Friday, July 31, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 160)

"the Sacred Host appeared on her tongue."

We have what Alejandro Damians from Barcelona experienced and put down in writing. First of all he tells about the unusual circumstances on starting out on his journey, which only was decided on at the last hour on Monday, July 16th. Concerning these circumstances, Mr. Damians says there was . . .
« . . . a detail which was destined to be of the greatest importance. Before leaving Barcelona, my cousin lent me a friend's movie camera, giving me brief instructions on how it should be operated, since my knowledge in these things was absolutely nil.
I passed almost all of July 18th near to Conchita's house with my wife, a friend, several priests, and some other people.
Two circumstances joined together to cause doubt as to whether or not the hoped-for prodigy would take place: the atmosphere of fiesta that reigned in the village and the presence of priests. (It was known that normally the Angel did not come to give Communion if there were priests in the village who could do it.)
And so, between doubts, wishful thinking, boredom and hope, the long day went by. The discouragement and the lack of belief were general when we saw that, by the clock, July 18th had ended without anything happening. But toward 1:00 at night, after some had started to leave the village, there spread the news that, according to the solar time, the day would not end until 1:25 in the morning.(53)
A little later they asked those of us who were in Conchita's house to leave, and I stayed at the door in company with a friend of the family to prevent the entrance of other people. From my place of watching I held in my view the kitchen and the stairway that led to the upper floor, where Conchita was.
There the ecstasy took place; but we didn't learn about it until we saw her coming down the stairway with that classical attitude in which her features are softened and embellished in an extraordinary way.
As she stepped out the door, the waiting crowd opened just enough space to permit her passage, and immediately closed in around her like an overflowing river. I saw people fall on the ground and get stepped on by the others. To my knowledge, no one was injured. But the sight of that fantastic multitude on the run, pushing one another, couldn't have been more terrifying.(54)
I also had intended to follow Conchita; but five or six meters of heads were between the two of us. From time to time I distinguished her by the light from the flashlights, but without good visibility. She had barely gone outside when she turned to the left. Then she swerved to the left again. And right there in the center of the street, which is rather wide, she fell suddenly on her knees.
Her fall was so unexpected that the thrust of the crowd, by the force of inertia, pushed the people several meters beyond her. Thus, unexpectedly, I saw myself suddenly to the right and less than half a meter from her face. I firmly withstood the shoving of those coming from behind, and I succeeded in not being displaced from the privileged place in which I had fallen.
There was a relative calm. I should point out that, slightly before the middle of the night, the clouds previously covering the sky dissipated. And a multitude of stars began to shine around the moon. By their light and the numerous flashlights that lit up the street, I could clearly see Conchita with her mouth open and tongue extended, in the normal position for receiving Communion. She was more beautiful than ever! Her expression, her gestures, far from provoking laughter or being ridiculous, were of impressive and moving mysticism.
Soon, without being able to say how, without Conchita having changed her position or expression in the least, the Sacred Host appeared on her tongue.
It is impossible to describe the sensation that I felt at that moment! And that I still feel today on remembering it. It was something that engorged the heart in the chest, overflowing it with sweetness, and that made the eyes water with an almost uncontainable need to cry.(55)
Later they told me that Conchita had been immobile some two minutes, with the Sacred Host on her tongue, until she swallowed it normally. And then she kissed the crucifix that she carried in her hand.
I was unaware of the time that passed by. I only remember, as if in a dream, the voices that were shouting for me to stoop down. And I also remember feeling a hard whack on my head.
Then I remembered that I was carrying the motion picture camera around my neck. And without paying attention to the complaints, I remained standing, focused the camera, pressed the trigger, and filmed the last moments of Conchita's Communion. I had never before taken a picture; I barely remembered my cousin's instructions. It seemed doubtful that anything would result from this. And furthermore, there was — I noticed this later — the fact that the visibility was totally inadequate, since I had to operate by light from flashlights.
When the roll came back from being developed, I found myself with almost a new miracle: on the film appeared 79 photographs filming the scene. The shoving of the people surrounding me had caused me to be unsuccessful in centering the picture well on many of the frames; but several had taken the picture with complete accuracy.(56)
I don't know what most people think of all these things, nor the decision that the Church will adopt. The only thing of which I can be sure — and I hold this without any kind of doubt — is that on July 18th, 1962, in San Sebastián de Garabandal, two miracles occurred. The first, Conchita's Communion, displayed a supernatural character of enormous proportions; the second, very small showed proof of the infinite condescension of the Virgin toward me, because only through her condescension was I able to be present so close to the prodigy and have it clearly impressed on my film.»

53. It seems that there has been excessive attention put on determining if the moment of the miracle fell or did not fall within the chronological limits of July 18th. Those who are in favor of the miracle have made some distinctions between official time and sun time. Those who were opposed, like the Commission, saw the hour as one more proof of deceit. In the questionnaire sent to Father Etelvino González, there was a double question; «What hour was it? Had July 18th already passed?» I would ask if it had not occurred to the Commission that this difficulty of the time, rather than being opposed, speaks in favor of the authenticity of the miracle. If the affair had been staged by the girl and her accomplices, they would have taken great care to keep within the limitations of the announcement so that no one could have anything to criticize, and the scene would have occurred definitely within the time predicted. The actual happening shows that neither the will of the girl, nor the impatience of those who surrounded her, had any effect.

