Thursday, May 31, 2007

July 2nd Continued . . .

During the apparition of this very day, July 2nd, 1961, "a shower of stars suddenly began to fall from heaven everywhere on earth," probably symbolizing the rain of graces from God of which Mary is the "depository." Simultaneously, "thirty-three large Spanish letters spelling out six Spanish words, "formed a halo all around Our Lady: the seers called these the "secret of the Angel." To this day, no book has yet spoken of this, and the visionaries did not reveal it either. According to us, it is very likely related to an ultimate Marian dogma, of which the mystery of the Visitation would be its biblical basis. MARIA DEPOSITORIA DE TODAS LAS GRACIAS, such might be the very concise and formal expression of this future "definition of faith" . . .

From Her first visit, the Blessed Virgin carried the Child Jesus in Her arms. His presence was not explicitly mentioned by Conchita in her Diary for that 2nd of July, but the visionary nevertheless described Him here, always in her very concrete, vivid, even sober usual way: "He is very very small, like a newborn babe, a round face, same color of complexion as that of the Blessed Virgin, a small mouth, rather long, curly, blond hair, tiny little hands, a dress like an azure-blue tunic. He is always smiling."

"The Blessed Virgin came wearing a white dress, a blue mantle, a gold crown decorated with 12 little stars. We could not see her feet. Her arms were open and she wore the Scapular on Her right arm. The Scapular was brown. Her hair was long, dark auburn and wavy, and parted in the middle. Her face was rather long. Her nose fine and long, a very beautiful mouth with slightly full lips. Her complexion was golden . . . Her voice was enchanting. It was a very special voice . . . No other woman is like the Blessed Virgin, neither in voice nor in any other way" (Conchita's Diary, p.35). [Excerpted from 'Garabandal' Book, pages 45, 49.]

Wow! There is so much to meditate on in these three paragraphs . . .

The falling stars remind me that at Fatima during Our Lady's apparitions, flowers fell from the sky like snow, disappearing before they hit the ground. This was witnessed by the people who came to the Cova de Iria to be with the three children . . .

It's interesting that Jesus appeared as a newborn, perhaps to remind us of the sacredness of life! One of the horrors about the millions of babies who have been slaughtered in their mother's wombs, is the fact that each child was destined to add to God's glory and better mankind on earth! How many great minds; doctors, scientists, priests, leaders, etc., etc., have not been allowed to be born to make this a better world . . .

Why can't Jesus have blond hair as a child? Believe it or not, I had long blond hair until I was about five years old. When I got my first haircut, it started to turn brown and now I'm all gray!!! Remember, Jesus was like us in all things, except sin . . .

Isn't that the most beautiful description on what Our Lady look like! I don't remember ever reading such a concise and elegant picture! The artist Isabel Daganzo painted this image, which is used by all the Garabandal promoters and in all their books . . .

Here are some deep thoughts: . . . Our Lady is the most beautiful creature ever created by God, in the image of God . . . Jesus the God-Man, was born of the Virgin Mary with only Her genes . . . therefore He looked just like Her . . . yet She was made in His image . . . What a mystery!

Deacon John

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

SUNDAY, JULY 2, 1961:

On the Feastday of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary [traditional calendar], the two angels, who appeared one on each side of Our Lady, were St. Michael and St. Gabriel, the Angel of the Annunciation but also the Angel of supernatural dreams and prophetic revelations, more particularly those related to the divine and universal plan of the salvation of humankind. Gabriel appeared but once at San Sebastian de Garabandal.

[Isabel Daganzo, an artist painter, under Conchita's guidance, drew several sketches of these first apparitions. In one illustration of the Blessed Virgin with the two Angels, an "Eye" is drawn at the top.]

The "Eye of God" ("ayin" in Hebrew, "ophtalmos" in Greek): what a theme! This word, or expression, in its singular form rarely used in the Bible, is then applied explicitly to the divine omniscience and providence. Given the four previous manifestations of the Shekinah, the eruption of this "Eye of God" who "alone probes the loins and the hearts" and who plunges down into everything and
everyone, is not surprising.

The iconographic signal here is absolutely correct: in Holy Scripture, indeed, right prevails over left, and top over bottom. In the children's vision. the Eye, placed above Mary, effectively designates Yahweh, who dominates all creation, all times and History itself.

At Lourdes, during Her last apparition, July 16, 1858, Mary (the Immaculate Conception) manifested herself to Bernadette, "more beautiful than ever," and not without a profound reason, since it was the Feast of "Our Lady of Mount Carmel" . . .

