Happy Monday, everyone! Enjoy this week’s consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams!
Mama Sarah writes in for help naming her fifth child, a little green bean. Baby will join big siblings:
“Always a fan of Saint names, especially saints who had a special love for Mary.
Plus James (grandpa), Patrick (husband’s patron saint), Alice (an aunt who passed away this year). I feel kinda funny taking names from a country that we have no heritage from… but that is not an absolute. Our backgrounds are from Poland, Germany, Ireland, England, France, and Omaha Indian. We like names that have a good nickname too.”
So many fun things to consider!
Names they like but aren’t sold on:
“Boys- Maximilian (after St. Maximilian Kolbe), James, Felix, Patrick, Ezra. Leaning towards Maximilian James or Felix James. Looking for more options…
Girls- Gianna Catherine (both saints with feast days near my due date, plus I have a special place for St Catherine of Sienna), Veronica Catherine, Zita Rose, Viviana Therese, Annalice Catherine. Open to other options, just haven’t had anything really stick out as a winner.”
I love so many of these names.
Names they can’t use:
“Pretty much have crossed off any top 10 names and anything difficult to spell or not phonetic.”
Additionally, they cannot use:
On to names!
First, about the names they like but aren’t totally feeling.
Maximilian — I love this name for them. I love that it’s Polish and connected to a very Marian saint. It goes so well with their other kids, too. I especially love Maximilian James.
Felix — I love that this is their other frontrunner right now. Goes great with their other kids and has the bonus of meaning “happy” which is just such a bright, fun meaning for a kid. Felix James is incredibly handsome.
James — I like this in the middle spot for them and I love that it’s an honor name. I really feel like
this has to be their son’s middle name if they have a boy. It’s just so loaded with goodness for
Patrick — Great, solid name that goes well with the other kids. I love that it honors dad in a different way. You just cannot go wrong with a little Patrick.
Ezra — I wasn’t expecting to see this on their list and I’m so glad it is! It’s fun and unique but still fits in with the other kids. I can see why this doesn’t feel like “the one” though.
Gianna- I was surprised to see this on their list because it’s so different from their other girls’ names. That’s not a bad thing! It would definitely widen their taste. I felt this way about most of the names on their girl list, actually. Gianna Catherine is a beautiful name and I love the connection to saints’ feasts near Sarah’s due date and her love of St. Catherine of Siena.
Veronica — Great name, surprised to see it on their list, think it goes well with their other girls. I
love the nickname Vera for this name, too. Veronica Catherine is so chic.
Zita Rose — Completely and utterly surprised by this name in a good way. They’re actually a little more daring than their other kids’ names and facts Sarah gave me imply!
Viviana Therese — Beautiful name. I love this expanded version of classic Vivian and gives their taste in names a much more romance language vibe than their current kids. It fits right in and yet expands their taste at the same time.
Annalice — At first I was confused by this spelling of Anneliese but then realized the “Alice” portion is to honor their aunt who passed. I love this. I think it’s a really sweet spin on a name that fits right in with their other kids. Annalice Catherine is just so full of meaning and gorgeous. This would be at the top of my list for them. The only thing is that they’ll constantly have to spell and correct pronunciation of it for the rest of her life.
On to some new ideas! Let’s start with the girls.
Two things gave me this idea for them, their Polish heritage and that their other two girls have middle names that begin with E. Servant of God Emilia Wojtyla was Pope St. John Paul II’s mother. So she’s Polish, an almost saint, and her name begins with E. This name is also a little more romance-language inspired than their current kids’ names but like the ones on their not quite list. Catherine Emilia and Annalice Emilia are both beautiful. As a bonus, here are some other E names I thought they might like in the middle spot: Edith, Esther, and Eleanor.
This is an Old Testament name like Naomi and also a form of Mary, putting it on par with Josephine. I loved that this form of Mary gave them an Old Testament connection and is less popular than other Mary variants. Miriam Edith, Miriam Emilia, Miriam Esther, Miriam Eleanor, and Miriam Catherine are all really stunning and go beautifully with their other kids’ names.
I was thinking of different Old Testament names that fit with Josephine and Naomi and this one came to mind. She was a daughter-in-law of Judah and a daughter of King David, which I thought was a cool connection to Sarah’s husband David, like Isaac is a cool connection to Sarah. Servant of God Dorothy Day named her daughter Tamar Teresa and I’ve always thought that’s beautiful. Tamar Catherine and Tamar Emilia are also really beautiful.
This one came up while I was looking for Biblical names and thought it was a great fit for them. It means “bright, pure”, so it has a similar meaning to Catherine and is the name of a saint who was a friend of St. Paul’s (you can read about her in Romans). It stretches their naming style just a little bit without going crazy but still fits in really well. Phoebe Catherine is beautiful but the meanings may be a little redundant. If they think that’s the case, I also love Phoebe Esther and Phoebe Emilia.
Another name that popped up while I was researching Biblical names. She was the woman restored to life by St. Peter and I’ve always thought that was really cool. Tabby is a cute nickname and Tabitha Catherine, Tabitha Emilia, and Tabitha Eleanor are all really stunning.
Now for the boys!
When Sarah said they like saints who honor Mary and already had Maximillian on their list, this was the next name I thought of. Mary gave the Rosary to St. Dominic and he founded the Dominicans. As a plus, the name means “of the Lord” which is super cool and sweet! Dominic James is such a handsome name and fits right in with the other kids.
I thought of this name because they said they have German heritage. Little known fact, but Bruno is actually a German name! Even though places like Italy and Spain use the name quite a bit, too. St. Bruno founded the Carthusians. The name means “armor, protection” or “brown” and I think the armor meaning is particularly cool for a little boy. I like that this name is short and sweet like their other two boys. Bruno James is cool and grounded.
The next Marian saint that came to mind was St. Louis de Montfort who is famous for writing a consecration to Jesus through Mary and True Devotion to Mary. The name also means “famous battle” which is cool for a little boy. I’m super fond of the nickname Lou, too. The only drawback here is if they care if any of their kids share initials. A Liam and a Louis might be too much for them? Louis James is so classically handsome.
I was looking up Polish saints and Bl. Edumnd Bojanowski came up. He founded or co-founded four religious congregations devoted, in some way, to Mary, which I thought was cool for them. The name Edmund means “rich protection” and doesn’t rank in the 1000 of baby names. Edmund James is stunning.
(5) John Paul
Maybe a little obvious? Personally, this is the only double first name I like. The obvious connection here is to Pope St. John Paul II who was extremely Marian and, bonus, he was Polish. John means “Yahweh is gracious” and Paul means “small, humble” and I just think they’re so powerful together. John Paul fits right in with their other kids, too, and John Paul James has a beautiful, strong rhythm and flow.
These are my suggestions. What do you think?
I’m back on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back from time to time, as I hope to open up a few spots here and there as I’m able), 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.)
For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!