Black Friday Specials!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers!! I hope you all had a wonderful day!!

I’m offering three Black Friday Specials!! Specials No. 1 and No. 3 are for today only; Special No. 2 is for MONDAY.

FIRST
I’m offering ten Ordinary Consultations for $10 each! (Regular price: $50; consultation description here.) The first ten people who email me today with their consultation request will receive an invoice from me via email for $10 by midnight on Monday, Dec. 1.

*** Please note we’re going out of town for a family funeral super early tomorrow morning, so I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to respond to everyone who emails me today. I will let you know by Sunday night if you’re one of the first ten people. If you’re not, consider Black Friday Special No. 2 (below). ***

I can guarantee these $10 Special Consultations will be completed by New Year’s Day if you need them done by then, barring unforeseen circumstances (but I can’t promise they’ll be done before that); if yours can wait until after New Year’s, please note that. There’s no expiration date on these consultation requests.

SECOND
I’m offering ten Christmas Gift Certificates for Ordinary Consultations for $25 each! (Regular price: $50.) The first ten people who email me on ***MONDAY*** for a gift certificate will receive an invoice from me via email for $25 by midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 2. These gift certificates can be redeemed starting December 26th. I will work on them in the same way I do all consultation requests — first come, first served, and completed within three weeks of receiving the request (barring unforeseen circumstances). I will email you a gift certificate that you can print out and present to the person receiving it as a gift (I can send it to by Dec. 5 in case you want to give it as a St. Nicholas gift!). There’s no expiration date on the gift certificates.

THIRD
Anyone who buys my book today will receive a free Ordinary Consultation! (Limit one consultation per person.) My book (which, as you all know, is a book of Marian names, and is the result of nearly ten years of research, including invaluable input from all of you! Read more about it, including its amazing endorsements, here) is available at ShopMercy.org (every purchase supports the Marian Fathers) and for a reduced price at Amazon — it’s the perfect gift for anyone expecting a baby, and/or anyone who loves names (especially the names of our faith)! Please send me a screen shot of the confirmation email (I need to receive it from you today), with today’s date visible in the screen shot. These consultation requests can be redeemed starting on the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus: January 3. They’ll be done first come, first served, and completed within three weeks of receiving the request (barring unforeseen circumstances).

(Please note that I’m still accepting regular requests for consultations, which will continue to be done on a first come, first served basis; my Black Friday specials are being offered in addition to these.)

I really wanted these Sancta Nomina Black Friday Specials to bless those in need, so I’m pleased to tell you:

  • Half of today’s proceeds will go to our reader Charlotte, who I’ve posted about before — she continues to suffer from serious medical issues (she was hospitalized this past week with sepsis) and always needs help with her medical bills. (If you’d like to contribute to her directly, you can do so here; she’s grateful for any amount, no matter how small.)
  • The other half of today’s proceeds will go to my local Birthright, which does an amazing job providing needed care to moms and babies. ❤ ❤ ❤

Thank you all for helping to make this community as wonderful as it is!! I’m so grateful for you all!!


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: Name for baby girl that’s not too popular and has feminine oomph

Beth and her husband aren’t expecting a baby yet, but they hope to be soon, and need help finding a girl’s name they love!

Beth writes,

Our children’s names so far are:

Justin
Aiden
Annalise
Jeremy (with Jesus)

Names I like but my husband dislikes are:

Cora
Verity
Camille
Isobel
Honora/Nora
Majella

The last two of these are hard to pronounce for him due to his accent (he has a Mexican background). His family also prefer names that sound as they are spelled as that is how Spanish names work. So names like Caeli (pronounced “Chaylee”) are out of the picture. He is not really keen on Spanish names.

He likes:

Amelia
Hope

We prefer a Saints name or a Biblical name or a variant (like Molly for Mary). We don’t want the name to start with: A or J, as we have used those twice already. I tend to like names that are a little out of popular use (although we went with Aiden despite this).

Names we can’t use due to extended family use:

Emily
Phoebe
Claudia
Eleanor
Gianna
Kateri

Ok I think that is it for rules. I’m looking forward to your input!

I love Beth’s children’s names! Justin, Aiden, and Jeremy are so handsome for boys, and Annalise is so lovely and feminine! In fact, when compiling my list of ideas for Beth and her hubs, I was most influenced by Annalise’s name — I really wanted to find girl names that could stand up to Annalise’s feminine oomph.