At Fatima, it was the same, Mary having also appeared, for the fourth and the last time on October 13, 1917, under the title and the form of "Nossa Senhora do Carmo." These were undoubtedly prophetic signs of her later "manifestations" at Garabandal: consequently, a fulfilled rendezvous!
[Excerpted from "Garabandal" Book, pages 44, 45.]

As I said before, this was the link that made me believe in Garabandal immediately, "Our Lady of Mount Carmel." I started to wear the "Brown Scapular" around this time (1970) and have never taken it off! It's interesting about the two Angels appearing with Our Blessed Lady. At Fatima, just St. Michael appeared. I wonder if this was a first in the history of Marian apparitions? God has a purpose for everything so there must be a deeper meaning for this besides the fact that it related to the Feast Day! Theologians say that St. Gabriel inspires us with Godly thoughts and gives us the "Strength of God"! That's how we can combat the evil one. Of course we have to ask for these gifts, they don't just come to us. Try it! I do ask every day! But, of course, I am very devoted to the Angels anyway.
Deacon John

Tuesday, May 29, 2007



The guardian angel of Portugal, St. Michael, came to Fatima three times in 1915 and three other times in 1916. At Garabandal, his manifestations were far more numerous. He is the one the little girls saw during the first nine days of the apparitions. He is the one who, later, often gave them the Eucharist; he again delivered the two famous Messages, etc.

Since the extraordinary grace that St. Joan of Arc brought to France, there have occurred no more comparable charismatic events involving St. Michael. Being the Archangel of the Apocalypse and of the gigantic battle that will oppose, in the end, the "powers of Light" to the 'powers of darkness,' here on earth, his presence at
Garabandal is a sign of the real approach of the "last times," and even of the "end of times" which will be particularly mentioned with all the "facts" that are of interest to us here. Because the Archangel is the protector of the people of God, the second session of the Second Vatican Council in 1963 was opened on his Feastday, 29th of September.

On this Saturday, 1st of July, St. Michael, for the first time, broke the silence in which the ecstasies had been unfolding until then:

"Do you know why I have come?", he asked the children.

-- No, they replied.

"To tell you that tomorrow, Sunday, the Virgin Mary will appear to you under the title of "Our Lady of Mount Carmel."

Then he asked the visionaries this other question: "Do you know what is written on the placard (escritorio)?"

-- No!

"The Blessed Virgin will tell you."
[Excerpted from "Garabandal" Book, page 41.]

St. Michael is certainly one of my favorite friends and protector! I pray often his exorcism prayer and 'The Chaplet of St. Michael' daily . . . How many times has he come to my defense and rescue!!! I can't wait to see him and thank him in his presence for all he has done for me and my family and friends.

Deacon John

Monday, May 28, 2007


We continue our story of Garabandal . . .

TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 1961

It was 8:30 p.m. when the Angel appeared to the four girls . . . When she slightly turned her eyes to the side, Jacinta saw Christ appear before her, a little above the ground: He was of an unparalleled majesty, "the most handsome of men," would the visionary say eventually. His gaze pierced her through "as if He were going to
wrench my soul from my body," Jacinta pointed out. She added that she would have been unable to bear this vision for more than a few moments it seems to have lasted.

(Christ) JESUS, "Yahweh saves," is the fourth visible manifestation of the Shekinah, the very "Face of God," the refulgence on His glory (Heb. 1: 1-4) in the "divine Word made flesh," supreme expression of God's commitment in the history of the world and of each one of us.

Christ, as He revealed Himself to Jacinta, was wearing a white tunic, and a wide, bright red "sash of dignity" was falling from His right shoulder (cf. Is. 9:4). . . Such a charismatic appearance of Christ was given only in Garabandal, just as in the whole previous history of Christian iconography and hagiography there seems to have been only one other apparition of Jesus wearing such vestments of dignity. It occurred with the "Miracle of Bordeaux," on Sunday, February 3, 1822: during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, some ten faithful suddenly saw, instead of the Host in the middle of the monstrance, a bust of Christ dressed in this way. Several persons even heard at the same time, these words: "I Am He who is"!

Shortly after the revolution, the Venerable Servant of God [Who should soon be beatified.] Fr. Pierre Noailles (1793-1861) founded, in 1820, with his sister, Mother of the Trinity, the "Institute of the Holy Family of Bordeaux." He was not there personally when the miracle occurred in the very modest chapel of his community. But the fruits soon came . . . Today, the Congregation has spread to twenty-two countries, one of his Houses being in . . . Santander!

