Tuesday, June 30, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 137)

“There must be much penance . . . There must be many sacrifices . . .”

Days of Lent

In Spain the students look forward to March
7th, since it is a vacation day commemorating the feast of St. Thomas of Aquinas, the patron of students. In 1962 that day also had a strong penitential significance for all the faithful, since it was the beginning of Lent: Ash Wednesday.
The girls had to apply themselves with greater intensity at that time to what the Virgin had told them both for themselves and for others: There must be much penance . . . There must be many sacrifices . . .
And the lenten days of Garabandal were permeated with penance during that year of grace, 1962. But in the almost daily ecstasies, there was also a place for the many other things, great and small, that comprised each girl's life.
For example, Loli met again with the departed Fr. Luis Andreu(19) on March 12th and talked to him for a long time:
«What joy it gives me to talk with you! It's like when you were alive. I'm very happy when you come. It's been a long time since we've seen you!

How sad you would have been if we had gone
to school, because we wouldn't be able to see the Virgin anymore!

Look, I want something . . . Do you know
what? Perform a MIRACLE, so that they
may see that we are speaking with you and the Virgin . . .»


These remarks by Loli were taken from the notes
of Fr. Valentín, who also wrote down what happened to Mari Cruz:
«At 11:37 at night, I was in her house. She had received a letter from a priest from Villaviciosa (Asturias),(20) in which the priest said that he would pay for her board and tuition in a school in that city, under the condition that she would not see the Virgin again, something that could cause problems with the archbishop of Oviedo. The girl hadn't read the letter; but her mother had, who put the letter back in the envelope and told the girl to ask the Virgin what she should reply.
Mari Cruz didn't want to do this, and it disagreed with her to take the letter. Hardly had she taken it in her hand, when she went out to the Calleja, knelt down at the usual place, took the letter — in ecstasy — and held it up. Looking at the envelope upside down, she asked, What should I tell her? That I'm going to continue to see you? That it's a good place? For a long time now, I haven't been seeing you with the other three . . .»


We can only guess what the Virgin told the girl;
however, it is clear that plans for taking the girls from the village were not coming solely from León.
And it is also clear that Mari Cruz was hurt because she was not included in the ecstasies with the other three girls.
On March 14th, it was Conchita who presented a scene worthy to be filmed because of its elegance. Fr. Valentín reports again:
«At 6:30 in the evening, Conchita wanted to be alone and went behind the laundry building, where she was in ecstasy. From there she went up to the Pines, and holding one of the albarcas (wooden shoes) that she was wearing, began speaking,
Take the albarcas in your hand, the little shoes with the worn-out laces . . . Go find a donkey? Where is one? In the Cuadro? (She wanted to bless herself.) With the albarca in her hand, she smacked herself in the face many times. Later she exclaimed, How good it is today! It is night and the sun shines. And also it snows to make saints (snowmen) and go sledding.»


In the girls' ecstatic conversations on March 14th
came out again the old request that the Virgin perform a great miracle as a sign and finale to everything.
Jacinta asked her:
«Come! Perform a miracle! That way the people will believe.»


A letter from Maximina González to Asunción
Pifarré, dated March 7, reads:
«The other night, Jacinta and María Dolores asked for a miracle as usual. Please, perform a miracle . . . Please! Are you going to perform it? Please, let light shine. Please, since the people don't believe. Perform a miracle so that everyone will believe . . .
When the ecstasy was over, we told them what they had said to the Virgin. And they said she smiled when they asked for a miracle.»


The girls would surely not have insisted so often
upon the same request, if they had not repeatedly heard from above that there would finally come a great sign to end all doubts about the supernatural truth of the events. «They will believe. They will believe» was the prophetic-toned response of the mysterious apparition.
If it were not for this, the statements that Loli made two days later, on March 16th, would not be comprehensible.
On that day she was requesting insistently for the cure of a woman whose sight was failing, and according to the judgment of the doctor, would be lost completely. The girl kept on imploring, finally exclaiming loudly, «Come! Cure this woman, Alicia's mother, who already does not see out of one eye, and will not see the MIRACLE THAT YOU WILL MAKE IN THE SKY!»(21)

* * *

True penance, presupposing a change from within,
spontaneously leads to the sacrament of confession. An interesting episode illustrating this happened on the night that ended on March 19th, the feast of St. Joseph.
The report of it was signed in Reinosa (Santander) on the 23rd of March, 1962, by a priest who went up to Garabandal with Mr. Matutano:(22)
«On Sunday, March 18th, the second Sunday of Lent, two priests came to Garabandal with a young boy who was afflicted with severe heart disease, and whose days — according to the doctors — were numbered.
One of the two priests — no one at the time knew who he was — was the renowned Father José Silva, from the Ciudad de los Muchachos at Orense. The priests had come disguised as tourists. They walked behind the girls, constantly bothering them. This came to such a point that the Chief of the Civil Guard had to call it to their attention several times — he also didn't recognize them as priests.
When Jacinta went into ecstasy in Conchita's house, they leaned physically on the girl. They were hanging onto her, and holding their ears to her mouth, trying to understand some of what she was saying. The parents of the girls called their attention to this, and on seeing that this accomplished nothing, and that one time they almost made Jacinta fall to the ground, I could not contain myself and I gave a hard shove to the one who was to the right of the girl (this was Father Silva), thinking he was a layman . . . Although perhaps at the time I would have done the same thing, even if I had seen him in a cassock.
During this action Jacinta turned around, and put the crucifix on my lips. Following this, she did the same to the one that I had shoved. The girl continued her walk, but the two of us looked at each other and we understood . . . We embraced each other, and together went to the church. There the two of us wept.
And I asked him to hear my confession. (We were alone, leaning against the doorway.) He told me that he didn't have faculties, but I insisted vehemently, assuring him that I had a true need. He heard my confession and asked why I had performed that action. I answered that at the time I only meant to defend the girl who was seeing the Most Holy Virgin. He gave me absolution.

