Book reviews, radio appearance, naming aborted babies

Happy Friday! I never appreciate Fridays as much as I do when school is in session, whew!

My most recent column at CatholicMom is a review of the first two books in the Sister Mary Baruch series by Fr. Jacob Restrick, OP. I loved them! And beyond the story itself — the NAMES!! I mean, the main character is given the religious name Sr. Mary Baruch of the Advent Heart, which has loads of meaning for that character. Loooooove.

Speaking of book reviews, if any of you who have read my book are able to leave a review on Amazon, I would be most grateful! (Thank you to those who have left reviews already! I’m so grateful for each one!)

I was on Jon Leonetti’s morning radio show a couple weeks ago, and wanted to share the link for anyone who didn’t listen in: go to Jon’s show’s page on the Iowa Catholic Radio site, then scroll through his episodes to the September 17 episode — my bit starts at the 45:54 minute mark. I’d love to know what you think!

Finally, several years ago, back when the horrifying undercover Planned Parenthood videos were being released, I wrote about giving names to aborted babies, which included a discussion of why this might be an important to thing to do, and included a link to the 50 Million Names web site, “a grassroots campaign to collect names for the now-more-than 50,000,000 children aborted in our country.” My post also linked to a Students for Life post in which the name Emmett was originally suggested as the name by which the baby boy in one of the Planned Parenthood videos from the Center for Medical Progress could be known (instead of “Eleven Six,” which is how he had been being referred, for his age at the time of the abortion): “This baby deserves a name, deserves dignity that is rightly afforded him as a member of the human race.” The name Emmett was then expanded to include a second baby portrayed in another of the videos: “Call them Emmett, for they may very well be the catalysts to end abortion in our nation, just like Emmett Till.” I loved this idea — I loved having something concrete and dignity-affirming to do for all the babies whose lives were and continue to be taken from them.

There’s a new effort to do the same thing for the babies whose bodies were recently found at the home of abortionist George Klopfer, spearheaded by Priests for Life: Name the Aborted Babies Found in Illinois. One of you readers sent the link to me, thinking, rightly, that it would be a good one to share here on the blog, and normally I’d do so without reservation. Certainly, the intention is such a good one! But I more recently read that an equally ardent pro-lifer as myself thinks doing so is abhorrent, for reasons that I never considered. In a post entitled, “Fr. Pavone cashes in on dead babies again,” one of my favorite bloggers/authors, Simcha Fisher, writes:

Naming is an act either of authority, or of ownership — the act of a parent, or of an owner. You don’t get to name a baby unless you’re the parent; and you don’t get to name anything else unless it’s something that can be owned. So what does this mean, for strangers to name unborn babies they’ve never met, who do have parents? Who gave them that right?

While I don’t always agree with Simcha’s conclusions in the many important things she writes about, I often find her position helpful as I seek to clarify my own. I’ve been thinking about her post since I read it, and I’m still not sure where I land — I know she doesn’t care for Fr. Pavone (an understatement, from other things I’ve read by her about him), and the fact that he’s been rebuked by his bishop in the past for actions “not consistent with the beliefs of the Catholic Church” is so important to know. That said, I’d be interested to know if Simcha’s belief about naming aborted babies would be the same if Fr. Pavone wasn’t involved? Is it possible her dislike of him is clouding her judgment regarding this particular issue? Maybe not! I’m just not sure what I think yet. What say you?

And on that note (oh dear!), I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Helena Mary!

I posted a consultation for Kara three years ago, and the resulting birth announcement for her baby boy, and I’m thrilled to share that she’s had another baby — the gorgeously named Helena Mary!

Kara writes,

Hi! You did a consultation for us 3 years ago and we ended up with Damien Edmund. We were always going to name a second daughter Helena and I had a baby girl on Saturday. We can’t believe God gave us our Helena Mary on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross! Isn’t that perfect?!

Perfect indeed!! For those who aren’t familiar, St. Helena is credited with finding the True Cross in the fourth century, and the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross celebrates that discovery! Amazing!

Congratulations to Kara and her husband and big siblings Rosamond, Matthias, Simeon, and Damien, and happy birthday Baby Helena!!

Screenshot_20190925_150740

Helena Mary


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Solan Peter and Magdalen Anne!

One of you wonderful readers, Liz, let me know that she recently gave birth to twins (!) and said it was okay to share their names with all of you! She had a boy and a girl and named them the incredible names … Solan Peter “Solly” and Magdalen Anne “Maggie”!

