Laura and her husband are expecting their fifth baby, a little green bean 🌱 (=gender unknown)! This little babe joins big sibs:
Thomas Blaise “Blaise”
Augustine “Gus” John
Rose Elizabeth “Rosie”
So many great names!! 😍
“Finding a name for this little baby has presented more of a challenge. Just over a year ago, my husband and I unexpectedly lost our daughter, Lily, full-term at birth. We chose her name quickly after she arrived, not knowing how much peace it would bring us going forward. Spotting a lily now unites us with our daughter we so grateful yearn for. And having our daughters linked through their flower names is very special to me. Regardless of boy or girl, I’d really appreciate a name that nods to Lily’s memory somehow, if possible.”
It was such a special thing for me to be able to offer some thoughts and ideas for this beautiful family, such a gift.
“We are unaware of the baby’s sex, but feel especially called to solve the dilemma of keeping or scrapping the flower trend, should the baby be a girl. We also have chosen all saint’s names, other than Lily, who most likely would have been Lillian. We prefer to link each child to a saint.
It seems we also prefer a name that can have a nickname- and are open to the more “non-traditional” nickname options. (Two examples of yours that we LOVE are Miles for Michael and Pierce for Peter.)
We would not consider a “D” first name, and family names to avoid would be: Elisa, Conor, Jameson, Colin, Finn, Cecilia, Mary.
So, the question is, to flower or not to flower?“
Laura also said I could share with you all the one photo of they have of the whole family, including Lily:
So I wanted tackle their “to flower or not to flower” question first: I love that they have a flower theme, and it sounds like they love it too—if Laura and her hubs were to continue with a flower name for all their girls, their Lily would always be looped in in a way that Laura said is “very special” to her. So my vote is to keep it! Sometimes themes like this can start to feel constraining, even suffocating, if a family continues having a bunch of kids and it becomes increasingly difficult to find names that fit. But I think there are a few ways to work with this theme in such a way that it doesn’t have to feel so. First, there are so many great floral names for girls! And if they opened up their theme to either first or middle name (rather than just first), some of the more unusual options become more doable. Second, if they were to extend their theme to “plants” rather than only “flowers,” or even more broadly to “nature” names, they have a lot more options that can be just as beautiful as flowers. Third, they could choose names that could nickname to flower names, which also loops Lily in an extra way because Lily—though it can be (is) a name on its own—is also traditional nickname for Elizabeth (which also connects Rosie and Lily in a special way!). (I have a suggestion of how to do this below.)
If Laura and her hubs decide the flower (or possibly plant/nature) theme is too restrictive, they could decide to do *Marian names* for their girls instead. Both Rose and Lily are considered Marian names, since they both are symbols of Our Lady, so it wouldn’t be any fuss to change mid-stream as it were and give this baby a Marian name—she’d fit in nicely with both her sisters. I’ve included a non-floral Marian suggestion that I think they might like below as well.
Alright, so first, I had some ideas about how to nod to Lily for both a girl and a boy. I’ll do boy first, since there aren’t as many ways to do so:
I was trying to think of ways to connect to Lily through name, and one way that parents sometimes honor people is by using the same letter of their first name. After looking up the names Laura and her hubs have used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard (which you all know is how I start each consultation, as the BNW lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity), I actually already had Leo on my list for this family. I also like that, in addition to starting with the same first letter as Lily, it’s short and two syllables, just like Lily. Pope St. Leo the Great is a … *ahem* … great (!) patron as well! 😁
(2) El(l)iot(t), Elijah, Eli, Elias
That first jumble of letters is meant to be Eliot! Or Elliot. Or Elliott. Haha! I thought it could connect to Lily through her traditional usage as a nickname for Elizabeth, drawing on the similar beginnings between Elizabeth and El(l)iot(t). Elliot is also a style match for Miles, which Laura said they like, so Elliot seemed a name they would like. However, I’m also sensitive to the fact that their other kids have names that I would classify as Catholicky Catholic, and Elliot doesn’t really fit into that, so I could see them not loving it as a first name, but having it in the middle spot would be a fine place for Lily’s honor name. Or, perhaps a different El- name that doesn’t seem as similar to their names they like but is more obviously faithy, like Elijah and Eli or, maybe the best fit, Elias (which is the Greek form of Elijah, and is actually where Elliot comes from—Elliot is a medieval diminutive of Elias).