Later he asked me to hear his confession, since
he said he had a great need, for having abused his position as a priest to go ahead of all those that were following the girl, when his position as a priest obliged him to go behind the last . . . He thanked me for the shove, and told me that up to then he hadn't paid attention to the actual message that the girls came to give us.
Finally, he asked me as a favor to wake up the parish priest so that he — Father Silva — could say the dawn Mass. It was not long until the beginning of the next day, March 19th, the feast of St. Joseph. We weren’t able to obtain permission, since there was a prohibition from the bishop that didn't allow Mass to be celebrated by visiting priests. But we could receive Communion and make the most beautiful Holy Hour imaginable. It was fantastic. That priest said wonderful things, and thanked the girls, their parents, and everyone for having made him feel an emotion that, up until then, he had thought didn't exist.
We prayed the holy rosary! Almost all of us holding arms.
This is what I experienced on those unforgettable days in that fortunate little town.»

19. A previous chapter has been dedicated to the death of this Jesuit priest and the first conversations that the Garabandal seers had with him shortly after his death.
20. The Carmelitas de la Caridad also had a college in this city in Asturias. The priest's letter certainly refers to this college.
21. All the previous material was derived from Father Valentín's notes.
22. Mr. Matutano was mentioned in an earlier section of this book.

Monday, June 29, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 136)

As something unusual in the beautiful monotony of those days, I am putting down here something that occurred on March 3rd, and which Dr. Ortiz reported:
«Félix López, a former student of the Seminario Mayor de Derio (Bilbao) who is now the schoolteacher in Garabandal, was meeting with people in Conchita’s kitchen. The girl received a letter that she didn’t understand, and she requested him to translate it. It was in Italian, and Félix, after reading it, said, By its style, it could well be Padre Pio.(18)
Conchita asked him if he knew Padre Pio's address, and on receiving an affirmative answer, asked him to help her compose a letter to answer it and express her appreciation.
Completing the letter, they left it on the kitchen table, unfolded. After a while, Conchita went into ecstasy and recited the rosary. When she returned to her normal state, the teacher said to her:
— Did you ask the Virgin if the letter was from Father Pio?

— Yes, and she gave me a secret answer to
send him.
The girl went up to her room and came down later with a paper written by hand. In front of everybody, she put the paper in the envelope which had been addressed by the teacher to Padre Pio, and she sealed it.
The letter that had come to Conchita, without a signature, without a return address, but with an Italian stamp, said this:
My Dear Children,

At 9 o'clock in the morning, the Holy Virgin told me to say to you “O blessed young girls of San Sebastián de Garabandal! I promise you that I will be with you until the end of the centuries (possibly ‘end of the times'?), and you will be with me during the end of the world. And later, united with me in the glory of paradise."

I am sending you a copy of the holy rosary of Fatima, which the Virgin told me to send you. The rosary was composed by the Virgin and should be propagated for the salvation of sinners and preservation of humanity from the terrible punishments with which the Good God is threatening

I give you only one counsel: Pray and make
others pray, because the world is at the beginning of perdition.

They do not believe in you or in your conversations with the Lady in White . . . They will
believe when it will be too late.»


Here is something, I repeat, that is very unusual.

It would be helpful to have more information in order to understand what this means. If the letter really did come from Padre Pio, where is the original? Is the translation, that Dr. Ortiz has and which we are copying, accurate?
If so, what is the meaning of the expression: “I will be with you until the end of the centuries, and you will be with me during the end of the world?"
In the second edition of this book we are able to add something to clarify this intriguing episode.
On February 9, 1975 the people responsible for the magazine Garabandal put out by Joey Lomangino, a man well known in Garabandal circles, interviewed Conchita who is now married and living in the United States. The questions and answers were recorded.
Conchita, do you remember anything about the letter that you are said to have received from Padre Pio?
— You know that I have moments in which I remember many things about the apparitions very well, and I have moments in which I hardly remember anything at all . . .
Concerning what you now ask me, I do remember that I received in the mail a letter addressed to me and the other three girls: Jacinta, Mari Loli and Mari Cruz. I was surprised by what it said; and as it was unsigned, I kept it in my pocket until the time of the apparition.
When the Blessed Mother appeared, I showed her the letter . . . And I asked her whom it was from. The Blessed Mother answered that it came from Padre Pio. At the time I didn't know who Padre Pio was and it didn't occur to me to ask her anything more . . .
After the apparition we were talking about the letter, and then a seminarian there told me who Padre Pio was and where he lived. I wrote him, saying that when he made a visit to my country, I would like to see him . . . He answered in a short letter saying, Do you think that I can come and go by the chimney? Being twelve years old I had no idea what a cloister was.
Do you remember any of the contents of the letter that you showed to the Virgin?

