Baby name consultation: “Nursing home,” Spanish, and saint/New Testament boy names for born baby no. 3

Mandi, who blogs at A Blog About Miscarriage and sells Lilla Rose hair accessories, is one of our longest, most devoted readers! I posted a consultation for her when she was expecting her second born baby, and then a birth announcement when the baby was born, and I frequently look to her for resources for families who have lost a baby to miscarriage and input on naming miscarried babies (here and here). I loved her pregnancy announcement and her coining of the term “golden baby” for a baby born after a rainbow baby. She, who lost four babies of her own, is such a great resource for anyone mourning a little one, and I’m thrilled she’s part of our community.

I’m also thrilled to post another consultation for her today!! She and her husband are expecting their third born baby, who joins big sibs on earth:

Lucia Rose
David Newton, Jr. (Davey)

And in heaven:

Francis Michael
Julian Gabriel
Adrienne Rafael
Christian Michael

Though they don’t know the baby’s gender, they’re all set with a girl’s name, so they’re just hoping for help with a boy’s. Mandi writes,

In terms of boy baby names, I feel like we are starting from scratch. I knew before I even met David that I wanted my eldest son to be a Junior. It worked out perfectly that David was a family name already. His name was kind of the obvious choice and we didn’t think about any others.

It’s kind of hard to know what names my husband will like or reject, so I’ll mostly just tell you my thought process and likes and then he’ll just have to approve or veto ideas. He did at one point say he liked men’s names like “Ralph” – kind of old fashioned, I guess? I am not a fan of Ralph specifically but not opposed to names you would generally associate with the nursing home crowd (if that was even what my husband meant, hard to tell).

We would want familiar, traditional boys names, along the lines of David. A few names we like but wouldn’t use (at least at this time) are John, Michael, Robert, and Francis. Other names I like are Joseph, Peter, and Thomas. I have always loved the name Guillermo but it’s a no-go for my husband as are other more strongly ethnic names (I generally love Spanish names, hence Lucia) though he at one point mentioned liking Joaquin.

Another important consideration is that we would want the name to be directly connected to a well known Saint (or biblical figure, though despite my son named David, I am more strongly drawn to New Testament names). Added bonus if we have a strong connection to the Saint, but obviously you would have no way of knowing that and it’s not necessary – we can always develop a devotion after the fact. We would most likely use a family name for the middle – probably Alan or Milo after my grandfather or David’s.”

Can I just say that what Mandi said about her husband (“It’s kind of hard to know what names my husband will like or reject” and “if that was even what my husband meant, hard to tell”) is so familiar! In my own marriage and many of yours, husbands’ name tastes can be so mysterious, no matter what ideas they offer!

Anyway, this was a really interesting consultation to work on—between Mandi’s husband maybe liking names like “Ralph” and her loving Spanish names, and having a desire for “familiar, traditional boys names” + “directly connected to a well known Saint/biblical figure” I was interested to see what I’d come up with! I’m kind of digging my list of suggestions—I’m eager to see what you all think!

First though, I wondered what Mandi and her hubs would think of considering Alan as a first name? She said it’s a middle name contender, in honor of her grandfather, but it totally has the feeling of Ralph to me … although, looking at the SSA stats, I can see that Ralph was far more popular in the early part of the twentieth century, dropping out of the top 100 in the early 60s while Alan peaked in the 50s/60s before settling into the top 200 and staying there even til today. Ralph and Alan were similar in popularity in the 50s though, and that mid-century overlap is actually really similar to David’s popularity arc (top ten from 1937 to 1991, peaking at no. 1 in 1960—right around when my three Uncle Davids were born! Remarkably, from 1957 to 1971, it was one of the top three names). Anyway, I think Alan would be an interesting name for them to consider for a first name, given that Ralph is already sort of in the mix, and I know that I’m totally being influenced by the fact that I’m currently reading Fr. Calloway’s Champions of the Rosary and Bl. Alan de la Roche was a total rockstar (also a Dominican, and I’m a lay Dominican, woot!). Alan Milo has a really cool ring to it.

