Our Lady Stella Maris

Our Lady Stella Maris (Star of the Sea)
Our Lady Stella Maris

This is one of my favorite modern icons, called Our Lady Stella Maris (Star of the Sea). It was recently commissioned by the  Apostleship of the Sea (GB). It was a painted by Dr Stephane Rene in neo-Coptic style. The Coptic desert fathers included St Jerome, who first recorded ‘stella maris‘ as a name for Our Lady. It has been reported on various Catholic websites that the term “Our Lady” in Aramaic could be translated as pilot, leader or guide, and that Stella Maris is the oldest of Mary’s many titles. Stars were guideposts to ancient navigators on sea or land. Lastly, we know the name. The idea that Mary is the guiding star to her son is an very old one.

An interactive icon that details the meaning of all the elements of the icon can be found here, just roll your mouse over each part. For example the boat represents the spiritual path of the individual believer and it also represents the church navigating throughout time. The four fish represent the four gospels, and are an ancient symbol for Jesus. I’ve seen a couple of Dr Rene’s icons and the four fish seem to be common.

The many missions, hostels and ships called ‘Star of the Sea’ call upon Our Lady as their patron and guide.

[corrected 4/20/09]


8 thoughts on “Our Lady Stella Maris

  1. Hello,
    Can I buy this as a prayer card? I am from Star of the Sea School in White Rock, BC….our fundraiser is the Stella Maris Gala….the image is beautiful.

  2. I am currently writing a novel about the Acadians who were deported from Acadia (Nova Scotia) in 1755. Our blessed Mother has long been central to the Catholic faith of these people and continues to this day. The Acadian national flag, the “Stella Maris” is the emblem of all Acadians wherever they live. I would like to know if there is a specific feast day, dedicated to Mary, Star of the Sea, or if you celebrate a specific day to her. The Acadian nation celebrates August 15, the Feast of the Assumption, to her as our national holiday. I would like to see a special day set aside to honour Mary, Star of the Sea. I am devoting much time in the novel to recognize Mary, Stella Maris, as a special guide protecting the Acadians during their deportation and subsequent return to Acadia.

    Thank you, Bob Amirault-Cameron

    1. I don’t know of a special feast day for “Stella Maris”. As this is one of the names for Mary that isn’t tied to a specific event, I don’t know that a day would be chosen for it. I think August 15 is probably the most universal feast day for Mary.

    2. In Spain and Central America (particularly Costa Rica) they celebrate a day for Virgen del mar (virgin of the sea) on July 16th.

  3. Technically speaking, the devotion to Stella Maris survives in a way through the images of Our Lady of Regla and Our Lady of La Caridad del Cobre. They are both images of The Theotokos whose devotion is tied to those who were at sea. I recall there being a devotion to The Virgin in Portugal that is likewise tied to the sea, but I don’t recall the title off hand :/ .

    Our Lady of Regla : September 7th

    Our Lady of La Caridad del Cobre: September 8th

    Given her connection to The Carmelite Order, it might also seem fitting that her feast might likewise be celebrated on The Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

    Our Lady of La Aparecida might likewise be another title for this particular devotion. Her feast day is October 12th.

    Lastly, Our Lady of Good Voyage is another title attributed to The Theotokos amongst the Portuguese. This title might likewise be an alternate title for Our Lady of Regla.


  4. Another image of The Virgin that likewise shares these attributes is that of Notre Dame D’Afrique (Our Lady of Africa). Curiously, the account of the shrine erected in her honour, shares a striking resemblance to that of how Our Lady of Regla came to be patroness of Havana, Cuba. Even more curious is the fact that the image of Our Lady of Regla is originally from that same general region (North Africa). Curious indeed.

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