Sailing into a small cove on the coastline of what was known to the Spanish as La Florida, five ships under the command of General Pedro Menendez de Aviles, came to the New World from Spain. Sent by King Philip II, they arrive in hopes of establishing a colony securing the land for Spain, and most importantly, to convert the Native American Indians to Christianity.
Father Francisco López de Mendoza Grajales, recorded the day's events in his diary:
"On Saturday the eighth the General landed with many banners spread, to the sounds of trumpets and the salutes of artillery. As I had gone ashore the evening before, I took a cross and went to meet him, singing the hymn "Te Deum Laudamus." The General, followed by all who accompanied him, marched up to the cross, knelt and kissed it. A large number of Indians watched these proceedings and imitated all that they saw done." Father Lopez celebrated Mass at a rustic altar made of wood, the sky served as the roof for what was the first parish Mass in what is now the United States. The Spanish settlers of St. Augustine established the first Shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the United States.
What Guests Are Saying About the Mission of Nombre de Dios & Shrine
Nice place to visit
This was one of several stops we made in the general area. I found this to be a prayerful experience as well as a nice walk through a beautiful historic cemetery. Stop by, pray and take a walk. Also nearby, you can see the giant cross.
A serene and spiritual place...
Visiting the shrine gave me a sense of tranquility. A nice respite from the traditional tourist activities a few blocks away. There was an elderly docent from Cuba in the museum explaining the significance and history associated with the site. It was interesting to see the original casket in which Pedro Menendez de Aviles was buried in the museum.
Definitely a 'holy acre'
I last visited this site about 40 years ago. A lot has been added since then. It is truly a serene and holy spot to sit and reflect. The chapel is so peaceful. Being a lover of history, I could have spent the entire day in the museum. I found the docent knowledgeable and very willing to share information and point out details. Well worth the time spent.
I love to come to this special place. The grounds are so pretty and a pleasure to walk and simply view the surroundings. The Mission building is small and very comforting. I enjoy just going in and sitting for a few minutes. There is also a small gift shop on the grounds where they have some pretty things. All in all it's a nice way to spend about an hour.
Peaceful and Reflective
Nice place to visit and feel God's presence and appreciate the history. For a fee, you can buy a candle and light it in the chapel. We enjoyed walking to the cross, reading the statue plaques and redfecting on the history there.
Prayers were answered!
We prayed for our miracle baby in January 2018 after struggling for ten years. In August 2018 we found out we were pregnant and will be expecting our bundle in May 2019! We went back for a 'Thank You' visit and plan on bringing baby back too.