Saints, Uncategorized

Saints for Childbirth: Our Lady Star of the Sea

The communion of saints is an especially beautiful part of the Catholic faith. As Catholics, we believe that the saints who have gone before us are able to intercede on our behalf and many of them have passions for particular needs, just like they did while living. If you’re not familiar with this practice, it’s basically like asking your close friend or family member pray for you for a particular need. I’ve got a handful of people here on earth who I know “get it” and are very faithful in prayer when it comes to certain situations and since we believe in eternal life the saints do the same thing. They’re the all-star holy squad ready and willing to pray for us for any manner of needs, childbirth included! This is just one example of graces that are available to us that, when utilized, can help your pregnancy and birth to be a holy and sacred experience.

When it comes to picking a patron saint to befriend during your pregnancy, there are so many amazing ones to choose from. There are solid, more well-known options like St. Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary, or St. Elizabeth who felt St. John the Baptist leap in her womb, as well as lesser known saints like St. Colette. While living, St. Colette prayed for a mother struggling through a very difficult labor; the baby was successfully delivered and later grew up to be a sister in St. Colette’s convent! For more patrons of childbirth, visit Mary Haseltine’s list or even better, read her book Made For This: The Catholic Mom’s Guide to Birth. I highly recommend both her book and blog.

You can also just do a quick Google search to discover new saint friends to accompany you on your way to birth. The options are pretty much endless, which is something I love about the communion of saints. There’s one specific depiction of Blessed Virgin Mary, however, that I think is particularly suited to be a patroness of childbirth.

Stella Maris or Our Lady Star of the Sea is one of my absolute favorite images of the Blessed Mother. Frequently depicted standing on the turbulent waves of the ocean almost like a lighthouse to guide lost ships, Stella Maris is the patroness of seafarers and many coastal cities.

Given the fact that labor contractions are frequently referred to as waves, I think this makes Stella Maris the perfect labor companion. When the waves get high and seem too much for us to manage (during transition, maybe?), we can lean on Our Lady who lights the way to Christ. Just as travelers depend upon the North Star to guide them on their journey, so does Our Lady Star of the Sea guide us back to Jesus when we are feeling lost and hopeless. I can’t think of any more beautiful symbolism for labor: awash on an ocean of waves we can’t control, laboring mamas frequently need a reminder that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And when Stella Maris points us back to her Son, we get a beautiful reminder that we are never alone. Stella Maris guides us to the one Who has gone before teaching us how to lay down our lives for our babies just as He laid His down for humanity.

Hail, bright star of ocean, 
God’s own Mother blest,
Ever sinless Virgin,
Gate of heavenly rest.

Taking that sweet Ave 
Which from Gabriel came,
Peace confirm within us,
Changing Eva’s name.

Break the captives’ fetters,
Light on blindness pour,
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore.

Show thyself a Mother;
May the Word Divine,
Born for us thy Infant,
Hear our prayers through thine.

Virgin all excelling,
Mildest of the mild,
Freed from guilt, preserve us,
Pure and undefiled.

Keep our life all spotless,
Make our way secure,
Till we find in Jesus,
Joy forevermore.

Through the highest heaven
To the Almighty Three,
Father, Son and Spirit,
One same glory be. Amen.

Ave Maris Stella: Traditional Hymn

Here’s my favorite version of this hymn sung by Marian Grace.

And check out this awesome Stella Maris shirt from Brickhouse in the City…such a perfect reminder that you are made for greatness, mamas! Get it here.

Do you have a favorite saint associated with parenthood, pregnancy, or childbirth? I always love to hear which saints people are drawn to, so let me know in the comments!