Liz writes,

I’ve never done a consultation with you, but I love your blog and it’s where I’ve always gone for name inspiration for our babies. We just welcomed our twins and I wanted to share their names with you! Naming twins wasn’t easy and I didn’t find many good resources for Catholic twin names, especially boy/girl twins. Plus, my husband is not very into the name game. He flat out told me this time around that he likes what I choose anyway 😂. So I’m hoping I can help other mamas.

My confirmation saint is Mary Magdalene and I’ve been in love with the name Magdalen “Maggie” for a long time. But, with our first two babies being boys I’ve had little opportunity to use it. So I was pretty set on that and started there. But finding boy names to go with it proved a little challenging.

My rules were either starting with an M or similarly ending with an N. Had to be a saint name and if not possible very Catholic meaning. Also, I’m a stickler for a full name with a good nickname. I wanted our twins’ names to make sense together, but didn’t want them to be too matchy.

For a while we were seriously considering Maximilian (one of my favorite saints!), but I just couldn’t get over Max feeling like a dog name. So, as often happens we wound up back at one of the first names I liked, Solan (for Blessed Solanus Casey).

Big brothers’ names are:

Bennett James “Ben” (Saint Benedict and James is daddy’s name)
Leander Charles “Leo” (Saint Leander of Seville and Charles is after my father)

Twins’ names are:

Solan Peter “Solly” and
Magdalen Anne “Maggie”

Middle names are after my husband’s father and my husband’s grandmothers both had the middle name Ann. We originally were going to do Joy after the grandmother who had lost twins of her own many years ago, but wanted to honor the other grandmother when we realized the babies would be born [on] the anniversary of her passing. It wasn’t until then we realized both grandmothers’ middle names were Ann, so it was perfect!

Hope you enjoyed our naming story (I shortened it a little 😂)! Thank you for doing your blog, it is a huge help and blessing! Plus, I always love a good name story … PS Our twins were delivered early due to our son having growth concerns and everyone was pretty certain he would need NICU time because he was expected to be less than 4 lbs. But we prayed hard up until the day they were delivered at 36 weeks and he was born at 4 lbs 2 oz and screaming loud! His sister was 5 lbs 7 oz. Neither baby has needed any NICU time and we are headed home after a normal hospital stay. Blessed Solanus Casey was praying for us!

Isn’t this a wonderful story??!! I LOVE the names Liz and her hubby gave their twins, AND the names of their older boys as well! And I love that Bl. Solanus is a part of their story!!

Thank you so much to Liz for sharing all this! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Solly and Maggie!!

solan&magdalen

Solan Peter “Solly” and Magdalen Anne “Maggie”

Birth announcement: Genevieve Immaculee Grace!

Dear Genie from Barefoot Abbey (web site and Instagram) is a longtime reader for whom I posted two consultations for two different babies over the last few years (here and here), and a birth announcement for her first baby girl after five boys three years ago. I’m delighted to announce that she’s had her second baby girl — a sweet little lady named … Genevieve Immaculee Grace!

Genie writes,

Our little Sweet Pea, surprise baby girl was born on March 23rd … accidentally unassisted at home after a wild quick labor. I though it was my old back injury flaring up early in the morning but a couple hours later when I got up to take a shower it was baby time instead. I yelled for my husband and he got to the bathroom just in time to catch her. She was a planned homebirth but our third accidentally unassisted birth. 🤷‍♀️ (1 in the hospital & 2 at home) My husband and I are good catchers so at least we’ve got that going for us. 😂 “

(Ohmygoodness!!)

We named her Genevieve Immaculee Grace after the saints, with Immaculee for Our Lady of Fatima and Grace for the Blessed Mother as Mediatrix of all Graces. Her older sister’s patroness is Our Lady of Lourdes with Elizabeth as her second Marian name.

Even though my legal name is not Genevieve, my husband really liked it because of its similarity to mine. And it’s hard to go wrong with the saint who protected Paris from Attila the Hun by organizing a prayer and fasting campaign. St. Grace of Saragossa was also a providential patroness for her intercession with our rocky nursing journey through lip ties and poor latches. St. Grace was a 4th century saint that suffer a similar fate as St. Agatha — martyrdom by mastectomy. 😬

All the Bairns are smitten with her and have taken to calling her Evie Grace and Gigi. My favorite nickname for her though is Moon Pie, because she has the sweetest, little round moon face.”

