Clementina soon became very excited by this inconceivable spectacle. And certain that something was happening there — something from God — began to speak out like this, «Conchita, my child, pray to Our Lady of Mount Carmel . . . Pray to the Sacred Heart to help us . . . Let them tell you what they want from us . . .» She was talking of going to call a priest — of calling the whole village. What could this be? All of those present did not share her tremendous excitement, and even continued laughing. It was at this time that she, and not Conchita's aunt, said, «Oh children! If you don't believe in this, you don't believe in God.»
All those who saw us went down to the village telling everyone about it, since they were very impressed.
For they had never seen or heard anything like it.(15)
It can be imagined how the news spread through the village, and what was talked about in the houses on that night in June, a night of grace.
Of course the news came quickly to Fr. Valentín. And not only to Fr. Valentín. The chief of police, Juan A. Seco, wrote in his memoirs:
«On June 21st, I was informed that something miraculous had occurred in my district. On that day I had gone to consult with a doctor of the area in Puente Nansa. And Dr. José Luis Gullón, who was very amazed, mentioned to me what had just been told to him by two women who had come down from Garabandal, that an angel had appeared to four young girls from the village.
I think that at the time I forgot to ask the doctor for the prescription that I needed for my ear, because it struck me that I no longer needed it, since I was hearing perfectly what the women had informed him. I went directly to the headquarters of the Civil Guard and ordered Officer José Fernández Codesido to go up to San Sebastián and carefully investigate everything that happened. On his return, the officer reported to me that he had been with each of the supposed visionaries individually; and that they coincided completely: that they happened to be playing marbles at the entrance to the calleja which is named Campuca Street and that suddenly . . .
After that day I felt satisfied, and ordered a pair of guards to remain permanently in Garabandal. The news spread throughout all the neighboring towns and every day people made the journey to Garabandal, which required increasing the size of the guard. Soon there came to be crowds of 500 to 3,000 persons a day.»
But let us return to Father Valentín.
The good priest must have been so impressed by what was told him that he had already decided to go to Santander on June 22nd.(16) to completely inform the Bishop. Someone made him hold off, observing correctly, Why don't you wait to see for yourself what's going on? Surely something will happen this evening and then later you can give a better report about everything. Thanks to this intelligent observation, that Thursday, the day of the week dedicated to the Eucharist, which in 1961 had more daylight time than any other day in the year, was the first to have a priest in the calleja at Garabandal as a witness of the communication that God seemed to want established from on high with men.
15. It can be easily understood what upset and upheaval came upon the good people of Garabandal as a result of the things happening in the village. Mari Cruz’s mother, Pilar, illustrated this in her conversation recorded on the occasion already mentioned:
«When I saw my daughter for the first tine in that way (in ecstasy), I was very frightened. I thought she was having an attack. I point out that I had never heard talk of apparitions. Well, perhaps apparitions; but not ecstasies. I was unaware of those things. I didn’t know anything at all about them. Now I have learned something. And finding my daughter like that—and going to touch her—and she was so rigid—and going to lift her up—and I couldn’t. I said to myself, This little girl is going to die; she is having an attack!»
16. Although I cannot give the exact date that Father Valentín went to Santander to inform his superior, I know that Ceferino Mazón, the father of Loli, went with him as a civil official of the
village, accompanied by two other men of some importance in the area: the indiano Eustaquio Cuenca and the professor Manín. (The term indiano is generally given in Spain to emigrants who have returned from America after having made their fortune there.)
Father Valentín spoke alone behind closed doors with Bishop Doroteo Fernández. After listening to him, the bishop said that for the moment, obviously, there was only one thing to do: Watch and wait.