BOOK 3 Chapter 7a:
PART 3
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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Maran Atha:The Lord Returns
1963-1965

A Year of Interlude

    With the 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 still be.

    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 ...»

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    What she said about Maximina was correct; [The letters to the Pifarré family eloquently reflect her sorrow and dismay:
    «Dear Asuncion: Here I am, loaded down with troubles and problems.» (January 11)
    «I received 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 ...»
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    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.
    Really, how 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.»

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    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? . . .»
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    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 writes:

    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 . . .

NEXT Chapter 7b: The Case of Mari Cruz