Virgin of Montserrat always ready to serve us, to take care of her children, forgive us and love us with all her sweetness. Known as Patron Saint of Catalonia, the “Black Virgin”. She is part of one of the nine Patron Saints of the Autonomous Communities of Spain.
Virgin of Montserrat
The Virgin of Montserrat is also known as the Virgin of the mountains, since her sanctuary is located between them, approximately 20 kilometers from Monserrat.
Its name comes from a mountain that resembles a silhouette, hence the name Monte Serrat. Pilgrims come to this beautiful and extensive valley to visit the Holy Virgin Mother of Montserrat to request various favors or give thanks for the favors that she has granted them.
The Virgin of Montserrat or “La Moreneta” (because of its black color). Also recognized as one of the nine Patron Saints of the Autonomous Communities of Spain, this not only represents a tourist attraction, but also a reason for pilgrimage for all people in the world.
On September 12, 1881, the Pope at that time, Leo XIII, officially declared the Virgin of Montserrat as Patron Saint of all the dioceses of Catalonia. Even her popularity had grown to such an extent that they also granted her the privilege of celebrating a mass in her honor.
This mass, celebrated in the name of the Virgin of Montserrat , includes its own rituals, offices and structures. The day of the Virgin of Montserrat is celebrated every April 27, this day, special prayers are made to her, she is venerated, asks or gives thanks for the favors received.
Since we were children, we have grown up listening to stories, legends, stories from our parents and grandparents, fables, incredible facts, among others. All this, we are forming ideas and beliefs.
In most cases, these stories, stories, stories, have a message that is related to a specific event or developed in a religious context and the Virgin of Montserrat is no exception.
Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism or any other religion, are basing mainly on these teachings, beliefs and messages that make us understand what they profess or consider a “divine fact”.
Virgin of Montserrat: The creeds of religions are born precisely from these stories, which are transmitted from generation to generation, and obviously, are presented to their believers as true facts, to which we must stick and try to continue with such examples.
Every story generates emotions, every emotion generates a thought that, if constantly repeated as a truth, becomes a doctrine.
Stories, especially fantastic ones like the Virgin of Monserrat with inexplicable events connect us, make us feel that there is something or someone with divine power that can do anything and to whom we can cling in times of difficulty.
According to a Legend of the Virgin of Montserrat , an apparently normal Saturday afternoon became a unique moment. It is said that in the year 880, some shepherds who were in that area, saw a brilliant light descend, so bright that it was almost blinding.
This light was accompanied by a beautiful melody (as reported) and amazingly, this manifested itself again exactly one week later, and then for three more Saturdays, this, of course, caught the attention of the shepherds, so they decided investigate what was that light?
Accompanied by a priest, the shepherds requested that the priest communicate this inexplicable fact to the bishop as urgently as possible, who upon receiving the news did not hesitate for a moment to visit that place.
Arriving at that place from which the light provided every Saturday, they noticed that from a cave, came some flashes of light that did not seem to be from this world and such a spectacle, was also accompanied by songs with an angelic, soft, divine voice, it was of the Virgin of Montserrat .
They did not feel any fear, on the contrary, they were curious, and decided to get a little closer, in doing so, they discovered the Virgin of Montserrat image , and immediately, the bishop ordered that this image be taken and shared with the community of Manresa (city and Spanish municipality).
However, admiring it and moving it was an almost impossible task, although it was a very small carving, as they advanced a little more, it became heavier and heavier every moment, which, they interpreted as a clear message of the Virgin.
They understood then that the will of God the Father was not that the Virgin of Montserrat be transferred, but rather that a sanctuary be built among those mountains to honor and venerate her, and they did so in Santa María, one of the four chapels dedicated to the Virgin of Montserrat.
From that moment on , countless miracles have been attributed to the Virgin of Montserrat , and her believers affirm that she is the one who fulfills her favors. It was almost immediately that her popularity spread throughout the peninsula.
Even the miracles of the Virgin of Montserrat began to be so many that their believers began to grow around the world. The pilgrims who constantly passed through that area clearly noticed how the Virgin of Montserrat granted more and more miracles.
