Birth announcement: Judah Abraham!

Happy Thanksgiving week! I hope to post again tomorrow, but just in case I’m not able to, I want to be sure you know to check back in on Friday to see my Black Friday deals!

I posted a consultation for Monica and her husband last year when they were between babies, and I’m so happy to share that they’ve just welcomed a baby boy and given him the tremendous name … Judah Abraham!

Monica writes,

I wanted to let you know that we just had our first boy! Judah Abraham was born earlier this week.

Judah had been in the mix, but not as a front-runner until this baby came into existence and we couldn’t settle on one of our other front runners.

We also officially found out about this baby on the feast of the Annunciation, and he was due in Advent, so I wanted a name with a Joyful Mystery/Advent connection. Judah fit the bill and suited our taste — less common but not totally unheard of, strong sound, multiple great faith connections. Although the biblical character of Judah himself is not the strongest patron, we like that the name represents the faithful line of Judah, Jesus himself, and then also Judas Maccabaeus and St. Jude. We have chosen Judas Maccabaeus as his primary patron. Ironically, he was born early and missed Advent altogether, but we liked the name anyway. :-).

We waffled a LOT on his middle name. It wasn’t settled until after his birth. We … considered several other names, mostly either “strong” sounding options like Alexander or Blaise, or other Hebrew names like Daniel or Isaac, because my husband likes the way they flow with Judah.

Abraham wasn’t on our radar for a middle name at all. It had been thrown onto our list as a curveball first name option that we didn’t consider very seriously, but that was the only time it had come up. (My list is over 100 combinations long, so it was never a serious contender.) After Judah was born we were revisiting options, and my husband threw out Abraham. We liked it and it was a fresh, bold option, so we just went for it! Abraham is both of our favorite patriarch, a strong father in faith, and we think it’s a pretty strong combo. It fits both the “strong” and the “biblical/Hebrew” sounding criteria.

Thanks for your consultation! A couple options from it were on my radar.  I liked Roman, but couldn’t sell my husband on it. Judah was due near the feast of St. Nicholas, and if he was born then I was pushing for Nikolai as a middle name. 🙂 “

Such a fantastic name story for this little guy!! I really love all the reasoning behind Judah, and I always love hearing about a last minute name decision, like what happened here with Abraham — so fun to come up with a new “fresh, bold option,” as Monica put it!

Congratulations to Monica and her husband and big sisters Magdalene (Maggie) and Genevieve (Genny), and happy birthday Baby Judah!!


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!

Names for St. Joseph

A few people have asked for help in coming up with ways to honor St. Joseph (beyond the obvious), which is a fun topic to pursue! I’ve spent quite a bit of time brainstorming and researching, and yet I feel like there must be more ideas out there, so please add yours in the comments! This is what I came up with:

In an article I wrote for CatholicMom a few Christmases ago entitled “Holy Family Names for Christmastime Babies,” I wrote:

Names in [St. Joseph’s] honor for boys include, of course, Joseph, and its variants in other languages, such as Josef and Jozef, Giuseppe, José, and Joosep. Several of the non-English diminutives and short forms are intriguing as well, including Pepe, Seppel, and Zef.

The feminine Josephine is currently popular, but other options for girls include Josephina, Josepha or Josefa, Josée, and Giuseppa, with the sweet diminutives and nicknames Josie, Posy, Josette, Josiane, Pina, and even Fifi.

In Matthew 1:19, we’re told that Joseph was a ‘just man,’ so Justin, Justus, and Justine or Justina could also work as honor names for him.”

There are a whole bunch of other variants listed at Behind the Name that you might like to peruse. Beyond the names related to Joseph itself or to his reputation as a “just man” are names related to the symbols associated with him, like:

  • The Lily names, since St. Joseph is often portrayed with a lily because of his chastity
  • Branch, as one of his symbols is a branch (see my post on Longmire for an example of Branch as a given name)
  • Carpenter, as he was a carpenter and is represented by a carpenter’s square specifically and carpenter’s tools in general. I’ve never heard of Carpenter as a first name, but it’s not really different from other occupation names like Mason, Taylor, and Carter, right? Maybe with Cap as a nickname?
  • Callixtus, which is a Callistus variant that may have been influenced by calix, which is Latin for “wine cup” and is where our “chalice” comes from — one of St. Joseph’s symbols is a chalice. (My spotlight on Callixtus here)
  • Cruz or Croix or other “cross” names, as the cross is one of his symbols.
  • Agnes, as a lamb is one of his symbols and agnus — Latin for “lamb” — is visually similar to Agnes
  • Rod (Roderick, Rodney, or any name that could nickname to Rod, or maybe ROD initials), as a rod is one of St. Joseph’s symbols

