Among the numerous episodes that have been recorded with complete guarantee of accuracy, this one is particularly striking:
One day Conchita was in the kitchen of her house surrounded by persons who were waiting for the moment of the apparition. On the simple table that served for the family meals, the objects that she was going to give to be kissed were being gathered. Together with these, someone had put there a stylish woman’s powder case. The child and those present wanted this removed. How could the Virgin come to kiss an object so profane and used only for the service of vanity? Nevertheless, the powder case remained there.
The ecstasy began and those present saw with astonishment that the visionary’s hand, without her looking at it, before going to any other object, went first of all toward the previously discussed powder case. The child raised it toward the invisible Virgin and then set it down with great respect on the table. Among those present, surprise must have been mingled with doubt. Was it really the Virgin who was appearing? It didn’t seem that she would kiss such an object . . .
As soon as the ecstasy was finished, Conchita was asked for an explanation. And she declared that the Virgin had asked immediately for the powder case in order to kiss it, saying that it was something «belonging to her Son.» The girl did not know anything more. But the person who had put the powder case there did know more and revealed the secret. During the terrible Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) in the Red Zone when priests were being executed and had to be hidden, the powder case had been used to bring Communion Hosts to various locations and especially to prisoners whom the Reds held captive in order to execute. Thus it had served as a pyx.(6)
Besides religious articles, the objects that probably were the most kissed at Garabandal were wedding rings. Concerning this we have innumerable stories, some of which will be mentioned later.
If there is anything mysterious as to why the Virgin kissed these objects, it is not difficult to figure out. This is the hour of great crisis in family life. Among non-Catholics the breaking up of married life has been advancing during the past few years in an alarming degree. But even in Catholic families this evil is becoming more and more prominent. Certainly in Spain it is noticeably less than in other countries, and certainly the people of Garabandal have remained in this respect unchanged; but the Virgin did not come only for Garabandal, nor only for Spain. She came for all her children and if some ought to reform for the evil done, others should be warned so that they do not fall into the same evil. With her kiss the Virgin here indicated in advance what the Church, united in the Council, wanted to remedy and declare later with its Pastoral Document Gaudium et Spes (Part II, Chapter I).
With regard to the Virgin’s kisses, I would like to inscribe here two interesting things.
The first is an affirmation. It is certain that Conchita has said more than once on behalf of the Virgin:
«Jesus will perform prodigies by means of the objects kissed by her, before and after the miracle. And the persons who use these objects with faith will undergo purgatory in this life.»
The second is an anecdote which helps us understand that these kisses belonged strictly to Mary’s maternal role. It happened several years later on June 18th, 1965, an important date in the history of Garabandal. On that day the village was swarming with strangers who had come to be present at a special apparition announced in December of the previous year. One of these strangers, undoubtedly not possessing a kissed object and wishing to have one, offered a rosary to Conchita. The young girl, sure that on that day only St. Michael was coming, would not accept it, saying to the surprised man:
—The Angel doesn’t kiss.
—Why is that?
Conchita smiled and said, Only the Virgin kisses. The Angel is not the person for that.
Now let us return to those first days in July of 1961. The apparition of Monday, July 3rd, started at 7:30 at night and ended at 8:00.
When she said to us, Stay with God and with me also, that made us sad. (Her departure)
And we said, Goodbye, goodbye.
The last thing she said to us was, Tomorrow you will see me again.
On July 4th, we were the same as usual, and the people of the village and
our parents, brothers, and sisters were believing more each day.
The strangers who came were very enthusiastic in telling other people to
We continued leading our normal lives, doing what our parents told us.
Evening came on Tuesday, July 4th, the third day of seeing the Virgin.
Many people had come, and priests.
The rosary was at 6:00 in the evening at the parish church and we had one call.
The church was full of people and on the main altar were about a dozen
priests and photographers(7) taking pictures.
When the rosary was finished we had two calls and we decided to run to the cuadro, and the people ran after us . . .
Before all had arrived, Mari Cruz and I were a little higher up than Loli and Jacinta. The two of us were inside the cuadro itself, and the other two not inside.
And the people said that for all that we had run, we didn’t perspire.
And they were perspiring and arriving all exhausted.
And they were amazed.
But it was as though the Virgin carried us!
According to the witnesses of the Garabandal phenomena, the girls’ race to the site of the apparition after feeling the third call was awesome, and there was no way of following them. Therefore, Conchita said with reason that it was the Virgin—a supernatural force—that carried them. Because of this they did not feel any tiredness or signs of fatigue, like perspiration, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, etc . . .
If all this were mere child’s play, as has been said (even officially), they would have soon become physically and psychologically worn out. Nevertheless the races, the trances, the exertions and the vigils—which took place almost daily, month after month for several years—exhausted everyone else except the visionaries. And all who could observe these things from up close, including eminent doctors of various specialties, agreed in describing the amazing naturalness, normality, childlike and adolescent freshness and mental balance that the girls had in their way of acting. Only intervention from on high could have left the girls’ weak natures intact and enriched in such circumstances.
Another new confirmation of the basic theological axiom, Gratia naturam non destruit, sed perficit. (Grace does not destroy nature, but perfects it.)
6. This episode definately happened. Ramón Pifarré from Barcelona, visiting Garabandal with his daughter Asunción, brought the powdercase to Conchita’s house.
7. Cameras appeared in Garabandal from the beginning, brought for definite reasons, most of the time with the desire of perpetuating the beauty and emotion of those extraordinary scenes.