Birth announcement: Agnes Marie-Josephine!

Theresa Zoe Williams did a consultation for Mama Lucy back in October, and she let us know that her baby has been born and given the wonderful name … Agnes Marie-Josephine!

Lucy writes,

We have never had such a hard time naming a baby. We even had settled on Zelie and Lily at separate times, and at one point my husband even wrote Lily on the hospital board, but it immediately felt wrong.

Agnes was a name we had talked about early in the pregnancy. I mentioned it again, and my husband was instantly on board. He really wanted the middle name to be Marie-Flannery after Flannery O’Connor, but he caved to Marie-Josephine because we both loved the possibility of calling her Aggie Jo. (Our 18 month old can say “Aggie Jo” perfectly. I could Listen to her say it all day.)

Marie-Flannery is swoon-worthy, too! Maybe another baby another day… (Note from Kate: Their other girls have a hyphenated Marie- double middle as well — I love that!!)

Lucy writes,

I love all of the saints in her name. St. Agnes is so perfect for a baby girl. Mary Mother of God and St. Josephine Bakhita. All powerhouses. I also like to think the Josephine is partially for St. Joseph because I was in the middle of the Consecration when we learned I was pregnant with her. My paternal great-grandmother was also Agnes, called Aggie. She died when I was very young, but I asked my grandfather about her recently and his immediate response was ‘she was a living saint.’ I thought it was so beautiful that her now 80+ year old son would remember her that way.”

This is incredibly sweet and such a great connection for baby Agnes!

Welcome to the world Agnes Marie-Josephine and congratulations to Mom and Dad and big siblings Michael, Clara, and Gianna!

Agnes Marie-Josephine with her family ❤

I’m back on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back from time to time, as I hope to open up a few spots here and there as I’m able), 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.)

For help with Marian names, 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). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Classic, timeless, English-y name with family connection needed for little sister of two big brothers

You guys! April starts this week! It’s freeeeezing here, but April is proof positive that spring weather is almost here to stay! I hope you all have a great week! Enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Elise writes in asking for help naming a little green bean due in August. Baby will join big siblings:

George Samuel

William Pittman

She writes, “A baby boy would be named James Vernus.”

So boy names are taken care of and we’re just looking for the perfect girl name!

Elise continues,

My favorite names are Margaret and Harriet but unfortunately the T on T sound with [our last name] is a no-go.”

Quick note on Margaret and Harriet: I love these for them! I’m so sad Trey, her husband, isn’t on board them with either. That being said, it gave me great guidance for their style.

Mama Elise says,

There are very few female family names to go based on for inspiration. Maternal grandmother is Gloria and maternal great grandmother is Minerva but neither of these fit our style. One potential consideration for inclusion is Alma (my middle name and my mom’s maiden name is Almader) but idk if it fits stylistically. Other names I love — Clare (my paternal grandmother’s middle name), Eleanor (big fave), Lydia, Matilda, and Beatrice. We do tend towards classic, timeless, English-y names. I’d prefer a family connection with the name (we’ve gone with it for middles so far) but we really don’t have many female names to work with on my mom’s side.”

What a great challenge! I hope Dad gets on board with something.

About names they’re considering or would like to work in somehow:

Alma- I LOVE this for them in the middle spot! What a great way to honor Elise and Elise’s mom. I think it would go well in the middle with any number of names. I was thinking about how to honor Elise a lot in a little girl’s name and I was wondering if they’d consider Elisabeth? Elise is a diminutive of Eliz/sabeth and Elizabeth is the most classic name out there. It is constantly in use throughout all ages, never feels dated or trendy, and crosses all cultures. I think Alma or Elizabeth in the middle spot for this girl is the way to go.

Gloria- I agree that this doesn’t seem like their style. I think it would still work well in the middle spot, though.

Minerva- A great honor name that I agree just isn’t their style. It relates to the Roman goddess of wisdom and war. The Greek equivalent is Athena. I don’t really think that’s their style either! Although I do think nickname Minnie is right in their wheelhouse.

Clare- Love this name and their connections to it. It has a very classic, English-y feel like they like.

