Baby name consultation: Third baby & third boy + cementing “naming style”

Erin and her husband are expecting their third baby — and third boy! Little Mister joins big brothers:

Dominic Andrew (“we love saint Dominic, it’s a strong name and has strong sounds (starts with a consonant, ends with the hard C/K sound). Andrew is my husbands name and we  liked keeping that in the family in a less formal way than a Jr.”)

Kolbe Jude (“Also a strong name and strong sounding name, after St. Maximilian Kolbe. I love that saint’s story, I love that he is a more recent saint. Jude- St. Jude worked many miracles for us the year leading up to Kolbe’s birth and it was a joy to honor him that way.”)

Both of which I looooove, totally my speed!

Erin writes,

I really like that, although not our intention, we have two saint names with deep Marian devotions AND middle names of original apostles. So, although it isn’t a deal breaker, it would be neat to continue that streak.

Our top choice, and the only name we agree on at the moment is: Oliver (after Oliver Plunkett). I like Oliver, but it is a departure from the way our other names “sound.” And, I’m really uncomfortable having only one name we both like … it feels like settling. Maybe the right middle name would make it fall into place?

We like Oliver Plunkett’s story because in today’s culture it is hard to be a faithful Catholic. We’d like any name-sake to be an example of how to live out the faith when facing persecution or other challenges.”

I love so so much the reasoning behind their love of St. Oliver’s story!

Names Erin likes include:


Names her husband likes include:

Isaac (for St. Isaac Jogues)
Fisher (for St. John Fisher)

Names they’ve previously considered but no longer want to use include:

John Paul

Finally, Erin says,

My own opinion is that our two names thus far have been strong, Catholic names, but nothing too out there. And, we are sort of cementing that pattern with number three– and I’d like to err on the side of slightly more unusual rather than more common.”

Alrighty, so I too love their pattern of first names=”saint’s name with deep Marian devotion” and middles=”names of original apostles”! Though I took a quick look online and couldn’t find anything that explicitly discussed St. Oliver’s Marian devotion, not only am I sure he had one, but I’ve also seen Olivia used to honor Our Lady of the Olives — so they could think of Oliver as a twofer! St. Oliver and Our Lady in one name!

As for middle names for it, I really like Oliver Nathaniel (Bartholomew was called Nathaniel in the Gospel of John), which I think is the most unusual of the remaining apostles’ names … or Oliver Levi (another name for the apostle Matthew) … Oliver James has a very Brit, bookish +feel, which I quite like … Oliver Thomas is solid and handsome … if they wanted to think outside of the original apostles, Matthias was chosen to replace Judas—I love Oliver Matthias, and like Nathaniel, it brings a little more of the unusual that Erin said she’d rather they err on the side of, an obviously biblical sparkle. And if they ventured even further into New Testament territory, something like Oliver Nicodemus would be amazing.

As for new ideas, I know what they mean about their third baby—especially being the same gender as their older two—really cementing their naming style. One of the ways to manage that, if they don’t want to get boxed in for the future, is to use three different styles for each of their three boys, and I actually think Oliver would do that: Dominic has a real Latin-y incense+monastery feel; Kolbe is a surname with a more modern feel; and Oliver’s Irishy and sweet. Going forward, they’d have three different feels to choose from, and good overlap between them.

Finding names that fit a “third category” was one of my goals when coming up with additional name ideas, and I also wanted to find names that I thought would have good overlap between Dominic’s and Kolbe’s styles — I think I have some good ideas. You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names with a similar style/feel/popularity; I also combed my own mental files and came up with:

(1) Roman
In thinking of that “third category” idea, I thought: Dominic is a first name, Kolbe is a surname, what about a name for a “thing”? Roman was the first idea I had in this category— it literally means “a Roman,” and it makes me think of the Pope, the Vatican, and the Church. I really like it with Dominic and Kolbe, and it was even listed as a style match for Dominic in the BNW! One of the down sides of “thing names” is that they tend to sound more like surnames than not, but I think Roman is a really good one because it’s not too surnamey, but having a bit of that feeling also makes it fit nicely with Kolbe. Two other names that I thought could fit in this category, though perhaps not as obvious to the outside world, are Tiber (for the Tiber River in Rome; “crossing the Tiber” is a phrase used by converts to Catholicism; one of our readers named her son Tiber) and Boon(e) (in the sense of “blessing, gift”), both of which I love. (Lots of other ideas here.)

(2) Fulton or Bennett
Beyond the idea of a third category, I loved the idea of finding names that would “straddle” the two styles Erin and her hubs have used already (and of course I’m only calling them “two styles” in order to find other names that fit … they certainly both fit squarely in the “super saintly” category)—so I thought a name that has equal-ish use as a first name and a surname would do so. Fulton was the first idea I had—though it was Fulton Sheen’s mom’s maiden name, everyone knows it as his first name. The other idea was Bennett, which is a medieval form of Benedict, which is how the surname arose—I know a few little Bennetts, and it’s certainly recognizable as a surname as well.

