by Marelle Hipolito ’22
It was a Thursday morning when the second grade substitute went through the roster.
“Lianne?” Yes, that’s me. But that’s my first name. I go by Marelle, my middle name.
That afternoon I asked my mother why. “Mama, why am I called Marelle? Everyone at school goes by their first name. Shouldn’t I go by Lianne?” My mother smiled. “No, you should go by Marelle. ‘Marelle’ means Mary in Hebrew. ‘Mary,’ the Mother of God. I honor the Mother of God by naming my daughter Marelle. You honor her, you pray to her by being called Marelle.”
I was proud to go by Marelle. It was unique, it was pretty, it was faithful. I honored Mary by writing my name in the Sunday service volunteer list. I prayed for my friends who were hurting by signing their get well card “Marelle.” I celebrated the Mother of God in being Marelle, the theology major.
One afternoon, I asked our priest to pray for me. “Hello, Father. Can I ask you to please pray for me? I had a really rough day today.” The priest laughed. “Come on, Marelle. Just get over whatever happened today; one bad day is nothing to pray about. Pray about things that really matter.”
I was proud to go by Marelle. But not anymore. It was naive, it was too trusting, it was hurting. Each time I wrote my name I drew a question mark after the second “e” with my eyes. I signed my initials when I emailed the service director, telling her I was no longer available to serve on Sundays. I put my last name down in the document to switch my major. I didn’t want to honor Mary. The people who prayed to her only dishonored me.
It was a Monday when the professor went through the roster.
“Lianne?” Yes, that’s me.