Birth announcement: Blaise Michael!

I posted a consultation for my dear friend Rosey and her husband Brian back in May, and I’m delighted to share that her little guy has been born and named the amazing … Blaise Michael!!

Rosey writes,

I looked back at Brian’s list of names and Blaise was buried on page 2 and Michael was never a middle name he put with it. I’ve liked Blaise for a while, but thought it was a little too different. I really wanted to use Michael for two reasons, to honor my uncle taken too soon by cancer (he was 39 … about the same age Brian is now!) and also our parish prays the St. Michael prayer after every Mass, and I think now more than ever we can really use his intercession. We were considering George as a first name since there is a George on my mom and Brian’s dad’s side, but we couldn’t pair it with Michael 😜. So Blaise fell into place once we agreed on Michael as a middle name.”

I love love this name story!! I’m so pleased they ended up with a name Rosey loves, because I know she was having a hard time feeling excited about any of them, and I love the meaning behind the middle name — both the family connection and the St. Michael prayer. We do so need his intercession, defense in battle, and protection from evil!

I looked back at the consultation I’d done and was thrilled to see that I’d written,

… if they used something like Blaise or Jude for first names, I could see something more staid like Michael or Francis balancing them out really nicely and making them feel more comfortable with the overall effect (not saying Blaise and Jude are crazy, just a little more adventurous than their other ideas and and their other kids’ names … and actually, I love the idea of Blaise for them because they’re into track/cross country — you know, Blaise … like blaze … like super speedy! 😁)

Woo! 😍

Blaise joins his big sibs:

Kenneth Brian
Paul Vincent
Clare Patricia Rose
James Emanuel
Henry Joseph

Congratulations to this beautiful family, and happy birthday Baby Blaise!!

Blaise Michael with his family
(check out the shirts!! Rosey did them the week before the baby was born. SuperMom💕)

Birth announcement: Niamh Émilie!

Do you remember the spotlight I did recently on Niamh and Naomh? The mama who asked for the spotlight has let me know her little girl has arrived, and has been given the gorgeous combo … Niamh Émilie!

She writes,

Our daughter was born just before midnight on her due date, July 1st (Canada Day, and Canada’s 150th, which was fun as we are Canadian), and we did name her Niamh Émilie as planned. My husband and I both loved the connection you drew between the meaning of Niamh (radiance, brightness) and the feast of the Transfiguration, so we’ve made that (which is today!) her sort of name day. Maybe next year we’ll even get around to celebrating it, but this year we’re still adjusting to the noisy chaos that is three kids under four and didn’t manage anything beyond Sunday Mass as usual.

Several comments on the Niamh post mentioned concerns over the difficult traditional spelling of Niamh, and I agree that will be somewhat annoying for her as she grows, but I have an unusual name myself and it was never that big a deal; plus we just love the name so much, and dislike its phonetic spellings, so Niamh it is. Also, it turns out that Niamh is her uncle and Godfather’s favourite girl name, and what he would have liked to name a daughter of his own. Her whole name written out looks beautiful, as well; we feel it is something she can wear proudly throughout her life. Just at the moment though, she’s going by Niamhlet (pronounced Neavlet) or, as her big brother likes to call her, “Niamh the Beev”.”

Niamh the Beev!! Niamhlet!! SO CUTE!! I’m so thrilled that they went with Niamh after all, and I’m so happy that the Feast of the Transfiguration is her feast day — so cool! Her mama also let me know that Émilie is in honor of Servant of God Fr. Emil Kapaun. Such a beautiful, meaningful pair of names!

Niamh joins big sibs:

George Benedict
Mara Lucie

What wonderful taste!! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Niamh!!

Niamh Émilie and big sibs George and Mara

Spotlight on: Sunniva

Don’t forget to enter the Feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim giveaway — it ends tonight at midnight! I’ll announce the winners tomorrow!

A fellow name enthusiast recently told me her Confirmation name is Sunniva and I was like Sunniva! I knew next to nothing about the name or the saint and I knew I had to do a spotlight on it!