(3) Simon or Gabriel
Finally, I thought another way to manage their styles going forward would be to switch the order of the names—instead of sticking with a really saintly first name and New Testament middle (I’m using “New Testament” rather than “original apostles” in order to include Gabriel, which I think is a great fit for them!), perhaps they could consider their pattern to be “one name from the New Testament, and one that’s really saintly.” To that end, I thought Simon would be a great fit for a first name. It reminds me a lot of Oliver—it has a similar bookish, academic feel, and is of course one of the original twelve. I thought of Simon Peter as a combo being a good one for this family—it brings in that heavy hitting feel of Dominic and Kolbe—and then I thought of Pierce, which is a variant of Peter, so Simon Pierce would really be “Simon Peter,” but Pierce has an added Marian element in that one of our readers said she knows someone who named her son Pierce after the Prophecy of Simeon (“a sword will pierce [Mary’s] heart”). Cool, no? And Gabriel’s a style match for Xavier, Isaac, and Samuel, and so tied with Our Lady through the Annunciation, as well as being a New Testament name.

And those are my ideas for Erin and her husband’s new baby boy! What do you all think? What would you suggest for the little brother of Dominic and Kolbe, if they end up not going with Oliver?

Naming after women

I spent a few minutes in the Baby Name Wizard discussion forums this morning as I ate my breakfast, and saw a comment containing a sentiment that I see with some regularity over there and that kind of irks me every time I see it:

I think it’s totally lovely to honor a mother with a name for a change (I know lots of men who name their sons after themselves, either as juniors outright or using variant forms or middle names, but very few women who do so).”

I don’t even disagree with the comment! I know it’s more common for a dad to have a son named after himself than for a mom to have a daughter named after herself. And the commenter herself is one I highly respect, as her thoughts are *always* well balanced and fair. But I feel testy and defensive when I see things like “honor a mother with a name for a change” and “lots of men who name their sons after themselves” — probably because I feel like it’s a tentacle of a whole “down with the patriarchy!” thought process that usually includes the “old men in white hats in Rome.” Blah.

Anyway, my contrarian Rome-loving self immediately thought of lots of examples, old and new, of people (babies and olders) being named after women. My mom, for one example, was half named for her mom (I saw “half” because her mom’s name was Anne, and my grandfather wanted to name my mom Anne — imagine that! A man! Wanting to name his baby girl after his beloved wife! But my grandmother wanted to name her one of the names-of-the-day: Susan. So they compromised with Susanne). My sister has my mom’s name as one of her middle names. My paternal grandfather was given his mom’s maiden name as a first name. Before I had so many boys, I’d always planned to work one or more elements of my name into one or more of my daughters’ names.

Moving farther afield from moms naming daughters after themselves, my youngest son’s first name is for my mother-in-law and his middle name for my mom. Julianamama shared that she knows a dad with a great devotion to St. Margaret who named his son Garrett after her! (I died when I read that! Brilliant!)

I’ve done two posts (On my bookshelf: A Dictionary of English Surnames and Girl names turned surnames) highlighting how various surnames are originally metronymics (identifying a person by his or her mother), or diminutives of female first names that became surnames, or perhaps arising from religious devotion to a female saint — like Marriot (from Mary), Ebbetts (from Isabel), Scollas (from Scholastica, specifically for St. Scholastica, according to Reaney & Wilson), and Emmett (from Emma). All of these would be fine and interesting for a child to be named, and they’re all feminine in origin (even if the parents don’t realize it or it wasn’t their intent). And I did a couple posts on current men religious who took their Mother Mary’s name as part of their new religious names: Eleven new Dominican priests and Men Who Love Mary: MFVA (a whole Order of men who take Mary as part of their new name! And one had Therese as well!), never mind all the male saints with Mary in their names: St. Clement Mary/Maria Hofbauer (depending on what you’re reading), St. Maximilian Mary/Maria Kolbe, St. Anthony Mary Claret, St. Jean Marie Vianney, St. Josemaria Escriva … who else?

I’d love to know what stories you all have of moms naming their daughters or sons after themselves or similar family stories, and whether you know any Brothers or Priests with female saints’ names, or boys who have taken a female saint’s name for a Confirmation name. It’s not all oppression, people. (I’m done ranting now. 🙂 )



Bonus consultation: Baby girl for family with eclectic taste

One of the things I find really fun is when a family has several children with names covering a bunch of different styles — I love seeing parents who just use names they like! But even in such situations, it’s not usually too hard to find a thread of a theme (or themes) running through the kids’ names, and I find it so fun to look for it and see what I find.

The family whose consultation I’m posting today is one such, and the reason I wanted to post it. Sara and her husband are expecting their fifth baby, and third girl! Their older kiddos are:

Kolbe Conrad (boy)
Jameson Clare (girl)
Elsie Jo (girl)
Jude Francis (boy — in heaven)

Such a fun, interesting set! And each combo is full of meaning:

Kolbe is named after St. Maximillian Kolbe and his middle name is a family name, until recently I didn’t know there was a St. Conrad (thanks to your blog!). Jameson is named after my father in law who was diagnosed with brain cancer while I was pregnant with her. Elsie was my maternal grandmother’s name, and Jo is my husbands maternal grandmother’s name. We loved the name Jude because he is the patron saint of hope. With that being said, I want this baby’s name to have just as much meaning.”

