Baby name consultation: A, M, E name for baby no. 3

Amy is one of the very first mamas I ever did a consultation for, and I’m so excited that she and her husband have another little one on the way, a baby girl! This little lady joins big sibs:

Kristy Marie
Martin Kane II (called Kane) (birth announcement here)

I love each of those names! Amy had explained that Kristy was named “after the two greatest people I could think of — Christ and Mary, giving honor to God first (and in our 1st born) and my love/connection to Mary,” which is just so amazingly beautiful. And Kane is named for his dad (Martin Kane) and his grandpa (Martin Craig; goes by Craig, like Kane goes by his middle), and the II is a nod not only to his dad, but to JP2 as well. What a cool way to do it! And Kane has dad’s middle name, and Kristy has Amy’s middle name — so many meaningful connections!

For this baby, Amy writes,

One thing I noticed later was, while common, we ended up picking names that actually have several different spellings and people get it wrong sometimes. This can bother me a tiny bit at times.

Another fun thing that unintentionally happened was we ended up with the initials KM and MK, opposites of each other. We use these sometimes as shorthand in text and Kane’s name sign is just MK finger spelled (my husband asked for that, to honor/include the Martin part and we are proud of it) [read more about name signs here]. Sometimes I call them by both their first and middle names together so they know them. So I kind of like the idea of maybe an M name, to keep a sort of pattern — K and K, then (technically) M and M, or K/MK/M. It might be fun, but not necessary.

I would also like to veer AWAY from K names. I am not sure I want to be stuck with that pattern, especially if we want have more kids (plus initials KKK???). I do like that my brother and I were Amy and Adam with matching first letters, and I had cousins Kelly/Karen/Katie. Husband, however, seems to only come up with K names. He wants the names to match somehow. I might consider a C name that has a K sound, like Catherine for example.

Interestingly enough, both my kids are names that I NEVER would have thought of, I don’t really consider ‘my style’ or ones that I even really like. But yet, I LOVE them because we ended up realizing that there were about 600 reasons to name them what we did, I LOVE the meanings and they just absolutely fit or feel right. They could be no other.”

(That’s one of my favorite parts of their name story! I love when parents love their kids’ names, even if they didn’t start out that way!)

I don’t really like nicknames or names that can easy hand themselves over to nicknames. I know, this makes you sad 😉 I would to just prefer to name my kid what I intend/want them to be called. But I did like your article on nick names as a first name vs a formal first name. Good thoughts and comments.

I would like to name after my family somehow. Kristy and Kane are both heavily from Marty’s side. He also named both of them (I kind of want a turn, wink)… after they were born (we went into the hospital with little to no firm ideas for both). So I am trusting in his instinct a little bit still. Mostly because I am lacking in ideas… again.”

Except she isn’t! Amy has some great ideas! I’m going to start with her middle name ideas, because they have bearing on what the first name might be:

Victoria (“after my mom … I think I might regret not using it if I don’t (What if we don’t have more kids or more girls?). Marty knows this and he is on board, knowing that will probably be her middle. But one ‘problem’ (if you can call it that) I might see with this is, it’s pretty long (one of the rare 4 syllable names) making it kind of hard to pair with other names. I feel like I would need something short/er (no one syllable names jumped out at me). Especially because the other kids names are pretty short and easy to say (KM is only 4 syllables combined, MK is only 3, combined“)

Elizabeth (for Grandma Betty)

Fiat (For “Mary’s yes,” of course [not the car!] — from the Latin for “let it be done” … “Now this I would ONLY pair with Marian … This is something that I have considered ever since my first pregnancy … I would want that as a reminder or for her to say yes to God’s will, whatever that may be for her“)

I just have to jump in here and say, ever since Amy suggested the combo Marian Fiat in a comment a while ago I’ve been smitten! What an ah-MAZ-ing idea!

For first names, Amy and her hubs’ list includes:

Molly (“So there is one name that is bothering me. It randomly popped into my head one day in daily Mass and I haven’t been able to shake it — Molly … Marty recently said that he thinking more about it too (a good sign he would agree to it). To me it has the same feel as Kristy and Kane — similar time period feel, a name I never considered or even really liked, but it seems to fit (when I picture her or saying her name). It’s short, and seems to fit with Victoria. I like that it has 5 letters (all the other cousins have 5 letter names, Kristy is 6, Kane is 4, not important, but a fun fact/connection). It’s common enough to be known as a real name and not something that is too ‘out there’. But it still seems sparse enough in use that it is not ‘top ten’ or even top 100 (I think). It is easy to say/spell and doesn’t have a nick name. It is sweet/cute, but I think it can be an adult name too. In my mind, this name would be my attribution to my inspirational grandmother Millie. I just changed one letter/sound. I figure if (for example) Bill can come from William (different letter), why not? I think about the nicknames you come up with a lot of times. Many of them seem like kind of jump to get to with maybe just 2 similar letters or something. Plus with Victoria it would come from both my paternal side (Millie, great grandmother) and maternal side (Victoria, grandmother)

