Mission of Nombre de Dios
Mission Nombre de Dios traces its origins to the founding of the City of St. Augustine, America’s oldest city, in 1565. On September 8, 1565, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés landed and proclaimed this site for Spain and the Church. It was here that Menéndez knelt to kiss a wooden cross presented to him by Father Francisco López de Mendoza Grajales, chaplain of his expedition. It was on these grounds that Fr. López would celebrate the first parish Mass and begin the work at America’s first mission. It was at this sacred spot that the Spanish settlers would begin the devotion to Our Lady of La Leche that continues into the present.
In the early 1600s, the Spanish settlers of St. Augustine established the first Shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the United States. The original chapel and several reconstructions were damaged by storms and attacks. The chapel was rebuild in 1875 by Augustin Verot, first bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine. It too fell to the ravages of a major hurricane.
The present chapel was reconstructed in 1915 and enshrines a replica of the original statue of Nuestra Señora de la Leche y Buen Parto – Our Lady of the Milk and Happy Delivery. Throughout its existence, the Shrine has remained a comforting place of prayer for mothers-to-be, for families, for special intentions and for those seeking to strengthen their faith.
As you walk through the historic grounds at the Mission, you will be retracing the steps of America’s first founding fathers more than 400 years ago. It was here that Spanish explorers founded our nation’s first permanent community and pioneer priests first planted the cross of Christianity. This is the site where western culture and Christian faith took root in our country.
We ask that, while enjoying the grounds, you kindly respect the fragile conditions of the gravestones as well as the quiet, prayerful atmosphere of the Shrine Chapel. A form is available in the Gift Shop for any comments or suggestions you may have. God bless you on your way.
After spending time walking the grounds and meditating at the Shrine, be sure to stop by The Shrine Gift Shop. Here you will find a large selection of religious articles and gifts. The items you purchase will not only be a lasting reminder of your visit to The Shrine, but also help us take care of the Shrine & Mission grounds.
Novena Prayer to Our Lady of La Leche
Lovely Lady of La Leche, most loving Mother of Jesus, and my mother, listen to my humble prayer. Your motherly heart knows my every wish, my every need. To you only, his spotless Virgin Mother, has your Divine Son given to understand the sentiments which fill my soul. Yours was the sacred privilege of being the Mother of the Savior.
Intercede with him now, my loving mother, that in accordance with his will (mention your request here). This I ask, O Lady of La Leche, in the name of your Divine Son, my Lord and Savior. Amen
V. O Mary, conceived without sin.
R. Pray for us who have recourse to you.
Our Lady of La Leche pray for us.