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!

Birth announcement: Iris Miriam!

I’ve emailed the five winners of the St. Anne giveaway, but have only heard back from three of you — Thalita and Anne, please check your email! 

I posted my predictions for Grace Patton’s baby back in February, and for those who haven’t already seen, I’m excited to finally share the birth announcement for said baby — a little girl given the gorgeous name … Iris Miriam!

Grace wrote in the birth announcement on her blog:

Iris Miriam has arrived! She was born on June 1st and I’ll save all the details for the birth story that should be up superdupersoon but she’s been a delightful addition to the family and I’m still SO surprised that she was a she! All of the older kids have been a huge help and Clement is pretty independent and hasn’t seemed bothered that there’s a new baby in town … yet. Abe finally started calling her, “Iris” instead of, “virus” and is always walking around closing the shutters in the house saying she doesn’t like the sunshine (??). Overall, we’re adjusting well and feel so fortunate to have her here safe and sound.”

(Abe calling her “virus” kills me! 😂😂😂)

And in her birth story post, Grace wrote:

Simon and I were SO sure that I was having a boy (her heart rate was super low throughout the pregnancy which isn’t a proven theory — it was proof enough for me and my late night Google searches) that we hadn’t nailed down a middle name in the event we had a girl.

We decided to toss around some girl middle names and decided we wanted to go the Marian route and I was super surprised Simon agreed to Miriam because he normally goes through a, “no way … maybe … I’ll think about … maybe … I don’t know … I guess … maybe … okay!” song and dance when I suggest any name at all. So, easy peasy.”

I just love the combo Iris Miriam so much! I know Iris was a longtime favorite of Grace’s, so I’m thrilled for her that she got to use it. And a Marian middle will never not be my favorite thing. So beautiful!

Congratulations to Grace and Simon and big siblings Julia, Sebastian (Bash), Theodore (Theo), Phoebe, Bosco, Abraham (Abe), and Clement, and happy birthday Baby Iris!!

Check out Grace’s web site and her Instagram for pictures of her beautiful baby!


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!

Beloved children of God

Did you all see the amazing thing BabyNames.com did? I saw it on CNN.com! Here’s a screenshot:

babynamesdotcom-06.15.2020

“Each one of these names was somebody’s baby.” I love that. I’ve written before about how knowing a person’s name pulls them out of the masses into clear focus. Motherhood has really helped deepen the impact for me of remembering that all other people were other mothers’ babies, and of course we are all — every single one of us — beloved children of God.

Here are some other names to remember and to whom to pray for intercession, as shared in this post from Avera Maria Santo:

My dear brothers and sisters, we really need you now… 💔💔💔

To my dear friends,
My fellow African Americans now in Heaven with Jesus,
Pray for all of us who remain,
Pray for us who remain in the midst of those who may hate us,
Pray for us that we may love as you did, even in the midst of great hatred.

Pierre Toussaint,
Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange,
Henriette DeLille,
Julia Greeley,
Fr. Augustus Tolton,
And my dear friend Thea Bowman,
Please, pray for us!

💔💙💛”

Venerable Pierre Toussaint was born into slavery; “He is credited by many with being the father of Catholic Charities in New York. Pierre was instrumental in raising funds for the first Catholic orphanage and began the city’s first school for black children. He also helped to provide funds for the Oblate Sisters of Providence, a religious community of black nuns founded in Baltimore and played a vital role in providing resources to erect Old Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Lower Manhattan. During a Yellow Fever epidemic when many of the city’s political leaders fled the city in search of healthier rural climates, Pierre Toussaint cared for the sick and the dying. He was a successful entrepreneur, who did not hesitate to share the fruits of his labor with others.”

Servant of God Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange came to America in the 18th century as a refugee from Haiti; “Despite discouragement, racism and a lack of funds, Mother Lange continued to educate children and meet the total needs of the Black Catholic community.”

