Namespotting, Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday/St. Nicholas Day, and St. Andrew

Just a couple fun things for you on this day after Thanksgiving:

Over the past couple of days I’ve seen Pete used as a nickname for Preston and Tas used as a nickname for Timothy. I thought those were so fun! I love creative nicknaming, especially when the nickname offers a familiar option for a more unusual given name or for a name that doesn’t have a natural nickname (like Pete for Preston), or when it spices up a common and familiar given name (like Tas for Timothy).

Simcha Fisher had a thread on her Facebook about musical name options — there were some great ideas in the comments! I keep thinking about how perfect Clare Annette is!

And a reminder about the importance of pronouncing others’ names correctly. This is not always easy! But the effort matters. Many of my students have names with unexpected/unfamiliar/difficult-for-my-ear pronunciations and I’ve loved the opportunity to learn about different naming choices and styles, as well as names from other cultures, and the fact that the way that I pronounce consonants/vowels/consonant-vowel clusters as a person for whom American English is my first language can’t necessarily be transferred to every name I come across.

When you’re all doing your Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday/St. Nicholas Day shopping, I just wanted to offer two friendly reminders:

  • My book of Marian names is perfect for anyone who loves names of our faith, whether they’re expecting or not! It’s available at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy Gift Shop (ShopMercy.org) and at Amazon as well (not affiliate links). (If you know any pre-teen/teen girls who like to make name lists, like I always did and so many of you have shared that you did as well, I know they would love my book!)

  • A baby name consultation from either Theresa or myself is always a fun gift to offer expecting parents! I can email you a gift certificate for you to print out for either a Mini Consultation ($25) or an Ordinary Consultation ($50) (descriptions here). If you’d like one, email me at sanctanomina at gmail dot com and I’ll send you an invoice.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Advent starts on Sunday — my house is so excited! Here is a compilation of my Advent and Christmas name posts (also includes some interesting ways to honor an Andrew — so many fun ideas!). And speaking of Andrew, the St. Andrew Novena starts on Nov. 30, which is one of my favorites — read more about it in my CatholicMom article here. Happy Friday!

Baby name consultation: Canon/outside- or inside-the-box/heavy-hitting names are all considerations for baby no. 5!

It’s Thanksgiving week! Woo! I am so grateful for all of you!! I hope you have a wonderful holiday, and enjoy today’s consultation by Theresa (who I’m also so grateful for!)!

Mama Katie writes in asking for help naming their 6th child!

We are 21 weeks along and haven’t found out the gender yet, but I just might if I can’t figure out the name! Ha!

This baby will be joining big siblings:

Gabriel (in heaven)
Paul Christopher sometimes called “PK”
Immaculata Gracie “Gracie”
Jacinta Katherine “Cinta”
Joseph David sometimes called “Bubba” or “Buddy”

She writes about names they’re currently drawn to:

Celine – especially after reading her relationship with her younger sister, St. Therese, this is probably our top runner. June – my mom’s name and my husband’s maternal grandmother – and I like the feel of it even as a first name, but I don’t want to have three J’s in a row – Jacinta, Joseph and June. Maybe a middle name for Celine, with the nickname of CJ? Christiana – I have always liked this name, but I don’t really want to have it shortened to “Chris.” Margaret Mary – This is my great grandmother’s name reversed (She was Mary Margaret) – but I also have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus). Maria- since I have a niece Mary, I have thought Maria would be a pretty name, but I’ve also considered making little one’s name even more like Celine Martin and having it be “Marie-Celine”…Timothy – the biblical connection to St. Paul, as well as our beloved pastor of our parish. I’m not sure about what to use for a middle name! Maximillian. Frassati – this has been a pipe dream of mine, because my husband wouldn’t go for something so out of the box for a boy. Haha. Roy – I don’t know if this would work in at all, but my dear father passed away a year ago, and his best friend is named Roy, and Roy has become so dear to me. My husband might reject that name, but it is in the background for me anyway. We have started attending the Traditional Latin Mass, and I keep looking in the Canon for some of those heavy hitting names, but I’m unsure of any of the names.”

Some thoughts on names they like but maybe don’t feel quite like “the one”.

Celine– I really love this one for them! I think it’s sweet just like their other girls, I love the connection to Celine Martin and sweet St. Therese. I think it’s a great fit with all of their kids. Since all of the Martin girls, except the oldest, went by the second part of their names, I think just Celine to honor her and Therese would be lovely. I like the sound of Celine with their others better than Marie-Celine. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Celine are so so sweet. I really really love this.

June– I like this for them but I agree that three Js in a row is a bit much. I like the sound of Celine June, June grounds it. Two names in a row that end in the N sound might be a bit much, though. I think there may be better names out there for them.

Christiana– I love this name, too! I really love Christiana June, too, and I think they could keep it from getting shortened to “Chris” by just insisting her name is Christiana. I knew a Christiana in college who had never been Chris. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Christiana sound amazing together.

Maria– Cute, good, standard, traditional name. I think it may be too close to their niece Mary, though. I think there are better names for them out there.

Margaret Mary– I like this but I don’t love it. It’s not as sweet as their other girls, but I do love the connection to her grandmother and the Sacred Heart.

Timothy– I really like this for them! Gabriel, Paul, Immaculate/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Timothy sound great to me. I think this name is really right in their wheelhouse. As far as a middle name with it, I think any of the other names they like would go well with it. Timothy Maximilian and Timothy Roy stand out to me.

Maximilian– I love this name for them. It fits right in with everyone else. The only drawback is it would almost definitely get shortened to Max (in my experience, this one gets shortened a lot more commonly than a name like Christiana does). Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Maximilian sound complete to me.

Frassati– I like this but I don’t think it fits with their other boys. Their boy style strikes me as very traditional, maybe a little old man chic. Frassati matches their girls, though! I think they could stick this in the middle spot and get the best of both worlds!

Roy– I’m not completely sure what it is about this name, but I really love it for them. It gives that old man chic that I think is their sweet spot and it has such a sweet meaning and connection for their family. I think this would be especially great in the middle spot.

Okay, on to new suggestions. Their current children’s names and the names they like really inspired me and I had a hard time getting it down to 5 names for each gender! Let’s start with the girls.

Girl

(1) Anastasia

This is a name found in the Canon, a great saint, and it’s a little frillier like their other girls. It’s slightly popular right now at #181 and I think that’s a great place for them to be. It means “resurrection,” so it has a direct connection to Jesus, too. Full disclosure, this is my oldest daughter’s second middle name and we adore it. I would’ve considered this as a first name for another daughter if I hadn’t already used it. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Anastasia sound incredible together! I really really love Anastasia Celine or Celine Anastasia or even Anastasia June! Really, this name goes with every other name they like and I love how it fits into their family.

