Wednesday, September 30, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 198)

Pilgrims waiting for the apparition

The Gathering Crowd

Throughout June 17th, pilgrims were arriving.

The same was happening during Friday the 18th, well into the evening. Persons from foreign countries were numerous. The L’Etoile dans la Montagne mentions: «200 Frenchmen, 10 Americans, 6 Englishmen, 4 Italians, and an occasional representative of the other countries of Europe and America.»
There must have been many priests, but there were only a dozen visible in cassocks.
Vehicles with the most varied license plates inundated the village and its surroundings. Attention was especially drawn, and not only because of their size, to the vehicles of the technical crews for Spanish NO-DO,(11) and Televisíon Italiana. In the latter group, the famous actor Carlo Campanini was particularly active.
What was the attitude of the crowd? Fr. Laffineur tells us in L’Etoile dans la Montagne as a witness of the scene:
«In general, it was exemplary. Pious, modest, penitent. Almost all those who composed it had received Communion at one of the three Masses(12) during the morning . . .
Occasionally there could be found a face that was there only to spy on the events and activities, to gather information to utilize in favor of a cause that he represented or served . . . the emissaries from the Commission of Santander, obviously; members of some foreign agencies also, and even someone representing the ridiculous expriest Collin.»(13)

How did the crowd pass the interminable hours
of waiting? Certainly with less difficulties and hardships than the congregation that waited on October 18th, 1961. This time there was not such a great gathering and the weather was much better. But opportunities were not lacking to exercise patience, and practice penance. Mr. Poch Soler, the reporter sent by the Barcelonian weekly, Por que?, wrote an interesting article:(14)
«From Cossío we made the trip on foot, 7 kilometers, always heading upwards, arriving at Garabandal after 2 in the morning of June 18th. Unplanned and spectacular! The monumental task of sheltering hundreds of pilgrims in a small town of no more than 40 houses had already ceased when we arrived. The people were sleeping in the doorways, in the stables, on the porches, in the kitchens, in the middle of the streets . . . In our nocturnal walk through the uneven and rocky streets, we had to step with the greatest attention, avoiding the many people who were sleeping, stretched out on the ground, under the feeble illumination of a dozen light bulbs scattered throughout the village.
One of the two bars or taverns in Garabandal remained open all night, although its small capacity could barely shelter 12 or 15 people. There we settled ourselves down to write. To our one side two English people were sleeping peacefully, slumped over the table on their elbows. On the ground, two French priests were praying the rosary in a hushed voice. Others were drinking beer and later went outside to walk in the streets beneath the clear moon illuminating that night in Garabandal.»
The French correspondent from Le Monde et La Vie agreed with this, and said further that well into the night, in scattered sectors of the village, there rose up prayers and devout hymns in Spanish, Latin, and French . . .
As day dawned, the influx of people increased, creating a boisterous commotion in the streets. The French reporter describes it:
«The morning passed rather well. Everyone was using the time the best that he could. They were praying, singing, taking photographs, speaking with the villagers, asking a multitude of questions about the girls and their ecstasies.»
Conchita’s house naturally was the principal magnet of attraction. Only she was going to be the protagonist of what everyone was awaiting. Only she could name the time and the place. The youthful 16 year old girl was slow in appearing to the crowd because her mother rightly did not let her get up until well into the morning. The reporters were the ones most importune in their desire to see her. Poch Soler wrote in his article:
«Conchita inspired all the press reporters with profound respect. My colleagues from Paris, Portugal, Madrid, the crew from NO-DO were waiting impatiently, but without irritation, for the time when they would be able to speak to her.
You have to have a little patience, her mother told us. Understand that the girl is tired. Yesterday she was sick with a 40 degree temperature. She wants to talk with everyone, embrace everyone. I am the one who doesn’t want her to go outside on the street.»


11. NO-DO (Noticiario-Documental) was the governmental agency of news pictures. Its importance has diminished with the development of television. The presence of NO-DO at Garabandal was due to the activities of a young woman from Segovia, Paloma Fernández-Pacheco de Larrauri. This woman, who already knew the village well, was there again for June 18th with her sister Fuencisia.
12. Aniano Fontaneda from Aguilar de Campoo wrote on June 26th to Fr. Ramón:
«I was at Garabandal on the 17th and 18th and I saw your friends and a great number of acquaintances. You missed a great day since everything turned out magnificently. Although Fr. Valentín told me that there would be no Masses in the village unless the priests came with written permission to celebrate Mass, we actually had several Masses, with more than 1,500 Communions. I can say no more than that the Hosts were exhausted on two occasions.»
13. We have already spoken about him during his visit to Garabandal on August 22nd, 1963.
14. This article was not published in the weekly paper until April, 1966. Its introduction went like this:
«In writing about this, we have tried at all times to avoid the frivolousness and journalistic lightness that at times we are accustomed to use for other subjects of the street. We have limited ourselves to reporting the facts as we have seen them, transcribing everything that we have heard and all this with the greatest objectivity possible.»

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 197)

Ceferino, the father of Loli

Conchita, on the other hand, showed herself more certain than ever. On May 23rd, the Sunday before the Ascension, Mr. Ruiloba once again was walking through Garabandal. He met Fr. Valentín, who was very worried about some plans attributed to Pajares and Tobalina, and from the priest he learned that Conchita was continuing to repeat that the Angel would definitely return on the date announced: June 18th.
But are you really sure?—that pastor had said to her— That it is not a lie or something that you imagined?
—Do you think that the Virgin would lie?

