A Mother's Spiritual Diary

"Your Mission will be to Save Souls"

Something that happened unexpectedly furnished her the occasion for spending long days of silence, prayer and contact with God. For the first time in her life, she went to make a retreat, the "Spiritual Exercises" preached and directed by Father Antonio Plancarte y Labastida, later Abbot of Guadalupe. It was 1889 and Conchita was twenty-seven. Married, the mother of a family, a housemistress, with an exacting and somewhat jealous husband, she could not make a closed retreat. "I took part in it, coming and going, since I could not leave my children alone" (Aut. 1, 150-160). She hurries to get there in time for the instructions, spends as many moments as she can in silence and recollection, then hastens back home. Yet the Holy Spirit reaches souls as He wills. In Conchita's heart there arose, under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, an apostolic flame which will soon spread throughout the whole Church. 

In her simplicity and humility, at first she will never suspect the extent of God's designs. Her outlook did not go beyond that of a woman living an ordinary life in her home. God himself is going to open up to her the horizons of the Redemption. "One day when I was getting ready with all my soul for all the Lord would ask of me, at a certain moment I clearly heard in the depths of my soul, without any doubt at all, these words which astonished me." He told me: 'Your mission will be to save souls.' I did not understand how I would do this. It seemed so strange and impossible. I thought there was question simply of sacrificing myself for my husband, my children and our servants. I made very practical resolutions, filled with fervor, redoubling my desire to love Him who is my love beyond measure. My heart had found its refuge and peace in solitude and prayer. But now I had to return to the world and my duties, having to pass through fire without burning myself, while at the same time this flame glowed more and more in my heart. The zeal to share with others the joy of what I had learned, devoured me and ardently increased.

"Now, precisely, at this time, I had to go for a while with my children to the country, to 'Jesus-Maria,' the farm of my brother Octaviano, which was near San Luis. As soon as I arrived, I decided to bring together women from the neighborhood, to give them some 'spiritual exercises,' explaining to them what I had learned. This brother of mine who was always very kind to me and who cherished me most fondly, agreed to this right away. Some sixty women assembled. It did not even come to my mind the least thought of becoming confused, or if I might be wrong or erroneous in what I said, or even whether this could be pretension or pride on my part. I felt within me a fire that burned and I desired to enkindle in other hearts this flame. This is all that mattered. So we began the 'spiritual exercises' in the chapel of the hacienda. I sat on a low chair in front of them and, just as 'in the kingdom of the blind the man with one eye is king,' these poor women enjoyed very much what I told them. They wept, filled with contrition, even wanting to confess their sins to me, which, of course, I would not let them do. At the end of the exercises several priests came to hear their confessions and they fervently received Holy Communion. I was very happy to speak to them of my Jesus and of His very blessed Mother! The days passed rapidly and hours flew by while they carried out such sweet occupations. At times Octaviano came to hear me and God helped me not to stumble while I was speaking. All this was done, of course, behind closed doors" (Aut. 1, 159-162).

Conchita looked for a director in order to make more certain progress toward God: "I felt myself filled with the desire of perfection. I had a vague idea of the gate, the way, the path on which I should await my Jesus. While I was pondering these projects, humbling myself, I spent many a day in desolation, anguish and darkness... I thirsted for the divine, with a burning thirst for Jesus but I felt myself crushed and as it was, lost on the road of obscure faith and without hope. I spoke at length to a priest about what was so deeply disturbing me, about my ideal of perfection ever running through my mind. Doubtless the Lord did not want him to understand. He talked to me about poetry, nature, what touched on God but never about God himself! And the world strove to win me over, with creatures to attract me. I recall I spent my time now and then looking through journals of fashion, and remorse flooded my soul until the day the Lord told me not to look at them any longer' (Aut. 1, 198-199).

Deceived and saddened at having come to a priest and received but banalities when she had come to him seeking God, she redoubled her prayers. The Lord then sent her Father Alberto Mir, S.J., who helped her very much, in the course of the first ten years, in her ascent to God.