Friday, November 21, 2008

I Knew I Should Have Taken That History of Language Class

St. Genevieve in the Jardin du Luxembourg

St. Etienne du Mont

St. Etienne Du Mont

Shrine of St. Genevieve

According to the guide book I had, St. Genevieve is the patron saint of Paris. The church, St. Etienne du Mont, is dedicated to her and contains her remains. Now, one of the reasons I took quite as many pictures of things related to St. Genevieve as I did is my lack of knowledge of linguistics.

My name is actually derived from or has the same root as Guinevere. Seeing the name Genevieve, I thought maybe that was a variation of Guinevere, and actually got kind of excited about the whole patron saint/ name day thing. It's not. Guinevere and Genevieve are two completely separate names. The "r" apparently makes a difference. It's actually kind of funny that I got so excited about possibly finding a saint with my name. Despite my lack of religion now, certain parts of my childhood still occasionally take over. Whenever I walk into a Catholic church, even just as a tourist, I still put my hand in the holy water and cross myself. In Notre Dame and St. Etienne Du Mont alike, I put money in the collection box so I could light a candle.

When I was a kid in German school, we read lots of stories of the saints, and most of the kids in class knew exactly who their namesake was and what the story behind him/her was. It was impossible to find a St. Jennifer in a German-speaking country. I think they finally just either gave up or told me to go with Joan. It wasn't until much later when the internet was more prevalent that I was able to find sites with the meaning of my name and the root of it.

My grandmother actually always made a huge deal out of her name day, and expected to be called every Dec 4 and congratulated because of St. Barbara. And the funny thing is that Barbara was her middle name. I guess she had a better story than St. Bettina.

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