Aside from his symbols, perhaps also:

  • Stone, as CatholicSaints.info noted that he was a “Builder by trade; traditionally a carpenter, but may have been a stone worker”
  • David, since he’s a descendant of the house of David
  • Foster, since we refer to him as Jesus’ foster father

And the lovely Litany to St. Joseph offers these ideas:

  • Lucy, Lucia, Luz, Lux for his title Light of the Patriarchs
  • Chastity, for his chastity and his title Chaste Guardian of the Virgin
  • Prudence, as he’s prudent
  • Valiant, as he’s valiant
  • Faith, because he’s faithful
  • Patience, for his title Mirror of Patience
  • Glory, Gloria for his title Glory of Family Life
  • Pilar, for his title Pillar of Families
  • Consolata, for his title Consolation of the Afflicted
  • Hope, for his title Hope of the Sick

I also looked through A Dictionary of English Surnames (affiliate link) and found this:

Pretty cool!

I’ve been too-long delayed in getting this posted, so I haven’t gone through these prayers listed on CatholicSaints.info, but they may have some good ideas as well:

What ideas can you all add to the wonderful desire to honor our good St. Joseph in a baby’s name?


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: William Daniel!

I posted a consultation for Kelly and her husband over the summer for their fourth baby boy, and I’m so happy to let you all know that their little guy has arrived and been given the “classic, strong, traditional” name … William Daniel!

Kelly writes,

Sweet baby William Daniel was born this past Tuesday, October 13, the feast of St. Edward the Confessor and the miracle of the sun at Fatima!

I love how exactly his name fits the “classic, strong, traditional” vibe Kelly and her hubby favor, and while I don’t know if the baby’s going by his middle name (Kelly had asked about the idea of the middle name as the call name), given that they wanted a cute nickname for their youngest boy and they also have an Irish sensibility, Danny Boy is a perfect fit for that, too. I also love Will/Billy/Liam and the full William — this baby has some great options! And what a great feast day to be born on!

Congratulations to Kelly and her hubby and big brothers Patrick, James, and Peter, and happy birthday Baby William!!

William Daniel


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 an affiliate link) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Birth announcement: Oskar Karl Wolfgang!

I had the privilege of doing a consultation for the second baby of longtime reader Alyssa and her husband several years ago, and posting a subsequent birth announcement for that baby, and I’m so excited to share that they’ve welcomed their third baby — a little boy given the fantastic name … Oskar Karl Wolfgang!

Alyssa writes,

I’m happy to introduce Oskar Karl Wolfgang! As you know, with a husband named Klaus, we always go for German names and Oskar joins siblings Konrad Wolfgang, Louisa Marie and Hugo Wolfgang (in heaven). Oskar is a German name that we both liked, and Karl is after my husband’s brother. We were just going to stick with one middle name but our 6 year old, Konrad, was so adamant that the baby also share the middle name Wolfgang (he LOVES his middle name!), so we added it in. We’ve been calling him Oskar or Ozzie, or sometimes Ox because he was our biggest baby so far! His patrons are St. Oscar Romero, Bl. Carlo Acutis (I was in labor the day he was beatified and I prayed to him a lot throughout the process), and St. Wolfgang. You can never have too many patron saints, right?!

Absolutely 100% right!! I love this name story, and I LOVE their style! In the previous consultation I’d done for them, I’d written that their first son Konrad’s name (Konrad Wolfgang) is “such an amazingly fabulous name! It’s bold, traditional, saintly, and I love how unapologetically German it is, and how they just own it!” — I feel the same way about Oskar Karl Wolfgang! They’ve done a fantastic job! I also love that Alyssa was in labor on the day that Bl. Carlo was beatified — an awesome new Blessed who just happens to have the same name (Italian variant) that Alyssa and her hubby had chosen as Oskar’s middle. Amazing! And how Konrad loves his middle name and wanted Oskar to share it, just like their little one in heaven does! And Ozzie and Ox! So wonderful, all of it!

Congratulations to Alyssa and Klaus and big sibs Konrad and Louisa (and Hugo in heaven), and happy birthday Baby Oskar!!

Oskar Karl Wolfgang

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 an affiliate link) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Birth announcement: Magdalen Gianna!

I posted a consultation for Laura and her husband last January, before they were even expecting their hoped-for ninth baby. They found out shortly after that a new little one was on the way, and I’m thrilled to share that the baby has arrived! They welcomed their third daughter and gave her the amazing name … Magdalen Gianna!

