Birth announcement: Margaret Sophia!

A mama who I chatted with over email a few times has let me know her baby has arrived — her first! A lovely little girl with the lovely name … Margaret Sophia!

She writes,

Margaret Sophia was born on September 7. She came close to being Margaret Sophia May (sort of after me, as I was born in May and honoring the Virgin Mary), but it wasn’t meant to be … Attached is a photo of our little Margot, as we’ve decided to call her. 🙂 “

Margaret Sophia is SUCH a gorgeous combo!! I think Sophia is sort of unexpected in the middle spot, which makes me love it even more, and it’s just beautiful paired with Margaret. And I love Margot as a nickname!!

Congratulations to the new parents, and happy birthday Baby Margaret/Margot!!

 

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Margaret Sophia

September CatholicMom column up! And research for my next one

My September column at CatholicMom posted today: Honoring St. Rita!

In the novena to St. Rita I frequently say (almost exactly the same as this one), there’s a part that says, “We promise, if our petition is granted, to glorify, thee by making known thy favor, to bless and sing thy praises forever.” This article (informed by this post) is my little way of trying to do that.

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Additionally, last month I wrote about religious name changes for women, and I’d love to do a similar one for men. I’ve written about some here, here, here, and here, and I’d love to know what you all know about this practice. Do you know any brothers or priests who changed their names? Can you share any information about the process of choosing or receiving a new name? Thanks for your help!

Baby name consultation: “Unique, foreign, vintage” name needed for no. 5 green bean

Amina and her husband are expecting their fifth baby, a little green bean (=gender unknown). 🌱 This little one joins big sibs:

Casimir Wesley “Cas”
Miette Faye “Mimi”
Errol Shepherd
Petra Frances

Aren’t these great names?! Casimir is one my husband and I considered for one of our boys, and I still have a soft spot for it. Miette is such a sweet, affectionate name! And Errol and Petra are both amazing as well … in fact, with Miette and Errol they’ve chosen two names I’ve never once seen any parent use or even consider. Well done!

Amina writes,

I would categorize our names as… unique, foreign, vintage.😬🤷🏽‍♀️

We weren’t Catholic when we named our oldest son, Casimir, but it happens to be a unique saint name, so hey hey! We actually got the name from a song and we loved it. We were dabbling into our conversion around the time and when we discovered it was a saint (and a famous polish general), that was cool too. It set the tone for the rest of the siblings. His middle name, Wesley, is after my husband.

Our second child, Miette, was not named after a saint, despite us being confirmed into the church during her pregnancy. We always loved the name, which is French for “little crumb.” A bit too endearing for some, but it works well for her. Her middle name, Faye, is also a family name. We figured there would be a Saint Faye, but alas, there isn’t, unless you count the Saint of Santa Fe, Saint Faith. We feel she has a strong connection to Saint Therese of Lisieux, French, and known as “the little flower”. Little crumb/ little flower, almost the same right? Her personality is spot on with what we’ve read about young Saint Therese.

Our third child, second son, Errol, just kinda got a name we agreed on. We love the soft but strong sound to it. His birthday falls near Christmas, so we decided on Shepherd as a middle name. We figured he doesn’t need a saint name with this duo as his name pays homage to Jesus.

Our fourth child, second girl, is Petra Frances. She was due around the feast of the assumption, and we almost named her Petra Remedios (I just love this Marian name, for our lady of Good Remedy), but I actually chickened out. Yep. I was eager to use Frances to pay homage to Pope Francis as well, and noticed she was due around a few Saint Francis/ Frances feast days. So, she didn’t get a Marian name, and she was born the 16th instead of the 15th.

So, the reason I am writing is that I am coming back to Remedios for a girl. After full on chickening out, we’d like to use it in the first name place. I think it just needs a super wear-able nickname. I’m not fond of Remy, which is the most obvious nickname. I have thought of Edie, Edda, Romy. Do you see any others?? We think she will be Remedios Inez, if that helps.

On our ongoing girl list we have names like Opal and Fig, as well as Phillipa, Perpetua, Simone, and Belen. (We probably won’t ever use Perpetua, as it’s too close to Petra.)

If we have a boy, we plan on naming him Aesop Junipero. I am finally letting my husband take the reigns on this one, as he’s been pushing Aesop for awhile. Junipero, we both love, after Junipero Serra. We were very moved by his canonization. My other contender is Ambrose, but my husband really wants Aesop.

I have Peregrine and Bonaventure on my boy list too, though I don’t think they will ever win my husband over. I love Arthur as well, to tone any names combos down.”

How cool is Aesop Junipero? I love it. So bold and offbeat but faithy and literary and familiar. I also love the categorization of their name taste as “unique, foreign, vintage.”