Before listing my ideas, I’ll offer some thoughts on the names on Beth’s and her husbands’ lists, in case they’re helpful:

  • Cora: Beautiful name! And it rhymes with Nora, which lets me know that Beth likes that sound/rhythm
  • Verity: Such a cool virtue-type name — much less popular than Grace, for example, but still in the same category
  • Camille: Has a similar foreign-ish feel as Annalise (foreign-ish because it’s a French name that’s familiar in English, like Annalise has German/Scandinavian background but still familiar in English)
  • Isobel: I love this spelling, it takes the familiar Isabel(le) and makes it more unusual, which is always fun. However, since the “Lise” in Annalise is from Elizabeth, I would suggest crossing Isobel off the list, since it’s an Elizabeth variant (though I love that Beth included it, as it gives me a good sense of her taste)
  • Honora/Nora: I can see that Honora would be difficult for Beth’s hubby and his family, but Nora would be okay, right? (Except that hubby doesn’t care for it.)
  • Majella: I love Majella too. I wonder if the Italian variant Maiella would appeal to Beth and her husband? It’s said like my-EL-la, which I think is okay for those whose first language is Spanish?
  • Amelia: Other than it being an A name, Amelia fits right in with several of the names on Beth’s list, so I’m hopeful I can find some names that they both like!
  • Hope: Beth has Verity and Honora on her list, and her hubby has Hope — I’m feeling pretty hopeful (!) that I can offer some other virtue-type names that they might both be on board with!

Okay, all that said, you all know that I start each consultation by looking up 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. I did so for this family, looking up all the names Beth listed, but giving heavy weight toward names that I thought would go well with Annalise. Based on that, these are my ideas for them:

(1) Clara (or variants?)
Clara’s a match for Cora, and Claire’s a match for Camille and Nora, so I thought a name in this vein would be a good suggestion here. I like Clara better than Claire (or Clare) as Annalise’s sister, and Clara has a similar rhythm to Cora and Nora, but Clara and Claire/Clare are both beautiful, so they can’t go wrong! Since Annalise is so long, I did look for ways to lengthen Clara, which might be totally unnecessary if they love Clara as is, but I thought it was worthwhile mentioning Clarabelle/Claribel and Clarissa as frillier options, as well as Clairvaux, which is a similar style as Majella, but I’m thinking that Beth’s hubby and in-laws wouldn’t know what to do with Clairvaux (as many English speakers would feel the same!)! I looked up Clar- names on the babynamewizard.com site, just to see if there were any ideas I hadn’t thought of, and saw Clarity — I kind of like Clarity! It can take Clare or Clara as a nickname, and it’s a virtue-type name like Verity, Honora, and Hope. So they have some options here, if they like the Clara idea but want something more! St. Clare of Assisi is a great patron (and St. Bernard would be for a Clairvaux).

(2) Felicity
I kind of love Felicity for this family! It’s a virtue-type name like Verity and Hope (and it’s a style match for both per the BNW!), and it has the same ending as Verity too. I spotlighted in on the blog here, where I offered nickname ideas as well. St. Felicity is one of the best!

(3) Natalia
I’m not sure Beth and her hubby will love this one, as it wasn’t a huge style match like some of the others, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Natalie is a style match for Jeremy, and I kind of loved the idea of looping his style in a little. I didn’t think Natalie was quite right here, but I thought Natalia really could be. It’s a gorgeous saintly name, and I love it with Annalise. There are a couple Sts. Natalia.

(4) Violet
Like Natalia, Violet didn’t show up that much in my research (it’s a match for Camille), but when I saw it I thought it felt right. It’s got a similar rhythm to Verity and starts with the same letter, but it’s less “out there,” which Beth’s hubby might appreciate. Violets are a symbol of Our Lady — they represent her humility and used to be called Our Lady’s Modesty — so Violet can be considered a Marian name (I have it as an entry in my book of Marian names for that reason).

(5) Eve (or variants/related names?)
I was surprised at how often names like Eve showed up in my research — the name itself is listed as a style match for Honor (standing in for Honora, which doesn’t have its own entry but is listed as a variant of Honor); its variant Ava is a match for Aiden (but starts with A); its soundalike Iva is a match for Cora; and its visual relation Evelyn is a match for Amelia. I thought Eve might be a bit too spare for Annalise’s sister (though it has such an elegance that if Beth loved it, I would love it too), but I thought Eva and Evelyn could work well, or my favorite: Evelina. If they like Eve or a variant, then Our Lady would be patroness, as one of her titles is the New Eve. If they like Evelyn or Evelina, they could still choose the Eve connection for a patron, but they actually have a separate etymology as a variant of Aveline, which is related to Avila, so St. Teresa of Avila could be their daughter’s saint.