(2) Annunziata

This one was directly inspired by Immaculata and Gabriel. I think they lean a little unusual and frilly in their girl names and this one fits that to a T. I love the Marian connection for their girls (Jacinta is Marian to me because of being one of the visionaries at Fatima). It’s a reference to the Annunciation, tying in some of their other children and I think it’s just such a sweet name. If, like Immaculata, she’s a little hesitant about her name, she can always shorten it to Annie. However, I think Immaculata may be more into her name if she had a similarly named sister. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Annunziata/Annie sound so spectacular!

(3) Hildegard

Not many families could pull this name off, but I think theirs totally could. It’s outside the box like their other girls, unusual but not weird, and has a powerhouse saint connection (St. Hildegard of Bingen). It means “battle enclosure” and is outside of the top 1000 names. It can shorten to Hildie or Hilda if necessary, but I like the whole thing. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Hildegard sound stunningly Catholic and they all fit together well.

(4) Beatrice

I thought of this one because it was a style match for some of their girls and names they like and because it’s a little bit frilly but still sweet. It means “blessed, happy” and is at #565 right now. There is one saint and several blessed by this name, so it’s steeped in Catholicism. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Beatrice are all so sweet together.

(5) Aurelia/Aurora

I wasn’t sure which of these they’d like better, so I’m including them both. Aurelia means “golden, gilded,” is at #516, and there’s Bl. Aurelia of Wirberg for patronage. Aurora means “dawn,” is at #36 (so significantly more popular, although not enough to see a double in their circles, most likely), and has Ven. Aurora Calvo Hernández-Agero for patronage. I like that both of these are a little unusual and frilly and super sweet, just like their other girls. These are just a little outside the box, especially in Catholic circles, and I think that’s their sweet spot for girls. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Aurelia/Aurora are so beautiful together.

On to boys!

Boy

(1) Thaddeus

This is such a sweet, traditional name that’s in the Canon for the Apostle St. Jude Thaddeus. It’s uncommon (it sits at #818) but it’s not weird. And it shortens to the super sweet Tad (or Tadpole when he’s really little. Swoon!). It means “heart” or “gift of God” and may be related to the mega-popular Theodore. I think Thaddeus is a great fit and bridge between their girls and their boys. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Thaddeus sounds really great, very Catholic, and somewhat
traditional to me.

(2) Silas

I thought of this name because St. Silas/Silvanus was a companion of Paul and I thought that would be a sweet way to honor brothers. Silas means “wood, forest” and sits at #91, meaning it’s gaining in popularity but is not overly popular. This one is a little more up-and-coming than their other children’s names, but I don’t think it’s a mismatch. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Silas sound fun, modern, and yet traditional.

(3) Walter

I said elsewhere that I think their boy style is old man chic and this name is old man chic! It sits at #271 which means it’s up-and-coming but not overly popular, traditional but also modern, uncommon but not unusual. This is their sweet spot. There are plenty of Sts. Walter but I always think of Ven. Walter Ciszek who was an American chaplain in the Army. Fitting, since the name means “ruler of the army.” Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Walter sound so great together–– traditional,
outside the box, uncommon but not weird, very Catholic.

(4) Charles

This name is pretty popular at #50 right now but it also gives me the old man chic vibes that their other boys (and names they like) give me. It means “man” which is cool and can relate to St. Charles Borromeo or even Pope St. John Paul II as his given name was another form of Charles, Karol. This name is up-and-coming but yet traditional, which is a good spot for them to be. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Charles sound like a complete set to me.

(5) Blaise

This name is way less common than it seems at #997! I was shocked to find this out. I would’ve put it in the #400s but the numbers don’t lie. What that means is that this name is uncommon but not weird and modern-sounding. It also sounds energetic for its homophone “blaze.” It really means “lisping” but meaning is what we put into a name. St. Blaise is the patron saint of throat problems. Gosh, I just really love this name for them. I think it checks every box for them. Gabriel, Paul, Immaculata/Gracie, Jacinta, Joseph, and Blaise sound so cool, modern, traditional, and Catholic to me. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that this is my favorite. Blaise Timothy, Blaise, Roy, and Blaise Thaddeus stand out to me as full combos.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


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 ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Baby no.2/girl no. 2 needs a name that brings together punk rock, Doctor Who, and Catholicism!

Happy Monday, everyone! Enjoy today’s consultation by Theresa!

Mama Jordan writes in asking for help naming their second child, second daughter. They’re just completely stuck! This daughter will join big sister:

Amelia Rose

Jordan says she loves the following names but is having a hard time getting her husband on board: Molly, Madeline, and Isabelle. The only name that Dad has put forth is Haley/Hailey and Mama Jordan only sort of likes that one.

Names they can’t use include Stefanie, Victoria, Michele, Cora, Helen, Christine/Christina, Josephine, Aubrey, Caroline, Penelope, Ariana, and Jocelyn.

They are considering Jane, Claire, and Margaret for middle names.

Jordan and her husband love punk rock, Doctor Who, and Catholicism, making this a super fun consultation!

First, about front-runner names:

Molly– I really love this name for them. It’s sweet but substantial and has a long history. Bonus points that big sis Amelia loves it. It’s a form of Mary and currently sits at #186, making it less popular than Amelia but still on par with her. If they don’t like Molly, what about medieval rhyming name Polly, also from Mary? Polly is a Doctor Who name and ranks out of the top 1000, making it like the complete opposite of Amelia, but in a sweet way. Honestly, I prefer Molly and Molly Jane at that, but Polly could be a great compromise.

Madeline– I love this name with this spelling, as it evokes the children’s books. It’s the French form of the name Magdalene, so it has a powerhouse saint to back it up. It ranks at #95, making it on par with Amelia, and Amelia and Madeline sound like perfect sisters to me. I love Madeline Jane, Madeline Claire, and Madeline Isabelle. Alternatively, Molly Madeline is really sweet and she could be called M&M (can you imagine the Halloween costume!).

Isabelle– This is my absolute favorite for them. There’s just something about this name that speaks to me and to their family and style. It fits so perfectly. Amelia and Isabelle. Maybe it’s that they both start with vowels. I just love this name for them. Isabelle Jane, Isabelle Claire, and Isabelle Margaret are all stunning. I also really like Isabelle Madeline. It’s also a form of Elizabeth which is Mama Jordan’s middle name and I like that connection to her. It ranks at 117 currently, meaning it’s popular but won’t be heard everywhere they go. Some other forms of Elizabeth that I like for them are Lillian (Amelia and Lillian, swoon!) which started as a form of Elizabeth before it became an embellishment of Lily and ranks at #51, which is on par with Amelia. I also like offbeat Liesel for them. It doesn’t even rank in the top 1000 in America ever but I love it’s lilting sound and how it goes with Amelia (Amelia and Liesel). I think their best bet here, though, is Isabelle. It’s modern but with substance and roots, it’s cool and breezy, it fits with Amelia, it has beautiful family ties, and it goes with every middle name they’re considering.

