Holy Saturday name thoughts

I wanted to pop on here quickly to say Happy Easter to you all! I hope it’s a beautiful, holy day for you and your family!

And since I’m here … 😏 … I had two name thoughts to share:

One is about the Marian name Soledad (often seen as a given name as María de la Soledad, and Marisol — as a nickname or a given name — is from María de la Soledad. The journalist and former CNN host Soledad O’Brien’s given name is María de la Soledad). It’s the ultimate Holy Saturday name! As I wrote in my book of Marian names (not affiliate link):

This beautiful Spanish name means ‘solitude,’ and comes from the Marian title Nuestra Señora de Soledad (‘Our Lady of Solitude’), which refers to the solitude of Our Lady while Jesus was in the tomb.”

Isn’t that amazing! I always think of this name on this day, and I love being reminded that it’s a day of solitude.

And speaking of “ultimate” names, I was very struck this Lent by how one of the ultimate biblical names for boys is Simon! There’s Simon Peter, Simon the Zealot, Simon of Cyrene, Simon the father of Judas Iscariot, and Simon who is included in the list of Jesus’ brothers* in Mt 13:55 and Mk 6:3, as well as others in both the Old and New Testaments. It’s a variant of Simeon, which is also well represented! Wow! (I would include John and Joseph as ultimate biblical boy names as well, just based on numbers — what others would you add?) (Of course, Mary for girls!)

“See” you next week!

* I don’t want my blog to ever be a source of confusion for anyone, so if you’re not aware of Catholic teaching regarding Jesus’ brothers, be sure to read it in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (numbers 499-500) and an article that fleshes it out more fully here. (TL;DR: they aren’t the sons of Mary, who the Church teaches was “ever virgin.” That means “always.”)


Read all about how to get your own baby name consultation from either Theresa or myself here.

For help with Marian names, 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). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

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Baby name consultation: Easter/rosary name ideas for a baby boy

Sara and her husband are expecting their fourth baby, a little boy! This little guy joins big sibs:

Adelaide Karen Noel (“Goes by Adelaide. Adelaide for St Adelaide, Karen is husband’s mother,my sister, and a nod to my mother and great grandmother, and she was born Dec 22. I also like that Noel is a mystery of the rosary and a long time friend of mine“)

(In heaven) Frances Xavier Fiat (“for Mother Cabrini, Mary, and the Rosary“)

Benedict Stanley Thomas (“Goes by Benny, Benedetto, and Detto. Benedict for St. Benedict of Nursia, Stanley is my father and Stanley Rother is cool, Thomas for multiple grandfathers and also Thomas More. Also born December. I like to think that Benedict is connected to the rosary because it means Blessed“)

Sara’s children’s names are absolutely stunning! I could imagine parents finding names like Karen and Stanley somewhat challenging to incorporate into the names of children born today (though I have seen Stanley popping up here and there — Bl. Stanley Rother has done wonders for the name, and my husband and I considered it ourselves), but both Adelaide Karen Noel and Benedict Stanley Thomas are amazing — both of the full combos done in such a way that the more dated names are given a new sparkle and create a pleasantly unexpected part of the whole. I’m terribly impressed! And Frances Xavier Fiat, oh my. What a perfect name for a baby in heaven. It’s not often that I’m surprised by names, but I found an element of surprise in all three of Sara’s babies’ names — such a joy for name lovers!

Sara writes,

Hello! I have been a fan of your blog for a few years now but I think we may need some extra help with baby #4. Nothing we have come up with has stuck 100%, and so I feel like we are reverting to second-favorite names and it would be cool to have a name we are sold on! Maybe we could grow into loving a name, but I’d like to pick your brain! I am also due in the Easter octave so running out of time for us to come up with something on our own.

Constraints

  • [Our last name] totally sounds like a first name. People never get my husband’s name right, since his first name is actually a surname … and it has led to his being mislabeled in college applications, background checks, and even the ER. So if we can pick a boy name that really sounds like a first name that would help
  • I was Sara in the 90’s and it always seemed that I wasn’t the Sarah someone was yelling for. So I’d like to avoid super popular names, and if they’re obvious to spell that’s also a bonus (I tell people I respond to both Sara and Sarah xp)
  • My family has a tradition of 2 middle names, so that gives us both more options and more decisions to make!
  • We accidentally have a bit of an ABC theme? So if we lean into that, a C or D name would be cool. Or now is our chance to break out of it!
  • We like nickname options and also having cool long names that we can just use
  • Husband is adamant that first name must be a saint. Fictional saints or heroes do not count (couldn’t sell him on Caspian).”

Additionally,

Mary and Joseph are our confirmation saints, thusly our family patron is the Holy Family

We are pretty much American mutts, but have a bit of Norwegian and Irish Heritage. My suggestions to use some French names have not met with any success

Here’s our short list and top picks currently that just don’t seem to be landing 100%:

  • Joseph (“amazingly, no one else has used this in our parish. We do have one friend in our community due at the same time who will have a Joseph James IV. Neither of us really love Joey, but Jojo or Joe would be ok. Have felt like St Joseph has been stalking me so he definitely needs to be honored somehow, and husband has a strong devotion to him. Worried this might be too common“)
  • Mark (“must be one of the middle names for husband’s late father“)
  • Vincent (“for Easter. Would love more Easter options“)
  • Abraham (“can a baby pull that off?“)
  • Dominic (“rosary connection but not a current devotion to St Dominic“)
  • Isaiah (“maybe too common“)
  • Theodore (“maybe too common“)

So we have been bouncing between Dominic Mark Joseph or Joseph Mark Vincent. Neither one feels like a home run. Would love some thoughts and suggestions!

