Birth announcement: Cecilia Claire!

I posted a consultation for boy names for Mandi from A Blog About Miscarriage back in March, and I’m so very delighted to let you all know that her little GIRL has arrived and been given the beautiful name … Cecilia Claire!

You might remember that I did a consultation for girl middle names when she was pregnant with her son — if they’d had a girl, they were planning on naming her Cecilia, and were stumped on middle names — Claire was one of my ideas! I’m so excited that Claire ended up being the right middle name for their little lady!

Be sure to go check out the birth announcement Mandi posted on her blog, which includes more information about the baby’s name, as well as sweet pictures!

Congratulations to Mandi and David and big sibs Lucia and Davey, and happy birthday Baby Cecilia!!

 

Honoring St. Rita

Are you all as much a fan of St. Rita as I am? Like St. Jude, she’s a patroness of desperate and impossible causes (among other things), and I’ve seen her intercession bring about some pretty amazing, nearly miraculous things, both for myself and for others.

In this consultation from July, the mama said she had a special devotion to St. Rita, to whom she attributed the conception of the baby the consultation was for. If the baby had been a girl, she intended to give her the middle name Pearl, as a nod to St. Rita, whose given name was actually Margherita — the Italian form of Margaret, which means “pearl.” I had another conversation more recently over email with a reader who was looking for ways to honor St. Rita for both girls and boys. So I thought doing a post with some ideas of how to do so would be fun! This is what I came up with for girls

Rita
Rita would be the most obvious way of honoring St. Rita — if you gave your daughter the name Rita for either a first or a middle, people who know about saints would think, “She must be named for St. Rita!”

Margaret, Magdalene
Since St. Rita’s given name was Margherita, and Rita a nickname for it, then any of the Margaret names can honor her. And after her husband and sons died, St. Rita joined the Augustinian nuns of St. Mary Magdalene Monastery, so Magdalene could work too.

Pearl
Like the mama in the July consultation I mentioned above, you could certainly use the name Pearl, since that’s what Margherita means.

Daisy
In addition to meaning “pearl,” the Italian Margaret variant Margherita is the name for the daisy flower in Italian, and the French Margaret variant Marguerite is the name for the daisy flower in Italian.

Cascia
St. Rita’s known as St. Rita of Cascia, and I think Cascia would be a pretty cool way to name a little girl after her. I say it KA-shuh, which is similar to established first names Kasia and Cassia.

Lotti
St. Rita’s full given name was Margherita Lotti, so Lotti could make a cute nod to her, especially since Lottie is a traditional nickname for Charlotte …

Charlotte
… which makes me think that even Charlotte itself could be an unexpected honor name for St. Rita.

For boys, I had a few ideas that I thought could work:

Garrett
I have loved and shared many times the story julianamama told of the family she knew who named their son Garrett after St. Margaret, and that would work for St. Rita as well.

John, James, Jacob
One of St. Rita’s sons was named Giangiacomo, which is a combination of two names—Gian (a short form of Giovanni=John) and Giacomo (James, Jacob). St. John the Baptist was one of her three patron saints, and when her cause for canonization was being pursued, her story was compiled by an Augustinian priest named Fr. Jacob Carelicci.

Paul
Her other son was Paolo, which makes Paul a good option.

Anthony
When I’m looking to honor a woman in a boy’s name, I often look to her dad’s name for inspiration. St. Rita’s dad was Antonio, so Anthony and its variants could work.

Urban
For those looking for something unusual, Pope Urban VIII beatified Rita — one of our regular readers has an Urban!

Leo
Pope Leo XIII canonized St. Rita, so a great idea there as well!

Augustine, Nicholas
Not only did St. Rita join the Augustinian nuns, but St. Augustine was one of her three patron saints, so Augustine would be a great possibility. St. Nicholas of Tolentino joined St. John the Baptist and St. Augustine as her third patron saint, so Nicholas works as well.

And those are my ideas! What about all of you? Can you think of any other names that could honor St. Rita?

New ideas for yesterday’s consultation

Sandra left a comment on yesterday’s baby name consultation that I thought brought up a good point. The part I was struck by was this:

To me Rocco and Kolbe, whilst lovely, are not really in line with the classic style of their other children.”

I know what she means — Rocco is a very Italian name, classic and saintly, certainly, but a different style from Timothy, Emma, Matthew, Margaret, and Abigail (although I know a Rocco who has a brother Daniel, so maybe not that far off!). Kolbe isn’t as classic in the sense that it has fairly new usage as a first name, though of course it has loads of saintly cred.

I feel like I didn’t do a great job of suggesting ideas that acknowledged the fact that Laura and her hubs love names outside of the style of the names they’ve already chosen. I’ve definitely seen parents’ name taste evolve and change the more kids they have, so the fact that their list departs from what they’ve done a bit isn’t that unusual.

