Baby name consultation: Baby no. 10 (a boy!) needs a name that fits into the theme!

Today is one of my very favorite feast days: the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary! The cover art of my book of Marian names was inspired by this beautiful holy card:

The inscription on the bottom, S.S. Nomen Mariae, means “The Most Holy Name of Mary” in Latin (Sanctissima Nomen Mariae). Fun fact: Mariae was the middle name we planned for a girl through several of our pregnancies! Two little ladies connected with Sancta Nomina have been given the name as well — one as a first name (Mariae Josephine, loooove), and this one (Theresa’s little girl!) as a middle (Theresa has fantastic taste and creativity!). I explain a little bit about how this beautiful feast came about in my book. A perfect feast day for those who love the names of our faith, especially the names of and for Our Lady! I hope you all have a wonderful one! Today’s consultation actually includes one of the names listed in my book for boys!

Josh and Mari are expecting their 10th baby — their 4th boy! I’ve had the great privilege of doing consultations for several of their older children (posted here, here, here; birth announcements here, here, here, here), and I’m delighted to offer some ideas for their newest little guy! (For those of you wondering, I did this consultation a couple of months ago, when I thought I might be able to do some this summer.)

Josh writes, 

So, as you probably remember, we have a theme going – the girls have A first names and C middle names (with some variants) and the boys have C first names and middle names that similar stylistically.  Here’s the rundown

Ariana Camille (16) 

Audrey Caroline (14)

Caleb Daniel (11)

Amelia Clare (“Millie”) (9)

Anne-Catherine Gianna (“Gianna”) (8)

Charles Michael (6)

Anessa Corinne (4)

Christian Gabriel (3)

Aurelia-Rose Celeste (“Rosie”) (2) 

#10 is a boy, so we’ll be looking to continue the theme generally.  Due date is November 3, so he’ll join two other sibs with November birthdays (Audrey and Charles) unless he gets here early, in which case he’d be our only October baby.   Here are some first names we’ve discussed and like

Clement

Carter

Caedmon 

For middle names, we’ve discussed Samuel as a possibility.  Thought about Raphael too since we have a Michael and a Gabriel, but I’m not sure I love it.  But I would say we haven’t definitely ruled it out either.”

As always, it was such a pleasure to work on this consultation for Josh and Mari! They’ve done such a great job with baby naming — I’ve always loved how they figured out to adhere to their themes (girl theme and boy theme) without it getting weird or feeling forced. I’m excited to help them again!

Okay, first off, my thoughts on the names they like/are considering:

  • Clement: I have always loved Clement for a few reasons — specifically to me, it’s the name of my parish’s patronal Saint, St. Clement Mary Hofbauer (and it belongs to a bunch of other Saints and a Pope as well!). Secondly, it’s a Marian name, as Our Lady is called “clement” in the Hail Holy Queen (“O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary”). Thirdly, it means “merciful” — such a great meaning! All that said, though, I admit I’ve often had a hard time really seeing it on a little boy! I actually knew an older gentleman named Clement, and it was so cool on him — it felt just perfect for a sophisticated old man — and of course I know that little boys grow up to be men. And “Clem” as a nickname seemed a little less thrilling than some of the other nicknames I love for boys. But then Grace Patton named her son Clement, and it took on a whole new life for me! So that’s my conclusion: I think it can be really great option for Josh and Mari’s little guy! (I’m still a little hung up on nicknames … I was just rereading the birth announcement I posted for Grace’s Clement and noted that she named the Clement videos on her Instagram “Clement Clips” and thought, “Huh. Clip is kind of cute!” You know me and my crazy nickname ideas!!)
  • Carter: I was surprised by Carter! Their other kiddos’ names have saintly connections, but I didn’t think Carter did. I shouldn’t have doubted, though! I’ve often argued that just about every name can have a saintly connection, and Carter, indeed, does: According to CatholicSaints.info, there’s a St. Carterius of Bourges and a Bl. William Carter. I’m very intrigued by Bl. William Carter, since I struggled a bit over new middle name ideas for this family — it seems difficult to move away from their established -el theme, but if they did something like Carter William, it would make a lot of sense — it would give them a good, solid reason to move away from -el names and would strengthen the connection to Bl. William. Does that make sense?
  • Caedmon: I see Caedmon from time to time on parents’ lists and I’m always surprised by it, since I’ve never met a Caedmon in real life. It’s such a cool name, though, and saintly, and it inspired some of the more Celtic-ish names I included in my suggestions below. My one hesitation with Caedmon is always pronunciation — apparently CAD-man is the correct pronunciation, but I’ve also seen CADE-man, so that will probably be something they’d have to deal with. It absolutely doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker though — loads of names have pronunciation issues!

