Birth announcement: Solan Peter and Magdalen Anne!

One of you wonderful readers, Liz, let me know that she recently gave birth to twins (!) and said it was okay to share their names with all of you! She had a boy and a girl and named them the incredible names … Solan Peter “Solly” and Magdalen Anne “Maggie”!

Liz writes,

I’ve never done a consultation with you, but I love your blog and it’s where I’ve always gone for name inspiration for our babies. We just welcomed our twins and I wanted to share their names with you! Naming twins wasn’t easy and I didn’t find many good resources for Catholic twin names, especially boy/girl twins. Plus, my husband is not very into the name game. He flat out told me this time around that he likes what I choose anyway 😂. So I’m hoping I can help other mamas.

My confirmation saint is Mary Magdalene and I’ve been in love with the name Magdalen “Maggie” for a long time. But, with our first two babies being boys I’ve had little opportunity to use it. So I was pretty set on that and started there. But finding boy names to go with it proved a little challenging.

My rules were either starting with an M or similarly ending with an N. Had to be a saint name and if not possible very Catholic meaning. Also, I’m a stickler for a full name with a good nickname. I wanted our twins’ names to make sense together, but didn’t want them to be too matchy.

For a while we were seriously considering Maximilian (one of my favorite saints!), but I just couldn’t get over Max feeling like a dog name. So, as often happens we wound up back at one of the first names I liked, Solan (for Blessed Solanus Casey).

Big brothers’ names are:

Bennett James “Ben” (Saint Benedict and James is daddy’s name)
Leander Charles “Leo” (Saint Leander of Seville and Charles is after my father)

Twins’ names are:

Solan Peter “Solly” and
Magdalen Anne “Maggie”

Middle names are after my husband’s father and my husband’s grandmothers both had the middle name Ann. We originally were going to do Joy after the grandmother who had lost twins of her own many years ago, but wanted to honor the other grandmother when we realized the babies would be born [on] the anniversary of her passing. It wasn’t until then we realized both grandmothers’ middle names were Ann, so it was perfect!

Hope you enjoyed our naming story (I shortened it a little 😂)! Thank you for doing your blog, it is a huge help and blessing! Plus, I always love a good name story … PS Our twins were delivered early due to our son having growth concerns and everyone was pretty certain he would need NICU time because he was expected to be less than 4 lbs. But we prayed hard up until the day they were delivered at 36 weeks and he was born at 4 lbs 2 oz and screaming loud! His sister was 5 lbs 7 oz. Neither baby has needed any NICU time and we are headed home after a normal hospital stay. Blessed Solanus Casey was praying for us!

Isn’t this a wonderful story??!! I LOVE the names Liz and her hubby gave their twins, AND the names of their older boys as well! And I love that Bl. Solanus is a part of their story!!

Thank you so much to Liz for sharing all this! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Solly and Maggie!!

solan&magdalen

Solan Peter “Solly” and Magdalen Anne “Maggie”

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Birth announcement: Genevieve Immaculee Grace!

Dear Genie from Barefoot Abbey (web site and Instagram) is a longtime reader for whom I posted two consultations for two different babies over the last few years (here and here), and a birth announcement for her first baby girl after five boys three years ago. I’m delighted to announce that she’s had her second baby girl — a sweet little lady named … Genevieve Immaculee Grace!

Genie writes,

Our little Sweet Pea, surprise baby girl was born on March 23rd … accidentally unassisted at home after a wild quick labor. I though it was my old back injury flaring up early in the morning but a couple hours later when I got up to take a shower it was baby time instead. I yelled for my husband and he got to the bathroom just in time to catch her. She was a planned homebirth but our third accidentally unassisted birth. 🤷‍♀️ (1 in the hospital & 2 at home) My husband and I are good catchers so at least we’ve got that going for us. 😂 “

(Ohmygoodness!!)

We named her Genevieve Immaculee Grace after the saints, with Immaculee for Our Lady of Fatima and Grace for the Blessed Mother as Mediatrix of all Graces. Her older sister’s patroness is Our Lady of Lourdes with Elizabeth as her second Marian name.

