An Interview with Conchita (Part 1)

Harry Daley first heard about Garabandal about 1970 and he saw a film about it. He first met Conchita in June 1972 and she agreed to do a documentary about the events for him. The documentary film they made in May 1973 was shown on television and in theatres around the world. It prompted the BBC to also complete a documentary about the Garabandal events.

Here are the questions and answers from the documentary that Harry made with a few later added comments as recorded in Harry's book, Miracle at Garabandal.


Question I would like to talk about all these apparitions that occurred between the years of 1961 to 1965. Do you have any recollection of those years in your village of Garabandal?
Conchita Of course, I will never forget them. I have tried. I even left the village with that intention but everywhere I am I always remember them.

Q Here we have a picture of the Virgin Mary. Is this what the Virgin looked like when she appeared in Garabandal?
Conchita There is some resemblance in the way she is dressed, but the face does not look like her at all.

Q When the Virgin came to see you was she always motionless like this? Did she move her hands? Did her hair move?
Conchita Her hands moved and at times she was motionless. Her hair moved.

Q So she acted as an average person?
Conchita Yes.

Q So, not like a picture standing there? She would move her lips. Is that right?
Conchita Yes. And you could hear her voice in your ears as you could with any other person.

Q When it was windy did her hair move?
Conchita Yes, just as if she was on earth. We thought she was down here with us.

Q As an ordinary human person?
Conchita Yes.

Q When the Virgin came, what feeling did you experience? Was she like a friend or did you feel afraid?
Conchita Whenever she came, we felt a great joy. It was as though she had been on a trip and finally came back.

Q So how did you feel toward her? Like a friend?
Conchita I felt toward her like a friend, or just as my mother.

Q Did she always appear this way or did she sometimes appear dressed in another way?
Conchita She would always come with a white dress and a blue mantle. One time, I remember we said to her, "Why do you come this way?" Because we were used to seeing the statues of the Virgin of Mount Carmel with a brown dress. So the next day, or several days later, I do not remember very well, she came dressed in brown. After that she always came with a white dress and a blue mantle.

Q I believe she also appeared sometimes with a young boy?
Conchita Yes. She sometimes came with a small infant.

Q Who was that infant? Was he the infant God?
Conchita We always called him Baby Jesus, but she never told us who he was.

Q Notice on the statue of the Virgin that she has a scapular on her right hand.
Conchita Yes, she carries a brown scapular.

Q Did she always wear the scapular or just sometimes?
Conchita: Always. She always wore it.

Q Here is a picture of Mary Loli, one of the visionaries, during one of the apparitions. She is carrying a lot of rosaries and medals. Do you remember during the apparitions if the Virgin asked you to bring these objects for her to kiss?
Conchita Yes, she used to tell us to bring her objects so that she could kiss them. She said that those people wearing these objects would spend their purgatory here on earth. She also said that these objects would perform miracles or wonders. I think she said wonders, not miracles.


Photo: Conchita with Fr. Materne Laffineur the author of the well-known Garabandal book Star on the Mountain.

Q Do you recall any miracle or wonder done by a rosary that the Virgin kissed?
Conchita Certainly, I remember one about a medal. This little girl was in a coma. They were waiting for her to die. They had already given her the sacraments. A lady brought her a piece of pine from the tree where the Virgin appeared and the medal. This little girl was completely cured between that night and the following morning. She is already married, has children and is completely normal.

Q In this photo we see Mary Loli with many rosaries. Did the Virgin ever talk to you about the Rosary?
Conchita Every time we saw the Virgin we would say the Rosary with her.

Q How did she teach you? Did she lead you in praying it?
Conchita Yes, she used to lead us in praying it and we would repeat her words.

Q How did she say it, slowly or quickly?
Conchita Slowly, very slowly.

Q Is that the right way to say it?
Conchita We thought of it as the right way at the time.

