970: Our story begins in 989 with a sales document for 300 wages of the Mountain l’Hort, with the Chapel of Santa Maria. Why was a chapel dedicated to Santa Maria in the rocky massif of Lord? The popular and pious tradition, no history, responds to us that the cause was the miraculous discovery of a statue of the Madonna by a bull, who was tearing the ground with the foot and bellowing for three consecutive days. The shepherd discovered an underground cave where it was hiding a beautiful image of Santa Maria. The news proclaimed by the authority of the Prior of Sant Llorenç de Morunys spread like wildfire throughout the region and those good people, moved by their love to the Virgin, met in la mola to see and venerate as majestic neighbor like hidden treasure, honored their land. They soon build an altar where to place the image and a small chapel with a single nave. The earnest request of the people against the Count of Urgel, land owner, and the collaboration of the people in the building, lets talk about the first church dedicated to the Virgin of Lord. Soon after a house was built as shown in the aforementioned sale of the year 989.
The growing devotion to the Black Madonna of Lord in later centuries is reflected in donations and benefits contained in the parish register. Houses and land adjacent pass, as a donation, to be a property of the Sanctuary.
The influx of devotees and pilgrims also increase significantly. Since the fourteenth century the reference to the priests of the sanctuary as “administrators” seems to prove. At this time the Diocese of Solsona the diocese did not exist and Lord was under the jurisdiction of the vast territory of the Diocese of Urgel. However there were “priests”, indicating that the liturgical and spiritual “tasks” required to be served by one or more priests, who are called “administrators” probably because they should do more than four numbers.
The economic potential of the Sanctuary in the fifteenth century seems to be strong enough to think about building a new temple, the second will have the Madonna.
His description is found in the book of Mr. Corominas, who wrote: “Had a single nave with six side altars, three on each side. The Virgin’s image chaired the background of the main altar from a great niche located in the center of the altarpiece. This altarpiece also contained ten golden images and five oil paintings with biblical scenes.” In the late fifteenth century ran peacetime and, therefore, the prosperity of which the Sanctuary received numerous donations.
In the late sixteenth century King Philip II asked Rome creating a new diocese, the Solsona, because of Urgel was too long to control the penetration of Protestantism in his kingdom. However, before this happens another remarkable act occurs. In 1587 the Sanctuary takes over a community of Dominican Order.
We don’t know the reasons that led to the Dominicans to settle in the rocky massif of Lord, maybe against Protestant threat? We only know it was a time of blessing for the Sanctuary, both spiritually and materially.
Every day in the temple, the priest sung the joyful and “la Salve” after Holy Rosary. Saturdays and the eve of the Madonna holidays sung compline. In addition to preaching the word of God and the regularity of the functions that only a religious community can offer. Some side chapels of the church was completed and the community renovated part of the exterior walls.
1634: In 1634 the Superior of the Dominican Order presents the general account to the Prior of Sant Llorenç and an inventory of all the goods that treasured sanctuary, finishing their stay in Lord.
After this date inventories reveals that the church of the sanctuary had valuables treasures such as chalices, vestments, robes of the Virgin, processional crosses… and even a small organ, which accounts for the good management and care exercised by the Dominicans.
Shortly after completing this stage another will arrive to Lord other Father Preacher; this is the famous Father Camos, author of “Garden of Mary standing in the principality of Catalonia”, a compendium of his long pilgrimage for all the Marian sanctuaries of Catalonia. He visit and write down all he observed and the priests explains to him about each sanctuary.
His valuable description allows us to discover in which state was the Sanctuary of Lord a few years after the departure of the Dominicans. It seems that few things has changed, except in the Sanctuary there are two priests, who continued the tradition of singing the Salve, the joys and the Litany of the Virgin after the Rosary. With the beginning of the eighteenth century is the Golden time for the Sanctuary. Perceived large inheritances, high returns, up to 100,000 reales in one year, land acquisitions and the acquisition of a house in Sant Llorenç. Abundant harvests and extensive grazing rights for animals, had just rounded itself an excellent situation.
