Benedict of Nursia vs. Anne

Another day, another romp. At least that’s what many were thinking after Harriet Tubman trounced Nicholas Ferrar in yesterday’s Lent Madness showdown. Today we’re anticipating a much closer match-up as the father of monasticism takes on the grandmother of Jesus. Is blood thicker than compline? This and other questions will be answered by the Lent Madness faithful over the next 24 hours.

There are many rumors flying around the world about the timing of Pope Benedict XVI’s retirement on the very same day that his namesake, Benedict of Nursia, appears in Lent Madness. It’s obviously not a coincidence and we’re assuming that a bunch of people named Anne will also retire today. We wish them all well in their golden years. For Benedict and Anne, however, only time will tell whether they’ll be enjoying their Golden Halo years.

photoBenedict of Nursia

Benedict of Nursia (c.480-c.550) was born into a world that was disintegrating. The Roman Empire had become a shadow of its former self. Benedict moved from his hometown of Nursia to Rome as a student. But he found there too much of an erosion of morality for his tastes. So he abandoned the “Eternal City” for a hillside cave and became a hermit for three years.

Although Benedict is called the “Father of Western Monasticism,” communities of Christian monks had existed for centuries before his birth. One group of monks, in fact, begged him to become its abbot while he was living as a hermit. Benedict tried that, but it didn’t work out. One legend describes how those monks tried to poison him unsuccessfully. Regardless, Benedict left them and eventually founded a monastery between Rome and Naples at Monte Cassino.

There he wrote his famous Rule for monastic life. The seventy-three short chapters of that Rule present the ideal of a balance between prayer and work. One of them also includes these well-known words about hospitality: “Let all…be received as Christ.” So what Benedict really did was to channel the stream of monasticism in fresh and creative ways that have proven for nearly 1,500 years to be life-giving to the whole world.

Here’s part of an ancient poem that was written after Benedict’s death by one of his companions named Marcus:

With hard and toilsome labour ‘tis that great things are attained:
Within the narrow path alone the blessed life is gained.
While hither coming penitent bow’d down with load of sin,
I felt its weight was gone from me, I felt at peace within;
And I believe in bliss above I too shall have my share,
If thou for Marcus, Benedict, wilt breathe an earnest prayer.

Benedict’s spirit is alive and well throughout the world today (and not only in Roman Catholic circles). My own congregation had a beloved assisting priest who retired last year and belonged to a religious community of Benedictines in the Episcopal Church. And thanks to the hospitality of Roman Catholic Benedictines, the Episcopal House of Prayer sits on five acres on the grounds of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. St. John’s is the second largest Benedictine monastery in the Western Hemisphere. It’s home to the world’s largest archive of manuscript photographs and to the St. John’s Bible, which is the first handwritten, illuminated Bible that a Benedictine monastery has commissioned in more than 500 years. Thankfully, guided by the Rule of St. Benedict, the priorities of these Benedictine monks in both the Anglican and Roman Catholic traditions remain the same: Praying, working, and receiving all as Christ.

Collect for Benedict of Nursia
Almighty and everlasting God, your precepts are the wisdom of a loving Father: Give us grace, following the teaching and example of your servant Benedict, to walk with loving and willing hearts in the school of the Lord’s service; let your ears be open to our prayers; and prosper with your blessing the work of our hands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Neil Alan Willard


Anne is not mentioned in any of the canonical gospels, and there is no historical record of her life. Her name and the legend of her life are instead found in the Protoevangelium of James, a New Testament-era apocryphal gospel dating to around AD 150.

Legend holds that Anne was married to Joachim, and that the two were childless in their old age – a fact which deeply grieved both of them. As Joachim went into the desert for forty days and forty nights to fast, Anne sat and lamented both her pending widowhood and her childlessness. During Joachim’s absence, Anne sat beneath a laurel tree, and prayed she would receive a child just as Sarah received Isaac in her old age. As she bewails her inability to conceive, an angel appears to Anne, and promises her that she will conceive, and that “your child will be spoken of in the whole world.” (Pro.James. 4:1). In response, Anne promises that the child – whether male or female – will be brought as a gift to God, and will minister before God all the days of its life. Nine months later, Mary is born to Joachim and Anne. A year after Mary’s birth, Joachim presents Mary to the priests, and in their prayer of blessing pray that she will be given “an eternal name among all the generations” (Pro. James. 6:2). When Mary turned three, Joachim and Anne give Mary into the service of the temple in fulfillment of the promise Anne made to the angel when she announced Mary’s birth.

Anne’s legend heavily echoes the story of two barren women in the Old Testament – Sarah, who gives birth to Isaac in her old age; and Hannah, who gives birth to Samuel after being thought to be barren, and dedicates him to the service of the temple. Indeed, Anne’s name in Hebrew is “Hannah,” meaning “favor” or “grace.”

Devotion to Anne dates to the patristic era. The emperor Justinian built a church in Constantinople in her honor; her feast began to be observed in the west by the 14th century. By the end of the middle ages, devotion to St. Anne had become wide spread, and became a target for the Protestant Reformers, most especially Martin Luther. Nonetheless, in 1584, it was made a feast in the Roman Catholic Church.

In the Orthodox tradition, Anne is given the title “Forbear of God,” and the Birth of Mary (September 8) and the Dedication of Mary in the Temple (November 21) are principal feasts of the church. In the Western Church, her feast is celebrated with her spouse, Joachim, on July 26.

Collect for Anne

Almighty God, heavenly Father, we remember in thanksgiving this day, Anne, mother of of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and we pray that we all may be made one in the heavenly family of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

David Sibley


Benedict of Nursia vs. Anne

  • Benedict of Nursia (69%, 2,721 Votes)
  • Anne (31%, 1,220 Votes)

Total Voters: 3,940

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170 Comments to "Benedict of Nursia vs. Anne"

  1. February 28, 2013 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    What can I say? I love this fantastic monastic. I voted for Benedict.

    • Merrilee's Gravatar Merrilee
      February 28, 2013 - 5:21 pm | Permalink

      I stayed for a couple days at the Abbey of Regina Laudis, a Benedictine cloisted convent in Bethlehem, Conn. All seven services were sung. The spirituality and generosity of the Benedictine discipline I will always treasure. Of course I had to vote for Benedict.

      • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
        February 28, 2013 - 6:50 pm | Permalink

        I have for many years been a confrater (associate) of the Benedictines at Three Rivers — even though they no longer sing the Office in Latin as they did when I first joined. (I too sometimes go to Regina Laudis for that.) Hard as it is to vote against God’s Granny I have to support Benedict.

  2. Ann of Oneida's Gravatar Ann of Oneida
    February 28, 2013 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    Could I vote for any other? Even if her name does have an “e” on the end!

    • February 28, 2013 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

      I I grew up in an Episcopal parish (Woodstock, Ill.) and there Ann is spelled with no E.

