Baby name consultation: Bold Catholic names okay for Baby no. 2!

Rachel and her husband are expecting their second baby — a little green bean! (=gender unknown) 🌱 He or she joins big brother:

Albert Francis (Albie)

How cuuute is Albie??!! 😍

Rachel writes,

We always knew we wanted to have an Albert, as he is my husbands favorite saint, I am a nurse and my husband is a Physician Assistant so we spent most of undergrad and grad school praying that he would help us with tests as he is the Patron of the Sciences! St. Francis is also a favorite or ours and when our newest Pope took that name, we also felt called to use it when we were naming a baby someday. We love that Albie’s name is a mixture of a person so full of worldly knowledge and the sciences as well as a saint best known for his humility.  We didn’t know what we were having with our first (we also don’t know this time around) we were lucky that it was a Boy- as we had not really settled in on a girl name but had some options that we liked. However, settled in on Albie’s name right away- which I think is why it feels different this time around not being able to think of a name that we both agree on or have been able to feel connected to.

Naming babies is something that we have loved to do, we try and be really intentional in praying about it, as we really see as a making such an important decision for our kids- we celebrate Albie’s Feast day, have come across relics of St. Albert, visited the one St. Albert the Great church we could find- and have really looked to St. Albert as a protector for our son- trying to bridge the gap between the saints and us- even in a small way. For that reason I know that we would like the name to be a specific saint or blessed so that we can have that same connection for the next baby.

Currently the names that we like for girls are

Chiara Agnes (I really love that Agnes was Mother Theresa’s real name)
Zelie
Philomena
I like Faustina because I think she is a wonderful saint.
Being a working mom I probably ask St. Gianna for help 12 times a day 🙂

We do really love Blessed Chiara, I have been praying to her a lot during this pregnancy but for whatever reason just haven’t settled in on it for sure.

Names we have tossed around in no particular order for boys are:

Charles
Aloysius
Sebastian
Dominic
Jude (this is maybe my favorite?)
Maximilian

There are not many names that are definite “no’s” but we have a lot of Michaels in our family- so not really a name we would use- also our siblings names are Luke, Andrew, Joshua, Anna, Therese so would probably avoid these as well.

Nicknames are super important to us- so would love a name that we could shorten in a creative way. The most important thing is that we can feel connected to the saint that we are naming him or her after and that we are able to help blend the lessons we can learn from that person into the life of our child.

We aren’t intimidated by using pretty bold names (or “super Catholic” as my husband puts it!) We love being able to evangelize through this process, even in a small way, by teaching others about the lives and stories of saints through explaining how we named our kids- which is a position the I really think God has put us in time and time again when being able to explain how we named Albert to people may not otherwise hear these stories. We have always been so passionate about the way that science and religion in many ways complement each other rather than go against each other- and being able to speak about a saint whose life mission was to blend the 2 has been so fun for us!

Did you all see that? >>> “We aren’t intimidated by using pretty bold names (or “super Catholic” as my husband puts it!)” >>> Yessss!!! 😁

I love the names Rachel and her hubs are considering for their baby, and in fact I thought it was such a great and complete list that I had a hard time thinking of what I would add to it! Each one is heavy hitting and faith-y, and I love how St. Gianna and Bl. Chiara have been close to Rachel this pregnancy. I wonder if they would consider putting them both in one name? Chiara Gianna doesn’t have the best flow, but knowing that Chiara is the Italian variant of Clare/Claire/Clara and Gianna is a feminine form of John (so Joan, Jane, Joanna), they could do Chiara Jane or Clare Gianna or any of those combos, and though Clare/Claire/Clara/Joan/Jane/Joanna aren’t as obvious to others as Chiara and Gianna, they’re just as legitimate.

