Baby name consultation: Strongly saintly+Marian names for baby no. 4

Please keep in your prayers the family of longtime Sancta Nomina friend Rosie from A Blog for My Mom — her two month old baby girl, Margaret Mary, died a few days ago. There are efforts to support the family, if you are willing and able — links are included in this post.

Here’s the latest consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams:

Mama Lucy writes in:

I am pregnant with our 4th child. Praise God! This babe is due in February 2022. We are not yet sure what gender this baby is, and I’m out 100% sure we will find out before birth! Our names for a boy and girl were set before we were even married, but the third was debated (mostly only by me ha!) until I saw her face.”

This baby will join big siblings:

  • Michael Dominic
  • Clara Marie-Therese
  • Gianna Marie-Rose

She writes:

Our girls have the Marie- _____  middle so that each one would be sure to have a Marian name. We kind of stole it from Louie and Zelie Martin. We also like that they will always share that even if their last name changes down the road. We have unintentionally gone with Italian saints for the girls first names so far, and I’d like to break from that so to not get too stuck on it. It’s not that we only like Italian names. Those just happened to feel right.

If we have another boy we’d like another strong saint first name (St. Michael) and a nod to Mary with the middle (st. Dominic spreading the rosary). Michael’s initials are MDW just like my husband’s and his father’s. I do love the name Jackson though and would love a baby Jack, maybe you could help find a saint connection? 

The only other non-canonized saint on our (very long) list is Anna Mae. This was my paternal grandmother’s name, and I love It but we have a lot of short a sound in or girls and the “Anna” in Gianna already. Am I overthinking? Names do not have to be canonized saints but we’d love a connection to our faith. Virtues, places, etc. I LOVE nicknames. Our first two mostly go by their first names but Gianna goes by Gigi, Geeg, and Geeger, and my husband and I both Love that she has multiple nicknames. We’ve discussed having a Lily Marie-Catherine and calling her Lily-Cate in the past. I also have a devotion to the miraculous medal. Catherine Laboure is another Catherine I’d love to honor. Like I said though, so many Catherine’s in the family already.”

Names they cannot use:

  • Caroline
  • Louie
  • Catherine (“So many variations in our family, but my confirmation saint was Catherine of Alexandria and I‘d love to honor her somehow“)

Names they like but don’t feel like the one:

  • Joseph
  • Peter 
  • Benedict
  • Karol (“as a middle“) 
  • George (“if Gianna was a boy she was going to be George Karol, two saints we love + GK for GK Chesterton who is one of my husband’s favorite authors“)  
  • Bosco (“nicknamed Bo“) 
  • Augustine (“I love Gus and Auggie!“) 
  • Sebastian (“Bash! I saw on this blog and loved!“) 
  • Jackson/Jack
  • Zelie
  • Beatrice (“my husband loves that a girl named Beatrice is what inspired Dante’s writings“) 
  • Anna Mae
  • Vianney (“I love St. John Vianney but we don’t like John, but again with that short a sound/ann“) 
  • Felicity (“husband is not a huge fan, I need nickname suggestions“)
  • Lily
  • Alice 

So first, I thought I’d give some thoughts on names they said they like but don’t feel like “the one”.

Joseph– Great, strong name, especially in this year of St. Joseph. Has a built-in Marian connection, too! Lots of great nickname potential here, too, including Joe, Joey, Joss, and Seph.

Peter– Another great, strong name literally meaning “rock”. Doesn’t get more solid than that! I love this name because it has so many faith and pop culture connections but is still fairly underused. I love the nickname Pete, too.

Benedict– I see a pope theme emerging! Another really great, strong name with lots of nickname potential. If they named their son Benedict Joseph, they could also call him Banjo, like a slur of Ben Joe. (Someday, someone will take me up on this and it will be glorious!)

Karol– They said they like this in the middle spot and, with their other kids, I agree. Pope St. John Paul II had a huge and very public Marian devotion, which is wonderful. Karol is also the Polish form of Charles, meaning “army, warrior” which is super cool for a kid of the faith. I love all the connections here.