  3. Barb's Gravatar Barb
    February 28, 2013 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Voting for a reality versus a myth. Anne’s story is charming but without substance. Even with the “apocryphal stories” the reality of Benedict lives on through all the monastic communities in the world. Being an associate of Holy Cross makes the rule Benedict wrote a reality in my life.

    • February 28, 2013 - 10:15 am | Permalink

      Without substance? Do you kiss your Mom with that mouth? Motherhood has great substance for one thing, and for another thing kudos to Anne (and Joachim) for actually delivering a “wait to have sex” talk that worked! My vote goes to the Mother of Our Lady, whether she was named Anne or not.

    • Joyce Edmondson's Gravatar Joyce Edmondson
      February 28, 2013 - 10:35 am | Permalink

      Hi! Being a grandmother of the Son of God is no small thing! Viva Anne! That’s reality…

    • Derek Michaud's Gravatar Derek Michaud
      February 28, 2013 - 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Some of the most real people I know are mythical.

  4. February 28, 2013 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    Gotta go with Ben. Anne seems a tad national inquirer for me.

  5. Carol Sullivan's Gravatar Carol Sullivan
    February 28, 2013 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    In spite of having worked at a St Anne’s Church for many years, I have to go with Benedict. At least he was real, even if some stories about him are not, and has had a lasting impact on Christianity. To me, Anne seems a bit too apocryphal -obviously Mary had a mother, and this is what she should have been like.

  6. christine ruggieri's Gravatar christine ruggieri
    February 28, 2013 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Of course it’s myth vs reality, but I’m a grandmother and I had to vote for the grandmother. Obviously Mary had parents, and they must have been very good people to have raised her to be the mother of Jesus, so Grandma Anne gets my vote.

    • Lane Johnson's Gravatar Lane Johnson
      February 28, 2013 - 10:04 am | Permalink

      another Grandma vote. I usually vote for historically real people but I’m going with Anne, or whatever her name was.

    • Phil Harrington's Gravatar Phil Harrington
      February 28, 2013 - 11:20 am | Permalink

      And would Anne be the first instance of dedicating a child to God WHETHER OR NOT it was male? No wonder it took so long for the messiah to come!

  7. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    February 28, 2013 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    This one was easy for me, for once: Benedict.

    Now, off to say Morning Prayer….

  8. Wanda's Gravatar Wanda
    February 28, 2013 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    In three years I have never written a comment, though I have relished the discussions. Today I must tell the influence that St Ann has played in my life. I first met her in a movie in my early teen years. The movie was Sally and St. Anne and it had a profound effect on me. As a young Methodist I knew nothing about the communion of saints or the custom of praying with them. My mother dismissed it as a Roman Catholic thing but I was curious. I met her again in a sermon during the Advent season when my single middle daughter was about to deliver my first grandchild. She helped me then as my grandson was due on Christmas day. As much as I respect St. Benedict and his work. I have a special love for the grandmother of our Lord. And I believe she is definitely full of substance. Anne gets my vote.

    • Terry Suruda's Gravatar Terry Suruda
      February 28, 2013 - 9:16 am | Permalink

      Someone else saw “Sally and St. Anne”! That movie also impacted me as a child, and lingers in the corners of my memory. Should I be granted 3 wishes, one of them would be to watch it again.

    • JenniferThomasina's Gravatar JenniferThomasina
      February 28, 2013 - 9:42 am | Permalink

      Well, cool!! Will watch for that movie.

    • Tom's Gravatar Tom
      February 28, 2013 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Neat! Thanks for sharing that, Wanda! I love hearing how the communion of saints has been present for people.

      Full disclosure: I voted for Benedict. But I’m really glad I got to read your comment. 🙂

  9. Sue's Gravatar Sue
    February 28, 2013 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    Since I was taught by wonderful Benedictine nuns what can I say. Go Benedict!

  10. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    February 28, 2013 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    I grew up in St Anne’s parish. My mother prayed to St Anne while she was pregnant with me. My middle name is Anne. My vote goes to Anne.

    Benedict will win this though.

  11. February 28, 2013 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    The Rule of Benedict is the core of my rule of life. To “Listen with the Ear of the Heart” and “Live this life and everything you do with an attitude of loving kindness” (from the translation by Episcopal layperson John McQuistion II) guides me as I strive to “stick with it” (stability), “listen carefully to God and one another” (obedience), “daily improvement” (conversation morum) [my thanks to another Benedictine author Wil Derske]. My vote in this round goes to Benedict as it will should he be advanced to the Saintly Sixteen.

    • Ann's Gravatar Ann
      February 28, 2013 - 9:07 am | Permalink

      Thank you for this comment. It is a wonderful reminder in capsule form of the way to live life. Wonderful words, more wonderful Way, as Jesus himself pointed out.

  12. jon rinnander's Gravatar jon rinnander
    February 28, 2013 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Of course, Benedict. For Mother Laura and St. Joan of Erie.

  13. February 28, 2013 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Arrgh! My computer thinks it is so smart!!! Not “conversation morum” by “conversatio morum”. And you, no doubt, think I should proofread better. But as is the case with the Rule of St. Benedict” “Always we begin again.”

    • February 28, 2013 - 10:47 am | Permalink

      With a bunch of Benedict fans today, maybe someone can help me answer this question: where does it say in the Rule “Always we begin again”? McQuiston’s poetical summary/overview aside. It always gets quoted, without crediting McQuistion, like it’s a central tenet, but I haven’t found it in the Rule in meaning. Closest I’ve got is how the abbot should treat someone who isn’t following the Rule, which starts out gently and escalates …..

      Obviously, voted for Benedict. As an associate of an Episcopal Benedictine order, how could I not?

      • February 28, 2013 - 4:31 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think the Rule says “always we begin again.” but that this phrase come from this line: “It is for us to train our hearts to live in grace, to sacrifice our self-centered desires, to find the peace without want without seeking it for ourselves, and when we fail to begin again each day.” I looked up the Rule on-line. . . . didn’t vote for Benedict and don’t think he said “always we begin again.”

  14. February 28, 2013 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    for Benedict’s rule hospitality in the best sense of the word, Benedict.

  15. Victor Hill's Gravatar Victor Hill
    February 28, 2013 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    As an Associate of an Anglican Benedictine Order (in practice, a Tertiary), I have to go with my patron – a real and inspiring person – rather than a charming historical fiction.

  16. Geof Smith's Gravatar Geof Smith
    February 28, 2013 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    OK, so one bemoans Sin City: Rome and holes up in a cave; while the other seems crafted out of legend to support the veneration of Mary? Maybe it’s the rain making me so cynical – sorry.

    Benedict in the (and as a) stretch.

