Birth announcement: Marigold Azélie!

I posted a request for prayers for a family in the wake of the stillbirth of their beautiful baby, Zita Marie-Catherine, a while ago, and I was so very happy for them when the mama, Kara, let me know this past fall that they were expecting another baby! Now I’m thrilled to share that their baby girl has arrived and been given the amazing name … Marigold Azélie!

Kara writes,

Well, our newest baby GIRL arrived at 7:49am on November 8th. She weighed 8 lbs 14oz. And we named her. . .

Marigold Azélie!
(We’re using the ah-ZAY-lee pronunciation.)

As you know, I was sort of set on using an Italian first name, but your consultation made me realize I cared more about the story behind the name than the nationality. So here’s the story:

[Hubby] and I were pretty settled on a boy name, but struggled with one if the baby was a girl. After three girls, I felt like we had used up our most-favorite options. Sometime in late August I had tossed out the name “Marigold” (which I was reminded of in your book!) as a name we could use in honor of Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, not thinking he would go for it. I was right, he wasn’t keen on it. So I moved on. Then in mid-September a friend threw me a shower and one of the cards I received was a vintage print of the marigold flower. I went home and jokingly told [hubby] it was a sign that if we had a girl we should name her Marigold. Of course, he rolled his eyes. Fast forward a week or two and one night I was complaining about something pregnancy related and he responded with, “Well, would it make you feel better to know that Marigold is now in my top three names for girls?” Um, what?? His change of heart was due to the fact that the Diocese of Des Moines’ feast day is August 22nd, the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. Due to his job and it being a big year for the diocese with the ordination of a new bishop, he thought it was very fitting. We also liked that a nickname is Mary because it’s a family name (his grandma Mary turned 90 two days before Marigold was born). By early October it became a slight frontrunner for us, but it also felt very “different” given the fact that all the other kids’ names are straight saint names. Then when I was 38 weeks pregnant I came across more info on the marigold, its meaning and its relation to Mary [in an article by Br. John M. Samaha, S.M., on the University of Dayton’s web site] … I also discovered that the marigold is the flower for October, making me convinced that if we had a girl she was going to be born in October. Ha!

One bit that particularly moved this mama in that article linked to above was the following:

Sometimes described as ‘the flower of grief’, the marigold actually weeps on occasion. Droplets gather in the flower during the night and drip off like tears when it opens in the morning. This characteristic moved Shakespeare to write in A Winter’s Tale:

“The Marygold that goes to bed with the sun, / And with him rises weeping.”

These flowers primarily convey the message “I will comfort your grieving heart”.

Grief mixed with joy, poverty linked with abundance of good gifts — that is the marigold’s reflection of the lady for whom she is named.”

How beautiful!! Kara continues,

For me personally, besides the grief aspect, Marigold’s name also is connected to Zita in that although Zita was due Aug. 24th, I had hoped she would be born on Aug. 22nd. I had thought it would be fitting that since Zita was named after an Empress/Queen, she’d share a feast day with the Queen of Heaven. So this is a way for me to honor Zita without making it feel so heavy.

Azélie is obviously for St. Marie-Azélie, but kind of surprised me in that it only came to us right before baby’s due date. For the past 18 months I was SET on using Clairvaux for a middle name, but [hubby] kind of liked it better for a boy middle name. One day I was thinking about Marie-Azélie, her own child losses and her motherhood, realizing that in the past year I’ve understood more fully what it means to be a mother and have worked harder than ever before at becoming a better one. A few days later my sis-in-law sent me a quote from a book she was reading on Marie-Azélie’s life and that’s what sealed the deal …

So many people have commented on the beauty of Marigold’s name, young and old alike! Many have added that they’ve never heard of it, but my favorite was a little old retired priest who said, “Lady Edith has a Marigold!” Haha.

