San Sebastian of Garabandal is a small village in northern Spain, in the Santander province, near the Picos de Europa mountains. It is 600 meters above sea level, and to get there involves a steep climb and poor roads. Around 300 people live in the impressively quiet town.
On June 18, 1961, four girls – Conchita, Jacinta, Marie Loli and Mari Cruz – all from poor families, were playing on the outskirts of the town. Suddenly they heard a thunder-like noise and the bright figure of the Archangel Michael appeared. On the following days it reappeared in the same place. He told them that on July 02 the Virgin Mary would appear and that was the beginning of the Garabandal events.
News spread quickly through the region and on July 2 the town was crowded. People came from out of town, among them physicians and priests. At 6pm they went to the place where they had seen the angel and our Lady appeared, accompanied by two angels, St Michael to her right and St Gabriel to her left. Our Lady manifested herself as Our Lady of Carmel and spoke about many things with the seers and recited the rosary with them.
The day after her first apparition, Our Lady appeared without the angels but more importantly, with the infant Jesus. After speaking for half an hour, she disappeared.
The girls described the vision as follows: She is dressed in a white robe with a blue mantle and a crown of golden stars. Her hands are slender. There is a brown scapular on her right arm, except when she carried the child Jesus in her arms. Her hair, deep nut-brown, is parted in the centre. Her face is long, with a fine nose. Her mouth is very pretty with lips a bit thin. She looks like a girl of eighteen. She is rather tall. There is no voice like her. No woman is just like her, either in the voice or the face or anything else.
Witnesses say the four little girls would become transfixed upon the heavens for hours on end. They wore expressions of intense joy, oblivious to pinpricks, burns or blows powerful beams of light were shone in their eyes, but not one of them blinked. They answered the Virgin Mary’s call day or night – sometimes they would fall to the ground and remain immobile in bizarre, of-balance positions. One local remembers that they ran through the village at unnatural speeds, reciting complex catholic prayers they were too young to comprehend.
Many people gave the girls bibles, rosaries, scapulars, medals, crucifixes, wedding rings and other objects for Our Lady to kiss, which she did. Once returned to their owners, the objects are carried or worn with faith and confidence they will suffer their purgatory on earth.
Over a four year period, thousands of people saw the four girls climb the hillside behind the village, lost in rapturous trance.
Before her last appearance on November 13, 1965, the Virgin prophesized the occurrence of three great supernatural events. Conchita was left with a clear warning from God – a greater miracle to come.
“As punishment deserved for the sins of the world is great, the miracle must also be a great one, for the world needs it”. It will occur on a Thursday on the feast day of a saint devoted to the Eucharist, at 8:30 in the evening and will last for one quarter of an hour. It will also coincide with a great event in the church. The sick who arrive that day will be cured and unbelievers will be converted. There will remain a permanent sign at The Pines as a proof of Our Lady’s tremendous love for all her children. It will be seen, photographed and televised, but will not be able to be touched. It will be something not of this world, but of God.
Our Lady granted Conchita permission to announce the date of the miracle eight days in advance. With the present means of communication and travel, eight days are sufficient for people around the world to gather. The day of The Miracle may be the last opportunity given by God and may also be Our Lady’s last effort to save the world from the punishment already threatened.
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The north-west of Spain.
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