Author Archives: Garabandal

What did the Blessed Virgin Look Like?

blessed-virgin-02No sooner had the apparitions of Our Lady begun at Garabandal than the young seers were hit with the obvious questions—What did the Blessed Virgin look like? How was she dressed? What was her voice like? How did she hold her hands? Etc….

These are natural inquiries and we all want to know the answers. It helps our devotion and leads us to a greater love for our Heavenly Mother when we can ‘picture in our minds’ how beautiful and loving she is and imagine the sweetness of her voice.

And the descriptions we get from visionaries like young Bernadette of Lourdes, the three shepherd children of Fatima and the four young girls at Garabandal never disappoint us. In fact, the seers always seem to have difficulty imparting the full beauty of their visions.

Someone once asked Conchita, one of the Garabandal missionaries, if she ever saw a statue or picture of Our Lady that looked like her. Conchita simply said, no. Another time, with Conchita, the subject of Our Lady’s first appearance was brought up. At first, she tried to think of something to say and then her mind went back to those glorious events of the past. One could read volumes in the profound expression of inner peace and serenity that momentarily crossed her face as she fell hopelessly silent. Her questioner realized then, that no human tongue could adequately describe the beauty of what she saw.

Impossible though it may be for us to accurately envision Mary now glorified in heaven, the seers, nevertheless, have given descriptions to help us, at least, form a mental picture. Let us, therefore, with the help of various sources, try to recreate as best we can, the image of our beautiful Heavenly Mother as she appeared at Garabandal under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Conchita’s Diary

Here is the way visionary Conchita Gonzales described Our Lady in the diary she kept during the apparitions. Conchita was only 12 years old when she wrote the following account:

“The Blessed Virgin appears with a white dress, a blue mantle and a crown of small golden stars. Her feet are not visible. Her hands are wide open with the scapular on the right wrist. The scapular is brown-marron. Her hair is wavy and parted in the middle. She has an oval shaped face and her nose is long and delicate. Her mouth is very pretty with rather full lips. The color of her face is dark but lighter than that of the angel; it is different. Her voice is very lovely, a very unusual voice that I can’t describe. There is no woman that resembles the Blessed Virgin in her voice or in anything else.”

Here we have at least an overall picture of Our Lady as she appeared. As a further supplement, we go to an interview with Conchita conducted by Spanish artist Dona Isabel de Daganzo dated July 2, 1966*.

Q. Would her posture always be the same or did it change? Which posture was the habitual one?
A. Her habitual posture was to look at us with her arms extended, but she would also move them. She would look at the people and sometimes smile-at times more than at other times.

Q. How would you describe her eyes? Did she ever blink or look from one side to the other?
A. Her eyes were dark (Conchita used the word “negros” which actually means black), very sweet and merciful, more toward being large. It seems as though she is not looking at our faces or bodies but rather our souls. I never noticed if she blinked, but she would look from one side to the other.

Q. What was her gaze like? Would she speak to you without looking directly at you?
A. Her gaze is very difficult to describe. It makes one love her more and think more of her. Looking at her makes us completely happy- and her looking at us even more so. When she speaks to us she looks directly at us but she would change her gaze during the conversation.

Q. What was her voice like? Was it a real voice that can be heard through the ears at the same time that the lips can be seen to move, or was it a voice that is heard interiorly but without sound?
A. Her voice, very sweet and harmonious, is heard through the ears. Her words penetrate the heart; it’s as though she puts her voice inside. As she speaks she moves her lips like people do, with sound.

Q. When she spoke, was there any kind of resonance like an echo or did she speak with a clear voice?
A. She would speak with a most clear voice.

Q. Did she ever laugh or would she only smile? If she did laugh, how would you describe it?
A. Sometimes she laughed as well as smiled, but I couldn’t possibly explain her laughter. I will never know how to explain it.

Q. Did she kiss you frequently? Would you girls ask her to kiss you or would she just do it herself? What kind of kisses were they? Did you ever ask her to allow you to kiss her?
A. Yes, she would kiss us almost every day and she would do it. They were good-bye kisses on both cheeks. Yes, I did ask her if I could kiss her and sometimes I kissed her without asking.