In this episode at Garabandal, similar to what has so often
occurred in the Bible, things and sayings have to be understood according to common opinion. And in the understanding of people who do not live by a clock, the days are separated simply the night; the day itself begins with getting up in the morning and lasts until going to bed again.
54. In this near riot, the Commission wanted to find further proofs against Garabandal, as another question of their questionnaire shows:
Was the climate of shoving, rushing, jostling, etc. proper for a Eucharistic event?
Fr. Etelvino responded without much perspective:
«No. It seems to me it would be rather improper for several reasons.»
I would remind both him and the members of the Commission about what so often occurred around Jesus; for example in the episode of the woman with the hemorrhage. (Luke 8: 33-45)
Certainly reverence and proper decorum are required for a proper relationship with God; but this is not easy to be maintained when strong feelings pull on people. Fortunately God is more understanding than men.
55. I recently heard the impression of another qualified witness: Pepe Díez.
He told me that what he has always described about the miracle of the host is the actual thing that he personally observed very close up . . . But he also said that whenever he described it, it seemed that what he said did not actually correspond to the reality, since everything that he could say did not come close to what there was; it was only a pale reflection.
He could find no words to express what he had experienced.

While observing the thing on that night, he was neither nervous
nor excited, but in control of himself and engaged only in observing with the greatest attention. It was only when it was all over that he felt a tremendous sensation; the thrill of experiencing something that could not be repeated in his lifetime.

56. Some of these pictures are well known since they have
appeared in various publications about Garabandal.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 159)

Pepe Díez

It seems that the official Commission in Santander first of all doubted the actuality of the fact of the Host on Conchita's tongue, attributing it to suggestion, madness or the collective hysteria of those who saw it. Afterwards, in the face of irrefutable proofs, especially the photographic pictures that had been taken, they maintained a hypothesis of fraud: Conchita, aided by others, had put this over with great talent . . .
In the questionnaire presented weeks later to Fr. Etelvino González, there is a collection of questions from which it can be seen that the Commission took seriously the many things that were said about the peculiar circumstances around the miracle. Their questions themselves clearly reveal this:
«Is it true that Conchita and her cousin Luciuca Fernández González didn't stop laughing nervously and playing with their hands?

At midnight did you see her write some words
to her Uncle Elías González Cuenca?

Is it true that on the back of the paper she drew two feminine figures?

Did you identify them as Luciuca and Conchita?

Is it true that on the drawing Luciuca brought her hand to Conchita's mouth?

Is it true that Conchita avoided being accompanied by the priests present there?

At 1:20, did her mother tell her to change her dress?

With regard to this, did Conchita go upstairs?

Who were the persons there upstairs?

What purpose could her going upstairs have?

How long did she delay in coming down?

On coming down, did she go back into the kitchen?

Did she come down in rapture?

Did she have her mouth closed?

Did she cover it with the crucifix?

Did you notice anything strange in her mouth?

We do not know the answers to any of these questions.
Fr. Etelvino answered only the ones we have previously mentioned, and refrained from responding to these with excellent reasons:
«I don't know because at the time I was absent from the house. At that time I didn't hear anything about the writing or the drawing; I heard about it days later from people who said they had heard it discussed by a priest.»
The last question of the Commission was this:

— «Could the possibility of fraud be considered?»
The Dominican father answered simply:

— «I think that's not impossible.»

But we can well think that the Commission,
with all these questions, had determined not just the simple possibility, but the actual probability that the alleged motions of Conchita had been designed to stage the miracle with the aid of her uncle and cousin. Taking advantage of some of her comings and goings, the girl had secretly put what she had prepared in her mouth, and thereupon the ecstasy began . . .
What is it that they could have prepared? A question from the Commission puts it down specifically:
«The “host," could it have been a piece from a game of Bristol, a wafer made from flour, a pharmaceutical product?»

Fr. Etelvino answered:

— «I've never seen a Bristol piece so thick, but it well could have resembled a wafer made of flour.»

* * *
So many and such labored allegations can be easily torn down, since it was shown that at the moment of the Communion, when the girl opened her mouth and held out her tongue, the tongue appeared completely bare, and then . . .

Several premier witnesses say something overwhelming in this regard; but the Commission has never called them to testify or given any credence to their testimony.

The stonemason of the village, José Díez Contero, familiarly called Pepe Díez, enjoyed a privileged position for minutely following the Communion, since he was at Conchita's one side, holding her arm and protecting her, while her brother Miguel was on her other side. And Pepe Díez never tires of explaining — with remarkable forcefulness — how he illuminated the girl's mouth with his flashlight very carefully during the time before and after she opened it:

«When I saw that she held out her tongue, and that there was nothing at all on it, I had, I think, the worst moment in my life. Oh heavens! — I said to myself — This is terrible. Nothing is seen here! And on saying this, I lit up the whole interior of her mouth with my flashlight. Suddenly without the girl moving her tongue in the least — in a most unexplainable way — there appeared on top of it, as if suddenly coming forth, a white, round thing, which seemed to grow . . . I don't know how long it lasted; perhaps two or three minutes.»

Conchita's brother Miguel, who was on the other side of the girl, was able to make the same meticulous observations that Pepe Díez made. Serafín, her older brother, could not come to Garabandal on July 18th, but he returned a few days later. Miguel went to greet him, and as soon as the two brothers met, the question came up:

What happened with the miracle of the Host?

— I swear it's true. I saw it. I saw perfectly how she held out her tongue, bare without anything on it, and without putting it inside, a white Host suddenly came forth.

Are you really sure?

— Completely. I swear it was so.

Well, it's enough for me that you say it.

