WHAT IS GARABANDAL?: She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 140).

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 140)

Fr. Ramón with Jewish convert Catherine and Protestant convert Máximo,
prototypes of the massive conversions that will follow the Miracle.


Encounter with the Faith

Shortly after this woman found her vocation in Garabandal, the time came for Máximo Föeschler to find the Faith. (I write the word with a capital to indicate that this does not refer to a faith, but to the Faith, the Catholic religion, the only one which I consider truly authentic . . . without in any way, showing disrespect toward the others, provided that they are practiced with what we call good faith and good will).
With the best of good will, Máximo practiced the Protestantism in which he had been brought up by his devout parents. He was German by race and by birth, an engineer by profession. In 1931 he had married a Catholic Spaniard, and had spent many years stationed in Spain, but it had never occurred to him to change his religion. He devoutly lived his protestant Christianity.
Máximo was stunned by the death of Fr. Luis María Andreu, whom he had known since he was a child. For this reason, one day he decided to go up to Garabandal, with the desire to see the places and the persons that meant so much to the beloved deceased in his last days.
As we have seen in the first part of this book, on Saturday, October 14th, 1961, he arrived for the first time at Garabandal, in spite of an almost tragic automobile accident at the mountainpass of Piedras Luengas.(2) He did not come alone; his wife accompanied him, together with Fr. Ramón Andreu, Mr. and Mrs. Fontaneda from Aguilar de Campoo, and several friends. What he saw and felt on his first visit has already been described: in brief, it did not have much of an effect on him.
But after some months, as if waiting for some mysterious rendezvous, Máximo decided to return to Garabandal. Let us listen to his description:
«Fr. Ramón Andreu was beginning the Spiritual Exercises in Loyola on March 19th, 1962. He wanted me to assist at them. Frankly, I was reticent to go, and I wondered what a Protestant could do in a sanctuary like Loyola.
For that reason, I decided to return to Garabandal, hoping for some solution to this.
We came there on Saturday, March 17th, with several friends from Madrid; also with my wife and one of my children. We saw the first ecstasy —with Mari Loli— at 9 at night. And I observed that she was almost entirely concerned with my wife, my son, and also myself. To describe this in detail would be an unending story.
At six at night on the following day, Sunday,(3) we all assisted at the holy rosary, which for me was really moving.
When we went out, I found Jacinta, whom I had not seen since the early morning of the past October 14th or 15th. I asked her why she hadn’t given me the cross to kiss at that time. She didn’t answer me. On insisting and telling her that I knew the reason (I thought it was due to my being Protestant), she repeated that she certainly didn’t know.
Then I asked when she had last seen the Virgin and she told me, with great sadness, that 5 days had passed without seeing her.
—But I petitioned during the holy rosary for you to have a vision this very night. I have to leave tomorrow morning, and I need a great sign from the Virgin by means of you.
Actually, without telling anyone, I had asked that if this were from the Virgin, that she would give me an unmistakable and outward demonstration in an ecstasy with Jacinta: that something would happen to me! And to me alone!
At 9:30 at night, Mari Loli went into ecstasy in Jacinta’s house to tell her that at 12:00 at night she would see the Most Holy Virgin.
And so it was. The girl went out onto the street in an ecstatic march, and every 10 meters she gave the cross to the 8 or 10 of us who were following her. Later I left the group and the girl went toward the church, where she prayed; and there she returned to the normal state again.
Since nothing in particular had happened to me, I thought that Loyola was not my destiny.
But Jacinta announced that there was going to be another vision at 3 in the morning. And still waiting, I went there by her house. At 3 on the dot the trance began, and as usual she went out on the street. I accompanied her during her trip; but finally I separated from the group and went into Loli’s house, where they had a tavern. But toward 3:30 Jacinta came in there in ecstasy, and she made her way toward me through the many people that were there, gave me the cross to kiss, and made the sign of the cross over me three times. On that occasion no one else had the good fortune of kissing the cross. For me, this was very clearly the sign that I had asked.(4)

* * *

I considered that call of the Most Holy Virgin
as a definite answer. And on the evening of January 19th, I was in Loyola, beginning the Spiritual Exercises in the house of St. Ignatius.
I had come there with such feeling—having known the Most Holy Virgin for the first time— that I derived the greatest fruits from the days of retreat.
On the third day, while at the holy Mass that they had in the Chapel of the Conversion, on seeing that the others who were making the retreats were receiving Jesus (in Holy Communion), and that I was not, I broke out in tears.»


The reader can suspect what happened later.
Máximo Föeschler received baptism according to the rite of the Catholic Church on March 31, 1962, and on the following day, April 1st, with great feeling he received his First Communion.
«I will be eternally grateful»—he confessed— «for all the special graces I received through the Virgin’s mediation, and which actually brought me into the arms of baptism. And I don’t know how to give Our Lord and the Most Holy Virgin the thanks that they deserve for the miracle worked in me.»

* * *

With his entrance into the Catholic Church, did
the affairs of Garabandal end for Máximo?
«A great many things happened to me on further visits, which would lengthen this report excessively. I only wish to mention a few:
One day, after Mari Loli had come out of ecstasy, she called me aside and told me what the Most Holy Virgin had said about me. In spite of the timidity that the girls had and though they were 12 years of age at the time, Mari Loli talked a long time to me with the greatest naturalness. She told me about me life, what I had done, and what had happened to me from my early youth until the present date. Absolutely no one in the village could know those details (some, not even my wife!) and many of them came to my memory again, due to hearing them from the girl.»

