Baby name consultation: First girl after three boys needs a “short, strong, distinct name”

Happy Sixth Day of Christmas! I’m working on my annual “Year in review” post and hope to have it up in the next few days. In it, I’ll be detailing my return to baby name consulting — stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy this latest consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Megan writes in to say she’s having her first girl after three boys and she and her husband are having some problems coming up with a name they both love.

She writes,

The girl’s name that has been with me for years now is Marin. I like the sound of it, the Marian reference, and the ocean reference. Interestingly, when I was pregnant with my 3rd baby, my oldest son called the baby Star or Sea Star for most of the pregnancy (we didn’t know the gender until birth). My husband is ‘so so’ about Marin — I think he is warming up to it, but he is from Marin County in California, so there is kind of a weird association for him with the name. So we may be open to other first names, if you could provide a couple of options.”

First, a little bit on the name they love, Marin. To distance it from the county in California, maybe use a different spelling? Maren is the more traditional spelling of this name and it carries the same meaning and sound. Mauren makes it even more distant but moves it to a form of Maureen, which is itself a form of Mary. All are Marian-related in this way (Marin means “of the sea,” making it related to Mary Maris Stella). I think changing the spelling might make this name more palatable for her husband.

She writes that they would like some middle name suggestions, too.

Considerations for the middle name:

  • We lost my mom this year, so it would be nice to commemorate her in some way — her name was Marcia Ann and I think we are inclined to use Ann, however Marin Ann sounds a little off to us, so we have considered adding a 2nd middle name (my mother in law’s middle name is Victoria, so adding that as a second middle name is a consideration)
  • We have chosen saint names in the past for middle names

As far as middle names go, I love double middle names! I was given two middles at birth and each of my children have two middle names. I say definitely do this!

About honoring her mom, Marcia Ann. I understand that Marcia is a tough name to work with nowadays and that’s probably why they’re considering the more classic and flexible Ann. Might I suggest a different form of Marcia to honor her instead? It’ll give their child some uniqueness without feeling weird or dated, especially in the middle spot. Some alternate forms of Marcia include Marcy, Marceline, Marcellina, Marzia, and Marcella. I really love Marceline and Marcella. Maren Marcella Victoria and Maren Victoria Marceline are so lovely!

This baby will be joining big siblings:

Cole Dominic
Reston Theodore
Declan Patrick

Megan writes their considerations for first names are “shorter, strong, distinct names — that aren’t overly popular.” That I can work with!

On to new suggestions. I kind of deduced that their style is short, spunky, and strong, so that’s what I tried to stick to. Any of these would be lovely as a first name or work great in the middle spot with Maren.

(1) Louisa/Luisa
Megan said they love Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin so I thought this was a natural choice. Not many people honor St. Louis with a girl! This name means “famous warrior” which is perfectly fiery for a little girl after three boys! This name checks all of the short, spunky, and strong boxes. Louisa Marcella Victoria is straight fire!

(2) Ivy
This name is growing in popularity but isn’t too popular yet. It’s a plant name like St. Zelie’s name and there’s a type of ivy called Mary’s Tears which makes this a Marian name! This name is short and spunky, although I don’t know if it would meet the definition of strong. Maren Ivy Marceline is a great combination.

(3) Flora
I was thinking of ways to honor St. Zelie and I thought, why not just go for the flower? This name means “flower” which makes it a nice honor name for Zelie and for her famous daughter Therese. It’s definitely short and spunky. Maren Marceline Flora has such a lovely flow.

(4) Alice/Alix
These are actually the same name, so I’m including them both here. Alice has that clunky cool feel, while Alix feels cutting edge and new. These names are forms of the name Adelaide which is another possible origin for the French name Azelie, the full name of St. Zelie. This is how I came to these names for them, as a roundabout way of honoring St. Zelie. Once I found these names, though, I loved them on their own merit for them and think they really fit their style. Maren Alice Victoria, Maren Alice Marceline, and Alix Marcella Maren are all incredible combos!

(5) Aliza
This is another possible for of Adelaide, which could honor St. Zelie but it definitely means “joyful” in Hebrew and I thought what a wonderful name for a first daughter after three boys that is. It’s short, spunky, and strong and goes great with Maren, Marceline, and Victoria! Some of my favorite combos with this name include Maren Aliza Marceline and Aliza Marceline Victoria. So much strength!

(6) Marta
Since they have a devotion to both of the Martin saints, I thought maybe they’d like this name to honor them both. Marta is a feminine form of Martin and while the meaning leaves a little to be desired (it means “warlike”), the association with the saints makes up for it, in my mind. It’s short, spunky, and strong and actually made me think of Marin, so maybe this is a good alternative for Megan and her husband? I love the combinations Marta Marcella Victoria and Marta Victoria Marceline.

(7) Margo(t)
I was trying to think of alternatives to Marin that they both might like and this name came to mind. It’s a form of Margaret, meaning “pearl,” and was the name of many saints. It’s short, spunky, and strong and goes great with their boys’ names. I like Margot Victoria Ann, Margot Marceline Victoria, and Margot Marcella Victoria.

These are my thoughts! What do you think?


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back soon for details of my return), but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Baby name consultation: Fifth boy and no boy names left!

Happy Third Week of Advent! I hope you’re all as excited about Christmas as everyone in my house is! Enjoy today’s consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams:

Mama Frances writes in asking for baby naming help.

