BOOK 3 Chapter 7c:
New Phenomena: Locutions
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

*    *    *

    The raging waves of the great disillusion that were dashing against Garabandal during the winter of 1963 reached also, as we have seen, the one who seemed the most secure of the four: Conchita. Not only with regard to the truth of what had occurred, but also with regard to the fulfillment of what she had predicted.

I also doubted a little that the Miracle would come.
And one day, while in my room, doubting if the Miracle would really come, I heard a voice that said:
Conchita, do not doubt that my Son will perform a Miracle.
I felt this inside; but as clear as if it came through my ears; or even clearer.
It was without words.
It left me a peace ... A joy!
More than when I see Her.
And the first person to whom I told this was Plácido.[Plácido Ruiloba, a businessman from the capital of Santander, whose name comes up many times in this story.]
And later he told it to the others.
They are called locutions.
And they could be called a voice of joy, a voice of happiness, a voice of peace.
And then, I didn't doubt anything again.
But the days passed.
And the voice didn't return.
That made me suffer.
But I understand: how could God go on giving me such happiness so often, without meriting it?
The locutions did me much good.
Much, very much.
Because it was as if the Most Holy Virgin were within me.
What happiness!
I prefer the locution more than the apparitions, since during the locution, I have her in my very self.
Oh! What happiness, with the Most Holy Virgin within me!
And what a shame, to be so bad!
But that is the world.

"What happiness! With the Most Holy Virgin within me!"

    These sentences were almost the last in Conchita's unfinished diary. They bring out new [New in the affairs of Garabandal; but very ancient in the course of Catholic mysticism.] phenomena that came to supplant and extend the apparitions. They differed from the apparitions not only in content, but also in frequency: the locutions occurred on few occasions.

    The first locution — which Conchita mentions in her diary — took place at the beginning of Lent in March of 1963. There was a month lapse before another occurred.

    At the end of the month, again I heard that voice of interior happiness without words, in the church.

    The adolescent girl — having just had her 14th birthday — was at that time living a period of special fervor. In Maxiimina's letter of February 11th, it can be read: «Conchita, when she is home, (that is, not working in the fields) spends almost the whole day in church. In the morning she goes there to pray a rosary and some women go with her; in the afternoon she goes to spend most of the day there. She doesn't know what it is to get weary. The other day I asked her, What do you like most: to play or to be in church? And she said to me, I like both things very much.»[A sincere and most human answer, which reveals how normal Conchita was. What 14 year old girl would not like to amuse herself, with the world just beginning to spread open before her? Merit is in knowing how to renounce at times the desire for pleasure out of higher motives, so as to attend to matters that are more important, although less pleasurable. Here again is seen the theological axiom that grace does not destroy nature, but perfects it.]

    An interval of one month between locutions seemed to become routine, [This was affirmed by Maximina's letter of July 7th to Mrs. Asuncion Pifarré: «I don't know if I've told you that Conchita and Loli have locutions — which is something like talking to the Virgin without seeing her . . . They told me that they feel a great joy when they have these locutions. I think that they have them once a month.»] since on November 28th of that same year, Conchita wrote to Maria Herrero de Gallardo:
    «You say that I should tell you things about the Virgin. What am I going to tell you, if I don't see her now? Only that I talk to her once each month. I still haven't spoken with her this month. Tomorrow or the day after, she will speak to me.»
    Maria de Gallardo added a note that said: «On the following day, November 29th, she had the locution that she was expecting.»
*    *    *
    But we are indebted to Fr. Retenaga for the best information on the Garabandal locutions. Quoting from his third report, finished in September of 1963:  «I traveled to Garabandal to aid the parish priest during the past Holy Week.[In that year it fell between the 7th and 14th of April.] In Santander, I had already heard rumors that were circulating among the people concerning Conchita's and Loli's new and extraordinary phenomenon.

    Julia Gonzalez, Loli's mother, talked to me about a conversation she had in March with her daughter concerning the new phenomenon that Loli didn't know how to explain.

    During Holy Week, the girls talked to me repeatedly about the internal visions that they appeared to be having. I was able to examine Conchita and Loll separately, and I came to the conclusion that this concerned locutions, as later I informed Bishop Beitia of Santander in a conversation with him on April 17th.

    Conchita told me that the new phenomenon had already happened to her several times. On asking her to explain it better, she told me, I hear something; yet I hear it without hearing.

    The new phenomenon began in March, when she had been suffering since the past January due to the absence of the Virgin. Assailed by many people's doubts, she also had begun to waver. And one day on her knees at home, with considerable anguish she heard the Virgin say (without speaking): Do not doubt that my Son will perform a miracle. After that time her confidence with respect to the miracle [A letter that Conchita wrote to Father Odriozola in the early days of May ended this way: «I am certain also that the Miracle will come, since the Virgin told me, and also the dale of the Miracle, and in what it will consist ... I am as certain that the Miracle will come as I am that two and two equal four.»] was evident in the unalterable peace that she now enjoys. She confessed to me that at the same time she heard without hearing other things for the good of her own soul and the souls of others.

