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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Ground Cover

We're still clearing out the question that cascaded in from our discussion of Confirmation names. Who knew it would cause such a dither.

I was wondering, which names does a nun use in a signature on a contract? is it the one on her birth certificate?
Would anyone know whether or not a confirmation name is as legal (in most states of the U.S.) as is the baptismal name?

A nun uses her nun name, which also usually has her last name still attached, as in "Mother Frances Cabrini" (patron saint of hitchhickers). In a moment, part two of your question.

Also-- a little off topic-- if your parents name you "Mary Anne," are both names considered your baptismal name?

Both of the first names are the legal name and the Baptismal name, unless theparents sneakily write something else on the birth certificate. It happens. I know a man who's legal name is "Harry", but his parents couldn't face the stern parish priest with "Harry". They baptised him "Lawrence" (the 'turn me over I've done on this side' saint. Ironically, Harry is a fantastic fellow to man the grill on July 4th and such. They couldn't fool God.) The legal name is the one that's on the birth certificate and it's usually the one with which the child is Christened, which is another way of saying Baptised. That's why when you join something, they ask for your middle name or initial. Everything that comes before your last name is your name, and your legal name with your last name, until you add a confirmation name. The confirmation name is not added to your legal name and is therefore not a part of your legal name, unless you trot down to the courthouse and legally stick in on there.

BUT YOU DIDN"T TELL US ABOUT ST FLORENCE!!!! I NEED TO KNOW! I googled and googled, and then I dogpiled, and still couldn't find anything but the towns. SInce this is my confirmation name (I'll be mooing in heaven instead of singing. I have the same voice as Sr. Whatsit only without the car accident.) I'd appreciate knowing how to find out about her. In your spare time, of course. Thanks.

Well, here's the thing. There are four or five St. Florences. Saints Florence. As far as I could tell they were all 'he-s'. The print was so tiny in the book I found. The one I was able to find the most about was an Irish saint, a pontiff confessor. That's not to say he was a pope. It means he was a bishop of heroic virtue. Not much to go on. Poor Flossie.

Is there a Saint Ramona?

Ramona is a female version of the Spanish name "Ramon", which is a Spanish version of "Raymond". That would give you, as a patron saint, St. Raymond Nonnatus, a favorite of mine, patron saint of tiny babies and people who can't keep their traps shut. Raymond spent his hefty inheritance ransoming captives of the Moors in North Africa, until he ran out of money and gave himself as ransom for someone else. While he was captive he drove his captors to distraction with his constant preaching so they padlocked his mouth shut. He is the patron saint of tiny babies and anything whatsoever to do with childbirth;pregnant women, obestricians, labor and delivery, difficult births and on and on. That's because his last name means "not born", because he wasn't born. He was delivered via Caesarian section.

One more who is the Patron Saint of Procrastination? ST Expedite is listed but I read there is contraversy if he even existed.
I don't think it's controversial at all. He didn't exist. Someone got a box with some remains or something in it (which reminds me of ANOTHER question I have yet to answer about 'statues' in glass boxes..here's a little hint for the person that asked that one: they're not statues). The box was marked "expeditus", which the receiver confused with what was in the box. It's like having a St. Fed-Ex, or St. Air Mail or a St. Fragile Handle with Care. St. Hand Cancel. You get the idea.

That leaves us with no patron saint of procrastination. Several saints could be considered up for grabs. St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict wanted to hang out with her brother longer. He wanted her to get going. She prayed that she wouldn't have to leave. A huge storm blew up and she had to stay. She died the next day.

St. Augustine, the patron saint of party animals, ran all around like Al Green before he finally settled into his sainthood and title "Doctor of the Church". I mention Al Green (the singer) because I once saw an interview with him. He had disappeared from his wonderful career and was singing gospel music. He said he had prayed to God that if God would just let him have a big deal career for a while (including all the 'fun'), Al would give it all up one day and become a preacher. Apparently God agreed, because Mr. Green did indeed have a stellar career and did indeed become a preacher. Mr. Green actually set a timetable for withdrawal and stuck to it.

I don't mean Al Green should be the patron saint of procrastination. I mean St. Augustine was like Al Green in that way. Sort of.

I notice recently that you've been answering back questions so I thought I'd try again. I'm the Episcopalian in Brooklyn who lives down the street from a Roman Catholic church but a long subway ride from her own. My dilemma is about the Eucharist. Will I be transgressing if I take communion at RC mass?