Half a century later, a fairly small community began to establish itself next to the Santa María hermitage, where the main chapel of the Virgin of Montserrat was located . Abbot Oliva, noticing this, decided to take advantage of the situation and turn the sanctuary of the Virgin into a profitable business.
Obviously, this business, although it is quite prosperous, gives believers and pilgrims a new hope, a figure that represents protection, love, divinity, sweetness and much more for each of them.
The apparition of the Virgin of Montserrat is considered one of the greatest mysteries on earth, an enigma, in fact, the enigma of the “black” virgin.
In the middle of the War of Independence (1808), Spain managed to conquer France, however, some men managed to enter the Monastery that contained the image of the Virgin of Montserrat and desecrated the place.
Thank God, the image of the Virgin was the only thing left in the Monastery, but to keep it safe or prevent it from entering again and destroying it, the Virgin of Montserrat was immediately transferred to Barcelona.
At first, the image was protected in the Cathedral, then, they decided to move it once again to the Church of San Miguel.
A new government was established in Spain in 1824 and this allowed the image of the Virgin of Montserrat to return to its place of origin and the Monastery destroyed during the war to be rebuilt.
Obviously, a new government implies political changes, among them, preserving the integrity of the image of the Virgin of Montserrat , for which, it was absent from its Sanctuary until the year 1844, the year in which the cult was re-established. and devotion to the Virgin.
In the period of the Spanish Civil War, a group of republican militiamen dared to steal the luxurious garments that the image of the Virgin of Montserrat had, who during times kept gold crowns and divine garments, however, after this unfortunate fact , is presented without any type of dresses or accessories.
The image of the Virgin of Montserrat is a carving with a very romantic and tender touch between the Mother and the child.
This virgin with the child sitting on her lap is approximately 90-95 cm tall. In her left hand, the boy holds a pineapple, while in her right hand she makes a sign that represents blessing.
Both the head of the Child Jesus, as well as the head of the Virgin Mary underwent some retouching later, so they reflect a more naturalistic style and somewhat different from the rest of the other romantic images represented by both.
The image of the Virgin of Montserrat is golden except for the hands and face of the Child Jesus and the Virgin, which are represented in black, which is why it was affectionately named “La Moreneta”.
Some have wanted to relate the Virgin of Montserrat with the so-called black virgins, however, although her image has hands and a face of this color, she is actually white.
This carving almost entirely belongs to the 12th century, the touches of varnish and color are rather belonging to the 19th century.
The Virgin of Montserrat has been considered the first Marian image in Spain to be granted the privilege of receiving the Canonical Coronation. This blessed event occurred in the year 1881. Then, they followed:
- The Virgin of Mercy of Barcelona, in the year 1886
- The Virgen de la Candelaria de Tenerife, better known as the Patron Saint of the Canary Islands in 1889
- The Virgin of the Kings of Seville in 1904
- The Virgin of Mercy of Reus in 1904
- Among other.
In Spain, there is a diversity of “black virgins”, known mostly as “brown virgins”, a kind of affectionate nickname. Some of them are:
- The Virgin of Guadalupe (Cáceres)
- The Virgin of the Head (Jaén)
- Virgin of the Velía (Bimenes, Asturias)
- The Virgin of the Castle of Chiva
- The Virgin of Torreciudad
- The Virgin of Lluc (Majorca)
- The Virgin of Argeme (Coria)
- The Virgin of Candelaria (Tenerife)
Prayer to the Virgin of Montserrat
Beloved Virgin of Montserrat , to you, oh, powerful and most holy mother, we turn to you today to intercede for us and cover us with your merciful mantle.
To you Mother, who always listen carefully to our pleas, to you, who always offer us comfort and love us with a Mother’s love, just as you did with your son Jesus.
We ask you Mother, with our hearts in our hands, on our knees and prostrate at your feet so that you have compassion on us and forgive our mistakes and sins.
