Baby name consultant: Unusual Marian name for Baby Girl #2

(I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!!)

Tara and her husband are expecting baby #2, a little girl! Big sister is:

Kateri Cynthia

Which I just die over, how beautiful!! Tara writes,

Naming our daughter took a while, but once we heard the name we agreed immediately. Her name is Kateri Cynthia. We picked Kateri for a few reasons. 1. We found out we were pregnant when we were chaperoning a service trip to a Native American reservation and 2. My husband’s mother’s name is Catherine (Cathy) and his sister’s name is Kathryn (Kate). We wanted to name her after her grandmother, but adding another Catherine to the family seemed a bit much. We loved that Kateri was a lovely saint and gave a nod to my mother in law. Kateri’s middle name is Cynthia after my mom.”

I love love all this! A fun fact is that Kateri is the Mohawk form of Catherine — St. Kateri was named for St. Catherine of Siena at her baptism.

Tara continues,

Where we’re struggling is if our second child is a girl. We know we want a Marian name, and we think we’ve landed on Stella Maris. My husband, however, prefers Stella as a first name, with Maris as a middle name. I’m sort of liking Stella Maris as a double first name, but I can’t come up with a middle name that sounds good with this combination. Any suggestions for a middle name with this combo? I’m also open to hearing other Marian suggestions that are a little on the unusual side (we like traditional boy names and not-so-traditional girl names, and we’d prefer to keep the middle name as a saint’s name as well.)

As you all know, I loooooove Marian names, so I felt like rubbing my hands together with glee over this dilemma!

Okay, first off, I love Stella Maris — what a gorgeous Marian title, and a really stunning combo for a little girl. But Tara’s right — it’s hard to pair middle names with! I said it over and over, trying to figure out a rhythm for the middle name that worked with the unusual rhythm of “Stella Maris” as a double-barrel first name. My favorite suggestion for Tara and her husband is: Anne. Stella Maris Anne has a great flow with their last name (which I won’t mention for privacy reasons — you’ll just have to believe me!); Anne doesn’t make the full name too long; and how lovely to have Mother Mary and her own mother in the same name!

Otherwise, I thought a two-syllable middle name with the stress on the second syllable sounded the best to my ear. The ones I came up with are mostly a little offbeat for these days, but maybe they’ll hit the right notes:

  • Annette
  • Annique
  • Janine
  • Jeanette
  • Mairead
  • Elise
  • Elaine

Another way to work with the title Stella Maris but solve the middle name issue is to use the variant Maristella. It’s a totally legit variant of the Stella Maris title — you can see a beautiful holy card with that version here  — and Tara and her hubs could still use Stella as the everyday call name. It takes a middle name a bit easier than Stella Maris as well — something short like Jane or Clare would be lovely with it, but long can work too — this mama named her baby Maristella Katherine!

As for other Marian names that are unusual, I came up with a bunch:

(1) Apparition sites
Some of the Marian apparition sites make great names — some of my favorites are Liesse, Salette (after La Salette), and Lourdes. The first two are not very used as names, but Lourdes does have some use — the mom who writes the blog My Child I Love You named her youngest Lourdes. Lola and Lulu are great nicknames for it!

(2) Variants of Mary
Miriam and Meike are my two thoughts for this category. Miriam is a bit more common, but it’s just lovely. Meike is a recent favorite of mine — it’s a German and Dutch diminutive of Maria, and it’s said like Micah. So cool!

(3) Names from Marian titles
There are lots here:

  • Amabel comes from the title Mater Amabilis, and Annabel is a variant of Amabel. Amabel, Annabel, and another variant Mabel could all work
  • Araceli is Spanish for “altar of the sky/heaven” and refers to Our Lady
  • Caeli or Coeli from the title Regina Caeli/Coeli—Queen of Heaven
  • Immaculata or Immaculee — from Immaculate Conception, of course — Immaculée Ilibagiza is a famous bearer, and I know a little one with Immaculata as her middle name, and another with Immaculata as her first
  • Mercedes is Spanish for “mercies,” from the title Our Lady of Mercies
  • Perpetua is a name on its own with its own saint, but it can also refer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help

