Names for the Joyful Mysteries

The sun is shining here today, and it’s warm-ish, and I’m feeling a bit better, so the Joyful Mysteries are perfect for today. Also since it’s Saturday, one of the days they’re actually said on! Please feel free to add more ideas in the comments.

Sancta Nomina

Yesterday was one of my very favorite feast days and the first of the Joyful Mysteries, which makes today the perfect Tuesday to post names associated with them! And also, Dwija’s little Helenwas discharged from the NICU yesterday and is home with her family, happy and thriving. Joy all around!!

Today’s post is a continuation of my Mysteries of the Rosary series, having already done names for the Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries, and your comments have been invaluable — keep them coming!

These are the Joyful Mysteries (read more here) (and here’s how to pray the Rosary):

The Annunciation by Gabriel to Mary (yesterday’s feast!)
The Visitation of Mary to Her Cousin Elizabeth
The Nativity of Jesus
The Presentation of the Baby Jesus in the Temple
The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple

Names associated with the Joyful Mysteries might include:

Girls

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Names for the Luminous Mysteries

Up today: names for the Luminous Mysteries! Despite (or probably partly because of) all that we have going on here, I’ve been out for the count with strep for the last two-and-a-half days, ugh. That makes twice this winter I’ve been sicker than I’ve been in years. Anyway! I’m not feeling very luminous, but I do love these names. What would you add to them?

Sancta Nomina

Today marks the last post in our Mysteries of the Rosary series as we conclude with the Luminous Mysteries!

I know I went out of order, but it all made so much sense: I posted the Sorrowful Mysteries during Holy Week; the Glorious during the octave of Easter; the Joyful the day after the Feast of the Annunciation; and today’s Luminous Mysteries (also known as the Mysteries of Light), which were added to the Rosary during the Year of the Rosary by our beloved St. John Paul the Great in his beautiful Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (October 16, 2002), come a day after the feast of St. Stanislaus of Cracow, to whom JP2 had a great and subversive devotion. If I can digress for a moment, this is one of my favorite JP2 stories:

A controversy arose [in Poland] over the proposed dates of John Paul II’s visit…

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Names for the Glorious Mysteries

Jehovah’s Witnesses came to my door yesterday to invite me to a “celebration of Jesus’ death” this coming Tuesday. Apparently they don’t celebrate Easter — how can they deal with His death without the hope and promise of the Resurrection? Anyway, I’m glad to re-post about the Glorious Mysteries names today, and I hope you’ll add in any other names you can think of that can fit.

Sancta Nomina

It’s Easter Tuesday!! Hallelujah and hurrah!! ❤ 😀 ❤

It’s the perfect Tuesday to continue the Mysteries of the Rosary series with a post about names for the Glorious Mysteries! If you remember, last week I posted about Sorrowful Mystery Names, and you were all so great with your comments! Lots of good ideas there!

These are the Glorious Mysteries (read more here) (and here’s how to pray the Rosary):

The Resurrection of Our Lord
The Ascension into Heaven
The Descent of the Holy Spirit
The Assumption of Mary
The Coronation of Mary

Names associated with the Glorious Mysteries might include:

Girls

Assumpta, Assunta, Asunción — a traditional girl’s name referring to the Assumption

Anastasia — means “resurrection”

Corona — means “crown,” for Our Lady’s Crowning

Dominica, Dominique — from Dominic, which is from Latin for “of the Lord,” and was traditionally given to a baby born…

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Names for the Sorrowful Mysteries

A friend of mine from high school died last Friday, and though we weren’t close — in fact, until January I hadn’t seen him since our high school graduation twenty years ago, though we’d connected on Facebook a few years back — I had the privilege of seeing him a few times in the last couple of months, and seeing again his warm, thoughtful self and easy sense of humor, even in the midst of his worsening condition as a result of a tenacious brain tumor that they could never quite get all of. He left behind six children — his youngest the same age as my youngest — and so this week has been a heavy week. I was little more than an acquaintance at his wake and funeral, surrounded by his family and friends who had been a real part of his life without a twenty-year gap, and still … I’m so sad.

I’ve got a bunch of stuff going on here too — not bad, just busy — and I’m going to be off the blog all next week (except the Monday consultation) for Holy Week, so I thought these next four days would be perfect to re-share the Rosary Names series I did last year during Lent. I’m starting with the Sorrowful today, since that’s how I’m feeling. Please add any ideas you have in addition to those left in the comments last year!

Sancta Nomina

A few weeks ago Shelby suggested a post on names for the Mysteries of the Rosary, which I loved right away — what a great idea! So every Tuesday for the next four weeks, I’m going to post on a particular set of Mysteries, starting today with the Sorrowful Mysteries, which is so apt for Holy Week, and also for yesterday’s attacks in Brussels. Suffering Jesus, help us.

In case you need a refresher, these are the Sorrowful Mysteries (all referring to Jesus’ Passion and Death) (read more here):

The Agony in the Garden
The Scourging at the Pillar
The Crowing with Thorns
The Carrying of the Cross
The Crucifixion

And here’s how to pray the Rosary.

Shelby and Mary-Agnes both offered some ideas, and I’ve spent the last couple weeks jotting down some more as I thought of them — there are a good few!

Girls

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Nickname as given name?

A mama who I did a consultation for recently had a great question:

I was wondering if you are willing to share your opinion on choosing a nickname for baby’s full name? I am starting to lean towards the name Alexander- but it’s so long! 4 syllables! I prefer shorter names, especially with our longer last name. I like the idea of naming baby just Alex, but am looking for other opinions. If you are willing to share your thoughts, I would love to hear them!

It was so funny for me to receive this email because I had JUST been thinking about this (bestowing a nickname instead of a full formal name)!

So since she asked for my opinion, I’ll give it, but just know that I’m in NO WAY saying that parents who disagree are wrong!

In general, I prefer the full formal name — I like the idea of the child having options — if he decides he’s just not an Alex later in life, having the full name Alexander would allow him to change to Xander or Sander or Sandy or Zan/Xan and though I think all of you (and me!), as parents and namers, might feel disappointed if one of your children decided he didn’t like the name you intended him to go by (Alex), the fact that he could choose a wide array of nicknames stemming from the full name that *you* chose might soften the blow. I also like how a full name looks on a diploma and a wedding invitation — traditional nicknames as given names (or even just choosing to have a nickname put on a diploma or a wedding invitation) always feels incomplete or even (depending on the name) a bit irreverent to me. I like for a person to have a name appropriate for use in formal and solemn occasions, even if he or she always goes by something different in every other area of life.

However, there are some traditional nicknames that aren’t cutesy and do still provide options and I would put Alex in that category. An Alex can be a lawyer or a doctor or a writer or an athlete, no problem, and he could still shorten it to Al if he felt more like an Al, or AJ if his middle name was James, or Ace if he wanted to be a little more offbeat. I’ve always felt like Kate is similar — a Kate could still go by Katie or Kat or Kay or Key if she wanted, and I think it works fine across an array of professions. Then there are the traditional nicknames that have been used as given names for so long that they’ve lost their nicknaminess — Molly, Nancy, Jack, and Harry come to mind immediately.

I’ve also been liking the idea that a child given a nickname as a given name could still embrace the traditionally associated long name as their own — so given-name Alex could choose to go by Alexander, given-name Maggie could choose to go by Margaret or Magdalene, given-name Katie could choose to go by Katherine or Kathleen, given-name Gracie could choose to go by Grace or Graciela. It’s no different, really, than Margaret choosing to go by Maggie, right? It’s sort of like “reverse nicknaming” or “the opposite of nicknaming.”

And sometimes, despite a parent’s best efforts to give all the options and avoid any future professional embarrassment, the child hates the name anyway and legally changes to Buttercup! Or insists on Slugger going on his diploma or wedding invitation. There’s just no predicting something like that! I read a while ago about a guy who was given a nickname in college — I think it was something like Maverick, something that could conceivably be a given name — and he came to identify with it so strongly that he goes by it exclusively now with everyone but his family, and even put Maverick on his wedding invitation, partly because it felt more like him, and partly because he was worried his friends wouldn’t know whose wedding they were being invited to!

So anyway, back to the question! I think Alexander’s a great name — papal, saintly, and pan-European — every language seems to have a variant of Alexander, and I’ve seen it used with long last names with no problem. But “just Alex” isn’t terrible (not that it matters whether I think it’s terrible or not!). Alex has a long history of use as a given name on its own for boys, and though I initially worried about its use among girls — I know some girls named “just Alex” — I looked it up in the SSA stats and Alex is clearly much more predominantly male:

alex&alex

And of course an Alex can take any of the Sts. Alexander for patron.

What do you all think? Do you prefer formal names as given names, or are you okay with nicknames as given names? Are there any exceptions to your rule? That is, do you prefer formal names in general, but there’s one nickname that you love so much you could see yourself bestowing it as is? Do you have any thoughts regarding Alexander vs. Alex specifically? I’d love to hear any stories you have, either about yourself or people you know!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!! ☘☘☘ And Irish place names

Haaaaaappy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!! This is one of my very favorite days of the year!! 😁☘😁☘

Before I get into today’s post, a couple fun things to mention:

First, my mom (whose dad was born in Ireland and who is herself an Irish citizen) has written a book for families about a wee little God-loving leprechaun named Finney, which I can’t recommend enough — my boys love hearing me read it to them out loud (it’s all in rhyme, which makes for fun reading and fun listening). Additionally, Mom’s daily Instagram posts with Finney are sweet and wholesome, and she has a year’s worth of posts about Finney and Irish-y info on her web site. Be sure to check them out! Also, Finney has a little house of his very own on my parents’ front yard, which all the local children looooove (especially my boys!).

Secondly, I had the great privilege of having been named to the forty “Best Baby Name Blogs on the planet“! All my favorite name sites are on the list, so I’m feeling pretty cool that I was included! 😎

Thirdly, my post for today! I was looking at a map of Ireland yesterday and it got me to thinking about how many place names in Ireland would make (or do make, if they’re already in use) smashing first names for an Irish-loving family. Some of these I’ve never seen used — let me know if you’ve seen them! Or any of the others on this list, or any that you love that I didn’t include!

Girls

Adare: Adare, Co. Limerick is “renowned as one of Ireland’s prettiest towns.” The existing given name Adair is a traditional boy name, a variant of Edgar, but I think these days its sound and rhythm fit more into girl-name territory. (Do you agree?)

Clare and Clara: There’s Co. Clare and the town of Clara in Co. Offaly. Pretty cool to have the name of a saint AND the name of an Irish locale all tied up together!

Glin: Another Co. Limerick town, Glin sounds just like the name Glynn and is similar to Glenn and has a whiff of Gwen as well.

Laragh, Nenagh: Laragh is a town in Co. Wicklow, said just like Lara, but that silent Irishy Irish “gh” on the end gives it a nice green sheen. Similarly, Nenagh — a town in Co. Tipperary — has a familiar pronunciation (just like Nina) and an Irish spelling.

Livia: Though not a place name in that form, Livia, which has a separate life as an old Roman name (the name of the wife of the Roman emperor Augustus), has also been used in art and literature as the personification of the River Liffey in Dublin (especially in the combo Anna Livia, which was high on my list of names for girls early in my motherhood — isn’t it gorgeous??).

Shannon: Perhaps the most well-known Irish place name, Shannon is, of course, after the River Shannon.

Tralee: Tralee is a town in Co. Kerry where the hugely popular Rose of Tralee festival is held every year. I could see it being a great given name, but this is one that I’m the iffiest on — what do you think? If not, but you wanted to name your child after Tralee, there’s Rose for the girls and Denny Street and the Brandon Hotel for the boys.

Tulla: This Co. Clare town is said TULL-ah, I think. Or maybe TOO-la? Like Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral? Does anyone know? (TOO-la is like Toula on My Big Fat Greek Wedding.)

Boys

Callan, Collon: Callan is a Co. Kilkenny town and Collon is a town in Co. Louth, and both very similar (or, in Callan’s case, exactly like) existing names.

Cashel: I’ve mentioned Cashel as a name idea before, and it’s one of the only names on these lists that has a faith connection — the Rock of Cashel was “the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion” and it’s “reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century.” So great! And that nickname Cash!

Cavan: Cavan is the name of a county in Ireland, and it’s also an existing given name.

Clane: Clane, Co. Kildare sounds like a mash-up of existing names Clay and Kane. Could be cool?

Ennis: Though Ennis is a town in Co. Clare, I wonder if it’s even more well known as the name of Bill Cosby’s son, who was killed in a failed robbery attempt?

Knock: This is another explicitly faith-y name, for Our Lady’s apparition at Knock, Co. Mayo (known in Irish as Cnoc Mhuire, “Hill of (the Virgin) Mary”), but I’m not totally sure it works as a given name– what do you think? Maybe better as a middle? Reader Amy, from Our Family Fiat, had this awesome idea, which she posted in a comment on one of my IG pics: “a friend loved the name “knox” but wanted a patron so I suggested “our Lady of Knock”” — how cool is that?

Ross: There are a few inspirations for including Ross on this list — there’s New Ross and Rosslare (Strand), both towns in Co. Wexford, and Rosses Point, Co. Sligo.

Slane: Similar in sound to Clane (above) and Shane, Slane is a town in Co. Meath, and Slane Castle is an amazing venue for weddings and concerts for some pretty big names (U2, Madonna, nbd), which gives it a rock-and-roll edge (if you like that kind of thing).

Unisex

Ardee: Ardee, Co. Louth makes me think “boy” because of its similarity to “Artie,” but “girl” because of the “ee” ending.

Athenry: This might be *too* place-namey? But I love the soft sound, which strikes me as feminine, while Athan is an existing boy’s name (and so similar to Ethan as well).

Carrick: Carrick-on-Shannon is a town in Co. Leitrim — I could see it working well for either a boy or a girl.

Kells: Though Kells is a town in Co. Meath, I think the Book of Kells would be the first thing people would think of, which gives it a nice faithy significance.

Quin: Certainly Quinn is a common enough given name for both boys and girls, but Quin (that spelling) is also a town in Co. Clare.

What do you think of these names? Are there any that you love, or any that you think are totally awful as given-name ideas? Are there any you would add to the list?

I hope you all have a wonderful wonderful St. Patrick’s Day! And for a laugh, don’t forget to check out the video in this post from last year. 🤣☘🤣☘🤣☘

Baby name consultation: Is this name okay?

Today’s consultation is for a family who has a pretty good idea of the name they’d like to use, but they just need some reassurance. The name is Anessa, a variant of Agnes, and they write,

I worry about missing something — years ago we had friends who named their daughter ‘Sarin’ only later to realize it is the name of a deadly compound in used in chemical warfare!  I think they changed it to ‘Sarah’ before the child was 1.”

Though my gut reaction was that Anessa is totally fine, and a beautiful choice!, I did give some good consideration to the question — names that are more unusual are more prone to having just one association stick, after all. I googled Anessa to see if anything weird came up — there seems to be a brand of sunscreen called Anessa, and an Asian site that have the name but I have no idea what it’s saying and even if it’s bad I can’t imagine it would be the kind of thing that would be a problem here. It seems one of the Cabbage Patch Kids from years ago was Anessa as well. Even the name sites don’t have much on the name, and you all know that any time there’s a chance for someone to voice an opinion online (especially a negative one!), people jump at the chance! So the fact that there isn’t anything controversial to read is encouraging.

It would be really helpful to get your opinions as well. Is there anything about the name Anessa that these parents should know before choosing it?