So those are my thoughts on the names currently on Josh and Mari’s list. As far as middle names, I had the suggestion of William, which I explained in the Carter part above, and I looked back at my previous emails with them and their consultations and see that in addition to the Samuel and Raphael that they said they’re considering, I’ve suggested these as well:

  • Emmanuel
  • Nathaniel
  • Joel
  • Axel
  • Abel
  • Ezekiel
  • Reuel
  • Noel

Some new ones I’ll add include:

  • Angel: a not-uncommon name for boys of Hispanic descent, and it was also the name of the main male character in the English novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles
  • Bartel: Dutch diminutive of Bartholomew
  • Hansel: German diminutive of Hans, which is the German form of John
  • Israel: Jacob’s name was changed to Israel by God
  • Marcel: originally a diminutive of Marcus; also included in the names of quite a few Saints
  • Martel: from a medieval pet name of Martin
  • Peniel: A biblical place name (see Gen 32:30) meaning “face of God” — what a beautiful meaning!
  • Roussel: French form of Russell, from a nickname meaning “little red one” — maybe perfect for a baby with red hair, or who is particularly red when born? (My mother-in-law always talked about how red my husband was as a newborn, far redder than other babies she’d seen!)
  • Wenzel: a German name that’s technically pronounced VENT-zel, but the cool part is that it’s a medieval German form of Vaclav (Wenceslaus)! St. Wenceslaus is awesome! I did two posts on the name that might be helpful: here and here

(I used this web site to help with this list — it has a million names on here and I spent quite a bit of time scrolling through and only got about a third of the way down! Josh and Mari might want to spend some time on that page themselves in case there was a good option that I missed.)

So there are plenty of -el names if they’re committed to that theme! However, I think both Samuel and Raphael are good choices right now if they’re not sure they want to continue with this theme, since I sense that many people will not realize that Daniel and Samuel are -el names, since they’re so familiar (sometimes the details of very familiar names are almost invisible — a “missing the trees for the forest” type reversal of the old saying, if that makes sense), so if they use Samuel, I don’t think people will bat an eyelash if they use a non-el name in the future. And if they use Raphael, most people will realize they’ve now exhausted the archangels (without getting into discussions of Uriel and others that are questionable from a Catholic standpoint), and won’t necessarily expect an -el middle name going forward. Of course, the fact that this baby is their tenth baby and that they’re heavily weighted towards girls makes it more probable that this won’t be an issue to deal with again! (Or perhaps God has more boys in their future!)

Okay! On to my new ideas!

(1) Martin

This idea is really a cheat idea, since it’s (a) not a C name, and (b) Josh and Mari had it on their list in the first email they ever sent me, so it’s not an original idea of mine, but I’d thought I’d include it in the list because Mari is due on Nov. 3 — the feast of St. Martin de Porres! If they don’t want to go off-theme for a first name, then I’d highly suggest it as a middle name, ESPECIALLY if the baby is actually born on his due date! And in that case, I’d suggest changing it to its variant Martel, which I mentioned above — an -el name that nods to St. Martin! Seems like it could be perfect!

(2) Cashel

Okay, back to C names! I’ve suggested Cashel many times in the past to families who love Irish or Celtic names, so Caedmon on their list makes sense of Cashel to me. The faith connection is the Rock of Cashel; this is the faith connection (from something I wrote for a baptism gift for a little Cashel):

The Rock of Cashel (Carraig Phádraig) is also known as St. Patrick’s Rock and Cashel of the Kings. In Irish, cashel (caiseal) denotes a circular stone fort and has come to mean “castle.”

The Rock of Cashel was long the seat of the High Kings of Munster. One of the kings, Aenghus, was baptized by St. Patrick himself at that very spot. In 1101, King Murtagh O’Brien dedicated the Rock of Cashel to God and St. Patrick and gave it to the bishop of Munster. Currently, the Ecclesiastical Province of Cashel includes the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly, as well as the dioceses of Cloyne (in which lies Cobh), Cork & Ross, Kerry, Killaloe, Limerick, and Waterford & Lismore.

I love Cashel and I love the nickname Cash! And because Cashel is an -el name, they could also consider it for the middle!

(3) Campion

Campion is the surname of St. Edmund Campion and I think it’s a fantastic name for a boy. It has the awesome nickname Cam, which I‘ve always loved. It’s also a Marian name! I included it in my book of Marian names — the white campion is a kind of flower, which is where the connection to Our Lady comes in. Finally, campion means “champion” in Old French! What a great name for a boy!

(4) Canaan

I know a boy named Canaan — I’ve always thought he has the coolest name! Canaan is, of course, the name of the Promised Land, so it has great faith connections in that regard.

(5) Caetano/Cajetan

I saw Caetano in a list of C names for boys, and I immediately remembered that I’d had Cajetan on my own list for years! Caetano is an Italian form of Cajetan (as is Gaetano), and St. Cajetan is a pretty amazing Saint. Caj (pronounced like CADGE) is a pretty cool nickname too!

(6) Curt, Cord

I’d previously suggested Conrad to this family, which I don’t think they loved, but both Curt and Cord caught my eye when I was looking up C names for them, as they’re both contracted forms of Conrad, so they can take any of the Sts. Conrad as patron. Curt and Cord have very different feels to me, so hopefully if they don’t like the one maybe they really like the other!

(7) Cruz

My last idea is Cruz, which has just the coolest, hippest, zippiest feel but also has very deep faith significance, as it means “cross” and has traditional use in both Spanish and Portuguese in honor of the Cross of Crucifixion. I also found evidence of its usage in honor of Our Lady at the foot of the Cross. How beautiful! Though it’s used in Hispanic cultures for both boys and girls, I think in America it has a predominantly masculine feel.

As a bonus, I really wanted to suggest Casey, with Bl. Solanus Casey in mind, but I didn’t think Casey was ideal for their last name, so I wanted to include it here in case it’s helpful for any of you readers. I also noted that Kolbe was on Josh and Mari’s original list several years ago — I still like it for them and think it can make a nice addition to their C theme — sort of keeping with it while still branching out. Interestingly, I looked up the surname Kolbe and discovered that some spelling variations include Colb and Colbe — maybe they want to consider one of those in honor of St. Maximilian while still sticking with their C theme?

