Baby name consultation: Baby no. 10 (a boy!) needs a name that fits into the theme!

Today is one of my very favorite feast days: the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary! The cover art of my book of Marian names was inspired by this beautiful holy card:

The inscription on the bottom, S.S. Nomen Mariae, means “The Most Holy Name of Mary” in Latin (Sanctissima Nomen Mariae). Fun fact: Mariae was the middle name we planned for a girl through several of our pregnancies! Two little ladies connected with Sancta Nomina have been given the name as well — one as a first name (Mariae Josephine, loooove), and this one (Theresa’s little girl!) as a middle (Theresa has fantastic taste and creativity!). I explain a little bit about how this beautiful feast came about in my book. A perfect feast day for those who love the names of our faith, especially the names of and for Our Lady! I hope you all have a wonderful one! Today’s consultation actually includes one of the names listed in my book for boys!

Josh and Mari are expecting their 10th baby — their 4th boy! I’ve had the great privilege of doing consultations for several of their older children (posted here, here, here; birth announcements here, here, here, here), and I’m delighted to offer some ideas for their newest little guy! (For those of you wondering, I did this consultation a couple of months ago, when I thought I might be able to do some this summer.)

Josh writes, 

So, as you probably remember, we have a theme going – the girls have A first names and C middle names (with some variants) and the boys have C first names and middle names that similar stylistically.  Here’s the rundown

Ariana Camille (16) 

Audrey Caroline (14)

Caleb Daniel (11)

Amelia Clare (“Millie”) (9)

Anne-Catherine Gianna (“Gianna”) (8)

Charles Michael (6)

Anessa Corinne (4)

Christian Gabriel (3)

Aurelia-Rose Celeste (“Rosie”) (2) 

#10 is a boy, so we’ll be looking to continue the theme generally.  Due date is November 3, so he’ll join two other sibs with November birthdays (Audrey and Charles) unless he gets here early, in which case he’d be our only October baby.   Here are some first names we’ve discussed and like

Clement

Carter

Caedmon 

For middle names, we’ve discussed Samuel as a possibility.  Thought about Raphael too since we have a Michael and a Gabriel, but I’m not sure I love it.  But I would say we haven’t definitely ruled it out either.”

As always, it was such a pleasure to work on this consultation for Josh and Mari! They’ve done such a great job with baby naming — I’ve always loved how they figured out to adhere to their themes (girl theme and boy theme) without it getting weird or feeling forced. I’m excited to help them again!

Okay, first off, my thoughts on the names they like/are considering:

  • Clement: I have always loved Clement for a few reasons — specifically to me, it’s the name of my parish’s patronal Saint, St. Clement Mary Hofbauer (and it belongs to a bunch of other Saints and a Pope as well!). Secondly, it’s a Marian name, as Our Lady is called “clement” in the Hail Holy Queen (“O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary”). Thirdly, it means “merciful” — such a great meaning! All that said, though, I admit I’ve often had a hard time really seeing it on a little boy! I actually knew an older gentleman named Clement, and it was so cool on him — it felt just perfect for a sophisticated old man — and of course I know that little boys grow up to be men. And “Clem” as a nickname seemed a little less thrilling than some of the other nicknames I love for boys. But then Grace Patton named her son Clement, and it took on a whole new life for me! So that’s my conclusion: I think it can be really great option for Josh and Mari’s little guy! (I’m still a little hung up on nicknames … I was just rereading the birth announcement I posted for Grace’s Clement and noted that she named the Clement videos on her Instagram “Clement Clips” and thought, “Huh. Clip is kind of cute!” You know me and my crazy nickname ideas!!)
  • Carter: I was surprised by Carter! Their other kiddos’ names have saintly connections, but I didn’t think Carter did. I shouldn’t have doubted, though! I’ve often argued that just about every name can have a saintly connection, and Carter, indeed, does: According to CatholicSaints.info, there’s a St. Carterius of Bourges and a Bl. William Carter. I’m very intrigued by Bl. William Carter, since I struggled a bit over new middle name ideas for this family — it seems difficult to move away from their established -el theme, but if they did something like Carter William, it would make a lot of sense — it would give them a good, solid reason to move away from -el names and would strengthen the connection to Bl. William. Does that make sense?
  • Caedmon: I see Caedmon from time to time on parents’ lists and I’m always surprised by it, since I’ve never met a Caedmon in real life. It’s such a cool name, though, and saintly, and it inspired some of the more Celtic-ish names I included in my suggestions below. My one hesitation with Caedmon is always pronunciation — apparently CAD-man is the correct pronunciation, but I’ve also seen CADE-man, so that will probably be something they’d have to deal with. It absolutely doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker though — loads of names have pronunciation issues!

So those are my thoughts on the names currently on Josh and Mari’s list. As far as middle names, I had the suggestion of William, which I explained in the Carter part above, and I looked back at my previous emails with them and their consultations and see that in addition to the Samuel and Raphael that they said they’re considering, I’ve suggested these as well:

  • Emmanuel
  • Nathaniel
  • Joel
  • Axel
  • Abel
  • Ezekiel
  • Reuel
  • Noel

Some new ones I’ll add include:

  • Angel: a not-uncommon name for boys of Hispanic descent, and it was also the name of the main male character in the English novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles
  • Bartel: Dutch diminutive of Bartholomew
  • Hansel: German diminutive of Hans, which is the German form of John
  • Israel: Jacob’s name was changed to Israel by God
  • Marcel: originally a diminutive of Marcus; also included in the names of quite a few Saints
  • Martel: from a medieval pet name of Martin
  • Peniel: A biblical place name (see Gen 32:30) meaning “face of God” — what a beautiful meaning!
  • Roussel: French form of Russell, from a nickname meaning “little red one” — maybe perfect for a baby with red hair, or who is particularly red when born? (My mother-in-law always talked about how red my husband was as a newborn, far redder than other babies she’d seen!)
  • Wenzel: a German name that’s technically pronounced VENT-zel, but the cool part is that it’s a medieval German form of Vaclav (Wenceslaus)! St. Wenceslaus is awesome! I did two posts on the name that might be helpful: here and here

(I used this web site to help with this list — it has a million names on here and I spent quite a bit of time scrolling through and only got about a third of the way down! Josh and Mari might want to spend some time on that page themselves in case there was a good option that I missed.)

So there are plenty of -el names if they’re committed to that theme! However, I think both Samuel and Raphael are good choices right now if they’re not sure they want to continue with this theme, since I sense that many people will not realize that Daniel and Samuel are -el names, since they’re so familiar (sometimes the details of very familiar names are almost invisible — a “missing the trees for the forest” type reversal of the old saying, if that makes sense), so if they use Samuel, I don’t think people will bat an eyelash if they use a non-el name in the future. And if they use Raphael, most people will realize they’ve now exhausted the archangels (without getting into discussions of Uriel and others that are questionable from a Catholic standpoint), and won’t necessarily expect an -el middle name going forward. Of course, the fact that this baby is their tenth baby and that they’re heavily weighted towards girls makes it more probable that this won’t be an issue to deal with again! (Or perhaps God has more boys in their future!)

