Birth announcement: Caroline Sophia!

A mama I did a private consultation for has let me know her little one has arrived, a sweet little girl with the beautiful name … Caroline Sophia!

She writes,

Sorry this has taken so long, but I wanted to share with you that our little Caroline Sophia was born on September 12! Even though we didn’t actually use any new names you suggested for us, we loved doing the consultation through you! Seeing so many different choices really solidified for us why we loved the name ‘Caroline Sophia.’ 🙂

We decided that it would really mean a lot to my mom to have a child named after her. She is super sentimental, and although we really didn’t love ‘Sophia’ as a first name, somehow it was beautiful for a middle name. It was very providential, because my mom was at the birth for our first child, and not the next three. She was always watching our older kids while I was in labor at the hospital. For Caroline, our fifth child, the other four were all in school during the day, so Grandma got a break. She ended up being born at 9:30am, and after my mom dropped off all the big kids at school at 8am, she was able to come to help and witness my crazy fast and intense labor and birth. We didn’t plan it that way, but since it was my fastest birth, I really did need another person there to help besides my husband. And, when Caroline came out and we told her the name, Grandma just lost it! 👍😂 it was perfect!

JP2 has always been someone we loved, but I just have really gotten to know him a lot more the past five years. So, after ‘trying’ out other names on the Baby in utero, we just couldn’t go with anything else besides naming Caroline after him. 😁❤️

She is just about two months old now, completely perfect and gorgeous, and smothered by siblings and everyone else constantly. 🙂 “

I love this name story so much!! I love how meaningful both the first and middle name choices are, and I love that “Grandma just lost it” upon hearing that her name is the baby’s middle name. So wonderful!!

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


Caroline Sophia on her baptism day this past weekend, with her blanket and St. JP2 doll her godparents made for her


Celebrity guest: Katie, mom who did the John Paul + middle thing really well

I met Katie, one of you wonderful readers, at the Syracuse Catholic Women’s Conference in October, and I got to meet her littlest guy, snoozing away in his wrap (soooo cute.!), who has one of my very favorite names for one of my very favorite saints: John Paul!

So of course we started chatting about names, and she was telling me that her husband hadn’t wanted John Paul to have a middle name, because he thought that three names was too much, and my interest was immediately piqued, because I know this very issue has been struggled with regarding this very name by some of you (and myself as well!).

So I was literally waiting with bated breath to hear how they resolved it (not even joking, I’m a little breathless about names 😂) when we got interrupted (this sweet old lady came over to tell Katie how much she reminded her of the Madonna and Child, which she totally did) and I never heard the rest of the story.

So yes, I emailed Katie! And we had a nice virtual chat and she said it would be okay for me to post about her John Paul’s name, as well as her seven other kiddos’ names! I’m so excited to introduce this beautiful family to you today and share their names with you!

To start, here’s the end to the John Paul + middle name story:

Yes, he said three names were too many so we were at an impasse. I ended up having a c-section bc baby turned to breech in labor. After [my husband] saw the c-section, I was wheeled back into my room. He said “I’ll name this baby anything you want!” So we went with John Paul on the birth certificate but John Paul Anthony is his name on his baptism certificate, birth announcement, etc. Turns out the husband was just worried about the blanks on the birth certificate form.”

Isn’t that a fantastic solution?! I could see a lot of people being really relieved to let go of the idea that the child’s name can only be what’s on the birth certificate. Like, the legal name is the legal name, but the legal name doesn’t have to be *the name*, you know? I kind of love the idea of a baby’s *real name* only being official with the Church and friends/family/real life. And doing so opens up so many options!

