Saintes Marie de la Mer
Sounded by the ocean
After Days on the sea;
There the Mary’s they were three.
Arriving by boat to Camargue’s rocky shore.
Winds that warmed like amber timbers,
Open hands and wide spread arms,
Welcomed to the place of the sun;
Most loved lady with ocean’s graces,
With tender spray upon sun burned faces.
Those shores whispered gentle thoughts;
The tales have been told when others forgot.
The Mary’s knows well the strength of love,
They pray for the world with love from above,
All is safe with heart, faith and mind,
Only earthly remains were left behind.
“Saintes Maries de-la-Mer is a small fishing village located on the south-central coast of Mediterranean France in the Camargue region of Bouches-du-Rhone. Archaeological excavations and local legends indicate that the site has been venerated as a holy place by a succession of cultures including the Celts, Romans and early Christians.”
In the 6th century, Arles created a monastery in the town, named St. Mary, a favorite of the fishermen.
The village became known as Notre-Dame-de-Ratis (Our Lady of the Boat – Râ being used in ratis, or boat) in reference to the three Mary, arriving by boat; a synonym for the Virgin Mary.
In the 15th century, someone “discovered” the relics of Mary Jacobe and Mary Salome, who were said to have arrived there by sea after fleeing Egypt together with Mary Magdalene. They came with the help of Joseph of Arimathaea.
In 1838, the town was renamed Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, after the three Maries (Marys) of its Catholic and local history. Shortly afterward, the pilgrimage was instituted.