Vida Dutton Scudder vs. F.D. Maurice

Congratulations on surviving another looooooooong weekend without Lent Madness voting to anchor your day, ground your faith, and generally infuse your soul with the will to live. The only lifeline we tossed out was a chance to win your very own life-sized cardboard cutout of 2015 Golden Halo winner Francis of Assisi. Learn how here.

Today’s pairing involves two saintly souls whose lives overlapped for a period during the mid-19th century. Vida Dutton Scudder, an American laywoman and proponent of the social gospel tangles with F.D. Maurice, a British cleric and defender of Christian socialism. Both were writers and advocates for the poor and downtrodden.

On Friday, we capped off a week of blowouts with Dietrich Bonhoeffer triumphing over Athanasius 77% to 23% to advance to the Saintly Sixteen. Actually, it wasn’t an entire week of lopsided results, as last Monday saw the closest battle of Lent Madness 2016 with Columba eking out a victory over Kateri Tekakwitha.

But enough of the recent past. A full week of voting is nigh upon us which will include our first foray into the Saintly Sixteen on Thursday as Helena takes on Constance. Time to vote!

Vida Dutton Scudder

Vida Dutton Scudder was an Episcopalian, educator, writer, social justice activist, feminist, social worker, and proponent of the American Social Gospel Movement. She was born on December 15, 1861, in Madurai, India, to Congregationalist missionaries. When her father died prematurely in 1862, she and her mother returned to their family’s home in Boston. She graduated from Smith College in 1884 and taught English literature at Wellesley College, becoming a full professor by 1910.

Scudder worked tirelessly for peace and for the working class, labor unions, and the downtrodden. In 1890, she founded Denison House in Boston, which provided social services and education to the poor and those in need. She withstood criticism for two controversial stands that she supported: the 1912 textile workers strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and the United States’ entry into World War I in 1917.

Over the years, Scudder joined various religious groups that combined social awareness with religious beliefs. In 1911 she was one of the founders of The Episcopal Church Socialist League and 1919 saw her founding the Church League for Industrial Democracy. She was also a Companion in the Companions of the Society of the Holy Cross (SCHC).

Scudder’s later years were dedicated to her inexhaustible writings, illustrating her vast knowledge and interest on topics centering on activism and spirituality. In addition to her autobiography, On Journey, she wrote essays in The Privilege of Age, as well as Socialism and Spiritual Progress: A Speculation; The Christian Attitude Toward Private Property; The Church and the Hour: Reflections of A Socialist Churchwoman; and Socialism and Character.

Of her lifelong dedication to Christianity and to social work, Scudder said, “If prayer is the deep secret creative force that Jesus tells us it is, we should be very busy with it.” She also noted, “Social intercession may be the mightiest force in the world.”

Vida Dutton Scudder died on October 9, 1954.

Collect for Vida Dutton Scudder
Most gracious God, who sent your beloved Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Raise up in thy Church witnesses who, after the example of your servant Vida Dutton Scudder, stand firm in proclaiming the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

— Neva Rae Fox

F.D. Maurice

A brilliant thinker but an imperfect communicator, Frederick Denison Maurice influenced many in Victorian England and was a vigorous spokesman for Christian socialism, the idea that greed and capitalism is counter to the teachings of Jesus.

Born in Suffolk, England, in 1805, Maurice was the son of a Unitarian minister. After studying at Trinity College, Cambridge, and earning a law degree, Maurice pursued literary endeavors in London before deciding to enroll at Oxford and study to become an Anglican priest.

Appointed as chaplain to Guy’s Hospital and later assigned to Lincoln’s Inn as a priest, Maurice received a call in 1840 to become professor of English literature and history at King’s College, London. The 1853 publication of his Theological Essays was not received favorably by the principal of King’s College, who declared it theologically unsound. Despite his legitimate protestations, Maurice was found guilty and stripped of his teaching posts.

Although he had worked among society’s wealthiest and most influential members, Maurice also had a deep passion for the poor. Following his dismissal from King’s College, he founded The Working Men’s College and served as its principal from 1854 to 1872. Much of Maurice’s writings on Christian socialism come from this time period. He was also appointed a professor of moral philosophy at Cambridge in 1866.

F.D. Maurice wrote brilliantly and broadly, and his works include commentaries and a series of sermons on The Book of Common Prayer, as well as works on moral philosophy. Famed authors Alfred Lord Tennyson, Lewis Carroll, and George MacDonald knew Maurice well and were influenced by him.

Earnest, passionate, and humble, Maurice was known as a deep thinker, a generous benefactor, a powerful, prophetic voice on behalf of the poor, and a genuinely noble soul.

Collect for F.D. Maurice
Almighty God, who restored our human nature to heavenly glory through the perfect obedience of our Savior Jesus Christ: Keep alive in your Church, we pray, a passion for justice and truth; that, like your servant Frederick Denison Maurice, we may work and pray for the triumph of the kingdom of your Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

— Derek Olsen

Vida Dutton Scudder vs. F.D. Maurice

  • Vida Dutton Scudder (72%, 4,568 Votes)
  • F.D. Maurice (28%, 1,758 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,326

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Vida Dutton Scudder: By Unknown photographer ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
F.D. Maurice: Lowes Dickinson, 1873. Courtesy of Frenchay Village Museum, South Gloucestershire

157 Comments to "Vida Dutton Scudder vs. F.D. Maurice"

  1. Oliver--eight years old's Gravatar Oliver--eight years old
    February 29, 2016 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    I voted for Vida because she is in my heart.

