Baby name consultation: Brother name for Jude and Isaac

Stephanie and her husband are expecting their third baby, a little green bean (=gender unknown)! 🌱 This little one joins big brothers:

Jude Patrick
Isaac Edward

Awesome names, awesome style, love them!

Stephanie writes,

We really like the name Hope for a girl … My husband really wants a Mark Edward III for a boy. I really don’t want to do a “the third.” I could possibly do Mark with a different middle name, and call him by the middle name, but I don’t like the confusion of the exact same name. My boy name preferences fall along the lines of Micah [though unusable because their last name sounds really similar to it], Blaise, Fisher (after St. John Fisher), and Ephraim. My husband isn’t as adventurous with his names, but he did mention Maccabee at one point! My husband is [also] open to Benedict.”

Okay, so first off, I kept in the bit about Stephanie and her husband liking Hope for a girl, for inspiration, but they really only need help with boy names.

Regarding the idea of Mark Edward III, I love Jude and Isaac together, and while Mark does fit in with them in because they’re all biblical and saintly, I feel like Jude and Isaac give off a particular vibe that Mark doesn’t. I’m not quite sure how to describe it … “scholarly” and “sophisticated” come to mind re: Jude and Isaac, but I don’t think Mark is unscholarly or unsophisticated, so that’s not quite right … Do you all know what I mean? Do you agree?

Also, they’ve already used Edward for Isaac’s middle name, and while “matching vibes” and different middle names isn’t a requirement at all if Stephanie and her husband like a particular name, these thoughts might be helpful for Stephanie in trying to convince her husband away from using Mark Edward III.

I was trying to think of various ways that Stephanie’s husband could have the *feel* of a III without actually doing a literal III, and I came up with:

  • Using the same first name, but a different middle name (and he could even go by Trey/Trip/Tripper if they wanted him to, for Mark III, even though he wouldn’t be III on paper [and would therefore avoid some of the paperwork nightmares I’ve heard about])
  • Using a variant of Mark — there’s Marco, Marcus, and Marek. I also discovered the surname Markson, which does actually mean Mark’s son (I saw it spelled somewhere as Marxon too, but then I couldn’t find that again … I think they could definitely do it though if they wanted to!)
  • Using Stephanie’s husband’s initials — an M first name and an E middle name. I think this is my favorite idea for them, and I have M.E. thoughts below
  • How about any nicknames Stephanie’s husband goes by? Any nicknames given to him by college/sports buddies, or some funny thing his family called him when he was little that could perhaps be fashioned into a first name?

Beyond that, I used Jude, Isaac, Hope, Micah (though I know this is off the table because of their last name!), Blaise, Fisher, Ephraim, Maccabee (!) and Benedict as inspiration in my research, which, as you all know, almost always starts by looking up the names the parents have used and those they 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. I also combed through my own mental files and came up with the following ideas:

(1) Matthias
Matthias is my favorite idea for them in the “use your husband’s initials” idea (and just in general too, I love it!). It’s got more of an Old Testament rhythm and sound I think, which fits in nicely with Isaac, but it’s actually a New Testament name, which is nice for Jude. And Jude and Isaac are two particularly Catholic biblical names, in my opinion, since St. Jude is so revered and St. Isaac Jogues is so amazing, and I’ve often thought Matthias is a really Catholic biblical name because he was chosen by the others to replace Judas—sort of like the first Church Council! 😁 Something like Matthias Ephraim for M.E. initials, or a less heavy middle like Matthias Evan (kind of fits with the Jude’s Patrick) or Matthias Eli, or, if they didn’t mind heavy, Matthias Emmanuel.

(2) Miles
Miles is my second favorite idea for this family in the M.E. idea. I’ve pushed it on a lot of people! One of its characteristics is that it’s used as an Anglicization of the old Irish name Maelmhuire, which literally means “servant of the Virgin Mary.” So great, right? A legit Marian name for a boy! I didn’t think of it though until I saw that it’s a style match for Isaac, Hope, and Julian, which I know isn’t Jude, but some use Jude as a nickname for Julian, so I’m really feeling it for this family! Because it’s so short I love it with Emmanuel; Ephraim and Eli both go quite nicely with it as well!

(3) Malachi or Malachy
Maccabee made me think of Malachi, as I think they can both take Mac as a nickname, which is so great. The spelling Malachy is Irish, and though Stephanie didn’t mention anything about being Irish and their last name is so German, I latched onto Jude’s middle name (Patrick) when looking for further information.

(4) Pierce
Pierce is listed as a style match for Jude and Blaise in the BNW and one of you readers left a comment about someone they know who named their son Pierce for how Our Lady’s heart was pierced by a sword. Amazing! I like that it’s biblical like Jude and Isaac (as it’s a form of Peter), but also fits that sort of distinguished, scholarly feel I get from Jude and Isaac as well.

(5) Fulton
Fisher on Stephanie’s list made me think of Fulton, and I thought I’d suggest it—maybe her husband would like it better than Fisher? It has more of a first-name feel than Fisher, since most people are familiar with Ven. Fulton Sheen; this post on nickname ideas for Fulton might also be helpful. I also see families who use or consider the name Fulton also use or consider Jude and Isaac, so I think it fits well. I really love how Fulton Mark sounds, if they were open to putting Mark in the middle!

