Treasures of the Church- Marian Shrines and Apparitions

Apparitions of Our Lady in Garabandal


Garabandal is a small village consisting of 300 habitants and located in the Cantabria Mountains of northern Spain in the province of Santander. Saint Sebastian of Garabandal is at the end of a very curved road which starts from another village named Cosio. In a solitary area, nine pines stand out between the mountains surrounding Garabandal. In the decade of the 60's it was a very poor village, without trains, roads, or telephone. Most of the people were Catholics and very faithful to Church custom.

At sunset you would find a woman walking through the streets as she rang a bell to remind the people to pray the Angelus for the souls in purgatory, and at noontime the bells in the Church would ring, and people would stop working to pray the Angelus.

St. Sebastian lived days of peace until June 18, 1961. Since this date everything changed in this small corner of the Cantabria mountain range: millions of people, driven by curiosity, devotion or hope, started to flock the area in an interrupted manner. A journalist from Navarra called the village the “Spanish Lourdes.” The pilgrims responded to a very special call, a call from heaven that our Blessed Mother made. In the afternoon of Sunday, June 18th, 1961, four girls said to have seen an apparition of an angel. The girls were Conchita Gonzalez, Mari Cruz Gonzalez, Jacinta Gonzalez, and Mari Loli Mazon. Conchita relates the first apparition:
“We took apples not belonging to us, and we thought the devil to be happy and our poor guardian angel to be sad. Then we started to pick up stones and throw them with all our strength to the left side. We thought the devil was there. We started to play with the stones. All of a sudden a beautiful figure appeared with so much brightness that it hurt my eyes. The other girls who saw me in this state thought I was having some kind of an attack, and they were ready to call my mother, but then they remained in the same state as I was and we exclaimed at the same time:

“There, an Angel!” Later the Angel identified himself as St. Michael the Archangel. St. Michael appeared several times. The first time he spoke to the girls was July 1st, 1961, and said to them: “Do you know why I had come? To announce to you that tomorrow, Sunday, the Virgin Mary will appear as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.”

On Sunday, July 2nd about 6 pm, the girls went to the alley which led them to the nine pine trees, and a great multitude of people followed them, with various priests and doctors among them. Approaching the place, the visionaries encountered, to their surprise, the Blessed Virgin Mary who came accompanied by two angels. One of them was St. Michael and the other was unknown.

They described our Lady: “She comes with a white dress, blue mantel, a crown with 12 golden stars, her hands stretched out, with a brown scapular, carrying the child in her arms: her hair was brown and long, parted in the middle; her face was long with a fine nose; her mouth was very beautiful, with lips a little thick. She appeared to be 17 years old and tall.”

The Messages

In the apparitions of Garabandal that occurred from June 18th, 1961 to June 18th, 1965 two messages were especially given out.

The first was given by Our Lady to the girls on July 4th, 1961; this message had already been written on a sign at St. Michael the Archangel’s feet in the month of June, during the apparitions of the angel to the girls. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel asked the girls not to make this message public until October 18th. They did as Our Lady requested. In the autumn of 1961, the visionaries made known to the world the 1st message which said:
“Much sacrifice needs to be done and much penance, we have to visit the Blessed Sacrament much , but before we have to be very good. If we do not do this, a punishment will come. The cup is being filled, and if we don’t change a punishment will come.”

The message speaks about sacrifice and penance and reminds us of the gospel teaching of the prediction of St. John the Baptist: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mt 3:1-3) The same Christ inaugurates his preaching saying: “ Repent, and believe in the Good News . . .” (Mc 1:15) It is the eternal message of the prophets and was insistently reminded by the Blessed Virgin Mary in La Sallete, Lourdes, Fatima, but unfortunately forgotten by the majority of people. That is why if we don’t change, a punishment will come, manifesting that the justice of God has consequences for the sins of men for wrongly using their liberty.

