Backing into a patron saint

This topic is one of my very favorites,  because I frequently come across families who chose names they love for their children but later regretted not having figured out a patron saint connected to their names, whether because they hadn’t really thought about the saint thing or because they’d had a later conversion/reversion/strengthening of their faith. I’ve seen some real suffering because of this! And I really really love being able to put a mama’s mind at ease. I wrote about the idea of “backing into a patron saint” in my CatholicMom article “Finding your patron saint (or being found),” but I wanted to share with you a real-life example from one of you wonderful readers. She writes,

I’m wondering if you can help me with a “reverse” consultation. I’m Catholic, but didn’t necessarily prioritize choosing a Saint’s name for my first two children. My Catholic faith has grown a lot recently and I’m a little sad that I didn’t intentionally give my son a Saint’s name. My first born daughter’s [middle name is] Marie. Marie is my middle name, and while that was the main reason we gave it to her, I’m happy that it also honors Mary. My son’s name is Flynn Carlson. Flynn is my husband’s grandmother’s maiden name and Carlson is my maiden name. My husband … loves anything and everything Irish. When we found the name Flynn in a baby name book he fell in love and had to have it. I’m one of four girls, so my maiden name will not be carried on by anyone in my family, so I really wanted to give my maiden name as a middle name to my son.

I’d love for my son to have a Saint that is associated with his name, if possible. I know that a patron Saint doesn’t have to be associated with a name and I realize that ideally the qualities of a Saint should inspire parents to choose a name rather than trying to match a Saint to a name after the fact. St. Patrick is an obvious choice for a patron Saint, as Flynn is an Irish surname, but my husband’s middle name is Patrick and we may end up using that name as a middle name for a future son if we are so blessed. I’ve also always had a connection to St. Francis, and have always sung the prayer of St. Francis to my son to put him to sleep. I would have had a hard time naming a boy Francis, so even though I’m inspired by him, the name didn’t really stand a chance. Is it horrible that I’ve told myself that since Flynn and Francis both start with F, I can make a case that St. Francis is his patron Saint?

Anyway, I thought I’d just propose a challenge to you to see if you could come up with any Saints that might be associated with his name (Flynn Carlson). I think you have more expertise in this area than I do, and it would be fun to see what you come up with (if anything – I’m prepared if this is too strange of a request).”

It’s not a strange request at all, and I’m so delighted to offer my thoughts.

Flynn Carlson is SUCH a handsome combo!! I looked up Flynn first, which said means “descendant of Flann,” so I looked up Flann and it’s said to mean “red.” Another of my resources, Dictionary of Patron Saints’ Names, picks up on this meaning in offering a patron for Flynn—it points to St. Rufus, which means “red haired,” of which there are many, as well as a person in the New Testament.

But my favorite idea for a patron for Flynn Carlson is based on his middle name. It means “son of Carl/Charles,” and there are some great Saints by that name! My personal favoriteis St. John Paul II, whose given name at birth was Karol—the Polish form of Charles/Carl. But I think this mama (who has German ancestry) might love Bl. Karl, Emperor of Austria. I know Austria doesn’t equal Germany, but they’re so close I’m hoping it might hit her just right! I read about him just recently after Theresa mentioned in a comment  and love him—he lived recently enough that there’s a photo of him, which I actually posted on my Instagram recently. There’s also St. Charles Borromeo, who’s awesome, and a few others, some of whom are known as Carl/Carlo. If my maiden name was Carlson, I would be so excited to use it for a son, knowing that it would have both family and saintly connections!

I also really love the connection this mama has already made between Flynn and Francis — I think that’s lovely, especially since she’s always sung the Prayer of St. Francis to him. It’s kind of like St. Francis chose Flynn!

If any of you are struggling with a similar issue, please feel free to email me! Every little one should have a patron saint! ❤


Birth announcement: Louisa Marie!

I posted a consultation for Alyssa and her husband back in January in which I offered suggestions with a German sensibility for their little girl-on-the-way. Alyssa has let me know her Little Miss has arrived, and they gave her the beeeaauuutiful name of … Louisa Marie!

