Luis Navas Carrillo left Garabandal without knowing anything of the little miracle (milagrucu) that the Angel had foretold. But on the same day as his departure, Monday, July 2nd, 1962 — the anniversary of the first apparition of the Virgin — a person came to the village who was going to be the first to know about it, after the girls.
The first person whom I told that the Angel was going to perform a miracle was a priest: Fr. José Ramón García de la Riva.
And on the same day I told it to Mari Cruz, Loli, and Jacinta too.(19)
Conchita does not give the date or the circumstances of her communication; we know them, thanks to the Memorias of Fr. de la Riva himself:
«On the 2nd of July, 1962, I went up to Garabandal, desiring to spend several days of vacation.
During the course of the afternoon, I was with the young visionaries at the Pines. They were playing and I was seated next to them, very pleased to note their happiness; they were playing a game called los tios.(20)
Their happiness at this moment was equal to that which they felt, but tried to hide, when they had their famous calls.
Suddenly Conchita came up to me and said unexpectedly:
— I am going to tell you what the Angel's miracle consists of.
Certainly curious, but refusing to show my feelings, I told her that if it was a secret, she shouldn't reveal it to me . . . She was thoughtful for a few seconds, then she returned to the other three girls, as if to consult them:
— Shouldn't he be told?
All three, from the place where they were playing (near what was called the Virgin's Pine), answered in a single voice:
— Yes. Yes.
Then I got up and said to them:
— All right, but you are going to tell me individually.( 21)
Conchita spoke first, then her companions. And they all told me the same thing:
— They are going to see the Host . . .
On coming down from the Pines, Loli told her father about the news and the nature of the miracle. Learning this, Conchita was very angry:
— Now — she said to her mother — there certainly won't be a miracle because Loli has mentioned it to her father . . .
Then I learned what the predicted miracle would consist of, and I had the chance to be the first to know about it; but I didn't know the date on which it would take place. On the eve of July 5th, I returned back to my parish in Barro and Conchita still didn't know the date.»
I think that my fellow priest from Barro is in error because we have seen how, during the ecstasy of June 29th, the young girl heard the voice that said to her:
July 18th would be when the miracle would occur . . . the little miracle(milagrucu), as you say.At the time the girl still could not reveal the date. This can be seen from her diary:
During the Communion that the Angel gave me, I asked when I would be able to tell that there was going to be a miracle and what it was going to be.
And he told me in the fifteen days before.(22)
When the apparition ended, the people from the village asked me if the Angel had told me anything about the miracle (since I had already said to the village that the Angel was going to perform a miracle) . . .
But they didn't believe much.
When the day came in which I had to announce the date, I told it to the village and I wrote letters . . .
I have seen the text of some of those letters and they are similar to the one printed in the Mexican edition of Conchita's Diary:
«A few words to tell you great news for me, and I think for you also. The Angel told me that he was going to perform a sign; and the sign is that — when I receive Communion — the Host will be seen on me. It is soon, during this month, on the 18th.
For me it really doesn't seem a miracle; since I thought that they always saw it on me. Will they believe then?»
This letter is dated July 6th, the day after Fr. de la Riva had left Garabandal. Four days later, Conchita wrote to Dr. Celestino Ortiz in Santander:
Dear Doctor Celestino,
Just a few words to tell you that the Angel told me that on the 18th of this month they are going to see the Host on my tongue when I receive Communion.
Well, nothing more. Love,(23)
Mr. Ruiloba had gone up to Garabandal during those days, something he did frequently. On saying farewell to Conchita, she gave him a letter to give personally to the Reverend Father Francisco Odriozola, the «factotum» of the Commission.
Plácido Ruiloba faithfully fulfilled what was asked of him; and he learned the contents of the letter since the recipient himself, Father Francisco, read it to him. The letter said the same as the others that we know; but it added some lines strongly requesting Father Francisco to come to Garabandal on the day foretold . . . «Don't worry and come, since even the children in the village won't recognize you.»(24)
Doctor Ortiz, after having received the letter, used his first free day to go up to Garabandal to better inform himself about what was so tersely written by the girl. He was able to converse alone with her and spoke in this way:
— Conchita, I don't know if you understand the importance of all this. A miracle predicted for a fixed date is a very great miracle . . . (25)
— But to me this seems to be a very little miracle. Later the Virgin's miracle will come, and that will be a MIRACLE! Then there won't be any doubt.
— Maybe. I just don't believe that the miracle that you mention will happen . . .
— You don't believe? Then do me this favor. You know Father Francisco Odriozola. I've written him to come . . . But in case he hasn't received the letter, you go in person to tell him . . . So that he doesn't miss coming on July 18th! He will see the miracle. I assure you that nothing will happen to him because here in the village even the little children don't know him.
— Conchita, do you know how distasteful it is for me to tell news like this to a man whom I barely know . . . Besides, he is secretary of the Commission . . . And on top of everything else the village says terrible things about him, since he doesn't believe in the apparitions . . .
— If it is distasteful for you to do what I ask, offer it up to the Virgin!
19. According to the text, it would seem that Conchita had revealed the date of the miracle first to Fr. De la Riva, then to her companions. But by what follows and by other information available, one arrives at the conclusion that her companions were the first ones notified; afterwards, by mutual agreement, the girls informed Fr. de la Riva.
20. Similar to Hide and Seek.
21. A very shrewd decision by the priest; thus it was easy for him to discern if it was something fabricated by the girls.
22. Strictly holding to 15 days before, Conchita could have been able to tell Fr. de la Riva the date of the miracle before he left Garabandal on July 5th. Why did she not do it? Was she waiting for some sign to begin spreading the news? Or did she have some other reason for hiding the time from the priest?
23. The girls at this time were disposed to be friendly to everyone, especially those whom they met most frequently there.
24. Because of his actions, Fr. Francisco Odriozola was well aware that the people in the village did not hold him in high esteem. Conchita is trying now to give him confidence, with the indication that sufficient time had passed so that many
things would be forgotten.
25. Besides the value that the miracle might have in itself, it had another value of no less quality: that of prophecy.