We have winners! And happy feast of Bl. Solanus Casey!

Congratulations to the winners of the St. Anne giveaway: Kristen, Samantha, Anna, Thalita, and Anne!! I emailed you all — please let me know if you didn’t get it!

Thank you to all who entered! If you’d still like one of these beautiful prints (available in a variety of sizes), you can purchase one at Delphina Rose Art. And don’t forget that Rebecca has generously added a $2.00 off coupon code for any order over $2.00 for all Sancta Nomina readers, which you can use for any coloring page of your choosing (they’re $2.00 each) — they’re all gorgeous! Lots of our favorite Saints, including one of the Immaculate Conception (St. Anne and the child Mary)! The coupon code is sanctanomina, and it’s valid through August 7. (Rebecca is also running a Summer Coloring Contest for all ages, starting today! Go check it out!)

Today is my mom’s birthday AND the feast of Bl. Solanus Casey — it would be such a gift if you would say a prayer for my mom, and if you could invoke Bl. Solanus’ intercession for her, all the better! This is what I wrote on Instagram at the end of the several photos I posted during Bl. Solanus’ beatification Mass, which was attended by my parents and my sister (and my sister was part of the procession):

Today was all about #BlessedSolanusCasey, and for my family it was also about my sister, but a shout-out to my mom @irishnannie is a must: she painstakingly compiled all the information pertaining to the miracle of my sister’s life, gathering materials from thirty three years ago from her own notes and hospital records; she tracked down the neonatologist who cared for my infant sister and got him on board (it didn’t take much convincing! And he’s not even Catholic!); she secured the enthusiastic support of our bishop; she kept up continuous communications with the vice postulator; and most of all, she has never ever wavered in her conviction that her baby’s life was given back through Fr. Solanus’ intercession. So I was so happy for her that this beautiful Irish music was played during the Mass, as a nod to Fr. Solanus’ Irish heritage (my mom’s a first generation Irish-American and prouder than proud of it!) AND that his feast day has been set as July 30 — which just happens to be Mom’s birthday. #MollyandFrSolanus #FrSolanusCasey @albanydiocese

I was amazed at God’s generosity in allowing Mom’s birthday to be chosen as Bl. Solanus’ feast, after all her unwavering faith and focused hard work in pulling together the necessary materials to submit my sister’s story to his cause for beatification. (A different miracle was accepted as the required miracle for Fr. Solanus’ to be beatified, but my sister was invited to be part of the procession because of her special connection to this special priest. I recently read this biography of him, which I highly recommend.) (Fr. Solanus died on July 31, so it’s a truly unexpected gift that his feast day was set for the day before.)

So many things to celebrate today! I hope you all have a great day!!


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!

St. Anne giveaway ends tonight! Don’t forget to enter!

Be sure to head on over to Rafflecopter to enter! The giveaway closes tonight at midnight Eastern time, so you have about twelve more hours! A refresher on the details:

That’s it! And don’t forget that Rebecca has generously added a $2.00 off coupon code for any order over $2.00 for all Sancta Nomina readers, which you can use for any coloring page of your choosing (they’re $2.00 each) — they’re all gorgeous! Lots of our favorite Saints, including one of the Immaculate Conception (St. Anne and the child Mary)! The coupon code is sanctanomina, and it’s valid through August 7. (Rebecca is also running a Summer Coloring Contest for all ages, starting today! Go check it out!)


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!

Happy feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim! And a giveaway for you!

Today is the feast of the wonderful St. Anne, patroness of Sancta Nomina, and her husband St. Joachim — grandparents of Jesus! As I’ve noted before, not only do they have amazing names themselves, but they named Mother Mary. That’s some serious business for a Catholic name blog!

Two St. Anne tidbits: I read in an obituary recently that the deceased was “Born Anne MiddleName LastName on July 26, 1936, the Feast Day of St. Anne, her mother, being extremely religious, named her after the Saint,” though she went by her middle name her whole life. You know I loved reading that! (May she rest in peace.) And my mom sent me this funny piece today written by a friend of hers that has to do with a St. Anne pilgrimage he went on with his family when he was a little boy. Hilarious! (Maybe my boys will write about their St. Anne pilgrimages when they grow up!)

In anticipation of today’s feast, I prayed a St. Anne Novena for the past nine days, finishing last night, which I offered for all of you and your intentions. And I have a giveaway for you! 🎉🎉🎉

I know many of you follow the so-talented Rebecca Górzyńska on Instagram (@delphinaroseart) — her artwork is absolutely stunning, and I’ve learned so much about her process and techniques through her posts. And she has a book coming out! She illustrated the book Marian Consecration for Families With Young Children by Colleen Pressprich, available now for preorder, and each illustration is simply perfection.

How excited was I to discover that Rebecca painted this folk art style print of St. Anne and the child Mary as the Immaculate Conception?! I knew immediately that this would be the perfect item for the giveaway I wanted to do for all of you, in honor of the feast of our dear St. Anne!

I’m thrilled to be able to give away five (5) 5×7 prints! Here are the details:

  • Head on over to Rafflecopter to enter
  • The giveaway is live from now until midnight on Thursday, July 30
  • On Thursday I’ll have Rafflecopter randomly select five (5) winners, whom I’ll notify by email

That’s it! As always, please know how grateful I am to all of you for your presence in our lovely little community! Thanks to you all, thanks to Rebecca, and happy feast of St. Anne and St. Joachim! 💕💙💕💙💕💙💕💙


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Double first name for baby girl a priority to honor Grandma — lots of options!

