Birth announcement: Taavi Ross!

I posted a consultation for Shannon, from the blog We, A Great Parade, and her husband back in April, and she’s let me know her baby has arrived, a handsome little boy with the handsomely eye-catching name … Taavi Ross!

Shannon writes,

Hi Kate! Wanted to let you know that we welcomed our son on May 20th! (We barely missed a shared birthday on the 19th!) 9 lb 6 oz and 21 inches long. It was a peaceful and quick labor, and we are so thankful for his little presence in our family.

His name is Taavi Ross Evans!

Taavi (pronounced tah-vee) is a derivative of David and means “beloved”. It was a name we found after you and I did the consultation, so not one I had mentioned to you. My husband and I love the sound, the meaning, and the nod to both the poet-king and the bishop Saint who is also the patron of poets! Ross is a family name on my husband’s side.

Big brothers Alyosha and Moses are adorably proud.

Thanks for all your and your readers’ help brainstorming! It was such a fun and helpful experience!

I love all the meaning behind this little guy’s name! And I’m always so intrigued by Finnish names, it is SO cool to see a family use one.

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


Taavi Ross


Baby name consultant: Green bean No. 5 needs an elegant, slightly offbeat name

Happy Memorial Day everyone!! 🗽 Many many thanks to all those who died in defense of our country. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May then rest in peace. 💕 🙏

Colleen and her husband who are expecting their fifth baby, a little green bean! 🌱 He or she is joining big sibs:

Hanna Marie
Angele Therese nicked Angie
Nadia Renee
Leo Sebastian

Such gorgeous, elegant names!!

Colleen writes,

We like some slightly offbeat, heavier French but some foreign-ness to them names that can be normalized if people flip out (such as Angie), but they do need to stem from saints or have a faithful meaning.”

This is such a fun “theme” to work with — there are so many delicious names to choose from!

Names they’re currently considering include:

— Margaret Alice
— Elizabeth Anne
— Azelie Colette/Catherine
— Rosemary Bernadette
— Gloria Mercy
— Annelise
— Bridgette (“this is the only name that [my hubs] has brainstormed to me, so I put weight on it. This was back when we were expecting Nadia, and he now doesn’t remember, but when I said it without saying its source, he swooned all over again“)
— Mireille (“I love these Marian-looking French names. One just as pretty but slightly easier to pronounce would be great. I understand this would be something like “meer-AY”“)

— Louis Clement (frontrunner; “I have huge devotion to the famous saintly Martin family (Louis, Zelie, and their children), so Louis would be pronounced the French “Loo-ee.” Clement for the year of mercy“)
— Louis Jerome (further 2nd place; “Jerome meaning holy name, from what I can find, and obviously a saintly background“)
— Samuel Joseph (“it’s fading in both of our love for it, but we haven’t 100% nixed it“)
— Jeanluc Vianney (“love it, love the double 1st name, but I worry that it’s SO French“)
— Joachim Vianney (“I’d do a nickname of either Joah or Jovi … [Colleen’s hubs isn’t feeling it, but his] oldest brother’s full name is Jory Christopher, so that sound combo is already familiar, but unused. I also think Joachim Vianney ties together Hanna and Angie’s names with Hebrew & French“)

(Omgoodnessgracious you guys! Did you see that JOACHIM is on her list?! Hurrah!! 😍 🎉)

Colleen says,

I feel like we have a lot of lovely options if this baby is a girl, but not a lot for a boy. We are pretty smitten with the idea of Leo & Louis bopping around being boys together, but we’re so used to girl options…it feels strange to have so few for boys!

And an additional consideration in regards to girl names is that,

[T]he frontrunners right now are either Rosemary Bernadette or Gloria Mercy. I have concerns about a Gloria coming next, though.

Our Angie is aptly named, and is our sensitive soul. If we have a Hanna, Nadia, and Gloria, and ANGIE…even though I think her full name is the most elegant of them all, Angie will hear and FEEL that she’s the only “ee” girl. She would love a girl named Gracie or Rosie. I love the name Rosie as well. Gracie/Grace is lovely, but [my hubs] doesn’t go for (English language, clearly Nadia means Hope, but he wouldn’t consider Hope itself) virtue first names. But he’ll accept Rosemary. Win-win there.”

Finally, names they like but can’t use for various reasons include:


Alrighty! So first, some thoughts about the names on their list of considerations:

I think it’s so sweet they’re worried about Angie and her sweet sensitivity! It played a big role in the names I came up with for girls for Colleen and her hubs (below). Rosemary certainly takes care of that, and I also wondered if they’d consider nicknaming Gloria “Glory,” or just using Glory as the full name? Or Mercy as the first name? Or Mercedes nicked Mercy? I love Mercedes for them! (Spotlight on it here.) Also Bernadette as a first name could go by Bernie or Birdie or Benny … but is the –nadette part too similar to Nadia?

The rest of their girl ideas are great, and I only had a couple thoughts, like: What about Marguerite instead of Margaret, to up the French aspect? What about Elisabeth instead of Elizabeth? (Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur is a favorite of mine.) Annelise seems a bit much with Hanna, but it made me think they might like just Elise instead of the full Eliz/sabeth.

