Birth announcement: Mirren Therese and Brigid Evelyn!

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

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

She writes,

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

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

Mama Kaitrin writes of the naming experience,

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

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

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

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

I’m not currently doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at 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 and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!


Baby name consultation: Twin girls join big sibs, including twin brothers!

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m still flying high from last week — so many things happened! My oldest graduated from high school on Friday, and the Baccalaureate Mass the night before and the graduation itself were so meaningful for my boy and for our whole family. We are all so grateful for God’s goodness!! And then — Friday itself!! What big news!! I never thought I’d see the day!! A friend pointed out to me that not only was Friday the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but also the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist (he who first recognized Jesus’ humanity while both were in the womb) and the birthday of the woman who founded the March for Life, Nellie Gray. Wow!! What a day!! Keep praying!! And enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Kaitrin writes in needing help naming identical twin girls!

Twins are amazing for lots of reasons, but naming twins, you know, means the names have to sound good together etc,! With the impending preemie delivery I’m feeling increased pressure to have names, and I thought your help would be great!

These babies come after three big brothers, two of whom are also identical twins, and one
sister (in heaven):

Vaughn Joseph

Jude Rian (twin)

Cormac Kelly (twin)

Jane Mari (in heaven)

Absolutely stunning names!

Mama Kaitrin says that she likes the way names that start or end in vowels sound with their last name.

I love Classic names and husband leans more to liking more modern or different names — he loves Maren for example. I don’t dislike, but I love so many before that,” she writes.

These babies also have a lot of powerful intercessors in heaven including St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Anne, St. Clare, St. Jane Frances de Chantal, St. Gianna Beretta Molla, St. Joan of Arc, and Servant of God Chiara Corbella Petrillo.

Mama Kaitrin says that her husband really really wants one of the babies to have the nickname Tess, so I kept that in mind when putting together this consultation. She writes,

Last month we felt pretty set on 1. Mary Therese, calling her ‘Tess’/ and 2. Anne Beretta and calling her ‘Etta’ (one of our big intercessor asks this pregnancy has been St. Gianna Beretta Molla, and neither of us love Gianna). I love the sound of Etta Aldridge. sweet and feminine. But I feel Tess and Etta doesn’t sound quite right — maybe even switching the order to Etta and Tess helps my ear a bit, I know that’s funny and strange. But Tess and Rosie sounds cuter to me so I can’t say goodbye to Rose. And is Mary Therese too common? Or does that not matter since we’d be calling her by middle name?

She also says,

I definitely don’t want rhymey twin names, but coordinating or stylistically similar would be fun, I think.”

Names they can’t use include: Molly, Maggie, Annie, Anna, Norah, Grace, Camille, and Gianna.

Names they like include: Julia Clare, Mary Alice, Julia Mae, Miriam, Gemma, Beatrice, Vivian, Rose Faustina, Rose Eline, Ruth Eline, Chiara Joan “Joni”, Margot, Bernadette “Etta”, Therese Eline and Miriam Clare, and Mary Therese “Tess” and Anne Beretta “Etta”.

Such great info! So, on to names!

Some thoughts on names they like.

Julia Clare- This is such a sweet combo, I really like it. I think it leans a little different from their boys, which is fine for a girl! I don’t know how much I like this next to a Tess sister, though.

Mary Alice- Classic combo, cannot go wrong here. Clunky cool.

Julia Mae- Same thoughts as Julia Clare. Mae is hot in the middle spot right now, but I love the subtle nod to Mary.

Miriam- Very different from their other children in a good way! I think this really opens them up. I never would have thought to pair her with sister Margot (more on that name below) but I really love it.

Gemma- I love this name, it’s super sweet. Gemma and Tess sound pretty good to me.

Beatrice- Again, a little different from their others. I don’t know how much I like it next to Tess, though; they sound mismatched to me.

Vivian- Same thoughts as Beatrice.

Rose Faustina- I love Rose for them but not sure how I feel about Faustina in the middle. I agree that Rose/Rosie and Tess are super cute together!

Rose Eline- I love all the meaning with this name.

Ruth Eline- Sounds very different from their boys. Ruth and Miriam would make incredible twin sisters, though!

Chiara Joan “Joni”- I like this name a lot and I love that Mama Kaitrin has a fun connection to Joni like her husband did with Cormac. Chiara is pretty different from their boys, though, and I don’t particularly feel like Chiara and Tess go well together.

Margot- Love this name for them! A little different but not enough to feel out of place. Love this with sister Miriam, too. I like this name with Therese but not necessarily with Tess.

Bernadette “Etta”- Love this so much. I love Etta and Tess as sisters, too. Great name.

Therese Eline- Fun name but a lot of Es, especially if they’re pronouncing it Ther-EE-s instead of Tay-REZ.

Miriam Clare- I love this with sister name Therese Eline. I like Therese and Miriam together a lot.

Mary Therese “Tess”- Mama Kaitrin asked if I thought this was pretty common and the answer is, yes, even if they’re going to call her Tess. Now, that shouldn’t necessarily deter them but I do think they’ve got much better names and combos to work with than this.

