The Lent Madness Peaceable Kingdom

Sharon_StCuthbertOttersWith the appearance of seals and otters in the early rounds of Lent Madness 2015, some of you have wondered about the Supreme Executive Committee’s overall stance on and treatment of animals.

While we thank you for your concern, we are here and now announcing unequivocally that no animals have been harmed in the formation of this year’s bracket.

Indeed, to our critics we point to the ultimate animal lover, Francis of Assisi’s inclusion in this year’s saintly smackdown. According to (perhaps someone’s?) tradition, Francis preached to both Thecla’s ravenous seals and Cuthbert’s otters. In the icon above, you can see the otters in action doing a splendid job drying the feet of Cuthbert who, we have been assured, did not step on them by accident.

Nina - Official Horse of Lent Madness

Nina – Official Horse of Lent Madness

As far as upcoming battles go, Balthazar’s camel came out unscathed despite spitting in the face of one member of the SEC. And, while Margaret of Antioch did slay a dragon, in fairness it did swallow her whole and she had to get out somehow.

Since we’re on the subject of animals, you should know that we do have an Official Horse of Lent Madness. Last year we bestowed this honor upon Celebrity Blogger Laurie Brock’s horse Nina.



There are many perks to being the Official Horse of Lent Madness such as purple hay, hanging out with Balaam’s ass (from the Book of Numbers), and sneering at the fact that while Paul is often depicted as having fallen off his horse during his conversion experience on the Road to Damascus this detail is not, in fact, scriptural. You can follow Nina on Twitter @NinaNeigh

Scott’s dog George, named for 2010 Golden Halo winner George Herbert is also on Twitter @GeorgeTDog. He also likes to wear Lent Madness t-shirts.

Tim’s dog, Delilah, a yellow lab/husky mix, does not have a Twitter account. She also still holds a grudge about being rejected for the Episcopups Calendar a few years ago. 

Finally, did you know that Tim’s ferrets (the kids insisted) play an important role in discerning the bracket? Okay, his family is down to a lone ferret named Mimi but still. Click here to learn more in this classic Monday Madness video from 2012 about the SEC’s scientific method for determining which saints make it into the bracket.



So, there you have it from the, um, horse’s mouth. Not a single animal has been injured or harmed in any way during Lent Madness 2015. 

PS. In yesterday’s saintly action, Frederick Douglass trounced Dorcas 69% to 31%. As we enter the weekend and encounter full onset LMW (Lent Madness Withdrawal) for the first time this season, keep vigil with purple candles as you await the return of voting on Monday morning when Francis of Assisi takes on John Wycliffe.

42 Comments to "The Lent Madness Peaceable Kingdom"

  1. Katherine's Gravatar Katherine
    February 28, 2015 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    I appreciate your care for our animals. Winslow, my rescued dog friend, also thanks you. Since Jesus and the Bible seem to celebrate the underDOGS I am trying not to feel smacked down since it appears I tend to vote for the losers. I will be voting for Francis no matter what and hope he wins the golden halo as he is my favorite all time saint — other than my mother. Katherine

  2. Katherine's Gravatar Katherine
    February 28, 2015 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    Winslow, my rescued dog, and I thank you for the care of animals. Note that Jesus and the Bible celebrate the underDOGS.

  3. Cheryle's Gravatar Cheryle
    February 28, 2015 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    I notice you mention Margaret of Antioch’s dragon but completely ignore Jonah’s whale. Perhaps you’re going with the translation of “large fish,” and excluding this sea creature on the basis of not being a mammal, but if that’s the case, it’s a bit nit-picky, don’t you think?

  4. Marcia's Gravatar Marcia
    February 28, 2015 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    How about an official Lent Madness Cat? My two like to keep me company during Morning Prayer.

  5. relling's Gravatar relling
    February 28, 2015 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Delilah is such a pretty dog.

  6. February 28, 2015 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your reassurances. Nina the horse looks as though she’s been having long conversations with Balaam’s Ass, the original spooked equine whose owner failed to understand. Nina has an alert expression, raised head and pricked ears – did she see an angel with a flaming sword next to the photographer?

    • Claudia's Gravatar Claudia
      March 2, 2015 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

      The poor dear Nina must be spooky…why else the chain across her beautiful nose?

  7. Lisa's Gravatar Lisa
    February 28, 2015 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    It appears as though Delilah’s bed is on fire!!

    • pHil's Gravatar pHil
      February 28, 2015 - 7:24 pm | Permalink

      And what has she got for a mug? You’d think that if this proclamation of LM appreciation of animals is to be taken seriously we’d notice some pet-sized mugs over in the Lentorium!

  8. February 28, 2015 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    How do you think the “orcas” in Dorcas’ name feel about being “trounced by Frederick Douglass”?

    Everybody thinks they’re “killer whales,” so no one’s concerned about their welfare!

