Spotlight on: Aurora

My reader/friend Grace asked me a while ago (how long? A month or even two?) if I would spotlight the name Aurora — please all take solace from knowing that I do eventually do what I say I will, even if it takes a while!

As Grace pointed out to me, she was inspired in regards to the name Aurora by this passage from the Canticle of Zechariah:

In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, and shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79)

It’s the “dawn” bit that pointed toward Aurora, as Aurora is Latin for “dawn.” What a great way to name a baby after a favorite Bible passage! And here of course the dawn refers to Jesus, which is so awesome.

Aurora can also be Marian, as I wrote about here. I referenced this quote from Ven. Mary of Agreda’s Mystical City of God:

[The] most poor and insignificant hut or cave, to which most holy Mary and Joseph betook themselves … was the first temple of light (Malachi 4, 2, Psalm III, 4) and … the house of the true Sun of justice, which was to arise for the upright of heart from the resplendent Aurora Mary, turning the night of sin into the daylight of grace.” (no. 468)

The “resplendent Aurora Mary” — lovely! A quick Google search also resulted in the Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary by St. Bonaventure, which has as Chapter XI, “Mary for her sake and ours is fitly compared to the Aurora.” (“Aurora” in reference to Mary is mentioned thirty five times!) And in the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this is the closing prayer for Vespers:

Hail, wonderful dial Ezechias of old
Beheld when the prophet His destiny told;
The Word, That incarnate in you did become,
Receded, descending to man’s lowly home.
Nine choirs He passed of superior powers,
To take up the tenth in this nature of ours.
The beams of this sun Are the light of your face,
And you the aurora Preceding his race.
The serpent that lurks In night’s desperate gloom .
You crushed, and caused, All beauties
to bloom.

I have caused a never-fading light to rise in heaven;
And like a luminous veil have spread it over the earth

(The name Dawn could be used also, of course, but I think today’s naming sensibilities are more in line with Aurora.)

Aurora’s one of those great names that’s used in lots of different languages — a pan-European name, really (usage: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, English, German, Romanian, Finnish, Roman Mythology). The French Aurore is stunning as well, and while I didn’t find anything when I searched for “St. Aurora,” I did find this (Google translated into English) about St. Aurore (aka Aure and Aurea), “Abbess of Paris and spiritual daughter of St. Eloi and St. Columba.”

Secularly, you may know it from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, as Aurora was her given name, or the aurora borealis (the northern lights), which is a lovely reference. Really, there are loads of gorgeous reasons to consider Aurora.

And the nicknames! Lots of good nicknames for Aurora, which is good, as it seems (from the comments on Behind the Name anyway) that a lot of people find it hard to say: Rory or Ro, Aura and Aurie and Aurea. (I once heard of a set of twins named Aurora and Therese nicked Rory and Reece. Cute!)

What do you all think of Aurora? Do you know anyone with this name? Does she go by the full Aurora, or a nickname?


25 thoughts on “Spotlight on: Aurora

  1. Oh, Kate, what a great spotlight! There is a lot to talk about with this name, making me like it all the better.

    Also, according to that fun naming tool you posted about last week, my name would’ve been Aurora had I been born in the 1950’s. Quite fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooh, I love Aurora Mary. Too bad I already have an Elanor Mary because that is really a great combo.

    I have to admit I have a tough time getting past the “Sleeping Beauty” association, though. 🙂


    • Oh! So Sleeping Beauty is a bad association for you? I read a lot of comments on others’ sites where people loved that connection — even wanting to name their daughters after Princess Aurora. All the religious-ness has taken over in my mind and it’s all I think now re: Aurora, but I don’t mind the Sleeping Beauty bit …


      • Not a bad association, per se, I just wouldn’t want “like the Disney princess?” to be the first thing everyone says when they hear her name. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I gotcha.

        I was just thinking that I wonder if kids even know that’s her name anymore? Or would that be more of a parent response? Do kids watch Sleeping Beauty these days? I banned it in our house years ago because my oldest saw 1.3 seconds of Maleficent and had nightmares for weeks and then I never really thought about it again … but we don’t really make a point to watch princess movies either … if we had girls maybe we would?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Do you mean the new movie Maleficent? We haven’t seen it either … I meant the scenes in Sleeping Beauty with her … they are scary intense! At least for my firstborn when he was still a sweet wee thing and only child (he’s 10 now and the oldest of 6 boys) …

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the new movie. No idea of the princess = Aurora in that one though. My kids don’t seem to mind the animated Maleficent. 🙂

        Liked by 4 people

      • I don’t mind it either—Sleeping Beauty is my favorite of the old Disney fairytale movies, it has such a cool aesthetic and such 1950’s charm. I bet the 1950’s parents who used Aurora in the number 400-or-so spot were inspired by the film!

        Liked by 2 people

    • Also … you could still do it! Aurora Mary! I know loads of families where the girls all have a version of Mary in their names (as in my family), or Mary as their first name but they go by their middle (all my dad’s girl first cousins), or all the same middle name for religious or other reasons, as a nice connection between them. You can totally do it!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • My younger daughter is Violet Elizabeth, and I guess Elizabeth is sort of Marian (cousin of Mary) but not really? We already have a quasi-Marian name planned for #6, assuming it’s a girl. Still, it’s something to put on the list. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love Violet Elizabeth too! And yes — I’ve often thought of Elizabeth as being “quasi-Marian”! If someone were to ask me for some Marian names, I don’t think I’d include, but she’s so linked with Mary in my mind that it just feels so Marian. And Violet is Marian too! Gorgeous combo!

        Annnnndddd it’s killing me that you just referenced the quasi-Marian name you have planned for another girl, and didn’t share. I get it, secrets are fine, just ……… I’d love to know!!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I adore the idea of Aurora Mary. Since I have Stella Maris and Regina Coeli on my own hypothetical Marian name list, Aurora Mary would fit right in, but I find Aurora hard to say.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh gosh … I’m all swoony over the idea of sisters Stella Maris, Regina Coeli, and Aurora Mary! How fun that would be! Darn it all, I find it hard to say too. 😦 This morning I’m actually loving Aurore, because I find it easier to say!


      • I think I told you there’s a city around here named Aurora that is kind of…meh. Anyway, with that always being nearby and locals having to say it so much, the difficulty in pronouncing it never occurred to me. Lol

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Also: I am a huge fan of Classic Disney, Mary Blair concept art, etc., so a 1950’s Disney name would be kind of cool for me in that regard. I’m keeping it on the list. Given that our kids just named our kitten Alice (another Classic Disney and SUPER Mary Blair name, lol!), I need to fill the naming list back out. Although I’m still pretty stuck on Edith & Iris. Iris, the name that we all know is a sketchy choice with our last name. 😁

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I have a niece with this name… her mother also has the name “Dawn,” so it was given to her as a connection to her mother and also a reference to the Aurora Borealis. They aren’t religious, but I LOVE the religious connections here… I would consider using it if it wasn’t already “taken.” I think it’s one of the most gorgeous Marian titles (and, of course, I love that it is connected directly to Christ, too).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kate, the live-action Maleficent is a reealy cool origins story for her, it makes her a guardian, albeit a reluctant one, to Aurora. She’s a mother-like figure, whose love awakens Aurora after her own curse puts Aurora into the death-luke slumber.

    Liked by 1 person

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