Birth announcement: Benedict Reid!

Longtime Sancta Nomina friend Jenny Uebbing (creator of the Mama Needs Coffee blog and the Off the Charts ministry/membership site designed to support, equip, and educate married couples in their use and knowledge of NFP, and endorser of my book!) has had her baby! When I saw the baby’s name, I was so excited because of my long history with Jenny and names — I had the privilege of doing a consultation for her fourth baby (and birth announcement) and her fifth baby (and birth announcement), and I remembered that this baby’s first name AND middle had been long discussed by Jenny and her hubby as possibilities, but they’d never felt quite right. Of course, it’s because THIS baby was meant to have these amazing names! I’m thrilled to share that Jenny has had her fourth baby boy and gave him the fantastic name … Benedict Reid!

Jenny writes,

Wanted to let you know we had another strapping boy: 9 lbs 14 oz, we’re calling him Benedict Reid for Pope Benedict and my dad (3 generations named Kenneth Reid, wanted to honor his victory over cancer this past year) nn Benny and Big Ben😂.”

I looove it!! My own little Luke has the middle name Benedict in part because we love Pope Benedict so much, and I love the nod to Jenny’s dad in the middle. A super heavy hitting Catholicky Catholic name like Benedict can definitely take a less faithy middle! I think it’s such a great combination!

Congratulations to Jenny and her husband and big sibs Joseph Kolbe, John Paul Francis, Genevieve Therese (Evie), Luke Maximilian, and Zelie Grace, and happy birthday Baby Benedict!!

Benedict Uebbing


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!

Birth announcement: Finnian Agustin!

I posted a consultation for Rosa and her husband back in October for their fifth baby and first boy — I’m thrilled to share that Little Man has arrived and been given the amazing name … Finnian Agustin!

Rosa writes,

Our son was born earlier this week 2.5 hours after we received a blessing from our new Bishop Austin.

After MUCH deliberation/frustration/discernment he finally has a name!

Meet Finnian Agustin.

Finnian after St. Finnian who taught the Apostles of Erin and was friends with St. David of Wales (a nod to David).

Agustin after our new bishop Austin (both diminutives of Augustine). That particular spelling is the Filipino variant (my ethnicity). Saint Augustine is no shabby patron either!

Thank you for all your tips and recommendations!

If you remember, Rosa dearly wanted a way to nod to her beloved Uncle David in her baby’s name — I love that she found a great connection between St. Finnian and St. David! And I love all the meaning of the middle name as well! So many significant layers to this little guy’s name!

Congratulations to Rosa and her husband and big sisters Arabella, Victoria, Jeanne (with Jesus), and Kateri, and happy birthday Baby Finnian!!

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Finnian Agustin


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: Classic name, preferably with biblical and/or Marian ties, for baby no. 3

Thank you to all who took advantage of my Black Friday Specials! I have one more special, which is for today only: I’m offering ten Christmas Gift Certificates for Ordinary Consultations for $25 each! (Regular price: $50.) The first ten people who email me today for a gift certificate will receive an invoice from me via email for $25 by midnight tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 2. These gift certificates can be redeemed starting December 26th. I will work on them in the same way I do all consultation requests — first come, first served, and completed within three weeks of receiving the request (barring unforeseen circumstances). I will email you a gift certificate that you can print out and present to the person receiving it as a gift (I can send it to by Dec. 5 in case you want to give it as a St. Nicholas gift!). There’s no expiration date on the gift certificates.

Today’s mama and her hubby are expecting their third baby in April, a little green bean (=gender unknown)! He or she joins big siblings:

Magdalyn Rae (“Saint Magdalene’s feast day is on the day our daughter was released from the NICU. Rae is my middle name. We call her Maggie and I love how Rae paired nicely with both Magdalyn and Maggie. My husband … one day came home and said he liked this name. I liked Saint Magdalene’s story and “Maggie” was one of my top five names“)

Joseph James (“[Joseph is husband’s middle name] and Saint Joseph (is there a better saint to name your son after?!). James is my husband’s uncle. My husband lived with him painting houses for a summer and that’s how he bought my engagement ring. I also liked the alliteration of Joseph James“)

(I love that engagement ring story!)

