Baby name consultation: Marian names, Italian names, and family names in consideration for fourth baby girl

Happy Memorial Day! It’s so necessary it is that we remember and celebrate those who gave their lives for our country and our freedom. 🗽🇺🇸 This is a beautiful prayer to say today for our fallen soldiers, loving Lord, bless them forever in Your eternal peace. ❤ ❤ ❤

Jessie and her husband are expecting their fifth baby this month (!!) — their fourth girl! This little lady joins big siblings:

Leonard Edward (after his father)
Lillian Victoria (after two grandmothers)
Jude Thaddea (after St. Jude)
Majella Magdalene (after St. Gerard)

Aren’t these fantastic?! I was so surprised by Leonard — so unexpected on a little guy, I love that! And then to discover that their Jude is a girl — I LOVE Thaddea as a middle name with Jude for a girl! And Majella Magdalene! Of course I’m not forgetting Lillian Victoria, what a stunning combo! Jessie and her husband have done a great job!

Jessie writes,

We are having a hard time agreeing and coming up with a girls name for our fourth girl that is significant to family and also maybe had a little Catholic meaning.

We currently like:

Lucciana (Lucia) Lourdes
Maribel (after mother Mary, my mother Maryanne and his mother Marie)
Francesca (Frankie as a nickname)
Rosie Jane (after his grandmother)
Giana (after St Giana)

I was really eager to see what names Jessie and her hubby are considering, and I wasn’t disappointed! These are my thoughts on those names, in case they’re helpful to them:

  • Lucciana (Lucia) Lourdes: I actually know a little Lucciana! Her family calls her Lucci, and I’ve always been impressed that they used a Lucy name that’s much less familiar! Lucia is a gorgeous option too, and always brings Our Lady of Fatima to mind, to whom I have a special devotion. Our Lady of Fatima’s feast day is May 13, so a name connected to her — like Lucia (or Lucciana as a variant of it) — would be pretty cool for a baby born in May. And Lourdes! I love Lourdes! Fatima and Lourdes in one name is pretty great! I also love alliteration, so Lucciana/Lucia Lourdes (and Majella Magdalene) really sing to me. Also, I wonder if Jessie and her hubs have considered Lourdes as a first name? One of my readers has a little Lourdes, I love it!
  • Maribel: I really like the idea of a Marian name beginning in Mar- as a way to honor both Jessie’s mom and her mother-in-law — so great to have that option! Of course, as you all know I’m a huge fan of Marian names in general, and I love the double Marian whammy of giving a May baby a Marian name! Maribel is beautiful, and I have some more ideas below, too.
  • Francesca: Italian girl names tend to be so gorgeous, and Francesca is one of the prettiest. Frankie as a nickname is adorable too!
  • Rosie Jane: I’m not sure if this would be a double name or the first+middle combo? Either way, Rosie Jane is so sweet! I wonder if it was Jessie’s husband’s grandmother’s given name? It has a little bit of a different feel than their older kids’ names and the other names they’re considering — a little lighter and more informal — which is totally fine! But something like Rosemary/Rosemarie Jane or Rosanne/Rosanna Jane or Rosa Jane or Rosary/Rosaria Jane as the given name, with Rosie or Rosie Jane as the nickname, feels a bit more stylistically similar to the other names they’ve used and like. Either way, Rose is a Marian name!
  • Gianna: St. Gianna’s awesome, and a big favorite among the Sancta Nomina families! I like how the “anna” part could be a nod to Jessie’s mom, if she wanted it to be. Also, Gianna is an Italian form of Jane, so they could consider it an honor name for Jessie’s husband’s grandmother too. Or they could even do a Rose first name with Gianna as a middle and still call her Rosie Jane!

So those are my thoughts on the names on Mom and Dad’s list. As for new ideas, you all know I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard book as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — this research gives me a great idea of the kinds of names that fit into the style(s) that the parents are most likely to like. I also looked through my book of Marian names for ideas for this family (especially more Mar- ideas). Based on that research, these are my ideas:

(1) A Mar- name
I really liked what Jessie and her hubs were thinking with Maribel — honoring both Maryanne and Marie in one name. I have these names in my book that I thought might also be good contenders:

— Marienne: This is like a Marian/Maryanne mashup pronunciation-wise, but it’s French like Marie and actually contains Marie within it. It’s quite pretty and feminine to look at, it’s obviously Marian, and I like that it’s so much of an almost exact combo of Jessie’s mom’s and mil’s names.

