Baby name consultation: Marian names, Italian names, and family names in consideration for fourth baby girl

Happy Memorial Day! It’s so necessary it is that we remember and celebrate those who gave their lives for our country and our freedom. 🗽🇺🇸 This is a beautiful prayer to say today for our fallen soldiers, loving Lord, bless them forever in Your eternal peace. ❤ ❤ ❤

Jessie and her husband are expecting their fifth baby this month (!!) — their fourth girl! This little lady joins big siblings:

Leonard Edward (after his father)
Lillian Victoria (after two grandmothers)
Jude Thaddea (after St. Jude)
Majella Magdalene (after St. Gerard)

Aren’t these fantastic?! I was so surprised by Leonard — so unexpected on a little guy, I love that! And then to discover that their Jude is a girl — I LOVE Thaddea as a middle name with Jude for a girl! And Majella Magdalene! Of course I’m not forgetting Lillian Victoria, what a stunning combo! Jessie and her husband have done a great job!

Jessie writes,

We are having a hard time agreeing and coming up with a girls name for our fourth girl that is significant to family and also maybe had a little Catholic meaning.

We currently like:

Lucciana (Lucia) Lourdes
Maribel (after mother Mary, my mother Maryanne and his mother Marie)
Francesca (Frankie as a nickname)
Rosie Jane (after his grandmother)
Giana (after St Giana)

I was really eager to see what names Jessie and her hubby are considering, and I wasn’t disappointed! These are my thoughts on those names, in case they’re helpful to them:

  • Lucciana (Lucia) Lourdes: I actually know a little Lucciana! Her family calls her Lucci, and I’ve always been impressed that they used a Lucy name that’s much less familiar! Lucia is a gorgeous option too, and always brings Our Lady of Fatima to mind, to whom I have a special devotion. Our Lady of Fatima’s feast day is May 13, so a name connected to her — like Lucia (or Lucciana as a variant of it) — would be pretty cool for a baby born in May. And Lourdes! I love Lourdes! Fatima and Lourdes in one name is pretty great! I also love alliteration, so Lucciana/Lucia Lourdes (and Majella Magdalene) really sing to me. Also, I wonder if Jessie and her hubs have considered Lourdes as a first name? One of my readers has a little Lourdes, I love it!
  • Maribel: I really like the idea of a Marian name beginning in Mar- as a way to honor both Jessie’s mom and her mother-in-law — so great to have that option! Of course, as you all know I’m a huge fan of Marian names in general, and I love the double Marian whammy of giving a May baby a Marian name! Maribel is beautiful, and I have some more ideas below, too.
  • Francesca: Italian girl names tend to be so gorgeous, and Francesca is one of the prettiest. Frankie as a nickname is adorable too!
  • Rosie Jane: I’m not sure if this would be a double name or the first+middle combo? Either way, Rosie Jane is so sweet! I wonder if it was Jessie’s husband’s grandmother’s given name? It has a little bit of a different feel than their older kids’ names and the other names they’re considering — a little lighter and more informal — which is totally fine! But something like Rosemary/Rosemarie Jane or Rosanne/Rosanna Jane or Rosa Jane or Rosary/Rosaria Jane as the given name, with Rosie or Rosie Jane as the nickname, feels a bit more stylistically similar to the other names they’ve used and like. Either way, Rose is a Marian name!
  • Gianna: St. Gianna’s awesome, and a big favorite among the Sancta Nomina families! I like how the “anna” part could be a nod to Jessie’s mom, if she wanted it to be. Also, Gianna is an Italian form of Jane, so they could consider it an honor name for Jessie’s husband’s grandmother too. Or they could even do a Rose first name with Gianna as a middle and still call her Rosie Jane!

So those are my thoughts on the names on Mom and Dad’s list. As for new ideas, you all know I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like 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 — this research gives me a great idea of the kinds of names that fit into the style(s) that the parents are most likely to like. I also looked through my book of Marian names for ideas for this family (especially more Mar- ideas). Based on that research, these are my ideas:

(1) A Mar- name
I really liked what Jessie and her hubs were thinking with Maribel — honoring both Maryanne and Marie in one name. I have these names in my book that I thought might also be good contenders:

— Marienne: This is like a Marian/Maryanne mashup pronunciation-wise, but it’s French like Marie and actually contains Marie within it. It’s quite pretty and feminine to look at, it’s obviously Marian, and I like that it’s so much of an almost exact combo of Jessie’s mom’s and mil’s names.