St. Sunniva of Bergen, also known as St. Sunniva of Norway and of Selje, and sometimes known under the variants Sunnifa and Synnöve, has a pretty interesting story: she was the daughter of an Irish king who fled to Norway to escape an arranged marriage, and died there in a cave; years later her body was found incorrupt. The Irish-Norwegian connection makes her name a perfect one for a family with Irish and Norwegian ancestry (like mine!), especially because her name, though used in Scandinavian countries (especially Norway and Sweden as far as I can tell), is actually Old English in origin.

Regarding pronunciation, I’ve seen sun-EE-va on behindthename (by a mom living in the U.S. who named her daughter Sunniva) and SOON-ee-va on Nameberry, and the four examples on Forvo sound more like sun-ee-VA to me. So it seems there are choices, but unless you all know which is the predominant pronunciation for native English speakers, I’m going to recommend the first, because it rhymes with Geneva, which I think makes for a really easy way to help others learn and remember it. I also like that it highlights the -iva part, which can lend itself so naturally to the nicknames Eva and Evie, Neva, and even Vivi. I also love the possibility of Sunni, so sweet! And Synne appears to be a Norwegian short form of the name, pronounced SIN-na according to Forvo.

Sunniva is pretty rare here, having been given to 9 girls in 2016, 10 in 2015, less than five in 2014, and 5 in 2013 (I didn’t go back farther than that). So a true rarity that has history and faith significance and some sweet and on-trend nicknames!

What do you all think of Sunniva? Would you name your daughter Sunniva, or have you? Do you know anyone named Sunniva? What does she think of her name, and does she go by a nickname?

Baby name consultation: Third baby boy needs meaningful name that works in Spanish/Portuguese/English

Elizabeth and her husband are expecting their third baby—and third son! This little guy joins big brothers:

Adriano Luis
Mateo Luis

I love both names—not only are they handsome and masculine, but they’re really meaningful too—read what Elizabeth says about them:

It took my husband, Luis, and I many years to conceive. Our first son was named after my beloved grandfather, Adriano, whom my husband and I were always very fond of. We call him “Adri” (Ay-dree) sometimes. Not knowing if we would be blessed a second time, we decided on Mateo (which means gift from God) when we found out I was expecting our second gift.”

What a wonderful story! And now they’re expecting again! Elizabeth writes,

Now, after five years I am blessed a third time!

I am of Spanish descent and my husband is of Brazilian/Portuguese descent. We would like a name that is pronounceable in Spanish/Portuguese and of course English.

I have tossed around the idea of Tiago — Portuguese biblical name referring to St. James: St. James being the patron saint of Spain. But, I’ve heard mixed things about Tiago not being a proper translation or it being part of the full name Santiago. And there is confusion as to whether Santiago is Saint James or just James…I wonder if you would shed some light on this? And if you would help with other possible name suggestions? … our third will also carry dad’s name as a middle: ________ Luis.”

Additionally,

I prayed for St. Rita’s intercession for the conception and healthy arrival of my children. Had this baby been a girl I was thinking of naming her Antonia Pearl — I was born on St. Anthony’s feast day, my husband is Luis Anthony. And we have MANY Antonios and Antonias in our family tree. And Pearl for the significance of Margarita.

I am an older mom.  As I stated before, it took my husband and I years to conceive. I was 38 when my first was born. I then had Mateo at 40. We continued trying for more and my doctor told me about a year ago that it was very unlikely I would conceive again. And here I am!  I’ve been blessed at 45 with another precious child!  This is also why I feel it’s so important to find the perfect name for him. ”

What an inspiring, hopeful story!! I’m so glad Elizabeth was okay with me sharing it with all of you. ❤

Also, all Chris- names are off the table.

Okay, first off—I LOVE Tiago. Love love love. What a cool name! And it’s got a great saintly connection—to answer Elizabeth’s question, it is a name that refers to St. James. One of the cool things about it is that it refers *specifically* to St. James, not to just James generically, as Tiago is a truncation of Santiago, which means St. James (Santo Iago, where Iago is a variant of James, has become Santiago; see both Behind the Name and the DMNES, both of which are trustworthy sources). Tiago is a Portuguese variant, and with St. James being patron of Spain, I think Elizabeth’s done an amazing job of combining her Spanish heritage with her husband’s Portuguese heritage. Well done!