Jenny and her husband are expecting their sixth baby, their third girl (on earth)! This little lady joins big siblings:

Lilyana Marie (“Marie is my middle name and I just liked the name Lilyana”)

Anthony Jay (“After my husband”)

Dominic Lucas John (“I went to our Parish’s “Traveling relics” and right after I picked up St Dominic’s relic I knew I was pregnant and I knew he was going to be a boy. Sure enough I tested the next week and I was pregnant and he was a a boy. I also have always loved the name Lucas and St Luke. John is after my Father-in-law.”)

Isabella Teresa Grace (“… so the whole time we were pregnant I was told she was going to be a boy. So the whole pregnancy her name was Benedict Emmanuel. Once we found out she was a girl we had to scramble to come up with a girls name. Her original name was Isabella Grace but after being born on Mother Teresa’s feast day we just had to add that in. I also love longer names. 🙂 And looove Mother Teresa!”)

Jameson Jude Ramiro (“Jameson was a little different for us. I wanted to go with Jude but my husband wasn’t so keen on it at first. We chose Jameson because it’s a variant of St James but a longer version. So we decided on Jameson Jude as first name but we ended up putting Jude on his BC as part of his middle name. We chose Ramiro because that is my Dad’s name”)

+Mary Irene (with Jesus; “Mary after Hubby’s Grandma who was very special to him. And Irene because my Mom used to say “Good night Irene” to me at night before bed when I was growing up”)

+Jesse Francis De Sales (with Jesus; “we picked a name that could be gender neutral because baby was 10 weeks and we didn’t know the gender yet but I felt like he was a boy”)

I love Jenny’s older living kiddos’ names! Lilyana, Anthony, Dominic, Isabella, and Jameson are such a fun bunch of names — beautiful and handsome and with great faith connections. I love all the middle names, too, and the reasons for them. And Mary Irene and Jesse Francis De Sales are so perfect for her babies in heaven, as well — such a great job!

Jenny writes,

_______ Ann Is what we are really wanting. Not a must but we strongly want to use it. We’re open minded. My husband lost his Mom almost 2 years ago to cancer. Her name was Doris Ann. We really wanted to use her name with this next baby without copying Doris Ann. My husband doesn’t want to just use her whole name.
He likes the idea or using Dorothy Ann for a first name because Dorothy was the name of his Grandma, who was his Mom’s Mom and they were all very close.

So we are considering Dorothy Ann as a first name.

Other name we like that we are considering are:

Lucia Ann or using Lucia in there somewhere. But don’t really think it goes well with Dorothy Ann … Lucy was Hubby’s Grandma from his dad’s side.

We also have considered using Lorelei. I’m not really fond of the basic meaning but I don’t know too much about the history of the name. We just have a cute background story of that name. It is my nickname that my in-laws gave me early on. They said I looked more like a Lorelei and the name just stuck. So Hubby’s Uncles and Aunts still call me Lorelei as a nickname and my mother-in-law used to call me that as an endearing name. So it has a good feel.

We also really want a pretty Saint name. I like longer names but this would be a first time using Ann with a first name so I’m flexible. We like names that aren’t very common but aren’t too rare. We don’t like off the wall names like River or Sun or Apple. 🙂 something classic and beautiful.

We are really stuck on this name. We have tried to go with names like Francesca or Philomena but it hasn’t really stuck … I’m really into have a special meaning to the name so I would love to get your recommendations!

I really love that Jenny and her hubs originally intended Jameson Jude to be a double first name — how cool is that?! I love bold ideas like that! I’m totally on board with their wish to have a ___ Ann double first name for their baby girl in honor of Jenny’s mother-in-law, so I wanted to spend a few minutes exploring this idea. First, I love the idea of Dorothy Ann — I love that Dorothy honors both Jenny’s mother-in-law (I’m guessing maybe she was named Doris as a way of naming after her mom, without using the same name?) and her mother, and Dorothy Ann as a combo strengthens that connection by using Jenny’s mil’s middle name as well. I might normally think that Dorothy Ann isn’t a great fit with Jenny’s older kiddos’ names (not that that matters at all, I think family honor trumps style considerations every time in my opinion), but I’m so charmed by Dorothy on the daughter of the Bucket List Family that it’s taken on a more modern, chic feel for me. Its meaning of “gift of God” (same as Theodore — in fact, Dorothy is the same name as Theodore, just with the elements reversed) is so great, too.

Working Jenny’s hubby’s other grandmother into the name as well via some form of Lucy is pretty great — the more the merrier! I agree with Jenny that Dorothy Ann Lucia doesn’t have the best flow, nor does Dorothy Ann Lucy, but I think Dorothy Ann Lucille sounds quite nice — I wonder if that would be a possible solution? Another possible solution would be to change the way they’re planning to honoring Jenny’s hubby’s mom and grandmother. I spent some time trying to come up with different options that might honor them just as well in a way they might like, and came up with:

  • Dora Susann Lucia: I like how saying “Dora Susann” (or Suzann, if they prefer that spelling; I dropped the “e” to highlight the “Ann” connection) together makes “Dora S-” sound like Doris. I thought Dora could easily nod to both Doris and Dorothy, and Susann/Suzann (or Susanne/Suzanne, if they wanted to spell it the more conventional way) brings in the Ann in a new way. And Dora Susann allows their preferred Lucia to fit in nicely, I think.
  • Doriann/DoriAnn/Dori Ann Lucia: I was interested to discover that Doris is from the Greek for “Dorian woman” (the Dorians were a Greek tribe), which made me think that Doriann might be an interesting way to mash up Doris (and Dorothy, through the shared Dor-) and Ann, and Doriann Lucia also sounds quite nice I think. They could also do DoriAnn or Dori Ann to make the “Ann” part more obvious.
  • Lucia Ann Dorothea: I thought Lucia Ann Dorothea flowed better than Lucia Ann Dorothy or Lucia Ann Doris (Dorothea and Dorothy are variants of each other). One hesitation I have about Lucia Ann as a double first name, though, is that Lilyana is Lily + Ana (a variant of Ann) — Lilyana and Lucia Ann seem really similar. (Again, though, not a dealbreaker if they love it!)
  • Lucia Doriann/DoriAnn: This option takes away the issue of Lilyana and Lucia Ann being possibly too similar, as it moves Ann to the middle spot, on the other side of Dori.
  • Lucia Dorothy Ann: This option uses all the names Jenny and her hubs wanted in an order that has a nice flow and rhythm to my ear. They lose the double-first-name option (unless they wanted to do Lucia Dorothy, which is unexpected and pretty [though long for everyday use]), but they have all the special ladies in one name.

(I also like Lucy in place of Lucia for these options.)

As for Lorelei, I absolutely love that Jenny’s in-laws have called her Lorelei from the beginning! What a sweet story! It would make an awesome honor name for her (and her in-laws, by extension) in her daughter’s name (either as a first name or a middle name). It does have a history that gives some people pause — in legend it’s the name of a siren that lured sailors to their death — but I think Gilmore Girls and other associations have diluted that association (and some people don’t even know about it). I never thought it had any saintly connection, but when I was doing a little research on it for this family, I discovered that Lorelei’s Wikipedia entry gives August 17 as its Czech name day. Name days almost always coincide with saint feast days, so I was really interested to see what saint was connected with Lorelei. Pretty clever: Petra is listed on the Czech calendar for that day, which is the feminine form of Peter, which means “rock,” and the “lei” part of Lorelei is thought to come from a Celtic word for “rock” — the siren is actually named for the rock headland on the Rhine River called Loreley. I loved discovering that any of the holy Peters or Petras can be patron for a Lorelei!

Because I like playing around with names and was already in that mindset with the Dorothy Ann/Dora Susann/Doriann ideas, I wondered if that might be a fun thing to do for Lorelei: come up with some name combos that could nickname to Lorelei for everyday usage but provide a more obvious saint connection. I came up with:

  • Laurel Isla
  • Laurel Eileen
  • Laura Lyla
  • Loretta Lyla

Both secularly and in the faith, laurel wreaths have been used as “crowns of glory”; another cool saintly connection is that the stories of Sts. Tiburtius and Susanna include two laurel trees. Isla is an entry in the book of Marian names I wrote, for Our Lady of the Isles. Eileen is generally considered an Irish form of Helen (St. Helen(a) is awesome). There are a few saints and blesseds named Laura. I couldn’t find any holy connection for Lyla though, so maybe the Laurel ideas are better from a saintly perspective. But also, if there’s a saint’s name in the middle spot (or in the first spot, if they use Lorelei as a middle name), then they’re covered saint-wise! Maybe Lorelei Ann (could also be a double first name, as Jenny was hoping for), Lorelei Dorothy Ann (double middle, like Jude Ramiro), Lorelei Doriann, etc. Or maybe something like Laurel Ann would sound enough like Lorelei to feel like a nod to that name, while providing a double first name with Ann that isn’t overly long (like Lorelei Ann might be). Laurel Ann Dorothea maybe?

Okay! Those are all my ideas/comments on the ideas Jenny and her husband already have — now onto to my new suggestions/ideas!

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 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 in mind that they’d really like to have their chosen name pair up with Ann in a double first name, and also that Jenny said she’d like “a pretty Saint name” and “something classic and beautiful” (which I think she did really well with her older daughters). I also thought of Lilyana and Isabella as a pair and tried to think of names that went well naturally with them, without taking into account the brothers’ names or Jenny’s little ones in heaven. And finally, I thought of names that I thought would go well with Ann as the first element of the double name, instead of the second. I used the NameFinder and NameMatchmaker tools on babynamewizard.com to find additional ideas, and I also looked at the “Lacy and Lissome,” “Italian,” and “Short and Sweet” lists in the back of the Baby Name Wizard book. And I went through my own mental files for faithy names that I thought would go well.

Based on all that, these are my additional ideas (buckle up — there are lots of them! I actually did two consultations for Jenny, which I’ve condensed into this one post):

(1) Natalie or Natalia
Natalie is a style match for Anthony and Lucas (I included Lucas in my research since Jenny said she’s always liked it) and Natalia for Lilyana and Dominic, so it seemed like a great suggestion to start with! I think Natalie Ann flows better than Natalia Ann, but if they like Natalia they could consider doing Natalia Ann as her given name and a nickname + Ann for everyday usage, like Talia Ann or Tally Ann. I know a Natalie who goes by Natty, so that’s an option too — Natty Ann. There are some Sts. and Blds. Natalia (Natalie is the French form, so St. Natalia would be patron for a Natalie or Natalia), and Natalia also literally refers to Christmas Day — it comes from the Latin natale domini, which means “the birth of the Lord.”