(6) Bennett
Finally, I wondered about Bennett for this family. It’s inspired by Benedict, since it’s a form of Benedict, but it’s lighter and some find it a little easier to work with than Benedict. It’s also a style match for Hope, as well as Luke, and I’ve often thought of Jude and Luke as two sides of the same coin (people who like one tend to like the other, though the more adventurous usually land with Jude, while the others tend to go with Luke), so I thought it was a great fit with Stephanie’s boys. I think Bennett Mark sounds quite nice as well!

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What would you suggest for the little brother of Jude and Isaac?

Birth announcement: Simon Augustine!

I posted a consultation for Amanda and her husband back in November, and I’m delighted to share that Amanda’s let me know her little guy has arrived and been given the amazing name … Simon Augustine!

She writes,

You did a consult for us a while ago and we were SO THRILLED with your suggestions.  I wanted to let you know that Mr. Simon Augustine (Gus) joined us this past Tuesday, 1/17.  😊 We were torn on names right up until the month before he was born and then I was struck down with double pneumonia and cracked two ribs from coughing a week before our scheduled c-section.  We prayed and prayed and prayed for God’s will to be done, of course, but with the ‘wink wink nudge nudge’ that it’d be awesome to at least be partially healed before attempting a repeat c-section recovery.  😉  God heard and answered and the hospital allowed my c-section to be pushed back to 41 weeks (which is fairly unheard of after five sections!).  We felt also that we were being lead toward the name ‘Simon’ which is. of course, in honor of the apostle, but also means “God has heard”.  Our older kids had nicknamed him, “Gus” in utero after the chubby mouse in Cinderella and as a convert, my hubby has a special place in his heart for St. Augustine, so the choice was made.  😊

Thank you, thank you for all the time and effort you put into suggesting beautiful names for our little nugget – we LOVED considering them and re-considering them and it was barely a fight at all, which for us is preeeeeeetty amazing.  😝

What a story! What an amazing mama! And what a name!! I LOVE that the full name is Simon Augustine but they’re calling him Gus!

Congratulations to Amanda and her husband and big sibs Faith, Bennett, Maya, Cate, and Jude, and happy birthday Baby Gus!!

Simon Augustine “Gus”

Birth announcement: Laura Rose!

I’ve been a big fan of today’s mama for a long time — back when I first started this blog, I posted a link to JoAnna’s blog, A Star of Hope, where she had written about how she and her husband had chosen their five born babies’ beautiful names. When JoAnna became a reader here, I was so starry eyed!! She’s been a big contributor to our community, and I’m over-the-moon delighted to share with you that she’s given birth to her sixth born baby — a little lady named … Laura Rose!

JoAnna writes,

Laura is named in honor of her aunt and my younger sister, Laura Linnae Walsvik, who was born at 28 weeks gestation on December 3, 1981 and died December 4, 1981. I was only 13 months old when she was born and died, so I don’t remember her, but I have always thought about her (and later, after I became Catholic, I began asking her to pray for me). Before we officially decided to use Laura as our girl name, I did ask both of my parents how they felt about it first, as we were willing to choose a different name if having a granddaughter named Laura would cause too much pain or sorrow for them. But both of them said they would consider it an honor. 

When I brought up Laura as a name possibility to my husband, he liked it immediately — we were both born and raised in North Dakota, and given the famous writer Laura Ingalls Wilder (one of my favorite authors), we felt it was a name that was a subtle tribute to our “prairie” roots. 

I also liked it because it means “laurel,” which is a symbol of victory, and our Laura is a rainbow baby after two consecutive miscarriages at 12 weeks. Our other girls have flower names as well (Elanor – which is a flower in the Tolkien universe – and Violet) and we didn’t mind continuing the theme.

As icing on the cake, I realized that January 22 was the feast day of Blessed Laura Vicuña. Our baby was due January 23 and ended up coming on January 21!

Rose is a name that I have always loved, and for a long time I wanted to use it as a first name, but my husband preferred it in the middle name slot. My best friend and former college roommate is named Roselyn and goes by Rose, and I wanted to honor her as she has been a good friend to our family. I also liked the nod to St. Rose of Lima. Plus it’s another Laura Ingalls Wilder connection (her only daughter was named Rose).”

Isn’t this great?! I’m so in awe of the layers of meaning in this baby girl’s name, so wonderful!!

Little Laura joins big sibs:

Elanor Mary
Noel (m/c Dec. 2006)
William Joseph
Chris (m/c March 2009)
Violet Elizabeth
Gabriel Keith
Peter David
Francis (m/c June 2015)
Jude (m/c Oct 2015)

Such a beautifully named family!! Congratulations to JoAnna and her husband and their older kiddos, and happy birthday Baby Laura!!

laura_wahlund

Laura Rose

(See more on JoAnna’s Instagram and Facebook!)

Celebrity guest: Quad mom Justina

I don’t remember how I came across Justina, but I think it was on Twitter … I swooned over “Setting the world on fire, Catherine of Siena style” in her Twitter bio as well as her marriage/NFP/pro-life posts, so I already knew she was my kinda girl, and then when I was clicking around as you do when you “meet” someone new online, I checked out her and her husband Matt’s wedding photos and honeymoon photos, which are like from a magazine (both the photos and the subjects — stunning couple!), and then I discovered she was expecting quadruplets (!!!!). Well. I was immediately smitten with this beautiful mama, and followed her on Instagram to keep up with her journey, and when she had the babies I just died over how precious they are.

And their names! So amazing! Of course I had to ask her if she would mind sharing their story, and she graciously agreed, and I’m so delighted to share it with all of you today! So without further ado … ((drumroll)) … read all about the Kopp Quad Squad!

💖👣💖👣💖👣💖👣

Kopp-45.jpg

Kate: Quadruplets are a big deal! Would you mind sharing your reaction to finding out you were expecting four babies? Especially after previously losing a baby? Is there anything else about your story you’d like to share?

Justina: Quads ARE a big deal! After losing our first baby, Francis Jude, to an early miscarriage just seven weeks into our marriage, we went through a season of unexplained secondary infertility, most likely due to PCOS. After a few months of working with my doctor, we found ourselves very pregnant! The chances of this were less than 0.3%. I’ve heard estimates as low as 1 in 700,000! At that first ultrasound at 6 weeks, Matt and I were nervous about an ectopic pregnancy because I had been feeling sharp, specific pain. At the beginning of the ultrasound, I thought I saw four gestational sacs, but I didn’t want to say anything and assumed I was wrong. When we saw the first baby’s heartbeat, we both cried with joy because we had never seen that before with our Francis. Then the sonographer chuckled and labeled that baby, Baby A. Next came Baby B. We got so excited about twins! Then, the sonographer found Baby C, and we laughed and made jokes about how I would grow a third arm during the pregnancy to accommodate triplets. The sonographer took a look at the fourth gestational sac, and it was empty. Strangely, we felt peace and I thought about how that little saint would join Francis in heaven. Our doctor stepped in to take a peak, and I noted that we hadn’t gotten a photo of Baby C, and as she went back for that, Baby D appeared in the fourth sac! QUADS! We just LAUGHED! There is nothing else to do by laugh in that situation! Don’t worry, though; two days later, everything hit us and we panicked a bit.

Kate: Did you know the genders ahead of time, or were you surprised (and therefore have to pick eight names)?

Justina: We found out the genders at 16 weeks. We had enough surprises for that pregnancy, so we chose to find out. I refused to brainstorm names for all the possible gender combinations, so we really didn’t talk about names until we knew what we were having.

Kate: I’d love to hear your thoughts on the particular challenges of picking names for four babies!

Justina: Four names was hard, but not as hard as it would have been for us if we were having more girls! I could name boys for days, no problem. That girl name, though… that was the challenge. For the past five years or so, I’ve kept a running list of boy names and girl names that I liked. When it came to naming our daughter, I looked at that list and hated every name I saw! For a while, I wasn’t sure we’d be able to find one we liked!

Kate: Could you list your babies’ names, and tell us how you and your hubby choose them? Were there particular saints you wanted to honor, for example? Are there layers of meaning to each name other than the obvious? (E.g., family names, that kind of thing.) Any other place you looked to for inspiration? (If you named your baby in heaven, I’d love to hear about him or her as well, but I understand if you’d prefer to keep it private.)

Justina:

Cora Immaculée – We knew we wanted our little girl to have a Marian name, but we didn’t want Mary, Marie, Maria, etc. This little lady had a bright spot on her heart in her early ultrasounds, so that brought name Cora, which means “heart” or “maiden.” Immaculée is a nod to Our Lady. Together, her name means “Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Raphael Gerard – St. Raphael is actually both Matt’s and my confirmation saint! Matt picked him because he’s the patron saint of travelers, and I picked him because he’s the patron saint of physicians (I had my eye on a career in medicine) and because my parents named my miscarried siblings Raphael. The real kicker is that St. Raphael is the patron saint of singles and happy meetings. So, here we are. Happily met with a lot of babies. The name means “God has healed,” a fitting name for a pregnancy after a miscarriage. Gerard was a last minute switch from Blaise. The babies were born on the feast of St. Gerard, the patron saint of expectant mothers. We call him Raph (rhymes with calf).

Theodore Ambrose – Theodore is the name of Matt’s late maternal grandfather, and both Theodore and Ambrose are family names on my side. Theodore means “God’s gift,” which is kind of funny because Matt’s name also means “gift of God.” Sts. Theodore and Ambrose are saints that we both admire, too. St. Theodore was a martyr and one of the “soldier saints.” St. Ambrose played a huge part in St. Augustine’s conversion, served the poor, and stood up against heresies of his time. These two saints together represented the unique calling we have as Catholics in this age, to defend our faith bravely and pray for conversion of hearts. We call this little guy Theo.

Benedict Peter – We both came up with this name on our own and brought it to each other one night. When we studied in Rome, we both got to read at papal Masses with Pope Benedict XVI, and I think I *might* be B16’s biggest fan. St. Benedict is also a saint we admire, and we love that the name means “blessed.” Peter was also my dad’s name. He passed away 9.5 years ago, and I wanted to honor him without taking away an opportunity for my younger siblings to use the name as a first name when then have children of their own someday. St. Peter is also the saint that just gets me, as we are both Sanguine/Choleric. We call our sweet boy Ben.

