Naming and Identity

Names are important to me, I always make sure I know how to spell and pronounce a person’s name, because I feel like names are part of a person’s identity. When people enter religious communities, they often change their names, and in the Bible, God changed the names of several people to suit their identity better. For the past year or so, I’ve known that my name didn’t belong to me. My name was associated with people I’d rather not have a connection to. When I got divorced, I chose to go back to my maiden name and I had my reasons, but my family and I don’t speak to each other and I was severely abused and so as part of my healing, I decided to try out a new name, which if it works out, I will legally change.

I feel like a name change will be a major part of my healing as I figure out who the fuck it is God actually created me to be. There’s so much trauma to work through and I get to work with God to figure out who I really am. I get to create a new identity with with God. The name I have chosen to try is Mary Josephine St. Benedict. I spent a lot of time figuring out what I wanted to use, and in the end the names are all saints names. I had ideas of what direction I wanted to go for a first name and middle name, but the surname was the hardest. But I’ve been praying to St. Benedict a lot and so I chose that, as it gives me a connection to someone who has gone on before, and it’s a spiritual connection.

I’ve always liked the name Mary, even though it’s old fashioned. But I had several reasons for choosing Mary as a Christian name. My patron saint is St. Mary Magdalene, and I have connected deeply with her. Then there is Mary, the mother of Jesus. The name Josephine is for St. Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of human trafficking. The name Josephine is a Hebrew name that means “God raises” and so while St. Mary Magdalene was the first to see the resurrected Christ, I’m also hoping for my own resurrection in my healing journey.

I am hopeful that a new name will help me forge my identity of who I am in Christ, and help heal painful things.

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