How popular is the baby name Therese in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Therese and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Therese.
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In late 1946, a baby girl was born to Paul Henning of Denver, Colorado. He’d heard of a man in Seattle who had 17 given names* and, impressed, decided that his own daughter’s name should be even longer. So she ended up with 24 given names.
Henning’s daughter–Mary Ann Bernadette Helen Therese Juanita Oliva Alice Louise Harriet Lucille Henrietta Celeste Corolla Constance Cecile Margaret Rose Eugene Yvonne Florentine Lolita Grace Isabelle Henning–was baptized in St. Elizabeth’s church Sunday.
If you were asked to cut this name down to just a first and a middle, using the names already listed, which two would you choose?
*The Seattle man, known as William Cary, had recently died. He’d been born in the mid-1860s and his 17 names had come from the surnames of officers in his father’s Civil War regiment.
“What’s in Name? This Baby Given 24 for a Starter.” Milwaukee Journal 11 Nov. 1946: 1.
“Man With 17 Names Dies in Seattle.” Abilene Reporter-News 1 Nov. 1946: 33.
The baby names Teresa and Fatima might see higher usage in 2016 and 2017, respectively, thanks to Catholic influence.
On September 4, 2016, Mother Teresa will officially be declared a saint of the Catholic Church.
Mother Teresa’s religious name honors St. Thérèse de Lisieux, but she opted for the Spanish spelling “Teresa” when she took her religious vows (back in 1931) because another nun in the convent was already using the name “Thérèse.”
Her birth name was Anjezë, an Albanian form of Agnes, which can be traced back to the ancient Greek word hagnos, meaning “pure, chaste.”
Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions seen by three shepherd children (Lúcia, Francisco, and Jacinta) near the town of Fátima, Portugal.
The place name Fátima is based on the Arabic personal name Fatimah, meaning “to wean.”
If the usage of Fatima does rise in the U.S. in 2017, I’ll be curious to see how much of that increase comes from states with large Portuguese populations (like Massachusetts, California, and Rhode Island).
Update, 5/18/2017: The name Teresa did rise in usage, but only slightly, in 2016.
The Dionne Quintuplets — the first set of quints known to survive infancy — were born in Ontario, Canada, on May 28, 1934. But identical sisters Yvonne, Annette, Cecile, Emilie and Marie weren’t the only children in the Dionne family. Over the course of 20 years, parents Oliva-Edouard and Elzire Dionne had a total of 14 children — 6 before the quints, 3 after.
One of my readers — a married mom of four — is looking for a confirmation name. She’s in RCIA and will be confirmed next Easter. Here’s what she says:
So many of my “classmates” are choosing particular saints because they feel a connection to these people. I was not raised in a religious family so I don’t have these same relationships and want to be sure to choose a saint that I will have a true relationship with. Possibly a convert?!
Here’s something else she mentioned: “I feel like these saints are such devout people, how could I ever have something in common…my own faith doesn’t even compare…”
The latter statement immediately brought to mind St. Therese of Lisieux, who said something similar: “I’ve always wished that I could be a saint. But whenever I compared myself to the saints there was always this unfortunate difference–they were like great mountains, hiding their heads in the clouds, and I was only an insignificant grain of sand, trodden down by all who passed by.” Her little way is based on the idea of accepting one’s imperfections and finding holiness in the everyday.
As far as converts go, how about…
St. Margaret Clitherow, who was brought up as a Protestant. She was arrested and later martyred for allowing Mass to be celebrated in her home. She refused to enter a plea at trial — doing so would have endangered her husband and children — and was therefore pronounced guilty and crushed to death.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who was raised in an Episcopalian home. She was married, had five children, and founded both the first congregation of religious sisters in the U.S. and also the first free Catholic school in the U.S. (both of these in Maryland).
St. Edith Stein, who was originally Jewish, and then an atheist, before becoming Catholic. She took the name Teresia Benedicta when she joined the Carmelites. She was an intellectual who earned a doctorate of philosophy working alongside the likes of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. She was later killed at Auschwitz.