Birth announcement: Noah Anthony!

I posted a consultation for Breanna and her husband back in December, and Breanna’s let me know their baby has arrived — a little man given the handsome name … Noah Anthony!

Breanna writes,

For this little boy we decided on Noah Anthony! Noah was not originally on our radar but it did fit the bill of a biblical name and a person that Jesus would have interacted with like Joseph and Mary Magdalene. I like that it’s not likely to have a shortened nickname (I don’t like when people call Joseph “Jo” or “Joey.” ) And finally, I felt Noah was so fitting during this world wide pandemic Noah had to trust in God during an unbelievable time. Right now, we are all being asked to trust in God to help us through this pandemic that none of us expected when we started 2020.

Our Noah’s middle name “Anthony” is daddy’s first name. Although daddy already shared his middle name with our son Joseph, he’s such a good daddy that I think he deserved two namesakes!

I love the significance of the name Noah during this pandemic! How perfect! And I love that Breanna said, regarding her husband’s names being shared by both of his sons, “he’s such a good daddy that I think he deserved two namesakes” — what a wonderful thing to say!

Congratulations to Breanna and her husband and big sibs Magdalyn and Joseph, and happy birthday Baby Noah!!

Noah Anthony with his big sister and brother ❤


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!

 

How to name an entity

Good FRIDAY morning!! TGIF!!

I received an email from a reader asking,

Have you ever considered writing posts about other times we want to use a name that is dear to our Catholic faith … like naming a home, property, farm, homeschool, boat, etc.”

Such a fun question! I actually have had the privilege of working on names for businesses, projects, and ministries — they’ve all been private consultations except that I was able to share the results of this one:

One my dearest friends, who was one of my two original readers (the other being my mom) and has been so supportive and encouraging and helpful to me since I started the blog, referred a friend of hers to me when the friend was trying to come up with a name for a ministry she was starting. It was such fun to work on a project like this! And I was pretty pleased with the ideas I came up with, and she seemed to be too — I just recently read about her new ministry, sporting one of the names I’d suggested, and I’m really delighted to direct you all to her in case you have what she’s looking for. Check it out: The Madonna and Child Project by Alexandra Sullivan Photography (and be sure to check out her work, she’s so talented!).”

When I’m working on a project like this, I like to try to incorporate the family’s patron saint(s), or saints connected to the industry or topic — sometimes this might mean using the saint’s actual name (like “St. Joseph’s Carpentry Business”) or symbols associated with that saint (like “The Lily and the Square Carpentry Business”), that kind of thing. (CatholicSaints.info often has the symbols of the saints included in each saint’s entry, for example. Or you can google it, of course.) Sometimes an explicitly faithy or saintly name isn’t quite appropriate, as with a business that operates mostly in the secular world, which is when I love to “bury” the connection in a more creative name (like the “Lily and Square” idea above). I always remind such entities that they need to search online to be sure there aren’t other businesses with the same name that might cause a legal problem — if you were to hire an advertising/marketing agency or branding firm to come up with name ideas, they’ll include that as part of their service, but I don’t have the time or resources to do that and I wouldn’t want anyone to get in trouble because of me!

For private naming (like homes, homeschools, etc.), you can go as crazy faith-wise as you want! I love to look to Sisters for inspiration, so many of their names are so perfectly suited to something like this! You can have a whole string of things you have a special devotion to! Like, Our Lady of the Holy Family and the Precious Blood, that kind of thing. Or something lighter and fun, like Our Lady of Small Children and Dirty Dishes! Haha! For Marian ideas, the Litany of Loreto is a good one to look through (in both English and Latin — English names are great and totally fine; Latin names up the Catholic ante). You can search for topics on CatholicSaints.info too (like “patron of artists” or just “artists”) for saint ideas, or just google the same.

I know several of our readers have named homesteads and homeschools, so I’d love to hear how they chose their names! And any other advice any of you have! 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!

Naming in the time of coronavirus

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I forgot to share here the latest piece I wrote for Nameberry, from a few weeks ago: Babies Named Corona Are No Joke. It was fascinating to research the various disaster-inspired names that were bestowed on babies in the last century, and, as noted, we’re already seeing the coronavirus pandemic inspiring baby names.

