Set a new trend in naming that baby!

I don’t do “help me name my baby” questions around here, except to suggest that you pick a saint’s name, spell it normally, and go for it.

That said, I would like to see a new trend back to some solid, serious meat and potatoes names and away from the frothy nothings so common now.

To that end, here are two entries from today’s page of the 2005 Martyrologium Romanum for your edification and Latin skills.

1. Caesareae in Palestina, sanctorum Marini, militis, et Asterii, senatoris, martyrum sub Gallieno imperatore; quorum prior, ab invido commilitone quod christianus delatus, coram iudice fidem suam voce clarissima professus est et coronam martyrii capitis abscissione suscepit; cum Asterius corpus martyris, qua induebatur veste substrata, exciperet honorem, quem martyri detulit, continuo ipse martyr accepisse narratur.


8. Confugiae in Hassia, sanctae Cunegundis, quae plurima Ecclesiae contulit beneficia una cum coniuge sancto Henrico imperatore, post cuius mortem in claustro monialis, quo secesserat, Christum sibi heredem faciens, ipsa obiit. Corpus eius honorifice iuxta sancti Henrici ossa Bambergae depositum est.

We need more kids named Asterius and Cunegonda!

I would also suggest Nunilio and Alodia for twin girls.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Lighter fare, Saints: Stories & Symbols and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. WGS says:

    Almost fifty years ago, my wife asked about the name of my favorite saint. I responded “Paphnutius”. Unlike St. Anthony and a few other prime intercessors, nobody bothers to call on St. Paphnutius. It seemed to me that he would be more apt to respond to requests for intercession. My wife then announced that she would name any male children we might have.

  2. priests wife says:

    My sister’s husband wanted “Bezelel”- nope- he got an Ephrem instead.

  3. Mike says:

    My son Daniel did take Kessog as his Confirmation saint. Not sure of the trend-setting potential there. And yes, the bishop did give a slightly quizzical look.

  4. Lucas says:

    Ahh St. Cunegonda’s. There used to be a parish in my Dad’s hometown with that name.

  5. M. K. says:

    Is there any link between the name “Asterius” and Asterix the Gaul?

  6. Lucas says:

    Huh the church is still there but they spell it St Kunegunda’s.

  7. Evangeliman says:

    Has any tried Dominator?

  8. Konichiwa says:

    I like good ol’ Polycarp. The kid is gonna appreciate it later on down the road :D

  9. rakesvines says:

    Nice practical topic Fr. Z. To help out the young priests, let me share an anecdote about not getting the name right smack in the middle of the ceremony. A newly ordained priest was dejected as he shared with us this incident. He was administering his first Baptism. Right before the pouring of the water he asked, “What would the baby’s name be?” To his shock, the parents responded, “Cocaine”. He didn’t know how to respond so he went along and to this day, there’s a young adult named after an illegal substance. I wonder if he had it changed? For more anecdotes like this, stop by and visit here or

  10. Dr. Eric says:

    We now have neo-martyrs named Ragheed, Basman, Wahid, Ghassan, Saad, Wassim, and Shahbaz. Perhaps these could also be used.

    Our children are named Dominic, Mia (Our Lady), Alys (Alice), Justin, and Ava (Eve). My wife vetoed Vladimir, Blaise, Moses, Veronica, Lucia, and many others.

  11. Lisa says:

    Polycarp, eh?

    A couple years ago I was several days overdue with my son, and on St. Polycarp’s feast day my husband suggested making a deal that if he would intercede for me that I would go into labor that day, we would name our son after him. I was so miserable I almost agreed…

  12. APX says:

    We need more kids named Asterius and Cunegonda!
    I would also suggest Nunilio and Alodia for twin girls.

    Respectfully, I would have to disagree with you, unless these were used as middle names.

    Kids should be given strong, simple first names that can’t be misspelled, mispronounced, or made fun of. What might seem like a great name to some parents, can be a life-long frustration and childhood trauma for the person who has to live with the name. I know this because I don’t have a simple name, so I’ve had to live with this all my life. It’s frustrating, especially once it’s misspelled in most government records, but not on your ID.

    What’s so wrong about naming your child after a saint with a simple name?

  13. Since I am a revert, I didn’t name my kids correctly. I hope and pray that we have another one, but I’m 46 with health problems and it’s just not happening. If it does, I already have Cosmas Damien picked out for a boy.