My husband and I come to you in a name conundrum we really never imagined ourselves to be in. You see, we (and by we, I mean me) are very certain about names — so certain we have always named our babies immediately upon finding out their gender and shared them with anyone who would listen. It proved a great balm, with our first who has a critical congenital heart defect and lots of prenatal complications (and post-birth surgeries). It always tells me exactly who this little person is I am getting to know, and has come so naturally. However, we have now come to find we are happily expecting our sixth child and fifth boy, and we have used so many names we have loved that I am simply struggling naming another little boy … which makes me feel horribly guilty because we have about twenty more girl names waiting in the wings.”

That’s always tough when you’ve used so many of the names you like already!

This little man will be joining big siblings:

Walter “Walt/Wally” David

Franklin “Frank/Franky” Richard

Theodore “Ted/Teddy” Paul

Lottie Theresa

Arthur “Art/Arty” Daniel

They have a few naming rules, though.

  • family honor either in first, middle, or both
  • traditional, but not “popular” names (the more vintage the better)
  • a likable nickname and formal name (most of the time)
  • a way to tie the name to a saint, an etymological derivative is fine
  • we end boy nicknames in y (even if it is less common like Franky and Arty), girls in ‘ie’

Also, they’d like to keep their Irish and Polish heritage in mind when naming this child, though it’s not a hard and fast criteria.

Here are some names they like but don’t feel like “the one”:

  • Alexander (too common), Gerald (don’t like the nickname “Gerry”), Anthony (repeating first initial and nickname Tony would start with a different letter than the full name), George (friends just named their son this), Ronald (no family significance), and Richard (already used it in the middle spot for a different child)

Names they cannot use are:

  • John
  • Joseph
  • Robert
  • Oliver

First, some thoughts on names they like but have issues.

Alexander– I agree that it’s too popular for them but it is popular for a reason, it’s a great name! This is one of those names that you can’t really go wrong with, especially in the middle spot.

Gerald– I love this name for them. I feel like it ticks all of their boxes! Unfortunately, I couldn’t really think of any other nicknames for it besides Gerry, which they aren’t a fan of, without getting really creative (Gerdy, Gordo, Gordy, etc.).

Anthony– This one surprised me for them, in a good way! I love this name and the nickname Tony, but understand their hangups. Perhaps in the middle spot?

George– I don’t think they should worry too much about having two Georges in the same social circle. This is a great name and ticks most of their boxes otherwise!

Ronald– Another name that I really like for them and ticks most of their boxes. Ronald Alexander is a great combination, too, which would give it the family significance Ronald lacks on its own.

Richard– Great name, but I would worry about having already used it on another child, too. I would let this one go since they’ve already used it in a middle spot.

On to new suggestions!

(1) Edward/Edmund/Edwin/Edgar

I couldn’t decide which I thought they would like more, so I’m including them all! Edward is the most popular currently at 195 and Edmund is the least popular currently, not having ranked above 1000 since 1998. These all come with the built-in nicknames of Ed and Eddy and tick all but the family significance box. There are tons of saints to go with each name, too, such as St. Edward the Confessor, St. Edmund Campion, St. Edwin the King, and  St. Edgar the Peaceful. I like any of these names with any of the names they already like in the middle spot, some favorites are Edmund Alexander, Edmund Gerald, and Edwin Alexander.

(2) Lawrence/Laurence

I think I prefer the Laurence spelling for them, but I’ve included both just in case. I love the vintage-ish nicknames of Law and Laury (Laurey?), too. There are tons of Saints with both spellings of the name but one that stood out to me was St. Lawrence O’Toole, since they said their family background leans Irish (and Polish). I think this name fits in with their other kids’ really well but it does share the first initial with the only sister.

(3) Stanley

When they mentioned their family is part Polish, I immediately thought of this name! There’s St. Stanislaus Kostka and Bl. Stanley Rother to tie into it, too. It can take the nicknames Stan and Stanny and fits their vintage vibe so perfectly! I love Stanley Gerald and Stanley Alexander best out of the other names they like.

(4) Douglas

This name was originally a Scottish surname through the Gaelic language, tying it to their family’s heritage. I could only find one saint with the name Douglas, Bl. George Douglas, who was martyred for being a priest. Nicknames Doug and Douggy are super friendly and fun.

(5) Calvin

This was one of the first names I thought of when they said “the more vintage, the better”.  The only problem here is that there are no saints by this name and its connection with John Calvin and Calvinism. Otherwise, I think this fits in with their crew really well and I wouldn’t be afraid of the associations. Calvin Gerald is like peak vintage, too!

(6) Frederick

This comes with the obvious nicknames of Fred and Freddy but it would repeat an initial. I love its meaning of “peaceful ruler”; a great meaning for a 5th boy/6th overall! There are several saints to go along with the name, including St. Frederick and Bl. Frederick Ozanam.

(7) Terrence

I have Irish and Polish in my ancestry, so I actually looked to my family trees to see if there were any winners there. I found Terrence on my Irish side and fell in love! I think this is a great name for them and ticks almost all of their boxes. It has nickname Terry which is very friendly and fun, too. Amazingly, there is Bl. Terrence Albert O’Brien to go with the name! Paired with one of the other names they like, this name feels like a real home run for them. Maybe Terrence Alexander, Terrence Anthony, or Terrence George?

These are my thoughts. What do you guys think?


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Cyber Monday Consultation Specials!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!!

I didn’t have my act together enough to offer Black Friday Consultation Specials, but lucky for all of us Cyber Monday exists!

