National Shrine of Our Lady of Le Leche: Pilgrim Retreat Center & Pavilion
Concrete Block Construction in St. Augustine

National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche statue

The sky served as the roof for what was the first parish Mass in what is now the United States. In was on this sacred ground that the Spanish settlers would begin devotion to Our Lady of La Leche, Nuestra Señora de La Leche y Buen Parto, Mary nursing the infant Jesus. In the early 1600s, the Spanish settlers of St. Augustine established the first Shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the United States.

Today, more than 450 years later, an image of Our Lady of La Leche – Our Lady of the Milk and Happy Delivery – graces a small mission chapel in the heart of what is lovingly referred to as the “sacred acre.” Pilgrims come from all parts of the world to pray for her powerful intercession. They pray for fertility, for the health of their children, and for the safe delivery of those expecting. Their prayers continue to be answered, and many return in thanksgiving to share with us their stories. We invite you to come and join us – to stand on holy and sacred ground where our story of the conversion of hearts and the graces of Mary continues. LEARN MORE

Project Description

The concrete block construction Pilgrimage Center & Pavilion was a replacement for the old gift shop and flooded offices in both hurricanes, Irma and Matthew. The design team at Kasper Architects designed a building that meets all modern efficiencies but looks and feels like old-world Spanish construction. We elevated the finish floor to roughly 5′-0 above sea level.

The construction of the building is concrete block, cast in place concrete, structural steel, and wood trusses. The roof material is a barrel tile metal composite. The interior is decorated with stained wood, faux beams, and trusses. The faux beams in the pre-function room were salvaged from the old gift shop and are estimated to be around 75 years old. The exterior cover porch has decorative stamped concrete and ornamental guardrails. It has been an honor to work on this project and be involved with numerous other projects at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Le Leche over the last 12 years.

Client Review

J.C. Harward has successfully completed several projects for the Diocese of St. Augustine over the past ten years.

During that time, J.C. Harward has delivered quality projects in a timely manner and has maintained a high level of professionalism.

C.D.: Diocese of St. Augustine

National Shrine of Our Lady of Le Leche
Pilgrim Retreat Center & Pavilion Photos

Pilgrim Center and Pavilion rendering

Additional National Shrine of
Our Lady of Le Leche Projects

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Rosary Garden

National Shrine of Our Lady of Le Leche church

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National Shrine of Our Lady of Le Leche Stations of The Cross

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The Great Cross

Bridge Construction St. Augustine - National Shrine of Our Lady of Le Lec

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National Shrine of Our Lady of Le Leche: Museum/Gift Shop

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National Shrine of Our Lady of Le Leche fence

Fences & Gates

Bulkhead Construction in St. Augustine - National Shrine of Our Lady of Le Leche

Bulkheads & Lagoons

Let’s chat about your project!

We would be honored to speak with you! Please email, call or text.

Bulkheads & Lagoons
The Great Cross