Birth announcement: Roman Gabriel Charles!

Here’s a birth announcement from my co-consultant, Theresa Zoe Williams! Happy Monday everyone!

Mama Kelle writes in to say that they were matched with a baby! I did a consultation for her a little while ago and apparently just in time!

We found out a week ago that we were matched with a little boy with Down syndrome, and he is already in our arms! Thank you again for helping us with the middle names that match with Roman. His given name by his birth parents when he was born about a month ago was Charles / Charlie so to honor them and their beautiful decision to choose us to be his forever family we are keeping Charles as a second middle name. I thought it was funny that that was on your list as well, but I had already fallen in love with Gabriel and couldn’t let it go. Meet Roman Gabriel Charles!

Isn’t he just the sweetest? I love that his given name was one I suggested (Charles is such a great name!) and that they wanted to work that in to his full name. I’m a sucker for a good double middle! Please say a prayer for little Roman as he will need heart surgery soon. Welcome to the world and to your family, Roman!


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

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

Baby name consultation: Strongly saintly+Marian names for baby no. 4

Please keep in your prayers the family of longtime Sancta Nomina friend Rosie from A Blog for My Mom — her two month old baby girl, Margaret Mary, died a few days ago. There are efforts to support the family, if you are willing and able — links are included in this post.

Here’s the latest consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams:

Mama Lucy writes in:

I am pregnant with our 4th child. Praise God! This babe is due in February 2022. We are not yet sure what gender this baby is, and I’m out 100% sure we will find out before birth! Our names for a boy and girl were set before we were even married, but the third was debated (mostly only by me ha!) until I saw her face.”

This baby will join big siblings:

  • Michael Dominic
  • Clara Marie-Therese
  • Gianna Marie-Rose

She writes:

Our girls have the Marie- _____  middle so that each one would be sure to have a Marian name. We kind of stole it from Louie and Zelie Martin. We also like that they will always share that even if their last name changes down the road. We have unintentionally gone with Italian saints for the girls first names so far, and I’d like to break from that so to not get too stuck on it. It’s not that we only like Italian names. Those just happened to feel right.

If we have another boy we’d like another strong saint first name (St. Michael) and a nod to Mary with the middle (st. Dominic spreading the rosary). Michael’s initials are MDW just like my husband’s and his father’s. I do love the name Jackson though and would love a baby Jack, maybe you could help find a saint connection? 

The only other non-canonized saint on our (very long) list is Anna Mae. This was my paternal grandmother’s name, and I love It but we have a lot of short a sound in or girls and the “Anna” in Gianna already. Am I overthinking? Names do not have to be canonized saints but we’d love a connection to our faith. Virtues, places, etc. I LOVE nicknames. Our first two mostly go by their first names but Gianna goes by Gigi, Geeg, and Geeger, and my husband and I both Love that she has multiple nicknames. We’ve discussed having a Lily Marie-Catherine and calling her Lily-Cate in the past. I also have a devotion to the miraculous medal. Catherine Laboure is another Catherine I’d love to honor. Like I said though, so many Catherine’s in the family already.”

Names they cannot use:

  • Caroline
  • Louie
  • Catherine (“So many variations in our family, but my confirmation saint was Catherine of Alexandria and I‘d love to honor her somehow“)

Names they like but don’t feel like the one:

  • Joseph
  • Peter 
  • Benedict
  • Karol (“as a middle“) 
  • George (“if Gianna was a boy she was going to be George Karol, two saints we love + GK for GK Chesterton who is one of my husband’s favorite authors“)  
  • Bosco (“nicknamed Bo“) 
  • Augustine (“I love Gus and Auggie!“) 
  • Sebastian (“Bash! I saw on this blog and loved!“) 
  • Jackson/Jack
  • Zelie
  • Beatrice (“my husband loves that a girl named Beatrice is what inspired Dante’s writings“) 
  • Anna Mae
  • Vianney (“I love St. John Vianney but we don’t like John, but again with that short a sound/ann“) 
  • Felicity (“husband is not a huge fan, I need nickname suggestions“)
  • Lily
  • Alice 

So first, I thought I’d give some thoughts on names they said they like but don’t feel like “the one”.

Joseph– Great, strong name, especially in this year of St. Joseph. Has a built-in Marian connection, too! Lots of great nickname potential here, too, including Joe, Joey, Joss, and Seph.

Peter– Another great, strong name literally meaning “rock”. Doesn’t get more solid than that! I love this name because it has so many faith and pop culture connections but is still fairly underused. I love the nickname Pete, too.

Benedict– I see a pope theme emerging! Another really great, strong name with lots of nickname potential. If they named their son Benedict Joseph, they could also call him Banjo, like a slur of Ben Joe. (Someday, someone will take me up on this and it will be glorious!)

Karol– They said they like this in the middle spot and, with their other kids, I agree. Pope St. John Paul II had a huge and very public Marian devotion, which is wonderful. Karol is also the Polish form of Charles, meaning “army, warrior” which is super cool for a kid of the faith. I love all the connections here.

George– On the rise but still fairly uncommon. I love this name. Nicknames here can be Georgie, Geo, Jory, or, a little bit of a stretch, Rory.

Bosco– This veers a little bit from their strong names for boys in that it’s not traditional or classic but is still very strong and is a trendy surname name. I think this is a really cute name, especially with nickname Bo, and St. John Bosco is a lovely patron.

Augustine– Can’t go wrong with this one, although it’s not a classic name but it is still very strong. I LOVE the nickname Gus and Auggie is super cute, too. Fun fact, this name means “exalted, venerable” which is cool considering St. Augustine is a Church Father and a Doctor of the Church.

Sebastian– Love this name and it has been growing in popularity. This would bridge the gap between their son’s name and their daughters’ names really well, too. I LOVE the nickname Bash! It just reminds me so much of a little boy.

Jackson/Jack– Super popular and trendy but because they’re such good, strong, classic names! They asked for a faith connection for these. Jack is a diminutive of John and Jacob (through the French Jacques) so any saint John, Jacob, or James (Jacob and James are etymologically the same name) can be patron! Lots and lots to choose from! Jackson could mean “follower or devotee of [insert patron saint John, Jacob, or James]” which is a cool connection. Jack has also come into being a slang term for a man which could then relate it to the Italian Guido and there’s a super cool Servant of God Guido Shaffer who could be patron. He was a Brazilian doctor, seminarian, and surfer, and has been proposed as the eventual patron saint of surfing.

Zelie– Super on-trend, rising Catholic name. I absolutely adore this name. It’s got the cool Z beginning and the lovely -ee sound ending. St. Zelie was also amazing and this brings them away from the Italian saints like they said they wanted

Beatrice– One of those clunky cool old names coming back. This is another Italian name, though, but just so lovely and I don’t think it has a very immediate Italian connection. It means “voyager, traveller” which is what we’re doing in this life. In this way, it could be a cool nod to St. Therese who said, “The world’s thy ship and not thy home.” There’s a St. Beatrice of Rome and several other Blessed Beatrices.

Anna Mae– I love this combo and I don’t think Anna is too close to Gianna. The one thing for consideration here is that Mae is a form of Mary, so they’d have to figure out a different way to do their Marie- middle name. Maybe Anna-Mae in the middle and a different first?

