01 February 2008

Ain't that a kick in the head

Terry did a post about confirmation names, related to the post Sister Mary Martha did. I commented on Terry's blog that my confirmation name, selected when I was a goofy teen, was Avia. Yeah, like the shoes, but I picked the name before the shoes were really mainstream and cool. Sr. Mary Martha also mentioned that our confirmation name is the name we will be known by in heaven. Goodness, no one told me that when I picked it or I would've picked a name that sounded a little less like Britney or Tiffany. And I don't even chew gum and twirl my hair.

I then commented on Terry's post that I haven't been able to find much on St. Avia lately, even though when I selected St. Avia I had to write a report on her and used information I had found about her in a book of saints. A book of saints, mind you. Isn't that almost like quoting scripture or something?

We also had to make a felt sash with the saint's name on it to wear at confirmation, but that's a memory only years of therapy can correct. That and having Archbishop Roach confirm me.

Turns out, according to the link about St. Avia that Sr. Mary Martha provided on Terry's blog, my confirmation saint is fictitious. Yep, a FAKE. Here's info from the link she provided:

One version of the legend of the virgin and martyr Saint Avia tells that the saint, imprisoned for adhering to her Christian beliefs, miraculously received communion from the Virgin Mary. In this miniature the crowned Virgin appears with an entourage of adoring angels carrying liturgical objects, including an incense holder and a processional cross. The Virgin herself offers the host and holds the chalice.

In this book of hours, the miniature accompanies an intercessory prayer written in French rather than in the more common Latin. The use of French rather than Latin illustrates the local and contemporary popularity of Avia, one of many fictitious saints who were widely venerated in fifteenth-century France. Intercessory prayers, appeals for assistance addressed to God or to specific saints, were grouped together in books of hours. The contents of these sections varied, since they were personalized with prayers dedicated to locally popular saints or to saints with personal meaning for the patron.

Now what am I to do? Am I really Catholic? Will I be stuck in the ante-room of heaven trying to sort out paperwork resulting from not having a "legal" name? Can I even go to heaven?

No one warned me. I want a do-over!

Jean Bourdichon
French, Tours, about 1480 - 1485
Tempera colors and gold on parchment
6 7/16 x 4 9/16 in.
The Getty Museum


Lisa said...

I need to do some research on this confirmation name topic. I picked Ann for myself when I was confirmed in 8th grade. My son, (who was confirmed 2 years ago) however, didn't pick any name-they weren't asked nor required to do so. Nothing was ever mentioned about it. Are confirmation names optional these days for the newly confirmed?

ArchAngel's Advocate said...

Figure one of many French kids named "Avia" made it thru the Pearly Gates even though the Vatican never got the notice. I figure we'll be called by that name known only by God which we learn when we get kicked upstairs (I figure its like when Mom called "Michael" and, although there may be 30 Michaels within earshot) I knew she wanted ME. Sr. MM also noted in a later post that she was just repeating an "Old Nun's Tale" about the Confirmation name being our heavenly name.

swissmiss said...

According to some comments on Terry's blog, it seems that confirmation names are going the way of the dinosaurs in some parishes. It's been a long time since I was confirmed so this is all new to me. I'm kind of surprised that the practice of picking a saints name has been stopped in some places.

Or those French kids are stuck somewhere without the proper papers. Leave it to the French to make up stuff :)

Mairin :o) said...

My confirmation saint is St. Francis of Assisi. My daughter also chose a male saint. There could be a St. Avia that has been lost in history or unknown to the world and thus not a fake.

Sister Mary Martha said...

Don't feel too bad. Think of all the Christophers.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

Just say it was a typo and stick an l in there to make Avila and then get SS Teresa and John to meet you at the Pearly's and drag you in by those trendy shoes. :))

gemoftheocean said...

Oh, Hell's Bells. What does S'tr know anyway. It's not like she's been there. How does SHE know "what name you're going to be called by."

And Lisa, your son got ripped off.

Last time around in our parish, the kids got to pick names. We have an aging hippy (in some ways) for a pastor, but even he's not that big of a hippy.


the mother of this lot said...

So, if you had to do it all again, what name would you choose this time round?

Mine's Bernadette, by the way, so I'm a dead cert!

swissmiss said...

Great choice. I use male names for my Guardian Angel and my children's. Never thought about picking a male saint for confirmation though.

One of my mottos is that there is always more than one way to skin a cat, so if and when I get to the Pearly Gates, I will haggle with St. Peter and possibly bribe him to overlook my fake saint name.

I think I might have to do this. LOL!!

I agree...kids who don't get to pick saints' names get ripped off. I thought that was a huge part of what you did for confirmation was pick a saint name, but I'm just old fashioned.

Since my middle name is Therese, that's already covered. Off the top of my head, it would be Catherine or Clare, more likely Catherine. Although St. Rita is tempting. If I was bold enough to pick a male saint, it would be Thomas...not the doubting one, the Summa one.

Anna B. said...

I'm in the same boat, I read a book about ST Ramona and has yourself write a report on my findings.. Well now only to find out that she does not exist. There is ST Raymond of Nonnatus.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Swissmiss: Well, many people think my Saint Catherine of Alexandria never existed either. If they are listed as a Saint by the Church that pretty much tears it for me.

BTW, St. Christopher is still a Saint and he can still be invoked for travel protection. I've had that argument with "Sister" before.

At my Confirmation I was the only one, former dissident, "old-school" enough to pick a Confirmation name. It can still be done. People need to put their feet down more often. :-)

Lisa said...

When I was confirmed, we wore our confirmation name on a nametag. The bishop then confirmed us by using that name only. If my son had picked a name, only he and us would know- our parish and archbishop(who confirmed him) didn't ask for it or even offer it as an option.

Terry Nelson said...

Monica - if indeed St. Avia is fictitious - I am certain the name may be a derivative of Ave - which is a name for girls taken from Ave Maria, or Eve. So Our Lady is probably your patroness, or maybe our first mother Eve is.

Terry Nelson said...

OR! Our Lady of Loretto who is the patroness of aviators... get it - AVIA-tors. It is like all the Muslim boys called ALI - for ALLI-gator! I am so flippin' funny, aren't I?!

gemoftheocean said...

Cathy of Alex: You go, girl! That's showing the right spunk. I'll tell you something else the kids in our parochial (and CCD kids) get cheated out of: holy medals, scapulars, benedictions, stations of the cross etc. ...not all of them, but it should be a given. Everywhere.

swissmiss said...

Anna: I'm kinda surprised at all the "fakes" that are out there.

Cathy and Gem: I agree with both of you. Even when I was a kid they didn't have all this stuff at the parish we attended like Benediction, scapulars, holy cards, etc., but then they were too busy ripping out Communion rails and cutting out felt letters to be bothered with those sorts of things.

Terry: Thanks for the consoling words. I feel better already.

Lisa: I'm pretty sure St. Agnes still has the kids pick saints' names and would wager a few other parishes around here do. The whole thing of not picking a name for confirmation is kind of disturbing. When my kids get confirmed, they will pick saints names, whether the parish requires it or not.

Angela M. said...

I was told by the nun that gave me instruction in 1986 when I was 22, that "we don't pick confirmation names anymore." I was crushed! I already had a pagan first name (Angela is not my real name) so I was terribly disappointed. So...when the bishop confirmed me and said my name, in my mind I shouted out "Evangeline"! Which is not a saint either....so Evangeline has morphed into "Angela" after St. Angela of Merici and Bl. Angela of Foligno.