As for other ideas, as always I started by looking up Lucia and David in the Baby Name Wizard, as well as Cecilia, Ralph, John, Michael, Robert, Francis, Joseph, Peter, Thomas, and Joseph. (And, for what it’s worth, Peter and Thomas are my favorites for them from the list of those they’re considering—I even had Peter on my own list of ideas for them until I remembered it was already on their list!) I also took a look through the list of Latino names in the back of the book for inspiration. Based on all that, and my own thoughts as well, these are my ideas for Mandi’s baby (if a boy):

(1) Stephen
This was my very first idea, before even cracking open the BNW. It’s the name of a well known saint AND a New Testament figure, and also one of my boys’ best friends is Stephen, and his brother is David, and there’s a pair of brothers in my family named Stephen and David! So to me, David and Stephen go together like peas and carrots. 😁 I like Stephen Milo a lot.

(2) William
This is totally inspired by Mandi’s love of Guillermo, and is the first of several ideas I have connected to her love of Spanish names. I was thinking that she could totally just call her son by the Spanish equivalent of his name—even if it’s just a fun, home-only nickname, maybe even just something she calls him from time to time. It may help satisfy her Spanish-name love without being too foreign for her husband, you know? So William is the English equivalent of Guillermo, and it’s also a style match for John, Joseph, and Thomas. William Alan and William Milo are both fine, imo.

(3) Henry
Henry is another that I liked for this family in part because it has a Spanish equivalent that would be easy enough for Mandi to whisper to her boy from time to time (Enrique), and also because it’s a match for Lucy (similar to Lucia) and Joseph. I quite like it as a brother for David/Davey! Henry Alan and Henry Milo are great.

(4) Gerard
When I was looking through the list of Latino names, Gerardo jumped out at me and I thought, “Huh. Gerard would be great.” It has a similar old-man feel to me as Ralph, and in fact peaked in 1956, so it fits in well with the mid-century peak of Alan and David. St. Gerard Majella is such a great patron for all oms, and especially for moms who have previously lost babies, as he’s the patron of pregnant women, unborn children, childbirth, mothers, and motherhood! Gerard Alan and Gerard Milo are equally fine I think.

(5) Charles
Charles matched up with Lucia (via the Spanish variant Carlo), Cecilia, John, and Joseph, and there are so many great patrons associated with the name—St. Charles Borromeo, Bl. Karl of Austria, and St. JP2 are the three that I always think of first. Charles Alan and Charles Milo both sound fine, and Charles Alan has a particularly nice feel to me.

(6) Edward
Edward is similar in style to Robert and Joseph and has even more of the nursing home feel, just based on its popularity arc—it was a top ten name until 1931 and has slowly decreased ever since. It’s a lovely, gentlemanly name, and I love St. Edward the Confessor. Like with Charles, Edward Alan and Edward Milo are fine, with the former having a particular sparkle to me.

(7) Martin
Martin was only listed as a style match for Peter, but as soon as I saw it I thought it was a great suggestion for Mandi and her Mister. St. Martin de Porres’ father was Spanish, and I love that Martin can have that Spanish connection without being strongly ethnic. Brothers Davey and Marty are super cute too! Martin Alan doesn’t flow as well, and I don’t mind the alliteration of Martin Milo, though I know some people don’t care for that kind of thing.

(8) Victor
Finally, Victor, which was a last-minute addition to my list! I was thumbing through the BNW recently, just for fun, and was reading the Victor entry where I was reminded that, as it says in the BNW, “Like Hector, Victor is currently most popular with Latino parents,” which of course made me think of Mandi! It’s papal and saintly, a great name! I did a post about nicknames for Victor, which continues to be one of the posts that draws the most people here from internet searches (a lot of people are searching for good nicknames for Victor!), and an article at CatholicMom, and I’m particularly loving the Spanish nicknames Vicho and Victo for them. Victor Alan and Victor Milo are both great.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What other ideas can you offer Mandi and her husband for a boy baby?

Baby name consultation: Spanish middles and Mexican saint names for baby no. 5 if a boy

I know Lina in semi-real life — we “met” online and have mutual real-life friends; she also runs F&P Birth and Breastfeeding Services: Women Serving Women (FB page here) (F&P stands for Felicity and Perpetua! 😍), which I know many of you might be interested in knowing about — so I’m delighted today to post this consultation for her fifth baby, a little green bean (gender unknown)! 🌱

This little one joins big sibs:

John Diego García (“named for the obvious saint, as well as my deceased FIL, John“)

Joseph Sebastián García (“named for both my husband’s grandfathers and my husband has a devotion to St. Sebastian and didn’t want it for a first name. I wanted to keep all middle names spanish, so its “Sebastián” instead“)

Rita Maureen García (“My middle name is also Maureen, after my grandmother, who is now deceased. Rita is … b/c she paid for our wedding 😉 “) (St. Rita is amazing! She’s one of the patrons of lost causes and I personally know of a couple other examples where she came through big time! Lina’s referring here to her prayers for St. Rita’s intercession in paying for their wedding.)

