Naming After Fr. Solanus Casey

"Naming after Solanus Casey" by Kate Towne (

By Mahatma Gandhi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Venerable Solanus Casey is set to be beatified on November 18 in Detroit, and if social media is to be believed, he’s got a lot of devotees! So many people love this simple, holy man!

My family believes my sister’s life is a miracle attributed to Ven. Solanus Casey’s intercession. In fact, my mom worked with the doctor who cared for my sister when she was in the NICU and our bishop to compile all the info from her traumatic birth thirty-three years ago, and submitted it to the Vice-Postulators for the Cause of Fr. Solanus’ canonization. Though a different miracle was the one recognized by Pope Francis as evidence for Fr. Solanus’ beatification, my sister has been invited to participate in the Beatification Mass, and we continue to thank God for Fr. Solanus’ intercession. (If you’d like to read more about my sister and her relationship with Fr. Solanus, my diocesan paper recently ran a story on her: Once stillborn, local woman will take part in beatification of priest who may have saved her.)

"Naming after Solanus Casey" by Kate Towne (

Molly Towne praying at the tomb of Fr. Solanus Casey. Photo by Stephen E. Towne. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

In keeping with his popularity, many people have asked me for ideas on how to name their babies after Fr. Solanus (Solanus is a heavy name, after all!). Between my own brainstorming and those of my readers, I’m happy to offer this list of ideas:

Bernard or Bernadette
Fr. Solanus’ birth name was Bernard, which provides a great way to name a boy after him. (He went by Barney; Bernie and Ben are other possible nicknames for Bernard.) Bernadette is a feminine variant of Bernard, which would make a nice double honor—Fr. Solanus and St. Bernadette!

He’s entombed at the Father Solanus Casey Center at the St. Bonaventure Monastery, where he worked as porter.

Fr. Solanus’ surname has traditionally been used more for boys, but has good usage for girls as well.

Francis or Frances/Francesca
His birth name was Bernard Francis Casey; Solanus was bestowed in honor of St. Francis Solano; and he was a Franciscan Capuchin. The Francis names are a great way to honor Fr. Solanus!

Ven. Solanus worked as a porter, or doorkeeper, at St. Bonaventure Monastery, and as such he “met thousands of people from every age and walk of life. He earned recognition as “The Doorkeeper.” He was always ready to listen to anyone at any time, day or night … and to encourage everyone to ‘thank God ahead of time’.” (source: Solanus Casey Center)

Solanus, Solano, or Solana
Finally, I wouldn’t write Solanus off right away—the middle name spot is a great place for names that are tricky. Sometimes a good nickname is all that’s needed, and I think Sonny is a great nickname for Solanus! You could also consider Solano, after St. Francis Solano, which is where Fr. Solanus got his religious name, and for a girl, one of my readers considered Solana for a daughter in his honor. Lovely!

Do you have a devotion to Fr. Solanus Casey? Have you named a child after him using one of the names on this list, or would you? Do you have other ideas of how to honor this holy man by name?

Copyright 2017 Katherine Morna Towne


About Author

Kate is a writer, wife to a really good man, and mama to their seven boys ages 1 to 15. She shares her thoughts on Catholic baby naming at Sancta Nomina, and her first book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018) can be found at and Amazon.


  1. HE is one of my absolutely favorite members of my #SaintPosse a Few Months ago I received an incredible favor from him regarding my eczema (the very disease that would eventually take his life). IF I was not an ole biddy … I would TOTALLY be having a Solanus Gingras running around <3

  2. My second-in-line girl’s middle name (should I ever have daughters) is Solenne. I fell in love with it years ago, and only recently have developed a devotion to Blsd Solanus (thanks in part to your championing of his case!). So now it would definitely be a mini-dedication to him!!

    • “should I ever have daughters” — I hear ya! 😀 I love Solenne, and I never thought of it as a nod to Fr. Solanus, but it definitely can be! Great idea!

  3. I’m from his archdiocese, and have heard so many dozens of stories about his intercession (including an urban legend involving a cheap bottle of beer…?). I’ll have to keep these names in mind when the inevitable boy #3 comes along.

  4. Our surname is Casey, and our 9th child was born August 16, 2017 and we named him Isaac Solanus Casey. This year, I found out on my birthday that Fr. Solanus’ feast day is the same day, July 30th. Blessings. Francis Casey

    • Congratulations on your Isaac Solanus! What a great name, and how cool that Casey is your surname! It’s a surname in my family tree as well, which is a fun connection to Bl. Solanus. And how great that your birthday is the same day as his feast! My mom’s birthday is also July 30, and she feels so blessed that she now shares it with Bl. Solanus’ feast. Thank you for commenting!

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