Alyssa writes,

our little girl is here! She was born on Saturday, March 26 just in time for Easter. I loved reading your consultation and everyone’s suggestions and referred back to the post several times while we were making our final decisions. In the end we just couldn’t shake Louisa. I don’t remember if I told you or not but I grew up on a street called Louisa and my parents still live there, so the associations are strong. It also fit our German bill and as was kind of discussed in your post, it is a name from The Sound of Music, one of my favorite movies! And of course Marie is a tradition and honors not only our Blessed Mother but also several women in my family including my mom, both grandmothers and my cousin who passed away a few years ago. After researching the links you provided about saintly women with her name, St. Louise de Marillac jumped out to me as her patron when I realized her feast day was in March. Thank you so much for all of your help and good information! 

Right now we are calling her Louisa, Lou, LouLou and Louie/Louie Marie. So many fun nicknames! Big brother Konrad Wolfgang is having a blast with her so far!

How wonderful!! I just loved that Alyssa said that they “referred back to the post several times while we were making our final decisions” and that “in the end we just couldn’t shake Louisa.” That, to me, is evidence that Louisa is and always has been the name for this beautiful baby! I looooove the nicknames too, so so sweet!

Congratulations to Mom and Dad and big brother Konrad, and happy birthday Baby Louisa!!


Louisa Marie


Names for the Glorious Mysteries

It’s Easter Tuesday!! Hallelujah and hurrah!! ❤ 😀 ❤

It’s the perfect Tuesday to continue the Mysteries of the Rosary series with a post about names for the Glorious Mysteries! If you remember, last week I posted about Sorrowful Mystery Names, and you were all so great with your comments! Lots of good ideas there!

These are the Glorious Mysteries (read more here) (and here’s how to pray the Rosary):

The Resurrection of Our Lord
The Ascension into Heaven
The Descent of the Holy Spirit
The Assumption of Mary
The Coronation of Mary

Names associated with the Glorious Mysteries might include:


Assumpta, Assunta, Asunción — a traditional girl’s name referring to the Assumption

Anastasia — means “resurrection”

Corona — means “crown,” for Our Lady’s Crowning

Dominica, Dominique — from Dominic, which is from Latin for “of the Lord,” and was traditionally given to a baby born on a Sunday

Evangeline — means “good news”

Gloria, Glory — the glory of Easter! And the Glorious Mysteries!

Jemima — means “dove,” for the Holy Spirit

Magdalene/a, Madel(e)ine — for Mary Magdalene, who was the first to see the Risen Christ

Mary, etc. — any of the Mary names would be a perfect nod to the Marian mysteries

Paloma — means “dove”

Pascale, Pascaline, Pasqualina — means “related to Easter”

Regina — means “queen,” for the Crowning of Our Lady

Renata, Renée — means “reborn”

Salome — one of the women who discovered the tomb was empty

Vida, Vita — means “life”



Aidan — from a name meaning “fire,” for the Holy Spirit’s tongues of fire

Ambrose — means “immortal”

Cináed (often anglicized as Kenneth) — means “born of fire”

Colum, Columba — means “dove,” for the Holy Spirit

Dominic — see Dominica, Dominique above

Emmaus — Jesus met Cleopas and another on the road to Emmaus after the Resurrection (so like Emmett!)

Ignatius — connected to the Latin ignis, which means “fire”

Jonah — means “dove”

Paschal, Pascal, Pascoe — see Pascale, Pascaline, Pasqualina above

Renatus, René — see Renata, Renee above

Stephen — means “crowned”! How great is Stephen as a nod to Our Queen!

Vitus, Vitale/y — see Vida, Vita above


What others can you add to this list? (The Holy Spirit names came from this post; I only included the ones that seemed particularly connected to the Descent of the Holy Spirit.)

+ Let us bless the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Let us praise and exalt him above all forever. +

Baby name consultant: Hip Brit names for a fifth baby

You guys! Today’s name consultation is for our very own Grace-with-a-small-g (red hair)! And I’m really excited about it, because she has bold taste so I was able to suggest some really fun names for her. She’s not currently pregnant but, like all of us, loves to think about names and would love some thoughts/ideas/suggestions for a possible Baby #5.