As an addition to this post, Josh and Mari wrote again to let me know about some more ideas they have:

[D]o you mind if I ask your thoughts on a new idea we had — Clement Joshua?   Obviously Joshua is my name, which in a way fits a pattern with the boys (Daniel and Michael are also family names). We also thought “CJ” might be a cute nickname — we love the name Clement but aren’t wild about ‘Clem.’ 

Our oldest daughter is lobbying hard for Clement Ezekiel with “Zeke” as a nickname, which is also kind of cute. What do you think?

My immediate thoughts are that I love both ideas! I love using Josh’s name as the middle name — doing so trumps any -el theme or any other theme, in my opinion — and CJ is an easy, friendly nickname. This is probably my favorite of the two, because of the connection to Dad and how easy and natural it feels. I do love Zeke, though — what a fun, friendly nickname! And I love that Ezekiel keeps the -el theme, because even though it’s completely one-hundred-percent not necessary to continue with the theme, there’s something just so satisfying about sticking with a theme! What say you all??

And those are all my ideas! What other ideas/suggestions/thoughts can you share for the littlest brother in this beautiful family?


I’m not currently 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.)

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!

Birth announcement: Mirren Therese and Brigid Evelyn!

(Theresa’s consultation for this family posted in June.)

Mama Kaitrin has emailed me to let me (Theresa) know her twins have arrived!

She writes,

Wanted to let you know the baby girls arrived safely (albeit early!) on the 4th of July! After several knocks from birth certificate people on my hospital room door — On the 6th of July we finally arrived at names! Haha It was soooo hard to really nail two down but we did it.”

The girls have been given the stellar names of Mirren Therese (tuh-rez) nicknamed Tess and Brigid Evelyn nicknamed Birdie!

Mama Kaitrin writes of the naming experience,

We think their nicknames will be Tess and Birdie, though already I kind of like how their formal names Mirren and Brigid sound together. Especially with our boys names Vaughn Jude and Cormac. Funny enough I’d never even considered Brigid or Bridget … but your suggestion of darling nickname Birdie was maybe what sold me on even considering. Then I ended up loving the sound of it with Mirren which my husband really loved even over Mary Therese or Miriam Therese … As my sister who walked with me the whole waffling time as we chatted names said — wow, best [money] you ever spent was for the name consultant!! Thanks again for the fun consultation.”

I’m so glad they found my consultation helpful! And what fantastic names they arrived at! Tess and Birdie are still in the NICU, so please say a prayer for them.

Happy birthday Mirren Therese “Tess” and Brigid Evelyn “Birdie”! And congratulations to mom and dad, and big brothers Vaughn, Jude, and Cormac!

Brigid (Birdie) on left; Mirren Therese (Tess) on right


I’m not currently 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.)

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!

Birth announcement: Margaret Lily!

Mama Megan writes in to announce that her little one has been born! I (Theresa) did a consultation for Megan and her husband in June.

Mama Megan writes,

I had significant bleeding … and our little one was delivered by emergency c-section … Thank you so much for your help. We went with the name Margaret Lily. 🙂 we love it! And everyone else who has met her loves the name! She is currently in the NICU and hopefully won’t stay long…You really gave us the confidence to go with that choice.”

Margaret Lily! Such an incredible name for an incredible baby. Welcome to the world, little Margaret Lily and congratulations to mom, dad, and big sisters Eleanor Grace and Annalise Rose.

Margaret Lily


I’m not currently 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.)

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!

Birth announcement: Isabel Martha!

I posted a consultation for K and her husband back in January and I’m excited to share that their little girl has arrived and been given the GOR-geous name … Isabel Martha!

K writes,

Just wanted to let you know we welcomed Isabel Martha on 4/9. We’re calling her Libby and are totally in love. Thanks for the suggestion!

Isabel Martha!! Called Libby!! 😍😍😍 If you remember, K’s ideal was a given first name that didn’t repeat any of their (her, hubby’s, and big sister’s) given first names with a nickname that had a different first initial than the given first name, and Martha worked in somewhere. While I love a good challenge — and this was definitely a good challenge! — I was worried that K was setting herself up for disappointment (though she herself acknowledged it was a tall order and she wasn’t wedded to those hopes). But she did it!! What an absolutely beautiful and perfect choice!!

Congratulations to K and her husband and big sister Eleanor Lynn nn Nora, and happy birthday Baby Isabel!!

Isabel “Libby” with her big sister Eleanor “Nora”


I’m not currently 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.)

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!

Baby name consultation: Twin girls join big sibs, including twin brothers!

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m still flying high from last week — so many things happened! My oldest graduated from high school on Friday, and the Baccalaureate Mass the night before and the graduation itself were so meaningful for my boy and for our whole family. We are all so grateful for God’s goodness!! And then — Friday itself!! What big news!! I never thought I’d see the day!! A friend pointed out to me that not only was Friday the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but also the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist (he who first recognized Jesus’ humanity while both were in the womb) and the birthday of the woman who founded the March for Life, Nellie Gray. Wow!! What a day!! Keep praying!! And enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Kaitrin writes in needing help naming identical twin girls!

Twins are amazing for lots of reasons, but naming twins, you know, means the names have to sound good together etc,! With the impending preemie delivery I’m feeling increased pressure to have names, and I thought your help would be great!

