Baby name consultation: Danish + Irish inspiration for Baby No. 2

Lindsay and her husband are expecting their second baby, a little green bean 🌱 (=gender unknown)! This wee babe joins big brother:

William Thomas

Solid, handsome, there’s nothing wrong with a name like William Thomas!

About his name, Lindsay writes,

So many people in my family have the name William, my brother, cousins and uncles on both sides, my dad is a Bill from Wilber like his dad. I always knew I wanted a William of my own. When I met my husband, he was introduced as Nolan…come to find out his first name is William and just goes by his middle name! His dad was William. his mom’s dad, some uncles and a nephew too! We chose Thomas after his brother in law who raised him after his parents passed when he was a young. And also St. Thomas More who I’ve always been drawn to.”

Again, perfection. 👌

About this new baby, Lindsay writes,

We just found out we are pregnant with our second! We didn’t know our son’s gender until he was born. We went in with two full names per gender and wanted to meet our child first before settling on a name. The other boy’s name that we didn’t use is still a huge contender should this baby be a boy. So I’ll start with our two boy name options.

Here’s the other boy name that we didn’t use the first time around:

Thatcher Pio (If we hadn’t chosen William Thomas for our first son he would have been Thomas Thatcher and go by the middle name…so that is why Thatcher is still in the mix but trying to find another middle name since we’ve used the name Thomas)

We love Padre Pio in our family 🙂 and we want to name a son after him. But I’m not convinced this flows. What do you think? Thatcher is my paternal grandmother’s maiden name and I just love it. So English and solid but also I’ve never heard it as a first name.

Thatcher is a first contender for me but my husband still wants to go in with two names for each gender. We both love Theodore! I know it means “gift of God” so that’s wonderful but I’m not sure about middle name because I do want a name from my side in there. Guess I’ll have to figure that one out! I know there is a St. Theodore but I don’t know any info.

For girls…

The two names that were our contenders the first time around are still tip top. But a fun thing has happened that makes it hard to decide which! Here they are:

Stellamaris Anne
I’ve always loved Stella and then I heard Stella Maris and just love it to give a nod to our Blessed Mother. I would make it the full first name so I can have one middle name. We’d mainly call her Stella. Oh and is there a specific pronunciation for Maris? I always went with Mare-is as in the sound of Mary. But then on the Fountains of Carrots podcast I heard it as Mar-is. Does it matter? Anne: My sister’s middle name is Anne and I’d just love to acknowledge her and my Mother in law’s middle name is Ann and she always had a love for St. Anne. She died when my husband was young so I never met her but his nine siblings gave me a St. Anne medal at our wedding. I was on day 5 of a St. Anne novena praying that we could conceive (we had trouble getting pregnant the first time) when I found out I was pregnant this time around. So needless to say I really want this child to have Anne in her name should she be a girl! Oh and I love Anne of Green Gables … a literary nod that I like hehe. I would say the entire name is my personal front runner but the other option means a lot to my husband and it has grown on me. But using Anne with this other first name option gets tricky. I’ll move on to explain.

Eleanor Francis (Frances)
To begin, my dad’s middle name is Francis. Is it weird to spell it that way for a girl? I thought I read somewhere that both spellings used to be interchangeable for genders. Maybe I made this up haha. Anyway, I also looked up St. Frances and she is so wonderful … what an amazing patron saint for a young girl! Now onto the first name … Eleanor. Eleanor is my husband’s grandmother’s name. It took me a while to really love it but I do now. I love the classic, timelessness of it. I like all these nicknames (Lenny [don’t want it to turn into Lynn], Nell, Nellie) but am still hesitant about what we would use … maybe it would help once we know our girl. I like the name as is but we are a nickname type of family so I would kind of like to have an idea so it doesn’t turn into something we don’t want. And I’m not sure my husband is sold on a nickname. For particular reasons we don’t want any type of El nickname or Nora.

The dilemma is that I do not want to use Anne with Eleanor because I would probably still want to use Francis as a middle name and that doesn’t work in my opinion with Stellamaris. So basically first name/middle name combos are solid as they are.

Hopefully I’ll have more girls and here is the rest of the running list basically in order to give you a sense of our style:

Imogen (don’t think it really has any religious/catholic tie though)
Willa (although haven’t decided if I can really have a William and a Willa haha)
(I’ve thrown around the idea of making Zellie a front runner this time around to fix my Anne middle name problem)

We also like Louis for a boy and Benjamin but they would not be front runners right now. My husband likes Henry and Oliver. I like both but they are way down the list and I’m not sure I’d ever really want to use Oliver.

Some ideas for future middle names based on family names and Saints are:

Katherine, Virginia, Avila, Goretti

Boys middle names are harder for me.