Katie (“I mentioned my husband keeps thinking of K names. His main suggestion is Katie, and he said he was going to stick to that unless I/we came up with something better. He likes that it seems to match Kristy (starting K, ends in the e sound, both have a t and 2 syllables). I agree and I don’t think it is a bad suggestion. It’s just … we already have a Katie in the family (a cousin, and like I said, I have a cousin Katie) and we wouldn’t really be naming after her/them, we are not especially close. It is also a form of Katherine. A name he wanted forever with Kristy’s pregnancy (while I respect the name and think it is good, I don’t really like it and I already have a cousin who used it so I don’t feel comfortable using it) and the original form of his mom’s name (Kathleen — again, after his family)“)

AVE initials (“I like the idea of A names, but can’t seem to land on one I like.
This mostly came from your idea in Kane’s consult, that the initials would be AVE (a round about way to honor Mary) — cool! [Their last name begins with an E.] I might even consider using Ave as a nickname (!). It’s not the top ten Ava, but it might be mispronounced/misspelled all the time (and does it match Kristy and Kane?). If I went with this idea, I would actually want to avoid A names that also have a V in them and/or that end in A (cutting out some great ideas). This is because it would be specially paired with Victoria and it seems like too many of the same sounds/letters repeating, rhyming or too matchy matchy. I also like that an A would kind of be naming after me. We have the K in our current kids, but also an M for Marty. It might be nice to round out with an A for me. And A names tend to be pretty. I like Azelia/Zellie because it reminds me of my Aunt/Godmother (and Kristy’s) Lynelle, we always called her Nellie. She was just diagnosed with a rare heart cancer … That is a name that I feel is more my ‘style’ that I tend to be drawn to and like. Makes me think of a pretty white flower but without blatantly giving an obvious flower name like Rose/Lily. I doubt Marty would be on board for this one … [and] is it too long, ‘out there’ compared to KM & MK“)

Begins with E (“I also like the idea of E names. I really believe that I named Kristy with a K after an inspirational friend of mine, Kyla, who passed away when I was pregnant with her. I didn’t realize this until later as the Kristy spelling just jumped out at me and was the same one that Marty thought of (without discussing it with each other). Recently I have had another inspirational friend, Ellen, pass away and wouldn’t mind considering a mild honor name for her too. I remember really liking Evelyn when I was pregnant with Kristy. But like the A names is it too many of the same letters/sounds when paired with our last name (plus a v sound in there). Evelyn also recently became very top tenish. Marty’s mom’s middle name is Ellen and he has suggested it, but again, always his side never mine. I guess there is Elizabeth and my mom suggested Emily, which is not bad, but I have no connection to it“)

For reference, some of the boy names on their list include:

Adam Craig
James
Magnus
Lincoln
Calvin

Okay, so I reread the consultation I did for Kane before working on this one, which was a good refresher. I also really like Amy’s reasoning behind her ideas of an M name or an A name, and I really took those into consideration when trying to think of names for this baby.

Mostly though, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of Molly Victoria!! Ohmygoodness I love it so much! Molly is a variant of Mary, so Amy would have her nod to Mary, but it’s kind of a sneaky one because not everyone knows it’s a Mary variant! I think it goes really well with Kristy and Kane, and Amy would have her M name, and it sounds amazing with Victoria! I love that it has five letters, and is so similar to her Grandma Millie. Amazing! So that one gets my very heartiest vote. (I also still love Marian Fiat!)

I’m also interested in Amy’s husband’s idea of Katie, as she’d said she’s not really into nicknames. Because of that, I wondered what she’d think of the spelling Cady? It sounds exactly like Katie, but is less nicknamey. It might make people think of suffragette and civil rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, which isn’t terrible at all, and I also found that there’s a Blessed Madeleine Cady épouse Desvignes, which is pretty cool.

I still love the AVE idea for them, and I think Ave would be such a cool nickname! I’m not sure I would necessarily think of it as a style match for Kristy and Kane, but nicknames don’t really have to be similar in style I think. Azelia is unusual, but so pretty, and I have some other A ideas for them below.

I like Amy’s E ideas as well—Ellen, Evelyn, Elizabeth, and Emily are all beautiful, substantial names. I have some more E ideas below as well.

I’m intrigued by “just Betty”—I wonder if they would be interested in using that? Since it was the name Amy’s grandmother went by? Betty Victoria is really cute, and I’ve been seeing Betty pop up here and there (Kendra at Catholic All Year has one). Kristy, Kane, and Betty are cute! I know Amy said she doesn’t care for nicknames, but there are some that can stand on their own (like Molly started as a nickname), and I feel like there are some that would be a great fit for their family (I have some ideas below), especially with the mindset that Amy prefers to name her little ones what she intends/wants them to be called.

