Raymond Nonnatus vs. John of Nepomuk

Today marks the last matchup of a full week of saintly action! Raymond Nonnatus, a 13th century Spaniard, takes on John of Nepomuk, the 14th century patron saint of Czechoslovakia.

Yesterday, in the closest vote of Lent Madness 2017 to date, Odo of Cluny held off Theodore the Studite 52% to 48%. Odo will advance to the Saintly Sixteen where he’ll face Mechtild of Magdeburg.

One point we want to stress before you start pulling levers for Raymond or John. You should know that our fabulous Celebrity Bloggers are kept to strict word counts on their write-ups. Of course so much more could be said about each saint presented in Lent Madness. If you’re curious about learning more about a particular holy soul, we encourage you to dive deeper! Often additional information gleaned by participants is shared in the comments sections below each post. Feel free to share tidbits and resources with your fellow Lent Madness pilgrims. In the next round, the Saintly Sixteen, we get into Quirks and Quotes (either by or about said saint). So fear not. The further a saint advances, the more information you’ll be given. [Here endeth the Lent Madness lesson].

Those of you who read the comments will be very familiar with Oliver–Nine Years Old. Well, we are pleased to report that Oliver’s mom sent us this picture of the boy himself, posing in front of the pictorial bracket he created for his home church, St. John’s in Stamford, CT.

Oliver With Bracket

We’ll see everybody bright and early on Monday morning for the Battle of the Augustines™ as Augustine of Canterbury squares off against Augustine of Hippo.

Raymond Nonnatus

Raymond Nonnatus lived in thirteenth-century Spain, and his nickname “Nonnatus” refers to his birth. Traditions agree he was delivered via Caesarean section, and so was “not born” (according to the scientific understanding of medieval Europe).

We don’t know much for certain but gather that Nonnatus was either the rebellious son of a local count or a local shepherd’s child. Either way, tradition says he spent his childhood tending sheep and liked to spend his spare time praying in his local church.

According to one story, Nonnatus convinced his father to let him join a group of monks in Barcelona. Called the Mercedarian order, these men were devoted to freeing Christians from slavery around the world.

After emancipating 140 slaves in Valencia, then another 250 slaves in Algiers, Nonnatus ran into trouble in Tunis—or rather, the ransom money ran out. So, Nonnatus surrendered himself as payment, winning the freedom of 28 captives. His captors, according to legend, bored a hole through his lips with a red-hot poker and padlocked his mouth shut to prevent Nonnatus from preaching. His Mercedarian brothers came to his aid and paid his ransom so that he could return to Spain. Impressively, he clung to life for several more months before dying in 1240 in Castle Cordona, near Barcelona.

After his death, Nonnatus’s popularity flourished—literally, everyone wanted a piece of him, with the count and the townsfolk of Castle Cordona and the Mercedarians all laying claim to his body. To settle the dispute, it was decided to put his body on the back of a blind mule, let the mule wander loose, and see where the mule decided Nonnatus should be laid to rest. The mule proceeded to the chapel where Nonnatus had spent so many of his childhood hours in prayer—and there he was buried. Nonnatus is celebrated as the patron saint of midwives, expectant mothers, and newborn babies—which is why the Anglican order in the novel and popular television program Call the Midwife is named Nonnatus House. Nonnatus and his locked lips remind us of the seal of the confessional, the falsely accused, and those wounded by gossip.

Collect for Raymond Nonnatus
God of all light and life, you knit together birth and death in beautiful mystery: Grant us, through the example of your servant Raymond, whose death was punishment for the lifegiving ministry he proclaimed as an emancipator, the courage to be reconciled to you and the world, through Jesus Christ our only Mediator and Advocate, who dwells with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

-Megan Castellan

John of Nepomuk

John of Nepomuk (also called John Nepomucene) was born around 1345 in Bohemia, part of the modern-day Czech Republic. He studied at the University of Prague and later at the University of Padua, eventually becoming the vicar-general of St. Gilles Cathedral (St. Gilles Church) in Prague.

It is believed that King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia (not the Good King Wenceslas—this Wenceslaus was definitely not good) engaged in a feud with John over the appointment of a new abbot. John appointed an abbot to the abbey at Kladruby whom the king opposed. On the night of March 20, 1393, John was thrown into the Vltava River and drowned.

Eventually the story was told like this: King Wenceslaus suspected that his wife had a lover. Because John of Nepomuk was her confessor, the king ordered him to reveal the name of her lover, but to no avail. As punishment, the king ordered John to be drowned. Because of this legend, John of Nepomuk is considered the first martyr of the seal of the confessional and a patron against slanderers. Because of the way he died, he’s also considered a protector from floods and drowning.

John of Nepomuk is typically represented with a halo of five stars, commemorating the stars that hovered over the Vltava River on the night of his martyrdom. Sometimes his figure is accompanied by an angel indicating silence with a finger placed over the lips.

Collect for John of Nepomuk
Merciful and forgiving God, we thank you for the gifts of confession, absolution, and reconciliation; for without them, we are without remedy and solace in our sin and shame. Thank you for the life of your servant John of Nepomuk, who upheld the seal of the confessional even unto death, for the sake of your love. Grant that we might have such zeal and conviction in our own day, to the honor and glory of our only Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ. Amen.

-Hugo Olaiz

Raymond Nonnatus vs. John of Nepomuk

  • Raymond Nonnatus (83%, 5,935 Votes)
  • John of Nepomuk (17%, 1,253 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,188

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Raymond Nonnatus: By JosepBC (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://
creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
John of Nepomuk: [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

301 Comments to "Raymond Nonnatus vs. John of Nepomuk"

  1. Ann Garvin's Gravatar Ann Garvin
    March 10, 2017 - 8:04 am | Permalink

    I’m a nurse-midwife, so HAD to vote for Raymond! (Nonnatus is celebrated as the patron saint of midwives, expectant mothers, and newborn babies.) Go, Raymond! #Midwives

    • Carol M's Gravatar Carol M
      March 10, 2017 - 8:33 am | Permalink

      I am also a nurse -midwife and had to vote for him. Also John had to keep a secret, well we midwives keep plenty!

      • Ann Garvin's Gravatar Ann Garvin
        March 10, 2017 - 8:38 am | Permalink

        oh, so true! 😉

    • Wynne Osborne's Gravatar Wynne Osborne
      March 10, 2017 - 9:51 am | Permalink

      Midwives, mothers all honor Raymond. I confess to being slightly swayed by the humanity evidenced in every episode of Call the Midwife. But really, as the mother of 3, Raymond wins my vote

      • Lindsay Graves's Gravatar Lindsay Graves
        March 10, 2017 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

        Call the Midwife…one of the best PBS programs of all time. I was inspired by the work of the Sisters of Nonnatus House..love in action.

    • Christine F. Cannon's Gravatar Christine F. Cannon
      March 10, 2017 - 10:38 am | Permalink

      Was Caesarian birth actually performed in the 13 hundreds? I’m amazed.

      • Christina Joy Thom's Gravatar Christina Joy Thom
        March 10, 2017 - 11:15 am | Permalink

        Caesarians were named after Caesar of Rome fame. They have been done for at least 2 thousand year.

        • Lauren D's Gravatar Lauren D
          March 10, 2017 - 3:19 pm | Permalink

          This is a false derivation. The word “caesus” in Latin means “a cutting,” so the word “cesarean” and the name Caesar just have a common root. Julius Caesar’s mother also lived well into old age, and there’s no historical evidence of him being born by cesarean. The Romans did use this method, but only in extreme cases – where the mother was already dead or on her way to it… (Sorry, I’m a Latin teacher; I can’t help it! I only just had this corrected in my own knowledge about six years ago, so, it’s clearly a common misconception!)

          • Kathy Munroe's Gravatar Kathy Munroe
            March 10, 2017 - 5:34 pm | Permalink

            Thank you Lauren for that explanation!! I’m a nurse-but not a midwife, but never knew this.

          • March 10, 2017 - 9:46 pm | Permalink

            Lo, these many decades I have been misinformed. That it came from Caesar. Thanks, Lauren D.

          • Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
            March 12, 2017 - 10:08 pm | Permalink

            I totally agree with your explanation.

        • Jill Liberty's Gravatar Jill Liberty
          March 10, 2017 - 3:22 pm | Permalink

          Julius Caesar was not delivered via a Caesarian Section. During that time in Ancient Rome, a “caesarean section” was performed only to remove an infant from the womb of a mother who had died in childbirth. Caesar’s mother survived her childbirth.

        • Frank Jacob's Gravatar Frank Jacob
          March 12, 2017 - 1:00 am | Permalink

          I voted for John because of my Czech heritage. Lauren, after taking Latin for 8 years and studying with Latin texts, I have great respect for Latin teachers, but my research indicated that ”Caesarean section” come from the Latin caedere – to hack. to cut. Caesus has more of a meaning to beat. Not connected with Julius Caesar in any case. The earliest C-section seems to be on Bindusara’s mother in about 320 BCE. Interesting motives in those days! Thank the Lord for Raymond that C-sections were more advanced in those days.

      • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
        March 10, 2017 - 11:20 am | Permalink

        Reportedly it is called Caesarian after Julius Caesar who was also reportedly a “nonnatus” having not come into the world the natural way.

      • Sara L's Gravatar Sara L
        March 10, 2017 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

        C-section delivery before the late 19th century were almost always fatal for the mother, and often took place near or just after death in labor. Childbirth was very, very risky for most of human history.

