Prayers for a family in mourning

One of our dear readers wrote and asked me to ask you all to pray for a terribly sad situation:

I just found out that my cousin’s baby passed away today. She was 6 years old. Her name is Jazzy. If you could pray for her and for her parents and family, I’d appreciate it. I can hardly comprehend it, it’s devastating. The one comforting thing of course is that she’s in Heaven – and her uncle, my cousin who passed away a few years ago (that was horrible to comprehend, too – we were friends and close in age) is there to take care of her.”

St. Anne, please intercede for this grieving family — please pray for peace and comfort for Jazzy’s parents and family. Dear Jesus and Mother Mary, please keep little Jazzy close to you. ❤🙏

Flowers for Mary, part II

I posted a Flowers for Mary post ages ago, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referred to it since then in consultations and my own research for other things. And — breaking news! — I just now clicked on the link I refer to in the post, in order to give some examples of the great names there, and it says Forbidden! What! I’ll have to dig deeper on this, but in the meantime, the actual reason I started writing the post (providential timing!) was to direct your attention to this infographic:


from Catholic Extension (infographic used with permission).

How great is this resource?? I’ve suggested Lily, Rose, and Violet a million times as Marian names, and I love the descriptions of their Marian connections here.

And I was so excited to see Daisy as being a Marian flower — I hadn’t ever seen that, and I’m forever going on about how Daisy is such a great nickname for Margaret — I LOVE the idea of a Margaret nicked Daisy being able to claim St. Margaret and Our Lady as patrons!! (I’ve already made a Marian connection with the name Pearl, which is what Margaret means, and the Irish Margaret — Mairead — is so similar to the Irish Mary — Maire … I’m leaning really close to calling Margaret a Marian name!)

I’ve also seen Marigold connected to the Crowning of Our Lady (Mary’s Gold), and of course I love all these ideas for an actual garden of flowers and other plants (not just a garden of blooms of the baby variety ☺).

What’s your favorite floral Marian name?

Birth announcement: Brendan Joseph!

You all remember the consultation I posted for Colleen at the Martin Family Moments blog  on St. Paddy’s Day? She’s gone and had her baby, her sixth boy 🎉💃🙌 , and she and her husband gave him the so-handsome name … Brendan Joseph!

She announced the wee man’s birth on Instagram the day he was born, but they didn’t announce the name until two days later (not that I was obsessively refreshing my Instagram feed and then being sure I missed it anyway and rushing over to Colleen’s feed to be sure or anything), and I’m just delighted — they have an Irish sensibility and, as she’d pointed out in her consultation, all their other boys have an N in their names so they kind of liked the idea of continuing that, so Brendan seems perfect, all in all.

The birth story’s up on her blog, which I just read and loved and cried over (as I do, every.time. I read a birth story), and lots of pictures of her littlest guy.

Congratulations to Colleen and her husband and big sibs John-Paul, Andrew, Eamon, Maggie, Xander, and Declan, and happy birthday Baby Brendan!!

Baby name consultant: Slightly unusual+longer first name with easy nickname

Today’s consultation is for a family expecting their fourth baby — third girl! — and they have a very cool theme going — they like to choose “slightly unusual, slightly longer full names that trim down to an easy nickname.” Right up my alley, right?! Except I didn’t get it quite right this time, so you all really need to bring the great ideas and suggestions (no pressure!). 😀

Their older kiddos are:

J@cks0n Ar+hur/Jack (“we didn’t realize how popular J@cks0n was at the time!“)
El0d!e M@rie/Ellie
Av!ana Th3r3s3/Ava

Such a handsome group, and I’m such a big fan of going all out with given names and using a friendly, accessible nickname for every day. The mama writes,

We’d like to continue this trend, but so far [my hubs] says all my suggestions are ‘weird’ — which isn’t unusual … The first time around I was in love with Magnolia (Maggie) for a girl — now I wonder what I was thinking! This time around, Bronwyn and Anwyn (shortened to Winnie) have both been rejected and I’m feeling stuck — not even my Baby Name Wizard book is inspiring much, though Sophronia (Sophie) just popped out at me this morning.”

So you all know that I had a lot of fun working on this—I’m all about nicknames, and I love this family’s theme.

I personally love Magnolia, and I love both Maggie and Nola, both of which I’ve seen as nicknames for it. It also made me think of Marigold, which isn’t all that different from Magnolia (and probably the Mister would think it’s just as weird), but is little more mainstream because of the Downton Abbey character by that name, and Marigold’s a Marian name! A Marigold could be Mari or Goldie, and I think Maggie could also work … I think Molly could work as well, but maybe sisters Ellie and Molly are too similar?

