Chelsea Anne (lucky girl, with our own St. Anne as a patron!) and her husband Timothy are expecting their third baby, gender unknown (green bean!). She writes,
“My husband and I wait until birth to find out the baby’s gender, so we are on the hunt for a boy’s name and a girl’s name.
Interestingly enough, my daughters were named before I was even considering reverting to Catholicism. Saints weren’t even remotely on my radar. And yet, there is that Catholic glimmer in both of their names! It seems like a sign to me that I am on the right path.”
Okay, you guys? This is one of the very reasons this blog has been such an amazing blessing to me — I get to read stories like this! The workings of the Holy Spirit can be evident even in baby naming.
Their girls are:
Celeste Marie (both family names; “I love that the name Celeste is rooted in Latin and that it is familiar in many languages. I love that it is ancient and somewhat rare. I also love that it reflects the natural world (the celestial, starry, heavenly, bodies).”)
Rosa Maeve (Rosa’s a family name and Maeve a tip of the hat to Chelsea’s Irish heritage; “Rosa’s first name is also familiar in many languages, as it has that Latin root. It is also somewhat rare (Rose is far more common). And it reflects the natural world (in the case, in Rosa’s earthiness!) I don’t even know how to explain her middle name, except to say that we were called to give her the name Maeve because of her mischievous wild temperament!“)
I could just die over both of their names. Sooo beautiful!
“I wasn’t consciously aware of the above patterns when they were born, but the commonalities I find between my daughter’s names are:
-Latin Root/familiar or accessible in many Western languages
-Have a Marian aspect (“Marie” and “Rosa”)
-Reflect the natural world in a very subtle way (in the above cases, the elements of Earth and Air)
-I tend to like “ethnic” sounding names
-My husband pointed out that both their middle names start with M and have five letters, which was unintentional but very noticeable to me now
The baby name wizard book describes both the names Celeste and Rosa as “womanly” which is very cool to me. I tend to like the idea of naming grown-up people rather than babies! … If I do have another girl, it would be cool to honor a Saint for her first or middle name, maybe include a subtle Marian aspect. I love rare, high-impact, somewhat intense, romantic, traditional names.
I also feel interested in honoring the sea with this child’s name, for some unknown reason … but thats not a rule.”
BUT … speaking of rules …:
“I do have a few pesky naming rules. The good news is that I am quite open-minded so you might get me to budge on some of these. Especially if the suggestion is really, really cool.
-I would prefer not to choose names (for either gender) that repeat the first initial (C, R)
-I would prefer not to choose names that repeat the ending of the name. In other words, I have always liked “Lucia”, but I feel that the “a” at the end of that name already belongs to my Rosa. When I call my children’s names outloud, I love the idea of their names having distinct endings. For Celeste, this is a non-issue. But if you eliminate girl’s names ending in the letter “a”, you definitely wipe out a lot of options.
My heritage is very important to me (especially because my children will receive my husband’s very common last name). I am Cuban/Spanish, Irish, German, Dutch. My husband’s ancestry is English, Irish, German … Because I am so new to Catholic naming, I am sure there are names out there that I am just not even aware of. I would love to find some new names (or reexamine names I have overlooked), particularly in the girl category!“
Some of their favorite names are:
Margaret (but popularity is an issue)
Genevieve (ditto re: popularity)
Therese (“my husband cant seem to pronounce this tho…“)
Pearl (but used by a friend)
And names from their family tree:
A further note:
“I tend to really go for Irish boy names, as you can see by the list above. For boy’s, I also like the idea of using a name that is traditional, HANDSOME, hearty, possibly with a Latin root, that includes at least one nod to a Saint (in either the first name or the middle name). The only name on this list that reflects the natural world in any way is Forest, which is probably why it is the favorite of my farmer husband.”
Also, because I know you’ll all love it, Chelsea told me that getting feedback from me “is like having a name doula” — a name doula! I might just have to put that on my business card! 😀
Okay, first my thoughts about their current list:
Their girls choices are all great and lovely! It’s fun to see a mix of names I see a lot through the blog (Genevieve, Therese, Margaret) and those I’d love to see more often (Beatrix, Brigid, Maris, Pearl, Luz). I personally don’t think they can go wrong with any of them. I particularly like how Maris can fit into the five-letter-beginning-with-M pattern they already have for Celeste and Rosa’s middle names, and it’s Marian, and it’s related to the sea—it seems like they have a perfect middle name right there!
The boys names have a very different feel to me than the girl names, and I like them all. I’m particularly impressed with the super Irishy Irish Padraig/Padraic! AND I discovered recently that St. Patrick is the patron of organic gardening! Since Chelsea’s husband is a farmer, I thought that was particularly meaningful. I have an idea for a middle name for Duncan, which I’ll include in my suggestions below.