Okay! Without further ado, here are my ideas for Amy and her hubs, helped out as always by the Baby Name Wizard, but also a good deal of my own ideas:

(1) Alison or Allie
I started out looking for A names that I thought could fit their style, and I thought Alison Victoria sounded really great! I also thought that Allie also fit their style, mostly because of Katie being on the list, and also Kristy (which can be a nickname for the Kristin/Kristina names) and Molly, which a lot of those sweet nickname-type names are style matches for. I quite like Allie Victoria. With both Alison and Allie, Amy would have her AVE initials.

(2) Abbey
I’m using the Abbey spelling as I think it looks less nicknamey than Abby—they could think of it as a monastery-type abbey, a cool religious place name. I love Abbey Victoria, and Abby’s actually a style match for Katie, Molly, and Emily!

(3) Anna or Anne
Both Anna and Anne give the AVE initials Amy likes, while being full non-nicknamey names, and also—St. Anne! I also like just Annie actually—I have a cousin whose given name is Annie, it’s so sweet.

(4) Ella, Ellie, or Edith/Edie
Ellen and Elizabeth both made me think of Ella and Ellie, both of which I think would be great first names if they decide to go the E route. I like that Ella and Ellie can nod to both Elizabeth and Ellen, so they wouldn’t have to choose Marty’s side vs. Amy’s side, you know? And they’re shorter, like Amy likes, instead of the very long Elizabeth. Ella and Ellie also made me think of Edie, which I think could be really cute with Kristy and Kane, but since it’s nicknamey I thought I’d also mention Edith, which has a similar feel as Grandma Betty’s name grandmothers’ name but is coming back again, both because of St. Edith Stein (in Catholic circles) and the fact that Edie is one of the cutest nicknames. (If they did just Edie, they could totally claim St. Edith Stein as patron.)

(5) Elaine, Elaina, Alana, Alaina
Continuing with the E theme, Elaine is a style match for Calvin, and I wondered if Amy and her hubs would like it. I know a little Elaina, which is a pretty variant, and the similar names Alana and Alaina could give them the A name they might be looking for.

(6) Maggie
Like Katie and Molly, Maggie is another one of those names that started as a nickname and has evolved to have some good use as a given name on its own. It’s also a style match for Katie, Molly, and Emily (and Abby from above). It sounds really nice with Victoria, and it also gives them the M that’s a nice continuation for the M’s in Kristy Marie and Martin Kane’s names.

(7) Madelyn/Madeline/Madeleine
At one point I started flipping through the pages of the BNW looking for A, E, and M names that I thought they might like, and Madelyn jumped out at me. I like Madelyn Elizabeth and Madelyn Victoria, and I like that Madelyn has a Y in it like Kristy—maybe a nice connection for sisters? I like the Madeline and Madeleine spellings too.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Kristy and Kane? Is anything here helpful or inspiring?

St. Francis de Sales Writing Contest: First Place Winner

I had the great blessing of instituting a writing contest at my alma mater this spring, the middle/high school where my dreams of being a writer were encouraged and supported by wonderful teachers, and which provided a great springboard for my studies of writing, literature, and language in college and grad school, all of which led to me actually being able to call myself a professional writer. I’m so pleased to be able to encourage the current student writers in the way that I was! ❤

I named the contest for St. Francis de Sales because he’s the patron of authors, the Catholic Press, and writers in general, and he’s one of the saints I’ve chosen as patron of my own writing — I’m constantly asking for his help and intercession, that my writing serves God in the way it’s supposed to. For sure, this blog and all that has come out of it has been an answer to that prayer!

This is the first of what I hope will be many years of this contest, which will focus on the intersection of faith and writing through the topic chosen. For this, its inaugural year, the topic was: What Confirmation name did you or will you choose, and why? You might remember I’d written an article for CatholicMom.com last year providing guidelines on choosing a Confirmation name, which included a quote from my bishop, Bishop Scharfenberger, and the students were directed to read it before writing their essays.

Setting a high bar for a writing contest includes having good judges, and I was so thrilled to have secured Ms. Kate Blain, editor of my diocese’s newspaper The Evangelist; Mr. Giovanni Virgiglio, Superintendent of Schools for the Albany Diocese; and Fr. James Ebert, current pastor of Mater Christi parish in Albany and former chaplain of my alma mater, as well as a 1999 graduate. The contest was open to tenth and eleventh graders, and they should all be proud to know that the judges commented to me on what thoughtful teens they are, and what a hard choice it was.

Two winners were chosen, with the first-place winner receiving $100 and publication of his essay on CatholicMom.com; the second-place winner’s essay will also be published on CatholicMom.com. Ms. Blain at The Evangelist has also expressed interest in publishing the essays! All in all, the contest turned out just as I’d hoped — a true encouragement of faith and writing.