Bronwyn and Anwyn nicknamed Winnie made me think of the consultation I posted recently in which the parents are considering Maewyn, which was St. Patrick’s birth name! Though it started as a male name, it’s got such a pretty feminine sound, and one of the readers suggested Winnie as a nickname for it, and I totally thought of this family! Maewyn nicked Winnie is sweet!

Sophronia nicked Sophie is adorable, I love it! Along that same line of thinking, I totally think Sophie could work for Seraphina (as could Sera, Phina/Fina, Phia/Fia), and Josephine as well (I love the idea of Sophie for Josephine! Though Josie is also adorable, and I’ve seen Posy too, which I loooove, and is similar to Magnolia flower-wise).

So I think they’re swirling around some really great ideas, even if they don’t think they’ve hit upon “the one” yet!

As I do, I looked up the names they’ve used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard, which I know this mama’s also done, which is probably one of the reasons my ideas didn’t resonate — in addition to Marigold, Maewyn, Seraphina, and Josephine that I mentioned above, I also suggested:

(1) Rosemary nicked Romy (or Rory)
Rosie is the most common nickname for Rosemary I think, and I love it with sibs Jack, Ellie, and Ava, but Romy is also a traditional nickname for it, and it makes Rosemary—which is “slightly longer” but not really “slightly unusual”—have a more unusual edge, which might be a nice thing for this family moving forward, as it breaks them out of the “need to stick with longer unusual name with common nickname” pattern into “longer given name with shorter nickname, and one of those is ‘slightly unusual,’” which is a bit more freeing/offers more options. Rory is a nickname possibility that takes Rosemary even farther down the “slightly unusual” line—it’s spunky and tomboyish—but I’m not convinced that’s what they’re going for. I wanted to mention it anyway though, just in case (and here’s a sweet Rosemary nicked Rory.)

(2) Louisa nicked Lucy or Lulu
As with Rosemary, Louisa’s not terribly unusual, but I really like the idea of Lucy as a nickname for it, and that gives it a nice unusual twist, as well as two saints! If they didn’t care for Lucy for it, I’m totally loving Lulu recently—it’s a little bit hipster and a lot of chic, and so darling.

(3) Caroline nicked Caddy or Cassie (or Catherine)
Yes, another not-so-unusual given name idea, but I saw Caddy as a nickname for Caroline a while ago and thought it was brilliant. I love Callie too, but thought it was too close to Ellie. And Cassie’s one of my favorite nicknames for a girl, and I think it could work as a mashup nickname for Caroline and the right middle name, like … Caroline Sabeth (Sabeth is so cool! It’s an Elizabeth variant with a cool new patron), or Caroline Sabine, Caroline Sophia, Caroline Seton (for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton) … I’ve also seen Cass(ie) as a nickname for Catherine, which I thought was sort of brilliant. If they went with something like Caroline or Catherine for a first name (or Louisa or Rosemary or any other name that might be a bit more “normal” than they’d prefer), an unusual middle is another awesome way (besides an unusual nickname) to jazz it up.

(4) Cassia or Cascia nicked Cass(ie)
The previous idea of Cass(ie) reminded me of Cassia, which is just so cool and pretty. You can say it CASS-ee-ah, or CASH-ah, and it’s a spice name! It’s a form of cinnamon! It’s also a form of Keziah, which is a biblical name—one of Job’s daughters. If they like the CASH-ah pronunciation, they might also be interested in Cascia, which is the name of the town in Italy St. Rita of Cascia came from, and I would consider it an honor name for her.

(5) Bernadette nicked Betsy
I have a friend who considered Bernadette nicked Betsy for her baby, and I thought it was so inspired! She ended up having a boy, but I’ve never forgotten her idea for a girl. St. Bernadette’s a great patron for a girl!