Michael Agustín García (“for [Bl. Miguel Agustín Pro] … Augustine was [also] my great great grandfather married to Lina, for whom I am named“)

Note that Garcia is Lina’s maiden name, not the family surname (which has more of an English/Irish feel) — I LOVE how she’s worked her heritage via Spanish names (accents and all!) and her maiden name into her kiddos’ names, and I just love the whole set together — they go by Johnny, Joey, Rita, and Mikey — sooooo cute!!

Even though they don’t know if this baby is a boy or a girl, they only need help with boy names (their girl name is Evangelina Claire García). Lina writes,

Since two of my boys have Mexican saints for names) … i would LOVE to find another mexican saint to use for a boy name.  Nothing has struck me … In the past, we’ve tossed around Ignatius (call him Nate), Gabriel, Lawrence Rey called Larry [Lina’s dad’s name is Larry King; Rey is Spanish for king] and…. who knows.  Seriously, we’re stumped … Oh and obviously our kids have 2 middle names since Garcia is my maiden, so it should flow with that.  and we don’t really want James b/c no more J names.

so tl;dr – boy name help, middle must be spanish, fantasy is mexican saint for the name.  thanks!!! 😀 😀 “

This was such a great consultation to work on! You all know I love when there are “rules,” and trying to come up with great combos that work in Spanish names and Mexican holies was fuuuuun!

So first off, I just have to say that I love the idea of Lawrence Rey for Lina’s dad! I wondered if finding a different nickname for Lawrence (or none at all — know a little Lawrence in my son’s class at school! He goes by the full Lawrence always, which cracks me up—such a big name for a little guy!) might help? I did some research on nicknames that are used for Lawrence, and thought of some that *could* be used (even if I didn’t find any evidence of them already in use), and I suspect that Lina and her hubs aren’t really offbeat in their taste in names/nicknames BUT Larry is pretty offbeat right now so what about:

Lenny: I love this idea … I think it (because of Leonard) has the feel of Larry/Lawrence, but is a bit more “with it” right now, what with Leonard on Big Bang helping to pave the way for those kinds of names.

Enzo: I know Lina’s hubs isn’t into Spanishy Spanish first names, but Enzo can be a nickname for Lorenzo, which of course is the Spanish Lawrence, so I thought they could do Lawrence nicknamed Enzo if they wanted to, which would be a fun way to work in Lina’s heritage in an everyday sort of way (and Enzo is so cool).

Lance: I’m not sure what they’d think of this? But I saw it listed somewhere as a possible nickname for Lawrence, being that it’s like a contraction of Lawrence … I could see it being really cute on a little guy.

Laddy: This is my own idea, inspired by Taddy for Thaddeus, Matty for Matthew, etc. Could be cute, no?

Laz, Lon, Ren: My guess is that none of these are quite Lina’s taste but I could be totally wrong, so I thought I should list them here. There are some more nickname ideas for Lawrence here.

Also, regarding their idea of Gabriel, there’s Bl. Gabriel Escoto Ruiz, who was born in Mexico (though he was martyred in the Spanish Civil War).

Alrighty, so you all know I use the Baby Name Wizard for almost every consultation, as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I did use it when doing this consultation for Lina, but I actually didn’t start with it—rather, I googled “Mexican saints” and used these sites here and here, picking saints, blesseds, and venerables who had names I thought Lina and her hubs would like. I then cross-checked my ideas against the names the BNW said they’d like based on John, Joseph, Rita, Michael, Evangeline (no entry for Evangelina), Gabriel, and Lawrence (no entries for Ignatius or Nate). Based on all that, these are my ideas:

(1) Philip
I think Philip is my #1 idea for Lina and her hubs—one of my own personal favorites, with the great Mexican patron St. Felipe de Jesús. The nickname Phil has a similar feel to me as Larry, but it’s also the reason a lot of families don’t choose the name—if they love Phil, great! If they don’t, there’s also Pip (perfect for a little guy! And he can just be Philip as he grows up), Flip (I worked with a Philip called Flip, kinda cool … it also echoes the original Felipe), and Finn (especially with an N middle name … I loved the idea of Philip Neri nn Finn but couldn’t get my hubs on board).