  14. frjim4321 says:

    I would simply like to see more “Lukes” out there. It is such a beautiful, strong name, and very much underutilized.

  15. awlms says:

    A friend of mine did very well in naming his new son…..Benedict!

  16. Deacon Nathan Allen says:

    Whenever friends of mine have said they are going to name their boy after a Pope or two, I always suggest “Calixtus Pius”. No takers yet: they all seem to go for “John Paul”.

  17. benedetta says:

    A vote for a Norbert, or maybe a Crispin?

  18. Lirioroja says:

    Deacon Nathan Allen,

    I do know someone who named his son Calixtus. He actually has four names besides his family surname: Calixtus James Patrick Sebastianus. And he refuses to have his son be known by his more mainstream middle names. Nor will he allow his son to be known as “Cal”. I predict that boy is either going to be a good fighter or a funny comedian.

  19. ReginaMarie says:

    I think we have a decent mix of unique Catholic names between our children’s first & middle names: Abigail, Abraham, Agnes, Emmanuel, Ephrem, Isaac, Mathias, Raine (variant of Regina), Silas, Simeon, Uriah, Veronica, Xavier & Zita.
    Still hoping for a Thecla.

  20. I’ve got a student named Clotilde out here. And among my colleagues’ children we’ve got a Felicitas and a Columba (a girl and a boy, respectively), a Josefina and a James Thaddeus.
    Just sayin’…

  21. MarkDes says:

    Our first was born to us last year and we named her for Saint Gianna Molla.

    The best part about choosing a slightly unusual saint’s name for your child is that when everyone inevitably asks you “How did you choose her name?” they have to politely listen while you get to tell the story of a great saint.

  22. rakesvines says:

    Since we’re at the topic, I recently received my 5th child last month and named her Sophia. I wanted to name her after my wife but she chose Sophia because of significance of this woman to me. Click here or go to for the story. There might (or not) be a supernatural event involved. But check it out because it might be inspiring or encouraging to you as well.

  23. jesusthroughmary says:


    Please provide your approved list of ten boy names and ten girl names.

    And give me a break about making fun of somebody’s name. If kids can’t make fun of your name, they’ll find something else to make fun of. Just raise your kids right and teach them not to allow themselves to be bullied. Besides, no kid is going to be the only Polycarp in a class full of Josephs and Marys. He’s going to be the only Polycarp in a class with a Krystal, a Corbin, a Mackenzee, a Jewelia, a Kylie, a Donte, a Barack, a Pilot, a Piper, a Jessykah, a Hunter, a Madison, a Caitlin, a Kaitlin, a Katelynn, a Catelyn, a Kaytlynn….

    I do think, however, that it is better to use the Anglicized form of a name in our English-speaking society (e.g. “Sebastian” is preferable to “Sebastianus”). There’s getting your point across and there’s being pretentious.

  24. diezba says:

    Question about the Martyrlogium Romanum 2004/05. I went to find a copy of this online (or of the 2001 edition which the 04/05 editio altera replaced), but could not find one, even on Vatican sites.

    I found this unusual, since I’ve generally been able to locate an online version of the Latin texts of the Church for just about every other liturgical book.

    Does anyone, Fr. Z included, know of an online version of the current Martyrlogium?

    If so, please post on here and/or email me d i e z b a at g m a i l dot c o m

  25. Mike says:

    I do revere the saints of the Roman Canon, of course, but I don’t think it wise to name kids Cosmos, Damien, Clement, Sixtus…you get the picture. I tend to favor OT names, for some reason. Definitely not made-up names; but let’s stay away from pietistic trends that have to have everything “churchy”. We are in the world, after all.

  26. stacy_cook says:

    Personally, I think there’s too few boys named Bonaventure.

  27. I’ve always liked Agatha and Agnes…but I’m all about naming kids after Saints the more obscure the better

  28. Mike, I live in podunk, America where there are few Catholics. I think naming my next child Cosmas Damien might be a leaping point for evangelization or apologetics. And I’m talking about the catechizing the Catholics.

