Yesterday I was looking through my “Catholic box” to find a copy of how to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet because some one had recommended I pray it. I had never prayed it, but I remembered putting something about it it in this box.

Instead I came across a brochure about the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche in Saint Augustine, Florida. My sister had gone to the shrine when she was trying to get pregnant nine years ago.

The scene of the blossoming of this devotion was Madrid 1598. Rescued from irreverent hands, the famous Spanish statue of Our Lady of La Leche was enshrined in the home of a devout couple. When it appeared that both the mother and her unborn child would certainly die, Our Lady of La Leche heard the husband’s urgent prayers and granted her a happy delivery.

Together the husband and wife spread the news of Our Lady’s power with God to other families. Aware of Our Lady of La Leche’s intercession, King Phillip III of Spain personally undertook the erecting of a Shrine to honor her Motherhood. Soon this devotion become onne of the most famous throughout Spain.

About 1620, the early Spanish settlers, as a sign of their love for the Nursing Mother of Christ established the first Shrine ever to be dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the US. They did so on the very spot where the first parish Mass had been offered 55 years before at the Mission of Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine, Florida.

The original chapel and several built after it were destroyed by gunfire during the early colonial days, and later by hurricanes. The present chapel was begun in 1915 and enshrines a replica of the original statue. The original shrine and satue in the Church of San Luis in Madrid were destroyed by fire by the Communists on March 13, 1936, during the Spanish Civil War.

Thousands of mothers come here to Our Lady’s Shrine in old St. Augustine every year to ask for the blessings of motherhood, beseeching the intercession of ur Lady of La Leche that God will grant them a safe and happy delivery, and a healthy, holy children. Several thousands write to the Father Director every year requesting rememberances in Masses and Prayers.

Our Lady of La Leche is yours. In her you will find consolation in al your worry and wondering, comfort in all your sorrows and anxieties and the inspriation and model of Christian mothers. She is so close to Christ. she is so powerful with Him. Remember how she asked him to perform his first public miracle.

The nuns at the Shrine will pray for your petitions if you send them. At the bottom of this little brochure in my Catholic box I had written,

“Mailed petition for Sally. November 6, 1999.”

After speaking with my sister, we realized this date that I had written – November 6, 1999 – was about one week before she found out she was pregnant with Jack.