BOOK 2 Chapter 5e
A Move Is Planned
Reprinted 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


*    *    *
    The daily flowering of wondrous things in Gara-bandal seemed to have reached full bloom on February 18th, when Jacinta also was included in the amazing game.

    That February 18th (Septuagesima [With what is called Septuagesima Sunday begins the long liturgical procession toward Easter. This time — reads the French Missal — makes us meditate on our earthly condition: suffering and sinful. It evokes a triple effort:

    The effort of the entire human race which through its long history struggles against evil, while groping for God and trying to build a better world.
    The effort of Christ Who during His public life fought against Satan, and founded the Kingdom of God.
    The effort that the Church pursues in each of us through our daily militant battle against the difficulties of life.] Sunday in that year), began with some early morning spiritual walks that illustrated and practiced the liturgical texts that were later read during the Mass of the day:

— Day after day must be born the burden of the day's heat. (Matt. 20:11)
— One should run without giving up, in a way to gain the prize.(1 Cor. 9: 24)
— We should submit ourselves to God, who declares He has a right to do what I choose. (Matt. 20:15)

    Fr. Valentin's notes read: «At 6 in the morning. Mari Cruz and Jacinta went out to pray the rosary at the Cuadro, and there they went into ecstasy. {Jacinta hadn't had an apparition since January 18th, at which time it was foretold that she wouldn't have one until today.) They went down to the village in ecstasy, and they held the crucifix to be kissed by several persons . . . And they returned to the Cuadro, where they came out of it. It lasted 70 minutes. »
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    Such a holy beginning made it easy to continue on devoutly through the ensuing hours of the Lord's Day with the morning Mass, the rosary in common at the beginning of the evening . . . And the day had no less a holy ending:
 
"Conchita made the sign of the cross over all of them, one by one."

    «At 6 in the evening, Jacinta and Mari Loli went to the Pines, and there went into ecstasy again. And later they went down to the door of the church, and here they came out of it one after the other, with a minute's difference.»

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    Maximina Gonzalez in a letter on February 19, written to the Pifarré family, confirms the pastor's notes. It is seen that Maximina began the letter on Sunday the 18th, and finished it the next day:  «Today, Sunday, at six in the morning, they had an apparition at the Pines and they came down to the village backwards; and this afternoon they will have another . . .

    The apparitions continue, good weather or bad. Recently the girls brought the winter! They get up early every morning with the coldness that there is. It is hard for them and obviously hard for the many people with them. For several days now 1 haven't gone since I have a bad cold.

    Last night we were at the Pines at an apparition. There were a lot of people and Conchita made the sign of the cross over all of them, one by one . . . and as usual she asked for a miracle . . .»

*    *    *
    The course of the Garabandal Mystery, as beautiful as it is unusual, was on the verge of being interrupted during those February days. On Wednesday, February 21st, Fr. Valentin wrote down: «Today they took Conchita to León. »[A beautiful city in the northwest part of the Iberian peninsula holding many claims to glory for services given to the country during the most difficult centuries; it was the capital of the Christian reconquest from the Arabs].

    Although this trip had a particular reason for her, the plan or project that had been conceived by several influential people was not limited to her alone. A geographical transplant of all four girls was being contemplated.

    On March 1st, Conchita, who had returned from Leon, wrote to Dr. Ortiz and his wife in Santander:


"I went to give the cruvifix to be kissed."

    «I asked the Virgin whether I should go see my brother,[He was working then in the coal mines of the Hullera Vasco-Leonesa Company in the city of Santa Lucia.] and she told me to go, that I would have an apparition there too, as I did.
 
    I was in León at the home of Mr. del Valle; [This man, Emilio del Valle, was already mentioned in the early parts of this book. But soon he began to appear in the history of Garabandal as someone especially entwined in it, without knowing for what reason he was there.] I don't know if you know him, or have heard his name mentioned. I had the first ecstasy on Saturday. I don't remember if it was at nine o'clock or nine thirty. Mr. Valle, his younger children, my mother, and the house servants were alone. I also had one on Sunday at 11 or 11:30 at night. At the time some men were there, but since the apparition was late in coming, many of them left . . . They said that on that night I went on my knees to the room of Mr. Valle's daughter, which was on the same floor and whose doors joined mine. And they said that I went to give the crucifix to be kissed by one of his young children who was in bed, and that I recited the rosary. I don't remember anything about the things that I did.

    I was also told that I asked the Most Holy Virgin if I could go to college and whether I would see her there. She told me that I would see her the same, although I don't know if I will go where there are Carmelites . . .»[This refers to the Congregation de Carmelitas de la Caridad founded in the past century by the holy Joaquina Vedruna. These Carmelites for many years have gone to reputable colleges in León and have contributed much to the education of girls in the city.]

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    This attempt to procure a good education in a religious school for the Garabandal visionaries was being considered with the best intentions by Emilio del Valle and others.
 
    To February 27th corresponds what was written by Fr. Valentin:  «Conchita went to León, to the home of Emilio del Valle, and there had two apparitions. Mr. Emilio wanted to put the girls in a school, charging all the expenses to his account: but he met opposition from the girls' parents.»
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<>    The matter was on the point of being realized, according to what can be deduced from this letter by Maximina González to Dr. Ortiz, dated March 4th: «When I came back, I had three letters from the Pifarré family of Barcelona at my home. They say that down there they are very happy at the thought that the girls come and go when they please. But notice how upset they will be when I tell them that they are trying to take them all (the four visionaries) to school! PHOTO: Maximina and niece

    Conchita says that she is going to leave either on Friday or Saturday; I don't know if this is correct. I don't even want to ask her about it. We're all very upset. It seems incredible. Mr. Emilio! That he is the one who is taking them! What money will do! Heavens! Those who still don't seem persuaded to leave are María Dolores and Jacinta. They'll persuade them . . .