Q I believe we have here a photo of one of the ecstasies. Mary Loli is putting a ring on a married man. Do you remember about the rings? Did the virgin ask for wedding rings to kiss?
Conchita Yes, the people would give us the wedding rings for the Virgin to kiss. Sometimes we would have rings on every finger. Then when we saw the Virgin we would give them to her to kiss. She would tell us to put the rings on each person. She would say, "This ring is for this person." We wouldn't see the rings or the persons but we followed her directions.

Q That's unusual because you are in ecstasy looking up. How did you know which ring you had if you had your hands full of rings?
Conchita She would tell us, "Not this ring, but the one on your little finger," and so on. Let me tell you a case that happened once regarding these rings. A couple once gave me two rings for the Virgin to kiss. And the moment I gave them to the Virgin, she didn't kiss them. She gave me a message for them instead, and she told me to tell them privately. The message was that they were not married but just living together. I told them and the couple cried. Later they got married.

Q Here we have another photo. This is you as a child giving a man a crucifix to kiss. Do you remember these events, such as this with the crucifix?
Conchita I do remember very well. I remember that we would give people crucifixes to kiss. I didn't know the people who kissed them. The Virgin would say to us, "Extend your arms," and the crucifix would be kissed by whomever the Virgin wanted.

Q I heard that there was something that happened with a small crucifix. Do you remember what it was?
Conchita Yes, one day a man gave me a very small crucifix, about the size of a little fingernail. When I went to give it to the Virgin to kiss, it fell to the ground and I lost it. When the man came to ask me for the crucifix, I said that I had lost it, but not to worry because I would ask the Virgin to help me find it. Several nights later I found it. The Virgin said to me, "Bend down and pick up that object." When I bent down I picked up something covered with mud and that was the crucifix I had lost.

Q What did you do with the crucifix?
Conchita I gave it to the man.

Q Do you remember anything about the priests during the apparitions? Do you remember anything specific that occurred?
Conchita I remember that during that time many priests used to come and many were in civilian dress. I don't know how, but we always knew who the priests were, even when there were a lot of people. One night in particular while seeing the Virgin, there were a lot of people. The Virgin told us to hold out our arms, so we did. When it was over we found out that everyone to whom we have given the crucifix to kiss was a priest in civilian clothes.

Q Do you remember the story you told me about a priest who arrived in civilian clothes to see if he could trick you?
Conchita Yes, he came with a girl and said that she was his fiancee. He said to tell the Virgin something about it.

Q About the girl the priest said was his fiancee?
Conchita Yes, he said to tell the Virgin something about him and his fiancee and we found out that he was a priest. I don't recall if she told us he was a priest or if we found it out by ourselves.

Q I also remember there was something else about a priest, a cousin of yours. Do you remember the incident?
Conchita Yes, it was about a cousin of mine. He was six years old. He was sick. The Virgin brought me to the house where the child was. We had always been accustomed to give the crucifix to kiss, but the crucifix was put at the feet of the child. His mother asked a priest why they had put the crucifix at his feet rather than at his lips. The priest told her that it was a sign that he was going to be a priest. (Added comment): It has been reported that I said he would become a priest, but the Virgin didn't say this, a priest in the room did.

Q Is he a priest now?
Conchita Yes, now he is studying to be a priest.


Photo: Mari-Loli, Conchita and Chon de Luis pray at the Pines.

Q We have more pictures here. These pictures show a woman receiving communion. I think she is a Jewish woman. Do you remember the story of this woman? What was her name?
Conchita Catherine.

Q Do you remember the case?
Conchita Yes, she came to our town while she was a young girl. She came because a friend took her. She came just out of curiosity. One day Jacinta was in ecstasy. A priest had told her, "When you see the Virgin, throw holy water at her because if it is the Devil it will leave." So Jacinta, knowing that it wasn't the Devil, but in order to obey the priest, threw a glass of holy water at the Virgin and it all fell on the woman. (Added comment); I am not really sure that it was Jacinta who threw the water, maybe it was Mary Loli. I'm not sure.

