German naming rules

Happy Monday, everyone! Today is the feast of St. Rita, one of my very favorites — I turned to her for intercession for some of the most *impossible* things in my life, after hearing of her powerful intercession from a friend who had an *impossible* thing happen after asking St. Rita for help — God has worked through her in amazing ways! I wrote more about St. Rita here and how to honor her in baby naming here. St. Rita, pray for us!

Did you all see Swistle’s lastest post about finding a name that works in Germany and the United States? I was fascinated by what the letter writer (an American) wrote about the restrictions she feels in naming her baby, who will spend significant time in Germany while growing up. Specifically:

For some background on German names: there are a lot more unspoken rules around naming a child. If you look up ‘kevinism’ you will see just some of the rules linked to Germany. These include not giving your child a super ‘american/british’ name, not doing a super american/french name with a german last name, place/thing names are not acceptable, and names that are of german/latin/hebrew (biblical) descent are seen the most proper and correct. Scandinavian names are also popular in Germany. There are some exceptions to these rules, but generally these rules apply. While some younger germans are pushing away from these rules, they are still very much followed by many.

Kevinism! A new word to me! I looked it up and found the article “The Strange German Disease Called ‘Kevinism’: Can a Lame Name Mess Up Your Life?” in Discover magazine (links in the quote were in the article; I didn’t add them):

Another day, another crazy German nounKevinismus, which basically means, ‘You’re named Kevin? Sucks to be you.’ According to a study of interactions on the German dating site eDarling, online daters don’t even bother to click on the profiles of users with names that seem foreign and gauche to German ears, like Kevin. The authors suggest that this online neglect due to their unpopular names mirrors lifelong social neglect, which is also responsible for making Kevins smoke more, get less education, and have lower self-esteem. …

An article on Kevinism [note: this article contains a lot of German] in Die Welt quotes sociologist Jürgen Gerhards, who asserts that Anglo-American names (Mandy, Justin, Angelina to name a few more) are a lower-class phenomenon. It seems that no one has actually crunched the numbers to prove that, but jokes like ‘Only druggies and Easterners are named Kevin‘ suggest he’s on to something.”

Had you heard of this??

The mom gave a list of some of the names that she said won’t work, including:

Lucy- the name we both love, but cannot use because it is seen as an English name and not a proper name in Germany. Plus, the older generations in Germany who do not speak English pronounce it like ‘lutzie’ which is not a dealbreaker, but we want a name that everyone feels comfortable with.

Claire- we are both ‘okay’ with this name. Germans would prefer it to be Clara, but we can get away with Claire

Kaia- a name I like, it would work in Germany b/c of its scandinavian origins

Maren- another name that we’ve thrown around. Also diverts from my typical leanings for more classic names, but it is shorter. I like the meaning ‘of the sea.’ It is a German/Danish name, but older name in Germany and I think it is rising in America.

Lily- the only ‘flower/thing’ name that Germans find acceptable, because they do not consider this name to be a flower. In Germany, the name is spelled ‘Lilly’ and comes from the full name Elizabeth. …”

Fascinating! It reminds me of the story Jenny Uebbing related about her Joseph Kolbe:

“… while traveling in Italy (the first time) we chatted up a capuchin Franciscan from Poland in a restaurant in Assisi of all places, and as he bounced 7-month-old Joey on his knee, we proudly told him that his middle name was Kolbe ‘for Father Max.’ The happy friar shot us a look of horror and asked in disbelief You took his family name?! So I guess the American trend of assuming surnames is not kosher the world over.”

Anyway, back to Kevinism — some more info from Swistle’s readers:

I am German and have named two children in the last four years in the knowledge that a move to the UK in the next years is quietly likely. Swistle has excellent advice, but I would like to add the following: ‘Kevinism’ is a thing BUT if you know that one parent of the child is from an English speaking country people will be a lot more understanding.”


Another German Mom (and teacher) here.

Please don’t worry too much about kevinism. It’s on the way out and only pertains to some American names.

Essentially, it’s the same as in the US: if you want to avoid scorn, avoid ‘made-up’ spellings, lots of y’s and celebrity names

Rose (pronounced Rosuh) is actually a fairly traditional given name in Germany. It’s often but not always short for Rosemarie and it is quite dated (a grandma name), but it does exist. And Rosa is considered quite modern. …

Please don’t let the Internet scare you so much. I promise we are not that conservative!!! And just as in the US, we have so many new immigrants coming in, that our children’s generation will see this very differently.”

