Bernard Mizeki vs. Jackson Kemper

In the penultimate (we love that word here at Lent Madness) matchup of the Saintly Sixteen, South African Bernard Mizeki faces Midwesterner Jackson Kemper. The winner will tangle with Molly Brant in the Elate Eight.

Yesterday, Brigid of Kildare took care of Dionysius the (evidently-not-so) Great 63% to 37% and will square off against Kamehameha in the next round.

Enjoy a weekend voting respite but be prepared to return bright and early Monday morning for the last battle of the Saintly Sixteen between Egeria and Thomas Ken. Then it’s on to the Elate Eight! Oh, and go to church on Sunday. The SEC encourages that.

saint-bernard-mizekiBernard Mizeki

Bernard Mizeki’s commitment to proclaiming the Gospel to the people of Africa led to his untimely death. Yet his courage, sacrifice, and commitment inspires thousands to gather every year to celebrate his life.
In 2013 Bernard Mizeki’s festival was held at his shrine for the first time in over five years. Before that the event had taken place in an area located about seven miles away due to the actions of former bishop Nolbert Kunonga, who barred any pilgrims from the shrine.
This festival gathers over 20,000 people for two days to dance, sing, and pray. After a religious service, thousands of pilgrims swarm to the hill where it is believed the body of Bernard Mizeki miraculously disappeared. Pilgrims draw water from the nearby stream believed to have been used to clean out Bernard Mizeki’s wounds. The water is believed to hold healing qualities
The zeal to dance and sing never dwindles throughout the two days of celebrations. For miles the praise songs in various African languages can be heard. Despite the low nighttime temperatures and scorching daytime temperatures, those who gather to pray and worship recognize Bernard Mizeki as one of the most important people in Africa.
The Most Rev. Albert Chama, Primate of the Church of the Province of Central Africa and Bishop of Northern Zambia, explained in an interview about the festival, the importance of the event and the relevance of Mizeki’s example to the Christian people:

African Christians should know that the route they have chosen is not without challenges or hurdles. Christianity is about actions, some of which can lead to death. All pilgrims should remember that death in Christ is in fact a gain. The event itself shows the importance of Christianity among Africans, Bernard Mizeki was an African who was martyred for propagating the Good News to fellow Africans at a time when they did not understand the Christian faith. 

In the same interview the Bishop of Harare, the Rt. Rev. Chad Gandiya, goes on to recognize Bernard Mizeki’s deep commitment to God and his people.

Even after being warned, he decided to preserve the lives of others at the expense of his own. As a shepherd, you don’t desert people that have been put under your care. Having been in exile for a long time, we understand and find a lot of relevance and comfort from his life.

Nancy Frausto

B_2YnRDUIAAKWPzJackson Kemper

The indefatigable Jackson Kemper established much of the Episcopal Church of the Midwest, including the Dioceses of Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, as well as the seminary Nashotah House.

He is memorialized in churches throughout the region, as in this stained glass window from St. Paul’s, Kansas City, Missouri. In the lower left-hand corner, he is riding a horse — a fitting tribute, as he covered a territory of 450,000 miles, mostly by horseback.

He also appears in the novel The Deacon as a ghost who haunts Grace Church, Madison, Wisconsin. He might not have liked being fictionalized. According to his biographer, “He did not care for Shakespeare, and abhorred Byron.” He did, however, enjoy the occasional novel (“particularly, it is remembered, Judge Haliburton’s ‘Sam Slick’”) and “let his children read Scott’s romances, but not too many of them at a time, fearing lest they should acquire a taste for fiction.”

Bishop Kemper “rose early, at five o’clock in summer and six in winter, and attributed his established health in large measure to his habitual morning bath in cold water, followed by the use of the flesh brush.” He wasn’t a total ascetic, however. It’s noted that he took lots of sugar in his coffee, and tea “very much sweetened.” After dining at 1:00 with family and guests, “if weather permitted, he would drive for hours or ride horseback, for he never acquired the habit of taking a nap in the afternoon.”

Not that weather stopped him from traveling. “He went once for twenty miles in a driving snowstorm without seeing a house; one night he was glad to share with eleven others the shelter of a log house of a single room; the snow drifted in and lay in heaps upon the middle of the floor: no one troubled himself to remove it, and it did not melt in the slightest degree.” St. Paul’s Church in Palmyra, Missouri, credits its founding to Bishop Kemper and bad weather: in 1836 when ice on the Mississippi stopped his travel, Bishop Kemper visited Palmyra, and sent a priest to establish the parish the following year.

When he was 62, Bishop Kemper accompanied one of his priests in Iowa. “One winter’s night, when they had found shelter in a poor cottage on the plains, somewhere west of Dubuque, they were snowbound by a sudden and violent storm; in the morning all the water in the house was frozen; and they had to shovel a path through the snow to the shed where they had put their horse, to give him provender.”

For 11 years of his ministry, he did not have a permanent residence. Finally, in 1846, “Bishop Kemper took possession of a rustic homestead, thenceforth humorously known as ‘the Palace,’ hard by Nashotah” which became his home base until the end of his life.

