Evelyn Underhill vs. Nicholas of Myra

In the last battle of the week, influential 2oth-century writer Evelyn Underhill squares off against Nicholas of Myra. You wanted to know how “Santa Claus” would fare in Lent Madness? Well, here’s your chance to vote for or against St. Nick.

Regarding, yesterdays smackdown between Catherine of Siena and Emma of Hawaii, all we can say is “wow.” With Catherine holding a slight lead throughout much of the day, Queen Emma came storming back to defeat Catherine 60% to 40% in heavy voting (over 2,000 votes cast). As the sun started to wane on the East Coast of the United States and rise over the Pacific Ocean, Emma’s numbers slowly started to increase. Once the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii sent out a plea on Emma’s behalf via their e-news, the Queen dowager never looked back, again highlighting the importance of rallying your friends and considering voting blocs to promote your favorite saints. Madness indeed!

We do hope you’ll take the necessary precautions this weekend to ward off any lingering effects of LMW (Lent Madness Withdrawal). If you’re feeling isolated, lonely, and depressed, you can always check in with our Facebook fan page, where the conversation never stops (and we just topped 1,500 ‘likes’). If you’re on Twitter, you can always find people to chat with by using our hashtag #LentMadness. And if you missed this week’s Monday Madness video, Tim and Scott discuss LMW remedies among other timely Lent Madness news. Finally, since Scott seems to fly anywhere at the drop of a biretta, I’m sure he’d be happy to make a personal pastoral call if you’re feeling particularly lost.

Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) was a writer, theologian, mystic, spiritual director, and pacifist, who arguably did more than anyone else to illuminate mystical experience and claim it as one not reserved for the spiritual elite. She spoke with some authority, not being among the spiritual elite herself, but a lay woman setting forth what she herself discovered.

Born in 1875 to a prominent barrister and his wife, Underhill was baptized and confirmed in the Church of England but had no formal religious training. She married a childhood friend, Hubert Stuart Moore, a barrister, and lived a typical Edwardian life for a woman of her class, including charitable work and regular trips to the Continent. Less typically, she wrote 39 books and more than 350 articles (both under her maiden name and under the pseudonym, John Cordelier), presented programmes (as they say) on the Spiritual Life on the BBC, and became a prominent spiritual director and retreat leader. She became the first woman to lecture at an Oxford college on theology and the first woman allowed to lecture to Church of England clergy.

Her tea-sipping librarian appearance belied her gifts as a powerhouse of spiritual thought, and as someone who understood both the blessing and the danger of standing in God’s presence. In a letter, she gently suggested to former Golden Halo winner C.S. Lewis that “perhaps…your concept of God would be improved by just a touch of wildness.”

Her works were some of the most widely read resources on spirituality throughout the first half of the 20th Century. Her great work, Mysticism, written in 1911, is still a standard in the field. Some of her other notable works include Practical Mysticism (1914), The Spiritual Life (1936), and Worship (1937).

Collect for Evelyn Underhill: O God, Origin, Sustainer, and End of all your creatures: Grant that your Church, taught by your servant Evelyn Underhill, guarded evermore by your power, and guided by your Spirit into the light of truth, may continually offer to you all glory and thanksgiving, and attain with your saints to the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have promised us by our Savior Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Laura Toepfer

Nicholas has become a marketing legend ever since his image appeared in Coca-Cola ads beginning in 1931. The image of a rotund, bearded man in fur trimmed scarlet clothing also owes a great deal to Clement Moore’s “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (more commonly known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas”). But who was the real man behind the modern Kris Kringle?

Little is known about Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, which is in modern day Turkey. That his heart was full of generosity is not in doubt, making him a fine progenitor for Santa Claus. In the most famous story about Nicholas, the bishop secretly supplied the dowries for the three daughters of a poor man. One version of the story says that he tossed bags of coins into their stockings, which were hanging by the fire to dry. (You can see where that one went.) When the poor man confronted the bishop and thanked him for his generosity, Nicholas gave all the glory to God.