No. Of course not.

—Well, the Virgin told it to me.

Mr. Ruiloba was constantly wavering between
belief and disbelief. Every street, almost every corner of the village, had to bring back memories to him of things experienced very personally;(7) nevertheless, the man could not overcome his vacillation. And on the night of May 25th, Tuesday, being with Ceferino in the latter’s house, he began again to bring out the negative things that he thought he had seen in the apparitions and in the girls. Ceferino, who in this matter was never far behind, broadly seconded him. And the two were talking in such a way that there came a time when Julia(8) could not endure it anymore and interrupted the conversation to remind them of some things of a very different character, which neither of the two could deny. Her husband had no other solution than to assent, and even on his own part added some marvelous signs that he himself had received; but as if he were ashamed of them, he made Plácido swear never to tell them to anyone.

As with so many others in the village, it seemed that Ceferino took a strange pleasure in destroying
hopes. On June 6th, Pentecost Sunday, when again Ruiloba and his wife came to his house, Ceferino received them with these words, My friend Plácido, everything is finished. This is nothing but a farce . . . And what Conchita is going around predicting . . . pure lies. I have already pointed it out, as I have always done. I went once again to talk about it to the bishop . . . If the people come here on June 18th, let them. I am going to play billiards.
His daughter Loli, who was present there, joined in the conversation, with words and attitudes that were almost as ridiculous as those of her father.(9)
And up in those remote mountains, that is the way things were going during those last weeks before the great date.
Conchita had remained alone as the center of everything. And as a result, she was the occasion and the cause of the jealousies that surfaced in some, of the distrust that tormented others, and of the expectation of many others.
And Conchita, on June 13th—the Sunday before the date so awaited and feared—caught cold . . . Right at the wrong time. She awoke on June 14th with a bad case of flu that elevated her temperature to 39 degrees. For three days she was confined to bed with chills and fever.
June 17th, Thursday, was the great feast of Corpus Christi, and Garabandal, like so many other ancient towns in Spain, put its best piety and enthusiasm into celebrating the feast.(10) But Conchita could not follow the celebration more than from afar, from her bed of sickness. As the procession passed around her house, she could hear clearly the songs of the crowd accompanying Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, Most High Lord . . . Let us sing to the greatest of all loves . . . God is here, let us adore Him . . . Heaven and earth, bless the Lord . . .
In the street next to the house, her mother Aniceta had constructed a small arch of triumph made from branches adorned with flowers; she had also draped a banner on it with the colors of the national flag and an inscription that read, Long Live Christ the King! What more could the simple woman do? It was a deeply felt homage that she offered to Our Lord in her own name and that of her children, especially for the daughter who could only accompany the procession in spirit.
The sudden illness of Conchita was the object of the most varied comments. A good way of preparing an “out" if on Friday nothing happens! said some. The things of God in this world never come without some tribulation, said others. Those who still hoped could do no more than ask with a greater or lesser degree of concern, Will she be on her feet for the call of the Angel?
The situation did not look good, since, although the illness had improved much during the day of Corpus Christi, the doctor had prescribed that she remain in bed, or at least not leave the house, for the next six days.

7. This same Plácido mentioned one day to Doctor Ortiz that at the beginning of the apparitions, after an ecstasy, one of the girls spoke of the state of his conscience as though she were reading it. And his wife, Lucita, added that from that time on her husband had changed very much.
8. Ceferino’s wife and Loli’s mother.

9. Ceferino’s doubts, or his changing from belief to disbelief
in what had happened, remained to the end. But finally in his last days he seemed to receive a clear light, which must have comforted him in passing away.
He died on June 4th, 1974 at 56 years of age, about to complete the 13th year from the beginning of those phenomena in which he has been so closely entwined. Two days before his death on June 2nd, a group of pilgrims came to Garabandal with an image of the Virgin of Fatima. They were singing the Salve and other songs in the plaza, and Julia opened the doors and windows of the house so the prayers and songs could come in better to the room of her dying husband, at times almost unconscious; then she leaned against the window weeping and praying . . .

When the songs ended, she asked one of the youths from the group to give her a flower from those decorating the image. She went to place the flower on the crucifix that hung over the head of the dying man. Ceferino then came out of his lethargy and began to look from side to side as if he were searching for something, while he said, The sign! The sign! Julia brought the crucifix with the flower. He took both with great devotion and remained with the flower in his hand, full of peace and joy, as if the flower had been for him the proof that finally was given to him on this matter that had worried him so profoundly . . . Julia, for whom the early death of her husband was a hard blow, now believes in the apparitions more than ever.
10. They thoroughly swept, cleaned and decorated the streets for the procession of the Blessed Sacrament that would be carried through them. The people of the village assisted en masse at this procession, the most solemn of the year; those who were not able to participate in it knelt at their doors, windows and balconies for the passage of the Lord.

