Genie, who blogs at Barefoot Abbey, and her husband are expecting their first girl after five boys! She writes,
“Our moniker muddle is that after 5 boys we are expecting a girl (in the middle of February) and are now rethinking the previously intended girl name philosophy from our courtship.
Being Anglo/celtophiles and my husband’s pride in his Scotch-Irish heritage have been factors in our sons’ names. We also try to use repetitive or similar sounds in each child’s name as a whole. For girls, our original philosophy was for our first daughter to have a Mary inspired name and then saint names (many my patronesses) for any subsequent daughters.
We have had “Moira Immaculee Clare” as our first girl name for 10 years. [Clare is a family name] … I like Therese in that spot as well.
We know about 5 Moiras over the age of 5 … Also concern was voiced that Moira did not match the other future girl names on our list.”
It’s an interesting dilemma, having had the same name chosen for ten years and five other babies, only to be unsure when it actually comes time to use it!
Genie shared the other girl names on their list, so we could see if it’s true that Moira doesn’t match the other names:
Moira Immaculee Clare
• Moira – Irish/ Scottish variant of Mary, we like the possible nickname of Molly – we just aren’t “Mo” people.
• Immaculee – obviously Marian name, we love the sound but don’t think it will work for us as a first name, coincidentally Ladybird’s (our baby) due date is near the feast of OL of Lourdes.
• Clare – family name, saint
Josephine Felicity Marie – “Josie/Jojo”
• Josephine – for Bl. Josephine Leroux martyr of the French Revolution.
• Felicity – love the meaning of the name and Ss. Felicity & Perpetua
• Marie – Marian
Genevieve Imelda Faith “Gigi”
• Genevieve – patroness, my baptismal but not legal name
• Imelda – patroness, confirmation saint at my reception into the Church from Anglicanism in ’11
• Faith – meaning
Margaret Gemma Therese – “Meg” (Little Women)
•Margaret – patroness, Ss. Margaret Clitherow & Margaret of Scotland, my 3rd baptismal name.
•Gemma – love the modern saint’s story
• Therese – love the simplicity of her little way.
Lucy Elinor Hope
• Lucy – St. Lucy day is one of our family’s favorites in Advent, Lucia of Fatima, C. S. Lewis, Lucy Maud Montgomery
• Elinor – my husband was born in the Feast of St. Helena, Austen spelling (Sense & Sensibility)
• Hope – meaning
Emmelia Magdalene Rose – “Emmie/Mila”
• Emmelia – patroness, mother of saints
• Magdalene – love that she was the first follower to see Jesus after the Resurrection, first son was due on Good Friday and was almost “Moira Magdalene Clare”
• Rose – Marian
Elizabeth Azelie Jane – “Eliza Jane” (Little House)
• Elizabeth – patroness, St. Elizabeth of Hungry, my legal middle name
• Azelie – patroness
• Jane – my husband’s grandmother & aunt, Jane Eyre
Beatrix Evangeline Hope/Anne – “Beasy”
• Beatrix – St. Beatrix of Nazareth
• Evangeline – love the sound of this, I want to say there is an obscure connection to Mary here?
• Hope – meaning
• Anne – St. Anne (Mary’s mom) & St. Anna Maria Taigi, Green Gables spelling
Aren’t they each gorgeous? I love all the meaning behind each one! The faith significance, the literary references, the nicknames (Beasy!) — wonderful job all around!
Some further info about girl names:
“Our sons are pushing for Charlotte but that’s most likely due to their love of Charlotte’s Web, and not the martyr of Compiegne. Lol!
The other philosophy we are currently considering is forgoing Moira or a Marian first name. For that theme, we would go straight into girl saint names but have a Mary connection in each daughter’s name. Unfortunately, we’re having a hard time being that creative with Marian derivatives.”
Genie’s little Miss will be joining the following well-named brothers:
Malachi Benedict Aquinas
• Malachi – first canonized saint of Ireland, “Carrots” is one of his nicknames
• Benedict – St. Benedict was a big part of our pre-marriage prep, Pope Benedict XVI
• Aquinas – Our courtship began on the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas
Noah Oliver Francis
• Noah – my husband liked the sound & justified it as being close to the Gaelic word for saint
• Oliver – last canonized saint of Ireland, he usually goes by “Noah Oliver” or the Gaelic pronounced “Ollibear”
• Francis – the patron of the parish we’d attended all our marriage. He took me there after the pub on our first date.