Laura Darling


Bernard Mizeki vs. Jackson Kemper

  • Bernard Mizeki (52%, 2,955 Votes)
  • Jackson Kemper (48%, 2,762 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,717

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126 Comments to "Bernard Mizeki vs. Jackson Kemper"

  1. Oliver Seven years old's Gravatar Oliver Seven years old
    March 20, 2015 - 8:06 am | Permalink

    I voted for Jackson Kemper because he is strong and his father was friends with George Washington.

    • Kevin. M.'s Gravatar Kevin. M.
      March 20, 2015 - 11:02 pm | Permalink

      thanks oliver. keep voting.

    • Joseph M's Gravatar Joseph M
      March 21, 2015 - 10:03 am | Permalink

      I voted for Jackson Kemper for all that he has done past and present for the people and the church.

  2. Lois Keen's Gravatar Lois Keen
    March 20, 2015 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    Go Bernard! Get legs!

    • pat Morris's Gravatar pat Morris
      March 20, 2015 - 3:11 pm | Permalink

      We did not get ANY information about Bernard. Only that he was wounded, when, where, by whom??? I really appreciate knowing that he is revered, there is a festival in his honor, that a bishop forbad going to his shrine BUT THERE ARE NO FACTS! =;(

      • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
        March 20, 2015 - 4:10 pm | Permalink

        Thiis is part of an ongoing competition. When Bernard competed in the first round, his initial biography was given. You can go back to the post for March 10 to get this information. Everything is not repeated every time.

  3. Marjorie Jodoin's Gravatar Marjorie Jodoin
    March 20, 2015 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    I opted for Mizeki this time around because African Christians are being martyred today.

    • Deborah's Gravatar Deborah
      March 20, 2015 - 1:48 pm | Permalink

      My feelings exactly. Christians are under severe attack throughout Africa and the Middle East. I hold them constantly in my prayers.

    • Robert Coates's Gravatar Robert Coates
      March 20, 2015 - 11:23 pm | Permalink

      Hey, we’re under attack in the Midwest too!

    • March 20, 2015 - 11:36 pm | Permalink

      Me, too. The threat of violence and death is real to Christians outside of this country. Pray for them, and pray for those who are the enemies of Christians in Africa and Asia. Lead them and us from prejudice to truth. Deliver them and us from cruelty, hatred and revenge.

  4. Andrea's Gravatar Andrea
    March 20, 2015 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    While both men worked tirelessly for God’s Kingdom on Earth, I just can’t vote for someone who didn’t care for Shakespeare. St. Mizeki again gets my vote.

    • Wynne Osborne's Gravatar Wynne Osborne
      March 20, 2015 - 11:35 am | Permalink

      I can understand the esteem felt for Bishop Kemper, but Bernard made the greater sacrifice.

    • Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
      March 20, 2015 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

      I love reading novels, so I have to go with the African saint.

    • Amy Carr's Gravatar Amy Carr
      March 20, 2015 - 5:51 pm | Permalink

      I too was troubled that Jackson Kemper was so down on literature. He sounds like a dedicated pastor of the far more austere sort. I wonder what inspired others about him–largely the sheer force of his strength of character?

  5. Leigh Hollis-Caruso's Gravatar Leigh Hollis-Caruso
    March 20, 2015 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    Being a member of the Diocese of Iowa, I had to vote for Jackson Kemper! But it was a tough choice as I really admire Bernard Mizeki for all he did for the Faith.

  6. March 20, 2015 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    Though the bishop’s comment on Bernard Mizeki is true — “All pilgrims should remember that death in Christ is in fact a gain” — I have to vote for the pilgrim Bishop of the whole Northwest today. I have served my whole ordained ministry in Dioceses he founded, parishes he founded, serving alumnae of a school named after him, and now I am under a bishop whose dog is named Kemper!

  7. Meridith's Gravatar Meridith
    March 20, 2015 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Yes, they are, Marjorie, and have been for a long time. Did you know that the Biafran War was a Nigerian Civil war? The Christians wanted to secede, and the Muslims just decided to starve them out. Meanwhile the Western world just sat on its hands until Russia started arming the Nigerians, at which point the US and UK couldn’t wait to do the same thing. Meanwhile the Christians were starved into submission. Nobody (read: the press) wants us to know that the violence in Africa that seems to us to be random is really a deliberate and vicious campaign against Christians. Now, I must confess that I voted for Jackson since I live in Indiana, but I think that everyone could benefit from more education about the African situation. There are new martyrs every day.

  8. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    March 20, 2015 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Both of these are great men, but I’m drawn to Bernard. He gave up his life for his parish and his faith! Riding 20 miles in a snowstorm is no picnic, but Mizecki gave the ultimate sacrifice for Jesus.