* * *

It occurs to me at this point: Why do some continue
to say that all this is the fruit of a game of children, of their ability to deceive, a result of the atmosphere, or mass hysteria, that in all its elements has a natural explanation? Why do they not rather proceed without delay to do a work of charity by illuminating the darkness in those who continue believing in the Miracle, convinced that this is the finger of God?
This reminds me of what St. Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians:
For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the prudence of the prudent I will reject.

Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (1: 19-20)
But we are not thinking evil of anyone. All of us are in need of mercy.

2. Between the provinces of Palencia and Santander. It is one of the highest mountains in the Cantabrian range.

3. Liturgically the second Sunday of Lent, as we have seen in the previous chapter.

4. Actually what was done by Jacinta corresponded exactly
to what Mr. Föeschler had requested secretly in his conscience.


WHAT IS GARABANDAL?: She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 139).

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 139)

By presenting the crucifix to be kissed,
the visionaries confirmed a vocation.


It might be better to say the ways to God, rather than the ways of God.
Many souls have found the way to God at Garabandal— many more than we know about. Some have simply found the faith there; others have grown strong in it; and through Garabandal others have gone on to give generously of themselves.
The purpose of Garabandal is more to aid in our salvation than to regale us with visible miracles. The final goal of salvation is what can be expected from its mystery.
This was previously mentioned in the first chapter, but we now present it again, giving new examples that occurred during the weeks of reactivation between winter and spring of 1962.

Finding a Vocation

In the early days of 1962, the news of Garabandal
was making itself known in the old Castilian city of Segovia. Father Ramón María Andreu had been giving retreats for the religious there, and the Marquis and Marquise of Santa María had made several public talks on the subject.
Such interest was aroused that in the middle of the winter a bus excursion was organized for the distant village. Among those on the trip was a young woman who until then had certainly not distinguished herself by religious fervor. It was not that this woman led a dissipated life, but rather that she was frivolous and worldly, clashing with the traditional style of that strict Castilian city. She was the first in line for a dance, always ready for amusement, for the beach . . . What was now bringing her to Garabandal in the frigid January of 1962? . . . Even she herself could not explain her reason for being there.
The excursion group arrived at the place of the apparitions on January 18th, a Thursday. That evening her companions, after gathering information by talking to the people in the village, went to situate themselves in the various settings of the anticipated ecstasies. The young girl tried to squeeze into Ceferino’s house; but it was too crowded. She had to remain near the door. Fortunately she found a little bench there against the wall, and she stood on top of it. Thus she was able to observe after a fashion, although from a distance, what she did not have the opportunity to follow up close.
The time for the ecstasy arrived and Loli was in the kitchen, as during so many other ecstasies. The young woman from Segovia had to resign herself to hearing what was going on indirectly, by what was relayed from the spectators in a better position. But even this alone had quite an effect as the atmosphere that normally formed around the ecstasies had a deep religious reverence, even on the part of those most accustomed to it.
In such a climate of silence and waiting, she was able to reflect . . . Withdrawn into herself, in a strange way she was able to feel the frightening proximity of the mystery . . . There came a time when her spirit could not contain itself in that attitude of reverent silence and burst out in prayer: a prayer tremendously obligating:
Most Holy Virgin, if this is true . . . And God wants something from me . . . I am ready for whatever it is . . . Even to renouncing everything to become a religious! I only ask you, in exchange, for the salvation of . . . whom you know.

During the terrifying silence following such a prayer, in the depths of her soul there seemed to resound most clearly the answer: I hear you. I hear you. Yes. Yes.
This unexplainable refrain left her trembling with emotion. But it did not take long for uncertainty to settle in. Who can assure you that this is the voice of God? Couldn’t this have been your imagination? Are you losing your mind?

Full of distress, she once more raised up an inward
request to the compassionate Mother who could well be present there, not far from her.

Most Holy Virgin, if this is true, if all this comes from you . . . Let the girl come to give me the crucifix to kiss. Let her come to me ahead of everyone else!
Hardly had the petition been formulated in the hidden recesses of her conscience, when Loli got up off the kitchen floor where she was kneeling. She made her way through the shoving and surprised spectators and went directly toward the young woman, who had some idea of what was going to happen. Indescribable emotion swept over her, but she did not have time to think or do anything. Loli was there in front of her, and without looking at her, Loli raised the crucifix firmly to her lips, and gave it to her to kiss twice. Overcome, the young woman got down from the bench and tried to hide and disappear from the many people who were there; but it was futile. The little visionary followed her, without seeing her, and repeatedly put the sacred image on her lips.
Could God’s answer have been more clear?

But it did not stop there. During the rest of the day, each girl that went out into the street in ecstasy(1) unfailingly went in search of the young woman from Segovia in order to offer her, and to her ahead of anyone else, the figure of the Savior.
It was a distinction that gave both pleasure and pain. Although it showed the greatest profession of love, it also implied a frightening program of self renunciation and self-denial.
It would be expected that the young woman in the flush of youth, who was being unequivocally asked to make a total gift of herself, spent the next hours with sentiments never previously felt.
She had come to Garabandal accompanied by her mother; both had found lodging at the house of Piedad, who had furnished them a little room. It was well into the night when they returned and went to bed. But those few hours in bed were not hours meant for sleeping; at least not for the daughter, who did not cease weeping.
The mother, unaware of what had happened in her daughter’s conscience, commented on the following day, Something tremendous must have happened to her . . . She didn’t stop sobbing all night long. And I don’t recall her ever crying before.

