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
—Go to the Cuadro, like the rest.
At the Cuadro, order had been restored in the crowd.
«Almost everyone was praying in a loud voice, in two choruses, the French and the Spanish alternating. What an extraordinary night! There was an unprecedented luminosity with innumerable stars shining as never before. Without a moon, at least for the spectators . . .[A correspondent from Le Monde et la. Vie had the same observation: «From 9 o'clock in the evening a magnificent starry sky covered the heavens.»]
Suddenly everybody lifted up their heads. From the northwest, a new star shot up, brighter than the others. It traced a great circle and returned to its starting point.
Two minutes later, another star, splendid but smaller than the first, appeared straight above Conchita's house, advanced slowly in the sky and suddenly disappeared above the Pines. [Juan Alvarez Seco, the Police Chief, also gave his testimony about the two stars that were seen on that night in Garabandal «while I was waiting for Conchita between 11:30 and 11:45 on that June 18th.» The first star «was seen shining brightly, very brilliant and a golden color: it went from the ground upwards . . . The other, of lesser brightness, moved more horizontally.»]
Everyone was talking with the person next to him about these extraordinary phenomena, when at the foot of the road, by the light of the starry night and the flashlights, Conchita appeared, protected by a squadron of police guards. [The reporter from Le Monde et la Vie spoke of six guards; the one from Por Qué? mentions seven.] The young girl was walking so fast that her guards were out of breath.» (L'Etoile dans la Montagne) [The correspondent from Le Monde et la Vie also called attention to the rapid pace with which the girl was walking.]
— Is it here, Conchita?
— No, Señor, a little higher up.
On coming to the designated
spot, the girl plummeted to her knees on the sharp stones of the road.
The ecstasy had begun.
PHOTO (Right): "signs of the cross"
The witnesses of the L 'Etoile
dans la Montagne tell of it:
«The ecstasy was similar to those that we had previously observed in the village, in the seer's kitchen or her room. There were signs of the cross made with an indescribable piety and majesty, a face resplendent with an interior light, an angelic smile and moments of solemn seriousness, whispering with lips open and the silence of a soul that listens, a tear that glistens on the temple and leaves a trail of crystal.»
No! . . . No! . . . Pardon, pardon!
"Priests? . . . Bishops?"
"Conchita . . . presented the crucifix to be kissed."
I was overwhelmed on seeing her cry, as up till then, I had never seen this. From her eyes poured out tears that joined in a stream, filling the concavity of her left ear (the only one visible to me at the time), falling on the ground like water from a loose faucet . . .
I heard her speak with a voice that was gasping and breathless: No! . . . No! . . . Still no! . . . Pardon, pardon! Later I saw her lift herself up some 70 centimeters with her right hand raised and unsupported, to again fall to her knees on the ground with a chilling crunch.
Later she said, as if repeating it and asking a question, Priests? . . . Bishops? . . . July 2nd? [There were only a few words that could be clearly heard from Conchita during the ecstasy; some people reported some, others reported others; but almost all agreed on these: «Pardon! Pardon! . . . Still no, still no ... July 2nd? ...»]
I saw her cross herself with a majestic slowness . . . And suddenly she put her two hands to her face, trying to protect her eyes from the bright lights. The ecstasy was over.»
Then Conchita, without paying the least attention to what was happening around her, without changing in the slightest the immobility of her face or the fixedness of her glance, presented the crucifix to be kissed by three persons from France: an old priest at her side, a father of a family who had lived in Spain for some time, and a religion teacher from Leon. [According to the L'Etoile dans la Montagne, these three fortunate men were: the previously mentioned Father Pel, Mr. Mazure and Mr. Piqué. And the matter is doubly surprising, since no one is able to explain how they were able to get close to Conchita at the time, nor how she was able to give them the crucifix to kiss without seeing them and while holding it over the people who were next to them.]
After making the sign of the cross with an extraordinary carefulness, she lowered her head, and smiling, without any sign of fatigue, got up.
With difficulty, the six police guards managed to protect her from the crowd ...» (Le Monde et la Vie)
The guards' task was difficult. Everyone wanted to see Conchita up close, to touch her if possible, to ask her questions . . . especially when it was heard that she had received a message.
Mr. Aniano Fontaneda, in the letter previously quoted, wrote to Fr. Ramón:
But to find out its exact words, he would have to wait until the following morning.
But not everyone could wait. Such was the case with Mr. Fontaneda:
«Conchita was going to give the Angel's message on the following day — Saturday — in the morning after Communion. But I couldn't wait. We left from there at 2 in the morning, without having eaten, with only two Coca-Colas that they had given me at Cerefino's place.»
What mysterious designs were being planned for the world?
In those designs, what would come from that June 18th in Garabandal that was just ending?
Would it leave its mark?
Or would it fall into oblivion?