An Happy Easter...

The testimony of Mercedes Salisachs

In this interview, Mercedes explained why she came to Garabandal in April 1962. First she started by explaining who her son was, what he represented to her and consequently of the terrible pain that fell on her on October 30th 1958, the day of his son's death. He was just 21 years old and died of a car accident on the French motorways.

Police chief Juan Alvarez Seco tells us about the arrival of a visitor to Garabandal:

"I don't remember the date, but I do remember what happened that day. I was present in the village of Garabandal that night and went to Ceferino's cafe, who came to meet me at the same time as I told a lady the next: -This is the chief of police, who was present at many apparitions - After saying this, Ceferino took her to me. This lady [1] was from Barcelona and needed someone to explain something about these events that occurred in Garabandal. Then I turned to the lady and greeted her. She quickly asked me if I believed in the apparitions. I said yes and then she recorded everything I had said to her on her tape recorder. audio. "

Later, Mercedes again questioned other people in the village, including a priest who was present in that place. Again he again recorded the responses to those conversations on the recorder. This priest would later tell him confidentially that he also believed in Garabandal. Mercedes reports the following:

"My son's death destroyed my reason for living; when I lost my son, I felt possessed by a terrible darkness. Everyone told me that I would be able to get through all this with time. They told me that little by little I would be accustomed to his absence, the absence of not hearing and seeing him, and I would accept my situation naturally. But time passed and I continued in despair. Despite that, I tried to hide my melancholy, especially so as not to hurt the sensitivity of my other four children. People used religious arguments to help me. They talked to me about Christian resignation. They told me about my son's faith, about his life example and also that I should thank God for that. that he was "taken away" in conditions so conducive to the well-being of his soul, but resignation did not appear, and that is why all these arguments were inapplicable and inconsistent. , affects my faith more intensely. I became another person without any future, I just lived with the past, without any hope, I just wanted to die, I was left with the feeling that with death everything was over."

However, my doubts were not always strong. Sometimes, without knowing how, hope returned. And if my son could see me ..... If the communion of Saints [2] was something real .... At that time I was unable to pray, because I was always surrounded by many doubts. On one occasion, I remember that my mother suggested that we pray the rosary together and I refused, considering that it did not matter to me. I needed a signal. I needed something that could confirm that after death, life goes on. But the sign didn't appear, I didn't even look for it.

For example, my devotion to Our Lady was practically nil. Until one day, at the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I went to an image of Our Lady of Sorrows and asked her to give me a strong signal, to indicate that my son was saved. From that day on, I stopped having obsessions and doubts, I just wanted to go back to God.

Five months later, on May 4, 1958, after confession, I finally returned to God, with the intention of never separating from Him until the end of my life. After that moment, everything started to change. Despite my continued loneliness for my son, I felt a great tranquility within me. My devotion to Our Lady grew from day to day. Then later, when I heard about the events in Garabandal, I thought about visiting this isolated village not only out of curiosity, but also with the intention of honoring Our Lady, even though the matter was still open for discussion. When I took advantage of the absence of my family, who had gone on a trip to Switzerland, I left Barcelona on Holy Thursday, 1962. I was accompanied by José, the driver of the vehicle and his wife Mercedes.

We arrived at Cosío at midday on Good Friday, and I met the pastor of Garabandal, Valentin Marichalar. While we waited for the vehicle to take us to Garabandal, I took the opportunity to talk to him a little more. Despite his understandable reservation, he admitted to me that he was convinced that the phenomenon was supernatural and that girls were the right people to receive Our Lady, due to their innocence.

It was already two in the afternoon when the car that was going to take us to Garabandal finally arrived. His driver, Fidel, informed us that Father Corta (Father Jesuit who came to Garabandal to help the village parish priest in the Holy Easter celebrations) would give communion there in Garabandal and that the whole village was already concentrated in the Church. "

After arriving in the village, Mercedes had the opportunity to get to know the visionary girls more closely, as well as their families, perhaps through the police chief we mentioned above.

"That night," Mercedes continued, "I gave Jacinta some objects to kiss Our Lady. In addition, I also asked her, both herself and the other three girls, to ask about my son when they saw Our Lady. I think Jacinta would have said to me, "and what happened to your son?" I replied, that he had died. The whole crowd was concentrated at Mari-Loli's house, waiting for the apparitions. I gave him a paper, written from the two sides and while I was giving the paper I told him I didn't expect an answer. The only thing that interested me was knowing where my son was. I didn't tell them his name.

