Nuestra Señora de la Leche

ML031 Box 28 Marian Holy Card Collection

Country

United States of America

Description

The Chapel of Nuestra Senora de la Leche in St. Augustine, Florida is often referred to as “America’s Most Sacred Acre”. It is commonly known as the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche. King Phillip II ordered the erection of a shrine in her honor when he became aware of Nuestra Senora de la Leche’s intercession. Settlers built it in St. Augustine, Florida. Since coquina stone was not used for buildings until well into the seventeenth century, it is most likely that the earliest chapels were made of wood and thus susceptible to fires and hurricanes. Archaeologists have discovered a building that was approximately 90 by 40 feet less than 100 feet away from the present day La Leche chapel. The old building is believed to be built in honor of Nuestra Senora de la Leche in 1677-78. After that building and another one were destroyed, several smaller chapels were built of coquina on the present site. The current chapel is very small in size as it only holds approximately 30 people. It is the location of the stature dedicated to Nuestra Senora de la Leche and is a place for quiet prayer and reflection. A statue of St. Peter stands above the outside entrance and below a small mission bell. The statue of St. Peter shows him holding the keys to the kingdom. The statue of Mary depicts her cradling baby Jesus while breastfeeding him. She is the patron of mothers and all mothers-to-be. She dates back to the 16th century  in the city of Madrid, Spain, where she is called Nuestra de La Leche y Buen Parto,  which means Our Lady of the Milk and Happy Delivery. Finally Spanish settlers brought a replica to the United States of America and enshrined it in St. Augustine, Florida at the Mission of Nombre de Dios, the mission of the Holy Name of God. This is actually the first shrine ever to be dedicated to the Blessed Mother of Mary in the United States of America. Priests were sent during the following 200 years along the famous Santa fe Trail across northern Florida up through Georgia, the Carolinas, Alabama, and as far as the Mississippi River. The original statue at St. Augustine was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War in 1936. However, a replica has been made and is still there today. Also, the original shrine in Spain was also destroyed by the communists in 1937. The shrine has been a place of worship and prayer for mothers and mothers-to-be since it was created. Also, on the birthday of the Holy Virgin, the shrine is a scene of venerations that reminds visitors of its old splendor. Not far from the middle of the sanctuary there stands an altar of palmetto at the same spot where the first mass was offered.

Citations:
http://missionandshrine.org/
the-chapel-of-our-lady-of-la-leche/
https://www.udayton.edu/imri/
marian-library/index.php
http://our.lady.of.la.leche.tripod.com/about.htm
https://www.catholicculture.org/
culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3185

Researched by Scott Vater
Popular Devotions

ML031 Box 28 Marian Holy Card Collection

Hail Mary

Dios te salve, María. Llena eres de gracia: El Señor es contigo.
Bendita tú eres entre todas las mujeres. 
Y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre: Jesús. 
Santa María, Madre de Dios, ruega por nosotros pecadores, 
ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte.

Amen.

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