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
<> Many things have been said about the possible causes of her persistent negative attitude. But, in one way or another, they almost always end up pointing to an inner state of resentment or bitterness against the other visionaries or their families. This could be blamed on the odious distinctions that many of those who most frequented the village made between the girls. I am obliged to treat this distasteful topic; I do not want to spend too much time on it; I only want to bring out information that could clarify it. This information makes me think that the negative attitude of the visionary in question, rather than being the fruit of an interior animosity, was the result of heavy pressures put on her.
«Months before the confused situation that came about last January, there was already a rather general feeling that this girl had prevented the apparitions. And the reason is that every sign of heavenly origin cannot come to destroy the law, but to perfect it.[An allusion to what Jesus proclaimed at the start of his Sermon on the Mount. (Matt. 5: 17-18)] Because of this, the apparitions could not override the need for the girls to obey their parents.
A curious thing in this regard was told me by Loli's father, Ceferino: On the occasions that I seriously told my daughter to go to bed without waiting for the hour scheduled for the apparition, the apparition didn't occur, although the girl had received calls. On the contrary, when I didn't really oblige her, since I was speaking in jest or only wanted to test her, then the apparition didn't fail. . .
The village, in its simplicity, had an underlying religious attitude. In this environment, with regard to the case of Mari Cruz, I have heard opinions explaining what happened to the child as due to a lack of deep religion in her parents. They — without bad will, but lacking deep faith — had more or less unconsciously opposed the designs of God, perhaps to avoid the troubles that situations like those of Garabandal always bring with them.
A visitor to the village wrote me last February 5th that Mari Cruz had denied that she had seen the Virgin; but — the visitor added — his attention had been strongly attracted to the fact that Mari Cruz, while denying, was constantly looking fixedly at her mother. When she disputed the ecstasies that she herself had witnessed, her mother interrupted to try to explain them as arising from illness . . .
During my last visit to the village, the fiesta del gallo [In that year it fell on February 24th.] was going on, consisting of a special luncheon that the children from the village — boys for one part and the girls for another — had organized on the Sunday of the carnival.
I took advantage of the occasion to be with Mari Cruz, who — after some resistance — permitted me to talk with her. The marked nervousness of the girl contrasted noticeably with the naturalness and spontaneity with which Conchita, Loli, and Jacinta had previously spoken to me.
To the question whether she had seen the Most Holy Virgin, she responded nervously, No, it was a lie . . .
— Could you now endure those ecstasies that you
sometimes had up to two hours long, in which they pinched you, etc.?
— I don't know.
— Were you ill, as your mother says?
— No, Señor.
— Why did you look so fixedly at your mother when I asked you if you had seen the Virgin?
— I don't know.
— Several times after the ecstasies, the pastor with other priests and doctors questioned the four of you separately, one after the other. All of you agreed exactly on the details that you gave concerning the Vision . . . How can you explain this, if now you say that you have never seen the Most Holy Virgin?
—Response: complete silence.
— If you haven't seen the Virgin, as you say now, then the four of you had to agree to fake false ecstasies. And you must have practiced many times to do it as well as you did it, no?
— No, Señor. We never did that.
— Well, there is another thing: Were you afraid of going to jail for telling lies?
The face of the girl contorted in a long nervous laugh. Finally she said: Yes, Señor . . . She hesitated again and concluded, with an obvious desire of getting out of this: I was afraid, because I was telling a lie, and they could have found us out.»
At times Mari Cruz said that «Fear forced her to fake ecstasies day after day ...» But anyone who knows Garabandal well, knows that this statement does not stand up against two irrefutable facts:
First, that she often went for weeks with the desire of having an apparition during the times that her companions were having them without her.
Secondly, that several times she was surprised in ecstasy in places where there was not a single spectator to incite her to fake an ecstasy.
Fr. Retenaga concluded:
Not long after the interview with Man Cruz, another episode occurred that was reported in L 'Etoile dans la Montagne:
«One day in March, 1963, we found ourselves in a little store at the village, in company of a Spanish friend, a lawyer. After a while Mari Cruz came. She stopped at the entrance and gave us a look full of sadness. She was then 13 years old. Her face was pale, drawn . . . She repeated: No, I have never seen the Virgin. She did not make a motion and her monotonous voice seemed to be coming from another world.
Our Spanish friend, for a considerable time, besieged her with questions and comments without success. He didn't draw anything out of her besides the No, I have never seen the Virgin, that she repeated endlessly, and always in the same tone.
Finally she left without saluting us, which is very unusual in the village of Garabandal, where the people always show themselves so courteous. Our friend, the lawyer, could not prevent himself from saying, We have just seen a phantom; that was not Mari Cruz who spoke.»