(2) Camille or Camila/Camilla
Camila/Camilla is a match for Lilyana, Jude, and Lucia, but like with Natalie and Natalia, I thought Camille Ann had a better flow than Camilla Ann. But again, they could do Camilla Ann as the given name and Cammie Ann or Callie Ann as an everyday nickname. There are some holy Camillas, which work for Camille as well.

(3) Sophia/Sofia or Sophie (or as a nickname?)
Sophia is a match for Dominic, and Sofia for Lucas and Lucia. Sophia/Sofia Ann is lovely, but again I feel like Sophie Ann has a better flow. While I love both Sophia/Sofia and Sophie, I’ve seen them (especially Sophie) used as nicknames for Seraphina/Serafina and Josephine/Josefina, which remind me of the Francesca and Philomena that Jenny said they’ve tried but haven’t felt quite right. So maybe one of those? Josephine Ann nicknamed Sophie Ann? Serafina Ann nicknamed Sofie Ann? On its own, Sophia means “wisdom” and is an entry in my book of Marian names because one of Our Lady’s titles is Seat of Wisdom.

(4) Olivia
Olivia’s a match for Lucas and Isabella, and Olivia Ann strikes me as similar to Sophia Ann — quite pretty, but maybe Olivia Ann with Livvy Ann as the everyday nickname would be easier? Olivia’s also in my book of Marian names, after Our Lady of Olives.

(5) Audrey or Aubrey
I was surprised by these names, as they’re a bit different than the ends-in-a names Jenny and her hubs gave Lilyana and Isabella, and are considering with Lucia, but Audrey’s a match for Dominic and Aubrey for Jameson, and since they’re so similar to each other I thought their shared sound and rhythm might be one that appeals to them. There’s a St. Audrey (her entry on CatholicSaints.info is for St. Etheldreda, which she’s also known by), and I quite like Audrey Ann — it has a bit of a Hollywood starlet feel to me, probably because of Audrey Hepburn. Its shorter length makes it easier with Ann as an everyday double name, too. Behind the Name (my go-to for name meanings) says Aubrey is a form of Alberich, and there are a few saints by that name — all male. I believe Aubrey was predominantly a male name until recently. If they love it, it’s certainly no problem for a girl to have a male saint as patron! Like with Audrey Ann, Aubrey Ann is quite easy enough for everyday use.

(6) Rosemary
My thought process behind Rosemary is a little funny. It’s a style match for Dorothy, which normally wouldn’t sway me because I don’t get the sense that Dorothy is really this family’s style, but rather their favorite option of the ways to honor Jenny’s hubby’s mom (and grandmother), but one of the nicknames I’ve seen used for Rosemary is Rory, which always makes me think of Lorelei because of Gilmore Girls. And then thinking about it more, I thought Rosemary Ann nicknamed Rory Ann might be a really cute idea, with that connection to Lorelei too if Jenny wants it to. Rosemary also has a little bit of that Hollywood feel I get from Audrey (e.g., Rosemary Clooney). I think Rosemary is classic and beautiful; it honors Our Lady; and not only is Rory a great possibility for a nickname, but so are Rosie and Romy — Rosie Ann and Romy Ann are both darling. (Just a note of caution that Rosie Ann, being “a flower + Ann,” is similar to Lilyana, being “a flower + Ana.”)

(7) Magdalena
Magdalena Ann is certainly long and difficult for everyday, but I love Maggie Ann! And St. Mary Magdalene is an awesome patron.

(8) Emilia
Emilia is an Italian name, and it’s also the name of St. John Paul II’s mom, whose cause for canonization has been opened! Emilia Ann isn’t terrible, and Emmy Ann is darling.

(9) Carys or Charis
Carys is Welsh for “love,” and Charis — which is said the same as Carys — is Greek for “grace, kindness” and is contained within the word “eucharist.” Carys Ann and Charis Ann are awesome!

(10) Vesper or Verity
Vesper is from the Latin for “evening” and in a Catholic context is used to refer to Evening Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours (“Vespers”). Vesper Ann is lovely! Verity means “truth” and even thought it’s three syllables, I think Verity Ann is easy enough, and wonderful.

(11) Sunday
I posted a birth announcement for a little Sunday Josephine on the blog a while ago, and I love it for this family — it’s got that faith connection for the Lord’s day, and I love Sunday Ann as a combo!

(12) Elodie
This is a French name that I think sounds smashing with Ann! Elodie Ann!

(13) Caeli
Caeli is Latin for “of heaven” (like the Marian title Regina Caeli: Queen of Heaven) and would be really sweet and very Catholic with Ann: Caeli Ann. It’s said CHAY-lee in Church Latin, but you could say it KAY-lee if you wanted.

(14) Mercy
Mercy is a great and unexpected virtue name — I saw quite a bit of it as a baby name during the Jubilee Year of Mercy (2016). Maybe Mercy Ann?

(15) Ann Catherine, Ann Madeline (or similar); something like Ann Seton?
My last ideas have to do with putting Ann first in the double-first-name idea. Catherine is a match for Anthony and Madeline is a match for Dominic, and both of those made me think of Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich and Ven. Anne-Madeleine Remuzat — I think both of those combos are so lovely, and thought maybe Jenny would like to consider something like that? I particularly like that Ann Catherine could go by Annie Cate. I know a little AnnClare, which might also appeal to them. From their ideas, I like Ann Lucia quite a bit. If Jenny knows who her mother-in-law’s favorite saint was, that might be an option here too. Then I was noticing that the girl style matches for Jameson were mostly surname-type names, like Kendall, Larkin, and Harper, and wondered if they might like Ann with a saintly surname? Seton was the first that came to mind, because of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton — Ann Seton would be a cool, unexpected first name that would immediately call to mind that particular saint without having to use Elizabeth. Some other surnames that might work in this way include Ann Kolbe, Ann Vianney, Ann Goretti (is it crazy that I just thought Annie Grey could be a doable nickname for Ann Goretti??), Ann Majella (St. Gerard Majella is a patron of expectant mamas!). Or maybe Ann + Jenny’s maiden name? Or Ann Lorelei? So many options!

