THE PAST

As late as June, 1961 Garabandal (San Sebastián to the locals) was a hamlet lost in the foothills of the Cantabrian Mountains in Northern Spain.  Many in the province had never heard of the little place.  That changed on June 18, 1961 when four young village girls reported seeing an angel.  After eight more visits, and an ever-increasing number of people observing the girls in ecstatic trances, on July 1 the angel told them he was St. Michael the Archangel and that the next day the Virgin Mary would visit them.

More people than ever, including members of a hastily formed bishop’s commission poured into the village.  Separated immediately after their ecstasies, the four agreed perfectly in the descriptions of their beautiful young lady visitor.  After this, people from further and further away observed Loli, Jacinta, Conchita and Mary Cruz react almost daily in ways that investigating doctors termed “naturally unexplainable.”  When they were poked with sharp instruments and touched with hot objects the girls felt nothing.  Their visions occurred at different times of the day or night and for varying lengths of time

On a horrible rainy October 18, an estimated 5,000 people slogged through the mud to the village and waited till evening to hear that the purpose of  the Blessed Virgin’s visits was to tell us that:

We must make many sacrifices, perform 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.

The visions continued almost daily for the rest of the year, less often in 1962 and after that rarely, and only for Conchita, with a last visit reported on November 13, 1965.   A second message was revealed on June 1965.   At the children’s insistence that the Virgin work a miracle so everyone would believe, she said that the angel would give Conchita Holy Communion and that it would be visible.  Some thirty people close enough to observe well, signed as witnesses to what they saw.  A man from Barcelona was able to film the last part of what the girls called “a little miracle.”