Celebrity guest: Katie, mom who did the John Paul + middle thing really well

I met Katie, one of you wonderful readers, at the Syracuse Catholic Women’s Conference in October, and I got to meet her littlest guy, snoozing away in his wrap (soooo cute. I.love.babies!), who has one of my very favorite names for one of my very favorite saints: John Paul!

So of course we started chatting about names, and she was telling me that her husband hadn’t wanted John Paul to have a middle name, because he thought that three names was too much, and my interest was immediately piqued, because I know this very issue has been struggled with regarding this very name by some of you (and myself as well!).

So I was literally waiting with bated breath to hear how they resolved it (not even joking, I’m a little breathless about names 😂) when we got interrupted (this sweet old lady came over to tell Katie how much she reminded her of the Madonna and Child, which she totally did) and I never heard the rest of the story.

So yes, I emailed Katie! And we had a nice virtual chat and she said it would be okay for me to post about her John Paul’s name, as well as her seven other kiddos’ names! I’m so excited to introduce this beautiful family to you today and share their names with you!

To start, here’s the end to the John Paul + middle name story:

Yes, he said three names were too many so we were at an impasse. I ended up having a c-section bc baby turned to breech in labor. After [my husband] saw the c-section, I was wheeled back into my room. He said “I’ll name this baby anything you want!” So we went with John Paul on the birth certificate but John Paul Anthony is his name on his baptism certificate, birth announcement, etc. Turns out the husband was just worried about the blanks on the birth certificate form.”

Isn’t that a fantastic solution?! I could see a lot of people being really relieved to let go of the idea that the child’s name can only be what’s on the birth certificate. Like, the legal name is the legal name, but the legal name doesn’t have to be *the name*, you know? I kind of love the idea of a baby’s *real name* only being official with the Church and friends/family/real life. And doing so opens up so many options!

Of course I wanted to know what little John Paul Anthony’s big sibs were named, and I really love each one of them and the reasons behind them:

Daniel Thomas (“named for family friend & my step-dad“)

James Michael (“we liked James & Michael is for my husband“)

Joseph William (“we just liked those names“)

Benjamin Jon (“liked the name Benjamin, Jon is the husband’s middle name“)

Samuel Luke (“I liked the names & the Bible theme…kids liked Sam Gribley from My Side of the Mountain and Luke Skywalker from Star Wars“)

Twins:
Robert Jacob (“Robert because the husband REALLY liked the name and I was so pregnant with twins that I had no energy to argue. Jacob is for my great grandfather“)

Mary Lucille (“Mary for my grandmother, Lucille because we were going to call her Lucy. But when she was born, I was asking for Mary’s intercession in labor & as I was hemorrhaging after. So when I held our little girl, I felt like a heel not calling her Mary. 😁 “)

John Paul Anthony (“love JP2, all the dads and grandpas are named John. Anthony is because with all these boys, I have a devotion to St. Anthony. Without him we would never go anyplace bc we would never have keys or socks“)

My naming style is less traditional…if it were up to me, we’d have Gavin, Ignatius, Leo, Henry, etc. the husband likes the 80s names…So I consider our name choices a good compromise.”

I LOVED reading all of this! All those boys! And that one sweet little lady! I died over Katie’s comment that Mary Lucille was supposed to be Lucy but after Our Lady’s intercession in labor “I felt like a heel not calling her Mary”!! 😂😂😂

 

Thank you so much to Katie for sharing all this fun and fabulous info with us! Check out her beautiful children (all photos taken by Mary Wiseman):

View More: http://weekly.pass.us/katie-1

Age order: Daniel, James, Joseph, Benjamin, Samuel, Robert, Mary, and John Paul

Some really cute ones of her younger kiddos:

Clockwise from top left: John Paul, Samuel, Joseph, Mary and Bobby, Dad and Bobby, Mary

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Celebrity guest: Quad mom Justina

I don’t remember how I came across Justina, but I think it was on Twitter … I swooned over “Setting the world on fire, Catherine of Siena style” in her Twitter bio as well as her marriage/NFP/pro-life posts, so I already knew she was my kinda girl, and then when I was clicking around as you do when you “meet” someone new online, I checked out her and her husband Matt’s wedding photos and honeymoon photos, which are like from a magazine (both the photos and the subjects — stunning couple!), and then I discovered she was expecting quadruplets (!!!!). Well. I was immediately smitten with this beautiful mama, and followed her on Instagram to keep up with her journey, and when she had the babies I just died over how precious they are.

