If you’re looking for a Catholic saint-inspired baby name (or a confirmation name), you’ve got seven new saints to choose from:
- Jacques Berthieu (1838-1896) of France.
- Pedro Calungsod (ca.1654-1672) of the Philippines.
- Giovanni Battista Piamarta (1841-1913) of Italy.
- Maria del Monte Carmelo Sallés y Barangueras (1848-1911) of Spain.
- Marianne Cope (1838-1918) of the U.S.
- Kateri Tekakwitha (ca.1656-1680) of the U.S.
- Anna Schäffer (1882-1925) of Germany.
Pope Benedict canonized all seven last Sunday.
The most intriguing name on the list is that of Kateri Tekakwitha, an Algonquin–Mohawk woman who was born in what is now New York state.
The name Kateri is based on her baptismal name, Catherine (which would have been pronounced the French way, as she was baptized by French Canadian Jesuits).
“Kateri” has been on the SSA’s baby name list for decades, starting roughly around the time Kateri Tekakwitha was declared venerable, in early 1943.
In 1980, the year Tekakwitha was beatified, usage of the name Kateri more than tripled:
- 1982: 45 baby girls named Kateri
- 1982: 37 baby girls named Kateri
- 1980: 65 baby girls named Kateri
- 1979: 18 baby girls named Kateri
- 1978: 19 baby girls named Kateri
Every year since, several dozen U.S. baby girls have been named Kateri. Here are the most recent numbers:
- 2011: 43 baby girls named Kateri
- 2010: 29 baby girls named Kateri
- 2009: 29 baby girls named Kateri
- 2008: 35 baby girls named Kateri
- 2007: 48 baby girls named Kateri
Do you think Kateri Tekakwitha’s promotion to sainthood will give her name another upward nudge? If so, how much of a nudge?
Update, 2020: The name was given to 60+ babies for three years straight (2012 to 2014), but the 1980 number is still the overall high-point.