This summer, try visiting the oldest Marian shrine in the United States
#1
This is a lovely spot and I have visited there on numerous occasions. Our Parish has the second of these Shrines to Our Lady of La Leche. We are located about 70 miles west of the original, where our bishop wanted us to build it, and easily accessible by folks on I-75 (the original one is in St. Augustine a few miles east of I-95). The grounds at the St. Augustine location (in the article) are beautiful as is the site with rebuilt altar. It is a lovely walk out near the ocean and bay.

Nice article on the area:


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Article Wrote:Link to Original Article


This summer, try visiting the oldest Marian shrine in the United States
Daniel Esparza



[Image: web3-our-lady-of-la-leche-chapel-flickr....310&crop=1]
The Mission of the Name of God in St. Augustine, Florida, is the site of a shrine of a most ancient devotion.

St. Augustine, in the northeast of Florida, proudly lays claim to being the oldest European settlement on what is nowadays US soil. It is indeed the oldest continuously occupied European-founded town in the United States.

It is not at all strange, then, that on the grounds of St. Augustine’s Mission of the Name of God (one of the first churches in what would later become part of the United States) we also find the first North American shrine ever dedicated to Our Lady. But curiously enough, the shrine is dedicated to an early Christian devotion that can be tracked back as far as the 4th century in the Holy Land: the devotion to Our Lady of the Milk.

A grotto located east of the Nativity Church, in Bethlehem, is known as “the Grotto of the Milk.” Tradition says that, during the flight to Egypt, the Holy Family stopped here to get some rest. While the Virgin Mary was nursing the Baby Jesus, a drop of her milk fell to the floor. The rock on which it fell immediately turned white.

Nowadays, the “Grotto of the Milk” in Bethlehem is visited by both Christian and Muslim women who ask Our Lady’s intercession for their own children, so they can grow healthy and well nourished. This devotion spread all throughout Europe, specially after the Crusaders returned from the Holy Land.

Spanish settlers who came to St. Augustine in the 1600s brought with them their devotion to Nuestra Senora de la Leche (Our Lady of the Milk). A miraculous statue of the Madonna and Child under this title had been set up in the Madrid cathedral by King Philip III, and a replica of this statue was brought to St. Augustine and set up in a special shrine built by settlers and Native American converts on the grounds of the Mission.

Pilgrims may still visit this shrine today, and walk the grounds of the place where the Church was first firmly planted.
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#2
It will be on my wishlist for whenever I am in Florida again! I looked at a map and see t's not far from my brother, whom I would visit, about 30 min. inland fr. Daytona. It will be also a pilgrimage of gratitude to Our Lady of Le Leche. Le Leche League was a big help and support to me with getting started nursing when my son was an infant. Their literature and other things they pointed out to me, esp.Dr. Sears (and the sling!) really helped me love my son and my day-to-day life as a Mom. (He graduated college this year, and I continually see in him the good fruits of the foundation of that attachment-style parenting). I was not Catholic in those earliest years of my son's life, either. So a pilgrimage of gratitude to Our lady of Le Leche will be on my list when I, Lord willing, visit again.
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#3
Ah yes, St. Augustine, a great town,  and one that is close to my heart.  That's a beautiful shrine.  I've spent many a day (and after dark)  walking those paths by the St. Johns River and that ivy covered chapel. 

It's worth a visit for those of you not from around here.  The whole city is steeped in Spanish Catholic history, from the little military hospital,  the cathedral and the Castillo De San Marcos all the way to tbe little shrine.  Lots of cool stuff to see at any time of year. 

As a side note,  if you're on St. George St. be sure to pop in the St. Photios Greek Orthodox Shrine,as not only does it house a small collection of ancient icons, it also houses a fairly large reliquary donated by the Vatican. 

Thanks for posting this Zedta, makes me want to go to St. Augustine the next free weekend I've got.
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