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
Four days later, on September 14th, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, there was another meeting with new statements and clarifications about the things that had been hanging in the air at Garabandal. It was said that the young visionary, before her departure for the convent — which she thought very near — was more fluent than ever in answering the questions that interested everyone. This time, her questioners were Americans. They had given their questions in writing, and in writing Conchita gave them these answers. We have an accurate copy of this, but we are only reproducing the points of major interest, because many of the others have already been sufficiently repeated:
«— The Warning, will it be a visible thing,
a personal thing, or both at the same time?
— It is something that comes directly from God, and will be visible throughout the world, in every place that exists.
— Will it reveal his own sins to every person in
the world, including persons of other religions and even atheists?
— Yes, the Warning will be like a revelation of our sins. Believers and non-believers alike will see and experience it, whatever religion they are.
— Will the Warning cause people to remember the
— The Warning will come to purify us for the Miracle, and it is like a catastrophe which will be felt in our conscience. It will make us remember the dead in the sense that we will prefer to be among the dead, rather than to endure the warning.
a long time Conchita was the only visionary who talked about the Warning.
This had caused it to be believed that she was the only one who had received
concerning this important thing. (This had led me
to hold the Warning
as having the least guarantee among the future
events that were predicted at Garabandal.)
But on being able to speak with Jacinta in Santander on November 10th, 1973, I discovered that the Warning has a broader foundation. In the presence of several persons, Jacinta affirmed with complete clearness:
"a tremendous terror"
* * * * *
"Jesus will perform miracles with these articles."
— When you prayed the rosary with Our Lady, did
she teach you how to pray it?
— In the beginning, the Virgin prayed the rosary ahead of us very slowly, as she wanted us to pray it. Because of this, she herself recited the Hail Mary too, so that we would learn how.
— Is it true that the body of Fr. Luis Andreu will
be disinterred on the same day as the Miracle, and will be found incorrupt?
— The Virgin told me in a locution: "The body of Fr. Luis Andreu will be found incorrupt, just as he was buried". (We have already described in another chapter that Conchita wrote to Fr. Ramon Andreu, assuring him that on the day after the Miracle they would find the body of his brother just as it was when he was buried.)
— What value will the articles kissed by the Most
Holy Virgin during the apparitions have, before and after the miracle?
— The Virgin told me: "Jesus will perform miracles with these articles. Those that wear them with faith and confidence will have their purgatory on earth. " [No one can enter into heaven without being purified, or said in another way, without expiating the debt due for sin. That is the reason for purgatory. To suffer in this world for the debt that we owe for our sins is much better than to suffer in the next; since here, at the same time as making satisfaction, we also obtain merit. On the contrary, all that it is possible to do in purgatory is to make satisfaction for sins.] (This means that they will have the suffering here that they would otherwise have to endure in the next world after their death.)
— Did the Most Holy Virgin tell you anything about
the perfume of flowers that sometimes emanates from the articles kissed
— No, I never heard anything about that. She did say that they will work miracles and prodigies.
— Did the Virgin teach you any songs?
— No, The Virgin helped us make up some songs. (By this is meant that the Virgin did not teach them in advance the verses that they sang. Rather she aided them in saying small poems at the time when they sang them. They were apparently inspired and all three were able to sing at the same time, in the same words, and with the same tune.)
— Did the Most Holy Virgin or Jesus say anything
about the conversion of Russia?
— In a locution with Jesus, the only one that I have had with Him up to the present, He told me that Russia would be converted.
— Could you explain the 'sign', that will
remain at the Pines after the Miracle?
— It is a 'sign' that will remain forever. It will be able to be photographed, televised, seen; but it will not be able to be touched. It will be evident that it isn't a thing of this world, but of God.
— Many believers in Garabandal want to work for
the spread of the Virgin's messages. But they are concerned because of
the obedience that they owe to their bishops . . . What do you have to
say about this?
— That's very pleasing to the Virgin. She likes that very much. She desires us to work at spreading her message. But also she wants us to obey the Church, so as to give more glory to God. And she will give time for the message to be spread, with the permission of the Church.
She was impatiently looking forward to this time. But at the same time it seems she felt an instinct of foreboding for the future.
Two days after meeting with the Americans, she wrote to Fr. José Ramón de la Riva.
She deliberately used for her letter a piece of paper on which the message of June 18th was photocopied, and she wrote:
«San Sebastian de Garabandal 9-16-1965
Dear Father Jose Ramon,
Just a few lines to tell you that I found out that you were here a few days ago. That made me feel bad since I wanted to speak with you for a few minutes, if not longer . . .
You know that within a few weeks, or perhaps a few days. I'll enter the convent. I want to enter soon in order to do — or try to do — what the Virgin wants.
I don't know if I have a true vocation. I think I do, although I have some doubts. The Virgin didn't tell me to enter.»
And the day would come on which she would clearly feel herself not chosen by Jesus to form part of what the Church considers His spouses. This would be for her a cause of great suffering and a perilous spiritual crisis.
But as summer ended in 1965, she was counting on leaving immediately for the convent at Pamplona to begin her religious life. The day of departure had even been set: September 29th, the feast of St. Michael, the Archangel. Could she have chosen a better date?
But that day came, and Conchita had to stay in Garabandal while, with tearful eyes, she saw her friends and companions, Loli and Jacinta, leave for Saragossa on September 30th.
Fr. Luna had arranged everything so that the two girls could enter free of charge as boarders in the college of the Charity Sisters of St. Ann in the Aragon town of Borja.
Jacinta and Loli were 16 years old at the time, in the flush of youth. They had never lived outside of San Sebastian de Garabandal, and the parting from the village on that day, even with their eyes on the future, must have been nostalgic. While saying goodbye before leaving, Loli soaked two handkerchiefs with her tears.
Understandable sorrow! Beside the pain of separation, could it have been due also to the ending of the most unforgettable period of her life?
Perhaps she was beset also with the premonition that her way would soon turn into a most narrow and difficult one.
Almost on the night before leaving, she had a locution, and heard from the Virgin:«Loli, if in the future I do not appear to you again, it is that your hour of suffering has come.»
"your hour of suffering has come."
Actually both young girls, Loli and Jacinta, suffered considerably in the school at Borja. I know this expressly from Jacinta's admission that she kept a painful remembrance of the school year there. All the blame could not be put on the religious teachers. According to Fr. Luna, the principal cause of their unfortunate troubles were certain Garabandalistas of the first rank, who could not resign themselves to the girls being outside of their presence and control.
Jacinta probably cried less than Loli at the time of farewell. Not because she was less sensitive, but because she had a different character, less prone for expansion.
Before Fr. Luna could arrange for her stay at school, Jacinta was talking about entering into a convent of cloistered Carmelites. Fr. Luna himself requested her admission to the Carmelite convent at Saragossa; and the community, by a secret vote, accepted the request. Why then, didn't she go? [It appears that the decision that stopped Jacinta from entering into the Carmelite convent came from her father Simon. The good man was categorically opposed at the final hour, believing that it was a barbarous thing for his 16 year old daughter — who had never left her house or had the least experience with the world and life — to forever commit herself like this in something so difficult.
Perhaps the one who was most pleased by this change was her mother, Maria; it seemed that she would lose her daughter much less this way. Not surprising. Nothing is more difficult than complete generosity toward God.
On that September 30th, 1965, as
Jacinta and Loli went down toward Cossio, the dispersal of Garabandal began.
As they turned the bend in the road to cast a last look at their village,
their minds could not fathom all the things that they were leaving behind.