Some lines from Conchita's diary aid us in forming an idea of her appearance:
The Virgin comes in a white cloak, a blue mantel, a crown of little golden stars.
The feet are not seen; the hands are open and there is a scapular on the right one; the scapular is brown.(11)
Her hair is long, a dark chestnut brown color, wavy, parted in the middle;
The face somewhat elongated;
The nose also somewhat long, and fine;
The mouth, very beautiful with lips a little full;
The color of her face tan, much lighter than that of the angel, different.
The voice, very beautiful, a voice very unusual.
I don't know how to explain it.
There is no other woman who resembles the Virgin, either in the voice, or in anything.
Sometimes she carries the Baby in her arms.
He is very small, like a newborn baby, with a round face the same color as the Virgin's.
He has a very small mouth, and hair slightly long.
He is dressed in something like a blue tunic.
Taking into account the poor expression of a young girl from a very secluded village, the resulting description is astonishing. The vision must have been really marvelous for her to be able to expand so much in trying to describe it. With all this, it can be understood that human language is not made for realities that are so much above our experiences and happenings here below.
I don't know how to explain it. There is no other woman who resembles the Virgin, either in the voice, or in anything.
You have your reasons, child. Everything has to be explained in language proper to it. The words of this earth cannot adequately explain the things of heaven. Because of this, one is forced by necessity to have recourse to clumsy negatives.
After her visions in the grotto at Lourdes, people asked Bernadette, Your Lady of the Grotto, is she like Fulanita or Menganita? Bernadette was not able to contain herself, and answered with unusual forcefulness, Please, there is no comparison possible.
Later the great sculptor Fabish finished his statue of the apparition in Carraran marble, and hoped to get from Bernadette an enthusiastic remark like the exclamation, That's her! He was only able to obtain this kind of concession, Your statue is very beautiful, Mr. Sculptor, but it’s not she. No. There is as much difference between this and what I saw as there is between heaven and earth.
The children of Garabandal, as at Lourdes, could talk about the appearance of her hair, the color of her clothes, the position of her hands; but they could never describe to us the complete grace of her person, the charm of her smile, the radiation of light in her appearance, the celestial melody in her voice, the splendor of her goodness, her loveliness, her purity, her love, all those things that make her seem divinely transfigured. A singular creature in whom nature and grace have united to give the absolute maximum, making her an unsurpassable miracle of perfection!
No wonder that she is considered the figure of Paradise, and that the hours with her appeared to the visionaries as fleeting minutes, and that the place where the apparitions occurred most frequently would be called a little bit of heaven.
This has been told to me about Loli. Sometime after the things we are relating, she was taken by friends to look out for the first time at the sea near Comillas.(12) That magnificent panorama ought to have impressed her. Someone must have said to her, What do you think? Isn't this marvelous?
I see that it is, answered the girl. But after having seen the Virgin!
10. Verse from a hymn to the Virgin of the Piedras Albas area, a parish of Cabezuela in the valley of Jerte, province of Caceres.
11. Rather than being like the small scapulars currently worn, the scapular held by the Virgin resembled the maniple that the priest formerly carried on his arm during the celebration of the Mass. I say formerly because presently the maniple has been discarded in the new liturgy. The girls saw that a mountain was painted on one side of the scapular. At the time they did not understand the reason, but they would learn later. In Spain, an expression used is Virgen del Carmen which is an abbreviation for Our Lady of Mount Carmel, one of the most ancient titles in Catholic Marian devotion and one which ties Mary closely to her native land, the land of our Saviour, and to the mysterious destinies of its people.
It should be added that Mount Carmel, historically the site of awesome works of God, has been for many centuries — at least since St. John of the Cross — the symbol in the Church of the height of perfection to which every really Christian soul is called. The ascent cannot be easy, being the great enterprise of life; but what is found on the summit is worth the effort: All that rests on that mount is the honor and the glory of God.
It appears very significant and of tremendous meaning, that the Virgin has desired to appear at Garabandal as Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The fact that the girls could not conceive of a Virgin of Carmel clothed in white and blue corroborates the authenticity of their vision. The statue that they saw at the church, and the various religious pictures that they had seen presented the Virgin of Carmel robed completely differently. If they described her as they have in spite of what they were accustomed to seeing, it is because that was the way they saw her.
And now comes the best thing. On July 16th, 1251, in the first apparition of the Virgin of Mount Carmel to St. Simon Stock, General of the Carmelites, she was dressed with a white tunic and a blue cloak, as at Garabandal!
12. They brought her there to see Father Lucio Rodrigo, a Jesuit whom we will discuss later on; he was professor of moral theology at the famous pontifical university of that coastal village, relatively near to Garabandal.