Advent/Christmas names, St. Joseph, St. Andrew, et al.

Happy Friday everyone!

I had a few things I wanted to share with you:

Did you all see the wonderful news that Pope Francis named this coming year (Dec. 8, 2020 to Dec. 8, 2021) the Year of St. Joseph?! Be sure to read about the special indulgences (included in that link), and you might also like my recent post on names to honor St. Joseph. I saw a lot of babies with thematic names during the Jubilee Year of Mercy [Dec. 8, 2015-Nov. 20, 2016] — I wonder if we’ll see a lot of babies named for our good St. Joseph this year? I would love that!

I wanted to be sure to post all the resources I have for Advent and Christmas baby names:

I was also reading up on St. Andrew the other day and read this fun bit:

St Andrew is a patron of lace-makers. On his feast, sometimes known as ‘Tander’, areas such as Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire celebrate by feasting, drinking elderberry wine, sports and serving a special cake called the Tandra Cake, particularly in Bedfordshire. It has a bread dough base to which lard, sugar, currants, lemon peel and eggs are added.”

I thought Tander and Tandra were intriguing possibilities for naming a baby after St. Andrew (or any other Andrew)! While I’ve never seen either one as a given name, I used to know a girl named Tandy, and one of the Behind the Name entries for it claims it’s a Scottish diminutive of Andrew — an Andy variant — that’s used for both boys and girls.

The Tander/Tandra/Tandy connection to St. Andrew reminds of the connection of the word “tawdry” to St. Audrey:

It was in the 16th C that the word tawdry arose, at first to describe the necklaces sold at St. Etheldreda’s or St. Audrey’s (cf. the formation of Tooley St. from St. Olave) fair, and later for any cheap garish goods” (from The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names [affiliate link] by E.G. Withycombe)

(Note that Audrey started as a pet name for Etheldreda.)

I believe St. Olave refers to St. Olaus of Sweden, who’s also known as Olaf and Olave. Of course I had to look up Tooley after reading the reference to it above, and while there are other possible origins of Tooley, this site argues:

This surname is derived from the name of an ancestor. ‘the son of Toly,’ probably a nick, of the immense favourite Bartholomew. Lower writes, ‘Tooley, a crasis of St. Olave. Tooley Street in Southwark is so called from its proximity to the church of St Olave.”

And because going down namey rabbit holes is one of the things I do best, I just have to say that when they refer to the name Bartholomew as “the immense favourite,” they’re not kidding. I spent an entire winter a couple of years ago poring through A Dictionary of English Surnames (affiliate link) by Reaney and Wilson and was blown away by how many English surnames originated as forms (pet names, diminutives) of Bartholomew. I mentioned two of them (Bates and Batten) in this piece I wrote for Nameberry, and Withycombe gives this nice summary:

[Bartholomew] is not found in use in England before the Conquest, but it was very common from the 12th C onwards. The cult of St. Bartholomew was popular (there are 165 church dedications to him in England) and his relics were widely diffused. Bartholomew, with its diminutives Bartle(t) and Bat, gave rise to a number of surnames such as Bartholomew, Bartle, Bartlet(t), Bate(s), Bateson, Bateman, Batcock, Batkin, Batt(s), Batson, Batty.”

You all are the only people I could share all this with and not think you were falling asleep with boredom! Haha! Thanks for being as interested in names as I am! Have a great 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 (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Baby name consultation: Long and feminine plus nickname for baby girl due before Christmas

Genie is a longtime Sancta Nomina reader, and I’ve had the privilege of doing two previous consultations for her (here, here) and posting two birth announcements (here, here)! I’m excited to post a new consultation for her for her baby girl due in less than three weeks!

This baby girl joins big siblings:

Malachi Benedict Aquinas

Noah Oliver Francis

Liam Michael Damien

+ Aelred Dominic John (with Jesus)

Henry Andrew James

Moira Elizabeth Charlotte

George Maximilian Joseph

Genevieve Immaculee Grace

Such amazing combinations! You’ll see that Genie has a particular knack for putting names together in the most beautiful ways!

She writes,

We need a some fresh girl name inspiration to add to the list we’ve built since our courtship. None of them are really sparking us right now

Our trend so far for girls seems to be first names on the longer, classic side that have a saint and or Marian connection & nickname potential. We like the Marian names to be fairly obvious. And like her sisters, this baby will have two middle names from saints and Our Lady since my kids need all the heavenly help they can get! There have also been literary connections in the past but I don’t see that as a hard requirement. I’m still trying to come up with a nod to Our Lady of La Salette

We’ve been praying for this baby’s guardian angel to help us know her name and are hoping her birth day will also aid in that discernment. For example Lucy for 12/13 or Sophie as a nickname from the O Wisdom Antiphon on 12/17. There doesn’t necessarily need to be a link to Advent or Christmas.

