BOOK 3 Chapter 4d:
Among the Marvels

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

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    We have previously seen how Maria Herrero de Gallardo wrote in her letter of «such marvels that it seemed to be a bottomless well from which they were pulling up a multitude of things..»

    If the Miracle was the news of September, it was not the only thing of interest in that month. It is certain that the days of September, 1962 were some of the most eventful in the astounding evolution of Garabandal. This can be gathered from reading Fr. Valentin's notes for the month.

The Visionaries' Mystical Communions

    Conchita and Loli received Communion from the Angel on all, or almost all, of the days on which they could not receive it from a priest. Mrs. Herrero de Gallardo wrote about one of these Communions in a letter dated September 24th:
<>    «The day that I was there, Conchita received Communion at 2:30 in the afternoon in front of the church door. A Jesuit from Catalana, who saw it, told me about it. It had pleased him very much because the body, the hands, the eyes . . . had a manner of moving that was completely opposite to the agitated gesticulations of hysteria . . .» [We have another valuable observation from a specialist in the matter (Dr. Puncernau): «The entrance and the departure from the trance merits special attention. They said that they had three calls ... They said, / have already had one call . . . I've had two calls . . . The length of time between the calls was extremely variable. One time when I knew that they had two calls, I managed to talk with them, attempting to distract them . . . And especially to make them talk about something that interested them. In the middle of a sentence, they suddenly fell on their knees in the state of trance as if struck by lightning — in spile of being observed to be interested in what they were discussing. This drew my attention. This is not the normal way to enter into a hypnotic trance, especially if the person has not been conditioned to a sign or signal. Among the spectators I was never able to find such a sign. Or even to know of what it could consist.»]

    This Jesuit priest must have been Fr. Argila (whom Dr. Ortiz mentions), and he must have come from Barcelona with the pastor of San Cucufate, Fr. Antonio Yllensa Borrás, and the neuro-psychiatrist Dr. Richardo Puncernau. Fr. Valentín calls him P. Aguilar in his notes and says that on Saturday, September 22nd, he saw a Mystical Communion for the first time, and that «he was very much impressed».

The angel instructed the girls in proper preparation ... for worthy reception.
    Luis Navas, the lawyer from Palencia tells us of the same effect it had on him when he was finally able to view a Communion of this type on October 2nd, after ardently longing for it:
    «A little before 6:30 in the morning, we set out for the church. It was still dark. A meter and a half from the doors, Loli fell on her knees and went into a trance. This was something that impressed me more than anything else I have seen in the visionaries. The devotion in making the sign of the cross, the drama of the tongue extending and then withdrawing, the movement of the throat as if she were swallowing something . . . The prayer of thanksgiving . . . Everything seemed so dramatic to me, as if deserving the greatest respect.»
    Speaking of this type of Communion, Father Valentín wrote on September 10th:
    « The ecstasy usually lasts only a few minutes, but it is moving. The girl falls on her knees, softly says the "Confiteor", makes the sign of the cross, joins her hands on her chest, holds out her tongue; and it is seen perfectly how she swallows. She makes the sign of the cross again, and is heard to say in a low voice, "Soul of Christ, sanctify me ..." Once again she makes the sign of the cross and is back in the normal state. It seems the prayers after Communion are said by the Angel.»
    What the pastor notes on September 22nd is interesting:
    «The girls always keep the fast until the hour that they receive Communion — the fast according to the old custom.» (without eating or drinking anything after 12:00 midnight)
Waiting for the Ecstasies

    As has already been shown, when the Virgin was the one who was going to appear, the ecstasies were always preceded with three mysterious calk , . . We find observations about these calls in Fr. Valentin's notes on September 6th:

    «The children were accustomed to wait until 10:30 at night. If by that hour they hadn't received the first call, they went to bed. However, if they received a call before going to bed, then they would wait up for the apparition until the time it came, even though they fell asleep. They didn't want to go to sleep, since the Virgin had told them that they should wait up and make sacrifices ... In other things, they each led a normal life at home and helped their mothers..»[God never calls any of those on earth — a time for merit — to a life of easy convenience.]
    On the night of September 5th, Fr. Valentin told Loli that it was very late, that it would be better not to wait for an apparition. But she answered that the calls were unmistakable, that the apparition would come, and that because of this, although she was half asleep, she did not want to go to bed. And so the penance of waiting night after night was no small one, either for the girls themselves or for their families and those who accompanied them.
    Evidently, the wonderful phenomena of Garabandal were not given as free entertainment ... In Fr. Valentin's notes (Monday, Sept. 24) appear these lines:
    « The girls led a life of true sacrifice. Conchita's mother told me that her daughter slept better on a chair than in her bed, because she spent the night sitting down, waiting for the apparition like all of us. She slept with her head leaning on the wall. And the next day she didn't fail to walk to work. The four girls worked, swept, cleaned, went to the river to wash, and did everything like the other girls. Because of this, they were seen very little on working days; but on Sundays they played in the streets like the other young children in the village. In spite of the little that they slept and rested, they looked strong and healthy ...»
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    Besides the marvelous normalness that extended throughout September, there were some days that had their own particular note.
    For example, there was the night that bridged September 5th to September 6th, Wednesday to Thursday. There were many people from Barcelona, Madrid, Bilbao, Santander, and Seville. But probably the person with the most special invitation from heaven was an English Protestant (Anglican), who had been there once before. She was watching the ecstasy that Loli was having in her home when suddenly the girl, in a very special way, gave her the cross to kiss several times, and one of the times she left it applied to her lips for some time.