* * *

For years now the young woman in this story has
lived her consecration to God in a religious order. And she can never forget that her road toward God definitely passed through the faraway, controversial village of san Sebastián de Garabandal.

1. In the previous chapter it was shown that Jacinta and
Mari Cruz also had apparitions on January 18th.


WHAT IS GARABANDAL?: She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 138).

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 138)


We can complete this report with some details that we owe to the Captain of the Civil Guard, Juan Alvarez Seco. While that unforgettable night vigil of March 18th . . .
«. . . was going on to the next day, March 19th, Loli went up to the counter of the tavern in her home in ecstasy, took a pen from a drawer, and holding a card against the wall of the kitchen, wrote on it what the Virgin had told her, The Virgin congratulates Father José.
As a result of this, the priest involved was deeply moved, since he hadn’t told anyone his name or that he was a priest.
While they were going to ask for permission to celebrate holy Mass, they went to Conchita’s house. Father Silva spoke of making a Holy Hour, and the girl asked, What’s that? Father Silva explained it to her, and it was decided to make the Holy Hour at 1 A.M.
But they didn’t have the key to the church. Fr. Valentín was sleeping in the home of Primitiva. Mr. Matutano from Reinosa and I went to ask him for it, since he knew us. I talked to him but he didn’t want to give us the key. We returned to Conchita’s house and then Maximina said: Let’s go to the church in case it’s still open.
About 20 of us went with Conchita and María Dolores. We found the door of the church open, but we didn’t have a key to the sacristy, where the key to open the tabernacle was kept. In the meantime, Father Silva found the tabernacle open, although the sacristy was locked!
We were able to make the Holy Hour, sometimes holding arms. Afterwards almost all of us received Communion.
I testify that this was fantastic. And the Marquis and Marquise of Santa María, Mr. Matutano and others who I no longer remember felt the same way. Father Silva told us that Garabandal was absolutely true.»


Maximina also gave a report of what happened
in a letter that she wrote to Doctor Ortiz on March 21st:
«There were two priests. They made a holy hour at three in the morning on Sunday (Actually it was not Sunday but Monday, March 19. Her confusion undoubtedly was due to the fact that Monday was also a feastday, honoring St. Joseph).
They asked if any of those present wanted to explain the mysteries of the rosary. Mr. Matutano explained the first one. Many of the people were crying! The Marquis said that he couldn’t talk because of emotion.
The priests spoke very much . . . And one said, It would be a disgrace to participate in the apparitions and not meditate. And he added, I swear to God that I believe this is true. They talked at length.»


And so the first feastday of St. Joseph began with
a beautiful and edifying Holy Hour.
No one could say that the lenten days of 1962 at Garabandal were not replete with vigils, penance and prayer.

* * *

Those days reached their peak on March 25th.
This was the third Sunday of Lent, according to that year’s calendar, but also the feast of the Annunciation, according to every year’s calendar. And since it was the feastday of the Annunciation of the Virgin, it was also the feastday of the Incarnation of the Son of God. With all these great feasts combined on a single day, there was reason to expect something special . . .
Simón, Jacinta’s father, said to Dr. Ortiz several days later:
«I thought something exceptional would occur that day, since it was such a distinguished feastday. And so it happened.

The three girls, Conchita, Loli and my daughter,
who until then had only recited the rosary,(23) began to sing it on that day, and they sang the whole rosary. At the beginning of the apparition only a few of us were with them, but the people began to come out of their houses, and finally, I think the whole village was there . . .
I felt a tremendous joy, since I know my daughter well — and how bashful she is —
and because of this I thought in my mind that She had to be seeing something very great to be singing as she was.
After the rosary ended, the girls continued singing, and we heard these verses:

Men, women and children
Pray the holy rosary,
To find holy rest
In the next world.Indecent dress leads(24)
To eternal fire.
Dress decently,
If you wish to be saved.

The Virgin has warned us
Three times already.
Oh, Virgin of Carmel, how unfortunate!
How unfortunate death is for us!

Mari Cruz, get up, etc.»(25)

Simón ended like this:

«On that day my joy and excitement were so great that they couldn’t have been greater if I had seen the Virgin myself.»
There are more particulars about March 24th and 25th in Garabandal. We have a letter that Maximina began writing to the Pifarré family of Barcelona on March 26th:
«The apparitions on Saturday, March 24th were very nice.
Conchita carried an unfolded umbrella since it was snowing and then she went into the houses with the umbrella open. She went in without stumbling anywhere. It was marvelous. They walked throughout the village together — she with the umbrella and Loli. They prayed the whole rosary in ecstasy.
They went to call a woman who was indisposed so that she couldn’t go out at night. She was in her bed, and she got up. Mari Loli took her by one arm and Conchita by the other. (Still in ecstasy, they took her half dressed.) First they went to the Cuadro. There they stayed for a while . . . And Conchita fell full-length like a stone, and still kept the umbrella open. And Loli stayed on her knees. See, they take positions that are beautiful. Afterwards they went down the calleja to other places. We saw the people having great trouble going down; but they went down
with tremendous ease . . .
But the greatest thing was on Sunday, the feast of the Annunciation. They began at 9:30 in the evening and they finished at midnight. I almost cannot explain how it went.
They began the rosary singing. Later they mentioned that the Virgin said that all the people should sing . . . Look, we were all singing with violent emotion. They couldn’t fake that.
We went to the cemetery singing. There they recited a mystery on their knees. At the gate Conchita stretched her arm through the bars with the crucifix in her hand. And it seemed that she was holding it out to be kissed! It was moving, even for the hardest hearts.»
Later we went back another time through the village, singing until it ended . . . She sang the Salve, the Let us sing to the love of all loves, and later other songs that flow from them while in ecstasy. And they said, Oh, how happy the Virgin is since there are so many people! How she smiles and how she looks at everyone!»
Continuing, Maximina gave some of the verses that the girls composed in ecstasy. One of these is the following:

Men, women and children,
You know our message.
The Virgin wants it accomplished,
for the good of families.



On the next day, March 26th, Maximina wrote to
Dr. Ortiz again:
«Apparently I mentioned in a previous letter that Conchita was going to leave this week . . . Well, I can say that she doesn’t want to leave. It seems that the trip (to the school at León) has been abandoned for the present.
On one of the past nights Jacinta had a very moving ecstasy. It lasted 2 hours and she asked insistently for a miracle. She said, I don’t want to go from the village . . . Look. Do you know what Maximina said? That although they would cut her to pieces, she wouldn’t go. I don’t want to go either . . . Come. Perform a miracle . . . Call all the people, as you call us, so that they will all come here . . . And once they come, make a great light . . . Yes, perform a miracle! . . . You are going to perform it? . . . Don’t look so serious!
It was at night — I was not there — and there were only a few people, but they said that those that were there were crying. It was about 8:30, which in this season is already dark, and they said that they saw her face as if it were daylight.
A young girl, who was very excited, came to tell me about it. She said that she didn’t want to see anything more. And it seems also that María Dolores said: Perform a miracle so that they don’t take us from the village. Tell them that I don’t have to go. Come. Tell me again that I don’t have to go, since I don’t want to go . . . Come, perform a miracle! Good, it’s enough of a miracle that now the sun is shining, since when I came here, it was snowing.»
Obviously, during the ecstasies, the sun was always shining.

* * *

As Winter Passes was the title of this chapter, and
now we find that at the beginning of springtime the spectacular events of Garabandal are beginning to
sprout. And from the mountainland a mysterious supplication is being addressed to Him who from on high does not forget the earth, as the ancient biblical prayer refrains:

See, the winter is passed.
The rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth.
The season of joyous song has come.
The song of the dove is heard in our land.Come then, my love. My lovely one, come.
Show me your face; let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet, and your face beautiful.
(Cant. 2: 11-14)

23. In August, 1961, the girls began singing during their ecstasies. They sang both popular religious songs and original verses that they themselves made up during the ecstasies. What Simón means to say is that on March 25th they sang a complete rosary for the first time.

24. The second verse is from the Ave Maria of Fatima. Obviously not all styles of dress lead to eternal fire, but only those — and there are many — that are incompatible with decency.

25. We have already mentioned this verse dedicated to Mari Cruz since they sang it for the first time during the vigils in August of 1961.


WHAT IS GARABANDAL?: She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 137).

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 137)

“There must be much penance . . . There must be many sacrifices . . .”


Days of Lent

In Spain the students look forward to March
7th, since it is a vacation day commemorating the feast of St. Thomas of Aquinas, the patron of students. In 1962 that day also had a strong penitential significance for all the faithful, since it was the beginning of Lent: Ash Wednesday.
The girls had to apply themselves with greater intensity at that time to what the Virgin had told them both for themselves and for others: There must be much penance . . . There must be many sacrifices . . .
And the lenten days of Garabandal were permeated with penance during that year of grace, 1962. But in the almost daily ecstasies, there was also a place for the many other things, great and small, that comprised each girl’s life.
For example, Loli met again with the departed Fr. Luis Andreu(19) on March 12th and talked to him for a long time:
«What joy it gives me to talk with you! It’s like when you were alive. I’m very happy when you come. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen you!

How sad you would have been if we had gone
to school, because we wouldn’t be able to see the Virgin anymore!

Look, I want something . . . Do you know
what? Perform a MIRACLE, so that they
may see that we are speaking with you and the Virgin . . .»


These remarks by Loli were taken from the notes
of Fr. Valentín, who also wrote down what happened to Mari Cruz:
«At 11:37 at night, I was in her house. She had received a letter from a priest from Villaviciosa (Asturias),(20) in which the priest said that he would pay for her board and tuition in a school in that city, under the condition that she would not see the Virgin again, something that could cause problems with the archbishop of Oviedo. The girl hadn’t read the letter; but her mother had, who put the letter back in the envelope and told the girl to ask the Virgin what she should reply.
Mari Cruz didn’t want to do this, and it disagreed with her to take the letter. Hardly had she taken it in her hand, when she went out to the Calleja, knelt down at the usual place, took the letter — in ecstasy — and held it up. Looking at the envelope upside down, she asked, What should I tell her? That I’m going to continue to see you? That it’s a good place? For a long time now, I haven’t been seeing you with the other three . . .»


