Baby name consultation: Continue the subtle bird theme? (I say yes!)

This week I’m posting a consultation I did for a reader a while ago, who has given me permission to share it here. Brigid and her husband are expecting their third baby on earth, a little green bean (=gender unknown). This little one joins big sisters:

+Maria Arsenia

Hilaria Jacqueline, called Lark

Katherine Julia, called Wren or Birdie

I absolutely love the bird theme — how clever to come up with Lark from the “LAR” of Hilaria and the K sound in Jacqueline!! I’ve seen Wren for Katherine before — I think it’s such a fun twist on a classic, and of course Birdie! So sweet! Maria Arsenia is so lovely as well.

Brigid writes,

I chose my patron saint, St Brigid, when I was 6, and eventually changed my legal name to my saint’s name. I’ve always felt my name was a story I carry with me, a story I can look to for encouragement and guidance. My husband also changed his name to his patron saint’s name, so we view our children’s names as gifts freely given, but belonging to them. I would not be surprised if some of them changed their names too.”

Isn’t that amazing??

We love that [the girls’] names are elegant, feminine, historic, and meaningful. Each and every name is a special saint, an honor name, or both

We’d like to honor our mothers, Paula Mary and Sharon Lee, in this baby’s name. A boy would almost certainly be Paul. I’m trying to talk the husband into Paul Heron

For a girl, one option is to use Mary Lee as a double middle. My one-syllable maiden name is everyone’s second middle, followed by our one-syllable last name.

My favorite name for this baby, if it’s a girl, is Mary Rose. Mary Rose Lee Maiden Last. My husband said, “Hmm.” The only time he has ever brought up baby names when we weren’t pregnant, it was for the name Harriet. And I have to admit Harriet Mary Lee is pretty great. Other shared favorites are Theodora, Paulina, Elise, and Anne. I love pretty much any Mary double: Marianne, Mary Elise, Mary Dove, etc. I can’t talk him into Iris, Rosa, or Beatrice. We can’t use Vivian or Lydia. We’re Orthodox, so pre-1054 and Eastern saints are wonderful.

I’d love to keep having subtle bird nicknames. Theodora called Dove is the only idea I have right now. Harriet called Hawk or Heron?

If we don’t use Paul as a first, it’ll be the middle. Nicholas, Benjamin, Matthias and Raphael are the runners-up.

We’re most stuck on girl’s names we both like, and on how to honor Sharon for a boy’s name. Paul Lee doesn’t work for my ear.”

I love how Brigid described her girls’ names as “elegant, feminine, historic, and meaningful” — I totally agree, and I’m excited to try to help her and her hubby come up with some equally wonderful ideas for this baby!

I also love that Brigid wants to honor her mother and mother-in-law with this baby’s name. Mary Lee as a double middle is a great option and an extra fun layer is that Mary and Lee are the grandmothers’ middle names, so using them in the middle name spot is almost like a double honor for them.

I think Heron for Sharon is pretty brilliant! Paul Heron to honor a Paula and a Sharon is fantastic, and the fact that it incorporates their bird theme is Master Class, really brilliant. If Brigid’s hubby can’t get on board, some other ideas I had for honoring Sharon in a boy’s name were:

  • Using a name that has a strong “sha” element: I did a search in the Name Finder on babynamewizard.com for boy names containing “sha” and thought the results that were most promising were Elisha, Marshall, and Shalom. I particularly like that Shalom is very similar in appearance to Sharon. But my very favorite idea in this vein is Pasha — it’s a Russian diminutive of Paul (Pavel), and mashes up Paul and Sharon perfectly! I could see them preferring this as a middle name, which I think would be perfect.
  • Using a name with a similar meaning: According to behindthename.com, Sharon means “plain” — other names with the same or similar meanings include Blair, Crofton, Forbes, Whitaker, Winfield, Agellus, Rhun, and Field. Some cool options!
  • Using a name related to the flower: The rose of Sharon flower provides another possible connection. I included Sharon in my book of Marian names because Our Lady’s title Rosa Mystica (Mystical Rose) stems from the “rose of Sharon” mentioned in the Song of Songs (2:1), which is traditionally understood to refer to Mary. Because of this, I thought Solomon might do to honor Sharon, since he’s the author of the Song of Songs. I discovered that the flower’s official name is Hibiscus syriacus, and I thought Syriacus could be a cool middle name — it has that same “biblical place name” feel that Sharon has (if you focus on the fact that Sharon is, in origin, a biblical place name). The Wikipedia page for the flower said the “plant can bloom continuously from July through September,” so I thought maybe August could work! And finally, one of the types of roses of Sharon is called “William R. Smith” — I could see both August and William working nicely with their girls’ names. (St. Augustine would be a perfect patron for August, and there are a few pre-1054 holy Williams: https://catholicsaints.info/blessed-william-of-sann/; https://catholicsaints.info/saint-guillermo-de-penacorada/; https://catholicsaints.info/saint-william-of-foggia/; https://catholicsaints.info/saint-william-of-gellone/.)

Mary Rose is lovely! Brigid’s hubby’s response of “Hmm” made me laugh — husbands! I agree with her that his idea of Harriet is awesome — Harriet Mary Lee is wonderful. I’d thought Hen (and Henny, so cute!) would be a perfect nickname for it — being an H name is enough to justify Hen in my opinion — but also the fact that Harriet is the English form of Henrietta makes Hen seem particularly perfect. It was only after I’d been soaking in the happiness of Harriet nn Hen for a couple of days that I realized Wren and Hen are probably too rhymey as sisters! Ah well. Brigid’s ideas of Hawk and Heron are equally doable I think, because of Harriet starting with H, though Hawk feels very masculine to me.

