Maran Atha:The Lord
with kind permission from St. Joseph Publications
from the book She Went in Haste to the Mountain
NOTE: All excerpts from Conchita's
be in extra-bold type
* * *
A Year of Interlude
crisis that erupted in January of this year began the first of the long
parentheses in the amazing unfolding of the Garabandal mystery.
The course of the apparitions
abruptly stops, without the girls knowing the reason, without the Virgin
giving them the least explanation, without even a word of farewell. As
Conchita wrote on February 18th to Maria Herrero de Gallardo:
«It has been some time
since we have had an apparition . . . I don't know when She will
return, because She didn't say goodbye; nor did She say anything to us.»
All that had filled the village
during months and months — over a year and a half — was thus strangely
shut off, with only something very indefinite hanging in the air: the promise
and the hope of a great final Miracle.
Certainly no one would have imagined
that the affairs of Garabandal could last indefinitely. But to end like
this? The long and impressive display of phenomena did not match with such
a poor conclusion. And problems were augmenting since, if it had been difficult
to understand what was happening at the time it was going on, it was more
difficult to understand what had happened when it was over.
Long Weeks of Dismay
The crisis of January 1963 closed
what might be called the first phase of Garabandal, an astounding
and unforgettable phase, in which the Virgin appeared to want to live in
the secluded village, associating day and night with the simple children,
who were her children: the visionaries, the people who lived there,
the innumerable pilgrims.
Now was to come an intermission
— and a long one — that would last throughout 1963 and 1964. The girls
and their supporters had to live almost exclusively from memories and hopes:
memories of so many things that had been, hopes of many others that could
And at the time, for many weeks,
what reigned was dismay.
It was mentioned in the preceding
chapter; but there are additional points to add.
On February 13th Conchita wrote
to Fr. de la Riva, the pastor of Barro:
«I have just received
your letter which I am now answering. It's true that the atmosphere today
in the village is very different from what it was when you were here. Hardly
anyone believes. My mother doesn't; neither does my aunt Maximina. Nor
does the whole village . . . To me that doesn't matter, since I have seen
Her. They aren't going to make me believe otherwise. Concerning the miracle,
I'm like you — waiting for it ...»
What she said about Maximina
was correct; [The letters to the Pifarré family eloquently
reflect her sorrow and dismay:
Asuncion: Here I am, loaded down with troubles and problems.» (January
your letter, and writing you caused me tremendous sorrow, not being able
to say what I feel ... It seems to me that nothing here has been from God;
I don't know what it is ... I already told you in another letter what happened
with Loli and Jacinta, that for a long time they didn't have an apparition.
Well, now it's come about that Conchita for the past eight days isn't having
apparitions either. Do you think the Virgin is going to part without saying
anything? The apparition has gone, but they don't know if she will return.
I don't believe anything. All this is nothing, and there's no one here
who believes ...» (January 28)] but it seems that
deep inside the good woman was recovering, because during these same dates
she wrote a letter to the sister-in-law of Dr. Ortiz, Eloisa de la Roza:
«Around here, as the
apparitions aren't coming back, there's nothing in particular. I had come
to doubt everything completely; but today I am once again convinced that
there was something here ...»
The crisis of disillusion involved
the girls also, as has been mentioned; but they also recovered rapidly,
judging from what Conchita wrote:
Now Loli and
Jacinta have come back to reality, to believing that they have seen the
Most Holy Virgin.
could they not believe?
This brought them back together
with a new frame of mind and a better relationship. Maximina, in the letter
just mentioned, writes:
«You know, with all the
trouble there was among the children, they are now very friendly. It can
be seen that they seem to like each other very much. At the present time,
they are running past where I am, very content and happy.»
How long did the visionaries'
recovery last? On March 7th when Conchita writes again to Fr. de la Riva,
she begins by apologizing for her delay in answering him and then says:
«As I don't see the
Virgin now, I don't know what to write. Some priests have been here, and
on Friday a priest is supposed to come for confession [We
know that this was the Franciscan priest Félix Larrazábal,
since Conchita says in a letter to the daughter of Eloísa de la
Roza Velarde on March 9th: «He was the one who was here when we
were screaming on the feast of Corpus Christi.»] I
miss you very much. Do you still believe so much? I don't believe anything.
How does that strike you? . . .»
I have the impression that beginning
in January 1963 the doubts and denials in Conchita, Mari
Loli and Jacinta followed a strange line of discontinuity. They appeared
and disappeared in a continuous succession of phases. No sooner had the
dark and obscure days come, than other days arrived in which they believed
they saw everything clearly. What was evident was that they were not, nor
could they be, the same girls that they had been in Garabandal during the
first stage, in the happy days of the two previous years.
Mari Cruz continued a path of
separation and rejection very different from the others. In January, when
the crisis of the other three girls came about, she hardened in her attitude
and began to say openly that she had never seen anything, that the apparitions
were a lie ...
In her diary's final pages, Conchita
Mari Cruz still continues saying
that she hasn't seen the Most Holy Virgin.
As her attitude since then has
been so obstinate and sustained, it is not surprising that this visionary
has been particularly utilized by the enemies of Garabandal to discredit
it.[A Jesuit priest from a neighboring parish distinguished
himself in this; he is now an ex-Jesuit and an ex-priest.] We can
not then, ignore . . .