Eleanor- I ADORE this name. It’s so good. It is classic and feminine and has the El- beginning like mom, which I love. It can be an honor name without really being an honor name. Meanings are debated but possibly it comes from the name Helen (which I also like for them) meaning “torch”.

Lydia- This one surprised me a bit in a good way. It’s a little more popular than it seems meaning it’s a little trendier than it seems. I love that this opens up their style a bit, though.

Matilda- This seems right in their wheelhouse and nickname Mattie is to die for! Underneath its feminine exterior, this name means “strength in battle”, something any little girl with older brothers will need!

Beatrice- This name seems right in their wheelhouse and I love it for them. Beatrix is even more English (Beatrice is actually the Italian form!). I love that this name means “voyager, traveller” and that can be a nod to St. Therese saying the world is thy ship and not thy home. Anyway, I love love this name for them. Beatrice Elizabeth or Beatrice Alma are my top suggestions for them, if they hadn’t already had it on their list.

On to new suggestions!

1. Florence

This was the first name that came to mind for them. Meaning “prosperous, flourishing” this classic name was also borne by many early saints. It’s got that classic, timeless, English-y feel that they like, too. Nicknames Flo, Florrie, and Flossie make it cute and accessible. It sits at #762 meaning it’s enduring but uncommon. Florence Elizabeth is just super classic. Florence Minerva is classic but interesting and Florence Alma really gives it flair and family ties.

2. Josephine

After Elizabeth, when someone says they want a timeless, classic name, Josephine always comes to mind. I love Josephine next to George and William. Such a great, strong, classic sibling set. I love the nicknames Jo and Josie and Josephine goes with just about every name they’re interested in. I love Josephine Elizabeth, Josephine Alma, Josephine Clare, and Josephine Matilda the best.

3. Blair

So this is Scottish instead of English but it struck me as very them. It has that strong, stately feel that George and William radiate while being just a little bit different. It means “battlefield,” which is cool and sits at #333, meaning it’s uncommon but not weird. I love Blair Alma but if that’s too many kind of out there names in one name for them, Blair Elizabeth is beautiful and stately.

4. Vera

This is a name all on its own or can be a short form of Veronica. On its own it can mean “true”, “faith” (in Russian), or “summer” (in Albanian). As a short form of Veronica, it means “true image.” Fun fact, Veronica is itself a form of Berenice which means “bringing victory.” I love that this little name has so much meaning wound up in it! Vera sits at #246 meaning it has a lot of the same vibe as Blair, also Vera reads more English-y to me. It’s basically a virtue name without being a virtue name, and I like that for them. Vera Elizabeth is stunning. Vera Clare and Vera Josephine are also really beautiful.

5. Constance

This was the third name that came to mind for them right off the top of my head. It means “constant, steadfast,” which is such a beautiful meaning. It’s out of the top 1000 names meaning it’s just not in vogue right now but it’s still plenty recognizable. There are actually a couple saints to go along with this name, too! St. Constance of Vercelli and Bl. Constance de Castro. I thought that was cool. Constance Elizabeth, Constance Alma, Constance Gloria, and Constance Clare are all really nice.

6. Honor

An actual virtue name! I thought of this one because it reads as so stately and wholesome, like their boys. It’s not in the top 1000 of names but I don’t think that matters. There are male Saints Honorius and Honoratus to go along with it but there’s also a Marian angle to this name. Mary has the title Vessel of Honor and I thought this was a great way to honor her through this title and still have a very stately name. I really love this name for them. Honor Elizabeth is just gorgeous.

7. Lucille

The name that kept nagging me, so I had to include it! This name has that classic feel they like but can have such cute and modern nicknames like Lucy, Lu, and Luce (pronounced like “loose”). I thought a Lucille fit them better than a Lucy. It sits at #271 meaning it’s classic and recognizable.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m back on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back from time to time, as I hope to open up a few spots here and there as I’m able), 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.)

For help with Marian names, 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). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Boy no. 6 needs his own name in a big family with lots of boy cousins

Happy Spring! Hooray! Enjoy today’s consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Mary writes in needing help naming their 8th child, 6th boy! Little man will be joining big siblings:

Zelie Anna
George Patrick
Timothy Michael
Martin Gerard
Joseph Benedict
Patrick Peyton
Fina Janine

Her husband Kevin does not want a junior. She writes,

Here is our difficulty. We have A LOT of nephews and we spend a lot of time with them and don’t want to duplicate unless we really love it (Joseph is a repeat with a nephew named Joseph and a niece named Josephine) … A lot of the names we love, but like I said just don’t want to repeat.”