While most of his generous exploits are shrouded in obscurity between legend and fact, we do know for certain that, during the persecution led by Emperor Diocletian, Nicholas was tortured and imprisoned. But he was released when Constantine took the throne and decriminalized Christianity. It is possible that Nicholas was present during the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325, during which the Nicene Creed was composed. Nicholas was canonized in the sixth century. Legend has it that Italian merchants stole his body in the eleventh century and removed it to Bari, Italy. From there, Nicholas’ fame spread throughout the western Church, indirectly leading to the Santa Claus we know today.

Collect for Nicholas of Myra: Almighty God, who in your love gave to your servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness on land and sea: Grant, we pray, that your Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Adam Thomas


Evelyn Underhill vs. Nicholas of Myra

  • Evelyn Underhill (57%, 915 Votes)
  • Nicholas of Myra (43%, 698 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,612

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86 Comments to "Evelyn Underhill vs. Nicholas of Myra"

  1. Laurie Atwater's Gravatar Laurie Atwater
    March 9, 2012 - 7:58 am | Permalink

    Underhill brought mysticism down from the mountain. She gets my vote!

  2. March 9, 2012 - 8:00 am | Permalink

    Easier choice for me today. It has to be Evelyn. I love her practical mysticism: “As to your Lent – no physical hardships beyond what normal life provides, but take each of these as serenely and gratefully as you can and make of them your humble offering to God. Don’t reduce sleep. Don’t get up in the cold. Practise more diligently the art of turning to God with some glance or phrase of love or trust at all spare moments of the day.”

  3. Meredyth's Gravatar Meredyth
    March 9, 2012 - 8:02 am | Permalink

    I admire Underhill’s writing — Mysticism was formative for me. But what really got my vote was the photo — those are amazing shoes!

  4. Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
    March 9, 2012 - 8:04 am | Permalink

    68 votes? This just came up 5 minutes ago! I love it.

  5. March 9, 2012 - 8:05 am | Permalink

    You put Santa Claus up against Evelyn Underhill … Lord, what a match! I have to go with Ms. Underhill, as much as I admire the good bishop.

  6. Hope and Skye's Gravatar Hope and Skye
    March 9, 2012 - 8:06 am | Permalink

    Skye and Hope are in complete accord on this one. Go Santa Claus!

  7. March 9, 2012 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    What is more mystical than St. Nicholas making his way around the world delivering gifts to children in one night? He makes his way into their home and never gets arrested. He brings joy and happiness to children as he gives freely of the gifts God gave him. If you don’t believe, he won’t come visit you…..

  8. Katharine W.'s Gravatar Katharine W.
    March 9, 2012 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    Oh, dear! Another toughie! In my youth, the Cathedral of St John the Divine hosted an acting troupe that put on 3 mystery plays about St Nicholas. Seeing medieval plays in a (new) Gothic cathedral was quite the experience. Patron Saint of Thieves, Sailors, Children, and even Jews (those medieval folks had someone for everyone). And he’s got one of the best collects!
    But here we’ve also got a sort of modern and less-crazy-to-us Catherine of Siena, a woman speaking spiritual truth to religious power in an era, still, when women were supposed to be quiet and let the men run everything (into the ground). (btw, people freaked by Catherine’s vow of chastity at 7 — you find me a seven-year-old in the Middle Ages who *wasn’t* aware of the sex-act. No one had separate bedrooms in those days, and they weren’t Victorian prudes.) And Ms Underhill’s wonderful remark to C.S. Lewis!
    Today’s vote will require more thought. And agony.

  9. March 9, 2012 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    What a tough choice. I have valued the lessons of both these fine people, but I am going for the practical; be generous: give of yourself, give of your treasure, give of your time to the poor, to the outcast, embody the feast of the Incarnation at all times.

  10. Heidi Shott's Gravatar Heidi Shott
    March 9, 2012 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    Torture and imprisonment trumps writing and lecturing every time. The modern saints have had their moment. Nicholas endures for a reason. He has my vote.