A long time later, during one of Fr. Laffineur's stays(49) in Garabandal, he and Serafín were speaking about the miracle of the Host, and of its closest witnesses . . .

FATHER LAFFINEUR — For me, the real witness is Pepe Díez.

SERAFIN — I'm not going to argue about it; but for me, the real witness is Miguel, my brother. Perhaps you don't see it that way, since he's Conchita's brother . . . But look. Out in the fields, in the places where we had to go to work, Miguel and I spoke about this miracle many times. He has always told me that he saw it perfectly; that the miracle was true. He held Conchita by one arm and Pepe Díez held the other when she fell on her knees for the Communion.

The whole family's honor is at stake in regard to the truth of this happening. Miguel knows it, and considering his character, if he holds it with such firmness against the opinions of so many people, it's because he's very sure there was no fraud.(50)


In spite of this, neither Miguel nor Pepe Díez made a report to the bishop's Commission. Two other of the witnesses did not make a report either: a farmer from the neighboring country, Benjamín Gómez; and an industrial worker from a distant city, Alejandro Damians.

The first of these, Benjamín Gómez, was not given to religious fervor as he admitted:(51)

«Prior to being in Garabandal, I was not what I am now. Let us not say that I didn't believe in God, since sometimes I thought about those things; but I put it aside, as if it had no importance. Was it my age? Was it my weak head? The fact is that now I feel differently. And this change began here.(52) In my opinion, things have happened here that are divine — that are not of this world.»


Benjamín Gómez was a native of Liébana; but he had lived for years in Pesués, downstream from Puenta Nansa. News had soon come to him of the unusual things that were happening in San Sebastían de Garabandal. And one day he finally decided to go up to the place. At the beginning, he did not attract attention by doing this — there were so many who were going there! But it did not take long until townspeople began to talk about his devotion and started making jokes about him, and at times harassed him — even the pastor, who was opposed to Garabandal.

Garabandal attracted Benjamín. But that did not change the deficiency in his practice of religion:

«In spite of coming, I was still holding back, and missing Mass on Sunday didn't matter to me . . . until it came to July 18th.

I remember it well. After midnight, many people began to leave; I was glad they left, since it would be easier to see. It was well past one o'clock and I was waiting near Conchita's house when the young girl came out. A little later she fell on her knees in ecstasy, and I was able to be very near to her, and to see everything at leisure.

The young girl opened her mouth, but in no hurry. She was in no hurry for anything there. She opened her mouth, I say, and I set myself to watch with all my attention. I committed the rudeness of not allowing others to see. I recognized this, but I wanted to check everything well . . . I looked into her open mouth again and again; and neither on the top of her mouth, nor beneath her tongue, nor in any part of her mouth could anything be seen. There was nothing there at all!

The tongue was like this, without anything; and then the Host appeared suddenly, and was seen by everyone for some time, sufficient time so that all who were there would see. I saw it well.

The color could not be compared with anything. It seemed most like snow when the sun rises and gives it splendor in the blinding light. But it was not quite that way; it was white, like I have never seen anything whiter . . . I stayed still and continued to watch. Finally she closed her mouth and left the place still in ecstasy.

I swear before God and all the saints that what I say is true.»


48. Naturally, I do not criticize the Commission for trying to bring all the hidden elements out into the open; I criticize their actions for not being open, actions which have given reason to think that they were only interested in confirming adverse points, only calling for testimony and accepting it from those who were able to present something unfavorable.
49. This Belgian priest who lived in France is already well known to the reader; he died on November 28th, 1970.

50. Father Laffineur’s statement was given in a conference at Saragossa on December 8th, 1968.

51. Benjamin Gómez has spoken many times with almost the same words about his extraordinary experience at Garabandal. Here we are following the report that was recorded on a tape recorder by a man in Santander.

52. The event of July 18th left a definite mark on Benjamín. His religious life prior to this could be well described by what he himself said: «I went 23 years without going to confession . . . I didn’t concern myself with God except to blaspheme Him . . .»

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 158)

Miracle or Fraud?

This fact cannot be denied or evaded: that a Host
was seen on Conchita's tongue like those used for Communion. But is this fact enough to call it an authentic miracle?
For some, a miracle was unquestionable from the first moment; for others, doubts began immediately and have not yet dissipated.
As men debate about the works of men, they are inclined to debate about the works of God, too. And to God this does not seem to matter, since He never takes away all the problems in such a way that disbelief and resistance to belief would be impossible. He never forces us to believe. We are merely given adequate information and sufficient leads to bring us to an attitude of faith based on good reasonable logic.
Whoever avoids searching into obscure areas ends up finding total security. The rich man of the parable said to the patriarch Abraham, If Lazarus, risen from the dead, goes to my brothers, they will not refuse his testimony. The patriarch (and it was Jesus Himself who spoke through him) answered: If they do not accept Moses and the prophets, they will not accept one who has risen from the dead either.
And so on the night of the milagrucu began the doubts, the suspicions, the twisted interpretations.
Conchita was told to remain with her tongue extended after having received the Host, until . . .
. . . the Virgin would come.
And I did it like this.
And when the Virgin came, she told me:
They all still do not believe.