We can only guess what the Virgin told the girl;
however, it is clear that plans for taking the girls from the village were not coming solely from León.
And it is also clear that Mari Cruz was hurt because she was not included in the ecstasies with the other three girls.
On March 14th, it was Conchita who presented a scene worthy to be filmed because of its elegance. Fr. Valentín reports again:
«At 6:30 in the evening, Conchita wanted to be alone and went behind the laundry building, where she was in ecstasy. From there she went up to the Pines, and holding one of the albarcas (wooden shoes) that she was wearing, began speaking,
Take the albarcas in your hand, the little shoes with the worn-out laces . . . Go find a donkey? Where is one? In the Cuadro? (She wanted to bless herself.) With the albarca in her hand, she smacked herself in the face many times. Later she exclaimed, How good it is today! It is night and the sun shines. And also it snows to make saints (snowmen) and go sledding.»


In the girls’ ecstatic conversations on March 14th
came out again the old request that the Virgin perform a great miracle as a sign and finale to everything.
Jacinta asked her:
«Come! Perform a miracle! That way the people will believe.»


A letter from Maximina González to Asunción
Pifarré, dated March 7, reads:
«The other night, Jacinta and María Dolores asked for a miracle as usual. Please, perform a miracle . . . Please! Are you going to perform it? Please, let light shine. Please, since the people don’t believe. Perform a miracle so that everyone will believe . . .
When the ecstasy was over, we told them what they had said to the Virgin. And they said she smiled when they asked for a miracle.»


The girls would surely not have insisted so often
upon the same request, if they had not repeatedly heard from above that there would finally come a great sign to end all doubts about the supernatural truth of the events. «They will believe. They will believe» was the prophetic-toned response of the mysterious apparition.
If it were not for this, the statements that Loli made two days later, on March 16th, would not be comprehensible.
On that day she was requesting insistently for the cure of a woman whose sight was failing, and according to the judgment of the doctor, would be lost completely. The girl kept on imploring, finally exclaiming loudly, «Come! Cure this woman, Alicia’s mother, who already does not see out of one eye, and will not see the MIRACLE THAT YOU WILL MAKE IN THE SKY!»(21)

* * *

True penance, presupposing a change from within,
spontaneously leads to the sacrament of confession. An interesting episode illustrating this happened on the night that ended on March 19th, the feast of St. Joseph.
The report of it was signed in Reinosa (Santander) on the 23rd of March, 1962, by a priest who went up to Garabandal with Mr. Matutano:(22)
«On Sunday, March 18th, the second Sunday of Lent, two priests came to Garabandal with a young boy who was afflicted with severe heart disease, and whose days — according to the doctors — were numbered.
One of the two priests — no one at the time knew who he was — was the renowned Father José Silva, from the Ciudad de los Muchachos at Orense. The priests had come disguised as tourists. They walked behind the girls, constantly bothering them. This came to such a point that the Chief of the Civil Guard had to call it to their attention several times — he also didn’t recognize them as priests.
When Jacinta went into ecstasy in Conchita’s house, they leaned physically on the girl. They were hanging onto her, and holding their ears to her mouth, trying to understand some of what she was saying. The parents of the girls called their attention to this, and on seeing that this accomplished nothing, and that one time they almost made Jacinta fall to the ground, I could not contain myself and I gave a hard shove to the one who was to the right of the girl (this was Father Silva), thinking he was a layman . . . Although perhaps at the time I would have done the same thing, even if I had seen him in a cassock.
During this action Jacinta turned around, and put the crucifix on my lips. Following this, she did the same to the one that I had shoved. The girl continued her walk, but the two of us looked at each other and we understood . . . We embraced each other, and together went to the church. There the two of us wept.
And I asked him to hear my confession. (We were alone, leaning against the doorway.) He told me that he didn’t have faculties, but I insisted vehemently, assuring him that I had a true need. He heard my confession and asked why I had performed that action. I answered that at the time I only meant to defend the girl who was seeing the Most Holy Virgin. He gave me absolution.

Later he asked me to hear his confession, since
he said he had a great need, for having abused his position as a priest to go ahead of all those that were following the girl, when his position as a priest obliged him to go behind the last . . . He thanked me for the shove, and told me that up to then he hadn’t paid attention to the actual message that the girls came to give us.
Finally, he asked me as a favor to wake up the parish priest so that he — Father Silva — could say the dawn Mass. It was not long until the beginning of the next day, March 19th, the feast of St. Joseph. We weren’t able to obtain permission, since there was a prohibition from the bishop that didn’t allow Mass to be celebrated by visiting priests. But we could receive Communion and make the most beautiful Holy Hour imaginable. It was fantastic. That priest said wonderful things, and thanked the girls, their parents, and everyone for having made him feel an emotion that, up until then, he had thought didn’t exist.
We prayed the holy rosary! Almost all of us holding arms.
This is what I experienced on those unforgettable days in that fortunate little town.»

19. A previous chapter has been dedicated to the death of this Jesuit priest and the first conversations that the Garabandal seers had with him shortly after his death.
20. The Carmelitas de la Caridad also had a college in this city in Asturias. The priest’s letter certainly refers to this college.
21. All the previous material was derived from Father Valentín’s notes.
22. Mr. Matutano was mentioned in an earlier section of this book.


WHAT IS GARABANDAL?: She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 136).

