Tuesday, May 31, 2011


The Apple tree

November 1, 1962
[Conchita began writing her diary in 1962. She finished it in the second half of the year 1963. It includes only a part of the history of the apparitions, that which happened from June 18, 1961 to January of 1963.]
María Concepción González, 13 years old.
In this book I am going to tell about my apparitions and my daily life.
The most important event of my life [It is necessary to understand what she means to say: the most important event of her life until June of 1961. It is clear that the future events like the apparition of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel or the locutions with Our Lord, have greater importance for the four girls, especially for Conchita, than the Angel’s visit] was on June 18, 1961 in San Sebastián: it happened in the following way:
It was a Sunday in the evening, and we were with all of the young girls playing in the plaza.
Suddenly, Mari Cruz and I thought of going to pick apples, and we set off straight to the place [this means to the place where they found the apple tree of the first apparition] where they were, without telling anyone that we were going to pick the apples.
The girls, seeing the two of us were going away alone, asked us:
 Where are you going?
And we answered:
 Over there!
And we continued on our way, thinking about how we were going to manage to pick them.
Once there, we started to pick the apples and when we were having a good time, we saw Loli, Jacinta and another little girl coming to see if they could find us.
Seeing us picking the apples, Jacinta shouted out:
 Hey, Conchita, you are picking the apples!
 Shut up, I told her, the school teacher’s wife will hear you, and will tell my mother [Aniceta González, a widow, with four children: Serafín (who is now the head of the family), Cetuco (nickname for Aniceto), who died in 1965, Miguel, and Conchita].
Then I hid among the potato plants and Mari Cruz started to run through the field.
Loli shouted out:
 Mari Cruz, stop running. We see you. We will tell this to the owner.
Then Mari Cruz returned and we left our hiding place so that we could all be together.
While we were talking someone called the little girl who had come with Jacinta and Loli, and she left. The four of us remained alone; and giving it more thought, the four of us returned to pick apples.
While we were having a good time, we heard the voice of the school teacher, who, on seeing the branches moving so much, thought it was the sheep, and said to his wife Concesa:
 Go to the garden, the sheep are wandering near the apple tree!
Hearing this, we burst out laughing. When we had filled our pockets, we hurried off to eat the apples more at peace in the path, that is in the calleja.[This is the rocky road that goes from the village to a grove of pine trees.]
When we were enjoying ourselves eating the apples, we heard a loud noise like thunder [It is interesting to recall that in Fátima, a little before the first apparition of the Angel of Peace, the shepherd children heard a noise like thunder].
And we all shouted out:
 It seems to be thundering!
This happened at 8:30 at night [The “Great Miracle” announced for Garabandal will also happen at eight thirty at night].
When we had finished eating the apples I said:
 Oh, what a shame! Now that we’ve picked the apples, which didn’t belong to us, the Devil will be pleased and the poor Guardian Angel will be unhappy.
Then we began to gather stones and threw them with all our strength to the left side, where the Devil is said to be.
When we got tired of throwing stones, and were more content, we began to play marbles with the stones.
Suddenly a very beautiful figure appeared to me, shining brilliantly without hurting my eyes. The other girls—Jacinta, Loli, and Mari Cruz—on seeing me in that state, thought I was having an attack, since I was saying with my hands joined together: “Oh!... Oh!... Oh!” As they were going to call my mother, they found themselves in the same state as I was and they shouted together: “Oh, an Angel!”
Then there was a short silence among the four of us... and he suddenly disappeared. And, returning to normal, and very frightened, we ran toward the Church—on the way passing the dance that was going on in the village.
Then a girl named Pili González, said to us:
 How white and frightened you are! Where are you comimg from?
Very ashamed in confessing the truth, we said to her:
 From picking apples! [The Vision seems to have accentuated the intense remorse and repentence the girls felt.].
And then she said:
 For that… you are coming like this?
We all answered together:
 It is because we’ve seen an Angel!
She said:
 Is that true...?
We: Yes, yes... and we continued on our way in the direction of the Church.The girl told this to the others.
Once at the door of the Church, and thinking it over better, we went behind it to cry. We met some young girls who were playing and when they saw us crying they asked us:
 Why are you crying?
