The naming of Jesus, SN in Croatia, and Irish naming trends

Happy Wednesday! Less than ten days until Christmas, as my boys keep on (and keep on) reminding me!

When I was going through the posts and articles about Advent and Christmas names that I posted the other day, I realized that one I did about the naming of Jesus for CatholicMom a couple of years ago didn’t survive their site redesign, so I’m posting it below.

I also have the fun news that the article I wrote for CatholicMom in October — “Praying the Rosary with Children” — was reprinted (with permission) on a Croatian web site. How cool! Check it out!

Finally, Sara at the DMNES shared this article with me, it’s such a fun read!: Name that Child! at The Irish Times (Dec. 28, 1999).


Glory to the Newborn King

by Kate Towne for CatholicMom.com (December, 2017)

Our newly beatified Bl. Solanus Casey was known to have a great love for The Mystical City of God (affiliate link), a history of the life of Our Lady said to have been revealed by her to Ven. Mary of Agreda in the seventeenth century. Because of my mom’s great love for Bl. Solanus, she decided to read the book that was so dear to him, and she fell in love with it as well, and has talked about it ever since — well over thirty years. In fact, her tattered copy of it is a fixture in my memories of my childhood home.

(It’s important to note that the contents of The Mystical City of God consist of private revelation, and are therefore not required to be believed by the faithful. (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 67) . )

I was looking through the book recently for the first time, and discovered a section regarding the naming of Jesus. Thanks to the St. Andrew Novena, I’d already been meditating frequently this Advent on “the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold,” and because my own experiences with giving birth have included the naming of the baby as soon as he’s born, I’d forgotten (or perhaps hadn’t fully realized) that Jesus wouldn’t have been named until His circumcision eight days later. But also, I’d never thought about His actual naming, beyond simply the acknowledgment that He would be known as Jesus per God’s instruction, and I loved reading this bit:

Then most holy Mary and Joseph took counsel concerning the name to be given to the divine Infant in the Circumcision [in which they both shared that the name Jesus had been revealed to them both, separately] … While the great Mistress of Heaven and St. Joseph thus conversed with each other, innumerable angels descended in human forms from on high, clothed in shining white garments, on which were woven red embroideries of wonderful beauty … The holy angels divided into two choirs in the cave, keeping their gaze fixed upon the King and Lord in the arms of His virginal Mother. The chiefs of these heavenly cohorts were the two princes, St. Michael and St. Gabriel, shining in greater splendor than the rest and bearing in their hands, as a special distinction, the most holy name JESUS, written in larger letters on something like cards of incomparable beauty and splendor.

The two princes presented themselves apart from the rest before their Queen and said: “Lady, this is the name of thy Son (Matt. 1:21), which was written in the mind of God from all eternity and which the Blessed Trinity has given to thy Only-begotten Son and Our Lord as the signal of salvation for the whole human race …” (pp. 243–244)

I’ve written before about the power of names, and specifically the power of the Name of Jesus, at which mention every “every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:9-10), and in which “whatever you do, in word or in deed” should be done, “giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:17), so I don’t have a hard time at all believing that the revelation of His Name would be accompanied by such heavenly fanfare and celebration!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Gruesome Saint Stories: Off-putting for Parents?

My November CatholicMom article posted today! We’ve talked about this topic a few years ago, and I thought it was worth revisiting. I’d love to hear what you think! Gruesome Saint Stories: Off-Putting for Parents?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Reading roundup: CatholicMom, Simcha, Swistle, St. Bernardine

Happy feast of the Ascension!!

One of you sweet readers asked for more posts and I want to apologize for not being more regular with my posting! I have such good intentions and so many ideas for posts, and some days the blog fits into my schedule easily (those are the days I post!) and other days I go to bed wondering where the day went. Be assured you’re all always on my mind and in my prayers!

I do have some namey things for you today! First up, my May CatholicMom column posted yesterday: Babynaming in the time of coronavirus.

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You know I posted about this topic on the blog last month, as part of the post where I shared the article I’d written for Nameberry on the same subject. This CatholicMom piece includes some more Catholic-specific info. I’ll be interested to hear what you think!

Longtime friend of Sancta Nomina, Simcha Fisher, wrote about names in her piece this week for The Catholic Weekly: On unusual names. She speaks from experience! I loved this especially:

I think of my parents welcoming a new baby girl into the family and deciding that her name would be joy,* and that baby was me! That’s not a bad thing to know. It’s a good thing to know that someone thought your arrival in the world was something other than business as usual!