Even though my legal name is not Genevieve, my husband really liked it because of its similarity to mine. And it’s hard to go wrong with the saint who protected Paris from Attila the Hun by organizing a prayer and fasting campaign. St. Grace of Saragossa was also a providential patroness for her intercession with our rocky nursing journey through lip ties and poor latches. St. Grace was a 4th century saint that suffer a similar fate as St. Agatha — martyrdom by mastectomy. 😬

All the Bairns are smitten with her and have taken to calling her Evie Grace and Gigi. My favorite nickname for her though is Moon Pie, because she has the sweetest, little round moon face.”

Genevieve Immaculee Grace is such a stunning name! I love all the layers of meaning — I love how it connects her to her mother (Genie) and her Mother (Mary) and some great saints as well!

Congratulations to Genie and her husband big sibs Malachi, Noah, Liam, Aelred (with Jesus), Henry, Moira, and George, and happy birthday Baby Genevieve!!

Genevieve Immaculee Grace with her big brothers and sister ❤


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Catch me on the radio tomorrow morning!

You might remember that I was on the radio show Jon Leonetti in the Morning on Iowa Catholic Radio (1150am, 88.5fm and 94.5fm) last year, and I’ll be on with him again tomorrow morning! Tune in at 7:45am central time (8:45am eastern) to hear us chatting about the baby naming process! Even if you’re not in Iowa, you can tune in online — I hope some of you can listen and let me know how I did! (And keep the ideas for Kortnee’s baby girl coming!)


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Studio Senn’s little lady!

I’m so excited to post a consultation for one of my favorite artists: Kortnee at Studio Senn (web site and Instagram)!! I’ve posted about her and her beautiful things before, so much so that she has her own tag here on the blog! I was so excited when she emailed me for help with naming her baby girl, little sister to two big brothers!

Kortnee writes,

I am so excited to ask your expertise in suggestions for naming this new baby! We recently found out the baby we are expecting in early January is a girl! We had a few boy names picked out but no girl names that we are in love with or feel fit with our current naming style.

Current kiddos:

Fulton Douglas: Named after Ven. Fulton Sheen (we have a great love for this man) and my FIL’s first name.

Becket Raymond: Named after Saint Thomas Becket (we thought he was a great intercessor for religious freedom in this day and age) and both my Dad and Grandpa have Raymond as their middle name.”

I looooove their style of naming!!

I am pretty picky about girl names unfortunately and am feeling really discouraged in the naming department. I think would be fun to continue our current trend of Surnames but I’m not strict about it. I am not a huge fan of places as names (like Sienna, Avila, etc) or most well known Saint names/more common names (Theresa, Mary, Catherine, etc). However, I really want to have a Saint name or Saint surname or a derivative of a Saint for the first name (or blessed). I like the idea of her having a nickname but didn’t really give any to our boys.

We would like the middle name to be Fae. My grandma’s middle name is Mae, my mom’s is Kae and mine is Rae so I thought it would be fun to continue the odd tradition. And I’ve always thought Fa(y)e was a pretty name. We also need her name to work with our last name (Senn), so with single syllable middle and last names I don’t think she can have a single syllable first name.

Names I currently like for a girl:
Lucia (Lucy)
Connelly (after Bl. Cornelia Connelly)
Peregrine (nn Peren)
Greer (looove this one but husband not the biggest fan (yet!) and not sure it goes well with Fae Senn)
Scarlett (I’ve read your connection to the Precious Blood but wondering if there is any Saintly connection (so she can have a feast/name day)?)

Names my Husband likes (although he usually isn’t the one to suggest names):
Lydia
Also, Peregrine!

Names I like but can’t imagine naming our child or has already been used by someone close to us:
Vivian
Josephine
Edith (Edie)
Juniper (June)
Cora
Perpetua (Poppy or Pippa)

Names I like but don’t go well with Fae Senn (or too many F’s for me)
Felicity
Fiona
Wren
Quinn

Looking forward to hearing all of your suggestions!

