CatholicMom articles–December and January

Happy Friday everyone! I wanted to be sure to share the links to my December and January CatholicMom articles. Enjoy!

Here’s December’s: The Most Famous Reindeer of All

And January’s: The Special Things Women Are Given

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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!

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Birth announcement: My little Sanctino!*

You guys. I started writing this post when the baby was two weeks old — that was eleven weeks ago! My high maintenance little guy isn’t a fan of me doing anything but mother him, and I’m not hating obliging him. 😊 ❤ He’s three months old today (by the calendar; thirteen weeks by weeks)!

I’ve been posting a bit on Instagram since he was born — it’s such an easy platform that doesn’t require two hands to type! — but I’ve been wanting to post his birth announcement and name story here for those of you not on Instagram, and also to provide more info than an Instagram post allows. (So sorry to those who prefer Twitter, I think I checked it once in the last three months, I hope to jump back in soon!)

So yes, my newest little one is a “he”! Another little boy! A seventh son! Just before the doctor delivered him he said to me and my husband, “Okay, last chance, boy or girl?” and we both said “Boy,” but more, I think, because we’ve never been wrong guessing boy than because we really *knew*. So we weren’t surprised by our little guy! And at the same time, we were. Seven boys!

Mr. Nomina (as one of you hilariously dubbed my husband!) actually agreed to let me post a photo AND the baby’s name on Instagram! It’s with great pleasure that I share the same info here: Introducing Luke Benedict!

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Luke is v v skeptical about this new idea of me trying to get something done.

His name likely won’t come as a surprise to those of you who read the consultation Abby did for us — Luke was always a frontrunner (and has been on our list for years), and Benedict was my favorite first-name pick for a while. But funny enough, though we finally agreed on Luke Benedict if we had a boy, neither my husband nor I were totally sold on it until he was actually born. I held out hope until the bitter end that I’d discover some new, unexpected name that would feel exactly right … Hubby said he would be open to last-minute suggestions (which is actually how our no. 6 was named!) and one of my last-ditch efforts was Walsingham (an entry in my book) with the nickname Walt, thinking hubby might like Walt because he loves Stan (he didn’t like Walt, and liked Walsingham even less, though he gave me points for creativity and apologized for being so picky). Hubs had one of his own — he reminded me of Abby’s suggestion of Peter, and I sat with it for a few days, but I’ve always called my boys Sweetie Petey or Stinky Pete, depending 😀 , so that really took the name off the table for me.

In the end, we bestowed Luke Benedict upon our boy and the next day my hubs said something like, “You know, I wasn’t totally sure about Luke, but it’s really grown on me” (in the last twenty four hours! Haha!). And I felt the same way! Since his birth, we’ve both marveled several times at what a strong, solid name it is; at how much of a Luke our boy is (even at his young age!); and at how well it goes with our other boys’ names.

But wait — there’s more! 😀 I wanted a Marian name for this baby, not only because of course I love Marian names, but also because this baby was born in the same year as my book, so it seemed extra special to do so. And in fact, during one of our name conversations during my pregnancy, Hubs made a point to look through my book for names he’d like, and Luke was his favorite of all of them. Additionally, there have been so many times in my life that I’ve found myself repeating the words of Our Lady’s Magnificat, which is found in the book of Luke: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Luke 1:46–49). This is exactly how I feel about the blessings in my life — I’m so, so grateful and humbled and in awe, and naming my son after the evangelist that included this canticle in his gospel is so meaningful for me. ❤ ❤ ❤

Speaking of Luke’s gospel, the Bible verse that has always spoken to me as *mine,* as the verse that most guides my life, is Luke 12:48: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” I have been given so much, and I keenly feel the responsibilities that come with such gifts. I love that Luke’s name is a nod to that as well.

As for Benedict, I love it for so many reasons (including that it’s another Marian name! Woo!), but I had a realization late in my pregnancy that cemented it for me as the perfect middle name for the baby: It’s important to me that each of our kids have a family name as either a first or a middle name, and since Luke isn’t one, the middle name would have to serve that purpose. But I was having a hard time finding a family name that would do, and I thought that rather than look through our family tree for a suitable name, why not think about who has been represented in our boys’ names so far and focus on those who haven’t yet been. We’ve covered my grandparents (both sides), my husband’s grandparents (both sides), both my parents, both my husband’s parents, my brothers, my husband’s brother … the only people who hadn’t yet been included were my sisters. Finding one name that included my three sisters was a challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed! I ended up with Benedict for two reasons:

  • My sisters’ Confirmation names are Bernadette, Bridget, and Anne, and I think it’s reasonable to consider Benedict a combination of all of those, letter-wise. It might seem like a stretch to think so, but once I realized this, it’s all I can see, which I love. I will always tell Luke that his middle name is for his three aunties.
  • My sisters and I all have Marian names for either a first or a middle, and Benedict fits right in with that.

