Do you all know Jenny from Mama Needs Coffee? She’s a hardcore JP2 girl, which is all I need to know (soul sisters and such). Also, she posted last month looking for help naming her fourth baby, which, you know, is what I live to do, and someone kindly suggested my blog (!!!!), and I followed up with an excited Yes please! and Jenny said Sure and here we are. So exciting!!
Jenny had provided all the relevant details (I almost wrote “deets” and then decided I’m neither young nor cool enough) in her post, like …
… her other kiddos’ names:
John Paul Francis (born a whole year before the election of the current pope — nice job with the middle name!)
Genevieve Therese nicked Evie (or “Evie doll,” which is the sweetest)
(Aren’t they wonderful!)
… and names they’re considering for this wee beb (with her own commentary):
Francesca (“for Frances of Rome, Francis of Assisi, and dear Papa Francesco“)
Rose (“for Rose of Lima, my Confirmation saint. And because her godfather is a native Peruvian from Lima, so how can we not?“)
Zelie (“Dave will never let me get away with this one but I’ve loved it for years and now she’s gone and is getting herself canonized the same year our baby is due. COME ON. And yes, I’m aware there is going to be a Catholic ghetto baby boom of little Z’s running around as a result. But I still love.”)
Elizabeth (“my sister’s name, and my best friend’s. I’m not in love with any particular St. Elizabeth, but I could cultivate a devotion to the Son of God’s Aunt, I suppose.”)
Grace (“A little popular, but it’s just such a sweet name. And it looks pretty next to Genevieve.”)
Luke (“meh. I’m fading on this one. But I’ve loved the name since I first saw Star Wars at age 12, and what child doesn’t want that kind of honor associated with his moniker? Plus, the Gospel of St. Luke is my fav.”)
Benedict (“we love our retired Papa“)
Reid (“family name on my side, Dave hates it, probably not a real contender“)
Anthony (“we love St. Anthony of Padua, our boys have an inexplicable devotion to him all their own, but I just don’t love the name. Daddy is a bigger fan than me. I’d consider Antonio because Italy, but then I’d punch myself for giving some poor kid the name Antonio Uebbing for life.”)
… and her due date:
… and her gut instinct:
“I think the girl’s names are a much more realistic list of actual contenders at this point, which means we’re probably definitely having a boy.”
And then we had a nice little email back and forth, in which she also said:
“I’m leaning more toward Francesca Rose after reading everyone’s comments, but still totally stumped for a boy. (and it’s probably a boy, all I want is green chile and salsa verde doritos and hot sauce on everything and I’m gaining like a freight train. ha.) … I’d name another kid after [Pope St. John Paul II] if I could get away with it – Karol maybe? Ha.”
So this is what I have to say about all this:
Okay, first off, a couple thoughts about her current ideas: Jenny said she’s leaning toward Francesca Rose for a girl after reading everyone’s comments. It’s beautiful! And so meaningful, with the Frances of Rome/Francis of Assisi/Pope Francis connection and the St. Rose of Lima—Jenny’s-Confirmation-saint-and-baby’s-godfather-being-from-Lima connection. And her love of Italian! (She loves Italy.) Francesca Rose is just great. But since she said she’s “leaning toward” it rather than fully embracing it says there’s an opening for new thoughts … first, I wondered if the Italian Rosa would pique her interest as a first name? Or maybe Rosana/Rosanna?
I was also very intrigued by Jenny’s love of Zelie and Elizabeth, as my first thought was — Zelie as a nickname for Elizabeth! And I was totally patting myself on the back for coming up with the best most unique idea ever … and then I read in the comments on her post our own dear reader Mandi at 3:59 on 4/11: “Maybe a more formal name with Zelie as the nickname” and Kate at 10:34 on 4/12 suggesting Zelie as a nick for Elizabeth. So I’m not as unique as I thought BUT it’s also great support for a great idea! What do you all think?? Is it too weird?? I just love this idea and it totally works! Ellie is a nick for Elizabeth; Z is in Elizabeth; shuffle up the letters … And this way Jenny honors her sister and her best friend and Zelie Martin all with one name; she gives her husband a longer name he can use or nick as he likes, and Jenny can have as her nick a name he otherwise wouldn’t go for. Seems like a win-win to me!!
