Dr. Magnus Lundberg of the Uppsala University, Department of Theology has written important material on the Palmarians.

Dr. Magnus Lundberg of the Uppsala universitet/ Uppsala university
Teologiska institutionen/ Department of Theology
Box 511
751 20 Uppsala has written two very pieces on the The Palmarians.

One is a brief profile: http://www.wrs.vcu.edu/profiles

The other is a 60-page article: http://www.wrs.vcu.edu/ARTICLES/PALMARIAN%20CATHOLIC%20CHURCH/PalmarianCatholicChurch.htm

The Palmarian Church for the World Religion and Spirituality Project.

9 Responses

  1. Many thanks for your comment. Just to make one more last comment that might help someone out there. Sorry it’s a long one again!

    I suppose there was a number of reasons why I left. None of them were due to any theological analysis! Purely practical and for family reasons. Firstly, as I said my brother was getting married and for me it was just to much to be told that I could not go.

    But also as I got older, nearing 14, I could see there would be mounting pressure, as I got into my late teens to either, become a nun or get married within Palmar.

    The situation at home was difficult, as because of my parents relationship there was very little money spent on the children, even just the basics like food and clothes. I can’t say it wasn’t available, the family wasn’t my fathers priority, and my mother was so nervous when she got some money from him, that it might be the last, she hoarded it in the bank.
    My plan was to work hard at school get a good education and get out.
    So the Palmar plan for me did not quite fit.
    The expectation was that I should be praying not studying and I could see it was going to get really difficult – practically – time wise even.
    So I started working at 16 in any spare time I had – holidays and weekends later on, and saved up enough to for University.
    All of my siblings left home as early as possible and went as far away as possible. I stayed in Ireland but got a good job.

    You can imagine that because of Palmar I made very few friends in my school years because to be honest, they couldn’t call to the house, I dressed a bit weird for the time i.e below the knee skirts no trousers till I left at 14. But even after this because of 8 years of sneaking around and not being open about my life, and of course my parents relationship did not help, I became fiercely independent – and a bit of a loner.
    This gradually changed when I left Dublin.

    So we settled into a life of me coming home at weekends and Ma going to her mass and saying her rosary every night and doing her thing.
    The new rules did come in but there was only so much my mother would discuss. She must have struggled with family versus her religion.
    All my siblings kept connected with my mother constantly. As she got older we drove her to mass every Sunday – her mass. Because in our growing up and helping her, we were her allies when times were tough in her relationship with my Dad, that bond was too hard to forsake for her or us.

    She started to talk about leaving once the rule came in about burning your books – well, my Ma was a great reader, and reading was her escapism all the years, so this for her, would have been awful.

    As soon as she mentioned leaving. My brother and I discussed the best option. He was now home from abroad. What my mother really liked was the Latin mass, so we found an option in a Dublin church – Latin mass with no strings attached. It was perfect for her.

    That very first Sunday my brother brought her there instead of Haddon Road – he became ‘ an every Sunday’ mass goer with her ( it wouldn’t come naturally to him ! ) . I was out of Dublin a long time at this stage

    She died three years later but it was fantastic she had left beforehand as we could control the funeral. We asked the local priest could we use the local church for a Latin rite mass and he was very accommodating – he couldn’t have been more understanding. So the priest from the mass she attended in town came out and the whole thing including burial was in Latin. We had a quartet play fabulous music she would have approved of.

    One of my brothers long term friends who, by the way was Church of Ireland, actually printed off the Latin mass so people could follow it. Just incredible. There were lots of people just came for a look – loads of old nuns that hadn’t seen a Latin burial in years.

    And there was one ex Palmar priest my mother knew very well, I recognised him immediately, who clearly had some psychological problems going on and kept shouting out responses during the ceremony. I was actually really pleased he had come and I didn’t care that he had to do that , he showed his respects in his own way.
    And anyway, it was quite a spectacle for anyone not used to it, so another bit of unusualness didn’t bother me.

    And that was it, the end of an era.

    By the way, a Palmar priest came to see her in hospital before she died – I don’t know what he said but she was quite shaken by it
    She said he was like the devil in black.

    I met a woman who was a good friend of my mother’s when in Palmar about 6 months after her death. She had gone for lunch in the Yacht pub in Clontarf after mass in Haddon road. I went up to her and said.

    ‘ Hi xxx , just to let you know my mother died 6 months ago’

    Her reply was, ‘ I can’t talk to you, your wearing slacks! ‘ that has always stuck with me. Thats no religion at all -zero empathy.

    I am in my late 40’s now and I have come to the realisation that up till 20 or so, your parents are responsible for you but after that you are responsible for yourself. If they have made a complete hames of parenting you, make your own life better – and if you have the honour of having children of your own, never let them be anything less than your priority.

    So my own relationship with God? We have had our ups and downs like any friendship. I go to mass every Sunday – with my husband and kids. We see it as being an active part of a rural community rather than too religious. I pray every night for my siblings, in laws and my own family. I fell out with God big time when my first child was born as he was profoundly disabled but then he sent two ‘ of the standard type of child ‘ after. All 3 bring their own personality and joy to the house.

