The Garabandal apparitions are apparitions of Saint Michael the Archangel and the Blessed Virgin Mary that are claimed to have occurred from 1961 to 1965 to four young schoolgirls in the rural village of San Sebastián de Garabandal in the Peña Sagra mountain range in the autonomous community of Cantabria in Northern Spain. The visitations numbered in the thousands, drew huge crowds, and featured supposed paranormal phenomena, much of it filmed or photographed, with thousands of witnesses. The women receiving the visions were Mari Loli Mazón (May 1, 1949 – April 20, 2009), Jacinta González (born April 27, 1949), Mari Cruz González (born June 21, 1950) and Conchita González (born February 7, 1949).
The Virgin Mary in this series of claimed visitations is often referred to as "Our Lady of Mount Carmel of Garabandal", because her appearance and dress looked like portrayals of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
According to the visionaries, the purpose of the visitations was to call for a "conversion of heart". (In the context of most Marian apparitions, "conversion" does not necessarily mean a religious conversion to the Catholic Church, but rather sincere repentance for past sins and amending one's life to follow more closely the teachings of Jesus Christ.)
The visionaries reported receiving two 'messages', one directly from the Blessed Virgin Mary and the other from the Virgin Mary by way of Saint Michael the Archangel. The first, revealed on October 18, 1961, states:
We must make many sacrifices, perform much penance, and visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. But first, we must lead good lives. If we do not, a chastisement will befall us. The cup is already filling up, and if we do not change, a very great chastisement will come upon us.
The June 18, 1965 apparition, in which Conchita heard the second message, was televised live by Spanish television. Only Conchita González, regarded by most devotees of Garabandal as the "principal visionary", reported receiving the second "message":
As my Message of the 18th of October has not been complied with, and as it has not been made known to the world, I am telling you that this is the last one. Previously, the Cup was filling; now, it is brimming over. Many priests are following the road to perdition, and with them they are taking many more souls. Ever less importance is being given to the Holy Eucharist. We should turn the wrath of God away from us by our own efforts. If you ask His forgiveness with a sincere heart. He will pardon you. I, your Mother, through the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel, wish to tell you that you should make amends. You are now being given the last warnings. I love you very much, and I do not want your condemnation. Ask Us sincerely and We shall grant your plea. You must make more sacrifices. Reflect on the Passion of Jesus.
The second message caused particular controversy when it was revealed that Conchita had actually written "many cardinals, many bishops and many priests are following the road to perdition." She was asked many times to verify this information. The young women stated many times that Mary stressed the importance of the priesthood, and focused attention on priests above other witnesses at the apparitions.
Besides the two", the visionaries forecast a "warning", a "miracle" and a "punishment" (if people do not correct their ways). The warning is described as a momentary stopping of time around the world, and people see the spiritual condition of their souls, and how they should amend their ways. Within a year of the warning, a miracle will take place. The miracle will leave a permanent sign in Garabandal, which can be seen and photographed.
In addition to the predicted events, devotees believe a "small" miracle took place in the early morning hours of July 19, 1961. A photo, reproduced in all books and websites on Garabandal, is said to be taken from a film in which a Holy Communion wafer materialized in Conchita's open mouth, supposedly put there by an angel. The girls often claimed that an angel gave them Communion, and were frequently seen going through the motions of receiving the Eucharist.
Position of the Church
The history of all approved apparitions shows that the Church requires unequivocal evidence of supernaturality. In the absence of some clear supernatural proof, neither the local bishop nor Rome is likely to approve an apparition. Authorities maintain a conservative attitude toward the apparitions. In accordance with usual procedure concerning claimed visitations, the Bishop of Santander had sole jurisdiction.
At the time, the Bishop of Santander determined a non constat—that is, the events could not be confirmed to be of supernatural origin. Regarding the alleged Marian apparitions at Garabandal, Bishop Jose Vilaplana stated that: "All the bishops of the diocese from 1961 through 1970 asserted that the supernatural character of the said apparitions, that took place around that time, could not be confirmed. [no constaba]. He expressed his opinion that it would be prudent to wait until the promised miracle happens to determine the veracity of Garabandal.
The Bishop's Official Letter:Regarding the theological content of the Messages, in His “Official Note” of July 8, 1965 Bishop Eugenio Beitia of Santander wrote, “We point out, however, that we have not found anything deserving of ecclesiastical censorship or condemnation either in the doctrine or in the spiritual recommendations that have been publicized as having been addressed to the faithful, for these contain an exhortation to prayer and sacrifice, to Eucharistic devotion, to veneration of Our Lady in traditional praiseworthy ways, and to holy fear of God offended by our sins. They simply repeat the common doctrine of the Church in these matters.”