(2) David
There are three Mexican martyrs that can work here: St. David Galván-Bermudez, St. David Roldán-Lara, and St. David Uribe Valasco, each one is pretty amazing. Davy/Davey’s a super cute nickname too, and I think David/Davey fits right in with Lina’s current and future kids’ names.

(3) Peter
Two Mexican martyrs here: St. Pedro Esqueda Ramírez and St. Pedro de Jesús Maldonado-Lucero. I’ve been digging Pete/Petey recently, so cute!

(4) Gregory
I love Gregory anyway—the BNW says, “Popes, saints, and Gregory Peck! Can a name get any more distinguished?” 😁—and there’s a Ven. Gregorio López who, though born in Spain, was a missionary in Mexico and is apparently much beloved there. This site calls him Blessed but as far as I can he’s still Venerable. Like Phil, I know some families are turned off of Gregory because of Greg, but Rory can work as a nickname (though I already know Lina doesn’t care for Rory, but I’m leaving it here in case it’s helpful to any of you), as can Grey, and I think even Gus could work if Gregory was paired with an S middle name.

(5) Paul
Ven. Pablo de Anda Padilla is the inspiration here—and he had a brother José and a sister María Rita! I know a couple little Pauls who go by Paulie, so cute!

(6) Louis
St. Luis Batiz Sainz is another Mexican martyr (what holy ground is there in Mexico, with all the martyrs’ blood!), and Louie is an adorable nickname!

And those are my main ideas for first names with Mexican patronage, based on what I perceive to be Lina and her hubs’ taste. There are a few others that I considered including in the above list and ultimately decided against for various reasons, but thought I’d list them here just in case: Matthew (for St. Mateo Correa Magallanes), Anthony (Bl. Antonio, Child Martyr of Tlaxcala; Bl. Antonio Pérez Lários), and Andrew (Bl. Andrés Solá Molist).

Some other names that I thought might make good middle names include Salvador, both for Jesus and for St. Salvador Lara Puente; Manuel, both for Jesus and for St. Manuel Moralez or Ven. Manuel Martín del Campo (I also love the nickname Manny, so cute!); and Rafael for St. Rafael Guízar y Valencia.

If they wanted to get a little crazy, I also love the ideas of Guadalupe (traditionally used for both boys and girls) and Tepeyac for middle names—so unexpected and Mexican! Or Cruz, which can refer to both Jesus and Mary. Or Mario, which has traditionally been used to honor Our Lady, even though etymologically it’s not related.

I also love the idea of Lorenzo as a middle name, for Lina’s dad!

And if they decided to go off the Mexican-Saint first-name idea (and doing a Mexican Saint in the middle could preserve their Mexican-Saint-name theme without pigeonholing them), Thomas and Francis are two that seem like perfect brothers to their crew (Tommy and Frankie!).

So if I were going to put together some full name ideas, I like:

Philip de Jesús García (I loooove the idea of “de Jesús” in the middle!)
Philip Lorenzo García
David Manuel García
David Salvaldor García
David Lorenzo García
Peter de Jesús García
Peter Lorenzo García
Gregory López García
Gregory Lorenzo García
Gregory Cruz García
Paul Salvador García
Paul Manuel García
Paul Rafael García
Paul Lorenzo García OR Paul Lorenzo Rey García, which I know is a lot of names, but Paul is so short, I think it totally works
Paul Guadalupe García (again a short, familiar name like Paul can take a longer, more exotic middle really well)
Louis Rafael García
Louis Guadalupe García
Thomas Lorenzo García
Thomas Gregorio García
Thomas Felipe García
Francis Lorenzo García
Francis Gregorio García
Francis Felipe García (I love the alliteration here)
Gabriel Salvador García
Ignatius Manuel García

I could go all day coming up with handsome combos, but I’ll stop there! Haha!

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What would you suggest for a little brother for John, Joseph, Rita, and Michael, taking into account two Spanish middles and a preference for Mexican saints/blesseds/venerables?

Birth announcement: Genevieve Guadalupe!

