Birth announcement: Lawrence Joseph David!

I posted a consultation for Beth and her husband back in May (after posting a consultation and birth announcement for their third baby a few years ago — I love watching the Sancta Nomina families grow!), and am so happy to share that they’ve welcomed their baby boy and given him the tremendous name … Lawrence Joseph David! And they’re calling him Laurie!

Beth writes,

Lawrence Joseph David was born October 17, and we couldn’t be happier! This baby was such a hard one to name; even as we filled out his birth certificate application at the hospital, we were still a bit uncertain! But what really decided it for us was hearing his 3 siblings calling him “baby Laurie” as we FaceTimed them from the hospital. So far we call him Laurie almost exclusively, but some extended family call him Lawrence. We figure with 3 such strong names, he’ll have his choice of names and nicknames as he grows 🙂 we ultimately went with the 2 middle names to honor both grandpas (Brian Joseph and David) and also St. Joseph for the year of St. Joseph and King David, my husband’s confirmation saint. And as described in my original post, St. Lawrence has a particular connection to us because I entered the Church on his feast day: receiving my first communion, being confirmed, and having my and my husband’s marriage blessed (so it’s a second anniversary for us). Also in our research before this baby was born, we found out he is one of the patron Saints of librarians, which made us laugh because my husband and I met while working at a library and we actually got engaged in that same library! With all of those invitations from St. Lawrence, we felt like it was time to name a baby for him 🙂 “

I agree with Beth — it definitely seems like one of her babies had to be named after St. Lawrence!! And I LOVE that they’re calling him Baby Laurie — I’ve heard from many of you that you would love to get your husbands/families on board with a Lawrence nn Laurie, it’s so fun to see it actually happen!

Congratulations to Beth and her husband and big sibs Charlie, Cate, and Henry (and Felicity in heaven), and happy birthday Baby Lawrence (Laurie)!!

Lawrence Joseph David


The five baby name consultation openings I had for January have been taken, but Theresa is available to help you out! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Boy name needed for rainbow baby that fits with big sibs

Happy Monday, feast of St. Francis de Sales! He’s one of my favorite Saints and one I’ve taken as a personal patron because he’s a patron of writers. St. Francis de Sales, pray for us! Here’s the third of my five January consultations — enjoy!

I posted a consultation for Sara and her husband when they were expecting their twin girls several years ago, and then posted a birth announcement for her beautiful babies, and I’m so excited that Sara’s expecting again! This little one joins big sibs:

Landon Thomas

Brooks Grayson

Caroline Rose (Cali)

Evelyn Pearl (Evie)

I have always loved their taste in names — Landon, Brooks, Caroline/Cali, and Evelyn/Evie is just such an attractive bunch!

Though they don’t know if this baby is a boy or girl, they have some solid ideas for girls, so they need help with boy names. One thing that Sara shared that I didn’t previously know is that she lost a third baby during her pregnancy with the girls, and they’d like to consider using Everett as the baby’s middle name if they have a boy, in honor of the baby they lost. Additionally, Sara writes,

We could also use my husband’s name, Erich, or his middle name, Edward, as a middle if it needed to be shorter. That’s all assuming this is a baby boy! We are going to have it be a surprise but I’ve had so many dreams that this baby is a boy I’m really focusing on boy names for now. With all my others I dreamt their gender early on and it was correct.”

For style considerations, names on their girl list include:

  • Rosalie/Rosalind Grace nn Rosie
  • Margaret Grace
  • Magnolia “Maggie” Grace (“both of my husband’s grandmothers are Margaret so either of the last two options feels like a nice honorary name with the nickname Maggie“)

For a boy, names they’ve considered include (in order of preference):

  • Theo (“cannot use Theodore and also don’t like a third boy being Theodore because of those darn chipmunks 🙂 Love the meaning, “God’s Gift,” and that feels so relevant to the story I told you above. I like this name a lot, however, it sort of feels like a nickname and it seems very trendy right now, I know a Teddy and two Theodores off the top of my head, one of which is my cousin’s new baby! And my boys despise it for some reason although my husband likes this option“)
  • Rowan/Owen (“like both of these … Rowan is a nice option that we keep going back and forth about although it doesn’t have any real personal significance“)
  • August (“I love this one, husband thinks it’s weird that he wouldn’t actually be born in August and maybe thinks it’s a little pretentious? I love the nickname Auggie but may not be able to convince him about this
    one
    “)
  • Jasper (“like this option but not sure about the -er ending” [their last name ends in -er])
  • Max/Maxwell (“Maybe not in keeping as well with the other kid’s names. I want all the names to feel like they belong together although this is still a cute name“)
  • Julian
  • Phoenix (“feels especially relevent because of the “rising from the ashes” but honestly, I just don’t think the name fits with the other kids and the association with the city is not my favorite. Plus I can never spell it correctly!“)

Names they can’t use include:

  • Phineus/Finn
  • Felix
  • Oliver

And finally, Sara would prefer names with meaning/significance that aren’t “overly odd/unique but not super popular (like in the top 5) and goes well with all of the other kids … Lastly, I would prefer not to repeat initials with the other kids since it’s hard enough to keep everyone straight as it is!

Okay, let me first offer my thoughts on the names currently on their list for a boy, in case they’re helpful:

  • Theo: (The “chipmunks” comment made me laugh!) Theo can certainly work on its own — it’s no. 172 on the SSA list for 2020 as a given name, which means it’s both not unheard of as a given name (check out this little Theo as one example), and also far less popular than Theodore (no. 23). Theophilus (a biblical name) and Theobald are two names that can take Theo as a nickname that are less popular than Theodore (neither one are in the top 1000). I wonder what Sara and her hubby would think of Thaddeus? I often think of Theodore and Thaddeus as being two sides of the same coin — in fact, I posted about this very idea once ages ago, with that very title! Theodore and Thaddeus can both take Ted as a nickname (I know a Thaddeus called Ted), and I don’t even think it’s necessarily a stretch to say that Theo can work as a nickname idea for Thaddeus. If they like Thaddeus but not Ted or Theo as nicknames for it, Thad and Tad/Taddy are also possibilities. Regarding its meaning, it’s actually possible that Thaddeus means the same thing as Theodore! I love the name Thaddeus. Also, Matthew and its variants (Matthias etc.) also mean “God’s gift.” Thaddeus is no. 789 and Matthew is no. 30.
  • Rowan/Owen: These are both great names! I’m surprised that Rowan is the one that seems to rise to the top for them, as I think Owen feels like it fits better with the other kids. (But of course, who cares — if they love Rowan, they should use it!)
  • August: I LOVE August for this family! I think it’s a great fit for their kids in general, and as a brother to their other boys! I’ve seen others wonder if August is weird for a non-August-born baby, but I think it’s helpful to remember that August has a whole other meaning — it’s an adjective that comes from (according to the dictionary) “the Latin word augustus, meaning ‘consecrated’ or ‘venerable,’” which really ties into the faith and saintly connections (St. Augustine, for one) and is, I assume, why it was used as a name in the first place. That said, I can see how one might think it’s pretentious, since its main dictionary definition includes “marked by majestic dignity or grandeur” and “having a formal and impressive quality,” but I really don’t think that’s what *most* people think when they hear it, as evidenced by the fact that it was given to a fair number of baby boys born in 2020 (ranked no. 155), and the nickname Auggie absolutely brings it into the “easy and friendly” category. I wonder if Sara’s husband would husband find Augustus or Augustine more to his liking?
  • Jasper: I probably would have suggested Jasper to them if it wasn’t already on their list — it’s a great fit with the other kids! That said, I do see what Sara means about the repeating -er ending … I guess I wouldn’t cross it off altogether, but I’m pretty sure there’s a better option for them.
  • Max/Maxwell: I think Maxwell is absolutely in keeping with the other kids’ given names, and Max has a similar feeling to Cali and Evie. I like this option!
  • Julian: Similar to the other names here — I could see it working well!
  • Phoenix: I agree with Sara that it’s a style departure from the other kids’ names, though I, too, appreciate the meaning of “rising from the ashes.” Something interesting that Sara might like is that Phoenix actually means “dark red,” and Rowan is the diminutive of an Irish word meaning “red” (so basically, “little red one”), so Rowan could provide a connection to the Phoenix idea if she wants it to!

Alrighty, on to new ideas! I kept the idea of “names with meaning” (especially the meaning of a baby after loss) in mind when I was doing my usual research, which you’ll see reflected in some of my ideas below. You all know that I always look up the names the parents have already used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity, but I also had some gut-reaction ideas:

(1) Hardy, Garrett

Everett derives from Everard, which means “brave boar,” from the Germanic elements ebur “wild boar” and hard “brave.” (That hard element is also seen in Gerard: ger “spear” plus hard “brave.”) Though of course “boar” doesn’t seem like a meaning anyone would like, “brave” is fantastic, and the element hard is actually where the name Hardy comes from. Hardy is one of my favorites! I think brothers named Landon, Brooks, and Hardy are fantastic together — surname-y and firstname-y at the same time — and I love the more subtle but very real connection to Everett.

If they like this idea, but not Hardy especially, Garrett is derived from Gerard, so would have that same shared hard element with Everett-via-Everard, and I like that it also has the same ending as Everett. Garrett also has that Celtic feel of Rowan, Owen, and can’t-use Finn and Oliver, and also the bit of Country & Western feel that Landon and Brooks can have — very cool!

(2) Malcolm, Ambrose, Royce

I’m listing these three together because they were immediate ideas I had for this family while I was initially reading Sara’s email. Specifically, I wondered if Malcolm nicknamed Mac might be a nice replacement for Maxwell nicknamed Max? Like Garrett, Malcolm has the Celtic feel of Rowan, Owen, Finn, and Oliver, and Mac is just *that much* different from Max that it maybe feels a bit fresher.

