My July column posted yesterday at CatholicMom! In honor of our new feast day: the name of Magdalene.
You’ll see that I wrote about different ways the name of Magdalene has permeated the naming landscape (and words in general!) (I know you all probably know them already), but two examples that I didn’t know of until ScottishReader pointed them out the other day are Oxford’s Magdalen College and Cambridge’s Magdalene College. I looked them up, and indeed, re: Oxford’s Magdalen College:
“Magdalen College was founded by William Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester and Lord Chancellor of England, on the site of the Hospital of St. John. In this charter, dated 12 Jun 1458, Waynflete formally inaugurates his new foundation. It will have a President and Scholars (i.e. Fellows) who will study theology and philosophy, and he nominates William Tybard as its first President. The College was named after St. Mary Magdalene, Waynflete’s patron saint, and is dedicated to her, the Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptist, and the Apostles Peter and Paul.”
Really interesting is this added tidbit:
“People are regularly surprised at why Magdalen College is pronounced “Maudlin”. This charter offers a reason why. Waynflete decreed that his College should be known as “Collegium beatae Mariae Magdalenae” in Latin and “Maudelayne College” in English. In the 15th century, English speakers called St. Mary Magdalene “St. Mary Maudelayne” (or “Mawdelayne”), without the “g” – like “Madeleine” in French. It was only later that we put the “g” back. Magdalen College, however, like Magdalene College, Cambridge, has preserved the old pronunciation of her name.”
That pronunciation ties back to something I mentioned in my article as well. And re: Cambridge’s Magdalene College:
“One of the questions we are asked most commonly is about the pronunciation of the name of the College! Though nowadays spelt in the biblical and continental way, ‘Magdalene’, the College name is customarily pronounced ‘Maudlyn’.
The College at its refoundation by Lord Audley in 1542, was dedicated to St Mary Magdalene. The choice of the name of Mary Magdalene appears to have had a touch of vanity. In many early documents, the name is clearly spelt as pronounced: ‘Maudleyn’, containing within it the name of Audley himself! The final ‘e’ on Magdalene was an attempt, with the advent of the postal service in the mid nineteenth-century, to distinguish us from our sister College, Magdalen Oxford.”
Also this, which I’m more interested in because of the fact that Cambridge was named after the River Cam! I never even knew there was a River Cam! I love the name Cam, but have always thought of it as a nickname for Cameron, Campion, Camilla, etc., but I’m kind of really intrigued at “just Cam”!:
“The College of St Mary Magdalene is located in the centre of Cambridge beside the bridge on the River Cam, from which the city takes its name. The College has its origins in the year 1428 when King Henry VI approved the establishment of a hostel on the site for Benedictine monks coming from their abbey monasteries in the Fenland to study Canon Law at the University.” (source)
St. Mary Magdalene has been really important to a lot of people for a really long time!
I’d love to know what you all think of the article, and any other instances of Magdalene in language/culture, etc!