Manuel Pio López, Archbishop of Jalapa (Mexico) Translated from original :Dear Father:Keeping in mind the indications of the Holy See and of His Excellency the Bishop of Santander, as required by Canon Law, we give our approval and blessing to the publication in our Archdiocese of the Message of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary at San Sebastian de Garabandal, knowing as we do, in the light of Divine Revelation, that we are urgently required to practice prayer, sacrifice and devotion to the Holy Eucharist and the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, and to display filial obedience, love and faithfulness towards the Vicar of Christ and the Holy Church.We consequently find nothing in this Message, attributed to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, that is contrary to the Faith or morals; rather do we note its opportune, useful and beneficial admonitions for the attainment of eternal salvation.Prompt and filial obedience to the provisions of the Church has been the characteristic of the privileged persons in these apparitions, and this is a sure mark of God's presence for everyone to see.The Holy Church showed its wisdom in relation to these important events by giving them careful study and by exercising pastoral vigilance; it did not issue any kind of prohibition or rejection.One of the Officials of the Sacred Congregation for the Defense of the Faith, Msgr. Philippi, who was consulted in Rome by the Very Rev. P. Elias, Superior of the Carmel of the City of Puebla, on the subject of the apparitions of the Most Blessed Virgin at Garabandal, stated that the fact that Padre Pio -- well known for his virtue, his knowledge and his faithfulness to the Holy See -- acknowledged these apparitions, and encouraged the 4 Visionaries to spread the Message of the Most Blessed Virgin, was great proof of the authenticity of these apparitions.Given at Jalapa de la Inmaculada on the 8th of July 1966 Manuel Pio López, Archbishop of Jalapa (Mexico)
In a letter to Archbishop Philip M. Hannan of New Orleans, Louisiana, dated April 21, 1970, Cardinal Seper, Prefect of the congregation For the Sacred Doctrine of the Faith, stated:
"The Holy see has always held that the conclusions and dispositions of the Bishop of Santander were sufficiently secure guidelines for the Christian people and indications for the Bishops to order to dissuade people from participating in pilgrimages and other acts of devotion that are based on claims connected with or founded on the presumed apparitions and messages of Garabandal. On March 10, 1996, this Sacred Congregation wrote a letter to this effect to the Bishop of Santander who had also asked for a more explicit declaration of the Holy See to the matter.
"However promoters of the Garabandal movement have tried to minimize the decisions and the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Santander. This Sacred Congregation wants it to be clearly understood that the Bishop of Santander has been and continues to be the only one with complete jurisdiction in this matter and the Holy See has no intention of examining this question any further, since it holds that the examinations already carried out are sufficient as well as are the official declarations of the Bishop of Santander. There is no truth to the statement that the Holy See has named an Official Papal Private Investigator of Garabandal and affirmations attributed to the anonymous personage to the extent that the verification of the Garabandal apparitions lies completely in the hands of Pope Paul VI and other such expressions that aim at undermining the authority of the decisions of the Bishop of Santander are completely unfounded.
"In order to reply to certain doubts that you expressed in your letter this Sacred Congregation wishes to assert: that the Holy See has never approved even indirectly the Garabandal movement, that it has never encouraged or blessed Garabandal promoters or centers. Rather the Holy See deplores that fact that certain persons and Institutions persist in formatting the movement in obvious contradiction with the dispositions of ecclesiastical authority and thus disseminate confusion among the people especially among the simple and defenseless."
In April 2007, Joey Lomangino, founder of a large organization for U.S. Garabandal devotees, received from Conchita a copy of a letter dated February 12, 2007 from Archbishop Carlos Sierra of Oviedo. Sierra is the acting Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Santander in Spain, and the letter was addressed to a prominent Garabandal supporter in that country.
"I want you to know that I am open to receiving and considering all information about Garabandal, and would like to continue—as long as our Holy Father wishes me to serve as Apostolic Administrator—the work that my brothers at the Bishopric have already done in reference to this subject. What I have just done is authorize the priests to go to Garabandal and hold Holy Mass at the Parish, at any desired time, and to administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation to anyone that wishes to receive it. I am sure the next Bishop will promote further studies to examine in depth the Garabandal events and will send the findings to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. I respect apparitions and have known of authentic conversions. How can we not always feel the need to open our heart to our Mother Mary to tell her that we need her protection, her help, her courage, her hope, her faith and her love when faced with these events! I encourage you to keep maintaining such devotion toward our Mother." - Carlos, Archbishop of Oviedo
Pope Paul VI and Garabandal.
