Sailors living on endless expanses of the water have a unique perspective of the sky and heavenly stars above. They see the wonder, and the power of the sea; as well as, the hope born in the images of the stars. The title of Our Lady as Star of the Sea is attributed to the 4th century Doctor of the Church, St. Jerome. St. Bernard of Clairvaux was also a devotee of the Blessed Mother as the Star of the Sea. The Catholic Church traditionally celebrates the feast of Mary, Star of the Sea on September 27th.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – 1153) had a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother and wrote extensively about this dedication. One of the passages by St. Bernard alludes to the refuge of sailors in Our Lady, Star of the Sea such as pictured above in the miraculous rescue of sailors by Our Lady of Vailankanni, when he 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. Should anger, or avarice, or fleshly desire violently assail the frail vessel of your soul, look to the star, call upon Mary.”

The text of the hymn, Ave Maris Stella (Hail Star of the Sea) was written in the 9th century and was found in the Divine Office of that period. The hymn reflects the sentiments of St. Bernard’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, but pre-dated him by about approximately one-hundred years.

The lyrics of the beautiful hymn are shown here, and can be heard here

Ave, Maris Stella,
Dei Mater alma,
Atque semper virgo,
Felix cœli porta.

Sumens illud Ave,
Gabrielis ore,
Funda nos in pace,
Mutans Evae nomem.

Solve vincula reis,
Profer lumen caecis,
Mala nostra pelle,
Bona cuncta posce.

Monstra te esse matrem,
Sumat per te precem,
Qui pro nobis natus,
Tulit esse tuus.

Virgo singularis,
Inter omnes mitis,
Nos culpis solutos,
Mite fac et castos.

Vitam praesta puram,
Iter para tutum,
Ut videntis Jesum,
Semper collaetemur.

Sit laus Deo Patri,
Summo Christo decus,
Spiritui Sancto,
Tribus honor unus. Amen.
English Translation
Hail, O Star of the sea,
Nurturing Mother of God,
And ever Virgin,
Happy gate of Heaven.

Taking as ours that Ave,
With which Gabriel saluted You,
Establish us in peace,
Changing the name (inheritance) of Eve.

Break the chains of our sins,
Give light to our blindness,
Expel evil from us,
And pray for all blessings.

Show yourself to be a Mother:
Take the prayers we offer you,
To Him, who was born for us,
So that He accepts them as yours.

O most excellent Virgin ,
Mildest of the mild,
Absolve our guilt,
Make us mild and chaste.

Give us a pure life,
Make our path secure,
So that we may find in Jesus,
The perpetual joy.

Praise to God the Father,
To the Most High Christ glory,
To the Holy Spirit,
The same one honor to the Three. Amen.
Ave Maris Stella (Hail Star of the Sea)

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Catholic Encyclopedia – Ave Maris Stella – – Our Lady of Vailankanni –

Epic Pew – Feast of the Star of the Sea –

Tradition in Action – Ave Maris Stella Lyrics Latin/English –