George– On the rise but still fairly uncommon. I love this name. Nicknames here can be Georgie, Geo, Jory, or, a little bit of a stretch, Rory.

Bosco– This veers a little bit from their strong names for boys in that it’s not traditional or classic but is still very strong and is a trendy surname name. I think this is a really cute name, especially with nickname Bo, and St. John Bosco is a lovely patron.

Augustine– Can’t go wrong with this one, although it’s not a classic name but it is still very strong. I LOVE the nickname Gus and Auggie is super cute, too. Fun fact, this name means “exalted, venerable” which is cool considering St. Augustine is a Church Father and a Doctor of the Church.

Sebastian– Love this name and it has been growing in popularity. This would bridge the gap between their son’s name and their daughters’ names really well, too. I LOVE the nickname Bash! It just reminds me so much of a little boy.

Jackson/Jack– Super popular and trendy but because they’re such good, strong, classic names! They asked for a faith connection for these. Jack is a diminutive of John and Jacob (through the French Jacques) so any saint John, Jacob, or James (Jacob and James are etymologically the same name) can be patron! Lots and lots to choose from! Jackson could mean “follower or devotee of [insert patron saint John, Jacob, or James]” which is a cool connection. Jack has also come into being a slang term for a man which could then relate it to the Italian Guido and there’s a super cool Servant of God Guido Shaffer who could be patron. He was a Brazilian doctor, seminarian, and surfer, and has been proposed as the eventual patron saint of surfing.

Zelie– Super on-trend, rising Catholic name. I absolutely adore this name. It’s got the cool Z beginning and the lovely -ee sound ending. St. Zelie was also amazing and this brings them away from the Italian saints like they said they wanted

Beatrice– One of those clunky cool old names coming back. This is another Italian name, though, but just so lovely and I don’t think it has a very immediate Italian connection. It means “voyager, traveller” which is what we’re doing in this life. In this way, it could be a cool nod to St. Therese who said, “The world’s thy ship and not thy home.” There’s a St. Beatrice of Rome and several other Blessed Beatrices.

Anna Mae– I love this combo and I don’t think Anna is too close to Gianna. The one thing for consideration here is that Mae is a form of Mary, so they’d have to figure out a different way to do their Marie- middle name. Maybe Anna-Mae in the middle and a different first?

Vianney– This was super unexpected! St. John Vianney is a lovely patron but I just didn’t expect this for a girl! They could do nicknames Vi or Annie with this name for her, too.

Felicity– Great name that’s rising in popularity. They were wondering about nicknames for this so I’m assuming they thought of Lissy and didn’t like it. Flick and Flicka are two unexpected nicknames and a Hungarian diminutive is Zita (I know this is also an Italian name and might defeat their trying to get away from Italian names rule). Another nickname could be the literal “Happy”, which is the meaning of the name or “Lucky” which is another meaning of the name.

Lily Marie-Catherine nn Lily-Cate– Oh my goodness! I read this and I just felt like this is “the one” for them! It checks all of their boxes! It moves them away from Italian saints, gets their love of Catherine in there, stays the course with all of their girls having Marie- middle names, and has a lovely nickname! I really think this one is it for them.

Alice– Another clunky cool old name making its way back. I like this for them and with their other children. It’s a short form of Adelaide and there are a couple Sts. Alice or Adelaide to take patronage from.

On to new suggestions! Let’s start with the boys first.

(1) Joachim/n

This uncommon names means “Yahweh establishes” and is the name of Mary’s father. I think they might like this best in the middle but it does shorten to Joe, which is an especially cute nickname in this year of St. Joseph. Their love for Karol made me think they might like this name. It’s still strong, just not classic, and gives them more leeway in naming any future children. It opens up their style a bit without going completely left field. Again, though, I think they may like this in the middle best.