  9. Kristin's Gravatar Kristin
    February 28, 2015 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    I agree with Marcia. A cat is definitely needed. My cat, Lily, loves to watch the videos…was especially interested in the ferrets. And she helps me choose saints…especially if I put their names in a big paper bag on the floor.

    • Edna's Gravatar Edna
      February 28, 2015 - 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Kristin, I think employing Lily and the paper bag strategy to help select saints is a great idea–need to give that try since my read, pray and read again method hasn’t come up with many winners.

  10. Rodney's Gravatar Rodney
    February 28, 2015 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    oh, heck, let’s forget the saints and vote for dogs!!! George and Delilah are beauties and
    our rescue, little Clarice, part something and terrier ( named for Rudolph’s ( of red-nose fame) girlfriend) would, dare I say, garner every vote!!!
    anyway – I’m with Katherine – I’m voting for Francis – one of my favorites, too!!

  11. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    February 28, 2015 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    George might want to consult his stylist–looks like he might have his shirt on backwards. But he certainly rocks it! Handsome, calendar-worthy critters all.

  12. Lois Keen's Gravatar Lois Keen
    February 28, 2015 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Xena, Rescue Warrior Lab-mix Princess of all Connecticut, had this to say about including cats: “Grrrrrrrrrr…..”

  13. Joan's Gravatar Joan
    February 28, 2015 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    I’ve rescued animals all through my life…from the pound, the streets and the wild…and enjoy nothing better than being among them. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful pratice to eat NOTHING that comes from our factory “farms” during Lent?

    And, ps…all the pets on the site today are wonderful. Naturally.

    • Freeman's Gravatar Freeman
      February 28, 2015 - 9:38 am | Permalink

      What I think would be truly wonderful is an Easter feast that was cruelty free!

    • shawn's Gravatar shawn
      March 1, 2015 - 8:32 am | Permalink

      Thank you…..I never eat my friends from anywhere….good suggestion….much healthier too.

  14. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    February 28, 2015 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    Thank you for pointing out that there is no scriptural basis for referring to Paul being knocked off his horse, his ass or any other animal. I have heard that reference in more sermons than I care to remember.

  15. Kristenza's Gravatar Kristenza
    February 28, 2015 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the llamas of “llamalapoosa” in Phoenix need a nod or
    a Holy intervention by Francis to bolster his saintliness running up to the elections.

  16. Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
    February 28, 2015 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    You advised we keep vigil with purple candles….I’m not sure that’s such a good idea. I might get confused and start thinking it’s Advent!

  17. Freeman's Gravatar Freeman
    February 28, 2015 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    My two cats, Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker Gilbert and Anna Livia Plurabelle Gilbert are still awaiting a response to their request to have St. Gertrude of Nivelles, patroness of cats, included in the bracket. Anna Livia is more of a Zen neo-pagan practioner, but Humphrey is a very devout Anglo-Catholic who regularly joins me in the praying of the Offices.

  18. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    February 28, 2015 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    The glaring omission of cats in your post is not to be admired. The cats I’ve had as closest companions have been wonderful friends and even, at times, assisted in comforting distraught parishioners. I can hardly wait to vote for St. Francis of Assisi, my all-time favorite saint! I sincerely hope that my vote won’t be the kiss of death for him as for so many.

  19. February 28, 2015 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    Of course way too many snails were crushed last year thanks to Lydia . . . and for the record, whales are mammals.

  20. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    February 28, 2015 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    P, S. See “The Monk and His Cat” from Samuel Barber’s “Hermit Songs”.

  21. Noel Bailey's Gravatar Noel Bailey
    February 28, 2015 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    I was quite surprised when, reading with a group of kids about Paul on the Damascus road, I learned that he was walking, and it was Caravaggio who led me to believe in the horse as part of the story! Unlearning can be a challenge!

  22. Madamesenora's Gravatar Madamesenora
    February 28, 2015 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    Sigh – now I know why this year’s bracket is such a mess: ferrets! No doubt St. Francis really had to stretch to think kind thoughts about ferrets.

  23. Lea's Gravatar Lea
    February 28, 2015 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    At one point in my life I had five dogs and four cats but that was while living in Maine where I had plenty of room for so many animals to run and play. Today I have only one kitty living with me, a rescue cat I’ve had since she was 8 weeks old. She is 9 now and has been my close companion through RV travels around the US and my move to Flagstaff where we now live. If there are saintly cats I’d say she is one of them except she will entice you in by laying on her back and swaying her paws in an overwhelming invitation to rub her belly. Do not give in to the furbag because as soon as you touch her belly she will pounce and your hand will be shredded. That might be normal kitty ‘saintly’ behavior but in my mind she’s a bit of a devil. Still, Fluffbutte, that being her name, behaves sweetly in all other areas so perhaps we can ignore that little character defect.