So much of what Sara said resonated with me and I definitely tried to keep it all in mind: not wanting to feel like they’re “reverting to second-favorite names”; their last name sounding like a first name and her husband’s challenges with his own first name paired with his last name; Sara’s own “super popular” name; possibly wanting but maybe not wanting a C or D name; “cool long names” with nickname options; “Fictional saints or heroes do not count” (this one made me laugh! But I also get it. But I also love Caspian!); that they would “love more Easter options”; and the fact that all of their other kids have a connection to the rosary in their names.

I generally like to start by offering my thoughts on the names the parents are considering, in case they’re helpful:

  • Joseph (Joseph Mark Vincent): I have quite a few thoughts about Joseph as a first name for Sara’s baby! First, I love that he’s Dad’s Confirmation Saint and that he has a strong devotion to St. Joseph. Beautiful! Based only on that, I agree with Sara that “he definitely needs to be honored somehow,” and the addition of her feeling that St. Joseph “has been stalking” her seals the deal! All that said, I do feel like the style of the name Joseph isn’t quite where this couple’s style preferences lie, as Sara noted that she worried it “might be too common” and she feels like they’re “reverting to second-favorite names.” Sara mentioned issues with the nickname possibilities, which could be key. Jojo is adorable and Joe is as solid as they come; some other possibilities include Sepp, Seppel, and Zef, which are inspired by international variants and diminutives of Joseph. I’d also posted once about variants of Joseph from A Dictionary of English Surnames and loved that Jessop is one, which makes me think that Jess might be doable as a Joseph nickname (I looove Jess for a boy). They could also consider Jay, which is easy for any “J” name. Joseph Vincent Mark is a very handsome combo! I also think (similar to the thinking of the possibility that breaking their A, B theme now, instead of leaning into the alphabet with a C or D name) that breaking their current pattern of less-common names with a more-common, but equally faithy, name will help them have more options going forward rather than less.
  • Mark (middle name only): Great middle!
  • Vincent: Did you all know that until I read Sara’s email, I had never known nor looked into what Vincent means?! “To conquer” is a great, meaningful name for an Easter baby! Per Sara’s request for more Easter options, I included more below.
  • Abraham: I know of two little Abrahams — a five-year-old and an eight-year-old — so I can confidently say that, yes, a baby can pull it off! The five-year-old is “Catholic influencer” Grace Patton’s son, and he goes by Abe — I LOVE Abe!! The eight-year-old is a new friend of my own eight-year-old’s, and I’ve learned that he always went by Abe or the full Abraham, but never liked it because the kids at his old school would call him “Abraham Lincoln” (not sure why this is bad?? Kids!), so here at our school he goes by AJ (his full name is also Abraham James, like Abe Patton’s), which is also a possibility for Sara’s baby (Abraham Joseph Mark, maybe?).
  • Dominic: I love Dominic! Definitely a perfect name for the brother of Benedict! The rosary connection is spot-on, too. Not having a current devotion isn’t a dealbreaker, either! Sara and her hubby can cultivate one, and indeed I think sometimes Saints call to us through our taste in names.
  • Isaiah: Sara had mentioned popularity with Joseph, which I addressed above, so my thoughts are similar here — if they love it, use it! I did want to look at the rankings for the names that they like and those that they’ve used, to have an accurate overall view of the popularity of their ideas:

— Isaiah: 56

— Adelaide: 263

— Benedict: 991

— Joseph: 28

— Vincent: 117

— Abraham: 202

— Dominic: 99

— Theodore: 10

Indeed, the names that Sara worried might be too popular (Joseph, Isaiah, Theodore) are very popular (Theodore at number 10! These are the 2021 numbers, which are the most recent available from the Social Security Administration). Even Dominic is top 100, and Vincent not too far behind at 117. I get her hesitancy! But I’ll reiterate that I think they’ll be happier using a name they love, even if it’s popular. (I’m not forgetting that Sara said none of names that they’re considering are really feeling like “the one,” so I know popularity isn’t the only issue!)

  • Theodore: See my comments above re: Isaiah

While reading the list of names Sara and her husband are considering, I had several ideas that seemed “like” the ones they like, but just different enough that they might find them to be just right. I’ve never done an “Instead of … what about” list in a consultation before, but it seemed right to do so for this family! So:

  • Instead of Vincent, what about Victor? It has that great meaning that’s so perfect for Easter! And its SSA ranking is 209, which is closer to what they like than Vincent’s 117. My post on nicknames for Victor remains, to this day, one of my most popular.
  • Instead of Abraham, what about Abel? Popularity-wise, it’s a little *more* popular at no. 196, vs. Abraham’s 202, but might feel more baby-friendly to Sara? And can still take the fantastic Abe as a nickname! This mama has an Abel, if you’d like to read about one in real life (click on the link for the fifth baby’s birth announcement to see all her boys’ names).
  • Instead of Isaiah, what about Isaias? It’s the Latin form of Isaiah and far less popular at no. 489 vs. Isaiah’s 56. I also thought Tobiah/Tobias/Tobit or Elias (Latin form of Elijah, which blows my mind that it’s no. 4!) might scratch this itch. (Rankings: Tobiah’s not in the top 1000; Tobias 277; Tobit not in the top 1000; Elias 48.)
  • Instead of Theodore, what about Thaddeus? It’s thought they may be related, and can both take the nickname Ted(dy) (I know a Thaddeus who goes by Ted), but Thaddeus is no. 820 vs. Theodore’s 10. I wrote once about how there are some names that seem very similar but tend to be somewhat polarizing, with people pretty certainly preferring one over the other, and Theodore/Thaddeus was one of the pairs I included, but I thought I’d take the chance! Thaddeus has the nickname possibilities of Thad (I knew a Thaddeus called Thad once, and on “The Chosen” Thaddeus is called Thad sometimes), and also Tad/Taddy — I think Taddy is the most adorable name for a little guy!
  • Instead of Caspian, what about Campion? St. Edmund Campion is real, and amazing! Also, Campion means “champion,” so it can have that nice meaning for Easter that Vincent and Victor share. Cam and Cap are adorable nickname options, and Campion isn’t even in the top 1000, being given to only 5 baby boys in 2021! (** I realized after I sent the consultation to Sara that Campion breaks the rule of “no surnames as first names” but I’m leaving it here in case it’s helpful to any of you readers. **)