Mireille is gorgeous! I wondered if the variants Mireia or Mireya might be easier? And Bridgette is beautiful, and I agree with Colleen — any time my husband tells me he likes a name I try to figure out how to make it work, because he rarely offers ideas. I also love Ruth, especially Ruthie — that could be Angie’s “ee” name! Though they didn’t ask for middle name ideas, I’m really digging the first+middle combo Ruth Azelie, swoon!

For boys, Louis Clement and Louis Jerome are fab, no quibbles here.

Samuel Joseph is so handsome, and Jeanluc Vianney! Wow! I had a couple thoughts about Jeanluc — first, if they did JohnLuke or John Luke or Johnluke or John-Luke (which I think is my favorite) they could still have the French feel and the double first name without all the Jeanluc-ness of it, you know? John-Luke Vianney is so handsome! (It made me wonder if they’d considered Vianney as a first name for a girl? It’s got that “ee” ending, like Angie, and the family at the blog My Child I Love You has a little girl named Vianney. They also have a Clairvaux, who goes by Clair sometimes, and I thought that was a great suggestion for this family as well.)

And of course I love that Colleen loves Joachim! A girl after my own heart! I was thinking … if she really wanted to try to convince her hubs … would pairing Joachim with a middle name like Robert or Gregory or Gerard or Jerome and using the nickname Jory appeal to him? Using his brother’s name Jory as a nickname as a nickname for Joachim + [something with R in the middle] makes it feel more familiar and connected to family …

As for new ideas for Colleen and her hubs, I struggled a bit, mostly because I rely so heavily on the Baby Name Wizard to point me in the right direction (it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity), and so many of their names weren’t in it (like Angele … there’s Angela, but I don’t think Stephanie, Tamara, and Melissa are style matches for Angele like they are for Angela). And I was really feeling the French vibe, but then Nadia brings in a Slavic element … So I just went ahead and made a list of names I *thought* might work, with some help from the BNW as well as my own mental files.

(1) Domitille
Back in November I posted a pseudo consultation for a family who likely won’t have any more babies, but wanted to have some fun thinking of ideas in the slight possibility that they might. The mom is from France and the dad is Irish-American and they decided the mom would name the girls and the dad would name the boys. So the girls all have French names, and the boys all have Irish! Haha! Anyway, the French girls’ names are super French, being that the mom is French, and I thought of them right away when working on this for Colleen and her hubs. One of the girls is Domitille, and she sometimes goes by Domi (DO-mee), which I thought fit right in with Angie (and Domitille ends in –le like Angele!). (Their other girls have beautiful names as well, and I suggested a bunch more French names to them, so I think it’s definitely worth a look!)

(2) Sylvie
I was definitely on an “ee” kick (you’ll see it in my next two suggestions as well!), and French was my main inspiration, so Sylvie was a natural fit. A mom told me recently that she named her daughter Sylvie Regina and I almost died with happiness, what a great combo! I love how it sounds so much like Salve Regina.

(3) Lucie
Lucy was listed as a style match for Leo and Alice, and I thought it really went with the sweetness of their other girls’ names, but I loved the idea of changing the spelling to the French Lucie. I think they could also think of Lucie as a nod to St. Louis Martin, because of its similarity in sound, or I’ve often thought Lucy/Lucie could be a natural nickname for Louisa, so maybe they’d like to consider that?

(4) Felicity
I know, Felicity is neither French nor any kind of exotic, but I love it, and it’s a style match for Annelise, which is pretty cool (I do love Annelise). I waffled about whether or not to include it here, and ultimately decided to because I love seeing Hanna, Angele, Nadia, Leo, and Felicity listed together. It’s a totally subjective gut-reaction kind of thing.

(1) Maximilian
Even though I found it harder to come up with ideas for boys, I tried to come up with a few more than girls’ names, because they seem so set with girls’ names. Maxim is a style match for Nadia, Max for Leo, Maximilian for Sebastian, and Maxwell for Annelise. So Max- names seemed like they’d be the kind this family would like, and if I had to guess, I think Maximilian would be their favorite out of all of them. And it’s St. Maximilian Kolbe without the Kolbe that’s on their no-go list!

(2) Gerard
I always think of Gerard and Jerome together, so seeing that they’re considering Jerome for a middle name made me think of Gerard. Then I saw that it’s a match for Therese and Colette—voila! Certainly Gerry/Jerry’s a natural nickname, but I also like the idea of Ged/Jed.

(3) Gregory
Gregory is 100% inspired by Leo. Leo, to me, is always Pope St. Leo the Great, and Gregory is Pope St. Gregory the Great. Two Pope St. the Greats have to be brothers! Rory and Gus are two nicknames I think are a bit more current than Greg (Gus could come from something like Gregory Stephen, ohhh my).

(4) Xavier
My brother has a Leo and I suggested incorporating Xavier for their second son, because for some reason I always think of them as going together. I think Xavier has some good use in France, and it’s certainly got the saintly cred.

(5) Blaise
Blaise is one of my favorite names for a boy, because its fiery sound totally reminds me of my own little boys whizzing around the house/yard/you name it. And it’s French!

(6) Dominic/k
Finally, Dominic or Dominik. I kept trying to find names that ventured a little bit from French into maybe Slavic territory, a la Nadia, and Dominik seemed like a really good fit. The “k” ending makes it seem just a little more Nadia-esque, but the Dominic spelling is fine too, and in fact my father-in-law’s dad was from Poland and spelled his name Dominic, so either one could be great. I love Dominic/k as a brother to Leo and to their girls.