Haley/Hailey– I like this. It doesn’t have as much substance as the others (there are no saints to go along with it and it doesn’t have as storied a history as any of the others) but it’s cool and modern. The spellings currently rank, in order, #559 and #77. It’s actually more popular than I would have guessed. It’s nice that dad Nate likes this name and I love its subtle punk rock tie-in (Haley Williams is the singer of Paramore). Amelia and Hailey don’t sound mismatched to me but they don’t quite seem right, either. What about Isabelle Haley?

On to new suggestions. I looked up Doctor Who and punk rock names, I used a style match for names like Amelia and ones they already like, and I went off of some intuition. Here’s what I came up with.

(1) Genevieve

It means “family woman,” is French, and ranks at #155, making it common but not popular. Madeline was a style match and I thought the sounds of Amelia and Genevieve go well together. St. Genevieve was a powerhouse, too. I think this is a name that packs a lot of punch for a little girl, but isn’t overwhelming. There are also plenty of nicknames to go with this name, if they want to go that route, from Genny to Viva. Genevieve Claire, Genevieve Margaret, and Genevieve Isabelle stand out to me.

(2) Juliet/Juliana

I wasn’t sure which of these names they’d like more, so I’m including them both. Juliette was a style match for Amelia, Madeline, and Isabelle but I thought they’d like the Juliet spelling better because of the song “Check Yes, Juliet.” This spelling ranks at #295 right now. There is also Ven. Juliette Colbert de Falletti di Barolo to go along with it. The drawback is, of course, the Shakespeare play. Most people are over that by now, though, so it wouldn’t be anywhere near an issue until she got to high school, maybe. Juliana was inspired by Juliet and The Juliana Theory. It has the same root as Juliet (they come from Julius meaning either “downy-bearded” or “sky father”; not the best but also we infuse meaning into names beyond their etymological meanings). Juliana ranks at #210 right now and has St. Juliana Falconieri to go with it. I love the sound of Amelia and Juliet or Amelia and Juliana. I love Juliet Isabelle, Juliet Claire, Juliana Isabelle, Juliana Madeline, and Juliana Claire. They could even name her Juliana Jane and get away with it. These are just such versatile names.

(3) Eloise

This name came up as a style match for Madeline and it just struck me as sweet and playful yet substantial, like Amelia. Amelia and Eloise sound beautiful together, too! This name means “healthy; wide” and sits at #109, which surprised me! There is a Bl. Helwisa aka Eloise to go with it, too. Eloise Claire really stands out to me and for something different, I really love Eloise Elizabeth.

(4) Etta

This came up as a style match for a few of the names they like and I thought it was just good enough to include. I love that it’s short and punchy. It’s a short form for names like Henrietta and Loretta. Singer Etta James’s first name was actually Jamesetta. Anyway, Etta as a stand-alone name ranks at #932 right now, so it’s basically the opposite of Amelia while still holding up to her. Carson Daly of MTV named his daughter Etta. I think Ven. Antonietta Meo would be a sweet patron to go with this name. Etta Jane might be too close to Etta James but I like Etta Claire, Etta Margaret, Etta Isabelle, Etta Elizabeth, and Etta Madeline.

(5) Blair

When I think of Mama Jordan and Dad Nate and Amelia, I think slightly preppy. This name is slightly preppy! I actually love that it’s girl-leaning-unisex; gives it a punch that not many other names have. It means “plain, field, battlefield” and currently ranks at #315. Amelia and Blair sound super cute and preppy to me. There’s a Gossip Girl reference there, too, that no one but fans of the show would ever ask them about. I love Blair Margaret or Blair Isabelle.

(6) Tabitha

This name came up as a style match for some of the other names they like and I can see why. It’s just a little offbeat and cute but with history. It’s Hebrew for “gazelle” and was the name of the woman in the New Testament whom St. Peter restored to life (she’s also known as Dorcas). It’s out of the top 1000 names, though, which really surprised me. This name has been used in Riverdale, Stranger Things, and X-Men, giving it fandom credibility without being in your face. I love the way Amelia and Tabitha sound together. Tabitha Jane called TJ is so so cute. I also love Tabitha Claire and Tabitha Isabelle or Isabelle Tabitha.

(7) Honor/Honora

Finally, when I think of preppy, I think Honor. It’s an old virtue name, giving it substance. Amelia and Honor or Amelia and Honora just sound old school cool chic to me. Neither name is in the top 1000 and never have been. Honor Isabelle sounds stunning to my ear. I also like Honora Claire and Honor Margaret.

Okay, these are my thoughts. What do you think?


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 ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Classic and timeless but maybe also a little quirky for baby no. 3/boy no. 1?

Happy October 25! I just looked up the calendar at CatholicSaints.info to see whose feast is today, and the first one listed is “Dedication of all Churches where the Consecration Date is Unknown” — I love that we have a feast day for that! I also love this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams — enjoy!

Dad Tanner writes in asking for help naming their first boy after two girls. He says,

We lean toward traditional and classic names, names of Saints or creative names related to to Saints, also Biblical names, old and New Testament. I like the English And Scottish saints, but it doesn’t have to be from those either.”

A little open-ended! I like that!

He lists some holy people the family admires, for a little inspiration: St. Francis of Assisi, St. Josemaria Escriva; St. John Paul 2, St. John Vianney, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, St. Mother Teresa, Servant of God Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, GK Chesterton, CS Lewis.

They like the names Francis, John Paul, and Lewis/Louis.

Names they can’t use include: Dominic, Jack, John, Thomas, William, James, Samuel, George, Adam, Jimmy, Patrick, Edward, Edmund, Gabriel, Theodore, Blaze, Bernard, Xavier, and Paul.

This little boy will join big sisters:

Rose Margaret
Josephine Elizabeth

Okay, some thoughts on names they like but don’t feel like “the one”.

Francis- I actually love this name for them. It has that classic, timeless feel like their daughters’ names do.

John Paul- I feel like this one is too close to John, which they can’t use. I love the connection to a saint they love, though, and that informed one of my suggestions below.

Lewis/Louis- I love this name for them! Either spelling, depending on how strong they want certain associations to be. I think this name has the same timeless, classic feel as Francis and their daughters.

On to new suggestions. I tried to keep them in the classic and timeless vein, but I also went a little bit afield, as this is their first boy and they have some wiggle room there.