  17. Peg's Gravatar Peg
    February 28, 2013 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    It’s early, but I foresee an Agnes-type trouncing for dear Anne, since in Madness voters’ minds, a myth is not good as a male. Still, it is a relief to have a couple of old timey saint-y saints with no martyr issues. Even if Anne were surrounded with exclamation points instead of question marks, I would go with Benedict. He established a new way of holy life that reaches beyond the monastery and shapes the world today, which needs all the holiness it can get.

    • Peg's Gravatar Peg
      February 28, 2013 - 5:55 pm | Permalink

      P.S. Today’s comments have blown away all my question marks about Ann(e), and I’m convinced she was a grand mother and grandmother! Exclamation point!

  18. Nancy Baillie Strong's Gravatar Nancy Baillie Strong
    February 28, 2013 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    My middle name is Anne (with the “e”), my first name is a derivative/variant form, so even though she may be apocryphal (Mary did have a mother somewhere), my vote goes to Anne is this round…though I have my doubts as to whether she’ll go beyond it!…and I’ll probably have another opportunity to back Benedict!

  19. Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson's Gravatar Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson
    February 28, 2013 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Hard to relate to mythic figures. Although I usually have trouble understanding mystic, as well as mythic, figures, at least Benedict was real. Anne is too fairy tale-ish and I stopped believing in them when I was…..well, never mind…..You don’t have to know everything about me…None of your beesax! On. Benedict! On to the kitchen for coffee before hallucinations begin due to caffeine deprivation….is that right? Good morning, FORWARD MOVEMENT order ladies.
    order dept. ladies

  20. Marie's Gravatar Marie
    February 28, 2013 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Easy: reality over myth. And the influence of Benedict’s rule on the life of the church cannot be overstated.

  21. Greg's Gravatar Greg
    February 28, 2013 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    So, so difficult to decide. Coincidence the venerable SEC chose Benedict on Feb. 28th? The very day Pope Benedict goes off in solitary to pray? Oh my, how could I not choose Benedict? I must go off alone and think about it.

  22. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    February 28, 2013 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    If, like I did, you voted for Little Gidding you have to go and Nursia wounds. Benedict it is.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      February 28, 2013 - 9:25 am | Permalink

      I had to read your comment three times before I got it and realized it wasn’t some kind of typo. Bravo! Lent Madness needs more puns — especially appropriate as “the lowest form of humor,” don’t you think? — and the obscure ones are the best of all.

      • If Not Philander, Then Benedict's Gravatar If Not Philander, Then Benedict
        February 28, 2013 - 10:13 am | Permalink

        Until the limericks start up, we definitely need to encourage the puns.

    • Phil Harrington's Gravatar Phil Harrington
      February 28, 2013 - 11:14 am | Permalink

      What kind of disease is Benedictitis?

  23. February 28, 2013 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    Since Anglican spirituality is pretty much Benedictine in nature . . . and since the Grandmother of God is, at best, a figure of pious legend . . . have to vote for the monk.

  24. Cricket Cooper's Gravatar Cricket Cooper
    February 28, 2013 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    The 25th Anniversary of the Association of Anglican Musicians was held at St John’s Abbey in Collegeville. The good brothers of that order not only allowed me (a- gasp!- woman priest!) to celebrate the AAM Eucharist at their altar, but also delighted in vesting me in a former abbot’s finery for the event! Throughout my life, the priceless hospitality of Benedictine monastics, RC and Episcopalian, has been a touchstone and precious gift to me. I owe Benedict my devotion and my vote.

  25. February 28, 2013 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    Think what you might of the “legend” of Anne, how can her story compare with the lasting influence of Benedict, whose rule has guided generation after generation of women and men seeking to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in human community. My current reading includes work by neo-monastic Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, someone who is writing and speaking of his experience of the rule of Benedict. Go Benedict!

  26. Joy's Gravatar Joy
    February 28, 2013 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    Have experienced such blessings from the hospitality of Benedictines and have been reminded by them so often that work, prayer, and hospitality are all worship. Benedictine monastery retreats are so renewing. Benedict gets my vote today.

  27. Relling Westfall's Gravatar Relling Westfall
    February 28, 2013 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    I have long admired St.Benedict. We visited Monte Cassino a few years ago, and it was a very moving experience. For those of you who plan to visit Monte Cassino and don’t already know this, it was the Allies who bombed Monte Cassino during WWII and reduced it to rubble, not the Germans. May you be spared that very embarrassing mistake if you go and you are AMerican.

  28. Nancy Grear's Gravatar Nancy Grear
    February 28, 2013 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    The Brothers at Holy Cross (West Park NY) have given me solace and peace; so I must vote for Benedict.

  29. Gian's Gravatar Gian
    February 28, 2013 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    I’ve always known him as San Benito, so when I first read Benedict of Nursia I got lost. Imagine! Choosing from a myth and a historic figure so important in the West is an easy task.

  30. Laurie Atwater's Gravatar Laurie Atwater
    February 28, 2013 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    Ora et labora!

  31. Lauren Stanley's Gravatar Lauren Stanley
    February 28, 2013 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    For all the monastics who have guided me and provided hospitality, I vote for Benedict. Even though I was raised RC, I never believed the legend of Ann … Mary didn’t need a saint of a mother to say “yes” to God.

  32. February 28, 2013 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    To those of you dismissing the grandmother of our Lord as a myth…let me remind you that we mustn’t bandy that word about so easily…lest we be forced to examine lots of myths that we continue to delight in. So watch it there friends…otherwise someone might visit you blowing a bugle, marching around the block you are on seven times, and making your Benedictine Monastery fall down! I vote for Anne…for without Mary…we got nothing.

    • February 28, 2013 - 9:30 am | Permalink

      Legend, not myth.

    • Robin's Gravatar Robin
      February 28, 2013 - 7:52 pm | Permalink

      No need for bugles, Michael! There are plenty of shofars (shofarot) to go around. I have taken part in mass shofar blowings and it is easy to imagine why those walls might have started quivering. Greetings from St. Andrew & St. Charles AND Temple Beth Torah, Granada Hills CA.

      Now to go back to contemplating option A vs. option B…

  33. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    February 28, 2013 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    Benedict; reality over myth.

  34. GRanny's Gravatar GRanny
    February 28, 2013 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    Benedict will and should win. I just think grandmas should stick together!

  35. Alan's Gravatar Alan
    February 28, 2013 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Jesus undoubtedly had a grandmother and, regardless of her name, she raised the Blessed Virgin to be a woman wholly committed to God. I voted for Anne and all godly women of all ages!

    • JenniferThomasina's Gravatar JenniferThomasina
      February 28, 2013 - 9:54 am | Permalink

      Exactly! Apocryphal writings aside, Jesus certainly did have a “real” grandmother. No disrespect to Benedict, whose legacy is indeed amazing and so admirable, but I believe today I will vote for the woman whose legacy is also pretty impressive…Saviour of the world and all that…! ; )
      And for all the grandmas (and grandpas!) who pray and love and nurture their grandkids in life-giving faith.