Venerable Henriette DeLille was the daughter of  biracial couple; she founded the order of the Sisters of the Holy Family “for the purpose of nursing the sick, caring for the poor, and instructing the ignorant … [she] devoted herself untiringly for many years, without reserve, to the religious instruction of the people of New Orleans, principally of slaves … The last line of her obituary reads, ‘… for the love of Jesus Christ she had become the humble and devout servant of the slaves.'”

Servant of God Julia Greeley was born into slavery; she was known as “Denver’s Angel of Charity” and “a one-person St. Vincent de Paul Society” for the help she gave to poor families in her neighborhood, and “The Jesuits who ran the parish considered her the most enthusiastic promoter of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus they had ever seen.”

Venerable Augustus Tolton was born into slavery; he “became the first Black American priest in the United States of America … He gave service by helping the poor and sick, feeding the hungry and winning souls for God. His endless, tireless and devoted work led many to the Faith … [he was] lovingly known as ‘Good Father Gus.'”

Servant of God Sr. Thea Bowman was “exposed to the richness of her African-American culture and spirituality” at an early age; she was a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration and “became a highly acclaimed evangelizer, teacher, writer, and singer sharing the joy of the Gospel and her rich cultural heritage throughout the nation … She explained what it meant to be African-American and Catholic. She enlightened the bishops on African-American history and spirituality. Sister Thea urged the bishops to continue to evangelize the African-American community, to promote inclusivity and full participation of African-Americans within Church leadership, and to understand the necessity and value of Catholic schools in the African-American community.”

Back to the naming community, Abby at Appellation Mountain, in her usual thoughtful way, has stated a commitment to highlighting more non-Western names. She also shared the article What’s up with black names, anyway? from Salon. Pam at Nameberry shared a few other namey articles, including:

A brief history of black names, from Perlie to Latasha from The Conversation

A depressing study of how people respond to stereotypically black and white names from Vox (see also this article I shared a while ago about the experiences of a white man named Jamaal)

Are Black Names ‘Weird,’ or Are You Just Racist? at the Daily Beast

And this fascinating piece by Laura Wattenberg: Implicit Bias in Names: An Unintentional Case Study.

I keep thinking about that old saying, “A mother is only as happy as her saddest child.” So many of us are full of grief and anger; many of our brothers and sisters are terrified, either for themselves or their children (or both). I previously shared this Prayer for Racial Justice, and this 19-day novena (currently ongoing — it ends this Friday, which is both the feast of the Sacred Heart and Juneteenth) as an act of reparation to God for the sin of racism in all of its forms — they are powerful prayers. Our Mother of Sorrows, St. Michael the Archangel, and the holy men and women mentioned here: please pray for us.


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: Arthur Paul!

The consultation I did for Julia (longtime readers will recognize her handle: ethelfritha) and her husband almost four years ago was so fun to work on and one that I frequently refer to in my consultations for other families, and the subsequent birth announcement was so satisfying. Catholic geek names are so fun! I’m thrilled to share that Julia’s let me know she’s had another baby — a handsome little boy she and her hubby gave the fantastic name … Arthur Paul!

Julia writes,

We recently had our 4th geek baby and I thought you might be interested in his name: Arthur Paul.

Unlike all our other babies (Petra Jeanne, Corwin Matthias, and Theo Peregrin), this one was Arthur basically from the minute we found out he was a boy. And yes–he is absolutely named after King Arthur! 😁😁

It took us a long time to come up with a middle name. We even tossed around pretty extra names like “Arthur Ulysses” and “Arthur Aurelius.” But we kept coming back to Paul, a name which was on my husband’s radar because of the new Dune movie coming out (the main character is named Paul). When Arthur was born we took one look and said “he’s an Arthur Paul.” And what a great patron saint, too!

One extra fun saintly thing is that he was born at 5:45 PM on the vigil of St. Joan of Arc — our family patroness! She is always watching out for us!

Ahhh I love this!! The “pretty extra names” part made me laugh! I love how peaceful and happy these parents were with their first name choice from the beginning, and how perfect the middle name fell into place once he was born. Fantastic job!