  29. The Egyptian says:

    No way this side of hell freezing over or congress taking a pay cut would I allow any child or grandchild of mine to be named Cunegonda, the things boys would do with that name is beyond the pale. That being said, as a David with sons Ben and Bob and my little saint in heaven Anton, and daughters Joanna Marie and Rose Mary, I wish we would return to solid names. My father was named Ivo, and his forebears, Aloys, Anton, great granddad Henry (Heinrick) his mom Blanch. Moms side we had Orville, Viola, Ed. All solid names, not a Shiteed among them. All good proud names, no one will be embarrassed as an adult because of their parents vanity

  30. Dr. Eric says:

    I know a few little kids named Damien. Most think it’s a cool evil name because of the kid from “The Omen.”

  31. Rich says:

    I formerly had a student named Blase. He had gotten made fun of by other kids because of his name. I thought his name was awesome.

  32. jesusthroughmary says:

    @ Mike –

    “We are in the world, after all.” = non sequitur

  33. albinus1 says:

    Nor will he allow his son to be known as “Cal”.

    Does he really think that he will get a vote in what the kids at school call his son? Or what nickname his son chooses to use among his friends? A classmate of mine had an older sister named “Michaeline”. Of all the possible nicknames she could have used, she was known among her friends as “Mitch”. I suspect that this choice was not entirely unrelated to the fact that it bugged her parents.

    A couple of months ago I went with my sister and brother-in-law to visit his father in a nursing home. I found myself looking at the names of the patients (they are posted by the doors to the rooms), and I noticed how the women’s names in particular reflected names that were popular a few generations ago: there was a Thelma, a Lucille, a Hazel, a Margaret, a Rose. It occured to me that in about 60-70 years or so, the nursing homes will be full of old women named Caitlyn, Meghan, Ashley, Taylor, and Brittany, and that those will then be regarded as “old lady names”, much as we now regard Thelma etc.

    I’m getting married soon, and if we are blessed with children (I say “if” because we are both, shall we say, not in our 20s) I have thought of giving a son the middle name Aloysius. It’s a great Catholic name that one seldom sees anymore.

  34. Mike says:

    Meaning we don’t live in a monastery or convent. Our life with Christ should go deep into our souls, but we should be able to reach out to others. Arbitrary, strange names don’t help.

  35. Ellen says:

    I work in a library and teach and I see all kinds of unusual names. The worst was a student named Latrina. I had a male student named Raphael, but most of the time I have a class full of students named Kayla or Kylee. The oddest was Gynipher – pronounced Jennifer.

    It’s usually the girls who are stuck with the trendy names. Most of the boys have fairly mainstream ones unless they are African American. I saw one poor guy named Nefchevious.

  36. elaine says:

    If you homeschool, then it doesn’t matter what the other kids say! I know a homeschooling family that has a Cyprian, Thaddeus, Kateri, Caeli, among others.

  37. benedetta says:

    albinus, Aloysius — great name!

    I agree that given the fact of the sheer range of variety of names, made up and otherwise that people are utilizing, that an obscure Catholic saint’s name should not in and of itself deter. If a parent prays on the name and feels called, why not? It is an excellent process of discernment. A name is important, both in the eyes of the world and in terms of our ultimate calling. A name is a source of strength to the one who bears it.

    There should be a sacred process or approach to the question of naming a child of God as the very start of an intentional process of imparting the faith, the virtues and the values that go along with them. The name, and the process behind the choosing, matter, as does the care that goes into raising the child in the faith.

    Parents could think about a Joseph or a Teresa or Elizabeth for first followed by a more obscure but well-chosen middle name, or vice versa, so that, if one is concerned about the “ways of the world” down the road, either may be utilized.

    In Italian culture it is still very common to combine two saints’ names…i.e., PierGiorgio. For instance.

  38. Mike says:

    “And I’m talking about the catechizing the Catholics.”

    Respectfully, and knowing you have tons of good will, I don’t like using kids as instruments of evangelization. That doesn’t rule out somewhat obsure saints’ names. But I like the idea of being like everyone else, and yet totally belonging to Christ. That way, Catholic or not, they can’t say, man, those devout people are strange.

  39. apagano says:

    We have an Ambrose Augustine, a Monica Prisca, a Marcellina Maria, and our Athanasius Anthony is in the mercy of God. If our last was a boy we were thinking of Gregory Basil. We love the saints and want all our children to have names that reflect good, strong Catholics. And as someone else mentioned whenever someone asks us about the names of our children we get to relate the history of our Church.

  40. If you name your son Asterius, I bet his nickname will be Stereo. :)

    As for Cunegunde, personally for once I’d go with weird spelling as a good option. Kingund or Kinganta or even Kingwenda. (In Czech it’s apparently Kunhuty.) Anyway, the name means “war clan” or “war kin”.

