We must return now, in these high points of our story, to Conchita's diary, which helped us so much in the beginning, but which is not of equal service for the second half of 1962. She says on the final pages:
At the beginning of it all, the Virgin told the four of us — Loli, Jacinta, Mari Cruz, and myself — that:
Obviously we were very surprised that she told us these things.
And everything that the Virgin told us at the beginning happened during the month of January, 1963.
We came to contradict each other.
And we even denied that we had seen the Virgin.
We even went one day to confess it.
But we felt inside that the Angel and the Most Holy Virgin had appeared to us, since they had brought a peace and internal joy to our souls, and a great desire to love them with our whole hearts.
For their smile and their speech and what they told us made us love them, love them very much, and give ourselves completely to them.
When we went to confession, it was without thinking about it, without believing that it was a sin.
We went because the parish priest told us that we should go to confession.
And we, I don't know how it was, well
We doubted a little, but a doubt of a type that seems from the devil, who wants us to deny the Virgin.
And afterwards, we told our parents that we hadn't seen the Virgin; but that the calls and the Miracle of the Sacred Host were true.
In my heart, I was surprised to say these things.
But my conscience was completely calm about having seen the Most Holy Virgin.
And the parish priest, Father Valentín Marichalar, gave us ten rosaries and five Our Fathers for penance.
And after we had said this, in a few days, the Virgin appeared to us again.
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We are facing the development of the so-called denials (negations) of the girls. But more than denials or negations, we might speak of tremendous doubts or darknesses, which they were not capable of interpreting or of expressing. The whole process had been long and complicated. Its herald breeze appeared in Mari Cruz, who found herself for some time — especially after the total cessation of her ecstasies during the previous September — in a special situation. On this follows now the storm of negations in January of 1963, during which the remaining visionaries are implicated. Conchita and her two companions will soon recover from this, as we will see later on. But in August of 1966, a new tempest of confusion in the girls concerning the apparitions will blast forth.
The events will then be publicly denounced by the newly appointed Bishop Puchol, who personally disliked this affair
«There have been no apparitions. There has been no message. All the events that happened
As now we are relating the facts, and are still in January of 1963, I do not wish to comment on the contents of that «Nota», the circumstances that preceded its composition, or the consequences that followed it. The day will come to bring everything into the open. What I want to say here is that such a phenomenon of doubts and negations is not something exclusive to Garabandal
Let us return to the first negations of the visionaries in January of 1963. It can immediately be seen that they clearly showed wavering and hesitation. The girls themselves did not understand what was happening, and were surprised by what they had said — in such contrast with what they personally felt. It could be said that a strange and mysterious force — Conchita names it: the devil — brought them to express something that did not agree with their most undeniable experiences
The priest from the seminary in San Sebastián, Father Luis López Retenaga, in his third report to Bishop Beitia, gave his impressions of what he perceived in the girls during the Holy Week of 1963:
«In the face of the joke that was converted into the miracle that failed, they saw themselves pressured by their families and many people (to admit that all had been a lie). This pressure was seen by them as an argument from authority, and they fell into real doubts concerning the origin of what had happened to them
It is clear that these days of January were tremendously painful for the visionaries because of their own internal sufferings and the troubles and discords which developed in their families due to the general confusion.
Because they were not completely responsible for what they had said, the Virgin did not completely withdraw her favors: And after we had said this, in a few days the Virgin appeared to us again.
But the process had been set in motion and complications were
And Ceferino, Loli's father, had told a commission of doctors to come; their names were Alejandro Gasca, Félix Gallego and Celestino Ortiz
And on the night that they came, they began to question Mari Cruz, Jacinta and Loli, and their parents about the reason that they were saying that they weren't seeing the Virgin
And I don't know what they thought.
What I do know is that they said that I performed the miracle of the Host,
And they explained it their way.
Obviously they didn't know what they were saying at the time.
And they allowed themselves to be controlled by the devil.
And after that day, they didn't have any more
I had apparitions
After that I didn't see her again.
As can be seen, we are in an important period concerning Garabandal. After so many months of being enveloped in light, there comes a complete eclipse, perhaps final. And it seems that the girls and their families are not without fault. Now things can return to tranquility. Now there is nothing to occupy them: neither the miracle that they were awaiting with such impatience, nor the apparitions which they formerly had so surely. There was little except the memory of what had existed
When did the complete cutting off of the ecstasies and apparitions occur?
The date for Conchita we know, since she herself mentions it in her diary; her last day was: the 20th of January. We can notice the peculiar fact that this was the
For Jacinta and Loli, we only know for certain that it was slightly before that, as Conchita also tells us in the same place. Examining some letters from Maximina, which Doctor Ortiz gave me, I have come to the conclusion that the last day for them was between January 8th and 16th, since in a letter dated on the 8th of January she speaks normally of the apparitions and in another, dated on January 16th, she describes a new situation.
We read on January 8th:
«The miracle, which apparently was going to be so soon, is taking a long time. But don't be worried since they think the same thing. They say that it won't be delayed. The date has still not passed. Now they go very often to the Pines. Every night Conchita comes down the entire hill and a good part of the path backwards on her knees; she always goes alone now. The other two go together, holding arms. Every night that they go, they come down backwards too.
