Sibling Project: Therese

I’ve still got St. Therese on my mind, three days after her feast day! 🌹

In July I asked for feedback regarding T(h)eresa for my Sibling Project, and at the time I wasn’t 100% sure whether I would do an entry for Therese or not. Ultimately I decided that I think Therese is different enough in style/feel that it needs its own entry, so here’s its post — we’ll see if I’m right!

As with Theresa, I actually don’t think Therese’s entry in the Baby Name Wizard is that far off:

Girls: Marianne, Louise, Bernadette, Nadine, Helene, Patrice

Boys: Gerard, Roland, Laurence, Claude, Armand, Jerome

I fully agree with the French feel and/or saintliness of Marianne, Louise, Bernadette, Gerard, and Jerome. But I do think the entry could use some tweaking, as I think I’m correct in saying that most of the families I see that have a Theresa variant use Therese, and not a lot of families use names like Nadine, Patrice, Claude, and Roland. The SSA data shows that overall Therese is “a bit downbeat” as Laura put it in the BNW — it’s fallen hard from its most recent peak at No. 252 in 1959 (it had a higher peak at No. 220 in 1927 before falling and rising again. I’m going out on a not-very-shaky limb and say that its 1927 peak was entirely due to our sweet St. Therese, who was beatified in 1923 and canonized in 1925).

therese

But it hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 1984!

So tell me about all the little Thereses you know! (“Little”=15 years old or younger.) How do they pronounce their name? Do they go by a nickname? What are their siblings’ names?

And beyond real-life examples, what names (for girls and boys) do you think are style matches for Therese?

Sibling Project: T(h)eresa

I’m really really enjoying working on the Sibling Project, and I hope you’re all finding it interesting and/or helpful! We’ve done Kateri and John Paul so far, and today’s post is thanks to Laura’s suggestion of Theresa, which she explains so well:

The [Baby Name Wizard] books suggestions tend to miss the Catholic rationale behind some of my favorite names. I was always horrified by the sibling suggestions for Theresa which I think is such a great name. I think a family using Theresa now is more likely to be a Catholic family rather than one that likes the names from mid-century.”

I actually think there’s an added problem as well — in the BNW, there’s only an entry for Teresa, with Theresa listed as an alternate spelling (which it is, of course, but I *think* people pick one spelling over the other for reasons that are related to favorite saints as well as stylistic preference and sometimes cultural/language considerations, which makes a difference).

The following names are listed as style matches for Teresa:

Girls: Cynthia, Pamela, Suzanne, Deborah, Colleen, Anita, Nina, Kathryn

Boys: Allen, Douglas, Russell, Mark, Paul, Stephen, Gregory, Philip

Just like Laura said, there’s a lot of mid-century going on there. I don’t disagree with Kathryn, Mark, Paul, Stephen, Gregory, and Philip because of the saintliness, but I do think T(h)eresa’s style/feel from our perspective is more well rounded.

What do you all think? Do you see a difference between Teresa and Theresa? Which do you prefer and why? Do you know any T(h)eresas (especially little ones, like younger than … 15?), and if so, what are their siblings’ names? Do they go by a nickname? Do you know why their parents chose the spelling they did? Do you hear different pronunciations (ter-EE-sah vs. ter-AY-sah, for example)?

I’m not totally sure how I’ll handle this entry on the SibPro page, being that it’s really for two names that I think might have different feels — maybe two different entries? We’ll see how it goes … if I have to post an addendum or follow-up questions next week I will. (I considered adding Therese in here too, but I don’t think the entry in the Baby Name Wizard is that far off, so I may not do an entry for it.)

Sibling Project: John Paul

You might have noticed that I started a new tab at the top of the page called “Sibling Project,” in which I explained what the project is and added Kateri as the first entry (I thank you all so much for your feedback on Kateri! I loved reading all your comments!). I can easily add new info, so if you haven’t yet shared the sibs’ names of the Kateris you know, just let me know!

