Where everybody knows you’re a Benedictine saint

Where everybody knows you’re a Benedictine saint

Do all those neo-Know Nothing liberals in Massachusetts know that their state capital is named after a Benedictine saint?

Okay, the origination of the name of the city “Boston” wasn’t exactly new to me, as I knew that Boston, Massachusetts, was named after a town in England where the Puritans lived called Botolphston. But Rich Leonardi connects the dots with an excerpt from the book “Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Friday? : The Catholic Origin to Just About Everything” by Michael P. Foley (subtitled “The Catholic origin to just about everything”).

Boston, Massachusetts. One wonders whether the Puritans, who were not known for their love of Catholicism, were aware that they were naming their shining city on a hill after a Benedictine saint. St. Botolph founded Ikanhoe monastery in 654 A.D. and was renowned as a wise and holy abbot. After his death, Botolph became a popular medieval saint in his native land: seventy churches and five towns and villages in England (one of which, in Lincolnshire, being the original home of the Pilgrims) still bear his name. These municipal centers were named Botolphstown (with the t pronounced like a d), a name that over time was contracted to “Botolphston,” then “Botoston,” and eventually—Boston.” There is a Botolph Street in downtown Boston that serves as a small reminder of this ancient connection.

Actually it’s “Saint” Botolph Street, but still. It’s over by Newbury and Dartmouth streets, I believe.

There are a lot of cities named after Christian saints and concepts, not just in the southwest and in Spanish. Can you name others?

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  • Providence (God’s loving design) and Salem (peace) come immediately to mind.

  • Maryland was set up for Catholics fleeing persecution.

    St. James

    So I can’t use San Antonio, San Franciso etc?

    Did you mean something not so obvious?

  • It doesn’t stop smile

    Leominster again named from an English town is actually (Saint) Leo’s Minster(Monastary) and of course Westminster would be the Monastary on the West side (of London)

    Did you know that Massachusetts Bay, first discovered by Champlain was named the Bay of Saint Anthony-needless to say the Puritans wanted nothing to do with that

    Lake George, curiously still named after the now ‘infamous’ English King at the time of the Revolution was originally discovered by the French and named the Lake of the Blessed Sacrament. Needless to say what happened to the Catholic name of the Lake

    Another similar fate fell to the mighty River of the Immaculate Conception-again discovered and explored by the French explorers and missionaries-we now know it by the name-the Mississippi River smile

  • Actually it’s “Saint” Botolph Street, but still. It’s over by Newbury and Dartmouth streets, I believe.

    Nah…it’s in the South End. Between Huntington Street and Columbus Ave, off West Newton Street.

    Anyway, I would love to say that Virginia City or the state of Virginia was named after the Blessed Virgin but alas, I can’t. The state was named in honor of Elizabeth I.

    And I’d also love to say that Eau Clair, Wisconsin and Saint Clair Shores, Michigan were named after Saint Clare of Assisi, but they weren’t. I don’t know where the “Saint” in the Michigan city comes from, but both names indicate the clearness of the water. From the French.

    Are there any prizes for this? wink

  • When we take road trips, I am in charge of the Atlas, so I’ve got lots of neat things that come up.  In Penn. (our last trip was there), there is a town called Mount Carmel (West Northwest of Allentown).  There’s also St. Marys (Northwest of Mount Carmel), an Abbottstown (southwest of York and Lancaster), and St. Clair (off of I-81 and not far from Mount Carmel, natch).