Re: nicknames for Remedios (awesome Marian name), I think the nicknames Amina has come up with (Edie, Edda, Romy) are pretty great. I did a quick search online for other ideas, and found this blog post, which explains that in Chamorro, the language of the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands (including Guam), nicknames are usually taken from the end of the name, and it specifically gave the example of Remedios nicknaming to Medo. I like that! And I think Medi works too. But maybe they’re too similar to Miette? Other ideas I had were:

  • Rio or Rios
  • Ria
  • Rida
  • Dee or Didi
  • Emmy

And if Amina and her hubs were open to looking at nicknames using a mashup of first and middle names, Remedios Inez can result in:

  • Rina
  • Riz

As for additional girl names, it was fun to try to come up with some new ideas! Since their style encompasses names from various languages, as well as word names and literary nods, I felt almost like the sky’s the limit! I also didn’t limit myself to saints’ names, as I agree with Amina that as long as the middle name is a saint, or either of the names has a tie to the faith, they’re covered.

These were my favorites for them:

(1) Hero
Hero is the kind of name only a certain kind of family can pull off, but I love it, and I think this family would be up to it! It was mostly influenced by Aesop on their list, and those who aren’t aware that the literary Heros were female might be confused, but otherwise it’s such a great name. There was a family on the BabyCenter name boards back when I was pregnant with my first (thirteen years ago!) who had a daughter named Hero, and I always thought that was so cool.

(2) Iona or Ione
These names are so similar in appearance, but totally different in background/meaning! Iona is Scottish, the name of the island where St. Columba founded a monastery, which provides a good saint connection. Ione is Greek and has the amazing meaning “violet flower,” which they could possibly consider to be Marian since violets are a symbol of Our Lady. They were particularly exciting because, as you all know, I usually use the Baby Name Wizard as my primary resource when doing consultations, but Petra, Simone, Ambrose, and Arthur were the only names from their list that it contained, so I didn’t think it was going to be too helpful BUT Iona was listed as a style match for Petra, and then when I took their names over to the NameMatchmaker, Ione was a match for Casimir!

Not only can Ione be possibly connected to Our Lady through its meaning, but there were also some sites that argued that Ione is a feminine form of John. Nameberry says, “Some livelier foreign versions of Joan include Giovanna, Siobhan, Ione and Juana” and apparently there are several places in literature (like Shakespeare!) where Ione was used interchangeably with Joan! You can read that here —  bottom of p. 156 and top of p. 157, the link takes you right to it. So St. Joan of Arc or Bl. Jane of Aza or any of the Sts. John could be patron for a little Ione!

(3) Annick
Annick was another result from my research on the NameMatchmaker—a match for Miette. I love that it’s a form of Anna, so St. Anne is an easy patron, and it’s certainly unique and I think it goes really well as a sister to Miette and Petra. I also love that it would give each girl her own name-ending (not that that matters at all! It’s just kind of cool).

Those were my top three suggestions—I tried to make them a mix of languages and inspiration—but there were a bunch of other names that I scribbled down for this family as I was doing my research as possibilities, like Zara, Stasia, Lorna, Aranza/Aranxa, Sonrisa, Annunziata, Immaculata, Jacinta, Iolanthe, Flora/Fleur, Cressida, Clio, and Greer, and Ines/Inez totally would have been on this list if they weren’t already planning to use it for a middle name.

Amina also said she was open to hearing ideas for boys, even though they’re pretty set on Aesop Juniper, so I didn’t spend a huge amount of time on it, but the ones that caught my eye when doing my research as similar to names they’ve used and like were: Bertram, Cajetan, Nunzio, Pascal, Tycho, Bram, Homer, and Archimedes.

And those are my ideas for this little one! What do you all think? Do you have any other nickname ideas for Remedios, or other ideas for girl names in general? If any boy names come to mind, feel free to list those as well!

Name story: Meriam Joyce

Every once in a while I get an email from a reader simply because she wants to share the story of her child’s name. I LOVE those emails! So fun! Zoe emailed me recently to tell me about how her daughter got her name, Meriam Joyce, and I thought her strategy might be helpful for some of you:

Meriam is almost a year old now. She is my only child (so far) and originally finding a name we both liked was tough. We decided that I would get to choose the girl name and my husband could choose the boy name. At fourteen weeks, we agreed on Mia for a girl and Jack for a boy. Shortly after, we found out we were expecting a girl. But something about Mia just didn’t feel complete.