“The cup is filling.” This is Biblical apocalyptic language which reminds us of the 7 angels with 7 chalices of gold(15,7) full of God’s anger.

“We have to visit much the Blessed Sacrament.” This reminds us of the real presence of Christ with His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in moments when even Catholics, and even priests, have lost faith in the Eucharist.

“But before we have to be very good.” This means we have to live in a state of grace, remove from our lives mortal sin with the help of God’s grace and participation of the Sacraments.

The Blessed Virgin communicated a “second message” four years later towards the end of the apparitions.

Our Lady said to Conchita on January 1st, 1965 that the Archangel Michael would appear on the 18th of June and give a message in her name to the whole world. Through the mediation of St. Michael, Our Lady complained that the first message was not listened to and warned the world that this would be the last.

The Virgin said: “Because it was not fulfilled and my message from October 18th, 1961 has not been made known to the world, I tell you this is the last one. Before the cup was being filled, but now it is overflowing. Many priests are walking through the path of perdition and taking with them many souls. Less and less importance is given to the Eucharist. You should prevent God’s anger upon you with your efforts. If you ask forgiveness with sincerity, He will forgive you. I, your Mother, through the intercession of the Archangel Michael, want to tell you to amend your lives. You are in the last warning. I love you very much and don’t want your condemnation; ask and you will receive. You should do more sacrifice; think more in the passion of Jesus.”

It is clear in this message that not hearing or obeying the messages of Our Lady have serious consequences. She insists that the cup is overflowing and “the priests are walking on the path of perdition taking with them many souls.”

This phrase in the year 1965 was not all too clear, because at this time the Second Vatican Council concluded with great hope for the majority of Catholics, especially for cardinals, bishops and priests. This optimism didn’t allow us to see the great crisis of faith and infidelity of many consecrated souls in the Church in the following years. In 1965 there were over 400,000 priests in the Church, and since then, 90,000 have left the priesthood. The hemorrhage was provoked by a certain current of thoughts that interpreted the teachings of the Second Vatican Council as “liberal“ and “progressive."

The consequences were known. The “Deposit of Faith,” the dogmas, and Christian morals were attacked.

Let us remember the violent universal opposition to the teaching office of the Church over family planning (Humanae Vitae), abortion, the social doctrine of the Church, catechism, the Papal authority, questions concerning the Eucharist, penance, resurrection and many more.

Because of the situation, Pope Paul VI spoke on January of 1976 about the “treason of the clerics.” In another occasion the Pope said: “It was thought that after the council a day of sunshine for the history of the Church would come, but on the contrary, the day of clouds came, storm and darkness, because Satan had intervened.”(6-29-1972)

“The Eucharist is given less importance.” This prophetic announcement highlights the unbelief of and infidelity to the Real Presence of Jesus, as well as irreverence in the celebration of the Holy Sacraments by the priests.

 The Blessed Virgin Mary comes as our Mother, confirming what Christ from the Cross gave us: “Woman, behold your son. Son, behold, your Mother.”( Jn 19:26). She always comes insisting and asking us to sacrifice more and to meditate more on the Passion of her Son.

In the Garabandal apparitions many prophetic visions exist about the immediate future of humanity and the Church. In the prophetic announcement of Garabandal, Conchita speaks of a warning, a miracle, and a punishment for humanity.

The Warning

January 1st, 1965, Conchita had a new apparition of Our Lady in which Mary spoke about the “warning,” a warning for the world to amend itself.

Conchita tells us: “I cannot say in what it consists, she has not ordered me to say it. She has not told me when it will be. Therefore, I don’t know. I do know that it will be visible for the entire world; it is a direct work of God and it will occur before the miracle. I don’t know if people will die. They can only die from the impression they see.”

In one of her letters she speaks about the warning:
“This warning,” she said, “is like a punishment, for the good and for the bad: for the good so they can draw closer to God and for the bad to tell them the end of times is near. This is to be the last warning.”

