We have some winners!!

You guys! You blew me away with your entries to the Mother’s Day giveaway! I loved reading each one!

The first three people to email me with the most complete list of names from the 2017 top 100 that also appear in my book are: Carrollann, Christina, and Katie! Congratulations to them all!

One of the best things to come out of this giveaway was all the new ideas I got from your emails! As I was telling Jon Leonetti when I was on his show the other morning, despite having spent nearly ten years of my life — including the last four (!) with all of you sharing your ideas — digging into every nook and cranny of the internet and books I have and compiling the names that ended up in my book, I’m STILL finding new Marian names and titles that I never came across/thought of/heard of. You all have provided several new ones, and I’ve added them to the list I’ve started for the book’s second edition! 😉

I haven’t responded to anyone’s entries but those of the winners, so don’t get concerned if you didn’t hear from me … I plan to and want to reply to each of you, as I truly loved each one of your emails. Hopefully today! I hope you all have a great Sunday!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon! It’s a perfect for expectant mamas, baby showers, and just because. 🙂 If you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated!

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Links, updates, and consultation info

I’ve got a bunch of things to share today, so I’m putting them all in one post!

First up, I’ll be going on “maternity leave” from consultations starting June 1. That will give me a chance to finish up all those currently in the queue and any new ones before things get real around here, baby-wise (i.e., doubling down on getting things ready + my own slowing down as the time approaches). But I won’t be off the blog — posts take less time than consultations, so I should still be able to post regularly (though perhaps less frequently? It’s almost summer y’all! My boys and I have plans!). I’ll also still be on Instagram and Twitter (especially IG). I’m not sure when I’ll be back to consultations — I’ll have to play it by ear, based on how things are going post-baby. A very unofficial, tentative date might be sometime around Christmas, but again, I’ll just have to see. I’ll be emailing those of you who purchased the Black Friday deal and haven’t yet redeemed it — which is totally fine! It doesn’t expire! But if you aren’t ready by June 1, I won’t be able to do it until I return from my baby hiatus.

I’ve gotten some emails in response to my giveaway! Woo! No one’s yet gotten the full list, so there’s still a chance for the rest of you! But the ones I’ve gotten are pretty good, so the competition is tough! It ends Saturday at midnight (Eastern).

I also have the final official links for my segment on Mater Dei Radio: this is for when it aired on Coffee & Donuts with John & Mary, and this is for when it aired on Morning Drive. So much fun!

Almost three years ago I posted about Rachel Campos-Duffy and her congressman husband Sean’s seventh baby, and then totally missed that they’ve since had an eighth! Two years ago this month they welcomed Patrick Miguel — love love love his name!

Finally, back in November I posted a consultation for Amy at Our Family Fiat, and she recently relaunched her site and one of her first posts up is about the naming of her baby! Definitely go check out her third little lady’s beautiful name!! (Her first name is in my book! Woo!)

Okay! That’s all I have for this Tuesday! I hope you’re all having a great week!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon! It’s a perfect for expectant mamas, baby showers, and just because. 🙂 If you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated!

New SSA name stats! And some Mother’s Day goodies <3

(I have a memory of an email conversation that I had just recently where I told the mama I could fit her in in the next couple of days, but I forgot to write it down and I can’t find the email … if this sounds like you, please email me again! So sorry!)

(Also, did you listen to my spot on Coffee & Donuts with John & Mary? If not, go do it! I’m on from about the 15 minute mark to about the 24 minute mark.)

Happy Mother’s Day!! Every year right before Mother’s Day the Social Security Administration (SSA) releases the data on the first names given to the babies born the following year. Yesterday, 2017’s data was released!

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My first thought was amazement on seeing Logan at no. 5! He didn’t creep in stealthily at no. 10, but jumped right to no. 5 from no. 18! Wow! This seems to be entirely due to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine movie Logan, which was released in March 2017.

From your comments on Instagram, Evelyn also seems to be surprising to some of you. As I mentioned on IG, when my 13yo was three, one of his classmates’ mom had a baby girl whom she named Evelyn, and back then I thought it sounded like such an old lady name. Turns out it entered the top 100 in 2002 for the first time since 1953 and in fact is now, at no. 9, the most popular it’s ever been — its previous highest was no. 10 in 1915. In my mind, it’s part of the Evangeline/Genevieve/Vivian-nicknamed-Evie/Vivi sisters. And in fact Evie increased in 2017 as well!

Besides the new top ten, I’m always interested to see which names increased and decreased in popularity. I haven’t been able to look through the decrease list as closely as I’d like to yet, but these things jumped out at me from the increase list:

From the boy names

I was interested to see that several names that are also used for girls increased. As the mom of all boys, I’m sensitive to how boys feel about having a name that’s also given to girls; the fact that all these rose in usage suggests to me that it’s not as big a deal as I might think: Rey, Jamie, Rowen/Rowan, Elliott/Elliot, Emory, Eden, Remy, Avery, Rory, Micah.