We do not deserve your forgiveness and yet you are always willing to receive us with open arms, that is why today we want to ask you for (here the request is made).
Understand us mother, human beings make mistakes, we break your will and disobey our father, but we do not do it in bad faith. Help us so that our passions do not dominate us and keep us away from all evil.
What a great comfort it is to know that your heart is always kind, loving and merciful and you are always willing to offer your help to those who seek you and beg for your help.
It is inevitable not to trust you Mother, in your divinity, in your greatness, in that mix of firmness and sweetness that characterize you. You are worthy of admiration for your strength and kindness, for offering yourself to the father and assuming responsibility to be the Mother of God and our mother.
We know that it will not be easy to love each other, to accept our mistakes, that is why I place my problems, my wounds and everything that calms my heart in your hands so that with your love you transform me, guide me and protect me always.
I trust in you, so that you always keep our family protected and healthy, so that they never lack that warm and loving place to call home or their daily bread.
Heal those who are sick mother, those people who for different circumstances feel alone or abandoned, for those less fortunate people, for those who have no roof, shelter or food, protect them.
Mother, help us to lighten our loads, because from the heart, we tell you that we want to be with you and with our father, enjoying a life without pain, anguish and love.
Thank you we give you, for always listening to us, for transforming us, snuggling us and watching over our dreams. Let us share and enjoy eternal life with you and your son.
Replicas to the image of the Virgin of Montserrat
The image of the Virgin of Montserrat has been so popular that replicas of it have been built in various countries. Let’s see in which countries it is located, what it represents in each culture and the history behind the construction of each one of them.
In Spain (Galicia), it is one of the first places where it is logical that there is a replica of the Virgin of Montserrat , specifically, this replica of the Virgin can be found in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
Actually, this image of the Virgin of Montserrat was a gift from the Montserrat monastery.
In Buenos Aires, on Av. Belgrano, the Virgin of Montserrat is venerated in the homonymous parish.
Juan Pedro Sierra, a Catalan from the area, requested permission to build a chapel to pay homage and venerate the Virgin of Montserrat and in 1755 he was granted this authorization.
In the year 1770, a brotherhood (Nta. Sra. de Monserrat) also built an immense temple.
Fray Nepomuceno Solá, one of its parish priests, participated in an Open Town Hall held on May 22, 1810. This town hall represented an important step for the independence of this country.
In the northwest of the country (San Miguel de Tucumán, province of Tucumán) we can find another parish dedicated to the Virgin of Montserrat, this image in particular is an exact replica of the original and has been venerated since 1957.
With the arrival of the priest Joaquín Cucala Boix, an educational establishment for children and young people was founded, as well as a temple to venerate the Virgin of Montserrat. All this happened in the year 1961.
The establishment has the name “Colegio Nuestra Señora de Montserrat”, dedicated of course to children and the Institute “Nuestra Señora de Montserrat” is dedicated to teaching adolescents.
In Córdoba, the capital of the province, there is almost the same name, inside the secondary school, and also, in the heart of the “Colegio Nacional de Montserrat”. This was actually a gift given for the 300th anniversary of the educational center, on August 1, 1997.
And from Spain, we went to Brazil, where we will find the Virgin of Montserrat and patron saint of the city of Santos in the state of São Paulo. In her honor, a party is held every September 8.
On the top of “Monte Serrat” (in Santos) we find the “Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Monte Serrat” (1603) where there is also a replica of the image in the Igreja da Ordem Terceira do Carmo.
And from Brazil we went to Chile and we came across La Viñita Church, better known as “Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montserrat”, in the Commune of Recoleta, city of Santiago de Chile. This sanctuary was built in the year 1834.
The veneration of the Virgin of Montserrat in Chile, has rather a somewhat obscure meaning, since those who venerate her are mostly drug traffickers, criminals or practitioners of the occult.
It is quite similar in reality, to the celebration and worship of María Auxiliadora in Colombia or San Judas Tadeo in Mexico.
The “white hill” was a hill highly used by indigenous people to perform pre-Columbian rituals, it also represented a refuge for many criminals from colonial Santiago. They hid here, because they knew perfectly well that the authorities feared these imposing mountains.
