A reader emailed asking about the name Pearl from a Catholic point of view, specifically wondering if it might be Marian?
Pearl is actually very Catholic, but not in that form. It’s most familiar in the form of …. Margaret.
According to behindthename, Margaret is “[d]erived from Latin Margarita, which was from Greek μαργαριτης (margarites) meaning “pearl.”” There are loads of Sts. Margaret, and loads of versions of the name. My favorites include the French Marguerite and Margaux/Margot, the Spanish Margarita, the Welsh Megan, and my most favorite of all is the Irish Mairead. And the nicknames! Some of them are names in their own right, but they can also be used as nicks: Greta, Rita, Madge, Maggie, Meg, Meta, and others. Even Daisy, because the French form Marguerite is also a noun (marguerite) meaning daisy (the flower), and I’ve heard of a couple little girls given the name Margaret and the nick Daisy.
I mean, come on. Margaret has it going on.
One thing it isn’t, though, is Marian. I couldn’t find any title/appellation referring to Our Lady that included “pearl” anywhere (if any of you can prove me wrong, I’d be beyond delighted!). Even the Irish Mairead, which contains the Irish Mary within it (Maire), has no connection to Mary.
So: Pearl. Beautiful, saintly name, and very Catholic, as long as you look at it through Margaret glasses.