And their names! So amazing! Of course I had to ask her if she would mind sharing their story, and she graciously agreed, and I’m so delighted to share it with all of you today! So without further ado … ((drumroll)) … read all about the Kopp Quad Squad!

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Kate: Quadruplets are a big deal! Would you mind sharing your reaction to finding out you were expecting four babies? Especially after previously losing a baby? Is there anything else about your story you’d like to share?

Justina: Quads ARE a big deal! After losing our first baby, Francis Jude, to an early miscarriage just seven weeks into our marriage, we went through a season of unexplained secondary infertility, most likely due to PCOS. After a few months of working with my doctor, we found ourselves very pregnant! The chances of this were less than 0.3%. I’ve heard estimates as low as 1 in 700,000! At that first ultrasound at 6 weeks, Matt and I were nervous about an ectopic pregnancy because I had been feeling sharp, specific pain. At the beginning of the ultrasound, I thought I saw four gestational sacs, but I didn’t want to say anything and assumed I was wrong. When we saw the first baby’s heartbeat, we both cried with joy because we had never seen that before with our Francis. Then the sonographer chuckled and labeled that baby, Baby A. Next came Baby B. We got so excited about twins! Then, the sonographer found Baby C, and we laughed and made jokes about how I would grow a third arm during the pregnancy to accommodate triplets. The sonographer took a look at the fourth gestational sac, and it was empty. Strangely, we felt peace and I thought about how that little saint would join Francis in heaven. Our doctor stepped in to take a peak, and I noted that we hadn’t gotten a photo of Baby C, and as she went back for that, Baby D appeared in the fourth sac! QUADS! We just LAUGHED! There is nothing else to do by laugh in that situation! Don’t worry, though; two days later, everything hit us and we panicked a bit.

Kate: Did you know the genders ahead of time, or were you surprised (and therefore have to pick eight names)?

Justina: We found out the genders at 16 weeks. We had enough surprises for that pregnancy, so we chose to find out. I refused to brainstorm names for all the possible gender combinations, so we really didn’t talk about names until we knew what we were having.

Kate: I’d love to hear your thoughts on the particular challenges of picking names for four babies!

Justina: Four names was hard, but not as hard as it would have been for us if we were having more girls! I could name boys for days, no problem. That girl name, though… that was the challenge. For the past five years or so, I’ve kept a running list of boy names and girl names that I liked. When it came to naming our daughter, I looked at that list and hated every name I saw! For a while, I wasn’t sure we’d be able to find one we liked!

Kate: Could you list your babies’ names, and tell us how you and your hubby choose them? Were there particular saints you wanted to honor, for example? Are there layers of meaning to each name other than the obvious? (E.g., family names, that kind of thing.) Any other place you looked to for inspiration? (If you named your baby in heaven, I’d love to hear about him or her as well, but I understand if you’d prefer to keep it private.)

Justina:

Cora Immaculée – We knew we wanted our little girl to have a Marian name, but we didn’t want Mary, Marie, Maria, etc. This little lady had a bright spot on her heart in her early ultrasounds, so that brought name Cora, which means “heart” or “maiden.” Immaculée is a nod to Our Lady. Together, her name means “Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Raphael Gerard – St. Raphael is actually both Matt’s and my confirmation saint! Matt picked him because he’s the patron saint of travelers, and I picked him because he’s the patron saint of physicians (I had my eye on a career in medicine) and because my parents named my miscarried siblings Raphael. The real kicker is that St. Raphael is the patron saint of singles and happy meetings. So, here we are. Happily met with a lot of babies. The name means “God has healed,” a fitting name for a pregnancy after a miscarriage. Gerard was a last minute switch from Blaise. The babies were born on the feast of St. Gerard, the patron saint of expectant mothers. We call him Raph (rhymes with calf).

Theodore Ambrose – Theodore is the name of Matt’s late maternal grandfather, and both Theodore and Ambrose are family names on my side. Theodore means “God’s gift,” which is kind of funny because Matt’s name also means “gift of God.” Sts. Theodore and Ambrose are saints that we both admire, too. St. Theodore was a martyr and one of the “soldier saints.” St. Ambrose played a huge part in St. Augustine’s conversion, served the poor, and stood up against heresies of his time. These two saints together represented the unique calling we have as Catholics in this age, to defend our faith bravely and pray for conversion of hearts. We call this little guy Theo.

Benedict Peter – We both came up with this name on our own and brought it to each other one night. When we studied in Rome, we both got to read at papal Masses with Pope Benedict XVI, and I think I *might* be B16’s biggest fan. St. Benedict is also a saint we admire, and we love that the name means “blessed.” Peter was also my dad’s name. He passed away 9.5 years ago, and I wanted to honor him without taking away an opportunity for my younger siblings to use the name as a first name when then have children of their own someday. St. Peter is also the saint that just gets me, as we are both Sanguine/Choleric. We call our sweet boy Ben.