Back to Rose for a minute though — I was so excited to discover that Rosella is a type of bird!! I wonder what Brigid’s hubby would think of Rosella Mary Lee or Mary Rosella Lee? In this case, I could see them using Rose as the everyday call name, which would flip their bird theme from nickname to given name, but I like that — it opens up more options for potential future children. And I think Lark, Wren/Birdie, and Rose make a lovely, cohesive set, since they’re all nature names.

I love Brigid’s ideas of Theodora called Dove and Paulina called Linnet. She has Elise on her list as well — I wonder if she’s considered the full Elizabeth/Elisabeth? I think the full name could take the nickname Linnet as well.

Okay, when I was looking for new ideas for this family, I took two routes: The first is my usual, where I look up the names the parents have used and like in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) to find other names that Brigid and her husband would probably like; the second was to do research on bird names and see if I could back into a formal name + nickname option that way. Then I looked through both CatholicSaints.info and the list of Eastern Orthodox saints on Wikipedia to see if I could find a patron Saint (though I admit I’m not sure if the pre-1054 parameter refers to their date of death or date of canonization? I used date of death, so beware that I might have inadvertently included some that aren’t appropriate, so sorry!). Based on all that, these are my new ideas for Brigid’s baby-on-the-way:

Girl

(1) Margaret or Magdalene nn Magpie

I wasn’t surprised to see Margaret as a style match for this family, and Magpie immediately came to mind as the perfect nickname! While Margaret is certainly well matched with Katherine, I thought it seemed a bit plain next to Hilaria, so I thought Brigid and her hubby might like to consider variants like Margarita, Margaretha, Marguerite, Margo(t), Margery, etc. — there are so many of them! St. Margaret of Antioch works as patron, and she’s listed as “also known as” Margherita, Marina, Margaritha, Marine, and Margaretha on CatholicSaints.info.

I also thought Magdalene (or Magdalyn, Magdalena, etc.) might also be a great idea as it’s a little more offbeat — a nice middle ground between Hilaria and Katherine I think — and can still take Magpie as a nickname.

(2) Rebecca nn Robin

How about Rebecca with the nickname Robin? A long time ago I saw a birth announcement for a Rebecca nn Ruby and I just loved it right away, I thought it was so clever. So when I saw Rebecca as a style match for this family, I thought of that birth announcement again and Robin slid into place as such a great nickname option!

(3) Stella nn Starling

I’ve always thought Starling is such a pretty and unexpected name for a girl — I used to spend quite a lot of time reading the discussion forums on babynamewizard.com and I remember at least one baby girl being named Starling. I thought of it for Brigid, and thought Stella (or Estella, Estelle) could be the perfect given name for it, because of the “star” connection. I wanted to be sure Our Lady’s title Stella Maris (Star of the Sea) was in usage before 1054 though, and according to Wikipedia (I know! But sometimes it’s the best option if I don’t want a consultation to take weeks of research!), it’s been “in use since at least the early medieval period,” so that should be good, right?

(4) Phoebe

I wonder if they’ve ever considered Phoebe? It’s both the name of a bird and the sound that bird makes (which is why it’s called a phoebe), so it’s perfect for a family who wants a bird name. In this case, it would be the given name rather than a nickname, which, like with Rosella above, might be a nice addition to their theme without doing it exactly as they’ve done in the past. Phoebe is biblical of course, but there’s also a pre-Congregation St. Phoebe of Rome.

(5) Piper (Paulina?)

I was totally taken with the pictures of sandpipers I found when I was doing bird research — they are the cutest! I love the name Piper, I think it’s sweet and musical for a girl, and in this case, I can see it working easily as a nickname for Paulina. I also enjoyed discovering that there’s an Eastern Saint named St. Stephen of Piperi — could be a cool second patron for a little Paulina nn Piper!

(6) Columba, Paloma nn Dove

Finally, I’m grouping these together because I’m not sure they’re exactly Brigid’s style, but I wanted to mention them anyway. Though St. Columba was a man, I think Columba feels more natural these days for a girl, and Columba means “dove,” so Columba nn Dove would be perfect!

Similarly, Paloma is a Spanish name meaning “dove,” and it’s Marian too — her title La Virgen de la Paloma dates to the eighteenth century, which doesn’t work for this family, but the doves referred to in the Song of Songs are understood to refer to Mary, so that would be perfect! I think Paloma and Hilaria are very well matched as sisters; if they did Mary Paloma, I think Katherine would be looped in nicely.

Boy

(1) Martin

Boy names were tough! But I was thrilled to discover that martins are a kind of bird, and that Pope St. Martin I works as patron! Like with Rosella and Phoebe, Martin would be the given name rather than the nickname, but that could be the way they decide to do it for their boys (if they were to have more).

(2) Philip nn Pip

Because of Phoebe, one of the things I researched were bird noises to see if there were any possibilities there. According to this cool graphic, the Song Thrush’s song sounds like “filip filip filip codidio codidio quietquiquit tittit tittit tereret tereret tereret” — that first part, the “filip” part, made me think Philip might be perfect! Not only that, but the traditional (and amazing) Philip nickname Pip also has bird connections — apparently a pip is when a baby bird breaks through its shell using its beak. How cool is that?? St. Philip of Agira is the perfect patron for a little Philip.

(3) Robert nn Robin

I feel like there’s a good chance Brigid and her husband considered this and decided against it, but I thought it was good to include it here just in case. Robin is an old, traditional nickname for Robert, and while male Robins are rare these days (Robin Williams notwithstanding), I actually have a neighbor whose teen son is named Robin. And Robert is certainly handsome and classic. Rupert and Rigobert are fun variants to consider as well. St. Rigobert of Rheims is a good patron date-wise, as are St. Robert of Syracuse, St. Rupert of Bingen, and St. Rupert of Salzburg. (I think Robin could probably also work for Raphael, right?)