For baby number three my husband hasn’t give me a lot. He likes the name Margaret for a girl and Jim for a boy. I can’t tell if he’s joking 😉 I said Jim is a nickname for James (our son’s middle name) and he said “does that matter?” I said “fine, let’s just name the baby Jim Ray if it’s a boy so he has both our first and second born children’s names!” The ONLY preference I know is that my husband does not like names that sound too trendy. He’s all about classic.

For a girl we like the following names:

1. Stella Maris: I saw this on your site and love that it is a Marian name.
2. Margaret (Saint Margaret): Picked by husband. I love the nickname Etta but I’m not sure that my husband would go for a non-traditional nickname.
3. Juliet (husband’s pick): I would only go for this if NN could be Etta. I don’t like Jules or Julie and I’m afraid most people would go there.
4. Ava (Saint Ava): Too common? I feel like it could go great with Maggie and Joseph.
5. We have a favorite book where a little girl named Maple has a Maple tree and then one day a Willow tree is growing (you can guess her mom is pregnant and later has a baby Willow). I cried the first time I read that book when I was pregnant with baby #2 and wished I had named my first Maple and that I would have a second named Willow. Not sure my husband would go with either and they don’t really mesh with the first two!

For a boy:

1. Husband likes “Jim” (still don’t know if this is sarcasm)
2. I like Jack but can’t find a tie to a saint or biblical character
3. Henry
4. Truman (I like the alliteration of Truman Taylor) and the nickname “Tru” but my husband is iffy about how “trendy” it sounds. and I’m trying to find a “Catholic” tie.

Some things I would like to consider with baby naming:

1. A name that represents someone Jesus would have interacted with like Joseph and Magdalene. That’s why I’d love to find a Marian name for a boy or girl. Saints are good too but a reference to someone in the Bible would be great. It can be an alteration of a name since a lot of the “classic” names we’ve ruled out (see below)

2. We have a LOT of relatives. Like a lot. And although we are okay with shared names to some extent we have a long list of “no’s” including:

Josh, Luke, Lucas, Jacob, Jake, John, Andrew, Caleb, Matthias, Benjamin, Raymond, William, Nicholas, Donald, Mathew, Patrick, Sebastian, Theodore, Cyprian, Jasper, Jackson, Anderson, Nathaniel, August

Anna, Cecilia, Katherine, Hannah, Madeline, Brook, Brooklyn, Rebecca, Gianna

3. I don’t have a strong preference for middle names … I just want it to have SOME sort of meaning and sound great

4. Meaningful things to us: We LOVE Colorado. We actually decided on baby 3 on the way to Colorado. I tried to summon some names from that (Esten for Estes Park, Max for Maxwell Inn we stayed out) but nothing really stuck. My husband is an optometrist (patron saint Clare?) and I am a speech language pathologist. We are getting ready to move and in the middle of a lot of transitions so maybe a patron saint to represent that and bring us peace during this chaos? We were married on August 7th, my husband’s birth is 9-17, my daughter’s is 7-17, and my son’s is 10-17 so seven is a heavy number in our family if that gives you any fun ideas?

I love trying to incorporate things into babies’ names that are important to the parents in faith-filled ways, like patron saints for parents’ professions or connections to places they love. So fun!

Alrighty, so I loved that Maggie was one of Mama’s top five names and then Papa decided on his own that he liked Magdalyn — how perfect and amazing is that??! Magdalyn Rae is gorgeous. And of course I agree I agree that St. Joseph is such a perfect namesake for a little guy. Joseph James is so handsome!

As for Margaret for a girl and Jim for a boy for this baby: hubby’s a funny guy! Sisters Magdalyn and Margaret would strike me as really unexpected, as I generally think of Magdalyn and Margaret as two sides of the same coin — those who like the nickname Maggie and have traditional taste go for Margaret, while those who like the nickname Maggie and like more unusual names go for Magdalyn. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, since he wants to repeat their son’s middle name as their next son’s first! Hilarious!