Of course my Gabriel was hoping for a boy, so when he came to the hospital and discovered he had yet another sister he immediately asked, “What’s her name?” in a way that was holding out hope it was something he liked. When we said it was Marigold he crinkled his nose with an “ugh.” He admits he likes it now, though! The kids call her “Mare,” “Marigoldie” and “Marigoldilocks.” 🙂 [Hubby] and I use Mary from time to time, but I’m careful because I never want the full Marigold to get lost — it’s too beautiful!

Isn’t this such a wonderful story?? I love that they were able to find a name that connects to their little Zita without, as Kara said, “making it feel so heavy.” This is just so lovely, all around!

Congratulations to Kara and her husband and big siblings Gabriel Gerard, Cecilia Immaculée, Gemma Thérèse (and Zita Marie-Catherine in heaven), and happy birthday Baby Marigold!!

Marigold Azélie with her family ❤ (Photo credit: Laura Wills Photography)

(In the top left picture, she’s laying on the Sacred Heart blanket from Be A Heart)


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 9 needs a name that isn’t “completely ordinary,” yet not unheard of

Sarah and her husband are expecting their ninth baby — a little green bean (=gender unknown)! This little girl or boy joins big siblings:

Cody Michael
Benjamin Scott
Claire Elizabeth
Dominic Anthony
Grace Cathryn
Peter Charles
Caroline Maria
Charlotte Zelie (“she goes mostly by ‘Zelie’“)

What a great bunch of names!! It’s important to note that Sarah acknowledged that her oldest’s name is more modern than they have come to prefer, though I did try to find names that can bridge Cody’s style with that of his siblings’ names.

Sarah writes,

This baby will be a “tiebreaker”, as we currently have 4 boys and 4 girls. We are starting to run out of (primarily boy) names, so are curious what you are able to come up with. We have an unwritten rule that the names be traditional and also double as a Saint name. Our style of “traditional” appears to be names that aren’t completely ordinary, yet are definitely not unheard of. The middle names have either been a family name or a powerhouse Saint. We are open to nontraditional for a middle name if it is a super Catholic “mic drop” of a name.”

A “super Catholic ‘mic drop’ of a name”!! I love that!!

Names we cannot use are:
Alexander
Nicholas
John (open to John Paul, however)
Christian
James
Andrew
Rachel
Gabrielle
Lily
Thomas

I was sort of glad to see that they’re struggling with boy names, because I felt like I had an easier time coming up with boy names than with girl names!

As I mentioned, Cody was actually a big inspiration to me when I was trying to come up with name ideas for this baby. His name is certainly an outlier, and I really wanted to try to come up with an idea or two that might make his name seem more a part of the group. First though, I was glad to see that it means “helpful,” which could put it in the same category as Grace — that is, a virtue-type name. That’s a nice spin to put on it! And Michael is a great middle. I’ve included Cody-esque ideas in my suggestions below.

I do like that they’re open to John Paul, I think that’s a great option! I like that it incorporates biblical names, like Benjamin and Peter, and is a heavy-hitting faithy name. It can also take the nicknames Jack and JP, which I think fit in quite nicely with Cody.

You all know that I always start consultations by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel popularity. Within those results, I look for names or connections that have a solid faith connection. It’s a fun process! Based on that, these are my ideas for Sarah’s little one:

Girl
(1) Josephine
I couldn’t help but notice they like French girl names — Claire, Caroline, Charlotte, and Zelie are all French, but in an understated way (especially Claire, Caroline, and Charlotte), where they don’t at all clash with the other kiddos’ names. I hoped to find a similarly not-overly-obvious French name to suggest, and Josephine was a result from my research that seemed perfect. It can honor St. Joseph, or any of the holy Josephines.

(2) Isabella
Funny enough, though the French Isabelle is a style match for Charlotte, I thought the spelling Isabella was a better suggestion for this family, as Queen Isabella of Portugal, aka St. Elizabeth of Portugal, is a great patron. Isabelle can, of course, honor her as well if they prefer, as can Isabel, which was a style match for both Claire and Caroline. I normally wouldn’t suggest an Elizabeth name for them, since Claire’s middle name is Elizabeth, but since they used three Charles names, I thought they were probably fine with considering another Elizabeth name.

