Benedict of Nursia vs. Dorothy Day

Welcome, friends, to the last full week of Lent Madness. Today we get the final match-up of the Round of the Saintly Sixteen. Then Tuesday through Friday we’ll experience the four battles of the Elate Eight as we encounter the controversial mirth of saintly kitsch. More about that tomorrow.

But first it’s Benedict of Nursia tangling with Dorothy Day for a shot at Luke the Evangelist. Dorothy made it here by knocking off Edward Thomas Demby while Benedict routed Anne, Jesus’ grandma.

We hope everyone made it through another weekend of Lent Madness Withdrawal without having to enter online rehab. The SEC has counselors standing by if you need additional help. We did our part by offering you FREE Lent Madness ringtones for you smart phones. And we also offered some timely advice to Pope Francis from one Supreme (Executive Committee) to another Supreme (Pontiff). It was the least we could do. Really.

Finally, the mysterious Maple Anglican kicks off his daily videos today which will run throughout the duration of Lent Madness. At which point perhaps he will get a real job.

7_11_stbenedictBenedict of Nursia

Benedict of Nursia (c.480-c.550) is the subject of numerous legends in the second book of Gregory the Great’s Dialogues. One is about a youthful Benedict whose housekeeper borrowed a sieve that was then accidentally broken into two pieces. The housekeeper began to weep, so Benedict began to pray. When he finished, the sieve was found to be whole. After word of this miracle spread throughout the town, the sieve was hung on the door of the local church. Benedict was treated like a Lent Madness Celebrity Blogger. But he renounced such fame, fleeing both the town and his housekeeper. OK…that was totally weird. Let’s move on to quotes from his famous Rule for monastic life.

From Chapter 53 (“On the Reception of Guests”):

“Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ…

“In the salutation of all guests, whether arriving or departing, let all humility be shown. Let the head be bowed or the whole body prostrated on the ground in adoration of Christ, who indeed is received in their persons.

“After the guests have been received and taken to prayer, let the Superior or someone appointed by him sit with them. Let the divine law be read before the guest for his edification, and then let all kindness be shown him. The Superior shall break his fast for the sake of a guest, unless it happens to be a principal fast day which may not be violated. The brethren, however, shall observe the customary fasts. Let the Abbot give the guests water for their hands; and let both Abbot and community wash the feet of all guests.…

“In the reception of the poor and of pilgrims the greatest care and solicitude should be shown, because it is especially in them that Christ is received…”

From Chapter 49 (“On the Observance of Lent”):

“Although the life of a monk ought to have about it at all times the character of a Lenten observance, yet since few have the virtue for that, we therefore urge that during the actual days of Lent the brethren keep their lives most pure and at the same time wash away during these holy days all the negligences of other times.…

“During these days, therefore, let us increase somewhat the usual burden of our service, as by private prayers and by abstinence in food and drink. Thus everyone of his own will may offer God ‘with joy of the Holy Spirit’ (1 Thess. 1:6) something above the measure required of him. From his body, that is he may withhold some food, drink, sleep, talking and jesting; and with the joy of spiritual desire he may look forward to holy Easter.”

And isn’t that precisely what Lent Madness helps us all do? “Look forward to holy Easter with the joy of spiritual desire.”

 — Neil Alan Willard

dorothyday-middleagedDorothy Day

From the time of her conversion to Christian faith in the mid-1920s, Dorothy Day, an American laywoman who co-founded the Catholic Worker movement, served as an exemplar to all who would seek to live lives of faithfulness to God by serving those in need.

Prior to her conversion, Day was a wild bohemian girl who wrote for socialist publications and hob-nobbed with prominent radicals in Greenwich Village. However, as Day wrote in her autobiography,”The Long Loneliness,” the experience of the birth of her daughter Tamar magnified her love and devotion to God. “It was all very well to love God in His works, in the beauty of His creation, which was crowned for me by the birth of my child… The final object of this love and gratitude was God. No human creature could receive or contain so vast a floor of love and joy as I often felt after the birth of my child. With this came the need to worship, to adore.”

Before long Day translated that worship and adoration into the nitty-gritty of serving the needs of people living in poverty and protesting the injustices of society. The movement’s houses of hospitality and farm communes are based on her belief that such work is best done in community. She wrote, Men are beginning to realize that they are not individuals but persons in society, that man alone is weak and adrift, that he must seek strength in common action.

