When my daughter Laura announced she was naming her soon-to-arrive baby boy, Giovanni, I said, “Is that a saint’s name?” In my Hispanic culture, I always heard children should have saints’ names. Why do you think there are so many people named Maria, Jose and even Jesus?
I Googled and was pleasantly surprised. Giovanni’s an Italian name shared by many holy men. Pope Leo X’s name was Giovanni. One of my favorite saints, Padre Pio, spent many years at San Giovanni Rotondo in Italy and Giovanni was the name of another of my favorites, St. Francis of Assisi, whose name was Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone. Now, how do I justify naming my daughter Laura Micaela, after two old Tejano music songs by the band Mazz?
Sunday is All Hallow’s Eve, a.k.a. Halloween, which began, not about ghosts and goblins, but as the eve to All Saints Day on November 1. Recently, Teresa of Avila has become a favorite of mine, the patron saint of headache sufferers, middle-agers and of Spanish women writers. There’s a saint for other folks around here, like Saint Medard, patron saint of bad weather; Saint Clare of Assisi, patron saint of good weather; and even Saint Vitus, patron saint of insomniacs and oversleepers. Don’t forget Saint Isidore, patron saint of farmers.