If I were naming a baby born during the pandemic or whose existence was inspired by it (whether because of the Stay at Home orders, or because of reordered priorities in light of this encounter with widescale grief and death, etc.), I think I’d like to nod to the difficulties in some way, though I think I’d probably be inclined to stick more to Saints I might have asked for intercession, and/or (God forbid) the name(s) of any loved one(s) that might have been badly affected or tragically lost, or the names of associated heroes (family/friend heroes or public heroes). What about you? If you’re expecting a baby during this time, or think you might in the near future, are you considering including some connection to the coronavirus in the baby’s name? If so, how do you think you would do so? On the flip side, are any of you abhorred by this idea?


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: Thérèse Lourdes!

I got the most beautiful email from Renata a few months ago, while she was still pregnant and didn’t know if the baby was a boy or a girl, in which she shared the following (which she’s given me permission to share):

I never desired to marry or to have children. I had a falling out with the Church in my teenage years, right as I was starting a chapter of my life where I’d need Christ the most: immigration. A long, lost decade went by and it was filled with trials, depression, and purposelessness. But they were all in God’s plan. Eventually, I found myself moving countries a second time. I came to the U.S. for graduate school. After graduation, I stayed to work here for a year. At this time, I experienced a life-changing spiritual rebirth (by the way, Renata means “Reborn” in Latin) and received a great gift: I met my husband. He is an excellent man. He proposed within the year. And this is how I came to marriage and an ardent desire to have children. Looking at my husband, I desired to “have more of him in the world.”

God blessed us with a pregnancy soon after our marriage. Almost immediately, we picked a name for a boy: Matthew Sumner. Matthew would be in honor of St. Matthew, whose Gospel drew me back into God’s fold. In fact, God called me and gave me a mission by Matthew 5:14 – “You are the light of the world, a city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” This verse was a prominent part of our marriage ceremony. Sumner would be in honor of a relative on my husband’s side of the family, while for me it was meaningful that it the baby be a harvest hand for the Lord: As God summoned Matthew, may Matthew also summon others. We were stuck and nearly devoid of ideas for girl names. We had many options and they were all quite different. Deep down, I wanted a name that meant light, in honor of Matthew 5:14. Liora, Eleonora, Lucia, all these we considered. Somehow none stuck. Eventually, my mother-in-law gave me a book of Saints’ names. We also researched all the women in the Bible together. One weekend, we came across Phoebe and I was taken. Phoebe would be perfect. It means “radiant.” Phoebe was also a harvest hand, perhaps the first deaconess of the Church. And Phoebe is also a celestial body and bird. It is as anchored in the heavens as it is on creation. For the middle name, we settled on Werther, also a family name on my husband’s other side of the family. A strong matriarch bore it as her maiden name. It means “leader of a worthy army.” And so we came to “Radiant leader of a worthy army.” Mind you, we went to the maternity ward not knowing the baby’s gender and still with four different name possibilities for a girl. Even after discovering Phoebe Werther, we just weren’t sure. After a long labor, I delivered a girl. As soon as we laid eyes on her, we knew we’d met Phoebe Werther. When the nurse asked: “What is her name?,” we looked at each other and said in chorus: “Phoebe.” It was the most overwhelming moment of my life. After signing the birth certificate, though, I broke down in tears, feeling remorse that I had not honored my South American heritage and family in any way. And lo-and-behold, the Lord had thought of that too. At that moment, a new nurse entered our room. She was Brazilian. She started speaking to me in Portuguese and congratulated me on the birth of our baby girl. Before she left, she added: “What a nice gift, that you would have a healthy baby girl on Brazilian Independence Day.” Then I truly broke down, and thanked the Lord for being so thoughtful and careful.