Congratulations to Julia and her husband and big sibs Petra, Corwin, and Theo, and happy birthday Baby Arthur!!

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Arthur Paul


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: Magdalene Anne!

I did a private consultation for Natalie and her husband back in December, and I’m excited that Natalie’s let me know the baby has arrived and been given the gorgeous name … Magdalene Anne!

She writes,

I wanted to update you with our newest baby, a girl! Magdalene Anne was born 13 days late! At 9 pounds 3 ounces, she’s our biggest baby. It was a very smooth, easy labor until delivery. Being a big baby, it was hard enough, but then she got stuck, shoulder dystocia, and it was awful. Scary, painful, all around awful. After she arrived, I hemorrhaged as well, more awful, and while we’re both fine now, it’s been a lot of recovering for both of us. She’s a great addition to our family though and is much loved by her older brothers and sister.

As for her name, up until her due date, we were sold on Clara from your suggestions. But then I read another one of your posts about Easter names for babies born in the Easter season and I loved that idea. Especially because Magdalene had been on our short list, because of it being a family name, and everyone, including myself, thought she would come on Easter. My husband still wasn’t convinced of the name, until he realized that her initials would be MAE (Anne, after my mom) and he loved the idea of calling her Mae, after one of his aunts. We FINALLY agreed and now we feel as if St. Mary Magdalene has been a powerful intercessor in her somewhat traumatic life thus far and confident that this was the name for her.

As for nicknames, none have “stuck” yet. My husband will try Mae here and there, and I am leading towards Meg, but so far, she’s just Magdalene. Judging how Evie never stuck for Genevieve, Magdalene might not get shortened either!

I love hearing how Natalie and her hubby arrived at the name — first having decided on one name, then considering another but not having it feel quite right until a great nickname option made a particular family connection, and finally feeling like St. Mary Magdalene was interceding for their little one all along. And such a beautiful name! Natalie said that she and the baby are both fine now, but maybe you could say a little prayer for them both anyway — difficult births can be so traumatic!

Congratulations to Natalie and her husband and big sibs Samuel, Jonathan, Elijah, and Genevieve, and happy birthday Baby Magdalene!!

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Magdalene Anne


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: Felix Owen!

I did a private consultation for Sarah and her husband a few weeks ago, right at the end of her pregnancy! She’s let me know her little guy has arrived and been given the fantastic name … Felix Owen!

Sarah writes,

Thank you again for all of your help with name ideas … our little Felix Owen was born on May 7th around 2am.

It took us a long time to decide on a name after he was born!! We took the rest of the night off from discussing it and just got some sleep. Then that morning, I think we tried out every option under the sun and even introduced names that we weren’t really considering initially at all like Eli & Owen. My husband even graciously considered Miles Gerard, as that was my favorite, but when he told me that he would just call him “MG” instead of Miles because he really didn’t like it as a name, I moved on all together haha. We were both feeling pretty good about Felix but were struggling to combine it with a middle name that felt meaningful to us. I was also feeling really good about Owen as a first name after St. Nicholas Owen, but my husband felt like Owen was too popular of a name right now. So then he suggested Felix Owen and I immediately started crying which I took as a little sign from the Holy Spirit that it was a right name for our little guy.

And now of course, over a week in, I can’t imagine him being named anything but Felix. So funny how that works. We are using St. Felix of Cantalice as a patron because of his May 18th feast day, and St. Nicholas Owen as a patron too.”

This is all just amazing, what a great name story! I love how Sarah cried upon hearing the combo “Felix Owen” — I agree with her that it was a sign! And I LOVE this little guy’s patron saints!

Congratulations to Sarah and her hubby and big brother Luke Jacob, and happy birthday Baby Felix!!

