Fr. Luis Andreu -The priest who died of joy

By Jim Dunning

(This article was originally published in "Irelands Own" magazine. The webmaster would like to gratefully thank the author, Mr. Jim Dunning, for his kind permission in reprinting it here.)

San Sebastian de Garabandal is a small farming village in the foothills of the Cantabrian Mountains of northern Spain. It was here that in June, 1961, four local girls claimed that an angel appeared to them in preparation for the coming of the Blessed Virgin under the title ‘Our Lady of Mount Carmel.'

Interestingly, two of them were up to no good at the time, having gone out together to pinch apples from the local schoolmaster’s trees in a rocky lane called the ‘calleja’ which led up from the village to a group of nine pine trees. Joined by two of their friends, they sat munching apples somewhat guiltily ‘when‘, reported the twelve year old Conchita Gonzalez, there appeared to me a very beautiful figure that shone brilliantly but did not hurt my eyes at all.’

Moments later her three companions had the same experience. When they returned home and described what had happened, they faced mixed reactions, most of which were unfavourable, but over the next eleven days they witnessed the appearance of the angel eight times. On the first seven occasions he had remained silent, but on the eighth he advised them that the Virgin Mary would appear to them on the following day.

They were not disappointed. On the next day, 2nd July, they saw the Virgin in the company of two angels, and the girls spoke to her at some length, telling her frankly about their daily lives. She, for her part, taught them how they should say the Rosary, and promised to return the following day. This appearance was the first of some two thousand over the next four years.

And just as Lucia dos Santos played the main role at Fatima, so did Conchita become the central figure during these appearances. She was the first to fall into a state of ecstasy and was accepted as the leader from the start. So much so, that the Church authorities in Santander summoned her to accuse her of dreaming up the whole event, and even persuaded her to sign a statement to that effect. During her absence and after her return from Santander, however, the apparitions continued as before, except that they sometimes took place in different locations, including the village itself.

(In the photo to the left, Father Luis is pictured to the extreme right, alongside his mother Maria Luisa)
There were reportedly only four visionaries at Garabandal, but their privilege was shared on one occasion by an adult. The fifth visionary was Fr. Luis Maria Andreu, a Jesuit priest. He was a brilliant young theology professor who became interested in the stories coming out of Garabandal. Although sceptical on his first visit to the area, believing satanic elements might be involved, he realised on his second visit, after studying the visionaries in ecstasy, that something very special was happening.

On the 8th August, 1961, he was among the crowd observing the girls at the pine grove where the visions often took place. Suddenly his face became tense and falling on his knees, he cried out loud : ‘Miracle, miracle, miracle, miracle!’
The four girls could see Fr. Luis, even though normally when in ecstasy they would see only the vision and each other. The Virgin told them that the priest was seeing her and a miracle, too. Conchita later wrote in her diary that the Virgin seemed to say to him, ‘You will soon be with Me.’

Fr. Luis left by car that same night with his travelling companions. They paused for a while at Cosio, three miles down the mountain road from Garabandal, where he went to meet the parish priest and said : ‘Don Valentin, what the children are saying is true, but I ask you not to repeat what I have just told you, for the Church can never be prudent enough in this kind of event.’

On the way home it was clear that Fr. Luis was overwhelmed with joy, repeating the words : ‘I am so happy! What a wonderful favour the Virgin has bestowed on me! How fortunate we are to have a Mother like that in Heaven! There is no reason to fear the supernatural life. The girls have shown us how we must act with the Blessed Virgin. There’s no doubt in my mind that the things involving the girls are true. But why should the Blessed Virgin have chosen us? This is the happiest day of my life!’ The final time he said this, he lowered his head to his chest, made a slight coughing sound, and then died.

He was just thirty-eight. The news spread fast. Everyone was shocked. The next day, when the Virgin appeared to the girls, she told them that she had appeared to Fr. Luis as well as to them and had shown him a preview of a great Miracle to come, after which he had died of joy. This was not the end of the priest’s involvement with Garabandal, however. Just eight days later, on 16th August, the Blessed Virgin said to all four of them, ‘Fr. Luis will come and speak to you now.’ As Conchita recorded in her diary, A moment later, he called us one by one. We didn’t see him but only heard his voice. It was exactly like the one he had on earth.’

Fr. Luis spoke to the children and gave them some advice, as well as messages for his brother. More importantly, he sent a consoling message through them to his elderly mother, for whom news of his early death had come as a geat shock. ‘Be happy and content,’ he said, ‘for I am in Heaven and see you every day.’ What a comfort that must have been to her.

