HUMILITY—This was shown by the children in various ways: by their manner of dressing, by their manner of speaking, by the small things that they did for the public that came to see them, by the lowly work that they continued to do in front of everyone, by their docility to suggestions from their parents and priests, etc . . .
On various occasions the Virgin has indicated that when they would come to see her, they should not wear either bracelets or earrings. The only one who had the habit of wearing earrings was Conchita. But in a trance at the door of the church, she was heard asking, What did I do bad? Oh, good! And returning to normal, she went to her home, took off the earrings and a bracelet and returned to the door of the church, where she went into ecstasy again. I myself have noticed several times that when they felt the third call, they immediately began to take off any ring or bracelet that they had on their hands and which belonged not to them, but to some other person who had given them to the girls to look at and examine.
OBEDIENCE—As a consequence of the apparitions, the girls were imbued with a spirit of obedience, and not only showed this with works, but also with words. They said that the vision had recommended this very much, and that the Virgin had told them to obey above all their parents and priests.
I have personally noted several cases of this:
The mother of Mari Cruz one day told her daughter that she should stay home; and she did stay, while the other three went to the Pines for an apparition. When it was mentioned to Mari Cruz that she should not lose the occasion to go with the others, she answered,
— No, my mother didn't let me go.
— But isn't it better to see the Virgin than to remain at home?
— The Virgin told me to obey.
The bishop (Apostolic Administrator) ordered the church closed during the states of trance in order to avoid the lack of respect that the public— without bad will—was committing in its desire to see the girls close up. This measure pleased the parents and the villagers, since they were not looking for sensationalism. The first day that the recommendation was put into effect, the girls approached the church in the state of trance as usual; but on seeing it closed, turned around and then suddenly said, Ah! That is good. On coming out of ecstasy they said, We wanted the church open, but the Virgin told us that what the priest did was right.
In the face of the agitation and disorder from the numerous visitors, the girls' parents decided to keep the girls at home with the doors closed when they felt the calls, and not to let them go out. After a trance, they mentioned that the Virgin had said that if their parents told them this, it was right, and that they would see her inside their homes. And so it happened. Obedience in everything, even when opposed to the vision itself or contemplation, is one of the things that the masters of mystical theology have always presented as the best of signs.
We have further evidence that Garabandal followed the most sensible pattern of obedience.
The parish priest, Father Valentín, was at Conchita's house one day and he said to her,
—Look, it isn't possible for all of us to wait at this hour. I will give you a quarter of an hour. In that time, I am going to give you three warnings and if nothing occurs before the last warning, you go to bed. This is the first warning.
And he walked off. After ten minutes he returned to give the second warning.
—If nothing happens in the next five minutes, as I said, go to bed. It is already very late.
Two minutes after Father Valentín walked away, Conchita went into ecstasy.(21)
That same day, and without Loli and Jacinta knowing about what had happened with Conchita, I had the same experience with them. They were waiting for the vision since they already had two calls. I said to them, We can't wait any longer since it is very late. I will give you five minutes time. If nothing happens in those five minutes, go to bed.
When there was yet a minute remaining, I came back to talk to them, A minute remains. Count to sixty, and if nothing happens before you get to sixty, go to bed.
They started to count in a loud voice, chanting as in school. When they came to sixteen, without being able to say the word 'sixteen,' they were drawn into ecstasy with the typical snap of the head upwards.
PIETY — from the beginning of the events, the children received Communion every day and heard all the Masses that were celebrated— unless they were in the pastures.(22) As we have seen, they prayed several rosaries a day.
At times the visitors' attention was attracted by the children speaking in the church and smiling. This drew my attention too and one day I told them about it.
—But, is it bad to talk in church?
—It is a lack of respect toward the Lord . . .
—Then why do the priests talk so much?
I told them that the things the priests were talking about in the church were important things. (It is to be noted that more than a dozen priests were gathered together in Garabandal at the time).
Well, when we are with the Virgin, we also talk. But if you say we should conduct ourselves better, we will try to do it.
On August 8th, Mari Cruz was overheard in a vision: Now I know that it is better to pray; before I thought it was better to play.
FRATERNAL CHARITY—Apart from the detachment that was evident in the girls—for example, in giving away their things, caramels, candy, etc. up to the
point of not keeping anything for themselves(23)— they showed charity in a thousand ways. They served so many visitors with water and the other things they requested so frequently . . . the care of Loli for her grandmother,(24) of Conchita and Mari Cruz for a blind man,(25) the amiable patience with so many inquisitive people, the desire that all would believe and be saved . . .
PENANCE—From the time they learned the significance of the word sacrifices, they practiced it. For them, making sacrifices was to do what I don't like and to omit doing other things that I like.(26) Among these: helping others . . . obeying, giving away the things that they received, and not wearing the bracelets and other jewelry that they had received . . .
21. The Virgin yielded to the will of those who had spiritual authority over the girls, to confirm in them the duty of subjection to their superiors. This episode seems to have occurred on the 25th of August at 1:00 in the morning following a plan made by Father Valentín in association with the pastor from Ribadesella, Father Alfonso Cobián, and another priest.
22. It has already been mentioned that some of the pastures of San Sebastián de Garabandal were several kilometers away from the village. When it was necessary to work in these pastures, the villagers had to set out early in the morning, without time to give to other matters.
23. The repudiators of Garabandal have advanced this reception of gifts by the girls as an argument against it. This report throws some light on this matter, but later on we will present other explanations.
24. The paternal grandmother who died in July of 1971.
25. This refers to Jacinta's grandfather.
26. A definition both simple and magnificent.