I did a baby name consultation a while ago for a family who had experienced a renewal of their faith and wanted a Catholic name for their baby girl on the way. Specifically, they wanted “someone to hear her name and just know she’s Catholic.”

I had fun coming up with names that I thought fit this criteria, as there are definitely names that are clearly, obviously Catholic to most people. Certainly there will always be those who just aren't familiar enough with Catholicism and its names to get right away that their daughter’s name is a Catholic name, and in other parts of the world these names might have different associations, but some that I think are pretty well known in the U.S. as predominantly Catholic names include:

  • Benedicta
  • Bernadette
  • Caeli, Coeli
  • Cecilia
  • Immaculata, Immaculee
  • Lourdes
  • Magdalene/Magdalena
  • Maria, Marie
  • Mary
  • Mary+[something]
  • Philomena
  • Regina
  • Rosary
  • Rosemary, Rosemarie
  • Scholastica
  • Therese, T(h)eresa

Others that definitely ARE very Catholic, and almost exclusively so, but might be less likely than those listed above to come across that way, just because of having other associations as well or being unfamiliar, include:

  • Avila
  • Azelie, Zelie
  • Catherine
  • Chiara
  • Clairvaux
  • Clare
  • Elizabeth
  • Evangeline
  • Felicity
  • Frances, Francesca
  • Gemma
  • Genevieve
  • Gianna
  • Grace
  • Jacinta
  • Josephine
  • Karoline (that “K” points right to St. John Paul II)
  • Kateri
  • Lucy, Lucia
  • Margaret
  • Perpetua
  • Pia
  • Vianney

And then certainly there are a million other names that have saintly connections, but are so widely used by Catholics and non-Catholics that they don’t have an exclusively Catholic feel. Some people love that they get to choose their favorite names and not worry that they’re saintly because so many (most?) names that Americans use today can trace back to a saint somehow. But when you want an obviously Catholic-y Catholic name, I think a name from the lists above are your best bet.

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Do you agree with my lists above? What names would you add?

Copyright 2017 Katherine Morna Towne