The Shrines of the Starred-Cross and the Starred-Cross symbol were created and maintained by the School of Rathor field operatives. While Rathor does "magic" and has mastered the Endowment, the Starred-Cross is not inherently magical. Gen Fear is what attracts Simes in Need. A tangible symbol believed to protect, allays fear and thus actually does protect. But these things are not known outside of Rathor in the superstitious junct world.
(Source: Index card file, HOUSE OF ZEOR) Hugh wears a starred-cross around his neck under his shirt -- hadn't worn it since he was promoted to a desk job. Wearing it is illegal or inadvisable in Gen Territory (would somehow prove him guilty of sedition -- maybe because his mother came from in-Territory) if anybody knew what it was. A talisman -- protected his mother as she fled Sime-Territory. Hugh believes that while he has faith in the Starred-Cross, he can't be hurt. "If faith in a talisman removes fear, then faith protects."
For further information about the Starred Cross ---- http://www.simegen.com/sgfandom/welcommittee/StarredCrossArticle/GeoSTARREDC.html