I’m thrilled today to post a consultation for one of my favorite families, for whom I’ve done three previous consultations (!) (here, here, and here) and three birth announcements (!) (here, here, and here) — and they’re expecting another baby! Josh and Mari are having another girl — their sixth! — a baby sister for:
Amelia Clare (“Millie”)
Anne-Catherine Gianna (“Gianna” or “Gigi”)
Charles Michael (“Charlie”)
Anessa Corinne (“Nessa” or “Nessie”)
As you can see, they have an A-C theme for girls, and they’ve done such a lovely job with picking beautiful names in the theme!
“We learned on Christmas Day that we are expecting baby #9, a girl, in late August, which will give us three kids with August birthdays. We’d like to enlist your help again with a name. As may recall we have an A-C theme going with our girls, and we want to stick to that.
Our top contender right now is Adrienne Cecilia. Here are some first names we are considering:
Adelaide (previously vetoed for Anessa, although I like it)
Abigail (nice name, although our best friends have an Abigail)
We’d like some other middle name ideas too, but I think it would be tough to knock out Cecilia unless we pick a first name that doesn’t go well with it.”
I love their top contender of Adrienne Cecilia — it’s a beautiful combo that has two great saintly connections and a pleasing rhythm. Wonderful! Adelaide, Abigail, Adeline, and Angeline are also great options; of those, I’d probably cross off Abigail because of their best friends’ daughter, and I would give Angeline an edge because of it being Mari’s middle name.
Since the desire for an A name is the primary concern for this family, I didn’t do my usual research to find names that match their style in the Baby Name Wizard; rather, I looked through the A section of a couple of my name books, including the book of Marian baby names that I wrote. Some of these might be too Spanish or Italian for their family, but I actually didn’t include the really out-there ones, only the ones that I could see Josh and Mari thinking were okay. First though, I went through our past emails to be sure I wasn’t suggesting names I’ve already suggested. They were:
Alice, Alicia, Adelaide,* Aleydis
Adeline,* Adele, Adelia
Amata, Amanda, Amy/Aimee
Agnes* (as Anessa)
Augusta (which was going to be one of my top suggestions this time, because of the baby being due in August!)
Cara, Carine/Carina, Caritas
Carmel, Carmela/Carmella, Carmen
Christina, Christine, Christiane
(the asterisks denote names that they’ve used or considered)
And two other names they said they’d considered in the past were Anneliese and Charity.
I love seeing all these names listed here like this — what a handy reference for them for this baby, and even going forward should they be blessed with another daughter in the future! Here are my new A-name ideas for them:
Starting right away with a super-Italian name, Addolorata is the Italian variant of Dolores and, like Dolores, refers to Our Lady of Sorrows. One of the things I love about Addolorata for this family is that it can take the sweet and accessible nickname Addy, like Adelaide and Adeline from the list of names they’re currently considering.
Alma is Marian because of Our Lady’s title Alma Redemptoris Mater, but its translation is tricky. This is what I wrote in my book:
“[It] has been translated into English in several ways by different authors, depending on their intended poetic effect: ‘Mother of Christ,’ by Fr. Edward Caswall; ‘Kindly Mother of the Redeemer,’ by John Henry Cardinal Newman; ‘Sweet Mother of Our Saviour Blest,’ by John Wallace; ‘Maiden! Mother of Him Who redeemed us,’ by John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, Third Marquess of Bute; and ‘gentle, loving bounteous mother,’ by Thomas Sheehan. These translations are influenced by the various translations of the term alma itself: it is said to be a Hebrew word meaning ‘young woman’ (married as well as unmarried); it can also come from the Latin almus, meaning ‘nourishing,’ and the Spanish alma, which means ‘soul.’”
It’s a lovely, old-feeling name, and the Marian connection is pretty great!
Araceli is the Spanish form of the Marian title Ara Caeli (or Coeli): “Altar of Heaven” — what a beautiful meaning, and I love how Araceli sounds, so feminine and lovely! I posted a birth announcement for a family who gave the name Araceli to their daughter a while ago, which gives a nice real-life example of the name.