Monday, September 28, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 196)

“a great miracle for the whole world”

Waiting for the Day

News of Garabandal being the site of amazing
phenomena was spreading throughout the world, and new visitors were coming ceaselessly to the secluded little town.
Everyone wanted to know what had happened first hand, through the visionaries themselves. The girls could not always acquiesce to the people’s wishes; either because the flood of inquisitive people was at times overwhelming, or because the girls had duties which they could not neglect, or because their parents placed obstacles in the way of the persons who came.
But usually the visionaries tried to please everyone. Obviously they could not put down what they knew in writing for all. However there was an exception in the case of William A. Nolan, an American from Illinois.
This man made his appearance at Garabandal in March, 1965, and wanted to learn from Conchita everything that had happened. He was not able to converse with her in words, since neither did he know Spanish, nor she, English. At the time the young girl agreed to write to him, something that was hard for her. In order that it would not serve as a precedent, she put as a postscript:
«I’m doing this for this man, as we don’t understand each other, and he wants to be informed. I’m doing this for him, but I can’t do it for everyone. And he, with an interpreter . . .»


The manuscript was three pages long, and Conchita
said nothing new; but it is of interest as a resumé and confirmation of the principal facts. She began:
«On an evening in June of 1961, at San Sebastián de Garabandal, the Archangel St. Michael appeared to four girls, of whom I am one . . . The first time that we saw him, he didn’t say anything — until the 1st of July. Before the 1st of July, he carried an inscription underneath his feet, and we didn’t understand well what it said . . .»


She continued, a few lines down:

«The Virgin came on July 2nd and she appeared very beautiful to us, with the Child Jesus in her arms and two angels dressed alike, one on each side.
The first thing that she said to us was, Do you know the meaning of the inscription that the Angel carries?
And we said no.
It is a message that you have to tell the world on October 18th of this year, 1961.
It is the following . . .

Besides the message, the Virgin told us many more things; she also told us that there would be many contradictions among us . . .
She continued appearing to us like this until 1963, and she told us many very beautiful things, which it would require many days to write all down.
In the past two years we haven’t had apparitions; but the Most Holy Virgin has spoken to us interiorly, without words, and we understand her very well. These are called locutions. I like very much to see the Virgin; but I like even more for her to speak to me interiorly, because she seems to be inside me.
The Virgin has also predicted through my intercession (through me), a great miracle for the whole world; it is more important than any other, as the world needs now. For the world now there is the message — for the people to fulfill it, and make others fulfill it . . .»


After the usual descriptions of the Virgin, the
Child and the Angel, she added in ending:
«The last time that I saw the Virgin was at the Pines on January 1st. And I will see the Angel on the coming June 18th.»


This document was dated March 22nd, 1965.

Three days later, Loli took an interest in the same man, writing this letter:
«For my good believer in Christ, William A. Nolan,
I thank you very much for your trip to Spain, and for your visit to this village, lost in the mountains, where Our Most Holy Mother has shown herself one more time to demonstrate the love that she feels toward the whole world. As a mother she pardons us everything, if we ask her with faith. Show this letter in your town.

I also tell you this, that in order to avoid the Chastisement, we have to make many sacrifices and penances, to pray the family rosary every day; this is what Our Most Holy Mother requests of us. Also, that we should love one another, as Our Lord loves us. We have to love; the whites must love the blacks; and the blacks, the whites, since we are all brothers . . .»
Not a bad letter! Brief and simple, but with material for extended meditation.
These two writings carry a breath of the Divine that acted in Garabandal; but there is also much of the human acting there, even the too human . . .
We know from Plácido Ruiloba, that toward May 11th of that year 1965, uncharitable comments and rumors concerning the bishop were being noised throughout Santander:(5) that he was being obliged by his superiors to resign . . . that he was thinking of going to North America . . . that at the time it was said that Pajares and Tobalina(6) were waiting to be rid of him, in order to finish once and for all with the bothersome matter of Garabandal . . .
The atmosphere that had descended on the mountain village was lamentable; it was described by the French witnesses in L’Etoile dans la Montagne:
«Dissensions, arguments, criticism, distrust, indiscretions, and insults concerning the Celestial Visitor . . . The more or less disguised waiting for the famous rendezvous . . . It will be seen what will happen — since for the past two years nothing has been seen.»


During these days of confusion, especially on May
16th, it began to be known that Conchita had held an important secret since January 1st. Thus it appears, at least in the notes of Dr. Ortiz:
«Plácido went up to Garabandal, and Maximina relayed the conversation that she had with Conchita in which she had been told that a sign (the Warning) would come before the miracle.»


The news or announcement, if it was divulged to
the village (concerning which I have no information), certainly made no impression. Most everyone’s attitude remained the same: doubting, dubious. They shrugged their shoulders: We will see what will happen, if anything is going to happen.

5. Eugenio Beitia Aldazábal had come to Santander as the bishop of the diocese in 1962; because of his age, education and deportment, a fruitful episcopate was expected. Unexpectedly in 1962 he presented his resignation, which the Holy See accepted. He state of health was given as the official reason for the resignation.
Bishop Beitia retired to Bilbao, his native land, and there continued working, especially in collaboration with the press.
6. For many years Fr. Francisco Pajares and Fr. Agustín Tobalina governed the diocese of Santander: the first from his position as a chancery secretary, and the second as vicar general.

Friday, September 25, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 195)

Maximina González

A Warning for the
Whole World

What Conchita wrote was this:

«The Warning, that the Virgin is going to send us, will be like a punishment: to bring the good closer to God, and to warn the others either to convert, or receive what they deserve.
I’m not going to reveal what the Warning consists of. The Virgin didn’t say that I should tell it. And concerning this, there is nothing more to be said.
God wishes that, due to the Warning, we would amend our lives and commit fewer sins against Him!»


