Baby name consultation: Rose’s twin sister!

Happy May everyone!! It’s Mary’s month, and it starts off with the feast of St. Joseph the Worker!! Love love love!!

Emily and her husband are expecting twin girls! These little ladies join big sisters:

Ellen Marie
Lila Gayle

Beautiful names!!

Emily writes,

We are fairly set on one twin being named Rose Elizabeth, but we are having a hard time finding a good match. My husband likes Ruby, but I think that sounds too twinnish 😬 I like Fiona and Lucia but husband isn’t in love with either. We both like Sylvia, and for a short stint we both like Matilda, but I don’t like the nickname Maddie.

I am a recent convert so I would also love your opinion on connecting their names to a Saint or Marian reference or something of the like. Also, could you look into any saintly connection I could do for my Lila Gayle? Thank you for everything!

Isn’t this all just wonderful?! So first off, I love her older girls’ names! Ellen is a form of Helen(a), and St. Helena’s a great patron saint! Of course Ellen’s middle name is a Marian name, which you know is always a win for me! And Lila Gayle is beautiful! I really really wanted to find a connection to Lily for Lila, and though I didn’t (it’s derived from the Arabic for “night,” which I’m not sure how to connect, faith-wise), I do think Emily could consider it to be related to Lily if she wanted it to, based on appearance. There’s precedence for doing so — like those who have considered Oliver because of olive-related meanings (Our Lady of Olives, or olive branches meaning “peace,” etc.), even though it’s not linguistically connected to olives — so if Emily wanted Lila to be related to Lily, then she could have a Marian connection, as lilies are a symbol of Our Lady. If that’s too distant for her though, then I’d look to Gayle — in origin, it’s a short form of Abigail, and Abigail the Matriarch in the Bible, wife of King David, is revered as a saint (feast day September 1); there’s also the Irish St. Gobnat, whose name is sometimes anglicized as Abigail.

As for the names Emily and her hubs are considering for their twin girls (so fun!!), I love Rose Elizabeth! Classy and classic and really faith-y. Rose is a Marian name, and there are so many great Sts. Elizabeth!

I’m not surprised Emily’s hubs likes Ruby, as it’s pretty consistent with their style! You all know I usually start consultations by looking up the names the parents have used and like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity, and Ruby is a style match for Rose and Ella (which I’m counting as close enough to Ellen!). Rose and Ruby would be amazing twin names for parents who like matchy names, but if Emily and her hubs don’t, then I agree—it’s too much. It made me think of Scarlett right away though—the color connection between Rose and Scarlett is pretty great and not overly obvious or matchy I don’t think, and I thought Scarlett might be approaching their style, as its length and obvious T’s remind me of Matilda. And it’s got a little southern flare, which Lila on its own and Lila Gayle as a combo also strike me as having. I actually spotlighted Ruby a while ago in order to make some faith connections, and I’d say some of the same ones can work for Scarlett. I also included Scarlett in my lists of names for the Luminous and Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.

If they went with Scarlett as a first name, they might like to balance it with a super-faithy middle, maybe a Marian one? Then Rose would have a Marian first name and her sister would have a Marian middle, which is a nice balance.

As for the other names on their list:
— Fiona: I love. It’s classic but a little offbeat, and totally feminine. Like with Scarlett, I’d look to balance it with a super-faithy middle, which is easy to do.
— Lucia: Also love. And it’s very saintly!
— Sylvia: I’m a big fan of going with any name that both parents can agree on! I love Sylvia, as well as its French form Sylvie. This mom named her daughter Sylvie Regina, because of its similarity in sound to the Salve Regina (“Hail Holy Queen” in Latin), which is such a cool idea.
— Matilda: Another great name, and also saintly. If they don’t care for Maddie/Mattie, other traditional nicknames for it are Tilda and Tilly/Tillie, or they could do something like Molly (based on the M and L in Matilda), which is a Mary variant—a neat way to work in a Marian name, and Molly was actually a style match for Ruby! And speaking of Ruby … I kind of love the combo Matilda Ruby!

Okay, I looked up all the names Emily mentioned in the BNW when looking for more ideas, and came up with quite a few that I thought had potential:

(1) Eva
Eva was a style match for Lila, Rose, and Lucia, so I thought it was a great suggestion for this family! It can be considered a Marian name, as it’s a variant of Eve and Mary is the New Eve. But maybe they don’t care for repeating initials?

(2) Ivy
If Emily and her husband don’t like repeating initials but Eva appeals to them, maybe they’d like Ivy? It’s a match for Lila and Ruby, and is a plant name like Rose, but I don’t *think* Rose and Ivy are too theme-y. Maybe I’m wrong?

(3) Nora
I do like the idea of twins having some connection name-wise (not required of course! Just that I find it pleasant to see), and having the same number of letters in the first name is a cool and not-too-obvious one. Rose and Nora seemed like a good pairing (Nora’s a match for Fiona)—different sounds, different number of syllables, but visually sort of similar.

