Patron saints for Caroline and Charlotte

One of the question I’ve gotten the most frequently by readers over the past few months is whether there’s any saintly connection for the names Caroline and Charlotte. If I’d had my druthers about me I would have tried to post about this last week on the actual feast day, but since I feel like I rarely have my druthers about me (!), I don’t usually have it together for feast days and holy days in the sense of posting name-appropriate posts for those days.

So the feast day I’m referring to is for my very favorite patron saint for the Charles names, of which Caroline and Charlotte (and Karoline, Karolina, Carolina, Carla, Karla, Carol(e), Karol(e), Carlotta, and Carly) are a part, being feminine variants of Charles: our great St. John Paul II, whose pre-papal name was Karol, which is the Polish for Charles. I know loads of little ones named in his honor in this way.

I do think C/Karoline/a and Charlotte are the most popular ways for girls to be named after JP2 right now, but our reader skimac left this in a comment last week:

I was looking at usage/popularity stats on ourbabynamer.com for Karol and Karole. The Karol variation existed alongside the significantly more popular Carol/Carole during it’s midcentury heyday. Carol was almost 200% more popular at peak, then both fell out of favor overall, but look at the blips in the stats in 2005 (the year JPII died). Karol reached its all time high of 315 (previous high for year was 257 in 1958). Following 2 years still elevated in comparison to previous 3 decades and Karole variation back on chart (5 baby girls) for first time in a dozen years. Then another jump in 2012 which was the year following his beatification. Wonder if this year, when stats are released, we will see a bump again since it is it would be a year following his canonization in [April] 2014? Definitely reflects the John Paul II effect in Catholic naming.”

karol1karol2

I was surprised to see this, since I think the general perception of Carol(e) and Karol(e) are that they’re still a little dated … but then skimac also shared that blogger/author/apologist/BigCatholicGuy Taylor Marshall and his wife had their eighth baby last week, on JP2’s feast day!, and gave her Carol as one of her middle names. So! Carol(e) and Karol(e) are certainly viable options.

There are other patron saints available for Caroline and Charlotte though, which is perhaps particularly helpful for those who already have a little John Paul running around. There are a bunch of Saints and Blesseds Charles — my personal faves are St. Charles Borromeo and St. Charles Garnier, and even Charlemagne — yes, THE Charlemagne (which translates as Charles the Great) — is a Blessed. If you preferred a female patron, there are also Bl. Karolina Kózka, Bl. Theresa Gerhardinger, born Caroline (and also known as Bl. Caroline Gerhardinger or Bl. Karolina Gerhardinger), Bl. Charlotte Davy, and Bl. Charlotte Lucas (Pride and Prejudice fans, take note!).

What are your favorite patrons for Caroline and Charlotte?

27 thoughts on “Patron saints for Caroline and Charlotte

  1. I think my favorite is JPII 🙂 I’m always looking for people I can suggest the combo Joanna Caroline to because Joanna comes from John, and Caroline relates to Karol, so it’s like a double whammy for honoring JPII 😀

    I also have a friend named Caroline who is named after a relative named Clare, because Caroline contains all the letters of Clare, which might be a stretch for some people (it kind of is for me) but I guess it can work!

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  2. I really like Joanna Pauline (or Johanna Pauline). I think in the “old days” most were named for St. Charles Borromeo – feast day next week. But so many additional choices that are more known now like Kate mentioned. Thanks for all the great info and connections.

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  3. Great post!

    I loved hearing Taylor Marshall’s children’s names! Lots of goodies there. Something that stood out to me was that he has both a Mary and a Margaret, which means he has not one, but TWO children whose names start with Mar- Mar-. To me this is a great example of something that “namers” would advise against, but doesn’t really matter when the rubber hits the road. (This is of particular interest to me because I’ve wondered how many Mar- names I can get away with: I have Margot, Marta, and Marie on my list, but already have a Mark.)

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    • Sooo I’m totally slipping as a namiac because I didn’t even think to go looking for his other kids’ names! Where did you find them?

      That IS a great point! I know there’s another reader on here who has a Mark and has shied away from Mary as a result … and I do totally agree that those kinds of things (whether sibs’ names “go” together or how it sounds with one’s last name or [insert namey worry] often “doesn’t really matter when the rubber hits the road” … so often love of a name is the most important consideration.)

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      • I think you could totally get away with at least one more Mar- name, maybe even more depending on how many siblings separate them, and definitely as a middle name! It makes me think of the fact that I know at least 3 Mary Margarets and those both start with Mar- but no one thinks it’s weird!

        (And like you said, once you start having children, all rules sometimes go out the window, lol. I think it’s more important that you use names you LOVE instead of only picking names you like or kinda love just because they go with your other children’s names)

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      • Heh Kate! They were in the video in your link. He inserted a title bar thing each time a new kid came into the video (although I think he missed two of them).

        Good points, Grace. Any future Mar- children would have at least 4 sibs btwn them and my Mark.

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      • Dur, I totally forgot the other important criteria in my “more Mar- names?” decision: I also have an Ar- name (Arthur). I think Margot and Marie would still work, but Marta really emphasizes the Mar- part, almost sounding like Mark-a. Oh well, good thing I have about 100 more names on my girl list. 😛

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  4. Some thoughts on honoring JPII that I hadn’t had a chance to get back to. Since JPII’s full given name was Karol Jozef, I think combos that incorporate both would be a fitting tribute. I like the combo. So for girls Charlotte Josephine, C/Karolina Josephine (I think the straight Caroline Josephine endings doesn’t work together) or C/Karoline Josephina, C/Karole Josephine, etc. OR diminutive-y names like Kari Jo, Karly Jo, etc.

    My daughter who is studying abroad was just in Krakow this weekend and sent a picture of the JPII Center which is named Centrum Jana Pawla (have also seen Jan Pawel). I had seen his given name in Polish many times, but hadn’t seen his papal name written in Polish. So the Jana (or Jan) in Polish struck me as a have a good friend named Jana (it is pronounced Yawn-a and is Czech in her case). Jana would be another possibility and could be pronounced Yawn-a or Jan-a.

    And JPII’s nickname was suggested in another post – Lolek. But what about Lola for a little girl to play off the Lolek? Could be a given name on own. Decently popular name in the late 1800s and turn of century, making a return. Or it could just be used as nickname for Charlotte.

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  5. […] Speaking of Swistle, I also loved the sib set in this post: Charles (Huck), Isaac, Katherine, and Seth. (I love Huck for Charles!!) One of the commenters (our very own eclare!) said she guessed the family might be Catholic, based on the size of the family, the kids’ names (which she accurately described as “saint/biblical”), and some on their list (including Xavier), and I agree. I was disappointed by Swistle’s reply though — she said, “I don’t think Seth or Charlotte are saint names,” which is misleading. Seth the Patriarch (from the Old Testament) appears in Book of Saints by the Monks of Ramsgate as well as Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints, and his feast day is March 1. There are also several Blesseds Charlotte, and, as eclare correctly pointed out, Charlotte can be and is often used as an honor name for any of the Sts. Charles/Karl/Carl/Carlo/Karo…. […]

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