Q Right on top of the woman?
Conchita Yes. From that moment on she wanted to convert to Catholicism. Even after her parents, who were rich and had a lot of money, offered her everything so that she would not be converted. But she had received a lot of faith that day and was converted.

Q Did she receive baptism later and first communion?
Conchita Yes, all the sacraments.

Q Here is another picture. There is a priest; the one at the left is Cathy, is that not right?
Conchita Yes, Catherine.

Q The Jewish lady. The priest is Father Ramon Andreu. The man at the right of the priest, who is he?
Conchita That man is a Protestant. His name is Maximo. He came to the village out of curiosity. One night he saw an ecstasy that impressed him greatly and he was converted to Catholicism.

Q He is a Catholic now?
Conchita Yes, he is a Catholic, a good practicing Catholic.

Q Here is a picture of the four girls, Conchita, Mary Loli, we can see Jacinta's face and Mari Cruz. You are at the church door. How come you were at the church door?
Conchita At the beginning we used to go into the church. But then the people, because they wanted to be first, would make a big disturbance, so the bishop said that we could not go into the church anymore. Then the Virgin, because of what the bishop said, no longer led us to the church.

Q You mean that the Virgin used to take you to the door of the church?
Conchita Yes.

Q Then, in a certain way, she was saying to obey the bishop?
Conchita Yes, I think that was an example of obedience to the bishop and to each person to obey.

Q In the same way the Virgin was also obeying what the bishop commanded?
Conchita Yes, she never went in either.

Q When the bishop said to stop in front of the church she would stop there?
Conchita Yes, she never said anything. She just never went in.

Q This photo was taken during the day, but I understand that the apparitions were every hour of the day and night. At what time did she appear? Only when there were people there?
Conchita No, sometimes when we were alone, other times during the day and at night.

Q At what time at night?
Conchita At eleven, at twelve, at one o'clock, at five o'clock. There was no definite time.

Q How did you know when she was going to appear at night?
Conchita She would tell us before by three calls. But I cannot explain the calls, so please don't ask me. It's a thing that I have never understood. That is all I can say.


Photo: The visionaries on their First Holy Communion in Garabandal.

Q The call, was it something you felt inside of you?
Conchita I have never been able to explain it. It was like an immense joy that brings you to a place. Not knowing where you are going, just that you have to go there.

Q Was there a time when the Virgin came after these calls at two or three o'clock in the morning?
Conchita Yes, at three o' clock and at five o'clock. There was no definite time.

Q Was there anyone there to see you?
Conchita Sometimes no one. At other times my mother or many people.

Q During all these apparitions and all these spectacular things, I also know there were messages. I remember there was one in 1961. That was the first message. Do you remember the first message that the Virgin gave? What was it about? What did the Virgin say?
Conchita Yes, the words of the Virgin are: "We have to make many sacrifices, many penances. We have to visit the Blessed Sacrament often. Above all, we must be very good. The cup is already being filled. If we don't change, a great punishment will come upon us." I understand it like this, though not because the Virgin said it. With respect to penance and sacrifice, penance is what we impose on ourselves; sacrifice is giving up things as a situation suggests. For example, the person who scolds us, not to answer them back. Or if we receive a blow, to offer it to God. For me this is self-imposed penance and sacrifice.

Q So the message talks about sacrifice, penance, visits to the blessed Sacrament and above all being good. With respect to sacrifice and penance, I remember an instance that happened to you about a piece of gum. Do you remember?
Conchita Yes, one day on the last apparition on November 13, 1965,1 had a piece of gum in my mouth. The moment I saw the Virgin I put it in my cheek and did not chew it anymore. But she said, "Why don't you get rid of that gum? Offer it for me." I thought she hadn't seen it, but she knew I had it. So I took the gum out of my mouth. For me this was an example that she is not asking for big sacrifices, but small ones so that we can continually offer them out of love for her.

Q So little sacrifices are good because they are made in the presence of God?
Conchita Yes.

