Sancta Nomina

Birth announcement: Beatrice Lucia Marie!

I posted a consultation back in February for Elizabeth and her husband, and she’s just let me know her baby girl has arrived and been given the gorgeous name … Beatrice Lucia Marie!

Elizabeth writes,

I feel like proclaiming “Habemus Nomen!” Baby Beatrice is 1 month old today, and we just finalized her name! I’m notoriously bad at decisions, and this was a particularly tough one.

Beatrice Lucia Marie arrived on April 13 at 5:27am (after an amazing but whirlwind less-than-5-hour labor in which we made it to the birth center just 13 minutes before she was born). She was a perfect 6 pounds, 12 ounces and 19 inches long.

Here’s basically how it went:

We had pretty much narrowed first names down to Mary or Beatrice in the last few weeks of pregnancy. I was almost certain her name would be Mary, so I was surprised that when we saw her, we were both knew immediately that she was not a “Mary.” It still took us a good 48 hours to commit to “Beatrice.” But we were at a total loss on her middle name. We had too many great options and none that filled every criteria we had. We narrowed it down to Lucia, Chiara, Vittoria, Maria and Caterina and then down to Lucia, Chiara, or Caterina. We love St. Catherine of Siena. She’s such a powerhouse saint and one of the 2 patrons of Italy (along with St. Francis of Assisi). The fact that I lived in Siena for 6 months in college and Brian has visited there with me a couple of times was a big draw, too. And I just love her quote about setting the world on fire…But I felt like I just couldn’t come to terms with the potential mispronunciation, and I actually prefer Catherine, so maybe we’ll keep that in mind for a future daughter! 🙂 We went back and forth on Chiara and Lucia. I really liked that there is so much more documented about Chiara and the connection to Francesco (George’s middle name, as I’m sure you recall), and now there’s also Bl. Chiara “Luce” Badano. In the end, though, we decided that Lucia just fit her best. And we like the way it flows. And neither of us wanted to let it go since we’d loved the name from the start. And George called her Lucy for weeks during my pregnancy. We still struggled with the fact that so little is known about St. Lucia… but the essence of her story is so relevant to a Catholic growing up today. Lucia is such a strong example of standing up for your faith in a society that is (sometimes/often) hostile to it. Plus we love that it means light. And Beatrice could also claim Bl. Chiara Badano as a patron with the Luce-Lucia link.

As I said before, I was really hoping for a Marian name for baby Bea, and maybe they’re a stretch, but I came up with a few connections that I like (and I thought you’d appreciate). First, St. Beatrice founded the Order of the Immaculate Conception. Also, Beatrice in Italian is simply blessed (“beata” — or “beatus” in Latin) + ending indicating a female (“trice”). So, even though it’s usually said to mean “bringer of joy” or “she who brings joy” (which I love), to my Italian-centric ear it’s more accurately “she who is blessed,” which immediately makes me think of the Blessed Virgin Mary and “blessed are you among women…” Also the initials B.L.M. make me think of “Blessed Mother.” (Not quite so obvious as B.V.M. but it’s still reminiscent of Our Lady.) Then there’s Lucia of Fatima. And did you know there’s a Madonna della Luce/Our Lady of Light? So… Marian connections! Finally, at 2 weeks, we had the birth center send in her official documents with the name Beatrice Lucia!

But I still felt like something was missing and wasn’t totally at peace about her name. I even called our state’s department of health to see what the rules were for changing middle names on the birth certificate. (You have until the baby is a year old to change the name! I think that includes first and middle names.) I really wanted her to have a form of Mary in her name, and we talked about adding Marie as a second middle. I liked the idea of carrying on the tradition of “Marie” (both my mom’s and my middle name), but both Brian and I had mixed feelings about a double middle name (for a few reasons, mostly logistics though). We’d been praying about it, and stumbled across the solution when we were finalizing the info for her baptismal certificate. (She’ll be baptized this Sunday!) When I mentioned our middle name dilemma to the office manager at church and asked if it might be an issue if we changed her middle name later, she said the name on her baptismal certificate did not have to match her legal name. Total lightbulb moment! I called Brian immediately, and we decided that the perfect solution would be to have her baptized as Beatrice Lucia Marie and keep her legal name as Beatrice Lucia! (For now… we have 11 months to change our minds about that. ;)) I immediately felt a flood of peace about the whole thing, which had been weighing on me heavily since she was born. I’m so glad that she’ll have Marie as an official, even if not legal, part of her name! Bonus, I think my mom is pretty happy about it. 🙂 It’s great that she has connections to all sides of our family, too: Beatrice (mother-in-law’s suggestion and, inexplicably, her nickname in Jr. High(!)), Bea (my paternal grandmother’s nickname), Lucia (husband’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Lucas), and Marie (my mom’s middle name and mine)….

We’ll mostly call her Beatrice but also use the nickname “Bea.” (She ended up being born the day before my grandmother’s birthday (Albina a.k.a “Bea”)!)

We’ve also gotten a bit creative with other nicknames. I’m not sure if any of these will stick, but I thought you’d appreciate them.

Bea (“bay-ah”; nn for Italian pronunciation of “bay-ah-tree-chay)
Bella (first and last letters of her first and middle names)

I’m all a-swoon over all these details!! What a beautiful, thoughtful, meaningful name Elizabeth and her husband have chosen for their little girl!!

Baby Beatrice joins equally well-named big brother:

George Francesco

Nice job, Mom and Dad! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Beatrice!!

Beatrice Lucia Marie with her big brother and parents