Mary’s miraculous medal

I was so captivated by the Franciscan Crown, as described by Miles and Gianopoulos in Saint Anthony of Padua (1991), that I began praying it using my five-decade rosary.  Of course, no matter where I started decades six and seven I usually lost my place.  So I designed my own!

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Miraculous medal

Because the Franciscan Crown is a celebration of events in the Blessed Mother’s life with Jesus, I envisioned a rosary with Mary in mind.  For this reason, my Franciscan Crown uses Catherine Labouré’s miraculous medal of Mary (MMM) rather than the traditional crucifix.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t until a friend asked about the medal on the Crown that I remembered the countless mailings I’d received from both the Association of the Miraculous Medal (AMM) and the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal (CAMM) over the years.

Virtual novena

When I looked online to learn more and read the story behind the miraculous medal, I found not only CAMM’s print version of the prayers, but also the virtual novena to pray aloud with Brother Towey.  The website was such a treasure trove that I included the link on our church website.  Until I discovered the link was broken.

Printable novena

I searched online and discovered CAMM’s revamped, user-friendly site.  I especially liked the YouTube version of the virtual novena, since it had more photos to view during the prayers.  The only drawback, as I told Father Tom in an email, was that “the novena prayers aren’t print-friendly anymore.”

Still, I wasn’t concerned.  I’d enjoyed CAMM’s audio novena so much in the past that I’d saved its accompanying written prayers to a desktop file (2008; below).

But why not spread the word so that others can share in the Blessed Mother’s love?

Intercessory power

AMM-healing-aDuring my convalescence from a triply-broken kneecap, I experienced the healing power of the miraculous medal of Mary and the Franciscan Crown, which prompted me to bead Crowns for friends and interested others.

In no time at all, friends keeping company with the Blessed Mother shared their miracles.  Three didn’t have cancer as numerous tests had suggested.  One in dire need of a kidney suddenly experienced improved health for an extended period of time before finally undergoing a successful organ transplant.  Another received the unexpected blessing of a second son after the tragic death of a firstborn son, and still another regained the sense of feeling she’d lost since her surgery.

After seven whopper miracles, I stopped documenting.  I decided to just walk in faith, give thanks and praise along the way, and rejoice with each shared story.

Imagine.  To experience the Blessed Mother’s intercessory power, I only had to pray the Franciscan Crown.  Alone.  Without meeting others in one locale, without reciting prayers at a specific time.  And I never asked for anything.  I simply conversed with Our Lady through my prayer beads… and envisioned her walking beside me on the beach.  By focusing on Mary’s seven joys with Jesus, I sensed God so strongly that I didn’t have a care in the world.  I forgot myself, and things worked out just fine.

So, yes.  I’m definitely a believer!

Miracles big and small are possible, so why not embark on a special journey with the Blessed Mother through the MMM novena and the Franciscan Crown?  After all, she’s “compassionate… to all… devoted children who… call… with confidence” (Our Lady to San Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin; the Word among us, Advent 2011, p. M36).

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Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope.  To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.  To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.  Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and, after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.  Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal…  Virgin Mother of God, Mary Immaculate, we unite ourselves to you under your title of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.  May this medal be for each one of us a sure sign of your motherly affection for us and a constant reminder of our filial duties toward you.  While wearing it, may we be blessed by your loving protection and preserved in the grace of your son.  Most powerful Virgin, Mother of our Savior, keep us close to you every moment of our lives so that, like you, we may live and act according to the teaching and example of your son.  Obtain for us, your children, the grace of a happy death so that, in union with you, we may enjoy the happiness of heaven forever.  Amen.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.
St. Catherine Labouré, pray for us (AMM, 2010).

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (2)…  You are blessed among all women!  Blessed are you who have believed!  The Mighty One worked marvels for you!  The marvel of your divine motherhood!  And in view of it, the marvel of your immaculate conception!  The marvel of your “let it be done to me!”