I really like Mama’s solution of the nickname Etta — that makes it very doable, in my opinion. I don’t mind the idea of sisters with the more unusual Magdalyn with the familiar nickname Maggie, and the familiar Margaret with the more unusual nickname Etta. It’s true that Etta isn’t a traditional nickname for Margaret, so if that’s a real problem, Margaret does have loads of traditional nicknames and variants that could work, if that’s what would sell Papa:

  • Greta: This one rhymes with Etta, so it feels like the closest to Mama’s idea while still being a traditional short form of Margaret.
  • Maisie: Maisie is a diminutive of Margaret via Ireland and Scotland, so sweet!
  • Rita: This is technically a nickname for the Italian variant of Margaret, though of course it’s taken on a life of its own.
  • Peg, Peggy: Amazingly, Peggy is a medieval nickname for Margaret!
  • Molly: Molly is the only one on this list that isn’t technically a nickname for Margaret, in the sense that it’s actually a variant of Mary. But, it does have occasional usage as a nickname for Margaret, for example “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” who wasn’t actually known as Molly in life, only after she died was she called Molly. I’ve known families who have named daughters Margaret and call them Molly, and I’ve encountered many people who assume Molly is a nickname for Margaret, in the sense of it being etymologically related. Sisters Maggie and Molly sound like a natural pair.

As for the names on the list of those they’re considering:

  • Stella Maris: Isn’t it a gorgeous name? A variant of it is Maristella, which they might also like.
  • Margaret: See above.
  • Juliet: This is one of my very favorite names! Etta is a perfect nickname for it; the spelling Juliette could make it feel more natural (or even Julietta). I spotlighted the name here, and the comments are pretty great!
  • Ava: There’s a reason this name is so popular! It’s a gorgeous name! I particularly like that St. Ava was blind as a child and later miraculously healed — that could make a great connection to Papa’s occupation! Also, Ava is a variant of Eva/Eve, so it can be considered biblical. A different connection is that one of Our Lady’s titles is The New Eve, so it can be considered Marian in that sense; a different Marian connection comes from how “Ava Maria” sounds like “Ave Maria” (which means “Hail Mary” in Latin) — Ava Maria as a first/middle combo would really drive home that meaning.
  • Willow: Aw, this is a sweet story! I love it! Though it’s too late to have a Maple, they do have a daughter whose name starts with M, so maybe they’d want to consider a W name for a second girl? Then they could use Maple and Willow even as little code names or nicknames that just Mama uses for her girls? The first name that comes to mind in this vein is Willa — it’s so like Willow in appearance and sound, but more … serious maybe? Dignified? A better fit with sister Magdalyn? Wilhelmina’s another option — it’s kind of heavy, but it’s saintly (via William), and Willa and Willow can both be nicknames for it, as can Mina, which is sweet. And they’d be in good company with amazing namer Natalie Hanson, who has a daughter Wilhelmina who goes by Willa. Another option would be to put Mary in front of it — putting Mary in front of any name, from traditional names to mom’s maiden name or similar, automatically makes the combo seem classy and Catholic. Mary Willow and Mary Willa are both great options, and in fact, Meryl Streep’s daughter Mamie’s given name is actually Mary Willa! One final thing is that I recently discovered the very cool fact that Willow Sunday is another name for Palm Sunday, especially in the East, and since their baby is due in April, and Palm Sunday in 2020 is also in April (April 5), Willow (or Willa) could be perfect for a baby girl for that reason too!
  • Jim: I’m not sure what to say about Jim! I hope it was sarcasm on Papa’s part!
  • Jack: I like Jack for this family! Jack is a diminutive of John, which is perfect for Mama’s hope to tie to a biblical character that Jesus would have interacted with! Many people name their sons John to get to the nickname Jack, but many also just name their son Jack. In fact, Jack as a given name has always been in the top 200, with its peaks of popularity being 1929 and 1930, when it was no. 14, and then in 1996 it entered the top 100 again and is currently at no. 28. So I’d say Jack is a great option! When I was researching saints/blesseds with speech problems (as a nod to Mama’s occupation), I found Giovanni Dominici, known in English as Bl. John Dominic — he had a speech impediment that was miraculously healed. That made me think that he would be a great patron for their little boy, and I love the combo Jack Dominic! (They have John on the list of family names they can’t use, but Jack Dominic means John Dominic anyway, so I think Jack Dominic is perfect! Also, Dominic has seven letters, and was traditionally given to boys born on Sunday [Dominic means “of the Lord,” and Sunday is the day of the Lord], which is the seventh day of the week! I love that connection to “seven” here!)
  • Henry: A great name, I love it. I spotlighted it here.
  • Truman: What a cool name! And I love the nickname Tru! As far as a faith connection, there isn’t a saint with that name or surname as far as I can tell, but its meaning is “true, trusty, or faithful man,” which seems like it could connect to Jesus Himself. And with the nickname Tru, truth is certainly a great faith connection (it reminds me of names like Verity, which means “truth,” and Veronica, which means “true image”). I think it works! They can also beef up the faithiness/saintliness with the middle name — something like Truman Emmanuel would really bring Jesus to mind, for example. As for it being trendy, it was actually much more popular from 1900-1954 than it is now!

Okay! Those are my thoughts on the names that these parents are considering. As for new ideas, you all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I also researched patrons of Colorado, patrons of those with eye problems and speech problems, and patrons of peace, as well as Estes Park (to find the origin of its name), and I spent a while thinking of ways to work in the number seven. Based on all that, these are my additional ideas for this baby:

Girl
(1) Seraphina
This was inspired by a few different things: first, Sadie is a style match for Stella according to the BNW, which is a traditional nickname for Sarah. I didn’t think Sarah was quite their style, but I thought of Seraphina, since Sera is commonly used as a nickname for it. Secondly, Seraphina can be considered a Marian name, since it refers to the seraphim (the order of angels who “stand before God as ministering servants in the heavenly court”) and one of Our Lady’s titles is Queen of the Angels; this fulfills Mama’s desire for a Marian name. Thirdly, Jesus surely interacts with the seraphim. 😊 It checks off a lot of their boxes! Seraphina is such a lovely name, and I love it as a sister to Magdalyn and Joseph.

(2) Veronica
I was inspired to add Veronica to the list when I was researching faith connections for Truman. It means “true icon,” and though St. Veronica isn’t specifically named in the bible, it’s the name that has traditionally been used to identify the woman who wiped Jesus’ face on his way to the cross, which fulfills Mama’s hope for a name of someone Jesus interacted with. I spotlighted it here, including nickname ideas.

(3) Colette
I discovered Colette when I was looking up patrons of those with eye problems, and immediately loved it for this family for a few reasons: first, it can take Etta as a nickname like Margaret and Juliet. Secondly, it’s a short form of Nicolette (which St. Colette is also known as), which is a feminine form of Nicholas, which is a biblical name (he’s mentioned in Acts 6:5 as one of the first seven deacons — seven!). Thirdly, St. Colette not only suffered from eye problems, but speech problems as well: “She had visions in which Saint Francis of Assisi ordered her to restore the Rule of Saint Clare to its original severity. When she hesitated, she was struck blind for three days and mute for three more; she saw this as a sign to take action.” (source) I love that she nods to both Mama’s and Papa’s professions!

(4) Elizabeth/Isabel/Isabelle/Isabella
I looked up patron saints of peace, because of how Mama said, “We are getting ready to move and in the middle of a lot of transitions so maybe a patron saint to represent that and bring us peace during this chaos,” and was immediately drawn to St. Elizabeth of Portugal. She’s known as “The Peacemaker” and is a patron saint of peace; I also love that her name is the name of Our Lady’s cousin. The Visitation is one of my favorite Mysteries of the Rosary, when Mary visits Elizabeth and John the Baptist leaps for joy in his mother’s womb at being in the presence of Jesus in His mother’s womb. If Elizabeth isn’t quite their style, maybe they’d like its variants Isabel, Isabelle, or Isabella (St. Elizabeth of Portugal is also known as Isabel and Isabella)? There’s also Elisabet (which St. Elizabeth of Portugal is also known as), Eliza, Elise, Elisa, Lisbeth, Lisette, and so many others, and a whole bunch of nicknames as well.