Of course I wanted to know what little John Paul Anthony’s big sibs were named, and I really love each one of them and the reasons behind them:

Daniel Thomas (“named for family friend & my step-dad“)

James Michael (“we liked James & Michael is for my husband“)

Joseph William (“we just liked those names“)

Benjamin Jon (“liked the name Benjamin, Jon is the husband’s middle name“)

Samuel Luke (“I liked the names & the Bible theme…kids liked Sam Gribley from My Side of the Mountain and Luke Skywalker from Star Wars“)

Robert Jacob (“Robert because the husband REALLY liked the name and I was so pregnant with twins that I had no energy to argue. Jacob is for my great grandfather“)

Mary Lucille (“Mary for my grandmother, Lucille because we were going to call her Lucy. But when she was born, I was asking for Mary’s intercession in labor & as I was hemorrhaging after. So when I held our little girl, I felt like a heel not calling her Mary. 😁 “)

John Paul Anthony (“love JP2, all the dads and grandpas are named John. Anthony is because with all these boys, I have a devotion to St. Anthony. Without him we would never go anyplace bc we would never have keys or socks“)

My naming style is less traditional…if it were up to me, we’d have Gavin, Ignatius, Leo, Henry, etc. the husband likes the 80s names…So I consider our name choices a good compromise.”

I LOVED reading all of this! All those boys! And that one sweet little lady! I died over Katie’s comment that Mary Lucille was supposed to be Lucy but after Our Lady’s intercession in labor “I felt like a heel not calling her Mary”!! 😂😂😂


Thank you so much to Katie for sharing all this fun and fabulous info with us! Check out her beautiful children (all photos taken by Mary Wiseman):

View More:

Age order: Daniel, James, Joseph, Benjamin, Samuel, Robert, Mary, and John Paul

Some really cute ones of her younger kiddos:

Clockwise from top left: John Paul, Samuel, Joseph, Mary and Bobby, Dad and Bobby, Mary


Celebrity guest: Hope from *Hope and Justin*

Happy All Saints’ Day!! And I’m so sorry for totally not even remembering it was Halloween when I posted yesterday’s consultation — I hope you and all the little goblins you know (children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, godchildren, friends’ children, cousins, students) had a great day! 🎃 My boys had a blast, and my very favorite part was my littlest guy — at 2 1/2, this was the first Halloween he could walk up to each door and say “Trick or Treat!” and I just died over his cuteness every single time.

I have a special treat for you all on today’s special feast day! Ages ago readers Colleen Harlan and eclare alerted me to Hope and Justin Schneir of the band, yes, Hope and Justin, because of their amazing taste in names and eclare said, “I’m thinking they might need to be profiled on Sancta Nomina!” So I ran right over to Google, but wasn’t able to find out anything about the kids’ names — there was their band’s web site (including songs to listen to and a music video to watch of them and albums and merchandise to buy) and their Instagram and Facebook, but the kids’ names weren’t mentioned at all … there was this amazing Miraculous Medal story, written by Hope, but again — no mention of the kids’ names.

I figured I must just not have done a thorough enough search, so occasionally, every few weeks or so, I would search again. Finally, I just recently had the brilliant idea to just email them! Seriously, what’s wrong with me? Why didn’t I just do that to start with? I don’t know, all I can think is that now must be when God wanted this beautiful family profiled here. He’s funny like that, with His timing sometimes being mysterious but always perfect.

So without further ado, I’m beyond excited to introduce you to the Schneir Family! Hope wonderfully agreed to answer all my questions about the names of her children — I’m sure you’ll all enjoy this as much as I did!


Kate: I saw on the Soul Gardening journal web site (after reading your beautiful post about the Miraculous Medal and your friend Tree—ohh my, what an amazing story!) that you have seven children, and one of my readers said she thought one of your girls’ names is Indigo Madonna, which gives me all the heart eyes! I’m so eager to know all your kiddos’ names, and the “story” that goes with how you chose each one, if you don’t mind sharing! Any faith connections—saints, devotions, Our Lady, etc—that inspired you would also be great! Also, any nicknames that you might use (I’m a big fan of nicknames!).