(6) Nickname Sadie (Mercedes, Sara-[something])
Sadie has a similar feel to me as Jack and Ellie especially, and it’s a style match for Maggie and Sophie, and I thought it could be great for this family as a nickname for the right formal name. Mercedes is one—I’ve seen Sadie as a nickname for it spelled S-a-d-i-e, but also Cede, which is pronounced the same way, but is far less obvious. I’d heartily suggest the Sadie spelling to this family, and Mercedes is a great name for a baby born during the Year of Mercy! If they didn’t care for Mercedes, Sadie is also a traditional nickname for Sara(h), and while I thought Sara(h) on its own would be a little too commonplace for them, I thought a hyphenated double might be awesome. Sara-Kate/Sara-Cate is my favorite (and one I’ve had on my list for a long time), but I also love Sara-Mae (or Sara-Maeve, if they’re into Irish names), Sara-Beth, Sara-Claire, Sara-Grace … I used the Sara spelling in these examples because I prefer it to Sarah, but of course Sarah is beautiful and the “h” points to its biblical roots; also, they could do a non-hyphenated double name, like Sara Kate (I prefer the hyphen because it makes it more obvious it’s one name and not a first and middle, but it’s totally a personal preference kind of thing). I think a double first name can make two otherwise “normal” names really sparkle—those two normal names become something unusual when put together.

(7) Beatrix or Beatrice nicked Bea, Trixie, Tris, Betty
Beatrice is a style match for Winnie, and when I saw it I thought I had to add it to my list of suggestions. Both Beatrice and Beatrix are lovely and underused, and I think Bea is an adorable nickname (and lends itself to honeybee decorations, which is so cute!), but there’s also Trixie for Beatrix, and Tris for Beatrice (though be warned that Tris is the name of the main character in the Divergent series [books and movies], and likely pretty associated with just her, since I’d never heard of Tris as a nickname for Beatrice until those books), and even Betty could work and be really cute and retro.

(8) Juniper nicked Junie (or Junia nicked Junie?)
St. Junipero Serra is newly canonized and long beloved, and though he was a man, the English variant of his name totally works for a girl. Juniper is a similar style to Magnolia and Marigold, and has the a-dorable nickname option of Junie, which I just die over. Junie makes me also think of Junia, which is a biblical name, so pretty.

(9) Nickname Pippa or Poppy (Josephine, Perpetua, Philippa)
Pippa and Poppy were striking me as a really cute addition to the other kiddos, and there are several ways to get to them that might appeal. The Posy-for-Josephine idea I suggested above made me think that something like Josephine Petra could totally take the nickname Poppy. How cute and floral! I’ve also seen Poppy for Perpetua, which totally fits their “longer and more unusual” criteria, and it’s super saintly. I’ve also seen Pippa for Perpetua, but more commonly for Philippa, which I also really like.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I received feedback from the mom that my suggestions weren’t quite right for them, and indeed, as I reviewed, I see that I offered a lot of unusual nicknames for “normal” names, which is the exact opposite of what they wanted! Some were okay — I still like Cascia, Mercedes, and Juniper (Cass, Sadie, and Junie) — but I took a quick look again at my notes and thought these might be worth mentioning, as they’re on the more unusual end with easy nicknames:

(1) Amelie
Amelie’s a style match for El0d!e, a French name that’s said AH-mel-lee. Amy could definitely work as a nickname, or Mel/Melly.

(2) Salome
Also a match for El0d!e, and Sally is a natural nickname for it.

(3) Ariadne
Ariadne was, surprisingly, a match for Bronwyn (via Rhiannon, which I also would have suggested if I could think of a good nickname for it … Ree maybe? Annie?), and I think something like Addy could work really well.

(4) Philomena
This one’s a match for Sophronia, and there are a lot of possible nicknames: Fia, Fila, Fina, Finn, Finna, Lola, MenaMinnie, Pia, Pim, Pina, and Pippa. For the purposes of this consultation, I think maybe Lola, Mena, and Minnie might be the most appealing.

(5) Leocadia
Finally, going really far out, what about Leocadia? It’s another match for Sophronia and a saint’s name, and Cady is the greatest nickname for it! I wouldn’t be surprised if Leocadia is just too far out … but maybe not?

And those are my ideas! I’m dying to hear what you all think — please share your ideas for “slightly unusual, slightly longer full names that trim down to an easy nickname” for this baby girl!

Names for things

My 4-year-old declared the other day that his two “blankies” now have names: Leo and Isaac. Not only do I love hearing what my boys name their loveys (usually only stuffed animals — this was my first experience with blankets!), but I particularly loved Leo and Isaac! What a distinguished and saintly pair! My third boy’s stuffed seahorse from when he was tiny was the similarly sophisticated Baby Harold and my oldest’s stuffed pup was appropriately named Biscuit, but it has not always been so: my second boy’s pretty notorious for naming his un-alive friends funny things like Bandaids (yes, plural) and Primary (which I thought was sort of brilliant), and the same boy who named Isaac and Leo has always called his stuffed lamb D2.