The warning will be the fruit of God’s justice and of his Mercy. Of His justice, because it is going to purify us of our sins; of His Mercy, because it will give us an opportunity of greater conversion in our spiritual life.

This warning will be a direct work of God’s intervention.

The warning that will come to the world will be external to us and will happen in the sky; a luminous flame of ardent fire, felt on the entire earth. Most importantly, interiorly we will see our conscience before God’s justice - what we have done wrong and what we have not done. In short, it will be like a particular judgment but wile still living. As well, the conscience of the world will be corrected - a purification before the miracle - to see if by the warning and the miracle we convert.

The Miracle

The girls asked insistently to Our Lady for a miracle. Like in Fatima, she said: “I will do a miracle for all to believe.”

In a note Conchita wrote:
“About the miracle, Our Lady only told me. She had prohibited me to say what it is about. I cannot say the date, until eight days before. What I can say is that it will coincide with a Church event and with a feast day of a Saint, a martyr of the Eucharist. It will be at 8:30 pm on a Thursday and be visible for all who are in town and around the mountains. The sick who are present will be healed and the unbelievers will believe. It will be the greatest miracle Jesus has done for the world. There will be no doubt that it comes from God and for the good of humanity. A sign of the miracle will stay for ever, near the pines. It can be filmed and televised."

We can signal out essential aspects of the miracle, according to what the girls related in interviews and letters, especially Conchita.

• Conchita knows the exact date, and communicated it to Pope Paul VI, to his confessor and to Cardinal Ottaviani, who was Pre-perfect of the Holy Oder, known today as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
• Conchita will announce it to the world 8 days before the date.
• There will be one year between the warning and the miracle.
• It will last between 10 minutes and 1/4 of an hour.
• It will occur on Thursday at 8:30 pm in the afternoon.
• Between the 6 - 16 in one of these three months: March, April & May.
• This day will not be a Marian Feast day.
• It will coincide with the feast day of a martyred saint in relation with the
• It will also coincide with an important, rare, singular event for the Church as well as for all Christianity - a happy and fortunate event.
• It will the greatest miracle Jesus has done for the world.
• It will be visible in Garabandal and in the mountains around the area; it cannot be touched, but it will be able to be filmed and televised.
• It will not be necessary for the girls to be present at the moment of the miracle.
• The sick present will be healed and the unbelievers will believe.
• The Pope will see the Miracle “where ever he may be.”

In the first days of June 1963, the bells in Garabandal started to ring. Conchita, who was in the kitchen of her house with her mother Aniceta, immediately exclaimed:
“The bells are ringing for a deceased. Surely it is for the Pope (John XXIII had died). Now there is only three Popes left.” Her mother, surprised, asked her what she said and Conchita responded that the Virgin told her after this Pope only three will be left. Her mother asked her if the “end of the world” will come. Conchita responded: “not the end of the world, but the end of times.” Aniceta asked if that did not mean the same. So Conchita responded: “The Virgin said to me: “After this Pope only three are left: and later, the end of times.”
(Diary of Conchita from 5-6-63)

The end of times should not be confused with the end of the world; the end of times coincide with the final era that, after the purification of humanity and renewal of the Church, will prepare for the beginning of the era of the glorious reign of Jesus Christ. This will be an era of holiness and grace. We have to remember the end of times started with the first coming of Christ.

The blind man Joey Lomangino will have new eyes the day of the miracle. Joey Lomangino was born in Brooklyn on June 27th, 1931. In June 1947, while inflating a tire, it blew up and a 10 inch fracture between his eyes resulted. Also, his optic nerves and olfactory senses were divided. The same year of the accident, through the help of his friends, Joey converted. One night soon after he was sleeping when a voice woke him up and asked him to pray the rosary.