The girl found out the truth of this as soon as she
returned to her house, once the long trance had ended. For the trance was long; the Communion was only the beginning.
While many were keeping watch around the girl's home, hoping for what might happen there (and these were the ones who saw, some well, some not so well, the things just described), others situated themselves in the calleja, thinking that there, at the site of so many other miraculous happenings, Conchita's miraculous Communion would transpire.
Among these was Luis Navas; expectantly he ran to the Cuadro, seeking to secure the best observation point. But there he had to wait, although he tried to do it with resignation:
«I expressed» — he wrote — «my resignation to the Virgin while waiting there, If we don't have the good fortune to see the miracle, at least let it be realized! I didn't want to think of the consequences that would result from the non-realization of the predicted miracle, or the methods that might be adopted by the Commission, reticent from the start to admit any possibility of the apparitions being supernatural.
When Conchita came to the Cuadro . . . (As we have seen, the Virgin appeared to her after the Communion. Then began an ecstatic march, whose first stop was apparently the Calleja, where the lawyer from Palencia was waiting with the other people.) . . . I didn't know whether she had received Communion. But I noticed that she held her mouth open. I saw this clearly since I found myself in the advantageous position that I had secured previously in case there would take place there, as was probable, the miracle that everyone was awaiting.
After being there some time, the visionary descended backwards toward the village, and I followed her with difficulty through the streets, since I had lost my glasses. It was at that time that I learned that she had already received Communion, and how it had occurred. There was nothing more for me to do than ask pardon for having doubted at the last hour, and to accept not having seen anything.
During the ecstasy, the visionary went in front of the church twice,(45) prayed the rosary through the streets,(46) visited the cemetery, and on returning from there, had barely passed over the little brook when she knelt down and advanced in this position about 50 meters. Finally she sang the Salve and went to conclude the vision where it had begun almost two hours previously, but not before offering the many articles placed on the kitchen table to be kissed.»


It was at this time that the girl began to see evidence
of what the Virgin had mentioned when she appeared to the girl after Communion: All still do not believe.
She was . . . as anyone would be after an extraordinary favor from heaven. We know this through reliable testimony. The Commission had asked in its questionnaire:
«Is it true that Conchita, on returning home, smiled and avoided questions? Was she agitated?»
Fr. Etelvino answered:

— «She was calm when I saw her . . . She spoke calmly and happily.»

Among the people in Conchita's kitchen at the end of the ecstasy was Dr. Ortiz's wife. She remembers that they were telling the girl:
How happy you must be Conchita! Finally the miracle has come.

Yes, but the Virgin told me that many, in spite
of seeing it, do not believe . . . And I think one of these is Plácido.
At that moment, Plácido arrived. The girl smiled broadly and said to him:

You, you don't believe?

Not much — the man replied, trying in vain
to smile.(47)
Plácido Ruiloba had been pushed away by the crowd and could not see the Host with his own eyes. Afterwards the Franciscan Fr. Justo, who had seen it and was full of doubts, relayed to him what he felt . . .
Dr. Ortiz's wife heard Fr. Justo speaking to Fr. Bravo:

— I was tempted to take the Host with my hand,
to see if it was real . . .

— Didn't that seem to be tempting God?

A Franciscan father, Father Justo, didn't believe what he had seen.
And he said to the people that he hadn't seen it, that it was a lie, that it was I
who had done this . . .In the writings of Luis Navas are these lines:
«In the days prior to July 18th Conchita had expressed her concern that many people would not witness the event, and as a consequence would not believe it . . . This prediction was verified because some didn't except it (the presentation of the miracle seemed too much to them), because many didn't see it, and because for other reasons the people in general were rather cold . . . And I think that during the time before the miracle was accomplished everyone doubted, more or less, that it would take place.»

Soon the Commission at Santander was deluged
with a flood of comments, suspicions, and questions, all coming from the unconvinced.

And it was not hard for the Commission to think
that there had been no miracle.

But something had definitely happened, because of
which there was no other way out than to seek to offer explanations. The Commission members thought that by seeking evidence against Garabandal they were fulfilling their duty; but the rest of us might think that they did not accomplish another duty, a first and more important one: to be there at the place of the event, following everything that was occurring from the best point of observation.
The Commission members assert their right to speak out publicly and express their opinions on the events. That being the case, the least that could be asked of them would be to be there in the forefront of everyone else following, observing, and studying the events. It was not this way!
The letter in which Conchita invited them to be present at Garabandal on the 18th of July may or may not have been inspired by God; nevertheless those called had a serious obligation not to lose an occasion (that could well have been of great importance) to bring more light on the complete study that was entrusted to them. Instead of this, initially they showed no concern. Later when collecting information from witnesses, by design they soughtonly witnesses from whom they expected unfavorable testimony.
What would have happened if the responsible persons in the diocesan chancery had been at the appointed spot on the day fixed by God?

God can perform things very well without man; but the History of Salvation shows us how certain divine designs have gone astray because of lack of human cooperation. God does not have to yield to our desires . . . How often He could say to us: Since you attempt to come to the light through your own ways, and not through Mine, you will remain in the darkness!
On July 18th, 1962, a thing that could have decisively clarified the mystery of Garabandal ended by leaving it like it was, or perhaps even more obscure. Whose fault was this?

* * *

45. Luis Navas noted something that particularly attracted his attention: the «open mouth of Conchita»; but he does not give more detail. Nevertheless, there are other testimonies that speak of something very remarkable in this regard.

Félix Gallego, a doctor from Polanco (Santander), tells how
he, while going with the girl toward the church after the miracle, saw perfectly a halo of light in the back of her open mouth. That same night, on returning to his home in Polanco, he wrote down a report that days later he gave to Father Valentín for him to take, if it seemed useful, to his superiors at the chancery.