This was so much fun to work on! Even though Kortnee said it’s not strictly necessary to continue the surname theme, I agree with her that it would be so cool to continue it, so I focused almost exclusively on finding ideas that fit the surname style.

I love that Fae will be this baby girl’s middle name! What a cool connection to Kortnee’s grandmother, mother, and herself!

Of the names on the list of those Kortnee and her husband like for a girl:

— I love Lucia and Lucy! So sweet!
— I’d never heard of Ven. Cornelia Connelly — what a great connection! Connelly’s a cool name! (And she even has her own Tiny Saint!)
— Peregrine nn Peren was such a surprise to me! I love the meaning of Peregrine, and Peren is a fun nickname! It reminds me of Perrin, which is an old nickname for Pierre (Peter) — that would also be an interesting name to consider.
— Greer is one of my favorites as well! I love it! Greer Fae Senn is a lot of single syllables, but that doesn’t have to be a deal breaker — there are loads of famous people with one syllable first and last names, and they’re fine! Examples include Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and others. The one-syllable middle name makes it extra, but few people know others’ middle names as they go through life, so most of the time she’d been Greer Senn or Greer F. Senn, neither of which are bad at all.
— Scarlett is a great name, and there is a feast of the Most Precious Blood: July 1 — I wonder if that makes the name feel more doable?
— Felicity, Fiona, Wren, and Quinn were great additions to the list of names I wanted to include as inspiration in my research. I actually had a thought about Quinn — I’ve seen it used as a nickname for Aquinas, maybe Kortnee would like to include Aquinas on their list of possibilities?

As for her hubby’s list, I’m interested that Kortnee’s Lucia/Lucy and hubby’s Lydia are not that far off from each other, and also that they both like Peregrine! I’m tempted to say that must be the name! It’s such a big deal when both parents like the same name! However, I’m happy to continue with new ideas! 😀

I looked up Kortnee’s boys’ names and the names she and her hubby like, including the ones they can’t use, in the Baby Name Wizard book as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I also looked through the list of English martyrs, as I’ve often found them to be a good source of saintly surnames. And I combed through my own mental files and some particular consultations I’ve done in the past that I thought might provide some good ideas, including:

https://sanctanomina.net/2017/06/19/baby-name-consultation-baby-no-9-needs-a-name-thats-not-generally-popular-nor-catholic-popular-and-a-few-other-rules/

https://sanctanomina.net/2016/08/09/celebrity-guest-lindsay-from-my-child-i-love-you/

Based on all that, these are my ideas for this baby girl:

(1) Talbot
I love the story of Ven. Matt Talbot, and Lindsay from My Child I Love You (the second link above) used his last name in one of her daughter’s name, but the real reason I was convinced to put it on the list is because Kortnee said she might like to use a nickname and Talbot nicknames so easily to the sweet Tally/Tali.

(2) Cabrini
I’ve suggested Cabrini to a few parents in the past — I think it’s such a fun name to say and Mother Cabrini is a great saint.

(3) Vianney
Both of the families I linked to above have daughters named Vianney — it’s a gorgeous name that has a very feminine feel, even though it’s the last name of a male saint.

(4) Goretti
Goretti might be the perfect idea for this family, since I think that Greer can be used as a nickname for it, not only because of the letters involved, but also because both Goretti and Greer are derived from Gregory! I love St. Maria Goretti.

(5) Gibson
One of the English martyrs is Bl. William Gibson, and Gibson always makes me think of the Gibson Girl, which I think adds a really nice touch of femininity to the name.

(6) Holland
I know a little girl named Holland, which I love because it’s kind of like Holly but with a twist — I love when names feel familiar and unexpected at the same time. Holly can be a nickname, which is perfect for the Christmas season! Also, one of the English martys is Bl. Thomas Holland, whose feast is Dec. 22 — right near Kortnee’s due date.

(7) Rowan
Fulton, Connelly, Greer, Fiona, and Quinn all have Irish connections, so when I saw Rowan pop up in my research as similar in style to Fiona and Quinn, I thought it might be perfect! Though it has decent usage as a first name, it’s also a surname. I love the nickname Ro! And St. Rowan (or Ruadhán) is one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland, and their feast day is January 6 — right near Kortnee’s due date!

