Our Chosen Names

For those who experienced the Easter Vigil last month, you couldn't help but notice the Litany of Saints. Reading the list, I wondered how these particular saints were chosen. Was it their unique gifts or simply their prominence in the Easter tradition? At the moment of confirmation, I had my answer when I realized these were the chosen names of the newest members of our Church family.  At Saint John Neumann, we had many of the greats: St Francis, St Albert, St Augustine, St Therese, St Theresa and St Mary Magdalene. Then there were others with whom I was unfamiliar such as St. Zita.

Knowing how seriously my husband took the task of choosing his confirmation name, I wished I could reconsider mine. I thought If I had been more sincere in my deliberations, I would have chosen St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Something about her role as wife and mother and as the foundress of an entire health care system, speaks to me. Instead, at the age of 12, I chose St. Thomas. Teetering on the edge of being an angry feminist, I was displeased at the suggested female saints who mostly had "domestic worker" listed as their vocation. I wanted to be a physician early on and being ignorant of the immense blessing it is to be a "domestic worker", I settled on St. Thomas, one of the few "doctors" of the Church.  However, as I approached Bishop McCarthy, I was surprised when he called out St. Thomas, the Apostle, or as he is often called, St Thomas, the Doubter.

I'd always wished I could have changed my name but sitting there during the Easter Vigil, it became clear that we do not choose our names, our confirmation names are chosen for us. And suddenly, St. Thomas the Doubter seemed perfect for me. I had doubted that women could have a significant role in society but still retain their femininity and I had doubted I would find as much joy in being a mother and wife as I would in being a physician. Maybe St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is who I long to be, but St. Thomas the Doubter, is who I am.

Please join us as we celebrate our expanded mission! Our first meeting which will include board elections and a discussion around "Your Call to Healthcare…Connecting Spirituality and Work" will be held June 12th, 5:30 p.m., Dell Children's Auditorium. For more information or to RSVP, contact CatholicHCGuild@gmail.com

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