    The good queen was notoriously given trouble by people who didn’t like her form of marriage with the Holy Roman Emperor. (Though to be fair, I’d be a bit annoyed if my Holy Roman Emperor were determined to have an unconsummated marriage with no heirs whatsoever with an empress of the same mind.) She walked over hot irons to prove her chastity (pretty standard thing for Germanic queens to have to do, sad to say, unless it was boiling water on the hand ordeals instead) and was saved from being burned to death in her bed by waking up and making the Sign of the Cross first thing.

  41. It’s also spelled Cunigundes, which gives a lot of possibilities. Cyngondis, maybe.

  42. APX says:

    jesusthroughmary says:
    Please provide your approved list of ten boy names and ten girl names.

    Setting aside having your kid’s name made fun of at school, he/she is still going to have to go through life correcting people’s pronounciation, and misspellings. This is frustrating, annoying, and especially troublesome when it comes to legal/educational/government documents which have to be fixed. The hassle my name has caused me has even caused my parents to regret giving me my name and constantly tell this to people who want to give their kids unique, or unsual names. The only thing keeping me from legally changing my name is the cost and hassle I have to go through to get everything changed.

    Seriously think and consider the implications of the name you give your baby. They have to live with it, not you.

  43. Bill Haley says:

    My bride will most likely be induced into labor on Tuesday. We do not know whether we are having a girl or a boy. We have a girl’s name ready, Margaret Mary. We do not agree on a boy’s name, so we’re hoping for a girl. And, given we have been blessed with two girls and four boys, I will admit that it would be nice to have some more estrogen to balance out the testosterone levels.

    Either way, Deus laudetur!

    I would be very grateful if you would all pray for my wife, Maureen, and our baby for a safe and healthy delivery.

  44. eewanco says:

    I agree with Fr. Z — if you want a unique name for your child, why not pick an obscure but meaningful Christian saint, rather than misspelling a vogue name?

    A close friend of mine named his son Theophane. But he was too wimpy to make it his first name :-) so it’s his middle name.

  45. John Nolan says:

    One advantage of having a saint’s name is that you can use your name day as an excuse to party, in the Catholic European tradition. This month we have St John of God on the 8th, St John Damascene on the 27th and St John Capistran on the 28th. I shall probably combine the last two; it is Lent, after all.

  46. Re: unusual names bad?

    My name isn’t particularly unusual today, or in my parent’s day, but it turned out to be fairly unusual in my schooldays. Sometimes that annoyed me, sometimes I was proud of it. Now it’s getting fairly popular, which is definitely odd.

    However, it’s better to have a nickname in mind to go with an unusual name (and use it on occasion) than to leave a kid with an unusual name totally nickname-less (or leave the nickname-making to other kids). Giving people a nickname to use for an unusual name seems to make the unusual names more approachable for people.

    You can always go with a weird middle name. Everybody needs one of those. :)

  47. Mike says:

    Yes, frankly. However, folks are different, and do what they do.

    One of our sons middle name is Ransom. It’s a first name from a southern ancestor on his mother’s side. We’re not Southern sympathizers, but we liked the Christological meaning, and went with it. Turns out, it suits him perfectly. Plus his first name, an OT one, is rich in history, and not weird.

  48. AnAmericanMother says:

    No point in worrying for one moment about “what will the other kids say?” That’s as bad as “What will Mrs. Grundy say?”

    My maiden name was about as normal as anything could be – very common saint’s name, very common family middle name, fairly common Scotch-Irish last name. I still got teased . . . once per customer (I was a pretty tough kid). One of my high school buddies still calls me by my old nickname that is a reworking of my maiden name – “Lucretia McEvil” (old BST song).

    The tradition in our (very Southern) family is to be named after a grandparent, so my kids have ordinary saints’ names or variants thereof (e.g. Josephine). My husband’s name is even more common than mine. Rather dull actually . . . although it could have gotten really scary if my firstborn had been a boy, because the family tradition is to name the firstborn son Nimrod. Don’t ask me why (other than that a very prolific progenitor rejoiced in that name) — but I have 5-6 cousins with that name.

  49. AnAmericanMother says:

    Wait til he reads C.S. Lewis’s “Space Trilogy”.