The mystery of the Church sheds light on Garabandal in a fundamental and constant way. It was in this month devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but yet more precisely on the very day of the solemn Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, that Christ appeared to Jacinta wearing the colors of His supreme authority. With His left hand He pointed to His Heart. It was, notably, not encircled with thorns nor
surmounted with a cross, but from it there emanated white and golden rays, the colors of the Pope, Vicar of Christ on earth, and of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. What a significant and distinctive trait on this 29th of June, as had been the case of the previous original great manifestations granted to St. Marguerite-Marie Alacoque and St. Sister Faustina. It was then at Garabandal, in fact, that Christ, the Lord of Glory, meant to manifest Himself as the Spouse of His people and Leader of all Shepherds. The One, who, henceforth, is the "Master of times and history," who constantly sends His spirit of holiness for the sanctification and salvation of the world, and thus continues His mission in and through His Church - through its ministers and the faithful themselves. These are perspectives that will be confirmed, even explained in several subsequent moments, truly remarkable ones, more particularly ecclesial ones of great impact (see, for example, August 1, 1961, the exceptional "addition" that the four young
visionaries in ecstasy made in the "profession of Christian faith" - the CREED). Let us add this last detail that neither the Angel not the Virgin of Carmel were within Jacinta's sight during the three manifestations of Christ that she would be given at San Sebastian de Garabandal: once more, a profound spiritual "logic!"
[Excerpted from 'Garabandal' Book, pages 40, 41.]

I'm typed this on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, so it is a wonderful revelation that Jesus appeared to Jacinta with His Heart all aglow! At Fatima, Our Lord didn't appear until the last apparition on October 13, 1917. At Garabandal, He appeared even before Our Lady appeared for the first time on July 1st! Again it seems to be a connection . . . Fatima first, then Garabandal . . .

Deacon John

Sunday, May 27, 2007


They had barely reached the calleja when the Angel showed himself to the girls with a placard (escritorio) at his feet. The visionaries deciphered only the first two words of the first live, "Hay que" (It is necessary that . . ."), and the last line of Roman numerals, "XVIII - MCMLXI". . . The children were soon to learn from the Blessed Virgin that this was a Message.

The term "Message" was never formally used at Lourdes nor at
Fatima, where only "the words pronounced by the Blessed Virgin", her "exhortations," even, "symbolic actions," were mentioned. On the contrary, at Garabandal, the word "Message" was clearly used by the Angel, by Our Lady, by Christ Himself, to designate, as in the Bible, the "word of God (Yahweh) to His people."

In Scripture, the angels and the prophets are called "Messengers
of God." Here, the fact that an Angel came to bring a Message is most significant.

Thus this apparition occurred on the Feast of St. John the Baptist
for profound and obvious reasons. Vested with "the power and spirit of Elijah," John the Baptist was indeed the one who had already, at least in some way, proclaimed the Gospel, that mega-Message. Elijah, for his part, represented the "mystery - past and future - of Carmel!" These two major figures embodied the two summits of biblical prophetism. This dimension was to reveal itself as essential to Garabandal, where the Blessed Virgin, "Queen of Angels and Prophets," was to appear precisely under the form and title of "Our Lady of Mount Carmel."

[Excerpted from "Garabandal" Book, page 36.]

And of course, for me, this was the great link between Fatima and
Garabandal: In the last apparition at Fatima on October 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared in the sky clothed as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding out the Brown Scapular to the world. When Our Lady appeared at Garabandal, as we shall hear later on, she came under the title "Our Lady of Mount Carmel," with the Brown Scapular hanging from her wrist! I immediately saw the connection and believed! Sort of makes me like St. John the Apostle, (ha-ha) when he looked into the empty tomb, where Jesus was lain, saw the burial clothes, and believed in the Resurrection!
Deacon John

