Baby name consultation: Names that work in Spanish and English for little green bean

Happy Monday, everyone! Enjoy this latest baby name consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Parents Laura and Kevin are expecting a little green bean (gender unknown) in October. Little bean is joining siblings:

Zelie Faustina

Fontina (in heaven)

What lovely, somewhat unusual names!

Laura writes,

I am from Mexico and would love for our baby to have a name that you can pronounce in both Spanish and English (we did not do that with Zelie but I would have liked to). We both love St. Peter but cannot agree on any variations of his name. Kevin loves the names Mary or Maria but I’m not too crazy about them. And I would love some sort of name / version of Eucharist or Eucharistia but I just can’t think of any. (For a girl).”

She also mentioned that her husband loves Jesuit saints.

Names they like:

  • Gianna
  • Juliana
  • Lucas
  • Analia
  • Amelia
  • Javier
  • Santiago

Names they cannot use:

  • Isabela
  • Daniel

I thought I’d give my thoughts on their shortlist first.

Gianna– Fairly popular in Catholic circles but very feminine and lovely. Goes well with Zelie and I think this would be able to be pronounced okay in Spanish.

Juliana– Love this! Uncommon but not weird and can be pronounced easily in Spanish. Very feminine and frilly. There are also some saints and blesseds Julia for patronage!

Lucas– Good, strong name with lots of nickname potential. Maybe they’d both like Luca better, though?

Analia– I had never heard of this name before but it’s so lovely! I love that it’s a combination of Ana and Lucia, giving lots of patronages and a beautiful name. Maybe they’d also like Analee?

Amelia– A beautiful name but getting popular. But, it’s popular for a reason! I know several little Amelias. I like how this sounds with Zelie, though.

Javier– I like that this is a version of Xavier and you can get that great patronage of St. Francis Xavier from it. Comes across as very cool and Mexican to me, which they may or may not love about it. I think it sounds a little mismatched next to Zelie, though.

Santiago– Great name! I love the nickname Santi, too. I like how this sounds with Zelie.

Next, I know they like Peter as the saint and would love to find a way to honor him but they can’t agree on a version of the name they both like. Here are a couple other international variations of Peter: Pierre, Pier, and Piero. If those don’t strike their fancy, what about a name that means rock, like Roch, Rocco, or Rocky? Personally, I like Piero and Rocco the best–– both are pronounceable in Spanish and still sound good next to Zelie.

Laura mentioned she wanted a way to work in Eucharist or Eucharista for a girl. Since neither of those work for them, I thought of some names that mean “thanksgiving”, “grateful”, or “blessed” which is what “eucharist” means: Beatrix, Beatriz, Zendaya, Shakira, Jayden, Benedicta, Gwynn, Benedetta, or Beata. Of these, I like Beatriz, Zendaya, and Benedetta best for them.

Okay, on to new suggestions! Let’s start with girls.

(1) Sienna/Siena

For St. Catherine of Siena and it’s also easily pronounceable in Spanish. I love this patron and this way of honoring her. Siena sounds good next to Zelie, too.

(2) Marina/Mariana

Technically, these are two different names but I liked them for them for the same reasons, so I’m including them together. Marina means “of the sea”, so a nod to Mary, Maris Stella. Mariana is a combination of Mary and Ann. Each of these gives a little more oomph to Mary/Maria while still being classic and feminine.

(3) Carolina

This is a feminine form of Charles, so it can be a nod to St. John Paul II or take Jesuit saint Charles Garnier as patron. It ties Kevin’s love of Jesuit saints into a feminine, frilly name that works in both English and Spanish.

(4) Catalina

This is a Spanish form of Catherine and so there are lots of saints to go with it. It’s very underused but has that frilly feminine feel they both seem to like.

(5) Gemma

I think this could be pronounced easily in Spanish? It’s short like Zelie and not actually Spanish in origin like big sister’s name, too, which connects them nicely. There’s also St. Gemma Galgani as a patron.

On to boys!

(1) Luis

I saw that there is a Jesuit St. David Lewis and that made me think of Luis! There’s also St. Aloysius Gonzaga as a patron, as Aloysius is also a form of Lewis! Outside of Jesuit saints, St. Louis Martin is a fantastic patron and would connect brother and sister in a fun way.

(2) Joaquin

This is the name of the grandfather of Jesus and means “Yahweh establishes”. I love this name for them. After losing a baby and then having Zelie, this name with this meaning, to me, really signifies the work God is doing in them and their family.

(3) Gabriel

I was looking through a list of Jesuit saints and came across St. Gabriel Lalemant whom I had never heard of. He was a missionary in Canada and is a martyr. When I think of names that work in English and Spanish, Gabriel is one of the first that comes to mind, so when I saw this connection, I couldn’t pass it up! There are also lots of other Sts. Gabriel including the Archangel and St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows Possenti.

(4) Mario

Technically, this name relates to the Greek god of war BUT it’s most often used as a masculine form of Mary. Since Kevin likes Mary and Maria but those are a little too plain or popular for Laura, I thought Mario might be an interesting way to bridge that gap. Like Zelie, it’s not a Spanish name but it does work in Spanish.

(5) Alexio

This is an unusual form of Alexander that I first heard on one of my son’s Mexican classmates. I think it’s so cool and unusual! Alexander is such a strong name but Alexio makes it work easier in Spanish and gives it some cool vibes. There’s even a Jesuit saint Alexander Briant to go along with it.

These are my thoughts. What do you guys think?


I’m currently on hiatus from doing consultations, 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.)

During my hiatus, please don’t forget about 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!

Baby name consultation: A name that works in both Spanish and English for baby boy

I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July! I’m happy to share with you the first consultation by our new baby name consultant, Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Lucy and husband are expecting their 6th child, 2nd boy, on Oct. 22, the feast day of one of their favorites saints, St. John Paull II. She writes:

My name is Lucia (after Saint Lucy and Sister Lucia), I go by Lucy, and my husband is Arturo, he goes by Art.”

Super fun already! I love Lucy for Lucia and that they both go by nicknames.

This baby will join big siblings:

Eva Elyssa

Samuel Benjamin

Bianca Pilar

Sienna Claire

Annie Elizabeth

Sienna and Annie are twins.

They need a name that works in both Spanish and English and would like a saint name to be prominent. They cannot use the names Lukas, Oliver, Mathias, or Fernando. And some of their favorite saints are St. Philip Neri, St. John Paul II (their favorite), St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and Bl. Carlo Acutis. Such great saints!

I kept these things in mind when looking up names and kept at the forefront that they love St. John Paul II and are due on his feast day. Here are my suggestions!