We told them:
They ran off to tell the schoolmistress.
When we had finished crying, we returned to the Church door and went inside.
At the same time, the schoolmistress arrived very frightened and said to us at once:
 My children, have you really seen an Angel?
 Yes, señora!
 Could this be your imagination?
 No, señora, no! We have really seen an Angel.
Then the schoolmistress told us:
 Let us go pray a Station to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in thanksgiving[The “station” is a Spanish practice of devotion to the Eucharist. It begins by the praying of six Our Fathers, six Hail Marys, and six Glory Be’s, a Creed, and generally a Salve Regina is also added].
When we had finished saying the Station we went to our homes. It was already nine at night and my mother had told me to come home during the day. And on that day it was dark when I arrived.
When I got home, my mother said to me:
 Didn’t I tell you to come home before dark?
Very frightened because of two things—for having seen the figure so beautiful, and for coming home late—I didn’t dare to come into the kitchen.And I leaned against the wall, very sad. And I said to my mother:
 I have seen an Angel.
She responded to me:
 On top of coming home late, you come saying these things!
And I answered again:
But it’s true that I have seen an Angel.
She responded the same thing, but she was already more doubtful that I had seen the Angel.
This was at nine thirty at night. Later that night we did not speak any more about it. It was an ordinary night, just like any other.
The 19th arrives.
When we got up, the people had begun to talk:
 Those four girls saw something, since they came down with such expressions…!
Others responded:
 It could have been one of those big birds, since it was dark!
Others said:
 Or perhaps some little boy surprised them while they… Or they were dreaming…!
Well, everyone had his own idea about the thing. It was a day in which they talked about nothing else. They asked us to describe what we had seen. And very happy with the beautiful figure, we were glad to tell them, since there were some people who doubted it was true. We told how he was, how he was dressed, very brilliantly…
Most of the people laughed at us; but it was all the same to us because we knew it was true. We had these conversations at ten in the morning, when we went to the school.
When we arrived at the school the schoolmistress asked us:
 My children, are you certain of the things you said yesterday?
We answered at the same time:
 Yes, Señora. We saw an Angel!
The other school children surrounded us and were amazed at what we were saying. We acted the same as always, undisturbed.
When we left school, each one went to her own home. But this day Jacinta and Mari Cruz went together and met the parish priest, Fr. Valentín Marichalar. [He is the pastor of the neighboring village, Cossío and also in charge of San Sebastián de Garabandal. For some time in the past he knew the girls and their families well. His attitude toward the apparitions was at the same time firm and questioning. It might be said that he had a firm internal beleif in the supernaturalness of these phenomena and at the same time he had a very prudent reserve and exemplary discretion in front of the people who came to Garabandal.] Very alarmed, he said to them:
Look here, look here! Is it true that you saw an Angel? They answered together:
Yes, Father, it’s true!
 I don’t know… I don’t know if you’re mistaken… he replied to them.
Smiling, they said to him:
 No. Don’t be afraid that we saw an Angel! Then they went to their homes.
The parish priest walked around to see where he could find me. Finding me near my home, he became very nervous and he said to me:
 Conchita, be honest—what did you see last night?
I explained everything to him... he listened very attentively and finally he said to me:
 Well, if you see the Angel tonight, ask him who he is and why he is coming; see what he answers.
I said that I would do what he said and the Pastor left and went to Loli’s house to see if our stories agreed. I continued walking toward my house.
Loli responded the same as the rest of us. And so he was more and more impressed because the four of us agreed on everything. Finally he said:
 Good, we are going to wait two or three days to see what he will tell you and whether you are going to continue to see this figure that you call an Angel. The Pastor added:
 Then I will go to the Bishop. [This was Doroteo Fernández, the former Auxiliary Bishop of the diocese, who served in June of 1961 when the apparitions began and was the Apostolic Administrator of the diocese ofSantander. The following year Dr. Eugenio Beitia Aldazabal was named titular Bishop of Santander S.E.; he followed the history of the apparitions from 1962 to 1965 and he gave the most important of the four notas that came from the ecclesiastical authority. This was the nota from July 8, 1965. His resignation, for health reasons, was accepted. Nevertheless, he stayed in the Diocese as Apostolic Administrator until August of 1965. The new titular Bishop, S.E. Vicente Puchol, had not made an official pronouncement about the apparitions.]
