Continuing our series of interviews with Conchita, is one that was conducted in the early 1980s by Monsignor Francisco Garmendia, Auxiliary Bishop of New York.
Photo: Conchita in 1965 at the cloister of Santillana del Mar.
Bishop Garmendia Among those who love you - and everybody loves you, Conchita! (and as Christians we should all love one another) - here is a very dear gentleman in Santander who knows you and who works very hard for Garabandal and who has all the data on the apparitions. His name is Placido. Do you remember him?
Conchita I love him very much. I remember that he defended Garabandal and now is an important witness. He is one of those chosen by the Virgin. There are not many that from the beginning have persevered with Garabandal. Therefore, I say to Placido: "Congratulations, because you still persevere with the Virgin."
Bishop How did you like the audio tape sent to you by your friend Placido? Did you understand it?
[Editor's note: Placido Ruiloba was a Santander businessman who frequently went up to Garabandal to witness the apparitions. He always brought with him a tape recorder and has some forty audio tapes that he recorded during the time of the apparitions of the visionaries praying, singing, and speaking with their Vision while in ecstasy. It was a copy of one of these tapes that Placido sent to Conchita.]
Conchita I understood about the rosaries, but not the conversation with the Virgin. I understood only a few things but it brought back good memories.
Bishop It brought back good memories to you?
Conchita Yes, and I plan to listen to it several more times to see if I can understand more.
Bishop It takes you back to your younger days, eh? How beautiful the old days must have been. They no doubt rekindle your interior life and I suppose you begin to recall many things.
Conchita When I listened to it, it was like listening to another Conchita talking to the Virgin. It didn't feel like it was me.
Bishop Didn't you recognize your own voice?
Conchita No, it didn't seem like me. It sounded like a different Conchita. I don't know why.
Bishop Would you like to hear some more of the tape?
Conchita Of course.
Bishop Very well.
Conchita I believe the Virgin is all love, the greatest and most beautiful. She lovingly comes from heaven to tell us what we must do and to remind us to do it. She is a Mother and she shows it by coming to see us.
Bishop Does the general public have doubts about the apparitions?
Conchita The Virgin told us that before the Miracle many people will stop believing.
Bishop Have you thought much about people stopping believing?
Conchita No, I haven't thought about it.
Bishop So you believe in the Virgin blindly and you always refer us to what she told you. There's another subject I'd like to bring up, Conchita, and that is Holy Communion. I understand that the Virgin told you girls that if there were priests present the Angel would not give you Communion; that the Angel would only give Communion when there were no priests present. However, I understand that on the day of the Miracle of the [Visible] Communion there were some thirty priests in Garabandal. Can you clarify this?
Conchita The Virgin never told us that the Angel would not come if there were priests in the village. It is the Angel who did not come when there were priests in the village. Only that day, the Angel came even though there were priests in the village. I can't explain why.
Bishop So, the Virgin did not categorically tell you the Angel will give you Communion only when there are no priests in the village, did she?
Conchita No. Because whatever the Virgin says happens just as she says it.
Bishop Can you tell us, Conchita, who ordered you to write your diary?
Conchita The Bishop of Leon.
Bishop So it was the Bishop of Leon.
Conchita The Bishop was in the house of Señor [Emilio] del Valle, and through this gentleman he told me to begin to write my diary. He bought me a bunch of notebooks.
Bishop The Bishop bought you the notebooks?
Conchita No, Señor del Valle did.
Bishop Oh, a layman.
Conchita Yes, this gentleman was a close friend of the Bishop of Leon.
Bishop And what did the Bishop of Leon have to do with all of this?
Conchita I don't know.
Bishop How did he come to appear on the Garabandal scene?
Conchita I don't know. The Bishop came to the house of Señor del Valle.
Bishop Was Mr. del Valle from Garabandal?
Conchita No, Emilio del Valle was from Reinosa, but lived in Leon.
Bishop So the Bishop ordered you to write the diary. Is there only one diary or several others?
Conchita The one that has been published is the one the Bishop ordered me to write. Then I have my own private diary and the nun from the school I went to has another.
Bishop Mother Nieves?
Conchita Yes, Mother Nieves. I think something was published from that diary, but it was meant to be private.
Bishop As for the present Bishop of Santander, is he going to have a special sign before the Miracle? Will it be something that happens in nature or something in general?
Conchita The Virgin said that she was going to send proof to the Bishop of Santander so that he will allow priests to go to Garabandal.
Bishop What kind of proof?
Conchita She didn't say. This sign of the truth of the apparitions will be something private for whomever is the Bishop of Santander at the time of the Miracle.
