Repeating Mary

I loved reading all your comments yesterday!! One of the things that rose to the top for me is how many of you know of families, or are such families, who have used Mary or one of its forms for more than one daughter:

  • “The obstetrician that delivered me had a very large, very Catholic family, and had six or seven daughters all named Mary. Of course, they weren’t JUST named Mary, they were Mary X, but one of them was Mary Mary!”
  • “my stepsis’s were named after Mary (THE Mary) whereas I am named after my mother (who was also named after Mary) … My mom (Mary)’s only sister’s name is.. Rosemary”
  • “One of my sets of girl cousins in the same nuclear family all have the middle name Marie”
  • “all of my sisters and I have Marie/Mary in our names”
  • “I have two cousins who are sisters, and one is named Danielle Marie and the other is Rosemarie Elizabeth”
  • Another family with seven daughters that have among them Mary twice and Marie once
  • “a friend explained to me that it’s a tradition in the Philippines to name all of your daughters Mary and have them all go by their middles instead”
  • “each of our sweet baby girls have a “form” of Mary in their name”

Woo! Mother Mary FTW!

It reminded me the family one of you readers introduced me to the other day from the Five Marys Farms in California, which is so named because, yes, Mom and all four daughters are named Mary:

Mary Regan (Mom)

The daughters all go by nicknames, which are adorable!

I know I’ve said it a million times before, but my paternal grandmother and her sister were both Mary ____ and went by their middle names; all six of my dad’s female first cousins on his mom’s side (from two different families) are Mary ____ and go by their middle names; and my three sisters and I all have a Marian name as either our first or middle.

I never tire of hearing about Marian names, or different ways of working Mary into a name, or families with lots of Mary names … I love them all!


Famous Catholics: Campos-Duffy

I’ve been meaning to update this post since I discovered little Campos-Duffy #7’s name back in the spring, and kept forgetting to do so … but today’s your lucky day!! 🙂 She’s the beautifully named … [drumroll] … Margarita Pilar!

I’m very interested that it’s the third time Sean and Rachel have used Pilar as a middle name, and the second time they’ve used Margarita (first as a middle, now as a first). Either way, it’s beautiful and saintly and heavy hitting! She’s one blessed (and beautiful!) little girl! (And other than Rachel’s Twitter, I think it’s very possible you’re hearing it here first, because even her Wiki page only notes the birth of a daughter, it doesn’t list her name.)

Sancta Nomina

Ok, so I don’t know a whole heckuva lot about Rachel Campos-Duffy and her husband Sean. I do know:
— They met on MTV’s Road Rules All Stars in 1998
— Sean’s a congressman (Wisconsin’s seventh district)
— He’s one of eleven children
— They gave their children super duper Catholic names:

Evita Pilar
Xavier Jack
Paloma Pilar
MariaVictoria Margarita

They reportedly recently welcomed baby #7 (a girl!), but I haven’t been able to find out the new baby’s name. Anyone?

Read more:
Rachel Campos-Duffy Expecting Baby No. 7
Wisconsin congressman welcomes baby number 7
Rep. Sean Duffy and Rachael Campos-Duffy welcome seventh child into the world

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Happy Mary Day! And a funny Assumption story for you

Happy Awesome Feast Day!

My second was due on the Feast of the Assumption, and when I told my friend’s mom my due date, she said, “Oh! If you have a girl you can name her …”

(I *ahem* assumed [!] she meant Assumpta, but no)

“… Susan!”

Susan? Turns out that many people of Italian descent have used the name Susan as the English “translation” of the common Italian name Assunta. A quick internet search revealed that it’s not uncommon for American women with the given name Assunta to go by Susan—there is even an art gallery called the Assunta Fox Gallery, which is owned by and showcases the art of Susan Volpe. “Volpe” in Italian means “fox,” so Susan Volpe=Assunta Fox. Clever!

Certainly there’s no etymological connection between Assunta and Susan, but my guess is that it may have evolved because of the similarity in sound between the two? Do any of you know more about this? It makes me think that Susan and its relations could be considered Marian … do you agree? Especially with their meaning being both “lily” (in Hebrew) and “rose” (in modern Hebrew) (so is the “lily” Hebrew “regular Hebrew”? Or “old Hebrew”?) — which both have Marian connections.

I hope you all have a faaaaaaabulous holy day and weekend! Holy days=celebrations — be sure to live it up!! 😀

Marian name spotlighted over at Appellation Mountain

Abby at Appellation Mountain is discussing Aranza today, one of the fastest-rising girl’s names of 2014 according to the SSA stats and a diminutive of the Marian name Arantzazu. It’s a pretty great write-up, be sure to check it out!

What do you think of Aranza? Do you know anyone in real life with this name?