These babies come after three big brothers, two of whom are also identical twins, and one
sister (in heaven):

Vaughn Joseph

Jude Rian (twin)

Cormac Kelly (twin)

Jane Mari (in heaven)

Absolutely stunning names!

Mama Kaitrin says that she likes the way names that start or end in vowels sound with their last name.

I love Classic names and husband leans more to liking more modern or different names — he loves Maren for example. I don’t dislike, but I love so many before that,” she writes.

These babies also have a lot of powerful intercessors in heaven including St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Anne, St. Clare, St. Jane Frances de Chantal, St. Gianna Beretta Molla, St. Joan of Arc, and Servant of God Chiara Corbella Petrillo.

Mama Kaitrin says that her husband really really wants one of the babies to have the nickname Tess, so I kept that in mind when putting together this consultation. She writes,

Last month we felt pretty set on 1. Mary Therese, calling her ‘Tess’/ and 2. Anne Beretta and calling her ‘Etta’ (one of our big intercessor asks this pregnancy has been St. Gianna Beretta Molla, and neither of us love Gianna). I love the sound of Etta Aldridge. sweet and feminine. But I feel Tess and Etta doesn’t sound quite right — maybe even switching the order to Etta and Tess helps my ear a bit, I know that’s funny and strange. But Tess and Rosie sounds cuter to me so I can’t say goodbye to Rose. And is Mary Therese too common? Or does that not matter since we’d be calling her by middle name?

She also says,

I definitely don’t want rhymey twin names, but coordinating or stylistically similar would be fun, I think.”

Names they can’t use include: Molly, Maggie, Annie, Anna, Norah, Grace, Camille, and Gianna.

Names they like include: Julia Clare, Mary Alice, Julia Mae, Miriam, Gemma, Beatrice, Vivian, Rose Faustina, Rose Eline, Ruth Eline, Chiara Joan “Joni”, Margot, Bernadette “Etta”, Therese Eline and Miriam Clare, and Mary Therese “Tess” and Anne Beretta “Etta”.

Such great info! So, on to names!

Some thoughts on names they like.

Julia Clare- This is such a sweet combo, I really like it. I think it leans a little different from their boys, which is fine for a girl! I don’t know how much I like this next to a Tess sister, though.

Mary Alice- Classic combo, cannot go wrong here. Clunky cool.

Julia Mae- Same thoughts as Julia Clare. Mae is hot in the middle spot right now, but I love the subtle nod to Mary.

Miriam- Very different from their other children in a good way! I think this really opens them up. I never would have thought to pair her with sister Margot (more on that name below) but I really love it.

Gemma- I love this name, it’s super sweet. Gemma and Tess sound pretty good to me.

Beatrice- Again, a little different from their others. I don’t know how much I like it next to Tess, though; they sound mismatched to me.

Vivian- Same thoughts as Beatrice.

Rose Faustina- I love Rose for them but not sure how I feel about Faustina in the middle. I agree that Rose/Rosie and Tess are super cute together!

Rose Eline- I love all the meaning with this name.

Ruth Eline- Sounds very different from their boys. Ruth and Miriam would make incredible twin sisters, though!

Chiara Joan “Joni”- I like this name a lot and I love that Mama Kaitrin has a fun connection to Joni like her husband did with Cormac. Chiara is pretty different from their boys, though, and I don’t particularly feel like Chiara and Tess go well together.

Margot- Love this name for them! A little different but not enough to feel out of place. Love this with sister Miriam, too. I like this name with Therese but not necessarily with Tess.

Bernadette “Etta”- Love this so much. I love Etta and Tess as sisters, too. Great name.

Therese Eline- Fun name but a lot of Es, especially if they’re pronouncing it Ther-EE-s instead of Tay-REZ.

Miriam Clare- I love this with sister name Therese Eline. I like Therese and Miriam together a lot.

Mary Therese “Tess”- Mama Kaitrin asked if I thought this was pretty common and the answer is, yes, even if they’re going to call her Tess. Now, that shouldn’t necessarily deter them but I do think they’ve got much better names and combos to work with than this.

Anne Beretta “Etta”- I like Etta and Tess together a lot, which is something Mama Kaitrin was worried about. I don’t care for this name with their other children overall, though. It just sounds sort of bland next to everyone else. I think there are better names that can get to Etta that pair better with Therese.

Okay, on to new names! One thing I’m assuming here is that one baby will be Tess. I think they’d be hard pressed to pass on that. It’s a great nickname with wonderful longer forms and it fits in well with their other children. It’s jam-packed with meaning and goodness for their family, too. So I was thinking of names to go with Therese/Tess. I will give some thoughts at the end on full name combos I think would go really well together.

1) Brigid/Bridget

Their sons’ names all lean very Irish/Welsh and even little Jane Mari in heaven has a Welsh name! Well, what name is, arguably, more Irish than Brigid/Bridget? They want a powerful patron for this baby and St. Brigid is certainly a powerhouse. There’s also St. Bridget of Sweden who is incredible. Brigid/Bridget and Tess sound like natural sisters to me and they can tie them together more through their middle names. They could also call this baby Birdie, which reminded me of Rosie, and I love how it sounds with Tess.

2) Frances

Clunky cool is what this name is, just like some of the names on their list. My Irish grandfather once convinced my grandmother to have another baby (she had notoriously high risk pregnancies) by saying, “We haven’t had a Frances yet!” Such a good, strong, solid name for a girl. Nicknames are plenty, but for them my favorites are Fran and Franny, though Frankie is super cute and in right now, too. I love the sound of Tess and Fran together!

