Baby name consultation: Baby no. 10 (a boy!) needs a name that fits into the theme!

Today is one of my very favorite feast days: the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary! The cover art of my book of Marian names was inspired by this beautiful holy card:

The inscription on the bottom, S.S. Nomen Mariae, means “The Most Holy Name of Mary” in Latin (Sanctissima Nomen Mariae). Fun fact: Mariae was the middle name we planned for a girl through several of our pregnancies! Two little ladies connected with Sancta Nomina have been given the name as well — one as a first name (Mariae Josephine, loooove), and this one (Theresa’s little girl!) as a middle (Theresa has fantastic taste and creativity!). I explain a little bit about how this beautiful feast came about in my book. A perfect feast day for those who love the names of our faith, especially the names of and for Our Lady! I hope you all have a wonderful one! Today’s consultation actually includes one of the names listed in my book for boys!

Josh and Mari are expecting their 10th baby — their 4th boy! I’ve had the great privilege of doing consultations for several of their older children (posted here, here, here; birth announcements here, here, here, here), and I’m delighted to offer some ideas for their newest little guy! (For those of you wondering, I did this consultation a couple of months ago, when I thought I might be able to do some this summer.)

Josh writes, 

So, as you probably remember, we have a theme going – the girls have A first names and C middle names (with some variants) and the boys have C first names and middle names that similar stylistically.  Here’s the rundown

Ariana Camille (16) 

Audrey Caroline (14)

Caleb Daniel (11)

Amelia Clare (“Millie”) (9)

Anne-Catherine Gianna (“Gianna”) (8)

Charles Michael (6)

Anessa Corinne (4)

Christian Gabriel (3)

Aurelia-Rose Celeste (“Rosie”) (2) 

#10 is a boy, so we’ll be looking to continue the theme generally.  Due date is November 3, so he’ll join two other sibs with November birthdays (Audrey and Charles) unless he gets here early, in which case he’d be our only October baby.   Here are some first names we’ve discussed and like

Clement

Carter

Caedmon 

For middle names, we’ve discussed Samuel as a possibility.  Thought about Raphael too since we have a Michael and a Gabriel, but I’m not sure I love it.  But I would say we haven’t definitely ruled it out either.”

As always, it was such a pleasure to work on this consultation for Josh and Mari! They’ve done such a great job with baby naming — I’ve always loved how they figured out to adhere to their themes (girl theme and boy theme) without it getting weird or feeling forced. I’m excited to help them again!

Okay, first off, my thoughts on the names they like/are considering:

  • Clement: I have always loved Clement for a few reasons — specifically to me, it’s the name of my parish’s patronal Saint, St. Clement Mary Hofbauer (and it belongs to a bunch of other Saints and a Pope as well!). Secondly, it’s a Marian name, as Our Lady is called “clement” in the Hail Holy Queen (“O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary”). Thirdly, it means “merciful” — such a great meaning! All that said, though, I admit I’ve often had a hard time really seeing it on a little boy! I actually knew an older gentleman named Clement, and it was so cool on him — it felt just perfect for a sophisticated old man — and of course I know that little boys grow up to be men. And “Clem” as a nickname seemed a little less thrilling than some of the other nicknames I love for boys. But then Grace Patton named her son Clement, and it took on a whole new life for me! So that’s my conclusion: I think it can be really great option for Josh and Mari’s little guy! (I’m still a little hung up on nicknames … I was just rereading the birth announcement I posted for Grace’s Clement and noted that she named the Clement videos on her Instagram “Clement Clips” and thought, “Huh. Clip is kind of cute!” You know me and my crazy nickname ideas!!)
  • Carter: I was surprised by Carter! Their other kiddos’ names have saintly connections, but I didn’t think Carter did. I shouldn’t have doubted, though! I’ve often argued that just about every name can have a saintly connection, and Carter, indeed, does: According to CatholicSaints.info, there’s a St. Carterius of Bourges and a Bl. William Carter. I’m very intrigued by Bl. William Carter, since I struggled a bit over new middle name ideas for this family — it seems difficult to move away from their established -el theme, but if they did something like Carter William, it would make a lot of sense — it would give them a good, solid reason to move away from -el names and would strengthen the connection to Bl. William. Does that make sense?
  • Caedmon: I see Caedmon from time to time on parents’ lists and I’m always surprised by it, since I’ve never met a Caedmon in real life. It’s such a cool name, though, and saintly, and it inspired some of the more Celtic-ish names I included in my suggestions below. My one hesitation with Caedmon is always pronunciation — apparently CAD-man is the correct pronunciation, but I’ve also seen CADE-man, so that will probably be something they’d have to deal with. It absolutely doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker though — loads of names have pronunciation issues!

So those are my thoughts on the names currently on Josh and Mari’s list. As far as middle names, I had the suggestion of William, which I explained in the Carter part above, and I looked back at my previous emails with them and their consultations and see that in addition to the Samuel and Raphael that they said they’re considering, I’ve suggested these as well:

  • Emmanuel
  • Nathaniel
  • Joel
  • Axel
  • Abel
  • Ezekiel
  • Reuel
  • Noel

Some new ones I’ll add include:

  • Angel: a not-uncommon name for boys of Hispanic descent, and it was also the name of the main male character in the English novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles
  • Bartel: Dutch diminutive of Bartholomew
  • Hansel: German diminutive of Hans, which is the German form of John
  • Israel: Jacob’s name was changed to Israel by God
  • Marcel: originally a diminutive of Marcus; also included in the names of quite a few Saints
  • Martel: from a medieval pet name of Martin
  • Peniel: A biblical place name (see Gen 32:30) meaning “face of God” — what a beautiful meaning!
  • Roussel: French form of Russell, from a nickname meaning “little red one” — maybe perfect for a baby with red hair, or who is particularly red when born? (My mother-in-law always talked about how red my husband was as a newborn, far redder than other babies she’d seen!)
  • Wenzel: a German name that’s technically pronounced VENT-zel, but the cool part is that it’s a medieval German form of Vaclav (Wenceslaus)! St. Wenceslaus is awesome! I did two posts on the name that might be helpful: here and here

(I used this web site to help with this list — it has a million names on here and I spent quite a bit of time scrolling through and only got about a third of the way down! Josh and Mari might want to spend some time on that page themselves in case there was a good option that I missed.)

So there are plenty of -el names if they’re committed to that theme! However, I think both Samuel and Raphael are good choices right now if they’re not sure they want to continue with this theme, since I sense that many people will not realize that Daniel and Samuel are -el names, since they’re so familiar (sometimes the details of very familiar names are almost invisible — a “missing the trees for the forest” type reversal of the old saying, if that makes sense), so if they use Samuel, I don’t think people will bat an eyelash if they use a non-el name in the future. And if they use Raphael, most people will realize they’ve now exhausted the archangels (without getting into discussions of Uriel and others that are questionable from a Catholic standpoint), and won’t necessarily expect an -el middle name going forward. Of course, the fact that this baby is their tenth baby and that they’re heavily weighted towards girls makes it more probable that this won’t be an issue to deal with again! (Or perhaps God has more boys in their future!)

Okay! On to my new ideas!

(1) Martin

This idea is really a cheat idea, since it’s (a) not a C name, and (b) Josh and Mari had it on their list in the first email they ever sent me, so it’s not an original idea of mine, but I’d thought I’d include it in the list because Mari is due on Nov. 3 — the feast of St. Martin de Porres! If they don’t want to go off-theme for a first name, then I’d highly suggest it as a middle name, ESPECIALLY if the baby is actually born on his due date! And in that case, I’d suggest changing it to its variant Martel, which I mentioned above — an -el name that nods to St. Martin! Seems like it could be perfect!

(2) Cashel

Okay, back to C names! I’ve suggested Cashel many times in the past to families who love Irish or Celtic names, so Caedmon on their list makes sense of Cashel to me. The faith connection is the Rock of Cashel; this is the faith connection (from something I wrote for a baptism gift for a little Cashel):

The Rock of Cashel (Carraig Phádraig) is also known as St. Patrick’s Rock and Cashel of the Kings. In Irish, cashel (caiseal) denotes a circular stone fort and has come to mean “castle.”

The Rock of Cashel was long the seat of the High Kings of Munster. One of the kings, Aenghus, was baptized by St. Patrick himself at that very spot. In 1101, King Murtagh O’Brien dedicated the Rock of Cashel to God and St. Patrick and gave it to the bishop of Munster. Currently, the Ecclesiastical Province of Cashel includes the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly, as well as the dioceses of Cloyne (in which lies Cobh), Cork & Ross, Kerry, Killaloe, Limerick, and Waterford & Lismore.

I love Cashel and I love the nickname Cash! And because Cashel is an -el name, they could also consider it for the middle!

