Reading round-up: Birth/name announcement edition

I know (or I hope) you all know how much I love your contributions to our wonderful little community here, right? 💕💕💕 Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received notes from several of you sharing birth and name announcements you’d come across that you thought I’d like to see, and of course you’re so right — I loved them all! And I wanted to post them here for all of you lovers of the names of our faith.

First up, I hope you all know Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director-turned-amazing advocate for the unborn, as well as for those who work at abortion clinics and who want to get out of the industry (she provides all kinds of resources and support, including finding jobs for them and helping them financially, through her wonderful organization And Then There Were None). She’s absolutely tireless in her efforts, even with being mama to five beautiful little ones AND expecting twins!! She and her husband recently solicited name ideas for their twin baby girls (and shared their older kiddos’ names), and her husband shared on FB last week that they’ve decided! Go check out the beeaauutiful names they chose! 👯 (Thanks to Mary and Jen for sharing this info!)

I always love hearing about the European royal names and how Catholic they often are, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out the names of a British politician’s children! Check out Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has given his fifth child an amazing name and North Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg welcomes fifth child but his name causes a stir. (Thanks to Jilana!)

Check out this little guy’s name! And Clive makes five: a birth story. I really loved reading how perfectly his name fit the naming rules his parents had — like, perfectly! And of course C.S. Lewis. Great naming story. (He’s also got some gorgeously named big sisters!) (Thanks to proud auntie Francine!)

Finally, Amy tagged me on a photo of her twin girls she’d posted on IG to illustrate her announcement that she’d posted about how she’d chosen their names and said, “@santanomina how did I do? They’re both French, places and saints!” I’m still so tickled that anyone cares what I think! Haha! Of course I 🏃 (or more like 💃) over to her blog to read all about these sweet girls’ names in “Are They Family Names?” – Behind the Names Special and can say with authority that she and her husband did a marvelous job. Beautiful times two! 👯 (Thanks also to Mary, who also shared the link with me!)

What a fun round-up! I hope you all have as much fun reading about these babies as I did!

Reading roundup et al.

Thank you all for your prayers for the mama I wrote about earlier! I don’t have any update — I will let you all know when/if she lets me know.

Otherwise today has been wonderful — autumn cool and sunny and I’m wearing green, which always makes me happy. 🙂

I have some fun things to share from here and there:

I was mentioned by Catholic Hipster Tommy Tighe recently in his The Chimney podcast (Episode 047)! I publish under Katherine Morna Towne because I love my full name, but I always go by Kate (or Sancta Nomina sometimes, which I also love 🙂 ), so it was funny to hear myself mentioned as Katherine Morna Towne. But so cool too! (And really, Grace deserves the kudos, because she was the one who told me the particular factoid that Tommy referenced!)

Ireland’s annual Rose of Tralee International Festival, which seeks to connect “the global Irish Diaspora in an international celebration of Irish culture in Co Kerry, Ireland,” finishes today. The highlight of it is the selection of the International Rose of Tralee — a girl chosen from among those representing all the parts of the world that have a concentration of those with Irish ancestry (tonight on live TV!). The names are always amazing — this year there’s:

Dearbhladh (the Abu Dhabi Rose)
Meabh (Armagh) and Meabhdh (Kildare)
Eimear (Derry)
Fainche (Down)
Mairead (Fermanagh)
Sile (Luxembourg)
Fionna (Mayo) and Fiona (Tipperary)
Treasa (Meath)
Aisling (Newcastle/Gateshead) and (Roscommon)
Blathnaid (Scotland)
Niamh (West Meath)

As well as the more manageable Ciara (Arizona), Sheena (Florida), Shannon (New Orleans), Kathleen (Ohio), Brigid (Philadelphia), Erin (South Carolina), and Molly (Western Canada). I also loved seeing Zoe (Donegal), Lorna (Dublin), Caroline (Longford), Petra (Toronto), Genevieve (Tyrone), and all the Marys and Annes: Annmarie (Leitrim), Marie (Limerick), Hannah (New Zealand), Anna (Newfoundland & Labrador), and Anne-Marie (Yorkshire). And all the Kates/Katherines 🙂 : Kate (Laois), Kathleen (Ohio — mentioned previously),  Katie (Sligo), Katherine (Texas). And I haven’t even mentioned everyone! Head on over and check them all out! (And as I’m writing this, the 2016 Rose has been selected: Maggie McEldowney from Chicago! A big congratulations to her!!)

Anyway, I’ve mentioned before that I had the great privilege of being the 2001 New York Rose (and one of you readers let me know that you, too, are a former Rose! So fun! 🌹), and my mom’s been posting pics of my time there on her Instagram (which follows the adventures of Finney the Leprechaun) this past week, so if you want to catch a glimpse of what the festival and I looked like fifteen years ago, see here (a Tralee street [Denny Street?] strung with lights for the parade), here (me signing autographs for the little girls), here (different day, different girls, more autographs), here (me and the Dublin Rose on our parade float — I’m wearing black), here (a mama in the crowd handed me her baby for a photo, one of my favorite moments), here (another of me and Dublin with some lovely bagpipers), here (me onstage with former MC Marty Whelan live on TV), here (the bit from the song The Rose of Tralee that sums up a Rose), and here (today’s my birthday so Mom posted a collage 🎂 — the two in the middle on the bottom are Rose pictures). It was an amazing experience, for sure!

I’ve also been bustling around the blog recently — I set up a Nicknames page where I list all the unusual/offbeat nicknames I’ve heard of or thought of for various names, and I also started a Sancta Nomina Pinterest account for (so far) the consultation posts, birth announcement posts, and my CatholicMom and Nameberry articles — I’m working on pinning them all there. I’m also working on adding the T(h)eresa bit to the Sibling Project page — hopefully I’ll have that added soon.

I think that’s all I have for now — have a wonderful rest of today!! ❤

Reading round-up

Buckle up guys, I’ve been adding to my “reading round-up” list for months now — today’s the day! I’m getting it done!

Grace told me about a NYC gathering she’d gone to called Catholic Underground, which is totally the kind of thing I would have loved when I was in college, and the name of the director:

Of course, it was fabulous with an hour of adoration and getting to see one of the actual missionary images of Our Lady of Guadalupe. But the reason I’m emailing you is not just to tell you about a great experience but to share with you an awesome religious name I spotted. On the little flier we got walking in the door there was a nice little letter from the director of Catholic Underground, and his name is…….Br. Mark-Mary!!! How cool is that!? It’s so rare that you see men take feminine names, so it just makes me so happy to see it when it happens!

I love that!! #MenWhoLoveMary

Emma wanted to be sure I’d seen this post (from early December) over at Swistle’s blog, saying, “Oh boy, does Swistle ever need Sancta Nomina over at her blog today!!!!” Haha! The mom writing is expecting her third, and her older two are Harriet Paloma (“Hattie”), and Hugo Campion. Ohh my! In her dilemma letter she writes things like,

Their middle names feel (to my ears) more modern and have religious significance (“Paloma,” meaning “dove” which stands both for peace and for the Holy Spirit, “Campion,” after St. Edmund Campion)

and

[regarding the fact they’re considering Consuelo] I have always been fascinated by the French and Spanish-language tradition of naming children after the Virgin Mary, but using her many titles or apparition locations. English is pretty limited when it comes to honor names for the Blessed Mother. We have Mary, Marie, and some more unusual, but related, variants such as Mae, Mamie, Maren, Molly. But nothing compared with the range and diversity of the French/Spanish naming tradition: Lourdes, Carmel, Soledad, Guadalupe, Luz, Amparo, Araceli, Socorro, Belen, Pilar, Delores. And on and on! My daughter’s godmother is Monserrat after Our Lady of Monserrat (love!!).”

I would indeed have loved to get my hands on that dilemma! But this bit from Swistle sums up my feelings pretty exactly (the question was Margaret vs. Consuelo as a first name):

Margaret Consuelo is a pretty kick-butt name, and coordinates beautifully with Harriet Paloma and Hugo Campion. Paloma (peace) and Consuelo (solace) are particularly well-matched.”

Speaking of Swistle, I also loved the sib set in this post: Charles (Huck), Isaac, Katherine, and Seth. (I love Huck for Charles!!) One of the commenters (our very own eclare!) said she guessed the family might be Catholic, based on the size of the family, the kids’ names (which she accurately described as “saint/biblical”), and some on their list (including Xavier), and I agree. I was disappointed by Swistle’s reply though — she said, “I don’t think Seth or Charlotte are saint names,” which is misleading. Seth the Patriarch (from the Old Testament) appears in Book of Saints by the Monks of Ramsgate as well as Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints, and his feast day is March 1. There are also several Blesseds Charlotte, and, as eclare correctly pointed out, Charlotte can be and is often used as an honor name for any of the Sts. Charles/Karl/Carl/Carlo/Karol.

One more Swistle post: Baby Names to Consider: Classic/Traditional Names with Atypical/Non-Traditional Nicknames. I loved reading the ideas from her and the commenters!

Shelby told me about this article: The Saint behind the Jagermeister Logo is also one of the 14 Holy Helpers. I love finding out stuff like that! As Shelby put it, it “goes well with your post about Catholic things in plain sight like the Sophie the Giraffe.” “Catholic things in plain sight”! I love that!

It reminds me of something else I read recently: Nutella Founder Dies, Said Secret of Success Was Our Lady of Lourdes: Devout Catholic took employees to visit site of Marian apparitions. Yes, Nutella is now my new favorite food. 🙂

Then there was this: A 3yo boy named Diesel will only answer to Popcorn, and so his parents are going to legally change his name.

The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources is one of my favorite resources, and I was so struck by one of its recent blog posts about the rise of certain names in Protestant records after the Reformation that I raised a question:

dmnes1-01.27.16

The Apocrypha in this context are the books (or parts of books, as in the case of Daniel) that are part of the Catholic bible but not part of the Protestant bible. (As opposed to books Catholics consider to be apocryphal, like the Protoevangelium of James.) It was so strange to me that Judith (the book of Judith is rejected by Protestants) and Susan (the English form of Susanna(h), from the part of the book of Daniel that’s considered apocryphal by Protestants) would receive an uptick in use by Protestants after the Reformation. So interesting! And even better — the DMNES team (including our own Sara) is on it!

dmnes2-01.27.16

I find stuff like this so fascinating. As I said to Sara, I learn so much about culture, religious, politics, history, and language through names. I can’t wait to read what she comes up with!

I was also interested by this bit in the DMNES post on New Testament names after the Reformation, about our dear St. Anne:

Anne: This name could be classified as either an Old Testament name or a New Testament name. In the OT, this was the name of the mother of Samuel (more often modernly transliterated as Hannah); in the apocrypha, Anne is usually identified as the mother of Mary, though she is not named explicitly in the NT. Whatever the origin and whatever the spelling, this name was always common; it was, in fact, one of the most common feminine names throughout all of Europe throughout the Middle Ages, due primarily to the early veneration of the mother of Mary. The name was so well entrenched that the Protestant turning away from the veneration of the saints did not cause any reduction in its popularity.” (emphasis mine)

How cool is that! It’s also particularly funny that its entrenchment was “due primarily to the early veneration of the mother of Mary” — not only a saint, despite “the Protestant turning away from the veneration of the saints,” but a saint who’s never named in the bible we all agree on, nor even in the apocrypha rejected by Protestantism — Mary’s mother’s name is only given in the Protoevangelium of James, so its use is totally due to Catholic tradition. She’s a great lady, that St. Anne. 🙂 ❤

Finally, I was enjoying these dilemmas on the Baby Name Wizard site recently:

Thoughts on Gemma

Bishop as a first name?

Religious or not religious? (this mom has since figured out a solution, but I really liked some of the ideas offered in this post)

(Also, I think the commenter Optatus Cleary would like it here. 🙂 )

Whew! I think that’s all I have for today!

ETA: Oh! Also this: Twitter Reveals That All Kids Hate Their Names (my takeaway: pray and do the best you can, and then don’t worry), and this: Are There Any More Z Names? Neither the author (Laura Wattenberg herself) nor any of the commenters mentioned Zelie/Azelie!

 

 

Reading round-up

I have a lot of reading to share with y’all today! (Yes, y’all, and no I’m not from the South. It’s just so useful! More of the country needs to get on that.)

First off, our reader skimac has sent me some awesome recommendations, with her annotations in parentheses:

History of Christian Names by C.M. Yonge (1884) (this seems to be the older revised version)

History of Christian Names Vol. 2 by C.M. Yonge (1864) (seems to be second half of above book, but has some different chapter headings so not sure how different)

Girls’ Christian Names: Their History, Meaning, and Association by Helena Swan (1905)

What is Your Name? A popular account of the meanings and derivations of Christian Names by Sophy Moody (1863)

A List of Christian names: their derivatives, nicknames and equivalents in several foreign languages by United States-Adjutant General’s Office (1920) (all male names since it is a war department document) (my note: I’m totally starry eyed over this description! “derivatives, nicknames and equivalents in several foreign languages” ahhh!! A quick perusal revealed Vest and Vester as nicknames for Sylvester, I’d never thought of those!)

Christian Names and What They Mean: A Birthday Book (very simple but has nice literary reference to every name)

Look at those publication dates! I LOVE old name books, and I’ve seen Charlotte Yonge cited in some of the ones I have. I only read the first page of the first book listed here and a quick look through the fifth, but I’m basically already hooked. 🙂

She also sent me this article the other day, which I quite enjoyed: St. Bruno, Bravado, & Baby Names: A Father’s Guide by Richard Becker. Skimac noted how great it was that it was written from a dad’s perspective, and I agree — we do skew mostly female here, though we do have a couple dads who read and comment and email me, and I always love hearing their perspectives. Thanks guys!

Speaking of dads … my own dad emailed me this article recently, which was pretty fascinating: 49 Preppy Baby Names Destined for the Ivy League. Digby, Connery, Blaine (a family name for me), Yates, and Darcy were some that caught by eye …

And finally, I know you’ve all been dying to see a picture of the well-named Fr. Bede I wrote about the other day — here he is, teaching Finney the Leprechaun about Jesus! 😀 Fr. Bede is seriously one awesome dude.

Happy Friday y’all!

Reading round-up

Happy Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary! Such a lovely feast for little Rosary, and also a good day to pray for special intentions — I have one, if you don’t mind adding it to your own. And I’ll remember you all and your intentions in my rosary this evening. ❤

So we’re all going crazy wanting to know Emily’s baby’s name, right? For anyone who didn’t yet see, Emily linked to her consultation on her blog, and added the tantalizing note that she’d actually had the baby that morning, and that she’d reveal his name soon. I’ll share it as soon as she gives the okay!

The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources, which I just love, and whose Editor-in-Chief, Sara, sometimes offers her thoughts in our comments here (I’m still a little dazzled!), has just added Joachim to its database! You know it’s one of my very favorite names, and I asked Sara about it a few months ago, and she tweeted me the other day to let me know it had been added. I *love* the entry! This is my favorite part: “The name was never common in any culture, but the importance of the saintly father of Mary meant that this name could be found pretty much anywhere” (emphasis mine). That’s one of the things I love about it!

Has anyone seen this article? The New Tug of War Over Baby Names. I totally get having hopes, even very strong ones, that a family name will be used by the next generation; I get feeling badly if that doesn’t happen; I DON’T get offering bribes for baby names! Definitely an overstepping of bounds, no? Have any of you experienced this in your own families, or heard about it happening in real life?

Finally, a reader just sent me this today — I don’t know how I missed it! Cate Blanchett Got Her Son’s Name from a Captain Underpants Book (Yes, It’s True!). Despite how very Catholicky Catholic her kids’ names are, it appears Roman Polanksi and Captain Underpants provided inspiration for the naming of two of her sons. Which just illustrates one of the things I love about saints’ names: You can be as ostentatious or understated about your faith as you want in regards to your kids’ names and no one really need bat an eye; conversely, there are so many saints’ names that no matter your taste (and even no matter your faith), you can still end up with children that make people like me think swoonily of popes and martyrs. 😉

Happy Wednesday to you all!

Reading round-up

Just a couple quick things that I enjoyed recently:

I Love My Kid’s Unusual Name, about a Mary Cecilia nicked Mamie and her parents’ struggle over the naming process. I guess it’s true that I don’t hear Mamie too much, but I’m not sure I would have classified it as “unusual” until reading this. I guess it is, though “Mary Cecilia” has high-powered Sancta Nomina style. 🙂

And two things from the Twitter-verse:

  • Check out #HipsterConfirmationSaint courtesy of The Catholic Hipster (and fellow CatholicMom.com writer) Tommy Tighe, in which he calls for you to share your Confirmation name with him, if it’s the name of a Hipster Saint (and even if it’s not). Don’t know what the qualifications for “hipster” are? Me neither! But I do love a good name convo so head on over to his Twitter or his blog and share your Confirmation name if you think it might be what he’s looking for!
  • I was cracking up over #CelebBoatNames — I love clever punny names, some of them were really funny.

That’s what I got for you today! Happy Thursday!

Reading round-up (middle name edition)

I was asking you all about middle names (here and here and your comments were so helpful and interesting!) because I wanted to write about them for my July CatholicMom.com column — it turned out to be a much bigger animal than I expected! My column will be posted on Wednesday — I’ll post the link here when it’s up — and I’ll be interested to see what you all think.