(3) Hannah
I was excited to see that Hannah is a style match for Benjamin and Grace—Benjamin is the only Old Testament name they have, so I like that Hannah would loop him in a bit, and having it be a style match for Grace makes it really feel like it fits in well with the other kids as well. Hannah is such a sweet name and can take St. Anne as a patron, as it’s an Anne variant.

(4) Felicity
I think Felicity is the kind of name that exactly fits Sarah and her hubby’s style of “traditional,” as they put it: “names that aren’t completely ordinary, yet are definitely not unheard of.” It’s super saintly and has a long history of usage, and St. Felicity is one of the best patrons for a girl, in my opinion (there are others as well). I spotlighted it here.

(5) Avila
Finally, in my hopes of finding names that could feel a little more Cody-esque while still checking off their other boxes, I’d thought a saintly surname or place name might do the trick: Kolbe, Clairvaux, or Cabrini, for example (but not those, since they’re too similar to Cody, Claire, and Caroline). Avila was one that I thought might do nicely. It’s got its own entry on behindthename, which tells you that it’s “definitely not unheard of,” and it’s the kind of name that families with Dominics and Zelies often choose. St. Teresa of Avila is a great patron, and a Doctor of the Church, which is so great for a little girl!

Boy
(1) Luke
Luke is biblical, like Benjamin and Peter; it’s four letters, like Cody; and it’s Marian, like Dominic! (Marian due to the fact that his gospel is the most Marian, containing within in the Annunciation and Our Lady’s Magnificat, for example; St. Dominic is a very Marian saint due to the fact that Our Lady tasked him with promulgating her rosary). I like Luke a lot for for this family! Being short, it can also take a longer middle name, which some of the heavy hitting “mic drop” names are (e.g., Luke Augustine, Luke Maximilian, Luke Emmanuel).

(2) Gabriel
Speaking of biblical names and the Annunciation, what about Gabriel? I’ve seen Benjamin and Gabriel brother sets fairly frequently, as well as Dominic and Gabriel brother sets, so it feels like a good fit. Gabriel’s also mentioned in both the Old Testament and New Testament, which is nice for Benjamin and Peter. They have Gabrielle on their “no” list for girls, but I’m hoping Gabriel’s okay for a boy!

(3) Joseph
I suggested Josephine above for a girl, but what about Joseph for a boy? I’m loving that it’s both an Old and New Testament name, and St. Joseph is such an amazing patron for a boy. It was also St. John Paul’s birth middle name, and Pope Benedict’s pre-papal first name. Lots of great connections!

(4) Henry
Henry reminds me of Hannah in that it’s such a sweet name! It’s a style match for Grace, Caroline, and Charlotte, and has a great saintly pedigree — I actually did a spotlight post of it here. Also, since Sarah mentioned possibly being open to John Paul, I wonder if they’d consider John Henry? It would be a really nice nod to our brand new St. John Henry Newman, and can also take the nickname Jack.

(5) Owen
Owen actually showed up a few times in my research — it’s a style match for Claire, Grace, and Charlotte, as well as Logan, which I looked up in order to add to the names that could be style matches for Cody. I think Owen is a great idea for this family! My favorite patron is St. Nicholas Owen — he was amazing! But there are actually a few Owens they can choose from for patron.

(6) Austin
Austin might be my favorite suggestion for this family for a boy. It’s a style match for Cody (!), and it’s a contracted form of Augustine! While it might have a modern feel, it’s been in use for a long time. There are the Austin Friars, founded in 1253, also known as the Hermits of St. Augustine, and I loved this medal for St. Augustine of Canterbury that says “St. Austin” on it. They could also do Augustine with the nickname Austin if they want.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little sister or brother of Cody, Benjamin, Claire, Dominic, Grace, Peter, Caroline, and Zelie?


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 — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Birth announcement: Penny Annalise Mariae!