This is also probably a middle name pick, but I was trying to find what month lilies are the flower for, and I could only find lilies of the valley—one of the flowers of May. Interestingly, May has another flower as well, which is the hawthorn. I’ve actually seen Hawthorn used as a name for a boy (the family that I saw use it—on a name discussion board years ago—used Hawk as the nickname, which I thought was so clever!), and I think for this family it would make an amazing middle name with a really cool tie to Lily. An added fun fact is that there are several titles of Mary related to hawthorns—Our Lady of Arantzazu in Spain is a title for one such apparition (the “arantza” part means “hawthorn” in Basque, and a variant of it — Aranza — which began as a name in honor of OL of Arantzazu was one of the fastest rising girl’s names in 2014 because of a character on a telenovela!).
(4) Pierce or Simeon
Laura already mentioned that they like Pierce, but I think it would make a really nice way to nod to Lily, although in a sad way—this reader said she knows a family who named their son Pierce for the prophecy of Simeon—how Mary’s heart would be pierced by a sword. That’s pretty fitting for a mom who’s lost a baby! Simeon could also work, being the name of the man who prophesied the piercing.
Those are my ideas for first or middle names for boys that can nod to Lily, but I also had some more ideas of first names that they might like. I usually start with girls, but since I’m already talking about boy names I’ll go ahead and do them first:
According to the BNW, Xavier’s a style match for Blaise, and its Catholicness also makes it a great match for Augustine. It’s a really fun first name too—you can’t beat that X initial!
At first I was going to suggest Theodore, as it was listed as a style match for August (as a stand-in for Augustine, as the BNW doesn’t have Augustine) and I liked that it was long, like Augustine, which brings some nice balance to sib set as a whole, but I thought it wasn’t quite right. I often think of Theodore and Thaddeus as two sides of the same coin—they’re so similar but different enough that parents tend to pretty clearly prefer one or the other. The obvious patron is St. Jude Thaddeus of course, but I also love Bl. Thaddeus Moriarty—an Irish Dominican priest martyred for the faith.
I really really like Isaac for Laura and her husband! I’ve had it on my own list for ages, and St. Isaac Jogues is the inspiration for me. I know the name is really Old Testament, but to me it’s so saintly—in fact, I overwhelmingly think of St. Isaac before the biblical Isaac. I live near the North American Martyrs’ Shrine, though, which is where he and his companions were killed, and there’s a local church named after him, so it could be a regional thing on my part. I know two little Isaacs — one a brother to Oliver, the other a brother to Owen, so it’s definitely getting use outside of the heavy biblical namers.
As I mentioned with Thaddeus, I was trying to think of longer names that could loop the long Augustine back in with his shortly named sibs Thomas/Blaise, Rosie, and Lily (the nickname Gus is perfect with the others!), and Sebastian came immediately to mind. I think it has that same Catholic cachet as their other names, and some great nicknames too: Seb(by), Bash (like Grace Patton’s Sebastian/Bash), Baz.
My last idea for them for a boy is Campion, like St. Edmund Campion, but what made me first think of it was when I was trying to think of ways to nod to Lily, I was hung up on finding some flower names that could work for boys (for some reason I’d conflated “nodding to Lily” with “flower names for girls” and was thinking flower names for everyone!)—campion is a pink flowering plant. But then I thought I’d keep it in anyway—St. Edmund’s a great saint, and Cam’s a great nickname, and as I noted in the consultation I did for Jenna at Wilber Huset, Campion means “champion,” and is also of course the last name of St. Edmund Campion. Ancestry.com even says it originated as a “status name for a professional champion,” which is great for a boy—he wouldn’t even need to know about the pink flowers!
Nope, I lied—I’m adding one more in. Benedict has the same feel to me as Blaise and Augustine, and Ben is one of the friendliest nicknames, very in keeping with the feel of Gus. It’s also for Pope Emeritus Benedict of course, who I love, and since it means “blessed” they could also think of it as an apt name for being blessed with another baby after losing their Lily.
Now on to the girl names! I came up with loads of flower/plant names that I thought could work with their theme of wanting their girls to have those kinds of names (if they decide to stick with it). I think they’ll see there are a lot of options!