I love how Sara and her hubs have honored their family members in the naming of their children — there are so many ways to do so! I was particularly interested to see Jameson, as I have a girl cousin named Jameson, and before her I hadn’t ever seen the name on a girl. She too has a very feminine middle name like Sara’s Jameson Clare, which I quite like.

Names that Sara and her hubs have considered for this baby girl include:

Finley (“my husband likes this, I’m not a fan“)
Philomena (“this is Kolbe’s pick…sisterly love!“)

And names on the no-go list:


The names they’re considering are just as eclectic as the names they’ve already used — I love them! And I was really eager to see what names my research would yield! You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I knew Kolbe, Jameson-for-a-girl, and Faustina wouldn’t be in there, but I thought/hoped that Conrad, Jameson-for-a-boy, Elsie, Jude, Finley, Philomena, Hope, Rose, and Ruth would give an accurate picture.

I also picked through my own mental files and looked back in my blog, and I came up with a few ideas as well.

So! All that said, these are my ideas:

(1) Greer or Grier
In trying to figure out if there was any thread(s) of a theme that ran through their taste in names (as evidenced by the names they’ve already used and the ones on their list), I thought surnames-as-first-names (Kolbe, Jameson) and unisex-ish names for girls (Jameson, Finley) were two themes that were apparent. Greer (or Grier) immediately came to mind—it’s one of my favorite names, a unisex-ish first name (though definitely skewing more female in recent years, a la actress Greer Garson, which makes it a nice bridge name between the more masculine Jameson and the very feminine Elsie) that’s also a surname, and it’s got saintly connections as well as it’s a variant of Gregory!

(2) Meike
Another thread that seemed to run through their name choices was a Germanic element, as seen in Kolbe, Conrad, Elsie, and Philomena, which led me to think of Meike right away, another of my favorites. It’s a German diminutive of Maria, said like Micah, so it has a boyish feel to it even though it’s a feminine name. And it’s Marian! I’m always swoony over Marian names!

(3) Ruby
I also thought there was a little bit of an “old lady” feel to some of their ideas, like Elsie, Philomena, Faustina, Rose, and Ruth. Ruby was listed in the BNW as a match for both Jude and Rose, and it also reminded me a bit of the feel of Greer—a little bit brassy and a lot old Hollywood starlet. I spotlighted Ruby here, offering some faithy connections.

(4) Landry
Landry was also a suggestion I got from the BNW, a style match for Finley and the English & French variant of the Germanic name Landric., which I always go to for name meanings/origin/history, says it’s a masculine name (there are a few Sts. Landry, all male), but it’s listed in the BNW as feminine, which made me think Sara and her hubs might find it appealing (the Social Security Administration says it was #858 for boys in 2015 and #918 for girls, so pretty even matched). It’s got a really pretty sound!

(5) Mercy (or Mercedes?)
Mercy was inspired by Hope, of which it’s a style match per the BNW, but also this Jubilee Year of Mercy, which they are so lucky to be having a baby born in! I do worry that maybe Elsie and Mercy share too many sounds? Especially with their birth order being next to each other? In which case, I think Mercedes could work—it means “mercies” and also points to Our Lady of Mercy (as does Mercy, of course, Marian names for the win!), and has a more international feel than Mercy, which fits in nicely with their other kids. I discussed Mercedes more here.

(6) Saintly surnames
Finally, I couldn’t help but think of the saintly surnames that I think would be great matches for Kolbe, so I thought I’d list a bunch of them here:
— Avila (for St. Teresa of Avila and/or St. John of Avila)
— Cabrini (for Mother Cabrini/St. Frances Xavier Cabrini)
— Goretti (for St. Maria Goretti)
— Siena (for St. Catherine of Siena and/or St. Bernardine of Siena)
— Talbot (for Bl. Matt Talbot, read more here from a mom who considered Talbot for her daughter)

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Sara and her husband, based on the names they’ve already used and those they like?

Celebrity guest: Lindsay from My Child I Love You

Happy feast of St. Edith Stein, aka St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross! The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist posted about her today on FB, and I thought this bit from their post was so beautiful:

Teresa died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1942 at the age of fifty-one … Out of the unspeakable human suffering caused by the Nazis in western Europe in the 1930’s and 1940’s, there blossomed the beautiful life of dedication, consecration, prayer, fasting, and penance of Saint Teresa. Even though her life was snuffed out by the satanic evil of genocide, her memory stands as a light undimmed in the midst of evil, darkness, and suffering.”

Evil will. not. win.

It’s also my second boy’s tenth birthday! He’s so excited about his birthday — he’s only been waiting for it for the last eleven months and three weeks — so we’re in full-on celebration mode here! 🎉🎈🎆 So it’s just the perfect day for this post, which I’m so excited about. First, an introduction:

Lindsay blogs at My Child I Love You about life with her husband and their beautiful children. Many many times my the-world-is-getting-me-down moments have been soothed by the sweetness and simplicity of her posts and photos, and I followed with desperate prayerfulness her youngest born baby’s pre-birth omphalocele diagnosis (here and here) and post-birth struggles (here and here), and Lindsay’s beloved mother’s battle with cancer (and her doctors-say-it’s-not-but-for-her-and-her-family-it-is miraculous healing!) and a recent (but not only) miscarriage.