  50. AnAmericanMother says:

    Bill Haley,

    Heartfelt prayers for Maureen and her little one, and for you too — for a quick, easy labor and delivery and a healthy mama and baby (and a calm unfrazzled daddy).

  51. “Respectfully, and knowing you have tons of good will, I don’t like using kids as instruments of evangelization. That doesn’t rule out somewhat obsure saints’ names. But I like the idea of being like everyone else, and yet totally belonging to Christ. That way, Catholic or not, they can’t say, man, those devout people are strange.”
    They already think we are strange and I can’t help but use my kids as tools for evangelization. I have 5 and we homeschool. There are lots of questions about that, especially the ‘so many kids’ part. We are already the weird ones in our small protestant town. I am ready to go some steps further after having Riley, Parker, Carson, Connor and McKenna.

  52. Joanne says:

    I love Jude. Awesome name. Like Blaise, Ignatius, and Irinaeus (sp?), too. Augustina is nice for a girl (haha, I’ve been watching the 2 movies about Marcel Pagnol’s childhood).

    I think APX raises a great point, though. Your child is the one who has to live with his or her name, not you. Trendy names, esp those with unusual spellings, make me think that the “name-ee’s” parents might be pretty silly, but imo naming your child with very little concern for the way others will react to it or the pain in the neck issues that APX brings up, shows a lack of thoughtfulness too.

  53. Jenny bag of donuts says:

    I like everyone’s clever names!

    I’ve chosen fairly simple, common names for my babies. I love the name John. I wish I could use it multiple times. Here are our babies’ names:
    Cameron (hubby’s middle name) Luke (wish that could have been his first name!), John ( the evangelist) Anthony (the Abbot), Isabella Marie, James Vianney, and Sarah Teresa (of Avila). Future name for a boy might be Francis Pio and I love Amy for a girl.

  54. msproule says:

    Our home has been blessed with namesakes for St. Philomena and St. Leo the Great, plus our own St. Gianna, who now looks down on us from Heaven.

  55. sejoga says:

    @ Ellen, 5:37:

    I think the best thing to do when we meet someone with a name like “Nefchevious” is to pray furiously that he will be canonized and the name will then at least be afforded the dignity of being a saint’s name that none dare name their child.

  56. kolbe1019 says:

    The name Athanasius has had a huge spike in the young Catholic world. We named our son Josef Athanasius and shortly after we met a family who named their son Athanasius Jude, and then two others!

    Old Skool Greek Catholic names are on the rise… anything is possible!

  57. servusmariaen says:

    Astrid, Beata , Beatus, Ursula, Urs, Jutta, Perpetua, Julitta, Joseph, Severin, Marcel, Martial, Anton, Antonia, Pia, Marta, Ines, Agnes, MARTINA, Juliana, Klemens, Josefa, Cornelia, Paulina, Zita, Florian, Pancratius, Tarcisius, Petra, CHRISTA, Alois, Aloisa, Marietta, Regina, Alfons, Ambrose, Gabriel, Gabriela, Thekla, Lioba, Sabina, Sabine, Anneliese, Berta, Andreas, Ottilia, Magdalena

  58. q7swallows says:

    If you want to live dangerously, allow the Church to help you name the child by incorporating one of the names of the saints for THE DAY the child is born! One of our more recent birthdays was for Charlene Petrice — born on . . . The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter.

    That said, I always insisted on giving strong first names that I could shout from the porch. The system has worked for us . . .

    Oh — and all our miscarried children also got full names on their delivery dates (with the same rule as their siblings–incorporating the saint of that day), baptized, and are mentioned in the evening rosary so the children never forget that they still have family on the other side.

  59. Lori Pieper says:

    St. Elizabeth of Hugary (my favorite saint and patroness of our Secular Franciscans) had a niece named Cunegundis, only in the Hungarian pronunciation it’s — Kinga. Personally I think it rocks! She married a Polish duke, and it evidently is pronounced the same in Polish. She too is a saint.

    Maybe finding a suitable obscure foreign pronunciation for your already obscure saint’s name could be a solution (especially for Cunegundis).

  60. trespinos says:

    Having just seen a long list of Irish saints’ names in their original tongue (h/t Fuinseoig), I’m not anxious to see them transplanted on any scale in the USA (can you say “impossible to sight read”?) , with the possible exception of Jarlath.

  61. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Something nobody has focused on, yet are the related matters of cultural specificity, and unforeseeable cross-cultural pitfalls.