Liam Michael Damien
• Liam – Bl. Liam Tirry one of the 17 Irish martyrs, his nickname is the Scottish term of endearment “Ducky”
• Michael – St. Michael is one of my husband’s patrons along with St. Thomas Becket & St. John the Baptist.
• Damien – St. Damien of Molokai, my dad used to go build for the remainder of his colony.
Aelred Dominic John (this is the son we lost)
• Aelred – St. Aelred the English St. Bernard, Spiritual Friendship author, one of our sons’ favorite lullabies is Robert Burns’ “A Red Red Rose” – he was due in June. http://youtu.be/y8R1kmcoQZk
• Dominic – St. Dominic, OL of the Rosary, meaning (belonging to God)
• John – my husband’s brother (has all daughters), patron, meaning (God is gracious)
Henry Andrew James
• Henry – St. Henry Walpole & Bl. John Henry Newman
• Andrew – St. Andrew of Scotland, my husband’s middle name, he was conceived the day after praying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena
• James – St. James the Great, my grandfather’s name, his nickname is “Camino” (he’s the path God chose for our family)
And the names they’d considered if this baby had been a boy:
George Ignatius Eliot
Charles/Maximilian Joseph Louis
Just sighs of happiness all around! Great great names.
So, to start, I love Moira Immaculee Clare, a really lovely name. I’m so surprised that Genie knows multiple Moiras! I don’t think I’ve ever met any in real life, being more familiar with Maura, which is my first suggestion — perhaps they’d consider changing to Maura Immaculee Clare? I know a little Maura who goes by Molly. Maybe that would be different enough to distinguish from the other little Moiras they know, but close enough to still feel like that got to use their beloved name? Secondly, when it comes to Irish and Scottish names, I tend to not worry about, for example, sisters Moira and Josephine not matching in style — especially in Ireland, which is what I’m more familiar with, families often have a mix of super-Irish names and others, usually saints. I know a family with a Kevin, Michael, and Dermot, for example, and another with Mary and Padraic, and another with Robert and Maeve. So I think it’s totally fine.
I know Mary isn’t as exciting as Moira, but I wondered what they’d think of that? Mary Immaculee Clare is wonderful, and Molly can still be used as a nickname. Or maybe Molly Immaculee Clare? My sister is just Molly and my sister-in-law is Molly and I grew up with multiple girls named Molly/Mollie — just that, not as a nickname for Mary or another variant. Maria is also quite well used in the British Isles/Ireland (you could even pronounce it like Mariah if you wanted to be really British and confuse everyone! 😀 I have a friend who gave her daughter the middle name Maria, with Maria pronounced Mariah). Or Mariah itself? I’ve always loved it.
I posted the other day about the idea of reserving names for future babies and something one of the commenters said that has really stuck with me — and I think might be helpful here — is “which name would I be sadder not to use?” In that example, a family had chosen Felicity for a girl, only to discover they were expecting a boy, and someone had suggested Felix, which would mean they couldn’t/wouldn’t use Felicity if they ever had a girl. Would they be sadder to never get to use Felicity? For Genie, would she and her hubs be sadder/would it bother them more to cross Moira off their list, or to use a name that might bother another family and potentially be seen as not fitting with future sisters?
Regarding Evangeline as having an obscure connection to Mary, I don’t know of any official (though obscure) connections, but I think one could make a case for it, since Evangeline means “good news” and Mary was the first hearer and the bearer of Good News — perhaps she could even be thought of as the First Evangelist? I’ve often said that intention matters the most, more than a name’s actual meaning etc., so if one’s intention is to honor Mary with Evangeline and you feel you have a good way of making it all connect, I say go for it!
I didn’t know about the martyr of Compiegne, Sr. Charlotte of the Resurrection! I did a post a while ago on patrons for Caroline/Charlotte, and my heaviest focus was on the male saints (JP2, Borromeo, etc.) — I’ll have to add this new Charlotte! It’s actually a really strong style match for a lot of the names Genie and her hubs like, and with the new baby princess being Charlotte, they’ve got a great Anglophile connection there!