(3) Campion

Campion is the surname of St. Edmund Campion and I think it’s a fantastic name for a boy. It has the awesome nickname Cam, which I‘ve always loved. It’s also a Marian name! I included it in my book of Marian names — the white campion is a kind of flower, which is where the connection to Our Lady comes in. Finally, campion means “champion” in Old French! What a great name for a boy!

(4) Canaan

I know a boy named Canaan — I’ve always thought he has the coolest name! Canaan is, of course, the name of the Promised Land, so it has great faith connections in that regard.

(5) Caetano/Cajetan

I saw Caetano in a list of C names for boys, and I immediately remembered that I’d had Cajetan on my own list for years! Caetano is an Italian form of Cajetan (as is Gaetano), and St. Cajetan is a pretty amazing Saint. Caj (pronounced like CADGE) is a pretty cool nickname too!

(6) Curt, Cord

I’d previously suggested Conrad to this family, which I don’t think they loved, but both Curt and Cord caught my eye when I was looking up C names for them, as they’re both contracted forms of Conrad, so they can take any of the Sts. Conrad as patron. Curt and Cord have very different feels to me, so hopefully if they don’t like the one maybe they really like the other!

(7) Cruz

My last idea is Cruz, which has just the coolest, hippest, zippiest feel but also has very deep faith significance, as it means “cross” and has traditional use in both Spanish and Portuguese in honor of the Cross of Crucifixion. I also found evidence of its usage in honor of Our Lady at the foot of the Cross. How beautiful! Though it’s used in Hispanic cultures for both boys and girls, I think in America it has a predominantly masculine feel.

As a bonus, I really wanted to suggest Casey, with Bl. Solanus Casey in mind, but I didn’t think Casey was ideal for their last name, so I wanted to include it here in case it’s helpful for any of you readers. I also noted that Kolbe was on Josh and Mari’s original list several years ago — I still like it for them and think it can make a nice addition to their C theme — sort of keeping with it while still branching out. Interestingly, I looked up the surname Kolbe and discovered that some spelling variations include Colb and Colbe — maybe they want to consider one of those in honor of St. Maximilian while still sticking with their C theme?

As an addition to this post, Josh and Mari wrote again to let me know about some more ideas they have:

[D]o you mind if I ask your thoughts on a new idea we had — Clement Joshua?   Obviously Joshua is my name, which in a way fits a pattern with the boys (Daniel and Michael are also family names). We also thought “CJ” might be a cute nickname — we love the name Clement but aren’t wild about ‘Clem.’ 

Our oldest daughter is lobbying hard for Clement Ezekiel with “Zeke” as a nickname, which is also kind of cute. What do you think?

My immediate thoughts are that I love both ideas! I love using Josh’s name as the middle name — doing so trumps any -el theme or any other theme, in my opinion — and CJ is an easy, friendly nickname. This is probably my favorite of the two, because of the connection to Dad and how easy and natural it feels. I do love Zeke, though — what a fun, friendly nickname! And I love that Ezekiel keeps the -el theme, because even though it’s completely one-hundred-percent not necessary to continue with the theme, there’s something just so satisfying about sticking with a theme! What say you all??

And those are all my ideas! What other ideas/suggestions/thoughts can you share for the littlest brother in this beautiful family?


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!

Baby name consultation: Marigold, Maisie, Arabella, Ophelia — so many gorgeous ideas for third baby girl!

Happy feast of the Queenship of Mary! I know two mamas who chose this day as the feast day for daughters they named Marigold (read their birth announcements here and here) — fantastic! Also fantastic is that today’s family has Marigold on their list of possibilities for their baby, so fun! Enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Diana writes in asking for help naming her third baby, a girl!

I am having a scheduled csection … with our third living child, third girl! This baby is long awaited and prayed for as our older girls will be 10 and 7 years old and I have suffered five miscarriages.”

Baby joins big sisters:

Hannah Elizabeth
Eleanor Claire

She writes,

Names we are considering: Penelope (nickname Penny), Stella, Evangeline (nickname Evie I think — I’ve noticed this name seems to have different pronunciations though — I’ve heard EvangeLINE, EvangeLEEN, and EvangeLYNN — is it confusing?). I also like Adele but my husband isn’t on board — he could probably be persuaded though.”

Other names they are considering include: Marigold, Maisie, Margaret, Madeleine, Lucy, Catherine, Fiona, Beatrice, Harriet, and Isabelle.

Mama Diana writes that she needs help with the middle name, too,

I like Marie with the right first name or Julia is a family name I’d love to use if it worked. Barbara is another family name middle name possibility. I also like that my older girls have Saint middle names but don’t have to be totally set on this.”

Names they can’t use at all include: Caroline, Grace, Lynn, Charlotte, Olive, Ivy, Josephine, and Matilda.

First, some thoughts on names they like:

Penelope “Penny”– Love this. It’s a little different from their other girls, but the nickname Penny grounds it and brings it back in line.

Stella– Short, sweet, zippy, has pizzazz. This sounds like a natural sister to their other girls.

Evangeline “Evie”– Same thoughts as Penelope nn Penny.

Adele– To me, this has the same feeling as their other girls but it just doesn’t feel right. I can’t explain that, it’s just my gut.

Marigold– Cutesy and a different from their others.

Maisie– I love this and wish more people would use it! Hannah, Eleanor, and Maisie sound ever so slightly mismatched to me, though.

Margaret– Lovely name but I don’t like it with their others.

Lucy– Cute and fits right in!

Madeleine– A little more buttoned up than their other girls.

Catherine– Classic, can’t miss, and has a ton of nickname options to ground it.

Fiona– This was unexpected to me! I love this!

Beatrice– Different from their other girls but a lovely name.

Harriet– Very different from their other girls. Old lady, clunky cool. I like nickname Hattie with their other girls, though.

Isabelle– Very sweet. Love this with their other girls.

On to new names!

1) Lily/Lillian/Liliana

I wasn’t sure which iteration they’d like more, so I’m including them all! Lillian actually started off as a diminutive of Elizabeth, so with these names, they’re basically getting a two-for-one! Lily ranks at #31, Lillian at #51, and Liliana at #104 (for reference Hannah ranks at #44 and Eleanor at #15) . Lily is hot right now but I don’t think that should deter them. St. Kateri Tekakwitha was known as the Lily of the Mohawks and there is St. Lillian of Cordoba. I love sisters Hannah, Eleanor, and Liliana nn Lily. Lily Marie, Lillian Marie, Liliana Marie, Lillian Julia, and Lillian Barbara all sound lovely to me. Alternatively, I love Penelope Liliana, Stella Liliana, Evangeline Lily, and Liliana Evangeline a lot for full names.

2) Ruby

This gemstone name is currently at #62 and I originally thought of it because their baby was supposed to be born in July! It works for a non-July baby, too (my daughter Ruby has a September birthday). Kate did a magnificent spotlight on the name giving it ties to the Sacred Heart and Holy Spirit! There’s no saint Ruby but there is St. Gemma Galgani, whose name literally means gem! I like the sound of sisters Hannah, Eleanor, and Ruby. Ruby Marie is gorgeous. Penelope Ruby, Stella Ruby, and Evangeline Ruby are all lovely, too. Ruby Isabelle also really strikes me.

3) Arabella

This name was a surprise to me and I’m so glad! I was searching for names having to do with prayer, as this baby is an answer to so many of their prayers. This name means “yielding to prayer” and they certainly did! It currently sits at #195, meaning it’s not trendy or overly common but it’s not weird or out there, either. I really love this unexpected name for them. Hannah, Eleanor, and Arabella sound like meaningful sisters to me. Arabella Marie, Arabella Julia, and Arabella Barbara all are wonderful! I also really like Arabella Lily, Penelope Arabella, Arabella Penelope, Arabella Evangeline, and Arabella Lucy.

4) Genevieve

This came up as a style match to their other girls and I couldn’t overlook it. Great name with lots of nickname potential beyond Genie or Genny, including Viva and Evie! It means “kin” or “family woman”, which this child certainly is, and ranks at #155. There’s the awesome St. Genevieve to go along with it, too. Hannah, Eleanor, and Genevieve sound like sophisticated sisters. Genevieve Marie and Genevieve Lucy strike me.

5) Ophelia

I came across this name in my research and it just kept coming back to me, so I had to include it! It means “help, advantage” and ranks at #321. I just like how this name sounds with Hannah and Eleanor. There’s no saint Ophelia, so she’ll have to get that in the middle spot but Ophelia Marie, Ophelia Lucy, Ophelia Catherine, and Ophelia Margaret all really strike me.