— Mariae: I’m excited about this one for this family, as it’s one of the more unusual Mary names, and I think their taste runs to the more unusual. It’s pronounced MAR-ee-ay, and it’s actually a Latin version — it’s the genitive (possessive) form of Maria — it literally means, “of or belonging to Mary.” How amazing is that? Micaela Darr (who graciously endorsed my book!) bestowed it on her daughter. I LOVE seeing her write out her daughter’s name on Instagram, it’s so beautiful!

— Maristella: This one reminds me a lot of the ultra-feminine names Jessie and her hubby have used so far, I have a feeling they might like it! It’s a reversal of the Marian title Stella Maris (Star of the Sea). On that note, perhaps they’d rather consider just Stella? Or Stella as a first name and Maris as a middle? Or Stellamaris? Actually, now that I think about it, I might prefer Stellamaris for them, only because Maristella and Stella by itself both rhyme with Majella, where Stellamaris doesn’t, since it has a different ending.

— Madonna: Okay, I know this isn’t an Mar- name, but I wondered if they might like the idea of Madonna — which of course refers to Our Lady’s motherhood — as a way to honor both Jessie’s mom and her mil (since they’re both mothers, and Madonna doesn’t begin with Mar- but it does begin with Ma-, like Maryanne and Marie)? I know it’s still really controversial as a first name (I hope Catholics can reclaim it one day!), but I LOVE it in the middle name spot, like this mama did for her daughter. It wouldn’t work as a middle name for Lucciana or Gianna, since it would rhyme with them, but something like Lucia Madonna or Rosa Madonna would be lovely!

(2) Jacinta
I’d actually already jotted down Jacinta for this family while reading Jessie’s email, even before doing my research (I was inspired by Lucia), and then I was excited to see it listed as a style match for Maribel in the BNW! I like that it’s a more unusual name, and relates to Our Lady of Fatima, so it has that nice connection for a May baby. It’s got similar sounds as Gianna, and it occurs to me that Jane or Janie/Janey could even be a nickname for Jacinta! (Or not, if they hate that idea! I always have lots of ideas, haha!) If they really prefer Italian names, they could spell it the Italian way: Giacinta, which also opens up Gia or Gigi and even Giana as nickname possibilities.

(3) Gemma
When doing my research in the BNW, I really look for names that are listed as a style match for more than one of the names on the parents’ list. Gemma is one! It’s a match for both Jude and Gianna, and St. Gemma Galgani is a saint much loved by many. Additionally, Gemma means “gem” (as in “precious stone”) in Italian, which is such a sweet meaning for a little girl.

(4) Chiara
Chiara was actually a match for three of the names they like: Lucia, Francesca, and Gianna! It’s the Italian form of Clare, and it’s a name I see considered quite a bit by families I work with, not only for St. Clare of Assisi, but also for Bl. Chiara Luce Badano and Servant of God Chiara Corbella Patrillo.

(5) Loretta
Finally, when I saw Loretta listed as a style match for Leonard, I knew I wanted to suggest it! Though I think most people might think of it as either an old lady name or a Hollywood starlet name (since it peaked in popularity in 1938, and was the name of beautiful 40’s Hollywood actress Loretta Young), which may or may not appeal to Jessie and her hubs, it’s actually an Italian name! It could be a form of Lauretta (an Italian elaboration of Laura), but Catholics consider it to be a nod to Loreto, “the name of a small town in Italy where stands a small house, held by tradition to be the house in which Our Lady was born and grew up, and in which the Annunciation and the Incarnation took place (known as the Holy House of Nazareth). Angels are said to have carried the house there in the 13th century. The Litany of Loreto (Litaniae Lauretanae in Latin), also known as the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, lists many of Our Lady’s beautiful titles” (quote taken from my book).

