The Light of Garabandal came from the start through four reflectors. But in the month of September, 1962, one of them would fade out.
During these days the youngest of the four visionaries, Mari Cruz González, stopped having apparitions.
She had one on September 1st, as has been noted, and it must have been important, judging from its duration: 45 minutes. But on the other days the girl had to wait in vain. It was mentioned how she had made a little pilgrimage to implore the Virgin to visit her again.
Perhaps as a result of this pressing supplication, the Virgin returned, since we see in Fr. Valentín's journal:
«September 18th: In the morning, Loli and Conchita received Communion from the hands of the Angel. In the afternoon at 5:30, the other two girls had an apparition. They came together in the street, traveled through the village, prayed the rosary, went up to the Pines, and descended backwards; it ended at the church doors. I asked Loli why the Angel didn't give Communion to Mari Cruz and Jacinta. And she told me that she didn't know, that perhaps they were better and for that reason, didn't need it.»
September 18th had to be the last gleam of light from the lamp of Mari Cruz,(9) since from that time on it appears to have been definitely extinguished. María Herrero de Gallardo, writes from Santander on October 7th:
«I went to Mari Cruz' house to bring her some cakes, and she told me that a month had passed without seeing the Virgin . . .»
And Dr. Ortiz, who went up one more time to Garabandal with Plácido Ruiloba on Saturday, November 24th, notes on this day:
«The three girls were singing in ecstasy at Mari Cruz's door. They were asking that she see the Virgin again . . . I asked Mari Cruz, in front of her mother, if she was continuing to go up to say the rosary in the Cuadro at six in the morning.
— No, now I pray it in the house.
— But didn't the Virgin tell you to pray it there in the Calleja?
— Why don't you do it then?
Without letting the girl speak, her mother quickly intervened to say that she hadn't stopped her, that she hadn't said anything . . .
I insisted, glancing at Mari Cruz . . .
— Then who stopped you from going there? Why don't you go?
The girl blushed, but she didn't answer.
Later, I was with Jacinta, and I asked her the same, if she was still going to the Calleja . . .
— Yes, I go every day at six in the morning. I have never stopped doing it. One day it occurred to me to ask the Virgin if I could change the hours. She told me yes, that I could change it. But later I preferred to continue as before, so that the same thing doesn't happen to me that happened to Mari Cruz.
— What happened to Mari Cruz?
— In September she stopped praying the rosary in the Calleja as the Virgin had told her, and since that time she hasn't seen her again!»
The flame from Mari Cruz was definitely out. Was this something that had to happen according to God's plans, without anyone's fault? Was it someone's fault? If there was a fault, whose was it? The girl's? Her parents' or family's? I know of no one who is in a position to give a competent answer to these questions. Let us leave them then to the judgment of God and not meddle in what is above our competence. But this does not mean that we should renounce thinking about the matter, seeking to find, as Jacinta seems to have done, a salutary lesson . . .
Jacinta herself should have feared at the time that her own light was going to be extinguished.
The month of September had begun well for her, since on the first and second days she was seen in ecstasy beside her companions. But an entire week followed without an apparition, and poor Jacinta, although silently resigned, had to be consumed with desire, anxiety and worry. And so on the early morning of September 8th she undertook with her brothers the difficult pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Light, as we have seen.
The pilgrimage seems to have had an immediate effect, since on the following day, September 9th, Fr. Valentín mentions:
«On going out from the rosary at 8:30 at night, Conchita and Jacinta went into ecstasy; they went to Loli's home, holding arms . . .» But this was an isolated favor, since on October 7th, he notes again: «Jacinta hasn't had an apparition for more than 20 days.»
How this affected the girl can be gathered from these sentences found in a letter from María Herrero, written in Santander on October 7th:
«On returning from Mari Cruz's home, I met Jacinta, thin and sad. She told me that 26 days had passed without seeing the Virgin, since the Nativity of Mary. I don't think she ever went so long without seeing her. I gave her the cakes. She took them; but she remained for some time with them in her hands, as if not knowing what to do, with an expression of sorrow that appalled me.»
In Jacinta's case, as a great consolation for her, all this was only a frightening test. On October 8th, Fr. Valentín notes:
«Jacinta had an apparition, after a month of not having one.» And he adds later: «She also had one on October 9th, 11th, 13th and 14th.»
Maximina writes on her part to Eloísa de la Roza Velarde, Dr. Ortiz' sister-in-law, in a letter dated November 8th:
«The apparitions continue as usual. I see nothing extraordinary at present. Loli continues having apparitions every day, ordinarily at 4:00 or 5:00 in the early morning. Conchita has ones that are known about on four days of the week (Tuesday and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday), frequently also at the same hour of the morning, and she almost always goes outside on the street. Jacinta also has apparitions on many days. But Mari Cruz has not had one for many months.»
The mystery of Garabandal was continuing its march . . . Almost monotonously, disturbing many, inspiring some. How would it end?
One of the protagonists was already out of the picture. Another had long eclipses between apparitions.
But the affair, as a whole, was not diminishing, but rather seemed to be getting stronger, even taking on new force.
How would it conclude?
How long would it last?
What would its final outcome be!
For now, one important thing is known for certain:
an exceptional miracle.
Dawn was on the horizon.
9. A few days later, Dr. Puncernau paid special attention to Mari Cruz:
«I gave her my wedding ring to give to the Virgin to kiss, as was the custom to do.
She was very pleased and put my ring on one of her fingers.
Three days passed and Mari Cruz didn’t have an apparition, nor did she enter into a trance. On the night before I had to leave I said to her, You’ll have to give back my ring, since this morning at 3 I have to leave.
—Let me have it a little longer . . . Perhaps I will have an apparition tonight. I left it with her.
The other three entered into ecstasy. The three girls went walking in a trance, holding arms. Mari Cruz approached, she took the arm of one of the others, raised her head and walked like this ten or twelve steps to see if the trance would take her too. But there was no trance. She detached herself sorrowfully. Without saying a word she returned the ring and went away with her head held low.
I have to say though that the ring was kissed on another occasion, during one of Conchita’s ecstasies. I mention this so that it can be seen that the ecstasies came when they came . . . not when the girls wanted them to come.»