I actually can’t remember why Ambrose came to my mind right away! But as I was working on this, I loved discovering that Brody is a style match for Landon, and I’ve seen Brody as a nickname for Ambrose — that could be a cool way to get around the “no repeating initials” rule! I actually really like Brody with Landon and Brooks. But then, I also remembered that Ambrose means “immortal,” which fits right in with the Phoenix idea! I’ve seen Amby used as a nickname for Ambrose, which avoids using another B.

As for Royce, it’s actually a male variant of Rose! Behind the Name says it’s from “a surname that was derived from the medieval given name Royse, a variant of Rose,” and I thought of it when I was reading Sara’s email because of how much she loves the Rose names. Transferring a Rose name to a boy is an unexpected move, but there’s no denying Royce is a masculine name!

(3) Miles

You all know that Miles is one of my favorite names ever! It’s got traditional usage in Ireland as an anglicization of the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “devotee of the Virgin Mary” — a totally Marian name hidden in a totally current boy’s name! Specifically for this family, Miles is a style match for both Owen and Maxwell, which I thought was pretty cool. It is rising in popularity so Sara will want to be sure she’s okay with that, but so far it’s still below her “no top 25” threshold (it was no. 59 in 2020).

(4) Bennett, Austin

I’m including these two together because they’re both medieval forms of names that Sara either likes or have a meaning she would like, and they’re both surname-y and firstname-y like Landon and Brooks. Bennett is a medieval form of Benedict, which means “blessed” — a meaning I thought Sara would really appreciate being worked into her little boy’s name. Unfortunately, it repeats Brooks’ initial, but it seems such a good fit for them (even being a style match for Brooks, Everett, Owen, and Maxwell, and having the same ending as Everett) that I didn’t want to not include it. Maybe they’d like it as a middle name?

Austin is a medieval contracted form of Augustine, and Augustine of course comes from august. I know Austin and August have different feels, but the more I thought about it, the more I like how Landon, Brooks, and Austin sound together.

(5) Fulton

Fulton is totally inspired by the surname+firstname feel of Landon and Brooks and of course Fulton Sheen. I love it in this family! I wrote a post a few years ago offering nickname ideas for it (be sure to read the comments too!).

(6) Grant

Grant is a style match for Brooks, but what really encouraged me to include it here are the faith connections — I’ve suggested it a few times in consultations because of them, like how I said in this one (appropriately titled “Rainbow baby needs a meaningful name,” where the parents hoped to maybe honor the baby they lost to SIDS in their new baby’s name): “One possibility might be in Job 6:8, when he says, “Oh, that I might have my request, and that God would grant what I long for” … Another is the beginning of the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”” I’ve also suggested a faith connection can be the part in the Mass where we say, “Grant us peace,” which seems perfect for parents who have suffered loss.

(7) Samuel

Samuel is a match for both Caroline and Evelyn, which I thought could be really cool — Samuel goes great with Landon and Brooks and for it to be a style match for both the girls really loops everyone in together. But beyond that, the story of Hannah in the bible and her fervent prayers for a child — and for Samuel to be the answer to that prayer — can be very meaningful for any woman who has longed for a baby.

(8) John, Henry (John Henry?)

John is one of those ideas that I just had on my own, mostly because of Sara’s idea of considering Everett as a middle name. I think John Everett sounds SO handsome, and I’m loving the idea of Jet(t) as a nickname!

Then I saw that, like Samuel, Henry is a style match for Caroline and Evelyn (as well as Theo and Margaret), so I had to include it! But I was thinking that Sara might prefer a more unexpected name than Henry, so I thought again of John — John Henry is one of the sweetest combos for a little boy, and totally works for a man as well!

Finally, I want to go back to Sara’s love of meanings for a minute, because there are a bunch more names with meanings or connections she might like, so even though they didn’t seem to warrant a place in my list of “official” suggestions, I didn’t want to not mention them, just in case. Because she loves the meaning of Theodore being “gift of God” (Theo alone is the “God” part of that construction) and the connection of Phoenix to “rising from the ashes,” I looked up names meaning/connected to resurrection and Easter, as well as “gift” and “blessed,” and some miscellaneous names showed themselves as well (not all of these feel right [Anastasius] but might spark some inspiration):

Resurrection and Easter (“rising from the ashes”)

  • Anastasius (“resurrection”)
  • Paschal/Pascal (“related to Easter”)

Gift

  • Jesse (possibly meaning “gift”)
  • Matthew et al. (specifically “gift of God” as noted above)

Blessed

  • Asher (I like this one because it has the visual/audial “ash” connection, like “rising from the ashes,” though it actually means “happy, blessed”)
  • Baruch (“blessed”)
  • Benedict (“blessed”)
  • Macarius (“blessed, happy”)

Other

  • Dominic (“of the Lord”) (Jesse Dominic could roughly translate as “gift of the Lord”)
  • Gabriel (some people think of their lost babies as “angel babies,” and Gabriel itself was actually a style match for Julian)
  • Isaac (“he will laugh; he will rejoice”)
  • Kenneth (“born of fire”)

And you might like to take a look at these articles on naming rainbow babies:

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother of Landon, Brooks, Caroline/Cali, and Evelyn/Evie?


The five baby name consultation openings I had for January have been taken, but Theresa is available to help you out! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Pia Maris!

I did a private consultation for Danielle and her husband last spring, and Danielle let me know that they had a beautiful baby girl and gave her the beautiful name … Pia Maris!

Danielle writes,

While we didn’t go with a name from the consultation, the consultation helped refresh the name conversation between my husband and I, giving us a few new directions. We’ve both loved the Marian title Stella Maris for many years. Once it came up in conversation to use Maris rather than Stella, we found ourselves running into Stella Maris in our daily lives and knew it was our Pia’s middle name. Thank you for the inspiration!

Isn’t Pia Maris an absolutely gorgeous name?! So Marian!! I love Maris for Stella Maris, and Pia is also in my book of Marian names, since Our Lady is described as pia in the Salve Regina. And I love love love that the consultation helped move the conversation between Danielle and her husband in the right direction!!

Danielle added,

I’d also like to ask you to please pray for Pia. I had her with me at my six week postpartum appointment, during which she experienced a medical emergency that lead to cpr being done, an ambulance trip, emergency baptism,  and brief hospital stay, but no real explanation. She seems no worse for the wear, but we are all on edge as tests continue.”

In a follow-up email, Danielle said,

We’ve not really gotten answers. She has seen several specialists, had lots of tests, but nothing really points to a reason or cause. They have found a number of things to monitor, but again, none of them would have caused her breathing or heart to stop.”

I told Danielle that you all are great prayer warriors — I know you will cover Pia and her family in prayer!

Congratulations to Danielle and her husband and big sibs Grace, Jackson, Henry, and Dolly (Dolly is for the Marian title Mater Dolorosa!), and happy birthday Baby Pia!!

Pia Maris


The five baby name consultation openings I had for January have been taken, but Theresa is available to help you out! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Is@@c Cill!@n!

I discussed names over email a few times in the past with a mama who shared with me that she and her husband have welcomed a little boy! He’s been given the absolutely wonderful name … Is@@c Cill!@n! (Alt characters used for privacy.)

She writes,

I want to thank you for the advice you gave us back in February.* We welcomed Is@@c Cill!@n to the family in mid-July. We are still preparing for his baptism, and haven’t yet finalized a patron saint but he very much fits the name Is@@c. He’s a happy laughing baby all the time

I prayed a lot to St. Gerard (coincidentally one of the names you suggested for a previous pregnancy) to help keep us both safe through the pregnancy and delivery. So we may pick that as his patron saint, but I’m also keeping it in my back pocket for a future baby boy if we are blessed with another.”

Isn’t that so wonderful! I love baby’s first name’s happy meaning!! And while he has two saintly names to inspire a patron Saint, he can of course absolutely have another Saint as patron! The more the merrier!

Congratulations to the happy parents, and happy birthday Baby Is@@c!!

* I just wanted to share the advice this mama thanked me for, in case it’s helpful for any of you. She’d written,

We had originally selected St. Kilian as inspiration for his middle name, and patron. With Is@@c I really preferred the traditional Irish spelling Cill!@n though. But now I’m wondering if baby’s patron saint is still St. Kilian?! How literal does the name need to be to still pull as baby’s patron? These pregnancy hormones are making me question everything …”

And I’d replied,

Your question is a great one, and I’m thrilled to put your mind at ease! I subscribe to the belief that a variant of the name is the same as the name itself, honor-wise. There are so many examples to support this, like how St. Catherine of Siena’s name was actually Caterina — the Italian variant — since she was Italian; Catherine is a French and English variant that the English-speaking world uses, and Katherine can be used for her as well. St. Clare of Assisi was actually the Italian Chiara; Clare is an English spelling and Claire is a French spelling — they all work for her! St. Francis of Assisi is Francesco in Italy and Francisco in Portugal … and one of the Sts. Killian that I found specifically said he’s also known as St. Cillian!

I don’t know which St. Kilian you had chosen as patron — CatholicSaints.info lists two (St. Killian, who is also known by a bunch of other spellings, and St. Kilian of Inishcaltra, which doesn’t have other variants listed) — but either way, Behind the Name lists the K spellings as variants of the original C spelling. So I think you’re totally fine to go with Is@@c Cill!@n with St. Kilian as patron! (You can even [refer to that St. Kilian as] St. Cill!@n, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you could find an old shrine or church in Ireland with his name spelled that way!).”