  36. Gwin Hanahan's Gravatar Gwin Hanahan
    February 28, 2013 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    Benedict’s legacy vs Anne”s legacy…….hmm…… rules vs Jesus………hmm…..I’ll go with Jesus and his grandmother.

  37. John Carter's Gravatar John Carter
    February 28, 2013 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    As much as I appreciate St. Anne, I had to go with Benedict. He is an inspiration to all, and all of the Benedictines I know are true to the Rule.

  38. Johnny's Gravatar Johnny
    February 28, 2013 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    Ummm Jesus’ Nana FTW yall. Benedict is alright and all but the Mama of Mary wins in my book. Also even if her name was something other than Anne she is not a myth. The Blessed Virgin Mary did not hatch from a chicken egg……

  39. February 28, 2013 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    I had to go with Benedict today. Because his “rule” was so amenable to variation and change over the centuries, it still is as applicable today as it ever was. “His approach to seeking God was both sensible and humane. For Benedict, a spiritual pathway was not one to be littered with weird and unusual practices; rather, all that is needed is to be faithful to finding God in the ordinary circumstances of daily life. How to prepare oneself for this simple—but not necessarily easy—way of life is the substance of the Rule.” (from the OSB website). This is my kind of guy!

  40. Harry W's Gravatar Harry W
    February 28, 2013 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    Benedict of Nursia gets my vote today, Benedictine monks reaching across the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches to bring prayers, works, and Christ to a needy world. Nothing speaks better than this!

  41. Deborah Anne's Gravatar Deborah Anne
    February 28, 2013 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    Reality v. Myth is a strong argument and my vote would go to Benedict against another mythic saint. But Anne is the saint name I was given at baptism (a Jewish judge and heroine of her people not being good enough in the RC church) so I cast my vote for Anne.

  42. February 28, 2013 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    Benedict was a real person, who left a persisting legacy to the church. Anne is a charming story, but that’s all it is! Benedict all the way!

  43. Adam Naff's Gravatar Adam Naff
    February 28, 2013 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    Myth? Legend? Seems like a lack of faith to me. I’m going with the grandmother of Jesus even if we don’t know for sure what her name was or what the exact circumstances of her life were.

  44. Laura Campbell's Gravatar Laura Campbell
    February 28, 2013 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    If her husband was out praying and fasting for forty days and nights, small wonder Anne was having problems conceiving. Just sayin’.

    • Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson's Gravatar Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson
      February 28, 2013 - 12:28 pm | Permalink

      This actually makes a lot of sense.

  45. February 28, 2013 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    I suspect that Anne’s legends were created in retrospect as a support for the veneration of Mary (“you know – Anne was set apart too — so clearly Mary was all the more holy”) and that annoys me. At the same time, of course we only have myths and legends; women didn’t count and weren’t remembered. We’re often left to imagine who they were. Not that any of this musing makes my decision easier…

  46. Dan's Gravatar Dan
    February 28, 2013 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Re: Lentmadness 2013 -Jesus’s Grandma vs Murdering Monks?

    Is this where the term “benediction” comes from? Monks trying to poison monks. Is this where the term “Monkeying Around” comes from?

    Jesus had a grandma? Do you think she sent him birthday cards and Christmas presents? “Over the dessert and through the sand to grandmothers house we go! The camel knows the way to carry the chariot?”

    I am going for the Monk!

  47. Steve P's Gravatar Steve P
    February 28, 2013 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Benedict is a pro balla… And I am a Cleveland Benedictine High School graduate. Nuff said…

  48. Dan's Gravatar Dan
    February 28, 2013 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    Desert not dessert!

  49. JoAnn's Gravatar JoAnn
    February 28, 2013 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    Although I’m partly named for my great aunt Ann, I can’t go with someone “not mentioned in any of the canonical gospels, and there is no historical record of her life.” Just a little too flimsy for me.

  50. Alice Roerig's Gravatar Alice Roerig
    February 28, 2013 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    St. Benedict got my vote today. But there is the most lovely statue of St. Anne, Mary and the baby Jesus seated together in St. Augustine Basilica in Rome. The sculpture was done by Andrea Sansovino. From the slight smile on St. Anne’s face I cannot tell if she is just holding the baby’s foot – or maybe giving it a little tickle. You can check it out below.

    • Bill's Gravatar Bill
      February 28, 2013 - 11:27 am | Permalink

      That lovely statue works miracles, and those who benefit from them leave silver ornaments and other thank offerings on the statue that sometimes make it almost impossible to see. Last summer it was again visible with the offerings set around it but with a few on it, a clearing away that apparently happens from time to time. For some the statue group is an item of artistic interest. For others it is that and more.

      • Alice Roerig's Gravatar Alice Roerig
        February 28, 2013 - 2:04 pm | Permalink

        How interesting, unfortunately I guess they had just cleaned it before I was there – thank-you for the story!

      • Relling Westfall's Gravatar Relling Westfall
        February 28, 2013 - 3:33 pm | Permalink

        So who did you vote for Bill?

    • Edna's Gravatar Edna
      February 28, 2013 - 11:55 am | Permalink

      Lovely! And I think she is definitely tickling. How can one not when presented with such a chunky, wiggling infant?! Thank you for sharing this sculpture

      • Alice Roerig's Gravatar Alice Roerig
        February 28, 2013 - 2:05 pm | Permalink

        That is what I have chosen to think also.

  51. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    February 28, 2013 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Somewhere in my study of comparative religions–Joseph Campbell, Mircea Eliade, etc.–it occurred to me that a myth is a story that is true, whether or not it ever happened.
    This grandma’s going with St. Anne, even though she respects Benedict and those that keep his pattern. (And she’s read all the Brother Cadfael books.)

    • Bill's Gravatar Bill
      February 28, 2013 - 11:29 am | Permalink

      The Romans have a saying for that: “Se non e vero e ben trovato,” or It may not be true but it is well founded.

  52. February 28, 2013 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    Although I love being a grandmother, I have to go with Benedict and the wonderful Benedictines of Erie Pennsylvania including Joan Chittester who have made a real difference in my life.

  53. Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
    February 28, 2013 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    My experiences at Collegeville MN Ecumenical Institute–as well as Holy Wisdom Monastery (formerly St. Benedict Center) in Madison WI–are hugely influential on my vote today. Their hospitality, atmosphere, and depth of worship experiences are unparalleled for me. It’s Benedict–but not the one in Roma.

  54. Rob's Gravatar Rob
    February 28, 2013 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    Tough call – Jesus’ grandmother versus a monk, yet somehow on the day when Benedict XVI retires to a monastic life, it seems fitting to give St. Benedict the nod.

    I am not sure about your accuracy concerning Martin Luther’s problems with Mary. Luther actually had a deep devotion to Mary and was know to pray and advocate for the Rosary even after his excommunication

  55. Carol Louise Plummer's Gravatar Carol Louise Plummer
    February 28, 2013 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    Another tough one! The mind insists on Benedict–what a guy! The heart, however, never can resist the barren woman allowed by the Divine to experience the ultimate miracle of womanhood (so ordinary, yet so amazing) after she has mourned its impossibility for her.