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Felix Owen


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: Marian names, Italian names, and family names in consideration for fourth baby girl

Happy Memorial Day! It’s so necessary it is that we remember and celebrate those who gave their lives for our country and our freedom. 🗽🇺🇸 This is a beautiful prayer to say today for our fallen soldiers, loving Lord, bless them forever in Your eternal peace. ❤ ❤ ❤

Jessie and her husband are expecting their fifth baby this month (!!) — their fourth girl! This little lady joins big siblings:

Leonard Edward (after his father)
Lillian Victoria (after two grandmothers)
Jude Thaddea (after St. Jude)
Majella Magdalene (after St. Gerard)

Aren’t these fantastic?! I was so surprised by Leonard — so unexpected on a little guy, I love that! And then to discover that their Jude is a girl — I LOVE Thaddea as a middle name with Jude for a girl! And Majella Magdalene! Of course I’m not forgetting Lillian Victoria, what a stunning combo! Jessie and her husband have done a great job!

Jessie writes,

We are having a hard time agreeing and coming up with a girls name for our fourth girl that is significant to family and also maybe had a little Catholic meaning.

We currently like:

Lucciana (Lucia) Lourdes
Maribel (after mother Mary, my mother Maryanne and his mother Marie)
Francesca (Frankie as a nickname)
Rosie Jane (after his grandmother)
Giana (after St Giana)

I was really eager to see what names Jessie and her hubby are considering, and I wasn’t disappointed! These are my thoughts on those names, in case they’re helpful to them:

  • Lucciana (Lucia) Lourdes: I actually know a little Lucciana! Her family calls her Lucci, and I’ve always been impressed that they used a Lucy name that’s much less familiar! Lucia is a gorgeous option too, and always brings Our Lady of Fatima to mind, to whom I have a special devotion. Our Lady of Fatima’s feast day is May 13, so a name connected to her — like Lucia (or Lucciana as a variant of it) — would be pretty cool for a baby born in May. And Lourdes! I love Lourdes! Fatima and Lourdes in one name is pretty great! I also love alliteration, so Lucciana/Lucia Lourdes (and Majella Magdalene) really sing to me. Also, I wonder if Jessie and her hubs have considered Lourdes as a first name? One of my readers has a little Lourdes, I love it!
  • Maribel: I really like the idea of a Marian name beginning in Mar- as a way to honor both Jessie’s mom and her mother-in-law — so great to have that option! Of course, as you all know I’m a huge fan of Marian names in general, and I love the double Marian whammy of giving a May baby a Marian name! Maribel is beautiful, and I have some more ideas below, too.
  • Francesca: Italian girl names tend to be so gorgeous, and Francesca is one of the prettiest. Frankie as a nickname is adorable too!
  • Rosie Jane: I’m not sure if this would be a double name or the first+middle combo? Either way, Rosie Jane is so sweet! I wonder if it was Jessie’s husband’s grandmother’s given name? It has a little bit of a different feel than their older kids’ names and the other names they’re considering — a little lighter and more informal — which is totally fine! But something like Rosemary/Rosemarie Jane or Rosanne/Rosanna Jane or Rosa Jane or Rosary/Rosaria Jane as the given name, with Rosie or Rosie Jane as the nickname, feels a bit more stylistically similar to the other names they’ve used and like. Either way, Rose is a Marian name!
  • Gianna: St. Gianna’s awesome, and a big favorite among the Sancta Nomina families! I like how the “anna” part could be a nod to Jessie’s mom, if she wanted it to be. Also, Gianna is an Italian form of Jane, so they could consider it an honor name for Jessie’s husband’s grandmother too. Or they could even do a Rose first name with Gianna as a middle and still call her Rosie Jane!

So those are my thoughts on the names on Mom and Dad’s list. As for new ideas, you all know I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard book as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — this research gives me a great idea of the kinds of names that fit into the style(s) that the parents are most likely to like. I also looked through my book of Marian names for ideas for this family (especially more Mar- ideas). Based on that research, these are my ideas:

(1) A Mar- name
I really liked what Jessie and her hubs were thinking with Maribel — honoring both Maryanne and Marie in one name. I have these names in my book that I thought might also be good contenders:

— Marienne: This is like a Marian/Maryanne mashup pronunciation-wise, but it’s French like Marie and actually contains Marie within it. It’s quite pretty and feminine to look at, it’s obviously Marian, and I like that it’s so much of an almost exact combo of Jessie’s mom’s and mil’s names.