In her famous Union Square speech of November 1965, she said,

“I speak as one who is old, and whose whole lifetime has seen the cruelty and hysteria of war in this last half century. But who has also seen, praise God, the emerging nations of Africa and Asia, and Latin America, achieving in many instances their own freedom through non-violent struggles, side by side with violence. Our own country has through tens of thousand of the Negroe [sic] people, shown an example to the world of what a non-violent struggle can achieve. This very struggle, begun by students, by the young, by the seemingly helpless, have led the way in vision, in courage, even in a martyrdom, which has been shared by the little children, in the struggle for full freedom and for human dignity which means the right to health, education, and work which is a full development of man’s God-given talents.”

In 1976 Day asked Robert Ellsburg, a 20-year-old student on leave from Harvard who had come to New York to work with her, to be the managing editor of The Catholic Worker. At 77 she was in “retirement” and left the day-to-day operation of things to “the young people.” Ellsburg wrote, “My promotion had very little to do with any qualification for the job and everything to do with the fact that no one else was particularly interested. Dorothy had faith in people, and she was able to make them feel her faith as well, so they forgot their feelings of inadequacy and found themselves doing all kinds of things they never dreamed possible.”

At 19, while writing a garden-variety undergraduate paper on Day for a class on Christian political communities, I discovered this quote by Day that continues to transform the way I looked at prayer. She wrote that “prayer is outside of time.” As the only non-seminary trained Celebrity Blogger, I have no real interest in whether that notion has any theological chops. Frankly, I don’t care. What matters is me is that the idea that prayer is not constrained by the limitations of the “now” is a highly liberating concept that enlarges my view of God.

Historian Walter G. Moss, in his 2011 monograph, “The Wisdom of Dorothy Day,” concludes,

“More than three decades after her death, her legacy remains impressive. By 2011, according to the Catholic Worker website, ‘213 Catholic Worker communities remain committed to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, prayer, and hospitality for the homeless, exiled, hungry, and forsaken. Catholic Workers continue to protest injustice, war, racism, and violence of all forms.’ Her work and legacy continue to serve as a gentle reminder, to politicians and intellectuals among others, that what matters most is not what we say or how we label ourselves, but what we do. As psychologist Robert Sternberg wrote, ‘People are wise to the extent that they use their intelligence to seek a common good.’ By that measure Dorothy Day was wise indeed.”

However, Day herself said, “Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed so easily.”

Heidi Shott


Benedict of Nursia vs. Dorothy Day

  • Dorothy Day (59%, 2,213 Votes)
  • Benedict of Nursia (41%, 1,517 Votes)

Total Voters: 3,727

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87 Comments to "Benedict of Nursia vs. Dorothy Day"

  1. March 18, 2013 - 8:04 am | Permalink

    • Merrilee's Gravatar Merrilee
      March 18, 2013 - 9:37 am | Permalink

      Having received the generous hospitality of a Benedict order of nuns at Abbey of Regina Laudis, I must vote for them. Despite being cloistered, nuns get continuing education, including doctoral degrees in animal husbandry, the fate of bees, and general agriculture. Besides that they make a joyful noise unto the Lord, and allow all visitors to listen to the seven sung services.

    • Brian Ahlstrom's Gravatar Brian Ahlstrom
      March 18, 2013 - 11:34 am | Permalink

      Lent Madness voting seems to indicate favoritism (prejudice) in favor of people from times closer to our own. Maybe we can relate more easily to them, maybe we just can’t help thinking that our ways are the right ways, and pity our benighted ancestors.
      Anyone with a pocket computer and numerical literacy is welcome to challenge this comment, and drag me into the 21th century.

      • Skip's Gravatar Skip
        March 18, 2013 - 1:10 pm | Permalink

        I agree and it would appear to be the year of the woman.

        • Jim's Gravatar Jim
          March 18, 2013 - 2:31 pm | Permalink


          • Charles Rileigh's Gravatar Charles Rileigh
            March 18, 2013 - 5:52 pm | Permalink

            I think these polls that compare the ancient saints versus modern day ideas of saints is really silly. You should not make it a contest between the ancient and modern saints. This is trivializing the idea of sanctity, whether traditional or modern. Forget the voting; instead just compare and contrast, with God being the final arbiter.