  11. Carolyn Ballinger's Gravatar Carolyn Ballinger
    March 9, 2012 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    This is not a fair contest without mention of the pickled boys! I know of no other saint who was able to restore to life three chopped-up and pickled boys from a pickle barrel, much to the chagrin of the evil shop-keeper, who had wanted his deeds in this regard to remain secret. Surely this unique miracle places our beloved Saint Nicholas at the top of the heap.

  12. Patty Reichert's Gravatar Patty Reichert
    March 9, 2012 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Ho ho ho Finally an easy on for me. First time I voted so early . All good comes to those who believe in the spirit of St. Nick. His spirit brings joy to so many children and adults that put faith in him. Come on friends and voters support our faith in the future (the children of the world) and give ST. NICK a chance.

  13. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    March 9, 2012 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    As a way of surviving the weekends without the joys and comforts of Lent Madness, Fr Tim suggested dressing as one’s favorite saint for church. I can assure him and everyone that I ALWAYS dress as Evelyn Underhill….simple tweed skirts, sensible shoes.

    I first read Evelyn Underhill’s writing 40 years ago and it was what convinced me to become an Episcopalian. Thank you Evelyn. You get my vote.

  14. Barbara A. Caldwell's Gravatar Barbara A. Caldwell
    March 9, 2012 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    VOte agaInst Santa Claus! You guys are wicked. However, I have to do it. Evelyn Underhill’s work was just so semInal and her writing so lumInus that I just have to chOpse her over the big guy.

  15. aleathia nicholson's Gravatar aleathia nicholson
    March 9, 2012 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Our current Dean considers it a crime of the first order for parents to let their children even believe in Santa Claus. Having birthed none of the little crumb-snatchers has relieved me of that potential dilemma. My saintly departed mother never forgave a neighbor’s son for telling me there was no such personage as ole SC, much to her dismay as she had planned her version of his unreality, Santa’s, not the boy’s. EU was a real powerhouse in an era when women were tolerated and adored but not respected as intellectuals worthy of addressing the clergy….or anybody else other than their children who probably respected the switches or the nannies. Her brand of mysticism I can handle as she wasn’t prone to stigmata which scare the bejeebers out of me and, thankfully, no visions, no being locked away in a cell for decades, and apparently, a decent sex life. Oh yeah, the shoes do seem to be rather spiffy, but then, her husband seemed to have made a decent living. Her advice to C.S. Lewis also made her worthy of my vote as well as understandable reading of her works. If the CofE clergy and Oxford theologians of that era even paid attention to her, that was a plus of the first order right there. You go, girl !!!

  16. Harry W's Gravatar Harry W
    March 9, 2012 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    My choice is Evelyn Underhill. She brings a new view of mysticism to the
    daily life of everyday people, it is a practical mysticism connecting all to the
    call of God.

  17. March 9, 2012 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    What Heidi said/wrote…about St. Nicholas of Myra.

  18. March 9, 2012 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Santa gets my vote. I’ve struggled with Underhill’s writings without getting much out of them. Santa has brought great joy to me, my children and grandson.

  19. Harry Moncelle's Gravatar Harry Moncelle
    March 9, 2012 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    the lessons of ST. Nickolas life demonstrates an ideal for all Christians to embrace…Go St. Nick!!! he gets my vote

  20. Nancy Baillie Strong's Gravatar Nancy Baillie Strong
    March 9, 2012 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    This is a toughie…(yes, Meredyth, those are GREAT shoes EU is wearing!)…but I think I’m going to have to go with Nicholas, whose faithful witness in the face of suffering, compassionate generosity, and miracles associated with his holiness and prayer still redound through the centuries. Besides, he might have had some great head-gear (that, unfortunately, does not appear in his icon)!

  21. Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
    March 9, 2012 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    Anyone who brings three pickled boys back to life has my vote. Nicholas all the way.

  22. March 9, 2012 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    This Anglican elitism has to stop somewhere! Evelyn Underhill is fabulous, yes. But let us consider the WHOLE Communion of Saints. Nicholas got turned into a modern cultural icon because he already was an icon. His memory has been preserved for centuries as a spiritual giant. The Santa Claus thing is a distraction. Coca Cola has nothing to do with his merits. Consider the effect of the dowries, giving poor young women an option for their lives. And then consider the power of that example of generosity, which endures to this stingy day.

