Krista and her husband are expecting their second baby, a little brother to:
Such a fantastic name — a beautiful, timeless combo that’s biblical, saintly, and Marian — a perfect trifecta! You can even add in the Visitation for a rosary connection! Love it.
“I had the hardest time with names the first time around and seem to be continuing the tradition this time. Part of the issue is my husband will only suggest one name and then become upset if that is not something I agree to. He did give in to Elizabeth with the first (which was one of my first names) but only after she was born and after I had tried to give him MANY options. [He enjoys the connection to Pride and Prejudice.]
He seems to be stuck on naming children after Sci-Fi movies which is a turn off to me (he likes Star Wars and Firefly) … as a recent convert, having a strong Catholic name with a good meaning is important to me. When I looked up Elizabeth it meant “God is my oath” or “sworn to God” … I wanted Marie to honor Our Lady.
His family has a tradition of using John as a middle name for the oldest son which I am okay with but he wants the first name Malcolm (after the lead in Firefly) which I don’t approve of due to the Mal- beginning.
I enjoy Augustine and Luke … but he doesn’t seem open to any of my suggestions that aren’t his ideas (or rather idea) … my husband also studied paleontology (dino paleo) and loves science. Maybe common ground could be found in a famous scientist name that is also a good Catholic name?“
I was so happy that Krista allowed me to post this consultation, as I know some of you have been in similar situations! As I told Krista, I have often seen God use our interests and inclinations for His purposes, whether we realize it or not, so maybe her hubby’s affinity for sci-fi and literature will end up drawing him closer to Him! I really wanted to find names that might appeal to his sensibilities while also having great, holy connections that will please Krista. In fact, one of the reasons I started Sancta Nomina was to show that names of all kinds can have saintly connections or other connections to the faith, no matter if parents originally like a name because of it being in a movie/book/video game, etc. I think that the fact Krista’s hubs likes Elizabeth because of the P&P connection is a great start! How wonderful that this name that caught his attention through a work of literature is ALSO a great saintly name!
So I think trying to find a name that appeals to Krista’s hubby through his human interests, that’s also got some great faith connections, is the perfect way to go! Just like she said about his love for paleontology/science: “Maybe common ground could be found in a famous scientist name that is also a good Catholic name?” And with that in mind, my first goal is to try to convince Krista of Malcolm! It’s actually an awesome Catholic name!! She said she doesn’t approve of the name because of the Mal- beginning, but in this instance the Mal actually doesn’t refer to “bad”! Mal in Latin does, but Malcolm doesn’t derive from Latin; rather, it’s an Irish name meaning “servant [or disciple] of St. Columcille” (also known as St. Columba) — the “mal” refers to “servant/disciple” and comes from/is an anglicization of the Irish maol (Maolcholm). I’ve written before about patron saints finding us through our interests/talents/hobbies/jobs, etc. — perhaps St. Columba/Columcille is pulling Krista’s husband close through his love of the name Malcolm! (As an amazing side note, Columcille means “dove of the Church”! I love that! Columba is a shortened form — it means “dove.” He’s credited with the conversion of Scotland to Christianity; you can read more about him here.) Malcolm was also the name of the husband of St. Margaret of Scotland, who was pretty great. Malcolm John is a really handsome combo.
Even if Krista can come around on the idea of Malcolm, I can see how using Mal as a nickname might continue to feel problematic. The Firefly character goes by Mal, but that doesn’t mean her Malcolm has to (and perhaps this can be a point of compromise for her husband — he gets Malcolm as the given name, but Krista gets to choose the nickname). Mac can work as a nickname, as can Max (which can also allow her to think of St. Maximilian Kolbe as a secondary patron). Colm itself has usage as a given name, as an even further shortening of Columcille (–>Columba–>Colum–>Colm), so they could use Colm as an everyday nickname, which further highlights the saintly connection. Going off of Colm, perhaps Cole can also work as a nickname.
Krista’s ideas of Augustine and Luke are both ones I love as well — Luke in particular seems like one that would be a good compromise for them both, since it’s such a huge Star Wars name!
I also did quite a bit of research trying to find other names that might interest Krista’s husband from his sci-fi perspective while also appealing to Krista from a faith perspective, and I’m pretty happy with what I found! My research included looking up the names of the Firefly characters and their stories (to be sure I wasn’t suggesting names of bad guys), as well as the Star Wars characters (I’m much more familiar with them, we love Star Wars in my house!), and I also looked up notable names in paleontology (I love that connection!). Additionally, I’d done consultations in the past for a family who wanted nature and/or scientific names, and a couple who referred to themselves as “HYUUUUUGE geeks” and had found their children’s names in sci-fi literature first before backfitting them into patron saints (both those consultations contain links to other resources I used, which might be helpful to Krista and her hubs, and some of you) — I found both consultations helpful in coming up with ideas here. (You all know that I usually start with the Baby Name Wizard when doing a consultation, but it didn’t seem appropriate here.)
