Julia and her husband are expecting their fourth baby, a boy! Their other children are:
Adam Henry IV
Frances Gianna (Gianna because, like St. Gianna, Julia’s a pediatrian and mother)
I just love their names — solid and classic and with great faith significance.
“My husband and I do not have any particular names in mind, unlike with our first three children … [We] have a trend of using family names as well as saint names. I’m not married to the idea of using another family name, though we are traditional like that and I’d be happy to do so again. I’d like to explore some “less traditional” names … my husband loves very “Catholic” names. He has thrown out several names such as Augustine, Boniface, Maximillian, Blaise, etc. I’m not sure I like such bold names, but MAYBE if it had a satisfactory coordinating nickname … I do love some of the suggestions you’ve made of using a more formal name with a good nickname (such as Miles for Maximilian) … I’m open to suggestions!!“
Names they’ve considered include:
George (Julia’s mother-in-law’s father’s name)
A name that starts with “E” (“because this baby is the fourth child born during a fall month, which somewhat mirrors my mother in law who is a fourth child born during a fall month. Her name is “Ellen Kathleen”“)
A name that honors JPII (either his name or legacy) because of being due on his feast day
Alrighty, first off, some thoughts about their current ideas:
George is a great option because it’s Julia’s mother-in-law’s dad’s name (I’m a big fan of family names!), and it’s getting some good Catholic-family name-love recently — I love that Pope Francis’ original first name was George (in the form of the Spanish Jorge). So that’s a great option!
I like their idea of using an E name in honor of Julia’s mom-in-law. I had a few ideas along this line: You all know that I usually start a consultation by looking through the Baby Name Wizard book for inspiration – it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that match the entry in regards to style/feel/popularity. Two that jumped out at me were Eric and Ethan, both are similar to Adam in different ways – Eric and Adam have a similar popularity trajectory, and Ethan and Adam are both biblical. Julia also said she’d like to explore some “less traditional names,” which I took to mean “less common,” and I thought both Ephraim and Edmund fit that description. Or what about Eli or Elijah or Elias? All of these names are saints’ names.
As for honoring JP2, it’s such a wonderful idea, and I can think of a few different ways to do so. There’s John Paul of course, or Charles/Carl/Karol (for his pre-papal name Karol). In the comments for the consultation I did for Jenny Uebbing from the blog Mama Needs Coffee, Margaret suggested JP2’s childhood nickname Lolek as a possible nickname for Luke, which I think is adorable – and Luke is a style match for Clare! They might also consider the Peter names, which of course would be a nod to JP2 being Pope: Peter or Pierce or Piers. Actually, when I was first reading Julia’s email and saw that she was open to “less traditional” names and that she’d like to honor JP2, I immediately scribbled down Pierce. I can see it being a great first or middle name … Eric Pierce, for example. Or Charles Pierce (first name and middle name for JP2!). JP2’s given middle name was Joseph, so that’s another possibility (also BXVI’s pre-papal name, so it could be a double whammy name!). Or maybe spelling it the way he did (the Polish way): Józef. That could be really great in the middle spot.
OR – this is a cool find – I googled JP to see how he spelled Joseph, and came across his brother’s name: Edmund! One of the E names I suggested above! Wikipedia has this lovely bit about Edmund: “[JP] was close to his brother Edmund, nicknamed Mundek, who was 13 years his senior. Edmund’s work as a physician eventually led to his death from scarlet fever, a loss that affected Wojtyła deeply.” I know Julia already nodded to her profession as a physician with Frances’ middle name Gianna, but the fact that JP’s beloved brother was a physician is an extra-nice connection for her. Also, if they were to consider the combo Edmund Karol, not only would it be a double nod to JP2, but would also give the initials E.K. – just like Julia’s mom-in-law! Actually, Karol would be a great middle for any of the E names I suggested: Eric Karol, Ethan Karol, Ephraim Karol, Eli Karol, Elijah Karol, Elias Karol, all of which would be a fun connection to her MIL.
