St. John of God
The brothers of St. John of God
Witnesses to the Conchita Communion in Garabandal
The path that these three brothers of the company of S. João de Deus took was the old Cantabrian road, by train that goes from Celorio-LLanes-Unquera-Pesués. Then there was a bus that went up the mountain, passing through Puentenansa and Cosío. Years later, that bus took the road from Cabezón de la Sal to Cosío.
When we were on the eve of our spiritual exercises in Celorio (Asturias), the three of us got up and early in the morning, almost without knowing where we were going, we got up in the early hours of the morning, around five approximately. However, one of our companions, when we went to call him, objected to us and ended up not coming with us.
We left in the morning, around seven and ten in the morning we followed by train that took us to Unquera. During the journey we asked the reviewer how we could go to Garabandal since, as I mentioned at the beginning, we got on the train without really knowing where we were going. I called this train, the Divina Providencia train.
This good man indicated all possible combinations to us, despite having told us at the beginning that it would be almost impossible to go up to this village. We arrived in Llanes and the gentleman, whom we asked, kindly told us that we should arrive in Pesués and from there take a bus towards Cosío.
Since we had to wait for the bus for a while, we decided to settle down until the next settlement. About two hundred meters ahead, when we were walking on foot, almost a little tired, we came across men who asked us how to go up to Garabandal. They told us that a truck would safely pass over there, which could take us there.
Between doubts and doubts, we followed the path, until a taxi appeared. This taxi was empty, only the driver went and only three more people could fit. I mean, if our other companion, who scolded us early in the morning, would not have been able to go up.
These men told the taxi driver that we wanted to go up to Garabandal. The very kind taxi driver complied with that request. On the way we started to ask about the apparitions, what the people in that village were like, what the people in the village said about everything that was going on, everything that was said about Our Lady and the visionary girls.
We arrived at Cosío, and from there to reach Garabandal we had to walk some 6 kilometers on a road in many bad conditions. We were then told that there were two procedures to get there: either go up on foot, or rent a taxi whose taxi driver was called Fidelin.
Then we met a lot of people who were just there, waiting to go up to Garabandal and others who had already come down from Garabandal. I remember that we met with a Catalan doctor and asked him, what opinion did he have as a psychiatrist, of everything they said was extraordinary. He said to us:
- For me I believe that everything is supernatural, but you go up, see and judge yourselves. For me, the visionaries are totally normal girls.
We agreed with Fidelín, who at that moment was arriving from Garabandal. We climbed in the taxi, he was enthusiastic about our trip, he gave us all possible facilities, he told us what he had seen, he told us that for him everything was supernatural. We were more and more intrigued, and moved by everything that referred to Our Lady. In spite of that, we followed a little on the expectation and followed a little on the plan of mere curious, with good faith but without many beliefs about everything that was so much discussed at the time.
We arrived in Garabandal by taxi around ten quarter past one, and stopped by Mari Cruz's house. This girl was on the porch of her house with her older sister, sewing. We signaled to her that we wanted to talk to her.
She, very timidly, greeted us. We immediately started to approach it with questions. Some were answered, but others more intimate and related to his appearances, he only responded with a simple smile.
After about ten minutes with her, we saw that Jacinta, another of the visionaries, was climbing up an alley. It was Fidelin who told us it was Jacinta. He also greeted us with a very angelic smile. We started to approach her again with questions, but the answers were similar to those of Mari Cruz.
Then we took the opportunity to take some pictures with her, and at that moment some gentlemen from Andalusia presented themselves to us. All people commented on what they had seen, etc. Many of the people had been there for a few days, were without food, and others died of sleep.
It seemed a little strange to all of us, but instead of being just curious, we were sorry for all that because we had to leave soon.
Note: The exercises that they often refer to are spiritual exercises, a few days of prayer and deep meditation, according to the way of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.
We were told that there was going to be an apparition tonight and that we were going to see how it all came from God. Others very doubtful, smiled with some sarcasm. The taxi driver, seeing our bewilderment, and seeing that that same night we had to be in Celorio (Asturias) to start the spiritual exercises, was ready to take us through the night with a flashlight, from Garabandal to the neighboring village, a time the taxi didn't walk those paths at night.
We accessed, among many doubts and many questions, and decided to see what was really going on.
Based on this, we went to eat something. We took with us four sandwiches that belonged to one of the companions who accompanied us. We went up to the place where Fidelín told us that the apparitions were taking place, we sat down next to those "pins" and we were talking about where Conchita was, and we were sorry not to see Conchita because, according to reports, he was picking grass in the fields.
What was not our surprise when we started eating our sandwiches, we saw a girl of about twelve accompanied by other girls of two, three years old approximately. This girl had a veil in her hands. We, without knowing her, asked if he had seen Conchita. The answer did not wait: It is me.
So, when we saw ourselves on those "pins", accompanied by that girl, we said: let's talk to her.
Indeed, we have been talking to her for a long time. We invited Conchita to eat some of our sandwiches, once we had a little left over. We told him: look, this little piece of bread is for you. She answered us: I can't, because I have to take communion.
It was ten-thirty, sharp. We, for what I said about going to communion, looked at the clock to calculate whether this girl could actually receive communion or not if she ate that little piece of bread. She told us:
- I can't eat because in two hours I'm going to eat here.
We were intrigued by all the things that girl said so naturally. He spoke to us about Padre Pio, he spoke to us of the letters he wrote to people without knowing directions, he spoke to us with such great naturalness about the affection that Our Lady had towards everyone and about how Our Lady explained to them when writing a word with "b" or "v".
