Birth announcement: Michael Augustine!

I did a private consultation for Abby and her husband earlier in the spring, and Abby’s let me know their little guy has arrived and been given the amazing name … Michael Augustine!

Abby writes,

We welcomed Michael Augustine on 5/28. Your consultation gave us the push we needed to go ahead and give him the name we felt most connected to even if Michael is more common than we wanted. We were seeing St. Michael everywhere and hearing Augustine quotes in homilies and it just felt like the Lord was saying this is his name. We loved your idea of using Milo as a nickname, since my husband wasn’t sold on it as a first name it was nice to have the option of Milo, Michael, or Mikey. However, so far he really seems to be a Michael, that’s what everyone has been calling him and it really does suit him. His 2 year old brother is calling him Mikey occasionally and we are ok with that, and maybe as he grows a nickname will stick. Because our kids wouldn’t be able to visit us in the hospital due to Covid-19 restrictions we told them his name ahead of time which we’ve never done before and they were so excited. It really was special for them to feel like they played a part in naming their baby brother. We are just hoping we haven’t sent a precedent that they get a vote if we are blessed with more children! Thank you for you help.”

I’m thrilled that Abby and her hubby ended up choosing the name they really wanted, despite its popularity! And for any of you in a similar situation, I always love the idea of an unexpected nickname for a more common name if popularity issues are a problem (and vice versa: a more familiar nickname for a more uncommon name can be easier on an everyday basis). I also love hearing that this little guy has been showing himself to be a Michael, sometimes we can plan for nicknames and sometimes we can’t!

It was also so interesting to read about how they shared the baby’s names with their older kids before he was born because of the Covid-19 restrictions, and how they’re hoping they haven’t set a precedent that will cause issues in the future! I like their approach this time.

Congratulations to Abby and her husband and big sibs Henry James, Lillian Teresa, and Noah Benjamin, and happy birthday Baby Michael!!

Michael Augustine with his big brother ❤️


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: Arthur Paul!

The consultation I did for Julia (longtime readers will recognize her handle: ethelfritha) and her husband almost four years ago was so fun to work on and one that I frequently refer to in my consultations for other families, and the subsequent birth announcement was so satisfying. Catholic geek names are so fun! I’m thrilled to share that Julia’s let me know she’s had another baby — a handsome little boy she and her hubby gave the fantastic name … Arthur Paul!

Julia writes,

We recently had our 4th geek baby and I thought you might be interested in his name: Arthur Paul.

Unlike all our other babies (Petra Jeanne, Corwin Matthias, and Theo Peregrin), this one was Arthur basically from the minute we found out he was a boy. And yes–he is absolutely named after King Arthur! 😁😁

It took us a long time to come up with a middle name. We even tossed around pretty extra names like “Arthur Ulysses” and “Arthur Aurelius.” But we kept coming back to Paul, a name which was on my husband’s radar because of the new Dune movie coming out (the main character is named Paul). When Arthur was born we took one look and said “he’s an Arthur Paul.” And what a great patron saint, too!

One extra fun saintly thing is that he was born at 5:45 PM on the vigil of St. Joan of Arc — our family patroness! She is always watching out for us!

Ahhh I love this!! The “pretty extra names” part made me laugh! I love how peaceful and happy these parents were with their first name choice from the beginning, and how perfect the middle name fell into place once he was born. Fantastic job!

Congratulations to Julia and her husband and big sibs Petra, Corwin, and Theo, and happy birthday Baby Arthur!!

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Arthur Paul


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: Magdalene Anne!

I did a private consultation for Natalie and her husband back in December, and I’m excited that Natalie’s let me know the baby has arrived and been given the gorgeous name … Magdalene Anne!

She writes,

I wanted to update you with our newest baby, a girl! Magdalene Anne was born 13 days late! At 9 pounds 3 ounces, she’s our biggest baby. It was a very smooth, easy labor until delivery. Being a big baby, it was hard enough, but then she got stuck, shoulder dystocia, and it was awful. Scary, painful, all around awful. After she arrived, I hemorrhaged as well, more awful, and while we’re both fine now, it’s been a lot of recovering for both of us. She’s a great addition to our family though and is much loved by her older brothers and sister.

