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 huge crowd that had come to Garabandal from afar, left the village for the most part consoled and inspired. They had assisted at another manifestation from God: one more sign that we are not alone in the troubles of our world and our time. The majority of them would have endorsed the final lines with which the reporter from the Le Monde et la Vie concluded his article: «Toward 4 o'clock on the afternoon of June 19th, we left the village to head for Santander, exhausted, but at the same time, fulfilled.»
The reaction was neither as unequivocal nor as favorable among the people of the village and neighboring towns. Their attitude was reflected in the remarks they made.
Father Laffineur, perhaps fortuitously, had kept himself at a discreet distance during those eventful days. Finally, with the departure of the crowds, he was able to walk freely through the village. Soon he ran into the stonemason Pepe Diez, a witness of the first rank for many of the happenings.
—How is it going, Pepe? What do the people say now?
But the enthusiasm was not so general, and there were exceptions.
Dr. Ortiz' wife Paquina, and her sister, Eloisa, took advantage of their stay in the village to make several interviews with Mari Cruz' mother, Pilar. On June 18th, the night before the event, they found her upset:
Look. — she said to them almost in tears — Now everyone slanders us. There are papers going around saying that we are the ones who go to church the least. What they say about me isn't important; but what they say about Mari Cruz . . . and her father . . .
PHOTO (right) Pilar, the mother of Mari Cruz
On the following afternoon, in the midst of everyone's anticipation of what was to happen, she seemed calmer and even happy.
But when the two women from Santander went to say goodbye to her on Sunday, June 20th, they found her in a very different mood.
She was writing, and on seeing them, hurriedly put the writing paper away.
— I don't write to anyone except my sister.
— No, you aren't interrupting me. Come in . . . Today I gave Mari Cruz a lesson. I gave her a good scolding. Because she's stupid. Since, instead of giving an explanation when they say something to her, she keeps quiet...
(Then she changed the conversation.) What a stupid thing Conchita did yesterday! I could do that myself, if I wanted to . . . That's all a lie. What I should do is go tell the bishop about the whole thing. [Pilar was not long in finding an occasion to tell this to the bishop . . . When many days later, on June 24th, Father Laffineur and his companions stopped in Santander to present their respects to the bishop and pass through the Commission, they learned that Mari Cruz and her mother had also been through there, and had been interviewed extensively by the canon Odriozola. He had taken them to the bishop's place . . . and in his presence, as a concrete demonstration that everything about Garabandal had been false, Mari Cruz started herself making an "ecstasy." The affair had to be shocking, so that after a minute the bishop interrupted the trance, saying with disgust: That's enough!]
— That seems good. He's the one that all of these things should be told to, not the others.
— I would have gone already, if I had a car waiting for me, rich people in my house, and a lot of money to spend! Yes, then, I'd have the means to travel.
— If it's for that, my car is at your service. I will take you to the bishop. Or, if you prefer, there is Placido, who certainly will take you too.
— Look, he's the only good person who comes here. I'm going to tell you something. (She became agitated.) If you didn't come, and no one else came, this thing would have ended.
— We haven't taken part in this for nothing. We have
come to pray . . . And if we've spoken with the girls, we've been satisfied
with whatever they wished to tell us ...
— Listen to me. If you didn't come, they wouldn 't have a reason to do these things, and all this would have been ended. Since you want to make something out of nothing . . . My daughter is sincere and tells the truth.
— Well, Pilar, when this began, no one came here. We didn't even know the village existed. Then why did they make this up? To fool people?
— Oh! I don't know. But in the beginning, my daughter told the truth. I believe she now does too, since she is honest.
— In the beginning, Mari Cruz told the truth and now does too, since she is honest. In the beginning, she said that she saw; now, she says that she never saw . . . Where is the truth?
— / don't know. But my daughter was honest before, and is now too . . . Only if the Miracle would come!
Many enlightening thoughts occurred to me in reading this dialogue: but I think that they would have occurred to the reader too.
It was on a group of priests near Puente Nansa that the events of June 18th had their greatest impact. Fr. Laffineur wrote about it in L'Etoile dans la Montagne: «On the evening of June 18th, we were invited to a conference planned for the following day at Puente Nansa. An engineer, who represented himself as a member of the Commission of Santander, wanted a meeting attended by himself, the local priests, and us. We confided this to the pastor of Garabandal, Fr. Valentin Marichalar, who ultimately opposed it.
Perhaps we involuntarily lost a valuable occasion to inform ourselves. This engineer and the circle of listeners that we would have met were determined enemies of the apparitions. The ancient Romans were right in their maxim, It is useful to be taught by one's enemies.» ,
Actually, I do not understand such a nervous reaction on the part of those priests. Unless, in their case, they were convinced that the message had a basis . . .