Q. What would you feel during the ecstasies?
A. Very great peace and happiness.

Q. What would you feel after the vision?
A. After seeing the Virgin, it was like coming out of heaven (without seeing it) and I would be filled with the desire to love the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and to tell the people about them, for this is the only thing that can make us happy.

In February 1975, in an interview with members of the GARABANDAL Magazine staff, Conchita was asked if the Blessed Virgin ever looked sad or if she (Conchita) could ever picture Our Lady crying. The visionary replied that Our Lady never looked sad but always joyful, that her face seemed to be smiling even when she wasn’t smiling. Conchita said that she and the other girls would not have been able to stand to see the Blessed Virgin cry. When asked if Our Lady’s teeth could be seen when she smiled, Conchita answered, yes. We also asked about her voice- whether it was more high than low, however Conchita didn’t fully understand the question. But in her usual concise way, she said that the Blessed Virgin talked, “Just as we’re talking now.”

We cannot expect more from the Garabandal visionaries than the accounts they have given. They are simple, unsophisticated people not prone to giving overly dramatic or flowery descriptions. One senses that they would rather not try to describe the beauty of their visions knowing full well the futility of any attempt.

Although Mary is far more beautiful now that she is glorified in heaven than she was on earth, it might be interesting to hear the account of someone who actually saw her in person. St. Dionysius, after having been converted by St. Paul, was brought by the apostle to see the Blessed Virgin at Jerusalem. St. Dionysius said, when he beheld the Mother of Jesus, that if he had not been prevented from doing so, so great was her beauty, he would have fallen on his face and adored her as God.

As we know, the exterior beauty of Mary is symbolic of an inner beauty overflowing with a super-abundance of all the virtues. There were several incidences at Garabandal where her other qualities became manifest.

It is difficult for us living today, so tied down with our pride and self-love, to imagine the Queen of all Creation taking the crown from above her head and placing it in the hands of four little children so that they can inspect it, passing it from one to the other, before returning it to her. And yet, this is what Our Lady did at Garabandal.

Motherly Love and Approachability
How much this Heavenly Mother must love her children to permit them, innocent as they most surely were and yet still uncleansed from the faults and failings that burden most children, to kiss her without even asking.

Patience and Tolerance
We also know from the notes of Fr. Valentin Marichalar, pastor of Garabandal during the time of the apparitions, that when the children sensed an apparition was coming to an end, and knowing Our Lady would not leave until they blessed themselves, they would deliberately bless themselves backwards so that she would stay a little longer. And she would stay and bear their childish antics with motherly love and forbearance until they did it correctly.

Fr. Luis Andreu, S.J., who after seeing the Blessed Mother at Garabandal** (the only person other than the four girls to do so), on the drive home in the early hours of the next morning, very quietly and peacefully, passed from this life to the next. The mysterious death of the young priest could be attributed to nothing other than sheer joy. Shortly before expiring he exclaimed, “This is the happiest day of my life!” And then speaking for all of us, Fr. Luis added, “How fortunate we are to have a Mother like that in heaven!”


*AM Santiago, Garabandal 67, Editorial Circulo, Paseo Fernando el Catolico, 39, 7, Dcha., Zaragoza, Spain.

**On August 8, 1961, Fr. Luis saw in a vision, the Blessed Virgin and a preview of the great miracle to come.

The Sacred Hearts at Garabandal

By the Rev. Francois Turner OP

From the manuscript The Blessed Virgin Teaches At Garabandal published in 1978.

 Spaniards speak of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary as the Sacred Hearts.

Although our Protestant brethren find the devotion to the Sacred Heart particularly difficult, Father Congar, a theologian, notes that there is no doctrinal novelty in this devotion and its biblical foundation is solid. In the Old and New Testaments, God’s love for us is widely expressed and sung.

The study of man reveals a biological basis in the veneration of a loving heart, and when that loving heart is God’s Son’s, this veneration becomes a worship. Through His Heart we are able to reach the loving and lovable person of Jesus Himself.

The veneration of Mary’s heart differs from the veneration of Jesus’ Heart as she is but a human being. Nevertheless, veneration to her heart is comparable, as Mary has a motherly heart for all her children. Her first child, whom she bore in her womb was Jesus Who was God. All others, as a consequence of their membership in His mystical body-the Church, are also her children.

