Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Let's get personal - what's your name?

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Most of us don't get the chance to choose our name. Our parents took care of that for us when we were born. But what if youcouldchoose your name? What would you consider when reviewing your choices? Why would one name resonate more than another?

In the third episode of our podcast "Echoes from the Bell Tower," hosts Br. Joel Blaize, OSB, and Novice Tony Wolniakowski, OSB, take a look at the age-old question: What's in a name?

At Saint Meinrad, monks take a new name when they profess their first (or temporary) vows. In fact, Br. Joel (he was Novice Jonathan until just a few months ago) talks about his new name in this episode. And you'll hear from several other Saint Meinrad monks about what they were thinking about when they were choosing their names.

Oh, and just to make it interesting, a monk actually has to come up with three names and then let the abbot make the final decision. And then, you have to keep it a secret until the moment you make your vows before the community and sign your vow chart - with your new name. Better practice that signature before the big moment, we found out.

Accompanying this blog post are photos of what a vow chart looks like and of the ritual of first profession - it takes place in our Archabbey Church. Br. William (formerly Novice Matthew) also supplied the card with his name choices.

And if you'd like to hear more stories about how monks choose a new name, listen to the "extras" on this page.

Remember, you can subscribe to "Echoes" on iTunes, Stitcher or SoundCloud. And let us know what you think by your rating or review. Thanks for listening!

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Archabbot Justin Duvall, OSB tells the story of how he chose his name.

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Br. Jean Fish, OSB tells the story of how he chose his name.

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Br. Nathaniel Szidik, OSB tells the story of how he chose his name.

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Br. Simon Herrmann, OSB tells the story of how he chose his name.

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Br. Simon and Br. Jean with Fr. Prior Kurt at their first profession.

Br. Simon and Br. Jean with Fr. Prior Kurt at their first profession.

Novices make a vow chart with their new names and promises to commit to the monastery for three years.

Novices make a vow chart with their new names and promises to commit to the monastery for three years.

Novices process in to the Archabbey Church to make their first profession.

Novices process in to the Archabbey Church to make their first profession.

From left to right: Br. Jean, Br. Nathaniel, Br. Simon, and Br. Joel at their first profession ceremony.

From left to right: Br. Jean, Br. Nathaniel, Br. Simon, and Br. Joel at their first profession ceremony.

Br. Nathaniel professes his vows, reading his new name with Fr. Subprior Guerric looking on.

Br. Nathaniel professes his vows, reading his new name with Fr. Subprior Guerric looking on.

Br. Jean presents his vow chart to Archabbot Justin.

Br. Jean presents his vow chart to Archabbot Justin.

Archabbot Justin embraces Br. Simon at his first profession.

Archabbot Justin embraces Br. Simon at his first profession.

Archabbot Justin embraces Br. Joel at his first profession.

Archabbot Justin embraces Br. Joel at his first profession.

Br. Joel's vow chart promising three years of stability to Saint Meinrad Archabbey, signed with his new name.

Br. Joel's vow chart promising three years of stability to Saint Meinrad Archabbey, signed with his new name.

Br. Joel's signature on his vow chart.

Br. Joel's signature on his vow chart.

The card with Br. William's choices for his name and the selection of William by Archabbot Justin.

The card with Br. William's choices for his name and the selection of William by Archabbot Justin.

Do you have a reflection on Christian faith or spirituality you would like to share? Click here to learn how to become a contributor to Echoes from the Bell Tower.

Echoes from the Bell Tower is a blog devoted to observations on Christian faith, spirituality and everyday events, by authors with a connection to the Benedictine values found at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and its Seminary and School of Theology. Contributors include students, permanent deacons, Benedictine oblates and Saint Meinrad monks. Their stories, thoughts and ideas highlight the mission and vision that ring out from the bell towers on this Hill in southern Indiana.


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