It's estimated that there are well over 10,000 saints in the Christian faith, and while many share names with each other, that's still an awful lot of inspiration to draw from! What makes saints names so special is that they often have multiple meanings, fascinating (and occasionally gruesome!) stories and mythology, and frequently have specific attributes or places associated with them. And you definitely don't need to be Christian to utilize or appreciate them. They can be used to honor your heritage or ancestry. While everyone knows St Patrick is patron saint of Ireland, fewer might know that it's George who protects Germany, England, Ethiopia and, of course, Georgia. Stephen is patron saint of Hungary, and Andrew of Scotland, Greece and Russia.
It was difficult to cut down 10,000 to just 12, but here is a selection of our favorite saints' names:
Adelaide Adelaide has been growing in popularity among American parents. It's a very melodic German name which means 'noble, nobility', which is fitting, as St. Adelaide was a 10th century empress. She's patron saint of troublesome in-laws, so this might be a good one for reconciliation! She's also associated with large families and princesses: maybe this would make a great choice for your final little princess?! Her feast day is December 16.
Dorothy Dorothy means 'gift from God', and has an old-fashioned charm to it that could see it become popular once again. As a saint's name, Dorothy has an extra added layer of sweetness: St Dorothy is patron of flowers, gardeners, newlyweds, love and… brewers! Her feast day is February 6.
Isidora St Isidora is sometimes unflatteringly named Isidora the Simple, but we really love this exotic and airy name. It's also the feminine form of Isidore, who is patron saint of internet, computers and programmers.
Justine Justine means 'fair, righteous' and has a sensible though sophisticated aspect to it. There are a number of St Justines and Justinas, including St Justina of Padua, who is often depicted with a unicorn and was a 4th century princess.
Cecilia Cecelia is very sleek and sumptuous, and is growing in popularity: last year it was #179, its highest rank it has ever seen. A great name for music lovers, as St Cecilia is patron saint of music and musicians, and also poets. Her feast day is November 22.
Zita Zita sounds like a modern creation, but this super chic name is actually a very old one. It come from the Italian for 'little girl', and was made famous by the 13th century St Zita. She is patron saint of domestic servants, and… lost keys! Her feast day is April 27.
Basil We predict Basil is going to make a return to American name list in the near future simply because of its unique sound and because we're yearning for the flower/plant trend that has taken over the girl's list to make the crossover to the boy's. St Basil was also an important 4th century bishop, and is patron saint of education and linguists.
Vincent There are dozens of saints called Vincent, but one of the most significant is St Vincent of Saragossa. He was a 4th century martyr, and he is one of the patron saints of Italy, as well as vinegar-makers and wine-makers! His feast day is January 22.
Martin Like Vincent, Martin is the name of multiple saints, but St Martin of Tours is particularly prolific in patronage. His feast day is November 11 and he is patron of horses and equestrianism, vintners and wine, and even geese, to name but a few! Martin experienced somewhat of a slump in popularity in recent years as it was associated with sounding a little too serious to be modern, but it's now showing signs of a rebound.
Killian This is a really underused Irish name which could become uber-popular as parents search for an alternative to Liam and Aiden. Killian was a 7th century monk, whose feast day is celebrated on July 8. Killian definitely sounds more modern than Patrick, if you're looking for an Irish saint name.
Gerard Gerard still sounds old-fashioned, but we think it's friendly and robust and could make a comeback. Of all the St Gerards, Gerard Majella is probably the most relevant: he is patron saint of pregnant women, difficult pregnancy and protection of unborn babies.
Bruno Bruno is a super cool sounding name that's friendly and full of bounce. It means 'brown', and is currently – rather inauspiciously! – Sitting #666 on the SSA's 2016 list. St Bruno is one of the patron saints of Germany, and his feast day is on October 6.