    • Sister Mary Winifred's Gravatar Sister Mary Winifred
      March 9, 2012 - 9:11 am | Permalink

      As someone very devoted to the Coca Cola Company, I am certain that they chose St. Nick for his ability to sell Coca Cola, not because he was a spiritual giant. Used and abused as he is at Christmas, St. Nick might be the patron of retail sales. The Santa Claus thing may be a distraction, but will provide a wealth of material if St. Nicholas gets into the trivia round of Lent Madness! All the same, I’m voting for Evelyn.

  23. OweesMum's Gravatar OweesMum
    March 9, 2012 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    Yes a toughie! I was all about EU (I might have those shoes) but until today I didn’t know that Santa was a protector of sailors. I am the daughter of a wonderful but klutzy father who putters around on the big water. Must do more research before my vote!

  24. Diane Carroll's Gravatar Diane Carroll
    March 9, 2012 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    While I admire and have read Evelyn Underhill, have to go with Nick since I was ordained on his feast day — always remember him with fondness.

    • Evelyn Manzella's Gravatar Evelyn Manzella
      March 9, 2012 - 10:03 am | Permalink

      Yeah Diane! We share an ordination anniversary!

  25. Steve Putka's Gravatar Steve Putka
    March 9, 2012 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    Without soft drink marketing, Nicholas wouldn’t even be on the radar today. Evelyn Underhill has done so much to promote mysticism and the path of purgation; she has true crossover appeal! Her popularity is not Anglican elitism, at least according to this United methodist! Her legacy is deep contemplative prayer and rich teaching. While not his fault, Nicholas is surrounded with the taint of consumerism. Evelyn in a blowout!

  26. Ken Campbell's Gravatar Ken Campbell
    March 9, 2012 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    It was risky for Evelyn Underhill to be a pacifist in a sexist culture addicted to militarism ( as is our own culture today). As convener of the Cape Cod Chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation I am thankful for her nomination and honored to vote for her.

  27. March 9, 2012 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Hard to go against St. Nick. But I’m thinking he gets due recognition at other times of the year. So my vote goes to Underhill for a shot at the Golden Halo!!

  28. March 9, 2012 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    st.nick is going to need lots of coal for the stockings of all you eu voters!

    • OweesMum's Gravatar OweesMum
      March 9, 2012 - 9:41 am | Permalink

      Oh wait… good point. I’m glad I didn’t vote yet! 🙂

  29. H. Mark Smith's Gravatar H. Mark Smith
    March 9, 2012 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Given the way the early vote is going, looks like a lot of people are hoping fro nonrenewable energy sources this December. Really people? Really? To vote against St. Nick is to take this vote WAY too serious!

  30. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    March 9, 2012 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    Of course St Nick is wonderful in many ways. Putting money in children’s shoes for feeding his reindeer and forcing unbelievers to say the word “saint” every year. Stories/legends abound. Bless him for all this…

    But vote for Evelyn. She made me what I am today…and I’m sure many of you as well. Her “Practical Mysticism” has never been out of print from the day it was first published. As to Anglican exceptionalism, I took a class last spring on mysticism at a Catholic Center in Saint Paul MN. It was taught by a nun. Underhill’s book was the text.

  31. Marty Garwood's Gravatar Marty Garwood
    March 9, 2012 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    My first reaction was that St. N gets enough publicity and that EU should be out front. But then I realized that St. N goes deeper than just a jolly old soul. Anyone that reaches out to the likes of children, mariners, bankers, pawn-brokers, scholars, orphans, laborers, travelers, merchants, judges, paupers, marriageable maidens, students, , sailors, victims of judicial mistakes, captives, perfumers, even thieves and murderers gets my vote! He is known as the friend and protector of all in trouble or need. I think I come under several of those categories.

