The Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios traces its origins to the founding of the city of St. Augustine in 1565. On September 8, 1565, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés landed and proclaimed this site for Spain and the Church. Menéndez named this site Nombre de Dios, meaning Name of God. He put Father Lopez in charge of the mission, making him the first parish priest in St. Augustine.
It was on these grounds that Father Lopez celebrated the first parish Mass and began the work at America's first Mission. At Mission Nombre de Dios, guests will find numerous artifacts, both sacred and secular, from the very beginning of the Spanish settlement in St. Augustine.
A walking tour of Mission Nombre de Dios includes a number of interesting stops: the Prince of Peace Church, the Father Lopez Statue built by Dr. Ivan Mestrovic, the Great Cross, the Mission Plaque, Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, the Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Chapel of Our Lady of La Leche, and Our Lady of La Leche Shrine, and the Rustic Altar. Visitors can also tour archaeological excavation sites or go into the Shrine Shop.
The Shrine of Our Lady de la Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios is the oldest Marian Shrine in the U.S., and it was recently elevated to a National Shrine by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios is located at the Great Cross just north of downtown St. Augustine. Parking is free. Entrance to the grounds are restricted to their daily hours, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Only service animals are allowed on the grounds.