Our baby name consultant extraordinaire, Theresa Zoe Williams, who has singlehandedly kept Sancta Nomina up and running these past few months while I manage some new things our family has been so incredibly blessed with (God is so good!), is offering $20 consultations!

Here are the details:

  • Any consultation requests received between noon and midnight Mountain Standard Time today, Cyber Monday (Nov. 29), will cost only $20 each (original price: $50 for an Ordinary Consultation and $25 for a Mini Consultation. See their descriptions here).
  • To redeem, email Theresa directly at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com requesting the Cyber Monday Special, and she will send you an invoice for $20. Once she receives your payment, she’ll put you in the queue! First come, first served.
  • You can use this special for a consultation for yourself for now or bank it for future use, and you can also buy one for someone else and Theresa can email you a gift certificate to present to that person (it would make a great St. Nicholas Day or Christmas gift!).

Speaking of St. Nicholas Day and Christmas gifts, I also want to let you know that Theresa has recently written a book! It’s called A Catholic Field Guide to Fairy Tale Princesses: Modern Virtues in Tales As Old As Time and is described thusly:

What do fairytale princesses and Catholicism have to do with each other? As it turns out, a lot. Though not written from a faith perspective, looking a little deeper, the basics of virtues and faith can be seen. This book demonstrates how each beloved classic fairytale princess (and modern, invented ones) can be inspirations of the Catholic faith, for those willing to see.”

Read more about it and order it on Theresa’s web site or on Amazon (not an affiliate link)!

And my publisher has marked my book of Marian baby names down 50% for Cyber Monday! Grab it at that price while you can and support the Marian Fathers at the same time! It’s also available at Amazon at a 30% discount (not an affiliate link). Great deals!

I’m so happy that it’s Advent and we’re looking ahead to the birth of Jesus! I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Baby name consultation: Marian name needed for Nico’s brother

Happy Monday everyone! I’m happy to share another wonderful consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams. Enjoy!

Mama Whitney writes in asking for help with baby #3’s name, if baby is a boy (they already have their girl names picked out!). This baby will join big siblings:

Nicholas James “Nico”

Josephine “Josie” (in heaven)

Whitney writes,

After the miscarriage, we did not get pregnant next cycle (never had a cycle like that before), so I began a 54 day rosary novena. The positive pregnancy test lined up after the third novena, and the confirmation ultrasound is going to line up with the end of the novena next week. Because of this, I want to honor Mary in the baby name … I have read the Marian baby name book, but a lot of them seem … unique and creative. That’s great, but I think you can tell from our list of names that we really want some hard hitting classics. We’re willing to go a little more unusual for the middle name or have a more fun nick name, but we don’t want to go too far. Honestly, my name (Whitney) is a decent example of as far unique as we’d want to go — Whitney isn’t common, but it isn’t so uncommon that anyone gets tripped up by it or anything. We’re both also just general American Caucasian mutts and would feel uncomfortable with a name with a strong cultural association (like Mario or Guadalupe). It would just feel wrong to us, like a cultural appropriation thing.”

Names they like but aren’t excited about include:

  • Maximilian
  • Kolbe
  • Maximin (from the apparition of Our Lady at La Salette)
  • Fulton

They cannot use Dominic.

First, some thoughts on the names they like but don’t feel like are “the one”:

Maximilian: Great, strong name. I love the association with St. Maximilian Kolbe and the Militia Immaculata. I love that they could also get to Maximin with this name and also tie in the apparition of Our Lady of La Salette. Max and Nico make great brothers.

Kolbe: Another tie to St. Maximilian Kolbe and growing in popularity in Catholic circles. I like that this opens up their style a little bit more.

Maximin: This one might get some odd looks are be mispronounced and misspelled often but it is cute and I like its Marian connection.

Fulton: This opens their style, too, and of course, is a great Marian-connected name.

On to new suggestions!

(1) Gabriel

He was the angel at the Annunciation, giving this a strong Marian tie. I love that this name means “God is my strong man,” too, such a great name for a little boy. Nickname Gabe makes this name extra cute. There’s also St. Gabriel Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows, giving it a double Marian punch.

(2) Lucas

Luke wrote the most Marian Gospel, making this a Marian name, but I thought they might like this form of the name better. It can shorten to Luke or Luca and I thought Nico and Luca would be such cute brothers.

(3) Sebastian

Honestly, I just thought they would like this name. It’s a little more popular at #18 but it’s such a great name. It can also shorten to Seb or Bash which are adorable. I love the nickname Bash on little boys, it just seems so fitting! Nicholas and Sebastian make great brothers.

(4) Raphael

Another archangel name, this one means “God heals.” I thought that was so touching after losing a baby. I like that this name is not common but is still familiar. It can shorten to the super cute Rafe or even to the diminutive Ralph. Nicholas and Raphael are great brother names, as are Nico and Rafe.

(5) John

This name means “Yahweh is gracious” which, again, I thought was a great meaning for a rainbow baby. St. John the Apostle took Mary into his home after the Resurrection, giving this a great Marian connection. St. John Paul II was also an incredibly Marian pope, giving it a double Marian punch. There’s not much nickname potential here, though, but I’m not sure how much that matters to them.

(6) Philip

I thought of this name because of Mary’s title as Queen of the Apostles. Out of the rest of the Apostles’ names, I thought they might like this one the best. It means “friend of horses” and can shorten to Phil, Philly, Flip, or Pip. Lots of great potential with this name! They might also like Nathaniel or Peter, so I’m including them here.