Saturday, May 26, 2007


On that day, the children had a very mysterious vision. "It is something like a red light or fire, that forms a frame inside of which there is a triangle, an eye and a notice. Letters also are written, unknown, in an Eastern or Arabic style, as it were. . ." (Cuarderno major of the Fathers Luis and Ramon Maria Andreu, S.J., pp. 12 and 13).
"Yahweh," the Name of God par excellence, such is certainly the
translation of the inscription that was incomprehensible to the girls and which they saw inside the triangle. We are now before the third visible manifestation of the Glory of God: the revelation of His Name. This vision was unique in the history of the great Marian apparitions, even in the history of Christian spirituality and hagiography. Characteristic of a non-anthropomorphic theophany, it refers us back to the event of the Burning Bush, to the revelation of the Judeo-Christian God, One and Triune.
"Blessed are the pure in heart: they shall see God"
(Matt 5:8) . .
. How, on this 21st of June, not point out also the connection between the children and the liturgical Feast of the Patron Saint of youth celebrated on that day: St Aloysius Gonzaga, honored precisely for his total purity of heart? (cf Mt 5:8)?
After the frame of fire disappeared, the Angel came.

[Excerpt from 'Garabandal' Book, page 31.]

What's different here from Fatima is that these manifestations of God came before Our Lady's first appearance . . . There were many signs at Fatima each time Our Lady appeared: the lightning; the murmuring or buzzing noise as Our Lady spoke; the branches on the holm tree bent down where Mother Mary stood; a sound like a rocket as She left with the branches leaning eastward; a little cloud going eastward, that the people saw, as Our Lady left; and this is not counting all the signs of October 13, 1917, which we will comment on later . . .
Deacon John

Friday, May 25, 2007


After school and the homework being done, the girls, as on the previous evening, wanted to go to the calleja. In spite of the worry caused by the situation, their families let the girls go. They almost sneaked their way out of the village to the site of the mysterious rendezvous. When they finished the rosary, the Angel had not yet showed up; the girls were about to go down to the village. . . "when, suddenly, we saw a very bright light that hid us from one another. We were completely dazzled by this light, and we started to scream for we were terrified ('asustadas', an adjective here that describes a sort of sacred fear). But this shining light had already disappeared" (Conchita's Diary, p.25). In this context, it is impossible not thinking about the biblical theme of the "(shining) cloud," which, following the apparition of the Angel on the previous 18th of June, denotes the second of the four manifestations of the Shekinah. As was the case in the Transfiguration of Christ, the cloud is also the sign of the tangible presence of the Glory of the living God. It thus recalls, thanks also to the famous "pillar of smoke and fire", the pilgrimage, the crossing of the desert, in other words, the exodus of the Jewish People, more, of the People of the New Covenant, the "eschatological Israel" towards the ultimate "Promised Land." This is also the basic structure of the Apocalypse (Book of Revelation). . . [Excerpted from 'Garabandal' Book, pages 30, 31.]

Shekinah means Divine Presence. At Fatima, the Angel appeared as a
white light, Lucia said his garments were "white as snow"! And the three children were filled with the 'Divine Presence' that left them almost paralyzed, unable to even speak. It took about three days for them to get back to normal. It's interesting that Lucia's parents were against her going to the apparition site, whereas the girls of Garabandal were immediately allowed to go back again! 'Different strokes for different folks', as they say . . .
Deacon John

Thursday, May 24, 2007


The next day, the four young girls went back, at the same time of the day and to the same spot, to wait for the Angel. The whole village then knew about the apparition. On their way up the visionaries put up with a few jeers. Unimpressed, they recited the rosary at the calleja. But the Angel did not show up. "If he was really the Angel, he will come back," the teacher, Mrs. Gomez (see note below) assured them. . . At 10:00 p.m., while the girls were beginning their evening prayers, each one heard in her room a voice saying: "Do not fear! You will see me

Dona Serafina Gomez, (pictured above) the schoolteacher to whom, on the same
evening (Sunday, June 18), the visionaries reported their experience. She trusted the visionaries and, far from showing a priori an opposition, she suggested to the girls, who had taken refuge in the church after their ecstasy, to recite one station (see note below) before the Blessed Sacrament in thanksgiving for what had just

The "station" is a Spanish devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and consists in reciting six Our Fathers, six Hail Marys, six Glory Bes, a Creed and a Salve Regina, with the invocation "Long live Jesus in the Holy Sacrament! May He be loved by all!"
[Excerpted from 'Garabandal' Book, page 30.]