You were so continually associated to the whole work of our redemption, associated with the cross of our savior [that] your heart was pierced at the side of his heart.  And now, in the glory of your son, you unceasingly intercede for us, poor sinners.

You watch over the Church whose mother you are.  You watch over each of your children.  You obtain from God, for us, all these graces symbolized by the rays of light coming from your open hands.  If only we dare to ask them from you and come to you with the confidence and simplicity of a child.

And so you guide us unceasingly toward your son, Jesus (AMM Bulletin 44:7; October 2011, p. 3).

November 21, 2012

AMM2016-3a“Let us ask Our Lady’s help today in living our own dedication to the full, in whatever state God has placed us, in accordance with the specific vocation we have received from the Lord” (Father Francis Fernandez Carvajal).

May 8, 2014

“In trial or difficulty I have recourse to Mother Mary, whose glance alone is enough to dissipate every fear” (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

September 11, 2014

I simply wish to note that the figure of Mary of Nazareth sheds light on womanhood as such by the very fact that God in the sublime event of the Incarnation of his Son entrusted himself to the ministry, the free and active ministry of a woman (St. Pope John Paul II).

October 11, 2014

“Let us run to Mary and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence” (St. Francis de Sales).

March 25, 2015

O sinner, be not discouraged but have recourse to Mary in all your necessities.  Call her to your assistance, for such is the divine will that she should help in every kind of necessity (St. Basil the Great).

August 22, 2015

“Immaculate Heart of Mary, cause of our joy, pray for us” (St. Francis of Assisi).

October 8, 2015

If you wish to convert anyone to the fullness of the knowledge of Our Lord and of his mystical body, then teach him the rosary.  One of two things will happen.  Either he will stop saying the rosary— or he will get the gift of faith (Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen).

October 29, 2015

The Christian heart has always known Mary as the essence of compassion and love to whom man can turn with particular and unreserved confidence.  This is expressed so well by the intimate name that was given her from the beginning, the name of mother (Fr. Romano Guardini in The Rosary of Our Lady).


Immaculate Conception Cathedral – Brownsville, TX


Pdf file…  MMM novena prayers (printable) from CAMM

Links of interest…  AMM: medal’s story and its meaning / prayers for all occasionsvotive lights / virtual tour of the national shrine…  CAMM: sermons & novenas videos / vigil lights / who we are…  Catherine Labouré: & the miraculous medal (more) / have you got enough / miraculous medal / November 27 / OLRL booklet / sister of charity…  Divine Intimacy meditation: Mary’s hope…  Franciscan Crown: seraphic rosary / seven joys…  God’s special weapon against evil: Spiritual mothers…  Mary: about / & the Holy Spirit / beloved of the Trinity / gate of heaven / page / pray for usprayer corner / untier of knots…  Miracle hunter: Miracles & evangelization…  Our Lady of Corpus Christi (OLCC) website…  St. Anthony’s GuildThat wondrous miraculous medal of the Immaculate Conception…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Faces of Mary…  Marian devotions…  Mary’s seven joys…  May flowers
…  My Franciscan Crown…  Our Lady…  Repeated prayers…  Si quaeris miracula

Mary’s seven joys

The Blessed Mother appeared to a Franciscan novitiate who daily had visited her in prayer from the time he was a child.

“Would you like to learn how to pray in a manner pleasing to me?” Our Lady asked.

The Franciscan Crown, known also as the Rosary of the Seven Joys of Mary, is more than a celebration of the Blessed Mother’s life with Jesus.  It’s an endearing journey resplendent with everyday miracles.

How to pray the Franciscan Crown

Begin each decade with an Our Father and follow with ten Hail Mary’s.  Then, at the end, pray two additional Hail Mary’s for a total of seventy-two, which represent the years Our Lady lived on earth.  The Crown has no other prayers before, between, or after the decades, unless you count the sign of the cross before and after the rosary.