6) Felicity

I also looked up names that mean “happy” or “fortune” and this name popped up! It means “happiness” or “good luck” and this little girl is certainly both. The name ranks at 441, which is a crime! This is such an amazing name that should be used more often. St. Felicity is also a powerhouse. Hannah, Eleanor, and Felicity sound like natural sisters. I love Felicity Marie, Felicity Julia, Felicity Lucy, Felicity Catherine, and Felicity Genevieve.

7) Sophia

This name came up so many times as a style match to there other girls’ names and to names they like that I couldn’t ignore it. My only qualm with this name is that it’s super popular at #6 and having been in the top 100 since 1997. It’s popular with goodreason, as it’s such a solid but beautiful name. It means “wisdom” in Greek and is the name of a saint. They can’t miss with this name but they will probably know others her age. But Hannah, Eleanor, and Sophia sound so good together! Sophia Marie, Sophia Julia, Sophia Barbara, Sophia Penelope, Sophia Evangeline, Sophia Catherine, Sophia Margaret, Sophia Marigold, Sophia Lillian, Sophia Genevieve, Sophia Felicity, Penelope Sophia, and
Evangeline Sophia are all really incredible.

My top names for them are Stella, Lily/Lillian/Lilliana, Arabella, and Sophia. My top combos for them are Stella Lilliana, Lily/Lillian/Liliana Marie, Arabella Evangeline, Arabella Lucy, and Sophia Evangeline.

These are my thoughts! What do you think?


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!

Birth announcement: Mirren Therese and Brigid Evelyn!

(Theresa’s consultation for this family posted in June.)

Mama Kaitrin has emailed me to let me (Theresa) know her twins have arrived!

She writes,

Wanted to let you know the baby girls arrived safely (albeit early!) on the 4th of July! After several knocks from birth certificate people on my hospital room door — On the 6th of July we finally arrived at names! Haha It was soooo hard to really nail two down but we did it.”

The girls have been given the stellar names of Mirren Therese (tuh-rez) nicknamed Tess and Brigid Evelyn nicknamed Birdie!

Mama Kaitrin writes of the naming experience,

We think their nicknames will be Tess and Birdie, though already I kind of like how their formal names Mirren and Brigid sound together. Especially with our boys names Vaughn Jude and Cormac. Funny enough I’d never even considered Brigid or Bridget … but your suggestion of darling nickname Birdie was maybe what sold me on even considering. Then I ended up loving the sound of it with Mirren which my husband really loved even over Mary Therese or Miriam Therese … As my sister who walked with me the whole waffling time as we chatted names said — wow, best [money] you ever spent was for the name consultant!! Thanks again for the fun consultation.”

I’m so glad they found my consultation helpful! And what fantastic names they arrived at! Tess and Birdie are still in the NICU, so please say a prayer for them.

Happy birthday Mirren Therese “Tess” and Brigid Evelyn “Birdie”! And congratulations to mom and dad, and big brothers Vaughn, Jude, and Cormac!

Brigid (Birdie) on left; Mirren Therese (Tess) on right


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!

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 3 — a boy — needs a classy/vintage/”spunky” name that’s preferably Marian as well!

Happy feast of the Assumption! I always love telling this name story in conjunction with this beautiful feast (which I also included in my book). It always makes me laugh! Today’s consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams is particularly Marian — perfect for today! Enjoy!

Dad Zach writes in asking for help naming baby number 3! He writes,

My wife and I have been reading your blog and love the names you come up with for Catholic families and the great meanings behind them! We just purchased your book on names and we are very excited to start reading it! (currently name discerning for our 3rd baby due in September).”

I love that the blog and my consultations are helpful to others who are discerning names! Zach sent in a bunch of great info for names they are considering and what they’re looking for in a name. He writes,

It is a boy! Anticipated Due Date: September 24th Feast of Our Lady of Mercy. Prayed through the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes to conceive this baby. Also, prayed a novena to Our Lady of Lourdes sporadically and at the end of it found out we were pregnant right as the feast of the Immaculate Conception passed! Zach wants a name to honor Mary under this title. Bayley [his wife] does not have a preference for this idea and didn’t like the name Lourdes or Bernadette/Bernard for this baby. However, we both want a Marian devotion for this baby’s name. Zach wants to know if there is anything masculine for a boy that honors Our Lady of Lourdes.”

Ooooh a challenge, I love it!

He continues,

Our style is more classy, vintage, and old, but also open to some “spunk”. We do not like names that are super popular. The name having a good meaning is very important to us. Marian devotion (first or middle name) is very important to us. Name after a saint/blessed for intercession from that saint and for our child to look up to / learn from- for this pregnancy, a saint with a strong devotion to Mary would be a huge plus! If the first name is after a saint, we would like the middle name to be in devotion to Mary, or possibly St. Joseph. We did not end up nicknaming our daughter Josephine, but we are open to nicknames. Do not like: Mainstream, ordinary, no meaning, double names (Bayley does not like the double names). Don’t want to name anyone after a family member.”

This is such great info for me when considering possible names for them. This gave me a great feel for their style.

This baby will join siblings:

Josephine Marie
Gabriel Mary (in heaven)

Names they are considering include Judah/Jude, John Paul nn Pax, Augustine nn Auggie, Benedict, Callum (they saw this in a consultation I did and fell in love!), Samson, Kolbe, Mercer, Clement, Lolek, Theodore, and Xavier.

Mama Bayley writes about Theodore and Xavier,

I know they are more popular but just wanted to see how they match up style wise and flow with Josephine. What would be your thoughts on Theodore and Xavier??

I will definitely give my thoughts on those names below! They are fantastic names, though.

What’s great about their current two children’s names, Josephine and Gabriel, is that they are both very versatile names that can go with a lot of other names. For numbers purposes, Josephine currently ranks at #72, so while she’s old fashioned, clunky cool she’s definitely more cool right now. Gabriel is currently #38 so he’s even more cool right now and what I would consider more modern.

Names they don’t like or cannot use include: Elijah, Ellis, Pax, Cruz, Dominic, Julian, Maximillian, Cole, Cameron, Nicholas, Blake, Amos, Taylor, Edmund, Benjamin, Emmanuel, Ambrose, Isaac, Liam, Raphael, Leo, Bosco, Matthew, Mark, Michael, Luke, George, Daniel, David, Joseph, Joshua, Jeremiah, Josiah, Jonah, Louis, James, Simon, Simeon, Anthony, Micah, Thomas, Brandon, Christian, Vincent, Connor, Christopher, Bennett, Rowan, Wyatt, Nathan, August, Silas, Beckett, Samuel, Brooks, Oliver, Nolan, Oscar, Abel, Emmett, Blaise, Asher, Marcus, Isaiah, Sawyer, Jacob, Alexander, Frassati, Henry, Hugh, Nico, Dean, Sebastian,
Peter, and Carmello.

Alright, on to names!

First, about names they are considering.

Judah/Jude– I really like both of these names and think it fits well with their other children. It is pretty popular in Catholic circles. Also, this would be two J- names though and I don’t want them to feel like they’re setting a precedent with this name.

John Paul nn Jax– I love the nickname with this one! John Paul is also pretty common in Catholic circles and they’d have the same J problem again. But I think the nickname really makes this one.

Benedict– This is nice and strikes me the same way Josephine does. Catholicky without being too in your face and very classic.

Augustine nn Auggie– Love this. Josephine and Augustine sound like siblings to me, just be careful because these two have the same ending.

Callum– I love that they saw this in another of my consultations and fell in love with it! It’s a great unexpected Catholic name. Josephine and Callum fit will together, although they are a bit different stylistically. What’s great about Josephine is that almost any other name will sound good with it.

Samson– I think this name takes them in a wholly different direction, which isn’t a bad thing! Unexpected and cool, I like this.

Kolbe– Popular in the Catholic circles but with good reason.

Mercer– I about jumped out of my seat when I saw this name. I love it! I love its connections to mercy and how they would tie that to Our Lady of Mercy and how her feast day is the due date for this baby. I just love this name! It’s unexpected but fits right in. I would be really remiss to not say that I hope they use this one in the first spot for their child.

Lolek– Only the Polish and the most Catholic of the Catholics will get this name. It’s definitely out there. It would be cool in the middle spot but potentially confusing in the first spot. For what it’s worth, I really love Mercer Lolek for them and this baby.

Theodore– This name ranks at #10 right now, so they will definitely hear this name more often than not. If being Teddy 2 or Theodore M. bothers them, perhaps they would consider Thaddeus. It comes from the same root as Theodore or means “heart” but is way less popular at #818. Nicknames Tad, Teddy, and even Tadpole make this name accessible and even cute. What’s even greater is that they have Jude on their list and Thaddeus is that saint’s other name! I say, choose Thaddeus over Theodore.