Bishop So, it will be for the one who is Bishop at the time of the Miracle?
Conchita Yes, he will receive a sign.
Bishop So the Bishop will receive a sign and he will know that Garabandal is true. This is clear now. You know, Conchita, that we are attracted to Garabandal because we love the Virgin. We know she utilizes humble people and means like at Lourdes and Fatima and other apparitions. It has been said that the Virgin told you the Miracle will be on a Thursday. Is this true?
Conchita Yes. The Virgin said it will be on a Thursday, and she also gave the day, month and year.
Bishop Are you sure? Did you check it on the calendar?
Conchita No, I didn't have to, because she told me the Thursday, the day, month and year.
Bishop I am so glad to hear this. I had been told that you knew it was to be a Thursday, and began to guess at the dates. But the Virgin told you the exact date, the exact month and the exact year. No one need have any doubts now. If everything in life were so perfectly clear there would be no problems. I heard you were in Rome.
Conchita Cardinal Ottaviani sent me a letter through Princess Cecilia de Bourbon-Parma and I went to Rome with my mother.
Photo: When Conchita was summoned to Rome by Cardinal Ottaviani, she made the trip in 1966 accompanied by Fr. Luis Luna, Princess Cecilia de Bourbon-Parma and Conchita's mother, Aniceta, on the right..
Bishop I don't want to press you, but what happened?
Conchita They interviewed me for two hours and told me that it would be better to keep secret all that was said. I don't remember now all the questions they asked me, but I remember it was for two hours.
Bishop Can you tell us your impressions of Rome? I imagine a girl from Garabandal, a remote mountain village, would have a lot to say about Rome, right?
Conchita No, not really. I went there because they called me. They asked me questions and I answered them; that was all. After seeing the Virgin I find it difficult to be impressed by Rome.
Bishop So the Virgin is more beautiful than all Rome.
Conchita Yes, that is true. However, now I would like to return and see the sights. I'm somewhat more curious now.
Bishop Would you like to visit the Holy Father?
Bishop I hope someday you can return to Rome and visit the Holy Father. Nothing is impossible. We all have unfulfilled wishes, but if you want to go to Rome perhaps it will happen. Are there any other relationships between Rome, the Holy Father and the Miracle that you would like to talk about?
Conchita Yes. The Virgin told us something related to the Holy Father, and it was that before the Miracle there would be only three more Popes.
Bishop I want this to be very clear to all who hear this tape. Conchita was very precise. The Virgin told you that before the Miracle...?
Conchita At the time, Pope John XXIII was living. The Virgin said, "Three more Popes are left; there will be only three more Popes." She was then speaking about the end of the times.
Bishop So the Virgin spoke to you about the end of the times?
[Editor's note: This is not to be confused with the end of time, but rather refers to the end of our times. How that will happen, what it entails, and what will follow is not known at this time.]
Bishop So after John XXIII came Paul VI, John Paul I and then John Paul II. So look out, the noose is tightening! It's the Virgin who is speaking.
Conchita The Virgin was talking about the end of the times. She also spoke to us about France. I don't know if you remember but it was being said that a world war would break out in 1962. At the time everyone was afraid including me. Then the Virgin appeared and addressing our concern said: "Don't be afraid, there will not be another world war."
Bishop So she said there would not be another world war. There have been local conflagrations, and much has been said about a coming world war. The situation is very tense, but a world war would be the end of nations.
Conchita I don't remember any more. I would like to add, however, with reference to Rome, that some priests or people are putting too much pressure on the Church to approve Garabandal. I believe it would be better that this be left in the hands of God. Let them speak about and spread the Message of the Virgin, but leave the rest in the hands of God.
Bishop You caution against rushing things and speculating. You prefer that all be left in the hands of God. You have complete confidence in Him.
Conchita Yes. Before, when I was so concerned about whether Rome would believe me or not, the Lord Himself told me: "Don't worry about being believed, especially in Rome. I will do everything." I would like to tell this to all those who want the Bishop and Rome to hurry ahead in this matter.
Bishop People are always looking for new things. I agree with you; let God and the Blessed Virgin handle it in their own way. You aren't searching for great things, you are simply living a Christian life just as the Blessed Virgin said to.
Conchita Yes, every day, and waiting for the Miracle.
Bishop Each day you live it.
Bishop That is what the Gospels and Our Lady say; to live the Christian life every day. This is what you mean, right?
Conchita Yes. Live every moment of the day with true faith and devotion.
This interview was filmed by Harry Daley and is printed here with kind permission.
Reprinted with kind permission from Garabandal Journal, January-February 2004