Nights of the Screams
Revolving around the feast of Corpus Christi in 1962, Garabandal experienced one of the most outstanding times in its history.
This feast honoring the Eucharist is celebrated in Spain with greater external solemnity than any other. The feast was soon to suffer a great eclipse in the days after the Council as a result of certain doctrinal derangements, as a result of a heated fight against triumphalism in the Church, as a result of a tendency in many of the clergy to desecrate, as a result of etc., etc . . . But in Garabandal, in the year 1962, it was celebrated as never before.
Three days previously something occurred that seems not to have been sufficiently noted: the active reappearance of St. Michael the Archangel.
We can speak of reappearance, not because he had disappeared completely, but because his presence had been reduced for some time to interventions of a lesser degree: fleetingly supplying for the absence of a priest in giving Holy Communion to the girls, and accompanying the Virgin from time to time as a silent witness. Now on the contrary, on the evening of the feast of Corpus Christi, he returns to play a role almost as he did in the beginning.
In that year Corpus Christi fell on the 21st of June, a Thursday. On the preceding Monday, June 18th, Fr. Valentín wrote:
«In the evening Mari Cruz went to the Cuadro and there was in ecstasy, and afterwards she went through the village. A little later, Jacinta and Mari Loli went outside. They also went to the Cuadro and then fell into ecstasy. They said that they saw the Angel.»
|A 13th-century Byzantine icon of St Michael from Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Did Fr. Valentín notice the newness of this? St. Michael comes alone again, and acts alone.(6)
Did Fr. Valentín notice what date it was? June 18th! Exactly one year since the Archangel and the girls had met for the first time in the same place. How many things had happened in the meantime! And many more were still to happen.
On the following day, Tuesday the 19th, he wrote:
«At 10:30 (at night) Jacinta, Mari Loli and Mari Cruz were in the Cuadro. Previously Loli and Jacinta had gone there running, and on arriving were in ecstasy. And they said that they saw the Angel, and that he told them to return to the Cuadro at 10:30. Then they went down to the village and later went up with Mari Cruz . . .
The girls cried and said: Don’t tell us these things! Take us away . . . They should confess! They should get ready!
Afterward they said that they would put it in writing (as the Angel had told them to do). It lasted 50 minutes.»
In the meantime, what was Conchita doing? Why was she absent during the important activity in the calleja? Some notes from Dr. Ortiz clarify this for us:
«My sister-in-law, Eloísa (who was passing some time in Garabandal with her daughter), told me that on the evening of June 19th she met with other people in Conchita’s house. Conchita’s mother would not let her go outside since she had a bad knee. Soon the girl went into ecstasy, falling so hard on her knees that she made them bleed. Then Eloísa said to Aniceta:
—You haven’t accomplished anything by not letting her go out. Look what she has done.
—It’s all right with me if she goes out.
The girl didn’t go out, but in ecstasy as she was, she picked up a piece of paper and holding it by the lower border —in the air!— she began to write on it with a pen. Approaching with flashlights, the people wanted to read what she was writing, and she tried to hide it.
Don’t look.—said someone—She doesn’t want you to.
Then she went up to her room, changed her pen and continued writing.
When this had ended and she was normal again, Plácido(7) came into the house, all excited, and exclaimed:
—Did you hear the screams that the girls made in the Calleja?
—They were horrible!»
What happened in the Calleja on that night of June 19th, the first Night of the Screams (Noches de los Gritos) as the people began to call them, must have been very impressive and serious.(8) We have just seen Fr. Valentín’s notation: «Afterward they said that they would put it in writing. » And so it was actually done; there came out from this a short message dated June 19th, 1962, with the signatures of Mari Loli and Jacinta. (Could this have been the same message that Conchita, at home in ecstasy, was attempting to write on the piece of paper she was holding up in the air?)(9)
I have seen many copies of this message with slight variations. But I am setting down here a photocopy of the text that the girls gave to a trustworthy person, written and signed in their own handwriting. Evidently, this message is a very weak reflection of what they saw and heard on that first night of the screams.
6. That the Angel appeared alone this time seems clear from what Fr. Valentín wrote afterwards: «They said that they would see the Virgin later.»
7. The businessman from Santander, Plácido Ruiloba.
8. Many years passed before definite information was revealed on the contents of that night.
The magazine Needles, now titled Garabandal out of New York, in its fall issue of 1977, reported some statements by Jacinta’s American husband (as spokesman for her). According to these statements, what Loli and Jacinta heard during the first night of screams related specially to the Warning. (See further on in Part Three of this book.) And it was on the following night that these two girls and Conchita had visions of the Chastisement.
At the time Jacinta and Loli possibly did not understand the distinction between the Warning and the Chastisement, or else they deliberately kept silent about the Warning, since Conchita was the only girl who spoke about the Warning that was going to come before the Miracle — as a result of the vision she had on January 1, 1965.
9. Father Valentín, who was absent, wrote in his memoirs:
«Conchita wrote responses for three persons.»