    • March 18, 2013 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

      After meeting the incredibly profound levity among the Benedictine sister of Our Lady of Grace IN, I can do no other: St. Benedict it is!

    • David's Gravatar David
      March 19, 2013 - 12:57 am | Permalink

      I have now lost all faith in Lent Madness. I adore Dorothy Day. Yes, adobe. But she is no St. Benedict. In a similar manner, I find it impossible to believe John the Baptist and MLK are already out. There clearly is a tilt toward modern era individuals except St. Lucy who has a story that is, at best, an embellishment on the truth.
      This isn’t madness, it is just silly.

      • Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
        March 19, 2013 - 1:35 am | Permalink

        Silliness has much to recommend it. Silliness can save your life. I was taken aback by some of the comments, but then I read some comments that essentially said that the entire matter is meant as tongue-in-cheek.

        All (and I do mean ALL) of these contenders already truly have their golden halo, so there is nothing we can say or do that can in any way add or detract from their honorable estate.

        So when I comment that Dorothy Day “went over to the dark side,” it’s not to be taken seriously.

        I can’t help thinking of the wag who once commented, “Some people would rather be right than happy.” I was on the wrong side of that for some time, realized I needed to amend my ways, and it’s better, for sure. For me, anyway. Your mileage may vary.

  2. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 18, 2013 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Dorothy Day is the Benedict of now. In voting for her, I’m endorsing him (maybe not that prostrating yourself stuff) as well as her work and inspiration for others. How often do we find ourselves with opportunities like she describes – not that we’re so talented but that we seem to be the one who’s willing and able to act.

  3. March 18, 2013 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    With thanks to Benedict for his rule, I vote for Dorothy who lived it in our day.

  4. Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson's Gravatar Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson
    March 18, 2013 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    Of particular interest is that of using a non-seminary educated (I prefer not to use “trained” as animals are trained as opposed to people….or my favorite… Inspector Cloiseau’s “pipple”) writer for Day’s bio. She was simply more “real” in her approach to the everyday needs of the poor and marginalized. I did wonder about her notion of the “non-violent” struggle of the young civil rights students…I don’t think John Lewis would think so…but that’s semantics for ya! It’s a close race so far…Interesting…..

  5. Nancy Grear's Gravatar Nancy Grear
    March 18, 2013 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Today, I have to go with Benedict as I am off to a 3 day retreat at a monastery which follows his rule. It seemed like a sign.

  6. March 18, 2013 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Just about every expression of intentional community in our Western Church — all the way down to today — owes its shape in some way to Benedict and his rule. Certainly our own Anglican and Episcopal traditions are deeply influenced by the rhythms of the Benedictine way, the “school of the Lord’s service.” Here’s to welcoming guests as Christ!

  7. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    March 18, 2013 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    Nancy: “Dorothy Day is the Benedict of now.” Yes. Yes.

    Were it not for Benedict, there probably would be no Western Civilization, and Gandhi thought Western Civilization would be a good idea. Maybe Dorothy Day can show us how to develop such a civilization.

    • Anne of Memphis's Gravatar Anne of Memphis
      March 18, 2013 - 11:06 am | Permalink

      I agree, Scott! I cast my vote for Benedict of Nursia.

  8. Lynda Moses's Gravatar Lynda Moses
    March 18, 2013 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one. Dorothy Day sounds like she’s the modern day version of Benedict, but I’ve never encountered anyone from the groups she founded. Benedict, on the other hand, has a lot of communities, and I have experienced the their expressions of community. Rodger is right – our “a=Anglican and Episcopal tradions are deeply influenced by the rhythms of the Benedictine way.” So I will vote for Benedict.

  9. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 18, 2013 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Had to read the comments to even begin to decide. Thank you. Dorothy Day by a smidge; probably because we’ve been thinking so much about Catholics lately.

  10. Diana Wilcox's Gravatar Diana Wilcox
    March 18, 2013 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    This is the toughest one yet. I am going to have to think on it for awhile. Isn’t there a way to make it the “Novel Nine” or something? 😉

  11. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    March 18, 2013 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    Tough one; I agee with those who say Dorothy is a present-day Benedict….I voted for the original; the life I am able to live is due, in part, to his rule.