And there were several other comments that were helpful and enlightening; some gave some great name suggestions, and some pointed out which names are considered “dated” in Germany. I loved reading all of it!

Finally, this comment is kind of amazing!:

So! I wrote in a long, long time ago about my (now deservedly ex-) boyfriend who hated noun names with a passion, but wouldn’t explain why. I remember you wondering, Swistle, why he hated them so much.

This genuinely answers that: he was German! I didn’t realise that was a German thing! The resolution I never knew I needed.”

Wow! So many things to learn in that post! Do any of you have experience with German naming? Do you agree with the conversation going on in this Swistle post between what the letter writer feels are her limitations and what the commenters are saying?

Read all about how to get your own baby name consultation from either Theresa or myself here.

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


Reading roundup: CatholicMom, Simcha, Swistle, St. Bernardine

Happy feast of the Ascension!!

One of you sweet readers asked for more posts and I want to apologize for not being more regular with my posting! I have such good intentions and so many ideas for posts, and some days the blog fits into my schedule easily (those are the days I post!) and other days I go to bed wondering where the day went. Be assured you’re all always on my mind and in my prayers!

I do have some namey things for you today! First up, my May CatholicMom column posted yesterday: Babynaming in the time of coronavirus.


You know I posted about this topic on the blog last month, as part of the post where I shared the article I’d written for Nameberry on the same subject. This CatholicMom piece includes some more Catholic-specific info. I’ll be interested to hear what you think!

Longtime friend of Sancta Nomina, Simcha Fisher, wrote about names in her piece this week for The Catholic Weekly: On unusual names. She speaks from experience! I loved this especially:

I think of my parents welcoming a new baby girl into the family and deciding that her name would be joy,* and that baby was me! That’s not a bad thing to know. It’s a good thing to know that someone thought your arrival in the world was something other than business as usual!

* Simcha is “Hebrew for “celebration” or, more broadly, “joy” or “rejoicing””

Swistle’s been posting quite a bit during quarantine, which I’ve been loving (so when your friendly Catholic name blogger is falling short of her very good intentions to post more to help keep everyone’s spirits up and provide a nice diversion from the heaviness of these times, check out Swistle! Or Abby at Appellation Mountain, of course, who’s the mama of frequent, meaty posts), and yesterday’s post has me a little riled up (the mama’s question/quandary, not Swistle’s answer). I’d be interested to see if any of you feel similarly!

Finally, yesterday was the feast of the *other* Saint of Siena — St. Bernardine! Not only is he the patron of my alma mater, Siena College, and THE promoter of the Holy Name of Jesus (woot!), but he also spent several years ministering to the sick and dying during a plague — work that rendered him weak and ill as well. What a saint for our time! St. Bernardine, pray for us!

Have a great Thursday!!

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

Fun Friday Question: What is your Name Fuss threshhold?

Happy Friday everyone! By special request of one of our readers who is homebound because of the coronavirus, here’s a Fun Friday Question for you: What is your Name Fuss threshhold?

This is inspired by this post over at Swistle — it’s an older post that I came upon this morning, discussing the name Imogen (which I was surprised to see that some say it differently than me — I say IM-o-jen, how about you?), and Swistle said,

I do think you and she would spend some time spelling it and pronouncing it, and there will be a few people who haven’t heard of the name before. It kind of depends on how much you think that would bother you: everyone has a different level of tolerance for Name Fuss.”

I love that: “tolerance for Name Fuss.” I think my threshhold as a parent is fairly high — I don’t mind having to explain how or why we chose a name, I don’t mind correcting pronunciations, and I love nicknames that may or may not be related to the given name. But hubby and I have also chosen names that aren’t really that “out there” — maybe I just haven’t been in a high Name Fuss situation before? I also think one’s tolerance might change as one ages, to become either more or less tolerant. Do you agree?

And of course, on the flip side, in my encounters with other people, you know I LOVE an unexpected name or nickname or whatever, and I always want to hear every detail — give me all the Name Fuss!

Where is your threshhold? Have you crossed names you like off your list because their level of Name Fuss Potential is too high? Or what about the opposite — is there a name that might normally fail your Name Fuss Tolerance Test, but you just love it so much that you just went for it? How about in your encounters with others — do you tend to be irritated by high-maintenance names, or do you delight in them?