Fr. Laffineur, having read these words, asked
Conchita if the Warning would cause people to die. She then added this remark:
«Dying will not be caused by the Warning itself, but by the effect that we will have on seeing and feeling it.»


If the information written by Conchita to Fr.
Laffineur was brief and delayed, it was not the same with what she sent to her aunt and godmother, Maximina González. She spoke to her aunt when she was still under the effect of what she had just learned at the Pines on January 1st:
«Before the Miracle, there will be a Warning, so that the world can amend its ways.»

Hearing this, Maximina wanted to know more.
The niece explained the warning to her the best she could. From those explanations, the aunt remembered the following, which she wrote down:
«She told me we were going to suffer a horrible disaster some day, in all parts of the world. None of us will escape this: the good, so that they may draw nearer to God; the evil, so that they may amend their lives.
She didn’t tell me what it was; but that she was expecting it any day. It would come before the Miracle.
She said that it was preferable to die rather than suffer for just five minutes what was going to come.(2) She said that it is horrible, that it is a thing clearly from heaven. People in every part of the world will suffer from it.

I said to her: Why don’t you publish it, so
that the world may know what is going to happen to it? And she told me that she was tired of giving warnings and the world was not paying any attention.
She said that the Virgin told her that the world certainly believes that there is a heaven and a hell, but that it can be seen that we think little about it. The Virgin also told her that when we suffer this punishment, all of which we have caused ourselves with our sins, that we should not feel the sufferings and pain for ourselves, but rather that we should suffer everything for her Son, since He is very offended by what we do.
I asked her how long this catastrophe would last, and she said that she didn’t know; but that we could suffer it both in the night and in the day. I said to her, Will we die? And she told me, I think if that happens, it would be from fright.
—And if we were in the church praying?

I think too that the church would be the best place to pass it, there next to the Blessed Sacrament, so that He could support us, give us strength, and aid us to suffer it better.
—Since you’ve told me this, I’ve done nothing but look at the sky, to see if I can see anything.
I too, and when I go to bed, I look and have great fear. Though on the contrary, I have a desire for it to come, to see if we amend our lives, since we don’t understand the offenses that we make against the Lord.
—Well then, when we see that it is coming to us, we can all go to the church.
I myself would consider doing that! But perhaps it will come upon us in the darkness and we won’t be able . . .
How horrible it will be! If I could tell it as Conchita told it to me . . . She said that if she didn’t already know what the Chastisement was, she would say that the Warning was worse than the Chastisement.»(3)


From this testimony, written and signed by Maximina,
it appears adequately clear that the Warning that was revealed to Conchita on January 1st, 1965 will have the following characteristics:
* It will cause terribly inflictive and striking suffering.
* It will have a universal scope; that is, it will reach everyone, in all parts of the world.
* It will be seen that it is a thing from God, something that man himself could not perform, leaving him to implore the mercy of God.
* It will come with a purpose of salvation: in order that the good may draw nearer to God, and the bad take their amendment of life seriously.
* It will certainly come, and before the Miracle; but no one knows the day or the hour.
* Its time, probably, will be a time of mysterious darkness.
* At that time, there will be no other refuge or relief except prayer.
Conchita’s important communication appears not to have been disseminated for a long time, since in the letters and information that I have seen from the first months of 1965, no reference was made to the Warning, which should have occupied everyone’s attention.(4)
What did capture the people’s attention was the announcement of the Angel’s upcoming visit on June 18th. Many of those who believed in Garabandal began then to make plans and even to reserve rooms. On that same day of January 1st, Maximina wrote to María Herrero de Gallardo:
«I am very, very sorry to have to tell you that the two rooms at my disposition have been promised already to Dr. Ortiz and Fr. Luis Retenaga. I have inquired at the other houses and they told me that, since it is such a long time away, that they couldn’t promise a room. The village is going in a bad way. (She is referring to selfishness and interest in monetary gain associated with the coming of the visitors.) Perhaps not as many people will come as they expect. But I think it is most likely that you won’t be able to walk through the streets because of the people who will come, since the people want to see apparitions again.»


From these lines, we can imagine what the climate
was at the beginning of 1965 in the village that had been so favored during the previous years.
Obviously in such an atmosphere the news and the expectation of the Warning would not easily penetrate. However Conchita continued to think about it, and during the year spoke about it to others, repeating basically what we have learned
from Maximina, but adding other details that will be seen in time.

2. According to later statements given by Jacinta, and published in July-Sept, 1977 issue of the magazine Needles, now titled Garabandal:
«The Warning is something that is first seen in the air everywhere in the world and immediately is transmitted into the interior of our souls. It will last for a very little time, but it will seem a very long time because of its effect within us. It will be for the good of our souls — in order to see in ourselves our conscience . . . the good and the bad that we have done . . .»


It will come upon us like a fire from heaven, which we will
feel profoundly in our interior. By its light each one will see the state of his soul with complete clearness; he will experience what it is to lose God; he will feel the purifying action of the cleansing flame. Briefly, it will feel like having the Particular Judgment in one’s very soul while still alive.
The purification of the Warning will be necessary to make us ready to face the Miracle. Otherwise we might not be able to sustain the superhuman and marvelous experience of the Miracle. Perhaps he had not previously undergone the Warning, the early death of Fr. Luis Andreu came about, after he saw on that summer night in 1961 what even the visionaries had not yet seen.
3. It is no wonder that Conchita, having learned this and coming down from the Pines on New Year’s eve, appeared at her aunt Maximina’s house, according to the latter’s testimony as «very excited but also very happy».
4. Maximina, who was always so prompt to report everything that was happening to her friends the Pifarré family in Barcelona, did not bother to say anything about the Warning until many months later (in a letter on September 9th), and then only because the Pifarrés had asked her about it:
«Concerning what you asked me about the Warning, I believe in it, that it is true; at least I have heard something about it from Conchita . . .»

