Virgin of Montserrat

Virgin of Montserrat

Our Lady of Montserrat or the Virgin of Montserrat (Catalan: Mare de Déu de Montserrat) is a Marian title associated with a statue of the Madonna and Child venerated at the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery on the Montserrat Mountain in Catalonia, Spain. She is the Patron Saint of Catalonia, an honour she shares with Saint George (Sant Jordi in Catalan). The famed image once bore the inscription ''Nigra Sum Sed Formosa" (Latin: I am Black, but Beautiful).

Pope Leo XIII granted the image a Canonical coronation on 11 September 1881. The image is one of the Black Madonnas of Europe, hence its familiar Catalan name, La Moreneta ("the little dark-skinned one" or "the little dark one"). Believed by some to have been carved in Jerusalem in the early days of the Church, it is more likely a Romanesque sculpture in wood from the late 12th century.

An 18th century polychromed statue of the same image is also displayed in Saint Peter's basilica, previously stored in the Vatican Museums which was gifted by the President of Brazil, Joao Goulart on the Papal election of Pope Paul VI in 1963. The image has been on display for Papal masses since the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI.

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