Lindsay’s faith shines through every post and photo and word I’ve ever seen come from her, and it does so in another way as well: her children’s names. Oh her children’s names!! I admit they’re what caught my attention in the first place, when I first happened upon her blog when her No. 7 was a baby, and I eagerly awaited the revelation of the names of Nos. 8 and 9. I’ve learned from her so much more of what’s possible in bestowing names of our faith. I love how eclectic and outside-the-box her children’s names are while still being firmly and explicitly rooted in our faith, and I wouldn’t even know where to begin if I were to try to come up with ideas for her for her Baby No. 10 because, yes, she’s expecting a new little one this winter!! How wonderful!!

Despite the fact that I don’t know her in real life, I really craved a good name conversation with Lindsay, and so I was delighted when she agreed to do a guest post about “names” — just that! — I didn’t even want to narrow it down any further than that, because I wanted to hear everything! But of course a question-and-answer format is easier, so I asked all the questions I could think of, and she graciously and patiently answered each one. I hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I did!



Kate: Where do you look for name inspiration? (I don’t want to confuse the question and I’d love your gut-reaction answer, but this also might help: Do you draw exclusively from saints to whom you already have a devotion, or do you sometimes happen upon a name you like and then seek to cultivate a devotion to that saint?)

Lindsay: I look everywhere for name inspiration. Of course, saints are my surest go-to, but I also enjoy researching countries that have Catholic beginnings, Catholic places of worship, towns that the great and maybe hidden saints came from as to honor that wonderful place this saintly person walked in. It is wonderful to explain the origins of the name Clairvaux or Lourdes. I love how our faith infiltrates every piece of God’s wonderful land. California couldn’t scream CATHOLIC loud enough. San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Bernardino. We could go on an on. San Antonio, Texas. St. Augustine, Florida. St. Louis, Missouri. I love that God leaves His handprint everywhere.

Europe is separate story all by itself. The vastness of Catholicism is overwhelming to me when I think of Europe and its historical beauty. There are so many stories to be told. I love dissecting the French towns to discover their origins and what wonderful person once lived there.

I also love the “little” spiritual guys. I love their massive stories that God has not yet revealed in their fullness to the world quite yet because his timing is ALWAYS perfect and each story is destined for a specific point in history. I think of St. Thomas More. The grandness of his story didn’t surface until 500 years after his death. His virtue was actually forgotten for centuries. God wasn’t ready for him yet!

I love the stories of Titus Brandsma, Emil Kapaun, Frank Quinn, Marthe Robin, Luisa Piccaretta, Bl. Matt Talbot, Fr. Gereon Goldmann and Bl. Andre Bessette. The stories of these holy and brave men and women who lived their lives for Christ motivate me to constantly focus on why we were even created.

I take their names and take them apart like a scientist. I look up French versions of their names. I look up different nationalities and check to see how they pronounce certain names. I read about the towns they come from and how those towns or cities were established. This is where Catholicism is often discovered in the deepest crevices of our lives.

Biographies have always been my favorite genre of literature. I read about their devotions and try to fit that into the name. For example, Matt Talbot had a huge devotion to Our Lady. I was trying to work that into Lourdes’ name. He also loved St. Louis de Montfort. At one point, her name was going to be Talbotts Marie-Monfort. We went a different direction due to a small stirring of events, but I still love it. It fit everyone in the name we wanted to honor. St. Louis de Montfort’s 30-day consecration played a very pivotal role in John and I’s relationship. At one point, we were discerning if God was calling us not to the married vocation, but to the religious life. We prayed the consecration with open hearts and on one of the final days, a priest friend, Fr. John Heisler, visited unexpectedly and pointed us to marriage after much discussion. We promised to pray a Hail Mary for him everyday the rest of my life.

Kate: I’d love to hear your name story for each of your children, if you don’t mind sharing!

Lindsay: Here is the name story of each of our children:

Each of our children have some version of the name Mary in their name.

1. Dominic Savio Joseph Mary George Boever
Topping the charts of my favorite saints is St. John Bosco. He is the patron of our homeschool. As I child, I was so touched by his love of children and his desire that each child know they were wanted. I read anything I could find on him. One of his holiest students was St. Dominic Savio. We didn’t even hesitate to name our first son after this saintly little boy. He had such God-given wisdom at such a young age. Ironically, our Dominic is so much like his patron. St. Dominic Savio’s story has made an impression upon our Dominic’s soul. My mother described our Dominic so perfectly, “It is as if God has taken a hold of his soul.” Our sons have a a version of Mary and the name Joseph in their middle name. Dominic chose George as his Confirmation name.

2. Lillie Maria Goretti John Paul Boever
It is always funny to me how names come and go. Our girl name when I was pregnant with Dominic was Vianney. We had offered our marriage for an increase in priestly vocations and being that St. John Vianney is the patron of priests, we wanted to honor him in this way. PLUS, St. John Vianney is also one of my very favorite stories. He modeled the motto “Do small things well” so perfectly in the little town of Ars. He is a model for all those who think that their little hidden lives are not enough. During my pregnancy with Lillie, John mentioned the name of Lillie. I had carried 14 white lilies in my wedding bouquet to honor St. Maria Goretti and her willingness to die for the virtue of purity and chastity. For those not familiar with St. Maria Goretti’s story, she was stabbed 14 times by young Alessandro Serenelli who wanted her to do impure acts. What a wonderful patron for a young woman. She chose St. John Paul II for her Confirmation name.

