In a century of many reported apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary comes one that is still controversial yet many feel it is worthy of belief. A tiny hamlet--and very primitive--in the Cantabrian Mountains of northern Spain was the site of reported apparitions to four young girls beginning on June 18, 1961.
There was a church in the village, but Mass was celebrated only once a week by the parish priest in the nearest town who traveled to Garabandal on horseback. There is a small stand of 9 pine trees on a hill just outside the village that plays a prominent role in the messages.
This is the story as we have been told by the villagers, mainly Serafin and Paquita Gonzales. Serafin is the brother of one of the visionaries (Conchita) and we have had the privilege of staying at their home in Garabandal on several occasions. Serafin passed away in 2000, but Paquita remains in Garabandal.
Also one of the visionaries, Mari Loli Mazon, recently died. None of the other visionaries remain in the village.
While playing that day they heard the sound of thunder and suddenly an angel in dazzling white stood before them. The angel said nothing and the girls, terrified by what they had seen, ran to the village church. Over the next few days the angel appeared to them again, but once again said nothing. Finally on July 1st the angel announced that he had come to tell them that on the following day the Blessed Virgin Mary would appear to them as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The next day Our Lady did indeed appear as Our Lady of Mount Carmel holding the infant Jesus with two angels at her side.
Our Lady foretold three momentous events that would occur:
1. A world-wide warning to be seen and felt by all (an illumination of conscience).
2. A miraculous sign to be left at the Pines in Garabandal within 12 months of the warning..
3. A final chastisement if mankind does not repent.
There is much more to the story so click here for more details about the prophecies of Garabandal. And bear in mind that the alleged apparitions remain under investigation by the Church. A great deal of misinformation was distributed that cast doubt on the apparitions but most of that proved untrue. We leave it up to you to decide. Personally we can attest to the sincerity of the villagers who were involved in the early days of the reported apparitions.
There are several tour companies that offer pilgrimages involving a stay at Garabandal. The village remains rustic--which we like--but there are a couple of more modern hotels at the edge of town. There was a time when people were "pilgrims", willing to give up modern conveniences in order to sample another life style. We hope there are still some of those out there today.
There are several good books about Garabandal in our bookstore. The most comprehensive is the three-volume set entitled "She Went in Haste to the Mountain".
The nearest major town is Santander, which has an airport served primarily by Iberia Airlines. San Sebastian de Garabandal is about 50 miles south of Santander. There is no rail service.
If you are traveling on your own, you can travel by bus from Santander to Cosio, a little over two miles from Garabandal. From there you would need a taxi, unless you plan to borrow someone's mule! Of course if you are driving you can make your way directly to the village.