  24. Buffalogal's Gravatar Buffalogal
    February 28, 2015 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    Cats can minister too!
    (How the cat gave my agnostic husband a spiritual nudge…)
    We decided to have a picnic for my EFM graduation a few years ago and discovered that the yard needed some work. In an effort to spiff things up we decided to put a St. Francis statue in the garden to keep the Bhuddah statue company. (I live in California, so Mary-on-the-half-shell is not readily available.). We had no more than set down the 30-inch statue when Stella, my Maine Coon, ran up to it, stood up on her hind legs and embraced it. She actually hugged it! Then she gave it a super slobberyvcat bath .
    Bruce, my husband, agnostic and not a cat lover, was astonished and moved to tears.
    Go Francis!

    • Frances in TX's Gravatar Frances in TX
      February 28, 2015 - 10:30 pm | Permalink

      That’s a really great story!

    • Claudia's Gravatar Claudia
      March 2, 2015 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

      I too love that image 🙂

  25. Carolyn Roper's Gravatar Carolyn Roper
    February 28, 2015 - 11:51 am | Permalink

    Glad to ‘meet’ George! I hold George Herbert’s writings near and dear to my heart – and he would most joyfully rejoice upon hearing about his namesake George the yellow lab.

  26. February 28, 2015 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Parrots! Mango votes for parrots being included. She is a lesson in the difference between God-given nature and human sin. Though perhaps all God’s non-human creatures teach us this…

  27. cheryl Learn-Hill's Gravatar cheryl Learn-Hill
    February 28, 2015 - 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I could not find today’s saints. I read about St. Francis but where do we vote and who was the saintly opponent. heaven help me-Chery l “no computer genius” learn-Hill

    • Cheryle's Gravatar Cheryle
      February 28, 2015 - 4:16 pm | Permalink

      No voting on weekend, Cheryl. The contest will resume on Monday.

  28. February 28, 2015 - 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Can’t wait to vote for Francis. It has been a hard pet winter: lost my grown kids’ pets, dachsie AJ, princess cat Pixie, and lovely dog, Lady, all due to old age. And then my dog, Bentley, was killed in a fire at the kennel where he was spending the weekend and my other dog, Zebulon, barely survived. Have had a lot of chats with St. Francis this year.

    • Joan's Gravatar Joan
      February 28, 2015 - 6:13 pm | Permalink

      To Nancy…who lost so many of the “least of these” this year…I am heartbroken with you. I know these things so well. But they all came to you because they could have the best life possible! Be happy in their memories.

  29. Jeanie Martinez's Gravatar Jeanie Martinez
    February 28, 2015 - 6:38 pm | Permalink

    While my (disappeared) cat, Smokey will haunt me for not suggesting him for sainthood, it would be wonderful if the Lent Madness community were to petition for Balaam’s ass to be included in some canon of saints somewhere. Putting up with Balaam certainly exemplefies saintly qualities, he saw mystical visions of angels, and the donkey was instrumental in saving at least one life, if not all the Israelites from being cursed. He really should have a shot at a halo of some sort.

  30. Miss J's Gravatar Miss J
    February 28, 2015 - 9:35 pm | Permalink

    This Lent at Trinity we are doing LentReads during the 9 o’clock adult education hour on Sunday morning. There are four book groups to choose from and I’m in the one doing “Julian’s Cat” which is historical fiction about the cat pictured in icons of Julian of Norwich. (The Canon leading the group is also a LentMadness voter btw.)

    Since anchorites like Julian were only allowed to “own” a single cat (though we all know that cats will tell you they do not have owners but instead have staff) and no other animals, I think LentMadness is in need of at least one official feline to go with the one horse, one (remaining) ferret, and the two dogs. Are there enough Cathedral Cats in the Anglican Communion that a bracket could be put together and voting happen during the LM off-season to select the Official Feline of Lent Madness?

    • Cheryle's Gravatar Cheryle
      March 1, 2015 - 12:34 am | Permalink

      My cat, as is the nature of cats, doesn’t need the validation of Lent Madness to know that he is the most favored of all creatures in the kingdom.

      However, in response to a request he made, I would like to nominate Peter Churchmouse for inclusion in a bracket at some future date. Captain has promised that he will not chase Peter. He gave his solemn vow.

  31. Martha Elena Michel's Gravatar Martha Elena Michel
    March 1, 2015 - 1:40 am | Permalink

    I wonder if donkeys will ever be honored? I think of our Virgen Mary riding one then the donkey watching after baby Jesus. Later on Jesus entered the city riding one. I got a lovely donkey! Geny is very sweet and all she wants is to love & give love.

  32. Robert Cuff's Gravatar Robert Cuff
    March 1, 2015 - 4:47 pm | Permalink

    While I’m still sulking (a very un-Lenten emotion, I know) from Bede’s defeat by Cuthbert (my wife and I were married at the Chapel of the Venerable Bede many years ago and visited his shrine in 1985 – Go Bede!), I really enjoyed this commentary. Had I known there were official animals of Lent Madness, I could easily have nominated an ark’s worth of worthy fur friends. Keep up the good work.

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