Anne Beretta “Etta”- I like Etta and Tess together a lot, which is something Mama Kaitrin was worried about. I don’t care for this name with their other children overall, though. It just sounds sort of bland next to everyone else. I think there are better names that can get to Etta that pair better with Therese.

Okay, on to new names! One thing I’m assuming here is that one baby will be Tess. I think they’d be hard pressed to pass on that. It’s a great nickname with wonderful longer forms and it fits in well with their other children. It’s jam-packed with meaning and goodness for their family, too. So I was thinking of names to go with Therese/Tess. I will give some thoughts at the end on full name combos I think would go really well together.

1) Brigid/Bridget

Their sons’ names all lean very Irish/Welsh and even little Jane Mari in heaven has a Welsh name! Well, what name is, arguably, more Irish than Brigid/Bridget? They want a powerful patron for this baby and St. Brigid is certainly a powerhouse. There’s also St. Bridget of Sweden who is incredible. Brigid/Bridget and Tess sound like natural sisters to me and they can tie them together more through their middle names. They could also call this baby Birdie, which reminded me of Rosie, and I love how it sounds with Tess.

2) Frances

Clunky cool is what this name is, just like some of the names on their list. My Irish grandfather once convinced my grandmother to have another baby (she had notoriously high risk pregnancies) by saying, “We haven’t had a Frances yet!” Such a good, strong, solid name for a girl. Nicknames are plenty, but for them my favorites are Fran and Franny, though Frankie is super cute and in right now, too. I love the sound of Tess and Fran together!

3) Elizabeth nn Lily

This one is what I thought would suit both Mama Kaitrin’s and her husband’s styles best. He likes a little more modern and fun while she prefers traditional and classic. Well, I think this strikes that balance. Elizabeth is the most traditional and classic name there is for girls but it’s also been the most steady in the top 100, making it modern, too. What’s great about this name is that it has almost endless nickname potential! Lizzy, Bess, Betsy, Betty, Libby…the list goes on! But one slightly unconventional nickname that I thought they would appreciate is Lily. It gets at the cutesy nickname and flower name like she likes, similar to Rosie, while being fun and unexpected like I’m gathering her husband likes. Elizabeth and Therese are gorgeous sisters and Tess and Lily are so sweet and fun! I think this name is a home run for them.

Okay, some thoughts on whole combos they might like. I noticed in their patrons that they have three little clusters, mostly: Theresas (Calcutta and Lisieux), Claires (Clare and Chiara), and Joans (Joan, Jane, and Gianna). The following suggestions sort of play with these to get all their patrons in and to tie the girls together.

Therese Joan and Frances Clare (Joan and Clare are powerhouses and classic names)

Therese Joan and Elizabeth Gianna (this gives both girls a form of the name Jane to tie them together and to their sister in heaven)

Therese Frances and Elizabeth Clare (I love the pairing and Frances and Clare in the middle to evoke Sts. Francis and Clare, two incredible powerhouses and friends!)

Therese Elizabeth and Bridget/Brigid Joan (Classic but strong)

Therese Joan and Elizabeth Clare (This is my favorite combo)

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 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 and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Leo Bessette and Gregory Augustin!

Happy happy feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim! Longtime readers know that St. Anne is Sancta Nomina’s patroness — it’s a special day for us all! I’m starting a novena to St. Anne today offered for all of you and your intentions. ❤️ I’ve also made a St. Anne pilgrimage every year since 2015, specifically in thanks for her intercession on our behalf, and though I haven’t yet been able to make one this summer in the year of my SEVENTH blogiversary (!) (this summer is even busier than I expected, the hiatus was a very necessary decision!), my husband and I are planning to do so before the summer’s out. I will post about it then! In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful feast day, and remember to pray and thank God for your grandparents!!

I posted a consultation for Carlin and her husband back in April, and I’m THRILLED to share that their twin boys have arrived and been given the ah-MAZ-ing names … Leo Bessette and Gregory Augustin!

Carlin writes,

They have been nothing short of a dream and their names fit just perfectly. Born on June 9th at 9:11/9:12am, Leo was 6lbs 4oz and Grey was 6lbs 7oz. Yep! We are totally going with Grey as a nickname, although Gregory is so suitable for this little man too.”

Leo and Gregory!! Leo and Grey!! Bessette and Augustin!! Ahhhh!! I love everything about their names!!

Congratulations to Carlin and her hubby and big sibs Joseph, Evelyn, and Thomas, and happy birthday Babies Leo and Gregory/Grey!!

Gregory Augustin/Grey (left) and Leo Bessette (right)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about my book! Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Baby name consultations are still being offered! Email Theresa at to set one up! (Payment methods remain the same.)

Baby name consultation: Twin boys (babies no. 4 and 5) need good, strong names that go well together

Ohmygosh, a consultation posted on Monday, a birth announcement yesterday, and another consultation today?? Yes!! And I’ve got posts lined up for tomorrow and Friday too — springtime and babies, y’all!!