So those are five new ideas, but they felt a little bit like cheating, since I’m thinking of them as twists on the names they were already considering, so I came up with a bunch more. I did consult the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link), but leaned as much on trying to find Easter names, C or D names, and more uncommon Saintly names in general. These are my additional ideas:

(1) Paschal nn Pax

This was my very first idea for this family, which I scribbled down as I was reading Sara’s email the first time, before I had done any research. Paschal means “Easter” — so perfect for an Easter baby! It’s also a Papal name and Saintly name, and I really love that it can take the nickname Pax, which in and of itself is amazing because it’s Latin for “peace.” Gah! So fab!! (I also quite like Joseph Paschal Mark, and the possibility of the nickname JP, which gives it a St. John Paul II vibe as well!) Neither Paschal nor Pascal are in the top 1000.

(2) Clement

Clement seems like a great option for this family for a few reasons: it’s a C name; it means “merciful,” which is great for a baby born near Divine Mercy Sunday; it’s a great Papal and Saintly name (my favorite is my parish’s patron, St. Clement Mary Hofbauer); and the little Abraham I mentioned above (Grace Patton’s son) also has a brother named Clement (and a brother named Theodore!)! The only real nickname option is Clem, which is not to everyone’s taste; this family intended to call their Clement Joshua Samuel “CJ,” which is another option. Here’s another Clement-with-no-nickname. Clement isn’t in the top 1000.

(3) Cosmas

Thinking of Catholicky Catholic C- names, Cosmas came to mind! With the C names, I like that Sara’s son would share initials with his dad, and Cosmas doesn’t have that surname-as-first name thing, so it should be a little easier, right? Cosmas isn’t in the top 1000.

(4) Damian, Damien nn Danny or Denny

How could I suggest Cosmas without Damian? I actually think Damian is more their speed than Cosmas, and fits in nicely with Adelaide and Benedict. I love the spelling Damien too, and the different spellings bring different people to mind, for me: Damian is St. Damian, brother of St. Cosmas; Damien is St. Damien de Veuster (also known as St. Joseph de Veuster), the leper priest. Both wonderful! (Here are all the holy Damians/Damiens.) Damian is no. 113 and Damien is no. 280. These were on my own list and I thought Danny would work nicely as a nickname for Damian and Denny for Damien. Also, see this amazingly named sib set that includes a Damien!

(5) Gabriel

I’m writing this on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, so Gabriel is on my mind — which I also love for this family! An Annunciation name is great for a baby born near Easter (very “full circle” feeling), and I also consider Gabriel to be a rosary name, since the Annunciation is the First Joyful Mystery. Its nickname Gabe rhymes with Abraham’s Abe, too, which might mean that Sara and her hubby will like it! Gabriel is no. 38.

(6) Nicodemus

I started to venture farther afield for these last two ideas, and for this one — Nicodemus — I almost put it as an “Instead of Dominic, what about Nicodemus?” idea. I decided not to since Sara said that the appeal of Dominic was the rosary, which Nicodemus doesn’t have, but I’ve always loved the person of Nicodemus in the Bible (he’s considered a Saint too!) and I’ve always loved his name. And Nico is such a great nickname! (Dominic can take Nico as a nickname as well.) It’s really perfect for an Easter baby, too. Nicodemus isn’t in the top 1000.

(7) Joachim

My last idea is the name I could never convince my husband of, try as I might! I absolutely love the name Joachim, and since Sara said Norwegian is part of their family heritage, I thought I’d offer that I really leaned on its relative popularity in the Scandinavian countries when pitching to my husband, as he’s half Norwegian! (It didn’t work, alas.) Tradition holds that it’s the name of Our Lady’s dad, and while it can take the Joe nicknames (which I might normally suggest, except that St. Joseph is such a dear friend to Sara and her husband, so his name really needs to be used), I always wanted to use the nickname Jake (which *almost* convinced my husband, because he loves the nickname Jake too). I spotlighted the name here, which has a lot of great info. Joachim isn’t in the top 1000.

Besides these ideas, I also wanted to offer some names that are specifically tied to the rosary in case they’re helpful for this baby or in the future. I wrote a book of Marian names, and many of the entries were because of their connection to the rosary, including Leo (for Pope Leo XIII who has been called “The Pope of the Rosary”; Leo is also the name of many Saints); Louis and Montfort for St. Louis de Montfort who wrote The Secret of the Rosary (affiliate link) (Monty as a nickname for Montfort!); Peyton for Ven. Patrick Peyton, known as “The Rosary Priest”; and Pius, for Pope St. Pius V “who asked Christendom to pray for the Rosary for protection against the Muslims in the Battle of Lepanto” and then established the feast of Our Lady of Victory on Oct. 7 — which has become the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (another reason that Victor could be great!). (Pio is the Italian variant of Pius, which could add an extra great layer for St. Pio!)