(7) Isaiah

This is probably my most “out there” suggestion and may seem so to them but it actually ranks at #51 making it pretty common and not very “out there”! It’s common and familiar. I love this name for them because Isaiah is the prophet who prophesied the Virgin Birth, giving it a really cool Marian connection! It means “Yahweh is my salvation,” too, which is awesome. I really feel like this is such a powerhouse name for them It can shorten to Isa or Zay, too, giving it some more flexibility. Nico and Zay are awesome brothers and Nicholas and Isaiah are really cool, modern brothers.

Those are my thoughts! What do you think?


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Baby name consultation: Older three-syllable name needed for baby girl no. 3

Happy Veterans Day! Thanks to all who have served our country, including both my grandfathers, several uncles, a cousin, and friends. Here’s a lovely prayer for today. And enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Corinne writes in asking for help with baby #4’s name. She’s the third girl! Baby joins big siblings:

Adelaide Therese “Addie”

Eleanor Chiara

Fulton Joseph

She writes,

The girls each have their patron saint as their middle name and we’d like to continue that tradition with Edith for Edith Stein.  I am also open to Benedicta as a middle name from her Carmelite name, but my husband is less thrilled.”

They love the name Lucy but are worried it’s become too popular now.

She says,

I do like that both girls have 3 syllable names, even if Addie’s is shortened. Obviously we like old names, nothing too popular or trendy. We are fine with nicknames if they fit.”

One name she likes but doesn’t feel right is Magdalene called Maggie.

First, thoughts on Lucy. It is pretty popular at #49. What about long form Luciana? It ranks at #405 and is longer, like their other girls’ names (although it’s 4 syllables instead of 3). There’s also the 3 syllable Lucinda, which hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 1987. Both of these could get to Lucy easily and I think both sound nice with Edith (or Benedicta!).

She also mentioned Magdalene but wondered if Maggie is too close to Addie. I don’t think so! If it bothers them, though, they could also call her Madga instead.

On to new suggestions!

(1) Angeline

I really love this one for them as it’s 3 syllables, has a vowel beginning like the other girls, can shorten to Angie if they really want, and hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 2015. It’s for the angels, and I’m writing this up on the feast of the Archangels and little girl is due near the feast of the guardian angels. Angeline Edith has a nice ring and flow, too.

(2) Clementine

This name means “merciful, gentle” which I just love for a little girl. It currently ranks at #610, so not very popular and not really trendy, either. If the association with the fruit bothers them, they can pronounce it “clem-uhn-teen”. Clementine Edith is really cute.

(3) Germaine

I know baby girl already has a patroness but St. Germaine Cousin would be a great secondary patron! It hasn’t ranked the top 1000 for girls since 1963, so it’s definitely more classic, underused, and not trendy. I always thought Mae would be such a sweet nickname for Germaine, but there’s also Ger and Geri. Germaine Edith sounds so clunky cool to me, too.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Baby name consultation: First girl after three biblically named boys!

Happy feast of All Saints! Did you know there’s a name that specifically refers to “all saints”? Toussaint does! It’s also the last name of the wonderful Ven. Pierre Toussaint. It’s a great name to consider for a baby born on Nov. 1! I’d love to know if any of you have used or considered the name Toussaint for your child (whether or not he or she was born today).

Enjoy this consultation from my co-consultant, Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Kathryn writes in, “Our baby is a GIRL!” after three boys! Little Miss is joining big brothers:

  • James Elijah
  • John Isaiah
  • Samuel Robert

She writes:

So we obviously like pretty Biblical/traditional names. We have chosen this baby’s middle name to be Gianna after Gianna Molla! I really loved Rachel Gianna [last name] but my husband didn’t love it, and he really loved Rebecca Gianna [last name] but I felt like that was too much of a mouth full.”

They cannot use:

  • Sarah
  • Lydia
  • Leah

Finally, Kathryn writes,

her name definitely doesn’t have to be biblical, but I would like either the meaning to be significant or after a saint or something else! We both like Audrey (Nobel strength) okay but don’t feel like it’s “the one”. Victoria (Tori) is also on the shortlist but again, don’t feel like it’s the one …” 

First, some thoughts on names they like but don’t feel right.

Rachel– Lovely, Old Testament name. Rachel Gianna has such a beautiful ring to it, too.

Rebecca– Reminds me of Rachel, which is why, I’m sure, they like it. I don’t mind the sound of Rebecca Gianna.

Audrey– Really beautiful name that’s coming back in popularity. It has an old, classic feel to it. Audrey Gianna doesn’t flow as nicely to me, though.

Victoria– Sounds a little out of place next to their boys, to me but is a lovely name. Tori makes me think of the 90s but that’s not necessarily a connection everyone would share. There is a nice connection to Our Lady of Victory through this name. Victoria Gianna is a mouthful, to me.

On to new suggestions!

(1) Ruth

Since they love Rachel and Rebecca, I went to the next Old Testament “R” name. It’s not too popular at all and brings it back to the Old Testament, like Samuel, since James and John are both New Testament names. It also means “friend”, which I thought was sweet. Ruth Gianna has a nice ring to it, too.

(2) Phoebe

Keeping it Biblical but bringing it up to the New Testament is Phoebe. She helped the Apostles and is a saint. The name means “bright, pure”. Phoebe Gianna has the same kind of flow as Rachel/Rebecca Gianna.