Jesus is meek and humble of heart. He says so (Mt. 11:29). He loves those who are His own and calls Himself the good shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep (Luke 15:1-6). He particularly loved a young rich man, (Mark 10:21), Lazarus and his sisters, (John 11:5) and John the Apostle, described in the scriptures as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20). Shortly before His crucifixion He said: “Whoever loves Me … I shall love him” (John 14:21). It is certain that the blood which flowed from His side, pierced by a spear, came from His Heart and was symbolic of His complete love for all mankind.

St. Paul and St. John both understood and spiritually experienced this love. They testified to it. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Rom. 8:35) “He loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). The epistles of St. John are imbued throughout with this love, for God, for Jesus, for all men,

If the Second Vatican Council assures us that “the Virgin Mary… associated herself with a motherly heart to her only Son’s “sacrifice” (Lumen Gentium, No. 58) fulfilling Simeon’s prophecy “A sword shall pierce through thy own soul” (Luke 2:35), all the more piercing is that sword which still burns with love for her Son, Jesus, and for her other children-we, who have been the cause of His passion.

The Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary were present at Garabandal.


One night in January, 1962, at two o’clock in the morning, Mari Loli arrived in ecstacy at the house of Clementina, Conchita’s aunt. Her purpose in going there was to present on of Clementina’s sons with an image of the Heart of Mary to be kissed by him. This boy was a godson of Mari Loli. 1

On July 20, 1963, Conchita had a long and impressive locution with Our Lord in the village church. I quote from two passages:

“Will Russia be converted?” asked Conchita. “Yes, it will be converted and thus everybody will love Our Hearts,” answered the Lord.

“Shall I go to heaven?”

“If you love much and pray to Our Hearts …”

Jesus also told her that now there are more people who love His Heart. 2

In what might be called a report on the apparition of the Blessed Virgin at the pine trees on November 13, 1965, Conchita tells us that “(the Blessed Virgin) said to me: ‘You will recall what I told you on the feast day of your patron saint (December 8), that you would suffer much on earth? Well, have confidence in Us and offer your suffering generously to Our Hearts for the welfare of your brethren. In this way you will feel how close We are to you… Conchita, I have not come for your sake along. I have come for all My children, so that I may draw them closer to Our Hearts.” 3

After a careful reading of these five sentences in which Jesus and Mary speak of Their Hearts, we are led to the conclusion they are pronounced in a climate of love, that Jesus and Mary both love us and that They manifested Themselves at Garbandal for love’s sake in order that They might be loved in return.

They love each other so much that except once, Jesus and Mary say “Our Hearts.” The two hearts are perfectly united by mutual love, the love of God and the love of men. A Father of the Church once said, “Paul’s heart is Christ’s heart.” If this is true of the apostle, isn’t it truer still of the Immaculate Mother of Jesus?

The medal that Mary asked St. Catherine Laboure to have coined in 1830 bore on its reverse side the two united Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

We know from Father Rodrigo, Senora Gallardo, a nun who wishes to remain anonymous, and from Jacinta’s mother (speaking to Jaime Garcia Llorente in the presence of her daughter) that Jacinta was favored with an apparition of the Sacred Heart at the “cuadro” in Garabandal. On this matter, Jacinta said, “May the Blessed Virgin forgive me but what I shall never forget is having seen the Sacred Heart.” An unforgettable experience for the visionary, and yet “no me hablo.” (He did not speak to me).

This silent vision took place shortly before July 2, 1961, before the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin. Jesus pointed to His Heart with His left hand, and beckoned Jacinta to come to Him with His right hand. She said of Him, “He was the handsomest of all men. He had a penetrating look that made me feel as though it would tear my soul right out of my body.” (Private letters of January and February 1977.)

The fact that this apparition occurred is interesting. It corroborates that the events of Garabandal are meant to show men how they are loved by Heaven. This was clearly stated by the Blessed Virgin in the Second Message on June 18, 1965, “I love you very much and I do not want your condemnation.”