And those are my ideas for Colleen and her hubs! What do you think? What names would you suggest for a little brother or sister for Hanna, Angele, Nadia, and Leo?

Do you have a Zelie born in 2015?

I was just catching up on emails and FB posts and saw that one of you wonderful readers, mama to a Zelie, wondered (in response to my article about Zelie/Zaylee) how many readers welcomed a Zelie/[other spelling] in 2015? There were 50 of them born in America in 2015 and my theory is that many/most of them have some connection to our Sancta Nomina community (either readers of the blog or friends/relatives of readers). Add yourself in the comments if you qualify! 😀

Spotlight on: Juliet(te)

Ages ago Grace asked for a spotlight on Juliet(te), specifically to figure out the faithy connections. Juliet is one of my favorite favorite names, and I’m delighted to finally post this spotlight!

So Behind the Name tells us that Juliet is an anglicization of Juliette or Giulietta, which are diminutives of Julie or Giulia, which are the French and Italian variants of Julia, which is the feminine form of Julius, and it’s through Julia and Julius that Juliet(te) gets its faith significance.

As the DMNES points out, Julius is Caesar, and also three popes, one of whom is a saint. Julia is a figure in the New Testament, greeted by Paul and numbered among other “holy ones” (Romans 16:15) as well as several saints (CatholicSaints.Info offers a whole bunch of Sts. and Blds. Julia, as well as several Sts. Julius. Focusing on the holy women, a couple that jump out at me include Bl. Rose-Chretien de Neuville, one of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne whose religious name was Sr. Julia Louise of Jesus; the more recent St. Giulia Salzano, who had a devotion to Our Lady and the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was canonized by our Pope Benedict; and St. Ursula Ledochowska, whose birth name was Julia — she started the Ursulines of the Sacred Heart and her body is incorrupt. And others! Regarding Juliet specifically, there’s a devastatingly sad Golden Legend entry about St. Juliet, aka Julitta and Juliot, and her son St. Quirine, aka Cyriacus, which may or may not be true.)

So Juliet(te) has some impeccable credentials faith-wise! I suppose the question becomes, do you prefer just Juliet/Juliette, or would you rather use it as a nickname for Julia? I think using Juliet/Juliette as a nickname is pretty rare, but I love the idea of it because it offers more options, and it’s also so sweet! I always think of diminutives as being particularly lovey, so calling a Julia “Juliet” I think makes it seem really like, “Oh my sweet little Julia!”

And which spelling do you prefer? Juliet, Juliette, or even Juliot like the old French? And do you nickname a little Juliet? We’re big nicknamers here, and I think the full Juliet would automatically get shortened to Julie or Jules, which aren’t my favorite … I’ve seen Jilly as a nickname for Julia, which I think is sweet, and I think it could work for Juliet. Or Jet, which is edgy and cool, so if your Juliet decides to punk out when she’s a teen she could have all her friends call her Jet. I love that idea more than I probably should! 😂 ✈✈✈ There’s also the old nickname-from-a-mashup-of-first-and-middle, so Juliet Noelle can become Juno or Junie. But I think, if it were me, I’d really push for the full Juliet, it’s just so beautiful.

Also, Catholic Digest Editor-in-chief Danielle Bean has a Juliette, and mentions the thing any Juliet(te) will have to deal with: Romeo. She says it’s no big deal, and it isn’t to me either, but maybe you all feel differently? Even with the Romeo connection, I feel like it gives Juliet all the good feels from that story (sweet young love, romance) and none of the bad (foolish youth, defiance, disobedience, suicide). Do you agree?

What do you all think of Juliet(te)? Would you or have you named a daughter Juliet(te)? Do any of you know any Julias who go by Juliet(te)?  Do you know any Juliet(te)s who go by a nickname?

Name ideas for imaginary Baby No. 10

One of you lovely readers sent me the link to this article about John Clark of Seton Magazine, because he lists the full names of his nine children:

Athanasius Chrysostom
Veronica Marie
Demetrius Innocent
Tarcisius Bellarmine
Philomena Guadalupe
Dominica Rose
Bonaventure Duns Scotus
Immaculata Faustyna
Mary Katherine

After I stopped absolutely dead-faint swooning over those names (!!!), I was excited to read this bit:

I am open to suggestions for the next child, if by the generosity of God there is a tenth. Maybe Lisa and I should initiate a naming contest—submit ideas for the name and the winner gets a free dinner for four at Jack in the Box. If you are inclined to do so, be sure that the name is: 1) at least four syllables, 2) the name of a doctor of the Church, and/or 3) someone who directly conversed with Jesus.”

And I know he was being cheeky but I also had to see how recent the article was, just in case, but alas it’s from 2010 and I did a tiny bit of research and he’s still listed as a dad of nine so I don’t think there were any more babies. But I couldn’t let such a fun opportunity go by! I gave it some thought and came up with these ideas:


(1) Archangela

Reader Lisa let me know about Bl. Archangela Girlani not that long ago and I’ve been loving her name ever since. It’s four syllables and while her profile doesn’t say she conversed with Jesus she did have the gifts of ecstasy, levitation, and miracles. So there’s that.