We started to notice something special in this conversation with the girl and to understand more about the affection of Our Lady, because it was something that was recorded on me and from those moments I started to look at the Virgin in a closer way. Conchita told us that Our Lady was concerned not only with spiritual matters, but also with our material good, with our headaches, with all these things that a mother is concerned about her children, ever since I started to see this perspective on things ...
However, the most exciting moment came for all of us, when Conchita went to communion right there with us. The small girls were further away. Conchita took a few steps, looked at us and suddenly dropped to her knees. A strong blow as if it were a dead man's stiffness, so to speak. He started to feel ecstatic, turning his head back in an extraordinary way. We startled all three, and got on our knees. A holy fear and joy came into us that we could not explain.
Then this girl started to bless herself, I heard her say a few words, I saw her bless herself and I saw her open her mouth. At that moment, I opened my eyes to the maximum, looking everywhere, especially upwards, to see if she was observing the Angel that she had told us to give her communion with. I saw nothing, but I saw that the girl was really in a state of ecstasy, I saw with the eyes of the soul that it was all true, and that I cannot explain.
The girl opened her mouth, stuck out her tongue and when she took her tongue out I had the intention of putting my hand in front of my tongue, I don't know why, but at that moment, I felt a tremendous fear with immense joy.
As I said, with the eyes of the face I saw nothing, but as the eyes of the spirit I noticed something extraordinary there. Then the girl closed her mouth and I heard perfectly swallowing something I didn't see. Then the girl, after all this, came to us. First she approached me after having spoken a few words to that Angel she saw, and then she started to touch me.
I got scared, on my knees, unable to get up and I dragged myself to my knees so that the girl would not touch me. He noticed something mysterious, but the girl insisted until she took the scapular of the habit. So, I, with my hands folded over the scapular, tried to keep the girl from lifting the scapular, because I felt I was going to lift it up.
Without knowing what all that was, I started to push, but it became useless because the girl raised my scapular, as if it were a chalice, with extraordinary devotion raised it to a certain height, a few seconds in the air, and he let it fall gently, spoke a few words and approached another companion. The girl, without looking at the person, approached her on her knees to the other companion, and did the same as the other times, spoke a few words, left the scapular and went to another companion of ours.
For the third companion, a knot was made on purpose with the three scapulars to see if the girl had the same scapular twice. Without looking, only at the image she saw in the sky, she left the Scapulars kissed, and was left with the scapular that had not yet been given to kiss. He did the same with the others, after a few moments the girl remained ecstatic, made the sign of the cross in a way I never saw, and after some time, she was no longer ecstatic.
The girl stood up as if nothing had ever happened. We, scared, of all colors, started talking to her, almost unable to speak:
- Have you already received communion?
- Yes, I already took communion.
I have to inform you that we were taking a camera, none of us knew how to use it and we didn't agree to use the camera to take pictures. It is curious, because the photographs were taken and in the photos we left the three, but we do not remember when we took these photos.
We asked Conchita again:
- Why did you take the scapulars and why did you elevate them to heaven?
- It was the Angel who asked me to kiss them.
- Did you speak to an Angel?
- And what did he tell you?
Did I tell you anything about us?
- The Angel already knew that you were here and told me that you came here today because you were here and also told me that the Lord and Our Lady are happy with you.
- Did you say a message to each of us?
- Yes, he gave a message to each of you.
- Can you tell us?
- No, I have to tell Our Lady first, this is because the Angel told me to do so.
- Then, you will tell us
- Yes, yes, I will tell you.
- And do you know who was the first of the scapulars you presented?
- The first was by Brother Luís.
-- And the second?
- Brother Miguel.
- And the third? - Brother João.
--How did you see the Angel?
- With a blue dress, pink wings and a little long hair with ends curled up.
In saying this, she did the same about her hair to give us a more graphic description. During the conversation, both before and after ecstasy, he always called us "priests". Once, after ecstasy, when we called again "priests" we told them that we were "brothers". Upon hearing us she said:
- Ah! That is why the Angel told me "the brothers". So, I told the Angel that they were not brothers and the Angel smiled at me.
We started the return to the village again and returned to the topic of messages again when we went with it .
- Tell me, Conchita, is the message serious?
- No, no, it's good.
- But we can see that you're not really going to tell us
- Yes, yes, I tell the truth.
We must report that we have not given our direction. Two months after these events, one of our brothers received his message.
With our questions over, we went down to the village with Conchita, but halfway there, Conchita tells us: here, through these stones, they say that I am on my back. And he said all this with incredible naivety.
We arrived at the village, had a small meal and returned to our residence, and thanking the Lord for everything that flooded our souls with joy.
People tried to ask us questions. It seemed strange to us and in order to avoid further complications we decided to go down the path in order to arrive in Celorio at night, before the spiritual exercises of seven thirty.
We don't know how it was possible, but we reached the people immediately, we had a car at our disposal and before seven-thirty in the afternoon we were in Celorio, at our residence to begin the holy exercises.
The exercises, in a way, were these things that occurred to us in Garabandal on that memorable day.
Apart from this report, I want to tell you how this girl told us about the death of Father Andreu and how she naively told us that she spoke to him in German, English, French and Greek. He talked about the way Our Lady kissed them, how she caressed them. She taught us a lesson on how the Virgin treated all her children and how all children have to speak to Her.
For us, these were the best spiritual exercises we've done in our entire lives.
I wanted to tell you many more things, such as the letters that Padre Pio wrote to this girl and how everything that Padre Pio said and the timeliness of everything that is taking place. This girl told us that the cup is overflowing, that Our Lady really wanted the salvation of the world and that she wanted us to avoid punishment. May we pray a lot and ask especially for religious and priests.
At that time, we did not understand well what Conchita had told us. After all these years passed, we realized that how those messages from the Virgin are being fulfilled, just as She said.
Translated by Garabandal Apostolate.