Vianney– This was super unexpected! St. John Vianney is a lovely patron but I just didn’t expect this for a girl! They could do nicknames Vi or Annie with this name for her, too.

Felicity– Great name that’s rising in popularity. They were wondering about nicknames for this so I’m assuming they thought of Lissy and didn’t like it. Flick and Flicka are two unexpected nicknames and a Hungarian diminutive is Zita (I know this is also an Italian name and might defeat their trying to get away from Italian names rule). Another nickname could be the literal “Happy”, which is the meaning of the name or “Lucky” which is another meaning of the name.

Lily Marie-Catherine nn Lily-Cate– Oh my goodness! I read this and I just felt like this is “the one” for them! It checks all of their boxes! It moves them away from Italian saints, gets their love of Catherine in there, stays the course with all of their girls having Marie- middle names, and has a lovely nickname! I really think this one is it for them.

Alice– Another clunky cool old name making its way back. I like this for them and with their other children. It’s a short form of Adelaide and there are a couple Sts. Alice or Adelaide to take patronage from.

On to new suggestions! Let’s start with the boys first.

(1) Joachim/n

This uncommon names means “Yahweh establishes” and is the name of Mary’s father. I think they might like this best in the middle but it does shorten to Joe, which is an especially cute nickname in this year of St. Joseph. Their love for Karol made me think they might like this name. It’s still strong, just not classic, and gives them more leeway in naming any future children. It opens up their style a bit without going completely left field. Again, though, I think they may like this in the middle best.

(2) Gabriel

It doesn’t get much more Marian and classic, strong than this name! It means “God is my strong man”. Gabriel was the archangel at the Annunciation and is also the name of St. Gabriel Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows, giving it a double Marian punch. This would mean that two of their sons would have the same names as Archangels, though.

(3) Luke

St. Luke wrote the most Marian Gospel, which is what gives this name its Marian connection. It’s simple, sweet, and classic. I don’t think they could go wrong with this name and it fits so nicely with all of their other children.

(4) Thaddeus

He was the apostle also known as Jude and the name means “heart”. The nickname Thad is adorable, too! Likewise, an unofficial suggestion is Theodore. I think they may like this one for the same reasons and it has lots of nickname potential like Theo, Ted, and Teddy.

(5) Gerard

I always think of this name as a Marian name since he is the patron saint of expectant mothers. It’s classic, underused, and strong. I really love this name for them. It has a ton of nickname potential like G/Jerry, G/Jer, or, starting to stretch it a bit, Gordo or Rory.

Now for girls. This one was a little harder for me because their tastes lean Italian but they wanted to get away from that. I cast my net really wide for these suggestions and I think they’ll like what I’ve thought up.

(1) Alexandria

I thought of this one because of their love for St. Catherine of Alexandria. It gets one of their Catherine names in without using Catherine and is more unexpected. There’s TONS of nickname potential here: Alex, Ana, Ria, Alexa, Lexi, and even Alix or Alice! This name has the flourish like their other girls’ names without being an Italian name, which I think is something they’ll appreciate.

(2) Sophie

It’s a French name! And it means “wisdom”. There are lots of Sts. Sophia to take patronage from and I thought it would be cool to use a French name to honor an Italian saint, like they’ve done before. However, there’s also the French Bl. Madeleine Sophie Barat for patronage!

(3) Zoe

A Greek name and saint! St. Zoe of Pamphylia was a mother who lived in the 3rd century and watched her whole family be tortured and martyred. She’s an incredible, little-known saint. Zoe was also the birth name of St. Catherine Laboure. This name came to me because of their love of Zelie, it’s got all the same things going for it, plus it’s the Greek word for the spiritual life.

(4) Madeleine

Another French name! It’s the French form of Magdalen, so she could take her patronage there. St. Mary Magdalen also accompanied Mary to the cross, so it’s a solid Marian name, too. There’s also St. Madeleine Sophie Barat. Sophie Marie-Madeleine or Zoe Marie-Madeleine are just so swoony to me!

(5) Charlotte

I took their love of the name Karol and kind of ran with it. I thought they might like the feminine, French form Charlotte. There are lots of Venerable Charlottes, most of them martyred in the French Revolution. One other stood out to me, though, Ven. Marie-Charlotte Dupouy Bordes founded the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of Mary, making it a Marian name in another way.

These are my thoughts. What does everyone else think?


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

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

Baby name consultation: Names that work in Spanish and English for little green bean

Happy Monday, everyone! Enjoy this latest baby name consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Parents Laura and Kevin are expecting a little green bean (gender unknown) in October. Little bean is joining siblings:

Zelie Faustina

Fontina (in heaven)

What lovely, somewhat unusual names!

Laura writes,

I am from Mexico and would love for our baby to have a name that you can pronounce in both Spanish and English (we did not do that with Zelie but I would have liked to). We both love St. Peter but cannot agree on any variations of his name. Kevin loves the names Mary or Maria but I’m not too crazy about them. And I would love some sort of name / version of Eucharist or Eucharistia but I just can’t think of any. (For a girl).”

She also mentioned that her husband loves Jesuit saints.

Names they like:

  • Gianna
  • Juliana
  • Lucas
  • Analia
  • Amelia
  • Javier
  • Santiago

Names they cannot use:

  • Isabela
  • Daniel

I thought I’d give my thoughts on their shortlist first.

Gianna– Fairly popular in Catholic circles but very feminine and lovely. Goes well with Zelie and I think this would be able to be pronounced okay in Spanish.

Juliana– Love this! Uncommon but not weird and can be pronounced easily in Spanish. Very feminine and frilly. There are also some saints and blesseds Julia for patronage!

Lucas– Good, strong name with lots of nickname potential. Maybe they’d both like Luca better, though?

Analia– I had never heard of this name before but it’s so lovely! I love that it’s a combination of Ana and Lucia, giving lots of patronages and a beautiful name. Maybe they’d also like Analee?

Amelia– A beautiful name but getting popular. But, it’s popular for a reason! I know several little Amelias. I like how this sounds with Zelie, though.

Javier– I like that this is a version of Xavier and you can get that great patronage of St. Francis Xavier from it. Comes across as very cool and Mexican to me, which they may or may not love about it. I think it sounds a little mismatched next to Zelie, though.

Santiago– Great name! I love the nickname Santi, too. I like how this sounds with Zelie.

Next, I know they like Peter as the saint and would love to find a way to honor him but they can’t agree on a version of the name they both like. Here are a couple other international variations of Peter: Pierre, Pier, and Piero. If those don’t strike their fancy, what about a name that means rock, like Roch, Rocco, or Rocky? Personally, I like Piero and Rocco the best–– both are pronounceable in Spanish and still sound good next to Zelie.

Laura mentioned she wanted a way to work in Eucharist or Eucharista for a girl. Since neither of those work for them, I thought of some names that mean “thanksgiving”, “grateful”, or “blessed” which is what “eucharist” means: Beatrix, Beatriz, Zendaya, Shakira, Jayden, Benedicta, Gwynn, Benedetta, or Beata. Of these, I like Beatriz, Zendaya, and Benedetta best for them.

Okay, on to new suggestions! Let’s start with girls.