(2) Apollonia

Five syllables! Also not a Doctor or conversed with Jesus, but “After her teeth were broken with pincers, she was given the choice of renouncing Christ or being burned alive; she lept onto the fire herself.” A nice twofer here too for any Godfather fans. 😉

(3) Christiana

I just looove the name Christiana. And why name after a saint who conversed with Jesus when you can name after Jesus Himself?!

(4) Maristella

I think we all got swoony over this name when this mama used it for her lovely little lady! A beautiful name to honor Our Lady, who did indeed converse with Jesus.


(1) Theophilus

The book of Luke and the book of Acts are addressed to Theophilus, meaning “friend of God.” A nice little twist on Theodore!

(2) Nicodemus

Nicodemus is another of my favorite fantasy names! I’ll never be able to convince my husband of it, but it sounds like John Clark could be convinced! Nicodemus in the bible helped Joseph of Arimathea prepare the body of Jesus for burial. ❤ (Also … Arimathea? Hmmm….)

(3) Stanislaus

I posted a little recently about St. John Paul’s devotion to St. Stanislaus of Cracow. Every time I see his name I think of JP2 and the fall of Communism. Awesome awesome associations. Stanislaus is a rule-breaker at only three syllables, but it’s so long — it just looks like a four-syllable name, doesn’t it?

(4) Maolmhuire

I’ve suggested Miles a million times because it’s used as an anglicization of Maolmhuire, an old Irish name meaning, “servant of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” But I’m thinking that for the Clark family, Maolmhuire might be the preferred version! I *think* it’s said male-MWEE-rah, which is only three syllables, but I could be wrong, both about the pronunciation and the number of syllables. Maelmarius is given as the Latin variant — maybe that’s a better bet?

And those are my ideas for imaginary Clark Baby No. 10! What about y’all? Can you think of names that would follow John Clark’s “rules”?

Eleven new Dominican priests

You guys, my Dominican Province — the Province of St. Joseph (Maine to D.C. and west to Ohio) — ordained their largest number of men to the priesthood in 45 years this past weekend! Says Charlotte Hays in her National Catholic Register article “Dominicans Ordain Largest Number of Friars in 45 Years“:

The 11 new priests, mostly men in their 20s, were ordained at a May 21 Mass that filled to capacity the Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is across the street from the Dominican House of Studies and seats 6,000 people.”

Mostly men in their 20s y’all!! We are in good hands!!

And they were ordained by none other than Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, himself a Dominican and adjunct secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome.

You know. No big deal.


But what are their NAMES?? was of course my immediate question, because I know a lot of Dominicans take new names (swoon!) (a young Fr. Thomas More LastName, OP baptized my godson this weekend [that’s Fr. Thomas More, double first name, thankyouverymuch]), and I was excited to find them:

John Baptist
Dominic Mary
Michael Mary
Patrick Mary
Louis Bertrand Mary
Gregory Maria

I love each one! And all those Marys!!!

What a wonderful thing for the 800th year anniversary of the Dominican Order! Please pray for our new Dominican priests!! ❤

Baby name consultant: Biblical and/or French/German-ish name for No. 4 green bean

Monica and her husband are expecting their fourth baby, gender unknown! This wee babe will join big sibs:

Cora Marie (“after the heart of Mary“)
Levi Alphonsus (with Jesus) (“St. Alphonsus Ligouri is my husband’s favorite saint“)
Regina Marie (“Queen Mary“)

How great are those names!! You know I love Marian names, and Levi’s so handsome.

Monica writes,

We are expecting in August and I’d love to hear your ideas on names for us. This is our 4th. We don’t find out the gender ahead of time, so we are looking to pick out a boy and a girl name. I feel like we are going to have a harder time choosing a boy name … I like nicknames but my husband does not. He says he could possibly be convinced, so I guess there is a chance. Cora and Regina don’t really have nicknames, but I’m not opposed to something that can be shortened … We are open to, but not stuck on Marie as a middle name even though the oldest two girls have that. We didn’t plan to do it that way, but once we decided on Regina it seemed weird to pick any other middle name … We don’t really have name rules and are really excited to hear your thoughts.”

Names they like/have considered include:

Agnes (“At the top of the list so far [we’ve considered it each pregnancy]. There is something about it and St. Agnes, but I can’t decide if it’s too old school“)
Bernadette (“We’ve ruled it out because Bernadette … is such a mouthful” with their last name)
Gertrude (“It would be challenging if [hubby] won’t give in to a nickname“)
Catherine (Monica’s hubs’ “#1 choice, but a little to common for me“)
Hilda (“after [hubby’s] saintly granny“)

Elijah (“would have been Cora’s name if she were a boy) — it’s been ruled out as we have a godson named Elijah now“)
Fulton or Victor (“one of them would have been Regina’s name, we were leaning towards Fulton“)

Such a great and somewhat unexpected bunch of names! I particularly loved considering the style of names like Agnes, Gertrude, Hilda, and Leona — they have that fusty feel that’s really great, and I think it’s a bit ahead of curve — I think names like that will be hot soon (I already know of a celeb baby named Agnes — actress Elisabeth Shue named her daughter Agnes Charles) — so Monica and her hubs are trendsetters!

I agree with Monica that Gertrude will be challenging, as she puts it, if her husband isn’t open to a nickname! It’s just a really big, clunky name for a little girl to deal with. Of course, if they named your daughter Gertrude and called her Gertrude, then she would just be Gertrude and it’d be fine. It does have the darlingest nicknames though — Gertie and Trudy are so sweet.

