Author Topic: Catholic priests and feminine names  (Read 1753 times)

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Offline scamandrius

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Catholic priests and feminine names
« on: June 28, 2009, 12:27:00 AM »
I was flipping channels and I came across EWTN where they were broadcasting the Daily Mass.  One of the priests was named Francis Mary.  This strikes me as odd.  I know of no Orthodox priest who has a both the  name of a male saint and a female saint.  Can anyone tell me why this is done? It seems to be a confusion of genders.  I'm puzzzled.
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2009, 12:32:38 AM »
I believe the Priest who founded Opus Dei (and who has also been canonized by the RCC) was named Josemaria Escriva.  It is an interesting tradition (and I say that with no disrespect intended). 
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Offline ChristusDominus

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2009, 01:22:40 AM »
It's not uncommon for a priest to be named after Mary. I know of a few named Jose Maria (Joseph Mary)

"Guadalupe" is a feminine name that's popular in Latin America amongst clergy, and male laity as well.

Sounds strange, but true.
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Offline Orual

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2009, 01:30:12 AM »
I was flipping channels and I came across EWTN where they were broadcasting the Daily Mass.  One of the priests was named Francis Mary.  This strikes me as odd.  I know of no Orthodox priest who has a both the  name of a male saint and a female saint.  Can anyone tell me why this is done? It seems to be a confusion of genders.  I'm puzzzled.

I think this is an old cultural custom among some RCs - giving a child a name of a saint that is his/her sex, and a middle name of a saint of the opposite sex, to give the child protection from each sex.  :)
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Offline ChristusDominus

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2009, 01:40:22 AM »
I was flipping channels and I came across EWTN where they were broadcasting the Daily Mass.  One of the priests was named Francis Mary.  This strikes me as odd.  I know of no Orthodox priest who has a both the  name of a male saint and a female saint.  Can anyone tell me why this is done? It seems to be a confusion of genders.  I'm puzzzled.

I think this is an old cultural custom among some RCs - giving a child a name of a saint that is his/her sex, and a middle name of a saint of the opposite sex, to give the child protection from each sex.  :)
I have only heard of the names Mary and Guadalupe given to male children at the time of baptism.
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Offline mike

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2009, 02:00:10 PM »
In Poland there is a politician whose name is John Mary.

On the other hand there are many EO nuns who are named after male Saints.
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Offline ChristusDominus

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2009, 03:12:50 PM »
In Poland there is a politician whose name is John Mary.

On the other hand there are many EO nuns who are named after male Saints.
Oh, that is interesting.
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2009, 06:13:26 PM »
But does anyone know why this phenomenon occurs.  Orual, thanks for your suggestion but I can't believe the Theotokos turns some away because they're male!  To me, it seems to be a confusion of the sexes.  If there's a  theological reason behind it (not that there has to be), I'd like to know.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2009, 06:14:06 PM by scamandrius »
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Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2009, 09:47:23 PM »
Some names cycle through both genders. When I was a kid, it was pretty normal to name a boy Taylor, but since then I have seen it given almost exclusively to girls. In college I had a friend (a man) who was named Courtney, and I currently have two students, one of each gender, named Shannon. I wouldn't think too much of it.
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Offline stashko

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2009, 11:01:09 PM »
Curious..Has Anyone done a study to see if ,the child molestations that happened in the catholic church all had feminine names attached to there male names ....maybe i stumbled on to something, like don't name a male mary, he may be interested in joe...  :police:
ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.

Offline ChristusDominus

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2009, 11:09:28 PM »
Curious..Has Anyone done a study to see if ,the child molestations that happened in the catholic church all had feminine names attached to there male names ....maybe i stumbled on to something, like don't name a male mary, he may be interested in joe...  :police:
The only thing you stumble on are your own confounding words.

 I expected something like this coming from you. It isn't even relevant to the topic.
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2009, 11:50:15 PM »
Curious..Has Anyone done a study to see if ,the child molestations that happened in the catholic church all had feminine names attached to there male names ....maybe i stumbled on to something, like don't name a male mary, he may be interested in joe...  :police:

A disgusting cheap shot on your part.

Agree. Let's stay on topic and abstain from offensive allusions that are not relevant to the discussion. Mod.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2009, 09:34:43 AM by Heorhij »

Offline ChristusDominus

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2009, 01:16:49 AM »
You know, I had forgotten about my sister's name; Maria de Jesus (Mary of Jesus).

Typical Amongst the Spanish. It is meant to show devotion to that specific saint or in my sister's case, Jesus. But I think that's only obvious.


I wonder if most people know that the name Joanna or Joanne is a combination of Joachim and Anna? Parents of the virgin Mary. A hybrid name from male and female source.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2009, 01:35:40 AM by ChristusDominus »
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Offline LBK

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2009, 01:23:28 AM »
On the other hand there are many EO nuns who are named after male Saints.