Today’s consultation is for parents who are expecting twin boys!! These little guys join big sibs:

  • Joseph Charles IV (patron St. Joseph; read about this family’s special connection to St. Joseph here)
  • Evelyn Lucille (patron St. Lucy)
  • Thomas Benedict (patron St. Thomas Aquinas [Benedict was after Pope Benedict])

Mama Carlin writes,

Our other boys were so easy to name and our daughter we had a unique experience to say the least, but still very easy to choose. Now that we have the twin boys, we feel at a loss for options. Nothing has really felt just right.

Names are a really big deal for my husband, funny enough. I feel like this is typically something that women tend to enjoy more, but my husband definitely has had a strong and thoughtful say on the names of each of our children.  My husband is very adamant about raising the boys to become the men that God intended them to be. He wants them to become great leaders of faith in their future households or vocations, or just out in the world, in general. These names, to him in particular, will help to empower them, especially by example of their patron, as they become men themselves

When we first started our family, the idea of twins was always a possibility. Identicals on both side, fraternals on my side.”


Things we are looking for in names for the twins:

  • Strong, masculine, and classic names
    • Completely open to all name suggestions, so please don’t get caught up on the “classic” part.
  • A great saint inspiring the name 
    • We celebrate their feast days! We are also 100% ok with the boys having different feast days too. It will give them a chance to be celebrated on their own!
  • We love a good meaning behind the name too.
    • Both boys were named after grandfathers we were very very close with. Joseph’s grandfather — Joe and my grandfather — Thomas.
    • We scoured family trees and nothing seemed to pop out at us … We decided that the twins do not need to be named after a family member, since they will have their patron and each other. 
  • Names that go well with Joseph, Evelyn, and Thomas  
    • I guess this is subjective, but I would really like to emphasize how at a loss we are picking out names and are open to any and all suggestions you may have! 
  • The Nickname factor: 
    • I’m usually calling everyone by their full name, who knows why, but we are both down for a really cool nickname too.

Names that have always sort have been on our running list:

  • Leo
  • Agustine/Augustin/Auggie

What we have thought about, but why we aren’t totally sold on these options:

  • Leo & Gregory 
    • Pope St. Leo the Great + Pope St. Gregory the Great
    • We both love the idea of the boys being named after the two Greats!
    • My husband has always been on the Leo train. His Great Grandpa Leonard was a pretty awesome dude and if we had a singleton, this would be a forerunner. 
    • My husband thinks Gregory is super strong sounding for a man, however, I am having a hard time with Gregory. I cannot imagine calling one of my babies Gregory or Greg. 
  • James & John
    • We only love these names because the two Apostles James and John were considered the “Sons of Thunder” and we love that! haha! Our boys have been so feisty at each ultrasound with perinatology. They already have such loud personalities already!
    • But as outright names – James and John do not do it for either of us

A little about the boys already!

We have had several appointments with perinatology and it has been so cool to see, even at 15, 17, 19 weeks, their personalities develop. They like to be silly when we do ultrasounds by tangling their legs and kicking around so we cannot get pictures of them. Early on, they would swim opposite directions and pinch the amniotic sac to make Baby A look like Baby B and vice versa. Ha! James and John haven’t been a real front runner for names, but the story of being called the Thunder Brothers has been told, a lot of family friends and even the sonographers are referring to them as the Thunder Brothers, because of their bold personalities. As silly as they are; they adore each other already, which is the most beautiful thing to watch in an ultrasound. They have yet to flip opposite directions, always keeping their heads side by side and hugging each other. Seriously?! In-utero baby hugs and loves?! I’m not crying, your crying… ok I cry every time. Just the best

Let me know if you have any questions or need clarifications, but I hope this is a good start for you! Thank you so much! Cannot wait to hear your suggestions!

I just love the joy and wonder that comes through when Carlin talks about the babies!!

I loved reading about Carlin’s husband’s interest in names — she’s right that that’s fairly rare, at least in my experience! His perspective on raising their sons to be strong men of God is just wonderful, and I agree with him about the role their names play, I felt similarly when naming each of my boys (I’m sure I would have about girls too, but I only have boys!).

I wanted to point out, too, that, while I don’t know the origin of Carlin’s name, I assume it’s a feminine variant of Charles — or certainly can be considered so, even if that wasn’t her parents’ intention — so Joseph Charles can also be thought of as incorporating both her and her husband, which is fantastic.

I think their criteria for names for the twins is perfect. I love how Carlin said they want “strong, masculine, and classic names” but also “don’t get caught up on the ‘classic’ part.” I love that they celebrate their feast days, that’s such a fun thing. I think their reasoning behind being okay with them not having family names — “they will have their patron and each other” — is great. “Names that go well with Joseph, Evelyn, and Thomas” is speaking my language — although I certainly know it’s not necessary, it’s so pleasing to hear of sib sets that sound like they belong together style-wise. And I’m always good with nicknames!