Francis Jude – Our little saint is named after St. Francis and St. Jude. St. Francis is a saint that I grew close to during my semester in Rome, and on our honeymoon we spent a few days in Assisi. We felt such joy and peace during our time there, and it stands out for both of us as such a special time in those early days of our marriage. St. Jude was picked because he is the patron saint of impossible causes, and gosh, did things feel impossible after losing our first baby. Both of these saints are October saints, which is when we lost our sweet babe. Francis can also be Frances, as we do not know the gender of our saint.

Ultimately, we wanted our children to have strong, traditional, and timeless names. We love what we picked for our kiddos. They are all fraternal, so we wanted them to have names that could stand alone if they were not quadruplets, too.

Aren’t these names ah-MAZ-ing??!! And every single detail of the naming is so perfect!!

Be sure also to check out Justina’s blog, Love Multiplied, whose first post (which she purposely put up this past Sunday on the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade 💕) tells more about finding out they were expecting quadruplets, and their meeting with the perinatologist. Such a great witness!

Thank you thank you to Justina for sharing her family’s wonderful story with us!! Check out how big and happy these beautiful babies are!!

Cora Immaculée, Raphael Gerard, Theodore Ambrose, Benedict Peter

(Cora, Raph, Theo, and Ben)

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Baby name consultation: No. 5 green bean 🌱 — solid, saintly, no nicknames

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day/Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God!

Vanessa and her husband are hoping for baby No. 5! Vanessa writes,

My husband David & I have a unique situation in that we’ve adopted our 4 children. We’re on “the list” again and there’s no telling when (or if!) our next little one might arrive. We could receive a phone call next week, in 3 months, in 2 years or not at all (you get the picture!)…Also, we have no idea if we’d be adopting another boy or another girl next time as we are not able to specify a preference.”

A new little one will join big sibs:

Nicholas Benedict (“his birthmom chose his first name Nicholas but we changed his middle name to Benedict. We LOVED the name Nicholas but had never considered it as a first name – when he was already named Nicholas, we immediately loved it! (As it turns out, he inherited much generosity from his namesake, St. Nicholas!) We received the call about our son when Pope Benedict was in the US for his historic visit in 2008. We decided while watching the news coverage to pray to St Benedict for his intercession and at that point decided if it worked out, we would change his middle name to Benedict. Of course, the rest is history!“)

John Paul (“we gave him this name after St Pope John Paul. We had always loved and admired the beloved Pope and we wanted our son to have a wonderful saint and holy Pope to look up to. Of course, John is very loving, just like the beloved Pope was.”)

Mark Thomas (“we gave him this name after St Mark and St Thomas More. We chose Mark because we met his birthmom on the feast day of St Mark (April 25). We have always loved and admired the fortitude and perseverance of St Thomas More and we loved the idea of using this name. Ironically, Mark’s birthday is the birthday of St Pope John Paul and he came home to us on July 11, the feast day of St Benedict! Clearly, he was born to be our child – God knew he would be in our family!!“)

Mary Catherine (“we gave her this name after Our Lady and also after St Catherine Laboure. We have always loved the miraculous medal and we loved the name Catherine. Mary was born on the sixth anniversary of the day Nicholas came home to us! (It was even a Thursday, just like in 2008!) Also, she came home to us on 5/19/2014, the day after Mark’s 2nd birthday.”)

What wonderful names! And the name stories! I totally had goosebumps reading all the fun and amazing details!

Vanessa and David have several naming rules/considerations:

1. We don’t really like nicknames for our children. With the exception of Nicholas, our other children’s names can’t really be shortened. This was intentional. We also call Nicholas by his full name as often as possible. We hope he’ll always be “Nicholas.”
2. We definitely want our children to have saints or biblical names so they know WHO they were named after and who they can learn about to look up to and admire.
3. We haven’t ever really considered any names that are trendy or too unique or too far “out there.”
4. We love to consider saints’ feast days for any special or noteworthy days around the birth, placement, birthparent meetings, etc. Since we have no idea when or if a child may come to us, this happens along the way if a match happens.
5. For a boy, we want the name to be a “strong” name – nothing too trendy or weak/feminine sounding. Also, nothing that could pass as a girl name and vice versa for a girl. (No unisex names!)

