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The small village of San Sebastian de Garabandal, Spain, was marked by the presence of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. In nearly 3,000 public apparitions between the years 1961 and 1965, she appeared to 4 girls, between 11 and 12 years of age: Conchita González, Mari Cruz González, Jacinta González y Mari Loli Mazón.
The first apparition took place on June 18th, 1961. St. Michael the Archangel appeared to the four girls during a period of several days in order to prepare them for the coming of Our Lady. She would appear on the Sunday afternoon of July 2nd, 1961.
From Conchita's diary:
«The greatest event of my life occurred at San Sebastián de Garabandal on June 18, 1961. It happened in the following manner.
It was Sunday. All the girls were playing in the village square. Suddenly Mari Cruz and I decided to get some apples and we started off directly for the place without telling anyone that we were going to steal some apples. When the girls noticed that we were going off, just the two of us, they asked us where we were going. "Over there", we answered. And we kept on going, making plans on how to get the apples. Once we got there, we began gathering them. Just when we were having a great time, we saw Loli, Jacinta and another girl, Ginia, who had come looking for us.
Seeing us take apples, Jacinta cried out: "Why Conchita, you're stealing apples!” "Keep quiet", I said. "The schoolmaster's wife will hear you and she'll tell my mother." (…)
As we were enjoying ourselves, eating the apples, we heard a violent noise like thunder and we cried out together: "It seems to be thundering." This happened at half-past eight at night.
When we had finished the apples, I said: "What a shame. Now that we have stolen apples that did not belong to us, the devil will be happy and our poor guardian angel will be sad." Then we began to pick up stones and to throw them with all our strength to the left side, where the devil was said to be. When we had become tired from throwing stones and our consciences felt better, we started to play marbles with stones. Suddenly, there appeared to me a very beautiful figure that shone brilliantly but did not burn my eyes at all. When the other three girls, Jacinta, Loli, and Mari Cruz, saw me in this state of ecstasy, they thought that I was having a fit because I kept saying, with my hands clasped: "Ay! Ay! Oh! Oh!” They were about to call my mother when they found themselves in the same state as I, and cried our together: "Ay! Oh! The angel!”».
July 2nd, 1961, turned out to be a day full of joy in Garabandal. The Archangel had announced to the children that the Blessed Virgin was going to visit them as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The girls, filled with joy, cried out simultaneously, “Tell her to come soon!"
Conchita wrote in her diary:
"We had not yet arrived at the scene of the apparitions when the Blessed Virgin appeared with an angel on each side. One of the two angels who accompanied her was Saint Michael. The other didn't recognize. He was dressed exactly like Saint Michael. They looked like twins. Beside the angel, who stood at the Blessed Virgin's right and at the same height as she, was a large eye which seemed to be the eye of God.
That day we talked a lot with the Blessed Virgin, as she did with us. We told her everything. We told her that we went out to the fields, that we were bronzed from the sun, that we put the hay in stacks, etc. And she laughed as we told her all these things."
It was the first apparition of Our Lady of Garabandal. The first of many apparitions. Garabandal was going to be converted into a place touched by the presence of Our Heavenly Mother. The apparitions were many and many were also the graces and heavenly gifts granted through Our Lady's intercession.
Conchita wrote in her diary on June 22nd, 1962, that the angel, after giving her Communion, said, “I am going to perform a miracle. Not me, but God, through my intercession and yours. The next time I bring you Holy Communion, the Sacred Host will become visible on your tongue.” This surprised Conchita because she thought that everyone always saw the Sacred Host when she received Communion from the angel. A week later, she heard a voice say that the Miracle, or the Little Miracle, as she called it, would take place on July 18th. The Miracle occurred just as the angel had predicted. From the 2nd of July, news about the “Little Miracle” began to spread throughout the entire village and the surrounding regions. The dawn of the 19th of July, Conchita, while still at home, fell into ecstasy. As in previous ecstasies, the Angel told her to pray the “I confess…” and to think about Whom she was about to receive. Conchita left the room and went down the stairs, holding her hands together in prayer, with her head thrown back and her mouth slightly open. In front of the house of her friend, Olguita, she fell to her knees, and the miracle of the visible communion took place. Pepe Díez, who was present in that moment, explained that he saw the white Host suddenly and inexplicably appear on the girl’s tongue, even though she had moved neither her mouth nor her tongue. He said that the Host seemed to grow. Another eyewitness assured that the Host was the same shape and size as the hosts normally used for Mass, perhaps a bit thicker, somewhat spongy, and adhered to the girl’s tongue. It is estimated that the phenomenon lasted between 45 and 50 seconds.