  32. don cardwell's Gravatar don cardwell
    March 9, 2012 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    At first surprised at the strength of our contemporary friends but no longer.
    This is our time, and while the gift of the ancient worthies is is precious,
    this Lent seems to demand more of us than nostalgia. Onward with Evelyn,
    and may she help us taste the truth, even when it doesn’t fit in a spreadsheet.

  33. Dennis Johnson's Gravatar Dennis Johnson
    March 9, 2012 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    Well, I guess I’m going to vote for a loser again, but I’ve got to go with St. Nick. Evelyn was a really good choice, but, after a lot of Christmas eves waiting with anxious anticipation for whatever the morning would bring, I’ve got to go with Nick. After yesterday, I’ve learned that maybe a good looking hat helps.

  34. March 9, 2012 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    I’m with Heidi and Meredith, here. Nicholas is an icon (Santa Claus or not) of generosity and has been for centuries. I have fond memories of reading to my children every year on December 5 (the night before St Nicholas’ feast day) “A Gift from St Nicholas,” a book about the Saint and his sidekick Ruprecht inspiring generosity in a late night visit to a crabbed old woman’s sweet shop who didn’t want to give a gift to a little girl named Cecile. And of course, there are the picked boys.

  35. Evelyn Manzella's Gravatar Evelyn Manzella
    March 9, 2012 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    I was ordained on the feast of Nicholas of Myra so as much as I admire both, had to go with Nick.

  36. Jeff Harre's Gravatar Jeff Harre
    March 9, 2012 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    How could any self-respecting German major not vote for St. Nicholas???

  37. Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
    March 9, 2012 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Neither saint in each matchup is a loser [they have already won their eternal crowns!], and those of us who vote our hearts for one over the other are not on the winning or losing side either. Please don’t let this wonderful endeavor take on the undertones of an irascible political competition. We are facing enough of that! Continue to have fun, vote your heart, and love your neighbor even if he or she is not voting your way. All these saints are winners as are we who are trying to walk in their footsteps. And, St. Nick never left any coal!

    • Heidi Shott's Gravatar Heidi Shott
      March 9, 2012 - 10:25 am | Permalink

      like – lots

    • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
      March 9, 2012 - 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Patsy, I think you hit the nail on the head ! Thank you so much! For all the saints are winners in Heaven —-and, probably, have numerous followers on earth even into our own time.

  38. Rory's Gravatar Rory
    March 9, 2012 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    There are as many “tea sipping librarians” as there are “tea sipping vicars.” Stop the Sterotyping!

    • Diane Amison-Loring's Gravatar Diane Amison-Loring
      March 9, 2012 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Hey, as a real-live “tea-sipping librarian”, I don’t mind the stereotype once in a while. Evelyn Underhill was very important to my religious formation back in my early days as a monastic. Her book on Mysticism made sense of what I was experiencing then. Her writing has followed me into the present.
      If you like Edwardian English, her novels are good reading. It’s wonderful to have fiction that has a strong moral sense behind it. She owes a lot, I think, to the work of George MacDonald. Some of CS Lewis’ writings remind me of EU. I wonder if there is deeper connection there.

      • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
        March 9, 2012 - 3:08 pm | Permalink

        Yes — I wonder if the “wildness” advice came before or after Lewis made it plain that Aslan is not a tame lion?

        I do see your point, Rory (Roar-y? good company!), but tea-sipping is not a perjorative in my books either. I have experienced enough wisdom and good counsel coming at me from across the rim of a mug of tea that to me “tea-sipping” conjures images of companionship and calm still sagacity, not primness or limitation. : )

        It’s fun to consider tea-sipping as a metaphor. You have to sip hot tea to keep it from burning you…quite a dangerous substance, tea. And doesn’t God have a history of touching something hot to people’s lips when God’s got something God wants them to say?

      • Ed Adcock's Gravatar Ed Adcock
        March 9, 2012 - 10:37 pm | Permalink

        I refer you to Hymn 293 3rd stanza, ….”You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea,…,or at TEA (emphasis added), for the saints of God are just folk like me ,…..”
        Haven’t been “slain by a fierce wild ______.”! (Text obscured, beast? priest?) 😉
        posted 9:37 pm CST

  39. Michael Cudney's Gravatar Michael Cudney
    March 9, 2012 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    Evelyn. No contest. Yes, we love St Nicholas, but Evelyn continues to enlighten.

