Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Religious Names

I always feel like names have a lot of meaning. In a way, our names encompass a huge part of our identity - who are you without your name to distinguish you? I find that's the case even though names themselves are not unique to the individual. My first name is not a Christian name, and though it's not hideous I has been thinking for a long time about using another name - actually my confirmation name, which is why here I am known as Emily (Emiliana). Perhaps another little sign of my vocation but who knows. Regardless, I want to change my name when I enter religious life. Because my name is not a Christian one I want to take a new name to truly, deeply signify the conversion of my life from a life of this world to a life of consecration to Christ.

These are my choices so far, in order of preference. Feel free to let me know what you think and if you're a fellow discerner, what yours are!

1. Sr. Mary Agnes
I really want to honour the Blessed Mother in my religious name. One of my favourite saints is also St. Maria Goretti, so it also honours her. My all-time favourite saint is St. Agnes, so I would just love to take her name as my religious name. If the community prefers single names to the double names I would still choose Agnes. People might think it's old-fashioned but I don't care about the name itself, I care about the incredible, faithful servant of God that it would be in honour of.

2. Sr. Mary Ambrose
Again, the Blessed Mother and St. Maria Goretti. St. Ambrose is a great and wonderful saint but honestly it is mostly in honour of a wonderful priest who taught my RCIA. I was at that parish for three years and he helped me so much in my faith journey and I owe much to him.

3. Sr. Maria Albertina
And again the Blessed Mother and St. Maria Goretti. See a pattern here? Blessed Albertina is another virgin martyr (seeing a pattern here!) from Brazil. Still a Blessed, not canonized yet. But I am also half-Brazilian so I wanted to have an option where I honoured a saint from my homeland, since there are not that many. English saints abound, Brazilian saints not so much.

If I were to get a title it would be "of the Most Blessed Sacrament" because I have a great devotion to the Eucharist, I attend Daily Mass as often as possible (about five days a week) and Adoration every week (which is how often it is offered in my parish).


  1. Hello! I am discerning as well! I hope to become a Dominican very much!
    The names I would chose are

    Sr. Maria Rosaria
    My teacher was a missionary in Peru for 3 three years and I am writing to the girls at the mission. I feel very attached to Peru because of this so I am choosing Hispanic names.

    Sr. Maria Crusita
    Again, Peru

    Sr. Maria Deirdre
    I am part Irish!

  2. Hello!
    Those are very beautiful names, I especially love the second one.
    God Bless you in your discernment.

  3. I've only really thought of one - Sr. Mary Patrick.
    My grandfather's name is Patrick (my middle name is Patricia - named after him) and he really was the biggest role model for me. I adored him immensely and would love to be able to take his name as mine as well.
    I don't think the order I'm looking to enter changes their names though...

  4. That's awesome having such a meaning to the name.
    I wonder if taking new names is becoming less common. For me I really want to change it but I suppose to others it's not as important.

  5. I know right. When you become a nun, you leave behind everything and come into a whole new life. Changing your name would symbolize that new life.

  6. Exactly. I feel that names do mean a lot, in a way your identity is encapsulated in your name. So for me changing my name really will be shedding of my old life and the embracing of the new one.