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.)