    «Barbara.» —read Fr. Valentin's notes — « was blanched white, very excited. When the ecstasy was over, I spoke to her. She was sure that all this was the work of the Virgin, and she was already disposed to become a Catholic.»

    That night when she passed by the English woman in ecstasy, Conchita also stopped very significantly and gave her the cross to kiss.
    On the night of September 7th to the 8th, Loli had an apparition alone, toward 3:45 in the early morning. During the ecstasy, among other things she was heard to say, «Is it the feastday of the Virgin of Health? Is it your feastday?The village had a little chapel dedicated to Mary under the title of The Virgin of Health, and its celebration (like so many other of Mary's titles and appela-tions) was on September 8th, the feastday of the Nativity of Our Lady.

village chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Health

    «When Loli's ecstasy ended.» — as we read in Fr. Valentin's notes — «we met Jacinta and her brothers who were going to the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Light, which is six hours of hiking by foot on trails across the mountains. [This hermitage or sanctuary of Mary was on the other side of the Peña Sagra Mountains, on the slope facing Liébana.] They carried a flashlight for illumination. The first thing that they did was to pray a rosary in the Cuadro. (Jacinta prayed there every day at six in the morning.) Jacinta was full of joy, and was making the sacrifice of getting up early in the morning and the long hike to ask the Virgin to return to see her soon . . . She and Mari Cruz are the ones who see the Virgin the least. Later I learned that Mari Cruz also had gone to another sanctuary to request the same ...»

Mari Cruz and Jacinta

    September 16th, Sunday, was memorable and instructive. We read in Fr. Valentin's journal:

    «There was a man in the village who was half-crazy, and he was doing ridiculous things that could have been very wrongly interpreted by the visitors who didn't know his mental condition. He had been in an insane asylum for a year, and now he was staying here. This was causing trouble and annoyance, and he had to be sent away.
    During the ecstasy on that day, Loli and Conchita went to the house where this disturbed man called Alfonso was. And with a crucifix they made a cross there on the pillow on his bed. And while passing by him, they gave him the crucifix to kiss several times. The disturbed man was struck to his knees.

    That night Fr. Anzizu [The two priests mentioned here came from Argentina, accompanying Cardinal Caggiano (Archbishop of Rosario, who was journeying at the time to Rome to participate in the coming Ecumenical Council). These priests took advantage of their passage through Spain to take a trip to Garabandal. The impression that they received there could not have been better, especially for Fr. Anzizu. He openly declared his intention of speaking in Rome about the extraordinary phenomena.] commented: What a lesson in charity the girls gave us. Everyone who had been talking about the necessity of throwing the insane man from the village was touched; above all, the Cardinal's secretary, Fr. Guillermo Hausschildt, who had thought of refusing him Communion. He said: It is clear the Virgin wanted to give us a lesson.

    Conchita was asked why she had gone to the place where the deranged man was and had repeatedly given him the crucifix to kiss. And she answered, The Virgin told us: "You despise him; but I love him."

    A response like this put us down, making us see our great lack of charity.»

    Perhaps the words that Conchita was heard to say during the ecstasy had some relation with this unforgettable lesson from the Mother of God: «When you come down here to earth, why do you come? To save the world?» Surely mental cases are not the only ones who need salvation; nor are they the cases that need it the most.
*    *    *
    The neuropsychiatrist from Barcelona, Dr. Puncernau, who had carefully studied the girls previously, continued his studies and examinations during these days. He discussed his findings with a colleague, the pediatrician from Santander, Dr. Ortiz, who wrote:
    «Jacinta's father asked me to please be present; and it was no wonder, since they had had enough of doctors' inquisitions.
    I asked Puncernau for his conclusions.

    He answered, I have no doubt about the complete normality of the girls: since the facts can't be attributed to any illness. With regard to this matter, this is the third time that I have come to Garabandal with the intention of studying the visionaries. If I would have seen anything suspicious, I would have said it immediately.

    In that we were in agreement..»

    On several of these days, the girls' words and phrases were recorded on tape. Although many of the words had only insignificant meaning, at times others came forth of greater scope:
    «Most Holy Virgin, let me not abandon you! Let me love you all my life! Oh! That I may never leave you. That I may love you always, always, until death. Most Holy Virgin, do not refuse us help.
(Loli, on the night of September 12th-13th)

    «What is heaven like?. , . In heaven there are no chairs? ... Do they walk there? . . . Is there fire in purgatory? ... Do they come out burned? . . . One cannot enter into heaven even with a very little sin? . . . How can they paint you so ugly, since you are so beautiful? . . .»

(Conchita, September 25th)

    «Does the conversion of sinners cost much? . . . I pray so that many come and be converted, and the good become better . . . Is it better to be a nun or a wife? . . . If you wish, make it so that I may be at 14 years they say that at 16, one cannot. . . Ease the pain of my brother, [It seems clear that Conchita was asking to be able to enter the convent at 14 years of age. And she was asking for a special grace, since she had learned that there was nothing that could be done until 16 years of age, as someone had told her. Canon Law fixes this age of 16 years as the minimum for being able to take religious vows. The brother about whom she speaks in this last petition was Aniceto — familiarly called Cetuco— who was suffering from the pains of an illness that a few years later would bring him to his death, an exemplary death at the hospital in Burgos, lovingly cared for by his only sister, Conchita.] who suffers much from his stomach don't take it away,»

(Conchita on the same date)

NEXT Chapter 3-04e) A Torch Dies Out
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