And she says on January 16th:
«You know everything that is happening
We are also informed of the effects that were caused in the village by this unexpected turn of events. We have some information in Maximina's letters; the one from the 16th says:
«Here there are families who gloat over this affair being uncertain. You know, there is a lot of
And another letter dated February 11th to the same recipient, Eloísa
«Since the apparitions aren't seen anymore, there is nothing in particular around here. I came to doubt everything completely; today I am once again convinced that there was something here
During these days, Conchita wrote a postcard to María Herrero
«You ask me if it's true that we don't have apparitions. Yes, it has been some time since we have had them
And so then, 1962, the second year of Garabandal — so important, so filled with events — came unexpectedly
If Garabandal seemed to be marked from the beginning by huge question marks, this abrupt shutting off of the proceedings — «She didn't say goodbye, nor did she say anything to us
But this painful finale cannot make us forget that 1962 was a year of wondrous marvels
All these marvels had one single purpose: to awaken our attention
12. Eugenio Beitia Aldazábal, who three years previously had entered the bishop's mansion
atSantander, was relieved of his pastoral duties onhis own request in 1965. Vicente Puchol Montís succeeded him as bishop in August, 1965.
When the nomination was publicized, a Madrid canon wrote to Fr. Lucio Rodrigo of the Pontifical University at Comillas, warning him that «Garabandal had a great enemy in the new bishop», as he turned out to be.
Bishop Puchol died tragically in an automobile accident on May 8th, the feast of the apparition of St. Michael the Archangel at Mount Gargano in Italy.
13. For example, it is known that the venerable Father Hoyos — the Spanish Jesuit associated with the apparitions and promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus — sometime after the phenomenon had happened to him, fell into such doubts and scruples concerning the authenticity of his apparitions that he came to believe to his dismay that he was the greatest deceiver in the world, a sinner unworthy of pardon. And a similar thing happened to Bernadette Soubirous, the seer from Lourdes, during her convent life at Nevers; but the church certainly knew how to evaluate Bernadette's doubts or negations, elevating her to the supreme honor of the altars, after a long process according to ecclesiastical law.
I believe, referring to the masters of mystical theology, that it is not difficult to explain the contradictions of the seers at Garabandal, nor is it hard to understand what value should be attributed to them.
14. We can speak also of pressures that are not attributable to the action of the devil. In the beginning of April, Luis Navas was once again at Garabandal; he was upset by this new situation, so different from what he had experienced there on previous occasions. Trying to find an explanation, he began speaking to various people, and after being with Loli «he drew» — he said — «the conclusion that Ceferino had put pressure on his daughter when the miracle did not come in
September as he expected
Actually, Ceferino was always one of the hardest to convince with regard to believing personally in the truth of the phenomena. Not that he did not understand them, nor that he could not explain them; but to believe in them was something different. In his case, as in the other families of the visionaries, could well be
saidwhat Jesus mentioned in his day: A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, and among his own kindred, and in his own house. (Mark 6:4)
15. Dr. Alejandro Gasca was in practice
atSantander; later he held an important post in the Health Department at Saragossa. Dr. Félix Gallego was practicing at Requejada Polanco near Torrelavega. As for Dr. Ortiz, he is already well known to the reader.
There are reasons to believe that in the answers that the three doctors received there came out strongly the «long standing antagonism» between the families of the visionaries that Fr. Luis López Retenaga mentioned in his report.
The major attack was, as usual, against Conchita. Some looked at her hostilely because they believed that she had inspired or was the one principally responsible for all this; others, because they resented her role as the leading figure.
16. Jacinta also stated that the Virgin stopped appearing to her in January of 1963, «without saying goodbye or giving an explanation
But of those visits, of which she now has only a vague recollection, there still remain wonderful memories.
In her visits, the Virgin had listened and talked with a marvelous delicateness and gentleness. The girls had never seen her with a severe look or the least sign of irritation. Whenever she came, after listening with smiling patience and intense interest, she used her turn to speak in instructing the girls, little by little, in the elements of the spiritual life. Jacinta remembers most of all, besides the instructions on prayer and the manner of praying, the things that she told them about the priesthood and priests. «I believe that struck me the most and left in my mind such esteem and veneration for them that I'm not able to explain it
17. There has come to us an astounding prediction.
On the night of December 19th
tothe 20th, Wednesday to Thursday, there was something very important, according to the notes of Mr. ClapesMaymó:
«Conchita had an ecstasy from 3:15 to 5:15. It began in her house. Mrs.
Salisachs, Nati, her mother, and her brother Serafín were present. She went out fromthe house, went through the village, went up to the Cuadroand came down backwards, went into the cemetery, to the house of Mari Cruz .. .
During the ecstasy she was heard to say, Mercedes (Salisachs) said that Saint Malachy had prophesied about the Popes and that only two are left
After the ecstasy, Conchita told us the Virgin's response:
After the present (John the 23rd) there were still three; after that there would be no more
Retenaga, in composing his first report on Garabandal in December of 1962, resumés the Christian scope of the phenomena:
«What the girls ask of our world today in the name of the Virgin is «more prayer, more penance, more Eucharistic life
This latter — more Eucharistic life — characterizes the second year at Garabandal, as the Marian Epiphany seemed to characterize the first year.
We have seen how the girls' visits to the Blessed Sacrament and the Mystical Communions increased. I do not know when the last Mystical Communion occurred; but I do know the last time Conchita was waiting for one. It was on the first Friday of January, 1963, as Maximina explained in her letter that day to Dr. Ortiz. After praying the rosary early in the morning at the
calleja, as she did every day, Conchita and her relatives went down to the church to pray a Station to the Blessed Sacrament. In the courtyard, the girl had an apparition, and minutes later, began to cry.
«We asked her» — Maximina wrote — «why she was crying, and she told us: Because the Angel didn't give me Communion.
— But today is First Friday and the pastor will come to say Mass in the village!
— That's true. I forgot that. And the Angel didn't tell me anything
Here we have another little proof, since if she would have said that the Angel had given her Communion, we would have known right away that she was lying
The good woman is referring to something that was well known and repeated: the Angel only came to give Communion when there were no priests there who could give It.