Isn’t this just one of the very best times of the whole year? I love Thanksgiving — it’s the beginning of the holiday season; I get to see family that I don’t usually get to see; we get to eat a lot of really good food; and everyone says really wonderful things about how grateful they are for the blessings in their lives. What a good and holy way to spend our time and orient our thoughts!
I am full to bursting with gratitude for my life and the people in it and the wonderful ways I’ve been allowed to see God working in this beautiful world, and this blog and all of you dear readers are one of the very best things that’s happened for me this year. So many times I’ve sent up thank-you prayers because of our little community here! It’s such a blessing to have a wholesome little virtual cozy spot to curl up in with others who like to talk about our faith and the beauty of babies through the lens of names. St. Anne chose us this year too, and I’ve been loving my new relationship with her. We are a blessed bunch. ❤
I won’t be posting any more this week — I’ll be back on Monday with a new consultation — but I wanted to leave you all with this amazing little gift we’ve been given: I received an email a couple weeks ago from a reader who is very much like I was at her age — she loves names, especially the names of our faith, and wanted to share with me the names of her and her eight siblings. She also issued a name challenge for me, if God were to ever see fit to send them a #10.
Is there anything I love to do more than see a beautifully named family? And come up with new ideas for them? Not much comes to mind! 😀
“My name is Pauline and I am a recent graduate of Benedictine College. And while I’m nowhere near expecting a baby, I read your blog every day for future name ideas (what girl doesn’t? Isn’t it like having a pinterest wedding board?). Oh, and so does my mom.
Speaking of my mom, I also happen to be the oldest of nine children. My mom’s name is Beatrice and she was born and raised in France until she met my American dad when he was studying abroad (so romantic, I know) and they got married and moved back to the states where they had nine children (it’s casual). My dad (Patrick) is very Irish and my mom is clearly as French as you can get, so they decided on a system for naming. My dad got to name all of the boys Irish names and my mom got to name all of the girls French names.
So these are the names we all ended up with. Our ages range from 21 to 5 years old.”
Pauline Helene Marie (“I am Pauline Helene Marie after my French Grandmother, Helene. Pauline is after St. Paul and St. Therese had a sister named Pauline“)
Florie-Ann Marie (“Florie Ann Marie is named after my American grandmother, Ann. Florie is a French girls’ name- I have seen other French variations of this name all having to do with the French word “fleur” which translates to “flower”“)
Faustine Marie (“Faustine is the French version of Faustina, after St. Faustina. (My mom was confirmed when she was expecting Faustine and also chose St. Faustina as her confirmation saint! 🙂 )”)
Liam Patrick (“My American Grandpa is named William Patrick, my dad’s name is Patrick William, so my parents loved the Irish variation of Liam Patrick to continue the tradition.”)
Domitille Marie (“Domitille was named after St. Domitilla. From what I’ve heard, St. Domitilla was a Roman martyr who used to have masses in her home for the first Christians! … I know a couple Domitilles in France … Domitille is always a hard one to pronounce! Most people think she is saying Dominique. It is pronounced Do-mee-teel, if that makes sense? Her friends and family sometimes call her Domi (Do-mee). I think it’s so cute!“)
Emeline Marie (“Emeline is another French name and we actually used to read a poem about a little girl named Emeline for school. St. Emeline was also a French saint. My parents were also considering the name Constance for Emeline. I have a little goddaughter in France with that name now 🙂 I love it!“)
Fintan Joseph (“Fintan Joseph is named after a St. Fintan who was a monk in Ireland. He probably has the most nicknames in our family- Finn, Finny, Fintan Joe. “)
Thomas More (“We gave British a chance 🙂 … Thomas More was named for amazing St. Thomas More. I remember my parents just admiring the Saint and liking the idea of his last name as a middle name. Thomas loves the story of his patron saint!“)
Callaghan John (“And Callaghan John is named after my great grandmother, whose maiden name was Callaghan. It was a last name that was in the family. John is after his godfather, a priest named Father John who has always been close with our family. We do call him Cal! And Calli and Cal-Pal and Shnookums, depending on which sibling is cuddling him ;)”)
“All of the girls have the middle name Marie for Our Lady but it is also a French tradition- even my mom’s Grandfather had the middle name Marie! St. Therese’s family had five girls and they all had Marie in their names as well.
Another French tradition is to have your grandmother’s name in your middle name. It is not uncommon for people to have two or more middle names!
Being named after a saint is beautiful and important, but my mom is also firm believer that even if you aren’t directly named after a saint, you have the opportunity to be the first saint with that name! I love it and totally agree.
I don’t see my parents having more but they always joke that they would have absolutely no more name ideas if God were to send us a #10. If you want a project, even though there truly is no baby coming (that I know of!) I thought it might be fun to see some name suggestions that you might come up with! Otherwise, enjoy this list of incredibly strange but kind of intriguing names.”
I just can’t even tell you all (though I know you probably feel similarly), I walked around for days after getting Pauline’s email with a big goofy smile on my face, just thinking and thinking about their names. They are, each one, so beautiful!