Thursday, September 24, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 194)

Fr. Laffineur and visionary



Before 1964 was over, Garabandal entered into a phase of reactivation: something that now, from a perspective of the passing years, could be described in the jargon of sports as the final stretch or the last lap.

On December 8th, feastday of the Immaculate Conception and thus Conchita’s nameday, the girl received the singular favor of another visit with the Mother of Heaven. A month later, on January 12th, 1965, she spoke about it briefly to Father Laffineur:
«On the day of the Immaculate Conception, the Virgin congratulated me on my feastday; and she told me that I would see the Angel St. Michael on the coming June 18th.»


A few days later, on January 24th, she wrote
again to this priest (whom she familiarly called Grandfather):
«I do not remember whether I mentioned in my last letter that on June 18th I was going to see the Angel St. Michael. The Virgin told me this during a locution on my feastday, the feast of the Immaculate Conception.»


And so, with the announcement of the return of
St. Michael, the year 1965 began. This had great portent, since the great Archangel was not for minor matters; and his visit, announced so far in advance, certainly could not be of the routine type. He, who had come four years previously to start everything in motion, could well return now to bring it to a close.

* * *

The importance of the coming year was marked
out right from its first day.

It was the holiday evening of January 1st, and
daylight was fading. Two shepherd children from the village, Joaquina (12 years of age) and Urbano (9 years), were tending their herd of sheep, which they were leading over the little flat area by the Pines.
On coming to the Pines, the children stood staring open-mouthed, discovering Conchita solitary and enraptured beneath a pine tree. How many times had a similar scene been seen there and in the village!
They observed her as closely as the wandering of their sheep permitted. The visionary, with her gaze fixed upwards, appeared to be in mysterious conversation, since she was speaking and listening.(1)
Only later, piece by piece, was learned some segments of the many things that occurred during that exceptional trance.
Conchita wrote father Laffineur in her letter of January 12th:
«On January 1st I saw the Virgin at the Pines.»


She said nothing about the vision. However, in
another letter of February 2nd, while answering the priest’s questions, she explained more:
«The Virgin seems to be the same age as the first time I saw her. (July 2nd, 1961) The same as in these past years: about 18 years old.
She wears a white robe and a sky blue mantle.

A prodigious light, which doesn’t hurt the eyes, radiates from her and surrounds her completely.
Apart from the ecstasy that I am going to have on June 18th, I don’t know whether the apparitions will begin again, either for me or for the four of us.
The Virgin will give a new message, since she said: Hardly any attention was given to the other. (That of October 18th, 1961) The Virgin is going to give, therefore, a final message.»


What Conchita says here to the promoter of the
cause of Garabandal in France and other countries is no small matter. But there was still more to say. And finally she did say it; or rather said some of it! But months later.

The occasion was Fr. Laffineur’s stay in Garabandal to watch the predicted visit of the Angel in June of that year. On the day after the apparition, June 19th, this priest was in Conchita’s house, speaking of course of what had happened. And at one time, she said to him:
«After so long a time, the Virgin has spoken to me about so many things! But she hasn’t told me to talk or keep quiet about many of them. Because of this, many times I don’t know what to do, being afraid of making a mistake . . .
I’m going to give in writing the Warning that I received during the apparition of January 1st, when I was alone at the Pines.»

1. I finally saw a confirmation of this in a letter from Maximina to the Pifarré family, dated March 8th:
«I think I have already written you about this; namely that on December 8, the feastday of the Immaculate Conception, Conchita had a locution. And she said that the Virgin told her that on June 18th she would have an apparition with the Angel. She doesn’t know what he will say or whether she will be alone or with all the other girls. Also on January 1st Conchita had an apparition with the Virgin at the Pines, and it lasted a long time. (She often goes to pray at the Pines.) Two shepherd children, a boy and a girl, found her there in ecstasy. They were the ones who later talked about it; if they had not, perhaps she wouldn’t have mentioned it. She came to my house when the ecstasy was over, and she looked quite excited, although very happy . . .

I don’t write as much as before, since now there is nothing
special to write about.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 193)

“She doesn’t have locutions now.”

Between Doubt
and Hope

In the meantime, what was happening in the
thoughts and feelings of the people? The witnesses who put together the book, L'Etoile dans la Montagne, say optimistically:
«All the evidence indicates that the entire year of 1964 was a period of secret meditation and personal retreat for the visionaries. For the people of the mountains and for the entire world alerted by the diffusion of the message, these twelve months were a halt for reflection and examination of conscience concerning one's responsibilities. Speaking humanly, one might say that during that year, heaven permitted the earth to catch its breath.»
The village was changing its appearance. The same book tells us:
«Land, houses, and even stables were being bought by Spaniards outside the village.(3) The bricklayers were busy.
The interior of the church was remodeled(4) . . . Thanks to the generosity of an American, people said.
And the attitude of the village changed along with the external changes.
Peace and harmony were only on the surface. Only the old women, with their wrinkled and withered faces still kept the benevolent look and smile of before. The seers' families were seen with thinly disguised envy. With regard to the apparitions, discord reigned in place of yesterday's harmony.
Many wavered, finding the wait too long, since the celebrated Miracle didn't seem to be coming. The same men and women who had untiringly followed the four girls in their ecstasies, now showed themselves incapable, except for some silent old people and a few solid souls, to hold on to what they had so many times seen, heard and touched.
The people with an inordinate appetite for miraculous phenomena, had now fallen into spiritual blindness, a form of hardness of heart that could only amaze the visitor. If one were to ask them, What about the apparitions? they would answer, Oh Señor! That was nothing.»


