Most Catalan pilgrims come to see La Moreneta, a 12th century wooden sculpture of Mary with the infant Jesus done in the Romanesque style. La Moreneta is sometimes called the Black Virgin because the finish as been darkened by decades of candle smoke. According to legend, St. Luke made La Moreneta and she was brought to Barcelona by St. Peter. In addition to the millions of common people who have filed past the statue and paid homage, many royal and noble persons have visited La Moreneta. This Black Virgin has been Catalan's official patron since 1881.
The abbey has sponsored a Christian school at Montserrat since the 13th century. The school has one of the oldest boys' choirs in the world, and visitors to Montserrat can hear this marvelous boys' choir sing in the basilica daily at noon and again in the late afternoon. Hearing their sweet voices in the lovely church was a memorable part of our visit to Montserrat.
The Montserrat monastery also features a museum with an eclectic collection of art, so there is plenty to do and see at this sacred mountain just a short distance from Barcelona.