(4) Stella
Another nice idea between girl twins, as I’ve already mentioned, is for both to have a Marian name. I really like the idea of Rose and Stella—Rose is connected to Our Lady through the rosary and the various times she appeared with roses (Guadalupe, Lourdes, etc.); Stella is connected to Our Lady through her title Stella Maris (“Star of the Sea”). Stella’s a style match for both Sylvia and Ruby.

(5) Hazel
Hazel was a style match for Ruby, and I thought it struck the same vibe I’m getting from their name taste as a whole—a little different, a touch of vintage. I like that it’s a nature name too, which has that nice connection to Rose without being too matchy.

(6) Sadie
Sadie was another match for Ruby, and like with Hazel, it just really seemed to strike the right note. It’s a traditional nickname for Sarah, which is where a patron saint could be found (like with Abigail, Sarah the Matriarch, wife of Abraham, is revered as a saint, feast day August 19); there’s also a St. Sara of Antioch.

(7) Adelaide
Adelaide is a match for Matilda, and as soon as I saw it I thought it was a great idea for Rose’s sister. It’s not matchy with Rose at all, but it’s feminine and pretty like Rose is. It’s a long name, so I like the idea of a short middle name—then Rose would have a short first name and long middle, and her sister would have a long first name and a short middle. Very pleasing! (But not necessary, of course!) (This mama, who’s a reader of the blog, named one of her twins Adelaide).

(8) Mae
So what short middle name might I suggest for a longer first name? Mae is a style match for Rose and I LOVE the idea of it as a middle for some of their longer options: Scarlett Mae, Matilda Mae, Adelaide Mae. Not only does it seem to be their style, but it’s Marian! It’s a variant of May, which has long been used as a short variant of Mary, and the month of May—in which the girls are due—is the month dedicated to Our Lady. I love all the connections! I also love Mae as a first name idea—it’s one syllable like Rose, but not matchy. They both evoke springtime and flowers to me, but not in an over-the-top way.

And those are my ideas for Rose’s twin sister! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Twin B, little sister of Ellen and Lila?

Birth announcement: Alice Catherine and Clare Elizabeth!

You guys! Remember the consultation I posted for Kristin and her husband back in January for their miracle twin girls? A bunch of you told me that it was one of your favorite consultations ever — I loved working on it! Go back and read their story if you haven’t yet, and then come back here because they’ve arrived! And you’ll die over their names: the perfectly perfect … Alice Catherine and Clare Elizabeth!

Kristin writes,

On March 28th, we were proud to welcome Alice Catherine (6lb 2oz. – born at 7:57am) and Clare Elizabeth (7lb 4 oz. – born at 7:58am).

I was extremely blessed to carry the twins to full term (37 weeks + 5!) You’d think we would have been able to pick names by delivery time, but we hadn’t. We knew that one twin would be Alice, but Twin B’s name and both middle names were not selected until after we arrived at the hospital for delivery! We loved so many names that you suggested, especially the classic pair – Catherine and Elizabeth. My husband loved the name Claire/Clare, but I was on the fence because it is so popular! Yet as I prayed about their names, St. Catherine of Sienna and St. Clare of Assisi continually came up in reading or in passing. It was obvious these Saints would be patrons for the girls.

Thank you so much for helping us sort through names for our little miracle babies!

I can’t think of a better pair of names for twin girls!! I love that Alice and Clare have the same number of letters, and are a similar style but not too twinny/matchy, and I love that their middle names are the well matched Catherine and Elizabeth … I love that Alice and Elizabeth sort of echo each other, and Catherine and Clare begin with the same letter … so many great connections between these sweet girls’ names — Kristin and her husband did a fantastic job!!

Congratulations Mom and Dad, and happy birthday Alice and Clare!!


Alice Catherine (left) and Clare Elizabeth (right) with their patron saint dolls St. Catherine of Siena and St. Clare of Assisi from the Saintly Silver Etsy shop

Reading round-up: Birth/name announcement edition

I know (or I hope) you all know how much I love your contributions to our wonderful little community here, right? 💕💕💕 Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received notes from several of you sharing birth and name announcements you’d come across that you thought I’d like to see, and of course you’re so right — I loved them all! And I wanted to post them here for all of you lovers of the names of our faith.

First up, I hope you all know Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director-turned-amazing advocate for the unborn, as well as for those who work at abortion clinics and who want to get out of the industry (she provides all kinds of resources and support, including finding jobs for them and helping them financially, through her wonderful organization And Then There Were None). She’s absolutely tireless in her efforts, even with being mama to five beautiful little ones AND expecting twins!! She and her husband recently solicited name ideas for their twin baby girls (and shared their older kiddos’ names), and her husband shared on FB last week that they’ve decided! Go check out the beeaauutiful names they chose! 👯 (Thanks to Mary and Jen for sharing this info!)

I always love hearing about the European royal names and how Catholic they often are, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out the names of a British politician’s children! Check out Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has given his fifth child an amazing name and North Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg welcomes fifth child but his name causes a stir. (Thanks to Jilana!)