Oh and I’ve tried to find cool Danish names because I’m Danish so if any neat ones pop up in your mind I’d love to hear them and my husband is Irish. I’ve always love Irish culture and we went there on our honeymoon 🙂 “

I’m such a HUGE fan of hearing all the details! I know some of you who I’ve done consultations for apologize to me for giving me lots of details, but I say the more the merrier!

Alrighty, so diving right in: I love Thatcher Pio! I absolutely think they go together well, great combo!

Theodore’s also great, and while I obviously don’t know what names Lindsay has on her side of the family, just trying to think of middle names that come to mind quickly as going well with it, I love the idea of Theodore John — a nice short middle following a longer first. Most families have a John somewhere! I also love that there’s St. John of Avila, which can tie into the Avila she listed as a possible future middle. Or if she wanted to tie in her husband’s Irish, perhaps Theodore Sean? Or Jens or Hans, both Danish forms of John? Or Theodore Bent, where Bent is a Danish form of Benedict? I actually really like the idea of using a Danish name in the middle, because then it automatically becomes a name from Lindsay’s side, just by virtue of its Danish-ness, and also because it balances out Pio a bit. William Thomas and Thatcher Pio, super handsome as they each are on their own and very Britishy (except Pio), are nevertheless quite different at first glance — William Thomas is all super traditional and no surprise, while both Thatcher and Pio are unusual and surprising. So if they did something like Theodore Jens or Theodore Bent for this baby, it would make a really nice bridge between William Thomas and Thatcher Pio. Does that make sense?

Some other short Danish names that I thought could pair nicely with Theodore include:

— Bernt (Bernard)
— Carl (Charles)
— Claus (Nicholas)
— Elias (Elijah)
— Frans (Francis)
— Klemens (Clement)
— Poul (Paul)

There are a whole bunch of other options here, including pronunciations.

Since we’re talking about Danish names, these are the three ideas I had for Danish names that would make good first names for boys in my opinion:

(1) Matthias
I love how (1) biblical, (2) Catholic (since Matthias was chosen to take Judas’ spot by the rest … perhaps they could be thought of as the first Church Council? 🙂 ), and (3) Scandinavian Matthias is! Such a great name, and I saw too that Mads is the Danish diminutive for it, cute!

(2) Oscar
I’m a huge fan of Oscar — I did a spotlight on it here, and wish it would get more play!

(3) Sander
Alexander is a name I feel like I should love — it’s totally my style *on paper,* according to the Baby Name Wizard (which, as you all know, lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity) — but I’ve never been able to love it. But Sander, which is a Danish diminutive of it, I do love! I think it’s so cool and unexpected, but familiar at the same time.

I also love Louis, Benjamin, Henry, and Oliver, and used them all as inspiration when coming up with new ideas for this family.

Re: their girl ideas, Stellamaris Anne and Eleanor Frances/Francis are both so lovely!

I love putting Stella and Maris together in one first name so they could have one middle name, perfect! Regarding Lindsay’s pronunciation question, I’ve always said MARE-is, like she does, and looking it up quickly on behindthename they list two pronunciations as equal — I believe their MER-is is the same as our MARE-is, and their MAR-is is like Haley’s pronunciation. So I would say either is fine — you get to choose your favorite!

The Anne connections are all amazing!! I can totally see why it’s important to Lindsay to use Anne in her first daughter’s name! So let’s move on to Eleanor for a minute, and I’ll offer some Anne ideas then too.

Re: Francis for a girl — Frances is currently the female variant and Francis the male, but in the old days there was a lot of interchange! So I wouldn’t be surprised if they used to be used for both boys and girls. That said, Brooke Shields named her daughter Rowan Francis, and if I remember correctly she used the Francis spelling specifically because she was honoring a male Francis (maybe her dad?). Especially as a middle name, there’s no harm in choosing whichever spelling one wants! It’s also good to note that Frances and Francis are the *same* name, so Frances in honor of Lindsay’s dad should be totally fine and understandable and obvious. But it’s also very modern and current to use boy names for girls (like how James is getting a lot of play among celeb baby girls, mostly as a middle, but then Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively used it as a first). So I think whichever way they decide to go is great!

That said … I might think that the Francis spelling, being a bit more unusual for a girl, would be more in line with Thatcher Pio than William Thomas, and might therefore make a nice bridge between Lindsay’s oldest and her subsequent children.

Also, in doing research for her somehow I came across Nonie as a nickname for Eleanor! Cuuuute!! I debated whether I thought it was too similar to the unusable Nora, and thought I’d let them decide.