3) Elizabeth nn Lily

This one is what I thought would suit both Mama Kaitrin’s and her husband’s styles best. He likes a little more modern and fun while she prefers traditional and classic. Well, I think this strikes that balance. Elizabeth is the most traditional and classic name there is for girls but it’s also been the most steady in the top 100, making it modern, too. What’s great about this name is that it has almost endless nickname potential! Lizzy, Bess, Betsy, Betty, Libby…the list goes on! But one slightly unconventional nickname that I thought they would appreciate is Lily. It gets at the cutesy nickname and flower name like she likes, similar to Rosie, while being fun and unexpected like I’m gathering her husband likes. Elizabeth and Therese are gorgeous sisters and Tess and Lily are so sweet and fun! I think this name is a home run for them.

Okay, some thoughts on whole combos they might like. I noticed in their patrons that they have three little clusters, mostly: Theresas (Calcutta and Lisieux), Claires (Clare and Chiara), and Joans (Joan, Jane, and Gianna). The following suggestions sort of play with these to get all their patrons in and to tie the girls together.

Therese Joan and Frances Clare (Joan and Clare are powerhouses and classic names)

Therese Joan and Elizabeth Gianna (this gives both girls a form of the name Jane to tie them together and to their sister in heaven)

Therese Frances and Elizabeth Clare (I love the pairing and Frances and Clare in the middle to evoke Sts. Francis and Clare, two incredible powerhouses and friends!)

Therese Elizabeth and Bridget/Brigid Joan (Classic but strong)

Therese Joan and Elizabeth Clare (This is my favorite combo)

These are my thoughts! What do you think?


I’m not currently 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.)

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!

Birth announcement: Paschal Joseph!

I’ve had the great privilege of posting two previous birth announcements for Elizabeth (here and here), and I’m delighted to share yet another! Elizabeth and her husband named their new baby boy the amazing … Paschal Joseph!

Elizabeth writes,

[Y]ou’ve posted birth/name announcements for my babies in the past, and I just had another in December, so I wanted to share, especially because his name came up as an extra/bonus suggestion in one of your recent consultations! I was like 🙌🏻 lol!

I am pleased to introduce baby Paschal Joseph, born on December 8th. Pronounced “Pass-Cal” with cal as in calorie; the same as the chameleon in Tangled.

You can read his birth story if you feel inclined (: “

(I AM so inclined! I LOVE birth stories!!)

And of course I know you want to know the name story!

I’d had Paschal on my list for years, after having scoured lists of saints names for anything I liked the sound of. There is a Pope St Paschal, which was my intro. It was in our top 2-3 boy names when I was pregnant with Cecily, so we were researching more about each name, and found St Paschal Baylon, who had a great devotion to the Eucharist, and according to some sources is a patron of vocations to the priesthood (although he was a lay Franciscan brother himself). We would absolutely LOVE for God to call any or all of our sons to the priesthood, so finding this particular saint sealed the deal on this name for us, had Cecily been a boy. Then this time around, I took the positive pregnancy test Easter weekend, and since “paschal” (rhymes with rascal here) as an adjective means relating to Easter, that sealed the deal that it was still the right name — if it was a boy — this time. We chose the spelling Paschal to associate it more with Easter and less with math (ie. Blaise Pascal / Pascal’s triangle), although we also don’t mind the math reference: Justin (my husband) is an engineer, and I, “just for fun,” added a math minor to my English and Spanish majors in college.

Joseph had been the plan for a second boy’s middle name basically forever. My grandpa was Joseph (“Joe”), and my husband’s grandpa was Bobby Joe, and we lost both these grandpas before having any kids, so we liked the idea of honoring both of them. Plus, Miryam’s middle name is after me, Luke’s is after Justin, Cecily’s is after Justin’s confirmation saint, and my confirmation saint is St Josephine, so Joseph for a boy fits right in. Additionally, I had unofficially taken St Joseph as a patron of our family years ago, and then officially did a consecration to him just before this baby was born. It was only too perfect that our little Paschal Joseph came on the final day of the year of St Joseph, since his name had been picked out since 2019.

I’d been hoping this baby would be a boy (we waited until birth to find out) especially so that my Luke would have a brother, but also because I had become so attached to this name!

I love all of these details!! Paschal Joseph absolutely seems to be the perfect name for this handsome little guy!!

Congratulations to Elizabeth and her hubby and big sibs Miryam, Luke, and Cecily, and happy birthday Baby Paschal!!

Paschal Joseph


I’m not currently 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.)

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!

Baby name consultation: Place name or not for Siena’s little sister?

Happy May, month of Our Lady! Which starts off on the 1st with the feast of her holy husband, St. Joseph the Worker! My no. 6 received his First Holy Communion on that very feast day just three days ago, and my no. 2 will be Confirmed on Friday, so this wonderful month has kicked off in a big way in my house! I hope May has been wonderful for all of you so far! Please enjoy this consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Kendall writes in needing help naming baby number 6! Baby will join big siblings:

Michael Thomas

Francis Joan (in heaven)

Joseph Robert

Siena Anne

James Charles

She writes,

All middle names are family names, all first are Saint names. (With the exception of baby in Heaven, St Joan of Arc was my Confirmation Saint). This baby’s middle name will be Marie, unless we can both be convinced otherwise and use an iteration of it!

