Annual St. Anne pilgrimage!

Every year since my first blogiversary, I’ve gone on a pilgrimage to a St. Anne Shrine as a way of thanking her for her patronage of my blog and her intercession in the many many prayers I’ve prayed for all of you and my own special intentions. It’s been fun to find St. Anne shrines that are close enough to me to either do a day trip or an overnight at most — there are more than I ever realized! The first year my husband and kids and I went to the shrine in Isle la Motte, VT; the second year was Sturbridge, MA; the third year was Scranton, PA; and this year we went to Waterbury, CT.

Look at the name of this beautiful shrine:

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Shrine of St. Anne for Mothers. So so perfect for this enormously pregnant woman praying for so many of you who are mothers, or who want to be and are struggling with infertility.

It was a huge, gorgeous church:

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(I know you all know my photog skills are lacking … I tried to capture how beautiful it was and failed, as always!)

I was determined that we would attend the 9:00 Mass, and the whole morning of trying to do something good was like a comedy routine, Catholic-style. First, I made sure we were all up and downstairs for the hotel’s complimentary breakfast by 7:30, so we’d have plenty of time to eat before needing to begin our pre-Communion fast as well as get to the church in plenty of time.

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They had several kinds of coffee; both Hubs and I went for Robust.

Apparently we were being way too leisurely, because I glanced at the time whilst finishing my coffee and it said 8:29. I almost had a heart attack! My hubs was still drinking his coffee and a couple of the boys were still picking at their breakfast! And Mass — a daily Mass, likely only a half hour — was at 9! So surely Communion would be before 9:29! “We need to stop eating!” I yelled, and said a quick prayer that something would happen that would delay Communion just enough. I was trying not to be upset — traveling with everyone is so hard, and getting anywhere on time is so hard, and we were trying so hard to do this nice thing, and breaking our Communion fast was definitely not part of the plan!

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This was on the car parked next to us in the hotel parking lot — I should have known it would all work out.

Once we got to the church, we tried the front doors and they were locked, but then we saw someone arrive for what we assumed was Mass, so we creepily followed him down these back stairs at the back of the parking lot and into a back, unmarked door, which led right into the sacristy … being the center of attention is not my favorite thing, which walking into the sacristy with our circus of a crew definitely makes happen, but indeed we were in the right place — Mass was held in a small chapel behind the main church, and we were there just in time.

Oh, and there was the heat. Oh the heat! This heatwave is killing me! I’m a total baby about being too hot anyway, and I’m a total sweat-er, so these past few days, being so very very hugely pregnant (much bigger than a normal 9 mos size, despite only being 28 weeks today) and so very very hot have been interesting. Not to make it all about me, but the idea did cross my mind that this heatwave came at just the right time to make our pilgrimage very pilgrimage-y. Sorry everyone.

Anyway, the chapel was sweltering — like, sweat pouring down my neck, chest, and back the whole Mass — but it was just beautiful and so perfect for our St. Anne pilgrimage:

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The meeting of Sts. Anne and Joachim (left) and the Annunciation to St. Anne (right)
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Education of Mary (left) and St. Anne de Beaupre (right)
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On the wall: “Good St. Anne, grandmother of Jesus and mother of Mary, pray for us”
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St. Anne with Our Lady on the right; Mother Mary down below; and that framed rosary said the most amazing thing on that little plaque: “Every Rosary Bead is a Cannonball launched at the Devil’s Head.” Amen!

Father gave a fantastic homily, which tied today’s feast day (St. Thomas the Apostle) in with the Real Presence in the Eucharist, and he talked a bit about Indian Catholics and how they have such a strong devotion to St. Thomas. It was so reverent and so informative! (I’m not sure if the Syro-Malabar church is the same as what he was talking about — I’m guessing yes? But anyway here‘s a post I did on Syro-Malabar naming traditions.) And he mentioned St. Anne a bunch of times during the Mass. I really felt like I was doing what I wanted to do — I was at a beautiful St. Anne Shrine, and I offered the Mass for all of you.