I also looked through the posts I did on names for the Mysteries of the Rosary and though I didn’t include Pierce and Simeon in my post on the Joyful Mysteries, they’re connected to the Presentation of the Baby Jesus in the Temple (because it was then that Simeon prophesied that Mary’s heart would be pierced with a sword), so you they can be thought of as rosary names … and from my post on the Sorrowful Mysteries there’s Simon (from Simon of Cyrene), Dismas (the repentant thief), and Rex (meaning “king”) and are related to the Carrying of the Cross, the Crucifixion, and the Crowning with Thorns, respectively. Not everyone likes to give names with sorrowful or difficult stories to their babies (I wrote more about that here), but others find spiritual comfort and power in doing so, so it made sense to include these, just in case! (Here are my posts on the Luminous Mysteries and the Glorious Mysteries as well; be sure to read the comments for more ideas!)

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of siblings-on-earth Adelaide and Benedict?


Read all about how to get your own baby name consultation from either Theresa or myself here.

For help with Marian names, 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). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Lots of hopes and considerations for baby no. 3’s name

Happy Monday, everyone! Today’s the feast of St. Colette, who is a great Saint for our Sancta Nomina community because she is, according to this source, patroness of women seeking to conceive, expectant mothers, and sick children; there’s a fuller account of her life here. And her name! 😍😍😍 I think Colette is just gorgeous, and while I would use it as is, I also love that she’s also known as Nicolette, which opens up more possibilities for parents who might like to name their daughter after her. Enjoy today’s consultation! And I hope you all have a great week!

Zoey and her husband are expecting their third baby — a little green bean (gender unknown)! 🌱 This little babe joins big brothers:

Austin Thomas (“Austin is my husband’s middle name and Thomas was a family name from both of our paternal grandfathers. We’ve also given him Thomas Aquinas as his patron (until he wants to choose his own) because he is SO inquisitive especially about the faith. His nickname is Austino/Stino which happened totally organically as I was initially opposed to nicknames but it turns out we are indeed a nickname kind of family, they’re so fun.”)

Elijah James (“This was so easy to pick. I just knew my next boy would be Eli and we loved having a long and short form option + power house project. James because as a convert I loveeeeee the book of James, did you know at the reformation the Calvinists tried to remove the book of James? It’s VERY Catholic and was huge in my conversion. He goes by both Elijah and Eli.”)

I love Austin and Elijah/Eli as brothers, and I love the explanation behind each one! (Also: “I was initially opposed to nicknames but it turns out we are indeed a nickname kind of family, they’re so fun” — sing it, sister!! 😂)

Zoey writes,

So this time around we (should I say I) am struggling. I can Not turn my brain off and try ink of baby names all day… I need to clear this brain space! So far everything I’ve pitched my husband “likes” but nothing has been the one! I’ve been trying to narrow down what our “style” is and feel like the third baby really solidifies that so maybe that’s why I feel so strongly about the name we choose this time around. I’d like to say I don’t like “popular names” but then look at my boys names and I just stuck my foot in my mouth. But this time around I would like to go less common, which I find easier to do with girls than boys for some reason. I don’t love super traditional names and don’t feel like they have to have a direct saint association… but do like to have a meaning behind the name.”

Names they’re considering for girls include:

Hallie Josephine — “Hallie as a namesake for ‘Harold’ from its nn Hal. Harold is strong in both our families and Josephine was my husband’s great grandmothers middles name + St. Joseph. And I love the double barrel nickname of Hallie Jo.”

Blythe Emily — “Emily was first name of aforementioned grandmother. And Blythe.. not totally sure how I came about this but I like that it’s fairly uncommon and feminine without all the frills. I originally liked Blair but this feels softer especially with our last name.”

Helena (heh-LAY-na) — “my husband actually through this one out so I’ve got to cling to that! I also really like nn Laina. Maybe Helena Zoe or Audrey Helena (my name is Audrey Zoe, and mamas should get juniors too!).”

Scarlett nn Scottie — “but my husband isn’t too keen. Also I’m due 4/25 so technically after the Easter octave but would consider eater-ish names) like Scarlett referring to the precious blood or paschal for boy… you get my drift. We like a good name story, strong association to give the kids some roots as they grow up!

Miriam — “my husband will only offer Miriam as a girls name… he keeps coming back to it no matter what I suggest. I honestly hate it. Is there a compromise in there from the style of names I like and Miriam? I feel Like they couldn’t be more different!

And names for boys: 

John Luke — “would be first and middle but I’d really like to call him the full name. My husbands family is very Italian so he would likely get nicknamed the Italian form Gianluca. I love this but it also feels kind of plain… thoughts?

Alexander Rhodes — “I am not sure how I found the name Rhodes but I have not been able to put it down! … I love that subtle nod to the rosary… sending our prayers up to Mary to be presented to Jesus as a beautiful rose bouquet. Finding a first name with it has been a little hard but I’m loving the idea of Alexander (nn Xander) and that his name would, in a way, make the chi(X)Rho Symbol as a dedication to Christ.”

And — “Other names we’ve thrown around for first or middle are Ambrose, Matthew, Montfort (nn Monte), Xavier, Adam…” 

Middle names are important to Zoey as well:

For middle name considerations, we like anything biblical (as you can tell!) my husband loves the rosary (I’m working on it!) and divine mercy. His confirmation Saint is Francis, mine is Zelie Martin although I’m not sure I’d like to use that name at all since I’d prefer to use Zoe. (Z-oh pronunciation). Some other middle names we like if not a saint/biblical name would be Soliven (our dear priest friend who just moved parishes! He married us, confirmed me, and baptized both our kids), Rhodes as I mentioned, Woodrow/Woodruff/woods (my husband’s dad’s name). For girls, as mentioned Emily, Josephine, Audrey, Zoe (Z-oh), Laree, Naomi, Amaris, Lea, Marriott (yes like the hotel, my grandmother’s maiden name, pronounced Mary-et like Chariot) or Therese (I don’t love the full version but would consider a variant, maybe Reese? It’s a mix of my husband’s mom’s name Renee Therese).” 