I’m so pleased to present the first-place essay, which posted today on CatholicMom!

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Currently popular Catholic names

In Monday’s consultation an interesting question was raised. The mom of the post, Kym, had said:

names often heard in Catholic circles: Rose, Therese, Mary-Agnes, Bernadette, Zelie — all would be out.

Cara commented,

I would love a post or follow up on what names are Catholic popular? The only one that comes to mind is Zelie.. . . . . Would love to hear your opinion on others

And Kym shared,

In my area, the Catholic popular names are: Therese, anything with Mary or Anne (Anne-Marie, Anne-Elizabeth, Mary-Grace, Mary-Helen), Kateri, Bernadette, Gianna, Zelie, Genevieve, and I’ve come across a lot of Veronicas.

Boys would be Benedict, Joseph, John Paul, Michael, Francis, Dominic, etc…”

What a fun topic to discuss! It’s related to but just a little different from the lists of Unmistakably Catholic boy names and girl names we compiled recently.

When I think of Catholic popular names, I think of the names that are being used a lot *now* — not the names that have always been popular with Catholic families, but the ones that are popular with 21st century Catholic families. There’s some good overlap, for sure, but not totally, especially when it comes to the new saints/blesseds like Zelie, Kateri, Gianna, Chiara, Maximilian and Kolbe, and John Paul. I thought Kym did a great job listing the ones that show up frequently in current Catholic families; in addition to those I thought some others I might add would be (rifling through the Catholic families I know):

Girls
Caroline and Karoline
Catherine
Clare and Chiara
Cora
Edith
Evangeline
Faustina
Helen and Helena
Lily and Lillian
Lucy and Lucia and Lucille
Magdalene
Margaret
Rosemary
Seraphina
Stella

Boys
Augustine
Blaise
Fulton
Gabriel
George
Jude
Kolbe
Leo
Louis
Luke
Maximilian
Sebastian

In those lists (mine and Kym’s) I see a lot of distinctive names — names that parents choose because they’re not heard so much in secular (American) circles and they have great faith connections, like Kateri, Karoline, Chiara, Evangeline, Faustina, Gianna, Magdalene, Seraphina, Zelie, Augustine, Benedict, Blaise, Fulton, John Paul, Jude, Kolbe, and Sebastian. I also see the vintage/retro/nursing home names that are coming back in style in society as a whole: Agnes, Bernadette, Cora, Edith, Helen, Lillian, Lucille, Rose and Rosemary, Stella, George, Leo, and Louis.

I’d love to know what names all your Catholic friends are using! When you all get together, which names are worn by multiple children?

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 9 needs a name that’s not generally popular nor Catholic popular (and a few other rules!)

I hope all the dads had a wonderful Father’s Day yesterday!!

Kym and her husband are expecting their ninth baby — their fifth girl! She joins big sibs:

Alexandra Ruthmarie
Cassian William
Killian Michael
Bennett Jameson
Anneliese Francesca
Marigold Camillus
Miles Jonas
Sylvie Regina

Aren’t these amazing names?? I’ve actually referenced Kym’s little Sylvie Regina many times in posts and conversations because of how clever I think it is that it sounds like Salve Regina (“Hail Holy Queen”) — I love that!! And another really cool thing is that each first name has the same number of letters as its middle name. Didn’t they do a great job?!

Kym has a bunch of naming rules, and you know me — the more the merrier! I love a good challege! 😁 She writes,

First names that we cannot use:
Anything that infringes upon their middles or their nicknames. Examples:
No variations on Anne or Elizabeth since we already have Anneliese (Anne-Elizabeth).
Nothing Marian-that-starts-with-M since we already have a child often called Mary, etc.

No common first names or names often heard in Catholic circles:
Rose, Therese, Mary-Agnes, Bernadette, Zelie — all would be out.

Family and close friend names we cannot use include:
Gabriela, Sophia, Bridget, Rebekah, Anna, Felicity, Genevieve, Anastasia, Abigail, Azelie, Clare, Bernadette, Gianna, Emilia, Eleanor

I’d rather not have any more names that start with an A, M, S, or a hard C/K sound.

See how picky I am? And I haven’t even gotten to the rules yet! 🙂

Rules are:
First name must be a saint, or version of a saint’s name, or a holy association (like Marigold: Mary’s gold).
Middle name should be a family name.
Both first and middle should have the same number of letters. I noticed we had been doing this accidentally with kids 1-4, and when kids 5 and 6 also followed the pattern without intending it, we decided that’s just what we’d keep doing. Kids 7&8 worked out perfectly, too. We’ve never had to force a middle name we didn’t want just to make it work.

Potential family names we can use (feminize them or change them a bit to fit the same-number-of-letters rule) are: Luke, Rosa, DeeLane, Marcella …

First names that hubby really, really likes are Vianney and Juniper. So, Vianney Rosalie or Juniper Rosalie. Vianney is one of my favorite saints and has been on the list since our first child was conceived 13 years ago, but the name doesn’t suit me this time for some reason. And, while I really am drawn to Juniper Rosalie, I’m not sure if it’s too unisex of a name. I’m not thrilled with giving a daughter a name that isn’t easily recognized as being a female name. Alexandra, Anneliese, Marigold, and Sylvie just scream GIRL and Juniper ….doesn’t. Also, sometimes the “nipper” at the end bothers me. But the potential NN of Juni is pretty darn cute.

I really, really, REALLY like (but don’t love) the name Gemma and keep coming back to it. It’s delicate, girly, and sweet. Hubby proposed Gemma Lucia. We’ve wanted to name a baby after hubby’s godfather, Brother Luke, for a long time. Lucia works very well but I’m just not sold on it – Lucia to me right now seems so Catholic on-trend because of this being the year of the anniversary of Fatima, and Gemma sounds almost sounds too worldly/trendy. Maybe I’m being too picky. Argh! This is so tough!!!

A name that keeps popping into my head over and over is Goretti. I don’t even know where it came from since I’ve never before considered that to be a name, but it’s growing on me. I don’t know what would possibly work for a NN, though, and Retti and Retta are not something I’d like. Greta/Gretta could be used as a NN – and Greta it was a runner up with the last baby. But I’ve somewhat grown away from it.

I think Zoe(y) is precious but it’s so short and I don’t think it ages well. Hubby and I also like Savina but we aren’t convinced we want an S girl following another S girl. We’ve always liked the name Benedicta but we already have a Bennett. I like Isadora but hubby says no. I don’t think we can do any old lady names, as much as I like some of them. So no Imelda or Edith or Agatha or Leona/Leonie or Millicent. Gosh, I think Millicent is adorable though.”

Alright, I spent a lot of time on this, and I’m still not sure of my ideas! I actually had the privilege of doing a private consultation for Kym when Sylvie was on the way and, looking back at it, I had to cross three names off the list of ones I was going to recommend here because I’d suggested them before! I also found the rules about not wanting common names difficult because the names I’d usually go to for parents who don’t want top ten are the ones that are Catholic-common, which are also out per Kym’s rules! Amazing! I’m not being critical at all, it’ll be so satisfying if I can actually come up with something they might like!

I love both Vianney Rosalie and Juniper Rosalie, gorgeous! I see what Kym means though about Juniper feeling a bit too unisex next to her other girls’ names. Unfortunately, feel similarly about Vianney — though my major association with it as a current first name is Lindsay’s daughter from My Child I Love You, so it feels mostly feminine to me, a bunch of you have suggested it for boys on past posts, and one who said that because it’s exclusively male where she lives (France) using it for a girl would be akin to “a girl called John or Andrew.” I’m not campaigning against it! Just, if obviously feminine is their goal, neither Vianney nor Juniper might be quite right. On the other hand though … I so totally agree with Kym about Juni!!

Gemma Lucia is a fantastic combo! I definitely wouldn’t characterize Gemma as “too worldly/trendy” — sure, it has use outside of Catholic circles, and it has increased in popularity fairly rapidly since it entered the top 1000 in 2008 (it’s currently at no. 247), but I don’t see it as any different than their other kids’ names, all of which fit nicely into certain non-Catholic trends and popular sounds. I think it’s a great fit! As for Lucia being “Catholic on-trend,” I mean yes, it certainly is because of the Year of Fatima, but if you’re going to use it, using it during its big year is so great! But perhaps a different five-letter middle would be a better fit for them for Gemma? Tapping into the family names they want to use as middles, maybe Gemma Roser? Roser is a Catalan feminine form of Rosario, which points back to Rose (rosaries are so named because they’re meant to be thought of as a crown or bouquet of roses for Our Lady). Or Gemma Zella, where Zella is the German diminutive for Marcella?

I really like Goretti! And I do think Gret(t)a could work nicely as a nickname for it, or maybe Greer, especially as both Greer and Goretti come from Gregory. Etti (Eddy) could be cute too. I think there’s a chance that people they meet outside their Catholic circle might not be familiar, and so it might come across like Vianney and Juniper in the sense of not being very girly, but certainly Catholics should know it refers to a female saint. It reminds me of Cabrini, which I would have suggested to them if Kym hadn’t said no C/K names.

I love Zoe(y) too, and Savina’s cute too … Benedicta’s great, but Bennett … Isadora, Imelda, Edith, Agatha, Leona/Leonie, and Millicent are all a great bunch of names! And I actually don’t think of Leonie and Millicent as old lady names anymore — I have a cousin who’s 14 named Millicent/Millie, so it stopped being an old lady name to me ages ago, and while I know an old lady named Leona, I’ve only heard Leonie on more recent families wanting to honor St. Therese’s sister, so it too has a more youthful feel. And Edith’s coming back! I know a bunch of families who have considered it, and at least two who have named their babies Edith (here and here).

So those are my thoughts on the names Kym and her hubs have discussed/are considering; now on to my own ideas! I was mostly influenced by their seeming desire to have this baby girl have a name that’s as girly as their older girls’ names. I did use the Baby Name Wizard for inspiration, but I went more by my gut than anything. The names that I had on my final list that I crossed off because I’d suggested them last time were Verity, Juliet(te), and Elodie, all of which are consistent with this family’s style per the BNW, and all of which I still like for them in case they want to reconsider them. And I also really wanted to suggest Klaudia to them, as they were considering Klaus if the baby had been a boy, so if they wanted to reconsider their C/K rule I think it would be great! (Or Colette, if they like the idea of a Nicholas name for a girl. I love Colette.)

My new ideas are:

(1) Vesper
I think this name is unmistakably feminine, unlike Vianney and Juniper, and in sound it’s almost like a mashup of Vianney and Juniper. Its Catholic connection comes from “vespers” being the name for Evening Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours, but others might also know it as one of the Bond girls! I like the idea of Vesper Roisin (Roisin is an Irish Rose name, pronounced ro-SHEEN, and spelled in Irish as Róisín), and there’s actually a variety of rose called the Vesper Rose!

(2) Junia
This was actually the first idea I had for this baby, after seeing that Kym loves Juni but was uncertain about Juniper. Junia’s the name of a woman in the bible (some believe it was meant to be the man’s name Junius, others translated it as Julia, but the bible as presented by the U.S. bishops on their web site says Junia). One of the Hanson brothers (MMMBop) has a daughter named Junia Rosa Ruth, which is gorgeous. Junia Lucia would work, but maybe too matchy? Maybe Junia Lucie would work better? Junia Roser and Junia Zella are also fine.

(3) Delia
This was one of those gut-feeling names. It’s pretty and feminine and can be a short form of Adelia, which is a variant of Adela (several saints and blesseds so named), or Bedelia, which is an Irish diminutive of Bridget (but Kym said no to Bridget, not sure if this would count?) (there’s also Cordelia, which has no saint connections as far as I can tell). Like with Junia, Delia Lucia/Lucie, Delia Roser, and Delia Zella can all work. It also feels really close to DeeLane (from their list of potential middles) sound-wise, but I’m not sure what to do with that. (I also wondered if Delaney would make a do-able DeeLane tweak?)

(4) Edessa
Our Lady of Edessa is one of Mary’s titles — Edessa is the old name for modern-day Urfa in Turkey, and the title refers to an old miraculous image. It’s a lovely, feminine, non-M Marian name! I like Edessa Roisin.

(5) Natalia
This was suggested by my research in the BNW and I love it for this family! It’s feminine and gorgeous and really saintly — there are two that I know of — and fun nickname options like Natty, Tally, Talia, Lia, and Nolly. Natalia Rosalie is so beautiful! Natalia Lucille can also work for their Br. Luke, and Natalia DeeLane (or Natalia Delaney) also works, letter-wise.

(6) Zara
I loooove this idea because of what I discovered about it recently! First off, it’s a style match for both Gemma and Zoe, which I thought was so interesting, and it’s definitely uncommon in all circles. I wasn’t sure about saintly connections though, and when I went looking I discovered that it’s a Bulgarian diminutive of Zaharina, which is the Bulgarian and Macedonian feminine form of Zechariah! Wow!! (Hence the spotlight I put up here.) Zara Rose is pretty, but maybe too R heavy? Zara Lucy maybe, or Zara Luce (not only a nod to Br. Luke and Fatima but also Bl. Chiara Luce Badano)? Would Zara Lane work as a nod to their DeeLane?

(7) Esme
Esme’s a style match for Sylvie, and I’ve always thought it’s sweet and feminine. Being that it means “esteemed” or “loved” in Old French, they could make a holy association to Mater Amata (“Beloved Mother”). Esme Rose is gorgeous! It can also be spelled Esmee (Esmée), which could open up Lucia, Lucie, and Zella as middles.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister for this well-named crew?

Birth announcement: Zelie Gianna!

I posted a consultation for Rachel and her husband back in April, and Rachel’s let me know her little green bean has arrived — a little GIRL named … Zelie Gianna!

Rachel writes,

I wrote you a few months ago for a baby name consultation, on June 5th we welcomed our little girl, and we named her Zelie Gianna. Her brother, Albie is loving his new sister!

In the end, I felt like I had been praying for these 2 saintly mommas in heaven so much during my pregnancy (and continue to even more now!), when we found out the baby was a girl after she was born, it just seemed like we couldn’t name her anything else!