Hope: Ask a woman (or at least this one!) to discuss names she’s chosen and you’ll get an earful. I hope I don’t go on too long or bore you or your lovely readers. Feel free to edit it down to whatever you think they will find interesting!

[My note: I didn’t edit anything! I loved it all!]

Ready for the lineup? We actually just had baby number 8! I’ll get to her at the end.

Our first born is Elijah Anthony. My husband Justin is a Jewish convert and he loved Elijah the Prophet from childhood, and wanted our firstborn son to bear his name. We chose Anthony after my father Bruce Anthony, and because I’ve always loved St. A. When he was born, a family friend came to the hospital and affectionately called him Elijah Blue (an ornamental grass), and it stuck. It’s sort of his pretend middle name and I call him that when I love him dearly and when I’m mad at him. But he’s awesome. So that doesn’t happen a lot. 

Second in line is Henry Tobias. I was raised in Vermont; up the road from me lived a friendly dairy farmer with a red beard named Henry, and since then I’ve always found the name endearing. Tobias was also in the runnings, and while I was praying about his name I opened the bible, and the first thing I saw was the word TOBIAS, so we were sure to include it. Henry is just such a sweet, honest, name. I don’t think I would ever feel like it was too popular, it’s just that great. 

Third is Triona Mary Wilder. My best childhood friend had the name Triona Wilder Marno-Ferree (she went by Tree.) She passed away in 2000, and we wanted to honor her, plus we both love the nickname Tree. Triona is a form of Catherine,  particularly meaningful because St. Catherine Laboure was the Saint of the Miraculous Medal, and my childhood friend and I exchanged Miraculous medals both as children and grown-ups, even though she was not a Catholic. I don’t know if I could have named a daughter Tree if I hadn’t grown up knowing and loving one personally, but I’m thankful Justin encouraged the name, even when I was nine months pregnant and considering Madonna.

Number four is Indigo Madonna. 🙂 I just love the title of Madonna for Our Lady, and I’ve always wanted Catholics to take it back after it’s been so pop-culture secularized. I also love the name (and word, and color) Indigo, and I couldn’t believe my husband liked it enough to go for it, but he did, and we did, and we call her Indi.

Next in line is Morey. Justin’s grandfather is Maury, and we wanted to use that name, but to give him a patron, so we officially named him Thomas More, (such an awesome saint!). Our son is weirded out when anyone calls him Thomas, but he loves the name Morey, and so do we! It’s also a boogie board brand, and it’s always fun when someone says “Oh, like Morey Boogie?”

Years before she was born, Justin and and I were sharing a cigarette at night and he started talking about the name June, with a big smile on his face. At that point she was literally a glimmer in her father’s eye, now she is Juniper Rose, but she usually goes by June or Junie. Juniper is a type of Cypress tree, also the name of the first canonized Californian, Saint Junipero Serra. Rose (Mystical Rose) is a title of Our Lady, and also a nod to her date of birth, December 12, (feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe). On the day she was born I opened my Magnificat to my favorite hymn, “Lo, How a Rose E’re Blooming”, and I cried. It’s become her special song and I sing it to her all year long. She’s a spunky little girl with two braids and the nickname”Junie” really suits her. 

Next is Wren Priscilla-Marie. My grandmother Priscilla (Pinky) had 13 children, and remains one of my heroes. We almost chose this name/nickname combo as her first name, but chickened out, or maybe just preferred, Wren. I think it’s so pretty, especially written out! I’ve always loved the name Gwen, and it’s got that feeling for me but with the bird reference. When deciding, I applied my sister’s test of “What would you rather YOUR name be?”, and we decided to put Priscilla second. Another thing that made this name special for me was this quote by St. Therese. “O Jesus, your little bird is happy to be weak and little. What would become of it if it were big? Never would it have the boldness to appear in your presence, to fall asleep in front of you.” I had just discovered the Theresian book “I Believe in Love”, and was very moved by this quote and her message of littleness; with this in mind, she was named. If you can’t already tell, I’m big into the Church Calendar. Her birthday (October 3) is the old feast of St. Therese, and the eve of St. Francis, and I think the name Wren goes well with the spirit of both of these Saints. 