Three years and two weeks later I was back in that same ward, delivering another baby with the same midwife. This baby was a couple of days late though, and leading up to labor, I was anxious that once again we had no name settled on for a girl. I had called a conference with my husband and mother-in-law two days before. We agreed that we would not leave the living room until we had at least a first name decided. After much discussion and numerous options, we settled on Tessa. Again, I prayed we could give the Lord more harvest hands. Though Teresa was the name that I kept on coming back to, Tessa was the name we all liked. I had misgivings about it being a nickname, but it did fit in with our other names. We like the two-syllable, two-syllable ending in “er,” and one-syllable last name sing-song we have going. The next day, I went into labor. This time, a baby boy emerged. He looked nothing like his sister, who has dark hair and eyes. He looked angelic, just like his father. He had blonde hair and the longest eyelashes fanning over his blue eyes. Once again, immediately, as we took him into our arms, we knew this was our long-awaited Matthew Sumner. Though we were very much decided on the name, we didn’t know if he’d go by Matthew or by Sumner. I love the name Sumner, and dislike the shortened versions of Matthew such as Matt or Mattie. We just couldn’t agree, though. There were no indications that one name would prevail over the other. Later that evening my mother-in-law came into the room to visit. She was elated and said: “Did you see?! He was born at 5:14PM!” My husband and I looked at each other in awe and we knew this would be Matthew for sure. Three months later, my sister-in-law also gave birth to a boy and also chose Sumner for his middle name. The Lord got two pairs of harvest hands!

We carry names forward, so with this third pregnancy, we arrived set with Tessa for a girl and no definite name for a boy. In the two years that have gone by, I have formally returned to the Catholic church. Notably, I have discovered and fallen in love with Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. When I was confirmed last Spring, I chose Thérèse for my name. And just then it dawned on me: Thérèse, like Phoebe and Matthew are complex names when written on paper, but have just two syllables. Thérèse and Phoebe end in “e” and are of Greek origin. Teresa means harvest. I’d come full circle. It was so perfect. For a middle name, we decided to honor my roots and chose Lourdes, after my paternal grandmother (whom sadly I did not meet, but feel a strange closeness to and similarity with) whose full given name was Maria de Lourdes. Thérèse Lourdes has a beautiful ring and is similar to Werther and Sumner, but special with its “es” ending. If the baby is a girl, we’ll still call her Tessa, but her name will be Thérèse Lourdes. For a boy, we had always like Thomas as a runner-up to Matthew. We have returned to this name. Another apostle, Thomas gives us one of the most beautiful Gospel passages on our Lord’s generosity and mercy toward our incredulity and fear. Coincidentally, the homily for my Confirmation Mass was about this very passage. So Thomas it is. I wanted to use Excelsior as a variant of my father’s name, Celso, which means sky or heaven, but we feel it is too pompous! Thomas Excelsior has a lovely meaning, but we haven’t settled on it. It was then that I thought back to my journey as a wife and mother and my ardent desire of having more of my husband’s character in the world. We have settled on Thomas Christopher, which not only nods to my husband but also to our Lord as it means “Christ bearer.” It was a cherry on top that it ends in “er” like Werther and Sumner.”

I was so taken with this beautiful story!! Not only is it a story of faith, conversion, and motherhood, but of love for a husband as well — I was so moved by Renata’s characterization of her husband as “an excellent man” and that she “desired to ‘have more of him in the world.'” What a compliment! ❤

I was so very happy to receive an email from Renata earlier this month sharing the wonderful news that her baby had arrived! She gave birth to a sweet baby girl, and indeed, gave her the beautiful, meaningful name … Thérèse Lourdes (nn Tessa)!

She wrote,

I trust this note finds you and yours well, despite the surreal new rhythms we’re all adapting to. To brighten up these somber times, we write with joyful news from our household.

Thérèse Lourdes (Tessa) was born on Sunday, March 22. Tessa is blonde and blue-eyed like her middle brother Matthew and alert-out-of-the-gate like her eldest sister Phoebe. We’re doing well and already falling into our new routines as a family of five.”

I absolutely love the name Thérèse Lourdes and the meaning it has for Renata, and the nickname Tessa is one of my favorites!

Congratulations to Renata and her husband and big siblings Phoebe and Matthew, and happy birthday Baby Tessa!!

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Thérèse Lourdes (Tessa) 👣


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!

Spotlight on: Romilly

Happy Friday of the Octave of Easter!! (A meat Friday!)

You all must know that one of my favorite things is to find Catholic meaning in names that don’t otherwise come across as Catholic. Tiffany and Miles are two examples — I loved finding out that Tiffany has medieval roots and refers to the Epiphany via its other name, Theophany; it used to be given to girls born on that feast day. And of course you’ve heard me babble on about how Miles is one of my favorite discoveries (it has a history of usage in Ireland as an anglicization of the Old Irish name Maolmhuire, meaning “servant of the Blessed Virgin Mary”). Both of them are names that, generally speaking, people wouldn’t know have such impeccable faith connections. I find such discoveries to be thrilling!

