A Nun by Any Other Name

Portrait of nunI love the names nuns had in pre-Vatican II times. Of the teachers I knew, Sister Perpetua’s name was the most spiritual. Sister Marian the most predictable. Sister Odo the most unbelievable. Many of the Orders didn’t require a name change so I also had Sister Charlene and Sister Agnes. Back then, I never knew nuns had last names.

It wasn’t right that the nuns were required to abandon their birth names when they took their vows. Priests weren’t. It’s good that nuns were liberated along with women in general in the post-Vatican II world.

Still, I liked being surrounded by the ideas the nun’s names promoted: that God’s love is everlasting. That the Blessed Virgin Mary is a woman worth emulating. That no matter how strange your name seems, you can still grow up to be pope.

Image: according to https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&type=C211US662D20141001&p=image+nun accessed 12-04-2015, the image is of an Assyrian nun savagely murdered in Bagdad. I am in awe of her faith.

One thought on “A Nun by Any Other Name”

  1. from fb
    Helen Combs Stengel Great Post Victoria! Sometimes the nuns had to take a man’s name w/ their new name: Sister Mary Oscar- Sister Mariam Joseph- Sister Margaret John- Sister Mary Clarence -Sister Anthony Marie- Sister Michael Mary- Sister Mary Luke- Sister Elizabeth James- “Sister Helen Jo”- Sister Tommy Helfiger? oops now I’m getting confused. The list goes on.
    June 27 at 9:55am · Like · 2

    from fb
    Brenda Craft Barrett Helen wanted to be Sister Very Mary Holy…just didn’t work out for her…..
    June 27 at 5:42pm · Like · 1

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