On Sunday, Our Lady of Good Voyage – Seaport Shrine will celebrate its sixth anniversary in its new location at 51 Seaport Blvd this month. But do you know the history of this neighborhood chapel? Gather around, and let us share!

She has sat on Northern Avenue in Boston for 65 years, a beacon of hope and a prayerful place of respite for weary fishermen, longshoremen, dock workers and their families. But alas, as our city continues to burst at the seams with development, she was torn down to make way for a new building.

However, much like her strong symbolic presence of faith, community and comfort, she rose again just a few blocks away back in 2017.

Our Lady of Good Voyage on Northern Avenue was built when the now fashionable Seaport District in Boston was nothing but docks and warehouses. Cardinal Richard Cushing built the church in 1952 to serve the spiritual needs of the men and women who worked the docks and as a sacred place for their families to await their safe return. She has always had the latest Mass in Boston, and for many Southie residents scrambling to get to Mass on Sunday has enjoyed the moniker “Our Lady of the Last Minute.”

History of the Devotion to Our Lady of Good Voyage via Seaport Shrine

Our Lady of Good Voyage is a Marian devotion of the Catholic Church, which has its origin in the maritime communities of Portugal and Spain. The oldest Shrine dedicated to Our Lady under this title is located in the Portuguese village of Ericeira near Lisbon. A procession of boats and a blessing of the fishing fleet is commonly associated with the annual celebrations of her feast on the 15th of August, the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady.  Devotion to Our Lady of Good Voyage followed the Portuguese and Spanish immigrants who went throughout the world to continue their work on the sea, and who brought with them their piety and faith.

The devotion to Our Lady of Good Voyage is particular to the New England fishing industry. The first church in the United States dedicated to this title of Our Lady was established in 1889 in the Massachusetts fishing village of Gloucester, located one-hour north of Boston. The 19th century saw tremendous growth in the New England cod fishery. Men of Italian, Canadian, West Indian, and especially Portuguese descent flocked to Gloucester for work as fishermen. The Gloucester church was built for the Portuguese families who made their living on the sea and whose devotion to Our Lady was strong. They would pray to her for the safe travel of their husbands and sons at sea, begging for her protection and intercession. This is why the image of Our Lady shows her holding a ship in her hand.


  1. JOHN April 24, 2022 at 8:51 pm - Reply


  2. Tommy F. April 20, 2023 at 8:33 am - Reply

    In the 80’s and 90’s, the old church had a 7pm and 8pm Sunday mass, and both sessions were usually crowded. I remember hearing a rumor that the highest collections were received at those masses. I don’t know how true that story is, but I’m sure a lot of money was collected because those masses were packed. One of the best things about the old church was the convenience. They made it so there was no real excuse not to go to mass. Back then the city was kind enough to turn a blind eye to the quadruple parking outside, the priests kept the masses and sermons short and to the point, and there was usually no music to slow it down. The homilies often consisted of the priest telling us about the various upcoming times for people in the neighborhood that needed assistance due to illness, a fire, or some other such stroke of bad luck that befell them. That old church was a great place that had great people running the masses and great people attending them. The new church is a beautiful facility. The only complaint is the parking situation. I wish we still had the political juice to keep the meter maids away from the place for a couple of hours on Sunday. Despite that, there’s no real excuse not to attend mass there. So, get to church!

  3. Rev Francis X McGerity April 20, 2023 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Cardinal Cushing was a “Southie Boy.” He was born and raised in Southie. He attended the Perry School which is still in existence. He always said his heart was in Southie. He never forgot where he came from and when asked where he was from he would proudly say Southie! He had Vision for meeting the needs of ALL people but had a special fondness for laborers : those who worked the docks. He surprised everyone with the building of this Church which was welcomed by all.

    • Maureen Dahill April 21, 2023 at 1:20 pm - Reply

      Cardinal Cushing was a relative of mine. His mother was Mary Dahill.

Leave A Comment