Laura writes,

Baby made her safe arrival this afternoon!

So when no name was clicking I went back to calling her baby girl and decided to see what name felt right calling her. 

One name that I felt really good calling her was Maggie. [Hubby] and I were married at St. Mary Magdalen and that’s also where I came into the church and I have so many wonderful memories of attending the early daily Mass there with my husband when we were engaged 20 years ago. The name Magdalen was a bit out of [his] comfort zone but I so wanted something special, meaningful and a heavy hitting Catholic name for this baby girl. [He] was smitten with Maggie, Mags, and even Magda. 

St. Gianna … was an unbelievable intercessor for me this past year.”

Not only is Magdalen Gianna an amazing name, but it departs from a lot of the preferences Laura has had when naming her babies: she preferred that everyone have their own initial (now Magdalen joins big brother Mark with her M initial); she wasn’t as much a fan of nicknames as her husband (but she’s loving Maggie for Magdalen); she loved one-syllable names (Magdalen is the opposite!). As I told her, it’s so fun for me when parents completely change course and/or go back to the drawing board — I never would have foreseen her using Magdalen, but I think it’s so perfect! And paired with Gianna! And Maggie/Mags/Magda! I’m so delighted by this beautiful, unexpected name that’s definitely “special, meaningful and a heavy hitting Catholic name”!

Congratulations to Laura and her husband and big siblings Paul, Clare, Mark, Katharine, James, Andrew, Gabriel, and Thomas, and happy birthday Baby Magdalen!!

Magdalen Gianna

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 an affiliate link) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Baby name consultation: A sister for Lucy and Zelie, but big brother’s name has influence too

Melissa and her husband are expecting their fifth baby — their third daughter! This little lady joins big siblings:

Graham

Joseph (called Joe/Joey)

Lucy

Zelie

Such a lovely bunch of names!!

Melissa writes,

I was convinced this current baby was a boy, so I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around another girl! … I love the names Lucy and Zelie and just don’t love any other girl names as much! I also want to stay away from names ending in “e”, but I tend to be drawn to those names! 

Names we like but I’m not sure:

  • Isla — this is probably my favorite so far but it seems trendy and popular. Not sure if it goes with the other names. 
  • Claire or Clara — my husband likes Claire but not Clara! My best friend from childhood is a Claire, and I like the idea of changing it up by adding the A. 
  • Nora — I think it’s pretty but husband doesn’t like as much. 
  • Frances — I like this but am scared to use it for some reason. 
  • Amelia — I like it but don’t love it. Husband isn’t the biggest fan. 
  • Vivian — kind of like this, but husband isn’t a fan! 
  • Lillian — this is a family name, but I don’t love Lily, which I think people would call her. 
  • Matilda — love the idea of Tilly, but not sure I want another name ending in “e”. My son Joseph also goes by Joey sometimes. 

We have lots of cousins, so here is a list of names I don’t want to duplicate! 

  • Katherine or Katie
  • Anna 
  • Elizabeth 
  • Margaret (goes by Maggie)
  • Adelaide (goes by Addie)

This was fun to work on! Graham, Joseph, Lucy, and Zelie are great names — it was fun to see Graham in there, as I frequently see Joseph, Lucy, and Zelie in the families I work with (and I love each of those names!), but I rarely see Graham — I’m always delighted by an unexpected name! I felt pretty confident about the names that are style matches for Joseph, Lucy, and Zelie, but was really interested to see what names would be revealed as style matches for Graham in my research.

You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have already 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. I find it to be uncannily accurate! I used Graham, Joseph, Lucy, and Zelie, as well as Isla, Claire, Clara, Nora, Frances, Amelia, Vivian, Lillian, and Matilda. All such beautiful names!

Before sharing my new ideas, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the names Melissa and her hubby are considering, in case they’re helpful:

