Happy Monday, everyone! And what a Monday it is, following Father’s Day (I hope all the dads in your life had a happy and blessed day!), which was also the day that the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) was celebrated (at least in my diocese — last Thursday was the actual feast day), which was also the actual date of Juneteenth, which is being celebrated as a public holiday today (this statement by the National Black Catholic Seminarians Association is both informative and inspiring). Wow! This is also the beginning of the week that will see my firstborn graduate from high school, which I’m both excitedly anticipating and sadly dreading. Ah, life. I’m going to work on scheduling some more posts for this week and maybe next as well, so hopefully you’ll have some good reading to look forward to! In the meantime, please enjoy today’s consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams.
Mama Megan writes in needing help with a name for baby girl #3. Mom is Megan Elaine and dad is Michael Andrew. This little girl will be joining big siblings:
Mama Megan says they have some rules they like to follow for names:
- Saint name patron for one name
- Connection to Mary in the other name
- Sounds regal
- Not clunky/hard to say
- 3 syllables or less
- Familiar but not too popular/trendy
- Most people know how to spell it
Great list of criteria! Megan continues,
“We have four names that we are stuck on: Margaret Anne, Margaret Lily, Stella Marie, and Felicity Marie.”
“We love Margaret for the connection to my name ‘Megan’ and that we found out we were pregnant around St. Margaret of Scotland’s feast day and my due date is near St. Margaret of Antioch’s feast day. It’s also a classic and vintage name. My husband is concerned about nicknames and family and friends calling her ‘Marge’ or ‘Margery’ … I am a little concerned Margaret will stick out from the softer sounding names of our other daughters.”
They like Anne and Lily as middle names because they’re either very classic or have a connection to Mary (lilies symbolize Mary’s purity in her Immaculate Conception). Megan continues,
“Stella for Our Lady Star of the Sea and Marie for St. Therese since her actually first name is Marie. My husband had a long standing devotion to her and received many roses growing up from her rose novena. We’ve tried each pregnancy to figure out a way to honor St. Therese without using Therese and this is an exciting possibility. I love OL Star of the Sea as I am from a small coastal town and grew up very close to the ocean. We are also navigating a high risk pregnancy with a preterm c section in the next few weeks due to placenta previa. So, the guiding star aspect is very appealing. However, is Stella too close to Eleanor? And is Stella vintage or new agey? My husband is concerned it’s new agey.”
I love this so much. I had never considered Marie as a way to honor St. Therese!
Finally, Megan writes about Felicity Marie,
“I like the saint’s story and the L sounds in Felicity. Marie would be for Our Lady.”
First, some thoughts on the names/name combinations they’re considering:
Margaret- I love the connection with mom Megan through this name, that gives mother and daughter something special to share. I also love that two Sts. Margaret are already connected to this baby! Margaret is a great name and has so many nickname potentials that I don’t think they should worry about family calling her Marge or Margery. They can insist everyone call her a particular nickname or by her full name. Some other great nicknames are the classic Maggie, Peggy, Daisy, or get a little creative and call her Etta. If they feel like these are just not their style, what about Marina instead of Margaret? St. Margaret of Antioch is sometimes known as Marina and it also gives them a tie-in to Stella Maris (sea theme) to honor Mary in that way. Margaret does feel a little stuffier and clunkier than their other girls’ names but I still think she fits in. I like both Margaret Anne (very classic, clunky cool, a little stuffy, very regal) and Margaret Lily (breezy, a little more fun, sounds like a girl in this era) but I lean towards Margaret Lily. More thoughts on the potential middles below.
Anne- This name is very classic and regal and I love the Ann-with-an-e spelling (I’m biased as it’s one of my middle names). The only problem with this name, really, is that it doesn’t leave any room for a Marian name. It’s also much more old school than their other daughters’ names, especially with Margaret, making it stylistically a little different from them.
Lily- I love this in the middle spot with Margaret and I love all the connections they have for it. This is my favorite middle name that they’ve mentioned period. I love that it’s a Marian name that you wouldn’t usually think of! So unexpected, fun, and cool. Lily is hot right now, so placing it in the middle spot gives the whole name some pizzazz and punch.
Stella- This name is nowhere near Eleanor, even if you take Eleanor to mean “light.” I think “star” and “light” are different enough and have different faith connotations. I love Stella as a nod to Mary, Stella Maris. This name is hot right now, it sits at #41 which is the highest it’s ever ranked, but it has been in good use since at least the 1880s, meaning it’s not new agey at all, just an enduring classic. If that bothers them still, it can also be an old Slavic nickname for Anastasia. I love both Stella and Anastasia with their other girls.
Marie- You cannot get anymore enduring, classic, or Marian than this. It’s a great name but its overuse by parents in the 1980s and 1990s in the middle spot may make it feel more like a filler than anything with meaning. That doesn’t have to deter them, though, since they have lots of meaning for it! I especially love it as a nod to St. Therese. Her full name was actually Marie Françoise-Thérèse. I love that she had a very full, rich name, just like their child will. They can’t go wrong with this name.
Felicity- I don’t have a ton of thoughts on this name other than that I really like it with their other girls. Eleanor, Annalise, and Felicity just sound like sisters to me. They all have the same light, regal, classic but modern feel to me. You can’t go wrong with this name, either.
Out of these names, Margaret Lily and Stella Marie really stand out to me as great for their family and with the other girls’ names.
On to new suggestions!
This regal sounding name is currently at #60, meaning it’s having a moment but is an enduring classic. The highest it ever reached was #59 in 1933. This name means “noble strength” and I just love that for a little girl. Even better, there’s a saint to go with it. St. Audrey or Ethelreda was a devout princess. What little girl wouldn’t want a literal princess as a role model! I love that our faith encompasses people of all types and backgrounds. I love the continuing vowel sounds with their other girls and Eleanor, Annalise, and Audrey sound like a bunch of little princesses to me. I love Audrey Marie best but also like the sounds of Audrey Anne and Audrey Margaret. If they wanted to get bold, I’d go with Audrey Stella.
I think, like Stella, this name feels new agey even though it’s not. It currently sits at 90 but hit its highest rank in 1883 at #75. St. Lydia Purpuraria was converted by St. Paul and is the patron saint of the color purple. I’ve always thought it was so fun that we have patron saints for colors. I like Lydia with their other girls a lot. Eleanor, Annalise, and Lydia just feel good together. I love Lydia Marie but if they wanted to be bold, I love Lydia Lily (lots of fun alliteration there) and Lydia Felicity.
This one may seem a little more left-field and I intentionally went there for this name. I liked that their girls have different initials but all vowels. I wanted to see if I could find a name that fit their criteria with a different vowel initial. I think I’ve come really close. Iris is obviously a flower but that flower is also known as the “sword lily” and has a connection to Our Lady of Sorrows. Isn’t that magnificent? I thought this was a magnificent way to honor Our Lady subtly while matching with her siblings and their criteria. Eleanor, Annalise, and Iris are lovely together. I love Iris Margaret, Iris Anne, Iris Marie (to get St. Therese in there!), and Iris Felicity. If they don’t like Iris, I thought they might also like Ivy, which is sometimes called Mary’s Tears and therefore connected to Our Lady of Sorrows. Iris sits at #107, which is the highest it’s ever been. It’s a common nature name that they won’t hear everyday everywhere like Lily has become. Ivy is a little more popular at #49 and I think it feels a little trendier, too. I like Ivy Margaret and Ivy Anne. Either Iris or Ivy is phenomenal.
These are my thoughts! What do you think?
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!