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!

Birth announcement: Elanor Josephine!

I just published a post in honor of St. Rita that I don’t want you to miss — today’s her feast day! She’s been a powerful intercessor for me and others I know, and writing about her is my little way of fulfilling my promises made in the novena to her I often say.

I did a private consultation for Keri and her husband a few months ago, and I’m delighted to share that their baby girl has been born and given the gorgeous name … Elanor Josephine!

Keri writes,

Just wanted to drop you a note to let you know our little one arrived a few weeks ago (on big brother Gabe’s birthday). We named her Elanor Josephine.

We took your advice and used Tolkein’s spelling — I have always loved that the story didn’t end after the ring was destroyed — that the hobbits had to go back to Hobbiton and still had to deal with the after effects of the ring’s influence — I like the symbolism that life goes on, even amidst the battles we must fight, but there is always hope. She was also named after Eleanor Donnelly — a Catholic American Poet from the Civil War era who I discovered when I realized that Elanor was a strong contender — this was a gift! She was highly revered during her time, and I feel that she needs to be reintroduced to our generation — her poems written during the Civil War are haunting but infused with hope as well. Her poems for children are simple, but pack so much in them that I discover something new each time I read them. Her books are free online.

[Hubby] wasn’t thrilled with Josephine at first, but with your prompting and after the coronavirus pandemic began, he warmed up fast — While Maisie Ward is unquestionably one of her namesakes,* we felt that having St. Joseph as her patron, especially during this time of unpredictability, was a fitting tribute to the great saint who guided his own family during times of uncertainty. It’s also a family name on my side: my grandmother’s middle name and my great grandmother’s name — I have the rosary both women were given for their Confirmation, so it seems fitting to have one daughter as their namesake for whom to gift the heirloom.

We thought when we brought her home she would go by Posie, but the kids overruled us and Ellie is her nickname, except for our feisty 5 year old who insists on Posie.”

I’m so excited that one of my suggestions — the Tolkien spelling Elanor — was helpful to Keri and her hubby! I absolutely love the combination Elanor Josephine, and how meaningful it is to her parents, and how it gives a little nod to “this time of unpredictability” in a pretty perfect way. And I’m thrilled to be introduced to Eleanor Donnelly! I know a lot of you will likely be, too!

* Keri really wanted to nod to Maisie Ward, wife of Frank Sheed — they were members of the Catholic Evidence League in London and created Sheed and Ward, a publishing house that specialized in Catholic authors. Among their friends (who they also published) were GK Chesterton, Ronald Knox, Marigold Hunt, Daphne McCloud, and Caryll Houselander who were all part of the winding down of the English Catholic Literary Revival. Maisie’s given name was Mary Josephine, hence the mention of her in regard to this baby’s middle name.

Congratulations to Keri and her husband and big siblings (all the heart eyes over these beautiful names!!):

Isabel Eden (Izzy)
Gabriel Crispin (Gabe)
Elijah Bryce (Eli)
Lydia Quinn (Quinn)
Aurelia Triss (Raya)
Madeline Grace and Mary Grace (in heaven)

and happy birthday Baby Elanor!!

Kids Portrait

Elanor Josephine with her big siblings ❤


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!

 

Fun Friday Question: Did your devotion to your children’s name saints come first or second?

I’ve often had parents tell me that they like such-and-such a name, but they don’t really have a devotion to the saint who bears the name, so it feels a little weird to them to choose it.

On the other hand, I’ve also heard from parents who have allowed their preference for a name to introduce them to a new saint, and they’ve cultivated a devotion from there.

I’ve experienced both: Some of my boys’ names were chosen because we had a specific devotion to a specific saint, while others have names chosen more because they’re important family names or simply names we liked, and we “backed into” a patron saint — and a new devotion — from there.

What about you? What has your experience been in this regard? Have a great Friday and a great weekend, and Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms and all the moms in your lives!


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: Benedict Campion Marie!

I posted a birth announcement for Teresa’s first baby almost two years ago, and I’m thrilled to share that she’s had her second baby — another boy! She and her hubby gave him the fantastic and so Marian name … Benedict Campion Marie!

Teresa writes,

As promised here’s a bit behind our baby’s name. Benedict Campion Marie was born today! Glory to Jesus Christ!

