Awesome name article by Simcha Fisher

Oooooh check out what’s on Aleteia today!

From Ambrose to Zelie: For Catholic Babies, Old Is the New New: Fulton and Vianney, Felicity and Avila, Giorgio and Elias are all showing up in 21st century baptismal books by Simcha Fisher (whose consultation I posted in January 2015 introduced me little blog to so many of you).

Simcha may or may not have interviewed a certain Catholic name blogger when she was writing the article … and said name blogger may or may not be quote more than once (!) in the article. 😊😍😁😎

!!!!!!!!!!! 🎉🎉🎉

I really really loved how Simcha finished the piece:

“… when St. Gemma herself was baptized, her mother reportedly feared that the child would never get into heaven without a saint’s name. The priest reassured her, saying, ‘Let us hope that she may become a gem of Paradise.’

So if mom and dad adore a name, but there’s no saint attached to it, maybe it’s just a matter of time.”

What a hopeful notion! I hadn’t known this about St. Gemma until one of you recently shared it (grace? I just took a quick look through the comments and couldn’t find it …).

(Interesting to note that St. Gemma was baptized even though she apparently didn’t have a saint’s name … I’ve been seeing mentions here and there recently about priests refusing to baptize babies without saints’ names, which I find really worrisome, especially since the Church doesn’t say they have to have them.)

Anyway! Be sure to check out the article — I’d love to hear what you think!


19 thoughts on “Awesome name article by Simcha Fisher

  1. Fun article! I had not known about St. Gemma’s parents. It reminds me a bit of how Eleanor is a gorgeous name but doesn’t have a terrifically solid saintly connection.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a great article!

    It wasn’t me about St. Gemma! I didn’t know that either! I think it’s funny that her mother baptized her under that name anyway, if she was worried about it. For a long time, I’ve worried that there would never be new saints’ names because the vast majority of people canonized are religious. And for women religious, that generally means taking a new name. But, the fact that we’ve seen a few more members of the laity beatified and canonized in recent years is hopeful in this regard. Also hopeful in this regard is how St. Edith Stein is mostly referred to by her birth name rather than her religious name, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. That is a very saintly and inspiring name, but calling her by her birth name gives us an incredible patron for the name Edith! There are already lots of patrons for Teresa and Benedict(a), so I’m happy that this trend happened with her, at least, and maybe we’ll see it a bit more of a blessed or saint has a birth name that’s less common than their religious name.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Along those same lines, I just learned that St Catherine Laboure’s given name was Zoe. Apparently there was an early St. Zoe, but how fun to have a later saint too! And we so very rarely hear of Catholic Zoes.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I have a daughter named Gemma and my understanding is that the name was commonly used in the area of Italy where she was from. It’s Italian for “Precious Gem” and was no less odd a name than, say, Ruby or Pearl would have been in the 1900’s in the US. As long as there is a Christian name as a middle name, there is not a problem using a non-formally-canonized saint’s name. I have a sister named Fiona who the priest refused to baptize, even after my mother pointed out her middle name was a derivative of Mary. They worked it out somehow…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes exactly — “as long as there is a Christian name as a middle name, there is not a problem using a non-formally-canonized saint’s name.” I don’t understand these stories of priests refusing to baptize babies who did actually have a saint’s name as part of their name! Of course, these days, it’s not even a requirement any more, only that the name(s) not be “foreign to Christian sensibility” (though a saint’s name is always a great idea).


  3. This was a great synthesis article! Loved all the information!

    I kinda love that Mary in some circles could be seen as old-fashioned! Someone I know just had a Mary and everyone was commenting on how uncommon and different it was for a baby. That probably would be a little different in Catholic circles, but it is still on the decline even in Catholic circles I feel like. I don’t know nearly as many little Marys as I do Marys my age (and older).

    Liked by 2 people

  4. None of our children have Saints first names, but they each have two middle names, the first being a Saint and the second being a family name. When people ask why I reply “well maybe they’ll be the first”! We have had them all baptised in the Extraordinary form of the Rite and our Priest has never questioned our name choice, although “latinising” them can be difficult!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh that makes sense then why the priest would still baptize her — but I wouldn’t have worried if I was her mother that she didn’t have a saint’s name — maybe middle names didn’t “count” the way they do now?

      Liked by 1 person

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