Zelie Gianna! What a great name!! And I love it with big brother Albert Francis (Albie) — what a great, saintly pair!

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Zelie!!

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Zelie Gianna

Baby name consultation: Short, meaningful, unique, pronounceable name needed for baby girl no. 3

Emily and her husband are expecting their third baby — their third girl! This little lady joins big sisters:

Eden Holly (born at Christmas)
April Grace (born in April)

What beautiful names, and what a fun style!

Emily writes,

My first daughter is Eden Holly (born at Christmas), second daughter is April Grace (born in month of April), and third daughter we had intended to name Quinn Verity. My husband and I were so certain on the name. However, we just shared it with our in-laws and they say it sounds like “Queen Vanity, or Vanity Queen”. Now this is stuck in my head, and we’re at a loss on what to name her with just over 5 weeks to go.

We like short and meaningful names, which are unique but still pronounceable (we live in Asia, so we want to limit the opportunities for mispronunciations or mispellings).”

I love Quinn Verity, and I share Emily’s disappointment that her in-laws hear “Queen Vanity”! I don’t think I would have noticed it if it hadn’t been pointed out to me, and even still I don’t think it’s a huge problem, especially since she’ll mostly just be known by Quinn, or Quinn LastName, or Quinn LastInitial. Even if I were to hear a mom call out “Quinn Verity” as her daughter’s full name, like at the playground, or hear her full name said as her name is announced for her high school diploma, I think my initial reaction would always be, “Wow, Quinn Verity is such a great combo.” But I totally get having something stuck in your head and not being able to ignore it!

Anyway! I approached this consultation in two different ways: First, to find alternate middle names to go with the first name Quinn, and second, to find alternate first names to go with the middle name Verity. Here are my alternate middle name ideas (these are all based on my research in the Baby Name Wizard — I looked up the names Emily and her hubs used for their older girls, as well as Quinn and Verity, as the BNW lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity; I also had some ideas of my own):

(1) Quinn Celeste or Quinn Caeli
I suspect that these middle names might not pass the “easily pronounceable” test in non-English- or non-Romance-language-speaking countries? But I kind of thought it might be cool to use the “queen” sound of Quinn to create a meaningful “queen” first+middle combo — it struck me as very Marian to do so! Celeste and Caeli both refer to heaven — Regina Caeli is a Latin title of Our Lady, meaning “Queen of Heaven,” and Caeli is said “CHAY-lee” in Church Latin, though you could say “KAY-lee” if you prefer. Celeste is a step away — though it means “heavenly,” I’ve not really seen it used for Our Lady. But “heavenly queen” certainly nods to her!

(2) Quinn Amata
This, too, is a Marian thought — another of her titles is Mater Amata (“Beloved Mother”), and Quinn Amata could nod to her in that way. Lovely!

(3) Quinn Juniper
Juniper is a style match for Verity, according to the BNW, and since Eden, April, and Holly have a nature feel, I thought Juniper fit right in.

(4) Quinn Edel
I should note that I found out after the fact that Quinn is actually for Ven. Edel Quinn, and so my first two middle name ideas, which mostly played on the “Queen” sound in order to make Marian combos, probably get a little too far from Ven. Edel connection (though I suppose they could think of them as “first name for Ven. Edel, middle name for Mother Mary”). I wondered if Quinn Edel might be a good solution?

As for new first name ideas to go with Verity as a middle name, I thought these might be good ideas:

(1) Wren Verity
I haven’t decided yet if I think Wren Verity is too close in sound to Quinn Verity — and thus doesn’t move it far enough away — but I love the idea of it for this family. It’s nature-y, like so many of the other names they like, and when I spotlighted Hope from Hope and Justin, I loved this beautiful explanation she had for her daughter Wren’s name: “Another thing that made this name special for me was this quote by St. Therese. ‘O Jesus, your little bird is happy to be weak and little. What would become of it if it were big? Never would it have the boldness to appear in your presence, to fall asleep in front of you.’ I had just discovered the Theresian book ‘I Believe in Love’, and was very moved by this quote and her message of littleness; with this in mind, she was named … Her birthday (October 3) is the old feast of St. Therese, and the eve of St. Francis, and I think the name Wren goes well with the spirit of both of these Saints.”

(2) Cara Verity or Kira Verity
I like the Irish feel of Quinn, so I wanted to find a name that might have that feel and be a meaningful choice as well. Though Cara’s an Italian name meaning “dear, beloved” it’s also used in Irish — the beautiful Irish phrase anam cara means “soul friend,” where cara means friend. Cara Verity could therefore be thought of as “true friend,” or “friend of truth,” or — using the Italian meaning, “beloved truth.” Lovely meanings!

