Baby name consultation: “Slightly different” name needed for baby brother or sister

Cassandra and her husband are expecting their fourth living baby (fifth overall), a little green bean! He or she joins big siblings:

Thomas Patrick (“this was the one name my husband was dead set on from before we were married. His late maternal grandfather was Thomas Patrick. Additionally, my husband’s father is Thomas and his brother is Patrick. So we’ve pretty much covered his side of the family with this name. Another note … our son mostly goes by Thomas. We have no issues with the name “Tommy” (or nicknames in general) but we know lots of other families with Tommy, Tom, etc so our son refers to himself as “Thomas”)”

Theresa Angeline (“when our daughter was born, we had a list of girl names, but it still took us a few hours to decide. We both loved Therese, but didn’t want her name to be constantly mispronounced. Once we chose Theresa (the hubs insisted on the “h” in there), we debated middle names. He liked Marie, but I told him that Theresa Marie was too common. I suggested Angeline which is my middle name (and my paternal grandmother’s middle name as well). I always liked my middle name because it was different. As for nicknames for her … we had every intention of calling her Tess. We told everyone that was the plan, but for some reason, it didn’t seem right to us as we got to know her. Now she goes by Theresa or the pet name TT (her best friend who is 9 days older than her called her this when they were toddlers and it stuck)“)

David Anthony (“for our next boy, we went with something from my side of the family. My paternal grandfather was David. We also have a very close friend in seminary whose name is David and we wanted to honor him as well. Anthony is my father and was my maternal grandfather. He mostly goes by the pet name “Day Day.” Not entirely sure how that happened, but it’s what most people call him“)

Nadia Rose (with Jesus) (“we had an early loss. I felt pretty strongly that she was a girl so we chose a girl’s name. My husband wanted something that meant “hope” but I am not a huge fan of the actual name “Hope.” I threw out “Nadia” as an alternative and he liked it. Rose was chosen because it’s the name I kept hearing in my head when I found out we had lost the baby“)

I love each of these, and the reasons behind each one! ❤

Cassandra writes,

We are Team Green and I feel like we need some new ideas for this baby. We have a lot of names on our list, but I’m not totally sold on any of them. Usually, I like to have two boy and two girl name combos chosen for the birth. I just feel like we need to make sure the name “fits” the baby …

If we have a boy, I’d like to honor my brother somehow. His name is Matthew so Matthias has been thrown around. He is also a huge fan of the name Victor so we could use that somehow.

If we have a girl, I’m toying with the idea of giving a nod to one of my college and grad school roommates. This is where is gets a bit tricky. Her name is Sarah Elizabeth, but I have a SIL named Sarah … I’ve mulled over using Seraphina as a possible nod. Or her initials are S.F. so I could use that as well. I have always called her “Franzie” (a play off her last name), but I’m not keen on using Frances. This one is not a necessity, but something I’d like to work in if possible.

My husband’s biggest thing is that our children need Saints’ names …

Names currently on our list …

Boys
Jonas Matthew seems to be my husband’s favorite so far. We both like the name Jonas slightly more than Jonah, but people seem to think of the Jonas brothers so I don’t know if that would be an issue.
Benedict
Brendan
Brennan
Nathan/Nathaniel
Vianney (I have wanted this as a middle name since high school. Hubs will only consider it as a middle name.)
Xavier (more likely as a middle name)
Raphael (again more likely as a middle name)

Hubs has nixed Beckett and Bennett because they are last names and not first names.

Girls
Clara
Anastasia
Seraphina
Felicity
Lily or Lila
Catherine (husband is not a fan of using just Katia)
Elizabeth
Evelyn
Cecilia

Other notes….
We do love Marian names, but our last name begins with “Mar…” So it can get to alliterative sometimes. We’ve debated doing BVM initials (ie Brennan Vianney M.) For a Marian name.

Too many “s” or “sh” sounds can be hard in a name with our last name.

Names we can’t use for one reason or another:
Michael
Jacob
Timothy
Hannah
Sarah

Husband doesn’t like place names (I.e. Avila, Siena, etc.) Or last names as first names.

I feel like we tend towards more traditional names, but I feel like this baby needs something slightly different. Not too out there, but not overused either.”

I’m really interested to see where Cassandra and her husband will land with a name for this baby! Thomas, Theresa, and David have a definite “feel” to me as all three peaked in popularity in the 1950s-ish, which gives them a mid-century feel, especially as a sibling set, and Brendan, Clara, Lily, Catherine, Elizabeth, Evelyn, and Cecilia from their list all feel like natural fits for that. And then, Nadia, Matthias, Victor, Jonas, Benedict, Nathaniel, Vianney, Xavier, Raphael, Anastasia, Seraphina, Felicity, and Lila have a much more exotic and perhaps more current feel, which is really fun to see a divergence in taste and the kinds of names they’re willing to consider for this baby!

That said, I do feel like going from Thomas, Theresa, and David to Seraphina, for example, is a bit jarring — not that that should be a deal breaker! Just that, when I was looking for new ideas for this family, I was trying to find names that straddled the line between Thomas and Seraphina, that acted as “bridge” names almost between the two styles. (I’m not forgetting their Nadia in this conversation, only that her name isn’t one that most people will hear when they encounter this family.) And maybe there’s no need for bridge names! They’ve already jumped in with both feet to the more “exotic” style with Nadia’s name (which I absolutely love), so maybe Anastasia, Seraphina, and Xavier are indeed where they want to go with this baby’s name! Actually, I think Cassandra put it best: “I feel like we tend towards more traditional names, but I feel like this baby needs something slightly different. Not too out there, but not overused either.”

From their list, I think Clara, Lila, Cecilia, Nathan, and Nathaniel are closest to that middle ground I’m thinking of — I can see them each being varying degrees of unexpected with Thomas, Theresa, and David, but none of them feel like a different style from what they’ve already done. But I really love all the names on their list!

There are some strategies that I like to employ when trying to bridging styles that Cassandra and her hubs might find helpful, including choosing a “normal” given name but using an offbeat nickname on an everyday basis, or conversely choosing an offbeat given name that can take a “normal” nickname; you’ll see that I used this strategy a bit in my ideas below. I’ve also always loved an unexpected middle name paired with a more normal first name — their idea of Brendan Vianney M___/BVM is a fantastic example of this! Xavier and Raphael would also be awesome middle names in this line of thinking.

I wanted to offer some other thoughts on the names they have on their list, in case they’re helpful:

— I love Matthias as an honor name for Cassandra’s brother Matthew. Another possibility would be Levi, as Matthew in the bible was also known as Levi.

— I love Victor too, and think it might actually be a great bridge-type name! But I wonder if, as Cassandra says her brother loves the name, would he be upset if they used it? Might he be saving it for his future son?

— Naming a daughter for Cassandra’s roommate is so sweet! I like Seraphina as a nod to Sarah, and I like C’s idea of using her roommate’s initials S.F. (or perhaps S.E., for her first and middle?). Franzie’s a fun nickname — I wonder what Cassandra would think about the French Francine? The Italian Francesca? The German Franziska? Or maybe, drawing from her list, something like Felicity Miranda, with Felicity providing the F and Miranda providing the RAN … ? Maybe? Or is that too crazy?

— Jonas Matthew is a really cool combo! I like that, like Matthias, Jonas is biblical like Thomas and David, which can provide a nice link between the brothers’ names. I mean, yes, there are the Jonas Brothers, but there’s also Jonas Salk … I guess currently the former is more recognized than the latter, but I only offer it to show that there are other Jonases people might think of, and honestly, the people who make up their circle will quickly associate Jonas primarily with their son, if Cassandra and her hubby end up naming a son so.

— I love Benedict, and I’m thinking it might be really good for this family — Thomas and David are obviously biblical, and I think most people would assume a Ben is Benjamin, and it would make total sense with Thomas and David. And I would be so excited to find out that someone I assumed was Benjamin was actually Benedict! (I love Benjamin too, I just really love being surprised by a name! Haha!) That said, I think Benedict goes really well with Thomas, Theresa, and David. I love it!

— Brendan and Brennan are so similar but just the tiniest bit different … Brendan has more of a classic feel to me while Brennan is more contemporary maybe?

— Nathan and Nathaniel are both awesome too, and like with Brendan/Brennan, they have a slightly different feel — Nathan feels sort of “normal” while Nathaniel’s a bit sparklier — which I think is what Cassandra’s looking for? I like Nathaniel a lot for them, and they can always use Nathan as a nickname, which makes Nathaniel a two-for-one name!

— Vianney, Xavier, Raphael are awesome names and fantastic middle name options. I really feel like using one of them in the middle might scratch that itch of having something a little different than what they’ve already done.

— Might Cassandra’s husband be swayed by the fact that the surname Bennett arose from the first name Bennett, and not the other way around? Bennett was actually the medieval diminutive of Benedict (as was Austin for Augustine).

— Clara’s such a sweet name, I like it with Thomas, Theresa, and David.

— I’m so interested that C and her hubs named a daughter Nadia and have Anastasia on the list — they both scream Russian to me (though they both of other uses), and especially since C also mentioned liking Katia. That’s a fun style, and influenced one of my ideas below. I also wondered if they’d be interested in considering Stasia (or Stacia) as the given name — it’s a short form of Anastasia, so would have St. Anastasia as patron, and it begins with S, so could be a nod to her friend Sarah.

— Seraphina is gorgeous. Although, since they don’t want to use the name Sarah, would it bother them if others called her Sera? I know a little Seraphina who goes by Sera.

— I love Felicity, it’s such a lovely name, and it has a touch of Pilgrim feel to it, which goes especially well with Thomas and David I think.

— Lily and Lila are both beautiful, and along the lines of using an unexpected nickname for a normal given name, I wonder if they’d be intrigued by the fact that Lily (and Lila could work here too) is a traditional nickname for Elizabeth? What would they think of Elizabeth as a first name in honor of C’s roommate, with the nickname Lily/Lila? Or, Lilia (or they can spell it Lilya) is the Russian form of Lily — maybe they’d like that?

— Catherine absolutely fits really well. I think Cassandra could still use Katia as a nickname if she wanted to?

— Elizabeth: ditto, and it’s an entry in my book of Marian names, because of the Mystery of the Visitation. Eliza was a big style match for this family in my research, I wonder if they might like to consider it instead of the longer Elizabeth?

— Evelyn is lovely, and I think it goes well with the others, though I think it comes across as less saintly than the others. Though it’s not technically related to Eve, they could use it in that way for the Marian connection.

— Cecilia is a fantastic fit as well.

So I think Cassandra and her husband have some really great names on their list already! In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the name they end up using is on their current list. But I can always come up with more ideas! 😂

You all know that I start my 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. I did so for this family, and in addition to Thomas, Theresa, David, Nadia, and the names on their list of considerations, I added Tess and Sarah (even though Cassandra said they wouldn’t use Sarah, it was a huge style match for them, so I thought I’d see what other names are style matches for it that I may not yet have come across). This is what I came up with:

Girl
(1) Natalia
Natalia was influenced both by the fact that it’s listed as a style match for Anastasia, and also that Natalie is a match for Nathan (and of course that it’s similar to Nathan/Nathaniel on their list). I like that it’s a Russian name that begins with an N, like Nadia — it might make for a nice connection between them. Natalia is a saint’s name, but it also ultimately comes from the Latin for Christmas (natale domini=birth of the Lord), which could be perfect for an almost-Advent baby.

(2) Susanna
This is actually my favorite suggestion for Cassandra and her hubs! I feel like Susanna fits the exact profile I’m thinking of when I talk about “bridge” names — it’s much rarer than Thomas, Theresa, and David, but I definitely think it fits in well with them. Anna was actually a good match for their style, being similar to Thomas, Clara, and Catherine, and the Russian Anna — Anya — is similar to Nadia, so Susanna gives them Anna but with a twist. I love it both as a sibling to Thomas, Theresa, and David, and specifically as a sister to Theresa, and I think it hangs equally well with Nadia. And it begins with an S, for C’s friend Sarah! It’s also an entry in my book, as Susanna means both “lily” and “rose”!

(3) Julia
Julia is a match for Elizabeth and Sarah and Juliet is a match for Felicity, so I liked the Julia family of names for this family, and thought Julia was more their speed than Juliet (though I love Juliet, so if they love it, I hope they go for it!). Julia is such a great name — perfect for a little girl and perfect for a grown woman, similar to how I think of Theresa.

(4) Lydia
Lydia is a match for Jonas, and as soon as I saw it I thought it felt like a good fit here. One of the things I’ve always loved about Lydia is that the biblical character was a seller of purple cloth, so a little Lydia would have her own color!

(5) Veronica
Veronica was only a match for Theresa, but I thought that was great, for sisters to share a style like that! And certainly Veronica goes with Nadia as well — in fact, Theresa, Nadia, and Veronica make a very pleasing set of sisters!

(6) Molly
Molly was influenced both by the fact that they’d intended to call Theresa Tess — and Molly is a style match for Tess — but also that it’s a variant of Mary, so it’s a way to have a Marian name without using a Mar- name.

Boy
(1) Samuel
I know Cassandra said that she might like to name a daughter after her friend Sarah, but I found myself on the lookout for S names in general, and then thought maybe she’d like to do SF (or SE?) initials no matter whether they have a boy or a girl? Samuel is a great name that’s biblical like Thomas and David, and the story of Samuel in the bible is a great one for anyone longing for a baby — after the loss of their little Nadia, Samuel could be the perfect name.

(2) Simon
Another S name, but I’m really loving Simon as a brother to Thomas, Theresa, and David — it makes the whole group seem extra sophisticated!

(3) Stephen
Last S name, I promise! It’s just that, I know two brother sets who are two generations apart named David and Stephen! That’s some classic staying power! And then I have uncles who are brothers named Thomas and David, so in my mind Thomas, David, and Stephen are fantastic brother names.

(4) John Paul
John Paul was a name that came to me outside of research (the BNW doesn’t even have an entry for John Paul) — I was really thinking of that “bridge” name idea, and John Paul feels like such a perfect one. John and Paul are both really similar in style to Thomas and David, but putting them together gives the whole thing a little bit of an edge (a saintly edge) and is definitely more unexpected. His name is an entry in my book of Marian names because of what a huge devotion St. John Paul had to her!

(5) Lukas
Lucas, Lukas, and Luke did really well for this family in my research, and of those I thought Lukas went more along the lines of what they’re looking for — the K spelling gives it a really international feel (which it is), but it’s still biblical like Thomas and David. It’s also an entry in my book of Marian names because his gospel is the most Marian and contains her Magnificat.

(6) Thaddeus, Theodore/Theo, Maximilian
Each of these names seemed SO perfect for this family until I realized something about them at the last minute! I thought maybe they don’t want another Th- name after Thomas and Theresa? But Thaddeus and Theodore are both matches for them, and there’s a particular Bl. Thaddeus Moriarty who has a brother named Thomas! And Theo is a match for Tess as well! And then I couldn’t not suggest Maximilian! It’s a match for Benedict and Seraphina, and friendly Max goes with almost every name. And St. Maximilian Kolbe! And I actually love Maximilian M___, but then I thought maybe Max M___ was too much? But maybe not! Maybe they’ll love Thaddeus, Theodore, and/or Maximilian! I couldn’t not mention them!

I also had a bunch of names that *almost* made the cut for this list and ultimately I decided not to include them, for whatever reason, but I thought I’d list them here just in case: Alexandra, Evangeline, Philomena, Naomi, Chloe, Phoebe, Tobias, and Caleb.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Thomas, Theresa, David, and Nadia?


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: Cl3m3nt Mich@el!

A longtime reader has let me know that she’s had her second son, and given him the so-handsome name … Cl3m3nt Mich@el! (Alt characters used at the mama’s request, for privacy.)

She writes,

You did a private consultation for me almost 2 years ago, long before I was pregnant with my newest little one. I wanted to let you know that #2 has arrived and we’ve named him Cl3m3nt Mich@el! 

Cl3m3nt was a name I read to my husband as I browsed your blog. We both liked it and started thinking of it as a possible middle name, but within a day or two it became *his name*!

Cl3m3nt joins big brother B3n3dict K0lb3. Both their names have a few features we love:
1) big time protectors (St. B3n3dict and St. Mich@el the Archangel),
2) Marian ties (Kolb3 and Cl3m3nt from the Hail, Holy Queen prayer), and
3) recent saints — St. Maximilian Kolb3 and Bl. Miguel Pro!

Thank you for your consultation and your super helpful blog!

These parents have chosen such amazing names for their boys, and for such great reasons! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Cl3m3nt!!


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!

Happy feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary!!

I love Our Lady and I love her name (and all names relating to her) and I love all of you (!! ❤ ) and so for today’s feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary I’m delighted to do a giveaway of my book of Marian names!!

To enter, just comment on this post with the Marian names you’ve given your kiddos or — as some did on the Instagram post I did for this giveaway — with your own Marian name or the coolest Marian name you’ve heard in real life. Guaranteed I’ll love them all! I’ll choose one winner from the commenters here, and one from those on Instagram — it’ll close tomorrow (Friday) night at midnight eastern time, and I’ll randomly choose the winners on Saturday. Mother Mary for the win!! ❤ ❤ ❤


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: Christian Gabriel!

You might remember Josh and Mari’s family, as I’ve posted three consultations and two birth announcements for them since I started the blog! I absolutely LOVE seeing the Sancta Nomina families grow!! I’m thrilled to share that the baby boy I posted name ideas for this past summer has been born and given the awesome, handsome name … Christian Gabriel!

Josh writes,

He’s finally here! We decided to go with Christian Gabriel and he looks just like his older brother Charlie did at that age. Born 12-8-18 and everyone is doing well.

Thanks again for the naming help — lots of good ideas and Cassian was a close second!

Christian Gabriel was the name his older siblings favored from the beginning — how sweet that that ended up being the chosen name! And since the baby was born in December, Josh and Mari expressed interest in having his name have a connection to the season — I’d say Christian Gabriel is a slam dunk. And born on the feast of the Immaculate Conception! So many wonderful details of this baby boy’s birth and naming!

Congratulations to Josh and Mari and big sibs Ariana, Audrey, Caleb, Amelia, Anne-Catherine, Charles, and Anessa, and happy birthday Baby Christian!!

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Christian Gabriel


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: Ev@nd3r H@wth0rn!

I asked for prayers last spring for a newly pregnant mama who was going through a hard time. You all were so wonderful that she wanted to be sure to share her baby’s birth announcement — she and her husband welcomed a baby boy given the strong, amazing name … Ev@nd3r H@wth0rn! (Alt characters used for privacy, at the mom’s request.)

She writes,

Thank you to you and your readers for your prayers last year when we were first expecting our son. The Lord has since provided in amazing ways, and we’re in love with these sweet children more each day …

While [older daughter] H3rmi0ne was a whirlwind born into a calm that followed the chaos of Hurricane Harvey, Ev@nd3r has been a calm within the chaos of our personal hurricane — the move into our first home and the growth of our freelance careers. As such, his name is likewise strong but accessible.

Ev@nd3r H@wth0rn is a name that my husband and I discussed long before our marriage but which felt almost too distinguished for a tiny human. But as we’ve delved into the names, we’ve learned to love the combination for our son more and more.

Ev@nd3r was a mythological figure credited with introducing the Greek alphabet, arts, law, and some of the pantheon. As a Hellenophile that’s studied much Greek literature, I feel a personal affinity for the contrast between the eloquence that can be achieved through the written word and the simplicity of the name’s actual meaning: “good man.” Similarly, our son will have the option to use his robust name in full or one of its approachable nicknames, like Van and Evan.

As for Hawthorn … I was taken with the knowledge that there are two Marian titles that roughly translate to “Our Lady of Hawthorns.” October is a solemn month for our family — one that saw the passing of my sister and grandfather and should have seen the birth of my sister-in-law — and as such, I’ve been contemplating life and loss and the love that is threaded through both. I began to think, “What a way to honor those we’ve loved … by honoring the mother of our Lord, who suffered the same.” However tangential the nominal relationship may be, I hope it reminds our son of the protection and love he can expect both from his earthly and heavenly parents.

Lastly, Ev@nd3r H@wth0rn can be summed up as a name combination that, like his sister’s, incorporates Greek, literary, natural, and spiritual elements. May those meanings and those we’ve yet to discover be a source of comfort and guidance to him through his life.”

What an amazing name story!! I love the reasoning behind both the first and middle name choices (that middle name is in my book!), as well as the “approachable nicknames” (love that!) Van and Evan. A perfectly handsome name!!

Mama also explained Big Sister’s name, H3rmi0ne El0w3n, which I know you’ll all love:

Born during the aftermath of our city’s worst storm yet, many family and friends joked that we should name our daughter Harvey or some feminine derivative of the name. Instead, H3rmi0ne is named for two other forces of nature: the saint, whose steadfast faith and strength evangelized better than words ever could, and the witch, whose courage and cleverness was integral to her friends’ survival and to the advancement of others’ welfare. (Our girl was also born shortly after both the epilogue of the Harry Potter books, 9/1/17, and St. Hermione’s feast day, 9/4.) Additionally, it makes my literary heart happy that Helen of Troy’s daughter and Shakespeare’s queen in The Winter’s Tale share the name.

Our preferred nicknames are Hero and Minnie — the former another literary name (again, via mythology and Shakespeare) with aspirational connotations, the latter reminiscent of the mouse and one of my childhood nicknames, Tiny. I also like that there are other options, like Maya, that our daughter can use should she find them more suitable. (We intend to use nicknames interchangeably with her given name.)

El0w3n is a Cornish word name for an elm tree. While elms don’t have particular significance to us, we love the sound, connection to nature, and similarity in sound to Tolkien’s Arwen and Eowyn. I also hope that, like a tree, she has deeply rooted beliefs but that she’s fearless in branching upward and outward.”

These parents have chosen such wonderful, meaningful names for their children! I loved reading all this info!

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Ev@nd3r!!


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: 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!

IMG_20181210_121601
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!

Birth announcement: Cassian John Joseph Mary!

Our dear Lindsay, for whom I posted two previous birth announcements (here and here) and who shared all about her kiddos’ names (including middles and Confirmation names) here, has had her eleventh born baby — a third boy! She and her husband gave him the amazing name … Cassian John Joseph Mary!

Lindsay posted the news on Instagram, along with several photos — such a handsome little guy! She noted that Cassian is pronounced Cash-en, and is in honor of St. John Cassian. I also love his middle names — each of her boys has Joseph Mary in the middle! (Needless to say, Lindsay’s naming sensibility was a big inspiration to me when writing my book!)

Congratulations to Lindsay and her husband John, and big sibs (on earth) Dominic, Lillie, Rose, Zellie, Vianney, Clairvaux, Damaris, Kapaun, Lourdes, and Belén, and happy birthday Baby Cassian!!

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Cassian John Joseph Mary