(5) Annabel
Annabelle is a style match for Juliet, and I love that it has the “Anna” in there, which connects it to St. Anne — the grandmother of Jesus — without using Anna by itself, which is on the list of family names they don’t want to use. It also has a separate, Marian meaning as a variant of Amabel, which is a variant of Amabilis, and one of Our Lady’s titles is Mater Amabilis (Mother Most Amiable, where “amiable”=“lovable”). How cool is that? I have the Annabel spelling listed here because it has seven letters, which I thought was pretty neat.

*(6) Bonus: Eleanora, Eleanor, Elinor
I couldn’t not include these names, as Eleanora is a style match for Magdalyn, Eleanor is a match for Henry, and Elinor is a match for Truman! They didn’t really seem this family’s style to me, but the BNW is rarely wrong, so I definitely had to list these here! The Eleanor names aren’t biblical, though it does have saintly connections (the comments are great too). I love its nicknames Ellie and Nell (which can both be for Elizabeth too, if they wanted) and Nora, so sweet!

Boy
(1) Elliott
Elliott is such a great name for this family, in my opinion, for a few different reasons: first, it’s a style match for both Stella and Juliet. Secondly, it’s a variant of Elias, which is biblical! Thirdly, though there are several ways to spell this name (two L’s or one, two T’s or one), Elliott has seven letters!

(2) Raphael
I was excited to see that Raphael is a style match for Juliet, because it’s biblical, it has seven letters (I was overly excited to find names with seven letters! Haha!), and St. Raphael the Archangel is patron of blind people and against eye disease and problems, a perfect nod to Papa’s profession!

(3) Samuel
Samuel is a match for Joseph and Henry, Sam is a match for Jack and Maggie, and Samuel is biblical! So many great reasons to love this name!

(4) Charles
Charles showed up so many times in my research for this family! It’s a style match for Margaret and Henry, and Charlie is a match for Maggie, Stella, and Jack. It’s such a great name! And it has seven letters! I know it’s not biblical, but it is saintly, and (this might be weird) my husband and I strongly considered the combo Charles Augustine for one of our boys, which I still love, and St. Augustine is a patron against sore eyes, so if they like that combo, it could be a great one for them!

(5) Bennett
I know Benjamin is on their no list, but Bennett is a different animal. It’s a match for Juliet, and Ben’s a match for Maggie, so I thought Bennett — which is a variant of Benedict — would be a great suggestion for them. (And it has seven letters! Woo! 😊 )

Finally, I wanted to share some info I found in my research that might be helpful to them:

  • I discovered that Estes Park in Colorado is named after Joel Estes, so I looked up his surname and it literally means “of the East” — so I wondered if they might like to consider Easton as a nod to Estes Park?
  • There’s also a Mary’s Lake in Estes Park, which I thought was a really nice connection to using Mary (like the Mary Willa idea above) in addition to Mary being for Our Lady.
  • The Immaculate Mary is actually the patron of Colorado, adding extra meaning to a Marian name for this baby. If they like the idea of Immaculata for a first name or a middle, it could also tie to Our Lady’s patronage of Colorado.
  • Francis of Assisi is another patron of Colorado — if they don’t care for Francis as a first name, maybe they’d like it as a middle? Or one of the feminine variants (Frances, Franca, Francesca) for a girl?
  • I loved that Mama mentioned Clare, because of Papa’s work, and think it would make a great first or middle name. Another patron of eye issues is St. Lucy, who had her eyes plucked out (in fact, she’s usually depicted holding a tray with her eyeballs on it!) and it’s said that her eyesight was restored before her death. Lucy/Lucia/Lucille might be names they’d like to consider for that reason.

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


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!

Black Friday Specials!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers!! I hope you all had a wonderful day!!

I’m offering three Black Friday Specials!! Specials No. 1 and No. 3 are for today only; Special No. 2 is for MONDAY.