(2) Gabriel

It doesn’t get much more Marian and classic, strong than this name! It means “God is my strong man”. Gabriel was the archangel at the Annunciation and is also the name of St. Gabriel Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows, giving it a double Marian punch. This would mean that two of their sons would have the same names as Archangels, though.

(3) Luke

St. Luke wrote the most Marian Gospel, which is what gives this name its Marian connection. It’s simple, sweet, and classic. I don’t think they could go wrong with this name and it fits so nicely with all of their other children.

(4) Thaddeus

He was the apostle also known as Jude and the name means “heart”. The nickname Thad is adorable, too! Likewise, an unofficial suggestion is Theodore. I think they may like this one for the same reasons and it has lots of nickname potential like Theo, Ted, and Teddy.

(5) Gerard

I always think of this name as a Marian name since he is the patron saint of expectant mothers. It’s classic, underused, and strong. I really love this name for them. It has a ton of nickname potential like G/Jerry, G/Jer, or, starting to stretch it a bit, Gordo or Rory.

Now for girls. This one was a little harder for me because their tastes lean Italian but they wanted to get away from that. I cast my net really wide for these suggestions and I think they’ll like what I’ve thought up.

(1) Alexandria

I thought of this one because of their love for St. Catherine of Alexandria. It gets one of their Catherine names in without using Catherine and is more unexpected. There’s TONS of nickname potential here: Alex, Ana, Ria, Alexa, Lexi, and even Alix or Alice! This name has the flourish like their other girls’ names without being an Italian name, which I think is something they’ll appreciate.

(2) Sophie

It’s a French name! And it means “wisdom”. There are lots of Sts. Sophia to take patronage from and I thought it would be cool to use a French name to honor an Italian saint, like they’ve done before. However, there’s also the French Bl. Madeleine Sophie Barat for patronage!

(3) Zoe

A Greek name and saint! St. Zoe of Pamphylia was a mother who lived in the 3rd century and watched her whole family be tortured and martyred. She’s an incredible, little-known saint. Zoe was also the birth name of St. Catherine Laboure. This name came to me because of their love of Zelie, it’s got all the same things going for it, plus it’s the Greek word for the spiritual life.

(4) Madeleine

Another French name! It’s the French form of Magdalen, so she could take her patronage there. St. Mary Magdalen also accompanied Mary to the cross, so it’s a solid Marian name, too. There’s also St. Madeleine Sophie Barat. Sophie Marie-Madeleine or Zoe Marie-Madeleine are just so swoony to me!

(5) Charlotte

I took their love of the name Karol and kind of ran with it. I thought they might like the feminine, French form Charlotte. There are lots of Venerable Charlottes, most of them martyred in the French Revolution. One other stood out to me, though, Ven. Marie-Charlotte Dupouy Bordes founded the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of Mary, making it a Marian name in another way.

These are my thoughts. What does everyone else think?


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!

Birth announcement: Leo Nicholas!

Don’t forget to check out the two consultation I posted this week — yesterday’s and Monday’s!

I did a private consultation last fall for Sarah and her husband, and I’m delighted to share that their baby boy has been born and given the fantastic name … Leo Nicholas!

Sarah writes,

I wanted to let you know that our boy, Leo Nicholas arrived on March 5! We are all delighted. We had great naming debate, the front runners all along were Anthony and Leo (I was able to convince my husband to bring it to the table and eventually he grew to like it), though we strongly considered Charles (and others from your list — Dominic and Benedict were discussed often).”

Leo Nicholas!! So strong and handsome!!

Congratulations to Sarah and her hubby and big sibs James and Gianna, and happy birthday Baby Leo!!

Leo Nicholas

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! (And check out my buy-the-book-get-a-consultation deal!)

Birth announcement: Benedict Reid!