Genevieve Immaculee Grace is such a stunning name! I love all the layers of meaning — I love how it connects her to her mother (Genie) and her Mother (Mary) and some great saints as well!

Congratulations to Genie and her husband big sibs Malachi, Noah, Liam, Aelred (with Jesus), Henry, Moira, and George, and happy birthday Baby Genevieve!!

Genevieve Immaculee Grace with her big brothers and sister ❤


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Catch me on the radio tomorrow morning!

You might remember that I was on the radio show Jon Leonetti in the Morning on Iowa Catholic Radio (1150am, 88.5fm and 94.5fm) last year, and I’ll be on with him again tomorrow morning! Tune in at 7:45am central time (8:45am eastern) to hear us chatting about the baby naming process! Even if you’re not in Iowa, you can tune in online — I hope some of you can listen and let me know how I did! (And keep the ideas for Kortnee’s baby girl coming!)


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Studio Senn’s little lady!

I’m so excited to post a consultation for one of my favorite artists: Kortnee at Studio Senn (web site and Instagram)!! I’ve posted about her and her beautiful things before, so much so that she has her own tag here on the blog! I was so excited when she emailed me for help with naming her baby girl, little sister to two big brothers!

Kortnee writes,

I am so excited to ask your expertise in suggestions for naming this new baby! We recently found out the baby we are expecting in early January is a girl! We had a few boy names picked out but no girl names that we are in love with or feel fit with our current naming style.

Current kiddos:

Fulton Douglas: Named after Ven. Fulton Sheen (we have a great love for this man) and my FIL’s first name.

Becket Raymond: Named after Saint Thomas Becket (we thought he was a great intercessor for religious freedom in this day and age) and both my Dad and Grandpa have Raymond as their middle name.”

I looooove their style of naming!!

I am pretty picky about girl names unfortunately and am feeling really discouraged in the naming department. I think would be fun to continue our current trend of Surnames but I’m not strict about it. I am not a huge fan of places as names (like Sienna, Avila, etc) or most well known Saint names/more common names (Theresa, Mary, Catherine, etc). However, I really want to have a Saint name or Saint surname or a derivative of a Saint for the first name (or blessed). I like the idea of her having a nickname but didn’t really give any to our boys.

We would like the middle name to be Fae. My grandma’s middle name is Mae, my mom’s is Kae and mine is Rae so I thought it would be fun to continue the odd tradition. And I’ve always thought Fa(y)e was a pretty name. We also need her name to work with our last name (Senn), so with single syllable middle and last names I don’t think she can have a single syllable first name.

Names I currently like for a girl:
Lucia (Lucy)
Connelly (after Bl. Cornelia Connelly)
Peregrine (nn Peren)
Greer (looove this one but husband not the biggest fan (yet!) and not sure it goes well with Fae Senn)
Scarlett (I’ve read your connection to the Precious Blood but wondering if there is any Saintly connection (so she can have a feast/name day)?)

Names my Husband likes (although he usually isn’t the one to suggest names):
Lydia
Also, Peregrine!

Names I like but can’t imagine naming our child or has already been used by someone close to us:
Vivian
Josephine
Edith (Edie)
Juniper (June)
Cora
Perpetua (Poppy or Pippa)

Names I like but don’t go well with Fae Senn (or too many F’s for me)
Felicity
Fiona
Wren
Quinn

Looking forward to hearing all of your suggestions!

This was so much fun to work on! Even though Kortnee said it’s not strictly necessary to continue the surname theme, I agree with her that it would be so cool to continue it, so I focused almost exclusively on finding ideas that fit the surname style.

I love that Fae will be this baby girl’s middle name! What a cool connection to Kortnee’s grandmother, mother, and herself!

Of the names on the list of those Kortnee and her husband like for a girl:

— I love Lucia and Lucy! So sweet!
— I’d never heard of Ven. Cornelia Connelly — what a great connection! Connelly’s a cool name! (And she even has her own Tiny Saint!)
— Peregrine nn Peren was such a surprise to me! I love the meaning of Peregrine, and Peren is a fun nickname! It reminds me of Perrin, which is an old nickname for Pierre (Peter) — that would also be an interesting name to consider.
— Greer is one of my favorites as well! I love it! Greer Fae Senn is a lot of single syllables, but that doesn’t have to be a deal breaker — there are loads of famous people with one syllable first and last names, and they’re fine! Examples include Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and others. The one-syllable middle name makes it extra, but few people know others’ middle names as they go through life, so most of the time she’d been Greer Senn or Greer F. Senn, neither of which are bad at all.
— Scarlett is a great name, and there is a feast of the Most Precious Blood: July 1 — I wonder if that makes the name feel more doable?
— Felicity, Fiona, Wren, and Quinn were great additions to the list of names I wanted to include as inspiration in my research. I actually had a thought about Quinn — I’ve seen it used as a nickname for Aquinas, maybe Kortnee would like to include Aquinas on their list of possibilities?