Notice that the girls were saying their prayers before bed time! A good lesson for us who forget this important part of the day. We would all sleep better if we said some good Act of Contrition and a few Our Fathers, Hail Marys, Glory Bes to fall asleep with! The three seers of Fatima also said the rosary before the Angel appeared to them, but a short one that only repeated the Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary, etc. over and over. That changed into a full rosary after the Angel instructed them and Our Lady told them to pray the rosary every day for world peace . . . Our Lady also said that Francisco would have to pray many rosaries in order to get to heaven! And we think we say enough prayers! He was only a child of 9 with very few sins, if any. I probably will have to say millions of rosaries until the end of the world to get to heaven!!!
Deacon John

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


While the girls were happily biting the fruit of their innocent petty thieving, a thunderclap and a lightning flash zigzagged across an otherwise perfectly clear sky. . . . It was 8:30 p.m. Frightened, the children began to be sorry for their mischief when suddenly an Angel appeared . . . Conchita was the first to see him, hardly a minute before the others all cried out at the same time: "Aye! The Angel!" Then falling into an ecstasy, they contemplated him in silence. The Angel appeared to the children, wearing a blue tunic, with dark eyes and hair, a mat complexion, and "wings that looked as if they were made of fire," according to Conchita. "A very beautiful person, surrounded by a very strong light that did not hurt the eyes," the visionary again pointed out. According to Jacinta, "the Angel appeared to be nine years old, but 'very strong.' He looked like a young boy, but before him we felt great respect." We are almost certain now that the angel who appeared at Fatima was also St Michael. At Garabandal, we are sure of that, since on the following 2nd of July the girls learned his identity from Our Lady herself. [Excerpts from 'Garabandal' Book, page 28.]
So here again we see the connection to the Fatima apparitions, first because of the thunder and lightning which preceded the apparitions and second because before Our Lady appeared to the three children at Fatima, St. Michael appeared, and after teaching them some Eucharistic Prayers, gave them Holy Communion! Lucia received the Host and Francisco and Jacinta received the Precious Blood from the chalice. Amazing! Many people don't realize this or know about it when they read the Fatima Story. I thank God and our dearest Mother Mary for infusing the Fatima Prayers into my mind and allowing me to pray them each day after receiving Holy Communion!
Deacon John

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


We begin our story:

SUNDAY, JUNE 18, 1961:

"The greatest event of my life occurred on June 18, 1961, at San Sebastian (de Garabandal) . . . It happened on a Sunday."

Such are the first words of Conchita's Diary.
On that Sunday, in late afternoon, Conchita, Jacinta, Mari-Loli and Mari-Cruz were playing in the open area of the village. They suddenly decided to go and play a little farther on in the neighboring
countryside. When they came up to the teacher's garden, they yielded to the temptation of picking small fruit, hardly ripened and fallen from his apple tree.

The four children filled their pockets full and ran away up to a small lane, the famous calleja, quiet enough to let them enjoy their small pilfery without the fear of being caught or scolded.

Used so many times, mostly to climb up to the Pines, the calleja was the scene of absolutely unique phenomena . . . According to Conchita's own expression, this lane will forever be "a little piece of Heaven" ("un trocito del Cielo") for her.
[Excerpted from 'Garabandal' Book, pages 26, 27]

The calleja reminds me of the Cova da Iria in Fatima where the three seers, Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia saw Our Lady on the 13th of each month from May to October, 1917. I had read about Fatima in a book titled 'Our Lady of Fatima' by William Thomas Walsh before I heard of Garabandal. When I did read about Garabandal, I immediately saw the connection between the two events, especially the link of Carmel. On October 13, 1917, during that last apparition, after the Miracle of the Sun, Our Lady appeared in the sky as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding out the Brown Scapular to the world. At Garabandal Our Lady appeared under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, so the connection hit me like a ton of bricks. There were many more similarities that I will point out as our story continues . . .
Deacon John

Sunday, May 20, 2007


The four visionaries of Garabandal are: (left to right)
Conchita Gonzalez: 12 years old (February 7, 1949)
Mari-Cruz Gonzalez Madrazo: 11 years old (June 21, 1950)
Jacinta Gonzalez Gonzalez: 12 years old (April 27, 1949)
Maria-Dolores (or Mari-Loli) Mazon Gonzalez: 12 years old (May 1,

Even if they bear the same family name, the four adolescents are not related. They were all born in the village, They know each other well but do not form a "clique." They each have brothers and sisters, except for Mari-Cruz.

Mischievous and very playful, the girls lived happily on the mountain. Nothing made them stand out from the other children of the village. Like them, they shared their time between school and farm work.