    The mystics have described their difficulties in explaining the high spiritual communications that they receive from God. In Conchita and Loli the matter was complicated by their poor vocabulary. Their education was very limited, especially with regard to religion. During the time of the apparitions, they still asked what the word council meant; and several times they asked me about words that seemed very ordinary to all of us. Living without a resident priest in the village had made it difficult for their religious formation. Today, the minds of the girls are much more enlightened than previously; but they stumble with great difficulty in describing their interior experiences.

    In my first investigation I noticed that Conchita didn't know that the same phenomenon had been given to Loli. (And likewise Loli didn't know about Conchita.) But both, when separated, coincided with each other in their answers to me. Both insisted that neither their feelings nor their imagination had played any part in what had happened to them.

    Not satisfied with the first examination, on "I hear it without hearing." returning from Garabandal to my quarters, I composed a list of questions and took advantage of Conchita's trip to Lourdes [This trip, arranged by Fr. Retenaga, had its story. On May 9th Conchita wrote to Fr. José Ramón, the pastor of Barro: «I still don't know if we are going to Lourdes. My mother thinks we won't go, since she prayed that if this were true, that we would go; and if it were a lie, we would stay. And she thinks that we won't go,»

"My Son will perform a miracle."
    Seven days later, on May 16th, another letter was addressed to the same person: «Yesterday I received your card, and I am responding to tell you that today I am leaving (for Rentería or San Sebastián to join there with the pilgrims from the diocese of Guipuzcoana) to go on Saturday to Lourdes.»
    We have the testimony of Father Retenaga on Conchita's attitude during her first visit to Lourdes: «Among the 1,300 Spanish pilgrims who were wandering enthusiastically in the locale where the apparitions had taken place, amid the religious emotion aroused in them by being near the grotto during the baths for the sick, before the devotion felt during the Benediction of the sick with the Blessed Sacrament, before the striking spectacle of the candlelight procession, etc., I can assure you that Conchita, though 14 years old, was the person who gave me the greatest impression of equilibrium, prudence and calmness, with a piety based more on the tranquil security of faith and virtue than on the passing fluctuation of emotion. If she were afflicted by any psychiatric illness, as has been said on occasion and repeated, could she have remained like that? Would she not have fallen inevitably into an ecstasy?»] to complete my information. Later (in the month of July) I continued questioning her; and afterward, apart from her, I questioned Loli.»
    Following are the most interesting answers to Fr. Retenaga's questionnaire:

    To the question as to whether the interior voices had been heard by their physical ears, the two girls responded definitely: «No, Señor.»

    Also they absolutely rejected any suggestion that it could have been their imagination or that they could have been dreaming. Opposing this latter idea, Conchita stated: «It was during the day», and Loli: «It was when I was wide awake.»

    They denied likewise that they could have these interior voices when they wanted . . . «Listen, Lolita» — Fr. Retenaga said — «since Jesus is in the tabernacle and you receive Him every day, holding Him that way, you are able to hear His words whenever you want, isn't that right?

    Oh! No, Senor. If I could hear His words whenever I wanted, I would be hearing them all the time.»

    Conchita said that her locutions always came when she was in prayer: sometimes in her home, but ordinarily in the church. Loli said the same thing, declaring that twice she heard them in her room unexpectedly; another time, while she was praying at the Cuadro in the calleja; and the rest of the time in the church, one of these times after receiving Holy Communion.

    Most interesting was the response to Fr. Retenaga's question as to whether they would choose an apparition, a Communion, or a locution. «Communion!» They responded without hesitation.

    «Understand» — noted Father Retenaga — «the words of that answer, taking into account the state of happiness and the effects that followed for them from the apparitions and locutions, in contrast with the aridity and dryness that so often accompanied their Communions.»

    During their locutions, many things must have been discussed by the visionaries that we will never know. This is clear from some of the remarks made by Father Retenaga:

    «One day Conchita told me that she gave a reply to a man who wasn't a Catholic; she also took another reply — which she was required to keep secret — to a young man who overtly didn't believe in God or in priests. [Things like this were the basis for people to think that Conchita read consciences. On November 8th, 1966, Conchita mentioned to the Mother Superior of the school at Burgos: «I think back many times to what happened in my village. There were those who came there because they believed that I read consciences. This made me laugh. How was I going to read consciences? The Virgin advised me about the things that I told some people at the time.»] And with regard to herself, she had been told secrets concerning her actual life and her future, but she didn't specify what they were, since she lacked express permission from the Virgin.»


