Because of this I consider it extremely useful to insert at this point in our history what Father Ramón Andreu wrote down as the fruit of his experiences in Garabandal during the summer of 1961.
His writing starts like this:
«With the special authorization of His Excellency Bishop Doroteo Fernández, Apostolic Administrator of the diocese of Santander, and with the blessing of my superiors, Right Reverend Fathers Conrado Pérez Picón, vice provincial of Western Castille and Cipriano Arana, rector of the professional school of Christ the King at Valladolid.
I visited the location of San Sebastián de Garabandal, near Cossío, of the district of Puente Nansa, in the province of Santander, because of events that were taking place there concerning four young girls who were affirming that they were seeing and hearing the Virgin. And I obtained the following information, which I now place at the disposition of the ecclesiastical authorities, with the aim of simplifying the work that will have to be done because of such events.»
Among the entries that this report contains on its first page, I would like to point out the following, which I consider to be important:
«A miracle can come as a confirmation of a supernatural happening; but a miracle does not make a happening supernatural, nor in any case does it confirm it. From this the error and the mistake of those who examine Garabandal with the idea of witnessing a miracle at all costs.»
«The psychological age of the so-called visionaries during the first month was equivalent to eight or nine year old schoolgirls from the city.(2)
Their conduct was good from the moment the occurrences we are relating began, according to the judgment of the pastor, the schoolteacher, and their own parents. Also they appeared normal before the visions started and they continued to be normal when out of the visions.
Why young girls for such things? The Mystical Evolution by P. Artinero(3) explains this: "Because the very young, the feminine, the virgin souls hold a heart more pure, or more generously do violence to the passions. Thus the Holy Spirit can make His light shine in them. The words of the sixth Beatitude, Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God, find fulfillment in their life. Men and the highly gifted thus have no reason to reproach women. It is not so much a privilege of little ones and women to see better the supernatural things, as much as it is a punishment for men and the learned in order to humiliate them. St. Theresa one day was requesting from Our Lord that instead of heaping so many favors on her, He should give them to the learned men, the priests, the religious, the theologians. And He answered her: Those do not have the time or the desire to enter into confidential relations with Me; and, since they always disdain Me, I have to direct Myself to simple women, though I desire to discuss My affairs with men."»
After this Father Andreu spoke about the spectators:
«The visitor who comes to Garabandal, seeing the young girls speaking to the Virgin, usually passes through the following stages:
—When hearing about the matter for the first time, the visitor would usually take it for a joke; and thus, when deciding to go up to the village, it was as much for curiosity as for what he had been told.(4)
—The visit to the village ordinarily made a good impression because of its total simplicity and the absolute lack of any preconditioning.
—The first thing that would occur to someone during the phenomena was to think it was a comedy or an attack of hysteria. Since he would not see a miracle, he would pass initially to a feeling of disillusion. (An ecstasy is not a miracle.)
—Observing the actions of the young girls usually made an impression when — overcoming the obstacles of the large crowd — the visitor would come to see and hear close up in a more thorough fashion.
—The majority of those who came to Garabandal did not understand the events which were happening there; but they came to have an intuition that something important was happening.
—Then follows a state of waiting that seemed to lead them to continuing reflection about their observations in Garabandal.»
2. Apart from Father Ramón's personal experiences with the children's psychology, there is an interesting statement in Father Valentín's notations, written on July 17th:
«Conchita said to the Virgin that she was going to sleep in her room, that she was going to the barn . . . Conchita asked where was the father of the Child (whom the Virgin held in her arms) . . . We don't know the answer; but the girl began to jump with joy . . . The girls said frequently: Don't go away. A little while longer! Oh, don't go away! Do you want us to sing or pray more? What do you want us to do so that you won't go away? And at this time they began to pray a litany in jest saying, St. Conchita . . . St. Loli . . . I could not describe the exceptional happiness of the girls.»
3. The renowned Dominican professor, Father Juan González de Arintero, was born in a little mountain city of Valdelugueros in Léon in 1860 and died in Salamanca in 1928. Among his many achievements was the restoration of the study of mystical theology in Spain. His venerable remains are kept in Cantalapiedra, Salamanca, in the chapel of a cloistered convent of Poor Clares to whose foundation he contributed.
4. As Father Valentín wrote for the 17th of July: «Eight priests, two doctors, and some 600 people from afar were present; but there have been days, on Sunday, when there were about 3,000. Many came out of curiosity; after having seen the girls, they changed; I have seen men cry.»