(6) Maristela
This last idea was initially inspired by the fact that Stella is a match for Nora, but I thought Stella would be difficult for Beth’s hubby and in-laws, so I thought Maristela might be a neat way to work it in in an easier way. Then I realized that Annalise is Anna + Elizabeth and Maristela is Maria + Stella and thought that was such a neat thing for sisters to share! Maybe they (and you all) will think it’s too matchy? But if Beth and her husband like it, that construction could be carried through any other daughters they might have (examples: Piamarta, Dorolinda). Maristela comes from Our Lady’s title Star of the Sea (in Latin Stella Maris).

Finally, I wanted to include some names that did quite well in my research just in case they hit just the right note, but they didn’t make my “official” list because they didn’t follow Beth’s guidelines:

  • Charlotte: A match for Annalise and Amelia, so great! But sooo popular right now. I did a post on patron saints for girls named Charlotte.
  • Sophie/Sophia: Matches for Isabel (standing in for Isobel) and Amelia, but also very popular. This is a Marian name, as Sophia means “wisdom” and one of Our Lady’s titles is Seat of Wisdom.
  • Juliet: A match for Camille and Hope, Julia’s a match for Amelia, and Julianna for Annalise — I thought Juliet was the best option of those for this family, but it starts with a J. Bah! I did a post on Juliet(te) and its patrons on the blog. (For what it’s worth, if they end up doing another J or A name, I would recommend J, since those they encounter in everyday life won’t know of Jeremy’s name, and another A name would make Justin, Aiden, and Annalise seem really A heavy. But another J name would simply feel balanced. However, if they might have more children after the next, I would definitely stay away from J and A names.)

And those are all my ideas for a daughter for Beth and her husband! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Justin, Aiden, Annalise, and Jeremy?


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!

Thanksgiving names at CatholicMom!

Happy feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary! The beautiful name Presentación refers to this very feast (and is an entry in my book as a result). ❤

My November CatholicMom.com article posted yesterday, in which I discuss those interesting Puritan names and how they’re maybe not that far off from Catholic names: Puritan-inspired Names for Catholic Babies. Perhaps you expectant mamas due this month will find some inspiration for your Thanksgiving baby!

catholicmom_screen_shot-11.20.19


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!

Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum

Have any of you seen or heard about the new PBS Kids show Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum? It premiered this week; it’s “[b]ased on the children’s book series Ordinary People Change the World by New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos … [and] will introduce kids to inspiring historical figures and the character virtues that helped them succeed.” (This was a pretty interesting article about it, which focused heavily on the need for kids to have good heroes today [secular, of course, I didn’t see any Saints in the lineup! 😀 ], and this quote was interesting: “where do you draw the line between someone whose flaws are flaws in a good person, and someone whose flaws are disqualifying for a kids’s how [sic]?” I’m glad that’s something they’re wrestling with! So far they seem to have done a good job — my kids have seen a couple of episodes and like it well enough, and I haven’t seen anything objectionable in it.)

Anyway, what made me sit up and take notice is how they said Xavier’s name: ex-ZAY-vyer! (You might remember that I have strong feelings on the pronunciation of Xavier.) I tried to find more info on the selection of Xavier as the protagonist’s name, and hoped that someone might have written about the pronunciation, but didn’t find anything — if you do, please share!


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: Ariston Blaise!

I posted a consultation for Moira and her husband back in June for their baby boy, and then I actually did a second round of ideas for them privately a few months later, when they were still having a hard time deciding on a name, but turns out they didn’t need the help because they came up with an amazing name that I’d actually never heard of, and I LOVE it! They named their little guy … Ariston Blaise!

Moira writes,

We chose the name Ariston Blaise. As you know, we had a lot of difficulty finding a name that we both loved and that met our desires for significance. This one kind of found us — we were studying our book, Encyclopedia of Catholic saints put out by Our Sunday Visitor and in going through the A’s, Mike asked me, “what do you think of this one?” It totally surprised me, as it’s not a name I would’ve guessed that he would’ve chosen. We looked him up and he is a bishop/saint, more well-known in the eastern church, who is considered on the level with Saint Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom. One of his defining characteristics that he excelled in contest against demons. That trait seemed very strong, and a neat connection to Ariston’s dad’s name, Michael. This name has the ending sound I love — vowel with an N — complements his brother’s name, Brendan, and (though it is technically Greek) has a strong, not quite but almost Irishy feel to me.

For the middle name, Blaise, I had throat surgery two months before his conception, and we feel that Ariston is such a gift from God, and is due to his intercession.

So there you have it — two names that were never in the running and we love!

Ariston Blaise!! I’ve found myself saying his name in my head many times since first reading the email, I just love how it sounds, what a cool combo! In addition to the Ariston they read about in the Encyclopedia of Catholic Saints, I also found that it’s the name of a third-century martyr. It’s not everyday I hear a saintly name that I’ve never heard of before — you know Ariston is going in my mental files for future consultations!