I don't remember the whole thing well. But I
do remember its beginning:
“Dear children of Garabandal, this morning the Most Holy Virgin talked to me about your apparitions . . ."
I also remember that it said:

“Many people do not believe in your apparitions
and that you are speaking with the Blessed Mother. When they believe, it will be too late . . ."
I also remember that the letter said:

“I promise to be with you until the end of the times."
That is all that I remember now.

Do you have those two letters?

— Yes, I think my mother has them in Spain.

This matter will be better understood further on in Part Three of these books after the reader finishes the chapter entitled, 1963, a Year of Interlude with the section Only Three Popes Remain.
It is clear that the end of the times is not the same as the end of the world.
The visionaries of Garabandal could well experience during their lifetime the coming of the «end of the times», and because of this the Virgin will «be with» them — through her special assistance and aid — until those great days come. Afterwards they will depart from here on earth to go where she is, and may be present with her «at the end of the world» when our Lord will conclude things with His final judgment to close the tremendous epoch of man's history.

18. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, a Capuchin priest at San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy, was known world-wide for his stigmata, reading of consciences, and miracles. He died in September of 1968. The process of his canonization is progressing under the auspices of the hierarchy. [He has been canonized and is now called Saint Pio of Pieltrecina, Editor]

Saturday, June 27, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 135)

“Conchita made the sign of the cross over all of them, one by one.”

A Move Is Planned

The daily flowering of wondrous things in Garabandal
seemed to have reached full bloom on February 18th, when Jacinta also was included in the amazing game.

That February 18th (Septuagesima(13) Sunday in that year), began with some early morning spiritual walks that illustrated and practiced the liturgical texts that were later read during the Mass of the day:
— Day after day must be born the burden of the day’s heat. (Matt. 20: 11)
— One should run without giving up, in a way to gain the prize. (1 Cor. 9: 24)
— We should submit ourselves to God, who declares he has a right to do what I choose. (Matt. 20: 15)Fr. Valentín’s notes read:

«At 6 in the morning, Mari Cruz and Jacinta went out to pray the rosary at the Cuadro, and there they went into ecstasy. (Jacinta hadn’t had an apparition since January 18th, at which time it was foretold that she wouldn’t have one until today). They went down to the village in ecstasy, and they held the crucifix to be kissed by several persons . . . And they returned to the Cuadro, where they came out of it. It lasted 70 minutes.»


Such a holy beginning made it easy to continue on
devoutly through the ensuing hours of the Lord’s Day with the morning Mass, the rosary in common at the beginning of the evening . . . And the day had no less a holy ending:
«At 6 in the evening, Jacinta and Mari Loli went to the Pines, and there went into ecstasy again. And later they went down to the door of the church, and here they came out of it one after the other, with a minute’s difference.»


Maximina Gonzalez in a letter on February 19,
written to the Pifarré family, confirms the pastor’s notes. It is seen that Maximina began the letter on Sunday the 18th, and finished it the next day:
«Today, Sunday, at six in the morning, they had an apparition at the Pines and they came down to the village backwards; and this afternoon they will have another . . .
The apparitions continue, good weather or bad. Recently the girls brought the winter! They get up early every morning with the coldness that there is. It is hard for them and obviously hard for the many people with them. For several days now I haven’t gone since I have a bad cold.
Last night we were at the Pines at an apparition. There were a lot of people and Conchita made the sign of the cross over all of them, one by one . . . and as usual she asked for a miracle . . . »

* * *

The course of the Garabandal Mystery, as beautiful
as it is unusual, was on the verge of being interrupted during those February days. On Wednesday, February 21st, Fr. Valentín wrote down:
«Today they took Conchita to León.»(14)

Although this trip had a particular reason for
her, the plan or project that had been conceived by several influential people was not limited to her alone. A geographical transplant of all four girls was being contemplated.

On March 1st, Conchita, who had returned from León, wrote to Dr. Ortiz and his wife in Santander:
«I asked the Virgin whether I should go see my brother.(15) and she told me to go, that I would have an apparition there too, as I did.
I was in León at the home of Mr. del Valle;(16) I don’t know if you know him, or have heard his name mentioned. I had the first ecstasy on Saturday. I don’t remember if it was at nine o’clock or nine thirty. Mr. Valle, his younger children, my mother, and the house servants were alone. I also had one on Sunday at 11 or 11:30 at night. At the time some men were there, but since the apparition was late in coming, many of them left . . . They said that on that night I went on my knees to the room of Mr. Valle’s daughter, which was on the same floor and whose doors joined mine. And they said that I went to give the crucifix to be kissed by one of his young children who was in bed, and that I recited the rosary. I don’t remember anything about the things that I did.
I was also told that I asked the Most Holy Virgin if I could go to college and whether I would see her there. She told me that I would see her the same, although I don’t know if I will go where there are Carmelites . . .»(17)


This attempt to procure a good education in a religious school for the Garabandal visionaries was being considered with the best intentions by Emilio del Valle and others.
To February 27th corresponds what was written by Fr. Valentin:
«Conchita went to León, to the home of Emiliodel Valle, and there had two apparitions.

Mr. Emilio wanted to put the girls in a school, charging all the expenses to his account: but he met opposition from the girls’ parents.»