(1) Charles/Carlos/Carlo

St. John Paul II’s given name was Karol which is the Polish form of Charles. I thought Charles fit in with your other kids nicely! But I kept having the thought that it’s not very easy to pronounce in Spanish. That led me to Carlos, the Spanish variant. Maybe you would like that better? It also looks closer to JPII’s native Karol than Charles does. But I couldn’t shake Carlo and how cool it is that Bl. Carlo Acutis is newly in everyone’s minds. Then you told me you love Bl. Carlo Acutis! I feel like Carlo for St. John Paul II and Bl. Carlo Acutis is a home run name for you guys.

(2) Thomas/Tomás

I included the Spanish version here just for the sake of keeping that at the forefront, however, I think any Spanish speaker would pronounce it the Spanish way no matter which way it’s spelled. I like this name for you because it is a strong saint name, it’s a name match for all the children, and has similar nicknames to Samuel, Tom and Tommy, like Samuel has Sam and Sammy. It would be a neat way to connect the brothers, especially since the girls all have more Spanish/Latin sounding names.

(3) Oscar

St. Oscar Romero is a great patron and the name is a match for all the children’s names. It’s easily pronounced in English and Spanish and is a little unusual while still being accessible.

(4) Gabriel

This was actually the second name to come to mind for you. It fits the English-Spanish rule, has super cute and accessible nickname Gabe, and goes well with your other children. It also bridges the gap a bit between Samuel and Annie to Eva, Bianca, and Sienna. There’s a number of Saints Gabriel, including the Archangel and Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows Possenti.

(5) Francis/Francisco

Because St. Francis is one of your favorite saints, I’m sure you’ve already considered this name but I couldn’t leave it out. Francis sounds much more English, but that would be good beside Samuel and Annie while not ostracizing the others. Francisco bridges the gaps between all the other names and really brings them into coherence. Both can take the adorable nickname Frankie which helps ground it.

(6) Augustine/Agustin/August

A friend of mine once told me her Mexican grandfather’s name was Augustine nicknamed Auggie and since then, I have thought of it as being easily pronounced in both English and Spanish. There’s the Spanish spelling Agustin or the short form August. It’s a strong saint name, which adds to its appeal. It also carries the nickname Gus which is super cute, especially with brother Sam/Samuel! Bonus: Bl. Miguel Pro’s middle name was Agustin!

(7) James/Jaime/Santiago

My last thought was James with the nickname Jaime to make it easy to pronounce in Spanish and English. It’s such a good, strong name and was carried by two apostles! I didn’t think you’d like Diego here, even though that’s the standard Spanish version, but I did include Santiago just in case you wanted to get a little wild with this baby! Plus, the nickname Santi, which means “holy”, is adorable!

So those are my thoughts. What do you think?


Email Theresa at TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com to set up your own consultation! (Payment methods remain the same.)

Baby name consultation: Names for a little brother that work in both English and Spanish

Happy Mother’s Day to you all! In honor of this day of remembrance and celebration, I’ve requested a Mass be said by the Marian Fathers at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy for “the Sancta Nomina community and their families and intentions,” which includes all those for whom Mother’s Day is a happy day, and all those for whom it’s a difficult day. ❤️❤️❤️

Also, I’m sure you all already know, but the new baby name data (based on 2020 births) was released by the SSA on Friday! Happiest day of the year for name enthusiasts! I haven’t yet had a chance to get into it too deeply (though I did notice that Ambrose is one of the boy names that climbed the most — up 137 spots from 958 to 821. I was surprised by that!), but Abby at Appellation Mountain always has great, immediate analysis and insight, as does Nameberry, Nancy’s Baby Names, and Namerology (formerly Baby Name Wizard). Here are the new top ten:

I hope to post more about it later this week!

Now for today’s consultation! Maggie and her husband are expecting a little green bean 🌱 (=gender unknown), baby sister or brother to:

Augustine James

Augustine James is so handsome! Nice job!

Maggie writes,

I need help with our son’s name should we have one. We’re due 5/31/21 and not finding out the gender … Our stipulation is obviously Catholic, nothing our friends have (which is becoming a short and shorter list) and can be said in both English and Spanish. I would love to honor Our Lady, but don’t care for Diego.

Here are some names I liked:

  • Roman Alexander
  • Felix 
  • Isaiah 
  • Dominic – astronomers 
  • Cristiano – travelers & children 
  • Sebastian  
  • Alexander
  • Cassian 

Cannot use:

  • Lukas [but Maggie loves it]
  • Noah 
  • Daniel 
  • Patrick 
  • Jude 
  • Gregory 
  • John
  • Blaise
  • Kolbe
  • Maximilian 
  • Basil 
  • James
  • Elijah

Maggie and her husband have a great list of names! I thought I’d start by offering my thoughts on them, in case they’re helpful:

  • Roman: I love the name Roman, and it goes so great with Alexander!
  • Felix: I’m seeing the name Felix more and more among the families I work with, it’s a great name and I’m so glad it’s getting more usage.
  • Isaiah: I’m a huge fan of Old Testament names, Isaiah’s a great one!
  • Dominic: One of my very favorites. It’s a style match for Augustine, so it would be a great fit for his brother! Maggie said that she’d love to honor Our Lady in a son’s name — I included Dominic as an entry in my book of Marian names because of this quote from Fr. Calloway’s Champions of the Rosary: “Saint Dominic was a Marian saint who, as he walked from town to town preaching the Gospel, raised his voice in song to Our Lady by preaching her Psalter and singing the Ave Maris Stella (Hail, Star of the Sea). His early biographers mention that he frequently received visions of the Virgin Mary and preached about her with great fervor. In one particular vision, Jesus himself informed St. Dominic that the Dominicans were entrusted to the protection of Mary.” Dominican tradition also holds that St. Dominic received the Rosary from Our Lady. Dominic is a very Marian name!
  • Cristiano: I love both Cristiano and Christian!
  • Sebastian: I like that Sebastian really matches the length and weight of Augustine, great name. One thought is that Christian and Sebastian have the same ending, so it’s probably the kind of thing where if Maggie and her hubby used one for one son, they wouldn’t want to use the other for another son — that could help them decide between the two names: which one would they be sadder to lose?
  • Cassian: Cassian is so cool, and the nickname Cash is so appealing.

So they have a lot of great options! But of course, I can always come up with more, haha! You all know that I always start a consultation by looking up the names the parents have already used and those they like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity. I did so for this family, keeping an eye out for names that were listed as matches for more than one of the names on Maggie’s list. I also used the Name Matchmaker tool on babynamewizard.com to look up Augustine, as Augustine doesn’t have its own entry in the book, and I also paid attention to any names that could be Marian. Based on all that, these are my new ideas:

(1) Leo, Leander

Leo is a fantastic option for anyone who loves the Luke/Lucas names but can’t use them! Leo is a match for a couple of the names Maggie and her hubby like, so I definitely think it’s a good bet that Leo might appeal to them as well.

Leander is a match for Augustine, and I’ve recently been loving it — St. Leander (Leandro) of Seville was a Spanish saint, so the name definitely works in both English and Spanish, and Leo can be a nickname for it, if they’d like.