Next up: John Paul, which doesn’t have its own entry in the Baby Name Wizard. One of the things that came out of the Kateri post that I loved was the difference between names you all thought were most like it in style, and names of real-life siblings of real-like Kateris. I LOVE seeing that Kateri fits in just as well with Anthony as with Ambrose, and with Tara as with Therese.

Here too, I’d love to know what names you think are most like John Paul in style, and what the siblings’ names are of John Pauls you know in real life. Also, how do the John Pauls you know spell their names? John Paul, John-Paul, JohnPaul, Johnpaul, or … ? And any nicknames they go by as well. Just to clarify, this only pertains to boys with the first name John Paul, not to boys with the first name John and the middle name Paul (though if their given name is John Paul and no other middle, and they go by the double John Paul, that counts). Thank you!!

 

 

Sibling Project: Kateri

You all know how I feel about the Baby Name Wizard book — basically that it’s a brilliant compilation and analysis of U.S. naming trends that tends to be uncannily accurate and presented in a way that’s insanely helpful. (You can read my full review of it here.) I lean on it heavily in all my consultations and in many name conversations, and I enjoy relaxing with it as straight reading material (and I always learn something new each time I flip through it).

But the deeper I get in Catholic naming, the more holes I see in the BNW data, and I get it — we’re a small subset of American parents and we follow naming rules that are often different from the majority — but I’d still love something that was basically an addendum to the BNW with a specifically Catholicky Catholic focus. Hence my idea for the Sancta Nomina Sibling Project: a database of the names that are similar to each other in terms of style/feel/popularity from an American Catholic perspective (so sorry to my foreign readers! I love you all, and I love all the info you share!).

For right now, this fancy-sounding database will just be here on the blog as a series of occasional posts seeking your feedback on one name at a time. I’m not a statistics guru like BNW author Laura Wattenberg, but I think just having this info handy in a sort of unofficial way will be really helpful to me and to many of you.

Today’s name is Kateri, because it’s the name whose entry drives me the battiest in the BNW — from our perspective, the names listed as similar are completely off base:

Girls: Shadi, Halona, Winema, Mahala, Chenoa, Nayeli
Boys: Sakrai, Chayton, Kohana, Wayra, Seattle, Enapay

I come across Kateri a lot through the blog, and not a one of the ones that I know have siblings with any of these names, or any Native American names in general.

So what I’d love to know from you is, if you know any little Kateris, could you share (using alt characters for privacy if you prefer) her siblings’ first names? Also, please include the pronunciation that each Kateri you know uses, and any nicknames that she goes by (that are related to Kateri, like Kate, not schnookums names like Honey Pie or others completely unrelated to Kateri). Thanks!

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!

 

 

Good name posts and beautiful Name products

I loved both of these recent posts on the Baby Name Wizard site:

Are Presidential Candidates Running Away From Their Own Names? (It’s all about nicknames! I was most intrigued by Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, Cara Carleton “Carly” Fiorina, and Piyush “Bobby” Jindal — Laura explains how each nickname came to be. The comments were good too.)

15 British Baby Names That Just Don’t Exist in America (Fascinating list! “The top 1,000 names lists from England and Wales include scores of names that don’t register in American stats at all. Let me emphasize that: these names aren’t just rare, they’re statistically nonexistent. Given that the most recent U.S. stats tally more than 30,000 names from Aaban to Zyyon, that’s saying something“)

And in light of my posts on the Holy Name of Jesus (here and here) I was loving these products from the Catholic Company:

An IHS Coffee Mug, where IHS is “the Holy Name of Jesus as it was written in the Gospels, is the first three letters of the Greek Spelling of the Holy Name of Jesus. The name “Jesus”, in Greek, is translated “ihsous.”” (Personalizable!)

IHS Coffee Mug

A Personalized IHS Prayer Card Holder, for all those holy cards we all have that “accumulate over time, often being stuffed in Bibles, missals, or prayer books which causes them be lost or forgotten.” (Personalizable!)

