Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thinking happy thoughts, and Our Lady Star of the Sea

So, after being Debbie Downer for a few days, I've decided to make a concerted effort to cheer up. After all, things really aren't that bad - they could certainly be a lot worse. I have a lot to be thankful for. Thus, I will not utter the "f" word for the foreseeable future (later edit: the "f" word is "furlough;" I realized that looked odd for those reading this post out of sequence. :)). This will be a happy blog post :)

Today, being the Feast of the Ascension, I was able to attend Mass at our new campus Newman Center, which was a real treat. I enjoyed thoroughly. I so love Mass during my regular work days. As a student, I was able to go daily. I miss that a lot. Mass isn't held every day here on campus, and now the Newman Center is removed from the main spine of buildings, so it's tougher. Parking is at a premium here, and to leave your spot during the regular semesters is a bit dangerous. But on holy days, and in the summer, it's so nice to have the option to go at lunch with just a 5 minute drive once a week. I wore my black/white velvet headband in celebration. I feel very cute :)

So, one interesting thing I found in my lunchtime trolling of etsy...A few months back, I read a book that captured my interest a bit. Yes, this is a Tiff anecdote, you have to wait for the segue...I promise, it's coming! Get a glass of wine. Ok, so book. I've reviewed a few (yet another tangent, I know, I know) books on here by Carol Goodman, whom I discovered via our library book club. The Lake of Dead Languages and The Night Villa. She has a classics background and always weaves that into her romantic suspense novels. And she must be, or was, a Catholic, because that usually comes into play to some small extent. Thus, I checked our public library catalog, and they have most of her books. After I read the two I mentioned above, I grabbed The Seduction of Water.

This book dragged a bit in the middle, I didn't love it as much as the other two. But the concept was intriguing, and overall, I enjoyed the book. It's about a young English composition instructor whose family had worked and lived at a historic hotel in the Catskills when she was growing up. Her mother was also a well-regarded author that died young under mysterious circumstances, and left unfinished a trilogy that she was composing. The main character decides to write a memoir about her mother, and embarks on a quest at the old hotel to find out if her mother ever kept a journal, or otherwise had unpublished and as yet undiscovered writings, that she could consult.

At any rate, in one part of the story, the main character (Iris - cool name, huh?) is led to the Brooklyn church where her mother attended for a time and where she herself was baptized - Our Lady Star of the Sea. This stuck out to me, because I had never heard of Mary with this designation before.

Turns out, this is a fairly ancient title for Mary, and is an indication of her role as the light guiding Christians to Christ, as well as a special patronage for those who travel or earn their livelihood on the sea. Wikipedia has a pretty good article on it. The name really stuck with me; it's a beautiful image.

Ok, so back to etsy :) I was browsing through some rosaries and other Catholic goodies yesterday at lunch, and found this - a chaplet to Our Lady Star of the Sea. My heart rate instantly picked up - I live for this stuff, as sad as that is. Instantly, I knew that this rang a bell for me, but I couldn't remember from where. Then I remembered The Seduction of Water. Ha ah! Made my day :)

There is an explanation of how to say the chaplet here. Apparently the 12 beads in the chaplet represent the 12 stars of Mary's crown, and on each one you meditate on a Hail Mary as well as an invocation:

"Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Help and Protect us! Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands."

Cool stuff, huh? I am a big believer in the aid of prayer beads. It's so comforting to have a physical reminder in my hands as I pray, and to carry them around with me as I go about my day. I don't own many chaplets, rosary beads are my big thing, but still, I love this. Yet, I so do not need to spend $27 on a chaplet, as beautiful as it is. Sigh. I'm going to go home and revel in my yarn some more...

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