* Simcha is “Hebrew for “celebration” or, more broadly, “joy” or “rejoicing””

Swistle’s been posting quite a bit during quarantine, which I’ve been loving (so when your friendly Catholic name blogger is falling short of her very good intentions to post more to help keep everyone’s spirits up and provide a nice diversion from the heaviness of these times, check out Swistle! Or Abby at Appellation Mountain, of course, who’s the mama of frequent, meaty posts), and yesterday’s post has me a little riled up (the mama’s question/quandary, not Swistle’s answer). I’d be interested to see if any of you feel similarly!

Finally, yesterday was the feast of the *other* Saint of Siena — St. Bernardine! Not only is he the patron of my alma mater, Siena College, and THE promoter of the Holy Name of Jesus (woot!), but he also spent several years ministering to the sick and dying during a plague — work that rendered him weak and ill as well. What a saint for our time! St. Bernardine, pray for us!

Have a great Thursday!!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Thanksgiving names at CatholicMom!

Happy feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary! The beautiful name Presentación refers to this very feast (and is an entry in my book as a result). ❤

My November CatholicMom.com article posted yesterday, in which I discuss those interesting Puritan names and how they’re maybe not that far off from Catholic names: Puritan-inspired Names for Catholic Babies. Perhaps you expectant mamas due this month will find some inspiration for your Thanksgiving baby!

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My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Reading round-up: Naming twins, celebrity babies, and correct pronunciation(s) of Elisha

A few things to share with you all:

My CatholicMom column posted today, which was the result of two readers telling me that they had a hard time finding good resources for naming their twins. So I compiled all the resources and advice I’ve come across when doing consultations for parents expecting twins (except for one thing, which I only remembered after I’d already submitted the article, and which I’ve found helpful: Name the babies as if they were singletons. That is, name Baby B what you would have named him/her if born two years after Baby A): Naming Catholic Twins and Multiples.

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There’s also the following celebrity baby news:

— Mario Lopez and his wife had their third baby a few months ago and named him … Santino Rafael, nicknamed Sonny! I loooove Santino nn Sonny!!

— I’ve written about Rachel Campos-Duffy’s family before (here and here), and she recently had their ninth baby! A beautiful baby girl named … Valentina StellaMaris! She has Down Syndrome and a heart condition, which will require surgery in the near future, so extra prayers are needed for her family in this time of adjusting to life with a newborn and one with special needs. I’ve been so moved by their love for her, even before she was born — dad Sean resigned from his job representing Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District when they found out the baby would need open heart surgery after birth, and mom Rachel reports that, now that Valentina’s here, “When we visit with her at the hospital, the kids [who range in age from 3 to 20!] fight over who can hold her.” ❤ ❤ ❤

— I posted this about the Alec and Hilaria Baldwin family on Instagram a couple of years ago, when they had three children together:

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They’ve since had another baby (in 2018), and sadly suffered a miscarriage this past spring, and just announced they’re expecting another baby — a little girl! (I think people are going to continue to think that they’re Catholic! 😂)

Finally, I kind of loved this article by Jimmy Akin on the proper pronunciation of Elisha — lots of good info here about Standard English pronunciations and Hebrew pronunciations, all done in the kind of ranty way only someone who loves language would rant. I learned a lot! One pronunciation he didn’t mention, though, is the one I usually hear at church: eh-LEE-sha (like Alicia) — I didn’t even know of the ee-LIE-shah pronunciation until I was an adult! How about the rest of you?

That’s all for now! It’s almost the weekend! Hang in there!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Book reviews, radio appearance, naming aborted babies

Happy Friday! I never appreciate Fridays as much as I do when school is in session, whew!

My most recent column at CatholicMom is a review of the first two books in the Sister Mary Baruch series by Fr. Jacob Restrick, OP. I loved them! And beyond the story itself — the NAMES!! I mean, the main character is given the religious name Sr. Mary Baruch of the Advent Heart, which has loads of meaning for that character. Loooooove.

Speaking of book reviews, if any of you who have read my book are able to leave a review on Amazon, I would be most grateful! (Thank you to those who have left reviews already! I’m so grateful for each one!)

I was on Jon Leonetti’s morning radio show a couple weeks ago, and wanted to share the link for anyone who didn’t listen in: go to Jon’s show’s page on the Iowa Catholic Radio site, then scroll through his episodes to the September 17 episode — my bit starts at the 45:54 minute mark. I’d love to know what you think!

