Experience Fr. Rene's St. Augustine with Stella Mar


St. Augustine, Florida “Filgrimage”

January 16-20, 2020

Pilgrimage Tour and Film Festival

Join the Stella Mar Films team in St. Augustine, Florida for a fun, spiritually-uplifting “filgrimage”… a pilgrimage tour and film festival!

Our film Where There Is Darkness is an official selection in the St. Augustine Film Festival, and St. Augustine is where much of the story takes place because that is where Fr. Rene lived and ministered.

We’ll show you the unique Catholic history of St. Augustine as well as the filming locations for Where There Is Darkness, and part of the tour will follow in the footsteps of Fr. Rene Robert.

Plus you’ll get to take part in the film festival and see our movie on the big screen, followed by a Q&A by the Stella Mar Films team and the movie’s interviewees.

Led by Sean Bloomfield, Cimela Kidonakis, Jessi Hannapel, special guests, and cast/crew/interviewees of the film.

Space is limited, so don’t wait to book!


St. Augustine Movie

Our St. Augustine tour includes:


, Saint Augustine, Florida: Our Lady of La Leche Shrine and Mission of Nombre de Dios

Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche

On the grounds of the Mission of Nombre de Dios is the first shrine in the United States dedicated to Our Blessed Mother. Devotion to Our Lady of La Leche (Our Lady of the Milk) goes back to a 4th Century Grotto in Jerusalem.

By the time of the founding of Saint Augustine in 1565, the devotion was widespread among the Spanish settlers and the native converts. In addition to the chapel of Our Lady of La Leche, the grounds have shrines dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe (Patroness of the Americas) and Our Lady of Perpetual Help.





Mission Nombre de Dios

Site of the First Mass in North America

On the grounds near the shrine of Our Lady of La Leche is a cross over 200 feet tall, and an outdoor altar commemorating the first Mass celebrated on September 8, 1565 by the first Spanish settlers to arrive here. This Mass of Thanksgiving is widely believed to be the First Thanksgiving on the continent, over 50 years before the Pilgrims celebrated at Plymouth Rock, Mass. in 1621. The Shrine was designated by the Bishop of Saint Augustine as an official pilgrimage site during the Year of Faith.



st augustine cathedral basillica

Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine is the oldest Catholic house of worship in the city. Founded in 1565, the parish was the focal point of the Catholic community through the city’s early exploration, pirate domination and development by Henry Flagler. Featuring Spanish Mission and Neoclassical architectural styles, the current building was completed in 1797. Inspired by its Spanish colonial roots, the interior walls of the church are adorned with murals depicting the history of Catholicism in the New World. The stained glass windows illustrate the life of St. Augustine of Hippo for whom the church is named. The basilica, located at 38 Cathedral Place, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.


St. Joseph Renewal Center and the Sisters of St. Joseph

This place was very special to Fr. Rene and he often celebrated Mass for the sisters. The mission of  the St. Joseph Renewal Center is to extend an invitation to dwell in the house of the Lord through prayer, reflection and renewal in order to deepen a lived Catholic spirituality in daily life.

Located in Old Town of the nation’s oldest city across from the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse are the buildings of Villa Flora and Brown Hall. Villa Flora and Brown Hall are more than mere buildings. They hold a special place in the history of St. Augustine as well as the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Register early if you’d like to stay at the St. Joseph Renewal Center for the trip! Limited rooms are available.




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St. Benedict the Moor Church

Honoring the patron saint of African-Americans, St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church was dedicated in 1911. The church has played a central role in the city’s African-American history. Three white Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament who taught at the parish school were arrested in 1916 for educating black children. Martin Luther King, Jr. used the rectory as a place to plan Civil Rights demonstrations in the area. The redbrick Spanish Mission-style edifice is still in use today.



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Historic St. Augustine Trolley Tour

Explore over 500 years of history and over 100 points of interest on this 70-minute narrated tour. The 19 stops make it convenient for guests to disembark for shopping, dining, visiting attractions and exploring the city on their own. 



where there is darkness


Location Tour for Where There Is Darkness

Join the filmmakers for a tour through St. Augustine, visiting scene locations from the award-winning film and following in Fr. Rene’s footsteps to visit his favorite places, including the convent of the sisters of St. Joseph where often celebrated Mass.