        • Michael Fay's Gravatar Michael Fay
          March 10, 2017 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

          C-Sections were used because pf the death of the mother, most commonly. Neonates’ mother died attempting child birth. Caesar was delivered normally, in spite of the name. Pliny the E;der may have started the rumor about Julius. My favorite reference is from MacBeth, Act V, Scene 8:
          MacDuff Despair thy charm,
          And let the angel whom thou still hast served
          Tell thee,
          Macduff was from his mother’s womb
          Untimely ripped.

        • Rita Griffith's Gravatar Rita Griffith
          March 10, 2017 - 4:54 pm | Permalink

          Proof of that is the petition in the Great Litany “for women in childbirth”. And childbirth is, unfortunately, still very dangerous for many women around the world. According to UNICEF around 800 women a day died globally in 2015 from complications of pregnancy and childbirth.

      • Gretchen Pritchard's Gravatar Gretchen Pritchard
        March 10, 2017 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

        Probably the mother did not survive, though.

        The plot of Macbeth also turns on Macduff not being “of woman born” (“Macduff was from his mother womb / Untimely ripp’d”) and thus being able to defeat Macbeth despite the prophecy that none “of woman born” could prevail over Macbeth.

    • Christina Joy Thom's Gravatar Christina Joy Thom
      March 10, 2017 - 11:13 am | Permalink

      Practical Christianity! Also Call the Mid-wife are my reasons.

    • Joan Reyes's Gravatar Joan Reyes
      March 10, 2017 - 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t Nonnatus House of “Call the Midwife” named after him? Ol, Raymond!

      • Katrina's Gravatar Katrina
        March 10, 2017 - 9:55 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it is. That was in the write-up.

  2. March 10, 2017 - 8:05 am | Permalink

    What a treat to see Oliver. Thanks, Oliver’s Mom, for the photo.

    • Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
      March 10, 2017 - 8:24 am | Permalink

      But is Oliver still Nine Years Old?

      • Marcia Tremmel's Gravatar Marcia Tremmel
        March 10, 2017 - 8:34 am | Permalink

        I would say yes, as in last year’s LM, he was Oliver-eight years old. I hope I am still playing Lent Madness when Oliver starts posting as a seminary student.

        • MR McKenney's Gravatar MR McKenney
          March 10, 2017 - 9:34 am | Permalink

          I hope I see Oliver posting as a seminary student too and thank mom for posting photo!

          • JohnieB's Gravatar JohnieB
            March 10, 2017 - 3:44 pm | Permalink

            Yes, it was delightful to see Oliver. I didn’t know he was in my diocese!

        • March 10, 2017 - 10:55 am | Permalink

          Amen, MR! Perhaps we’ll hear about a Fr. Oliver someday….

          • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
            March 10, 2017 - 11:21 am | Permalink

            And as a celebrity blogger.

          • Rosemary Beales's Gravatar Rosemary Beales
            March 10, 2017 - 11:32 am | Permalink

            And as Saint Oliver (but not too soon)!

        • Cindy Lufkin's Gravatar Cindy Lufkin
          March 10, 2017 - 4:21 pm | Permalink

          Glad to see his pic & what a good job he’s doing promoting Lent Madness in his church.

          If I remember right, his birthday is in Lent.

        • March 10, 2017 - 9:49 pm | Permalink


    • March 10, 2017 - 10:17 am | Permalink

      Great to see you, Oliver!

    • Barbara Bley's Gravatar Barbara Bley
      March 10, 2017 - 11:54 am | Permalink

      I voted for Nonnantus because I’ve always supported nursing mothers and infants! Not to mention he was one of the first truly Freedom Fighters! I just wish I could see the picture of our little Oliver?

    • Maria H.'s Gravatar Maria H.
      March 10, 2017 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Love seeing Oliver as well!! This vote was tough for me….I admire and respect a man from that time in history NOT turning against the woman who confessed her affair, however, I decided on Raymond due to a tough time delivering my only son, who is 16 years old now and a beautiful boy!!

  3. Holly Green's Gravatar Holly Green
    March 10, 2017 - 8:06 am | Permalink

    As a huge fan of call the midwife, and the mother of 4, I had to go with Raymond of Nonnetus.

    • Terri's Gravatar Terri
      March 10, 2017 - 12:01 pm | Permalink

      I voted for Nonnatus…….I always wondered where the name of the house in ‘Midwife’ came from. I was a girl in England growing up in that period. But I also favor Raymond for his releasing of the slaves and the suffering he went through.

  4. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 10, 2017 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    I’m going to guess that a lot of folks have watched “Call the Midwife,” which is fun and utterly sentimental. Watch the poor have lots of babies in post-war England! I am giving the nod to John today, because the idea of protecting the sanctity of the confessional seems very important to me. Gossip and slander are clearly the themes for the day; they are as damaging today as they ever were. We now find them infesting social media. The whole concept of “fake news” seems to me a version of gossip and slander. John of Nepomuk seems like a good patron for journalists today, the one who will not reveal his sources. So given the crucial need for a vigilant and faithful Fourth Estate in our fragile democracy, I am going to support John. Plus he seems like a precursor of Jan Hus, of blessed memory. Eastern Europe is a vitally important part of Western culture, a rich interface between east and west and a complex region worth our respect and understanding. John it is for me today.

    • Kristin's Gravatar Kristin
      March 10, 2017 - 8:34 am | Permalink

      If it feels sentimental – read the books on which the series is based! They are excellent and show the crushing poverty and danger of that part of London at that time.

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        March 10, 2017 - 9:06 am | Permalink

        The first season used period photographs of the London East End, which were very powerful. I will find the books (thought series was based on a single memoir). For me the series points to need for universal healthcare!

        • March 10, 2017 - 9:45 am | Permalink

          I listened to the books on audio and they were amazing. It was so educational. As an American, I had no idea. I knew of the hardships of World War II but not what went on in the 50’s and early 60’s.

          • Marianne's Gravatar Marianne
            March 11, 2017 - 1:38 am | Permalink

            I listened to them too, and the reader’s accents were so amazing!! Learned so much about the workhouses and the workhouse howl.

        • Suanne's Gravatar Suanne
          March 10, 2017 - 9:56 am | Permalink

          The series also beautifully shows imperfect folks struggling with their own challenges while being Jesus’s hands in their corner of the world. Both of these saints touched me for exactly the reasons St. Celia shared.

      • Marie Cantrell's Gravatar Marie Cantrell
        March 10, 2017 - 10:13 am | Permalink

        What are the names of the books?

    • Meg's Gravatar Meg
      March 10, 2017 - 9:33 am | Permalink

      I’m going with John as well. What is forgiveness if our sins are not sealed? His silence is important. (Also, I’m not in an area where that TV series is seen..)

    • Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
      March 10, 2017 - 9:34 am | Permalink

      Excellent argument and connection to the life we live today. Thanks for your contribution to this discussion.

    • LauraT's Gravatar LauraT
      March 10, 2017 - 9:58 am | Permalink

      St. Celia your vote totally swayed me. John.

      • Natalie Doyle-Hennin's Gravatar Natalie Doyle-Hennin
        March 10, 2017 - 5:34 pm | Permalink

        St. Celia did it for me as well.

    • Linda Watson-Lorde's Gravatar Linda Watson-Lorde
      March 10, 2017 - 10:10 am | Permalink

      MY THOUGHTS! Exactly to the Point. God Bless You and as His people we would all stand together, in silence when required.

    • pHil's Gravatar pHil
      March 10, 2017 - 10:59 am | Permalink

      Yes, TBtG for abbots like Raymond who’ll stand up to a king. According to the witches of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, however, John (being from his mother’s womb “untimely ripp’d) is qualified to actually DISPATCH a king (not that he would).

      • pHil's Gravatar pHil
        March 10, 2017 - 11:03 am | Permalink

        OOOPS! I reversed their names.

        TBtG for abbots like John who’ll stand up to a king. According to the witches of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, however, Raymond (being from his mother’s womb “untimely ripp’d”) is qualified to actually DISPATCH a king (not that he would).

        • Celia Metz's Gravatar Celia Metz
          March 10, 2017 - 11:26 am | Permalink

          Having recently attended a wonderful production of Macbeth at our local theater (Whidbey Island Center for the Arts) I remember vividly the scene between Macduff and Macbeth where Macduff declares he was not “of woman born”. So I go for Raymond. And I just downloaded the audiobook of the first volume of Jennifer Worth’s memoir.

    • Sarah Pope's Gravatar Sarah Pope
      March 10, 2017 - 11:14 am | Permalink

      Another tough choice. I have to start reading the comments before voting. There have been a couple of times I think I would have considered the other choice. I had to go with Raymond this time, though. Did anyone else tightly purse their lips together after reading about the hot poker incident?

      • Maria H.'s Gravatar Maria H.
        March 10, 2017 - 2:34 pm | Permalink

        Yes! Ouch!

    • Isabelle Melese-d'Hospital's Gravatar Isabelle Melese-d'Hospital
      March 10, 2017 - 11:31 am | Permalink

      Excellent points, I agree that gossip and slander are horrible scourges, and we need the 4th estate more than ever!

    • Rene's Gravatar Rene
      March 10, 2017 - 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Love your reasons. My vote aLigns with yours but thanks for the extra push.

  5. Maggie Proctor's Gravatar Maggie Proctor
    March 10, 2017 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    I am a huge fan of Call the Midwife so had to vote for Raymond, fascinating though John is.

    • Bill Eakins's Gravatar Bill Eakins
      March 10, 2017 - 8:38 am | Permalink

      I heartily agree!!!