Almost three years after his burial in the Jesuit cemetery at Ona, on 14th July, 1964, Our Lady told Conchita during a locution (a voice without an accompanying vision), that on the day after the Great Miracle, the body of Fr. Luis will be removed and found to be as incorrupt as on the day he died. A statement that caused no little controversy, for in 1977 his tomb was opened and all that was found was a skeleton. But, it has been pointed out, Our Lady’s prophecy concerned only the day after the Great Miracle, so it remains to be seen whether yet another miracle is to take place!
And the Great Miracle itself? That is something we shall consider in the next article: -Garabandal and the Great Miracle

-‘Encountering Mary’ by Sandral Zimdars-Swartz

[Editors note: The alleged heavenly apparitions at Garabandal referred to in this article have not thusfar been officially approved or disapproved by the Catholic church, therefore Catholics are free to discern and form their own judgements concerning them.]


winno said...

I have to say that Garabandal is one of the visionaries that have been rejected by the Church. The fact that the body was not incurrupt should be enough for people to obey the Church.
I find mixing accepted visions from the Church with visions rejected,can be confusing. One of the visionaries themselves have said that they are not sure if it was Our Lady or not. I think in this case that it is best to listen to the Church on this ruling. For in the future it turned out to be true, Our Lady would not be offended as she has always said to obey your bishop on all things.

Anonymous said...

The local bishops of Santander, Spain, who have conducted several investigations of the apparitions, have never condemned Garabandal. One of the bishops, Bishop Juan Antonio del Val Gallo (deceased) went on film and stated that "...the word condemned has never been used" about Garabandal. Please see the following link:

Anonymous said...

Never condemned Garabandal??
What does this mean then?

Santander, 23rd August 2001-10-05

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Recently a number of people, like yourself, have approached me as Bishop of Santander,
enquiring about the alleged manifestations of Garabandal and, in particular, about the position of the hierarchy of the Church regarding this matter.
I have to say that:
1- All the bishops in the Dioceses, from 1961 to 1970, stated they had no evidence to support the supernatural nature of the apparitions that some people claimed were happening at that time.
2- In the month of December 1977 Mon. del Val, Bishop of Santander, expressed his agreement
with his predecessors, and stated that in the six years he had been at the Bishopric there had
been no other phenomenon.
3- However Mon. del Val himself, after the confusion or enthusiasm of the first years, commissioned an interdisciplinary study to study those phenomena in more depth. The conclusion of the study was in agreement with that of the previous statement given by the Bishops, that is, there was nothing supernatural in those supposed apparitions.
4- This study was completed around the time when I took charge of the Dioceses in 1991. Taking advantage of my visit to Rome for the visit ad Limina that year, I showed the Sacred
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith the study and asked them for guidance on my pastoral advice about this case.
5- Dated 28th November 1992, the Congregation sent me their reply in which it is stated that, after
having examined carefully all the documents, they did not find it necessary to intervene directly
or to withdraw this affair from the ordinary jurisdiction of the Bishop of Santander, which is
his by right.
Previous declarations from the Holy See agree with this statement.
In the same letter it is suggested that if I considered it appropriate, I should publish a
declaration to reiterate the fact that there is no evidence to support the supernatural nature of
the alleged apparitions, and so make my own the unanimous position of my predecessors.
6- As the statements of my predecessors who had studied the case had been clear and unanimous,
I did not consider it necessary to make a new public declaration and I wished to avoid drawing
attention to matters which were now well in the past. However, I did consider it relevant to
write this report as a direct answer to those people who seek orientation on this affair, which I now consider concluded, accepting the decisions of my predecessors, which I make my own,
and the directions of the Holy See.
7- Concerning the celebration of mass in Garabandal, following the dispositions of my
predecessors, I only permit them to be celebrated in the parish church with prior authorisation
of the parish priest, and ask that no reference should be made to the alleged apparitions.
Hoping this information is of some help to you,
+ José Vilaplana
Bishop of Santander

Stephen Browning said...

Praised be Jesus Christ!
Is this not proof from Our Heavenly Mother,
of life after death; with the conversations the visionaries had with Fathet Luis Maria Andreu, just days after his untimely death?

Anonymous said...

There is more information available here TLIG.ORG

Glenn H said...

In 1977, impatient followers of this prophecy opened the tomb of Fr. Luis ( it had been moved from one cemetery to another. ) The question was presented to me many times, if they already dug up Fr. Luis Andreu’s body and it was decaying, does this negate the prophecy about he being found incorrupt ?

Fr. Luis Andreu's corrupted body in NO WAY invalidates the prediction, why ? Conchita, in a letter dated August 2, 1964, wrote this to Father Ramon Andreu (his brother) “On July 18 (1964), I had a locution in which I was told that on the day after the miracle your brother (Fr. Luis Andreu) would be removed from his grave and his body would be intact.” SO infact , the Blessed Mother said it would be " THE DAY AFTER THE MIRACLE ", NOT BEFORE ! The prophecy is still valid until then.

Consider this too, now that we know his body decayed, how much more of a greater miracle will it be when he is found incorrupt the day after the Miracle ?

Glenn H said...

For those who are interested in learning ( and asking questions ) about the apparitions, messages, and upcoming “ Warning & Miracle” spoken about by our Blessed Mother at Garabandal :

Charles Madu said...

This article is vey interesting;if you can fined more findings onit, please write more

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