"Change your way."

    But still more expressive was what happened to Loli: «I had asked Loli to put some things in writing ... I was speaking with her on the afternoon of July 25th when she told me that very morning she had wanted to write what I had asked her, and she was all set to begin. But a force from above held back her arm. At the same time she was told in a locution: Do not write anything for him right now.

    I hid my astonishment and told her that it was natural for her not to write anything about it, since what she wanted to tell me had slipped her mind. She answered that she remembered everything perfectly, but that she wasn't able to write because of the force from above that held back her arm . . . And that she had many other things that she couldn't mention either.»
    From these incidents, it can be seen that we still do not know a considerable portion of what actually happened in Garabandal ... Is that surprising? Everything there was of such extraordinary proportions, both in duration and in intensity.
*    *    *
    The Most Holy Virgin was the first to intervene in the locutions that extended throughout 1963; later Our Lord took part.

    The locutions of the Virgin were imbued with her magnificent maternal attitude. In the locution of July 25th that was mentioned — the feast of St. James the Apostle, Patron Saint of Spain — the Virgin called Loli's attention to an attitude of the girl that could well be defined as a fault of vanity. «Change your ways» — she said — «and do not do it again.» With regard to this, here is an interesting dialogue:

FATHER RETENAGA. — «After that reprimand, were you hurt, like a child who is disciplined by his parents?
LOLI — No, Señor.

FATHER RETENAGA. — Then, you didn't take it seriously?
LOLI — No, Señor. I can't explain it; but what I felt was a mixture of pain and consolation, or confidence, since there is no mother who is so understanding and good as the one we have in heaven, the Most Holy Virgin ...»

    The locutions of Jesus had their own particular singularity. Conchita points this out in the last lines of her diary:
But I like even more to have Jesus within me . ..
— Jesns, who gives me the cross to purify me,
— and also to see if with my crosses I can do something for the world.
    Two and a half years later (November 9th, 1966), she said to Sister Maria Nieves at her school in Burgos: «The apparitions and locutions of the Virgin fill me with happiness; but the locutions of Jesus are even better . . . They seem to be something superior.»

    We have an illustration of these locutions, since one day Conchita wrote down in front of Father Retenaga, who was in Garabandal at the time, what she heard that very day [The version given here basically follows the text from Fr. Retenaga's letter; logical punctuations and separations were put in so that the contents can be better understood.] after having received Communion during the Mass he celebrated on July 10th, 1963:
*    *    *
(Though not part of Conchita's Diary, the girl wrote this shortly after her unfinished diary and its importance dictates the heavy print given to it here.)
<> <>I was making my thanksgiving and praying for things. He answered me ...

I asked Hint to give me a cross since I was living without suffering — except the suffering of not having a cross.
And he answered: Yes. I will give you a cross.

And with much feeling, I went on praying...
<>And I said to Him, Why is the Miracle coming? . .. To convert many people?
He answered, To convert the whole world.
<>— Will Russia be converted?
It also will he converted; and so everyone will love Our Hearts.
[Here the word hearts is used for persons. Conchita translates in her common vocabulary what she had received intellectually in a locution; in ordinary common Spanish expression the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the same as Jesus, just as the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the same as The Virgin Mary. What is meant in the text of the locution is that mankind will have a new and better attitude towards Jesus and Mary after the general conversion brought on by the Miracle.]
<>— Will the chastisement come afterwards?
(He didn't answer me.)
<>— Why do you come to my poor heart, without my meriting it?
I certainly do not come for you; I come for everyone.
<>— When the Miracle comes, will it be as though I were the only one who saw the Virgin?
— He answered me, By your sacrifices, your patience, I will allow you to intercede for the accomplishment of the miracle.
<>And I said to Him: Wouldn't it be belter for me to be with all the others; or if not, that You don't use any of us to intercede?
— No.
<>— Will I go to heaven?
You should love much and pray to Our Hearts.
<>— When will You give me a cross?
(He didn't answer me.)
<>— What will I be?
(He didn't answer me; He only told me that everywhere that I would be, I would have much to suffer.)
<>— Am I going to die soon?
You have to stay on the earth to help the world.
<>— I am very small. I couldn't help in anything.
With your prayers and sufferings, you will help the world.
[What Conchita says is useful for all persons of good will. All can and should do something . . . Oh Mystery truly tremendous that is never sufficiently pondered!— exclaimed Pius XII in his encyclical "Mystici Corporis"— That the salvation of some souls depends upon the prayers and voluntary sacrifices of others.]
<> <>— When does one go to heaven? ... when one dies?
One never dies.

(I thought that we didn't go to heaven until we were resurrected.)
[Death for the Christian is not the final end, but rather the passing from the present state into another very different state — which can be extremely marvelous or extremely horrible. The soul enters immediately into the new state; the body has to wait for the resurrection.]