(4) Henry nn Hawk, Heron

This isn’t really a new idea, since Hawk and Heron were ideas Brigid already had, but I thought Henry works perfectly as a way to get to them for a boy. St. Henry II is a pre-1054 Saint, and I love that he’s known as Good King Henry.

(5) Stephen nn Piper

When I was writing about St. Stephen of Piperi as a possible patron for a little girl named Piper, I wondered about considering Piper for a boy? If they like that idea, I could totally see Stephen as the given name and Piper as the nickname after St. Stephen of Piperi.

(6) Finch

Finch was the first idea I had for this family for a boy. I think it’s so cool! Finch totally works as a nickname for Philip (if they didn’t like the Pip idea above), or as a middle name with a more staid first name (William Finch? August Finch? Paul Finch Lee?)

(7) Jay

Finally, Jay! Jay can work on its own (I know a “just Jay”), or it can be a nickname for anything you want, really — any J name, and even non-J names, as was the case with my uncle, whose given name was Lawrence but he always went by Jay!

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister or brother of Hilaria/Lark and Katherine/Wren?


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

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 ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Baby name consultation: Establishing style with first baby’s name!

Happy Labor Day everyone! I read the U.S Bishops’ “Labor Day Statement 2021” this morning and really loved the way Pope Francis has called for “all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, [to become] islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference” — how beautiful! I’m also happy to post today’s consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams — please leave your ideas in the comments!

Also, I know I’m behind on replying to emails — I’m hoping to sit down and get through them all very soon! Thank you for your patience!

Today’s couple, Chris and Nina, gave me a wealth of information on themselves and what they’d like in a baby name. This is their first child, a little boy due in September, so they’re establishing their style for the first time! Among things they wanted to consider in a baby name was the following:

  • Somewhat important that a name isn’t too popular
  • Neutral for me about having a name connected with a particular ethnic/racial/religious background, somewhat important for Nina that it’s an American name or a Jewish name
  • Prefer a name that is male-specific
  • Somewhat important that the name is easy to spell and pronounce
  • Neutral about it having a particular linguistic meaning
  • Somewhat important that it’s unique in our social circle
  • Bonus if the name feels like a grounded masculine name

First, I thought I’d give a few thoughts on the names on their shortlist.

Emmet– It means “whole” or “universal”, though I know meanings don’t necessarily factor in for them. It has an up-and-coming yet grounded vibe.

Everett– This gives off the same kind of vibe as Emmet.

Emerson– This has a real cool vibe and it’s starting to climb in popularity. It seems they like names that begin Es and that have a warm, grounded feeling. I love this name for them, actually, and would have suggested it if it wasn’t already on their list.

James– A very grounded, everyman type name. I know this is probably on their list due to it being passed down on Chris’s side (many men in his family, including him, bear this name!) but, other than that, it didn’t strike me as “them”. It would be great in the middle spot, though!

Lincoln– This has the surname vibe that they seem to like and also reminds me of Emerson.

Leo– It means “lion” which, while not one of Chris’s favorite animals, is an animal name like some of his interests! (I told you they gave me a ton of information!) I like that it’s short and snappy but with a really friendly vibe. This name feels very much in their wheelhouse.

Eli– This name has some great Hebrew roots, which is important to Nina, and is short and snappy like Leo but less common. I love this for them!

Malakai (Kai)– Another name with great Hebrew roots and is not very common but isn’t weird. An unofficial suggestion, perhaps they’d also like Macaiah/Micaiah. This is the full name of the prophet Micah and the name of several other Old Testament players. They can still get to the super cool nickname Kai with this and it’s more unusual (while still not being weird!).

Samson– Another cool name with a surname vibe. This name actually means “sun” which brings in their love of nature.

Wilder– Another surname name! It means exactly what it says, too, and that’s a great name for a little boy. I love this. I’m seeing it ever so slightly more often these days (my new nephew was just named Wylder). I think this is a great name for them except that it might be too many -er’s with their last name (which ends in -er).

Theodore– I love that they love this longer form and not just Theo. It’s a great name climbing in popularity but still relatively uncommon. Great name.

Jay– You can’t get anymore short, sweet, and to the point than Jay!

Rafael– I was genuinely surprised and delighted to see this on their list! It’s such a great underused name and I’d love to see it get more love.

Wesley– This name reminds me of the 80s and 90s even though it’s seeing an uptick in popularity again. The feel of this name is very cool, calm, and grounded but it doesn’t feel quite like them.

Okay, on to new suggestions!

(1) Pax/Paxton

This has the cool, grounded vibe they seem to like a lot. It’s outside the top 100 names in the US, meaning it’s uncommon but not unfamiliar. Paxton has the surname vibe they tend towards and nickname Pax keeps it short and powerful. I really love this name for them, it feels like them.

(2) Fletcher

That surname vibe rises again! This one is even outside the top 500 names in the US meaning they probably won’t run into another one but it’s still familiar. The only drawback I see here is that it ends in -er like their last name.

(3) Bastian

I thought they’d prefer this short form over the full Sebastian and it has fun nickname Bash to go with it. Sebastian is in the top 20 names but Bastian moves away from that popularity. It’s very masculine and strong without being over the top, too common, or in your face.

(4) Ezekiel

I thought this was a great marriage of Hebrew roots, their affinity for names that begin with “E”, and the cool but grounded vibes they tend to like. It is in the top 100 but a nickname like cool Zeke might help with that, too. It also means, “God will strengthen”, and a sort of strength is what they want for their child. This might be a really great way to bring most of their personalities and affinities together in a name. This might be a home run.