Mary’s seven joys

First, the annunciation…
Second, the visitation…
Third, the nativity…
Fourth, the adoration of the Magi…
Fifth, the finding in the temple…
Sixth, the apparition of the risen Jesus…
Seventh, the assumption and coronation of Mary…

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Ave Regina Caelorum

Hail, Queen of the heavens.  Hail, Lady of the angels.  Root of our salvation and our gateway to heaven, the light of the world was born to you.  Be joyful, Virgin of glory, most beautiful of all in heaven.  We greet you now, true beauty.  Pray for us to Christ.

Solemn Act of Consecration by Pope Pius VII

Most holy virgin, Mary, tender mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the sacred heart of Jesus and the request of the vicar of your son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your sorrowful and immaculate heart, queen of the most holy rosary; and we recommend to you all the people of our country and all the world.

Please accept our consecration, dearest mother, and use us as you wish to accomplish your designs in the world.

O sorrowful and immaculate heart of Mary, queen of the most holy rosary and queen of the world, rule over us together with the sacred heart of Jesus Christ, our king.  Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the rosary more faithfully.

We come with confidence to you, throne of grace and mother of fair love.  Inflame us with the same divine fire which has inflamed your own sorrowful and immaculate heart.  Make our hearts and homes your shrine; and, through us, make the heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home.  Amen.

 January 20, 2013

Mary can teach us kindness….  “They have no wine,” she told Jesus at Cana.  Let us, like her, be aware of the needs of the poor, be they spiritual or material; and let us, like her, give generously of the love and grace we are granted (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta).

March 25, 2013

The Virgin Mary teaches us what it means to live in the Holy Spirit and what it means to accept the news of God in our life.  She conceived Jesus by the work of the Holy Spirit; and every Christian, each one of us, is called to accept the Word of God, to accept Jesus inside of us, and then to bring him to everyone (Pope Francis).

August 3, 2014

“A joyful heart is more easily made perfect than one that is cast down” (St. Philip Neri).

August 20, 2014

“Let us not imagine that we obscure the glory of the Son by the praise we lavish on the Mother; for the more she is honored, the greater is the glory of her son” (St. Bernard).

October 10, 2014

Go to the Madonna.  Love her!  Always say the rosary.  Say it well.  Say it as often as you can!  Be souls of prayer.  Never tire of praying; it is what is essential.  Prayer shakes the heart of God; it obtains necessary graces!
(St. Pio of Pietrelcina).

October 11, 2014

You must know that when you “hail” Mary, she immediately greets you!  Don’t think that she is one of those rude women, of whom there are so many.  On the contrary, she is utterly courteous and pleasant.  If you greet her, she will answer you right away and converse with you! (St. Bernardine of Siena).

October 7, 2015

The rosary is a very old devotion which has exercised an immeasurable influence.  It is, above all, dear to pious people and belongs to their lives like the work they do and the bread they eat (Romano Guardini, The Rosary of Our Lady).

“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!”  No creature has ever said anything that was more pleasing to me, nor will anyone ever be able to find or say to me anything that pleases me more (Our Lady to St. Mechtilde).

April 28, 2017

O Mary, my queen and my mother, remember I am all yours.  Keep me and guard me as your property and possession (St. Louis de Montfort).

May 15, 2017

Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life without the help of the Blessed Mother.  Love the Madonna and pray the rosary, for her rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today.  All graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother (St. Padre Pio in The Rosary: Your Weapon for Spiritual Warfare).

