Advent/Christmas names, St. Joseph, St. Andrew, et al.

Happy Friday everyone!

I had a few things I wanted to share with you:

Did you all see the wonderful news that Pope Francis named this coming year (Dec. 8, 2020 to Dec. 8, 2021) the Year of St. Joseph?! Be sure to read about the special indulgences (included in that link), and you might also like my recent post on names to honor St. Joseph. I saw a lot of babies with thematic names during the Jubilee Year of Mercy [Dec. 8, 2015-Nov. 20, 2016] — I wonder if we’ll see a lot of babies named for our good St. Joseph this year? I would love that!

I wanted to be sure to post all the resources I have for Advent and Christmas baby names:

I was also reading up on St. Andrew the other day and read this fun bit:

St Andrew is a patron of lace-makers. On his feast, sometimes known as ‘Tander’, areas such as Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire celebrate by feasting, drinking elderberry wine, sports and serving a special cake called the Tandra Cake, particularly in Bedfordshire. It has a bread dough base to which lard, sugar, currants, lemon peel and eggs are added.”

I thought Tander and Tandra were intriguing possibilities for naming a baby after St. Andrew (or any other Andrew)! While I’ve never seen either one as a given name, I used to know a girl named Tandy, and one of the Behind the Name entries for it claims it’s a Scottish diminutive of Andrew — an Andy variant — that’s used for both boys and girls.

The Tander/Tandra/Tandy connection to St. Andrew reminds of the connection of the word “tawdry” to St. Audrey:

It was in the 16th C that the word tawdry arose, at first to describe the necklaces sold at St. Etheldreda’s or St. Audrey’s (cf. the formation of Tooley St. from St. Olave) fair, and later for any cheap garish goods” (from The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names [affiliate link] by E.G. Withycombe)

(Note that Audrey started as a pet name for Etheldreda.)

I believe St. Olave refers to St. Olaus of Sweden, who’s also known as Olaf and Olave. Of course I had to look up Tooley after reading the reference to it above, and while there are other possible origins of Tooley, this site argues:

This surname is derived from the name of an ancestor. ‘the son of Toly,’ probably a nick, of the immense favourite Bartholomew. Lower writes, ‘Tooley, a crasis of St. Olave. Tooley Street in Southwark is so called from its proximity to the church of St Olave.”

And because going down namey rabbit holes is one of the things I do best, I just have to say that when they refer to the name Bartholomew as “the immense favourite,” they’re not kidding. I spent an entire winter a couple of years ago poring through A Dictionary of English Surnames (affiliate link) by Reaney and Wilson and was blown away by how many English surnames originated as forms (pet names, diminutives) of Bartholomew. I mentioned two of them (Bates and Batten) in this piece I wrote for Nameberry, and Withycombe gives this nice summary:

[Bartholomew] is not found in use in England before the Conquest, but it was very common from the 12th C onwards. The cult of St. Bartholomew was popular (there are 165 church dedications to him in England) and his relics were widely diffused. Bartholomew, with its diminutives Bartle(t) and Bat, gave rise to a number of surnames such as Bartholomew, Bartle, Bartlet(t), Bate(s), Bateson, Bateman, Batcock, Batkin, Batt(s), Batson, Batty.”

You all are the only people I could share all this with and not think you were falling asleep with boredom! Haha! Thanks for being as interested in names as I am! Have a great weekend!! ❤


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

Birth announcement: Faustina Irene!

I posted a consultation for Cait and her husband on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and she’s let me know her little girl has arrived and been given the gorgeous name … Faustina Irene!

Cait writes,

Faustina Irene was born on Monday, Feb 13, at weighing 9 pounds, 8 ounces and 21.5 inches long.  She and I are doing wonderfully.

Thank you for all your name inspirations!  In the end God decided the name for us- on an anniversary trip I was reading the Diary of Saint Faustina out loud to my husband and after a particularly inspiring passage he suggested that we name our baby Faustina.  I wasn’t as sure, but we stopped in a used book store on our trip and while browsing I found one of those 2000 page baby naming books.  Almost jokingly I said a little prayer of, “Okay, God, show me what we should name this baby” and randomly opened the book.  On the very top of the page I opened to was “Faustina”.  So, at the end of the Year of Mercy, we decided to name our baby after the saint so dedicated to telling the world of the Lord’s Divine Mercy.  Irene was decided to bring in the them of “peace” and because Saint Irene is pretty great- being a sister of a pope, maybe our little namesake will inspire some of her brothers to holiness ;).  Attached is a picture of Faustina Irene (we’re not sure if she’ll have a nickname and if so what it will be).”

I love when God makes His will known so clearly! What a great name story! If you remember, Faustina joins big sibs:

Aquinas John Paul
Gabriel Benedict
Magdalena Grace
Maksymilian Paul
Augustine Francis
Socorra Perpetua

Such beautiful names! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Faustina!!

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Faustina Irene

Birth announcement: Mercy Adelaide!

A mama I did a private consultation has let me know her baby girl has arrived, and she’s been given the fabulous first+middle combo … Mercy Adelaide!

She writes,

Thanks for all of your suggestions, it brought about a lot of conversation regarding naming our baby. We considered all of your suggestions as well as our list. We still were undecided even after she was born. We needed to meet her to know for sure. She was born 4/7/2016 at 3:01 am (so early!) and was 7lbs. 1 oz. and 20 inches. We settled on Mercy Adelaide. Mercy for the reasons you suggested, and it has also had a deeper meaning for our family in recent months. Adelaide means kindness, and she’s also the Patron Saint of large families, which is now fitting.”

I’m just dying over Mercy Adelaide, what an amazingly awesome name for a little girl!! I would love it anyway, but it’s so extra great that she was born during the Year of Mercy, how meaningful. She joins her equally well named big siblings:

Molly Justine
Milo Remy
Maisy Marian
Maren Thérèse
Marina Thomas (with Jesus)

I love seeing sibsets that begin with the same letter, and this is a pretty amazing bunch of names. Well done, Mom and Dad!

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

Mercy Adelaide with her mama

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:

Mercedes
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/Clementine
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.

Piedad
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?