The origin of the sanctuary is kept in a pretty legend guarded by people´s memory. It has been passed on from parents to children during centuries
The finding of the Virgin. it was a Sunday morning which was also Epiphany. The inhabitants of Meritxell were going to hear mass at Canillo. By the side of the road they saw a dog rose in flower, an astonishing thing to see the winter. Their curiosity aroused, the people drew closer to look at the flowers and found that between the branches there was an image of Our Lady with the Child Jesus in her arms. Led by the parish priest hey placed the image in the church at Canillo. Next morning the image had disappeared and was found once more beneath the dog rose. The whole village went to see the miracle. That day was snowing hard but no snow has fallen on the flowering dog rose which was sheltering the Virgin not around it. Everyone realized that Our Lady wished to remain at that spot and so they built a chapel right there, where the sanctuary of Our Lady of Meritxell standstoday.