A mission of Spanish priests and laymen arrived in Siquijor from neighboring islands in 1790 and set about christianizing the inhabitants.

They went from one community to another and came upon a place that surprised them for its abundance of molawin and other local hardwood trees.

It was occupied by a settlement of Boholanos that was hostile at first but gradually accepted them. They built a temporary chapel for the sacraments and it remained that way from 1868 to its founding as a parish.

When the community’s population had grown enough to merit the attention of the Diocese of Dumaguete, it was established as a parish on the feast day of the Virgin Mother of Divine Province in 1877.

They named the place Maria and dedicated the parish to the patronage of Our Lady of Divine Providence.

When Maria was still part of Cano-an (now Larena), Cano-an parish priest Fr. Timoteo Gonzalo already laid in 1859 the groundwork for the construction of a church.

Maria’s first parish priest was Fr. Ramon Cavas but it was Fr. Pedro Corro, who served beginning in 1894, that was responsible for the construction of the stone edifice that exists today.

Fr. Ramon Alegria was credited with completing the Our Lady of Divine Providence Parish Church. He also built a new convent.