(5) Silas

This name feels so much like them to me. It’s at 100 in the US and is rising in popularity. It’s short, snappy, and grounded, and actually has the nature meaning of “wood, forest”. For a family that prefers the outdoors and would like to show it but subtly, this name might just be a hit.

(6) Jonah

This has the cool, grounded vibes I get from them, has Hebrew roots, and means “dove” which technically makes it a nature name. It also begins with “J” which I saw plays a large part in their family life.

(7) Shepherd

Finally, another surname name. David was a shepherd and so were several other Old Testament characters, which made me think they might like this name. It has a soft feel but is definitely masculine and grounded. It sits at number 602 in the US and is slowly rising in popularity. This name says to me a person who will be the master of his own peace and strength, someone who is independent, and someone who is a gentle leader.

Those are my suggestions! What do you think?


Email Theresa at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

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 ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Birth announcement: Sojourn Hyssop Arise!

I’m so excited to share that Katheryn — whose experience with adoption and naming I spotlighted here, and whose last two babies’ birth announcements I posted here and here — has welcomed another baby girl! She and her hubby have given her the ah-MAZ-ing name … Sojourn Hyssop Arise!

Katheryn wrote on Instagram (and gave me permission to share here):

SOJOURN “a temporary stay in a place.” To us the name Sojourn evokes a sense of waiting on God and trusting Him in the unknown, and the refocusing of our hearts completely on Him, our true home. The Bible is full of times (40 years wandering in the desert, Abraham, etc.) where God calls His people out to sojourn for a time and learn to wait on Him. It’s usually a time that He uses to bring them to a greater trust in and reliance on Him. She is named after the sojourn of the Holy Family in Egypt and after St. Peregrine. (Peregrine means “sojourn”)

HYSSOP is my great-grandma’s maiden name. Hyssop is the plant used for purification ceremonies in the Bible. It was what the sponge was put on to lift it to Jesus’ mouth on the cross. It is also what was used in Exodus to paint the lamb’s blood over the door posts for the angel to pass over them. All of our girls have one botanical name.

ARISE is from “Talitha Koum” when Jesus brought the little girl back to life and from the book of Ezekiel when God told him that nothing was impossible with God and to prove it he told him to tell the dry bones to arise and He made them into an army. “Arise” reflects the healing power of God and is a testimony that nothing is impossible with Him. It is also after her birth mom since her name means “rising.”

I mean really. !! I’m always blown away by the thought and meaning that Katheryn and her hubby have put into the beautiful, always unexpected names that they’ve chosen for their babies — each one is such a testament to their love for their little ones! I’ve always admired, too, how they’ve made a point to work a connection to their birth families in, each time. ❤

Congratulations to Katheryn and her husband and big siblings:

Verity Majella Judea Hawthorne
Gethsemane Juniper Anne
Bosco Willis Yard
Hyacinth Clemency Veil
à Kempis Exodus Praise (“Exodus”)
Zephyr Wisdom Clove

And happy birthday Baby Sojourn!!

sojourn-06.03.2020

Sojourn Hyssop Arise


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

Spotlight on: Willow and Willa

I’ve been planning for months to post this spotlight on the Friday before Palm Sunday, but being only a day late, and being before Palm Sunday, is, in this time, a real success on my end!

I read a charming piece at First Things a while ago by Brian Doyle called “Willow Sunday,” which was about a Palm Sunday during his growing up when his parish couldn’t afford palm fronds and used willow branches instead. Already my mind was clicking about the possibility of Willow for a Palm Sunday baby if I belonged to a parish that had a story like that when I read this bit in an article by Fr. Francis X. Reiser called “History of Palm Sunday”:

“The various names for the Sunday before Easter come from the plants used — palms (Palm Sunday) or branches in general (Branch Sunday; Domingo de Ramos; Dimanche des Rameaux). In most countries of Europe real palms are unobtainable, so in their place people use many other plants: olive branches (in Italy), box, yew, spruce, willows, and pussy willows. In fact, some plants have come to be called palms because of this usage, as the yew in Ireland, the willow in England (palm-willow) and in Germany (Palmkatzchen). From the use of willow branches Palm Sunday was called Willow Sunday in parts of England and Poland, and in Lithuania Verbu Sekmadienis (Willow-twig Sunday). The Greek Church uses the names Sunday of the Palm-carrying and Hosanna Sunday.” (my emphasis)

Willow Sunday is actually a name for Palm Sunday! (The Catholic Encyclopedia notes this as well.) I love the idea of Willow for a baby girl born on or near Palm Sunday!

Of course, I couldn’t do a spotlight on Willow and not include Willa, which at least one of you used in part as a nod to Willa Cather (which I swooned about when I first heard it and still do). Behind the Name has Willow as being from the Old English word welig, while Willa is a feminine form of William. I personally would consider both Willow and Willa if I wanted to name a baby girl after a William; similarly, I would consider both Willow and Willa if I wanted to name a baby girl after Palm Sunday. Do you agree? I love that both the holy Williams and Palm Sunday add some real Catholic oomph to these names!

What do you think of Willow and Willa? Have you named a daughter Willow or Willa, or would you? If so, is it because of Willa Cather or father/grandfather/uncle William, or did you already know about the Palm Sunday connection?


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

Birth announcement: Rosemary Ruth!

I did a consultation for Janelle and her husband a few years ago — one which I’ve referred to many times since, and I can see from my site traffic that it continues to be one of interest to you all! They were looking (ideally) for a first+middle combo that included the name of a theologian plus having a science/nature reference, and they had a pattern in their older children of same first+middle initials, so there were a lot of rules/parameters/hopes to keep in mind — it was so fun to work on! And the name they ended up choosing is fantastic.