And I myself was able to receive an unequivocal testimony
from a woman from Madrid, María Paloma Fernández- Pacheco de Larrauri. She had come to the village in the early morning of July 18th, and was spending the day waiting like so many others . . . When Conchita finally left her house in ecstasy, this woman, who had been waiting a long time outside, could not follow her because of the commotion and the people throwing themselves on top of her. Resigned and silent, she went down another street and was walking aimlessly when she perceived, muffled and far away, the noise of those who were coming with the visionary. Soon above the noise that was breaking the silence of the night, she heard a woman shout excitedly: Oh! She’s carrying it in her mouth!

She rushed toward the sound and found there, at the entrance
of the church, a spectacle that she will never be able to forget. Within the churchyard in the middle of the people who had arranged themselves in a wide circle, or perhaps rather a rectangle, Conchita was moving in ecstasy. Flashlights were converging on her with their beams of light, but surpassing that light was another light which shone from the mouth of the girl with an unusual resplendence.

Mrs. Paloma succeeded in situating herself well on the left
side of the courtyard and was able to observe perfectly, for some minutes, this extraordinary phenomenon in front of her. «It was» — she said — «as if in the center of her wide-open mouth, on the tongue of the child, there were a host or "forma" of concentrated light, around which radiated a little halo of light of a different kind.»
This phenomenon was definitely observed by other persons too, some of whom did not want to talk about it for fear of being considered hysterical or subject to hallucinations.
46. Conchita wrote, And she told me to pray the rosary, and I prayed it.

47. According to a witness’ report, Plácido said then to Conchita: «Liar! You’ve deceived us!»
Undisturbed, the girl replied with a smile: «The Virgin told
me: In spite of everything, some do not believe!»

Monday, July 27, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 157)

“a white body of the same size and shape as the hosts used for Communion”

We have a brief report that gives this something as it happened internally, as further reports will describe it as seen externally.
At two o'clock, the Angel appeared to me in my room.
In my home were my mother Aniceta, my brother Aniceto, and an uncle, Elías, and a cousin, Luciuca, and a person from Aguilar, María del Carmen Fontaneda.
And the Angel was with me for a while(42) and he told me, as on other days:
Pray the "I Confess" and think of Whom you are going to receive.
And I did this. And afterwards he gave me Communion.
And after giving me Communion, he told me to say the "Soul of Christ,"
And to make my thanksgiving,
And to hold out my tongue with the Sacred Host,
Until he left and the Virgin came.
And I did this.

We cannot designate the exact time that Conchita's
ecstasy started. We have just seen that she said, at 2 o'clock, but her chronometric accuracy cannot be trusted. All the witnesses agree that the affair happened some time after July 18th ended, after one o'clock at night. the concordance of information from several witnesses makes it certain that the disputed trance began between 1:30 and 1:40.
A little before it started, Conchita, who had gone down for a while to the kitchen, went up again to the upper floor. One of the persons there, Dr. Ortiz' wife, says this expressly:
«After a while, Conchita went upstairs again, and a little while later, I saw her come down with her hands joined.»


In her room upstairs for almost an hour was a man not easily disposed to religious fervor: Elías
González Cuenca. Although he was Conchita's carnal uncle he did not have much faith in his niece, nor did he maintain cordial relations with her family. Let us hear his testimony.
«It was after 12:30. I was drinking beer with someone at Elena's house when we heard a commotion in the crowd. And at the time, I went in its direction and entered her house — to see mischievously if I would see something that I didn't like. She is my niece by blood; but even so, I think that there have been three times that I have gone in there. I was with her in her house about an hour. She, her mother, her brother Cetuco, a little girl and I were praying. And later her mother went down to the kitchen leaving the four of us alone.(44)
After a while, her brother said, Do you see what time it is? It is today already. Nothing!

And Conchita answered, The time has not yet passed.

A few minutes later she fell into ecstasy. We were seated on her bed, and she was speaking with us when suddenly she fell there to the side of me against the door.»


Soon the girl got up, left her room and began to
descend majestically down the stairway. Dr. Ortiz' wife stated:
«I saw her go down with her hands joined in front of her chest, her head turned backwards, her mouth slightly open, and with an expression of marvelous happiness!»


Father Bravo, a professor from the University of
Comillas, a specialist in the spiritual life, looking at the young girl transfigured like this, could only repeat, How marvelous! How marvelous!
Those that were in the house intended to follow close to Conchita as she went outside. However, they found themselves prevented by the masses of people who were waiting impatiently, and literally threw themselves on top of her, seeking to get the best place for observation.
Dr. Ortiz' wife stated: «I went out on the street and I couldn't follow her.»

Uncle Elías said, «I went out after her into the crowd; but they knocked me down.»

And they pushed Father Bravo so much that he was almost bowled over; he had to forget being in the first ranks. Miguel, Conchita's brother, and some other husky young men attempted to protect the girl as she walked.
Luis Navas wrote:
«It was 15 or 20 minutes before two in the morning, when just after going out in the street, and no farther than turning a corner to the left — in the place least expected — in front of the house of her friend Olguita, the visionary fell on her knees and the Communion took place. It was a wet place, hardly agreeable, since at times dirty water from the homes was dumped there.»


The visionary was removed from all this, being
unaware of her own movements and positions; the only thing that she knew was that:
The angel appeared to me in my room . . . etc.It is indisputable that in the girl's open mouth and upon her graciously extended tongue there was seen for some time the white Host of Communion, since testimony of this has been signed and sworn to by many witnesses . . . Although it was in the middle of the night, the scene and the protagonist were adequately illuminated.
Concerning this, there is a report that has special value because of the situation of its proponent and because of the official nature of his testimony. The questions were put in writing by the Commission at Santander through a diocesan prelate, and the answers were also given in writing by the Dominican previously mentioned: Fr. Etelvino González.
«What time was it? Had July 18th passed?