Name combos that have been on the list are:

Josephine Felicity Mariae nn Joy/Sophie/Zosia: This was our other front runner with Beatrix for Evie’s name last time. And as the next brother up, George, usually goes by Joe Joe we felt the nickname Josie was too close.

Beatrix Evangeline Anne/Clare/Jane nn Beasy:  Beatrix has my favorite meaning of “She who blesses” and reference to Mary. Jane was DH’s Grandmother’s name, but is it too much with the G in Evangeline? 

Lucy Elinor Anne/Agnes/Jane/Violet nn L.E./Ellie/Lulu: DH likes Elinor as a first name but we haven’t found a combo of middle names we like with it. His big draw to it as a first name is that his birthday is the feast of St. Helena and the nickname “Ellie”. To me the Lucy in front flows well but the Marian connection doesn’t feel as strong with this combo. I’m also concerned that Ellie is too close to [Genevieve’s nickname] Evie or that our oldest daughter would feel left out with her M name. I really love Violet as a name to but nothing complete has come to us for it.

Emmelia Magdalene Rose nn Emmie/Millie/Mila: We’ve just always loved this combo in honor of St. Basil’s mom, the “Mother of Saints.” 

Margaret Gemma Therese nn Meg/Megsy after Little Women: St. Margaret Clitherow is my confirmation saint

We also like Cecilia as a first name. And I really like Catherine as a first name for Sts. Catherine of Siena & Alexandria … We would use Kitty as a nickname

Cecilia Catherine Thérèse has been thrown around. We wouldn’t use Cece as a nickname but thought Kitty might still work with that combo? I could also see Cecie like Cecily as one. But again the clear Marian connection is lacking to me.

Marigold (one of my favorites!), Penelope, Kateri, Naomi, Adelaide, Anastasia, Bernadette, Faustina, Perpetua, Faith, & Regina are other middle name options we’ve noted.”

Of course you have to know that I basically swooned through Genie’s entire email! Such gorgeous names!! I bolded the combinations because I didn’t want you to miss any of them, and I kept that up in my ideas below as well.

Josephine Felicity Mariae is my particular favorite — I love the way it looks and sounds! And the nickname ideas of Joy, Sophie, and Zosia are fantastic! But I really also love Beatrix Evangeline Clare (Clare’s my favorite of the second middle name options, just based on sound) nn Beasy (so cute!), Lucy Elinor Jane (Jane’s my favorite of the second middle name options, due to the family connection) nn L.E./Ellie/Lulu (Lulu’s darling), Emmelia Magdalene Rose nn Emmie/Millie/Mila (I love Mila), Margaret Gemma Thérèse nn Meg/Megsy, and Cecilia Catherine Thérèse nn Kitty or Cecie. Absolutely beautiful, each one.

I’m so reluctant to add anything to these beautiful names! I can’t imagine being able to come up with anything more perfect! But I do understand the feeling of “none of them are really sparking us right now,” so maybe something in my ideas will help freshen up the list.

I also wondered if any of the names on Genie’s middle name list would be considerations as first names? I particularly like Marigold, since she said it’s one of her favorites. I love that Mari, Maggie, and Goldie can all be nicknames for it … and maybe even Maisie, I think that could work, which could also be a nod to Genie’s Confirmation name, since Maisie’s a traditional nickname for Margaret. I love Marigold’s connection to Our Lady, Crowned (feast day August 22: The Queenship of Mary). Maybe something like Marigold Virginia Reine, to really drive home the regal connection? (And three Marian names!) I also love Adelaide, Anastasia, Bernadette, Perpetua, and Faith as first names for this family.

Genie mentioned a couple things that she’d like to find appropriate combos for, so I spent some time trying to come up with ideas for them:

  • Genie said she’d like to nod to Our Lady of Salette. I had a reader who considered Salette as a first name for a baby girl in honor of that title, and considered Sally as a nickname for it. I also thought Etta could work. Maybe Salette Evangeline Rose? Or what about “La Salette” or “de La Salette” as a middle name? Our Lady had pearls on her robe in that apparition, and Margaret means “pearl,” so maybe Beatrix Margaret de La Salette? Or Beatrix Marguerite de La Salette? Or using the Irish, maybe Beatrix Mairead de La Salette? There were also a number of roses present on her form, so maybe Rosa Mairwen de La Salette? (Mairwen is a Welsh name combining “Mary” and “white/fair/blessed”; I thought it went well with their Celtic sensibility as noted in Liam and Moira’s names.)
  • Genie said Hubby likes Elinor as a first name — I do think Ellie’s a sweet nickname, and while it is similar to Evie, Genevieve and Elinor aren’t similar at all. Also, since the three sisters would be Moira, Genevieve, and Elinor, all with different official first initials, I’d focus on that with Moira so she wouldn’t feel badly about Evie and Ellie. I wonder if they would consider Helena itself? Ellie can be a nickname for Helena, as can Nell and Lena. I particularly like Nell for them (and actually Nell can work for Elinor too!). Maybe Elinor Madonna Rose? (I love using Madonna as a middle name as it’s explicitly Marian and points specifically to her motherhood, which I love.)
  • Genie said she loves Violet but hasn’t been able to come up with a great combo — maybe Violet Josephine Thérèse? Violet Elinor Anne? Violet Gemma Thérèse? (I like Violet and Gemma together — she could consider any purplish gem to her own!) Does Violet represent Our Lady well enough in those combos though? Or Violet Rosemary Jane? (Too many flowers?) Violet Madonna Helene? (Kind of cool that Madonna, with its “holy mother” connection, clearly refers to Our Lady here, but can also nod to St. Helena.) Violets also used to be called Our Lady’s Modesty, and an interesting name that they might like to work into a name is Haidee: it’s a name that was created by Lord Byron for a character in Don Juan, and he based it on the Greek for “modest, reverent.” Knowing that Genie likes literary connections as well, and with such a lovely meaning, maybe she’d like to consider the doubly “modest” name of something like Violet Haidee Madonna?
  • In thinking of a combo with Cecilia as a first name with a clear Marian connection, maybe they could consider the spelling Caecilia? It’s the original Latin form of Cecilia (this family used it for their daughter; they also have an Anastasia Lucia, which I like for Genie’s daughter! Anastasia Lucia Rose maybe?), but I like Caecilia for Genie because they could possibly use Caeli as a nickname, which isn’t connected to Caecilia etymologically but is so visually, and Caeli could provide the Marian connection as in her title Regina Caeli. Maybe Caecilia Regina Rose, to really double (triple!) down on it? (Or even just Cecilia Regina Rose, if they don’t like the Caecilia idea but like the Regina Rose middles?) I would say Caeli like CHAY-lee, but it can be said KAY-lee or, if they use it as a nickname for Caecilia, they could just say SAY-lee. Other nicknames for Cecilia can include Celia, Celly, and Lia.
  • Regina Rose made me think that Perpetua Rose would also be a lovely double-middle combo — very Marian with the added meaning of “everlasting rose.”

I also took a look at the upcoming feast days on CatholicSaints.info and the other O Antiphons (I wrote a piece with ideas based on them here) and thought these names might be helpful to add to Genie’s ideas (in addition to Lucy and the Sophia names):

  • Dominique: Dominic means “belonging to the Lord” and can be used for O Adonai (O Lord), Dec. 18
  • Kyrie: refers to “the Lord,” and can be used for the same
  • Aurora: Latin for “dawn,” the time of the rising sun, which can be used for O Radiant Dawn, Dec 21; this is also a Marian name — St. Bonaventure used Aurora in reference to Mary thirty five times in his Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary includes a reference to Our Lady as aurora in the closing prayer for Vespers
  • Emmanuelle, Emmanuella: for O Emmanuel on Dec. 23
  • A Spanish version of a name for Our Lady of Guadalupe, like Maria or Rosa
  • I know they’ve already used Immaculee, so if the baby is born on the feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8), maybe Catherine or one of its variants would be perfect, since it’s said to mean “pure”; Catherine could also be appropriate for Dec 28 — Holy Innocents
  • Bl. Clara Isabella Fornari (aka Anna and Chiara) on Dec. 9
  • Loretta for the feast of Our Lady of Loreto on Dec. 10
  • Bl. Elizabeth Rose on Dec 13
  • St. John of the Cross on Dec 14 for Jane as a first name (or middle); St. John the Apostle on Dec 27
  • St. Adelaide of Burgundy on Dec 16
  • Pope St. Anastasius I on Dec 19 for Anastasia
  • Bl. Cecilia of Ferrara on Dec 19
  • St. Anastasius II of Antioch on Dec 21
  • Mary, Mother of God on Jan 1 — Madonna would be perfect!
  • St. Basil the Great on Jan 2 for Emmelia
  • Holy Name of Jesus on Jan 3 for Emmanuelle/a

Then I did my usual research in the Baby Name Wizard, looking up names that are similar to the names Genie and her husband have already used and those they like, as it lists, for each entry, names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. And I looked through my book of Marian baby names as well. Based on all that, these are some new ideas:

(1) Natalie or Natalia

I know Genie said there didn’t have to be a Christmas or Advent connection, but I enjoyed finding names that I thought she might like that also had that connection! Natalie and Natalia literally refer to Christmas, as they come from the Latin natale domini: “birth of the Lord.” They can also be Marian names via her title Our Lady of the Nativity, or they could choose Our Lady’s own nativity (Sept. 8) as her name day. Nathalie’s also a pretty and unexpected spelling (French).