Her amazingly named kiddos are:

Elisabeth Grace
James Julian
Fiona Catherine
John Peter

She actually recently left a comment explaining how John got his name — so moving!

Grace writes,

So, quite a few of these are family names … and of course three of them have New Testament first names but that’s not a requirement at all. No one goes by a nickname in our house … I guess I’d say we’re not nicknamers, but I might consider the right nickname if it came along.

I consider our naming style to be traditional, and I prefer names that have sort of an English flavor. As time goes by, I find that names with a more “hip” Brit feel appeal to me more and more.

I’ve had other name nerds say that because we used the “s” spelling for Elisabeth that we have a more continental style but I feel they didn’t have a good pulse on our taste, “s” spelling notwithstanding.

If we have another baby, we have middle names picked out, Xavier for a boy and the mouthful Catholicky Catholic Maria Thérèse (possibly spelled without a space, not sure) for a girl!

We have girls’ names likely narrowed down to Edith or Iris, although I still like Aurora, too. Other girls’ names that have been serious contenders for us are Rosalind and Winifred.

For boys, I love, love Jasper, but not sure about a THIRD “J” boy! And I’m pretty wed to Xavier in the #2 spot, so Jasper Xavier is probably out. Another boy choice we like a lot is George. Henry feels like the “safe” choice for us but I’m not head over heels in love with it.”

I was really intrigued by this: “I’ve had other name nerds say that because we used the “s” spelling for Elisabeth that we have a more continental style but I feel they didn’t have a good pulse on our taste, “s” spelling notwithstanding,” and I really wanted to try to make sure I took it into account.

Grace and her husband have a bunch of rules about naming as well:

-Anything that ends with a “B” because I’m against elision with our last name
-Probably also wouldn’t use a name beginning with “B” for the same reason
-Despite my girls’ names listed up above, I don’t like the more common floral names (Lily, Rose, Violet), or anything that points to another language specifically (such as French, Italian, etc.—with the obvious exception of that middle name!)
-Names with a very strong glottal stop (such as Martin)
-Hugh/Hugo or anything else reminiscent of words for size
-Names beginning with the letter “L”
-We are not super into Old Testament names though we wouldn’t 100% rule them out

And a bunch of names that are on the no-go list for various reasons:


And I know she was worried about being too picky but, please. I LOVE picky! Challenging name dilemmas are my jam. 🙂

My very first thought was about their choice of middle names — I love them! Xavier and Maria Thérèse/MariaThérèse make any first name juuuuust fine since they’re so saintly and spectacular.

Edith, Iris, Aurora, Rosalind, and Winifred are all fabulous, they totally give me a good sense of the kinds of names Grace and her hubs like, as do Jasper (!), George, and Henry. It’s funny because when I was coming up with ideas, given that “continental” is not their style but rather “a more ‘hip’ Brit feel,” though I did use my trusty Baby Name Wizard book, I really felt like my approach with this was more of a “close my eyes and jump” gut-feeling kind of thing. We’ll see how I did!


(1) Zara
I’m starting with Zara because I’m thinking Grace won’t like it, but maybe she will? It’s 100% influenced by her interest in the monarchy (as she’s told me), and also Fiona’s name. Elisabeth, James, and John on their own are your basic, amazing, handsome, traditional sibling set. But you throw Fiona in there and pow! It’s like sprinkling glitter over the whole set. So I tried to let Fiona’s name influence me quite a bit. Without her I might lean more toward Thomas, Mary, Jane-type names; with Fiona, and Jasper too, I felt like having fun. Zara totally strikes me as that kind of name. And the letter Z?? To die for. But I’m still going to guess that it’s a little too un-traditional for Grace and her hubs … (I love love love Zara Maria Thérèse.)

(2) Gwendolyn
I love Gwendolyn and Gwen—the mom of Baby Beatrice, whose birth announcement I posted in January, has a Gwendolyn, as does DMNES’ Sara, and Haley Stewart has a Gwen, and I’ve really been feeling it recently. Never mind that it’s a style match for both Rosalind and Winifred! And also Bernadette and Rosemary, which I found surprising, in a good way. Gwendolyn Maria Thérèse has a gorgeous rhythm, what a name.