Theresa (who wrote an amazing review of my book for Epic Pew!) shared her older kids’ names with me a couple of years ago, and I loved them so much I did a Name Story post about them! We’ve actually had many fun conversations about names — including for the baby she recently gave birth to! I’m excited to share that Theresa and her hubby welcomed a baby girl, to whom they gave the swoony name … Penny Annalise Mariae!

Theresa writes,

On November 13, our little girl, Penny Annalise Mariae, was born. I know we had talked about her name here and there throughout my pregnancy (and you were so generous in offering some ideas for a boy name when we could not settle!) and I’ve previously shared her big sister’s and brother’s name stories with you, so I wanted to share her name story with you! It’s a long one, so I’ll take it name by name.

Penny– When we began, we liked the name Penelope with the nickname Penny. We actually had a completely different set of middles to go with Penelope, Penelope Chiara Lucy, which altogether means “weaver of illustrious light”. I had wanted Mary Stella Maris to be our next daughter’s patroness anyway, so this was a lovely coincidence! Then I was curious to see if there are any saint Penelopes. There aren’t, but there is a St. Irene of Thessalonica whose birth name was Penelope. This is where even more coincidences start coming into play. One of my middle names is Irene for my Italian grandma and, though I’m sure if she was named for a saint it would be St. Irene of Rome, I thought this was an incredible connection for the three of us. (Similarly, I had heard my daughter Ruby’s name on a TV show and fell in love with it; there is a story that my great-grandma heard Irene on a radio program and fell in love with it. I really like that both of my girls have these cool connections to my Gram, with whom I was close).

Ok, so, Penelope nicknamed Penny. The day before we found out gender, we were talking about boy names and realized that we both thought the girl name should just be Penny. We really only like nicknames if we’re going to use the given name and the nickname fairly equally and we knew that we’d be calling this baby Penny 90% of the time. So we switched Penelope to Penny and came up with her two middles (more on that in a bit!). More coincidences presented themselves.

Way back when I was 16, a friend gave me a little penny bank (they were one of those $1 add ons from Claire’s) that had this poem on it: “Place a penny in the slot, close your eyes and wish a lot. Your Prince Charming you’ll receive, if in your heart, you believe.” I started collecting pennies and saving them from that moment on, but instead of just making a wish on them, I’d say a prayer for my future husband and for my own vocation discernment before placing each penny in the bank. Ten years later, my husband and I married and I gave him all of the pennies I had been praying on and saving. We were able to go out to a nice dinner on all the pennies I saved! And that has proved a sort of foundation of prayer and devotion for our marriage. Since pennies played a big role in the young life of our marriage, it was nice to be able to reflect that in our daughter’s name.

But there’s more! My mom’s favorite band was The Beatles who has the song “Penny Lane”. My favorite band is Hanson who has the song “Penny & Me”. My mom has been gone for almost 12 years now and so this shared connection is really special to me. (I also realize that Taylor and Natalie Hanson, fantastic namers that they are, have a daughter Penelope who goes by Penny. Just a coincidence! I didn’t remember until after we had chosen the name.) Also, my best friend Jackie and I became best friends in 7th grade because of a mutual love of Hanson, so I feel like Penny is a nice nod to our friendship, also. Penny is also two syllables like my other kids’ names and ends in the “ee” sound like her sister.

Annalise– There are lots of Ann(e)/as and Elizabeths on my and my husband’s family trees (including me, my sister, my mom, both of my grandmas, my aunt/godmother, another aunt, and one of my great-grandmas), so this is a nice little nod to family. My second middle name is Anne and my daughter Ruby’s is Anastasia, so I also like that we’re keeping An- names going (my mom’s and her mom’s middle names are also Anne). We had considered Annalise for a first name and then revisited it when we changed Penelope to Penny and it fit! It’s also a nod to my maid of honor, Anna, who is now a religious sister, and to another good friend of mine Anna Elizabeth. The “L” in there as a form of Elizabeth was actually really important to me, too. My grandma Irene didn’t have a middle name. When she was confirmed, she took St. Elizabeth and decided to make it her middle name; however, she wanted to be different from “all the other Elizabeths” and so spelled it Lizbeth. She was a firecracker! The L was also important to me because I have other special people in my life whose names begin with L- both of my sisters-in-law have middle names beginning with L, my MOH’s religious name is Sr. Luisa Grace, my grandma Irene’s dad was Louis, my aunt Linda, I had an “aunt” Louise, and some others. I also really like that I basically get a two-for-one name with Annalise! Gotta get as many names in as possible!

