The legend became a reality for many and the tradition is still held to be true today that in the middle of the 16th century, in a spot in this town known as “El Robledal”, as this was the most common forest species on the site, the Mother of God appeared at a time of special tragic significance for the then town of Constantina, at that time suffering from a serious episode of bubonic plague. And she did so, according to the legend, in the person of a boy named Melchor who was shepherding the family’s flock of sheep. This is not surprising if we bear in mind that the place of the apparition was at that time a resting place and watering place for livestock, belonging to the Cañada Real del Robledo in Mesteña.
In any case, and once the disease that afflicted and decimated the population had disappeared, a small hermitage was built around the place to worship the Blessed Virgin who had appeared on the branches of an oak tree, an element from which she would later take the name of her Marian invocation.
What is certain and documented is that on the 4th of August 1568, a group of brothers of the Brotherhood of Nuestra Señora del Robledo, which was initially known as Nuestra Señora de las Virtudes, met on the Robledo road, and proceeded on that date to renew its Rules, which leads us to conclude that its existence was much earlier than that of the year already mentioned. A copy of other Rules of the same Brotherhood, dated 18 October 1599, has also been preserved. These already organised the life of the corporation as well as the duties and rights of its members.
Copies of other Rules are also kept by the Brotherhood, such as those approved in 1796 on the basis of a request made on 14 September 1791, which contain a brief but substantial account of the events that led to the devotion and construction of the chapel.
On 20th May 1913, the Brotherhood was granted the title of Royal and on 5th August 1916, it was granted the title of Pontifical, all thanks to the many diligences that H.R.H. the Infanta Doña. María Isabel Francisca, who became a special protector of our Brotherhood.
Throughout the centuries she has enjoyed countless indulgences and attentions, having also the title of Patron Saint of Constantina and more recently, in 1994, she was awarded the Gold Medal of the City. On 15th August 1988, following the resolution of the corresponding canonical proceedings, the image of Our Lady of Robledo was crowned by the Archbishop of Seville, Fray Carlos Amigo Vallejo, in response to the unanimous popular request due to the great devotion that exists not only in this town but wherever there is a son of Constantina, of the many who are scattered throughout the world, there is news of this Marian devotion.