The following day, when coming down from the pastures, my mother and I met my Aunt Maximina González, who was very excited and told us,
Do you know that the Virgin’s voice has been heard on a tape recorder?
And I asked her, What did she say?
And she . . .
We have additional details about this episode that Conchita mentions, and which she did not witness, since she had to go far away from the village to the pastures to gain with difficulty her daily bread. It should not be imagined that the life of the visionaries had been changed into a continual celebration of wonders, or that due to the ecstasies, they had been dispensed from all work and trouble. It was rather the contrary, and after many sleepless nights in vigils that could exhaust the strongest, they had to begin the new day very early during that summertime and had to work like all the other village girls.
Conchita is alluding to the following:
On that August day, Mari Loli and Jacinta had another apparition in the morning at the Pines. They were presenting medals and rosaries to kiss as usual, oscillating back and forth and falling. Then on their knees they were carrying on a dialogue; in it Jacinta was heard to say: Conchita has already come. They’ve cut her braids in Santander. She’s very pretty and tanned from going to the beach.
When they came out of the ecstasy, they answered questions from the people around them. And one of the crowd, who had brought a tape recorder(9) let them hear some of the things recorded on the tape; among these were phrases that they themselves had spoken in ecstasy. The girls were amazed since they had never heard anything like this. The stranger explained how the recorder worked and made some demonstrations during which he handed them the microphone.
If you see the Virgin again, tell her to talk through here.
Soon the girls fell into ecstasy again. Mari Loli, whom the new ecstasy had surprised with the microphone in her hand, began to converse with the Virgin: A man has come with a thing that takes down everything—everything that is said. Why don’t you say something so that everyone can hear you, so that the people will believe? Go ahead, say something. Yes, talk. Say something. Not for us; so that the people believe.
Eventually the ecstasy ended. What the girls had said to the apparition was played back on the tape recorder for them to hear. And at the moment when they stopped telling her to speak, an ineffable voice was heard—the witnesses classified it most sweet—that said:
No, I will not speak.
Loli and Jacinta exclaimed together, Oh! That’s the voice of the Virgin!
Everyone was very excited. As Maximina said to Conchita, The people started to cry because they heard the voice of the Virgin. This was something exceptional. (10)
The owner of the tape recorder started shouting, I will send this to the Pope. The people naturally wanted to hear the marvelous voice again. And they played the tape for a second time, but at the proper time they heard nothing.
They came down from the Pines somewhat bewildered, talking of what had happened. They replayed the tape in Mari Cruz’ home.(11) And once again everyone could hear the mysterious voice. And again the girls said that the voice was the Virgin’s.
She was not heard after that. But the witnessesof that unique experience have not forgotten. All kept in their heart what one of them expressed while coming down from Garabandal, I will go to the grave with the conviction of having heard the Virgin’s voice.
This occurrence cannot be taken lightly since there are twelve signed witnesses to it.(12)
We would all be overjoyed to be able to hear the truly unique voice of Our Lady. But we must recognize that would be too much of a gift for our sinful ears which are so ordinarily open for voices and words opposed to those of the Virgin.
Now we should live with hope and a desire to give a spiritual resonance to the beautiful supplication that the liturgy teaches us to direct to the Virgin with words from the Canticle of Canticles.
For your voice is sweet.
And your face ravishing.
* * *
9. Police Chief Juan A. Seco also reported the episode with the tape recorder in his memoirs. And he said that it was Angel Domínguez Borreguero, director of the Psychiatric Hospital of Salamanca, who gave the microphone to the girls to record the Virgin’s voice. Gerardo Plaza, a professor at the University of Salamanca accompanied him. Both were vacationing in Llanes, Asturias.
10. I read the testimony of Gaudencio Cepeda Palacios from Torquemada (Palencia), Agustín Piney, from Santillana del Mar (Santander), Luis Toribio Millán, from Aguilar de Campoo (Palencia) and all agreed on the mysterious hearing of that unique voice, and that it was heard when the tape was finished, after a click signaled the end.
11. Sánchez-Ventura is the one who mentions Mari Cruz’ house. (Chapter 8, Page 112, Spanish version); but Father Ramón Andreu says in his report:
«They came down distraught to the house of Conchita, who had not taken part in the vision described, so that she could hear what her companions had said. When coming to the sentences mentioned, the voice was heard to say: No, I will not speak. Conchita smiled and said very happily that it was the Virgin who had spoken.»
The Father verified that the reference to this event was received from a witness there present. José Salceda from Aguilar de Campoo (Palencia), who was at the time chauffeur to the Fontaneda family.