Mercy Shawn-Pauline is the newest one! When Indigo was born we had considered the name Mercy, but I’m glad we shelved it because it was really special to have a daughter named Mercy in the Year of Mercy. I found out I was pregnant for her on the very first day of the Year of Mercy, December 8, (feast of the Immaculate Conception). I took a pregnancy test that morning because I thought that on that feast I could brave facing the truth about another baby (it frightens me every time!). My heart was filled with only joy at the positive test results, which is a mercy for me! Shawn-Pauline is a feminine form of John Paul; it’s also the professed name of one of my dearest friends who is now a Carmelite nun. We almost named her Mercy Vianne, because she was born on the feast of John Vianney, but kept with Shawn Pauline for the above reasons. She was baptized on the feast of the Queenship of Mary ([August] 22), and at her baptism the priest began his homily with “Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of MERCY!” which was so profound and touching to Justin and me. One thing I love about this name, is the deeper meaning and message it relays. I’ve really loved having the name Hope; it’s been a privilege to share this word, this message, each time I introduce myself. I have seen people light up when I tell them my name, as if God were trying to tell them something (and I like to think he was!). I hope Mercy feels the same way about her name, and she is able to bless others with the message of mercy throughout her life.

Kate: Based only on Indigo Madonna, I’m guessing you have pretty bold taste (which I LOVE!). Have you seen your taste in names changes over the years? Were you bolder with your younger kids’ names than with your older kids, or vice versa?

Hope: My favorite names are unique but easy to remember. I have a hard time remembering names that are words I am unfamiliar with, so those sorts kind of drive me crazy until I get used to them. You wouldn’t know it, but I also love traditional names, they’ve really grown on me over time! John, Daniel, Margaret, and Anne are some of my favorites in that genre. However once we started going down a non-traditional road with names, it was too fun not to keep at it. My middle name is Mary, and I have always felt a special protection of Our Lady because of it, so we try to do something Marian for each girl. 

Kate: I’m sure you have lots of family, friends, and fans who are Catholic and love the names of our faith—has interacting with them and hearing what they’re naming their kids influenced you in terms of which names *feel* popular (even if they’re not popular in the general American namescape)? Does the popularity of names in the circles you run in influence the kinds of names you choose for your own kids? (Basically, do you shy away from names that you feel are very well represented among the children you know?) Do the Social Security name stats affect you when choosing names?

Hope:  I admit that if names are climbing the charts, I’m less likely to want them, but it’s impossible to predict trends, so I try to make sure I like the name enough to choose, even if it were to become the number one name.

Kate: How has your music career influenced your taste in names? Do you feel like you bring the same creativity and artistry to naming that you do to your music? Have you ever encountered names while on tour, for example, or among your fellow musicians that you love and add to your list?

Hope:  I have a musical career? 😉 I write songs in my living room, with babies crawling around me and babbling into my voice memo recordings. With all the mothering and fathering we do, Justin and I haven’t been able to go on an official tour, but we do record locally and perform at select venues when the season is right. Each time we make an album it feels like another baby, and we obsess over its name just as if it were one. Like many people, especially writers, I really just enjoy words in general; the beauty they can call to mind, the pictures they can paint, the heavenly protecters they pay tribute to. Getting to name a child is such an honor, it’s the first real gift you give to them, and it’s a gift they will always have, even after you die.

Kate: I’d love to know if there are any names you considered that you ended up feeling were not quite right for you, for whatever reason? Any names that are on your “guilty pleasure” list that are just too far out there or not unusual enough or whatever?

