Names for the Sorrowful Mysteries

A few weeks ago Shelby suggested a post on names for the Mysteries of the Rosary, which I loved right away — what a great idea! So every Tuesday for the next four weeks, I’m going to post on a particular set of Mysteries, starting today with the Sorrowful Mysteries, which is so apt for Holy Week, and also for yesterday’s attacks in Brussels. Suffering Jesus, help us.

In case you need a refresher, these are the Sorrowful Mysteries (all referring to Jesus’ Passion and Death) (read more here):

The Agony in the Garden
The Scourging at the Pillar
The Crowing with Thorns
The Carrying of the Cross
The Crucifixion

And here’s how to pray the Rosary.

Shelby and Mary-Agnes both offered some ideas, and I’ve spent the last couple weeks jotting down some more as I thought of them — there are a good few!


Cruz — cruz is Spanish for “cross” and refers to the Cross of the Crucifixion; used for boys and girls

Dolores — Spanish for “sorrows,” traditionally used for Our Lady of Sorrows (María de los Dolores) and here could refer to both her and to the Sorrowful Mysteries, or to the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows) — the name for the path in Jerusalem Jesus walked on his way to the Crucifixion

Gethsemane — the name of the garden where Jesus suffered His Agony; behindthename lists it as a female name

Magdalen(e/a), Maddelana, Madeleine/Madeline — Mary Magdalene was at the foot of the Cross

Maricruz — a Spanish contraction of María and Cruz

Mary — Our Lady was at the foot of the Cross

Olivia, Olive — for the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (an olive grove); the nickname Via for Olivia would bring in an added nod to the Via Dolorosa (see Dolores above)

Pilar — a Spanish girl’s name meaning “pillar,” which can be a nod to the Scourging at the Pillar (it’s a Marian name referring to the unrelated title María del Pilar — Our Lady of the Pillar, from a Spanish apparition)

Regina — meaning “queen” (or perhaps “royalty” would be the better sense here) because of the Crowning with Thorns

Ruby — “red,” for Jesus’ Blood poured out for us in His Passion and Death

Scarlett — same as Ruby

Veronica — she wiped Jesus’ Face during the Carrying of the Cross



Cruz — cruz is Spanish for “cross” and refers to the Cross of the Crucifixion; used for boys and girls

Cyrene — Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry His Cross

Dismas — the name traditionally given to the repentant thief crucified next to Jesus

John — John the Beloved Disciple was at the foot of the Cross with Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene

Oliver — see Olivia/Olive above

Rex, Regis — meaning “king” because of the Crowing with Thorns; see Regina above

Simon — see Cyrene above

Tristan — often considered to mean “sad” because of its similarity to Latin tristis (sad)


What others can you add to this list?

+ For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. +




48 thoughts on “Names for the Sorrowful Mysteries

  1. Brenna could be one. It’s possibly from Brennan, which could mean sorrow or sorrowful. So I guess Brennan too could work! (I just like Brenna more 😀 )

    These are some awesome suggestions though. I love a lot of the girls!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really enjoyed this – so clever – lots of great suggestions. Dolores is definitely the one that comes to mind for me as associated with the Passion.

    How about lamb associated names – as Jesus was the lamb led to the slaughter, the sacrificial lamb. So Agnes for a girl. And do you subscribe to Owen having a lamb meaning/origin? If so, that one also.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. BOYS
    Isaiah or Zechariah: The Passion and death of Christ fulfilled the OT prophecies found in Isaiah and Zechariah.

    Joseph: Joseph of Arimathea asked for Jesus’ body and had him buried in his unused tomb.

    Murray: Stretch to associate it with one of the Epiphany gifts from the wise men – myrrh. Used for embalming, symbolized his sacrificial death.

    Peter: St. Peter plays a large role in early Passion – Garden, when Jesus was before the high priests.