  9. Elizabeth Massey's Gravatar Elizabeth Massey
    March 20, 2015 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    When I visited an American friend in Senegal and a British medical missionary friend in Uganda, I attended services, both Catholic and Anglican. An Anglican chaplain at a Church of Uganda hospital in the rural northwest served as my host taking me all around the campus to introduce me to every unit manager and program head at this 3rd world facility. At churches, monasteries, hospital, and through my friends, I witnessed the profundity of what it means to be Christian under differing degrees of distress. Bernard Mizeki, a pioneer of the faith, gets my vote!

  10. March 20, 2015 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Having spend a bit of time in South Sudan with fellow Christians struggling in the faith, my vote definitely went to Bernard. He’s a hero and a saint.

  11. Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
    March 20, 2015 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Jackson Kemper has to one of the most indefatigable, faithful, humble, generous, and joyful Bishops to grace the Episcopal church. His story is not one of martyrdom or a single great triumph, but of a quiet faith, lived out daily from youth into a rich old age. To the extent that a saint is someone who is an example of holiness we can follow, Jackson Kemper is a saint. His discipleship is something we can emulate and hold as a standard. Action Jackson today!

    • Jim Bimbi's Gravatar Jim Bimbi
      March 20, 2015 - 12:47 pm | Permalink

      It’s a shame that Bishop Kemper is not more widely known or talked about in the history of the Episcopal Church. Anyone who has lived or ventured out into the vast expanse of the Midwest can’t help but marvel at his ministry and the impact it had in such a broad mission field.

  12. Vicki Wadlow's Gravatar Vicki Wadlow
    March 20, 2015 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Singing and dancing v. ice baths. No contest! 😉

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 20, 2015 - 9:48 pm | Permalink

      I gotta go along with that.

  13. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    March 20, 2015 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    And, if I may, I’d like to say at this point in the Madness how very much I appreciate all the time and energy pit into every day’s contest. Thanks, Tim and Scott, Adam, all the CBs, and everyone who prays, comments, laughs or growls over these contests. Lent has never been so powerful for me before.

    • Susan Mattingly's Gravatar Susan Mattingly
      March 20, 2015 - 9:27 am | Permalink

      I second your comments. Sometimes I ponder whether or not it is appropriate to be having so much “fun” with Lent !

      • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
        March 20, 2015 - 9:38 am | Permalink

        I know, Susan, that’s an old ingrained idea for Lent to be dour and serious. And I know that sober reflection and discipline has its place. But I think it is a great way to prepare for our Lord’s resurrection by reflecting not hear saints and enjoying each other’s company along the way that’s why I love the opportunity for comments. And I keep thinking of the hymn in the 1982 Episcopal Hymnal,
        “I come with joy to meet my Lord,
        Forgiven, loved, and free,
        In awe and wonder to recall
        His life laid down for me.”

  14. Francis of Granby's Gravatar Francis of Granby
    March 20, 2015 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Mizeki is a literal martyr, one whose martyrdom is not ancient myth: it is well-documented fact within the relatively recent past. And it continues to inspire tens of thousands of people. And all of this is taking place in Africa.

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 20, 2015 - 10:24 am | Permalink

      Mizeki was, indeed, a martyr and his martyrdom continues to inspire the faithful, especially in Africa. I think, though, that we often fail to honor the very difficult (and saintly!) task of living a faithful life on a daily basis, doing what is put before us in a joyful and humble way, living out the Gospel with compassion and intention all the days of our lives. Martyrdom is not given to us all. The opportunity to live a faithful life is.

  15. Jennifer Rich's Gravatar Jennifer Rich
    March 20, 2015 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    Kemper is my man! Our LentMadness study group last night did a skit based on his life and all the hardships and obstacles he had to endure to establish Christian strongholds in the Midwest. What a guy.

  16. Jennifer Rich's Gravatar Jennifer Rich
    March 20, 2015 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    Kemper is my man! Our LentMadness study group last night did a skit based on his life and all the hardships and obstacles he had to endure to es
    tablish Christian strongholds in the Midwest. What a guy.

  17. Francis of Granby's Gravatar Francis of Granby
    March 20, 2015 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Mizeki provides us with the rare opportunity of voting for an African. If that means something to you, you might want to consider going with Mizeki.

  18. Emily Correll's Gravatar Emily Correll
    March 20, 2015 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Anyone, no matter how saintly, who didn’t want his children to get a taste fiction will not receive the vote of this ex-librarian.

  19. MegN's Gravatar MegN
    March 20, 2015 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    I voted for Bernard Mizeki, but it was as close as the voting is right now: a difference of just 3 votes out of 280-some. The vigor of the church in Africa, the troubles they are having now and the support they have in the work and life of Bernard Mizeki, made the difference. Jackson Kemper already has his stained glass window memorials, and as good as that is, providing a place where this year over 20,000 went in hope and faith to honor Bernard Mizeki, tipped the balance.

  20. March 20, 2015 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    As someone living on the New England coast, I had to smile at the story about how Bishop Kemper and his companion found themselves snowbound and had to do a bit of shoveling! But my vote today goes to Bernard Mizeki both for his witness and sacrifice and for what he means to Africa today– and might mean to all of us who, it seems, find more and more horrifying stories in the news of Christians in both Africa and the Near East being brutally martyred.