    • Maggie Proctor's Gravatar Maggie Proctor
      March 10, 2017 - 8:59 am | Permalink

      Not a midwife but have spent many an anxious hour in Labor and Delivery.

    • Rita Griffith's Gravatar Rita Griffith
      March 10, 2017 - 9:24 am | Permalink

      Why so righteous?

  6. Max's Gravatar Max
    March 10, 2017 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    John Nepomuck is actually thought to be completely made up to create a Bohemian or Czech national saint around the time of the Catholic Reformation…

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 10, 2017 - 8:14 am | Permalink

      Fake news!

      • Charlotte Vinik's Gravatar Charlotte Vinik
        March 10, 2017 - 9:05 am | Permalink

        or alternative facts

      • Max's Gravatar Max
        March 10, 2017 - 2:38 pm | Permalink

        I did actually vote for him… It’s a cool story never-the-less!

    • Melody Yuhn's Gravatar Melody Yuhn
      March 10, 2017 - 9:00 am | Permalink

      Alternative Facts? I think not. Vote John Nepomuck!

      • March 10, 2017 - 9:27 am | Permalink

        Hear, hear! Even though I doubt he can win.

    • March 10, 2017 - 4:22 pm | Permalink

      I write this with all respect to everyone:
      This year there seems to be a recurring issue around “fictional saints.” In just the first week of voting, certain commentators have declared that Alban, Moses the Black, and Cecilia are nothing more than myths. But no one has written of any real evidence to support this claim. The thinking seems to be that if apocryphal stories are attached to a saint, then that saint can’t be real. This reasoning is not sound. Any real person can be the subject of tales that may or may not be true. For example, George Washington and the story of the cherry tree.
      As for John of Nepomuk being invented to give the Bohemians a national saint, the account of his martyrdom is given in four contemporary documents. The first is the accusation against Wenceslaus, presented to Pope Boniface IX by John of Jenstejn, Archbishop of Prague, on April 23, 1393, just one month after John’s murder. Abbot Lodolf of Sagon also wrote of it in the catalog of Sagon Abbots (completed in 1398) and in the treatise “De longaevo schismate”. The fourth document is “Chronik des Deutschordens”, which was compiled by John of Posilge, who died in 1405. This is historical record.
      Also, earlier this week a commentator said that scholars had discovered that the name of Christopher did not belong to a real person, but was simply an expression of the aspirations of Christians and as a result he was removed from the Kalendar. But contrary to popular myth, Christopher was not removed from the Kalendar. He was transferred from the Universal Kalendar to the Regional Kalendar, because it was felt that his feast had more resonance to people who had a special connection to him. For instance, parishes which are named for Christopher. Vatican II accepted his historical existence.

      • Sally Rhett Roberts's Gravatar Sally Rhett Roberts
        March 10, 2017 - 7:30 pm | Permalink

        Thanks so much, Harlie, for this clarification. I have always loved the saints’ stories, and the more legends the better. When a tour guide in Italy declared that Francis’ taming the wolf of Gubbio was “just a legend”, I told her that with many stories, it doesn’t matter whether it really happened, because in some sense it IS true.

      • March 10, 2017 - 9:54 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Harlie.

  7. March 10, 2017 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    Oliver I appreciate you pr interest in this site!

  8. Kim Rossi's Gravatar Kim Rossi
    March 10, 2017 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    I have a good friend who is going to have a baby. So I feel I must choose Raymond Nonnetus and pray for a happy, healthy baby – who may be devoted to inclusivity and against any person being “less than” another. Somehow, knowing this child’s parents, I am sure this will be a wonderful child that will grow into an amazing adult. So – “You Go” Nonnetus!!

  9. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    March 10, 2017 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    Patron saint of midwives, expectant mothers and newborn babies and gave his own freedom to free slaves! How could I not vote for Raymond.

    Thanks for the picture, Oliver’s Mom. I always look forward to reading Oliver’s comments.

  10. Patricia White's Gravatar Patricia White
    March 10, 2017 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    Oh, my, what a quandary. My Mother-in-law’s family came from Bohemia. Since I am sure Ray will get the nod, I will stick with the family origins.
    What fun to have Oliver’s face to go with his reasoned responses.

  11. Elaine's Gravatar Elaine
    March 10, 2017 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    With Nonnatus, we get both the sealed lips (though, ewww) and pregnant women/babies/midwives. This was my easiest vote yet. (And I’m glad to see that Oliver is, in fact, a real person!)

  12. Sarah Rose (16 years old)'s Gravatar Sarah Rose (16 years old)
    March 10, 2017 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    I chose Raymond because he was so well minded, on helping others rather than himself. Now that’s being true to yourself and others.

    *And OLIVER if your reading this I just wanted to say….. YOUR AWESOME!!!!!!

    • Celeste's Gravatar Celeste
      March 10, 2017 - 9:37 am | Permalink

      Sarah Rose and Oliver keep up the inspiring comments. I also know a ten year old, Katie, a veteran of a few Lent Madness series, who is engaging in wonders of the Saints. SEC: Maybe a future Celebrity Blogger or two?

      • March 10, 2017 - 9:52 am | Permalink

        Or three!

      • March 10, 2017 - 9:57 pm | Permalink

        Celeste and SEC, wouldn’t it be fun to have a couple of our younger participants here write a story of the saints in one of the brackets?

    • Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
      March 10, 2017 - 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Sarah Rose, I always look for the comments you make, as well as for Oliver. I have seen a couple of new young commenters this year, also. So good to read your explanations of your voting. All of you, please continue to be a vital part of our Lent Madness!!

  13. March 10, 2017 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Going with Raymond Nonnatus today in honor of a dear friend and of my sister-in-law, who are both midwives, and an agency near the Oneida Reservation where I now serve, started by midwives, called the Wise Women Gathering Place. Though that apparently puts me on the bandwagon, I still haven’t seen Call the Midwife.

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 10, 2017 - 11:33 am | Permalink

      Good news: the series is available on DVD for your binge watching pleasure.

  14. Tim Seitz-Brown's Gravatar Tim Seitz-Brown
    March 10, 2017 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Looks like #EverybodyLovesRaymond

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 10, 2017 - 8:30 am | Permalink


    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      March 10, 2017 - 8:51 am | Permalink


    • pHil's Gravatar pHil
      March 10, 2017 - 11:05 am | Permalink

      I just hope the Mercedarians aren’t named for the kind of cars they drive.

  15. Dutton in Madison, GA's Gravatar Dutton in Madison, GA
    March 10, 2017 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Raymond for sure. A man of action and prayer who devoted himself to freeing slaves. The image of padlocked lips is a stunner.

  16. Harriet's Gravatar Harriet
    March 10, 2017 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Raymond gets my vote. I’m a fan of “Call the Midwife!”

  17. Sonia Stevenson's Gravatar Sonia Stevenson
    March 10, 2017 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Another delightful tradition linked to John which may influence the musicians in our crowd: “Amongst English Bellringers at the midpoint of Spring, on the feast day of St. John Nepomuk, an apprentice bellringer will “shear” the hair from the head of his ringing master. It has been suggested that this tradition may stem from an influx in the seventeenth century of refugees from Malta, who settled at the Western end of Cheapside, and who brought with them the cult of Saint John of Nepomuk. This practice has now generally fallen out of use, except in the parish of St Vedast Foster Lane in London, at the West end of Cheapside, in the shadow of St. Paul’s Cathedral, where it is still upheld.”

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 10, 2017 - 8:29 am | Permalink

      “This practice has now generally fallen out of use…” Hahaha! Some traditions are best left to fall by the wayside!

    • March 10, 2017 - 9:15 am | Permalink

      What a fascinating sidelight! I wish I had paid more attention to which saints were honored with images during my stay in Malta.

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 10, 2017 - 11:37 am | Permalink

      I have not heard of Saint Vedast before. Does anyone know more about this Saint worthy enough to be patron of a parish in the shadow of the Saint Paul’s?

      • Sonia Stevenson's Gravatar Sonia Stevenson
        March 10, 2017 - 3:48 pm | Permalink

        Vedast or Vedastus, also known as Saint Vaast or Saint Waast Saint Gaston, was an early bishop in the Frankish realm. He was venerated throughout Belgium as well as England (from the 10th century), where he was known as Saint Foster.
        At the beginning of the sixth century, Saint Remigius, bishop of Reims, entrusted the dioceses of Arras and Cambrai to Vedast, who helped with the conversion of the Frankish king, Clovis.
        Vedast died on February 6, 539 at Arras. On the night he died, the locals saw a luminous cloud ascend from his house, apparently carrying away Vedast’s soul. The Abbey of St. Vaast was later founded in his honour in Arras.
        The spread of his cult was aided by the presence of Augustinians from Arras in England in the 12th century. Three ancient churches in England [in London (St Vedast Foster Lane – for history see Wikipedia, quite interesting), Norwich, and Tathwell] were dedicated to him.
        Vedast/Foster is a patron saint invoked against eye trouble.

        • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
          March 10, 2017 - 5:19 pm | Permalink

          Thanks Sonia. Will have to look up that Wikipedia article on the parish when I have time.

  18. Brian Nunnally's Gravatar Brian Nunnally
    March 10, 2017 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    I wonder if the vote is being influenced by watchers of the BBC television show “Call the Midwife.”

    • Ann Garvin's Gravatar Ann Garvin
      March 10, 2017 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

      This would not be the first time a Lent Madness vote was influence by a secular event or two. Remember Frances Perkins, her ties to the Department of Labor and to Mount Holyoke? Watch how the nurses will come out to vote for Florence Nightingale. A huge part of the Lent Madness fun!

