Joseph Miles — 1 week old
Craig and I spent a lot of time praying and thinking of a name for Joseph. We discussed lots of names and went back and forth between 3-4 names before deciding on Joseph. We had a feeling we wouldn’t decide up until right around when he was born depending on what day he was born.
In April, Fran gifted us with a name consultation with Kate at sanctanomina.net. We were so excited to receive this and to hear what she had to say. I gave her a list of names of our current children, names we had been considering, names we wouldn’t use for whatever reason, and names of saints we possibly wanted to honor in a name.
Here is Kate’s response:
“I was most struck by the last part of your email, where you listed the saints you love: Mary, St. Josemaria Escriva, St. Joseph, and St. John Paul II. Specifically, my mind started clicking over St. Josemaria and how to work with that. Josemaria is a combination of Jose and Maria, which of course are Joseph and Mary in Spanish—and you have Joseph and Mary on the list of saints you love! So my first—and heartiest—suggestion would be for you to name your little guy Joseph (you had Joseph in the list of names you like anyway!), which covers St. Joseph and could cover St. Josemaria as well, but especially if you make the middle name something to do with Mary. Possibilities include:
- Joseph Mario or Joseph Mariano—neither Mario nor Mariano are etymologically related to Mary, but they’ve both been used for a long time as a male form of Mary.
- Joseph Miles—I don’t know if you’ve come across any of the many many many (!) times I’ve tried to push Miles on expectant parents, but I love so much that it’s got traditional usage in Ireland as an anglicization of the old Irish name Maolmhuire, which means, literally, “servant of the Virgin Mary.”
- Joseph Mercer—one of my name books (Oxford Dictionary of First Names by Hanks, Hardcastle, and Hodges) says that Mercer (a last name derived from the Old French for “trader”—mercier) “may sometimes also have been chosen as a kind of male equivalent of mercy,” which would be really cool because it could be a nod to Our Lady of Mercy—in keeping with trying to come up with a combo that mirrors Josemaria—and it can also be a nod to the Divine Mercy pope, JP2, which would work in all your favorite saints!
- Joseph Marion—you could totally channel John Wayne—who was born Marion Robert Morrison—by using Marion as a middle name!
- Joseph Maria—this would be the most explicit way to honor St. Josemaria in English. Mary/Marie/Maria as a middle name for boys used to be a traditional practice, especially in Europe, but I’ve seen hardcore Catholic parents do so recently too. I’ve love for that tradition to come back!
- Joseph Marriot(t) or Joseph Murray—both Marriot(t) and Murray have ties to Our Lady: Marriot(t) is an English surname derived from an old diminutive of Mary (Mary-ot), and Murray comes from the Irish Mac Giolla Mhuire (son of the servant of Mary), which is anglicized as Kilmurray, Kilmary, Kilmurry, and MacElmurry. Murray is the “Mary” part and has become a surname in its own right.
Those are my ideas for how you can incorporate your favorite saints into your son’s name, and Joseph was actually listed as a style match for Henry in the Baby Name Wizard book (which, as you may know, I almost always use in my consultations as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity), so I think it’s a really great option for you.
As for the other names on your list, I love them all—your list looks very similar to my own in case I’m ever blessed with more boys!
You have a really great list and great ideas, and I think the Joseph M. option is amazing and perfect, but of course I can always come up with more! 😀 Based on my research in the BNW using the names on your list and Henry’s name, what would you think of:
(1) Edmund/Edmond or Edward
Edward’s actually a style match for Henry, Joseph, William, and George; Edmund for Benedict; and Edmond for Conrad—all great, saintly names! St. Edmund Campion’s awesome, as is St. Edward the Confessor. They all remind me a bit of Benedict, because I’ve seen Ned as a nickname for Benedict, and Ned is also a traditional nickname for the Ed- names. I know a little Eddie too, which is really cute, and Ted is also a traditional nickname for Edward.
Speaking of Ted (and Ned and Ed), Theodore—which can be nicked Ted—was another good match for your style. It has that sort of Brit feel that I get from Henry, and Ted(dy)’s super cute; Theo’s another great option. Theodore also has the awesome meaning “gift of God.”
Thomas was a style match for Joseph, Stephen, Peter, William, Michael, and James! While Tommy’s a cute nickname, most of the little Thomases I know go by the full Thomas (including my oldest). Lots of good patrons to choose from too! St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Thomas More are two favorites of my family.
Charles is another traditional, gentlemanly name like the ones on your list, with an added bit of sparkle: It’s the English version of John Paul II’s birth name (Karol). I’ve known many little ones named Charles in honor of JP2 (including my youngest!), so this could be a way you nod to him without using John Paul itself (since John Paul wasn’t on your list, I assume you don’t care for it). As a slight tangent, I find Benedict on your list to be somewhat difficult to pair a middle name with, because there are so many initials that are potentially problematic, but BC is a fine pairing, so I really love the combo Benedict Charles. Two awesome popes in one!
My last idea for you is Oliver, a match for Henry, Simon, and Peter. I love Oliver! St. Oliver Plunkett is a great patron, and it can also be a nod to Our Lady of Olives (I love Marian names for boys!). Henry and Oliver are a darling set of brothers!”
Super fun! This gave us lots to think about in regards to Joseph’s name. When I sent the consultation to Craig, he immediately responded, “Joseph Miles”. That was the name that stood out to me, too. We still didn’t decide, though, until the night before our baby was born.
When we found out I was going to be induced on the Assumption of Mary, it helped us to decide on the name Joseph Miles. We felt we were honoring Mary, St. Joseph, and St. Josemaria Escriva. We feel as though they are all great patrons for our son and great role models for him to learn from, to intercede for him, and to be like. We like the meaning of the names Joseph and Miles. Joseph is also a family name.