Confused, new to Catholicism. Question about choosing a name

Hello,
I’m in RCIA, and I’m pretty overwhelmed. I’ll probably ask more questions on other things I’m scratching my head over, but this question has to do with choosing my confirmation name. I apologize in advance if I posted this question in the wrong section.

  1. Do I choose one name? Or a combination of names? I’m confused on the “formula”, so to speak.

  2. What am I supposed to look for in the Saint(s) I choose? I like many Saints stories and virtues, but I certainly don’t feel like I relate to their stories or virtues or anything. In other words, if there could be a Saint who is anything like I am, they probably wouldn’t be considered a Saint.

My 3rd question relates to my second: Do any of you know of a female Saint that was a lost sinner and fairly weak-willed who, by the power of God through faith and dedication, was able to overcome her short-comings and become a virtuous and obedient servant of God? The female Saints I’ve read up on seem to have been always great, which is very hard for me to relate to.

Thanks in advance for your replies.

St Therese of Lisieux was an ordinary child who went through difficulties like a time of being oversensitive.

Here are a few comments.

What is truly human is our creation in God’s image. Sin and indifference injures the fullness of our humanity.

Saint Therese of Lisieux encourages us in our attempts towards holiness in our vocation to love and serve. Of her own response to the call, she wrote, “This desire could certainly appear daring if one were to consider how weak and imperfect I was, and how after seven years in the religious life, I am still weak and imperfect. I always feel, however, the same bold confidence of becoming a great saint because I do not count on my own merits since I have none, but I trust in God who is Virtue and Holiness. God alone, content with my weak efforts, will raise me to Himself and make me a saint, clothing me in His infinite merits. I didn’t think then that one had to suffer very much to reach sanctity, but God was not long in showing me this was so and in sending me the trials I have already mentioned.” Therese remarked that such holiness may “not be evident to the eyes of mortals.”

We draw hope from this saint of ‘the consecrated ordinary’, whom Pope John Paul 2 declared a Doctor of the Church on October 19, 1997. Many Sisters in her Carmelite community were unaware of the holiness of her ‘ordinary’ deeds of kindness, and doubted that anything worthwhile could appear in her obituary circular. I implore God for ‘everyday’ love and trust such as Therese maintained before temptations of doubt and suffering. Like her, in ordinariness made holy by union with Jesus our God who lived ‘the ordinary life’, we must become shining lights in an era when disbelief, humanism and self-absorption prevail.

We ask God to give us dynamic confidence that holiness is not reserved for a favoured few. As Saint Paul taught, “each soul is God’s favourite” and God desires fulfilment of each person’s call to love God above all and others as self. Every person has a unique vocation and purpose, intended to enrich each other person’s soul for all eternity.

Anyway, I’m sure others will come with some helpful suggestions. God be with you and grant you peace as you continue in your RCIA journey. I ask Him to surround you with light and love.

God bless you, Angela,
Warmly, Trishie

I hope you’re also asking your RCIA folks about any questions you have. If you have questions probably the other people in your group have the same questions.

  1. Do I choose one name? Or a combination of names? I’m confused on the “formula”, so to speak.

You MAY choose a name for confirmation but it isn’t required. If you would like to choose a patron saint then you may.

  1. What am I supposed to look for in the Saint(s) I choose? I like many Saints stories and virtues, but I certainly don’t feel like I relate to their stories or virtues or anything. In other words, if there could be a Saint who is anything like I am, they probably wouldn’t be considered a Saint.

You can look for any qualities you like. Perhaps there’s someone who is a role model in a particular area. Perhaps there’s someone who had a job similar to yours or a family situation that’s similar to yours.

  1. One name, unless the saint has a double name (like Mary Magdalen)
  2. Whatever attracts your soul: their spiritualities, lives, devotions, etc.
  3. Mary Magdalen. She was a prostitute, and prostitution was considered the worst sin in Jesus’ time

Please be sure to research any info given on this site:

St. Mary Magdalen was NOT a prostitute.
see
www.catholic.org/saints/ &
www.catholic-pages.com/dir/saints.asp

You may also choose Mary, Mother of God.

