Name story: Porter Joseph

Please note that this may be overly difficult for some to read, e.g., those who are pregnant, as it’s about stillbirth, and includes photos at the end.

This latest installment in our Name Story series is from a mama with a story that I’m sure will simultaneously break your heart and cause you to marvel at the mystery of God’s unceasing and unfailing love and goodness, and the fact that we can always trust Him, even when we don’t understand His plan. At least, that’s what it did for me! I’m confident that you will be touched by the story of Baby Porter — a tiny baby with a big impact.

His mama writes, in an email with the subject line “A naming story about Solanus Casey,”

Through you, I first heard of Blessed Solanus Casey. As I read about him, I became so intrigued. Both of my parents were born and raised in Detroit, and I was born and raised in a suburb of Detroit, so he felt so ‘real’ to me! I slowly developed a devotion to him. I remember reading once about your suggestion to name a child Porter as a way to honor Fr. Solanus and thought it was a neat idea.

My husband and I were married in June of 2017, and after nearly two years of trying, praying, seeing doctors, etc., we were shocked and thrilled to discover I was pregnant on Mother’s Day 2019.  As the weeks went by, we talked about many girl names we loved but couldn’t find any boy names. I was so sure I wanted a girl! Then one day, I heard the name ‘Porter’ come to me and knew it was God giving me this baby’s name. God used it to change my heart, and for the first time, I was happy thinking about having a boy. I suggested Porter to my husband, and he immediately loved it. Sure enough, in August, we found out we were having a boy!

Everything with my pregnancy was textbook and complication free. Then, on January 17, the day before my due date, I went to the hospital to get checked out because I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off.  An ultrasound revealed there was no heartbeat. The next evening, at 6:30 PM, I gave birth to the most beautiful little boy, already at home in Heaven

We hadn’t decided on a middle name, but had a short list of names we were considering and had planned to decide once he was born. After I delivered him, the nurses asked his middle name, and I looked to my husband, who said ‘Joseph’. Joseph had been on our list because we have a particular devotion to him, as I’ve worked for the past ten years at a Catholic school named for St. Joseph, but I never really thought we’d use it. The next day, my husband told me he chose that name because Joseph is the ‘silent saint’, and though we don’t have a single recorded word from him in the Bible, his intercession and impact is so powerful. In the same way, he said, Porter never spoke a word, yet we believe his life can be a powerful witness.

I knew God was giving me Porter’s name all those months ago to honor Fr. Solanus Casey. But now I see how fitting his name truly is. Fr. Solanus’ life was simple and humble, and from the outside looking in, seems like a ‘small’ life. But it was anything but. Porter is the same — his life was ‘small’, yet the impact we have seen already is truly overwhelming. His funeral was standing room only, with more than 500 people in attendance, many of whom have never set foot in a Catholic church, or hadn’t in years. In the months since, we have heard so many stories of how his little life has touched others. A scholarship fund to support our poorest students has been set up at my school in Porter’s memory. So many people have thanked us for introducing them to Solanus Casey. Not to mention how his life has changed my husband and me, healing wounds in our family, softening our hearts, and making me braver, more vulnerable, and more compassionate.

It’s also not lost on me that a porter opens doors. It is our hope and prayer that Porter’s life will open doors for people to allow Christ in. We believe that is his purpose, and though my husband and I are unbelievably sad at the life we will never share with him, we wholeheartedly believe that God does not allow any evil from which He cannot bring a greater good. In my times of deepest pain, I am comforted by the thought of just how GOOD that good must be to be greater than the pain!

I was just so blown away by the tremendous faith and trust this mama and papa have, to remember, in the face of the death of a child — the worst sadness that a parent can experience — that “God does not allow any evil from which He cannot bring a great good” and “just how GOOD that good must be to be greater than the pain.” This beautiful story was such a reminder to me to trust always, and that God’s ways are not our ways.

I also loved the Fr. Solanus connection! I’m so pleased that God allowed my little blog to introduce Porter’s parents to him, and the mama shared even more great information:

One last note: As I had learned about Solanus Casey over the years, I discovered I had family connections to him. My great-aunt (my grandmother’s sister) had been a friend and frequent visitor of his in Detroit. As a little girl, my dad’s older sister once visited him in Huntington, IN on a trip with my great-aunt. Apparently he made her a peanut butter sandwich on a hot dog bun! Then, a few weeks after Porter was born, my parents were looking through a box of papers to find some information to renew their passports, and they found a membership card for the Solanus Casey Guild belonging to my grandmother (my dad’s mom), who was a lifelong Catholic and died when I was a teenager. My dad had never seen it and never knew she belonged. I love to think how Fr. Solanus was weaving his way into the fabric of our story long before I was even born.

Thank you for introducing me to this humble man, who forever changed the course of my family’s life. I believe our family’s journey with Fr. Solanus is just beginning.” 

Isn’t that just perfect?! “I love to think how Fr. Solanus was weaving his way into the fabric of our story long before I was even born” — that gives me “holy bumps” (as my mom calls them)! Heaven is so close to us — truly, “it’s a thin veil that separates.”

I asked the mama for information on how to contribute to the scholarship fund that has been set up in Porter’s name — such a wonderful cause! If you’d like to donate as well, checks can be made out to St. Joseph’s Catholic School, with “Porter Miros Fund” on the memo line, and mailed to:

St. Joseph’s Catholic School

Attn: Advancement Office

100 St. Joseph’s Drive

Greenville, SC 29607

Please also keep this family in your prayers!

Scroll down to see photos of Porter with his parents, his great-grandmother’s membership card in the Fr. Solanus Guild, and Fr. Solanus himself. ❤️❤️❤️

Porter Joseph and his parents

Bl. Solanus Casey, and Baby Porter’s great-grandmother’s membership card in the Fr. Solanus Guild


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not an affiliate link) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

5 thoughts on “Name story: Porter Joseph

  1. Note to Porter’s Momma…
    I believe, too, that your Family’s journey with Bl. Fr. Solanus is just beginning!
    Sacred ❤ Heart of Jesus, please bless Porter and each member of your Family!🙏❤📿 ☘ ✝

    Like

  2. What a beautiful story! Proving once again that beauty comes from even the most painful moments. Praying for your healing ❤
    As a side note, that story about the peanut butter sandwich should be public knowledge! It would be fun if Catholic families started celebrating Bl. Solanus Casey's feast day with peanut butter sandwiches made with hot dog buns for dinner! Often, a dish from the saint's culture is served for his/her feast day, but a dish the saint actually served to his guests? That would be cool.

    Like

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