During the whole month of August, 1962, the second August at Garabandal during the apparitions, the marvelous and upsetting monotony continued.
The monotony consisted in what was occurring there, what had never occurred anywhere else: ecstasies, prayers, inimitable songs, walks of an astounding grace and agility(1) to the Pines, to the graveyard, through the streets of the village, around the church . . .
Fr. Valentín’s notes and other people’s reports narrate essentially the same thing through the month of August. But from time to time came forth an interesting and revealing point. For example:
«August 18th. During an apparition on that day, Saturday, Conchita said to the Virgin, You pray very much! To Whom do you pray? . . . To Jesus? You pray to Him? . . . Even though He is your Son! Why? . . . Who is God?(2) . . . Oh! Only one God.
She said too: Why don’t you let Mari Cruz see you? See how sad she is! Be with me half the time and with Mari Cruz the other half.»
But I do not want to pass over a letter that Maximina González wrote to Dr. Ortiz on the following Sunday, which is dated simply August, 1962:(3)
« . . . I didn’t hear it personally, but some of those who were there heard it, among them a priest. And it was on one of those nights that Conchita came to my home, where I was lodging some people from Catalana.(4) My children were sleeping on a mattress laid on the floor, and I had put chairs around it so that no one would see them like this. Conchita came in ecstasy and went into the downstairs rooms and made the sign of the cross over the beds. And then she
went where some children of the people from Catalana were sleeping and she gave them the crucifix to kiss.
Then Conchita left; but she stopped on the stairway and said a few things. And later she let out a laugh and turned around and went straight toward where I had hidden my children. (I was perspiring with dread that they would be seen on the floor like that.) She made her way through the chairs and fell on her knees next to the children. She spoke for a while and at that time she was heard to say, Oh! So he is going to be a priest?
And she gave the cross to both of them, but to the little boy she made a cross at his feet — only the little boy.
I mentioned this yesterday, Saturday, to a missionary priest from Bilbao who was in my home for a while. And he told me that the cross that Conchita made at the feet of the little boy was something very mysterious . . .(5) I don’t know how he explained it to me, but I’m very happy. Fr. Luis Retenaga prayed for the child and blessed him many times; and it could be that the Virgin heard him, since my son from his youth has been saying that he wants to be a priest. May God will it! May he be a good one.(6)
Today, Sunday, Conchita and Loli fell into ecstasy on going out from the rosary, which was at night(7) They walked like this for some time. Jacinta and Mari Cruz walked by themselves since they went into ecstasy a little later. And afterwards the four joined together, went up together to the Pines, and came down backwards. If you could have seen how they descended through the worst paths! It was very dark. Everyone was coming down with great difficulty, while they came down without stumbling. They walked through the entire village backwards, praying two rosaries. It lasted a long time. Last night Mari Cruz’ ecstasy lasted a very long time; they said about two and a half hours.»
We have some brief notes from Fr. Valentin that complement those of Luis Navas and Maximina González, helping us to re-create better in our minds the atmosphere at Garabandal during the early part of August, 1962:
«August 22nd. The four fell into ecstasy; first Loli and Conchita; afterwards, Jacinta; and finally, Mari Cruz. The latter, on coming down from the Pines, went to the house of Daniela (who was in bed, with her leg in bad condition, impossible for her to walk). And she gave the crucifix to her to kiss. Daniela jumped from the bed and said that she was cured. I think that there was some suggestion, but she jumped up and went up the stairs as if she had nothing wrong. We will see what happens tomorrow.»
Fr. Valentín did not hide his disbelief that this was really a miraculous cure. However Fr. de la Riva added to the words of the Garabandal pastor some words of his own:
«I was at the village, and I heard the joyful shouts of the people who had seen what had happened, and were discussing it as if it were a miracle. I was able to see later that there was no natural explanation for what happened. Daniela went to have an X-ray taken of herself and a complete cure was reported. She is now married and has children, which wouldn’t have been possible with the disease she had in her hip.»
1. There are numerous testimonies about the amazing mobility during the ecstatic marches. José Luis González Quevedo, born in Santander and for many years a resident of New York, went several times to see the ecstasies during the first summer of the events in 1961. He was so impressed that he cannot forget what he experienced there in spite of the long time that has since passed.
On one afternoon he was accompanying Conchita in ecstasy. Suddenly the girl rushed forward like a flash in the direction that would have taken her straight to a crash against a wall he saw in the background. This man, who was then young and athletic, raced after her to catch her and stop her in time; but he could not reach her, nor was his intervention necessary. He told me:
«When there were only a few centimeters left before smashing and hurting herself against the wall, the girl, who couldn’t see ahead of her because of the position of her head, stopped abruptly, unexplainably. And I arrived in time to see her smiling broadly with a marvelous expression . . . It was something that I could never forget.»
2. We have another response here in anticipation of the deviations and errors that were then secretly developing with regard to the Faith, and which only after the Council would come into the open concerning a dogma so fundamental to Christianity as the Divinity of Christ. The Holy See finally had to intervene—perhaps somewhat too late—with a document from the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, published in March of 1972.
As in so many other matters, also in regard to the Divinity of Christ, the new theologies of today have succeeded in repopularizing the old heresies.
3. By one of Maximina’s letters to the Pifarrés in Barcelona, we can situate the date since it is dated «Monday, August 20», and begins like this: «Asunción, if you could have seen what happened last night!»
4. Maximina used to provide lodging in her home for the visitors to Garabandal. This time she over-committed herself to such a point that there were no beds left for her own daughter and son to sleep in.
5. I do not understand the explanation of the missionary father (who surely was the Claretian that Father Valentín mentions in his notes, since those of the congregation founded by St. Anthony Claret are officially called Missionary Sons of the Heart of Mary). But it well might be related to the ancient words of Isaiah (52:7), repeated later by Nahum (2:1), and finally applied by St. Paul (Romans 10:15) to the Church and the preachers of the Gospel, to the traveling missionaries: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things.
6. This desire of a good Christian mother like Maximina is understandable; and also her concern for his being good, for there is nothing more lamentable than a priest unfaithful to his calling.
The boy to whom this refers, Pepe Luis, after starting his studies at the seminary near to Fr. Retenaga in Rentería (Guipuzcoa), continued for some years at Comillas (Santander).
After this, prior to being ordained, he did leave the seminary. During his first Christmas vacation in 1964, his cousin Conchita wrote him a beautiful prayer entitled The Prayer of a Young Seminarian. The students in our seminaries today could be inspired by the letter and the spirit of this prayer.
7. Normally the rosary was said on Sundays at an hour different from the weekdays, when it was recited at nightfall after the people had returned from work. On Sundays it was said at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Maximina notes this; and she should know, since she was the one who ordinarily led it.