Some boy names they’ve considered include:

Andrew (“we don’t really love “Andy” or “Drew” so we have shied away from using this name, although it’s still a possibility“)
David (“this is a strong contender if next child is a boy. He would be named after his dad and luckily, there’s a St David! We could use this as a middle name or a first name“)
Christopher (“perhaps for a middle name, but this name doesn’t really work as a first name with our last name (since it starts with “S”)“)
Dominic (“David LOVES this name (and I do too) BUT I’ve always thought it was too close to “Nicholas.” I have always thought this could not be used because of our Nicholas. We love that St Dominic received the rosary from Our Lady“)
Anthony (“We love this name but we do NOT like “Tony.”“)
Joseph (“David loves this name (St Joseph) but see below (nephews). For me, I would think perhaps a middle name, if anything“)

We have 4 nephews: James Michael, Michael Charles, Joseph Brian, Jack David. While my husband David disagrees, I feel we should NOT use any of the first names as a first name for our child. He would strongly consider Michael and Joseph but I would prefer these for a middle name, if at all. After all, these nephews are HIS brother’s children, so they would then have the same first AND last name.”

And names they’ve considered for girls include:

Veronica (“my ABSOLUTE favorite girl name – Mary was almost Veronica, but we felt strongly we wanted to name our daughter after Our Lady, and I didn’t want to “waste” Veronica on a middle name, just in case we ever had another daughter! We love how Veronica wiped the face of Jesus in the Stations of the Cross – what compassion! What a beautiful image (pun intended!)“)
Monica (“I love this name – LOVE St Monica, mother of St Augustine“)
Anna (“I have always loved this name. Love how Anna is the woman with Simeon when the baby Jesus is presented in the temple“)
Therese (“We LOVE St Therese of Lisieux but NOT a fan of “Terry” – also the “s” or “z” sound at the end of any name isn’t great with our last name since it begins with “S.” I think this one is out although it could be a middle name“)

My mother and mother in law both have the middle name “Ann(e).”
My MIL’s name is Ruth and we had a reading from Ruth in our wedding (our favorite verse!). It’s even engraved in my engagement band {“Ruth 1:16-17”}. For these reasons, I could see using Ruth as a middle name.

Recently, especially after reading your post from Lindsay at My Child I Love You, I’ve been thinking Clairvaux or Zelie would be a good name for a girl, although they both go against our past idea that we don’t want anything too unique. While these are definite Catholic references/saints, I think they might be too “out there” for my husband. If I ever won this one, I’d be surprised! Although Zelie could be a fun middle name?

I loved working on this! Regarding the names Vanessa and David have on their list of considerations, first I have to say (which you all already know) that I almost always start a consultation by looking up in the Baby Name Wizard the names the parents have already used and those they like as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. So I had to laugh when I was looking up the names on this family’s list — they’re all style matches for each other! They have very consistent taste!

So I love all their boy ideas. I do think Andrew and Anthony could be “just Andrew/Anthony” if they stuck with it, like they do with Nicholas. David also — I know a couple little Davids, and they all go by just David, never Dave/Davy, etc. In fact, I think these days people are much less likely to automatically nickname a child who’s been introduced as a formal name. So all that works in their favor!

As far as Christopher — yes, I can see why they’d prefer it to be in the middle spot because of having an S last name, but I also don’t think it’s the worst thing ever.

Re: Dominic being too similar to Nicholas — on the one hand, I can see what Vanessa means, especially with Nic(k) being common enough nicknames for both. But, on the other hand, Veronica and Monica both have the “nic” within them, and Nicky is a common enough nickname for Veronica, so I don’t see any reason for Dominic to be dropped from the list if Veronica and/or Monica stays on it. However, that said, I suspect that Nicholas, Dominic, and Veronica/Monica might be too much “nic” for one family, and since Veronica is Vanessa’s favorite girl name, maybe Dominic should bow out. But then, maybe they won’t have another girl? Gah! It’s a hard one to figure out! I am sure, though, that Veronica and Monica are too rhymey for sisters.

Of the girl names on their list, I think that (besides Veronica), Anna/Anne is one of their best options, since Anne can’t be shortened and I don’t think Annas really ever get shortened either. Both are gorgeous names and really fit their style (according to the BNW). I love Ruth too, and it would be unexpected as a middle name, which I love.

I totally get their feelings on Therese, like Christopher, and though I think Tess is more likely than Terry these days, that doesn’t solve the problem of running into the S last name. It would definitely make a great middle name for them though, beautiful! I’m loving the idea of Anna Therese or Veronica Therese.

And Clairvaux and Zelie! I’m so surprised by them both! They’re both great, and I could see them both as a middle name as well. Anna Clairvaux … Veronica Zelie … they totally work!