Saturday, November 13th, 1965, was the date of the last apparition that Conchita had in Garabandal. In the last apparition, once again the Blessed Virgin did not only speak to Conchita, but to all of humanity. "Conchita, I come not only for you, but for all of my children." She is the Mother of all and her desire is to lead us to her Son Jesus. She underlines the importance of making visits to the Blessed Sacrament and asks Conchita, "Why don't you visit my Son more often in the Blessed Sacrament? Why are you lead by laziness and why don't you go and visit Him? He is waiting for you day and night."
"One day in church Our Lady told me in a locution that I would see her on Saturday, November 13th, at the pines; it would be a special apparition to kiss the religious objects so that I could give them away afterwards. I was anxious for this day to arrive so that I could see Our Lady and Baby Jesus again. They have implanted in my life the seed of God's happiness.
It was raining, but I didn't care. I went up to the Pines, carrying the many rosaries which people have given me to distribute… As I was went up, I was talking to myself, being sorry for my defects, desiring not to fall into them again. For I was very concerned about appearing before the Mother of God without getting rid of them.
When I arrived at the pines, I began to take out the rosaries and I heard a sweet voice, the voice of the Virgin, which you can always recognize from other voices, calling me by my name. I answered her, 'What?' At that very moment, I saw Her with the Child in her arms. She was dressed as usual and smiling. I told her, 'I have come to bring you the rosaries so that you can kiss them.' She said to me, 'I can see.' I had been chewing gum, but when I saw her, I stopped chewing and stuck the gum to one of my teeth. She must have noticed, because She said, 'Conchita why don't you get rid of the chewing gum and offer it up as a sacrifice for the glory of my Son?' A bit ashamed, I took the gum out and threw it on the ground. She said afterwards, 'Do you remember what I told you on your saint's day: that you would suffer much on earth?... Now I repeat it to you. Have trust in Us.' Then I added, 'How unworthy I am, oh Mother of us all, of so many graces received through you, and now you have come to me to help me carry the little cross I have." She said, 'Conchita, I have not come only for you but I have come for all my children, with the desire to bring them closer to Our Hearts.' She asked for the things I was carrying. 'Give them to me so that I can kiss all that you have brought.' And I gave her everything. I had also brought a small crucifix which I gave her to kiss. She kissed it and said , 'Put it in the hands of Baby Jesus.' And I did so and He said nothing. I said, 'I intend to take this cross with me when I go to the convent.' But She did not reply. After kissing everything, She commented, 'My son, through this kiss, will work wonders. Distribute them to the others." Of course I will do so.
After all this, She asked me to tell her all the petitions which I had received for others. She said, 'Conchita, tell me, tell me things about my children. I have all of them under my mantle.' And I said, 'It is too small and there is no room for all of us.' She smiled at this.
'Do You know, Conchita, why I did not come personally on June 18th to give you the message for the world? Because it pained me to say it myself, but I have to say it to you for your own good and, if you obey, for God's glory. I love you very much and I desire your salvation; I desire to bring you all to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Conchita, won't you respond to this?' I said, 'If I could always see you, yes; but if not, I can't because I am very bad...''Do all you can,' Our Lady added, 'And we will help you, and also my daughters Loli, Jacinta and Maricruz...' She did not stay long with me. She also said, 'This will be the last time you will see me here, but I will always be with all my children.' Afterwards she added, 'Conchita, why don't you go often to visit my Son in the Most Blessed Sacrament? Why do you let yourself be carried away by laziness and not go to visit Him? He is waiting for you day and night.'
