Clockwise from top left: Mother Teresa with Conchita (holding her daughter Conchita) in New York. Mother with Mari Loli in New York prior to the visionary's departure for Rome. With Conchita in New York just a couple of weeks before Mother's death. With Jacinta while recuperating in California.
In her letter to Bishop of Santander, Juan Antonio del Val Gallo dated November 10, 1987, Mother Teresa wrote: "It was in 1970, eighteen years ago, that I first heard about the apparitions of San Sebastian de Garabandal in Spain. Sometimes it seems like a long time ago; at others as if it were yesterday. From the beginning, I felt those events were authentic." [Los PINOS DE GARABANDAL ILUMINARAN AL MUNDO by Maria Josefa Villa de Gallego].
Mother Teresa met Conchita in the 1970's and they were friends from then on. When Mother used to come to New York she would call Conchita on the phone. At one time, both Conchita and her husband, Patrick, volunteered at a soup kitchen run by the Missionaries of Charity in New York.
In 1980, during the making of the BBC film on Garabandal, Mother became indirectly involved behind the scenes.
After looking at a prospective site for the interview part of the film, director Bill Nicholson, Conchita and friends stopped off at the Missionaries of Charity convent in the Bronx section of New York City. It was the idea of Gladys Dominguez, who was in the party, to go and ask the Sisters to pray for the success of the film. Little did anyone know, but Mother Teresa was there. When Conchita entered the vestibule of the convent she was greeted warmly by the Sisters who all knew her, and word was passed inside the convent to Mother Teresa who then came out to personally greet the seer.
When Mother asked the occasion of Conchita's visit and was told about the film, she immediately asked if the Bishop of Santander, had given his permission. Conchita had called Bishop del Val about the film and he had said to the effect: "Be humble, be obedient and don't talk too much about the (former) bishops." Conchita understood this to be his consent, however, when she tried to convey that to Mother Teresa, the latter wasn't satisfied and said: "You must ask the Bishop again."
When Conchita asked what she should say, Mother wrote on the back of a blank envelope: "You ask him if you can do this for the honour and glory of God and not for any other reason?"
As soon as Conchita got back home she called the bishop's house, but he was away on vacation, and it wasn't until the following afternoon that she was able to get through to him.
When she read for the Bishop, who had great admiration for Mother Teresa, the words written by the future Blessed, he enthusiastically responded: "Of course you can do it for that reason" and asked that the envelope with the message be sent to him as a souvenir. Conchita graciously complied.
Before leaving New York, Mother called Conchita and told her that she had been praying for the film which by the way, was a huge success when televised throughout the UK. (All the information for this account is provided by an eyewitness)
In January 1992, Mother invited Jacinta to come to see her. She was then recovering from a serious illness in her novitiate at Tijuana, Mexico, only a few hours away from the visionary's home in Oxnard, California. Jacinta made the trip on January 19, 1992. Mother Teresa presented her to her community: "Here is Jacinta of Garabandal. Garabandal is true!"
Her last meeting with Conchita occurred in New York just a few weeks before her death.
Reprinted with kind permission from GARABANDAL JOURNAL March-April 2004