So first, I’m going to offer my thoughts on the names Carlin and her hubby have thought about/considered, in case they’re helpful:

  • Leo: I think Leo is a great option for them! I love that Joseph is biblical, that Thomas is biblical but actually in their Thomas’ case is for a non-biblical Saint, and Leo would be a non-biblical name for a non-biblical Saint, so it sort of rounds it all out nicely, if that makes sense, and loops Evelyn in even more since neither of her names are biblical. The fact that Carlin’s hubby’s great-grandfather Leonard was “a pretty awesome dude” and also, especially, that if they had a singleton “this would be a frontrunner” tells me that Leo is definitely the name to beat!
  • Agustine/Augustin/Auggie: I love this name — my husband and I very nearly named our sixth boy Augustin Francis! In fact, that was the name we’d decided on for him but when I was eight months pregnant we changed our minds, and it was almost a hundred percent because of pronunciation issues, so I thought I’d mention that just in case. We strongly preferred the au-GUS-tin pronunciation and it drove us crazy that the Augustine spelling tripped people up — we heard au-gus-TEEN at least half the time, which we didn’t care for. So we’d chosen the Augustin spelling because of that but eventually decided it was all too fussy for us. I only share that so Carlin and her hubs can be sure to have thought about all that — if they’re okay with it, that’s great!
  • Leo and Gregory: I, too, love the idea of the boys being named after two Pope St. the Greats! And I think Leo and Gregory are fantastic together. But it’s funny about Gregory — even though it pops up a LOT on the lists of names the families I work with are often considering, it’s rarely chosen, and I think it’s because we’re all dealing with a little bit of 70s fallout or something — I hear “Greg Brady” a lot when people tell me why Gregory isn’t feeling quite right, “Greg” is just not doing is for parents these days. In the past, I’ve suggested Rory, Grey, and even Gus (for like Gregory Stephen or similar, where there’s a strong S in the middle name) as possible alternative nicknames — maybe that would help? I’ve also liked considering the variant Gregor — it can still take Pope St. Gregory the Great as patron, but losing the final Y makes it feel less Greg-ish I think. Do you all agree? Something like Gregor Magnus, where Magnus means “great,” could reinforce that, if they like Gregor but worried that it was veering too far from Gregory the Great.
  • James and John: Oh man. Carlin had me at Leo, and then to read about the “Sons of Thunder” and how they’re being referred to by family and friends as the Thunder Brothers makes me think that James and John are also basically requirements at this point! I always like the idea of connecting twins in their names somehow, whether it’s having the same first initial, or variants of the same name somehow (e.g., one with the first name Sean and the other with the middle name John), so having James and John present in their names because of the Thunder Brothers connection is amazing. Since Carlin said that “as outright names — James and John do not do it for either of” them, I might suggest using them as middle names. Leo John and Gregory James, for example, or Leo James and Augustin John. Or one as a first name and one as a middle name, like Leo James and John Augustin nn Auggie. And I’m just now thinking — since Leo would have a family connection to Great Grandpa Leonard, a way to incorporate a family tie for their other son might be using the Italian form of Augustine: Agostino. Then it would be a nod to Carlin’s husband’s family via heritage. Leo James and John Agostino? And something like John Agostino nn Auggie could totally work. And putting the “more complicated” name in the middle can make it feel more comfortable for Carlin. You’ll also see more ideas from me below that include John as a first name, whether or not they use John as the everyday call name, as I’ve often thought that John can work like Mary does for girls — it works in front of most names to make them feel really faithy and traditional, even if the second name isn’t so faithy and traditional, or is a little more offbeat or complicated. Or just as a really handsome combo. For this family, I love the idea of John Augustin or John Agostino. Or John Gregory. Oh gosh, now Agostino has me thinking about the Italian for John and James, Giovanni and Giacomo … Leo Giovanni and James Agostino? Leo Giacomo and John Agostino? Am I going way too far down the Italian path??? Haha!

Alright, those are my thoughts on the names Carlin and her husband have discussed, now on to my new suggestions! You all know that I always look up the names the parents have already used and those they’re considering in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. This very much ties into Carlin’s hope that the boys’ names go with Joseph, Evelyn, and Thomas. I certainly kept an eye out for names with great faith connections, and I also approached the naming of the twins in two ways: names that seemed like great twin names (same initial, for example), and those that would make great singleton suggestions for this family if these babies were born two years apart from each other, for example (and then they could use the middle names as the twin connection if they wanted). I also have some suggestions below that are based on gut feeling rather than research (always tricky! But maybe perfect!). Based on all that, these are my ideas:

(1) Luke

As soon as I saw Leo on their list I had to suggest Luke, for a totally subjective reason: I had Leo and Luke on my list for twin boys for years! Haha! Specifically Leo Maximilian (I loved the “Leo the Great” layer here too with Maximilian, as well as the Kolbe connection) and Luke Emmanuel. But also, Luke is totally a name I would suggest to them if they were having just one boy. I love that it’s biblical like Joseph and Thomas, and I included it as an entry in the book of Marian names I wrote because his gospel is the most Marian, containing within it the Annunciation, Visitation, the prophecy that Our Lady’s heart would be pierced by a sword, the first half of the Hail Mary, and Our Lady’s beautiful Magnificat. I personally like that Leo and Luke would share the same initial — a nice twin thing — but I can also see how that might not be appealing, since I know very well how easy it is to mix up kids’ names that don’t even sound the same! I will note that I spent some time thinking about whether or not Evelyn’s middle name of Lucille takes away some of the appeal of Luke and decided that I would be okay with it if it were me because the Lucy names and the Luke names aren’t actually etymologically related (though many people will name a girl Lucy after a Luke and vice versa, understandably).