Mariae– Last but not least (but a little more succinct)! We wanted a form of Mary in her name, just like big sis has Mae. Originally, we were going to go with Marie for my mother-in-law’s middle name, but it just didn’t feel right to me. I remembered Mariae is the Latin form of Mary (and I think I read it on your blog somewhere once?) and I really liked that and finally convinced my husband it wasn’t too weird lol! It has a little more pizzazz than Marie and then gives everyone their own form of Mary. AND it rhymes with Mae and also my maiden name Bey. Turns out there are a lot of people in our families with Marian names- big sis (Mae), one of my sisters-in-law (Maria), my mother-in-law (Marie), and two of my great-grandmothers (Mary and Marie), and also some cousins!

So, this name not only fits this individual child while keeping her unique and her own person, but it gives so many wonderful nods and connections to people and saints that we love. Between her name and her sister’s name, I think we’ve covered 90% of the females in our life in some way! This is important to me as I like names for our children with lots of meaning but that also give the child a unique identity.”

I mean. Aren’t these amazing names with so many amazing layers of meaning?? I love the saving-pennies-praying-for-future-husband/vocation story so much, how incredible is that anyway, never mind naming their daughter Penny! The connections with so many of the beloved women in Theresa’s family and life and of course Our Lady are tremendous, I was blown away by each detail as I read this from Theresa. And I’m so charmed by siblings Ruby, Peter, and Penny — what a great trio!

Congratulations to Theresa and her husband and big siblings, and happy birthday Baby Penny!!

Penny Annalise Mariae with her big sister and brother ❤


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 — a perfect🎄Christmas gift🎄 for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Maria Therese (nn Maite)!

Mandi from A Blog About Miscarriage has been a cheerleader for Sancta Nomina from the beginning, and I have turned to her and her blog again and again for help with ministering to moms who have miscarried, including helping to name the babies. Since her own many losses were the catalyst for her blog and ministry, I’m extra happy every time I can share her baby news! I had the great privilege of doing a consultation for her second living baby (and birth announcement) as well as one for her third living baby (and birth announcement), and now I’m excited to share that she’s had her fourth — a baby girl given the so-beautiful name … Maria Therese nicknamed Maite!

Mandi writes,

Maria Therese was born on November 26 in the midst of a snowstorm that left 19.8” of snow! She is named after the Mother of God and David’s two grandmothers, who were both named Mary, and St. Therese of Lisieux. I call her Maite (pronounced my-tay), a traditional Spanish nickname for girls named Maria Teresa. Her biggest sister and my parents have been calling her Mimi and big brother calls her “fluffy”.

Her name was really easy to choose and we knew we would name our next girl (if we were so blessed) Maria Therese long before we were even pregnant with her. Maria continues our trend of girls names that end in “ia” and it was about time to name a little lady after Our Lady. We started saying a daily rosary as a family earlier this year and both my husband and I have strong devotions to the Blessed Mother (David to Our Lady of Fatima and I to Our Lady of Guadalupe). We chose her name day to be January 1st, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, which is a Holy Day of Obligation and our oldest’s baptism day. I love that Therese has a connection to my middle name and my oldest’s middle name, Rose, since St Therese of Lisieux is the “Little Flower” and often associated with roses.

Interestingly, we didn’t find out the sex before birth and our chosen boy’s name was Joseph. I always felt a bit silly when asked about names saying the baby was either Joseph or Maria- the two most quintessential Catholic names! We often got little chuckles when we told people. It just lined up that way this time, Joseph has been our planned boys name for our last two pregnancies (and if we have another baby will be the boy’s name again, we always carry name choices forward to the next baby).”