That would be a really big yes. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Don't feel bad. We can't take Communion if we get on the subway and head for Brooklyn, either. Just because the Episcopal Church is rather like "Catholic Lite"....it's the "lite" part that makes all the diffference.

Finally, someone sent me the link to this VERY interesting article. It's a little long, so I'll post it here for you to read and then talk about it tomorrow. Maybe not tomorrow, as it is pew dusting day. Wait. I'm not home. No dusting tomorrow. I'm all off on what day of the week it is, as everyday is the same here.

My mother is better, thanks for asking, but not out of the hospital yet, so we soldier on. I have to have a talk with St. John of God, or Elizabeth of Hungary, the hospital saints, to help me spring her out of there.

Anyhow, here's the article: Trying to live a monastic life.

It could just be a problem of semantics.


Anna B. said...

Sister Mary Martha,

Thank you..

Anonymous said...

Thanks. We'll all pray for the intercession of St. Florence for your mother!

Patti Mayo said...

What if you don't remember your confirmation name?? I converted almost 10 years ago and I don't remember picking a confirmation name or an emphasis placed on picking one. Can I contact the parish I was confirmed in? Would it be in their records??

If it isn't, can I choose a new name?

the mother of this lot said...

Sister, guess what I've been doing this morning? Pew-dusting!! I was thinking of you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you sister, I was the one who asked about the Saints in glass coffins. Now I am REALLY, REALLY freaked out.

Call me a doubting Thomas but wouldn't that mean that they were all incorruptible? I thought as much at the time, but what gave me pause was the fact that there were at least 2 of them in one church alone and they appeared to be in an excellent state of preservation. What are the chances of a St. Bernadette Soubiros happening that often? Or were the earthly remains encased and preserved in plaster (which would explain why one saint's finger appeared to have broken off)?

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister,

Thank you for answering my question on the Eucharist. But if I can pester you just a little bit... Why is it so bad for another believing Christian to share in the body and blood? It's the WHY I don't understand. You do such a lovely job of explaining the church that I'd adore your take on it. But don't worry, I'll go celebrate mass with my own kind tomorrow and restrict my time in catholic churches to the Nicene creed and few prayers extra prayers for the unity of the 'one holy catholic and apostolic Church'.

your devoted fan in Brooklyn

Anonymous said...

We've been treating very old pews to bring out the luster of the wood. There is an ordination coming up. Right now the pews feel sticky from the 'glo' treatment, anybody have a remedy?
I know this isn't really a religion question but it is still a church problem and any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thank you.

Sister Mary Martha said...

yellowhammer, I wanted to address your original question,as I have lots of information, but I can't for the life of me find it. Do you remember in which post you asked?

Anonymous said...

Hi Sister,
I posted it here.
Thanks so much for taking the time to solve this mystery for me. If you ever find yourself needing any help with your blog, I'm a web designer and I can help out!

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping I'm not too late on the Eucharist question. I've been told that Catholic's can receive communion from Greek Orthodox churches-like when you don't have access to a Catholic church. Is that correct or not? They do not recognize the Pope's authority, is that right? Not that I'm running to a Greek Orthodox church anytime soon, just want to have my facts straight! Thanks so much-love your blog!

Terry Nelson said...

Dear Sister, I'm fairly certain that Florence is a variation on, or derived from the name Flora, which means a proper patron would be St. Flora - of St.s Flora and Mary fame. Here is a biographical source: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=119

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister,
My husband and I are expecting our second child soon. We have a name picked out for both genders (one being straight out of scripture) but one is a variation on a ancient Roman god's. There is a saint with this name that we have found who has noble attributes, but it has been after the fact. My husband thinks that since the child will have a Christian middle name the first name doesn't matter so much in that respect. I still worry that we should go ahead and make sure both names are fully Christian. Does the Church have a view on this? What are your personal feelings?

Thank you,
Shannon in Texas

Hillbillburbian Files said...

Dear Sister MM,

In regards to the article link, perhaps you would enjoy reading about this group: www.yeslord.com

It appears that this group has lived in a form of the New Monastic lifestyle for about 35 years, and about 75% of the members are practicing Catholics.

What does the Catholic Church think about these types of communities?


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