Just today, Barb from CatholicMom told me that her car’s name is Maxine as a “nod to “Uncle Max” St. Kolbe” — I loved that! It reminded me of my idea that Ratzinger would be a great name for a cat and one of you said it would be great for a German Shepherd as well! Ahhhh I love both of those ideas!! 😄 Those comments were actually in response to a post that included ideas for saintly/faithy names for a puppy, and I’ve talked a very wee bit about naming houses with Kendra in response to her comment here on her post about her new house with it’s awesome name, and today I’d love to hear what you and/or your kiddos are naming your things — from stuffed animals to other loveys to cars to houses to …? Computers? What else? Bonus points for faith connections, but I’d love to hear them all regardless!

Reading roundup et al.

Thank you all for your prayers for the mama I wrote about earlier! I don’t have any update — I will let you all know when/if she lets me know.

Otherwise today has been wonderful — autumn cool and sunny and I’m wearing green, which always makes me happy. 🙂

I have some fun things to share from here and there:

I was mentioned by Catholic Hipster Tommy Tighe recently in his The Chimney podcast (Episode 047)! I publish under Katherine Morna Towne because I love my full name, but I always go by Kate (or Sancta Nomina sometimes, which I also love 🙂 ), so it was funny to hear myself mentioned as Katherine Morna Towne. But so cool too! (And really, Grace deserves the kudos, because she was the one who told me the particular factoid that Tommy referenced!)

Ireland’s annual Rose of Tralee International Festival, which seeks to connect “the global Irish Diaspora in an international celebration of Irish culture in Co Kerry, Ireland,” finishes today. The highlight of it is the selection of the International Rose of Tralee — a girl chosen from among those representing all the parts of the world that have a concentration of those with Irish ancestry (tonight on live TV!). The names are always amazing — this year there’s:

Dearbhladh (the Abu Dhabi Rose)
Meabh (Armagh) and Meabhdh (Kildare)
Eimear (Derry)
Fainche (Down)
Mairead (Fermanagh)
Sile (Luxembourg)
Fionna (Mayo) and Fiona (Tipperary)
Treasa (Meath)
Aisling (Newcastle/Gateshead) and (Roscommon)
Blathnaid (Scotland)
Niamh (West Meath)

As well as the more manageable Ciara (Arizona), Sheena (Florida), Shannon (New Orleans), Kathleen (Ohio), Brigid (Philadelphia), Erin (South Carolina), and Molly (Western Canada). I also loved seeing Zoe (Donegal), Lorna (Dublin), Caroline (Longford), Petra (Toronto), Genevieve (Tyrone), and all the Marys and Annes: Annmarie (Leitrim), Marie (Limerick), Hannah (New Zealand), Anna (Newfoundland & Labrador), and Anne-Marie (Yorkshire). And all the Kates/Katherines 🙂 : Kate (Laois), Kathleen (Ohio — mentioned previously),  Katie (Sligo), Katherine (Texas). And I haven’t even mentioned everyone! Head on over and check them all out! (And as I’m writing this, the 2016 Rose has been selected: Maggie McEldowney from Chicago! A big congratulations to her!!)

Anyway, I’ve mentioned before that I had the great privilege of being the 2001 New York Rose (and one of you readers let me know that you, too, are a former Rose! So fun! 🌹), and my mom’s been posting pics of my time there on her Instagram (which follows the adventures of Finney the Leprechaun) this past week, so if you want to catch a glimpse of what the festival and I looked like fifteen years ago, see here (a Tralee street [Denny Street?] strung with lights for the parade), here (me signing autographs for the little girls), here (different day, different girls, more autographs), here (me and the Dublin Rose on our parade float — I’m wearing black), here (a mama in the crowd handed me her baby for a photo, one of my favorite moments), here (another of me and Dublin with some lovely bagpipers), here (me onstage with former MC Marty Whelan live on TV), here (the bit from the song The Rose of Tralee that sums up a Rose), and here (today’s my birthday so Mom posted a collage 🎂 — the two in the middle on the bottom are Rose pictures). It was an amazing experience, for sure!

I’ve also been bustling around the blog recently — I set up a Nicknames page where I list all the unusual/offbeat nicknames I’ve heard of or thought of for various names, and I also started a Sancta Nomina Pinterest account for (so far) the consultation posts, birth announcement posts, and my CatholicMom and Nameberry articles — I’m working on pinning them all there. I’m also working on adding the T(h)eresa bit to the Sibling Project page — hopefully I’ll have that added soon.

I think that’s all I have for now — have a wonderful rest of today!! ❤