O'Reilly House Museum
- 32 Aviles St Downtown Historic District
- tel, info: 904 826 0750
- 10:00-15:00 Wed-Sat
Lonely Planet review for O'Reilly House Museum
Caught in the grip of a severe offshore hurricane in the late 1800s, the desperate captain of a supply ship heading from the Minorca Islands to St Augustine ordered most of the cargo to be thrown overboard to save the ship from sinking in the tumultuous seas.
It was then that the crew found a little statue of the Madonna, 3ft high with human hair curls and silk and Spanish lace petticoats. They prayed to it for their safe passage and, as the story goes, the winds dropped and they were able to make it to port.
The statue was passed down through the generations of Minorcan families, who prayed to it when hurricanes threatened the town. Its last caretaker, Sister St Charles of the Bagwell family, left it to the Sisters of St Joseph, who donated it to the O'Reilly House Museum , where it's now on display.
To this day, though 2004's Hurricane Frances came close, St Augustine has never been hit.