(1) Sienna/Siena

For St. Catherine of Siena and it’s also easily pronounceable in Spanish. I love this patron and this way of honoring her. Siena sounds good next to Zelie, too.

(2) Marina/Mariana

Technically, these are two different names but I liked them for them for the same reasons, so I’m including them together. Marina means “of the sea”, so a nod to Mary, Maris Stella. Mariana is a combination of Mary and Ann. Each of these gives a little more oomph to Mary/Maria while still being classic and feminine.

(3) Carolina

This is a feminine form of Charles, so it can be a nod to St. John Paul II or take Jesuit saint Charles Garnier as patron. It ties Kevin’s love of Jesuit saints into a feminine, frilly name that works in both English and Spanish.

(4) Catalina

This is a Spanish form of Catherine and so there are lots of saints to go with it. It’s very underused but has that frilly feminine feel they both seem to like.

(5) Gemma

I think this could be pronounced easily in Spanish? It’s short like Zelie and not actually Spanish in origin like big sister’s name, too, which connects them nicely. There’s also St. Gemma Galgani as a patron.

On to boys!

(1) Luis

I saw that there is a Jesuit St. David Lewis and that made me think of Luis! There’s also St. Aloysius Gonzaga as a patron, as Aloysius is also a form of Lewis! Outside of Jesuit saints, St. Louis Martin is a fantastic patron and would connect brother and sister in a fun way.

(2) Joaquin

This is the name of the grandfather of Jesus and means “Yahweh establishes”. I love this name for them. After losing a baby and then having Zelie, this name with this meaning, to me, really signifies the work God is doing in them and their family.

(3) Gabriel

I was looking through a list of Jesuit saints and came across St. Gabriel Lalemant whom I had never heard of. He was a missionary in Canada and is a martyr. When I think of names that work in English and Spanish, Gabriel is one of the first that comes to mind, so when I saw this connection, I couldn’t pass it up! There are also lots of other Sts. Gabriel including the Archangel and St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows Possenti.

(4) Mario

Technically, this name relates to the Greek god of war BUT it’s most often used as a masculine form of Mary. Since Kevin likes Mary and Maria but those are a little too plain or popular for Laura, I thought Mario might be an interesting way to bridge that gap. Like Zelie, it’s not a Spanish name but it does work in Spanish.

(5) Alexio

This is an unusual form of Alexander that I first heard on one of my son’s Mexican classmates. I think it’s so cool and unusual! Alexander is such a strong name but Alexio makes it work easier in Spanish and gives it some cool vibes. There’s even a Jesuit saint Alexander Briant to go along with it.

These are my thoughts. What do you guys think?


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

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

Funny story about Dalglish/Dalgliesh

I know you’re shocked to hear from me apart from posting Theresa’s baby name consultations! But a funny name thing happened recently and I couldn’t wait to tell you all.

A few years ago a friend recommended the show Moone Boy to me, but at the time it was on Hulu, which we didn’t have. Then more recently Simcha wrote that her family’s been enjoying it on Prime, so last week I found it and watched the first few episodes (and yes, I feel like it won’t be long until I’m speaking with a brogue all the time now) and of course noticed right away that the main character’s full name is Martin Paul Kenny Dalglish Moone. My name thoughts went thusly: Martin, Paul, and Kenny made sense to me, since they’re saintly names; I thought it was fun that Paul and Kenny were next to each other, as one of my friends has sons named Paul and Kenny; and Dalglish was so unfamiliar to me that I just assumed it was one of the most confusing Irish names the creators (who are Irish) could come up with. Also, the voiceover seemed to sort of emphasize Dalglish in a chuckly sort of way, which reinforced my idea that it was just a Super Irish Name.

Then this past Sunday, my mom was telling me she’d seen Man of Steel with Henry Cavill and asked what else he’d been in that she might know. So I looked him up and was shocked to see that his given name is Henry William Dalgliesh Cavill! What are the odds?? (In his case, Dalgliesh is his mother’s maiden name.)

Well. Now I *had* to dig deeper into the name. I was disappointed by what I found! There was barely anything on Behind the Name — just that it’s a Scottish surname meaning “field”+”brook,” and further searching (though admittedly not exhaustive) revealed no saintly or faith connection that I could find (which is why this is just a regular post as opposed to a Spotlight). But then I mentioned it to my husband, just in my chatty way of talking about all sorts of things that he may or may not have an interest in (he always tries to look interested, such a good man), and he actually had a contribution! He wondered if they (Moone Boy and Henry Cavill) might have been named after Sir Kenny Dalglish, and I was like who?? So he pulled up his Wikipedia entry — Hubby supports Liverpool F.C. (lest you think I’m in the know, just know that I just looked up how to say that … if I hadn’t just learned to say “supports Liverpool F.C.” I’d have said “he’s a fan of the Liverpool [England] football team”) and Sir Kenny Dalglish is a former and very famous player. So then Moone Boy‘s main character’s name took on new meaning — it’s not just Martin and Paul and Kenny strung together before Dalglish, it’s Martin and Paul strung together before Kenny Dalglish! Or at least, Kenny’s pulling double duty here as both a Saint’s name and making more sense of Dalglish.

So interesting, right?? I knew you’d love to hear this! I hope you’re all having a great week, and happy first day of Fall!!


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

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

Baby name consultation: Perfect middle name for Roman?

Don’t you just love how Marian the month of September is?! We celebrated the Nativity of Our Lady on the 8th, the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary on the 12th, and Our Lady of Sorrows on the 15th, and there are some lesser known ones like Our Lady of La Salette yesterday, Our Lady of Walsingham on the 24th, and Our Lady, Star of the Sea on the 25th. Such a great month!

Enjoy this week’s consultation from my co-baby name consultant Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Kelle writes,

We have 6 biological children and have always dreamed of adopting. We have developed a super soft spot in our hearts for children with down Syndrome and have been pursuing special needs domestic adoption for more than a year. We have a girl name, but have always struggled with agreeing on boy names … We have semi agreed on the name Roman, but haven’t found any great middle names to go with it.”

What a wonderful thing this family is doing and the name Roman is just swoon-worthy!

Little Roman would join big siblings:

  • Hannah Claire
  • Genevieve “Genna” Marie
  • Isaac Thomas
  • Andrew “Drew” William
  • Benjamin Judah (He goes by both Benjamin and Judah)
  • Robert “Bob” or “Bobby” Cecil

What great names!

Kelle writes,

My husband likes plain, common, Catholic names.  He’d be all over John Paul, but everyone has a John Paul. Other names that have been on past lists but never been quite right are Paul, Jacob, Peter, Matthew. I never liked those enough because they are so common. My husband had a friend named Roman that died a few years ago and that made him a little more open to it. Although he is not sold 100 percent on it. I’m hoping that a good middle name might solidify it for him … Names I like that he’s rejected are Duncan, Wesley, Matthias, Winceslas, Thaddeus. I mentioned using Joseph as a middle name since it’s the year of St. Joseph and he is a foster father. Don’t know how that sounds though with Roman. Any name following Roman sounds like Roman is an adjective.”

First, some thoughts on their shortlist.

Paul– Pretty common in Catholic circles, I agree. It is a great, solid name, though, but I don’t think it has the pizzazz of some of their other kids’ names.