So that’s the story of our little guy’s naming! I want to thank you all for your patience as well — I’ve received many messages and emails since I went on hiatus from baby name consultations, wondering when I’d be back at it. I’d hoped to reopen them at Christmas, but Luke and I are just not ready yet. I hate to put you off even longer! But this newborn time is so fleeting, and we’ve had some issues with my recovery and Luke’s eating that have made getting back into the swing of things a longer process than I experienced with my other babies. So I’m focused on being patient with myself and enjoying my little guy. I know you all understand, and I thank you for it! I’m going to try to get back into blogging, which will give me a good sense of how much time Luke will allow me to focus on things other than him. (See the skeptical photo above. 😀 ) I will certainly post here as soon as I can start consultations again. If you’ve emailed me and are awaiting a response, I’m starting to work through them, but it’s slow going — whew, I have a lot of emails! I’ll get back to you eventually!

Also, I wasn’t able to pull together a piece for my regular monthly spot on CatholicMom.com for September or October, but I did write one for November, which you can read here: Heavenly help and hellos. Mother Mary, St. Anne, St. Rita, and St. Gerard have had my back for a long time!

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I hope you’re all having a blessed Advent and looking forward to Christmas with as much joy as we are here in my house!

*I know, Sanctino isn’t grammatically correct, but for my whole pregnancy I’d wanted to come up with a fun little name for my wee babe that tied to the name of the blog, and Sanctino/Sanctina was the best I came up with!


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

A few not-to-miss things

Baby’s still snug inside, don’t get too excited! 😀 I’m 36 weeks 4 days today, so still a bit of time left (but not much! Woo!).

I’ve been off the computer as much as possible this past month, trying to focus on back-to-school and welcoming-baby, but there are a few things I wanted to be sure you didn’t miss:

My August CatholicMom column posted on the feast of the Assumption (perfect day for it!) — it’s the essay of the second-place winner of my St. Francis de Sales Writing Contest. The student, Anne, did such a great job! She wrote about her devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. ❤

I also received a great review of my book by fellow CatholicMom contributor Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur (author of her own name book, The Catholic Baby Name Book) — she posted it on her blog, as well as Today’s Catholic Homeschooling and Amazon. Thank you to her!!

And my book was also discussed in the current (September) issue of Catholic Digest! So exciting!

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I hope you’re all having a great summer!!

 

 

Birth announcement: Ro$alita Mar!e!

I had the great privilege of doing a second private consultation for a mama I first “met” through the blog a few years ago, and I’m delighted to share that she’s had her third baby — a little girl after two brothers! She’s been given the gorgeous, meaningful name … Ro$alita Mar!e! (Alt characters used for privacy.)

Her mama writes,

Kate I had a baby — a girl, Ro$alita Mar!e! … She was born at home right at 41 weeks and even though it was a wildly fast labor of 21 minutes from when the midwife broke my waters and I felt the first contraction to when Ro$alita was born, it also felt the calmest and steadiest of all three of my labors. It was quiet and focused and I felt so powerful and strong … [She] is named after my mother (her nickname is Rose), my mother’s mother (we called her Lita, short for Abuelita or “grandmother” in Spanish), and my middle name Marie.”

Isn’t Ro$alita Mar!e a perfect way to pull together three generations of women?! I love it! (And whoa, did you catch that?? “21 minutes from when the midwife broke my waters and I felt the first contraction to when Ro$alita was born”!!! Amazing!!!)

She joins her handsomely named big brothers:

Cas1m1r Cull3n
$a1vad0r R0$e (birth announcement here)

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Ro$alita!!

Ro$alita Mar!e and her parents ❤

Birth announcement: Hildegard Rose!

I’m so excited to announce the arrival of Haley Stewarts’ (aka Haley Carrots) baby girl — the amazingly named … Hildegard Rose!

Haley actually shared the name reveal for Miss Hildegard, who they’re calling Hildie (😍😍😍), back in April, which I was sure I’d shared here, but it seems I didn’t! It was after the consultation I posted for Haley in February, which was such fun to do (do you remember her hubby’s list of fave names for a boy?! I’m still amazed!).

We were all so anxiously awaiting this baby’s arrival:

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(I got about 58 more likes for this tweet than I usually do for my tweets — we were all on baby watch!!)

and I’m so so excited for Haley that she’s here! That was a rough nine months!

Haley posted part 1 of the birth story yesterday, and be sure to check her blog for part 2 — I can’t wait to read it!

Congratulations to Haley and Daniel and big sibs Benjamin, Lucy, and Gwen, and happy birthday Baby Hildie!!

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Hildegard Rose and her mama

Latest CatholicMom column, and a namey question

My July column is up at CatholicMom.com! It’s the winning essay of the second year of the St. Francis de Sales Writing Contest I instituted at my alma mater, in which the student discussed his devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

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This student won first place last year as well! The judges were the editor of my diocesan newspaper, the superintendent of schools for my diocese, and the campus chaplain at Siena College. Very impressive!

I’ve also been thinking about something a couple of you mentioned on a post last month — Sarah said,

My aunt was born the day after the Assumption so her grandmother named her Mary Virginia, but my grandma didn’t like her mother naming her baby so she re-named her Carole Jean

and Annie said,

My parents technically named me, but did so after my grandma’s wishes after she made her wishes very clear

and I’m still trying to wrap my head around how grandparents got to have such a strong say? It sounds like Sarah’s great-grandmother especially wasn’t merely voicing an opinion, but was actually naming the baby — I’ve seen references to this kind of thing from time to time and always wondered about it. I think it’s likely an older custom, which explains a lot; I can also see this being a cultural custom. Do any of you have examples of this happening in your family? Do you have any insight into how this happened, including from a generational or cultural perspective?


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

Baby name consultation: Unusual name with great meaning needed for baby no. 5

Thank you again to all those who entered last week’s giveaway and suggested ideas for ways to honor St. Anne in a boy’s name! I’ll compile them into one post soon!

I had the privilege of posting a birth announcement for Lynda’s fourth baby almost exactly two years ago, and I’m thrilled that today’s baby name consultation is for her fifth baby — a little girl!

This Little Miss joins big siblings:

Mirai Luna (“Mirai [meer-eye] means miracle in Basque and future in Japanese; middle name means moon in Spanish“)
Evander Sol (“Evander is greek and means “good man;” middle name means sun in Spanish“)
Aviva Estrella (“Hebrew name meaning innocence and springtime (she was born in April); middle name means star in Spanish“)
Taavi Orion [Taavi is the Finnish form of David, which means “beloved”; Orion continues the celestial theme]

Such cool names, right? Taavi was one of my suggestions in the private consultation I’d done for Lynda when she was pregnant with him, so I was so excited to see that she and her husband liked it!

Lynda writes,

As you can tell we like names that are not very common and also have a beautiful meaning … Middle name will likely be Cielo — Spanish for sky. I like Zelie, but can’t really find a strong meaning beside the connection with Saint Azelie. Which is great, but doesn’t really go along with the names with meanings of my other kids. My husband really likes Zazie (nickname for Isabelle in French — meaning consecrated to God I think?). I’m not completely sold though, so I’m eager to see what you find.”

I had so much fun with this, as I knew I would! I was looking back on my ideas for Lynda for when she was expecting Taavi, and apparently the Baby Name Wizard was helpful to me back then, which is funny because I didn’t find it at all helpful this time around! Instead, I tried to focus on names that have a great meaning, like her other kids’ names, and also names that are more … I’m not sure what the word is? Mirai is Basque, Evander is Greek, Aviva is Hebrew, and Taavi is Finnish, so I felt like Spanish/French/Latinate names or those from a more unexpected origin would be a better fit than those from an Anglo/Celtic background, for example. So I guess that’s what I would say — I just looked for names that are more unexpected, and generally ruled out Anglo/Celtic names.

I have a bunch of unusual options in my book of Marian names, which is actually where I started when looking for names for Lynda and her hubs. I also of course couldn’t help but notice that the two names they’re considering — Zelie and Zazie — are Z-heavy, so I tried to think of other Z names that might have good meanings for them.

Before I get into the ideas I thought they might like, though, I wanted to offer some thoughts on the names they’re considering:

  • Zelie: Most people who offer opinions on what Zelie means argue that Azelie is French for azalea (the flower), and I’ve known parents who’ve considered Azalea as a name, in honor of St. Zelie. But since “azalea” comes from a Greek word meaning “dry,” I don’t think that’s the kind of meaning Lynda and her hubs would like. Abby from Appellation Mountain did a spotlight on Zelie a few years ago, and included possible connections to Celia and Solene, both of which were actually discussed in a comment here at Sancta Nomina as well. The Celia connection is interesting, since Celia and Cielo both mean sky/heaven, so if they thought the Celia-Zelie connection made the most sense, they probably wouldn’t want to do Zelie Cielo.
  • Zazie: I love learning new things about names! I’d never heard of Zazie as a nickname for Isabelle, how cool! As far as meaning, behindthename.com is my go-to for name meanings, and it lists “God is my oath” as the meaning of Elizabeth (Isabelle is a French variant of Elizabeth).

Okay, so based on the parameters that I thought would yield some interesting ideas for Lynda and her hubs, this is what I came up with:

(1) Janua or Ianua
One of Our Lady’s titles is “Gate of Heaven,” as listed in the Litany of Loreto, which in Latin is rendered both Ianua Caeli and Janua Coeli. Caeli and Coeli (generally pronounced CHAY-lee) are both related to Cielo, and refer to heaven, so I thought Janua Cielo or Ianua Cielo would be an interesting combo for Lynda’s little girl. A reader actually shared with me that her niece’s name is Ianua Caeli, so pretty! Janua and Ianua are pronounced the same, and can be said YAH-noo-ah; Ianua can also be said ee-YAH-noo-ah. Janua and Ianua are definitely different! I know “gate” isn’t the most interesting meaning, but when you consider the whole combo “Ianua/Janua Cielo/Caeli/Coeli, ‘gate of heaven’” and that it’s a title of Mary, it’s a really lovely meaning.

(2) Liesse
Another title of Our Lady is Our Lady of Joy, which in French is Notre Dame de Liesse. Liesse is such a pretty name! I love its femininity and rhythm. I’m not sure Lynda will love how Liesse Cielo flows — one possibility is to switch Cielo to Araceli, which is a Spanish name where the “celi” part means sky/heaven and “ara” means “altar” — it’s another Marian name, as Araceli means “altar of heaven.” Liesse Araceli?

(3) Lux or Luz
Both Lux (Latin) and Luz (Spanish) mean “light,” and refer to Our Lady of Light. I like that they have an X or a Z, depending on which version Lynda and her hubs like, which is similar to Zelie and Zazie. Lux Cielo and Luz Cielo work fine I think.

(4) Maylis
I know they haven’t repeated initials yet, so maybe an M name is off the table? But Maylis is such a pretty name, I really wanted to suggest it for them. Like Zazie and Liesse, it’s a French name, a mashup of Marie and lys/lis (=lily). Maylis Cielo is pretty.

(5) Reina
Reina is Spanish for “queen,” which is a fantastic meaning on its own, and also nods to Our Lady, Queen (of many things: Heaven, Angels, Apostles, the World, Ireland, Peace, etc.). Regina Caeli is one of her titles meaning “Queen of Heaven,” so Reina Cielo would be similar but unexpected, I really like it.

(6) Zara
This is one of my Z ideas for them. One of its possible etymologies is as a variant of Zahrah, which derives from the Arabic word meaning “blooming flower.” So pretty! Another, separate meaning that I really like is that Zara is a Bulgarian diminutive of Zaharina, which is a feminine form of Zechariah! Zechariah is said to mean, “Yahweh remembers” in Hebrew. I actually spotlighted Zara here.

(7) Zuzu (Susanna, Azucena)
If you’ve seen It’s a Wonderful Life, you’ll know that Zuzu is what one of George Bailey’s daughters is called, likely a nickname for Susan, as Zuzu is a nickname for the Susan- names and Susan was popular at the time the movie was made (“Zuzu’s petals” is the line from the movie). I like Zuzu on its own for this family, it really strikes me as similar to Zazie, and the Susan- names mean both “lily” and “rose” in Hebrew, so they have really lovely meanings. They could use Susanna itself (or any of its variants, including Zuzanna and Zuzia) with Zuzu as the nickname, or another idea is the name Azucena — it shares the same roots as Susanna, and is the Spanish name for the flower known as the Madonna lily; Zuzu can easily be a nickname for it.

(8) Zephyr(ine)
My last idea is Zephyr, which is usually a masculine name, meaning “the west wind,” but one of my readers recently named her daughter Zephyr, with the most amazing explanation. I love the meaning and I love its soft sound! I also thought I’d mention Zepherine, which was my great aunt’s name and one of the coolest! She went by Zee.

And those are my ideas for Lynda and her husband’s baby girl! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Mirai, Evander, Aviva, and Taavi?


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