A good example of this attitude was the statement
made to Fr. Laffineur by Jacinta's mother, María: «Yes, I believed when an ecstasy was in front of me; but when the ecstasy ended, I didn't believe any more . . . I will believe forever if the miracle happens. » Admirable sentiment of faith!

Another example of the people's attitude was recorded in the book, L'Etoile dans la Montagne. The Spanish lawyer, who was the interpreter for the book's authors, was going down from Garabandal toward Cossío on a blistering day. On the way he met a woman of the village coming up in the scorching sun and stopped to talk with her:
— Well, Señora, how is it going?

It's hot, Señor.

— Yes, it certainly is. But I mean in regard to
the apparitions.

— Yes, what do they think at Garabandal?

Oh! They don't think anything.

— Why not anything? I myself saw the ecstasies.
And you?
Oh! The ecstasies! At the beginning they were true . . . but now!
— True at the beginning, and not true now?

Yes, at the beginning they were true. I'll prove
it to you. (She mentioned to the lawyer something very personal that had occurred to her and her husband during one of Loli's ecstasies.) Then it was the Virgin who appeared. Why doesn't she start appearing again?
This conversation on the way from Cossío to Garabandal tells the story . . .
And one might wonder if the poor village people were really responsible for their ignorance because of the neglect in which they had been left by their spiritual guides. But such a frame of mind deserved a lesson, and heaven gave it with its silence during the two long interludes of 1963 and 1964.
Even the privileges of the girls seemed to be completely interrupted during the middle of 1964. Maximina wrote to the Pifarrés on June 7th:
«Conchita says that she doesn't have locutions now. I don't know if this is true, or if she wants to hide them, but she is happy as ever.»
Throughout August the situation continued the same. Maximina wrote again on August 15th:
«There is nothing new here at present.»
The people from the village were constantly fluctuating between doubt and hope. Most of them had more doubt than hope.
It was the people from outside the village who kept the torch of Garabandal burning bright. We have many testimonies of this in Maximina's letters.
For his enthusiastic convictions in favor of the events, Fr. Luis López Retenaga distinguished himself. The village «was a delight for him.» He went up to Garabandal whenever he could, almost always accompanied by another priest friend, and stayed there whenever possible.
As to how the visitors acted during that year, we can gather from Maximina's lines on the feast of the Assumption:
«Today on the feast day of our Lady there were many people in the village. I had a French woman in my home for over a month. She is very virtuous and doesn't cause me any trouble. The people are coming and they all seem to believe. Many priests have come too. An English priest stayed a whole month here; another from Llanes (Asturias), ten days; and also several French priests have come. Many French people came this year and they all seem to be very convinced about what is happening here.»
Those who went up to the village knew that there had been an arrest in the apparitions and the phenomena; but they hoped, they went searching. What did they hope for? What were they searching for? Besides personal encounter with the world of the divine, they were certainly looking for a proper finale to all this that had promised so much . . . and had been so strangely interrupted . . .

3. Maximina’s letter to the Pifarrés on June 7 says: «They have bought so much land around here!»

4. «They have remodeled the church. The altar is beautiful.» (Maximina’s letter of November 11)

Monday, September 21, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 192)

“I believed when an ecstasy was in front of me.”



If not much is known about Garabandal during 1963, even less is known about 1964.
The tenor of 1964 was very similar to the previous year. The visionaries continued without apparitions. At least, there are no reports of any, except for what later will be mentioned at the end of the year. In their place were the locutions, as is seen by what Maximina wrote to Dr. Ortiz in Santander in a letter dated March 9th:
«During the last days of February — I don't remember which day — Conchita had a locution. The Virgin gave her a message for some woman. I don't know what it was. She didn't tell me.»
Concerning the girl's advancing spirituality, we have testimony from Maximina, who wrote to the Pifarré family on February 4th:
«I have no doubt about this matter here, since I've heard things said by Conchita that I don't know how to explain — I can't even understand her conversation. The other day she told me that the only cross that she can have is not to love Jesus enough. She said that all the others, great as they may seem to us, have little importance. She told me this many times.»
In another letter to the same family, dated March 23rd, she remarks:
«Conchita continues having a locution every month. She is very fervent. Today she said that she wants the day to come for her to go to the convent. For she would like to go there now. If you could see how good this is . . . The world doesn't attract her at the present; although as is natural, she amuses herself, but always with the young children, and especially with my daughter and those of her age.»

The Return of
Father Luis Andreu

Perhaps it was during the locution in February
that once again was felt the presence of the departed Fr. Luis Andreu, the first death of Garabandal. On the 27th of that month Conchita wrote to his brother, Fr. Ramón:
«You asked me in your letter how we saw Fr. Luis at the Pines. We saw him looking up, saying, Miracle! His face was blanched and perspiring, yet at the same time, it had an expression of pleasure. ( 1) And the Virgin told us at the time that he was seeing her and the miracle that Our Lord was going to perform.
We have spoken with him about 10 or 11 times.

