Thursday, April 03, 2008

Go Theology Thursday: The Bonus Round . . . Confirmation Name Meme

This Free Form Meme comes to me from Adoro te Devote. I am supposed to tell you all how I came to discern and choose my Confirmation Name and what it has meant to me. (as I understand the meme)

I was confirmed at the age of 12 in the 7th grade. My story begins when I was very much younger though; age two or three actually. My parents were friends with another couple and our families would do things together. The children in the other family were all older than we were, and baby sat us. I can just barely remember a beautiful High School girl named Loretta, but my more solid memories of babysitters from their family were of Michael and Allen, because Loretta was in a tragic automobile accident when she was only 16 years old and died.

Fast forward ten years and I was preparing for confirmation. When it came time for us to choose a saint upon which to pattern our lives my mind kept going back to the picture of Loretta that still hung in her parents' living room. She was beautiful, and my memory of her was of a sweet singing voice, and delicate perfume. At twelve, I wanted to be just like her. I wanted to choose her name as my confirmation name to honor her memory, after all aren't we all supposed to be striving for sainthood (or so I thought in my middle school theological reasoning)?

The day came for us to tell Father which saint we had chosen for our Confirmatoin Patron. We were all of us, about 40 strong, standing against the wall of the room and Father began at one end and grilled each one of us on our choice, and then gave his approval or dissent to the catechist who marked it in her book.

When Father came to me and asked what I had chosen I timidly said "Loretta?"

"Is there a saint Loretta?" he asked, slightly perplexed.

Being the quick thinker that I was I replied "There is "Our Lady of Loretto, Isn't that close enough?"

Father thought for a moment and then with a sigh of resignation he nodded his approval to the catechist and moved on to the next person in the line. It may have been to my advantage that I was near the end of tbe long line of children, and he could see the end in sight and his release from the purgatory of this job he had undertaken. Whatever his reasoning was I was completely thankful.

I got to honor my undeclared saint, Loretta, with my confirmation. When I told her mom (her dad had passed on by then) why I had chosen the name it brought her tears of joy. During my teen years I wanted to be a credit to her memory, and there were many times that that thought kept me from making disastrous choices. Perhaps she was up in heaven guiding me along,

Many years later I would have a very long discussion with my spiritual director about all the undeclared saints in the world, spurred by this exact story. He said they were called to live a ministry of obscurity. I am sure that many of us have known saints in our lives who will never be declared saints in the formal canonization process. Their lives prove their sainthood regardless of if the church ever formally grants them the title.

The current standard for confirmation name (which is proper) is that one should be confirmed in one's baptismal name so long as it is a Christian name. Had that been true when I was 12 I would have been Margaret Mary all over again, and fighting with the good saint of the Sacred Heart for who got the title first. But that is a story that I have told before.

If anyone wishes to let the blogosphere in on the secret behind how they came to have their Confirmation Name then consider yourself tagged.


1 comment:

Adoro te Devote said...

What an awesome story...just brought tears to my eyes!

And I've often prayed to the unknown Saints...there are many. Just because they haven't been declared doesn't mean they aren't so. Just consider all the nameless martyrs of the Early Church...and in years since, all over the world. People we don't know, dying so that we all might become holy.

My mother's name is Loretta, and she will be one of those undeclared Saints. (I'm not going to "canonize" her when she dies, but you know what I mean.)

Anyway, who knows...maybe my Mom will be the first canonized St. Loretta. It wouldn't surprise me. Her prayers have been very efficacious for me, and eventually they will be for my brother, too.

Maybe I should pray to your friend and see if she can help...she and my Mom would be a great team!