On July 29th, 1968, I arrived in the late afternoon at the waiting room of the convent of Poor Clares in Aguilar de Campoo. There, leaning against the grill, since he was a little hard of hearing and did not see well, I found an old and venerable priest speaking with two monks on the other side of the grill. We exchanged greetings and this priest who liked to joke, for a reason I do not know, came out unexpectedly with a remark about the events of Garabandal. Yes, how are those strange affairs from Garabandal that always have to take place at night. As if the Virgin could not choose better hours to appear! Many things can take place in the darkness . . . At night all the cats are black.
The good priest, lacking adequate information, had simply echoed the many rumors and prejudices that were circulating from mouth to mouth. How many times, even in the early days, had been promulgated the suspicious question concerning Garabandal, Why at nighttime? The objectors believed to have found here a good basis for distrust and rejection.
It is easy to go from nighttime to accept as likely the existence of other extenuating ideas like rehearsal and deceit; if not on the part of the girls, then on the part of other persons or parties putting pressure on the girls with their parents easily disguised agreement. I myself have heard rather weird, if not ridiculous, remarks on this matter. The surprising thing is that even Bishop Puchol came to accept such suppositions —tremendous pressures— in a document more or less official.(14)
As the question, Why at nighttime? repeatedly was brought up to the girls and those who were close to them, they consequently passed it on to the one they saw in their trances. And this happened specifically 10 days after the episode of the holy water on the 8th of September, a day which was distinguished at Garabandal since it had special Marian significance.
We have a short story from that day.
«With the idea of delving into the extraordinary happenings that were taking place there, one day I climbed the mountain leading up to Garabandal. Significantly it was the 8th of September, the feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Virgin, and I admit taking advantage of the occasion.»
So Father Julío Porro Cardenoso, canon of Tarragona, described his first visit to the celebrated village.(15)
«We came to the place at a time when the visionaries were absent from it, since they had gone to a religious ceremony in a neighboring village that was celebrating the feastday of its patron saint.(16) About 5 o'clock in the afternoon the girls returned to their homes, still not having eaten. Meanwhile, my good friend Father Valentín, the pastor of the place, had informed me in detail of all the most spectacular things. The rumble of thunder broke the almost sepulchral silence that surrounded us while we were exchanging impressions and I was gathering the reports that had been put down in writing and accurately verified.»
14. «Nota» of March 17th, 1967 to the news media.
15. This distinguished priest soon became one of the most enthusiastic and competent promoters of the Garabandal cause.
He has published three books on the subject:
—God in the Shadows (A theological study on the events of Garabandal)
—The Great Prodigy of Garabandal
—Garabandal, Without Meaning?(Editorial Circulo, Paseo Fernando et Catolico, 39, 7, Zaragoza)
The notes that I am using here were taken from his first book, God in the Shadows.
16. Sometimes they celebrated the feast of the Virgin of the Sick at Puente Nansa; sometimes the feastday was celebrated at the sanctuary of Our Lady of Light on a high hill in the Peña Sagra Mountains. In the village there was great veneration for this sanctuary, a continuing tradition from time immemorial. The pilgrimage toward it was long and difficult, five hours of walking on foot on the steep slopes of the mountains.