Names they can’t use (including variants):

William 

Louis/Louie 

Andrew 

Anthony 

Joseph 

Michael 

Nicolas 

Elizabeth 

K/Catherine

Finally, Zoey notes,

The other challenge is we have A LOT of catholic friends with large families or growing families and a lot of the “mainstream” catholic names (think Benedict, Blaise, Kolbe, Caeli, etc) are “taken” by them so we are challenged to be a bit more creative, which is fun but can be hard.”

No surprise that I really enjoyed reading Zoey’s “dilemma” — I do enjoy the struggle of trying to narrow down a couple’s style and I tend to agree with her that “the third baby really solidifies that” … that said, though, I hate for anyone to feel like “rules” like that are binding and you can never wriggle out from under them. You know? Baby naming should be fun! And if losing some rules helps it to feel more fun, I’m all for that! But of course, I do like stylistic consistency! I have some thoughts on what I think Zoey’s boy style is, which I’ll include in my list of “official” suggestions below. Also, how she said she’d like to go “less common” this time and that she finds it easier to do with girls than for boys is very, very common, so I encouraged her not to worry! I also love her criteria of “not super traditional” plus “don’t feel like they have to have a direct saint association” plus “meaning behind the name.” Those are great! Also that she thinks they’d like a nickname option. Oh, also no forms of Therese/a or Mary/Maria (not wrong at all!); no names ending in -ana; no cutesy names — must age well. Also prefer not repeating initials. Whew!

Okay, before getting into my list of official suggestions, I thought I’d offer my thoughts on the names they’re currently considering, in case they’re helpful (some are not mentioned above because they were included in subsequent emails):

  • Hallie Josephine: Hallie is such a great way to honor a Harold! I also know someone who named her son Hap (just Hap) because it’s also a nickname for Harold — maybe Hap would work for this family for a boy?
  • Blythe Emily: I never, ever see Blythe on parents’ lists — so fun to see it here!
  • Blair: I like Blair, too!
  • Marriott: I LOVE this as a middle name!! It’s in my book because it derives from Mary!! I personally love it for both a girl and a boy, so cool!
  • Helena nn Laina: A beautiful option! A nice connection here is that St. Faustina (of Divine Mercy fame) was named Helena at birth! Zoey included the Divine Mercy as a devotion that’s important to her and her husband, so this would be very meaningful from that perspective.
  • Audrey and Zoe as first names or middle names: I’m absolutely with Zoey that mamas should get juniors!! I like both Helena Zoe and Audrey Helena.
  • Scarlett nn Scottie: ah-MAZ-ing!! I love love the name Scarlett but could never figure out a great nickname — Zoey has totally done it! Scottie is adorable! And Scarlett for the Precious Blood is just wonderful.
  • Naomi: When I saw Naomi as a possible middle name, my first thought was that I’d love that as a first name option for this family — and then Zoey included it in a later email as a first name contender! It has a very “Miriam” feel to me without, of course, being Miriam — this might do the trick!
  • Jules for a girl: An interesting option! This actually makes me think of their boy style a lot — I wonder if they would consider it for a boy?
  • Julia Reese: Julia Reese is a stunning combo! Zoey worries that Julia sounds a lot like Elijah, which I can definitely see.
  • John Luke: I love John Luke, but I do know what Zoey means about it feeling plain. I think calling him by both names would “solve” that — John Luke as a combo makes both John and Luke feel less plain. I know a little Gianluca who is called the full Gianluca all the time, so this feels natural to me!
  • Alexander Rhodes: I love all their meaning behind this!! Another name they might like to consider is the male name Royce, which actually means “rose” (I included it in my book!) — I really like Royce for them in place of Rhodes, if they want to have a more explicitly “rose” name for the rosary.
  • Ambrose, Matthew, Montfort (Monte), Xavier, Adam: I love all these! Monte is really fun, I think that’s my favorite of these for this family.
  • Lucas Gabriel: Love this, yes! Luke and Lucas both feel like a really good first name option as a brother to Austin and Elijah. And Gabriel is one of my favorite names ever!
  • Conrad Jude (Thaddeus): LOVE this too!! My husband and I considered Conrad with Cord as a nickname (how cool is that?? AND they could think of it as a rosary connection if they wanted, since the string part of the rosary is often referred to as a cord!). And I had Jude on my list of official suggestions for this baby before even seeing that they had Jude on their list! I would love to see them consider it as a first name!

Regarding Zoey’s husband’s love of Miriam: I wonder if they’ve considered Marriott as a first name? Miriam and Marriott sound very similar to my ear when I say them out loud, and they both are variants of Mary … maybe Hubby would be okay with that? Especially if they pair it with a super Old Testament middle name, like Marriott Zipporah or Marriott Keziah or Marriot Esther? They could even use Miri as a nickname for Marriott? Or Mimi! Another idea I had was Marriott Emilia — I love the rhythm; Emilia can be for Grandma Emily and can also be sort of a Divine Mercy name in the sense that Emilia was the name of Pope John Paul II’s mom and he was huge into Divine Mercy (his mom’s cause for canonization is open!).