    • Susan's Gravatar Susan
      March 10, 2017 - 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Never seen the TV show. Voted for Raymond because he gave his life to save others.

  19. March 10, 2017 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    To lay down one’s life for the life of others is a great calling. I had to give the nod to Nonnetus not only for his status for protecting babies and mothers but because he was willing to lay down his life for others.

  20. Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
    March 10, 2017 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    It is nice that John kept the sacredness of the confessional, but Raymond sold himself to ransom 28 slaves. That IS saintly!

  21. Samantha E.'s Gravatar Samantha E.
    March 10, 2017 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Ah….hard choice. Love “Call the Midwife,” but I’m of Bohemian descent, so I’ll vote for John. I’m afraid we will be outnumbered in the end!

    • Rene's Gravatar Rene
      March 10, 2017 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Yes truly a difficult choice. As 4 of my children were deli ered by midwives in my home, I already knew of raymind before the program (which I zealously watch) . But my ancestry is also Bohemian so I’ll vote for the underdog.

  22. Timothy Cole-French's Gravatar Timothy Cole-French
    March 10, 2017 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    I voted for Raymond because of his extreme support for slaves and sacrifices to them, as well as his early dedication to Christ…

    • Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
      March 10, 2017 - 10:29 am | Permalink

      I agree. My vote for Raymond was also based on his freeing of slaves.

  23. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    March 10, 2017 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Voting for John Nonnatus, in honor of Elaine, the midwife who guided me through 33 hours of labor!

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 10, 2017 - 8:43 am | Permalink

      Oops, I mean RAYMOND!!!

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 10, 2017 - 11:42 am | Permalink

      33 hours? Whew.
      I hope you get treated well on Mothers’ Day.

  24. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 10, 2017 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    I voted for…(I’ll never tell!).

  25. Jane Christmas's Gravatar Jane Christmas
    March 10, 2017 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Great to “see” Oliver! I was beginning to wonder whether he was a creation of the SEC.
    Clever saintly pairing today — two men devoted to upholding the sanctity of the confessional and the protection of their respective sources. As a former journalist, I applaud that. Ended up going for Nonnatus for his added value in freeing slaves.

  26. Jane's Gravatar Jane
    March 10, 2017 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    This was really a hard choice. My Great Grandmother was Czech and a wonderful midwife. Nepomuk or Nonnatus? Nonnatus won out with his self sacrifice to free slaves.

  27. Vickie's Gravatar Vickie
    March 10, 2017 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Oliver, very nice homemade bracket!

  28. Ann Fontaine's Gravatar Ann Fontaine
    March 10, 2017 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    Anyone who watches Call the Midwife must vote for Nonnatus

  29. Lindsey age 10's Gravatar Lindsey age 10
    March 10, 2017 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    I thought it was great how John freed a ton of slaves, and then offered himself to free more!

    • Eljay's Gravatar Eljay
      March 10, 2017 - 9:26 am | Permalink

      I agree, Lindsey!!

    • March 10, 2017 - 11:04 am | Permalink

      Lindsey, Yep, that’s the reason I voted for him too!

    • March 10, 2017 - 10:00 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, Lindsey!

    • Lindsey age 10's Gravatar Lindsey age 10
      March 10, 2017 - 10:29 pm | Permalink

      Oops, I meant Raymond!

  30. linda's Gravatar linda
    March 10, 2017 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    great job, Oliver. Good to put the name with a face.

  31. Mollie Douglas Turner+'s Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner+
    March 10, 2017 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    Big fan of “Call the Midwife”–no contest today! And liberation of slaves is also worthy of a vote.

    Great to get a glimpse of the redoubtable Oliver!

  32. Ntathu's Gravatar Ntathu
    March 10, 2017 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    I have often felt that my lips were figuratively padlocked. The literal version makes me cringe and gasp. Putting love into action is risky business. I’m taking these stories at face value, and appreciating them for their own sake, Happy Day fellow Lentenors.

  33. Nolan McBride's Gravatar Nolan McBride
    March 10, 2017 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    John was very tempting as I recently experienced confession for the first time, but as the son of an OB/GYN I had to go with Raymond.

  34. Alison Bentley's Gravatar Alison Bentley
    March 10, 2017 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    I fear that indeed “Call the midwife” might be having something of an influence on the voting here!

    • March 10, 2017 - 10:03 am | Permalink

      I agree. Voting because you’ve watched a TV show? Really? But, I guess it’s all in fun & we get to learn about saints with whom we may not be familiar. Have a great weekend!

      • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
        March 10, 2017 - 10:15 am | Permalink

        It’s “Lent MADNESS,” Robert!

  35. Elizabeth Rush's Gravatar Elizabeth Rush
    March 10, 2017 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    I’m a huge Call the Midwife fan! So had to vote for Raymond Nonnatus.

  36. March 10, 2017 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    Wow, some thought provoking arguments today! I voted for Nonnatus, even though I don’t watch Call the Midwife. Frankly, I liked his image better than Nepomuk’s who looks a bit like a wimp, in my opinion. Also, I’m all for midwives, babies, and mothers!

  37. ChrisinNY's Gravatar ChrisinNY
    March 10, 2017 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    I am going with an anti-slavery vote- Raymond Nonnatus for the win.

  38. Michael's Gravatar Michael
    March 10, 2017 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Chummy told Sister Monica Joan and Nurse Mount that voting for Raymond Nonnatus was “tickety-boo”!

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 10, 2017 - 11:45 am | Permalink

      Yes it is “tickety-boo” indeed. I love Chummy the best of all the midwives.

  39. Beth Bartniczak's Gravatar Beth Bartniczak
    March 10, 2017 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Oliver, so great to see you and what you’ve accomplished at your home church. And thanks, Oliver’s Mom, for taking and posting the picture. Now on to voting. I chose Raymond because he was so dedicated to freeing slaves and sold himself in exchange. Also, as he was supposedly born by c-section I have to feel a connection as my son was also born by c-section after many hours of labor and fetal distress and would not be here today if not for that surgery. It’s been a long time ago but I remember it vividly. My sweet boy, now a man, will be 30 next month but Oliver reminds me so much of him at that age. Keep going Oliver. I know God has great plans for you.

  40. Oliver--Nine Years Old's Gravatar Oliver--Nine Years Old
    March 10, 2017 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    I voted for John of Nepomuk because it is important to keep a secret.

    • San West's Gravatar San West
      March 10, 2017 - 9:18 am | Permalink

      Oliver, great to see your picture this morning. Thanks to your mother.

    • Karen Mills's Gravatar Karen Mills
      March 10, 2017 - 10:16 am | Permalink

      As we say in the south, Oliver, you are the bomb! Good to see your face and thanks to your mom for posting your picture. Keep the faith!

    • Miss Jennifer's Gravatar Miss Jennifer
      March 10, 2017 - 10:19 am | Permalink

      Thank you for continuing Lent Madness at St. John’s! I have been worrying about it and am glad to see that you have continued the tradition!

      • Karen's Gravatar Karen
        March 10, 2017 - 10:35 am | Permalink

        Of course, Miss Jennifer. What a tradition you have started here. We miss you!!

        • Miss Jennifer's Gravatar Miss Jennifer
          March 10, 2017 - 11:08 am | Permalink

          I miss you too!

    • Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
      March 10, 2017 - 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Oliver, I agree with you, so I also voted for John (but will be happy with either saint in this round!.

  41. Terry Proctor's Gravatar Terry Proctor
    March 10, 2017 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    It is possible that the Saints you are proposing this Lent are simply TOO obscure. I’m not feeling the love this year.

    • Margaret B Kober's Gravatar Margaret B Kober
      March 10, 2017 - 9:04 am | Permalink

      The Augustines, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon and G.F. Handel are hardly obscure.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 10, 2017 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

      But that’s how we learn new stuff–from reading about people who have been obscured by time. That’s part of the fun!

    • Grace Kennedy's Gravatar Grace Kennedy
      March 10, 2017 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

      I like that I didn’t know about either of these two before. While it’s interesting learning new facts about saints I already know, learning about saints I didn’t know is even better.

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 10, 2017 - 2:51 pm | Permalink

      A couple of years ago there were some extremely obscure women (Hedewich, IIRC). I like learning about the unknown saints as well as the well-known ones.

  42. Joanne's Gravatar Joanne
    March 10, 2017 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    My child was born via C-section, so Raymond gets my vote today,
    they both make me wonder about going to confession .

  43. Linda Kukolich's Gravatar Linda Kukolich
    March 10, 2017 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    My partner and I read the bios every morning during our commute, and then vote together. While our joint vote went to Nonatus as a person who acted for his faith, I at least was torn. I look on Nepomuk as holding up the preservation of the expectation of privacy that we now grant not just to clergy, but also to doctors, lawyers, and journalists. When my country has ignored that privilege, extended to all in the fifth amendment, it has led to dark times for us.

  44. Shan's Gravatar Shan
    March 10, 2017 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    I’m a huge fan of Call the Midwife so I had to vote Nonnatus! Also, the thought of one person being worth the lives of 28 others appealed to me.

  45. Joyce Spangler's Gravatar Joyce Spangler
    March 10, 2017 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    Had to go with Raymond after the line, “Everybody wanted a piece of him.” Now THAT’S what I call a saint!