Francis Jude – Our little saint is named after St. Francis and St. Jude. St. Francis is a saint that I grew close to during my semester in Rome, and on our honeymoon we spent a few days in Assisi. We felt such joy and peace during our time there, and it stands out for both of us as such a special time in those early days of our marriage. St. Jude was picked because he is the patron saint of impossible causes, and gosh, did things feel impossible after losing our first baby. Both of these saints are October saints, which is when we lost our sweet babe. Francis can also be Frances, as we do not know the gender of our saint.

Ultimately, we wanted our children to have strong, traditional, and timeless names. We love what we picked for our kiddos. They are all fraternal, so we wanted them to have names that could stand alone if they were not quadruplets, too.

Aren’t these names ah-MAZ-ing??!! And every single detail of the naming is so perfect!!

Be sure also to check out Justina’s blog, Love Multiplied, whose first post (which she purposely put up this past Sunday on the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade 💕) tells more about finding out they were expecting quadruplets, and their meeting with the perinatologist. Such a great witness!

Thank you thank you to Justina for sharing her family’s wonderful story with us!! Check out how big and happy these beautiful babies are!!

Cora Immaculée, Raphael Gerard, Theodore Ambrose, Benedict Peter

(Cora, Raph, Theo, and Ben)

💖👣💖👣💖👣💖👣

Special offer for Sancta Nomina readers!

Our reader Natalie has a beautiful Etsy shop called At the Post Paperie & Gifts — you may remember her from a year ago when she offered some beautiful nursery prints for little girls featuring quotes from St. Catherine of Siena, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Mother Teresa because she said she’d “found much comfort & grace in blogs like yours as I’ve grown in my faith, so I wanted to give a little something in return.” Since then, she’s had a baby boy! She gave him the amazing name J0hn W3thington (a family name), and they call him Wh!t (because those letters appear in that exact order in W3thington)! 😍😍😍 Love love love!

Natalie has another wonderful offer for all of you today! She writes,

I painted some new prints with JPII and Saint Gianna Molla quotes & I thought your readers would love & I would like to offer them 50% off with the coupon code SANCTANOMINA 🙂 That would make these two downloadable prints only $2.50 🙂 Mostly, I love the thought that these favorite quotes would grace some more walls! I’ve attached a photo of them displayed.”

Check out these beautiful prints!

jp-gianna-quotes

I hope you all take advantage of Natalie’s generosity (I’m on my way there right now ☺). And I’m sure you’ll all love to follow her on Instagram (not least because she’s got great pics of her little guy’s a-DOR-able face!) and check out her blog too. Thanks to Natalie for this lovely gift!! 💕💕💕

Baby name consultation: A first name, C middle name for baby girl No. 5

Josh and Mari are expecting their seventh baby, and fifth girl! You might remember this beautiful family from a birth announcement I posted for them last year; to recap, this little lady joins big sibs:

Ariana Camille
Audrey Caroline
Caleb Daniel (Daniel is Josh’s middle name)
Amelia Clare (“Millie”)
Anne-Catherine Gianna (“Gianna” or “Gigi”)
Charles Michael (“Charlie”)

Such beautiful names, all! As you can see, there’s a clear A.C. theme for the girls, which Josh confirmed that they do, indeed, want to continue with, and that the only names they’ve really thought about so far include:

Annaliese
Angeline (Mari’s middle name)
Cecilia
Charity

I love working with themes! And I love the names they’re considering! Anneliese is a favorite of mine; Angeline is so wonderful because of it being Mari’s middle name; and Cecilia and Charity are two beautiful, faith-filled names (as are Anneliese and Angeline, of course). I would hesitate over using Anneliese though, since it’s an Ann- name and they’ve already got Anne-Catherine (and Ariana and Gianna). I really think my favorite idea for them is Angeline—they want an A name, and they’ve already used Josh’s middle name, so using Mari’s A middle name seems perfect. Angeline Cecilia has a beautiful flow, and a really heavenly feel to it. Angie, Lina, Cece, Celia, and Lia could all be nicknames.

That said, of course I have more ideas! 😁 I went through the Baby Name Wizard first, looking up each of the names Josh and Mari have used and those they like/are considering, looking for any A and C names that are similar in style/feel/popularity to their other kiddos’ names, and then I also perused the list of saints’ names in the back of the book for inspiration (it’s a bit more offbeat than the usual lists of saints’ names, which I thought would be helpful here, since so many A+C names have already been used), and of course picked through my own mental files. Based on all that, here are my A ideas:

(1) Avila
This is one of the first I thought of for this family. It can be for St. Teresa of Avila or St. John of Avila, and can take the sweet nickname Avvie, or even Ava.

(2) Ava
Ava is actually a really good fit for them style-wise, and I know of families who have used it coupled with Maria, as a nod to Mary via the Ave Maria (Hail Mary). I could see Josh and Mari doing something like Ava-Maria C___, but even just Ava could be a nod to Our Lady, as it’s a variant of Eve and Mary is considered the New Eve.

(3) Alice, Alicia, Adelaide, Aleydis
All these names are variants of the same name, which is why I’ve grouped them together. Alice is such a sweet, vintage-y name that is popping up all over; Alicia is so similar in spelling but with a more modern feel; Adelaide has such a beautiful sound and the fun nickname options Addy, Ada, and Laidy; and Aleydis is such an unusual variant (I’ve also seen it spelled Aleidis). You can read about saints with these names here.