(3) Clementine
Clementine is very British to me. Am I right about that? I feel like it’s used more there than here. I love it—the full thing is so fun, and I actually love the song reference and the oranges (what a fun avatar for a little Clementine!), and I love the nickname Clemmie. So cute! And it’s a Year of Mercy name! Clementine Maria Thérèse. Yum.

(4) Olive
I know Grace likes Olive, so I was surprised to not see it on her list! It’s totally on my radar because of Our Lady of Olives, what a cool Marian connection. Olive Maria Thérèse is really hip to me (though we have established that I’m neither hip nor hipster so maybe I have it all wrong 😀 ).

(5) Georgiana
This is kind of a joke! It’s cracking me up that I put this in here! 😀 When I was in the midst of doing this for Grace I read a comment she left that she doesn’t care for the feminine variants of George and so my namey mind immediately perked up and thought Ah! Georgiana! It’s SO perfect for anyone who loves Pride and Prejudice and Colin Firth, as I know Grace does, and I loooove Georgiana anyway. So I’m keeping it on the list. 😀

(6) Juliet
I feel like I talk about Juliet a lot here on the blog, and I don’t ever remember Grace chiming in one way or the other, but it seems to me like a perfect bridge of sorts between Elisabeth and Fiona. It’s one of my very favorite names. I do realize Grace and her hubs have Julian represented already, and of course all the J names, but I thought I’d add it in anyway.

(7) Sadie, Daisy, Millie
Finally, the nickname names. So British right now! These are my favorite of those kinds of names for Grace and her hubs. Sadie is sweet, and it’s Jude Law’s ex-wife’s name, which is a really twisted but fun connection (I had Jude Law on the brain working on this because of Grace’s love of Iris, which is one of his daughter’s names. He also has a Rafferty, which I was tempted to put on the boy list, but I stopped myself. But if Grace likes it, I love it!). Though Sadie’s a traditional nick for Sarah, it can stand on its own, and Sarah doesn’t seem like Grace’s style at all.

Daisy is a huge deal for me right now, I am love love loving it, it’s definitely my current favorite of the Margaret names. I also watched The Great Gatsby recently and liked seeing Daisy on a grown woman.

Millie is influenced by two things: first, Millicent was listed as a match for Winifred, which made me think of my cousin Millicent who goes by Millie … and then Millie made me think of one of my Brit-pop-culture go-tos, the Shopaholic series, where the main character Becky and her amazingly named husband Luke Brandon named their baby Minnie. Just Minnie. So British. So I thought Grace and her hubs might like Millie?


(1) Owen
Owen is all St. Nicholas Owen, and I’m not sure it really fits in with Grace’s taste, but I think it could—St. Nicholas Owen was English and Fiona is Celtic and so: Owen! I love it, and I think Owen Xavier is fun because of the XO thing.

(2) Alistair, Alasdair
I love that the BNW says, “Alistair has had an uber-genteel image in the U.S., courtesy of longtime Masterpiece Theatre host Alistair Cooke. In Scotland it’s simply an everyday classic”—I love that combo of genteel and common! When I first saw this name in my research, I thought of the Hugh Grant movie About A Boy—if I remember correctly, the girl he liked introduced him as Ali, which I assume meant Alistair or a variant, so I feel like it has that Brit cachet they’re looking for. (Though I guess it has the same problem with Xavier that Jasper does.)

(3) Arthur or Albert
So I was thinking about the whole nickname-as-given-name thing that’s popular in England, and I thought of Alfie, which made me think of Archie, which reminded me that I’d seen somewhere recently that someone named their son Arthur and decided on Archie as a nickname, and as soon as I thought of Arthur I thought of Grace. Arthur!

Arthur and Archie also made me think of Albert and Albie, and St. Albert the Great’s one of my faves, and Albie’s super cute.

(4) Elliott
Elliott was included in the list for Aurora and as soon as I saw it I thought ooh! I love that it’s a diminutive of Elias, I love the sound and spelling (all forms), I love that it can be literary (T.S. Eliot), and I love it with Xavier. Elliott! I know it’s gotten some use by girls recently, but I still really like it for a boy.

