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Monday, January 24, 2011

Mariam Baouardy

We didn't initially plan to name our baby Mariam. We had a different first name for her, and her middle name was one of two options we had. A little over a month before Mariam was born, though, Rich asked me to consider the name Mariam. We like to name for saints, and the Blessed Virgin Mary was definitely a saint we'd love a child to emulate. Her obedience and holiness are definitely things that we saw as a plus for any person. Rich said not to think he had a problem with the name we'd already agreed on, but to just consider this one and pray about it. So, I did.

The name really grew on me. So, I tried it out with the two middle name options, and one won out over the other, if her name were to be Mariam. I asked various people how they would pronounce the name if spelled this way or another way, and we got closer pronunciation with this spelling. By August, we had decided to name her Mariam.

Anyway, the date of my surgery was not set in stone until two days before. It was supposed to be the 25th, but there were too many caesarians scheduled that day and so it was moved to the 26th.

Well, while researching saints for our All Saints' party, I found that, perhaps, God really wanted us to name her Mariam. Perhaps it was His purpose which directed us to this name. As it turns out that there is a saint with her exact name (not just Mary or Marie or Maria), who is an Arab. She was born in Syria, her family moved to Galilee. Her parents died and she was adopted by her uncle, who eventually moved to Alexandria. Not only that, but her memorial day is August 26th - the same day as Mariam's birth, which we were trying so hard to keep on the 25th.

Mariam Baouardy was also named for the Blessed Virgin Mary, as her parents were especially devoted to her. She had a hard life and was nearly martyred for her faith - she is properly known as a confessor, rather than a martyr.

We know that God has great plans for each of our children. Perhaps not to be martyrs or confessors, perhaps not to be theologians or remembered as great saints, but they are each to be saints and to follow His purpose for them. We wonder what God has in store for our little Mariam, our "Little Arab," that her name and birth date were so closely entwined with this saint's life.

The proud person is like a grain of wheat thrown into water: it swells, it gets big. Expose that grain to the fire: it dries up, it burns. The humble soul is like a grain of wheat thrown into the earth: it descends, it hides itself, it disappears, it dies; but to revive in heaven. - Blessed Mary Baouardy

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