If they’re seriously considering Gertrude, then I’d say there isn’t any name that’s too “old school” — Agnes seems tame compared to Gertrude to me! Agnes is a great name, and the little Agnes in the movie Despicable Me gives it a nice familiarity (and she was adorable).

Margaret is lovely and saintly, I don’t have much more to say about it than that!

Bernadette is great, and it gave me a good sense of their taste, even though they’ve ruled it out (bummer).

I feel about Catherine similar to how I feel about Margaret — it’s lovely and saintly, but it definitely is more common than some of your other ideas.

Hilda I love for this family, I think it’s awesome! I love that it’s a family name, and for a saintly family member — how nice! I would have suggested it — or some form of it, like Hilde or Hildi — if it wasn’t already on their list. I’ve seen St. Hildegard of Bingen being considered by people like us here on the blog — Hildegard’s a big name, like Gertrude, but shorter names that are related, like Hilda, are a great way to work with it.

Leona’s interesting! I see Leonie from time to time, because of St. Therese’s sister, but not Leona too much, so again — trendsetter!

As for the boy names, I feel like Fulton, Victor, Gerard, Gregory, and Jerome all have a certain feel, which I think Cora and Regina and the girl names on their list fit in with well, and then they have their biblical Elijah, which is a great match for Levi. It was fun trying to come up with ideas that fit one or the other — either Victor/Jerome or Levi/Elijah — and, even better, ideas that fit both.

As you all know, I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and the names they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I did so here, and added in some other ideas of my own, and came up with seven ideas for each gender:

(1) Helen(a)
Helen was actually the first name I thought of for this family, before I even started doing my research as it’s got a little of that “old lady” feel. Helena is a lovely variant as well.

(2) Edith
Helen was quickly followed by Edith in my mind for Monica and her hubs, for St. Edith Stein. I admit one of my favorite things about Edith is the nickname Edie, but the full Edith is lovely too, and I love St. Edith Stein.

(3) Hope, Faith (Mercy?)
Hope is a style match for Victor and Faith’s a style match for Levi, so I thought maybe a virtue-esque name like that could be a nice bridge between the two styles they like. I also really like that Hope can be considered Marian, for Our Lady of Hope. Neither Hope nor Faith nickname well, which is probably a good thing for this family. They both also made me think of Mercy, which doesn’t seem quite like their style, but I thought it was worth mentioning, especially since their baby will be born during the Year of Mercy.

(4) Anne, Anna, Anita, Annette
These were all matches for their styles, and Monica’s Confirmation name is actually Anne, so I thought it might be a nice nod to her to use an Anne name. Anna fits the feel of their biblical theme; Anne is more the Catherine/Margaret part of their list; Anita and Annette fit in with Victor, Gerard, and Jerome.

(5) Yvonne
I’m so interested to see what they think of Yvonne! It’s never been on my radar at all, but it was listed as a match for Gerard, Jerome, and Bernadette! I didn’t even know if it was saintly, but indeed it is — there’s a St. Ivo, who’s also known as St. Ives or St. Yves, and Yvonne’s a feminine form of those names. When I saw Yvie listed as a nickname, I was sold — Evie’s a pretty hot nickname right now, for Evangeline, Evelyn/Evelina, and Genevieve, and Yvie’s a cool twist on that. (Yvie!) (Monica’s hubs has got to be on board with that! I’m dying over how visually edgy and audially popular it is — what a cool nickname!)

(6) Greta
Greta seems to me a pretty great option for this family. It’s a variant of Margaret, which they have on their list, but certainly less common than Margaret. It’s one of my favorites of the Margaret names.

(7) Magdalen(e)/a
Finally, Magdalen/Magdalene or Magdalena seemed like a great idea for Monica and her hubs. I think of it as kind of like “the biblical Margaret” because it can take the nickname Maggie, like Margaret, but it’s so biblical, and it goes well with Levi.

(1) Leo
Leo is a style match for Cora, and as soon as I saw it I loved it as an idea for this baby. It’s not very uncommon right now, but it’s saintly and papal, a great name.

(2) Hugh/Hugo
Hugh was also a style match for Cora, but I wasn’t sure if I thought Monica and her Mr. would be interested in Hugh or more so in the variant Hugo. I think they definitely have a somewhat German/Dutch/French sensibility with the names they like, and Hugo fits right in with that. One of the Sts. Hugo was a spiritual student of St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

(3) Edward or Edmund
Both of these names were listed as similar to their style, and I couldn’t tell which I thought they’d prefer (if any)? They’re both great and saintly in their own rights — I feel like I’ve been recommending them a lot lately, but St. Edward the Confessor and St. Edmund Campion are both amazing.

(4) Clement
St. Clement Mary Hofbauer is the patron of my parish (a Redemptorist parish) and when I read that St. Alphonsus Liguori is Monica’s husband’s favorite saint I thought Clement might be the perfect suggestion. It’s similar in style to a number of the names on their list, and has the added awesomeness of meaning “merciful” — a perfect name for the Year of Mercy!

(5) Alois/Aloys or Aloysius
This is probably the name that I’m most unsure about for my boy suggestions for Monica and her hubs, but Alois was in the list of German and Dutch names in the BNW, as so many of their favorites are, and one of my good friends (who’s a wonderful young priest) has Aloys as his middle name, which I always think is really cool, and then Alphonsus made me think of Aloysius, so put all that together and I thought I definitely needed to suggest it.

