MARIA DE LAS NIEVES - EYEWITNESS
In 1966, I, Maria de las Nieves, held at that time the position of superior of our school in Burgos, city that was the cradle of our Congregation of Missionary Conceptionists of education, where our holy founder, Carmen Sallés, attended in 1892. In 1966 was one of the largest schools in the city and we had a boarding school for girls, which was common among religious schools. However, during the 1966-67 course, we had all the places occupied for interns, so I gave orders to the person in charge not to accept any new application for membership.
Interview, part II
As I mentioned before, Conchita stayed at our school, a full season and the first quarter of the following year. I could well say that the 1966-67 course was not complete, but more than complete, this is because during the summer holidays, Conchita did not fully enjoy them at her Garabandal house, since she preferred to spend a month of your vacation at our college.
Conchita found in my school the acceptance and understanding on my part. And that made him feel good, since from the beginning of the apparitions, Conchita suffered a lot of incomprehension from those closest to him. In the same way that the girls of Garabandal did not lack people who believed in them, they also never lacked the cross of incomprehension from the beginning. Conchita speaks of this even in his famous diary which he wrote between 1962 and 1963 and which is very well known, because this diary was published. The first appearance of the angel took place on Sunday, June 18, 1961, and this diary reads:
"The 19th had arrived. When we got up, people had already started talking (...) Everyone thought differently. It was a day that only talked about it (...). However, most laughed. us. These conversations took place at ten in the morning, when we were going to school. "
And all that was nothing more than a light principle of what awaited them: the commission sessions, the trips to the Bishopric of Santander, the interrogations ... Every afternoon, at possible times for me, he would come to us and we would speak. two. I never forced her to do anything, she always came voluntarily. A Claretian priest, Fr. Joaquín María Alonso, who was in Fatima studying the case of Lucia by order of the Congregation of the Faith, came to see me more than once. He spoke to Mother General and told me that everything he had spoken to Conchita had written and that he would not destroy these documents until a hundred years had passed on the subject.
In addition to the diary I wrote in which I wrote down all the conversations we had, I advised her, as a way to vent inside, that she wrote her diary at school. So I said. We kept his two diaries, which he offered when he left, without my asking for them. In these writings are constant expressions like these:
"Each day I place less value on the things on earth, and I ask Maria for everyone."
"I want to God above all".
"Help me, my God, to always do Your will".
"I want you so much, Lord"
"How happy the Virgin made me when I saw her!"
"Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thank you for helping me so much!"
"Until yesterday, I never thought that the Virgin was the daughter of Adam and Eve. This makes me think that she is my father's daughter and that made me want her even more. From now on, I have her as a mother, a friend. and sister..."
I tried to form the Conchita with all prudence, we deal with prayer, love for Christ, God's will, about the Eucharist, respect for others, Faith, Trust ... Everything is in my diary. I had and I have a well-founded opinion of Conchita and whom I never stopped talking to, by letter, phone and being with her several times in Fatima, where she had a home that she used whenever her family obligations allowed.
After having known her all this time, I can qualify her as a woman of great personality, without protagonism, delicate, charitable, humble, with a sense of humor, and always in search of fulfilling the will of God, obedient to the Church . All these characteristics of your personality, you transmitted to the current Holy Father, in a recent letter I sent you. From the time I met her in high school until now, I have never stopped communicating with her. It unites us a great friendship. Regarding your docility towards the Church, I remember what you recently told me, a mutual friend of Conchita. He told me that it was two years ago that he was with Conchita in Fatima, praying the rosary at night, outside the Sanctuary, in a place where she is usually, about thirty meters from the Chapel, so that there was no one at her side. around. As is well known, between ten and ten in Fatima, a religious song is usually sung and the faithful were singing it, this person said to Conchita:
Conchita does not say in Avé Maria "Mother of God and mother of ours" as the devotees of Garabandal usually do.
"No," she said, because that can only be said in private ...