  40. Hal's Gravatar Hal
    March 9, 2012 - 10:28 am | Permalink


    I voted for nick.

  41. Joe Stroud's Gravatar Joe Stroud
    March 9, 2012 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    So far, I have read the comments before voting (in most matchups). But now, all of you have gotten me really confused! I mean, I thought I had made up my mind, but NOW you guys have collectively confused me with the facts! Not sure I am fully committed to the story about restoring the pickled boys, BUT, a guy who can inspire the creation of Santa Claus (it isn’t the Saint’s fault that the business world/consumerism co-opted him!) and so clearly inform the Spirit of Christmas vs. a tea-sipping librarian look alike who told C.S. Lewis (another spiritual giant, IMHO) to “lighten up,” (LOVE that quote!!!) . . . gotta think a little more about this one.

  42. Christianne McKee's Gravatar Christianne McKee
    March 9, 2012 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    I read Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism when I was a freshman in college. I didn’t understand half if it, but the half I did changed my life.

  43. March 9, 2012 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    As a new comer this year to this fabulous tradition, I wanted to thank everyone for the invite and all the amazing information. St. Nick gets my vote…..but if you know me, you know why. EU appears to have been an amazing woman however, and because of this event, I am going to try and read her work. I am a simpleton in religious matters in general, but I will try none the less. Thank you all again!

    • Ed Adcock's Gravatar Ed Adcock
      March 9, 2012 - 9:59 pm | Permalink

      Wasn’t aware of EU before now (thank you Lent Madness!). Voted already but your post stuck with me. I am also going to look up her writings, love Edwardian women who stood out – there are probably more that we don’t know about!
      But you a simpleton? I doubt it. Let’s just call ourselves uninformed. 🙂
      8:58 pm CST

  44. Lauren Stanley's Gravatar Lauren Stanley
    March 9, 2012 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    Underhill. Because she was brilliant, bold and an inspiration.

  45. Jon's Gravatar Jon
    March 9, 2012 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    Today’s choice highlighted for me (again) the difficulty with sainting modern “spiritual giants” like Evelyn Underhill and Thomas Merton. Their writings have been deeply influential for some people, but a closer look at their life and works brings out ambivalence either because they rejected major parts of Christian teaching (especially in her earlier works Evelyn Underhill had very little conception of or room for the Trinity) or because their life doesn’t sit well with their teaching or upright behavior (Thomas Merton, for example, was a very passionate and even egotistical man who, if he hadn’t died, might well have left the Trappists to be a lecturer. He also quite probably broke his vow of celibacy and fathered a child not long before he died).

    Of course, some of the ancient saints might have benefited from having their stories sanitized back when that was still considered acceptable behavior.

  46. Mary Lou Creamer's Gravatar Mary Lou Creamer
    March 9, 2012 - 11:54 am | Permalink

    Sorry, St. Nick, there’s no contest here. Evelyn gets my vote hands down! Please don’t put me on the naughty list!

  47. dr.primrose's Gravatar dr.primrose
    March 9, 2012 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Mysticism. Underhill. Nothing else needs to be said.

  48. Michelle C. Jackson's Gravatar Michelle C. Jackson
    March 9, 2012 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I love Underhill’s comment to C.S.Lewis. Maybe that is why Aslan is not a tame lion. I vote for Underhill, loved her writings, and besides what we know of her is real stuff, not legend.

  49. Peggy Thompson's Gravatar Peggy Thompson
    March 9, 2012 - 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Each year my grandchildren and I celebrate St. Nicholas’ day and we have acted out together the story of St. Nicholas. So it has to be our family favorite example of kindness and generosity. Go St. Nick

  50. Mary-Elise's Gravatar Mary-Elise
    March 9, 2012 - 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I am vote for Nicholas because of what he has done to speak people’s imaginations around generosity over the centuries.