So it seems like, if I’m understanding correctly, that Eleanor Anne would technically be the “best” option — the first name Lindsay’s husband loves and the middle name that she thinks is so perfect and meaningful for a first girl. But as Lindsay pointed out, Stellamaris Frances/is doesn’t have such a great flow. My one suggestion is to consider Maristella instead — it’s the same name as Stellamaris, and can take Stella as a nickname, and Maristella Frances/is sounds a lot better than Stellamaris Frances/is. I posted a birth announcement for a Maristella not too long ago, such a beautiful name! I’ve also thought Maristelle would be a gorgeous variant (like Maris Estelle, which is a French-y Maris Stella), and I think it could still lead to Stella as a nickname (I’ve never actually seen Maristelle though).

Lindsay’s other girl names are so fun! I get a definite Brit vibe from Imogen, and I too love it! And while there’s no *officially* holy Imogen that I could find (i.e., Servant of God/venerable/blessed/saint), a quick google search did yield a Mother Imogen Ryan who was Mother Superior of a Sacred Heart convent and had dealings with Dorothy Day, and wrote a book for children under the name Mary Imogen Ryan. I love the idea of Mary Imogen — Mary+[anything] automatically makes a name Catholicky Catholic I think! And loads of Mary+’s go by their middle names!.

I love Zellie, and Zellie Anne is lovely! Liesel is beautiful too, and Willa! I love that Lindsay included it so I could use it for inspiration, but William and Willa would be really bold!

As far as Danish girls’ names, these were some I quite liked for them from the list of female Danish names provided at behindthename:

(1) Anika, Annelise
Anika is a Danish diminutive of Anna/Anne — I’m guessing Lindsay would still prefer Anne, being that Anne is her sister’s middle name and Ann was her mother-in-law’s middle name, but Anika’s a sweet way to get an uncommon Anne name. Annelise is another great Anne name, and is actually the Danish form of Anneliese, which is Anna and Liese (from Elisabeth, so similar to Liesel on their list!) put together.

(2) Britt or Brit(t)a
These are short forms of Birgitta, which is related to Bridget. I like them both, very cool! Kind of Danish and Irish at the same time!

(3) Hildegard
I know! This is such a big clunky name! But St. Hildegard of Bingen is awesome, and I just die over the nickname Hildy/Hildi, so sweet! (I would totally also do just Hildy or Hildi as a given name too, though neither were included in the list of Danish names.)

(4) Milla
I wonder what Lindsay and her hubs would think of Milla instead of Willa? I think sibs William and Milla would be totally fine! I did a spotlight on Ludmila last year, for St. Ludmila, who was a holy grandmother — I’ve often thought that she would be a nice and unusual way to honor a grandmother in a grandchild’s name, and I think Mil(l)a’s the most current way to do so.

I had some other ideas too, based on research in the Baby Name Wizard, using the names Lindsay likes, as well as my own mental files:

(1) Clara or Klara
Clara’s a style match for Theo (I looked up both Theo and Theodore, as I thought both gave great ideas), Stella (no entry for Stellamaris), and Louis! It also totally rocks as a sister to Eleanor in my opinion. The spelling Klara is Danish, which could be perfect for them!

(2) Lucy
Lucy is also a match for Theo and Stella, and also Henry! It’s such a sweet name and also fits in really well with Eleanor.

(3) Eva or Evelyn
Yes, Eva was also a match for Theo and Stella! It reminded me of Evelyn, which I thought they might also like — it has that Brit feel to it, to me, probably because of (male) author Evelyn Waugh (Brideshead Revisited, great Catholic themes).

(4) Gemma
Gemma! I love love love it for this family! It was only listed as a match for Willa, which is great enough, but it’s also got lots of use in the UK, which fits with Eleanor and Imogen, and it’s super saintly in the same vein as Zellie. So great!

(5) Beatrice or Beatrix
Again, a nice English feel, and quite a good style match for them otherwise, being similar to Theodore, Eleanor (Beatrice), and Imogen (Beatrix).

(6) Verity
I thought some of Lindsay’s more offbeat ideas — Thatcher, Zellie, Imogen, Liesel, Willa — were more indicative of her taste than some of the others, and I relied heavily on their style matches when finding names I thought she might like. Verity’s a match for Imogen, and I would also put it in the Zellie category in the sense of Catholicky Catholic names. (And I love the character of Verity on Poldark!)

(7) Violet
Violet was another great style match for them, similar to Stella, Eleanor, and Oliver. It can also be a Marian name!

(1) Charles
I couldn’t not suggest Charles to this family after seeing it listed as a style match for William, Eleanor, Louis, Henry, and Stella (Charlie) — wow! It’s a great name!

(2) Everett
Everett was listed as a match for both Theodore and Eleanor, which is great enough, but I also really felt like it had a Thatcher feel to it. Everett’s derived from Everard, and there are several holy men by that name!