The Blessed Virgin, in conversation with the young visionaries of Garabandal, mentioned the Holy Father on several occasions, and told them, "Pray, pray for the Pope" . It is an interesting fact that Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical "Mysterium Fidei" concerning "the weakening of devotion toward the Holy Eucharist" on September 3, 1965, only eleven weeks after Our Lady had complained, "Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist."
Early in 1966 Conchita was called to the Vatican. Gardinal Ottaviani, the pro-Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Holy Office) had instructed Fr. Luna: "With or without the permission of the bishop, bring the young girls to me." During January 12-16 she was interviewed for 2 1/2 hours by the Cardinal and saw other members of the Congregation, afterwards she saw the Pope and gave him the date of the Great Miracle to come. She then paid a visit to Padre Pio, the famous stigmatist. Upon her return, at an audience in St. Peter's, the Holy Father came to her and announced joyfully in a clear voice, "Conchita, I, the Pope, bless you and with me the whole Church blesses you."
In February 1968 Conchita was again summoned to Rome by Cardinal Francis Seper. The Vatican paid for this and she was lodged for 15 days at the home of Lugina, a personal friend of the Pope.After her meeting with Cardinal Seper, she was apparently received by the Holy Father but she told questioners, "I cannot say anything in this regard. "
The November 7, 1968 bulletin of Peru's Legion Blanca under the imprimatur of Mgr. Alfonso Zapana Belliza, Bishop of Tacna, Peru, quotes the late Pope Paul VI as having said at a private audience these inspiring words: "Garabandal the most beautiful story of humanity since the birth of Jesus Christ! It is also the second sojourn of the most Holy Virgin on this earth, and we have no adequate words to express our gratitude."
Pope Paul VI had all the while shown a very special interest in the apparitions. At an audience given to Fr. Jose Escalda, S.J., the latter mentioned there were many opponents of the apparitions even amongst his own people. His Holiness promptly rejoined: "It doesn't matter; tell these gentlemen that it is the Pope who has said that it is most important and most urgent to make these messages known to the world."
On March 3, 1969, the Pope, replying to a letter ' sent to him by Mrs. N. Baco of the Anglo-French Centre, sent his Apostolic Blessing to her and to all "Garabandalists in England and Ireland."
In June 1969, Pope Paul sent his personnal blessing to Difurora Mariana of Mexico, along with the gift of a crucifix for every member of the Garabandal Centre there, encouraging them to continue promoting the messages of Garabandal.
On May 7, 1970, addressing a group of Garabandal pilgrims from St. Michael's. Garabandal Centre, Brockton, Mass., U.S.A., the Pope blessed their banner, saying, "Be in the Vanguard! Forward!" The following day L'Osservatore, the official Vatican newspaper, carried the news on the front page.
In 1975, Jacinta, the visionary visited Rome in order to gain the Holy Year indulgence. The then Bishop of Santander, Bishop del Val, had given her a personal letter of introduction addressed to certain Cardinals of the Sacred Congregation. She was received with great kindness by Cardinal Ottaviani for 30 minutes. He told her, "Jacinta, I am with you, but we have to pray much and have much patience : it. is necessary to pray that the Church will become aware of the importance of Garabandal." .Cardinal Philippe who was presiding over a Bishops' Conference, left it in order to meet her and tell her, "I bless you in the name of the Madonna and I am fully with you. " She was also told, ' `It is very important that the four of you remainunited. "
It is therefore possible that Pope Paul VI had the Garabandal prophecies in mind when, after speaking of the notable events of the Holy Year, during a general audience on January 7, 1976, he added this comment:"Finally, certain secrets of the Divine Mercy in which are revealed the thrilling resources of the' Kingdom of God, are indication that we have reached a decisive and great hour.
"In his book 'Garabandal The Village Speaks, Ramon Perez concludes: "At the end of 1980 we are still at the same point: Rome takes the affair very seriously but officially she declares that it is the Bishop of Santander who must decide."
Pope John Paul II
There is a book on Garabandal, written by Albrecht Weber in 1993, entitled Garabandal Der Zeigefmger Gottes (Garabandal: The Finger of God), of which a first edition copy was presented to Pope John Paul II. He later asked his secretary, Fr. (now Archbishop) Stanislaus Dziwisz, to write to the author. In the subsequent printing (2000) of the book, on page 19, a portion of the Pope's message is reprinted, as follows: "May God reward you for everything. Especially for the deep love with which you are making the events connected with Garabandal more widely known. May the Message of the Mother of God find an entrance into hearts before it is too late. As an expression of joy and gratitude, the Holy Father gives you his apostolic blessing." Weber writes, "From the attached greeting in the Pope's own handwriting, with his signature, it is clear how deep an interest he has in the events of Garabandal, and how anxious he is that they should be made known in a credible way." On July 23, 1988, during a special general audience with the Pope at the Vatican ... "special" because it was held on Saturday, rather than the usual Wednesday... Father Robert introduced Garabandal Visionary Mari-Loli and family to him. Father Robert who was holding 7 year old Maria Dolores, one of the three Lafleur children, said to the Pope: "Your Holiness, a special blessing for your littlest children who come on behalf of The Blessed Virgin from Garabandal." Our Holy Father exclaimed "Garabandal!". . . And immediately kissed Maria Dolores.