And to be given the opportunity to come up with ideas for another little one? Especially when Pauline’s parents said they “would have absolutely no more name ideas”? So amazing! It kind of feels like we’re all sitting around the kitchen table with our coffee and tea and having a good chat about babies and names, two of my very favorite things. How wonderful! ❤
It was really fun thinking of names for this family because French and Irish are two of my favorite favorite name styles. And especially with all the girls having French names, and all the boys having Irish names, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as it seemed at first. This is what I came up with for the girls:
I claim a small bit of French ancestry but I don’t really know much about their naming traditions or practices — most of what I know I learned from Pauline! But I’ve always loved that the French seem much more comfortable with hyphenated double names than we do (see Florie-Ann), and I’ve always loved the ones starting with Marie. Marie-Bernarde was one of my first thoughts — it’s St. Bernadette’s birth name, and I love that Bernadette can be a nickname for it. But then I was thinking about Marie-Azelie too (the birth name of our new St. Zelie Martin, St. Therese’s mom). Which made me think about St. Therese, who was born Marie Francoise-Therese, which I love, or maybe just Marie-Francoise or Marie-Therese. Or maybe Marie-Beatrice, for Mom? Really, I would be happy preceding any of my other ideas for girls with Marie-. It would also be a different way of continuing the tradition of having Marie in all the girls’ names.
(2) Any of my other favorite French girl names
I know, I know, this is a cop-out category. But there are so many GORGEOUS French names, I was having such a hard time narrowing down the list! So I just thought I’d put them all together:
(3) Currently popular in France
I also took a look at some names that are currently popular in France, since I don’t really have any idea — there’s a good chance that all of my ideas above are considered outdated or unattractive by the current French population. Even though it was written in December 2013 (so not totally current), I really liked this article: French Baby Names: Trends and Predictions 2014. Of the author’s top twenty list, I really liked Lilou, Maëlys, Juliette (yay! One of the ones I listed above!), Romane, and Louise, and then the author mentioned “retro first names like Louise and Suzanne,” which made me want to add Suzanne to the list as well. I also love Lola from the list, though it doesn’t feel right for this family, and I love Manon too, but it’s a diminutive for Marie right? So if they were to use it, I would imagine they’d prefer it as a nickname for a Marie-[something] name instead of a given name on its own.
The boys I found a bit easier to narrow down my ideas, so I have a neat five-name list:
I love Dermot. It’s got a cool sound and rhythm, and some blesseds and saints too. I also had the opportunity to hear author and donkeyman Kevin O’Hara speak recently, dear friend of my mom’s (that’s him on Mom’s blog with Finney the Leprechaun — the eleventh photo, to the right of Fr. Bede‘s pic!) and he said he has three brothers — Jimmy (I think), Mickey, and Dermot — which is one of the things I love about Irish naming, that names like Dermot can reside happily in a family with names like James, Kevin, and Michael. Or Liam, Fintan, Thomas, and Callaghan, as it were.
Lots of people are loving Declan these days, me included. Like Dermot, I just love its sound and rhythm, and it has the possibility of the cool nickname Deck. St. Declan was a pretty great guy too.
I can’t tell if I think this is too close to Callaghan or not, especially since it would immediately follow Callaghan and not have the benefit of a few kids in between, but it’s a name I love, so I’ll throw it out there anyway. My grandfather was born in Cobh, Co. Cork, and the church there is St. Colman’s Cathedral — he was baptized there, and was an altar boy there, and I imagine I have family members who were married and buried there as well. And Cole is a fabulous nickname!
(4) Tadhg (or Thaddeus)
I was inspired to include Tadhg because of boy #3 Thomas: I have a devotion to Bl. Thaddeus Moriarty, OP, a Dominican priest who is one of the Irish Martyrs (for being a priest), who was beatified by JP2, who was also known as Tadhg, because Tadhg is sometimes anglicized as Thaddeus. The Thomas connection is that Bl. Tadhg had a brother who was also a Dominican priest, named Thomas. How cool! (Read more about him here, here, and here.) I could also see Thaddeus with a “nickname” of Tadhg working as well. Or just Thaddeus with no Tadhg at all (I know a little Thaddeus nicked Taddy, so cute!).
One of my name books, Oxford Dictionary of First Names, says that Maolra is a “[m]odern spelling, common particularly in the west of Ireland, of earlier Maoil-Mhuire ‘devotee of Mary.’ It has been anglicized as Myles.” It’s an Irish Marian boy’s name! Love it!
Those are my ideas for a hypothetical ninth sibling for Pauline — what do you all think? Do any names come to mind as being perfect for this French-girls/Irish-boys family?
Pauline added, “I’ve also attached our awkward family photo just so you know we’re real people.” Haha! Thanks so much to Pauline and her mom and their beautiful family for all this great info, and happy Thanksgiving to you all!
Patrick and Beatrice and their children Pauline, Florie-Ann,
Faustine, Liam, Domitille, Emeline, Fintan, Thomas, and Callaghan