Baby name consultation: Middle name for baby boy

My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org, and should be available on Amazon soon!


Gabrielle and her husband are expecting their third born baby and second boy! This little guy joins big sibs:

Catherine Immaculee (“I favored Catherine for our Loo (her nonsense nickname!), because it is strong (regal, feminine, dignified), I really admire and feel some shared attributes with Kate Middleton, and Catherine of Siena is such a bad-ass saint we would love to see our daughter imitate in any ways she can. The name is understandable in our culture and several others, and nicknameable in several directions as she chooses. When I think of her name, I think “power and grace”. Immaculee is because we love Mary and want all of Mary’s blessings and graces to fill her life, plus I got to have a bath in the Lourdes spring while I was pregnant with her, so she is marked with a Lourdes blessing.”)

John Francis (“[My husband] has had a call on his life from John the Baptist ever since I’ve known him. John the Baptist so clearly has his number (and his back), that we had to dedicate our first son to him. [Hubby’s] elderly friend, Johnny’s godfather, foretold Johnny’s full name before [hubby] even knew he was marrying me. The Francis part was a little random, except that’s what the godfather picked, and it sounds good. We love St. Francis of Assisi and Francis Xavier, and our allegiance to the Church inspires us to honor the Pope. I also like John for the fact that it’s traditional, also regal, and sounds strong.”)

Don’t you just love both of those names?! I love Catherine Immaculee (love love love that they used Immaculee!) and John Francis—such strong, handsome, saintly names!

Gabrielle continues,

So, baby #3. We lost two in early pregnancy just before #3, and now this guy is healthy and due in April! Ever since I read about Maximilian Kolbe 3 or 4 years ago, I’ve been so moved by his testimony and martyrdom, and have loved learning more about his life. He has prayed for me, and taught me so much about who Mary is and how to relate to her (so important cause we’re pretty recent converts!). So the baby’s name is going to be Maximilian, cause I just love St. Maximilian so much, [hubby] likes him too, and likes the name a lot anyway (especially the X!). I regret that we probably can’t use his full name in everyday use (we’d use Max, but welcome your suggestions for other derivations and nicknames!), but I’m still super excited about it. 

FWIW, we named our miscarriage babies Jude and Kolbe. We didn’t know their genders.

For middle names, we most want to have a name in Maximilian’s spirit (overtly, effusively Marian), or Polish-y, or in some other way matching the first name. Maria/Marie seems like the most obvious choice … Our name-interested friend has suggested Josemaria, Reginald (for a Regina derivation), Rex (which is hilarious: Catherine, now 4, heard us bouncing these ideas around and came up with Max Reximilian!) I like Faustus (kind of Faustina-ish). I just love Marius, but it doesn’t get us out of [problematic initials] territory. Right now [hubby] is favoring Perpetua (he just likes St. Perpetua, and her name, and she’s another martyr), Raphael, who has often been a patron for our marriage, very appropriate, and John Paul, because we love him, and he and Maximilian are like brothers. I like Karol better, for honoring St. JPII. John Paul makes too many names, and we already have our John, but still, it’s a good idea. We’d probably use Immaculee, or Immaculate, or Immaculata, if we hadn’t already blown it on Catherine, but God knows what need she’ll have of it in her life. [We’ve also considered Benedict], and it now occurs to me that we could use Benedicta, turning it super Marian, [and helping with flow with last name]. Benedict is good too. We could use just straight Kolbe too, but it would be kind of wasting an opportunity.

So you see we have plenty of ideas, we just can’t figure out which is best, which one to really believe in, and agree on, and, for myself at least, want to ease any awkwardness in the flow of his name, and also compensate for leaving him out of the “British Royals” trend of our first two kids, which I’ve enjoyed while it lasted. We welcome all new suggestions from you or an evaluation of some of our own ideas. Thanks for taking the time!

I really enjoyed muddling through all of this! Okay, so first off, Gabrielle wondered about possible alternative nicknames for Maximilian. I’ve often suggested Miles or Milo as nickname possibilities for it, which I’d seen somewhere ages ago and I loved so much. That idea actually ties in quite nicely with their desire to have a middle name “in Maximilian’s spirit (overtly, effusively Marian)” (I love that!), since Miles/Myles and Milo have traditional usage in Ireland as anglicizations for the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “devotee of the Virgin Mary.”

They could also possibly use Ian as a nickname, though I don’t know if they would want people hearing John and Ian on an everyday basis, since Ian is a variant of John (even though technically for them it wouldn’t be a variant of John, but rather a truncation of Maximilian).

As for middles, of course Maria was my first thought! Maximilian Maria is St. Max through and through. I also think Marie, Marius (which Gabrielle already said she “just love[s]”), and even just Mary are great ideas.

I admit I was really surprised that they’re considering Perpetua and Benedicta, and would have considered Immaculee/Immaculate/Immaculata if they hadn’t already used it — using girl names on boys is just so unusual, and though we have strong precedence with the Mary variants, other girl names on boys are very rare indeed! Although I did see a religious brother take Therese as part of his religious name, which I thought was pretty amazing. Despite the fact that I really wish the tradition of giving Mary names to boys would come back, and I love every example I see of it, I admit that I’d be hesitant to do so with my boys—I’d feel much more comfortable with them making that decision for themselves at Confirmation, for example, or when taking a religious name. So I like the idea of Benedictus rather than Benedicta, if they wanted to do something more than Benedict. Maybe Perpetuus instead of Perpetua; Immaculatus instead of Immaculata. But at the same time, I really love that we have the grounding of our faith and the tradition of using boy names on girls and girl names on boys with the appropriate mindset. So if they ended up using Perpetua/Benedicta/Immaculata, I’d be pretty impressed with their faith and boldness.