St. Joseph Chapel – Capuchin Monastery – Alamo, TX


Immaculate Conception Cathedral – Brownsville, TX

Pdf files…  MMM novena prayers (English/Spanish; printable) from CAMM

Links of interest…  AMM: medal’s story and its meaning / prayers for all occasions /
votive lights / virtual tour of the national shrine…  Ave Maria Caelorum…  Blessing of herbs on the feast of the Assumption…  Blue rosary…  CAMM: sermons & novenas videos / vigil lights / who we are…  Catherine Labouré & the miraculous medal / have you got enough / miraculous medal / Nov 27 / OLRL booklet  / sister of charity…  Christ in us through the rosary…  Does Mary hear our prayers like God…  Five ways to approach Jesus through Mary / Franciscan Crown: seraphic rosary / seven joys…  Hope, the rosary, & the Blessed Mother…  How children keep us humble…  Mary: beloved of the Trinity / celebrating May / corner / devotion / gate of heaven / litany / meditations / mother (of the church) / page prayers (miracles – more – novena –  queen of angels) / untier of knots  Our Lady of Corpus Christi (OLCC) website…  Rosary: album treasurebest prayer for men / spiritual sword of Mary…  St. Anthony’s Guild…  St. Mechtilde: about (more) / book / for souls in purgatoryprayers / revelations…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Faces of Mary…  Marian devotions…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  May flowers…  My Franciscan Crown…  Our Lady…  Repeated prayers

My Franciscan Crown


May 6, 2006, I broke my right kneecap in three places and was confined to the house except for the periodic visits to the orthopedic surgeon.  After six weeks, the doctor gave me two choices: be driven to the physical therapist’s office two or three times a week or do the physical therapy on my own.

My looming reality involved three dilemmas.  I had to drive more than four hundred miles all together to take my doctoral comprehensive exams mid-August.  Steven had advisory council responsibilities that couldn’t be dismissed or handed off to someone else.  And I wasn’t coping well with being a backseat passenger: motion sickness is the pits.

The way I saw it, I had no choice.  I had to drive myself to comps, so I had to become my own taskmaster.

Change of pace

Until the doctor’s visit that day, my right leg had been in an immobilizer, not a cast.  I’d had to be very careful not to bend my knee at all.  The pain had been so unbearable that I hadn’t been able to sit at the computer, even with my leg propped up.

Accustomed to always doing, moving, problem solving, I’d had a tough time accepting that I had a legitimate excuse for not working on dissertation or preparing for comps.  I couldn’t slow down mentally, though eventually I began to enjoy the little things I’d said I’d do “one day soon,” namely observing the black-bellied whistling ducks from the back porch, learning to identify the birds at Steven’s feeders, and reading the stockpile of magazines I’d salvaged from the recycling bin for more than a year.  Yet the moment the doctor said “start” I was raring to go.

Purposeful walking

My daily regimen on the beach began the next morning.  I managed only a mile and a half unaccompanied.  The rest of the time through mid-July, I walked about three miles daily with the best company ever.

My rosary kept me focused, smiling, and upbeat, although I dreaded Tuesdays and Fridays.  I told God that the sorrowful mysteries made me very sad.

Isn’t there a way you could fix it so I don’t have to say them?  Isn’t there another way to pray the rosary? 

BW32813-21Still, I continued with the rosary in the traditional manner.

Answered prayer

The pain and the swelling were constant.  But the sand and the water under my bare feet, the sunshine, and all else out there in the real world made me see what I’d been missing while chained to my desk.

After my walks I usually plopped onto Steven’s Olongapo chair, put my legs up on the ottoman, and read.

The Infant Jesus of Prague (Nemec, 1978, 1986) and Saint Anthony of Padua (Miles & Gianopoulos, 1991) beckoned to me from the bookshelf.  I’d bought them at the
St. Jude Shrine gift shop in Chicago two and a half years earlier but hadn’t had time to read them.


Mostly, though, I reflected on my situation.

I didn’t take meds for the pain, and I didn’t complain.  I was glad to be out and about.  I was grateful for every step I took because I could shower without being afraid to hurt myself, dress quickly, walk up and down stoops, be a front-seat passenger, attend Mass at church, and receive Communion.  I thanked God for allowing me a break from my studies and for having a weird sense of humor about getting me alone time with him.  And then it happened! 

I got to page sixty-eight in St. Anthony’s book.

I couldn’t believe my eyes!  I reread the page several times.  The Franciscan Crown was the answer to my prayers!

Thank you, dear God!  Thank you, St. Anthony!  