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 136)

As something unusual in the beautiful monotony of those days, I am putting down here something that occurred on March 3rd, and which Dr. Ortiz reported:
«Félix López, a former student of the Seminario Mayor de Derio (Bilbao) who is now the schoolteacher in Garabandal, was meeting with people in Conchita’s kitchen. The girl received a letter that she didn’t understand, and she requested him to translate it. It was in Italian, and Félix, after reading it, said, By its style, it could well be Padre Pio.(18)
Conchita asked him if he knew Padre Pio’s address, and on receiving an affirmative answer, asked him to help her compose a letter to answer it and express her appreciation.
Completing the letter, they left it on the kitchen table, unfolded. After a while, Conchita went into ecstasy and recited the rosary. When she returned to her normal state, the teacher said to her:
— Did you ask the Virgin if the letter was from Father Pio?

— Yes, and she gave me a secret answer to
send him.
The girl went up to her room and came down later with a paper written by hand. In front of everybody, she put the paper in the envelope which had been addressed by the teacher to Padre Pio, and she sealed it.
The letter that had come to Conchita, without a signature, without a return address, but with an Italian stamp, said this:
My Dear Children,

At 9 o’clock in the morning, the Holy Virgin told me to say to you “O blessed young girls of San Sebastián de Garabandal! I promise you that I will be with you until the end of the centuries (possibly ‘end of the times’?), and you will be with me during the end of the world. And later, united with me in the glory of paradise.”

I am sending you a copy of the holy rosary of Fatima, which the Virgin told me to send you. The rosary was composed by the Virgin and should be propagated for the salvation of sinners and preservation of humanity from the terrible punishments with which the Good God is threatening

I give you only one counsel: Pray and make
others pray, because the world is at the beginning of perdition.

They do not believe in you or in your conversations with the Lady in White . . . They will
believe when it will be too late.»


Italiano: Chiesa di San Stanislao, a Roma, nel...

Italiano: Chiesa di San Stanislao, a Roma, nel quartiere Don Bosco. Statua di Padre Pio da Pietrelcina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is something, I repeat, that is very unusual.

It would be helpful to have more information in order to understand what this means. If the letter really did come from Padre Pio, where is the original? Is the translation, that Dr. Ortiz has and which we are copying, accurate?
If so, what is the meaning of the expression: “I will be with you until the end of the centuries, and you will be with me during the end of the world?”
In the second edition of this book we are able to add something to clarify this intriguing episode.
On February 9, 1975 the people responsible for the magazine Garabandal put out by Joey Lomangino, a man well known in Garabandal circles, interviewed Conchita who is now married and living in the United States. The questions and answers were recorded.
Conchita, do you remember anything about the letter that you are said to have received from Padre Pio?
— You know that I have moments in which I remember many things about the apparitions very well, and I have moments in which I hardly remember anything at all . . .
Concerning what you now ask me, I do remember that I received in the mail a letter addressed to me and the other three girls: Jacinta, Mari Loli and Mari Cruz. I was surprised by what it said; and as it was unsigned, I kept it in my pocket until the time of the apparition.
When the Blessed Mother appeared, I showed her the letter . . . And I asked her whom it was from. The Blessed Mother answered that it came from Padre Pio. At the time I didn’t know who Padre Pio was and it didn’t occur to me to ask her anything more . . .
After the apparition we were talking about the letter, and then a seminarian there told me who Padre Pio was and where he lived. I wrote him, saying that when he made a visit to my country, I would like to see him . . . He answered in a short letter saying, Do you think that I can come and go by the chimney? Being twelve years old I had no idea what a cloister was.
Do you remember any of the contents of the letter that you showed to the Virgin?

I don’t remember the whole thing well. But I
do remember its beginning:
“Dear children of Garabandal, this morning the Most Holy Virgin talked to me about your apparitions . . .”
I also remember that it said:

“Many people do not believe in your apparitions
and that you are speaking with the Blessed Mother. When they believe, it will be too late . . .”
I also remember that the letter said:

“I promise to be with you until the end of the times.”
That is all that I remember now.

Do you have those two letters?

— Yes, I think my mother has them in Spain.

This matter will be better understood further on in Part Three of these books after the reader finishes the chapter entitled, 1963, a Year of Interlude with the section Only Three Popes Remain.
It is clear that the end of the times is not the same as the end of the world.
The visionaries of Garabandal could well experience during their lifetime the coming of the «end of the times», and because of this the Virgin will «be with» them — through her special assistance and aid — until those great days come. Afterwards they will depart from here on earth to go where she is, and may be present with her «at the end of the world» when our Lord will conclude things with His final judgment to close the tremendous epoch of man’s history.

18. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, a Capuchin priest at San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy, was known world-wide for his stigmata, reading of consciences, and miracles. He died in September of 1968. The process of his canonization is progressing under the auspices of the hierarchy. [He has been canonized and is now called Saint Pio of Pieltrecina, Editor]


WHAT IS GARABANDAL?: She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 135).

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 135)



“Conchita made the sign of the cross over all of them, one by one.”


A Move Is Planned

The daily flowering of wondrous things in Garabandal
seemed to have reached full bloom on February 18th, when Jacinta also was included in the amazing game.