Jacob– Lots of nickname potential here, which might make it more palatable for Kelle, because it is pretty “run of the mill” otherwise. Besides Jake, you can do Jack, or Jay. You could even do Coby! Or, stretching it just a bit, Kolbe. A nickname is probably what would sell this name for Kelle and help it fit in with the other kids better.

Peter– Personally, I love Peter. It’s a strong name (literally means “rock”!) and you can’t go wrong with all the patronages. It also has lots of pop culture ties, making it a name that can cross all boundaries. However, it is popular in Catholic circles, although not as popular as Paul.

Matthew– Another fairly vanilla name that’s still popular over every demographic. I saw this and was going to suggest Matthias as a variant, but then saw that Kelle likes Matthias but Brian (husband) does not! Oh well. There’s a better name out there for them that combines their styles and desires for a name.

Kelle mentioned Joseph as a possibility but that she didn’t want the child to be called Joseph and worried that he would. What about a different name that has the Jo- beginning to honor St. Joseph but is a little less popular? Names I thought of were Josiah, Joshua, Jonah, and Jonathan. There are lots of others!

Or maybe even an international version of Joseph? Jozef, Giuseppe, Jose, etc. The nice thing about Joseph is that it’s so flexible and can literally go with anything and take so many different forms and nicknames. I know a Joseph who goes by Seph, for example! Lots to think about with this name

On to new suggestions!

(1) Charles/Karl

There are lots of saints to go with these names and either would be a nice nod to John Paul II, whose birth name was Karol, another variant! It means “man” or “army/warrior” and wouldn’t that just be a fantastic name for a little Down syndrome warrior? Roman Charles and Roman Karl both sound so strong, too.

(2) Silas

A name I think Kelle may like more than Brian, but I’m hoping maybe to sell Brian on this. St. Silas (also known by the variant name Silvanus) was a companion of St. Paul and helped write a couple of the epistles. It’s a great, underused name that is uncommon but not weird. It means “wood, forest”, if that appeals to them at all. Roman Silas has a strong but unexpected feel.

(3) Gabriel

There are so many saints to go along with this name and it is fairly popular in Catholic circles, but Roman Gabriel just sounded so nice to me that I couldn’t not include it. Its meaning really sold me for them, “God is my strong man”. What a fantastic meaning for anyone! And something I know they want their children to be. This might be the best combining of styles for them.

(4) Oliver

Okay, this one is super popular but for good reason! It’s such a lovely name with several meanings (“olive tree”- I like the tie to peace and the faith with this meaning; “elf army”- meh lol; “ancestor’s descendent”- nice to think about the long line of people this little man would join). There’s also phenomenal saint, Oliver Plunkett to go with! Roman Oliver just rolls off the tongue nicely, too.

(5) Dominic

Again, a name fairly popular in Catholic circles but not overly popular. There are, of course, lots of saints for patronage, too. Roman Dominic just sounds so strong and good. The name also means “of the Lord” which is so cool!

(6) Jerome

I initially was going to leave this name off of the list but then thought how nice Roman Jerome sounds and put it back on. Tons of saints but a very underused name. It also means “sacred name” which is what they’re hoping to give this little fellow!

(7) Jude

Finally, a last minute addition. This name is fairly popular across the board, but especially in Catholic circles. However, it’s still just off the beaten path enough to not feel “plain”.  I think this one may be a good mixing of their styles, too.

What do you guys think?


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

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

Baby name consultation: Continue the subtle bird theme? (I say yes!)

This week I’m posting a consultation I did for a reader a while ago, who has given me permission to share it here. Brigid and her husband are expecting their third baby on earth, a little green bean (=gender unknown). This little one joins big sisters:

+Maria Arsenia

Hilaria Jacqueline, called Lark

Katherine Julia, called Wren or Birdie

I absolutely love the bird theme — how clever to come up with Lark from the “LAR” of Hilaria and the K sound in Jacqueline!! I’ve seen Wren for Katherine before — I think it’s such a fun twist on a classic, and of course Birdie! So sweet! Maria Arsenia is so lovely as well.

Brigid writes,

I chose my patron saint, St Brigid, when I was 6, and eventually changed my legal name to my saint’s name. I’ve always felt my name was a story I carry with me, a story I can look to for encouragement and guidance. My husband also changed his name to his patron saint’s name, so we view our children’s names as gifts freely given, but belonging to them. I would not be surprised if some of them changed their names too.”

Isn’t that amazing??

We love that [the girls’] names are elegant, feminine, historic, and meaningful. Each and every name is a special saint, an honor name, or both

We’d like to honor our mothers, Paula Mary and Sharon Lee, in this baby’s name. A boy would almost certainly be Paul. I’m trying to talk the husband into Paul Heron

For a girl, one option is to use Mary Lee as a double middle. My one-syllable maiden name is everyone’s second middle, followed by our one-syllable last name.

My favorite name for this baby, if it’s a girl, is Mary Rose. Mary Rose Lee Maiden Last. My husband said, “Hmm.” The only time he has ever brought up baby names when we weren’t pregnant, it was for the name Harriet. And I have to admit Harriet Mary Lee is pretty great. Other shared favorites are Theodora, Paulina, Elise, and Anne. I love pretty much any Mary double: Marianne, Mary Elise, Mary Dove, etc. I can’t talk him into Iris, Rosa, or Beatrice. We can’t use Vivian or Lydia. We’re Orthodox, so pre-1054 and Eastern saints are wonderful.

I’d love to keep having subtle bird nicknames. Theodora called Dove is the only idea I have right now. Harriet called Hawk or Heron?

If we don’t use Paul as a first, it’ll be the middle. Nicholas, Benjamin, Matthias and Raphael are the runners-up.

We’re most stuck on girl’s names we both like, and on how to honor Sharon for a boy’s name. Paul Lee doesn’t work for my ear.”

I love how Brigid described her girls’ names as “elegant, feminine, historic, and meaningful” — I totally agree, and I’m excited to try to help her and her hubby come up with some equally wonderful ideas for this baby!

I also love that Brigid wants to honor her mother and mother-in-law with this baby’s name. Mary Lee as a double middle is a great option and an extra fun layer is that Mary and Lee are the grandmothers’ middle names, so using them in the middle name spot is almost like a double honor for them.