  • Isla: Isla is a beautiful name! This mama, who I had the privilege of doing a consultation for, has three daughters named Adelaide, Clairvaux, and Isla, so I chuckled when I saw that Claire is a name Melissa and her hubby are considering and Adelaide is on their list of names they can’t use because they’re cousin names (the fact that Melissa included it as a name they can’t use tells me that she thought I might have suggested it, and/or that she might otherwise like to consider it if it wasn’t already taken). So yes, I think Isla would fit in fine with the other children! It was also pretty cool to see that a style match for both Graham and Isla is Fiona — having a name in common like that tells me that Graham and Isla are pretty well matched, even if it doesn’t explicitly say so in the BNW (the style matches for each entry are restricted to 5-8 names, so not all the style matches will be listed). I will say that Lucy and Zelie come across as super Catholicky Catholic (at least to me, who sees all names through a Catholic lens), while Isla doesn’t have that same feel. It does have fantastic faith connections! Marian ones, even! I wrote a book of Marian names, and Isla is an entry in it! So it can definitely work, and it’s so pretty, but I can see why Melissa wondered if it goes with the other names. I actually love that it’s more closely connected to Graham, because Graham feels like a bit of an outlier (not in a bad way, and not a bad thing!), and using Isla loops him back in. One last thought: Melissa said she’s worried that Isla is trendy and popular, which I do understand. I thought it would be good to look up the actual numbers: Isla was actually in the top 1000 in both 1905 and 1908! Wow! But wasn’t so again until 2008, when it roared onto the scene at no. 623 (likely due to actress Isla Fisher, I’m guessing); since then, it’s continued to climb and is currently at no. 57. So it’s had a quick ascent, which gives it its trendy feeling, but Lucy and Joseph are both more popular at nos. 48 and 24, respectively, so I wouldn’t say it’s overly popular for this family. (Zelie isn’t in the top 1000 [but Zaylee has been since 2015 and is currently no. 735], and Graham is no. 180, so this family’s names are kind of all over popularity-wise — which is great! It means there are a whole lot of names that would be comfortable in their family.)
  • Claire or Clara: So funny to me that Melissa’s hubby likes Claire but Melissa prefers Clara! They actually do have separate entries in the BNW, with different style matches, so there is a different feel to them both. Interestingly, Claire is a style match for Graham, and Lillian from Melissa’s list is a match for Clara. Since I mentioned it above, I wonder what they would think of Clairvaux? It would be another way of changing it up, like Melissa said she liked the idea of doing, and adding a patron saint (St. Bernard of Clairvaux), and it could still take her husband’s preference, Claire, as a nickname. Claire is no. 55; Clara is 95; and Clairvaux is not in the top 1000.
  • Nora: I love Nora too. It can be a nickname for Eleanor and Honora — might either of those appeal to Melissa’s husband? I was also interested to see that the similar Nola is a style match for Isla — maybe that one letter change would make a difference? Nola can be a nickname for Finola/Fionnuala, or it can stand on its own. It’s also been used secularly as shorthand for New Orleans (New Orleans, LA = N.O.L.A.), so they could maybe think of it as an honor name for St. Joan of Arc, since she was nicknamed “The Maid of Orleans.” Nora is no. 29; Eleanor is 27; Honora is not in the top 1000; Finola and Fionnuala aren’t in the top 1000; and Nola is 606.
  • Frances: Aw Frances, how sweet! But I totally get that Melissa’s “scared” as it does have an older feel than her other kids’ names. I also think its nicknames are part of its appeal, and if she doesn’t love the idea of an “ee”-ending nickname, than Frannie and Francie and Frankie would be out. Frances is no. 438.
  • Amelia: I would be inclined to cross this off of their list, since Melissa said she doesn’t love it and neither does her husband. I wonder if switching to the Emilia spelling would help? It’s the name of St. John Paul’s mother, whose cause for canonization is open! I think Amelia is probably way more popular than they’d like, at no. 7, while Emilia is no. 42.
  • Vivian: I’d say the same as Amelia — I would consider crossing it off the list. V-heavy names that families who like Vivian often like include Evangeline and Genevieve — both of those have the similar faithy feel as Lucy and Zelie to me, and Evie and Vivi are such cute nicknames (but they end in that ee sound, gah!). Vivian is no. 96; Evangeline is 275; and Genevieve is 168.
  • Lillian: I love that Lillian’s a family name, and I thought, if Melissa didn’t want it to be reduced to Lily, maybe it would be best as a middle name? Also, thinking of Isla and Lillian, I wondered if she might like Lila as a first name, in honor of Lillian but without the risk of Lily, or Lila as a nickname for Lillian that she would enforce through firm and consistent correction of others if they call her Lily? I think the sound of Lila — rhyming with Isla, having the long I instead of Lily’s short I — would move everyone’s mindset away from Lily. Lillian is no. 37; Lila is 227.
  • Matilda: Oh yeah, Tilly’s darling. I don’t have a good suggestion here! It’s a pickle! Matilda’s no. 447.