Now on to my new ideas! I tried really hard to stick to all their rules, but I’m pretty sure one or two of the girl names might strike Zoey as possibly too cutesy, but I wanted to leave them on in case I’m wrong, and/or in case they might like to consider them as a middle name for Marriott as a first (if Zoey can bring herself and her hubby around to that idea). I went through the Baby Name Wizard book (affiliate link) as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity, and I looked at past posts I did on names for Divine Mercy and Easter (Sorrowful Mysteries and Glorious Mysteries) and the Sacred Heart (because of Zoey’s comment about Scarlett and the Precious Blood), and some gut-feeling ideas as well — based on all that, these are my ideas:

Girl

(1) Faith

Their boy name style has a “country/western” feel to me, and Scarlett fits into that as well, and Faith is listed in the BNW as fitting into that vibe as well — I love the name Faith! It’s simple and obviously faith-y, uncommon and sweet. I knew a Faith when I was growing up, and I always loved her name, as well as the nickname Faithy. Faith Marriott works beautifully!

(2) Greer

As soon as I read that Zoey likes both Blythe and Blair, I immediately thought of Brynn! Unfortunately there isn’t any obvious faithy connection (despite their being a St. Brynoth and a St. Brynach), but it made me think of Greer because I know a Brynn who has a sister named Greer, and Greer struck me as a great suggestion! It derives from the name Gregory, which is where the faith connection can come (either a St. Gregory, or St. Maria Goretti, since Goretti also derives from Gregory), and I think it sound fine with Marriott!

(3) Rebecca/Rebekah nn Ruby (also Romy?)

I thought quite a bit about how to work with Zoey’s husband’s love of Miriam and marry it with Zoey’s taste, and I thought Rebecca/Rebekah with the nickname Ruby might do the trick. Like Miriam, Rebecca is an Old Testament name (which the spelling Rebekah really hammers home), and years ago I saw a birth announcement for a baby Rebecca nicknamed Ruby and I felt like my whole life was made — I LOVED that so much!! I think Ruby is just darling, and it can have the Precious Blood connection Zoey mentioned with Scarlett as well. (I actually spotlighted Ruby here, with some other ideas of how to get to it.) Thinking about Rebecca/Rebekah Marriott, though, also made me kind of love the idea of Romy as a nickname for that combo — the R part from Rebecca/Rebekah, the M part from Marriott — maybe they’d like that better? Romy is sweet too.

(4) Ivy

When I’m looking up names in the BNW, I always pay attention to names that are listed as style matches for more than one of the names on the parents’ list, and Ivy was a big one! It’s listed as similar to Eli and Zoe, as well as Scarlett and Xavier! It’s an entry in my book because of its Marian connection, and Ivy Marriott sounds pretty amazing.

(5) Willow/Willa

I looked through the Country/Western section of the BNW for inspiration, and was interested to see Willodean in there — because Zoey had mentioned Easter as a possible inspiration for this baby’s name because of her due date, I’d already been thinking of Easter-related names, and Willow and Willa are two of them! More specifically, they refer to Palm Sunday, but I think that’s close enough for what they’re thinking? I spotlighted them both and explained the connection here.

Some other girl names that came up in my research that intrigued me but I didn’t end up putting in my “official” list of first name ideas (but wanted to include here just in case, and/or also as middle name ideas) include Mercedes (it means “mercies” and can take Sadie as a nickname, which I thought was perfect for this family!), Mercy itself (I know a couple little girls named Mercy!), and Chesed (Old Testament term referring to “mercy” — read more in this comment. Amazing!).

Boy

(1) Caleb

As mentioned earlier, I felt like their boy name style can have a country/western feel, and taking into account their affinity for biblical names as well, I thought Caleb was perfect! The nickname Cal is one of my favorites, I love it. Kobe and Colby were listed as similar to names Zoey likes, which made me want to suggest Kolbe, but then she’d specifically mentioned Kolbe as one they can’t use! But Caleb has similar sounds and rhythm, so I do quite like it for this baby.

(2) Casey

I looove Casey!! Casey was in the list of Country/Western names, and Bl. Solanus Casey is one of my favorites, Casey + Bl. Solanus made me think Casey Soliven would be a cool name for this baby! There was also a family I did a consultation for who loved Bl. Solanus but preferred Case instead of the full Casey, so that was the given name they went with — I could see that working for this family too.

(3) Becket

Funny enough, I got to Becket from Bennett, since Bennett is a medieval short form of Benedict like Austin is a medieval short form of Augustine, so they always make me think of each other, but I didn’t think Bennett was quite their style (and also that might have seemed a little matchy?) but then Bennett also makes me think of Becket and I thought yes! Becket! St. Thomas a Becket is an awesome patron.

(4) Garrett

I think Garrett is such a great name — I think it definitely fits with their boys, and can also derive from Gerard, which gives it an awesome faith connection.

(5) Hardy

I’ve suggested Hardy a few times to families over the years and no one’s bitten, so maybe I’m out of touch regarding this name, but I think it’s awesome! It can be a sort of virtue-esque name in the sense of “bold, brave” and also “healthy” AND it can be related to Gerard! (Check it out here and here.) It was the name of a boy in a movie I saw when I was little and I always loved it. (I would also consider it to be an excellent nickname for Gerard, but I don’t think Gerard is this family’s style. Also, there’s this birth announcement I posted for a little Gerhardt [German form of Gerard] who goes by the nickname Hart — I love that too!!)

(6) Jessop

I’ll be interested to see what Zoey and her hubs think of this idea! It’s a variant of Joseph based on pronunciation of the name from mid-sixteenth-century England, and it definitely feels sort of country/western, so I love that it takes Austin’s medieval connection and Eli’s biblical connection (and both of their possibly country/western feel) and adds an authentic St. Joseph connection! I also love the nickname Jess for a boy (love love!). I think this could be amazing! (I included it in my post on names for St. Joseph.)

Some other boy ideas I had included Jasper (one of the Three Kings has traditionally been known by the Casper name family, which includes Gaspar and Jasper), Paxton (inspired by Xander and Xavier and also “pax” means “peace” in Latin — an awesome, faithy connection!), and Jesse (country/western + biblical), but I liked my other ideas better. But I wanted to mention these just in case!

And those are all my ideas for this family! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Austin and Elijah/Eli?


Read all about how to get your own baby name consultation from either Theresa or myself here.

For help with Marian names, 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). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Paschal Joseph!

I’ve had the great privilege of posting two previous birth announcements for Elizabeth (here and here), and I’m delighted to share yet another! Elizabeth and her husband named their new baby boy the amazing … Paschal Joseph!

Elizabeth writes,

[Y]ou’ve posted birth/name announcements for my babies in the past, and I just had another in December, so I wanted to share, especially because his name came up as an extra/bonus suggestion in one of your recent consultations! I was like 🙌🏻 lol!

I am pleased to introduce baby Paschal Joseph, born on December 8th. Pronounced “Pass-Cal” with cal as in calorie; the same as the chameleon in Tangled.

You can read his birth story if you feel inclined (: “

(I AM so inclined! I LOVE birth stories!!)

And of course I know you want to know the name story!

I’d had Paschal on my list for years, after having scoured lists of saints names for anything I liked the sound of. There is a Pope St Paschal, which was my intro. It was in our top 2-3 boy names when I was pregnant with Cecily, so we were researching more about each name, and found St Paschal Baylon, who had a great devotion to the Eucharist, and according to some sources is a patron of vocations to the priesthood (although he was a lay Franciscan brother himself). We would absolutely LOVE for God to call any or all of our sons to the priesthood, so finding this particular saint sealed the deal on this name for us, had Cecily been a boy. Then this time around, I took the positive pregnancy test Easter weekend, and since “paschal” (rhymes with rascal here) as an adjective means relating to Easter, that sealed the deal that it was still the right name — if it was a boy — this time. We chose the spelling Paschal to associate it more with Easter and less with math (ie. Blaise Pascal / Pascal’s triangle), although we also don’t mind the math reference: Justin (my husband) is an engineer, and I, “just for fun,” added a math minor to my English and Spanish majors in college.

Joseph had been the plan for a second boy’s middle name basically forever. My grandpa was Joseph (“Joe”), and my husband’s grandpa was Bobby Joe, and we lost both these grandpas before having any kids, so we liked the idea of honoring both of them. Plus, Miryam’s middle name is after me, Luke’s is after Justin, Cecily’s is after Justin’s confirmation saint, and my confirmation saint is St Josephine, so Joseph for a boy fits right in. Additionally, I had unofficially taken St Joseph as a patron of our family years ago, and then officially did a consecration to him just before this baby was born. It was only too perfect that our little Paschal Joseph came on the final day of the year of St Joseph, since his name had been picked out since 2019.

I’d been hoping this baby would be a boy (we waited until birth to find out) especially so that my Luke would have a brother, but also because I had become so attached to this name!

I love all of these details!! Paschal Joseph absolutely seems to be the perfect name for this handsome little guy!!

Congratulations to Elizabeth and her hubby and big sibs Miryam, Luke, and Cecily, and happy birthday Baby Paschal!!

Paschal Joseph


I’m not currently doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, 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). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Names for the Glorious Mysteries

It’s Easter Tuesday!! Hallelujah and hurrah!! ❤ 😀 ❤

It’s the perfect Tuesday to continue the Mysteries of the Rosary series with a post about names for the Glorious Mysteries! If you remember, last week I posted about Sorrowful Mystery Names, and you were all so great with your comments! Lots of good ideas there!

These are the Glorious Mysteries (read more here) (and here’s how to pray the Rosary):

The Resurrection of Our Lord
The Ascension into Heaven
The Descent of the Holy Spirit
The Assumption of Mary
The Coronation of Mary

Names associated with the Glorious Mysteries might include:

Girls

Assumpta, Assunta, Asunción — a traditional girl’s name referring to the Assumption

Anastasia — means “resurrection”

Corona — means “crown,” for Our Lady’s Crowning

Dominica, Dominique — from Dominic, which is from Latin for “of the Lord,” and was traditionally given to a baby born on a Sunday

Evangeline — means “good news”

Gloria, Glory — the glory of Easter! And the Glorious Mysteries!

Jemima — means “dove,” for the Holy Spirit

Magdalene/a, Madel(e)ine — for Mary Magdalene, who was the first to see the Risen Christ

Mary, etc. — any of the Mary names would be a perfect nod to the Marian mysteries

Paloma — means “dove”

Pascale, Pascaline, Pasqualina — means “related to Easter”

Regina — means “queen,” for the Crowning of Our Lady

Renata, Renée — means “reborn”

Salome — one of the women who discovered the tomb was empty

Vida, Vita — means “life”

 

Boys

Aidan — from a name meaning “fire,” for the Holy Spirit’s tongues of fire

Ambrose — means “immortal”

Cináed (often anglicized as Kenneth) — means “born of fire”

Colum, Columba — means “dove,” for the Holy Spirit

Dominic — see Dominica, Dominique above

Emmaus — Jesus met Cleopas and another on the road to Emmaus after the Resurrection (so like Emmett!)