I do think, from their current list, that John Paul is definitely a good fit, since it’s a combo of two biblical names, which goes so nicely with the other kids’ names. Maximilian leans a little weightier than their other kids, and is a lot of Ma- with Matthew and Margaret, but otherwise I could see a little Max fitting in well. But since Laura and her hubs love Rocco and Kolbe, I thought I’d do this quick post with some more ideas that are more along those lines. This is what I came up with:

(1) Christian
Christian fits with lots of different styles, I think. It’s certainly biblical, but not in the traditional sense; definitely faith-y and beyond saintly (!); and it feels more contemporary, like Kolbe, all of which I think might make it appealing to Laura and her hubs.

(2) Gabriel
Gabriel is one of my favorite favorite names. It’s biblical and saintly, and while it has a long history of use, I think it feels like an unexpected addition to a list of “classic” names, which I quite like.

(3) Garrett
I tried to think of same saintly surnames or names with a surname feel that I thought fit in well with their older kids, besides Kolbe on their list and Bennett, which I suggested in yesterday’s consultation. I thought of Becket, Kapaun, Fulton, Campion, and Savio, but when I thought of Garrett (which was originally a surname and derived from Gerard or Gerald, both saint names), I thought it was a slam dunk. I know brothers Matthew and Garrett, so it feels like a good fit to me!

(4) Roman
Finally, Roman — a style match for Maximilian and pretty clearly Italian without being overly so. I’ve always loved that Roman points to Rome, and you can’t get much more Catholic than that.

I know it’s unusual for me to revisit a consultation like this! But I felt like I’d let Laura down a bit, and wanted to remedy it. What do you all think? Do you have any other ideas along these lines?

Baby name consultation: Classic Biblical and/or saintly name needed for baby boy

Laura and her husband are expecting their fourth baby on earth (second boy)! Their first two babies are in heaven, and Laura writes,

When we lost our first baby, I had a strong sense about the name Timothy and when I looked it up I found it meant “honoring God.” Then after our second loss, I was too emotionally drained and asked my husband to pray on it and he came up with Emma which means “whole”. I feel like these names definitely set the tone for our three here as well, as we always try to choose classic names that are either Biblical or Catholic saints.”

I love both Timothy and Emma, and I agree that they’ve set the tone well for their subsequent children:

Matthew Darren (“we love the name Matthew and it means “Gift of God” which he was because he was our first to make it to full term. Darren is the name of my husband’s cousin who was a CIA agent who was killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan“)

Margaret Claire (“Margaret was my husband’s grandmother’s name and it is also the name of our parish (St. Margaret of Scotland). I have always loved the fact that there are SOOOO many nickname options for Margaret. Currently we call her Mags. Her middle name is in remembrance of a family member that I lost a few years ago, but also for St. Clare of Assisi (I know the spelling is different)“)

Abigail Regina (“my due date [with Abby] was December 8th so it was very important to me that we honor Our Blessed Mother, but I kind of can’t stand the name Mary because it is SO plain and common. So we chose Abigail (which is actually in the Old Testament) and means “Gives Joy” and Regina of course is how we honored Mary. I really wanted Regina as the first name, but my husband wasn’t having it“)

Aren’t they great names?? I love the meaning behind each one — so much significance!!

Laura was hoping for some name ideas to fit with their older kiddos. For inspiration, names they’ve discussed for this little guy include:

John Paul
Maximilian
Rocco
Kolbe

Working on this was really satisfying for me because their taste is pretty consistent! You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up all 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 — looking up the names for this family was so fun because there was so much overlap!

That said though, names like Kolbe and John Paul aren’t included in the BNW, so that was a fun twist, trying to think of names that I think of as being similar to them in style and incorporating the results into my ideas for Laura and her hubs (I also used my Sibling Project to help — the John Paul entry was spot on!).  I came up with five ideas for this little boy:

(1) Gregory
Gregory was the very first name listed in the BNW as a match for Timothy, and was also listed in the Sibling Project as a match for John Paul, and as soon as I saw it I thought aha! I love Gregory for this family! He’s traditional and Catholicky Catholic like Pope St. Gregory the Great, and handsome and distinguished like Gregory Peck. The nickname Greg tends to turn people off a little bit, but I love Rory as a nickname for it, and I could also see something like Gregory Stephen lending itself nicely to the nickname Gus. I’ve also seen Grey used as a nickname for it, and I know a little Gregory who goes by Duke!

(2) Benjamin (or Benedict, Bennett?)
Benjamin was the biggest style match in the BNW, being similar to Timothy, Emma, Matthew, Claire, and Abigail! I love the name, and Ben is one of the friendliest nicknames in my opinion. While I think Benjamin is the closest match to the style of name Laura and her hubs like, Benedict is a great option if they wanted to get closer to the feel of John Paul, Maximilian, and Regina, and Bennett is a Benedict variant that, being a last name, is similar to Kolbe.

(3) Andrew
Andrew was another big hit for Laura and her hubs! It’s impeccable: biblical, masculine, great patron saints and nickname options. When I heard Fr. Andrew Apostoli speak at the Syracuse Women’s Conference a couple of years ago, I loved that he referenced Andrew as his patron saint, which of course is obvious, but I thought it gave Andrew an extra Catholic oomph.