That February 18th (Septuagesima(13) Sunday in that year), began with some early morning spiritual walks that illustrated and practiced the liturgical texts that were later read during the Mass of the day:
— Day after day must be born the burden of the day’s heat. (Matt. 20: 11)
— One should run without giving up, in a way to gain the prize. (1 Cor. 9: 24)
— We should submit ourselves to God, who declares he has a right to do what I choose. (Matt. 20: 15)Fr. Valentín’s notes read:

«At 6 in the morning, Mari Cruz and Jacinta went out to pray the rosary at the Cuadro, and there they went into ecstasy. (Jacinta hadn’t had an apparition since January 18th, at which time it was foretold that she wouldn’t have one until today). They went down to the village in ecstasy, and they held the crucifix to be kissed by several persons . . . And they returned to the Cuadro, where they came out of it. It lasted 70 minutes.»


Such a holy beginning made it easy to continue on
devoutly through the ensuing hours of the Lord’s Day with the morning Mass, the rosary in common at the beginning of the evening . . . And the day had no less a holy ending:
«At 6 in the evening, Jacinta and Mari Loli went to the Pines, and there went into ecstasy again. And later they went down to the door of the church, and here they came out of it one after the other, with a minute’s difference.»


Maximina Gonzalez in a letter on February 19,
written to the Pifarré family, confirms the pastor’s notes. It is seen that Maximina began the letter on Sunday the 18th, and finished it the next day:
«Today, Sunday, at six in the morning, they had an apparition at the Pines and they came down to the village backwards; and this afternoon they will have another . . .
The apparitions continue, good weather or bad. Recently the girls brought the winter! They get up early every morning with the coldness that there is. It is hard for them and obviously hard for the many people with them. For several days now I haven’t gone since I have a bad cold.
Last night we were at the Pines at an apparition. There were a lot of people and Conchita made the sign of the cross over all of them, one by one . . . and as usual she asked for a miracle . . . »

* * *

The course of the Garabandal Mystery, as beautiful
as it is unusual, was on the verge of being interrupted during those February days. On Wednesday, February 21st, Fr. Valentín wrote down:
«Today they took Conchita to León.»(14)

Although this trip had a particular reason for
her, the plan or project that had been conceived by several influential people was not limited to her alone. A geographical transplant of all four girls was being contemplated.

On March 1st, Conchita, who had returned from León, wrote to Dr. Ortiz and his wife in Santander:
«I asked the Virgin whether I should go see my brother.(15) and she told me to go, that I would have an apparition there too, as I did.
I was in León at the home of Mr. del Valle;(16) I don’t know if you know him, or have heard his name mentioned. I had the first ecstasy on Saturday. I don’t remember if it was at nine o’clock or nine thirty. Mr. Valle, his younger children, my mother, and the house servants were alone. I also had one on Sunday at 11 or 11:30 at night. At the time some men were there, but since the apparition was late in coming, many of them left . . . They said that on that night I went on my knees to the room of Mr. Valle’s daughter, which was on the same floor and whose doors joined mine. And they said that I went to give the crucifix to be kissed by one of his young children who was in bed, and that I recited the rosary. I don’t remember anything about the things that I did.
I was also told that I asked the Most Holy Virgin if I could go to college and whether I would see her there. She told me that I would see her the same, although I don’t know if I will go where there are Carmelites . . .»(17)


This attempt to procure a good education in a religious school for the Garabandal visionaries was being considered with the best intentions by Emilio del Valle and others.
To February 27th corresponds what was written by Fr. Valentin:
«Conchita went to León, to the home of Emiliodel Valle, and there had two apparitions.

Mr. Emilio wanted to put the girls in a school, charging all the expenses to his account: but he met opposition from the girls’ parents.»


The matter was on the point of being realized,
according to what can be deduced from this letter by Maximina González to Dr. Ortiz , dated March 4:

«When I came back, I had three letters from the Pifarré family of Barcelona at my home. They say that down there they are very happy at the thought that the girls come and go when they please. But notice how upset they will be when I tell them that they are trying to take them all (the four visionaries) to school!
Conchita says that she is going to leave either on Friday or Saturday; I don’t know if this is correct. I don’t even want to ask her about it. We’re all very upset. It seems incredible. Mr. Emilio! That he is the one who is taking them! What money will do! Heavens! Those who still don’t seem persuaded to leave are María Dolores and Jacinta. They’ll persuade them . . .
My sister (Aniceta) told me, when they went on this trip to León, that the Virgin told them that they would come to stop where there were some nuns . . . And that the very first thing they saw in León, after getting out of the car, was a school of Carmelite nuns . . . and that they were the first ones to whom they spoke, without knowing any of them. What a coincidence!»


The plan to transplant the girls — very well intentioned,
but which might have changed the course of Garabandal — ended uneventfully, and the four girls remained in their own environment and with their own affairs.
And so Father Valentín could write in his notebook:
«The matter of San Sebastián de Garabandal at this time continues about the same. The girls have ecstasies almost every day. I continue going up myself to see them.»

13. With what is called Septaugesima Sunday begins the long liturgical procession toward Easter. This time — reads the French Missal — makes us meditate on our earthly condition: suffering and sinful. It evokes a triple effort:

The effort of the entire human race which through its long
history struggles against evil, while groping for God and trying to build a better world.
The effort of Christ Who during His public life fought against Satan, and founded the Kingdom of God.
The effort that the Church pursues in each of us through our daily militant battle against the difficulties of life.

