Most will be familiar, a few others less so, but they all stand the test of time.
If you’re scouring the family tree, flipping through the baby-name books, and coming up short, take a look at these classic saints’ names. They’re all associated with the theme of “mercy.” Some will be familiar, others would be more, shall we say, daring choices.
But in reading about the selfless and merciful acts of these remarkable people of faith, you might be inspired to commemorate their devotion to mercy, and give the gift of their name to your child.
For a little girl you hope will be brave and faithful even in the most difficult of circumstances. Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad (1870–1957) was canonized this year by Pope Francis. A Swedish nurse who converted to Catholicism, she epitomized the concept of mercy through her work to save Jews from the Nazis during the Second World War — many of whom would have certainly perished had it not been for her direct intervention.
Maria or Domenica
For a little girl who will care for others through spiritual and corporal acts of mercy. Maria Domenica Montovani (1892–1934) worked with the gravely ill in her parish in Verona, Italy, from a young age. She co-founded a religious order with Blessed Giuseppe Nascimbeni, the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family.
For a boy who will enlighten the ignorant and uneducated. St. Anthony of Padua (1195–1231) exemplifies the spiritual work of instructing the ignorant. He was a friend of St. Francis of Assisi and was known for his ability to powerfully preach the word of God to young men studying to join the Order of Franciscans.
For a child who will tend to the forgotten and abandoned members of society. Catherine of Siena (1347–1380) touched the lives of many in her short life: from a young age she gave away food, drink and clothing from her household to those more in need of it. She also demonstrated great love and mercy for prisoners, by walking with them to the gallows, and she nursed those struck down by plague.