Birth announcement: Lolek Augustine!

A couple of years ago, a mama messaged me asking about the name Lolek — the nickname St. John Paul II had gone by as a child. She and her hubby had almost decided to use it for their baby-on-the-way, if they had a boy, and just needed a little encouragement, which I was happy to give!

After last week’s post about saintly nickname names, I got this message from her:

Your post today reminded I forgot to tell you we did indeed name our son Lolek Augustine. He’s 2 now!

Ahhhh how fun to get this update, and about such a great name!! I asked about it a little more and she said,

We love the ‘aha’ moment when people realize who his name is a nod to. The people who get it right away are few and far between, and it feels kind of like an underground code name. We love it!

An “underground code name”!! That’s so fantastic!! I’m so glad for you all to see a real-life Lolek — maybe he will “encourage a surge of Loleks,” as his mama put it!

Congratulations to this little guy’s parents and big brothers Jude Maximilian and Eli Sebastian, and happy (belated!) birthday Lolek!!

lolek_augustine

Lolek Augustine


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Marigold Azélie!

I posted a request for prayers for a family in the wake of the stillbirth of their beautiful baby, Zita Marie-Catherine, a while ago, and I was so very happy for them when the mama, Kara, let me know this past fall that they were expecting another baby! Now I’m thrilled to share that their baby girl has arrived and been given the amazing name … Marigold Azélie!

Kara writes,

Well, our newest baby GIRL arrived at 7:49am on November 8th. She weighed 8 lbs 14oz. And we named her. . .

Marigold Azélie!
(We’re using the ah-ZAY-lee pronunciation.)

As you know, I was sort of set on using an Italian first name, but your consultation made me realize I cared more about the story behind the name than the nationality. So here’s the story:

[Hubby] and I were pretty settled on a boy name, but struggled with one if the baby was a girl. After three girls, I felt like we had used up our most-favorite options. Sometime in late August I had tossed out the name “Marigold” (which I was reminded of in your book!) as a name we could use in honor of Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, not thinking he would go for it. I was right, he wasn’t keen on it. So I moved on. Then in mid-September a friend threw me a shower and one of the cards I received was a vintage print of the marigold flower. I went home and jokingly told [hubby] it was a sign that if we had a girl we should name her Marigold. Of course, he rolled his eyes. Fast forward a week or two and one night I was complaining about something pregnancy related and he responded with, “Well, would it make you feel better to know that Marigold is now in my top three names for girls?” Um, what?? His change of heart was due to the fact that the Diocese of Des Moines’ feast day is August 22nd, the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. Due to his job and it being a big year for the diocese with the ordination of a new bishop, he thought it was very fitting. We also liked that a nickname is Mary because it’s a family name (his grandma Mary turned 90 two days before Marigold was born). By early October it became a slight frontrunner for us, but it also felt very “different” given the fact that all the other kids’ names are straight saint names. Then when I was 38 weeks pregnant I came across more info on the marigold, its meaning and its relation to Mary [in an article by Br. John M. Samaha, S.M., on the University of Dayton’s web site] … I also discovered that the marigold is the flower for October, making me convinced that if we had a girl she was going to be born in October. Ha!

One bit that particularly moved this mama in that article linked to above was the following:

Sometimes described as ‘the flower of grief’, the marigold actually weeps on occasion. Droplets gather in the flower during the night and drip off like tears when it opens in the morning. This characteristic moved Shakespeare to write in A Winter’s Tale:

“The Marygold that goes to bed with the sun, / And with him rises weeping.”

These flowers primarily convey the message “I will comfort your grieving heart”.

Grief mixed with joy, poverty linked with abundance of good gifts — that is the marigold’s reflection of the lady for whom she is named.”

How beautiful!! Kara continues,

For me personally, besides the grief aspect, Marigold’s name also is connected to Zita in that although Zita was due Aug. 24th, I had hoped she would be born on Aug. 22nd. I had thought it would be fitting that since Zita was named after an Empress/Queen, she’d share a feast day with the Queen of Heaven. So this is a way for me to honor Zita without making it feel so heavy.

Azélie is obviously for St. Marie-Azélie, but kind of surprised me in that it only came to us right before baby’s due date. For the past 18 months I was SET on using Clairvaux for a middle name, but [hubby] kind of liked it better for a boy middle name. One day I was thinking about Marie-Azélie, her own child losses and her motherhood, realizing that in the past year I’ve understood more fully what it means to be a mother and have worked harder than ever before at becoming a better one. A few days later my sis-in-law sent me a quote from a book she was reading on Marie-Azélie’s life and that’s what sealed the deal …

So many people have commented on the beauty of Marigold’s name, young and old alike! Many have added that they’ve never heard of it, but my favorite was a little old retired priest who said, “Lady Edith has a Marigold!” Haha.

Of course my Gabriel was hoping for a boy, so when he came to the hospital and discovered he had yet another sister he immediately asked, “What’s her name?” in a way that was holding out hope it was something he liked. When we said it was Marigold he crinkled his nose with an “ugh.” He admits he likes it now, though! The kids call her “Mare,” “Marigoldie” and “Marigoldilocks.” 🙂 [Hubby] and I use Mary from time to time, but I’m careful because I never want the full Marigold to get lost — it’s too beautiful!

Isn’t this such a wonderful story?? I love that they were able to find a name that connects to their little Zita without, as Kara said, “making it feel so heavy.” This is just so lovely, all around!

Congratulations to Kara and her husband and big siblings Gabriel Gerard, Cecilia Immaculée, Gemma Thérèse (and Zita Marie-Catherine in heaven), and happy birthday Baby Marigold!!

Marigold Azélie with her family ❤ (Photo credit: Laura Wills Photography)

(In the top left picture, she’s laying on the Sacred Heart blanket from Be A Heart)


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Magnus Craig!

I posted a consultation for Amy’s fourth baby back in October — the third consultation I had the privilege of doing for her and her hubby, after having done one for their second baby (and his birth announcement) and their third baby (and her birth announcement). Now I’m delighted to share that her baby BOY has arrived and been given the handsome name … Magnus Craig!

Amy writes,

No overly complex name story or meaning for this one, like the others. We just liked it best.

We still didn’t really have any solid name ideas when we arrived at the hospital (I was induced). After he was born I couldn’t shake the Magnus idea. I stayed quiet about it and asked my husband his ideas. He replied that one had come to mind and had a look like — I think you know what it is and I bet it’s what you are thinking too, even though I think he said something like “You might not like this”. But yep, we acknowledged that we were both thinking Magnus. We still tried to think of others, testing them to see if anything else fit but quickly discarded that. We were too drawn to/ stuck on Magnus. We had almost used it for Kane and it was just still with us.

So then came the task of the middle/second name. I liked the flow of James Magus best and I would love to honor my wonderful father, as we did my mom in Molly and I felt we already honored his dad in Kane. But … we decided that we really wanted to call him Magnus and thus it really should be in the first name slot to do so — instead of going by the middle again like Kane does, because that can be a pain, although works for his situation as ‘the second’. Marty had kept throwing out the idea of Craig as a middle the whole pregnancy and was pretty stuck on it. So Magnus James or Magnus Craig or Magnus __? <– probably another one syllable name, we tried like every one on a one syllable boy name list … Magnus Craig won out because it just flowed the best of all and Marty had wanted it all along. I gave it to him, as I felt I got the first name I wanted. So I ended up I feeling like we both Named him and I named the last 2 while he named the first 2.

He might have nick name potential with Mag or maybe Mack from the initials MC — I think of like last names McIntosh. Kristy has taken to calling him Maggie, one of your girl suggestions haha, which always makes us cringe and correct her because it’s a girl name, sigh.

I like the uniqueness of his name and reactions we get with it. I suddenly notice it around now and love it. It really does fit him and our family well. ♥️”

I loved reading all of this!! I love that Amy said they just liked Magnus Craig best — that’s perfect!! I’m so interested in the nicknames too — Mag and Mack
are both great (the Maggie bit made me laugh! I can totally see that! It’s so hard not to add an -ee sound onto the end of babies’ names!).

Congratulations to Amy and her hubby and big sibs Kristy, Kane, and Molly, and happy birthday Baby Magnus!!

Magnus Craig with his family ❤


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Reading round-up, birth announcement edition

I have a backlog of birth announcements from public figures in the Catholic online/social media world that I’ve been wanting to share, so here they are! Happy Friday! (If I’ve forgotten anyone, please let me know! There are also a couple that I’m not totally sure are okay to post publicly — if you’re one of them, please let me know!)

I posted a consultation for Kendra from Catholic All Year back in May, and you’ve probably all seen that her baby was born in September — a gorgeous baby girl named … Barbara Josephine!

I did a private consultation for Lindsay from Just Love Prints late last year, and was delighted when she shared the birth of her baby just after Christmas — a lovely little lady named … Lillian Joy “Lilly”!

I posted a birth announcement for the fourth baby of Katrina from Rose Harrington Art a couple years ago, and she recently shared the birth of her fifth baby on Instagram — a beautiful baby girl named … Liliane Cruz “Lily”!

I posted about the naming of the children of my favorite football player, Philip Rivers, a few years ago (thanks to his lovely wife!), and then a birth announcement for their eighth baby not that long after; they’ve since had another baby — a darling daughter named … Anna! (Beautiful story and picture of the whole family [minus the baby] here.)

The Hanson (MMMBop) middle brother Taylor’s wife Natalie is a name lover like us, and has written about naming their babies on Nameberry here (first four) and here (no. 5); she had baby no. 6 a year ago — a handsome little dude named … Claude Indiana Emmanuel “Indy”! She shared the name story on Nameberry here. (Note: I know they’re not Catholic. I hope Natalie doesn’t mind me including her here!)

I love following Anna and Gabe Liesemeyer from In Honor of Design on Instagram, and couldn’t wait to see what they named their sixth baby! I wasn’t disappointed! They welcomed a sweet little Miss who they named … Chiara Maris!

Leah Darrow was a contestant on America’s Next Top Model and is now an amazing Catholic evangelist! She shared an amazing video on Instagram FROM HER HOSPITAL BED AS SHE LABORED that she’d made in response to Michelle Williams’ recent Golden Globes speech about how she wouldn’t have been able to have the life she has without having had an abortion; like an hour later Leah posted the picture of her brand new baby (!!!), a bouncing baby boy named … Valor Joseph!

Congratulations to all the parents and siblings, and happy birthday Barbara, Lilly, Lily, Anna, Indy, Chiara, and Valor!! Have a great weekend everyone!!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Michael Gabriel! (And a nickname question)

I posted a consultation for girl names for Dana and her hubby back in October, but they ended up having a boy! Dana let me know that they’ve named him after his dad — the so angelic … Michael Gabriel!

She writes,

Just wanted to let you know that we gave birth to our baby boy on Wednesday, Jan 22, the national day of prayer for the unborn. We did name him Michael Gabriel, after his father 😀 7 lbs, 3 oz and almost 21″ long. So far the transition from one to two seems to be going well! So we weren’t able to use any of the beautiful suggestions for girl names this time, but hopefully we’ll have many more opportunities!

Michael Gabriel is such a handsome, heavy-hitting combo!! And I, too, love the significance of a baby born on the national day of prayer for the unborn!

Dana had another question, which you all can help with:

One little dilemma I thought I’d ask you about… So my husband goes by Mikey, his dad goes by Mike. My husband really wants to call our son Mikey, too, but I think it is too confusing to have two Mikeys running around, haha! I’d like to call him Gabe, and I think he looks like a Gabe 😉 But my husband isn’t keen on it now. So even though it was easy to name him, we still haven’t decided what to actually call him! Of course we could use Michael or Gabriel, but we both really like nicknames. Another friend suggested, ‘Mick,’ any other ideas? No worries if not- just thought I’d ask!