Hope: Heck yeah! I love thinking about all of my hypothetical children! Micah Cloud is my favorite imaginary child; that would have been Indigo’s name had she been a boy. (Cloud is a Saint, by the way!) The last two girls would have been either John Paul (there are a million I know but still!) or Woody (Woodrow), just because we like it. Woody is a little bit of a guilty pleasure for me… we’ve gone back and forth on that one quite a bit. I also love the names Lawrence, Iris, Cyril, and Bruce, after my father, but neither of them go well with Schneir. My childhood friend Tree had a little sister named Linden (what is it with us and tree references?) and I love that name too.

Kate: Again, please don’t feel constrained by these questions! They’re only meant to inspire, and I LOVE tangents when it comes to names!

Hope: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share all of this! One final thought on names that comes to mind….When naming a child, we can hem and haw over it and ask God what he wants the name of the child to be, but I think it’s good to remember that God gave Adam the freedom to name the animals whatever he wanted. Sometimes God intervenes, as with John the baptist or Jesus, but most often he lets us pick the name, like Adam, and how cool is that!? It’s also interesting to note that in Scripture, Jesus occasionally changed people’s names, as with Peter. In Revelation there is a reference of a white stone, secret message, or name, that He will give to each one of us. I think it’s possible that when we get to heaven, we might receive a new name, if God wants to give us one.  My mother had a dream that God gave her the new name “Eartha”! I find this an interesting thing to think about.

I’m just blown away by everything Hope had to say — she’s such a great example of what’s *possible* in naming! (And motherhood and music!) A great many thanks to Hope for sharing all this info with us (and to Justin, for being an amazing naming partner!). And be sure to check out their site! (Hope said, “We are just starting to play and record again after this last baby, but don’t have any shows scheduled.”)


Karol for a boy?

A reader was asking me today if anyone’s using Karol for a boy, whether first or middle name. I know this mama has a boy with Karol as one of his middle names, and I know a little boy in real life who does so as well — what about all of you? Have you seen Karol as a first or middle name for a boy? Has he had any difficulty with the fact that it’s most familiar to [non-JP-loving Catholics] as a girl’s name?

Names for the Luminous Mysteries

Today marks the last post in our Mysteries of the Rosary series as we conclude with the Luminous Mysteries!

I know I went out of order, but it all made so much sense: I posted the Sorrowful Mysteries during Holy Week; the Glorious during the octave of Easter; the Joyful the day after the Feast of the Annunciation; and today’s Luminous Mysteries (also known as the Mysteries of Light), which were added to the Rosary during the Year of the Rosary by our beloved St. John Paul the Great in his beautiful Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (October 16, 2002), come a day after the feast of St. Stanislaus of Cracow, to whom JP2 had a great and subversive devotion. If I can digress for a moment, this is one of my favorite JP2 stories:

A controversy arose [in Poland] over the proposed dates of John Paul II’s visit. The pope wanted to arrive to celebrate the nine hundredth anniversary of Poland’s patron saint, St. Stanislaus, whose feast day is traditionally celebrated on the first Sunday after 8 May [only in Poland — we celebrate it on April 11]. In 1079, Stanislaus, the bishop of Cracow, was beheaded by King Boleslaw II for denouncing royal oppression and fomenting a baronial rebellion against him. The legend of St. Stanislaus represented the moral justification for resistance to an oppressive state under the courageous leadership of the church. It linked Catholic morality and Polish history. While Stanislaus’s martyrdom resonated with the pope’s message supporting human rights, this was just the type of symbolic linkage the regime wanted to avoid.