Janelle emailed me recently to let me know they’ve since had another baby! Their new little lady has a name that’s just as great and meaningful as her big siblings’ names … Rosemary Ruth!

Janelle writes,

Rosemary Ruth follows our naming rules of nature reference, Bible name or faith meaning, and alliterative first/middle. Rosemary (and various names that can be nn Rosie) has been rising in popularity but it still fits with the generational association of the other girls. We call her Rosie or Rosaroo. The other kids call her Gherkin.”

(Gherkin!! 😂 ❤ )

I appreciate that her name reminds me of my grandmother Marie, who lived a long and faithful life worthy of remembering and emulating, and my mother and my husband’s aunt, whose middle names are also Ruth.”

Isn’t Rosemary Ruth a fantastic combo? I love how it checks off all their boxes, and has family significance as well. Great job!

Congratulations to Janelle and her hubs and big sibs Elanor, Peter, Inessa, and Andrew, and happy birthday Baby Rosemary!!

20190929_123540

Rosemary Ruth


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

Birth announcement: Basil Grace!

Happy Easter!! He is risen!!

I posted a birth announcement for Kate’s third baby a few years ago (Kate writes at The Rhodes Log blog, and also: check out the amazing little cabins she and her hubby are building for sweet Texas getaways!), and was so excited when I saw she was expecting number four! Kate and her hubby welcomed a baby girl and gave her the delightfully unexpected and beautiful name … Basil Grace!

Kate commented on her birth announcement on Instagram,

[My husband and I] really struggle to agree on names. We often find that we are both attracted to names that feel a little too bold and we bail on them. (Jake was almost Huck. Lucy June was almost Juniper.) Basil has been on the list a long time … baby four finally made us brave.”

Oh man. I am so glad that baby four made them brave! Though I love all the names they’ve chosen. ❤

When I asked her more, Kate wrote,

We only had a boy’s name picked out when she was born, and I hadn’t researched Basil thoroughly even though it’d been on our girl list for a while. But I’ve since discovered that Basil is known as the Holy Communion plant because it was allegedly found at the foot of the true cross and consequently was later used to decorate communion rails. So that was a delightful find!

Her name also shares a root (rather obviously) with Basilica.

Her due date was near the feast of St. Basil, and so we knew going in that if it was a girl she’d probably be named after him — [but we pronounce her name] ‘Bay-sil.’

Basil for a girl! Said like the plant! With a great patron saint and an etymological connection to the word “basilica”! I love the repeating long A sound in Basil Grace (mirroring the long U of her big sis Lucy June, which I also LOVE), I love how fresh and summery Basil feels (similar to how I’d said her big brother Roman’s name brings to mind “‘roamin’ roads,’  which totally fits the vibe I get from them”), and I love how Basil has basilica like Roman has Rome. I love the way Kate and her hubs think!

Congratulations to Kate and Jacob and big sibs Jake, Lucy June, and Roman, and happy birthday Baby Basil Grace!!


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

Birth announcement: Ev@nd3r H@wth0rn!

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

She writes,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Baby name consultation: New baby in the Huset!

(I’m cracking myself up over the title. 😂)

Yes! Today’s consultation is for Jenna and her hubby Daniel at the blog Wilber Huset! I was SO excited when Jenna asked me for a consultation because they have the BEST taste in names, so interesting and unexpected! In fact, their kiddos’ names are what caught my attention in the beginning! (And then, I always love “meeting” converts and hearing their stories, and my husband’s mom was 100% Norwegian but he doesn’t know much about his Scandi heritage, so I like that Jenna’s into that, and she’s just really fun to read [how we met stories are the best!] and posts gorgeous photos of her gorgeous kids on her blog and Instagram, so — lots of reasons to read/follow!)

Their older kiddos are:

Oliver Henry (Ollie)
Atlas James
Primrose Lucia (Prim; Lucia pronounced the Italian way)

Amazing, right?! (The links go to their naming stories, which I have read many times and never stop loving.)

They’re expecting their fourth baby, a boy! Jenna writes,

We are so so so excited. Only problem is, we had a girl name decided already and can’t seem to land on a boy name but that means that I finally get to have your help, ha!

I think overall I’m hoping to find a name that will balance out how much of an outlier Atlas is in my sibset. I love his name so so so much, but I feel like anything similar to the commonness of Oliver will make it stick out even more so.

We tend to like Scandinavian-ish names for boys, but my husband is on a Spanish name kick that I’m struggling to get behind. I find it hard to name an almost inevitably fair baby boy Mateo, haha, but am open to suggestions!

Here is a list of names we can’t use for one reason or another:

Bradley
Brian
Casimir
Cedric
Christopher
Connor
Dustin
Errol
Eric
Ferris
Francis
Issac
Jayden
Jacob
John
Joseph
Kurt
Kyle
Larry
Logan
Michael
Peter
Robert
Richard
Phillip
Russel
Ryan
Samuel
Stephen
Scott
Toulouse
Wesley
William

Some Saints that are important in our family are:

Saint Anne
Saint James (both)
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Fatima (LOVE JACINTA! Plus Palm Springs is one of our favorite places and it’s at the bottom of the San Jacinto Mountains)
Saint Junipero Serra (our parish is one of the missions he founded)

According to Jenna’s name posts, these are the kinds of names she and her hubs have considered:

Girl
Apoline
Lilja

Boy
Erlend
Jasper

Alrighty, so from Jenna’s email, I really latched onto this: “I think overall I’m hoping to find a name that will balance out how much of an outlier Atlas is in my sibset.” I, too, would gravitate toward doing so — I don’t at all mind having a bunch of different styles at play in a family, but I love finding names that “bridge” the styles in subsequent children, to kind of make sense of it all. Not that it’s necessary at all, of course! I also love when parents’ love the names they’ve chosen for their children, whether they “go” together or not.