Personalized IHS Prayer Card Holder

These beautiful Jesus Beads, which I’d never heard of, but I loved this: “Jesus Beads originated in the tradition of the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Called a chotki, the strand may have as many as 100 beads or as few as 25. The chotki is traditionally used as a silent “breath prayer”, with “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God” prayed on inhalation and “have mercy on me, a sinner” prayed on exhalation. This is known as the Jesus Prayer, or the Prayer of the Heart, which invokes the Holy Name of Jesus and implores His divine mercy. (You can read about the “Jesus Prayer” in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 2665-2669)”:

Prayer to Jesus

2665 The prayer of the Church, nourished by the Word of God and the celebration of the liturgy, teaches us to pray to the Lord Jesus. Even though her prayer is addressed above all to the Father, it includes in all the liturgical traditions forms of prayer addressed to Christ. Certain psalms, given their use in the Prayer of the Church, and the New Testament place on our lips and engrave in our hearts prayer to Christ in the form of invocations: Son of God, Word of God, Lord, Savior, Lamb of God, King, Beloved Son, Son of the Virgin, Good Shepherd, our Life, our Light, our Hope, our Resurrection, Friend of mankind. . . .

2666 But the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: JESUS. The divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity The Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: “Jesus,” “YHWH saves.”16 The name “Jesus” contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray “Jesus” is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him.17

2667 This simple invocation of faith developed in the tradition of prayer under many forms in East and West. The most usual formulation, transmitted by the spiritual writers of the Sinai, Syria, and Mt. Athos, is the invocation, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.” It combines the Christological hymn of Philippians 2:6-11 with the cry of the publican and the blind men begging for light.18 By it the heart is opened to human wretchedness and the Savior’s mercy.

2668 The invocation of the holy name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always. When the holy name is repeated often by a humbly attentive heart, the prayer is not lost by heaping up empty phrases,19 but holds fast to the word and “brings forth fruit with patience.”20 This prayer is possible “at all times” because it is not one occupation among others but the only occupation: that of loving God, which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus.

2669 The prayer of the Church venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus just as it invokes his most holy name. It adores the incarnate Word and his Heart which, out of love for men, he allowed to be pierced by our sins. Christian prayer loves to follow the way of the cross in the Savior’s steps. The stations from the Praetorium to Golgotha and the tomb trace the way of Jesus, who by his holy Cross has redeemed the world.

Jesus Beads

Finally, Devotion to the Holy Face by Mary Frances Lester. I know it’s not specifically about the Holy Name, but I just discovered today that St. Therese’s full religious name was Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, so how coincidental to see this!

Devotion to the Holy Face

Happy Thursday night y’all! (Does anyone else wish it was okay for non-Southerners to use y’all? It’s so useful! I find it creeping into my thoughts though I usually edit it out of my speech … but not tonight! Also, aren’t Thursdays the best? My dad always says that Thursday’s the best day of the week because no one really minds going to work on Friday, since it’s the last day of the week and has a party feel of its own, so Thursday night especially feels kind of like the beginning of the weekend. I suppose that’s the idea behind Thursday nights being Going Out nights in college? So then maybe consider this your happy hour. 🙂 )

(Okay, one more story — my husband went out for a brief drink after work tonight with colleagues, and when he got home I meant to say, “How was happy hour?” but what came out was, “How was holy hour?” Bahaha! I’m still laughing!) 😀

Baby name consultant: Saintly, different first initials, easy to spell

Caitlin and her husband are expecting their third little one, gender unknown (another green bean!). Their daughters are named:

Claire Camille
Margaret Joyce (called Maggie)

Beautiful names! Caitlin writes,

Their middle names are our paternal grandmothers’ first names. We’d like to continue that tradition, so we have the following names left to work with:

Jacqueline
Shirley
Paul
Francis
William
Warren

We’d like all of our children’s first names to be their patron saints. We gravitate towards classic English/Irish/Scottish names to tie in with our cultural heritage and our last name — Burch … We would like to do different first initials for everyone … And it has to be easy to spell.”

