Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fr. Ramon Andreu's Notes: Part Three, Post 32

Some of us made the descent from San Sebastián de Garabandal to Cossío on foot and others made it in a Jeep. In deference to Fr. Luís, he was given a place in the Jeep. I observed that he was very content. My family members who descended in the Jeep during this trip with Fr. Luís told me the same thing. On several occasions, according to what I am told, he expressed his happiness with clear sentences that demonstrated his certainty in what had happened to the girls.
Once in Cossío we went in different cars and formed an expedition. Although he had a SEAT in my sister’s car, he preferred to come with me, since he had gone with me until that time.

In that car were my wife Carmen, my daughter, Mari Carmen (who was 8 years old) and me in the back. Behind us were José Salceda at the steering wheel and Fr. Luís.

During almost the entire trip we commented about what we had seen. Fr. Luís told me that he had spoked with Fr. Royo Marín and that they agreed about everything. My wife, José Salceda, and I, observed a profound and intense happiness in Fr. Luís. Also, a great sense of security. He spoke quickly and repeated these sentences many times: “I am so happy! I am full of joy. What a gift the Virgin has given me. Now I cannot have the least doubt that what is happening to the girls is true.” We came like that, talking for awhile. We stopped for a drink in Puentenansa. Fr. Luís only had one drink because of the weather.
In Torrelavega we met a Jeep that was traveling with people from Aguilar de Campoo, but was stopped. It was the Jeep that had taken us up to San Sebastián de Garabandal. We stopped to see if they needed anything and José Salceda, the mechanic, and Fr. Luís went down and talked with them a little bit.

In this second part of the trip we spoke for awhile and I said: “Father, why don’t you sleep for a while?” He did so for approximately an hour, until a little before we arrived at Reinosa. When he woke up, he said: “I have had a very deep sleep. I feel very well. I’m not the least bit tired.”

We were all tired because it was already four in the morning. At Reinosa, we stopped at a fountain to get a drink. Fr. Luís asked the mechanic, José Salceda, if he had taken a drink, and José responded that he had gotten a drink for his eyes, since they were thirsty.
We resumed the trip and after wandering a little while as we entered the city, Fr. Luís repeated the sentences that had synthesized the conversation: “I am full of joy. The Virgin has given me such a gift! We are lucky to have a Mother like that in heaven. We don’t have to fear the supernatural life. The girls have given us an example of how we should treat the Virgin. I cannot have the least doubt that this thing with the girls is true. Why has the Virgin chosen us? This is the happiest day of my life.”

After he said this sentence he stopped speaking. I asked him a question, and when I didn’t receive and answer, I asked again: “Father, has something happened to you? I thought that he was dizzy. He responded: “No, nothing. I’m sleepy.” He inclined his head and cleared his throat slightly.

José Salceda went towards him and when he observed that his eyes were rolling he said: “Father is very sick.” My wife took his wrist and when she didn’t find a pulse she said: “Stop; he doesn’t have a pulse. There is a clinic here.” I, believing that he was only dizzy, had opened the door the moment the car stopped and said: “Don’t worry, Father, it’s nothing, it will pass right away.” My wife said: “We’re going to bring him to the clinic.” I responded: “Don’t be foolish.” But she added: “He’s unconscious.”

We had stopped next to a clinic, about five or ten meters beyond it. We called and they immediately opened the door for us. The nurse who opened the door saw Father and said that he was dead. My wife said that it could not be, that they should do something for him. The nurse gave him an injection.

During this time, José Salceda went to find a priest and a doctor. The doctor arrived after 10 minutes. It was Dr. Vicente González, who could only tell us that he was dead. The parish priest arrived immediately and administered the Extreme Unction.

After the first moments of uncertainty and nervousness had passed, I called Fr. Ramón on the telephone; he was giving the Spiritual Exercises to a Religious Community in Valladolid.

After a few hours Fr. Royo Marín came, and he accompanied and consoled us. My brothers and brother-in-law came from Aguilar de Campoo, and Fr. Ramón arrived in the middle of the morning.

Every time I comment upon these scenes to my wife, which were so terribly impressive to us from our point of view, I have felt a sense of peace and at the same time, an unmistakable sense of serenity. The comment that repeatedly comes to us when we are questioned about what Fr. Luís died of has been this: “He died of happiness.”

After a fraction of a second, the most absolute normality returned to the cadaver, and he had a smile on his lips. There was no exterior sign other than when he cleared his throat slightly after saying: “No, nothing. I’m sleepy.”

I asked Fr. Ramón what preexisting ailments or heart conditions his brother had, and he said none. The only thing the priest said was that he had an allergy to hay during the spring, but it did not impede his normal activities. He took medicine that the doctors had prescribed for the treatment of this allergy.

On August 8th, when he descended to Cossío in the Jeep, no one noticed that his exhaustion was greater than that of the others who had stayed in San Sebastián de Garabandal the whole day. They had walked seven kilometers in the night when they had come from Cossío.
During the previous year, during which he gave a course in Theology in Oña, he frequently played sports in the court and then left in the company of other professors for the country on vacation. He frequently alluded to these times of rest in the conversations he had during the short time he spent with my family.
Days later, also in San Sebastián de Garabandal, the girls told me that the Virgin had told them that Fr. Luís had seen the Virgin when he’d yelled “miracle, miracle” in the pines, and that he went to talk to them. When he had witnessed the first dialogue they’d had with him on that date, all of the scenes of those painful moments of the morning of August 9, 1961, had a special meaning for me in the Providence of God and the Love of Mary; they play a most important role.

The words of Fr. Royo Marín once again, commenting about the last words that Fr. Luís pronounced in this world, came into my memory, “This is the happiest day of my life,” Fr. Luís had said. I wanted to ask him what he meant by this sentence, since I thought the happiest day for a priest would be that of his Priestly Ordination, but there was no time for me to ask since while I was awaiting his response, he went into the eternal happiness.

Fr. Royo Marín told us: “Truly, the day in which we arrive in the arms of God is the happiest day of our lives.”

This was August 9, 1961 at 4:20 in the morning, as we returned to San Sebastián de Garabandal.
As a fact that can serve to give the measure of sweetness of this transition, I will say that my daughter, who was 8 years old and was traveling in the car with us, went to bed and slept the whole night without any fear or nervousness when we arrived at Aguilar de Campoo.

I gave Fr. Ramón María my crucifix from the university which I had applied to Fr. Luís’s lips since it had also been kissed by the Vision at Garabandal; he thanked me as though it was the most precious gift.
(Signed) Rafael Fontaneda