The Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Cura perches on top of Puig de Randa (543 m). It is the highest point in the centre of the island and is one of Mallorca’s sacred mountains. The legends, the vestiges of worship and the hypotheses about its habitability immerse us into the mystery of history. Near the top of the mountain there are remains of a defense castle from Islamic times and since the conquest of Jaime I (1229) there have been indications that the mountain is considered an ideal place to live an ascetic and contemplative life. The first documented record which confirms this hypothesis appears in the Vida Coetania – the Ramon Llull autobiography, written in 1311.
Ramon Llull (1232-1316) received his divine “enlightment” here around 1274, according to the book cited above. He thus initiated his intense and extensive intellectual and missionary lifework, dedicated to a new world order and the reform of the church and introducing an innovative philosophical system. A model of thought that, from the end of the 13th to the 21st century, has been the object of study and inspiration in all fields of knowledge. During the second half of the 14th century, the mountain consolidated its position as a religious space and as a place of veneration and contemplation. Llull’s followers were attracted by the location and continued the project started upon by their master, and established a hermitage and a place of learning. In 1394, the Bishop of Mallorca, Luis de Prades, testified that hermits resided permanently in the surroundings.
From the fifteenth century until the first third of the nineteenth century, the tiny Lulian hermitage gave way to a shrine dedicated to Nuestra Señora de Cura, whose stone image dated from the fifteenth century can been seen in the oratory. Next to the oratory is the Grammar School, founded first as the Lulian School (Pere Joan Llobet) and later run by various patrons and humanists of the 15th and 16th centuries, that became one of the three great grammar schools of Mallorca managed by the city of Palma. The Sanctuario de Cura has for centuries combined a threefold dimension: Marian devotion, Lulian devotion and knowledge. The Grammar Classroom, built in the 17th century, and the Marian oratory, make up the main buildings of a glorious past. Because of its location, in the center of the island, and due to its physical characteristics, it was the centre of important agricultural-related religious celebrations, such as the “blessing of the fruits”, whose origin goes back to the medieval period and has been documented since the 16th century.
When the Grammar School closed (around 1830), the sanctuary entered a period of decay and neglect. The worship of the Virgin and other celebrations declined during this period and the priests in charge of the sanctuary could not maintain the premises. For seventy years the buildings suffered much deterioration, as can be seen in the photographs taken in the early twentieth century.
In the summer of 1913, the Bishop of Mallorca, Pere Joan Campins commissioned the Third Order Regular of St. Francis (TOR) to renovate the buildings and restore the veneration of the Virgin and devotion to Ramon Llull. Thus, over the past one hundred years, TOR has transformed the place into a modern sanctuary. The construction of the present monastery, the guestrooms and the quarters for the brothers began in 1947. The image of the Virgin was given its papal coronation in 1955. The current restaurant and the quarters of the main building of the monastery were inaugurated in 1956 as headquarters for Franciscan novices. The Randa liqueur, with a formula patented by the brothers, is one of their own products that the visitor can enjoy today.