(3) Felix
Felix is a match for Theo and Imogen, and was included in the list of Danish names! I’ve also seen it used/considered by families who also use/consider Zellie.

(4) Garett/Gareth
Gareth is a match for Imogen and Gemma, and it reminded me of a comment that was recently left on the blog about a family who used Garrett for a son in honor of St. Margaret. I thought that was so brilliant! I quite like Garrett — it has an Irishy feel to me, and I think it could easily hold its own with Eleanor/Imogen/Oliver-type names; behindthename also says it’s likely derived from Gerard or Gerald, which provides good patron saints. If they prefer Gareth however, Margarethe is the Danish form of Margaret, and perfect patron for a Gareth! (I almost suggested a variant of Margaret to them — lots of great options that totally fit their style! — but then I thought it was a bit much with brother Thatcher.)

**Speaking of Margaret Thatcher, I’m going to interrupt myself for a minute — Lindsay specifically asked,

I do have one more big question about Thatcher. Many of the Irish people loath Margaret Thatcher … am I right? I love Ireland and hope to go there with family in the future … and I don’t want my son, Thatcher, to be looked down upon by the friendly Irish because of his name. Think I’m looking too far into this and thinking people would be more judgmental than they actually would be?

Do any of you have a good sense of how Thatcher would be received in Ireland? **

(5) Simon
Simon is a match for Willa and Oliver, and I also love it with William and Thatcher!

(6) Sebastian
Sebastian actually didn’t show up as a style match for anyone, but I can see it working really well with William, Thatcher, Eleanor, Imogen (that English feel) as well as Stellamaris and Zellie (Catholicky Catholic).

(7) Bennett
Finally, I love Bennett for this family — it’s a match for Willa, but it’s also got a surnamey feel like Thatcher; it’s got that Austen vibe like Eleanor; and it’s a medieval variant of Benedict!

Whew! Those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What would you suggest for a little brother or sister to William Thomas, given all the info here? What are your thoughts about first name Thatcher from an Irish perspective?


Birth announcement: Luke David!

One of you dear readers emailed me recently asking if I ever post birth announcements for babies who haven’t had a consultation done and I told her YES! I’m delighted to post a birth announcement for any of your babies! So she wonderfully shared the recent birth of her son, was has been given the so handsome (and so seasonally appropriate) name … Luke David!

He joins his gorgeously named big sister:

Miryam Isabel

The mama, Elizabeth, writes,

I’m thrilled to share the news of the birth of our son, Luke David! He was born Saturday 12/10/16 at 2:37am. Everyone is healthy.

Luke is after the Evangelist. David is my husband’s middle name. And as a reference to King David we like the possible whole-name-meaning “king of light.”

Also, your posts about Christmas and Advent names helped us settle with determination on Luke for our Advent baby. We had Luke picked out if Miryam had been a boy, but tossed around a few other first names this pregnancy. You called the due date’s timing to my attention, and we agreed that Luke was still the right name. So thanks for that! (:

Big sister is Miryam Isabel. Miryam is the Aramaic spelling of Miriam, my husband’s favorite/”most beautiful”/”the original” (his words) variation of Mary. Isabel is the Spanish for Elizabeth after me.”

Isn’t that a wonderful name story?! I just love how appropriate Luke David is for an Advent baby! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Luke!!


Luke David

Birth announcement: Hope Richelle!

I posted a consultation for Sara and her husband back in October, and Sara has let me know her little girl has arrived and been given the beautiful name … Hope Richelle!

Sara writes,

Hi Kate!  I’m finally getting around to let you know we had our baby girl on October 28th.  We named her Hope Richelle. We still weren’t sure when we went to the hospital what we were going to name her. I was induced on Wednesday, and she wasn’t born until Friday (the feast day of St. Jude, patron saint of hopeless causes). We knew her name had to be Hope because last year, her brother Jude was born into heaven on December 3, 2015. We know she will always have a special guardian angel watching over her.  🙂 Richelle is my middle name, after my dad, Richard.”

How amazing is it that Hope was born on the feast of St. Jude — the name of her big brother in heaven? How wonderful! ♥ I love Hope with Richelle — an unexpected family name is so great! And I love the whole name with big sibs:

Kolbe Conrad
Jameson Clare
Elsie Jo
Jude Francis

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Hope!!


Hope Richelle

Birth announcement: Kieran Michael!

I posted a consultation for Amy and her husband back in August, and Amy’s let me know her little guy has arrived — the handsomely named … Kieran Michael!

Amy writes,

Just writing to let you know that our newest little one arrived on November 9th, happy and healthy! We finally chose the name Kieran Michael a few weeks before he was born. I was championing Ciaran for quite awhile, but pronunciation and spelling issues won out!

