Frances and her husband are expecting their third baby, a girl! Their other two children are:
Great, solid, saintly names! She writes,
“I like that the names we’ve chosen so far are unambiguously Catholic, classic, well-known saint names that are rarely used today. I love when I get comments like, “Oh, you never hear that anymore!” We’ve noticed that we tend to favor names that peaked half a century ago and are no longer popular.
If it had been a boy, our top contender was Gregory. I also really liked the name Joachim while my husband thought it was too unusual. We both liked Joseph but I’d rather not pick a name that’s in the top 100.”
Did you all catch that? Frances likes Joachim! My life is complete! 🙂
“But since we’re having a girl …”
Names that they like but can’t use for various reasons include:
All of which are such a bummer, because they feel exactly right, don’t they?
“We’ve talked about permutations of Mary (e.g., Marian, Marianne, Miriam, etc) but are sort of on the fence about them … I’m less interested in names like Seraphina or Evangelina, which although beautiful, aren’t associated with a well-known patron saint and also feel a bit too modern to my ears. I don’t want to have to search too hard to find the saint that goes with the name … So I’d love to get your perspective! Am I overlooking the perfect saint? What would you suggest given our parameters and the names of our other children?“
This was fun to work on, it’s not often I get to dig deep into the mid-century names!
Regarding Margaret, I wonder if Frances and her husband have considered any of its variations? Greta is my favorite, though Gretchen is cute too. (I actually really like Gretel, which could even be a nickname for Margaret or a pet name for Greta, but I’m thinking the fairy tale association might be too overwhelming?) They have the benefit of really getting away from the sound of Margaret … but it’s probably the sound of Margaret that they really like! I’ve always been intrigued by Marguerite as well, though I think that might be too close to the sound of Margaret. Or Magdalene? Margaret’s peak of popularity was in 1916, and Magdalene peaked in the 19-teens as well. I almost included Martha in my suggestions below, but I thought the Mar- made it too close to the sound of Margaret, but I wanted to mention it here anyway.
Regarding Mary names, I wonder if they’ve considered Maria? It peaked in 1966 and was #115 last year. It’s such a lovely, feminine name. Or is it too close to family member Marie’s name?
In coming up with other suggestions for this little baby girl, I really focused on names that were most popular in the 50’s and 60’s and that were out of the top 100 last year, and that were obviously saintly, and I came up with five that I thought struck me as just perfect:
Jane peaked in 1945 and was #945 last year. It could honor a John (and there are so many awesome Sts. John!), or it could be for St. Jane Frances de Chantal, who was a close friend of St. Francis de Sales and started the Order of the Visitation of Our Lady. I’ve always liked Jane, its simplicity and elegance is so appealing.
I think Monica is actually my favorite suggestion for this family. I love it as a sister to Theresa and Paul, and St. Monica is just an awesome saint. It peaked in 1973 and was #538 last year. (Readers: Do you think Monica has too much Friends association? Someone suggested recently that it does, which surprised me.)
I spotlighted Regina just the other day, and I think it would be really great for Frances’ little Miss. I don’t hear any little Reginas these days! Of course it’s a beautiful Marian name, very traditional and classicly Catholic. It peaked in 1964 and was #525 last year.
Angela peaked in 1975 and was #191 last year. I feel like it’s the “old” version of Seraphina, where parents who liked the connection to the angels back in the day would have used Angela or similar, where today they might lean more towards Seraphina. Angela could also be Marian, as in the title Our Lady of the Angels, or there’s St. Angela Merici and St. Angela de la Cruz (the latter was canonized by St. John Paul II).
After several years of climbing in popularity, Bridget peaked at #112 in 1973 before dropping off pretty drastically, so I think its popularity arc is pretty close to what Frances and her husband like. Bridget’s definitely saintly, with either St. Bridget of Sweden or St. Brigid of Ireland (also known as “Mary of the Gael”) as patrons.
There were two other names that didn’t make my final cut but I wanted to list them quickly anyway, just in case: Patricia and Deirdre. (Patricia didn’t make my final cut because it begins with a P like Paul, though I think it would be a great fit otherwise, and the same-first-initial thing is a small quibble; Deirdre had the right feel and popularity arc, but I thought it was probably just too Irish.)
So those are my ideas! What do you all think? What would you suggest for the baby sister of Theresa and Paul?
Frances also specifically asked if I could ask you all to pray for her and her unborn baby, as well as for her husband and other children. I know you will. ❤ St. Anne, please pray for Frances and her family!