Picking a name for your baby isn't always easy, and the options for unique names seem to keep growing. Yet many people prefer traditional over modern. While it's customary to name your baby after a relative, it's also quite common to name your baby after a saint.
Rooted in Tradition
Back in the day, if you were Catholic, you were expected to name your baby after a saint. Subsequently, there were many Michaels, Marys, Josephs, and Johns in our grade school classrooms. Over the years, the custom has died down as more people are now seeking the creative and unique name. Many moms- and dads-to-be want their child to be the only one if their class with their name, so unusual spellings and pronunciations are now the norm.
However, although the requirement of Catholic families to name a baby after a saint is now obsolete, many people are looking to choose a name with real meaning. For some religious people of various faiths, the way to do this is to select a saint's name.
It's impossible to put a number on exactly how many saints there are, but some estimates show that there are now 10,000+ saints. Some of the most popular are:
St. Anthony of Padua
St. Dominic de Guzman
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Paul of Tarsus
St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Patrick of Ireland
Goodbye Michael and Mary
While saints' names are still used regularly, the types of names have changed. The old school Peter and Paul have mostly gone by the wayside to make room for the more obscure Ephrem and Julian. This selection technique offers a unique yet traditional moniker with religious meaning behind it.
In addition, the idea of naming a baby after a saint has not been required by Catholic churches for many years which may also lend to its appeal. It has been out of practice for so long, it may well be in the 'everything old is new again' category.
Meaning Behind the Name
Not only do parents-to-be want an aesthetically pleasing name that sounds nice and looks good on a name tag, but many people intentionally search to find names that have deep meaning and saints' names easily lend themselves to that.
There are Patron saints of many things, such as nations, places, crafts, activities, classes, and more. For example, St. Francis is the patron saint of animals, St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost items, St. Christopher is the saint of protection, and St. Gerard is the patron saint of pregnant women. Consequently, Gerard is a popular name among moms who have had difficult pregnancies or miscarriages.
Check out this calculator to see popular saints' feast days, which saints' feast days fall within your due date month, and learn what that saint is known for!