(6) Conrad
I love the name Conrad, and it’s similar to a bunch of names on their list. There are a bunch of Sts. and Bls. Conrad, and it can be spelled Konrad as well.

(7) Tobias
Finally, Tobias is one of the suggestions I’m most excited about for this little one. It’s super biblical like Levi and Elijah, and it’s in the “Antique Charm” and “German and Dutch” lists in the BNW — a great bridge for their styles!

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little sister or brother of Cora, Levi, and Regina?

Birth announcement: Henry Francis!

I did a private consultation for a mama last summer who was due any day with her first baby, a boy, and she just let me know that she and her husband had given him the ultra-handsome combo … Henry Francis!

She writes,

This email is very overdue, but I just wanted to send a quick thanks for all of your help in picking a name for our son, Henry Francis! I went into labor after reading your email later that day and got caught up in the fog of new motherhood without properly thanking you!

Your wonderful advice really helped us feel good about Henry Francis and we enjoyed all of your ideas … We are definitely keeping your ideas saved for future children.”

You guys, she went into labor after reading my email! Talk about getting it in under the wire!! 😀 I love the combo Henry Francis, well done Mom and Dad!

Congratulations to the new parents, and happy birthday Baby Henry!!

Henry Francis and his beautiful mama

Birth announcement: Chiara Margaret Teivanui-O-Te-Marae!

I posted a consultation for Chelsea and her husband (they’re in New Zealand!) back in January, and Chelsea’s let me know her little one has arrived — a little girl whom they’ve given the full-of-significance gorgeous name Chiara Margaret Teivanui-O-Te-Marae!

Chelsea writes,

Just to let you know that our baby was born on 24 April. We’ve named her Chiara Margaret Teivanui-O-Te-Marae. Chiara for Chiara Luce Badano, Margaret for 2 of her great grandmothers, with the meaning together along the lines of ‘bright pearl’.

Teivanui-O-Te-Marae was her x5 great grandmother, and means along the lines of ‘bringer of all the people together’. Teivanui-O-Te-Marae was the Queen of the island of Atiu in the Cook Islands. That was also the island that we got engaged on as 20 year olds. We decided to keep the full title, as a tribute as well to her great grandmother even if it makes her name very long!

(For an explanation of Cook Island names, see Chelsea’s consultation — so interesting!)

Isn’t that just an amazing name?? Baby Chiara joins big sibs:

Zelie Rose
Gianna Beryl
Theodore Ignatius Tutonga
Dominic Joseph John

What a beautifully named family. 😍 Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Chiara!!

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Chiara Margaret Teivanui-O-Te-Marae

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Chiara “in her baptism gown (handed down from my family, my mother and her siblings and cousins wore it). She was baptised on Sunday on the feast of Pentecost, 3 weeks old.”

Baby name consultant: Green bean twins with an Irish last name

A bonus consultation for you all today! Yesterday was St. John Paul the Great’s birthday, and also my sister Molly’s birthday (she of the miraculous life, thanks to Ven. Solanus Casey) (she turned 32!), and this family with an Irish last name is expecting twins (!), and I’m just all around feeling happy to post this today. 😀

Yes, Erin and her husband are expecting twins! They’ve given these amazing combos to their older children:

Bridget Maureen
Mara Bernadette
Patrick James
Declan Brian
Michael Gregory

SUCH a great bunch of names!!

Erin writes,

We are having twins! So it makes it double difficult. And, to make things even harder, we aren’t finding out the gender! (For some reason, I have a feeling it is a boy/girl, but I’ve been wrong before!) They are due June 12, but most likely will be end of May. This will be our 6th and 7th in the family. We’d love to have some great saint or unique Catholic names, and names that go together as twins. And In the past we have done more of the Irish saints … but we are open to anything at this point.”

(“open to anything” — so exciting! 😀 Also, “green bean”=gender unknown. I know, I’m so weird, but I find it so adorable to call babies of unknown gender green beans! There’s also that adorable emoji, x2 for these babies 🌱🌱)

Names they’re currently considering for girls include:

Mary (“we would call her ‘Molly’ — the Irish version of Mary“)
Clara (“Thought it went well with Molly if twin girls“)
Nora (“Our favorite so far. For St. Honoratus, also means ‘honor’“)
Maeve (“we like the name, but our hesitation is it’s not a saints name“)
Margaret ‘Maggie’ (“St. Margaret — it’s my mom’s name also“)

Names they’re considering for boys include:

Finn (“for St. Finnian … My husband loves it, and I’m not sure if it’s a little strange?“)
Brice (“St. Brice“)
Aiden (“St. Aiden“)
Blaise (“for the great St. Blaise … Husband loves it, but I’m a little unsure if it’s too unusual“)
Brogan (“after St. Brogan … my husband isn’t overly fond of this one“)

And names that can’t be used for one reason or another:


What a task it is to name twins, right?! I’ve thought about what I would name twins if I were to have them, but thinking about them for someone else is difficult! I know some people like to be sort of matchy, whether that means same first letter, or kind of rhymey, or in this case maybe both super Irish names, but of course I don’t know if “matchy” is what Erin and her hubs want, so my goal here was just to suggest a bunch of names that I think fit their style, and suggest some pairings that I think sound good together.

