During the whole vision — an hour at least — Mari Cruz was kneeling on top of a sharp stone, about 2 inches wide, without showing then or afterwards any sign of pain or discomfort.(45)
In their conversation with the apparition they were heard to ask why she had not brought the Infant, and then they began to talk about some priests that were then present,(46) especially about the one who had most attracted their attention.
Since we wanted so much to know who was the priest who had come in the white habit,(47) we asked the Virgin.
And the Virgin said nothing; she only smiled.
But we insisted again, and after a long time she said, He is a Dominican.
And I said a Dominicu?
And she said Yes.
More of the conversation was heard. They told the Virgin that the parish priest had given them plums in the sacristy, that the pulpit of the church was about to fall down, that Father Valentín had scolded Conchita for wearing her hair loose(48) like St. Michael, that Conchita's mother was very dark skinned and only had two teeth, that they had made a movie, and that they had never been to a movie theater, although they had passed in front of one in Torrelavega,(49) That it was a house . . .
And naturally Conchita did not forget her mother's request.
That same day I asked the Virgin if she would let me go to Santander.And she didn't forbid me.This is very expressive: She didn't forbid me. Not a definite approval, not even a warm one. On the part of the Virgin, this must have been like a shrugging of her shoulders, allowing Conchita to go — without forbidding her.
At the conclusion the closest spectators heard the girls say:
An hour already? . . . That has gone past! . . . A half minute . . . An hour and a quarter? . . . No, half a minute . . . But it is as you say since you don't lie . . . Oh! An hour and twenty minutes.
The spectators could determine by their watches the exactness of the time that was mentioned. The girls threw kisses in the air and opened and closed their hands with the gestures of waving good-bye. Abruptly, as sudden as turning off the electricity in a light bulb, the four girls lowered their gaze and heads at the same time, and returned to an absolutely normal expression. Let us go say the rosary, they said. And thus ended an eventful day in the extraordinary history of Garabandal.
We do not know if Conchita slept well that night.(50) Since the Virgin had not opposed it, Aniceta decided definitely on the trip to Santander; they would go on the following day. Her daughter had to be experiencing disturbing feelings; that place was far removed from the ordinary run of her daily life. She was going to finally know the beautiful and important city that she had heard so much about; she was gong to see things she had never seen. There some men were waiting who did not know what to make of her, and she could not imagine how they would treat her or what they could do to her. What she vaguely understood about the reason for the trip did not ease her mind.
They wanted to take me to Santander, because they said that I was the one who was influencing the others.
As dawn broke on July 27th, Aniceta quickly finished the most pressing household duties and packed the things that she had to take with her. Then she departed with her daughter at an early hour, wishing to find the streets of the village deserted so that it would not be necessary to make explanations.(51)
With the arrival of Conchita at Santander, the marvels of Garabandal would be extended to the capital, at the time basking in summertime frivolity. One of its streets, one of the most traditional and typical of them all,(52) would witness something that it had never before witnessed.
The first day that I went (to Santander), I had an apparition near the church of Our Lady of Consolation.
And there were many people there; so many people were there that the armed police (Policia Armada)(53) had to intervene.
That day they made various tests on me.
And when the apparition was finished, they took me to an office for a priest and a medical doctor to question me.
The priest was named Fr. Francisco Odriozola and the doctor was Dr. Piñal.
We can imagine the commotion that developed in the street's heavy traffic when the people saw such an unusual spectacle: a young girl bowed down on her knees, completely transfigured and absorbed in something that was happening above her, and at her side a poor peasant woman, nervous and upset, not knowing what to do. The gathering of the crowd and the shouting caused, as Conchita mentions, the intervention of the police whose station was right on the street.
There must have been all kinds of comments. Many people who had heard of Garabandal were finding to their amazement that one of its famous visionaries was in the middle of the street. Others who did not know anything about Garabandal or did not believe, felt indignation or pity toward the pair of village peasants who seemed to be either performers in a comedy or else victims of a tragedy.