Check out this little guy’s name! And Clive makes five: a birth story. I really loved reading how perfectly his name fit the naming rules his parents had — like, perfectly! And of course C.S. Lewis. Great naming story. (He’s also got some gorgeously named big sisters!) (Thanks to proud auntie Francine!)

Finally, Amy tagged me on a photo of her twin girls she’d posted on IG to illustrate her announcement that she’d posted about how she’d chosen their names and said, “@santanomina how did I do? They’re both French, places and saints!” I’m still so tickled that anyone cares what I think! Haha! Of course I 🏃 (or more like 💃) over to her blog to read all about these sweet girls’ names in “Are They Family Names?” – Behind the Names Special and can say with authority that she and her husband did a marvelous job. Beautiful times two! 👯 (Thanks also to Mary, who also shared the link with me!)

What a fun round-up! I hope you all have as much fun reading about these babies as I did!

Baby name consultation: Twin baby miracle girls!

I have such a fun consultation to share with you all today! Kristin and her husband are expecting twin girls!

Kristin writes,

After 9 years of marriage, infertility, and countless prayers & tears, my husband and I are finally expecting! Not just expecting, it’s twin girls! They will be here shortly after our 10th anniversary March. God is so good!!!!

You guys! What a story! 😍😍😍

Throughout our infertility and this pregnancy, we pray to St. Gerard Majella, St. Elizabeth, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I was convinced I was having a boy, so we thought to name him Elliott Gerard. Now that it’s two girls, we just don’t know what to do.

We don’t want our twins to have matching names, but rather names that go together well. We’d prefer not to have the same initials or rhyming. We both like more traditional names that are less common. Old fashioned names are great.

Our last name is Pelletier (Pell-let-ee-ay) and my husband is half French, half Italian. His first name is Olivier (Olive-ee-ay) so from growing up with his name he has two criteria: shorter names & nothing that rhymes.

We’d like to pull in his heritage with international names, but don’t want anything that is too difficult for American speakers. We considered Amelie, but after mentioning it to a number of people there were a lot of mispronunciations, usually Amelia. It’s somewhat on the table, but simple is best.

Names that work well in both English & French are nice to have, but not a hard requirement. From that we really like the name Alice. I like Alice Elizabeth, but her monogram would be APE so that’s out 🙂

On the Catholic side, we’d love to have a saint for each girl either in her first or middle name. We have lots of saints that have been a part of our prayers, but aren’t sure how to incorporate them [the above named St. Gerard Majella, St. Elizabeth, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, as well as] St. Andrew and St. Faustina.

We currently love St. Catherine of Sienna and St. Clare of Assisi as such strong women that fiercely followed their faith. We also like St. Francis (although it’s not my favorite name) and St. Clare, representing the strong bond that they shared. St. Cecelia has also been popping up in discussions – she is my grandmother’s namesake … We’re open to nicknames/shortened versions of saints if you know of any!

As for names and combos they’re considering:

We’ve been tossing around Alice Frances and Eloise Claire, but they don’t feel ‘perfect’.

Other names we like are Rose, Mae, Nora(h), Claire, Camille, Amelie, Violet, and Felicity.”

There are so many things about all this that I love! Two girls to name! French and Italian names! Saints’ names! Less common+traditional, old fashioned, short versions of saints’ names or nicknames! A great list of ideas!

Alright, so for my own mental organization I first condensed all Kristin and Olivier’s thoughts/criteria thusly:

  • Shorter, simple names (but with meaning) and no rhyming, different initials (and none that spell something like APE), no matching (but want names that go together), old fashioned is great
  • Elliott Gerard was their boy pick (so awesome)
  • French and/or Italian names would be nice (hubs’ heritage), but nothing too difficult (e.g., Amelie)
  • Names that work in both English and French would be nice
  • Current list includes Alice Frances and Eloise Claire as well as Rose, Mae, Nora(h), Claire, Camille, Amelie, Violet, Felicity
  • Saint for either first or middle (St. Andrew, St. Gerard Majella, St. Elizabeth, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Faustina, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Clare of Assisi [and her friendship with St. Francis], St. Cecilia)
  • Open to nicknames/variants of saints’ names

Alright! I also just have to start by saying that I love Amelie! I know not everyone gets it, but I’ve long loved it, and we know a family at church with an Amelie—I love hearing it! I also think that if they end up going with Alice Frances and Eloise Claire—or any of the names on their list, really—I wouldn’t be at all disappointed and I can’t imagine Kristin and her hubs would be either. Such a great list!

You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents 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. It was really fun to do so for these babies, since Kristin and her hubs’taste is really consistent! I also combed my own mental files for ideas, and based on all that, I came up with these:

(1) Elise
This is the first of several ideas I have regarding variants of saints’ names. Elise is so similar to Alice, but it’s a French short form of Elizabeth, so it gets the St. Elizabeth connection in there, as well as being a short, French name that I think is pretty easy to work with/pronounce. Elise Frances would be a lovely alternative to Alice Frances.