Q Because gum is not bad, right?
Conchita Not at all, but giving it up is an act of love to God.

Q She also talked about penance, sacrifice and that we have to be good, above all we must be good. What did the Virgin mean when she said, "Above all, to be good"?
Conchita I don't know what the Virgin meant. I understand it to be a life lived moment by moment, offering everything to God. Living like a Christian the way our conscience tells us - that's what I think she meant.

Q So everyone can be good?
Conchita Sure. Everyone, in their religion, in their environment, in their families, their jobs, they themselves know how to be good. Because I believe everyone has his own conscience and God speaks to each one through his conscience.

Q Each man and woman knows what is good or bad, no matter if he is here or in a little village like Garabandal?
Conchita I am sure each person knows when he does something good or something bad.

Q There are some pictures about communion. Here you are, Conchita, but we cannot see the Host. I believe the angel gave you communion many times. Do you remember how many times he brought you communion?
Conchita With regard to communion, the Virgin taught us the value and the importance of the Eucharist. After the apparitions started, we never missed a day of communion. When there wasn't a priest in the town, the angel would come down to give us communion. I don't know how he knew there wasn't a priest in town.

Q Who was he - the angel?
Conchita Yes, the angel, and he came down to give us communion.

Q About communion, only priests can consecrate. Did you ever ask the Virgin where he obtained the Host?
Conchita Yes, we asked because a priest sent us to ask. She said that the angel would come down and would take a Host already consecrated from a tabernacle.

Q With respect to communion, the angel came hundreds of times, is that right?
Conchita No, not many times. Generally there was a priest in the village. He would only give us communion when there was no priest.

Q How many times more or less?
Conchita Maybe forty times, I am not sure.

Q One of those times, as we can see on the screen the "little miracle," as you called it, happened when the Host appeared on your tongue. Do you remember anything of the day of the "little miracle"?
Conchita Yes. Do you know why I called it the "little miracle"? Because when the Virgin said, "I am going to perform a miracle - that everyone will see the sacred form on your tongue." I thought everyone could see it every time I went to communion. So I said, "That is not a miracle." She said that nobody could see it, only on this day. So I called it the "little miracle." The angel on that day came down and brought me the Host, just as on other days, but that day everyone saw it.

Q Do you remember anyone who was there and saw it?
Conchita Many people.

Q Any priests who saw it or any person you could recognize?
Conchita Many priests, especially one who was a Franciscan. I cannot remember his name. He did not believe it or did not believe that it was the Sacred Host. He thought it was an illusion or some other thing. I cannot remember what now. He wanted to take the Host to see if it was real or fake, but he was afraid. So he left; some days later he came back repentant about his thoughts and asked for pardon. There was a great change in him after that. Also, they used to take pictures and movies as you can see. There was a doctor who was not a Catholic and had led a bad life. And another man who was very good. The doctor wanted to take pictures; he had a good camera with lights and all that stuff. However, at that moment the light bulbs blew and the cameras didn't work. The other, however, without bulbs and a very simple camera, took the pictures. After that, the doctor was converted and the other had great happiness.

Q Now from the "little miracle," let's go up to the great miracle. The one that personally impresses me the most. Here we have a picture, more or less to get an idea, because we don't know what it's going to be all about. But I would like you to tell me everything you can about the day of the great miracle that is coming. That day did not come yet, did it Conchita?
Conchita No, not yet.

Q What's going to happen on that day?
Conchita Well, I will tell you all that I can, as the Virgin told it to me. The Virgin told me that God was going to perform a great miracle. There would be no doubt about this miracle. It would be a miracle coming directly from God. There will be no human intervention. A day will come. She told me the day, the month and the year. So I know the exact date.

Q So you know the day, the month and the year in which it will occur?
Conchita Yes.

Q And that time has not come yet?
Conchita No, not yet.

Q This happened twelve years ago and it hasn't arrived yet?
Conchita No, not yet.

Q When is that day?
Conchita It is coming soon.