(8) Casey or Carey
Bl. Solanus Casey is one of my favorites, and I love the name Casey! Then I found Bl. John Carey in the list of English martyrs, and I thought Carey was great too.

(9) Ruby
Ruby was inspired both by its similarity to Scarlett color-wise, and I also did a spotlight on Ruby a while ago in which I connected it to the Precious Blood, as well as Jesus’ Passion and Death, and also the tongues of fire the Holy Spirit took the form of when He descended on the apostles, which gives feast days of July 1 (as noted above for Scarlett), Holy Thursday or Good Friday, and Pentecost. Ruby is so sweet! It could also work great as a nickname for something, though I haven’t come up with anything brilliant for Kortnee (I gave a few ideas in that Ruby spotlight, but nothing surnamey. I keep thinking Robertson or Robinson, but those don’t feel right!)

(10) Molly
My last idea isn’t a surname, but Molly is a style match for Lucy and Ruby, and I’ve seen it used at least once in honor of St. Gianna because of its similarity to her last name, Molla. So maybe it could be perfect?

And those are all my ideas! What do all you think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Fulton and Becket?


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

We have winners!

Congratulations to the winners of the giveaway for the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary: Annie (IG), Betsy (blog), and Cecilia (FB)! And thank you to you all for sharing the beautiful Marian names you have/love/bestowed/heard in real life — I love them all!! Have a great weekend!!


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Happy feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary!!

I love Our Lady and I love her name (and all names relating to her) and I love all of you (!! ❤ ) and so for today’s feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary I’m delighted to do a giveaway of my book of Marian names!!

To enter, just comment on this post with the Marian names you’ve given your kiddos or — as some did on the Instagram post I did for this giveaway — with your own Marian name or the coolest Marian name you’ve heard in real life. Guaranteed I’ll love them all! I’ll choose one winner from the commenters here, and one from those on Instagram — it’ll close tomorrow (Friday) night at midnight eastern time, and I’ll randomly choose the winners on Saturday. Mother Mary for the win!! ❤ ❤ ❤


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Fresh options needed for girls and boys

Happy Labor Day! No better day to post a consultation! 😉

Sometimes parents will request a consultation when they’re in between babies — the planners among you (like me!) will understand! It’s fun to replenish/refresh name lists when there’s no baby on the way and no pressure. I always enjoy those kinds of consultations, and tend to view them as a chance to spread my wings a bit — to seek a bit farther afield for ideas and to suggest some that I might not suggest if a baby’s arrival is imminent and Mom and Dad just need to find “the” name.

Today’s consultation is one such! Monica and her hubby recently welcomed their second baby — second girl! — and wanted to add some names to their girl list and see if there are any boy names that I might suggest as well. They currently have:

Magdalene Eve-Marie “Maggie”
Genevieve Rose “Genny”

Gorgeous, right??

For reference, my name is Monica Marie, confirmation name Bridget (but it’s for St. Brigid of Ireland). My husband is Joseph Martin, confirmation name Cyril.

Our main ethnic heritage is — from my side — Italian, with some German, Irish, and Scottish — from his side — French, Irish, and Ukrainian. Tidbits of other stuff, but those are the major lines.

Other names that have been at the top of our girl list in the past are Miriam (still high) and Ramona (falling in favor). These days we mostly only like Ramona because we had paired it with Carmel as a middle name, which we still like. Perhaps we could do Miriam Carmel instead. It’s not bad, though I think I preferred Carmel with Ramona because it ended in -a.

We also like Grace quite a bit. I like Avila, Mercedes, Edith, Celine, Faith and Hope … Anne (I love Anne of Green Gables, like every girl…) … but my husband isn’t as keen on those. My husband has a thing for Russian names and likes Natasha, but I don’t. I would consider Nadia or Sonya instead. We’ve recently been reading Kristin Lavransdatter, and were intrigued by Sunniva, but it’s probably too Scandinavian for us.