Also, re: Chiaria, I wanted to address how Rachel “for whatever reason just [hasn’t] settled in on it for sure” even though it seems clear to me that it’s her frontrunner. I wonder if maybe it’s because it’s such a different style from Albert? Certainly there’s no requirement to stick with the same style of name for every child—indeed, that’s one of the things I love about Catholic naming, that Archangela, Kateri, Joseph, and Bernadette can all be siblings under the umbrella theme of “Catholic saints”—so that might not be the hold up for Rachel and her hubs here. But Albert has a very distinct old-man feel to it (which is great! He’s a great saint and the names that peaked when his did [early 20th century] like Alice, Walter, and Helen are totally coming back right now) while Chiara feels more current and very Italian. So anyway, all that to say that Clare/Claire or Clara are much closer in feel to Albert. They can totally still honor Bl. Chiara, though I do understand that they might not feel close enough to her name.

So then I also wanted to suggest Mary Chiara. Adding Mary in front of any name makes that second name totally doable in my opinion, and can jazz up a second name (Mary Kate), sober a second name (Mary Willow), feminize a masculine name (Mary Charles), and Catholicize a more secular name (Mary Topanga). Or, in this case, it can pull Chiara a bit closer to Albert with its old-school Catholic feel. A Mary Chiara could still go by Chiara as a call name (most of my dad’s first girl cousins are Mary ___, and they all go by their middle names. One of them signs her name M. Kate, so that’s an option too, for signatures and school papers and that kind of thing), or she could go by the full Mary Chiara, or of course just Mary (or one of Mary’s many nicknames, like Molly, Mamie, Mimi, Mae/May).

If they liked the idea of Mary Chiara, they could still do Agnes as a middle name, thus considering “Mary Chiara” to be the first name. They could hyphenate it, if they wanted it even clearer: Mary-Chiara Agnes. Or maybe they’d like it to just be firstname Mary middlename Chiara, and save Agnes for a possible future daughter?

All that said however, they have such a good mix of older names and more current names on their list—and with Rachel’s favorite, Jude, being at an all-time high—that I’m guessing all this doesn’t fuss them a bit! I really do love the mix of styles.

So you all know that I start each consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and 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. I wasn’t sure how helpful it would be for this family, since their taste is more eclectic and harder to pin down in one area (which is awesome), but it did give me some good ideas that I thought might be helpful for them. I admit I was swayed by the fact that Albert is the name Rachel and her hubs have already used—every time I saw a name that I thought had the same feel as Albert I’d excitedly scribble it down! But I did also try to bring in some names that fit more of a Chiara/Zelie/Gianna/Sebastian/Jude sensibility:

Girl
(1) Edith
Like Albert and Agnes, Edith is an old-timey name that’s coming back around again. I think, for broader society, the amazing nickname Edie has a lot to do with it; for Catholics, St. Edith Stein, aka St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, is a major inspiration.

(2) Hildegard
Rachel said they’re not intimidated by bold names, and Hildegard is definitely bold! It’s Germanic like Edith and Aloysius and really heavy-duty Catholicky Catholic because of our new(ish) Doctor of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen. And is Hildi the cutest nickname ever or what??

(3) Genevieve
I like that Genevieve is an older name with some good current use, and St. Genevieve is the patron saint of Paris, which is pretty cool. It’s also got some great, popular nicknames: Evie, Vivi, Genny.

(4) Regina
Regina is one of the *most* Catholic names! I really can’t imagine anyone using it who isn’t Catholic, and I think everyone knows right away when they hear it that it refers to Mary. I’ve seen the combo Regina Caeli used recently as a first+middle combo, which I love.

(5) Veronica or Monica
Veronica is another Catholicky Catholic name—I know non-Catholics use it, but that always makes me chuckle! There are some really pretty nicknames for Veronica too—there’s the expected Ronni(e), but also Via, Vera, Vero, Vivi, Nica, and Nicky.

Monica has exactly the same sound as Veronica except the beginning V—which I think makes all the difference! V is hot right now, which makes Veronica a less surprising choice these days than the more mid-century Monica. But St. Monica’s an amazing saint, of course, and Mo, Mona, and Nica/Nicky could be nicknames for it. Or even Molly for something like Monica Zelie.

(6) Zita
Zelie always makes me think of Zita, and though there’s the Italian St. Zita, who is a great patron, it’s Servant of God Zita, Empress of Austria that I’ve been loving lately. What a woman she was!