FIRST
I’m offering ten Ordinary Consultations for $10 each! (Regular price: $50; consultation description here.) The first ten people who email me today with their consultation request will receive an invoice from me via email for $10 by midnight on Monday, Dec. 1.

*** Please note we’re going out of town for a family funeral super early tomorrow morning, so I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to respond to everyone who emails me today. I will let you know by Sunday night if you’re one of the first ten people. If you’re not, consider Black Friday Special No. 2 (below). ***

I can guarantee these $10 Special Consultations will be completed by New Year’s Day if you need them done by then, barring unforeseen circumstances (but I can’t promise they’ll be done before that); if yours can wait until after New Year’s, please note that. There’s no expiration date on these consultation requests.

SECOND
I’m offering ten Christmas Gift Certificates for Ordinary Consultations for $25 each! (Regular price: $50.) The first ten people who email me on ***MONDAY*** for a gift certificate will receive an invoice from me via email for $25 by midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 2. These gift certificates can be redeemed starting December 26th. I will work on them in the same way I do all consultation requests — first come, first served, and completed within three weeks of receiving the request (barring unforeseen circumstances). I will email you a gift certificate that you can print out and present to the person receiving it as a gift (I can send it to by Dec. 5 in case you want to give it as a St. Nicholas gift!). There’s no expiration date on the gift certificates.

THIRD
Anyone who buys my book today will receive a free Ordinary Consultation! (Limit one consultation per person.) My book (which, as you all know, is a book of Marian names, and is the result of nearly ten years of research, including invaluable input from all of you! Read more about it, including its amazing endorsements, here) is available at ShopMercy.org (every purchase supports the Marian Fathers) and for a reduced price at Amazon — it’s the perfect gift for anyone expecting a baby, and/or anyone who loves names (especially the names of our faith)! Please send me a screen shot of the confirmation email (I need to receive it from you today), with today’s date visible in the screen shot. These consultation requests can be redeemed starting on the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus: January 3. They’ll be done first come, first served, and completed within three weeks of receiving the request (barring unforeseen circumstances).

(Please note that I’m still accepting regular requests for consultations, which will continue to be done on a first come, first served basis; my Black Friday specials are being offered in addition to these.)

I really wanted these Sancta Nomina Black Friday Specials to bless those in need, so I’m pleased to tell you:

  • Half of today’s proceeds will go to our reader Charlotte, who I’ve posted about before — she continues to suffer from serious medical issues (she was hospitalized this past week with sepsis) and always needs help with her medical bills. (If you’d like to contribute to her directly, you can do so here; she’s grateful for any amount, no matter how small.)
  • The other half of today’s proceeds will go to my local Birthright, which does an amazing job providing needed care to moms and babies. ❤ ❤ ❤

Thank you all for helping to make this community as wonderful as it is!! I’m so grateful for 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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Name for baby girl that’s not too popular and has feminine oomph

Beth and her husband aren’t expecting a baby yet, but they hope to be soon, and need help finding a girl’s name they love!

Beth writes,

Our children’s names so far are:

Justin
Aiden
Annalise
Jeremy (with Jesus)

Names I like but my husband dislikes are:

Cora
Verity
Camille
Isobel
Honora/Nora
Majella

The last two of these are hard to pronounce for him due to his accent (he has a Mexican background). His family also prefer names that sound as they are spelled as that is how Spanish names work. So names like Caeli (pronounced “Chaylee”) are out of the picture. He is not really keen on Spanish names.

He likes:

Amelia
Hope

We prefer a Saints name or a Biblical name or a variant (like Molly for Mary). We don’t want the name to start with: A or J, as we have used those twice already. I tend to like names that are a little out of popular use (although we went with Aiden despite this).

Names we can’t use due to extended family use:

Emily
Phoebe
Claudia
Eleanor
Gianna
Kateri

Ok I think that is it for rules. I’m looking forward to your input!

I love Beth’s children’s names! Justin, Aiden, and Jeremy are so handsome for boys, and Annalise is so lovely and feminine! In fact, when compiling my list of ideas for Beth and her hubs, I was most influenced by Annalise’s name — I really wanted to find girl names that could stand up to Annalise’s feminine oomph.

