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Star of the Sea

The title "Star of the Sea" (Latin: Stella Maris) for the Virgin Mary has a long history dating back to the early medieval era:

One of the first known uses comes from a hymn to Mary by Venantius Fortunatus (c. 530-600 AD) where he praises her as the "Virgin Mary! Star of the Sea, kindly mother of God, mercifully grant your holy aid to this people who honor you."

By the 8th century, the title was popular enough that a church was named Stella Maris Monastery in what is now Ireland. This indicates it was already a recognized Marian epithet. 

In the 11th-12th century, St. Bernard of Clairvaux used the term in several writings including a homily where he described how Mary guides Christians: "If the winds of temptation arise; If you are driven upon the rocks of tribulation look to the star, call on Mary."

The daily prayers for the medieval Knights Templar are believed to have invoked Mary's intercession as "Bright Star of the Sea".


By the 14th century, poets like Dante Alighieri further popularized the title Star of the Sea referring to Mary guiding souls to heavenly glory.


So from very early on, this eloquent expression which blends Mary's role as loving guide over the Church with connections to nautical navigation images became widely employed especially in the context of spiritual protection against metaphorical "storms."

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