Puritan-inspired Names for Catholic Babies

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"Puritan-inspired Names for Thanksgiving Babies" by Kate Towne (CatholicMom.com)

By Jean Leon Gerome Ferris – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress‘s Prints and Photographs divisionunder the digital ID cph.3g04961.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information., Public Domain, Link

When I think of Pilgrim names, I think of names like William, Susanna, Myles, Elizabeth, Rose, and Jasper — names of actual passengers on the Mayflower, and the kinds of names that those who like the Pilgrim vibe tend to consider when naming their children.

Interestingly, the Mayflower passengers also included Desire, Humility, Remember, Love, and Resolved—but those are the kinds of names that come to mind when I think of Puritan Names,  and they’re the kinds of names that I don’t see parents considering too often for their children.

Just like Pilgrims and Puritans weren’t exactly the same, their naming reputations aren’t exactly the same either, at least in my mind. Both seem to enjoy virtue or “meaning” names and biblical names, but the Puritan naming style seems to embrace the strangest of the names in these veins.

Praise-God Barebone/Barton, by George Perfect Harding, etching, late 18th century, Wkiimedia Commons, PD

Examples of real names borne by Puritans include:

Be Faithful
Desire
Fight the Good Fight of Faith
God Reward
Humiliation
Humility
If-Jesus-Christ-Had-Not-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned (middle name)
Increase
Kill Sin
Love
Mahershalalhasbaz (mentioned in Isaiah 8:1,3)
Make Peace
Maybe
Mortifie
Notwithstanding
Praise-God
Remember
Story
Truelove
Wrestling

"Puritan-inspired Names for Thanksgiving Babies" by Kate Towne (CatholicMom.com)

Nicholas If-Jesus-Christ-Had-Not-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barbon, By Unknown“Nicholas Barbon”. Insurance Hall of Fame, Public Domain, Link

(Those phrase-names are amazing! One Puritan minister is quoted as saying that “a good name is a thread tyed about the finger, to make us mindful of the errand we came into the world to do for our master.” These names literally achieve that!)

As I was reading through those names, however, I was struck by the fact that there are a lot of names loved by Catholics that would fit right in here, with one notable difference: ours are in (or derived from) languages other than English. Consider:

Adeodatus (“given by God”)
Amadeus (“love of God”)
Beatrix (“she who blesses, makes happy, delights”)
Benedict (“blessed”)
Boniface (“good fate”)
Caeli (“of heaven”; see the Marian title Regina Caeli [Queen of Heaven])
Charis (“grace, kindness,” contained in “Eucharist”)
Dolores (“sorrows”; see the Marian title Nuestra Señora de los Dolores [Our Lady of Sorrows])
Felicity (“happiness”)
Immaculata (“immaculate”; see the Marian title Maria Immaculata [Mary Immaculate])
Laetitia (“joy”; see the Marian title Causa Nostrae Laetitiae [Cause of Our Joy])
Pax (“peace”; the Franciscan motto is Pax et Bonum [Peace and Good])
Regina (“queen”; see various Marian titles such as Regina Caeli [Queen of Heaven], Regina Angelorum [Queen of the Angels], etc.)

"Puritan-inspired Names for Thanksgiving Babies" by Kate Towne (CatholicMom.com)

“Regina Caeli” (Queen of Heaven) By Diego Velázquez[2], Public Domain, Link

Though these names’ meanings might seem somewhat “hidden,” since their meanings are either not commonly known, or because they’ve been used as given names for so long that they feel more “namey” than like dictionary entries, for those who know Latin, perhaps these names come across as similar to the Puritan ones?

It’s an interesting thought! And perhaps a helpful one to parents expecting a Thanksgiving baby who might like to tap into the naming style of the early New England settlers without feeling like Humiliation and Kill Sin are their only options.

Learn more about this topic from these resources:

From the Biblical to the Bizarre: Puritan Names

Pilgrim Names

12 Baby Names Straight from the Mayflower


Copyright 2019 Kate Towne

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About Author

Kate is a writer, wife to a really good man, and mama to their seven boys ages 4 months to 14. 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 ShopMercy.org and Amazon.

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