The matter was on the point of being realized,
according to what can be deduced from this letter by Maximina González to Dr. Ortiz , dated March 4:

«When I came back, I had three letters from the Pifarré family of Barcelona at my home. They say that down there they are very happy at the thought that the girls come and go when they please. But notice how upset they will be when I tell them that they are trying to take them all (the four visionaries) to school!
Conchita says that she is going to leave either on Friday or Saturday; I don’t know if this is correct. I don’t even want to ask her about it. We’re all very upset. It seems incredible. Mr. Emilio! That he is the one who is taking them! What money will do! Heavens! Those who still don’t seem persuaded to leave are María Dolores and Jacinta. They’ll persuade them . . .
My sister (Aniceta) told me, when they went on this trip to León, that the Virgin told them that they would come to stop where there were some nuns . . . And that the very first thing they saw in León, after getting out of the car, was a school of Carmelite nuns . . . and that they were the first ones to whom they spoke, without knowing any of them. What a coincidence!»


The plan to transplant the girls — very well intentioned,
but which might have changed the course of Garabandal — ended uneventfully, and the four girls remained in their own environment and with their own affairs.
And so Father Valentín could write in his notebook:
«The matter of San Sebastián de Garabandal at this time continues about the same. The girls have ecstasies almost every day. I continue going up myself to see them.»

13. With what is called Septaugesima Sunday begins the long liturgical procession toward Easter. This time — reads the French Missal — makes us meditate on our earthly condition: suffering and sinful. It evokes a triple effort:

The effort of the entire human race which through its long
history struggles against evil, while groping for God and trying to build a better world.
The effort of Christ Who during His public life fought against Satan, and founded the Kingdom of God.
The effort that the Church pursues in each of us through our daily militant battle against the difficulties of life.

14. A beautiful city in the northwest part of the Iberian peninsula holding many claims to glory for services given to the country during the most difficult centuries; it was the capital of the Christian reconquest from the Arabs.
15. He was working then in the coal mines of the Hullera Vasco-Leonesa Company in the city of Santa Lucía.
16. This man, Emilio del Valle, was already mentioned in the early parts of this book. But soon he began to appear in the history of Garabandal as someone especially entwined in it, without knowing for what reason he was there.
17. This refers to the Congregación de Carmelitas de la Caridad founded in the past century by the holy Joaquina Vedruna. These Carmelites for many years have gone to reputable colleges in León and have contributed much to the education of girls in the city.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 134)

Father José Ramón García
de la Riva

Return to Astounding


During this time — the end of January and the
first weeks of February — Mari Loli, Mari Cruz and Conchita once again had apparitions as before in the usual way . . . Each girl with her own style, and each day with its own story. There was much in common in the activities of the three visionaries and the episodes of each day: holding up the articles to be kissed by the Vision, presenting the crucifix to be kissed by the people around them, visiting the church and also the homes, praying at the Cuadro, going up to the Pines . . . Concerning the latter, there was a remarkable thing that occurred about the 5th of February.
«About 8:45 at night, Mari Loli went out of her home in ecstasy. She went toward the Pines, going up by the most difficult way, not by the trails or path, and she did it with extreme ease, without grabbing onto anything and without falling, while all the rest went up almost on their hands and knees, hanging onto the shrubs on the way in order not to roll back down. The girl did this three times. The ecstasy ended at 10:00.» (Fr. Valentín’s notes)

On January 31st, we have a more detailed story:

«At 8:00 in the morning, Conchita went to the Cuadro in the calleja to pray the most holy rosary, remaining there in ecstasy. Then she went through the village, and on passing the fountain, fell backwards, smacking her head hard on the ground. All those present feared that she had severely injured herself; nevertheless, when the ecstasy was over, her mother said that they couldn’t find even a bruise.»


This report from the Police Chief, Alvarez Seco,
was confirmed by Father José Ramón García de la Riva, who gives us more details:
«I was present and I took photographs of the ecstasy at 8:30 in the morning — at the Cuadro, at the door of the church, at the place where Conchita fell backwards, striking the back of her neck hard against a stone on the ground. The sound was very loud; Conchita’s mother and some of the people present cried out, thinking that she had broken her neck. At first Conchita, lying on the ground, was serious, listening to the Vision. Then she began to laugh and Aniceta and the other women were reassured. I then felt the young girl’s head and didn’t notice anything abnormal. After the ecstasy I felt the neck again, and once again didn’t find anything. Surprised, the girl asked me why I was touching her head like this. When I gave her the reason, she merely smiled.»


Further information, dated February 1st, was
reported by Fr. De la Riva:
«Loli was in ecstasy with Conchita in the kitchen. Through the open window, she held out the crucifix to be kissed by the people who were outside . . . This crucifix belonged to a woman who was in the kitchen; she was afraid of losing it since it was a precious relic to her. She continually asked for it back. She became so demanding that Conchita ended up exclaiming, What an impertinent woman! Giver it to her once and for all; so that she will leave!
The crucifix was taken from Loli’s hand and given to the woman who was then very happy. Loli remained without a crucifix in front of the open window, her hands joined on her chest . . . Then she said, Conchita, the Virgin says that you should ask Father for the crucifix.
I was the only priest present, and this certainly was referring to me.
I then said to myself, If you don’t come to get it yourself, I’m not going to give it to you. And I remained standing there where I was, near to the kitchen entrance, my hands in my pockets.
I don’t have the habit of carrying a crucifix with me; but by chance on that day I had a little crucifix in my pocket. Then I grasped it tightly in my right hand, to see what would happen.
Had Conchita heard or rather had she understood what Loli had said? Perhaps, for she didn’t ask me anything. Then Loli, still in ecstasy, turned around and made her way toward me.
With an amazing movement of her right hand, with a stunning suppleness and an incredible agility, she put her right hand in the right pocket of my cassock. She opened up my hand, which was tightly clenched on the crucifix — opening it in spite of me — and she seized the crucifix.
Then I thought to myself, and said in my mind, Take it, take it! I don’t need further proof.
My excitement did not stop me from noticing that — while at other times the hands of the girls lost their warmth in ecstasy — this time Loli’s hand maintained its natural warmth.»