While Michael dropped out of the top ten for the first time since 1942 (!!), Mike increased in use! There were other classic male nicknames that rose in usage as well, including Tommy, Hank, Billy, and Jack.

It seems the letters “ax” are big, as evidenced by the increase in Jaxxon, Axton, Maxton, Jaxx, Dax, Axl/Axel, Jaxton, Daxton, Braxton (I only ever think “Hicks,” but it rose to no. 118, so it’s obviously not a deal breaker!), and Jaxson.

Through my Sancta Nomina glasses I noticed: Coleman, Magnus, Kyrie, Boone, Shepherd, Blaze, Thiago, Casey, Simeon (entered top 1000! Yesss!), Jasper, Milo/Myles, Agustin, Porter, Francis, Leo, Damien/Damian (woo!), Sebastian, Matias/Mathias/Matthias, Tadeo, and Sonny (which I love as a nickname for Solanus).

And just generally, these increases caught my eye: Caspian (no. 3 on the increase list! It entered top 1000), Lucian (a friend just named her son Lucian), Beau (this and Bo get some decent love here on the blog), Roger, Micheal (a misspelling of Michael? Or do that many people really love the Irish spelling?), Louis (note that it’s already on the rise — it’ll be interesting to see what little Prince Louis does for the name), Atticus (so glad to see the new Harper Lee book didn’t keep it down — it took a small hit the year after Go Set a Watchman came out, but in 2017 bounced back up to nearly the same spot in as it had been before all that), and Ledger (I’m currently digging word names, and while Ledger certainly brings actor Heath Ledger to mind, it’s also a noun).

From the girl names

I thought it was interesting that both Melania and Ivanna (that spelling) increased.

Also Oaklynn, Oaklyn, Oaklee, and Oakley!

Speaking of Oaklee and Oakley, the “lee” sound dominated the “increased in popularity” list! All of these increased in popularity in 2017: Ensley, Emberly, Paislee/Paisley, Everlee/Everleigh/Everly, Raylee, Zaylee, Kinslee/Kinsley, Kensley, Kenley, Kynlee, Harleigh, Journee, Hailee/Hayley/Haylee, Hallie/Halle, Charli/Charley/Charleigh/Charlie/Charlee, Emely, Novalee, Bexley, Finley, Marleigh/Marley, Callie/Kallie/Kali, Harley/Harlee, Rosalie, Brinley, Jolie, Blakely, Ryleigh/Rylee, Brynnlee, Bailee, Presley (interesting that Zaylee’s on this list but Zelie’s not!).

Names that increased for girls that have a counterpart (exact same or perhaps a different spelling) on the boys’ increase list: Sunny, Remy/Remi, Rory, Rowan, Eden, Avery, Elliott/Elliot.

Both Ryan and Ryann increased for girls — this caught my attention because in the consultation I posted last Monday, the mama noted they “are not open to gender neutral names (e.g. Ryan, Blake, etc)” and one of you commented on Facebook that you didn’t realize Ryan and Blake were now considered gender neutral. Funny enough, I mentioned a girl I know named Ryan yesterday and my 6yo goes, “What?! A *girl* named Ryan??” Despite its usage by girls it still feels like a boy name to me and I’m definitely not the only one. (Interestingly, Riaan was the no. 1 decreased boy’s name in 2017.)

I loved seeing Marianna, Giana, Evie, Magdalena, Maisie, Daisy, Dorothy, Juniper, Mercy, Regina, Genevieve on the increase list, as well as — Mary! Yessss!! She only increased one spot, but still! I’d said on the Coffee & Donuts with John & Mary segment (linked to above) that I didn’t think Mary itself would become more popular any time soon (it was recorded on Thursday), but I’d love to be proven wrong!

I feel really uncomfortable seeing Lilith on the increase list. I keep reminding myself that very few of those parents, if any, chose the name because of its dark background and instead probably like that it looks and sounds like an unusual Lily variant. Or perhaps they like the feminist angle to the story (which is why the Lilith Fair was so named). There’s a lot of evil lurking there though … Or maybe I’m giving the name too much power? On the lighter end, it’s not for nothing that Frasier’s wife on Frasier was named Lilith …

One name I’d never heard of increased: Yaretzi. It’s got a pretty great meaning according to Nameberry.

These struck me as the most recent members of the old-is-new club, all of them on the rise: Frida, Deborah, Eileen, Diana, and Nancy.

And these seemed too new to be back in fashion again, but they also rose in popularity: Jenny, Tara.

I’d love to hear what you all thought about the names that increased in popularity!