In the meantime, I came across some really interesting articles while trying to do some “quick” research of what I thought was a fairly straightforward topic:

Why Do We Have Middle Names? which provides a brief intro to the history of middle names in America.

Despite the warning at the top of the page that “This article has multiple issues” I found the Wiki article on middle names to be helpful as well, and the list it provided of famous people who go by their middle names especially interesting.

Also fascinating was this one, about middle initials that don’t stand for anything, and middle initials/names that have been entirely made up: The Quick 10: People With Fake Middle Initials.

In Why Bother With a Middle Name? by the Name Lady, I liked this bit particularly:

In some cases, middle names can perform clear functions. Families with common surnames rely on them to help distinguish their children at school or on legal forms. Middle names can also serve religious roles, such as linking the child to a saint as a role model for a godly life.

For other families, the middle name is a chance to honor personal connections. Some use the middle name slot to pass on a family surname, or pay homage a relative or personal hero. Others use it to reflect their children’s cultural heritage. For instance, American families of Chinese ancestry may choose an English first name and a Chinese middle name for a child.

And then there’s simply style. A middle name can make the full composition sound elegant for formal occasions. It can be a place to play, to experiment with a more daring and unconventional choice than you’d choose for a first name, or send a kind of secret message to your child. And some parents just love names and don’t want to stop at only one!

In other words, middle names serve all of the many, many roles that names in general serve, except identification. If you don’t value any of those roles, you can skip the middle name altogether…but don’t expect your child to thank you for it. Necessary or not, middle names have become so standard in the United States that kids without them can feel slighted.”

The comments on this post provided some good insight as well.

I’m always super interested in personal experience, so I liked this from the Catholic Answers forums: Does your child not have a middle name?

This was not entirely on the topic I hoped for (only the first paragraph or so was about names), but I loved it anyway: What That Middle Initial In My Dad’s Name Could Mean. I can’t get it to load right now (?), but there was a fascinating bit about (if I remember correctly) the bishop’s dad’s middle initial being “H” but there being confusion over what it stood for. One document said Henry, another said Harry, and his baptismal certificate said Hieronymus, which is Latin for Jerome … so maybe his middle initial was actually J? Fascinating, and a lovely tribute to his dad.

I thought this was surprisingly well written for someone who’s not a name writer: What’s In a Name? It includes a list of “naming features that might cause confusion” given that “Most Americans have three names: given-middle-family (which are called “first-middle-last” ). This means most officials and and clerical information-takers in the United States expect clients, patients, and customers to follow this pattern. When internationals present their unique names, the Americans are flummoxed because there are standard boxes to fill in, but the names don’t cooperate. Additionally, sometimes American names can create problems.” He also provides a list of do’s and don’t’s regarding others’ names, which I thought was quite good.

This is for more of a chuckle at the question asked than for the information provided: Do Catholic people have middle names? I think the asker was totally genuine and unsure, but calling us “Catholic people” and wording the question as “do they have to go through confirmation or something to get one? I don’t think they have middle names on their birth certificates” suggested a somewhat benevolent kind of other-ness about us that’s not something I usually find being assigned to me. (I mean, I often [almost always?] feel different from those I interact with because of my faith [likely a lot of you too, right?], but not in the way this article made me feel — almost like we’re a curiosity.) The answers are fine, and the one about Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox naming practices was quite interesting. (It would be great for the asker to stumble upon our little community here — she’d learn everything she’s ever wanted to know about Catholic naming practices! 😀 )

This was probably my favorite of all the articles I read: The power and peril of the middle name. It was both cheeky and informative, a really interesting read. It mentions the name “Gideon Oliver,” which I immediately fell in love with as an amazing combo (though I have zero knowledge of George Osborne, the Brit politician/current First Secretary of State who was named Gideon Oliver Osborne at birth, so perhaps it would be unwise to give a child his exact original first and middle names without researching what kind of man/politician he is? Just in case). (Nicknamey me also immediately went to the possibility of “Geo” as a nickname for “Gideon Oliver” … love it!) And whatever you think of our President, this quote attributed to him made me laugh out loud:

I got my first name from my father, and I got my middle name from someone who obviously didn’t think I’d ever run for president.”

(Barack Hussein Obama, in case you couldn’t remember his middle name.)

Finally, if any of you hold any sway with the SSA, can you please request that they start keeping track of middle names?? I think they’d be at least as revealing as first names, if not even more so, and likely a more diverse list as well.

This has been an interesting subject to research and learn more about this week! Please feel free to continue adding your stories/experiences, I love reading them all!