As far as patrons, there are so many great Sts. Elizabeth, but I’m just crazy recently for Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur. What a woman!!! Since Elisabeth was French, Elizabeth could be in her honor as the English variation of her name. Or maybe stick with the spelling Elisabeth? Especially with having French Genevieve already? Elisabeth loses the obvious Zelie connection, but there are so many other great Eliz/sabeth nicks. Tess and Liddy are two of my favorites, and I have a sister Elizabeth who goes by Betsey. Another traditional Eliz/sabeth nickname is Lily, which is my second Eliz/sabeth thought for Jenny (after Elizabeth/Zelie) — Genevieve and Eliz/sabeth nicknamed Evie and Lily? Such sweet sister names! I love that Lily is Marian too. Whew that’s a lot packed into one name. 🙂
Another thought about Zelie — if not for a first name, I’d make a strong argument for a middle! Either Zelie or Azelie because, like Jenny said, COME ON, it’s her canonization year!!!
Finally, Grace — it is so sweet, yes popular, yes pretty next to Genevieve. It’s Marian and virtuous and Catholicky Catholic. It is quite a bit shorter than Genevieve, which maybe Jenny and her hubs like? My aesthetic sense tends to prefer a longer name especially for a girl, since their one girl has a longer name, but my aesthetic sense matters very little here of course. If Jenny was concerned about this too though, she could easily do something like Mary Grace, even if she only ever calls her Grace or Gracie. Sisters Genevieve and Mary Grace called Evie and Grace or Evie and Gracie are lovely together and a bit more balanced length-wise.
As for the boy ideas … Luke is hard to beat! The Gospel and the Skywalker are of course amazing reference points (reasons why it’s one of my faves too!), and it’s such a good match as a brother to Joseph and John Paul. Benedict I love for Papa Benny, like the Uebbings do. I want to give that man all the love I possibly can! I’ve found for myself and for others who consider Benedict that it’s not so easy to pair a middle name with it, as middle initials F, M, and J are really out unless you’re willing to saddle your boy with dirty initials. (So unfortunate!) That’s one of the reasons I love Reid on Jenny’s list — it screams “middle name” to me, as it’s a family name that she loves and her hubs doesn’t. The middle is the perfect spot for such a name! And there’s nothing wrong with initials B.R. Benedict Reid is very handsome! Benedict is like a forty ton Catholic wrecking ball, and Reid prevents the building from being blown to bits. (Does that make sense?)
Finally, Anthony. Jenny’s the second mama I’ve done a consultation for recently whose husband and kids love St. Anthony but mom’s not feeling it! I would totally put it in the middle, and if it’s in the middle, I would totally switch it to Antonio per Jenny’s preference.
Alrighty! The Uebbings have great taste and some great ideas here, but I can always come up with new ones. 😉 I have four for girls (I usually shoot for three but the last one snuck in there at the last minute), and I actually came up with six for boys, which I thought seemed appropriate since she said they’re having a hard time with boy names.
(1) Caterina or Catherine
As you all know, when I do a consultation, I often rely heavily on the Baby Name Wizard and its amazing feature where, for each entry, it lists boy and girl names that are similar in style/feel/popularity as the entry. It’s usually the first place I start when looking for ideas, and one name that showed up often for names the Uebbings have used and ones on their list of possibilities as well is Catherine/Katherine. I’m loving Catherine-with-a-C for them, after St. Catherine of Siena; it’s long, like Genevieve; and it’s got great nickname options (Cate/Kate, obviously!! 🙂 And Cat is sweet too). But I’m also loving Caterina, which was Catherine of Siena’s actual name, and Jenny loves Italian everything right?? Caterina is gorgeous. Genevieve and Catherine or Genevieve and Caterina? Lovely!