What an awesome name story!! You know I’m crazy for Marian names, and Maite has long been a favorite of mine (I love Mimi too, but Fluffy is definitely a contender for my favorite here! 😂). I love that they chose a name day for Maite as well! This is just perfection, all around!

Congratulations to Mandi and her husband and big sibs Lucia, David (Davey), and Cecilia (Cici), and happy birthday Baby Maria Therese!!

Maria Therese “Maite” with her big siblings ❤


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 — a perfect🎄Christmas gift🎄 for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Alden Edward!

Happy feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe! Our priest’s name is Juanito, and he has a great devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe — I only recently remembered that Our Lady called Juan Diego “Juanito” and “Juan Dieguito.” So sweet and affectionate! I’ll have to ask him if that’s his religious name or his given name. Either way, I love it!

Speaking of Marian names, I posted a consultation for Jess and her husband back in October for their baby boy — I’m so happy to share that Jess has let me know their little guy has arrived and been given the amazing name with amazing initials … Alden Edward V___! I never include last name info in the post title or name announcement, but it’s particularly meaningful here because his monogram is the Marian AVE (aVe)! ❤ ❤ ❤

Jess writes,

I hope that you had a great Thanksgiving. We had a lot to be thankful for this year. I really appreciate your consultation. We narrowed the names down to Edward, Alden, and Roland. Our daughter was strongly advocating for Edward so she could call her brother Teddy Bear. The birth mom decided to meet me for lunch prior to the delivery. When she asked what we planned to name the baby, I told her the options and she had a very positive reaction to Alden. We named our son Alden Edward after her input. Big sis calls Alden his name, Teddy Bear, and Toots (because he farts a lot). We’re smitten. Thanks again!

(Toots!! 😂😂😂)

Alden Edward is so handsome! And you know I love the aVe monogram!! What a wonderful holiday season for this family!!

Congratulations to Jess and her husband and big sister Josephine Jean, and happy birthday Baby Alden!!

Alden Edward with big sister Josephine Jean ❤


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Elizabeth Ríonach (nn Liesel)!

I had the great privilege of doing a consultation for Laura and her husband’s second baby a few years ago, and posting a birth announcement, and then doing a consultation for her third baby this past summer — and here’s the birth announcement! Laura and her husband have welcomed their third daughter and given her the amazing name … Elizabeth Ríonach nn Liesel! I don’t normally include the nickname in the post title and name announcement, but I’m sure you can see why I’m all heart eyes over this gorgeous name and its nickname!

Laura writes,

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of Elizabeth Ríonach, who we are called Liesel.

Thank you so much for our consultation; it really helped me to understand why I wasn’t quite committed to Liesel: I really wanted her to have a longer, more formal name. This didn’t perturb [hubby], but as a German speaker, it sounded too nicknamey to be her given name. I couldn’t get him to go for Anneliese, but he was happy with Elizabeth, which I suggested after an hour had passed since her birth and she still had no name.

Ríonach was just too lovely to pass up, and I love that she has the Gaelic connection to sister’s Caoilfhinn. We really liked the nod to Our Lady as well.

Juliet Ríonach and Riona Josephine were other contenders. I think we settled on a great name, and having her full name be Elizabeth has helped make the unusual Liesel more approachable for friends and [those] who can’t get over the Sound of Music connection.

More importantly, we are so in love with our little Liesel. Big sisters Clara and Rosalie could not be happier. In fact, Clara told me just this evening at dinner that she’s so happy we picked Liesel to be our baby from Jesus. ❤️”

I just love this whole story! The consultation I did for Laura over the summer was mostly for a middle name (and I’m so thrilled that my suggestion of Ríonach — Irish for “queen,” making it Marian — hit the right note for them!), but how great is it that the consultation helped her and her hubby figure out the best first name for their baby girl as well!

Congratulations to Laura and her husband and big sisters Clara Louise and Rosalie Caoilfhinn, and happy birthday Baby Liesel!!

