February 11, 2015

Why we named her Lourdes Marie

Today is a very very super duper like awesomely special day for me. It's the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Wait, who is that?

It is the title of Mary (she has lots of them) given to her after her apparition to St. Bernadette at Lourdes, France in 1858. No, we Catholics don't worship Mary. But she is the Mother of God and has a special, important role in our lives. Jesus was molded and shaped by her humility, wisdom, grace, and way of life for years and years before He began His public ministry. And His Mother has such a special place in His heart that He asks us to turn to her as our mother as well. 

Anyway, over the course of history, Mary has made herself known in many different occurrences, but the appearance at Lourdes is one of the most significant. From the spot she appeared sprung forth a fountain of water - a fountain that, to this day, people visit seeking healing from physical and mental infirmity. 

Back in high school and college I suffered from a horrible eating disorder. One that not only clouded (and attempted to destroy) my notion of femininity but also left my body severely damaged. It was only until I met (and subsequently lived with) these freaking awesome girls at college that I began to see what it really means to be a woman. And it was the anecdote to everything I had ever battled against.

To make a looooong, probably boring for a Wednesday, story short I prayed and prayed and prayed for physical healing. My mind and heart were changing but my body was still reeling from the damage done - namely to my fertility. However, in 2005 things took a turn. I was at Mass on January 1st (the day we celebrated Mary, the Mother of God) and I gave her everything. I said, Mary, take me, use me, present me to Jesus. I am yours. Please ask God to heal me!!! And then that February my girlfriends and I all prayed the novena (a 9-day prayer) of Our Lady of Lourdes and no less than two months later I was healed. After years of prayer and longing (and crying and surrendering) I. was. healed.

Later that year my husband and I started dating, the next year we were married, and the year after that expecting our first child. God is so good. As a gift to my mother who listened to my plea, I promised to name a baby girl after her, if I was so lucky. Yes, our first daughter almost got the name Lourdes but Avila (pronounced A-vila, named after the spitfire rockstar St. Theresa of Avila whom our girl totally is like) was more fitting for her. And, so, the fourth time around I knew that if this baby was a girl, she would bear the name of the mother whom I hold so dear to my heart.

Before I wrap this baby up and share *one last thing* (promise promise), we pronounce her name Lor-des. (Not Lords) But whatever. I always said I wouldn't have weird, unpronounceable, kid names but screw that plan I guess!

As the birth of Lourdes was approaching I actually became smitten (like dying in love) over another girl's name. (Which I claim but I won't say it out loud 'cause no stealing.....) Knowing we would use Lola as a nickname for our little Lourdes I looked up the meaning and almost died. Lola is also a nickname for Dolores. The name of my grandmother who was also my best friend who had passed away the year prior. Boom. Settled. If this baby was a girl Lourdes was destined to be her name. 

And so there you have it. Probably a weird explanation but one that's close to my heart nevertheless. After all that happened (and you can ask my friends how much I died longing for a little girl names Lourdes) this girl is destined for great things. What's in a name? A helluvalot. And I can't wait to see how our little Lourdes stacks up against her other mama. 

PS: Why the middle name Marie?? Well, all our girls have Marie and our boys, Joseph. It's our not-so-secret little way of keeping the Holy Fam as a part of our fam. Gotta get all the help I can muster.

PPS: Happy Wednesday! It's sunnnnnnnneeeeeee!

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