Coincidence or Providence?

Thursday morning, August 2, 2018, my life and my point of view regarding Our Lady of Garabandal, who was completely unknown to me up until that moment, was going to change.
One of my best friends had invited my family and me to go to Garabandal, Cantabria, to see the place and visit Our Lady who had appeared there. They are good Catholics and form part of the Home of the Mother. I am a practicing Catholic, too, as well as a catechist. However, I did not know about the phenomena of Garabandal, and to be honest, I was skeptical and full of doubts. I have always considered myself a person of a strong faith, but I don’t like to be fooled nor led on by false visionaries or fake events.

We arrived at a very simple town lost in the middle of the beautiful, mountainous view. In the morning, a volunteer named Juan showed us a video and explained how the apparitions took place, where the visionaries’ houses were, etc. While Juan and another volunteer spoke to us with so much faith, I was having a great interior battle and debating whether everything was true or not. During one of the explanations, I stayed behind with my husband because I have limited mobility and couldn’t go up where the last explanation took place. In those moments, I silently asked God and Our Lady to give me light to know if what I was seeing was true or not. I was angry at myself for that dialogue with Our Lady that and for having those doubts. I only wanted a sign, something that would help me be certain. (I had that conversation with Our Lady because She and her Son have always spoken very clearly to me throughout my life, and they have always guided me with their words and signs. My life has been full of divine “coincidences” and many times having to follow paths that I never would have followed if it were up to me.)

The morning went by and I heard the testimony of the people there. In the afternoon we decided to meet at the pines, where Our Lady had appeared many times. It was a beautiful, calm, and, above all, spiritual afternoon. When we arrived at the top we saw an amazing view: mountains, some houses here and there, the breeze, sunshine… There were about twenty of us in silence or praying in a low voice. As the afternoon went by, I interiorly felt a calm and peace that are difficult to explain. Later we went to the town’s church. My calmness and trust in the Virgin grew more, yet I still was not sure.

The next day, Friday, arrived and my family, friends and I went to Sardinero Beach. It was August 3rd. I didn’t want to get in the water, so I sat on the pier in my wheelchair and watched everyone swim. I also read a booklet about Marian apparitions that I bought in Garabandal the day before. I read slowly and meditated each incident and event that took place during the apparitions. There was one thing that I couldn’t stop thinking about: when a person who didn’t believe in the Virgin’s apparitions, he or she would hide in the innermost part of a house or the town. Then, if he just questioned in his mind if the Virgin was really appearing, then one of the visionaries in ecstasy would come out of nowhere with a crucifix so that the person could kiss it and thus believe and convert. While I read and thought about this, an idea in my head tormented me: “The incredulous in the ‘60s had it easy because the image of Jesus Crucified was brought to them by the girls, and that was enough to convince them.”

The morning went by and the time came to leave the beach. My husband went to get the car. I had closed the book to keep an eye on my three kids who were now alone, but my mind returned repeatedly to the crucifix test. I was thinking about this, when suddenly two girls, about 18 years old, approached me. They asked me if I believe in God and if they could tell me about Jesus. I looked at them and they were wearing black T-shirts with white capital letters that said: "GOD EXISTS" on one of them and "GOD IS HERE” on the other. They told me about the Passion of Jesus, about his Resurrection, etc. I was in silent expectation, not sure what to believe. I am a catechist but I didn’t tell them anything about my beliefs. I wanted to know how far they would go and whether they were trustworthy or not, but the message on their shirts started to make me a little uneasy. Then they told me that they were a group of young volunteers from different nationalities who were traveling in Spain and other countries over the summer to spread the message of Jesus. Afterwards, they asked me a favor. This was when my senses began to react. I thought, "I am alone and my kids are over there. Are they a sect? Are they going to ask me for money?" “Yes?” I answered. They responded asking me if they could pray for me. They got on their knees, touched my head and legs with their hands and began to pray a healing prayer. They told me that it was so that the Lord would heal me and give me His blessing. When they finished they asked if we—my three children, one of my friends and I—could pray with them holding hands in the prayer of Faith. I could hardly believe all the sensations that I was experiencing at that moment. As a farewell, these "Apostles" asked my children and me to pray an Our Father for all the men in the world and another prayer. While we were holding hands I noticed that although we spoke different languages and were from places so far from each other, we were united by a very special energy: JESUS. They finished, we gave each other a big hug and I wished them the best in their life and their mission. When they turned around to leave, I saw a CROSS on the back of their shirts. I almost cried. The cross! The cross! The proof I had been insistently asking for like a little girl all morning!

All this had started at five minutes to one o’clock, approximately, and now it was a quarter past one. I was extremely impressed and I shared everything that I was going through at that moment with my children. My husband arrived running because he left the car badly parked and we left quickly. In our brisk walk, I passed in front of the group of young people that my two acquaintances belonged to—most of them had their backs turned—and I saw a lot of crosses in a row. We arrived at our hotel room and I turned my phone on to see if I had messages or emails—I hadn’t looked at it all morning—and to my surprise I saw that I had a WhatsApp that had arrived at 12:55pm (the same time of my incident on the beach). It was a video from a very close nun friend belonging to the Congregation of Hospital Sisters of Jesus the Nazarene. The video was about the Virgin Mary and her many titles! It had a beautiful, very poetic song dedicated to the Virgin playing in the background. Sister Maria José did not know that the day before I had been in a Marian sanctuary or anything. Chance? What made her send me that video of the VIRGIN that day and at that time? I almost dropped my cell phone when I opened the video, hearing in my head, “Woman of little faith, now do you believe? What more evidence do you need?"

Some may think that they are mere coincidences one after the other. Others, “Why would the Virgin want to prove to me, precisely to me, a sinner like any other and without any influence on the official hierarchy, the veracity of her appearances in a place like Garabandal?” Finally, as I said earlier, for me, coincidences do not exist, but Providence does. What I do know is that the Virgin spoke to me that Friday, August 3, through different signs that each person can interpret according to their degree of faith and belief. Only God and the Virgin know.