The Sister tried to lift up her spirits, telling her that when the darkness passed she would enter into the fullness of God . . .
— What a joy if it were like that! But could I possibly experience more joy than I have experienced in the past? The apparitions of the Virgin filled me with happiness. But the locutions of Jesus are much better. I don't understand . . . It is something superior . . . I pray that He accomplishes His will in me.
The Virgin taught us to pray the litany and the mysteries of the rosary that we didn't know. She only prayed the Gloria; if she began with the other prayers, it was in order to instruct us.
The last time that I saw her was on November 13th of the past year at the Pines. She told me that I wouldn't see her there again . . . (She understandably made a long pause of silence and sentiment.)
Some time ago while in my village, the Virgin pointed out a Redemptorist father, a close friend of Mercedes Salisachs, for me to confess to him. This priest advised me not to dress so well, that he didn't like to see me so well-dressed. I didn't feel inclined to tell him my affairs; it didn't come out of me. I told this to the Virgin, and she was silent; she left me without a response. One day I made up my mind and told this priest what had happened. This made him very happy; but I was never able to communicate anything to him,; it was impossible for me.
Conchita seemed to need a day of rest, especially spiritually, to restore peace in her mind, agitated by a thousand confusions and doubts. The Sister understood, and responded to this need. At an early hour the two went out walking down the road leading toward the famous Monastery of Miraflores, taking lunch and a couple harmonicas. On the way Conchita spoke of memories that she held inside and needed to share . . . For example:
— You know Father Collin? Now he is trying to pass for the Pope.(5) He was in my village. He wanted to speak with me; but my mother would not allow it. The people finally threw him out of the village.
Well, when I was in Rome, they showed me a picture from a newspaper in which I was shown at Father Collin's side. And it mentioned there that he had been with me . . . And many other lies. I deny this, since I have never been with him. They make up many things like this.
One day a woman came to my village, and insistently asked me to inscribe a card for her. I wrote nothing more than, Ask that God bless our only Pope, His Holiness Paul VI. I don't know why that occurred to me. A little later a priest I knew well came running up and said to me, What have you written for that woman? She is a mason, a supporter of Father Collin.
The way was delightful — writes the sister — it was a little cold, but bearable. We stopped for a while on top of a little hill overlooking the city and I taught her to play the harmonica. She learned almost the complete Noche de Paz and the Ave Maria of Lourdes. Then going on in silence, we prayed a rosary under the sky. After this we entered the monastery, and sitting down there, we talked about a painting . . . At six at night people came to pick us up in a car. The afternoon had
passed devoutly and swiftly, in a wonderful peace.
At night we returned, and the two of us got together in the chapel while everyone was resting. She was in the chapel there at the beginning of November 13th on which she was going to have the first anniversary of the last apparition of the Virgin.
We began by meditating on the rosary. The chapel was dark; only the statue of the Virgin was lit up. The silence was complete and the presence of God was felt, during each mystery we paused, and I expressed thoughts that came forth spontaneously. I've never prayed in my life with more fervor! We were on our knees in the same pew . . .
After reposing a while in silence, seated in the first pew, we began our litany of petitions. With quiet around us, we spoke our requests for one person or another in a hushed voice. The moment was tense, with an extraordinary peace; we seemed to be a single person praying simply and with immense confidence. She began the petition, and I completed it, or vice versa. She prayed for a whole multitude of people and intentions, her glance fixed on the statue of the Virgin . . . Conchita began to say in a whisper:
— My mother and my brother suffer. Chon(6) has told me this and I see it from the letters that I receive . . . I don't know why it is that on returning from the monastery, I am finding such sorrow . . . This morning I didn't have the desire either to pray or think during Mass. My head was bowed low; I don't know if I accomplished anything. If this dryness would leave me, that would make me very happy. Do you think that thinking this is opposed to the will of God?
— No, Christ also said, “Take this chalice from me." You still have doubts, don't you?
— Just as before. That is, the same as before August 15th.(7) I see all the apparitions as if they had been a dream that has gone away.
— Can you deny them completely?
— No. No, that I could not! I would feel remorse. When I deny, I feel inside — deep down — something that doesn't leave me at peace.
In a long series of petitions, there were these two:
María Nieves: We petition you, Lord, for the Pope.
Conchita: And for all those who surround him.
María Nieves: We petition you, Lord, for priests.
Conchita: So that they may be holy, and may not stop wearing the cloth out of presumption. I do not like to see a priest as a layman. Not at all.
The unplanned vigil ended near the altar — as Sister María Nieves wrote — like two children in front of the Mother of Heaven and God the Father. Something that I couldn't forget, for the simplicity, the peace, the interior joy. It was one o'clock when we retired, and it had seemed a very short time to us. On getting up from the floor, Conchita said to me:
— I would like to stay all night.
— In my village, they told me several times to kiss my mother when I had displeased her. I couldn't do this and it irritated me. I don't like to kiss. When they embraced me, I held out my cheek, but I didn't kiss; I really only kissed Loli.
— Sometimes they judged me bad without reason. I remember that one day the guards told me something bad that had been said about me. I let out a laugh, because I didn't understand. They became angry at my laughter. Later I mentioned it in my home, and everyone was upset. They even came to threaten the guards for having said such things to a child.
Conchita had heard that there was danger of war because of the situation in Gibraltar . . . She was worried, thinking of her brother Miguel, and she spoke to the Sister as soon as she saw her:
— How afraid I am of war! Will it happen?
In 1962, when they were talking about the threat of war, I mentioned it to the Virgin. Will there be a war?
She only answered me, God does not want war for His children.
That says a lot, doesn't it?
In order to inspire Conchita to be strong in the face of difficulties, the sister talked to her about Christ. This obviously pleased Conchita; however, she ended up saying this:
— I think more of the Virgin. It is . . . as if I have more feeling for her. The Lord is very serious. And when He speaks to me, He seems concerned for everyone. The Virgin, as if more for me . . . Anyway, in summing things up: who loves the Mother, also loves the Son. Isn't that so?
— I remember that my village made me suffer. I felt as if imprisoned in it. I acted by the command of others who constantly advised me, Go to Mass . . . Pray the rosary . . . Do this . . . Give up that . . . At times I thought I would be happy to be in a hermitage away from everyone, and to work there alone for God, and see what I was capable of doing without their forever telling me.
On the one hand I have no desire for the feast of the Immaculate Conception to come because it will hurt me that this day arrives and I won't have anything. (All these years since 1961, I have had an apparition or locution on it.) And on the other hand, I fear that something will be given to me — since later anxieties will come over me as to whether it was or was not.
Do you know something? You gave me one of the envelopes that they made for all the girls on the 21st, the feast of the Presentation of the Virgin. It was sealed, and I received it with a great desire to know what the Virgin wanted from me. Do you know what mine contained? What she had told us so many times: Fidelity in everyday life!
— I would like to have my brothers priests. I have known many . . . I remember a young priest of the Heart of Mary, to whom I wanted to give the crucifix to kiss, drew back, and weeping said, I am not worthy, I am not worthy . . . When I had finished seeing the Virgin, I went up to him and, apart from everyone, communicated to him what she had told me. He wants to take off the habit and leave the congregation. On hearing this, he began to cry again. I've never seen him since.
5. This man lives in France and has his cortege and small group of followers. He calls himself Clement XV.
6. Ascensión de Luis, the young Jewish girl mentioned in a previous chapter, who converted to Catholicism.
7. On August 15th, 1966, a type of darkness concerning the apparitions fell on Conchita's mind.