Marian Journey, Part Two

Mike, Florencio, me, the parish priest and Sylvia

You must set yourself apart if you want to seek God. Jesus did this in order to reach His spiritual zenith and speak to His Father.

San Sebastian de Garabandal Church

It is no different today. I find that when I need to pray I must have a place where I feel totally alone with God. When I’m attending Adoration I can go deeper into prayer. Truly this is my happy place, being in the presence of God. In a sense, the road to Garabandal was like going up to Mount Tabor, following the footsteps of the Lord.

San Sebastian de Garabandal

After a hardy breakfast, we headed to San Sebastian de Garabandal. Though the village was a little over an hour’s distance, it took almost two hours to reach. The winding roads led us to the steep Cantabrian Mountain range.  The intermittent  rain  kept us at a safe driving pace.  Garabandal has always fascinated me: 1. because the apparitions took place in an isolated, poor village; and  2. because of the powerful messages that the Blessed Mother gave to Conchita Gonzalez and the other girls. Because I do not want to leave any important details out, you can find this information on YouTube. For the most part these messages are a warning for a great chastisement if we do not get our lives aligned with God.


The site of the apparition of Our Lady of Garabandal Me, Florencio, Sylvia, Ernesto and Mike

My Mission

I had with me a gift that was bestowed on me in Rome.  While Father Pat, an American priest, was renewing our wedding vows 20 years ago at a chapel in Saint Paul Outside the Walls, a stranger approached and interrupted the service to give me a gift. It was a beautiful  ornate rosary. The stranger asked me if I knew anything about Garabandal. I answered yes. He then presented me with a rosary that he made with his own hands. Written in Spanish on the back of the rosary were the words “kissed by the Blessed Virgin.”  I also had with me a picture of the gentleman who gave me the rosary. We walked around the tiny village asking the villagers if they knew who the man was. Many said, “He looks very familiar.” But no one could identify who he was. This gift was and will remain a sacred mystery.

Time To Pray

We prayed in the small San Sebastian De Garabandal  church, then I purchased medals and rosaries. Now it was time to visit the pines where our beautiful Lady appeared. We drove up a dirt road which led us to a gate; the rest of the way was on foot.  The gentle rain made the walking difficult because we were still climbing up and down a muddy hill.

It was as if the rain opened  and the scent of fresh pine welcomed us.  The glory of God was ever present. We could see the small village from where we stood; to me it seemed that Our Lady was watching over the villagers. On our way down I found a puddle of water. I stood in it and moved my feet around  to remove some of the mud from my white shoes before returning to the car.

The gate leading to the site of the apparition Florencio and Mike
Potes, Spain Me and Mike
Potes, Spain Me and Mike
View of the Cantabrian Mountains
The tram ride

I remember in times past when returning from a foreign country, when going through  customs we were asked if we visited a farm. On this trip every village was a farm


On our way down Sylvia was busy looking for a place to eat. She and Florencio were familiar with a beautiful resort in Camaleno because they vacationed there when their children were younger. We arrived a few minutes before siesta and ate another wonderful Spanish meal. This was followed by a tram ride up to the top of the Cantabrian Mountains overlooking the valley below. We were all so stuffed after our meal that we decided to go on a nature walk. We took a 30- minute walk and headed to the village of Potes.


Potes is a médiéval village with Roman bridges and the soft Deva River running through the main area of this graceful town. It was a special treat for us to take a stroll and watch the laid back attitudes of the locals conducting their day. Surrounded by this beauty, I would want to stay close to home too.


What I discovered on this trip is the food. Nothing that we consumed had preservatives.  Each village makes their own cheese, bakes the bread and I would imagine gently slaughters their cows, goats and pigs for personal consumption. They all have gardens and barter with other villages for different types of vegetables. Mild green peppers are a staple and the patatas are the best! These potatoes are sweeter than what we are accustomed to back home. This tasty vegetable is  fried like potato chips and served at almost every meal. Of course we in the states love our fried foods, so I was pretty content with the patatas.


It was a long drive back to Santander, and by this time the rain was constant. To keep our driver Ernesto awake, We shared so many funny stories, some about our children when they were younger and many about our pets and their odd behavior. We laughed all the way down the mountain, and it was close to 11 p.m. by the time we arrived. I can only speak for myself, but this day was one filled with spiritual  awareness of the supernatural and grand beauty. Now I have a greater appreciation for Northern Spain. Our friends became our family.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, thank You for keeping us safe during this journey. As we prayed for our friends and loved ones, I know that our prayers reached the heavens. Lord, how grateful we are to be Your vessels in transporting all of our needs to You. I understand that You can hear us wherever we are, but I also realize that these pilgrimages draw us closer to You. Please answer all of our petitions and make haste in moving mountains for those who need a miracle. Amen.



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