I’m with Simcha on this, I want a Saint Penelope!

When Simcha Fisher bemoaned that after she found out she was having a girl (back in 2009) that all the “good names” (biblical and variations on Mary) were taken, at the end of her post here, she exclaimed her disbelief that there is not a Saint Penelope!

For shame, I didn’t realize this. Really? I mean, come on with Felicity, Perpetua, Helena, Lucia, no Penelope? I have researched this since first reading that post, as best I can find, like someone mentioned in the comments, there is a Byzantine/Orthodox Saint Irene whose original name was Penelope, but that’s a close as it gets. (Her name was changed when she converted which her father locked her in a tower to prevent conversion, great story.)

I love the name. One of my sorority sisters whom I absolutely adore is Penelope and I think it sounds sophisticated and classic. Different without being out there. And I can always pair it up with a saint’s name for a middle name. That’s assuming Jeff would go along with that name…but that’s a whole other argument.

My friend Katherine told me that St Penelope was/is the patron saint of getting a parking space when you are going to a charitable event. Sounds good, but I like this idea best: the world’s best known Penelope was the wife of Odysseus hero of first, the Iliad and Second, the Odyssey. Penelope endured ten years while her husband was away at war and then ten years it took him to get back. In all that time, he was presumed dead, but she refused to remarry and stayed faithful to him. Penelope is a fictional character, but I like to think of her name representing fidelity in marriage.

I have found in recent years, myself liking some of the more off-beat saint names or less used ones, Kilian, for example or Florian, are great boy names in my book. My confirmation saint is Saint Juliana Falconieri, one few have heard of. And there is a St Conan, who is not the patron saint of late night television. I like Columba as a girl’s name, not a boy’s. Hermes, Hedwig, Hyacinth, Dalmatius, Dwynwen, Tarsicius, Tatiana, Scholastica, are all names I actually kind of like and would consider…mostly for middle names, I’m not sure how Dalmatius and Scholastica would do on the baseball field or dance class….

Yeah, why is there not a Saint Penelope? I mean, surely someone named Penelope who was a good person made it to heaven….

(Oh, as a side note, I was curious to see if there was a St Homer because someone in my house sometimes gets strange ideas, like let’s name a kid after Homer Simpson, which I could only sell to my family if there was a St Homer. There isn’t one, but there is a St Homobonus. The patron saint of tailors.)


6 thoughts on “I’m with Simcha on this, I want a Saint Penelope!

  1. Homobonus, tailors. I’m laughing like a 12 year old boy right now. Maybe we should stick with his German name, St. Gutman.

    Byzantine saints count for us, too, right?

    • I know, that one was especially awful. I had to put it on there. The reasoning of someone in Simcha’s comments that Irene was a Byzantine saint (which I believe counts) and that since her name was originally Penelope that should make the name allowable, I can get on board with that.

  2. I, too, have a daughter named Penelope. I was told that there is a St. Penelope of the 40 holy virgins in the Eastern Tradition. I even found a picture on-line of an obscure icon from some church over in Greece. Lastly, my friend has this old book called Catholic Saint Stories for Girls. I need to get the publishing info but they have this wonderful story about St. Penelope. But I can’t find anything else “official” but I think its good enough for me 🙂 St Penelope, pray for us!

  3. Oh, thank you for this!! We’re expecting, and I just had a rather fruitless time looking thru Catholic.org (well, not entirely, but no Penelope!) our daughters are Vivian, Margaret and Veronica — seems like Penelope is a fit. In the end, we all need to echo Simcha on most matters. ; )

  4. One day a friend of mine invited me to join their dialysis clinic annual summer picnic in a park by the beach in La Jolla,San Diego Ca..I took my husband to find a parking space for almost and hour which was about a mile walk to the park.My friend’s son had been going around looking for a space to park so I suggested that his Mom and I would take over his car so he could eat ’cause it was getting close to 2 pm.So we drove and circled around the area for at least 3-4 times.Feeling frustrated my friend suddenly remembered what her niece had told her long time ago to pray to St.Penelope.So we both prayed and said “St Penelope please help us find a parking space”In a beat of just a second a family was crossing the street at the very exact ares we were at just next to their SUV.PRAISE ST PENELOPE..AMEN,WE LOVE YOU.IT IS REALLY A MIRACLE,IT’S A WONDER AND MYSTERY.ST PENELOPE YOUR’E A REAL SAINT …THANK YOU…….NELDA B

  5. I am Greek Orthodox. St. Penelope is one of the 40 Virgin martyrs who’s nameday is commemorated on September 1 of each year. My mother, of the same name, was thrilled after all these years to learn she has a patron saint. Both the Orthodox and Catholic share all the Saints prior to the Great Schism in 1054 a.d. because before that date we were one Church,

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