San Sebastián de Garabandal
The small mountain village of San Sebastian de Garabandal is located in Northern Spain in the province of Cantabria, 90 km from Santander. Quaint and rustic stone houses are grouped together on top of a small hill, 497 meters high.
The village is located at the foot of the mountain Peña Sagra, 2,016 meters in altitude. Peña Labra, 1,010 meters in altitude, is located towards the South. San Sebastian de Garabandal is located at the end of a road which begins in the village of Cosío, Once close to the village, a small group of nine pine trees stands out above it on the southern horizon.
In the year 1961, around 300 people lived at the foot of the mountain, in about 80 stone houses. There was no running water in the village, and the only source of heat was a wood stove in the kitchen. They had electricity for only a few hours each night. Modern-day comforts, such as cars and television, did not exist in Garabandal. The people made their living raising livestock, sometimes having to work in pastures at the very peak of the mountain.
It was the most religious village of the area. Every afternoon, a woman rang a bell, inviting the villagers to pray for the faithful departed. Every night, the people gathered together in the small church to pray the Rosary. On the weekends, the parish priest from Cosío, Father Valentín Marichalar, went on horseback to Garabandal to celebrate mass and to hear confessions.