As an adult convert, it’s uncommon to take on a confirmation name. (The rule is something like, unless your given name is very clearly anti-Christian. I think I’ll be okay.) Not to say I haven’t thought about it. Confirmation is a rebirth of sorts, the becoming of a new person. In a sense. As a previously-baptized adult, it’s more “joining the Church” than a religious experience. I’ve already had my religious experience. But I digress.
If I were to take on a confirmation name, it would be Edith.
You’re supposed to go with a saint, but a Church-recognized saint isn’t the first person I thought of. (Though let me tell you about St. Edith Stein—a Jewish Catholic, proponent of women’s rights during WWII? Please read up on her.) I thought of my godmother, my mother’s aunt. A woman I would want to exemplify, a saint to her family and those friends who were like family. She and her husband opened their hearts and their home to anyone in need, and were not only accepting of those different than they were—they loved them, not because they had to, but because they genuinely cared. They kept in touch with everyone, unlike those of us who silently slip away from friendships when we’re no longer interested in maintaining them.
Aunt Edith wasn’t Catholic. But she was no less devout, living that sort of loving, unconditional, genuine life that we should all aspire to. She passed away when I was in college, a fact that still pains me because I was too far away to attend the funeral. When I began RCIA, and there was talk of godparents, I asked if I could go without. Because she’s irreplaceable. (I actually don’t need them, since I’m already baptized, which brought me great relief.) Neither of us grew up in the Church but she would still stand beside me, proud as can be, for my confirmation. Just as she did at my baptism (or so I’ve been told).
I may not be taking a confirmation name. But I still keep Edith with me, my own personal saint, a model of womanhood and of true Christian values. And you can bet she’s up there still praying for everyone she knows, too.