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16 Surprising Saints Names for Babies

October 29, 2019 Linda Rosenkrantz

by Linda Rosenkrantz

November 1st being All Saints Day, this seems like a propitious moment to look for some saints names for babies inspiration. There are some of those appellations that would be familiar to all of us, from St. Francis to St. John to Santa Maria. But there are others whose names don’t conjure up their religiosity quite so directly. Here are 16 spiritual but stylish—and often somewhat surprising—names for baby girls and boys.

SURPRISING SAINTS NAMES FOR BABIES: GIRLS

CALLIOPEThis boldly creative, musical name (it means “beautiful voice”) entered the US Top 1000 in 2016 and is now at #807. Patricia Arquette used it as one of her daughter Harlow’s middle names and it’s been heard on a number of TV shows.

INGRIDA Scandinavian import, long associated with the luminous Swedish-born superstar Ingrid Bergman, that is now just inside the US Top 1000 and #15 in Norway.

LELIAOne of the loveliest of the double-L names now so trendy, Lelia is a variation of an ancient Roman name, and the title of a popular 1833 romantic novel by George Sand. It was in the Top 100 a century ago and we think it deserves a place in the modern world.

ODILEFamiliar as the name of a Swan Lake twin, Odile has a smooth, sensuous, balletic charm. The 8th century French Saint Odile is the patron of Alsace.

SOLANGEThis soft, sophisticated French name is much more usable than that of Ms. Knowles’ older sister Beyoncé. The martyred Saint Solange is, among other things, the patron saint of rain.

VERENAA multi-cultural name meaning ‘integrity’, Verena is an underused option that would make a distinctive alternative to Serena.

XENIAThis intriguing X name went from saint’s name to that of a Bond girl, with ties to Russian royalty in-between. Xenia is also the Greek word for the concept of hospitality.

ZENOBIAA Greek name with ties to a beautiful and brainy ancient queen and with lots of literary cred. Another noteworthy name that was popular a century ago.

SURPRISING SAINTS NAMES FOR BABIES: BOYS

AMBROSEAn appealing, rosy name more often heard at one time in the UK, Ambrose has a distinguished history related to an early Christian doctor and a great Latin teacher of Christianity. In 1961, Pope John XXII designated Ambrose the patron saint of educational TV.

CASSIANThere have been several St. Cassians, including a patron of schoolteachers; Cassian Andor is a character in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Count this as an uninitiated member of the Cassius/Caspian club.

LEANDERA leonine name with considerable potential, Leander figures in Greek legend and in contemporary times was heard on The Wire and Boardwalk Empire.

LORCANLorcan O’Toole is the patron saint of Dublin and logical namesake of Peter O’Toole’s son Lorcan. Harry Potter’s Luna Lovegood used it for one of her twins. Easy to spell and pronounce, Lorcan is a logical future Irish fave.

MALACHYA buoyant Irish saint name—that of a reformer who reorganized the church in Ireland. Irish actor CillianPeaky Blinders’ Murphy named his son Malachy in 2005.

MALOSixth century St. Malo founded the charming Breton port town that bears his name and is also a patron saint of lost property.  Malo is a trendy Top 100 name in France and could make a cool continental alternative to Milo here.

REMI/REMY—This French saint name is bounding up the US charts, especially in the Remy spelling, which is now #425. Many baby namers fell in love with it via the charming chef creature (rat) in Pixar’s animated 2007 Ratatouille. 

RUFUSThere are several Saint Rufuses, a name that began as a nickname for the redheaded King William. Associated currently with singer Rufus Wainwright, the charmingly rumpled Rufus also appears in Harry Potter and Gossip Girl. It ranks in the UK, but not yet in the US.

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond Satran of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. In addition to contributing stories on trends and celebrity naming, she guides the editorial content and manages the Nameberry Twitter and Facebook accounts. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.

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