Baby name consultation: Perpetua, Gianna, Clare for baby girl, or …?

I’ve got a second consultation for you all this week! 💃💃💃 Victoria and her husband are due soon with their fourth baby — their third daughter! This little lady joins big siblings:

Miriam Grace (“double tribute to our Blessed Mother“)

Moses Anthony (“made sense he’s Miriam’s younger brother and she saves him.  “Anthony” for my brother in law and St. Anthony“)

Felicity Rose (“named after St. Felicity and Mystical Rose [also a nod to my mother who is named Rosa]“)

I love these names! Each one is so attractive — lovely names for the girls, a handsome name for their son, nice rhythm to the first+middle combos — Victoria and her husband have done a great job! 

Victoria writes,

My husband really likes Perpetua … and it’s slowly growing on me but I’m not yet ‘sold’. He’s not sure if he REALLY likes it or if he only ‘likes’ it because Miriam and Moses are an old testament duo and Felicity and Perpetua are a Saint/Roman Canon duo. And for the record, he wants Perpetua as a FIRST name but will consider it as a middle name.  My only ‘hang up’ with Perpetua is how it would be received outside our Catholic School/Church community?

Names Hubby Likes:

  • Perpetua 
  • Anastasia
  • Cecilia
  • Lucia
  • Gianna (we were married on her feast day and has been on both our lists for all kids … just never chosen)
  • Sophia (this was top contender on hubby’s list for quite a while … but started losing it’s steam after he came up with others)  
  • Avila (My mother’s maiden last name. Also, recent genealogy discovered by hubby’s brother shows they are distant relatives to St. Teresa of Avila)
  • Clare (my youngest woke up a few weeks ago and said Jesus spoke to her and told her to name her baby sister Clare)
  • Faustina
  • Anne (middle name only … tribute to his mother and our Blessed Mother’s mother)
  • Faith (middle name only)
  • Hope (middle name only)

Names I Like:

  • Perpetua (it’s growing on me … just a bit nervous about it)
  • Gianna (still one of my favs … but not sure if it’ll make the cut)
  • Delia (tribute to my great grandmother who I loved dearly … hubby is not a fan of the name)
  • Josephine (both his and my paternal grandmother’s name … although he wasn’t close with his and mine passed when I was super young. Also the Year of St. Joseph and the kids attend St. Joseph School. Not my fav … but it still makes the cut)
  • Caeli (husband doesn’t like it … but I sure do!)    
  • Joy (middle name only but hubby isn’t a fan)

Ideally, I’d like a Saint name (or a Saint Reference) and/ or a nod to our Blessed Mother (reason I haven’t chosen Delia previously). Since my other children’s names are mentioned during mass, the idea of having a name from the bible or the Roman Cannon is just that much better (but not a make or break for us). My other kids LOVE their names … and enjoy sharing the meaning behind them with others … Catholic evangelization at work 😉

Names Already Taken By Close Family Members (big Catholic family here!) 

  • Rebecca 
  • Deborah 
  • Suzanne 
  • Andrea 
  • Francesca 
  • Adriana 
  • Ciara 
  • Alexandria 
  • Theodora 
  • Paulina 
  • Bernadette 
  • Georgiana 
  • Isabella 
  • Gabriella 
  • Audrina 
  • Samara 
  • Thérèse 
  • Immaculatta
  • Maria
  • Reina

Alrighty, let’s start with Perpetua. I love Perpetua! It’s a heavy duty Catholicky Catholic name that has fantastic meaning as both one half of the St. Felicity/St. Perpetua duo, and also as a nod to Our Lady via her title Our Lady of Perpetual Help. It’s interesting that its Catholicness is a hang-up for Victoria — her worry about how it would be received outside their Catholic school/church community is a very valid one! I personally love how such names can be methods of evangelization — the pediatrician/cashier at the grocery store/college admissions officer when her daughter is older might say, “Oh Perpetua, what an unusual name!” and Victoria or her daughter can reply with, “Yes! Perpetua and Felicity are Saints who were martyred together for their faith in the third century,” and the pediatrician/cashier at the grocery store/college admissions officer will come away with knowledge that Victoria and her hubby named their daughters after strong, faith-filled, brave women, which I think is fantastic, and something Victoria’s already on board with as she noted that her kids “enjoy sharing the meaning behind [their names] with others … Catholic evangelization at work” — yes!!