Okay! On to my new ideas!

(1) Martin

This idea is really a cheat idea, since it’s (a) not a C name, and (b) Josh and Mari had it on their list in the first email they ever sent me, so it’s not an original idea of mine, but I’d thought I’d include it in the list because Mari is due on Nov. 3 — the feast of St. Martin de Porres! If they don’t want to go off-theme for a first name, then I’d highly suggest it as a middle name, ESPECIALLY if the baby is actually born on his due date! And in that case, I’d suggest changing it to its variant Martel, which I mentioned above — an -el name that nods to St. Martin! Seems like it could be perfect!

(2) Cashel

Okay, back to C names! I’ve suggested Cashel many times in the past to families who love Irish or Celtic names, so Caedmon on their list makes sense of Cashel to me. The faith connection is the Rock of Cashel; this is the faith connection (from something I wrote for a baptism gift for a little Cashel):

The Rock of Cashel (Carraig Phádraig) is also known as St. Patrick’s Rock and Cashel of the Kings. In Irish, cashel (caiseal) denotes a circular stone fort and has come to mean “castle.”

The Rock of Cashel was long the seat of the High Kings of Munster. One of the kings, Aenghus, was baptized by St. Patrick himself at that very spot. In 1101, King Murtagh O’Brien dedicated the Rock of Cashel to God and St. Patrick and gave it to the bishop of Munster. Currently, the Ecclesiastical Province of Cashel includes the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly, as well as the dioceses of Cloyne (in which lies Cobh), Cork & Ross, Kerry, Killaloe, Limerick, and Waterford & Lismore.

I love Cashel and I love the nickname Cash! And because Cashel is an -el name, they could also consider it for the middle!

(3) Campion

Campion is the surname of St. Edmund Campion and I think it’s a fantastic name for a boy. It has the awesome nickname Cam, which I‘ve always loved. It’s also a Marian name! I included it in my book of Marian names — the white campion is a kind of flower, which is where the connection to Our Lady comes in. Finally, campion means “champion” in Old French! What a great name for a boy!

(4) Canaan

I know a boy named Canaan — I’ve always thought he has the coolest name! Canaan is, of course, the name of the Promised Land, so it has great faith connections in that regard.

(5) Caetano/Cajetan

I saw Caetano in a list of C names for boys, and I immediately remembered that I’d had Cajetan on my own list for years! Caetano is an Italian form of Cajetan (as is Gaetano), and St. Cajetan is a pretty amazing Saint. Caj (pronounced like CADGE) is a pretty cool nickname too!

(6) Curt, Cord

I’d previously suggested Conrad to this family, which I don’t think they loved, but both Curt and Cord caught my eye when I was looking up C names for them, as they’re both contracted forms of Conrad, so they can take any of the Sts. Conrad as patron. Curt and Cord have very different feels to me, so hopefully if they don’t like the one maybe they really like the other!

(7) Cruz

My last idea is Cruz, which has just the coolest, hippest, zippiest feel but also has very deep faith significance, as it means “cross” and has traditional use in both Spanish and Portuguese in honor of the Cross of Crucifixion. I also found evidence of its usage in honor of Our Lady at the foot of the Cross. How beautiful! Though it’s used in Hispanic cultures for both boys and girls, I think in America it has a predominantly masculine feel.

As a bonus, I really wanted to suggest Casey, with Bl. Solanus Casey in mind, but I didn’t think Casey was ideal for their last name, so I wanted to include it here in case it’s helpful for any of you readers. I also noted that Kolbe was on Josh and Mari’s original list several years ago — I still like it for them and think it can make a nice addition to their C theme — sort of keeping with it while still branching out. Interestingly, I looked up the surname Kolbe and discovered that some spelling variations include Colb and Colbe — maybe they want to consider one of those in honor of St. Maximilian while still sticking with their C theme?

As an addition to this post, Josh and Mari wrote again to let me know about some more ideas they have:

[D]o you mind if I ask your thoughts on a new idea we had — Clement Joshua?   Obviously Joshua is my name, which in a way fits a pattern with the boys (Daniel and Michael are also family names). We also thought “CJ” might be a cute nickname — we love the name Clement but aren’t wild about ‘Clem.’ 

Our oldest daughter is lobbying hard for Clement Ezekiel with “Zeke” as a nickname, which is also kind of cute. What do you think?

My immediate thoughts are that I love both ideas! I love using Josh’s name as the middle name — doing so trumps any -el theme or any other theme, in my opinion — and CJ is an easy, friendly nickname. This is probably my favorite of the two, because of the connection to Dad and how easy and natural it feels. I do love Zeke, though — what a fun, friendly nickname! And I love that Ezekiel keeps the -el theme, because even though it’s completely one-hundred-percent not necessary to continue with the theme, there’s something just so satisfying about sticking with a theme! What say you all??

And those are all my ideas! What other ideas/suggestions/thoughts can you share for the littlest brother in this beautiful family?


I’m not currently 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.)

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: One-syllable Advent/Christmas name for baby girl needed!

Happy Monday everyone! There are some beautiful feasts today according to my go-to feast day source, CatholicSaints.info: it’s the memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist, as well as the feasts of Our Lady of Tears, Our Lady of the Guard, and Our Lady of Valleverde (among many others. Every day’s a day to remember holy people!). Some cool things for you to research if you’re in a researching mood! Today’s consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams is for a mama that I’ve “known” for years via the internet, and she’s also a real-life friend-of-a-friend — I’m so excited to post this consultation for her seventh baby! Enjoy!

Mama Lina writes in asking for help with a middle name.

I am pregnant with my seventh and due mid December. We have five boys and a girl already and just found out we’re due with another girl. Our daughter is 10 so it’s pretty exciting! Her name will be Evangelina after two of my husband’s great grandmothers and we’ll call her Lina bc I love my name lol. I am named for my own great great grandmother.”

This is fantastic news! And Evangelina is such a swoony name! All of the children have two middle names, the second one being Lina’s maiden name. Evangelina is joining big siblings:

John Diego nn Johnny
Joseph Sebastián nn Joey
Rita Maureen
Michael Augustín nn Mikey
Patrick Thomas nn Paddy
Charles Loyola nn Charley

Aren’t those such great names! Mama Lina writes,

Originally her name was going to be Evangelina Claire — we’ve had this name as our girl name for the last three kids lol. However now that we have her due during advent I really feel drawn to have an advent/Christmas themed middle name.”

Ooooh, I love a good themed name!

She continues,

The issue is that Evangelina is many syllables lol, as well as the fact that all my kids have a second middle name of [her maiden name]. So anything longer than one syllable just feels and sounds really bulky and like we’re trying to be British royalty. So we’re on a hunt for one syllable, girl name that is Advent/Christmas themed. Phew . All we can come up with is Rose and Joy (most likely to be born during Gaudete Week). I do like Rose a lot esp bc St Rose of Lima was a contemporary and friend of St Martin de Porres, a family patron, but just would love more options to consider!

