Baby name consultant: Baby #6 needs a heavy duty Catholicky Catholic name

By the time this posts, my family and I will be on the road for the beginning of six days of travel and vacation! I’ll have very limited internet access until we get back Sunday (read: I have to drive into town and park in the library parking lot to get internet access, and I can tell you already I likely won’t be doing that at all), which means that any comments left on the blog by someone who has never commented before, or who hasn’t commented in a while, will be held up in “needs-approval mode” until I’m back online next week. Otherwise, enjoy this week’s consultation post, and the rest of this first week of July!

Cara and her husband are expecting their sixth baby! Their older kiddos’ names are:

Blaise Gerard (“Blaise after my husbands confirmation saint and St. Gerard“)
Ambrose Lawrence (“After St. Ambrose and Lawrence my husband’s father“)
Benedict Augustine Joseph (“After St. Benedict and the Pope, had to stick another name in there to avoid the BJ initials“)
Caecilia Majella (“My confirmation saint and St. Gerard“)
Anastasia Lucia (“Husband loved the name and it was in the canon, Lucia after the Fatima visionary“)

I just love them, each one. And Caecilia! I love that spelling!

Cara writes,

We are having our sixth child and can not agree on a boys name. We like names that directly correspond to Saints. In the past we have always had all of our names picked out in advance, but this is throwing us for a loop.

For a girl we would like to stick with the women listed in the mass as the first name. We realized we already had three of the eight already, so why not keep it going. We both like Agnes. If born on a Marian feast day we would switch to Rosemary. I had wanted Rosaria in the past because one of the girls was born on the feast of the Rosary. I don’t want to use the variant because I associate it with the daughter but we both like Rosemary. I love the nickname Rosie. Other than that nickname I do not care for nicknames.”

Agnes and Rosemary are both great names, no quibbles from me at all!

For boys,

We will be using Boethius as a middle name. I love the consolation of Philosphy; it is my favorite book. I can not bring myself to use it as a first name. My husband would have to no problem with that.”

(Boethius! Love love love! Remember that this little lady‘s name was going to be Robert Boethius if she’d been a boy? I’m totally digging it!)

Names Cara and her husband are considering include:

Jude (“husband thinks it is plain“)
Gregory (“fits so well with Caecila and Ambrose, husband prefers it to Jude but still thinks it plain“)
Giles (“a holy helper with St. Blaise“)
Hugh (“of Cluny, a Benedictine“)

Names that they can’t use for various reasons:

Sebastian
Gabriel
Francis
Bonaventure
Athanasius

Further,

We both like very old Catholic names. Compared to him I like ‘plain’ names but he likes very old ‘exotic’ Catholic names. For him too few saints get all of the names. I like the names to be at least vaguely recognizable and usable. I do not like surnames as first names either.”

I had so much fun with this consultation! Cara and her hubs have used so many fantastic names for their older kiddos that it presented a real challenge (which I love!) finding names that were similar in feel while fitting their rules (yes to women listed in the Mass, no to the names on the list of names they can’t use).

And lest you all think I’m an expert on Catholic names, I actually had to ask Cara who the eighth woman is in the Canon of Mass is! I thought I only knew of seven women listed in the Mass — Felicity/Felicitas, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, and Anastasia—but she reminded me that Our Lady is one of them. Of course! Whew!

I love that they’re using that theme for girls! I would definitely recommend using only one of those names per girl going forward (if they were to be so blessed)—Anastasia Lucia is a gorgeous combo, but using two for one girl reduces the number of girls they could name with that theme!

I love Agnes, so sweet. Rosemary is great too! So if they used Rosemary as the first name I assume they’d use one of the Mass women for a middle? Or would Rosemary count as Mary-from-the-Mass? I love the sound of Rosemary Agatha, Rosemary Perpetua, and Rosemary Felicitas (especially if they don’t like those names enough to use in the first name spot). I’d love to know what they’re thinking of as a middle name for Agnes too! Agnes Rosemary sounds lovely, but if they wanted to save Rosemary for a possible future girl, I could see them liking something like Agnes Regina, Agnes Philomena, Agnes Aurelia, or Agnes Laetitia.