Another example is 350-400 masses officiated annually. Or medals sales exceeded 470 reals some years or the 588 pounds Catalan as charity received.
1785: The history of the fifteenth century is repeated again. Build a new temple is considered according with the influx of the pilgrims.
The work began in 1785 and in 1792 the sumptuous chapel of the Virgin are surmounted; the following year the cloisters and the tank of the house.
Again Josep Corominas makes the description of the temple… “Church consisted of three naves with six side altars, three per side, as above. The altarpieces were of the ancient church, plus one or two brand new. The sacristy was located behind the altar and the chapel of the Virgin decorated with all excellence, with a dome that let in plenty of light. Nine thousand gold leaf and two thousand of silver were used for the dressing room and was decorated with pictures and paintings of reputable artists from Vic and Olot.” It was the third temple dedicated to the Maddonna of Lord.
However, black clouds began to cover the sky, not only in this region but the whole of Europe.
In the early nineteenth century a new power was established in France, the cradle of political, social and cultural movements that transformed contemporary history, and this new power, personified in the figure of Napoleon, spread across the continent their insatiable desire of domain, spreading of blood the farmland and consciences, death and desolation. Neither the geographical isolation of the Sanctuary prevent the French war reaches its walls. Documents indicate that the October 21th, 1810 the forces of General Macdonald, after suffering a major setback for cardoneses, headed to the Sanctuary of Lord, knowing its riches. According J. Corominas and quoting well-informed people, “the intention of invading troops was to burn the Sanctuary, but surprised for such magnificence on top of a rock and they didn’t found resistance, they respect the buildings, taking all what value found.” In the same year the government, under the guise of the flow of war, seized half the jewelry and silver, both of the temple and the sanctuary house.
1812: The Spanish army uses the sanctuary as a prison camp for French prisoners.
1821: From 1821-1823 suffers the consequences of the Guerra de los Milicianos; a militia burns down part of the sanctuary, but the Black Madonna is not harmed.
1833: In 1833, with the death of King Fernando VII, starts the first Carlist war, as dark memories to the newly opened temple of Madonna of Lord.
1835: Carlist troops turn the sanctuary into a military hospital in the Garden. Liberal troops encircled them, but the sheer difficulty of access to the plane of the solid caused them heavy losses. For a month they could withstand the siege that ended taking a few Carlist prisoners survivors. A few days after the Shrine occupied by Colonel Niubó, it was destroyed and burnt to the ground.
It is unknown how, among so unfortunately, could save the image of the Virgin, as only 7 or 8 years after the destruction of the sanctuary the devotees of the Madonna of Lord could continue venerating in its own chapel in the parish of Sant Llorenç.
The years passed and the house was demolished. This duel was moaning from the bottom of the hearts of her faithful that seeing that times were hard and poverty spread throughout the region, did not think of a speedy recovery of the Sanctuary. But what is impossible with men is not for God. Mr. Esteve Monegal, person of great piety, put their financial resources, which were not few, to rebuilding the Sanctuary.
There was, first of all, to recover the lands seized by the State, paying a high price for them! They began the work on what is now the Sanctuary of Lord.
Dr. Josep Corominas, a contemporary of these events and probable eyewitness, tells us about how emotional was the feast of the laying of the foundation stone of the new sanctuary. It was August 19th, 1867.
1870: Three years later, in 1870, and in the same month of August, the new church is solemnly inaugurated with a huge and very emotional crowd of believers.
The new temple, as above, had three naves with four and three chapels on the sides, with their altars. The chancel, sacristy and the chapel of the Virgin were built with the same layout as the temple of 1785, but the chapel is one piece. The orientation of the temple is the same north-south. At this time French Trappists lived in the sanctuary because they were persecuted in their homeland.