I love a good challenge!

About names they like but don’t feel like the one.

Claire– I love the sound of Evangelina Claire! I can see why it was their go-to for so long. It fits in nicely with their other kids’ names and has a classy, put-together feel.

Rose– Hot in the middle spot, it’s a great name. I love the connection to Advent and Gaudete Sunday. Evangelina Rose is nice if maybe a little bland.

Joy– Evangelina Joy is a joy! I love this connection to Advent, too. This actually gave me some ideas. I can understand why this one doesn’t feel quite right, though. It’s a little less formal and feels maybe too casual, next to their other kids especially.

On to new ideas! I had a BLAST researching themes of Christmas and Advent and names to go along with them. I loved the added challenge of a one syllable name. Here’s what I came up with:

1) Pax/Paz

Another theme of Advent is peace, which these names mean. I wasn’t sure if they’d like the Latin Pax (which leans a little more masculine) or the Spanish Paz (which sounds a little softer and more feminine) better, so I’m including them both. Evangelina Pax or Evangelina Paz sounds beautiful and unexpected. I like these names with their other kids, too, who have middle names like Diego, Augustín and Sebastián. Pax or Paz fit right in!

2) Lux/Luz

Pax made me think of Lux and I again didn’t know if they’d prefer the Latin (which is fairly gender neutral) or the Spanish Luz (which is definitely feminine) better. These names mean “light” which may not seem like a very Adventy or Christmasy meaning but St. Lucy’s feast day is during Advent and her name means light also. Additionally, there is the light of the Star of Bethlehem which led the shepherds and the magi to the baby Jesus. I thought that was a cool connection! Evangelina Lux or Evangelina Luz sound beautiful — all those lilting Ls!

3) Mae

This one syllable form of Mary is hot in the middle spot right now and goes with just about any name. Evangelina Mae is so cute! Lina Mae!! Mary is a central figure in both the Advent and Christmas seasons, so it’s only fitting to honor her. The only downside I saw was that their other daughter Rita’s middle name is Maureen, itself a form of Mary. Both sisters would have forms of Mary for their middle names–– either they’ll love that or they’ll hate it (both of my girls have forms of Mary in the middle, so I’m on team go for it!).

4) Kris/Chris

Speaking of central figures of Advent and Christmas, you don’t get anymore central than Jesus the Christ Child Himself! These one syllable short forms of Christine or Kristina are laidback and familiar but unexpected. Evangelina Chris is really spunky and fun! This name is a little different than the direction they’ve gone with their other kids, but not in a bad or mismatched way. Plus, their boys have more formal, straightforward names while Evangelina is more embellished. With Evangelina Kris, they’d just be swapping the places.

5) Dawn

The O Antiphon on Dec. 21st is “Dawn of the East” in reference to Jesus and the more I thought about it, the more I liked Dawn. It symbolizes a new day, a new beginning and isn’t that what a baby is? Isn’t that what Advent and Christmas are really all about, a new beginning for Creation? I thought this was such a hopeful name. Evangelina Dawn is beautiful and unexpected and powerful. This name was a sleeper hit for me, it grew on me over time; perhaps it will do the same for them.

6) Rey

I know this is traditionally a male Spanish name but with the female Star Wars character taking this name, too, I think it’s leaning gender neutral these days. I thought of this name because Jesus is the King Who came to bring us back into His kingdom. Much like Evangelina Mae, Evangelina Rey is so cute! This would also keep in style with the other kids. I also like the tie in of sisters with middle names honoring Mary and Jesus.

7) Beth

This last one was really hard to settle on as I had a couple I was going between. I decided on this one because of its multiple layers. At first, this is a short form of Elizabeth and St. Elizabeth was the first to receive Mary and Jesus and rejoice. But it is also short for Bethlehem, the sacred place where Jesus was born. For an Advent baby, I thought this was the ultimate name! Elizabeth means “my God is an oath” and Bethlehem means “house of bread” giving the name Eucharistic ties, as well. Who knew such a short name could pack such a huge punch! Evangelina Beth is homey and classic and Lina Beth is so much fun!

Since I wrestled with the last name so much, I’m including one bonus name: Eve. Mary is considered the New Eve and I just love the alliteration of Evangelina Eve.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m not currently 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.)

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: Marigold, Maisie, Arabella, Ophelia — so many gorgeous ideas for third baby girl!

Happy feast of the Queenship of Mary! I know two mamas who chose this day as the feast day for daughters they named Marigold (read their birth announcements here and here) — fantastic! Also fantastic is that today’s family has Marigold on their list of possibilities for their baby, so fun! Enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Diana writes in asking for help naming her third baby, a girl!

I am having a scheduled csection … with our third living child, third girl! This baby is long awaited and prayed for as our older girls will be 10 and 7 years old and I have suffered five miscarriages.”

Baby joins big sisters:

Hannah Elizabeth
Eleanor Claire

She writes,

Names we are considering: Penelope (nickname Penny), Stella, Evangeline (nickname Evie I think — I’ve noticed this name seems to have different pronunciations though — I’ve heard EvangeLINE, EvangeLEEN, and EvangeLYNN — is it confusing?). I also like Adele but my husband isn’t on board — he could probably be persuaded though.”

Other names they are considering include: Marigold, Maisie, Margaret, Madeleine, Lucy, Catherine, Fiona, Beatrice, Harriet, and Isabelle.

Mama Diana writes that she needs help with the middle name, too,

I like Marie with the right first name or Julia is a family name I’d love to use if it worked. Barbara is another family name middle name possibility. I also like that my older girls have Saint middle names but don’t have to be totally set on this.”

Names they can’t use at all include: Caroline, Grace, Lynn, Charlotte, Olive, Ivy, Josephine, and Matilda.

First, some thoughts on names they like:

Penelope “Penny”– Love this. It’s a little different from their other girls, but the nickname Penny grounds it and brings it back in line.

Stella– Short, sweet, zippy, has pizzazz. This sounds like a natural sister to their other girls.

Evangeline “Evie”– Same thoughts as Penelope nn Penny.

Adele– To me, this has the same feeling as their other girls but it just doesn’t feel right. I can’t explain that, it’s just my gut.

Marigold– Cutesy and a different from their others.

Maisie– I love this and wish more people would use it! Hannah, Eleanor, and Maisie sound ever so slightly mismatched to me, though.

Margaret– Lovely name but I don’t like it with their others.

Lucy– Cute and fits right in!

Madeleine– A little more buttoned up than their other girls.

Catherine– Classic, can’t miss, and has a ton of nickname options to ground it.

Fiona– This was unexpected to me! I love this!

Beatrice– Different from their other girls but a lovely name.

Harriet– Very different from their other girls. Old lady, clunky cool. I like nickname Hattie with their other girls, though.

Isabelle– Very sweet. Love this with their other girls.

On to new names!