So back to the Communion-fast bit … wouldn’t you know, but Mass started a few minutes late. And then, despite the heat and poor Father in his vestments (he requested a towel at one point, which one of the church ladies immediately jumped up to get, and I assumed it was something he’d forgotten for the altar, but no — he just needed to mop his face), his homily was so long — much longer, I thought, than I’d expect at a daily Mass. Just after the Lamb of God I snuck a peek at my phone to see the time and wouldn’t you know: it was 9:29. Exactly one hour since I’d realized at the hotel that we needed to stop eating. Communion was a couple minutes later, and I felt like clicking my heels as we went up to receive. God is so good. ❤

After Mass, Father stopped us to chat for a minute, and several of the ladies too, who were kind of swoony over my boys (I don’t blame them 🙂 ) and amazed that I have three months left before this baby comes (them and me both!) — anyway, Father said we were welcome to take a look inside the main church. Oh! It was so beautiful!

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St. Anne and Our Lady ❤
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I’ve never seen a statue of Our Lady and Jesus like this!
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Sacred Heart of Jesus
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Immaculate Heart of Mary

All in all, it was such a wonderful trip. I’m so grateful for St. Anne’s intercession for these past several years, and I’m so happy to make these small trips as a way of thanking her and praying for all of you. St. Anne, pray for us!

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St. Anne, pray for us

(I’m going to add some of these on Instagram, including one of me and the baby taken in the fingerprint-y hotel mirror!)


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon! It’s a perfect for expectant mamas, baby showers, and just because. 🙂 If you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated!

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We have some winners!

Rafflecopter has randomly chosen the five winners of the blogiversary giveaway: congratulations Alyssa, Julie, Sarah, Allie, and Emily! I’ve emailed you each!

Thank you all for your ideas about naming a boy after St. Anne! You have to know I’ve given this quite a bit of thought, and you still came up with some ideas I’d never thought of! I love that, and I love all of you!

I’m still in the midst of saying the St. Anne novena for all of you! ❤ Have a wonderful Saturday (day of Our Lady!)!

It’s my blogiversary! I have some goodies for you!

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Even WordPress is excited for me! 😀

You guys! Four years ago yesterday I posted my very first post! (I actually started writing this post yesterday on the actual day, but then had to make an unexpected run to the dr for an unexpected diagnosis of strep in my 11yo, so here we are! A day late!)

Each year on the anniversary of the beginning of the blog, I’m newly blown away by how amazing this all has been, and especially how amazing you all have been! I’m forever grateful for you and our little community here, and all that God’s allowed through it. Thank you thank you!!

In celebration of my blogiversary and as a thank you to you all, I started a St. Anne novena last night for all of you, with a special mention of those of you who are mothers or who want to be, and those who are hoping for a baby or are suffering from the loss of a baby or from infertility, as well as for all of your children, both living and deceased. St. Anne is the patroness of the blog, and I’ve felt her close by so many times in the last four years. She’s a loving and holy mother and grandmother and a great intercessor!

I’m also doing a giveaway! Yippee!! 😀

I have a few things to give away, so I’m going to pick five (5) winners. The first two will receive:

— A copy of my book (signed or not as you like, and I absolutely won’t be offended if you don’t want them signed!)

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(Best name book you’ll ever own! Just sayin! 😉 )

— This beautiful book of prayers and novenas to St. Annestannebook

— One (1) sheet of these amazing temporary tattoos that have “Be not afraid!” in St. John Paul II’s own handwriting! Each sheet has two (2) tattoos, and they come courtesy of Lindsay at Just Love Prints (she has the coolest things!). Consider the possibilities! Labor and delivery would be a great time to wear one (that’s my plan!), or during finals or job interviews, or medical procedures … these babies could really give you some peace of mind just when you need it! You can put them somewhere discreet, or show them off, whatever you like!

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Image from Lindsay’s Etsy shop

Again, the first two winners will receive the three things listed above: my book, the St. Anne book, and a sheet of temporary tattoos.

I wish I could give you all a copy of my book! But since I only have two to give away, I’m going to choose three (3) additional winners, who will receive the St. Anne prayer book and a sheet of the temporary tattoos.

To enter the giveaway, click here! It’ll direct you to answer today’s burning question: what’s your favorite way to honor St. Anne in a boy’s name? It will be open through tomorrow (Friday) night at midnight eastern, and I’ll announce the winners on Saturday!

Thank you again for all the fun name talk over the last four years, and for how we pray for each other, such a blessing. Happy Thursday! ❤ ❤ ❤


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon! It’s a perfect for expectant mamas, baby showers, and just because. 🙂 If you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated!