(7) Gemma
Gemma was one of the names listed as a style match for Jude, and to me it’s 1000% St. Gemma Galgani. It’s such a pretty name with a Brit feel, due to its good use in England, that I think it fits in really nicely with Albert.

Boy
(1) Ambrose
Maybe following Albert with another A name won’t be their favorite idea? But since they have Aloysius on their list I thought Ambrose was a good one. It’s been on our list for a long time, and I’ve come up with a few nicknames that I love for it: Sam, Bram, and Brody (especially with a D middle name, like Ambrose Dominic).

(2) Leo
Leo has a similar feel to Jude—short, punchy, and totally Catholic, like Pope St. Leo the Great. There are a bunch of Leos in my family, and the older generations go by Lee.

(3) Stanislaus
I’m living a bit vicariously through this suggestion! I love St. John Paul II and one of my favorite stories had to do with how he defied the Communist government with the help of St. Stanislaus—I shared it here. I’ve wanted to get on board with Stanislaus for one of our boys, but so far no luck! Stan is a natural nickname and has that friendly, old-timey feel of Albie (and funny enough, my not-really-namey husband has been telling me recently he likes the nickname Stan!).

(4) Gerard
I love St. Gerard Majella—he’s an invaluable help to expectant mothers and those whose babies are already born! I was thinking about how important nicknames are to Rachel and her hubs, and the ones I’ve suggested in the past for Gerard are Ged and even Jedi for the Star Wars inclined! But I was thinking … what about Jude? As a nickname for Gerard? That way they’d have a given name that was a natural fit as a brother to Albert, and a cool, equally saintly nickname. It might also provide a really natural “bridge” into other naming styles—Jude would help make Chiara/Zelie/Gianna a little less jarring I think (not that it matters what others think, of course!).

(5) Benedict
Up until 1968 Benedict stayed in the top 1000 but never got higher than 447 (1914) and dropped off completely after that, so I can’t even say it’s got a similar popularity arc as Albert, but it definitely has an old-school feel while still being able to hang out with the 21st century kids because of Pope Benedict and Benedict Cumberbatch. The nickname Ben has always struck me as friendly and easy, and Benny is also really sweet. I’ve also heard Ned for it, and I’ve often thought Bede could work for it too (another twofer! Two saints in one!).

(6) Louis
Not only have Louis and Albert followed a similar popularity arc, but—like with Benedict—Louis has a modern Catholic feel because of St. Louis Martin, St. Zelie’s husband. Maybe the connection between them would knock Zelie off their list for the future? Or maybe, like with this mom, they would like it!

(7) Blaise
Finally, Blaise was included in the Saints list in the BNW—a list at the back of the book that focuses on more unusual/exotic/surprising names like Aloysius, Chiara, Philomena, and Faustina—and as soon as I saw it I wanted to suggest it for this family because of their science/medicine connection! St. Blaise of the throat blessings was a physician—described as a “Healer of men and animals” on CatholicSaints.info—and Blaise Pascal is familiar enough to people I think that he automatically adds a math and sciences feel to the name.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for Albie’s little brother or sister?

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55 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Bold Catholic names okay for Baby no. 2!

  1. I love so many of these names, but especially Zita (I’m really taken with her too!), Gemma, and Regina for girls, Blaise, Ambrose, and Benedict strike me as perfect with Albert. Yesterday was St. George’s day, and George strikes me as perfect with Albert–British and saintly! And what boy wouldn’t love St. George as a patron!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Still rooting for someone to use Hildegard; It’s my favorite right now! And I’ve been majorly crushing on Veronica lately. Always like to throw out my girl Ven. Edel Quinn’s name, too. Albie and Edel would be super sweet! For boys I am really liking your suggestions of Ambrose (nn Brody? cute!) and Blaise. One that is definitely “bold” that I love is Cajetan, nn Caj – pronounced like Cazh? Cajh? I don’t know how to explain it but I know a teenaged Caj and he wears it really well. Albie and Caj sound so cool together!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. These names are so similar to our children and family members. Agnes wears well on a girl, we considered Ignatius, Alousius, Ambrose, and Simeon for our newest child. She is a girl, and named Edith F@ustina, which I love! Agnes Faustina would also be charming.