Back on the Advent names post, reader Mary commented,

I am due on the 10th and while we have names on our mind, I LOOOOVE the idea of incorporating Advent traditional themes into their names.🙂 So I will have to keep brainstorming, I guess.😉

I always get so excited to hear of an upcoming birth! I told Mary I’d love to know what she ended up naming her baby, if she didn’t mind sharing. She didn’t mind! 🙌 She emailed me the other day to let me know her little one has arrived — a little girl who’s been given the gorgeous name … Genevieve Guadalupe!

Mary writes,

Happy New Year! I hope this message finds you and your family well and blessed! A few weeks ago you shared a post on the blog on Advent Baby Names. I commented on the post that I was due December 10 with baby #2 (at the time gender was unknown) and that I loved the idea of an Advent-inspired name. We were blessed with the safe and quick(!) delivery of a baby girl on Tuesday, December 13th and chose to name her Genevieve Guadalupe. Genevieve after my husband’s late grandmother. We were already set on Genevieve as a first name for a girl, but were pretty unsure about middle names. During the last part of our pregnancy we did a 54 day rosary novena which just so happened to end on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and one of our intentions was for a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery. We believe that Our Lady of Guadalupe definitely interceded for us (many blessings have been revealed during and after praying it) and wanted us to finish the novena before the baby was born! 🙂

What’s interesting is that the name was suggested by a couple family members, as a joke (we also joked that our baby’s name would depend on which saints’ feast day he/she was born on since there were so many that week!), but it really grew on us. Also, considering that we live in Texas, we felt that it was a perfect fit for our family and daughter!

Genevieve, nicknamed Gigi, joins big brother James Peter! 🙂 “

I looove Genevieve Guadalupe!! What a beautiful, meaningful combo!! I love how present Our Lady of Guadalupe was to Mary and her husband, and it’s so wonderful to memorialize her intercession in the very name of their baby girl. ❤ Also, I know Gigi can be a nickname for Genevieve anyway, but have G.G. initials makes it really fun!

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

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Genevieve Guadalupe

Namespotting: Diego Klattenhoff

Do you know this actor?

1024px-the_blacklist_-_diego_klattenhoff
By Thibault (Flickr: The Blacklist — Panel) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
I loved him in Homeland (though I haven’t watched it in ages), and I’m currently watching The Blacklist, and he’s great in that as well. So I looked him up to find out more about him, googling “who plays Ressler in Blacklist” since I didn’t know his name, and was so surprised to find out that his name is Diego Klattenhoff.

Diego Klattenhoff!

Diego! And Klattenhoff! I’ve been rolling his name over in my head for days, I’m so intrigued by that combination! I’m dying to know his name story, or some hint as to why he was named Diego (of course you have to know Diego is all St. Juan Diego to me 😂) … Alas, there’s not much to find — I know he’s Canadian (from Nova Scotia), and that Klattenhoff is German, but I can’t find any info on his parents/heritage/religion. Or maybe it’s a pseudonym? Whether real or not, what an awesome name for an actor — so memorable in its unexpectedness!

Do any of you know anything more about him and how/why he was so named?  Do you find that combo as fascinating as I do?

UPDATE: Despite my sort of obsessive googling trying to find out more about Diego’s first name, I totally did not see at all this old article a friend just sent me after reading this post. It explains that Diego’s dad’s from Germany and his mom’s of Irish/Welsh descent — which explains his look and his last name — but as for Diego, it’s just a name his dad liked, maybe after a painter (his dad’s an artist). Mystery solved!

Birth announcement: Belén Marie-Guadalupe!

I’ve been so eager to post today’s birth announcement! It’s the absolutely perfect one to post right before Christmas! 🎄🎁🎄🎁🎄🎁

Our dear Lindsay from My Child I Love You, who so graciously agreed to be profiled back in August and shared her little ones’ name stories, has had her tenth born baby — a beautiful baby girl who has been given the most beautiful name … Belén Marie-Guadalupe!

(Belén is the Spanish form of “Bethlehem” [which , as my mom was just telling me recently, comes from the Hebrew for “house of bread,” and how perfect is that as the name of the place where Baby Jesus was born?!])

Lindsay writes,

We weren’t even going to name her Belén. We had a completely different girl name, but when we saw her, we knew our original name wasn’t the one, but didn’t know what to name her.

After that first night, I mentioned to John the name Belén. He did some research and discovered its Spanish origins. That sealed the deal with her being born on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe — one of the dearest to my heart ♥♥

So, her name came very easily!!

