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
— I would like to have my brothers priests. I have known many ... I remember a young priest of the Heart of Mary, to whom I wanted to give the crucifix to kiss, drew back, and weeping said, I am not worthy, I am not worthy . . . When I had finished seeing the Virgin, I went up to him and, apart from everyone, communicated to him what she had told me. He wants to take off the habit and leave the congregation. On hearing this, he began to cry again. I've never seen him since.
The first Thursday of the month — a priestly Thursday. During the interview, the Sister read to Conchita some edifying letters from priests.
— Before the Virgin told me about it, I thought that all priests were good. It had never occurred to me that they could commit mortal sins too.
I have known many . . . Some appeared holy to me in the beginning; later I saw things that I didn't like. I learned later how people can be deceived. At first I was very friendly to all, but on noticing that my trust was badly interpreted, I changed.
The Sister read and explained the parable of the Good Shepherd. On this occasion, Conchita was confiding the memories of her life from early youth, with peace and joy . . . She ended this way:
— Everything that happened I see now as if in a dream — the apparitions, the people . . . I'm sorry that many doubt the apparitions because of my denials. It occurs to me that, although I denied, I would still like to say, Have hope! Don't be discouraged. I think that the three other girls feel the same.
PHOTO: "a girl with many faults"
When I think about the Virgin, I picture her as something I dreamed. How nice it would be if now she would come here in this parlor with the two of us! What a joy! It isn't necessary to be perfect to see her. I have been a girl with many faults. On the day on which the Angel appeared to us, I had just fought with Jacinta. And I see that today I still don't like to pray. She comes to make us good . . .
If you could see how human the Virgin is! Sometimes she comically repeated our badly spoken expressions, and she did this in order that we might have confidence. But we had it from the first moment.
Now I have doubts about many things; but what I don't feel the least doubt about are the calls, I remember them perfectly, and moreover, as if I were feeling them right now.
— We have not always been treated well. Sometimes they said outrageous things about us, and they insulted us. How many times I had to listen to outright lies about us!
— No, I remained quite calm. Actually I was not hurt; and it was this way with the four of us. I don't know the cause. That they say nasty things to me doesn't matter to me; it humiliates you much more when they flatter you.
I don't feel rancor or hate toward anyone. When the priests of the Commission or those in charge of us attacked us, and the others became angry because of this, I did not. I thought that they had to act like this; and I loved them. I love very much the people who seem good, pious; and also I love those who are sick, and those who live their vocation or, having a vocation, are not able to attain it. Perhaps, after the Miracle, I also will be able to become a nun. What a pleasure that would be! [Conchita spent the Christmas holiday in the village with her family.]
January 27, 1967
Because of certain rumors, the Sister asked Conchita about her diary:
— Did you write the diary about the apparitions on your own or did they tell you to do it?
— A priest told me that the Bishop said I should write it.
— You never speak of your conversations with the Virgin.
— What for? We said such stupidities . . . Nevertheless, she never reprimanded us for it; she listened. One day we asked her something serious: What we should do to practice penance. She answered us, Always do what your conscience tells you. She didn't say any thing else. I seem to remember also that once she told Loli to obey her mother.
Certain persons had brought water from somewhere or other, and also some relics for Conchita. When the Sister in doing her job was giving them to her, saying that a visionary had brought them, Conchita told her . . .
— It seems that you don't believe anything about this. I don't have much faith in seers either, without denying that some are true.
— For me not to believe much in these things is logical, but for you that. . .
— That is something very different! I don't know how to explain it; but it's not the same.
— They said that this visionary sent a message to your mother, saying harsh things, and that you threw it away. Why? . . .
— She said that my mother was acting very bad toward me . . . The Virgin didn't say that!
— She is more kind, is that right?
— Oh yes! She would never say that.
— Whenever we prayed the Gloria, the Virgin bowed her head.
— We didn't see the Pines or any thing else. We only saw her.
Many things had occurred during the previous weeks, for example, the «Nota» of Bishop Puchol, dated March 17th. This had greatly affected the Sister; and to a lesser degree, Conchita, who was able to notice the effect of the «Nota» in the village, where she spent her Holy Week vacation. [This «Nota», given to all the news media by the Bishop of Santander, Vicente Puchol, intended to obliterate as false everything about Garabandal.]
That April 10th an issue of La Gaceta Ilustrada had fallen into her hands, publishing a pitiless article by the reporter Julio Poo San Román of Santander, speaking out against the events and visionaries of Garabandal.
— How did this article affect you ?
— It's very bad. There are many lies in it. For example, it says that I didn't want the Bishop to inform the people about my denials, and the truth is that I myself asked them to make it known so that I would be more at peace with myself that way. What makes me suffer is that the people now look on us in a bad way . . .
I have only one desire: That the date of the Miracle come — not for the Miracle itself, but in order to see once and for all if it is true or not. If it has been the Virgin, the Miracle will take place, because what she says is always fulfilled. As for myself, regardless of whether the Miracle takes place or doesn't take place, it will always be bad for me.
— Why is that?
— If the thing is true — for having acted badly, denying and not being generous. And if it isn't true . . . well for everything!
If what happened to us, being good little girls, hasn't been supernatural, and God has permitted it to happen with the consequences that can result, then I couldn't believe that God is good. And my mother and brothers could never believe it.