Okay, on to my new ideas! As mentioned, these are a result of my research in the Baby Name Wizard — looking at the style of Melissa’s children’s names as a whole and trying to find names that would fit in with that — but also I gave a lot of weight to Lucy and Zelie specifically, together, and what names would feel like their sister, with special excitement for names that also loop Graham in a bit more (handsome Joseph goes with a broader range of names). Based on all that, these are my ideas:

(1) Gemma

I think Gemma is such a slam dunk for this family! It shares with Graham the style match of Fiona, which means they’re style matches for each other, even though they weren’t listed as so, and Isla is also a style match for Gemma! So it’s already firmly in the world of names Melissa and her husband like, and I like that it specifically matches up with Graham. Additionally, and this really is what sealed it for me, it matches up exactly well with Lucy and Zelie in terms of the names that I see Catholic families of today considering. It’s two syllables, like them, but doesn’t have an “ee” nickname. St. Gemma Galgani is much loved and makes a great patron! Lucy, Zelie, and Gemma are fantastic sister names! (Also, the little Isla mentioned above was almost Gemma!) I quite like Gemma Lillian, lovely. Gemma is no. 198.

(2) Stella

I like that Stella is a style match for both Nora and Matilda — it brings in two of the names Melissa and her hubs like in a way that’s similar to Lucy and Zelie. And it’s a Marian name! It refers to Our Lady’s title Stella Maris (Star of the Sea), and I like that it doesn’t have a natural “ee” nickname. If they decided they might like a longer name, I love both Maristella and Stellamaris. But I prefer just Stella for this family! Stella is no. 39. I don’t love it with Lillian, but Stella Claire is lovely! If you’re into name meanings, it has the nice added layer of meaning of “clear star,” since Claire means “clear” and Stella means “star” (could be great for a Christmastime baby?).

(3) Elise or Alice

I was so interested to see that Elise is a style match for Graham and Claire, and the similar-but-different Alice is a match for Lucy and Frances! I’m not sure which one I like better for this baby girl — on the one hand, Elise is French like Zelie, and I love that it’s an Elizabeth variant (but then again, maybe it would be too similar to cousin Elizabeth?); on the other hand, I like that Alice is a match for Lucy and has Graham’s gentle Brit feel. Elise is no. 207, and Alice is 73.

(Bonus) Ave

The Mini Consultation is for three ideas, but I had this fourth idea that’s a little offbeat, so I thought I’d include it as a bonus. I mentioned Evangeline earlier, and its sweet nickname of Evie; additionally, Evelyn is a match for both Amelia and Vivian, which made me think maybe an Eve- name might appeal to Melissa and her hubs. But Eve, Evelyn, and Evangeline all lend themselves naturally to Evie, so if they’re trying to avoid that, I wonder what they’d think of Ave? Like in Ave Maria? I’ve never seen it used as a given name, but I included it as an entry in my book after hearing about a little girl named Ava Maria, in honor of Our Lady. Ava is certainly lovely, but it made me wonder if Ave would be doable, and I think it is! I think it can definitely hold its own with sisters Lucy and Zelie.

And those are my ideas! What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Graham, Joseph, Lucy, and Zelie?


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: Henry Kapaun!

I posted a consultation for Sarah and her husband back in January for their ninth baby — a green bean (gender unknown) who would be their tiebreaker. I’m thrilled to share that Sarah’s baby has arrived — a handsome boy with the fantastic name … Henry Kapaun!

Sarah writes,

I’m just following up to let you know that #9, the tiebreaker, arrived in June! It’s a BOY! Henry Kapaun. He arrived almost a month early, but did not experience any complications and was able to come home on time.

As for his name…

My husband and I were both fairly certain we were having a girl. I *sensed* it prior to my 20 week ultrasound, and he swore that he heard the ultrasound tech slip and call the baby *her*. I didn’t hear it, but believed him anyway. 🙄 We had pretty much settled on “Henry Kapaun” for a boy name back in December (and prior to your name consult and suggestion of “Henry”! 🙌🏻). Henry has been on our short list for a few kids now. It fits our criteria of a traditional, not too trendy name that is also a Saint name. As for the middle name, “Kapaun” was also our middle name choice for a boy for our last two babies (who are girls). We just love the story of Fr. Emil Kapaun and thought he would be a wonderful, heroic person for a little boy to be named after. This choice was solidified when all the 2020 chaos erupted. Fr. Kapaun died in a POW camp in Korea, and for months was unable to celebrate mass or offer the Eucharist to others. He suffered, yet was able to provide blessings, prayers, and hope to other soldiers. His ability to forgive his captors and to focus on the eternal glory that awaited him in Heaven is saintly. We had been unable to regularly receive the Eucharist for the last half of my pregnancy, but I was constantly reminded of the suffering that Fr. Kapaun endured and sacrifices he experienced. Our other “inconveniences” brought on by the pandemic (ie. no running to Target to browse cute baby items, no third trimester pregnancy massages, no pre-baby getaway with my husband, etc.) paled in comparison to his experiences. When I contemplated the life of Fr. Kapaun, I was humbled and forced to focus on the eternal glory that does await us all.