And those are all my ideas for Jessie and her husband! What do you think? What name(s) would you suggest for the baby sister of Leonard, Lillian, Jude, and Majella?


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!

19 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Marian names, Italian names, and family names in consideration for fourth baby girl

  1. Gemma is adorable with this sibset!
    From the family’s list, Frankie stood out to me, because is gender neutral like Jude, so it’s a nice idea for this sibset.
    Also Maribel, to honor Marie and Maryann, makes perfect sense. It’s my favorite idea, really: family name and Catholic history.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Maribel for them, but then Jude would be even more of a standout, so I would focus on matching Jude (if you care about sibsets, which I know not everyone does). I like Rose to go with Jude, maybe Rose Maribel? Or to be more Italian: Rosa Maribel? I also like Lux for them but I think that would be too many l names. Or what about something like Siena or Avila? Siena Maribel or Siena Lux?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like the way their older kids’ names sound together as a sibset.
    I really like Lucciana, feels so unexpected and surprising, and Lucia is great too either as a diminutive of Lucciana or a name in its own right. I love Lourdes! Would be even better as a first name imo.
    But I think Maribel appeals to me the most of all the names they are considering, since it is so good, flows well with the siblings and is Marian. I’ve recently become sort of enamoured with Mirabelle and Maribel sounds very similar so I love it.
    Francesca nicknamed Frankie is so spunky.
    Rosie Jane is cute and adorable though I’m on the same page as you in that a longer name nicknamed to Rosie would match better the style of their siblings’ names. If they decide to go this way, I think Rosemary would be particularly great longer name for Rosie in their case, since it sort of contains Mary so could be a nod to Marianne and Marie, and also Rosemary Jane sounds gorgeous. I also personally love Rosalind nn Rosie but am not sure Rosalind would fit their family as well. Gianna instead of Jane in the middle spot sounds fun too.
    Awww, Jacinta is such a huge favourite of mine. The Jane nicknames for Jacinta are an interesting idea, though my favourite nickname for Jacinta in the Anglophone world is the more obvious Jackie.
    Some other ideas that are floating around in my brain right now, mostly Italian-ish: Rita (or Margherita if they are up for something really Italian, especially that it starts with Mar-), Domenica, Lupita (as it’s strongly Marian due to our Lady of Guadalupe and they seem to like L(o)u- names like Lucciana or Lourdes), Giuliana (could also be nicknamed something like Giana or Gia), Luce, Marietta, Pia (though perhaps more as a middle as I guess they seem to prefer a bit longer names), Elena.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think my favorite suggestion is Rosemary Gianna with Rosie Jane for short. I like the idea of making use of two linguistic forms of the same name.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Leonard, similar imo to Lois and Laurence, seems to be creeping back; I’m here for it!
    I’m not great at staying within given parameters, but these came to mind.

    Maria Francesca “Frankie”

    Francesa Gianna “Frankie” or even “Fia” which is a “guilty” pleasure for me at the moment.

    Rosella/Rosetta/Rosina with my fave being Rosetta “Zetta”

    Regina which I see as bridging all 3 girl’s names. Gives you the familiarity of Lillian with the option to lean androgynous with Jude and Catholicky like Majella

    Marjorie a Mar name not yet mentioned

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Other options for the Mar- name could be Marilena or Mariasole if they want to go for Italian names. Marta too, but that isn’t Marian.

    I’m not sure if anyone has mentioned this before (I’m a relatively new reader of your blog) but the name Gianna is a nickname in Italian. The full name is Giovanna, the female form of Giovanni. Even St. Gianna’s full name was Giovanna Francesca Beretta.

    My Italian born and raised husband found it really irritating when he came to the United States and learned that people named their daughters Gianna (he’s a stickler for formal names). Very few people in Italy would name their daughter Gianna as it is the equivalent of naming a baby Katie or Maggie instead of Catherine or Margaret.

    I love the suggestion of Regina! When we were considering our first daughter’s name that was at the top of the list since it referred to the Queenship of Mary. A friend of mine is named Regina and goes by Gigi or Gina.

    Liked by 1 person

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