As a resumé of these times, we can transcribe
here the letter that Conchita wrote to the pastor of Barro on February 15th:
«Dear Father José Ramón,
Since you’ve left here, we haven’t heard any more about you. We don’t know if you are angry or if you are sick, since there’s a lot of flu here . . .
Today it is snowing; I’m coming now from praying the rosary at the Cuadro, and last night, at 8 o’clock, I had an apparition there. It was snowing very much, but I saw a clear sky. I wasn’t cold; my mother was shaking like a leaf . . .
The apparitions continue in the same way. María Dolores has many — some days more, and others less — but she sees her every day. Mari Cruz saw her every day during the week except for one or two days. Jacinta will see her on the 18th, which will make a month that she hasn’t seen her. Mari Cruz and I have had the apparitions for some time now in the Cuadro, but not every day at the same time. Loli sees her in the village, in the houses, and at the Pines . . . There is nothing more that I can say.»


Conchita certainly speaks in a natural and ordinary
way about things that are most extraordinary.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 133)

“Ecstatic marches”

Children on the March

It can be seen that during those days, God was
showing special attention to that old man, who was then at death’s door, as if attempting to assist him in his great step toward eternity: facing the meeting he would have with God.
How easily do men forget that we do not end like irrational animals, but that all of us are heading inexorably toward this great encounter, and that we cannot present ourselves there anyway we please. J. Staudinger writes in the introduction to his book The Holy Priesthood:
“The encounter of the soul with God starts eternity. In that hour, the person stands in total solitude. As helpless as when he came from the Hands of the Creator, he now appears before Him. The Creator and the creature meet for the first time in front of each other, face to face: God alone and the soul alone . . .
The only thing accompanying the person there will be what he has done during his life.
It will always be supreme wisdom to prepare for that hour . . . This is the most holy task of the Church; her special mission toward every human being is to prepare him for that final hour of encounter."
Poor Uncle Leoncio, Jacinta’s grandfather, blind and in extremis, stands in our story as a symbol of the frail human being in his final helplessness, when there is nothing to hope for from the world below, and only from the world above can help and comfort come. Attending to the dying will always be the highest work of Christian charity, a thing that the Church and those in the Church, cannot in any way forget.
And the girls, immersed in the deep mystery of Garabandal, did not forget. The case of Uncle Leoncio was not the only one in this regard. Nor was the episode of January 28th that we have just seen the only one with him.
We know, for example, that on January 30th, Conchita and Loli were in ecstasy towards 7:20 in the evening, and after having «prayed in the Cuadro, they visited the houses where the sick were, holding up the crucifix to be kissed and praying
with them.»
And on January 31st, after the rosary ended in the church, Mari Cruz went into ecstasy and «she walked through the village, visiting several houses where she gave the cross to be kissed. And she also went to the house of Jacinta’s grandfather, where she was with him about a quarter of an hour, praying and holding up the cross to be kissed . . . And a little later, Loli and Conchita did the same, and they were with him for a period of an hour; and they came back to the same place, and sat on the bed.»

The old man, semi-conscious, did not respond to the girls’ desire for him to kiss the crucifix, and they asked him, «Why don’t you kiss it? If you kiss it, the Virgin can restore your sight.» To that, the old man replied, «And what would I want my sight for?»
The episode concerning Uncle Leoncio ended a few days later with the end of his stay on earth. Among Fr. Valentín’s notes are found these, corresponding to February 8th:
«At 9 at night, Mari Loli went out of her home in ecstasy. She went to the home of Leoncio, who was laid out, and she held out the crucifix to be kissed by the persons who were there (almost the whole village). She prayed a station before the body and then left and went into other houses.»

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 132)

“The Virgin wants us . . .
to visit the Blessed Sacrament.”

In Waiting

At the end of Chapter II, it was shown that
together with the frigid winter season, there was a restriction in the ecstasies. Each girl had her days and had to wait the Virgin’s return with a proper disposition. In the letter just quoted, Mari Cruz wrote to Fr. José Ramon:
«Yes, I go to pray the rosary every day, at 6 in the morning. The Virgin told me to pray it every day at this time, until the 16th, when I will see her again.»


The day set aside for Loli was January 13th, and the child waited with great anticipation since she was more accustomed than the others to these favors. (I was not able to obtain any information about what occurred on that day.)
Jacinta’s day was January 18th, and it was not a happy one. Doctor Ortiz, who was present , wrote down:
«After she had her ecstasy, Jacinta exclaimed, Until February 18th, I will not see
her! Inconsolable, she could only repeat, I will not see her again for a month!»


On that same day, Mari Cruz and Mari Loli were
unexpectedly favored, as Doctor Ortiz mentions:

«They had an ecstasy at 6 in the evening. They went to the church, and from there to the home of Mari Cruz, holding up various articles to be kissed. Praying the rosary, they went out then to the calleja, where they finished the third mystery.
And afterward they went up to the Pines where they finished the rosary. The ecstasy ended about a quarter after eight.»