(4) Adeline, Adele, Adelia
These, too, are variants of the same name, though different from the grouping above (even though Adelaide and Adeline look similar they are unrelated as far as I know). Like Adelaide, Adeline is beautiful and nickname-rich—Addy, Ada, Della, and Lina. Adele is fairly associated with the singer, but not overly so I don’t think. My cousin recently named her baby Adelia, which I’d never heard of before, but turns out is a variant of Adele, and it opens up the possibility of Delia as a nickname. This St. Adele was German, which is a nice since Josh and Mari have some German in their ancestry.

(5) Aurora
I’ve been loving the name Aurora ever since I found out how Marian it can be. Aurie and Rory are both sweet nicknames for it.

(6) Abigail
I originally liked Abigail for this baby because it ties into the biblical-ness of Caleb’s name, but then I found a St. Abigail (her Irish name is Gobnait, which is usually anglicized as Abigail). Abby’s a great nickname!

(7) Amata, Amanda, Amy/Aimee
These names are all related as well—they all mean “beloved,” and can all take Amy as a nickname. Since their Amelia goes by Millie, I think Amy would be okay as a nickname; Amanda could also be Mandy (which is funny because I know a Mary Angeline who goes by Mandy!). Some saints by these names are here and here.

(8) Agnes
Like Alice, Agnes is an old name that’s coming back into fashion. I love the nickname Aggie, and St. Agnes is one of the best.

(9) Antonia
Though this is a feminine form of Anthony (and can take St. Anthony as a patron), there are a bunch of Sts. Antonia. Toni, Tia, and Nia are all doable nicknames (I would stay away from Annie because of the other Ann- names they have).

(10) Augusta
My last A idea is Augusta. I knew an Augusta when I was little—she went by Gussie, and I thought it was the coolest name. The great St. Augustine can be patron, or this St. Augusta.

Now, onto the C names!

(1) Charis (or Carys)
I love love the name Charis! Josh and Mari’s idea of Charity actually gave me the idea, because they’re so similar in spelling, though their meanings are different. Charity stems from the Latin for love, while Charis means grace/favor/gratitude, which is the actual meaning of the “charis” part of Eucharist. I’ve heard of families choosing Charis for their daughters because of the connection to the Eucharist, beautiful! A name that sounds exactly the same but is closer to the meaning of Charity is the Welsh name Carys, which means “love.” Either Charis or Carys could be a really pretty and meaningful middle name.

(2) Cara, Carine/Carina, Caritas
Speaking of names that mean “love,” Cara comes from the same root as Charity and in Italian literally translates as “beloved.” Carine/Carina are elaborations of Cara and might provide the right rhythm for a middle name. If they wanted to be more obviously Catholicky Catholic, Caritas itself (the Latin word Charity comes from) would be a pretty and unusual middle name.

(3) Cora, Corinne
Similar in appearance and sound to Cara and Carine, but different in meaning, Cora and Corinne are technically related to the Greek for “maiden,” which could point back to Our Lady, but a closer connection would be the Latin word “cor,” which means “heart,” and I know of several families that have chosen Cora for their daughters because of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It could also be chosen for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Either way, how beautiful and meaningful! (I should point out that though Corinne can be said the same as Carine, I’ve mostly heard it said kor-INN).

(4) Clementine
Josh and Mari had actually had Clement on their list for when they were expecting Charlie, and Mari wasn’t a huge fan, but I wonder if the feminine and fabulous Clementine would make a difference? It means “merciful” and I was pushing it on a lot of families during the Year of Mercy, haha! But a mercy name is always a good idea, even though the Year of Mercy’s over.

(5) Colette
I only recently learned about St. Colette, and I’ve been loving her! She’s a patron saint of women hoping to conceive, pregnant women, and sick children.

(6) Carmel, Carmela/Carmella, Carmen
These names all point to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and could be really beautiful tributes to Mother Mary, especially if Josh and Mari have a Carmelite sensibility.

(7) Casey
This might be too unisex for their taste (and they might even like to save it for a future boy!), but Casey can also be used for girls, and I’m thinking specifically of Ven. Solanus Casey, to whom my family has a special devotion.

(8) Chloe
Like Abigail, I was interested in Chloe for this baby because it’s a biblical name like Caleb, Daniel, Michael, and Anne. It’s got an unusual spelling and rhythm and could be really perfect as a middle name to the right first name.

(9) Christina, Christine, Christiane
Of course the Christ- names are always a beautiful, meaningful choice for a Catholic baby. If they liked this idea, I’d probably choose the one that went the best with the chosen first name, since each of them has a different rhythm and would pair best with different first names.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What A+C ideas can you come up with for this family?

Spotlight on: Jacob

The consultation and birth announcement I posted recently have me thinking that a spotlight on Jacob would be a good idea.

Jacob! Who doesn’t love Jacob! It’s been America’s darling for years now — it’s currently at #4 but it was #1 from 1999-2012. Thirteen years at #1! Top ten for nearly 25 years! The lowest it ever got was #318 in 1950; it was in the top 100 for a good portion of the first decade of the 20th century and jumped in again in 1974 and never looked back.

jacob
Screen shot from the Social Security Administration web site

Jacob has so many things going for it — it’s Old Testament, for one thing, and a big Old Testament name at that: the Patriarch Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham; his name was changed to Israel after wrestling with God in the Book Genesis, and a whole nation took its name from him. Pope Benedict discussed the name change in one of his public addresses, including the significance of names in general, awesome stuff. (As a side note, Jill Duggar named her baby Israel.) It’s also got the amazing nickname Jake, one of my forever favorites. It’s also — hold onto your hat! — the same name as James:

james

I mentioned that on Instagram the other day, and one of you commented:

According to ancestry.com, one of my mom’s uncle’s middle name switched between Jacob and James on different documents.”