As for Julia’s husband’s love of really “Catholic” names, my personal taste runs toward the same kind of names (or, as I like to call them, “Catholicky Catholic” names), so I’ve considered most of the biggies for my own boys, and I’m allllll about friendly, accessible nicknames for everyday use, so these are some of the ideas I’ve had:
- Augustine nicked Gus (my fave) or Augie. Or even Austin, as Austin is an old variant of Augustine
- Boniface nicked Bo, or even Ben. I’ve seen “Bonnie” too, but I feel like that’s best left to teammates to come up with in the dugout as an affectionate slugger name than for parents to start out that way. Bonaventure is similar
- Maximilian is one of my faves, and certainly there’s Max, but also Mac and Miles
- Blaise is good as is, right? I always love that it sounds like blaze=fast, fire, really macho things
- Ignatius nicked Nate or Natey or Nash. There’s also Iggy, which is really cute
- Joachim nicked Jake is one I’ve tried to convince my hubs of for years!
- Cajetan is another I’ve run by my hubs … he’s like, “Um, no.” Haha! Caj is a cool kicky nick
- Ambrose nicked Sam or Bram. We’ve seriously considered this one ourselves
- Polycarp could easily be Paul (Pol) in everyday life
- Xavier nicked Xavey or Xave
- Benedict nicked Ben or Bede or Buddy or Ned
- John Paul nicked Jack, Johnny, JP
- Ooh maybe Justin? For St. Justin Martyr? He’s a Church Father, a big deal — but a great, “normal” name to today’s ears
I feel like where Julia and her husband intersect might be names like Austin and Justin and John Paul, or some of my suggestions below — all super saintly and Catholicky Catholic, but not as hit-you-in-the-face as some of the others. I actually blogged about when Mom and Dad have different name styles, and used that post to write a longer article for CatholicMom.com.
So those are my thoughts/comments on the ideas Julia and her husband already had, but I can always come up with more. 🙂 I always shoot for three, and was able to do so here:
(1) Benjamin (or Jonathan) (or Nathan)
When looking up multiple names in the BNW, I’m always on the lookout for crossover names, names that are similar to more than one of the originals. Benjamin is similar to both Adam and Clare, so I had to include it! I love the name Benjamin – one of my brothers is Benjamin – and Ben is one of the best nicknames in my opinion. Jonathan was only listed as similar to Adam, but my other brother is Jonathan, so Benjamin and Jonathan have always had a similar feel to me. If they paired Jonathan with a P middle name (Jonathan Pierce? Jonathan Paul?), they’d have JP initials, which is a nice connection to JP2. And Jonathan made me think of Nathan, which, when I plugged in all their kids’ names and George, showed up as a style match on yet another of my naming tools, Nymbler.
Louis is a style match for both Frances and George, and St. John Paul II’s devotion to Mary and his papal motto has been attributed to St. Louis de Montfort:
“… Pope John Paul II gleaned his devotion to Mary largely through the writings of one saint: Louis de Montfort … as he matured in his faith, he singles out one overwhelming influence which changed his life: “At one point I began to question my devotion to Mary, believing that, if it became too great, it might end up compromising the supremacy of the worship owed to Christ. At that time, I was greatly helped by a book by Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort” … Blessed Pope John Paul II thought so highly about the writing of St. Louis De Montfort, that he spoke about the saint on many occasions. In addition, on December 8, 2003, he wrote a special letter on the occasion of the 160th Anniversary of De Montfort’s publication. In this letter he wrote: “I myself, in the years of my youth, found reading this book a great help.”
The book was such a great influence that when he was elected Pope in 1978, he chose his motto from words written by St. Louis De Montfort.
“As is well known, (in) my episcopal coat of arms … the motto Totus tuus is inspired by the teaching of St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort. These two words express total belonging to Jesus through Mary: “Tuus totus ego sum, et omnia mea tua sunt.” (“I am all Yours, and all that I have is Yours.”) … “This Saint’s teaching has had a profound influence on the Marian devotion of many of the faithful and on my own life.””
Clare and Pierce both remind me of Oliver, which I think might fit Julia’s “less traditional” idea — not that Oliver isn’t a traditional name, but traditionally it hasn’t been as popular as it is now. In addition, as one of you readers pointed out to me, St. Oliver Plunkett wrote about Divine Mercy, and of course, JP2 is known as the Mercy Pope because of his devotion to and writings on Divine Mercy. He also canonized St. Faustina and instituted Divine Mercy Sunday.
Whew! Those are all my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What names would you suggest as a brother to Adam, Clare, and Frances?