  46. Lisa T.'s Gravatar Lisa T.
    March 10, 2017 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    Raymond has my vote. But I wondered if it is not his mother who should be the patron Saint of midwives, expectant mothers, and newborn babies.

  47. Elizabeth Neeld's Gravatar Elizabeth Neeld
    March 10, 2017 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Since Nonnatus had nothing to do with the manner in which he was born (leading to connection with midwives, birth, etc) and John had everything to do with keeping confidentiality and losing his life for that courage, I go with John.

  48. March 10, 2017 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    It has to be Raymond Nonnatus for a loyal fan of “Call the Midwife.”

  49. Karl Gerlach's Gravatar Karl Gerlach
    March 10, 2017 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    The German-speaking Nepomuk died for the power of the Church, but Nonnatus gave his life for the Gospel.

    • k's Gravatar k
      March 10, 2017 - 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Amazing insight in an exceptional concise explanation

  50. Margaret B Kober's Gravatar Margaret B Kober
    March 10, 2017 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    As a NICU advanced practice nurse, I voted for Raymond Nonnatus.

  51. John The Beard's Gravatar John The Beard
    March 10, 2017 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    While I have enjoyed “Call the Midwife” I must say I am voting for Nonnatus because the poor guy had a padlock put through his lips after saving countless Christians. And John seems a bit iffy.

  52. March 10, 2017 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    Had to go with Nonnatus as my great grandmother was a midwife in Freestone County, TX in 1860-1900. Her great great great granddaughter is now a Family Doctor in Kent, OH. Also, loved his freeing of the slaves. Need this one since my choice of Theodore got beat yesterday.

  53. Diana's Gravatar Diana
    March 10, 2017 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    For Raymond Nonnatus and John of Nepomuk
    Dunedin, Hymnal ’82, 31 and 455

    Two saints who gave their lives away;
    A choice we’d never wish to make,
    Refused from higher road to stray
    Thus honored Christ for Love’s own sake.

    Ray’s life was giv’n to freeing slaves,
    When all else failed, himself he gave.
    He suffered greatly e’re he died
    His body e’en then others claimed.

    John would not break the sacred seal.
    He kept true faith with those he served.
    He chose to die as one baptized,
    In waters deep; he never swerved.

    • March 10, 2017 - 9:16 am | Permalink


    • Jerry Bryant's Gravatar Jerry Bryant
      March 10, 2017 - 9:21 am | Permalink

      Beautiful, Diana.

    • Amy Ca's Gravatar Amy Ca
      March 10, 2017 - 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Diana!
      I heard on an SEC posting that you were posting poems. This is the first time I remembered to search for your poem. Perfect to do during my lunch. Diana, thank you for sharing your creativity with all of us.

    • Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
      March 10, 2017 - 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Loving the daily hymns, Diana. Bless you for your creativity and your contributions to our blessings in Lent.

  54. swed0019's Gravatar swed0019
    March 10, 2017 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    Hmmm… looks like another lopsided contest. 🙁

  55. Jennifer Seaver's Gravatar Jennifer Seaver
    March 10, 2017 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    As the wife of a professor of Spanish, how could I not vote for Nonnatus?

    • Emily's Gravatar Emily
      March 10, 2017 - 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Clark que si!

  56. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 10, 2017 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    I love “Call the Midwife” and often wondered about a St. Nonnatus. Thank you for the info.

  57. Bob P.'s Gravatar Bob P.
    March 10, 2017 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    “Traditions agree he was delivered via Caesarean section, and so was “not born” (according to the scientific understanding of medieval Europe).” Boy, you guys know how to whet one’s appetite. Have multiple grandkids delivered via c-section. Can’t wait to tell them “if only you were born in medieval Europe”. Discussion should be hilarious.

    • Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
      March 10, 2017 - 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Ah, but your grandkids delivered by C-section wouldn’t have been born in medieval Europe — they would have been not-born!

    • Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
      March 10, 2017 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Actually, your grandkids delivered by C-section wouldn’t have been born in medieval Europe — they would have been not-born!

  58. Catherine's Gravatar Catherine
    March 10, 2017 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    My father is named Raymond, as was his father and my late brother. It seems an old-fashioned name now, but I associate it with integrity, which Raymond Nonnatus had–so that’s where my vote goes.

  59. cj's Gravatar cj
    March 10, 2017 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    I was on Team Raymond until I started thinking about the geopolitics. Running around during the Reconquista saving Christians from their Evil Moorish Captors is…not sitting well with me right now.

    Even if John of Nepomuk was fake, the ideas he stands for are ones I’m feeling.

  60. Cath's Gravatar Cath
    March 10, 2017 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Nonatus – I’m a fan of Call the Midwife, but I like the fact he is the patron saint of those wounded by gossip.

  61. Fran's Gravatar Fran
    March 10, 2017 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Close one again today! But I had to go with John because of the midwife thing! How interesting and I did not know that cesarean births were “invented” at that time in history! Plus he gave his life to free those bound in slavery.

  62. Judy A's Gravatar Judy A
    March 10, 2017 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    I voted for Raymond because his collect is about knitting birth and death together.

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 10, 2017 - 11:52 am | Permalink

      Always nice to see knitting in a collect. That’s what pushed me over the fence too.

      Miss Jan who knits everywhere, even during sermons.

  63. March 10, 2017 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    I voted for Raymond because he is the patron saint for the falsely accused.

  64. Claudia's Gravatar Claudia
    March 10, 2017 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    I want to vote for Oliver. My vote is that he be placed in next year’s bracket. He is clearly devoted, spiritual, and a seeker. I vote for Oliver!

    • Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
      March 10, 2017 - 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear!

  65. Lois Keen's Gravatar Lois Keen
    March 10, 2017 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Again, tough choice. I went with the emancipator. I’m surprised the voting is not closer. But it’s early hours yet.

  66. The Rev.Karen Crawford's Gravatar The Rev.Karen Crawford
    March 10, 2017 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    The statement, “God of all light and life, you knit together birth and death in beautiful mystery”, spoke to me as I am morning the death of my sister yet celebrating the life of a yet to born first grandchild. Raymond also reminds me of the damage that gossip does in our world. Guess you figured out I voted for Raymond!

    • The Rev.Karen Crawford's Gravatar The Rev.Karen Crawford
      March 10, 2017 - 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Good grief…not morning but mourning. Perhaps my glasses need to strengthened.

  67. March 10, 2017 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    Very lopsided outcome indeed, but in this round, despite my respect for freeing slaves and protecting midwives, I had to go with John Nepomuk for (allegedly, once more) standing for the seal of the confessional. And there’s the fact that while I lived in Vienna many years ago, I learned a little poem by Rainer Maria Rilke called “Saints,” which has this to say about the saints of Prague. In true Rilke style, the poem hovers between referring to the saints themselves and to the images through which their cultus is maintained. I like that as a reminder that God calls to us–woos us?–through matter as well as spirit. My translation is somewhat halting, but here goes:

    Große Heilige und kleine
    feiert jegliche Gemeine;
    hölzern und von Steine feine,
    große Heilige und kleine.
    Great saints and small saints
    Every congregation celebrates;
    Carved in wood and stone refined
    Great saints and small saints.

    Heilige Annen und Kathrinen,
    die im Traum erschienen ihnen,
    baun sie sich und dienen ihnen,
    heilgen Annen und Kathrinen.

    Saint Annes and Saint Katherines
    Who appear to them in dreams
    They make for themselves and serve them
    Saint Annes and Saint Katherines

    Wenzel laß ich auch noch gelten,
    weil sie selten ihn bestellten;
    denn zu viele gelten selten –
    nun, Sankt Wenzel laß ich gelten.

    Wenceslaus I should also include–
    Because they seldom ordered him,
    Because there aren’t a lot of them
    Now Saint Wenceslaus I will include.

    Aber diese Nepomuken!
    Von des Torgangs Luken gucken
    und auf allen Brucken spuken
    lauter, lauter Nepomuken!

    But these Nepomuks!
    From the gateway hatch they peek
    And haunt all the bridges
    Nothing but Nepomuks!
    Rainer Maria Rilke, 1895
    Aus der Sammlung Larenopfer

    • Freeman Gilbert's Gravatar Freeman Gilbert
      March 10, 2017 - 9:45 am | Permalink

      love it! thanks!!!

    • Lin Schmale-Tate's Gravatar Lin Schmale-Tate
      March 10, 2017 - 10:55 am | Permalink

      Absolutely lovely!! Thank you … “Nothing but Nepomuks” indeed … will live on in my memory, really charming!

  68. Paula Cotterill's Gravatar Paula Cotterill
    March 10, 2017 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    Hi Oliver,
    Love your picture and your insights!

  69. Heather Yue's Gravatar Heather Yue
    March 10, 2017 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    And now “Our lips are sealed” by the Go-Go’s is in my head!

    • Yvonne Telep's Gravatar Yvonne Telep
      March 10, 2017 - 10:01 am | Permalink

      Well there are many worse things to have in your head on a Friday morning! 🙂

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 10, 2017 - 10:12 am | Permalink

      Oh, thank you!! The Go-Gos!! I am smiling now!

  70. Laura Clarke's Gravatar Laura Clarke
    March 10, 2017 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    The Nonnatus explanation had me.

  71. Brenda McHenry's Gravatar Brenda McHenry
    March 10, 2017 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    Raymond seems to cover all the bases mentioned, but the falsely accused hit home the hardest. However, being the protector of floods gives John points because of the recent flooding in my home city. But Raymond won out.