Another fire gravely damages the sanctuary, this time by accident. The Black Madonna is rescued by three neighbors who run for miles up the steep mountain to save her.
In 1897 The church is repaired and Our Lady brought back into her sanctuary. In 1901 a new altar was inaugurated.
1923: The image is thoroughly restored and is given a “make over”, i.e. she receives a new crown and her previously white dress is painted in the present colors. A tear is painted onto her cheek in commemoration of the tears she cried in 1636.
In 1929 two beautiful fabrics painted by Lluís Masriera replaced those that had been burned on either side of the altar, as visitors can see today.
Until 1936 we did not find news worthy of mention. It is at this time when a faithful devotees of the Virgin to rid the image removed from destruction at the hands of a militia group.
Not finding the Virgin in her dressing room they attacked images altarpiece with figures of San Lorenzo and San Esteban that burned in the square, along with the side altars. After getting threats where the Virgin had been hidden, was transferred to the museum later Solsona to leave for France. Fortunately he failed to cross the border.
1939: Nine days after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, neighbors hear of plans to destroy the Sacred Image, run up and hide it in the woods while they think of a safer place. A committee of the Diocese of Solsona went to the border town of Darnius (Girona) with intent to recognize and retrieve objects of art plundered in the diocese; between them they found the figure of the Madonna of Lord, which was shifted first to Barcelona and later returned to its mass.
The intention of Mr. Monegal, newly rebuilt the sanctuary was installed for a family of tenant farmers told to shelter pilgrims and cultivate the surrounding land, while a clergyman would address the spiritual side.
The fact that it was inhabited was damaging the centenary building of the Shrine. Over time the decline was increasingly worrying to the point that the Rector of Sant Llorenç, following a dramatic appeal to the faithful thought lower the image of the Virgin to the parish and leave the sanctuary to their fate.
Among the most faithful devotees caused a painful, yearning cry … only a miracle can save the Virgin Sanctuary! And the Virgin did not want to leave this massif where such devotion and love were received and attended granted the request of his children.
1971: Father Jordana, Cistercian monk from the Monastery of Poblet, Prior and President of the Spanish Cistercian Congregation, led by the hand of Providence, contends Dr. Bascuñana, Bishop of Solsona, to settle in the Sanctuary of Madonna of Lord in order to live a retired life of prayer. We are in the spring of 1971′s Threat of ruin of the house called for an urgent works, difficult action without road motor vehicle, no light, no material means… nor economic. The supplication in front of the Ministry of Agriculture in Madrid was attended and in 1974 ICONA opened a forest road to the foot of the massif, with drilling a tunnel 60 meters into the rock. An air cargo allowed link the new road with the plain of the massif and thus, almost by hand, began a new restoration of the Sanctuary which has been extending to the present day.
The first repair was to replace all the wooden beams of the roof of the house where now lives the community which were replaced by iron trusses and concrete beams. An infrastructure for material subsistence was created.
The arrival of electricity in 1989 and the construction of a pipeline for the conveyance of running water in 1999, managed to reach the sanctuary of modern times.
In 2007 the most important work of restoration of the buildings of the temple was started: enable the roof and the second floor of the house with rooms and facilities to accommodate potential visitors, which today is the religious of guest quarters. Exists a photo album on the web to see the works that were performed on the roof of the Sanctuary in April 2007. The address is:
In 2011, forty years after the arrival of Father Jordana the Sanctuary, the restoration of the church was undertaken. Rallied almost 600 m2 of roof, buttresses of the church were consolidated within the temple walls were picked, the arches of the nave were reinforced, six new windows were placed in the aisles of the church, a new facility was undertaken electric rosette choir was repaired and painted the whole church.
For all these benefits and blessings that Our Lady has given her sanctuary throughout these years, we want to thank you and invite everyone who reads it to do it well. May Our Lady continue to watch and bless this land from his vantage Lord.