Book 3 Chapter 11c:
Farewell in the Rain (Part 3)
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


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    Still in the village, keeping her suffering to her-self, was the one who had looked forward with such longing to September 29th, the day set for her leaving to be a novice in the Discalced Carmelite Missionaries: Conchita.

    Her mother, who had given her consent originally, later changed her mind, refusing to allow her daughter to leave before . . . Before what?

    It had been mentioned to Aniceta about the possibility and feasibility of Conchita going to Rome, to be interviewed by the highest hierarchy of the Church, and to see perhaps, if it were possible, the Holy Father himself. And Aniceta came to the conclusion that this had to be done before anything else, and the sooner the better; therefore, before the girl shut herself in the convent. In August, it had seemed a simple matter to finish the trip before the middle of September; and thinking along that line, she gave her consent to Conchita to leave for the convent on the feast of St. Michael. But complications delayed things.

    Fr. Laffineur wrote:

    «On September 8th at Torrelavega, Conchita announced to me her departure for the convent of the missionary sisters of the Discalced Carmelites at Pamplona. The departure should have taken place on the 29th of that month. During the same period Loli and Jacinta were to leave for the province of Saragossa to stay with the Sisters of Charity.

    Why was the end of September chosen? Because Conchita and her mother had good reason to believe that their voyage to Italy would have taken place well before the date fixed for the inauguration of the Council's last session, that is to say, before September 14th. But complications developed and after September 29th the two of them had to pass some extremely difficult months.»

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    Why did complications arise? Fr. Luna undertook against wind and sea, as a true man from Aragon, to bring Conchita to Rome, in accord with Cardinal Ottaviani who then was still the head of the Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office. But the chancery at Santander, as soon as it learned of the project, deployed all its connections in Rome and outside of Rome to crush the matter. The chancery must have been afraid of something.

    Let us see how Fr. Luna himself recounts this in the introduction of a book he wrote about another site of apparitions:

    «In September we got our passports in order. However . . .

    Toward the end of August, I offered my services to the new Bishop of Santander, Bishop Puchol, so as to put him in direct contact with the girls. He told me that he didn't consider it necessary, or even wise, to know them. [Why would Bishop Puchol need to know the girls and thoroughly study the matter if he were fully set on the pro-gressivist theory that apparitions and revelations are superfluous for the Church?
    Shortly after his «Nota» of Sunday March 18, 1967 {which was given the maximum publicity, even television exposure), by which he thought to definitively bury Garabandal, Bishop Puchol went up to the village to see if he could effectively and smoothly liquidate it.

    He was eminently educated and eloquent. It was a Sunday and the entire village attended his Mass. It was expected that his sermon would clarify the matters that were preoccupying everyone. But the bishop avoided the main subject, and all had the impression that he had limited himself to talking about the Gospel. Nevertheless Aniceta, who was very attentive and watchful not to miss anything, caught this, which later she confided to me as absolutely sure: The bishop at one time during his speech, lowering his voice in an off-hand remark, came out with this: We know that after what Jesus Christ brought, there can be no more apparitions or revelations.

    A gross imbecility, much repeated today, which gives us an idea of the bishop's poor theological background. It is obvious that this is not in communion with the Supreme Magisterium which has told us: "From heaven Christ always looks with great affection at His spouse (the Church) exiled in this world, and when He sees it in danger, either thru Himself, or thru the means of His angels, or thru the intercession of the one whom we call Help of Christians, or thru other intercessors, takes it away from the tempest waves . . . and consoles it with that peace which surpasses all knowledge." (Enc. Mystici Curporis Christi, 1943)]
He assured me that he was already well informed, and he confided to me his plan: to put a young priest [The priest assigned was Father José Olano, who had recently finished his seminary studies. Thus a novice priest was sent to Garabandal, a man almost without experience, as if nothing were happening there, and as if it were simply a parish without special problems.
    But if the new priest came without proper pastoral experience; he came well provided with instructions. It did not take long for the effects of the instructions to show themselves.