Okay! So I came up with a bunch more ideas for Vanessa and David, and while I leaned heavily on the BNW for ideas of names that they might like, I also paid a lot of attention to names that don’t nickname easily:

Girl
(1) Clare/Claire
I was going to suggest Clare/Claire anyway, because of its non-nickname-ability, and when I read that Vanessa likes Clairvaux I thought aha! It totally fits the style of their other kids!

(2) Lucy
Lucy is just one of the sweetest names, and isn’t very nicknameable — I love it for this family!

(3) Rose
This is such a sweet one-syllable name — Marian and traditional with a little vintage feel!

(4) Helen(a)
I’ve been seeing Helen and Helena getting a good amount of love lately, and I don’t think most people would think to nickname a Helen (though Nell can be used if one wanted to use a nickname for Helen; Helena can shorten to Lena or I think Nell could work there too, but the one Helena I know in real life has always only been Helena). Dwija from the blog House Unseen, Life Unscripted named her youngest Helen Margaret, so cute!

(5) Hildi
I think lots more people would name their daughters after St. Hildegard of Bingen if her first name wasn’t so clunky! But I do know one little girl who is named after her and goes by Hildi and I just die over how sweet it is! I would totally do *just Hildi*, and I’m loving the idea of Hildi Ruth — I kind of love how antique that combo sounds!

(6) Sara(h)
Sarah was actually a huge style match for this family according to the BNW and since it doesn’t really reduce down I thought it definitely deserved a mention. There’s a St. Sara of Antioch (feast day April 20), and Sarah the Matriarch of course.

(7) Natalie
Natalie and Natalia both did quite well for Vanessa and David in my research as well! I thought Natalie was more their speed than Natalia, and though it can nickname to Nat, all the Natalies I know go by the full Natalie. I also love its meaning — it literally refers to Christmas Day (from the Latin natale domini — “the birth of the Lord”).

(8) Julia
I thought Julia was another name that would be a good fit for them style-wise and also because the Julias I know all go by the full Julia, never Julie/Jules. A lovely, regal name!

Boy
(1) Jude
I actually don’t think that Jude is their speed — it has a bit of a hipster feel to me, which I love, but I think their taste skews more classic (not that Jude isn’t a classic — you know what I mean!). But being one syllable, I thought it deserved a mention!

(2) Blaise
As with Jude, I’m not sure they’ll love Blaise, but it’s one syllable and super saintly, so maybe!

(3) Stephen
I was actually inspired by David to suggest Stephen for Vanessa and David — it has a similar feel to me as their other kiddos — classic, handsome, saintly — and I know two Davids who have brothers named Stephen! And they all go by the full Stephen, not Steve/Stevie.

(4) George
I think George might be my favorite idea for this family! Between St. George and Pope Francis (born Jorge [Spanish for George]), and with two other boys being named after recent Popes, it’s a great pick for a little Catholic boy!

(5) Henry
I think Henry is just one of the sweetest names for a little boy! There are so many great Sts. Henry to choose from, and no obvious nickname! (Hank, yes, but not terribly obvious just from hearing Henry.)

(6) Adam
I feel like this suggestion seems a little out of left field, but when I saw Adam as a style match for Christopher I thought they might like it! It hasn’t got any nicknames, and there are a bunch of holy Adams (which I was surprised to discover!).

(7) Robert
Robert is a pretty big style match for this family, and I’ve been loving it recently — it’s so solid and handsome, and I love hearing it in Downton Abbey. 😁 It’s probably in the same category as Stephen and Nicholas — Vanessa and David would have to actively make sure that no one shortens it. St. Robert Bellarmine’s great!

(8) Peter
Like Robert, Peter did really well for them in my research; like Robert, they’d have to make sure no one shortens it to Pete/Petey. But otherwise I love it for them!

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother or sister of Nicholas, John, Mark, and Mary?

Birth announcement: Peter Edward!

Blair from Blair’s Blessings, whose consultation I posted on Halloween, has let me know her little guy has arrived and been given the so-handsome name … Peter Edward!

Blair writes,

Our little one has arrived!

Peter Edward
11/29/16
7 lbs 15 oz, 19 in

Welcomed with love by Blair and Steven
and siblings Mary Clare, Elizabeth, Steven, Thomas, and Katherine

Thanks to your encouragement and that of the Sancta Nomina commenters, I felt better about choosing Peter. We still had a hard time choosing the middle name though! We ended up going with one of the few names that neither of us nixed, Edward. It was the name of my husband’s paternal grandfather and the church where I was baptized. It also highlights our British heritage and current parish involvement in the Anglican Ordinariate of the Catholic Church. My 6th c-section went very smoothly, and we are so grateful to God for this gift of new life!