I also want to loop in St. Rita here as well—she is such an amazing saint, and this isn’t the first story I’ve heard firsthand of her intercession leading to a baby! It would be amazing to find a name that could work for a boy that honors St. Rita—I have loved and shared many times the story julianamama told of the family she knew who named their son Garrett after St. Margaret, and that would work for St. Rita as well, since her given name was Margherita (the Italian Margaret). Unfortunately, I don’t think it would work in this case as Garrett doesn’t translate into Spanish or Portuguese except that it derives from Gerard, so Gerardo would work—but that seems a bit far from Rita, don’t you think? BUT, I did some research on her life, looking for any inspiration, and I discovered that one of her sons was named Giangiacomo, which is a combination of two names—Gian (a short form of Giovanni=John) and Giacomo (James). Additionally, when her cause for canonization was being pursued, her story was compiled by an Augustinian priest named Fr. Jacob Carelicci—and Jacob is a variant of James! So Tiago, being connected to James/Jacob, can also be a nod to St. Rita.

Are you feeling what I’m feeling? I’m feeling like Tiago is the perfect name for Elizabeth’s baby boy. Awesome name, perfect significance.

Of course I have more ideas though! If Elizabeth and her Mister just can’t get comfortable with Tiago, I wonder what they would think of:

(1) Antonio
Antonia was their girl name—a nod to the feast day on which Elizabeth was born and her husband’s middle name, as well as many family members with a variant of the name—Antonio seems a natural contender for a boy! Antonio Luis would be his dad’s name in reverse, which is a way of “junioring without junioring” that I’ve seen other people use (you can read allllll about “junioring” a non-firstborn here). In addition, St. Rita’s dad’s name was Antonio!

(2) Samuel (or Isaac)
When I read Elizabeth’s story, my first thought was Samuel! The story of Hannah and Samuel is one that often resonates with those who have hoped and struggled to conceive. Samuel is the Spanish and Portuguese form of the name, so it should work nicely for them. I wanted to suggest Isaac too, for the same reason, but I can’t tell if it’s usable in Spanish/Portuguese or if it has a Spanish/Portuguese variant?

(3) Nico or Nicolas
This goes back again to St. Rita, as she had three patron saints, one of which was St. Nicholas of Tolentino. I think the Portuguese Nicolau would be difficult for English-speakers, but either Nico or Nicolas would be great I think, especially since St. Nicholas of Tolentino’s parents were childless until they prayed at a shrine of St. Nicholas of Myra (the St. Nicholas we all know) and named their son after him in gratitude. He was an Augustinian, like St. Rita. Also, I looked up Adrian (there isn’t an entry for Adriano), Mateo, and Antonia in The Baby Name Wizard, which I usually do at the beginning of a consultation, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity, and Nico was a style match for Mateo and Nicholas for Antonia.

(4) Rafael
My last idea is totally inspired by the BNW as it lists Rafael as a style match for both Adrian and Mateo, which I thought was pretty amazing. Though I looked and looked for a holy Raphael that could connect to Elizabeth’s story in some way, all I could find were several that were martyred in the Spanish Civil War, and I don’t know if that connection would be meaningful to Elizabeth or not. The name itself means “God has healed,” which could nod to their suffering in their hopes to conceive and the answers to their prayers.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for Adriano and Mateo’s little brother, taking into account all the details Elizabeth shared?

Birth announcement: Catherine Rose!

I posted a consultation for Shannon and her husband on Memorial Day for their little green bean 🌱, in which they were specifically looking for non-M Marian middle name ideas if they had a girl. Shannon’s let me know that they did indeed have a little lady! And they’ve given her the so-lovely name … Catherine Rose!

Shannon writes,

I just wanted to let you know that our little girl (!) arrived on July 3rd, and we named her Catherine Rose! We loved your suggestion as a way to honor Mary (with a non-M Marian name), and as a special, private way to incorporate our sweet Therese. (We hadn’t chosen a middle name for Therese, but we decided we would adopt Pieta as her middle name. It so beautifully reflects our sorrow of losing her.)

Thanks again for your insights and for all of your readers’ comments! We’re so grateful!

Isn’t Catherine Rose just so perfect?! It’s a beautiful complement for big sister Caroline Mary, and I love how it ties into her sister in heaven, Therese. And I love Therese Pieta! All around, just beautiful, meaningful names.