Don’t forget to get your consultation requests in!

So sorry for being so quiet here on the blog! The end of the year is just killer, there is so much to do over the next twelve days! Be sure to check out my Instagram and Twitter feeds if the silence here is too loud! (@sanctanomina at both places)

Also, as I previously posted, I won’t be accepting any more consultation requests after tomorrow (June 1). Any that are received before midnight tomorrow night I will complete during the summer; all others will have to wait until after I reopen them (date tbd, *possibly* around Christmas, but it will be dependent on how things are going around here with our new baby).

Happy feast of the Vistation! I put up a namey post on Instagram about it! ❤

Links, updates, and consultation info

I’ve got a bunch of things to share today, so I’m putting them all in one post!

First up, I’ll be going on “maternity leave” from consultations starting June 1. That will give me a chance to finish up all those currently in the queue and any new ones before things get real around here, baby-wise (i.e., doubling down on getting things ready + my own slowing down as the time approaches). But I won’t be off the blog — posts take less time than consultations, so I should still be able to post regularly (though perhaps less frequently? It’s almost summer y’all! My boys and I have plans!). I’ll also still be on Instagram and Twitter (especially IG). I’m not sure when I’ll be back to consultations — I’ll have to play it by ear, based on how things are going post-baby. A very unofficial, tentative date might be sometime around Christmas, but again, I’ll just have to see. I’ll be emailing those of you who purchased the Black Friday deal and haven’t yet redeemed it — which is totally fine! It doesn’t expire! But if you aren’t ready by June 1, I won’t be able to do it until I return from my baby hiatus.

I’ve gotten some emails in response to my giveaway! Woo! No one’s yet gotten the full list, so there’s still a chance for the rest of you! But the ones I’ve gotten are pretty good, so the competition is tough! It ends Saturday at midnight (Eastern).

I also have the final official links for my segment on Mater Dei Radio: this is for when it aired on Coffee & Donuts with John & Mary, and this is for when it aired on Morning Drive. So much fun!

Almost three years ago I posted about Rachel Campos-Duffy and her congressman husband Sean’s seventh baby, and then totally missed that they’ve since had an eighth! Two years ago this month they welcomed Patrick Miguel — love love love his name!

Finally, back in November I posted a consultation for Amy at Our Family Fiat, and she recently relaunched her site and one of her first posts up is about the naming of her baby! Definitely go check out her third little lady’s beautiful name!! (Her first name is in my book! Woo!)

Okay! That’s all I have for this Tuesday! I hope you’re all having a great week!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon! It’s a perfect for expectant mamas, baby showers, and just because. 🙂 If you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated!

Year in review: 2017 (blessed beyond measure)

Happy New Year you wonderful readers you!! 🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉 And happy feast of Mary, the Mother of God!! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

The past two years I’ve posted my “Year in review” post on New Year’s Eve (2015 and 2016), and so I intended to this year (er, last year) as well, but life. Kids, husband, family, etc. You know. We had a busy and fun New Year’s Eve! So instead of ending 2017 by looking back, we’ll begin 2018 doing so!

I always find it fun to look through the year’s posts and see what happened, and I love sharing it all with you, since it’s because of you that all of this has happened!

Whew!! What a year it’s been!! I continue to be so blown away by the blessing of this blog and all of you!! I can’t wait to share 2018 with you!!

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Merry Christmas!

All you all ready for Christmas?! We’re getting there!

I just wanted to let you know that if you were expecting your Black Friday consultation before Christmas, check your email! Please let me know if you don’t have an email and expected one!

I also wanted to leave this list of my past Christmas-y name posts in case you’re expecting a little one in the next two weeks!

Names for a Christmas Baby here on the blog

Names for an Advent Baby at CatholicMom

Holy Family Names for Christmastime Babies at CatholicMom

Names for a Yuletide Babe: The O Antiphons at Nameberry

And this tag for “Christmas names” here on the blog, which brings up birth announcements and name spotlights for names that I think can be Christmas-y.

I’m signing off until Tuesday, when I’ll post my weekly consultation (a day late, because of Christmas being on Monday). I hope you all have a wonderfully merry and blessed Christmas!! ❤