On to the boys! First off, I LOVE Boethius!! I couldn’t use it as a first name either, but ever since I did the consultation for that family I mentioned above, I’ve thought it was a pretty fab, bold, Catholic name.

Jude and Gregory are both names that I see with some frequency (esp Jude) in the families that email me and those I know in real life, so I can see why Cara’s husband feels like they’re plain (though I’m with her — they’re great names!). Giles and Hugh are definitely not plain (Giles! Wow!), and really gave me a good sense of the direction they’re going in. I love Cara’s reasoning behind Gregory too — I admit I don’t know enough about saints connected to music in the Church other than Gregory and Caecilia (I didn’t know that Ambrose had a connection!), but maybe some of my suggestions below will hit the right notes (haha! 🎵🎵🎵) and have connections I don’t even realize.

I’m glad they included theirlist of names they can’t use because Sebastian, Bonaventure, and Athanasius are quite likely names I would have suggested to them!

Okay! I came up with about a million ideas for this family, haha! Each one was so amazing to me that I couldn’t whittle it down any more than this:

(1) Anselm
One of the first things I did was look up the Benedictine saints (Cara has a Benedictine devotion/spirituality), both to see if any of the names I’d thought of for them were on it, and to find any new ideas. Anselm was one that jumped out at me right away—a doctor of the Church AND Benedictine?? Score!!

(2) Dunstan
I know next to nothing about St. Dunstan other that he was Benedictine, but I’d actually spotlighted his name over a year ago because the book I read it in said it was “used mainly by Roman Catholics,” which is exactly the kind of name I like!

(3) Clement
I think Clement might be my very favorite for Cara and her hubs of all my suggestions here—it pairs well with Boethius; it means “merciful,” which is perfect for this Year of Mercy; it’s Catholicky Catholic and a touch “exotic” because it’s so rare (hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 1969), but familiar enough, with easy spelling and pronunciation.

(4) Cosmas
Cosmas is definitely offbeat but also super Catholic and saintly. Cosmas Boethius is like, wow.

(5) Basil
You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and like in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. Basil was a style match for Giles, Hugh, and Ambrose, which I thought was pretty great.  There are lots of great Sts. Basil to choose from!

(6) Linus
I’m seeing Linus more and more on little Catholic boys, and I like it! It’s got impeccable credentials too, as the name of the second Pope (who was also mentioned in the New Testament) and he’s in the Canon of the Mass.

(7) Matthias
Speaking of New Testament names, I’ve long loved Matthias and think of it as a very Catholic name since it could be argued that the decision to replace Judas Iscariot with Matthias was the result of the very first Church council. 🙂 It’s a style match for Benedict and Ambrose and other names that I think are swirling around this family’s taste even though they don’t seem like appropriate suggestions, like Dominic (because of not being Benedictine).

(8) Leander
One name that was a style match for Matthias, Benedict, Dominic, and Ambrose that *did* seem like a good suggestion was Leander. St. Leander’s a pretty awesome saint, and I love that his name feels familiar—kind of like a mashup of Leo and Alexander—while still being really rare.

(9) Thaddeus
Cara’s husband thinks Jude is “too plain,” but I wonder what he’d think of Thaddeus? It was another name that was part of that Matthias/Benedict/Dominic/Ambrose/Leander group, and it’s one of my very favorites. There’s St. Jude Thaddeus of course, but I love named for Bl. Thaddeus Moriarty, OP, an Irish martyr (and a Dominican, uh oh).

(10) Ignatius
Finally, Ignatius. My only hesitation with Ignatius is that Ignatius Boethius is a mouthful, but otherwise it’s a name I love, and it certainly fits their criteria of “very old Catholic names.” Interestingly, I found a St. Eneco in the list of Benedictine saints, which I assume is a variant of Eneko, which is a Basque name that in Spanish became Iñigo, which was St. Ignatius of Loyola’s given name (he took Ignatius in honor of St. Ignatius of Antioch) and while I don’t believe Enec/ko and Ignatius are actually etymologically related, they’re often sort of considered to be so because of St. Ignatius. Cool namey tidbit! Also, while celebrity babies aren’t a great barometer for Catholic naming, in this case I do think it’s good to point out that actress Cate Blanchett has a son named Ignatius—I think it makes the name seem a little more doable.