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

A few fun things

Haappppyyy Thursday!!

I know you’ll love this: I was telling my eight-year-old about someone we know whose name is Emmanuel. “His name is ‘God with us’?!” he exclaimed in amazement. 😂😂😂 (Someone’s paying attention at Mass! 💃💃💃)

I loved these two recent posts at Swistle:

Baby Girl Vansanover: Is the Name Bernadette Too Catholic?
I was surprised at the number of people that felt Bernadette was not as Catholic as might have been thought, and instead comes across as a vintage up-and-coming name. I was even more surprised at the number of commenters who didn’t know why anyone would think it was a Catholic name! Even commenters who identified as Catholic in some way (currently practicing or lapsed)!

Baby Girl Carrot-with-an-M, Sister to Avila and Rose
This family is Catholic, and there was a fun discussion about the name Zelie, including a poll on pronunciation.

Abby at Appellation Mountain spotlighted the name St. John (Sinjin) recently, which always makes me think of Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas because it was on her list of names for Baby Hildi if she’d been a boy. And a few days before St. John, Abby also spotlighted Jacinta!!

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

Sisters and Swistle

I was all 😍😍😍 last night when I saw the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist’s post on Facebook:

This evening our postulants received the Holy Habit of St. Dominic — and now we have 9 beautiful new novices!!!

And each one of those novices took a new name, which is just like Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter/St. Paddy’s Day/my birthday rolled into one!! 😁 Check out these gorgeous combos:

Sr. Stephanie — Sr. Karol Joseph
Sr. Patricia — Sr. Simeon Marie
Sr. Karla — Sr. Johanna Christi
Sr. AnnElise — Sr. Mary Avila
Sr. Rachel — Sr. Paul Marie
Sr. Savanna — Sr. Teresa Marie
Sr. Kelsey — Sr. Maria Cabrini
Sr. Abigail — Sr. Mary Vianney
Sr. Caroline — Sr. Basil Marie

But wait! There’s more! Sr. Helena Burns, fsp, the Daughters of St. Paul self-described “media nun” (with the amazingly named “Theology of the Body & media literacy” blog Hell Burns 😂) posted on Instagram yesterday a picture of her door’s name tag with her Secret Ninja Nun Name 😂 — be sure to check it out, it’s gooorrgeous!!


Also, I finally got through the 71 pages of Swistle birth announcements (going back to 2008!) and had a few more I wanted to share with you (I posted about the first batch here):

Hornstein Twins (twin posts are fun anyway, but I particularly loved that in this one, one of the girls was named Rosabel Olivia and called “Roo” for her initials [her last name begins with O] — SO CUTE!)

Then there’s this one: Baby Naming Issue: Felony Fever Vice. Yes, those three words there were the proposed name  (first + two middles) of the baby girl in question. Swistle offered some great suggestions and the final result was vastly better (at least the first two names … they just couldn’t let go of that third). I love me some bold naming, truly, but I’m sure you’ll agree this veered a little too mug shot/convict/prison. I was telling my husband about it and he was just so horrified — as I was I! Promise! — but I could also see the appeal: how similar is Felony to Melanie and Stephanie? Like a traditional name with an edgy twist! And Fever and Vice are both in keeping with the currently popular sounds of names like Everly, Evie, Violet, Vivian, Evangeline, Genevieve. I can see how the parents got there. But still — mug shot/convict/prison.

Finally, lookiee who I found here! Baby Boy or Girl MOE-zhur! It’s a consultation post for Arwen’s second baby — so fun that we were part of her current state of affairs with the consultation I did for her fifth baby and his birth announcement. 😀 I love seeing how parents name tastes change/don’t change as their family grows.

Yummy tidbits, and a new page

Thank you all for your responses on FB to my earlier request for prayers for a mama in labor, and for all of you who prayed for her! You’re all wonderful! As soon as I have an update and am given the go-ahead to share it, I will.

