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

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

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

Michael Thomas

Francis Joan (in heaven)

Joseph Robert

Siena Anne

James Charles

She writes,

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

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

She goes on to say,

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

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

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

Names they can’t use include:

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

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

Okay, some thoughts on names they like!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay, on to new names!

1) Avila

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

2) Lisieux

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

3) Amelia

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

4) Alice

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

5) Genevieve

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

6) Anastasia

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

7) Flora

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

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m back on hiatus from doing consultations (though check back from time to time, as I hope to open up a few spots here and there as I’m able), but Theresa Zoe Williams is available to help you! Email her at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

For help with Marian names, my book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Saintly place names

In the past, I’ve tended to include Saintly place names in lists of Saintly surnames, but my mind was clicking recently about place names specifically, so I wanted to see how many we can come up with. There are two categories: (1) what I’m thinking of as the “of” categories (St. So-and-so of Somewhere) and (2) places that have faithy associations.

“Of” names (with their Saints) (in no particular order)

  • St. Bernard of Clairvaux
  • St. Joseph of Cupertino
  • St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of Avila
  • St. Joan of Arc (d’Arc)
  • St. Francis of Assisi
  • St. Augustine of Hippo
  • St. Pio of Pietrelcina
  • St. Ignatius of Antioch
  • St. Ignatius of Loyola
  • St. Thérèse of Lisieux
  • St. Elizabeth of Hungary
  • St. Margaret of Scotland
  • St. Rita of Cascia
  • St. Catherine of Siena, St. Bernardine of Siena

And of course there are all the Marian places (Our Lady of Fatima, etc.).

Other place (or place-associated) names (in no particular order)

  • Roma, Roman
  • Tiber
  • Magdalene (of Magdala)
  • Eden
  • Belén (Bethlehem)
  • Isla
  • Nazaret (Nazareth)
  • Olivet (Mount of Olives)
  • Gethsemane
  • Judea
  • Jericho
  • Cana
  • Canaan

I’ve seen a lot of these used for babies, and others not used at all … some probably aren’t name-worthy (like Hippo), while others I haven’t seen at all but could be perfect for the right family (maybe Pietrelcina? It’s related to Peter [it literally means “small stones/pebbles,” as far as I can tell]).

I know there are loads more — what would you add to these lists? Happy Monday!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life! (And check out my buy-the-book-get-a-consultation deal!)