We got so many wonderful suggestions from you and your readers! I told DH we need to choose a name for a potential 4th son just to be sure! We also decided to drop the 5-letter rule, and opted just for the 2 syllable and N ending. It was just too hard to continue!

Kieran is such a great name, I love it! And while I’m a sucker for Irishy Irish spellings, I do think Kieran will be easier for the little man. I’m glad too that they dropped the 5-letter rule — it makes naming so much easier, and I think the 2-syllable ends-in-N Kieran goes perfectly with big brothers:

Gavin Theodore
Ethan Robert
Auden (with Jesus)

Well done, Mom and Dad! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Kieran!!


Kieran Michael


Birth announcement: Edith Veronica!

Rosie from A Blog for My Mom did this great post on her blog a few months ago asking for name ideas for her baby-on-the-way — she recently had the baby and blogged (and Instagrammed and Tweeted) all about it and said it would be fine for me to post a birth announcement here as well, which I’m so excited about because I’m just dying over the name she and her husband chose — Edith Veronica!

How amazing is Edith Veronica! I LOVE that combo! 😍😍😍

She joins big sibs:

John Paul
Cecilia Therese
Elizabeth Anna (twin)
Mary Claire (twin)
Peter Damian

What an amazingly named bunch of kiddos! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Edith!! (Check out those links above for pictures of her sweet little face!)

Birth announcement: Penelope Hannah!

It’s so funny that we were talking about Penelope yesterday and today I’m thrilled to share that Maria, whose consultation I posted back in October, has let me know her little girl has arrived and been given the gorgeous name … Penelope Hannah!

She writes,

Baby Penelope Hannah was born on November 23rd at 2:49am, a perfect way to start my Thanksgiving :). Thanks for the name recommendations! Penelope was never on my radar but we love it! Thanks!

Isn’t Penelope Hannah an amazing name?! I love how it flows, just beautiful! She joins her big sibs:

Rose Gianna
Sofia Magdalena
Gemma Anastasia
Sebastian David
Thaddeus Jacob

Such an amazingly named family! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Penelope!!


Penelope Hannah

Baby name consultant: Unusual name needed for baby No. 7

Happy feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!! 🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹

Before I jump into today’s post, could I just ask you to keep my oldest son in your prayers? (And thank you to all of you who have been praying!) I posted a couple pics explaining the situation on Instagram this weekend — he and I have been in the hospital all weekend for a mysterious swelling on one side of his face that turned out to be an abscessed tooth. Lots of strong antibiotics have really done the trick — last night his face was finally starting to look normal-ish, 48 hours after it started, and this morning he looks wonderful. The doctor will be calling the dentist today and hopefully we can go home in a few hours!

Also, one of you readers emailed me with this very important prayer request:

My acquaintance/new friend Anne Marie, unbeknownst to me, has a mental/spiritual imbalance that has caused her to be certain that Jesus has asked her to fast to her death. Apparently she has several times fled to distant 24-hr Adoration chapels to pray and await death.

A week ago she again fled the Portland area with nothing but cash, as I understand, leaving behind her new husband of just 15-ish months, and their small son Joseph, 4 months, whom she had been exclusively breastfeeding.

Anyway, since you have many devout readers around the nation, I thought perhaps someone would spot her. She is 5’8″, very thin, conservatively dressed, with long, somewhat greying wavy hair. She has a soft, deep voice, an intelligent demeanor and dry sense of humor. It is best to contact the authorities, rather than acknowledging that you know of her. They suspect she will follow her pattern of fasting until collapse, be hospitalized, and refuse to identify herself.”

This is a news story that tells more about her. Thank you all for being such great prayer warriors! One of the loveliest parts of our little community is how we can ask each other to pray. 🙏

Okay! On to today’s consultation! Cait and her husband are expecting their seventh baby and third girl! She joins big siblings:

Aquinas John Paul (Quin)
Gabriel Benedict
Magdalena Grace
Maksymilian Paul (“spelling due to husband’s bad association with a Max in grade school and finding a book written by St. Maksymilian Kolbe where they spelled his name that way — I think it’s the Polish way“)
Augustine Francis
Socorra Perpetua (often called Corra; named “after Our Lady of Perpetual Help (succour)“; my note: Nuestra Señora del Socorro is a Spanish title referring to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, also known as Our Lady of Perpetual Succor)

Aren’t those amazing names?? I love the nicknames and the alternate yet totally legitimate spellings and the all-around creativity. Great job, Mom and Dad!

