Spotlight on: Stephen

Today’s the feast of St. Stephen, so what better name to spotlight? (My Christmas name post is here, and I hope you all had a very very merry, joyous, blessed Christmas!) (Pope Francis discussed St. Stephen during the Angelus today, saying, “If we are not all called to martyrdom, as Stephen was, nonetheless, the Pope said, “every Christian is called in every circumstance to live a life that is coherent with the faith he or she professes.” Pope Francis acknowledged that following the Gospel is a very demanding path. But, he said, those who follow it “with fidelity and courage” will receive the gift promised by the Lord to men and women of will – the promise announced by the angels to the shepherds: “on earth, peace to those on whom His favour rests.””)

I have a lot Stephens in my family — Stephen with a “ph” always and only, and don’t try to spell it Steven because that’s not their name. It’s a great, traditional, masculine name with a great history, including being the name of the first martyr and several kings. There are also several female versions, like Stephanie and Stefania.

There are two acceptable pronunciations apparently — STEE-ven and STEH-fen — but I’ve only ever heard STEE-ven in real life, and my family members all say it that way. Steve is a great nickname for a man or a boy, and Stevie great for a little boy (or a spunky choice for a girl, a la Stevie Nicks). It’s great for all ages, and while it’s pretty uncommon on little boys at the moment, mom blogger-turned-Catholic Digest editor Danielle Bean gave it to one of her sons. And besides, less-used names are all the rage among name nuts, right?

Do you know anyone named Stephen? Does he have any opinion of his name? What nickname does he go by, if any? What about girls with a feminine variant? What are their nicknames?


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