Xavier– This name ranks at #100, which I think is this couple’s sweet spot. Not too out there, not too popular. This name is more popular in Catholic circles but you still won’t run into it terribly often.

Okay, on to some new suggestions. They had a long list of names they don’t like or can’t use, so this was a particularly fun challenge for me. Hopefully, they’ll like what I came up with.

1) Gerard

This name is born by St. Gerard Majella who is the patron saint of expectant mothers and means “brave or hardy spear”. It’s out of the top 1000, which I think will appeal to them, and is an enduring name. They may hear it in Catholic circles, but mostly, this name is unique. It has the same feel to it as Josephine, old fashioned clunky cool.

2) Francis

Some famous bearers of this name are St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis Xavier, and St. Francis de Sales. Another more old fashioned name coming back into use, though I’ve seen Frances more for girls than for boys recently. It gives me the same vibes as Josephine. Currently, it ranks at #466, the most popular name I’m suggesting for them. I like that they have some nickname options with this one, too, in Frank and Frankie. Josephine, Gabriel, and Francis sound like siblings.

3) Laurence

I was researching names of people connected to Lourdes and this was the name of the bishop in the area at the time. It also came up as a style match for some of the names they like. It’s out of the top 1000 and means “from Laurentum” but has a connection to the laurel plant which is said to symbolize eternity. Lots of meaning with this name and it can shorten to Larry, Law, or the literary wonder, Laurie.

4) Stanislaus

I was thinking about Polish saints and names that sound a little old fashioned or classic and this name came to mind. It’s the name of St. Stanislaus Kostka who spoke about Mary and can shorten to Stan or Stanley. In fact, they may just like Stanley! It’s out of the top 1000 and means “someone who achieves glory”. Isn’t that what we’re aiming for in the spiritual life anyway? Pair it with a Marian middle and you get “someone who achieves glory through Mary”. Phenomenal! Josephine, Gabriel, and Stanislaus sound like Catholic siblings, to me.

5) Basil

I think this name is criminally underused but it’s outside of the top 1000 so what do I know! It means “king” or in Arabic “brave, valiant”. A famous bearer was St. Basil the Great. It does read rather British but I don’t think that will deter them (since they love the very ethnic Lolek). It pairs very well with most of the names they like, too, and with most of the ones I’m suggesting. I like Basil Jude, Basil Benedict, and Basil Mercer a lot.

6) Pascal

Another name out of the top 1000, this names means “Easter” and Pope St. John Paul II famously said that “we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song”. I love the subtle nod to him in this name, since he is so important to them. I really love Pascal Benedict, Pascal Laurence, and Pascal Mercer. Josephine and Pascal sound nice together, too.

7) Pius

This is an older name and a very Catholic one, being the name of twelve popes! Three of those popes have connections to Our Lady of Lourdes. Pope Pius IX approved the veneration of the apparitions at Lourdes, Pope Pius X announced the feast of the Immaculate Virgin of Lourdes, and Pope Pius XII issued an encyclical on Lourdes on its 100th anniversary. If they’re looking for a male name to tie in to Lourdes, look no further! I love that this name also means “pious, dutiful”, being a great reminder for all of us, and that it’s out of the top 1000. They won’t even hear this name much in Catholic circles, as families tend to adopt the Italian variation of the name these days, Pio. I like Pius better for them and they could always call him Pio anyway. Pius Mercer, Mercer Pius, Pius Jude, Pius Benedict, Pius Augustine, Pius Laurence, and Pius Lolek (if they want to get crazy!) all sound good to my ear. Josephine, Gabriel, and Pius sound like siblings to me of the very Catholic variety.

My top choices for them are Mercer Lolek, Laurence, and Pius.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


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!

Baby name consultation: Baby girl no. 3 needs a saintly, Marian, regal, feminine, familiar name like her big sisters

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:

Eleanor Grace

Annalise Rose

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
  • Feminine
  • 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.”

She says,

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!

1) Audrey

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.

2) Lydia

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.

3) Iris

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?


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!

Baby name consultation: Middle name to honor Grandma (or both grandmas?) as well as Mother Mary (or other Saint?)

Happy end of February, everybody! I hope your Lent starts out well and continues strong! Enjoy today’s consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams. ❤

Mama Ana writes in needing help with a middle name for her baby girl, Isabel, and their last name rhymes with “jewel”. She says,

For the middle name I would like to either honor one of my grandmothers or do a Marian name or a saint’s name. We don’t want any “R” or “B” names because of initial problems (IBS/IRS). I’ve listed some of the names we like, but I really want there to be meaning behind her middle name. My grandmother’s names are Mara Lucia and Margarida. (Not seriously considering Mara or Margarida though, just would maybe like a connection to those names/them).”

Her husband’s grandmothers’ names are both Mary.

Names they like but aren’t “the one”:

  • Mar (“I love this name, it’s the first three letters of all FOUR of our grandmothers’ names, and it means sea and I feel like there could be a connection to Stellamaris. Husband is concerned it’s too far out there“)
  • Marian
  • Maris
  • Marie (note: I think Mary and Maria are too traditional for us)
  • Lucia (my grandmother’s name is pronounced the Portuguese/Spanish way, but I love the Italian pronunciation)
  • May/Mae/Maeve
  • Rose/Lily (both suggestions from my mom, which I like but don’t want R and Lily is too many L’s with Isabel and Sewell)
  • Malia (my husband nixed this one, but I love Hawaiian everything so loved this when I saw it in your book)
  • Therese (not sold on my name, but love the saint)

Lastly, she mentions,

I am Brazilian so one of the reasons Isabel is a great name is because it works in both languages. I think I care less about the middle name working as well in both languages — mostly because I’m out of ideas, though.”

Some thoughts on ones they like but don’t feel like “the one”:

Mar– I love that this is the first three letters of all four of their grandmothers’ names! That makes it so special and connected. It means “sea” which is a beautiful meaning. I can understand why Ana’s husband thinks this is a little out there but I don’t think it is! The middle spot is also a great place to get a little wild and more out-there without going overboard. I think this name fits that niche nicely. This name really informed the rest of my choices for them.

Marian– Feels a little dated to me and maybe not as romance language inspired as Isabel. I love that this ties the child to all of her great-grandmothers and to Mary, though.

Maris– This is a great, underused name! Isabel Maris has a beautiful flow. I love that this connects directly to Mary, Maris Stella, too.

Marie– Seems a little bland for them. It’s a lot more common in the English speaking world as a middle name than it might seem. They said Mary and Maria were too traditional for them and I would lump Marie in there, as well.

Lucia– I love that this is another connection to a great-grandmother. Isabel Lucia has such a romantic flow and vibe. There are all kinds of saints Lucy and Lucia to choose from as patrons, too.

May/Mae– This is a contracted form of Mary and very much cool and on the rise. Isabel Mae is beautiful. (I’m only slightly biased here; my oldest daughter is Ruby Mae).

Maeve– I wanted to talk about this one separately because it’s actually not etymologically related to May/Mae at all! It’s an Irish name meaning “intoxicating”. It’s a really fantastic name on the rise! But it didn’t really strike me as them.

Rose/Lily– Beautiful names but I agree with Ana’s assessment of both. These did give me an idea, though.

Malia– I love that this is the Hawaiian form of Maria! Gives it such a fresh vibe. But, if Ana’s husband nixed it, then it’s out. This did give me a great feel for their style, though.

Therese– Great name, fantastic patron, but I feel like this pulls them out of their preferred style and wants and desires for a name.

On to some new suggestions! Most of these came as ideas from the names they already like and from all four grandmothers having Mar- names.

(1) Marissa/Maristella

I’m including these as one because they both came as ideas from Maris. Marissa is an embellishment of Maris that makes the name more romance language inspired. Isabel Marissa is very cute and flowy. Maristella is the smoosh name for Maris Stella and when Ana mentioned she likes that connection, I instantly thought of this name. Isabel Maristella is unmistakably Catholic cool. I really especially love Maristella for them. I think this is an embellishment Ana’s husband could get behind that ties in Ana’s love for Stella Maris and all four of their grandmothers.

(2) Marina/Mariana

These give off the same vibe to me, so I’m including them as one. They like Marian but I thought maybe the embellishment Mariana might fit them better. It’s a combination of Mary and Ann, so Mary and her mother, and I thought that was cool for this child. It still has the Mar- beginning to tie Isabel to her great-grandmothers. Since they like Stella Maris and names with connection to the sea, I thought they might like Marina. Isabel Mariana and Isabel Marina are both beautiful.

(3) Marigold

They like flower names Rose and Lily but they don’t quite fit and neither of them has the connections to their grandmothers. What about Marigold? Literally meaning “Mary’s gold” this is a flower name that doesn’t break any rules or repeat too many Ls. It’s hip and cool and brings a whole different spin into the game. Isabel Marigold is cool, covertly Catholic, and connected to everything they love.