The party opposed the May dates requested by the pope. While First Secretary Gierek wanted to welcome John Paul II in order to show that the PZPR was patriotic and one with the nation, he did not wish to strengthen the opposition or provide occasions for antiregime demonstrations. As Central Comittee secretary Stanislaw Kania put it: ‘Above all … the state leadership wants to demonstrate its happiness with the selection of a Polish pope.’ Gierek and Cardinal Wyszynski met to discuss the broad outlines for John Paul II’s visit. Then a special church-state commission spent many weeks working out the details. They finally reached a compromise: the church conceded that the pope would not come for the May anniversary of St. Stanislaus; instead John Paul II would visit in June but stay longer. The government agreed that the pope would be invited for nine days and would be allowed to visit six cities (rather than the two originally requested). Once the matter was settled, the ‘Polish church immediately announced a delay in the official [St. Stanislaus] anniversary celebrations until the Pope arrived.’ To add insult to injury, Pope John Paul II made it a point to mention St. Stanislaus in every sermon and at every stop along his journey. As masters of symbols and ceremony, the Polish church leaders were far more accomplished in public relations than their state functionary counterparts. IT was not going to be easy for the Communists to thwart the pope’s intentions for his pilgrimage.” (From Solidarity and contention: networks of Polish oppositions by Maryjane Osa, pp. 139-140)

That visit had huge repercussions (this and this are also quite good) and indeed it is said that ” John Paul II’s 1979 trip was the fulcrum of revolution which led to the collapse of Communism.” I can barely write it, so moving I find it all to be. That man. His courage. Thank God for him. ❤ ❤ ❤

Anyway! ((wipes eyes before continuing)) These are the Luminous Mysteries (read more here) (and here’s how to pray the Rosary):

The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan
The Miracle at the Wedding Feast of Cana
The Proclamation of the Kingdom
Jesus’ Transfiguration
The Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper

Names associated with the Luminous Mysteries might include:


Alazne — Basque for “miracles” (right skimac? and how is that pronounced?)

Cana — the place of the wedding feast where Jesus performed his first miracle (we have a reader who gave her daughter this amazing name!)

Charis — from the Greek for “grace, favor, gratitude” and is contained within the word Eucharist (“thanksgiving”)

Christi — Latin for “of/belonging to Christ,” inspired for this list by the Eucharistic phrase Corpus Christi (“the body of Christ”)

Clare, Claire, Chiara — from the Latin for “clear, bright” as a nod to the Mysteries of Light and the brightness of the Transfiguration

Evangeline — for the Good News — the proclamation of the kingdom

Jemima — means “dove,” for the “Spirit of God descending like a dove” on Jesus during His baptism

Jordan — the name of the river in which Jesus was baptized

Lucy, Lucia, Lucille — from the Latin for “light”

Mary, et al. — for Our Lady, who brought Jesus’ attention to the wine crisis at the wedding (“He did it because His mother asked Him to!” I frequently tell my boys. 🙂 )

Maya, Mayim — from the Hebrew for “water,” as a nod to Jesus’ baptism

Milagros — Spanish for “miracles,” as a nod to Jesus’ first miracle at Cana; see Alazne

Paloma — means “dove”; see Jemima

Ruby — “red,” for Jesus’ Blood given to us at the Last Supper

Scarlett — same as Ruby



Baptista, Baptiste, Battista, Bautista — referring to Jesus’ baptism and to the one who baptized him (John the Baptist) (these are all listed as masculine by behindthename, but they could easily be used for girls as well, as I don’t think they come across as masculine [or at least not exclusively so] in America)

Colum, Columba — means “dove”; see Jemima

Conway — possibly means “holy water” in Welsh

Elijah — he appeared to Jesus during the Transfiguration, and Jesus spoke with him. See also Moses. “Moses and Elijah represent, respectively, law and prophecy in the Old Testament and are linked to Mount Sinai … They now appear with Jesus as witnesses to the fulfillment of the law and the prophets taking place in the person of Jesus as he appears in glory.”

James — one of the Apostles who witnessed Jesus’ Transfiguration; see also John, Peter

John — the one who baptized Jesus; also the only gospel that contains the story of Jesus’ miracle at the wedding feast at Cana; also one of the Apostles who witnessed Jesus’ Transfiguration (see James, Peter)

Jonah — means “dove”; see Jemima

Jordan — the name of the river in which Jesus was baptized

Lucian, Lucius — see Lucy

Moses — see Elijah

Peter — see James

River — for the River Jordan

Tabor — Mt. Tabor was where Jesus’ Transfiguration occurred

I can’t wait to see what others you can add to this list!