    Anyone reading this, I hope it helps. If you are the only one that has left Palmar and the others aren’t talking to you, try to make a life for yourself. We only get one life so make it the best you can and, try to keep contact with family members, even if it is one sided letter writing, so that they know you are there should they ever decide to leave. Support them if they do make that decision – make it as easy as possible to stay out.

    My belief , religion should be a moral compass to live your life by, whatever religion it is – but Palmar with all its restrictions and family separations is no moral compass.

    Best wishes.


  2. Joan thanks for this remarkable story, yes I am sure former Palmarians will receive great comfort and succour from reading it. You have not only used your mind but the meaning and emotion comes through. Keep writing more and it might bring out in others what they experienced. I will publish it now.


  3. As per my previous post, I was part of this, with my mother from 1975 to about 1981. I was aged 8 when I was first involved so my descriptions will be that of an 8 year old!

    Just to say at the start, this is my experience, I don’t want to insult anyone by my interpretation of that experience. But this is how it was for me. It might help someone.
    And by the way I never lost my sense of humour.

    Just to explain also my mother was a lovely person, but was very vulnerable and suffered, in hindsight from anxiety, if not some level of depression. She had lost her mother in 1975 who, she was very close to, and her marriage was not good, although they always remained in the same house. She couldn’t leave because in 1975 women in Ireland had no entitlements to the family home, she had no income and her religion kept her there.
    So Palmar became her support network.

    I was the youngest of 4. The others were only involved for a very short time – they were a bit older than me.

    My mother started by going to prayer groups or cenacles in people’s houses – she had been introduced by a friend. I used to go along.
    We lived in Dublin.
    My father was away one weekend and my mother decided to have a cenacle in our house. Over 40 people crowded into our sitting room at home. And then a Spanish visionary called Analito arrived. He was a small wirey man with not a word of English. In the middle of it all he started to have a vision of Our Lady. Next thing I knew, I was being ushered over to him by the crowd. He caught me by the ankles and pushed me up over his head. I was being presented to our lady apparently. There was a message for my sister too although she wasn’t in the room. It was all taped and we were given the tape – I had it for a number of years but I’m pretty sure I threw it out about 20 years ago. I wanted all memory of Palmar gone and who was going to translate it without thinking it was very strange.

    My father went absolutely nuts when he heard about the prayer group in the house, he came back early and caught the end of it. After everyone had left, he ran around the garden like a crazy man hiding my mother’s statues in the flower beds.

    My mother soon after arranged a trip to Palmar – it was part of a pilgrimage – there would have been about 30 Irish. I went with her.
    I had never been out of Ireland so for me it was amazing. Palmar for me was one very dusty street, with houses on either side and no pathways. At the very end of the long street there was the village which was not a square but opened out into a square like grid system of streets. We never went in there except once as there were bars and the cinema and all these things were considered not good. Also a lot of the locals did not like these pilgrims coming and you could get into trouble in the village.
    The house we stayed in was like a youth hostel – bunk beds everywhere and a communal cooking area. Amen in one house and women in another. In the morning the smell of bread from the bakery ( small house where the lady baked and sold it ) was fantastic and I lived on Miranda orange over there.

    At night, the old ladies would sit outside their houses and chat – they would all be dressed in black – they would shout down the street to each other.
    There might be a cow tied up against one house and a courting couple by the side of another.
    On our first visit, I clearly remember doing a night vigil in the dark outside. Maybe about 100 people only. I was very near Clemente Domingues Gomez as he was then. Within feet of him and he fell to his knees in the dark and had a vision. For me he was really frightening looking, as his eyes were stitched down very crudely – you could clearly see there was nothing in the sockets. The skin was pulled taught. No eyepatch, false eyes or glass eyes to cover anything up. I can’t remember this early on if he had gloves, but certainly later he wore white gloves and they were blood stained in the centre as he was supposed to have the stigmata.
    It may have been at this time, but I remember going into the area that would become the Basilica but it was only an enclosure with a large metal gate. I can’t remember anything indoors on that visit as we were praying outdoors. To enter the enclosure we would first walk up the dust street and then off road through a field track to the metal gate. I remember near the gate there was locals who spat and threw little stones. We would go as a group for safety and then knock and a priest would let us in. At that time, there was certainly one very large hammer and sickle drawn on the wall outside – it would have been 4 foot in diameter. The locals had obviously put it there.

    On other visits, the basilica was more complete. Although for me it always looked a bit skeletal, just the shape of it.
    There was a large concourse outside – just an empty space surrounded by a very high wall/ barrier. Then the Basilica itself was huge – it would fit maybe 2000 . In my mind it was bigger than anything I had seen before. I’m thinking back nearly 40 years now so I could be wrong. There were side alters with priests practising saying mass. A very large altar at the top.

