Names of some of Bl. Solanus’ confreres

I posted recently about the names of Bl. Solanus’ siblings, as included in the biography of him I was reading; today I want to share some of the names of his fellow priests and brothers. We don’t hear about religious name changes for men as much as we do for women, so I’m always excited to discover priests and brothers who have taken (or been given) new names! These are some that were included in Bl. Solanus’ life story (last names included if they were in the book):

Fr. Cajetan (this is up there with Joachim as one of my favorite unusual Catholic names)
Fr. Benno Aichinger (I believe this is related to Bernard; there are a couple saints by this name)
Fr. Innocent Ferstler (I think this is such a sweet name for a man; also a papal name)
Fr. Marion Roessler (I know this is not that unusual for men — it’s John Wayne’s given name)
Bishop Frederick Xavier Katz (an F.X. that isn’t what I’d assume!)
Fr. Bonaventure Frey (one of Bl. Solanus’ brothers had Bonaventure as a middle name)
Fr. Damasus Wickland (Damasus is related to Damian, and was the name of a pope!)

I don’t know for sure if they were all religious names — it’s possible some of them were given names — but their weightiness made them seem more likely to be religious names.

I’m also fascinated by Bishop Frederick Xavier Katz! I’ve long held the belief that separating Francis and Xavier is a more recent innovation, simply based on what I’ve seen of older records and newer naming conventions. My own grandfather’s name was David Xavier, and since his dad was Francis and his brother was Francis, I’d come up with the (totally unsubstantiated) theory that his dad must have been Francis Xavier, and had given his first name to his son Francis, and his middle name to his son David. (We have no records to confirm this — my great-grandfather and great-uncle don’t have their middle names listed in the census records I’ve seen). Bl. Solanus’ dad did something similar: his name was Bernard James, and he named one son James and another Bernard (Fr. Solanus).

And absolutely I’d be 100% certain that anyone with the initials F.X. was Francis Xavier! But then, Bishop Frederick Xavier Katz! Wow! Do any of you have any insights about Xavier being paired with names other than Francis?


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!

2 thoughts on “Names of some of Bl. Solanus’ confreres

  1. You wondered if “Benno” was connected to “Bernard”, which made me go off and look. And, yup, “Benno” was originally a nickname for any Germanic name beginning with the element “Bern-“, of which “Bern(h)ard” was definitely one of the most enduringly popular. But there’s also a Saint Benno of Meissen, from the 11th C, who may be the direct source for Fr. Benno’s name.

    (And now, thanks to this, the draft entry for Benno has been written up/completed, and will now be in the next edition of the DMNES.)

    Liked by 1 person

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