(2) Henry (and Edmund?)

Years ago I read this post on naming twins by Meg Hunter-Kilmer (awesome on her own, but also sister of Rosie from A Blog for My Mom, and it was Rosie’s twins that inspired the post) that I’ve referred to it often, and one of the combos she suggested was Henry and Edmund because “Henry Walpole was converted when Edmund Campion’s blood spattered on him and went on to be ordained and martyred in England, just like Edmund.” That’s quite a connection! Henry is actually a style match for Evelyn, and I think it’s great with Joseph and Thomas. Maybe Leo Edmund and Henry Augustin? Or do they like Edmund enough as a first name? Henry James and Edmund John? (Obviously I hope they feel free to ignore my first+middle combo ideas! It’s just so fun to play around with the names and come up with ideas!)

(3) Oliver (and Owen?)

Joseph and Thomas are so familiar that I think they can really take lots of different styles of names as brothers, while Evelyn’s style is a little more distinct, so I enjoyed trying to find names that I thought would be really great as Joseph and Thomas’ brothers while also connecting with Evelyn’s style. Oliver is a match for Evelyn, and St. Oliver Plunkett’s one of my favorites! I like that Oliver is a match for Evelyn, and Ollie is such a cute nickname, and I definitely think Joseph, Thomas, and Oliver sound great together, and if they go with Leo for the other twin, I like that Leo ends in O and Oliver starts with O. Leo and Oliver, Leo and Ollie. Leo John and Oliver James? I also want to include that Owen is a match for Evelyn as well, and while I don’t see Owen being their style for a first name so much (though Oliver and Owen would be adorable!), some people take Owen as a form of John, and in fact, St. Nicholas Owen, who I LOVE, was also known as Little John, so there could be something there — another way to connect the boys, like Leo John and Luke Owen, or Augustin John and Gregory Owen.

(4) Nicholas

This is totally due to how Carlin said she and her hubby both “love the idea of the boys being named after the two Greats,” because Pope St. Nicholas the Great is another one! I like Nicholas for them! Leo and Nicholas, Leo and Nick/Nicky, Leo and Nico (that last one is nice because of the shared O ending).

(5) John Paul (Jack?)

There are four Popes who are Pope St. the Great and we’ve already talked about three of them — Leo, Gregory, Nicholas — but what about the fourth and most recent, Pope St. John Paul the Great?! This is kind of not a new idea, since they already have John on their list, but maybe John Paul is the way to incorporate John in a way that they like? Leo James and John Paul? Two Pope St. the Greats AND the Sons of Thunder? John Paul can be a first name, where they might want to add a middle, or they can use John as the first name and Paul as the middle, even if they intend to call him John Paul all the time. Length-wise, Leo James and John Paul are very balanced, which is pleasing … John Paul itself is one of those names that has the monastery + incense names as style matches — Augustine, Benedict, etc. — and can also fit in really well with the Joseph/Thomas names (I would put Leo in the middle between those two styles, which is awesome), so choosing John Paul for one of their twins would also help keep options open for them both now and going forward. John Paul and Leo go great together, John Paul and Augustin go great together, John Paul and Luke go great together, etc. If they like the idea of John Paul, but not the idea of calling him John Paul, or John, or JP, then maybe Jack is the perfect nickname for them? Jack is a style match for both Evelyn and Leo!

(6) Gabriel (and Michael?)

Gabriel’s on this list because of Carlin’s husband’s desire that their sons become great leaders of the faith — Gabriel is made of the Hebrew elements for “strong man, hero” and “God” and while some sites will say that means “God is my strong man,” I prefer to think of it as “strong man of God,” which is amazing. Leo and Gabriel would be great together, and Luke and Gabriel as well. And John Paul and Gabriel. Or John Gabriel as a first+middle combo. Ooh! Leo Michael and Luke Gabriel! A different Pope Leo — Pope Leo XIII — composed the St. Michael Prayer, which would make Leo and Michael a cool combo, and Luke’s Gospel has the Annunciation in it, which would make Luke and Gabriel a cool combo, and Leo Michael and Luke Gabriel would both have Archangel middles and L first names, ahh! Or Michael James and John Gabriel, where they’d both have an Archangel name but in different spots? Michael is actually a style match for Joseph and Thomas, and Michael and John as brothers are sweet. And Michael is such a soldier/warrior name, which is right in line with Carlin’s husband’s hopes for their sons.

(7) Robert

My last idea for this family is Robert, which is a style match for both Joseph and Thomas. As with Leo, I like that it’s a non-biblical Saint’s name, which allows for more options now and in the future. St. Robert Bellarmine is a great patron! Because Robert has that familiarity that Joseph and Thomas have, it can easily take a more unexpected/complicated middle — Robert Augustin has a very pleasing symmetry with Thomas Benedict, for example. Rob/Robbie and Bob/Bobby are the traditional nicknames, but you could also do Rory, Bert, and Bo. Leo James and Robert John are very handsome, or Leo Dominic and Robert Augustin, or John Henry and Robert James.