(3) Susanna

This name appears in both the Old and New Testaments, making it a nice bridge between all their boys’ names. It hasn’t even ranked in the top 1000 since 1997, either, meaning it’s not popular. The name also means “lily” or “rose”, giving it a sweet flower connection to names that are much more popular today. There are tons of nickname options, too, from Susie and Sue to Sanna and Zuzu to Lily and Rose. Susanna Gianna has a beautiful, song-like quality to it, too.

(4) Veronica

Since they like Victoria, I thought maybe they’d like this name. St. Veronica wiped Jesus’s face on the road to Calvary. There’s also St. Veronica Guiliani. The name isn’t very popular, keeping it right where they like it. It means “true image” and has super cute nickname Vera to go with it or even Ronnie. Veronica Gianna has a great flow.

(5) Abigail

This was the third wife of King David, a great Old Testament name. Surprisingly, perhaps, this name ranks at #13 nationally right now, though, so it’s much more popular than it seems. Abigail Gianna might be too many Gs, though?

(6) Emilia

Breaking out of the Bible, this is the name of Pope St. John Paul II’s mother. This name came up as a style match to all their boys and I thought it was a sweet version of Emily. Emilia Gianna flows so beautifully, too. However, this name does rank at #40 currently.

(7) Eve/Eva/Ava

Eve is perhaps the ultimate Old Testament name, the very first female name! And Mary is often referred to as the New Eve. Eve itself is not too popular, but Eva is #93 and Ava is #3. Personally, I like the flow of Eva Gianna best. The name also means “to live” which is so powerful. I initially thought of Zoe for them, because of the meaning but when Eve came up as a style match for their boys and it has the same meaning, I thought they’d like Eve/Eva better. I included Ava because of their love for Audrey–– it has the same sort of feel but I thought it’s popularity might be too much of a con for them.

These are my suggestions! What do you think?


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Birth announcement: Roman Gabriel Charles!

Here’s a birth announcement from my co-consultant, Theresa Zoe Williams! Happy Monday everyone!

Mama Kelle writes in to say that they were matched with a baby! I did a consultation for her a little while ago and apparently just in time!

We found out a week ago that we were matched with a little boy with Down syndrome, and he is already in our arms! Thank you again for helping us with the middle names that match with Roman. His given name by his birth parents when he was born about a month ago was Charles / Charlie so to honor them and their beautiful decision to choose us to be his forever family we are keeping Charles as a second middle name. I thought it was funny that that was on your list as well, but I had already fallen in love with Gabriel and couldn’t let it go. Meet Roman Gabriel Charles!

Isn’t he just the sweetest? I love that his given name was one I suggested (Charles is such a great name!) and that they wanted to work that in to his full name. I’m a sucker for a good double middle! Please say a prayer for little Roman as he will need heart surgery soon. Welcome to the world and to your family, Roman!


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Baby name consultation: Strongly saintly+Marian names for baby no. 4

Please keep in your prayers the family of longtime Sancta Nomina friend Rosie from A Blog for My Mom — her two month old baby girl, Margaret Mary, died a few days ago. There are efforts to support the family, if you are willing and able — links are included in this post.

Here’s the latest consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams:

Mama Lucy writes in:

I am pregnant with our 4th child. Praise God! This babe is due in February 2022. We are not yet sure what gender this baby is, and I’m out 100% sure we will find out before birth! Our names for a boy and girl were set before we were even married, but the third was debated (mostly only by me ha!) until I saw her face.”

This baby will join big siblings:

  • Michael Dominic
  • Clara Marie-Therese
  • Gianna Marie-Rose

She writes:

Our girls have the Marie- _____  middle so that each one would be sure to have a Marian name. We kind of stole it from Louie and Zelie Martin. We also like that they will always share that even if their last name changes down the road. We have unintentionally gone with Italian saints for the girls first names so far, and I’d like to break from that so to not get too stuck on it. It’s not that we only like Italian names. Those just happened to feel right.

If we have another boy we’d like another strong saint first name (St. Michael) and a nod to Mary with the middle (st. Dominic spreading the rosary). Michael’s initials are MDW just like my husband’s and his father’s. I do love the name Jackson though and would love a baby Jack, maybe you could help find a saint connection? 

The only other non-canonized saint on our (very long) list is Anna Mae. This was my paternal grandmother’s name, and I love It but we have a lot of short a sound in or girls and the “Anna” in Gianna already. Am I overthinking? Names do not have to be canonized saints but we’d love a connection to our faith. Virtues, places, etc. I LOVE nicknames. Our first two mostly go by their first names but Gianna goes by Gigi, Geeg, and Geeger, and my husband and I both Love that she has multiple nicknames. We’ve discussed having a Lily Marie-Catherine and calling her Lily-Cate in the past. I also have a devotion to the miraculous medal. Catherine Laboure is another Catherine I’d love to honor. Like I said though, so many Catherine’s in the family already.”