— It was exactly a quarter to two in the early morning of July 19th.

Was there sufficient light?

— Yes. There was a full moon. Furthermore,
there were many flashlights around the girl even before the object predicted appeared on her tongue. I myself, with my back to her (from a distance of about a meter), on hearing the shout, “The Host!", turned around in front of her, focusing on my flashlight on her open mouth.
— Did you see something in her mouth like the Host used for Communion?
— Yes. With complete certainty.

Before it was in the girl's mouth, did you
see the Host outside of it, for example in the hands of the supposed angel, while she was making the sign of the cross, or in the path from the hands of the angel to the mouth of the girl?
— As I had my back turned, trying to hold back the crowd, I didn't see it appear.

What was the host like?

— The object was a white body of the same size
and shape as the Hosts used for Communion; perhaps somewhat thicker. It gave the impression of being somewhat spongy and it adhered perfectly to her tongue.
How long did the phenomenon last?

— I estimate about 45 seconds; perhaps 60.

Did you hear the girl speak with the alleged
angel? What did he say?

— I didn't see or hear her speak.

What effects did this cause in you?

— I distinguished three periods:

A) With my back to the girl, on hearing the shout: “The Host! Miracle!" I turned around, not believing it was true.
B) On seeing It with my eyes, I was impressed and completely absorbed in the examination of the “Host."
C) Finally, I attempted to impose silence and reverence (since there was obviously the presence of the white body with characteristics similar to the Hosts of Communion.)»

42. It must be remembered that the long periods of time in ecstasy seemed minutes to the girls. And it is also to be remembered that they could move long distances in their trances and make long swift walks without losing the sensation of being still in the same place. Since they did not leave the light that enveloped their field of vision, they did not have the normal faculty to sense the change of locations.
43. This was recorded on a tape recorder.

44. Father Etelvino González had left for awhile since after
10:30 Conchita had indicated to those present, You can go eat if you wish, giving them to understand that what they were expecting was not going to take place for awhile.

Friday, July 24, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 156)

“The miracle would come.”

In summary, it appears that the girls, with the exception of their visions, were not distinguishable from other girls of the village, and didn't show the influence of anything that wasn't natural, something that amazed people.
It was the same with regard to their daily chores. I remember that one early morning we had gone to bed at 6:00 a.m. in broad daylight; and at 10:00 María Dolores was in church, assisting at Mass. A little later I watched as she made repeated trips from the fields to her home, carrying enormous stacks of hay on her shoulders. I was able to take pictures.
On the evening of July 17th, I noticed that Mari Loli was missing at the rosary. When we left, her mother was walking around searching for her with a worried look. A young boy and I went up to the Pines in case she could be found there following some call; but all that was there were the nine trees, like sentinels in the night. After we returned to the village, María Dolores was found in the home of some friends from Aguilar de Campoo where — absorbed in conversation — the time had passed without her noticing it. Her father scolded and punished her; it hurt me to see such chagrin in that little child, the instrument which Our Lady had used to give me so many and such unmerited signs of love. But Loli must have understood her father's reasons; since if her face appeared hurt, no sign of protest or rebellion against the one exercising authority could be found on it.»

Awaiting the Hour

This brief notation by Luis Navas Carrillo gives
us an idea of the atmosphere in Garabandal on the evening of July 17th, 1962:
«During the day, countless cars had come. The houses were full, making it very difficult to find a bed in which to sleep. Once again many people used the stables for sleeping.»


But many gave up their sleep in order not to miss
the scenes on that night, which was almost completely occupied by vigils and ecstasies. Jacinta's came first; later, at 5:15 in the morning, with the first rays of dawn, came Mari Loli's ecstasy. She was initially at the Cuadro, and later made her way toward the church, accompanied by a group of people— Luis Navas among them:
«I went ahead to enter the church and I saw a visiting priest, already dressed in the sacred vestments, who was getting the altar ready to say Mass. He couldn't hide the surprise that the unexpected coming of that parade caused him and began to say, Don't enter! Don't enter! As if the girl's entrance would bring upon him some grave responsibility!
His fears ended immediately since the visionary, despite the door being open, stopped at the entrance, and falling on her knees there, came out of the trance. I remember at that time, as on other occasions after the time when the ecclesiastical authorities ordered the church doors closed during the girls' ecstasies, that they stopped at the entrance of the church, and at times were heard to whisper, Oh what doesn't the bishop want? They always adopted an attitude of complete obedience and submission.»


The day of July 18th, which began in such an
unusual way, continued with a climate much different from other days. For the visitors, there was the special waiting for the miracle predicted by Conchita; for the villagers, there was the special fiesta, the big celebration of the year, when they met again with their distant relatives and friends, the day on which all the houses were full of happy people wearing their best clothes and eating lavishly. Officially the feastday was to honor St. Sebastián, patron saint of the village, who was martyred by being pierced with arrows. For some time, the feastday had been moved from January 20th, the actual feastday of the saint, to this date in July (a holiday in Spain) in order to allow better weather and opportunity for the arrival of relatives and guests.
«Well into the morning» — said Luis Navas — «we assisted at a chanted high Mass, in which 3 priests officiated;(33) the sermon was preached by a friend of mine from Burgos, who was stationed in San Vicente de la Barquera.(34) It was beautiful to see so many Communions, especially with the strangers who had come for the miracle; the Hosts had to be broken into particles.»


