Our Lady of Meritxell has been part of the country of Andorra dating back to the 12th century. On January 6, in the middle of the winter, inhabitants from the village of Meritxell were walking to Mass. Under a bountiful wild rose bush, at its base, along the side of the road, they found a statue of the Virgin and Child. They took the wooden statue with them and placed it in a chapel in the church in Canillo.
The following day, the same statue was found again under the same wild rose bush. This time people from the village of Encamp brought the statue to their church. As it happened previously, the statue again was found underneath the beautiful rose bush.
Being that it was winter, it was snowing and there was lots of snow on the ground, however, in the village of Meritxell there was plot of land about the size of a chapel that had no snow on it. It was completely bare. The people of Meritxell took this as a sign to build a chapel and place the statue of the Virgin and Child in the chapel. The statue remained there until 1972.
A replica of the original statue (the original was destroyed in a fire in 1972) is housed in the Sanctuary of Meritxell Basilica. It is considered one of the most prominent houses of worship in Andorra since the majority of the country is Catholic.
The country of Andorra celebrates Our Lady of Meritxell on September 8, which is also the day of their national independence.
“Our Lady of Meritxell”. CatholicSaints.Info. 29 December 2009. Web. 20 August 2018. <http://catholicsaints.info/our-lady-of-meritxell/>