What is funny about her name is that both John and I were convinced 99% she was a boy she we didn’t really need a baby girl name. God’s provisions always provide even at the very end. We both knew her name almost instantly after a moment of research.”

Is that just such a wonderful story, and an amazingly perfect name for this little girl, given the time of year she was born and the specific feast day?! (And how much are you all dying — like me — to know their previous girl name, as well as their boy name?! 😂 Maybe someday she’ll tell us!)

Congratulations to Lindsay and John and their other kiddos Dominic, Lillie, Rose, Zellie, Vianney, Clairvaux, Damaris, Kapaun, and Lourdes, and happy birthday Baby Belén!!

Belén Marie-Guadalupe

Birth announcement: Penelope Hannah!

It’s so funny that we were talking about Penelope yesterday and today I’m thrilled to share that Maria, whose consultation I posted back in October, has let me know her little girl has arrived and been given the gorgeous name … Penelope Hannah!

She writes,

Baby Penelope Hannah was born on November 23rd at 2:49am, a perfect way to start my Thanksgiving :). Thanks for the name recommendations! Penelope was never on my radar but we love it! Thanks!

Isn’t Penelope Hannah an amazing name?! I love how it flows, just beautiful! She joins her big sibs:

Rose Gianna
Sofia Magdalena
Gemma Anastasia
Sebastian David
Thaddeus Jacob

Such an amazingly named family! Congratulations to the whole family, and happy birthday Baby Penelope!!

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Penelope Hannah

Baby name consultant: Unusual name needed for baby No. 7

Happy feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!! 🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹

Before I jump into today’s post, could I just ask you to keep my oldest son in your prayers? (And thank you to all of you who have been praying!) I posted a couple pics explaining the situation on Instagram this weekend — he and I have been in the hospital all weekend for a mysterious swelling on one side of his face that turned out to be an abscessed tooth. Lots of strong antibiotics have really done the trick — last night his face was finally starting to look normal-ish, 48 hours after it started, and this morning he looks wonderful. The doctor will be calling the dentist today and hopefully we can go home in a few hours!

Also, one of you readers emailed me with this very important prayer request:

My acquaintance/new friend Anne Marie, unbeknownst to me, has a mental/spiritual imbalance that has caused her to be certain that Jesus has asked her to fast to her death. Apparently she has several times fled to distant 24-hr Adoration chapels to pray and await death.

A week ago she again fled the Portland area with nothing but cash, as I understand, leaving behind her new husband of just 15-ish months, and their small son Joseph, 4 months, whom she had been exclusively breastfeeding.

Anyway, since you have many devout readers around the nation, I thought perhaps someone would spot her. She is 5’8″, very thin, conservatively dressed, with long, somewhat greying wavy hair. She has a soft, deep voice, an intelligent demeanor and dry sense of humor. It is best to contact the authorities, rather than acknowledging that you know of her. They suspect she will follow her pattern of fasting until collapse, be hospitalized, and refuse to identify herself.”

This is a news story that tells more about her. Thank you all for being such great prayer warriors! One of the loveliest parts of our little community is how we can ask each other to pray. 🙏

Okay! On to today’s consultation! Cait and her husband are expecting their seventh baby and third girl! She joins big siblings:

Aquinas John Paul (Quin)
Gabriel Benedict
Magdalena Grace
Maksymilian Paul (“spelling due to husband’s bad association with a Max in grade school and finding a book written by St. Maksymilian Kolbe where they spelled his name that way — I think it’s the Polish way“)
Augustine Francis
Socorra Perpetua (often called Corra; named “after Our Lady of Perpetual Help (succour)“; my note: Nuestra Señora del Socorro is a Spanish title referring to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, also known as Our Lady of Perpetual Succor)

Aren’t those amazing names?? I love the nicknames and the alternate yet totally legitimate spellings and the all-around creativity. Great job, Mom and Dad!

Cait writes,

I LOVE Penelope, but she seems to be a saint in the Eastern Church and not ours.  I’m having my husband research that, as it seems, from her story there, that we should grab her as a saint too.  I also had a dream the baby’s name should have something to do with peace… something we need in our family right now (who doesn’t?)!  That’s one way we found Saint Penelope- when she became a Christian she changed her name to Irene, so we’d likely do Penelope Irene, if only I can internally justify not using a Roman Catholic Saint as a first name … [then later I received this update from Cait] As for Penelope, we just found out it’s one of the top 40 names for last year so, sadly, it’s off our list.  While we do have a Gabriel, which is ever popular, we tend to shy away from top 100 (or minimally top 50) names.”