(2) Susanna

I always think of Susanna as a Christmas name, since Zuzu in It’s a Wonderful Life (Zuzu’s petals!) mostly likely had a Susan name (Zuzu is a nickname for the Susan names). Susanna is my favorite of the Susan names, and I included it in my book of Marian baby names because it means both “lily” and “rose” in Hebrew; because of its “rose” meaning, it could make a nice name for a baby born on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec. 9). Susie, Sukie, Anna, and Annie are all possible nicknames in addition to Zuzu. St. Susanna’s feast is August 11. (In case it’s helpful, Susanna Mariae was our choice for a baby girl through most of our boys, but for our last I’d actually switched it to Susanna Margaret Mary. St. Susanna and St. Clare share a feast day [Aug.11], so maybe Susanna Mariae Clare would be perfect?)

(3) Clara

Genie has Clare listed as a possible middle name, but what about Clara as a first name? I like it better than Clare as a first name for them and it has both a Christmas and literary connection via The Nutcracker. There’s a Bl. Clara Isabella Fornari whose feast day is Dec. 9 (she’s also known as Anna [her birth name] and Chiara [the Italian version]). I like the combo Clara Dominique Mariae.

(4) Catriona (or Riona/Rionach?)

Genie said she loves Catherine for Sts. Catherine of Siena and Alexandria, which made me think to suggest Caterina (St. Catherine of Siena’s actual name; Catherine is an English and French version). But then I thought the Irish version, Catriona, might be even more suited to her taste! It’s said like Katrina, or you can add in a half syllable: ka-TREE-ə-na, and they could use Kitty, or Cat, or Riona/Triona as nicknames. A really fun connection is that Riona on its own is actually from the Irish rionach, which means “queenly” — a nice Marian name! Rionach is a name in its own right as well! Maybe as a middle name? This mama named her daughter Elizabeth Ríonach (nn Liesel), which I think is so pretty! Catriona Perpetua Rose would also be lovely.

(5) Christiana

A Jesus name would be great for a Christmas baby, and Christiana is my favorite of them — so pretty! AND there’s a St. Christiana the Slave whose feast is on Dec 15! Something like Christiana Mariae Josephine would include the whole Holy Family in one name!

(6) Seraphina

When Genie said she likes longer names with a saint or Marian connection and nickname potential, I thought of Seraphina/Serafina right away. Of course it refers to the seraphim, but I think it can also be used as a name to refer to the angels in general, which is why I included it in my book of Marian names: for her titles Our Lady of the Angels and Queen of the Angels. Sera, Fia, and Fina are all pretty cool nicknames, and I think Sophie/Sofie could work, too, like she was thinking for Josephine.

(7) Verity (or Charity?)

Verity means “truth,” which is amazing anyway, but the name Verity also has a British-y feel to me (admittedly because of the lovely character of Verity in Poldark, which gives it a literary sheen as well), which I think fits in pretty well with Genie’s other children’s names. Maybe Verity Adelaide Madonna? Verity Rose Bernadette? Verity Sophia Faith? (That’s a powerful virtue combo! For that matter, what about Charity Sophia Faith? For “faith, hope, and love”?)

(8) Stella (or Stellamaris? Or Maristella?)

Stella is one of my favorite ideas for this family. I love that it can refer to the Christmas star, and I love that it’s Marian via her title Stella Maris. The full Stellamaris could also be used as a first name, with Stella as the nickname, or Stella as a first name and Maris as one of the middles, or Maristella, which is a lovely reordering of it (see birth announcements for Maristella Rose and Maristella Katherine, both of which made me think of Genie! Maristella Catherine Rose?) A very Christmasy combo would be Stella Aurora Emmanuelle, wow!

And those are all my ideas for Genie’s baby girl! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Malachi, Noah, Liam, Henry, Moira, George, and Genevieve?


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 (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Baby name consultation: Advent name for a surprise baby?

I’ve had the great privilege to do two previous consultations for today’s family — one which was supposed to post here but I got to post a birth announcement instead because the baby came sooner than expected!, and this one and subsequent birth announcement, and I’m honored to post this consultation for them today! They’re expecting their fifth baby on earth, a little green bean who joins big sibs:

Lea writes,

We are 15 weeks along with a (surprise) baby #5! We are due August 14, 2020. We have 4 other children on Earth and 4 in heaven. Here are our other children’s names. You helped us name 2 of them!

James Pershing
Paul Raymond
Luke Gordon
Felicity Victoria Kathleen

And in heaven: Agnes, Eli, Isaac, and Nicholas

I just love these names! The boys’ names are so handsome and straightforward (and Luke was specifically with Our Lady in mind!), and Felicity is such a beautiful name for the little sister of all those brothers!

We are stumped on boy names in particular but I’d like to hear your suggestions for girls too. I have a strong intuition that it is a boy, though! 

Names we have considered for a girl are mostly Advent themed as we discovered baby was coming during the first week of Advent.

Marian Elizabeth
Marian Violet
Marian Rose
Lucy Rose Marie

And boys we have considered are:
Maximilian Victor (since we’re due on St Maximilian Kolbe’s feast day)
Samuel Victor (like the name and the way it fits with other boys)

We don’t really like Kolbe (husband doesn’t anyway) and Victor would probably be the middle name because it’s the last grandfather to be used by us. Each of our other boys has a grandfather in their middle name.