(2) Cate
Like Elise instead of Elizabeth, Cate instead of Catherine could be the answer to naming a baby after St. Catherine of Siena without using the long Catherine.

(2) Louise
I had thought that Eloise was a variant of Louise, but I looked it up and it seems that’s not correct (though Louise is sometimes thought to be related). But I love Louise on its own because it’s (1) French, and (2) a variant of Louis, which could be a nice nod to any of the Sts. Louis, but I was specifically thinking of St. Louis Martin because he’s French! Haha! There are certainly other Sts. Louis, and Bl. Louise de Marillac is a great option as well.

(3) Lucy or Lucie
How sweet is Lucy?! It’s a style match for Alice and Nora, and I posted a birth announcement not too long ago for a little one named Lucie—that spelling, because it’s the French spelling.

(4) Rosalie
This was another name inspired by one of the names on their list (Rose). I think it’s my current favorite Rose name, but for I love it for this family because it’s the French form of Rosalia! It’s a bit longer than Rose, maybe a bit too long for their taste, but it’s so pretty I had to include it.

(5) Sophie
I think Sophie hits so many of their requirements: short, simple, old fashioned, great meaning (wisdom), and Sophie’s the French form of Sophia. There’s also the French saint, Madeleine Sophie Barat, who was known as Sophie (St. Sophie’s Day in France is in her honor) and—so fun!—the Sophie the Giraffe teether was named after that same saint!  Sophie can also be considered Marian since one of Our Lady’s titles is “Seat of Wisdom.”

(6) Grace
Along the same lines as Sophie (short, simple, old fashioned, great meaning) is Grace, which is a style match for Alice, Rose, and Claire. Also, like Sophie, Grace can be a Marian name, after Our Lady of Grace.

(7) Annabel(le)
Speaking of Marian names, I know Annabelle is long, but it was such a great match for them per the BNW and one of my very favorites that I had to suggest it! I’ve recently become aware of the fact that Annabel is considered to be a variant of Amabel, which arose in Scotland in the Middle Ages. Amabel is a variant of Amabilis, which means “lovable” and is part of the Marian title Mater Amabilis (“Mother Most Amiable,” where amiable=lovable). What a beautiful and unexpected Marian name! For this family, I thought the Annabelle spelling was best, since it makes it more French.

(8) Juliet(te)
Speaking of great matches for them—Juliet is a grand slam! It’s a style match for Elliott, Claire, Camille, and Felicity (as well as Annabelle, which is how I was able to determine that Annabelle would be great for them). Can you believe it?! I love the name Juliet, and spotlighted it recently to pull out the faith connections. The Juliet spelling can fit into their “short, simple” requirement I think, but the Juliette spelling is more French.

(9) Maylis
This is also based on a name from Kristin’s list: Mae. Maylis is a French name with a pretty straightforward spelling and pronunciation; it’s the name of a town in southern France that behindthename says is possibly derived from “mother” + “lys” (French for lily) and is also sometimes considered a contraction of Marie + lys, both of which point to Our Lady, so beautiful!

(10) Ruby, Pearl
Ruby’s a style match for Rose, Violet, and Alice; Pearl’s a match for Rose and Mae. They’re both short, simple, and old fashioned, and they can both have great faith connections—I spotlighted Ruby here and Pearl here with a follow up here. I like them each on their own, and I *might* even like them as names for twin sisters, but that’s probably too matchy for Kristin and her hubs. No worries—I have a few ideas of how to pair up some of the names I suggested (below)!

So I had a lot of fun trying to come up with name pairs that I thought were great names for twin sisters that fit the criteria and tie in the saints Kristin and her hubs love! I was toying around with middle names, but they were really my secondary concern—I just wanted to give an idea of how I could see the first names pairing up with middle names that include all the criteria.

Elise Majella/Maiella and Rosalie Chiara—I focused a lot on coming up with French names in my suggestions above, since Kristin said they’d really like names that work in both English and French, but I didn’t forget that her husband is also Italian. It could be really fun to do Italian middle names that nod to their saints … Majella is for St. Gerard of course, or they could do Maiella, which was St. Gerard’s actual last name (given that he was Italian; Majella is the Anglicization of it). Chiara is for St. Clare of Assisi—since she too was Italian, her actual name was Chiara (Clare is an Anglicization of it). I love Elise and Rosalie together—they’re both elegant and French; they both point to important saints for this family (St. Elizabeth, and the Rose names always point to Our Lady in my mind); and they could even take the sweet nicknames Ellie and Rose/Rosie. I like the shorter Elise paired with the longer Majella/Maiella and the longer Rosalie paired with the shorter Chiara.

Sophie Majella/Maiella and Grace Perpetua—I like Sophie and Grace together a lot, since they’re both virtue names and can both refer to Our Lady. Majella/Maiella for St. Gerard, and Perpetua can be specifically for Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Clara/Clare and Lucy; Claire and Lucie … Claire Majella and Lucie Frances—I think the Clare names pair well with Lucy. I like the French-ness of the spellings Claire and Lucie, but the other spellings are great too. I also like the idea of Claire’s twin having Frances as a middle name (or even Francesca? To get some Italian in there?).