Thank you for saying this! Mary Magdalen was a good and holy woman, one of Jesus’ first disciples, and the one chosen to carry news of his resurrection to the apostles. She would be a good patron saint and role model for anyone!

I don’t think there are any lost sinners; just sinners who have not yet encountered God’s mercy and admitted their mistakes. This is the good news that Jesus came to tell us. :slight_smile:

But an example of someone who underwent a major transformation? The Carmelite nun St Teresa of Avila entered a convent largely to avoid the restrictive life of a financially advantageous marriage, but as was fairly typical of the era (she lived in mid 16th century Spain) she took with her servants and a luxurious lifestyle and lived in a comfortable apartment within the convent, only going to prayer when she felt like it. After nearly 20 years of this she realised the emptiness of her existence and turned to God, committing herself to reforming her religious order and opening new communities.

She is the author of many spiritual classics, and as one of the great commentators on the nature of prayer, was made a doctor of the church (that is, someone who has contributed significantly to theology or church doctrine). She was a remarkable individual, but also very human and likable. Some of her works are available online - her autobiography is a good place to start, and is available online at:

gutenberg.org/etext/8120

  • good to dip into even if you don’t have time to read it all.

I think you’ve identified something important about the way that people write about saints (an area of study called hagiography). Often they are made into figures very remote from the rest of us ordinary types, and their faults are edited out of stories told about them. This is particularly true for lay people - most saints are priests or vowed religious, and very few models of faithful lay existence are put before us. You’re not alone in thinking that the saints can be hard to approach, but with a little persistence the real people underneath the glossy images do shine through, and they’re worth the effort needed to find them. There are lots of other examples to look to, and be assured that at times all these remarkable men and women felt as confused as you and I do.

Best wishes and prayers for you in your search.

Slight correction: Mary Magdalen was an adultress, not a prostitute. I keep getting the two sins mixed up.:o

Do Blessed’ count as Saints for a Confirmation name?

If so, check this out:

catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=512

saints.sqpn.com/saint-pelagia-the-penitent/

Actually, she was neither. There was “a” Mary who was an adulteress, but although they shared the same first name, they were not the same person. Mary (actually Mariam) was the most common female name in that part of the world at the time of Christ.

Angela Lynn,
There is no one “right way” to choose a patron saint name. Here are some suggestions (take them or leave them, there’s no right or wrong way). They are in no particular order.

Names which are popular in your family

The place where your family came from (this might be either short term like where you live now, or way back in family history). Many nationalities and many local places have special saints.

A saint who had an occupation or avocation to which you relate (St Lucy is the patroness of things having to do with the eyes/vision, St Barbara is the patroness of artillery, St Anne the patroness of mines, Dorothy for brewers, etc. etc. just a few examples)

Here’s a good source for a "patronage list"
saints.sqpn.com/patron00.htm
You can find everything from abdominal pains (Charles Borromeo) to zoos (Francis of Assisi)

Your own question about a reformed sinner is also a very good way to choose a saint. Check the list, you’ll find many.

My 3rd question relates to my second: Do any of you know of a female Saint that was a lost sinner and fairly weak-willed who, by the power of God through faith and dedication, was able to overcome her short-comings and become a virtuous and obedient servant of God? The female Saints I’ve read up on seem to have been always great, which is very hard for me to relate to.

Read about St. Mary of Egypt.

She went from being a harlot who would make Xaviera Hollander blush to a saint who would even levitate during prayer.

Don’t worry about the feelings of being confused or overwhelmed, try to enjoy and relish the experience.

There is no need (or, really, reason) to choose a “name”’; so DEFINITELY put that out of your mind, there are much more important things to attend to on your journey.

I’d recommend talking about your concerns with your parish pastor and RCIA team.

Cheers

In her case, she’s being baptized and confirmed… so if she wanted to take a saint for her baptism and one for confirmation, could she?

Yes, absolutely. In fact, she’s already decided to take a name, and she’s at the point of choosing a patron saint.

