Ave Maris Stella

The Ave Maris Stella is a Latin hymn that dates back to the 10th century and is usually sung at Vespers. This beautiful song was a favorite of Mother Cabrini’s. In the following letter to the Missionary Sisters we see Mother Cabrini’s deep love for Our Lady, and learn the importance of imitating the Blessed Mother.

“If you are in danger or have hearts full of consternation, turn to Mary. She is our comfort and our fortress; turn your eyes to her and you will be safe. Follow her and you will not mistake the path leading to heaven, because she is the gate of heaven. You know this well, because you never tire of singing it every evening, Felix coeli porta [gate of heaven rest] Singing it, you feel your hearts open to the most sublime hope. Happy are you who faithfully observe this beautiful devotion of singing the Ave Maris Stella in honor of Mary every evening. You know that at sea I never omit this pious homage to our beloved Mother.

“After supper I go with Sr. Anna and Sr. Michelina to the back of the ship and there, astern we let our voices echo, uniting ourselves with you in spirit, we sing the Ave Maris Stella and recite our prayers. Afterward, we stay to watch the trail this powerful engine leaves behind in its rapid, majestic movement. It looks like a great mantle. I wish you could see how beautiful it is, like fiery silver, and here and there appear resplendent stars that disappear from our eyes as we watch them, only to give place to others. This goes on without pause, one following the other, and we could watch it forever.”

The Text of Ave Maris Stella
Ave, maris stella,
Dei mater alma,
atque semper virgo,
felix cœli porta.

Sumens illud «Ave»
Gabrielis ore,
funda nos in pace,
mutans Evæ nomen.

Solve vincla reis,
profer lumen cæcis,
mala nostra pelle,
bona cuncta posce.

Monstra te esse matrem,
sumat per te precem
qui pro nobis natus
tulit esse tuus.

Virgo singularis,
inter omnes mitis,
nos culpis solutos
mites fac et castos.

Vitam præsta puram,
iter para tutum,
ut videntes Jesum
semper collætemur.

Sit laus Deo Patri,
summo Christo decus,
Spiritui Sancto
tribus honor unus. Amen.

Hail, star of the sea,
Nurturing Mother of God,
And ever Virgin
Happy gate of Heaven

Receiving that “Ave” (hail)
From the mouth of Gabriel,
Establish us in peace,
Transforming the name of “Eva” (Eve).[14]

Loosen the chains of the guilty,
Send forth light to the blind,
Our evil do thou dispel,
Entreat (for us) all good things.

Show thyself to be a Mother:
Through thee may he receive prayer
Who, being born for us,
Undertook to be thine own.

O unique Virgin,
Meek above all others,
Make us, set free from (our) sins,
Meek and chaste.

Bestow a pure life,
Prepare a safe way:
That seeing Jesus,
We may ever rejoice.

Praise be to God the Father,
To the Most High Christ (be) glory,
To the Holy Spirit
(Be) honour, to the Three equally. Amen.

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© 2015 St. Frances Cabrini Shrine.
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