Unmistakably Catholic Girl Names

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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
"Unmistakably Catholic Girls Names" by Kate Towne (CatholicMom.com)

Attributed to Joshua Benoliel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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
"Unmistakably Catholic Girls Names" by Kate Towne (CatholicMom.com)

By Celine Martin (Sor Genoveva de la Santa Faz) (Archivos del Carmelo de Lisieux) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

"Unmistakably Catholic Girls Names" by Kate Towne (CatholicMom.com)

By abbé P. Bernadou [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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

Copyright 2017 Katherine Morna Towne

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About Author

Kate is a writer, wife to a really good man, and mama to their six boys ages 3 to 13. She shares her thoughts on Catholic baby naming at Sancta Nomina.

8 Comments

  1. How fun to read your listings and chuckle at how “culturated” they sound to folks of my age…65+!
    Being brought up in the Pre-Vatican II Church and living for a very long time in the Post-Vatican II Church, it brought me to a comfort zone…how interesting!
    Thank you, as always, Kate, for your always “food for thought” musings!

  2. It may be a cultural thing,, but these names are unmistakebly catholic where I live (south of the Netherlands)

    Stella (as for Stella Maris)
    Rosa – Rose
    Ursula
    Angela
    Virginia – Virginie
    Barbara
    Paula
    Theodora
    Veronica

  3. Siena (Catherine of Siena)
    Marian
    Salette
    Asuncion (assumption in Spanish)
    Mercy
    Salome
    Annunciata (annunciation in Spanish)
    Concepcion (conception in Spanish)
    Gloria
    Beata
    Pieta

  4. We would add Joan,Patricia,Ann,Marion,Collette, Agnes,Agatha,Ruth,Naomi,and Helen. Thanks for the list.
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

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