Names they cannot use:

  • Caroline
  • Louie
  • Catherine (“So many variations in our family, but my confirmation saint was Catherine of Alexandria and I‘d love to honor her somehow“)

Names they like but don’t feel like the one:

  • Joseph
  • Peter 
  • Benedict
  • Karol (“as a middle“) 
  • George (“if Gianna was a boy she was going to be George Karol, two saints we love + GK for GK Chesterton who is one of my husband’s favorite authors“)  
  • Bosco (“nicknamed Bo“) 
  • Augustine (“I love Gus and Auggie!“) 
  • Sebastian (“Bash! I saw on this blog and loved!“) 
  • Jackson/Jack
  • Zelie
  • Beatrice (“my husband loves that a girl named Beatrice is what inspired Dante’s writings“) 
  • Anna Mae
  • Vianney (“I love St. John Vianney but we don’t like John, but again with that short a sound/ann“) 
  • Felicity (“husband is not a huge fan, I need nickname suggestions“)
  • Lily
  • Alice 

So first, I thought I’d give some thoughts on names they said they like but don’t feel like “the one”.

Joseph– Great, strong name, especially in this year of St. Joseph. Has a built-in Marian connection, too! Lots of great nickname potential here, too, including Joe, Joey, Joss, and Seph.

Peter– Another great, strong name literally meaning “rock”. Doesn’t get more solid than that! I love this name because it has so many faith and pop culture connections but is still fairly underused. I love the nickname Pete, too.

Benedict– I see a pope theme emerging! Another really great, strong name with lots of nickname potential. If they named their son Benedict Joseph, they could also call him Banjo, like a slur of Ben Joe. (Someday, someone will take me up on this and it will be glorious!)

Karol– They said they like this in the middle spot and, with their other kids, I agree. Pope St. John Paul II had a huge and very public Marian devotion, which is wonderful. Karol is also the Polish form of Charles, meaning “army, warrior” which is super cool for a kid of the faith. I love all the connections here.

George– On the rise but still fairly uncommon. I love this name. Nicknames here can be Georgie, Geo, Jory, or, a little bit of a stretch, Rory.

Bosco– This veers a little bit from their strong names for boys in that it’s not traditional or classic but is still very strong and is a trendy surname name. I think this is a really cute name, especially with nickname Bo, and St. John Bosco is a lovely patron.

Augustine– Can’t go wrong with this one, although it’s not a classic name but it is still very strong. I LOVE the nickname Gus and Auggie is super cute, too. Fun fact, this name means “exalted, venerable” which is cool considering St. Augustine is a Church Father and a Doctor of the Church.

Sebastian– Love this name and it has been growing in popularity. This would bridge the gap between their son’s name and their daughters’ names really well, too. I LOVE the nickname Bash! It just reminds me so much of a little boy.

Jackson/Jack– Super popular and trendy but because they’re such good, strong, classic names! They asked for a faith connection for these. Jack is a diminutive of John and Jacob (through the French Jacques) so any saint John, Jacob, or James (Jacob and James are etymologically the same name) can be patron! Lots and lots to choose from! Jackson could mean “follower or devotee of [insert patron saint John, Jacob, or James]” which is a cool connection. Jack has also come into being a slang term for a man which could then relate it to the Italian Guido and there’s a super cool Servant of God Guido Shaffer who could be patron. He was a Brazilian doctor, seminarian, and surfer, and has been proposed as the eventual patron saint of surfing.

Zelie– Super on-trend, rising Catholic name. I absolutely adore this name. It’s got the cool Z beginning and the lovely -ee sound ending. St. Zelie was also amazing and this brings them away from the Italian saints like they said they wanted

Beatrice– One of those clunky cool old names coming back. This is another Italian name, though, but just so lovely and I don’t think it has a very immediate Italian connection. It means “voyager, traveller” which is what we’re doing in this life. In this way, it could be a cool nod to St. Therese who said, “The world’s thy ship and not thy home.” There’s a St. Beatrice of Rome and several other Blessed Beatrices.

Anna Mae– I love this combo and I don’t think Anna is too close to Gianna. The one thing for consideration here is that Mae is a form of Mary, so they’d have to figure out a different way to do their Marie- middle name. Maybe Anna-Mae in the middle and a different first?

Vianney– This was super unexpected! St. John Vianney is a lovely patron but I just didn’t expect this for a girl! They could do nicknames Vi or Annie with this name for her, too.

Felicity– Great name that’s rising in popularity. They were wondering about nicknames for this so I’m assuming they thought of Lissy and didn’t like it. Flick and Flicka are two unexpected nicknames and a Hungarian diminutive is Zita (I know this is also an Italian name and might defeat their trying to get away from Italian names rule). Another nickname could be the literal “Happy”, which is the meaning of the name or “Lucky” which is another meaning of the name.

Lily Marie-Catherine nn Lily-Cate– Oh my goodness! I read this and I just felt like this is “the one” for them! It checks all of their boxes! It moves them away from Italian saints, gets their love of Catherine in there, stays the course with all of their girls having Marie- middle names, and has a lovely nickname! I really think this one is it for them.

Alice– Another clunky cool old name making its way back. I like this for them and with their other children. It’s a short form of Adelaide and there are a couple Sts. Alice or Adelaide to take patronage from.

On to new suggestions! Let’s start with the boys first.

(1) Joachim/n

This uncommon names means “Yahweh establishes” and is the name of Mary’s father. I think they might like this best in the middle but it does shorten to Joe, which is an especially cute nickname in this year of St. Joseph. Their love for Karol made me think they might like this name. It’s still strong, just not classic, and gives them more leeway in naming any future children. It opens up their style a bit without going completely left field. Again, though, I think they may like this in the middle best.

(2) Gabriel

It doesn’t get much more Marian and classic, strong than this name! It means “God is my strong man”. Gabriel was the archangel at the Annunciation and is also the name of St. Gabriel Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows, giving it a double Marian punch. This would mean that two of their sons would have the same names as Archangels, though.