(2) Nic(h)olas

Nicholas is a match for Alexander, but more than that, I thought of it because of Dominic having the -nic ending (and Nic can be a nickname for Dominic) as well as the fact that Maggie noted Cristiano is a patron of travelers and children — I’m not sure which Saint she means, but St. Nicholas is a patron of travelers and children as well. And it’s not on the list of names they can’t use, which is a plus!

(3) Milo

I’m not entirely sure Maggie and her hubby will like Milo, as I think it’s not as obviously Catholic as they’d like, but Miles and Milo are matches for several names Maggie likes — Miles and Milo are variants of the same name, and both have traditional usage in Ireland as anglicizations of the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means “servant of the Virgin Mary.” Such a great, very Marian name for a boy! I thought that, of the two options, Milo was preferable to Miles, since I assume Milo is easier to say in Spanish, but maybe not? I like them both!

(4) Oscar

Though the results in the Name Matchmaker for Augustine were certainly helpful, I also looked up August in the book to give some added ideas — I’ve often found that the matches for August are appealing to parents who like Augustine. Oscar is a match for August, and it works really well in both English and Spanish.

(5) Gabriel, Raphael

Gabriel is a match for Isaiah, Christian (Cristiano doesn’t have its own entry), and Sebastian, and it, too is an entry in my book of Marian names for his role in the Annunciation, which of course is also the First Joyful Mystery of the Rosary — such a Marian name!

Raphael is a match for Roman, and is certainly the least common of the three angelic names, but I love that he’s mentioned in the Book of Tobit, which isn’t in the Protestant Bible, which makes me think of the names contained therein that aren’t elsewhere (also including Tobit and Tobias) as having a particularly Catholic character.

(6) Julian

Julius is a match for August, and Julian for Christian and Sebastian, so I think it’s just the kind of name that Maggie and her hubby might like. I also really wanted to include Jude on this list, but since it’s on the list of names they can’t use, I thought Julian was a good alternative.

(7) Xavier

Finally, Xavier is a match for Dominic, Sebastian, and Felix. It’s clearly Catholic, and points of course to the great St. Francis Xavier. You can choose the ex-ZAY-vyer pronunciation or the ZAY-vyer pronunciation, and Xave and Xavey are great nicknames.

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Augustine James that can be said in both English and Spanish?


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!)

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 12 (boy) needs a name that works in English and Spanish

Rebecca and her husband are expecting their twelfth baby (eleventh on earth) — their seventh son! This little guy joins big sibs:

Adam Joseph (“We chose Adam because it was very important to my husband that we choose names that can be said or translated to Spanish easily. His parents speak only Spanish. I liked that Adam wasn’t/isn’t a very popular name but wasn’t unheard of either. In Spanish it is Adan (emphasis on 2nd A) and it was appealing to me as well. I really wanted Joseph as a middle name for all my boys — because St. Joseph! Plus I think Joseph is the best boy name ever! We call him by his full name.”)

Nicholas Joseph (“We agreed on his name pretty quickly, keeping Joseph as a middle patron saint name. Nicolas in Spanish sounds awesome too. We call him Nick.”)

Madeline Marie Lucia (“Ever since I was in high school I wanted a daughter named Madeline. I totally dismissed my husband’s need for a name that can be said in Spanish! I really wanted Madeline! I figured her grandparents would find a name for her and that would be a special thing between them. They call her Madalena. Which I love too! Her middle names are for Our Lady and for Lucia, one of the children of Fatima [OLFatima is one of my favorites!]. We call her Maddy.”)

+ “baby in heaven (gender unknown). We named this baby Cesar.”

Isabella Marie Lucia (“I was hesitant to name her Isabella even though this was one of my favorite names since forever because she was born in the middle of all the Twilight hype and the name became crazy popular. But ultimately I didn’t care because I wanted this name before all that hype anyways! I figured since we named the boys with the same middle name, we should name the girls with the same middle name too Emoji. I really wanted her nn to be Izzy, but as much as I pushed for it, people call her Bella/Bells and now so do I. My adult niece calls her Bella-rina [which I adore!].”)

Marco Emilio Rafael (“Marco was one name my husband came up with … I liked that it was different, but not totally unheard of … His middle names are for his 2 grandmothers. We didn’t know the gender before he was born and had planned to name this baby after them either way. My MIL is Emilia and my mom is Rafaela … We figured Emilia and Rafaela could be easily switched to masculine names, so we went with it! … We call him Marco usually, I call him Mark sometimes.”)

Elias Joseph (“On the morning before he was born, we still didn’t have a name that we agreed on … during breakfast, I opened up the SSA list of names, scrolled past 500, and started reading names to my husband. As soon as I said Elias, I fell in love! And I love it in Spanish too [Eh-lee-as] Emoji. Luckily my husband agreed and our baby had a name! We decided to go with our classic Joseph for a middle name, it sounded so nice together! We call him Eli or Li-Li [Lie-Lie].”)

Josiah Thomas James (“This poor little guy went for 2 weeks without a name because we couldn’t agree on a name [and we knew we were having a boy too!]. He was our first home-birth so we had the “luxury” of not having to pick a name before we leave the hospitalEmoji. I was insisting on a name that is not popular and my husband and I couldn’t agree on any name. I don’t remember where we came up with Josiah but I loved it immediately. Again, luckily my husband did too and this guy had a name! His middle names are Thomas for his godfather and James after my godfather who passed away shortly after Josiah was born — both very strong, faithful Catholic men who will be amazing examples for our son! We call him Joe or Joe-Joe.”)

Theresa Maria Faustina (“At the beginning of this pregnancy, we were blessed to have spent our 10th anniversary in Poland & Rome with our very holy and close priest-friend and his family! His mom’s name is Teresa and we named her after this amazing woman! Maria is, of course, after Our Lady and Faustina is a nod to our time in Poland, plus how amazing to have a patron saint connected with Divine Mercy!! [We got to renew our wedding vows on the altar in the Basilica of Divine Mercy in Krakow!!! EmojiEmojiEmoji]. We call her Reese or Reesa.”)

Monica Lily Marie (“I have always loved Monica and love that it’s not super popular and am so in love with how it sounds in Spanish. My husband and kids agreed … so we went with Monica. Her middle names are Lily as a nod to St. Joseph. My dad passed away when I was 7 months pregnant on the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, so I wanted something to honor his memory. Marie is, of course, after our Lady. We call her Moni [Moh-nee].”)

Andrew Edward (“We started looking for a name that began with an “X” because he is our 10th baby, we thought that would be cool! All we found was Xavier and Xander. But as much as I like Xavier (Ex-Zavier), I couldn’t commit to this name for this little guy! After about 5 days of searching, I kept coming back to Andrew but felt like we couldn’t use it [because it’s my nephew’s name]. I thought it was perfect since he was born during Advent and I had been searching for an Advent name. I had a conversation with my adult niece and we decided that … it was completely fine to use it … Edward is after St. Edward the Confessor. Cool side story about his name: The headmaster at my kids’ school knew we were looking for a name beginning with ‘X’ for this 10th baby and when he heard we named him Andrew, he reminded us about the way St. Andrew was martyred — on the X shaped cross! I was in tears when I heard this and it confirmed for me that this guy was meant to be Andrew! We call him Andrew or Drew-Drew.”)