(4) Words associated with Mary
My ideas here included:

  • Fiat, from Our Lady’s “let it be done”
  • Pieta, from the sculpture of Our Lady holding the body of Jesus
  • Tilma, from Juan Diego’s tilma

(5) People associated with Our Lady
In general I don’t think of names like Bernadette or Lucia being “Marian,” although I do think a good argument can be made for them to be so considered, since they call to mind Our Lady. But I did feel I had to suggest Jacinta — Kateri and Jacinta have always seemed like sister names to me, and I love it for this family. Something like Jacinta Mary would have a real double Marian whammy, or even Mary Jacinta as a double. Thinking of that reminded me that Bernadette’s given name was actually Marie-Bernarde (I’ve also seen Bernarde-Marie, but I think Marie-Bernarde is what I’ve seen most often), and that also seemed like a double Marian whammy to me. And Marie-Bernarde made me think of Marie-Azelie, which is what our brand new St. Zelie Martin (mother of St. Therese) was named at birth. So Azelie doesn’t have any Marian connection that I know of, but if one was going to consider a French double starting with Marie, that’s a sweet one.

Those are all my suggestions for this little baby, but as an added fun challenge, Tara asked,

As a side note: any good saint names that are too weird for kids, but might be good for a dog? We’re also getting a puppy and struggling with names!

How fun! It’s true that it’s hard to find saintly names that might be better for pets than kids. But I was thinking that some last names might work, like:

  • Duchesne, from St. Rose-Philippine Duchesne
  • Hofbauer, from St. Clement Mary Hofbauer
  • Guzman, from St. Dominic (de) Guzman (extra cool is that he’s known as the “hound of heaven” and is often depicted with a dog)
  • Last names for living people too, like Bergoglio or Ratzinger (though maybe Ratzinger’s better for a cat? Haha!)

Place names related to saints could work too, like:

  • Assisi (St. Francis loved the animals!)
  • Padua (St. Anthony of)
  • Prouille (said PROO-ee; known as the “cradle of the Dominicans” because the first Dominican house is there) (I was having fun with the Dominican theme!)
  • Molokai (St. Damien of)

And faith-related words would work too, like:

  • Boon — a boon is a favor or a blessing, especially received in answer to a request
  • Rex or Fido — yes! Those classic dog names! Rex is “king” and could refer to Jesus; Fido means “I am faithful” in Latin

Those were all my ideas! In a fun twist, Tara let me know today that they’ve actually chosen their baby girl’s name and announced it to their family and friends (=chiseled in stone!), so instead of this being a traditional consultation in which I ask you all for suggestions, it’s more of a guessing game — based on all that’s here, what would you guess is the name Tara and her husband have chosen for Kateri Cynthia’s little sister? (I’ll let you all know with a bonus post on New Year’s Eve! I might even be able to scare up a little prize for anyone who comes up with the chosen first name. 🙂 )

(If anyone knows this family, please don’t spill the beans!)

(No word yet on the puppy’s name, so if you have any suggestions in that regard, please share!)

(This is the last parenthetical comment, I promise. 😉 )


44 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Unusual Marian name for Baby Girl #2

  1. ooo, they’ve already picked the name! Interesting!!

    I think they probably stuck with Stella Maris, though I’m not sure on middle! I think I’m going to say Stella Maris Rose or Stella Maris Anne (like you suggested) 😀

    Sidenote: Love to see Kateri used!! Don’t think I would ever be brave enough to use it (I also never exactly know how to pronounce it) but I love to see it on little ones!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am going to say they are going with Stella Maris as two names – re: husband’s preference. I like that option as well. Stella Maris is really pretty as is and I have a preference for Stella as a name on its own – so makes a beautiful first name.