(4) Mari

Mar may be too out there and Mary, Maria, and Marie are all too traditional, so what about Mari? Spunky and fun, this name is just another form of Mary but shorter, spunkier, and more romance language. Isabel Mari is spunky and fun.

(5) Marisol

This is a contraction name honoring the Spanish title for Mary, Maria de la Soledad. It also has the meanings of “sea” and “sun” which is fresh and fun. I love Isabel Marisol and I think it can still link back to Mary, Stella Maris, even if it seems like a little bit of a stretch.

(6) Mariae

This is a Latin form of Mary literally meaning “of Mary” or “belonging to Mary”. Their love for a Mary name and the name Mae reminded me of this name. It would make Isabel’s name very unmistakably Catholic, but that’s not a bad thing! My youngest daughter’s second middle name is Mariae and her patroness is Stella Maris. Isabel Mariae is gorgeous!

(7) Cristina

Something a little different for my last suggestion. I was researching Brazilian saints to get some inspiration and came across Venerable Isabel Cristina Mrad Campos. She was a young woman in college to be a doctor when a worker at her apartment attempted to rape her and then stabbed her fourteen times for refusing him. She is set to be beatified sometime this year. I thought that this was such a cool connection, since they’ve chosen the first name Isabel already and Ana is Brazilian. Cristina is a gorgeous name, meaning “Christian”. Isabel Cristina is beautiful and Cristina works in both languages seamlessly! If they’re going to stray from a Mar- name, this is my choice.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m back on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back from time to time, as I hope to open up a few spots here and there as I’m able), 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!

Birth announcement: Annunziata Lucille!

I had the great honor of posting birth announcements for Teresa and her husband’s first two babies (here and here), and got the best email the other day in which Teresa let me know they just welcomed a third baby — a little girl with the beyond-amazing name … Annunziata Lucille!

Teresa writes,

It’s been about a year and a half since I last emailed you … announcing the arrival of our second (Benedict Campion Marie), so now I’m here to share we welcomed a little girl to our family! Annunziata Lucille.

I don’t remember how I came across Annunziata, but when I did I knew it would be her name. The annunciation! Our Lady’s beautiful response to God’s will! What’s not to love. I pray that our daughter will also have a beautiful response to God’s will in her life. I often sing the Angelus in Latin to her (the first line has her name! Sort of!) What a gift that her name alone encourages me to prayer. So far we’ve been calling her Nunzi, [big brother] Emil likes to call her Baby Nunzia. Occasionally we also call her Annunzia.

Lucille is a family name, my grandma’s, my aunt’s middle, my middle, my niece’s first and another niece’s middle. I think I’ve known my whole life that if I had a daughter she would have the name Lucille.

We had a home birth this time and my Aunt (Miriam Lucille), was planning to come from California to stay with us for a week, and we were all hoping she would be here for the birth to help with the boys. She picked her birthday to come, which also ended up being Nunzi’s birthday! Isn’t that just providential?

Thank you for always being excited to hear name stories and celebrate new life with us!

Isn’t Annunziata Lucille a simply stunning name?! And Nunzi is such a sweet nickname!! I absolutely love Teresa and her husband’s somewhat eclectic naming style that is also held tightly together by virtue of each name being totally, impeccably tied to our beautiful faith. You know I love bold Catholic naming!!

Congratulations to Teresa and her husband and big brothers Emil and Benedict, and happy birthday Baby Annunziata!!

Annunziata Lucille with her big brothers ❤


I’m back on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back from time to time, as I hope to open up a few spots here and there as I’m able), 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!

Birth announcement: Retta Joy!

I posted a consultation for Ashley and husband last spring, and I’m excited to share that their baby girl has been born and given the fantastic name … Retta Joy!

Ashley writes,

We named her Retta Joy. She is named after St. Gianna Beretta Molla and St. Joseph as the Scottish name for carpenter is Rett (this would have been our boy name, Rett Thomas).”

Isn’t Retta Joy such a beautiful and unexpected name?! I love the connection with Rett for St. Joseph!! (Read more about the connection here.) How cool!! And for Retta to be for St. Gianna too — so many layers of meaning! Such a great job!!

( As a side note, my grandmother was Mary Loretta and she went by Rett with her friends — Loretta is a nod to Our Lady of Loreto, so if they wanted to include an additional Marian connection to their little Retta, that could work!)

Congratulations to Ashley and her husband and big sisters Emma Grace, Kennedy Faith, and Lillian Hope, and happy birthday Baby Retta Joy!!


The five baby name consultation openings I had for January have been taken, but Theresa is available to help you out! 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!

Birth announcement: Pia Maris!

I did a private consultation for Danielle and her husband last spring, and Danielle let me know that they had a beautiful baby girl and gave her the beautiful name … Pia Maris!

Danielle writes,

While we didn’t go with a name from the consultation, the consultation helped refresh the name conversation between my husband and I, giving us a few new directions. We’ve both loved the Marian title Stella Maris for many years. Once it came up in conversation to use Maris rather than Stella, we found ourselves running into Stella Maris in our daily lives and knew it was our Pia’s middle name. Thank you for the inspiration!

Isn’t Pia Maris an absolutely gorgeous name?! So Marian!! I love Maris for Stella Maris, and Pia is also in my book of Marian names, since Our Lady is described as pia in the Salve Regina. And I love love love that the consultation helped move the conversation between Danielle and her husband in the right direction!!

Danielle added,

I’d also like to ask you to please pray for Pia. I had her with me at my six week postpartum appointment, during which she experienced a medical emergency that lead to cpr being done, an ambulance trip, emergency baptism,  and brief hospital stay, but no real explanation. She seems no worse for the wear, but we are all on edge as tests continue.”

In a follow-up email, Danielle said,

We’ve not really gotten answers. She has seen several specialists, had lots of tests, but nothing really points to a reason or cause. They have found a number of things to monitor, but again, none of them would have caused her breathing or heart to stop.”

I told Danielle that you all are great prayer warriors — I know you will cover Pia and her family in prayer!

Congratulations to Danielle and her husband and big sibs Grace, Jackson, Henry, and Dolly (Dolly is for the Marian title Mater Dolorosa!), and happy birthday Baby Pia!!

Pia Maris


The five baby name consultation openings I had for January have been taken, but Theresa is available to help you out! 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!

Baby name consultation: Baby no. four needs Marian name that’s consistent with big sibs’ styles

A prayer today, and always, for an end to racism, and a prayer of thanks for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his courage and good work. 🙏🙏🙏

Today’s consultation is another of the five I opened up for January; if you’d like a consultation of your own, Theresa is available to help!

Madison and her husband are expecting their fourth baby, a little green bean (gender unknown)! 🌱 This little one joins big sibs:

Cooper James (“We thought about naming him John Phillip after both of our dads. This choice is so handsome and I still love it! But it’s just not our style. After talking about it for a while we finally narrowed our list down to 3 names: Cooper, Colton, and Duke. I was all for Colton but [my husband’s] eyes lit up when he said Cooper and it made me fall for it as well. Cooper suits him so perfectly! James is my husband’s middle name and my husbands grandpa’s name so it was an obvious choice. Plus we love the flow of Cooper James together! It was shortly after Cooper was born that I had my re-conversion. I scoured the internet for faith connections and was so happy to come across your blog and the connection of the name Cooper to St. Joseph of Cupertino. We call him Coop, Coopy, and Cupertino for fun.”)

Reagan Elyse Mary (“her due date was in May and I immediately knew I wanted a name to honor Mary. The name Reagan stood out to me on every baby name list, but I kept ignoring it because I needed something Marian! But when my husband suggested it I just blurted out yes. After that I searched hard for some sort of connection. I stumbled upon a probably unreliable source that said for little girls the name could be taken to mean “little queen.”* I was sold! (It didn’t take much haha) I then found some amazing history about Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II that further solidified our choice. Elyse is my middle name which I love — it has a sort of cool elegance to it. I didn’t know it at the time but Reagan’s due date was on the Feast of the Visitation so it really was the perfect middle name! Mary wasn’t added until later. About 5 months after Reagan was born I had this crazy urge to add the actual name of Mary to her name. I looked into it and saw that it wouldn’t be too difficult to do. After I got my husband’s permission, I sent the paper work in on October 22 [Reagan’s 5 month birthday and the feast of Pope John Paul II!!] We call her Reags, Reagy Roo, or just Roo.”)