Of course, all this created a “bad reputation” and among criminals and pagan rituals, the belief that the Virgin of Montserrat protected criminals and men of evil life spread.
Over time, this “fame” spread throughout the country, even reaching prisons, however, this was not entirely bad, since thanks to this misinterpretation something positive was generated.
It turns out that the Church of Chile decided to name the Virgin of Montserrat as the Patron Saint of the paternitas foundation and prison ministry and they began to work then to be able to reintegrate those who were incarcerated into society.
In a commune of Puente Alto, (Santiago) we can find the Parish of Our Lady of Montserrat, which, for more than sixty years, has been in charge of promoting the worship of the brunette.
Also in the Chilean Antarctica and in the Magallanes Region, an altar was built in the Río Verde commune where we can see the image of the Virgin of Montserrat in a beautiful and natural grotto, which simulates the fall of a river on the banks. from sea.
From Chile, we came to visit the beautiful Colombia, here we will find several places where homage is paid to the Virgin of Montserrat, among them, we can mention:
- Montserrat Sanctuary, located in the city of Bogotá DC, on top of the eastern hills.
- Hermitage at the top of the hill, the intention of this was to celebrate the day of the Holy Cross. She was baptized as Our Lady of the Cross of Montserrat.
And we arrived in Cuba, dancing, heat and a lot of guaguanco. In Havana, we can find:
- A Church that was baptized as the “hermitage of Montserrate”.
- The city of Matanzas also had a small, more modest hermitage, which was desecrated and almost demolished after the Revolution.
Ecuador has a very particular history with the Virgin of Montserrat , devotion to her expanded rapidly in this country and one of the greatest influences was from the Church “Our Lord of the Jordan” of the Franciscan brothers of the city of Otavalo ( Imbabura Province).
The Virgin of Montserrat is venerated as: Patron Saint of Otavalo and each of its parishes.
South of the city of Guayaquil, devotion to the Virgin of Montserrat can be seen on a large scale. Her devotees usually prepare for this celebration with meditations for three days, then a mass follows, and finally, a divine serenade is offered to the temple.
Montecristi, Manabi, Ecuador
In the city of Montecristi, devotees of the Virgin of Montserrat make a pilgrimage from nearby cities to the Basilica of the Virgin, located at the foot of the Montecristi hill.
Every February 8, a special mass is held in his name, and then he is taken out in procession to meet Saint Mark the Evangelist. They believe that the Virgin of Montserrat was brought from Spain.
In a small community called Colonia Montserrat we can find a parish baptized with the name of the community.
On the afternoon of Good Friday, the brotherhood of Monserrat establishes a station dedicated to penance in the cathedral, which, by the way, was founded by Catalan immigrants from Seville.
In this cathedral in Spain, we can find a replica of “La Moreneta”. The material with which this replica is made is silver and it is found between the entrecalle de la candelaria of the canopy passage of said brotherhood.
The image used for the procession and penance station is rather a replica of the image of the Virgin of Montserrat with a sorrowful face. This is known under the invocation “of Montserrat”.
Spain (Valencia, Picana)
In another city in Spain, we find the Church of La Virgen de Montserrat de Picaña, built since the 18th century, in it, we can find an image of the “Moreneta”, which has its own altar.
The Virgin of Montserrat is known as the patron saint of this town, so the parishioners hold a party in her honor in September.
Spain (Canary Islands)
A Main Church of the Conception of the city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna, located in Tenerife, there is a small image of the Virgin of Montserrat , this is an exact replica of the original, although smaller, of course, to the which, he is venerated in Catalonia.
In the municipality of San Andrés y Sauces, on the island of La Palma, we find a Church in honor of the Virgin of Montserrat, this is baptized (and known) as the Gothic Church of Our Lady of Montserrat de los Sauces.
This Church was founded in the year of 1513, by Catalan colonists and the conquerors. In it, a carving of the Virgin of Montserrat is adored.
