The Events Of Garabandal
San Sebastian de Garabandal is a small hamlet of some 80 humble dwellings located in the Cantabrian Mountains of northwest Spain.
On June 18, 1961, four girls, Mari Loli Mazon (12), Jacinta Gonzalez (12), Mari Cruz Gonzalez (11), and Conchita Gonzalez (12) were playing on the outskirts of the village when they heard a sound like thunder.
Suddenly, there stood before them a dazzling angel. He said nothing and quickly disappeared. Pale and visibly shaken, the four girls ran to the village church and the apparition soon became known.
Over the next twelve days, the angel appeared to them several more times and then on July 1, he spoke for the first time, announcing that on the following day, the Blessed Virgin would appear to them as Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Our Lady Appears To The Children
News spread quickly. On July 2, many priests were among the numerous visitors who joined the villagers to witness the great event. At about 6:00pm, the children were headed for the spot where they had been seeing the angel when the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared with an angel on each side.
They recognized one of the angels as the one who had been appearing to them (later identified as St. Michael the Archangel) and the other looked identical. Above the Virgin was a large eye that the children thought to be the eye of God.
They spoke openly and familiarly with their Heavenly Mother and said the rosary in her presence. Over the next year and a half she would appear hundreds of times.
Interior Calls Precede Ecstatic Raptures
The girls' visions were preceded by three interior calls (llamadas) each becoming stronger than the last. After the third call they would run to the sunken lane where the visions first began and crashing to their knees on the jagged rocks, they enter into heavenly rapture.
Their heads were thrown back, the pupils of their eyes dilated and their faces imbued with an angelic countenance. They were insensitive to pricks, burns, physical contact or bright spotlights which were directly shone into their eyes.
Their weight factor changed so much that two grown men had great difficulty in lifting one 12-year-old girl and yet they could lift each other with the greatest of ease to offer a kiss to the Virgin.
Ecstatic Walk And Falls Defy Natural Laws
As the apparitions continued, new phenomena began to occur. With their heads thrown back and unable to see where they were going, the girls in ecstasy would march arm-in-arm, without the slightest difficulty either frontwards or backwards over very hazardous terrain and sometimes at a pace so rapid that onlookers running at full speed were unable to keep up with them.
During these ecstatic "flights" they were able to stop instantly defying the laws of physics as the following crowd, like a speeding car trying to come to a screeching halt, would go right past them. Afterwards, the visionaries were neither out of breath nor perspiring and their pulse rates were normal.
The girls also began to make spectacular falls in ecstasy either collectively or individually. Sometimes they would fall straight backwards, stiff as a board, without bending any part of the body or using the hands to cushion the fall.
The loud thud made when they hit the ground frightened onlookers but the visionaries were never hurt. From this prone position, they would rise without pushing themselves up in any way.
In collective falls they were described by witnesses as "beautiful sculptures" and their clothing was never immodestly ruffled.
A Jesuit Priest Also Sees Our Lady & Future Miracle
One of the many priests to witness the events of Garabandal was Fr. Luis Maria Andreu, a young theology professor from Ona, Spain. On the night of August 8, 1961, while observing the visionaries in ecstasy, Fr. Luis cried out four times, "Miracle!"
On the drive home with friends later that night and into the next morning he exclaimed, "What a wonderful present the Virgin has given me! How lucky we are to have a mother like that in heaven... Today is the happiest day of my life!" Shortly after pronouncing these words he lowered his head and passed from this life to the next.
In a subsequent vision, the Virgin told the seers that Fr. Luis had seen her and a preview of the great Miracle and that he died of joy.
Our Lady Kisses Religious Objects And Wedding Rings
When witnesses heard that Our Lady wanted to kiss religious objects, many rosaries, medals, crucifixes and wedding rings were given to the seers to present to the Virgin.
Often, the objects were given to the visionaries in such a way that they couldn't possibly know to whom each belonged, the articles having either been placed on a table set aside for this purpose when the seers were not present or being handed to them by persons other than the rightful owners.
Yet, in ecstasy, guided by Our Lady, they never made a mistake in returning wedding rings and other articles to the right person. On the Virgin's last visit to Garabandal she told Conchita, "through this kiss I have bestowed on these objects my Son will perform prodigies..."
This promise has been fulfilled in numerous reported cures from around the world.
A Miracle Of The Visible Communion
To confirm the supernatural character of the events, St. Michael told Conchita that on a certain date, the invisible Communion he had been giving her would become visible on her tongue.
So, in the early morning hours of July 19, 1962, she left her house in ecstasy, turned a corner, and fell to her knees in an adjacent street. As the crowd pressed around her, she put out her tongue and those just inches away affirmed that it was bare and the mouth empty.
Then, faster than the eye could see, a brilliant white Host appeared on her tongue. An amateur photographer with a movie camera a few feet away and only flashlight illumination was able to film the last few moments of the miracle.
Events Have No Natural Explanation
The visionaries in ecstasy were carefully studied by eminent doctors and psychiatrists. One child specialist certified that the girls were always completely normal and that the ecstasies did not fall under any known physiological phenomena.
Dr. Ricardo Puncernau, leading Spanish neuropsychiatrist stated, "From a strictly scientific point of view, one cannot deny the possibility of a supernatural cause in all these phenomena."
Dr. Garcia Ruiz and Dr. Ortiz Gonzales said, "To keep silent would be true scientific cowardice...we do not find any convincing explanation for such phenomena."
Conchita has four children, Mari Loli, three, and Jacinta, one. Mari Cruz is also married, living in Spain and has four children.
Mari-Loli Lafleur died on Monday 20th April 2009 in New Hampshire, U.S.A. For many years Mari-Loli suffered from Lupus and Scleroderma which ultimately caused fibrosis of her lungs. Loli died surrounded by her loving family and sister Sari (visiting from Spain at the time) who were all praying the Rosary at her bedside. Eternal rest grant unto her O lord and may your Perpetual Light shine upon her soul. Amen.