When I was 6 months pregnant, my mom was visited by Mother Mary in a dream. My mom already had a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother, especially when she was immigrating to the United States by herself as a young adult in the 1970s. This has been passed on to me as well; there are many times in my life that Our Lady has intervened on my behalf. In the dream, Mother Mary told my mom that the baby should be given a Marian name, specifically the name Miriam. I have since read that “Maryam” is probably one of the most accurate forms of her name during the time of Jesus.

My mom brought this to me and I liked the significance of the name. We decided to stick with Miriam instead of Mia and changed the spelling to Meriam. My grandmother is Melinda and my sister is Ria Melinda. So ME from Melinda combined with RIA M from Ria Melinda spells Meriam. Joyce is after my mom, who originally had the dream.

We were going to eventually incorporate Mia as a nickname, but it never stuck. We usually call her Mer (pronounced “mare”), Meri (like Mary), or Blueberry (because during our first ultrasound, she was the size of blueberry). Meriam is named after many special women and we are delighted to be her parents.”

Isn’t this such a great story?! I love Marian names anyway, but with this little Meriam having the extra significance of ME from Great-Grandma Melinda and RIA+M from her aunt is ah-MAZ-ing! And Joyce for her Grandma! All the important women in one beautiful little girl’s name!

Thanks to Zoe for sharing her daughter’s name story, and for sharing this adorable picture!

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Meriam Joyce

Birth announcement: Vianney Violett!

I posted a consultation for Kym and her husband back in June, and Kym’s let me know their little girl has arrived and been given the GORgeous name … Vianney Violett!

She writes,

Hi Kate! Finally! Here’s our girlie with a name I just didn’t expect!

We went back and forth with this one and struggled with every name not feeling like the right one. Gemma Lucia — loved it — but it just seemed wrong.

Then we thought of Solana Emilia to honor Father Solanus Casey, but we couldn’t commit to it. I even had her nickname all planned: Sunshine! (Solana means sunshine. Perfect for an eclipse and Fatima year! Lol) But it wasn’t the one either…

At one point, hubby even brought up a whole new name we’d never considered: Violet — and thought it was perfect, and even asked his mother if it was a name on his side of the family. It wasn’t — but it *was* his mom’s favorite flower! Still… I hesitated over having another flower girl and wasn’t completely sold on it. Hubby didn’t really want to let it go, though….

Then one day, it hit us. Go back to the one name we always liked from the very beginning — one that I mentioned in our consult — the name that thirteen years ago was on our “girl” list and has been on the list for EVERY SINGLE GIRL since, but just haven’t used because I never thought it was quite feminine enough.

But suddenly, it was perfect! It seemed familiar, sweet, lovely, and cozy. Can a name feel cozy?

So here she is…our sweet three day old Vianney Violett.”

Ahhh! I love it so much!! “Familiar, sweet, lovely, and cozy” is such a perfect description — it’s so obviously the name that was meant for this little girl! And I love the name story too — from Gemma Lucia (gorgeous!), to Solana Emilia (amazingly beautiful and I love Sunshine as a nickname! And the Fatima/eclipse significance!), to Violet, which they’d never considered but has a great connection to Mister’s mom, and back again to the original list of names from all those years ago. WOW. I also love how adding the extra T on the end of Violet was all that was needed to make it match Vianney in length — a pattern shared by all of the older kids.

Congratulations to Kym and her husband and big sibs Alexandra, Cassian, Killian, Bennett, Anneliese, Marigold, Miles, and Sylvie, and happy birthday Baby Vianney!!

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Vianney Violett

Birth announcement: Brendan Gruene!

I did a private consultation for Anna and her husband two years ago, and received such a great email from her just recently letting me know the handsome name they gave their little guy … Brendan Gruene!

Anna writes,

Hello! I just came across this email while searching for another email and realized I never updated you on our name decision. So I thought, since we are coming upon his second birthday, maybe I should.

We were considering Conor Ignatius, and you had some great suggestions, and then we did a 180 and named him Brendan Gruene (pronounced Green).

I guess not a total 180 since Brendan is another Irish saint, but it was nothing like anything we had been talking about.

Gruene is for the town in Texas where my husband proposed.

My husband suggested Brendan while I was lying on the couch 41 weeks pregnant … the history of Saint Brendan and how he’s the patron saint of explorers and adventurers [got me on board] … I call him B a lot, and Beeg, and my sisters have nicked named him Bean (smashing Brendan and Gruene together and also Green (Gruene) Bean.”

How great is that! I love when an important location for a couple works as a name for their child — Gruene in the middle spot here is just perfect! And Brendan is such a great, strong saintly name.

Congratulations to Anna and her husband and big sister Eleanor Therese, and happy (second) birthday to not-so-Baby Brendan!!

Brendan Gruene with big sister Eleanor Therese when he was born, and more recently 💕