SoCS: the meaning of names

On Wednesday, I went to hear my friend Pat Raube and Martha Spong  of RevGalBlogPals read from their new book, There’s a Woman in the Pulpit. It’s one of those rare times when a publisher offered a book deal because of a blog.  It was great to be able to attend the reading and get my book signed.

Pat’s reading included a reference to her daughter’s name – Joan – and for whom she was named. I immediately thought of a welcome ceremony that Pat’s soul-sisters of Sarah’s Circle had held for Joan as an infant, which featured a coat of many colors that Pat had made for Joan.  It also included a personal blessing from each person in attendance, given verbally at the time and recorded in a book which Pat gave to Joan when she turned sixteen.

When we had a bite to eat together after the reading, the Sarah’s Circle members in attendance were reminiscing about that day and telling stories about names and their meanings and how we came to be called what we are called.

Even though Joan is about to graduate from Oberlin later this month – with Michelle Obama as commencement speaker! – I remember that I had written my blessing to her about the origin of our name. Joan (and Joanne) come from a Hebrew root and I have heard them translated as “God is gracious” or “gift of God” or my favorite “God’s gracious gift.” The last is the one I chose to incorporate into my blessing for Joan.

When I was a first year at Smith thirty-six years ago, I studied Latin with Professor Skulsky. One day she went through the class and told us all the origin of our names, although she was disappointed that none of us had names with Latin roots, like Amanda, which means “the woman who ought to be loved.”

Years later, there was a rise in popularity of Amanda as a name for new babies. My younger daughter had a number of same age Amandas in her class. I wonder if they knew the meaning of their name…

[Update: This post now has a postscript.]
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is: “name.”  Please join us! Find out how here:

adge by Doobster @Mindful Digressions


Author: Joanne Corey

Please come visit my eclectic blog, Top of JC's Mind. You can never be sure what you'll find!

5 thoughts on “SoCS: the meaning of names”

    1. Thank you, Pat! Blessings to you and to Joan in this momentous month! I’m hoping that a few people will check out your blogs and book because of this post, although, admittedly, I don’t have as big a readership as RevGalBlogPals.


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