    • Darren's Gravatar Darren
      February 29, 2016 - 8:56 am | Permalink

      Agreed, Oliver. The work of VDS is so close to the work I hope to do, for the downtrodden people of the world to be lifted up!

      • elizabeth pennington's Gravatar elizabeth pennington
        February 29, 2016 - 9:36 am | Permalink

        I always love your posts, Oliver and this one today is perfect.

    • February 29, 2016 - 9:38 am | Permalink

      She’s in my heart too, Oliver!

    • Beth's Gravatar Beth
      February 29, 2016 - 10:19 am | Permalink

      that is beautiful, Oliver. I voted for her too

    • Denise's Gravatar Denise
      February 29, 2016 - 10:37 am | Permalink

      Oliver, your comment sold me!

    • tonip1's Gravatar tonip1
      February 29, 2016 - 11:16 am | Permalink

      Once again a worthy comment Oliver. I agree but had to go with the underdog.

    • Martha Camele's Gravatar Martha Camele
      February 29, 2016 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Oliver I think that is the perfect reason!

    • Ambry 11 years old's Gravatar Ambry 11 years old
      February 29, 2016 - 3:56 pm | Permalink


    • Joyce Rush's Gravatar Joyce Rush
      February 29, 2016 - 10:12 pm | Permalink

      Amen, Oliver.

  2. Danielle Perkins's Gravatar Danielle Perkins
    February 29, 2016 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    I voted for F. D. Maurice because he lost his job and kept on going. Maurice then centered his life on others who were in worse straights than himself. When I lost my job I was terribly anxious and scared. It is really a test of everything you’ve got when you lose your job.

    • Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
      February 29, 2016 - 11:04 am | Permalink

      I’m very sorry you lost your job. Best wishes.

    • JE Kaufman's Gravatar JE Kaufman
      February 29, 2016 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

      I voted for him too. Very good of you to add your real-life perspective to this.

  3. Tready3's Gravatar Tready3
    February 29, 2016 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    Well the obvious choice is to vote for Denison; the tricky bit is whether it’s Scudder’s Denison House, or F Denison Maurice. I admire and respect FDM’s intellect and good works, but went with what must have been a tougher road for VDS.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 29, 2016 - 8:49 am | Permalink

      Haha! Good one, Tready3!

  4. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    February 29, 2016 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    My grandfather’s sister was a missionary in what was then called Berma. I feel compelled to vote for Vida!

  5. Pat Floerke's Gravatar Pat Floerke
    February 29, 2016 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    I voted for Vida Dutton Scudder, but my favorite quote by far was from Derek Olsen’s bio of F.D. Maurice, when he cited “the idea that greed and capitalism is counter to the teachings of Jesus.” Yes!

    • Barbara Tope's Gravatar Barbara Tope
      February 29, 2016 - 9:08 am | Permalink

      Greed, yes, but not capitalism. Why do you socialists always link the two? It’s not fair.

      • Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
        February 29, 2016 - 9:36 am | Permalink

        I do believe it is possible to follow Christian principles and also capitalism, but it is very difficult. The underlying principle of Christianity is love. The underlying principle of capitalism is profit. One example: A factory, run on typical capitalist lines. The general manager has to set prices so that they cover all the expenses of the business and still have profit left over. He calculates all the resources needed for the factory’s work: raw materials, energy costs, machinery purchase and upkeep, wages, transportation and storage.

        Listen to that: people (wages) have been reduced to the same level as lumber and diesel. If times get hard, the manager might choose to buy lesser quality lumber or get rid of a truck or two or fire 10% of the workforce. Jesus would say that people matter more than stuff.

        One possible corrective: if the factory is still run on capitalist lines, but as a cooperative, where the workers are also the owners, that makes a huge difference. Worker-owners are not likely to oppress themselves. If business conditions require a reduction of wages, they may choose for everybody to work for less, across the board. Or a few may volunteer to quit or retire. Or they may opt for less profit so everyone can keep their job.

        I hope this isn’t an inappropriate post for Lent Madness. But “we socialists” link greed and capitalism for very good reasons!

        • Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
          February 29, 2016 - 10:35 am | Permalink

          I wish there were like buttons for stuff like this!

        • Margie's Gravatar Margie
          February 29, 2016 - 11:04 am | Permalink


        • Vicki Hughes's Gravatar Vicki Hughes
          February 29, 2016 - 11:16 am | Permalink


        • tonip1's Gravatar tonip1
          February 29, 2016 - 11:19 am | Permalink

          thank you for an excellent post on socialism. Being in the middle of an election year with a major candidate being a Democratic Socialist this is an important perspective.

          • Carol G's Gravatar Carol G
            February 29, 2016 - 11:45 am | Permalink

            Indeed it is an important perspective as well as being written in an open tone.

            I would also correct the original to greed and capitalism are. I hope that we can all agree that capitalism can be practiced in a non-greedy! I like to think that Miracle on 34th Street, when Santa refers shoppers to Gimbels but for specific toys but shoppers become more loyal to Macy’s might give us an example.

            Back to these two saints of whom I am totally ignorant I must confess. Still learning before I vote.