As a special summer vacation treat for myself 😄 I’ve been reading through all of Swistle’s birth announcement posts. I’ve been doing it for weeks now and I’m on page 44 — going back to 2010 and 2011! As a side note, it’s really interesting to read which names were still considered kind of weird back then that are used regularly now (of course I’m blanking now on even one example … maybe Penelope?), but what I really wanted to post here were the couple that really jumped out to me as amazing or interesting. Like this sibset:

Baby Boy Finchlee, Brother to Wilhelmina, Calista, Zachariah, Theodore, and Philippa. They go by Willa and Calla (twins, love!), Zak, Ted, and Pippa. The name they ended up choosing for their little boy is PERFECT, beyond perfect, I’m dying over it! 👍👐👌 You just have to read the whole post to get the whole story and all the elements!

I love this one too, because of the first paragraph:

Our son is named Giovanni Paolo. I know- Italian overload- but his name has significant meaning to us. He was named after Pope John Paul II who wrote extensively on marriages and families and really inspired my husband and I in our Catholic faith, which is really important to us. I am not tied to sticking with Italian names; we were just attracted to name his Giovanni Paolo instead of John Paul, since John Paul just seemed too ordinary to us. We absolutely love his name, and call him G for short.”

(They didn’t continue the Catholic theme though.)

I also liked the idea in this one of Caia as a nickname for Caterina. Kinda cool! (Swistle did not agree — she’s distinctly anti-unusual nicknames and even usual ones — she even fusses about Ellie not being a traditional nickname for Elizabeth!)

This is actually a good opportunity to tell you about yet another new page I’ve recently started, somewhat inspired by my reading of the old Swistle posts — it’s the Helpful naming tips and info tab up at the top, and I’ve been slowly adding in there comments from here and posts from here and elsewhere that I think are helpful when naming a baby in general, and a Catholic baby in particular. It’s definitely a long-term, ongoing project, and will hopefully be of use to you all!

I’m sure I’ll have more to share from Swistle’s archives as I keep working through, stay tuned! 😀


Reading round-up

Buckle up guys, I’ve been adding to my “reading round-up” list for months now — today’s the day! I’m getting it done!

Grace told me about a NYC gathering she’d gone to called Catholic Underground, which is totally the kind of thing I would have loved when I was in college, and the name of the director:

Of course, it was fabulous with an hour of adoration and getting to see one of the actual missionary images of Our Lady of Guadalupe. But the reason I’m emailing you is not just to tell you about a great experience but to share with you an awesome religious name I spotted. On the little flier we got walking in the door there was a nice little letter from the director of Catholic Underground, and his name is…….Br. Mark-Mary!!! How cool is that!? It’s so rare that you see men take feminine names, so it just makes me so happy to see it when it happens!

I love that!! #MenWhoLoveMary

Emma wanted to be sure I’d seen this post (from early December) over at Swistle’s blog, saying, “Oh boy, does Swistle ever need Sancta Nomina over at her blog today!!!!” Haha! The mom writing is expecting her third, and her older two are Harriet Paloma (“Hattie”), and Hugo Campion. Ohh my! In her dilemma letter she writes things like,

Their middle names feel (to my ears) more modern and have religious significance (“Paloma,” meaning “dove” which stands both for peace and for the Holy Spirit, “Campion,” after St. Edmund Campion)


[regarding the fact they’re considering Consuelo] I have always been fascinated by the French and Spanish-language tradition of naming children after the Virgin Mary, but using her many titles or apparition locations. English is pretty limited when it comes to honor names for the Blessed Mother. We have Mary, Marie, and some more unusual, but related, variants such as Mae, Mamie, Maren, Molly. But nothing compared with the range and diversity of the French/Spanish naming tradition: Lourdes, Carmel, Soledad, Guadalupe, Luz, Amparo, Araceli, Socorro, Belen, Pilar, Delores. And on and on! My daughter’s godmother is Monserrat after Our Lady of Monserrat (love!!).”

I would indeed have loved to get my hands on that dilemma! But this bit from Swistle sums up my feelings pretty exactly (the question was Margaret vs. Consuelo as a first name):

Margaret Consuelo is a pretty kick-butt name, and coordinates beautifully with Harriet Paloma and Hugo Campion. Paloma (peace) and Consuelo (solace) are particularly well-matched.”