  21. Suzanne's Gravatar Suzanne
    March 20, 2015 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    African Christians face persecution today, but Bernard’s legacy is a joy-filled faith. I voted for Bernard.

  22. Annie's Gravatar Annie
    March 20, 2015 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Have to go with Bernard. So many Christians are still stuffering that it only seems right to send Been opp are into the next stage.

  23. Thom's Gravatar Thom
    March 20, 2015 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    Given the harsh winter we’ve had, I like the story of Kemper this year.

  24. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 20, 2015 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    I suspect that Kemper has an edge, since the global Lent Madness public probably has a lot more representation in the Midwest USA than Africa. I think both are very worthy, but I’m going with Mizeki.

  25. Ingrid H.'s Gravatar Ingrid H.
    March 20, 2015 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    Both were devoted to mission/conversion work. Kemper had more resources and more time. Hard to choose, but I went offsite to learn more about them. A worthwhile effort, this Madness is.

  26. Patricia cooper's Gravatar Patricia cooper
    March 20, 2015 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    Hard choice. Both men cared enough to spread the word even under the worst conditions. Their prospective legacies linger even today.

    I did vote for mizeki after studying the reverend’s interview.

  27. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    March 20, 2015 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    I re-read the biographies just to make sure I wasn’t being unfair to Kemper for his fear of fiction and choice of a daily cold bath. Nope–I still feel like Kemper is a great candidate for an Outstanding Service Award (including a year’s supply of body lotion), while Mizeki should advance, singing and dancing and rejoicing, toward the Golden Halo. I think Kemper would vote Mizeki, too.

  28. Alec Clement's Gravatar Alec Clement
    March 20, 2015 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    With all your getting…get thee understanding…these mornings with the saints has been a real eye opener.

  29. Arthur LaRue's Gravatar Arthur LaRue
    March 20, 2015 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    I’m missing some of the description apparently — is there any description of when B. lived, what he did?

    • Mariana Bauman's Gravatar Mariana Bauman
      March 20, 2015 - 10:08 am | Permalink

      A good brief bio – He was educated and converted by the SSJE brothers and his work to bring the Shona people to Christ , while still being sensitive to their culture and spiritual traditions, is inspiring. (They were monotheists .) His legacy has truly born fruit in the continent. Sadly his martyrdom was not the last. My vote is for Bernard, the Light of Christ continuing to shine in dark times.

      • Arthur LaRue's Gravatar Arthur LaRue
        March 20, 2015 - 10:53 am | Permalink

        thanks for the data on Mzeki. I’m still puzzled that it isn’t on the website…

        • March 20, 2015 - 1:59 pm | Permalink

          It is–if you go back to the first round, you’ll find the basic biographies of each saint.

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      March 20, 2015 - 10:44 am | Permalink

      Arthur, you can read Lent Madness biographies of both saints by clicking “Bracket 2015” near the heading on this page. That will take you to a page that shows the brackets, and lower on that same page you will find links to the match-ups that have taken place so far. Click on the match-up won by Bernard and you can read the biography and collect that got him to this round.

  30. Rodney Dudley's Gravatar Rodney Dudley
    March 20, 2015 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Easy choice for me. It’s joy filled Bernard all the way. Kemper deserves credit for spreading the faith over the Midwest, but it seems a joyless, stiff kind of faith. And I couldn’t vote for someone who doesn’t like fiction!

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 20, 2015 - 10:02 am | Permalink

      I certainly respect your vote for Mizeki, Rodney, and only want to tell you that Jackson Kemper was a joyful servant and his faith was expressed in a warm, humble, and compassionate ministry.

  31. Ellen Gracie's Gravatar Ellen Gracie
    March 20, 2015 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    It was Kemper today.

  32. Judith's Gravatar Judith
    March 20, 2015 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    martyrdom is hard not to vote for. But next time I hesitate to walk 6 blocks to work in bad weather, it’s Kemper’s example I’ll think of to inspire my life (and save some fossil fuel). Didn’t like Shakespeare? he had the courage to admit it.

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 20, 2015 - 10:04 am | Permalink

      And you know, Judith, that’s what I think is remarkable about Jackson Kemper. Mizeki is, indeed, an admirable man, sadly martyred and greatly admired. What Kemper did, though, is arguably more difficult: He got up everyday and made a hundred small decisions each day to live his faith joyfully, humbly, and generously. It is something we can all aspire to.

      • March 20, 2015 - 10:44 am | Permalink

        Well, getting up each morning and serving God is what we are all called to do. But Mizeki got up each morning expecting to be killed–he was warned and told to leave lest he be martyred–and did not. I do not have that courage, I don’t think. The daily battle in my head to make right decisions can hardly be compared to what Mizeki must have faced. Would you have stood with ML King on the bridge at Selma?

        • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
          March 20, 2015 - 11:08 am | Permalink


  33. Jeanie Martinez's Gravatar Jeanie Martinez
    March 20, 2015 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Mizeki’s story reminds me of just how much we are able to take the gift of Christianity for granted. Kemper was truly an amazing bearer of the Gospel, but being a Christian was almost a given in the United States in his time. Not so for Mizeki. Mizeki’s preching was a threat to the basic fabric of society since he was telling people that the gods they grew up honoring did not exist. He was going against his culture for the sake of the Gospel. I have to support him.

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 20, 2015 - 10:18 am | Permalink

      I think what you say is true, Jeanie, that we take the gift of Christianity for granted. And it may have been that being a Christian was a given in Bp Kemper’s time, but building the church was not. When he was called to his missionary position in the west, there was one missionary in Indiana (no church), one church in Missouri (no missionary), one missionary in Wisconsin, and that was it in his area. So what he accomplished was quite remarkable and not a given at all!

  34. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 20, 2015 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    AARGHRGH, to borrow a term from Charlie Brown. I may have to mull this over (a cup of coffee) before voting. Both men are worthy of whatever haloes they have, as well as some well-earned rest.

    • Duchess's Gravatar Duchess
      March 20, 2015 - 2:18 pm | Permalink

      If you are the same Verdery who served in the church with the Kemper window…

  35. Joanne's Gravatar Joanne
    March 20, 2015 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    Helloooo…it’s the quirks and quote round! Kemper’s got all that over Mizeki. Thank you Laura for digging up some gems like the “flesh brush” and Kemper’s need for a sugar rush. Went with Kemper in the first round too.

  36. Noreen Ramsden's Gravatar Noreen Ramsden
    March 20, 2015 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    Bernard Mzeki (we usually use the alternative Zulu spelling here in KwaZulu-Natal), gets my vote as one of our African martyrs who gave their lives for Christ!

  37. March 20, 2015 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    As an employee of a mission organization, I have to say I’m hoping Bernard gets the halo! I’m supporting him all the way!

  38. Tarheel's Gravatar Tarheel
    March 20, 2015 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    My vote is for Kemper as I have an appreciation for the Midwest winters that start in October and frequently don’t end until late April. After seventeen winters I left that gorgeous state but not on horseback!

  39. Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
    March 20, 2015 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    Quirks & Quotes Jackson Kemper: “Cultivate, dear brethren of the clergy, cultivate with the utmost assiduity your own vineyard–love with the strongest affections your own spiritual children, but close not your hearts to the sufferings and wants of your neighbors. “

  40. Nolan McBride's Gravatar Nolan McBride
    March 20, 2015 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    I voted for Kemper, simply because he is currently the underdog. I couldn’t decide between the two, with one being a martyr and the other being a missionary in my area.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 20, 2015 - 9:54 pm | Permalink

      Would someone PLEASE explain the point/value/reason for voting for someone simply because they are the “underdog”? Doesn’t what the person did or stood for or how the person relates to you, the voter, mean anything? I continue to be stymied by the “underdog” voters.

  41. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 20, 2015 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    Bernard Mizeki today. I agree with the other voters who just couldn’t vote for someone who didn’t like Shakespeare or fiction.

  42. Sandy's Gravatar Sandy
    March 20, 2015 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    Lent madness is NOT for the faint of heart – another terribly hard decision.
    In the end I was drawn to the dancing and singing inspired by Bernard and voted for him, but not without profound admiration for Jackson’s humble dedication.

  43. Lynn's Gravatar Lynn
    March 20, 2015 - 10:34 am | Permalink

    Nashota House…such a holy place. My vote is for Jackson Kemper!

  44. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 20, 2015 - 10:35 am | Permalink

    Voted for Jackson today. A true American Saint!

  45. Dawn's Gravatar Dawn
    March 20, 2015 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    Kemper censored his children’s reading. Enough said. Bernard it is!

  46. Anne Margo's Gravatar Anne Margo
    March 20, 2015 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    Another hard one, but though I was born in the Midwest and admire Jackson Kemper tremendously, I had to go with Bernard Mizeki. Celebrating a saint with two days of song and dance is just a lovely thing. And as someone with a decided taste for fiction myself, I thought Kemper’ s stance on that to be a little off.

  47. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    March 20, 2015 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    Having taught myself how to read when I was 3 years old, and reading ever since all kinds of books, including fiction and Shakespeare (to whom I am distantly related), I could not vote for Jackson Kemper — even if he was from Madison where I live. That is the antithesis of what Madison is all about. Bernard Mizeki’s work in Africa is incredible and worthy of applause and worthy of this contest!

  48. Barbara S.'s Gravatar Barbara S.
    March 20, 2015 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    I’ll be happy no matter who wins today. I voted for Bernard Mizeki, but could easily have gone the other way.

  49. Chris's Gravatar Chris
    March 20, 2015 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    Although during Lent Madness we must choose one of God’s heroes over another, in the Kingdom of Heaven it is not either/or but both/and. We are the richer for knowing how these two saints spent their lives spreading the Good News to their people.