La Virgencita, in this municipality was declared patron saint. It is said that when Saint John tells us the episode of the Apocalypse, it is the Virgin of Montserrat whom he sees.
Ap 12,1 tells us of a woman who seems to be dressed with the same sun and at the same time have the moon under her feet and a particular crown, in which, in each of its twelve points, it has a star.
The Virgin of Montserrat is celebrated every September 15.
In Mixco, Monserrat 2. there is a parish created in honor of the Virgin of Montserrat. Every April 27, a party is held in her honor in the Diocese of Santiago de Guatemala.
On the Sunday closest to the date of this celebration, the image of the Virgin of Montserrat is taken out in a procession where each of the streets of the neighborhood is crossed.
In a temple that was formerly known as the convent of San Bernardino de Siena in Taxco de Alarcón, Guerrero, the Virgin of Monserrat is worshipped. This former convent is located in the heart of Mexico; Every April 27 a party is held in honor of the Virgin.
When the State of Chihuahua was in a period of evangelization, the initial plan was for the image of the Virgin of Montserrat to reach the chapel, however, the real challenge was to cross several communities to reach it.
They spent the night and when they went to move her, it was impossible for them, so they took it as a sign that the Virgin was telling them that she wanted to stay in that place and they did so.
This event occurred on September 7, so that day is celebrated in honor of her with a vigil and the next day, a procession is held.
The image of the Virgin of Montserrat has been venerated since the end of the 16th century in the city of Lima (Peru).
An old neighborhood that is located in the interior of the city bears the name of Montserrate, and in it, a novena, a procession and a pilgrimage are held every second Sunday in September.
In the Chinchero Archaeological Park, located in the Sacred Valley of Cuzco, we find the image of the beloved Virgin of Montserrat in a church known as the Church of the Virgin of the Nativity.
And how not to close with a flourish, with our beloved Republic of Venezuela, where the image of the Virgin of Montserrat has been venerated and adored since 1782.
In the town of Santa Cruz de Aragua (Venezuela) various miracles have been witnessed by its people, which, evidently, are granted to the Virgin of Montserrat.
Many people tell fantastic stories about the transfer of the image of this Virgin in a box, departing from La Guaira and having the city of Valencia as its final destination.
According to both the image of the Virgin of Montserrat and the image of the Virgin of Perpetual Help were destined for Santa Cruz de Aragua and Valencia, respectively.
The curious thing is that these images were being transported on oxen, so when they had finally arrived in Santa Cruz, they realized that they had made a mistake, and that they had sent the image of the Virgin of Montserrat to Santa Cruz already. the image of Perpetual Help to Valencia.
They were almost certain that each ox had been sent to the corresponding destination, however, given the evidence, confusion overcame them and they decided to embark on the long journey once again.
Once they had reached the “correct” destination, they realized that exactly the same thing had happened as before, so they decided to take it as a sign that the Virgin of Montserrat wanted to stay in the town of Santa Cruz de Aragua.
It is, from that moment, many people of the town began to witness the innumerable miracles and favors granted by the Virgin of Montserrat, for which she ended up becoming her Patron.
Prayers, songs and prayers are made to the Virgin of Montserrat every September 8 in honor of her. On this day, the virgins of each sector of the town of Santa Cruz de Aragua also go out to meet the Virgin, who remains in a parish known as Our Lady of Montserrat.
The Virgin and the Marian apparitions
There are many people who over the years have claimed to have experienced a personal encounter with the Virgin of Montserrat, and that after this encounter their lives changed completely.
Where Catholicism is not practiced as a religion, it is very difficult to affirm such facts. Also, in most cases these “encounters” are experienced by children, making it harder to believe.
Some others believe that children, due to their purity, possess that special something that makes the Virgin of Montserrat manifest herself to them with her sweetness and wishes to protect them.
What somewhat prevents these supernatural facts from being accepted as true is that children’s minds are a sea of possibilities and their minds are easy to manipulate.
Emilly Stefan The Fear lab was an American author of young adult novels, most known for her fantasy series, Age of the Seventh Sun.