As for her name, up until her due date, we were sold on Clara from your suggestions. But then I read another one of your posts about Easter names for babies born in the Easter season and I loved that idea. Especially because Magdalene had been on our short list, because of it being a family name, and everyone, including myself, thought she would come on Easter. My husband still wasn’t convinced of the name, until he realized that her initials would be MAE (Anne, after my mom) and he loved the idea of calling her Mae, after one of his aunts. We FINALLY agreed and now we feel as if St. Mary Magdalene has been a powerful intercessor in her somewhat traumatic life thus far and confident that this was the name for her.

As for nicknames, none have “stuck” yet. My husband will try Mae here and there, and I am leading towards Meg, but so far, she’s just Magdalene. Judging how Evie never stuck for Genevieve, Magdalene might not get shortened either!

I love hearing how Natalie and her hubby arrived at the name — first having decided on one name, then considering another but not having it feel quite right until a great nickname option made a particular family connection, and finally feeling like St. Mary Magdalene was interceding for their little one all along. And such a beautiful name! Natalie said that she and the baby are both fine now, but maybe you could say a little prayer for them both anyway — difficult births can be so traumatic!

Congratulations to Natalie and her husband and big sibs Samuel, Jonathan, Elijah, and Genevieve, and happy birthday Baby Magdalene!!

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Magdalene Anne


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: Sojourn Hyssop Arise!

I’m so excited to share that Katheryn — whose experience with adoption and naming I spotlighted here, and whose last two babies’ birth announcements I posted here and here — has welcomed another baby girl! She and her hubby have given her the ah-MAZ-ing name … Sojourn Hyssop Arise!

Katheryn wrote on Instagram (and gave me permission to share here):

SOJOURN “a temporary stay in a place.” To us the name Sojourn evokes a sense of waiting on God and trusting Him in the unknown, and the refocusing of our hearts completely on Him, our true home. The Bible is full of times (40 years wandering in the desert, Abraham, etc.) where God calls His people out to sojourn for a time and learn to wait on Him. It’s usually a time that He uses to bring them to a greater trust in and reliance on Him. She is named after the sojourn of the Holy Family in Egypt and after St. Peregrine. (Peregrine means “sojourn”)

HYSSOP is my great-grandma’s maiden name. Hyssop is the plant used for purification ceremonies in the Bible. It was what the sponge was put on to lift it to Jesus’ mouth on the cross. It is also what was used in Exodus to paint the lamb’s blood over the door posts for the angel to pass over them. All of our girls have one botanical name.

ARISE is from “Talitha Koum” when Jesus brought the little girl back to life and from the book of Ezekiel when God told him that nothing was impossible with God and to prove it he told him to tell the dry bones to arise and He made them into an army. “Arise” reflects the healing power of God and is a testimony that nothing is impossible with Him. It is also after her birth mom since her name means “rising.”

I mean really. !! I’m always blown away by the thought and meaning that Katheryn and her hubby have put into the beautiful, always unexpected names that they’ve chosen for their babies — each one is such a testament to their love for their little ones! I’ve always admired, too, how they’ve made a point to work a connection to their birth families in, each time. ❤

Congratulations to Katheryn and her husband and big siblings:

Verity Majella Judea Hawthorne
Gethsemane Juniper Anne
Bosco Willis Yard
Hyacinth Clemency Veil
à Kempis Exodus Praise (“Exodus”)
Zephyr Wisdom Clove

And happy birthday Baby Sojourn!!

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Sojourn Hyssop Arise


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: Felix Owen!

I did a private consultation for Sarah and her husband a few weeks ago, right at the end of her pregnancy! She’s let me know her little guy has arrived and been given the fantastic name … Felix Owen!

Sarah writes,

Thank you again for all of your help with name ideas … our little Felix Owen was born on May 7th around 2am.