A clarification: EO nuns who have been given male patron saints at tonsure take the feminine form of that male saint's name, such as Gavriilia, Michaela, etc. This is different from the longstanding (and practically abandoned, these days) Roman Catholic practice of giving a nun a male name, and the name's gender did not change to the feminine form. So RC nuns would have been known as Sister Patrick, Sr Paul, Sr Luke, etc.
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Offline stashko

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2009, 01:42:12 AM »
On the other hand there are many EO nuns who are named after male Saints.

A clarification: EO nuns who have been given male patron saints at tonsure take the feminine form of that male saint's name, such as Gavriilia, Michaela, etc. This is different from the longstanding (and practically abandoned, these days) Roman Catholic practice of giving a nun a male name, and the name's gender did not change to the feminine form. So RC nuns would have been known as Sister Patrick, Sr Paul, Sr Luke, etc.


I definitely agree 100 % with this ......Iv yet to run across a orthodox nun or priest that has a feminine or masculine name,.........
ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.

Offline mike

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2009, 03:41:12 AM »
A clarification: EO nuns who have been given male patron saints at tonsure take the feminine form of that male saint's name, such as Gavriilia, Michaela, etc. This is different from the longstanding (and practically abandoned, these days) Roman Catholic practice of giving a nun a male name, and the name's gender did not change to the feminine form. So RC nuns would have been known as Sister Patrick, Sr Paul, Sr Luke, etc.

I wouldn't call i a feminine form, but a masculine name with feminine prefix. Nevertheless it also is strange.

I wonder if most people know that the name Joanna or Joanne is a combination of Joachim and Anna? Parents of the virgin Mary. A hybrid name from male and female source.

I've read that the name of St. Joanna Myrrh-bearer has the same origin as the name John - God is gracious.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2009, 03:41:53 AM by mike »
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Offline LBK

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2009, 09:08:07 AM »
I wonder if most people know that the name Joanna or Joanne is a combination of Joachim and Anna? Parents of the virgin Mary. A hybrid name from male and female source.

This sounds very, very unlikely, as the name Joanna is simply the feminine form of John, and both names may well date from long before the time of the Mother of God's parents (any Jewish scholars out there who could confirm this?). The Greek and Germanic forms of these names bring this out even more: Johanna, and Johannes. The name Joachim is but one of many, many Hebrew names which begin with Jo-. Similarly, Anna is the Greek form of the Hebrew Hannah, in the same way that Mary/Maria is the equivalent of Miriam.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2009, 09:35:01 AM by LBK »
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2009, 09:30:19 AM »
"Maria" is also used among  the German people as a middle name for men, e.g. Erich Maria Remarque (real name Erich Maria Kramer), Reiner Maria Rilke, etc.
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Offline Ebor

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2009, 09:45:53 AM »
Some names cycle through both genders. When I was a kid, it was pretty normal to name a boy Taylor, but since then I have seen it given almost exclusively to girls. In college I had a friend (a man) who was named Courtney, and I currently have two students, one of each gender, named Shannon. I wouldn't think too much of it.

I quite agree with you on this subject.  Leslie is another such name; it was Bob Hope the comedian's real first name.  But when I was a child it was a girl's name such as Leslie Uggams the singer and actress.  I have also heard of Pearl being a male name in the south in years past.  So I hardly think that there is some kind of scandal or peculiar influence due to a name.  Sometimes name differences vary with culture.  "Bella" is female in the US, but "Bela" is male in Hungary. 

Re Heorhij's post: Carl Maria Von Weber the German Composer is another example.

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Offline EofK

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2009, 10:23:34 AM »
I have also heard of Pearl being a male name in the south in years past. 

That's funny you should mention that... I know a guy named Pearl. 

Also, one of the RC nuns associated with the hospital for which I work is named Sister Richard Mary.  I've not heard how she got the name, though.

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Offline Ebor

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2009, 10:38:02 AM »
I have also heard of Pearl being a male name in the south in years past. 

That's funny you should mention that... I know a guy named Pearl. 

Also, one of the RC nuns associated with the hospital for which I work is named Sister Richard Mary.  I've not heard how she got the name, though.



Well there you go, independent corroboration!  :)  Yet, Pearl can also be a woman's name.  And as I have written here before, I had a great-aunt whose father announced before the birth that the new baby would be named after himself and she was given a male name.  Then there's Commodore Vanderbilt's second wife "Miss Frank Crawford".
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9802EEDC173BE63BBC4A51DFBE668382679FDE

I wonder if the nun has a special devotion to a particular St. Richard. 


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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2009, 12:03:44 PM »
In Poland there is a politician whose name is John Mary.

On the other hand there are many EO nuns who are named after male Saints.

One of the most beloved nuns in my (Catholic) elementary school was Sister Bartholemew. 
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Catholic priests and feminine names
« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2009, 02:39:20 PM »
Again, my question was not about names that can become masculanized or feminized, like the name Jordan which is both or Kim.  I am asking why Catholic Priests and Nuns are taking clearly feminine names, in the case of the former, and clearly masculine names, in the latter.  Again, I've not seen this in the Orthodox Church with is clerics and monastics.  Could this be a particular cultural thing, especially since it seems to occur much in Hispanic spheres of the Catholic church?  Just wondering.
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