— Mariae: I’m excited about this one for this family, as it’s one of the more unusual Mary names, and I think their taste runs to the more unusual. It’s pronounced MAR-ee-ay, and it’s actually a Latin version — it’s the genitive (possessive) form of Maria — it literally means, “of or belonging to Mary.” How amazing is that? Micaela Darr (who graciously endorsed my book!) bestowed it on her daughter. I LOVE seeing her write out her daughter’s name on Instagram, it’s so beautiful!

— Maristella: This one reminds me a lot of the ultra-feminine names Jessie and her hubby have used so far, I have a feeling they might like it! It’s a reversal of the Marian title Stella Maris (Star of the Sea). On that note, perhaps they’d rather consider just Stella? Or Stella as a first name and Maris as a middle? Or Stellamaris? Actually, now that I think about it, I might prefer Stellamaris for them, only because Maristella and Stella by itself both rhyme with Majella, where Stellamaris doesn’t, since it has a different ending.

— Madonna: Okay, I know this isn’t an Mar- name, but I wondered if they might like the idea of Madonna — which of course refers to Our Lady’s motherhood — as a way to honor both Jessie’s mom and her mil (since they’re both mothers, and Madonna doesn’t begin with Mar- but it does begin with Ma-, like Maryanne and Marie)? I know it’s still really controversial as a first name (I hope Catholics can reclaim it one day!), but I LOVE it in the middle name spot, like this mama did for her daughter. It wouldn’t work as a middle name for Lucciana or Gianna, since it would rhyme with them, but something like Lucia Madonna or Rosa Madonna would be lovely!

(2) Jacinta
I’d actually already jotted down Jacinta for this family while reading Jessie’s email, even before doing my research (I was inspired by Lucia), and then I was excited to see it listed as a style match for Maribel in the BNW! I like that it’s a more unusual name, and relates to Our Lady of Fatima, so it has that nice connection for a May baby. It’s got similar sounds as Gianna, and it occurs to me that Jane or Janie/Janey could even be a nickname for Jacinta! (Or not, if they hate that idea! I always have lots of ideas, haha!) If they really prefer Italian names, they could spell it the Italian way: Giacinta, which also opens up Gia or Gigi and even Giana as nickname possibilities.

(3) Gemma
When doing my research in the BNW, I really look for names that are listed as a style match for more than one of the names on the parents’ list. Gemma is one! It’s a match for both Jude and Gianna, and St. Gemma Galgani is a saint much loved by many. Additionally, Gemma means “gem” (as in “precious stone”) in Italian, which is such a sweet meaning for a little girl.

(4) Chiara
Chiara was actually a match for three of the names they like: Lucia, Francesca, and Gianna! It’s the Italian form of Clare, and it’s a name I see considered quite a bit by families I work with, not only for St. Clare of Assisi, but also for Bl. Chiara Luce Badano and Servant of God Chiara Corbella Patrillo.

(5) Loretta
Finally, when I saw Loretta listed as a style match for Leonard, I knew I wanted to suggest it! Though I think most people might think of it as either an old lady name or a Hollywood starlet name (since it peaked in popularity in 1938, and was the name of beautiful 40’s Hollywood actress Loretta Young), which may or may not appeal to Jessie and her hubs, it’s actually an Italian name! It could be a form of Lauretta (an Italian elaboration of Laura), but Catholics consider it to be a nod to Loreto, “the name of a small town in Italy where stands a small house, held by tradition to be the house in which Our Lady was born and grew up, and in which the Annunciation and the Incarnation took place (known as the Holy House of Nazareth). Angels are said to have carried the house there in the 13th century. The Litany of Loreto (Litaniae Lauretanae in Latin), also known as the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, lists many of Our Lady’s beautiful titles” (quote taken from my book).

And those are all my ideas for Jessie and her husband! What do you think? What name(s) would you suggest for the baby sister of Leonard, Lillian, Jude, and Majella?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Elanor Josephine!

I just published a post in honor of St. Rita that I don’t want you to miss — today’s her feast day! She’s been a powerful intercessor for me and others I know, and writing about her is my little way of fulfilling my promises made in the novena to her I often say.

I did a private consultation for Keri and her husband a few months ago, and I’m delighted to share that their baby girl has been born and given the gorgeous name … Elanor Josephine!

