Our Lady of Carmel
The apparitions at Garabandal, Spain, began on June 18, 1961, when the Archangel Michael allegedly appeared to four young girls, but said nothing. He made another eight silent appearances during the following twelve days. Finally, on July 1, he announced that the following day the Blessed Virgin Mary would appear to the girls as Our Lady of Carmel.
San Sebastian de Garabandal is a tiny village with less than seventy homes, nestled on a mountainside in Cantabria, in the diocese of Santander. Nine pine trees overlook the village on a ridge to the north, marking the spot where a Lady would appeared more than two thousand times during the next four years. Few of these messages have been made public. The visionaries were Conchita Gonzalez, Jacinta Gonzalez, Mary Cruz Gonzalez, and Mari-Loli Mazon, all around twelve years of age.
The afternoon of the archangel’s first appearance, the girls decided to pilfer apples from the schoolmaster’s tree. As they ate their stolen apples, thunder rolled through the mountains. Feeling the first pangs of remorse for what they had done, the girls decided to throw stones at the devil that had tempted them. At that very moment an angel appeared, wearing a long, seamless blue robe, with large pink wings and a small face. He looked about nine years old and was enveloped by a strange glow. The girls were so frightened they ran to the church and began to cry. The agitated parish priest told the girls that if they happened to see the angel again, to ask him “who he is and what he is after.”
When the girls returned to the spot two days later, they saw a shining light blocking the path, which frightened them so much that they let out screams of horror. It happened again the following day. This time, as they said the rosary “amid a certain amount of sniggering,” the heads of all four girls were thrown back at a surprising angle. The onlookers were gripped by fear, a neighbor began to cry, and the angel refused to answer their question concerning who he was and why he had come. These “ecstasies” soon became commonplace. The girls were lifted up into the air and would then crash to the ground on their knees. One of the girls suffered a large bump on her head after she fell and smashed her head on a cement step, with a spine-chilling noise that horrified bystanders.
When the Lady finally appeared on July 2, she was accompanied by two identical “angels,” one of them Saint Michael. To the Virgin’s right the girls could see a square of red fire framing a triangle with an eye and some writing, similar to the “All-Seeing Eye in the Pyramid” of the Masons and Illuminati. The girls spoke to the Lady at considerable length about haymaking and other details of rural life before she announced “The Cup is already filling” and vanished into thin air.
During her appearances, the Virgin would kiss pebbles, which were soon replaced by wedding rings and pious objects that the girls would return to their rightful owners. The girls experienced the visions with their heads tilted back in a very awkward position, had ecstatic falls, and levitated. They often walked at breakneck speed. They always knew the exact date and time when they would next experience a vision. On one occasion, Mari-Loli reported that while the Virgin was giving her a message, she noticed that she was laughing a lot and looking upwards. One message concerned the terrible punishment that divine justice has prepared for mankind if we disregard her messages. It made the girls cry, although one of them took the Virgin’s crown and they all tried it on. Sometimes the Lady appeared with a small baby, who would laugh the entire time.
The visionaries often received Communion from angels. When a priest questioned how this could be, because angels cannot consecrate the Host, Conchita asked the Virgin and was told that they take the Hosts from tabernacles on earth. On one occasion the angel promised to “work a miracle” by making those present able to see the Host on her tongue. On July 18, 1962, Conchita fell into a rapture, flung her head back, and walked out of her room, down the stairs, and into the street. When she got as far as the street corner, she thudded to her knees and stuck out her tongue. A thick white Host formed, and she kept her tongue out for about two minutes so that all those present could see it.
The visionaries prophesied the “Warning, Miracle, and Chastisement.” The Warning would be visible to everyone and would take place before the miracle. The date of the miracle would be revealed eight days beforehand. It would coincide with an event in the Church, and with the feast of a saint who is a martyr of the Holy Eucharist. It would take place on a Thursday at exactly eight-thirty in the evening and would be visible to everyone in the vicinity of Garabandal. Pope John Paul II and Padre Pio would see it from wherever they happened to be, the sick that were present would be cured, sinners would be converted, and it would last about fifteen minutes. A permanent sign would be left as proof of the miracle. It would be possible to film and televise it. The punishment would be “far worse than if we were enveloped in fire, worse than if we had fire above us, and fire beneath.”
Few knew that the “warning, miracle and chastisement,” now a standard component of most apocalyptic predictions, dates back to the 1931 condemned apparitions at Ezquioga, a now forgotten little town in northern Spain. There were hundreds of seers at Ezquioga, all children, who attracted more observers for any vision in Catholicism until Medjugorje in the 1980s. Paranormal occurrences were commonplace, the children would fall into trances shortly after beginning their rosaries, and believers would give them rosaries and medals to be blessed by the Virgin.
The Ezquioga version of the miracle is somewhat different. One visionary reported that the Virgin would appear in Ezquioga at five o’clock. Of those present, some would see the Virgin, others only her shadow, and others nothing at all. All would see Saint Michael and fall down in terror when he appeared. The chastisement would take place before the miracle as a rain of fire, a cloud of snakes, and sudden deaths. The wicked would be “carbonized.” There would be little time between the chastisement and the miracle, after which Christ would reign until the end of the world.
In September 1933 Bishop Múgica of Vitoria published a circular that denied the Ezquioga visions any supernatural content and prohibited all related materials. Seers were forbidden to go to the vision sites under the penalty of being denied the Eucharist. The bishop’s circular was followed by an outbreak of bleeding crucifixes and one seer began to receive mystical Communion in the form of a host-shaped object on her tongue. The Vatican issued a degree on June 13, 1934, that declared the apparitions and revelations of the Virgin Mary at Ezquioga devoid of all supernatural character and prohibited any books. Pope Pius XI signed it on June 14. Those involved refused to obey, in the hope that the declaration would be “reversed.” Eventually, interest waned due to unfulfilled prophecies, a situation that appears to have been remedied with the more recent outbreaks at Garabandal, Medjugorje, and countless other sites.
On October 11, 1996, the Bishop of Santander, Jose Vilaplaua, reissued a statement of non constat de non supernaturalitate concerning the alleged apparitions at Garabandal as follows:
For more information please visit Warning, Miracle & Chastisement - Garabandal, Spain.