Okay! Without further ado, these are my additional suggestions for Krista and her husband’s baby boy:
(1) Benjamin or Benedict nicknamed Ben
Star Wars fans know Ben Kenobi as an alternate name for Obi-Wan Kenobi, so Ben can have a nice Star Wars connection without it being too in your face (similar to Luke). Also, Kylo Ren’s good-guy name is Ben Solo! Paleontologist B.F. Mudge, who discovered the Ichthyomis, was Benjamin Franklin Mudge, and I love that Benjamin is biblical like Elizabeth; there are also some Sts. Benjamin that Krista might like to consider as patron. Its definition isn’t that inspiring (“son of the right hand”), but its overall meaning includes all these other wonderful things! (I’ve written before about “definition” vs. “meaning” of names.) Or Krista might be able to convince her hubby of Benedict, which has more of the same feel as Augustine (heavy duty Catholicky Catholic), but was also included on a Nameberry list of Geek Chic Names for Boys because of one of its variants being used by Shakespeare in Much Ado About Nothing and also actor Benedict Cumberbatch. Benedict means “blessed” and is an entry in my book of Marian names because of it! And of course it’s super saintly. I definitely think one of the Ben names would be great for this family!
Another notable paleontologist was Stephen Jay Gould, who was described in his New York Times obituary as “one of the most influential evolutionary biologists of the 20th century and perhaps the best known since Charles Darwin.” I thought Krista’s husband might really appreciate that a little Stephen John would initial to Stephen J., which mirrors Stephen Jay Gould. And of course, for Krista, there’s St. Stephen, the first martyr, and many others.
Speaking of Charles Darwin, his name has impeccable faith credentials! Many people have named boys Charles in honor of St. John Paul II, whose birth name was Karol (the Polish form of Charles). He was actually named for Bl. Karl of Austria (who is also referred to as Emperor Charles), who is awesome, and provides another great patron. St. Charles Borromeo is also a favorite of mine, and there are many others. I could see Krista’s hubby really liking the Charles Darwin connection, and there’s also Charles Wallace from A Wrinkle in Time and Charles Xavier from X-Men (I bet he’ll love that connection! So cool!). Another great literary figure is Charles Ryder from Brideshead Revisited, which is considered a great Catholic work!
(4) George nn Geo or Geordie
Fr. George LeMaitre was the priest who came up with the Big Bang Theory and was the president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences for six years until his death in 1966 (yay for priest scientists!), which makes this name both faithy and science-y! (There are a lot of Sts. George as well.) The nickname Geo can also strengthen the tie to science (as in its meaning of “earth,” like geology), and Geordie (said like Jordy) is a traditional Scottish nickname for George, and also a character on Star Trek! (Geordie LaForge.)
Okay, moving onto other Firefly names — I haven’t watched it, but I know it’s got some pretty rabid fans, so I’m not surprised Krista’s hubby has latched onto one of the characters as inspiration for a baby’s name. One that I thought would work is Simon, as in character Simon Tam. It doesn’t have the potentially problematic Mal beginning, and he’s a main character as far as I can tell, so the connection to the show should be pretty solid for her husband. As for Saints, there’s Simon Peter and St. Simon Stock (of the brown scapular) and others.
(6) Montford nn Monty
Monty’s a good character in Firefly — friend of Mal’s — which made me think of the name Montford, which I have as an entry in my Marian names book for this reason:
“Montford is the surname of St. Louis de Montfort, whose first name is also included in this volume, by virtue of his deep devotion to Our Lady and his classic Marian works True Devotion to Mary, The Secret of Mary, and The Secret of the Rosary. One of my blog readers recently suggested Montfort as a first name with the nickname Monty, which I thought was brilliant.”
Maybe Montfort with the nickname Monty is just the kind of name Krista’s hubby might go for?
Another Firefly character whose name caught my attention is Shepherd Book. If I understand correctly from reading his description on Wikipedia, Shepherd is actually his title (religious ties!) rather than his name, but the fact that he’s called Shepherd makes the name really connected to him. I did a spotlight post on the name Shepherd a while ago, in which I draw some pretty great connections to Jesus. I also did a consultation for a family who has a son named Shepherd, named for a few faith reasons. Could be a great option for this family! Shep is a really cute nickname.
(8) Francis nn Finn
Moving back to Star Wars, Finn has risen in popularity over the last few years, in good part because of the character of Finn in the new Star Wars movies. I’ve suggested it on the blog to a few families as a fresher, more unexpected nickname for the super Catholic name Francis — maybe something like would appeal to Krista and her husband? Her hubby might also appreciate that Renaissance scholar Francis Bacon was “best known for his promotion of the scientific method.”
My last suggestion for them is probably a bit more offbeat than the others, but I was kind of amazed that Cassian showed up in my Star Wars research — Cassian Andor was in the movie Rogue One, and was on the rebel side (the good guys), though I don’t think he was a huge character (I haven’t seen Rogue One yet). But Cassian is also the surname of St. John Cassian, so Cassian John would be an amazing nod to him! There are two families I know through the blog who have sons named Cassian: here and here. Cash is a great nickname too.
Those are my “official” suggestions for Krista and her hubby, but others that I considered and ultimately left off my final list for various reasons include: Owen (for Uncle Owen on Star Wars and the amazing St. Nicholas Owen; some take it as a variant of John, so that wouldn’t work too well), Pascal (for Blaise Pascal and the many Sts. Pascal, including St. Pascal Baylon; also Pascal means “Easter”), Caspian (from Narnia), Thomas (for Thomas Edison, and any of the great Sts. Thomas [Aquinas, More, the Apostle]), and Tycho (for astronomer Tycho Brahe, and there’s also St. Tycho of Amathus).
And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little brother of Elizabeth Marie, son of a sci-fi/science/literature fan and a recent convert on fire for the faith?
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!