Names they cannot use include:

  • Kevin
  • Anthony
  • Augustine
  • Oliver
  • Henry
  • Charles
  • Benjamin
  • Thomas
  • Maximilian
  • Zachary
  • Francis
  • Nicholas
  • Michael
  • Sebastian
  • Peter
  • Kolbe
  • William
  • Joshua
  • Daniel
  • James
  • Matthew
  • John
  • John Paul
  • Vincent
  • Clement

Mary writes,

So far I love Ambrose, but my husband doesn’t love it. Also our last name is Benz. My husbands favorite name is Benedict but I can’t get over” Benedict with their last name.

On to names. Some thoughts on the ones they like.

Ambrose- Fantastic name and great patron to go along with it. This seems a little outside of their established style but not too far out. It’s very Catholicky Catholic, and that’s a good thing! It ranks at #820, meaning it’s not popular at all but they may hear it in Catholic circles.

Benedict- I understand why this is on their list. It’s a great name that has so much meaning for them. I do not like the sound of Ben [last name], though, and they’ve already used it in the middle spot for another son. I know that doesn’t matter to them much, as they’ve done this before, but I think there is a better name out there for them.

Okay, on to new suggestions! This was one of the most fun challenges I’ve had in a while because of all the names they can’t use that would be right within their wheelhouse. I hope I’ve come up with some suitable alternatives.

1) Gabriel

The world is catching on to how great this name is, as it currently ranks at #38. It means “God is my strong man” and I think that’s an incredible meaning for a little boy. Gabriel fits so well with all their other kids, too. There is, of course, St. Gabriel the Archangel for patron but there’s also lesser known St. Gabriel Possenti who had a strong devotion to Our Lady through the title Our Lady of Sorrows. You can read more about him here. I love the sound of Gabriel Ambrose and Gabe is such a cute nickname (if they’re into nicknames).

2) Paul

I was surprised to find that no one in their life had used this name yet, so I had to include it! It means “small” or “humble” and the obvious patron is St. Paul the Apostle, although there are plenty of others. It ranks at #252, meaning it’s not popular or trendy but is recognizable and established, pretty much the sweet spot they want. The only con I could see is that Paul would mean they have a lot of P names in their family. I’m not sure if that bothers them or not.

3) Miles

This may not seem like a very traditional name but it is and has a rich history! It most likely means “gracious” or “soldier” but it is also the Anglicized version of two Gaelic names, Maoilios meaning “servant of Jesus” and Maolmhuire meaning “servant of the Virgin Mary.” How cool is that! There is a Bl. Miles Gerard also. This name currently ranks at 58, meaning that it’s still fairly uncommon, though they’ll hear it more often. I think this name fits in beautifully with their other children. I love the depth of meanings of this name.

4) Anselm

Ambrose always makes me think of Anselm. It means “with divine protection” and was born by St. Anselm, a Doctor of the Church. It doesn’t even rank in the top 1000 names, so it’s unique and not trendy. The only place they’ll hear this name is Catholic circles and even very rarely there. It’s a little different from their other kids but still fits in and is very traditional as far as Catholic names go.

5) Theodore/Thaddeus

These names give off the same vibe to me (and actually may share a root) so I always include them together. If you like one of these names, you’ll probably like the other. Theodore means “gift of God” and currently ranks at #23. Several saints bore this name. I think the meaning is so sweet and great for an eighth child. Nicknames Ted, Teddy, and Theo are so cute, too. I love love love Theodore Ambrose and other good combinations are Theodore Gabriel, Theodore Paul, and Theodore Anselm. Thaddeus comes from possibly the same root or could mean “heart.” It currently ranks at #785 meaning it’s rare but not weird. St. Jude Thaddeus was one of the Apostles, too. Nicknames Tad and Taddy are super cute. I love Thaddeus Ambrose, Thaddeus Paul, and Thaddeus Miles.

