BOOK 3 Chapter 5d:
Stories with a Message
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


*    *    *
<>    If the Miracle drew much attention during those autumn days in 1962, it did not slow down the march of events. Neither the natural nor the supernatural life can be lived only with expectation.

    The weather was stormy on the night of November 4th. In Loli's house there was a vigil, waiting for the time of the apparition. Toward 3:00 in the morning, the wind began to blow fiercely; there was threat of a rainstorm. At that time Loli's mother told her to gather the laundry that had been left hanging outside. Loli was inclined to obey; but there could clearly be seen in her the resistance or dread that was caused by having to go out of the house at that hour. She was heading toward the door with a flashlight shining in her hand when she fell into ecstasy. She made the sign of the cross repeatedly, held out the crucifix to be kissed by those in the area, and went outside. A little later, and still in ecstasy, she returned to the house with the laundry gathered up.

    As soon as she came out of the trance, she was asked what had happened. And the girl explained that it had been very hard for her to obey her mother with regard to the laundry, since she was afraid to go out alone . . . The Virgin had seen two things: her good will, and her fear. And She had come to accompany her, as a Mother.


"I'm certain that I'm really seeing the Virgin."

    This story gives a basis for many considerations: the Virgin's goodness: the convenience of relying on God for all our needs, even the smallest; how it pleases God when we do our duties in spite of difficulties and our natural repugnance . . .

    During the vigil on that night, a conversation took place in front of Loli concerning peculiar phenomena that appeared at first glance to be supernatural, yet could have a natural explanation due to hidden abilities that the human mind might have . . . When it was finished, someone asked the girl if the conversation had made her doubt that she was really seeing the Virgin:

    «Oh no! I'm certain that I'm really seeing the Virgin. What has been said doesn't disturb me.»

    A few days, or rather a few nights afterward {on the morning of November 8th), Loli was asked what she felt when kissing the Virgin.

    «It is difficult to explain . . . I don't feel the warmth of the Virgin on my lips or any other sensation of her face. I only notice that my lips come to her and from there they can go no further . . . but it is marvelous. »[These details are taken from the notes of Fr. Valentin and Fr. de la Riva.]

*    *    *
    During the month of November, the girls were naturally concerned about the faithful departed. Because of this, they visited the cemetery in ecstasy. Conchita was especially outstanding in this. To illustrate, here is an excerpt from Maximina's letter to Dr. Ortiz on Nov. 6, 1962:
    «The apparitions, as you know, continue as usual. Now on many days the rosary is sung thru the village. Conchita goes to the cemetery very often, and the other day she and Maria Dolores went. They walked singing the rosary — now they've told all of us to sing it — and we went with them to the cemetery. There they stopped singing it and recited it with great devotion. They had never entered within, but on that day, Conchita opened the gate and we went in. Oh! You couldn't understand how great was the reverence that inspired in us!

    First they went to the place where Conchita's father was. They knelt down with tremendous devotion, placing the cross on the ground; and afterwards, they gave it to the Virgin to kiss. What the one girl did, the other did also. Afterwards, they went to the tomb of my husband. They also knelt down . . . This affected me . . . From there they came to me and gave me the crucifix to kiss many times. Then they went to another tomb. And then to the place where my mother . . . You know how they hold their heads in ecstasy without seeing anything. And how they found the graves!

    We don't know what this means. I can only say that my husband, in the two years that he was with me, was very good to me. And my mother suffered very much in this world. She was very devoted to the Virgin. I almost always saw her with the habit of Our Lady of Sorrows ; [In the Spanish towns at the time, people frequently promised to wear the habit for a specified time. These promises were made as an act of penance and devotion to obtain special graces by the intercession of a saint or the Virgin Mary. The habits worn most frequently in honor of the Virgin were those of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (brown) and those of Our Lady of Sorrows (black).]and while living, I never saw her in a quarrel with anyone. So we don't know what the girls' going to their places in the cemetery means ...»


"How they found the graves!"


"absolutely insensible to what was around them ... their faces always looking upwards."

    Witnessing the things done by the girls in those November days were some people from France who were in Garabandal for the first time, and who worked very hard afterwards in defense of its authenticity. Among them was Father Materne Laffineur — at times also called José — well known by the pen name of Doctor Bonance. What they observed at the time can be found in the widely read book L'Etoile dans la Montagne {Star on the Mountain):

    «During the days of November in 1962 when we watched the group ecstasies, they started after the recitation of the rosary in the church.»