What a fantastic bunch of names, and all with great stories! For her newest little guy, Rebecca writes,

St. Thomas More was really calling to me during the first half of this pregnancy and I was convinced this should be his name, despite Thomas being Josiah’s middle name. Then suddenly I felt a huge draw towards St. Paul and his conversion story. I love how he had a huge change of heart and was able to totally transform from who he used to be, to the person God intended for him to be. Then Benjamin caught my attention and I love how this is Jacob’s 12th son since this is technically our 12th baby. I am hesitant for Benjamin because I feel as an adult what would he go by? Ben sounds a little bit juvenile (or maybe it just sounds like a sweet, gentle guy??) and Benjamin is such a mouthful to go by your full name all the time. My husband is not totally feeling Pablo as the Spanish name for Paul, even though I loooove Pablo!

I’m thinking:
Paul Thomas
Benjamin Paul

I also love Matthias but I’m not totally convinced. I like that he could go by Matt but then surprise people with his full name not being Matthew. I think in Spanish it would be Mat-ee-as and I like it too.

I am interested in names that sound like the cute little baby of the family but that can also be grown-up and mature sounding. Maybe that’s Benny with full name Benjamin?

My husband likes Samuel — it would have to grow on me, I’m not totally digging this name. I do like how it sounds in Spanish though! Diego has been on our list a few times, both my husband and I like it. Hubs likes Mario but that’s so similar to Marco. I STILL love Benicio! haha!

Names we can’t use (there are more than 50 grandkids on my side of the family!)

  • Joshua*
  • Michael*
  • Vincent*
  • Daniel*
  • David*
  • Nathan*
  • Steven
  • John (my dad’s and FIL’s name, but there are 3 grandkids with John as their 1st name)
  • Anthony
  • Jesse*
  • Cameron
  • Hector*
  • Robert
  • Fernando*
  • Martin*
  • Ricardo
  • Gustavo*
  • Matthew
  • Alan
  • Richard
  • Christopher
  • Jacob
  • Luke
  • Noah

(I starred the ones who are completely out. The others are similar to Andrew’s name, if it’s meant to be, it doesn’t matter to double up, ha!)

I loved reading Rebecca’s thought process regarding names for this baby — first Thomas, then Paul/Pablo, then Benjamin, all so great! Here are my thoughts on those, and the others she mentioned, in case my thoughts are helpful to her and any of you who might also be considering these names:

  • Thomas: Thomas is fantastic name and St. Thomas More is a fantastic saint, so if they chose Thomas as a first name, Rebecca and her hubby can be sure their little guy would have a good, solid name that would always serve him well. However, the fact that it’s already Josiah’s middle name makes me really want to find a name that they haven’t already used (despite the fact that I know they’re not opposed to doing so and have done so before). I do like it as a middle name, and it would be a neat connection between Josiah and this baby, which could be great!
  • Paul: I agree, St. Paul’s story is amazing! Paul does feel a little different in style to me than the other kids’ names — I mean, it does fit, since it’s biblical and classic, but it’s different at the same time. I love it as a middle name for as listed by Rebecca — Benjamin Paul is my favorite! (Benjamin Pablo would be amazing too! I wonder if her hubby would be okay with Pablo if it was in the middle?)
  • Benjamin: Okay, let’s talk about Benjamin. This is what I’ve been waiting to do since I first read Rebecca’s email, haha! I have a lot to say, so I’m going to jump out of bullet points for a second.

First of all, let me put Rebecca’s mind at ease about all her concerns about Benjamin and Ben! I have an adult Benjamin in my life and I have nothing but good things to say about his name! While it is a long name, his dad loves it so much that he almost always calls him by the full Benjamin, but everyone else in life calls him Ben, and I think Ben is just the best nickname — so friendly but solid at the same time. This same Benjamin named his son Benjamin Jr., and he goes by Ben(ny), so that should tell you that at least one Benjamin thinks it’s a great enough name to pass on!

Not only is there my own personal story about the amazingness of the name Benjamin, it’s also amazing that Benjamin is a style match for Rebecca and her husband! You all know that I always start a baby name consultation by looking up the names the parents have used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard (affiliate link) as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — I did so here, and discovered that Benjamin is a style match for Adam, Nicholas, Madeline, and Andrew! And Samuel too! Wow!

There are also several holy Benjamins, including St. Benjamín Julián, Bl. Benjamín Fernández de Legaria Goñi, and Bl. Benjamín Ortega Aranguren — there are others, but I loved seeing the Spanish variants for Rebecca and her hubs!

So I wholeheartedly agree that Benjamin is the *best* name for their son!! I love that this baby is their twelfth baby, and that Benjamin was the twelfth son of Jacob. What a great connection! I really have no job here, since they already have the perfect name!

(If they’re still not convinced about Benjamin, I’ve also seen Ben as a nickname for Bernard, and its variant Bernardino reminded me of how Rebecca likes Benicio.)

  • Matthias: Despite the fact that I’m convinced Benjamin is the best name for this family, I also love Matthias for exactly the reasons Rebecca mentioned.
  • Samuel: Samuel is a great name! Sam and Sammy are great.
  • Diego: Love it.
  • Mario: I agree that it’s similar to Marco — I didn’t think so at first, just looking at them printed, but then I said them out loud — oh boy! Very similar indeed!

I also took note of other names Rebecca said she liked/considered in the past, and I noticed Xavier — while that X initial would be great for a tenth baby, the initials XI would be perfect for an eleventh! I wonder what she would think of Xavier Isaac or Xavier Ignatius/Ignacio or Xavier Isidore?

As for the list of names that they can’t use, I was bummed out by Daniel (“Danny Boy” seemed such a sweet name for the baby of the family), David (similar to Benjamin, I was thinking how King David was the youngest of his brothers), and Luke (it’s a style match for their taste), but never fear, I was able to come up with a bunch of other ideas!

(1) Gabriel

I wasn’t surprised to see Gabriel show up as a style match for a bunch of their names, since I often see Gabriel on parents’ lists that also include Benjamin and Samuel. And it works in Spanish too, right? Rebecca’s husband represents St. Michael in his name, and Marco has St. Raphael — it would be great to round out the angelic trio with a Gabriel!

(2) Jonathan

Jonathan is a big style match for this family as well! There are a few nickname options — Jon and Jack, and if they did something like Jonathan Paul or Jonathan Pablo, then they could do JP initials (like St. John Paul!). I know this might seem like splitting hairs, but John and Jonathan are not the same name, so the fact that John is on their “no” list shouldn’t technically prevent them from considering Jonathan! (Unless their family thinks it’s too close to John, which I would understand.)

