Garabandal and the Purgatory

Catholic Father Joseph Pelletier's Reflections on Garabandal and Purgatory


These messages that came to us all through the apparitions of Lourdes, Fátima and Garabandal, are not doctrinal revelations and they add nothing to our deposit of faith. They represent directives and guidelines given by God for His people, showing us, above all, what we should do about the devotional and religious practices that we need to adopt and maintain in certain and precise historical moments. Even the prophetic elements found in these messages are directly related to the purpose of directing people to God. Looking at these events, we find that Garabandal's message is very significant. It appears as a preventive antidote that was prepared by an omniscient God and that loves us deeply, in view of a storm and agitation that was about to "break" in the Church. Although this "storm" started a few years before the Ecumenical Council (Vatican Council II, Autumn 1962), the "storm" only manifested itself seriously during the Council itself. This same "storm" grew in intensity in the Council in the first years after its completion. God anticipated all these events and gave the remedy for His Church through the messages from Garabandal. More than two thousand apparitions took place between mid-1961 and the end of 1965. The messages received through these apparitions gave us the answer to all the problems that were beginning to concern the Church. Mary and the rosary, the Eucharist and the Priesthood were by far the points that suffered the greatest attack and fury. Purgatory and hell also suffered a violent attack, by some who presented new ways of thinking. All these points of Catholic doctrine referred to above have been stated at Garabandal in one way or another. God, through Mary, wanted to transmit to us to maintain our traditional conviction and belief, to maintain our religious practices that until that time were practiced.


The message about purgatory was spoken in Garabandal indirectly through the girls' own actions, as well as through the content of the message itself. It was a lesson communicated not through words, but through actions that were experienced in practice at that time. Our Lady led the seer girls in a state of ecstasy many times to pray for the souls in purgatory. Implicitly in the message was the teaching that all the souls that are saved, do not go directly or immediately to heaven. Some of them are not ready to see God and must be cleansed, thus making atonement for their sins in an intermediate place that we appropriately call purgatory or purging place. There is a lot of mystery in the way God works. The scriptures tell us that His ways are not our ways. However, we can often see a certain fit in what God does. This applies to apparitions as well as other situations. In Garabandal, the rosary and prayer for souls in purgatory were important parts of the message that was often made known through the actions of girls in a state of ecstasy. On the other hand, these religious practices were already widely used by the population of the village of Garabandal.


The people of Garabandal have had a long tradition of praying for the souls in purgatory. The month of November, which is dedicated to prayer for souls, especially the first of November, the feast of all saints and the second of November for the faithful dead, were celebrated with special religious fervor in the local Church. What is truly remarkable is that these prayers for souls are held in this village every day of the year. This task is initiated by a person who walked all the paths of the village with a bell, thus alerting all people in the village about the beginning of this celebration.


Our Lady confirmed this habit of praying for souls, when She guided the girls in a state of ecstasy to do the same. She took them to the village cemetery, alone or with a group. What is more significant was that this happened more frequently during November than at other times of the year. The significance of all this is even more important, as the Spanish people are not in the habit of visiting their deceased relatives in cemeteries. As a general rule, girls did not enter the cemetery. They were almost always outside the bars of the main gate of the cemetery, which is located on a little bit far from the village. In the first volume "I quickly climbed the mountain", Father Eusébio Garcia de Pesquera recounts an incident involving Conchita, his mother Aniceta and the cemetery. This event occurred on an unusual and stormy night. Aniceta admitted to being a little fearful when it comes to walking alone at night. She never ventured to walk alone in the dark, nor would she ever go to an area as isolated at night as the cemetery. However, she makes a curious observation, that her fear of darkness disappeared when she was accompanied by some of the ecstatic girls. On this particular stormy night, Aniceta was completely alone with her ecstatic daughter on the way to the cemetery. They stopped at the gate and prayed for the deceased for a while. Then, still together, they returned to the village. Conchita has always been in a state of ecstasy all this time. Once in the village, she started to walk the small streets and alleys singing the rosary together with her mother who tried to respond in the best possible way. Aniceta says that normally her daughter sang very poorly, but "when she is ecstatic, she is completely transformed and wonderful things happen to her." The sound of singing, dragged some people out of their homes, who later joined Conchita and her mother.