Fulton John (“When I was pregnant with Reagan I remember giving my husband a long list of saints names I liked. He turned down literally all of them. Jokingly, I mentioned Fulton thinking he would think it was an absurd name. I wasn’t super fond of it myself, but I did like the idea of it. To my surprise he told me he liked it, and I realized I would probably have a son named Fulton. It may have taken me 2 years to warm up to it, but I love it now! When I found out I was pregnant I started seeing Fulton Sheen quotes all over Social Media. When I suggested Fulton John [John for hubby’s dad] he said yes immediately. We call him Fults or Fultsie.”)

* [I just have to note that, though Behind the Name disagrees, Baby Names of Ireland says that Regan (Behind the Name says Regan and Reagan are variants of the same) may come from a diminutive of the Irish word for “sovereign, king,” which to me means “little king” or — if used for a girl — “little queen” (not “king’s child” as Baby Names of Ireland suggests. So says this non-liguist! Haha!). So I think the meaning that Madison is using for Reagan is entirely defensible, and even if not, I’ve always felt that intention trumps meaning in almost all cases.]

I LOVE this family’s style! In Madison’s email she noted that she feels like their “taste in names is pretty secular,” but I think they’ve done a fantastic job of working within that, and I think that’s so thrilling! It’s like a stealthy sneak attack, Catholic-style! Such a fantastic way of blending in with the culture and thus bringing the possibility of evangelization in a way that’s easier for the average American to swallow. Nice job! I really love that they were able to connect Cooper to Cupertino, that has always been one of the coolest things I discovered through the blog, I love that! Reagan is one of my FAVORITE ideas for a girl as an unusual Marian idea — I’ve seen it before and always thought it was awesome … in fact, I just looked in my book of Marian names, because I was sure I included it, but I didn’t — why didn’t I?? I love it! And Fulton! Such a perfect fit style-wise with Cooper and Reagan, and so faithy! All so great!!

Madison writes,

I am so early on in my pregnancy that it might seem crazy to do a consultation already, but my husband shot down almost every name on my list so I need some fresh ideas! The due date of our baby is somewhere between September 6 – 14 which is AMAZING because there are so many Marian celebrations within that time as well as the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. I would love to give this baby a Marian name.”

Sounds perfect to me!

Some girl names they’ve considered include:

  • Callie (“love that it means ‘Most beautiful.’ I was researching about Our Lady of La Salette and learned the shepherd kids called Mary “Beautiful Lady” when they saw her. Could be a little connection?“)
  • Blair (“I’ve always loved this name and my husbands open to it, but I find it less appealing with no faith connection. It sounds really good as a sister to Reagan though!“)
  • Maren (“[rhymes with Karen] — worried about pronunciation, would majority pronounce it MA-rin? Our last name is already difficult to pronounce. Just not sure that I like it, but I like that it’s Marian, so I want to like it“)
  • Aurora nn Rory (“I love the idea of it and my husband said he was open to it, but it doesn’t seem like us“)
  • Reese (“seems a little masculine to both of us, though I like that I could connect it to the St. Teresa’s!“)
  • Emery (“same as Reese, a little masculine. Though I liked the idea of Emery Catherine called Emery Cate for Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich“)

Madison continues,

Hubby says he likes Emma and Ava but he’s not overly excited about them nor am I, but might help with his style? I prefer names not in the top 50 but am not strict about it if it’s the right name. I think he wants a name that is familiar, that’s why he turned down all my Catholicky Catholic suggestions.”

Boy names on their list include:

  • Phillip (“[after my dad] Paired with a cool middle like Kolbe? Or Phillip Pierce for the pierced heart of Mary? Worried about the nickname Phil since we shorten our kids names a lot! Husband didn’t like the idea of Phillip Neri nn Finn“) 
  • Watson (“my mom’s maiden name. Could be a good way to honor her? We talked about Watson Phillip or Phillip Watson. I don’t think I love Watson though. I want to because it’s a family name and my hubby thinks its cool“)
  • Declan (“I love this name!! Hubby is only ‘open to it’“)
  • Bennett (“I like it but not overly excited about it“)
  • Owen (“My Godfather’s middle name and a name we like. Owen Phillip or Phillip Owen is handsome!“)
  • Duke (“this has been on our list since Cooper but it always gets pushed to the side. One of the English Martyrs was Edmund Duke! Still considering it“)
  • Gannon/Cannon (“We like the sound of these. But I don’t think we’d use either“)
  • Kolbe (“I love the name Kolbe and even though my husband has vetoed me on it a few times now, he does say he likes the name C/Kole. I still see a glimmer of hope with that name so I’m going to keep it on my list“)

Some other family considerations include:

  • Lourdes (“my dad was born on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. My Nana and Great Nana have St. Bernadette as their confirmation saint. I love this as a middle name option for a more girly sounding first name — like Caroline Lourdes or Felicity Lourdes. Hubby is actually open to using this as a middle! But he didn’t like the two combos I just mentioned.”)
  • I’d love to honor my mom but there are names I prefer to hers, which is Sally Michele. Naming a daughter Callie could be fun since it rhymes with her name? She loves the names Felicity and Rosemary, so maybe using one of those as a middle? My husband doesn’t like those ones though :/

Names that they considered but can’t or won’t use for various reasons include:

  • Avila
  • Magdalen/Magdalyn
  • Caroline nn Callie (“for Pope John Paul II“) 
  • Emmeline
  • Isla
  • Ivy
  • Mary Grace
  • Marian
  • Felicity
  • Zelie
  • Rosary (“love it but probably too bold for me any way“)
  • Rowan/Rowen (“I really like this name but can’t decide for boy or girl. Husband doesn’t like it“)
  • Quinn
  • Finley
  • Morgan (“like it but too similar to Reagan“)
  • Greer
  • Perrin
  • Sienna
  • Stella
  • Cana
  • Riley
  • Or any Saint last name that’s a bit unusual like Clairvaux, Vianney, Cabrini etc.
  • Becket 
  • Kolbe 
  • Campion
  • Pierce
  • Cruz
  • August
  • Luke
  • Shepherd
  • Cassian
  • Crispin
  • Bastian
  • Xavier

Finally, Madison notes,

Most importantly: I want a girl to have a Marian connection. I might add Mary or Marie as a third name like I did for Reagan!

I have your book of Marian names and have been scouring it! I think boys will be easier for us to agree on a Marian name — Leo and Maximilian are names my hubby has expressed he was open too as well, though he doesn’t care for nickname Max because that’s his parents’ dogs name. But we are open to moving away from surnames as long as it still feels like it fits. Leo feels like it might not fit and I can’t find a longer version I like. Maximilian nn Leo?? Maybe too much of a stretch ha.

The middle name for a boy will be Phillip unless we use it as the first!

I am sort of inclined to avoid “n” ending names just to help the flow of all the sibling names, but I’m not committing to that because I tend to love names that end in ‘n.’

Okay, first off — I’m sure you all know that I was DYING over the names Madison said they/won’t use! I even said to my husband, “Oh man! Alllll the names I would have suggested for this family are on their can’t/won’t use list!” Quinn and Greer would have been right at the top for me, as well as Finley (I agree about Morgan being too similar to Reagan). But that’s totally fine, because it just makes the challenge extra challenging, which I always love!

So here are my thoughts on the girl names they’re considering, in case they’re helpful:

