Friday, August 17, 2012

Naming Sophia & Olivia

Naming Sophia and Olivia was no easy task. I poured over countless baby name books, internet sites, and listened to suggestions from family and friends. Ultimately, the most important part of each of the girls' names is the one in which they are each named after one of my grandmothers.

Each grandmother had a significant role or impact on my life. One I was able to meet and spent a lot of time with until I was 16 years old when she died. The other died six weeks after I was born. I never met her.

The grandma I knew (Clara), was such a positive role model for me. As my mother's mom, she helped my mom on a regular basis, and sometimes would stay at our home. I often spent time at her home, and considered the spare bedroom "my" room.

She was widowed in her 50s, after her husband (my grandfather) died unexpectedly in the 1950s. She never remarried. Rather, she worked outside the home, and was a talented, professional baker who was able to be there for my mom as well as run her own household until she was 82 years old.

Olive, my dad's mother, was one I heard about throughout my entire life, and learned what a giving, thoughtful, loving person she was not only to her family, but to those in her community. She worked in the local post office, and was around others all the time.

A bit more about what the girls' names mean:

Sophia Claire

Sophia's Name in Chinese
Sophia holding one of the items made for her while she was in China,
and before she was adopted.
(Taken on November 26, 2010.)

Sophia is the Goddess of wisdom within the Neopagan and New Age movements, as well as within feminist-inspired Goddess spirituality.

In Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christianity, Sophia - or Hagia Sophia - means Holy Wisdom. This is an expression of understanding of the Holy Spirit. There are many examples of Sophia referred to in the Bible. Here's a good link about Sophia and wisdom:

In general, the name Sophia reflects many traits including: righteousness, wisdom, love, communication, knowledge, creativity, protectiveness, generosity, and truthfulness.

Sophia was also the mother of Faith, Hope, and Charity. She reminds people that clear vision and understanding line the path that leads to the discovery of the meaning of one's life.

She is symbolized by a dove, crescent moon, stars, a cup or a tree.

Claire is a variation of the name "Clara," which was my maternal grandmother's name.

Corner of my Upstairs Desk
Grandma Clara is in the picture to the right.
She's in the back row on the left hand side, and
is standing next to me.

Being that she was raised Catholic, I'm assuming that she is named after St. Clare of Assisi who is an Italian saint. She was one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi (someone whose life I, as well as my dad, admired).

St. Clare founded the Order of Poor Ladies, a monastic religious order for women in the Franciscan tradition, and wrote their Rule of Life — the first monastic rule known to have been written by a woman.

Olivia Grace 

Olivia is named after my paternal grandmother whose name was Olive. It is derived from the Latin word 'oliva' - an olive tree which symbolizes peace and victory.

Olivia's Chop Set
Olivia's hand-carved chop that was made for her in China.
Her name is written in both Chinese characters and Enligsh letters.
(Taken on November 17, 2010)

Generally, people with this name have a deep inner desire for love and companionship; and want to work with others to achieve peace and harmony.

They are compassionate, romantic, intuitive, and have magnetic personalities. They are usually generous, humanitarian, and broadminded, and tend to follow professions where they can serve humanity.

Olivia's middle name, Grace, was originally going to be "Graces" named after the trio of Greek goddesses of joy, charm, and beauty. The daughters of the god Zeus and the nymph Eurynome, they were named Aglaia (Splendor), Euphrosyne (Mirth), and Thalia (Good Cheer).

The Graces presided over dances, banquets, and other social events. They also brought goodwill and joy to both mortals and gods. They are traditionally associated with the arts; and, like the Muses, they were believed to endow poets and artists with the ability to create beautiful works of art. The Graces were rarely treated as individuals, but always together as a kind of trio of grace and beauty.

ATC Gifted - Totem Animal Series - The Graceful Butterfly
An Artist Trading Card I made featuring
Olivia's middle name - Grace.
(Taken on July 1, 2008.)

Although I liked The Graces and what they represented, the reality is that most people would assume her middle name is "Grace" not "Graces." She would always have to explain that her middle has an "s" at the end. This seemed like more hassle than it was worth, so her middle name was shortened to the more familiar "Grace."

1 comment:

germandolls said...

Hi Ann,
Nice post. We named our daughter after my mother. I think it's good to have that sort of connection to a real person. My daughter didn't get to know my mom well. But she alwasy loves to hear stories about her namesake Frieda. =)