PHOTO: "not being generous"
The Sister advanced some explanations in order to clear up a problem and Conchita replied:
— I don't know the first two cases that you mentioned, since we didn't begin with a lie, and I can assure you that we made no agreement among ourselves.
— And what followed?
— It was the same as at the beginning. It isn't true that we rehearsed this! How could they think and say that?
— Then I see clearly that these things did not come from you girls.
— I don't know how they came. I see everything darkly. What is clear to me is that we didn't plan them.
— What the Virgin told you about pride and humility . . . did you receive that together with the message?
— No. She said it on another occasion: What God loves most is humility; what most displeases Him is pride.
— Would you like to see the Virgin again?
— It's all the same to me. I hope to see her in heaven.
— Why do you talk that way?
— It would be painful for me now because of my denials . . .
They discussed the article in La Gaceta Ilustrada:
— It was not — Conchita remarked — a game of ours, nor did we do it to deceive. Nor did the pastor talk to us about guardian angels on that day. He almost never gave us catechism. Nor did we get together in order to make up the message . . . Nor did I prepare any dough to make the host for the Communion . . .
It's true that we did many stupid things too, that Cardinal Ottaviani read to me in Rome [When she was called there in December, 1966.] from a report by the bishop of Santander. For example, the thing about the powders, the statue of the Virgin that we were going to hide, and some other things . . .
To inspire her, the Sister talked to Conchita about how much Our Lord and the Virgin loved her.
— Yes. But They love everyone. When we were talking to the Virgin about things that were too personal, she didn't answer us; she was concerned about others.
Conchita had decided to celebrate this month of the Virgin better than ever. On this day she met with the Sister and told her:
— If the Virgin would present herself to me now, how many things I would ask her! At the time we only said stupid things to her, things without importance. I think that we did it to make her stay longer so that she wouldn't leave us, for at times she remained silent and didn't look at us.
— Do you think about the mysteries when you pray the rosary?
— No. I give my attention to what I'm saying in prayer.
When I hear the Virgin talked about, whatever is said good or bad, I think is said to me, since I consider her something mine.
The Virgin is very much with us; she isn't distant...
One day she gave me a statement to tell a certain priest; I gave it to him and he wept very much.
(Here the Sister added that the husband of one of her former students had recounted how Conchita had spoken personally to him in Garabandal about something very hidden in his conscience, and that this had made him resolve to change his way of life.)
By a telephone call from Francisco Sanchez-Ventura the Sister had received news that the Bishop of Santander had just been killed in a tragic accident; the Sister told it to Conchita, who was overcome and later broke out in tears.
— I am so sorry about what has happened! He was very good and very young. The poor man! He did everything with good intentions. Isn't that true? This warns us that we must be prepared. So many things can happen to us in this life! . . . Now the Bishop knows everything.
The apparitions were discussed. Sister asked:
— Why did you fall on the ground?
— We were not aware of that; we were with the Virgin! And we followed the conversation or communication with her, without knowing if we were running or not, if we were on our knees or lying on the ground.
The Sister makes a note here: A few days previously Father Laffineur had come and asked me how Conchita looked to me. I answered: "Simple, natural, candid, intelligent. So normal and well-balanced that I could certify that in my profession as a teacher I haven't known another like her." I also told him that I didn 't find a very strong will in her.
—The Virgin didn't tell me that she didn't want me to leave the village and be in school.
—Our greatest treasure is within. The external appearance doesn't matter much; it should be made agreeable, but without affectation.
"without knowing if we were running or not"
"We announced the first message."
— At times you did strange things in front of her.
— Yes, we walked sitting down for example. In the beginning I was very surprised in seeing this in the others; afterwards I became accustomed to it. I saw them descend a steep stairway this way.
I recall once having a knee injury. The doctor ordered rest, but I didn't take care of the knee. And it didn't hurt after that. Without taking a treatment, I had a complete cure.
They said that on another occasion I had left blood on a stone; but later I didn't notice anything on my knees, except a little scratch.
— In some of those things, did you add something of your own invention?
— Doesn't it seem to you that some of your tittle deceits, on top of seeing your present doubts, could contribute in some way to cloud the truth?
— It is very possible that could be. Don't think that I haven't thought about it.
— Have you noticed what day it is today? We should do something more in prayer. Shall we stay in prayer this night? . . . What happened on this day in 1961?
— We announced the first message. We had already seen it beneath the Angel; but we didn't understand what it meant. The Virgin explained it to us...
"She is so beautiful!"
And in what happened to us during those years I see the work of the devil too.
I remember, for example, the voice that we heard in the great darkness that I have already mentioned.
And that other day on which Loli and Jacinta intended to jump down from the choir loft of the church.
At the time I wasn't seeing the Virgin, and I was near the main altar.
I remember that they came down, and touching my face, asked me,
---"Are you Conchita?"
On that day, it certainly seems to have been the devil.
Aniceta and daughter
On one of the last visits Conchita told the Sister:
— From time to time I see more clearly that what happened to the four of us girls was true, but we wasted it ... Our denials are our own doing. Sometimes, although very briefly, I see this very clearly.
And the Sister closed the long chapter of her remembrances of the extraordinary closeness to the child of the Montaña with these lines:
I give thanks to the Most Holy Virgin for everything, Whether she has appeared or not at Garabandal, I have been moved in everything by her love, and certainly all this has brought me to love her more and to feel closer to her.
May this be the final result for everyone, while we continue to revolve between the light and the shadows of ...