  • Callie: As a variant/diminutive of Cal(l)ista, Madison’s right that Callie can mean “most beautiful,” which is such a fantastic meaning for a girl! I didn’t know about the shepherd children calling Our Lady “Beautiful Lady” when they saw her at La Salette, but I love that and yes, I totally agree that Callie can work as a nod to her because of that! In fact, I think Reagan’s and Callie’s connections to Our Lady are at a similar level, which I always find pleasing in a symmetry sense. A couple thoughts I had about Callie are that Calla (like the Calla lily) might feel a bit less nickname-y, if Callie’s nicknaminess was bothersome to Madison or her hubby, and so could work as a given name with Callie as the nickname if they’d like. Calla also comes from the Greek kallistos “most beautiful,” so the meaning is still there. Another is that I’ve seen Salette considered as a given name in honor of Our Lady of La Salette, and with Madison’s mom’s name being Sally, I wondered if Salette could work as a nod to her and Our Lady at once? I love the idea of Callie Salette or Calla Salette as a double whammy Marian-wise and also with that possible connection to Madison’s mom. (Also, back to her mom, Sally is a variant of Sarah, which means “princess,” so Madison could possibly think of Reagan as having a connection to her mom that way if she wanted.) (Also, the fact that Madison wondered if Callie, rhyming with Sally, could nod to her mom makes me extra love Callie Salette because of that double-whammy idea.) I also love Callie as a nickname for Caroline, as Madison noted they’d considered in honor of JP2, but I don’t love Caroline with the other kids’ names (you’ll see that this is a theme with me during this consultation — I love that Cooper, Reagan, and Fulton all fit together style-wise really nicely in my opinion, and while I don’t want Madison and her hubby to feel boxed in by that, I would very much love to help them find a name that they love that also fit with their style!)
  • Blair: I’m so interested that Madison has “always loved” this name — that definitely counts for something! The first thing I did was try to find a faith connection for it — it apparently means “plain, field, battlefield,” which is why I suggested it recently as a possible way to honor St. Hildegard of Bingen, because Hildegard means hild “battle” plus gard “enclosure,” so that’s a possibility. Also, pairing a less faithy name with a more faithy middle name often helps a less faithy name to feel more acceptable to parents who are worried about such things, you know? So like Blair Immaculata hits you right in the face with the faith, even though Blair itself doesn’t — anyone who knows the full name and knows anything about Catholicism will *know.* A couple ideas that came to me regarding Blair were that the rhyming Clare, spelled that way, is both St. Clare’s name and also Co. Clare in Ireland — I thought Clare being a place name as well as a Saint’s name might make a good bridge going forward between the names they’ve already chosen (Cooper, Reagan, Fulton) and some of those Madison likes (Emma, Caroline, Mary Grace). And then Clare being a place name made me think of the Irish place name Adare, which is cool on its own; if you spell it Adair, it’s a form of Edgar, which is a Saint’s name. (I did a whole post on Irish place names — definitely read the comments too if you like this idea!)
  • Maren: This is a lovely option! Regarding pronunciation, it is one of those names that people aren’t always sure how to pronounce, but that’s the case with lots of names, so unless it’s one of those things that will drive them crazy forever, I’d encourage them not to worry too much about it — they should just be firm and consistent when correcting people who get it wrong. Saying “rhymes with Karen” is really helpful for them when explaining it to others, and will be helpful for their daughter as she grows up. I’m not surprised Madison’s hubby doesn’t love the double middle name idea — in my experience with my own husband and husbands I learn about through consultations, dads tend to prefer “less fuss” over “more fuss.”
  • Aurora nn Rory: I totally get loving “the idea” of a name, but having a hard time getting totally on board with the name itself. I think what Madison said about it not seeming like “them” is the key — there are a bunch of names on their list that I feel this way about — names that I know Madison likes or her husband likes but that don’t seem to fit the naming style they’ve agreed upon up until now. That said, I think Rory as a given name feels definitely like their style! I wonder if they would consider Rory on its own, for either a boy or a girl? (I actually did a whole post on faith connections for Rory!)
  • Reese: Like Rory, I actually feel like Reese fits their style really well! Though Madison and her hubby think it feels more masculine, Reese Witherspoon makes it very feminine in my opinion — I think Reese is great for a girl, and I agree that it can be a nod to any of the Sts. Therese/Teresa! I remember reading years ago about twin girls named Aurora and Therese and called Rory and Reese, I thought that was just so brilliant.
  • Emery: As with Reese, my impression of Emery is just flipped from Madison’s — though it certainly started as a masculine name (and in fact, it’s a form of Emmerich!), even Behind the Name says it’s “now typically feminine”; the one Emery I know is a little girl. I wonder if using the Emerie spelling would help make it feel a bit girlier for them? I love the idea of Emery/Emerie Catherine for Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich — a double-call-name with Kate/Cate as the second element has always appealed to me, I think it’s so pretty.

I’m also interested that Madison said her husband likes Emma and Ava, because there seems to be huge potential for compromise with Emery and Emmeline from her list with the nickname Emma or Emmy, and also with Avila with the nickname Ava. From what I know from Madison’s email, it seems exactly right how she articulated that she thinks her husband “wants a name that is familiar” and it makes sense that “he turned down all [her] Catholicky Catholic suggestions.” I really think sticking to the kinds of names they’ve already chosen for their older kids will help her hubby feel comfortable with the choice, and Madison has done a terrific job of finding those kinds of names with faith connections, or finding faith connections for those kinds of names.

Just quickly about a name on the list of those Madison likes: Rosary is exactly the kind of middle name that could balance out a more secular-sounding first name! It doesn’t flow so well with Callie, Blair, Rory, Reese, or Emery, but I love Calla Rosary, for example.

For family names, I addressed ideas for Madison’s mom in the Callie point above, and I love the Lourdes connection! I also love the idea of adding Marie like how Madison added Mary to Reagan’s name — that could be a really nice connection between all their girls! And Lourdes-Marie and Marie-Lourdes are common constructions I see, to make the Our Lady of Lourdes connection even stronger. “FirstName Lourdes Marie” is really nice.

Okay, on to the boys!

  • Phillip: I have always loved Philip! Madison’s original idea of John Phillip is one of those names that makes me swoon, even though my taste in names also runs a bit spicier than that — it’s just so handsome. I love that she suggested Phillip Neri nn Finn to her husband — that’s one of my favorite ideas! And of course, pairing it with a fiery middle name like Kolbe or Pierce is absolutely the way I would go if they decided to go with Phillip. That said, I do find it jarring with their other kids’ names — but that never has to be a dealbreaker! They should definitely go with the name they love! But if they wanted to be more consistent style-wise, I would definitely put Phillip in the middle. BUT, I might also like to see them consider using it as the call name! A Kolbe Phillip, for example, would fit right in with their kids on paper, but they can use whatever nickname they want, even if the “nickname” is the actual middle name, or a nickname of the middle name. I’m a big nicknamer, too, and I agree that Phil doesn’t feel right, and Finn is out, but I love Pip and even Flip (I worked with a Philip nn Flip). Maybe they could do a combo nickname from the first+middle, like Kip for Kolbe Phillip or Billy for Bennett Phillip. Or, I just discovered that the surname Phelps means “son of Philip” — I wouldn’t worry about the “son of” part, and what a cool connection to Madison’s dad’s name! Phelps could be a nickname for Phillip, or a given name in his honor. Or, I wonder what they would think of, ahem, *flipping* (haha!) the name from the boy side to the girl? I love Pippa, and I think Pippa could work well with their kids! It’s a diminutive of Philippa, so it’s an obvious way to honor a Phillip in a girl’s name. Pippa Salette would be a really interesting way to name after both Madison’s parents! Or Pippa Felicity or Pippa Rosemary, if she could get hubby on board. And Madison also asked about Fulton and Phillip being too much … I mean, the fact that they have the same beginning sound and they both have an L in the middle and the same number of syllables does make them feel overly similar, but if they went with Phillip as a first name, a one-syllable nickname can help, or a non-F nickname, that kind of thing. The family connection is so great that if they just really wanted to use it, I wouldn’t argue with them!
  • Watson: Oh MAN, I LOVE this! I think it’s a fanTAStic way to honor Madison’s mom! And I love that her husband thinks it’s cool! This is definitely one of my favorites for this family. Maybe learning more about the name will help Madison like it more? It means “son of Wat,” where Wat is a medieval diminutive of Walter. Servant of God Fr. Walter Ciszek is a favorite of a lot of my readers — he’s got an amazing story. I think Watson is a great middle name for lots of first name options, and as a first name, Wats and Watts are traditional nicknames. Watkins is another variant of Watson, and I could see that being a fun nickname for a Watson. Even Wally is cute and unexpected in a super-old-man way, which I always think is adorable on little boys, and totally do-able I think because of the connection to Walter. Even better, a Watson Phillip would have that double L in Phillip that could make sense of Wally as a nickname. I feel like there’s a good chance that, even if Madison can’t really bring herself to love it, eventually she will grow to love the fact that her son has such a great family name. And Watson is smashing with Cooper, Reagan, and Fulton!
  • Declan: Declan is a great name! I love that it has that Irish feel of Reagan and Fulton, which Cooper isn’t far off from because I think Cooper feels British (and is, in fact, an English occupational surname), so even though my preference is for them to stick to names that either are or feel surnamey, I wouldn’t be disappointed with Declan.
  • Bennett: I like Bennett a lot, especially that it’s a form of Benedict but also fits in with their surname style, but since it doesn’t have a family connection, I’m not loving that Madison is “not overly excited about it” — I think we can do better!
  • Owen: I agree that Owen Phillip and Phillip Owen are handsome! And being the sucker for family names that I am, I like having Madison’s dad and her godfather together in the same name. And it even counts as a surname — one of my favorite Saints is St. Nicholas Owen! (Incidentally, Cole can be a diminutive of Nicholas, so something like Cole Owen could be very explicit for St. Nicholas Owen.) I was musing about Madison’s idea of Leo being a nickname for Maximilian (which I don’t think is too much of a stretch, by the way), and wondered what they would think of Leo as a nickname for Philip Owen? There’s the “Li” of Phillip and the O of Owen … maybe? Is that way too crazy? Madison’s hubby probably thinks so, haha! Another thought I had was to switch from Owen to Bowen — that makes it obviously more surnamey, opens up the awesome nickname Bo, and can still be for Madison’s godfather, since Bowen means “son of Owen”!
  • Duke: Like with Blair, the fact that Duke has been on their list from the beginning is so meaningful! I love Duke, and I love that Madison found that Saint connection! In fact, Edmund Duke is making me think of Eamon, which is the Irish form of Edmund … I wonder what they would think of Eamon Duke? It would be the martyr’s actual name, just in Irish, and Eamon is a style match for Declan … He could even go by Duke as his everyday call name!
  • Gannon/Cannon: I think Gannon’s very cool, and I’ve often thought Canon could be a cool Catholicky Catholic name (with that spelling). I’m not sure I love Cannon (and even Canon by sound-association) — “weapon” names are certainly controversial, which any parent who is considering one should be ready to deal with. I loved discovering that Gannon is related to Finn, how cool is that??
  • Kolbe: I’m excited that Madison thinks she might be able to bring her husband around to Kolbe because he likes C/Kole! Kolbe would be very cool for this family, I think.