Conchita went long weeks awaiting her day, which
was the 27th of January.(8) A week before it, on January 20th, her aunt Maximina wrote to Dr. Ortiz in Santander:
«As you know, Conchita’s apparition will be on January 27th. She told me to urge you to come. She wants you to come. Perhaps during these days, she herself will write to you, although she is very negligent in this regard.»


From mid-January, the trances began again to
multiply, at least for Mari Loli. Maximina writes in her letter:
«María Dolores sees her very much. On Wednesday, I had Father José Ramón, the
priest from Barro, sleeping in my home At half past three there was a knocking on the door. I got up in a hurry and there was Loli in ecstasy. She gave me the crucifix to kiss, and afterwards gave it to the children.(9) Then she went upstairs and knelt in front of the picture of my husband. She stayed about five minutes praying for him, that he rest in peace. Afterwards she turned around on her knees and went to give the crucifix to the priest in bed to kiss. She left the room and went to give it to my father. After they left, the priest got up and went to accompany them through the village until it was over.»


What Maximina writes in her letter of January
20th concerning Loli’s nocturnal visit to her home, coincides amazingly with what the priest from Barro, Fr. José Ramón reports in his Memorias. Nevertheless, he definitely situates what happened on a night in August, that is, seven months later than the date mentioned in Maximina’s letter. The similarity of the reports is surprising and equally surprising is the disparity in the dates. Is it that one of the writers is mistaken, or does it refer to two different occurrences?(10)
The report of Father José Ramón has particular interest because of its copious detail and because it presents Loli’s visit at night to Maximina’s house as an answer to something that he had requested mentally before going to bed, as a proof of the supernatural truth of those unusual phenomena.

* * *

At last, the long-awaited January 27th arrived for
Conchita. She had her apparition. If it was an important one for her, we do not know. All we know are the few words that Fr. Valentín wrote down for the day (at least it is in his collection of notes pertaining to January):
«Conchita went into ecstasy in her home at 6:30 in the evening. She went out toward the church were she presented to the Vision — for kissing — the medals and rosaries that had been entrusted to her for this. Later, in the same state, she returned them to their owners without any mistakes. It ended at 8:20.»

Father Valentín then added something interesting:

«According to what I was told, since I was already in bed, Mari Loli had an apparition at 2:00 in the morning, and it ended at 2:30. Previously, while in the normal state, they had told her that there was a painter there who wanted to paint the Virgin. Following that, during the vision, the girl was heard to say, There is a painter here who wants to paint you . . . But so beautiful as you are, how can he do it!»


The painter in question was M. Calderón, well
known in Santander.

* * *

After this date, the apparitions began again to be
the order of the day, with the exception of Jacinta, who had to undergo a month of trial, as had been foretold to her.
Concerning the following day, January 28th, Dr. Ortiz wrote down:
«Conchita, in ecstasy, joined with María Dolores at the church door. There they began the rosary, and went from there to the home of Uncle Leoncio. (An old man of the village, who was unconscious and near death) They knelt down beside him and prayed, trying unsuccessfully to make him kiss the crucifix that they carried in their hands. They continued praying, and suddenly the sick man regained his consciousness and answered the prayers, something that astounded all of us.(11) The girls gave him the crucifix to kiss again, and he then kissed it. And then he said, I pray because I believe. And he lost consciousness again. With great signs of happiness, the girls got up and left.»(12)

8. On January 3rd, Conchita wrote to a niece of Doctor Ortiz:

«I won't see the Most Holy Virgin again until the 27th of
January. The time seems very long to me!»
And some weeks later, on January 19th, she says in another letter to the same recipient:
«You tell me to pray for you . . . But every day, when I go to pray, I pray for all the sick, and in particular for you . . . You also tell me that the wait until the 27th to see the Most Holy Virgin seems long. Well, take note of this! I'm counting all the days that remain. They are so long! And now I only need 9 more. »
9. Maximina was the aunt and godmother of Conchita. She had become a widow early in life, having two children from her marriage: a boy and a girl. The boy became a seminarian and studied in Comillas (Santander).

10. After having written this, I found the following in the Memorias of Fr. José Ramón:
«The visit to the room where I was sleeping happened twice: the time that I just mentioned at 3:45 in the morning; and another time equally early at 10 minutes to 4.»
11. Doctor Ortiz considered it miraculous, or close to a miracle, that the old man, so ill and in extremis, would react like this; he was actually in a coma.
12. «Conchita and María Dolores were together in ecstasy for two hours. A man was there who was sick, and furthermore he was deranged (senile). They went to the place where he was. Look, it was worth seeing how they acted with him. The disturbed man told them that he didn't want to kiss the crucifix. And as he didn't want to kiss it, they prayed a Station with him, and also six Our Fathers for all the sick. He prayed well, but they didn't make him kiss the crucifix, and the girls shed big tears. Afterwards, still in ecstasy, they went outside and went straight to the Pines. They prayed there a while, and came down and walked once again through the village, and went back up again. It was already 9:30 at night, completely dark, and if you could have seen where they went -—they were astonishing! Afterwards they came down with great speed, and we tried to stay with them . . . but it was a race! You know how they come down, with their heads turned backwards, without seeing anything. They walked again through the village and went to sing some songs at the home of Mari Cruz, who had gone to bed since she didn't have an apparition . . .»
(Maximina's letter to the Pifarré family, dated January 30, 1962)

Monday, June 22, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 131)

“The Virgin told us to obey our parents.”