Most popular names (et al.) of 2014 announced today

So the name world has been holding its breath in gleeful, frantic anticipation of the release by the Social Security Administration of 2014’s most popular names — and this morning it happened! (Which you probably all know already anyway, because the first to know and share I am not and likely never will be.)

Of note:

  • Emma and Noah are the #1’s
  • Charlotte entered the top ten — in the year before the princess was born. It’s been hot hot hot for a while
  • The three fastest rising girl names are Aranza, Montserrat, and Monserrat (from telenovelas)
  • The fastest rising boy name is Bode (like Olympian Bode Miller)
  • The fastest falling names included Miley, Britney, and Rihanna; Carmelo and Channing

I’m not a number cruncher or a trend spotter (like Abby: here and here), so I have no further analysis than my bullets above (which were spelled out in the article), but I will say: Mother Mary did pretty darn well for herself.

Consider that Mia and Ava are both in the top ten — neither necessarily Marian, but they could be, with Mia having traditional use as a nickname for Maria (see Mia Farrow, born the gorgeously reverent Maria de Lourdes) and Ava being a variant of Eve (like how Mary’s the New Eve). I’ve also seen Ava paired with Maria in Catholic families because of Ava Maria’s similarity to Ave Maria (Hail Mary in Latin).

And those fastest rising girls’ names are not actually “rooted in Latin soap operas” as was asserted in the article — certainly I get that their use in the telenovelas is what made them spike in popularity here, but their roots are Marian — Aranza is a diminutive of Aran(t)zazu, from a Basque word meaning “thornbush,” stemming from an apparition of Our Lady on a thornbush in Spain; Montserrat and its alternate spelling Monserrat are also used to honor Our Lady, as there’s a Marian shrine in Montserrat and the associated title Our Lady of Montserrat. (Weirdly enough, I did a consultation recently for a mama who asked for unusual Catholic names, and Arantxa was one I gave her, which is also a diminutive of Arantzazu. Never in a trillion years did I think Arantxa’s sister Aranza would be in the list of top 1000 girls’ names in the U.S.!)

So that’s what this Catholic baby name lover gets out of the new SSA stats! My final word: Mother Mary for the win! 😉 ❤

Pearl is Marian!

Remember when I posted about whether or not the name Pearl is Marian? I said, “I couldn’t find any title/appellation referring to Our Lady that included “pearl” anywhere (if any of you can prove me wrong, I’d be beyond delighted!).”

I’ve been proven wrong! And I’m as beyond delighted as I could possibly be! A reader noted in a recent email to me, “I think pearls have been associated with the Virgin Mary — they’re used in art work of the Madonna to symbolize her purity” (thanks Laura!), so I looked it up and lo — she’s right!

Pearls, Unicorns, and Lilies: Symbols of Feminine Purity in the Renaissance” discussed this explicitly, with lots of good sources:

The pearl was imbued with many of its implications in the context of paintings of the Madonna. Through representations of the Virgin Mary pearls came to be associated with faith and chastity. The pearls used to adorn the Virgin were not necessarily the pearls one would see in everyday life. These were larger, perfectly round, and flawlessly white with a beautiful luster, while normal pearls may have irregular shapes and lack the Virgin pearls’ snow-white sheen. The perfection of the pearls served to mirror the Christian perfection of the Virgin Mary.[4]

“Mary’s virginity is one of her most frequently discussed attributes. Her purity was highly contested, and supposedly confirmed by Pope Pius IX in a declaration of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in 1854. Even Mary’s own conception was highly debated, in regards to whether she was immaculately conceived by Saint Anne and Saint Joachim.[5] In short, Mary’s virginity and purity are her main attributes, and the items used to adorn her serve to further this message.”

Do you know what this means? If Pearl can be considered a Marian name, then Margaret can as well, since Margaret comes from margarita, the Latin word for pearl! That same post quoted above connects Mary and Margaret as well:

In addition to the Virgin Mary, one saint in particular became associated with pearls. Saint Margaret—whose name is markedly similar to the Latin word for pearl,margarita—was known for her purity and chastity, as well as for being the saint invoked most frequently during childbirth … It is not a coincidence that the chaste saint is named for a pearl … Jacobus de Voragine described Saint Margaret as being “named after a highly refined white stone known as margarita, small and filled with virtues. Thus the blessed Margaret was white due to virginity”.[9]

I mean, I suppose it seems somewhat of a stretch to suggest Pearl and Margaret could be considered Marian names, but I don’t know … if the intention is there — the intention to name a little girl after Mary and focusing on her purity as represented by pearls, which is also translated as Margaret — it doesn’t really seem that much different from naming a little girl after Mary and focusing on her purity as represented by the name Virginia, or Lily, or Rose.

What do you all think? Do you agree that Pearl and Margaret/Marguerite/Margarita/Mairead can be considered Marian, in light of this info about pearls?