My friend, Patrice, of Spiritual Woman and Catholic Lane requested that I review her brand new, hot off the press, The Catholic Baby Name Book, published by Ave Maria Press. To say I am honored is an understatement.
I have called you by name and you are mine. ~ Isaiah 43:1
So begins the brilliantly researched and thorough reference which is sure to become well loved and dog-eared as it graces the shelves of many an expectant family… And many a family who will enjoy being enlightened by the roots of their children’s names.
Mrs. MacArthur’s in-depth survey of saints’ biographical information at 526 pages and over 10,000 names is intriguing and reads like no other baby name book you have ever perused. This is readily apparent as one initially becomes engrossed in the engaging foreword by Lisa Hendey, of Catholic Mom, which includes a story of her website development as well as thankfulness for the many friends she has gathered along the way AND her personal anecdotes relative to naming.
These thoughts flow beautifully, so much so, that one may feel as if she is sitting at her kitchen table chatting with friends, into Mrs. MacArthur’s “Introduction,” followed by “How to Use this Book,” (a section I positively love for its comprehensive explanation) and eventually to the masterfully compiled list of Catholic names, separated by section into gender.
You will be compelled to keep those pages turning from the boys’ listings of Aaren ~ Zygysundo to the girls’ Aami ~ Zytka, as well as the historical information within the appendices as to Recently Canonized Saints, Top 100 Names (of 2011) and Most Popular Catholic Names By Decade (1960s to 2000s).
Let me give you a glimpse into the listing for “Veronica,” my favorite saint (and my confirmation name), so that you can determine just how intriguing the collection is:
(the name may be that of a saint or virtue or come from the Old or New Testament
(the language of the name’s origin)
(many variations of the name are provided here
and for “Veronica,” there are 33!)
St Veronica Giuliani
(saints with this name)
St Veronica (1st century)
was a woman from Jerusalem who wiped the face of Jesus as He carried the cross on his way to be crucified. The cloth was imprinted with Jesus’s face. According to legend, Veronica later used the cloth to cure Emperor Tiberius of an illness.
Her act of kindness toward Jesus is remembered in the Stations of the Cross.
(Commentary about the life of the most prominent saint with this name)
Mrs. Hendey’s and Mrs. MacArthur’s styles are enchanting… So much so that a reader may feel as if she knows them forever. I am, in fact, honored to count them among my friends, although we have not met (yet) face to face. Yes, I know well the connection which is referenced in the foreword. I know beyond a doubt that many who read this lovely book will feel the same, as well as new friends who will gather through this lovely collection.
Copyright 2013 Christine Mooney