6) Basil

St. Basil the Great is a Doctor of the Church and you can’t get much more traditional than that! In English, Basil means “king” but in Arabic it means “brave, valiant”. How cool! I love this name for them as it sort of bridges more common traditional names with more uncommon traditional names. It doesn’t rank in the top 1000 names, so it’s relatively unheard of but not weird. I think it’s criminally underused! It’s definitely on my list of guilty pleasure names. Basil Ambrose is a powerhouse. Basil Gabriel, Basil Paul, Basil Anselm, and Basil Theodore are also really strong and traditional.

7) Gregory

Lots of saints to go along with this name, including Pope St. Gregory the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory Nazianzen. It means “watchful, alert” and ranks at #432, meaning it’s falling out of favor in the trendy circles but is still traditional and recognizable. I think this name fits in really well with their other kids, especially the boys, who seem to be not immediately identifiable as Catholic but with strong, traditional Catholic roots. This name fits that bill. Gregory Ambrose makes for a super Catholic little man and Gregory goes with just about every name I’ve suggested, too. I think this is a great name that doesn’t get used nearly enough these days.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m back on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back from time to time, as I hope to open up a few spots here and there as I’m able), 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.)

For help with Marian names, 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). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 3 (girl no. 2) needs name that goes well with big sibs

Happy Irish week! Woot! If you’re into Irish names like I am, you might like to take a look at my past St. Patrick Day posts, as well as all the posts I’ve done that I’ve included the tag “Irish names” or otherwise mention Irish names in the post. There’s also the feast of St. Clement Mary Hofbauer (my parish’s Saint) on Tuesday and St. Joseph on Saturday — a great, heavy-hitting week! Let’s start it off with this fun consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Abby writes in,

We need help naming our third baby. Baby girl is due April 25 and we are having trouble choosing her name.

Her older sister is Margaret Jane nickname Meg. Margaret wasn’t a name that was on either of our preferred name lists but was really the only name I would consider when I was pregnant with her. My husband was skeptical until the delivery room when he saw her and agreed that it was the correct name for her. We picked Jane because we liked how it sounded with Margaret (and slightly because of the association with Peter Pan). We almost switched it to Clare because she was born on the feast of St. Clare.

Baby’s older brother is Stephen Paul, we call him Paul. He is named after both of his grandfathers and his dad’s name is Stephen as well. We picked the name for our first son before we got married so this one was easy.

In terms of style we both like traditional names or traditional Catholic/saint names. I also want a name that either fits or has a nickname that fits well with Meg and Paul because those names go so well together.”

Names on their shortlist are:

  • Therese (“her nickname would be Tess. I love St. Therese and feel like God told me in prayer that He would give me a daughter named Tess. So this will be on my list until we find her, just not sure it’s this baby. My husband likes this name but we are having trouble coming up with a middle name that we both like”)
  • Caroline (“I think this is my husbands favorite girl name and I like it too. My main concern with this one is how it fits with our other two kids. I don’t like the nickname Carrie but would consider Cara. I’ve never really heard of that before but it makes some sense”)
  • C/Katherine (“nickname Kate. Middle name would be either Isabelle or Mirabelle though I am open to more out of the box suggestions for middle name since both Katherine and our last name are fairly vanilla. It seems like a good place to add something super Catholic”)
  • Elizabeth (“nickname would be Eliza. My husband isn’t as sold on this one and I worry about it becoming too reminiscent of the British royal family. Also doing some research on this I found that Tess has been used as a nickname for Elizabeth as well- so we would consider Elizabeth Therese nickname Tess but I’m worried it’s a little bit of a stretch”)
  • Leah (“I think this is such a cute name, my husband isn’t as sold but he likes Leah Therese which I have mixed feelings about (we wouldn’t use a name as a first name that we had previously used as a middle)”)

Some other thoughts on names Abby had,

I have a devotion to St Gianna (I’m also a pediatrician) but I don’t know if we would use it as a first name. We are considering Anne as a middle name for my mother. Our son has both grandfathers’ names and Margaret is actually my grandmother’s name and my husbands aunt’s name (she died as an infant) though that’s not why we chose her name. We plan to use Benedict Grey for our next son. Grey is my mother in law’s maiden name.”