Elizabeth Ríonach “Liesel” and her big sisters ❤


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Name for baby girl that’s not too popular and has feminine oomph

Beth and her husband aren’t expecting a baby yet, but they hope to be soon, and need help finding a girl’s name they love!

Beth writes,

Our children’s names so far are:

Justin
Aiden
Annalise
Jeremy (with Jesus)

Names I like but my husband dislikes are:

Cora
Verity
Camille
Isobel
Honora/Nora
Majella

The last two of these are hard to pronounce for him due to his accent (he has a Mexican background). His family also prefer names that sound as they are spelled as that is how Spanish names work. So names like Caeli (pronounced “Chaylee”) are out of the picture. He is not really keen on Spanish names.

He likes:

Amelia
Hope

We prefer a Saints name or a Biblical name or a variant (like Molly for Mary). We don’t want the name to start with: A or J, as we have used those twice already. I tend to like names that are a little out of popular use (although we went with Aiden despite this).

Names we can’t use due to extended family use:

Emily
Phoebe
Claudia
Eleanor
Gianna
Kateri

Ok I think that is it for rules. I’m looking forward to your input!

I love Beth’s children’s names! Justin, Aiden, and Jeremy are so handsome for boys, and Annalise is so lovely and feminine! In fact, when compiling my list of ideas for Beth and her hubs, I was most influenced by Annalise’s name — I really wanted to find girl names that could stand up to Annalise’s feminine oomph.

Before listing my ideas, I’ll offer some thoughts on the names on Beth’s and her husbands’ lists, in case they’re helpful:

  • Cora: Beautiful name! And it rhymes with Nora, which lets me know that Beth likes that sound/rhythm
  • Verity: Such a cool virtue-type name — much less popular than Grace, for example, but still in the same category
  • Camille: Has a similar foreign-ish feel as Annalise (foreign-ish because it’s a French name that’s familiar in English, like Annalise has German/Scandinavian background but still familiar in English)
  • Isobel: I love this spelling, it takes the familiar Isabel(le) and makes it more unusual, which is always fun. However, since the “Lise” in Annalise is from Elizabeth, I would suggest crossing Isobel off the list, since it’s an Elizabeth variant (though I love that Beth included it, as it gives me a good sense of her taste)
  • Honora/Nora: I can see that Honora would be difficult for Beth’s hubby and his family, but Nora would be okay, right? (Except that hubby doesn’t care for it.)
  • Majella: I love Majella too. I wonder if the Italian variant Maiella would appeal to Beth and her husband? It’s said like my-EL-la, which I think is okay for those whose first language is Spanish?
  • Amelia: Other than it being an A name, Amelia fits right in with several of the names on Beth’s list, so I’m hopeful I can find some names that they both like!
  • Hope: Beth has Verity and Honora on her list, and her hubby has Hope — I’m feeling pretty hopeful (!) that I can offer some other virtue-type names that they might both be on board with!

Okay, all that said, you all know that I start each consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I did so for this family, looking up all the names Beth listed, but giving heavy weight toward names that I thought would go well with Annalise. Based on that, these are my ideas for them:

(1) Clara (or variants?)
Clara’s a match for Cora, and Claire’s a match for Camille and Nora, so I thought a name in this vein would be a good suggestion here. I like Clara better than Claire (or Clare) as Annalise’s sister, and Clara has a similar rhythm to Cora and Nora, but Clara and Claire/Clare are both beautiful, so they can’t go wrong! Since Annalise is so long, I did look for ways to lengthen Clara, which might be totally unnecessary if they love Clara as is, but I thought it was worthwhile mentioning Clarabelle/Claribel and Clarissa as frillier options, as well as Clairvaux, which is a similar style as Majella, but I’m thinking that Beth’s hubby and in-laws wouldn’t know what to do with Clairvaux (as many English speakers would feel the same!)! I looked up Clar- names on the babynamewizard.com site, just to see if there were any ideas I hadn’t thought of, and saw Clarity — I kind of like Clarity! It can take Clare or Clara as a nickname, and it’s a virtue-type name like Verity, Honora, and Hope. So they have some options here, if they like the Clara idea but want something more! St. Clare of Assisi is a great patron (and St. Bernard would be for a Clairvaux).