(3) Luke

St. Luke wrote the most Marian Gospel, which is what gives this name its Marian connection. It’s simple, sweet, and classic. I don’t think they could go wrong with this name and it fits so nicely with all of their other children.

(4) Thaddeus

He was the apostle also known as Jude and the name means “heart”. The nickname Thad is adorable, too! Likewise, an unofficial suggestion is Theodore. I think they may like this one for the same reasons and it has lots of nickname potential like Theo, Ted, and Teddy.

(5) Gerard

I always think of this name as a Marian name since he is the patron saint of expectant mothers. It’s classic, underused, and strong. I really love this name for them. It has a ton of nickname potential like G/Jerry, G/Jer, or, starting to stretch it a bit, Gordo or Rory.

Now for girls. This one was a little harder for me because their tastes lean Italian but they wanted to get away from that. I cast my net really wide for these suggestions and I think they’ll like what I’ve thought up.

(1) Alexandria

I thought of this one because of their love for St. Catherine of Alexandria. It gets one of their Catherine names in without using Catherine and is more unexpected. There’s TONS of nickname potential here: Alex, Ana, Ria, Alexa, Lexi, and even Alix or Alice! This name has the flourish like their other girls’ names without being an Italian name, which I think is something they’ll appreciate.

(2) Sophie

It’s a French name! And it means “wisdom”. There are lots of Sts. Sophia to take patronage from and I thought it would be cool to use a French name to honor an Italian saint, like they’ve done before. However, there’s also the French Bl. Madeleine Sophie Barat for patronage!

(3) Zoe

A Greek name and saint! St. Zoe of Pamphylia was a mother who lived in the 3rd century and watched her whole family be tortured and martyred. She’s an incredible, little-known saint. Zoe was also the birth name of St. Catherine Laboure. This name came to me because of their love of Zelie, it’s got all the same things going for it, plus it’s the Greek word for the spiritual life.

(4) Madeleine

Another French name! It’s the French form of Magdalen, so she could take her patronage there. St. Mary Magdalen also accompanied Mary to the cross, so it’s a solid Marian name, too. There’s also St. Madeleine Sophie Barat. Sophie Marie-Madeleine or Zoe Marie-Madeleine are just so swoony to me!

(5) Charlotte

I took their love of the name Karol and kind of ran with it. I thought they might like the feminine, French form Charlotte. There are lots of Venerable Charlottes, most of them martyred in the French Revolution. One other stood out to me, though, Ven. Marie-Charlotte Dupouy Bordes founded the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of Mary, making it a Marian name in another way.

These are my thoughts. What does everyone else think?


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Baby name consultation: Names that work in Spanish and English for little green bean

Happy Monday, everyone! Enjoy this latest baby name consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Parents Laura and Kevin are expecting a little green bean (gender unknown) in October. Little bean is joining siblings:

Zelie Faustina

Fontina (in heaven)

What lovely, somewhat unusual names!

Laura writes,

I am from Mexico and would love for our baby to have a name that you can pronounce in both Spanish and English (we did not do that with Zelie but I would have liked to). We both love St. Peter but cannot agree on any variations of his name. Kevin loves the names Mary or Maria but I’m not too crazy about them. And I would love some sort of name / version of Eucharist or Eucharistia but I just can’t think of any. (For a girl).”

She also mentioned that her husband loves Jesuit saints.

Names they like:

  • Gianna
  • Juliana
  • Lucas
  • Analia
  • Amelia
  • Javier
  • Santiago

Names they cannot use:

  • Isabela
  • Daniel

I thought I’d give my thoughts on their shortlist first.

Gianna– Fairly popular in Catholic circles but very feminine and lovely. Goes well with Zelie and I think this would be able to be pronounced okay in Spanish.

Juliana– Love this! Uncommon but not weird and can be pronounced easily in Spanish. Very feminine and frilly. There are also some saints and blesseds Julia for patronage!

Lucas– Good, strong name with lots of nickname potential. Maybe they’d both like Luca better, though?

Analia– I had never heard of this name before but it’s so lovely! I love that it’s a combination of Ana and Lucia, giving lots of patronages and a beautiful name. Maybe they’d also like Analee?

Amelia– A beautiful name but getting popular. But, it’s popular for a reason! I know several little Amelias. I like how this sounds with Zelie, though.

Javier– I like that this is a version of Xavier and you can get that great patronage of St. Francis Xavier from it. Comes across as very cool and Mexican to me, which they may or may not love about it. I think it sounds a little mismatched next to Zelie, though.

Santiago– Great name! I love the nickname Santi, too. I like how this sounds with Zelie.

Next, I know they like Peter as the saint and would love to find a way to honor him but they can’t agree on a version of the name they both like. Here are a couple other international variations of Peter: Pierre, Pier, and Piero. If those don’t strike their fancy, what about a name that means rock, like Roch, Rocco, or Rocky? Personally, I like Piero and Rocco the best–– both are pronounceable in Spanish and still sound good next to Zelie.

Laura mentioned she wanted a way to work in Eucharist or Eucharista for a girl. Since neither of those work for them, I thought of some names that mean “thanksgiving”, “grateful”, or “blessed” which is what “eucharist” means: Beatrix, Beatriz, Zendaya, Shakira, Jayden, Benedicta, Gwynn, Benedetta, or Beata. Of these, I like Beatriz, Zendaya, and Benedetta best for them.