  51. Ed Adcock's Gravatar Ed Adcock
    March 9, 2012 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

    As a Navy Veteran, I’m voting for my patron saint.

    • Ed Adcock's Gravatar Ed Adcock
      March 9, 2012 - 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Above comment posted 1246 pm CST

  52. Sally Duernberger's Gravatar Sally Duernberger
    March 9, 2012 - 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Not vote for St. Nick? You’ve got to be kidding! I can certainly appreciate EU’s works and accomplishments, but as the Saint’s self-appointed favorite elf, Nicholas gets my vote every time.

  53. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 9, 2012 - 2:36 pm | Permalink

    St. Nick for me! Even with all the commercialism parents have used this good Saint to teach children about God’s love.

  54. March 9, 2012 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I have to admit to being a little discouraged; I always seem to be voting for the underdog. Perhaps having been raised in a fundamentalist tradition, and “meeting” a lot of these saints for the first time here at Lent Madness, has something to do with it. While I understand that mysticism appeals to many, it has never held any sway for me. My vote goes to St Nicholas, who really has almost nothing to do with Santa Claus, but who lived a life of generosity and devotion. I’ve done quite a bit of study on Nicholas, and even tho I may not believe all the stories associated with him, he still impresses me. Go St Nick!

  55. Barb's Gravatar Barb
    March 9, 2012 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I was ordained on her day, June 15th, so no question about it.

  56. Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
    March 9, 2012 - 3:39 pm | Permalink

    St. Nicholas used to visit our church on his feast day, in flowing white beard with mitre and cape, and sit on a chair at the front listening to the sermon. He never spoke, but radiated the same gruff kindness I saw in our church custodian, whom he rather resembled…for that, I could vote for St. Nicholas. “Santa Claus” is more problematic. That spiritually bereft incarnation — an idol to greed and commercial interests — needs to be put out of its misery. Though I suppose on one level Santa Claus performs a useful function — tying all that stuff to SC rather than JC at least spares us the image of baby Jesus hawking toys, jewelry, and electronics…

    So for what remains of the real saint, and for taking the secular heat for the Christ Child three months a year, I could vote St. Nicholas….but not today.

    Underhill, for recognizing the wildness of divinity and trying to lead us into/out of/beyond ourselves to meet it.

    • March 9, 2012 - 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Aw, I love the story of St Nick coming to church and just *being* there. Thanks!

  57. Susan Hedges's Gravatar Susan Hedges
    March 9, 2012 - 3:50 pm | Permalink

    The tea sipper gets my vote.

  58. Melissa's Gravatar Melissa
    March 9, 2012 - 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Much as I love St. Nick, as a clergywoman I know I owe a lot to EU’s leadership. Plus… That wisdom… That God is wild! Love it.

  59. Ethelware's Gravatar Ethelware
    March 9, 2012 - 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Come now- don’t want to take this too seriously but speaking disparagingly of good St Nick because he is a legend makes me think we don’t get why some one becomes a legend. Go Santa!!

  60. March 9, 2012 - 5:43 pm | Permalink

    OK, sometimes I need to have somebody tell me to lighten up. Thanks to Patsy and Joe. And Underhill, evidently. Having said that and taken it to heart — Come on, Hawaii!! You know you are where he spends January. Vote St. Nick!

  61. Holly's Gravatar Holly
    March 9, 2012 - 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Well, just as I thought I was a fuddy-duddy for voting for all those ancient folks, I found myself yesterday voting for Emma and today I must go for Evelyn. This is despite having been in a local choral group that performed Britten’s “St. Nicolas Cantata” to a packed house – one of the peak experiences of my life – and yes, that is where I learned, and sang, about those darling pickled boys!

  62. Janet D's Gravatar Janet D
    March 9, 2012 - 7:54 pm | Permalink

    As a gramma, I’m going w/ Nixk+what a mug. –icons rock. In a decade when granddaughters are older, it’ll be St E.