Longtime Sancta Nomina friend Jenny Uebbing (creator of the Mama Needs Coffee blog and the Off the Charts ministry/membership site designed to support, equip, and educate married couples in their use and knowledge of NFP, and endorser of my book!) has had her baby! When I saw the baby’s name, I was so excited because of my long history with Jenny and names — I had the privilege of doing a consultation for her fourth baby (and birth announcement) and her fifth baby (and birth announcement), and I remembered that this baby’s first name AND middle had been long discussed by Jenny and her hubby as possibilities, but they’d never felt quite right. Of course, it’s because THIS baby was meant to have these amazing names! I’m thrilled to share that Jenny has had her fourth baby boy and gave him the fantastic name … Benedict Reid!

Jenny writes,

Wanted to let you know we had another strapping boy: 9 lbs 14 oz, we’re calling him Benedict Reid for Pope Benedict and my dad (3 generations named Kenneth Reid, wanted to honor his victory over cancer this past year) nn Benny and Big Ben😂.”

I looove it!! My own little Luke has the middle name Benedict in part because we love Pope Benedict so much, and I love the nod to Jenny’s dad in the middle. A super heavy hitting Catholicky Catholic name like Benedict can definitely take a less faithy middle! I think it’s such a great combination!

Congratulations to Jenny and her husband and big sibs Joseph Kolbe, John Paul Francis, Genevieve Therese (Evie), Luke Maximilian, and Zelie Grace, and happy birthday Baby Benedict!!

Benedict Uebbing


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: Linus John!

I’m still working on catching up on birth announcements from the last several months, but I couldn’t not post this hot-off-the-presses announcement for a baby born Sunday!

I did a consultation and birth announcement for Emily’s second little guy a few years ago, and I’m thrilled to announce that she’s had another little boy — an Easter baby AND a rainbow baby! She and her hubby gave him the so-handsome name … Linus John!

I love Linus! And I love it with his big sibs: Simon Matthew, George Stephen (happy feast day, Buddy!), and Frances Xavier (with Jesus). A great, saintly crew!

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Linus!!


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: Thomas Gregory!

I had the great privilege of posting about Laura a few times in the past, including a birth announcement for her last baby, and I’m delighted to share that she’s had another baby! Another handsome boy, given the fantastic name … Thomas Gregory!

Laura writes,

I wanted to share with you and your readers that we welcomed Thomas Gregory on August 27. He joins Paul, Clare, Mark, Katharine, James, Andrew and Gabriel.

Some pregnancies I have agonized over the name but this time I decidedly quickly to use Thomas a name I’ve loved for a long time. The alliteration with our last name has held us off in the past but you, along with others I’ve mentioned it to, said that they didn’t find the flow problematic. My husband has definitely had more sway with the last two babies’ names so he was more than willing for me to take the lead. He has always loved the name too but just hesitated about the flow.

Thomas of course fits in with the other boys New Testament names. St. Thomas the Apostle always reminds me of the Holy Eucharist because of the tradition of repeating his prayer “My Lord and My God” after the consecration.

His middle name, Gregory, was the name of my mom’s older brother who was killed in the Korean War. I was close to my grandmother when she was alive and still feel quite close to her so passing along the name of her only son is meaningful to me and of course to my mom and her sisters as well. Also my due date was September 3 which is the feast of St. Gregory so that also made it feel like the right time to use the name.”

Is Thomas Gregory such a wonderful, strong combo?! I love the meaning behind each name! (And he was due on the feast of St. Gregory! So cool!)

Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Thomas!!

thomas_gregory

Thomas Gregory

Birth announcement: Francis Leo!

I posted a consultation for Erin and her husband back in January, and Erin has let me know that her little green bean has arrived — a baby boy given the handsome name … Francis Leo!

Erin writes,

I wanted to just let you know baby is here!
We have another BOY!

Francis ‘Finn’ Leo was born February 22, 2018 weighing 8lbs 10oz and 22inches long!

After you sent the consult I went [and] looked more around your blog and came across a post about Francis and using the nickname Finn instead of the common Frank. It immediately spoke to me and I told my husband and he loved it! Since we loved Francis and really wanted that as a middle name because Frank just wasn’t our style Finn being a nickname option pushed us to make that his first name. (Francis is my paternal grandfathers middle name.) Then we thought about middle name. We wanted something to refer to my husband because our other boys all have a strong tie to my husband. My husband decided Leo would be perfect. Leo is his maternal grandfathers middle name. His grandfather passed away when his mom was young so my husband never met him.