Those are my “official” suggestions, which you can see I really only used as an attempt to categorize my otherwise sort of scattered thoughts — I could feel my mind pinging all over the place as I was doing this, so many fun options! Lots of ways to mix and match! I wanted to include a few more things that might be helpful. These names go naturally together in the sense of being “famous” pairs or having shared elements:

  • Peter and Paul
  • Daniel and Samuel (both Old Testament names ending in -el and neither one Archangel names)
  • David and Jonathan
  • Ambrose and Augustine
  • Francis and Dominic
  • Damian and Cosmas (this mama named her twin boys after Sts. Damian and Cosmas, but in an unexpected and awesome way!)
  • John Bosco and Dominic Savio (that link to Meg’s twin article above explains)

I did this post on the whole idea of John + something, that might have some appealing ideas for them to work John in somehow. Also, another idea that might work if they use Leo, and thus have a family connection to Great Grandpa Leonard, is to consider John + Carlin’s maiden name maybe? Or another surname from her side?

Though there are only four Pope St. the Greats, lists a bunch of non-pope Saints that have “the Great” added to their names — they might like to look through them if they decide on Leo for one of the twins.

I wrote an article for CatholicMom a while ago on naming twins and multiples — they’ve since done a site redesign and the article is sort of jumbled together, but they might find it helpful, with this addition.

And my “Naming twins” tag on the blog brings up all the posts I’ve done on the topic for both boys and girls, which might be fun to look through.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the twin brothers of Joseph, Evelyn, and Thomas?

My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life! (And check out my buy-the-book-get-a-consultation deal!)

Baby name consultation: Help name Twin no. 2!

One of our longtime readers and her family have been devastated by the recent theft of the means of her husband’s livelihood — many high-end instruments and specialized equipment that he takes with him from his job as a music teacher at a Catholic school to other venues in which he helps provide for his family through his musical training and talent. This was a loss of almost $11,000 worth of instruments and equipment, which the insurance company has only agreed to pay a third of, never mind the impact it has on his ability to teach. A friend has set up a Go Fund Me (which includes a video of Tom playing), and if any of you feel moved and are able to donate, I know the family would be so grateful. And please keep them in your prayers!

Mary and her husband are expecting twin boys! These little guys join big sister:

Juliette Marie (“Juliette is after a grandmother figure I had and Marie is of course after the Blessed Mother and is also the middle name of the first girl in every generation in my family so her name has a lot of meaning to us“)

I looove the name Juliette! Juliette Marie is so lovely!

Mary writes,

[M]y husband and I tried to conceive for several years, and eventually were blessed to be able to adopt our daughter who’s 2 now. We had quite the surprise this year after working with a great NaPro doctor and are so excited to welcome the twins in June (but probably May).”


Baby Boy 1 will be Joseph McDaniel. We’ll call him ‘Mac’ as a nickname from his middle name. Joseph is after 2 St. Josephs I love, St. Joseph, husband of Mary, and the lesser known St Joseph of Cupertino, patron Saint of test takers and exams, who helped get me through some very difficult times while I was in law school. Joseph is also my husband’s middle name so another very meaningful name. McDaniel is my maiden name and my paternal grandfather was often called “Mac” so Mac is in his memory.

We’ve been tossing around Jude for Baby Boy 2 after St. Jude because so much of our story has just seemed impossible, but here we are. It just hasn’t stuck quite yet. Out of complete coincidence, Juliette and Mac will have the same initials so part of me wants to pick another JM name, but that’s not a “must.” I also like the idea of Baby Boy 2 going by a nickname like his brother, but again, not a “must”

Other Saint names we’ve considered and Saints we love are Michael (mostly as a middle name because my husband loves St. Michael and he was a major part in my husband converting to Catholicism), Sebastian (my husband’s confirmation Saint), St. Augustine (who we have a strong devotion to after visiting the Marian shrine in St. Augustine and then adopting our daughter shortly after) and St. John Paul II.  If we used Sebastian or Augustine, we’d want him to go by a nickname. We’re definitely pro-nicknames

Juliette and Mac are both named after a Saint who’s important to us and a family member, which I like. Other family names we’ve considered are Theodore, Warren, and Giles.

We like names that are classic but unique enough that you don’t hear them every day (so names like Peter, Matthew, and John are mostly out unless we could use a more unique nickname). The fact that Michael is very common makes me hesitant to use it as a middle name, but we do love St. Michael so much.”

Working on twin consultations is such fun! I love the names Mary and her husband have already chosen, and I love that they’re “definitely pro-nicknames” — you know how I feel about nicknames!

One of the things that really struck me about Joseph McDaniel’s (amazing, fantastic) name is how full of meaning it is, with Joseph having strong family and personal faith connections and McDaniel being both Mary’s maiden name and the source of her grandfather’s nickname. Also, both Mary and her husband are represented, with Joseph being Hubby’s middle name and McDaniel being from Mary’s side. No matter what names they choose for Twin 2, I would encourage them to try to make sure his name has just as much meaning — it doesn’t have to have the same kind of meaning, necessarily (i.e., it doesn’t have to be two family names), but there should be a feeling of balance and equal specialness between both names.