At noon the festive atmosphere reached its peak.
But as the afternoon hours waned, impatience and unrest began to increase among those waiting . . . Nothing was happening, nor were there any signs that something was going to happen!
«As time passed» — wrote Luis Navas — «our restlessness grew, until it came to reach a level of actual anguish as the afternoon wore on.
We blamed the dance(35) as the cause of the delay, and perhaps the failure of the prodigy to take place; and full of confusion, we made a multitude of conjectures . . . I personally was not asking anything for myself since I had no need of a miracle to believe in the apparitions.
However, it deeply grieved me that, since what had been predicted was not happening, the good opinions of countless people, principally those who had come for the first time to Garabandal, were being put down together with their faith. I couldn't forget the episode of October 18th, and at that time, the girls hadn't predicted any prodigy!»


In order to better support his hopes during the
anguishing wait, as Mr. Navas wrote:
«I kept in my mind that days previously the visionary had addressed a letter to a priest in Santander, Father Odriozola, inviting him to be present when the Angel gave her Communion. She had foretold this fact in unmistakable terms, with firmness and absolute sureness. She didn't mention the hour, and the solar day wouldn't end until 1:20 on our watches;(36) but each minute that went by increased my anxiety and made me think of what would happen with that priest whom the girl had so insistently requested to be there. Later, they told me that he had sent a representative in his place . . .»


According to the reports made, the person sent
by Father Odriozola was an attorney from Santander, Mr. R. M., (37) who comported himself in Garabandal according to the most orthodox line of the Commission:

«Toward 5 in the afternoon, he proposed to
Conchita that she stop all this . . . That he would give her the broadest pardon on behalf of the bishop . . . That if she wanted to leave for Santander, he himself would take her with great pleasure . . . The Marquis of Santa María, who was present there in the girl's home, couldn't contain himself and engaged in a heated argument with the lawyer, who ended up going away in bad humor.»
(A report from another witness)

Conchita's house naturally had to be, on that evening of July 18th, the center of maximum anticipation. Whoever could get in at the time and stay in the house had to be considered definitely privileged; the priests easily obtained such privileges, as would be expected. Paquina de la Roza Velarde, the wife of Dr. Ortiz, remembers that there were present there, besides close relatives of the visionary, a young girl from Aguilar (daughter of Rafael Fontaneda); a priest from Madrid, Fr. Justo; a Franciscan, Fr. Bravo; a Jesuit from Comillas; and a Dominican priest from Asturias. This Dominican priest — Etelvino González — furnishes us information to help relieve again those tense hours of July 18th.
Weeks later, on August 10th, the new bishop of Santander, Eugenio Beitia Aldazábal, wrote to Fr. Etelvino requesting him to answer a questionnaire that he was sending him: a long questionnaire that had been composed by the secretary of the Commission. He charged Fr. Etelvino to proceed with ‘the strictest secrecy', and at the same time consider ‘the exceptional importance of his describing the facts objectively, with simplicity and briefness'.
The letter was answered by Fr. Etelvino after a month delay, for which he asked pardon.
Of the 41 questions on the questionnaire, he only answered 23, since he did not have direct knowledge on the content of the others.
«In order to be as exact and objective as possible, I have tried, in describing this, to limit myself to those details and facts of which I was personally a witness. I have avoided not only reporting what I merely heard, but also as much as possible, mixing my own personal opinion in this.»


Before beginning his answers, he confided to the
bishops something that had to be his own personal opinion. He mentions . . .
«. . . the unhappy impression that it made on me in seeing Conchita surrounded in her home by gifts, and circled by wealthy people who apparently came there frequently and gave the impression of having made Garabandal their domain. I was not the only one to lament this; among the priests and faithful this was mentioned very unfavorably, leading at times to conclusions that were definitely not favorable. Without falling to this extreme, I think that the circumstances to which I am referring prevent a clear visualization of what could be happening at the bottom of these events, which seem more and more confusing.»(38)


What this eyewitness then says — detrimentally
— illustrates what was happening around Conchita on the night of July 18th, 1962.
First question — Were you in the kitchen of Conchita's home before she went into ‘rapture'?
Answer — I passed the evening in Conchita's house, in the kitchen and principally on the second floor,(39) in company with several secular priests, a Franciscan priest, a Jesuit priest and a seminarian. During the time immediately prior to the rapture, I was practically absent, except for intervals.
Second question — What was the mental attitude of the young girl?
Answer — The general tone, during the time that I saw her, was of sureness concerning the accomplishment of the prediction and care in preparing spiritually for it; praying and making us pray; we prayed a Station to the Blessed Sacrament and two rosaries. At the same time the girl showed herself uncertain over what should be done about a dance that had been organized in front of her home; she wanted to have the music, but indicated weakly that they should stop dancing.»


The dancing had a bad effect on many of those
who had gone up to the village. Conchita herself reports this:
Next to my house there was a holiday dance.
There were the two things together: some were praying the rosary, and others were dancing.(40)
Some of the people wanted to stop the dancing, since they were afraid that if there were a dance, there wouldn't be a miracle.
And at one time, a man among those who wanted to stop the dancing, Ignacio Rubio, asked me if I wanted the dancing to stop.