JUNE 30TH, 1962 

Dr. Luís Navas Carrillo, a lawyer from Palencia, witnessed two apparitions on Saturday night, June 30, 1962. The first apparition involved Conchita and praying for the dead. Our Lady appeared to Conchita in her kitchen at the end of that night. Shortly after being in a state of ecstasy, she left her home, followed by a large number of people, some were from the village and others were from outside. She started walking through the streets and alleys of the village and started reciting a few dozen rosaries and singing others. She was walking backwards in a state of ecstasy and all of this created a great impression on Dr. Luís. Shortly after these facts, Conchita went to Mari-Cruz's house. When she found the door closed, she knocked vigorously on the door until it was opened. Then he headed for a staircase that led to the second floor of the room where Mari-cruz and his family lived. When Conchita found her friend, she touched the cross that she carried with Mari-Cruz's lips so that she could kiss her. After that, Conchita went to the cemetery that was a few meters from Mari-Cruz's house. She stopped for a while in front of the cemetery gate and then as if in front of the tombs, she made a sign of the cross. JULY 21, 1962 In another apparition, in which a prayer for the deceased was also included, took place on July 21, 1962. Once again, we owe this information to Dr. Luís Carrillo's contribution. It all started when Loli was ecstatic at about eleven at night. This event also involved Conchita. It all started at Conchita's house, just as it did most of the time in Garabandal. Then, like other times, Conchita left her home and went through some of the village's streets and alleys. She went to the village church where she took a complete turn and then went to the cemetery. Afterwards, Conchita got down on her knees in front of the gate, where she stayed for some time, then went to the "calleja". SEPTEMBER 1, 1962 The pastor of Garabandal, D. Valentim Marichalar took some notes of what he observed during his many visits to the village during the time of the apparitions. He recounts an event that involved a visit to the cemetery by the four girls. This event took place on September 1, 1962. Around nine in the evening, after the public prayer of the rosary in the Church of the village of Garabandal, Conchita was ecstatic at the door of the Church, a place where many of the apparitions took place. A few minutes later, Our Lady also appeared to Jacinta and Mari-Loli and after a few minutes Mari-Cruz also appeared. (note: in the first days of the apparitions, Our Lady almost always appeared to the four girls at the same time. After some time, this system suddenly began to change and Our Lady only appeared to one, two or three, or else to all of them. As of September 1962, the simultaneous apparitions of Our Lady to the four girls, were already very rare). The girls started their ecstatic marches in which Loli and Jacinta went together, while Conchita and Mari-Cruz walked alone. The four girls went to the "pins", and were followed by a large number of people. They recited the rosary and then lowered the "pins", walking backwards in a state of ecstasy. Even walking backwards, they continued to recite the rosary. On this return, Conchita joined Loli and Jacinta, while Mari-Cruz continued to walk alone. All four went to the cemetery and then to the local Church.


Another of the things that Our Lady taught us in Garabandal on the subject of purgatory, was through the actions that She performed on the girls. This happened when she took them to the homes of the villagers to pray for the dead (and also for the sick). These situations often occurred, and were much more frequent than visits to the cemetery. For this reason, let's just talk about a particular incident of this nature, so that we can demonstrate this very common practice. In this incident, Father José Ramón de la Riva, parish priest of the parish of Nossa Senhora das Pain, parish of Barro de Llanes, located in the area of ​​Asturias, was involved. Father José Ramón, witnessed more than 200 ecstasies and wrote a book about his experiences that he lived in Garabandal during the time of the apparitions. The next facts were taken from his book "Memories of the cure of Barro". During the month of August 1962, D. José Ramon spent a few days in Garabandal. At the end of a certain night, as soon as he left the local Church after the recitation of the rosary, he tells us that Jacinta had an appearance, walking in a state of ecstasy through the streets and alleys of the village. Instead of following her, Father José Ramon decided to go with Jacinta's mother to her house, and ended up having dinner there. After dinner, he decided to go to Maximina's house, where he would stay overnight. Remorse washed over him, especially as he did not choose to follow and see Jacinta in ecstasy. When he heard that Loli had announced that Our Lady was going to appear to Jacinta at dawn the next day, at three o'clock, he had then made the decision to get up early to meet this event, making it a small "sacrifice" your. However, he was awakened by the sound of someone walking in the corridors of the house where he was at the time. It was Loli's brother, Nandin. He knocked on the door and shouted loudly for Maximina to quickly open the door, since Mari-Loli was heading for her home. A few moments later, D. José Ramon heard someone knocking on his bedroom door. As soon as he was getting ready to get out of the blankets and to say "go in", the door was suddenly opened, Loli showing up in his ecstatic room holding a crucifix in one of his hands. Suddenly, she went to Father José Ramon and also quickly fell to her knees (this was a common feature of ecstatic falls, which happened frequently in Garabandal and which impressed anyone who witnessed this event) . Afterwards and still on his knees, the child advances to the wall that was behind the bed where Father José Ramon was. On that wall was a large portrait of Maximina's husband who had since passed away some time ago. Loli retired to herself and prayed for Maximina's deceased husband. Then he came around on his knees and went to the bed where he made a sign of the cross with the cross he was carrying, and did it over the blanket. Then he presented the crucifix to Father José Ramon for him to kiss. When that happened, Mari-Loli smiled. Finally, she turned around towards the door, always kneeling. At the door, he got up and left. Don José Ramon concluded the story of this incident with the observation that this type of event had already occurred in the same way at another time and again at Maximina's house, precisely at three-thirty in the morning. We must therefore give thanks to God for the fact that He used the apparitions of Garabandal to reaffirm on many points of the Catholic Church's doctrine, among which is our belief about the existence of purgatory and the help and contribution that all our prayers have for with departing souls. May the facts reported in this article encourage us to pray more frequently and more fervently for our loved ones.