        • February 29, 2016 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

          You are absolutely right. With the current inequity exponentiation in today’s society it is time we take a close look at Maurice’s writings. I had to vote for Maurice, we need him now more than ever.

          • February 29, 2016 - 2:27 pm | Permalink

            You are right. I believe I am related to Vida, but had to vote for Maurice. By far he had the greater impact both intellectually and practically. He needs to be reckoned with again.

        • Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
          February 29, 2016 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

          I am certainly not a socialist, have seen the harm of socialism in Europe, but I do like the model of worker owned businesses. Good post.

        • Karen's Gravatar Karen
          February 29, 2016 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

          Right on!!

        • Carol Boyle's Gravatar Carol Boyle
          February 29, 2016 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

          Capitalism need not be intrinsically evil. The way we have defined the duty of the corporation today enshrines greed because we have made it law that the corporation must maximize profits for the shareholders. Period. No other considerations apply. However, a new kind of corporation is now also possible under the law. It is the B Corporation or Benefits Corporation. It uses business as a force for good creating benefits for all stakeholders, not just shareholders. “Stakeholders” includes employees, the surrounding community, and the environment. Some state and local governments favor B Corporations when companies bid for work. (Oh! And I voted for Vida, but loved them both.)

        • kathi Tiltman's Gravatar kathi Tiltman
          February 29, 2016 - 5:19 pm | Permalink


        • Nyc's Gravatar Nyc
          February 29, 2016 - 8:00 pm | Permalink

          Your response suggests that Capitalism is indeed not compatible with Christianity. The example you site relies on a socialist construct (cooperative work) to have a company that functions in a Christian, read equitable and charitable, manner.
          I am forced to agree with the earlier writer, Christianity is diametrically in opposition to capitalism.

      • Randall's Gravatar Randall
        February 29, 2016 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

        I think the term, and problem is “unbridled” capitalism. Pope Francis, and other Church leaders have written, and spoken at length on the subject, including PB Curry,As for lumping all who strive for social justice into “you socialists’, I guess I will stand mocked, and accused. God’s Peace be with you.

      • Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
        February 29, 2016 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

        Remember that teacher who insisted you have to “show your work”?
        If you think capitalism isn’t mostly about greed, I think you have to show the validity of your position. Just saying what you wish were true does not make it so.

      • Bob Faser's Gravatar Bob Faser
        February 29, 2016 - 3:42 pm | Permalink

        The history of the world in the 20th century shows that those nations that have made a serious attempt to combine the best bits of both capitalism and socialism within their own systems (including each of the English-speaking democracies) are far more prosperous than those that have not. I believe it’s not a matter of capitalism OR socialism, it’s how we find the best mix of capitalism AND socialism.

        • March 1, 2016 - 12:02 am | Permalink

          Do Episcopalians have the concept of an “occasion of sin”? Catholics say this at the end of the Act of Contrition: “I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace, to sin no more, and avoid the near occasion of sin.” The classic example is that an occasion of sin is to a sinner as a bar is to a recovering alcoholic: it’s a situation that puts you in proximity to temptation, thus increasing the likelihood that you will sin, even tho there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the situation.

          I think capitalism is an occasion of the sin of greed.

          • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
            March 1, 2016 - 8:07 am | Permalink


    • Terrapin's Gravatar Terrapin
      February 29, 2016 - 2:15 pm | Permalink

      that qu0te was why I voted for him too.

  6. Mary E. Winston's Gravatar Mary E. Winston
    February 29, 2016 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    I admired both Vida and F.D. Maurice. Both worked tirelessly for the poor. I, too, voted for Maurice because he lost his job but rebounded.

  7. Joyce in Georgia's Gravatar Joyce in Georgia
    February 29, 2016 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    A woman who saw prayer as a “secret creative force” and “social intercession” as the “mightiest force of all” gets my vote. I also like her middle name because it’s the same as my husband’s. Go Vida D.!

    • Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
      February 29, 2016 - 9:16 am | Permalink

      Those words are almost tattoo worthy I think!

    • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
      February 29, 2016 - 11:33 am | Permalink

      Voting La Vida❤️

  8. Eileen's Gravatar Eileen
    February 29, 2016 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    As a member of SCHC, I must vote for Vida. Her passion for prayer and social justice continues in the work of Companions throughout the world.

  9. anthony's Gravatar anthony
    February 29, 2016 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    I cannot vote for Dennison because of her advocacy for World War I

    • Vicki Hughes's Gravatar Vicki Hughes
      February 29, 2016 - 8:45 am | Permalink

      But she became a pacifist afterwards. One of the things about her was that her thinking kept evolving.

    • Tim's Gravatar Tim
      February 29, 2016 - 8:48 am | Permalink

      I thought she opposed the war.

      • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
        February 29, 2016 - 9:22 am | Permalink

        According to “Holy Women, Holy Men”…..
        “Though she initially supported World War I, she joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation in 1923, and by the 1930s was a firm pacifist.”

        • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
          February 29, 2016 - 7:21 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for the clarification!

  10. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    February 29, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Two notables who speak loud and clear to us this day.

  11. Sue Harris's Gravatar Sue Harris
    February 29, 2016 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    I voted for F D Maurice ‘cos he is a tractor boy. (Born in Suffolk). But seriously, because he was involved in the education of the working classes in the UK, without which I would be greatly deprived.