    . We were there one time at Easter celebrations after Clemente became Pope. Every night he was carried high on a very ornate chair on a platform held up by priests. He was always as far as I remember in elaborate white and gold buttoned long coats. He was a small round man, with a round face.

    I might have been 10 at this stage. My mother and I would do as many night vigils as we were able. She had made herself a brown hooded cloak. brown was the ‘ in ‘ colour in Palmar.
    When I got too tired I would hide under it and go asleep. But I had an unusual way to go asleep a bit like counting sheep. I would sit in the Basilica and all the bishops and cardinals would be sitting on their seats on the alter in lines at the back – I remember about 30/ 40 at this stage. They had large pink hats and as the went asleep themselves the hats would slip and then they might make a start and wake up. So I would count how many sleeping cardinals and bishops were there. Eventually, I would nod off myself.
    Even at that stage I knew this was some scene for any 10 year old to witness.

    On one of the trips to Spain, I would have been 10 or 11 I made my confirmation. My father went absolutely ballistic when my mother told him, as he drove out of the airport on the way home,

    Anyway, and I know some will find this maybe offensive, but I made it again when my school class made it a few years later. My theory was that one of them was wrong! My father, my brothers and sisters came. My mother did arrange the clothes to wear .., guess what a brown suit! I was bringing Palmar with me for the day!

    It was my survival instinct kicking in that I was confirmed twice – I don’t think it did me any harm – I was terrified lightening would strike me or something when I got the oil the second time round! When you were in Palmar you were trained to have a vivid imagination!

    Back in Dublin at this time – we had mass or prayer meetings depending on the availability of a priest. Eventually, we had a priest for Ireland and he travelled around. Mass was either in Santry or over a butchers in Pearse street. I won’t mention any names here but people who were part of it will know.

    All this time, I kept my Palmar life seperate from my friends and school. I remember my English teacher, a nun, used to say you can never write properly of you don’t write about what you know.
    It used to put the fear of God in me – if I wrote about what I know – a family life that a complete disaster and a very unorthodox religion – I wanted to get away from it – not write about it!

    Under my school clothes I wore a huge 4by 3 inch cross and a 4 by 3 inch scapular with the Holy Face on it. Changing for gym time was a challenge – I am sure my friends thought I was extremely odd. I was at a reunion a few years ago and I did ask one of them and she just remembered me as painfully shy. But that wasn’t me at all, I just had to make sure no one got too close, visited my home and didn’t see me on a Sunday. I’m sure they wondered why I dressed oddly.

    When I was14 my brother was getting married and of course, my mother and I were not going to be allowed go. Well at that stage and at 14, I could see that any religion that puts between families is no religion at all. My mother begged me to go to confession first. I remember it well. Confession was heard at the top of the stairs, door on the right in Pearse street and Fr Escholastico a Scottish priest was waiting to hear what I had to say. He told me the devil was in my head and that I shouldn’t listen to him. Well that really nailed it for me and I was gone. My mother used to some up for a few weeks on Sunday mornings and kiss my eyelids so I might see the light. But I stayed in bed and it passed in a few weeks .
    The very first Sunday I went to the local church and I have always gone to mass since, by the way. The first year I hadn’t a clue of the words, when to stand or sit. And to be honest it was probably about 10 years before I took communion in the hand.

    I’ll write again some time even though I was left it , it was still a huge part of my life and made life so complicated, as my mother was a complete devotee.


  4. Thanks Magnus for this update


  5. Thanks for posting my articles. There’s a new book by Maria Hall called Reparation: A spiritual journey. The author was a nun in the Palmarian church between 1982 and 1990. To my knowledge this is the first longer work written by an ex-Palmarian nun. http://www.amazon.com/REPARATION-Spiritual-Journey-Maria-Hall-ebook/dp/B0157GSUPS


  6. Joan I know the people who wore the masks. They had family members and used the masks to hide their identity. They copied the Anonymous anti Scientology protests. We will totally protect your anonymity.


  7. Just a question before I consider expanding. When I was a child I kept my two worlds seperate – Palmar and that of school. When I left I was afraid they would come after me. There was no reason for it and maybe it just reflected the difficulty in dealing with it as a child and having to make a very grown up decision, at an early age and to leave on my own.

    It took to my 40’s to be in any way open about this with my friends and

    Is there any reason to be wary. Some years ago on the previous Factnet thread that was being used I noted that some people in my position who had family going to the church wore masks outside Haddon Road to protest, but keep their identity hidden.

    Is there reason for this ? Has there been any intimidation of past members?


  8. Joan do feel free to expand this and it can be published anonymously


  9. Many thanks for posting this. I was in this from 1975 to 1981 till I was 14 – I was in Spain 3 times at least during that period so witnessed some of this. My mother was part of this till 2006, she passed a few years later.
    She always kept talking to us and was thrown out many times for flouting their laws – she left when they told here to burn her books – she said that this is what Hitler did during the war, so that for her was just too much.
    The experience caused huge difficulty for me personally and , for my family


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