14. A beautiful city in the northwest part of the Iberian peninsula holding many claims to glory for services given to the country during the most difficult centuries; it was the capital of the Christian reconquest from the Arabs.
15. He was working then in the coal mines of the Hullera Vasco-Leonesa Company in the city of Santa Lucía.
16. This man, Emilio del Valle, was already mentioned in the early parts of this book. But soon he began to appear in the history of Garabandal as someone especially entwined in it, without knowing for what reason he was there.
17. This refers to the Congregación de Carmelitas de la Caridad founded in the past century by the holy Joaquina Vedruna. These Carmelites for many years have gone to reputable colleges in León and have contributed much to the education of girls in the city.


WHAT IS GARABANDAL?: She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 134).

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 134)



Father José Ramón García
de la Riva


Return to Astounding


During this time — the end of January and the
first weeks of February — Mari Loli, Mari Cruz and Conchita once again had apparitions as before in the usual way . . . Each girl with her own style, and each day with its own story. There was much in common in the activities of the three visionaries and the episodes of each day: holding up the articles to be kissed by the Vision, presenting the crucifix to be kissed by the people around them, visiting the church and also the homes, praying at the Cuadro, going up to the Pines . . . Concerning the latter, there was a remarkable thing that occurred about the 5th of February.
«About 8:45 at night, Mari Loli went out of her home in ecstasy. She went toward the Pines, going up by the most difficult way, not by the trails or path, and she did it with extreme ease, without grabbing onto anything and without falling, while all the rest went up almost on their hands and knees, hanging onto the shrubs on the way in order not to roll back down. The girl did this three times. The ecstasy ended at 10:00.» (Fr. Valentín’s notes)

On January 31st, we have a more detailed story:

«At 8:00 in the morning, Conchita went to the Cuadro in the calleja to pray the most holy rosary, remaining there in ecstasy. Then she went through the village, and on passing the fountain, fell backwards, smacking her head hard on the ground. All those present feared that she had severely injured herself; nevertheless, when the ecstasy was over, her mother said that they couldn’t find even a bruise.»


This report from the Police Chief, Alvarez Seco,
was confirmed by Father José Ramón García de la Riva, who gives us more details:
«I was present and I took photographs of the ecstasy at 8:30 in the morning — at the Cuadro, at the door of the church, at the place where Conchita fell backwards, striking the back of her neck hard against a stone on the ground. The sound was very loud; Conchita’s mother and some of the people present cried out, thinking that she had broken her neck. At first Conchita, lying on the ground, was serious, listening to the Vision. Then she began to laugh and Aniceta and the other women were reassured. I then felt the young girl’s head and didn’t notice anything abnormal. After the ecstasy I felt the neck again, and once again didn’t find anything. Surprised, the girl asked me why I was touching her head like this. When I gave her the reason, she merely smiled.»


Further information, dated February 1st, was
reported by Fr. De la Riva:
«Loli was in ecstasy with Conchita in the kitchen. Through the open window, she held out the crucifix to be kissed by the people who were outside . . . This crucifix belonged to a woman who was in the kitchen; she was afraid of losing it since it was a precious relic to her. She continually asked for it back. She became so demanding that Conchita ended up exclaiming, What an impertinent woman! Giver it to her once and for all; so that she will leave!
The crucifix was taken from Loli’s hand and given to the woman who was then very happy. Loli remained without a crucifix in front of the open window, her hands joined on her chest . . . Then she said, Conchita, the Virgin says that you should ask Father for the crucifix.
I was the only priest present, and this certainly was referring to me.
I then said to myself, If you don’t come to get it yourself, I’m not going to give it to you. And I remained standing there where I was, near to the kitchen entrance, my hands in my pockets.
I don’t have the habit of carrying a crucifix with me; but by chance on that day I had a little crucifix in my pocket. Then I grasped it tightly in my right hand, to see what would happen.
Had Conchita heard or rather had she understood what Loli had said? Perhaps, for she didn’t ask me anything. Then Loli, still in ecstasy, turned around and made her way toward me.
With an amazing movement of her right hand, with a stunning suppleness and an incredible agility, she put her right hand in the right pocket of my cassock. She opened up my hand, which was tightly clenched on the crucifix — opening it in spite of me — and she seized the crucifix.
Then I thought to myself, and said in my mind, Take it, take it! I don’t need further proof.
My excitement did not stop me from noticing that — while at other times the hands of the girls lost their warmth in ecstasy — this time Loli’s hand maintained its natural warmth.»


As a resumé of these times, we can transcribe
here the letter that Conchita wrote to the pastor of Barro on February 15th:
«Dear Father José Ramón,
Since you’ve left here, we haven’t heard any more about you. We don’t know if you are angry or if you are sick, since there’s a lot of flu here . . .
Today it is snowing; I’m coming now from praying the rosary at the Cuadro, and last night, at 8 o’clock, I had an apparition there. It was snowing very much, but I saw a clear sky. I wasn’t cold; my mother was shaking like a leaf . . .
The apparitions continue in the same way. María Dolores has many — some days more, and others less — but she sees her every day. Mari Cruz saw her every day during the week except for one or two days. Jacinta will see her on the 18th, which will make a month that she hasn’t seen her. Mari Cruz and I have had the apparitions for some time now in the Cuadro, but not every day at the same time. Loli sees her in the village, in the houses, and at the Pines . . . There is nothing more that I can say.»


Conchita certainly speaks in a natural and ordinary
way about things that are most extraordinary.