  72. Joyce in Madison. GA's Gravatar Joyce in Madison. GA
    March 10, 2017 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Paying ransom to free slaves, patron saint of midwives – how can I go wrong. Right on Ray!

  73. Ginny Berkey's Gravatar Ginny Berkey
    March 10, 2017 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    Great to see a picture of Oliver. He is a wise young man.

  74. Lucia's Gravatar Lucia
    March 10, 2017 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    Oliver, you are a Rockstar! Just knew you’d be good looking kid! Thanks, Oliver’s Mom, for taking the pix and raising a wonderful young man.

  75. kesmarn's Gravatar kesmarn
    March 10, 2017 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    Oliver, you’re even more handsome than I’d expected. And your Lent Madness board at church is amazing! Well done.

  76. Ann E's Gravatar Ann E
    March 10, 2017 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    Waiting for my daughter’s first child to be born this summer, I give my vote to Raymond Nonnatus today.

  77. Emma's Gravatar Emma
    March 10, 2017 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    Great to see Oliver. I enjoy his insights and think he is a wonderful young man.

  78. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 10, 2017 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed learning about John but cast my vote for Raymond Nonnatus. I’m a huge Call The Midwife fan and have a great deal of respect for those ladies. All the way with Ray!

  79. Yvonne Telep's Gravatar Yvonne Telep
    March 10, 2017 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    Well, Raymond Nonnatus is worthy for so many reasons, but I have to admit it was the burial site chosen by a blind mule that reeled me in. Now that is a story — the saints certainly are NOT boring.

  80. Mary Lou's Gravatar Mary Lou
    March 10, 2017 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    Oliver is real and if you remember back to our early posts last week, Oliver announced that he is now 10!!!

    As for my vote, I went with Raymond, not because of mid-wives, whom I appreciate, but because any man who would spend his fortune to free others and then give his own freedom in exchange for more. Saintly indeed!

  81. Anna's Gravatar Anna
    March 10, 2017 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    I voted for Raymond because of his devotion to free Christian slaves and to give his life for others

  82. March 10, 2017 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    Not looking at results, it sounds like things are going lopsided, but today the sanctity of the confessional–and the freedom of the press–are paramount. I shall support the underdog yet again!

  83. Sharon's Gravatar Sharon
    March 10, 2017 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    Two men who both lived out their faith and, whether overtly or as a result, died for their faith. Both were silenced: one by force and one by choice. Interesting that even back then people who disagreed with the way one lived out his or her faith used force and threats to silence the opposition, even when the opposition is right. I guess it is good that Twitter didn’t exist back then. Generally in that time, the Muslims were mostly tolerant of other faith traditions. It was only later when the Inquisition started slaughtering the Muslims that they reciprocated. The Crusades had not yet hit Western Europe with much force until the Inquisition took over. It is a hard choice.

  84. Jane Bucci's Gravatar Jane Bucci
    March 10, 2017 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoy “Call the Midwife”, and entering this world of ours via cesarian myself, felt I should stand with a fellow nonnatus. So great to see a picture of Oliver – thanks to Oliver’s Mom!

  85. March 10, 2017 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    Raymond Nonnatus has my vote today. My case load as a social worker was mainly with pregnant girls and women. And yes, I love “Call the Midwife” — although a little before my time as a social worker, the poverty was not just in Great Britain. Many of the women were Native Americans and poverty was rampant on and near the Reservations. I was part of a team that taught pre-natal and parenting classes to young women.

  86. March 10, 2017 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    The blind mule gets my vote. Clesrly it was led by the Holy Spirit.

  87. Grace Cangialosi's Gravatar Grace Cangialosi
    March 10, 2017 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    Yikes! The padlock image–over breakfast, no less!–nearly did me in. Both men were silenced, one freed slaves…I decided to let a blind mule lead me to the right decision. And, of course, that was Nonnatus!

  88. Aleathia Dolores Nicholson's Gravatar Aleathia Dolores Nicholson
    March 10, 2017 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    Well….today’s offerings are about as “out there” as you could get, or rather your bloggers. Have to go with Nonnatus and the strange birth, freeing of slaves, and then the punishment of boring through his lips. Even on acid, a blogger couldn’t have made all that up from scratch. Best is the influence on stopping careless and cruel gossip that does untold amounts of damage.

  89. Ellen Beno's Gravatar Ellen Beno
    March 10, 2017 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    Raymond’s blurb spoke to me. Helping to free captives and the connection with Call of the Midwife got me hooked.

  90. Beth Owen's Gravatar Beth Owen
    March 10, 2017 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Oliver’s mom for the picture.

  91. Mindy Duryea's Gravatar Mindy Duryea
    March 10, 2017 - 10:20 am | Permalink

    Loved that John kept the seal of the confessional but Call the Midwife proved too strong a pull and my vote went to Nonnatus.

  92. Melanie's Gravatar Melanie
    March 10, 2017 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    I voted for the blind mule, who took Raymond home.

  93. Noreen Ramsden's Gravatar Noreen Ramsden
    March 10, 2017 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    I voted for Nonnatus as I was given such good care in London in 1959, when my husband was a poor student and I was pregnant! I really identify with “Call the Midwife”!

  94. marie jones's Gravatar marie jones
    March 10, 2017 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    Diana, I so appreciate your delightful poems! Thank you for the effort you put into them. . . .and Oliver! Yet another ‘delight’ I’ve received today, putting a face to the young ‘wisdom speaker!’ Bless you Oliver’s mother, and blessings on all Lent Madness participants.

  95. Carolyn's Gravatar Carolyn
    March 10, 2017 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    I’m off to research where Raymond is buried, so I can visit when I next go to see my daughter who lives near Barcelona…….

  96. Walker Shaw's Gravatar Walker Shaw
    March 10, 2017 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    Got to give the nod to Raymond with a shout out to Oliver. Raymond has a ritual centered around the padlock that is part of his martyrdom. Locks are placed at his altar to stop gossip, rumors, false testimonies and bad talk. They are also used to keep secrets, stop cursing or lying and to guard priests defending the confidentiality of confession. After placing a lock the person takes a seat in the main bench, for all to see.

    • andrea's Gravatar andrea
      March 10, 2017 - 6:17 pm | Permalink

      This ritual is what persuaded me to vote for Raymond Nonnatus-and for all those who have been wounded by gossip/spreading secrets. Also to honor a friend who had a baby by c-section. I also liked “Call the Midwife.”

  97. marie jones's Gravatar marie jones
    March 10, 2017 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    One more thought. . .It appears that Oliver’s halo has slipped a bit! (chuckles)

  98. March 10, 2017 - 10:34 am | Permalink

    Since you solved the mystery of who Nonnatus House was named for how could I vote for anyone but him?

  99. Ron Duncan's Gravatar Ron Duncan
    March 10, 2017 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    Sorry but I understood the story about John not revealing the confessional was declared false in 1961 and he was killed because he was dying from the consequences of torture and the drowning was an attempt to cover it up.

    • Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
      March 10, 2017 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

      So John was in effect tortured to death? Sounds even worse than drowning. More props to him for not yielding to the torture; presumably he could have ended it by violating the confidentiality.

  100. Karen's Gravatar Karen
    March 10, 2017 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    What a dilemma… Both were important saints in Spanish Colonial New Mexico… Both symbolize the seal of the confessional… Saving mothers and freeing slaves or protection from drowning? Nonnatus it is!

  101. Rita Julian's Gravatar Rita Julian
    March 10, 2017 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    I was already leaning toward Raymond because of his giving himself as a ransom for slaves but the blind mule story sealed the deal! And I too enjoyed seeing the picture of Oliver. Thanks to Oliver’s mom!

    • Tony Lubong's Gravatar Tony Lubong
      March 10, 2017 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

      I cast my lot for John because he seems to need it. 😉 St. Cecilia’s comment was also very persuasive. Lastly, there was a post that’s suggested this year’s saints were possibly “too obscure”, and that the poster just was “not feeling the love”.
      Funny… it’s for the fact that Lent Madness has introduced me to so many lesser-known saints, the least of the great cloud of witnesses, that I’ve come to appreciate Lent Madness so much. (Shout Out & Big Ups to the S.E.C.!)
      I was reminded of how God’s great love is demonstrated by his caring for little birds that lose flight and to the extent of counting the hairs on our heads. May my heart learn to be so kind and compassionate.

      • Tony Lubong's Gravatar Tony Lubong
        March 10, 2017 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

        Oops! Apologies for misspelling “St. Celia”.

        • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
          March 10, 2017 - 8:42 pm | Permalink

          🙂 I will dedicate an hour of piano practice to you. If there were emojis in WordPress, I would give you a fist pump and a heart.

  102. Barbara Cohn's Gravatar Barbara Cohn
    March 10, 2017 - 10:57 am | Permalink

    Can’t resist voting for the Saint of my childhood parish.. Saint John Nepomucene which was built and maintained by Bohemian immigrants including my mother’s family.

    • Barbara Cohn's Gravatar Barbara Cohn
      March 10, 2017 - 11:02 am | Permalink

      Can’t resist voting for St. John Nepomucene the patron saint of my Chicago childhood parish. It was built and maintained by Bohemian immigrants like my mother’s family. I’m still a member of the Czech Catholic Women’s Society that was housed there years ago.

      • Lorraine Pacocha's Gravatar Lorraine Pacocha
        March 10, 2017 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Barb, I was going to post the same thing. I never really knew much about St. John Nepomucene until I read this post. I’m proud to be Bohemian! Unfortunately, I don’t think he will win this round, but I was happy to finally see him in Lenten Madness!

