Thoughts on Lisieux (et al.)?

If you’re looking for a great Prime Day deal, look no further than my book of Marian names! It’s currently on sale, and there’s a $5.00 off promotion running as well! 

(You guys had SO MANY great thoughts and ideas for Kathleen’s TV character!! I loved reading them all, both here on the blog and on Facebook and Instagram! You often fill in holes in my knowledge and make connections I didn’t see. I hope to post the name Kathleen chooses soon!)

Abby from Appellation Mountain posted on Facebook a list of names trending on her site last week, which included Lisieux — a name I would only expect to see among Sancta Nomina readers! (As in St. Therese of Lisieux.) One of her readers asked how it’s pronounced, and since I’ve heard it said a couple different ways by Americans for whom English is their native language, I thought I’d do a poll on Twitter to see if one pronunciation was used by a clear majority. I first asked my mom (who took years of French) and checked out Forvo to try to replicate in writing what the actual French pronunciation is, then I added in other pronunciations I’ve heard, and posted the poll to Twitter.

lisieux

Do you see how many votes I got? Eighty five (85). Eighty five! That’s like, four times as many as I usually get for my name polls! I received several comments too, who knew this would be such a hotbed of controversy??

In hindsight, I realized I should have phrased my question differently — I wasn’t looking for the correct French pronunciation of the town, though I can see that it could come across that way. I was looking for how *you* say it — I know not everyone says it the French way, and I wanted to gather data for how the average American Catholic Joe/Jane says it (apologies to my non-American readers! I’m always happy to get your input, even if it’s not entirely relevant for American parents). I also realized it would be helpful to add the context: “Lisieux as a given first name for an American baby girl.”

Those who know and use the authentic French pronunciation were well represented both by the poll results (receiving 33% of the votes, only one percentage point behind the leader of lih-SOO, with 34%) and especially in the comments. I do appreciate how frustrating it can be for those who *know* how to say a name to hear it said “wrong” — Sean said as “SEEN” is one example for me. But even then, I’ve written about how, when it comes to proper names, no one has the market on the “correct” pronunciation.

One comment surprised me — it suggested that bestowing the name Lisieux in honor of St. Therese without using the pronunciation she would recognize is disrespectful. I disagree, and the three names that came to mind immediately as names American Catholic parents use that they generally say differently from the way their saints would have said them were Avila, Jacinta, and Kateri. I’d never seen it suggested that the American English way of saying those names is disrespectful, so I’m not sure why Lisieux would be any different. Regardless, I always think that parents’ goal of naming their baby after a beloved saint is the opposite of disrespectful. I’m trying to think of examples where I think the execution of such a lovely desire might border on disrespectful, but I can’t think of any.

I’d be interested in your input! Both on what pronunciation you would use, if you were an American Catholic parent for whom English is your first language and you wanted to name your daughter Lisieux, and whether you think using a pronunciation different than how the saint would have said it (for Lisieux or any name) is disrespectful.


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 the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

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New giveaway items (!), and Timmarie

I have so enjoyed reading all your suggestions for Kendra’s baby, both here on the blog and on Instagram (and even a few on Facebook!)! If you haven’t commented yet, you still have until Friday at midnight! I’ll announce the two winners (one from the blog, one from Instagram) on Saturday.

Speaking of the giveaway — I have more news! Kendra has so generously added her My Superhero Prayer Book: Traditional Catholic Prayers for Awesome Catholic Kids and her brand new Catholic All June companion to The Catholic All Year Compendium (read about the other months here) to the giveaway! That means that EACH winner will receive:

–> A copy of Kendra’s book The Catholic All Year Compendium: Liturgical Living for Real Life (Ignatius Press, 2018)

AND

–> A copy of my book Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018)

AND

–> A copy of Kendra’s My Superhero Prayer Book: Traditional Catholic Prayers for Awesome Catholic Kids

AND

–> A copy of Kendra’s Catholic All June companion to The Catholic All Year Compendium