One thing that I immediately thought of was that Mary’s boys will be born in the Year of St. Joseph and also likely in the same month as the feast of St. Joseph the Worker (May 1), and with one twin having St. Joseph’s actual name, I thought it would be nice for the other twin to also have a nod to St. Joseph in either his first or middle name. I did a post recently on names for St. Joseph, and of them, I thought these had possibility for this family:

  • Carpenter, as he was a carpenter and is represented by a carpenter’s square specifically and carpenter’s tools in general. I’ve never heard of Carpenter as a first name, but it’s not really different from other occupation names like Mason, Taylor, and Carter, right? Maybe with Cap as a nickname?
  • Cruz or Croix or other “cross” names, as the cross is one of his symbols
  • Foster, since we refer to him as Jesus’ foster father
  • Valiant, as he’s valiant (as noted in the Litany to St. Joseph) (what a cool, masculine virtue name!)
  • Surnames derived from Joseph, like Jessop/Jessup (if either of these names were in Mary’s or her husband’s family trees, I’d die of happiness!) (Jesse could be used as a nickname for Jessop/Jessup, which has additional connections to St. Joseph since St. Joseph is a descendant of King David, who was son of Jesse)

Another way to look at this is that Mary described Joseph as representing two special Josephs — what about breaking that honor up and naming one son after St. Joseph the foster father of Jesus, and the other after St. Joseph of Cupertino? I’ve seen the latter honored in ways that I think might appeal to this family: Cupertino as a given name with Coop and Cooper as nicknames, and Cooper as the given name in honor of Cupertino. Something like Michael Cupertino nicknamed Coop or Cooper could be really nice — two names with very meaningful faith connections for Mary and her hubby and a middle name that’s similar to McDaniel in the sense that I always think of saintly place names as in the same category as surnames. Joseph McDaniel and Michael Cupertino have a nice symmetry, and Mac and Coop have a nice sound together! It would be even better if a family connection could be figured out for Twin 2 as well, but that might be asking too much. Maybe some of my other ideas can get all the elements in there …

I do love their idea of Jude, since he’s the patron of impossible causes, and Jude Michael would be a nice JM combo — Juliette Marie, Joseph McDaniel, and Jude Michael. Two worries I have are that they’ll feel locked into a JM combo in case they have more children (which doesn’t have to be a bad thing, there are lots of great J and M names!), and also that Jude and Juliette are so similar in sound. That can easily be remedied by having Jude Michael go by a nickname of his middle name, like Mac will, and since I think Mary prefers more offbeat suggestions, they might like one of my favorite ideas for an unexpected Michael nickname: Miles/Milo. I’ve often thought Miles or Milo can work for Michael, since their first three letters encompass Michael’s first two letters and its last letter — they’re almost like a contraction of Michael, plus “es” or “o” added on the end. Miles/Milo has an added neat connection to Michael in the sense that St. Michael the Archangel is a warrior, and, as the entry for Miles on Behind the Name says, “From an early date it was associated with Latin miles ‘soldier.’”

Further, I included Miles/Milo in my book of Marian names because they have a history of usage in Ireland as an anglicization of the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “servant of the Virgin Mary,” which, for this family, can represent a connection to the Marian shrine in St. Augustine. So many connections! Mac and Miles/Mac and Milo sound great together!

Once again, though, Jude Michael doesn’t include a family connection, and I’d really love for both boys’ names to represent both a Saint who’s important to them and a family member, just like Juliette’s and Mac’s names do. Of the ones Mary mentioned — Theodore, Warren, and Giles — Theodore immediately jumped out as a nice idea because of its meaning: “gift of God.” It’s the kind of significance that can amp up the specialness of the name and bring Joseph McDaniel and his brother’s name into balance. I really like the idea of Twin 2 going by a nickname of his middle name, like Mac, so maybe Theodore Michael nicknamed Miles or Milo would be perfect? Joseph McDaniel and Theodore Michael? Or Theodore Cupertino? I also like the nicknames Theo and Ted(dy) — Mac and Theo, Mac and Ted, Mac and Teddy all sound really great. I also like Theodore Jude.

I’m also loving the idea of Michael Augustine nicknamed Gus — Mac and Gus have that same good-guy feel to me, and Michael Augustine is certainly full of personal faith meaning!

I also love Sebastian — Seb, Sebbie, Bash (like Grace Patton’s son) and Baz are great options for nicknames.

So they have a lot of good ideas and names to work with and play around with! If they went with some combination of names they’re already considering, I’d be thrilled! But of course, I can always come up with more ideas, haha!