In 1963, Joey traveled to San Giovanni Rotondo to see Padre Pio, and recovered his sense of smell even though he had no physical possibility of it. Joey asked Padre Pio if it is true the Virgin appeared to four girls in Spain. Padre Pio responded: “Yes.”  Joey then went to visit Garabandal and returned there many times. In one of Conchita’s ecstasies the Virgin blessed Joey’s Miraculous medal with a kiss on March 19th, 1964, the feast day of St. Joseph. Conchita had a locution and the Virgin said to her that Joey would receive new eyes the day of the Great miracle . . . that he will see the same day of the Miracle . . and the voice he heard in 1947 was her voice, the Blessed Virgin Mary’s.

We recall what the Second Vatican Council said about miracles in the Decree Ad Gentes, no. 12, “Christ healed all types of illness and ailments, as a sign of the coming of the kingdom of God . . .”

The day after the Miracle the body of the deceased Father Luis Maria Andreu will be unearthed and it will be incorrupt. The death of Father Luis Maria Andreu is one of the important reference points in the history of Garabandal. Father Luis was a professor of theology in the school that the Company of Jesus had in Burgos. He was 36 years old when he died. He and his brother Ramon arrived in Garabandal to investigate if the apparitions were authentic. August 8th, 1961 during an ecstasy of the visionaries, Father Luis appeared to be very moved and emotional and four times repeated the word “Miracle! Miracle!” According to the girls Father saw the great miracle announced by Our Lady. After remarking that it was the happiest day of his life, he assured everyone he was very happy because Our Lady had given him a gift, and he insisted that he was well and not tired. However, he died that same evening in the car without the slightest movement and with a sweet expression on his face. Father Andreu died of happiness.

An important event about this miracle is that Father was buried August 10th, 1961 and fifteen years later, in the beginning of 1976, the seminary where Father Luis had been buried was transformed into a psychiatric hospital. As a result, Father Luis’s body had to be exhumed and it was totally corrupted in a skeleton state. Through this, Divine Providence wanted the body of Father Luis Andreu to be found decomposed and verified in an irrefutable manner. Does God want to leave us a sign of hope, within the eschatological context of the apparitions, through the incorruption of a body previously decomposed? “The dead will resurrect incorrupt and we will be transformed” ( 1 Cor 15, 52 ).

The Punishment

The punishment was announced by the girls in the first message of October 18th, 1961. The girls narrated the punishment as best they could according to what they saw the night of June 19 - 20, 1962.

“It was similar to rivers transformed into blood. Fire came down from heaven and worse things; a great heat, scorching thirst, and water that evaporated. Men were chained and in desperation trying to kill one another; but due to lack of strength they either fell into the flames, while others threw themselves into the ocean. However,  the water seemed to boil and activate the flames.”

Conchita narrates in one of her writings:
“The punishment is dependent on whether or not humanity listens to the messages of Our Lady and the miracle. In the case that it does occur, I know in what it will consist because I have seen the punishment. I can reassure that if it does come, it is worse than if we were wrapped in fire; worse than if we had fire on top and fire underneath. I don’t know the time that will pass before God sends it after the miracle has occurred.”

The punishment of Garabandal reminds us of Sacred Scripture: it is the revelation to man of his sinful condition, of the narrow relationship between sin and punishment, of a God who judges and saves; punishment is nothing other than a healing medicine that seeks to restore the straight path. For some it will be an dead-end and eternal condemnation; for others, it will be an invitation to “return” to God. The Blessed Virgin in Garabandal did not come to preach punishments; she came to give us the means to avoid them: “I don’t want your condemnation,” Our Lady said in her message.

But if we do not obey the call of God to conversion, if we continue to willfully reject God and His healing love, the remission will end and the punishment from our sins will fall upon us . . . this will be the announced punishment.”