I had fun coming up with ideas for this family, because of all the rules! I love love a good name challenge! I always shoot for three, but I came up with so many ideas that I grouped them into five suggestions for each gender:
Aaaand right off the bat I’m breaking rules! But I’m hoping this might be one of those really, really cool suggestions that they don’t mind, especially since the C doesn’t make the same sound as Celeste. Carmel is for Our Lady of Mount Carmel—it comes from the Hebrew for “garden,” and is the name of a mountain in the Holy Land featured in the book of Kings (chapter eighteen). In this chapter, the prophet Elijah challenged King Ahab to call on his god Baal to start the fire of sacrifice, while Elijah would call on the Lord. “The God who answers with fire is God,” Elijah said, and “All the people answered, ‘Agreed!’” (1 Kings 18:24). Not surprisingly, Our Lord was victorious. Afterward, Elijah instructed his servant to look out to the sea from Mount Carmel and report what he saw there; six times the servant reported there was nothing to see, and Elijah sent him to look again. On the seventh time, the servant told Elijah, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising from the sea” (1 Kings 18:44).
This is the coolest part: Carmelite tradition holds that Elijah understood this cloud to be a symbol of the Virgin Mother who would bear the Messiah, as foretold in the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14).
I’ve done a little research on it, and one place I found online explained, “When the servant of Elijah saw a small cloud rise from the sea, God revealed to Elijah that a certain child, Blessed Mary, symbolised by that cloud would be born of sinful human nature, symbolised by the sea.”
Tradition also suggests that, even in Old Testament times, a group of hermits followed in the example of Elijah by living on Mount Carmel and leading lives of contemplative prayer; praying, in fact, for the coming of the Virgin Mother. Then,
“On the Feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, the spiritual descendants of [Elijah] and his followers came down from Mount Carmel. Fittingly, they were the first to accept the message of Christianity and to be baptized by the Apostles. When, at last, they were presented to Our Lady, and heard the sweetest words from Her lips, they were overcome with a sense of majesty and sanctity which they never forgot. Returning to their holy mountain, they erected the first chapel ever built in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. From that time devotion to God’s Mother was handed down by the hermits on Mount Carmel as a treasured spiritual legacy.” (source)
In the thirteenth century AD, so my favorite version of the story goes, the hermits left the mountain and went to Europe, where they received Papal approval for their Order, and became known as the “Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel,” or, the Carmelites. Later that same century, on July 16, 1251, Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite, and gave him the Brown Scapular, promising, “‘This shall be the privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire.’ In time, the Church extended this magnificent privilege to all the laity who are willing to be invested in the Brown Scapular of the Carmelites, and who perpetually wear it.”
So Carmel is Marian and related to the sea! I love it, I think it would be smashing for Chelsea if she has a little girl. If she hates the C, because of it repeating the first letter of Celeste’s name, behindthename.com says that the Hebrew word, when transliterated, becomes Karmel, which for some reason we then make Carmel, so Karmel would be a possibility. It also strikes me as Irishy and womanly, probably because the only Carmel I’ve met was a middle aged woman who ran a B&B in Dublin. Also, the Spanish version is Carmen, which they also might like because of their Spanish heritage.
(2) Hildi or Edith
It’s hard to follow Carmel with all its info! But I had immediately thought of Hildi when I was reading Chelsea Anne’s email. St. Hildegard of Bingen (who was famous for her writings and poetry and prophetic visions) was recently declared a Doctor of the Church, which is a big deal because she’s a woman (there are three other women: St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese, and St. Catherine of Siena), and I know of a little girl named after her—I can’t remember if they named her the full Hildegard or just Hildi, but she goes by Hildi and I’m just head-over-heels in love with it. It’s so sweet! I definitely think Hildi stands on its own, despite technically being a nickname, and it fits all their naming rules. Another option, if they preferred a non-nickname name, is Hilde, which is the German and Dutch (their heritage!) version of Hilda, which is related to Hildegard, but Hilde is said the same as Hilda, so unfortunately there is the –a ending that’s already Rosa’s. (And I wasn’t sure if they didn’t want to repeat the ending sound of Celeste (T) or actual letter (E)? So there’s that too. Hildi gets around all of that.)
Hildi made me think of Edith, because of its Germanic-ness, and Edith is St. Edith Stein, whose religious name in life was St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She was a convert from Judaism and died in a concentration camp during WWII. She is awesome, and I’m seeing Edith get quite a bit of name love among Catholics recently. The nickname Edie is beyond adorable too. Both Hildi and Edith have a womanly feel to me, like Chelsea said she liked about the Baby Name Wizard’s description of Celeste and Rosa.