It took us a long time to decide on a name after he was born!! We took the rest of the night off from discussing it and just got some sleep. Then that morning, I think we tried out every option under the sun and even introduced names that we weren’t really considering initially at all like Eli & Owen. My husband even graciously considered Miles Gerard, as that was my favorite, but when he told me that he would just call him “MG” instead of Miles because he really didn’t like it as a name, I moved on all together haha. We were both feeling pretty good about Felix but were struggling to combine it with a middle name that felt meaningful to us. I was also feeling really good about Owen as a first name after St. Nicholas Owen, but my husband felt like Owen was too popular of a name right now. So then he suggested Felix Owen and I immediately started crying which I took as a little sign from the Holy Spirit that it was a right name for our little guy.

And now of course, over a week in, I can’t imagine him being named anything but Felix. So funny how that works. We are using St. Felix of Cantalice as a patron because of his May 18th feast day, and St. Nicholas Owen as a patron too.”

This is all just amazing, what a great name story! I love how Sarah cried upon hearing the combo “Felix Owen” — I agree with her that it was a sign! And I LOVE this little guy’s patron saints!

Congratulations to Sarah and her hubby and big brother Luke Jacob, and happy birthday Baby Felix!!

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Felix Owen


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!!

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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!

 

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!

Birth announcement: Benedict Campion Marie!

I posted a birth announcement for Teresa’s first baby almost two years ago, and I’m thrilled to share that she’s had her second baby — another boy! She and her hubby gave him the fantastic and so Marian name … Benedict Campion Marie!

Teresa writes,

As promised here’s a bit behind our baby’s name. Benedict Campion Marie was born today! Glory to Jesus Christ!

Mostly I love the name Benedict, I think it’s strong and lovely … We don’t have much of a devotion to St Benedict but I have found that as we teach Emil about Father Kapaun our love and friendship with him grows and hope that will be the same with St Benedict. Campion is after St Edmund Campion, who was known as a great orator and debater. My husband and I met on the debate team in college and spent our first years of marriage traveling the world teaching debate, so when I heard that about St Edmund I sort of fell in love. Benedict was due in May and our girls name was very Marian. I felt like we needed to honor Our Lady with his name too but didn’t want to give up Benedict Campion. So we decided to add on Marie and I absolutely love it. He was due the 10th but came early (hallelujah!) and just squeaked in being born in the month of Mary.

While we were in the hospital my husband was looking up the name Benedict in other languages and somehow we had missed that the etymological root translates to “well spoken” which with our reasoning for Campion seemed all too perfect and divinely orchestrated!

How great is this story and this name?!! I love it!! And Marie as a second middle!! We totally need to bring that back for boys — hurray for Teresa and her hubby to do so!! But really, I didn’t expect anything less, after what and how they named their first baby — I had linked to their telling of it on Instagram, but for those of you who don’t have IG, I just watched it again and took these notes on how they decided on the name Emil Byrd for their son:

His first name is after Fr. Emil Kapaun, whose cause for canonization is open. Not only does he have a great, heroic story that includes ministering to the soldiers even during battle, receiving the Medal of Honor, and being a prisoner of war (during which he died), but he’s also from the same small town that Teresa’s hubby is from!

His middle name is for William Byrd, who was a sixteenth-century English composer for Queen Elizabeth. He was Catholic at a time when it was illegal to practice the faith, including having Mass said, so the faithful had Masses celebrated secretly in their homes. William Byrd composed parts of the Mass to be sung in homes during that time. Additionally, Teresa’s husband is William as well, so Byrd is a little nod to him too.

They hoped that, like his namesakes, their Emil Byrd would find beauty in the Church, be courageous, and exemplify selfless compassion to others.

I know you’ll agree with me that Teresa and her hubby have done an amazing job naming their boys! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Benedict!!

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Benedict Campion Marie


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: Noah Anthony!

I posted a consultation for Breanna and her husband back in December, and Breanna’s let me know their baby has arrived — a little man given the handsome name … Noah Anthony!

Breanna writes,

For this little boy we decided on Noah Anthony! Noah was not originally on our radar but it did fit the bill of a biblical name and a person that Jesus would have interacted with like Joseph and Mary Magdalene. I like that it’s not likely to have a shortened nickname (I don’t like when people call Joseph “Jo” or “Joey.” ) And finally, I felt Noah was so fitting during this world wide pandemic Noah had to trust in God during an unbelievable time. Right now, we are all being asked to trust in God to help us through this pandemic that none of us expected when we started 2020.

