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Realtor Nancy Terrell helped the Miller family find an ideal vacation home in North Myrtle Beach, S.C, right in the lap of Our Lady, Star of the Sea. Here, Nancy stands next to Mary’s statue at Our Lady Star of the Sea parish. (Courtesy of Kathleen Miller)

Finding Mary in the Bible Belt

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by Kathleen Delia Miller

Traveling on vacation to South Carolina with my family is a blessing, and I eagerly anticipate it as each summer approaches. I'd like to share a story from several years ago that my fellow members of the Thirteen of the Month Club may enjoy.

In June 2002, my family and I set out to find a vacation/rental property in the North Myrtle Beach area. Being devoted to the Blessed Mother, we discovered that finding Mary in the Bible Belt was a difficult task.

While visiting this coastal community, however, we stumbled upon (or should I say the Blessed Mother led us to) Our Lady Star of the Sea church. Moved by its enormous interior and exterior beauty and impressed with various devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary offered there, my husband, Mike, and I instantly knew we wanted to take spiritual refuge in this Marian parish.

Quickly glancing in the church bulletin, we found Realtor/parishioner Nancy Terrell to be helpful locating a suitable condominium for our vacation needs. Before long, we were owners of an amazing-yet-affordable, three-bedroom, oceanfront condo. We found Nancy refreshing, a gentle soul. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, Realtor, and devoted to Our Lady: We couldn't ask for a better friend.

Through the years, we have spent glorious moments at our beach condo basking in the sun, frolicking in the ocean, and sharing with extended family members and friends. Listening to waves gently lapping, discovering beautiful seashells in the sand, and taking in gorgeous blue skies with incredible sunsets have inspired us to better appreciate the magnificent beauty of God's creation.

Fun at the beach, however, should never keep a family from their Sunday Mass obligation. Our family participates in Mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea parish on Sunday. We also attend daily Mass when we can. While vacationing, participating in the Sacraments strengthens our souls and helps us better enjoy our time together.

My family and I also call upon the protection and guidance of the Blessed Mother while traveling. Satan never takes a vacation, even if we do. Fortunately, Our Lady is always there for us, on the job for our guidance and protection.

When traveling or on vacation, we recite the Holy Rosary and pray the Miraculous Medal novena to stay connected to Mary. Going to daily Mass, saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and spending time in Eucharistic Adoration also help us to grow more in love with Mary's Son and to balance our vacation days.

Stella Maris is an ancient title for the Blessed Virgin Mary. The translation is "Star of the Sea." Our Lady guides and protects those who travel or make their livelihoods from the ocean. Mary is the patron saint of coastal churches and a guiding star for all her children — even those vacationing in the Bible Belt.

Kathleen Delia Miller is a freelance writer living in Chesterton, Ind., with her husband and two daughters. She promotes Eucharistic Adoration in her parish.

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

Kathy - Jan 13, 2011

Thank you both for your comments. May God Bless your day with peace.

Easter A. - Jan 10, 2011

God be praised for your wonderful article, Kathy!

Transplanted New Yorker - - Dec 31, 2010

I too had a difficult time moving from Long Island, NY to a coastal community just north of North Myrtle Beach and finding a Catholic community I could connect to...Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in N. Myrlte Beach was my answer too! is a lively & faith filled parish!