Aside from the Marian requirement, I think our girl name style is very feminine, elegant, but not over the top frilly/sugary/sticky sweet … We like the names Rebecca and Susannah/Suzanna, both of which belong to sisters of mine, and have considered them as middle names for Miriam, since they match its Old Testament feel. We like a lot of religious significance, both saint connections and linguistic meaning, and maybe a sprinkle of literary and historical inspiration. I also tend to like a more complex religious significance than just a patron saint, although patron saints are great, and if I like the name that would be enough. But if it’s more complex, like a title of Mary rather than just her name, or a combination that evokes a religious event like the Visitation (I.e. any combo of Mary and Elizabeth names), or a name with double religious significance … I like it even better! It seems like we’ve gone for French-inspired names (I know we didn’t choose the Madeleine form, but I still think of St. Mary Magdalene in a French light via her sojourn there) that could take an Irish sounding nickname. This is perfect, as our last name … is actually Irish, but often mistaken for French, and my husband actually has a lot of French heritage through his mom’s side. That probably isn’t a necessary requirement, though, since it’s kind of unusual to find French names with Irish sounding nicknames. Both names we’ve chosen so far are not super common but familiar enough to be recognizable and fairly pronounceable. And … heavy on the “Eve” sound … though maybe we should NOT repeat that a third time.

Boy names are a whole different story. We tend to disagree a lot more. Some of the universal stuff about name significance I mentioned above applies to boy names as well, but I’m not sure we have as much of a definite style since we disagree a lot and only agree sort of randomly. I like some more Romance language names like Santiago and Giovanni and Enzo, thanks to my Italian heritage, and my husband likes Russian names … partly because he loves Russian novels and history, but he is actually 1/4 Ukrainian/Slovakian as well. He is always pushing for Vladimir or Dmitri. I don’t think any of the above ethnic options work well with our very every-day-American last name, though I could maybe reconcile with one if it had family significance (like Cosimo in my family … but then again, that would be more significant with my maiden name). I’ve always said if we were going to do an ethnic name it might be best if it were the same ethnicity as our last name, so we went looking for Irish names, and found we agreed on Finnian, which is probably #3 on our list. Maybe paired with Thomas as a middle name, for my husband’s dad. I also like Eamon, but my husband is less enthusiastic.

Probably #1 is Louis, which is actually French like the girls’ names. We’ve considered pairing it with Anthony for my dad or Martin for my husband (he doesn’t want a direct junior). It primarily would be for St. Louis of France, the king, but if we did Louis Martin that would be a cool double for St. Therese’s father as well.

#2 is John, because I love several saints John — especially John of the Cross and John the Evangelist, such beautiful contemplatives. My husband only consented to John (it is very plain, I admit, but the saints are so great!) with an “interesting” middle name. I pushed for Augustine, but he doesn’t like “A” boy names. So we have it paired with Maccabaeus on our list, which we both think is cool. Our family says they would call him “Johnny Mac.”

We’ve batted around a lot of others. Alexander fits my husband’s Russian taste and I like it, but think it’s a bit common and overused. I’d consider Ivan, but he’s not that much of a fan of that particular Russian name. We both like Blaise, Judah, Isaac, and David, though Isaac is taken by a close friend. Owen, Henry, Nicholas, Dominic, Zachary, Jude, Paul, Gerard, Gabriel, Daniel, Elijah, Jacob, Sebastian, Damian, Martin, Alexei, Thomas, and are on our ok list, but not favorites due to various circumstances (close friends used them, or one of us isn’t as keen as the other). I like Old Testament names, but my husband doesn’t like boy names that end in the “-iah” sound, which rules out a lot. For example, I liked Isaiah Joseph, but … nope. Although we do both like Judah. We’ve considered maybe a David Judah before. We liked Lavrans from Kristin Lavransdatter (is it a form of Lawrence? Do you know?) but it flows poorly with [our last name]. I like Kenneth and Walter from the Anne of Green Gables series, but my husband thinks they’re too old man sounding.”

I love the names Monica and her hubs chose for their girls — Magdalene Eve-Marie and Genevieve Rose are both gorgeous, and Maggie and Genny are the sweetest nicknames!