Jesus’ and Mary’s words concerning Their Hearts left a deep impression on Conchita. After her final vision of Our Lady on November 13, 1965, the visionary writes, “I have ceased seeing (my heavenly mama and my best friend and the infant Jesus)… They have left my soul filled with peace and joy and a great desire to overcome my faults and to love with all my strength the Hearts of Jesus and Mary that love us so much.” 4 She wrote this on December 10, 1965.

On August 24, 1970, nearly four years later, she invited some young French people to repentance, sacrifice and prayer “to satisfy the Sacred Heart of Our Mother.” 5 Conchita’s devotion to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary bore fruit for herself and brought her to bear witness to young people of her own age.

Conchita clearly showed this permanent impression made on her soul by the Hearts of Jesus and Mary when, in 1975, in her letter to the people of Ireland, (NEEDLES, Autumn 1975) she wrote, “… Let us always be disposed to defend and honor the name of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary… I shall always be united with you in the Sacred Hearts.”


1 Le Village Parle, p. 169, Ramon Perez. Published in France.
2 Our Lady Comes To Garabandal, Pelletier, pp. 144-145.
3 ibid, page 186.
4 ibid, page 188.
5 Ibid, page 180.

The Story of the Pearl

photo_gara_pearlBy Marilynn Lomangino

Through the everyday events of our lives, God reveals simple lessons to us.

One day, when our family was on vacation at the seashore, we decided to take a walk. We came upon a little open-air stand called “The Oyster Shop.” Inside, a lady stood with a big bucket of oysters. She said that each oyster had a pearl and, for five dollars, the children could choose one. She would open it for them, and whatever was inside would be theirs. Next, she began a slide presentation and explained the story of how a pearl develops.

The woman told us that, at some time in the course of the oyster’s development, a foreign substance such as a grain of sand gets into the little muscle and irritates the oyster. In response, the oyster covers that irritant with a secretion. The longer the irritation is there, the more the oyster coats it. Pearl oysters vary in size and can be quite rough and ugly. Yet what is happening inside is a combination of rainbows, moonlight, and bits of flame.

Once the oyster accepts the irritation as part of itself, the pearl begins to develop. The worst storms, gales, even hurricanes will not dislodge it. As time goes by and this oyster is finally pulled up from the bed where it has been for many years, it is opened only to reveal a beautiful pearl.

Later, when I had time to think, I meditated on the story of how a pearl forms. I realized it is just like the story of Garabandal. Something comes into our spiritual life; it comes because the Blessed Mother has chosen us to do something special for her. It is not natural to ourselves because the Message of Garabandal involves penance, prayer, sacrifice, and acts of love—things that are not always easy for our human nature to accomplish. The longer the substance is there, the more it can irritate.

Sometimes we are asked to do things that we really don’t want to do. For example, maybe we’ve taken long trips under very, very difficult circumstances. But we offer that sacrifice up so that finally, when we get to the end of our Garabandal life, we will be able to open up our little spiritual oyster and give the Blessed Mother our special pearl. The longer we stay committed and the more we do, the more beautiful will be the pearl that each one of us can give.

So I pass this story of the pearl on to you. You are working on a little pearl for the Blessed Mother. The pearl’s name is GARABANDAL, and you are living and spreading the message. The Blessed Mother has picked you to carry it. And your finished pearl will be a unique gift to the Blessed Mother—one that no one else has.

To develop the theme of the pearl, use the letters—P-E-A-R-L—as a guide:

“P” is for Prayer, particularly for Priests. The Blessed Mother said, “Many cardinals, bishops and priests are on the road to perdition and they’re taking many souls with them.” In the early 1960s, no one could anticipate the tremendous crisis that the Church was facing. But now we see it. So I caution you: don’t criticize priests, pray for them. The devil is attacking them. They are God’s consecrated souls and the only instruments for bringing the Eucharist into this poor world of ours. Give them all the encouragement, love, and prayers that you can.


“E” is for Eucharist. At Garabandal, the Blessed Mother said, “Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist.” She also said to Conchita, “My Son waits for you in the tabernacle night and day.” Decades ago, men tipped their hats in front of a Catholic church to acknowledge the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. People used to make visits to the church on their way home from work. Mothers would take their children into the church, just as you would take the children to visit someone whom you love dearly. We should continue these traditions today.Take the children, even just for a minute, into the church. Tell them that Jesus is there in the tabernacle and that Jesus loves them. We need this, especially today when we have fewer and fewer priests and good sisters to teach as they did so marvelously for many years. Remember, Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, for such is the kingdom of heaven.”