Chelsea said she loves Margaret but its popularity is concerning—I think Margo’s a great alternative. It’s a variant of Margaret, and I think it can take all the Margaret nicknames if they wanted it to. The original Margot, of which Margo is a variant, is French, so the T is silent, but since they wanted to avoid repeat endings, I thought maybe the T was too close to the appearance of Celeste? Margaux is another acceptable spelling. Margaret also means “pearl” so using a Margaret variant would honor the Pearl in their family! Pearl can also be Marian (I blogged about it!), so Margo could be considered a very subtle Marian name. I also like that Margo is five letters starting with M, so if they didn’t care for it in the first name spot, they might like it in the middle. (I also wonder if they’d like the Irish form of Margaret, Mairead? It rhymes with parade.)
(4) Pilar or Belén
These two were inspired by all their rules and their Spanish heritage. I’m not sure if they’d be interested in a Spanish name, but I love both of these. Pilar is from a title of Our Lady, and under this title (María del Pilar) she was declared Patroness of Spain and of all Hispanic Peoples by St. John Paul II in 1984. Belén is the Spanish form of Bethlehem. Both gorgeous, meaningful names!
AND — ohmygoodness!!! — I didn’t know this until right this minute but TODAY is the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar/Nuestra Señora del Pilar!
(5) Verity or Amity
I did a little research in my BNW, looking for connections and overlap with the names that they’ve used and liked, and was following a path from Forrest to Mercy to Amity, which also made me think of Verity, which I’ve always liked—Amity means “friendship” and Verity means “truth” so they’re really great meaning names, AND they don’t break any of the rules!
(1) Elias or Elliott
I spotted Elias right away in their list of family names, because it’s one I’d already had in mind for them as I was reading the beginning of Chelsea’s email because of the Carmel connection—Elias is the Greek form of Elijah, so using it for a boy could be thought of as a nod to the sea and honoring Our Lady all in one. And it’s a family name for them! If Chelsea and her hubs didn’t like it as a first name, I thought it would be an amazing middle name for Duncan. Duncan Elias is so handsome! And Elliott actually originated as a diminutive of Elias, so they could use Elliott both as a connection to Carmel/Elijah and their family member named Elias.
I thought Declan seemed a perfect addition to their list, based on their desire for “Irish, traditional, HANDSOME, hearty … includes at least one nod to a saint.” St. Declan was a contemporary of St. Patrick and is quite loved in Ardmore in Ireland. One of my cousins used it for her little boy, and I just love it.
(3) Nicholas, Brendan, Elmo/Erasmus
I wasn’t totally sure if their desire to honor the sea was also for boy’s names, or just girls? But I looked up patron saints of sailors, and St. Nicholas, St. Brendan (Irish!), and St. Elmo (also known as St. Erasmus) are all. All these names fit the rules as well.
(4) Isidore, George, Fiacre
I also looked up patron saints of farmers and similar, which is how I discovered that St. Patrick is the patron of organic gardening. There’s also St. Isidore, patron of farmers, which I’d known, and St. George is the patron of farmers, field workers, and shepherds, which I hadn’t known! And I thought they might be really intrigued by Fiacre—it’s the French form of the Irish Fiachra, and is the name of an Irish saint who settled in France—and he’s the patron of those who grow vegetables and medicinal plants, and of gardening in general. How cool! Now I know that each of these names has the same ending as Celeste, but I as I mentioned I was a little unclear as to whether they didn’t want to repeat her ending sound (T) or her ending letter (E), so I took a chance.
(5) Heath, Jasper, Timothy
When I was looking up names in my BNW, looking for connections and overlap with the names that they’ve used and liked, I found Heath as a brother name for Amity, and I immediately thought they might like it because of its nature connection. It originally meant someone who lived on a heath, sort of like an uncultivated field. Jasper was a brother name for Everett, which I was intrigued by from their family names, and I loved Jasper for them because it’s a kind of rock (nature!), and also one of the names traditionally assigned to one of the three Wise Men (Casper is a variant of Jasper, which is also sometimes given for that Wise Man). And Timothy! Chelsea’s husband’s name! I only recently discovered that timothy is hay! Or rather, it’s a kind of grass that is “widely grown for hay in the United States” (according to the dictionary). I don’t know if she or her hubs would like using his name as either a first or middle, but it’s pretty cool to have that nature/farm-y connection.
Whew! Those are all my ideas! What a mama of a post! What do you all think? What names would you suggest to Chelsea Anne and her husband for their little baby-on-the-way?
I love to do name consultations! If you’d like me to give your name dilemma a go, check out my Baby name consultant tab.