Here’s a list of Spanish first names I’ve collected that are tightly linked to Catholicism (nothing remarkable there).
About 20% of girls born in the 1960s were named after virgins (María Dolores, María Ángeles, Rosa María, María José, Ana María, María del Carmen…). According to El País newspaper, one explanation is that local priests were so influenced by Pope Pious XII’s encyclical of 1954, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, that they either convinced new parents to add Maria to baby girl names or added it themselves at the moment of baptism, i.e., infant Pilar became María del Pilar.
María was still the most popular girl name at the end of 2010, but I don’t see Asunción, Visitación, or Purificación making a comeback.
Andrés / Andreu (Andrew)
Ángel / Miguel Ángel
Asunción (Assumption, when Mary ascended into heaven)
Bautista / Juan Bautista (John the Baptist)
Candela / Candelaria (an update for the name Purificación)
Cristina / Cristiano
Dolores (a reference to the grief caused by the death of Jesus Christ)
Encarnación / Encarna / Encarni
Inmaculada / Inma
Manuel / Emmanuel (from Hebrew for “God is with us”)
María / José / María José / José María / Mari Cruz
This story by Public Radio International, about a 14-year-old Afghani who’d never been to school and is now living with his family in Brussels and learning to speak Dutch, describes what true challenges can look like for when learning a new language.
For comparison with his classroom report card, here’s the report card we received for el comedor, or Lou’s time in the cafeteria and supervised recess at the end of the day. You can see that he was evaluated with respect to more than a dozen behaviors, from “uses cutlery appropriately” to “tries all foods” to “uses words to resolve problems.” We place high value on the comedor and the work the staff do to help kids eat well and grow socially.