Speaking of Swistle, I also loved the sib set in this post: Charles (Huck), Isaac, Katherine, and Seth. (I love Huck for Charles!!) One of the commenters (our very own eclare!) said she guessed the family might be Catholic, based on the size of the family, the kids’ names (which she accurately described as “saint/biblical”), and some on their list (including Xavier), and I agree. I was disappointed by Swistle’s reply though — she said, “I don’t think Seth or Charlotte are saint names,” which is misleading. Seth the Patriarch (from the Old Testament) appears in Book of Saints by the Monks of Ramsgate as well as Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints, and his feast day is March 1. There are also several Blesseds Charlotte, and, as eclare correctly pointed out, Charlotte can be and is often used as an honor name for any of the Sts. Charles/Karl/Carl/Carlo/Karol.

One more Swistle post: Baby Names to Consider: Classic/Traditional Names with Atypical/Non-Traditional Nicknames. I loved reading the ideas from her and the commenters!

Shelby told me about this article: The Saint behind the Jagermeister Logo is also one of the 14 Holy Helpers. I love finding out stuff like that! As Shelby put it, it “goes well with your post about Catholic things in plain sight like the Sophie the Giraffe.” “Catholic things in plain sight”! I love that!

It reminds me of something else I read recently: Nutella Founder Dies, Said Secret of Success Was Our Lady of Lourdes: Devout Catholic took employees to visit site of Marian apparitions. Yes, Nutella is now my new favorite food. 🙂

Then there was this: A 3yo boy named Diesel will only answer to Popcorn, and so his parents are going to legally change his name.

The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources is one of my favorite resources, and I was so struck by one of its recent blog posts about the rise of certain names in Protestant records after the Reformation that I raised a question:


The Apocrypha in this context are the books (or parts of books, as in the case of Daniel) that are part of the Catholic bible but not part of the Protestant bible. (As opposed to books Catholics consider to be apocryphal, like the Protoevangelium of James.) It was so strange to me that Judith (the book of Judith is rejected by Protestants) and Susan (the English form of Susanna(h), from the part of the book of Daniel that’s considered apocryphal by Protestants) would receive an uptick in use by Protestants after the Reformation. So interesting! And even better — the DMNES team (including our own Sara) is on it!


I find stuff like this so fascinating. As I said to Sara, I learn so much about culture, religious, politics, history, and language through names. I can’t wait to read what she comes up with!

I was also interested by this bit in the DMNES post on New Testament names after the Reformation, about our dear St. Anne:

Anne: This name could be classified as either an Old Testament name or a New Testament name. In the OT, this was the name of the mother of Samuel (more often modernly transliterated as Hannah); in the apocrypha, Anne is usually identified as the mother of Mary, though she is not named explicitly in the NT. Whatever the origin and whatever the spelling, this name was always common; it was, in fact, one of the most common feminine names throughout all of Europe throughout the Middle Ages, due primarily to the early veneration of the mother of Mary. The name was so well entrenched that the Protestant turning away from the veneration of the saints did not cause any reduction in its popularity.” (emphasis mine)

How cool is that! It’s also particularly funny that its entrenchment was “due primarily to the early veneration of the mother of Mary” — not only a saint, despite “the Protestant turning away from the veneration of the saints,” but a saint who’s never named in the bible we all agree on, nor even in the apocrypha rejected by Protestantism — Mary’s mother’s name is only given in the Protoevangelium of James, so its use is totally due to Catholic tradition. She’s a great lady, that St. Anne. 🙂 ❤

Finally, I was enjoying these dilemmas on the Baby Name Wizard site recently:

Thoughts on Gemma

Bishop as a first name?

Religious or not religious? (this mom has since figured out a solution, but I really liked some of the ideas offered in this post)

(Also, I think the commenter Optatus Cleary would like it here. 🙂 )

Whew! I think that’s all I have for today!

ETA: Oh! Also this: Twitter Reveals That All Kids Hate Their Names (my takeaway: pray and do the best you can, and then don’t worry), and this: Are There Any More Z Names? Neither the author (Laura Wattenberg herself) nor any of the commenters mentioned Zelie/Azelie!



Alumni mag namespotting, and Swistle question

You know I love getting those alumni mags in the mail! The update section — where everyone shares what they’re doing, like jobs, marriage, and babies — is like a little Christmas-come-early gift. Just the other day I spotted this triplet set (!) (alt characters used for privacy):

S!m0n V!nc3nt
Le0 Charl3s
Cec!lia M@ry

I mean really. A million bonus points to them for Superb Catholic Naming.