This name, of course, refers to the Assumption, and behindthename.com says it’s “used especially in Ireland.” How interesting! Another interesting tidbit is that the Italian Assunta has often been “translated” as Susan when Italian immigrants came to this country, therefore I don’t think there’s any reason they can’t use something like Susie as a nickname for Assumpta. I like the idea of Susie with Millie, Gianna/Gigi, and Nessa/Nessie as a non-A nickname.
(5) Aurea or Aurelia
I’d previously suggested Aurora, but not Aurea or Aurelia. Aurea is Latin for “golden,” which is a gorgeous meaning, and can be Marian in a few different ways: the golden crown Our Lady’s often depicted wearing; the golden roses she had on her feet at Lourdes; her title of Golden Rose, Queen of Ireland; and the fact that her heart appeared golden during some of her apparitions at Beauraing. Aurelia means the same, and is perhaps a bit more familiar. Auri and Ria are possible nicknames for both Aurea and Aurelia, as is Goldie! (Swistle posted a while ago about a family with a daughter named Aurelia that they call Goldie!)
Previously, I’d suggested Ava, but Ave is a little different: it’s said like AH-vay, like Ave Maria, and is an entry in my book because of how similar it is to Ava, and because of this particular verse in the hymn Ave Maris Stella (“Hail, Star of the Sea”):
O! By Gabriel’s Ave,
Uttered long ao,
Eva’s name reversing,
Established peace below.
I thought it was so cool that the author of the lyrics poetically connected Ave to a reversal of Eva (Eve)!
I suspect this one might be a little too out-there for Josh and Mari, but I love it, so I wanted to include it! It’s a Spanish name that refers to the Madonna lily, and shares the same root as Susanna, which itself means both “lily” and “rose” in Hebrew. Susie could work as a nickname for Azucena as well, as can Zuzu (like Zuzu’s petals in It’s a Wonderful Life!).
If they’re going to go with an Angel name, my very favorite is Mari’s own middle name, Angeline — what a nice connection for a mother and daughter to have! But if they wanted to consider a different one, Archangela is a pretty great option! Not only would a little Archangela be able to claim the archangels as her patrons, but there’s also a Bl. Archangela Girlani.
I don’t know if they’re open to alternate spellings, but I’ve seen Alivia as an Olivia variant, and think something like that could work quite nicely for this family, especially as they start to run out of A names that they like.
So those are my A-name ideas, and here are new C-name ideas:
I can’t believe I haven’t suggested Caeli already! It’s Latin for “of heaven,” and is used in the Marian titles Regina Caeli (“Queen of Heaven”) and (as mentioned above) Ara Caeli (“Altar of Heaven”). It’s said like CHAY-lee, and is also sometimes spelled Coeli (but pronounced the same). I’ve known of a couple little Catholic girls named Caeli in honor of Our Lady.
I included Candace in my book for this reason:
“This biblical name, mentioned in Acts 8:27, was the title of the queens of Ethopia. It’s said to mean ‘queen mother’ in Cushitic, which perfectly describes Our Lady.”
I could see it being a really great middle name for this baby!
I often think of Cecilia and Celeste as being two sides of the same coin — though they don’t mean the same, the fact that they both start with Cel- make them so similar in my mind. I wouldn’t suggest Celeste instead of Cecilia to this family *except* if the first name they choose doesn’t flow so well with Cecilia, and might sound better with Celeste. Celeste means “heavenly,” so etymologically it’s related to Caeli.
Cruz might seem an unusual option for a girl, but when I was researching and writing my book, I discovered that Cruz is actually used for both boys and girls in the Spanish-speaking world. It literally means “cross,” and as such can point to the Cross of Crucifixion and of course to Jesus, but in a Marian sense it refers to Our Lady at the foot of the Cross. A name full of meaning! And again, it might have just the right rhythm as a middle name for the chosen first name for this baby.
My last C suggestion is Colette — one of my recent favorites! St. Colette of Corbie is a patron of expectant mothers (among other things), and her name is just so pretty and feminine! (Her feast day is this Friday, March 6!)
And those are all my new ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest in the A-C theme for the little sister of Ariana, Audrey, Caleb, Amelia (Millie), Anne-Catherine Gianna (Gianna or Gigi), Charles (Charlie), Anessa (Nessa or Nessie), and Christian?
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!