We begin our story:
SUNDAY, JUNE 18, 1961:
A UNIQUE "DAY OF THE LORD"
"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..