I came across another one recently: Romilly.

I don’t know what your impression of Romilly is, but mine has always been: very British feel; easy to say and spell but very uncommon; a pretty look, rhythm, and sound; all in all, a pretty cool name. Additionally, I knew that actress Emma Thompson named her daughter Gaia Romilly. The Baby Name Wizard says, “Only anglophiles and name-ophiles are likely to know this name,” and offers as style matches such treats as Sidony (another of my favorite discoveries!), Jessamine, Briony, Barnaby, and Pippin.

(As an amusing side note, when I asked Mr. Nomina what his impression of Romilly is, he seemed unfamiliar with it but said it reminded him of Romulan/Romulus, “so it’s a good Star Trek name” 😂😂😂; remoulade; and Amélie. So make of that what you will.)

Hubby wasn’t far off with Romulus, though, and that’s where Romilly’s Catholic-ness comes from: according to Behind the Name, Romilly is from an English surname derived from the names of several Norman towns whose names were ultimately derived from Romulus — the name of the mythological co-founder of Rome, and that actually means “of Rome” in Latin. So Romilly is from the Latin for “of Rome,” and if that isn’t Catholicky Catholic (in a fun, sneaky way!), I don’t know what is! (I’ve written similarly about the names Roman and Tiber.)

Though even nickname-loving me would probably want to use the full Romilly always, Romy and Milly are sweet nicknames. What others? Because I love to brainstorm nicknames, maybe Molly and Lily? It also makes me think of Rilla, like Rilla of Ingleside (though of course, there Rilla is a nickname for Marilla, specifically Anne and Gil’s daughter Bertha Marilla Blythe. So maybe if you like Rilla but not Marilla and you want a longer given name, Romilly’s your girl? Or have I gone too far??)

What do you think of Romilly? Would you consider it for a daughter (or a son — Behind the Name and the Baby Name Wizard both say it’s used for both boys and girls, though I’ve only ever thought of it as a girl’s name), or have you named a child Romilly? Do you know anyone named Romilly? Do they like their name? Do they go by a nickname?


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: Charlotte Avery Katherine!

I did a consultation a couple of years ago for a hoped-for baby for Corrie and her husband, and she’s let me know that they did indeed go on to be blessed with a baby — a little girl to whom they gave the gorgeous name … Charlotte Avery Katherine!

Corrie writes,

Hello Kate! I wanted to follow up on the birth of our baby girl who is almost 10 months old now. Although we did seriously consider a couple of the names on your list (especially Felicity, Hazel and Avery-Kate) my husband and I landed on …

Charlotte Avery Katherine!

Charlotte was born at 39 weeks on 6/3, feast day of St. Charles Lwanga. We still haven’t settled on just one nickname. Charlotte was our little green bean that we called ‘Baby Bear’ my entire pregnancy. We still call her Bear … her siblings affectionately named her Charley (SHAR-Lee) … I like to call her Lottie Kate.

Big siblings Ella Grace and Henry Layne adore her.”

Charlotte Avery Katherine is such a beautiful combination, and I die over Lottie Kate!! Bear and Charley are so darling as well. ❤ I also love that her birthday is a feast day of a Charles saint — such a nice connection with her name! (St. Charles Lwanga is an awesome patron — I’ve never seen him chosen as a patron for a baby, I’m delighted to hear of it here!)

Congratulations to Corrie and her husband and big siblings Henry Layne and Eleanor Grace, and happy birthday Baby Charlotte!!

Charlotte Avery Katherine with her big brother 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!

Name Story: Eden, Abrie, Bradley, Blaise, and Valen

Happy Easter to you all!! I hope you all had a wonderful, holy, happy Easter, as much as possible in this time. He is risen!! He is truly risen!! What a blessing to celebrate the greatest hope during this time of suffering.

A reader emailed me recently to share about the names of her kiddos, which I just love — I’m always excited to read about the names you chose and why! She graciously said I could share them with you — she and her hubby have an outside-the-box way of thinking about names that I thought you might be inspired by! Mama writes,

[S]ince you love names so much I figured I would share with you the names of my 5 children ages 7 and under! Most of their names are not so “out there” but a couple of them take even our Catholic friends and family by surprise!