Kira’s another one that I like for this family. The Irish variant is what I first thought of (Ciara, or Keira), but I thought Kira might be an easier spelling. The Irish Ciara means “black,” while the spelling Kira has been connected to the Greek for “Lord,” as in Kyrie eleison (“Lord have mercy”).

(3) Iris Verity
I like the nature-y feeling of Iris, as it’s a flower name, and it also means “rainbow,” which is pretty cool.

(4) Rowan Verity
Rowan is listed as a style match in the BNW for both Eden and Quinn, which I thought was pretty great! It’s a tree name and it has an Irish feel as well.

(5) Skye Verity
Skye was also listed as a style match for Eden and Quinn, and I thought they could think of “Skye Verity” as meaning “heavenly truth,” which is so pretty!

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Eden and April’s little sister?

The importance of names in this particular beatification case

Have any of you seen this article? On the road to sainthood: Family of 9 murdered for hiding Jews in Poland by Dominika Cicha, posted yesterday at Aleteia.

It was more horrifying than I anticipated: The Ulma family — the 44-year-old dad, his 32-year-old pregnant wife, and their seven children (ages 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 1.5, and unborn) — were shot and killed for hiding eight Jews (father, mother, and four sons of the Szall family, and two daughters of the Goldman family), who were also killed. The Jews were murdered first, in front of the family; then the parents, in front of the children; then the children.

And some people don’t believe the devil exists. SMH.

This holy family consisted of:

Józef (dad)
Wiktoria (mom)
Stanisława “Stasia” (age 8)
Barbara “Basia” (age 6)
Władysław “Władzio” (age 5)
Franciszek “Franuś” (age 4)
Antoni “Antoś” (age 3)
Maria “Marysia” (age 1.5)
Unnamed baby, who was due not long after the killings, and was discovered partially born when a few men from the village secretly recovered the bodies for a proper burial

All I can think of when reading something like this is Jesus on the cross saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

The particular detail of this story that caused me to want to post it here is this bit:

At the diocesan stage of the process a decision was made to add the Ulmas’ six children, because of their parents’ faith. There is dilemma concerning the child who died in mother’s womb. Provisions applying to canonizations and beatifications clearly stipulate that a candidate to be declared saint or blessed in the Catholic Church should be known by first and second name. The Vatican congregation will ultimately decide whether the youngest member of Józef and Wiktoria’s family will be considered a martyr, too.”

I did some research and couldn’t find that information anywhere — that a candidate needs to be known by first and and second name. Certainly the baby’s credentials are not based on disagreements about personhood, as the Church holds we are persons from the moment of conception. And of course not being beatified or canonized doesn’t mean the baby isn’t in heaven, just that the Church doesn’t have enough information to declare him or her to be so.

The fact that this comes down to his or her name is also really interesting from the perspective of choosing names for our babies before they’re born, and not just a boy name and a girl name, but the baby’s actual name, which would require finding out the sex during pregnancy. Are there some among us who might decide to find out our baby’s sex, in order to name him or her, so that if the worst happens our babies will be known by name and be able to be included among the list of Venerables/Blesseds/Saints? Given the wide range of personalities in the Church, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some who would do so!

I wonder, too, if “be known by first and second name” means more than just having a name, but also means that others must know it? That is, not just that there’s a name the parents have given or intend to give to the baby, but that it’s one that’s been shared with others, so much so that others would know and refer to the baby by that name?

I wonder, too, if the Church can name the baby. Though that right and privilege is given to parents, this is certainly an unusual situation that might require an unusual solution.

Also, what is this “second name” business? Perhaps a new requirement? I’m just thinking of when people didn’t even necessarily have surnames, but we certainly have saints from back then. (Not that the second name matters here — the baby’s second name IS known:  Ulma.)

I’m not being argumentative, I’m just interested. I trust the Church’s process, and I know there is so often more to a story than what we know.

In trying to find out more, I was googling variations on “can children and babies be canonized” and I was getting pages and pages of results having to do with Jacinta and Francisco — I couldn’t get past them! I did find a couple things that I thought were helpful and/or interesting, though:

Divinis Perfectionis Magister is the 1983 Apostolic Constitution by Pope John Paul II that outlines the canonization process (no mention of names though)

Child saints have much to teach the Church on suffering, sacrifice by Charles Collins at Crux 

5 Child Saints Who Totally Put All of Us Adults to Shame at ChurchPOP

It’s important to note that with the Ulma children, there isn’t any controversy about whether they were old enough to have led lives of “heroic virtue” (as is sometimes argued in regards to children), as they’re being considered martyrs (though even then, it’s an unusual case I think, because they’re being considered martyrs “because of their parents’ faith” rather than because of their own).

If any of you can point me to any sources that explain or demonstrate that candidates for the canonization process need to be known by first and second name, please do! And also, the idea of children being considered by virtue of their parents’ faith (I’ll be musing on that for a while — it certainly adds an extra something to parents’ responsibilities in regards to their children!).