In 1971 when the present basilica was consecrated a portrait of Our Lady of Altagracia was sought. According to the local legend, an old man with a long beard appeared with a knapsack saying, "This is what you are looking for." Inside was the portrait of the Virgin of Altagracia. At day break the old man disappeared and no one ever heard from him again.
“The portrait of Our Lady of Altagracia is thirty-three centimeters wide by forty-five high. Expert opinion has it that it is a primitive work of the Spanish school, painted towards the end of the fifteenth or beginning of the sixteenth century. The painting, which depicts a Nativity scene, was restored successfully in Spain in 1978, and its original beauty and color can now be appreciated. The rigor of time, candles' smoke and rubbing by the hands of the devotees had so altered the surface of the portrait that it had become nearly unrecognizable. The scene of Jesus' birth is painted on a fine cloth. The Virgin, lovely and serene, occupies the center of the picture; she is looking with tenderness at the child who lies nearly naked on the straw of the manger. A blue cloak sprinkled with stars envelops her and a white scapular closes her garments in front.”