  56. Dawn's Gravatar Dawn
    February 28, 2013 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    OK, peaceful and quiet life of a monk vs the multitasking life and responsibilities of a mother and grandmother? Anne wins by a mile.

  57. Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
    February 28, 2013 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    Benedict is real. Anne is a myth.


  58. JAG's Gravatar JAG
    February 28, 2013 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    As a woman (over the 40) who still wants to have a child (natural or adopted), I had to go with Ann. A great morning inspiration that my child-bearing years aren’t over.

    • Constance Santana's Gravatar Constance Santana
      February 28, 2013 - 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Note to JAG. I have been blessed with one birthed child and two adopted children . They are all adults now and I am beginning to have graandchildren as well. I just want to encourage you to continue to consider adoption as an option. There are still so many children born right here in America who need their own forever family. Oh yes, I voted for Ann of course, whether or not she existed as in the story, Jesus did have a Nana!

    • Relling Westfall's Gravatar Relling Westfall
      February 28, 2013 - 8:32 pm | Permalink

      I second the response of Constance. We have two adopted children, both American, both biracial. They are the wonderful: they teach us how to love, even now when they are both young men. children are a blessing.

  59. Allison Askins's Gravatar Allison Askins
    February 28, 2013 - 10:29 am | Permalink

    Oh my, I thought I had it all figured out, but then I was so touched by the grandmother comments and having had a wonderful grandmother named Ann, I find myself torn between “T” truth and “t” truth … Benedict’s rule has undeniably increased our understanding of faith and how to live into that faith, but without the love of a grandmother, where might we all be? I believe I’m leaning toward Ann …

  60. Allison Askins's Gravatar Allison Askins
    February 28, 2013 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    Ooops, Anne.

  61. February 28, 2013 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    anyone else find themselves humming the hymn tune St. Anne today? (Our God, Our Help In Ages Past is the hymn most commonly sung to the tune.)

    just me?

    well…I confess I voted for Benedict, though it’s true Mary must have had a mother, the stories about her (especially if you travel in the holy land) are so outlandish, and they prop up a Marian concept so otherworldly that it makes it hard to remember that Jesus was fully human too.

    But I’ll still probably be humming the tune all day. Thanks for that.

    • Marie's Gravatar Marie
      February 28, 2013 - 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Now I”ll be humming St. Anne’s hymn tune …..
      Too many men on the Saints list, alas.

    • Susan Chacon's Gravatar Susan Chacon
      February 28, 2013 - 2:22 pm | Permalink

      …and thanks to you, so will I! (Grateful it’s a good tune, and not the theme song from the Flintstones.)

  62. Jan's Gravatar Jan
    February 28, 2013 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    St. Anne’s in Annapolis is my home parish- so St. Anne of course. If you are ever in Annapolis, see the Tiffany St. Anne teaching Mary window!

  63. February 28, 2013 - 10:58 am | Permalink

    Immediate and unquestioning obedience to a superior . . . been there, done that. Give it a try, it’s not always all it’s cracked up to be. And while I am eternally grateful to The Liturgical Press for publishing my book, I’m voting for Anne in honor of my grandmothers and my distant Scottish relative Anne of Buccleuch. . . and the Sanctuary House cats & dogs, of course: Anastasia, Anna Justine, Sally Ann, Annie, Anabel, and Annie Oakley!

  64. February 28, 2013 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    Is blood thicker than compline?

    • Raggs Ragan's Gravatar Raggs Ragan
      February 28, 2013 - 11:53 am | Permalink

      love it!!!

    • Mollie Douglas Turner's Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner
      February 28, 2013 - 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Gotta love those Canadian Anglicans! Compline and Benedict get my vote, even though I’m a proud grandmother.

    • Katie's Gravatar Katie
      February 28, 2013 - 11:04 pm | Permalink


  65. Martha Watson's Gravatar Martha Watson
    February 28, 2013 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    Hmmmm. Although I think our saints list overrepresents males, especially white males, I do prefer we stick with people we know existed.

  66. Lisa Green's Gravatar Lisa Green
    February 28, 2013 - 11:04 am | Permalink

    Though I was baptized at a parish named for St. Scholastica (Benedict’s twin sister) and am missing the “e” on my middle name, I am casting an enthusiastic vote for Anne. Hooray for even an apocryphal story of an angel announcing the birth of a special child who turned out to be female, and her mother’s reaction: “And she said to the midwife: What have I brought forth? And she said: A girl. And said Anna: My soul has been magnified this day.” Mine too when my own wonderful daughter Mary was born–go Anne!

  67. Mike's Gravatar Mike
    February 28, 2013 - 11:04 am | Permalink

    Our children confuse Santa with God, and when they find out Santa is a myth,a new committee is formed at Council on why we have no youth. Let’s not be confused about historicity and conjecture; gotta go with Benedict. (Although if any less ephemeral candidate ran against him, I would be reluctant to vote for him.)

  68. February 28, 2013 - 11:07 am | Permalink

    Well, there is this.

  69. Anne Wrider's Gravatar Anne Wrider
    February 28, 2013 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    Well, do I have a choice? Both because I am named for her and because Jesus’ grandma must have been one rockin’ lady. Can you hear her? “My grandson walks on water. No, really!”

  70. Judy Austin's Gravatar Judy Austin
    February 28, 2013 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    My (Presbyterian) experiences with the Benedictine monasteries in Idaho, both men and women, lead me to vote for Benedict. What a wonderful mix of hospitality, intellect, and service they are!

  71. John Robison's Gravatar John Robison
    February 28, 2013 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    The Father of Western Monks verses a mostly invented figure. No question.

    • Johnny's Gravatar Johnny
      February 28, 2013 - 11:57 am | Permalink

      Benedict and Scholastica’s lives were also filled with questionable stories and he was not in the gospels either if that counts for anything, and it is suspected thay certain aspectd of his life were wholly the creation of Pope Gregory I in his book Dialogues. The only contemporary info we have on him is flimsily assembled into a “spiritual portrait”. St. Anne’s story is in the Protoevangelion of James which was written not too long after much of the New Testament. I am not saying that that necessarily proves its veracity but just because it was discarded by early church fathers does not lessen its testamony. Jesus as a living human had a Grandma. That is truth because of biology. Benedict was no doubt a real individual but we know about as much true info sbout his life as Anne. The truth vs. myth thing is invalid.

  72. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    February 28, 2013 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    Shoot. I should have read the comments. I voted for Benedict on the reality principle, but being pro-grandma could have been even more comfortable.