1) Lily/Lillian/Liliana

I wasn’t sure which iteration they’d like more, so I’m including them all! Lillian actually started off as a diminutive of Elizabeth, so with these names, they’re basically getting a two-for-one! Lily ranks at #31, Lillian at #51, and Liliana at #104 (for reference Hannah ranks at #44 and Eleanor at #15) . Lily is hot right now but I don’t think that should deter them. St. Kateri Tekakwitha was known as the Lily of the Mohawks and there is St. Lillian of Cordoba. I love sisters Hannah, Eleanor, and Liliana nn Lily. Lily Marie, Lillian Marie, Liliana Marie, Lillian Julia, and Lillian Barbara all sound lovely to me. Alternatively, I love Penelope Liliana, Stella Liliana, Evangeline Lily, and Liliana Evangeline a lot for full names.

2) Ruby

This gemstone name is currently at #62 and I originally thought of it because their baby was supposed to be born in July! It works for a non-July baby, too (my daughter Ruby has a September birthday). Kate did a magnificent spotlight on the name giving it ties to the Sacred Heart and Holy Spirit! There’s no saint Ruby but there is St. Gemma Galgani, whose name literally means gem! I like the sound of sisters Hannah, Eleanor, and Ruby. Ruby Marie is gorgeous. Penelope Ruby, Stella Ruby, and Evangeline Ruby are all lovely, too. Ruby Isabelle also really strikes me.

3) Arabella

This name was a surprise to me and I’m so glad! I was searching for names having to do with prayer, as this baby is an answer to so many of their prayers. This name means “yielding to prayer” and they certainly did! It currently sits at #195, meaning it’s not trendy or overly common but it’s not weird or out there, either. I really love this unexpected name for them. Hannah, Eleanor, and Arabella sound like meaningful sisters to me. Arabella Marie, Arabella Julia, and Arabella Barbara all are wonderful! I also really like Arabella Lily, Penelope Arabella, Arabella Penelope, Arabella Evangeline, and Arabella Lucy.

4) Genevieve

This came up as a style match to their other girls and I couldn’t overlook it. Great name with lots of nickname potential beyond Genie or Genny, including Viva and Evie! It means “kin” or “family woman”, which this child certainly is, and ranks at #155. There’s the awesome St. Genevieve to go along with it, too. Hannah, Eleanor, and Genevieve sound like sophisticated sisters. Genevieve Marie and Genevieve Lucy strike me.

5) Ophelia

I came across this name in my research and it just kept coming back to me, so I had to include it! It means “help, advantage” and ranks at #321. I just like how this name sounds with Hannah and Eleanor. There’s no saint Ophelia, so she’ll have to get that in the middle spot but Ophelia Marie, Ophelia Lucy, Ophelia Catherine, and Ophelia Margaret all really strike me.

6) Felicity

I also looked up names that mean “happy” or “fortune” and this name popped up! It means “happiness” or “good luck” and this little girl is certainly both. The name ranks at 441, which is a crime! This is such an amazing name that should be used more often. St. Felicity is also a powerhouse. Hannah, Eleanor, and Felicity sound like natural sisters. I love Felicity Marie, Felicity Julia, Felicity Lucy, Felicity Catherine, and Felicity Genevieve.

7) Sophia

This name came up so many times as a style match to there other girls’ names and to names they like that I couldn’t ignore it. My only qualm with this name is that it’s super popular at #6 and having been in the top 100 since 1997. It’s popular with goodreason, as it’s such a solid but beautiful name. It means “wisdom” in Greek and is the name of a saint. They can’t miss with this name but they will probably know others her age. But Hannah, Eleanor, and Sophia sound so good together! Sophia Marie, Sophia Julia, Sophia Barbara, Sophia Penelope, Sophia Evangeline, Sophia Catherine, Sophia Margaret, Sophia Marigold, Sophia Lillian, Sophia Genevieve, Sophia Felicity, Penelope Sophia, and
Evangeline Sophia are all really incredible.

My top names for them are Stella, Lily/Lillian/Lilliana, Arabella, and Sophia. My top combos for them are Stella Lilliana, Lily/Lillian/Liliana Marie, Arabella Evangeline, Arabella Lucy, and Sophia Evangeline.

These are my thoughts! What do you think?


I’m not currently 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.)

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!

Birth announcement: Mirren Therese and Brigid Evelyn!

(Theresa’s consultation for this family posted in June.)

Mama Kaitrin has emailed me to let me (Theresa) know her twins have arrived!

She writes,

Wanted to let you know the baby girls arrived safely (albeit early!) on the 4th of July! After several knocks from birth certificate people on my hospital room door — On the 6th of July we finally arrived at names! Haha It was soooo hard to really nail two down but we did it.”

The girls have been given the stellar names of Mirren Therese (tuh-rez) nicknamed Tess and Brigid Evelyn nicknamed Birdie!

Mama Kaitrin writes of the naming experience,

We think their nicknames will be Tess and Birdie, though already I kind of like how their formal names Mirren and Brigid sound together. Especially with our boys names Vaughn Jude and Cormac. Funny enough I’d never even considered Brigid or Bridget … but your suggestion of darling nickname Birdie was maybe what sold me on even considering. Then I ended up loving the sound of it with Mirren which my husband really loved even over Mary Therese or Miriam Therese … As my sister who walked with me the whole waffling time as we chatted names said — wow, best [money] you ever spent was for the name consultant!! Thanks again for the fun consultation.”

I’m so glad they found my consultation helpful! And what fantastic names they arrived at! Tess and Birdie are still in the NICU, so please say a prayer for them.

Happy birthday Mirren Therese “Tess” and Brigid Evelyn “Birdie”! And congratulations to mom and dad, and big brothers Vaughn, Jude, and Cormac!

Brigid (Birdie) on left; Mirren Therese (Tess) on right


I’m not currently 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.)

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 — a boy — needs a classy/vintage/”spunky” name that’s preferably Marian as well!

Happy feast of the Assumption! I always love telling this name story in conjunction with this beautiful feast (which I also included in my book). It always makes me laugh! Today’s consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams is particularly Marian — perfect for today! Enjoy!

Dad Zach writes in asking for help naming baby number 3! He writes,

My wife and I have been reading your blog and love the names you come up with for Catholic families and the great meanings behind them! We just purchased your book on names and we are very excited to start reading it! (currently name discerning for our 3rd baby due in September).”

I love that the blog and my consultations are helpful to others who are discerning names! Zach sent in a bunch of great info for names they are considering and what they’re looking for in a name. He writes,

It is a boy! Anticipated Due Date: September 24th Feast of Our Lady of Mercy. Prayed through the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes to conceive this baby. Also, prayed a novena to Our Lady of Lourdes sporadically and at the end of it found out we were pregnant right as the feast of the Immaculate Conception passed! Zach wants a name to honor Mary under this title. Bayley [his wife] does not have a preference for this idea and didn’t like the name Lourdes or Bernadette/Bernard for this baby. However, we both want a Marian devotion for this baby’s name. Zach wants to know if there is anything masculine for a boy that honors Our Lady of Lourdes.”