(16) Ann Elise or Ann Elisa (Annelisa?)
I was staying away from Elizabeth names because of big sister Isabella, which is a form of Elizabeth, but then I realized that Lily and Lillian have a history of usage as nicknames for Elizabeth, so then I thought it might be cool if Jenny’s living daughters have that connection — just kind of lean into it, you know? But without using the full Elizabeth. So if you switch the elements, I think Ann Elise and Ann Elisa are quite pretty! Anneliese is a German mashup of Anne and Elizabeth, so I thought they could do the same with Annelisa if they wanted to combine them. But I quite like them separate too, and doing so highlights the Ann moreso.

(17) Ann Colette, Ann Juliette, Ann Corinne
I definitely found that I think French names go really well with Ann as a combo, especially if they’re in the second spot (like Ann Elise above). I love Colette, Juliette, and Corinne — so feminine!

(18) Alessandra, Carolina, Caterina or Catalina, Veronica
Finally, these ideas are just names I came across that I thought Jenny would like, since she said she likes longer names. I like them all with Lilyana and Isabella, though I’m not sure Ann goes as well with them. But I thought it would be fun to include them!

And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little sister of Lilyana, Anthony, Dominic, Isabella, and Jamison?


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!

The pandemic can’t keep me from St. Anne!

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that my family and I are away for the week. The last week away that we did was three years ago, when we shared a beach house with my parents and siblings and their kids (there were twenty two of us) — Luke wasn’t even on the way yet, and my next boy up was three, and there were lots of family members to help out. Being away for a week on our own hasn’t been attempted at all since my nearly-sixteen-year-old was the same age Luke is now (22 months) and we cut our week short because he wasn’t sleeping and then threw up and I was eight months pregnant with our second and DONE WITH VACATIONS AND TRIPS AWAY.

Since then, other than going away with my extended family for a week (which we’ve only done twice), we haven’t gone away for longer than four days, and even then it was only when most of the kids were old enough to sleep well and enjoy themselves.

I was laughing remembering all this because Luke is at that same age when my oldest caused us to cut our vacation short and oh boy, I am so totally remembering why I insisted we go home early and why our vacations since then have been nearly nonexistent. What a terror! (The cutest ever and we all love him more than life itself but still: a terror.)

I was also laughing that my plans for this year’s St. Anne’s pilgrimage had to be adjusted because of Luke. That kid.

If you’ve followed the blog for a while, you’ll know that, not long after I started the blog, I was wondering about a patron saint for it and I felt like St. Anne was waving from heaven asking for the job (or, more likely, letting me know she’d already taken it). She’s been our patroness since almost the very beginning, and I’ve often felt her care for all of us as we enjoy naming our own babies or looking forward to when we can, and helping to name those of others, poking around the nooks and crannies of our faith for the perfect monikers that will help both the babies and their parents keep their eyes on heaven.

I’ve been so grateful to St. Anne that as my first blogiversary approached (June 27, 2015) and I was trying to figure out how to properly celebrate it, the idea of thanking St. Anne for her intercession for our little community and all the blessings that I personally have received through Sancta Nomina by taking a pilgrimage with my family to one of her shrines seemed the perfect idea — difficult enough for it to feel like a real gift of thanks, and so appropriate for a Catholic blogger.

Screenshot-07.02.2020
Screenshot of the post about my family’s very first St. Anne pilgrimage. Hilarious to read about how hard traveling was for us back then — and how hard it currently is again!

It was such a success (despite all odds), that we made it an annual tradition — an annual blogiversary pilgrimage to a St. Anne shrine to offer thanks and to pray for you all. That first year we went to the shrine in Isle La Motte, VT; the second year we went to Sturbridge, MA; the third year to Scranton, PA; the fourth to Waterbury, CT; and the FIFTH — last year — was appropriately celebrated in a big way: in Ireland!

I admit my impending sixth blogiversary — last Saturday, June 27, 2020 — was not on my mind at all this past spring because of the all the pandemic stuff, nor was a St. Anne pilgrimage. But when we were planning this week away to my parents’ lake cabin, and I realized that my blogiversary was the day before we left, I thought I’d look to see if there might be a St. Anne church close by-ish that maybe we could drive to one day while we’re here. Because of social distancing and reduced space in our local churches, I wasn’t expecting there to be a Mass we could attend or anything like that — my hopes were very modest, I just wanted to visit a St. Anne church, even just the outside. Simply an effort to thank her.

Are you at all surprised that I discovered a St. Ann (that spelling) church less than an hour from our lake? And that it had a 6pm Mass on Wednesday evenings? And that, while I was sure the 6pm Mass wasn’t currently happening, since churches have only just barely begun opening in my diocese for Sunday Masses, when I inquired I discovered that, indeed, the Wednesday evening Masses have resumed? Of course you’re not surprised, and I wasn’t either. That St. Ann(e).

