Naming a Nun

Sharon T. Strocchia

in Society and Individual in Renaissance Florence

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780520232549
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928220 | DOI:
Naming a Nun

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This chapter presents the basic chronology and prescriptive framework surrounding the adoption of a religious name. It concentrates on three distinct patterns that emerge in naming religious women: the displacement of medieval saints' names in some convents by those of early Christian exemplars; the development of the cult of the angels; and the “remaking” of a dead nun by giving her name to a new novice. It illustrates that the names chosen helped to fashion a collective identity for the convent, establishing ties to particular saints and angels, identifying spiritual exemplars for the nuns, and offering a way of keeping alive the names of fondly remembered nuns who had died. The pool of names used within a community spoke directly to its sense of identity and self-representation within a wider matrix. Naming practices furnish a crucial example of the ways that nuns created their own discrete identities and cultures.

Keywords: nuns; naming; religious name; religious women; angels; medieval saints; identity; cultures

Chapter.  11600 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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