Our little Eulalie has been with us for almost two weeks now, and I'm sure you've been curious about where we came up with her name. If you know me, you know I've always enjoyed a good baby name story and I can't resist sharing with all of you the inside scoop on how we decided the names of my own children.
When Brad and I consider a name for our child, prayer is the center of our decision. We figure that Jesus has ordained a name to our baby already and it's up to Him to keep placing it on our hearts until we are certain. To be honest, we were torn on multiple girl names and really needed some divine intervention. Brad and I have a love for literature, history, and theology and would love for that to come through in naming our children. The name Eulalie intertwines all three of those loves in a unique way.
Let's back up to the summer of 2011. In our early dating days, Brad and I liked to read one of our favorites poems, Evangeline by Henry Longfelllow, aloud in a park in New Orleans. As I was reading, I stopped at a verse describing Evangeline as "the sunshine of St. Eulalie". St. Eulalie...we had never heard of her before and became intrigued. I actually remember us talking about how much we both loved that name on the ride home and it has stayed in the back of our minds ever since.
Thus began our research into the life of this inspiring saint. St. Eulalia (the Spanish version of the name) was an early Christian martyr from Merida, Spain killed during the Persecution of Diocletian. Some early narratives describe that Christians were apostasizing and Eulalia felt a strong desire to make herself a model of faith to encourage those under duress. Her story is beautifully recounted by the early Christian poet Prudentius:
Now when Maximian was working himself
up against the servants of the Lord and
commanding that the followers of Christ should
offer burnt sacrifice to gods who brought death,
Eulalie's holy courage made loud protest.
With the heart in her young breast panting for God,
she challenged the weapons of men.
presenting herself haughtily at the seat of
authority calling out:
“Here am I, a foe to the worship of evil spirits ; I trample idols
under foot, and with heart and lips I confess God.
Come then, tormentor, burn, slash, cut up my body.
It was put together of clay; it is easy to destroy so frail a
thing. But the racking pain will not reach the spirit within."
Roused to fury by such words the governor cries:
"Away with her, lictor! Heap tortures on her.
If, damsel, you would be
so obliging as just to put out your fingers and touch a
little of the salt and a tiny grain of the incense, you
would escape the cruel suffering."
The martyr answers never a word; howbeit with a
loud cry she spits into the tyrant's eyes and then
scatters the images and with her foot kicks over the
meal laid on the censers. In a moment two
executioners are tearing into her flesh
Eulalia counts the marks. "See, Lord," she says,
"thy name is being written on me. How I love to
read these letters, for they record thy victories”
Then comes the final torture
a fire from flambeaux set all round and
raging against her sides and front.
the maid, desiring a speedy end, eagerly
draws the fire in through her mouth.
Thence all at once a dove whiter than snow springs forth ; they see
it leave the martyr's mouth and make for the stars.
It was Eulalie's spirit, milk-white, swift, and sinless.
Her head droops as the soul departs, and the burning
fire dies down ; peace is granted to the lifeless body,
while the spirit far up claps her wings in triumph
and flies off to the heavenly regions.
Her middle name honors a whole cluster of beautiful people I greatly admire. St. Rose of Lima (my confirmation saint) being the first. Then, of course, St. Therese "the little flower" whom I adopted as my patron in college after her autobiography and spiritual philosophy changed my life (if you'd like to know the connection between a rose and St. Therese, then you'll have to read her book...I'm sneaky like that). Finally, I wanted to honor a dear friend of mine I met while volunteering at the soup kitchen in my hometown. Her name is Sr. Rose Prisca, a nun from the missionaries of charity (Mother Teresa's order!) whose joy and humility continues to have an impact on my life.
I was torn with naming Eulalie because I knew I also wanted to tie in a connection to Our Lord's mother somehow. The fact that my first daughter was born during the centennial anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima was not lost on me! I have a strong connection to Our Lady of Fatima and I felt like I needed to honor her in some small way. When talking to a friend of mine about my naming woes, she reminded me of the correlation between roses and Mary. Whhhhat!!! I found my Mary connection! For those who aren't aware, in Song of Songs, she's referred to as "the Rose of Sharon"; among other titles such as "mystical rose".
And there you have the story behind her name. If you'd like, feel free to call her Eulie, Eula, Lily, Lou....but to Brad and I, she's simply our sweet speaking Eulalie.