(2) Chiara or Claire/Clare/Clara
Okay, so I made a case for Genevieve needing a long-named sister, and now I’m suggesting Chiara or Claire/Clare/Clara. These names are just too good to pass by! Chiara especially, as it’s Italian, and what St. Clare of Assisi’s actual name was, and Bl. Chiara Badano Luce is ah-MAAAZing, a great great patron for today’s little girls. And even though it looks short, it’s actually three syllables like Genevieve, so … looks can be deceiving and all. I think it’s a great possibility. But if they like the idea of a Clare name but not Chiara, I also love Claire, Clare, and Clara (or Claira, as was used by one of our reader mamas recently).
(3) Karolina, Karoline, Caroline, Charlotte
Jenny said, “I’d name another kid after him if I could get away with it – Karol maybe? Ha.” I’m saying, nothing funny about that! Do it!!! I personally don’t recommend Karol for a boy, not for a first name — in the middle is fine (I know a little Peter Karol and a little Joseph Karol) — but what about for a girl? I’ve seen Karoline and Karolina storming up the Catholic name charts (I know one little Karolina, said like the state), but I also know an adult Karolina who’s from Poland (she says karo-LEEN-ah), and Caroline-with-a-C is totally legit as a JP2 honor name, since Karol is Charles and the Carol names are feminine variants of Charles. Charlotte is nice because it’s French, like Genevieve, but (though not necessarily “but”) it’s the new Baby Princess and loses a good deal of the visual and audio connection to Karol.
Bernadette is inspired of course by the French Genevieve, but also by Jenny’s thought of Elizabeth, because I know someone who was going to name her daughter Bernadette and call her Betsy! How great is that?!
My very first boy suggestion goes to our Great John Paul — if Jenny wants to honor him again, and especially if she doesn’t want to it be really over-the-top obvious (since she already has a John Paul), Charles is the name for her! I love Charles. It’s so handsome and distinguished, and Charlie is a great, solid, boyish-yet-manly nickname. If they don’t love it as a first name, it’s a great middle, especially for Benedict — the initials B.C. are fine and Benedict Charles is amazing! And two papas in one! (St. Charles Borromeo is also pretty great.)
Leo is an amazing name! It’s handsome and classic, it’s papal (Pope St. Leo the Great!), and I know of at least one (very Irish) family who loves it but won’t use it because it comes across as “too Italian” for them.* Um, do you understand “too Italian”? I’m sure you’re either (1) no such thing! Or (2) awesome, bring it!
Dominic has that same heavy-hitting feel as John Paul and Benedict — there’s no denying that a little Dominic’s a Catholic boy! It’s also, like perhaps Leo, one of those names that can come across as very Italian. St. Dominic is one of my personal faves (I’m a life-professed lay Dominican).
I love what the Baby Name Wizard has to say about Gregory: “Popes, saints, and Gregory Peck! Can a name get any more distinguished?” I love that! Not only that, but Gregory is a Pope St. the Great, like John Paul and Leo. Love it! I suggested this for Grace Patton, with the nickname suggestions Rory and Gus (especially if the full name was something like Gregory Louis or Gregory Stephen — all the G’s and S’s) … I’m not feeling Rory for Jenny, but Gus I love.
Samuel is biblical and handsome, and Sam is one of the most amazing nicknames imo. It’s also a name that showed up in my research as similar in style/feel/popularity to some of the Uebbings’ other favorites.
This was a last-minute add-on after I did the spotlight of the name Gennaro and totally thought of Jenny. My only hesitation with it — and I guess it’s kind of a big one — is that it’s got the same soft-g/j initial sound like the other Uebbing kids. They probably don’t want to feel locked into that going forward. (But if they liked that theme, I could totally come up with a bunch of good names for future babies that start with soft G or J!!! :))
And those are all my thoughts for Uebbing Baby Quattro! What do you all think? Is there anything else you would suggest for them? Thanks to Jenny for letting me weigh in!
*Lest any Irish fams now think Leo is “too Italian” for them, please know that my family is super Irish and also super into Leo — there are several going back generations.
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