    Rooster names: Big stretch again from St. Peter and his denials before the cock crowed. So was looking for name tie-ins. Rooster Cogburn is a movie character – it was a nickname for Rueben. Latin/Spanish/Italian root Gaul for rooster, so some associated surnames that would work Galiano, Gallatzin (Russian prince-priest with significant history in early US)

    Calvin: Another possible stretch to Calvary. Both include same root, meaning skull.

    Mara or Miriam: All the Marian names are from root word meaning bitter or sorrow. These in particular retain closer tie to bitter/sorrow connotation.

    Helen: St. Helen is most associated with finding the remains of the true cross of the passion and death

    Claudia: Pilate’s wife – though not named in bible, later Christian tradition refers to her as St. Claudia or St. Procula or Claudia Procula. Told Pilate not to have anything to do with that innocent man because of her dream.

    Hyssop: Botanical name, used to soak sponge in vinegar and offer to Jesus on cross

    Gardenia: Another botanical name that sounds garden-y

    Willow: I always think of weeping willow – so a sorrowful connotation

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beautiful beautiful beautiful. These are great suggestions. I’m particularly loving Calvin — one of those names that needs to be reclaimed! I love the connection you make to Calvary, and its meaning also makes me think of Jesus’ Holy Head and the Crowing with Thorns.


  4. Awesome! Awesome! Really great list. I can’t wait for the rest of the series! I always had in mind, if we had a girl around Easter that we could name here Magdalene Aurora Beatrix – since Mary Magdalene saw the risen Jesus Christ at that blessed dawn. Thanks for doing this Kate!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. girl :
    Salome : one of the women at the tomb
    Parasha : russian name, meaning ‘born on Good Friday’

    boy :
    Nicodemus : placed myrrh and aloes in Jesus’ shroud so he could be buried according to Jewish custom

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on Sancta Nomina and commented:

    A friend of mine from high school died last Friday, and though we weren’t close — in fact, until January I hadn’t seen him since our high school graduation twenty years ago, though we’d connected on Facebook a few years back — I had the privilege of seeing him a few times in the last couple of months, and seeing again his warm, thoughtful self and easy sense of humor, even in the midst of his worsening condition as a result of a tenacious brain tumor that they could never quite get all of. He left behind six children — his youngest the same age as my youngest — and so this week has been a heavy week. I was little more than an acquaintance at his wake and funeral, surrounded by his family and friends who had been a real part of his life without a twenty-year gap, and still … I’m so sad.

    I’ve got a bunch of stuff going on here too — not bad, just busy — and I’m going to be off the blog all next week (except the Monday consultation) for Holy Week, so I thought these next four days would be perfect to re-share the Rosary Names series I did last year during Lent. I’m starting with the Sorrowful today, since that’s how I’m feeling. Please add any ideas you have in addition to those left in the comments last year!


  7. I am adding Susanna and Joanna since tradition would hold they were included as witnesses at the cross. Though not named in passion narrative, Luke, Mark, and Matthew all indicate “other women” who had ministered to Jesus who were there watching. Earlier in Luke’s gospel Susanna and Joanna are named as women who were followers of Jesus and who ministered to their (Jesus and disciple) needs. And Joanna is listed in Luke’s gospel as one of the women who took spices to the tomb and is recognized as Joanna the Myrrh Bearer in Orthodox tradition.

    Since Susanna means lily – Lily would be an appropriate name suggestion here, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Attending services this week and hearing the Passion narrative on Palm Sunday and Good Friday (And Stations of the Cross), I was struck by how often 3 (three) is mentioned and significant to the Passion story.

    Peter was predicted to (and does) deny Jesus 3 times. (then is asked after resurrection if he loves him 3 times)
    Agony in the Garden – Jesus asked them to keep watch and withdrew 3 times.
    The prophecy was that he would destroy the temple and rebuild it in 3 days.
    Which leads to 3 days in the tomb as that fulfillment.
    There were three falls on the way to Calvary.
    There were 3 crosses.

    It reminded me of the “three” names like Trey, Trip, Trinity, etc. –

    Liked by 1 person

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