(2) Felicity
I kind of love Felicity for this family! It’s a virtue-type name like Verity and Hope (and it’s a style match for both per the BNW!), and it has the same ending as Verity too. I spotlighted in on the blog here, where I offered nickname ideas as well. St. Felicity is one of the best!

(3) Natalia
I’m not sure Beth and her hubby will love this one, as it wasn’t a huge style match like some of the others, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Natalie is a style match for Jeremy, and I kind of loved the idea of looping his style in a little. I didn’t think Natalie was quite right here, but I thought Natalia really could be. It’s a gorgeous saintly name, and I love it with Annalise. There are a couple Sts. Natalia.

(4) Violet
Like Natalia, Violet didn’t show up that much in my research (it’s a match for Camille), but when I saw it I thought it felt right. It’s got a similar rhythm to Verity and starts with the same letter, but it’s less “out there,” which Beth’s hubby might appreciate. Violets are a symbol of Our Lady — they represent her humility and used to be called Our Lady’s Modesty — so Violet can be considered a Marian name (I have it as an entry in my book of Marian names for that reason).

(5) Eve (or variants/related names?)
I was surprised at how often names like Eve showed up in my research — the name itself is listed as a style match for Honor (standing in for Honora, which doesn’t have its own entry but is listed as a variant of Honor); its variant Ava is a match for Aiden (but starts with A); its soundalike Iva is a match for Cora; and its visual relation Evelyn is a match for Amelia. I thought Eve might be a bit too spare for Annalise’s sister (though it has such an elegance that if Beth loved it, I would love it too), but I thought Eva and Evelyn could work well, or my favorite: Evelina. If they like Eve or a variant, then Our Lady would be patroness, as one of her titles is the New Eve. If they like Evelyn or Evelina, they could still choose the Eve connection for a patron, but they actually have a separate etymology as a variant of Aveline, which is related to Avila, so St. Teresa of Avila could be their daughter’s saint.

(6) Maristela
This last idea was initially inspired by the fact that Stella is a match for Nora, but I thought Stella would be difficult for Beth’s hubby and in-laws, so I thought Maristela might be a neat way to work it in in an easier way. Then I realized that Annalise is Anna + Elizabeth and Maristela is Maria + Stella and thought that was such a neat thing for sisters to share! Maybe they (and you all) will think it’s too matchy? But if Beth and her husband like it, that construction could be carried through any other daughters they might have (examples: Piamarta, Dorolinda). Maristela comes from Our Lady’s title Star of the Sea (in Latin Stella Maris).

Finally, I wanted to include some names that did quite well in my research just in case they hit just the right note, but they didn’t make my “official” list because they didn’t follow Beth’s guidelines:

  • Charlotte: A match for Annalise and Amelia, so great! But sooo popular right now. I did a post on patron saints for girls named Charlotte.
  • Sophie/Sophia: Matches for Isabel (standing in for Isobel) and Amelia, but also very popular. This is a Marian name, as Sophia means “wisdom” and one of Our Lady’s titles is Seat of Wisdom.
  • Juliet: A match for Camille and Hope, Julia’s a match for Amelia, and Julianna for Annalise — I thought Juliet was the best option of those for this family, but it starts with a J. Bah! I did a post on Juliet(te) and its patrons on the blog. (For what it’s worth, if they end up doing another J or A name, I would recommend J, since those they encounter in everyday life won’t know of Jeremy’s name, and another A name would make Justin, Aiden, and Annalise seem really A heavy. But another J name would simply feel balanced. However, if they might have more children after the next, I would definitely stay away from J and A names.)

And those are all my ideas for a daughter for Beth and her husband! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Justin, Aiden, Annalise, and Jeremy?


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 — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!