Garabandal, Spain: Our Lady of Garabandal, The Warning and the Miracle
In a century of many reported apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary comes one that still awaits approval by the Church, yet many (including us) feel is worthy of belief.
Garabandal in 1961 was a tiny hamlet of about 300 people and around 80 stone houses–with no running water–in the Cantabrian Mountains of northern Spain. They only had electricity for a few hours each night. Conveniences, like television or cars, did not exist there. People managed to make a living by raising cattle, working in the pastures (at times up on the mountain).
There was a small church in the village of Garabandal, but because of the remoteness of the village, and lack of its own priest, Fr. Valentin Marichalar, a priest in the nearby village of Cosio, traveled by horseback on Sunday, to say Mass for the villagers. As a result, Mass was celebrated only once a week.
Above, on the right, see a small stand of 9 pine trees on a hill just outside the village that play a prominent role in the messages.
This obscure village gained attention as the site of reported apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary (preceded by one apparition of Saint Michael the Archangel) to four young girls beginning on June 18, 1961.
This amazing testimony, has been told to us first hand by the villagers, mainly Serafin and his wife, Paquita Gonzalez. Serafin is the brother of one of the visionaries (Conchita).
Below is the story of Our Lady of Garabandal as told by the children:
On June 18th, 1961 four girls: Conchita González, Jacinta González and Mari Loli Mazón (all 12 years old at the time) and Mari Cruz González (who was 11), were playing together near the village (according to one of the visionaries they were actually stealing apples!) when they heard a sound like thunder and suddenly an angel (later identified as Saint Michael the Archangel) in dazzling white stood before them. The angel said nothing and the girls, terrified by what they had seen…and perhaps feeling they were about to be punished stealing….ran to the village church. Over the next few days the angel appeared to them again, but once again said nothing.
They encountered skepticism from their parents, local parish priest and most of the villagers, who accused them of making the whole thing up. But over the next several days, many of the villagers began to join the girls and prayed the Rosary with them. One of the amazing things was that, during the times that the children were in ecstasy, the girls could not be picked up, even by grown men, but the girls could easily pick each other up to kiss our Lady.
Finally, on July 1st, the angel spoke for the first time: announcing 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, July 2, Our Lady did indeed appear as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding the infant Jesus with two angels at her side. The girls recognized one of the angels as the one who had first appeared to them. Interestingly, at that time, this day was the Feast of the Visitation, until it was later changed to the 31st of May by Paul VI in the reform of the Calendarium Romanum on February 14, 1969.
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 the fate of the visionaries.
Investigation of the Garabandal apparitions by the Church:
The local Bishop ordered an investigation in to the reported apparitions in Garabandal; however, this investigation was flawed from the start. Apparently those on the investigating committee never talked directly to any of the witnesses. This is almost unbelievable given the many witnesses that were available. One member of the commission, a priest, was so dismayed at the methodology of the investigations that he resigned from the commission. That priest is now a Bishop.
When the bishops of Santander commented on the message of Garabandal, they repeatedly pointed out that the content of the messages is orthodox and laudable (i.e., Bishop Beitia in 1965, Bishop Cirarda in 1970, Bishop del Val in 2000 and Bishop Osoro in 2007).
The current bishop of the diocese signed the most recent assessment on June 24, 2015, declaring non constat as to the supernatural nature of the events. The term non constat means that the Church needs further information— for example, documentation about the abundant fruits in souls— before making a declaration.
So, as of now, the apparitions have not been approved, yet neither have they been rejected.
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.
Click here to learn more about the visionaries and their lives.
Click here for a website dedicated to Garabandal…be sure to watch the outstanding video!
And we highly recommend this Youtube video: Unstoppable Waterfall. Some great testimonies from witnesses and photos of the early days of Garabandal. You may want to slow the speed down a bit to process the sub-titles.
There are several good books about Garabandal available. The most comprehensive is the three-volume set entitled “She Went in Haste to the Mountain“.
Traveling to Garabandal:
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.
There are several tour companies that offer pilgrimages involving a stay at Garabandal.
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.
GPS coordinates for the Pines in Garabandal: 43° 11′ 53.4948” N, 4° 25′ 28.3836” W
Click here for a website dedicated to Garabandal…be sure to watch the video!
Click here for the official website of the parish of Garabandal.