The name “St. Mary’s Star of the Sea” is not uncommon among Catholic parishes in coastal areas. This title for the Virgin Mary is most likely derived from a biblical reference in I Kings 18:41-45. The passage refers to a small cloud seen from Mount Carmel that appeared above the sea as a symbol of hope. Because it gave the hope that rain would soon fall and end the land’s drought, this tiny cloud was called “the Star of the Sea.” In Catholic theology, Mary the mother of Jesus is the greatest saint and therefore the patroness for all who hope that redemption and deliverance will soon be at hand. In the 12th century, the reformist monk St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – 1153) wrote,
“If the winds of temptation arise;
If you are driven upon the rocks of tribulation look to the star, call on Mary;
If you are tossed upon the waves of pride, of ambition, of envy, of rivalry, look to the star, call on Mary.”
Hail, O Star of the ocean, God’s own Mother blest, ever sinless Virgin, gate of heav’nly rest.
Taking that sweet Ave, which from Gabriel came, peace confirm within us, changing Eve’s name.
Break the sinners’ fetters, make our blindness day, Chase all evils from us, for all blessings pray.
Show thyself a Mother, may the Word divine born for us thine Infant hear our prayers through thine.
Virgin all excelling, mildest of the mild, free from guilt preserve us meek and undefiled.
Keep our life all spotless, make our way secure till we find in Jesus, joy for evermore.
Praise to God the Father, honor to the Son, in the Holy Spirit, be the glory one.