Our Noah’s middle name “Anthony” is daddy’s first name. Although daddy already shared his middle name with our son Joseph, he’s such a good daddy that I think he deserved two namesakes!

I love the significance of the name Noah during this pandemic! How perfect! And I love that Breanna said, regarding her husband’s names being shared by both of his sons, “he’s such a good daddy that I think he deserved two namesakes” — what a wonderful thing to say!

Congratulations to Breanna and her husband and big sibs Magdalyn and Joseph, and happy birthday Baby Noah!!

Noah Anthony with his big sister and brother ❤


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: Thérèse Lourdes!

I got the most beautiful email from Renata a few months ago, while she was still pregnant and didn’t know if the baby was a boy or a girl, in which she shared the following (which she’s given me permission to share):

I never desired to marry or to have children. I had a falling out with the Church in my teenage years, right as I was starting a chapter of my life where I’d need Christ the most: immigration. A long, lost decade went by and it was filled with trials, depression, and purposelessness. But they were all in God’s plan. Eventually, I found myself moving countries a second time. I came to the U.S. for graduate school. After graduation, I stayed to work here for a year. At this time, I experienced a life-changing spiritual rebirth (by the way, Renata means “Reborn” in Latin) and received a great gift: I met my husband. He is an excellent man. He proposed within the year. And this is how I came to marriage and an ardent desire to have children. Looking at my husband, I desired to “have more of him in the world.”

God blessed us with a pregnancy soon after our marriage. Almost immediately, we picked a name for a boy: Matthew Sumner. Matthew would be in honor of St. Matthew, whose Gospel drew me back into God’s fold. In fact, God called me and gave me a mission by Matthew 5:14 – “You are the light of the world, a city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” This verse was a prominent part of our marriage ceremony. Sumner would be in honor of a relative on my husband’s side of the family, while for me it was meaningful that it the baby be a harvest hand for the Lord: As God summoned Matthew, may Matthew also summon others. We were stuck and nearly devoid of ideas for girl names. We had many options and they were all quite different. Deep down, I wanted a name that meant light, in honor of Matthew 5:14. Liora, Eleonora, Lucia, all these we considered. Somehow none stuck. Eventually, my mother-in-law gave me a book of Saints’ names. We also researched all the women in the Bible together. One weekend, we came across Phoebe and I was taken. Phoebe would be perfect. It means “radiant.” Phoebe was also a harvest hand, perhaps the first deaconess of the Church. And Phoebe is also a celestial body and bird. It is as anchored in the heavens as it is on creation. For the middle name, we settled on Werther, also a family name on my husband’s other side of the family. A strong matriarch bore it as her maiden name. It means “leader of a worthy army.” And so we came to “Radiant leader of a worthy army.” Mind you, we went to the maternity ward not knowing the baby’s gender and still with four different name possibilities for a girl. Even after discovering Phoebe Werther, we just weren’t sure. After a long labor, I delivered a girl. As soon as we laid eyes on her, we knew we’d met Phoebe Werther. When the nurse asked: “What is her name?,” we looked at each other and said in chorus: “Phoebe.” It was the most overwhelming moment of my life. After signing the birth certificate, though, I broke down in tears, feeling remorse that I had not honored my South American heritage and family in any way. And lo-and-behold, the Lord had thought of that too. At that moment, a new nurse entered our room. She was Brazilian. She started speaking to me in Portuguese and congratulated me on the birth of our baby girl. Before she left, she added: “What a nice gift, that you would have a healthy baby girl on Brazilian Independence Day.” Then I truly broke down, and thanked the Lord for being so thoughtful and careful.

