A few people have asked for help in coming up with ways to honor St. Joseph (beyond the obvious), which is a fun topic to pursue! I’ve spent quite a bit of time brainstorming and researching, and yet I feel like there must be more ideas out there, so please add yours in the comments! This is what I came up with:
In an article I wrote for CatholicMom a few Christmases ago entitled “Holy Family Names for Christmastime Babies,” I wrote:
“Names in [St. Joseph’s] honor for boys include, of course, Joseph, and its variants in other languages, such as Josef and Jozef, Giuseppe, José, and Joosep. Several of the non-English diminutives and short forms are intriguing as well, including Pepe, Seppel, and Zef.
The feminine Josephine is currently popular, but other options for girls include Josephina, Josepha or Josefa, Josée, and Giuseppa, with the sweet diminutives and nicknames Josie, Posy, Josette, Josiane, Pina, and even Fifi.
In Matthew 1:19, we’re told that Joseph was a ‘just man,’ so Justin, Justus, and Justine or Justina could also work as honor names for him.”
There are a whole bunch of other variants listed at Behind the Name that you might like to peruse. Beyond the names related to Joseph itself or to his reputation as a “just man” are names related to the symbols associated with him, like:
- The Lily names, since St. Joseph is often portrayed with a lily because of his chastity
- Branch, as one of his symbols is a branch (see my post on Longmire for an example of Branch as a given name)
- Carpenter, as he was a carpenter and is represented by a carpenter’s square specifically and carpenter’s tools in general. I’ve never heard of Carpenter as a first name, but it’s not really different from other occupation names like Mason, Taylor, and Carter, right? Maybe with Cap as a nickname?
- Callixtus, which is a Callistus variant that may have been influenced by calix, which is Latin for “wine cup” and is where our “chalice” comes from — one of St. Joseph’s symbols is a chalice. (My spotlight on Callixtus here)
- Cruz or Croix or other “cross” names, as the cross is one of his symbols.
- Agnes, as a lamb is one of his symbols and agnus — Latin for “lamb” — is visually similar to Agnes
- Rod (Roderick, Rodney, or any name that could nickname to Rod, or maybe ROD initials), as a rod is one of St. Joseph’s symbols
Aside from his symbols, perhaps also:
- Stone, as CatholicSaints.info noted that he was a “Builder by trade; traditionally a carpenter, but may have been a stone worker”
- David, since he’s a descendant of the house of David
- Foster, since we refer to him as Jesus’ foster father
And the lovely Litany to St. Joseph offers these ideas:
- Lucy, Lucia, Luz, Lux for his title Light of the Patriarchs
- Chastity, for his chastity and his title Chaste Guardian of the Virgin
- Prudence, as he’s prudent
- Valiant, as he’s valiant
- Faith, because he’s faithful
- Patience, for his title Mirror of Patience
- Glory, Gloria for his title Glory of Family Life
- Pilar, for his title Pillar of Families
- Consolata, for his title Consolation of the Afflicted
- Hope, for his title Hope of the Sick
I also looked through A Dictionary of English Surnames (affiliate link) and found this:
I’ve been too-long delayed in getting this posted, so I haven’t gone through these prayers listed on CatholicSaints.info, but they may have some good ideas as well:
- Devotion in Honor of the Seven Sorrows and Joys of Saint Joseph
- Memorare of Saint Joseph
- Praises of Saint Joseph
- Seven Sorrows and Joys of Saint Joseph
What ideas can you all add to the wonderful desire to honor our good St. Joseph in a baby’s name?
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 (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!