I told him that, dance or no dance, the miracle would happen.
And then they didn't discuss the dancing
anymore.Perhaps the man whom Conchita mentions is the same person about whom we have another report:
«A spectator, a professor from Granada, asked assistance from someone influential in the village to convince the young boys that the dancing should stop. With this assistance he went up to the boys and offered to pay the musicians to play on the next three Sundays . . .
Who told you this? — someone asked — Conchita?
Yes. (Actually Conchita hadn't said this.)

Let's go see — said the young boy, and taking
the arm of his questioner, he went in search of the girl:

We are coming to see, Conchita. Did the Virgin tell you that we shouldn't dance?

No. Not exactly that. You can dance, but
you shouldn't offend God, Our Lord.(41)

The young boy left satisfied, and naturally the
dance continued on for some time.»


If the few people huddled in Conchita's house
were perturbed by this, and were upset because they were waiting in vain during the final hours of July 18th, we can imagine how it must have been with those not present there who could only learn about what was happening through vague rumors. We have Luis Navas' testimony:
«I was in the house of María Dolores, together with her father, the marquis of Santa María, a friend of his, and some other persons whom I don't remember. Someone came to tell us that one of the priests who was in Conchita's house had already gone and was leaving the village; and also that they had even locked the house. I could imagine what Conchita's mother was like, after her daughter had not had either the customary apparition on Saturday or one on Sunday, or Communion from the Angel on Monday, July 16th, the feastday of Our Lady of Mount Carmel . . .
Among ourselves, someone thought that if the Communion didn't take place, it could well be in order to test our faith. Others were of the opinion, on the contrary, that the cause could have been some fault of pride in the girl. And there was not lacking someone to say that he had found all these things of the miracle of the Host very strange from the beginning. But in general we resisted thinking that the visionary had made all this up to try to force the events.»
Conchita perfectly sensed the atmosphere that surrounded her:
When night came, the people were upset.

But since the Angel and the Virgin had told me that the miracle would come, I had no fear, since neither the Virgin nor the Angel had ever told me that a
thing would happen and it didn't happen.
The tension of waiting in the circles closest to Conchita is well reflected in this detail that the wife of Doctor Ortiz gives us:
«Everyone kept silent. Her brother, seated on the fireplace, had been dozing. Suddenly, he jumped up and said, speaking to Conchita, I can't bear this anymore. I am going to bed. You have deceived us all terribly! No one answered. Then the young boy said the same thing again and got up to leave.
No! Don't go — Conchita called to him — Wait just a little longer


The girl had to feel that the moment was coming:

At 10 at night, I had a call, and at 12, another, and after . . .
1:40 a.m.

It is beyond all doubt that on the night between
July 18th and 19th in 1962, in the village of San Sebastián de Garabandal, something happened that was going to matter very much in the history of the events taking place there.

33. In those days the rite of concelebration had not been established. Solemn High Mass was performed by three persons: the priest who celebrated, a deacon, and a sub-deacon. It was what in the villages was called the Mass of Three, and was celebrated only on important feast days; otherwise, the feast days did not carry as much importance.
34. For many years, the Heart of Mary (Claretian) fathers came to the parish church from that village on the coast of Santander. Frequently some of them traveled around to preach in the villages of the area.
35. The dance was a sine qua non with the young men during the village holiday. The people at Garabandal did not know how to stop it, in spite of Conchita’s announcement; and it was held, according to custom, near to her house.
36. For many years the official time in Spain had been 60 minutes ahead of the solar time, so as to synchronize better with the rest of Europe.
37. This refers to Regino Mateo, born in the land of Reinosa but residing in the Santander capital; he was a lawyer.
38. What Father Etelvino speaks about is certainly lamentable, and it is not the only case to be pointed out and regretted. I am sorry to say that some of those who are considered — or consider themselves — as Garabandalistas of the first rank have done very poor service to its cause. And I am afraid that it is the same with the girls themselves and their families, at least some of them, who have not always shown sufficiently high example with regard to generosity and detachment in their actions.
But from this, one cannot draw a decisive proof against the supernaturalism of those unexplainable phenomena; but only the conclusion that, as so many times has happened in the Story of Salvation, the instruments with which God works are not always the best, nor do they immediately lose their natural tendency to fall; especially if they remain in some respects attached to their own selves. The plain people of Garabandal were immersed in phenomena that were so much beyond them. Did they not have the right to expect from their religious guides in the diocese something better and quite different from what they received? Did these guides in this case fulfill their own obligations with their aloof policies of distrust, remoteness, and partial non-intervention.
39. Conchita was on the same floor during almost all the afternoon of the feast day according to the testimony given by Father Etelvino González to questions asked by the Commission:
«Conchita stayed upstairs from the middle of the afternoon. In all this time, I believe that she only came down to the kitchen about two times. In her room, on whose balcony she stayed almost all afternoon, she was accompanied by various friends whose names I do not know. Everyone played; (it is not to be forgotten that it was the afternoon of the village fiesta) but I noted in her an air as if a little absent. She laughed, she answered the questions with serenity, and wrote on holycards with an admirable facility for composition.

During the afternoon, she was very accessible and agreeable to the priests. She even came one time to tell me, I would like the priests to be near to me, bending down (surely in respect for the Lord Whom she was expecting to receive), referring to the moment that was awaited.»
40. The contrast is notable. What a strange melange men make. And what a melange there is in each man, too. The task of life is to put everything in order, above all, interior order, eliminating what prevents us from going to heaven, putting everything that can bring us there in its place.
41. Here is something very important and often very difficult. Unfortunately amusements are so frequently directed to the harmful service of sensuality.