Wednesday, January 7, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 3)



In times past over the trails that wind around Garabandal, many a time the country song had rung out, I don’t know what holds me to my village, nor why it delights me so, nor why it attracts me. But today the young people were feeling different attractions, wanting to get away from this place where they saw no future, and to get out into the outside world that could offer opportunities. The old people still remained attached to the village, sometimes by affection and sometimes by necessity; with a desire to persevere, or a noble resignation to maintaining the inheritance of their fathers. As for the young children, they amused themselves as children do all over the world, exchanging gifts or playing games like hide and seek.

In the days when our story starts, the chief of police in the district of Rio Nansa was Juan
Alvarez Seco. This is his description:

«Garabandal is a little mountain town made up of about seventy families. The customs of its inhabitants are primarily religious. For example they never forget to recite the Angelus as soon as the clock shows twelve noon. In the evening they always recite the holy rosary in the church. This is led by the parish priest if he is present; if not, the schoolteacher or another villager leads it. As night falls, Jacinta’s mother, the wife of Simón, goes around the village with a lantern and bell to call the people to pray for the dead and say the last prayers of the day. On Sundays after assisting at Holy Mass in the ancient simple church, the people take a little recreation. In the evening the young people gather under the porch roofs or the open sky and sing or amuse themselves to the sound of a tambourine.»

SundayJune 18, 1961
The day starts very early as there are many daylight hours at the start of summer. The early
June mornings radiate enchantment. The climate is caressing, the air pure, with light softly shining through the clouds, awakening the birds, brightly outlining things with an array of colors. Dawn is known only too well by the inhabitants of Garabandal due to the demand of their work as cattle raisers and farmers; so they do not get up early to enjoy the Sunday mornings. Most of them arise later than usual, since the Lord’s Day was made for rest. The men wash and shave, something they do not do everyday. The women bustle around, busier than on other mornings, arranging their family’s clothes, since no one is going to go to Sunday Mass without their dress being cleaned or their suit pressed. When the bells peal out from the massive church tower to awaken the village, the sounds of a festival day fill the air. The harsh music from the bells bounces off the tile roofs, reverberating through the narrow streets to be lost far away in the fields and prairies, in the streams and riverbeds, finally absorbed in the trees and shrubs dotting the hills surrounding the village. The bells ring out first for the Mass, later for the rosary. Without a Mass or a rosary crowded with participants, how could one picture a feast day in Garabandal?

Father Valentín Marichalar,
the pastor from Cossío, who is also in charge of the parish of San Sebastián, arrives for Mass after traveling up six kilometers of bad road. The rosary is led by any one of the faithful who can say it without making mistakes in the mysteries or the litany that follows. The Mass can take place at any time according to the disposition of the pastor. But the rosary is said a little after dinner, since everyone is free at that hour, and there will be time left over for the people to relax and amuse themselves. On this evening the young people are organizing a little dance on Caballera Street, although some of them are talking about going down to Cossío or Puente Nansa. (There was no movie theater, television set, or town hall in Garabandal.) Some of the men cluster together to talk; others dispute loudly in the tavern. Some women, many of whom wear the black widow’s dress, remain in the church.
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Note: A large part of this book is direct testimony from eye-witnesses. European quotation marks « » and this slightly bolder type have been used to aid the reader in separating this testimony from the general text. ·····················································