The five baby name consultation openings I had for January have been taken, but Theresa is available to help you out! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Baby no. four needs Marian name that’s consistent with big sibs’ styles

A prayer today, and always, for an end to racism, and a prayer of thanks for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his courage and good work. 🙏🙏🙏

Today’s consultation is another of the five I opened up for January; if you’d like a consultation of your own, Theresa is available to help!

Madison and her husband are expecting their fourth baby, a little green bean (gender unknown)! 🌱 This little one joins big sibs:

Cooper James (“We thought about naming him John Phillip after both of our dads. This choice is so handsome and I still love it! But it’s just not our style. After talking about it for a while we finally narrowed our list down to 3 names: Cooper, Colton, and Duke. I was all for Colton but [my husband’s] eyes lit up when he said Cooper and it made me fall for it as well. Cooper suits him so perfectly! James is my husband’s middle name and my husbands grandpa’s name so it was an obvious choice. Plus we love the flow of Cooper James together! It was shortly after Cooper was born that I had my re-conversion. I scoured the internet for faith connections and was so happy to come across your blog and the connection of the name Cooper to St. Joseph of Cupertino. We call him Coop, Coopy, and Cupertino for fun.”)

Reagan Elyse Mary (“her due date was in May and I immediately knew I wanted a name to honor Mary. The name Reagan stood out to me on every baby name list, but I kept ignoring it because I needed something Marian! But when my husband suggested it I just blurted out yes. After that I searched hard for some sort of connection. I stumbled upon a probably unreliable source that said for little girls the name could be taken to mean “little queen.”* I was sold! (It didn’t take much haha) I then found some amazing history about Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II that further solidified our choice. Elyse is my middle name which I love — it has a sort of cool elegance to it. I didn’t know it at the time but Reagan’s due date was on the Feast of the Visitation so it really was the perfect middle name! Mary wasn’t added until later. About 5 months after Reagan was born I had this crazy urge to add the actual name of Mary to her name. I looked into it and saw that it wouldn’t be too difficult to do. After I got my husband’s permission, I sent the paper work in on October 22 [Reagan’s 5 month birthday and the feast of Pope John Paul II!!] We call her Reags, Reagy Roo, or just Roo.”)

Fulton John (“When I was pregnant with Reagan I remember giving my husband a long list of saints names I liked. He turned down literally all of them. Jokingly, I mentioned Fulton thinking he would think it was an absurd name. I wasn’t super fond of it myself, but I did like the idea of it. To my surprise he told me he liked it, and I realized I would probably have a son named Fulton. It may have taken me 2 years to warm up to it, but I love it now! When I found out I was pregnant I started seeing Fulton Sheen quotes all over Social Media. When I suggested Fulton John [John for hubby’s dad] he said yes immediately. We call him Fults or Fultsie.”)

* [I just have to note that, though Behind the Name disagrees, Baby Names of Ireland says that Regan (Behind the Name says Regan and Reagan are variants of the same) may come from a diminutive of the Irish word for “sovereign, king,” which to me means “little king” or — if used for a girl — “little queen” (not “king’s child” as Baby Names of Ireland suggests. So says this non-liguist! Haha!). So I think the meaning that Madison is using for Reagan is entirely defensible, and even if not, I’ve always felt that intention trumps meaning in almost all cases.]

I LOVE this family’s style! In Madison’s email she noted that she feels like their “taste in names is pretty secular,” but I think they’ve done a fantastic job of working within that, and I think that’s so thrilling! It’s like a stealthy sneak attack, Catholic-style! Such a fantastic way of blending in with the culture and thus bringing the possibility of evangelization in a way that’s easier for the average American to swallow. Nice job! I really love that they were able to connect Cooper to Cupertino, that has always been one of the coolest things I discovered through the blog, I love that! Reagan is one of my FAVORITE ideas for a girl as an unusual Marian idea — I’ve seen it before and always thought it was awesome … in fact, I just looked in my book of Marian names, because I was sure I included it, but I didn’t — why didn’t I?? I love it! And Fulton! Such a perfect fit style-wise with Cooper and Reagan, and so faithy! All so great!!

Madison writes,

I am so early on in my pregnancy that it might seem crazy to do a consultation already, but my husband shot down almost every name on my list so I need some fresh ideas! The due date of our baby is somewhere between September 6 – 14 which is AMAZING because there are so many Marian celebrations within that time as well as the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. I would love to give this baby a Marian name.”

Sounds perfect to me!

Some girl names they’ve considered include:

  • Callie (“love that it means ‘Most beautiful.’ I was researching about Our Lady of La Salette and learned the shepherd kids called Mary “Beautiful Lady” when they saw her. Could be a little connection?“)
  • Blair (“I’ve always loved this name and my husbands open to it, but I find it less appealing with no faith connection. It sounds really good as a sister to Reagan though!“)
  • Maren (“[rhymes with Karen] — worried about pronunciation, would majority pronounce it MA-rin? Our last name is already difficult to pronounce. Just not sure that I like it, but I like that it’s Marian, so I want to like it“)
  • Aurora nn Rory (“I love the idea of it and my husband said he was open to it, but it doesn’t seem like us“)
  • Reese (“seems a little masculine to both of us, though I like that I could connect it to the St. Teresa’s!“)
  • Emery (“same as Reese, a little masculine. Though I liked the idea of Emery Catherine called Emery Cate for Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich“)

Madison continues,

Hubby says he likes Emma and Ava but he’s not overly excited about them nor am I, but might help with his style? I prefer names not in the top 50 but am not strict about it if it’s the right name. I think he wants a name that is familiar, that’s why he turned down all my Catholicky Catholic suggestions.”

Boy names on their list include:

  • Phillip (“[after my dad] Paired with a cool middle like Kolbe? Or Phillip Pierce for the pierced heart of Mary? Worried about the nickname Phil since we shorten our kids names a lot! Husband didn’t like the idea of Phillip Neri nn Finn“) 
  • Watson (“my mom’s maiden name. Could be a good way to honor her? We talked about Watson Phillip or Phillip Watson. I don’t think I love Watson though. I want to because it’s a family name and my hubby thinks its cool“)
  • Declan (“I love this name!! Hubby is only ‘open to it’“)
  • Bennett (“I like it but not overly excited about it“)
  • Owen (“My Godfather’s middle name and a name we like. Owen Phillip or Phillip Owen is handsome!“)
  • Duke (“this has been on our list since Cooper but it always gets pushed to the side. One of the English Martyrs was Edmund Duke! Still considering it“)
  • Gannon/Cannon (“We like the sound of these. But I don’t think we’d use either“)
  • Kolbe (“I love the name Kolbe and even though my husband has vetoed me on it a few times now, he does say he likes the name C/Kole. I still see a glimmer of hope with that name so I’m going to keep it on my list“)

Some other family considerations include:

  • Lourdes (“my dad was born on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. My Nana and Great Nana have St. Bernadette as their confirmation saint. I love this as a middle name option for a more girly sounding first name — like Caroline Lourdes or Felicity Lourdes. Hubby is actually open to using this as a middle! But he didn’t like the two combos I just mentioned.”)
  • I’d love to honor my mom but there are names I prefer to hers, which is Sally Michele. Naming a daughter Callie could be fun since it rhymes with her name? She loves the names Felicity and Rosemary, so maybe using one of those as a middle? My husband doesn’t like those ones though :/

Names that they considered but can’t or won’t use for various reasons include:

  • Avila
  • Magdalen/Magdalyn
  • Caroline nn Callie (“for Pope John Paul II“) 
  • Emmeline
  • Isla
  • Ivy
  • Mary Grace
  • Marian
  • Felicity
  • Zelie
  • Rosary (“love it but probably too bold for me any way“)
  • Rowan/Rowen (“I really like this name but can’t decide for boy or girl. Husband doesn’t like it“)
  • Quinn
  • Finley
  • Morgan (“like it but too similar to Reagan“)
  • Greer
  • Perrin
  • Sienna
  • Stella
  • Cana
  • Riley
  • Or any Saint last name that’s a bit unusual like Clairvaux, Vianney, Cabrini etc.
  • Becket 
  • Kolbe 
  • Campion
  • Pierce
  • Cruz
  • August
  • Luke
  • Shepherd
  • Cassian
  • Crispin
  • Bastian
  • Xavier

Finally, Madison notes,

Most importantly: I want a girl to have a Marian connection. I might add Mary or Marie as a third name like I did for Reagan!

I have your book of Marian names and have been scouring it! I think boys will be easier for us to agree on a Marian name — Leo and Maximilian are names my hubby has expressed he was open too as well, though he doesn’t care for nickname Max because that’s his parents’ dogs name. But we are open to moving away from surnames as long as it still feels like it fits. Leo feels like it might not fit and I can’t find a longer version I like. Maximilian nn Leo?? Maybe too much of a stretch ha.

The middle name for a boy will be Phillip unless we use it as the first!

I am sort of inclined to avoid “n” ending names just to help the flow of all the sibling names, but I’m not committing to that because I tend to love names that end in ‘n.’

Okay, first off — I’m sure you all know that I was DYING over the names Madison said they/won’t use! I even said to my husband, “Oh man! Alllll the names I would have suggested for this family are on their can’t/won’t use list!” Quinn and Greer would have been right at the top for me, as well as Finley (I agree about Morgan being too similar to Reagan). But that’s totally fine, because it just makes the challenge extra challenging, which I always love!