(4) Philip
This was actually only listed as a style match for Regina, which I loved seeing, but I totally think of it as brother material for Timothy, Matthew, Andrew, Benjamin, and even John Paul with its two-biblical-names-in-one. (To be extra Catholicky Catholic, I love the idea of Philip Neri as a firstname+middlename combo! And Finn works as the perfect nickname I think.) (I loooove Finn!)

(5) Samuel
Finally, Samuel. It’s got a similar biblical style and feel to Timothy, Matthew, Abigail, Andrew, Philip, and Benjamin, and was also listed as similar to Emma. And that great nickname Sam! The story of Samuel is often particularly meaningful to mothers.

And those are my ideas for Laura and her hubs! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Timothy, Emma, Matthew, Margaret, and Abigail?

Spotlight on: Mina

Kathryn requested a spotlight on the name Mina, which is such a sweet name — I’m happy to do so! Specifically she asked,

Could you do a spotlight on Mina (as a nickname and/or on its own)? I’m really digging the name lately, but curious about catholic/saintly connections.”

Firstly, Mina can definitely stand on its own, though I’m pretty sure it started as a nickname. Behind the Name says Mina is the “Short form of WILHELMINA and other names ending in mina,” like Giacomina (!), but also includes names that don’t end in mina as possibilities:

Zhaklina
Jacobina
Jamesina
Jacqueline

I can definitely see Mina being used as a nickname for Jamesina, and I assume Jacobina and Jacqueline are on the list because James, Jacob, and Jacques are the same name, even though Mina as a nickname for Jacobina and Jacqueline would be unexpected. Giacomina is also related to James, via its Italian form Giacomo. And Zhaklina’s definitely unexpected! Though I just looked it up, and it’s actually a variant of Jacqueline. I think Mina could work for Thomasina too, since, like Jamesina, it ends in ina and has that M in there. And the saintly connections there are obvious, any of the Sts. James, Jacob, and Thomas, and in fact, because James/Jacob is so well represented in this entry, I’m feeling like an argument could be made that Mina could honor Grandpa James or Uncle Jacob?

But I think Wilhelmina is the name that most people would think of as the most natural fit for Mina-as-a-nickname or variant. Wilhelmina is clunky-chic, used by such amazing namers as Natalie Hanson (though they use the nickname Willa), and Mina trims Wilhelmina down for everyday use really nicely. I wasn’t able to find any holy Wilhelminas (unless they use a different spelling?), but there are a bunch of Sts. William to choose for patron.

I could also see Mina working really well as a nickname for something like Minerva or Mary Christina, or any of the names Minnie can be used as a nickname for (for example, actress Minnie Driver was born Amelia, and Nameberry argues Minnie can be used as a nickname for any M name — so Mina too?). There’s also an Italian singer that goes by Mina, but her given name is Anna Maria. I love that!

What do you all think of Mina? Do you prefer it as a given name or a nickname, and if a nickname, what is your favorite formal name for it? Do you know any Minas, and if so what do you know of their name story?

Updated to add: How could I forget Philomena?? Such a great given name to get to the nickname Mina/Mena!

 

Sneak peek of my contribution to The Catholic Hipster Handbook!

First off, thank you all for your lovely birthday wishes!! I had a wonderful day, and discovered that Arwen‘s birthday was also yesterday! Happy birthday to her, and to all of you and your children who were born on August 23/feast of St. Rose!

Secondly, and the point of this post: the time for the release of The Catholic Hipster Handbook is drawing nigh!! It releases on September 22, but I’m pretty sure if you preorder it you’ll get it sooner than that.

You might have seen that Tommy Tighe (Mr. Catholic Hipster) gave a sneak peek of my chapter at the beginning of the month — I can’t wait for you to read the whole thing! (He was using an older draft — I’m confident that my last name will be on it when it’s published, and the typos will have been fixed. 🙏) And don’t forget all the other amazing authors who have contributed to the book, including Sister Brittany Harrison, Lisa Hendey, Arleen Spenceley, Anna Mitchell, Mary Rezac, Melissa Keating, Matt Dunn, Sarah Vabulas, Fr. Kyle Schnippel, Steven Lewis, Tiffany Walsh, Sergio Bermudez, and Leticia Ochoa Adams, and the foreword written by Jeannie Gaffigan — lots of favorites here!

And of course — the cover. I’m still dying over being in a book with him on the cover. ❤

The_Catholic_Hipster_Handbook

Thanks for bearing with my shameless plug! I guarantee you won’t be disappointed to have The Catholic Hipster Handbook in your library! 😊😘

FUS Households

Not only do I love baby names, but I love names for groups, organizations, businesses, and products as well. I know I’ve mentioned before, but when I worked in advertising we got to spend some time brainstorming name ideas for a couple of new products and services, and I loved doing it! More recently, I’ve also been able to help name a new business, as well as this project focused on women as mothers (whether they’ve given birth or not).

Anyway, I’ve always loved reading the shoutouts from alumni to others in their households in the Franciscan University of Steubenville alumni mags — the households always have the most incredible names! I discovered recently that they’re all listed online, and I had so much fun looking through them all. The women’s households are here, and the men’s are here. Such gorgeous, significant names!

If any of you went to FUS and have any insight as to how the household names are chosen, I’d love to hear about the process!