And those are all my ideas for this family! Whew! I thought I might also point out this post, which might be helpful to them. What do you all think? What boy name(s) would you suggest for this family?

28 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Baby #6 needs a heavy duty Catholicky Catholic name

  1. Wow! What a combination of names; I think all of your suggestions are fabulous. I know a family who has used Anselm and Basil as middle names AND they have a little Agnes. I think you’re on the right track!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this lady’s naming style! I have every faith in her ability to pick a lovely name! I will gently warn (as a person who’s surname was Giles) that about 50% of Americans pronounce it correctly. Generally people say Guy-ules, or Gill-Es. I was very pleased to get married and change my name. I know when my sister named her son Otto she was surprised by how many people have pronounciation issues with it, so I figured I would offer my perspective on Giles.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Or if they want a BOY’S name that is in the Mass, how about Abel?! It sounds so familiar, but is actually very uncommon. I love the line about Abel, Abraham, and Melchizedek offering the first just sacrifices! Abraham is totally useable, too, and I know a couple little Mechizedeks who go by cute nicknames (Mel, Zeke, Melchi).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those are all great! I’m a little sweet on Abel right now but I worry that it shares some of Cain’s negative association — what do the rest of you think? I love Melchizedek too, and I love that you know a couple of them!

      Like

  4. My cousin has a little boy named Gregory. I haven’t seen or heard the name on any other little boy in that age range for years. She picked it because it’s familiar but also fairly uncommon these days.

    Ingo or Inigo might be a more manageable version of Ignatius.

    I’d also suggest Cosima to go with Cosmas. Very pretty, very unusual, a form of a saint’s name. Another one in that vein is Roman or Romana or Romola.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love, love Perpetua. Love Rosie and Rosemary or Rosemarie. (Personally, Rosemonde is my favorite).
    We have very similar tastes in names so I love these siblings’ names!
    For boys…Boniface, Pius, Cyril, Methodius, Hyacinth, Hieronymous (Jerome), Edmund (for Campion), and Cajetan.
    Boethius is a winner, reading about him and St. Benedict in deWohl’s “Citadel of God” right now. Totally doable first name for me since it gives the more familiar nickname Bo.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pick Ephrem/Ephraim. It is so wearable, and St. Ephrem is a Doctor of the Church. His writings are very interesting, and he is credited with bringing music and poetry to the Mass.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So, Cara, 2 of your kids have A names, 2 of your kids have B names and 1 kid has a C name. I’d try to even things by choosing another C name:
    – for a girl, Colette (because Clare and Catherine and their variants sound too common for your taste)
    – for a boy, I like some of the names already suggested: Clement, Cosmas, and Cyril

    Liked by 1 person

  8. For middle names for a girl, I like Hildegard (she has the music connection) and Scholastica (the sister of St. Benedict).

    For a boy, names not yet mentioned that I like for this family are Cyprian, Polycarp, Sixtus (a pope, he’s mentioned in the Mass, AND this is their sixth child, or is that too cliché?), Jerome, Boniface, Isidore, Josaphat, and Sylvester.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I feel kind of inadequate to suggest anything else because there are so many great ones here are already, but Ephram is a favorite Saint of mine and is the father of Hymnody. He also wrote in the original language Jesus would have spoken in, Syro-chaldaic (a form of ancient Hebrew as I understand it).

    Otherwise, Anselm, Basil, Thaddeus, Leander… So many good ones!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Keep us updated! We are expecting a boy and struggling for a name (we have a similar scheme) – if we had a girl she would have been Agnes too. Love Cosmo as a variant of Cosmas but receiving a lot of negative feedback 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for all of the comments. I never knew St . Agnes got so much love in the name department!
    Also, when I was signing our names last year, including myself and my husband I realized we had 2 As, 2 Bs, 2 Cs, and one J. The only thing that we would not do, is have a majority of the kids names start with one letter. For us that would be A. We tend to favor A names, so if we had an Agnes this time, we would skip Agatha and Athanasius (husband loves it but we agreed to sit that one out this time).

    Like

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