The pregnancy was a difficult one that only grew more challenging towards the end. I was unexpectedly sent for an induction immediately after my 36 week appointment. I am a certified nurse midwife, so typically would have (should have) been filled with anxiety knowing the situation that we were in. Instead, we were filled with a calm and peace. We blessed my hospital room with Epiphany water, said many rosaries, asked for the intercession of *our* special Saints, and experienced a *beautiful* and short labor and delivery. Looking back, *of course* it was a boy. 😇

“The sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed to us.” — Romans 8:18

Isn’t that just a beautiful pregnancy/birth/name story?? And Henry Kapaun is an amazing combination!!

Congratulations to Sarah and her husband and big siblings Cody, Benjamin, Claire, Dominic, Grace, Peter, Caroline, and Zelie, and happy birthday Baby Henry!!

Henry Kapaun with his family (minus one sibling “thanks to a 1000 mile separation and a pandemic”)


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!

Baby name consultation: Boy no. 4 needs a name with meaning and a cute “little brother” nickname

Kelly and her husband are expecting their fourth baby — and fourth boy! This little guy joins big brothers:

Patrick Robert
James Gregory
Peter Thomas

Such fantastic names! So classic and handsome!

Kelly writes,

I am so excited to have this consultation done as we have been at a total loss for names, even after prayer and extensive research of names. We are expecting baby boy number four … We love classic, strong, traditional names. We’d love to find a name that goes with our other boys but that also isn’t too popular and has meaning behind it. We have chosen Francis as the middle name after St. Francis De Sales … Andrew, Joseph and John are out … Names that we have considered are William, Edward (Teddy), George (doesn’t sound as great with our last name), Henry, Maximilian (doesn’t necessarily fit with the others). I’d love to find a name that also has a cute nickname given that he’ll be the youngest of the pack.”

Okay! *Rubs hands together* 😀 Kelly and her husband have a great list, but I’m eager to see if I can help them find a name they really love!

I love that they’ve chosen Francis as the middle name, for St. Francis de Sales, one of my favorites. I wonder if Kelly and her husband might like to consider it as a first name though? Especially since Kelly said they’d love to find a name that has a cute nickname since their little guy will be the youngest of a pack of boys. Frankie strikes me as that kind of nickname, so cute!

I do love the other the names they’re considering! Here are my thoughts on them, in case they’re helpful:

  • William: Will, Liam, and Billy are all great nicknames that could go well with the other boys
  • Edward/Teddy: Super cute, I agree! I love St. Edward the Confessor
  • George: I agree that it’s not great with their last name
  • Henry: I love Henry, such a sweet name
  • Maximilian: I can see what Kelly means about Maximilian not being the best fit with Patrick, James, and Peter — if they’re considering it because they love St. Maximilian Kolbe, maybe they’d like to consider his birth name, Raymond, instead? Patrick, James, Peter, and Raymond go together a bit better I think, and Ray’s a cute nickname

I also noted that Kelly would prefer a name that isn’t too popular, so I looked up the popularity of the names they’ve already used and those they’re considering, to get a sense of what kind of popularity we’re talking about. These are the numbers based on the most recent data (2018):

Patrick: 189
James: 4
Peter: 211

William: 3
Edward: 169
George: 127
Henry: 16
Maximilian: 448

So Kelly and her hubs have a mix of names that are quite popular (James, William, Henry), and others that are outside the top 100 (Patrick, Peter, Edward George, Maximilian). In my suggestions below, I included a mix as well. Here are the numbers for the names I’ve already suggested:

Francis: 480
Raymond: 299

I didn’t forget that Kelly also wanted to have a name with meaning, so I definitely took that into account when looking for names that I thought she and her hubby might like. You all know that I always start consultations by looking up the names the parents have already 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. I did that research for Kelly, and looked for names among the results that had a good faith meaning. Based on all that, these are my ideas:

(1) Michael
I was pretty influenced by their oldest son’s name: Patrick with brothers James and Peter says “classic Irish Catholic,” which is the theme I had in my head the most when looking for names for this family (though not exclusively). Michael is one of those names! It’s no. 14, which is similar to Henry and less popular than James and William. Michael Francis is so handsome, and Mikey is an adorable nickname.

(2) Timothy
Timothy is one of my favorite names in the “classic Irish Catholic” theme. And being that it’s also a New Testament name, it seems like it can really strengthen the tie among all Kelly’s boys’ names. I love the nickname Timmy! Timothy is right in that sweet spot at no. 165.