(3) C(h)ristian

Christian is one of my favorite names, and I enjoyed seeing that it’s a style match for this family. Cristian is the Spanish spelling, so handsome! I’m hoping that since Matthias isn’t too close to Matthew on their “no” list, C(h)ristian isn’t too close to Christopher on their “no” list.

(4) Tadeo or Tobias

Tobias is actually the name that’s the style match for them — it’s a match for Elias and Josiah, and I do love it … but maybe too close to both Elias and Josiah? I wanted to include it anyway, just in case. Thaddeus is a style match for Benedict, and I love the Spanish version Tadeo, what a cool name!

(5) Sebastian

Sebastian is long like Nicholas, Isabella, Benedict, and Benjamin, and St. Sebastian tends to be a favorite with boys — what boy doesn’t love a gruesome story about being shot to death with arrows?? Haha! Seb, Bash, Baz, Bastian, and even Ian are all nicknames I’ve seen.

(6) Damien or Damian

Damien’s a match for Cesar — I included their little one in heaven’s name in my research because it was yet another data point for showing their style, and I kind of love including a name on this list that is specifically tied to that baby — what a sweet connection! I mentioned above that I really liked the idea of Danny Boy for their “cute little baby of the family,” and when I saw Damien, I thought it might be perfect because I had it on my own list and had Denny as a nickname for it … change the spelling to Damian and Danny could easily work! In fact, Damián is the Spanish variant!

(7) Caleb

Speaking of “cute little baby of the family” names, Caleb has always struck me as having a snuggly feel. It’s certainly manly and strong, like the biblical character, but I think I get that cozy, cute feel from the fact that I saw Cub/Cubby as a nickname for it once and thought that would be so sweet for a little boy! Cal is also a possibility, which is so wholesome and boyish. Caleb goes right along with Rebecca’s Old Testament boys Adam, Elias, and Josiah, but I admit I don’t know how it does in Spanish.

(8) Stephen

My last idea for is Stephen — a style match for Mark (standing in for Marco for this example), Theresa, and Paul. I know a Stephen Paul and a Paul Stephen! While St. Stephen the Martyr is the first one I think of, and top of mind at this time anyway because of his feast day being the day after Christmas, I looked through the feast days starting with Rebecca’s due date and working backward, looking for anything that jumped out at me, and I saw that St. Stephen of Murat is on Feb. 8. Could be cool if her baby was born that day! (And only right now, as I’m putting this post together, do I realize that Steven is on the “no” list. Gah! I’m leaving this here in case it’s helpful to any of you.)

(For reference, other feast days that I noted were St. Matthias of Jerusalem on Jan. 30, St. Thomas Aquinas on Jan. 28, Conversion of Paul the Apostle on January 25 [!!], and St. Sebastian on Jan. 20.)

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Adam, Nicholas, Madeline, Isabella, Marco, Elias, Josiah, Theresa, Monica, and Andrew?


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!

Baby name consultation: Little brother needs traditional + uncommon name

Jess and her husband are hoping to welcome a baby into their family via adoption this month! This baby will join big sister:

Josephine Jean (“a name that honors one grandpa and both grandmothers. We call her Josephine, Josie, and Posy.  I loved the Little Woman reference, the abundance of nicknames, and the strength/style of the name. I love that Jesus’ father is not quoted in the Bible and yet his actions speak his story. There are options for patron saints – Joseph, Josephine, and Joan of Arc“)

I love every bit of her name!!

Jess writes,

We are adopting a baby (prayers, please) in early October.  If this baby is a girl, we will name her Beatrice Louise or Magdalena Edith.  If the baby is a boy, we’re stuck.  We’d like to honor the remaining grandparent by including the name Edward or Anthony. We have a very Italian last name that starts with V and ends in LO. We gravitate towards strong, traditional, uncommon, and definitively masculine names. We used an app that synced the names that we both like and then narrowed it down. Our current list includes Alden, Cyrus, Everett, Roland, and Reuben.  We’ve considered Milo (sing song w/last name), Saul (too few syllables), Peregrine (patron saint of cancer), Gilbert, Vincent (Vinnie V-O sounds gangster), and Lucas (too popular).  

Alden. We like that it means old friend and that it was Neil Armstrong’s middle name. If we use Edward as a middle name, then the traditional initials aVe could be a slight Marian name harkening to Ave Maria! I read this in your book, but it seems like we are stretching it a bit. We are concerned that Alden may be confused with the more common Aiden.

Roland. Mike’s mom was French and Josephine and Roland seem have an unintended but pleasant French theme. Our extended family has been surprisingly positive about this name; we assumed they would think it was a bit out there. A possible nickname of Roly Poly, if the kid is a bit hefty, gives us pause.

Cyrus. Mike thinks this name is a bit serious and I don’t love the meaning of “throne.” It keeps popping back on the list though.

Reuben.  Mike worries this name is trendy and fears it will be the next Noah or Oliver. Even though I’m the one that advocated for this name for years, I am a bit concerned with the number of spelling variations and the sandwich connection.

Everett. I don’t love the fact that girls are flocking towards this name.

How would you order our list? What are your favorite combos? Why don’t we feel the WOW factor with any boy name? We could also use help with nickname options and recommendations on patron saints.”

These parents have such fun taste in names! I love both Beatrice Louise and Magdalena Edith, they’re lovely! And their boy list was a delight! Alden, Roland, Cyrus, Reuben, and Everett are mostly unexpected and little used, at least among my readers (especially the first four; I see Everett from time to time and have suggested it many times).

First I’ll go through and offer my reactions to and thoughts about each name, and then I’ll take a stab at ranking them afterward:

Alden: I love the aVe thing! Alden Edward is very handsome. I can see what Jess means about it being confused for Aiden, but I think that will only happen in writing — the nurse at the doctor’s office calling his name, for example, after reading it on his chart, or a teacher mis-saying his name on the first day of school. But to me, that’s a minor issue — out loud, it doesn’t sound much like Aiden at all, I don’t think, and even with those who flub it based on seeing it written, all they need is to be firmly corrected, just like most people have to do with their names for one reason or another. One thing to note is that, when I looked it up on behindthename.com to see what it means, what nickname options there are, and what people think about it via the comments, it seems that it’s occasionally used for girls, and since that’s one of Jess’ hesitations about Everett, perhaps that will help her and her hubby cross it off their list. Nickname-wise, I immediately think Al, but the babynamewizard site lists Aldie, Ollie, and Denny as possible nicknames too, all of which I can see. I couldn’t find a patron saint for Alden, so it would come from the middle name — there are some great Sts. Edward and Anthony.