  63. Jim Begley's Gravatar Jim Begley
    March 9, 2012 - 8:25 pm | Permalink

    I continue to be humbled by the wondrous works of each Saint, thanks to the celebrity bloggers for the informative synopsis of each blessed Saint.
    However, staying within the spirit of the competition,… St Nicholas comes, with great fanfare, earlier and earlier very year, whereas Ms. Underhill may have known Frodo. She gets my vote.

  64. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    March 9, 2012 - 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Despite voting for Evelyn, I do own a pickle ornament and last Christmas told the story of the pickled boys to me friend’s 4 yr old son who listened with either rapture or terror. Hard to tell the difference.

    But another seasonal story, I Evelyn wrote something that has haunted me for years. “No new clothes during Lent” she commanded. Gasp! This has been very hard for me, but I will not back down from it. Lent madness of a different sort.

  65. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    March 9, 2012 - 9:11 pm | Permalink

    I have seen good St. Nick. I never made a big deal about Santa Claus with my kids because I could say to them, I have seen Santa Claus, he’s in a tomb in the basement of an old church in Bari, Italy. He was a for-real person and a very brave and generous man. So Santa Claus gets my vote! Evelyn Underhill — meh

  66. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    March 9, 2012 - 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Marguerite! My friend inherited an antique pickle Christmas ornament. No one knew why a pickle should hang on a Christmas tree, but it always did. Now, thanks to you, I shall enlighten her.

    • Ed Adcock's Gravatar Ed Adcock
      March 9, 2012 - 11:23 pm | Permalink

      I also wondered about the ubiquitous Pickle ornament in the Christmas catalogs. During LMW, google it and look it and St Nick up on Wikipedia (suffient for LMW). Nick of Myra isn’t the only commercialized history. I found at least 3 stories about the pickle ornament, one from America’s Civil War period!
      Posted 10:23 CST

  67. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    March 9, 2012 - 11:06 pm | Permalink

    In the last century, I defended the presence of Santa Claus at a PTA holiday event for students.
    I explained that Santa Claus and St. Nichols not the same. Santa Claus never appears at our church. St. Nichols, the late Bishop of Micea, visits our church around December 6. Sometimes he arrives on horseback. The priest reminds us of the saint’s generosity to 3 poor sisters, among others. Later, the youth group pass around the St. Nichols cookies.

    The superintendent asked, “Does Santa Clause quote any scripture?”
    “Do students have to go up to Santa?”
    “Is there a provision for a student who doesn’t go to Santa to get a candy cane?”
    “Then, I think Santa Claus can appear at the PTA holiday event.”

    Today I’m voting for Evelyn & learning more about her; St. Nicolas has had my vote.

  68. Paul Rosbolt's Gravatar Paul Rosbolt
    March 10, 2012 - 6:30 am | Permalink

    I can see holes in my theological education. I had never heard of Evelyn Underhill. Now she has my vote and I will have to read her books!

  69. Jean McLean's Gravatar Jean McLean
    March 10, 2012 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    I also have never heard of Evelyn Underhill. Must vote for her based on what I am reading about her. She sounds fascinating!

  70. Sarah Pope's Gravatar Sarah Pope
    March 10, 2012 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    Although it’s probably too late to comment, I agree with the others that Coke’s Santa really has nothing to do with St. Nick. I admire a man who will keep girls out of lives of the less-than-savory kind, and saving pickled boys isn’t bad either. So many in today’s world say “We need to do this for the children”, “Children are our most valuable resource”, “Children are our future”, and then head for the economic bottom line…sigh. St. Nicholas put his money where his mouth was.

  71. Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
    March 10, 2012 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    Evelyn Underhill, because we know so much more about her. Besides, Nicholas of Myra already has the ultimate Golden Halo: he’s been canonized.

  72. Alec's Gravatar Alec
    March 10, 2012 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Was the voting shut off early??

    • March 10, 2012 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

      No. Each contest lasts 24 hours, more or less. The voting starts at 8:00 a.m. EST and ends about 8:00 a.m. the next day.

      Tune on Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. EST for Rose of Lima vs. Brigid.

  73. James Hodson's Gravatar James Hodson
    March 13, 2012 - 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Evelyn gets my vote!

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