Celebrity guest: Katie, mom who did the John Paul + middle thing really well

I met Katie, one of you wonderful readers, at the Syracuse Catholic Women’s Conference in October, and I got to meet her littlest guy, snoozing away in his wrap (soooo cute. I.love.babies!), who has one of my very favorite names for one of my very favorite saints: John Paul!

So of course we started chatting about names, and she was telling me that her husband hadn’t wanted John Paul to have a middle name, because he thought that three names was too much, and my interest was immediately piqued, because I know this very issue has been struggled with regarding this very name by some of you (and myself as well!).

So I was literally waiting with bated breath to hear how they resolved it (not even joking, I’m a little breathless about names 😂) when we got interrupted (this sweet old lady came over to tell Katie how much she reminded her of the Madonna and Child, which she totally did) and I never heard the rest of the story.

So yes, I emailed Katie! And we had a nice virtual chat and she said it would be okay for me to post about her John Paul’s name, as well as her seven other kiddos’ names! I’m so excited to introduce this beautiful family to you today and share their names with you!

To start, here’s the end to the John Paul + middle name story:

Yes, he said three names were too many so we were at an impasse. I ended up having a c-section bc baby turned to breech in labor. After [my husband] saw the c-section, I was wheeled back into my room. He said “I’ll name this baby anything you want!” So we went with John Paul on the birth certificate but John Paul Anthony is his name on his baptism certificate, birth announcement, etc. Turns out the husband was just worried about the blanks on the birth certificate form.”

Isn’t that a fantastic solution?! I could see a lot of people being really relieved to let go of the idea that the child’s name can only be what’s on the birth certificate. Like, the legal name is the legal name, but the legal name doesn’t have to be *the name*, you know? I kind of love the idea of a baby’s *real name* only being official with the Church and friends/family/real life. And doing so opens up so many options!

Of course I wanted to know what little John Paul Anthony’s big sibs were named, and I really love each one of them and the reasons behind them:

Daniel Thomas (“named for family friend & my step-dad“)

James Michael (“we liked James & Michael is for my husband“)

Joseph William (“we just liked those names“)

Benjamin Jon (“liked the name Benjamin, Jon is the husband’s middle name“)

Samuel Luke (“I liked the names & the Bible theme…kids liked Sam Gribley from My Side of the Mountain and Luke Skywalker from Star Wars“)

Robert Jacob (“Robert because the husband REALLY liked the name and I was so pregnant with twins that I had no energy to argue. Jacob is for my great grandfather“)

Mary Lucille (“Mary for my grandmother, Lucille because we were going to call her Lucy. But when she was born, I was asking for Mary’s intercession in labor & as I was hemorrhaging after. So when I held our little girl, I felt like a heel not calling her Mary. 😁 “)

John Paul Anthony (“love JP2, all the dads and grandpas are named John. Anthony is because with all these boys, I have a devotion to St. Anthony. Without him we would never go anyplace bc we would never have keys or socks“)

My naming style is less traditional…if it were up to me, we’d have Gavin, Ignatius, Leo, Henry, etc. the husband likes the 80s names…So I consider our name choices a good compromise.”

I LOVED reading all of this! All those boys! And that one sweet little lady! I died over Katie’s comment that Mary Lucille was supposed to be Lucy but after Our Lady’s intercession in labor “I felt like a heel not calling her Mary”!! 😂😂😂


Thank you so much to Katie for sharing all this fun and fabulous info with us! Check out her beautiful children (all photos taken by Mary Wiseman):

View More: http://weekly.pass.us/katie-1

Age order: Daniel, James, Joseph, Benjamin, Samuel, Robert, Mary, and John Paul

Some really cute ones of her younger kiddos:

Clockwise from top left: John Paul, Samuel, Joseph, Mary and Bobby, Dad and Bobby, Mary



15 thoughts on “Celebrity guest: Katie, mom who did the John Paul + middle thing really well

  1. Wow! I really love every name that they used!

    Also, so interesting that they have Jon as a middle and John Paul as a first! It reminds me of the sibset in the birth announcement you posted the other day where Clare was a middle for one daughter and Claire was a first name for a different daughter!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! It also reminds me of a family I know where two of the three girls have Catherine for a middle name — one of the Catherines is to honor Grandma Catherine, the other is to honor St. Catherine of Siena — so it’s almost as though they’re two different names.


  2. Such great names! We went with one middle on the birth certificate and two middles on the baptismal certificate for our daughter, Beatrice Lucia Marie (https://sanctanomina.net/2016/05/14/birth-announcement-beatrice-lucia-marie/). I’ve felt a little silly about it at times, so I’m really glad to hear that someone else is doing it too! Now I’m actually kind of loving the idea of continuing the tradition with future kiddos. Who doesn’t need an extra saint or two in their corner? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In older generations around here most everyone had an extra saint name. My grandpa is named James Joseph Thomas, but always used James as his first and Joseph as his middle name. His 7 brothers and sisters also had one first name and two middle names. On my husbands’ side, his grandmother’s family all had three names as well. For instance, his great-uncle Bill, who lived with my husband’s family, was actually named Francis William Paul. Uncle Bill’s sister’s name was actually Josepha Ann Kathryn, but she never really liked Josepha, so all the years I knew her, she was Ann.

    My dad used to comment that in all of the huge German Catholic families in our genealogy, the parents only ever used about 8 girl names and 6 boy names for every one of their 8-16 kids, just rearranging which name was first, second, and third. Seriously, I’m only half-way joking here–all names from the Old Country (Catherine, Elizabeth, Ann, Mary, Bernadina, Theresa, Gertrude; Herman, Gerhard, Joseph, James, Francis, Bernard). He thought that was probably the reason most children were given 3 names–to distinguish them from the other brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. who had the same first, last, and sometimes middle name as the newest baby in the family.

    Liked by 1 person

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