Roland: I like their reasoning here! The French connection is really cool, and the fact that their family likes it. I wouldn’t worry about the “roly poly” nickname  — kids will always come up with mean nicknames if they’re determined to do so, no matter the name. I could see Role, Rollo, Roldo as nicknames; they could also do Rolly (rhymes with Molly), which could remove it from the “roly poly” sound. It looks like there’s a Bl. Nicolas Roland and a Bl. Roland Chézery who could be patrons.

Cyrus: Behindthename.com says Cyrus means “lord,” though I don’t know if Jess and her hubs will like that better than “throne” or not? A name with a similar meaning is Dominic, meaning “of the Lord,” which reminds me of Vincent with its Italian feel (but like with Vincent, not exclusively Italian) and goes quite well with their girl names — maybe they’d like to consider Dominic? If so, I love Dominic Edward — using Anthony would reinforce the Italian connection, which Edward tempers it a bit, I think, which I sense Jess and her husband might like, since they like the French-ness of Josephine. Another that I thought might be perfect is Silas — it sounds like Cyrus and has a great meaning, including maybe being the Greek form of Saul, which would be like giving them Saul, but with more syllables! Additionally, I looked up all the names they like/are considering (both boy and girl names), as well as Josephine, in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity, and Silas was listed as a match for Lucas; Peregrine and Magdalena weren’t in the BNW so I looked them up in the Name Matchmaker on the babynamewizard site and matches for them also included Silas for Magdalena and Silvanus (which behindthename says Silas is probably a short form of) for Peregrine. Wow! If they like the Silas idea, I love both Silas Anthony and Silas Edward. Si is a really sweet nickname, I’ve always liked it. St. Silas is a pretty great patron I think!

Reuben: Interesting that Jess’ hubby thinks this name will be the next Noah or Oliver! I checked the stats on the SSA site and Reuben — that spelling — was at no. 927 and was on a downward trend after a small (very small) increase in popularity over the last couple of years (it increased from 961 in 2012 to a peak of 845 in 2014 before heading down again). The spelling Ruben, which is the French and Spanish spelling, among others, is much popular: it was no. 415 in 2018, but is also on a downward slope as it has been since its peak at 165 in 1980. Based on this info, it doesn’t look like it’ll become trendy any time soon. One of the families on the blog named their son Reuben, and he’s the cutest! Ben is such a great nickname and a natural one for Reuben; Rube is the most natural way to shorten it, I think, but a “rube” isn’t something most people want to be. They could do Roo though, especially at home and when he’s tiny, so cute! The only holy Reuben I could find is Bl. Rubén de Jesús López Aguilar, and of course it’s biblical too.

Everett: A great name. If they don’t like it being used by girls, though, I would recommend crossing it off the list — at this point, they have so many great names that I think whittling down the list would be helpful. Jess and her hubs might find that doing so allows *the* name to rise to the surface naturally. Otherwise, I like Ev as a nickname, and Rett. Everett is a variant of Everard, according to the behindthename, and there are some Sts. Everard that they could choose as patron. Another idea I had, based on Vincent and V sound in Everett is Victor — it’s a style match for Vincent, but doesn’t have the Vinnie problem. Victor/Vic has been on my own list for a long time. Victor Anthony and Victor Edward both sound quite nice. But maybe it’s too many V’s?

Alright, so after thinking a bit about these names, I think I would probably order them this way, with my favorite at the top:

Roland Anthony
Cyrus Anthony or Cyrus Edward (prefer Silas Anthony or Silas Edward)
Reuben Anthony or Reuben Edward
Alden Anthony or Alden Edward
Everett Anthony
(I didn’t think Edward went as well with Roland and Everett)

I also had a few other ideas based on the names they like — I mentioned that I looked up their names in the BNW, and I looked for names that were listed as similar to more than one of their names, and a few jumped out:

Emmett (Cyrus, Everett)
Jasper (Cyrus, Milo, Josephine)
August (Everett, Josephine)
Felix (Everett, Milo, Beatrice)
Oscar (Milo, Magdalena)
Ezra (Milo, Saul)

The names in parentheses are those that listed the name as style matches. Pretty great, right? I do think Alden, Roland, Cyrus, and Reuben are more distinctive, unexpected, and rare than the names here, but I love them all and if Jess and her husband did too I think they could be great for their little boy.

I also wondered if they considered Miles instead of Milo?

And those are my thoughts! What do you all think? How would you rank the names Jess and her husband are considering? What other name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Josephine/Josie/Posy?


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: Reina Grace!

I’m still working through my backlog of birth announcements — several of which are from the end of my own pregnancy when I was burrowing into my nest. I’m so sorry not to have posted them sooner!

Just a couple weeks before my little guy was born, Sharon from Baby My Love had her sweet little girl! I shared about Sharon’s beautiful family before, and I had the great privilege of doing a consultation for her Little Miss, which I posted back in April, and I absolutely love the name she and her hubby settled on — the magnificent and Marian … Reina Grace!

Reina is the Spanish variant of Regina, meaning “queen,” and it’s been so fun to see Sharon’s Instagram posts playing on the “queen bee” theme! Never mind the fact that Reina herself is absolutely delicious!

Congratulations to Sharon and her hubby Zeb and big sibs (on earth) Gemma, Felicity, Nicodemus, Maximus, Quintus, Francis, and Evangeline, and happy birthday Baby Reina!! Check out both Sharon’s personal Instagram and business Instagram to see her sweet face!


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 the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Baby name consultation: Unusual name with great meaning needed for baby no. 5

Thank you again to all those who entered last week’s giveaway and suggested ideas for ways to honor St. Anne in a boy’s name! I’ll compile them into one post soon!

I had the privilege of posting a birth announcement for Lynda’s fourth baby almost exactly two years ago, and I’m thrilled that today’s baby name consultation is for her fifth baby — a little girl!

This Little Miss joins big siblings:

Mirai Luna (“Mirai [meer-eye] means miracle in Basque and future in Japanese; middle name means moon in Spanish“)
Evander Sol (“Evander is greek and means “good man;” middle name means sun in Spanish“)
Aviva Estrella (“Hebrew name meaning innocence and springtime (she was born in April); middle name means star in Spanish“)
Taavi Orion [Taavi is the Finnish form of David, which means “beloved”; Orion continues the celestial theme]

Such cool names, right? Taavi was one of my suggestions in the private consultation I’d done for Lynda when she was pregnant with him, so I was so excited to see that she and her husband liked it!

Lynda writes,

As you can tell we like names that are not very common and also have a beautiful meaning … Middle name will likely be Cielo — Spanish for sky. I like Zelie, but can’t really find a strong meaning beside the connection with Saint Azelie. Which is great, but doesn’t really go along with the names with meanings of my other kids. My husband really likes Zazie (nickname for Isabelle in French — meaning consecrated to God I think?). I’m not completely sold though, so I’m eager to see what you find.”