Congratulations to Moira and Mike and big sibs Anna, Carol, Brendan, and Natalie, and happy birthday Baby Ariston!!

IMG_3739

Ariston Blaise


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: Rosemary Ruth!

I did a consultation for Janelle and her husband a few years ago — one which I’ve referred to many times since, and I can see from my site traffic that it continues to be one of interest to you all! They were looking (ideally) for a first+middle combo that included the name of a theologian plus having a science/nature reference, and they had a pattern in their older children of same first+middle initials, so there were a lot of rules/parameters/hopes to keep in mind — it was so fun to work on! And the name they ended up choosing is fantastic.

Janelle emailed me recently to let me know they’ve since had another baby! Their new little lady has a name that’s just as great and meaningful as her big siblings’ names … Rosemary Ruth!

Janelle writes,

Rosemary Ruth follows our naming rules of nature reference, Bible name or faith meaning, and alliterative first/middle. Rosemary (and various names that can be nn Rosie) has been rising in popularity but it still fits with the generational association of the other girls. We call her Rosie or Rosaroo. The other kids call her Gherkin.”

(Gherkin!! 😂 ❤ )

I appreciate that her name reminds me of my grandmother Marie, who lived a long and faithful life worthy of remembering and emulating, and my mother and my husband’s aunt, whose middle names are also Ruth.”

Isn’t Rosemary Ruth a fantastic combo? I love how it checks off all their boxes, and has family significance as well. Great job!

Congratulations to Janelle and her hubs and big sibs Elanor, Peter, Inessa, and Andrew, and happy birthday Baby Rosemary!!

20190929_123540

Rosemary Ruth


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!

The fascinating phenomenon of “battle babies”

Happy Veterans’ Day! Thank you to all those who have served our country, including both my grandfathers, several uncles, a cousin, and friends! ❤️🗽🇺🇸

We’ve talked a lot on here about different ways of honoring people (Jesus and Mary, the saints, and family/other loved ones) and the faith in general (through nods to prayers, words, and objects) in our babies’ names, and there have been some pretty out-there ideas (which you know I love!). I really love what I think of as “possibility thinking” — there are certainly rules that need to be followed, but there are a whole lot of rules that people *think* need to be followed, that don’t, and as a result they box themselves into these really limiting mindsets, and one of my favorite things is helping parents to see that there’s so much more freedom than they realize!

Anyway, I’m totally taken with this article that one of you readers sent me today: ‘I was named after a World War One battle.’ It’s a fascinating article!! I know we have a lot of history buffs here, so maybe some of you already knew about the practice of honoring relatives who fought in various battles by giving babies the names (or variations of the names) of those battles, but this was all new to me.

Jessamy Carlson, a historian and archivist at the National Archives, says the naming of children after battles was a way of honouring the dead and for families to keep a “personal, tangible connection” with a lost husband, father or relative.

She says it also shows the “extent to which war became part of everyday life”.

“You have an experience that is all pervasive. You have women whose husbands are away, dying far from home – and naming their children in this commemorative way is a way of holding them close,” says Ms Carlson.”

It’s such a great (albeit sobering) example of possibility thinking! Real-life examples offered in the article included:

Passchendaele (which was mentioned the most in the article — I had to look it up because I had no idea how to pronounce it! It’s like POSS-en-doll-la)
Somme
Arras
Cambrai
Verdun (“… after the battle in France. Verdun became the single-most used battle names” and was the name of actor Richard Burton’s brother)
Dardanelles
Ypres
Jutland
Vimy Ridge
Zeppelina
Belgium
Frances (after France)
Calais
Arras
Mons
Somme
Delville Wood

Interestingly, the “names tended to be given to girls rather than boys and the battle names were feminised, such as Sommeria, Arrasina, Verdunia, Monsalene and Dardanella.” And I love that as “the war ended, there was another flurry of names such as Peace, Poppy, Armistice and Victory.”

With these names given in honor of relatives who fought and died in these battles, it occurs to me that it wasn’t merely an interesting/unusual/offbeat way of naming a baby after someone, but it was a way of honoring this *particular part* of the person — his courage and ultimate sacrifice. It wasn’t just naming a baby after Grandpa Joe, but naming a baby after the courage and selflessness Grandpa Joe demonstrated in this specific instance. A Catholic example of this way of thinking is how many of us have devotions to specific titles of Mary, and name our babies in honor of those titles, even though they all refer to the same person. Or even how we’re drawn to particular saints, and want to name our babies after them.

I’d love to hear any insights or reactions you have to this article, as well as any other parallels you can draw between battle naming and Catholic naming! Also, do you know anyone who has any of these battle names? I’d love to hear their stories!


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!