  12. Jean's Gravatar Jean
    February 29, 2016 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    Tough choice. Vida got my vote because I have ancestral ties to the textile workers in Merrimack Valley (where Lawrence is). The stories my grandfather told me about the working conditions in the mills rivaled anything you’ll find in Upton Sinclair.

  13. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    February 29, 2016 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    Both deeply attractive to me for their Anglo-Catholic and Socialist views, we need more of both! But the description of listening to Maurice as “like eating pea soup with a fork” brought about a recoil from this learned, earnest, and seriously muddled man. Scudder’s life was so exemplary and so Bostonian (she could have stepped out of the pages of a novel by William Dean Howells or Henry James) that nothing could tear me from my attachment to her, hence my vote.

    • Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
      February 29, 2016 - 8:49 am | Permalink

      Would you explain the pea soup comment? I don’t see it in the bios. And I’m not getting the sense if it. Please enlighten us.

      • February 29, 2016 - 10:08 am | Permalink

        I’ll guess while we wait for John to respond: real English pea soup, such as Maurice might have eaten, is very thick, and one might be tempted to eat it with a fork, but one would thus miss all the best stuff. So perhaps Maurice’s talks were of very dense material/ideas and he left out too much stuff so that he was difficult to make sense of? I have listened to talks like that–it’s very frustrating.

        • Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
          February 29, 2016 - 9:32 pm | Permalink


  14. Maria Jackson's Gravatar Maria Jackson
    February 29, 2016 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    The contest between 2 contemporaries is much fairer.

  15. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    February 29, 2016 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    Voted for Vida for so many reasons–prayer, activism, achievement against the odds in a man’s world. What would have tipped the scale, had this been a more difficult decision for me, is the Wellesley connection. Interestingly, she died shortly after I began my freshman year there.

  16. James Whittington's Gravatar James Whittington
    February 29, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    It is not made clear in the summary that Maurice’s Theological Essays spoke to the Christian Socialist Movement, and that Maurice insisted that he be either acquitted or dismissed as a result of the controversy created by the publication of these essays. This was a very bold move!

  17. PhilS's Gravatar PhilS
    February 29, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Had to go with a Smith College graduate (as is our daughter) and a woman who helped focus the Episcopal Church on social justice issues. We need more of her focus and energy in today’s congregations.

  18. Vicki Hughes's Gravatar Vicki Hughes
    February 29, 2016 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    I have a new hero in Vida Dutton Scudder.

    • Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
      February 29, 2016 - 9:14 am | Permalink

      As do I!

  19. Claudia Horner's Gravatar Claudia Horner
    February 29, 2016 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    Three cheers for Christian Socialists! Why must I vote for only one of them? We live in dark times when Christian Socialism is condemned by (multiple adjectives deleted) political candidates and opiners seem to think there is something terribly wrong with Christian Socialism. So again, three cheers!

    • Vicki Hughes's Gravatar Vicki Hughes
      February 29, 2016 - 8:47 am | Permalink

      Hear Hear!

      • Onionsauce's Gravatar Onionsauce
        February 29, 2016 - 10:16 am | Permalink

        So true! The word Christian has been co-opted by the Right, and Socialism has been demonized by all.

        • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
          February 29, 2016 - 7:22 pm | Permalink

          Yes indeed!

  20. SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
    February 29, 2016 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Voting for F.D. Maurice for being a Unitarian at Trinity College, for promoting Christian socialism, for having the courage to say that greed and capitalism are antithetical to Jesus’ teachings, for being an early proponent of ecumenism, for getting fired for proclaiming universal salvation (it’s that “I’m in and you’re out” mentality that is so destructive in our culture right now), for being a teacher, and for having the same name as my Uncle Maurice!

  21. February 29, 2016 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    What inspiring Saints today! My favorite thing about Lent Madness is learning about those I don’t know, and being inspired to read their own writings! Today I thought I would vote for Vida, but the sadness of being unfairly dismissed and the perseverance in educating the less privileged, along with Derek Olsen’s endearing portrait of Professor Maurice’s character, won me to the side of the underdog (again!). If Vida Dutton Scudder continues her present strong lead, will be happy to vote for her in the Sixteen!

  22. MusicResonator's Gravatar MusicResonator
    February 29, 2016 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    This pair, I’m afraid, does not resonate with MmusicResonator, so it is hard to vote. I am inclined not to vote today, but I take heart that one will be knocked out anyway, and the other later on. Still thinking.

    • Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
      February 29, 2016 - 11:18 am | Permalink

      I am with you.

  23. Dianne Lawson's Gravatar Dianne Lawson
    February 29, 2016 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    I should like the S.E.C. to consider more pairings like this in next year’s brackets. This lends itself to thoughtful reflection and a fairer comparison of worthy individuals.

  24. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    February 29, 2016 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Two thoroughly admirable contestants to start the week! I have great empathy for F. D. in that I tend to freeze up whenever I have to address a crowd larger than one, but I was so captivated by the concept of prayer as a “deep secret creative force” that I ended up voting for Vida!

  25. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    February 29, 2016 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    What an admirable pairing. I will be happy to see either advance into the next round. I voted for FD Maurice in the end because of his commitment to education for the working poor, for his bravery in asserting that greed and capitalism are contrary to the gospel knowing that he may lose his post, and because I am a university chaplain. I was also a tad uncomfortable with Vida’s support for the American entry into WWI, although note the comment that she later changed her views.