The one name that I did look into from the decrease list was thanks to one of you who commented on Instagram:

you mentioned in your most recent Nameberry post that Montserrat was skyrocketing in 2014. Now in 2017 it’s amongst the top decreases, falling 225 spots. Was there something cultural or in pop culture to cause that name to boom in 2014 and fall so quickly?

The 2014 increase of Montserrat, and its variant Monserrat, seems to have been due to a character by that name in the Mexican telenovela Lo que la vida me robó (What Life Took From Me). I wasn’t able to pinpoint exactly why it fell so much in 2017, but the story that kept showing up over and over again as I tried different search terms was that of the volcano on the island of Montserrat (different than the mountains in Spain from which Our Lady gets her title Our Lady of Montserrat) that leveled its capital city and left part of the island uninhabitable last time it erupted, and which may be showing signs of erupting again (here and here). Does anyone else have a better idea of why the name dropped?

Speaking of Marian names … One of my very favorite things this year was counting how many Marian names are in the top 100! Which gave me a great idea for a Mother’s Day giveaway! There are several names in the top 100 for both boys and girls that are included in my book of Marian names — the first three readers who email me at sanctanomina at gmail dot com with the most complete list of those names between now and next Saturday at midnight Eastern time will receive a copy of my book (signed by me if you’d like, though I totally get it if you’d rather not)! I hope you’re as excited to receive one of my books as I am to give them! I know you’ll all love it!

I also wanted to let you all know that I’m nearly done with a novena to St. Gerard that I started specifically for all of you. I’m asking him to pray for all of you readers, including those who are mothers or who want to be, and those who are hoping for a baby or are suffering from the loss of a baby or from infertility, as well as for all of your children, both living and deceased. St. Gerard has been close to us recently, and it seemed natural to pray a novena to him for you all. ❤

I hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day, whether you are a mother or not, and remember that Mary Our Mother loves you very much!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org (free shipping through today, May 12!) and Amazon! It’s a perfect Mother’s Day gift, as well as for baby showers and just because. If you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated. 🙂 ❤

 

 

Happy feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim! A giveaway for you! ❤

It’s our patronal feast day!! 🎉🎉🎉

I’ve absolutely loved having St. Anne as the patroness of this blog — she has shown herself to be a help to me and to our Sancta Nomina community so many times! In preparation for today I did a St. Anne Novena, which ended yesterday, and I offered it for all of you and your intentions. 💕

And I have a few things to give away! The major thing is a Matching His & Hers Rosary and Rosary Bracelet set from our friend Shannon‘s Chews Life shop, which has been posted especially in honor of this wonderful feast day!

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Screen shot of the Chews Life IG post

The winner will be able to choose the color — there are several available, all beautiful.

Secondly, I have two Tiny Saints St. Anne charms, perfect for any little one with St. Anne as patron (or any big one too!).

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To enter this giveaway, just click here! It’ll run until midnight on Friday, and I’ll randomly draw three winners on Saturday — the first will get the Rosary and Rosary Bracelet set, and the second and third will get a Tiny Saints charm.

Thank you all for being so wonderful, and thank you to St. Anne for watching over us and praying for us! ❤🌹❤🌹❤🌹

The blog is 3! Story, photos, and a giveaway ❤

You guys! Today’s my blogiversary! Three years ago today I posted my very first post!

As I was approaching my first blogiversary two years ago, I was feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for the blessing of the blog and all of you and all the wonderful things that have come out of this sweet little space, and since St. Anne is the patroness of the blog, I decided to visit a St. Anne Shrine to thank her for her intercession and to pray for all of you. My wonderful husband helped me pack up our six boys for a day-long pilgrimage to Isle La Motte, VT, which wasn’t the kind of thing we ever really did back then, but it was so important to me to mark the occasion in an appropriate way, and the day turned out beautifully.

Last year, for the second blogiversary, we visited the St. Anne Shrine in Sturbridge, MA, which was a little farther away than Isle La Motte and came with its own set of pilgrimage-type suffering, but it also was just a perfect way to celebrate the day.

This year, we decided to go even farther away (mostly because there wasn’t any closer St. Anne Shrine), and we were originally planning on going this coming weekend, but sort of last minute decided to go this past weekend — school ended Friday and we left right afterward to go to Scranton, PA, where the Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Ann is. How cool! St. Anne has her own national shrine! It has an amazing history.

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First I have to back up and say, since it was such a long drive we decided to stay overnight, so our plan was to spend Friday driving to the hotel and swimming in the hotel pool, and going to the Shrine on Saturday. Have any of you ever used the web site Six Suitcase Travel? They provide info on places for families of 5-8 to stay together in one room (as opposed to broken up into two hotel rooms, which is what we always have to do), and when I saw TownePlace Suites in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as one of the places they recommend, I was sold! So fun to see my name on the hotel. 😁

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(Beautiful, beautiful country, and up so high!)

