How did I not know this?
While wandering around the coast of Argentina I saw several buildings with the name Stella Maris. Earlier in the year in Miramar I saw a couple of apartment buildings with that name, Stella Maris I and Stella Maris II. In Claromecó I saw more buildings with that name. Heck, even around Constitución Plaza in Buenos Aires there is a building with the name Stella Maris. So, I started to ask around, “Who is Stella Maris?” No one could answer my question. Of course, I never thought to Google the name or thinking about the origin of the words.
My thinking cap wasn’t on. Somehow, I had it in my mind that Stella Maris must have been some faded Argentine movie actress, rather like Mirtha Legrand.
Well, I was way wrong. But, when we were down in Dunamar I was reading about the history of Claromecó and found my answer. Stella Maris, Latin for star of the seas, is the ancient term used by seafarers for the Virgin Mary. That explains why the term adorns so many buildings in seaside communities. (Obviously, I grew up Protestant in a land-locked state).
In Claromecó there used to be a grotto devoted to Stella Maris. While that grotto no longer exists, I did take this photo in a shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes that is on the outskirts of Claromecó.