  73. February 28, 2013 - 11:38 am | Permalink

    In Pemaquid, Maine, stands a place of mission
    Where seekers craft boats for the folk who go fishin’.
    A common house and an uncommon school:
    Hands to work, hearts to God, all by Benedict’s Rule.
    The Carpenter’s Boat Shop builds lives–not just boats–
    And in honor thereof, Benedict gets my vote.

    • Johnny's Gravatar Johnny
      February 28, 2013 - 11:59 am | Permalink

      Anne is the patroness of Carpenters….

    • Constance Santana's Gravatar Constance Santana
      February 28, 2013 - 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Shouldn’t that line line about hands to work, heartsto God credit the “Shaker” community? I believe that’s one of their lines. I mean, it’s not like the pro Ben folks don’t have enough going in their favor. Although, I’m not sure being fed by ravens is any less credible than Nana Anna’s stories. Actually being fed by the ravens sounds like a favorite Nana story to me.

  74. Toni Ponzo's Gravatar Toni Ponzo
    February 28, 2013 - 11:55 am | Permalink

    Love the story of the Lord’s granny and once again thanks for being educational as well as fun but having experienced the wonderful serenity and hospitality of a Benedictine monastery I’ve gotta go with Benedict.

  75. Tracey Meyers's Gravatar Tracey Meyers
    February 28, 2013 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

    How can you not vote for a Jewish grandmother? And it’s Jesus’ grandmother! Shame on you, shame on you! (Jewish guilt.)

  76. Halo Linda's Gravatar Halo Linda
    February 28, 2013 - 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I was introduced to Benedict’s Rule at a time when I was very ill. It made all the difference and has changed my life. Have to go with Benedict today.

  77. Anne of Memphis's Gravatar Anne of Memphis
    February 28, 2013 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    My vote is Saint Anne, the Grandmother of Jesus Christ. Hello?? There’s no contest! Plus, her name is spelled the “right” way. Gotta love that e! I’m having a blast with Lent Madness. This is my first year, and I am hooked!

  78. Helen's Gravatar Helen
    February 28, 2013 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Myth vs. monasticism. This is hard. For today I’ll favor the Forbear of God. Tomorrow it’s back to offering hospitality, praying, working, and receiving all as Christ.

  79. Meredyth's Gravatar Meredyth
    February 28, 2013 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Here’s another grandmother vote. When I was in Spain a few years ago, walking the Camino, I saw a statue of St. Anne holding a small Mary on her lap, and Mary was holding the baby Jesus. (I wish I had a photo to share–the icon reminded me of it). Yes, I’ll happily vote for Benedict in the Saintly 16 (unless he’s up against Dorothy Day), but right now this grandmother votes for Anne.

  80. Juleigh's Gravatar Juleigh
    February 28, 2013 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

    It’s got to be Anne. I love that she was visited by an angel in response to earnest prayer. I love that she and her husband kept their end of the bargain. It’s an element of the nativity that is so often overlooked.

  81. Anna Kathleen's Gravatar Anna Kathleen
    February 28, 2013 - 12:45 pm | Permalink

    As a member of The New Benedictine Community, there is only one choice for me, our dear St. Benedict.

  82. Debby's Gravatar Debby
    February 28, 2013 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

    One showed us a way, the other is. Another difficult choice. To Grandmothers, Marys & Ann(e)s……. glorious names….
    Deborah Ann

  83. Lawrence's Gravatar Lawrence
    February 28, 2013 - 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Well, I certainly have to vote for Benedict. We’re going to his hometown in May — Norcia (formerly Nursia) in Umbria. But I have to say that Anne has a place in my heart. She was the patron of an Italian-American society in my neighborhood, and there was a big celebration on her feast day every year. I can still smell the pizza fritta covered with tomato sauce and grated cheese.

  84. Jay's Gravatar Jay
    February 28, 2013 - 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I really don’t care that some of our saints are figures of legend. They mean something whether they really existed, or whether their lives were really like the legend tells, or whether we’ve passed down the name accurately… Mary had a mother. And Rilke’s poems about Mary’s birth and presentation in the temple may have as much historical merit as the Protoevangelium of James. For the better part of two millenia we have considered Anne (whatever her real name may have been) worth some show of honor for her place in the human story of Jesus. I’ll willing vote for a “legend” if the match-up leads me in that direction.
    But in this case – I can’t resist the power of Benedict’s vast influence on the prayer and spiritual life of the Church. I have been deeply informed and shaped by the Rule and have a great sense of gratitude for St. Benedict. There goes my vote…

  85. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    February 28, 2013 - 1:34 pm | Permalink

    While Benedict’s work continues to live on and shape the church in monumental ways, I have to vote for the one whose “substance” sustains me in my journey, in many ways that I only learned today. I was baptised “Elizabeth Anne” at St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church in Salem, MA. My mother and her siblings were raised in a house across the street and next door to the associated convent. My parents were married there, and as both of the later became later became isolated from the church (my mother to return later), it was the church my brother and I worshipped at most often in our childhood. I had my only child at 38, after a very difficult pregnancy (diagnosis, “pregnancy at advanced age,

  86. MammaK1947's Gravatar MammaK1947
    February 28, 2013 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Imagine the conversation: “Mom I am pregnant, but I didn’t have sex, really I didn’t.” And this from a child dedicated to God. St Anne got my vote.

    • Katie's Gravatar Katie
      February 28, 2013 - 11:08 pm | Permalink

      Good point!

  87. John Clemens's Gravatar John Clemens
    February 28, 2013 - 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Ann is legend while the real Benedict still reaches out and touches me every time I hit a “thin place” in my life.

  88. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    February 28, 2013 - 1:51 pm | Permalink

    –thanks patriarchal Western medicine community), a beautiful, talented child who will do great things! but who has had some significant challenges thus far. It is not difficult to love her wholeheartedly, but when I am not sure that my husband and I are up to the challenge of raising such an extraordinary person, I try to remember that she is a gift from God, and that our job is to be worthy of the blessing, not to question how or when the blessing came—in other words, to keep our end of the deal with god. Isn’t that what living a good life is all about, keeping our end of the bargain in all our relationships?

    Thank you Anne for following and perpetuating the example.

  89. February 28, 2013 - 1:54 pm | Permalink

    As tired as I get of the overemphasis on Benedictine spirituality (let’s not forget Franciscan spirituality!), I have a deep love and respect for the actual Benedict himself. Also, the Benedictine brothers at Holy Cross Monastery in New York are the epitome of hospitality (and so is their wonderful chef). Not that a Franciscan cares about good food. Not much, anyway. His rule is beautiful in that balanced Benedictine way. And really, what can we say that Anne did? I’m voting for Benedict–and hoping some Franciscans make the bracket next year!

    • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
      February 28, 2013 - 2:21 pm | Permalink

      What did Anne do? Well, maybe not on a scale with male accomplishments of the day, but “peaceful and quiet life of a monk vs the multitasking life and responsibilities of a mother and grandmother?” as Deb said above.