So here are my thoughts on the girl names they’re considering, in case they’re helpful:

  • Callie: As a variant/diminutive of Cal(l)ista, Madison’s right that Callie can mean “most beautiful,” which is such a fantastic meaning for a girl! I didn’t know about the shepherd children calling Our Lady “Beautiful Lady” when they saw her at La Salette, but I love that and yes, I totally agree that Callie can work as a nod to her because of that! In fact, I think Reagan’s and Callie’s connections to Our Lady are at a similar level, which I always find pleasing in a symmetry sense. A couple thoughts I had about Callie are that Calla (like the Calla lily) might feel a bit less nickname-y, if Callie’s nicknaminess was bothersome to Madison or her hubby, and so could work as a given name with Callie as the nickname if they’d like. Calla also comes from the Greek kallistos “most beautiful,” so the meaning is still there. Another is that I’ve seen Salette considered as a given name in honor of Our Lady of La Salette, and with Madison’s mom’s name being Sally, I wondered if Salette could work as a nod to her and Our Lady at once? I love the idea of Callie Salette or Calla Salette as a double whammy Marian-wise and also with that possible connection to Madison’s mom. (Also, back to her mom, Sally is a variant of Sarah, which means “princess,” so Madison could possibly think of Reagan as having a connection to her mom that way if she wanted.) (Also, the fact that Madison wondered if Callie, rhyming with Sally, could nod to her mom makes me extra love Callie Salette because of that double-whammy idea.) I also love Callie as a nickname for Caroline, as Madison noted they’d considered in honor of JP2, but I don’t love Caroline with the other kids’ names (you’ll see that this is a theme with me during this consultation — I love that Cooper, Reagan, and Fulton all fit together style-wise really nicely in my opinion, and while I don’t want Madison and her hubby to feel boxed in by that, I would very much love to help them find a name that they love that also fit with their style!)
  • Blair: I’m so interested that Madison has “always loved” this name — that definitely counts for something! The first thing I did was try to find a faith connection for it — it apparently means “plain, field, battlefield,” which is why I suggested it recently as a possible way to honor St. Hildegard of Bingen, because Hildegard means hild “battle” plus gard “enclosure,” so that’s a possibility. Also, pairing a less faithy name with a more faithy middle name often helps a less faithy name to feel more acceptable to parents who are worried about such things, you know? So like Blair Immaculata hits you right in the face with the faith, even though Blair itself doesn’t — anyone who knows the full name and knows anything about Catholicism will *know.* A couple ideas that came to me regarding Blair were that the rhyming Clare, spelled that way, is both St. Clare’s name and also Co. Clare in Ireland — I thought Clare being a place name as well as a Saint’s name might make a good bridge going forward between the names they’ve already chosen (Cooper, Reagan, Fulton) and some of those Madison likes (Emma, Caroline, Mary Grace). And then Clare being a place name made me think of the Irish place name Adare, which is cool on its own; if you spell it Adair, it’s a form of Edgar, which is a Saint’s name. (I did a whole post on Irish place names — definitely read the comments too if you like this idea!)
  • Maren: This is a lovely option! Regarding pronunciation, it is one of those names that people aren’t always sure how to pronounce, but that’s the case with lots of names, so unless it’s one of those things that will drive them crazy forever, I’d encourage them not to worry too much about it — they should just be firm and consistent when correcting people who get it wrong. Saying “rhymes with Karen” is really helpful for them when explaining it to others, and will be helpful for their daughter as she grows up. I’m not surprised Madison’s hubby doesn’t love the double middle name idea — in my experience with my own husband and husbands I learn about through consultations, dads tend to prefer “less fuss” over “more fuss.”
  • Aurora nn Rory: I totally get loving “the idea” of a name, but having a hard time getting totally on board with the name itself. I think what Madison said about it not seeming like “them” is the key — there are a bunch of names on their list that I feel this way about — names that I know Madison likes or her husband likes but that don’t seem to fit the naming style they’ve agreed upon up until now. That said, I think Rory as a given name feels definitely like their style! I wonder if they would consider Rory on its own, for either a boy or a girl? (I actually did a whole post on faith connections for Rory!)
  • Reese: Like Rory, I actually feel like Reese fits their style really well! Though Madison and her hubby think it feels more masculine, Reese Witherspoon makes it very feminine in my opinion — I think Reese is great for a girl, and I agree that it can be a nod to any of the Sts. Therese/Teresa! I remember reading years ago about twin girls named Aurora and Therese and called Rory and Reese, I thought that was just so brilliant.
  • Emery: As with Reese, my impression of Emery is just flipped from Madison’s — though it certainly started as a masculine name (and in fact, it’s a form of Emmerich!), even Behind the Name says it’s “now typically feminine”; the one Emery I know is a little girl. I wonder if using the Emerie spelling would help make it feel a bit girlier for them? I love the idea of Emery/Emerie Catherine for Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich — a double-call-name with Kate/Cate as the second element has always appealed to me, I think it’s so pretty.

I’m also interested that Madison said her husband likes Emma and Ava, because there seems to be huge potential for compromise with Emery and Emmeline from her list with the nickname Emma or Emmy, and also with Avila with the nickname Ava. From what I know from Madison’s email, it seems exactly right how she articulated that she thinks her husband “wants a name that is familiar” and it makes sense that “he turned down all [her] Catholicky Catholic suggestions.” I really think sticking to the kinds of names they’ve already chosen for their older kids will help her hubby feel comfortable with the choice, and Madison has done a terrific job of finding those kinds of names with faith connections, or finding faith connections for those kinds of names.

Just quickly about a name on the list of those Madison likes: Rosary is exactly the kind of middle name that could balance out a more secular-sounding first name! It doesn’t flow so well with Callie, Blair, Rory, Reese, or Emery, but I love Calla Rosary, for example.

For family names, I addressed ideas for Madison’s mom in the Callie point above, and I love the Lourdes connection! I also love the idea of adding Marie like how Madison added Mary to Reagan’s name — that could be a really nice connection between all their girls! And Lourdes-Marie and Marie-Lourdes are common constructions I see, to make the Our Lady of Lourdes connection even stronger. “FirstName Lourdes Marie” is really nice.

Okay, on to the boys!

  • Phillip: I have always loved Philip! Madison’s original idea of John Phillip is one of those names that makes me swoon, even though my taste in names also runs a bit spicier than that — it’s just so handsome. I love that she suggested Phillip Neri nn Finn to her husband — that’s one of my favorite ideas! And of course, pairing it with a fiery middle name like Kolbe or Pierce is absolutely the way I would go if they decided to go with Phillip. That said, I do find it jarring with their other kids’ names — but that never has to be a dealbreaker! They should definitely go with the name they love! But if they wanted to be more consistent style-wise, I would definitely put Phillip in the middle. BUT, I might also like to see them consider using it as the call name! A Kolbe Phillip, for example, would fit right in with their kids on paper, but they can use whatever nickname they want, even if the “nickname” is the actual middle name, or a nickname of the middle name. I’m a big nicknamer, too, and I agree that Phil doesn’t feel right, and Finn is out, but I love Pip and even Flip (I worked with a Philip nn Flip). Maybe they could do a combo nickname from the first+middle, like Kip for Kolbe Phillip or Billy for Bennett Phillip. Or, I just discovered that the surname Phelps means “son of Philip” — I wouldn’t worry about the “son of” part, and what a cool connection to Madison’s dad’s name! Phelps could be a nickname for Phillip, or a given name in his honor. Or, I wonder what they would think of, ahem, *flipping* (haha!) the name from the boy side to the girl? I love Pippa, and I think Pippa could work well with their kids! It’s a diminutive of Philippa, so it’s an obvious way to honor a Phillip in a girl’s name. Pippa Salette would be a really interesting way to name after both Madison’s parents! Or Pippa Felicity or Pippa Rosemary, if she could get hubby on board. And Madison also asked about Fulton and Phillip being too much … I mean, the fact that they have the same beginning sound and they both have an L in the middle and the same number of syllables does make them feel overly similar, but if they went with Phillip as a first name, a one-syllable nickname can help, or a non-F nickname, that kind of thing. The family connection is so great that if they just really wanted to use it, I wouldn’t argue with them!
  • Watson: Oh MAN, I LOVE this! I think it’s a fanTAStic way to honor Madison’s mom! And I love that her husband thinks it’s cool! This is definitely one of my favorites for this family. Maybe learning more about the name will help Madison like it more? It means “son of Wat,” where Wat is a medieval diminutive of Walter. Servant of God Fr. Walter Ciszek is a favorite of a lot of my readers — he’s got an amazing story. I think Watson is a great middle name for lots of first name options, and as a first name, Wats and Watts are traditional nicknames. Watkins is another variant of Watson, and I could see that being a fun nickname for a Watson. Even Wally is cute and unexpected in a super-old-man way, which I always think is adorable on little boys, and totally do-able I think because of the connection to Walter. Even better, a Watson Phillip would have that double L in Phillip that could make sense of Wally as a nickname. I feel like there’s a good chance that, even if Madison can’t really bring herself to love it, eventually she will grow to love the fact that her son has such a great family name. And Watson is smashing with Cooper, Reagan, and Fulton!
  • Declan: Declan is a great name! I love that it has that Irish feel of Reagan and Fulton, which Cooper isn’t far off from because I think Cooper feels British (and is, in fact, an English occupational surname), so even though my preference is for them to stick to names that either are or feel surnamey, I wouldn’t be disappointed with Declan.
  • Bennett: I like Bennett a lot, especially that it’s a form of Benedict but also fits in with their surname style, but since it doesn’t have a family connection, I’m not loving that Madison is “not overly excited about it” — I think we can do better!
  • Owen: I agree that Owen Phillip and Phillip Owen are handsome! And being the sucker for family names that I am, I like having Madison’s dad and her godfather together in the same name. And it even counts as a surname — one of my favorite Saints is St. Nicholas Owen! (Incidentally, Cole can be a diminutive of Nicholas, so something like Cole Owen could be very explicit for St. Nicholas Owen.) I was musing about Madison’s idea of Leo being a nickname for Maximilian (which I don’t think is too much of a stretch, by the way), and wondered what they would think of Leo as a nickname for Philip Owen? There’s the “Li” of Phillip and the O of Owen … maybe? Is that way too crazy? Madison’s hubby probably thinks so, haha! Another thought I had was to switch from Owen to Bowen — that makes it obviously more surnamey, opens up the awesome nickname Bo, and can still be for Madison’s godfather, since Bowen means “son of Owen”!
  • Duke: Like with Blair, the fact that Duke has been on their list from the beginning is so meaningful! I love Duke, and I love that Madison found that Saint connection! In fact, Edmund Duke is making me think of Eamon, which is the Irish form of Edmund … I wonder what they would think of Eamon Duke? It would be the martyr’s actual name, just in Irish, and Eamon is a style match for Declan … He could even go by Duke as his everyday call name!
  • Gannon/Cannon: I think Gannon’s very cool, and I’ve often thought Canon could be a cool Catholicky Catholic name (with that spelling). I’m not sure I love Cannon (and even Canon by sound-association) — “weapon” names are certainly controversial, which any parent who is considering one should be ready to deal with. I loved discovering that Gannon is related to Finn, how cool is that??
  • Kolbe: I’m excited that Madison thinks she might be able to bring her husband around to Kolbe because he likes C/Kole! Kolbe would be very cool for this family, I think.

