I haven’t done one of these in ages and it feels goooood to work on one! 😀
One of you dear readers asked me for a spotlight on Benedicta a while ago, so I thought it would be best to add in Benedict as well, as Benedict is the “originating name” in the sense that it was a name first, and then the female variant arose. (Withycombe says that Benedicta is, “Probably as a rule simply a f. form of Benedictus, the man’s name, though there are one or two obscure saints Benedicta.”)
Benedict/a’s meaning rocks: “blessed.” So great, right?! And for us, it also means “any of the Sts. Benedict, and/or the Benedictine Order (especially for those who have a Benedict spirituality), and/or our dear Papa Benny — Pope Emeritus Benedict XIV (aka B16 because we Catholics are cool like that, giving our popes hip nicks. 😀 ).”
Speaking of hip … this image of St. Benedict always kills me, he looks so cool, like he’s just wearing his hoodie, hanging out with friends, like (Catholic nerd alert!) your favorite young seminarian or director of campus ministry. 😀 I hope it isn’t disrespectful to say so! It’s my favorite image of him, and if I ever have a Benedict, I’ll get this icon for him.
I know some people have a hard time moving past the Benedict Arnold association that, unfortunately, continues to cling stubbornly to the name, but fortunately that’s only an American problem, and Pope Benedict, Benedict Cumberbatch, and time have all helped to dilute it, and will continue to do so I’m sure.
Benedicta suffers from no such problematic association, as far as I’m aware, and Simcha Fisher’s little Benedicta Maribel — called Benny exclusively and swoonily — is a tremendous example of how such a big name can work on a beautiful little girl.
As far as nicknames go for Benedict, there’s Ben and Benny, and I’ve suggested Bede as a nickname for it, and I’ve recently been loving the idea of Boon(e) as a nickname for it too, if you want something a little offbeat — it means “good,” a similar meaning to Benedict, which just adds to its possible use as a nickname for Benedict in my opinion (Abby did a post on Boone not too long ago, which I loved). I’ve also seen Ned (and Neddy!) — seriously adorable! Benito is a Spanish variant (though … is the Mussolini connection still too strong?) and Benedetto an Italian variant, and I think some of the other foreign variants could really work as nicknames or given names too, like Bendt/Bent (Danish), Bence (Hungarian), and Bento (Portuguese).
For Benedicta, there’s of course Benny and I think Betty, Neddy/Nettie, and even Becka could work. (Which makes me think — Beck could work as a nickname for Benedict too! Fun!) I could see Bonnie working for a girl as well. Benita is a Spanish form and Benedetta an Italian form (and Bettina its diminutive). Pretty!
I can’t not mention also Bennett/Bennet/Benett/Benet/Bennitt — medieval variants of Benedict that can be a little easier to bear while still retaining the saintliness of the name. Withycombe even says that those same variants were used for girls as late as the end of the 17th century! She also says that the surnames Benn and Benson were derived from Benedict, which provide further ideas.
All in all, I think Benedict and Benedicta are great names, very usable. I’d love to hear from any of you who have a Benedict/a or know any — do they like their name? Do they go by a nickname and if so, what is it?