Finally, several years ago, back when the horrifying undercover Planned Parenthood videos were being released, I wrote about giving names to aborted babies, which included a discussion of why this might be an important to thing to do, and included a link to the 50 Million Names web site, “a grassroots campaign to collect names for the now-more-than 50,000,000 children aborted in our country.” My post also linked to a Students for Life post in which the name Emmett was originally suggested as the name by which the baby boy in one of the Planned Parenthood videos from the Center for Medical Progress could be known (instead of “Eleven Six,” which is how he had been being referred, for his age at the time of the abortion): “This baby deserves a name, deserves dignity that is rightly afforded him as a member of the human race.” The name Emmett was then expanded to include a second baby portrayed in another of the videos: “Call them Emmett, for they may very well be the catalysts to end abortion in our nation, just like Emmett Till.” I loved this idea — I loved having something concrete and dignity-affirming to do for all the babies whose lives were and continue to be taken from them.

There’s a new effort to do the same thing for the babies whose bodies were recently found at the home of abortionist George Klopfer, spearheaded by Priests for Life: Name the Aborted Babies Found in Illinois. One of you readers sent the link to me, thinking, rightly, that it would be a good one to share here on the blog, and normally I’d do so without reservation. Certainly, the intention is such a good one! But I more recently read that an equally ardent pro-lifer as myself thinks doing so is abhorrent, for reasons that I never considered. In a post entitled, “Fr. Pavone cashes in on dead babies again,” one of my favorite bloggers/authors, Simcha Fisher, writes:

Naming is an act either of authority, or of ownership — the act of a parent, or of an owner. You don’t get to name a baby unless you’re the parent; and you don’t get to name anything else unless it’s something that can be owned. So what does this mean, for strangers to name unborn babies they’ve never met, who do have parents? Who gave them that right?

While I don’t always agree with Simcha’s conclusions in the many important things she writes about, I often find her position helpful as I seek to clarify my own. I’ve been thinking about her post since I read it, and I’m still not sure where I land — I know she doesn’t care for Fr. Pavone (an understatement, from other things I’ve read by her about him), and the fact that he’s been rebuked by his bishop in the past for actions “not consistent with the beliefs of the Catholic Church” is so important to know. That said, I’d be interested to know if Simcha’s belief about naming aborted babies would be the same if Fr. Pavone wasn’t involved? Is it possible her dislike of him is clouding her judgment regarding this particular issue? Maybe not! I’m just not sure what I think yet. What say you?

And on that note (oh dear!), I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

New article on pilgrimages at CatholicMom

You all know I’ve gone on a pilgrimage to a St. Anne shrine every year for the past five years, as a way of saying thank you to St. Anne for her intercession. When my family and I first started doing so, we were still in the time of our parenthood where going on trips was one of the worst things I could think of doing! Remembering those first couple trips, and seeing how much better it’s gotten, inspired my July article for CatholicMom.com: Pilgrimages for Parents of Young Children. I’d love to hear what other tips you would add!

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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!

June CatholicMom.com article

My June article for CatholicMom.com posted today — I had fun working on it! One of you had emailed me with a link to an article about the bells, and the planes had been on my mind since my Ireland trip. I’d love to know if any of you know more about this topic!

Planes, Bells, and Holy Naming

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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!

CatholicMom articles–December and January

Happy Friday everyone! I wanted to be sure to share the links to my December and January CatholicMom articles. Enjoy!

Here’s December’s: The Most Famous Reindeer of All

And January’s: The Special Things Women Are Given

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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!

A few not-to-miss things

Baby’s still snug inside, don’t get too excited! 😀 I’m 36 weeks 4 days today, so still a bit of time left (but not much! Woo!).

I’ve been off the computer as much as possible this past month, trying to focus on back-to-school and welcoming-baby, but there are a few things I wanted to be sure you didn’t miss:

My August CatholicMom column posted on the feast of the Assumption (perfect day for it!) — it’s the essay of the second-place winner of my St. Francis de Sales Writing Contest. The student, Anne, did such a great job! She wrote about her devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. ❤

I also received a great review of my book by fellow CatholicMom contributor Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur (author of her own name book, The Catholic Baby Name Book) — she posted it on her blog, as well as Today’s Catholic Homeschooling and Amazon. Thank you to her!!

And my book was also discussed in the current (September) issue of Catholic Digest! So exciting!

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I hope you’re all having a great summer!!