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  • Writer's pictureLauren Allen

Behold, your mother: Our Lady, Star of the Sea

This year at The Fruitful Hollow have been exploring different devotions to our Mother Mary. It has been a joy to read all the amazing blogs in the Behold, your mother series. It’s my turn to share my favorite version of Our Lady with you: Stella Maris. She’s become a close friend, confidante and comforter in the past year.

“Mary, Star of the Sea”, by Bernadette Carstensen, for prints or more of her work, see the link at the end of the blog.

I met Our Lady, Star of the Sea on our first adoption journey. A case came through my email with a very specific name that the expectant mother was asking the adoptive parents to consider. We sent in our “yes” and my mind started spinning with possibilities. On my quest to figure out the meaning and how we could incorporate it into a Catholic name, a friend told me about Stella Maris, Our Lady Star of the Sea. That same week I stumbled upon three different images of Stella Maris randomly. Three different images. Okay Mother, I hear you. Let’s chat.

Stella Maris is an ancient title for Mary with a rich and interesting history. A quick Google search will bring up many articles. These articles are not consistent, but have similar threads. Many state that this title was first given to Our Lady by St. Jerome in the 4th/5th century and also state that the modern term arose from a scribal error. Regardless of the origin of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, the idea behind this devotion is essential. I argue it’s imperative for those who are currently wayfaring the seas of adoption, infertility or foster care. You need to know Stella Maris.

Our journey to becoming parents was and is a tumultuous one. I’ve said for years that going through the sea of treatments and diagnoses had weathered me. This sturdy ship has quite a few marks and warped areas in it; it’s been through rough storms and waves that did not cease in fury. When I encountered Stella Maris, we were in the midst of waiting and praying for our first adoption match. That wait was excruciating. The images of Stella Maris spoke to me immediately. In her unwavering way she spoke: “Wayfarer, set your sights on my Son. He will guide your steps.” I felt that phrase come so clearly when my fear was at its peak: fear of rejection, fear of loss, fear of the unknown. The phrase also came to me when I was at my weakest point. “Wayfarer, set your sights on my Son. He will guide your steps.” Even now, the image and feeling of being in that space captures me. Maybe you feel this way too. I was standing on my little wooden boat; no oars, no sail, no land in sight, BIG waves, dark clouds. Looking to the sky. Asking “Where do I go from here? What more do you want from me? What do I do to deserve this?” Then she appears in all of her splendor. Calm voice. Peace. “Wayfarer, set your sights on my Son. He will guide your steps.”

My devotion to Our Lady, Star of the Sea came so strongly that I was inspired and wrote the following prayer. Reading it again today, I’m blown away by her intercession. Since I’ve written this prayer, we became parents to an amazing 5-year-old boy in May 2022. We adopted again and now have a 7-month-old son. A few weeks ago, we officially became foster parents (a road that we were not expecting) and I’m once again hearing her reminder: “Wayfarer, set your sights on my Son. He will guide your steps.”

Prayer to Our Lady, Star of the Sea

Adoption | Foster care | Infertility

Hail Mary, Star of the Sea

Radiant is your guiding light!

Illuminate the path to our family;

Keep your Son in our sight.

When our trust is wavering

Be still the violent sea.

Rush to our aid, dear Mother,

And guide our family.

Bring us to the glorious day

When we embrace the child you’ve chosen.

Allow us to teach them of your Son

And the story of our family He’s woven.

Oh brilliant virgin, Star of the Sea,

We ask for your intercession!

Thank you for your guiding light That points our sight to heaven.

Our Lady, Star of the Sea,

Pray for us.

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