I was ecstatic beyond words.  The answer had been under my nose since January 2004, but I’d first needed to ask the question.

Another request

The following day I began praying the Franciscan Crown using my traditional five-decade rosary.

Two and a half Franciscan Crowns equal one mile, I told God.  It’s tough remembering which decade I’m on, so now I need a rosary with seven decades.

Quick response

The Knights of Columbus at St. Paul’s had their monthly breakfast the following Sunday.  It was Steven’s first time to attend, so we had no idea that family members were also invited.

SPC12316-18We quickly befriended two lovely couples— Olivia and George, a devoted rosary maker, and Mary and Jack, leader of the Legion of Mary— who listened with stifled amusement to the story of how I’d had to break my kneecap to discover the Franciscan Crown.

“I’ve never heard of the Franciscan Crown,” George told me.  “If you want a rosary with seven decades, I’ll make you one!”

Six days later at Saturday evening Mass, Olivia came up to hug me hello.  “George has a surprise for you!”

George’s baby-blue Franciscan Crown filled me with both joy and gratitude.

God had responded through George!  George had believed without seeing the page in St. Anthony’s book!

My Franciscan Crown

I continued to use George’s rosary on my walks that summer, but I envisioned a different design.  The Franciscan Crown celebrates Mary’s motherhood so I associate it not with a crucifix, but with the miraculous medal of Mary.

Steven gave me the three medals that had belonged to his mom until she died in 1998.  He also took me to Walmart to buy assorted beads.

I used Steven’s medals on the first three Franciscan Crowns I beaded.  The first rosary was a prototype, so it was for me.  I did better on the second one, which Steven wanted.  The third one, intended for mom, was beautiful.  I placed the big beads close to each other so her arthritic hands wouldn’t struggle.

I knew Mom would pooh-pooh on the idea of this strange new way of praying the rosary, but I saved the rosary for her anyway.  We gave it to her during one of our trips down to Brownsville.

When Mom finally tried the Franciscan Crown, she liked it so much that it’s the only rosary she prays now.  She was thrilled to get the second one (right), which she keeps at her bedside for nighttime meditation.  She even asked for extras to give to her visitors.

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Wishful thoughts

Summer 2006, my knee still swollen and achy every day, I resolved to get back to normal.  I dialogued with God as I prayed.  And the more I enjoyed my Franciscan Crown, the more I wished others would pray with me.

Thinking how ridiculous my idea must’ve sounded, I thought, They don’t have to be here walking on the beach with me.  They can be wherever they are.  I just want to share this rosary so that others can experience the joy that comes from praying it. 

I told God, I want for us to be called the Society of the Franciscan Crown.

It’s a bit much to ask, I know.  This is why, until now, I’d only shared my thoughts with our Why Catholic? church family.  Still, one never knows unless one plants the seed.

Miraculous healing

When I returned to the doctor’s office for my scheduled appointment, July thirteenth, I knew it’d be my last visit.  I was so excited that I contained myself by reviewing for comps in the waiting room.  The doctor hadn’t seen me in weeks and was quite impressed to see me walk as if I’d never broken my kneecap at all.

I thanked him.

“No,” he shook his head as he lowered his humbled gaze and raised his hand upward.

“You’re right,” I said knowingly.  “God gave me the power to heal myself.”

We both knew he’d done nothing more than check my x-rays and talk with me briefly during our visits.

Looking back

May through July had been Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken.  I’d fallen and seriously broken a bone for the first time.  I’d been forced into molasses mode, but my recovery had been quite a learning experience; my self-imposed walks on the beach, a journey in faith.

Dialoguing with God and praying my Franciscan Crown had gotten me through the ordeal.  I’d recovered beyond the doctor’s expectations despite the scary, frustrating moments in his office.

God’s listening ear

During the healing process I beaded many crowns for friends, friends of friends, several family members, some folks at St. Paul’s, and even some strangers.  With each one I gifted, my wish to have others pray with me came true.  Yet the best part of the experience was God’s listening ear; the most amazing part, the miracles.