All that said, I thought maybe a little explanation of what I see when I look at the older Wilber kids’ names might help. I see a lot of nature and landscape: Oliver makes me think of olives, especially as a brother to Primrose, which is so lovely and flowery. Atlas makes me think of the earth, both because of the depictions of the Titan, and because of maps (and that was before I remembered that Jenna had majored in geography!). Apoline makes me think of apples every time I say it, Lilja certainly fits in with flowery Primrose, and Jasper is a kind of rock. Erlend seems a little bit of an outlier here, and I’d actually never heard of it until I read in Jenna’s Oliver post that he was in Kristin Lavransdatter – doh! I’ve started it at least twice and just cannot get through it! (If you know a better translation than the one I linked to, please let me know!) That said, I get a little bit of an old-man vibe from it, which may be how others perceive it as well if they’re not familiar with the literary reference. Not that that’s a bad thing!

I want to point out also that Oliver and Atlas share a theme of “strength,” with Jenna loving Oliver’s “leader of the elves” and “home ruler” meanings, and Atlas the Titan being strong enough to hold up the sky. Also, Jasper being a kind of rock, fits in with that, and even Apoline connects with that, as it’s related to Apollo, whose name might be derived from the actual word for “strength.” So many connections!

So I basically looked for names that I thought could fit with a nature and/or strength meaning or feel for this little guy. You all know I rely heavily on the Baby Name Wizard, with its lists of names that are similar to each other in terms of style/feel/popularity, but I knew it wasn’t going to be too helpful for for Jenna and Daniel, and I was right. I did take a look, but I relied more on my gut (a little risky!) as well as the list of Norwegian names at Behind the Name; I also used the Name Matchmaker and Nymbler as well; and I checked to see about Harry Potter connections with each name (from Jenna’s Oliver post: “In the back of my mind I thought it would be a cute homage to HP if all my kids names somehow came for the HP series…. how old was I!? ANYWAY. I already loved loved loved the name Oliver so it worked with that trend (Oliver Wood! yeow!) and I loved the name Apoline (Fleur Delacour’s mother, duh!)” haha!). I focused pretty heavily on trying to come up with ideas that had a nature feeling, or a “strong” feeling, which may be too narrow a focus, but it helped prevent me from winging all over the place. I hope it’s not overkill! These are my ideas:

(1) Orion
This might be too mythological for them, since Atlas is obviously so, and even though they want to loop Atlas in more I don’t suppose they want to go overboard with his style either, but Orion was my very first idea for Jenna’s baby boy, with the idea of bridging Oliver and Atlas. I like that it’s an O name like Oliver — to me, that links them pretty strongly — and that it’s a mythological name like Atlas. It’s also nature-y because of it being a constellation, and I love that it has a “strong” meaning as well: Orion’s a hunter! Also, while Oliver and Atlas seem very different at first blush (but not so much if you dig a little deeper into meanings), Atlas is not so unusual that it’s unfamiliar, so if their goal is balance (which I take to mean, bridging styles or making sense of how they all fit together, which to me means pulling Atlas closer to Oliver rather than going even farther out with an even more unusual name), I think a name like Orion is a good one, because it’s also not totally unusual or unfamiliar (though certainly on the more uncommon end of the spectrum).

(2) Sirius
Speaking of Orion … Sirius (the star) is referred to as Orion’s dog in Homer’s Iliad — I love that it’s a star name, which fits in with the nature theme, and it’s a Harry Potter name, so I’m thinking this might be a really cool name for this family! Especially since their other kids don’t have *obvious* HP names — I mean, I wouldn’t suggest Sirius to a family who already has a Harry and a Hermione, but as a brother to Oliver, Atlas, and Primrose? I’m kind of loving Sirius!

(3) Rio
I’m really interested to see what they think of Rio. It means “river,” which fits in really well with a nature theme, and it totally ties in to the map/geography feel of Atlas! It’s also Spanish, which is a nod to Daniel’s recent interest in Spanish names, and it also makes me think some faith-y things, specifically the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro and Pope Francis’ visit to Rio as well (especially since watching Pope Francis get elected seems like it was a catalyst for their conversion). And Rio’s just a fun name! One caveat is that I’ve seen it used for girls — there’s the Duran Duran song about a woman named Rio, and 38 girls were named Rio in the U.S. in 2015, but 103 boys were named Rio and the -o ending almost always is masculine.

(4) Ransom
I love love love the name Ransom — I love that it’s got a little bit of a pirate feel, which is so fun for a little boy, but it’s got a Marian connection too, in the title Our Lady of Ransom! That title is tied to Our Lady of Mercy —
in fact, the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, also known as the Order of Mercy, or the Mercedarians, was originally called the Order of Our Lady of Ransom. Reader skimac told more about them here — they’re pretty amazing, and the title is an awesome inspiration for a boy’s name! It doesn’t have a nature meaning, but Ransom has that characteristic of “strength” to me that I see in Oliver’s and Atlas’ names.

(5) Romero (or Oscar?)
Speaking of interesting, masculine Marian names, I recently discovered that Romero is the Spanish word for the rosemary plant! So of course that makes it Marian to me, and Spanish, so Jenna’s hubs might like it. Also, I love Bl. Oscar Romero, which then made me think of Oscar, and I thought that might be more their speed anyway (and a nice compromise for the two of them because Oscar’s got good Scandinavian use *and* good Spanish use!). Like with Orion, I could see Oscar being a good bridge name between Oliver and Atlas — it’s kind of in the middle of the two unusual-wise I think.