+ “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” … “Do whatever He tells you.” +


Spotlight on: Mercy names

I’ve gotten a few different requests recently for more info on names connected to Mercy, so I thought it would make a perfect Spotlight post.

This Jubilee Year of Mercy is such a great reason to consider a Mercy name for a baby during it! There’s also the Divine Mercy connection, which, in my mind, includes a connection to both St. Faustina and Pope St. John Paul the Great (I really like typing out his full title. So cool), and there’s Our Lady of Mercy/Mercies. I love them all!

First, of course, is Mercy itself. I love the name Mercy. I’ve seen it used as a middle name, which is a perfect spot for a name that might feel a little too adventurous for one’s style, but I love it as a first name too — I think it holds its own nicely with Grace, Faith, Hope, Sophia, Felicity — all the virtue-esque names. It could have a Pilgrim/Puritan feel also, with their children named Patience and Chastity and Temperance, but that’s not a terrible thing either in my opinion. A pretty variant is Mercia.

Other versions of Mercy that might appeal include:

I love the name Mercedes. I did a mini spotlight here, really just pointing you to a great post by Laura Wattenberg (the Baby Name Wizard herself) on “how such a devout Catholic name became a car brand.” I loved hearing it in Jim Caviezel’s The Count of Monte Cristo, and that movie made it seem do-able to me for non-Spanish families (the characters were French). I’ve also gotten swoony over the idea of Sadie as a nickname (could also be spelled Cedy? I’ve also seen Cedes), and Merche is a traditional Spanish nickname for it; Mercy also certainly works. I’ve seen the combo Maria Mercedes, which is such a heavy hitting name and really emphasizes the Marian aspect.

Clement means “merciful” or “gentle” (think: clemency), so any of the Clement names could work if you’re going for a merciful meaning. I’ve considered Clement for my own boys (just can’t get my hubs on board!), and Clementine is such a great name for a girl (I love the nickname Clemmie, and Emmy and Minnie are also possibilities). I don’t mind the folk song reference either.

The meanings of the Spanish Piedad can include “mercy” or “pity.” Piedad is inspired by the Marian title Nuestro Señora de la Piedad (Our Lady of Pity). You can see the connection between “pity” and “mercy” when you think of the phrase “have pity on me” — it’s similar to “have mercy on me.”


Behind the Name offered a bunch of other names that have “mercy” in their meaning, but they were so unfamiliar to me I thought I’d just list them and you can check them out if you’d like: Armo, Chesed, Chifundo, Ebele, Eir, Eskarne, Hanan, Remiel (this is said to be a name of one of the seven archangels according to the apocryphal Book of Enoch. I’d be careful with this, as the Church has not included this name in its list of Archangels’ names).

What do you think of Mercy or the other Mercy-meaning names? Would you consider using them for your child, or have you? Do you know any little ones with any of these names?

Crazy Catholic Names Lady

It’s so funny how deep into one’s own perspective a person can get, right? (By “person” I mean “me.”) The other night I was talking to another mom at basketball practice, and she brought up her girls’ names (honest! She brought them up, not me!), and was telling me how she and her husband chose them. Their names are Em!l!a and S!3nna (alt characters used for privacy) and of course you know me, I was all heart eyes because Em!l!a is Jp2’s mom’s name and S!3nna (one n but I’ve seen people do two even for the Siena saints) is St. Catherine and St. Bernardine and I was just sighing happily, only to discover that their theme was actually not Catholicky Catholic, but rather “Italian.”

Ah. Right. Not everyone scours all available resources having to do with saints and various ways to honor them (their mother’s name! their place of birth/death/ministry!) when naming a baby. Note to self. 😉