Ooooh a challenge, I love it!

He continues,

Our style is more classy, vintage, and old, but also open to some “spunk”. We do not like names that are super popular. The name having a good meaning is very important to us. Marian devotion (first or middle name) is very important to us. Name after a saint/blessed for intercession from that saint and for our child to look up to / learn from- for this pregnancy, a saint with a strong devotion to Mary would be a huge plus! If the first name is after a saint, we would like the middle name to be in devotion to Mary, or possibly St. Joseph. We did not end up nicknaming our daughter Josephine, but we are open to nicknames. Do not like: Mainstream, ordinary, no meaning, double names (Bayley does not like the double names). Don’t want to name anyone after a family member.”

This is such great info for me when considering possible names for them. This gave me a great feel for their style.

This baby will join siblings:

Josephine Marie
Gabriel Mary (in heaven)

Names they are considering include Judah/Jude, John Paul nn Pax, Augustine nn Auggie, Benedict, Callum (they saw this in a consultation I did and fell in love!), Samson, Kolbe, Mercer, Clement, Lolek, Theodore, and Xavier.

Mama Bayley writes about Theodore and Xavier,

I know they are more popular but just wanted to see how they match up style wise and flow with Josephine. What would be your thoughts on Theodore and Xavier??

I will definitely give my thoughts on those names below! They are fantastic names, though.

What’s great about their current two children’s names, Josephine and Gabriel, is that they are both very versatile names that can go with a lot of other names. For numbers purposes, Josephine currently ranks at #72, so while she’s old fashioned, clunky cool she’s definitely more cool right now. Gabriel is currently #38 so he’s even more cool right now and what I would consider more modern.

Names they don’t like or cannot use include: Elijah, Ellis, Pax, Cruz, Dominic, Julian, Maximillian, Cole, Cameron, Nicholas, Blake, Amos, Taylor, Edmund, Benjamin, Emmanuel, Ambrose, Isaac, Liam, Raphael, Leo, Bosco, Matthew, Mark, Michael, Luke, George, Daniel, David, Joseph, Joshua, Jeremiah, Josiah, Jonah, Louis, James, Simon, Simeon, Anthony, Micah, Thomas, Brandon, Christian, Vincent, Connor, Christopher, Bennett, Rowan, Wyatt, Nathan, August, Silas, Beckett, Samuel, Brooks, Oliver, Nolan, Oscar, Abel, Emmett, Blaise, Asher, Marcus, Isaiah, Sawyer, Jacob, Alexander, Frassati, Henry, Hugh, Nico, Dean, Sebastian,
Peter, and Carmello.

Alright, on to names!

First, about names they are considering.

Judah/Jude– I really like both of these names and think it fits well with their other children. It is pretty popular in Catholic circles. Also, this would be two J- names though and I don’t want them to feel like they’re setting a precedent with this name.

John Paul nn Jax– I love the nickname with this one! John Paul is also pretty common in Catholic circles and they’d have the same J problem again. But I think the nickname really makes this one.

Benedict– This is nice and strikes me the same way Josephine does. Catholicky without being too in your face and very classic.

Augustine nn Auggie– Love this. Josephine and Augustine sound like siblings to me, just be careful because these two have the same ending.

Callum– I love that they saw this in another of my consultations and fell in love with it! It’s a great unexpected Catholic name. Josephine and Callum fit will together, although they are a bit different stylistically. What’s great about Josephine is that almost any other name will sound good with it.

Samson– I think this name takes them in a wholly different direction, which isn’t a bad thing! Unexpected and cool, I like this.

Kolbe– Popular in the Catholic circles but with good reason.

Mercer– I about jumped out of my seat when I saw this name. I love it! I love its connections to mercy and how they would tie that to Our Lady of Mercy and how her feast day is the due date for this baby. I just love this name! It’s unexpected but fits right in. I would be really remiss to not say that I hope they use this one in the first spot for their child.

Lolek– Only the Polish and the most Catholic of the Catholics will get this name. It’s definitely out there. It would be cool in the middle spot but potentially confusing in the first spot. For what it’s worth, I really love Mercer Lolek for them and this baby.

Theodore– This name ranks at #10 right now, so they will definitely hear this name more often than not. If being Teddy 2 or Theodore M. bothers them, perhaps they would consider Thaddeus. It comes from the same root as Theodore or means “heart” but is way less popular at #818. Nicknames Tad, Teddy, and even Tadpole make this name accessible and even cute. What’s even greater is that they have Jude on their list and Thaddeus is that saint’s other name! I say, choose Thaddeus over Theodore.

Xavier– This name ranks at #100, which I think is this couple’s sweet spot. Not too out there, not too popular. This name is more popular in Catholic circles but you still won’t run into it terribly often.

Okay, on to some new suggestions. They had a long list of names they don’t like or can’t use, so this was a particularly fun challenge for me. Hopefully, they’ll like what I came up with.

1) Gerard

This name is born by St. Gerard Majella who is the patron saint of expectant mothers and means “brave or hardy spear”. It’s out of the top 1000, which I think will appeal to them, and is an enduring name. They may hear it in Catholic circles, but mostly, this name is unique. It has the same feel to it as Josephine, old fashioned clunky cool.

2) Francis

Some famous bearers of this name are St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis Xavier, and St. Francis de Sales. Another more old fashioned name coming back into use, though I’ve seen Frances more for girls than for boys recently. It gives me the same vibes as Josephine. Currently, it ranks at #466, the most popular name I’m suggesting for them. I like that they have some nickname options with this one, too, in Frank and Frankie. Josephine, Gabriel, and Francis sound like siblings.

3) Laurence

I was researching names of people connected to Lourdes and this was the name of the bishop in the area at the time. It also came up as a style match for some of the names they like. It’s out of the top 1000 and means “from Laurentum” but has a connection to the laurel plant which is said to symbolize eternity. Lots of meaning with this name and it can shorten to Larry, Law, or the literary wonder, Laurie.

4) Stanislaus

I was thinking about Polish saints and names that sound a little old fashioned or classic and this name came to mind. It’s the name of St. Stanislaus Kostka who spoke about Mary and can shorten to Stan or Stanley. In fact, they may just like Stanley! It’s out of the top 1000 and means “someone who achieves glory”. Isn’t that what we’re aiming for in the spiritual life anyway? Pair it with a Marian middle and you get “someone who achieves glory through Mary”. Phenomenal! Josephine, Gabriel, and Stanislaus sound like Catholic siblings, to me.

5) Basil

I think this name is criminally underused but it’s outside of the top 1000 so what do I know! It means “king” or in Arabic “brave, valiant”. A famous bearer was St. Basil the Great. It does read rather British but I don’t think that will deter them (since they love the very ethnic Lolek). It pairs very well with most of the names they like, too, and with most of the ones I’m suggesting. I like Basil Jude, Basil Benedict, and Basil Mercer a lot.