I have learned in a locution with the Virgin that I have to speak with him again.»
When did this new conversation between Conchita and the departed Jesuit occur? I cannot give a definite date. But perhaps it occurred more than once, since midway through the year the visionary wrote again concerning him, and mentioned astounding things in a letter addressed again to his brother, Fr. Ramón, dated August 2nd, 1964:
«On July 18th,(2) I had a locution, and during the locution I was told that on the day after the Miracle, they would take your brother from his tomb and find his body incorrupt.»

1. Father Luis’ trance — the only trance mentioned at Garabandal in which anyone besides the girls took part — occurred on the evening of August 8th, 1961. See Chapter VIII of Part One.
2. On this day the village celebrated its principal feastday. Two years previously the miracle of the Host had occurred on this date.

Friday, September 18, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 191)

One More Apparition

The year 1963 closed at Garabandal with a new
visit from the Mother of Heaven. Once again she allowed herself to be seen, but only by Conchita.
It occurred on December 8th, a grand day in Spain, where the feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated so solemnly. And it was a big day for Conchita, since it was her nameday.
Long before the first rays of dawn had broken over the icy mountains, a mysterious restlessness — or perhaps a holy inspiration — awoke the young girl. She rose and called her mother. Soon the two of them went out on the street leading to the church. Silence and darkness had settled over the village; nothing was moving, nothing could be heard. It was 5:30 in the morning.
Before the closed doors of the church, Conchita fell on her knees in ecstasy. The temperature was freezing, not conducive to arousing fervor; but the visionary was transported from her locale. Aniceta alone was there as a witness. She heard her daughter conversing with someone, but it was not possible to understand the dialogue at the time.
Later she learned some of what had happened, when Conchita decided to speak:
«The Virgin began by congratulating me on my feastday. And after congratulating me, she said:
You will not be happy on earth, but you will be in heaven.
Afterward, she told me some things . . . She spoke to me about future happenings . . .
Can they be known?

— No, she told me not to reveal them.» (38)


It appears that the Virgin had been making these
mysterious communications to Conchita for some time, according to Maximina's letter from the previous November 10th, in which she writes to Eloísa de la Roza:
«Conchita told me about the last locution which she had 10 or 15 days ago — I don't remember exactly what day it was. She told me there was a locution about which she couldn't say anything to anyone, not even in confession. I asked her if it was something good, and she told me that the Virgin never says anything bad.»

* * *

And so amid prophecy, hidden secrets, and expectation,
1963, Garabandal's third year slipped away.
It had begun with a tremendous upheaval, discouraging many and purifying others.
Then came months of calm and suspense.

Its days closed with words encased in mystery.

But there were some words that are very clear for
every one:
You will not be happy on earth, but you will be in heaven.

38. L’Etoile dans la Montagne.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 190)

Jacinta's mother, María.

With the Miracle
in Sight

A magnificent opportunity, prior to the coming
epoch of the final times, will be the Miracle that is being foretold more and more.
Fr. Retenaga, in composing his second report in April, 1963, resumés what he has heard on the topic like this:
«Conchita affirms:

* That she knew about the miracle since October,

* That the Virgin first told it to her alone; but that she told it to the other three later.
* That it will be on Thursday, at 8:30 in the evening, and will last about a quarter of an hour.
* That on that day there would be an ecclesiastical event, and the miracle would come after that event, on the same day.
* That she would announce the miracle to the world eight days in advance.

* That, besides those that were in the village,
the Pope and Padre Pio (36) would see the miracle. The Virgin did not specifically say which Pope.
* That the sick who were there would be cured, including sinners, since according to the Virgin, they were her children too.»

* * *

There is a tape recorded by Plácido Ruiloba in
Garabandal on January 16th, 1963. He was questioning Conchita about a letter that the girl had written to the Bishop:
«— Did you write down the date of the miracle?

— No, since at the time I didn't know it.

Since when have you known it? Since the
past week?

— No, since this week. I told the Bishop about
what it was going to consist, and other things . . . But not the date.» (37)


I admit that I do not know the exact meaning of
Conchita's remark about not knowing the date. The reader can make his own judgment from another passage of the recorded conversation:
«And what does your brother Serafín say about this?
— He says that if the Miracle is not sure, that I should clearly say the truth; that he will take me away from here and bring me wherever I want. But how could Serafín think like this since I told him the date yesterday?
Well — responded Serafín who was present there — you didn't tell me anything like the date. You told me a thing, a happening, which if it occurs will let me know the Miracle is coming.»


Serafín himself, after reading about this in the
first edition of this book, gave me some clarifications when we were in his little hotel in May of 1976.
During the winter of 1963, (the time of the crisis discussed in Part Two, and prior to the denials of the other girls), he felt that as the eldest brother and the man of the house, he should take a stand concerning Conchita.
So one night while the family was in the kitchen of the house, he said to Conchita, You will have to tell us once and for all what this is all about; we can't go on like this. And don't be afraid of what will happen . . . I'm ready to take you away from the village and bring you anywhere you want. If you want to go to school, we can arrange that too . . . But we have to know the truth. All these things about the apparitions: Are they true, or are they something that you made up?
Conchita replied that it was true, that she had seen the Virgin, that it wasn't something that the girls made up, and that there was no reason to leave the village . . .
The matter remained that way during the night.