Ignatius — connected to the Latin ignis, which means “fire”

Jonah — means “dove”

Paschal, Pascal, Pascoe — see Pascale, Pascaline, Pasqualina above

Renatus, René — see Renata, Renee above

Stephen — means “crowned”! How great is Stephen as a nod to Our Queen!

Vitus, Vitale/y — see Vida, Vita above

 

What others can you add to this list? (The Holy Spirit names came from this post; I only included the ones that seemed particularly connected to the Descent of the Holy Spirit.)

+ Let us bless the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Let us praise and exalt him above all forever. +

Sancta Nomina around the web, and Happy Easter!

My March column at CatholicMom.com posted last Wednesday, and I’m only now getting a chance to let you all know! As you’ll read, it was inspired by the fact that search terms having to do with nicknames for Victor bring people to my blog more than any other search term, except for those specifically looking for the blog (e.g., “sancta nomina blog”). I still find that pretty amazing!

You might remember that I’d done a consultation last year for nicknames for Victor for Theresa of Zelie & Co./Happy Nest Home Goods fame, so I re-tooled it a little for CatholicMom and I’m delighted I was able to have it post right before Easter as, to me, Victor is all Jesus and His triumph over death: Celebrating Jesus’ Easter Victory By Name

catholicmom-03.16.16

And today, I have a new article up at Nameberry, which was greatly helped by the comments you all left on this post! Check it out: How Star Athletes Influence Baby Names

nameberry-03.23.16

With that, I’m signing off until next week, when I’ll post the Monday consultation as usual (for one of our most regular readers! So exciting!). I’ll remember you all in my prayers over the next few somber and celebratory days, and I hope you all have a very blessed Holy Week and a wonderfully Happy Easter!! ❤ ❤ ❤

Names for the Sorrowful Mysteries

A few weeks ago Shelby suggested a post on names for the Mysteries of the Rosary, which I loved right away — what a great idea! So every Tuesday for the next four weeks, I’m going to post on a particular set of Mysteries, starting today with the Sorrowful Mysteries, which is so apt for Holy Week, and also for yesterday’s attacks in Brussels. Suffering Jesus, help us.

In case you need a refresher, these are the Sorrowful Mysteries (all referring to Jesus’ Passion and Death) (read more here):

The Agony in the Garden
The Scourging at the Pillar
The Crowing with Thorns
The Carrying of the Cross
The Crucifixion

And here’s how to pray the Rosary.

Shelby and Mary-Agnes both offered some ideas, and I’ve spent the last couple weeks jotting down some more as I thought of them — there are a good few!

Girls

Cruz — cruz is Spanish for “cross” and refers to the Cross of the Crucifixion; used for boys and girls

Dolores — Spanish for “sorrows,” traditionally used for Our Lady of Sorrows (María de los Dolores) and here could refer to both her and to the Sorrowful Mysteries, or to the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows) — the name for the path in Jerusalem Jesus walked on his way to the Crucifixion

Gethsemane — the name of the garden where Jesus suffered His Agony; behindthename lists it as a female name

Magdalen(e/a), Maddelana, Madeleine/Madeline — Mary Magdalene was at the foot of the Cross

Maricruz — a Spanish contraction of María and Cruz

Mary — Our Lady was at the foot of the Cross

Olivia, Olive — for the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (an olive grove); the nickname Via for Olivia would bring in an added nod to the Via Dolorosa (see Dolores above)

Pilar — a Spanish girl’s name meaning “pillar,” which can be a nod to the Scourging at the Pillar (it’s a Marian name referring to the unrelated title María del Pilar — Our Lady of the Pillar, from a Spanish apparition)

Regina — meaning “queen” (or perhaps “royalty” would be the better sense here) because of the Crowning with Thorns

Ruby — “red,” for Jesus’ Blood poured out for us in His Passion and Death

Scarlett — same as Ruby

Veronica — she wiped Jesus’ Face during the Carrying of the Cross

 

Boys

Cruz — cruz is Spanish for “cross” and refers to the Cross of the Crucifixion; used for boys and girls

Cyrene — Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry His Cross

Dismas — the name traditionally given to the repentant thief crucified next to Jesus

John — John the Beloved Disciple was at the foot of the Cross with Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene

Oliver — see Olivia/Olive above

Rex, Regis — meaning “king” because of the Crowing with Thorns; see Regina above

Simon — see Cyrene above

Tristan — often considered to mean “sad” because of its similarity to Latin tristis (sad)

 

What others can you add to this list?

+ For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. +

 

 

Birth announcement: Sullivan James Pasquale!

A mama I did a private consultation for has let me know she had her baby boy, and given him the meaningful name of … Sullivan James Pasquale!

He joins big sibs:

Bodhi Mira
Kodo Ze’ev
Ossian Alexander

And his mama writes,

I wanted to share with you that our sweet baby boy was born on January 21st at 4:45 am. He was 8 lbs, 4oz. We decided to name him Sullivan James Pasquale Knox, which wasn’t even on our radar initially, but unfortunately we unexpectedly lost a dear family member just a week before he was born and made our choice based on that. Thank you so much for helping me on such short notice! Sorry again for taking so long to get back to you. We’ve been busy getting ready to enter the church on Easter! I can’t wait!

Don’t you love her enthusiasm about entering the Church! I get goosebumps over every single conversion story, I just love them. And I love little Sullivan’s name — Sullivan’s one of my favorite last names to use as a first name, James is so saintly, and Pasquale is perfect for a baby born right before Easter to a mama who’s entering the Church at Easter! I love too how she was able to use a somewhat uncommon name along the lines of her older kiddos’ names while still bringing in her newfound faith.

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Sullivan!!

sullivan_james_pasquale

Sullivan James Pasquale