My plan was for us all to go — part of the gift and the gratitude, in my mind, is to offer something back, a suffering, to be used as God sees fit, through the hands of His grandmother. As much as I’d like it to be different, traveling to go to Mass with the kids qualifies as the kind of suffering I have in mind. (You can read more about my tips and tricks for taking pilgrimages with little ones in this piece I wrote for CatholicMom last year (they just redesigned the site and it’s hard to find the archived articles, so please excuse the state of this link).)

But I ended up having to drive home with Luke that morning to bring him to a doctor’s appointment, and he screamed in the car the whole way back (an hour), and I didn’t feel like I could subject him or the rest of us to a repeat of that again that evening. So my oldest and I went instead and it turned out to be perfect, exactly what I’d hoped for.

This church of St. Ann is in a town called Fort Ann, named after Queen Anne of England (the Wiki entry notes that it’s unknown why the original spelling of Fort Anne was later changed to Fort Ann). It was so cool to see “Ann” used in the names of various businesses and on street signs — and not just “Fort Ann” but “St. Ann” too!

The church itself is a sweet, small country church. It wasn’t overflowing with St. Ann(e) statues and windows, as so many of the other shrines I’ve visited, but what it had was beautiful.

 

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Beautiful entrance
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St. Anne with Our Lady; St. Joseph; a bigger statue of Our Lady. If there weren’t roped-off sections, I would have tried to light a candle for my intentions
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I know for sure the picture on the right is St. Anne with Mary — does anyone know the one on the left? It looks like it could be an older lady — is that St. Anne?
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This parish has a great devotion to the Divine Mercy — you can see the image here on the right of the altar, and on the front door in the picture above, and they said the Divine Mercy chaplet after Mass. I love the stained glass windows of Our Lady on the left and St. Ann on the right. Also, the quote above Jesus from the Magnificat: “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” 💙

The Mass was beautiful as well — Father started with the Angelus, then said Mass, then led us in the chaplet of Divine Mercy. My son and I said the rosary together on the way home. Perfect.

There were eleven people there besides us, which nearly brought the church to full capacity. It was lovely and peaceful, and I offered the pilgrimage in thanksgiving for this wonderful community and for all the blessings that have come through Sancta Nomina, including the ministry of naming and my book and the unending intercession of St. Anne for all of us. I also offered it for:

  • All of you and your intentions; for your children, both living and deceased; for those of you who long to be parents but aren’t yet; for those of you who have children but long for more; for those of you who have children and are struggling to stay afloat
  • For the intentions our Holy Father asked us to pray for earlier in the spring: the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted by it, and eternal salvation for those the Lord has called to Himself
  • For our country and our church

In addition to St. Anne, I want to thank you all for a wonderful six years! It’s been such an unexpected and wonderful gift! Thank you for teaching me more about the names of our faith and sharing your families with me. ❤️❤️❤️


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!

A May Crowning story 🌹

Don’t miss the consultation I posted last night! The baby’s arriving next week!

As this month of Our Lady winds to a close, I wanted to share this happy story with you all:

I’ve written before about my sister Molly (whose first name is a Mary variant, and whose middle name is Anne — Sancta Nomina’s two special-est ladies!) — you can read the story of her stillbirth and miraculous life here, and see photos of her participation in the beatification ceremony for Bl. Solanus Casey here (and swipe right). As noted in the article at that first link, she works at our parish school, which is the perfect place for her — it’s safe and sweet, and all the kids know her and get excited when they see her out of school, like at the grocery store (back when we all used to see each other at places like the grocery store).

The May Crowning at school is always done by the second graders, just a couple weeks after they receive their First Holy Communion. They wear their First Communion clothes to school, participate in the May Crowning, have a little reception hosted by the third grade parents, and are dismissed early from school on that day. It’s so special! It was so sad for our school that we couldn’t have the May Crowning in the same way this year! But our principal and pastor were determined to have a May Crowning anyway, and they asked Molly to be the one to crown Our Lady.

Oh my. Molly was totally wrecked over this request — in the best way! When she was telling me about it, she was all choked up and emotional over how this was the first time in her life she’d ever been given this honor. Lucky girl! May we always be so thrilled to love Our Lady! Happy Friday to you all!

Molly crowning Our Lady, and a better photo of her from Bl. Solanus’ beatification ceremony <3🌹


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!

 

New article on pilgrimages at CatholicMom

You all know I’ve gone on a pilgrimage to a St. Anne shrine every year for the past five years, as a way of saying thank you to St. Anne for her intercession. When my family and I first started doing so, we were still in the time of our parenthood where going on trips was one of the worst things I could think of doing! Remembering those first couple trips, and seeing how much better it’s gotten, inspired my July article for CatholicMom.com: Pilgrimages for Parents of Young Children. I’d love to hear what other tips you would add!

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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!

Ireland part 3: Anne

Part 1: Edel

Part 2: Radek

I posted about this on Instagram already (part 1, part 2, part 3), but blogging allows me to be chattier. 😉

You know that St. Anne is the patroness of the blog, and I’ve leaned on her intercession for these past few years for Sancta Nomina — that I do God’s will through it, that marriages and families are blessed by the beautiful names of our faith that we discuss here, and for the completion and acceptance of my book for publication (when I was writing it) and that it will reach those who need it (now that it’s here!) — and also for all of you! I’m always asking her to intercede for you all, and myself as well, and I’ve felt her grandmotherly love many many times.

I started the blog on June 27, 2014, and each year since then at the end of June or beginning of July, my husband and boys and I have taken a mini pilgrimage to a St. Anne Shrine within driving (and my own sanity’s) distance to thank her for her intercession and pray for you all. Year 1 was Isle la Motte, year 2 was Sturbridge, MA, year 3 was Scranton, PA, and last year was Waterbury, CT.