At that time, I still didn't know how and how the visions happened. Although they explained it to me before, it was still difficult for me to visualize these events. Now, after having been to Garabandal more times and witnessing some ecstasies, I still think that it is not possible nor is there any way to describe the fall of the seers, their facial expressions, their emotions, etc. Everything that happened had a real meaning, although some people thought that everything that happened, should not be taken seriously.

While we were waiting at Mari-Loli's house, after a while, we watched Mari-Loli in ecstasy going down the stairs that came from the first floor of her room. She was coming down the stairs with another girl, looking straight up and with a beautiful expression on her face. Mari Loli went to a table that contained some objects that would later be handed over to Our Lady to be kissed. I saw perfectly how she took my paper, lifted it, turned it inside out, and put it back on the table. Later, he left the house on the street holding a cross. 

In order to understand all this better, we must not forget that all this happened on Good Friday, which is celebrated throughout Spain in a very profound way. Loli's ecstasy took place at dusk, after a sanctified afternoon with the performance of various liturgical services, including the completion of a Way of the Cross that many people from the village were able to attend. Loli's departure for the street coincided with the time when all the Spanish cities were carrying out the Good Friday procession. That year in Garabandal, the procession march had no music, but it was lived in a different way than it had ever been before.

Mercedes continues:

"The girl's steps were light, rhythmic and regular. It seemed that she was walking on a smooth and flat pavement; for her, there were no obstacles that were part of that rocky and irregular path. As I could, I clung to the the girl who was holding Mari-Loli, but after stopping at the door of the Church, the seer girl decided to start making the way up the mountain, but I couldn't follow them. I had the feeling that my heart would stop at any moment The climb up to the "pins" was so steep! As I was exhausted, I decided to rest halfway through and wait for them as soon as they descended again. I started to think many things. The night was not being pleasant for me. Whenever the girl gave the crucifix to kiss, she always avoided my lips touching the crucifix. The suspicion of thinking that Our Lady refused me to kiss the cross, hurt me very much inside. When they finally decided to go down, I saw Mari-Loli running, facing backwards and always looking with her face stretched upwards, but even so, she avoided all obstacles and obstructions in the way, as if she had eyes on the back of her. head. When we arrived at the village, she found Conchita. They both shared smiles at that meeting, and later gave the crucifix to be given to kiss the people present, always walking together, holding each other's arms. Jacinta, woke up from ecstasy at the door of the Church, but Loli remained ecstatic until his home.

After that, I went to look for Jacinta and asked her about my son. She told me that Our Lady had not yet answered that question. A little dismayed by all this, I went to the place where Loli was, who told me precisely the same. Then I questioned the following:

-At least, did she even read my paper? 

"Yes, she did," she said.

Father Corta was there at that moment, and when he saw my discouragement, he asked the girl if Our Lady would return. She replied: - Yes, at 2:00 am or 2:30 am - Then the priest recommended that I return again later to talk about my son's case.

At the time that had been predicted, Mari-Loli was ecstatic again. She left her home and immediately joined Jacinta, who was also walking ecstatically along the way. Both presented the crucifix so that it could be kissed by all those who were present at that moment, but once again they passed me, and avoided my lips so that I could finally kiss the cross. And the worst was when they said to me as they walked that Our Lady had given them the answer in relation to my subject: - Our Lady gave me the answer, but I cannot tell you now, - said Mari-Loli.

This answer left me even further down. I didn't deserve this, I started to suspect, that my son was in a place ... that it would be better not to know. Even so, I still had the courage to question Mari-Loli whether Our Lady's answer was good or bad. She was evasive again: - I can't ... I can't - and the expression on her face was really impenetrable. Again, Father Corta tried again to help me. (He watched my desolate look, and he inevitably felt sorry for me.) He asked the girl: -Can you tell him tomorrow? -Loli shrugged his shoulders and just said, "Maybe."

On his first day in Garabandal, this really became a day of test and trial for Mercedes Salisachs, with a lot of suffering, humiliation, confusion and agony.

