Baby name consultation: First baby boy needs biblical + early saint name

Happy feast of Mary, Mother of the Church! I’ll resume tales of my excursion in Ireland later in the week! 😀

MaryEllen and her hubby are expecting their first baby — a boy! She writes,

My name is MaryEllen Clare. The “Mary” half of my first name was chosen because my parents wanted to honor Our Lady and I was due December 8th but ended up being born on December 12th. The “Ellen” half of my first name was to honor a friend’s daughter. Clare was after St. Clare of Assisi.

My husband is Tyler Leandro. Leandro is his father’s name. Tyler is a convert to the faith from being a Protestant. He joined the Church 2 years ago!

We are hoping you can help give us some ideas for boy names. We both would love to use a Biblical and/or early Saint name. My husband was an Ancient History major in college and we both took Latin in high school/college. He would love to use a strong, Ancient Latin name. It’s a definite bonus if it’s a Saint from 400 AD or older.

We pray the Liturgy of the Hours and particularly like Matins, with the First Reading from the Bible and the Second Reading from Church fathers. You’ll see that in our list below.

Names on our (not so) short list:
Ambrose
Augustine (though we’re hesitant on the nickname, “Gus”)
Benedict
Clement
Isaac (is a patriarch okay? My husband and I like the story of Isaac and Rebecca)
Leo (awesome Pope)
Linus (we don’t agree on this one, the pagan history of the name bothers my husband but I really like that its part of the litany in Mass).
Maximus (we both love the movie Gladiator)
Nicholas (after the Saint, but mostly for the Council of Nicea)
Paul (husband’s confirmation saint)
Titus (again, we don’t agree — my husband likes it, me less so)

Names we’ve talked about but aren’t considering using:
Popular names (James, David, Jacob, Joshua, Thomas, Andrew, etc.)
Atticus (avoiding To Kill a Mockingbird)
Francis (my father’s name)
Jonathan (my brother’s name)
Michael (don’t like nickname “Mike”)
Xavier (cool saint, just don’t like the name)

Alrighty, so right off the bat I latched onto MaryEllen’s hubby’s middle name/her father-in-law’s first name — St. Leander comes from the right time period-ish (died about the year 600, so a little later than 400 … but not by much!) and was actually Spanish (older brother of St. Isidore) so his name was actually Leandro — it’s such a cool name!! If they can’t get on board with it for a first name, maybe it would make a great middle name? Could be great for grandfather, father, and son to all share a name, especially since it fits their criteria so well. It could also take the nickname Leo, which loops in a name on their list!

Speaking of their list, just some quick thoughts about some of the names on it, before getting to my suggestions (I love them all, and my hubby and I considered almost all of them at various points!):

Augustine can be Augie, which is fairly popular among parents of boys with August- names.

Clement is fantastic, but it makes me think of something that might be helpful when they’re whittling down their list: it would be good for MaryEllen and her hubby to think about what they plan to call their son on an everyday basis, i.e., are they big nicknamers? Or will they prefer to use the whole name? If they prefer the whole name, will they be okay with others using a nickname when he’s in high school, for example? Clem isn’t the kind of nickname that everyone likes, so Clement is a good name to think about this particular issue with. (Blogger Grace Patton just named her son Clement, SO cute!!)

Re: Isaac, yes, patriarchs are definitely okay! I even wrote about this issue here. And if they really want a non-biblical saintly connection, St. Isaac Jogues is pretty awesome.

I don’t know if Mary Ellen’s hubby would be swayed by seeing other Catholic babies named Linus, but I’ve been seeing it more and more! I posted this birth announcement in April, and this little guy has a brother named Linus (and a brother named Ambrose too!), just to give two examples.

When I asked my husband his impression of the name Titus, he said, “50% biblical, 50% ancient Latin” — he actually said “ancient Latin,” just like MaryEllen said in her email!

From Mary Ellen’s list of names they aren’t considering because they’re too popular, the ones she mentioned are in the top 50, but so is Leo (no. 50) and Isaac (no. 34) from the names they are considering, so I think maybe the names they’re not as interested in are those that are *familiar*: they don’t want to use the names that were the bastions of popularity in the past, that feel overdone and ubiquitous because we grew up hearing them, even though they aren’t nearly as popular now as they were. For example, Thomas was a top ten name basically from 1900 until 1966; currently, at no. 49, it’s less popular than names like Asher, Jaxon, Dylan, Wyatt, and Oliver, all of which I would guess feel fresh to those parents who think Thomas/Andrew/David are too popular for their taste. Not that this is either here or there, but reframing their requirements from “not popular” to “not familiar” might be helpful.