First though, I wanted to comment on the names they’re considering. I love Mary nicked Molly — two of my favorite names! But I really think it’s too much having sisters Mara and Mary, even with Mary going by Molly. So I’d suggest just using Molly! My sister is Molly (the miracle girl mentioned above) and my sister-in-law is Molly — both of them “just Molly” — it’s a great Irish Marian name! It brings to mind the mom in this consultation, who wanted an “easy Irish name” and ended up naming her baby Molly Roisin, which I just die over, sooo beautiful.

I also love Clara, such a gorgeous name, and I just posted a birth announcement for a little Clara the other day! But if they say Mara and Clara to rhyme, I would recommend against Clara. If not though, I think it’s okay, even though the spelling is the same but for the first letters.

Nora would be one of my top suggestions for Erin and her hubs if they didn’t already have it on their list, except that I think it’s too close to Mara as well! Gah! It’s very clear what sounds they like for girls, since they have a Mara and have Mary, Clara, and Nora on their list! What do you all think? Do you think Mara and Mary/Clara/Nora are too close?

Maeve is such a lovely name, and I found a somewhat saintly connection recently — I posted a birth announcement a while ago for a little Cara Maeve, and when I looked it up to see what it meant, I found that it can mean “cause of great joy,” which is of course so similar to the Marian title Causa Nostrae Laetitiae, Cause of Our Joy. So it’s a bit of a stretch, but I think you could make the argument that it’s a nod to Our Lady.

Margaret/Maggie seems great for this family’s style: classic and used in Ireland. I also love the traditional nickname Maisie both as a given name, or Margaret nicknamed Maisie, so sweet!

I don’t think Finn is too strange at all! It’s racing up the popularity charts, coming in at #209 in 2015, up from #234 in 2014, up from #835 in 2000 — it’s climbed pretty quickly, and I don’t think it’s going to slow down! Especially not with the new Star Wars coming out last year (Finn is one of the main good guys). And its popularity is even more than what the charts show, because Finn is also used as a nickname for Fin(n)ian, Finnegan, Finley, Phineas, and Griffin. I’ve actually been suggesting it on the blog for a while as a nickname for Francis! I feel like that would be a good suggestion for this family: Francis nicknamed Finn.

Brice and Brogan are cool and Irishy, no complaints here. Aiden is great, but super duper popular — #13 in 2015, down from a high of #9 in 2010 and 2011; the spelling Aidan is at #185. But maybe popularity doesn’t bother Erin and her hubs! And that’s great too, it’s just good to be aware of the naming landscape.

I also think Blaise is great, and Erin described the saint as “the great St. Blaise,” which says to me that they really have a connection with the name. If I had to guess, if they have a boy twin he’ll end up as Blaise. It’s not that different from Mara in terms of popularity (Blaise was #805 in 2015, and Mara was #739), and among Catholic families I often see it considered — I know a couple little Blaises. Such a great name for a boy because of the awesome saint and because it sounds like “blaze” — so super-hero-ish!

Okay! So on to the suggestions of names that I think Erin and her hubs might like. I almost always start a consultation by looking up in the Baby Name Wizard book the names the parents have used and those they like/are considering as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — it’s often uncannily accurate! So based on my research there and my own mental files, my ideas for this family are:

(1) Kate
I know it’s sort of weird to start with my own name! But I feel like it’s one of the quintessential Irish names in the sense that, in movies and books, when there’s an Irish girl, it’s not unusual that she’s named Kate. If they wanted a Kate, they could do just Kate as her first name, or C/Katherine, or Kathleen, which of course is so Irish. Or Caitlin, like the big sisters of both the Molly Roisin and the Cara Maeve I mentioned above. Kate and Molly are a great pairing I think (like me and my sister), and Kate and Maggie are too (and Katherine/Margaret or Kathleen/Margaret are really well matched).

(2) Abigail
I was inspired to add Abigail to the list when I saw it listed as a style match for Mara and Molly, and Abby has Molly and Katy as style matches. My only hesitation is that Abigail used to (nineteenth century) have the connotation of a servant — particularly an Irish servant I believe, and it was meant to be derogatory — and while that wouldn’t really bother me at all, having it as a sister to Bridget — which is a name that I also think used to have that connotation — might be too much? I’m not sure, and I love Abigail enough that I’m going ahead and listing it here.

(3) Helen(a) or Eily/Eilidh/Eileen or Eilis(h)/Ailis or Elizabeth
In a weird roundabout sort of way, Nora led me to suggest this grouping of names! I was thinking about how I’d seen in an old genealogical record Irish twins named Honora and Helena (or Helen? I can’t remember now) and they were nicknamed Nora and Nellie, so cute! I’m really feeling like Nora’s too close to Mara, but Nell/Nellie made me think of Helen or Helena (Dwija from the House Unseen Life Unscripted blog recently named her little one Helen and they call her Nellie). Then I was thinking about Eilis(h), which is usually the Irish Elizabeth, but sometimes Alice, which made me think of Ailis, which is Alice (I recently saw the Irish movie Brooklyn and the main character was Eilis but said like Ailis), and the spelling of Eilis made me think of Eileen and I remembered that Eileen is sometimes used as the Irish for Helen, and then I remembered the name Eily, which, it turns out is really Scottish, and is a variant of Eilidh which is a diminutive of Eilionoir which looks like Eleanor and which they say is a Scottish form of Helen.