To give you a further idea of their taste, for boys Caitlin and her husband have considered:

James
Thomas
Henry
Patrick
Peter
George
Benedict

And for girls:

Alice
Beatrice
Helen(a)
Felicity
Jane
Julia
Agnes

Lots of names to work with! After much thinking and musing and taking to my Baby Name Wizard book for ideas, I came up with several ideas for each gender — I always shoot for three, but I had four for each that seemed so spot on to me that I couldn’t narrow it down any further:

Girls
(1) Alice
I was so excited to see that Caitlin and her husband had discussed Alice! It was the first one I had on the list I’d made for her as I was reading her email! I love Alice as a sister to Claire and Margaret/Maggie, and from their family names, I really like the idea of Pauline for Paul — Alice Pauline has such a lovely ring to it, I love it.

(2) Lydia
Lydia is one of my favorite names, and I was delighted to see it pop up in my research. I love that it looks short-ish like Claire but has the same number of syllables as Margaret. I quite like Lydia Shirley or Lydia Jacqueline or Lydia Frances (for Francis of course).

(3) Louisa (nicked Lucy?)
Both Louisa and Lucy seemed like good options for this family — luckily I don’t think they have to choose! Lucy is such a natural nickname for Louisa in my opinion. Louisa totally has the Brit feel of Claire and Margaret, and Lucy is spunky and sweet. Louisa Jacqueline? Louisa Pauline? Louisa Frances?

(4) Eleanor or Violet
Charlotte and Eleanor were names that seemed spot on as sisters for Claire and Margaret, but Charlotte repeats the C initial, and at the time I did this consultation for Caitlin I was still of the opinion that Eleanor is not a saint’s name (I’ve since revised my thinking — there’s a good argument that it can be considered to be related to Helen(a), which was on the list of names Caitlin and her husband have discussed). Both Charlotte and Eleanor pointed me to Violet, and as soon as I saw it I thought it would work well — it can be considered Marian, which is so awesome. I really like Eleanor Frances, Eleanor Pauline, Violet Shirley, Violet Pauline, and Violet Frances.

Boys
(1) Henry
Like with Alice, Henry was my #1 suggestion for Caitlin even before I read that it’s one of the names they’ve discussed! Woo! I love Henry, and it seems a smashing brother name for Claire and Margaret. I like it best as Henry William, and Henry Francis has a really nice flow to it, but it always makes me think of Betty’s second husband in Mad Men (Henry Francis). I learned recently though that I’m dating myself by being influenced by Mad Men, so maybe it’s a non issue? It’s very handsome!

(2) Samuel or Benjamin
Samuel and Sam (Sam!) are great great names and a perfect fit for a brother of Claire and Margaret/Maggie. I like Samuel Francis best, but Samuel Warren works too. And Benjamin has a similar feel to me, and is a bit closer to the feel of Claire and Margaret than is Benedict (from their list), in my opinion. Benjamin Paul is nice because Benjamin is so long and Paul so short; I like Benjamin Francis a lot too.

(3) Edward or Edmund
I love Sts. Edward the Confessor and Edmund Campion — how to choose?! Haha! They’re both British-y, and they both have really cute nickname options (Ed/Eddie, Ted/Teddy, Ned … my dad even had a friend named Edward who went by Zeb!). Edward Francis, Edward William, Edward Warren, Edmund Francis all sound great to me.

(4) Joseph
What else to say? Joseph is classic, masculine, saintly, just. Joseph Paul, Joseph William, and Joseph Warren all work well; I’m not including Joseph Francis because of the ph and F running into each other, but I don’t hate it.

Those are my ideas! What do you all think? What other ideas do you have for a brother or sister to Claire and Maggie?