Naming after women

I spent a few minutes in the Baby Name Wizard discussion forums this morning as I ate my breakfast, and saw a comment containing a sentiment that I see with some regularity over there and that kind of irks me every time I see it:

I think it’s totally lovely to honor a mother with a name for a change (I know lots of men who name their sons after themselves, either as juniors outright or using variant forms or middle names, but very few women who do so).”

I don’t even disagree with the comment! I know it’s more common for a dad to have a son named after himself than for a mom to have a daughter named after herself. And the commenter herself is one I highly respect, as her thoughts are *always* well balanced and fair. But I feel testy and defensive when I see things like “honor a mother with a name for a change” and “lots of men who name their sons after themselves” — probably because I feel like it’s a tentacle of a whole “down with the patriarchy!” thought process that usually includes the “old men in white hats in Rome.” Blah.

Anyway, my contrarian Rome-loving self immediately thought of lots of examples, old and new, of people (babies and olders) being named after women. My mom, for one example, was half named for her mom (I saw “half” because her mom’s name was Anne, and my grandfather wanted to name my mom Anne — imagine that! A man! Wanting to name his baby girl after his beloved wife! But my grandmother wanted to name her one of the names-of-the-day: Susan. So they compromised with Susanne). My sister has my mom’s name as one of her middle names. My paternal grandfather was given his mom’s maiden name as a first name. Before I had so many boys, I’d always planned to work one or more elements of my name into one or more of my daughters’ names.

Moving farther afield from moms naming daughters after themselves, my youngest son’s first name is for my mother-in-law and his middle name for my mom. Julianamama shared that she knows a dad with a great devotion to St. Margaret who named his son Garrett after her! (I died when I read that! Brilliant!)

I’ve done two posts (On my bookshelf: A Dictionary of English Surnames and Girl names turned surnames) highlighting how various surnames are originally metronymics (identifying a person by his or her mother), or diminutives of female first names that became surnames, or perhaps arising from religious devotion to a female saint — like Marriot (from Mary), Ebbetts (from Isabel), Scollas (from Scholastica, specifically for St. Scholastica, according to Reaney & Wilson), and Emmett (from Emma). All of these would be fine and interesting for a child to be named, and they’re all feminine in origin (even if the parents don’t realize it or it wasn’t their intent). And I did a couple posts on current men religious who took their Mother Mary’s name as part of their new religious names: Eleven new Dominican priests and Men Who Love Mary: MFVA (a whole Order of men who take Mary as part of their new name! And one had Therese as well!), never mind all the male saints with Mary in their names: St. Clement Mary/Maria Hofbauer (depending on what you’re reading), St. Maximilian Mary/Maria Kolbe, St. Anthony Mary Claret, St. Jean Marie Vianney, St. Josemaria Escriva … who else?

I’d love to know what stories you all have of moms naming their daughters or sons after themselves or similar family stories, and whether you know any Brothers or Priests with female saints’ names, or boys who have taken a female saint’s name for a Confirmation name. It’s not all oppression, people. (I’m done ranting now. 🙂 )

 

 

Birth announcement: Fulton Michael!

I posted a consultation for Monica and her husband back in May, and Monica’s let me know her little one has arrived — a boy! And they gave him the so-handsome name … Fulton Michael! He joins big sisters Cora Marie and Regina Marie (and brother in heaven Levi Alphonsus), and his mama writes,

Our son arrived today [August 8 — feast of St. Dominic], on Cora’s 5th birthday. My kids must love St. Dominic! After 4 painful hours of going back and forth on names, we decided to name him Fulton Michael. He’s doing great and I’m thankful he has a name now. 

Thank you again for your time and suggestions! He was very close to having the middle name Clement, if we had gone with our other option.”

What a wonderful, meaningful name!! And look at that sweet baby face!! (Be sure to scroll past the picture, because there’s more beneath it!)

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Fulton Michael

As a fun bonus, Monica also included a picture of her sister, who is now a novice with the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus in New Ulm, MN. She thought we might enjoy hearing the names of the new novices — um, yes please!!! 😁😍

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Mother Mary Clare (left) with Sr. Therese Marie, Sr. Angela Mary, Sr. Maria Benedicta (my sister), and Sr. Regina Marie

Look at those joyful Sisters! And their beautiful names! What a blessing Sr. Maria Benedicta is to Monica and her whole family! (If you click on that link I provided above to the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus web site, you’ll see a little slideshow on the homepage of the profession ceremony — so moving!)

Congratulations to the whole family! Happy birthday Baby Fulton!! And congratulations to his auntie, Sr. Maria Benedicta!!