Both Francis and Leo are such strong catholic names too. So many Saints to look up to!

He has such a special name. Thank you for helping us find the perfect name for our little man!

I’m SO EXCITED that Erin and her hubs are using Finn as a nickname for Francis! I love it so much! And Francis Leo is just such an amazing, saintly combo!

Congratulations to Erin and her husband and big sibs Caleb, David, Isaac, and Lucilia, and happy birthday Baby Francis “Finn”!!

Francis Leo with his family ❤

Birth announcement: Leo Ignatius!

I posted a consultation for Arenda and her husband back in January, and Arenda has let me know that her little green bean has arrived — a little boy given the aMAZing name … Leo Ignatius!

Arenda writes,

I just wanted to let you know that we had a little baby BOY! He was born at home (which was planned) on Sunday morning, but sped into the world so quickly he was delivered by myself and Jeremy, whom I woke up 8 minutes before the baby was born (not planned!). But the Lord took care of us and all is well. We’ve named our little lad Leo Ignatius.

During my pregnancy, I’d been so sure that this little one was a girl, so I focused most of my baby name thoughts on girl names. When he was born and we found out he was actually a boy, I was totally shocked — and not sure about the boy name we’d chosen. I mentioned this to Jeremy (“To be honest, I’ve barely thought about baby boy names! I think I need some time before we decide!”), and so we talked about various names. Then we read through your baby name consultation again and, though I’ve suggested Leo several times before and Jeremy’s always said no, this time he loved it. We read a bit about Pope St. Leo the Great online (defender against heresy) and both agreed he would be a wonderful patron saint for our little lad. His middle name is for St. Ignatius. Like your husband, Jeremy read the letters of St. Ignatius early on in his journey to the Catholic Church, and found them very convicting.

Thanks again for your wonderful consultation, and for suggesting Leo — we love it! 🙂

PS — I attached a couple photos, one of our little sweetie, and one of what life with four little ones looks like most of the time! Haha! 🙂 “

Isn’t that a wonderful story?? I was so excited to read it! Leo Ignatius is such an amazing combo!

Congratulations to Arenda and Jeremy and big sibs James, June, and Alice, and happy birthday Baby Leo!!

Leo Ignatius with his big brother and sisters 😀 ❤

Birth announcement: Benjamin Peter!

I posted a consultation for Laura last summer, and an addendum a day later, and I’m delighted to share that she’s let me know her little guy has arrived and been given the so-handsome name … Benjamin Peter!

Laura writes,

Good morning, Kate!

I just wanted to let you know that we welcomed out little guy! He was born exactly six weeks ago today on January 12th. Name wise we went with out gut instinct — Benjamin Peter.

I’ve never really been one to name a baby in-utero, but this time around it’s almost as if he named himself. No matter what, we just kept coming back to Benjamin, and when I would talk to him I’d use his name. I just find Benjamin to be such a strong name but also so sweet. I love it’s Biblical roots and although it seems to be gaining popularity, I still feel like it’s not super common.

We chose Peter as the middle name as a nod to both my grandfather and father. My grandfather was born Pietro but when he came to the US everyone called him Peter, so when my dad was born they named him Louis Peter. And of course St. Peter is pretty awesome, so there’s that.

And just to refresh your memory, Benjamin (also called Ben and Benji — a fun nickname from his siblings) joins

Matthew Darren
Margaret (Maggie, Mags) Claire
Abigail (Abby, Abs) Regina

I looooove Benjamin, and I love it with Peter! What a handsome addition to this wonderful family!!

Congratulations to Laura and her husband and Matthew, Maggie, and Abby, and happy birthday Baby Benjamin!!

Benjamin Peter with his big siblings ❤ (and check out Laura’s Instagram for more photos of this sweet family!)