We love Rose and Marie for girls but not really for first names because they feel a little too common.  

So, suggestions for names that are either Advent/saint themed would be appreciated! As I mentioned this baby was a total surprise to us, we’ve not faced this circumstance before so maybe a name reflecting that would be neat if that exists??

I totally get that they’re stumped on boy names, since I had a harder time coming up with new ideas for boys than for girls! I did my usual research first in the Baby Name Wizard, looking for style matches for the names they’ve already used and those they like/are considering, then found all my old posts on Advent and Christmas names (they’re all listed here), and between the two of them, I made my list of ideas for this baby. That’s when I went back and reread my previous conversations with Lea, and had to cross a few of my ideas off my list, as I’d previously suggested them! I’ll list them here again, though, just in case:

Girl
(1) Annabel
I suggested this for them when they were expecting Felicity, saying: “The Anna family of names were big for you in my research — Anna is a style match for James and Jude, Anita for Paul, and Hannah for Isaac. While I love Anna names (and St. Anne!), I didn’t think the ones I mentioned would fit your “unique” designation, but I thought Annabel/Annabelle might. It’s not technically an Anna name, arising in the Middle Ages in Scotland as a variant of Amabel, which is a variant of Amabilis, which is contained in the Marian title Mater Amabilis (Mother Most Amiable), but of course the fact that Anna is contained in it can definitely be a nod to St. Anne. In fact, you could think of it as Anna + belle, where belle means “beautiful” in French. How lovely! I love that it’s also a Marian name. I don’t feel like I have a good sense of your taste in girl names, so I don’t know if you’ll love it, but I really like it for you.” Now that they have Felicity, I actually think Annabel(le) goes really well as her sister! I also included Annabel in an article about Christmas names that I did for CatholicMom, saying that it “is fitting for the holy day on which we celebrate Mother Mary giving birth to her Baby.” (I know Lea asked about Advent names, but I looked through my Christmas names posts because the names can often be Advent-y as well.)

(2) Anna, Hannah
I mentioned these in the Annabel bit above, but an added reason that I love Hannah or Anna for Lea and her hubs this time, especially, is because of their baby being a surprise. Hannah prayed for Samuel for so long, and St. Anne and St. Joachim prayed for Mary for so long, that I think their stories are great for anyone who’s surprised by a baby-on-the-way! Anne is lovely, but I think Anna is a better fit for them.

(3) Faith, Hope, Nadine
When Lea was expecting Felicity, she said she’d love a name with a good meaning, and I had Faith, Hope, and Nadine (which means “hope”) listed as suggestions for her back then. This time, I had them on my list because of their Advent meaning!

Boy
(1) Joseph
I was digging Joseph for this baby, because of the Advent/Christmas connection, but then I discovered that I suggested it for them when they were expecting Luke and interested in Marian names. Maybe they’d like to consider it again?

(2) Gabriel
Similar to Joseph, I’d suggested Gabriel when they were expecting Luke because of its Marian meaning; I love it now for them because of its connection to Advent and Christmas.

(3) Martin
Martin was one I considered suggesting to them for Felicity, but then decided not to –which I noted in Felicity’s consultation, so I really already threw it out there! I had it on my list again for them now because it’s a style match for Paul, and I was really trying to find new boy names to suggest to them. It’s a great saintly name, but unfortunately I don’t think it has any Advent or Christmas connection.

(4) Henry
I suggested Henry for Luke almost solely because I have a friend who has a James and a Paul, as well as a Henry! Haha! This time, I had it on my list because it’s a match for Lucy and Samuel, though, like Martin, it doesn’t have any Advent/Christmas connection, as far as I know.

Alright, so those are the names I’d previously suggested that would have been on my list today otherwise. But don’t worry! I can always come up with more ideas! 😜 First though, I just want to offer some thoughts on the names they’re considering, in case they’re helpful:

  • Marian Elizabeth/Violet/Rose: I think Marian as a first name is unexpected and lovely, and certainly *ahem* Marian! 😂 I love each of the middle names Lea and her hubs are considering with it: with Elizabeth, it’s so “The Visitation,” which is awesome; Violet and Rose can both nod to the Advent candles, which is great for what they’re looking for.
  • Lucy Rose Marie: Gorgeous! I like that St. Lucy’s feast day is Dec. 13, which is both during Advent and close to when they found out this baby was on his/her way! Rose and Marie as middle names are just beautiful. If it’s helpful, I have a friend named Rosemarie. (Actually … I wonder if Rosemary or Rosemarie might interest them in the first name spot? I like them both for this family and as Felicity’s sister!)
  • Maximilian Victor: Awesome, I love St. Max and I love that Lea’s due on his feast day! Maximilian has more of a “Felicity” feel to me than their older boys, and helped me when trying to come up with boy ideas for them.
  • Samuel Victor: I agree, I like how it sounds with the older boys. I also love the story of Hannah and Samuel, and as I mentioned above with Hannah, I think Samuel could be a nice nod to the surprise! of this baby.

Speaking of the surprise factor, when I read that Lea might like a name that nods to that, my first thought was Isaac! I excitedly scribbled it down for them … and then remembered they already have an Isaac! But I quite like the Hannah/St. Anne/Anna idea for them in that vein. Another surprise baby was John the Baptist, though Lea had previously said John has been used a lot in their family.

Okay! On to my suggestions for this baby:

Girl
(1) Lydia
As soon as I saw Lydia in the post on Advent names I did for CatholicMom, I thought yes!! The biblical Lydia was a seller of purple cloth, which could be a nice nod to the purple candles of the Advent wreath. Additionally, it’s a style match for Samuel! I love it as a sister to Felicity.

(2) Stella
Stella might be too Christmassy and not Adventy enough? But I love it for this family! It means “star,” and so can refer to the Christmas star, but it can also refer to Our Lady, Star of the Sea (Stella Maris), and it’s a style match for Lucy.

(3) Holly, Ivy
Of course both Holly and Ivy have an unmistakable Christmas feel (and I know I’m referring Christmas a lot, instead of Advent, but it’s hard to separate out the two! And most people have holly and ivy up during Advent, so I think they work!), but they’re also both entries in my book of Marian names! I wrote: “Christmas holly (Ilex opaca et al.) has been known as St. Mary’s Holly and represents the perpetual virginity of Our Lady” and “Kenilworth ivy (Cymbalaria muralis) has also been known as Tears of Mary.” Ivy is also a style match for Eli.

(4) Natalie/a
Speaking of Christmas names that also work for Advent, Natalie is a style match for Nicholas and I thought they might really like it! Its variant Natalia is gorgeous too. St. Natalia’s feast is July 27, so if the baby comes that early, Natalia or Natalie might be perfect!

(5) Susanna (Zuzu)
Susanna might be my favorite idea for this baby — it means both “rose” and “lily” in Hebrew, which gives Lea and her hubs Rose without the “common” feeling (and is also why it’s in my Marian names book); it can be Advent-y through its nickname Zuzu (Zuzu’s petals in It’s a Wonderful Life!); AND St. Susanna’s feast day is August 11! Felicity and Susanna sound like amazing sisters!

(6) Immaculata
Finally, I have Immaculata here more as a middle name idea, inspired by St. Maximilian Kolbe, since he founded the Militia of the Immaculata and often referred to Our Lady as “the Immaculata.” I know a little Faith Immaculata and I’ve always thought her name was just stunning; for this family, I’m loving the idea of Rose Immaculata — Marian and Kolbe-ian in one name! I know Lea said Rose feels too common, but as a first name it isn’t really. It was no. 123 in 2018; it was a top 100 name — often in the top 20 — from 1900 to 1960 before dropping down as far as 392 in 1997. It is on the upswing — it broke into the top 300 in 2011 and since then has increased each year — but Lucy is no. 51, for reference. Of course, if they just can’t shake that “too common” feel, then that matters! But giving the name an unexpected middle can give the whole combo a real sparkle.

Boy
(1) Andrew
I loooove Andrew for this baby, it’s hands down my favorite idea!! I think it’s amazing as a brother to James, Paul, and Luke (and Felicity of course), but even better, did you know that Advent is set in reference to the feast of St. Andrew? His feast is Nov. 30, and the First Sunday of Advent is always the Sunday nearest his feast. How cool! Andrew Victor is very handsome.

(2) David
I also quite like David for them — as with Andrew, I love it with brothers James, Paul, and Luke, and its Advent connection is fantastic, being that we wait for the birth of King David’s descendant. David Victor sounds fine together.

(3) Nathan(iel)
Another name from Jesus’ genealogy is Nathan, and since Nathan is a style match for both Luke and Samuel, I thought it would be a good suggestion for this baby! Nathan’s place in the genealogy is pretty cool, as I wrote about in this post. The longer Nathaniel is a match for Nicholas, and Nate and even Nathan can certainly be nicknames for it. Nathan Victor and Nathaniel Victor both work nicely.

(4) Dominic
Dominic is a match for Maximilian, and I love that it means “of the Lord,” so they can definitely assign it an Advent meaning if they want to! St. Dominic’s feast day is August 8, which could be great for a boy born a few days early! Dominic Victor has a pretty heavy-duty meaning: “victory of the Lord”!