I’m not sure what it all means except that I think Nell and Eily would be sweet nicknames if one of the twins was a little girl, and they can both point back to Helen(a). (Or Eily/Aily to Elizabeth/Alice, if they wish, just as a matter of being a natural nickname for Eilis/Ailis. Or for Elizabeth itself. Which makes me think — Elizabeth would be a great idea for this fam! I’ve often thought of Elizabeth nicknamed Eily for my own daughter [ha! I have six boys, no girls], and I think Elizabeth and Margaret/Eily and Maggie or Maisie go wonderfully together, as do Elizabeth and Katherine or Kathleen/Eily and Kate.)

(4) Anne
My Irish great-grandmother was Annie — I love it. It’s sweet and wholesome and I think it can also be kind of sassy! Also — our dear St. Anne!

(5) Lucy
Lucy doesn’t really have the Irish flavor (though I do believe it’s fairly well used there), but it’s so similar in style to Molly, Clara, and Nora that I thought Erin and her hubs might like it. If it was paired with an Irish name, it would fit in really well. Maybe Lucy Kathleen? Or Lucy Mairead (the Irish Margaret, rhymes with parade)?

(6) Rosemary
Rosemary is so sweet and Marian and lovely, and I had an Irish friend once (grew up in the Gaeltacht — the Irish-speaking part of Ireland) named Rosemarie, so it’s totally legit! It’s a nice way to get Mary in there without it being too similar to Mara, and Rosie and Romy (both traditional nicknames for it) are nice options.

(7) Therese/Theresa/Teresa
I know a big Irish family with some of the same names Erin and her hubs have used or like, and one of them is Theresa, so I thought they might like it! I particularly love the nickname Tess, and I could see it pairing really well with Clara, Kate, Lucy, Abby, Nell, Rosie, Annie, or Eily.

(1) Thomas
Thomas means twin. I mean, wow! I have nothing more to say!

(2) Colman, Cormac, Cashel
Colman and Cormac are both saints’ names with cool nickname possibilities: Cole and Mac. Cashel is one I’ve been crushing on recently — I suggested it in a consultation for Colleen of Martin Family Moments who loves Irish names: “Cashel is offbeat and unusual but I love it so much for its meaning — “The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion” and it’s “reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century” — and for its possible nickname of Cash.”

(2) Sean, Jack, Ian, John
Any of these John variants would be a good fit for this family I think!

(3) Timothy
Tighe — often anglicized as Timothy — is on their no-go list (Erin’s husband likes it but it’s too “out there” for her), but then I wondered if they’d like Timothy itself. I totally think it fits with this family! I know a lot of Irish families who have a Timothy; I’ve also seen Ty used as a nickname for Timothy, which is a fun update and it’s said just like Tighe, so a nice way to work it in?

(4) Daniel
Two words: Danny Boy! I’m actually kind of surprised they don’t have Daniel in there somewhere already!

(5) Owen
I love Owen for St. Nicholas Owen, who built hidey holes for priests in England, to protect them, and was tortured (and died from his wounds) for not turning in the hidden priests. I also love it for this family as a name for a boy — it’s a style match for Mara, Nora, Finn, and Aiden.

(6) Xavier
I’ll be interested to see what you think of Xavier! It’s a style match for Blaise, and it was also my Irish grandfather’s middle name (and no, he wasn’t Francis Xavier!), so I consider it to be used by the Irish. It’s also got that long A sound that Erin and her hubs seem to like (Maeve, Aiden, Blaise). I love the idea of twin boys Blaise and Xavier!

(7) Aidric
This might be a little offbeat for them, but I know two families with boys named Declan who have considered Aidric for subsequent boys. It’s not Irish, though it sounds that way, right? Like a mashup of Aiden and Patrick? St. Aidric was actually French, but that ties in with Blaise.

Those are all my ideas for first names just on their own, and then I had a few twin pairings I thought might be helpful:

Therese and Aurora: I read about twin girls with these names years ago, and they were nicknamed Reese and Rory! I’ve always loved that!

Linus and Ambrose: I did a consultation for Arwen Mosher from abc family and she has twin boys named Linus and Ambrose (brothers of Blaise and Camilla)!

Leo and Luke: One of my favorite twin boy ideas

Benedict and Scholastica: the famous boy/girl twin saints

Zelie and Louis: I posted a birth announcement recently for boy/girl twins named after our new saints!

I read an article on another blog once on naming twins, and I loved it. Some of the ideas the author offers are:

Edmund and Henry, after St. Edmund Campion and St. Henry Walpole. Erin and her hubs might especially like the idea of changing to the Irish form of Edmund, Eamon — I like the idea of Eamon and Henry!

Francis and Clare, after St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi, who were good friends. I like Clare quite a bit better for this family because it doesn’t have the potential to rhyme with Mara, and it’s also the name of an Irish County. And I’d also suggested Francis with the nickname of Finn! I love Francis/Finn and Clare together!

Teresa and John, for St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross who “reformed the Carmelites together.” Tess and Jack? Love!

Catherine and Teresa, for St. Catherine of Siena and St. Teresa of Avila, both Doctors of the Church — I love Kate/Cate and Tess together, and also I love the idea of Avila and Siena as girls’ names. Or Cate and Avila?

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for these wee twins on the way?