— Mariae: I’m excited about this one for this family, as it’s one of the more unusual Mary names, and I think their taste runs to the more unusual. It’s pronounced MAR-ee-ay, and it’s actually a Latin version — it’s the genitive (possessive) form of Maria — it literally means, “of or belonging to Mary.” How amazing is that? Micaela Darr (who graciously endorsed my book!) bestowed it on her daughter. I LOVE seeing her write out her daughter’s name on Instagram, it’s so beautiful!

— Maristella: This one reminds me a lot of the ultra-feminine names Jessie and her hubby have used so far, I have a feeling they might like it! It’s a reversal of the Marian title Stella Maris (Star of the Sea). On that note, perhaps they’d rather consider just Stella? Or Stella as a first name and Maris as a middle? Or Stellamaris? Actually, now that I think about it, I might prefer Stellamaris for them, only because Maristella and Stella by itself both rhyme with Majella, where Stellamaris doesn’t, since it has a different ending.

— Madonna: Okay, I know this isn’t an Mar- name, but I wondered if they might like the idea of Madonna — which of course refers to Our Lady’s motherhood — as a way to honor both Jessie’s mom and her mil (since they’re both mothers, and Madonna doesn’t begin with Mar- but it does begin with Ma-, like Maryanne and Marie)? I know it’s still really controversial as a first name (I hope Catholics can reclaim it one day!), but I LOVE it in the middle name spot, like this mama did for her daughter. It wouldn’t work as a middle name for Lucciana or Gianna, since it would rhyme with them, but something like Lucia Madonna or Rosa Madonna would be lovely!

(2) Jacinta
I’d actually already jotted down Jacinta for this family while reading Jessie’s email, even before doing my research (I was inspired by Lucia), and then I was excited to see it listed as a style match for Maribel in the BNW! I like that it’s a more unusual name, and relates to Our Lady of Fatima, so it has that nice connection for a May baby. It’s got similar sounds as Gianna, and it occurs to me that Jane or Janie/Janey could even be a nickname for Jacinta! (Or not, if they hate that idea! I always have lots of ideas, haha!) If they really prefer Italian names, they could spell it the Italian way: Giacinta, which also opens up Gia or Gigi and even Giana as nickname possibilities.

(3) Gemma
When doing my research in the BNW, I really look for names that are listed as a style match for more than one of the names on the parents’ list. Gemma is one! It’s a match for both Jude and Gianna, and St. Gemma Galgani is a saint much loved by many. Additionally, Gemma means “gem” (as in “precious stone”) in Italian, which is such a sweet meaning for a little girl.

(4) Chiara
Chiara was actually a match for three of the names they like: Lucia, Francesca, and Gianna! It’s the Italian form of Clare, and it’s a name I see considered quite a bit by families I work with, not only for St. Clare of Assisi, but also for Bl. Chiara Luce Badano and Servant of God Chiara Corbella Patrillo.

(5) Loretta
Finally, when I saw Loretta listed as a style match for Leonard, I knew I wanted to suggest it! Though I think most people might think of it as either an old lady name or a Hollywood starlet name (since it peaked in popularity in 1938, and was the name of beautiful 40’s Hollywood actress Loretta Young), which may or may not appeal to Jessie and her hubs, it’s actually an Italian name! It could be a form of Lauretta (an Italian elaboration of Laura), but Catholics consider it to be a nod to Loreto, “the name of a small town in Italy where stands a small house, held by tradition to be the house in which Our Lady was born and grew up, and in which the Annunciation and the Incarnation took place (known as the Holy House of Nazareth). Angels are said to have carried the house there in the 13th century. The Litany of Loreto (Litaniae Lauretanae in Latin), also known as the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, lists many of Our Lady’s beautiful titles” (quote taken from my book).

And those are all my ideas for Jessie and her husband! What do you think? What name(s) would you suggest for the baby sister of Leonard, Lillian, Jude, and Majella?


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!