I had so much fun with this, as I knew I would! I was looking back on my ideas for Lynda for when she was expecting Taavi, and apparently the Baby Name Wizard was helpful to me back then, which is funny because I didn’t find it at all helpful this time around! Instead, I tried to focus on names that have a great meaning, like her other kids’ names, and also names that are more … I’m not sure what the word is? Mirai is Basque, Evander is Greek, Aviva is Hebrew, and Taavi is Finnish, so I felt like Spanish/French/Latinate names or those from a more unexpected origin would be a better fit than those from an Anglo/Celtic background, for example. So I guess that’s what I would say — I just looked for names that are more unexpected, and generally ruled out Anglo/Celtic names.

I have a bunch of unusual options in my book of Marian names, which is actually where I started when looking for names for Lynda and her hubs. I also of course couldn’t help but notice that the two names they’re considering — Zelie and Zazie — are Z-heavy, so I tried to think of other Z names that might have good meanings for them.

Before I get into the ideas I thought they might like, though, I wanted to offer some thoughts on the names they’re considering:

  • Zelie: Most people who offer opinions on what Zelie means argue that Azelie is French for azalea (the flower), and I’ve known parents who’ve considered Azalea as a name, in honor of St. Zelie. But since “azalea” comes from a Greek word meaning “dry,” I don’t think that’s the kind of meaning Lynda and her hubs would like. Abby from Appellation Mountain did a spotlight on Zelie a few years ago, and included possible connections to Celia and Solene, both of which were actually discussed in a comment here at Sancta Nomina as well. The Celia connection is interesting, since Celia and Cielo both mean sky/heaven, so if they thought the Celia-Zelie connection made the most sense, they probably wouldn’t want to do Zelie Cielo.
  • Zazie: I love learning new things about names! I’d never heard of Zazie as a nickname for Isabelle, how cool! As far as meaning, behindthename.com is my go-to for name meanings, and it lists “God is my oath” as the meaning of Elizabeth (Isabelle is a French variant of Elizabeth).

Okay, so based on the parameters that I thought would yield some interesting ideas for Lynda and her hubs, this is what I came up with:

(1) Janua or Ianua
One of Our Lady’s titles is “Gate of Heaven,” as listed in the Litany of Loreto, which in Latin is rendered both Ianua Caeli and Janua Coeli. Caeli and Coeli (generally pronounced CHAY-lee) are both related to Cielo, and refer to heaven, so I thought Janua Cielo or Ianua Cielo would be an interesting combo for Lynda’s little girl. A reader actually shared with me that her niece’s name is Ianua Caeli, so pretty! Janua and Ianua are pronounced the same, and can be said YAH-noo-ah; Ianua can also be said ee-YAH-noo-ah. Janua and Ianua are definitely different! I know “gate” isn’t the most interesting meaning, but when you consider the whole combo “Ianua/Janua Cielo/Caeli/Coeli, ‘gate of heaven’” and that it’s a title of Mary, it’s a really lovely meaning.

(2) Liesse
Another title of Our Lady is Our Lady of Joy, which in French is Notre Dame de Liesse. Liesse is such a pretty name! I love its femininity and rhythm. I’m not sure Lynda will love how Liesse Cielo flows — one possibility is to switch Cielo to Araceli, which is a Spanish name where the “celi” part means sky/heaven and “ara” means “altar” — it’s another Marian name, as Araceli means “altar of heaven.” Liesse Araceli?

(3) Lux or Luz
Both Lux (Latin) and Luz (Spanish) mean “light,” and refer to Our Lady of Light. I like that they have an X or a Z, depending on which version Lynda and her hubs like, which is similar to Zelie and Zazie. Lux Cielo and Luz Cielo work fine I think.

(4) Maylis
I know they haven’t repeated initials yet, so maybe an M name is off the table? But Maylis is such a pretty name, I really wanted to suggest it for them. Like Zazie and Liesse, it’s a French name, a mashup of Marie and lys/lis (=lily). Maylis Cielo is pretty.

(5) Reina
Reina is Spanish for “queen,” which is a fantastic meaning on its own, and also nods to Our Lady, Queen (of many things: Heaven, Angels, Apostles, the World, Ireland, Peace, etc.). Regina Caeli is one of her titles meaning “Queen of Heaven,” so Reina Cielo would be similar but unexpected, I really like it.

(6) Zara
This is one of my Z ideas for them. One of its possible etymologies is as a variant of Zahrah, which derives from the Arabic word meaning “blooming flower.” So pretty! Another, separate meaning that I really like is that Zara is a Bulgarian diminutive of Zaharina, which is a feminine form of Zechariah! Zechariah is said to mean, “Yahweh remembers” in Hebrew. I actually spotlighted Zara here.

(7) Zuzu (Susanna, Azucena)
If you’ve seen It’s a Wonderful Life, you’ll know that Zuzu is what one of George Bailey’s daughters is called, likely a nickname for Susan, as Zuzu is a nickname for the Susan- names and Susan was popular at the time the movie was made (“Zuzu’s petals” is the line from the movie). I like Zuzu on its own for this family, it really strikes me as similar to Zazie, and the Susan- names mean both “lily” and “rose” in Hebrew, so they have really lovely meanings. They could use Susanna itself (or any of its variants, including Zuzanna and Zuzia) with Zuzu as the nickname, or another idea is the name Azucena — it shares the same roots as Susanna, and is the Spanish name for the flower known as the Madonna lily; Zuzu can easily be a nickname for it.

(8) Zephyr(ine)
My last idea is Zephyr, which is usually a masculine name, meaning “the west wind,” but one of my readers recently named her daughter Zephyr, with the most amazing explanation. I love the meaning and I love its soft sound! I also thought I’d mention Zepherine, which was my great aunt’s name and one of the coolest! She went by Zee.

And those are my ideas for Lynda and her husband’s baby girl! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Mirai, Evander, Aviva, and Taavi?


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady, is now available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon! It’s a perfect for expectant mamas, baby showers, and just because. 🙂 If you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated!

Baby name consultation: “Unique, foreign, vintage” name needed for no. 5 green bean

Amina and her husband are expecting their fifth baby, a little green bean (=gender unknown). 🌱 This little one joins big sibs:

Casimir Wesley “Cas”
Miette Faye “Mimi”
Errol Shepherd
Petra Frances

Aren’t these great names?! Casimir is one my husband and I considered for one of our boys, and I still have a soft spot for it. Miette is such a sweet, affectionate name! And Errol and Petra are both amazing as well … in fact, with Miette and Errol they’ve chosen two names I’ve never once seen any parent use or even consider. Well done!

Amina writes,

I would categorize our names as… unique, foreign, vintage.😬🤷🏽‍♀️

We weren’t Catholic when we named our oldest son, Casimir, but it happens to be a unique saint name, so hey hey! We actually got the name from a song and we loved it. We were dabbling into our conversion around the time and when we discovered it was a saint (and a famous polish general), that was cool too. It set the tone for the rest of the siblings. His middle name, Wesley, is after my husband.