  90. Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
    February 28, 2013 - 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I voted earlier from an unfamiliar computer and not even through my email, so my vote will register anonymously. Nevertheless, I have no desire to do as Anne Lamott describes in her immortal words, “make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat’s dish,” so I’m not voting twice. I’m thankful that my saint du jour appears to be a shoo-in.

  91. Ann Case's Gravatar Ann Case
    February 28, 2013 - 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Holy Trinity, Gainesville has an occasional “Ann(e) Party” and I send out thirty-five invitations at last counting. We all wear name tags that say, “Hello, my name is Ann/Anne. Any female gathering of our parish will invariably be half Anns. So – I must vote for St. Anne, the grandmother of Jesus!
    -Ann Case

  92. Susan Chacon's Gravatar Susan Chacon
    February 28, 2013 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Although the legend seems to me a case of humans trying to explain the unexplainable mystery of God’s action, the fact is that someone was indeed Mary’s mother. My vote goes to Granny.

  93. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    February 28, 2013 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

    As I vote Benedict is ahead, but this Granny is voting for Anne. Go Granny, Go!

  94. joan cesare's Gravatar joan cesare
    February 28, 2013 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Got up early to vote 1st thing this a.m. Went for Benedict. Am now home and have read a whole bunch of these wonderful and sometimes suitably snarky responses. OK, ok…NOW I’m confused. So…”Sorry Grandma Florence and Grandma Sophia if you’re miffed that I didn’t pick the grandmother here. (And no, you cannot have your recipes back!!)”

  95. February 28, 2013 - 3:05 pm | Permalink

    As a former Benedictine, I must vote for Ann! More so, one of my best friends took her name in Ann’s honor, Sr. Ann , OSH.

  96. Cyndi DeBock's Gravatar Cyndi DeBock
    February 28, 2013 - 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I was raised Roman Catholic but now am Episcopalian. My mother grew up in a different Roman Catholic church than I did because she was educated by Benedictines. Praying, working, and receiving all as Christ; that was the church I wished for but could not find in the Roman world. Benedict gets my vote today!

  97. Walt Liefeld's Gravatar Walt Liefeld
    February 28, 2013 - 3:53 pm | Permalink

    As a long time member of St. Anne’s Episcopal in Middletown, DE, founded in 1703 as part of Queen Anne’s SPG, I have to go with Anne.

    • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
      February 28, 2013 - 7:00 pm | Permalink

      And it was probably really (if subliminally) dedicated to Queen Anne too! Worse still there is a church in Eastern MD originally dedicated to St. Mary which became St. Mary-Anne’s after receiving gifts from Queen Anne’s bounty. I have yet to find a St. Mary-Anne in any calendar or martyrology, but she does have a church.

  98. Nellie's Grampa's Gravatar Nellie's Grampa
    February 28, 2013 - 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Why can’t we vote for Joachim? He’s Anne’s spouse, and the patron saint of grandfathers, of which I am one and proud of it!

    • Constance Santana's Gravatar Constance Santana
      February 28, 2013 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Vote for his wife then Grandpa! He would.

  99. Annette's Gravatar Annette
    February 28, 2013 - 4:38 pm | Permalink

    How can you possibly vote against Jesus’ “MeeMa”??? =)

  100. Terry And Susan's Gravatar Terry And Susan
    February 28, 2013 - 4:48 pm | Permalink

    There was an old woman named Ann,
    Who came to Yahweh with a plan-
    A baby He’d give her,
    Who’d later deliver
    The greatest grandson known to man!

  101. Ann Hunt's Gravatar Ann Hunt
    February 28, 2013 - 5:16 pm | Permalink

    How could you do this to me, pit Anne against my favorite monastic. I was not raised Catholic (or Episcopal) so knowledge of Anne escaped me until I was old enough to see her appear in works of art and then to do my own reading about her. I doubt that I was consciously named after her (note the common spelling of Ann) but I have felt her kinship. In fact like many I carry the name Mary Ann.

    I have in the years since had the ways of Benedict illumined for me by many women [OSB] who follow in the footsteps of Benedict. Again I say, how dare you… should they have come through opposite sides of the bracket I would have gladly voted both till they faced each other.

    • Ann Hunt's Gravatar Ann Hunt
      February 28, 2013 - 5:18 pm | Permalink

      p.s. I voted for Anne

  102. Cheribum's Gravatar Cheribum
    February 28, 2013 - 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Benedict gets the vote based on my love of Hollandaise Sauce. But tell me, if the ancient poem by Marcus was most likely written in a different language then how does it rhyme in English?

  103. Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
    February 28, 2013 - 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Sometimes the “e” in a name can be problematic–nope, not Bonnie.

  104. Ann Wetherell's Gravatar Ann Wetherell
    February 28, 2013 - 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Although I am named Ann (without the ‘e’, AKA the ‘bare Ann’), I had to go for Benedict– for the rule and the hospitality.

  105. February 28, 2013 - 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I know Anne may only be a myth however, after spending time in Cuba where she is beloved, I had to vote for her. If I knew how to add a picture to this comment box, I’d share beautiful folk images of Anne, holding Mary while rescuing Cuban fisherman during a storm made out of hubcaps and other reclaimed materials or the colorful mosaic by Jose Fuster.

  106. Gary L Lake Dillensnyder's Gravatar Gary L Lake Dillensnyder
    February 28, 2013 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

    not likely to vote for someone whom is only real in legend 😉

  107. Hope and Skye's Gravatar Hope and Skye
    February 28, 2013 - 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Hi, This is Hope. I think both people sound really interesting. I voted for Anne over Benedict because she seems more mysterious. There were three golden halos in the picture too.

  108. Anne's Gravatar Anne
    February 28, 2013 - 7:06 pm | Permalink

    I’d love to vote for my namesake (& I’d love to retire as well!) but Benedict’s “all are welcome” wins my vote!

  109. Johannas Jordan's Gravatar Johannas Jordan
    February 28, 2013 - 7:27 pm | Permalink

    As an associate of an Episcopal religious order that is based on Benedict’s rule, I must vote for the man who gave us all his rule.

  110. JMBRKE's Gravatar JMBRKE
    February 28, 2013 - 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Went to one year of HS in Washington DC with the Benedictines. Wasn’t the high spot of my teens, but that doesn’t detract from what Benedict left behind. Gotta go with Benny.

  111. Undine's Gravatar Undine
    February 28, 2013 - 7:44 pm | Permalink

    I found it easy to vote for Anne, because of what she represents for me: the women throughout history who lived & passed on the Faith, those whose names have been lost to the sands of time. Benedict may have had a great influence on Christian life, but I doubt it was nearly as great an influence as that of the parents & grandparents raising the next generations in the Faith. As for Anne being a “myth” (actually, the correct term is ‘legend’–there is a difference): Jesus had a grandmother. That is fact. And without knowing what her historic name was, we call her Anne or Hannah, just as we call the tellers & scribes of the Iliad ‘Homer’–that’s how we remember important people. & I believe that what Anne represents is as real & as important as what Benedict did, if not more so. Similarly, I fail to understand the logic behind insisting upon a literal & historic saint over a symbolic & legendary one–we are a community of Faith, after all, with a Holy library of texts of various genres– for myself, I find more personal meaning in the metaphoric & allegorical truths present in the myths told in Genesis than in the literal & historical legal documents of Leviticus! So I vote for Anne, for my mother & grandmothers, for those who brought Christ into my life, & for the women throughout history that brought us all to where we are now.