I delighted in documenting those wishes come true! 

Joyful experience

Deli71709b-mfc2Of course, I’ve learned more about the Franciscan Crown since then.  Known as the seven joys of the Blessed Virgin, this rosary dates back to 1422, is celebrated August 27
(St. Monica’s feast day), and is part of a beautiful story.

Although the devotion varies slightly depending on the source, its seven decades exclude prayers recited before, between, and after those of the traditional rosary.  But what I especially love is that each joy (decade) in the life of the Blessed Virgin is reminiscent not only of Mary’s love as mother of Jesus, but also of one’s sweet recollections as parent.

Finally, because the Franciscan Crown is synonymous with tranquility, embarking on a faith journey with Mary is such an extraordinary experience that I’m compelled to share it with others.

June 26, 2014

Put your heart aside.  Duty comes first; but, when fulfilling your duty, put your heart into it.  Be gentle (St. Josemaría Escrivá).

September 12, 2014

In doubts, in difficulties, call upon Mary.  Don’t let her name depart from your lips; never allow it to leave your heart.  And, that you may more surely obtain the assistance of her prayer, don’t neglect to walk in her footsteps (St. Bernard of Clairvaux).

October 7, 2014

“The holy rosary is the storehouse of countless blessings” (Blessed Alan de la Roche).

October 16, 2014

The essence of the rosary is a steady incitement to holy sympathy.  If a person becomes very important to us, we are happy to meet someone who is attached to him.  We see his image mirrored in another life and we see it anew.  Our eyes meet two eyes that also love and see.  Those eyes add their range of vision to ours, and our gaze may now go beyond the narrowness of our own ego and embrace the beloved being, previously seen only from one side.  The joys that the other person experienced, and also the pains he suffered, become so many strings whose vibrations draw from our heart new notes, new understanding, and new responses (Fr. Romano Guardini, 1885-1968).

May 6, 2015

Do not be afraid.  Do not be satisfied with mediocrity.  Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch (St. John Paul II).

May 13, 2015

“Mary is our great helper; she it is who presents to her divine Son all our prayers, our tears, and our sighs; she it is who obtains the graces for us which we need for our sanctification” (St. John Vianney).

May 19, 2015

“To speak heart to heart with God, you must love to be with him alone” (St. Peter Celestine).

May 18, 2016

Mary, I depend on you totally as a child on its mother, that in return you may possess me, protect me, and transform me into Jesus.  May the light of your faith dispel the darkness of my mind; may your profound humility take the place of my pride; may your contemplation replace the distractions of my wandering imagination; and may your virtues take the place of my sins.  Lead me deeper into the mystery of the cross that you may share your experience of Jesus’s thirst with me (Mother Teresa in Thirsting for God: Daily Meditations).

May 30, 2017

The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same.  Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination (Don Williams Jr.).

October 24, 2017

It is Mary on whom the rosary is centered in a focus ever new.  This prayer means a lingering in the world of Mary, whose essence was Christ.  In this way, the rosary is, in its deepest sense, a prayer of Christ (Romano Guardini in The Rosary of Our Lady).

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Pdf file…  MMM novena prayers (printable) from CAMM’s virtual novena

Links of interest…  Devotion to Mary brought me closer to God…  Franciscan: Article V / blogs / crown (Aug 27 – more) / resources / rosary…  How I pray the rosary with my friends (the saints)…  Mary: God’s spiritual masterpiece…  National Shrine of St. Francis…  Our Lady of the Way…  Road not taken (Frost, 1916)…  Rosary: The spiritual sword of Mary…  St. Paul the Apostle Church: facebook / parishes online / website…  What Robert Frost taught me about feeling alone

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Faces of Mary…  Lady of sorrows…  Lourdes novenas…  Marian devotions…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  May flowers…  Our Lady…  Powerful intercessor…  Prayers and blessings…  Repeated prayers…  Saintly connections…  St. Monica…  St. Peregrine relic…  Stella Maris