    A name can be very common in one culture, and quite unusual in another: I’ve known more than one Englishman named ‘Toby’ and lots of Dutchmen seem to be named ‘Cornelius’ (and not, I think, in the first place with a conscious relation to St. Cornelius the Centurion: curiously to an English-hearing ear, and -reading eye, the nickname is usually variously spelled ‘Cees’ or ‘Kees’, and pronounced like English ‘case’).

    On the other hand, any of the names like ‘Isaac’ or ‘Zachary’ likely to be nickname-abbreviated to ‘Zack’ (or that as a given name) – would, I have been told, among the Dutch end up with a common term of abuse referring to a certain part of the male anatomy.

    If a different though related part of the male anatomy might be problematical in the U.S. for someone named ‘Richard’ or ‘Peter’, it could, by contrast, be that in England for someone named ‘William’ or ‘John Thomas’.

    With either the best, or the most pusillanimous, will in the world, one cannot foresee all sorts of cross-cultural pitfalls for the possible future traveller, in giving him or her a name.

    Another question occurs to me with reference to a name shared by more than one saint: are there different traditions as to a name referring to one and only one saint in the first place, or, to various saints of the same name?

  62. Mike says:

    Yes, he’s already read it, and loves it!!

  63. PostCatholic says:

    “Sir Jasper Finch-Farrowmere?” said Wilfred.
    “ffinch-ffarrowmere,” corrected the visitor, his sensitive ears detecting the capital letters.

  64. MissOH says:

    I see nothing wrong with the more atypical saints names for several reason already mentioned and I see no reason to stick to “safe” saints names though those are quite nice also. (I say this as a woman with a first and middle name that tends to scream “nun’s name” to most people though I was born and raised in a protestant family).

    It is a chance to witness regarding the life of the saint. It also satisfies the current trend for your child to have a meaningful name without resorting to made up names or the uses of random cities or nouns to name your child. My husband and I used to joke about the fact that the made up name (based on using parts of the parents names) for our child could be Ma’ron- (change the first a to an o- shudder).

    I knew a woman who was raised in Poland and her name was unusual because the tradition was the child’s first name was named for one of the saints whose feast day was the day of their birth.
    Regarding the issue of the yearning for a unique name, I was talking about this issue with other mom’s of young children. One woman had a theory that you won’t see many strong name trends anymore because, due to the internet, people have access to a lot of information on popular and name trends so if parents to be see a name is trending high, they will avoid it. In other words, no more large Jennifer cohorts as people will stop using a name for a while as they don’t want their child to be one of numerous children with the same name and age.

  65. JohnW says:

    My new grandduaghter’s name is Mary Grace Katherine. I think Mary Grace is awsome.

  66. jesusthroughmary says:

    stacy_cook says:
    3 March 2011 at 4:15 pm

    “Personally, I think there’s too few boys named Bonaventure.”

    I have one.

  67. jesusthroughmary says:

    “But I like the idea of being like everyone else, and yet totally belonging to Christ. That way, Catholic or not, they can’t say, man, those devout people are strange.”

    When have devout people ever “been like everyone else”? That doesn’t seem possible – or desirable. Conformity is not one of the fruits of the Spirit.

  68. lizfromFL says:

    I think you can select a saint name without having something very difficult. I chose Max Vincent and Shane Joseph. I wanted to name John but Dh was a no-go on that one- I read that Shane is an Irish derivative of John, so there we go. My personal preference are shorter names, easy-ish to spell. But really I think you should go with a saint name that has meaning to you – regardless of how common or uncommon. If you really have a devotion to St. Polycarp, go for it!

  69. irishgirl says:

    When I was born, my father wanted to name me ‘Michelle’, because my twin sister was named ‘Patricia’ (Pat and Mike, get it?). He was overruled by my mother, and I got my name because of the Germans’ devotion to St. Barbara (Mom was from Germany).
    albinus1 @ 5:24-re your post about nursing home resident names in the future. I had the same thought! It’s going to look rather weird with all the ‘cutesy’ names that parents give their kids today!
    Give me an honest-to-goodness down-to-earth Saint’s name any day!

  70. Agnes of Prague says:

    I first encountered the name ‘Cunegonde’ while reading Candide for French class. The character of that name has a really unpleasant story and the name had already failed to please the ear, so it has unpleasant associations for me.