  103. Willo's Gravatar Willo
    March 10, 2017 - 10:58 am | Permalink

    So glad to see the picture of Oliver. Hope it will inspire parents to encourage their children to join in. A great way to get to know the saints for young and old alike. I voted for Robert for his dedication to freeing slaves and that the mule took him back to where he spent so many hours in prayer.

  104. March 10, 2017 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    I voted for Raymond because I thought some of the stories about John were more legend than truth. Thanks to Oliver’s mother for the photo of her handsome and perceptive son. I thought both Collects today were extraordinarily beautiful. Thank you, Megan Castellan and Hugo Olaiz.

  105. March 10, 2017 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    As a former labor and delivery nurse I have to vote for Raymond! And yes, please call the Midwife!

  106. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    March 10, 2017 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    Three of my four sons were born by C-section, so I had to go with Nonnatus. Also, found him the more interesting of the two. The padlock on the lips really got to me!

  107. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 10, 2017 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    Nonnatus: freer of slaves, survivor of Caesarian section, patron saint of midwives (and hopefully chaplains who minister to them and their patients)
    Some followers of St. Francis of Assissi were told to enter a new town and preach the Gospel to its people–and if absolutely necessary, to use words.

  108. March 10, 2017 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    I love Call the Midwife! And besides, freeing slaves is still crucially needed.

  109. Barbara Wilson's Gravatar Barbara Wilson
    March 10, 2017 - 11:35 am | Permalink

    Please allow Oliver the choice of being a deeply spiritual Christian who might be called to any number of professions. We need people of faith in many roles.

  110. Rosemary Beales's Gravatar Rosemary Beales
    March 10, 2017 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    As a mother, I am inclined to vote for Raymond and the midwives. But as a priest who has vowed to honor the seal of confession, I vote for John, who honored it to the end.

  111. Anne Clayton's Gravatar Anne Clayton
    March 10, 2017 - 11:41 am | Permalink

    This is for Oliver. Great to see your photo – thanks to your Mom. I enjoy your posts and your enthusiasm.

  112. March 10, 2017 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    Can’t bring myself to cast a vote for either of these on the basis of their fanciful, hagiographical bios. If Lent Madness does not give us better “candidates,” I think I’ll have to sign off.

  113. Marjorie Kemp's Gravatar Marjorie Kemp
    March 10, 2017 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    Have never seen Call the Midwife and am not interested in beginning to watch that, but feel that we All need to be freed at sometime or other so voted for Raymond tho’ “Silence Is golden”.

  114. Dr Paul's Gravatar Dr Paul
    March 10, 2017 - 11:52 am | Permalink

    Sorry about Mr. Neverborn but the misconception that you can end slavery by buying up all the slaves persisted into historic times!

    • Sara L's Gravatar Sara L
      March 10, 2017 - 12:58 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you, Dr Paul. While Raymond Nonnatus did help many enslaved individuals at great cost to himself, he did not really change the system. John Nepomuk did, again at great cost to himself, uphold an important precept within the Church’s sacrament of confession and reconciliation. John kept a good system going, while Raymond did not really affect the system he (and we) oppose. So my vote goes to John of Nepomuk, who kept the promise and seal of the confessional.

  115. Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
    March 10, 2017 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    There is a church dedicated to St John Nepomunk near my home in an area of our city that was heavily settled by Czech immigrants. I am glad to learn about him, even though I voted for Nonnatus!

  116. Candace's Gravatar Candace
    March 10, 2017 - 11:55 am | Permalink

    Voted for Raymond, my husband’s middle name and he freed the slaves!!

  117. Sr Linda's Gravatar Sr Linda
    March 10, 2017 - 12:07 pm | Permalink

    As a huge fan of Call the Midwife, how could I not vote for Raymond Nonnatus. Glad to learn the origin of his name

  118. March 10, 2017 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    While John sets an example for maintaining the seal of confession as well as against gossip, Raymond’s actions and perseverance in freeing the slaves wins my vote.

    And a word to Oliver: It’s so nice to have a face to put with your words! I appreciate your dedication to Lent Madness and know your parents must be so proud!

  119. Nina Leek's Gravatar Nina Leek
    March 10, 2017 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

    My beloved youngest grandson is a “nonnatus”, and I am the retired director of a Healthy Families program. Had to be Raymond!

  120. Lisa's Gravatar Lisa
    March 10, 2017 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    As a die-hard fan of “Call the Midwife”, Raymond Nonnatus got my vote even before I read the biographies!

  121. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 10, 2017 - 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Mother of an expectant mother – Raymond it is!

  122. Brian of Thomaston's Gravatar Brian of Thomaston
    March 10, 2017 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Gave himself to save 28 more?! Wow. Slam dunk.

  123. Liz von Dohlen's Gravatar Liz von Dohlen
    March 10, 2017 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I have watched Call the Midwife, but I’m not a huge fan. I voted for Nonnatus not because he was born by C-section, but because he freed slaves, even by offering up himself. There is no greater love.

  124. Celia's Gravatar Celia
    March 10, 2017 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Not as difficult as yesterday for me. Freeing the slaves, to the point of sacrifice of self won me over.

  125. Ruth W.Davis's Gravatar Ruth W.Davis
    March 10, 2017 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Had to vote for Nonnatus and not just because of ‘Call the Midwife.’ He gave his life to free slaves and that’s the living Gospel. Oliver — you have such a group of admirers here at Lent Madness. Thanks to your mom for your picture.

  126. Cindy's Gravatar Cindy
    March 10, 2017 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Whether the facts surrounding St John’s demise are exaggerated ( and of course they are from that era), the importance of his sainthood is the example it sets for those of us here to do God’s work. It is a right and good thing that we remember the sanctity of the confessional, and our responsibility to refrain from hurtful speech.

  127. March 10, 2017 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Lookin’ good, Oliver!
    I’m a journalist and really believe in protecting your sources as John. But I’m also mother of quite a few so had to go with Raymond. Wish I could have voted twice (no, no, no SEC, I didn’t. Honest.)

  128. Allison Askins's Gravatar Allison Askins
    March 10, 2017 - 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Raymond gets my vote because he freed so many slaves. Doesn’t hurt that he is the patron saint of midwives either, though, I confess, I used a doctor and all meds available for my two precious births.

  129. Jane Pedler's Gravatar Jane Pedler
    March 10, 2017 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I absolutely had to vote for Raymond! Felt a bit sorry for John,knowing he was the underdog, and his history re the seal of the confessional so vitally important, but, let’s face it, it couldn’t stand up to Raymond’s compassionate life, freeing all those slaves and sacrificing his own freedom! What a wonderful way to spend one’s life, in service to others! I was horrified by he torture he endured…wow! Glad he is in Heaven now…and happy!

  130. Becky McConkey's Gravatar Becky McConkey
    March 10, 2017 - 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Oliver! You do exist!! I secretly thought you were one of the Supreme Executive Committee members posing as a 9-year old… You rock!
    I voted for Raymond because he freed slaves.

  131. Claire's Gravatar Claire
    March 10, 2017 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    For the freeing of slaves my vote goes to Raymond.

  132. Kathy's Gravatar Kathy
    March 10, 2017 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

    John would have impressed me more if he had not drowned.

  133. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 10, 2017 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I have to go with Nonatus, not because of his birth but because of his life. To me, the act of offering himself for the lives of 28 slaves beats out getting tossed into the river and drowned for your saintly actions. Both were silenced speaking and acting of Truth.

  134. Chris's Gravatar Chris
    March 10, 2017 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Two powerful stories of people courageous about their faith! It’s a hard choice. The red-hot poker through his lips and padlock to keep Raymond from preaching vs John’s protection of the seal of the confessional. I’ve finally gone with Raymond, because he worked so hard to free slaves.

  135. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    March 10, 2017 - 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Raymond Nonnatus for me. Talk about walking the walk. Not only did he dedicate his life’s work to freeing slaves, he GAVE his life to free slaves. I admire John Nepomuk for standing up to political power for what he believed, but the story about his keeping secret the queen’s confession didn’t show up until 66 years after he died. Since it’s unlikely from the votes so far that Nepomuk will advance to the next stage, I hereby share this fountain sculpture of the saint being enveloped by those famous Bohemian freshwater octopuses. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kranj_-_vodnjak_Janeza_Nepomuka_(Berneker).jpg

  136. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    March 10, 2017 - 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Link didn’t come through in my original post:

  137. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    March 10, 2017 - 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Well shoot! The essential part of the link – the jpg suffix – won’t read. To see St. John and the Octopi, go to the Wikipedia page and scroll down looking the right-hand side.

  138. March 10, 2017 - 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I know it’s a runaway for the patron of midwives. But I’ll throw one toward the necessity we all have for someone we can trust to keep our secrets.

  139. Mother and Son's Gravatar Mother and Son
    March 10, 2017 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

    We debated this one because my son was from my womb untimely ripped. He is also half-Czech. But we decided on Nonnatus because he didn’t just “protect a source” but gave his life for the slaves. Much like the example of Jesus dying in our place.

  140. Dawna's Gravatar Dawna
    March 10, 2017 - 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I had a feeling this was going to be a blow-out and we get to vote for someone who freed so may slaves. Call the midwife is an awesome show too.

  141. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 10, 2017 - 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Almost voted for John, partly because I think Bad King Wenceslas’s true motive for murder was that John appointed an abbot the king didn’t want–a political murder–and partly because John kept the confidentiality of the confessional, even if that, too, was a set-up. And partly because he’s so far behind (at 3:30 Eastern time).