So I was shocked to discover that Penelope’s in the top 40! How did that happen! It had barely cracked the top 1000 in 2001, talk about a meteoric rise! I’m sorry that Cait and her hubs have to cross it off their list, I love it! (And there’s a new holy one to use as patron: Ven. Ersilia Penelope Frey!) In its place, I wonder what they’s think of Philomena — it’s similar to Penelope to me, being long and starting with a P, and it’s a really Catholicky Catholic name — it might make a good replacement?

I’m also really interested in Cait’s dream that the baby’s name should have something to do with peace — I did a quick search on behindthename for names that have “peace” in their meaning, and the only one I thought they might be interested besides Irene was Salome. It means “peace” (related to “shalom”) and I posted a really cool tidbit about the name a while ago, which connects the name to Christmas — nice for a baby born this time of year.

Otherwise, I took to my Baby Name Wizard as I always do, looking up the names Cait and her husband have used and those they like/are considering as you know it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. Based on that research and my own mental files, these are my ideas:

(1) Liesse, Lourdes
These are, of course, the names of two Marian apparition sites, and I love them both. Liesse is so pretty with such a feminine sound; it’s a bummer it’s not as well known but I really like how unexpected it is. Lourdes has more use (like Lindsay daughter from My Child I Love You), and has such lovely nickname options like Lulu and Lola.

(2) Archangela
Reader Lisa alerted me to Bl. Archangela Girlani a while ago as a way of having an authenticated saintly connection to Eleanor (because the Helen connection is problematic), and I immediately loved her religious name! Archangela has a familiar feel, because of the archangels and the name Angela, and yet I’d never heard of Archangela as a given name before finding out about Bl. Archangela — familiar yet uncommon is such a great combo!

(3) Anne-Catherine
One of the Sancta Nomina families has a little girl named Anne-Catherine after Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich — I love this idea for this family! Cait’s older kiddos have, on the whole, fairly unusual names, and double names have an immediate “more unusual” feel to them, even if the names themselves are fairly “normal.”

(4) Sidony/Sidonie
During one of the very first consultations I did, I came across the name Sidony/Sidonie and was blown away by what I read about it: “this name was formerly used by Roman Catholics for girls born about the date of the Feast of the Winding Sheet (i.e., of Christ), more formally alluded to as ‘the Sacred Sendon’. Sendon or Sindon (from Latin sindon … ‘fine cloth’, ‘linen’) was used in Middle English for a fine cloth, especially one used as a shroud. The Sacred Sendon is supposed to be preserved at Turn [Turin] … Sidonie is not uncommon in France, and the Irish Sidney is probably really Sidony” (from one of my favorite name books, The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names by EG Withycombe). The feast of the Winding Sheet is/was celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday, and as Ash Wednesday this year is March 1, the Sidonie feast is Feb. 28, and since Cait’s little one is due in February, I thought it might be perfect.

(5) Charis
There’s a section in the BNW called “Exotic Traditionals,” which I often like to peruse for families like Cait’s who have used names like Magdalena, Socorra, and Augustine, as they have a lot of old religious and/or saints’ names that aren’t used so much anymore. Charis is one of them — it means “grace, kindness” according to behindthename.com and “favor, grace, gratitude” according to Merriam Webster, and I actually read about a family who used the name because it’s contained within the word “Eucharist” (and that element of Eucharist is the “favor, grace, gratitude” meaning of Charis). So pretty!

(6) Jacinta
This is another Exotic Traditional, and one I just love—Jacinta’s one of my favorite favorite names, I totally wish it had more play! I have it on my own list, and love the nickname Jess for it.

(7) Rafaela/Raphaela
There wasn’t a huge amount of overlap in the names similar to the names Cait and her husband like, according to the BNW (which is likely just because the BNW doesn’t look at the world with Catholic-colored glasses like we do!), but Rafaela was listed as a style match for Benedict and Raphaela for Maximilian, so I felt like I definitely needed to suggest it! Such a pretty name, and not as matchy with Gabriel as if they used Raphael.

And those are my ideas! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for the little sister of Aquinas, Gabriel, Magdalena, Maksymilian, Augustine, and Socorra?