But the next day, while Serafín was in the kitchen and his sister upstairs, he heard her call him, Serafín! Come up a minute.
The man told me he felt as if his heart missed a beat as he thought, There it is! She has finally made up her mind. She must have thought about this all night long and is going to tell me that it has all been a fraud.
What do you want? He asked her on arriving upstairs.
So that you can see that all this is true, the Virgin has told me to tell you this . . .
And she talked to him about the Miracle, and explained in what it was going to consist. Later Conchita wrote it down briefly on the back of a holy card of the Child Jesus, which Serafín keeps concealed and which none of the family has seen. And she told him that it would occur when a definite event in the Church took place, and she also explained it to him. Only in this way does Serafín know the date of the miracle.
Later Serafín and I discussed the following excerpt from a leaflet written by Dr. Puncernau:
«During one of my trips to the pastures, I was alone with Serafín and we were eating in the barn. After eating, I tried to draw him out since it was said that he knew from Conchita when the Warning would be.
I drew the conclusion that if he knew, he didn't want to say. The only thing that I got definitely from him was that it would be preceded by a special happening in the Church. After many questions and answers, it seemed clear to me from his vague remarks that it would be something like a schism. That is the way I understood it.»
And what do you say about Dr. Puncernau's opinion? I asked Serafín.
— He is free to think what he wants. But I don't think I gave him reasons for such an opinion.
But will this happening actually be a schism in the Church?
— I have nothing to say.

During that May of 1976, I spoke also with
Jacinta's mother, María. She told me that she had heard repeatedly from her daughter that affairs were going to go very bad for the Church, that the Eucharist would constantly be given less importance, that many priests would become worse and worse, and that wickedness would spread everywhere.
It can be noticed that Dr. Puncernau does not speak of the Miracle, but of the Warning. Is this a mistake? Perhaps not.

On a day in September of 1963, some French
people were invited to eat dinner with Conchita in a house near the girl's home. She was devouring pastries with the healthy appetite of girls of her age. Someone jokingly asked her about the sacrifices and penance mentioned in the message. Conchita accepted the joke in good humor and laughed. But suddenly she became quiet and seemed to concentrate; her face lit up; and with her hands joined on her chest, she began to speak:
«The Miracle will be on the feastday of a young martyr of the Eucharist, a boy who carried Communion to persecuted Christians. His companions, on seeing him pass by, wanted to force him to stay and take part in their games. Infuriated by his resistance, they ended up hurling stones at him until he was left almost dead. Later a Christian soldier came, who recognized him and carried him in his arms.
One of those present exclaimed: Oh, that's St. Tarcisius!»
Conchita, without saying a word, as if she hadn't heard, turned back to her pastries.
After dinner ended and Conchita had left, those at the table exchanged their impressions. The oldest in the group concluded: It seems that Conchita saw this scene in an ecstasy, but without understanding what martyr it was. I don't think she even knows his name. (L'Etoile dans la Montagne)
Many think that this description of the young martyr adequately points out the day on which the Miracle will occur; and that it is only a matter of glancing at the calendar. However, since Conchita did not tell us the date clearly, she obviously seeks to keep it a secret. By industriously sifting through material and searching through files, we will not be able to discover it. The mystery will never be revealed by mere human ingenuity. The important thing is to know how to wait and be prepared.

36. After Conchita’s prediction, Padre Pio’s death in September, 1968 caused great dismay among the Garabandalistas, since they all counted on the famous Capuchin from Pietrelcina being alive and present on the day of the Miracle. Many explanations have been given attempting to correlate Conchita’s prediction with the fact of his death.
Now we have some reliable information on this matter. Conchita was dismayed also by the notice of the death of Padre Pio, who was expected to «see the miracle». But several weeks after his death, as dusk settled at Garabandal on October 16, 1968, a telegram from Lourdes arrived, carrying the name of a woman in Rome whom Conchita knew. The telegram urged her to depart immediately by car to receive something on behalf of Padre Pio . . .
Fr. Combe, a French parish priest from Chazay d’Azergues in the diocese of Lyon and a great promoter of the cause of Garabandal, was in Garabandal that day. He and his inseparable collaborator B.L. Ellos took Conchita and Aniceta in their car and set out that night for Lourdes. There on the morning of October 17, Conchita received «on behalf of Padre Pio» a short written message and a large section of the veil that had covered Padre Pio’s face after his death. Carrying these presents was the Italian Capuchin Fr. B. (surely Fr. P. Bernardino Cennamo). Fr. B. had been very close to Padre Pio and his secretary Fr. Pellegrino who had signed this message that Padre Pio spoke to him a month before his death. In the message appeared the date «August 22, 1968»
Conchita took advantage of this meeting to ask, «Why did the Virgin tell me that Padre Pio would see the Miracle?»
Father B: «Padre Pio saw it before his death. He himself told us.»
These and other details about the connection between Conchita and Padre Pio can be seen in the French leaflet Conchita Parle du Padre Pio that Fr. Combe published.
37. I found this information in one of Maximina’s letters to the Piffaré family, dated December 15:
«Look, Asunción, don’t tell this to anyone. But today Conchita came to my house and told me, Look, Aunt, don’t tell this to my mother, but today the Angel told me the date of the Miracle. No one except she and her oldest brother know this.»