My family and I once went on a boat trip to try to see dolphins and whales. The tiny boat chugged along, and soon, we lost sight of land. Fog stayed around us. It colored the water gray and stopped us from seeing far. I love boats and water, but I felt scared. I lost my feeling of which direction the land had been. We couldn't find the dolphins and whales, and our only friends seemed to be a few dark seabirds that flew overhead. But were they flying farther out to sea to find food? Or toward land perhaps to rest?
Of course, our boat captain had instruments he could read to find his way. Long ago, sailors could find their way using stars and compasses.
But how do we find our way when we don't know what to do? Maybe when something has made us sad or angry? St. Jerome, a wise saint, talked about St. Mary, mother of Jesus, as the star of the sea. He said that she can help guide us when we don't know what to do, the way that stars once guided sailors. We can say a prayer asking Mary to help us, and we can call her by the special name, Star of the Sea.
Even today, boats, like our whale-watching boat, head home to safe harbors where churches named St. Mary Star of the Sea wait to welcome tired ship captains, fisherfolk, and sailors. There are churches named after St. Mary, Star of the Sea in Astoria, Oregon; Brookings, Oregon; Sausalito, California near San Francisco; and near San Diego, California. St. Mary waits to welcome people all along the Pacific coast and along coasts around the world. She also waits to welcome all of us in prayer.
I'm Sherry Weaver Smith, author of The Wolf and the Shield: An Adventure with Saint Patrick. I like to have adventures in getting outside in nature, crafting, and cooking as I explore our Catholic faith with my daughter. We want to be inspired by the saints!