Mama Kendal also mentions that baby’s name cannot start with E or B because of the way it sounds with their last name.

She goes on to say,

With Siena, we had a hard time picking between Siena and Adeline. We ultimately went with Siena for multiple reasons but two being Adeline isn’t a Saint name and there was some potential for hurt family feelings with Adeline. We still really like Adeline and would call her Addie, but again, not a Saint. Also, don’t love the rhyme with our last name. So we pivoted to Adelaide but it’s not our favorite, sounds too old. I really like Cora and my justification is “Heart of Mary” but he’s not on board. For a while we both liked Charlotte but felt like it was a bit of a stretch for Pope Saint John Paul 2. I love the name Emmy, was thinking like Marie Elizabeth or Elizabeth Marie but we run into the issue of beginning with an E name and beginning with an M name (after having two J names, we would prefer to not repeat a letter again). My husband’s middle name is Alexander so we have toyed with Alexandra, but don’t love it. His Confirmation Saint is St Maximilian Kolbe but he doesn’t like Kolbe as a girl’s name.”

She mentions that she wouldn’t mind a nickname for this child, even though she’s been adamant that the other kids not go by nicknames. Her husband needs names to pass the “CEO test” where it could be a name that a CEO would have.

Other names they like but aren’t quite it include Gianna, Gemma, and Madeleine.

Names they can’t use include:

  • Felicity
  • Hildegard
  • Chiara
  • Claire
  • Jane
  • Ann
  • Zelie
  • Emma
  • Maresa
  • Jordan
  • Catherine
  • Josephine
  • Penelope
  • Cassandra
  • Courtney
  • Jessica

Mama Kendall writes that they might be interested in a form of Catherine or Theresa, but not Caitlin.

Okay, some thoughts on names they like!

Adeline- They said they love this name but it’s not a saint name. It’s true that there’s no Saint Adeline, but there is a Blessed Adeline! I wonder if that fits their criteria. If so, I’d love to see them use this name. It fits so well with their other children and clearly has meaning to them.

Cora- I love this name for them, too, and I love it’s covert connection to Mary. Paired with middle Marie, this name definitely means “heart of Mary” and what a cool meaning that is! Cora is spunky but classic and that fits right in with their other children. Sisters Siena and Cora is just sending me, too! I love them together!

Charlotte- This name is significantly more popular than their other children’s names, which makes it feel a little out of place to me. They asked if it was too much of a stretch to use this name to honor St. John Paul II and my answer is no. His birth name was Karol which is the Polish form of Charles. Charlotte is the feminine version of that. Another direction they could go, is Caroline. Same root, just different translation. With Caroline, though, they get the same first sound as Karol. Lots to think about with this one.

Emmy- I like this name for them but it starts with an E, which they don’t want, and it’s a little less formal than their other kids. I think there are better names out there for them.

Alexandra- Great name, fits in with the other kids, lots of nickname potential. This is actually one of my favorite names for its versatility and long history. Sisters Siena and Alexandra are really nice, too. Something fun here, there’s St. Catherine of Alexandria, if they go with Alexandria instead of Alexandra, they could have two girls named after Catherine saints but with different names. I think that’s a cool sister connection!

Gianna- Great saint, great name. I like it next to Siena especially but I agree that that’s a lot of soft G sounds overall.

Gemma- Same thoughts as Gianna. This one reads a little spunkier to me, though, which I kept in mind as I did the consultation.

Okay, on to new names!

1) Avila

When I saw they had a Siena and considered Kolbe, my mind immediately went to other place names associated with saints. Avila was first to come to mind. What I love about this name is that it’s not just a place name, it also means “bird.” St. Teresa of Ávila makes this name have a saint and meaning and she’s a powerhouse, just like St. Catherine of Siena. I think sisters Siena and Avila are really sweet, especially since both have word connections and not just place connections.

2) Lisieux

They mentioned possibly wanting a form of Theresa for this name and I thought, why not another place name? Lisieux is the town in France where St. Thérèse was from. What I like about this name is that it has nickname potential, which they mentioned being important to them. This can easily shorten to the very cute Lissy, making it very accessible in daily life. If Paris and London get lots of use, why not Lisieux!

3) Amelia

This name was a style match for some of their kids and names they like. There is a St. Amelia to go with it (she’s sometimes known as St. Amalberga). This name is very popular at #6, so she might run into others with her name, but there’s a reason it’s so popular, it’s a good name! Their boys have more popular names, so I don’t think this will bother them at all and it shouldn’t. Amelia passes the CEO test, too. There is nickname potential here too with Ami, Melia, and Mia. I like it in its entirety, though.

4) Alice

This was a style match for a couple of their kids’ names. What really intrigued me about this name, though, is that it’s a form of Adelaide, which they said they had considered. Bonus, there is a St. Adelaide! I think this name is short and spunky but enduringly classic. It’s having a bit of a moment at #76 meaning that parents are rediscovering this great classic name.

5) Genevieve

Alexandra made me think of this name because it’s a little longer and more embellished than their other kids. Meaning “family woman” this name is currently at #169 meaning it’s classic and common but not popular. There is St. Genevieve to go along with the name, too, and she was really cool. Beyond Gen and Genny, they can also shorten this name to Vivi or the even spunkier Viva. Great nickname potential, great saint, and goes with their other kids. I really love this name for them.