Elise Majella and Louise Perpetua—this is closest to their Alice and Eloise idea, just sort of with a twist. I might normally think that they’re a little too matchy because of having the same ending spelling-wise, but since they’re said differently (at least the way I say them: eh-LEES and loo-EEZ) I think they’re okay. I’m a big nicknamer and could see Elise and Louise going by Ellie and Lucy, cute!

Cate Cecilia and Lucy Faustina … or Cate Amelie and Lucy Faustine—I know that Catherine is too long for the, but they could totally bestow Cate as a full name (I chose the C spelling to specifically refer to St. Catherine of Siena; they could be even more specific with the first+middle combo Cate Siena … Lucy Majella could be a nice match for that), and I love Cate and Lucy as sisters. So sweet! In my second set there, I changed Faustina to Faustine to match the French Amelie.

Juliet and Annabel; Juliette and Annabelle … maybe Juliet(te) Frances and Annabel(le) Claire?—I know they’re too long, but I just love seeing them written out. 🙂

Lucy and Nora

Nora and Cate

Cate and Rose

Camille and Juliette

Amelie and Maylis

Felicity and Rosalie

Violet and Juliet (too matchy?)

Catherine and Elisabeth (I couldn’t resist! Catherine is the French spelling of the name, and Elisabeth is a French spelling … I know they’re too long for them, but I love seeing them together! Nicknames could be Cate and Ellie … Cate and Lily [Lily is a nickname for Elisabeth/Elizabeth] … Cat and Bess … so many options!)

Another thought that might be helpful in trying to work in as many of their special saints as possible is that St. Gerard was a Redemptorist, and the Redemptorists were instructed by Pope Pius IX to “make [Our Lady of Perpetual Help] known” (the Redemptorists actually just celebrated their 150th anniversary of being given that task) … so I could see a name connected to St. Gerard also sort of being a nod to OL of Perpetual Help and vice versa.

Other ideas that might be helpful for middle names (or even first names) are: Franca and Francesca are both Italian forms of Frances; Cecile, Cecily, and Cicely are all variants of Cecilia; Siena and Assisi could both make interesting middle names that nod specifically to saints that are special to Kristin and her hubs.

Whew! Those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for these sweet little baby girls?

Birth announcement: Lilianna Mary Grace and Lucia Virginia Rose!

A mama I did a private consultation for has let me know her twin girls have arrived! They have been given the gorgeous, meaningful names … Lilianna Mary Grace and Lucia Virginia Rose!

The mama writes,

I just wanted to let you know that our baby girls were born Monday 9/5/16 via emergency csection. They are 30 weekers so they are still in the NICU, please keep both girls in your prayers.

We chose the names
Lilianna Mary Grace and we call her Lily
Lucia Virginia Rose and we call her Lucy
Lily was 3lb2oz and Lucy was 3lb10oz. If you remember they are our rainbow babies, and I began the pregnancy at the Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe, everyday, praying a Novena for her intercession. After that each of my doctors appointments ended up on a Marian feast day, which I did not do intentionally. I decided very early that we would give the girls Marian names. During our consultation we discussed that Lucia wasn’t completely Marian but related to Mary. I have since found out that there is an Our Lady of Light and Lucia means light, so it is more Marian than we thought.
The most amazing sign from Our Lady though happened 3 days after they were born when our priest came to give me the anointing of the sick after my csection, he also offered to baptize our girls! On The Feast of the Nativity of Mary our girls were welcomed into the church. It was beautiful.”

Can you believe all the Marian connections!! These girls were covered by her mantle the whole pregnancy, and their amazing names reflect that so beautifully!

After the initial email, I received another update on how they’re doing:

Right now we are just working on getting Lily off oxygen and possibly off her IV tomorrow if she does well. Lucy is still adjusting to eating so we are hoping she starts tolerating her milk soon.”

Please keep these beautiful babies and their family in your prayers!

Congratulations to Mom and Dad and the girls’ handsomely named big brother Erick Bruce III, and happy birthday Lily and Lucy!!


Lilianna Mary Grace in purple hat, Lucia Virginia Rose in gray hat

Lucy is smiling, Lily is cuddling ❤

Sisters and Swistle

I was all 😍😍😍 last night when I saw the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist’s post on Facebook:

This evening our postulants received the Holy Habit of St. Dominic — and now we have 9 beautiful new novices!!!

And each one of those novices took a new name, which is just like Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter/St. Paddy’s Day/my birthday rolled into one!! 😁 Check out these gorgeous combos:

Sr. Stephanie — Sr. Karol Joseph
Sr. Patricia — Sr. Simeon Marie
Sr. Karla — Sr. Johanna Christi
Sr. AnnElise — Sr. Mary Avila
Sr. Rachel — Sr. Paul Marie
Sr. Savanna — Sr. Teresa Marie
Sr. Kelsey — Sr. Maria Cabrini
Sr. Abigail — Sr. Mary Vianney
Sr. Caroline — Sr. Basil Marie

But wait! There’s more! Sr. Helena Burns, fsp, the Daughters of St. Paul self-described “media nun” (with the amazingly named “Theology of the Body & media literacy” blog Hell Burns 😂) posted on Instagram yesterday a picture of her door’s name tag with her Secret Ninja Nun Name 😂 — be sure to check it out, it’s gooorrgeous!!