“A” is for Acts of Love. How many songs and poems have been written about love? One example is a song called “Perhaps Love,” recorded by Placido Domingo and John Denver. Maybe you have heard it; it goes, “Perhaps love is like a dream; perhaps love is like the ocean; perhaps love is like a memory.” But in the Bible, Saint Paul tells us exactly what love is. He says, “Love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous, it’s not pompous, it’s not rude. Love does not seek it’s own interest, love is not quick tempered, love does not brood over injuries. Love bears all things, love believes all things, love hopes in all things, and love endures all things.”We know there are three great virtues—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

When the Blessed Mother came to Garabandal, she said, “You must lead good lives.” That means that you must love. Every day, you can fit so many acts of love into the normal things you do for your family, your coworkers, the disabled, and those who perhaps don’t know Jesus and Mary at all. You must seek out these opportunities and practice acts of love because that is what the Blessed Mother expects of you.


“R” is for the Rosary. And I always think of the rosary and the scapular as being inseparable. The rosary is most important in your prayer life—I have a set of rosary beads from almost every significant event in my life–and the scapular is the sign of consecration. Learn about the scapular and its promise. You must wear it. Get your children and loved ones enrolled in the scapular, too. Tell them about the protection that the scapular offers; it is your duty. You don’t have to make them believe it, but you have to tell them. With the protection of the Blessed Mother around them, they belong to her. She will put her special shield around them and keep her promise so that when they die, she will be there to take them to heaven. Our Lady brought the rosary and the scapular to Garabandal to show their importance in our times.


Finally, “L” is to promote Love of Our Lady. Get to know the Blessed Mother; read about her; say your rosary; think about her virtue. She is not an ordinary Lady. She is the Immaculate Conception, special and particular. She is God’s chosen vessel. She has all the virtues, the beauties, and the graces of the Church. She is the most beautiful Lady. Those who have seen her cannot describe the beauty of her face, the beauty of her voice.

At Garabandal, Our Blessed Mother appeared as a young girl with delicate, olive-colored skin. She had soft, light-brown hair and a crown of twelve golden stars encircling her head. She wore a white dress with a very faint flowered print on it, and she was draped in a beautiful blue mantle. That mantle, I tell my sons, enshrouds and protects all of us. Even though we may be separated–I’m at home and they’re in school—we’re all under that same mantle of Our Blessed Mother. She is the beautiful Lady in blue.

You will receive marvelous favors through the Blessed Mother’s intercession. If you work for the Blessed Mother, she is a wonderful, loving employer. But you cannot work for someone whom you don’t love, and you cannot love someone whom you don’t know, so find out about Mary. Read about her at Garabandal; hear what the Blessed Mother has to say. Every little thought has a message for you.

Before you begin reading, say a prayer to Mary, who is the spouse of the Holy Spirit. Ask her, “What would you have me know today? What would you have me do today so that I can bring Jesus with me through the world, wherever I go, whoever I talk to, whomever I am with, today.” And she will do it for you.

The rewards for working for Mary are outstanding. It’s a joy that no earthly reward can ever, ever be compared with.

So I give you this thought. Every day, take a moment, close your eyes, put your mind at the Pines of Garabandal. See the most beautiful Lady you could ever imagine. She is the Mother of God. She is your Mother. She is holding the Baby Jesus. You can talk to her just as you would to your own mother. And say:


Lovely Lady dressed in blue
Teach me how to pray
God was just your little boy
Tell me what to say.

Did you lift Him up sometimes
Gently on your knee?
Did you sing to Him
The way my mother does to me?

Did you tell Him stories of the world
And oh, did he cry?
Does He care if I tell Him things
Just little things that happen?

And do angels wings make a noise?
Can He hear me if I speak low?
Does He understand me now?
Tell me, for you know.

Lovely Lady dressed in blue.
Teach me how to pray
For God was just your little Boy
And you know the way.

God Bless You.