    Pet/dog names: Apparently Bosco is being used already as a dog name. I like that one. I also really like the Rex and Fido Kate mentioned – would not have thought of those very faith-filled connections!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I just read yesterday of a St. Bobo. That would be excellent for a dog. There’s also an orthodox(?) saint name that I can’t find much info about, but my husband and I always joke about using on a kid…St. Stanko. Also a good dog name.
    I think you’re right about Kateri and Jacinta going really well together. I hope they are going to use it!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Maristella is so awesome! We had Stella Maris on top of our considerations, but I told my husband about Maristella, and he just said “Well, yeah, that’s very beautiful” without further objections (!!!)

    So now it is our #1 name, let’s see if it makes it ’til March 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So I’m late to the party since the announcement is posted above, but mostly I want to say that my teen daughter and I have been saying for the last year or two that our next family dog has to be Fido. It’s just too cool not to do!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kate – Don’t know if you’ll see this, I may have to email! I was going through older posts, and was wondering how you typically hear the Maris of Stella Maris pronounced? Also, I am assuming Maristella is pronounced Mary-Stella but correct me if I’m wrong!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve always known it as “MARE-iss,” and I say Maristella as “MARE-iss-TELL-ah,” if that makes sense? But I bet Mary-Stella is a common enough pronunciation, and really pretty! Actually, that’s really making me like the actual combo Mary-Stella!


      • Thanks! Everywhere I looked had both the MARE-iss and the MAHR-iss pronunciation listed, and I didn’t have any real life experience hearing it, even though it’s been on my name list for awhile! Haha. (That moment when you might name your kid something you’re not sure how to pronounce…#catholicproblems)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. It seems that as soon as God blesses us with another great Marian name, it means its going to be a girl… we never “peek’. So far we have been blessed with Marieva (Mary the New Eve) and Fiatalinda (Mary’s beautiful ‘Yes”) Baby # 8 being delivered on Dec 8, Feast of the Immaculate Conception….. any ideas?

    Liked by 1 person

    • WOW what beautiful names!!!! Immaculata/Inmaculada/Immacolata/Immaculee are some of my fave Marian names … Concepcion/Concepta/Concetta all point to “conception”… or maybe names having to do with “white” or “pure” — K/Catherine is said to mean “pure”; Blanche/Bianca mean “white,” and the element “Gwen” means “white, fair, blessed” … or Lourdes, where Our Lady called herself “the Immaculate Conception” … I’d love to know what you end up with! And I’d love to know your other kiddos’ names — you have really interesting and beautiful taste! (If you don’t feel comfortable sharing, totally fine!)


      • Thank you for the compliments. All of our names we wanted to have related to Mama Mary so we chose saints who we felt were close to her. To date God has placed under our care Joseph Alexander, Dominic Xavier, Gabriel Balthazar, Marieva Therese, Pio Gioacchino, John Paul Kolbe, and Fiatalinda Perpetua. Anthony Mariae has gone on ahead of us. We’re having fun getting creative with names for our new baby. With 7 bouncing around the house keeping us busy we’re getting close to our deadline for choosing a name. Oh, the joys of being so richly blessed!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Heidi, I’m just dying over these. Each of your children’s names are so beautiful and thoughtful! Mariae is the middle name we currently have picked if we ever have a girl — I love that you used it for your little Anthony! Wonderful wonderful job!! (I’d love to know what you end up with for this new baby, if you care to share!)


  8. Well, we had a girl! As planned on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception our little #8 arrived. We’re so excited to receive a daughter and be able to use our girl name that we truly labored over! God led us to choose for her name a combination of Mary’s titles of “Full of Grace” and “Ark of the New Covenant.” And her name is Alianza Graciella which translates (from Spanish if you’re wondering) as Covenant of Grace. We feel so blessed to be entrusted with a new soul to guide on the path to Heaven. Many Blessings and Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is wonderful news!!! Congratulations!!! What a gorgeous name you picked for your little girl!! I’d love to write up a post announcing Alianza’s birth and name — would that be okay? I could just copy and paste your comments here (including your other kiddos’ names) … I’d love to include a photo, if you were okay with that — could you email me one at If you prefer no photo, that’s totally fine! And if you’d rather not have me post, that’s totally fine too! Thank you for letting me know Heidi, I love birth announcements!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s