Shannon Taylor Wendt, of OrganicMamasShop.com (lots of beautiful things for mamas and Catholic ladies and First Communicants!), and her husband Arnold Zachariah (“Zach”) (I love that!) are expecting their sixth baby and fifth girl within a couple of weeks. Shannon writes:
“Our last name is Wendt, it has a hard sound to it, so the first name has to be flowy, without hard consonants at the end, a pretty name like Jacinta doesn’t sound right to my ear when paired with Wendt, too many hard T sounds … I, of course, want a very Catholic name, but it has to be a little different … I would like our kids to have a cool story when someone asks them where they got their name. A little way to witness. And a cool saint to be connected to! … We also don’t like nicknames.”
Their other children are:
Gorgeous, right? Shannon further noted that “so far our kids are either blonde (Isabelle and Seraphina) or red heads. And I feel like some names fit a red head better than a blonde, and vice versa. 🙂 ”
Shannon also provided the names that are on their “possibilities” list, but said none of them are really sticking out: Evangeline (Shannon’s favorite, but Zach has never liked it), Arianna or Adriana (Shannon prefers the former, Zach the latter), Anastasia (Zach’s favorite), Katrina, Kateri (but maybe too popular in their circle of friends), Felicity, Marielle, Edel or Quinn (though Shannon’s worried that “neither of these names sound Catholic. I think Quinn is a fun name, but the popular trend of choosing last names as first names might over shadow this cool Catholic name… And Edel, pronounced like Adelle, will be pronounced wrong all the time and when pronounced correctly might get confused with the singer“).
After thinking about their already-named kids’ names, and the names on their list of ideas, and their last name, and their preference for no nicknames, and Shannon’s so-well-worded hope that “I would like our kids to have a cool story when someone asks them where they got their name. A little way to witness. And a cool saint to be connected to!” I think I came up with some good suggestions/ideas. As always, I shoot for three suggestions:
(1) A meaning name (Charis or Felicity)
Shannon’s other kids’ names are just beautiful, and full of faith-y significance, which really binds them together nicely. Even still, Trinity struck me as an outlier of sorts, and though I really try not to let my personal preferences sneak (much) into my ideas for others, I admit my first thought was to find a name that would be a little closer in style to Trinity, to kind of balance out the sib set. My very favorite suggestion in this vein of thinking is Charis (pronounced CARE-iss). It’s feminine and pretty, like all of the other girls’ names, but it feels like more of a “meaning” name to me, like Trinity. It’s Greek for “grace,” and is contained within the word Eucharist. Merriam-Webster explains the Charis-Eucharist connection thusly: “Middle English eukarist, from Anglo-French eukariste, from Late Latin eucharistia, from Greek, Eucharist, gratitude, from eucharistos grateful, from eu– + charizesthai to show favor, from charis favor, grace, gratitude; akin to Greek chairein to rejoice.” Such great Catholic meaning, and beyond that — such a beautiful meaning for a baby girl! I know they already used Grace as Isabelle’s middle name, but I think Charis and Grace are different enough in sound/appearance (obviously), and one is a first name and one is a middle, that it would be totally fine and not weird.
Additionally, Anastasia’s on their list as Zach’s favorite, and though I don’t know how Shannon and Zach choose the middle names (and I rarely offer suggestions for them, since it’s impossible to know family names, etc.), Charis Anastasia is really popping for me as a gorgeous combo.
The other thought that rose to the surface in the “meaning name” vein was Felicity, which was already on their list. It means “happiness,” and I particularly liked it with the middle name Edel (there I go with middle name suggestions again!). Felicity Edel. Beautiful! Putting Edel in the middle also solves the pronunciation and not-so-obviously-Catholic issues Shannon mentioned in regards to Edel.* And Edel is a short middle, like the other girls’.
Some other names that might also work in this category are Stella, Roma, Gemma, Vesper, and Verity.
(*As a side note, I looked up Ven. Edel Quinn to see if there was anything else offered about her name that could provide inspiration, and I thought these bits were interesting:
— “Edel was accidentally but providently named ‘Edelweiss’ because the Priest who baptized her had bad hearing and thought her father said Edel when he said her name would be Adele.” (source)
— She took the names Josephine Eucharia as her Confirmation names (source) (I wasn’t able to find much on the name Eucharia, but I assume it’s connected to Eucharist, which is a nice connection to Charis, if they want to think of it that way)
— Her middle name was Mary and she belonged to the Legion of Mary (so … Mary) (source)
— “Her mother meant to name her Adele, with an “e” at the end, but the priest associated her name with the diminutive form of the flower Edelweiss, and so the name Edel somehow stuck.” (source) (I liked this specifically because Shannon was worried about the name being misheard as Adele – it’s cool that Adele is still kind of an honor name for her!))
(2) Long and feminine (Christiana or Genevieve)
There are so many really gorgeous long feminine names on their list of considerations, as well as their other daughters, that I headed in that direction for my second idea. Shannon loves Evangeline but Zach doesn’t; he loves Anastasia but Shannon isn’t sure — I wondered what they’d think of Christiana? It’s my very favorite of the Christ- names, and of course the fact that Jesus Himself is the Honoree makes it uber super duper Catholicky Catholic. Christiana also contains “ana,” which is my favorite part of Anastasia. Christiana Quinn? This is definitely a swoon-worthy name to me!
The other name that I thought fit this bill really well is Genevieve. It has similar sounds as Evangeline, with all the V’s and N’s and the soft G, and she’s the patron saint of Paris, which is just so cool. Genevieve Edel?
I know this probably seems somewhat out of left field, but Giselle showed up several times in the Baby Name Wizard book as related to names they’ve already used or like: Trinity (via Genesis), Arianna, Adriana, and Quinn (via Xavier). It’s also got the -elle ending like Marielle, and Bl. Gisella of Ungarn is pretty cool, so … maybe?
What do you all think? Do you think I’m in the right ballpark or miles away? Do you have any other suggestions to offer the Wendts? Please also remember to consider OrganicMamasShop.com for gifts for First Communion, Mother’s Day, Confirmation, or what have you — there are some really gorgeous things on there!