You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. Though this strategy doesn’t always work well for parents in Mary’s situation, where the chosen names are as much about personal meaning and connection as they are about style, I was pleased to have a few ideas jump out at me that I thought had merit. I also had a few ideas of my own that I thought would fit in with the personal meaning part and also an attempt to balance both boys’ names meaning-wise. Based on all that, these are my additional ideas for Mary’s second twin:

(1) Benjamin or Benedict nicknamed Ben, Banks, Boon

I really liked seeing that Benjamin is a style match for Joseph per the BNW — not only are they stylistically similar, but I also love that Joseph and Benjamin are the two youngest sons of Jacob in the Old Testament. Bennett is a match for Juliette and Benedict for John Paul, so a Ben- name seemed a good bet here. While Ben is certainly the traditional nickname — and I love Mac and Ben together — I also know of a little Benjamin that goes by Banks as a nickname, which is fun. I’d also considered the nickname Boon for Benedict for one of my own boys, both because it has a B and N, like Benedict, but also because a boon is a blessing or a favor, which is such a great meaning and mirrors the meaning of Benedict (“blessed”). I like that meaning for this family! They could also certainly do Benjamin with the nickname Boon.

(2) Charles nicknamed Cal or ?

I was interested to see what nicknames would be listed as similar to Mac, and one of them was Cal, which is a nickname I’ve loved forever. So great for both a boy and a man! There are a couple ways to get to Cal, but Charles is one of my favorites, and it can honor St. John Paul II, since his birth name was Karol, which is the Polish for Charles! If they like the idea of Charles but Cal isn’t feeling quite right, one of my favorite posts from Abby at Appellation Mountain is her post on nicknames for Charles — there are so many! I would also add Hutch to her list. I also love the combo Charles Augustine nicknamed Gus!

(3) Henry nicknamed Hank

As with Cal, Hank is what inspired this idea. Hank is a traditional nickname for Henry and was listed as a style match for Mac! I’m really loving how Henry Sebastian sounds — Joseph McDaniel and Henry Sebastian (Mac and Hank) are a very handsome pair! There are lots of great Sts. Henry too, and St. Henry Morse has a particularly nice depiction of himself with Our Lady and the Child Jesus.

(4) Maximilian nicknamed Miles or Milo, or Kolbe?

Maximilian is a style match for Sebastian, Augustine, and John Paul, and I actually really love that McDaniel nicknames to Mac and Maximilian’s usual nickname is Max! But don’t worry — I’m not at all suggesting that they call their boys Mac and Max, only that McDaniel and Maximilian can sort of be like mirror images in their boys’ names. In fact, I really like Miles or Milo as nicknames for Maximilian — something like Joseph McDaniel and Jude Maximilian (Mac and Miles/Milo) could be really pleasing. But then, I also noticed that Cole is a style match for Jude, which made me think of Kolbe, and while I wasn’t thinking of pairing Maximilian and Kolbe together (though I’m not opposed to it if they want to!), would it be crazy to suggest that Kolbe could be a nickname for Maximilian?? Probably, right! Totally crazy! But intriguing!

(5) Fitz something

I was thinking about how Mac means “son of,” and how Fitz also does, and thought maybe Mac and Fitz would be great brother names? I don’t actually know what Mary’s husband’s name is, but if it’s William, Gerald, or Patrick, any of those with Fitz in front would be kind of amazing! Fitzwilliam is actually Darcy’s first name in Pride and Prejudice, and Fitzgerald and Fitzpatrick can both certainly serve as first or middle names.

(6) Isaac

My last two ideas are inspired by their meanings. Isaac means “he will laugh, he will rejoice,” and he was so named because Abraham laughed when God told him that Sarah would become pregnant. Mary’s story reminds me of Abraham’s, because of how they tried for several years to conceive, and then when they do, they’re given twin boys! What a surprise! And what joy! Isaac seems a perfect name for one of their boys! Zac is a nickname often used for Isaac, which wouldn’t work with Mac, but its other nickname Ike might. Or maybe they’d rather keep Isaac as the name that isn’t nicknamed? Isaac Theodore nicked Theo?

(7) Samuel

Like Isaac, Samuel is inspired by his story in the bible — he was the result of Hannah’s many years-long and tearful prayers, and was so named “Because I asked the Lord for him” (Samuel 1:20, which fits one of the two meanings of Samuel given on Behind the Name: “God has heard”). Also a fantastic meaning for this family! And Sam is so great with Mac. Samuel Warren? Samuel Augustine?

And those are my ideas for Mary’s second twin boy! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Juliette and the twin of Joseph McDaniel nn Mac?

My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Birth announcement: Felicity Colette!

A mama and I had messaged each other a bit last year about her baby girl on the way, and she’s let me know that her sweet baby has been given the so-beautiful name … Felicity Colette!

She writes,

I just wanted to let you know that we named our rainbow baby Felicity Colette. Felicity because one of our quints was named Felix, and Colette just because I liked the name and I knew it was a Saint’s name. After her birth, we learned that both Saints Felicity and Colette are patron Saints of expectant mothers 💕🥰 She’s a very happy and sweet baby, so the name fits her well.”

What a gorgeous combo!! Both Felicity and Colette are fantastic names!! Also, you might have caught that she said “one of our quints” — this mama lost quintuplets late in pregnancy before this baby, so little Felicity is certainly as much of a happy blessing as her name suggests. ❤ ❤ ❤ The quints were named Felix Joseph, Damien Anthony, Dominic Alfonso, Sophia Therese, and Gabriel Francis.

Congratulations to the parents and big sister Cecilia Giselle, and happy birthday Baby Felicity!

My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!