I’ve tended to think of Perpetua as have decent usage in the U.K. — like with Bridget’s coworker Perpetua in Bridget Jones’ Diary — but apparently it’s not really used that much there (though see the author’s comment that “Before writing this, I honestly thought Perpetua was, and had been, a lot more popular than in actuality,” so it does have that feel over there, even in the numbers don’t bear it out).

As for everyday usage, Perpetua’s got some great nickname options that can make it seem a bit more user-friendly outside of a Catholic community, like Pippa and Petra and Etta. A friend of mine named her daughter Perpetua and they sometimes call her Tua.

And really, there are so many unusual and unfamiliar names used by parents these days for their kids that I can’t imagine Perpetua would really stand out as all that unusual, you know?

As for the other names Victoria and her hubby have on their lists, I thought I’d offer my thoughts in case they’re helpful:

  • Anastasia: Lovely and feminine
  • Cecilia: Ditto
  • Lucia: Ditto
  • Gianna: I love the meaning behind Gianna for Victoria and her husband!
  • Sophia: Another lovely name, though quite popular
  • Avila: I’m in love with this name for this family!! How cool that it’s Victoria’s mom’s maiden name!! And that her husband is related to St. Teresa of Avila!!
  • Clare: Oh my. Felicity’s dream that Jesus told her the baby’s name should be Clare does make things tricky! Maybe as a middle name? Avila Clare?
  • Faustina: Since Miriam and Moses are a pair, I do kind of like the idea of Felicity having a “paired” sibling (though of course not a requirement at all!) — Perpetua is one way to do it, but using an F name could be another. Faustina’s a great one!
  • Delia: I love honoring beloved family members in one’s baby’s name — I’m sorry Victoria’s husband’s not on board!
  • Josephine: I agree with Victoria, she has so many great reasons to use this name! I wonder if Josepha/Josefa would be more appealing? Another idea she and her hubby might like is that I’ve often suggested Sophie as an unexpected nickname for Josephine — maybe that would be a way to add some sparkle to Josephine for Victoria, and get her husband’s Sophia in there too
  • Caeli: Oh yeah, I love this one too!
  • Anne, Faith, Hope, Joy: Lovely middles! I would particularly love to see them consider Faith as a first name — not only do I love Felicity and Faith as two F names to make a nice pair, but I know a pair of sisters named Faith and Felicity!

So I think Victoria and her husband have some great names on their list! Gianna, Avila, and Clare really stand out to me as having both significance and Catholic-ness. I love Delia too, though. It’s so hard to choose when you have a list full of gorgeous names!

I’m glad, too, that Victoria included the list of names they can’t use — I originally had Chiara and Reina in my list of ideas for them, until I remembered that Ciara and Reina are family names!

You all know that I start each consultation by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I did so here, keeping an eye out for particularly faith-y names, especially Marian names, and of course any names that were big style matches for this family. I also looked through my book of Marian names. Based on all that, these are my additional ideas for Victoria’s new baby:

(1) Flora

It’s so thrilling to me when I find a name that’s a style match for more than one of the names on a couple’s list, especially when it’s a name that I don’t see too often — so I was so excited to see that Flora is a style match for both Moses and Delia! Wow! I also love that it’s an F name, as I think following Felicity with an F name would be a cool pair. Felicity and Flora are great together! And I think Flora can be a nod to Our Lady since it means “flower” and Vincenzina Krymow says in her book Mary’s Flowers: Gardens, Legends & Meditations (affiliate link) that, “It is thought that at one time, all flowers and plants honored Mary, the ‘Flower of Flowers,’ in legend or in name.” Flora Clare, maybe?

(2) Philomena

Philomena is very much in line with the feel of Perpetua and Anastasia in terms of weight and substance, and also Caeli I think, in the sense that it’s a very Catholic name. I love that while its meaning isn’t totally known, one theory holds that it’s from the Greek philomene — “loved.” I like that it starts with the F sound, and I love its nickname potential: Fia, Fila, Fina, Finn, Finna, Lola, MenaMinnie, Pia, Pim, Pina, Pippa are all nicknames I think could be used for Philomena.