-----------------
    The book goes on to describe one of the ecstasies in detail:
    «As soon as they left with the spectators to return home, the rapture caught three of them: Conchita, Maria Dolores and Jacinta. The three young girls ran through the village, holding on to each other's arms with crucifixes in their hands. With their faces looking upward, they seemed unusually beautiful by the illumination from the flashlights. Absolutely insensible to what was around them, unconscious even that they were moving, the girls were followed by the townspeople who recited the rosary with them or sang hymns.

    They went up swiftly to the Pines which overlook the village, and descended backwards down the incredibly rocky trail, their faces always looking upwards, risking being killed a hundred times!

    Returning to the church, they made a circle around it, and suddenly let out an astonishing laugh — a laugh that was luminous, and at the same time like the tinkling of little bells, a laugh that scandalized us at first . . . How could one actually laugh in the presence of the Virgin, even with a laugh so beautiful?

    Up to five times on that night, they set out across the village, always in ecstasy, drawing with them the gathering crowd. They made a stop at the cemetery, undoubtedly out of compassion for the souls in purgatory.

    Then, after a last detour in front of the closed door of the church, they lifted each other up to give a kiss to the Virgin, whom they were seeing above them, and to receive her kiss. Finally, they fell on their knees more sharply than at the start. Without a transition, they became abruptly the simple and smiling children that we knew. The mysterious reflection that transfigured their faces in ecstasy had disappeared . . . Later we asked Conchita the reason for the laugh that had disturbed us:

Because the Virgin herself laughed!

—Why?
Because we were singing so badly!
    That was correct; our tape recorders testified to it!»
-----------------
    If by this report from the French witnesses, we can get an idea of what the group ecstasies were like at that time; by another report of theirs, we can picture what the individual ecstasies were:
    «One morning in her home, having recited the Angelus, [The recitation of the Angelas seemed especially indicated to precede the apparition. We have seen Fr, Valentin's notation on September 26th: «At six in the morning, when a priest—there were five from outside the diocese—was reciting the Angelus, the girl (Conchita) fell on her knees in ecstasy ...»  And from the following month, October, there is a reference from Maria Herrero de Gallardo: «I was alone with another person in Conchita's house, since all the others had gone to see Loli's ecstasy. Conchita was waiting impatiently at the time, since she already had two calls ... At 2:30 in the morning I said to the girl, Let's pray the Angelus. She said to me, You say it. The three of us got down on our knees and I began, The Angel of the Lord announced unto Mary . . . We finished the prayer and repeated three times the Glory be to the Father. On finishing the third Gloria, Conchita fell in ecstasy. The same thing occurred in front of me on at least three occasions, which makes me think that the Angelus must be a prayer especially pleasing to the Virgin.»] Conchita fell suddenly on her knees. She was transformed with a glowing beauty, supra-terrestrial. Her face, naturally pleasant, was as if refined; a type of interior light glowed from it. She seemed to be nothing more than love, drawn toward Her who was attracting the girl's gaze above her. Nevertheless, her body had a weight so extraordinary that one of the watchers, a muscular man, taking her under the elbows, couldn't lift her up!

    On standing up by herself, she held the crucifix in her hand, and made a majestic sign of the cross on herself; then she presented the crucifix to be kissed by Our Lady and then held it to the lips of each of us.

    Then without looking around her, she went upstairs, gave the Virgin to kiss—on Her request—a statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague, and came back down to the kitchen. It is impossible to describe the attitude of the young girl, her eyes raised up, not looking at the steps that she was descending with a majesty that one could call the comportment of a queen.

    The apparition stopped as it had begun, abruptly. The child then approached one of the people present [This probably refers to Baroness Maria Theresa Le Pelletier de Glatigny, a collaborator with Fr. Laffineur.] and told her: The Virgin gave me a message for you. Then she went to look for a holycard on which she wrote several words that corresponded to the stranger's intimate problems, problems absolutely unknown to the child.» (L'Etoile dans la Montagne)

NEXT Chapter 5e)... Pleasure and Penance