*We lost our 3rd child Benedict Joseph Labre Mary Boever to miscarriage at 8 weeks.

4. Rose Marie-Therese Boever
John loved the name Rose. St. Therese is known for her love of roses. So going along with the theme of lilies corresponding with St. Maria Goretti, we gave Rose her name with the same intention. Rose was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen and with the sweetest temperament to match. As she has gotten older, Rose has developed such fondness for St. Rose of Lima. She is going to pick Ven. Solanus Casey for her Confirmation name.

*We lost our 5th child Margaret Mary Alacoque Boever to miscarriage at 6 weeks.

6. Zellie Marie-Guerin Boever
(pronounced Zellie like jelly with a Z)
We were slowly leaning into a French naming trend. We joked that the girls would love being known as their father’s beautiful bouquet as we had a Lillie, Rose, and now Zellie.

(St. Zelie Guerin’s real name is Azelie or Azalia after the flower azalea.) I read a few books about then Bl. Zelie Martin and admired her tender mothering ways. It is really cute as our Zellie LOVES her name.

*We lost our 7th child Francis Mary Xavier to miscarriage at 6 weeks.

8. Vianney Jean-Marie Boever
(pronounced Vee-on-ee)
Vianney has such an amazing story name to me. Like I mentioned above, we loved the name Vianney with our first pregnancy and then it faded to the background. During my pregnancy with her, God had not shown us a girl name. We had actually forgotten all about the name Vianney. I was driving home from bible study and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I called John, “If we have a girl, her name should be Vianney.” He couldn’t have agreed more. We didn’t know she was a girl until delivery, but I knew she was going to be a girl because her name was written on my heart. At her baptism, Monsignor Nemec asked us if we knew that Pope Benedict had just declared this coming year “The Year of Priests and St. John Vianney.” NO! We had no idea. He was a bit confused and asked again if we had any idea. We had no idea and it was so interesting to us that her name was revealed to us at that specific time for that year. I love her story so much.

9. Clairvaux Marie-Frances Boever
(pronounced Clare-vough: like hairbow)
We have mutual friends who have a daughter named Clairvaux. Keeping with my love of French sounding names, I knew we would have a Clairvaux. My uncle is a monk at the Clear Creek Monastery in Oklahoma. We lived in Oklahoma for four years while John was in medical school. We visited the monastery often and one monk stood out to me. His name was Fr. Francis Defeydo. Before entering the monastery in France, he was an accomplished and decorated French navy pilot. His parents were very upset with his decision to give his life to Christ. He was so handsome and given so many worldly gifts, yet he gave it all up for Christ. He had such a humble way about him that really intrigued us.

The year our Clairvaux was born, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died a very holy death. My mother and I visited his grave a couple months before Clairvaux was born so we knew we wanted to honor his heroic life in our new baby’s name. Hence, the Frances in her name.

10. Damaris Catherine-Mary Boever
(pronounced Duh-Mare-iss)
We were stumped with naming Damaris. She was nameless until the last few hours of our stay in the hospital. She was such a beautiful baby and we couldn’t find a name to match the face we were staring into. My mother’s name is Damaris which means “of Mary” and John’s mother’s name is Catherine. The name Damaris is mentioned by St. Paul in Acts and there is also a St. Damaris of Athens. After debating several names, her name came to us to honor all three of our mothers.

11. Kapaun Joseph Mary Boever
(pronounced K-pen)
We are still getting over the thrill of having another little boy. We love our girls so much and after six in a row, we pretty much knew we were going to have girls from here on out! When I heard the words, “It’s a BOY”, they might have well said, “It’s a unicorn!” What??? Let me see this mythical creature I heard of named “boys” yet have not seen for many years. It was so fun. I had read about Fr. Emil Kapaun during his pregnancy. His heroism and devotion to others had me at hello. I admired how he spent his hidden days in the camp scurrying from tent to tent tending to the wounded while HE HIMSELF was wounded. The prisoners were given one rice patty a day. They were starving. One day, four men were fighting over a rice patty and Fr. Kapaun stepped in and said, “Here! Have mine! I don’t want it.” Then, proceeded to cut his small rice patty into fourths. The men were taken aback by his humbleness. Although he is well-known for his selfless ways, he was fearless in his defense of the faith. He was such a meek and mild fellow, but if the guards mocked Our Lord, he called them out every time often taking terrible punishments for doing so. We loved him. I mentioned to John that if we would ever have another boy, we should name him Kapaun. Also, Fr. Emil Kapaun’s confirmation name is Joseph so that fit perfectly with putting Mary and Joseph in our son’s name. There is a shrine in Pilsen, Kansas to Fr. Emil Kapaun. We have not been, but someday we will take our Kapaun there to show him that wonderful man who loved Christ so much.

12. Lourdes Marie-Talbot Boever
(pronounced Loo-ahrds, not Loor-dees like the Spanish pronunciation)
Lourdes has a very long story. You can read about her story HERE. To sum up her name, she was going to be named many things during her pregnancy. About a month before delivery, the doctors decided to induce on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes due to her health concerns. My mom texted me later that week and said, “Lindsay, I know her name. Lourdes Marie-Talbot Boever. She is supposed to tell the world about Our Lady of Lourdes.” I called John and he, too, was convinced of her name.