So when I was trying to come up with new name ideas, I found myself really going far afield from what I would usually suggest, mostly because my suggestions are all on their “no” list! In my suggestions below, I included some results from the research I did in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link), where I looked up names they’ve used and those they like, as the BNW lists boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity, but at least as many are based on nothing more than my own gut reaction! I definitely kept in mind that avoiding ends-in-n names is preferable, and that Madison wants a Marian connection (or at the very least, a faith connection), and that she’s open to moving away from the surnamey names if it feels right. I really hope I hit the mark here with at least some of my ideas below!

Girl

(1) Scarlett

I’m going to start with one that I *don’t* think they’ll love … but maybe they will? Scarlett is a style match for both Cooper and Duke, and also Ivy from the list of names they can’t use, which I thought was pretty amazing. I never would have thought of Scarlett! I’ve actually seen Carly used as a nickname for Scarlett, which is so similar to Callie — maybe Madison would like that? I did a spotlight on the name Ruby, and I feel like a lot of the faith associations for Ruby can also be used for Scarlett, plus also the Feast of the Most Precious Blood on July 1 AND the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross during Madison’s due-date week!

(2) Tierney, Kearney

I’m putting Tierney here on the girl’s side because I knew a girl growing up named Tierney, but it’s actually derived from the Old Irish word meaning “lord” — such a great meaning, and can totally work for a boy if they prefer! With that meaning, it reminds me of Dominic/Dominique (“of the Lord”) or Emmanuel/Emmanuela or Christopher/Christina — a great “Jesus” name! But hidden in plain sight, like their other kids!

Kearney rhymes with Tierney, and like Tierney can be masculine or feminine; I’m putting it here on the girl list because when I was looking for Saints whose feast days fall during Sept. 6-14, I found Bl. Elizabeth Kearney, whose feast is Sept. 13 (there’s also a Bl. John Kearney, if they like this idea for a boy). Kearney seemed like a perfect fit for this family!

(3) Gemma

This is a gut-reaction name, brought about because, in thinking about their style being surname-y (but not into unusual surnames like Clairvaux etc.), I thought maybe faith-y *thing* names might be a good direction to go that would feel consistent but open up more ideas. With their British/Irish feel, I thought of Gemma — it means “gem” in Italian and is the name of the Italian St. Gemma, but has amazing usage in England/Ireland/Australia, which gives it that English/Irish feel.

(4) Eliette

Elliott’s a match for Bennett on the boy side, and maybe they’d prefer to consider it for a boy (I do love it for a boy!), but it made me think of Eliette right away — one of the families I worked with has a daughter named Eliette, which was the mom’s grandmother’s name, and is derived from Elijah, just like Elliott. As you know from my book, the Elijah names can be considered Marian because of the awesome connection to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, so I thought that was cool; I also thought this very feminine spelling of an otherwise masculine-sounding name could be one of those “bridge name” ideas between what they’ve already done with their older kids’ names and how Madison might like to branch out going forward. I was thinking particularly of Eliette Catherine nn Ellie Cate — I thought maybe her husband would like that?

(5) Maeve

Madison had mentioned in another email that she kind of likes the nickname Mav, so Maeve was mostly inspired by that. Of course it’s an Irish name, and I also put it in my book of Marian names, so it checks that box as well. I really like the repeating sounds in Reagan and Maeve — beautiful, Marian (in an unexpected way), Irish sister names!

(6) Maisie

Josie, Molly, and Maggie are style matches for Callie; Lacey for Blair; Daisy for Duke; Lucy for Emma and Leo; and Maisie for Rory — they all have a similar sound and feel, and of them, I like Maisie the best for this family. It’s a Celtic (Irish/Scottish) diminutive of Margaret, which provides a fantastic patron.

(7) Talbot

Lindsay from My Child I love You introduced me to this name — she considered it for a first name for one of her girls, but ended up using it in the middle for her daughter Lourdes Marie Talbot. It’s for Bl. Matt Talbot, who was Irish (!) and had a devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes (!!) — how cool is that?! Read about it in this post. The nickname Tally/Tallie is awesome, and so similar to Madison’s beloved Callie; if they spell it Tally it mirrors her mom’s name really nicely. Another really cool thing, in addition to it being a nice nod to Bl. Matt Talbot, is that there’s a Bl. John Talbot whose feast day is Sept. 8!

Boy

(1) Miles

Since Madison said she has my book and has been scouring it, and she’s clearly familiar with the blog, then she must have come across Miles and decided against it. But let me make an argument for it! First off, it’s a style match for Bennett, Owen, and Ivy; secondly, it (as well as the spelling Myles) has a history of usage as an anglicization of the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “servant of the Virgin Mary” — a totally, legitimately Marian name for a boy! Thirdly, I’ve suggested it as a possible nickname idea for Maximilian, which would get away from Madison’s in-laws’ dog’s name Max and/or could claim St. Maximilian as a patron even if they go with the given name Miles instead of the given name Maximilian with Miles as a nickname; fourthly, I’ve suggested it as a nickname idea for Michael, being that it can be thought of as sort of a contraction of the name Michael, and also since Miles means “soldier” in Latin, which ties in nicely with St. Michael. And with Madison’s mom’s middle name being Michele, Michael or a name related to it could be a nod to her! There are so many reasons to love the name Miles! I think it goes amazingly well with Cooper, Reagan, and Fulton, and I love that it has a different ending than all of them.

(2) Garrett

Garrett is a gut-reaction idea — I was inspired by both Gannon and Bennett on their list, and also the fact that it’s an English surname that’s also categorized as “Celtic” in the BNW, and it derives from Gerard, which gives it a great saintly connection. I’m loving Garrett for this family!

(3) Kells

Kells is so much like Madison’s Callie, but is actually a surname like their older kids, and also the name of that beautifully illuminated manuscript containing the gospels at Trinity College in Dublin: The Book of Kells. I think Kells is so cool, and like Tierney and Kearney is really a unisex idea, so if they like it better for a girl, that could totally work, too.

(4) Finnian

I admit I had a hard time coming up with ideas for a boy for this family, so I do feel like I included ideas here that probably wouldn’t have passed muster if I had more ideas. Finnian is one — I love it, and I think it would be great in their family, and I was specifically inspired to include it here because St. Finnian of Moville’s feast day is Sept. 10. I do, however, realize that it’s maybe overly similar to Finley, which Madison said they can’t use, and it ends in -n, which isn’t ideal. But maybe they’ll like it anyway? Or, maybe this St. Finnian will provide them with the perfect patron for a little Gannon, since they’re related?

(5) Lolek

My last idea is a departure in that it’s not a surname, and it’s not English or Irish/Celtic. But it does have a different ending than their other kids’ names, and it is specifically Catholic and Marian, since it’s the nickname that St. John Paul II went by during his growing up (it’s a diminutive of Karol, which is the Polish for Charles/Carl/Karl). I just love the idea of Lolek! Because it was JP2’s childhood nickname, it feels sweet and affectionate. It’s sort of similar in sound and/or rhythm to Leo, Luke, Colton, Cole, and Kolbe, so I can see Madison and her hubby liking it from that perspective. Here’s a little guy named Lolek, if you want to see it in real life (his mom said it feels like an “underground code name,” which I thought was so fun!).

I’m sorry my boy ideas are so sparse! I feel like Madison might have good luck going through the names of the Martyrs of England, Scotland, and Wales as well as the Irish Martyrs to check out their surnames — I’m sure there’s a lot of good inspiration there! (I don’t think those lists are totally comprehensive, but definitely provide a lot of possibilities.)

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Cooper, Reagan, and Fulton?


The five baby name consultation openings I had for January have been taken, but Theresa is available to help you out! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Fun Friday Question: “Unmistakably Catholic,” except … not?

Happy Friday everyone! A question for you all today: Do you know or have you ever encountered someone with what you consider to be an Unmistakably Catholic name, but the person isn’t Catholic? I don’t mean someone who has Catholic parents and/or was raised Catholic and has fallen away, nor do I mean someone with a name that is *both* super Catholic and also something else (like Fatima), nor do I mean someone with a name that *is* very Catholic but has also become very mainstream and borne by people with lots of different backgrounds (like Joseph), I’m thinking more like a non-and-never-have-been-Catholic named Regina or Pius.

If so, what name was it? Were you able to ask about it? Do you know the person’s siblings’ names? Any other info about this kind of naming situation? What characteristics do Unmistakably Catholic names have that you think might be appealing to non-Catholics?

Have a great weekend!!


The five baby name consultation openings I had for January have been taken, but Theresa is available to help you out! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Benedict Jozef!

I did a private consultation for Taryn and her husband last summer, and she sent me a beautiful birth announcement email during the months that I was on hiatus — I’m happy to post it now, better late than never! They happily welcomed their second baby boy, to whom they gave the fantastic name … Benedict Jozef!

Taryn writes,

Kate!! Our precious blessing is here!!! Introducing Benedict Jozef! 

You’ll have to tell me if I’m interpreting the meanings correctly!! Our two sons

1. Dominic: “belonging to God”; Giovanni: “God is gracious.” Interpretation: “belonging to our gracious God” Verse: ““Consecrate every firstborn male to me” Exodus 13:2 (I didn’t think of this verse at the time of his naming, but it totally fits the meaning I think!)

2. Benedict: “blessed”; Jozef: “God shall add (another son).” Interpretation: “God shall add another blessed son” Verse: too many blessing verses to choose from! But I do remember this one jumping out to me at mass on July 11th as we waited for baby: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens” Ephesians 1:3

One of the last images that I saw in labor before leaving our house was the image of JP2 and I felt something STRONG, like a powerful intercession and a lifting of hope that I could do it (this labor was very scary and intense; 2 hours of active work). I continued to pray for his help during our fast and furious labor along with the intercession of St. Joseph. Then, once gazing upon baby, we decided that he looked much more Polish/Czech than our first son (who had a full head of black hair!), so “Jozef“ stood out to us! Both in honor of Karol Jozef a.k.a. Pope Saint John Paul II and the year of St. Joseph! 

Benedict still won us over for his first name although I’m really struggling to settle on his nickname because it still feels a big too big of a name for such a tiny guy!! Again, for family ties on both sides: “Bennett” for Grandma Bette and “Benson” for Grandma Jean

And of course, awesome Marian connections abound in both Benedict and Jozef! 

God bless you and yours! We feel so “blessed” to welcome “another son”!!! Eternally grateful for your help in naming our babies. 🙂 “

Isn’t that all just so beautiful?? Dominic Giovanni and Benedict Jozef are amazing brother names!! I love the layers of meaning — so much faith significance! I love that Benedict is a nod to both grandmothers, that is just fantastic. And of course, I love the Marian connections!

Congratulations to Taryn and her husband and big brother Dominic, and happy birthday Baby Benedict!!

Benedict Jozef with his big brother and one of his namesakes

(The “Karol Jozef” image of St. John Paul II is from the January Jane Shop — she’s got cool things!)


The five consultation openings I had for January have been taken, but Theresa is available to help you out! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Eloise, Penelope, or … ?

This is the first of the five consultations I opened up for January — this baby is coming any day! Rebecca and her hubby are expecting their first girl after four boys! Big brothers are:

Henry Blake 

Theodore Jude (“we call him Theo“)

Everett Scott

Oliver Ambrose

I love these! Such a fantastic bunch of names — all so handsome!

Rebecca writes,

With each of our boys we tried to have a way to honor our family either in the first name or the middle name. We also tried to have either the first name or the middle name be Catholic/biblical/a saint name. The only name that didn’t fit it was our third son Everett Scott, which is my cousin’s name and my husband’s middle name.

We have had a girl name picked out with each of our boys just in case. However, now that we are pregnant with our first girl I don’t seem to want to use any of those names. Some of the names that we had picked before are: Amelia Eloise, Lucia Eloise, Vivienne Simone, Violet Eloise

The day I took a pregnancy test and found out it was positive I immediately looked up the due date which turned out to be January 21. I looked up the Saints feast days and it turned out to be the feast day of Saint Agnes who is the patron saint of girls

Prior to finding out and that I was pregnant … I swore if I would have a girl I would name her Eloise. So this whole pregnancy I’ve pretty much been trying to find a middle name that I like with Eloise but I can’t seem to find ‘the one’ … I feel a lot of pressure to find the exact perfect name because I am 41 years old and this is probably going to be my only daughter so I want to find the most perfect name haha!

I totally get that!!

Rebecca continues,

Names that we have considered: Eloise Agnes, Eloise Marie, Eloise Lucia, Eloise Bernadette. My husband isn’t a big fan of Agnes but he said he would be fine if the name was Eloise Agnes Marie. But that feels like quite a mouthful

Names that I would love to use but cannot would be Eloise Therese, Eloise Beatrix, Zelie. My husband doesn’t like Beatrix or Zelie

Names other than Eloise that we like: we have seriously considered Penelope Eloise. My problem is is there doesn’t seem to be a Catholic connection in any way. Other names that we have considered: Opal, Lucy, Marigold, Josephine. My husband does not like Marigold. I adore floral type names and would love to call her Posie, Blossom, little flower as a special ‘between us’ nicknameOne other name that we can’t use is Claire!

There aren’t many family names left that haven’t been used by other people and I’ve been trying to avoid using the same names as other people in my family. Some family names that I have considered is Lorraine but only as a middle name, Anne or Anne Marie (This is my mothers name and she would really like me to use it in some way but ok if I don’t). I’m not set on having a family name this time.

I just feel like if I don’t use Eloise I’m going be sad but at the same time I can’t seem to find the perfect ‘Catholic, girly name’ that just flows. I would love some suggestions that go well with my boys names!

Such a fun “dilemma” to have — naming a girl after so many boys!! I love the names Becca and her hubby have considered for girls in the past, and of course I immediately picked up on the fact that Eloise was part of almost every combo, so my first thought was, “Why not Eloise as a first name?” And then of course the very next thing Becca wrote is that she swore to herself she’d name a girl Eloise! So I definitely think that Eloise as a first name should be at the top of their list. I’m not surprised, though, that they’re having a hard time finding “the one” in terms of a middle name for Eloise — while working on this, I spent a lot of time trying to think of some, and I find Eloise to be an unusual rhythm to work with, so not a lot of names seem to flow quite right. Not that that has to matter at all — they’ll likely find they’re happy with a middle name that has significance, whether it flows exactly right or not.

So I want to start with the idea of Agnes. I love that Becca’s due on St. Agnes’ feast day! She’s a great patron for a little girl! I would encourage Becca and her husband to lean into that, whether their daughter ends up being born on her feast day or not! I wonder if using an Agnes variant might appeal to them? Agnes itself still has an “old lady” feel for a lot of people, but Ines/Inès, Inez, Inessa (like this family’s second little girl), Annis, Agnesa, and Agneta are all variants that have a very different feel than Agnes while still being 100% Agnes.

Back to Agnes itself, I actually quite like how Eloise Agnes sounds — it’s a nice-flowing combo! I’m surprised that Becca’s hubby doesn’t care for Eloise Agnes, but wouldn’t mind Eloise Agnes Marie — in my experience, husbands tend to like “less fussy” rather than “more fussy.” But I love Eloise Agnes Marie as well! And I really like that it loops in Becca’s mom.

Let’s talk about Marie for a minute, and also the fact that another thing that jumped out to me right away is that Becca loves French girl names!! Vivienne, Simone, Bernadette, Therese, Zelie, Josephine, Marie itself, and even Lorraine (the name of a region in France!) and can’t-use Claire are all beautiful French names, so I let my mind wander a bit down the French path and wondered what they’d think of switching Agnes Marie to Marie-Agnes? That is SUCH a French construction, and I think the French girl names come across as so girly and feminine! Marie-Agnes as a first name can take the nickname Maggie, which makes everyday life so easy. If they were open to considering the French spelling/pronunciation of Agnes — Agnès, pronounced like ahn-YES — then Marie-Agnès become even more gorgeous, and I would still use Maggie as a nickname. If Marie-Agnes/Marie-Agnès feels too much for a first name, and/or they like the Agnès idea but don’t want their daughter to have to deal with it in the first name spot, I think Marie-Agnes/Marie-Agnès would be an amazing middle for Eloise! It also absolutely without a doubt fits the “Catholic, girly name” theme Becca was hoping for. As for a double middle name being a mouthful, I encourage them not to worry about that — the middle name spot is the place to put all the names, and when one has a girl after so many boys who is likely to be the only girl in the family, it’s very likely one has All The Names to work into her name! I spotlighted writer Rachel Balducci on the blog once, and she did that with her daughter, too — the only girl and youngest baby after five boys; she named her Isabel Anne-marie and noted “her middle name is Anne-marie, which is from each of the grandmothers. It’s a lot of name but I had to cram a lot into this one girl!

I’m actually also loving the idea right now of Annis Marie — Annis is a form of Agnes, and has Ann in it, so Annis Marie could be a double nod to Becca’s mom while still getting St. Agnes in there! And I’m also thinking of the French diminutive of Marie: Manon. I’ve always loved that! Maybe it could work here? Marie Eloise nicknamed Manon? Marie Agnes nicknamed Manon?

One last thought about Marie — it’s a very traditional thing for a Catholic girl to have Mary as her official/legal first name but go by her middle name. The Marie Eloise idea above made me think that Becca might like to do that too — Marie Eloise called Eloise? I think Marie Eloise is very girly and any name that includes a form of Mary sounds very Catholic to me, especially when it’s in the first name spot like that.

