Category: saints’ names for babies
While the roots of Linda‘s name nerdism are different from mine — you can read her story here— and I’m sure you all have your own stories to tell, which we’d love to hear! — I trace a large part of my fascination with names to my Catholic girlhood.
Most kids back at Immaculate Conception School were dying to know whether the nuns had hair under those veils or what they wore to bed at night, but to me those mysteries paled in comparison to the nuns’ names.
Nuns got to pick new names for themselves when they entered the convent. That itself was appealing enough, but what was really amazing was that their choices were not confined by ethnic background, historical period, or even gender.
The principal of Immaculate Conception, for instance, was named Sister Miriam Gervase, an appellation that had it all going on. Miriam may have been a Mary relative, but it was one used mostly by Jews. unfamiliar in our Irish and Italian Catholic enclave. And Gervase! That may have been a hot name in 6th century Gaul….for guys. But in mid-20th century New Jersey, it really stood out in the world of Gerrys and Jeans.
How would you like a little extra special protection added to the other assets of your baby’s name? Patron saints are guardians over particular aspects of life—they can defend against an illness, or look out for people practicing a certain occupation or other interest. Sometimes these assignments were set centuries ago, others have been made more recently, as in the cases of ecology, advertising, computer technicians and television. Here are some of the most usable and interesting patron saint names, with their special areas of protection.
Adelaide—can be invoked against in-law problems; protects parents of large families, stepparents, widows, abuse victims
Agnes—is a protector of young girls, Girl Scouts
Apollonia—protects against toothaches, and is the patron saint of dentists
There are so many unusual, beautiful, intriguing saints’ names that it’s hard to know where to start when considering them as a source for baby names. The collection that follows are the names of saints with winter feast days, which might be a source of inspiration for choosing the name of your own baby. There are lots more wonderful choices (and saints) where these came from, but among the most intriguing winter saints’ names are:
AMBROSE – Patron saint of candle makers.
ADELARD — A cousin of Charlemagne who became a monk, a devoted gardener, and eventually a powerful abbot.
ANSKAR – Missionary to Scandinavia in the 9th century who tried to ease the harsh conditions of the Viking slave trade.
APOLLONIA – She had all her teeth knocked out for refusing to renounce her faith, and is now the patron saint of dentists.
BASILISSA – Also known as Basilla, this Roman noblewoman was beheaded for her belief in Christianity. She is the patron saint of breast-feeding.
BAVO — Nobleman who gave away all his money and became a hermit. He is the patron saint of the Netherlands.
CAIAN – A Welsh saint who was said to be the son or grandson of a king.