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St. Augustine Film Festival

This fun Festival runs every January in the downtown historic city center, with five screening rooms at three locations. All are within a 5-minute walk of one another. Films are shown in Lewis Auditorium, and the Gamache-Koger Theater (part of Flagler College), as well as at all three viewing rooms of The Corazon Cinema and Café.​​ See Where There Is Darkness on the big screen!

Your festival pass as part of our tour will include a VIP ticket to the Where There Is Darkness reception party.




January 16, 2020

Arrive and check-in | Meet & Greet that evening (TBD) | Night stroll through old town with Stella Mar team

January 17, 2020

Breakfast | Mass | 3-Day trolley ticket begins | Tour, talks, special events, lunch, and film fest times TBD

January 18, 2020

Breakfast | Mass | Trolley ticket continues | Film Screening | Tour, talks, special events, lunch, and film fest times TBD

January 19, 2020

Breakfast | Mass | Trolley ticket continues/ends | VIP Stella Mar Party | Tour, talks, special events, lunch, and film fest times TBD

January 20, 2020

Breakfast | Mass | Goodbyes | Hugs | Checkout




Package Prices

  • With Single Room and Breakfast at the St. Joseph Renewal Center (Sisters of St. Joseph): $1160 pp
  • With Single Room and Breakfast at hotel/B&B in St. Augustine: $1350 pp
  • With Double Room and Breakfast at hotel/B&B in St. Augustine (if you come with a roommate): $1250 pp
  • Book your own accommodation (tour only): $960 pp

Tax is included in the prices. Airfare and airport transfers are not included, but we recommend you fly into Jacksonville, Florida airport and we can help you arrange transfer.




Ticket to the St. Augustine Film Festival screening of Where There Is Darkness

Pass to the private VIP Screening Party hosted by Stella Mar (for cast, crew, and you!)

3-Day Pass on the “hop-on, hop-off” Red Train trolley tour which runs all through historic St. Augustine with guided commentary

Speakings and Q&A with the filmmakers, the cast/crew of Where There Is Darkness, and local figures

Entrance ticket and guided tour of the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park, the site of:

  • A Timucuan Native American village (now recreated)
  • The first Spanish settlement on American soil (now recreated)
  • The first Franciscan mission chapel (now recreated)
  • The alleged “Fountain of Youth” which you can even drink from!

Guided tour of the Mission Nombre de Dios Shrine, the site of:

  • The first Catholic Mass on American soil
  • The Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche
  • Statue of St. Francis and prayer gardens
  • Ancient gravestones and archeological sites
  • Immense cross that towers of St. Augustine

Mass daily with our group (at the shrine, basilica, and/or Fr. Rene’s former church)

Visits to the St. Benedict the Moor Church and School, the Cathedral Basilica, and some of Fr. Rene’s favorite places.

Location tour through St. Augustine where we’ll share our best stories about making the film, and some little-known secrets about Fr. Rene and St. Augustine!

Meetings with the Sisters of St. Joseph to hear the amazing history of their order in St. Augustine, and their funniest Fr. Rene stories



Breakfast: For those staying at the Sisters of St. Joseph Renewal center, breakfast is included and will be served there by the sisters. For those who book our hotel/B&B package, breakfast will be provided at your accommodation or nearby. For those who choose the package with no accommodation, breakfast is not included but we will share with you our favorite spots to go.

Lunch: Lunch is included in all packages, even the no accommodation package. We’ll have lunch together each day at some of Fr. Rene’s favorite restaurants, and ours, too!

You’ll also have free time for exploring St. Augustine, having spiritual direction with the sisters, dinner out, joining us at the the film festival, etc. There’s so much to see that you might want to stay an extra day or two!



Personal spiritual direction with the Sisters of St. Joseph: Suggested donation of $35 or according to your means

All Access Pass to the St. Augustine Film Festival (includes all film screenings and parties): $120

Not included: Airfare, transfer to/from Jacksonville, FL airport, and dinner. But we can provide suggestions for all of these if you wish!




Interested in joining us? Awesome! Book your package on StellaMarFilms.com and our team will get in touch with you.




Questions? Please contact us for more information!


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