(As a side thought, looking through these old posts, it’s amazing to me to see our progression as a family from one for whom traveling was the worst thing imaginable (year 1) to one for whom it’s getting to be a not-terrible thing to do (currently). Young families, take note! It gets easier!)

Next week marks five years since I started Sancta Nomina (!!!!!), so I’d already had a vague idea of trying to do something a bit bigger pilgrimage-wise this year — the St. Anne de Beaupre Shrine in Canada was one of my ideas, which would have been quite a thing for us (probably too much, really) — when my sister got engaged and she and her fiance were delighted to fulfill my sister’s lifelong dream of getting married in Ireland, in the town where my grandfather was born and raised, in the cathedral where he’d been baptized and had been an altar boy. I initially looked into whether or not we could swing all of us going — me, hubby, and all the boys — and quickly decided this was pretty far past impossible. But I could go (and really should, if possible, as I was a bridesmaid), and where I go the baby goes, and I brought my oldest to help (and he got to be the altar boy at the wedding!), and when making our plans I had the idea of checking to see if there could possibly be a St. Anne church anywhere near where we were staying.

Guys. There are two (TWO) (2!) St. Anne churches near where we were staying!

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. That St. Anne. ❤ ❤ ❤

The Cathedral in Cork City, which is locally known as North Cathedral and is just a little over 3km from our hotel, has as its official name (prepared to be blown away): The Cathedral of St. Mary & St. Anne.

!!!!!

But wait! Turns out, there’s a SECOND church in Cork dedicated to St. Anne! The Church of Ireland’s (Anglican) Church of St. Anne, Shandon (with its famous bells) is right down the road and within sight of St. Mary and St. Anne’s!

I mean. Could St. Anne (and her holy baby girl) be talking any more directly to me??

St. Mary and St. Anne’s Cathedral is, as it says on its web site, “‘the Mother Church of the Dioceses of Cork and Ross’ and was dedicated in 1808, (building had begun in 1799). It is the fourth church of this parish since, at least, 1306. The construction of the Cathedral was planned and overseen by Bishop Francis Moylan (Bishop of Cork 1787-1815).”

My boys and I were only going to be in Ireland for three full days (half of one of those days was traveling from the airport to the hotel, and we were there for half of a fourth day, that was traveling from the hotel to the airport), and most of our time there was booked with wedding business, but until 3:00 on the day before the wedding we were free to do as we liked, so I planned our pilgrimage to the Cathedral for that day.

Being that I was trying to keep the baby on our home schedule timezone-wise, we slept in until 10:30am or so on that Friday, and set off from the hotel around 11. I figured we had to be back at the hotel by 3 to get ready for the rehearsal, and we were walking to the Cathedral and back (with a stop for lunch with my brothers, sister-in-law, and priest friend, as well as to find Turkish Delight, at the request of one of my boys at home), so we had to be purposeful in our walking to stay on track. I used Google maps on my phone and looked such the tourist, constantly checking my phone to see where to go next.

My goals for my St. Anne pilgrimages are always modest, given that traveling is already such an opportunity to offer up suffering. 😀 Usually I hope to go to Mass at the Shrine, take pictures to show all of you, and get to the gift shop. But for this trip, I scaled back my expectations even more. I would have loved to have gotten to Mass, but it was too early for us, and I saw something about a gift shop on its web site, but didn’t see signs for it while we were there, so I didn’t worry about it. I was just so thrilled when we finally arrived at the Cathedral — I felt like, “We did it! We’re here!” The photos I posted on Instagram two weeks ago were the major ones, but I’m going to post some more tonight.

My boys and I (the baby was sleeping for a good deal of our four-hour walk!) tried to take our time inside the Cathedral, but it wasn’t easy — I was antsy about getting back to the hotel in time, and there were professional cleaners doing something loud on the altar while we were there. I was sorry to see that the interior was quite modern (their web site says, “The Neo- Gothic originals and the later extensions lacked harmony until the 1996 reordering and renovation. The vision of architect Richard Hurley drew the Sanctuary into the body of the Cathedral and brings congregation around three sides of the altar”), as I love a good old European cathedral; I was even sorrier to see that the tabernacle had been removed to a side chapel. Also, the only statue of St. Anne that I could find was the one in the front parking lot, and the one picture I was able to get of it was partially obscured by cars.

But no matter! I made a donation to the restoration fund in honor of all of you (with a prayer that it would be well used), and fairly clicked my heels as we left — I was so pleased to have visited a St. Anne shrine in Ireland in commemoration of Sancta Nomina’s fifth year!

St. Anne’s, Shandon was just down the road, so we walked quickly there on our way back, though I was eyeing our time and took only a minute to take a photo from the road. I love that Anglicans love St. Anne too. ❤

All in all, a memorable St. Anne’s pilgrimage to celebrate five years in this little corner of the internet, and to celebrate five years with you all!

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Screenshot from Google Maps of the route from our hotel to the Cathedral, and where St. Anne’s, Shandon is in relation to the Cathedral

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!

It’s May! (Baby name consultations are now open!)

Happy May! Month of Our Lady! Feast of St. Joseph the Worker! (Which was instituted as a counter to the Communists’ “May Day,” as my historian friend shared with me today. Did you know that? I didn’t! How cool!)