    I work with a Polish-American called Kinga. At first I couldn’t place her accent and for some reason I had a vague idea she was Thai. Then one day I looked up her named idly and saw that it was short for Cunegonde. I must say that to me, in the English language neither the short nor the long form rolls well off the tongue.

  71. Centristian says:

    The mother of the new bishop-elect, below, was surely no fan of “frothy nothing” names…

    [From: Vatican Information Service – English
    Subject: VISnews 110301
    To: “‘VISnews – eng'”
    Date: Tuesday, March 1, 2011, 5:53 AM]

    “- Fr. Jihad Battah, protosincellus (vicar general) of the archieparchy of Damascus of the Syrians, Syria, as bishop of the Syrian-Catholic Patriarchal Curia. The bishop-elect was born in Damascus in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1991.”

    I’m not sure that qualifies as “meat and potatoes”, however. It certainly makes an interesting name for a bishop, though.

  72. Supertradmum says:

    If I had had a second son, he would have been Anselm. There are so few named after this great saint, for whom I have a special fondness, for, besides being the Father of Scholasticism, he rescued the seminaries by introducing classical education into the curriculum . We need another Anselm.

  73. Katherine says:

    Ack!! My husband wanted “Cunegonde” but we settled on Mechtilde instead. If we ever have twins, a boy and girl, he’d like to name them “Polycarp” and “Polly Esther.” One pet peeve I have about choosing names is those who pair ethnic first names with surnames that just don’t sound right. You know – like, Jacinta Berstein or Xavier O’Reilly or Seamus Rodriguez or Isabella Narimatsu. And there are too many Margaret Mary’s – at least among Catholic homeschoolers.

  74. Daniel Latinus says:

    One of our sons middle name is Ransom. It’s a first name from a southern ancestor on his mother’s side. We’re not Southern sympathizers, but we liked the Christological meaning, and went with it. Turns out, it suits him perfectly. Plus his first name, an OT one, is rich in history, and not weird.

    Calls to mind our Lady of Ransom, Patroness of the Mercedarian Order (that ransomed captives from the Moslems in the Middle Ages), and who is invoked as a Patroness of the return of England to the Catholic Faith.


  75. babochka69 says:

    My children always have an “in utero” name, until we find out the gender. I let my husband get his weird tendencies out with that. Our most recent baby, for example, was Polycarp. When we discovered he was a boy, I wanted to name him Damian, but I hesitated greatly because of certain societal connotations. (Count on Hollywood to ruin a great name.) Anyway, I was undecided up until the day before his birth, but anytime I tried to come up with another name, Damian called me back. Finally, five days before my scheduled c-section, my doctor called to see if she could schedule it two days earlier, on November 1. I looked at my calendar, and there it was. On the Eastern calendar, November 1 is the feat of Sts. Cosmas and Damian. We just pray that his generation won’t have any clue about the movie, and it does seem to be that the under-30 generation doesn’t have the associations with the name that those of us over 40 have.

  76. Alice says:

    My godson’s middle name is Anselm because he was born on St. Anselm’ s day.

  77. rakesvines says:

    @q7swallows : We had 3 miscarriages and I try to keep them in mind. However, I just remember them on how or where they died e.g. found with no heartbeat during sonogram, in hospital & in toilet. They were so young that we don’t even know their sex, so I don’t know how to name them. I also wonder what their bodily state will be during the Resurrection because they never grew beyond the fetal stage. Can they have the adult bodies that they would have had? I have 5 living children now, so I focus on them. But I have not forgotten the other 3. It will be a pleasant surprize to meet them in heaven.

  78. albinus1 says:

    One advantage of having a saint’s name is that you can use your name day as an excuse to party, in the Catholic European tradition.

    Mine was this past Tuesday — St. Davy’s Day. My parents still make a point of remembering my sister’s and my saints’ days.

    When I was little and my parents told me that my patron saint was St. David, patron of Wales, I had a mental picture of St. David, in a boat, preaching to the whales. ;-)

    A name that has been passed through several generations on my father’s side of the family is Urban. My great-grandfather was Urban Vincent; my grandfather’s oldest brother, and his son and grandson, were all Joseph Urban.

  79. ReginaMarie says:

    We don’t know the gender of the baby we lost either, as the child was only about 11-12 weeks. We chose the child’s name (Simeon Zita) based on the Saint’s Feast Day (from both the Eastern Catholic & Roman Catholic liturgical calendars) whom it was when we believed the child died.