Of course I have some ideas! 😀 I can certainly see how two Mikeys can be confusing! There is a precedent for it — it’s not for nothing that Seniors and Juniors are sometimes known as “Big Dan” and “Little Dan,” for example, so Big Mikey and Little Mikey could be cute, but if Dana’s not feeling it, maybe:

— I’ve sometimes suggested Miles or Milo as nicknames for Michael, both because of the “Mil” being contained in “Michael,” and because behindthenamesays that, while the origin of Miles is unknown for sure, it’s been associated with the Latin miles, meaning “soldier,” for a long time. I love a “soldier” nickname for Michael — the warrior angel! Additionally, both Miles/Myles and Milo have been used in Ireland as anglicizations of the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “servant of the Virgin Mary” — a legit Marian name for a boy! My only hesitation with Miles is that it’s got similar letters to big sister’s name, Mary Elise … but since she always goes by Elise, it’s practically no issue at all, right? (Unless it bothers them, in which case maybe Milo would be better?)

— Maybe Mitch? Behindthename says Mitchell is derived from Michael, and with the first three letters of Michael being “Mich,” Mitch definitely seems doable.

— Maybe a different nickname for Gabriel? I’ve seen Gib and Gil, both of which I love.

— Maybe a mash-up nickname for Michael Gabriel? Like … Mel? Hm. Maybe this idea doesn’t work so well with Michael Gabriel.

— Maybe Junior? Or a name that nods to him being a Junior/the Second? I did a quick search for nicknames for babies that are The Second and saw Twain, Dewey (like for the French “deux”), and Chip (like “chip off the old block”). Or a name for a Third, since both Dana’s husband and his dad are Michael? Like Trip, Tripper, Trey, Tres/Trace.

— Or a nickname unrelated to his name? Like Buddy?

I don’t mind Mick — I have an uncle named Michael whose family has called him Mick and Mickey (though he’s Mike to the rest of the world). One thing to be aware of is that Mick has a history of being used as a derogatory term for the Irish, but that same link includes a list of men who have gone by Mick (including Mick Jagger) so it can definitely work! There’s also Mickey Mantle (a pretty great example) (his given name was actually Mickey!) and Mickey Mouse (which may or may not be an appealing example of the name).

What other ideas do all of you have?

Congratulations to Dana and her husband and big sister Elise, and happy birthday Baby Michael!!

Michael Gabriel with his parents and big sister ❤


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Saintly nickname names

There are a few names that started as nicknames, by which here I mean short forms or diminutives of other names, but have come to be considered formal names in their own rights. Some examples are Jack (diminutive of John), Pippa (diminutive of Philippa), Alison (diminutive of Alice) and Alice itself (a short form of Adalheidis [Adelaide]), Nancy (originally a diminutive of Agnes’ variant Annis, and later of Anne as well), Emmett (diminutive of Emma) and Elliott (diminutive of Elias [Elijah]), Molly (diminutive of Mary), Robin (diminutive of Robert), Austin (contracted form of Augustine), and Bennett (short form of Benedict). Many of these date back to the medieval period.

I was reading about Mickey Mantle recently and the fact that Mickey was his given name, not a nickname for Michael (which is how I’m most familiar with it). (Funny enough, Mickey Mantle was named for Mickey Cochrane, whose given name wasn’t Michael — it was Gordon! But he’d been nicknamed “Black Mike” because of his “fiery, competitive nature,” which I’m assuming is where Mickey came from?) Other names that started as nicknames (diminutives or short forms) that we often see bestowed as given first names include Jake, Maggie, Sadie, Archie (hello, little prince), Liam, and Mia.

There’s another set of nicknames that have taken on a life of their own as given names, which a recent consultation post reminded me of. It included a discussion of Nell as a given name and the parents’ preference for it to be a nickname for a more formal, saintly given name:

Nell is a name we’d both be excited to use which isn’t so easy to find. The trouble is that it’s really a nickname and we don’t care for the options for a full name. If we don’t use a full name like Helen the saintly connection is less obvious.

In this case, the hesitancy to use Nell as the given name is less about style (its nicknaminess) and more about the saintly connection being less obvious. A couple of you suggested Little Nellie of Holy God for the saintly connection* — she’s mostly known as Nellie, even though her baptismal name was Ellen, and I can see parents naming daughters Nellie with her in mind, since that’s the name mostly attached to the stories of her holiness. In this same vein, I thought it would be fun to compile a listing of saintly names that are actually nicknames (I don’t mean religious names). These include:

St. Rose of Lima
Rose’s birth name was Isabel! According to this site, “Isabel del Flores y del Olivia, known to history as St. Rose of Lima … was baptized on the day of her birth, with her aunt, Isabel de Herrara, acting as her godmother. The baby was named after her aunt, Isabel. Because the child was so beautiful, she was nicknamed Rosa or Rose. History and her family would call her by this name.”

