm for their family. They did not seek profit, nor fame. They were faithful Catholics, who went to Mass frequently, prayed the Rosary, and were active in the sacramental life of the Church. They continued on with their lives, in poverty and submission to their parents. In her diary from 1962, Conchita writes; “We continued to go about our ordinary life doing whatever our parents told us.”. According to the CDF, a criterion for determining the authenticity is the “ability to return to the normal manner of a life of faith”.
In 1961, the children were 11 & 12 years old. Today, they are full grown adults who continue to hold to the same message they were given so long ago. It is very unlikely that four children can sustain the same lie for a lifetime, especially without any incentive for doing so.
4. The Obedience of the Children. The children were obedient in every facet of their lives (especially to the bishops) even while being subjected to numerous psychological tests, experiments, and interrogations. For example, one doctor theorized that Conchita’s braids were hypnotizing people. Thus, he justified cutting her hair off. Other skeptics and doctors poked the children with pins, pinched them, and clawed at their skin with fingernails, leaving marks on their skin (however the girls felt none of this). According to eyewitnesses, one doctor even lifted up Conchita and dropped her from a height of about three feet onto hard stone. Yet despite all this, the girls remained docile and obedient, and even grew in obedience as the apparitions continued. Their family doctor reported; “Their behavior with their families, their obedience toward their parents and superiors, improved after the apparitions began.” Most especially, the children learned from the example set by the Blessed Virgin, in Her obedience to the bishops. On occasion, Conchita reminded the people; “you must continue to obey His Excellency, the Bishop.”
5. The Fruits of Garabandal. “By their fruits you shall know them.” The events at Garabandal have drawn many souls to God over the years (which is further collaborated by the hundreds of eye-witness accounts, testimonies, conversions, miraculous healings, and supernatural phenomenon).
In the lives of the children, the most notable fruits – greater than miracles (since the Adversary can imitate miracles) – is the fruit of increased charity and desire to suffer for the salvation of souls. Conchita recounts after the final vision of 1965; “Once again they have left my soul filled with peace and joy and a great desire to overcome my faults and to love with all my strength the Hearts of Jesus and Mary that love us so much…” At another time she wrote; “I prefer to have Jesus in me–Jesus who will give me the cross to purify me, and who through my crosses will permit me to do something for the world with the help of God, for by myself I can do nothing.” (Remember, this is 13 year old girl writing.)
6. The Messages Conform to other Approved Apparitions. The concept of a worldwide warning can be found in the diary of St. Faustina. A great chastisement was also mentioned in the apparitions at Fatima. The message that time is running out has been repeated by the Blessed Virgin in a number of approved apparitions (the sense of urgency among 20th century apparitions has been particularly striking).
Additionally, the three children at Fatima were given Communion by an angel, which is exactly what happened in Garabandal on numerous occasions. Furthermore, at Fatima, Our Lady told the children that in the end, Russia will be converted. Conchita stated in 1968 that “Russia will be converted as a consequence of the miracle.” At Lourdes, the Blessed Virgin told Bernadette; “I cannot promise you happiness in this life; only in the next.” In 1963, Conchita writes; “[The Virgin] added; ‘Although you will not be happy on earth, you will be happy in heaven.'” The Blessed Virgin told the children of Fatima and Bernadette that they would have much to suffer, which is what the Virgin at Garabandal told Loli and Conchita (and indeed the children endured much suffering for the rest of their lives, particularly Loli and Conchita). At Fatima, the Blessed Virgin also ordered the children to pray the Rosary daily, which again corresponds to what the Virgin told the girls at Garabandal.
7. Support by Mother Teresa and Padre Pio. Mother Teresa was known for her support of Garabandal (this may be verified by contacting the Sisters of Charity in NY). And Padre Pio had voiced his support of Garabandal on a number of occasions, including to direct witnesses such a Joey Lomangino, who was told by Padre Pio to visit Garabandal. Father Bernardino, then acting Superior of Padre Pio’s convent in San Giovanni Rotondo, wrote a letter in 1969, which contained the following; “While he was living, the same Padre Pio guaranteed the authenticity of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin. He met with Conchita at San Giovanni Rotondo. Even during the last days of his life, he talked about this to his brothers in religious life.” (noting that Padre Pio was also careful not to take a public stance on them).
There can be no doubt that two of the greatest Saints in Church history (perhaps best qualified to discern supernatural origin) have positively discerned Garabandal to be authentic.