    I asked Him if St. Peter were at the gate of heaven to receive us; and He told me No.
[Conchita expresses ingenuously the common belief — mentioned in so many jokes — that St. Peter is the gatekeeper of heaven. This belief has no more basis than being the erroneous interpretation of the words spoken by Jesus to his apostle during the episode at Caesarea Philippi. (Matt. 16: 19) Reading the text of this locution shows well the truth of what Conchita said later to the Mother Superior in the school at Burgos: «The Lord is very serious, and when He speaks to me, He seems concerned for everyone. The Virgin, as if more /or me ...»(Nov. 17, 1966)

    However the Virgin's style was not that different: « When we spoke about things too personal, she didn't answer us; she was very concerned about the others.» (April 21, 1967)]

While I was in this conversation, in this prayer with God, I felt myself out of the world.

Jesus also told me that now His Heart should be loved.

Concerning priests . . .

He told me that I must pray much:

so that they would be holy and fulfill their duties;
so that they would make others better;

•so that they would make Me known to those who do not know Me;

so that they would make Me loved by those who know Me and do not love Me.

*    *    *

    This page from the history of the locutions in Garabandal is magnificent . . .

    What material for reflection !

    But if this page from Conchita's life is well known, not so well known is a page from Loli's, which is equally valuable and instructive, and gives us new insight into the mystical phenomena with which the two visionaries were favored in 1963. It is reported in a letter to Father Retenaga, dated October 13th, 1963:

«Reverend Father Luis,

    So that you see that I do what I promise, I am going to tell you a few things . . .

    The Virgin has made me know when a priest is in sin. She has helped me to know that he needs many prayers and sacrifices. [There are numerous incidents demonstrating that Garabandal has always given preferential importance and solicitude for priests, antecedent to the greatest crisis in the priesthood that the Church has ever known.]

    Also she has given me to understand the Crucifixion in the Holy Mass, [Also in advance of the time when the primary meaning of the Catholic Mass, that of sacrifice — the sacrifice of the Cross — would be forgotten or lost by most people, the Virgin Mary would come to repeat this lesson.] since I comprehend the humility, the sacrifice for the world.

    She has also made me recognize when a person needs prayers to be said for him. And one time she told me about a person who didn't pray the rosary, and that person told me to write a note for him. And in it I wrote down that he should pray the rosary. And he then began to cry and said to me, Who told you that I don't pray the rosary? And later he wrote and told me that since that day he had not missed saying it.

    Well, Father, at another time I will tell you more, because now I am writing from my bed, since tomorrow I have to gather hay in the pasture, which is a long way from the village, and I have to get up early . . .

    Today is another day and I am going to see if I have more time to write. Well, I spoke with the Virgin in a locution and asked her to give me a cross to suffer for priests. She told me to bear everything with patience [The Cure d'Ars used to repeat: One hour of patience is worth more before God than several days of penance.] and to be humble, which was what pleased God the most.

    And I said to her, Am I going to die soon?

    And she said to me, No. You have to remain in the world to suffer. In whatever place you are, you will suffer.

    And I said to her, Let my parents believe! [It is known that Loli's parents, especially Ceferino, held the greatest doubt about the truth of what was happening to their daughter; and she found this to be a heavy cross.]

    And she said to me, They do not believe, so that you will have more to suffer. Suffer with patience.

    She also told me, Pray the rosary every day.

    She told me, Pray for priests, since there are some who need more sacifices for them every day.

    And again I said to her, Why don't my parents believe?

    And she said to me, Because you have to suffer. You have much to suffer in this world.

    And I said to her, What sacrifices should I make?

    She said to me, You have to be more obedient.

    I told her that one time I was going down the road, and suddenly a man with long hair appeared to me in a long coat, and said to me,  I am hungry. And as I was carrying my lunch in my hand, I gave it to him. And suddenly he disappeared, without my knowing how. And I was very frightened. And I said to her, Who was that man? And she smiled and didn't tell me.

    I'm not writing more. Don't say that I don't write much. [This letter is exceptionally long. I have seen many letters written by the visionaries, and I can verify that almost all of them were very short.] Goodbye.

Maria Dolores Mazón»

*    *    *
    This letter does not require learned commentaries, but it should be re-read.

    It is evident that any similarity between the instruction that the Virgin gave her children at Garabandal and that which is now given to many children by our new theologians, is purely coincidental.

    No wonder. Today what is stressed is the importance of the individual, while in the school of Mary, the main focus has always been on the ancient pattern of giving oneself to God and denying one's very self.

*    *    *
    It could be said that the phenomena of locutions filled 1963, Garabandal's third year. But there was something else that made a much more spectacular mark: an unequivocal prediction of immeasurable importance:

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