Fast forward a few weeks, I was visiting my grandmother and she was casually telling me about her visit to Ireland several years back. We were discussing back and forth about Matt Talbot and his Irish ways and devotions. She loves Matt Talbot and I mentioned he was my confirmation name. My grandmother told me about finding his shrine in Ireland by mistake and it was at this one church, “Ummm, let me see. Our Lady of Lourdes. Matt had a huge devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes.” NO WAY!!! I had no idea. I screeched, “That is what we are naming this baby!! ” How did God do that? He tied everything together so perfectly.

The date she was being induced. The saint we had been praying to and HIS favorite devotion. All into one name! Crazy to us!

13. We lost our 13th child to miscarriage in early 2016. We have not named this baby yet. We are still waiting to discover the name.

14. I am due December 5th with our 14th child. We have a smashing boy’s name that we love. We have narrowed the girl’s name down to three possibilities.

Kate: What role does John play in naming our children? Do you each come up with ideas, or is it more like you suggest names and he says yes or no?

Lindsay: John and I share the exact same naming desires. He loves the deep meanings as much as I do. He loves the heroism of the saints like Fr. Emil Kapaun. I am probably the Sherlock Holmes and he is the Watson. I am constantly looking, reading, investigating, and telling him about someone new I read about. I would be lost without his Captain Obvious skills in pointing out the nicknames that might arise if certain names are given to our children. (i.e. Ben Boever [bend over] — probably shouldn’t name a child Ben. Although, we did name the baby we miscarried Benedict)

Kate: Do you take nicknames into account when you’re choosing first names? Like, maybe you like a nickname and back-fit into a first name from there (you like Beth so you choose Elizabeth)? Or you hate the nickname Sam so you cross off Samuel/Samson/Samantha from your list of considerations? Or do you just choose names you love and don’t mind the nicknames that arise naturally?

Lindsay: Nothing is off limits. Like I mentioned above, I feel like a scientist to the degree that I take apart names and dissect them like no other. I love discovering the deeper meaning and origins to each particular name all the way back to Greek and Latin roots. I love discovering who which saints had devotions to. I love knowing the saints’ confirmation name, their parents’ names, where they were born, which parish they attended, which convent or monastery they were apart of, which symbols are associated with them. I love discovering what they loved and honoring them in that way.

We have a terrible case of the nicknames. Our poor children. I don’t know how to break the habit. Everyone has so many nicknames that it really should bring into question why we spend so much time giving them their legal name. I love it though!

Kate: What are some of your ideas that you never got to use? Or that you’d love to see others use that might not be quite right for you?

Lindsay: My sister, Kristin, is married to man that immigrated from the Ukraine when he was 8-years-old. There are 16 children in his family. Their culture, families, and food are so fascinating. I LOVE all their names, but they certainly have a Russian tone. We aren’t Russian so they just don’t quite work. A few that stick out are Reuvum, Edict, Slavic, and Milana. I love so many Russian names, but they just don’t fit our Irish/German/French heritage.

I also love the idea of Irish names with their unique spellings and pronunciations.

Kate: I think I remember that you’re from a big family, is that right? And your husband as well? So you probably have a bunch of nieces and nephews—what do you think about cousins sharing names? Or even the children of a close circle of friends?

Lindsay: Yes! I am the second of ten children. John is the second of eight children. God has given our children many cousins on both sides which is so very wonderful. John’s parents have 40 grandchildren so far and my parents have 31 grandchildren so far. We both have siblings that are newly married and several unmarried. We look forward to each new birth like it is the first. There is no greater joy than baby days in our families. It truly is wonderful and celebrated each time.

Amongst our families, everybody is so wonderful about sharing names and actually, I think most would deem it an honor if someone used the name that you have already used. Ironically, we don’t have any doubles yet. I love the names everyone has chosen and some that stick out are Scholastica, Athanasius, Magnus, Avila, Abraham, Rome, Edith, and Marian. Although, I love all the names our siblings have picked out. Everyone is so thoughtful and intentional with their names.

Now amongst our friends, it is a different story in regards to repeating names. We live in Lincoln, Nebraska and Catholicism is certainly alive and well in this wonderful place. There are many repeats and it certainly seems that everyone just knows that LIFE is certainly in abundance in our parishes so names are going to be repeated. It truly is a wonderful problem to have. I love gatherings especially when there are 7 Georges present, 5 Peters and 3 Marias.

Kate: You told me you’ve helped some of your friends with their baby naming—would you mind sharing some of your favorite final results?

Lindsay: Oh Yes! I think my close friends know my love for beautiful names. I had a few friends ask what names I had discovered during their pregnancies.

1. My friend Kristi has five children. She loves traditional and family rooted names. With their 4th child (baby girl), they were stuck on what to name her. I woke up one morning, called her and said, “Her name should be Evelyn.” Kristi immediately went, “YES! That’s it!” Come to find out, it was a family name and worked out so perfect.

2. My friend Leah was pregnant with their 4th child. They had three boys and asked what baby girl names I had been cooking up. They specifically wanted a biblical name. They liked unique, yet shorter names. I suggested, “Lael.” She immediately said, “YES! That’s it.” ‘Lael’ means ‘one who belongs to God.’

