In 1635, a young Tico, or native, girl looking for firewood in the forest saw a peculiar black rock in the shape of a doll that was sitting on top of a large boulder. A mysterious image of a woman and child was engraved on it. The image appeared to be that of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding Baby Jesus. Thinking that it was a wonderful toy, the girl took the rock home with her and placed it among her belongings. The next day, and she was gathering firewood, she discovered the “doll” sitting on the rock where she had originally found it.
This strange occurrence happened three times in the young girl consulted her parish priest, Father Baltazar de Grado, about the oddity. Fr. de Grado took the stone to the church but the same thing happened to him: the statue miraculously returned to its original place. Understanding the significance of this, the priest petitioned Church officials and they authorized the building of a church over the boulder where the statue was found. Later, a basilica was built there named the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels and the statue was moved to the Basilica.
From the beginning, La Negrita was believed to have great healing powers and there are countless testimonies of miracles performed through her intercession. Visitors from throughout Costa Rica and beyond come daily to see and pray before La Negrita,venerating the relic and petitioning her for miracles. Each year on August 2, the feast day of Our Lady of the Angels a celebration is held and more than a million faithful pilgrimage to the Basilica, many walking for miles and miles to get there. the feast day has become a national holiday that all Costa Ricans celebrate.