(5) Charles
Charles is based solely on style — it’s a match for James; Charlie is a match for Lucy; and its variant Carl is a match for Paul. Since they’re having a hard time with boy names, I felt like I couldn’t not include a name that seems to match their taste! Charles and Charlie are great names and have such great patrons: Sts. Charles Borromeo and Charles Garnier; St. John Paul II (birth name: Karol); and Bl. Karl of Austria (for whom JP2 was named!), among others. (If you read the article at that link, you’ll be left thinking there’s no better name for a Catholic boy than Charles!) I like Charles Victor.

(6) Sebastian
Originally, I had Oliver here, also for style reasons: it’s a match for both Felicity and Lucy, and a sweet brother for James, Paul, and Luke. But then I said Oliver Victor out loud and thought that didn’t work too well! So I’m changing my last idea to Sebastian, which is also a match for Felicity, as well as Maximilian. I actually love Sebastian Victor together, since St. Sebastian is the patron of athletes!

And those are all my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother or sister of James, Paul, Luke, and Felicity?


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: Lincoln David!

I posted an emergency consultation last night for Meredith from Daily Divine Mercy and Catholic Sticker Club — her baby was on his way and they weren’t sure about his name! She has let me know that he’s arrived and been given the so-handsome combo … Lincoln David!

If you remember, Lincoln David had been their chosen name until Meredith’s hubby started having second thoughts, which is when she reached out to me. She writes,

You might think I’m crazy for what I’m about to say, but I wanted to see what he looked like before we committed to Lincoln … [The names from the consultation hit] on ALL of my favs, [hubby] is just really picky. Ultimately I’m just grateful we agreed. I’d be sad if we didn’t have any more boys and I missed out on Lincoln.”

Isn’t that perfect?? I told her that being sad at the idea of never being able to use Lincoln is a perfect litmus test for whether a particular name is the right one or not. And coming to an agreement with her husband is so great! I know I always feel like that’s the pinnacle of naming for me — I love when my husband and I finally agree on a name.

Another fun bit about this name is that Meredith really wanted a Christmas connection with the middle name, and liked that David had that … and today is the “Key of David” O Antiphon — so her little guy was born on the Key of David Eve! So great! (I wrote more about O Antiphon names here.)

Thank you to those who left ideas for Meredith in her eleventh hour!

Congratulations to the happy parents and big sibs Jackson/Jack, Theodore/Teddy, Clara, and William/Will, and happy birthday Baby Lincoln!!

Lincoln David with his mama and two of his big sibs ❤


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 — a perfect🎄Christmas gift🎄 for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Advent and Christmas names

Christmas Eve is just a week away and my boys are EXCITED! Seeing their wonder and awe is the absolute best. ❤

I’ve done several posts in the past with ideas for Advent and Christmas names, which I wanted to be sure to share here again, in case you have a little one coming any time! Check these out:

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

There’s also 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, and for generally getting your mind focused on the birth of Jesus, there’s this piece I wrote last year for CatholicMom that I’ve been thinking about recently, regarding His naming.

If it’s helpful for naming a boy, I’ve always loved the combo Luke Emmanuel for a Christmas baby — if my Luke had been born around now, it would have been a strong contender.


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 — a perfect Christmas present for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

New CatholicMom article up! And some housekeeping

My December column at CatholicMom posted today! Names for an Advent Baby.

catholicmom_screen_shot-12-21-16

I used this post, as well as your comments on that post, to put it together — thank you for your thoughts!

I also decided to use PayPal buttons for consultations after all (I’d previously said I’d use invoices instead) — I just updated my baby name consultations page with that info — might be the perfect last-minute Christmas gift for any expectant parents you know! 😉

Happy four days until Christmas!! 😁🎄🎁

Birth announcement: Luke David!

One of you dear readers emailed me recently asking if I ever post birth announcements for babies who haven’t had a consultation done and I told her YES! I’m delighted to post a birth announcement for any of your babies! So she wonderfully shared the recent birth of her son, was has been given the so handsome (and so seasonally appropriate) name … Luke David!

He joins his gorgeously named big sister:

Miryam Isabel

The mama, Elizabeth, writes,

I’m thrilled to share the news of the birth of our son, Luke David! He was born Saturday 12/10/16 at 2:37am. Everyone is healthy.

Luke is after the Evangelist. David is my husband’s middle name. And as a reference to King David we like the possible whole-name-meaning “king of light.”

Also, your posts about Christmas and Advent names helped us settle with determination on Luke for our Advent baby. We had Luke picked out if Miryam had been a boy, but tossed around a few other first names this pregnancy. You called the due date’s timing to my attention, and we agreed that Luke was still the right name. So thanks for that! (:

Big sister is Miryam Isabel. Miryam is the Aramaic spelling of Miriam, my husband’s favorite/”most beautiful”/”the original” (his words) variation of Mary. Isabel is the Spanish for Elizabeth after me.”

Isn’t that a wonderful name story?! I just love how appropriate Luke David is for an Advent baby! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Luke!!

image1-13

Luke David

Prepare ye the way of the Lord (Advent names)

I’ve had “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” in my head the last few days, which is such a lovely Adventy thing to have in my head now that Advent has begun, and what better way for a name blogger to celebrate Advent than by making a list of Advent names!