Eden Koryn: “The Garden of Eden was the ultimate paradise and gift. We got Koryn from Corinthians and for some reason we decided to go all millennial on it and change the spelling from Corin to Koryn. Nevertheless I do still love the ring to her name … Her patron is St Therese of Liseux … and the beautiful Little Flower has adopted her as if she was named just for her.”

Abrie JoAnne (pronounced AY-BREE): “Abrie is a completely secular pick … my husband wanted Avery and it was so common at the time that I solidly said no way. So he pulled Abrie out of his thoughts somewhere … I couldn’t turn him down. He was so set on it. We began to become more traditional during her pregnancy though and I had decided to give her the middle name after my late paternal grandmother. And even though we don’t do nicknames in our family, we knew from day one we would call her Abrie Jo. I started to get worried that we were going to name yet another child with no saint name, until our priest said that JoAnne was absolutely a form of Joan for St Joan of Arc. So we were happy to keep the name we chose and oh my is that girl our little Joan D’arc! It’s perfectly her.”

Bradley Joseph: “His name is fairly cut and dry. We had this name set on the shelf from baby number one. And since he was the first boy, it got to come down off the shelf. Bradley is my husbands devout late grandfather. His mother’s father. And Joseph is my husband’s first name, and his fathers middle name, and his grandfather’s first name and his great grandfather’s middle name and so on for many generations. St Joseph is dear to our family and maybe the tradition will be passed on!”

Blaise Anthony: “When I first told family that we were naming him Blaise, they scrunched their face and said they didn’t like it. Some even said “that’s not a saint name”! But of course Feb 3rd is the marvelous feast and blessing of the throats with St Blaise!

My husband got to go on a pilgrimage to Quito, Ecuador for Our Lady of Good Success during this pregnancy. At the time we didn’t know what I was having but I sent him with a list of names to pray about in front of the miraculous statue of Our Lady Of Good Success. I had no idea when the feast of St Blaise was, but the name was on the list because I was partial to the saint for having suffered with a thyroid disorder my entire life. The feast of Our Lady of Good Success is on Feb 2nd, so my husband was still there in Ecuador on Feb 3rd, so therefore he realized his name is Blaise. We were going to use my father’s family middle name which is Matthias.

I was due on June 2nd 2017 and my patron saint has been from the very start St Anthony of Padua. I knew his feast was 11 days past my due date. So I “joked” with [St. Anthony] all pregnancy that if he wanted me to name this baby after him that he could show me in some other way than to make me go 11 days past my due date for his feast. St Anthony is quite funny though and there I was at 2:32 AM on June 13th the Tuesday of St Anthony’s feast day having my son. So Blaise Anthony he is!”

Valen Mariana: “My due date was January 27th, 2019. Since I have a history of going over we were thinking February baby. Because of my husbands pilgrimage to Quito to Our Lady of Good Success 2 years prior, he has had a devotion to this title of Mary. So he told me all pregnancy that she would be born on her feast day on February 2nd. I didn’t believe him.

So we said that if she was born in February at all that we would name her after St Valentine. It’s pronounced just like Valentine, without the “tine”. Even though the name is derived to be masculine, we loved it shorthanded for a girl to Valen. We got lots of eye brow raises for this one. But we were to name her Valen Rosemarie. My husband told me he would be starting his OLGS novena with the intercession of the visionary from this apparition who is not yet beatified. Her name is Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres. He finished his novena at 10 pm on February 1st, and I was past my due date. I went to bed shortly after, but woke up to labor and had our Valen Mariana on the feast of Our Lady of Good Success through the intercession of Mother Mariana on Feb 2nd at 3:29 AM.

We later realized that the original place of the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Good Success was not in Quito, Ecuador but was in Valencia, Spain! Which then melted my heart even more to this title as Valen is now indeed a nod for the original home of this amazing story of Our Lady and her miraculous statue.”

Aren’t these great stories?! And such cool names! I love the layers of meaning that are included in each name, and the really original ways these parents have had of choosing names that fit with their taste and also have solid faith connections. I had particular goosebumps over Valen’s story — being named for a February Saint, only to find out that the truncated version they chose is exactly shared with the original location of the miraculous Marian statue of the title of Our Lady they have a particular devotion to, and that baby Valen was born on the actual feast of that title of Our Lady — amazing! It’s stories like those that always make clear to me how aware God is of our every hope, desire, and individual characteristic. ❤ ❤ ❤


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!