Black Madonna Monastery Montserrat – Spain, Catalonia, Barcelona



Black Madonna Monastery Montserrat shrine basilica facade

Black Madonna Monastery Montserrat shrine basilica facade

Montserrat is an area of breathtaking natural beauty, featuring a whole host of visitor attractions: a unique  natural park, one of the country’s most important museums, and the site of the Holy Shrine dedicated to the Virgin of Montserrat, the Black Madonna, the patron saint of Catalonia.The mountain and Benedictine Monastery of Montserrat, founded in the 11th century, are located in a natural park some 60 kilometres to the west of Barcelona.
The Virgin of Montserrat, Black Madonna, the patron saint of Catalonia, is worshipped at the shrine in the monastery According to Catholic tradition, the statue of the Black Virgin of Montserrat was carved by St. Luke around 50 AD
and brought to Spain. It was later hidden from the Moors in a cave (Santa Cova, the Holy Grotto), where it was rediscovered in 880 AD.According to the legend of the discovery, which was first recorded in the 13th century, the statue was discovered by shepherds. They saw a bright light and heard heavenly music that eventually led them to the grotto and the statue.The Bishop of Manresa, present at the discovery, suggested that it be moved to Manresa, but the small statue was discovered to be so heavy it could not be lifted. Thus the Virgin had indicated her will to stay on Montserrat to be venerated there.By the 9th century, there were four chapels on Montserrat, of which only one remains – St. Aciscolo’s, which is in the monastery’s garden.

In the 11th century, the abbot-bishop Oliba founded a monastery on the mountain of Montserrat, next to one of the chapels. Many miracles were reported through the intercession of the Virgin Mary at Montserrat.According to historians, it was then, in the 12th century, that the statue of the Madonna and Child was made. The Madonna statue soon earned widespread fame as numerous miracles were associated with the intercession of the Black Virgin of Montserrat.Many of the first missionary churches in Mexico, Chile and Peru were dedicated to Our Lady of Montserrat and many saints and popes have visited the shrine over the centuries.

 

 

St. Ignatius Loyola made a pilgrimage to Montserrat after being injured in war, and it was soon after that he wrote his famous Spiritual Exercises.Due to the great numbers of pilgrims that flocked to Montserrat throughout the Middle Ages, the monastery was enlarged from its original humble size. In 1592, the grand basilica of Montserrat was consecrated.In the late 18th century, almost the entire sanctuary was destroyed during the Napoleonic invasion. But due to the widespread devotion to the shrine, it was soon restored.In 1881, Montserrat’s Black Madonna was crowned in accordance with Canon Law and proclaimed patron saint of Catalonia by Pope Leo XIII.

Black Madonna Monastery Montserrat shrine basilica facade[/caption]

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