03 October 2022

Happy Birthday, Dominique Maureen Anne Elizabeth!

She is our youngest daughter, 37 years old today. There is an amusing story behind her rather lengthy name.

St Dominic (Dominique)

The Cuter and Shorter Half and I liked to be surprised when a child was born. As I always said, 'As long as it's healthy with ten fingers and ten toes, I'm happy'. Ergo, we never let our doctor tell us what sex was found in the ultrasounds.

When we were expecting our third child, who turned out to be Charles Albert Mary (all of our children, male and female, have the Blessed Mother's name somewhere in their Christian names), we also picked out a girl's name, Anne Elizabeth Mary.

By the time the girl came along, we had forgotten that name, so we racked our brains for a new pair of names, and settled on Dominique Maureen for the girl's name. Maureen is an Anglicized form of Máirín, a pet form of Máire, which is the Irish cognate of Mary, so the Blessed Mother was included, and the C&SH's Irish heritage was honoured.

Our Lady of Victories (Maureen)

When she was born, both her older brothers were in daycare. One of the other children in their daycare was an infant girl named Anne. The boys decided that all little girls were named Anne and started calling their sister 'Annie'. We thought, 'That's a good, solid Saint's name. We'll add it to Dominique Maureen'.

Her Baptism was set for 19 November in a small country Church where a good friend of ours was the Pastor (he witnessed our marriage and baptised all of our children). Being the curious sort I am, I wanted to know what Saints were commemorated on the day. I looked in my Missal and discovered that St Elizabeth of Hungary, Widow, was celebrated on 19 November. Immediately, a light went on in my head, and I remembered 'Anne Elizabeth' the name we had originally picked for a daughter. As a result, she was baptised with all four Christian names. However, despite the boys' confusion, she was never called 'Annie', rapidly becoming 'Nikki', which she still uses.

St Anne, Mother of Our Lady
But, it gets better!

I was corresponding regularly with HIRH Otto von Habsburg, de jure Emperor-King of Austria-Hungary, at the time. Remembering the old custom in Catholic monarchies of asking the Emperor or King to stand sponsor for a child, I wrote His Imperial and Royal Highness asking if he and his gracious consort, HIRH Regina, would stand Godparents to our new child. He replied that they would be honoured to do so.

Father's Parish had no secretary, so he had to handle chores like typing up Baptismal certificates himself. When we got there and he had rolled the blank certificate into the typewriter (yes, it was a long time ago!), he asked for her names. With a straight face, I replied, 'Dominique Maureen Anne Elizabeth'. he looked rather perplexed at four Christian names, but he diligently typed them out.

St Elizabeth of Hungary
Then he asked who her Godparents were. He knew we had proxies to stand for the absent sponsors, but not who they were. With an absolutely straight face, repressing the desire to laugh, I said, 'Their Imperial and Royal Highnesses Archduke Otto and Archduchess Regina von Habsburg und Lothringen'! I think he almost went, 'What!?', but repressed the urge. He asked me to spell the names, which I did. After typing them out, he looked up at me and said, 'I want an extra offering for typing this all out!'

His name was Fr McGinn, and he normally signed 'Charles T. McGinn' the signature on our wedding certificate and the other baptismal certificates. On this one, however, he signed 'Charles Thomas Michael McGinn'!

So, I used to tell our daughter, when she was small, that I couldn't find her a Fairy Godmother, but I had managed to find her an Imperial one.

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