(3) Naomi

I’m sure you’re not surprised that Naomi is a style match for both Miriam and Moses, but I was thrilled to see that it’s also a style match for Cecilia! I love the story of Ruth and Naomi in the bible, and I love the name Naomi on its own merits — such a pretty name!

(4) Natalia

Natalia is a match for Anastasia, and I liked it right away for this family because I think it has a Felicity feel — St. Natalia of Nicomedia was born only about a hundred years after St. Felicity, and like Felicity has a “pair” in her story — in her case, her husband St. Adrian, whose martyrdom she witnessed. It’s also in my book of Marian names since it means “nativity,” which can refer both to Our Lady of the Nativity (as Jesus’ mother of course), and to her own birth, celebrated as the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady.

(5) Susanna(h)

The biblical Susannah is a match for Miriam and Moses, and I do love that spelling, but the Susanna spelling is the one used by the Saint — like St. Natalia, St. Susanna lived around the same time as St. Felicity, so Susanna also seems well suited as Felicity’s sister. I like how Susanna seems a perfect bridge name between Miriam and Moses on one side and Felicity on the other. I know Suzanne is on their “no” list, but maybe Susanna is different enough? Anna, Sukie, and Zuzu are all traditional nicknames for Susanna that can make it even more different from Suzanne.

(6) Charis

I tried to think of names that are similar to Caeli on Victoria’s list, and Charis came to mind right away. It’s Greek for “grace, kindness” and is contained within the word eucharist, which I think is so awesome. It’s said just like the Welsh name Carys, which is also lovely and means “love.”

(7) Colette

I was inspired to include Colette for a few reasons. Initially, it was because of Victoria husband’s middle name, Nicholas — Colette is a short form of Nicolette, and I do love working parents’ names into their babies’ names. I would love to include Victoria, too! I like that St. Colette of Corbie was born to an older mother, which is the case with Victoria and her baby, and St. Colette is also a patron of expectant mothers. Then I remembered that she was a Poor Clare — which ties in really well with Felicity’s story about the baby’s name needing to be Clare!

(8) Seraphina/Serafina

Finally, Serafina is a match for Perpetua, and it strikes me as sort of a mash-up of Sophia and Josephine. Like Josephine, I think it can take the nickname Sophie/Sofie if they want, or Sera, or Sadie, which is a traditional nickname for Sarah and is a style match for Delia. Seraphina/Serafina refers to the angels known as the seraphim, which is why it’s in my book of Marian names — because of Our Lady’s title Queen of the Angels.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Miriam, Moses, and Felicity?


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! (And check out my buy-the-book-get-a-consultation deal!)

20 thoughts on “Baby name consultation: Perpetua, Gianna, Clare for baby girl, or …?

  1. Gianna Clare is my favorite for them because of the meaning behind the names for them, and the single syllable middle to go with Grace and Rose.

    Maybe using Cordelia would be more appealing to them since it adds in a Sacred Heart connection, but contains Delia.

    *Perpetua Faith
    *Avila Anne
    *Gianna Clare
    *Clare Josephine
    *Cordelia Joy
    *Lucia Cordelia
    *Flora Anastasia
    *Naomi Caeli
    *Colette Philomena

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First of all, I love the names they already used. They are all adorable!
    Some combos I like:
    Gianna Marie
    Avila Clare
    Cecilia Faith
    Perpetua Caeli
    Genevieve Lucy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to say that I love the combo of Perpetua Joy. The combo with Felicity is great, I like that your husband loves the first name and you get a middle you like… “Perpetual Joy” is an amazing implication, and the nickname potential is great: Peppy, Poppy, Pippa, maybe even Perry, but with this nickname combo you could call her PJ and I LOVE THAT

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Avila! I am swooning. SO nickname-rich. Vivi, Ava, Avi. This is my favorite!

    Avila Perpetua =gorgeous

    You could also use Pippa as a nn for Perpetua. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Avila Clare! How lovely! And significant to the family! That is definitely my favorite! I could also love Clare Avila.

    As a non-Catholic married to a Catholic, I can attest that Perpetua would’ve baffled me a bit pre-partner. I probably would’ve just thought it a clunky old name. Now, I’d definitely place her as being from a Catholic family, but the lingering confusion would still make it hard to use myself. But if you do love it and it feels right, I don’t think it should stop you. And I do adore the nicknames Pip and Pippa and Etta!

    Liked by 1 person

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