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!
3 thoughts on “How to name an entity”
When naming an entity for a person, I’d say stick to actual (canonized) saints, and definitely no one still alive. (Just need to look at Card. McCarrick H.S. in NJ. They had already been closed for a while before the news came out, but still. Their alums are stuck with his name on their diplomas.) Even without a huge scandal, my parish’s hall is named after the (still living) previous pastor and it just does not look appropriate at all (even if he had died I’d rather see the name of a canonized saint).
Just my 2 cents.
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Oh gosh, that is such a great point re: Card. McCarrick HS. Naming after those who haven’t yet been canonized is definitely a risk!
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