The first chapel built was inhabited by hermit Monks who lived a solitary life of prayer. In 1025 the Abbot of Ripoli officially founded the Monastery of Montserrat. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, a Romanesque church was built containing a carving of the image of Our Lady of Monserrat which is known as the Black Madonna due to its darker color. However, this darker color is attributed by experts to the smoke of thousands of candles lit through the centuries of worship.
Throughout the centuries Montserrat’s importance grew and pilgrims became to come to the site. In 1223 there is the first account of a boy’s choir at Montserrat and in 1490 Montserrat’s printing press was installed. In 1811 – 1812 Montserrat was destroyed by Napoleon’s army but in 1844 the Monks returned to Montserrat, and in 1858 the reconstruction of Montserrat began.
Today, there are about one hundred Benedictine monks who are based at Montserrat Monastery and you can book a retreat to stay with the monks. They will deal with each request individually and will supply you with more information regarding what you will need to do to come to a retreat in Montserrat. Whether you are a religious person or not, a visit to this magical mountain and its historical monastery is totally worth it.