In October, the influx of visitors slowed down. There were no longer summer vacationers in Santander, and the normal rhythm of work and business required everyone's presence back on the job . . . Furthermore, there was the great day looming in the future, and almost everyone was saving himself for it. Since without doubt it would be worth the trouble! Those who had seen events would encounter still more, many more on October 18th; and those, who still had not experienced the exhilaration of those things, could count on having them to the full on that heralded date.
Nevertheless, the phenomena continued daily.(9)
During one of our apparitions, Loli and I came down from the Pines with many people.
And we saw something like fire in the clouds.
It was seen by the people who were with us and also by those who were not.
When it was over, the Virgin appeared to us.
And we asked her what that thing was.
And she said that she came in it.
This was not the only sign from the sky.(10) We have the date of another, more spectacular:
It was the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar(11) during another day of our apparitions, at which Loli and I were present.
While we were looking at the Virgin a star with a very long tail was seen beneath the Virgin's feet.
Several people saw this.
We asked the Virgin what it meant; but she didn't answer.
To be exact about the time, the phenomenon about which Conchita speaks seems to have occurred not on October 12th, the feastday of Our Lady of the Pillar, but on the beginning of October 13th. But what she writes is easily explainable; since in the determination of time, for the girls the day began on getting up in the morning and ended on going to bed at night; that is, the time during which they were awake.
The ecstasies that began on the evening of October 12th extended into the middle of the night. The people began leaving, and toward 2:30 in the morning almost no one remained in the little village plaza except a small group consisting of responsible men: Dr. Ortiz from Santander, Luis Adaro from Gijón, Rafael Sanz Moliner from Oviedo, and Rufino Alonso from Pola de Siero. They had met there, waiting for their wives who had gone to Mari Cruz' home to collect some religious articles that they had entrusted with the girl to give to the Virgin to kiss. Mari Cruz had an ecstasy during which she had gone up to the Pines. There she had prayed a Station to the Blessed Sacrament, and later stopped in the calleja, at the site of the first apparition, where she prayed another Station.
The people in the plaza soon saw two of the girls, Conchita and Loli, go under the balcony or terrace connected to the house of Loli's grandmother. They were in ecstasy there and let out a shout at the same time as they raised up their arms.
«Instinctively» — Dr. Ortiz said — «We looked upwards toward the sky, and we saw a star cross from the north to the south (that is, in the direction toward the Pines) with a great brilliance, leaving a trail that lasted several seconds . . . I know that Maximina Gonzalez and other women of the village saw the star too. On the contrary some young boys, who were at the entrance of Ceferino's house and who ran toward the girls on hearing the cry, didn't see anything because they were under the balcony like the girls. After the star had passed, we went where the girls were and accompanied them praying toward the church, at whose entrance the ecstasy stopped. Immediately we asked them:
— Why did you scream?
— Because we saw the Virgin throw down a star.
— But you couldn't have seen the star, since you were under the balcony!
— Well we certainly saw it. The Virgin did this.»
«We were in the plaza. Conchita and Loli shouted out loud with fear. Everyone was frightened. Some of the people looked at the girls; others looked at the sky. Those who did the latter said that they saw a brilliant star that crossed from one part of the sky to another, and that it could not in any way be mistaken for a shooting star or comet. After having screamed, the girls laughed and went on happily, as if dancing with joy.»
With all these things happening, it would be easy to think: Where will all this end? Surely all these things are an announcement of something great to come. What will we see on the day of the message?
Anticipating the day, people started to come.
9. During those days in October, Dr. and Mrs. Ortiz saw many interesting scenes. For example:
·Conchita and Loli, in ecstasy at the door of the church, sang the Ave Maria in a beautiful duet.
·On one of the nights Conchita was surprised in ecstasy while she was still eating, sitting by the fireplace. She was marvelously transformed, holding a glass of milk in her hand that no one was able to take away from her.
·Someone came to ask Maximina González for lodging from the 14th to the 18th for a young woman from another country who had previously been in the village (Muriel Catherine). Dr. and Mrs. Ortiz, who were not acquainted with her, heard comments that she was Jewish, but that she wanted to be baptized, and were really surprised by the ingenuousness of the visionaries who commented, Since she is so big, how can the godfather hold her in his arms during the Baptism? After the baptism of adults was explained to them, Conchita exclaimed happily, Great! That way Mari Cruz can be the godfather and I can be the godmother!
10. Luke 21: 11, 25.
11. The feast of Our Lady of the Pillar is on October 12th. It is a great feastday in Spain and Latin America.
The religious celebration comes from devotion to Mary through an ancient statue in the great Marian basilica in Saragossa. The statue, because it stands on a column (reputedly part of the column on which Christ was scourged), has received the name of del Pilar. According to tradition, here on the banks of the Ebro River, the first temple was built to honor Mary on the Iberian peninsula, the land of the Mother of God.
The civil holiday, both in Spain and Latin-America, is based on the fact that on October 12th, 1492, the Spanish discoverers landed on the American continent. Also on October 12th, the Civil Guard celebrates the feastday of its patron.
Juan Alvarez Seco, the chief of the Civil Guard, stated:
«On October 12th, while apart from the others, I received the cross to kiss from the four girls, as if it were a congratulation from the Virgin for being the feast of our patron and for having come on that evening to Garabandal.»