Before listing my ideas, I’ll offer some thoughts on the names on Beth’s and her husbands’ lists, in case they’re helpful:

  • Cora: Beautiful name! And it rhymes with Nora, which lets me know that Beth likes that sound/rhythm
  • Verity: Such a cool virtue-type name — much less popular than Grace, for example, but still in the same category
  • Camille: Has a similar foreign-ish feel as Annalise (foreign-ish because it’s a French name that’s familiar in English, like Annalise has German/Scandinavian background but still familiar in English)
  • Isobel: I love this spelling, it takes the familiar Isabel(le) and makes it more unusual, which is always fun. However, since the “Lise” in Annalise is from Elizabeth, I would suggest crossing Isobel off the list, since it’s an Elizabeth variant (though I love that Beth included it, as it gives me a good sense of her taste)
  • Honora/Nora: I can see that Honora would be difficult for Beth’s hubby and his family, but Nora would be okay, right? (Except that hubby doesn’t care for it.)
  • Majella: I love Majella too. I wonder if the Italian variant Maiella would appeal to Beth and her husband? It’s said like my-EL-la, which I think is okay for those whose first language is Spanish?
  • Amelia: Other than it being an A name, Amelia fits right in with several of the names on Beth’s list, so I’m hopeful I can find some names that they both like!
  • Hope: Beth has Verity and Honora on her list, and her hubby has Hope — I’m feeling pretty hopeful (!) that I can offer some other virtue-type names that they might both be on board with!

Okay, all that said, you all know that I start each consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard 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, looking up all the names Beth listed, but giving heavy weight toward names that I thought would go well with Annalise. Based on that, these are my ideas for them:

(1) Clara (or variants?)
Clara’s a match for Cora, and Claire’s a match for Camille and Nora, so I thought a name in this vein would be a good suggestion here. I like Clara better than Claire (or Clare) as Annalise’s sister, and Clara has a similar rhythm to Cora and Nora, but Clara and Claire/Clare are both beautiful, so they can’t go wrong! Since Annalise is so long, I did look for ways to lengthen Clara, which might be totally unnecessary if they love Clara as is, but I thought it was worthwhile mentioning Clarabelle/Claribel and Clarissa as frillier options, as well as Clairvaux, which is a similar style as Majella, but I’m thinking that Beth’s hubby and in-laws wouldn’t know what to do with Clairvaux (as many English speakers would feel the same!)! I looked up Clar- names on the babynamewizard.com site, just to see if there were any ideas I hadn’t thought of, and saw Clarity — I kind of like Clarity! It can take Clare or Clara as a nickname, and it’s a virtue-type name like Verity, Honora, and Hope. So they have some options here, if they like the Clara idea but want something more! St. Clare of Assisi is a great patron (and St. Bernard would be for a Clairvaux).

(2) Felicity
I kind of love Felicity for this family! It’s a virtue-type name like Verity and Hope (and it’s a style match for both per the BNW!), and it has the same ending as Verity too. I spotlighted in on the blog here, where I offered nickname ideas as well. St. Felicity is one of the best!

(3) Natalia
I’m not sure Beth and her hubby will love this one, as it wasn’t a huge style match like some of the others, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Natalie is a style match for Jeremy, and I kind of loved the idea of looping his style in a little. I didn’t think Natalie was quite right here, but I thought Natalia really could be. It’s a gorgeous saintly name, and I love it with Annalise. There are a couple Sts. Natalia.

(4) Violet
Like Natalia, Violet didn’t show up that much in my research (it’s a match for Camille), but when I saw it I thought it felt right. It’s got a similar rhythm to Verity and starts with the same letter, but it’s less “out there,” which Beth’s hubby might appreciate. Violets are a symbol of Our Lady — they represent her humility and used to be called Our Lady’s Modesty — so Violet can be considered a Marian name (I have it as an entry in my book of Marian names for that reason).