  26. Manny's Gravatar Manny
    February 29, 2016 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    Ah, a saintly battle between professors of English lit. Love it!

  27. Dutton Morehouse's Gravatar Dutton Morehouse
    February 29, 2016 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    Well, my name is Dutton, so you’d think . . . . But I voted for Maurice, whom I have admired for a long time. I have to say that this was a good and fair match – though it looks as if Vida will smother F. D. Two great advocates for the poor and needy – may we today follow in their paths.

  28. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    February 29, 2016 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Maurice. That is all.

  29. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    February 29, 2016 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Well, you managed to pick two people about whom I knew almost nothing–no mystics, no musicians. However, I was drawn to Maurice because of his socialism (incidentally Christian) and his tangling with the “authorities” over the theological “soundness” of his writing; also his work with and sympathy for the poor. (I wonder how Lewis Carroll was influenced by him.)

  30. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    February 29, 2016 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    You had me at social worker! So excited to learn more about a woman who is a socisl worker and an Episcopalian, as am I. One of the best things about Lent Madness are the happy discoveries kike this. Hurrah for Vida, my vote for the new patron saint of social workers!!

    • Kit's Gravatar Kit
      February 29, 2016 - 9:48 am | Permalink

      Me too! Here’s another vote for Vida from another social worker. I like the idea of a patron saint for social workers.

  31. Leamarie's Gravatar Leamarie
    February 29, 2016 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Making politics real by working for the poor and under served. Would that more people were called to that ideal today. By prayer let us follow Vida’s example, but not leave out actually working for the poor in whatever way we can. Let us show we are Christians by our love. Vote for Vida!

  32. Harry Denison Nicholson's Gravatar Harry Denison Nicholson
    February 29, 2016 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    Voted for Maurice in solidarity with the GTS8. It is quite strange though being related to one of the contestants in Lent Madness.

  33. Sue's Gravatar Sue
    February 29, 2016 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    Never having heard of either of these saintly persons, I had no preconceived notion of their achievements. It was a difficult decision! I have sympathy for Maurice being unjustly fired from his job, and the remarkable life he led after that event. Scudder, however, in spite of her support of the entry into WWI, seemed to be the more active in socialist projects and thus earned my vote. Her gender most likely did not endear her to the establishment.
    I wonder, was her Dennison House named in honor of F.D.?

  34. Yvonne's Gravatar Yvonne
    February 29, 2016 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    I was persuaded by the description of Maurice as a”vigorous spokesman for Christian socialism, the idea that greed and capitalism is counter to the teachings of Jesus.”
    In an age when some of the most popular of Christian preachers write books prosperity theology, Maurice’s dedication to the poor is moving to me.

  35. Liz Parmalee's Gravatar Liz Parmalee
    February 29, 2016 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    I voted for Vida because she was a Congregationalist who switched over to the Episcopalian Church

  36. Joy's Gravatar Joy
    February 29, 2016 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    “Social intercession may be the mightiest force in the world ” Vida for me today.

  37. Elizabeth Massey's Gravatar Elizabeth Massey
    February 29, 2016 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    This one was tough. Both Christian Socialialists – I wanted to vote for both. But in the end the Ivy League connection and her social work passion (I was educated in both and retired as a geriatric social worker) took the cake, especially as I think Vida had the tougher road overall.

  38. DonnaK's Gravatar DonnaK
    February 29, 2016 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    So many socialists, so little time! A tough choice for sure, but my vote goes to the hometown hero, Vida.

  39. Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
    February 29, 2016 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    Vida grew up in hard circumstances and achieved personal success. Many people would have stopped right there.

  40. Judy Fleener's Gravatar Judy Fleener
    February 29, 2016 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    No fair, two socialists, how can I choose between them?

  41. Lee Greenawalt's Gravatar Lee Greenawalt
    February 29, 2016 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    Not knowing either, I was influenced by the comment “imperfect communicator.” If so, the Halo should go to one who excelled in witness and action.

  42. Joanna Burt's Gravatar Joanna Burt
    February 29, 2016 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    I voted for Vida Dutton Scudder because parts of my young adult daughter’s life seem to be paralleling (don’t know if I spelled that correctly) Vida’s: father’s “premature” death, graduation from Smith College in literature, now doing social work ….I am proud of both of them!

  43. Marie's Gravatar Marie
    February 29, 2016 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    I voted for Vida in part because she was exemplary, and in part because we are fellow Smith alums!

  44. Tracey Henley's Gravatar Tracey Henley
    February 29, 2016 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    This was the difficult choice for me. Vida was obviously influenced by FD Maurice, but I had to go with Vida — her work was done in the US, after all; which is not to say that Maurice’s was less valuable, just less available to Americans in need.

  45. Jen E. Ochsner's Gravatar Jen E. Ochsner
    February 29, 2016 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    Yesterday when we skyped my brother and I were discussing being a teacher and losing your job. What would you do…..I hope that we would go on like Maurice did when he found another way to contribute to society. Way to go, F D Maurice!

  46. Lesley's Gravatar Lesley
    February 29, 2016 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    Inspired by Vida’s insight that “prayer is the deep secret creative force that Jesus tells us it is.” And her name means life.

  47. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    February 29, 2016 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    Vida. Social awareness and religious beliefs.