"None of us lied (...) It is not true that we rehearsed. How can you think that? (...) If I see the Virgin again, I would be very sad for my denials (...) Since August 15th I had doubts. I saw everything as if I had a dream that had already passed. When I denied it, I felt something deep inside me that doesn't make me feel calm. "
In many conversations, Conchita sometimes complained about people's curiosity about Warning, Miracle and Punishment, without worrying about the messages. She told me that people were too fixated on the Miracle and that miracles in many cases do not convert people, as happened in Jesus' time, with the Pharisees .... But we also talk about these themes, the Warning, the Miracle and the Punishment, but it was not the most time we dedicated. I transcribe something I wrote down in my diary about what Conchita talked about:
"I know what the Warning will consist of, but I don't know" when ". It will come directly from God, that is, it will not be atomic bombs, because if it were so, it would come from men. The Warning will serve as a purification. If someone dies, it will be for the impression it may have with the Warning. It will be something that will take place in heaven. Our Lady told me the name, which I don't know what it means, it's a word that starts with the letter "a". dictionary".
3- Conchita and the Holy Eucharist
Na mensagem de 18 de Outubro de 1961, Nossa Senhora pediu às meninas, e por extensão, a todos nós, que visitássemos com frequência o Santíssimo Sacramento. Desde o início das aparições até ao final, as manifestações eucarísticas de Garabandal foram muito numerosas..... Por fim, na mensagem de 18 de Junho de 1965, Conchita escutou a resposta do céu que dizia: " Cada vez é dada menos importância à Eucaristia".
Interview, part IV
Conchita and her devotion to the Priesthood
Along with Heaven's denunciation, for the abandonment with which we treat the Eucharist, Garabandal is also characterized by its priestly message. It is known that at this point, the heavenly response was terrible:
"The Angel told me that many villages, Bishops and priests go on the path of perdition and take many souls with them. When the Angel told me this - Conchita continues to narrate all this in her diary - she gave me a lot of shame, and the Angel repeated it to me for the second time: "Yes, Conchita, many cardinals, Bishops and priests go on the path of perdition and take many more souls with them." Saying such a thing in Spain in the sixties and beyond of that, adjudging the authorship of the phrase to a heavenly messenger, explains many of the things and the way Conchita was treated by the clergy.
Unfortunately, very shortly after the events of Garabandal, they had nothing more than to give reason to this denunciation of the Angel, who was directed to encourage the priests to go decisively towards holiness, to save their souls and help so many others Catholics who depend on them spiritually.
In no way can this message from Garabandal be interpreted as a disregard for priestly dignity. On the contrary. In relation to this matter, there is a note that Conchita referred to and that I wrote down in my diary with these words: "The Virgin told us that if we saw a priest and an Angel, that we should greet the priest first."
It is true that Conchita has always recognized the immense dignity of the priesthood, but it is also a reality that the concrete lives of some priests leave much to be desired and it was from the apparitions when she began to realize these differences. On one occasion she said to me: "Before the Virgin told me, I believed that all priests were good. I never thought that they would commit mortal sin. I didn't like it. I realized later how people can deceive ".
And of course, in our conversations, during his stay at school, I was able to verify that Conchita was not referring to generalities, but to very concrete cases. On one occasion, Conchita commented to me that the Virgin had told her that the message in which she refers to the priests communicated it through the angel, because it was very sad for the Virgin to say all this personally.
Recalling specific cases, I want to refer now to the connection that Conchita maintained with Padre Pio, Capuchin of Pietrelcina, so connected to the story of Garabandal. So many things have been said, including that it has been said that Conchita has never been with Padre Pio ... It is a pity that you say something about this. During the years I spent at our school in "El Escorial", I was in charge of our former students. On one occasion, one of them told me that she had been to Garabandal and that she had even seen the girls lower the "pins" on their knees. In the meantime, other people who had not attended school arrived at our conversation. I told them about many things that I had illustrated using photographs that I have in my file. When I spoke of Conchita's trip to Italy to see Padre Pio, which had been organized by Cecília de Borbón, I showed them a photo that had been taken in the coliseum in Rome where she appears, along with Aniceta her mother, with the priest Luna, Cecília de Borbón and another lady. And it was then that when one of the people present in our conversation, one of those who were not from the old students of the school, manifested that the lady who appeared in the photograph, it was she, because at the time she worked as secretary of Cecília de Borbón.
Naturally, Conchita had a connection with Padre Pio. For this reason I wrote myself since high school and he answered me briefly on January 19, 1968. I keep this answer as a precious relic of one of the most holy of the Church of all times .
There are so many memories of everything that Conchita prays and does for the priests ... For a while, she stayed at her house in Fatima, she devoted every day, a few hours, to go to a residence of priests with advanced age to help them in cleaning the house. As on other occasions, he accepted these requests without making himself known and always used the name of Maria. However, there was a situation that someone recognized her to the point that all the priests residing there knew that the woman who swept the floor was the Conchita de Garabandal. From then on, nothing was the same. And Conchita told me that when they found out who she was, the treatment changed, that she was sad that they recognized her, because she felt better serving all those priests in anonymity.