Our second child, Miette, was not named after a saint, despite us being confirmed into the church during her pregnancy. We always loved the name, which is French for “little crumb.” A bit too endearing for some, but it works well for her. Her middle name, Faye, is also a family name. We figured there would be a Saint Faye, but alas, there isn’t, unless you count the Saint of Santa Fe, Saint Faith. We feel she has a strong connection to Saint Therese of Lisieux, French, and known as “the little flower”. Little crumb/ little flower, almost the same right? Her personality is spot on with what we’ve read about young Saint Therese.

Our third child, second son, Errol, just kinda got a name we agreed on. We love the soft but strong sound to it. His birthday falls near Christmas, so we decided on Shepherd as a middle name. We figured he doesn’t need a saint name with this duo as his name pays homage to Jesus.

Our fourth child, second girl, is Petra Frances. She was due around the feast of the assumption, and we almost named her Petra Remedios (I just love this Marian name, for our lady of Good Remedy), but I actually chickened out. Yep. I was eager to use Frances to pay homage to Pope Francis as well, and noticed she was due around a few Saint Francis/ Frances feast days. So, she didn’t get a Marian name, and she was born the 16th instead of the 15th.

So, the reason I am writing is that I am coming back to Remedios for a girl. After full on chickening out, we’d like to use it in the first name place. I think it just needs a super wear-able nickname. I’m not fond of Remy, which is the most obvious nickname. I have thought of Edie, Edda, Romy. Do you see any others?? We think she will be Remedios Inez, if that helps.

On our ongoing girl list we have names like Opal and Fig, as well as Phillipa, Perpetua, Simone, and Belen. (We probably won’t ever use Perpetua, as it’s too close to Petra.)

If we have a boy, we plan on naming him Aesop Junipero. I am finally letting my husband take the reigns on this one, as he’s been pushing Aesop for awhile. Junipero, we both love, after Junipero Serra. We were very moved by his canonization. My other contender is Ambrose, but my husband really wants Aesop.

I have Peregrine and Bonaventure on my boy list too, though I don’t think they will ever win my husband over. I love Arthur as well, to tone any names combos down.”

How cool is Aesop Junipero? I love it. So bold and offbeat but faithy and literary and familiar. I also love the categorization of their name taste as “unique, foreign, vintage.”

Re: nicknames for Remedios (awesome Marian name), I think the nicknames Amina has come up with (Edie, Edda, Romy) are pretty great. I did a quick search online for other ideas, and found this blog post, which explains that in Chamorro, the language of the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands (including Guam), nicknames are usually taken from the end of the name, and it specifically gave the example of Remedios nicknaming to Medo. I like that! And I think Medi works too. But maybe they’re too similar to Miette? Other ideas I had were:

  • Rio or Rios
  • Ria
  • Rida
  • Dee or Didi
  • Emmy

And if Amina and her hubs were open to looking at nicknames using a mashup of first and middle names, Remedios Inez can result in:

  • Rina
  • Riz

As for additional girl names, it was fun to try to come up with some new ideas! Since their style encompasses names from various languages, as well as word names and literary nods, I felt almost like the sky’s the limit! I also didn’t limit myself to saints’ names, as I agree with Amina that as long as the middle name is a saint, or either of the names has a tie to the faith, they’re covered.

These were my favorites for them:

(1) Hero
Hero is the kind of name only a certain kind of family can pull off, but I love it, and I think this family would be up to it! It was mostly influenced by Aesop on their list, and those who aren’t aware that the literary Heros were female might be confused, but otherwise it’s such a great name. There was a family on the BabyCenter name boards back when I was pregnant with my first (thirteen years ago!) who had a daughter named Hero, and I always thought that was so cool.

(2) Iona or Ione
These names are so similar in appearance, but totally different in background/meaning! Iona is Scottish, the name of the island where St. Columba founded a monastery, which provides a good saint connection. Ione is Greek and has the amazing meaning “violet flower,” which they could possibly consider to be Marian since violets are a symbol of Our Lady. They were particularly exciting because, as you all know, I usually use the Baby Name Wizard as my primary resource when doing consultations, but Petra, Simone, Ambrose, and Arthur were the only names from their list that it contained, so I didn’t think it was going to be too helpful BUT Iona was listed as a style match for Petra, and then when I took their names over to the NameMatchmaker, Ione was a match for Casimir!

Not only can Ione be possibly connected to Our Lady through its meaning, but there were also some sites that argued that Ione is a feminine form of John. Nameberry says, “Some livelier foreign versions of Joan include Giovanna, Siobhan, Ione and Juana” and apparently there are several places in literature (like Shakespeare!) where Ione was used interchangeably with Joan! You can read that here —  bottom of p. 156 and top of p. 157, the link takes you right to it. So St. Joan of Arc or Bl. Jane of Aza or any of the Sts. John could be patron for a little Ione!

(3) Annick
Annick was another result from my research on the NameMatchmaker—a match for Miette. I love that it’s a form of Anna, so St. Anne is an easy patron, and it’s certainly unique and I think it goes really well as a sister to Miette and Petra. I also love that it would give each girl her own name-ending (not that that matters at all! It’s just kind of cool).

Those were my top three suggestions—I tried to make them a mix of languages and inspiration—but there were a bunch of other names that I scribbled down for this family as I was doing my research as possibilities, like Zara, Stasia, Lorna, Aranza/Aranxa, Sonrisa, Annunziata, Immaculata, Jacinta, Iolanthe, Flora/Fleur, Cressida, Clio, and Greer, and Ines/Inez totally would have been on this list if they weren’t already planning to use it for a middle name.

Amina also said she was open to hearing ideas for boys, even though they’re pretty set on Aesop Juniper, so I didn’t spend a huge amount of time on it, but the ones that caught my eye when doing my research as similar to names they’ve used and like were: Bertram, Cajetan, Nunzio, Pascal, Tycho, Bram, Homer, and Archimedes.

And those are my ideas for this little one! What do you all think? Do you have any other nickname ideas for Remedios, or other ideas for girl names in general? If any boy names come to mind, feel free to list those as well!

Birth announcement: Tiago Luis!

I posted a consultation in July for Elizabeth and her husband, who were expecting their third boy, and Elizabeth has let me know her little one has been born and given the perfect name … Tiago Luis!

Elizabeth writes,

Hi Kate!

I am delighted to share the news and introduce my precious son, Tiago Luis!

I want to thank you for your research and wonderful information you provided along with suggestions of names. And the feedback and comments from the readers really helped solidify my decision. Tiago just seemed right!!

Tiago is very sweet and we feel so very blessed!

Thank you and all your readers!!

If you remember, Tiago was the idea Elizabeth and her husband had before emailing me, and I loved it so much and really hoped they would use it — I’m so glad they did! It has such perfect significance for them!

Congratulations to Elizabeth and Luis and big brothers Adriano and Mateo, and happy birthday Baby Tiago!!

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Tiago Luis

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?