At least, that was my intention — and not just Advent names, but *new* names, not the same names everybody has written about forever and ever for babies born this time of year — but I had a hard time coming up with anything new! So many of the names that could qualify as Advent names are also legitimately Christmas names, and I’ve written about Christmas names a few times already (see the end of the post for a list), so I didn’t want to rehash or repackage the same names over again. (Also, even though I didn’t package it that way my Nameberry article from last year is explicitly Adventy, since it refers to titles of the coming Messiah as noted by Isaiah in the context of the O Antiphons — it’s all prophecy and anticipation about Christmas.)

That said, I just have to say that I think there are some Christmas names that just *are* Advent names, and no Advent list would be complete without them, like Mary, Joseph, Emmanuel (is O Come O Come Emmanuel not one of the most Adventy of songs?), Gabriel, John and Baptist, Elizabeth, Zechariah, and Belén (the Spanish for Bethlehem) or even Bethlehem itself, so if you’re looking for an Advent name, don’t ignore the lists of Christmas names.

I was able to come up with a few new ideas though, and this site was incredibly helpful, as it explained a bunch of things about Advent that I actually didn’t already know, like how the first Sunday of Advent is set (it’s not actually the Sunday after Thanksgiving, as I might have mindlessly thought for a long time … I mean, it *is* the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but that’s not how it’s set of course, since most of the world doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving but they do celebrate Advent), and also what each of the candles means and represents. Based on those things, as well as some of my own ideas, here are some Advent names that you may not find on any list of Christmas names:

Andrew: Currently, the first Sunday of Advent is set on the first Sunday near the feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30). Did you already know that? I didn’t! How cool!

Catherine: This is definitely a little bit of a stretch, but St. Catherine of Siena was known to be so joyful as a child that she was nicknamed Euphrosyne, which is Greek for “joy,” and between the “Rejoice” of Gaudete Sunday (the third Sunday of Advent, when we light the third [pink] candle) and the fact that the third candle is called the Candle of Joy, a Joy name is quite appropriate for Advent (it’s already on lists of Christmas names). You could certainly use Euphrosyne, but I thought Catherine might be a bit easier!

Isaiah: This Old Testament prophet foretold the coming of the Messiah and shared all those amazing titles of the Messiah as remembered in the O Antiphons (see my Nameberry article for more on those).

Lydia: Lydia in the New Testament was a seller of purple cloth — this could be a subtle connection to the three purple candles of the Advent wreath.

Old Testament ancestors of Jesus: I wrote about Jesus’ genealogy here and here — using one of His ancestors’ names is a neat way of nodding to the centuries of preparation for the first Christmas.

Rose: Of course Rose always refers to Our Lady, but it can also refer to the pink candle on the Advent wreath, lit on the third Sunday of Advent aka Gaudete Sunday (Gaudete=Rejoice).

And jumping out of alphabetical order, maybe the craziest+coolest idea: Rorate Caeli/Coeli. As explained by the Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent:

(Vulgate, text), the opening words of Isaiah 45:8. The text is used frequently both at Mass and in the Divine Office during Advent, as it gives exquisite poetical expression to the longings of Patriarchs and Prophets, and symbolically of the Church, for the coming of the Messias. Throughout Advent it occurs daily as the versicle and response at Vespers. For this purpose the verse is divided into the versicle, “Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum” (Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just), and the response: “Aperiatur terra et germinet salvatorem” (Let the earth be opened and send forth a Saviour”). The text is also used: (a) as the Introit for the Fourth Sunday in Advent, for Wednesday in Ember Week, for the feastof the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin, and for votive Masses of the Blessed Virgin during Advent; (b) as a versicle in the first responsory of Tuesday in the first week of Advent; (c) as the first antiphon at Lauds for the Tuesday preceding Christmas and the second antiphon at Matins of the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin; (d) in the second responsory for Friday of the third week of Advent and in the fifth responsory in Matins of the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin.”

The nickname Rory could totally make Rorate as a first name doable! What do you think? Crazy? Cool? Both?

In a fun twist, Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas tweeted me (tweeted to me?) yesterday asking about my Advent names post, which was so weird since I was thinking about this as-yet unwritten one! But then I listened to her and Christy’s latest Fountains of Carrots podcast and realized they had mentioned it there, and I think they were referring to that same O Antiphons Nameberry article I’ve referred to several times here.

This is another post and article I wrote about Christmas names, which also contain good Advent ideas:

Holy Family Names for Christmastime Babies (Catholic Mom)

Names for a Christmas baby

And this post is the most comprehensive I’ve ever come across, containing both familiar and surprising ideas (not written by me): Christmas Baby Names

What do you think of these Advent names? Would you consider them for an Advent baby, or are they too un-obvious for your taste? I’d love to know what unexpected/new names you can add to the list!