How cool is that?! Name knowledge is helpful in so many areas! So if you’re looking to honor a James — saint, family member, friend — and for whatever reason can’t/don’t want to use James, Jacob is a perfect alternative. At the same time, Jake has history of use as a nickname for James, so that’s an option too.

Even though the Church recognizes the holy ones of the Old Testament as saints (CCC no. 61: “The patriarchs, prophets and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honored as saints in all the Church’s liturgical traditions“) (I wish I had come across that when I was researching this post!), including Jacob the Patriarch, I suspect that Jacob doesn’t come across to most people as saintly and/or as Catholicky Catholic as some other names. Any of the Sts. James can work as patron, but little Jacob Miles’ birth announcement really inspired me to find some holy Jacobs. CatholicSaints.info lists several (here, here, here), and Bl. Jakob Gapp was the one I chose for the IG post for the birth announcement. I’ve been thinking about him ever since — I’d never heard of him before, but what an amazing and holy man he was! He fought in WWI, then became a Marianist priest and teacher. The Marianists have a beautiful profile on him, and this part really got me:

Required by his superior to wear a Swastika badge and greet people in public with a “Heil Hitler,” he conscientiously refused. He felt it his duty to continue in the schoolroom and in his sermons to denounce Nazism as anti-Christian. When a fellow teacher was reported as telling the children they should “hate and kill Czechs and Jews,” he considered himself
duty-bound to refute him in his own class.”

He was eventually arrested, interrogated, and beheaded by the Nazis:

One of his interrogators (who is still alive) says that Heinrich Himmler, head of the Gestapo, insisted on reading transcripts of all that the Marianist priest said. Himmler eventually observed to one of the judges, that if the million Nazi party members were as committed to Nazism as Father Gapp was to Catholicism, Germany would be winning the war without difficulty.”

If that isn’t an amazing, holy Jacob, I don’t know who is!

Besides James, other variants of Jacob include Giacomo, Yakub, Iago, Jaime, Jamie, Seamus, and Jacques, and there’s also the feminine Jacqueline, Jacoba, Jamesina, and Jamie. Nicknames include Jake and the super cute Coby, Cubby, and Jeb; A Dictionary of English Surnames by Reaney & Wilson also says that the English surname Cobbet(t), dating back to 1275, is from:

Cob-et, Cob-ot, diminutives of Cob, a pet-form of Jacob.”

Such a cute, unusual nickname idea!

There is so much fun info regarding Jacob, a truly great name! What else do you all know about Jacob? Would you name a son Jacob, or have you? Does he go by a nickname, and if so, which one?

 

Papa Benny on the significance of names

I was doing some research for a spotlight on Jacob, which I’ll post later this morning, and came across this bit from our dear Pope Emeritus Benedict, regarding the incident in the bible when Jacob fights the unknown assailant (Genesis 32:23-33):

His rival, who seems to be held back and therefore defeated by Jacob, rather than giving in to the Patriarch’s request, asks him his name: “What is your name?”. And the Patriarch replies: “Jacob” (v. 28). Here the struggle takes an important turn. In fact, knowing someone’s name implies a kind of power over that person because in the biblical mentality the name contains the most profound reality of the individual, it reveals the person’s secret and destiny. Knowing one’s name therefore means knowing the truth about the other person and this allows one to dominate him. When, therefore, in answer to the unknown person’s request Jacob discloses his own name, he is placing himself in the hands of his opponent; it is a form of surrender, a total handing over of self to the other.”

It’s commentary like this that reinforces for me that our interest in names isn’t frivolous at all — names are so important!

Baby name consultation: Twin baby miracle girls!

I have such a fun consultation to share with you all today! Kristin and her husband are expecting twin girls!

Kristin writes,

After 9 years of marriage, infertility, and countless prayers & tears, my husband and I are finally expecting! Not just expecting, it’s twin girls! They will be here shortly after our 10th anniversary March. God is so good!!!!

You guys! What a story! 😍😍😍

Throughout our infertility and this pregnancy, we pray to St. Gerard Majella, St. Elizabeth, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I was convinced I was having a boy, so we thought to name him Elliott Gerard. Now that it’s two girls, we just don’t know what to do.

We don’t want our twins to have matching names, but rather names that go together well. We’d prefer not to have the same initials or rhyming. We both like more traditional names that are less common. Old fashioned names are great.

Our last name is Pelletier (Pell-let-ee-ay) and my husband is half French, half Italian. His first name is Olivier (Olive-ee-ay) so from growing up with his name he has two criteria: shorter names & nothing that rhymes.

We’d like to pull in his heritage with international names, but don’t want anything that is too difficult for American speakers. We considered Amelie, but after mentioning it to a number of people there were a lot of mispronunciations, usually Amelia. It’s somewhat on the table, but simple is best.