The Miracle of Holy Communion

The girls received Holy Communion frequently from St. Michael the Archangel. Many pictures can be seen of the visionaries receiving the invisible host. But on one occasion the girls asked the Angel to do a miracle for the people to see and believe. St. Michael responded that God was going to perform a miracle through his intercession and the girls. The miracle would occur on June 18th, 1962. On this day at 1:30 am, Conchita entered into ecstasy and a visible host suddenly and mysteriously appeared on her tongue. A person present with a camera took the picture of this miracle.

The Sacrament of the Eucharist is one of the basic pillars of the message of Garabandal. The Virgin calls us to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and in some messages she told Conchita that she was sad because Conchita did not spend time with Jesus. “Why don’t you go more frequently to visit my Son in the Blessed Sacrament? Why are you driven by your laziness, not going to visit Him when He is waiting day and night?” (last message of the Virgin to Conchita, Nov. 13th, 1965). The Blessed Virgin reminds us that Jesus waits for us to speak with Him, to repair, and to console his Pierced Heart.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus

It is very interesting how these apparitions in Garabandal are also related to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

On June 30th, 1961, Jacinta had a vision of the Sacred Heart. She described Him as dressed in white with a red stole; His Heart was luminous red, visible on the left side of His body, and it emitted white golden rays.

Jesus didn’t speak to her, but His left hand was pointed to His Heart, and His right hand invited the child to go to Him. Jacinta narrated that Jesus didn’t say anything, but He had a look of love and she felt He was saying to her: “I’m with you, and will always be with you.”

In the last apparition of the Virgin Mary to Conchita on November 13th, 1965, the Blessed Mother said:
“Remember what I said to you on your birthday that you will suffer much on earth? . . . I tell you this again. Have confidence in us and you will offer it with joy to Our Hearts, for the good of your brothers and sisters. In this way you will be more united to us.” The Virgin continued: “Conchita, I don’t come only for you. I come for all my children, with the desire to bring them closer to Our Hearts.”

We should work, sacrifice and do every thing to fulfill the wishes of our Mother. Everything she desires is the same as the desires of Her Son, of God. They desire the salvation of the world, and we should all draw closer and love the Immaculate Heart of Mary who will take us directly to the Heart of Jesus.

The doctrine of spiritual life is condensed in the devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary: redemption, co-redemption, passion and Eucharist. It is a call that demands our concrete response.

We should pray for the reign of the Two Hearts in us and in the entire world.

The Church’s position

On July 8th, 1963, the Bishop of Santander, Mons. Beitia Aldazaba, declared: “we have not found any material for ecclesiastical censure or condemnation, neither in doctrine or in the spiritual recommendations promulgated. They contain exhortations to prayer, sacrifice and devotion to the Eucharist, devotion to Our Lady in traditional forms, and to holy fear of the Lord, offended by our sins . . .”

From January 12 - 19th, 1966, Conchita, visionary of the principal prophesies and messages, was asked to go to Rome by the Prefect of the Faith, Cardinal Ottaviani. She was questioned for two hours by the same Cardinal and other members of the Sacred Congregation. From that meeting, Conchita requested an audience with Pope Paul VI. The audience took place and the Pope said to her: “Conchita, I bless you and with me the whole Church.”

The Pope granted the Apostolic Blessing to the work of diffusion or promulgation of the Garabandal messages on June 12th, 1967.

It was also said that an audience was given to the Jesuit Priest Fr. Javier Escalada. The priest said to the Vicar of Christ : “there is much opposition in believing the apparitions of Garabandal.” Pope Paul VI responded: “It doesn’t matter. Tell the people it is the Pope who wants to publicize the messages and with great urgency.”

In 1967, during the abrogation of Canon 1399 and Canon 2318, it was permitted to publish information about manifestations and to visit the places of such manifestations, without fear of any kind of ecclesiastical censure, always and when it agrees with the teachings of the Church on Faith and Christian Morals.
The Garabandal apparitions definitively passed the test.

To this date, the Church cannot declare anything about the manifestations in Garabandal, until the prophesies are fulfilled: the warning, the miracle and the permanent sign. During this time of waiting, all Catholics can visit and learn about the events of Garabandal.

