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 the episcopal quasi-interdict [The interdict is one of the grave penalties that the Church formerly used to punish major trespasses of its members.] that bore down on the phenomena and the location that served for the scenario, the flame was not quenched.
The girls, influenced by the Virgin, respected the ordinances of legitimate authority better than anyone else. We read in an excerpt from Fr. Lopez Retenaga:
«Although they were aware of the Nota from the bishop, they continued to have the unalterable peace that characterized them; and this peace was aligned with a clear understanding of the obedience that was required from others. I have a letter from Conchita in which she points out the presence of four priests in the village, making it known that — although she was pleased in seeing the priests there — it would have been better for them to obey the bishop.»
"Her face was truly transfigured."
Yes, the girls showed themselves totally submissive to legitimate authority; but they had no reason to share that authority's opinion on the events. It was evident to them that what was happening did not depend on them, nor on anything or anyone that they knew. Everyone who talked to them could observe this. Maria Herrero de Gallardo, for example, was speaking with Loli on the vigil of that same October 7th on which the bishop of Santander, before leaving for Rome, put his signature on the official «Nota» that we have just mentioned. During this conversation, the woman asked the girl:
«— Tell me, Loli. Which Virgin do you see?
— There's only one Virgin»— replied the girl — «although she can have different names, like the Virgin of Mount Carmel, the Virgin of the Rosary, the Virgin of the Pillar . . .
— Well then, which Virgin do you see?»
Loli described once again the Virgin that she and her companions had seen so many times, and concluded with enthusiasm:
«She fell on her knees there in the kitchen, leaning against the left wall. Her face was truly transfigured, and her hair fell on her shoulders in a very lovely way. Her eyes were absorbed, looking up toward the ceiling where stacks of garlic, onions, and sausages were hanging. [I do not think that anyone will be surprised by these things hanging in the kitchen of a village house.] It was a totally domestic scene, but nevertheless, full of charm and supernatural elevation.»
«It was thrilling to see how the Apparition seemed to be kissing these missals page by page, pausing specially on some of them. She also kissed the holy cards that were in them . . . We learned later that the Virgin had spoken to the girl about the owners of the articles that she was kissing, even giving some personal messages, as in the case of a young Mexican who was there, for whom there was something about the death of his father ...
— Loli, when you were turning the pages of the missal, you turned them somewhat in a hurry. I'm afraid that the Virgin kissed them somewhat in a hurry too.
In considering the Virgin's style of doing things, Loli could only repeat what had long ago been said of Jesus' style by the multitudes from Gallilee who had seen Him act: Full of admiration, they exclaimed: He does all things well! (Mark 7: 37)
PHOTO: "She does everything well."
The girls had no reason to doubt the genuineness and origin of what was happening to them; but the spectators were not satisfied and wanted a spectacular miracle.
Amid predictions, waiting and hoping for the Miracle, the weeks of the second autumn slipped by.
On October 25th, 1962, Thursday, a fortnight after the inauguration of the Council, Loli wrote to Fr. José Ramón Garcia de la Riva on the postcard previously mentioned: «We already know the date of the miracle; but I'm not able to tell about it; when I can, I'll tell it.»
And on October 30th, there is a resumé in the brief notes of Fr. Valentin:
«After the rosary, the three (Loli, Jacinta, and Conchita) fell into ecstasy, and as usual went to the Pines. They came down on their knees most of the way, praying the rosary . . . On the 30th, they gave a written card to their parents upon which they foretold what comprised the miracle that the Virgin was going to perform. And for days they have been talking about it.» [Thanks to Maximina's letter (from the many written to the Pifarré family in Barcelona that Mrs. Asunción Pifarré treasures), we can know exactly when the prediction of Loli and Jacinta's "miracle" first began. The letter dated October 10th starts like this: «Today there was a notice read in all the churches of the diocese that no priest or religious should come to the village: a notice put out by the bishop saying this is not true.
On November 2nd, Friday and the day dedicated to the departed (All Souls Day), Dr. Celestino Ortiz, his wife, a brother of hers called Fernando, and their friend Placido Ruiloba were in Conchita's house in Garabandal. They were discussing the bishop's return to Santander. Then Conchita intervened:
— The Virgin told me that I can tell the bishop, Fr. Valentin, and my mother about the Miracle.
Those present showed indecision. Finally Placido said: Fes, I'll go with it. Why not! And actually, on the following day, November 3rd, Placido Ruiloba presented himself at the bishop's residence in Santander with a rather bulky envelope that Conchita had entrusted to him. He wanted to give it to the bishop with his own hand, but in order not to have to wait too long or annoy the bishop, he ended up handing it to his personal secretary Father Diego, for him to forward it on.
Twenty days later, Dr. Celestino Ortiz and Mr, Placido Ruiloba returned again to the village. On the night of the 24th to the 25th there were several ecstasies that Mr. Ruiloba recorded on his tape recorder. On the last with Conchita, at six in the morning, there were things concerning the Miracle that the girl later confirmed in the normal state:
• That the Miracle will be at 8:30 in the evening, as on the first apparition.• That it would last a quarter of an hour.• That it would be seen in the sky, and so clearly, that there would be no doubt that it was coming from God.• That the sick who came with faith on that day would be cured. [I have further confirmation of this from Maximina's letter to the Pifarre family on November 25th: «At seven-thirty this morning, Conchita had an apparition. And the Virgin told her that the Miracle would be at eight-thirty in the evening, and that the sick would be cured, and that all of us in the village would see the Miracle, even though we were away from it, provided that we were in sight of the village, since Conchita's Miracle, as I already told you, will be seen in the sky . . . We are white with snow, and if you could see how the girls walk on their knees to get to the Pines, backwards, through all the ruts and all the snow! It frightens me to see them; and furthermore, it is snowing very much with a terrible freezing wind.»]
«In the early hours of the morning (November 25th), Conchita had an ecstasy in which she said that her miracle [Note the expression her miracle. For some time Loli and Jacinta had been speaking on their part of a miracle, and it did not coincide with the one announced by Conchita. Further on we will return to this topic.] would take place at 8:30 in the evening, the same hour on which the first apparition of the Angel had occurred on June 18th, 1961. She said also that during her miracle the sick would be cured.»