    • Johnny's Gravatar Johnny
      February 28, 2013 - 10:50 pm | Permalink

      Amen to that! Thank you for your witness Undine!

      • christine ruggieri's Gravatar christine ruggieri
        March 1, 2013 - 9:05 am | Permalink

        beautifully said. thank you.

  112. JaneC's Gravatar JaneC
    February 28, 2013 - 8:18 pm | Permalink

    I applaud Cheribum for voting for Benedict based on his/her love of Hollandaise Sauce. That’s clear thinking. My decision making today is more murky. Anne’s history is a bit squishy and I can’t understand giving away a longed for child at the age of three, never to see her again. Just how much influence could she have had on Mary in that limited time anyway? Martin Luther gave a shout out for Anne, quite literally, when he cried out “Help, St. Anne” after a close shave with a lightning bolt. So she gets credit for him leaving law school and taking a more spiritual path. However, he disliked monastic life, try as he might to fit in. Later he even suggested all monasteries be disbanded with properties given to charity. That’s not exactly a thumbs up for Benedict. In the end Luther’s influence on the vote was not significant and was made even less so since he lost to MLK the other day. This round goes to Benedict for his staightforward, thoughtful, and lasting Rule. Besides, Eggs Benedict is a wonderful dish. Does anyone have his original recipe?

  113. February 28, 2013 - 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Had to go with the founder of the “school of the Lord’s service.”

    Benedict has occupied a place in my consciousness since childhood. One of the framed pieces of art in our house was “Bene Dictum, Benedicte,” a purported chapter of Benedict’s Rule about dealing with a guest at the monastery that ends as follows:

    “If indeed, he find fault with anything, or expose it, reasonably, and with the humility of charity, the Abbot shall discuss it prudently, lest perchance God has sent him for this very thing. But, if he have been found gossipy and contumacious in the time of his sojourn as guest, not only ought he not to be joined to the body of the monastery, but also it shall be said to him, honestly, that he must depart. If he does not go, let two stout monks, in the name of God, explain the matter to him.”

    Don’t be contumacious. Vote for Benedict! Don’t make us call the stout monks.

  114. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    February 28, 2013 - 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Even though she spelled her name wrong, I still voted for Ann(with an E). Besides, I was named for her. So there!
    Ann(with no E)

  115. Gillian's Gravatar Gillian
    February 28, 2013 - 9:45 pm | Permalink

    As another person who grew up in St. Anne’s, Annapolis, MD and knows that Tiffany window*, I have to vote for Anne. W/o that parish my path would have been very different. And Anne has always been one of my favorite names–if I’d had a daughter that would be her name. And I’m affiliated w/ an order that’s more Ignatian than Benedictine. (However, all Anglicans are pretty Benedictine, just b/c of the traditions we come from and pray from.)

    *As much as I love St Anne’s Annapolis, I must say . . . I adore Tiffany and have looked at a lot of Tiffany windows in my life, and if it weren’t for the association of my home parish, I’d have to call that one the least attractive I’ve ever seen. Too dark. I like the other Tiffany in the building, the Resurrection Angel, much better, as well as the Heinigke
    & Bowen window from the same period, Christ Calming the Sea.

  116. Mary W's Gravatar Mary W
    February 28, 2013 - 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Man, I wish I had time to read all the comments today; they are so wonderful and inspiring no matter whose side they were on! My sometimes-too-rational mind had to go for Benedict, although that decision was also somewhat irrationally influenced by love of the Brother Cadfael mysteries!

  117. Robert's Gravatar Robert
    March 1, 2013 - 12:16 am | Permalink

    I was born and raised in The Bronx, I spent the first 10 years just 2 blocks from the historic St.Ann’s Church ….on St.Ann’s Avenue.
    While I lived in Italy, I visited Monte Cassino several times. We also visited an Benedictine Cloister in Manfredonia, where we we welcomed warmly by the Sisters and had supper with them. The sanctity and serenity of the place does not even begin to describe it. This was no small honor and a privilege few ever get. The father of Western Monasticism gets my vote. Ann was the grandmother of Jesus and mother of Mary, she can live without my vote and besides Jewish grandmothers get a lot of endearing attention.
    I voted for Benedict. Was quite a tough one maybe to reconcile I will have Eggs Benedict and Potatoes Anna for Sunday brunch.

  118. Melissa C-L+'s Gravatar Melissa C-L+
    March 1, 2013 - 12:30 am | Permalink

    Having numerous times experienced Benedictine hospitality at Mt Calvary community and many other places, and finding the words of Monastery of the Heart by Joan Chittester a real blessing this Lent, I had to go with Benedict. Receiving all as Christ is a big deal to me, as well as weaving prayer and work together. Benedict has helped form my life in a way few saints have.

  119. David+'s Gravatar David+
    March 1, 2013 - 12:45 am | Permalink

    My vote goes to Ann, she who bore the Mother of God.

  120. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    March 1, 2013 - 1:33 am | Permalink

    There is nothing to be said against St. Benedict.
    I am voting for St Anne because of a painting.
    The painting hung in an office building until a new tenant re-decorated and sold the wall art. My husband bought the painting for me. If I knew how to attach a photo to this post, I would. This modern, sort-of-impressionist, sort-of- minimalist painting shows two women looking at something off of and to the left of the canvas. We haven’t found a title on the painting, only the artist’s name. I call the painting “Mary and her Mother” (St. Anne) because I think the object the two women focus on is the Baby Jesus. Not everyone agrees with my analysis, but I find the painting enchanting. The women’s faces show a kind of wonder—a timid wonder–as they look at sweet baby Jesus.

  121. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    March 1, 2013 - 1:38 am | Permalink

    Somebody said, “Just because it’s myth doesn’t mean it isn’t true.”

  122. March 1, 2013 - 7:24 am | Permalink

    My picks are getting dominated by their opponents. Who says Lent Madness is not about self-flagellation?

  123. Molly R's Gravatar Molly R
    March 1, 2013 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    I’m sure that although the events recounted in Anne’s story are more myth than fact, they certainly hold theological truth. Regardless of her actual biography and name, Mary DID have a mother, and this vote helped me remember that. Whoever she was, she is blessed. But, I just can’t vote against Benedict, I can’t. Sorry Grandmother of God, blessed are you in the Kingdom, even isf you shall not pass in Lent Madness!

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