Montserrat is a Benedictine monastery about 48 kilometers outside of Barcelona, Spain, the last 10 of which are pretty much straight up some very craggy mountains by way of a narrow road full of hairpin turns. Of course, there is also the option of hiking up, as pilgrims have done for centuries. Montserrat is the heart of Catalunya, the region where Barcelona is located, and a very important Catalan symbol. The striking attraction at the monastery is the Black Virgin, a small statue of the Virgin Mary believed to have been carved around the time of Christ, which has darkened over time, located at the front of the sanctuary high above the altar. There is a special stairway visitors can take to get close to her.
My friend Barbara and I went to visit Montserrat because Barbara’s guru, a medical doctor and spiritual transformation guide from India, Dr. S. Mohanambal, just lost her dear brother in India, and the Black Virgin is an especially meaningful force that welcomed her to Barcelona when she arrived here many years ago. A group of people whose lives have been touched and many of them miraculously transformed through Dr. S. Mohanambal’s guidance in Barcelona made the pilgrimage with us to light candles to send her brother, Prakash, on his journey to the light. Dr. S. Mohanambal is working on starting an ashram in Barcelona, a center for spiritual work and helping those in need, which will be named after her brother.