As the month was about to end, on Wednesday, August 29th, something occurred that seems very important, although Fr. Valentín dispatches it in a few words:
«Loli had an apparition in her home at 5:30. She gave the articles to the Vision to be kissed. An Anglican woman was very much moved.(8) She wanted to be baptized.»(9)
The visitors at Garabandal were numerous during the month of August, since it is a vacation month and the Santander area is a traditional resort area during the summertime.
We know from Fr. Valentín, for example, that on August 8th, besides the two priests from San Sebastián previously mentioned, there were many people from Asturias in the village. On the 12th there were two Monsignors from Oviedo: Monsignor Novalin and Monsignor Rafael Somohano. On the 15th, feast of the Assumption, an Augustinian and a Franciscan priest and two nuns were there; on the 16th, three priests from Palencia; on the 17th, 200 visitors, among whom were the son of Carrero Blanco (the Spanish Vice-president), and another son of the mayor of Madrid, Count Santa Marta de Babío, two religious brothers of Martín Artajo, Mr. Alberto, secretary of the Attorney General and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Javier, who held a high position in the prestigious Editorial Católica.
Among the many qualified visitors in Garabandal during those days, we have to single out the pastor from Barro, Fr. de la Riva. His stay was a long one and he sought to use all his time to the maximum. A page from his Memorias tells us his experiences during those days:
«I went down every day to Cossío to celebrate the Mass.(10) Then I would go back up to the village again and ask where I could find the young seer that I wanted to see. Then I took the road leading to the pasture where she was working.(11) In the evening I returned to the village.
At nightfall there was the rosary in the church, then the apparitions, frequently very lengthy. All this greatly exhausted me.»
This exhaustion that was wearing him down led him one afternoon, perhaps on August 11th,(12) Saturday, to refrain from accompanying the visionaries in their ecstatic marches. On going outside after the rosary, instead of following Jacinta who was marching at the time through the village in a trance, he accompanied the girl's mother to her home and there began to eat dinner. After dinner, with its anecdotes of the apparitions, Fr. de la Riva went to Maximina's home where he was lodging and went to bed.
«I was a little sad» — he said — «for not having gone to the apparitions that day like the other villagers and the visitors . . . In a brief prayer before going to bed, I asked the Virgin to give me a sign that she wasn't angry with me for not going to the apparitions after the rosary. And I fell asleep like a log.
After several hours, I heard someone running and the voice of Nandín (Fernando, Loli's brother) saying, Maximina, open up! Loli is here. I turned on the light, looked at my watch, and saw that it was a quarter to four in the morning. I said to myself, It has to be almost an hour that Loli is in ecstasy.(13)
In the meantime, people were knocking at the door of my room. I sat up quickly on the bed and said, Come in. The door opened with a bang and Loli appeared in ecstasy. She fell on her knees and began to crawl on them, little by little, toward the wall that was facing me. This made me greatly wonder since I still didn't know that, when the girls visited the homes in ecstasy, almost the first thing that they did was to pray for the departed from the family. On the wall in front of me was a large photograph of Maximina and her husband, who had been dead for years. Kneeling under the photograph, Loli prayed for some time.
Then she pivoted and on her knees and went toward my bed. With the crucifix that she held in her hand, she first made the sign of the cross over the pillow, and then she put it on my lips while smiling. She continued smiling, turned around and began to make her way toward the door, still on her knees. When she came to the doorway, she stood up and went out that way.
Then I said to myself, The Virgin is in the village . . . and you are still in bed!. I dressed quickly and ran toward the church. On passing by Loli's house, I noticed that the girl was in the kitchen still in ecstasy.»
Naturally Fr. de la Riva went inside, and soon became aware that the girl was then speaking about what had happened in Maximina's house.
After the ecstasy, there were two questions: the first, to find out why the trance had begun much later than the hour predicted (which had been at 3:00 a.m.); and the second, to explain the reason why Loli went unexpectedly to Maximina's house.
Loli answered the first question by saying that «The Virgin wanted to show her displeasure this way», because on that night some women had joked about the apparitions. They had asked the girl if the Virgin painted her nails, if she combed her hair, if she wore a bracelet . . .
No one could answer the second question adequately. Ceferino could only say that his daughter, without his understanding the reason, «immediately on being in ecstasy, at about 3:45 in the morning, had gone running toward Maximina's house.»
«Then I was aware» — declared Fr. de la Riva —«that the Virgin had deigned to hear my petition, giving me the sign that I had requested.»
And the proof was not for his benefit alone.
8. The Anglican Church originated in the 16th century during the rise of Protestantism when Henry VIII, king of England, broke away from the Papacy in Rome. The Anglican Church was imposed with force as the official religion, and although it had its hierarchy and ecclesiastical organization, it recognized the king as its supreme head.
9. Meaning with the Catholic rite, since it is supposed that she had already been baptized in the Anglican Church.
10. In order to dissuade priests from going to Garabandal, they were not permitted to celebrate Mass in the village church; and we know how difficult was the road to Cossío.
11. These stables were generally a long way from the village and reached by steep and difficult trails.
12. I name this date since according to the notes of Fr. Valentín there were three seminarians in the village on this day. Fr. de la Riva, who gives no date in his report says nevertheless: «I asked a seminarian from Balboa . . .»
13. The seminarian told Father de la Riva that Loli had predicted an apparition for 3 o’clock.