PASSES . . .

In the book from the bible entitled The Song of Songs, there is a beautiful passage that poetically addresses a tryst for lovers, as winter wanes.

Arise, make haste,
My love, my dove,
My beautiful one, and come.
For winter is now past,
The rains are over and gone.
Flowers have appeared in our land;
Time for pruning is come;
The song of the dove is heard in our land.
(2: 10-12)

And it was during the winter…

The first part of our story has brought us up to
the first winter in Garabandal — a long cold winter of official suspicion and distrust, drenching rain and freezing snow.
The weather itself, joining with everything else, seemed to stand in the way of the mysterious and marvelous visits to the village — not in the way of the Visitor, but in the way of those at her destination. Her presence continued there, but in a reduced way, not according to the rhythm of the good days of before; but as if waiting for something to happen . . .
Characteristic of this first winter were the prayers of penance at inconvenient times, especially in the early hours of the morning, as has already been seen. Following her comments on the Communions from the hands of the Angel, Conchita consigned to her diary:
The Virgin told the four of us, Loli, Jacinta, Mari Cruz and myself, to go pray the rosary at the Cuadro.Some days we went at 6 o’clock (in the morning) and on other days, later.
Jacinta and Mari Cruz went at 6 in the morning and at 7; and Loli at no definite time.
Later, since it was not convenient for Mari Cruz to get up so early, she went at 8 o’clock.
And at 6 o’clock like us, Jacinta continued alone, with her mother and people from the village.
During Holy Week, the Virgin told me to go at 5 o’clock in the morning.
And so I went, since the Virgin always
wants us to do penance.The last days of 1961 were sanctified with these penitential prayers; and with them the first weeks of 1962 began to be sanctified.
On January 3rd, Jacinta wrote to the pastor of Barro, Fr. de la Riva:
«At this time, Mari Cruz and I go to pray the rosary to the Virgin. Yesterday we had bad weather in the morning. So much water came down the calleja that we almost couldn’t kneel down . . . Now, since there is no snow, everything is going well.»


With her maladroit expression, the girl meant to
say that her dawn rosary in the dark reveille of the second day of the year had been accompanied by a heavy downpour. The rain had fallen so heavily on the mountains that the water cascading down the calleja hardly left place for those saying their early morning prayers to kneel down.(1)
What a picture of penitential morning prayer! What a rosary that was, accompanied by the monotonous drumming of raindrops.
And thus, while winter passed — the harsh winter of the high mountains — the sacred flame of hope remained smoldering in the hearts of the people.

* * *

To keep the flame burning in the new year (which
was coming with so many unknowns), on its inaugural day, the 1st of January, something happened that could well have served as a sign of the future. Dr. Ortiz(2) of Santander recounts it:
«In the city I met Margarita Huerta,(3) who had come from Madrid with a group of people. Three of the girls went into ecstasy. And while they were walking together through the street above the plaza, in the direction of the church, it occurred to one of the people who was following them at a distance: If this is supernatural, let the girl in the middle come now to give me the crucifix to kiss.
The girl instantly withdrew from the others and came to give the crucifix to her to kiss. Only to her! She told us about it later, very excited.»

* * *

During those icy wintry days of January, an interesting
episode occurred. Aniceta described it without remembering the date.
One night, her son Cetuco,(4) who had been detained by his fiancee’s family, came home very late. Conchita had already had the calls; consequently the girl’s ecstasy could be expected at any moment . . . Aniceta never left her alone under these circumstances, especially at night; but on this occasion she could not wait up. She asked her son at the time not to go to bed but to remain with his sister because of what might happen. The young man agreed, although perhaps not with the best grace.
Toward 2:30, Conchita fell into ecstasy and left the house. Cetuco took a flashlight and followed her.
It was a white night — because of the heavy snow — and bitterly cold.

Skimming over the snow, Conchita made the difficult path to the Pines in haste . . . Cetuco forgot the cold in his efforts to follow her.
Sometime later, Aniceta warmly bundled herself up and went outside to see if she could join her children. The coldness was stunning; but still more stunning was the complete silence amid the faint brilliance of the snow . . .
When she finally arrived at the Pines, breathing heavily, the woman was struck speechless by the scene before her eyes: there on their knees in the snow were her two children praying. Conchita, absorbed in her vision, was leading the rosary;
Cetuco was devoutly responding. What else could Aniceta do but join in their prayer?
After awhile, the girl showed signs that she was getting up to walk. The mother then went ahead on the way down to clear out the path, pushing away the snow in the difficult spots . . . It was a useless precaution, since the girl — on her knees and
backwards — slid down over the white surface, as if following an invisibly marked path.
The extraordinary ecstatic march ended behind the mother’s house in the street or alley that — months later— would be the scene of the much discussed little miracle of the visible Communion.

* * *

The signs of penance, piety, and sacrifice that
characterized the first winter in Garabandal were not destined to be a temporary thing . . .
On a summer day in 1970, Fr. José Laffineur(5) was speaking to Jacinta in Garabandal:
Fr. Laffineur — Jacinta, on November 30, 1961, Mari Cruz wrote the pastor of Barro, I go to the Cuadro every day at 6 in the morning to recite the rosary. Jacinta accompanies me. Conchita goes out at 6 o’clock, and Loli at 8:30, but they pray it in the church . . .
Jacinta — That’s true, Father.

