Monday, March 9, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 53)

“Looking always and only upwards, they never stumbled.”

When they had come to the level of Ceferino's house, Loli also came outside in ecstasy with the same attitude and expression as Conchita. Without looking at each other, they joined perfectly together and continued toward the church, not holding hands as on so many other occasions, but separated, each one holding the rosary with her hands on her chest.
The church filled rapidly with the faithful. The two visionaries came in their ecstatic march up to the altar rail itself; there with one of those falls that are so striking and frightening, they dropped to their knees on the floor. Up to here they had come protected by Mr. Otero (who had not separated himself from Conchita), Ceferino, and his older son Fernando (Nandín) who had left the house behind Loli. The three had joined hands in the street and had formed a barrier so that the people in their desire to see and touch would not accidentally fall on top of the little girls.
Following the custom, a woman from the village( 9) led the recitation of the rosary and during it the girls in ecstasy answered until the finish. When the prayer ended they stood up, left the church reverently, and began an ecstatic march(10) toward the Pines.
The three bodyguards, in spite of their robust condition, became exhausted in following them. Many persons, among them the two women who had come from Ribadesella, soon quit—the march was not for the unconditioned. Our informant Mr. Otero, does not lack vocabulary, including one that can be very expressive; but he could not succeed in describing the grace of those walks while in ecstasy.

«They did not fly as has been said at times by
persons who have seen the affair from afar and in the dark. They did not fly; that could easily be determined. Their feet touched on the ground, but in a way that I don't know who to describe. Looking always and only upwards they never stumbled on anything, nor did they slide, nor did they strike against any stones.

And look out! There are rocks and stones
throughout those streets and paths of Garabandal. Especially at that time, for later the people that came cleared away the worse stones little by little; I myself have taken many away during my various trips. They marched as if they were flying, but not flying; while the rest of the people were falling and sliding. But you would have to see what that was like! Above all, the running in the dark and in the dim light.

The girls walked as if their feet had eyes to
search for the exact spot where it was best to step, always on top of the rocks and pebbles or away from them, never striking against them. And with a lightness, a grace, and a rhythm I could not describe. I fell several times and stumbled many more times; but although perspiring and gasping for breath, I couldn't succeed in keeping up with them. I could never forget those marvelous things.
Oh! I forgot. Before entering the calleja, at the level of the highest houses of the village, in the middle of the street, closed in by its walls, the girls had one of their falls. It seemed my heart stopped with the noise of the cracking their knees made.
Heavens! Those girls have smashed their knees and broken their legs, I said to myself.
But nothing of the kind happened as I found out later. It had become dusk rather early, for in the final hours of the afternoon some low-lying clouds had come from the surrounding mountains, darkening the sky considerably. The people were quietly walking as well as they could manage behind us, when suddenly, there came the fall. I was seeing it for the first time, and it frightened me, for I saw how they plunged suddenly on their bare knees on top of the ground with its rocks and stones. The fall sounded sharp, like the breaking of bones.
For a little while they remained on their knees on top of the stones. They fixed their gaze on something that was above and in front of them. They smiled, and what a charming smile! They moved their lips as if to speak or pray, but in a whisper, in such a way that one could hardly tell one word from another. It was impossible to doubt that they were with someone.

9. Referring to Maximina González, Conchita's aunt. Father José Ramón García de la Riva, of whom we will speak later on, told me this. Sometimes another woman of the village, Celina González, led it.

10. This name was given to the traveling from one location to another that occurred during the ecstasies. These ecstatic walks were very frequent at Garabandal.

«Sometimes they marched forward all together with a normal pace. Other times they started together, and later they separated each one for a different street, to come together again finally at a determined spot, showing great joy on meeting. The most frequent thing was to go forward at great speed, in such a manner that not even the fastest were able to follow them. There have been cases in which they have marched on their knees, and even sitting down . . .

These changes of location in ecstasy were due to the apparition
coming and going from the location with the girls following her; but not knowing how. The were not able to say whether they were running, walking, or lying down, or even if they were really moving or not.»

(Father Ramón Andreu)