(5) Edmund
I’m surprised Grace and her hubs don’t have Edmund on their list! It’s Narnia, it’s St. Edmund Campion, it’s got a little bit of a fusty-musty feel that I think they like (Edith). (In a good way!) It’s got really cute nicknames, but the full Edmund is my favorite I think. Edmund Xavier is fab.

(6) Louis or Lewis or Linus
Louis is de Montfort and Martin; Lewis is C.S. Either and both are such great connections! I personally love the nickname Louie, but the full Louis/Lewis is quite nice too. My boys go to school with a Louis and he’s such a good kid—respectful, friendly, cheerful—he’s really made me love it even more.

Linus is kind of a dark horse but I love it’s papal connection AND it’s a style match for Iris and Casper (which I consider to be nearly as good as Jasper in terms of determining style), as well as Flora, Felix, Hugo, and Beatrix, all of which I thought were decent markers of Grace’s style.

(7) Malcolm
Finally, Malcolm. This is mostly influenced by Fiona, but also by its meaning: “follower of St. Columba.” I love that! I know a little Malcolm, brother of Liam, who has effectively severed the Malcolm-Jamal Warner association for me, and Mac is one of the greatest nicknames in my opinion. They could even do Max if they wanted with the middle name. Malcolm Xavier is gorgeous.

Alright! Moment of truth! How did I do? What would you all suggest as a brother or sister to Elisabeth, James, Fiona, and John?

Birth announcement: John Maximilian!


A mama I did a private consultation for has let me know her baby has arrived — a little boy with the amazing name … John Maximilian!!

She writes,

Just wanted to let you know we had a healthy baby boy March 5th! Thank God for all His blessings! John Maximilian! 8lbs 9 oz and 21 inches long! Born at 9:36 am!

The relics of St Maximilian Kolbe just so happened to be traveling in our area (Raleigh, NC) when he was born. When my husband & I were trying to figure out his middle name (we were considering Max but hadn’t decided for sure) a friend texted congrats & said she was praying in front of Max Kolbe’s relics while I was giving birth! So we felt that was confirmation enough so we went with that middle name. (It’s also my dads name).”

How awesome is that?? The story about St. Max’s relics is fantastic enough, but to have Maximilian be the grandpa’s name as well is just perfect!

John Maximilian joins big sibs:

Nicholas Michael
Paulina Marie
Gabrielle Anne
Levi Joseph

What a beautifully named family! Congratulations to them all, and happy birthday Baby John Maximilian!!


John Maximilian


Birth announcement: Adelaide Elizabeth!

I know I said I’d be off the blog — and I am! But birth announcements are too celebratory not to post!

I did a private consultation for a mama a while ago, and she’s let me know her baby has arrived — a little girl named … Adelaide Elizabeth!!

She writes,

I just wanted to update you that our baby was born on the 14th … Her name is Adelaide Elizabeth. Adelaide we settled on early, and the middle name Elizabeth was not one of my first ideas and isn’t as strong a family name as her older two siblings (with their parents’ first names as middle) but I did have a great-grandmother Elizabeth and it’s been a middle name for various family members on both sides. I’m undecided as Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, or Elizabeth Seton as a patron…so maybe both?

She’s a darling baby and we’re so thrilled!

How wonderful!! I LOVE the name Adelaide! And of course Elizabeth, I mean, come on. What a great combo. Her big sibs are:

Penelope Theresa
Leo Elliot

Love love love. A little offbeat but totally classic at the same time. Beautiful job, Mom and Dad!

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Adelaide!!


Adelaide Elizabeth

Sancta Nomina around the web, and Happy Easter!

My March column at posted last Wednesday, and I’m only now getting a chance to let you all know! As you’ll read, it was inspired by the fact that search terms having to do with nicknames for Victor bring people to my blog more than any other search term, except for those specifically looking for the blog (e.g., “sancta nomina blog”). I still find that pretty amazing!