Don’t you love how my mind jumps all over the place?? Haha! Let me back up a minute and share some thoughts I had about names they’ve considered in the past, in case they’re helpful:

  • Amelia: I wonder if the French Amelie (said like AH-muh-lee) would appeal to them? Or maybe the spelling Emilia, which is the way St. John Paul’s mom’s name was spelled?
  • Lucia, Lucy: The fact that Becca mentioned both Lucia and Lucy as names they’ve considered, and the fact that they share a lot of sounds with Eloise, makes me wonder if they might like the idea of Louisa with the nickname Lucy?
  • Vivienne, Violet: Because of their obvious love of V’s with Vivienne, Violet, and of course Everett and Oliver, I wanted to suggest Evangeline or Genevieve … but then I thought, that’s a lot of V’s! And Evangeline is probably too similar to Everett anyway, but I wanted to mention them just in case.
  • Opal, Marigold: Both of these make me think of Margaret — Opal, because it’s a jewel and Margaret means “pearl,” and Marigold because of the similarity between Marigold and Margaret in terms of appearance, sound, rhythm, and the nickname Maggie. There are a lot of Margaret names that Becca might like! Marguerite is the French form, and not only does it mean “pearl,” as the French form of Margaret, but it’s also the French word for the daisy flower! Daisy is a traditional nickname for Margaret, and with a Margaret name Becca would have her built-in flower connection for using Daisy or even Posie/Blossom/Little Flower as nicknames for her girl. Another form of Margaret that I thought she might like is Margot — it’s also French (am I killing you all yet with all the French ideas?? They just seem so perfect!) and can take all the Margaret associations, since it’s a French short form of Margaret (and can be a nickname for Margaret, if they prefer). One last thing about “pearl” — not only would Becca have a flower connection if they used a form of Margaret, but her girl would also have her very own gem! Pearls could be one of her things!
  • Josephine: I love Josephine anyway, and Posie is one of my favorite nicknames for it, so that was fun to see on the list.

I wanted to discuss Penelope on its own and not as a bullet point in the previous list. Penelope is a great name! I’ve heard from many parents who love it but don’t love that they can’t find a faith connection, but you don’t need to worry about that, because indeed there is! Venerable Ersilia Penelope Frey was declared Venerable in 2015! So Penelope Eloise would work just fine!

On to new ideas! Becca specifically said she wants “the perfect ‘Catholic, girly name’ that just flows” and that goes well with her boys’ names. To that end, I looked up her boys’ names, as well as the names she and her hubby have considered for a girl, in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I also consulted the article I wrote a few years ago called Unmistakably Catholic Girl Names (from that list, Becca and her hubs have already considered Bernadette and Marie). Finally, I tried to think of names with a floral connection that I thought they might like. Based on all that, these are my new ideas:

(1) Fleur, Flora

The very first idea that came to mind was one of the names that actually means “flower”! Any of the sweet flower nicknames could work if they used a name that means flower! Fleur is the French version, and Flora is every other language; they’re both lovely (and Flora is a style match for Opal).

(2) Eleanor

Eleanor is the name that’s the biggest style match for Becca’s boys’ names and the names she and her hubby like overall! It’s a style match for Henry, Theodore, Oliver, Penelope, and Josephine, and the variant Leonora is a match for Ambrose. It also begins with El-, like Eloise, so I wondered if making a small switch from Eloise to Eleanor would preserve what they like about Eloise while giving them a name that flows easier with other names? Eleanor Amelia, Eleanor Lucia, Eleanor Simone, Eleanor Agnes, Eleanor Marie, Eleanor Agnes Marie … they all have a really lovely rhythm. Nicknames include Elle/Ellie/Ella, Nell, and Nora, which really go well with the big brothers (Nell can also be a nickname for Penelope, and Nora is specifically a style match for Theo). (I discuss Eleanor in depth in this consultation post, which also includes some great, heavy-hitting middle name ideas that Becca might find helpful as well!) (I also recently discovered Bl. Eleanora, in addition to the saintly connection I discussed in the blog post and also below [no. 7].)

(3) Elizabeth nn Lily

The El- of Eloise and Eleanor, as well as Becca’s love of “floral type names,” encouraged me to add Elizabeth to this list. It’s feminine and serious, solid and saintly, and I even included it in my book of Marian names because of how closely tied Elizabeth is to Our Lady via the Visitation. But what I really love about Elizabeth for this family is that Lily is a traditional nickname for it! Not only is Lily a floral name, and not only would using Lily as a nickname for Elizabeth be a little offbeat (despite its traditional usage), which is fun, but Lillian is a style match for Theodore and Lily is so for Oliver. (If they like the idea of Elizabeth but would prefer a different nicknames, there are a zillion and one!) They might also like to consider the French spelling Elisabeth, which is said the same as Elizabeth but I think that S really gives it something different. (Do you know about Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur? I love her!)

(4) Rosalie

Rosalie is a style match for Everett, Eloise, and Vivienne, and I’m also struck by how many sounds it shares with Eloise, making me think Becca might really like this one! It’s also got the nice Rose connection, and Rose, Rosa, and Rosie/Rosey are all great floral nicknames.

(5) Camille, Camellia

Camille is a match for Vivienne and Simone, and Camila for Lucia, so I thought there might be something there. I also love its similarity to the flower name Camellia. The Camille names aren’t obviously Catholic, but there is a Bl. Camila Díez Blanco, Bl. Camilla Gentili, and St. Camillus de Lellis. (There’s also a Bl. Angela Truszkowska, whose birth name was Zofia Kamila Truszkowska. Zofia Kamila! Wow!)

(6) Felicity

Felicity is a style match for Oliver, and it’s included in my article of Unmistakable Catholic Girl Names. I think it’s so feminine and pretty, so I had to include it! Sts. Perpetua and Felicity are such a well-known saintly pair and such great patrons for girls. I spotlighted Felicity, including nickname ideas (one of which is Lily!), here.

(7) Seraphina, Seraphine

This is totally inspired by Becca’s hope for a Catholic girly name. I think Seraphina is just so beautiful, and I included it in my book of Marian names because it “refers to the seraphim, the order of angels who ‘stand before God as ministering servants in the heavenly court,’ and gets its Marian character from two of Our Lady’s titles: ‘Our Lady of the Angels’ and ‘Queen of the Angels.’” I like how the French variant Seraphine flows with Eloise!

(7) Archangela

This was inspired both by Seraphina, in that it’s an obvious angel name — and specifically for the archangels, which means three patrons! — but also by Eleanor, because of Bl. Archangela Girlani, whose birth name was Eleanor.

(8) Immaculata

Finally, Immaculata is one of my favorite of the super-obvious-Catholic feminine names, and I LOVE how it sounds with Eloise! Eloise Immaculata! Ohhh my! This is one of my very favorite ideas for Becca’s baby girl.

I also wanted to offer a list of names beyond the obvious (but also including some of the obvious ones) that have floral connections. I used the posts Daring Flower Names and Botanical Girl Names on Appellation Mountain to compile this list (I didn’t include all the ones listed in those articles, so definitely check them out!), and I’ve asterisked the ones that I included in my book of Marian names. I also want to share the quote I found in a book called Mary’s Flowers: Gardens, Legends & Meditations by Vincenzina Krymow: “It is thought that at one time all flowers and plants honored Mary, the ‘Flower of Flowers,’ in legend or in name,” which would give a Catholic connection to any floral name (Behind the Name is the site I use for all name meanings if you wanted to look up the less obvious ones below).

  • Anthea
  • Azalea
  • Briallen
  • Calla
  • Carmel*
  • Eden
  • Hazel
  • Iris*
  • Ivy*
  • Jacinta, Jacinthe, Hyacinth
  • Lily, Lillie, Lilia, Lillian, Liliana, Liliane*
  • Linnea
  • Magnolia
  • Primrose*
  • Rosanna*
  • Rosary*
  • Rosemary, Rosemarie*
  • Susanna*

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Henry, Theodore/Theo, Everett, and Oliver?


The five consultation openings I had for January have been taken, but Theresa is available to help you out! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: To Mary or not to Mary?

The farther we get into January, the happier I am — is it crazy that I’m counting down the days until spring?! I hope you’re all having a great Monday! Enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Amber writes in asking for advice on naming baby #6, and second girl.

The girl name has me at a loss. Nothing is lighting that spark. I’ve always wanted a Mary, but it’s not feeling right. My husband would like Claire Terese. It’s a fine name, it’s just not clicking with me. St. Theresa of Calcutta is like my soul sister. THERESA though isn’t a name I can see myself using. The same with Mary. I’m not feeling like Mary is the right name for this baby … and at the same time my heart has a little ache, knowing I won’t likely have another opportunity to make a girl Mary.”

Creative naming might be just what this family needs! Maybe to look at names in a new way will help these parents pick the right name for their new addition. They’re solid on their boy name, so we’ll be focusing on girl names for them.

This child will join big siblings:

Samuel Francis (in heaven)
Thomas Joseph
James Dominic
Michael Paul
Emily Melynne (muh-LYNN; Amber’s sister’s middle name)

First, some thoughts on Claire Terese, Mary, and Theresa. I really love Terese in the middle for their girl! It’s unusual but not outlandish, much like sister’s middle name, giving them a connection. I think it also solves their problem of loving St. Teresa of Calcutta but not the name Theresa!

Claire is such a beautiful name and goes so well with Emily, but if they’re not feeling it, they’re just not feeling it! I wonder if a variation of the name would work better for them. What about Clara Terese? Clara has a little more pizzazz than Claire but still has that feminine, classic feeling.