Names that work well in both English & French are nice to have, but not a hard requirement. From that we really like the name Alice. I like Alice Elizabeth, but her monogram would be APE so that’s out 🙂

On the Catholic side, we’d love to have a saint for each girl either in her first or middle name. We have lots of saints that have been a part of our prayers, but aren’t sure how to incorporate them [the above named St. Gerard Majella, St. Elizabeth, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, as well as] St. Andrew and St. Faustina.

We currently love St. Catherine of Sienna and St. Clare of Assisi as such strong women that fiercely followed their faith. We also like St. Francis (although it’s not my favorite name) and St. Clare, representing the strong bond that they shared. St. Cecelia has also been popping up in discussions – she is my grandmother’s namesake … We’re open to nicknames/shortened versions of saints if you know of any!

As for names and combos they’re considering:

We’ve been tossing around Alice Frances and Eloise Claire, but they don’t feel ‘perfect’.

Other names we like are Rose, Mae, Nora(h), Claire, Camille, Amelie, Violet, and Felicity.”

There are so many things about all this that I love! Two girls to name! French and Italian names! Saints’ names! Less common+traditional, old fashioned, short versions of saints’ names or nicknames! A great list of ideas!

Alright, so for my own mental organization I first condensed all Kristin and Olivier’s thoughts/criteria thusly:

  • Shorter, simple names (but with meaning) and no rhyming, different initials (and none that spell something like APE), no matching (but want names that go together), old fashioned is great
  • Elliott Gerard was their boy pick (so awesome)
  • French and/or Italian names would be nice (hubs’ heritage), but nothing too difficult (e.g., Amelie)
  • Names that work in both English and French would be nice
  • Current list includes Alice Frances and Eloise Claire as well as Rose, Mae, Nora(h), Claire, Camille, Amelie, Violet, Felicity
  • Saint for either first or middle (St. Andrew, St. Gerard Majella, St. Elizabeth, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Faustina, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Clare of Assisi [and her friendship with St. Francis], St. Cecilia)
  • Open to nicknames/variants of saints’ names

Alright! I also just have to start by saying that I love Amelie! I know not everyone gets it, but I’ve long loved it, and we know a family at church with an Amelie—I love hearing it! I also think that if they end up going with Alice Frances and Eloise Claire—or any of the names on their list, really—I wouldn’t be at all disappointed and I can’t imagine Kristin and her hubs would be either. Such a great list!

You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. It was really fun to do so for these babies, since Kristin and her hubs’taste is really consistent! I also combed my own mental files for ideas, and based on all that, I came up with these:

(1) Elise
This is the first of several ideas I have regarding variants of saints’ names. Elise is so similar to Alice, but it’s a French short form of Elizabeth, so it gets the St. Elizabeth connection in there, as well as being a short, French name that I think is pretty easy to work with/pronounce. Elise Frances would be a lovely alternative to Alice Frances.

(2) Cate
Like Elise instead of Elizabeth, Cate instead of Catherine could be the answer to naming a baby after St. Catherine of Siena without using the long Catherine.

(2) Louise
I had thought that Eloise was a variant of Louise, but I looked it up and it seems that’s not correct (though Louise is sometimes thought to be related). But I love Louise on its own because it’s (1) French, and (2) a variant of Louis, which could be a nice nod to any of the Sts. Louis, but I was specifically thinking of St. Louis Martin because he’s French! Haha! There are certainly other Sts. Louis, and Bl. Louise de Marillac is a great option as well.

(3) Lucy or Lucie
How sweet is Lucy?! It’s a style match for Alice and Nora, and I posted a birth announcement not too long ago for a little one named Lucie—that spelling, because it’s the French spelling.

(4) Rosalie
This was another name inspired by one of the names on their list (Rose). I think it’s my current favorite Rose name, but for I love it for this family because it’s the French form of Rosalia! It’s a bit longer than Rose, maybe a bit too long for their taste, but it’s so pretty I had to include it.

(5) Sophie
I think Sophie hits so many of their requirements: short, simple, old fashioned, great meaning (wisdom), and Sophie’s the French form of Sophia. There’s also the French saint, Madeleine Sophie Barat, who was known as Sophie (St. Sophie’s Day in France is in her honor) and—so fun!—the Sophie the Giraffe teether was named after that same saint!  Sophie can also be considered Marian since one of Our Lady’s titles is “Seat of Wisdom.”

(6) Grace
Along the same lines as Sophie (short, simple, old fashioned, great meaning) is Grace, which is a style match for Alice, Rose, and Claire. Also, like Sophie, Grace can be a Marian name, after Our Lady of Grace.

(7) Annabel(le)
Speaking of Marian names, I know Annabelle is long, but it was such a great match for them per the BNW and one of my very favorites that I had to suggest it! I’ve recently become aware of the fact that Annabel is considered to be a variant of Amabel, which arose in Scotland in the Middle Ages. Amabel is a variant of Amabilis, which means “lovable” and is part of the Marian title Mater Amabilis (“Mother Most Amiable,” where amiable=lovable). What a beautiful and unexpected Marian name! For this family, I thought the Annabelle spelling was best, since it makes it more French.

(8) Juliet(te)
Speaking of great matches for them—Juliet is a grand slam! It’s a style match for Elliott, Claire, Camille, and Felicity (as well as Annabelle, which is how I was able to determine that Annabelle would be great for them). Can you believe it?! I love the name Juliet, and spotlighted it recently to pull out the faith connections. The Juliet spelling can fit into their “short, simple” requirement I think, but the Juliette spelling is more French.

