It would make sense, before I do anything else, to explain how I chose the name. I am named after Saint Elisa, a saint so minor even most Catholics haven't heard of her. Miracles performed in her name are so few and so sketchy many of those upstairs in the Church don't even consider her a real saint. She does have a feast day, at least, on December 2nd. Which I have yet to celebrate. But I digress.
If I remember correctly from the one questionable website about St. Elisa I found on the internet several years ago, she was an Italian chick who became a nun and moved to Africa, possibly Ethiopia, to serve the poor and whatnot. She baptized many a dying child, eventually caught whatever disease the dying children were dying of, and succumbed to it. In her saint painting, she was pictured holding a coconut, which to my knowledge are not native to either Italy or Africa. I swear I am not making any of this up ... although the bozo that put together the website very well may have.
St. Elisa raises a few interesting questions for me about the Catholic Church. First of all, why did anyone remember her at all? Part of me wonders if all the Catholics who wanted to name their daughters Elisa (because let's face it, it's a great name) went looking for a suitable righteous person to canonize to justify the name. All good Catholic name their babies after Saints, which might explain why their seems to be a Saint for every ethnic form of every biblical or semi-biblical person you can think of. Not just Mary, but Maria, Marta, Marie ad infinita. So perhaps St. Elisa was the supply for the demand. Is there a word for scapegoating in name form? Namegoating? Scapesainting? Most likely not.
Additionally, according to my understanding of God's workings--and this will sound harsh--St. Elisa's life work was a waste of time. Certainly most of the children Elisa spent her time baptizing were under the age of eight, and Latter-day Saints believe that all children who die before the age of eight get a free ticket to Heaven. No baptism or works necessary. In the grand scheme of things, did she accomplish anything? I like to think that God rewards everyone for their works under the consideration of their understanding of truth and what truths were available to them at the time. So certainly St. Elisa is in Heaven, or will be someday. But was her work really worth anything?
And if it wasn't, what does it mean that I was named for her?
When I introduce myself to people who are not Latin, I have to walk the person through the pronunciation of my name as if they were clinically retarded or extremely hard of hearing. I am also in the habit of spelling my name whenever I say it even the person has no reason or desire to write my name down. For some reason, Mormons seem to have a particularly hard time with my name, and it can drive me a little crazy. Sometimes, to play a trick on those that don't know anything about Catholicism (aka most people in Utah), I will say, "Elisa, ya know, like the Saint." As if St. Elisa were such a common entity that most people would have heard of her. I feel obnoxiously superior, and the person feels silly for not knowing my name. As well they should. Everybody wins.
I don't deserve to live, really. But that's how my blog got its name.