As I have written above, it was raining hard. Our Lady and Baby Jesus did not get wet. I was not aware that it was raining while I was seeing them, but when I stopped seeing them, I realized I was soaked. I also told her, 'O how happy I am when I see you. Why don't you take me with you right now?' She answered, 'Remember what I told you on your saint's day. When you go before God you must show Him your hands full of good works, done by you for your brothers and for the glory of God; now your hands are empty.'
That's all, I spent a happy moment with my Mother from heaven, my best friend, and with Baby Jesus. I have stopped seeing them, but I continue to feel them close. Again they have sown in my soul a great peace, joy and desire to conquer my defects so that I will be able to love, with all my strength, the hearts of Jesus and Mary who love us so much..."
Conchita ends with this: "The Blessed Virgin Mary told me before that Jesus does not want to send the chastisement in order to distress us, but in order to help us and reproach us because we pay no attention to Him. And the warning will be sent in order to purify us for the miracle, through which He will show us His great love, and in order that we may fulfill the message."
There is a something very beautiful in this apparition which could pass by unseen. When Conchita arrived at the Pines, she tells us that she heard a sweet voice, the Blessed Virgin's voice, that called her by name. The Blessed Virgin also calls each one of us by name and invites us to have a personal relationship with her. We are not just one more among many, but we are a child of hers. Let us hear her call us by name, let us listen to her warnings and the advice that She gives us, in order to love God more and grow closer to Him. At the end of the apparition Our Lady tells her to listen to Jesus, to thank Him, to ask Him for things and to tell Him everything. Conchita admired how the Blessed Virgin was concerned about even the smallest of things of her life, as she does also with all of her children on earth. We too should admire the many smalls details that Our Mother in Heaven has with us and give her thanks.
Hostería Garabandal: Tel. 942 727 140
Posada Amalia: Tel. 942 727 065
Posada La Luz: Tel. 942 727 148
Posada Nuestra Señora del Carmen: Tel. 942 727 160
Posada San Miguel: Tel. 942 727 113
GPS Route: Puentenansa/Cosío/San Sebastián de Garabandal
From Santander or Torrelavega, take Cantabria Highway (autovía del Cantábrico) towards “Oviedo.” At the 2nd exit after San Vicente de la Barquera (Pesués - Cueva del Soplao), continue towards “Puentenansa.” At Puentenansa, continue towards “Cosío.” From there, the way up to Garabandal is well-indicated (6km). From Asturias, take the same highway towards “Santander” and take the same exit (Pesués - Cueva del Soplao). Follow the same indications mentioned above. Rental cars are available at the Santander Airport.
There is an airport in the city of Santander. If you are flying from a city in Spain or Europe, there are low-cost flights with “RYANAIR”: http://www.ryanair.com/en
From the Airport, you can get to “ALSA” Bus Station in Santander in a matter of a few minutes.
You can also fly into the cities of Madrid or Bilbao and take a bus or rent a car to travel to Garabandal.
To get to Santander, use RENFE (check schedules and ticket prices): http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html
From the Bus Station in Santander to Cosio-Garabandal: Monday through Friday (except for holidays) there is a bus to Cosio with the company “ALSA” https://www.alsa.es/en/our-destinations. You can take a taxi from Cosio to Garabandal (6 Km).
Weekdays: 10am in San Sebastián de Garabandal
Saturdays and Feast Day Vigils:
10:00am in San Sebastián de Garabandal.
6pm in Carmona (12 km)
7pm en Rozadío (7 km.)
8pm in Celis (13 km)
Sundays and Feast Days:
10:30am in Cades (18km) (18 km.)
11:30am in Puentenansa (8 km) and in Celis (13 km)
12:30pm in Cosío (5 km.)
1:30pm in San Sebastián de Garabandal
Eucharistic Adoration in Garabandal: Thursdays from 10:30am-12:30pm
Holy Rosary in Garabandal:
Monday to Saturday:
The parish is open daily from 9:30am until the end of the recitation of the Holy Rosary.
