PURITY OF SOUL—Often they questioned me about specific things like songs, some words that they said, replies that they had received(27) — whether or not it was a sin. They did not have a well-formed conscience, and so they did not readily distinguish what was a mortal sin, a venial sin, or no sin at all. But I observed the desire they had to be instructed and learn—for this reason the questions that at times were heard in the trances.
The horror of sin was causing in them a desire to atone for the sins of mankind. But the sins of mankind did not hold for them a concrete meaning, only a vagueness about things that sorrow God and the Virgin. It should be taken into account that, due to the isolation in which they lived, their twelve years of age represented much less than twelve years for children in a city.
The modesty of the girls in their manner of walking, of running, of looking, of conducting themselves in general was a close following of the advice repeated by the Virgin that they 'Be modest.' And they were not pleased when the people came with improper dress. I already mentioned the girl who did not want to be photographed with a lady because her dress was very low-cut. Nor did it please them that women smoked.(28)
PATIENCE — Having lived in the village, I saw right away that the patience of the girls had to be very great. The people, when they saw them, touched them — even to cutting off locks of their hair. They gave them rosaries, medals, marriage rings to give the Virgin to kiss. They requested kissed objects; they sought to take photographs. I never saw the girls angry. When they were worn out by such an avalanche of people, who even followed them into their homes, they limited themselves many times to keeping quiet and smiling.
One time I asked them, Why don't you get angry? They answered, The Virgin has told us that we should be modest and answer what they ask us if we can.
However, they showed anger against those who had at times prevented the visions by their songs, dances, and drinking parties.
ENVY — In spite of this being a defect so feminine and so frequent, I did not observe the least trace of it in the children with regard to their visions. Some had more visions than others; however, those that were outside of the vision did not envy those who appeared more favored, and they limited themselves to asking those in the vision to speak to the Virgin so that she would soon come back to appear to them. And I noted a charming suppleness and humility in their desire.(29)
ATTITUDE TOWARD PRIESTS — In the beginning of the events the girls demonstrated a special predilection for priests and religious. Frequently they counted those who had come, observing their habits. And in their trances they always spoke about them with the Vision. If they were asked, Whom do you want to come the most? They always responded, Priests.
Speaking about obedience, which the Virgin inculcated in a special way, they mentioned that they owed it to their parents and to priests.
Several times the children said in the state of trance that there were priests when none could be seen — since they had come dressed as civilians — and that there were a greater number of them than there appeared to be.
One case among many: A small group of priests was about to leave. Father Valentín remained alone with a sizeable number of lay people. The children went into ecstasy in the church and mentioned that there were two priests there: Father Valentín and another. On hearing this, Father Valentín began looking around him to discover a possible companion; but in vain. A little later a man approached him, and after greeting him, declared himself a priest who had come dressed as a civilian in order to come on a motorcycle.
Another case: One day several priests in civilian dress were walking about San Sebastián. During the ecstasies they heard that the girls were speaking of their presence; and then, for fear of being publicly discovered, they hurried to leave.»(30)
It appears unquestionable to anyone observing these things with an open mind that an extraordinary mother and teacher was journeying in that summer of 1961 to the village of Garabandal and mingling with its people. Almost no one understood what was going on; but the affair was there before everyone's eyes: an ensemble of things whose true dimension and significance still remained a mystery, but with a series of effects and incidents that indicated their origin. By their fruits you shall know them, Jesus has said, and by what could be seen in many people from the village, in numerous pilgrims, and above all in the children, there were good reasons to believe what the children were saying: that the Virgin had come and was walking through the village. Yes, the Mother of God and of all men had come to her own. But not all comprehended or wished to receive her.(31)
27. The girls had been brought up and lived in an atmosphere of rough speech, sometimes very rough. Farmers and herdsmen are not noted for the decorum of their language. And Garabandal was not an exception. The girls had heard, since their infancy, a good number of words—including blasphemies—and some expressions had struck them.
28. It is not said that smoking is exactly a sin; smoking by women was not pleasing to the girls favored by the Virgin.
29. Father Andreu's observation applies to the time that his report begins; we will see later on that there is something more to be said about this matter.
30. The inhabitants of San Sebastián de Garabandal can certainly recall a great quantity of information—that added onto Father Andreu's—leaves a well-illustrated history of these summer days of 1961.
31. I am not accusing anyone of bad faith; if someone has this, only God knows. What I mean is that without having bad faith, one can lack a certain good disposition, necessary for accordance with the Lord above.