  48. February 29, 2016 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    So the Socialists have to battle each other in the first round. The tyrannical SEC once again forces us to make impossible choices! As a Socialist, I am naturally torn. Looking at their bios, their accomplishments seem similar, making the choice harder still. In the end, I have to once again call on my own Lenten Madness and choose Vida because she’s an American. Go USA! Go USA!

  49. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    February 29, 2016 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    Flip of a coin……they both were deep thinkers who believed in the need to devote their lives to caring for the poor and disenfranchised as well as writing theological works for scholars. Real challenges for today’s bloggers.

  50. Carol Kangas's Gravatar Carol Kangas
    February 29, 2016 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    As an alumna of the other Seven Sisters college in the Pioneer Valley (Mt. Holyoke), my vote goes to Vida in solidarity with all feminists who work for social justice.

  51. Donna Lou Ritter's Gravatar Donna Lou Ritter
    February 29, 2016 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    A descendant of the Scudder missionary family, Dr. Marilyn Scudder, graduated from medical school one year ahead of me. She became an ophthalmologist and returned to India to follow several generations of her family–back to Vida I believe. Vida has a special place in my heart.

  52. February 29, 2016 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    This was one of the hardest votes so far. Both people seem to have worked for justice and compassion in life-long ways.
    Great to learn about two people I didn’t know.

  53. February 29, 2016 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    Well, pro-WWI, even if she did learn after, vs. Friends with Charles Dodgson and George McDonald…I suspect I would disagree with some of Maurice’s ideas on salvation, but it sounds like he left the thinking world better for his being in it, and was perhaps a factor in making Scudder who she was.

  54. Christina's Gravatar Christina
    February 29, 2016 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    OK, how many of us see who Oliver voted for before we place our vote?
    How many of us want to hang out with him?

    • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
      February 29, 2016 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

      I, for one, check for Oliver’s opinion. Luckily for me, it’s often the first one in the comments. While I don’t always vote the same way as he, I appreciate and enjoy his reasoning.
      Go, Oliver!

  55. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    February 29, 2016 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    The idea that Maurice was a sub-optimal communicator was off-putting. If you have the greatest ideas in the world but can’t get them across to many people it doesn’t help. So I’m going with Scudder. Besides, if there’s a tie, go for the woman.

  56. Johanne Hills's Gravatar Johanne Hills
    February 29, 2016 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    I learn a great deal from these postings, so want to share something perhaps not widely known by American people of faith. Maurice’s writings had influence on the thinking of a Canadian Baptist minister named Tommy Douglas. He carried his faith into political activism and brought Medicare, first to the province of Saskatchewan, and then to the rest of Canada….faith lived out for the well being of vast numbers of folk. I voted Maurice.

    • Carol B.'s Gravatar Carol B.
      February 29, 2016 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for that bit of history. I’m learning so much from this (my first) Lent Madness.

  57. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    February 29, 2016 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    I was not familiar with either of these, and am glad to make their acquaintance. As a retired hospital chaplain, I was drawn to Maurice, but finally had to vote for Vida, because of her strong belief in and practice of prayer. It is truly the strongest tool/weapon we have in this life on earth. I was glad to receive the information from the comments that she became a pacifist later in life.

  58. Christianne McKee's Gravatar Christianne McKee
    February 29, 2016 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    I first became acquainted with Vida Scudder when I was in seminary. For a church history project we had to team up with another classmate, pick a name from the approved list of interesting church folks and do a presentation. Dan Linnnberg and I chose one of the only women – or maybe the only woman – on the list. Neither one of us had ever heard of Vida Scudder, but we get quite fond of her and her commitment to social justice and the struggle for equality of women. Oliver, Vida is in my heart too!

  59. Maribeth's Gravatar Maribeth
    February 29, 2016 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    A wholehearted vote for Vida and a note to self to add her autobiography to my reading list!

  60. Janet Nicholas's Gravatar Janet Nicholas
    February 29, 2016 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    This was the first time that reading about the competitors changed my mind about whom to vote for.

  61. February 29, 2016 - 11:11 am | Permalink

    I loved both narratives and both candidates. Today I must vote American and for standing by her convictions in the face of a society that did not accept women as having deep thoughts, and especially for her insight about prayer.

  62. Lisa Rose's Gravatar Lisa Rose
    February 29, 2016 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    While I strongly believe in social work, I do not believe in socialism, which is the former in its bureaucratic extreme and which will always eventually fail under its own weight and the weight of human greed. Inevitably, the oppressed become the oppressors … unions being the prime example. But in Vida’s day … they were vital … in ending the horrors of industrial slavery and in creating a middle class. And as for WWI, how much longer would the suffering and slaughter have gone on had we not entered the war?

  63. Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
    February 29, 2016 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    As with Cyril and Methodious, I’m frustrated the SEC pitted these two so like in many ways against each other in the first round. Near contemporaries, Christian Socialists both makes it very hard to choose. I’m going with Scudder chiefly on the grounds that accomplishing what she did as woman in her time is even more amazing.

  64. Brenda J's Gravatar Brenda J
    February 29, 2016 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    While I am well aware that Wikipedia is not the best resource, I did reference it for both Vida and F.D.
    F.D. gets my vote because of his tireless work, prayerful life and deep spirituality.

  65. Fr. Bill Loring's Gravatar Fr. Bill Loring
    February 29, 2016 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    Maurice, because I still remember this quote from seminary days (50+ yeas ago): Because I believe in the incarnation I believe in good sewers. (No quotes because my memory is probably not verbatim any more.) I never bought into socialism, but I do like his practical theology.

    • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
      February 29, 2016 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Fr. Bill, for the quote. I’ll have to add it to my list of things on which to ponder.

  66. Slugger's Gravatar Slugger
    February 29, 2016 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    No choices here. I’ll take a pass.

  67. February 29, 2016 - 11:52 am | Permalink

    I am so excited that a socialist will make it to the Saintly 16. Can’t lose today!

  68. Carole L's Gravatar Carole L
    February 29, 2016 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Vida – because she stood with the Lawrence MA garment workers – still an issue today with virtual slave conditions for overseas garment workers. Also, it turns out that one of my other heroines, Amelia Earhart, lived and worked at Denison House!

  69. Judi Putnam's Gravatar Judi Putnam
    February 29, 2016 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Vida receives my vote. She is the example for our lives in this era of need for all of us to step outside of our comfort zones.

  70. Barbara G's Gravatar Barbara G
    February 29, 2016 - 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Both were commendable for their work on behalf of the poor, but as an alumna I have to go with the Wellesley woman

    • Tara S.'s Gravatar Tara S.
      February 29, 2016 - 4:50 pm | Permalink

      My heart jumped when I saw that Vida was taught at Wellesley. I am an alumna too! I am all for a professor who promotes the gospel!

  71. Anne's Gravatar Anne
    February 29, 2016 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

    As a member of the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross, Vida has served as a role model for social justice and forward thinking.

  72. Cheryl K's Gravatar Cheryl K
    February 29, 2016 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Both interesting life paths, but I could not vote for Vida after reading of her support for WWI, one of the greatest most purposeless losses of human life there has been. I would have thought she would have stood with the conscientious objectors. I do love her quote about prayer, but went with Maurice.

  73. Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
    February 29, 2016 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Although I am not familiar with either of these good souls I have to go with the man who influenced one of my very favorite authors, George McDonald, and thereby, another great Christian writer, C.S.Lewis.

  74. Dudley Stone's Gravatar Dudley Stone
    February 29, 2016 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know if Jesus would be a Democrat or an Independent if here today but I’m absolutely certain he would not be a Republican.

  75. Jan Hamill's Gravatar Jan Hamill
    February 29, 2016 - 12:45 pm | Permalink

    As a long time member of the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross, it’s Vida Scudder all the way for me!

  76. TLH's Gravatar TLH
    February 29, 2016 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Vida all the way for me; I am, after all, married to a UNION MAN

  77. Robert Lundquist's Gravatar Robert Lundquist
    February 29, 2016 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I received scholarship assistance in seminary from the Scudder Foundation. Her family continued her good work for many years after her earthly ministry. I voted for Vida in thanksgiving.

  78. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    February 29, 2016 - 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Vida. She was one of the pioneer social workers in this country. I can understand how she initially supported the US entrance into WW1 and later became a pacifist–the early part of the 20th century was a very strange time. FD Maurice was no slouch either–both are worthy saints trying to make the world a better place.

  79. Derek's Gravatar Derek
    February 29, 2016 - 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Sadly, the predominate “greedy capitalism vs. pure socialism” tone of this thread obscures so much of Jesus’s capitalist teachings ( such as 3 servants who were rewarded according to what they had done with what the Master gave them). A good grounding in the doctrine of original sin helps us see past the gauzy promise of socialism and into the laity of how sinful mortals really think and act. A reading of the New Testament gives a strong hint to what happened when the Jersualem Church tried to practice socialism. There is biblical teaching to both support and challenge both modern socialism and modern capitalism.

    • Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
      February 29, 2016 - 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Derek — I would enjoy discussing this with you some more, but I don’t think the Lent Madness comments section is the best place. I am on Facebook: Kathy Floerke. If you are also on Facebook, drop me a message or send me a friend request.

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        February 29, 2016 - 11:49 pm | Permalink

        I enjoy these discussions the most, because I see ideas in action and learn about people’s commitments. If you take these interesting discussions out to Facebook, I will have to follow you there, but I would much prefer that these ideas get hashed out here within a spiritual context with a congenial travelling party. I do see us all riding toward Canterbury together, and sometimes we’re laughing and passing the flask and sometimes we’re on each other’s nerves, but always we are pushing the boundaries of spiritual conversation. I would be so sorry if these pregnant asides got shifted into the tepid waters of Facebook. (I guess we just got off our horses and are now in a boat. Good night.)

        • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
          March 1, 2016 - 8:09 am | Permalink

          The comments are a “must” in my LM discipline. Facebook? Never.

  80. Derek's Gravatar Derek
    February 29, 2016 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Reality, not laity. Darn auto-correct!

  81. February 29, 2016 - 1:20 pm | Permalink

    As a Companion of the Holy Cross I vote for Vita who continues to influence SCHC.

  82. Marjorie Cull's Gravatar Marjorie Cull
    February 29, 2016 - 1:33 pm | Permalink

    As a member if SCHC how could I not vote for
    Vida. Her willingness to stand up to society and stand for those who needed support as well as her many contributions to SCHC wins my vote for sure.

  83. Frances's Gravatar Frances
    February 29, 2016 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

    As a fellow Companion I hereby cast my vote for Vida!

  84. February 29, 2016 - 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Hate these days when I want to vote for Both candidates – hard to pick today but I finally chose Vida .