6) Pascal

Another name out of the top 1000, this names means “Easter” and Pope St. John Paul II famously said that “we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song”. I love the subtle nod to him in this name, since he is so important to them. I really love Pascal Benedict, Pascal Laurence, and Pascal Mercer. Josephine and Pascal sound nice together, too.

7) Pius

This is an older name and a very Catholic one, being the name of twelve popes! Three of those popes have connections to Our Lady of Lourdes. Pope Pius IX approved the veneration of the apparitions at Lourdes, Pope Pius X announced the feast of the Immaculate Virgin of Lourdes, and Pope Pius XII issued an encyclical on Lourdes on its 100th anniversary. If they’re looking for a male name to tie in to Lourdes, look no further! I love that this name also means “pious, dutiful”, being a great reminder for all of us, and that it’s out of the top 1000. They won’t even hear this name much in Catholic circles, as families tend to adopt the Italian variation of the name these days, Pio. I like Pius better for them and they could always call him Pio anyway. Pius Mercer, Mercer Pius, Pius Jude, Pius Benedict, Pius Augustine, Pius Laurence, and Pius Lolek (if they want to get crazy!) all sound good to my ear. Josephine, Gabriel, and Pius sound like siblings to me of the very Catholic variety.

My top choices for them are Mercer Lolek, Laurence, and Pius.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m not currently 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.)

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!

Birth announcement: Margaret Lily!

Mama Megan writes in to announce that her little one has been born! I (Theresa) did a consultation for Megan and her husband in June.

Mama Megan writes,

I had significant bleeding … and our little one was delivered by emergency c-section … Thank you so much for your help. We went with the name Margaret Lily. 🙂 we love it! And everyone else who has met her loves the name! She is currently in the NICU and hopefully won’t stay long…You really gave us the confidence to go with that choice.”

Margaret Lily! Such an incredible name for an incredible baby. Welcome to the world, little Margaret Lily and congratulations to mom, dad, and big sisters Eleanor Grace and Annalise Rose.

Margaret Lily


I’m not currently 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.)

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: Girl name help needed for little green bean — looking for traditional/classic or even “boring”!

Be sure to read my update, which I posted just a few minutes ago! Then enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Mandy writes in needing help with a girl name for their 6th child, 5th on earth:

We are team green but really need help with a girl name. We have always had a hard time coming up with girl names whereas boy names seem to be endless for us!

This child will join big siblings:

Robert Edward
Catherine Louise
Patrick Joseph
Anna Margaret
Francis Emmanuel (in heaven)

They have some rules for naming their children! She writes,

Must be a saint or have a clear saint connection for the first name. We chose St. Anne for Anna’s patron saint but otherwise the patron saints are obvious. This is important because we ask for our patron saints’ intercession every night during bedtime prayers! Must be clearly a boy or girl name (nothing gender neutral), must be spelled correctly when I tell you their name (Catherine has been mostly ok, surprisingly!), and must be correctly pronounced when you see it on a piece of paper. I was a teacher before I had kids and these rules are 99% because of my experiences there. Must have a family name either in the first or middle name spot.”

Family names they have to work with are Marie, Mary, Elizabeth, and Marian. I love these names. With the exception of Elizabeth, they’re all Mary-related names, which makes choosing a first name to go with them easier.

Mama Mandy writes about their naming style,

Obviously, we like pretty traditional, classic, some would even say boring names! And all of our kids go by their given names; we don’t do nicknames. One thing we didn’t do on purpose is, with the first three kids, we used 2 syllable first and middle names. I felt like we had to continue that with Anna since we thought, at the time, she might be the last one. I still like the cadence of 2 syllables, but it’s not a hard and fast rule with this baby since most people don’t even notice. Another bonus for this baby (but not a deal breaker) is if we could use a different first initial. It’s just so handy to be able to label things with one letter!

Some names they can’t use include: Claire, Bridget, Theresa, Lucy, Grace, Sophia, and Cecilia (which they had previously loved for one of their other children but was then used by a family member).

Names they like include Elizabeth, Marie, Monica, and Felicity. Mama Mandy wanted to know if Felicity is too “fluffy” next to her other kids.

Some thoughts on names they like:

Elizabeth– Mama Mandy is right that Elizabeth is popular and always has been. It has consistently been in the top 20 since the 1880s. It is the most enduringly classic girls’ name there is. She’s probably hearing it a lot because it is being used a lot! It is significantly more popular than their other children’s names (Robert is #79, Catherine #325, Patrick #213, and Anna #84) but stylistically, it fits perfectly. They said their style is traditional, classic, and kind of boring — Elizabeth fits that all to a T! That’s a really good thing! However, if they’re really not feeling Elizabeth, try Lillian instead. Lillian started out as a diminutive of Elizabeth (so they can still get all those good St. Elizabeth patrons in or she could take St. Lillian of Cordoba as her patron) but is now more often used as an embellishment of Lily. Lillian currently ranks at #51 and was in the top 40 or higher throughout the 1920s. Lillian might be the perfect way to honor the Elizabeths in their life while giving this child her own identity and a less popular name. Lillian Marie is gorgeous! So is Lillian Mary. For what it’s worth, Elizabeth Marie, Elizabeth Mary, and Elizabeth Marian are all beautiful, too.

Marie– Beautiful name but if they both aren’t excited about it, I’d keep this for the middle spot. Marie pairs beautifully with literally any name out there except other Mary variants. It’s so wonderfully versatile. I love this in the middle spot. In terms of popularity, it’s currently at #598 and was a top 20 name in the 1920s.

Monica– I like this name a lot and it’s popularity has stayed fairly steady. It was a top 500 name in the 1920s and is currently at #693. Not overused, not weird. I don’t know how “classic” this name is, though. It sounds good with their other kids and Monica Marie is swoon-worthy. I love the cadence of that! Great name and great patroness.

Felicity– Mama Mandy asked if I thought this name was too “fluffy” next to their other kids and my answer is, not really. It is more embellished than the others but not overly so. She’s a little more modern than their other children (although we know she’s actually pretty ancient because of St. Felicity) but Felicity didn’t enter the top 1000 names (so, she didn’t even enter the charts) until 1998. Currently, she sits at #441. Felicity Marie and Felicity Elizabeth are both so beautiful. I don’t mind the alliteration [with their last name], either, but maybe we can do better.

Of these, I actually really love Lillian for them. I think it bridges the gap between their other kids and Felicity and also takes out the anxiety of popularity.

On to new names!

1) Dorothy

This name means “gift of God” and was a top 5 name in the 1920s. Currently, she sits at #483, which I think they’ll like. Besides Servant of God Dorothy Day, there are St. Dorothy of Caesarea, St. Dorothy of Montau, and St. Dorothy of Aquileia. I love this name for them because it hits the traditional, classic, and popular in the 1920s notes without being popular today, is two syllables, and fits nicely with their other kids. She’s a little less “boring” (I don’t think their kids’ names are boring) than the others, too, which gives her just enough pep to stand out but not enough to not be part of the crowd. Dorothy Mary, Dorothy Marie, and Dorothy Elizabeth are gorgeous! I love the sound of Robert, Catherine, Patrick, Anna, and Dorothy. Modern but classic, traditional but fun.