Padre Pio affirms Garabandal.
( Now Saint Pio ) Joachim Bouflet,PH.D. went to Padre Pio for confession in July of 1968. Padre Pio told him "Pray to the Madonna. Consecrate yourself to the Virgin of Carmel." "Yes, Padre, I pray to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. For that matter, I would like to become a Carmelite." He didn't comment on this but repeated with insistence, "Consecrate yourself to the Virgin of Carmel who appeared at Garabandal." "So it's true?" Padre Pio said "Certo e vero!" ("Yes, it's true!") From the book “The Final Hour “ (Michael Brown) page 141 On the topic of Padre Pio ‘s belief in Garabandal: “Asked on another occasion about its authenticity, he answered curtly, ”How many times must she appear there to be believed ? “ Handed a book on Garabandal, Padre Pio gazed fixedly ath the cover and as though by chance, opened to the page with the last message-” the cup was overflowing” message of June 18,1965. He then closed the book and blessed it.
Joey Lomangino’s recall of the when he talked to Padre Pio: “We made arrangements to come back again that same day and greeted Padre Pio in the cloister. When we knelt down, we said to him, “Padre Pio, is it true that the Virgin is appearing to the four girls of Garabandal?” And he said, “Yes.” We said, “Padre Pio, should we go there? He said, “Yes, why not?” And that’s how it happened. Because I received the assurance from Padre Pio that the Virgin was appearing and that he permitted me to go, then I wasn’t afraid and I went. “
Mother Teresa - In late 2003, she was beatified, the third step toward possible sainthood, giving her the title "Blessed Teresa of Calcutta". The famous Foundress of the Missionaries of Charity has never expressed any doubts about her profound belief in the divine origin of Garabandal: "It was in 1970 that I heard about the apparitions of San Sebastian de Garabandal for the first time . . . From the beginning, I felt that the 'events' were authentic . . ." (Letter of November 10, 1987 to Msgr. del Val).
- Conchita González, 1965, Diario de Conchita de Garabandal
- Conchita González, 1983, Miracle at Garabandal, ISBN 0-385-18890-0
- Judith Albright, 1997, Our Lady at Garabandal, ISBN 1-880033-04-6
- F. Sanchez-Ventura, 1965, The Apparitions of Garabandal
- Marian apparitions
- San Sebastián de Garabandal
- Saint Michael the Archangel
- Our Lady of Mount Carmel
- Order of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
- Michael Freze, 1993, Voices, Visions, and Apparitions, OSV Publishing ISBN 0-87973-454-X page 267
- F. Sanchez-Ventura y Pascual, The Apparitions of Garabandal (San Miguel, 1966), p. 119.
-  video of the events preceding the apparition and Conchita during her reported ecstasy.
- Sanchez-Ventura, p. 171.
- The Priesthood, collection of PDF articles by the Workers of Our Lady of Carmel at Garabandal, website found 2008-12-22.
- Sanchez-Ventura, p. 123.
- Donovan, Colin B., STL, Garabandal
- Vilaplana at EWTN
- University of Dayton, Garabandal Letters
- New York Center Update for May 2007, Workers of Our Lady of Carmel website. Webpage found 2009-01-08.
- Saint Joseph Publications St. Joseph Publications, a nonprofit foundation, incorporated in 1973. Books and videos of Our Lady’s apparitions, especially Garabandal and Fátima, are available on this site free for download.
- Workers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel de Garabandal – Official Web site of the Workers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The organization was founded by Joey Lomangino in Lindenhurst, New York (1968).
- Workers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel de Garabandal – The international organization.
- Pilgrimage to Garabandal – Catholic pilgrimages to San Sebastián de Garabandal, Spain.
- St. Michael's Garabandal Center – Recent news, books and videos. The entire text of Sanchez Ventura y Pascal's classic book The Apparitions of Garabandal is available here.
- Garabandal Videos – Video Clips of the apparitions, with the letters from Bishop José Viliplana of Santander and Cardinal Seper.