I also understand wanting to honor Mary but feeling like Mary itself does not fit this child. What about a variation of Mary? Some of my favorites are Molly, Mara, Mae, and Mariae (which is the Latin possessive for “of Mary”). They could also do a variation of an apparition or title they love –– Lola or Ivy for Our Lady of Sorrows (Lola from Dolores and Ivy from the ivy plant Mary’s Tears), Annunziata for The Annunciation, Lourdes, etc. Check out Kate’s book on ways to honor Mary in a name for even more ideas, too.

Okay, on to new ideas. I mainly went with my gut for this but also looked up names in the same style of the names of their other kids.

(1) Audrey

This name means “noble strength” and is the name of a saintly princess, St. Audrey (also known as Etheldreda). This has the same feminine, classic feel as Emily and Claire and is also French, just like them! Audrey Terese or Audrey [insert Marian name] would be beautiful and fit well with the other children.

(2) Juliet(te)

The meaning of this name is disputed but can mean “youthful” (my favorite), “downy-bearded”, or “sky father” depending on where you trace its origins. It’s feminine, classic, French, and has some pizzazz. It’s also a great way to honor a family member with a July birthday (I noticed sister Emily has an honor name in hers). There are tons of saints to go along with this name, too, including Julias (Juliette is actually a diminutive of Julia). Some that stood out to me were St. Juliette Verolot and Ven. Juliette Colbert de Falletti di Barolo.

(3) Chloe

I thought of this name immediately as an alternative to Claire. It just has a little more pep than Claire. It means “green shoot,” speaking to the newness of life, and is about as popular as Emily right now. I really like Chloe Terese or Chloe Mariae.

(4) Alice

This is more clunky cool than Claire is, but this name came to me as an alternative to Claire, too. It means “noble” and is a modern form of Adelaide for which there are several saints, including St. Adelaide the Abbess and St. Alice the Empress. Alice Terese, Alice Claire, and Alice Mae all sound really beautiful to me. Are Emily and Alice too close for their tastes, though?

(5) Brigid/Bridget

This name means “strength” or “exalted one” and it came up as a match to their other kids’ names. There is, of course, the very famous St. Brigid as namesake. Brigid is snappy and cool, where I think Claire seems a little more boring to them. Brigid Terese and Brigid Claire are both great combos.

(6) Lydia

This name came up as a match to their other kids’ names but it also struck me as having more pep and pizzazz than Claire, which seemed to me to be their problem with it. St. Lydia Purpuraria is a great patron and she’s the patroness of the color purple, if that’s significant to them at all (or could just end up being the child’s favorite color!). Lydia Terese is really nice and Lydia Mariae is unexpected.

(7) Ruby

This name also came up as a match to their kids’ names but it stood out to me for a few reasons. It’s clunky cool but more spunky than Claire, it has all sorts of cool faith connections (Kate wrote a post on it that you can read here), and it’s the name of my oldest child. So I’m biased! Emily and Ruby make great sisters, though, and I thought it fit their style and wheelhouse perfectly. Ruby Mae is a super amazing combination (okay, I’m really biased here because that is my daughter’s first name and first middle name) and it can encompass connections to Jesus, Mary, and anyone in the family with a July birthstone (ruby is the gemstone for July). Ruby Terese is also stunning, as are Ruby Claire and Ruby with any Marian name in the middle. I really really love this name for them.

Okay, these are my thoughts. What do you think?


The five consultation openings I had for January have been taken, but Theresa is available to help you out! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Year in review: 2021 (new blessings)

Happy 2022 everyone! Happy Feast of Mary, Mother of God!!

While I’m inclined to say that I hope that 2022 is better than 2021 because of the shadow of this horrible pandemic (both in terms of physical, mental, and economic health, and also in terms of the toll its taken on so many of our relationships with loved ones) and because of the other difficult and troubling things that have happened nationally and worldwide (when I started writing this, I was particularly thinking about the wildfires in Colorado — I know there are several of you that live there, please know that I’m praying for you!), I also look back on the past year and am blown away by the blessings God has showered down on me. I’m sure you all have your own stories of His 2021 goodness!

For me, one of the very biggest blessings was the thing that caused me to go on hiatus from the blog and baby name consulting back in June — I got a job! A job that I have literally been praying for for years! I think you all know that I’ve done *very part-time* freelance writing and editing for years, in and amongst having babies, and of course this beautiful space right here brought with it my ministry of naming and baby name consultations (such a dream!!), and more writing opportunities (CatholicMom and Nameberry, and of course my beautiful book of Marian names [my non-baby magnum opus!]), but I knew there would come a time when I would need a steadier and more reliable source of income, and I suspected that it would coincide with my older boys going to college. Then, last spring, a posting came through my email from the job alert emails I’ve been signed up for for years, and it was as close to the perfect situation as I could have hoped for. It was as a Professional Writing Tutor at a local college, which I applied for and was hired for, and it has turned out to be *even more perfect* than I thought it would be. It works perfectly with our family schedule and with the needs of all of my children, with all of their ages and activities. It has had a particularly positive impact in various ways on my oldest boy, who will be going to college in the fall, and will do so for his brothers when their college time comes as well. It’s required some creative planning and rearranging in terms of my daily mom logistics, but mostly it’s caused barely a blip for our collective family peace and health, even for my littlest guy, for which I couldn’t be more thankful. And it’s work I really love, with students that I’ve totally fallen for, in an environment that I find inspiring as a writer and a lifelong student/pursuer of truth. God is so good. So good!

So! Now that I’ve had almost six months under my belt of this new phase of my motherhood, I think I can dip my toe back into baby name consultations. At least — I really want to! So I’m going to use the month of January to see how I do with it. I have to warn that if I find it too overwhelming, I’ll have to pull back again, and with that possibility in mind, I’m offering only five consultation openings right now. I’m going to do it first come, first served — email me at sanctanomina@gmail.com to claim one of the spots, and then I’ll send you the link to the PayPal button (after posting this, I’m logging off until tomorrow, so unfortunately I can’t promise you an immediate reply). If you’re not one of the first five, don’t worry — Sancta Nomina’s other baby name consultant, Theresa Zoe Williams, can help! I am so grateful to her for picking up where I left off in terms of helping any of you who are struggling with giving your beautiful babies names that are meaningful to our faith. You’ve all kept her busy! I’ve posted 13 of her consultations since the summer, which is so great. In fact, if you want to purchase a consultation with her instead of me, that’s totally fine and wonderful! Simply purchase one using the PayPal buttons and then email her directly at  TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com with your namey details. (Do note that the buy-my-book-get-a-discounted-consultation deal only applies to consultations I do.)

As if a major hiatus and the addition of a new baby name consultant weren’t enough for one year, look what else happened at Sancta Nomina in 2021!

  • I posted 12 birth announcements: Thea Noelle, Astrid Beatrice, Isla Frances, Matthias Daniel, Leo Nicholas, Caroline Grace, Gemma Theadora, James Patrick Albert, Calista Eucharistica, Lawrence Stephen, twins Leo Bessette and Gregory Augustin, and Roman Gabriel Charles. Children are such treasures, and I feel the same way about beautiful faith-y names — these are all so gorgeous!

Not too bad for a year in which I was mostly gone for a full half of it!

One thing I’m very disappointed that I wasn’t able to work out this year was my annual pilgrimage to a St. Anne shrine in order to thank her for her patronage — I fully intended to, but my job started just when I normally would have planned such a trip. I kept hoping I’d be able to figure it out, but I underestimated how knackered I’d be with my outside-the-house job (you know what I mean? It’s a special kind of exhaustion that happens when daily life takes on a new look, even when the new look is all good. Like having a baby!). Hmm … now that I think about it, though 2021 is over, there’s still time before my next blogiversary … so really, if I can get it done between now and then, it still counts for this past year, right? Right? Right! Okay. That’s now a New Year’s Resolution — I’ll keep you posted!

Also, though it passed with no announcement or fanfare, this past June marked my SEVENTH blogiversary! Seven is a special number to me, both because of its biblical holiness, and because of my seven boys. Also, I started the blog when my now-seven-year-old was a baby. Seven seven seven! I don’t get crazy about numbers, but I admit this felt extra meaningful to me. I’ll further admit that I wondered if, with my seventh blogiversary and concurrent getting of a new job, that God was allowing me to understand that my time at Sancta Nomina had run its course. But I’ve prayed quite a bit about it and I don’t think I’m done here — not yet anyway. Even just going through the last year’s posts to write this, and the actual writing of it itself, has provided peace, inspiration, and a connection with heaven and the blessing of welcoming babies into the world — things that I have always loved about Sancta Nomina. You all and this space are the best. ❤

Going forward, I’ll probably continue posting a lot less on social media — the connection between Facebook and the blog got glitchy a while ago, so my posts don’t automatically post over there anymore, and I’ve pulled way back from Facebook in general, so likely there won’t be much over there Sancta Nomina-wise (unless I figure out the problem); I deleted the Twitter app from my phone a while ago and haven’t checked at all since (though my posts should still be posting automatically there); Instagram remains my favorite platform, so if you see me on any socials, it’ll likely be there (@ sanctanomina). I often encounter some namey thing that I know no one else in the world will understand or appreciate the way you guys will — between the blog and Instagram, I hope to keep sharing what I discover!

And that’s 2021 in review! I always love pulling together these bird’s eye snapshots of the blog over the past year — you can read the others here:

We shared a lot of great times! I’m looking forward to 2022 with hope and trust, and I pray for the same for you as well! God bless you all!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!