I’ve always loved names–something I credit to the fact that my childhood best friend bought a baby name book at a yard sale once (I think she was in third grade and I was in first at the time) that we read cover to cover, underlining all of our favorites. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have future baby names in the back of my head, and Dave and I started talking about ours sometime when we were engaged! We’ve since had three girl and two boy names “on deck,” and when we found out we were having a boy and saw his sweet little face during the sonogram, we were convinced that sure enough, our first child would be named Charles Kolbe Kirk!
Charles (and its nickname, Charlie) is a name I’ve always liked–especially for boy names, I tend to prefer the classics. I can’t remember how I learned this exactly, but one day, I found out that Charles is one of the English translations for the Polish boy’s name Karol. The most famous Karol is Karol Wojtyla, who later became known as Saint Pope John Paul II :) Dave and I share a deep devotion for JPII, but didn’t want to name one of our future sons John Paul, since we want the devotion to be shared in our future family. Charles was the perfect solution–a name we love, and a subtle nod to our favorite saint. We call our little Charles Charlie 99% of the time, and I can’t get enough of the traditional, charming sound of it!
Kolbe (pronounced the same way as Colby) is another Polish name, and a more recognizable one to many Catholics. St. Maximilian Kolbe is another of our favorite saints–he was martyred at Auschwitz during World War II, and his life is the most beautiful example of John 15:13 (“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”). I highly recommend reading more about him here–his story is truly incredible! Dave and I both had the privilege of visiting and praying at St. Maximilian Kolbe’s prison cell when we were studying abroad (the semester we met), and he has remained a special saint to us ever since. Maximilian was a bit of a mouthful to us, but we loved the way Kolbe sounded as a middle name for our boy!