Spending seasons in Garabandal involves dealing frequently and making friends with people who lived the apparitions of Our Lady during the years 1961-1965. Some of their stories can be seen on YouTube but many others are anonymous. My wife and I continue to hear stories of the apparitions every time we are in Garabandal, and we are confirmed more and more of the extraordinary phenomena that took place in this small village in northern Spain.
In the first place, numerous relatives of the visionaries are still alive. First-line witnesses (uncles, brothers, brothers-in-law), as well as non-familiar eyewitnesses of all ages. I think there are none of them who do not believe in the supernaturality of what they saw.
One of these relatives told us recently:
– “I saw the girl many times going down from the pines backwards and at full speed. This was humanly impossible. ”
Serafin, Conchita’s brother, told us many years ago (he died 18 years ago):
– “When the girl began to doubt, I told her, very well little girl you and me are going up to the pines now and you go down backwards… Logically she did not.”
The same thing has been told to us by people from the village or neighboring towns who were then 16 or 20 years old. One of them told us:
– “I was about the age of the girls and I used to go up to the village with my mother. I was able to see them in ecstasy on many occasions, and my mother was lucky to be in front of Conchita when the miracle of the visible communion occurred. My mother witnessed that this miracle really happened. ”
The most remembered extraordinary phenomena are as we see those in which the laws of gravity did not exist for the girls. Although there are still witnesses who received personal evidence of another type such as knowledge of consciences, or personal proofs.
Just a few days ago, we paid a visit to one of the best-known eyewitnesses of the apparitions of Garabandal: María Josefa Villa, widow of Dr. Félix Gallego. Josefa is 98 years old and is known for having written several books about the appearances of Garabandal, among the best known are “The pines of Garabandal will illuminate the world” and “The miracles or favors of Our Mother of Garabandal”. We spent a very pleasant afternoon with Josefa and her daughters Marina and Carmela, and also with her son Javier. We took with us the movie “Garabandal only God knows”, thanks to its distributor Mater Spei, and we all saw it and commented on how the film was made and other Garabandal stories.
Josefa and her husband, Dr. Felix Gallego, went up to Garabandal in August 1961, barely a month and a half after the apparitions began, as they learned of these events from a relative. The two went to the village very skeptics that something like that could be true. However, this first impression changed as soon as they reached the town. During this visit, Dr. Gallego had the opportunity to examine Mari Loli during an apparition that occurred in the girl’s room. One of Mari Loli’s brothers was in bed with abdominal pain and they feared appendicitis. As Dr. Gallego was a general practitioner, he visited him and dismissed this problem, diagnosing him with a simple abdominal colic. In gratitude, the girl’s father offered him to attend the first ecstasy the girl had at home, which happened that same night. Carmela, the daughter of Dr. Gallego told us the following:
– “My father told us that the girl was in ecstasy on her knees, with her head back as usual. He did the pertinent medical examinations: pulse, reflexes, etc. And he also tried to lift her off the ground, but he was unable because she had an unexplainable weight. At one point he realized that the girl did not touch the ground with her knees, she was levitating, which was confirmed by all present. Another thing that my father commented was that they were in the village on the night of the miracle of the visible communion. My father said that he saw the girl when she returned home after receiving holy communion from the angel and that he noticed that a light came out of her mouth as if she had a light bulb inside her mouth. Since it was a dark night, it was very visible and it surprised him, even more so because he did not know that the miracle of communion had already taken place. Since he had not seen it, it was impossible for him to be open to suggestion by seeing that light in the mouth of the girl.”
Dr. Gallego and his wife Josefa lived the rest of their life united to Garabandal, but above all it has been Josefa who dedicated the rest of her life to the study and diffusion of the apparitions of Our Lady in Garabandal. Undoubtedly she has gathered the greatest number of written and audiovisual testimonies of the phenomena related to Garabandal. And many of them have been described in her books about these apparitions. Her sancta sanctorum of the material of Garabandal is now in good hands, those of her daughters and son, believers in the apparitions and admirers of such an exemplary mother and the living greatest studious of these supernatural events that transformed her family life, and that she has helped to spread and have converted so many people from all over the world.
(The picture of Garabandal and its beautiful rainbow was taken by Mari Carmen, Conchita’s cousin and daughter of her aunt Maximina. It reminds me a report by Josefa Gallego of a miraculous rainbow seen in Garabandal in which the rainbow was fixed as if by fire in the glasses of a woman at the pines).