    My sister (Aniceta) told me, when they went on this trip to León, that the Virgin told them that they would come to stop where there were some nuns . . . And that the very first thing they saw in León, after getting out of the car, was a school of Carmelite nuns . . . and that they were the first ones to whom they spoke, without knowing any of them. What a coincidence!»

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    The plan to transplant the girls — very well intentioned, but which might have changed the course of Garabandal — ended uneventfully, and the four girls remained in their own environment and with their own affairs.

    And so Father Valentin could write in his notebook:  «The matter of San Sebastian de Garabandal at this time continues about the same. The girls have ecstasies almost every day. I continue going up myself to see them.»
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    As something unusual in the beautiful monotony of those days, I am putting down here something that occurred on March 3rd, and which Dr. Ortiz reported:   «Félix Lopez, a former student of the Seminario Mayor de Derio {Bilbao), who is now the schoolteacher in Garabandal, was meeting with people in Conchita's kitchen. The girl received a letter that she didn't understand, and she requested him to translate it. It was in Italian, and Félix, after reading it, said, By its style, it could well be Padre Pio.[Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, a Capuchin priest at San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy, was known world-wide for his stigmata, reading of consciences, and miracles. He died in September of 1968. The process of his canonization is progressing under the auspices of the hierarchy.]


"The girls have ecstasies almost every day."

    Conchita asked him if he knew Padre Pio's address, and on receiving an affirmative answer, asked him to help her compose a letter to answer it and express her appreciation.

    Completing the letter, they left it on the kitchen table, unfolded. After a while, Conchita went into ecstasy and recited the rosary. When she returned to her normal state, the teacher said to her:

Did you ask the Virgin if the letter was from Father Pio?

— Yes, and she gave me a secret answer to send him.

    The girl went up to her room and came down later with a paper written by hand. In front of everybody, she put the paper in the envelope which had been addressed by the teacher to Padre Pio, and she sealed it.

    The letter that had come to Conchita, without a signature, without a return address, but with an Italian stamp, said this:

My Dear Children,
    At 9 o'clock in the morning, the Holy Virgin told me to say to you: "O blessed young girls of San Sebastian de Garabandal! I promise you that I will be with you until the end of the centuries (possibly 'end of the times'?), and you will be with me during the end of the world. And later, united with me in the glory of paradise."
    I am sending you a copy of the holy rosary of Fatima, which the Virgin told me to send you. The rosary was composed by the Virgin and should be propagated for the salvation of sinners and preservation of humanity from the terrible punishments with which the Good God is threatening it.
    I give you only one counsel: Pray and make others pray, because the world is at the beginning of perdition.
    They do not believe in you or in your conversations with the Lady in White . . . They will believe when it will be too late.»
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    Here is something, I repeat, that is very unusual.

    It would be helpful to have more information in order to understand what this means. If the letter really did come from Padre Pio, where is the original? Is the translation, that Dr. Ortiz has and which we are copying, accurate?

    If so, what is the meaning of the expression: "I will be with you until the end of the centuries, and you will be with me during the end of the world?"

    In the second edition of this book we are able to add something to clarify this intriguing episode.

    On February 9, 1975 the people responsible for the magazine Garabandal put out by Joey Lomangino, a man well known in Garabandal circles, interviewed Conchita who is now married and living in the United States. The questions and answers were recorded.

Conchita, do you remember anything about the letter that you are said to have received from Padre Pio?

— You know that I have moments in which I remember many things about the apparitions very well, and I have moments in which I hardly remember anything at all ...

    Concerning what you now ask me, I do remember that I received in the mail a letter addressed to me and the other three girls: Jacinta, Mari Loli and Mari Cruz. I was surprised by what it said; and as it was unsigned, I kept it in my pocket until the time of the apparition.

    When the Blessed Mother appeared, I showed her the letter . . . and I asked her whom it was from. The Blessed Mother answered that it came from Padre Pio. At the time I didn't know who Padre Pio was and it didn't occur to me to ask her anything more . . .

    After the apparition we were talking about the letter, and then a seminarian there told me who Padre Pio was and where he lived. I wrote him, saying that when he made a visit to my country, I would like to see him . . . He answered in a short letter saying, Do you think that I can come and go by the chimney? Being twelve years old I had no idea what a cloister was.


"People do not believe in your apparitions .... When they believe, it will be too late."

Do you remember any of the contents of the letter that you showed to the Virgin?
    I don't remember the whole thing well. But I do remember its beginning:

    "Dear children of Garabandal, this morning the Most Holy Virgin talked to me about your apparitions ..."

    I also remember that it said: "Many people do not believe in your apparitions and that you are speaking with the Blessed Mother. When they believe, it will be too late ..."

    I also remember that the letter said: "I promise to be with you until the end of the times." That is all that I remember now.

    Do you have those two letters?

— Yes, I think my mother has them in Spain.

    This matter will be better understood further on in Part Three of these books after the reader finishes the chapter entitled, 1963, a Year of Interlude with the section Only Three Popes Remain.

    It is clear that the end of the times is not the same as the end of the world.

    The visionaries of Garabandal could well experience during their lifetime the coming of the « end of the times », and because of this the Virgin will « be with » them — through her special assistance and aid — until those great days come. Afterwards they will depart from here on earth to go where she is, and may be present with her « at the end of the world » when our Lord will conclude things with His final judgment to close the tremendous epoch of man's history.

NEXT ... Chapter 5f) Days of Lent

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