Among the first to discover what was happening were the priests from the parish church, among whom was Father Luis González López — then a coadjutor, later a parish priest — who had arranged the girl's trip and assumed responsibility for watching over her. Immediately Father Odriozola and Dr. Piñal were notified. As soon as the ecstasy was over, Conchita found herself before them in an office of the parish rectory.
They told me: that since I had done these things . . . that I was crazy . . . that I was deceiving people this way . . .
We do not know if the members of the Commission spoke this way for simple tactics, or whether their minds were completely closed to the possibility that this could come from a higher cause. There are reasons — that will come out later — to think that it was the latter reason.
I do not know why this brings bad memories of a certain style of investigation and interrogation that has been employed extensively for important trials down through the centuries. (54)
After the interrogation and the insults came other things more amusing.
And he said to me, Straighten up.
Look at my nose. I am going to hypnotize you.
And when he told me, Look at my nose, I laughed.
And he said to me, Don't you laugh.
This is not a laughing matter!
And that day they didn't do anything more to me.
We do not know at which time this first session of Conchita's treatment ended, but it must have taken place on the evening that she arrived.
45. See the conversation of Mari Cruz's mother on page 94.
46. «Where it concerned a priest, the girls always asked the apparition in a very special and intense way. It appeared that nothing concerned them more.» (Report of Father Andreu in the French publication of Conchita's Diary.)
47. In their dialogue, the girls did not talk to the Virgin only about the white habit of that Father, which they had never seen, but also of his «shoes with holes». (sandals)
48. At that time, Conchita had beautiful long tresses of hair, which ordinarily were tied in a braid. Soon we will see the fate of that long braid.
|Title :es: Área metropolitana de Santander-Torrelavega :en: Santander-Torrelavega metropolitan area (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
49. The most important city in the province after the capital, known not only for its industry, but also for its cattle fairs. The girls would have been expected to have traveled there since the people from the west side of the Montaña did their business more at Torrelavega than at Santander which was much farther away.
50. On July 28th Father Valentín wrote down, «Conchita set out for Santander, in compliance with the bishop. She said that she wanted to stay, but if they took her, she would go peacefully.»
51. The travelers left the town about 12:30 in the afternoon, walking to get on a bus in Cossío for Polaciones-Pesués. In Pesués, a station of the Cantabrian railroad (a route joining Santander with Asturias), Father Luís González, who accompanied them, bought three first class tickets. And they boarded the train leaving for Oviedo that would bring them to Santander early in the afternoon.
52. Called Calle Alta (High Street) because of its location, and which has been immortalized by some pages of Santander literature. It is one of the few streets remaining from ancient Santander after the terrible fire of February 16th, 1941.
53. There are two police forces that maintain order in Spain: the Civil Guard (green uniforms) and the Policia Armada (gray uniforms); the latter is in charge of the capitals in the provinces and the larger cities.
We know that this ecstasy of Conchita was very beautiful; on her knees and with her head thrust very much backwards. Those that could view it were amazed. To end this spectacle on a public street, several men, taking her up by the arms and legs, brought her to the parish rectory.
This ecstasy occurred at nine on the evening of her arrival— the same hour on which the others at Garabandal had an apparition at the Pines.
A little after that hour, Aniceta, with her long experience with the nights at Garabandal, became anxious that something might happen to her girl. Father Luis calmed her down, assuring her that there in Santander nothing would happen, that she should not worry thus about Conchita. When Conchita came to herself — the girl having been in ecstasy —she was surrounded by curious people in front of the gates of the church!
54. This is a manner of investigation used very much in the past; a style that seeks to condemn. Questions are asked not to clarify the situation in search of the truth, but rather to find a base or justification for a negative opinion. It is assumed that whoever is judged is in the wrong; and cannot be in the right, since opposed to the ideas, the preferences and the interests of those who do the questioning and make the judgments.