At the time of the apparitions, Mari-Loli's father, Ceferino, operated a small grocery store and a bar. On the ground floor, Loli did the cooking, served meals and greeted customers. This was the social and commercial center of the village.
[Excerpted from 'Garabandal' Book, page 18]

How innocent and pure these children were in 1961 compared with the rest of the world! Half way around the world I was living in New York City, marrying my bride and living a very worldly lifestyle; motorcycles, new car, new baby (the first one), and working, working, working; making money, money, money! Who thought about God? Who went to church? Not I!

Deacon John

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Interior of the church where the girls often came,
in ecstasy, until August 23, 1961.

At San Sebastian de Garabandal, the name of Fatima was known obviously. But the villagers felt no particular attraction for supernatural phenomena. Yet, the people were very devout, one of the most devout in that entire region. They recited the rosary every day from time immemorial. "Half of the village gathered at the church, and still more at Mass during the week when it was celebrated. The women visited the Blessed Sacrament regularly."
[Excerpted from "Garabandal" Book, page 15]

As the Lord said: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

St. Irenaeus wrote: 'It is true, because of the greatness and inexpressible glory of God, that "man shall not see me and live," for the Father cannot be grasped. But because He can do all things, He goes so far as to grant those who love Him the privilege of seeing Him. . . . For "what is impossible for men is possible for God."

No wonder Almighty God chose the village of Garabandal to reveal some of His Mysteries through the Immaculate Virgin Mary and not some other place in the world! Our Blessed Lady once said to a seer that she likes to appear at places where it reminds her of her earthly home. Certainly Garabandal with its poor and humble people, living off the land and trusting in God's divine providence was a place like that!
Deacon John

Friday, May 18, 2007


The very typical village of San Sebastian de Garabandal.

Set in the midst of the Cantabrian chain of mountains of which the Pena Sagra is the highest peak of about 6,700 feet (2,040 meters), "Garabandal" is the name of the mountain rising north of the village.

The historical origins of the village itself are difficult to
establish. We may think that, during the fourteenth century at the
latest, the inhabitants of the valley searched for new grazing grounds on this shoulder at an altitude of some 1,500 feet.

Several religious designs appearing in the coats of arms carved
out in the stone of the dwellings are proofs of the faith of the ancient village. We can also suppose that part of the first inhabitants were lords, who, dispossessed of their fief by the Moorish invaders, became shepherds.

On the eve of the events, in June 1961, San Sebastian de
Garabandal was a poor and isolated village of about 300 inhabitants and seventy houses.

No stores. No bakery. No market either. The villagers lived from
livestock raising and work in the fields. A routine life of labor and solidarity.

Neither any telephones, nor television. In the houses, lighting
was limited to one or two 40 watt light bulbs. The only source of heat was the fireplace.
[Excerpted from 'Garabandal' Book, page 12.]

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Where and what is Garabandal? I'll be posting like this to answer that question and enlighten our minds . . .

The attraction that Spain spontaneously exercises on us almost immediately draws our sympathy. This country, facing the Americas and set at the meeting points of Europe and the Arab world, is not a great power. Nevertheless, it exerts a strong influence through its historical and cultural heritage.

Of all the European Catholic nations, Spain has remained the only one not to be yet favored with great apparitions. A Marian land, a land linked to the "mystery of the Carmel" thanks to St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila, she has thus been "prepared" since long ago to accept some day a charism of that order, to receive a new tangible and visible supernatural "manifestation of the Spirit," and to become through Garabandal, the greatest public Marian Apparition since Fatima. So at least we presume it to be.

As to the village, the site of the "events" we shall soon illustrate, it is called San Sebastian de Garabandal. But the very name "Garabandal" was then appearing nowhere in the literature, if only in the fifty-third of the seventy volumes of the Encyclopedia Illustrada Universal, where we could read it mentioned in one single line: "San Sebastian, located in the province of Santander"!

Saint Sebastian, a tribune of a Praetorian cohort of the emperor Diocletian in the third century, had been tortured twice, and killed, on account of his Christian beliefs. Pope Caius was eventually to confer upon him the title of "Defender of the Church."

Etymologically speaking, "Garabandal" means the "place where the dead are buried." It could be the burial ground of soldiers killed and buried there after a battle against the Moors. According to another version, the Pena Sagra would have been dug out to provide graves for holy hermits, even Carmelites, who had come from the East to settle in that location. Besides, in the first centuries the region of Garabandal-Santo Toribio-Covadonga was called the "Second Holy Land" . . .

(Excerpted from 'Garabandal' Book, page 9) [Published by The Workers of Mount Carmel of Garabandal, Australia]