Women have worn this name over the past few centuries – but whether they appreciated her quiet qualities, it’s difficult to say.
Thanks to Rachel for suggesting Patience as Name of the Day.
In thinking about True in my last Sunday Summary, I found myself musing about Extreme Virtue Naming. Some choices are mainstream; others are engagingly retro or sophisticated. A few – I’m looking at you, Chastity – seem to tempt fate.
Call Patience somewhere in the middle. She’s not as universal a good as Honor or Hope. But with names like Felicity and Mercy sounding current for the first time since Plymouth Rock, Patience almost fits in.
We all know that the average small child can’t summon much in the way of patience. But is patience an inspiring virtue for a child? From the Latin pati – to suffer – patience carries a whiff of martyrdom. In recent centuries, patience has also meant the ability to endure, lending more appeal to Patience as a modern virtue name. Add in a sense that a patient person is steadfast, and all of a sudden, Patience is a sister to Constance.
Like Grace, she’s a virtue name with a hint of spirituality. Patience is one of the seven heavenly virtues. The quality is extolled in the Qur’an as well as the Old and New Testaments.
- Despite two male saints Patiens from the first and fifth centuries, there’s little history of the name’s use until the Puritan era. Patience appeared in the US Top 1000 a few times in the nineteenth century.
- Then, after nearly a century out of the rankings, she reappeared in 1994. Patience peaked in 2006 at #579, and as of 2008 charted at #771.
- Lest you link her success to parents searching for an alternative to Nevaeh and Faith, remember that 2004 was the year Halle Berry donned black leather to play Catwoman. The film was a box office flop, but it reinvented Catwoman’s backstory. Instead of socialite Selina Kyle, she starts out as a timid worker bee at MegaCorp called Patience Phillips. She risks her life to save an alley cat – only the cat turns out to be the pet of an Egyptian goddess. When Patience meets an untimely demise, the cat returns the favor, rescuing shy Patience and unleashing her inner tiger.
- Halle Berry can make anything fashionable – little wonder Patience got a bump from the film.
- There’s also:
- A Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera called Patience, though the name is not worn by any of the characters;
- Sisters Patience and Prudence McIntyre, a singing duo in the 1950, best remembered for their rendition of “Tonight You Belong To Me”;
- From Guns N’ Roses to the cast of the musical Dreamgirls, more than one act has recorded a song titled “Patience”;
- And, of course, the single-player card game solitaire is also known as patience.
- Just like a clumsy Grace might find her name troubling, an impetuous Patience might not appreciate the mismatch. Pat and Patty both make for rather dated nicknames.
And yet there’s something sweet about Patience. Fueled by the GNR song and the rise of virtue names in general, Patience doesn’t seem completely outlandish.