Jacinta is one of my FAVORITE names—I took it as my Confirmation name, and if I’d had a bunch of girls instead of a bunch of boys, Jacinta would have been in there somewhere! Jacinta is the Spanish and Portuguese form of Hyacinth, which is of course a flower, so it sticks with their theme, and also—how perfect to include Jacinta in a name for a girl born right after St. Jacinta’s canonization! Also, Jacinta was such a little girl when she died, and she died alone—Our Lady told her she would, and I saw the most beautiful artistic depiction of her Mary carrying Jacinta to heaven—I’ve found that image so comforting when I think of the baby I miscarried, and I wonder if it might be really meaningful to Laura and her hubs in memory of Lily. I also sort of think of Jacinta as the patron of those who suffer in secret, and the devastation of losing a baby isn’t always as obvious to the outside world. And since they love creative nicknames, Jacinta might be extra perfect for them! I did a spotlight of the name here, along with nickname ideas. If Laura and her hubs like this idea but not Jacinta exactly, they could also just do Hyacinth, like the Pioneer Woman’s BFF, whom she often refers to as “Hy” on the show.
Violet was actually a style match for August (standing in for Augustine), Rose, Lily, and Lillian. It’s also considered a Marian name, and would be a perfect sister for Rose and Lily! The only problem with a name like Violet is that it’s so *obviously* floral that it really might make them feel wedded to a style that’s hard to keep up with.
Iris is also explicitly floral, but it also means “rainbow,” which is so suitable for a rainbow baby and by its very meaning points to the baby who came before. It’s not obviously faithy though, so if they like it maybe they’d prefer it in the middle?
If Laura and her hubs wanted to branch out of flowers into plants generally, Juniper’s a great one to consider! St. Junipero Serra’s canonization last year has put this one on the radar of a lot of Catholic families, and Junie is the CUTEST nickname! There’s also a lovely pious tradition that the juniper tree hid the Holy Family from Herod’s men during their flight into Egypt.
This name is super saintly (to people like us anyway), like Blaise, Augustine, Rose, and Lily, and also floral without being in your face! A lot of people take Azelie to be a French form of azalea (it is, of course, part of the given name of our St. Zelie—she was born Marie-Azélie). In fact, Lindsay from the blog My Child I Love You has a Rose, Lillie, and Zellie (that’s how they spell them), and she said she loved that the three of them are like a bouquet of flowers.
(6) Margaret or Marguerite nicked Daisy
This is the name I mentioned above that would fit into my idea of having the flower connection come from a nickname. Daisy is a traditional nickname for Margaret! The French form of Margaret, Marguerite, is actually the name of the daisy flower in French! Since Laura and her hubs like creative nicknames, this idea might be right up their alley. There are some great Sts. Margaret too, and it’s obviously saintly like the rest of their crew.
I’m not sure if this is overkill or perfect, but I couldn’t not suggest it! According to Behind the Name, Susanna comes from the Hebrew shoshana, which means lily AND it also means rose in Modern Hebrew! So Susanna can tie the other two girls together in one name! Again, I’m not sure if that’s brilliant or just way too much, especially when they consider what to do if they have a fourth girl? As far as saintliness, not only is there a St. Susanna, but the church in Rome for American Catholics is St. Susanna’s, I love that.
Okay! Those are all my flowery ideas for them for a girl, but I had a couple other names that I thought I’d suggest in case they want to put the flower name in the middle and do a non-flower name for the first name:
(1) Clare or Chiara
I probably wouldn’t have included any other ideas than flower ideas except for the fact that Claire and Clara and the next name (Hope) were style matches for them in my research. Clara is a style match for August (standing in for Augustine) and Lilllian, and Claire for Lily, but I thought the variant Clare—often said to have the saintliest feel of the Clare names—was closest to what they’d like. BUT, then I thought maybe the variant Chiara would be an even better fit! It’s got a little more of that heavy feeling that Blaise and Augustine have, and can be for St. Clare of Assisi (whose name was actually Chiara—Clare is an anglicization of it) or Bl. Chiara Luce Badano, who’s such a great patron for modern girls because she herself was a modern girl (she died of cancer as a teenager in 1990).
Hope was listed as a style match for Pierce, and I immediately thought it was a great idea for Laura and her hubs to consider. It can signify the hope of a new baby after losing their Lily, and can also be for Our Lady of Hope, if they decide to go Marian instead of floral (or even if they do stick with the floral theme! Hope would be a great first or middle coupled with a floral name).
I actually didn’t see Gemma listed as a match for any of their names, but it just struck me as one they’d like, and when I looked it up I saw that Violet and Clare are both style matches for it! St. Gemma Galgani is a great patron for a girl and—you guys, get this — when I looked her up I got holy bumps because lilies and roses are two of her symbols! And she’s also known as the Flower of Lucca! Ohmygoodness. Whether they use the name or not, these are such fun details to discover!
And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Thomas Blaise/Blaise, Augustine/Gus, Rose/Rosie, and Lily that can also nod to Lily?