Sisters and Swistle

I was all 😍😍😍 last night when I saw the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist’s post on Facebook:

This evening our postulants received the Holy Habit of St. Dominic — and now we have 9 beautiful new novices!!!

And each one of those novices took a new name, which is just like Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter/St. Paddy’s Day/my birthday rolled into one!! 😁 Check out these gorgeous combos:

Sr. Stephanie — Sr. Karol Joseph
Sr. Patricia — Sr. Simeon Marie
Sr. Karla — Sr. Johanna Christi
Sr. AnnElise — Sr. Mary Avila
Sr. Rachel — Sr. Paul Marie
Sr. Savanna — Sr. Teresa Marie
Sr. Kelsey — Sr. Maria Cabrini
Sr. Abigail — Sr. Mary Vianney
Sr. Caroline — Sr. Basil Marie

But wait! There’s more! Sr. Helena Burns, fsp, the Daughters of St. Paul self-described “media nun” (with the amazingly named “Theology of the Body & media literacy” blog Hell Burns 😂) posted on Instagram yesterday a picture of her door’s name tag with her Secret Ninja Nun Name 😂 — be sure to check it out, it’s gooorrgeous!!

 

Also, I finally got through the 71 pages of Swistle birth announcements (going back to 2008!) and had a few more I wanted to share with you (I posted about the first batch here):

Hornstein Twins (twin posts are fun anyway, but I particularly loved that in this one, one of the girls was named Rosabel Olivia and called “Roo” for her initials [her last name begins with O] — SO CUTE!)

Then there’s this one: Baby Naming Issue: Felony Fever Vice. Yes, those three words there were the proposed name  (first + two middles) of the baby girl in question. Swistle offered some great suggestions and the final result was vastly better (at least the first two names … they just couldn’t let go of that third). I love me some bold naming, truly, but I’m sure you’ll agree this veered a little too mug shot/convict/prison. I was telling my husband about it and he was just so horrified — as I was I! Promise! — but I could also see the appeal: how similar is Felony to Melanie and Stephanie? Like a traditional name with an edgy twist! And Fever and Vice are both in keeping with the currently popular sounds of names like Everly, Evie, Violet, Vivian, Evangeline, Genevieve. I can see how the parents got there. But still — mug shot/convict/prison.

Finally, lookiee who I found here! Baby Boy or Girl MOE-zhur! It’s a consultation post for Arwen’s second baby — so fun that we were part of her current state of affairs with the consultation I did for her fifth baby and his birth announcement. 😀 I love seeing how parents name tastes change/don’t change as their family grows.

Some more fun things (St. Anne, sibsets, books)

First, our reader Shelby sent me this amazing photo:

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With this note,

Recently went to Vienna and went to a string concert at St. Anne Church. Their tabernacle was kind of unique and it says Anna at the top (picture attached). The website shows a nice picture of their St. Anne statue. www.annakirche.at

Made me think of Sancta Nomina and how in many European churches the patron saints name or statue is right on the altar. St. Stephen’s in Budapest is particularly impressive. En.bazilika.biz

Can you see it there? “Anna” in the middle of the rays? So cool!

While we were on vacation in my parents’ lake cabin last week, I came across old issues (like over ten years old, yes we are that kind of family) of the Franciscan University alumni magazine with these great sibsets shared in the “Class Notes” section:

J0hn
Mary
Rach3l
Th0mas
Jac0b
Sarah
Clar3
(I was particularly impressed that they have a Mary, Sarah, and Clar3, as I think we’ve talked before about whether or not these names are too similar for sisters? I think they’re great here)

M0lly
P3t3r
Nathan
Abby
W!ll!am
J0hn Paul (new info for the John Paul entry on the Sibling Project page!)

M!chael
R3g!na
D0min!c G!les (both names given — could this mean it’s a double name?? 😍)
Gabr!3l
Mar!a Ver0n!ca (ditto D0min!c G!les)

I’ve also wanted to do a couple book reviews recently, but I’m just not getting to them and I want to alert you to them in case you’d like to know about them. First is African Saints, African Stories: 40 Holy Men and Women by Camille Lewis Brown, Ph.D. It was an interesting mixture of saints that I’d forgotten were/don’t think of as having been (or were likely, though not known for sure) African, like Sts. Augustine, Perpetua, and Felicity, as well as those I do know, like Sts. Josephine Bakhita and Charles Lwanga and Companions and Bl. Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi. There are several also listed as “Saints in Waiting” — those of African descent who led exemplary lives and may someday be canonized — and one of them particularly caught my eye today for a totally different reason. Sr. Thea Bowman took the name Thea upon entering the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration for its meaning, “of God,” and in honor of her dad, Theon. Theon! Anyone who’s familiar with the horrible character Theon in Game of Thrones will be as interested to see this tidbit as I was.

