Cemetery headstones

I’ve been visiting my mother-in-law’s grave at the cemetery a fair bit since she died — I find it really soothing to pray for her and my grandparents who are also there, and then I usually walk for a bit, looking for surnames I recognize or fresh graves and saying prayers for them and all those buried there. I hope it’s not weird to say it’s been really lovely and grounding to do so. One day recently I had just my youngest with me, and he wanted to be held, and he put his head on my shoulder, and we just walked and listened to the birds and smelled the breeze and said Hail Marys (and I might have cried a little) (or a lot) (my kids are used to it, I’m a crier).

I’ve also been noticing names — first and last — and taking pictures in order to share them with you. I posted one on Instagram the other day of Br. Joachim’s headstone — he was a Redemptorist brother I knew when I was small, but embarrassingly I’d totally forgotten about him until I saw his grave! I’d also not known that Joachim was his religious name, replacing his birth name Wesley.

The Redemptorists of my parish had a residence for retired and ailing priests for years and those who died were buried in the same cemetery. It’s so moving to see the rows and rows of uniform headstones, for all those men who gave their lives to God. I also love that each one says, “Hic Jacet” — “here lies.” The C.SS.R. stands for the Redemptorist Order: Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris.


(I’m sorry that some of these are hard to read.)

This is Fr. Joseph Ignatius Sims. Joseph Ignatius is so handsome! I wonder if his parents named him Joseph Ignatius, or if Ignatius was his Confirmation name? I assume Joseph is his birth name …





IMG_2993I love this one: Fr. Clement Cyril Englert. Clement Cyril! St. Clement Mary Hofbauer was a
Redemptorist priest, so I’m not surprised to see it here, and because of that I assume it was Fr. Clement’s religious name.






IMG_2996Here’s Br. Liguori Englert, birth name Frederick. Maybe he was Fr. Clement’s brother? Though I’ve never seen Liguori in real life, Withycombe lists it as a feminine name of exclusively Roman Catholic use — so I’m surprised to see it on a man, but not at all surprised to see it on a Catholic. 🙂





IMG_3002I’ve been loving Anselm recently — I’ve even seen it considered as a way of honoring St. Anne on a boy. But Br. Anselm Dnooge (that’s a last name!) was probably thinking of the Doctor of the Church when he chose his name.

(Do you think I’m reading his last name correctly? I looked it up and found one site in Polish where it was listed, but no info offered on it at all, so I assume I do have it correct, since I did find it one place, and I assume it’s Polish?)



IMG_3003What do you think of O. Benedict? I’d love to know what the O stands for, and whether Benedict was Fr. O. Benedict’s given middle name or a religious name? (I can’t make out his last name.)






IMG_2990Moving on from the dear Fathers, I saw this surname and loved it: Ignatczuk. I can’t find any info on it, but I assume it’s related to Ignatius? Does anyone know for sure?






IMG_3007This one — Magdzinska — I’m guessing is related to Magdalene?  I wasn’t able to confirm that though — like Ignatczuk, I couldn’t find any info on it — but all the Magd- names I found on behindthename were related to Magdalene.





We talk almost exclusively about baby names here, but I love bringing it full circle with looking at the names in the cemetery as well. It’s weird to think that each one of the people at rest there were once tiny babies whose parents spent time deciding what to name them. I also love to try to imagine the process of choosing one’s religious name.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May these souls, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Some of the Redemptorists at our cemetery.


22 thoughts on “Cemetery headstones

  1. I love walking through graveyards. I am always amazed at how peaceful they are, even if they are in the middle of a crowded or busy area. When I was in college and had a roommate and needed to find someplace to be alone I stumbled across a country graveyard a couple miles from my dorm. I used to walk or drive out there and just stroll around and enjoy the quiet, saying a few prayers, and seeing all the birds and flowers. My favorite grave was of a young woman in her early twenties; she had died in the late 1880s. Her name was Daisy E. McGee. I don’t know if that was a maiden or married name, but it always seemed like such a sweet and cheerful name. I brought daisies and put them on her grave a few times. I assumed she must have had an affinity for the them because who could not love the flower they were named after? I think that is partially the reason my daughter has a flower name for her middle name.

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  2. I love this! My husband and I chose our daughter’s name while visiting his family’s plot….she’s named Callie after his Great Great Great Aunt. We replaced her middle name (Augusta) with Anne (a family name on my side), but it’s such a great story to be able to tell her some day. And I’ve loved learning about the first Callie….apparently she was quite the spitfire, which fits our little one to a t 🙂

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  3. My family is very close to a family with the last name Ignatczyk. That’s very close to what you saw. Chuk/czuk/czyk are all very common Ukrainian suffixes. My sister’s married last name ends in -czuk.

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  4. I’D like to know the name and location of the cemetery where Fr. Clement C. Englert CssR is buried…Fr. Englert was a teacher of mine at Fordham University and became a very special person to me and my family during those days…He converted my wife to Catholicism, married us and baptized my child…He was a big influence on us and was such a wonderful man.

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