St. Mary Magdalene being “the Perfect Image of the New Eve” is SO cool! And I laughed when Monica sheepishly admitted that she liked the name Genevieve first, then looked up the saint later — I’ve done that many many times myself! And I think that’s sometimes how saints “find” us, by using our God-given taste in names! (I wrote about that here.)

Genevieve Eleanor would have been gorgeous too, and as for that pesky Eleanor/Helen connection, maybe my most recent post on it would be helpful going forward.

But Rose is just perfect! The Marian connection and family connections are perfect. (And how cool is Rosamystica as a middle name??!) I love Lucie/Lucy too, I included it as an entry in my book of Marian names, since Our Lady of Light is one of her titles, but I can see why Monica’s hubby might have a hard time thinking of it as Marian, since it’s got such a life and history of its own.

I had an idea for “a Marian name beginning with a vowel, preferably an E” for a middle name going forward: Edessa is a name in my book, after her title Our Lady of Edessa. Such a beautiful name!

I love Miriam from their current list, and Ramona! I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of the families I’ve worked with consider Ramona! What a great name! Ramona Carmel is stunning, and Miriam Carmel is lovely too. Grace, Mercedes, Faith, and Hope all are Marian — OL of Grace/Mercy/Mercies/Faith/Hope are all titles of her, and all of these names are in my book. Anne is too! I figured, when people are trying to name a baby after a beloved someone, sometimes they might look to the relatives of that person for inspiration.

I love the Russian names! Natasha, Nadia, and Sonya are all gorgeous! And ooh, Sunniva! I did a spotlight on it once, such a cool name. And Belén! I probably would have normally thought it was too Spanish for a non-Hispanic family, but one of my favorite bloggers (who’s not Hispanic) named her daughter Belén and I just love it! Cecilia too, so beautiful.

Re: Rosemary, I wonder if its nicknames Romy or Roma might sway Monica’s hubby? They remind me of Ramona — Rosemary with one of those nicknames might be a nice balance of styles.

I admit I totally latched onto how Monica said “we’ve gone for French-inspired names … that could take an Irish sounding nickname,” especially the “Irish sounding nickname” bit — you’ll see that a few of my ideas are in that vein!

Oh man, I’d love to find some “eve” sounding names for this family, but I agree — repeating that a third time would really set them up to continue it! And that’s a much harder pattern to follow than a “Marie-something” middle!

So I felt pretty confident with my ideas for girls after reading Monica’s email up to this point. It’s definitely helped by the fact that they have two girls already, and their names automatically rule out whole groupings of girl names, you know? Their names are no longer hypothetical options on their long list; they are now the reality and the standard to be measured against.

But boys! Since they don’t have any boys yet, and since they’re not committed to the same style for boys that they have for girls, it’s a wide open playing field. I had fun really trying to poke around and find some good options in addition to the three Monica mentioned. Louis Anthony/Louis Martin, John Maccabaeus (Johnny Mac! LOVE it! I also think John Augustine is pretty awesome), and Finnian Thomas are all fantastic!

One of the strategies that I thought might be helpful would be to consider Russian/French/non-English variants or nicknames of names they like, as a way of  spicing up a “normal” name. Alexander’s nickname in Russian and Ukrainian is Sasha, for example, so while Alexander might feel “common and overused,” Sasha is so interesting and unexpected! Or Alastar, which is the Irish variant; Sandro, which is an Italian nickname for it; or the spelling Aleksandr, which is Russian. (But then, Monica’s hubs doesn’t like A names — would Alexander be okay with him?) Regarding her hubby’s devotion to St. Peter, maybe the Russian Pyotr, the Ukrainian Petro, or the Irish Peadar? Or the variant Pierce, which is also an entry in my book, for how Simeon prophesied that Our Lady’s heart would be pierced with a sword.

This can go the other way too, which they’ve already considered: Ivan is the Russian for John, and they’ve already got John on their list! Monica is correct about Lavrans being a form of Lawrence (and blogger Haley Carrots considered it for her baby, if she’d been a boy!); Kenneth and Walter are both great too, and while they may have traditionally fallen into the old man category, I’ve heard them both (especially Walter, for Servant of God Walter Ciszek) on little guys over the past few years.