Keri writes,

Just wanted to drop you a note to let you know our little one arrived a few weeks ago (on big brother Gabe’s birthday). We named her Elanor Josephine.

We took your advice and used Tolkein’s spelling — I have always loved that the story didn’t end after the ring was destroyed — that the hobbits had to go back to Hobbiton and still had to deal with the after effects of the ring’s influence — I like the symbolism that life goes on, even amidst the battles we must fight, but there is always hope. She was also named after Eleanor Donnelly — a Catholic American Poet from the Civil War era who I discovered when I realized that Elanor was a strong contender — this was a gift! She was highly revered during her time, and I feel that she needs to be reintroduced to our generation — her poems written during the Civil War are haunting but infused with hope as well. Her poems for children are simple, but pack so much in them that I discover something new each time I read them. Her books are free online.

[Hubby] wasn’t thrilled with Josephine at first, but with your prompting and after the coronavirus pandemic began, he warmed up fast — While Maisie Ward is unquestionably one of her namesakes,* we felt that having St. Joseph as her patron, especially during this time of unpredictability, was a fitting tribute to the great saint who guided his own family during times of uncertainty. It’s also a family name on my side: my grandmother’s middle name and my great grandmother’s name — I have the rosary both women were given for their Confirmation, so it seems fitting to have one daughter as their namesake for whom to gift the heirloom.

We thought when we brought her home she would go by Posie, but the kids overruled us and Ellie is her nickname, except for our feisty 5 year old who insists on Posie.”

I’m so excited that one of my suggestions — the Tolkien spelling Elanor — was helpful to Keri and her hubby! I absolutely love the combination Elanor Josephine, and how meaningful it is to her parents, and how it gives a little nod to “this time of unpredictability” in a pretty perfect way. And I’m thrilled to be introduced to Eleanor Donnelly! I know a lot of you will likely be, too!

* Keri really wanted to nod to Maisie Ward, wife of Frank Sheed — they were members of the Catholic Evidence League in London and created Sheed and Ward, a publishing house that specialized in Catholic authors. Among their friends (who they also published) were GK Chesterton, Ronald Knox, Marigold Hunt, Daphne McCloud, and Caryll Houselander who were all part of the winding down of the English Catholic Literary Revival. Maisie’s given name was Mary Josephine, hence the mention of her in regard to this baby’s middle name.

Congratulations to Keri and her husband and big siblings (all the heart eyes over these beautiful names!!):

Isabel Eden (Izzy)
Gabriel Crispin (Gabe)
Elijah Bryce (Eli)
Lydia Quinn (Quinn)
Aurelia Triss (Raya)
Madeline Grace and Mary Grace (in heaven)

and happy birthday Baby Elanor!!

Kids Portrait

Elanor Josephine with her big siblings ❤


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

 

Happy feast of St. Rita!

I’m about to post a birth announcement, so check back in a few minutes! But I couldn’t let the day go by without giving a shout out to my girl St. Rita! I’ve seen amazing, even borderline miraculous, things come out of her intercession, both for people I know and for myself (the most important to me being my little Luke, the answer to a long and fervent prayer and much beseeching of St. Rita’s intercession).

In the novena to St. Rita I frequently say (almost exactly the same as this one), there’s a part that says, “We promise, if our petition is granted, to glorify thee by making known thy favor, to bless and sing thy praises forever.” One of the ways I’ve tried to do that is through writing about her, so I thought I’d share here again the two pieces I did for CatholicMom.com, the second of which is a fuller version of this blog post:

Heavenly help and hellos

Honoring St. Rita

St. Rita, pray for us!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Reading roundup: CatholicMom, Simcha, Swistle, St. Bernardine

Happy feast of the Ascension!!

One of you sweet readers asked for more posts and I want to apologize for not being more regular with my posting! I have such good intentions and so many ideas for posts, and some days the blog fits into my schedule easily (those are the days I post!) and other days I go to bed wondering where the day went. Be assured you’re all always on my mind and in my prayers!

I do have some namey things for you today! First up, my May CatholicMom column posted yesterday: Babynaming in the time of coronavirus.

catholicmom_screen_shot-05.20.2020

You know I posted about this topic on the blog last month, as part of the post where I shared the article I’d written for Nameberry on the same subject. This CatholicMom piece includes some more Catholic-specific info. I’ll be interested to hear what you think!

