Among all the St. Augustine hoopla there is a quiet place to take a stroll, and sit awhile. This place is the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, and is a stop on both trolley routes. Here shade abounds and there is no need to be a Catholic to enjoy the peace.
Spanish explorers established St. Augustine, the oldest city in America, on September 8, 1565, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The first mass was celebrated on the shores of the Shrine.
Later Franciscans brought the La Leche image to the Shrine in 1609, and devotion quickly spread as local Indians were converted. The current Shrine has been the center of devotion to those wishing to conceive, mothers to be, and mothers.
On the grounds are burial plots of the sisters who came to St. Augustine to teach the freed black slaves. There are also many statutes of saints, and a small chapel. The large cross on the property was a gift from the Pope on the 450th anniversary of the City of St. Augustine.
Directly off the main street is a larger church which is a convenient respite for those unable to walk to the grounds. This comfortable church has much beauty with air conditioning and bathrooms. Next to the church is a museum of interesting religious artifacts.
This area was hit hard with hurricanes and remains under renovation. Near completion is a retreat center, a new gift shop replacing that which was destroyed, and several other upgrades.
Worth the visit. Tell the Lord I sent you. 🙂