I also read this Swistle post yesterday and wondered what you all think: Is Judah “too Judas” for use? I personally don’t ever connect Judas Iscariot with the names Judah or Jude, even though all three are just variants of the same name. Really, all three have totally different feels to me:

  • Judas is one of those names that Catholics aren’t allowed to use (Canon 855 states that, “Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to take care that a name foreign to Christian sensibility is not given”)
  • Judah is Ben Hur, or (in my experience) most likely from a Jewish family
  • Jude is all ours (and maybe a little bit Brit, thank you Beatles and Jude Law) because of St. Jude Thaddeus, and his namesake St. Jude’s Hospital, as well as all the little Catholic boys I know named Jude

I have to say, I was surprised that the couple in the Swistle post had heard “the guy that betrayed the savior?” from “99% of our friends and family” — what are your thoughts/experience?

Reading round-up

Swistle posted an update today to a fun dilemma that could easily have fit in here: Baby Boy or Girl Seewald-without-the-S, Sibling to Urban, Charles, Levi, and Matthias. Those are some great Catholicky names! I especially like how there are the more unusual, like Urban, Levi, and Matthias, right alongside the more common, like Charles and new baby Thomas. That’s Catholic naming for you — all part of one big family. 🙂

I liked this article over on The Power of Names. Totally agree with this: “But I find it a daunting prospect each time, to name another person. To shape the beginning of identity by vowel and consonant. To help mold their life by the meaning of what they are called.” But totally disagree with this: “Sometimes I wish the perfect name would be dropped in our laps, so we wouldn’t have to worry about choosing the right one.” (Um, no. The list-making and sometimes-heated “discussions” and worrying that the baby will never have a name are some of my favorite parts of choosing a name. For real.) I also love considering that “Mary and Joseph probably had their own pet names for their young son.” That’s a mind blower.

Then there’s this article, from Pamela Redmond Satran: The Pope, My Catholic Girlhood, and Baby Names. Some fun points, like: “Nuns got to pick new names for themselves when they entered the convent. That itself was appealing enough, but what was really amazing was that their choices were not confined by ethnic background, historical period, or even gender,” but in general a sad bummer of an article:

  • “I couldn’t wait to hear who the new pope was going to be, not because I’m a practicing Catholic any longer or because I cared which Cardinal got elected. No. As usual, I was in it for the name”
  • “… sites as Catholic Online, Which sends out a Saint of the Day newsletter that I get for — what else? — the names”
  • “What was most appealing about Catholicism was the ritual of renaming, which extended far beyond the nuns to include pagan babies, popes, and even yourself … The only thing more exciting than naming the pagan babies was getting to pick our own Confirmation names. Not strictly a renaming, this meant adding a second middle to our own lineups. My choice, I’m chagrined to admit, was the pedestrian Mary, but for very name nerdish reasons: Combined with Pamela Ann, it made my initials P.A.M. Brilliant!”

I’m pretty sure we all here get the excitement she’s talking about when she swoons over Sr. Miriam Gervase’s and Sr. Jacinta’s names, but please, Catholic namers, be in it for more than the name. As Jen commented over on our FB page, “There’s more to a saint than just his/her name. But I thought everyone knew that.” Amen sister.

Spotlight on: Juniper

Taylor asked for a spotlight on Juniper, and in light of Pope Francis’ recent announcement that he’ll canonize Bl. Junipero Serra when he visits later this year, I’m delighted to do so.

Junipero is all male to me, because of Serra, but Juniper is only feminine to my ear; it’s listed as a girl name at Behind the Name, but its entry at Namipedia is a bit more gender neutral. I’m a big fan of boy names for boys, meaning unambiguously male names (except for something really obvious like Mary as a middle name), so I think I’d have a hard time with Juniper for a boy. If anything can change that though, a new saint could!

For a girl though, I’ve seen it talked about a time or two, like when Swistle discussed it and a few times on Baby Name Wizard (here, here, here, here …), and it’s really grown on me. The nicknames are just the sweetest — Junie? Come on. It could not be any cuter. Juno’s another option, and of course just June. Up until now I’ve thought of Juniper as kind of a hippie name, but from here on out I’m going to be thinking all saint, which is so great.

What do you think of Juniper? Do you know anyone named Juniper? Does he or she go by a nickname? Would you consider using Juniper for a boy?