As always when we came home, we ate and then went to the school again at two in the afternoon. In my house they were making a small repair. I went to the house of the woman from whom we buy the milk and she said to me:
Is it true that you saw an Angel? Or is this just something the people are saying?
I answered:
 It’s certain that we saw an Angel!
She continued to question me:
How did you see him?
I explained it to her in such a way that she listened very closely. And then smiling, she said to me:
 Since I have a good opinion of you, I believe that you saw the Angel, but the others: no!
Then I said to her:
 But all four of us saw him—Loli, Jacinta, Mari Cruz, and I!
She didn’t answer me at all. When I came home with the milk, I said to my mother:
 Mama, I’m going to pray in the calleja! This was heard by a stonemason named Pepe Díez, [José Diez-Cantero, called Pepe Diez, is the mason of the village and one of the principal witnesses of the first apparitions, like the miracle of the visible Communion that Conchita received on July 18, 1962]who was there working to repair our house, and also by my brother, Aniceto González, who was helping him. Then Pepe said laughing:
 Yes, yes, let her go. Why not let her go pray?
My brother objected to this:
 Conchita, you shouldn’t go! The people will laugh at you and us too. They will say that you are going around saying that you are seeing an Angel. And that you are lying.
But, of course, I insisted I go to my mother, and while this was happening the other three girls came and called me.
My mother was nervous and said:
 Oh my God, what kind of trouble have you all made?
We said to her:
 No kind!
Then my mother, doubting it was true and wanting to be left in peace, permitted me to go. We were very happy, and we went to this place called the “Calleja.” (A little piece of Heaven) [“A little piece of Heaven”: the expression is underlined by Conchita in the original text of her diary. It seems like an allusion to the fact that the majority of the first apparitions of the Angel and the Virgin took place in this site.]
When the people saw us they asked:
 Where are you going? We responded:
 To pray in the Calleja!
But the people laughed at us and said to us: [The people: at the beginning, as Conchita explained, only the neighbors in the village attended the ecstasies.Very soon, other people from neighboring villages came, and then people from the whole province, and also people from all over Spain and foreigners. OnOctober 18, 1961, the multitude reached the number of 5,000—a considerable number, due to the isolation of this village and the great difficulty in accessing it (six kilometers of a difficult road that not all cars could travel)].
 Why don’t you go to the Church to pray since that would be better?
And we responded to them at the same time:
 Because the Angel appeared to us there yesterday, and we’re going to see if he’ll appear to us again.
They called this place the “Calleja” and when we arrived there, we began to pray. The people looked at us, but the young boys hid in or near the corn and threw stones at us.
We told them not to throw stones at us, but they just laughed and continued throwing the stones. We were there praying the rosary and we waited for awhile to see if the Angel was coming. The sky was very cloudy and it was very windy.
When the afternoon arrived, we went down to the Church, but in the road we met the teacher who asked us:
 Have you gone to the Calleja today?
 Yes, we answered, but we were very sad because we had not seen the Angel. [The fact of seeing or not seeing the Vision is independent of the girls’ desires. The apparition is the cause and the origin of the mystical phenomena.This was verified in Garabandal where the will of the seers was ineffective in changing anything in the development of the happenings.]
She added:
 Do you know why he hasn’t come? Surely it’s because it’s so cloudy.
It was eight thirty at night. We went to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament and then we each went to our own homes.
When I arrived my mother asked me:
 Did you see the Angel?
I said that we had not seen him today. Then she made me do my work as usual; we ate dinner, then I went to bed at a quarter to ten. Since I couldn’t sleep, I started to pray. And then I heard a voice that said to me:
─ “DON’T BE TROUBLED, YOU WILL SEE ME AGAIN.” [This sentence is underlined in the original text.]
As they told me the following day, the other three girls heard this voice as well.
I stayed worried after hearing this voice and I continued praying at great length, until I fell asleep.
All of this happened on June 19, 1961.