They didn’t actually have any of their big rooms available, so we had to go the two-room route, but they put us next to each other (never a guarantee), so that part worked out well. I admit I was feeling a little bit like we weren’t being pilgrimage-y enough, since we were staying at a hotel and swimming, etc., but God finds a way! His mysterious ways! And His sense of humor! As we were checking in we were informed that their pool was closed for that night only. 😒 Fortunately they’d arranged for their guests to use the pool in the neighboring hotel, so all we had to do was go across the parking lot, but, you know, it just made it that much less easy. Fortunately the next morning their pool was open again, and they had a noon check-out time!, so we thought we’d enjoy the complimentary breakfast in the the hotel, swim for an hour, then check out and go to the shrine. Which we did, but I’m thinking the chlorine levels were extra high in the pool because of having just been cleaned? Because the boys were wailing with pain for the next couple of hours, no joke, despite rinsing eyes in the shower and the sink, and their eyes were still red and puffy at lunchtime. Poor kids. All we tried to do was have a little fun! 😭

Anyway, so we went to the Shrine, and I was trying so hard to bring my mind to a prayerful, pilgrimage-y place, despite the wailing children and my son (the one who threw up during the car ride on our St. Anne trip last year) looking at me with a green face and saying, “Mom?” while hiccuping (he didn’t get sick, thank goodness). I was thinking of you all and all your intentions, and how grateful I am for all of you and all of this.

My goals when I go on these trips are threefold: (1) to visit the church and say my prayers, and also to light a candle if possible; (2) to take some pictures; (3) to go to the gift shop. So (1) turned out to be impossible, because there were baptisms going on in the church at the exact time we were there — I peeked from the vestibule through the inner doors to see if we could go in, and there were a bunch of people right in front of those doors, so we didn’t even get to see the inside of the church. Can you believe that? We only had a certain amount of time carved out to be there, so we couldn’t wait for the baptisms to be over. And there were candles in a little grotto next to the church, but the gate to them was closed and locked.

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(See the gated area on the left? With the boxes stored behind the gate? That’s where the candles were.)

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(Close-up of one of the many gorgeous St. Ann (they spelled it without an E there) and Our Lady statues. I love the throne.)

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(The front doors of the basilica.)

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(A side door. I loved the words above the door. ❤)

Number (2) worked out okay — I took a bunch of pictures, including some of the many, many dedicated benches and bricks, as well as the different statues on the grounds.

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(You know I loved seeing all the names, and I was so moved by the devotion and gratitude to St. Anne for her intercession. ❤)

(One guess as to what Frank X.’s middle name is. 😉 And I loved sweet Husband Robert’s gift to his departed wife.)

I’m going to post the pics of the saint statues on Instagram — I’ll have them up by the end of the day!

And (3) was a total bust as well — though there were no hours for the gift shop listed on their web site, there was a sign on the door saying it closed at noon on Saturdays. We were there at 12:45.

It felt a little silly that the entire point of our trip was to visit this shrine, and most of what I wanted to do there wasn’t possible. But we did offer our family rosary for the intentions I wanted to pray for: For all of you and your intentions; for your babies both living and deceased; for those who are hoping for a baby, and those who are struggling with parenthood; and in thanksgiving for all of you and the blog and all that’s happened because of it.

We also added something to our trip that felt meaningful for our mission — my maternal grandmother was Anne, and when St. Anne — grandmother of Jesus — made herself known as the patroness of the blog, I immediately thought of my own grandmother Anne, and how cozy and homey it always was with her, which is how I think of us all together. My grandmother, who went by Annie and whose actual married name was Annie Oakley, is buried in a tiny rural cemetery next to a tiny rural church in a tiny rural Pennsylvania town (google maps had a hard time finding it!). The last time I was there was when my grandfather was buried next to her twenty two years ago, and with a slight adjustment to our route we could stop there on the way home.

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(David X. and Annie. One guess what my grampa’s middle name was. 😉)

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(We said some prayers. Those little folded hands. 💕🙏 My uncle is also buried there — my grandparents are on the left, my uncle on the right, both with flags.)

We also stopped to have dinner with one of my sister-friends, which was wonderful, and we pulled into our driveway around 11pm that night. What a trip!

I’d really wanted to get something for you at the gift shop — something for a giveaway — and I was really intrigued by the St. Ann oil I read about on the Shrine’s web site. But instead, I’m delighted to give away three St. Anne chaplets from HandmadeCatholicShop on Etsy. I really love that the shop gives “quarterly donations to both the Catholic Church and American Troops overseas” — how wonderful!! To enter the giveaway, just click here — the giveaway will run until midnight on Friday, and I’ll notify the winners via email on Saturday! 🎉🎉🎉

St. Anne, pray for us!

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