Q It is coming soon?
Conchita I cannot tell until eight days before the date.

Q What is going to happen on that date?
Conchita I cannot say exactly what is going to happen. But I can say the Virgin said that everyone who would go there on that day would see it. The sick who go will be cured, no matter what their disease or their religion. However, they have to be there.

Q So there will be no exception whether the person has cancer or whether he's paralyzed or blind or deaf?
Conchita No, there will be no exceptions.

Q No exceptions, the sick...?
Conchita The sick will be cured. Those without faith will believe.

QThose who do not believe will believe, even if the person is Protestant or Jewish or Moslem or a Communist?
Conchita She didn't give any conditions or make any exceptions. She only said the sick who are present will be cured.

Q Who will be able to see this miracle, only the Catholics who are present?
Conchita Everyone who is present.

Q Everyone, no matter their religion?
Conchita Yes.

Q Whatever nationality?
Conchita No matter.

Q Did she ever make an exception? Were her words ever directed toward anyone?
Conchita No, they were always directed toward the whole world.

Q Toward the whole world?
Conchita Yes.

Q On the day of the miracle, did you say that those present would be converted?
Conchita The Virgin said that everyone present would believe. They would see that this was directly from God. All sinners would be converted. She also said that you would be able to take pictures and televise it. Also, from that moment on there would be a permanent sign in the pines; everyone present there could view it. The sign would be visible and could be touched, but not felt. I can't explain it.

Q This is very impressive, because even after Christ's time, if you go to Jerusalem, there is no visible sign there. However, on the day of the miracle there will be an extraordinary sign not made by human hands?
Conchita This sign will stay until the end of time.

Q Until the end of time?
Conchita Yes.

Q Everyone will be able to photograph and televise it - but you won't be able to feel it by touching?
Conchita It will be like smoke - you can touch it but not feel it.

Q With respect to the sick people, since this is what really interests me, I think the Virgin named one particular person by name, a blind man called Joe Lomangino. What did she say about him?
Conchita She said that on the day of the great miracle he will recover his sight, he will be able to see. She also talked about a paralytic boy whose parents came from my town. This boy also will be cured. These are the only two people she talked about. (Added comment): I really do not remember how this was said to me, but I wrote Joe Lomangino a letter.

Q I know Joe Lomangino personally and I have a great liking for him. In fact, I got involved in Garabandal because I heard about him and that he lived in Lindenhurst on Long Island. I felt that if this was to occur during my lifetime I would like to see it. How did he lose his sight?
Conchita A wheel from a truck blew up and hit him on the head, and as a result he lost his sight.

Q How long ago did this happen?
Conchita When he was eighteen years old. Now he is past forty.

Q This is a picture of Father Luis. Can you tell us something about him?
Conchita Yes, this priest used to come frequently to the town to see if the apparitions were real or not. After a while he believed in them. One day while we were in ecstasy at the pines, he began to shout, "Miracle, miracle, miracle." The Virgin said, "At this moment, the priest is seeing me and the miracle that will occur."

Q Father Luis was actually seeing the miracle?
Conchita Yes. That same day on his trip back he said to his friends. "This is the happiest day of my life. What a great Mother we have in heaven. The apparitions are true." He died as he said these words.

Q This picture shows the burial of Father Luis. Didn't the Virgin say that something would occur on the day of the miracle concerning Father Luis?
Conchita Yes, she said that on the day after the miracle he would be incorrupt; he is that now, but on that day they will open his grave and his body will be preserved intact. Now his brothers, who have worked very hard for Garabandal, got impatient and wanted to open up his grave. They even sent many invitations for the opening. However, on the day that they were going to open his grave their superior said not to.

Q You mean the Jesuit superior?
Conchita Yes, he said not to open the grave. I knew this was going to happen because they weren't supposed to do this until the day after the miracle.

Reprinted with kind permission from Garabandal International Magazine, July-September 2005, by Harry Daley

Back to Section The Story

Next Article An Interview with Conchita (Part 2)