May 14, 2018 1927 0 Jennifer Fulwiler

A Name for Baby Joy

Why did my older children insist that the new baby’s name must be “Joy?” It was the strangest thing: one day when I was still pregnant, my four-year-old son got it into his head that “Joy” was the baby’s name and he has not backed down since. When guests refer to her by her real name, he or my two-year-old will adamantly correct them that she is to be called “Joy.” They have been so insistent that our family has just given up and officially given her that nickname.

Meanwhile, her real name is Catherine. It is odd because Catherine was never a name I felt drawn to—it was not even on the list for consideration with my other daughters. Yet as soon as I found out that this baby was a girl, I knew that that was her name. We never seriously discussed any other options. I did not feel like I was choosing a name for her as much as it seemed like I was just articulating the name she already had.

I wondered if perhaps there was a reason for this, so I prayed to know if there was any particular saint named Catherine whom she was supposed to be named after. Soon after I said that prayer, a package with a painting of Saint Catherine of Siena arrived in the mail. My uncle had been traveling Italy. He just so happened to be in Siena on the day she was born so he got the picture of the famous saint for the baby. He did not know what day she was going to be born—it was just a “coincidence” that he was in Siena that day.

I figured that was probably an indicator that she was meant to be named after Catherine of Siena, but wished I had a little more certainty. Then, while researching something unrelated, I came across the biography of Catherine of Siena. My jaw dropped when I read: her family gave her the pet name of Euphrosyne, which is Greek for Joy.

I guess that answers the question.

Jennifer Fulwiler

© is a programmer-turned-writer who chronicles her experiences of faith and family life on her popular blog, ConversionDiary.com. Her articles have also appeared in America, Our Sunday Visitor, envoy and National Review Online. She has been a guest on the television shows Fox and Friends, Life on the Rock and The Choices We Face and was also the subject of the reality show "Minor Revisions." She and her husband, Joe, live in Austin, Texas, with their six young children. The article was originally published at JenniferFulwiler.com and is reprinted with permission.


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