Another book, which I’d gotten for myself for Mother’s Day 😁 is The Name Therapist: How Growing Up with My Odd Name Taught Me Everything You Need to Know about Yours by Duana Taha, author of the Duana Names column at Lainey Gossip. It was really sort of half memoir about growing up with an unusual name, and half textbook teaching the reader all the namey things Duana’s learned and her opinions on it all, all of which goes back to the particular ways her life/interests/perspectives have been shaped by having been given an unusual name. I enjoyed it! It was definitely the most unusual “name book” I’ve ever read. Sort of like all the commentary of the Baby Name Wizard and another of my favorites (because of the commentary), Puffy, Xena, Quentin, Uma: And 10000 Other Names for Your New Millennium Baby, without any of the name lists.

Finally, I got Ablaze: Stories of Daring Teen Saints by Colleen Swaim with my preteen and his quickly-growing brothers in mind, and though I’ve put it where I know they’ll see it and be likely to pick it up (the, ahem, bathroom), I haven’t yet asked them what they think of it. I’ll get back to you when I do!

That’s all for now, folks! 😀

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.

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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.

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(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.

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Some of the Redemptorists at our cemetery.

Eleven new Dominican priests

You guys, my Dominican Province — the Province of St. Joseph (Maine to D.C. and west to Ohio) — ordained their largest number of men to the priesthood in 45 years this past weekend! Says Charlotte Hays in her National Catholic Register article “Dominicans Ordain Largest Number of Friars in 45 Years“:

The 11 new priests, mostly men in their 20s, were ordained at a May 21 Mass that filled to capacity the Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is across the street from the Dominican House of Studies and seats 6,000 people.”

Mostly men in their 20s y’all!! We are in good hands!!

And they were ordained by none other than Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, himself a Dominican and adjunct secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome.

You know. No big deal.

😲😍😲😍😲😍

But what are their NAMES?? was of course my immediate question, because I know a lot of Dominicans take new names (swoon!) (a young Fr. Thomas More LastName, OP baptized my godson this weekend [that’s Fr. Thomas More, double first name, thankyouverymuch]), and I was excited to find them:

Clement
John Baptist
Dominic Mary
Raymond
Joseph-Anthony
Michael Mary
Patrick Mary
Louis Bertrand Mary
John
Gregory Maria
Athanasius

I love each one! And all those Marys!!!

What a wonderful thing for the 800th year anniversary of the Dominican Order! Please pray for our new Dominican priests!! ❤

Three things to pray for

You guys, our dear Dwija’s in the hospital as her water broke yesterday at 32 weeks. Please pray for her and her wee little girl! And the rest of the family!

Secondly, I know you’ve all heard about the sweet, brave Missionaries of Charity who were handcuffed and shot in Yemen. Stories and pictures about them were being tagged yesterday on FB and Twitter and IG with #TheseSistersHaveNames, which is so appropriate — we know the power of names and their humanizing effect. Knowing their names helps us never forget them. Sr. Anselm, Sr. Reginette, Sr. Marguerite/Margherite (I’ve seen both), and Sr. Judith (a new and wonderful patron for any Judiths!), please pray for us and for the whole world. ❤

This is the prayer the Missionaries of Charity pray “after their morning Mass and before breakfast, the prayer is one of the last that the sisters would have prayed before being killed”:

Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward.”

A friend sent this prayer to me yesterday as appropriate for my third intention: though it certainly pales in comparison to the kinds of suffering the Missionaries of Charity see and tend to, and to actual martyrdom for one’s faith, there’s a stomach bug that won’t leave my house, and I know a lot of you are dealing with it too (I hope you’re all feeling better Jen!). My #4, who I thought was on the upswing after spending the entire day throwing up two days ago did so again last night. It’s everywhere. My task for this morning is to clean it up (I was too tired last night). Please pray for my little boys (four out of the six have now had it … I’m waiting for the other two, and please God not myself [my husband doesn’t get stomach bugs, such a weirdo]) and for me and for all the parents and little ones dealing with the the stomach bug right now. I seriously think someone needs to start an Order of Sisters whose mission is to care for families with the stomach bug. Great personal risk? Check. Ostracization? Check. Suffering and sickness? Check, check, checkity check. If anyone has any daughters who want to start a new Order when they grow up, maybe whisper this idea in their ears. (I truly hope this doesn’t come across as insensitive in the face of the lost Sisters of Yemen. It’s because of their wonderful work and love and care that I immediately thought of Sisters when I was in the throes of cleaning and disinfecting our house over the last few days — they do such wonderful, important work, in big ways and small. Thank God for Sisters.)