• The Dark Room

What’s in a Name? Catherine Brophy

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Burning bright

Catherine Brophy

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I was born on June the 19th   and what did my parents do?    They lumbered me with this selection of names.   Mary, Brigid, Juliana, Josephine, Patricia.   OUCH.   Think of the weight!


And not just any old mother. the Mother of God.   Not just born without sin conceived without sin –whether this refers to the Mary the foetus or the sexual behaviour of her parents I couldn’t say.  I do know that she was totally perfect in every way because, as a child, I was constantly reminded.

“And you called after Our Lady,” they said , parents, teachers, girl guide leaders, anuties, uncles  etc. “told a lie… made three spelling mistakes… have a hole in your stocking… were whistling in the corridor… forgot your gym shoes etc. etc. etc.”

And on top of all that my namesake Our Lady wears blue which, unlike red and purple and yellow and pink so my mother informed me, was a suitable colour for ladies.   So I wore blue too.


Another virgin.   She founded a nunnery and did miracles with her cloak.   Nobody told me that she really was a pagan Celtic goddess.   I might have coped with that.   She was also the cause of my worst birthday present ever.   A two-foot high statue of St. Brigid holding a little brown church on her palm.   It gazed sadly at all my inadequacies from the top of a chest of drawers in my bedroom for years.


Why Juliana?   June 19th is her Feast day.  Juliana refused to marry the husband her father had chosen because he was a pagan.   The emphasis was always on the fact that he was a pagan and NOT on the fact that he was probably sixty and she thirteen.    She got thrown to the lions for it.    And, so we were told, if you were any kind of a half-decent Catholic you’d be thrilled to be torn asunder for your faith.  Sadly there was a time when I was young and foolish enough to think that I’d make a mighty fine martyr.


Depicted as a harmless old josser who probably never had a relationship of any sort.


First a slave, then a bishop who probably also never had any sort of a relationship (read between the lines).   At least that’s what they wanted us to believe.

Have you noticed a theme?   I know parents can’t bear the thought of their children having those sort of relations, especially their daughters but hey, talk about conditioning from the cradle!

Finally I cracked and decided to change my name to Catherine.   It felt like being let out of prison.   When I went into the Passport Office to change the name on my passport it caused something of a kerfuffle.   Various persons went in and out and consulted and didn’t know what the rule was.   Eventually an older woman came out.

“Why exactly do you want to change your name?” she asked

“I was christened Mary, Brigid, Juliana, Josephine, Patricia.”

“Oh I understand absolutely.” She replied and changed the name on my passport immediately.

So this year to celebrate my birthday on June 19th, you can download the Kindle version of my new novel Burning Bright for FREE.

The Giveaway lasts from June 19th till the longest day of the year June 21st
Click here:   http://authl.it/f9

And if you download it PLEASE post a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads and or Writing.ie

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