(1) Chester

For G.K. Chesterton. I thought just Chester fit in nicely with their girls and also gave some pep to the sibling set. It means “camp, fortress” and is out of the top 1000 names. It’s pretty classic but not timeless. I think this name is just daring for a revival. Other ways they could honor G.K. Chesterton are to choose names they like that start with the same initials like Gerard Kevin and call him G.K. I really love Chester, though, as it’s unexpected but cool and classic and not weird. Rose, Josephine, and Chester sound cool together.

(2) Miles

This name derives from two that mean “servant of Jesus” and “servant of Mary”; how cool for a boy! This name currently ranks at #54, meaning it’s classic and cool, right where I think they would like to be. Rose, Josephine, and Miles sound like they belong together.

(3) Clement

I thought of this name because of their love for Pope St. John Paul II. Clement means “merciful” and Pope St. JP2 is famous for his devotion to Divine Mercy. It’s also old man, classic, which I think is right in their wheelhouse. I love siblings Rose, Josephine, and Clement! The name is out of the top 1000 names but it’s not weird, it’s a great-grandpa name, which are starting to come back into style. There are also many Saints Clement including the fourth pope.

(4) Peter

A little bit of a papal theme going! There is, of course, St. Peter the Apostle and First Pope to go along with this name, and plenty of other Sts. Peter to take patronage from. I love this name because it’s classic and timeless. This name will never be truly out of style. And it sounds like a perfect brother to go along with sisters Rose and Josephine. I think this name gives them a great bridge between the girls while opening them up to future names.

(5) Gerard

I mentioned this one above but think it makes a good name all on its own for them. Gerard is hardy and classic, with just a touch of old man. It means “brave spear” and is out of the top 1000 names. St. Gerard Majella would be the patron and that’s fitting as he’s the patron of expectant mothers. I love the sound of Rose, Josephine, and Gerard but it does give them two of the same sound at the beginning. I don’t know if that bothers them, it shouldn’t, and it doesn’t bother me at all, especially since they have different initials.

(6) Vincent

When I think of classic, timeless name with a slight old man feel, this name always comes to mind. It’s slightly popular right now, at #117, but that just means it’s also cool. I think that’s their sweet spot. St. Vincent de Paul would be the patron and the name means “to conquer”. I love siblings Rose, Josephine, and Vincent. Outside of Chester, this is my favorite suggestion.

(7) Henry

Finally, another timeless, classic, cool name. This name is pretty popular at #9 right now, but rightfully so! It’s a great name that’s finally having its moment. It means “home ruler” and St. John Henry Newman (or Bl. Henry Suso) would be patron. Rose, Josephine, and Henry sound classic and, actually, slightly British to me (which is helpful because some of the holy people they admire are British).

These are my suggestions! What do you think?


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 ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Fun news on a wonderful feast day!

Happy Monday everyone!

Today is the feast of both Sts. Ignatius of Antioch and Margaret Mary Alacoque and I’m having goosebumps like crazy over here because I’ve recently been wanting to do a certain thing, but wasn’t sure it was a wise decision given all we have going on in my house, but also that maybe I have a little more time this semester than I have for the past year and a half, so maybe my feeling is a little nudge from heaven that I should do this thing I want to do, which is something I’ve been missing …

So I’d basically decided to do the thing, and was thinking I might do it today, but then thought maybe that was rash and I should chill out a little and just plan on doing it sometime this week, and so I thought I’d look to see what feast days are happening this week because I love timing things for a feast day, and it’s very clear that TODAY is the day! Because — and I know you’ll all appreciate this both for its own sake and also because it’s so connected to baby naming — Ignatius is the name my husband and I gave the baby we miscarried after St. Ignatius of Antioch specifically (his writings on the Eucharist were instrumental in bringing my husband into the Church and he took it as his Confirmation name), and Margaret Mary was the middle name I’d decided on for my last baby if he’d been a girl after St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (and also St. Rita, St. Gerard, and Our Lady — all in one name! — and St. M. M. Alacoque herself because of her devotion to the Sacred Heart — “Margaret Mary” checked all the boxes!) — I don’t know how I missed that they both have the same feast day! So yes, today’s Saints are CLEARLY a sign that today is the day to do the thing!

And what is this thing?? I just wanted to let you all know that I am available for consultations again! Theresa has been doing an amazing job for you all, and she’s going to continue doing an amazing job — if you want a consultation from her, please email her directly at TheresaZoeWrites at gmail dot com as you’ve been doing! If you’d like a consultation from me, you can email me at sanctanomina at gmail dot com. Payment details remain the same for both Theresa and me. Please note that if Theresa or I have too many to handle, we’ll share with each other (letting you know ahead of time if that’s the case). I have room for one consultation a week and not too much wiggle room for rush jobs (like if your due date is next week! I’d love to be able to help but I don’t have that flexibility at the moment) — if you email me with a consultation request, I’ll let you know when I can send you my thoughts/ideas/suggestions, so you can decide if it’s too far out.

I really thought that my time doing consultations may have finished, but this fall I’ve been feeling more and more that my big life change of going back to work two summers ago has finally started to just feel like daily life. Like having a new baby! The upheaval eventually calms down. I look forward to hearing from any of you who might like a consultation from me, and I hope you have a wonderful Monday and feast day, and a great week!


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 ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 4/girl no. 2 for Studio Senn!

Happy 105th (!) anniversary of the Miracle of Sun at Fatima! Today’s consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams is for a repeat client — Kortnee from Studio Senn! I had the honor of doing a consultation for her last baby a few years ago and posting a birth announcement; I’m so excited to see that she’s expecting another girl, and to see what name ideas Theresa has for her! Enjoy!

Mama Kortnee writes in asking for help naming her fourth child, second girl. Big siblings are:

Fulton Douglas
Becket Raymond
Perrin Fae

She writes,

Middle names are all family names. First names are Saints (or in the case of Perrin,
a nickname because she was going to be named Peregrine) but all happen to be surnames of
sort or another
.”

Kortnee continues,

For girl names I am drawn to Irish/Scottish punchy names that tend to lean more gender neutral. But my husband says he likes more feminine names.”

Names they like that don’t feel like the one include Rory (for St. Gregory), Greer (for St. Gregory), Quinn (for Ven. Edel Quinn), Reese (for any of the Sts. Teresa), Emmerich (for Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich), and Lydia.

Middle names they are considering include: Ruth, Emile (pronounced em-eel), Catherine, Kate,
and Amelia.

Mama Kortnee presented a unique challenge of already thinking of all the names I would have suggested, so I had to dig a lot deeper.

Some thoughts on names they like but aren’t “the one”.

Rory- I love this punchy little name especially with their other children. I would have thought this would have been feminine enough with the -y ending for Kortnee’s husband but I get it. I love that they would tie this name to St. Gregory.