I think Heron for Sharon is pretty brilliant! Paul Heron to honor a Paula and a Sharon is fantastic, and the fact that it incorporates their bird theme is Master Class, really brilliant. If Brigid’s hubby can’t get on board, some other ideas I had for honoring Sharon in a boy’s name were:

  • Using a name that has a strong “sha” element: I did a search in the Name Finder on babynamewizard.com for boy names containing “sha” and thought the results that were most promising were Elisha, Marshall, and Shalom. I particularly like that Shalom is very similar in appearance to Sharon. But my very favorite idea in this vein is Pasha — it’s a Russian diminutive of Paul (Pavel), and mashes up Paul and Sharon perfectly! I could see them preferring this as a middle name, which I think would be perfect.
  • Using a name with a similar meaning: According to behindthename.com, Sharon means “plain” — other names with the same or similar meanings include Blair, Crofton, Forbes, Whitaker, Winfield, Agellus, Rhun, and Field. Some cool options!
  • Using a name related to the flower: The rose of Sharon flower provides another possible connection. I included Sharon in my book of Marian names because Our Lady’s title Rosa Mystica (Mystical Rose) stems from the “rose of Sharon” mentioned in the Song of Songs (2:1), which is traditionally understood to refer to Mary. Because of this, I thought Solomon might do to honor Sharon, since he’s the author of the Song of Songs. I discovered that the flower’s official name is Hibiscus syriacus, and I thought Syriacus could be a cool middle name — it has that same “biblical place name” feel that Sharon has (if you focus on the fact that Sharon is, in origin, a biblical place name). The Wikipedia page for the flower said the “plant can bloom continuously from July through September,” so I thought maybe August could work! And finally, one of the types of roses of Sharon is called “William R. Smith” — I could see both August and William working nicely with their girls’ names. (St. Augustine would be a perfect patron for August, and there are a few pre-1054 holy Williams: https://catholicsaints.info/blessed-william-of-sann/; https://catholicsaints.info/saint-guillermo-de-penacorada/; https://catholicsaints.info/saint-william-of-foggia/; https://catholicsaints.info/saint-william-of-gellone/.)

Mary Rose is lovely! Brigid’s hubby’s response of “Hmm” made me laugh — husbands! I agree with her that his idea of Harriet is awesome — Harriet Mary Lee is wonderful. I’d thought Hen (and Henny, so cute!) would be a perfect nickname for it — being an H name is enough to justify Hen in my opinion — but also the fact that Harriet is the English form of Henrietta makes Hen seem particularly perfect. It was only after I’d been soaking in the happiness of Harriet nn Hen for a couple of days that I realized Wren and Hen are probably too rhymey as sisters! Ah well. Brigid’s ideas of Hawk and Heron are equally doable I think, because of Harriet starting with H, though Hawk feels very masculine to me.

Back to Rose for a minute though — I was so excited to discover that Rosella is a type of bird!! I wonder what Brigid’s hubby would think of Rosella Mary Lee or Mary Rosella Lee? In this case, I could see them using Rose as the everyday call name, which would flip their bird theme from nickname to given name, but I like that — it opens up more options for potential future children. And I think Lark, Wren/Birdie, and Rose make a lovely, cohesive set, since they’re all nature names.

I love Brigid’s ideas of Theodora called Dove and Paulina called Linnet. She has Elise on her list as well — I wonder if she’s considered the full Elizabeth/Elisabeth? I think the full name could take the nickname Linnet as well.

Okay, when I was looking for new ideas for this family, I took two routes: The first is my usual, where I look up the names the parents have used and like in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) to find other names that Brigid and her husband would probably like; the second was to do research on bird names and see if I could back into a formal name + nickname option that way. Then I looked through both CatholicSaints.info and the list of Eastern Orthodox saints on Wikipedia to see if I could find a patron Saint (though I admit I’m not sure if the pre-1054 parameter refers to their date of death or date of canonization? I used date of death, so beware that I might have inadvertently included some that aren’t appropriate, so sorry!). Based on all that, these are my new ideas for Brigid’s baby-on-the-way:

Girl

(1) Margaret or Magdalene nn Magpie

I wasn’t surprised to see Margaret as a style match for this family, and Magpie immediately came to mind as the perfect nickname! While Margaret is certainly well matched with Katherine, I thought it seemed a bit plain next to Hilaria, so I thought Brigid and her hubby might like to consider variants like Margarita, Margaretha, Marguerite, Margo(t), Margery, etc. — there are so many of them! St. Margaret of Antioch works as patron, and she’s listed as “also known as” Margherita, Marina, Margaritha, Marine, and Margaretha on CatholicSaints.info.

I also thought Magdalene (or Magdalyn, Magdalena, etc.) might also be a great idea as it’s a little more offbeat — a nice middle ground between Hilaria and Katherine I think — and can still take Magpie as a nickname.

(2) Rebecca nn Robin

How about Rebecca with the nickname Robin? A long time ago I saw a birth announcement for a Rebecca nn Ruby and I just loved it right away, I thought it was so clever. So when I saw Rebecca as a style match for this family, I thought of that birth announcement again and Robin slid into place as such a great nickname option!

(3) Stella nn Starling

I’ve always thought Starling is such a pretty and unexpected name for a girl — I used to spend quite a lot of time reading the discussion forums on babynamewizard.com and I remember at least one baby girl being named Starling. I thought of it for Brigid, and thought Stella (or Estella, Estelle) could be the perfect given name for it, because of the “star” connection. I wanted to be sure Our Lady’s title Stella Maris (Star of the Sea) was in usage before 1054 though, and according to Wikipedia (I know! But sometimes it’s the best option if I don’t want a consultation to take weeks of research!), it’s been “in use since at least the early medieval period,” so that should be good, right?

(4) Phoebe

I wonder if they’ve ever considered Phoebe? It’s both the name of a bird and the sound that bird makes (which is why it’s called a phoebe), so it’s perfect for a family who wants a bird name. In this case, it would be the given name rather than a nickname, which, like with Rosella above, might be a nice addition to their theme without doing it exactly as they’ve done in the past. Phoebe is biblical of course, but there’s also a pre-Congregation St. Phoebe of Rome.

(5) Piper (Paulina?)

I was totally taken with the pictures of sandpipers I found when I was doing bird research — they are the cutest! I love the name Piper, I think it’s sweet and musical for a girl, and in this case, I can see it working easily as a nickname for Paulina. I also enjoyed discovering that there’s an Eastern Saint named St. Stephen of Piperi — could be a cool second patron for a little Paulina nn Piper!

(6) Columba, Paloma nn Dove

Finally, I’m grouping these together because I’m not sure they’re exactly Brigid’s style, but I wanted to mention them anyway. Though St. Columba was a man, I think Columba feels more natural these days for a girl, and Columba means “dove,” so Columba nn Dove would be perfect!

Similarly, Paloma is a Spanish name meaning “dove,” and it’s Marian too — her title La Virgen de la Paloma dates to the eighteenth century, which doesn’t work for this family, but the doves referred to in the Song of Songs are understood to refer to Mary, so that would be perfect! I think Paloma and Hilaria are very well matched as sisters; if they did Mary Paloma, I think Katherine would be looped in nicely.

Boy

(1) Martin

Boy names were tough! But I was thrilled to discover that martins are a kind of bird, and that Pope St. Martin I works as patron! Like with Rosella and Phoebe, Martin would be the given name rather than the nickname, but that could be the way they decide to do it for their boys (if they were to have more).

(2) Philip nn Pip

Because of Phoebe, one of the things I researched were bird noises to see if there were any possibilities there. According to this cool graphic, the Song Thrush’s song sounds like “filip filip filip codidio codidio quietquiquit tittit tittit tereret tereret tereret” — that first part, the “filip” part, made me think Philip might be perfect! Not only that, but the traditional (and amazing) Philip nickname Pip also has bird connections — apparently a pip is when a baby bird breaks through its shell using its beak. How cool is that?? St. Philip of Agira is the perfect patron for a little Philip.