(6) Rune
When I was going through the list of Norwegian names at behindthename, I came across Rune and immediately loved it for them — especially because it made me think of the class Ancient Runes in Harry Potter! I know in Norwegian it’s technically said like ROO-na, but I love the sound of ROON and I think that’s how people would probably say it anyway, so I’m going to say go with ROON. I love its meaning “secret lore,” which is so mysterious and otherworldly — I think for that reason it really fits in well with the mythological association of Atlas.

(7) Sten
I also found Sten when going through that Norwegian list, and not only do I think it has a cool sound, but its meaning is “stone,” which is great for a nature-y and “strong” theme!

(8) Viggo
The more I think about it, the more surprised I am that they don’t have Viggo on their list! It’s Scandinavian and is related to the meaning “war,” which isn’t great from a violence and killing perspective but does fit in with a theme of “strength” I think (and they could totally intend for it to refer to “spiritual warfare” or similar). Natalie Hanson (married to MMMBop Taylor Hanson) is an incredible namer, and a name nut like us, as well as a devout Christian, and she named one of their boys Viggo, which is a plus in my book.

(9) Campion
Speaking again of strength, Campion means “champion,” and is also of course the last name of St. Edmund Campion. Ancestry.com even says it originated as a “status name for a professional champion,” which seems right up Atlas’ alley!

(10) Everest
I love that Everest immediately calls to mind Mt. Everest, which is such a great thing for the Wilbers, since it’s nature-y, geologic (geological?), and strong. It’s also familiar without being familiar, if that makes sense — a great bridge between Oliver and Atlas I think.

(11) Fox
At first I had Fennec here instead — a type of fox — I thought an animal name might be a fun way to have a nature-y name in a new category, and Fennec feels really name-y to me … and then I remembered why it feels namey, which is the reason I crossed it off the list: Finnick from Hunger Games (on its own, I love it, but as a brother to Prim, probably too much!). But then I thought, maybe just Fox? I know a guy named Fox (it’s not his given name — I don’t actually know what his given name is) and I love it — it’s like an outdoorsy Felix, and strikes me as both kind of hippie and also tough. Also, and this is a bit of a stretch, I say Fox almost the same way I say Fawkes, and while I don’t think Fawkes is workable for the same reason I wouldn’t recommend Faulkner or similar-sounding F- names, Fox is fine, and if it makes them think of Fawkes they could sort of count it as an HP name? Maybe?

(12) Caspian
Ooh I love this idea for them. The Caspian Sea provides all the nature-ness they could want, and Prince Caspian adds strength, chivalry, royalty, and Narnia!

So those are all my first-name ideas for Jenna and Daniel (or they could be middle name contenders of course, if they prefer)! Unfortunately I couldn’t come up with any HP connections for any names but Sirius and Rune and possibly Fox, but that’s what middle names are for, right?

I also wanted to address their special saints:

— St. Anne: I’ve known a couple of parents wanting to honor St. Anne in their sons’ names, and the ideas they and I have had have revolved mostly around the “Ann” sound — Anselm, Anthony, Anton, Anson, Ansel. If their intention is to honor her, I think all of these ideas are great! And in fact, Anne, that spelling (but pronounced like Anna), has use in the Frisian language as a male name — a short form of names beginning with Arn- (e.g., Arnold, Arnulf, and the Norwegian Arnt). Anne or Arnt could be interesting possibilities? Another is to use St Anne’s husband’s name, which could be really great for them anyway, even as a first name, since it’s got good use in Scandinavian countries: Joachim or Joakim. In English it’s said JO-ah-kim, so Joe is a natural nickname (though I’d use Jake, and I’ve tried to convince my husband of Joachim for ages). It’s probably even better as a middle name, where they don’t have to worry about pronunciation as much.

— St. James: I know they’ve already used James, but this might be the perfect example of when it’s okay to use a variant form of a name they’ve already used. James is the Latin form of Jacob, so Jacob could be great, OR, since Jenna’s hubby is loving Spanish names and they love OL of Guadalupe, perhaps Diego? I’ve seen some academic disagreement over whether it’s actually a variant of James (via Santiago=St. James) or not, but I do believe it’s usually translated that way, and the impeccably researched Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources has Diego listed as “a contraction of Santiago.” I can see Jenna’s point about naming a blondie with a Spanish name, but I love putting names like that in the middle. Diego would be a super cool middle name!

— OL of Fatima and Jacinta: I’m so with them on this! I went on a pilgrimage to Fatima the summer I turned 13, and it was *the* turning point for me faith-wise; I also chose Jacinta as my Confirmation name because of my connection with Fatima. I love her and I’m so excited for her canonization IN TWO DAYS! I could see Jacinta being an awesome name for a future daughter or, more immediately, they could do the Spanish Jacinto for a boy, which would be kind of great because the baby’s being born in the year Jacinta is canonized. Either way, the name totally works with a nature theme because they’re the Spanish masculine and feminine versions of Hyacinth. You might be familiar with the Pioneer Woman’s best friend Hyacinth (a woman), whom she refers to on the show often as Hy; there are also a bunch of holy Hyacinths who are all male — not sure which one San Jacinto refers to, but it’s a pretty cool connection!

— St. Junipero Serra: As with Diego and Jacinto, I think a meaningful Spanish name would be smashing in the middle name spot, and I could see Junipero working perfectly. Or just Juniper, which has traditional use for boys. Also: nature name!

And those are all my thoughts for the new little Wilber man! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Oliver, Atlas, and Primrose?

Spotlight on: Lily

Months ago one of you asked me via email if I would do a spotlight on Lily, and I’m delighted to oblige today!

There’s so much to say about Lily! First: the flower. The lily is a gorgeous flower, and a gorgeous flower name; as such it can fit in well with other nature-y names from Rose and Heather to River, Willow, and Sage. I love versatility! The lily flower also has a bunch of faith connections — according to this site they include:

The lily is a symbol of purity, and has become the flower of the Virgin. Originally, in Christian symbolism, the lily was used as the attribute of the Virgin Saints. The lily among thorns has become a symbol of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin because of the purity she preserved amid the sins of the world.  The Annunciation, is very much associated with lilies. In many of the scenes of the Annunciation executted [sic] during the Renaissance, the Archangel Gabriel holds a lily, or a lily is in a vase between the Virgin and him. Thus, the lily is also an attribute of the Saint Gabriel.
 
Sometimes the Infant Christ is represented offering a spray of lilies to a Saint, symbolizing the virtue of chastity. As a symbol of chastity, the lily is the attribute of several Saints, among them St. Dominic, St. Francis, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Clare, and St. Joseph. The fleur-de-lis, a variety of lily, is the emblem of royalty. A fleur-de-lis was chosen by King Clovis as an emblem of purification through Baptism, and this flower has since become the emblem of the kings of France. This is why the flower is the symbol of St. Louis of France and St. Louis of Toulouse, both members of the royal house of France. The fleur-de-lis was also the emblem of the city of Florence. As an attribute of royalty, the fleur-de-lis appears on crowns and sceptres of kings and Saints, and is given to the Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven.

… The lily of the valley is one of the flowers that signals the return of spring. For this reason it has become a symbol of the Advent of Christ. The whiteness of its flowers and the sweetness of its scent it is a symbol of the Virgin Mary, especially of her Immaculate Conception. The latter meaning is based upon Canticles 2:1 ‘I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the valley.'”

A more compact list of holy people and events with whom lilies are associated is here. I also liked this bit from this site:

Flower associations with Mary’s divine prerogatives include, for example, those associated with her Assumption … Among these are the apocraphyl legend of the roses and lilies found in p[ace [sic] of Mary’s body in her tomb; St. Bede’s 6th Century discernment of the tranlucent [sic] whiteness of the petals of the white lily as symbolizing the purity of Mary’s body and the gold of its anthers as symbolizing the glory of her soul, as she was assumed into heaven … Besides the Assumption flowers previously mentioned, there is the white day lily, known as Assumption Lily from it’s mid-August bloom around the time of the August 15th liturgical feast of the Assumption

So lots of beautiful connections for Lily!

But wait! There’s more!

Lily is also a traditional nickname for Elizabeth! Abby at Appellation Mountain explains it thusly:

Before you cry, “No, nope, never – Lily just cannot be a nickname for Elizabeth. That’s all Lillian,” pause and consider this. Lily and Lillian probably started out as nicknames for Elizabeth, at least some of the time. My best guess is that the overwhelming majority of people don’t know this – I’ve found a few message boards with comments like “Lily is not a nickname for Elizabeth.” So, okay, it’s not common knowledge. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t so. The current Queen of England, Elizabeth II, was called Lilibet as a child, which makes me think that the Lily-Elizabeth connection was alive and well until sometime in the early twentieth century.”

At least one of you readers has a daughter named Elizabeth who goes by Lily (you know who you are! If you want to chime in, please do! 😊), I love that option! (I spotlighted Elizabeth here.)

There are lots of Lily names, all of which can trace back to the same faith connections mentioned above. Of course there’s Lillian, which is perfectly in tune with names like Alice, Clara, and Eleanor. Liliana is another gorgeous option, which pulls in St. Anne. 🙂  (Liliana could totally be a Mary+Anne name, or an Elizabeth+Anne name, love it!) Lilia/Lilya is a Slavic variant that I love so much it’s on my long list. Lilly, Lilli, Lili are all legit variant spellings of Lily.

What do you think of Lily, and/or what more do you know about it? Would you name a daughter Lily, or have you? If you would/did, would Lily be the name on the birth certificate, or would it be a nickname for something longer — and if so, what?

Updated to add: How could I forget to include the connection to St. Kateri?? She’s known as the Lily of the Mohawks. 💕

Flowers for Mary, part II

I posted a Flowers for Mary post ages ago, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referred to it since then in consultations and my own research for other things. And — breaking news! — I just now clicked on the link I refer to in the post, in order to give some examples of the great names there, and it says Forbidden! What! I’ll have to dig deeper on this, but in the meantime, the actual reason I started writing the post (providential timing!) was to direct your attention to this infographic:

MaryGarden

from Catholic Extension (infographic used with permission).

How great is this resource?? I’ve suggested Lily, Rose, and Violet a million times as Marian names, and I love the descriptions of their Marian connections here.

And I was so excited to see Daisy as being a Marian flower — I hadn’t ever seen that, and I’m forever going on about how Daisy is such a great nickname for Margaret — I LOVE the idea of a Margaret nicked Daisy being able to claim St. Margaret and Our Lady as patrons!! (I’ve already made a Marian connection with the name Pearl, which is what Margaret means, and the Irish Margaret — Mairead — is so similar to the Irish Mary — Maire … I’m leaning really close to calling Margaret a Marian name!)

I’ve also seen Marigold connected to the Crowning of Our Lady (Mary’s Gold), and of course I love all these ideas for an actual garden of flowers and other plants (not just a garden of blooms of the baby variety ☺).

What’s your favorite floral Marian name?