So when I was trying to come up with new name ideas, I found myself really going far afield from what I would usually suggest, mostly because my suggestions are all on their “no” list! In my suggestions below, I included some results from the research I did in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link), where I looked up names they’ve used and those they like, as the BNW lists boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity, but at least as many are based on nothing more than my own gut reaction! I definitely kept in mind that avoiding ends-in-n names is preferable, and that Madison wants a Marian connection (or at the very least, a faith connection), and that she’s open to moving away from the surnamey names if it feels right. I really hope I hit the mark here with at least some of my ideas below!

Girl

(1) Scarlett

I’m going to start with one that I *don’t* think they’ll love … but maybe they will? Scarlett is a style match for both Cooper and Duke, and also Ivy from the list of names they can’t use, which I thought was pretty amazing. I never would have thought of Scarlett! I’ve actually seen Carly used as a nickname for Scarlett, which is so similar to Callie — maybe Madison would like that? I did a spotlight on the name Ruby, and I feel like a lot of the faith associations for Ruby can also be used for Scarlett, plus also the Feast of the Most Precious Blood on July 1 AND the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross during Madison’s due-date week!

(2) Tierney, Kearney

I’m putting Tierney here on the girl’s side because I knew a girl growing up named Tierney, but it’s actually derived from the Old Irish word meaning “lord” — such a great meaning, and can totally work for a boy if they prefer! With that meaning, it reminds me of Dominic/Dominique (“of the Lord”) or Emmanuel/Emmanuela or Christopher/Christina — a great “Jesus” name! But hidden in plain sight, like their other kids!

Kearney rhymes with Tierney, and like Tierney can be masculine or feminine; I’m putting it here on the girl list because when I was looking for Saints whose feast days fall during Sept. 6-14, I found Bl. Elizabeth Kearney, whose feast is Sept. 13 (there’s also a Bl. John Kearney, if they like this idea for a boy). Kearney seemed like a perfect fit for this family!

(3) Gemma

This is a gut-reaction name, brought about because, in thinking about their style being surname-y (but not into unusual surnames like Clairvaux etc.), I thought maybe faith-y *thing* names might be a good direction to go that would feel consistent but open up more ideas. With their British/Irish feel, I thought of Gemma — it means “gem” in Italian and is the name of the Italian St. Gemma, but has amazing usage in England/Ireland/Australia, which gives it that English/Irish feel.

(4) Eliette

Elliott’s a match for Bennett on the boy side, and maybe they’d prefer to consider it for a boy (I do love it for a boy!), but it made me think of Eliette right away — one of the families I worked with has a daughter named Eliette, which was the mom’s grandmother’s name, and is derived from Elijah, just like Elliott. As you know from my book, the Elijah names can be considered Marian because of the awesome connection to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, so I thought that was cool; I also thought this very feminine spelling of an otherwise masculine-sounding name could be one of those “bridge name” ideas between what they’ve already done with their older kids’ names and how Madison might like to branch out going forward. I was thinking particularly of Eliette Catherine nn Ellie Cate — I thought maybe her husband would like that?

(5) Maeve

Madison had mentioned in another email that she kind of likes the nickname Mav, so Maeve was mostly inspired by that. Of course it’s an Irish name, and I also put it in my book of Marian names, so it checks that box as well. I really like the repeating sounds in Reagan and Maeve — beautiful, Marian (in an unexpected way), Irish sister names!

(6) Maisie

Josie, Molly, and Maggie are style matches for Callie; Lacey for Blair; Daisy for Duke; Lucy for Emma and Leo; and Maisie for Rory — they all have a similar sound and feel, and of them, I like Maisie the best for this family. It’s a Celtic (Irish/Scottish) diminutive of Margaret, which provides a fantastic patron.

(7) Talbot

Lindsay from My Child I love You introduced me to this name — she considered it for a first name for one of her girls, but ended up using it in the middle for her daughter Lourdes Marie Talbot. It’s for Bl. Matt Talbot, who was Irish (!) and had a devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes (!!) — how cool is that?! Read about it in this post. The nickname Tally/Tallie is awesome, and so similar to Madison’s beloved Callie; if they spell it Tally it mirrors her mom’s name really nicely. Another really cool thing, in addition to it being a nice nod to Bl. Matt Talbot, is that there’s a Bl. John Talbot whose feast day is Sept. 8!

Boy

(1) Miles

Since Madison said she has my book and has been scouring it, and she’s clearly familiar with the blog, then she must have come across Miles and decided against it. But let me make an argument for it! First off, it’s a style match for Bennett, Owen, and Ivy; secondly, it (as well as the spelling Myles) has a history of usage as an anglicization of the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “servant of the Virgin Mary” — a totally, legitimately Marian name for a boy! Thirdly, I’ve suggested it as a possible nickname idea for Maximilian, which would get away from Madison’s in-laws’ dog’s name Max and/or could claim St. Maximilian as a patron even if they go with the given name Miles instead of the given name Maximilian with Miles as a nickname; fourthly, I’ve suggested it as a nickname idea for Michael, being that it can be thought of as sort of a contraction of the name Michael, and also since Miles means “soldier” in Latin, which ties in nicely with St. Michael. And with Madison’s mom’s middle name being Michele, Michael or a name related to it could be a nod to her! There are so many reasons to love the name Miles! I think it goes amazingly well with Cooper, Reagan, and Fulton, and I love that it has a different ending than all of them.

(2) Garrett

Garrett is a gut-reaction idea — I was inspired by both Gannon and Bennett on their list, and also the fact that it’s an English surname that’s also categorized as “Celtic” in the BNW, and it derives from Gerard, which gives it a great saintly connection. I’m loving Garrett for this family!

(3) Kells

Kells is so much like Madison’s Callie, but is actually a surname like their older kids, and also the name of that beautifully illuminated manuscript containing the gospels at Trinity College in Dublin: The Book of Kells. I think Kells is so cool, and like Tierney and Kearney is really a unisex idea, so if they like it better for a girl, that could totally work, too.

(4) Finnian

I admit I had a hard time coming up with ideas for a boy for this family, so I do feel like I included ideas here that probably wouldn’t have passed muster if I had more ideas. Finnian is one — I love it, and I think it would be great in their family, and I was specifically inspired to include it here because St. Finnian of Moville’s feast day is Sept. 10. I do, however, realize that it’s maybe overly similar to Finley, which Madison said they can’t use, and it ends in -n, which isn’t ideal. But maybe they’ll like it anyway? Or, maybe this St. Finnian will provide them with the perfect patron for a little Gannon, since they’re related?

(5) Lolek

My last idea is a departure in that it’s not a surname, and it’s not English or Irish/Celtic. But it does have a different ending than their other kids’ names, and it is specifically Catholic and Marian, since it’s the nickname that St. John Paul II went by during his growing up (it’s a diminutive of Karol, which is the Polish for Charles/Carl/Karl). I just love the idea of Lolek! Because it was JP2’s childhood nickname, it feels sweet and affectionate. It’s sort of similar in sound and/or rhythm to Leo, Luke, Colton, Cole, and Kolbe, so I can see Madison and her hubby liking it from that perspective. Here’s a little guy named Lolek, if you want to see it in real life (his mom said it feels like an “underground code name,” which I thought was so fun!).

I’m sorry my boy ideas are so sparse! I feel like Madison might have good luck going through the names of the Martyrs of England, Scotland, and Wales as well as the Irish Martyrs to check out their surnames — I’m sure there’s a lot of good inspiration there! (I don’t think those lists are totally comprehensive, but definitely provide a lot of possibilities.)

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Cooper, Reagan, and Fulton?


The five baby name consultation openings I had for January have been taken, but Theresa is available to help you out! 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!