Also, I finally got through the 71 pages of Swistle birth announcements (going back to 2008!) and had a few more I wanted to share with you (I posted about the first batch here):

Hornstein Twins (twin posts are fun anyway, but I particularly loved that in this one, one of the girls was named Rosabel Olivia and called “Roo” for her initials [her last name begins with O] — SO CUTE!)

Then there’s this one: Baby Naming Issue: Felony Fever Vice. Yes, those three words there were the proposed name  (first + two middles) of the baby girl in question. Swistle offered some great suggestions and the final result was vastly better (at least the first two names … they just couldn’t let go of that third). I love me some bold naming, truly, but I’m sure you’ll agree this veered a little too mug shot/convict/prison. I was telling my husband about it and he was just so horrified — as I was I! Promise! — but I could also see the appeal: how similar is Felony to Melanie and Stephanie? Like a traditional name with an edgy twist! And Fever and Vice are both in keeping with the currently popular sounds of names like Everly, Evie, Violet, Vivian, Evangeline, Genevieve. I can see how the parents got there. But still — mug shot/convict/prison.

Finally, lookiee who I found here! Baby Boy or Girl MOE-zhur! It’s a consultation post for Arwen’s second baby — so fun that we were part of her current state of affairs with the consultation I did for her fifth baby and his birth announcement. 😀 I love seeing how parents name tastes change/don’t change as their family grows.

Baby name consultant: Green bean twins with an Irish last name

A bonus consultation for you all today! Yesterday was St. John Paul the Great’s birthday, and also my sister Molly’s birthday (she of the miraculous life, thanks to Ven. Solanus Casey) (she turned 32!), and this family with an Irish last name is expecting twins (!), and I’m just all around feeling happy to post this today. 😀

Yes, Erin and her husband are expecting twins! They’ve given these amazing combos to their older children:

Bridget Maureen
Mara Bernadette
Patrick James
Declan Brian
Michael Gregory

SUCH a great bunch of names!!

Erin writes,

We are having twins! So it makes it double difficult. And, to make things even harder, we aren’t finding out the gender! (For some reason, I have a feeling it is a boy/girl, but I’ve been wrong before!) They are due June 12, but most likely will be end of May. This will be our 6th and 7th in the family. We’d love to have some great saint or unique Catholic names, and names that go together as twins. And In the past we have done more of the Irish saints … but we are open to anything at this point.”

(“open to anything” — so exciting! 😀 Also, “green bean”=gender unknown. I know, I’m so weird, but I find it so adorable to call babies of unknown gender green beans! There’s also that adorable emoji, x2 for these babies 🌱🌱)

Names they’re currently considering for girls include:

Mary (“we would call her ‘Molly’ — the Irish version of Mary“)
Clara (“Thought it went well with Molly if twin girls“)
Nora (“Our favorite so far. For St. Honoratus, also means ‘honor’“)
Maeve (“we like the name, but our hesitation is it’s not a saints name“)
Margaret ‘Maggie’ (“St. Margaret — it’s my mom’s name also“)

Names they’re considering for boys include:

Finn (“for St. Finnian … My husband loves it, and I’m not sure if it’s a little strange?“)
Brice (“St. Brice“)
Aiden (“St. Aiden“)
Blaise (“for the great St. Blaise … Husband loves it, but I’m a little unsure if it’s too unusual“)
Brogan (“after St. Brogan … my husband isn’t overly fond of this one“)

And names that can’t be used for one reason or another:


What a task it is to name twins, right?! I’ve thought about what I would name twins if I were to have them, but thinking about them for someone else is difficult! I know some people like to be sort of matchy, whether that means same first letter, or kind of rhymey, or in this case maybe both super Irish names, but of course I don’t know if “matchy” is what Erin and her hubs want, so my goal here was just to suggest a bunch of names that I think fit their style, and suggest some pairings that I think sound good together.

First though, I wanted to comment on the names they’re considering. I love Mary nicked Molly — two of my favorite names! But I really think it’s too much having sisters Mara and Mary, even with Mary going by Molly. So I’d suggest just using Molly! My sister is Molly (the miracle girl mentioned above) and my sister-in-law is Molly — both of them “just Molly” — it’s a great Irish Marian name! It brings to mind the mom in this consultation, who wanted an “easy Irish name” and ended up naming her baby Molly Roisin, which I just die over, sooo beautiful.

I also love Clara, such a gorgeous name, and I just posted a birth announcement for a little Clara the other day! But if they say Mara and Clara to rhyme, I would recommend against Clara. If not though, I think it’s okay, even though the spelling is the same but for the first letters.