You lucky winners will be SET with great reading material for a while!! 😀

I also wanted to ask you all about the name Timmarie. I’ve seen it from time to time here and there — only on older women — and again today, the members of my parish who died on this date were remembered by name, and one was Timmarie (she died in the early 80s). Every time I see Timmarie, I think it’s so similar to Emery in rhythm and sound, and I wonder why parents today aren’t using it? Is it because it’s an obvious mashup of Tim and Marie, which is a little out of step with today’s naming? I searched through the SSA database and it didn’t make the top 1000 in any year, and I searched the 2018 births and the 1910 births and it didn’t appear there (or as the spelling Timarie). Do you any of you know any Timmaries? What do you think of the name?

Happy Thursday!


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

A big week for names!

Happy Mother’s Day weekend!! Don’t forget to enter the Massive Mother’s Day Giveaway — it ends tonight at midnight! I’ll email the winner tomorrow!

Also, if you could help Charlotte, please do — she’s in a desperate state with her health and being unable to afford proper medical care, she just can’t get ahead of it and is really suffering.

Did you all see the 2018 name stats that were released yesterday by the Social Security Administration? Were you surprised by any in the top ten?

2018topten

A few people over on Instagram expressed surprise over Evelyn being no. 10, which is funny, because it was actually at no. 9 in 2017 — it dropped a spot in 2018 — and I wrote about it in my post on the 2017 data last year:

From your comments on Instagram, Evelyn also seems to be surprising to some of you. As I mentioned on IG, when my 13yo was three, one of his classmates’ mom had a baby girl whom she named Evelyn, and back then I thought it sounded like such an old lady name. Turns out it entered the top 100 in 2002 for the first time since 1953 and in fact is now, at no. 9, the most popular it’s ever been — its previous highest was no. 10 in 1915. In my mind, it’s part of the Evangeline/Genevieve/Vivian-nicknamed-Evie/Vivi sisters. And in fact Evie increased in 2017 as well!

I haven’t looked at all the new data yet, but I was perusing the list of names that increased in popularity last night and was so surprised that Genesis was the boy name with the greatest increase in 2018: it went up 608 spots from no. 1592 to 984, entering the top 1000. That’s a big increase! And I don’t know what it was caused by! I did a quick search to see if something happened in 2017 or 2018 to cause such a spike in interest, and did discover that Alicia Keys has a son named Genesis, but he was born in 2014, so I don’t think he was the catalyst.

I was telling my hubs about Genesis last night, which he too was shocked by (he didn’t even know parents were naming their kids Genesis, so he’s not the best gauge), but he also asked a great question: he wanted to know how many births that jump in popularity actually represented. So I looked that up and there were 209 baby boys born in 2018 that were named Genesis, up from 101 in 2017. That’s not a huge amount of babies. Also, Genesis for a girl is vastly more popular — 4068 girls born in 2018 named Genesis, and the spelling Jenesis for girls actually increased 121 spots, from 1087 to 966, entering the top 1000. Quite a year for G/Jenesis!

I was also interested that Meghan was the girl name that increased the most in popularity, up 701 spots from 1404 to 703 and certainly due to Prince Harry’s Mrs. Speaking of Prince Harry and his Mrs. … what about Harry’s and Meghan’s baby boy?? I couldn’t wait to find out what they named him! As I mentioned on Instagram, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was so unexpected to me, but I expected his name to be unexpected, so I guess Harry and Meghan delivered! I loved Harrison for Harry’s son from the moment I read it, perfection! Archie and similar names are trendy in the UK right now, and turns out Archie entered the top 1000 in the US in 2018, so that makes it a good mix of British and American to me. (I did just read that Archie was the name of Meghan’s childhood cat … I’m not sure what to think of that.)

Back to the SSA data, I’m sure I’ll have more to say after I finish looking through it all, but in the meantime, I loved reading Abby’s take, as always, as well as Laura Wattenberg’s (the Baby Name Wizard, who has a new web site and a new name!) and Nameberry’s.

Also, I have a great consultation to post on Monday for a mama who’s familiar to many of you and who’s expecting baby no. 10 — I know you’ll all love it!

Finally, just a tip for any of you still looking for a present for the moms in your life: my book is a fantastic gift! And though it won’t be delivered by tomorrow if you order today (unless you pay a million dollars in shipping, depending on where you live), you could always order it and then print out a picture of it to put in the Mother’s Day card you give your mom/wife/whoever, with a promise that it’s in the mail! 😉

Have a great rest of the weekend!! ❤ ❤ ❤


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 the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

 

Honoring St. Anne in a boy’s name

Happy feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim!! As you all know, St. Anne is the patroness of my blog and I’ve asked for her intercession many many times over the past few years, for all of your intentions and for my own. In fact, I just finished another novena to her, in which I included all of you. ❤ Such a great saint, and such a great day!

You guys had so many good ideas when I asked in last month’s giveaway for possible ways of honoring St. Anne in a boy’s name! Several of you asked for the results, which I’d planned to compile into one post anyway, and her feast day seemed the best day to do it! Here they are, culled from the comments left on the blog post and those left in the entries on Rafflecopter — you guys had so many great ideas!

Names starting with An-

This is generally where my mind goes as well, when trying to think of boy names that could honor St. Anne. These are the ones you all suggested (the quotes in parentheses are comments left by the commenter):

Ananias

Andrew, Andre, Anselm, Anthony, Antonio, Antonin, Anton

Anders and Anderson (“from Anne-dear’s and Anne-dear’s-son“)

Anne (Dutch boy’s name)

Anno (“It’s got a hip feel with the “-o” at the end (like Milo or Hugo). And easy to spell“)

Anson (“Our son is named in her honor. Anson means son of Anne. We credit him to her direct intercession“)

Antioch

 

Names containing “Stan” (St. An-) or that mean St. Anne

Santana (“(used for both boys or girls) but is in the top 1000 for boys. Literally St. Ann meaning name“)

Stanislaus, Stanley

 

Names containing “an” or “han” (from Hannah, which is a cognate of Anne)

Amantius (“Latin for loving“)

Ambrose (not technically An-, but sounds like it!)

Athanasius

Daniel, Danny

Ferdinand

Francis

Grant (“another one with “an” in it, and as a word could reference all the graces and blessings one would hope to be granted through such a wonderful patron’s intercession!“)

Hanan (“masc. form of Hannah*“) (*my note: Hanan means “gracious” and is the name of some minor Old Testament characters)

Giovanni, Hans, Ian, Johannes (“Etymologically related,* plus contains “Anne” right in there“) (*my note: the John names ARE etymologically related! Anne means “favor, grace” and the John names mean “Yahweh is gracious.” I would add in Evan here as well.)

Julian

Manuel, Manny

Marian

Nathan

Roman

Rowan

Santiago

Sebastian

Stefan

Xander

 

Names whose meanings (etymological and otherwise) are connected to St. Anne

Armo (“It shares some sounds with Anne (the initial a, the nasal n/m), fits in with the popular ‘two-syllable, ends in ‘o” trend for boys and, while rare, it’s easy to spell and pronounce … According to behindthename.com (and Google Translate), Armo means ‘grace’ (or perhaps ‘mercy’) in Finnish, which links it through meaning to the name Anne … For an added St Anne connection, Armo is also the name of a commune in Italy. The parish church of Armo is dedicated to the Natività di Maria – the birth of Mary … One possible drawback – a google search of ‘Armo’ seems to indicate that it is sometimes used as slang referring to Armenian people. I’ve never heard of that term where I live, but it would be something to consider and research to ensure it’s not an offensive term where the parents live“)

Augustine (“great, venerable”)

Chariton (“grace, kindness”)

Esmond (“grace” + “protection”)

Gracen/Grayson/Greyson, Gratian (“because of the first syllable being “grace” – the name meaning of Ann/Anne“) (my note: I have Gratian in my book as it’s basically the male version of grace — works perfectly for St. Anne!)

Graham (“I’m taking this as a name-ization of “Gram” short for grandmother names, since St Anne was Jesus’s grandma. My sisters and I call our grandma Grammy and often shorten it to Gram, and graham crackers have been referenced jokingly over the years too. (: “)

Porter, Durward (“Porter means “gatekeeper,” and I first learned of this name from the porter character in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. I think it is perfect for honoring St. Anne, St. Joachim, and Mary. A famous wood etching called Joachim and Anne Meeting at the Golden Gate depicts St. Joachim and pregnant St. Anne meeting at the Golden Gate of Israel upon both learning that St. Anne has finally conceived. (This account is not in the Gospel but is in the Protoevangelium of James.) Thus, tying in the “gate” theme and honoring St. Anne. I think it has cute nickname potential of Port or Ports“) (“drawing on Anne’s iconography, perhaps Porter or Durward (‘door guard’) would work as a reference to Anne’s association with doors“)

Sulo (“apparently means ‘grace’ (in the sense of charm) in Finnish“)

Valentine (“as a nod to her role as ‘health of the sick’“)

 

Names of people important to St. Anne

Joachim (husband)

Mary and all Marian variants (daughter)

 

Can you believe this amazing bunch of names?? You guys did great! I’d love to know which of these is your favorite way to honor St. Anne, and if you’d ever consider any of them for a son in her honor. Have a wonderful feast day!


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. Click here to read reviews and endorsements (and if you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated! 🙂).

Word names (Catholic edition)

I’ve been digging word names related to the faith lately, like Tiber, Shepherd, Vesper, and Rosary. This may or may not be due to my frantic desire to add some unexpected names to our short list for our baby (if a boy), which I really just need to calm down about. !!! I read about a baby with the middle name Banner yesterday, inspired by Psalms 60:6 (“Raise up a banner for those who revere you”), and it got me all fired up again!

Anyway, I’d love to hear what Catholic word names you would add to this list! For both boys and girls, because I love making lists of girl names I like as well, even though we’re set with a girl name. Happy Saturday!

Latest CatholicMom column, and a namey question

My July column is up at CatholicMom.com! It’s the winning essay of the second year of the St. Francis de Sales Writing Contest I instituted at my alma mater, in which the student discussed his devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

catholicmom_screen_shot-07.18.18.jpg

This student won first place last year as well! The judges were the editor of my diocesan newspaper, the superintendent of schools for my diocese, and the campus chaplain at Siena College. Very impressive!

I’ve also been thinking about something a couple of you mentioned on a post last month — Sarah said,

My aunt was born the day after the Assumption so her grandmother named her Mary Virginia, but my grandma didn’t like her mother naming her baby so she re-named her Carole Jean

and Annie said,

My parents technically named me, but did so after my grandma’s wishes after she made her wishes very clear

and I’m still trying to wrap my head around how grandparents got to have such a strong say? It sounds like Sarah’s great-grandmother especially wasn’t merely voicing an opinion, but was actually naming the baby — I’ve seen references to this kind of thing from time to time and always wondered about it. I think it’s likely an older custom, which explains a lot; I can also see this being a cultural custom. Do any of you have examples of this happening in your family? Do you have any insight into how this happened, including from a generational or cultural perspective?


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. Click here to read reviews and endorsements (and if you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated! 🙂).

New SSA name stats! And some Mother’s Day goodies <3

(I have a memory of an email conversation that I had just recently where I told the mama I could fit her in in the next couple of days, but I forgot to write it down and I can’t find the email … if this sounds like you, please email me again! So sorry!)

(Also, did you listen to my spot on Coffee & Donuts with John & Mary? If not, go do it! I’m on from about the 15 minute mark to about the 24 minute mark.)

Happy Mother’s Day!! Every year right before Mother’s Day the Social Security Administration (SSA) releases the data on the first names given to the babies born the following year. Yesterday, 2017’s data was released!

2017topten

My first thought was amazement on seeing Logan at no. 5! He didn’t creep in stealthily at no. 10, but jumped right to no. 5 from no. 18! Wow! This seems to be entirely due to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine movie Logan, which was released in March 2017.

From your comments on Instagram, Evelyn also seems to be surprising to some of you. As I mentioned on IG, when my 13yo was three, one of his classmates’ mom had a baby girl whom she named Evelyn, and back then I thought it sounded like such an old lady name. Turns out it entered the top 100 in 2002 for the first time since 1953 and in fact is now, at no. 9, the most popular it’s ever been — its previous highest was no. 10 in 1915. In my mind, it’s part of the Evangeline/Genevieve/Vivian-nicknamed-Evie/Vivi sisters. And in fact Evie increased in 2017 as well!

Besides the new top ten, I’m always interested to see which names increased and decreased in popularity. I haven’t been able to look through the decrease list as closely as I’d like to yet, but these things jumped out at me from the increase list:

From the boy names

I was interested to see that several names that are also used for girls increased. As the mom of all boys, I’m sensitive to how boys feel about having a name that’s also given to girls; the fact that all these rose in usage suggests to me that it’s not as big a deal as I might think: Rey, Jamie, Rowen/Rowan, Elliott/Elliot, Emory, Eden, Remy, Avery, Rory, Micah.

While Michael dropped out of the top ten for the first time since 1942 (!!), Mike increased in use! There were other classic male nicknames that rose in usage as well, including Tommy, Hank, Billy, and Jack.

It seems the letters “ax” are big, as evidenced by the increase in Jaxxon, Axton, Maxton, Jaxx, Dax, Axl/Axel, Jaxton, Daxton, Braxton (I only ever think “Hicks,” but it rose to no. 118, so it’s obviously not a deal breaker!), and Jaxson.

Through my Sancta Nomina glasses I noticed: Coleman, Magnus, Kyrie, Boone, Shepherd, Blaze, Thiago, Casey, Simeon (entered top 1000! Yesss!), Jasper, Milo/Myles, Agustin, Porter, Francis, Leo, Damien/Damian (woo!), Sebastian, Matias/Mathias/Matthias, Tadeo, and Sonny (which I love as a nickname for Solanus).

And just generally, these increases caught my eye: Caspian (no. 3 on the increase list! It entered top 1000), Lucian (a friend just named her son Lucian), Beau (this and Bo get some decent love here on the blog), Roger, Micheal (a misspelling of Michael? Or do that many people really love the Irish spelling?), Louis (note that it’s already on the rise — it’ll be interesting to see what little Prince Louis does for the name), Atticus (so glad to see the new Harper Lee book didn’t keep it down — it took a small hit the year after Go Set a Watchman came out, but in 2017 bounced back up to nearly the same spot in as it had been before all that), and Ledger (I’m currently digging word names, and while Ledger certainly brings actor Heath Ledger to mind, it’s also a noun).

From the girl names

I thought it was interesting that both Melania and Ivanna (that spelling) increased.

Also Oaklynn, Oaklyn, Oaklee, and Oakley!

Speaking of Oaklee and Oakley, the “lee” sound dominated the “increased in popularity” list! All of these increased in popularity in 2017: Ensley, Emberly, Paislee/Paisley, Everlee/Everleigh/Everly, Raylee, Zaylee, Kinslee/Kinsley, Kensley, Kenley, Kynlee, Harleigh, Journee, Hailee/Hayley/Haylee, Hallie/Halle, Charli/Charley/Charleigh/Charlie/Charlee, Emely, Novalee, Bexley, Finley, Marleigh/Marley, Callie/Kallie/Kali, Harley/Harlee, Rosalie, Brinley, Jolie, Blakely, Ryleigh/Rylee, Brynnlee, Bailee, Presley (interesting that Zaylee’s on this list but Zelie’s not!).

Names that increased for girls that have a counterpart (exact same or perhaps a different spelling) on the boys’ increase list: Sunny, Remy/Remi, Rory, Rowan, Eden, Avery, Elliott/Elliot.

Both Ryan and Ryann increased for girls — this caught my attention because in the consultation I posted last Monday, the mama noted they “are not open to gender neutral names (e.g. Ryan, Blake, etc)” and one of you commented on Facebook that you didn’t realize Ryan and Blake were now considered gender neutral. Funny enough, I mentioned a girl I know named Ryan yesterday and my 6yo goes, “What?! A *girl* named Ryan??” Despite its usage by girls it still feels like a boy name to me and I’m definitely not the only one. (Interestingly, Riaan was the no. 1 decreased boy’s name in 2017.)

I loved seeing Marianna, Giana, Evie, Magdalena, Maisie, Daisy, Dorothy, Juniper, Mercy, Regina, Genevieve on the increase list, as well as — Mary! Yessss!! She only increased one spot, but still! I’d said on the Coffee & Donuts with John & Mary segment (linked to above) that I didn’t think Mary itself would become more popular any time soon (it was recorded on Thursday), but I’d love to be proven wrong!

I feel really uncomfortable seeing Lilith on the increase list. I keep reminding myself that very few of those parents, if any, chose the name because of its dark background and instead probably like that it looks and sounds like an unusual Lily variant. Or perhaps they like the feminist angle to the story (which is why the Lilith Fair was so named). There’s a lot of evil lurking there though … Or maybe I’m giving the name too much power? On the lighter end, it’s not for nothing that Frasier’s wife on Frasier was named Lilith …

One name I’d never heard of increased: Yaretzi. It’s got a pretty great meaning according to Nameberry.

These struck me as the most recent members of the old-is-new club, all of them on the rise: Frida, Deborah, Eileen, Diana, and Nancy.

And these seemed too new to be back in fashion again, but they also rose in popularity: Jenny, Tara.

I’d love to hear what you all thought about the names that increased in popularity!

The one name that I did look into from the decrease list was thanks to one of you who commented on Instagram:

you mentioned in your most recent Nameberry post that Montserrat was skyrocketing in 2014. Now in 2017 it’s amongst the top decreases, falling 225 spots. Was there something cultural or in pop culture to cause that name to boom in 2014 and fall so quickly?

The 2014 increase of Montserrat, and its variant Monserrat, seems to have been due to a character by that name in the Mexican telenovela Lo que la vida me robó (What Life Took From Me). I wasn’t able to pinpoint exactly why it fell so much in 2017, but the story that kept showing up over and over again as I tried different search terms was that of the volcano on the island of Montserrat (different than the mountains in Spain from which Our Lady gets her title Our Lady of Montserrat) that leveled its capital city and left part of the island uninhabitable last time it erupted, and which may be showing signs of erupting again (here and here). Does anyone else have a better idea of why the name dropped?

Speaking of Marian names … One of my very favorite things this year was counting how many Marian names are in the top 100! Which gave me a great idea for a Mother’s Day giveaway! There are several names in the top 100 for both boys and girls that are included in my book of Marian names — the first three readers who email me at sanctanomina at gmail dot com with the most complete list of those names between now and next Saturday at midnight Eastern time will receive a copy of my book (signed by me if you’d like, though I totally get it if you’d rather not)! I hope you’re as excited to receive one of my books as I am to give them! I know you’ll all love it!

I also wanted to let you all know that I’m nearly done with a novena to St. Gerard that I started specifically for all of you. I’m asking him to pray for all of you readers, including those 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. Gerard has been close to us recently, and it seemed natural to pray a novena to him for you all. ❤

I hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day, whether you are a mother or not, and remember that Mary Our Mother loves you very much!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org (free shipping through today, May 12!) and Amazon! It’s a perfect Mother’s Day gift, as well as for baby showers and just because. If you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated. 🙂 ❤