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

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Catherine Rose with big sister Caroline Mary
(I can’t get over how much Catherine looks like Caroline did as a baby!)

Birth announcement: Molly Victoria!

I posted a consultation for Amy and her husband just a couple of weeks ago, and I’m so excited to share that their little girl has arrived! She’s been given the gorgeous name … Molly Victoria!

Amy writes,

I get a lot of good reactions from people admiring when we tell her name (so sweet/pretty, oh i like that, smiles, etc). I didn’t really get that with [big sister] Kristy, and wanted it. I know it is dated (70s -ish) and maybe not “pretty” but I still am crazy about its meaning and so perfect for her.

It was a beautiful birth. I was able to go to daily Mass that morning and get a blessing from the priest (we were inducing so I knew it was baby day). We were also able to stop by a perpetual adoration chapel to be with Jesus for a bit on our way (again, because of the induction we knew we had time). I delivered at a Catholic hospital (where I was able to literally find my peaceful place in their chapel as labor tried to kick off) by my Catholic OB (who prays with me, was just ordained a deacon and may be part of her baptism) with Angels all around me (I can sense them during childbirth, they have been present in different ways with each of my births, even to my husband).

I just couldn’t shake it [Molly Victoria] and knew in the last weeks of pregnancy that I was set and wanted to go with it. I felt like it already matched her, even without meeting her yet. I could picture us using it and I had honestly started calling her that to myself. It was just too meaningful to me and anything else would have felt, I don’t know, slighted? My husband pretty much named our first two, so he let me have my way (not sure he really had any other pressing ideas, or he didn’t mention them cause he saw how attached I was to Molly).

Reasons I went with it:

Basically:
She is named after my grandmother (Millie) and [the baby’s] grandmother (Vicky), both of whom we refer to as Nanny.

Specifically (in no particular order):
– I know Molly is not traditionally a variant of Millie, but it is MY variant. I figure if you can get Jack from John, Dick from Richard, Bill from William (etc.) I can change one letter and get Molly from Millie.

– I have already named after God (Kristy/Christ), Mary (Marie), and a saint (JPII), now I wanted to name for someone that I knew personally, who meant a lot to me, influential, that I admire and would want her to be like. The very first, top person I would have wanted was my Nanny Millie.

– Now we have 3 generations represented in the girls names, Kristy Marie shares a middle name with mom (and it’s cool our first boy shares dad’s middle name), Victoria for grandma, and Molly for great grandma.

– My other two had heavy representation from my husbands family ([big brother’s first name] Martin is grandpa’s name and he goes by his middle just like grandpa, Kristy is slightly named after her aunts Kristen Joy (Krissy) and Karin Marie like they were and the K for both my friend Kyla and his mom Kathy). I wanted my family represented this time and this gave me both sides (paternal – Molly and maternal – Victoria). Additionally, we have now named after grandparents on both sides, one male and paternal side (Martin) and one female and maternal side (Victoria).

– Slightly silly, insignificant, but fun- Kristy has 6 letters, Molly has 5 and Kane has 4 (all the cousins have 5 letter names). Additionally, the first initials make a cool pattern. KM and MK are (unintended) opposites. Now we have K, K, M, however *technically* its K, M, M or I guess K, MK, M

– I had a hard time ignoring how this name came to me, in daily Mass, almost knocking me over. And then it wouldn’t leave me alone, haunting me. So many little incidence that said “pay attention to this name”.

– Molly is Marian (yah!) and Victoria for Our Lady of Victory, cool.”

SUCH a great name story!! So many reasons for Amy and her husband to feel so pleased and peaceful about the name of their little girl!

Congratulations to Amy and her husband and big sibs Kristy Marie and Martin Kane (Kane), and happy birthday Baby Molly!!

Molly Victoria and her family ❤

St. Francis de Sales Writing Contest: Second Place Winner

Last month my CatholicMom spot was devoted to sharing the first-place winning essay of the writing contest I instituted this spring at my alma mater; this month I’m delighted to share the second-place winning essay, which posted today! Be sure to hop on over and read it! I’m so proud of the two winners, they did such a great job. 🎉

(As a bonus, you can even catch a sneak peek of me in the background of the photo. 🙂 )

(I explain all about the contest here.)

catholicmom_screenshot-07.19.17