Peter is a name I’ve recently been loving — and I love that Blair felt we were all helpful in her becoming comfortable with it! (And now he can use that monogrammed Peter bag!) I also love the significance of Edward! “It also highlights our British heritage and current parish involvement in the Anglican Ordinariate of the Catholic Church” — definitely seems like Edward was the right middle name!!

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Peter!! (And if you’re into birth stories like I am 😍, Blair posted Peter’s here.)

Peter Edward

Celebrity guest: Sharon from Baby My Love

I attended the Syracuse Catholic Women’s Conference at the end of October and had the very great pleasure of meeting someone I’d only known by her handle — mommashaunie (and how hilarious is it when you’re meeting someone in real life that you’d previously only known online and you whisper self consciously, “Are you mommashaunie?” 😂) — who turns out is actually named Sharon, and she was selling the gorgeous wares from her Etsy shop Baby My Love (“Knit bonnets and hats, leather moccasins, diapers, wool covers, blankets, lovey’s, burp cloths, wipes, bibs, nursing covers, boppy covers, headbands, knit animals, and everything in between”) (on Facebook and Instagram as well) which, if I could have, I would have bought all of because they were all.so.beautiful.

We also had a little chat about, um, names, and I loved her kiddos’ names so much I had to share them here! Fortunately she was game — I think you’re going to love all these!

Names…Names have definitely been something that Zeb and I enjoy when a new baby comes along. I truly believe that God has a name chosen for each soul He creates, and it’s our job to discover it. I take this job VERY seriously. 😉 

Our first, is Miss Gemma Agnes. I was determined to name my first girl after my grandmother, who was my world! Her name was Agnes Emma, but she despised her first name. So naturally I was going to go with Emma Agnes, BUT, one of my sister and Brother-in-law’s [named their baby] Emma 5 months before our baby was born. Zebulon suggested just switching to Gemma Agnes, and once I read St. Gemma’s story, I was hooked.

Our next girl was “going” to be Bernadette Marie, but I had a dream about a little blonde swinging at the park, and she did NOT look like a Bernadette, she looked like a Felicity (I ALWAYS loved the story of St. Felicity and Perpetua), so we went with Felicity Anne, and low and behold, she is a brunette. LOL!

My husband had requested the name, Nicodemus, for his first son, from almost the moment that we first met. Our next conception was a 13 week miscarriage, though we didn’t know the gender, we chose Baby Nic to be for either girls or boy (Nicholas or Nicole).

Next, we were blessed with a son, and he is our Nicodemus Joseph.

Our next conception was our dear, sweet, earth side saint. This little one was a sweet princess and at 30 weeks, I had still NOT pinned down a name, I was thinking Gwendolyn for a while, but it just wasn’t sticking. I had gone through the Butler’s Saint books, and still, nothing felt right. I kept badgering my husband and telling him that I NEEDED a name for the sweet little one growing within me. One night, when he had had enough of my nagging, he told me to grab the Bible, he kept perusing and mentioning different names, about 5 mins in, he said, ” Miriam” and I jumped on it! It was PERFECT! I was in love with it. We chose, Rose, as the middle name because her two sisters wanted it desperately. On Valentine’s Day, 2009, my water broke at 36 weeks. I delivered our sweet, Miriam Rose, unfortunately, she was only on this earth for 11 hours before God called her home. Her death was caused by septis, Strep Pnuemo that was not from me. She was baptized before passing, so, our sweet St. Miriam Rose has won the prize!

Next, our little Maximus Michael Patrick. He too was named with the help of a dream. We had planned on Francis, but I had a dream at 12 weeks that I was holding a little boy named Maximus, and that is how we rolled. 

Our next little one was an early miscarriage that we named Joy, we actually had already started calling the baby Joy when we found our about her/his coming.

Now, the next was our sweet, little Quintus Edmund. I was stuck on Edmund ( I loved the name AND the saint), but being that he was #5 here, and the fact I had once mentioned the name to my husband, he said it was too ironic that such a name fall on #5 (Quintus), SO….that is how we came to choose that one. 

Our next was Francis Fulton. Again, we loved the name Fulton, but since we had started the “-us” trend [for boys], we felt bound to it. 😉 Francis is a family name, one of our favorite saints, and since it’s also the name of the Holy Father, we felt it perfect. 