Mostly I love the name Benedict, I think it’s strong and lovely … We don’t have much of a devotion to St Benedict but I have found that as we teach Emil about Father Kapaun our love and friendship with him grows and hope that will be the same with St Benedict. Campion is after St Edmund Campion, who was known as a great orator and debater. My husband and I met on the debate team in college and spent our first years of marriage traveling the world teaching debate, so when I heard that about St Edmund I sort of fell in love. Benedict was due in May and our girls name was very Marian. I felt like we needed to honor Our Lady with his name too but didn’t want to give up Benedict Campion. So we decided to add on Marie and I absolutely love it. He was due the 10th but came early (hallelujah!) and just squeaked in being born in the month of Mary.

While we were in the hospital my husband was looking up the name Benedict in other languages and somehow we had missed that the etymological root translates to “well spoken” which with our reasoning for Campion seemed all too perfect and divinely orchestrated!

How great is this story and this name?!! I love it!! And Marie as a second middle!! We totally need to bring that back for boys — hurray for Teresa and her hubby to do so!! But really, I didn’t expect anything less, after what and how they named their first baby — I had linked to their telling of it on Instagram, but for those of you who don’t have IG, I just watched it again and took these notes on how they decided on the name Emil Byrd for their son:

His first name is after Fr. Emil Kapaun, whose cause for canonization is open. Not only does he have a great, heroic story that includes ministering to the soldiers even during battle, receiving the Medal of Honor, and being a prisoner of war (during which he died), but he’s also from the same small town that Teresa’s hubby is from!

His middle name is for William Byrd, who was a sixteenth-century English composer for Queen Elizabeth. He was Catholic at a time when it was illegal to practice the faith, including having Mass said, so the faithful had Masses celebrated secretly in their homes. William Byrd composed parts of the Mass to be sung in homes during that time. Additionally, Teresa’s husband is William as well, so Byrd is a little nod to him too.

They hoped that, like his namesakes, their Emil Byrd would find beauty in the Church, be courageous, and exemplify selfless compassion to others.

I know you’ll agree with me that Teresa and her hubby have done an amazing job naming their boys! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Benedict!!

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Benedict Campion Marie


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: Charlotte Avery Katherine!

I did a consultation a couple of years ago for a hoped-for baby for Corrie and her husband, and she’s let me know that they did indeed go on to be blessed with a baby — a little girl to whom they gave the gorgeous name … Charlotte Avery Katherine!

Corrie writes,

Hello Kate! I wanted to follow up on the birth of our baby girl who is almost 10 months old now. Although we did seriously consider a couple of the names on your list (especially Felicity, Hazel and Avery-Kate) my husband and I landed on …

Charlotte Avery Katherine!

Charlotte was born at 39 weeks on 6/3, feast day of St. Charles Lwanga. We still haven’t settled on just one nickname. Charlotte was our little green bean that we called ‘Baby Bear’ my entire pregnancy. We still call her Bear … her siblings affectionately named her Charley (SHAR-Lee) … I like to call her Lottie Kate.

Big siblings Ella Grace and Henry Layne adore her.”

Charlotte Avery Katherine is such a beautiful combination, and I die over Lottie Kate!! Bear and Charley are so darling as well. ❤ I also love that her birthday is a feast day of a Charles saint — such a nice connection with her name! (St. Charles Lwanga is an awesome patron — I’ve never seen him chosen as a patron for a baby, I’m delighted to hear of it here!)

Congratulations to Corrie and her husband and big siblings Henry Layne and Eleanor Grace, and happy birthday Baby Charlotte!!

Charlotte Avery Katherine with her big brother and sister ❤


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: Jeffery Sherwood!

I had the privilege of doing a consultation and birth announcement for Lily’s first baby, and a consultation for her second as well. She’s let me know that her baby boy was born over the winter and was given the perfect name … Jeffery Sherwood!

Lily writes,

Your consultation was great, and helped us come up with his name. My husband didn’t necessarily consider the name going together until he read the consultation. He wanted to use [his name] Jeffery and was open to the middle name being the child’s name we call them. And that follows the same pattern we have with Twiggs. I asked for the family tree and the name Sherwood jumped out at me. I thought it sounded like a name that would go well with Twiggs … [So he is named] Jeffery Sherwood [called] Sherwood or Wood … or if you are Twiggs you call him baby brother … [and] Woody which I think is cute too.”

Siblings Lucy Twiggs and Jeffery Sherwood, called Twiggs and Wood/Woody and including such special family names, are just a perfect sister-brother pair!!

Congratulations to Lily and her husband and big sister Twiggs, and happy birthday Baby Sherwood!!

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Jeffery Sherwood with his big sister ❤


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!