To summarize the concept that Conchita had about the priesthood, I went to look for my papers, a writing that Conchita addressed to a woman who asked him for some lines of text for her priest son. They were published in issue number 26 of the "Legion" magazine on November 26, 1967 and Conchita had written them four months before, when he was still at our school in Burgos. The text said this:
"Our Lady wants the priest to have his own sanctification in the first place and to fulfill his vows for the love of God and lead many souls with the example of prayer, since in these times it is difficult otherwise. May the priest be sacrificed for love for souls in Christ. That he withdraws from time to time in silence to listen to God, who speaks to them constantly. souls to penance and sacrifice, and also to be able to carry the cross that Christ sends to all."
Talk about Mary, who is the surest way to lead to Christ. Also speaking and making others believe that as there is Heaven, there is also hell
"I believe that this is what Heaven asks of its priests."
Since she was very young, she had this high esteem for the priesthood, so it struck me that in one of our conversations in which we talked about the isolation in which she had lived in Garabandal, I asked her what she liked to see when she left the her village, and she said to me: "See so many priests in Comillas". He referred neither to the people, nor to the great buildings of Santander, nor to the sea, but to the joy of seeing so many priests together. His great love for the priesthood has manifested itself with me several times.
Translated by the official apostolate of Garabandal in Portuguese
Interview, Part 1
It was accompanied by Ascensión by Luís Sagredo, better known as Chon de Luís and the professor of Economics at the University of Zaragoza and author of the first book on Garabandal, Francisco Sánchez Ventura, two characters who had been witnesses of the events of Garabandal since the beginning of appearances. At that time, I didn't know anything about Garabandal, I hadn't even followed the news that had appeared in the main news in the country during those years. The person in charge then said that there were no more vacancies. They asked for the address of our chaplain, Dom Manuel Guerra, and they also went to ask another school in the city of which they also had good references.
When they went to the other school they tried to meet with the superior who was not there and then they went to Dom Manuel Guerra's house. This priest was personally interested in the case, so he offered to accompany Conchita's mother to speak to me. And it happened providentially that between this first visit and the second, he had meanwhile resigned an internship to one of those admitted.
With these new circumstances, there was no longer any reason why he would not admit it. And that was when they told me that Conchita was one of Garabandal's four visionary girls. They informed me of what I should know to help her in her human and spiritual formation. We decided that the best thing for Conchita was for her to remain in school, hiding her identity so that her schoolmates, teachers and sisters did not know who she was. Only the Mother of our congregation and I knew. It was agreed that Dom Manuel Guerra would be his confessor and I would be his trainer. In addition, they gave me a list of the few people who could visit her, in order to protect the girl from the curious and inopportune. And as she was baptized with the name of Maria Conceição, we agreed that from then on in school we would call her Maria, a name that was used throughout her life and that she still uses on several occasions to not make herself known as Conchita, the seer of Garabandal.
Conchita was in our school during the entire 1966-67 course and in the first quarter of the following course. Just a few days before leaving, at the behest of our mother, the other sisters and their schoolmates said who Conchita was. Until that moment, nobody knew anything about her, which says a lot about her character, because she always knew how to remain silent and go unnoticed. At that point, he proved to have an unusual maturity for girls his age. Conchita had a very low school level, I remember the lack of spelling I had when I arrived here. He had certainly attended the school in the village of Garabandal where, despite the teacher's goodwill, means were scarce. At that time, in rural Spain at that time, school duties gave way to rural work obligations, as they did in that remote village in the Cantabrian mountains, that is, neither language nor mathematics were priority issues. To catch up, we had to give her a general culture and mechanography class, which were very general studies for teenagers in the sixties. Conchita was very intelligent, however he had a huge cultural gap. She asked me very basic questions, which she was unaware of because she lived in a village in Santander. She was very truthful and sincere and asked me with confidence. I remember that on one occasion he asked me what this was about communism, because I had heard about it through Our Lady and did not know what it was referring to. This reminds me of the story of the little shepherds of Fátima who, when they commented among themselves about what the Virgin had said to them in relation to Russia, that "... she would extend her errors throughout the world ...", Francisco commented that the Virgin he seemed to be referring to Uncle Joaquim's donkey who called himself «Russa», and Lúcia thought it was the name of a very bad woman.