    But Raymond’s freeing of the slaves started tipping the scales, and that he was loved enough by his fellow monks that they paid his ransom finished the job..

  142. Lauren D's Gravatar Lauren D
    March 10, 2017 - 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I guess I should start calling my triplet siblings, delivered by C-section, nonnati! Admittedly, I voted for Nonnatus almost entirely because of “Call the Midwife!”

  143. March 10, 2017 - 3:22 pm | Permalink

    As a hospital chaplain (and a fan of “Call the Midwife”), I’m voting for Raymond.
    Another thing is that his Mercedarian order’s role in freeing slaves focused upon negotiating for the freedom of those held as slaves in Muslim lands. So, St. Ray could also be seen as a (very early!!!) pioneer of interfaith dialogue.

  144. Marlene Hogue's Gravatar Marlene Hogue
    March 10, 2017 - 3:35 pm | Permalink

    With all the chittering about midwifery and the fabulosity of “Call the Midwife,” why not just give the golden halo to St. Raymond today? I mean, really, has no one anything good to say about keeping the sanctity of the confessional?

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 10, 2017 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

      I think several of us have affirmed the sanctity of the confessional as part of our reasoning.

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 10, 2017 - 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Keeping the sanctity of the confessional falls under “doing your job” for the clergy, it is something that is expected of all priests. Giving your life in ransom for 28 others, that’s going above and beyond to a higher calling.

      • Keeping confidentiality is thou shalt territory for clergy.
      • Self-as-sacrifice is all can, some should, none must territory for all followers of Christ, lay or ordained.

      • • • • • • •

      A side note for the good of the order
      FYI: If you check the box that says “Notify me of follow-up comments by email.” You may think that applies to to only replies to your comment. But no. That would be too logical. Instead WordPress will send you every single future comment made on today’s post (which the emails attribute to the Rev. Mr. Gunn’s 1/2 of the SEC, BTW) and that’s a lot of emails, so do not click that box if you do not want an avalanche of LentMadness email descending into your inbox.

  145. Bill Geiger's Gravatar Bill Geiger
    March 10, 2017 - 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Mark me down as another Call the Midwife fan voting for Nonnatus; though the beauty of Prague & St.Giles nearly persuaded me to go with John Nepomuk, whose story demonstrates that while Loose Lips Sink Ships, Tight Lips Sink Confessors

  146. Melissa W's Gravatar Melissa W
    March 10, 2017 - 3:39 pm | Permalink

    This one was hard! I’m going with the seal of the confessional. John of Nepomuk!

  147. Rev. Vicki Hesse's Gravatar Rev. Vicki Hesse
    March 10, 2017 - 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Marlene. If he appeared in Call the Midwife, well, worthy of a vote!

  148. Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
    March 10, 2017 - 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Nonnatus all the way. His work of freeing Christian slaves was admirable. He even gave up his freedom, to rescue a further 28. We need some like him in Africa, where warlords are kidnapping girls and children.

  149. Rilla Holmes's Gravatar Rilla Holmes
    March 10, 2017 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Raymond for anti slavery

  150. Amy's Gravatar Amy
    March 10, 2017 - 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Lent Madness is nothing if not educational. Shakespeare! Poetry! Obstetrical history! Roman history! The real origin of the term caesarean! All in today’s comments. Not to mention biographical essays on two interesting saints. I had to cast my vote for Raymond. Not for anything to do with midwifery or PBS dramas but because he gave his life to free slaves. Whether or not he changed the system, he did what he could to the point of death.

    Nice to see a photo of the famous Oliver!

  151. Yvonne's Gravatar Yvonne
    March 10, 2017 - 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Going with Nonnatus today, as it’s TGIF and for the gratuitous hot poker incident. The freeing of slaves was very admirable too.

  152. Clay Jackson's Gravatar Clay Jackson
    March 10, 2017 - 5:11 pm | Permalink

    I just voted for John – we all need protection floods and drowning :-).

  153. Jan Miller's Gravatar Jan Miller
    March 10, 2017 - 6:14 pm | Permalink

    All I care to say today is Oliver ROCKS!!!!!

  154. Izzie's Gravatar Izzie
    March 10, 2017 - 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Had to go with Raymond who was pretty brave considering he gave himself up to save others.

  155. Alice's Gravatar Alice
    March 10, 2017 - 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Raymond Nonnatus is definitely my guy. He was the patron of my parish growing up. Or it may have been Raymond of Peñafort, no one could quite agree ?!?

  156. E. English's Gravatar E. English
    March 10, 2017 - 6:28 pm | Permalink

    St John Nepomuk is one of my favorite saints. He knew how to keep a secret, stood up to an overreaching monarch, and paid for it with his life. On the St Charles bridge in Prague, one can see where it is said he was thrown to his death.

  157. Debbie Brewin-Wilson's Gravatar Debbie Brewin-Wilson
    March 10, 2017 - 6:52 pm | Permalink

    As a “Call the Midwife” fan, I’ve gotta vote for Raymond Nonnatus.

  158. Heidi Frantz-Dale's Gravatar Heidi Frantz-Dale
    March 10, 2017 - 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Since my niece, at this very moment, is in labor in a hospital in Barcelona, there’s no question in my mind AT ALL as to who gets my vote! GO Raymond Nonnatus! And may niece Kate’s daughter be truly born the “regular” way 🙂

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 10, 2017 - 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Do please let us know the outcome.

  159. Len Freeman's Gravatar Len Freeman
    March 10, 2017 - 7:25 pm | Permalink

    We’ve visited the bridge from which John was thrown, in his commitment to preserve the seal of the confessional. He may not get all the votes, but his silence spoke and speaks volumes for the integrity of the faith.

  160. Carmen F.'s Gravatar Carmen F.
    March 10, 2017 - 7:59 pm | Permalink

    I loved my time in Barcelona and my 2 stints on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I’d like to think that maybe Raymond Nonnatus experienced walking the Camino pilgrimage. in Northern Spain. On two occasions I was attended by midwives, and once by my GP whose certificate on his wall said he was licensed to practice midwifery. Raymond Nonnatus’ life and values were exemplary. He endured a lot and my heart goes out to him so he got my vote.

  161. Terie H's Gravatar Terie H
    March 10, 2017 - 8:10 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Raymond because he traded himself to free others, and the whole thing about getting his lips locked. I will probably have nightmares tonight.

  162. James Lodwick's Gravatar James Lodwick
    March 10, 2017 - 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Raymond was so unusual and holy in his difficult life from birth to death, and even in his burial. He gets my vote!

  163. March 10, 2017 - 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Sr Monica Joan would never forgive me if I didn’t vote for St. Raymond Nonnatus, but I felt guilty, because as a teen I used to annoy my grandmother by referring to St. Nepomuk, who appears on thousands of bridges in Bavaria, as St. Muckefuck (the German slang term for an ersatz-coffee grain beverage). Thanks for including him.

  164. Dorothy Drennen's Gravatar Dorothy Drennen
    March 10, 2017 - 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Happy to see you, Oliver! Easy decision on this challenge, and really happy to hear about the origin of Dorothy “Nonnatus House.”

  165. Zoey's Gravatar Zoey
    March 10, 2017 - 8:52 pm | Permalink

    My name is Zoey and I am six. I liked Raymond because we are csection twins.

  166. Elizabeth (Lizzie)'s Gravatar Elizabeth (Lizzie)
    March 10, 2017 - 10:25 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Nonnatus, although that gruesome story about the poker, the padlock, etc., is going to haunt me!

    I feel kinda bad for John though.

  167. March 10, 2017 - 10:28 pm | Permalink

    After reading the bios, I was all set to vote for Raymond. A man who devoted his life to freeing captives. And the blind mule, for heaven’s sakes!
    But then I read the comments. All the people who voted for him because of a dang PBS series persuaded me to give John a little love.
    Next year, if the SEC runs Shamu as a saint, will all those who’ve been to SeaWorld vote for him over Thomas Cranmer? LOL!

    • Amy's Gravatar Amy
      March 10, 2017 - 10:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, John deserves some love too although I did vote for Raymond for all the reasons you mentioned. Is it safe to admit that I didn’t care for Call the Midwife? I couldn’t stand the screaming.

    • March 11, 2017 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

      While I also voted for St. Ray, for a variety of reasons, perhaps we can think of a few more TV-related saints for future LMs: St. Fred of the Neighbourhood, for example.

  168. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 10, 2017 - 11:45 pm | Permalink

    We loved Call the Midwives and would have voted for Nonnatus but my grandmother’s family came from Czechoslovakia and I just have to vote for John. This one is for you grandma Nellie.

  169. Richard's Gravatar Richard
    March 10, 2017 - 11:54 pm | Permalink

    While both are worthy of the prize of victory, as a retired obstetrician I was compelled to vote for Raymond Nonnatus.

  170. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 11, 2017 - 4:57 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for introducing me to Raymond Nonnatus. I voted for him and am pleased to see him likely to progress following the defeat of Theodore, who first spoke against slavery.

  171. Richard Hootob's Gravatar Richard Hootob
    March 11, 2017 - 7:42 am | Permalink

    I too voted for Raynond, but feel like his opponent has been slighted. There are almost NO comments about John, a worthy opponent.

  172. Rosanne Adderley's Gravatar Rosanne Adderley
    March 11, 2017 - 3:36 pm | Permalink

    It’s no longer letting me vote? Not that Raymond needs my help. We not-born folks apparently have solidarity with one another.

Comments are closed.