Cait writes,

I LOVE Penelope, but she seems to be a saint in the Eastern Church and not ours.  I’m having my husband research that, as it seems, from her story there, that we should grab her as a saint too.  I also had a dream the baby’s name should have something to do with peace… something we need in our family right now (who doesn’t?)!  That’s one way we found Saint Penelope- when she became a Christian she changed her name to Irene, so we’d likely do Penelope Irene, if only I can internally justify not using a Roman Catholic Saint as a first name … [then later I received this update from Cait] As for Penelope, we just found out it’s one of the top 40 names for last year so, sadly, it’s off our list.  While we do have a Gabriel, which is ever popular, we tend to shy away from top 100 (or minimally top 50) names.”

So I was shocked to discover that Penelope’s in the top 40! How did that happen! It had barely cracked the top 1000 in 2001, talk about a meteoric rise! I’m sorry that Cait and her hubs have to cross it off their list, I love it! (And there’s a new holy one to use as patron: Ven. Ersilia Penelope Frey!) In its place, I wonder what they’s think of Philomena — it’s similar to Penelope to me, being long and starting with a P, and it’s a really Catholicky Catholic name — it might make a good replacement?

I’m also really interested in Cait’s dream that the baby’s name should have something to do with peace — I did a quick search on behindthename for names that have “peace” in their meaning, and the only one I thought they might be interested besides Irene was Salome. It means “peace” (related to “shalom”) and I posted a really cool tidbit about the name a while ago, which connects the name to Christmas — nice for a baby born this time of year.

Otherwise, I took to my Baby Name Wizard as I always do, looking up the names Cait and her husband have used and those they like/are considering as you know it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. Based on that research and my own mental files, these are my ideas:

(1) Liesse, Lourdes
These are, of course, the names of two Marian apparition sites, and I love them both. Liesse is so pretty with such a feminine sound; it’s a bummer it’s not as well known but I really like how unexpected it is. Lourdes has more use (like Lindsay daughter from My Child I Love You), and has such lovely nickname options like Lulu and Lola.

(2) Archangela
Reader Lisa alerted me to Bl. Archangela Girlani a while ago as a way of having an authenticated saintly connection to Eleanor (because the Helen connection is problematic), and I immediately loved her religious name! Archangela has a familiar feel, because of the archangels and the name Angela, and yet I’d never heard of Archangela as a given name before finding out about Bl. Archangela — familiar yet uncommon is such a great combo!

(3) Anne-Catherine
One of the Sancta Nomina families has a little girl named Anne-Catherine after Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich — I love this idea for this family! Cait’s older kiddos have, on the whole, fairly unusual names, and double names have an immediate “more unusual” feel to them, even if the names themselves are fairly “normal.”

(4) Sidony/Sidonie
During one of the very first consultations I did, I came across the name Sidony/Sidonie and was blown away by what I read about it: “this name was formerly used by Roman Catholics for girls born about the date of the Feast of the Winding Sheet (i.e., of Christ), more formally alluded to as ‘the Sacred Sendon’. Sendon or Sindon (from Latin sindon … ‘fine cloth’, ‘linen’) was used in Middle English for a fine cloth, especially one used as a shroud. The Sacred Sendon is supposed to be preserved at Turn [Turin] … Sidonie is not uncommon in France, and the Irish Sidney is probably really Sidony” (from one of my favorite name books, The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names by EG Withycombe). The feast of the Winding Sheet is/was celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday, and as Ash Wednesday this year is March 1, the Sidonie feast is Feb. 28, and since Cait’s little one is due in February, I thought it might be perfect.

(5) Charis
There’s a section in the BNW called “Exotic Traditionals,” which I often like to peruse for families like Cait’s who have used names like Magdalena, Socorra, and Augustine, as they have a lot of old religious and/or saints’ names that aren’t used so much anymore. Charis is one of them — it means “grace, kindness” according to and “favor, grace, gratitude” according to Merriam Webster, and I actually read about a family who used the name because it’s contained within the word “Eucharist” (and that element of Eucharist is the “favor, grace, gratitude” meaning of Charis). So pretty!

(6) Jacinta
This is another Exotic Traditional, and one I just love—Jacinta’s one of my favorite favorite names, I totally wish it had more play! I have it on my own list, and love the nickname Jess for it.

(7) Rafaela/Raphaela
There wasn’t a huge amount of overlap in the names similar to the names Cait and her husband like, according to the BNW (which is likely just because the BNW doesn’t look at the world with Catholic-colored glasses like we do!), but Rafaela was listed as a style match for Benedict and Raphaela for Maximilian, so I felt like I definitely needed to suggest it! Such a pretty name, and not as matchy with Gabriel as if they used Raphael.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little sister of Aquinas, Gabriel, Magdalena, Maksymilian, Augustine, and Socorra?

Birth announcement: Mary Christine!

I posted a consultation for Lauren and her husband back in October, and they’ve let me know their little green bean 🌱 has arrived — a little girl given the gorgeous name … Mary Christine!