Greer- Another really fun and expected name! What I love about this one is that it’s unexpected but not weird. Totally right in their wheelhouse.

Quinn- This was the first name that popped to mind before I read they’d already thought of it. Ah, I really love this one for you guys! I don’t think Quinn (with similar sounding last name) is too much, either. It has a nice rhythm.

Reese- I feel like sisters Reese and Perrin are just meant to be. I really love this name and that it gives this child a female patron, too.

Emmerich- Another right in their wheelhouse that I would’ve suggested. I don’t like this one quite as much as the others but I do love that it has nickname potential.

Lydia- One of my favorite names! But I agree that it doesn’t quite fit Kortnee’s style or that of the other children.

On to new suggestions!

(1) Clairvaux

Not a surname and not Irish (but French) this came to mind because it’s unexpected and gender neutral (being a place name) but it feels feminine and has the nickname Claire. I think this one might be right in the sweet spot between Kortnee and her husband. Patron would be St. Bernard of Clairvaux. It’s spunky and a little bit punchy but all over sweet.

(2) Reagan

This surname means “little king” and definitely leans girl while maintaining neutrality. It’s at #126 for girls right now. While not the name of a saint, it could be an honor name for Jesus with its meaning. It’s Irish, too! I like this with sister Perrin and the brothers.

(3) Peyton

This name sits at #99 for girls right now even though it’s gender neutral, so it feels more feminine while not being frilly. It’s also an English surname born by Ven. Patrick Peyton, so it even has a patron directly attached! I really love this one for them. My only hang up was that would be two girls with P- names. I don’t think this should bother them, though.

(4) Blaise

I thought, if Blake and Blair can be girls or boys, why not Blaise? It doesn’t rank at all for girls and is at #997 for boys, so it’s not common but it’s also not weird. St. Blaise would be the patron. I just thought, what a zippy, fun name for a girl!

(5) Brenna

This would be a feminine form of St. Brendan. Although not a surname, it’s punchy and Irish and I love it with their other kids. There are various meanings for this name depending on where you take its origin from, but since they’d use it as a feminine form of Brendan, it means “king or prince”. Brenna is out of the top 1000, which I think is perfect for them. Brenna gives me the same punchy, pixie-like, softly feminine feel as Perrin does, and she sounds great with all the kids.

(6) Finley

This name means “white warrior” and is at #211 for girls and #265 for boys, meaning it’s truly gender neutral. There is no saint Finley, but there are tons of Fin- saints that this name could take patronage from. All of those saints happen to be Scottish, too. Finley is also in the same wheelhouse as surname names, although not one itself. Fulton, Becket, Perrin, and Finley sound so sharp to me.

(7) Kiara

The most feminine name on the list, this is actually the name of an Irish saint! It has two possible roots that can make its meaning either “black” (from Ciara) or “clear, bright” (from Chiara). There are lots of possible patrons here including St. Kiara (the Irish saint), St. Clare of Assisi, or St. Ciar (an Irish abbott). I like that this name is feminine but punchy –– hopefully that bridges the gap between Kortnee and her husband better. I like siblings Fulton, Beckett, Perrin, and Kiara. Bonus, I think this name works well with almost all of the middle names they’re considering.

These are my thoughts! What do you think?


I’m not currently 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.)

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 ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: One-syllable Advent/Christmas name for baby girl needed!

Happy Monday everyone! There are some beautiful feasts today according to my go-to feast day source, CatholicSaints.info: it’s the memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist, as well as the feasts of Our Lady of Tears, Our Lady of the Guard, and Our Lady of Valleverde (among many others. Every day’s a day to remember holy people!). Some cool things for you to research if you’re in a researching mood! Today’s consultation by Theresa Zoe Williams is for a mama that I’ve “known” for years via the internet, and she’s also a real-life friend-of-a-friend — I’m so excited to post this consultation for her seventh baby! Enjoy!

Mama Lina writes in asking for help with a middle name.

I am pregnant with my seventh and due mid December. We have five boys and a girl already and just found out we’re due with another girl. Our daughter is 10 so it’s pretty exciting! Her name will be Evangelina after two of my husband’s great grandmothers and we’ll call her Lina bc I love my name lol. I am named for my own great great grandmother.”

This is fantastic news! And Evangelina is such a swoony name! All of the children have two middle names, the second one being Lina’s maiden name. Evangelina is joining big siblings:

John Diego nn Johnny
Joseph Sebastián nn Joey
Rita Maureen
Michael Augustín nn Mikey
Patrick Thomas nn Paddy
Charles Loyola nn Charley

Aren’t those such great names! Mama Lina writes,

Originally her name was going to be Evangelina Claire — we’ve had this name as our girl name for the last three kids lol. However now that we have her due during advent I really feel drawn to have an advent/Christmas themed middle name.”

Ooooh, I love a good themed name!

She continues,

The issue is that Evangelina is many syllables lol, as well as the fact that all my kids have a second middle name of [her maiden name]. So anything longer than one syllable just feels and sounds really bulky and like we’re trying to be British royalty. So we’re on a hunt for one syllable, girl name that is Advent/Christmas themed. Phew . All we can come up with is Rose and Joy (most likely to be born during Gaudete Week). I do like Rose a lot esp bc St Rose of Lima was a contemporary and friend of St Martin de Porres, a family patron, but just would love more options to consider!

I love a good challenge!

About names they like but don’t feel like the one.

Claire– I love the sound of Evangelina Claire! I can see why it was their go-to for so long. It fits in nicely with their other kids’ names and has a classy, put-together feel.

Rose– Hot in the middle spot, it’s a great name. I love the connection to Advent and Gaudete Sunday. Evangelina Rose is nice if maybe a little bland.

Joy– Evangelina Joy is a joy! I love this connection to Advent, too. This actually gave me some ideas. I can understand why this one doesn’t feel quite right, though. It’s a little less formal and feels maybe too casual, next to their other kids especially.

On to new ideas! I had a BLAST researching themes of Christmas and Advent and names to go along with them. I loved the added challenge of a one syllable name. Here’s what I came up with:

1) Pax/Paz

Another theme of Advent is peace, which these names mean. I wasn’t sure if they’d like the Latin Pax (which leans a little more masculine) or the Spanish Paz (which sounds a little softer and more feminine) better, so I’m including them both. Evangelina Pax or Evangelina Paz sounds beautiful and unexpected. I like these names with their other kids, too, who have middle names like Diego, Augustín and Sebastián. Pax or Paz fit right in!