(3) Robert nn Robin

I feel like there’s a good chance Brigid and her husband considered this and decided against it, but I thought it was good to include it here just in case. Robin is an old, traditional nickname for Robert, and while male Robins are rare these days (Robin Williams notwithstanding), I actually have a neighbor whose teen son is named Robin. And Robert is certainly handsome and classic. Rupert and Rigobert are fun variants to consider as well. St. Rigobert of Rheims is a good patron date-wise, as are St. Robert of Syracuse, St. Rupert of Bingen, and St. Rupert of Salzburg. (I think Robin could probably also work for Raphael, right?)

(4) Henry nn Hawk, Heron

This isn’t really a new idea, since Hawk and Heron were ideas Brigid already had, but I thought Henry works perfectly as a way to get to them for a boy. St. Henry II is a pre-1054 Saint, and I love that he’s known as Good King Henry.

(5) Stephen nn Piper

When I was writing about St. Stephen of Piperi as a possible patron for a little girl named Piper, I wondered about considering Piper for a boy? If they like that idea, I could totally see Stephen as the given name and Piper as the nickname after St. Stephen of Piperi.

(6) Finch

Finch was the first idea I had for this family for a boy. I think it’s so cool! Finch totally works as a nickname for Philip (if they didn’t like the Pip idea above), or as a middle name with a more staid first name (William Finch? August Finch? Paul Finch Lee?)

(7) Jay

Finally, Jay! Jay can work on its own (I know a “just Jay”), or it can be a nickname for anything you want, really — any J name, and even non-J names, as was the case with my uncle, whose given name was Lawrence but he always went by Jay!

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister or brother of Hilaria/Lark and Katherine/Wren?


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

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

Baby name consultation: Establishing style with first baby’s name!

Happy Labor Day everyone! I read the U.S Bishops’ “Labor Day Statement 2021” this morning and really loved the way Pope Francis has called for “all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, [to become] islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference” — how beautiful! I’m also happy to post today’s consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams — please leave your ideas in the comments!

Also, I know I’m behind on replying to emails — I’m hoping to sit down and get through them all very soon! Thank you for your patience!

Today’s couple, Chris and Nina, gave me a wealth of information on themselves and what they’d like in a baby name. This is their first child, a little boy due in September, so they’re establishing their style for the first time! Among things they wanted to consider in a baby name was the following:

  • Somewhat important that a name isn’t too popular
  • Neutral for me about having a name connected with a particular ethnic/racial/religious background, somewhat important for Nina that it’s an American name or a Jewish name
  • Prefer a name that is male-specific
  • Somewhat important that the name is easy to spell and pronounce
  • Neutral about it having a particular linguistic meaning
  • Somewhat important that it’s unique in our social circle
  • Bonus if the name feels like a grounded masculine name

First, I thought I’d give a few thoughts on the names on their shortlist.

Emmet– It means “whole” or “universal”, though I know meanings don’t necessarily factor in for them. It has an up-and-coming yet grounded vibe.

Everett– This gives off the same kind of vibe as Emmet.

Emerson– This has a real cool vibe and it’s starting to climb in popularity. It seems they like names that begin Es and that have a warm, grounded feeling. I love this name for them, actually, and would have suggested it if it wasn’t already on their list.

James– A very grounded, everyman type name. I know this is probably on their list due to it being passed down on Chris’s side (many men in his family, including him, bear this name!) but, other than that, it didn’t strike me as “them”. It would be great in the middle spot, though!

Lincoln– This has the surname vibe that they seem to like and also reminds me of Emerson.

Leo– It means “lion” which, while not one of Chris’s favorite animals, is an animal name like some of his interests! (I told you they gave me a ton of information!) I like that it’s short and snappy but with a really friendly vibe. This name feels very much in their wheelhouse.

Eli– This name has some great Hebrew roots, which is important to Nina, and is short and snappy like Leo but less common. I love this for them!

Malakai (Kai)– Another name with great Hebrew roots and is not very common but isn’t weird. An unofficial suggestion, perhaps they’d also like Macaiah/Micaiah. This is the full name of the prophet Micah and the name of several other Old Testament players. They can still get to the super cool nickname Kai with this and it’s more unusual (while still not being weird!).

Samson– Another cool name with a surname vibe. This name actually means “sun” which brings in their love of nature.

Wilder– Another surname name! It means exactly what it says, too, and that’s a great name for a little boy. I love this. I’m seeing it ever so slightly more often these days (my new nephew was just named Wylder). I think this is a great name for them except that it might be too many -er’s with their last name (which ends in -er).

Theodore– I love that they love this longer form and not just Theo. It’s a great name climbing in popularity but still relatively uncommon. Great name.

Jay– You can’t get anymore short, sweet, and to the point than Jay!

Rafael– I was genuinely surprised and delighted to see this on their list! It’s such a great underused name and I’d love to see it get more love.

Wesley– This name reminds me of the 80s and 90s even though it’s seeing an uptick in popularity again. The feel of this name is very cool, calm, and grounded but it doesn’t feel quite like them.

Okay, on to new suggestions!

(1) Pax/Paxton

This has the cool, grounded vibe they seem to like a lot. It’s outside the top 100 names in the US, meaning it’s uncommon but not unfamiliar. Paxton has the surname vibe they tend towards and nickname Pax keeps it short and powerful. I really love this name for them, it feels like them.

(2) Fletcher

That surname vibe rises again! This one is even outside the top 500 names in the US meaning they probably won’t run into another one but it’s still familiar. The only drawback I see here is that it ends in -er like their last name.

(3) Bastian

I thought they’d prefer this short form over the full Sebastian and it has fun nickname Bash to go with it. Sebastian is in the top 20 names but Bastian moves away from that popularity. It’s very masculine and strong without being over the top, too common, or in your face.

(4) Ezekiel

I thought this was a great marriage of Hebrew roots, their affinity for names that begin with “E”, and the cool but grounded vibes they tend to like. It is in the top 100 but a nickname like cool Zeke might help with that, too. It also means, “God will strengthen”, and a sort of strength is what they want for their child. This might be a really great way to bring most of their personalities and affinities together in a name. This might be a home run.

(5) Silas

This name feels so much like them to me. It’s at 100 in the US and is rising in popularity. It’s short, snappy, and grounded, and actually has the nature meaning of “wood, forest”. For a family that prefers the outdoors and would like to show it but subtly, this name might just be a hit.

(6) Jonah

This has the cool, grounded vibes I get from them, has Hebrew roots, and means “dove” which technically makes it a nature name. It also begins with “J” which I saw plays a large part in their family life.

(7) Shepherd

Finally, another surname name. David was a shepherd and so were several other Old Testament characters, which made me think they might like this name. It has a soft feel but is definitely masculine and grounded. It sits at number 602 in the US and is slowly rising in popularity. This name says to me a person who will be the master of his own peace and strength, someone who is independent, and someone who is a gentle leader.

Those are my suggestions! What do you think?


Email Theresa at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

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

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 6 needs a classic name (maybe with a twist?)

I hope you all had a wonderful Feast of the Assumption! My story (not) about the name Assumpta continues to be one of my favorites. 😂 Enjoy this consultation by our new baby name consultant, Theresa Zoe Williams, and offer your ideas for this family!