  50. Kim on the Bayou's Gravatar Kim on the Bayou
    March 20, 2015 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    Bernard Mizeki is the kind of leader Christians need today, but Jackson Kemper’s midwestern attitude amuses me.

    I voted for Kemper, but I will be pleased if Mizeki advances to the next round.

  51. Katherine's Gravatar Katherine
    March 20, 2015 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    Apparently I was not the only one who was appalled that Kemper didn’t like Shakespeare or Byron. I was already to vote for the midwesterner but my admired midwesterners are not small minded about literature! So I cast my vote for Mizeki who is remarkable.

  52. Kim on the Bayou's Gravatar Kim on the Bayou
    March 20, 2015 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    To the indefatigable Jackson Kemper:

    Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

    Whose woods these are I think I know.
    His house is in the village though;
    He will not see me stopping here
    To watch his woods fill up with snow.

    My little horse must think it queer
    To stop without a farmhouse near
    Between the woods and frozen lake
    The darkest evening of the year.

    He gives his harness bells a shake
    To ask if there is some mistake.
    The only other sound’s the sweep
    Of easy wind and downy flake.

    The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 20, 2015 - 11:00 am | Permalink

      Wonder if Kemper likes poetry… I think the Frost is brilliant when connected to Jackson! I voted for Bernard, but loved this, Kim!

      • Ellen Gracie's Gravatar Ellen Gracie
        March 20, 2015 - 6:48 pm | Permalink

        Ya me too!

  53. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 20, 2015 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    I am in the Midwest and we know what Kemper had to do to be spreading the word of God during the winter as well as nicer times.

  54. Diane Norton's Gravatar Diane Norton
    March 20, 2015 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    Beautiful image of Saint Bernard. Fresh. Powerful.

  55. Deacon Georgia's Gravatar Deacon Georgia
    March 20, 2015 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    The SEC has me a bit confused. Why not have the match up between Ken and Egeria on Ken’s feast day which is today? Or would that have given him too much the edge. Anyway I believe Kemper spent way too much time in the snow so I vote for the African saint.

  56. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 20, 2015 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    Christianity, in some form, may have been considered the “norm” in Bishop Kemper’s time, but the opportunity to worship regularly and participate fully in the life of the church was not. My spiritual ancestors in the various Methodist and Methodist-related churches, the circuit-riders and missionaries, ministered to the needs of many on the frontier. So did Bishop Kemper and some of the Episcopal priests he got to go west. I consider them my cousins in the faith. So, even though I don’t want to take cold baths or avoid fiction, I still feel compelled to vote for Jackson Kemper today.

  57. Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
    March 20, 2015 - 11:19 am | Permalink

    Quirks & Quotes: “Jackson Kemper was affected by beauty of landscape and scenery. He loved the mountains. He observed, too, the details of nature, and he was fond of botany and other branches of natural history. He was in his element when making a round of parish visits, which he found to be an easy means of imparting religious instruction, and his tenderness and personal kindness in times of trouble, sickness, or death endeared him deeply to his people. He thoroughly enjoyed simple social visiting, and all his life was very particular about calling on strangers and returning calls. He was a generous giver to every good cause. He was exceedingly restrained in criticism of others. He had modest views of his powers and attainments, and was never satisfied with them but ever strove to improve himself. He was by no means lacking in humor of a gay and gentle kind. One of his most attractive qualities, which he never lost, was a certain boyish lightheartedness and zest for living. He was convinced if people would practice their Christian principles and follow along the way which the church pointed out to them, all problems would be automatically solved.”

  58. Brian Perkins's Gravatar Brian Perkins
    March 20, 2015 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    Okay, I confess that I looked to see who was running behind and cast my vote there. Spoiler alert! It’s going to be close. Why did I do it? (I don’t usually.) Because I was left to wonder…which is the greater gift, a short life serving Christ that ends in martyrdom or a long life of continual service while enduring hardship? If both serve God’s will, then that is not a choice that I can make. Even though it is very cold where I live and I can relate to the hardship. So I staged a one vote “sit in.” Go team!

    • Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
      March 20, 2015 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Your comment influenced my vote. Thanks

  59. Miss J's Gravatar Miss J
    March 20, 2015 - 11:26 am | Permalink

    Love Jackson, even if he didn’t like Shakespeare(!), but voting for Bernard who I love too. And I’m looking forward to the matchup between the African Martyr & the slave-owning American loyal to George III. (How did she get in HWHM when Eleanor Roosevelt & Fred Rodgers aren’t there?)

  60. Betty M's Gravatar Betty M
    March 20, 2015 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    A difficult choice. Someone commented about martyrdom in the “recent past.” Is that like last week’s news of the Coptic Christians murdered by Isis? Also, I would like to know something of Mrs. Jackson Kemper. I wonder how she managed, how many children, and no home until he retired? Did he censor her reading materials too? Since he was gone so much, I like to think she might have kept clandestine copies of Shakespeare for the children to read while he was gone. I think I might have voted for her.

    • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
      March 20, 2015 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

      She died before he began his travels.

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 20, 2015 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Bp Kemper was a widower when he accepted his position as Missionary Bishop.

  61. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 20, 2015 - 11:56 am | Permalink

    Well, I suppose even Midwesterners need a missionary (or did back then), but although Kemper faced some horrible weather, he did not face persecution and martyrdom. I had to go with Mizeki.

  62. Samuel's Gravatar Samuel
    March 20, 2015 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Jackson Kemper laid the cornerstone of my church, the oldest in the Diocese of Indianapolis!

  63. Suzanne's Gravatar Suzanne
    March 20, 2015 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was obscene not to take a nap in the afternoon. I voted for Mizeki.

  64. Patti Blaine's Gravatar Patti Blaine
    March 20, 2015 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Today, my vote is swayed by the snow falling outside my window on the first day of Spring. I’m dancing with Bernard in the face of harsh reality. Join me?

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 20, 2015 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Oh, that was fabulous! Thank you!!

      • A Different Jennifer's Gravatar A Different Jennifer
        March 20, 2015 - 11:06 pm | Permalink


  65. Bob Duvall's Gravatar Bob Duvall
    March 20, 2015 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I definitely connect well with Bernard with his courage in the face of death. I am also fond of singing and dancing. I will not cotton a man that does not love Shakespeare or Byron.

  66. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    March 20, 2015 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Voted mostly against Kemper–cold showers and dislike of Shakespeare hardly stacks up against an African martyr who comes complete with a festival where people dance for two days. But both are worthy saints of our church and Lent Madness is such a great learning opportunity!

  67. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 20, 2015 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Kemper. I sense no one particularly cares.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 20, 2015 - 1:36 pm | Permalink

      No one cares how you vote?

  68. The Seeker's Gravatar The Seeker
    March 20, 2015 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I wish there was more information about Bernard Mizeki. When he lived, what he did, etc. What was his “untimely death?” Why did former bishop Nolbert Kunonga, barred any pilgrims from the shrine The author seems to assume that we know all the pertinent details and I for one didn’t! It might have changed my voting, cause Jackson Kemper sounds like a stick in the mud with his dislike of fiction. Maybe it was those cold mid-west winters that froze his personality.

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 20, 2015 - 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Oh, my ~ he was not a stick-in-the-mud: The Reverend David Keenen: “But one of his most striking characteristics was his benevolence. The Bishop’s heart was indeed the tender spot, and no person or object ever appealed to him in vain. His clergy were his peculiar care and charge. He watched their circumstances with the closest attention, lest any of them might really suffer. He knew their scant means, and was ever ready, without request, to lend a helping hand; and always in the gentlest and kindest manner.”

  69. Elizabeth Brown's Gravatar Elizabeth Brown
    March 20, 2015 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    My Dad taught at Nashotah for 10 years so I better vote for Kemper, much as I hated the place. How’s that for Christianity?!!!

  70. Deb Norman's Gravatar Deb Norman
    March 20, 2015 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone know about the icon of Bernard? It is such a lovely example of a contemporary icon.

    • March 20, 2015 - 4:18 pm | Permalink

      I believe it is by the contemporary icon maker Br. Robert Lentz, OFM. Google him and you can see many more of his wonderful images.

  71. Sr. Brigidssm's Gravatar Sr. Brigidssm
    March 20, 2015 - 2:14 pm | Permalink

    AH! Just had to vote for Bernard !!! Couldn’t bring myself to vote for someone who didn’t like fiction, I too am curious as to why Bishop Kunonga barred pilgrims from the shrine….

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 20, 2015 - 2:37 pm | Permalink

      It was really certain kinds of fiction that he didn’t like. The Reverend Greenough White: “He made it a rule to read daily in his Greek Testament and in some solid book, preferably of divinity, and generally found time to do some light reading beside, making it a point to keep up with the news of the day through journals and reviews. He enjoyed books of humor, particularly, it is remembered, as a hit at the Yankees, Judge Haliburton’s “Sam Slick”; but strangely enough did not care for “Pickwick” or Dickens’ other books. He enjoyed books of wholesome fun like the “Innocents Abroad,” and deriving the greatest pleasure from articles in Littell’s Living Age. He was especially interested, during those latter years, in books about Palestine, such as Robinson’s “Physical Geography of the Holy Land,” and in Rawlinson’s “Ancient Monarchies of the East.” He read the latest theological works until within a couple of years of his death, never went on a visitation without carrying some with him, which he would give or send to his isolated missionaries.”

  72. Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
    March 20, 2015 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Often I start to post, but after reading all the other comments – I realize there is no need! I find myself nodding in agreement and laughing or shaking my head at all the warm, witty, and thoughtful comments. I don’t think my thoughts could add anything better – so this comment is simply to say – Go Commenters! You all rock! (In a kind and respectful manner, of course.)

