Garabandal apparitions

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Parochial church of San Sebastián de Garabandal (situated in Cantabria, Northern Spain)

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.[1]

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. The bishops of Santander have yet to identify anything to indicate an occurrence of supernatural nature.


The events at Garabandal began on June 18, 1961, to four girls eleven and twelve years old:

  • Mari Loli Mazón (May 1, 1949 – April 20, 2009)
  • Jacinta González (b. April 27, 1949)
  • Mari Cruz González (b. June 21, 1950)
  • Maria "Conchita" Concepción González (b. February 7, 1949) said that they saw an angel.

The angel made another appearance on June 25. The story quickly spread throughout the village. They subsequently reported seeing the Blessed Virgin. These claims continued for a number of years.


According to the visionaries, the purpose of the visitations was to call for a "conversion of heart". 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."[2]

The June 18, 1965, apparition, in which Conchita heard the second message, was televised live by Spanish television.[3] 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 Cardinals, Bishops and 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...Reflect on the Passion of Jesus.[4]

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 woman stated many times that Mary stressed the importance of the priesthood, and focused attention on priests above others.

Besides the two "messages", 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, with all people then seeing 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, but not touched. The "miracle" will occur between March and May. The "punishment", or "chastisement", is conditional upon how humankind reacts to the preceding "warning" and "miracle".

According to the Garabandal apparitions, John Paul II would have been the last reigning Pope and then it would be the end of times.[5]

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.[6]

Position of the Catholic Church[edit]

Altar of the Parochial church of Garabandal village
Small chapel placed in the mountain of Garabandal village dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel

Past practice regarding approved apparitions indicates that in the absence of clear supernatural proof, neither the local bishop nor Rome is likely to approve an apparition.[7] Authorities maintain a conservative attitude toward the apparitions. In accordance with usual procedure concerning claimed visitations, the Bishop of Santander has primary jurisdiction. Four successive bishops of Santander have viewed the supernatural character of Garabandal as unfounded.[8]

On 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.[9]

In 1967 Bishop Vicente Puchol Montiz of Santander issued an "official note" declaring: "There was no apparition either of the Blessed Virgin or of St. Michael the Archangel or of any other celestial personage. There was no message. All the phenomena which occurred have a natural explanation."[10] Despite claims from Garabandal devotees that jurisdiction lies with the Holy See, on May 10, 1969, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a declaration giving "full support to Bishop Montiz, saying he 'acted correctly in this matter, and in full accord with his authority.'"[10]

Regarding the alleged Marian apparitions at Garabandal, Bishop Jose Vilaplana in 1993 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].[11] He further expressed the opinion that he did not find it necessary to reiterate this in a new declaration and give undue publicity to something which happened so long ago.

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. 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 the 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.[12]


In 1972, Mari Loli Mazón moved to the United States, where she would live for the next 37 years until her death in Plaistow, New Hampshire in 2009. Jacinta González became Jacinta Moynihan and is living in Oxnard, California, just north of Los Angeles with her husband, Jeffrey Moynihan and daughter Maria. Mari Cruz González lives in Aviles, Spain and is married with four children (Gabriel was born in 1975, Juan Carlos — in 1978, Lourdes — in 1981 and Ignacio — in 1985). Conchita González later went to the United States and married Patrick Keena in 1973; they live in New York City with their four children but they also maintain a house in Fátima, Portugal.


In his book Person and God in a Spanish Valley, W. A. Christian, Jr., who spent some time in Garabandal, suggests that the alleged apparitions arose from a perceived threat to traditional local beliefs and practices due to some changes resulting from the Second Vatican Council.[13]

The Garabandal apparitions had the support of members of the family of Prince Xavier of Bourbon-Parma, pretender to the Spanish and French thrones. Conchita Gonzales attended a public papal audience with some of the Bourbon-Parmas. There was, however, no private audience or special blessing as claimed.[10]


Skeptical investigator Joe Nickell has written that the alleged Garabandal miracles came from anecdotal reports, never performed under reliable conditions or observed by experts in deception, such as professional magicians. According to Nickell they have "the earmarks of childish stunts and simple tricks." Nickell also noted that on three occasions the "Garabandal visionaries retracted some statements they had made about their experiences."[14]

See also[edit]


  • 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
  • Francisco Sanchez-Ventura y Pascual, 1965, The Apparitions of Garabandal


  1. ^ Michael Freze, 1993, Voices, Visions, and Apparitions, OSV Publishing ISBN 0-87973-454-X page 267
  2. ^ F. Sanchez-Ventura y Pascual, The Apparitions of Garabandal (San Miguel, 1966), p. 119.
  3. ^ Garabandal Film 08 - Second Message June 18th, 1965 on YouTube; video of the events preceding the apparition and Conchita during her reported ecstasy.
  4. ^ F. Sanchez-Ventura y Pascual, The Apparitions of Garabandal (San Miguel, 1966), p. 171.
  5. ^ "Rewriting the Future: The story of the modern Catholic scenario for the End Times". Catholic World Report. December 14, 2019. See also Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the distinction between Papal munus and ministerium.
  6. ^ Sanchez-Ventura, p. 123.
  7. ^ Donovan, Colin B., STL, Garabandal
  8. ^ ""Marian Apparitions: Facts and Theological Meaning", The Mary Page, University of Dayton". Archived from the original on 2013-03-15. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
  9. ^ O'Neill, Michael (2015). Exploring the miraculous. Huntington, Indiana. p. 224. ISBN 978-1612787794.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  10. ^ a b c "Vatican Denies Garabandal Claim", The Catholic Transcript, Volume LXXII, Number 5, 23 May 1969
  11. ^ Vilaplana, Msgr. Jose. "The Alleged Apparitions at Garabandal, Spain", EWTN
  12. ^ "Garabandal Letters", International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio Archived October 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Christian, Jr., W. A., Person and God in a Spanish Valley, 2nd ed., Princeton University Press, 1989
  14. ^ Nickell, Joe. (1993). Looking for a Miracle: Weeping Icons, Relics, Stigmata, Visions & Healing Cures. Prometheus Books. pp. 183-184. ISBN 1-57392-680-9

External links[edit]