3. My friend Emily and I were sitting one afternoon watching our girls during ballet practice. We were both due about the same time with our 8th babies. I was due a few weeks before her. We were talking names and mentioned they were stuck on what to name their baby boy. I said, “Here! Name him this! I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote ‘Campion’ for St. Edmund Campion.” I told her if we had a boy, which we probably won’t, but if we do, we will name him either Kapaun or Campion. She loved it and said her husband was just reading about St. Edmund Campion. Well, I DID have a boy and we named him Kapaun. When Kapaun was born, she texted me and asked if she could really use the name Campion. OF COURSE!!! Do it! So now we have Kapaun Boever and Campion Villa a few weeks apart. She told me she kept that piece of paper I wrote his name on and put it in his baby box. I love that story!

Wasn’t that just the most wonderful interview?! Aren’t you just as a-swoon with Lindsay’s naming sensibilities as I am? So very many thanks to Lindsay for giving us a peek inside the Boever Family Naming Process, and please all remember to pray for her and her baby and family!


Baby name consultant: Kolbe’s little brother

Happy feast of St. Dominic!! 🙌🐕🐾🙏 It’s a special one too, because this year is the Dominicans’ 800th annivesary of its founding!!

(Off topic but on topic, that link brings you to an interview about this Jubilee Year with Fr. Cassian Derbes, OP. Cassian!)

Being a lay Dominican, today is always a special day for me, and I’m feeling celebratory 🎉🎉🎉 so not only do I have this consultation for you today (I LOVE the Monday consultation posts!), but I have a special treat for you all tomorrow, which is also the feast of St. Edith Stein AND my No. 2’s tenth birthday! I can’t wait for you to see it! What a great couple of days!

But first! Tori and her husband are expecting heir second baby, a second boy! She writes,

Our oldest is Kolbe Daniel. Daniel is my husband’s name and we both really love St. Maximilian. We were considering naming him Eli Augustine which we still like. Other names that were thrown around were:


And if he was a girl we were thinking Stellamaris.

For this baby we are really liking Blaise … not sure about middle names and that’s the only name we’ve seriously talked about. If he was a girl we were thinking Azelie.”

Well I just love this family’s style — I’m a huge fan of all these names!

I so much enjoyed working on this not only because I love their taste in names but also because it’s pretty fun that they have, in a sense, a pretty clean slate with only Kolbe’s name and a few names they like to use as inspiration.

I was interested to note that Xavier, Blaise, and Azelie all share a prominent Z sound, but I couldn’t think of others that I thought Tori and her hubs might like– I’d be interested in any ideas you all had for Z-sound boy names that would fit with Kolbe.

You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity, but it’s not always helpful for those who love Catholicky Catholic names as this family does—Kolbe, Azelie, and Stellamaris aren’t included in the book, for example. But never fear—I was able to come up with quite a few ideas for based on the names that *are* in the BNW (Eli, Lucas, Xavier, Blaise, Stella) as well as my own ideas.

So! All that said, I did also want to just say that starting with a saintly surname (Kolbe) presents a somewhat of an interesting situation in that most of the names that I would say are most similar to Kolbe’s style are other saintly surnames (I did a post on them a while ago), but if Tori and her hubs choose another saintly surname for their second baby, will they feel like they’ve cornered themselves into a particular style?

I spent some time thinking about that and decided that I think going with another name that seems obviously surnamey—like Vianney or Bosco—for their second baby might very well create that boxed-in feeling. For some reason, it feels different to me than if they named their first two babies with names beginning with K—in general, I would say that a theme hasn’t been created until three or more babies are so named, but the last-name-as-first-name thing is tripping me up!

I decided, though, that I think Xavier is the kind of surname that would be totally fine to use for their second baby because of the fact that it’s been used as a first name for so long that a lot of people (especially non-Catholics) don’t know it started as a surname.

I do think that if they have a bunch of kids, there’s no problem at all with having some with saintly surname names and some with regular first names as long as they’re all interspersed, does that makes sense? Eli and Lucas are both great options that would help mix it up (I’d also love it if they wanted to move Augustine from the middle spot to the first name spot. Or August? Or Ambrose? Ooh — Ambrose has a prominent Z sound! At least the way I say it … maybe that would appeal? I love the nickname ideas Sam, Bram, and Brody).

Of course if Tori and her hubs hate all of what I’m saying, then I hope they know I expect them to completely disregard it! My only hope is to be a help, not to add stress! In the end, giving your children names you love is a great gift.

Okay! So these are my other ideas for this little guy:

(1) Fulton
As with Xavier, I feel like Fulton would be a fine choice for Kolbe’s little brother, since it started as a last name but most people know it as Fulton Sheen’s first name.

(2) John Paul, JohnPaul, Johnpaul, John-Paul
John Paul (or however they’d want to spell it) is such a great match for Kolbe in my opinion! It’s obviously faithy and thought it’s two names together, they’re short names so the whole thing is only two syllables, which seems the length that Tori and her hubs are drawn to.