As for her hubby’s list, I’m interested that Kortnee’s Lucia/Lucy and hubby’s Lydia are not that far off from each other, and also that they both like Peregrine! I’m tempted to say that must be the name! It’s such a big deal when both parents like the same name! However, I’m happy to continue with new ideas! 😀

I looked up Kortnee’s boys’ names and the names she and her hubby like, including the ones they can’t use, in the Baby Name Wizard book as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I also looked through the list of English martyrs, as I’ve often found them to be a good source of saintly surnames. And I combed through my own mental files and some particular consultations I’ve done in the past that I thought might provide some good ideas, including:

https://sanctanomina.net/2017/06/19/baby-name-consultation-baby-no-9-needs-a-name-thats-not-generally-popular-nor-catholic-popular-and-a-few-other-rules/

https://sanctanomina.net/2016/08/09/celebrity-guest-lindsay-from-my-child-i-love-you/

Based on all that, these are my ideas for this baby girl:

(1) Talbot
I love the story of Ven. Matt Talbot, and Lindsay from My Child I Love You (the second link above) used his last name in one of her daughter’s name, but the real reason I was convinced to put it on the list is because Kortnee said she might like to use a nickname and Talbot nicknames so easily to the sweet Tally/Tali.

(2) Cabrini
I’ve suggested Cabrini to a few parents in the past — I think it’s such a fun name to say and Mother Cabrini is a great saint.

(3) Vianney
Both of the families I linked to above have daughters named Vianney — it’s a gorgeous name that has a very feminine feel, even though it’s the last name of a male saint.

(4) Goretti
Goretti might be the perfect idea for this family, since I think that Greer can be used as a nickname for it, not only because of the letters involved, but also because both Goretti and Greer are derived from Gregory! I love St. Maria Goretti.

(5) Gibson
One of the English martyrs is Bl. William Gibson, and Gibson always makes me think of the Gibson Girl, which I think adds a really nice touch of femininity to the name.

(6) Holland
I know a little girl named Holland, which I love because it’s kind of like Holly but with a twist — I love when names feel familiar and unexpected at the same time. Holly can be a nickname, which is perfect for the Christmas season! Also, one of the English martys is Bl. Thomas Holland, whose feast is Dec. 22 — right near Kortnee’s due date.

(7) Rowan
Fulton, Connelly, Greer, Fiona, and Quinn all have Irish connections, so when I saw Rowan pop up in my research as similar in style to Fiona and Quinn, I thought it might be perfect! Though it has decent usage as a first name, it’s also a surname. I love the nickname Ro! And St. Rowan (or Ruadhán) is one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland, and their feast day is January 6 — right near Kortnee’s due date!

(8) Casey or Carey
Bl. Solanus Casey is one of my favorites, and I love the name Casey! Then I found Bl. John Carey in the list of English martyrs, and I thought Carey was great too.

(9) Ruby
Ruby was inspired both by its similarity to Scarlett color-wise, and I also did a spotlight on Ruby a while ago in which I connected it to the Precious Blood, as well as Jesus’ Passion and Death, and also the tongues of fire the Holy Spirit took the form of when He descended on the apostles, which gives feast days of July 1 (as noted above for Scarlett), Holy Thursday or Good Friday, and Pentecost. Ruby is so sweet! It could also work great as a nickname for something, though I haven’t come up with anything brilliant for Kortnee (I gave a few ideas in that Ruby spotlight, but nothing surnamey. I keep thinking Robertson or Robinson, but those don’t feel right!)

(10) Molly
My last idea isn’t a surname, but Molly is a style match for Lucy and Ruby, and I’ve seen it used at least once in honor of St. Gianna because of its similarity to her last name, Molla. So maybe it could be perfect?

And those are all my ideas! What do all you think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Fulton and Becket?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

We have winners!

Congratulations to the winners of the giveaway for the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary: Annie (IG), Betsy (blog), and Cecilia (FB)! And thank you to you all for sharing the beautiful Marian names you have/love/bestowed/heard in real life — I love them all!! Have a great weekend!!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!