I’m excited to post this bonus consultation for a couple with such a wonderful story — the mama, Kara, is American and her husband is British, and they live in England, and she shared that, “My husband and I are converts. He was a Church of England Clergyman, and now he’s a Catholic priest.”
How wonderful is that?!! What a great and inspiring story!!
I don’t think many of us know any families with this kind of background, and I love hearing from our international readers, and when I asked Kara if she would mind if I posted her consultation today, she told me that today is her husband’s fourth anniversary of ordination! Congratulations to him! It’s also the feast of Sts. Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, so yeah, just a great day all around. 🙂
“My 4th is due at the end of October and if it’s a boy, we are stuck for a name! If it’s a girl, then the name will be Helena Mary.”
This little green bean 🌱 (=gender unknown) will join big sibs:
Rosamond Mary (“She’s known as Rosey, and named after my Godmother and Our Lady“)
Matthias Michael (“We always had Matthias picked for our first boy. Shortly before he was born a priest friend died and his name was Fr. Michael. It seemed right to remember him by using his name“)
Simeon Thomas (“Simeon was not a name I loved, but when I was pregnant with him the Feast of the Presentation came along, and I felt like the Lord was saying you are going to have a boy, and his name should be Simeon. And I was all like, really Lord? And He was like, yes. So we went with it. And it suits him very well. The name Thomas is from my husband’s grandfather. The only grandparent he knew was this grandfather who died when he was a child.”)
I just loooove these names!! Rosamond is a fairly uncommon Ros- name, and Rosey is so sweet! Matthias is a favorite of mine, and I love seeing Simeon used! I definitely think it needs to be used more!
“Ok, here’s all the stuff that makes us super picky…
We don’t want a popular name. For us, that probably means it needs to be below the top 100 baby boy names. And it gets worse — I am American, my husband is British, we live in England. So it can’t be in the top 100 in the UK or the USA. [The 2015 list can be found here.]
Also, the name can’t be pronounced different in the UK and USA. That kind of thing drives me crazy! So Anthony is pronounced Antony here and something like Cordelia ends up being Cor-dee-lee-ah.
We’re not a fan of using last names as first names. So my husband’s patron is St. Edmund Campion, but we wouldn’t consider Campion as a name.
My husband thinks we have a thing going with naming our kids 3 syllable first names and 2 syllable middle names. I am not convinced that this pattern is essential.
I think we are probably wanting a saint’s name, but are open to thinking about other kinds of names.”
Names and patrons they’re considering (but none has felt totally right just yet) include:
Edmund (“My husband loves St. Edmund Campion, I love St. Edmund Arrowsmith. We definitely wouldn’t want Eddie to be a nickname though. There’s a bonus in that St. Edmund Arrowsmith was born near where we live in Liverpool and you can go get a blessing from his actual hand in a church nearby“)
Dominic (“I love Blessed Dominic Barberi. He is buried near to us. I love his story and I love that his mother used to say to her kids, “Children, you can be saints!”. Unfortunately, Dominic is a pretty chav name in Liverpool. (Chavs are urban youth in track suits and Burberry caps who wander in packs getting up to no good.) My husband does like the original St. Dominic too“)
Damien (“I love Fr. Damien of Molokai. But it’s also rather a chav name. And someone pointed out to me that Damien and Simeon sound rather similar. So I am not convinced“)
Gaetano/Cajetan (“My husband loves St. Gaetano Catanoso. The English version of his name is Cajetan evidently. Both seem a little too wild for me“)
John Henry Newman (“My husband really likes him, but the name is too popular. Also, our last name is Brown, so I would always think of that song “John Brown had a little Indian…””)
Peter Julian Eymard (“He’s another one my husband likes“)
Paschal Baylon (“We both like him. We live in St. Paschal Baylon Presbytery though, so it seems odd to name a child after where you live!“)
St. Nicholas (“My husband likes his story. We also like St. Nicholas Owen. But it’s too popular and I have a brother named Nicholas“)
Ambrose Barlow (“He has links to the area we live in, so that’s nice“)
I had a lot of fun finding names that would fit their criteria—I found quite a few three-syllable names that were below the top 100 in both America and the UK! I had a few other ideas as well, which seem like they might work well for Kara and her hubs, but first a few thoughts about the names they’re considering/that they’d like to consider:
— I love Edmund for them, I think it’s so great, and as for the nickname issue—Ned is as traditional as Ed/Eddie, and it’s a style match for Rosey (according to the Baby Name Wizard, which may not be terribly accurate for them since it’s based on US naming trends, but in this instance I think it’s spot on). I will say though that Rosamond and Edmund sound almost *too* good together, with the similar endings. Campion totally seems like it would be more their speed, especially since it has the vowel doublet that they seem to like (Matthias, Simeon, Damien), and I love love the nickname Cam, but if they really won’t consider last names and they don’t want to use Edmund, I wonder what they would think of Eamon? It’s an Edmund variant that I love, which could nod to both the Sts. Edmund that Kara and her husband favor.