Longtime friend of Sancta Nomina, Simcha Fisher, wrote about names in her piece this week for The Catholic Weekly: On unusual names. She speaks from experience! I loved this especially:

I think of my parents welcoming a new baby girl into the family and deciding that her name would be joy,* and that baby was me! That’s not a bad thing to know. It’s a good thing to know that someone thought your arrival in the world was something other than business as usual!

* Simcha is “Hebrew for “celebration” or, more broadly, “joy” or “rejoicing””

Swistle’s been posting quite a bit during quarantine, which I’ve been loving (so when your friendly Catholic name blogger is falling short of her very good intentions to post more to help keep everyone’s spirits up and provide a nice diversion from the heaviness of these times, check out Swistle! Or Abby at Appellation Mountain, of course, who’s the mama of frequent, meaty posts), and yesterday’s post has me a little riled up (the mama’s question/quandary, not Swistle’s answer). I’d be interested to see if any of you feel similarly!

Finally, yesterday was the feast of the *other* Saint of Siena — St. Bernardine! Not only is he the patron of my alma mater, Siena College, and THE promoter of the Holy Name of Jesus (woot!), but he also spent several years ministering to the sick and dying during a plague — work that rendered him weak and ill as well. What a saint for our time! St. Bernardine, pray for us!

Have a great Thursday!!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Hooray for Poland!

Today marks the 100th birthday of St. John Paul II! In honor, here is a post I’ve referred to often in consultations with parents: Patron saints for Caroline and Charlotte (one guess who one of my favorite patrons for girls with those names — and boys with the masculine variants — could be! 😉 ). And here are all the posts I’ve tagged “JPII” — a lot of good ones!

I also wanted to share this wonderful news that I know everyone with Polish heritage will love! As the official Divine Mercy page on Facebook put it, “On the 100th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s birthday, and on the birthday and feast day of St. Stanislaus Papczynski [founder of the Marian Fathers — my book’s publisher!], the Vatican has announced that St. Faustina’s Oct. 5 feast will be entered into the General Roman Calendar.” 🎉🎉🎉 Read all about it here! Happy Monday!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Evangeline Truth!

I posted a name question here on the blog for Elisha and her husband back in November as they struggled to narrow down the list of names they had for their daughter — it’s not always so easy to do when you have a lot of names on your list that you love! I’m delighted to share that Elisha has let me know their little girl has arrived and been given the heavy-hitting, so meaningful name … Evangeline Truth!

Elisha writes,

We had really narrowed her first name down, and once we saw her, we knew that she was our Evangeline. When it came to her middle name, we had a bit of a struggle. We thought that if we went with Evangeline, her middle name would be Faith or Feighth. For some reason, this didn’t seem to fit. We considered several names and wrote them all out to try to find the middle name that would be just right. One of the top contenders was Reign partially due to our priest from our time in Mississippi called her “the queen” when we sent him word that she had been born. We also liked that reine in French means “queen,” and we love any French/St. Therese of Lisieux connection (her father had called her his “little queen”). We remembered that we really had wanted to give her a middle name that called out a virtue. Eventually, we came to Truth. Truth is so difficult to come by, but so important. God is Truth, and we are called to not only tell, but to live by the Truth. We can’t wait to talk to our little Miss Evangeline Truth about how we came to her name, and how she can shine Christ’s light on the world by evangelizing and living by the truth. We are so thankful for the thought and time that you put into our name consultation! It provided us with so many wonderful thoughts, not just for Evangeline, but for any future little ones we are blessed with.”

This is such a great name story!! I love hearing the thought process Elisha and her hubby went through for the middle name, from their previous frontrunner of Faith/Feighth (the latter of which is a spelling particularly important to them), to Reign/Reine, to, finally, Truth. I love the significance of Evangeline Truth, a powerful combo!

Congratulations to Elisha and her husband and happy birthday Baby Evangeline!! (Elisha said I could include a link to her blog, where you can see more pictures of this sweet baby!)

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Evangeline Truth


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers (both physical and spiritual) who read this blog, and to all the mothers in the lives of all you readers! I hope you all had a wonderful day!

As a Mother’s Day gift for you all, I’m starting a novena to St. Anne tonight for you and your intentions. It will end on May 18, which is St. John Paul II’s birthday, so I’m going to add to the novena an extra prayer that he will intercede for all of you. I hope you always know how grateful I am for all of you! ❤ ❤ ❤


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!