You might remember that I’d done a consultation last year for nicknames for Victor for Theresa of Zelie & Co./Happy Nest Home Goods fame, so I re-tooled it a little for CatholicMom and I’m delighted I was able to have it post right before Easter as, to me, Victor is all Jesus and His triumph over death: Celebrating Jesus’ Easter Victory By Name


And today, I have a new article up at Nameberry, which was greatly helped by the comments you all left on this post! Check it out: How Star Athletes Influence Baby Names


With that, I’m signing off until next week, when I’ll post the Monday consultation as usual (for one of our most regular readers! So exciting!). I’ll remember you all in my prayers over the next few somber and celebratory days, and I hope you all have a very blessed Holy Week and a wonderfully Happy Easter!! ❤ ❤ ❤

Names for the Sorrowful Mysteries

A few weeks ago Shelby suggested a post on names for the Mysteries of the Rosary, which I loved right away — what a great idea! So every Tuesday for the next four weeks, I’m going to post on a particular set of Mysteries, starting today with the Sorrowful Mysteries, which is so apt for Holy Week, and also for yesterday’s attacks in Brussels. Suffering Jesus, help us.

In case you need a refresher, these are the Sorrowful Mysteries (all referring to Jesus’ Passion and Death) (read more here):

The Agony in the Garden
The Scourging at the Pillar
The Crowing with Thorns
The Carrying of the Cross
The Crucifixion

And here’s how to pray the Rosary.

Shelby and Mary-Agnes both offered some ideas, and I’ve spent the last couple weeks jotting down some more as I thought of them — there are a good few!


Cruz — cruz is Spanish for “cross” and refers to the Cross of the Crucifixion; used for boys and girls

Dolores — Spanish for “sorrows,” traditionally used for Our Lady of Sorrows (María de los Dolores) and here could refer to both her and to the Sorrowful Mysteries, or to the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows) — the name for the path in Jerusalem Jesus walked on his way to the Crucifixion

Gethsemane — the name of the garden where Jesus suffered His Agony; behindthename lists it as a female name

Magdalen(e/a), Maddelana, Madeleine/Madeline — Mary Magdalene was at the foot of the Cross

Maricruz — a Spanish contraction of María and Cruz

Mary — Our Lady was at the foot of the Cross

Olivia, Olive — for the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (an olive grove); the nickname Via for Olivia would bring in an added nod to the Via Dolorosa (see Dolores above)

Pilar — a Spanish girl’s name meaning “pillar,” which can be a nod to the Scourging at the Pillar (it’s a Marian name referring to the unrelated title María del Pilar — Our Lady of the Pillar, from a Spanish apparition)

Regina — meaning “queen” (or perhaps “royalty” would be the better sense here) because of the Crowning with Thorns

Ruby — “red,” for Jesus’ Blood poured out for us in His Passion and Death

Scarlett — same as Ruby

Veronica — she wiped Jesus’ Face during the Carrying of the Cross



Cruz — cruz is Spanish for “cross” and refers to the Cross of the Crucifixion; used for boys and girls

Cyrene — Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry His Cross

Dismas — the name traditionally given to the repentant thief crucified next to Jesus

John — John the Beloved Disciple was at the foot of the Cross with Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene

Oliver — see Olivia/Olive above

Rex, Regis — meaning “king” because of the Crowing with Thorns; see Regina above

Simon — see Cyrene above

Tristan — often considered to mean “sad” because of its similarity to Latin tristis (sad)


What others can you add to this list?

+ For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. +



Birth announcement: Woodrow Ignatius!

I posted a consultation for Emily and her husband last summer, and she’s let me know her baby has arrived — a baby boy given the killer combo … Woodrow Ignatius!

Emily writes,

Woodrow Ignatius Floyd was born on October 23, 2015.

Oddly enough we did not know St Ignatius of Loyola was also born on Oct 23, but divine providence proves itself once again. We had no middle name for him as I felt like God and the saints would point in the right direction on his birthday. I had really thought I would have him on Oct 22 (his due date was the 31), because it’s the feast of St Pope John Paul II, to whom I have a strong devotion. But even though my water broke on the 22, and it seems St Ignatius wanted him for his own. 🙂 … Woodrow was a name my husband brought up and was a front runner while we were still deciding. We will not be using a nickname, though “Row” or “W” would be what we would use.

Both my husband and I love history, as I think I said before, so we were really drawn to names with historical reference or legend, etc. “

I’m really excited because one of the names I’d suggested had been Fitzwilliam (after Mr. Darcy), and Woodrow is so similar because it’s a last name used as a first name by a famous man (one fictional, one real). I even wrote, “I was trying to think of names that will always be somewhat unique/unpopular, no matter the changing tide of societal taste, and I thought surnames are one of those that may tend to fit that category.” So I feel like I was circling the right area! And I LOVE Woodrow with Ignatius — so heavy hitting! So faithy! So perfectly fitting what Emily and her husband were looking for! The story of how Ignatius is came to be his name is so.fantastic.

Congratulations to the proud Mom and Dad and big sibs Gwenevere Marie, Avalene Ruth, and Gideon Elias, and happy birthday Baby Woodrow!!

Spotlight on: Ryan

We’re going to finish up Irish week with an Irish spotlight! ((irish twinkle eyes!!) (Thanks too for all the great ideas for Colleen yesterday!)

Not too long ago, Katrina of Hatch Prints (hand lettering and art shop on Etsy, goorrrgeous) and Cedars and Tiny Flowers (mama blog) fame posted about her oldest’s name, Ryan Donald (he who looks uncannily like my oldest nephew in several of his photos — Mom/sisters/sisters-in-law, do you agree?), and wrote,

We didn’t put much emphasis on for having a saintly base to his name. We think our names get a passing grade as long as there is just one saint that can be connected. I have all the hope in the world that there will be a St. Ryan someday even with my ordinary mothering especially after reading this the other day. There happens to be a St. Donald, but it is kind of a downer because there is almost nothing known about him. I do wish we had a specific intercessor picked out to call upon for Ryan. Maybe Kate could do a spotlight on Ryan? Hint, hint.”

I totally picked up the hint (:) ) and thought it would be the perfect name to spotlight not only at the end of Irish week (because it’s Irish, just in case you weren’t sure), but also as we go into Holy Week, since I’m totally thinking that the best faithy connection for Ryan is Jesus Himself.

Ryan is said by behindthename and babynamesofireland (which only has an entry for Ryanne, “a female form of Ryan,” but not Ryan. Weird) to come from from ri (=king) and the diminutive –in, in essence meaning “little king,” which is, to me, all that tiny Babe in the manger. How cool. I might then consider it a possible Christmas name as well. I’m totally loving this idea!

Further digging shows there may indeed be a St. Ryan, under the name St. Rhian, and he is a mysterious (but so intriguing!) fellow. There’s a Welsh town called Llanrhian, where “llan” means “place of” (according to my Welsh expert friend Clare from Name News [a treasure trove of name info] — check out her comments about Welsh names and pronunciations on my post here, so cool!), and “There are lots of place names that are Llan + saint’s name, e.g. Llanfair (Mair = Mary), Llanbedr (Pedr = Peter).” so Llanrhian is named after someone named Rhian, and despite the fact that behindthename says Rhian is a Welsh female name meaning “maiden,” this site says about St. Rhian,

Little is known of this saint, or of any other dedications to him. A few suggestions have been made:

  • The name may originally have been Rian, Rayn or Ryan, as early documents spelt it this way, and he could have been one of St David’s followers.

  • He could have been Rein, or Rhun, son of Brechan Brycheiniog, whose children have churches dedicated to them in various parts of Pembrokeshire

  • He could have been Reanus, Abbot of the 7th century

  • The name could have been descriptive – rian was an old Irish word for a trackway and Llanrhian might refer to the church on the trackway

  • It would recall some local chieftain who had embraced the Christian faith (rhi = king, an = little)

  • The Welsh word for maiden is rhiain, so the dedication might be to the Virgin Mary.”

(What’s that? A possible connection to Mother Mary?? ((heart eyes!!)) ) You can read more about Llanrhian and its founder/saint in this great document, and he even has a feast day (March 8).

So I’d say, if Katrina, or anyone else, wants a known patron for Ryan, I’d look to Jesus, and how awesome is that. But if a saint with the actual name is desired, St. Rhian’s the best we got, and not a terrible option at all.

What do you think of Ryan as a Jesus name? Do you have any other ideas for a patron saint for Ryan? Thanks to Katrina for the shout out and request!