Regarding Michael, if the nickname Mike is what’s holding them up, I wonder if they would consider a different nickname? Something like Michael Xavier or Michael Alexander, for example, could nickname to Max. Or, I’ve sometimes suggested Miles as a nickname for Michael, which means “soldier” in Latin, which is kind of a cool way to get some Latin in there, and reinforces the Michael the Warrior Archangel idea. I’m not trying to convince MaryEllen and her hubs of a name they don’t care for, I promise! I just want to offer options in case they’re helpful.

Now for my suggestions! You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard book as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I did so here, which was helpful, but I also looked at lists of biblical names (both Old and New Testament) and the Church Fathers and dug around in my own namey mind and book, and anything that seemed like it might be a name they’d like, I added to the list. I have a lot of suggestions!

(1) Tiberius
First, there’s a St. Tiberius who was martyred ca. 303 — perfect from a date perspective! Tiberius is also a Latin name — perfect from a Latin perspective! And it means “of the Tiber [River],” and many of you know that converts to Catholicism talk about “crossing the Tiber” or being part of the “Tiber Swim Team 2017” or whatever year they converted. So many levels of meaning for this family! Ty is a really cute, easy nickname, and I actually love that it mirrors Dad’s name — kind of like a Junior without doing a Junior! Tiberius Leandro?? ((heart eyes!)) If they prefer a simpler middle name though, to offset the heavier first name, I love Tiberius Paul — also another way of kind of Junioring without using Dad’s exact name, since Paul is Tyler’s Confirmation name, and the short-and-sweet Paul is a perfect balance to Tiberius (and it’s biblical! Biblical + pre-400 saint!).

(2) Tobias or Tobit
Sticking with T names for a minute, I love both Tobias and Tobit! They’re variants of each other, and I can never decide which one I like better. Since they’re biblical, it would be great to pair them with a non-biblical saintly name — Tobias Leandro and Tobit Leandro are both pretty amazing! I also like Augustine with them both.

(3) Thaddeus
Another T name! I love the name Thaddeus — it’s biblical and saintly (St. Jude Thaddeus, among others), and the nickname Taddy is beyond adorable for a little guy. Tad is handsome for a teenager and a man, as is the full Thaddeus. Thaddeus Leandro and Thaddeus Paul are both great in my opinion; I also quite like Thaddeus Ambrose and Thaddeus Clement.

(4) Gregory
I’m actually surprised they don’t have Gregory on their list! Pope St. Gregory the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Gregory of Nazianzen are all Church Fathers; the name Gregory is serious but accessible; and at no. 408 it’s definitely not too popular. If they don’t care for Greg as a nickname — and a lot of parents I know who consider Gregory don’t care for Greg — Grey and Rory are two nicknames I’ve seen used. Gregory Clement sounds really nice! Or Gregory Nicholas — two Pope St. the Greats! I also like Gregory Maximus and Gregory Leandro.

(5) Ephraim/Ephrem
I was kind of excited to remember that St. Ephrem of Syria is considered one of the Church Fathers — he’s an early saint with a biblical name! In the bible it’s usually seen as Ephraim, while the saint is usually Ephrem, but since they’re variants of the same name, they can choose their favorite spelling! I like how Ephraim/Ephrem Leo, Ephraim/Ephrem Leandro, and Ephraim/Ephrem Isaac sound.

(6) Nicodemus
Nicholas on their list made me think of Nicodemus, which has a heavier, more ancient feel. They can still use the nicknames Nic and Nicky, or Nico, while having a more unexpected and less familiar name. Nicodemus Clement has a nice flow, I think, as does Nicodemus Leandro.

(7) Casper/Jasper/Gaspar
Though the Three Wise Men weren’t named in the bible, they’ve traditionally been known as Balthazar, Melchior, and Casper/Caspar/Jasper/Gaspar (they’re all variants of the same name). I could see MaryEllen and her hubs liking Casper/Caspar, Jasper, or Gaspar! I like Leo, Leandro, Clement, and Isaac as middle names for this family of names.

