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Monday, May 5, 2014

Our Lady of La Leche

 
Our Lady of Le Leche
Nuestra Señora de la Leche y Buen Parto – Our Lady of the Milk and Happy Delivery has remained one of my favorite devotions since I conceived my first child.  I prayed numerous novenas for a year after my marriage in desperate want of a child and it was only after more than a year of very poor health and on the ninth day of my first novena to Our Lady of La Leche that I finally conceived.
 
Baby Thomas, born after many novenas.
Mine is not the only story of a pleading prayer answered by Our Lady of La Leche.  There are many others.  Her shrine in St. Augustine, Florida is a pilgrimage place for couples experiencing infertility and difficult pregnancies.  They go and place their petition before the statue of Our Lady nursing the Christ Child and come away with a sense of incredible peace.
 
Shrine of Our Lady of Le Leche in St. Augustine, Florida.
The devotion to Our Lady of La Leche can be traced back to about a century earlier than the shrine in Florida built by the Spanish settlers in the 1600's.  Her first miracle occurred in Spain in 1598 when a couple rescued a small statue of Our Lady nursing the Baby and placed it in their home.  The woman was pregnant and very ill.  The doctors were certain that she and the unborn child would die.  The husband prayed with such intense confidence before the statue, however, that Our Lady answered his prayers and his wife and child survived.  This family began to spread the devotion to Our Lady of Le Leche because of her help in their hour of need.  Her popularity grew so rapidly that King Philip III dedicated a public statue in her honor.
 
I would love to travel to St. Augustine, Florida someday and pray at the shrine of Our Lady there in thanksgiving for her blessing and protection of my three healthy children.  (My fear of flying and dislike of travel in general though will have to be overcome first.)  Has anyone ever been there?  And if so, what did you think?  Is this not a perfect devotion for Catholic mothers?


Inside of the Our Lady of Le Leche Shrine in Florida.

 

2 comments:

  1. Beautiful--I had no idea she was particularly prayed to for fertility problems! I was randomly given a holy card, some time before I was even married, with her image and a prayer (in Spanish) on the back, asking for "more children." Soon after we got married, we miscarried our first child, so asking for "more" children was relevant... It took us 2+ years to conceive again, and a couple of months before we finally did, I started praying the prayer on the card every day! Thanks for sharing your connection to her :-)

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  2. Salve Maria! My parents live in Charleston, South Carolina which is only a few hours drive away. They have both been to this shrine and loved it very much, especially my mother. I have not been however. If you go to Saint Augustine, you have to stop in Charleston as well. My parents would love for you to stop over and they can take you to visit the beautiful, ante-bellum city. Please let me know when you go. Excellent post!

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