"When I woke up in the early hours of Sunday morning, I felt really bad about everything that had happened to me. Before I went to sleep, I was reviewing in detail all the phenomena I had witnessed the day before. I wanted to try with all this find any mistake or flaw that showed these events to be false, that is, that Garabandal was nothing more than mere superstition. But the more I analyzed all the details, the more certainty I had within me that everything was true, that everything was authentic. the only person who was in error and for that reason the crucifix was never given to me to kiss. "We don't know if Mercedes managed to sleep that night; but we know with all certainty that the next day, Holy Saturday, did not bring him any consolation. It was April 21, Holy Saturday. Liturgically, it is a day of some peace, of waiting and meditation. "Holy Saturday was no better. Despite the cordiality of the marquis and his wife, Father Corta, Father Valentine, the chief of police and the girls' mothers, the atmosphere in the village seemed hostile. I had no doubt that all this courtesy was due to the pity and isolation that Our Lady had sentenced me. I finally began to have the premonition that what was happening had something to do with the meaning of the days we were celebrating. Did all this have liturgical significance? I dared to think about it because it seemed to be too compelling on my part, but what was certain is that after feeling this premonition, the anxiety I had until that moment, I no longer had it, so I resolved to submit myself to God's will. That night, I had dinner early and alone at Ceferino's cafe.  

Then the chief of police took me to Conchita's house. Your mother politely welcomed me into your home and offered me a place near your daughter, Conchita. The heat of the burning fireplace was suffocating and my physical condition was getting worse with each passing hour. We talked about many things. The things that most impressed the girls was the naturalness they had in their daily lives. They accepted supernaturality with an unusual simplicity. For them, seeing Our Lady was a fact that was available to everyone and that is why everything that happened was normal for them. What cost them the most was watching most people's disbelief. People were always asking the same question: Do you believe? Are you really seeing Our Lady? When Conchita was ecstatic, I left the kitchen due to the extreme heat, but on the other hand I was also able to observe this phenomenon more closely. Because I went outside Conchita's house, I was able to see more closely what happened to a gentleman who was a newcomer to Garabandal, his name was Mándoli. Although he considered himself a man of faith, he did not believe in the apparitions. Then I saw Conchita address me and that man. Mr. Mándoli was beside me. Conchita went to that man to kiss the crucifix, but the man, perhaps because he was a little embarrassed by the situation, managed to evade giving the kiss to the crucifix. Conchita remained ecstatic with her head stretched back, making it impossible for her to see what was in front of her and who was in front of her. He persistently persuaded the man to kiss the cross. Mr. Mándoli admitted with emotion that he had asked Our Lady that if this were true, that Conchita would give him the kiss of the crucifix. Later, Conchita joined the other three visionary girls who were walking in ecstasy along the paths of the village. All four girls were clinging to each other's arms with impressive lightness. Behind, a crowd of people followed with flashlights to light the dark path. I remember reading that in other apparitions (Lourdes, Fátima), the visionaries remained very static. It seemed that this new attitude of moving a lot, had to do with the characteristics of the new times in which we all live. What the sighting girls showed us, was well adapted to our way of life. When these apparitions took place, everyone could follow very closely and participate. In the beginning, according to what the visionary girls said, Our Lady showed clear signs of wanting to approach all the spectators present, allowed them to ask questions, answer prayers, give articles to kiss ... However, she found at that moment I was very disconcerted by everything that was happening to me. So I decided that I was not going to ask any more questions on the subject, nor even wait for the slightest sign from the sighting girls. A woman from the village, following an old custom, started singing the rosary in the streets. Despite feeling quite exhausted, I felt compelled to follow them. The devotion that anyone felt in the atmosphere at that moment, was moving. Never in my life have I been able to experience Easter as fervent as this one! The night seemed to be getting clearer as the rosary progressed. We were in the third mystery when the unexpected happened. Someone in the crowd touches my shoulder lightly. As I turned back, I saw the Marquise de Santa Maria clinging to Mari-Loli's arm. She told me confidentially the following: - Mari-Loli says she has something to tell you. At that moment, I was confused. It did not occur to me what it was about, as I had already had enough disappointments, so I expected nothing. Apparently it concerned something that Our Lady had said to her yesterday, but with the condition to transmit this message only after the Easter Vigil. . Mari-Loli said: - Later, later I will tell you ..

I was intrigued, I didn't know what to say, but Rosário, the person who was always with me in the most difficult moments, intervened and said: - Not soon, you are going to tell this woman now. You will not let this woman worry any longer. 

Then Mari-Loli and I stayed apart from the rest of the group. I leaned over to her and she said it in a whisper in my ear, but in a clear voice:

-Our Lady said that her son was in heaven. 