Nora would be one of my top suggestions for Erin and her hubs if they didn’t already have it on their list, except that I think it’s too close to Mara as well! Gah! It’s very clear what sounds they like for girls, since they have a Mara and have Mary, Clara, and Nora on their list! What do you all think? Do you think Mara and Mary/Clara/Nora are too close?

Maeve is such a lovely name, and I found a somewhat saintly connection recently — I posted a birth announcement a while ago for a little Cara Maeve, and when I looked it up to see what it meant, I found that it can mean “cause of great joy,” which is of course so similar to the Marian title Causa Nostrae Laetitiae, Cause of Our Joy. So it’s a bit of a stretch, but I think you could make the argument that it’s a nod to Our Lady.

Margaret/Maggie seems great for this family’s style: classic and used in Ireland. I also love the traditional nickname Maisie both as a given name, or Margaret nicknamed Maisie, so sweet!

I don’t think Finn is too strange at all! It’s racing up the popularity charts, coming in at #209 in 2015, up from #234 in 2014, up from #835 in 2000 — it’s climbed pretty quickly, and I don’t think it’s going to slow down! Especially not with the new Star Wars coming out last year (Finn is one of the main good guys). And its popularity is even more than what the charts show, because Finn is also used as a nickname for Fin(n)ian, Finnegan, Finley, Phineas, and Griffin. I’ve actually been suggesting it on the blog for a while as a nickname for Francis! I feel like that would be a good suggestion for this family: Francis nicknamed Finn.

Brice and Brogan are cool and Irishy, no complaints here. Aiden is great, but super duper popular — #13 in 2015, down from a high of #9 in 2010 and 2011; the spelling Aidan is at #185. But maybe popularity doesn’t bother Erin and her hubs! And that’s great too, it’s just good to be aware of the naming landscape.

I also think Blaise is great, and Erin described the saint as “the great St. Blaise,” which says to me that they really have a connection with the name. If I had to guess, if they have a boy twin he’ll end up as Blaise. It’s not that different from Mara in terms of popularity (Blaise was #805 in 2015, and Mara was #739), and among Catholic families I often see it considered — I know a couple little Blaises. Such a great name for a boy because of the awesome saint and because it sounds like “blaze” — so super-hero-ish!

Okay! So on to the suggestions of names that I think Erin and her hubs might like. I almost always start a consultation by looking up in the Baby Name Wizard book the names the parents have used and those they like/are considering as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — it’s often uncannily accurate! So based on my research there and my own mental files, my ideas for this family are:

(1) Kate
I know it’s sort of weird to start with my own name! But I feel like it’s one of the quintessential Irish names in the sense that, in movies and books, when there’s an Irish girl, it’s not unusual that she’s named Kate. If they wanted a Kate, they could do just Kate as her first name, or C/Katherine, or Kathleen, which of course is so Irish. Or Caitlin, like the big sisters of both the Molly Roisin and the Cara Maeve I mentioned above. Kate and Molly are a great pairing I think (like me and my sister), and Kate and Maggie are too (and Katherine/Margaret or Kathleen/Margaret are really well matched).

(2) Abigail
I was inspired to add Abigail to the list when I saw it listed as a style match for Mara and Molly, and Abby has Molly and Katy as style matches. My only hesitation is that Abigail used to (nineteenth century) have the connotation of a servant — particularly an Irish servant I believe, and it was meant to be derogatory — and while that wouldn’t really bother me at all, having it as a sister to Bridget — which is a name that I also think used to have that connotation — might be too much? I’m not sure, and I love Abigail enough that I’m going ahead and listing it here.

(3) Helen(a) or Eily/Eilidh/Eileen or Eilis(h)/Ailis or Elizabeth
In a weird roundabout sort of way, Nora led me to suggest this grouping of names! I was thinking about how I’d seen in an old genealogical record Irish twins named Honora and Helena (or Helen? I can’t remember now) and they were nicknamed Nora and Nellie, so cute! I’m really feeling like Nora’s too close to Mara, but Nell/Nellie made me think of Helen or Helena (Dwija from the House Unseen Life Unscripted blog recently named her little one Helen and they call her Nellie). Then I was thinking about Eilis(h), which is usually the Irish Elizabeth, but sometimes Alice, which made me think of Ailis, which is Alice (I recently saw the Irish movie Brooklyn and the main character was Eilis but said like Ailis), and the spelling of Eilis made me think of Eileen and I remembered that Eileen is sometimes used as the Irish for Helen, and then I remembered the name Eily, which, it turns out is really Scottish, and is a variant of Eilidh which is a diminutive of Eilionoir which looks like Eleanor and which they say is a Scottish form of Helen.