Blaise, Judah, Isaac, David (David Judah! So handsome!) are all wonderful. I love Old Testament names too! But there are so many that end in -iah! Gah!

When doing research for parents, you all know that I always start by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard book as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I did so for this family, using both their girls’ names and nicknames as well as all the other names Monica mentioned liking. Generally I look for overlap among the style matches for each name — are there names that show up as style matches for more than one of the names on their list, for example? That kind of thing. Also, a lot of it is really just gut feelings — do I *think* they’ll like this name? Based on all that, here are my ideas for Monica and her hubby to consider adding to their lists:

Girl
(1) Tess
I’m going to start off listing nicknames that I think fit their “Irish sounding nickname” idea, and then back into fuller given names for them. Tess is one of my favorites, and I think it’s darling with sisters Maggie and Genny. They could do a form of Teresa, but I didn’t think Monica would love that (although I knew a girl once named Marie-Therese and I thought she was so amazing and beautiful solely because of her name! Marie-Therese would go wonderfully with Magdalene and Genevieve, and Tess is so sweet for a daily nickname!). High up on my own list was Elizabeth with the nickname Tess (my reasoning being, if Betty, Bess, and Tetty can be traditional nicknames for Elizabeth — and they are — why not Tess?), but I thought Monica might like the spelling Elisabeth even better — it’s a French spelling, and the spelling of one of my favorite holy women: Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur. Or maybe they’d like to consider the more Italian Elisabetta? Despite it being so Italian, I think it can definitely work in their family, since they already have the long, lovely, and foreign-ish Magdalene and Genevieve.

(2) Annie
I know Monica mentioned loving Anne for Anne of Green Gables (I’m right there with her!) but she thought it might be too “boring.” I agree that Anne doesn’t feel like the right name for their family, with the weightier and longer Magdalene and Genevieve, but the nickname Annie is definitely one of those “Irish sounding nicknames,” and there are some pretty ways of getting to it, like the Italian Annunziata (what a name! I love it!) and the Russian Anastasia (a perfect fit for Magdalene and Genevieve’s sister, I think). I was toying with Anya as well, which is Russian, and how it has the exact same pronunciation as the Irish Áine — maybe they could consider one of those as a nickname for Anastasia or another Ann- name?. Another one I love is Annabelle (or Annabel) — it’s in my book because it’s a variant of Amabel, which is a variant of Amabilis, which is one of Our Lady’s titles: Mater Amabilis! How cool is that?? In fact, the more I think about it, the more I love Annabelle for this family!

(3) Bridie
Bridie is one of my favorite Irish nicknames, and I’m extra loving it for a daughter for Monica because of her Confirmation name being Bridget! BUT, I didn’t think she’d want to consider Bridget or Brigid, but maybe the lovely French Brigitte? Or maybe the Slovak Brigita? Or Bernadette? I think all these could take the nickname Bridie!

(4) Josie
Josie is just as sweet as Maggie, Genny, Tess, Annie, and Bridie, and has a longer French name to boot in Josephine. Or they could consider Josefina or Josefa? I love all of these!

(5) Kate, Katie (or Cate, Cady)
Even though my name is Kate, I won’t be offended if they don’t like this idea! 😀 While Catherine might be too common for Monica’s taste, it’s got some gorgeous variants, like the Italian Caterina, the Russian Ekaterina (or just Katerina), and the Irish Catriona. They can all take the nicknames Kate/Katie (or Cate, Cady), which have a pretty good Irish feel to them!

(6) Vivienne
Vivian and Vivienne showed up a couple times in my research as being a style match for the names they like, and I totally agree! It shares some sounds with Genevieve, yes, but since they didn’t go the Evie/Vivi route with Genevieve’s nickname, they can with Vivienne (I thought Monica would prefer the French Vivienne over Vivian).