What a magnificent experience I had at that moment. I can't describe what happened. Everything, absolutely everything was resolved in the best way. I just remember that I hugged Mari-Loli as if I were hugging my son. Later I found myself in Rosário's arms; she also cried with me and told me things that I couldn't understand. People were around me and in that crowd I remember seeing Father Valentín, Father Corta, Eduardo Santa Maria, the head of the civil guard ..... Everyone looked at me, astonished and happy. Conchita's mother also came to me and in the sense of wanting to help me she said: -Tell this lady that if she is crying because she did not receive the crucifix to kiss, let her not be disturbed, because all night long I also did not receive the crucifix. - This scene will forever be imprinted on my heart and I think it will never be erased. The rest of the rosary was prayed as ascending to heaven. I stayed with Rosario and Mari-Loli. Never in my life had it felt so safe and with an indescribable lightness. Still continuing to cry, we continue to pray the rosary, always walking until the early morning. I think I prayed more with my eyes than with my lips, since Mari-Loli was always repeating: -Don't cry, don't cry. But for me this was impossible, because I had so many reasons to cry!

I never needed a flashlight, nor did I ever look at the floor, since it was turned on and clinging to Mari-Loli's arm. I had never seen a sky as starry as that night. Around three in the morning, we all went to the cafe of Ceferino, father of Mari-Loli, to talk about everything we had witnessed on that memorable night. I was also able to observe that Rosario was whispering to Mari-Loli ... A little later, she came to me: -Mari Loli told me that the message she gave you is not complete, but once you started crying she could not continue to say the rest of the message. Then, the seer girl confided to me about what she had not yet said about the message, which made me even more perplexed

.-She told me that your son was happy., Very happy and that he would be with you every day .... She told me that she knew your son was in heaven! Our Lady told her, but she had to keep it secret for a while because Our Lady said to her, "Don't tell the woman until tomorrow's Easter Mass." 

During Good Friday and Holy Saturday, a time of suffering for Jesus and His Mother Mary, the co-redeemer, Mercedes also went through long hours of humiliation and total darkness .... And only after the proclamation of the first hallelujahs of Easter Mass, of the most sacred Holy Night, is that she received the gift, the magnificent and unexpected message from heaven.

"After those moments" - Mercedes continues - "everything changed for me. Later, the girl goes into ecstasy again. To demonstrate that the game of silence I witnessed in the previous days was over, she immediately came to me and approached me. the crucifix so that I could kiss and do it once, twice, three times ..... Then he made the sign of the cross on my forehead, my lips, on my chest, and then he gave it to Nossa again Lady to kiss. And to confirm everything I said, she gave me the crucifix again so I could kiss it. Then, without offering the crucifix to anyone else, she went out into the street.

Outside the house, Ceferino, the girl's father, approached me and said to me: -She was talking about you with Our Lady, this is what I heard:

"I told her not to cry, so she would be happy .... but she didn't pay attention to me ... And if she cries again, when can I tell her about it?" 

As soon as the ecstasy ended, Mari-Loli came to me and told me that she had another message to convey to me:

- While I was talking to Our Lady again, I saw that She was very laughing and that She was looking up. When I asked him why he was so smiling, she told me that "at the time she was talking to me, he was looking at you. And that his joy was great." 

Mari-Loli, who are you referring to? I had never uttered her name, and she interrupted me:

-Yes. Miguel. Our Lady said to me: "Above all, tell the lady that while I am talking to you, Miguel is looking at her, and that he is very happy; he is happy, very happy." 

Tell me Mari-Loli! How did you know that my son's name was Miguel?

Because I asked Our Lady, "Who is Miguel?" and she answered me, "he is that lady's son.

When it was all over the next morning, my return home was like walking on clouds. I left Garabandal and the sky was shining on the other side of the mountain. "

[1] The Lady mentioned here was Mercedes Salisachs de Juncadella, known in Spain as a writer. (A few years before her visit to Garabandal, she won a "City of Barcelona" award for a literary novel.

[2] The communion of saints is one of the most beautiful dogmas of Catholicism. Catholics believe that there is an ineffable communication between those who have left and those who are still alive; and a mysterious exchange between them, in Christ and for Christ, in the Church and for the Church

[3] Neighboring village a few kilometers from Garabandal 

Translated by Garabandal Apostolate