    It seems that the bishop's viewpoint was this: The problem of Garabandal would resolve itself if the girls and villagers were indoctrinated (brain-washed}, and the visitors were treated with a firm hand. The new priest came with this program.

    A remark might be made about the way he said goodbye to his parishioners from the valley of Polaciones before going to Garabandal. A man from the town who was present at his farewell Mass on that Sunday noted the things that were said and the remarks made by Fr. José Olano in his sermon. After the Mass, Father's friends from the place joked with him about the stories about Garabandal that were going to end soon.]
in charge of the village and "the girls should remain there."

    I answered that it seemed an excellent idea to send a well-chosen priest; but with regard to the girls, neither he nor I had authority to determine whether or not they were to stay. Aniceta had already authorized the admission of her daughter at Pamplona, and the parents of Loli and Jacinta had also consented for them to leave for Borja.

In writing?

Yes, Your Excellency. Yes, in writing. I have signed authorisations.

    I have always kept my principle of respecting the hierarchy, but also I have required respect in return. I have conscientiously been courteous before whoever represents God; but not weak.

    On that same day, I said to Bishop Vicente: I don't want to do things behind your back. For that reason I offered to bring the girls to you. Today I'm going to tell you a secret: A person of high station is working in Rome for the girls to be received by the Pope. The bishop smiled broadly, as if dubious . . . We were alone, seated in a room on the first floor of the seminary at Santander. I then took two telegrams out of my briefcase, and unfolded them for him to see.

Are you from Aragon?

From Saragossa, Your Excellency!

    The news got out and the departure was delayed . . . until, in the middle of December, I received a telephone call from Santander, announcing the arrival of a person from Rome with a letter from Cardinal Ottaviani that read: With the permission of the bishop, or without it, bring the girls.

    I asked the person who spoke to me to take the letter to be read secretly and personally by the bishop. But he lacked the patience and enthusiasm not to be overcome by the defenses at the bishop's door! And my envoy didn't have sufficient rank; the copy of the letter remained in the hands of the vicar general. [Bishop Puchol had brought with him to Santander, as his vicar general, a priest from Navarra, also a late vocation and a man rather arbitrary in his actions: Bishop Javier Azagra. Later he was auxiliary bishop of Cartagena-Murcia.] On my return from Rome in the winter of 1966, when I was with the bishop, he assured me that he hadn't received it. I think he was sincere.»

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"Conchita felt the devil present around her."

    At this time we might make some comments about the chancery officials at Santander who so often called for the submission owed to the hierarchy in order to strangle Garabandal, but who went to such efforts so that the cause would not come directly to teh hierarchy, to which they should be as submissive as we.

    From this can be more easily understood what Fr. Laffineur wrote:

    «Certain adversaries of Garabandal, fearing the worst for themselves, made it impossible for Conchita to be received at Rome. Others, in a less high position, profited by the new situation to calumniate Conchita: The balloon has burst. Conchita wears short skirts and listens to the radio; the vocation is gone. Garabandal is finished.

    During this time, Conchita felt the devil present around her. She was subject to interior sufferings which only the most contemplative souls know. She wrote about her secret suffering to priests who she trusted, and prayed to obtain permission from her mother to leave for Pamplona immediately.

      
PHOTO (Conchita): "secret suffering"            PHOTO (Aniceta):  "will of steel"

    Apparently the young girl, although accustomed to submitting everything to the Virgin, had not immediately understood teh importance of her trip to Italy. Or else she could have thought, logically, that if this trip would take place one day, it could begin just as well from Pamplona as from Garabandal.

    But Aniceta was watching. And Aniceta has a will of steel. She was convinced of teh necessity and imminence of the visit to Rome and no person in the world could make her yield . . . » (L'Etoile dans la Montagne)


    So Conchita was not to be separated from her side until she had completed her mission at Rome.

    But this mission would not be accomplished until the winter of the following year, 1966. And then the final period would be placed on the long and wonderous story that had begun on June 18th, 1961 at Garabandal.

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NEXT Chapter 11d) ...  Farewell in the Rain (Part 4)
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