We can complete this report with some details that we owe to the Captain of the Civil Guard, Juan Alvarez Seco. While that unforgettable night vigil of March 18th . . .
«. . . was going on to the next day, March 19th, Loli went up to the counter of the tavern in her home in ecstasy, took a pen from a drawer, and holding a card against the wall of the kitchen, wrote on it what the Virgin had told her, The Virgin congratulates Father José.
As a result of this, the priest involved was deeply moved, since he hadn't told anyone his name or that he was a priest.
While they were going to ask for permission to celebrate holy Mass, they went to Conchita's house. Father Silva spoke of making a Holy Hour, and the girl asked, What's that? Father Silva explained it to her, and it was decided to make the Holy Hour at 1 A.M.
But they didn't have the key to the church. Fr. Valentín was sleeping in the home of Primitiva. Mr. Matutano from Reinosa and I went to ask him for it, since he knew us. I talked to him but he didn't want to give us the key. We returned to Conchita's house and then Maximina said: Let's go to the church in case it's still open.
About 20 of us went with Conchita and María Dolores. We found the door of the church open, but we didn't have a key to the sacristy, where the key to open the tabernacle was kept. In the meantime, Father Silva found the tabernacle open, although the sacristy was locked!
We were able to make the Holy Hour, sometimes holding arms. Afterwards almost all of us received Communion.
I testify that this was fantastic. And the Marquis and Marquise of Santa María, Mr. Matutano and others who I no longer remember felt the same way. Father Silva told us that Garabandal was absolutely true.»
Maximina also gave a report of what happened in a letter that she wrote to Doctor Ortiz on March 21st:
«There were two priests. They made a holy hour at three in the morning on Sunday (Actually it was not Sunday but Monday, March 19. Her confusion undoubtedly was due to the fact that Monday was also a feastday, honoring St. Joseph).
They asked if any of those present wanted to explain the mysteries of the rosary. Mr. Matutano explained the first one. Many of the people were crying! The Marquis said that he couldn't talk because of emotion.
The priests spoke very much . . . And one said, It would be a disgrace to participate in the apparitions and not meditate. And he added, I swear to God that I believe this is true. They talked at length.»
And so the first feastday of St. Joseph began with a beautiful and edifying Holy Hour.
No one could say that the lenten days of 1962 at Garabandal were not replete with vigils, penance and prayer.
Those days reached their peak on March 25th. This was the third Sunday of Lent, according to that year's calendar, but also the feast of the Annunciation, according to every year's calendar. And since it was the feastday of the Annunciation of the Virgin, it was also the feastday of the Incarnation of the Son of God. With all these great feasts combined on a single day, there was reason to expect something special . . .
Simón, Jacinta's father, said to Dr. Ortiz several days later:
«I thought something exceptional would occur that day, since it was such a distinguished feastday. And so it happened.
The three girls, Conchita, Loli and my daughter, who until then had only recited the rosary,(23) began to sing it on that day, and they sang the whole rosary. At the beginning of the apparition only a few of us were with them, but the people began to come out of their houses, and finally, I think the whole village was there . . .
I felt a tremendous joy, since I know my daughter well — and how bashful she is —
and because of this I thought in my mind that She had to be seeing something very great to be singing as she was.
After the rosary ended, the girls continued singing, and we heard these verses:
Pray the holy rosary,
To find holy rest
In the next world.
Indecent dress leads(24)
To eternal fire.
If you wish to be saved.
The Virgin has warned us
Three times already.
Oh, Virgin of Carmel, how unfortunate!
How unfortunate death is for us!
Mari Cruz, get up, etc.»(25)
Simón ended like this:
«On that day my joy and excitement were so great that they couldn't have been greater if I had seen the Virgin myself.»
There are more particulars about March 24th and 25th in Garabandal. We have a letter that Maximina began writing to the Pifarré family of Barcelona on March 26th:
«The apparitions on Saturday, March 24th were very nice.