(7) Natalia
Natalia showed up a bunch of times in my research as similar to names Monica and her hubs like, AND it’s Russian! (They could also consider the Russian spellings Natalya and Nataliya [which is also Ukrainian].) In fact, it’s the formal name for the nickname Natasha, so while it’s not exactly the name her hubby likes, it’s pretty close (and he could use Natasha as a nickname if he wanted). Natalia is a gorgeous name!

(8) Veronica
Veronica is such a beautiful, weighty name like Magdalene and Genevieve, with loads of nickname options: Vera, Vero, Ronnie, Nica, and Nicky, and some less traditional ones like Vee, Via, and Vicka.

(9) Maristella
My last girl idea is Maristella or, if they preferred not to repeat Maggie’s initial, they could reverse the elements and do Stellamaris. Such a gorgeous name, either way! It’s for Our Lady’s title “Star of the Sea,” as I’m sure they know, as Monica noted that neither of them care for Estelle, but Maristella and Stellmaris feel very different to me. Ooh, and I think Molly could work as a nickname for Maristella! Then they’d have their Irishy nickname! Or maybe Sadie for Stellamaris?

Boy
(1) Nicodemus, Nikolai
I felt a little all over the place with boy names — Santiago, Eamon, and Dmitri aren’t names I expect to encounter on a parent’s list at the same time! Additionally, when I looked at boy names that were matches for their girl names, I thought there were some great ideas there too. So we’ll start with one of my favorites: Nicodemus. I think it’s got a heavy, Old Testament feel, though it’s a New Testament name. It doesn’t end in -iah! And it can take the Nic- nicknames (Nico, Nic, Nick, Nicky), which make it really easy to live with on a day to day basis. While we’re talking about Nic- names, the Russian Nikolai is just such a swoony name, and while Nik etc. can be nicknames, I quite like the Russian Kolya.

(2) Nathaniel
Another long, biblical N name that I thought went great with their girls’ names is Nathaniel. I was really drawn to the longer, weightier boy names, and I thought Nathaniel fit that perfectly; I also love its friendly nickname Nate.

(3) Raphael
Here’s an Old Testament name that doesn’t end in -iah! Raphael appears in the book of Tobit, and the nickname Rafe is said just the way Ralph is in the U.K. (Ralph is a family name, according to Monica — maybe Raphael could be a different way of nodding to that Ralph?).

(4) Matthias
Matthias was the man chosen by the other Apostles to replace Judas Iscariot, so one might even consider their discussion to be the first Church Council! 😊 Matthias’ ending is almost -iah, so if Monica likes the idea of this name but her hubby doesn’t like the pronunciation, maybe the variant Mattias, which is said ma-TEE-as, would be better?

(5) Benedict
Benedict’s got that great length and weightiness of Magdalene and Genevieve, and the great friendly nickname Ben, I just love it.

(6) Luka, Luca
The Luke names are great to look at if you want a name that travels well internationally. Luka is the Russian version, and Luca the Italian — I love that! I would think, though, that if they like this idea, they might want to cross Louis off their list, since Luka and Louis are so similar in sound.

(7) Adrian, Julian
Adrian and Julian are two of those great Catholic names — saintly, papal, and pan-European. I saw them both pop up in my research, and thought I’d combine them here because they’re so similar.

(8) Roman
Roman is listed as both a Russian and Ukrainian name (among others) on behindthename.com, and of course it refers to Rome, which is Italian, so I’m loving that Roman can nod to both Monica and her hubby in this way! This would knock Ramona off their list, but I think Roman’s a great option for them to consider.

(9) Santino
My last idea is a bit of a wild card, and I’m not sure it’s any better than the overly ethnic (according to Monica’s hubby) Santiago, but I looove the name Santino — I love that it means Little Saint, I love that Sonny is a nickname for it a la The Godfather, and I totally get if they hate it because of these things, but I had to put it on the list! (Fun fact: Mario Lopez and his wife just named their baby Santino Rafael, nicknamed Sonny!)

I also had two consultations in mind while working on this that I thought Monica might find inspiring as there was a lot of overlap with what I perceive to be her taste:

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Magdalene/Maggie and Genevieve/Genny?


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!