2) Lux/Luz

Pax made me think of Lux and I again didn’t know if they’d prefer the Latin (which is fairly gender neutral) or the Spanish Luz (which is definitely feminine) better. These names mean “light” which may not seem like a very Adventy or Christmasy meaning but St. Lucy’s feast day is during Advent and her name means light also. Additionally, there is the light of the Star of Bethlehem which led the shepherds and the magi to the baby Jesus. I thought that was a cool connection! Evangelina Lux or Evangelina Luz sound beautiful — all those lilting Ls!

3) Mae

This one syllable form of Mary is hot in the middle spot right now and goes with just about any name. Evangelina Mae is so cute! Lina Mae!! Mary is a central figure in both the Advent and Christmas seasons, so it’s only fitting to honor her. The only downside I saw was that their other daughter Rita’s middle name is Maureen, itself a form of Mary. Both sisters would have forms of Mary for their middle names–– either they’ll love that or they’ll hate it (both of my girls have forms of Mary in the middle, so I’m on team go for it!).

4) Kris/Chris

Speaking of central figures of Advent and Christmas, you don’t get anymore central than Jesus the Christ Child Himself! These one syllable short forms of Christine or Kristina are laidback and familiar but unexpected. Evangelina Chris is really spunky and fun! This name is a little different than the direction they’ve gone with their other kids, but not in a bad or mismatched way. Plus, their boys have more formal, straightforward names while Evangelina is more embellished. With Evangelina Kris, they’d just be swapping the places.

5) Dawn

The O Antiphon on Dec. 21st is “Dawn of the East” in reference to Jesus and the more I thought about it, the more I liked Dawn. It symbolizes a new day, a new beginning and isn’t that what a baby is? Isn’t that what Advent and Christmas are really all about, a new beginning for Creation? I thought this was such a hopeful name. Evangelina Dawn is beautiful and unexpected and powerful. This name was a sleeper hit for me, it grew on me over time; perhaps it will do the same for them.

6) Rey

I know this is traditionally a male Spanish name but with the female Star Wars character taking this name, too, I think it’s leaning gender neutral these days. I thought of this name because Jesus is the King Who came to bring us back into His kingdom. Much like Evangelina Mae, Evangelina Rey is so cute! This would also keep in style with the other kids. I also like the tie in of sisters with middle names honoring Mary and Jesus.

7) Beth

This last one was really hard to settle on as I had a couple I was going between. I decided on this one because of its multiple layers. At first, this is a short form of Elizabeth and St. Elizabeth was the first to receive Mary and Jesus and rejoice. But it is also short for Bethlehem, the sacred place where Jesus was born. For an Advent baby, I thought this was the ultimate name! Elizabeth means “my God is an oath” and Bethlehem means “house of bread” giving the name Eucharistic ties, as well. Who knew such a short name could pack such a huge punch! Evangelina Beth is homey and classic and Lina Beth is so much fun!

Since I wrestled with the last name so much, I’m including one bonus name: Eve. Mary is considered the New Eve and I just love the alliteration of Evangelina Eve.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m not currently 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.)

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 ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Marigold, Maisie, Arabella, Ophelia — so many gorgeous ideas for third baby girl!

Happy feast of the Queenship of Mary! I know two mamas who chose this day as the feast day for daughters they named Marigold (read their birth announcements here and here) — fantastic! Also fantastic is that today’s family has Marigold on their list of possibilities for their baby, so fun! Enjoy this consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams!

Mama Diana writes in asking for help naming her third baby, a girl!

I am having a scheduled csection … with our third living child, third girl! This baby is long awaited and prayed for as our older girls will be 10 and 7 years old and I have suffered five miscarriages.”

Baby joins big sisters:

Hannah Elizabeth
Eleanor Claire

She writes,

Names we are considering: Penelope (nickname Penny), Stella, Evangeline (nickname Evie I think — I’ve noticed this name seems to have different pronunciations though — I’ve heard EvangeLINE, EvangeLEEN, and EvangeLYNN — is it confusing?). I also like Adele but my husband isn’t on board — he could probably be persuaded though.”

Other names they are considering include: Marigold, Maisie, Margaret, Madeleine, Lucy, Catherine, Fiona, Beatrice, Harriet, and Isabelle.

Mama Diana writes that she needs help with the middle name, too,

I like Marie with the right first name or Julia is a family name I’d love to use if it worked. Barbara is another family name middle name possibility. I also like that my older girls have Saint middle names but don’t have to be totally set on this.”

Names they can’t use at all include: Caroline, Grace, Lynn, Charlotte, Olive, Ivy, Josephine, and Matilda.

First, some thoughts on names they like:

Penelope “Penny”– Love this. It’s a little different from their other girls, but the nickname Penny grounds it and brings it back in line.

Stella– Short, sweet, zippy, has pizzazz. This sounds like a natural sister to their other girls.

Evangeline “Evie”– Same thoughts as Penelope nn Penny.

Adele– To me, this has the same feeling as their other girls but it just doesn’t feel right. I can’t explain that, it’s just my gut.

Marigold– Cutesy and a different from their others.

Maisie– I love this and wish more people would use it! Hannah, Eleanor, and Maisie sound ever so slightly mismatched to me, though.

Margaret– Lovely name but I don’t like it with their others.

Lucy– Cute and fits right in!

Madeleine– A little more buttoned up than their other girls.

Catherine– Classic, can’t miss, and has a ton of nickname options to ground it.

Fiona– This was unexpected to me! I love this!

Beatrice– Different from their other girls but a lovely name.

Harriet– Very different from their other girls. Old lady, clunky cool. I like nickname Hattie with their other girls, though.

Isabelle– Very sweet. Love this with their other girls.

On to new names!

1) Lily/Lillian/Liliana

I wasn’t sure which iteration they’d like more, so I’m including them all! Lillian actually started off as a diminutive of Elizabeth, so with these names, they’re basically getting a two-for-one! Lily ranks at #31, Lillian at #51, and Liliana at #104 (for reference Hannah ranks at #44 and Eleanor at #15) . Lily is hot right now but I don’t think that should deter them. St. Kateri Tekakwitha was known as the Lily of the Mohawks and there is St. Lillian of Cordoba. I love sisters Hannah, Eleanor, and Liliana nn Lily. Lily Marie, Lillian Marie, Liliana Marie, Lillian Julia, and Lillian Barbara all sound lovely to me. Alternatively, I love Penelope Liliana, Stella Liliana, Evangeline Lily, and Liliana Evangeline a lot for full names.

2) Ruby

This gemstone name is currently at #62 and I originally thought of it because their baby was supposed to be born in July! It works for a non-July baby, too (my daughter Ruby has a September birthday). Kate did a magnificent spotlight on the name giving it ties to the Sacred Heart and Holy Spirit! There’s no saint Ruby but there is St. Gemma Galgani, whose name literally means gem! I like the sound of sisters Hannah, Eleanor, and Ruby. Ruby Marie is gorgeous. Penelope Ruby, Stella Ruby, and Evangeline Ruby are all lovely, too. Ruby Isabelle also really strikes me.

