Basilica Menor de la Virgen de Monserrate

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Basilica Menor de la Virgen de Monserrate

The Basílica Menor de la Virgen de Monserrate is a basilica built in the town of Hormigueros, Puerto Rico dedicated to the Virgin of Montserrat.

History

The founder of the basilica was a Catalan estate owner called Don Gerardo González, who was the owner of the valleys of the region. Although the specific date when the original hermit was constructed, some records date it as far as 1590. Also, studies of radiocarbon dating done to wood pieces from a coffin found in the basilica point to the existence of the hermit as far as 1570.

The structure combines romantic elements and styles in its architecture, including a bell tower with Arabic elements.

In 1696, the hermit acquired a guest house called "Casa de Peligrinos" (Pilgrims house). Juan Alejo de Arizmendi, first Puerto Rican bishop, fell ill in this house after traveling around the island in his second pastoral visit. He desired to be buried in his beloved hermit, but his wishes were not followed and he died in Arecibo, Puerto Rico on October 12, 1814. The house is now the rectory of the Basilica.

The church and the house were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 as "Santuario de la Monserate de Hormigueros and Casa de Peregrinos."

In 1998, the Pope John Paul II granted the Church of Our Lady of Montserrat the title of Basílica Menor, a distinction that only the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista had.