St. Francis of Assisi
Francis’ birth name was John! According to his Wikipedia entry, “[His dad] Pietro was in France on business when Francis was born in Assisi, and [his mother, a Frenchwoman named] Pica had him baptized as Giovanni. Upon his return to Assisi, Pietro took to calling his son Francesco (“the Frenchman”), possibly in honor of his commercial success and enthusiasm for all things French.” (cited as the source: Chesterton, Gilbert Keith (1924). “St. Francis of Assisi” (14 ed.). Garden City, New York: Image Books: 158.)

St. Zelie
It’s perhaps not as unfamiliar that St. Zelie’s given name was Marie-Azélie, but she went by Zelie — and that’s the name I see her called and bestowed in her honor most often.

St. Bernadette
St. Bernadette’s given name was actually Marie-Bernarde! This site even refers to her as Marie, which I find kind of hilarious. As with so many of these nicknames, once you know that Bernadette (“little Bernarde,” where Bernarde is the French feminine form of Bernard) is a diminutive of her name, it takes on a such a sweet, affectionate feel.

Juanito (St. Juan Diego)
This one isn’t exactly like my previous examples, because I haven’t heard of lots babies being named Juanito when wanting to honor St. Juan Diego — in fact, I only know of one Juanito (the pastor of my parish), but I asked him about his name and it is, indeed, his given name, and it was bestowed in honor of St. Juan Diego, as Our Lady called him: “Juanito, Juan Dieguito, the most humble of my sons …” ❤

Lolek (St. John Paul II)
Like with Juanito, it’s rare to hear of a little Lolek, but I have heard it from time to time from Catholic parents looking for a different way to honor St. John Paul the Great, as it was his childhood nickname.

Can you think of other examples of Saints being known as a name that was not their given name (and not their religious name), which would be the name parents would be most likely to choose in their honor? Do you know of any little ones named in the style of Juanito and Lolek — nicknames that aren’t as well known and aren’t necessarily the names the Saints are known as, but are absolutely connected to them?

* As far as I can tell, Little Nellie’s cause for canonization has not been opened, though it’s pretty amazing that she was the reason Pope St. Pius X lowered the age of Communion for children: “‘There! That is the sign for which I was waiting.’ — Pope St Pius X after hearing about the holy life of little Nellie. A few months later in 1910 he issued “Quam Singulari” which significantly lowered the age of Holy Communion for children.”


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

 

Birth announcement: Bosco Anthony!

A mama for whom I’ve had the privilege of doing two private consultations (one a few years ago, as well as a birth announcement for that baby, and one a few months ago) has let me know she and her husband have welcomed a son and given him the fantastic name … Bosco Anthony!

She writes,

We have a baby boy, who we named Bosco Anthony. Although you had great suggestions for other boy names, it kind of solidified for my husband that Bosco was his favorite. I still had some reservations, but he convinced me and now I think it fits our little guy very well. Most people are unfamiliar with the name, and either have a reaction like “huh” or they think it’s cute and original. Occasionally people (usually men) think it’s awesome.

In the end we chose Anthony mostly because it sounded good as a full name, Bosco Anthony. I worried it is too Italian (he’s only 1/8 Italian) but I think the English-ness of [our last name] balances it out. He’s our first child without a family connection to the middle name, but probably like most people from a Catholic family, I have a small handful of instances where St. Anthony helped either myself or a relative find an important lost object in a way that was maybe not miraculous but certainly amazing. I’ve always appreciated St. Anthony, and I like that this baby is named for two solid saints.”

I love his name!! I’m so delighted that they ended up going with Bosco, and I love it paired with Anthony! Great job!!

Congratulations to the proud parents and big siblings Penelope, Leo, and Adelaide, and happy birthday Baby Bosco!!

Bosco Anthony with his big sisters and brother ❤


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!