(3) Charles
Because Patrick isn’t a biblical name and James and Peter are, I definitely wanted to include some names that aren’t biblical. Charles is a match for this family’s style, and has been used quite a bit recently by Catholics wishing to honor St. John Paul II (his birth name was Karol, which is the Polish for Charles). There are also loads of other Sts. Charles, it’s a great, saintly name! And Charlie is so darling. Charles is no. 52.

(4) Oliver
Oliver has shot up the charts recently and is currently at no. 5, which is nice for their James, since his name is so popular at no. 4. It’s also got that nice Irish connection like Patrick, with St. Oliver Plunkett being a great patron; they could also consider it to have biblical connections if they wanted, with the Mount of Olives and the olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane being two prominent examples. I love Oliver Francis, that’s stunning. And is anything cuter than Ollie?!

(5) Martin
I like Martin quite a bit — I would definitely consider it classic, strong, and traditional. I love the nickname Marty too, I can definitely see a youngest brother being called Marty! Martin Francis sounds wonderful together. Martin is no. 272.

(6) Kenneth
I wonder what they would think of Kenneth? Kenny is such a great, friendly nickname, and there are two Sts. Kenneth — one Irish and one Welsh. Kenneth is no. 226.

(7) Kevin
I wasn’t surprised to see Kevin listed as a style match for Patrick — like Patrick, it’s a classic, strong, traditional Irish name, and it’s a saint’s name as well. I know of Kevins who go by Kev, which is pretty cool, and I could see Kevvy being a brother nickname when he’s small. Kevin’s no. 125.

(8) David
Finally, David is a style match for this family, which struck me as having a good feel because it’s biblical, like James and Peter, but Old Testament, which gives it its own thing. And my grandfather, who was born and raised in Ireland, was named David, so that felt like a great connection for Patrick (again, totally subjective here, but my consultations are always a mix of research and gut feeling!). Davy is one of my favorite nicknames, I love it. David is no. 122.

Those were all my ideas for Kelly’s baby boy, but after I sent them to her she responded with another question that she’d be delighted to get your thoughts on as well:

Thank you so much for these wonderful ideas! This truly has been so difficult, I never thought naming could be this tough! Hah We are leaning towards William given that it like Patrick, it isn’t biblical, it goes with the other boys, and it was a popular Irish immigrant name (my husband’s great-grandfather). There is another name that randomly came up that I was going to get your thoughts on, Grady. Grady seems unique, but not totally out there and also has the Irish attachment. It also has the meaning noble, like Patrick. Does William Grady (call him Grady) or Grady itself work with the other boys? Does it seem too far off the beaten path? I wish there was a saint association with it to tie it together.”

I told her that I love William, just because it’s great, but I love her reasons behind it too. And I love Grady! I had it on my own list back when I thought I could sway my husband toward more Irishy names, haha!

I took a quick look on CatholicSaints.info for any saintly connection for Grady, and found that one of the priests who is part of the Irish Martyrs was John O’Grady; here’s another entry that mentions him — he’s not canonized, but that could be a nice faith connection for Kelly and her husband to consider (and perhaps she and her family could take it on as a spiritual exercise to pray for his cause for canonization — it appears there isn’t much known about him, including the date he died — maybe their prayers could help bring his holiness to light!). I’m sorry I could find anything more direct!

As for fitting with the other boys, I think Patrick, James, Peter, and Grady sound fine together. Certainly Grady is a different style, which might feel a little jarring to people who really pay attention to those kinds of things (name nuts, mostly!), but the fact that it’s his middle name remedies that nicely — Patrick, James, Peter, and William are exactly perfectly matched. If any of Kelly’s older boys have offbeat nicknames for their names, that would loop Grady in a bit more too, but even if not I think it’s fine! And it opens up some more possibilities for future boys’ names, if they were so blessed.

And that’s all I got! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Patrick, James, and Peter? What do you think of Grady, either as a given name or as a middle name that he’d go by?


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!

Celebrity guest: Pauline, who started reading as a daughter and continues as a mama!

On Thanksgiving 2015, I posted such a fun consultation — a pseudo consultation, really, because it was commissioned by the eldest daughter of the parents in question, who wrote,

I don’t see my parents having more but they always joke that they would have absolutely no more name ideas if God were to send us a #10. If you want a project, even though there truly is no baby coming (that I know of!) I thought it might be fun to see some name suggestions that you might come up with!

There haven’t been any more babies for her parents, BUT that daughter is now a mama herself! And she still reads the blog! And I was so excited to talk names with her! Scroll down to read all about Pauline and her beautiful family!