(8) Sebastian
Like Gregory, Sebastian is a name that I’m surprised isn’t already on their list! It’s got that heavy feel of Augustine and Benedict, but the nicknames Seb(by) and Bash lighten it up. He died ca. 288, making him date-appropriate! One caveat is that the name Sebastian is currently at no. 18. Sebastian Leo, Sebastian Leandro, Sebastian Paul, and Sebastian Isaac are all great combos.

(9) Callixtus (or Callistus)
It’s the name of a pope who is a saint, and he died in the third century, so he’s the right time period. I love the connection to the word “chalice,” and the nickname Cal. I spotlighted the name here. Callixtus Michael and Callixtus Paul are a nice mix of heavy and trim.

(10) Boethius
My last idea is Boethius, after St. Severinus Boethius, someone I never knew anything about until one of my readers asked me about the name Boethius, because her hubby is a philosopher and so was St. Boethius. Such a cool name! And I’ve seen him called “Last of the Romans,” which might be awesome for Tyler’s interests. I love Boethius Benedict, and Boethius Leandro sounds great too.

Those are all my main ideas, but there were a whole bunch of others that I considered putting on the list and ultimately left off for various reasons — I thought I’d include them here just in case: Bartholomew, Gabriel, Raphael, Matthias, Nathaniel, Cassius or Cassian, Zechariah, Ignatius, and Athanasius.

MaryEllen said they’d also really like some suggestions on how to pair names up in good first + middle combos:

The middle name for our little boy doesn’t need to be of family origin; mostly we’re looking for two names that flow well together with our M last name.”

The ones I mentioned above are:

Tiberius Leandro
Tiberius Paul
Tobias Leandro
Tobias Augustine
Tobit Leandro
Tobit Augustine
Thaddeus Leandro
Thaddeus Paul
Thaddeus Ambrose
Thaddeus Clement
Gregory Clement
Gregory Nicholas
Gregory Maximus
Gregory Leandro
Ephraim/Ephrem Leo
Ephraim/Ephrem Leandro
Ephraim/Ephrem Isaac
Nicodemus Clement
Nicodemus Leandro
Casper/Jasper/Gaspar Leo
Casper/Jasper/Gaspar Leandro
Casper/Jasper/Gaspar Clement
Casper/Jasper/Gaspar Isaac
Sebastian Leo
Sebastian Leandro
Sebastian Paul
Sebastian Isaac
Callixtus Michael
Callixtus Paul
Boethius Benedict
Boethius Leandro

As you can see, I went right for the family names! Haha! Leandro is just an amazing name to work with! Moving away from family names though, generally my personal preference is to pair a shorter first name with a longer middle or vice versa, or a medium length first with a medium length middle. From ME and T’s list, Paul is a perfect short name to balance out the longer names like Augustine, Benedict, Maximus, and Nicholas. I quite like Paul as a middle name for any of those names, and flipping to Paul Augustine or Paul Maximus is really nice too.

Middling names like Ambrose, Clement, Isaac, Leo (three letters but still two syllables!), and Linus sound nice together I think, like Ambrose Clement, Isaac Ambrose, Leo Clement, Linus Ambrose, Linus Clement.

Another tactic I like with first+middle combos is to balance an unusual name with a more familiar one. Callixtus Michael, for example, or Nicholas Ephraim. I also love alliteration, like Boethius Benedict and Casper Clement.

I also really like Leo Maximus (kind of cool that this pretty much means “Leo the Great”!), and Linus Paul.

Those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) — first and/or middle and combos — would you suggest for MaryEllen and Tyler’s baby boy?


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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Baby name consultations: A soft reopening!

Happy feast of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary! His name is in my book because of his connection to her, and this is the feast that most celebrates his Marian connection (more than his feast as St. Joseph the Worker in May). A great feast day! St. Joseph is the man! A special shout out to my Italian/Italian-American readers — enjoy all your St. Joseph’s Day festivities!

