Thursday, August 14, 2008

What's in a Name?

Lillian Marie. My two middle names. My given middle name is Marie, a form of Mary. It is the name of my Grandmother, who was born on the Feast of the Assumption, and Mary, our Heavenly Mother, both of whom I am named after. (I was born on the Eve of the Feast of the Assumption).

Lillian. Well, there's a story behind that name.
(For those of you who know me...of course there's a story! LOL)

I went to public school through most of my elementary/middle school years. I attended CCD (now known as PSR) and Confirmation in our Diocese was celebrated in 8th grade, so we were not studying the Sacrament yet. I made it through a little over half of 7th grade when my family moved to another state. There, I attended a Catholic School. However, Confirmation was celebrated in 11th grade. Great!...I expected to stay in this state & school system through my 12th grade.

Uhm...big problem. We moved again after I finished 9th grade. We finally landed in Ohio, where I finished my high school years. However, here, Confirmation was received in 6th grade...and I was in 10th! Yikes!

Since we attended Catholic Schools, the actual Confirmation instruction was given in the 6th grade religion class. So, little instruction, with the exception of one brief overview session, was given to my brother and I, both of whom were above 6th grade. All I remember was people asking me if I picked a name and who my sponsor was. It seemed every week, 'Did you pick a name yet?' 'Which name did you pick?' 'Who is your sponsor?' 'Have you decided on a name?'

Okay, I should have asked some questions, but I didn't.
(I was a teenager...I thought I knew it all - hah! was I wrong!)
Dad, I think mom just fainted....I admitted I was wrong.

Name, name...which name? I went through old school pictures, looking at kids that I liked back then (maybe not the best choice). I tried to remember friends that I had when I was younger and their names...nothing seemed right. Then I went through names of relatives... somehow I just couldn't see picking the name Gertrude, my grandmother's name. We always used to call her Dirty Gerty and it just didn't have the same effect, especially for a Sacrament. Ethyl May?...nope! Dolly?...I think not. It never occurred to me to look up a Saint's name! (Doh!)

I could not come up with any names that I liked. So I went to the best source I could think of (remember, I was a teenager)...Harlequin Romances!

Yep! Found the name...Fleur! Loved it! (I also like the character, which helped solidify my decision) - okay, again, maybe not the best way to pick a name for Confirmation...but hey, I had a name (waiting for the jolt of lightning to come down from the sky - any minute now).

Now for my sponsor. My grandmother, Mary!
Our birthdays were just one day apart...and, after all, I was named after her.

Well, there you have it....Name: Fleur. Sponsor: my grandmother.

Although, I must confess, I did receive some strange looks when I told people my chosen name. But hey, it was French, what did they know? And...I thought I was cool picking a French name...and only I knew where I got the name (well, until now, that is).

Confirmation: God certainly has a way of revealing HIS plan!

I had proudly handed in my name, on an index card no less, a week before we were to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

The day of the Ceremony, the Mass began and I was proud as a peacock...until I looked around at the rest of the class and they were all 2 feet shorter than I was (uhm...feeling just a bit out of place). This sea of 6th graders, then there was me and my brother ... we stuck out like sore thumbs! But then I saw my boyfriend, D., and everything was okay. He came! I was elated!

We slowly filed down the aisle toward The Bishop. Yes, THE Bishop of our Diocese...he actually made it down to our little hick-town, cow-country...lots of corn...and the 'fresh country air'. I remember being impressed that OUR Bishop was there.

As the boy in front of me walked up to the Bishop to receive the Sacrament, the lady beside me was trying desperately to pronounce the name I had written on the card. Fleer? No Fleur. Flur? No, Fleur! Flir? Exasperated, I blurted out 'Lillian!' and probably a bit too loud. (I thought I heard a thud in the back of the Church ... it was the jaws of my family dropping on the floor!)

She announced to the Bishop, 'I present to you Lillian'.

I have NO CLUE where that name came just popped into my head. I did not know of ANY Lillian's...nor do I remember having any friends or reading of any Lillians. But there it Confirmation name...Lillian.

Okay, NOW I have a clue. The Holy Spirit and Mary definitely took care of the heinous mistake I was about to make by having my Confirmation name from a Harlequin Romance book. (My family is still scratching their heads on that one!)

And there you have it... Lillian Marie. (maybe this is why God has not granted me any children!) lol


Hush said...

Well, as you've said, "Lillian" might be as close to "Maximilian" as a female name can be. You have a great devotion to Fr. Max Kolbe, and this is why this subject has come up on this --his feast day. It is very likely he's very happy with "Lillian" -- it's entirely possible he nudged you via your guardian angel that day.

Working with the third-year Confirmation students as a facilitator for 3 years, I noted most were hesitant to select a saint's name.. none really offered why (they were almost all of them 15--the age of near-muteness about things that matter deeply, which they cannot afford for anyone to laugh at). And of course, by the end of this year's Confirmation prep, they should've already had a sponsor firmly in place. Without argument from me, catechesis needs to be tightened up in spots, and not least of all in this crucial one. But we may trust the love of the Holy Spirit to lay Himself across any gaps early on, as well as to fill in many blanks throughout the years of our lives.

It's all good, Lillian Marie. :-)

Lillian Marie said...

And...Lillian is also another name for Mary, our Heavenly Mother. It's origin is Hebrew meaning 'My God is a vow.'

How awesome is that????

adoro said...

OH MY GOODNESS! I totally missed your birthday!

And I had meant to send you an email yesterday as I knew it was your Saint's feast day!


Distinguished Catholic said...

LM - did you know that St. Kolbe was a missionary to Japan? It's a little known fact of your patron Saint. And, happy birthday!

Lillian Marie said...

Adoro & DC - thank you! It's been an interesting & wonderful one. I just can't believe I'm 40-something! How time flies!!!

Lillian Marie said...

Hush - as I looked more into Fr. Max Kolbe's beatification - Father Kolbe was beatified as a confessor by Pope Paul VI in 1971 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 10, 1982 in the presence of Franciszek Gajowniczek. Upon canonization, the Pope declared St. Maximilian Kolbe not a confessor, but a martyr.