The daily flowering of wondrous things in Garabandal seemed to have reached full bloom on February 18th, when Jacinta also was included in the amazing game.
That February 18th (Septuagesima(13) Sunday in that year), began with some early morning spiritual walks that illustrated and practiced the liturgical texts that were later read during the Mass of the day:
— Day after day must be born the burden of the day’s heat. (Matt. 20: 11)
— One should run without giving up, in a way to gain the prize. (1 Cor. 9: 24)
— We should submit ourselves to God, who declares he has a right to do what I choose. (Matt. 20: 15)Fr. Valentín’s notes read:
«At 6 in the morning, Mari Cruz and Jacinta went out to pray the rosary at the Cuadro, and there they went into ecstasy. (Jacinta hadn’t had an apparition since January 18th, at which time it was foretold that she wouldn’t have one until today). They went down to the village in ecstasy, and they held the crucifix to be kissed by several persons . . . And they returned to the Cuadro, where they came out of it. It lasted 70 minutes.»
Such a holy beginning made it easy to continue on devoutly through the ensuing hours of the Lord’s Day with the morning Mass, the rosary in common at the beginning of the evening . . . And the day had no less a holy ending:
«At 6 in the evening, Jacinta and Mari Loli went to the Pines, and there went into ecstasy again. And later they went down to the door of the church, and here they came out of it one after the other, with a minute’s difference.»
Maximina Gonzalez in a letter on February 19, written to the Pifarré family, confirms the pastor’s notes. It is seen that Maximina began the letter on Sunday the 18th, and finished it the next day:
«Today, Sunday, at six in the morning, they had an apparition at the Pines and they came down to the village backwards; and this afternoon they will have another . . .
The apparitions continue, good weather or bad. Recently the girls brought the winter! They get up early every morning with the coldness that there is. It is hard for them and obviously hard for the many people with them. For several days now I haven’t gone since I have a bad cold.
Last night we were at the Pines at an apparition. There were a lot of people and Conchita made the sign of the cross over all of them, one by one . . . and as usual she asked for a miracle . . . »
The course of the Garabandal Mystery, as beautiful as it is unusual, was on the verge of being interrupted during those February days. On Wednesday, February 21st, Fr. Valentín wrote down:
«Today they took Conchita to León.»(14)
Although this trip had a particular reason for her, the plan or project that had been conceived by several influential people was not limited to her alone. A geographical transplant of all four girls was being contemplated.
On March 1st, Conchita, who had returned from León, wrote to Dr. Ortiz and his wife in Santander:
«I asked the Virgin whether I should go see my brother.(15) and she told me to go, that I would have an apparition there too, as I did.
I was in León at the home of Mr. del Valle;(16) I don’t know if you know him, or have heard his name mentioned. I had the first ecstasy on Saturday. I don’t remember if it was at nine o’clock or nine thirty. Mr. Valle, his younger children, my mother, and the house servants were alone. I also had one on Sunday at 11 or 11:30 at night. At the time some men were there, but since the apparition was late in coming, many of them left . . . They said that on that night I went on my knees to the room of Mr. Valle’s daughter, which was on the same floor and whose doors joined mine. And they said that I went to give the crucifix to be kissed by one of his young children who was in bed, and that I recited the rosary. I don’t remember anything about the things that I did.
I was also told that I asked the Most Holy Virgin if I could go to college and whether I would see her there. She told me that I would see her the same, although I don’t know if I will go where there are Carmelites . . .»(17)
This attempt to procure a good education in a religious school for the Garabandal visionaries was being considered with the best intentions by Emilio del Valle and others.
To February 27th corresponds what was written by Fr. Valentin:
«Conchita went to León, to the home of Emiliodel Valle, and there had two apparitions.
Mr. Emilio wanted to put the girls in a school, charging all the expenses to his account: but he met opposition from the girls’ parents.»
The matter was on the point of being realized, according to what can be deduced from this letter by Maximina González to Dr. Ortiz , dated March 4:
«When I came back, I had three letters from the Pifarré family of Barcelona at my home. They say that down there they are very happy at the thought that the girls come and go when they please. But notice how upset they will be when I tell them that they are trying to take them all (the four visionaries) to school!
Conchita says that she is going to leave either on Friday or Saturday; I don’t know if this is correct. I don’t even want to ask her about it. We’re all very upset. It seems incredible. Mr. Emilio! That he is the one who is taking them! What money will do! Heavens! Those who still don’t seem persuaded to leave are María Dolores and Jacinta. They’ll persuade them . . .
My sister (Aniceta) told me, when they went on this trip to León, that the Virgin told them that they would come to stop where there were some nuns . . . And that the very first thing they saw in León, after getting out of the car, was a school of Carmelite nuns . . . and that they were the first ones to whom they spoke, without knowing any of them. What a coincidence!»
The plan to transplant the girls — very well intentioned, but which might have changed the course of Garabandal — ended uneventfully, and the four girls remained in their own environment and with their own affairs.
And so Father Valentín could write in his notebook:
«The matter of San Sebastián de Garabandal at this time continues about the same. The girls have ecstasies almost every day. I continue going up myself to see them.»
13. With what is called Septaugesima Sunday begins the long liturgical procession toward Easter. This time — reads the French Missal — makes us meditate on our earthly condition: suffering and sinful. It evokes a triple effort:
The effort of the entire human race which through its long history struggles against evil, while groping for God and trying to build a better world.
The effort of Christ Who during His public life fought against Satan, and founded the Kingdom of God.
The effort that the Church pursues in each of us through our daily militant battle against the difficulties of life.
14. A beautiful city in the northwest part of the Iberian peninsula holding many claims to glory for services given to the country during the most difficult centuries; it was the capital of the Christian reconquest from the Arabs.
15. He was working then in the coal mines of the Hullera Vasco-Leonesa Company in the city of Santa Lucía.
16. This man, Emilio del Valle, was already mentioned in the early parts of this book. But soon he began to appear in the history of Garabandal as someone especially entwined in it, without knowing for what reason he was there.
17. This refers to the Congregación de Carmelitas de la Caridad founded in the past century by the holy Joaquina Vedruna. These Carmelites for many years have gone to reputable colleges in León and have contributed much to the education of girls in the city.