2) Caroline

It’s currently #81 and was in the top 200 in the 1920s. This name strikes me the same way Patrick does: a little more popular now rather than then but not mismatched. It’s traditional but not so much classic. That’s fine! Especially since they have Patrick in the mix. It’s a form of the name Charles meaning not only is there Bl. Caroline Gerhardinger for a patron (which I totally count Blesseds and Venerables and Servants of God for patrons!) but they could also count any of the multiple Blessed Charlottes, as Charlotte is just a different form of the same name. In that vein, they could count any St. Charles or Karl as her patron or, if they wanted to stretch it a bit, they could count St. John Paul II as her patron, since his birth name was Karol, another form of Charles. Caroline Elizabeth is beautiful and I like the sound of Robert, Catherine, Patrick, Anna, and Caroline. They would be repeating an initial, though, which shouldn’t necessarily bother them but they did bring it up as a concern.

3) Irene

This was inspired, in part, by Monica and Felicity, who strayed ever so slightly from their normal tastes. This name means “peace” and I like that it has a one word meaning like their other girls (Catherine means “pure” and Anna means “grace”). It currently sits at #674 but was a top 30 name in the 1920s. I think it’s criminally underused these days! There are a bunch of Sts. Irene but the most known are St. Irene of Rome, St. Irene of Thessalonica (who had two sisters!) and St. Irene of Macedonia (in the Orthodox Church, she’s known as St. Irene the Great Martyr or St. Irene of Thessaloniki, just so you don’t get confused it you look them up). I love Irene Marie, Irene Elizabeth, and Irene Felicity. Robert, Catherine, Patrick, Anna, and Irene sound like characters out of a black and white movie. I love them together! Bonus, Irene is two syllables, just like the rest of them. If they named this daughter Irene, no one would say that their children have “boring” names (this is just patently untrue anyway, but this name would really cement that).

One unofficial suggestion that just won’t stop bugging me: Josephine. I didn’t include her in the official suggestions because Patrick’s middle name is Joseph and I didn’t know how they’d feel about almost repeating a name that way. She’s currently #72 and was a top 50 or higher name in the 1920s, meaning she really hasn’t changed in popularity and is a steady classic. I love the way Robert, Catherine, Patrick, Anna, and Josephine sound.

Okay, these are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m not currently 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.)

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!

Sancta Nomina Update

Happy feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, also known as St. Edith Stein! (And my second son’s 16th birthday!) And yesterday was the feast of St. Dominic! Such a great week!!

I’m sorry to have to say out loud what you’ve probably all been suspecting anyway, which is that, very very unfortunately, I just can’t give any dependable time these days to our sweet corner of the internet here. I have had such good intentions of trying to get back to it in between semesters, but life is just in a weird place right now and I feel like my battery is constantly blinking “Low, Low, Low.” Two things of note are that we’re moving my oldest into his dorm in a couple of weeks, and I’ve had the great privilege over the last couple of months of watching my baby nephew a couple/few days a week for my sister and brother-in-law. He’s right next to me right now, as a matter of fact, blowing raspberries at me while I type and his cousins (my boys) run crazy around him! So I’ve got college on one end, babyhood on the other, all my in-between boys, and my students as well — I’m so blessed to have such an up-close front-row seat to the next generation! I pray all the time that God will keep them safe and close to Him, and that they all use their incredible gifts and talents to be lights in the world. Please keep us all in your prayers!

I have an auto-reply on my email now directing you to Theresa with any questions and for all your consultation needs. I’ve been so grateful for Theresa — I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: she’s been keeping Sancta Nomina up and running! And when I was lamenting to her recently that I don’t have the time to give to Sancta Nomina that I want to, she said, “Live your life that you’re being called to right now!” and if that isn’t the actual point, I don’t know what is. Please keep Theresa and her family in your prayers!

On the feast of St. Anne last month, I prayed for all of you and your intentions! I continue to think of you all often, and when I do, I say a Hail Mary for you. I’ve been so grateful for Sancta Nomina — what an incredible gift and blessing it’s been to me to have been able to spend so much time immersed in the beautiful names of our faith, to have connected with so many families trying so hard to bring their children up in the faith, and to have been invited into so many couples’ name conversations — Sancta Nomina has been a “thin place” for me, where heaven has felt extra close. And then also to have my beloved book‘s very existence be due almost entirely to Sancta Nomina! I’m humbled by the incredible gifts God has given me through my funny little interest in names.

Anyway! This isn’t goodbye — I have a few consultations from Theresa that I’m going to try to schedule all today so that they post one a week for the next few weeks, and my interest in names has recently seemed to be perfect for a particular academic/professional pursuit that God seems to be pointing me toward within my job — I’d love to keep you all in the loop about that if it were to come to pass. In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the summer! May God bless you all!


I’m not currently 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.)

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!

Birth announcement: Isabel Martha!

I posted a consultation for K and her husband back in January and I’m excited to share that their little girl has arrived and been given the GOR-geous name … Isabel Martha!

K writes,

Just wanted to let you know we welcomed Isabel Martha on 4/9. We’re calling her Libby and are totally in love. Thanks for the suggestion!

Isabel Martha!! Called Libby!! 😍😍😍 If you remember, K’s ideal was a given first name that didn’t repeat any of their (her, hubby’s, and big sister’s) given first names with a nickname that had a different first initial than the given first name, and Martha worked in somewhere. While I love a good challenge — and this was definitely a good challenge! — I was worried that K was setting herself up for disappointment (though she herself acknowledged it was a tall order and she wasn’t wedded to those hopes). But she did it!! What an absolutely beautiful and perfect choice!!

Congratulations to K and her husband and big sister Eleanor Lynn nn Nora, and happy birthday Baby Isabel!!

Isabel “Libby” with her big sister Eleanor “Nora”


I’m not currently 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.)

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: Twin girls join big sibs, including twin brothers!

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m still flying high from last week — so many things happened! My oldest graduated from high school on Friday, and the Baccalaureate Mass the night before and the graduation itself were so meaningful for my boy and for our whole family. We are all so grateful for God’s goodness!! And then — Friday itself!! What big news!! I never thought I’d see the day!! A friend pointed out to me that not only was Friday the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but also the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist (he who first recognized Jesus’ humanity while both were in the womb) and the birthday of the woman who founded the March for Life, Nellie Gray. Wow!! What a day!! Keep praying!! And enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Kaitrin writes in needing help naming identical twin girls!

Twins are amazing for lots of reasons, but naming twins, you know, means the names have to sound good together etc,! With the impending preemie delivery I’m feeling increased pressure to have names, and I thought your help would be great!

These babies come after three big brothers, two of whom are also identical twins, and one
sister (in heaven):

Vaughn Joseph

Jude Rian (twin)

Cormac Kelly (twin)

Jane Mari (in heaven)

Absolutely stunning names!