As for Marian derivatives, there are so many! They’ve done a great job already with Moira, Immaculee, Marie, Hope (OL of Hope), and Rose. Others that might interest them include Grace; Marian (always makes me think of Maid Marian, not a bad association!); Maureen/Mairenn; Miriam; Perpetua; Assumpta and Carmel, both of which are used in Ireland; Regina and Caeli, as well as some others I include below in my “official” suggestions.
So now, onto those suggestions! Not that I think they really need any, their list is amazing! But I thought these might strike the right notes:
Given Genie’s husband’s love of all things Scottish and her hope for a Marian name, Annabel was one of my very first thoughts for them! Behind the Name says Annabel is a “Variant of AMABEL influenced by the name ANNA. This name appears to have arisen in Scotland in the Middle Ages” … Amabel is a “Medieval feminine form of AMABILIS,” who was a fifth century (male) saint, but Amabilis is a “Late Latin name meaning “lovable”” — the very name used in the Marian title Mater Amabilis — Mother Most Amiable (where amiable=lovable). How great is that?? A pretty specifically Scottish Marian name! I love Annabel (could also spell it Annabelle), mostly for its Marian meaning, but also because visually it connects to St. Anne, one of my personal patrons and of course the patroness of this blog.
(2) Eva or Eve
I was thinking of Aoife for them, and I do love it, but I suspect they’d want something a little easier to work with, and Genie’s idea of Evangeline made me think of it. Eva can be pronounced EE-va or AY-va and goes back to Mary as the New Eve. They could also consider just Eve — I had a convo on the blog recently with a mom who was considering Eve, for Mary, but worried it wasn’t Marian enough and asked for any ideas for a middle that would help remedy that … I suggested Eve Immaculata, which just has a beautiful, meaningful ring to me, and the mom responded that she also really liked Immaculee, and given that Immaculee already features prominently in Genie’s girl list, it seems a great idea. They might also want to consider Evangeline for a first name?
(3) Rosemary/Rosemarie, Rosary
I had a friend in Ireland years ago named Rosemarie and I loved it. I also love Rosemary. Nicknames for both can include Romy or Rory/Rorie, which are the kinds of nicknames I love — a little offbeat, but with a great, solid, traditional given name. And Rosie/Rosey are of course really great nicknames.
A reader on the blog actually named her daughter Rosary! I love love love it! That family had some Irish names for their other kids, so I thought Genie might be interested in checking them out. Little Rosary herself has the full name of Rosary Brigid Elise, and her mom recently said that she often calls her Rose.
One of the great things about the Irish (and I know I’m focusing a lot on the Irish, but I’m just not as familiar with Scotland — I hope my thoughts are transferable!) is that they use holy names of all kinds, ethnicities, languages, etc. I know of Irish girls named Jacinta and Philomena and Gemma — especially in the old days I think, they just used a lot of names of our faith, no matter where they came from. So Lourdes (as with Carmel above) strikes me as just the kind of name they might use, if they wanted to use a Marian name. I’ve written a bit about the family at the blog My Child I Love You, because the parents have scrumptious taste in names, and their youngest is Lourdes Marie Talbot. I could see Lulu and Lola working as nicknames for Lourdes, and I even think Lucy could work! Especially with a middle name like Cecilia — Lourdes Cecilia has all the sounds of Lucy. And Genie’s baby is actually due right around the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes! (The Lourdes I mentioned above was born on that same feast day!)
Finally, Stella. It’s one of my favorites — I feel like I suggest it to everyone! It’s from the Marian title Stella Maris — Star of the Sea. Stella on its own is a lovely nod to Our Lady, or perhaps they’d prefer to use Stella (first name) with Maris (middle name). Or, Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas has a daughter Gwen with the middle name Stellamaris (all one word). And a reader of my blog named her daughter Maristella, which is a totally legitimate variant of the Marian title (birth announcement here, and I posted a pictureposted a picture of Our Lady, Star of the Sea on my Instagram that had “Ave Maris Stella” underneath). I kind of love the connection of the sea to Ireland and Scotland! My grandfather was born and raised in Ireland, in a coastal town, and he worked his way to the U.S. on a ship; the UK’s Apostleship of the Sea has “Stella Maris Masses” said for the seafolk in places including Aberdeen and Glasgow. So cool, right?
And those are all my thoughts and ideas for Genie’s little baby girl! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest?