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

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

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

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

Josh writes, 

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

Ariana Camille (16) 

Audrey Caroline (14)

Caleb Daniel (11)

Amelia Clare (“Millie”) (9)

Anne-Catherine Gianna (“Gianna”) (8)

Charles Michael (6)

Anessa Corinne (4)

Christian Gabriel (3)

Aurelia-Rose Celeste (“Rosie”) (2) 

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

Clement

Carter

Caedmon 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some new ones I’ll add include:

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

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

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

Okay! On to my new ideas!

(1) Martin

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

(2) Cashel

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

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

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

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

(3) Campion

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

(4) Canaan

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

(5) Caetano/Cajetan

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

(6) Curt, Cord

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

(7) Cruz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


I’m not currently doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ooooh a challenge, I love it!

He continues,

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

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

This baby will join siblings:

Josephine Marie
Gabriel Mary (in heaven)

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

Mama Bayley writes about Theodore and Xavier,

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

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

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

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

Alright, on to names!

First, about names they are considering.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) Gerard

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

2) Francis

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

3) Laurence

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

4) Stanislaus

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

5) Basil

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

6) Pascal

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

7) Pius

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

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

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m not currently doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Benedict Campion Marie!

I posted a birth announcement for Teresa’s first baby almost two years ago, and I’m thrilled to share that she’s had her second baby — another boy! She and her hubby gave him the fantastic and so Marian name … Benedict Campion Marie!

Teresa writes,

As promised here’s a bit behind our baby’s name. Benedict Campion Marie was born today! Glory to Jesus Christ!

Mostly I love the name Benedict, I think it’s strong and lovely … We don’t have much of a devotion to St Benedict but I have found that as we teach Emil about Father Kapaun our love and friendship with him grows and hope that will be the same with St Benedict. Campion is after St Edmund Campion, who was known as a great orator and debater. My husband and I met on the debate team in college and spent our first years of marriage traveling the world teaching debate, so when I heard that about St Edmund I sort of fell in love. Benedict was due in May and our girls name was very Marian. I felt like we needed to honor Our Lady with his name too but didn’t want to give up Benedict Campion. So we decided to add on Marie and I absolutely love it. He was due the 10th but came early (hallelujah!) and just squeaked in being born in the month of Mary.

While we were in the hospital my husband was looking up the name Benedict in other languages and somehow we had missed that the etymological root translates to “well spoken” which with our reasoning for Campion seemed all too perfect and divinely orchestrated!

How great is this story and this name?!! I love it!! And Marie as a second middle!! We totally need to bring that back for boys — hurray for Teresa and her hubby to do so!! But really, I didn’t expect anything less, after what and how they named their first baby — I had linked to their telling of it on Instagram, but for those of you who don’t have IG, I just watched it again and took these notes on how they decided on the name Emil Byrd for their son:

His first name is after Fr. Emil Kapaun, whose cause for canonization is open. Not only does he have a great, heroic story that includes ministering to the soldiers even during battle, receiving the Medal of Honor, and being a prisoner of war (during which he died), but he’s also from the same small town that Teresa’s hubby is from!

His middle name is for William Byrd, who was a sixteenth-century English composer for Queen Elizabeth. He was Catholic at a time when it was illegal to practice the faith, including having Mass said, so the faithful had Masses celebrated secretly in their homes. William Byrd composed parts of the Mass to be sung in homes during that time. Additionally, Teresa’s husband is William as well, so Byrd is a little nod to him too.

They hoped that, like his namesakes, their Emil Byrd would find beauty in the Church, be courageous, and exemplify selfless compassion to others.

I know you’ll agree with me that Teresa and her hubby have done an amazing job naming their boys! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Benedict!!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Benedict Campion Marie


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: 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!

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!!

FullSizeRender

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!