Sunday, September 5, 2010

Our Lady of Good Voyage

"They call her Our Lady of Good Voyage
She's a beacon for all to see,
In her arm is a boat, in her heart the soul
Of fishermen gone to sea."
(from "Our Lady of Good Voyage" by Michael O'Leary)

I sailed on the schooner Thomas E. Lannon in Gloucester (Mass.) outer harbor for an Irish music "cruise" yesterday afternoon, but the aftermath of Hurricane Earl made the water only a bit choppy. The scenery was beautiful and, from a distance, I could see Our Lady of Good Voyage Church surrounded by the purple twilight.
Today, I went there to photograph one of my favorite statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary which stands atop the church. She holds a ship in one hand and is a symbol of hope for a safe return home for the fishermen.
The church was built for the Portuguese immigrants who settled in Gloucester beginning in 1829 and the parish was founded in 1889.
The legend of Our Lady of Good Voyage tells of a fisherman sailing in the Atlantic Ocean who could not return home because one of his oars broke. He prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the rough sea calmed, and he made it home safely.

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