In the sight of the unwise,(31) it seemed that everything was finished for him, and that it would have been much better not to have undertaken an adventure so unnecessary, in which none of the many wise ecclesiastics would have prematurely involved themselves.
They closed his eyes and read the prayers for the dead; they placed him in a coffin and his relatives and friends wept; they lowered him into the grave and May he rest in peace. On the next day those still alive went back to their work and play, talking from time to time, about poor Father Luís. The noble Spanish soil fell over the poor coffin(32) of a poor religious who owned nothing. Soon he would be forgotten and there would only remain a simple wooden cross painted black to indicate to the few visitors the name of someone who could have been or done so much in his life . . .
The twilight of total darkness is only for those who live within earthly limits. For Father Luis was not to remain a prisoner to the darkness. He would pass mysteriously from the nightfall of life to the dawn of a day that would know no sunset.
The trumpet of triumph would sound for the body that had departed on the route to Reinosa. 'Exsultabunt Domino ossa humiliata.' The bones that have been humbled will rejoice in the Lord.
But it will not be necessary to await the final trumpet to have proof of his new life. Here are some notes from his brother Fr. Ramón:
«Father Luis' funeral rites were completed in Oña, and after spending a couple of days with my mother who lived in Bilbao, I went to Garabandal on August 14th. On entering the village the four girls came out to greet me, since they had seen me coming up the final stretch of the road.
They told me that on hearing that Father Luis had died, they had cried with sorrow . . .(33) That the Virgin had also spoken to them about the death of my brother, and that they had said to her, Why don't you tell us, since you know? The girls said, The Virgin laughed. So much! And they made gestures illustrating ‘So much!’
Then Loli handed me the ring rosary that she had received from my brother to give to the Virgin to kiss, and which she had later lost. The Virgin told me so clearly where it was that I found it right away by doing no more than lifting up a few stones.
The conversation with the girls was pleasant and extensive. They told him:
«That at the third call they felt something inside that they couldn't stop . . . That the Virgin was always the same, although she appeared sometimes with different garments and under a different title . . . That since a few days before August 8th, she had appeared to them individually . . . That she didn't have the same visions with Mari Cruz as with the others . . . That had been because her mother had kept her shut in the house at times.»
The pleasure that Father Ramón felt from this first meeting was soon disturbed. He was interviewed sometime later by the French editor of Conchita's Diary.
«It was August 14th. I had come from burying my brother Luís. On arriving at Garabandal, a boy from Burgos came up to me and said, The children have said during an ecstasy "What a pleasure! Are we going to speak with Father Luis?" I became depressed. And I thought that this had to be a typical case of autosuggestion. My brother's death had made an impression on the children and the result could be seen! I wanted to leave Garabandal.
—And yet you stayed?
FR. RAMON: Actually I did stay. But it was because those who had accompanied me didn't want to leave . . .
—What happened then?
FR. RAMON: I came back near the children in ecstasy, and I heard again the conversation with Father Luis. After a little while I didn't know what to think. I was truly astounded. The girls were repeating in front of me the words of the Vision. And I heard them describe my brother's death and funeral rites. They were giving a number of very precise details about the special rites of a priest's burial. They even knew that some exceptions to the traditional regulations in the dress of the deceased had taken place with Father Luis. For example, a biretta had not been put on my brother's head, and the chalice, which should have been held in his hands, had been replaced by a crucifix. The girls also gave the reasons for these changes.
On another occasion, I heard the girls in ecstasy say that my brother Luis had died before making his profession. They also spoke about me and my vows. They knew the precise date, the exact place where they had been pronounced, the name of a Jesuit who had made them at the same time.
You can understand my amazement and my confusion in the face of this string of rigorously exact details, since I definitely knew the girls could not know these things, at least not through human intelligence.»
It appears that all the things that Father Ramón responded to his French questioner, as a whole, did not happen or were not heard on the day of his arrival on August 14th. Part of these things at least must pertain to what happened on the following days.
31. But the souls of the just are in the Hand of God; and the torment of death shall not touch them.
In the sight of the unwise, they seemed to die; and their departure was taken for misery;
And their going away from us, for utter destruction; but they are in peace.
And though in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality . . . God has tried them and found them worthy of Himself.
The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds.
They shall judge nations and rule over people, and their Lord shall reign
forever. (Book of Wisdom 3: 1-8)
32. He was buried at Oña behind the ancient Roman monastery church that now is a parish church, in the part of the cemetery holding the remains of the Jesuits who died during the years that the theological seminary was there.
Fr. Luis Andreu was born in Bilbao on July 3rd, 1925. He was ordained a priest at Oña (Burgos) on July 30th, 1955 by the missionary bishop Federico Melendro, who had to leave his diocese in Anking, China when that gigantic country was overrun by Maoistic communism. He sang his first Mass on the following July 31st, the feast of St. Ignatius, at the Ignatian sanctuary in Loyola. He was 6 years a priest, and 36 years of age at the time of his death.
33. Conchita writes it down in her diary like this:
The following day the four of us went to sweep out the church.
And while were sweeping, Jacinta's mother arrived very upset, and said to us, Father Luis María Andreu has died.
And we didn't believe it since we had seen him the day before.
We left the church half-swept and went to find out more.
They said that when he was about to die his last words were, Today is the happiest day of my life. What a most good mother we have in heaven!
And he died.