(5) Eve (or variants/related names?)
I was surprised at how often names like Eve showed up in my research — the name itself is listed as a style match for Honor (standing in for Honora, which doesn’t have its own entry but is listed as a variant of Honor); its variant Ava is a match for Aiden (but starts with A); its soundalike Iva is a match for Cora; and its visual relation Evelyn is a match for Amelia. I thought Eve might be a bit too spare for Annalise’s sister (though it has such an elegance that if Beth loved it, I would love it too), but I thought Eva and Evelyn could work well, or my favorite: Evelina. If they like Eve or a variant, then Our Lady would be patroness, as one of her titles is the New Eve. If they like Evelyn or Evelina, they could still choose the Eve connection for a patron, but they actually have a separate etymology as a variant of Aveline, which is related to Avila, so St. Teresa of Avila could be their daughter’s saint.

(6) Maristela
This last idea was initially inspired by the fact that Stella is a match for Nora, but I thought Stella would be difficult for Beth’s hubby and in-laws, so I thought Maristela might be a neat way to work it in in an easier way. Then I realized that Annalise is Anna + Elizabeth and Maristela is Maria + Stella and thought that was such a neat thing for sisters to share! Maybe they (and you all) will think it’s too matchy? But if Beth and her husband like it, that construction could be carried through any other daughters they might have (examples: Piamarta, Dorolinda). Maristela comes from Our Lady’s title Star of the Sea (in Latin Stella Maris).

Finally, I wanted to include some names that did quite well in my research just in case they hit just the right note, but they didn’t make my “official” list because they didn’t follow Beth’s guidelines:

  • Charlotte: A match for Annalise and Amelia, so great! But sooo popular right now. I did a post on patron saints for girls named Charlotte.
  • Sophie/Sophia: Matches for Isabel (standing in for Isobel) and Amelia, but also very popular. This is a Marian name, as Sophia means “wisdom” and one of Our Lady’s titles is Seat of Wisdom.
  • Juliet: A match for Camille and Hope, Julia’s a match for Amelia, and Julianna for Annalise — I thought Juliet was the best option of those for this family, but it starts with a J. Bah! I did a post on Juliet(te) and its patrons on the blog. (For what it’s worth, if they end up doing another J or A name, I would recommend J, since those they encounter in everyday life won’t know of Jeremy’s name, and another A name would make Justin, Aiden, and Annalise seem really A heavy. But another J name would simply feel balanced. However, if they might have more children after the next, I would definitely stay away from J and A names.)

And those are all my ideas for a daughter for Beth and her husband! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Justin, Aiden, Annalise, and Jeremy?


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!

Thanksgiving names at CatholicMom!

Happy feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary! The beautiful name Presentación refers to this very feast (and is an entry in my book as a result). ❤

My November CatholicMom.com article posted yesterday, in which I discuss those interesting Puritan names and how they’re maybe not that far off from Catholic names: Puritan-inspired Names for Catholic Babies. Perhaps you expectant mamas due this month will find some inspiration for your Thanksgiving baby!

catholicmom_screen_shot-11.20.19


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!

Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum

Have any of you seen or heard about the new PBS Kids show Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum? It premiered this week; it’s “[b]ased on the children’s book series Ordinary People Change the World by New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos … [and] will introduce kids to inspiring historical figures and the character virtues that helped them succeed.” (This was a pretty interesting article about it, which focused heavily on the need for kids to have good heroes today [secular, of course, I didn’t see any Saints in the lineup! 😀 ], and this quote was interesting: “where do you draw the line between someone whose flaws are flaws in a good person, and someone whose flaws are disqualifying for a kids’s how [sic]?” I’m glad that’s something they’re wrestling with! So far they seem to have done a good job — my kids have seen a couple of episodes and like it well enough, and I haven’t seen anything objectionable in it.)

Anyway, what made me sit up and take notice is how they said Xavier’s name: ex-ZAY-vyer! (You might remember that I have strong feelings on the pronunciation of Xavier.) I tried to find more info on the selection of Xavier as the protagonist’s name, and hoped that someone might have written about the pronunciation, but didn’t find anything — if you do, please share!


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!