1. JosephMarch
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    JosephMarch Active Member

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    Catholic Nuns using male names

    Discussion in 'Research' started by JosephMarch, Mar 14, 2015.

    Does anyone know if this was still done in the 1970s in America? I know there was a lot of 'Sr. Dominick Anne' or whatever but did they ever change over to another name or once they took the name, was it for life?
    I am trying to properly name a Catholic School Nun teacher.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    There is no one answer to your question. Here are a few of the reasons:
    • In some communities, nuns have been assigned the names that they are known by in religious life. This is an older tradition, not as common now as it once was, but it is true that some nuns have no say in what their religious identities will be.
    • Sometimes, especially in past centuries but true even today, names were unisex or were pronounced differently for men and women. Julian is considered today to be a man's name, which puzzles some who wonder why Julian of Norwich had a "man's name," but in her day the feminine-version of the name was pronounced "Juli-anne." Today the same name is spelled "Julianne" when given to a woman.
    • In some cases, when the choice has been the nun's, a particular name (whether male or female) is taken simply because the nun has a devotion to that particular saint. Indeed, in some communities there is a community-wide devotion to a particular saint and variations of that saint's name is given to all of the members. (This is why you'll sometimes find that entire communities of nuns all have double names that start or end with either "Mary" or "Joseph.")

    From: http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=95933
     
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  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Traditionally, a nun taking a new name was symbolic of entering a new stage in her life, that of a religious vocation. More recently, some orders allow nuns to retain their Baptismal names in recognition of the belief that one's vocation is part of one's original Baptismal call.

    See http://anunslife.org/resources/nun-sister-religious-name
     
  4. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well "Sister Act" got away with it and that was set in the early 1990s - Sisters Mary Clarence, Mary Robert, Mary Patrick, and Mary Lazarus.
     
  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    It wasn't a matter of "getting away with it". It was an accurate depiction of the naming traditions of some orders.
     
  6. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    I figured that based on the fact that it was done - I just wasn't in the mood to research Carmelite naming traditions (see, I know the order - just not the internal regs...I'm writing a Vatican based story :p), so I just cited it as an example in a recent work as a way of being lazy :)
     
  7. Wyr
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    Wyr Active Member

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    My elementary school principal was Sister Bernard (though it was always pronounced bUr-nerd) and the oldest sister still teaching classes in my high school was Sister Wenceslas, so it is still pretty prevalent today. If you are looking for ideas, some other sisters who taught at my schools were Sister Gabriela, Sister Francesca (who was awesome and let use have a guinea pig in the library,) Sister Immaculada, and Sister Francis (who taught Spanish and I hated.)

    One thing you should know though, Roman Catholic nuns do not generally teach in schools, you are thinking of sisters. There is a difference. Nuns are almost always cloistered and basically spend all their time praying or caring for their church/convent, sisters work with the public in schools or hospitals.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015
  8. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I can say that it was indeed a common practice in the '70s. My mother knew a nun who went by the name Sister Francis de Sales. I remember suggesting that might have been a result of convents being self-sufficient and that there may have been a Sister Arnold de Accounting.
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    My great aunt was Sr. Hilarion. Although to me, she was always just Aunt Maggie.
     

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