  85. Carol Barker's Gravatar Carol Barker
    February 29, 2016 - 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Very difficult choice. I voted for Vida, but it was a difficult choice to make. It seems like one started the movement and the other continued it.

  86. Carol Anderson's Gravatar Carol Anderson
    February 29, 2016 - 3:27 pm | Permalink

    As a Smith alum, M.Ed. 1974, I cast my vote for Vida.

  87. Bob Faser's Gravatar Bob Faser
    February 29, 2016 - 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Very similar candidates this time:
    — both lived in the 19th century (although VDS was more of a 20th c. person);
    — both were academics;
    — both were Anglican/Episcopalian by choice;
    — both sought to reconcile Christian faith with a socialist view of politics/economics at a time when this was a more radical viewpoint among mainstream Christians than it is now;
    — both, in doing so, tried to combine theory and practice.

    The only differences between them are nationality and gender.

    I’ll vote for the “underdog” candidate today, once I figure out which one is the underdog.

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      February 29, 2016 - 5:10 pm | Permalink

      On days when neither person moves me, or when I’m stuck because both are so moving, I base my choice on any old reason that comes to mind. For example, today, my vote might have been based on determining “Vida Dutton Scudder” can be sung to the tune of “Fascinating Rhythm.” As in:
      “Vida Dutton Scudder, so fun to say your name,
      Vida Dutton Scudder might win a halo.
      Vida Dutton Scudder
      is anything but tame.
      Maurice’s votes are way low…”
      Ok, this wasn’t the basis of my vote, but everything seemed so serious today, I took a leap for humor. I won’t do it again for at least four years.

      • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
        February 29, 2016 - 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Haha, thanks, Peg S!

  88. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    February 29, 2016 - 3:39 pm | Permalink

    We need to run Oliver against Trump! He is a winner!

  89. Seth's Gravatar Seth
    February 29, 2016 - 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Wow, asking me to choose between two socialists. I am afraid that I must recuse myself from this vote. I expected better from you, Lent Madness…

  90. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    February 29, 2016 - 5:35 pm | Permalink

    To be perfectly honest, neither one of these saints really spoke to me today. I could tell VDS was going to win this but went with Maurice instead. I like how he turned the disappointment of losing his faculty position into one of his greatest contributions, the founding of the Working Men’s College.

  91. Emmy's Gravatar Emmy
    February 29, 2016 - 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Another Companion for Vida!

  92. sarah- 15 years old's Gravatar sarah- 15 years old
    February 29, 2016 - 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Im voted for Vida because she stood up for her own right and she stood up for other good causes. I also really like how she was for activism, for those who were marginalized by society and was spiritually grounded and led.

    There are many people who are a activists in modern day who fight for people who are part of the LGBTQ community, myself and many others are transgender and seek the same opportunities as everyone else.

    I have found tremendous acceptance in my Parish and the Episcopal Church, and Vida was one of the many who fought for many peoples rights.

    My vote goes for Vida! 🙂

  93. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    February 29, 2016 - 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Vida won my vote by her own great soul and tireless achievements; but a personal bonus for me was the fond memory of my association as legal advisor, beginning in 1969 and lasting a decade or more, with the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross. I couldn’t have wished for nicer clients or more satisfying work.

  94. February 29, 2016 - 9:33 pm | Permalink

    where can ‘The Privilege of Age’ be found?

  95. james lodwick's Gravatar james lodwick
    February 29, 2016 - 10:48 pm | Permalink

    As usual, another tough choice. I went with Maurice simply because reading his “Kingdom of Christ” had a strong effect on me. I had heard of Scudder but honestly haven’t read any of her writings, a lack I need to remedy.
    The little bio of Maurice tars him as “an imperfect communicator” without giving any reason for this criticism, yet goes on to declare him a “vigorous spokesperson,” who “wrote brilliantly,” and “a powerful prophetic voice.” Doesn’t make sense.
    The collect for Scudder, taken from “Holy Women, Holy Men,” perpetuates the confusion and poor proofreading of that book in intermingling in the same prayer the archaic second-person singular “thy” and the modern “you” and “your.”

  96. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    February 29, 2016 - 11:40 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Vida. Denison House, her support of the textile workers strike, and working for the labor unions, “Social intercession may be the mightiest force in the world” , and “Fascinating Rhythm” (Thank you, Peg S.)

  97. March 1, 2016 - 12:23 am | Permalink

    I liked F.D.’s quote on capitalism, which echoes my own thoughts, but it was Vida’s story that really drew me. Glad to have been introduced to both these folks today.

  98. Sue G.'s Gravatar Sue G.
    March 1, 2016 - 3:28 am | Permalink

    As always, a difficult choice. I suppose that’s the point! Both worthy characters and worth learning about. As a woman, do I vote for the woman? Or as Brit do I vote for my countryman? Europe got in – so I voted for F. D.

  99. Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
    March 1, 2016 - 7:39 am | Permalink

    “.. an imperfect communicator,”

    F.D. has my sympathies (been there, done that) and vote.

  100. Paul Ambos's Gravatar Paul Ambos
    March 1, 2016 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    Given the recent travails of Dr. Larycia Hawkins at the bumbling hands of the administration of Wheaton College, I voted for F.D. Maurice in sympathy.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 1, 2016 - 8:14 am | Permalink

      excellent, Paul!

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