Some names they cannot use include:

  • Emma
  • Hannah
  • Lily
  • Olivia
  • Cecilia
  • Madeline

First, let me talk a bit about their shortlist.

Therese nn Tess- I love this and the nickname Tess. Tess goes so well with Meg and Paul, as does Therese with Margaret and Stephen. I think they’d be hard-pressed to pass on this name. I think any of the names on their shortlist would work as a great middle name with this, too. My favorites are Therese Caroline, Therese C/Katherine and Therese Elizabeth.

Caroline- Beautiful name with fun nickname options. I don’t think Carrie or Cara go as nicely with Meg and Paul, but they’re still cute.

C/Katherine nn Kate- If they’re going to go with Kate as the nickname, I’d go with Katherine. Another lovely name that fits right in with their other two. Another can’t miss name. Also, I love that they’d branch out of their established style a bit in the middle spot with this name with either Isabelle or Mirabelle.

Elizabeth nn Eliza or Elizabeth Therese nn Tess- I love this! Elizabeth is the ultimate classic name, literally never going out of style and with so many nickname options! I love either an Eliza or Tess with the older kids. Such a great name.

Leah- A little different from their other kids, especially since it doesn’t have a natural nickname. Leah Therese is beautiful and they could still call her Tess (kind of like how they call Stephen Paul, Paul). I think this is a little too different from their others, though, and that’s probably why it’s not feeling like the one.

On to new suggestions!

(1) Johanna/Joanna

St. Joanna was a follower of Jesus and this name means “Yahweh is gracious.” I love this name for them as it’s a little less “vanilla” but still classic and beautiful. Nickname Jo goes so well with Meg and Paul and is reminiscent of Little Women. Neither name is very popular, making it fresh but not unusual. Bonus, Abby likes St. Gianna and this is just her name in another language!

(2) Lucy

Meaning “light,” this is a fun, happy, light name for a little girl and a strong, friendly name for a woman. I thought of this name as an alternative to Leah. Nickname Lu is spunky and bright and fits right alongside Meg and Paul. It is fairly popular at #49 (and probably more popular in most Catholic circles). If that bothers them, they might also like Lydia which sits at 96.

(3) Anna

Another ultimate classic name that rarely goes out of style. It means “favor” or “grace” and is the name of the mother of Mary. They mentioned so much honoring tied up with the name Anne that I thought maybe they’d consider Anna to give this child a distinctive yet meaningful name. There’s no nickname potential here, though. If that bothers them, maybe they’d like Annalise (or one of its many spellings) nicknamed Anna better. The bonus with Annalise is that it’s a smoosh of Anna and Elizabeth, so they get all of those great meanings and nickname potentials tied up together!

(4) Josephine

This is the first name that came to mind for them. It’s clunky cool like Margaret and nickname Jo is fun and upbeat. Margaret, Stephen, and Josephine make a classic, sophisticated sibling set and Meg, Paul, and Jo make great playground playmates. I really love this name for them. I think this is another can’t-miss for them.

(5) Julia

Leah made me think of this name, too, as it’s similar in style and feel and also doesn’t have an intuitive nickname. There are nicknames Jules and Juliette (it originated as a diminutive of Julia!) but they’re a little clunkier, especially next to fresh and upbeat Meg and Paul. But if the nickname bit doesn’t bother them too much, Meg, Paul, and Julia sound like perfect siblings to me.

(6) Alexandra

There are several saints who bear this name and it’s clunky cool like Margaret. It’s not too popular at #137 but not out there at all. I think that’s their sweet spot. Nicknames are plentiful for this name from the popular and recognizable Alex to the spunky Allie to even Ana! If they want another name with good nickname potential, this one can’t miss.

(7) Natalie

Classic, sophisticated, friendly, fun, and not overly popular, this is a great, solid name. Margaret, Stephen, and Natalie are a beautiful sibling set and Meg, Paul, and Natalie (or Nat, Natty, or even Lee!) are fun and fresh. With names so classic on their other kids and shortlist, I would be remiss not to mention this beautiful name.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m back on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back from time to time, as I hope to open up a few spots here and there as I’m able), 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.)

For help with Marian names, 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). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!