6) Anastasia

Another name I thought of because of Alexandra. It sits at #158, meaning it has the same feel as Genevieve. St. Anastasia is actually mentioned in the canon at the Mass, making this an extra cool saint name. It also means “resurrection” tying it to Jesus very directly. They can shorten this name to Ana, Ani, Stasia, and Stacy. I really love this name (full disclosure: it’s my oldest daughter’s second middle name). I really love this name for them, specifically because it checks all of their boxes while sounding natural next to their other kids.

7) Flora

I was trying to think of ways to honor different saints T(h)eresa and this is another name that came to mind. St. Thérèse of Lisieux is also known as St. Theresa the Little Flower and Flora means “flower.” Also cool, St. Zélie’s name is a form of the Azalea flower, so Flora can be a nod to her, too. There are also several saints and blesseds named Flora. What a covert powerhouse of a name! It ranks at #929 so it’s not popular or common but it’s not weird either. I love sisters Siena and Flora and I think she fits right in with all of the children’s names, too. Flora Marie is just so sweet. I really really love this name for them.

These are my thoughts. 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!

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 4 needs the perfect boy name (not James!)

Happy last week of April!! I can’t believe May is already almost here — I’m looking forward to consistently warm weather! Enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Nicole writes in asking for help naming baby #4. They’re team green bean but they have some girls names they like, so she just needs help finding the perfect boy name!

She writes,

I love so many names but feel like there are so many we can’t use. And I don’t love too much out there names for boys, I’ll put a list below. The middle name will be Peter, we have several to honor in our family. We made the mistake of telling our kids a front runner was James. And now no matter what we say, they only say they want James. This is throwing us way off. I love the name but don’t feel a strong connection to it.”

I actually love James for this family, but more on that in a minute.

Nicole writes,

I would love a name with meaning or around feast days. We have so much family born in May. My son is May 20 and my mom was May 3, my sister May 26 and cousin May 17.”

So maybe a saint name with a May feast day would work for this family?

She also says they love names with good nicknames. If baby is a boy, his middle name will be Peter.

This little baby will join big siblings:

David Edward “Eddie”

Sylvia Jo “Sylvie”

Clara Jeanne

Names they can’t use or don’t like include:

  • Blaise
  • Kolbe
  • Declan
  • Garrett
  • Gregory
  • Any Ben- name

Mama Nicole wanted me to give some thoughts on their girl names Catherine Juliette “Cate” (the frontrunner) and Wilhelmina Jane “Willa.” I think either would fit right in! Wilhelmina is clunky cool and Willa is soft and cute. I like it with their last name, too (begins with W). I also really really love Catherine Juliette “Cate,” though! I think that is such a stunning combination. The only drawback, and it’s minor, is that it repeats Clara’s sound. Maybe that doesn’t bother them. I don’t think it should! It’s just so amazing and fits right in with their other kids. They’ve got two incredible options here, but if I absolutely had to choose between them, I’d use Catherine Juliette first.

Now for some thoughts on boy names they like.

James- This is such a great, classic, strong name. You can’t go wrong with it! James Peter is so handsome, too, and flows so well. I think it’s really telling that the kids love this name so much, too. Nicknames Jim, Jimmy, and Jamie make it super accessible and fun. If they’re really not set on this, maybe they’d like Jacob instead? It’s actually the same name, just from a different language root. Jacob Peter is still really handsome but maybe slightly more unexpected. Nicknames can be Jake, Jack, or Coby. Lots to think about with these names!

Zachary- Another good, classic name. Zachary Peter is strong, too. Something fun with this, instead of calling him Zach, they could call him ZP, pronounced like “Zippy.” Just another option! I like this name for them and think it’s a good representation of their naming style.

Charles- Right in their lane, which is really good. I love brothers Eddie and Charlie, too. Charles Peter is fantastic. Nicknames can include Charlie (in vogue right now), Chuck, and Chucky. I’m partial to Charlie, but there are options.

Alvin- This was not a name I was expecting at all! I think this closes the gap between Eddie and Clara to Sylvia really well. In that regard, I don’t think it’s too out there for them at all. I do wonder if a certain chipmunk wouldn’t be at the forefront of everyone’s minds with this one, though.

Vincent- I love this name so much. I like it with their kids, too. Vin and Vinnie are great nicknames. I love the idea of brothers Edward and Vincent, Eddie and Vinnie.

Jonathan- Good name, but I think they’ve got other, stronger options here.

Luke- I like this name but I think Luke Peter feels a little choppy.

Nathan- Another good name but they have better options. This one also feels a little different than their other kids to me.

Anthony- I like Anthony with their kids but I was thinking about nicknames and the only one is Tony. I love Tony, but it’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. I also don’t think Tony goes with their other kids and their nicknames. Anthony Peter, though, is fantastic.

Patrick- I feel like this one fits in well with their kids but is slightly more popular or mainstream than the others. I don’t particularly like the alliteration of Patrick Peter, either.

Michael- This feels super common but it’s really not anymore. I like this with their kids. It’s classic, strong, has good nicknames…I feel like this is a can’t miss name. Michael Peter is really nice, too.

On to new suggestions!

1) Theodore/Thaddeus

I find myself suggesting these names together a lot, not only because they share a probable root, but because they’re so similar stylistically. Theodore means “gift of God” and is currently sitting at #23, meaning it’s popular, but with good reason! I love nicknames Theo, Ted, and Teddy. Teddy and Eddie might be too much, though, so I’d probably call this child Theo. Bonus, St. Theodore of Bologna’s feast day is May 5th! Thaddeus can be a form of Theodore or possibly means “heart.” Ranking at #785, it’s much less common. The patron is St. Jude Thaddeus and nicknames Tad and Taddy are super cute. I knew a little Thaddeus who went by Tadpole, too.

