The journey was not easy. It was the 14th, the second Saturday of October, the octave of that special feastday of the rosary that had taken place in Garabandal. Let us listen to what he says:
«Some 20 kilometers before Cossío we had a tremendous smash-up with another car on a mountain pass.(13) The accident could have had fatal consequences. Only later did I come to understand that it was without doubt the Most Holy Virgin who had saved us from certain death.
Because of what had happened we came to San Sebastián de Garabandal very late, after eleven at night. We had barely arrived when we had the good fortune to be able to witness two ecstasies. I admit that at the time they did not impress me in the least.
We retired to the house where we had lodging(all the houses of the village were open to Father Ramón María Andreu); and following this, at twelve o'clock, Father began to be very sick with nausea, cold sweats, and terrible pains in his left ankle, which seemed very swollen . . .
In the village were a doctor from Santander and a bone specialist from Burgos. (14) I called them. After an examination they made a diagnosis: besides the obvious swelling, there was probably a fracture of the ankle, at least a hairline crack. They applied a thorough dressing and an icepack that was able to be found, (from the indiano who had a refrigerator) and with several others carried him in their arms to the bed; his pains were terrible.(15)
As an old friend of the father, I stayed in a second bed that they had set up in his room in order to take care of him at night.
After a long time — it had to be 3:30 in the morning — we began hearing a noise in the street, and people shouting that the owner of the house should open the door, since Jacinta was there in ecstasy, wanting to come in.
Shortly afterwards she appeared in the room, went toward Father and gave him the crucifix to kiss.(16) Following this she said something to him that I couldn't hear . . . The girl was starting to make expressions and gestures of farewell to the vision when suddenly she stopped. She leaned backwards toward where I was and held out the crucifix for me to kiss — two times!»
It seems that took away Máximo's indifference.
«When the girl left, we naturally began to discuss all the details; and Father confessed to me that he had actually requested in his conscience that the girl, before leaving, would also give me the crucifix to kiss. I thought about this for the rest of the night.»
Father Ramón gives a more detailed and vivid description of this.
A short time after having kissed the crucifix that Conchita had offered him, he saw that she was beginning to make the sign of the cross and to hold out her cheeks for the invisible kisses: the unmistakable sign that the ecstasy was going to end. Then he rapidly formed in his conscience a petition to the Virgin: that the girl would also give the crucifix to Máximo . . . (Hours before, the good man had followed the visionaries in their trances without obtaining the least demonstration of attention from the; but rather the opposite, since several times they had given the crucifix to the onlookers while they had always passed him by.)
Father had hardly made the secret request when Jacinta stopped and exclaimed, What? She remained in an attitude of listening, and added, Oh! She began to lean further and further backwards, till she was able to reach with the crucifix to the lips of Mr. Förschler, who she could not see, since he was behind her back . . .
Seconds later, the girl returned to normal. It was time to go to sleep! Four o'clock Sunday morning, October 15th.
It was getting light on the morning of that day when several French people arrived, and behind them, one of the two doctors asking for the Father. It was about 8 o'clock. Father told the doctor that all his pains were gone, and that he was able to move his foot without difficulty. The doctor was surprised; but as a precaution, he counseled him not to step on the foot, and to wait for the coming of the ambulance that they had been able to summon from Casa Valdecilla(17) in Santander. The injury had been serious and normally would take from fifteen to
twenty days to get better.
12. This man describes himself like this:
«From my infancy I have been a fervent believer, since I was well educated through Christian example by my parents who are now deceased; because of this, I loved our Savior Jesus Christ above everything. I am married to a Spanish Catholic.»
The anecdote that has already been described in Chapter V relates to this man:
«A woman insistently requested the visionary to ask the Virgin if her husband believed in God. After the ecstasy, she received the answer: In God, he believes; in the Virgin, very little. . . But he will believe.»
Here there are two miraculous things: (1) the intimate knowledge of a person whom the girl did not know; (2) a clear prophecy that came to pass.
13. Since they came from Palencia, this refers to the mountain pass of Puerto de Piedras Luengas, 1,213 meters above sea level, separating the provinces of Palencia and Santander. From here on a clear day, the superb panorama of the Picos de Europa and the Sierra de Peña Sagra can be viewed.
14. The house where Fr. Andreu and Mr. Förschler were staying belonged to a woman named Epifania, called Fania.
Dr. Celestino Ortiz Pérez was the doctor from Santander and Dr. Renedo was the one from Burgos.
15. So severe were his pains that he was not able to tolerate the slight weight of the sheet put over it to cover it.
The ice cubes were the only ice that could be found in the village and they came from the refrigerator of the indiano. In Santander, the word indiano refers to emigrants who return to Spain after making their fortune in America, the India of their ancestors. The emigration from Santander across the ocean was especially directed to Mexico and Cuba.
16. Jacinta entered the room, raised the crucifix up in her hand, and said to the vision, «Father is very sick! Cure him. He is delirious . . . Cure him.»
At the exact moment that the priest kissed the crucifix that the girl held out to him, his pains disappeared completely. But he was very careful about saying this in front of the people that accompanied Jacinta—some had come from Seville, Cádiz, and Jerez—for fear that all this was due to the tremendous emotion of the moment; he said to himself, «Here! Better not be foolish! Keep yourself quiet as a dead man.»
A bad feature of intellectualism, which is so unfavorable to the attitude of the Gospel, Unless you become like little children . . . A man who thinks of himself as an intellectual has less fear of being taken for a sick man than of being taken for a foolish one.
17. The Casa de Salud Valdecilla was the biggest hospital in Santander.