Being that this is the month of Our Lady, I have a few goodies for you all! First up: I’m reopening baby name consultations! Details, including cost info, are here.

I’m also dedicating my site and its associated social media to Our Lady. We’ve been under the patroness of good St. Anne for so long, which is so wonderful and isn’t changing, but Mother Mary needs an official shout-out! (I mean, beyond alllll the Marian posts and of course my book of Marian names!) I’m adding wording to this effect under my roses (under my menu, to the right).

Be sure to check in frequently during the month for other fun things I have planned! (I’ll also be posting a birth announcement later this evening!)


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!

Honoring St. Anne in a boy’s name

Happy feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim!! As you all know, St. Anne is the patroness of my blog and I’ve asked for her intercession many many times over the past few years, for all of your intentions and for my own. In fact, I just finished another novena to her, in which I included all of you. ❤ Such a great saint, and such a great day!

You guys had so many good ideas when I asked in last month’s giveaway for possible ways of honoring St. Anne in a boy’s name! Several of you asked for the results, which I’d planned to compile into one post anyway, and her feast day seemed the best day to do it! Here they are, culled from the comments left on the blog post and those left in the entries on Rafflecopter — you guys had so many great ideas!

Names starting with An-

This is generally where my mind goes as well, when trying to think of boy names that could honor St. Anne. These are the ones you all suggested (the quotes in parentheses are comments left by the commenter):

Ananias

Andrew, Andre, Anselm, Anthony, Antonio, Antonin, Anton

Anders and Anderson (“from Anne-dear’s and Anne-dear’s-son“)

Anne (Dutch boy’s name)

Anno (“It’s got a hip feel with the “-o” at the end (like Milo or Hugo). And easy to spell“)

Anson (“Our son is named in her honor. Anson means son of Anne. We credit him to her direct intercession“)

Antioch

 

Names containing “Stan” (St. An-) or that mean St. Anne

Santana (“(used for both boys or girls) but is in the top 1000 for boys. Literally St. Ann meaning name“)

Stanislaus, Stanley

 

Names containing “an” or “han” (from Hannah, which is a cognate of Anne)

Amantius (“Latin for loving“)

Ambrose (not technically An-, but sounds like it!)

Athanasius

Daniel, Danny

Ferdinand

Francis

Grant (“another one with “an” in it, and as a word could reference all the graces and blessings one would hope to be granted through such a wonderful patron’s intercession!“)

Hanan (“masc. form of Hannah*“) (*my note: Hanan means “gracious” and is the name of some minor Old Testament characters)

Giovanni, Hans, Ian, Johannes (“Etymologically related,* plus contains “Anne” right in there“) (*my note: the John names ARE etymologically related! Anne means “favor, grace” and the John names mean “Yahweh is gracious.” I would add in Evan here as well.)

Julian

Manuel, Manny

Marian

Nathan

Roman

Rowan

Santiago

Sebastian

Stefan

Xander

 

Names whose meanings (etymological and otherwise) are connected to St. Anne

Armo (“It shares some sounds with Anne (the initial a, the nasal n/m), fits in with the popular ‘two-syllable, ends in ‘o” trend for boys and, while rare, it’s easy to spell and pronounce … According to behindthename.com (and Google Translate), Armo means ‘grace’ (or perhaps ‘mercy’) in Finnish, which links it through meaning to the name Anne … For an added St Anne connection, Armo is also the name of a commune in Italy. The parish church of Armo is dedicated to the Natività di Maria – the birth of Mary … One possible drawback – a google search of ‘Armo’ seems to indicate that it is sometimes used as slang referring to Armenian people. I’ve never heard of that term where I live, but it would be something to consider and research to ensure it’s not an offensive term where the parents live“)

Augustine (“great, venerable”)

Chariton (“grace, kindness”)

Esmond (“grace” + “protection”)

Gracen/Grayson/Greyson, Gratian (“because of the first syllable being “grace” – the name meaning of Ann/Anne“) (my note: I have Gratian in my book as it’s basically the male version of grace — works perfectly for St. Anne!)

Graham (“I’m taking this as a name-ization of “Gram” short for grandmother names, since St Anne was Jesus’s grandma. My sisters and I call our grandma Grammy and often shorten it to Gram, and graham crackers have been referenced jokingly over the years too. (: “)

Porter, Durward (“Porter means “gatekeeper,” and I first learned of this name from the porter character in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. I think it is perfect for honoring St. Anne, St. Joachim, and Mary. A famous wood etching called Joachim and Anne Meeting at the Golden Gate depicts St. Joachim and pregnant St. Anne meeting at the Golden Gate of Israel upon both learning that St. Anne has finally conceived. (This account is not in the Gospel but is in the Protoevangelium of James.) Thus, tying in the “gate” theme and honoring St. Anne. I think it has cute nickname potential of Port or Ports“) (“drawing on Anne’s iconography, perhaps Porter or Durward (‘door guard’) would work as a reference to Anne’s association with doors“)

Sulo (“apparently means ‘grace’ (in the sense of charm) in Finnish“)

Valentine (“as a nod to her role as ‘health of the sick’“)

 

Names of people important to St. Anne

Joachim (husband)

Mary and all Marian variants (daughter)

 

Can you believe this amazing bunch of names?? You guys did great! I’d love to know which of these is your favorite way to honor St. Anne, and if you’d ever consider any of them for a son in her honor. Have a wonderful feast day!


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. Click here to read reviews and endorsements (and if you feel moved to leave a review on Amazon, it would be greatly appreciated! 🙂).