At this time we might make some comments about the chancery officials at Santander who so often called for the submission owed to the hierarchy in order to strangle Garabandal, but who went to such efforts so that the cause would not come directly to the hierarchy, to which they should be as submissive as we.
From this can be more easily understood what Fr. Laffineur wrote:
«Certain adversaries of Garabandal, fearing the worst for themselves, made it impossible for Conchita to be received at Rome. Others, in a less high position, profited by the new situation to calumniate Conchita: The balloon has burst. Conchita wears short skirts and listens to the radio; the vocation is gone. Garabandal is finished.
During this time, Conchita felt the devil present around her. She was subject to interior sufferings which only the most contemplative souls know. She wrote about her secret sufferings to priests whom she trusted, and prayed to obtain permission from her mother to leave for Pamplona immediately.
Apparently the young girl, although accustomed to submitting everything to the Virgin, had not immediately understood the importance of her trip to Italy. Or else she could have thought, logically, that if this trip would take place one day, it could begin just as well from Pamplona as from Garabandal.
But Aniceta was watching. And Aniceta has a will of steel. She was convinced of the necessity and imminence of the visit to Rome and no person in the world could make her yield . . .»
(L’Etoile dans la Montagne)
So Conchita was not to be separated from her side until she had completed her mission at Rome.
But this mission would not be accomplished until the winter of the following year, 1966. And then the final period would be placed on the long and wondrous story that had begun on June 18th, 1961 at Garabandal.
On October 30th—the last Saturday of the month of the rosary—in that painful autumn of 1965, Conchita had another encounter from above. She had gone to church to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament,(11) and soon she felt a communication from the Virgin inside her, which not only consoled her in what she was suffering by not being able to go to the convent, but also notified her of a future meeting.
At the time Conchita wrote several letters; one of these was to a Mexican priest, Father Gustavo Morelos, dated November 8th:
«Dear Father Morelos:
You see, without receiving your reply, I’m writing you again. And it is to say that I received a locution from the Virgin and she told me: On Saturday, November 13th, go to the Pines, and there you will see me. And bring many religious articles to me, and I will kiss them all, so that you can distribute them. My son will perform prodigies by means of them.
Pray very much for me, so that I may soon enter the convent and be good. In union of prayer.»
The prediction was fulfilled.
The description of what occurred would be better left to Conchita herself: (12)
«It was a special apparition to kiss religious objects, later to distribute them, since they have a great importance.
I had a great desire for Saturday, November 13th, to come so I could see again the ones who had sown in me the happiness of God: The Virgin and the Infant Jesus.
It was raining; but it didn’t matter to me that I was going up to the Pines in the rain.»
Describing this, here is what Dr. Ortiz wrote Fr. Ramón in a letter on December 13th:
«On our last trip to Garabandal, Sunday, December 5th, I was able to learn that Conchita actually had an ecstasy at the Pines on November 13th. As an interesting fact, I have to say that, although Olguita (her neighbor) was in her company, she later left her out of curiosity to go see an accident that had happened to a truck in La Jaraiz. This accident was the main attraction for the village. On that Saturday, when it was raining the most, Conchita left the people in her kitchen and went up alone to the Pines.»
Continuing with the report of the visionary:
«I brought many rosaries that had recently been given to me to distribute. As the Virgin had told me, I brought them for her to kiss.
Going up alone to the Pines—very sorry for my faults—I was saying to myself that in the future I would not fall into them, since I was ashamed to present myself like this before the Mother of God, whom my faults make suffer so much. And I believe that mine are the greatest, since I have seen her.
When I came to the Pines, I started taking out the rosaries that I was carrying. And while I was taking them out, I heard a very sweet voice — clearly the Virgin’s! — easily distinguished from all others, calling me by my name. And I answered: What?
And then I saw her with the Infant Jesus in her arms. She came dressed as usual and was smiling broadly.
And I said to her, I have come to bring the rosaries so that you can kiss them.
And she said to me, I see that.
I had a Chiclet in my mouth, although I did not chew it after I saw her, but stuck it against my cheek.
And she told me, Conchita, why don’t you give up your Chiclet and offer it as a sacrifice for the glory of my Son? (15)
Ashamed, I took it out of my mouth and threw it on the ground.
Then she said to me, Do you remember what I told you on your feastday, that you would suffer much on the earth. Well, I am telling it to you again. But have confidence in us and offer everything to our hearts for the good of your brothers; that way you will feel us near to you.
And I said to her, Oh, Our Mother, how unworthy I am of so many graces that you’ve given me! And still you come to me today, to lighten the little cross that I have now.
—Conchita, I do not come only for you. I come for all my children, with the desire of bringing them to our hearts.
Give me all the things that you have brought so that I may kiss them.
And I gave them to her. I was also carrying a crucifix with me, and she kissed it and said to me, Put it in the hands of the Child Jesus. And so I did. He didn’t say anything to me.
I spoke to the Virgin, I will carry this cross with me to the convent, but she didn’t say anything to me either.
After kissing everything, she said to me, By the kiss that I have put on these articles, my Son will use them to perform prodigies. Distribute them. And I thought about doing this.
After that, she asked me to tell her the petitions that other people had given to me; and I did this.
She continued: Tell me, Conchita. Tell me about my children! I hold them all under my mantle.
And I said to her: It’s very small, it won’t hold all of them. And she smiled.
—Conchita, do you know why I did not come personally on June 18th to give the message for the world? Because it hurt me to say those things. But they had to be said, for your own good; and if you accomplish the message, it will be for the glory of God. I love you very much, and desire your salvation, to reunite you here in heaven around the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. You, Conchita, will you respond to us?
—If I were always seeing you, then it would be yes. But if not, I don’t know, since I’m very bad.
—Do all that you can on your part; and we will help you, and also my daughters, Loli, Jacinta and Mari Cruz.
It seemed that she was with me a very short time. She told me also:
This is the last time you will see me here. But I will always be with you, and with all my children.
She also said to me:
Conchita, you should visit my Son in the tabernacle more. Why do you let yourself be carried away by slothfulness so as not to visit Him? He is there, waiting for you day and night.
As I have said before, it was raining very much, and the Virgin and the Child Jesus didn’t get wet. When I was seeing them, I didn’t know that it was raining; but afterwards, when I didn’t see them, I was soaking wet.
I also said to the Virgin: Oh, how happy I am when I see you. Why don’t you take me with you now?
—Remember what I told you on your feastday: When presenting yourself before God, you have to show your hands full of works done by you for your brothers and for the glory of God. Now, your hands are empty.
Nothing more. The joyous time had passed in which I was with my best friend and Mother in heaven, and with the Child Jesus. I have stopped seeing Them, but I haven’t stopped feeling Them.
Again They have left in my soul a peace, a joy and a desire to conquer my faults and to love Them with all my strength!
Formerly, the Virgin told me that Jesus wasn’t sending the Chastisement to torment us, but to help us, and reprimand us for not paying attention. He is sending us the Warning to purify us before the Miracle, in which He will clearly show the love that He holds for us. Because of this He wants us to accomplish the message.»
That was the episode of Saturday, November 13th, 1965 at Garabandal. The final chapter in an unparalleled story, which is still too recent to be evaluated with sufficient perspective.
We are coming to the ending, and endings are tinged with sadness.
As she said to Conchita, «This is the last time you will see me here», the Virgin’s voice had an ineffable sweetness.
What had begun four years previously with a blast of thunder on a sunlit day in June was coming to an end now, without fanfare, on a dismal overcast day in November.
«It was raining . . . I went up alone . . . And the Virgin said to me . . .»
There would be no more meetings at the scene where so many had taken place.
Yes, it was all over. Farewell in the rain. Why do wonderful things pass so swiftly?
When Conchita returned to herself and lifted her knees off the damp ground, when she became aware that she was alone beneath the Pines in the rain, she herself could not say if the drops of water running down her cheeks were raindrops that the clouds were weeping for an unhappy world, or tears that she was crying because she would never again see the one she had seen so often.
Certainly the girl was in no hurry to go down from the Pines after the vision was over. Her state of mind would not allow it. She had to remain there a while, alone with her feelings.
Sadly and poignantly, she arranged and put back all the rosaries distinguished by Our Lady’s kiss. Then she took a few slow, sad steps toward the crest of the ledge on which the nine solitary pine trees have their roots, and near the cliff edge she paused. There, partially hidden in the mist and rain was the unforgettable panorama: the mountainpeaks, the steep slopes, the winding valleys, the woods and meadows with their lonely cabins; and nearer, at her feet, the village: her village of San Sebastián de Garabandal. Her village, which during those unforgettable years, seemed to have been the Virgin’s village! Here Her merciful and smiling footsteps had passed; Here she had visited her poor and humble houses, her winding streets, her innumerable streetcorners, her church that knew her so intimately, her cemetery, that gathered all for the last rest.
How the Virgin had immersed herself in that village. As a Mother, for whom nothing about her children lacked interest. «She was interested in everything»—Conchita remembered with tears in her eyes—«even in our cows.»
Well could it be said that this was the most beautiful story of mankind since the time of Christ: the second life of the Blessed Virgin on earth; and words alone cannot adequately thank her for it.
After the farewell in the rain, all this has passed into history.
But of all this, now history, there forever remains something ineffably new and eternal here, that those will find who come with faith, and from which they can draw strength to uphold the highest hopes and the greatest love.
you will see me here.
And with all my children.
Of all the words said at Garabandal, these are the last and the best.
11. «I found Conchita very happy. In our conversation she mentioned that during the final days of October, when she was making her usual visit in the church to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, she had a locution in which the Virgin told her that she should go up to the Pines on November 13th and should bring her religious articles that she had . . .» (Letter of Dr. Ortiz to Fr. Ramón Andreu,
dated December 13th, 1965.)
12. We are accurately giving the text that seems the best, and which differs only in very small matters from others that were also written by Conchita.
13. Apparently at that time in Garabandal a truck accident attracted more attention, by its unusualness, than the girl’s ecstasy.
14. We know of one man from France on a pilgrimage in Lourdes who got the idea, or inspiration, to send Conchita 100 rosaries of five decades and four of 15. The package arrived in time for November 13th.
15. The Virgin obviously did not condemn the use of the Chiclet as a fault. She simply invited Conchita— so devoted to her— to fulfill in this way the making of small sacrifices.