with kind permission from St. Joseph Publications
from the book She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Book 1)
NOTE: All excerpts from Conchita's Diary will be in extra-bold type
In spite of leafing over and over again through many papers and notes, I am not able to determine the exatct date, but I think that it is approximately here, in the final days of March, that something very interesting took place. I came upon this unexpectedly one day in Santander, from the lips of Jacinta. All she remembered was that it was in 1962 at the end of the winter.
It was a cold night. Jacinta wanted to remain awake in the kitchen since an apparition had been foretold for 4 o'clock in the morning; but her father, Simón, told her to go to bed to rest, that he would advise her in time.
The girl resisted, became stubborn, even obstinate. Her father did not permit her to have her way and forced her to obey. Then she went up to her room in a bad mood, crying and protesting. She was afraid of falling asleep and missing the apparition. PHOTO: Jacinta showed disrespect and disobedience to her father.
And so it happened. After some time she woke up abruptly (her father had made a noise in getting up) adn she immediately asked him:
— Papa. what time is it?
— You see? I haven't had an apparition on account of you!
And she began to cry, as much with pain as with regret.
— You can go now to pray in the Calleja, Simón answered her.
The girl did this; but she waited futilely for a visit to take place as had happened on so many other days as that time.
She returned home unhappier still; and during the days that followed her unhappiness changed into real suffering, on seeing that what she hoped for so much was not coming. Her companions, on the other hand, continued with their ecstasies and apparitions just as before. PHOTO: "You must obey your parents."
Jacinta began to languish. Her parents started to worry seriously as the girl's mental suffering began to affect her health. Her color became pale, she lost weight, she stopped smiling.
Jacinta had to ask herself, Why is the Virgin doing this? Will I ever see her again?
She could not support this last thought. She leaned on her companions whenever they had an apparition and anxiously said to them, Ask the Virgin why she isn't coming to me. Ask her if I will see her again. Ask her ...
And Loli and Conchita asked and asked .... But their questions remained unanswered day after day.
Finally, after almost a month, Loli came to Jacinta with important news, The Virgin told me that you are going to see her on ...
For Jacinta that was as if she had suddenly come into the light at the end of a long dark tunnel. She smiled again, her face regained its color, her heart filled with hope.
The longed-for visit came on the day predicted. As soon as Jacinta found herself again before the gracious contenance of Mary, she could not hold back the question, Why haven't you come? Why have you kept me so long like this?
— For the wrong that you did with your father on that night. How many times do I have to tell you that you must obey your parents, even before obeying me?
The punishment had been strict, but it had been full of mercy. The Virgin only sought the welfare of her little girls, so full of good will, but also so full of defects. They had to change.
The punishment had lasted a month. The lesson would last forever. PHOTO: Jacinta with her mother.
Does the case of Mari Cruz have something to do with this mercy in discipline?
Let me state that I do not wish to get involved in explanations as to why she was the least favored of the four girls with regard to the number of ecstasies. But I can not evade the question that comes up from time to time about the possible reason for this undeniable fact.
Is it simply that the plans of God were not the same for all four girls? He allots His gifts gratuitously as He pleases, not always as they are merited. Could it have been that the girl, because of external pressures, was not able to correspond to what was asked of her?
We do not know, nor probably will we ever know. Furthermore, we should not judge rashly. Nevertheless, as a point of illustration, I want to put here what a person from Garabandal wrote to Doctor Ortiz in Santander during the Holy Week of 1962:
«With regard to the apparitins, they are the same as always, as you know.
I think Mari Cruz hasn't had more than one apparition in the past month, and that was a small one. She had it on Tuesday morning while she was praying at the Calleja. She was told that the Virgin would return again on Saturday. But, as you know, she went to bed following that, and so didn't have it. PHOTO: Mari Cruz in ecstasy.
Here is how I interpret this. From the beginning the Virgin has asked for sacrifices. [Another eloquent confirmation of the need for sacrifice mentioned in these lines from Conchita's dairy: During Holy Week, she told me to go out at five in the morning.(to pray the rosary at the Calleja) And so I went, since the Virgin always wants us to do penance.] And Mari Cruz hasn't been making them, since on many days she was in bed at nine o'clock. So how was she going to have an apparition? As you are aware, the other girls, when they were told that they would have one, stayed up until the hour that it happened.»
I am putting down these observations and opinions; God alone knows for whom they can be instructive. I do not wish to disparage the girl to whom I refer, not her parents; they thought they had to act like this, and she believed it was her duty to obey.