Three years and two weeks later I was back in that same ward, delivering another baby with the same midwife. This baby was a couple of days late though, and leading up to labor, I was anxious that once again we had no name settled on for a girl. I had called a conference with my husband and mother-in-law two days before. We agreed that we would not leave the living room until we had at least a first name decided. After much discussion and numerous options, we settled on Tessa. Again, I prayed we could give the Lord more harvest hands. Though Teresa was the name that I kept on coming back to, Tessa was the name we all liked. I had misgivings about it being a nickname, but it did fit in with our other names. We like the two-syllable, two-syllable ending in “er,” and one-syllable last name sing-song we have going. The next day, I went into labor. This time, a baby boy emerged. He looked nothing like his sister, who has dark hair and eyes. He looked angelic, just like his father. He had blonde hair and the longest eyelashes fanning over his blue eyes. Once again, immediately, as we took him into our arms, we knew this was our long-awaited Matthew Sumner. Though we were very much decided on the name, we didn’t know if he’d go by Matthew or by Sumner. I love the name Sumner, and dislike the shortened versions of Matthew such as Matt or Mattie. We just couldn’t agree, though. There were no indications that one name would prevail over the other. Later that evening my mother-in-law came into the room to visit. She was elated and said: “Did you see?! He was born at 5:14PM!” My husband and I looked at each other in awe and we knew this would be Matthew for sure. Three months later, my sister-in-law also gave birth to a boy and also chose Sumner for his middle name. The Lord got two pairs of harvest hands!

We carry names forward, so with this third pregnancy, we arrived set with Tessa for a girl and no definite name for a boy. In the two years that have gone by, I have formally returned to the Catholic church. Notably, I have discovered and fallen in love with Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. When I was confirmed last Spring, I chose Thérèse for my name. And just then it dawned on me: Thérèse, like Phoebe and Matthew are complex names when written on paper, but have just two syllables. Thérèse and Phoebe end in “e” and are of Greek origin. Teresa means harvest. I’d come full circle. It was so perfect. For a middle name, we decided to honor my roots and chose Lourdes, after my paternal grandmother (whom sadly I did not meet, but feel a strange closeness to and similarity with) whose full given name was Maria de Lourdes. Thérèse Lourdes has a beautiful ring and is similar to Werther and Sumner, but special with its “es” ending. If the baby is a girl, we’ll still call her Tessa, but her name will be Thérèse Lourdes. For a boy, we had always like Thomas as a runner-up to Matthew. We have returned to this name. Another apostle, Thomas gives us one of the most beautiful Gospel passages on our Lord’s generosity and mercy toward our incredulity and fear. Coincidentally, the homily for my Confirmation Mass was about this very passage. So Thomas it is. I wanted to use Excelsior as a variant of my father’s name, Celso, which means sky or heaven, but we feel it is too pompous! Thomas Excelsior has a lovely meaning, but we haven’t settled on it. It was then that I thought back to my journey as a wife and mother and my ardent desire of having more of my husband’s character in the world. We have settled on Thomas Christopher, which not only nods to my husband but also to our Lord as it means “Christ bearer.” It was a cherry on top that it ends in “er” like Werther and Sumner.”

I was so taken with this beautiful story!! Not only is it a story of faith, conversion, and motherhood, but of love for a husband as well — I was so moved by Renata’s characterization of her husband as “an excellent man” and that she “desired to ‘have more of him in the world.'” What a compliment! ❤

I was so very happy to receive an email from Renata earlier this month sharing the wonderful news that her baby had arrived! She gave birth to a sweet baby girl, and indeed, gave her the beautiful, meaningful name … Thérèse Lourdes (nn Tessa)!

She wrote,

I trust this note finds you and yours well, despite the surreal new rhythms we’re all adapting to. To brighten up these somber times, we write with joyful news from our household.

Thérèse Lourdes (Tessa) was born on Sunday, March 22. Tessa is blonde and blue-eyed like her middle brother Matthew and alert-out-of-the-gate like her eldest sister Phoebe. We’re doing well and already falling into our new routines as a family of five.”

I absolutely love the name Thérèse Lourdes and the meaning it has for Renata, and the nickname Tessa is one of my favorites!

Congratulations to Renata and her husband and big siblings Phoebe and Matthew, and happy birthday Baby Tessa!!

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Thérèse Lourdes (Tessa) 👣


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!