Conchita González González was born on February 7th, 1949. She was the youngest child and only daughter of Aniceta González, whose husband passed early on in their marriage. She had three older brothers: Serafín, who worked in the mines in the province of León, Aniceto, nicknamed Cetuco, who died in 1965, and Miguel. On May 26th, 1973, Conchita married Partick J. Keena from Long Island, New York, where she currently lives. They have four children: María Concepción, Fátima Miriam, Ana María Josefa, and Patrick Joseph Maria.
Jacinta González González was born on April 27 th, 1949. Her parents, Simón and María, had a strong Christian faith. They had eight children. Jacinta married Jeffrey Moynihan, from California, on February 21st, 1976. They have one daughter, María, and currently live on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
María Cruz González Barrido was born on June 21st, 1950. Her parents were Escolástico and Pilar and her family was not very religious. Despite being a year younger than the other three girls, at the time of the apparitions, she appeared to be the same age. She married Ignacio Caballero in May of 1970. They have 4 children and currently live in Avilés, Asturias (Spain).
María Dolores Mazón González was born on May 1st, 1949. She went by the name “Loli” and was the second of Ceferino and Julia’s six children. Ceferino was the village mayor, and, in addition to working in the fields, the family owned a small shop and bar. Loli married Francis Lafleur in Massachusetts, U.S.A., in 1974, and they had 3 children: Francis, María Melanie and María Dolores. For 7 years, she suffered from “lupus erythematosus” in her respiratory system, which eventually caused her death on April 20th, 2009, at age 59. She died in her home in Plaistow, Massachusetts (U.S.A.).
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.
We must make many sacrifices, do much penance, and visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. But first, we must lead good lives. If we do not, a chastisement will befall us. The cup is already filling up, and if we do not change, a very great chastisement will come upon us.
As my message of October 18th has not been fulfilled and has not been made known to the world, I tell you that this is my last message. Before, the cup was filling up. Now, it is overflowing. Many cardinals, many bishops, and many priests are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them. Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist. You should turn the wrath of God away from yourselves by your efforts. If you ask for His forgiveness with sincere hearts, He will forgive you.I, your Mother, through the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel, ask you to amend your lives. You are now receiving the last warnings. I love you very much and do not want your condemnation. Pray to us with sincerity, and we will grant your requests. You should make more sacrifices. Meditate on the passion of Jesus.
Our Lady’s second message, given in Garabandal on June 18, 1965, ends with these words: “You should make more sacrifices. Meditate on the passion of Jesus.” One of the ways which the Church suggests to meditate on the passion of Our Lord and Savior is to pray the Stations of the Cross. In doing so, we follow Jesus to Calvary and meditate on the suffering which he endured for our salvation.
On April 29th, 1965, Bl. Paul VI gave the Church an encyclicle entitled "MENSE MAIO" with which he invited us to pray to the Virgin Mary during the Month of May.
"The month of May is almost here, a month which the piety of the faithful has long dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God. Our heart rejoices at the thought of the moving tribute of faith and love which will soon be paid to the Queen of Heaven in every corner of the earth. For this is the month during which Christians, in their churches and their homes, offer the Virgin Mother more fervent and loving acts of homage and veneration; and it is the month in which a greater abundance of God's merciful gifts comes down to us from our Mother's throne. "Because the month of May is a powerful incentive to more frequent and fervent prayers, and because our petitions more readily find access to her compassionate heart during it, it has been a favorite custom of Our predecessors to choose this month, dedicated to Mary, for urging the Christian people to offer up public prayers whenever the needs of the Church demanded it or some grave crisis threatened the human race. This year, Venerable Brothers, We in turn feel compelled to call for such prayers from the whole Catholic world. Looking at the present needs of the Church and the status of world peace, We have sound reasons to believe that the present hour is especially grave and that a plea for concerted prayer on the part of all Christians is a matter of top priority."
Paul VI wrote this in 1965 but it is valid for us today also. And even more so today as we are in great need of divine help and of Mary's intercession. Let's take on this invitation and intensify our devotion to Mary, Our Mother this May.