Evangeline Marie. For the life of me, even though she is the most recent, I can’t remember what moment or instance we received the prompting for her name. I had been wanting our next girl to be “Eden Marie”, but Evangeline Marie it was, and fitting as well, as Evangelist means, “Bearer of good news”. And being the first girl, since our Miriam Rose, her coming was definitely welcome news. 

Each child’s patron is the saint they are named after, (Francis is St. Francis of Assisi) (Evangeline, John the Evangelist).”

What beautiful names!! And such a beautiful family:

On the left: Sharon and Zeb with Gemma, Felicity, Nicodemus, Maximus, Quintus, Francis, and Evangeline. On the right: Sharon and Zeb with Miriam Rose.

Thank you to Sharon for sharing her babies’ beautiful names with us!! And with Christmas coming, please consider visiting her shop! She’s got a coupon code running right now: ZelieChristmas will get you 10% off your total purchase.

💐🌹💐🌹💐🌹💐🌹💐🌹

Spotlight on: Benedict/a

I haven’t done one of these in ages and it feels goooood to work on one! 😀

One of you dear readers asked me for a spotlight on Benedicta a while ago, so I thought it would be best to add in Benedict as well, as Benedict is the “originating name” in the sense that it was a name first, and then the female variant arose. (Withycombe says that Benedicta is, “Probably as a rule simply a f. form of Benedictus, the man’s name, though there are one or two obscure saints Benedicta.”)

Benedict/a’s meaning rocks: “blessed.” So great, right?! And for us, it also means “any of the Sts. Benedict, and/or the Benedictine Order (especially for those who have a Benedict spirituality), and/or our dear Papa Benny — Pope Emeritus Benedict XIV (aka B16 because we Catholics are cool like that, giving our popes hip nicks. 😀 ).”

Speaking of hip … this image of St. Benedict always kills me, he looks so cool, like he’s just wearing his hoodie, hanging out with friends, like (Catholic nerd alert!) your favorite young seminarian or director of campus ministry. 😀 I hope it isn’t disrespectful to say so! It’s my favorite image of him, and if I ever have a Benedict, I’ll get this icon for him.

st_benedict_of_norcia
Hoping it’s okay that I’m including this screen grab — I’ve seen this image all over the internet and only tonight discovered who wrote it — great job, Br. Claude Lane! I got it from Mount Angel Abbey’s web site.

I know some people have a hard time moving past the Benedict Arnold association that, unfortunately, continues to cling stubbornly to the name, but fortunately that’s only an American problem, and Pope Benedict, Benedict Cumberbatch, and time have all helped to dilute it, and will continue to do so I’m sure.

Benedicta suffers from no such problematic association, as far as I’m aware, and Simcha Fisher’s little Benedicta Maribel — called Benny exclusively and swoonily — is a tremendous example of how such a big name can work on a beautiful little girl.

As far as nicknames go for Benedict, there’s Ben and Benny, and I’ve suggested Bede as a nickname for it, and I’ve recently been loving the idea of Boon(e) as a nickname for it too, if you want something a little offbeat — it means “good,” a similar meaning to Benedict, which just adds to its possible use as a nickname for Benedict in my opinion (Abby did a post on Boone not too long ago, which I loved). I’ve also seen Ned (and Neddy!) — seriously adorable! Benito is a Spanish variant (though … is the Mussolini connection still too strong?) and Benedetto an Italian variant, and I think some of the other foreign variants could really work as nicknames or given names too, like Bendt/Bent (Danish), Bence (Hungarian), and Bento (Portuguese).

For Benedicta, there’s of course Benny and I think Betty, Neddy/Nettie, and even Becka could work. (Which makes me think — Beck could work as a nickname for Benedict too! Fun!) I could see Bonnie working for a girl as well. Benita is a Spanish form and Benedetta an Italian form (and Bettina its diminutive). Pretty!

I can’t not mention also Bennett/Bennet/Benett/Benet/Bennitt — medieval variants of Benedict that can be a little easier to bear while still retaining the saintliness of the name. Withycombe even says that those same variants were used for girls as late as the end of the 17th century! She also says that the surnames Benn and Benson were derived from Benedict, which provide further ideas.

All in all, I think Benedict and Benedicta are great names, very usable. I’d love to hear from any of you who have a Benedict/a or know any — do they like their name? Do they go by a nickname and if so, what is it?

Baby name consultant: Kolbe’s little brother

Happy feast of St. Dominic!! 🙌🐕🐾🙏 It’s a special one too, because this year is the Dominicans’ 800th annivesary of its founding!!

(Off topic but on topic, that link brings you to an interview about this Jubilee Year with Fr. Cassian Derbes, OP. Cassian!)