Fr. Laffineur — Were you all four faithful, during
such a cold winter in Garabandal, in spite of the rain, the snow, the ice?
Jacinta — Yes, Father.(6)

Fr. Laffineur — Then why haven’t you continued
doing it until the present?

Jacinta — Because the Virgin told us to obey
our parents.


What comes out from this conversation concerning
the parents’ influence — legitimate, of course — on the visionaries with respect to their practices of penance and piety, is corroborated by another confession which was recorded from the lips of Mari Cruz’ mother Pilar on July 25th, 1964:
«Look. When Father Amador(7) was present here, he told me that Mari Cruz shouldn’t go to pray in the calleja. And one morning I told my daughter this, that she shouldn’t go to pray at 6 o’clock — that Father Amador had said that she could go, if she wanted, at another hour.
One day I didn’t let her go any more; and she stayed in her bed upset . . . And afterwards she said to me, Mama, I’m not telling you to go with me. If you don’t want to go, don’t go. You are not obligated. But I HAVE TO GO.
On the following day I went to find Fr. Amador, who had just returned from a trip. And I said to him, Look Fr. Amador, this is what’s happening to me with the girl. She told me that if I don’t go, she would go alone . . .
He answered me, Let her go, let her go.»

It is evident that the girls were clearly conscious
of what was being asked from them; but that they were encountering difficulties in carrying it out.
They were at the time also adequately instructed about the primary end of their practices of piety and penance. Here is what Dr. Ortiz of Santander, an astute eye-witness, reports:
«During one of those days, I asked María Dolores after the ecstasy: What did the Apparition tell you?
She responded, The Virgin told me:

to make sacrifices for the sanctity of priests, so that they may lead many souls on the road to Christ;

that the world is worse each day and needs holy priests, in order that they may make many people return to the right way.
Previously, the Virgin told me to pray specially for priests so that they may want to remain, so that they may continue to be priests.»


The true meaning of these last words surely
escaped the girl, since in those days there was only a faint beginning — which she could not have known from her village — of what was soon going to develop into a massive clerical betrayal . . .
Vatican II (which, with its changes and loose atmosphere, would come to be the occasion of this betrayal) was at the time only an expectant dream of a beautiful future for a Church that had decided to update through a thorough renovation. John XXIII’s optimism had spread everywhere; and in order to aid him, everywhere there was prayer and work for the success of the great enterprise.
The news had come to the girls at Garabandal too, and they joined as well as they could in the common prayer . . . On January 11th, 1962, Mari Cruz wrote in her scribbly penmanship to the pastor of Barro:
«I know that the Virgin wants us to be very good and to visit the Blessed Sacrament. I wish that you would pray to the Virgin so that I may be better every day. When I saw the Virgin, I told her what you wrote to me, so that the Pope and those who are with him succeed well in the Council; also I gave it to the others to read, so that they may do likewise.»

1. Dr. Ricardo Puncernau, a renowned neuro-psychiatrist from Barcelona, writes in his recent leaflet Psychological Phenomena of Garabandal:
«Ceferino was a rather rough man due to his straightforwardness. He told me the following:
"It was during the winter. There were no visitors in the village. There was a light snowstorm and it was freezing cold. About 3 in the morning, I heard Mari Loli get up and get dressed.
— Where are you going now?
— The Virgin called me to the Cuadro.
— You are crazy, being cold as it is.
— The Virgin called me to the Cuadro . . .
-—To see if a wolf will leap on you . . . Do what you want . . . But your Mother and I won't come with you.
Mari Loli finished dressing, opened the door of the house and went to the Cuadro, about 200 meters from the village. If I had been sure it was the Virgin, I wouldn't have left my bed . . . The Virgin would have taken care of her . . . But since we weren't sure, my wife and I got up and we made our way toward the Cuadro.

We found her in the middle of a snowstorm, on her knees in a trance.
It was hellishly cold.

Expecting to find her frozen, I slapped her cheeks. They
were warm, as if she had never left the covers of her bed.
We were there more than an hour, suffering in the cold while she remained very happy, speaking with her Vision. To see it her parents had to do penance."

That is essentially what Ceferino told me one night while we were sitting on a bench in his tavern.»

2. This name should be familiar to the reader because of the many times that it has been mentioned in these pages.
3. This woman who was a government worker in Madrid would later become one of the most effective proponents and spreaders of the cause of Garabandal.
4. Cetuco (a nickname of Aniceto) was the second son of Aniceta. He was to die in early youth — with an exemplary death — in a hospital at Burgos in 1966.
5. This Belgian priest who lived in France was discussed in a previous footnote.
6. Jacinta is accurate according to her father Simón, an honest man of few words. In 1976 he told me:
«For 6 months we continued going to the calleja to pray the rosary every day at 6 in the morning. I accompanied the girl with an umbrella.»
7. As shown in the second chapter of Book Two, Fr. Amador was the priest whom the diocesan chancery officials in Santander assigned to the village of Garabandal in the autumn of 1961. He was their substitute for Fr. Valentín on whom they had imposed a vacation with the intention of curing him of his supposed inclination in favor of the apparitions.
When did Fr. Amador arrive? I cannot give the exact date. In the notes of Fr. Valentín, there is an intermission that goes from the last days of October, 1961 until January 27, 1962.
The day after that, January 28th, we have a note from Dr. Ortiz saying «Conchita, in her ecstasy at 7:10, was heard to say, Fr. Valentín asked me if the village wants him.» This can be seen as a very human question after his exile.