Interview, part III- Conchita and the Holy Eucharist
In the message of October 18, 1961, Our Lady asked the girls, and by extension, all of us, to visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. From the beginning of the apparitions to the end, Garabandal's Eucharistic manifestations were very numerous ..... Finally, in the message of 18 June 1965, Conchita heard the response from heaven that said: "Each time less importance is given to the Eucharist ".
Devotion to the Eucharist was a constant in Conchita, from her childhood to the present day. She was the one who most promoted in her parish in the United States, the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and subsequently maintained contact with priests, supporting them, as happened with Father Justo Lofeudo, who promotes perpetual Adoration throughout the world. A person commented to me that someone had had the opportunity to have been with her in Fatima, and that in the procession of the Blessed Sacrament that takes place on Thursdays, in which the Custody replaces the image of Our Lady of Fatima, Conchita always tries to find a way to be as close as possible to the Sacred Form, looking at it with special devotion. And this is nothing more than the continuation of the same behavior that we experienced when in our school chapel we knelt in front of the Tabernacle.
Precisely in those moments when we were praying together in the chapel, what we had on the eve of her birthday, on February 6, 1967, when all the interns were asleep, cannot escape my memory. On that occasion, Conchita put his prayer in writing to Our Lady, whose text I keep and which I make known now for the first time, without forgetting any words:volume_upcontent_copyshare
"Mother, today is the last day of my 17 years old, when I finish the day, I want in me everything that suits you. I can't do it alone, so tonight and forever I need you. First, I want to give thanks for these 17 years and I want to offer you all my imperfections and good works. I also ask your forgiveness for all the evil I did. With these 17 years I want to leave my imperfections, which are laziness, vanity, bad temper with my family, my whims, and my lack of charity towards some people and also the pride. And above all, I want to leave you tonight, the sacrifice of not buying magazines again. All these things I leave with your help, because I can't do it alone. When I turn 18, I want to be born as if I had never lived, and in myself, I ask you to be born with the graces I so desire: Faith, hope and charity, to love forever at all times, both in suffering and in happiness. May it be docile with everyone else, especially with my faith amily. May you be understanding, generous with God, with everyone. May he always and above all always tell the truth, that he participates in Holy Mass with fervor and love, that he says the Rosary every day, that he is always united to God forever. I want to love you in the midst of suffering, aridity, misunderstandings, setbacks and whatever you want to send me, I thank you for everything.
Maria, I love you and I will love you more and more. Thank you so much for everything! Conchita "
Conchita's devotion to the Eucharist was a strong practice, far from sentimental, and I can say that she had to overcome obscurity and aridity on many occasions. I think it will be more illustrative, to reproduce some paragraphs of my diary about what Conchita said in this respect, so that they understand well what I mean:
"I would like to suffer for my things that are not mixed with Garabandal, however everything is so connected that I cannot act without appearances. I want to go to my land, and it makes me very sorry to have to leave it, where At the same time I suffered, I was also very happy, although we always suffer (...) In my village I had very little time for prayer (...)
"On another day, I felt great fervor, but the dryness came again. At that time, the Eucharist represented something representative, not real. It seemed impossible for Christ to be there, and when I go to communion I look at the others covertly to see if the same doubt is reflected in their faces. When they give us the blessing with the Custody, I think it is the hand of the priest who blesses us and never the real and truly present Christ. "
t was also certain that in the midst of all this aridity, there were moments of special clarity and consolation. One of those moments I left in my diary: "I felt this sentence: I love you and I forgive you not in some things, but all of them." I felt a great happiness. "On another occasion, in the diary that Conchita wrote, he manifested this experience:" When I received Communion I felt an immense joy, because when I received Jesus, I experienced the presence of the Virgin as being with Christ at that moment. "
As I said, devotion to the Eucharist is palpable in Conchita's life to this day. I heard that in one of the last summers, a good priest from Galicia visited Fatima, with whom he maintained a good friendship. In one of the conversations, Conchita introduced him to some of the relics he keeps, a very important one from Padre Pio. At one point, the priest said that those material objects were relics because they had been in contact with the holy people, of the events of Garabandal and said:
- Conchita, you are a living relic.
"Of course," he replied immediately, "I am a living relic, because I receive Jesus Christ every day in Holy Communion."