In 1635 a young black girl found a small black stone statue of Our Lady and the Holy Child in the woods near Cartago. She took it home with her but it returned by itself to where she had found it. After several futile attempts to keep it, she took the statue to the village priest, who tried hiding it, but to no avail. It was always found back in the woods.
The black families nearby built a little chapel to house their treasured Mother and Child on the spot that she herself had chosen to stay. In time it became a famous place of pilgrimage for all of Costa Rica. The image of the black Madonna, gaily dressed with Jesus, was solemnly crowned in 1927.