May 31: Nameday Ideas for the Visitation

Compiled From My Nameday — Come for Dessert by Helen McLoughlin, Copyright 1962. Online text here at EWTN.

Nameday for Marybeth, Betty Marie, Marie Violette, Mary Elizabeth, Mary Viola, Moreen Eilese (Irish), Visitacion (Spanish), Marie Giselle and Marie Isabelle (French), Mary Ishbel (Scottish), and Maria Elizabetta (Italian).

Father: Let us celebrate the Virgin Mary’s visit to Elizabeth.
All: Let us adore her Son, Christ the Lord.

Hymn: O MARY OF GRACES.

1. O Mary of graces And Mother of God, May I tread in the paths That the righteous have trod. And mayest thou save me from Evil’s control, And mayest thou save me In body and soul.

2. And mayest thou save me By land and by sea, And mayest thou save me from tortures to be. May the guard of the Angels above me abide, May God be before me and God be at my side.

Father: This day the Blessed Virgin Mary of the family of David visited her cousin Elizabeth.
All: Most devoutly let us celebrate the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Father: Let us pray. Bestow on Your servants, O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace, that as the childbearing of the Blessed Virgin was the beginning of our salvation, so the solemn festival of her Visitation may bring us an increase of peace. Through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen. Christ conquers, Christ reigns!

Holy Scripture (Luke 1:39-47) tells how Our Lady, bearing the God-man within her, hurried to meet her cousin Elizabeth. Hearing her praise, Mary answered in that wonderful song we call the Magnificat, the most perfect thanksgiving and praise for the incarnation of the Son of God and a most precious monument of Mary’s humility. She praises God with all the powers of her soul and gives glory to Him alone.

This hymn should have a place in all nameday prayers on Mary’s feasts. A parent trying to paraphrase it for a child might say: “I am thankful to God and I rejoice with a holy joy for the great favors which God has granted me, His humble servant. By reason of His goodness to me, I shall be admired and honored forever. I rejoice because of the wondrous miracle wrought in me by the Almighty, who is all-holy.”

Dessert and decorations. This nameday suggests a heart-shaped dessert (see Heart Cake) because of Mother Mary’s charity and because the heart in art is considered to be the source of understanding, love, courage, devotion and joy. Its deep religious meaning is expressed in 1 Sam. 16:7.

This easy cake dessert can also be used for Marian feasts such as the Visitation (May 31), the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Assumption (August 15), and Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15). Also saint days such as the Feast of St. Joseph (March 19), St. Catherine of Siena (April 29), St. John the Apostle (December 27), St. Teresa of Avila (October 15), St. Madeline Sophie Barat (May 25), St. Francis Xavier Cabrini (November 13), and St. Dominic Savio (May 6).

Heart Cake

  • Any type cake, baked in two round 8 or 9″ layer pans
  • pink or red frosting
  • white coconut flakes
  • red cinnamon candies
  • icing roses
  • DIRECTIONS

    1) No heart-shaped pan is needed. Instead, bake two round 8 or 9-inch layers from favorite recipe or cake mix. Spread a fluffy pink frosting between the layers; then cut a wedge from one side, about 31/2 inches wide by 3 inches deep.

    2) The cut-out wedge goes on the opposite side of the cake to make the point of the heart. Now frost the entire cake, swirling pink frosting over the top and sides.

    3) Sprinkle white coconut flakes over the top and around the sides of the cake. Pat the coconut on while the frosting is still soft so that the coconut will stick. Red cinnamon candies make a pretty heart center, as do roses of icing.

    This feast recalls Mary’s great humility. In honor of her Magnificat musical symbols would be appropriate on a cake. Candied violets for a nameday cake can be found in the gourmet shops of large department stores. The violet is a symbol of humility; St. Bernard referred to Our Lady as the “violet of humility.”

    Artwork: The Visitation in blue and white by Lauren Ford; Grünewald reproduction; The National Gallery of Art has Fra Angelico’s >Madonna of Humility; Our Lady of the Violet by Stephan Lochner (a picture for Viola or Violet) may be seen in Volume IX, p. 320 of the Catholic Encyclopedia.

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