Kate: Tell me about yourself! Hubby’s name (if he doesn’t mind), are you home with your kids and/or do you work? Anything you want us to know?

Pauline: My husband’s name is Ian and we met at Benedictine College. We have been married for 3 years. Ian works in surgical technologies and he is Army National Guard. I am home with our boys full-time, so life is a hot mess but I couldn’t imagine it any other way 🙂

Kate: What are your boys’ names (first and middle) and how did you and your husband choose them?

Pauline: Our boys are Rowan Michael (2) and Fulton Patrick (5 months). We joke that we are lucky we had two boys first because those were the two baby names we were sold on from the start — after this we are in trouble!

Rowan Michael is after St. Rowan of Lorrha, who is known as one of the 12 apostles of Ireland and studied under St. Finian. We didn’t know any of this until researching the name and we loved what we learned! Michael is after St. Michael, Ian Michael and Rowan’s grandpa Mike.

Fulton was actually a name my parents almost used but they thought it might be confusing because they already had a Fintan! Ian and I babysat the sweetest kids when we were just dating and one of them was named Fulton. We have talked about it ever since! Ven. Fulton Sheen has always been a favorite of ours and we liked the unique Irish style of the name. Patrick is after St. Patrick and my dad, Patrick.

Ian and I cherish the opportunity to find out our babies’ genders at their anatomy scans during pregnancy. We named both boys soon after we found out and prayed throughout the pregnancies for the intercession of their Patron Saints. I have difficult pregnancies so this really helped me to have hope and to bond with our little ones long before they were born. I love the identity and personhood a name gives.

Kate: I know your parents were really influenced by their French and Irish heritage in choosing their children’s names — did you or your husband have a theme in mind?

Pauline: We are drawn to the idea of Irish names for boys and French names for girls, just like my family. I think Ian and I both like less traditional/more unique Catholic names. I love that it is becoming more common to get creative with Catholic baby naming!

Kate: Since both of your little ones are boys, do you mind sharing the names you guys discussed for girls? Or, if you don’t want to get specific, maybe just broadly: is your taste in girl names similar or different than your taste in boy names?

Pauline: It’s so fun to talk about French girl names! Rowan would have been Caroline if he was a girl, but we probably won’t be using that name. We had a discussion when I was pregnant with Fulton about whether or not we wanted to give our daughters “normal” French names (names that would pass as “normal” here in the States like Caroline, Genevieve, Sophie) or if we wanted to use more uniquely French names (like my sisters’ names — Florie, Domitille, etc.). Ian really liked the latter and sold me on it so even though we still love Caroline, we are going to use names that are much less popular here. We have two that we love. We will see what God has in store for our family and if we ever get to use our girl names!

I am honored that anyone might even want to read our crazy baby naming thoughts. Isn’t it funny that we put so much thought into it all?! 

Sancta Nomina was so special for me to find years ago because I couldn’t believe someone else was as interested in names as I was! So thank you for your amazing work on the blog and thank you for thinking of our family!

Isn’t this all just so wonderful?? I absolutely loved reading Pauline’s answers to my questions, and then going back and reading my previous post about Pauline’s parents and her siblings (I’ve actually referred to it many times when doing consultations, as there are some really great French names for girls in it!). This is an extended family with great taste in names! I also love that her parents are Patrick and Beatrice and she and her husband are Ian and Pauline — Irish + French, both. So cool to see that reflected in their children’s names!

Thank you so much to Pauline for introducing us to her family and talking names! I’m sure you’ll love to follow her: here’s her web site and her Instagram.

pauline_taylor

Pauline with her husband Ian and their sons Rowan and Fulton ❤


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: Bernadette Frances!

I posted a consultation for Margie and her husband back in May, and I’m thrilled to share that their baby has arrived — a little girl given the first name Margie’s loved for a while, with a family middle: the beautiful … Bernadette Frances!

Margie writes,

We went with the name I originally loved, Bernadette. And I really can’t picture another name for her (although we joked at the hospital and sent the family Cora Deeann — CDC). We picked Frances as the middle name as the tribute to my father-in-law, my grandpa and my husband’s grandma. We really like honoring family in that regard.

We’ve considered Birdie as the nickname and our 2-year-old, Penelope, likes to call her Adette (adebt). And Henry is already asking for a brother. 😝”

I love love love Bernadette Frances! I’m so glad they went with it! (Cora Deeann — CDC! 😂😂😂)

Congratulations to Margie and her husband and big sibs Henry and Penelope, and happy birthday Baby Bernadette!!


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!