You all have been amazingly patient with me as my previously tentative consultation reopen date of Christmas came and went and still, I didn’t feel able to give enough regular, dependable time to working on non-baby things (thanks to my Little Mister, who was declared to be “impatient and demanding” at his six-month appointment by our beloved pediatrician, who said it so matter-of-factly after listening to me give him all the updates on all the eating/sleeping/interacting things that I laughed out loud and realized how perfect that is! I’ve been calling the baby “high maintenance,” but “impatient and demanding” is more precise! 😀 ). I dipped my toe in with Genie’s consultation back in January/February, and was so glad I had several weeks to work on it, because it took me that long!

But here we are in the second half of March, and it’s probably because the baby’s past his six-month-birthday, as well as the spring breezes that are dancing with the remains of winter, but I’m feeling cautiously optimistic that I can handle a little more.

I’m going to start slow, hence the “soft” reopening: I’m opening up for ONE consultation, and I’m going to ask that only those mamas who are due in May put their name in the hat, as I can’t guarantee I can get it done before April 17 (Wednesday of Holy Week), and I want to give the mamas that are due soonest the first chance, as well as enough time before their due date for the consultation to actually be helpful.

If all goes well, then I’ll do the same next month as well, and just go monthly until I’m able to resume a busier schedule.

HERE’S HOW TO BE CONSIDERED FOR A BABY NAME CONSULTATION:

(1) Click here if you’re a mama due in May who would like me to do a baby name consultation and don’t mind receiving my ideas as late as April 17.

(2) Rafflecopter will ask you for your due date, and compile all the entries received between now and midnight on March 25, Feast of the Annunciation. (Note: “midnight on March 25” means at the end of March 24, not the end of March 25.) You can enter once a day, for each of the six days that the raffle will be live.

(3) I’ll have Rafflecopter randomly choose one name on March 25 and I’ll email the chosen one with the next steps. To be clear: as much as I’d like to I’m not giving away a consultation — I’ll ask that you pay via PayPal before I get started (all payment info is here).

(4) There’s also, of course, the chance that something will come up that will prevent me from completing the consultation as promised. I really hope that doesn’t happen — I wouldn’t be doing this if I thought there was a good chance it could — but if it does, I’ll refund the mama’s money.

If I don’t get any entrants for this consultation, I’ll try again in April.

As always, thank you all for your patience and enthusiasm! My prayers for all of you are ongoing, with a special request for St. Anne’s intercession! ❤ ❤ ❤


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!

Don’t forget to get your consultation requests in!

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

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

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

I was mentioned in a Scary Mommy video, nbd

OHMYGOSH YOU GUYS!! Check out the latest Name Dame video at Scary Mommy — not only is it awesome because it features families who wanted to have their culture represented in their kids’ names and their thought process behind their choices, but also: I’M MENTIONED IN IT!!! What!

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This is just a screenshot; to watch the video click here!

I got an email from a lovely lady at Scary Mommy a while ago asking about Sancta Nomina and what goes on here for their video series on names, and we had a great chat about Catholic names and saints and Marian apparitions and Catholic naming trends, which was so fun for me to share with someone who isn’t as familiar — she was totally wonderful about it all and asked really great questions — and I’ve been maybe obsessively checking their site ever since, waiting to see what they’d do with the info I provided, and though she initially wasn’t sure where I would fit in, I really love being included in the conversation about keeping one’s culture alive in the naming of one’s babies. Such a nice shout-out! I’m so excited for a new audience to have access to all the great info we discuss here!

I’d love to hear what you all think of the video! And thanks to Clare for letting me know it had posted!

A last couple of things, and happy Easter!

I intended to be off the blog all week, but I feel like I didn’t properly wish you all a very blessed Holy Week and happy happy Easter!!

First, I wanted to share with you this really cool thing: One my dearest friends, who was one of my two original readers (the other being my mom) and has been so supportive and encouraging and helpful to me since I started the blog, referred a friend of hers to me when the friend was trying to come up with a name for a ministry she was starting. It was such fun to work on a project like this! And I was pretty pleased with the ideas I came up with, and she seemed to be too — I just recently read about her new ministry, sporting one of the names I’d suggested, and I’m really delighted to direct you all to her in case you have what she’s looking for. Check it out: The Madonna and Child Project by Alexandra Sullivan Photography (and be sure to check out her work, she’s so talented!).

Second, the consultation scheduled for Easter Monday is going to be a gooood one! The mama’s back again for help naming another baby, and she’s kind of well known in the Catholic blogosphere, and I canNOT wait to post my ideas for her! You’re all going to love it! Such a great way to celebrate Easter!

Finally, I’m going to try really hard to quiet my mind and focus my heart the next few days, which I haven’t found so easy lately, and I hope for the same for all of you during these days we remember Jesus’ Passion and Death, and of course when we celebrate His Resurrection! There’s such a cloud lifted when Lent is over, I always feel like I’ve been holding my breath for six weeks and now it’s time to breathe again. Have a beautiful next few days and weekend!! ❤🙏❤🙏❤🙏

New CatholicMom article up! And some housekeeping

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

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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!! 😁🎄🎁

Special for you, on the feast of St. Nicholas ❤

Happy feast of St. Nicholas to you all!! Isn’t it fun to have this little taste of Christmas a few weeks in advance? 🎅🎄🎁

Last night, on the eve of the feast, I finished a novena to St. Anne, in which I included all of you, with special mentions of those of you who are moms and dads or who want to be; those of you who are struggling with infertility, or struggling with taking care of the children you already have; for your babies here on earth and in heaven; and for any of you who aren’t married and would like to be. St. Anne is, after all, the patron of:

  • against sterility
  • childless people
  • expectant mothers
  • grandmothers
  • grandparents
  • mothers
  • pregnancy
  • pregnant women
  • women in labour
  • unmarried women

among other things (here and here).

This is the novena I used (though I read it out of my Mother’s Manual, which I can’t recommend highly enough, it’s a treasure), and I always love how it says,

Continue to intercede for me until my request is granted

It gives me such hope to know St. Anne’s prayers for us don’t end with the end of the novena, but continue until our requests are granted!

I have another gift for you all: today I’m opening my consultations back up! 🎉🎉🎉🎁🎁🎁 Thank you all for your patience!

I’ve spent the last couple of months finishing up the consultations I already had, as well as trying to figure out the best way to go from a donation-based system to a fee-based system. I think I have it figured out pretty well, and while I’ll no longer be doing them for free, I really wanted to be sure that no one feels like a consultation’s outside their budget if they really need help. So, here’s the deal:

Ordinary Consultation: $50
(“Ordinary,” like “Ordinary Time”! 😂 #liturgicalliving)
An Ordinary Consultation is basically what my consultation posts look like — thorough and full of ideas. Specifically:

  • minimum 5 names for each gender (or 10 for one gender only)
  • guaranteed delivery of consultation within 3 weeks of your email request (or by your due date, if you’re due sooner than 3 weeks from when you email me)
  • if I miss that 3-week deadline (due to the unexpectedies of being a mom or other unforeseen circumstances), I’ll refund half your money and do the consultation as soon as I can
  • guaranteed public post before your due date if you’d like one (I’ll post them on non-Mondays if all my Mondays are full); private consultations are also fine

Mini Consultation: $25
A Mini Consultation consists of:

  • 3 names for one gender only
  • guaranteed delivery of consultation before your due date (I’ll let you know how long I think it’ll take when you email)
  • a Monday post if available (if desired; private is also fine)

I’ve taken down my “Donate” button, and will send invoices instead, so if you’d like a consultation, please email me to let me know which one you’d like and your details (names you like and/or are considering; names of your other children; any other relevant info), and I’ll send you an invoice via PayPal.

Financial Aid
One of the things I like the most about the invoice system is that PayPal allows for invoices to be paid in installments, which is one way of helping make the consultations more affordable — you can pay as much or as little as you can until the full amount has been paid. (Be sure to let me know in your email if you’d like this option.)

I’m also happy to discuss alternative arrangements on a case-by-case basis, based on need — I don’t want anyone to feel excluded, Catholic name consultations are for everyone after all, just like the Church! 😁 — so please don’t hesitate to email me and see what we can work out!

Gift certificates are also available — I can make them up as needed (deliverable via email) if you’d like to give them (or receive them!) as gifts.

I thank you all for your enthusiasm and confidence in regards to these consultations! I’ll be grateful until the day I die that something I’ve loved for so long (i.e., names, and thinking of ideas for other people) is actually of value to others, and I feel blessed beyond measure that I’m able to share my love of our faith through my blog. ♥♥♥

Happy happy St. Nicholas Day!!