    We have cousins Genevieve, Sebastian, and Albert so I think they are a natural match. One name you might like is Ephraim/Ephrem, who os a Doctor of the Church and great patron, if a bit obscure. It is uncommon but not outlandish, and wears very well. 🙂

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m partial to Benedict (my husband’s name) and I think Edith is perfect for this family. But Hildie is probably the best and cutest nickname of all time. Hilda Mae? Hilda Jane? I think if Hildegard turns them off for any reason Hilda would be a legit option. I pushed it HARD for a friend who recently had a baby but he came out a Fulton! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Albert and Gemma is super swoon-worthy to me. Love the old-timey British feel.
    A few other names that give me this feel:
    Albert and Julia
    Albert and Edmund (I love Edmund Campion, Campion could be a great first or middle too).
    Albert and Rosalind. (Rosie is so cute and so many good Rose patrons.)
    Albert and Beatrice (if Albie and Bea aren’t too close).
    Albert and Pearl (Very close to my great-grandparents’ names Alfred and Pearl.)
    Albert and Jack (So many great John names you can get Jack from.)
    Albert and Thomas (Can’t resist pairing the great doctor with his most famous pupil.) I also think Aquinas maked a fantastic middle name.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I really like the suggestions of Edith and Regina. And Leo and Benedict. Ambrose too.

    I would suggest going with “the great” as a theme: They already have Albert the Great, why not go with Leo the Great or Gertrude the Great. Nicknames could be Trudy, Truly, Gert, or Gertie. If anyone knows of a more feminine/modern nickname, I’m all ears because St. Gertrude is my favorite! (Besides Mary, of course). She was one of the earliest devotees of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was proud of her mastery of the secular sciences until Jesus appeared to her and made her realize that he is all that really matters.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Another nickname could be Maggie. It’s a little bit of a stretch, but it would be from Magna (Latin for “the Great”). Then, it could tie in another great devotee of the Sacred Heart: Margaret Mary.

      Not sure if the Sacred Heart is an important devotion to them, just throwing it out there.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I love “the Great” theme! I can think of more boy names — John Paul, Gregory — but I wouldn’t have known that Gertrude was the Great, thanks for sharing that! Hmm, nicknames for Gertrude other than the ones you mentioned (love Truly! Trudy and Gertie are also really cute) … I’m coming up blank! I hope others come up with some good ones!

      Like

    • The only other nickname I can think of for Gertrude is Rudy! Or maybe Geri? Or I’m always a fan of the easiest nickname, calling someone by the first letter of their name. So in this case, “G.” I actually totally dig Gertie, so that’s my favorite!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Beautiful. I like the ideas of Chiara Jane or Edith for a girl. Majella or Faith might also work for them. As for boys names, Jude is cute. They could alternatively use Judah and then Jude for short.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Albert and George go very well together I agree! It also gives them not just a Catholic feel but royal feel; I believe some of the English monarch were Albert and went by George and vice versa. I also like Albert and Charles as well. As for girls, just looking at Blessed Chiara’s middle name, it was Luce (Lucy, Lucia) which might go very well with Albert! I also like Gemma, Chiara, or Veronica.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I love Beatrice for this family just because I love how Albie and Bea sound plus look together. As a bonus Queen Victoria had kids named Albert who ruled as a Edward and Beatrice so totally agreeing with the English Monarch feel from the comment above. From the names you suggested I am totally in love with Zita, Veronica and Leo. And I just double checked, Queen Victoria also had a son named Leopold.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I love Peregrine nicknamed Pippin for this family. For some reason, Peregrine and Albert seem to go really well together, and Pippin and Albie also seem to go really well together. Plus, St. Peregrine is an AH-MAZING saint. He has a fantastic Paul-like conversion story, and he’s the patron saint of cancer patients, which might be nice for Rachel and her husband since they’re both in the medical field. It’s also definitely a Catholicky-Catholic name.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Zita is my confirmation name 🙂 I’ve always loved it! (And while I’m commenting, it’s the feast day of St. Zita!)

    Love all of your suggestions Kate! I don’t even think I have anything to add, they’ve got some great names to think about now!

    Liked by 1 person

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