Lauren writes,

I hope your Advent is off to a restful start. Sorry for the delay-we have been a little busy with moving and having a new baby girl, who we named Mary Christine 🙂 My husband was stuck on that one and it seems to be a great fit! She was born on October 27th.

Thank you again for your time and all of the great suggestions-we are all set if we are blessed with another little one!!

I looooove Mary Christine! SUCH a beautiful name and combo!! And a perfect fit with big sibs:

Michael Douglas
Annabelle Grace
John Walter

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Mary Christine!!


Mary Christine

Celebrity guest: Kate Wicker, author & speaker

Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception!! What a beautiful feast day, one of my favorites! Feast days are celebration days, and I’ve got a lovely treat for you all today! 💕🎁

I’ve “known” Kate Wicker through her blog for years — her oldest and mine are just about the same age, and she and I had babies at roughly the same pace, and she’s a writer like me (though far more accomplished, being that she’s the health columnist for Catholic Digest and has written for numerous regional and national media, including Atlanta Parent, Catholic Exchange,, Catholic News Agency, Children’s Ministry Magazine, Crisis Magazine, Family Fun, Fathers For Good, Pregnancy, Pittsburgh Parent,, and Woman’s Day. She’s also a monthly guest on Relevant Radio’s Morning Air Show, has appeared in Danielle Bean’s Momnipotent DVD series, and has been a guest on the Faith & Family LIVE and Among Women podcasts, Huffington Post Live (known as HuffPost Live), Kresta in the Afternoon radio show, and EWTN’s Son Rise Morning Show among others. Whew! 💃), so I’ve felt a kinship with her in the way that fangirls do with their mom/blogging heroes. 😍😍😍

Then she went a wrote a book (Weightless: Making Peace With Your Body, informed by her own struggles with a clinical eating disorder and written from a Catholic perspective), and she’s got a new one coming out soon (Getting Past Perfect: How to Find Joy and Grace in the Messiness of Motherhood, which I’m currently working on a review of [spoiler: it’s amazing!]; it’s available for pre-order here), AND — she’s got a new baby on the way!

Yes! A new baby! A boy! Her little guy joins three big sisters and a big brother, and Kate graciously humored me when I asked if she would mind sharing a little about the hows and whys of her kiddos’ amazing names, as well as any thoughts she and her husband have about naming the new baby. I know you’ll love all of what she has to say!


(This photo was taken when Kate had just found out No. 5 was on the way!)

I’m a gestating machine at 36 weeks pregnant with baby number five. This one is our second boy and since we already have three girls, you’d think we’d have bountiful selection of boy monikers. However, my husband and I both struggle far more with coming up with names for the XY chromosome set than the girls. Our children’s names are all very classic, so we’ve joked that maybe we will throw everyone for a loop and slap on some eccentric name like Mango (to Gwyneth’s Apple) or Blade for this little one!

With our last baby, we didn’t find out the gender until birth. After three girls, I assumed we would be adding some more sugar and spice to our family (if truth be told, all of my kids add more spice than straight-up sweet sugar to my life). I had a whole list of girls’ names to choose from (Jane Clare being a top contender), but we had only one boy name chosen: Thomas Kemp. My husband’s dad had conducted extensive genealogy research for both his side of the family and my own, and then he put together an amazing book detailing our familial history (best gift ever!). We discovered my husband had ancestors who sailed on the Mayflower, and I’m distantly related to George Washington. The book was chock full of family names, and we perused it one day and both decided we liked Thomas (a name belonging to several of our ancestors). Kemp is a family name; it belonged to my husband’s grandfather who passed away from ALS before I had a chance to meet him. I also felt it was a solid Catholic name since the author of the Christian classic The Imitation of Christ was Thomas à Kempis. Well, lo and behold, we welcomed our first boy into the world, so Thomas Kemp it was. When we baptized him, the priest, a family friend, complimented the name choice and asked if it had anything to do with Thomas à Kempis. (I may have performed an imaginary fist pump in the air for my Catholic name-choosing awesomeness.) We always call him Thomas – no Tom or Tommy, please. My dad (a lover of nicknames) does sometimes call him “T,” which I like. Growing up, I was Katie-Did or M.L.M.D.M.T.D. (short for My Love, My Dove, My Treasure Divine; I was my dad’s only girl. J To this day, my dad gives almost everyone some sort of nickname.

As for all of our daughters’ names, I’d always loved the name of Madeline, but I also considered Clare for our first. We decided on Madeline Louise before she was born. I write journals during pregnancy to all of my babies, so it was beautiful being able to call her by her name in her letters. My mom’s mother sadly died when my mom was only a teenager and they had always had a very close relationship. My late grandmother’s name was Dorothy Louise; that’s where Madeline’s middle name comes from. I almost always call my daughter Madeline (she’s 12 now – sheesh!), but a lot of family and friends call her Maddy, and my dad sometimes affectionately refers to her as Maddy Lou.

