Madonna Of The Star
Country : Portugal
From the beginning of his voyage, Columbus had ordered that the “Ave Maris Stella” (Hail! Star of the Sea) be sung daily for Our Lady’s protection. Despite all adversities encountered, the Star of the Sea heard their prayers, and on October 12, land was sighted. Columbus named the archipelago to the east of Cuba: “Sea of Our Lady” and called the largest island “Holy Mary of the Immaculate Conception.” An enthusiastic welcome awaited Columbus on his return; the bells rang out and the inhabitants of Palos came to the riverside to do him homage. But the great discoverer refused all congratulations until he had fulfilled his vows to Our Lady, made on the unknown seas. As soon as the ship cast anchor, Columbus and his men walked in procession to the nearest shrine of Our Lady to thank her, the Star of the Sea, for having guided them on their voyage, protected them from the dangers of the deep.
The title Our Lady Star of the East presents Mary in a role of great significance and importance for our day, when wars and rumors of wars fill the earth, and men go about in fearful expectation of the things that are coming on the world. The division of the world into two camps of East and West threatens war to the death for both. The failure of human effort to achieve a lasting peace has brought despair to the hearts of many men: but where man has failed, God can still prevail. Our Lady alone gives hope that the bellicose East may be pacified, not by war but by peace itself.
There is a beautiful painting of Our Lady, Star of the East; it depicts her giving the blessing of peace. She is praying, “They have no peace”, as once she prayed, “They have no wine.” We dare hope with St. Antoninus that “It is impossible that the Mother of God should pray in vain.”
Our Lady is Star of the East because of her eastern origin. The West, which like the beloved disciple, John, has taken Mary into its home, tends to forget that Mary is the royal daughter of an eastern race. The East first naturally recognized her greatness and preeminence.
She is the Morning Star which weds love of nature and love of God, combining religion and beauty. The Morning Star is the Star of the East which shines before the sun with the light of the sun, in the dark of the night. St. Anthony sings, “O Virgin of Light, no star is so bright.” The Star of the East is the herald of dawn in the darkest hour of night. Mary is the Mother of a Holy Hope for the world. Mary is the only star that shines in the dark soul-night of Russia’s godlessness, and she alone, Our Lady Star of the East, predicts the dawn of the Sun of Justice, Christ, our Lord. “Russia will be converted” are her words, “If you do penance”. If you will convert yourself, God will convert Russia; thus will result a double conversion, a turning to God of both East and West, and in God they can be peacefully one. “She alone, has destroyed the heresies of the whole world.” All Mary’s paths are peaceable. Again as in ages past, she is Star of the East.