Baby name consultation: Honoring St. Josemaria with boy no. 2’s name, etc.

If you haven’t already, be sure to read my Mother’s Day post (there’s a giveaway)!

Megan and her husband are expecting their second baby — and second boy! This little man joins big brother:

Henry Allan

Such a solid, handsome name!

Megan writes,

Just as a little background on how we named Henry — There were a few things that ‘confirmed’ that Henry Allan is what we felt God wanted his name to be.  Craig and I were both strongly formed in our faith from Newman Centers so he is partly named after Blessed John Henry Newman.  We also heard a story about St. Henry Heath and his martyrdom.  We felt he was a fitting saint for our time in our culture.  We also learned that Henry is a family name in both mine and Craig’s ancestry.  Allan is both Craig’s middle name and his Dad’s middle name.  It is also my Dad’s first name, although he spells it Alan.  We wanted to honor both our Dads in that way, as well as to honor Craig.

Here is a list of names we are considering for our second child:
Benedict
Joseph
Stephen
Peter
William
George
Gabriel
Conrad
Francis
Fulton
Simon

Here is a list of names that we like but not quite right:
Philip

Here is a list of names we can’t or won’t use:
Michael — like but won’t use because friends’ son’s name
James — like but won’t use because nephew’s name
Maximillian — like but won’t use because friends’ son’s name
Jack — like but won’t use because nephew’s name

Here are some Saints we love:
Mary
St. Josemaria Escriva — one of our favorites, but we are not sure how to work with this name
St. Joseph
St. John Paul II

Great list of names, and great saints to honor! When I first read Megan’s email, my mind immediately started clicking over St. Josemaria and how to work with that, so I’ll start with that. Josemaria is a combination of Jose and Maria, which of course are Joseph and Mary in Spanish—and they have Joseph and Mary on the list of saints they love! So my first—and heartiest—suggestion would be for Megan and her hubs to name their little guy Joseph (they have Joseph in the list of names they like anyway!), which covers St. Joseph and could cover St. Josemaria as well, but especially if they make the middle name something to do with Mary. Possibilities include:

  • Joseph Mario or Joseph Mariano—neither Mario nor Mariano are etymologically related to Mary, but they’ve both been used for a long time as a male form of Mary.
  • Joseph Miles—most of you have likely seen the many many many (!) times I’ve tried to push Miles on expectant parents, but I love so much that it’s got traditional usage in Ireland as an anglicization of the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means, literally, “servant of the Virgin Mary.”
  • Joseph Mercer—one of my name books (Oxford Dictionary of First Names by Hanks, Hardcastle, and Hodges) says that Mercer (a last name derived from the Old French for “trader”—mercier) “may sometimes also have been chosen as a kind of male equivalent of mercy,” which would be really cool because it could be a nod to Our Lady of Mercy—in keeping with trying to come up with a combo that mirrors Josemaria—and it can also be a nod to the Divine Mercy pope, JP2, which would work in all their favorite saints!
  • Joseph Marion—they could totally channel John Wayne—who was born Marion Robert Morrison—by using Marion as a middle name!
  • Joseph Maria—this would be the most explicit way to honor St. Josemaria in English. Mary/Marie/Maria as a middle name for boys used to be a traditional practice, especially in Europe, but I’ve seen hardcore Catholic parents do so recently too. I’ve love for that tradition to come back!
  • Joseph Marriot(t) or Joseph Murray—both Marriot(t) and Murray have ties to Our Lady: Marriot(t) is an English surname derived from an old diminutive of Mary (Mary-ot), and Murray comes from the Irish Mac Giolla Mhuire (son of the servant of Mary), which is anglicized as Kilmurray, Kilmary, Kilmurry, and MacElmurry. Murray is the “Mary” part and has become a surname in its own right.

Those are my ideas for how Megan and her hubby can incorporate their favorite saints into their son’s name, and Joseph was actually listed as a style match for Henry in the Baby Name Wizard book (which, as you all know, I almost always use in my consultations as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity), so I think it’s a really great option for them.

So they have a really great list and great ideas, and I think the Joseph M. option is amazing and perfect, but of course I can always come up with more! 😀 Based on my research in the BNW using the names on their list and Henry’s name, these are my other ideas:

(1) Edmund/Edmond or Edward
Edward’s actually a style match for Henry, Joseph, William, and George; Edmund for Benedict; and Edmond for Conrad—all great, saintly names! St. Edmund Campion’s awesome, as is St. Edward the Confessor. They all remind me a bit of Benedict, because I’ve seen Ned as a nickname for Benedict, and Ned is also a traditional nickname for the Ed- names. I know a little Eddie too, which is really cute, and Ted is also a traditional nickname for Edward.

(2) Theodore
Speaking of Ted (and Ned and Ed), Theodore—which can be nicked Ted—was another good match for their style. It has that sort of Brit feel that I get from Henry, and Ted(dy)’s super cute; Theo’s another great option. Theodore also has the awesome meaning “gift of God.”

(3) Thomas
Thomas was a style match for Joseph, Stephen, Peter, William, Michael, and James! While Tommy’s a cute nickname, most of the little Thomases I know go by the full Thomas. Lots of good patrons to choose from too! St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Thomas More are two favorites of my family.

(4) Charles
Charles is another traditional, gentlemanly name like the ones on their list, with an added bit of sparkle: It’s the English version of John Paul II’s birth name (Karol). I’ve known of many little ones named Charles in honor of JP2, so this could be a way Megan and her hubs can nod to him without using John Paul itself (since John Paul wasn’t on their list, I assume they don’t care for it). As a slight tangent, I find Benedict on their list to be somewhat difficult to pair a middle name with, because there are so many initials that are potentially problematic, but BC is a fine pairing, so I really love the combo Benedict Charles. Two awesome popes in one!

(5) Oliver
My last idea for Megan and her hubs is Oliver, a match for Henry, Simon, and Peter. I love Oliver! St. Oliver Plunkett is a great patron, and it can also be a nod to Our Lady of Olives (I love Marian names for boys!). Henry and Oliver are a darling set of brothers!

And those are my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for Henry’s little brother?


Interested in having your own baby name consultation? Check out my Baby name consultations tab for all the details!

15 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Honoring St. Josemaria with boy no. 2’s name, etc.

  1. St. Josemaria does seem much easier to honor directly with a girl’s name. I know a Mary Josephine named after him I think Josie Maria or Josephine Maria would be outstanding options. So my first suggestion is to wait for a girl 😉 Next, I wanted to mention that since St. Josemaria had a great devotion to the angels we felt that using Gabriel as our youngest son’s name was a way to indirectly include St. Josemaria in our youngest’s name.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Marius is another possibility. It’s the name of a character in Les Miserables. It was quite popular in Norway and is the name of the Norwegian Crown Princess’s son from a previous relationship.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Joseph Mariano is a great option, specially because St. Josemaria’s full birth name was José María Mariano Escrivá y Albás!
    I suggest Joseph Peter to get JP initials in honor of St. John Paul II.

    Liked by 3 people

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