The Last Apparition
November 13, 1965, was a day of great joy mixed with sadness for Conchita – one last farewell in the rain.
In these final hours, as it had been at the first, The Virgin appeared with the Infant Jesus.
This was to be a special apparition for kissing religious objects.
After kissing the articles, the Virgin said, “Through the kiss I have bestowed on these objects, my Son will perform prodigies. Distribute them to others. Talk to me, Conchita, talk to me about my children. I hold them all beneath my mantle. This will be the last time you will see me here but I shall always be with you and with all my children. Conchita, why don’t you go and visit my Son in the tabernacle? He waits for you night and day.”
Conchita said to the Virgin, “I am so happy when I see both of you. Why don’t you take me now to heaven with you?”
The Virgin replied, “Remember what I told you on your patronal feast day? When you present yourself before God, your hands must be filled with good deeds done for your brothers and for His glory. At the present time your hands are empty.”
This was the end.
Those joyful moments when our Heavenly Mother, always near, had been visible to Conchita would now cease.
For a short time, Conchita continued to vividly feel the presence of the sacred around her and even experience personal locutions. She said, “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 who love us so much.”
The View of Medical Science
While the apparitions were still progressing, more than forty physicians and psychiatrists conducted examinations of the four girls; observing both their normal behavior and the quality of the ecstatic states.
Pediatrician Dr. Celestino Ortiz studied the visionaries for twenty consecutive days. Outside of the ecstatic state, he found these children to be normal and well balanced. Of their ecstasies he said, “To keep silent would be true scientific cowardice. We do not find any convincing explanation for such phenomena.”
Dr. Ricardo Puncernau, an internationally renowned neuro-psychiatrist, widely regarded among the elite in his profession, performed the most extensive series of tests on the girls over a twelve day period. He concluded that the quantity and the quality of the phenomena ruled out any natural explanation. He said, “From a strictly scientific point of view, one cannot deny the possibility of a supernatural cause in all these phenomena.”
Another prominent psychiatrist connected with the events was Dr. Luis Morales. In 1961, he was appointed chief medical examiner of a commission formed to study the apparitions. The opinion of this commission, which Dr. Morales endorsed, found the phenomena to be of natural origin.
On May 30, 1983, Dr. Morales officially reversed his position and gave a public lecture in Santander’s largest conference hall to a full house, including members of the Spanish press, stating the reasons why he believed the apparitions to be authentic.
Conchita Gonzalez as principal visionary was summoned to Rome in January of 1966 by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, Pro-prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where she was formally deposed concerning the apparitions at Garabandal.
At this time, Conchita was received by Venerable Paul VI in private audience where she received the Petrine blessing, “Ti benedico, e con ne ti benedice tutta la Chiesa” or “I bless you and with me the whole Church blesses you.”
This form of blessing is customary and must not be interpreted as that Holy Father’s personal sanction of the Garabandal events.
During this 1966 trip to Italy, Conchita was welcomed most cordially by Padre Pio of Pietrelcina at the friary in San Giovanni Rotundo. At the end of their conversation, in the presence of her mother Aniceta, Conchita received the blessing of the stigmata from the hand of the saint.
Upon his death on September 23, 1968, Padre Pio entrusted the veil that obscured his face during the public viewing of his body to Conchita, a sign of predilection and encouragement which she possesses to this day.
During the week of October 17, 1968, at Lourdes, Father Bernardino Cennamo OFM, a close friend of the saint, informed Conchita that Padre Pio had also been granted a vision of the Great Miracle of Garabandal in the days before his passing and had spoken of this to him in person.
At the time of this writing, The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has not publicly declared its opinion on the authenticity of the apparitions at Garabandal.