The somewhat unusual, small Neo-Baroque church of Our Lady of Lourdes, designed by architect Adrià Casademunt i Vidal, is located in the Poble Sec district of SW Barcelona, close to the mountain of Montjuic. Its history is somewhat clouded. The church was originally dedicated to Santa Madrona, co-patroness of Barcelona along with Santa Eulalia, whose tiny hermitage dedicated to her memory still stands on the mountain which dominates the neighborhood.
With the rapid growth of population in the Poble Sec area during the 19th century from immigration and industrialization, the little church soon proved to be too small to handle the number of parishioners, and so a new-new parish of Santa Madrona had to be built nearby. Casademunt was the architect of that structure, as well as the church of the Guardian Angel or “Angel Custodi” in the same neighborhood. The little church was renamed in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes, devotion to whom had been growing in popularity through the end of the 19th century in Spain.
The building was vandalized by the Leftists during the “Tragic Week” in 1909; restoration was completed by 1916. Things went back to normal for awhile, but when the Civil War came in 1936, some locals turned over the priests of the parish to the Leftist authorities. The church was then burnt, along with two 17th century altarpieces that were the pride of the parish, and the rectory was completely destroyed. The church was then turned into a temporary dormitory for war refugees, though it teetered on the edge of collapse.
In 1948 restoration work began on the fabric of the building, which by this point had seriously deteriorated. This was completed within a year, thanks to tireless efforts of the parishioners and their new pastor, along with architect Manuel Puig Janer, although completion of the interior decoration took another decade.