Following Menéndez’ veneration of the Cross, thus proclaiming this land in the name of God (Nombre de Dios) Father Lopez celebrated Mass at a rustic altar made of wood. The sky served as the roof for what was the first parish Mass in what is now the United States. It was on this sacred ground that the Spanish settlers would begin devotion to Our Lady of La Leche, Nuestra Señora de La Leche y Buen Parto, Mary nursing the infant Jesus. In the early 1600s, the Spanish settlers of St. Augustine established the first Shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the United States.
Today, more than 450 years later, an image of Our Lady of La Leche – Our Lady of the Milk and Happy Delivery – graces a small mission chapel in the heart of what is lovingly referred to as the “sacred acre.” Pilgrims come from all parts of the world to pray for her powerful intercession. They pray for fertility, for the health of their children, for safe delivery of those expecting.Their prayers continue to be answered, and many return in thanksgiving to share with us their stories. We invite you to come join us – to stand on holy and sacred ground where our story of the conversion of hearts and the graces of Mary continues.