Being a lay Dominican, today is always a special day for me, and I’m feeling celebratory 🎉🎉🎉 so not only do I have this consultation for you today (I LOVE the Monday consultation posts!), but I have a special treat for you all tomorrow, which is also the feast of St. Edith Stein AND my No. 2’s tenth birthday! I can’t wait for you to see it! What a great couple of days!

But first! Tori and her husband are expecting heir second baby, a second boy! She writes,

Our oldest is Kolbe Daniel. Daniel is my husband’s name and we both really love St. Maximilian. We were considering naming him Eli Augustine which we still like. Other names that were thrown around were:

Lucas
Xavier

And if he was a girl we were thinking Stellamaris.

For this baby we are really liking Blaise … not sure about middle names and that’s the only name we’ve seriously talked about. If he was a girl we were thinking Azelie.”

Well I just love this family’s style — I’m a huge fan of all these names!

I so much enjoyed working on this not only because I love their taste in names but also because it’s pretty fun that they have, in a sense, a pretty clean slate with only Kolbe’s name and a few names they like to use as inspiration.

I was interested to note that Xavier, Blaise, and Azelie all share a prominent Z sound, but I couldn’t think of others that I thought Tori and her hubs might like– I’d be interested in any ideas you all had for Z-sound boy names that would fit with Kolbe.

You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity, but it’s not always helpful for those who love Catholicky Catholic names as this family does—Kolbe, Azelie, and Stellamaris aren’t included in the book, for example. But never fear—I was able to come up with quite a few ideas for based on the names that *are* in the BNW (Eli, Lucas, Xavier, Blaise, Stella) as well as my own ideas.

So! All that said, I did also want to just say that starting with a saintly surname (Kolbe) presents a somewhat of an interesting situation in that most of the names that I would say are most similar to Kolbe’s style are other saintly surnames (I did a post on them a while ago), but if Tori and her hubs choose another saintly surname for their second baby, will they feel like they’ve cornered themselves into a particular style?

I spent some time thinking about that and decided that I think going with another name that seems obviously surnamey—like Vianney or Bosco—for their second baby might very well create that boxed-in feeling. For some reason, it feels different to me than if they named their first two babies with names beginning with K—in general, I would say that a theme hasn’t been created until three or more babies are so named, but the last-name-as-first-name thing is tripping me up!

I decided, though, that I think Xavier is the kind of surname that would be totally fine to use for their second baby because of the fact that it’s been used as a first name for so long that a lot of people (especially non-Catholics) don’t know it started as a surname.

I do think that if they have a bunch of kids, there’s no problem at all with having some with saintly surname names and some with regular first names as long as they’re all interspersed, does that makes sense? Eli and Lucas are both great options that would help mix it up (I’d also love it if they wanted to move Augustine from the middle spot to the first name spot. Or August? Or Ambrose? Ooh — Ambrose has a prominent Z sound! At least the way I say it … maybe that would appeal? I love the nickname ideas Sam, Bram, and Brody).

Of course if Tori and her hubs hate all of what I’m saying, then I hope they know I expect them to completely disregard it! My only hope is to be a help, not to add stress! In the end, giving your children names you love is a great gift.

Okay! So these are my other ideas for this little guy:

(1) Fulton
As with Xavier, I feel like Fulton would be a fine choice for Kolbe’s little brother, since it started as a last name but most people know it as Fulton Sheen’s first name.

(2) John Paul, JohnPaul, Johnpaul, John-Paul
John Paul (or however they’d want to spell it) is such a great match for Kolbe in my opinion! It’s obviously faithy and thought it’s two names together, they’re short names so the whole thing is only two syllables, which seems the length that Tori and her hubs are drawn to.

(3) Bennett
I almost listed Benedict, but Benedict doesn’t seem quite right to me for this family—a bit clunkier maybe than I think they might like—so Bennett seems a great option. It’s a medieval diminutive of Benedict, and it’s got a surname feel (and of course some usage that way), as well as the awesome nickname Ben.

(4) Leo
Leo is an awesome little package of a name—masculine, traditional, and saintly (Pope St. Leo the Great!).

(5) Gabriel
Gabriel’s a style match for both Lucas and Xavier, and I consider it to be a Marian name as well (for the Annunciation). It’s one of my favorite names for boys—full of faith significance, and the friendly nickname Gabe is great (I’ve also seen Gil, which I looove).

(6) Jude
Finally, Jude, for our beloved St. Jude Thaddeus. Awesome name, awesome patron. I did a spotlight on it here.

What do you all think of these ideas? What other name(s) would you suggest for Kolbe’s little brother?