The Church can only recognize the apparitions and messages of Garabandal as authentic when the prophesies are fulfilled, then the Church and the world will also recognize the events as direct work of God. Garabandal will give proof of its own authenticity.


In the last apparition of the Virgin Mary to Conchita, Conchita said to the Virgin: “I am so happy when I see you. Why don’t you take me with you now?” The Virgin responded: “Remember what I said to you . . .in order to present yourself before God you have to show your hands full of works done by you in favor of your brothers and for the Glory of God and, right now, your hands are empty.”

The Virgin did not want to “take” Conchita because her hands were empty of good works: may we all meditate this phrase and receive from God the necessary grace to fill our hands and stay on earth to gather the merits we are permitted in this world with the satisfaction and joy of knowing we have done the will of God.

The Virgin Mary comes for all humanity and for all her children, and she has all of us under her mantle. She loves all of us and she desires our salvation. The warning will be sent by God so that no one will doubt the miracle and so that the miracle will have the maximum response possible from the people; the miracle is the last effort to convert sinners and avoid, in all ways possible, the punishment from heaven.

The essence of the Virgin’s messages is summarized in the idea of centering our lives in the fulfillment of our duties. Each one of us, according to our state in life and condition, should repent for our faults and make an effort to be perfect. This perfection requires effort, sacrifice, and carrying our cross with joy.

This is the idea of penance referred to in the messages. Also, Lucia from Fatima eloquently clarified this after the locutions from Our Lord: "The sacrifices Our Lady asks from us are not extraordinary; the sacrifices Our Lady asks from her children are simply the fulfillment of our duties, each one of us according to our state and condition.

From an article written by Jose Maria Sanchez Ventura about suffering:
“To Our Lady: We live in a valley of tears. But I know these tears are not a symbol of bitterness, but rather the price of happiness. Men sometimes forget that You also cried, that the thorns of pain also penetrated your Virginal flesh without blemish. We forget that with your tears You cooperated in the work of redemption of Your Son, and we, with our tears, are to clean the dirt of so many nearsighted looks in order to reach the pure vision of God.

"Suffering is the fountain of wisdom among men and of grace before God. Suffering is the thorn of the rose, the price of health, the contrast to happiness, the peace of the war, the tribute of grace, the security of redemption. To suffering we owe all that is good in men, all that gives sense to life. To suffering we owe piety, heroism, virtue because underneath the flagellation of this master it has produced all progress in men.

"Yes, “ happy fault” was the tragedy of our fallen nature, happy suffering will also be ours, if by offering it in recompense for so many weaknesses will lead us to the way of perfection.

"That is why, My Lady I know my offering is not sad, and the flowers of my anguish do not cover the beauty of this day of celestial fulfillment. I know that among all my efforts to obtain a dignified, pleasing homage for you, none will please you more then the offering of my sufferings. I also know that life has no sufferings for those who understand with time its significance.

"And because in the eternal battle of the thorn and the rose, this teaching is not rejected, but it is in magnificent harmony of what is contrary. I hear and admire the lesson of the rose: Suffering also gives joy; suffering is not to cry; this is not suffering. Suffering is not to step on the thorns of the rosebush with rebelliousness. It is to conquer the difficulties and bless the thorns with a kiss!"

We have to have faith and confidence in Jesus and Mary who are carrying out the will of God in this world offended by sin. This is the design from God for the Virgin Mary to come to the world in order to help His children.

The Virgin loves us and desires to present us to the Merciful Father. The warning, the miracle, and the punishment were revealed, but our Mother does not want us to live in fear. On the contrary She desires that we truly live the messages. Praying (especially the Holy Rosary), fasting, wearing the scapular, frequent Eucharist, confession and reflection on the Passion of Christ will obtain the graces from God we need to avoid sin and be converted into true Christians, holy Christians on the path to Eternal Life.


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