I’m not sure what it all means except that I think Nell and Eily would be sweet nicknames if one of the twins was a little girl, and they can both point back to Helen(a). (Or Eily/Aily to Elizabeth/Alice, if they wish, just as a matter of being a natural nickname for Eilis/Ailis. Or for Elizabeth itself. Which makes me think — Elizabeth would be a great idea for this fam! I’ve often thought of Elizabeth nicknamed Eily for my own daughter [ha! I have six boys, no girls], and I think Elizabeth and Margaret/Eily and Maggie or Maisie go wonderfully together, as do Elizabeth and Katherine or Kathleen/Eily and Kate.)

(4) Anne
My Irish great-grandmother was Annie — I love it. It’s sweet and wholesome and I think it can also be kind of sassy! Also — our dear St. Anne!

(5) Lucy
Lucy doesn’t really have the Irish flavor (though I do believe it’s fairly well used there), but it’s so similar in style to Molly, Clara, and Nora that I thought Erin and her hubs might like it. If it was paired with an Irish name, it would fit in really well. Maybe Lucy Kathleen? Or Lucy Mairead (the Irish Margaret, rhymes with parade)?

(6) Rosemary
Rosemary is so sweet and Marian and lovely, and I had an Irish friend once (grew up in the Gaeltacht — the Irish-speaking part of Ireland) named Rosemarie, so it’s totally legit! It’s a nice way to get Mary in there without it being too similar to Mara, and Rosie and Romy (both traditional nicknames for it) are nice options.

(7) Therese/Theresa/Teresa
I know a big Irish family with some of the same names Erin and her hubs have used or like, and one of them is Theresa, so I thought they might like it! I particularly love the nickname Tess, and I could see it pairing really well with Clara, Kate, Lucy, Abby, Nell, Rosie, Annie, or Eily.

(1) Thomas
Thomas means twin. I mean, wow! I have nothing more to say!

(2) Colman, Cormac, Cashel
Colman and Cormac are both saints’ names with cool nickname possibilities: Cole and Mac. Cashel is one I’ve been crushing on recently — I suggested it in a consultation for Colleen of Martin Family Moments who loves Irish names: “Cashel is offbeat and unusual but I love it so much for its meaning — “The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion” and it’s “reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century” — and for its possible nickname of Cash.”

(2) Sean, Jack, Ian, John
Any of these John variants would be a good fit for this family I think!

(3) Timothy
Tighe — often anglicized as Timothy — is on their no-go list (Erin’s husband likes it but it’s too “out there” for her), but then I wondered if they’d like Timothy itself. I totally think it fits with this family! I know a lot of Irish families who have a Timothy; I’ve also seen Ty used as a nickname for Timothy, which is a fun update and it’s said just like Tighe, so a nice way to work it in?

(4) Daniel
Two words: Danny Boy! I’m actually kind of surprised they don’t have Daniel in there somewhere already!

(5) Owen
I love Owen for St. Nicholas Owen, who built hidey holes for priests in England, to protect them, and was tortured (and died from his wounds) for not turning in the hidden priests. I also love it for this family as a name for a boy — it’s a style match for Mara, Nora, Finn, and Aiden.

(6) Xavier
I’ll be interested to see what you think of Xavier! It’s a style match for Blaise, and it was also my Irish grandfather’s middle name (and no, he wasn’t Francis Xavier!), so I consider it to be used by the Irish. It’s also got that long A sound that Erin and her hubs seem to like (Maeve, Aiden, Blaise). I love the idea of twin boys Blaise and Xavier!

(7) Aidric
This might be a little offbeat for them, but I know two families with boys named Declan who have considered Aidric for subsequent boys. It’s not Irish, though it sounds that way, right? Like a mashup of Aiden and Patrick? St. Aidric was actually French, but that ties in with Blaise.

Those are all my ideas for first names just on their own, and then I had a few twin pairings I thought might be helpful:

Therese and Aurora: I read about twin girls with these names years ago, and they were nicknamed Reese and Rory! I’ve always loved that!

Linus and Ambrose: I did a consultation for Arwen Mosher from abc family and she has twin boys named Linus and Ambrose (brothers of Blaise and Camilla)!

Leo and Luke: One of my favorite twin boy ideas

Benedict and Scholastica: the famous boy/girl twin saints

Zelie and Louis: I posted a birth announcement recently for boy/girl twins named after our new saints!

I read an article on another blog once on naming twins, and I loved it. Some of the ideas the author offers are:

Edmund and Henry, after St. Edmund Campion and St. Henry Walpole. Erin and her hubs might especially like the idea of changing to the Irish form of Edmund, Eamon — I like the idea of Eamon and Henry!

Francis and Clare, after St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi, who were good friends. I like Clare quite a bit better for this family because it doesn’t have the potential to rhyme with Mara, and it’s also the name of an Irish County. And I’d also suggested Francis with the nickname of Finn! I love Francis/Finn and Clare together!

Teresa and John, for St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross who “reformed the Carmelites together.” Tess and Jack? Love!

Catherine and Teresa, for St. Catherine of Siena and St. Teresa of Avila, both Doctors of the Church — I love Kate/Cate and Tess together, and also I love the idea of Avila and Siena as girls’ names. Or Cate and Avila?

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for these wee twins on the way?