(3) Bennett
I almost listed Benedict, but Benedict doesn’t seem quite right to me for this family—a bit clunkier maybe than I think they might like—so Bennett seems a great option. It’s a medieval diminutive of Benedict, and it’s got a surname feel (and of course some usage that way), as well as the awesome nickname Ben.

(4) Leo
Leo is an awesome little package of a name—masculine, traditional, and saintly (Pope St. Leo the Great!).

(5) Gabriel
Gabriel’s a style match for both Lucas and Xavier, and I consider it to be a Marian name as well (for the Annunciation). It’s one of my favorite names for boys—full of faith significance, and the friendly nickname Gabe is great (I’ve also seen Gil, which I looove).

(6) Jude
Finally, Jude, for our beloved St. Jude Thaddeus. Awesome name, awesome patron. I did a spotlight on it here.

What do you all think of these ideas? What other name(s) would you suggest for Kolbe’s little brother?

The Saintly Heart boys

I follow Maggie from Saintly Heart on Instagram (she’s also on FB, and this is her web site), and she was recently telling me about her boys’ names, which I just love, so I asked her if I could share them with all of you and she said yes! Woo!

Her handsome boys are named:

Blaise Emil (after St. Blaise and Servant of God Emil Kapaun)
Savio Michael (after St. Dominic Savio and St. Michael)

Sooo handsome, right?! I’ve never seen Savio used as a first name before, but I like it!! Maggie writes,

My husband and I are huge Saint lovers … We love sharing the faith when people ask us where’d we come up with those names. Most people think ‘Blaze’ as in fire so we get to catechize there and then our little Savio gets the most unique questioning and we get to share about the sweet St. Dominic Savio then!

I love love love the idea of evangelizing through names — I think it’s one of the most fun and easy ways to do so, and it can really make a difference to those who hear the stores of how the names were chosen and to whom they refer.

Thanks to Maggie for sharing!!

Savio Michael (left) and Blaise Emil (right)

Cemetery headstones

I’ve been visiting my mother-in-law’s grave at the cemetery a fair bit since she died — I find it really soothing to pray for her and my grandparents who are also there, and then I usually walk for a bit, looking for surnames I recognize or fresh graves and saying prayers for them and all those buried there. I hope it’s not weird to say it’s been really lovely and grounding to do so. One day recently I had just my youngest with me, and he wanted to be held, and he put his head on my shoulder, and we just walked and listened to the birds and smelled the breeze and said Hail Marys (and I might have cried a little) (or a lot) (my kids are used to it, I’m a crier).

I’ve also been noticing names — first and last — and taking pictures in order to share them with you. I posted one on Instagram the other day of Br. Joachim’s headstone — he was a Redemptorist brother I knew when I was small, but embarrassingly I’d totally forgotten about him until I saw his grave! I’d also not known that Joachim was his religious name, replacing his birth name Wesley.

The Redemptorists of my parish had a residence for retired and ailing priests for years and those who died were buried in the same cemetery. It’s so moving to see the rows and rows of uniform headstones, for all those men who gave their lives to God. I also love that each one says, “Hic Jacet” — “here lies.” The C.SS.R. stands for the Redemptorist Order: Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris.


(I’m sorry that some of these are hard to read.)

This is Fr. Joseph Ignatius Sims. Joseph Ignatius is so handsome! I wonder if his parents named him Joseph Ignatius, or if Ignatius was his Confirmation name? I assume Joseph is his birth name …





IMG_2993I love this one: Fr. Clement Cyril Englert. Clement Cyril! St. Clement Mary Hofbauer was a
Redemptorist priest, so I’m not surprised to see it here, and because of that I assume it was Fr. Clement’s religious name.






IMG_2996Here’s Br. Liguori Englert, birth name Frederick. Maybe he was Fr. Clement’s brother? Though I’ve never seen Liguori in real life, Withycombe lists it as a feminine name of exclusively Roman Catholic use — so I’m surprised to see it on a man, but not at all surprised to see it on a Catholic. 🙂





IMG_3002I’ve been loving Anselm recently — I’ve even seen it considered as a way of honoring St. Anne on a boy. But Br. Anselm Dnooge (that’s a last name!) was probably thinking of the Doctor of the Church when he chose his name.

(Do you think I’m reading his last name correctly? I looked it up and found one site in Polish where it was listed, but no info offered on it at all, so I assume I do have it correct, since I did find it one place, and I assume it’s Polish?)



IMG_3003What do you think of O. Benedict? I’d love to know what the O stands for, and whether Benedict was Fr. O. Benedict’s given middle name or a religious name? (I can’t make out his last name.)






IMG_2990Moving on from the dear Fathers, I saw this surname and loved it: Ignatczuk. I can’t find any info on it, but I assume it’s related to Ignatius? Does anyone know for sure?






IMG_3007This one — Magdzinska — I’m guessing is related to Magdalene?  I wasn’t able to confirm that though — like Ignatczuk, I couldn’t find any info on it — but all the Magd- names I found on behindthename were related to Magdalene.





We talk almost exclusively about baby names here, but I love bringing it full circle with looking at the names in the cemetery as well. It’s weird to think that each one of the people at rest there were once tiny babies whose parents spent time deciding what to name them. I also love to try to imagine the process of choosing one’s religious name.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May these souls, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Some of the Redemptorists at our cemetery.