2) Frederick

I thought of this name because it has covert Catholic connections. There’s a St. Frederick and Bl. Frederic Ozanam. Meaning “peaceful ruler,” this name is a little more uncommon (#485) but not weird and I think that’s their sweet spot. The only drawback to this name is that nickname Freddy rhymes with Eddie. I’d probably shorten this to Fred. I love Frederick Peter.

3) Raphael

Another in the vein of uncommon but not weird, I love this underused name. I think it bridges the gap between Sylvia and her siblings really nicely. Nicknames include Rafe, Ralph, and Raffie. There are lots of saints to go along with this name including the archangel and St. Raphael Kalinowski. Raphael Peter is so fantastic! Eddie, Sylvie, Clara, and Rafe sound so cool and unexpected but cohesive. I really love this name for them.

4) Louis

This name means “famous battle” and ranks at #260, meaning it’s not trendy or super popular but not uncommon, either. Lou and Louie are nicknames. There are lots of saints to go with this name but Bl. Louis Moreau’s feast day is May 24. Louis Peter reads a little old world, old man to me, but in a cute, modern way. Sylvia Jo reads the same way to me.

5) Timothy

This name means “honoring God” and I love that on a child. Tim and Timmy are the obvious nicknames, which I think pair perfectly with brother Eddie, but unexpected Timo (TEE-moh) brings a little pep and pizzazz to it, matching with sister Sylvie. It’s fairly common at #193, but in a good way. It’s not trendy, just enduring. There are also lots of saints Timothy to go with this name but Sts. Timothy and Martha are celebrated on May 3.

6) Robert

David Edward and their love of Michael made me think of this name. It’s at #80, meaning it’s having a bit of a moment right now but is an enduring classic. Robert Peter is swoon-worthy. This name has tons of nickname potential, too, which I know is important to them. Eddie and Robbie feel like natural brothers to me. There are, again, lots of saints to go with this name, but St. Robert Lawrence’s feast day is May 4.

7) Philip

Finally, Philip. Philip was a style match for Sylvia and I fell in love with it for them. It means “friend of horses” and ranks at #451, meaning it’s uncommon but not weird. Nicknames include Phil, Philly, and Flip (which I LOVE for a little boy!). Philip Peter sounds distinguished and handsome. Edward, Sylvia, Clara, and Philip feel like a natural sibling set, too. Bonus, St. Philip the Apostle is celebrated on May 3. The only drawback I can think of here is the initials PP, but that doesn’t concern me too much, especially since Philip starts with a different sound than Peter.

These are my thoughts! 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!

Birth announcement: Eloise Josephine!

Becca’s consultation was the first of the five I opened up for January, and when I posted it, she was expecting the baby any day — her first girl after four boys! I was so excited to hear from her that she and her husband had given their daughter the long-loved and beautiful name … Eloise Josephine!

As Becca had said in the consultation, “I swore if I would have a girl I would name her Eloise. So this whole pregnancy I’ve pretty much been trying to find a middle name that I like with Eloise but I can’t seem to find ‘the one’” — I’m so happy that she did! Eloise Josephine is absolutely gorgeous!

Congratulations to Becca and her husband and big brothers Henry, Theodore, Everett, and Oliver, and happy birthday Baby Eloise!!


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!

Birth announcement: Annunziata Lucille!

I had the great honor of posting birth announcements for Teresa and her husband’s first two babies (here and here), and got the best email the other day in which Teresa let me know they just welcomed a third baby — a little girl with the beyond-amazing name … Annunziata Lucille!

Teresa writes,

It’s been about a year and a half since I last emailed you … announcing the arrival of our second (Benedict Campion Marie), so now I’m here to share we welcomed a little girl to our family! Annunziata Lucille.

I don’t remember how I came across Annunziata, but when I did I knew it would be her name. The annunciation! Our Lady’s beautiful response to God’s will! What’s not to love. I pray that our daughter will also have a beautiful response to God’s will in her life. I often sing the Angelus in Latin to her (the first line has her name! Sort of!) What a gift that her name alone encourages me to prayer. So far we’ve been calling her Nunzi, [big brother] Emil likes to call her Baby Nunzia. Occasionally we also call her Annunzia.

Lucille is a family name, my grandma’s, my aunt’s middle, my middle, my niece’s first and another niece’s middle. I think I’ve known my whole life that if I had a daughter she would have the name Lucille.

We had a home birth this time and my Aunt (Miriam Lucille), was planning to come from California to stay with us for a week, and we were all hoping she would be here for the birth to help with the boys. She picked her birthday to come, which also ended up being Nunzi’s birthday! Isn’t that just providential?

Thank you for always being excited to hear name stories and celebrate new life with us!

Isn’t Annunziata Lucille a simply stunning name?! And Nunzi is such a sweet nickname!! I absolutely love Teresa and her husband’s somewhat eclectic naming style that is also held tightly together by virtue of each name being totally, impeccably tied to our beautiful faith. You know I love bold Catholic naming!!

Congratulations to Teresa and her husband and big brothers Emil and Benedict, and happy birthday Baby Annunziata!!

Annunziata Lucille with her big brothers ❤


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!