Okay, on to new suggestions! Let’s start with girls.

(1) Sienna/Siena

For St. Catherine of Siena and it’s also easily pronounceable in Spanish. I love this patron and this way of honoring her. Siena sounds good next to Zelie, too.

(2) Marina/Mariana

Technically, these are two different names but I liked them for them for the same reasons, so I’m including them together. Marina means “of the sea”, so a nod to Mary, Maris Stella. Mariana is a combination of Mary and Ann. Each of these gives a little more oomph to Mary/Maria while still being classic and feminine.

(3) Carolina

This is a feminine form of Charles, so it can be a nod to St. John Paul II or take Jesuit saint Charles Garnier as patron. It ties Kevin’s love of Jesuit saints into a feminine, frilly name that works in both English and Spanish.

(4) Catalina

This is a Spanish form of Catherine and so there are lots of saints to go with it. It’s very underused but has that frilly feminine feel they both seem to like.

(5) Gemma

I think this could be pronounced easily in Spanish? It’s short like Zelie and not actually Spanish in origin like big sister’s name, too, which connects them nicely. There’s also St. Gemma Galgani as a patron.

On to boys!

(1) Luis

I saw that there is a Jesuit St. David Lewis and that made me think of Luis! There’s also St. Aloysius Gonzaga as a patron, as Aloysius is also a form of Lewis! Outside of Jesuit saints, St. Louis Martin is a fantastic patron and would connect brother and sister in a fun way.

(2) Joaquin

This is the name of the grandfather of Jesus and means “Yahweh establishes”. I love this name for them. After losing a baby and then having Zelie, this name with this meaning, to me, really signifies the work God is doing in them and their family.

(3) Gabriel

I was looking through a list of Jesuit saints and came across St. Gabriel Lalemant whom I had never heard of. He was a missionary in Canada and is a martyr. When I think of names that work in English and Spanish, Gabriel is one of the first that comes to mind, so when I saw this connection, I couldn’t pass it up! There are also lots of other Sts. Gabriel including the Archangel and St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows Possenti.

(4) Mario

Technically, this name relates to the Greek god of war BUT it’s most often used as a masculine form of Mary. Since Kevin likes Mary and Maria but those are a little too plain or popular for Laura, I thought Mario might be an interesting way to bridge that gap. Like Zelie, it’s not a Spanish name but it does work in Spanish.

(5) Alexio

This is an unusual form of Alexander that I first heard on one of my son’s Mexican classmates. I think it’s so cool and unusual! Alexander is such a strong name but Alexio makes it work easier in Spanish and gives it some cool vibes. There’s even a Jesuit saint Alexander Briant to go along with it.

These are my thoughts. What do you guys think?


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Funny story about Dalglish/Dalgliesh

I know you’re shocked to hear from me apart from posting Theresa’s baby name consultations! But a funny name thing happened recently and I couldn’t wait to tell you all.

A few years ago a friend recommended the show Moone Boy to me, but at the time it was on Hulu, which we didn’t have. Then more recently Simcha wrote that her family’s been enjoying it on Prime, so last week I found it and watched the first few episodes (and yes, I feel like it won’t be long until I’m speaking with a brogue all the time now) and of course noticed right away that the main character’s full name is Martin Paul Kenny Dalglish Moone. My name thoughts went thusly: Martin, Paul, and Kenny made sense to me, since they’re saintly names; I thought it was fun that Paul and Kenny were next to each other, as one of my friends has sons named Paul and Kenny; and Dalglish was so unfamiliar to me that I just assumed it was one of the most confusing Irish names the creators (who are Irish) could come up with. Also, the voiceover seemed to sort of emphasize Dalglish in a chuckly sort of way, which reinforced my idea that it was just a Super Irish Name.

Then this past Sunday, my mom was telling me she’d seen Man of Steel with Henry Cavill and asked what else he’d been in that she might know. So I looked him up and was shocked to see that his given name is Henry William Dalgliesh Cavill! What are the odds?? (In his case, Dalgliesh is his mother’s maiden name.)

Well. Now I *had* to dig deeper into the name. I was disappointed by what I found! There was barely anything on Behind the Name — just that it’s a Scottish surname meaning “field”+”brook,” and further searching (though admittedly not exhaustive) revealed no saintly or faith connection that I could find (which is why this is just a regular post as opposed to a Spotlight). But then I mentioned it to my husband, just in my chatty way of talking about all sorts of things that he may or may not have an interest in (he always tries to look interested, such a good man), and he actually had a contribution! He wondered if they (Moone Boy and Henry Cavill) might have been named after Sir Kenny Dalglish, and I was like who?? So he pulled up his Wikipedia entry — Hubby supports Liverpool F.C. (lest you think I’m in the know, just know that I just looked up how to say that … if I hadn’t just learned to say “supports Liverpool F.C.” I’d have said “he’s a fan of the Liverpool [England] football team”) and Sir Kenny Dalglish is a former and very famous player. So then Moone Boy‘s main character’s name took on new meaning — it’s not just Martin and Paul and Kenny strung together before Dalglish, it’s Martin and Paul strung together before Kenny Dalglish! Or at least, Kenny’s pulling double duty here as both a Saint’s name and making more sense of Dalglish.

So interesting, right?? I knew you’d love to hear this! I hope you’re all having a great week, and happy first day of Fall!!


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!