Josemaria’s a neat idea, so heavy hitting. Reginald with Regina in mind is great; Rex is cool though I agree maybe a little X heavy with Maximilian (Max Reximilian is hilarious!), and also it makes me think of Jesus rather than Mary (which is certainly not problematic at all! Only, if they want a very Marian name, I’m not sure Rex is quite right). Faustus made me think of Faustinus, which is closer to Faustina.

I love Raphael and his connection to their marriage. I’d actually had Karol in mind for them when I started reading Gabrielle’s email, before I even got to the John Paul/Karol part — I think Maximilian Karol would be amazing. BUT they might like even better the idea of Maximilian Charles! Karol is the Polish version of Charles, and Charles is a British Royal name, so in my mind, Maximilian Charles would fall in nicely with Catherine Immaculee and John Francis in the sense that all of them would have one super Catholic name and one British Royal name (with even the British Royal name being super saintly). I also like how the MIL from Maximilian paired with the ES of Charles makes Miles—it makes the idea of Miles as a nickname even more understandable, if they decided they liked the idea of Miles as a nickname.

So out of the ideas already discussed, I think Maximilian Charles is my favorite, followed by Maximilian Karol, Maximilian Maria/Marius, and Maximilian Raphael, and I love both Max and Miles as nicknames. But all of their ideas are so beautifully faith-filled that their boy will have an incredible name, no matter which of these they choose.

I did do some research for Gabrielle and her hubs to see if I could come up with some more ideas that would fit their hopes for a Marian or Polish-y middle in Maximilian’s spirit. At first I was gung-ho on Franciszek—the Polish form of Francis, and the name of the man whose place St. Max took in Auschwitz; the fact that St. Max was a Conventual Franciscan made the name seem extra perfect to me. But then I remember that John’s middle name is Francis! Ah well. But I have several more ideas that they might like:

(1) Raymond
Raymond was St. Max’s birth name, and in his bio as presented on this site was a letter he wrote to his mom from the concentration camp, which he signed “Raymond,” even though he was known as Maximilian to everyone else.

(2) Assunto/Assundo
St. Maximilian died on August 14, and was cremated on the 15th — the Feast of the Assumption. Assunto and Assundo are both male variants of Assumpta/Assunta, which is of course in honor of the Assumption of Our Lady.

(3) Clement
St. Faustina always makes me think of Divine Mercy, as does St. John Paul II, and Clement means “merciful.” Additionally, it’s a Marian name, as Our Lady is described as “clement” in the Hail Holy Queen.

(4) Gilmary
I think this might be one of the closest non-M Marian names — like Miles-for-Maolmhuire I mentioned above, Gilmary (and its more common variant Gilmore) is an anglicization of the old Irish name Gillamhuire, which means “servant of the Virgin Mary.” Other variants include Kilmary and Kilmurray. This is an interesting and unusual way to get an explicitly Marian name; it also gets closer (though of course not totally) to the British Royals feel of Catherine and John — Ireland is closer to England than Poland, after all! 😀

(5) Lolek
Lolek was the nickname St. JP went by as a boy — it’s a diminutive of Karol — and I’ve seen some families use it as a first name and a middle name for their boys.

(6) Louis
What about Louis? St. Louis de Monfort is known for his Marian devotion, and his writings had a significant influence on St. JP2 — he even took his motto from St. Louis’ Consecration to Our Lady (Totus tuus=Totally yours). It’s also a British Royal name!

(7) Pio
Pio is the masculine version of pia, which is also an adjective given to Our Lady in the Latin version of the Hail Holy Queen (Salve Regina) — “o clemens, o pia, o dulcis, Virgo Maria.” Of course, it also calls St. Pio to mind as well. I really like the rhythm of a long first name with a short middle; Maximilian Pio has a nice flow I think.

(8) Leo
Speaking of short, three-letter middles that rhyme with Pio, they might also like to consider Leo! Pope Leo XIII was called the Pope of the Rosary because of his love for it and Our Lady, and his promotion of the rosary. I definitely think that fits in with Maximilian’s spirit. Like with Pio, I think Maximilian Leo sounds quite nice. Since they like the idea of something Polish-y, they might also like to consider the Polish variant Lew, which I believe is said like LEF.

(9) Royce
Finally, speaking of the rosary, Royce derives from the name Rose, which is the origin of “rosary” (a crown of roses). It’s an unusual choice for sure, and isn’t obviously faithy, but the Rose connection makes it Marian. Maximilian Royce is pretty handsome.

And those are all my ideas for Gabrielle and her husband! What do you all think? What middle name(s) would you suggest for Catherine and John’s little brother Maximilian?

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12 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Middle name for baby boy

  1. I think it makes sense to use a feminine middle name, if they want to honor Our Lady. The best way would be Maximilian Maria, just like St. Max!
    Other ideas (either feminine or masculine): Marion, Marin, Rosevelt, Rosario, Rosaire, Rosen, Rosan, Carmel, Carmine, Magnus, Quinn (because it’s similar to Queen) or even Faith or Alba (means white).
    Another idea is Ruby, for the red crown of martyrdom that Mary presented to St. Maximilian. Maximilian Ruby sounds like a boy name to me, even with a feminine middle.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on your little boy! I think that with siblings Catherine Immaculee and John Francis, little Maximilian might enjoy a more common middle name. Maximilian Joseph or Peter might work nicely.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Liked by 1 person

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