(9) Maylis
This is also based on a name from Kristin’s list: Mae. Maylis is a French name with a pretty straightforward spelling and pronunciation; it’s the name of a town in southern France that behindthename says is possibly derived from “mother” + “lys” (French for lily) and is also sometimes considered a contraction of Marie + lys, both of which point to Our Lady, so beautiful!

(10) Ruby, Pearl
Ruby’s a style match for Rose, Violet, and Alice; Pearl’s a match for Rose and Mae. They’re both short, simple, and old fashioned, and they can both have great faith connections—I spotlighted Ruby here and Pearl here with a follow up here. I like them each on their own, and I *might* even like them as names for twin sisters, but that’s probably too matchy for Kristin and her hubs. No worries—I have a few ideas of how to pair up some of the names I suggested (below)!

So I had a lot of fun trying to come up with name pairs that I thought were great names for twin sisters that fit the criteria and tie in the saints Kristin and her hubs love! I was toying around with middle names, but they were really my secondary concern—I just wanted to give an idea of how I could see the first names pairing up with middle names that include all the criteria.

Elise Majella/Maiella and Rosalie Chiara—I focused a lot on coming up with French names in my suggestions above, since Kristin said they’d really like names that work in both English and French, but I didn’t forget that her husband is also Italian. It could be really fun to do Italian middle names that nod to their saints … Majella is for St. Gerard of course, or they could do Maiella, which was St. Gerard’s actual last name (given that he was Italian; Majella is the Anglicization of it). Chiara is for St. Clare of Assisi—since she too was Italian, her actual name was Chiara (Clare is an Anglicization of it). I love Elise and Rosalie together—they’re both elegant and French; they both point to important saints for this family (St. Elizabeth, and the Rose names always point to Our Lady in my mind); and they could even take the sweet nicknames Ellie and Rose/Rosie. I like the shorter Elise paired with the longer Majella/Maiella and the longer Rosalie paired with the shorter Chiara.

Sophie Majella/Maiella and Grace Perpetua—I like Sophie and Grace together a lot, since they’re both virtue names and can both refer to Our Lady. Majella/Maiella for St. Gerard, and Perpetua can be specifically for Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Clara/Clare and Lucy; Claire and Lucie … Claire Majella and Lucie Frances—I think the Clare names pair well with Lucy. I like the French-ness of the spellings Claire and Lucie, but the other spellings are great too. I also like the idea of Claire’s twin having Frances as a middle name (or even Francesca? To get some Italian in there?).

Elise Majella and Louise Perpetua—this is closest to their Alice and Eloise idea, just sort of with a twist. I might normally think that they’re a little too matchy because of having the same ending spelling-wise, but since they’re said differently (at least the way I say them: eh-LEES and loo-EEZ) I think they’re okay. I’m a big nicknamer and could see Elise and Louise going by Ellie and Lucy, cute!

Cate Cecilia and Lucy Faustina … or Cate Amelie and Lucy Faustine—I know that Catherine is too long for the, but they could totally bestow Cate as a full name (I chose the C spelling to specifically refer to St. Catherine of Siena; they could be even more specific with the first+middle combo Cate Siena … Lucy Majella could be a nice match for that), and I love Cate and Lucy as sisters. So sweet! In my second set there, I changed Faustina to Faustine to match the French Amelie.

Juliet and Annabel; Juliette and Annabelle … maybe Juliet(te) Frances and Annabel(le) Claire?—I know they’re too long, but I just love seeing them written out. 🙂

Lucy and Nora

Nora and Cate

Cate and Rose

Camille and Juliette

Amelie and Maylis

Felicity and Rosalie

Violet and Juliet (too matchy?)

Catherine and Elisabeth (I couldn’t resist! Catherine is the French spelling of the name, and Elisabeth is a French spelling … I know they’re too long for them, but I love seeing them together! Nicknames could be Cate and Ellie … Cate and Lily [Lily is a nickname for Elisabeth/Elizabeth] … Cat and Bess … so many options!)

Another thought that might be helpful in trying to work in as many of their special saints as possible is that St. Gerard was a Redemptorist, and the Redemptorists were instructed by Pope Pius IX to “make [Our Lady of Perpetual Help] known” (the Redemptorists actually just celebrated their 150th anniversary of being given that task) … so I could see a name connected to St. Gerard also sort of being a nod to OL of Perpetual Help and vice versa.

Other ideas that might be helpful for middle names (or even first names) are: Franca and Francesca are both Italian forms of Frances; Cecile, Cecily, and Cicely are all variants of Cecilia; Siena and Assisi could both make interesting middle names that nod specifically to saints that are special to Kristin and her hubs.

Whew! Those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for these sweet little baby girls?

New post up at Catholic Mom!

My January column at Catholic Mom posted today! Japanese Catholic Naming Customs.

catholicmom_screen_shot-01-18-17

You’ve probably already guessed that it’s a slightly enhanced version of this recent post (I included one of your comments from that post in this article — your feedback is always so helpful!).

All three images associated with the article (the feature image above and the two within the article) are various representations of the 26 Martyrs of Japan. The feature imag0e above is actually of the Memorial to the Martyrdom of the 26 Saints of Japan in Nagasaki. So moving!

As always, I’d love to know what more any of you might know about this topic!