The mission and shrine to “Our Lady of La Leche” traces its roots to Pedro Menendez de Aviles’ landing in 1565. Here, Menendez knelt to kiss a wooden cross presented to him by Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Gajales, chaplain of the expedition. This event marked the first parish Mass at America’s first mission.
Though the original mission and several reconstructions were damaged by storms and attacks, the present structure was built in 1915 and enshrines a replica of the original statue of Nuestra Señora de la Leche y Buen Parto — Our Lady of the Milk and Happy Delivery.
Museum exhibits include the original casket of Pedro Menendez, artifacts uncovered on the mission’s grounds, chalices and vestments from archives of the Diocese of St. Augustine and a selection of paintings by JoAnn Crisp-Ellert, renowned artist. Admission is free.
For information, call 904-201-6061.