Great question, and one I struggled with too! I am being Confirmed at Easter :smiley: and had long-ago settled on Therese as a Confirmation name, but kept having wee issues with it. I am a wanna-be Benedictine Oblate, so sort of wanted a Benedictine name, and St. Therese (SUCH a great saint) was a Carmelite. I know, no biggie, but I’m like that :rolleyes:

In choosing a Confirmation name, I had been told to ask any saint I was considering if they were willing to be my Patron Saint. St. Therese was the only one who seemed willing :blush: but after a good couple of years of KNOWING I was using Therese as the name, it still didn’t feel right for various reasons :shrug:

Anyway, I had a wee word with St, Therese the night before Ash Wednesday and told her how I felt, that I love her dearly, but…It then occurred to me to find a list of Benedictine saints, so (God bless Google) I did just that - btw, there are a LOT of Benedictine saints!

Lo and behold, I came across St. Elisabeth Rose, a 12th-Century French Benedictine, who founded a convent, and spent her final years as an Anchoress living in a hollow oak tree - as someone with hermit-like longings at times, she REALLY appealed to me! :wink:

I asked her if she was willing to be my patron saint, but felt really right about it (even “Rose” as part of her name - that ties in with St.Therese), so I wasn’t overly worried. The next day, Ash Wednesday, after Mass (got a lift as I am no longer drive). Msgr. McDonald (he will be 80 on the 25th and is a WONDERFUL priest!), who is Confirming me at Easter, gave me a wall crucifix of Christ the King and an old Missal that had belonged to a priest. He said he had meant to give them to me when I was received into the Church, but somehow this seemed like the right time! I figured that worked for a sign! :thumbsup:

If you want a reformed sinner, there’s always St. Augustine(!), or you could go to my favourite Saints website saints.sqpn.com/ and look at the biographies of names that catch your eye, or the saints for the day of your Birthday…I had always hoped to find an obscure Saint that nobody knows about these days, someone to really put to work(!), and St. Elisabeth Rose seems to be perfect for me in so many ways.

HTH.

Crazy as it may seem, I have had most of my “ah ha” spiritual moments in the shower! That was where it came to me that my Patron Saint should be St. Brigid of Ireland. I questioned the insight but, when I went to www.americancatholic.com, I found that I have a lot in common with her so I believe she may have inspired me. So, I would suggest opening yourself during prayer and meditation and asking for guidance. You may be surprised.

I, too, am in RCIA & have to choose a Saints name. We were told that the Saint should basically be someone you can look up to as a role model of sorts.

I chose Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity as, to me, she epitimizes what we have learned in RCIA. One of her quotes really drew me to her is:

“During painful times, when you feel a terrible void, think how the capacity of your soul is being enlarged so the it can receive God ~ becoming, as it were, infinite as God is infinite.”

Also,

“Let us live with God as with a Friend. Let us make our faith a living thing so as to remain in communion with Him through everything. That is how saints are made. We carry our heaven within us; God is giving Himself to us in faith and mystery. It seams to me that I have found my heaven on earth since heaven is God and God is within my soul.”

Borrow a book from the library - that is how I found Elizabeth & trust me, when you find the right Saint, you will know.

Google Saints too - this is how I found all my research for my report we had to do on our Saint.

Good Luck!
Sue

Hi Angela,
Congratulations on taking RCIA classes. After 27 years of marriage my husband started RCIA last fall. And I am proud to say I never bugged him about it. All I did was pray. Sometimes it may take awhile, but prayers do get answered! Anyway…

What I was taught years ago, and my boys were taught recently that when you pick a confirmation name, look for a saint that you have something in common with, or one that worked towards things that you think are important. My oldest son chose two names, the first was Michael, because he is always pictured with a sword and Tom has a great interest in swords and has collected several. The second name was Genesius (?). Genesius is the patron saint of actors and musicians and at the time Tom was very interested in that.

My youngest son chose St. Flavius because he is the patron saint of firemen. (this may sound terrible, but it could also be Flavian, I can never remember) Paul wants to be a firefighter after he graduates from high school and thought this would be the perfect name, and he would also have an extra person watching out for him.

The easiest way to do this is make a list of your interests. Then find a book of saints that lists who the patron saint is of that particular interest. This will also lead you to finding other saints and you will be surprised by what you learn.

Also, never feel funny asking your sponsor questions, or the leader of RCIA. Everyone is very eager to help you on your journey.

Jacque

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