Conchita carried an unfolded umbrella since it was snowing and then she went into the houses with the umbrella open. She went in without stumbling anywhere. It was marvelous. They walked throughout the village together — she with the umbrella and Loli. They prayed the whole rosary in ecstasy.
They went to call a woman who was indisposed so that she couldn't go out at night. She was in her bed, and she got up. Mari Loli took her by one arm and Conchita by the other. (Still in ecstasy, they took her half dressed.) First they went to the Cuadro. There they stayed for a while . . . And Conchita fell full-length like a stone, and still kept the umbrella open. And Loli stayed on her knees. See, they take positions that are beautiful. Afterwards they went down the calleja to other places. We saw the people having great trouble going down; but they went down
with tremendous ease . . .
But the greatest thing was on Sunday, the feast of the Annunciation. They began at 9:30 in the evening and they finished at midnight. I almost cannot explain how it went.
They began the rosary singing. Later they mentioned that the Virgin said that all the people should sing . . . Look, we were all singing with violent emotion. They couldn't fake that.
We went to the cemetery singing. There they recited a mystery on their knees. At the gate Conchita stretched her arm through the bars with the crucifix in her hand. And it seemed that she was holding it out to be kissed! It was moving, even for the hardest hearts.»
Later we went back another time through the village, singing until it ended . . . She sang the Salve, the Let us sing to the love of all loves, and later other songs that flow from them while in ecstasy. And they said, Oh, how happy the Virgin is since there are so many people! How she smiles and how she looks at everyone!»
Continuing, Maximina gave some of the verses that the girls composed in ecstasy. One of these is the following:
You know our message.
The Virgin wants it accomplished,
for the good of families.
On the next day, March 26th, Maximina wrote to Dr. Ortiz again:
«Apparently I mentioned in a previous letter that Conchita was going to leave this week . . . Well, I can say that she doesn't want to leave. It seems that the trip (to the school at León) has been abandoned for the present.
On one of the past nights Jacinta had a very moving ecstasy. It lasted 2 hours and she asked insistently for a miracle. She said, I don't want to go from the village . . . Look. Do you know what Maximina said? That although they would cut her to pieces, she wouldn't go. I don't want to go either . . . Come. Perform a miracle . . . Call all the people, as you call us, so that they will all come here . . . And once they come, make a great light . . . Yes, perform a miracle! . . . You are going to perform it? . . . Don't look so serious!
It was at night — I was not there — and there were only a few people, but they said that those that were there were crying. It was about 8:30, which in this season is already dark, and they said that they saw her face as if it were daylight.
A young girl, who was very excited, came to tell me about it. She said that she didn't want to see anything more. And it seems also that María Dolores said: Perform a miracle so that they don't take us from the village. Tell them that I don't have to go. Come. Tell me again that I don't have to go, since I don't want to go . . . Come, perform a miracle! Good, it's enough of a miracle that now the sun is shining, since when I came here, it was snowing.»
Obviously, during the ecstasies, the sun was always shining.
As Winter Passes was the title of this chapter, and now we find that at the beginning of springtime the spectacular events of Garabandal are beginning to
sprout. And from the mountainland a mysterious supplication is being addressed to Him who from on high does not forget the earth, as the ancient biblical prayer refrains:
The rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth.
The season of joyous song has come.
The song of the dove is heard in our land.
Come then, my love. My lovely one, come.
Show me your face; let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet, and your face beautiful.
(Cant. 2: 11-14)
23. In August, 1961, the girls began singing during their ecstasies. They sang both popular religious songs and original verses that they themselves made up during the ecstasies. What Simón means to say is that on March 25th they sang a complete rosary for the first time.
24. The second verse is from the Ave Maria of Fatima. Obviously not all styles of dress lead to eternal fire, but only those — and there are many — that are incompatible with decency.
25. We have already mentioned this verse dedicated to Mari Cruz since they sang it for the first time during the vigils in August of 1961.