The baby names Teresa and Fatima might see higher usage in 2016 and 2017, respectively, thanks to Catholic influence.
On September 4, 2016, Mother Teresa will officially be declared a saint of the Catholic Church.
Mother Teresa’s religious name honors St. Thérèse de Lisieux, but she opted for the Spanish spelling “Teresa” when she took her religious vows (back in 1931) because another nun in the convent was already using the name “Thérèse.”
Her birth name was Anjezë, an Albanian form of Agnes, which can be traced back to the ancient Greek word hagnos, meaning “pure, chaste.”
Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions seen by three shepherd children (Lúcia, Francisco, and Jacinta) near the town of Fátima, Portugal.
The place name Fátima is based on the Arabic personal name Fatimah, meaning “to wean.”
If the usage of Fatima does rise in the U.S. in 2017, I’ll be curious to see how much of that increase comes from states with large Portuguese populations (like Massachusetts, California, and Rhode Island).
Update, 5/18/2017: The name Teresa did rise in usage, but only slightly, in 2016.
I finished reading The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos earlier this week. On the penultimate page, I spotted:
Floating on a sea of tender feelings, under a brilliant starlit night, he fell in love again: with Ana and Miriam and Verónica and Vívian and Mimi and Beatriz and Rosario and Margarita and Adriana and Graciela and Josefina and Virginia and Minerva and Marta and Alicia and Regina and Violeta and Pilar and Finas and Matilda and Jacinta and Irene and Jolanda and Carmencita and María de la Luz and Eulalia and Conchita and Esmeralda and Vívian and Adela and Irma and Amalia and Dora and Ramona and Vera and Gilda an Rita and Berta and Consuelo and Eloisa and Hilda and Juana and Perpetua and María Rosita and Delmira and Floriana and Inés and Digna and Angélica and Diana and Ascensión and Teresa and Aleida and Manuela and Celia and Emelina and Victoria and Mercedes and…
That’s 58 names. (Vívian’s in there twice, though. The total is 57 if you count Vívian only once.)
I think that’s the most names I’ve ever seen in a single sentence.
Reader Leanne is looking for a name for her baby girl. She says:
Names that have been shortlisted to date are Eliana Heidi and Melanie Jacinta. However, my nieces are Ariana and Stephanie so I would like [a name] that doesn’t sound too similar.
She liked the combination Hayley Melissa at one time as well, but the “-ley” ending doesn’t work with her married name, and she’d like to stay away from an alliterative pairing.
Other favourite names such as “Anneliesa” and “Shay-Lisa” seem to blend awkwardly with [my] surname and almost make it sound like the surname is “Sleazeman”.
That’s not good. Finally, she loves the name Heidi, though she’s “more inclined to use it as a middle name.”
There is German heritage in my husband’s family and whilst it would be nice to reflect that, it isn’t essential.
My first thought was to look for a few feminine-sounding German names. Nadya, Ottilie, Saskia and Tatiana fit the bill, but none of these are as modern-sounding as the names Leanne mentioned, so they may not be of interest.
Other possibilities include: