Along with larger families comes the task of naming all those babies. Names were often another spot the Catholic feature when I was growing up. I went to a Catholic girls’ high school with a Mary Jane, a Mary Ellen, a Marie Therese, a Marie Claire, a Mary, Maria and a Marie. My husband’s grandmother had a great list of old-school saints’ names for her fifteen children. It was expected that a catholic child would be given the name of a saint. Some priests insisted on it, making new parents scramble to tack on a second middle name to meet the baptismal requirements.
In my generation, we loved the tradition of taking on the name of a patron saint for our confirmation. What child wouldn’t want to choose their name? After much deliberation and several changes of heart, I decided on Bernadette. I was excited to take on the name of the saint from Lourdes. The bishop confirmed me as Mary.
I loved naming our children, and usually began brain-storming as soon as I thought I might be pregnant. Each of the names was carefully chosen for its meaning. Saints figured predominantly. Middle names were just as important as the first name. I had a preference for well-grounded, solid names for both the boys and the girls. They had to be common enough to be known and spelled correctly, but unique enough to stand out. Oh, and my husband had to have a vote also. 😉 Today, each wears their name well.
We are expecting our first grand-child this summer. I have vowed to let our children experience the joys of naming their own babies without any undue pressure or interference from me. But, I get to pick the name my grand-kids will call me!