As the four young seers of Garabandal went into ecstasy on this date in 1961, something wonderful happened that had never occurred before. A young man was present with them, clearly visible in the presence of the Blessed Virgin. As he came to kneel down beside them they heard him say” Miracle, Miracle!”
Our Lady seemed to address him directly, “You will soon be with me” and confided to the girls that this man, Father Luis Maria Andreu Rodamilans S.J. was also in ecstasy and had been granted a vision of the Great Miracle that would occur in their village sometime in the future.
Father Andreu was the son of a very pious Bilbao family. Three of his brothers became Jesuit missionaries. Luis also discerned the call to become a missionary priest and joined the Jesuits with plans of preaching the gospel in China.
A Doctor of Theology, he spoke seven languages fluently and became the resident Professor of Theology at the Jesuit College at Ona, Spain. He remained behind in part to care for his aging mother who had generously given all her children to serve the mission fields of the Roman Catholic Church. After his death his mother would join the Visitation Convent in San Sebastian.
Suffering interiorly for much of the past year, Father Luis made the drive up from Burgos with friends. This was his second and final trip to the village where he had been deeply moved by the apparitions of July 29. He had decided to return one more time before departing on a trip to Germany. Moving with the crowd following behind the ecstatic march, he found himself unexpectedly swept up in the vision and witness to the future Miracle. Many in the crowd heard him cry out in joy and astonishment.
On the trip home, Father Luis confided to his friends, “I am so happy. What a favor the Blessed Virgin has bestowed on me. How fortunate we are to have a mother like her in heaven! There is no reason to fear the supernatural life. The girls have given us an example of how we must act with the Blessed Virgin. There is no doubt in my mind the things involving the girls are true. Why should the Blessed Virgin have chosen us? This is the happiest day of my life.” Shortly after making this statement, Father Luis Andreu died in the peace of holy joy before the car reached its destination.
One cannot review the events at Garabandal without acquiring a great impression of the love Our Blessed Mother has for her priest sons. This love was fully absorbed by the visionaries who emerged from the apparitions with a profound desire to pray and offer sacrifices for priests and to foster this practice amongst the laity. They have continued in this devotion all their lives organizing holy hours of prayer for priests in the places where they live.
This call for prayer for priests must be counted among the most important priorities of the Garabandal apparitions. Emphasized repeatedly in the discourses of Our Blessed Mother to the children is the necessity of sacrifices and prayer on the part of faithful Catholics for their priest, whose true vocation is self-sacrifice imitating that of Jesus Christ. The failure of a vocation concedes a lack of devotion on behalf of the laity spiritually obliged to uphold these men in their labors.
As Conchita expressed in a 1971 message, “Let us pray a lot for priests. We ourselves are to blame for many priests who are on the road to perdition, because we do not pray enough for them, because we do not sacrifice ourselves, and also because we should be giving an example to those priests who are consecrated to the Blessed Virgin…We have to help those priests…that they may rise and pursue their course.”
Many authors on Garabandal believe that the events pertaining to Father Luis Andreu S.J. are meant to honor him as a worthy priest and place high his example of devout ministry for others to follow. When asked in 1966 what the Blessed Virgin desired of priests Conchita replied;
“What the Blessed Virgin wants from the priest first of all is his own sanctification.
-He should fulfill his vows through love of God, and lead many souls to Him through example and prayer, for in our time it is difficult otherwise.
-May the priest be sacrificed through love of souls in Christ!
-May he retire from time to time in silence to listen to God who speaks to him continually.
-May they think a lot about the Passion of Jesus so that their lives are more united to Christ the Priest and thus invite souls to penance and sacrifice, and also make more tolerable to them the cross that Christ sends to us all.
-To speak of Mary who is the surest one to lead us to Christ and also speak about and cause people to believe that there is a heaven, so too there is a hell.”
Here in the United States, we have yet to see our first native born priest canonized by the Universal Church. As Americans, we are blessed to have many outstanding priest patrons on the path to sainthood: Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Father Solanus Casey OFM Cap, Father Emil Kapaun, Father Walter Ciszek SJ, Father Patrick Peyton CSC, and Father John Hardon SJ are foremost among many worthy American priests.
We encourage you to offer your needful petitions to any one of these intercessors. Please add your prayers and support to their respective causes that our nation may have the greater grace of their heavenly assistance and our clergy and laity their true and saintly examples of priestly life.
On August 16th, 1961, only a few days after his death, Father Luis Andreu was again present in the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin to the four seers of Garabandal; this time as her heavenly guest. He left this consolation with the girls for his grieving family, “Be happy and content, for I am in Heaven and see you every day.”
In a private locution to Conchita in 1964 it was revealed that the body of this son of Saint Ignatius would be found incorrupt on the day following the Great Miracle.
In Union of Prayer,
The Workers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel de Garabandal
Lindenhurst, NY USA