3) Arabella

This name was a surprise to me and I’m so glad! I was searching for names having to do with prayer, as this baby is an answer to so many of their prayers. This name means “yielding to prayer” and they certainly did! It currently sits at #195, meaning it’s not trendy or overly common but it’s not weird or out there, either. I really love this unexpected name for them. Hannah, Eleanor, and Arabella sound like meaningful sisters to me. Arabella Marie, Arabella Julia, and Arabella Barbara all are wonderful! I also really like Arabella Lily, Penelope Arabella, Arabella Penelope, Arabella Evangeline, and Arabella Lucy.

4) Genevieve

This came up as a style match to their other girls and I couldn’t overlook it. Great name with lots of nickname potential beyond Genie or Genny, including Viva and Evie! It means “kin” or “family woman”, which this child certainly is, and ranks at #155. There’s the awesome St. Genevieve to go along with it, too. Hannah, Eleanor, and Genevieve sound like sophisticated sisters. Genevieve Marie and Genevieve Lucy strike me.

5) Ophelia

I came across this name in my research and it just kept coming back to me, so I had to include it! It means “help, advantage” and ranks at #321. I just like how this name sounds with Hannah and Eleanor. There’s no saint Ophelia, so she’ll have to get that in the middle spot but Ophelia Marie, Ophelia Lucy, Ophelia Catherine, and Ophelia Margaret all really strike me.

6) Felicity

I also looked up names that mean “happy” or “fortune” and this name popped up! It means “happiness” or “good luck” and this little girl is certainly both. The name ranks at 441, which is a crime! This is such an amazing name that should be used more often. St. Felicity is also a powerhouse. Hannah, Eleanor, and Felicity sound like natural sisters. I love Felicity Marie, Felicity Julia, Felicity Lucy, Felicity Catherine, and Felicity Genevieve.

7) Sophia

This name came up so many times as a style match to there other girls’ names and to names they like that I couldn’t ignore it. My only qualm with this name is that it’s super popular at #6 and having been in the top 100 since 1997. It’s popular with goodreason, as it’s such a solid but beautiful name. It means “wisdom” in Greek and is the name of a saint. They can’t miss with this name but they will probably know others her age. But Hannah, Eleanor, and Sophia sound so good together! Sophia Marie, Sophia Julia, Sophia Barbara, Sophia Penelope, Sophia Evangeline, Sophia Catherine, Sophia Margaret, Sophia Marigold, Sophia Lillian, Sophia Genevieve, Sophia Felicity, Penelope Sophia, and
Evangeline Sophia are all really incredible.

My top names for them are Stella, Lily/Lillian/Lilliana, Arabella, and Sophia. My top combos for them are Stella Lilliana, Lily/Lillian/Liliana Marie, Arabella Evangeline, Arabella Lucy, and Sophia Evangeline.

These are my thoughts! What do you think?


I’m not currently 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.)

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 ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Baby name consultation: Baby no. 3 — a boy — needs a classy/vintage/”spunky” name that’s preferably Marian as well!

Happy feast of the Assumption! I always love telling this name story in conjunction with this beautiful feast (which I also included in my book). It always makes me laugh! Today’s consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams is particularly Marian — perfect for today! Enjoy!

Dad Zach writes in asking for help naming baby number 3! He writes,

My wife and I have been reading your blog and love the names you come up with for Catholic families and the great meanings behind them! We just purchased your book on names and we are very excited to start reading it! (currently name discerning for our 3rd baby due in September).”

I love that the blog and my consultations are helpful to others who are discerning names! Zach sent in a bunch of great info for names they are considering and what they’re looking for in a name. He writes,

It is a boy! Anticipated Due Date: September 24th Feast of Our Lady of Mercy. Prayed through the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes to conceive this baby. Also, prayed a novena to Our Lady of Lourdes sporadically and at the end of it found out we were pregnant right as the feast of the Immaculate Conception passed! Zach wants a name to honor Mary under this title. Bayley [his wife] does not have a preference for this idea and didn’t like the name Lourdes or Bernadette/Bernard for this baby. However, we both want a Marian devotion for this baby’s name. Zach wants to know if there is anything masculine for a boy that honors Our Lady of Lourdes.”

Ooooh a challenge, I love it!

He continues,

Our style is more classy, vintage, and old, but also open to some “spunk”. We do not like names that are super popular. The name having a good meaning is very important to us. Marian devotion (first or middle name) is very important to us. Name after a saint/blessed for intercession from that saint and for our child to look up to / learn from- for this pregnancy, a saint with a strong devotion to Mary would be a huge plus! If the first name is after a saint, we would like the middle name to be in devotion to Mary, or possibly St. Joseph. We did not end up nicknaming our daughter Josephine, but we are open to nicknames. Do not like: Mainstream, ordinary, no meaning, double names (Bayley does not like the double names). Don’t want to name anyone after a family member.”

This is such great info for me when considering possible names for them. This gave me a great feel for their style.

This baby will join siblings:

Josephine Marie
Gabriel Mary (in heaven)

Names they are considering include Judah/Jude, John Paul nn Pax, Augustine nn Auggie, Benedict, Callum (they saw this in a consultation I did and fell in love!), Samson, Kolbe, Mercer, Clement, Lolek, Theodore, and Xavier.

Mama Bayley writes about Theodore and Xavier,

I know they are more popular but just wanted to see how they match up style wise and flow with Josephine. What would be your thoughts on Theodore and Xavier??

I will definitely give my thoughts on those names below! They are fantastic names, though.

What’s great about their current two children’s names, Josephine and Gabriel, is that they are both very versatile names that can go with a lot of other names. For numbers purposes, Josephine currently ranks at #72, so while she’s old fashioned, clunky cool she’s definitely more cool right now. Gabriel is currently #38 so he’s even more cool right now and what I would consider more modern.

Names they don’t like or cannot use include: Elijah, Ellis, Pax, Cruz, Dominic, Julian, Maximillian, Cole, Cameron, Nicholas, Blake, Amos, Taylor, Edmund, Benjamin, Emmanuel, Ambrose, Isaac, Liam, Raphael, Leo, Bosco, Matthew, Mark, Michael, Luke, George, Daniel, David, Joseph, Joshua, Jeremiah, Josiah, Jonah, Louis, James, Simon, Simeon, Anthony, Micah, Thomas, Brandon, Christian, Vincent, Connor, Christopher, Bennett, Rowan, Wyatt, Nathan, August, Silas, Beckett, Samuel, Brooks, Oliver, Nolan, Oscar, Abel, Emmett, Blaise, Asher, Marcus, Isaiah, Sawyer, Jacob, Alexander, Frassati, Henry, Hugh, Nico, Dean, Sebastian,
Peter, and Carmello.