We named our second child Rachel Marie, and we called her by that full name for awhile because it just rolls off the tongue so beautifully. But we eventually shortened it to Rachel or Rae. I love calling her Rae or even Rae-Rae, and the lullaby I sang to her when she was a baby was “You Are My Sunshine,” and I’ve always thought of her as my “Rae” of sunshine. My husband’s sister is named Rachel and his mom also had an aunt named Rachel, so it’s a family name as well. Marie is, too. My mom’s name is Eileen Marie, and I’m Kate Marie (just Kate on my birth certificate; it’s not short for anything, although my family refers to me as Katie most of the time). Marie is such a classic, lovely name, and it goes well with almost any first name! Rachel is 9 now. When she was little, we all called her Baby Rae since that’s what Big Sister Madeline started referring to her as. I still frequently call her Rae-Rae and suspect I always will.

Next up was Mary Elizabeth, also known as M.E. or just Mary. She was almost a Jane Clare. My husband liked the name Emmie, but we both agreed that we wanted her to also have a more sophisticated moniker for when she was older. We came up with M.E. (pronounced like Emmie) that could be short for Mary Elizabeth, a quintessential Catholic name. M.E. answers to any of these names – Mary Elizabeth, M.E., or Mary – but she’s told me recently she thinks she prefers simply “Mary.” Although when she was just learning to write, she loved how short the name M.E. was!

Both my husband and I definitely prefer to steer clear of overly trendy names and do tend to gravitate toward traditional names that run in our families. This go-around, as I mentioned, we have no solid picks for our baby boy (suggestions are welcome!). I like Joseph, but my husband isn’t as crazy about it. We all like William (kids included), but William Wicker makes me chuckle and think of the “Wuv, true wuv” line from The Princess Bride. James is a contender, but we’re not completely sold. We like the name John, but there are tons of Johns still alive and well on both sides of our families. I don’t tend to worry too much proprietary rights to names, but I know some parents take it very seriously. We did briefly consider Gerald since this is my husband’s father’s name, but then we realized people might accuse us of having a Tom and Jerry. No thank you.

I’m thinking we will likely decide upon a name when baby number 5 makes his big debut! I’m due in early January, so stay tuned.

Kate, thanks so much for having me.

Aren’t these great name stories??! There are so many details I love — the family and faith connections in each name; the way Mary Elizabeth’s name started with a love of “Emmie” (M.E. for Emmie is so darling! As is the fact that M.E. currently prefers Mary, so sweet); and how Thomas Kemp immediately brings Thomas á Kempis to mind — it was my first thought when Kate announced his birth, and how cool that Kemp is a family name!

So … Kate said “suggestions are welcome!” for her little boy … you know I can’t not offer some ideas! So based on Madeline, Mary, Elizabeth, Rachel, Thomas, Jane, Clare, Joseph, William, James, John, and Gerald (and not knowing, of course, any family names, so I get it if none of these work) I would suggest:

(1) Charles
Thomas and Charles have a great gentlemanly feel together! I think Charles Wicker sounds great, and Charlie is an adorable nickname. There are also loads of other nickname ideas for Charles that I’m pretty swoony over (seeing as how I love a good offbeat nickname).

(2) Stephen
Like how Kate’s Thomas is just Thomas, I really love the full Stephen. Thomas and Stephen are great brother names!

(3) Daniel
Daniel always has a sweet, affectionate feel to me because of Danny Boy. It’s classic and biblical and just a great name.

(4) Benjamin
Benjamin is mostly inspired by Rachel — Madeline, Mary Elizabeth, and Thomas have a very traditional feel, and while Rachel is just as traditional, it has a little something different that I think Benjamin mirrors.

(5) Henry
Finally, Henry — one of the sweetest names ever, and having some great heavy-hitting patron saints. I love Henry with Kate’s other kids!

Two additional thoughts: One of the combos I’ve been loving recently is James Kolbe (I like the nickname Jake for it, but it’s great on its own), and it feels a lot like Thomas Kemp to me, with the unusual middle name that’s really saintly, so I thought I’d offer that as well. Also, while Kate and her hubs might not have any babies after this one, if they’re ever blessed with another girl, Jane won’t be usable if they use John this time. You know what a conundrum it can be in regards to saving a beloved name for later at the expense of this baby’s name now! But I thought it was important to note.

And those are all my thoughts/ideas! What do you all think? What ideas do you have for this little boy?

Thanks again to Kate for sharing all this fun info with us! Please keep her in your prayers as she nears the end of her pregnancy and gets ready to meet her Little Mister, and be sure to check out her web site, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more info about her books and her musings on motherhood and more!