Mary writes in asking for help naming green bean baby #6! Baby will join older siblings:

Anthony Raphael

Kathryn Rose, who goes by Katie Rose

Daniel Louis

Martha Claire Therese

Christopher Karl Benedict

Agnes (in heaven)

Joseph Martin (in heaven)

She writes that they have some names on their shortlist, too, but just don’t feel like “the one”:

  • Sarah
  • Felicity
  • Alice
  • Nathan
  • Benjamin
  • Peter
  • Isaac

Names one of them likes but the other doesn’t or they can’t use for various reasons include:

  • Samwise
  • Mary Magdalen
  • Arthur
  • Amy
  • Mercy
  • Gwenfair/Mairwen
  • Gregory
  • Patrick

First, a few thoughts on their shortlist.

Sarah– Great name! So classic, you can’t go wrong. It’s also a style match for literally every one of their other children’s names, including their babies in heaven. Being honest, I think they’ve found The One.

Felicity– I love the femininity of this name and that it means “happy”.

Alice– That they love this was a little unexpected to me! It’s such a great name–– short, snappy, down to earth.

I love the combo Sarah Felicity Alice! It has such a great flow on its own and with their last name.

Nathan– I don’t agree that he’d get called Nathaniel (something Mary was worried about with her other kids’ names) but I guess anything is possible. This is a great name with their other kids.

Benjamin– If they’re only worried about him being nicknamed, have no fear. I know several Benjamins who are not Ben or Benny or Benji or anything else. Plus, they’ve kept all their other boys from having nicknames, especially Christopher! So I don’t think they’d have anything to fear here. Also, Benjamin Joseph is such a strong name and then could be nicknamed, if this tickles their fancy or funny bone, Banjo, like a slur of Ben Joe. Always good to have a laugh!

Peter– Great name that I actually don’t hear get nicknamed to Pete very often. My Peter is just Peter, if that’s helpful. With their other kids, I don’t think they could go wrong with this name.

Isaac– Another one that surprised me in the best of ways! Isaac is such a happy name, to me, and I think he’s so sweet with their other children’s names.

A note on double middles. Mary wrote wondering if three kids in a row with double middle names would be too much. To that I say, love them! I and all of my children have them. If they gave this child two middle names, half of their children would have double middles and half would have single middles.

On to new suggestions! I’ll start with the girls first.

(1) Veronica

This reminded me of one of the other names on their list, Victoria. It’s got the punchy V and more feminine feel. It’s frilly but still down to earth, which I thought might bridge Mary’s and her husband’s styles. It’s also a style match for Anthony, Kathryn, and Daniel. It means “true image” which is such a great reminder to be an image of Christ in the world! There is, of course, the St. Veronica who wiped Jesus’s face, but there’s also Sts. Veronica Giuliani, Veronica of Binasco, and so many more.

(2) Anna

Anna, rather than Ann(e) is a little frillier but still, short, spunky, and down to earth. I love that for these guys. There’s also tons of saints to take a patronage from and means “grace”. It’s a style match for Martha, Christopher, and Agnes and also Sarah, so it’s right in their wheelhouse.

(3) Helena

I thought of this name almost immediately for them. Mary’s love of the name Mercy made me think of this as it’s St. Faustina’s birth name and that ties it into the Divine Mercy. It also means “torch” or “moon” giving it lots of different faith tie-ins. It’s a style match for Martha, Christopher, and Agnes, too.

(4) Flora

This is a style match for Martha, Christopher, and Agnes and means “flower” giving it the tie-in to St. Therese. I like that this is a little more unexpected, like Martha, and is short but still feminine. I had no idea until I looked it up but there are several saints with this name! Sts. Flora of Cordoba and Flora of Rome, Bl. Flora of Beaulieu, and Ven. Flora Bracaval.

(5) Marina

This is maybe my most unusual girl name suggestion. I was thinking of Maria for them but then this name came up as a match for Anthony, Kathryn, and Daniel and it struck me as a good name for them. It has the down to earth, classic feeling of Sarah with the longer femininity of Felicity. It means “of the sea” so it can be a reference to Mary as star of the sea. In the Eastern Church, St. Margaret of Antioch is known as Marina and there are several other saints Marina, too.

On to boys!

(1) Henry

A good strong name with very few natural nicknaming possibilities. This name is a style match for Martha, Christopher, and Agnes and thought it brought Mary’s more classic tastes and her husband’s strong tastes together really well. There are a couple saints to go with the name, too, if they need that.

(2) Rufus

Initially, I didn’t think this name was a great fit for them, but as I continued researching, it grew on me. It’s a style match for Martha, Christopher, and Agnes and there are several saints, including a companion of St. Paul to go along with it. That surprised me, too! There’s not too much info on any of them, but St. Polycarp called one of them a “very happy man”, which I thought would be sweet for a son.

(3) Paul

Speaking of Paul, what about his name? It’s a match for most of their children’s names and is a good, strong name with no nickname potential. I was thinking that if they love Peter but are worried about nicknames, maybe they’d like Paul instead.

(4) John

It doesn’t get anymore classic and strong with little nickname potential than John! It’s a style match for all of their other children’s names, too. Their love of the name Sarah actually made me think of John and then he matched all of their kids. They cannot go wrong with this name. The only drawback might be that it’s still pretty common.

(5) Samuel

I know they’d worry about him getting called Sam or Sammy, but they’ve done such a great job with making sure their other boys don’t get called by nicknames that I think they could handle this one, too. Samuel is a style match for all of their other children’s names and Sarah and it means “God has heard”. I couldn’t not include this name as I really think it’s a home run for them!

So those are my thoughts. What do you think?


Email Theresa at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

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

Birth announcement: Leo Bessette and Gregory Augustin!

Happy happy feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim! Longtime readers know that St. Anne is Sancta Nomina’s patroness — it’s a special day for us all! I’m starting a novena to St. Anne today offered for all of you and your intentions. ❤️ I’ve also made a St. Anne pilgrimage every year since 2015, specifically in thanks for her intercession on our behalf, and though I haven’t yet been able to make one this summer in the year of my SEVENTH blogiversary (!) (this summer is even busier than I expected, the hiatus was a very necessary decision!), my husband and I are planning to do so before the summer’s out. I will post about it then! In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful feast day, and remember to pray and thank God for your grandparents!!

I posted a consultation for Carlin and her husband back in April, and I’m THRILLED to share that their twin boys have arrived and been given the ah-MAZ-ing names … Leo Bessette and Gregory Augustin!

Carlin writes,

They have been nothing short of a dream and their names fit just perfectly. Born on June 9th at 9:11/9:12am, Leo was 6lbs 4oz and Grey was 6lbs 7oz. Yep! We are totally going with Grey as a nickname, although Gregory is so suitable for this little man too.”

Leo and Gregory!! Leo and Grey!! Bessette and Augustin!! Ahhhh!! I love everything about their names!!

Congratulations to Carlin and her hubby and big sibs Joseph, Evelyn, and Thomas, and happy birthday Babies Leo and Gregory/Grey!!

Gregory Augustin/Grey (left) and Leo Bessette (right)


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

Baby name consultations are still being offered! Email Theresa at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set one up! (Payment methods remain the same.)