Alright, on to names!

First, about names they are considering.

Judah/Jude– I really like both of these names and think it fits well with their other children. It is pretty popular in Catholic circles. Also, this would be two J- names though and I don’t want them to feel like they’re setting a precedent with this name.

John Paul nn Jax– I love the nickname with this one! John Paul is also pretty common in Catholic circles and they’d have the same J problem again. But I think the nickname really makes this one.

Benedict– This is nice and strikes me the same way Josephine does. Catholicky without being too in your face and very classic.

Augustine nn Auggie– Love this. Josephine and Augustine sound like siblings to me, just be careful because these two have the same ending.

Callum– I love that they saw this in another of my consultations and fell in love with it! It’s a great unexpected Catholic name. Josephine and Callum fit will together, although they are a bit different stylistically. What’s great about Josephine is that almost any other name will sound good with it.

Samson– I think this name takes them in a wholly different direction, which isn’t a bad thing! Unexpected and cool, I like this.

Kolbe– Popular in the Catholic circles but with good reason.

Mercer– I about jumped out of my seat when I saw this name. I love it! I love its connections to mercy and how they would tie that to Our Lady of Mercy and how her feast day is the due date for this baby. I just love this name! It’s unexpected but fits right in. I would be really remiss to not say that I hope they use this one in the first spot for their child.

Lolek– Only the Polish and the most Catholic of the Catholics will get this name. It’s definitely out there. It would be cool in the middle spot but potentially confusing in the first spot. For what it’s worth, I really love Mercer Lolek for them and this baby.

Theodore– This name ranks at #10 right now, so they will definitely hear this name more often than not. If being Teddy 2 or Theodore M. bothers them, perhaps they would consider Thaddeus. It comes from the same root as Theodore or means “heart” but is way less popular at #818. Nicknames Tad, Teddy, and even Tadpole make this name accessible and even cute. What’s even greater is that they have Jude on their list and Thaddeus is that saint’s other name! I say, choose Thaddeus over Theodore.

Xavier– This name ranks at #100, which I think is this couple’s sweet spot. Not too out there, not too popular. This name is more popular in Catholic circles but you still won’t run into it terribly often.

Okay, on to some new suggestions. They had a long list of names they don’t like or can’t use, so this was a particularly fun challenge for me. Hopefully, they’ll like what I came up with.

1) Gerard

This name is born by St. Gerard Majella who is the patron saint of expectant mothers and means “brave or hardy spear”. It’s out of the top 1000, which I think will appeal to them, and is an enduring name. They may hear it in Catholic circles, but mostly, this name is unique. It has the same feel to it as Josephine, old fashioned clunky cool.

2) Francis

Some famous bearers of this name are St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis Xavier, and St. Francis de Sales. Another more old fashioned name coming back into use, though I’ve seen Frances more for girls than for boys recently. It gives me the same vibes as Josephine. Currently, it ranks at #466, the most popular name I’m suggesting for them. I like that they have some nickname options with this one, too, in Frank and Frankie. Josephine, Gabriel, and Francis sound like siblings.

3) Laurence

I was researching names of people connected to Lourdes and this was the name of the bishop in the area at the time. It also came up as a style match for some of the names they like. It’s out of the top 1000 and means “from Laurentum” but has a connection to the laurel plant which is said to symbolize eternity. Lots of meaning with this name and it can shorten to Larry, Law, or the literary wonder, Laurie.

4) Stanislaus

I was thinking about Polish saints and names that sound a little old fashioned or classic and this name came to mind. It’s the name of St. Stanislaus Kostka who spoke about Mary and can shorten to Stan or Stanley. In fact, they may just like Stanley! It’s out of the top 1000 and means “someone who achieves glory”. Isn’t that what we’re aiming for in the spiritual life anyway? Pair it with a Marian middle and you get “someone who achieves glory through Mary”. Phenomenal! Josephine, Gabriel, and Stanislaus sound like Catholic siblings, to me.

5) Basil

I think this name is criminally underused but it’s outside of the top 1000 so what do I know! It means “king” or in Arabic “brave, valiant”. A famous bearer was St. Basil the Great. It does read rather British but I don’t think that will deter them (since they love the very ethnic Lolek). It pairs very well with most of the names they like, too, and with most of the ones I’m suggesting. I like Basil Jude, Basil Benedict, and Basil Mercer a lot.

6) Pascal

Another name out of the top 1000, this names means “Easter” and Pope St. John Paul II famously said that “we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song”. I love the subtle nod to him in this name, since he is so important to them. I really love Pascal Benedict, Pascal Laurence, and Pascal Mercer. Josephine and Pascal sound nice together, too.

7) Pius

This is an older name and a very Catholic one, being the name of twelve popes! Three of those popes have connections to Our Lady of Lourdes. Pope Pius IX approved the veneration of the apparitions at Lourdes, Pope Pius X announced the feast of the Immaculate Virgin of Lourdes, and Pope Pius XII issued an encyclical on Lourdes on its 100th anniversary. If they’re looking for a male name to tie in to Lourdes, look no further! I love that this name also means “pious, dutiful”, being a great reminder for all of us, and that it’s out of the top 1000. They won’t even hear this name much in Catholic circles, as families tend to adopt the Italian variation of the name these days, Pio. I like Pius better for them and they could always call him Pio anyway. Pius Mercer, Mercer Pius, Pius Jude, Pius Benedict, Pius Augustine, Pius Laurence, and Pius Lolek (if they want to get crazy!) all sound good to my ear. Josephine, Gabriel, and Pius sound like siblings to me of the very Catholic variety.

My top choices for them are Mercer Lolek, Laurence, and Pius.

These are my thoughts. What do you think?


I’m not currently 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.)

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 ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Birth announcement: Margaret Lily!

Mama Megan writes in to announce that her little one has been born! I (Theresa) did a consultation for Megan and her husband in June.

Mama Megan writes,

I had significant bleeding … and our little one was delivered by emergency c-section … Thank you so much for your help. We went with the name Margaret Lily. 🙂 we love it! And everyone else who has met her loves the name! She is currently in the NICU and hopefully won’t stay long…You really gave us the confidence to go with that choice.”

Margaret Lily! Such an incredible name for an incredible baby. Welcome to the world, little Margaret Lily and congratulations to mom, dad, and big sisters Eleanor Grace and Annalise Rose.

Margaret Lily


I’m not currently 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.)

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 ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links). It’s perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!