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Catholic Dictionary




Meaning "lady," "beautiful," or "well beloved." A favorite name given to Jewish women at the time of Christ. It was the name of Moses' sister. Nowadays an honored name with Catholics and one of the most popular. Christian names of women, in a variety of forms, e.g., Maria, Marie, Miriam, and in combination with other names, e.g., Marianne, Rosemary. The Irish word for Mary, "Muire," is given only to Mary the Mother of God; all other Marys are called Moira. Its special feast in the Western Church was observed on September 12, since 1684, in grateful memory of the Christian victory over the Turks at Vienna in 1683. The feast has been suppressed since the Second Vatican Council. (Etym. Greek maria or marian; from Hebrew miryam, exalted one.)