This is a great article by Patti Maguire Armstrong (which happens to feature The Catholic Baby Name Book): Be Counter-Cultural and Name Your Baby Mary
Then, there is the name Mary that reveals how times have changed. Catholic families typically named at least one of their girls after the Blessed Mother. Top American Baby Names from 1880 until 1959, shows that for every single one of those years, Mary was the #1 girl’s name. From 1960-69, the name Mary dropped to #2. From 1970-79, Mary dropped to #15, then down to #35 in 80-89. The popularity of the Blessed Mother’s name kept falling continually until in 2009 it dropped completely from the top 100 name. So, when I named my daughter Mary in 1993, she had a beautiful patron saint in the Blessed Mother and a name that was no longer common.
Consider what’s in a name? For instance, Pope Francis. As soon as we heard that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio took the name Pope Francis after St. Francis of Assisi, he won our hearts. The beloved St. Francis is admired for his simplicity and love of the poor. Choosing such a name reflects what is in store for his papacy. As we have learned more about our new Pope, we see that St. Francis of Assisi is a fitting saint for him.
- See more at: Be Counter-Cultural and Name Your Baby Mary