Millie, Maria and Fortunata Maria Callipari- what’s in a name?

Respect is in a name, especially when people use the name given to the person.

“Callipari” means bearer of Good news- to carry good things

Fortunata Maria Callipari is like a wish for humanity towards the aspiration for goodness. It releases the intention of positivity and light.

Fortunata Maria Callipari was born on 12 January  1967.

She was the third child with a brother five and a sister six years older. There were three more children to arrive over the coming 15 years.

Maria admired both of her siblings and lived in the safety of the shadow of her sister.

Her brother coached her, believing that she should have been born a boy, a playmate to wrestle with and play football. He instructed her in fitness, which led to her winning three secondary school cross-countries.  Her sister was the inspiration that paved the way to education. Maria followed her lead in social norms for fear of doing the wrong thing. 

As a child Maria preferred her own quiet space in make believe. It was safer.

She aimed to please, only because it meant keeping the peace. To be good was better than the sting of the stick that inflicted deep ingrained shame.

Growing as Maria, Fortunata was a name that was written on her birth certificate, but never featured. It was ignored, overlooked, un-important, brushed aside. All the analogies of which resonate with alienating self from self and the inability to truly appreciate that she had a voice.

To know herself better, to assert her needs and to think that she was important, was difficult to fathom, because it was the family unit that was or seemed more important than the need of the individual.

Fortunata “was foreign, not common, too hard for people to say”. So the parents stuck with “Maria”,safer, a nice Italian girl’s name.

Maria also had many nick names that people gave her.  The name Calaham was given to her by primary school peers. 

Leaving home at the age of 18, Maria scoped her identity, acting, drama and theatre productions creativity, expressed in flamboyance of the1980s and started to wear hats. 

One hat folded at the front with a flower afforded her the name of thoroughly modern Millie. The name Millie stuck and was used as a pseudonym when writing stories at the time. 

(Thoroughly Modern Millie is a 1967 American musicalromantic comedy film directed by George Roy Hill and starring Julie Andrews. The screenplay by Richard Morris, focuses on a naive young woman who finds herself in the midst of a series of madcap adventures when she sets her sights on marrying her wealthy boss. The film also stars Mary Tyler Moore, James Fox, John Gavin, Carol Channing, and Beatrice Lillie). Wikepedia.

Millie is a name given by the family endearingly. It’s cute, fun, light- hearted and playful.

As a teacher in the 90s, she was called Maria, Miss Calamari or Miss. She was often depressed, self-sabotaging the best of her talents. Escaping to a safer place, hiding in the wallow of depression.

This seesaw of what was more like a rollercoaster continued for many years until a nervous breakdown derailed her into catatonia at the turn of the century.

There are more pleasant ways to take a holiday.

Maria upheld by compassionate friends and family cemented the importance of understanding and support rather than blame.

Fortunata became more prominent when Maria decided to join La Voce Della Luna, an Italian women’s choir resurrecting Italian folk songs. Though Italian is not her first language, she embraced the challenge and learnt the art of mime when the words did not flow- just move your mouth. She left for a short time, and has returned recently.

Fortunata started to evolve as Maria had worked with multicultural communities who had difficult names for the Australian tongue. Fortunata was perplexed by the experiences of newly arrived migrants and refugees who succumbed to changing their names in order to achieve employment in Australia.  The name Fortunata was introduced to support ‘foreign’ names and the importance of belonging, welcoming others and enabling warmth to those we ‘fear’ as different. To describe others as ‘unique’ is far more interesting.

Fortunata then had become a talking point, a way of introduction and an important element and connection to cultural heritage.

Fortunata noticed her ability to see the common link between people and started to connect them. The social fabric she weaved was in the people that she met and in the stories that they told. She noticed that there was much more that people have in common than what was different and that both the common and the diverse can connect people in collegially.  To be different presented the opportunity to connect through learning about that difference, but through this also discover the common.

Fortunata started to tell the migration stories of her Mother in her blog Kindred Link- the blog accounted for stories of tradition, the past, connection to the present and how traditions have become new again?

The name Kindred Link was fashioned by her artist and husband Mark Patton, he has been a solid support to Millie since 1990 when they met and he painted a portrait for her production of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound at the Organ Factory in Clifton Hill, October 1990. Their anniversary date.

Fortunata has made many new friends in her evolution but continues to fall to the default of Maria, like habit, though Maria is also a huge part of her identity.

It’s uncanny that at the age of 50 and in menopause there was a sense of women being reborn in and of themselves and so it seemed timely that Fortunata had inadvertently come to the surface of her persona.  It seemed natural to reintroduce Fortunata, bringing her boldly forward.

Fortunata cannot be found by people on the email system her place of employment, which frustrated colleagues because they knew her to be Maria. A topic of conversation. Fortunata was sought after. She was a bright spark, a talent, a connector and a team player.

Maria had at times been offended, took things personally, looked for a reason to shut people off, or pretend that it did not matter, when it did matter. She wanted to escape.

Fortunata has saved Maria many times, from herself, for to be fortunate meant that she had carved her own space in an organization that possibly might have shunned her.

Fortunata was the name given to her by her Father- the Yang, the active male principle of the universe, creative and associated with heaven, heat, and light.

Maria was the name given by her Mother- The Yin, the passive female principle of the universe, sustaining and associated with earth, dark, and cold.

Fortunata held dear that each person that entered her life has come to teach her a unique lesson. The notion of lucky then sparked in everyone’s limbic system a pleasant feeling of joy.

Fortunata then gives the neurons a light.

In Confirmation of the Catholic tradition Maria chose the name Patricia

Saint Patricia was known for running away from home because she did not want to be married, she remained a virgin, distributed her wealth and a vial of blood was kept in a church in Naples. Apparently it is still there.

With no knowledge of the Saint Patricia at the time of choice, Maria simply liked the name.

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