Mama Kaitrin says that she likes the way names that start or end in vowels sound with their last name.

I love Classic names and husband leans more to liking more modern or different names — he loves Maren for example. I don’t dislike, but I love so many before that,” she writes.

These babies also have a lot of powerful intercessors in heaven including St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Anne, St. Clare, St. Jane Frances de Chantal, St. Gianna Beretta Molla, St. Joan of Arc, and Servant of God Chiara Corbella Petrillo.

Mama Kaitrin says that her husband really really wants one of the babies to have the nickname Tess, so I kept that in mind when putting together this consultation. She writes,

Last month we felt pretty set on 1. Mary Therese, calling her ‘Tess’/ and 2. Anne Beretta and calling her ‘Etta’ (one of our big intercessor asks this pregnancy has been St. Gianna Beretta Molla, and neither of us love Gianna). I love the sound of Etta Aldridge. sweet and feminine. But I feel Tess and Etta doesn’t sound quite right — maybe even switching the order to Etta and Tess helps my ear a bit, I know that’s funny and strange. But Tess and Rosie sounds cuter to me so I can’t say goodbye to Rose. And is Mary Therese too common? Or does that not matter since we’d be calling her by middle name?

She also says,

I definitely don’t want rhymey twin names, but coordinating or stylistically similar would be fun, I think.”

Names they can’t use include: Molly, Maggie, Annie, Anna, Norah, Grace, Camille, and Gianna.

Names they like include: Julia Clare, Mary Alice, Julia Mae, Miriam, Gemma, Beatrice, Vivian, Rose Faustina, Rose Eline, Ruth Eline, Chiara Joan “Joni”, Margot, Bernadette “Etta”, Therese Eline and Miriam Clare, and Mary Therese “Tess” and Anne Beretta “Etta”.

Such great info! So, on to names!

Some thoughts on names they like.

Julia Clare- This is such a sweet combo, I really like it. I think it leans a little different from their boys, which is fine for a girl! I don’t know how much I like this next to a Tess sister, though.

Mary Alice- Classic combo, cannot go wrong here. Clunky cool.

Julia Mae- Same thoughts as Julia Clare. Mae is hot in the middle spot right now, but I love the subtle nod to Mary.

Miriam- Very different from their other children in a good way! I think this really opens them up. I never would have thought to pair her with sister Margot (more on that name below) but I really love it.

Gemma- I love this name, it’s super sweet. Gemma and Tess sound pretty good to me.

Beatrice- Again, a little different from their others. I don’t know how much I like it next to Tess, though; they sound mismatched to me.

Vivian- Same thoughts as Beatrice.

Rose Faustina- I love Rose for them but not sure how I feel about Faustina in the middle. I agree that Rose/Rosie and Tess are super cute together!

Rose Eline- I love all the meaning with this name.

Ruth Eline- Sounds very different from their boys. Ruth and Miriam would make incredible twin sisters, though!

Chiara Joan “Joni”- I like this name a lot and I love that Mama Kaitrin has a fun connection to Joni like her husband did with Cormac. Chiara is pretty different from their boys, though, and I don’t particularly feel like Chiara and Tess go well together.

Margot- Love this name for them! A little different but not enough to feel out of place. Love this with sister Miriam, too. I like this name with Therese but not necessarily with Tess.

Bernadette “Etta”- Love this so much. I love Etta and Tess as sisters, too. Great name.

Therese Eline- Fun name but a lot of Es, especially if they’re pronouncing it Ther-EE-s instead of Tay-REZ.

Miriam Clare- I love this with sister name Therese Eline. I like Therese and Miriam together a lot.

Mary Therese “Tess”- Mama Kaitrin asked if I thought this was pretty common and the answer is, yes, even if they’re going to call her Tess. Now, that shouldn’t necessarily deter them but I do think they’ve got much better names and combos to work with than this.

Anne Beretta “Etta”- I like Etta and Tess together a lot, which is something Mama Kaitrin was worried about. I don’t care for this name with their other children overall, though. It just sounds sort of bland next to everyone else. I think there are better names that can get to Etta that pair better with Therese.

Okay, on to new names! One thing I’m assuming here is that one baby will be Tess. I think they’d be hard pressed to pass on that. It’s a great nickname with wonderful longer forms and it fits in well with their other children. It’s jam-packed with meaning and goodness for their family, too. So I was thinking of names to go with Therese/Tess. I will give some thoughts at the end on full name combos I think would go really well together.

1) Brigid/Bridget

Their sons’ names all lean very Irish/Welsh and even little Jane Mari in heaven has a Welsh name! Well, what name is, arguably, more Irish than Brigid/Bridget? They want a powerful patron for this baby and St. Brigid is certainly a powerhouse. There’s also St. Bridget of Sweden who is incredible. Brigid/Bridget and Tess sound like natural sisters to me and they can tie them together more through their middle names. They could also call this baby Birdie, which reminded me of Rosie, and I love how it sounds with Tess.

2) Frances

Clunky cool is what this name is, just like some of the names on their list. My Irish grandfather once convinced my grandmother to have another baby (she had notoriously high risk pregnancies) by saying, “We haven’t had a Frances yet!” Such a good, strong, solid name for a girl. Nicknames are plenty, but for them my favorites are Fran and Franny, though Frankie is super cute and in right now, too. I love the sound of Tess and Fran together!

3) Elizabeth nn Lily

This one is what I thought would suit both Mama Kaitrin’s and her husband’s styles best. He likes a little more modern and fun while she prefers traditional and classic. Well, I think this strikes that balance. Elizabeth is the most traditional and classic name there is for girls but it’s also been the most steady in the top 100, making it modern, too. What’s great about this name is that it has almost endless nickname potential! Lizzy, Bess, Betsy, Betty, Libby…the list goes on! But one slightly unconventional nickname that I thought they would appreciate is Lily. It gets at the cutesy nickname and flower name like she likes, similar to Rosie, while being fun and unexpected like I’m gathering her husband likes. Elizabeth and Therese are gorgeous sisters and Tess and Lily are so sweet and fun! I think this name is a home run for them.

Okay, some thoughts on whole combos they might like. I noticed in their patrons that they have three little clusters, mostly: Theresas (Calcutta and Lisieux), Claires (Clare and Chiara), and Joans (Joan, Jane, and Gianna). The following suggestions sort of play with these to get all their patrons in and to tie the girls together.

Therese Joan and Frances Clare (Joan and Clare are powerhouses and classic names)

Therese Joan and Elizabeth Gianna (this gives both girls a form of the name Jane to tie them together and to their sister in heaven)

Therese Frances and Elizabeth Clare (I love the pairing and Frances and Clare in the middle to evoke Sts. Francis and Clare, two incredible powerhouses and friends!)

Therese Elizabeth and Bridget/Brigid Joan (Classic but strong)

Therese Joan and Elizabeth Clare (This is my favorite combo)

These are my thoughts! What do you think?


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