Birth announcement: Gregory Conrad!

I posted a consultation for Amanda and her hubs a couple of months ago, and she’s let me know her little guy has arrived and been given the amazingly perfect name … Gregory Conrad!

Amanda writes,

Gregory Conrad was born yesterday, the feast of St Cecilia (patron saint of musicians) and the anniversary of when this sweet little guy’s daddy asked me to marry him 13 years ago.

Our Little “Rory” is named after Pope St Gregory the Great, who was also a wonderful musician and created the Gregorian Chant, and his daddy, Vincent Conrad, who was named after a grandfather Conrad as well. 🙂

I thought you would also like to know that on the way to the hospital, we looked up male patron saints of musicians and Gregory was at the top of the list. That kind of made up our minds, even before we saw his face, because Gregory and Sylvester were our top two at that point!! If that’s not a sign from Heaven, I don’t know what is 🙂

We let [daughter] Ellie pick his middle name when the kiddos met him, giving her the choices of Lucas, Conrad, or Jonah (because it means stubborn!). She was pretty tickled to get to help. We will also shorten it to “Rory” or even ‘Gregor’ … but not ‘Greg,’ as I’m just not crazy about one syllable. Please keep baby and I in your prayers, as it was a very long and difficult labor and delivery. So thankful he is here and healthy!

Gregory with the nickname Rory was on Amanda’s initial list this time around, and it’s an option I’ve long loved and suggested on the blog! I love it! There’s so much meaning in this little guy’s name and birth, from the connection to music (Amanda’s a musician), to his birthday being the anniversary of the day Amanda and her hubs got engaged, to his name being a five-syllable combo, just like his big brothers and sister, wow!

Please do keep Amanda and her baby boy in your prayers! Congratulations to the whole family, including big sibs Oliver, Elizabeth, Theodore, Henry, and Adrian, and happy birthday Baby Gregory!!

Gregory Conrad with his mama and big brothers and sister

Spotlight: Callixtus

I really wanted to post a name spotlight today, and could not for the life of me think of a name to spotlight! I have a running list of names I’d like to feature, but I can’t put my hand on it at the moment (and if any of you are waiting for one that I’ve promised, maybe shoot me an email to remind me! So sorry!). So I asked my oldest, who I had to pick up early from school because he wasn’t feeling well, what some of his favorite names are, and was surprised that Callixtus was in the mix! So that’s today’s name!

My son was like, “I’m not sure you’ve heard of this name,” and I was like, “Do you even know me, boy?!”, but beyond being a collector of Catholic names (although I admit I’ve been surprised a time or two by new-to-me names), I knew a friar/professor in college with the variant Callistus (his religious name), and I’ve actually given it some thought, mostly because of the nickname Cal, which I love (the friar went by Fr. Cal).

Behind the Name gives Callixtus as a variant of Callistus, “the spelling perhaps influenced by Latin calix ‘wine cup.'” Callistus is from the Greek Kallistos, meaning “most beautiful,” and the feminine name Callista is from the same. I just said to my son, “Callixtus is from the Greek for ‘most beautiful'” and he said, “Oh! I thought it came from ‘chalice.'” What a smartie! Our “chalice” comes from “calix,” so he really did know more about the name than I did!

There are a bunch of Sts. Callistus, including two Popes (Pope St. Callistus I and Pope St. Callistus II), and funny enough, when I searched CatholicSaints.info for Callixtus, only Pope St. Callistus I comes up — he’s got an interesting story. I kind of like the X spelling — X is a hot letter right now, and I really do like the connection to “chalice.” I also looked up Calix because I thought I’d remembered seeing that name on a child before, and it does seem to be mostly given as a short form of Callixtus, though a calyx is also the “chalice-shaped” part of a flower. I’m loving all these connections to the chalice! Callixtus is such a meaningful name!

What do you think of Callixtus (or Callistus)? Would you name a boy so, or have you? What nickname would you tend toward (Cal or Calix), or would you use a different one?