— I’m so interested in the feel of the name Dominic where they live! I’d actually asked Kara if I could post that one bit about the chav names sometime, just as a way of showing how certain names have different connotations in different places, but I didn’t get to it. So interesting though, right? I’ve heard the term “chav” before but hadn’t ever had a really good handle on what it means.
— I agree with her about Damien and Simeon sounding too similar, boo!
— I love Gaetano/Cajetan too, but Kara’s right—they’re pretty wild!
— John Henry Newman is great—I wonder if they would consider the full John Henry? Or maybe changing it up to something like Ian Henry? It’s not as obvious, but it definitely works, since Ian is a form of John.
— I wonder if Peter Julian Eymard’s middle name might be just their speed—Julian has that vowel couplet, and it’s a style match for Dominic, Damian, and Nicholas!
— I love Paschal too! I can’t tell if I think it would be too weird? Our church is named for St. Clement, and I’ve often thought that Clement would be an awesome name for us, not just because of the saint/meaning, but also because of our parish (we were married here too, and all our kids baptized here, so it’s meaningful to us). I tend to think our community would love a little one named after our church, but maybe with Kara’s husband being the priest it gives it a weird edge?
— Oh gosh, I love St. Nicholas Owen too. Would Owen work?
Alrighty, on to my ideas for Kara and her husband! Their style is pretty consistent, at least according to the BNW—very old world and kind of catacomb-y, which I love love love!
(1) Barnaby or Barnabas
Barnaby has always had a Brit feel to me—and I apologize in advance if I’m totally off about what has a British vibe! I think there’s a street in London by that name? Is that a bad thing? I admit I fell in love with it listening to the lyrics from the song from Hello Dolly (sung by characters named Ambrose, Cornelius, and Barnaby—a pretty great set!). Barnabas is another variant, which isn’t as cheerful sounding as Barnaby (which could be good). I like both of them a lot, and there are a few saints/blesseds to choose from. Barnaby is a style match for Rosamond, has never been in the top 1000 in the U.S., and isn’t in the top 100 in the UK.
Thaddeus is similar to Barnaby in terms of being weighty and biblical, and it’s a style match for Rosamond and Matthias. It feels like maybe a little much for everyday use—more so than Matthias and Simeon, despite that they’re all the same number of syllables—but I know two little Thaddeuses who go by Taddy, which I love, and which would particularly fit in with sister Rosey. Thaddeus was #703 in 2015 in the U.S., and isn’t in the top 100 in the UK.
Leopold is similar to Rosamond and Matthias, and trims down to Leo so easily. It’s so handsome and sophisticated, and three syllables! I enjoyed the stories of all three of these holy men. It hasn’t ever been in the top 1000 in the U.S., and isn’t in the top 100 in the UK.
This one might be problematic pronunciation-wise—I know there are pronunciation issues here, where I hear both rah-fay-EL (mostly) and RAY-fee-uhl (occasionally). Raphael was #537 in 2015 in the U.S., and isn’t in the top 100 in the UK.
Rosamond and Matthias shared a bit more overlap in terms of names that were similar to them, so I really wanted to loop Simeon in. Tobias is a style match for it, as well as for Raphael, which is a match for Matthias and Dominic as well. Such a great name! It’s the most popular of the names I’m suggesting, coming in at #316 in 2015 in the U.S. and on an upward trajectory; it’s not in the top 100 in the UK.
Are you seeing a theme here? All these great, heavy-hitting names with vowel couplets! Phineas is another great one—the first time I heard it on a child in real life was Julia Roberts’ son Phinnaeus, who goes by Finn, which is one of my favorite names ever. Phineas is a match for Simeon, Barnaby, Raphael, and Tobias, hasn’t ever been in the top 1000 in the U.S., and isn’t in the top 100 in the UK.
This is the only name that didn’t come from my research, and it may be too like Gaetano/Cajetan to Kara in terms of being too wild, but it’s super saintly and I always think of it as exclusively Catholic, though I know it has more use in Europe than America, and likely some of those Joachims aren’t Catholic I suppose. I think it has the feel of Matthias and Simeon without being obviously biblical. It’s never been in the top 1000 in the U.S., and isn’t in the top 100 in the UK.
Another great, heavy-hitting, saintly, three-syllable name! I’m actually surprised Benedict’s not on their list already, so maybe that means they already considered it and decided they didn’t like it? But it’s a match for Rosamond, Edmund, Ambrose, Barnaby, and Thaddeus! The last time Benedict was in the U.S. top 1000 was in 1968 (#971), and (despite Benedict Cumberbatch, who I assume is a good association) it’s not in the top 100 in the UK.
This last one gets away from the three-syllable, heavy, mostly biblical feel of the previous suggestions. Piers is a style match for Rosamond, and I really like that it’s not obviously biblical, so I feel like it fits in with Rosey’s name a bit more than some of the others, but at the same time it *is* biblical, being a variant of Peter, which ties it in nicely with Kara’s other boys. I know there’s Piers Morgan, and I don’t know if that’s a good/bad/neutral association. If negative, Pierce might be a nice alternative. Piers has never been in the top 1000 in the U.S., though Pierce was #466 in 2015; neither are in the top 100 in the UK.
And those are my ideas for Kara and her husband! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother for Rosamond, Matthias, and Simeon?