  73. Carol Kangas's Gravatar Carol Kangas
    March 20, 2015 - 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Like the SEC, I also love the word “penultimate,” which has little to do with my vote today, but I like to encourage anyone who calls attention to under-used words. As an ESL teacher and long-time fan of all things cross-cultural, I am always pleased to contemplate the fact that my Church is part of the world-wide Anglican Communion. I felt called to vote for Mizeki.

  74. Jeff hurst's Gravatar Jeff hurst
    March 20, 2015 - 3:28 pm | Permalink

    i voted for bishop Kempfer since I am a former UMC pastor who came to Christ as a child due to those other irregular and itinerant Anglicans on horseback — circuit riders. I attended university in Lebanon, Il founded by william Mckendree also a missionary bishop

  75. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    March 20, 2015 - 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Mizeki, though I love them both.

  76. John Sorensen's Gravatar John Sorensen
    March 20, 2015 - 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry Bernard lost his life for the Gospel,and it’s clear people in Africa draw much inspiration from his sacrifice (although the story is missing from the bio) with disappearing body stories and annual pilgrimages and an awareness that following Christ can include Martyrdom.

    But I’m more inspired by Kemper’s lifetime of arduous missionary work for the Gospel in the American Frontier, and think the sacrifice of decades of difficult travel and Episcopal visitations to pioneer settlements should be Told and celebrated. Jackson Kemper is a 3-point point winner for me.

  77. The Rev. Ellen Brauza's Gravatar The Rev. Ellen Brauza
    March 20, 2015 - 4:18 pm | Permalink

    As an Anglo-Catholic, and priest-in-charge of an Anglo-Catholic parish, Kemper gets my vote. Bernard Mizeki’s martyrdom, and the martyrdom of so many Christians these days in Africa and the Middle East command our respect and our prayers. On the other hand, Christians, including Anglicans, in Uganda and Nigeria, have been complicit in the persecution and murder of LGBT Christians in their own lands, which makes it difficult to be quite objective here. Nevertheless, we should all be prepared to give the defense of our faith even in the face of death, and Bernard Mizeki’s as well as the new, mostly Coptic, Christian martyrs can help us with their example and their prayers.

  78. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    March 20, 2015 - 4:36 pm | Permalink

    As a Wisconsinite who lives and works in southern Africa, I draw a lot of inspiration from the witness of both of these saints and voted for both in the first round. Tough decision- came into this round absolutely sure that I’d vote for Mizeki and ended up voting for Kemper instead. His founding of Nashotah House has a lot to do with my final decision.

  79. March 20, 2015 - 4:46 pm | Permalink

    This was a tough one. I decided on Bishop Kemper, because his story reminds me so much of what the early Methodist Circuit Riders went through.

  80. Fiona Haworth's Gravatar Fiona Haworth
    March 20, 2015 - 5:49 pm | Permalink

    What a difficult choice again. I would be happy to see either man progress for all they achieved in God’s service. However, I voted for Bernard to honour the martyrs of our own times; thinking especially of the Coptic Christians of Egypt and the Christians of Pakistan.

  81. christine ruggieri's Gravatar christine ruggieri
    March 20, 2015 - 6:03 pm | Permalink

    I went for Bernard, and I never comment, however with the almost (iit seems) martyrdom of Christians in africa and especially in the Middle East, I had to support Bernard. Let him be a gountain of strength for those currently persecuted.

  82. Holly's Gravatar Holly
    March 20, 2015 - 10:10 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Jackson Kemper, but I agree it’s a tough vote. The Hawkeyes just won in that other tournament, though and they can carry a torch for him. Would he be the sort to use his influence against Jesuits?

  83. Megan Thomas's Gravatar Megan Thomas
    March 20, 2015 - 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Mzeki again, because I was ordained on his feast day, and frankly because he deserves to be in the final four, if not the halo itself. Go team Mzeki!

  84. Anne Lemay's Gravatar Anne Lemay
    March 20, 2015 - 11:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m thinking I need to read the novel “The Deacon” and learn more about the ghost of Jackson Kemper. He got my vote.

  85. Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
    March 20, 2015 - 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Quotes: Kinman: “The whole job description of Missionary Bishop was founded on the idea of carrying the Gospel to new frontiers … translating it into new languages … bringing it to the people where they lived instead of expecting them to travel to where we already were. Jackson Kemper was a person of deep courage. Not just for traveling to faraway places under dangerous conditions but because he spent time with people – poor farmers, First Peoples – that many moneyed, educated, East Coast Episcopalians thought weren’t worth the church’s time and money. He heard the wagging tongues of the Pharisees many times saying ‘I can’t believe he’s eating with THOSE people!’”

  86. Carmen's Gravatar Carmen
    March 21, 2015 - 12:43 am | Permalink

    My hubby and I both voted for Bernard Mizeki because he gave his life for God. In my estimation, any saint that inspires people to make pilgrimages to a shrine in their memory has to be very special, like right up there with St. James and the Camino pilgrimage routes to Santiago, Spain.

  87. Jean Fîs's Gravatar Jean Fîs
    March 21, 2015 - 6:20 am | Permalink

    I vote for Bernard.

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