St. Hailey?

This one isn’t on the list, but it’s such a popular girl’s name that I have to try!

Well, we’ll go to the English martyrs again. There’s no Hailey, Haley, or Halley, but there is Father John Haile, who was martyred on May 4, 1535. I’m pretty sure that’s all part of the Hale/Hall surname group, so hopefully Father Haile will look after the Haileys of this world.

I’ll do a quick rundown on some other popular girls’ names:

Kaitlyn and Caitlin are really forms of Kathleen (St. Catherine).

Madeline is St. Mary Magdalene (the French is Madeleine).

Kaylee is a bit more problematic. Ceilidh is just the Irish for “party”. But if you take the name as literally meaning Kay + Lee, Kay is another form of Catherine. Ditto for Kayla. Kylie… that I can’t find anything for. Unless you count it as standing for the Kyles of Bute, in which case you can pick among such popular Bute saints as Ss. Brendan, Ronan, Michael, and Cathan.

(UPDATE: Kylie is an aboriginal Australian synonym for “boomerang”. However, I do have some info on saints’ names that go with Kyle.)

Naming children with surnames instead of Christian names is in general problematic; you end up having to give them a middle name for a Christian name. Unless you can find some handy English martyrs with the right last names, I guess. (I like presidents as much as anyone, but I still don’t get the thing with Taylor and Tyler. You’re naming your kids “a person who sews up men’s clothes” and “a person who lays tiles”.) The patron saint of tailors is St. Homobonus Tucenghi, a medieval merchant known for his cheerfulness and virtue among the good people of Cremona, who petitioned for his canonization after his death (feastday: Nov. 13). The patron saint of all members of the building trade, including tilers, is St. Stephen, the first martyr.

“Riley” is proclaiming your kid a descendant of Raghallach. If she were a descendant of Raghallach, her family patron saint would be St. Maedoc, but it seems a bit hard to go that far from a baptismal name! A Mackenzie is at least associating herself with St. Kenneth in a more direct way. Morgans go under the martyred Welsh priest Venerable Edward Morgan, who was hassled about being too cheerful on the Tyburn scaffold. The martyr replied, “Why should anyone be offended at my going to heaven cheerfully? For God loves a cheerful giver.”

Alyssa, Alicia, Alison, and Alice ultimately come from Adelaide, and there’s a couple different St. Adelaides (one a Holy Roman Empire one), as well as a St. Alix. There are a couple of different Ss. Alexis, though I hate to break it to you — Alexis throughout history was a male name! Not until Dynasty came out did that change.

Grace and Sophia are virtue names, and Zoe and Chloe are both ancient and venerable saints’ names for Christians.

Megan is a Welsh diminutive of Margaret.

Jordans are looked after by Blessed Jordan of Saxony (another man’s name!).

Laurens are covered by the numerous St. Lauras: a widowed abbess martyred by the Moors in boiling lead in Spain, a Italian martyr from Roman times, and a couple of South American religious.

Briannas are under Blessed Brian Lacey, one of the London Martyrs of 1591.

(UPDATE: There is a St. Brienna! (Bryene or Bruene in Greek, but Brienne or Briena or Brienna in Latin.) Her feast day is June 15, and she is listed as being an abbess in Sivapolis/Sibapolis, close to Nisibis. Despite her advanced age, she was on fire for martyrdom and longed to follow her niece St. Febronia’s example of martyrdom, but she ended up dying of natural causes two years later. So her name doesn’t derive from Brian at all, but she’s a great patron saint if you don’t want a guy as patron.)

Btw, there is a St. Bailey — Venerable Lawrence Bailey, who was executed in Lancaster on Sept. 16, 1605. And for those romance novelists among us who insist on naming their brainchildren “Tempest”, the Jesuit Nicholas Tempest was sent to the scaffold. (But I’m not clear on his official status.)

And for Amy — Hercules Welborn was sent to prison and put in chains.



Filed under Church, History, Saint Names

2 responses to “St. Hailey?

  1. Joy

    So what would my patron saint be?

  2. Your patron saint is a virtue, which is to say an aspect of God. So God is your patron saint!

    If you wanted some others, it looks like there are lots of different Greek words for “joy” which wound up in the names of various Greek martyrs and saints. The problem is, I don’t know enough Greek to tell with confidence if that’s what their names really mean. But “chara” is joy (not to be confused with ‘charis’, grace, though I think it’s from the same root), and so is “gethes”.

    But the Latin is a lot easier, though I forgot the other night to look for all the synonyms. There’s the martyr St. Gaudentia, of course (for whom the Palio-winning mare Gaudenzia was named), and the St. Adalbert’s bishop friend St. Gaudentius, and the unlucky North African bishop St. Gaudiosus. And the French bishop, St. Laetus. And of course St. Hilarius (Hilary) of Poitiers who’s one of the Fathers, and all the other Sts. Hilary, and St. Hilaria who got burned alive on the Ostian Way.

    So you’ve got plenty of saints to choose from. 🙂

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