Baby name consultation: Pop culture + unique for him, super Saintly for her

Happy Monday everyone! Here’s another consultation by our new baby name consultant, Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Allison writes in asking for help with names for the little green bean (gender unknown) they are expecting. Baby joins big siblings:

William Michael (in heaven)

Emilia Grace (in heaven)

Autumn Kateri

First, what great names!

Allison writes:

Christopher [husband] prefers very unique names (think – things found in Star Wars or your favorite video game), and I tend towards different saints – Felicity, Philomena, etc.

I have a strong devotion to St. John the Apostle, but Christopher doesn’t love the name John.”

Pop culture references are my jam! I love unique names that tie together both secular interests and the faith.

Names they won’t use:

  • Tristan
  • Renee
  • Nicole
  • Erin

Names on their shortlist:

  • Zoe
  • Isla
  • Aubrey
  • Jade
  • Estelle
  • Judah
  • Daire
  • Griffin
  • Ze’ev
  • Beo

First, I wanted to give some thoughts on their shortlist. They have some awesome names on there!

Zoe: I love this name and yes, I’m a little biased. You can’t beat its short and snappiness and its meaning, “life.” But this isn’t just the biological life but the spiritual life! It’s like asking to be filled with God’s life. There are also two fantastic saints, Zoe of Rome and Zoe of Pamphylia (my patroness). I just love this name and don’t think you could go wrong with it.

Isla: This struck me as so you guys. I love this as a sister for Autumn, too. I like that, with this name, all your girls would have names that begin with vowels. I think that’s cool!

Aubrey: Again, such a lovely name that struck me as so you two. The only drawback with this one is that she and her sister would have names that start with the same sound and letters Au-. It might feel like starting a pattern and I’m not sure you’d want to set that precedent with child number 2. Maybe for a child down the line.

Jade: I love that they like this name! You don’t see it very often and I think that’s a shame. I love that Jade and Autumn both have rich, warm feelings.

Estelle: I was truly surprised by this one! To me it still says “grandma” but that usually means that it’s time for a renewal! I love the thought of a little Estelle. It’s meaning, “star”, can also point to Our Lady to give her a bit of a faith tie-in.

Judah: Such a great name and a great way to honor Jesus.

Daire: I’d never heard this name before, so I had to look it up. What a cool name! I love its meaning of “oak tree.” You want your son to be good, strong, and faithful and this name would convey that.

Griffin: I love that they love slightly more unusual boys’ names. There’s such a wealth out there that many people don’t dig into. Again, this is a great, strong name. You couldn’t go wrong with this one at all.

Ze’ev: Another name I had to look up. This one strikes me as super cool, especially with its meaning of “wolf,” but it would definitely set a precedent for future children. Maybe in the middle spot? It’s short and snappy and has the zippy Z that’s totally in right now. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I’d be sad if they didn’t find some way to tie this name in. I love cool, unusual names! I wish more people were as adventurous as this couple!

Beo: Another one I had to look up! I’m loving all that I’m learning from this couple! So this Irish name bears a similar meaning to Zoe, which is cool. I’d never come across a male name that did this before. It’s short and snappy, which seems to be a theme for them. This does make me think of Beowulf, which maybe isn’t something anyone else would think of or even anything that would bother them.

Okay, so on to new suggestions! We’ll start with girls

Girls

(1) Lydia

Lydia is a match for Autumn and reminds me of it, too. Both Autumn and Lydia are names that remind me of the 1990s and popular culture of that time. There’s the saint Lydia Purpuraria, patron saint of the color purple, to go with this name, and she’s super cool! She helped St. Paul a lot. There are also characters named Lydia in the video games Skyrim, Dishonored, and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, and in lots of television shows and movies. If you want a good faith and pop culture crossover, Lydia is their girl!

(2) Anastasia nn Stella

Anastasia means “Resurrection” which is a fantastic meaning for a child you want to be able to grow with the changes life will throw at her. Anastasia is also a saint named in the canon at mass, which would be super cool for a child to hear! I like that she would share a first initial with her big sister. If that bothers them, though, there are nicknames besides Ana or Anya to go with this name. There’s the classic Stasia or Stacey and then there’s Stella. Stella is an Old Slavic nickname for Anastasia. I can’t find any reason why, but it is! This would also nicely tie in their love of Estelle.

(3) Luna

This name meaning “moon” really struck me as their style. It’s short, snappy, a little unusual, but totally cool. There’s no saint to go with it but it can be a nod to Mary as she is described as the moon. Also, fun fact, the lunette or luna is the part of the monstrance that actually holds the Eucharist. What a cool connection for a girl! There are so many Lunas in pop culture: Harry Potter, Sailor Moon, Marvel comics, and plenty of video games, including Final Fantasy XV and Super Mario Bros.

(4) Ivy

This is another name that really struck me as their style. I love that with this one, the sisters would both have vowel names. This can also be a nod to Mary under the title Our Lady of Sorrows as the ivy plant is sometimes called Mary’s tears. There is an Ivy in the Batman comics and in video games Pokemon and Soul Caliber.

(5) Felicity

They had mentioned this name in their email as the type of name she tend towards but that her husband doesn’t. It fits them so well that I couldn’t leave it off. It is also a match for Autumn, Emilia, and William! It means “good luck” or “happiness” and I just love that for a younger child. There are tons of saints Felicity and also a character in the Green Arrow comics named Felicity. The actress who starred as Jyn in Rogue One is named Felicity, too. I really feel like this is a can’t miss name for them.

Okay, on to boys!

Boys

(1) Hugo

This was one of the first names that came to mind for them. It’s short, a little off-beat, but still familiar. It means “heart, mind, spirit” which, wow! Could you get anymore all-encompassing? There are all kinds of saints named Hugo or Hugh (its English form) including St. Hugh of Novara, Bl. Hugh of Canefro, Bl. Hugh of Sassoferato, and Bl. Hugo of Haarlem. There are also characters named Hugo in Batman, Harry Potter, Lost, and the Skylander video game.

(2) Dimitri

This one struck me as just off-beat enough for them. Its meaning is meh but there are several saints Demetrius (maybe they’d like that form of the name, too?) that tie it into the faith and there are characters named Dimitri in the Castlevania video games and the movie Anastasia.

(3) Jude

This was inspired by their love of Judah, so maybe they’ve considered this name before. It is fairly popular in Catholic circles, so maybe that’s a turn off for them. This is actually a form of the name Judah, which made me think that they’d like it. There are obviously tons of pop culture references to Jude and the saint of impossible causes. Come to think of it, a saint like that might be great for a little boy 😉

(4) Cassian

There are several saints named Cassian and Cassian is one of the main characters in Rogue One. Honestly, I think this name might be a hit for them because it’s unusual but not weird, can carry the nickname Cash to make it more digestible, and has ties to all the things they love.

(5) Lando/Landon

Believe it or not, there are several popes names Lando! I thought that was so cool to learn while I was researching. Of course, Lando is also the name of beloved Star Wars character Lando Calrissian. That name is actually a form of Lance, meaning “spear.” If Lando is a little too much on its own, I thought Landon was a great longer form. They’re not technically related, but who cares. Landon means “long hill”. I really love the sound of Autumn and Landon together and Landon is a style match for Autumn and William.

So those are my thoughts. What do you think?


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