  80. Re: “Xavier O’Reilly” as an ethnic mismatch — Ack! Have you no feeling for Irish-American heritage? Do you have any idea just how many Irish-American men have been named “Francis Xavier O’X” or “F.X. McY”? If that’s not an Irish name by now, I can’t think when it would be!

    I do feel for your wish for names not to be laughable. But Catholicism has been international from the beginning, and Spanish/Portuguese names are quite naturally prominent among Japanese and other Far East Catholic groups. Anywhere Jesuits go, you’ll see a lot of Jesuit saints’ names, and nobody will be too worried about Basque and Spanish and French names being out of place. Moreover, there’s no reason why names from the mother’s side of the family should be barred just because she’s a different ethnicity from the father’s surname. Compatibility of names is something to think about, just like all the other factors, yes. But every name and surname in the US is an American name as soon as it appears and English is a mongrel, word-stealing tongue by nature. People will live with it. :)

  81. Mike says:

    “”When have devout people ever “been like everyone else”? ”

    Judas has to point Our Lord out to the temple guards when they arrested him. Ergo-he blended in, did’t look “unusual”.

    I am not talking about being like “everyone else” literally. There should be vital, huge differences, ie, family size, ethos, entertainment, etc. But we shouldn’t, in my view, strive to be different as merely shock value, or even in order to evangelize. Our non-conformity with the world must be at the core of who we are. And yes, we can still watch hockey, or talk about the latest movie.

  82. Mike says:

    Yes, Our Lady of Ransom is super cool.

  83. rinkevichjm says:

    Today’s saint has the native name of Kazimieras (for girls it’d be Kazimierel?)

  84. Supertradmum says:

    Our “in uteros” were called “Bruce, just to keep it simple” a la Monty Python. And, the one lost I named Joanna Christina, after the Evangelist Jesus loved and after Christ. There is reference to the name Joanna in Scripture, Lk 8:3. I am glad to see above at least Anselm has been used as a second name. What a tremendous saint…

    I had a friend in college named Monsie, after Our Lady of Montserrat. And, a friend named Pillar, after Our Lady of Saragossa,, Our Lady of the Pillar, and another friend called Saragossa, after the same devotion to Mary. She was called Sara for short, but was really Saragossa. I loved all those names. The girls were from South American countries.

  85. Supertradmum says:

    I apologize, Pillar’s name was spelled Pilar, the Spanish version.

  86. Raymond says:

    When I was a school teacher in Spain, I was amazed at how so many names–mainly of Basque or Catalan origins–never made it to their old colonies in Latin America and the Philippines. Names like: Arantxa, Nuria, Aitor, Imanol, Olatz, Nerea, Arrate, Ainhoa, Itziar, Edurne, Mikel, Leire, etc.

  87. bookworm says:

    Why not also consider names that evoke an attribute of God, Mary, or of several saints?

    A favorite musician of my husband and I is the Greek composer Vangelis (best known for the “Chariots of Fire” soundtrack). Shortly after we met, I discovered that Vangelis’ real name is Evangelis Papathannasiou. Evangelis is obviously the same Greek word from which we get “evangelism” or the term “evangelists” for the writers of the Gospels. If we had ever had a son, I would like to have named him Evangelis, and shortened it to the more typical-sounding Evan for everyday use.

    Also, had I had more than one girl, I would have liked to have named the second one Gianna, not only in honor of St. Gianna Molla but also abortion survivor Gianna Jessen, whom I have met twice. Although the “other” Gianna is not a Catholic, she is a great LIVING role model for pro-lifers and all young women.

  88. AnAmericanMother says:

    I had the same association, that name is utterly spoiled for me. My parents had the version illustrated by Rockwell Kent. I had the run of the bookshelves and read a lot of inappropriate stuff at an early age. This was not all bad – I never ran wild as a teenager because I had read about all the nasty consequences – but certainly not all good.

  89. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    I met a librarian name Pilar Shaker; stylites beware!

    I named my new son Christian. He’s seven weeks old.

  90. mrsmontoya says:

    It is too late to act on your suggestion, but I offer this as compensation, the names of our three children (all girls): First daughter is Rachel, after myself and the Matriarch, our second is Gabriella, feminine form of the angel Gabriel, and the third is Teresa, after St. Teresa of Avila.

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