    I wondered about the Celebrity Bloggers and am pleased at least one is non-seminary trained.

  12. linda of new orleans's Gravatar linda of new orleans
    March 18, 2013 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    it depends sometimes on what the celebrity blogger writes-which is more interesting and gives more info. how about when we get to the final 4 let the same celebrity blogger blog about both “saints” on one day and then another for the next day etc. the blog about benedict made me sleepy, but maybe he wasn’t a rowdy guy. i voted for him b/c from him we get many of our angliican ways.

    • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
      March 18, 2013 - 11:15 am | Permalink

      Good idea about competing bios from the same blogger. Rule out the variable of writing style.

  13. March 18, 2013 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    I really do appreciate Dorothy Day and what she represents, but old Benedict was used to help shape so much of the church. I owe some of his spiritual successors big time: Weston Priory (, Misioneras Guadalupanas de Cristo Rey(, St. Vincent Archabbey ( and although not Benedictine, certainly helped by him, the Ecumenical Community of Taize’ ( This Lutheran is thankful for their help along my way. Today’s vote is for you. With you, I “look forward to holy Easter with the joy of spiritual desire.”

    • Ruth's Gravatar Ruth
      March 18, 2013 - 2:18 pm | Permalink

      The Monks of the Weston Priory (‘western prairie’, at our house) are Benedictine?! I have loved their music for many years, and even signed Ruth’s song to my husband at our wedding. And I must agree with commenters below, that while Day’s efforts would have pleased Benedict, he did them first and his followers far longer.

  14. March 18, 2013 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Heidi’s write up convinced me to give the Day to Dorothy. Looking forward to the rest of the week!!

  15. Allison Askins's Gravatar Allison Askins
    March 18, 2013 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    I am having a meeting at my house tonight for our parish’s Holy Week service leaders to go over logistics and am hoping I don’t have to prostrate myself when they arrive, though I will certainly greet them reverently with the task they are arriving for … so at that thought, I’m am leaning toward Benedict.

    And then I read this quote about Dorothy Day: “Dorothy had faith in people, and she was able to make them feel her faith as well, so they forgot their feelings of inadequacy and found themselves doing all kinds of things they never dreamed possible.”

    That’s quite a gift. I must meditate on this a bit more. Lent Madness is just getting more maddening! But I must tell you I had great fun Sunday morning explaining to the visiting boy who stopped at the bracket framed in our narthex and asked me what it was all about …

  16. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    March 18, 2013 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Voting for Benedict…as will I’m sure author Kathleen Norris.

  17. Lee's Gravatar Lee
    March 18, 2013 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    Ever since working at Martin House in Trenton, NJ, teaching ESL to Haitian immigrants in the mid 1980s, I have read the Catholic worker (Martin House simply gave me a subscription which I have never let lapse). Imagine a newspaper that still says a subscription is only 25 cents! (Of course I offer far more than that.) Their ethos of justice-, peace-making fills the pages of the small eight-page paper. The articles speak to their ministry to the homeless and disenfranchised both locally and far away. I love the Benedictine influence, indeed, but must vote for a modern day expression of the Benedictine rule of hospitality as demonstrated by Dorothy Day.

  18. Deacon Karen's Gravatar Deacon Karen
    March 18, 2013 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    I am hoping that by voting for a Roman Catholic woman I can voice my support for so many strong capable women of that denomination who have not been allowed to fulfill their potential in the Church.

  19. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    March 18, 2013 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    Daily videos? OMG OMG OMG!!!

    • Susan Chacon's Gravatar Susan Chacon
      March 18, 2013 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Amen! (I hope the clairvoyatron doesn’t blow a fuse.)

  20. Christine's Gravatar Christine
    March 18, 2013 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    thinking of Dorothy building on the foundation of Benedict on the foundation of Christ-must vote in gratitude for Benedict making the holy present in the mundane-enabled so many including Dorothy who followed.

  21. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 18, 2013 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    Happy to vote for Benedict. I know of at least one other “homely miracle” attributed to him: the retrieving of the lost scythe (called a “bill” here):

    Not at all flashy, to be sure; to me, they represent the miracles in and of everyday living….

  22. Lauren Stanley's Gravatar Lauren Stanley
    March 18, 2013 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    Dorothy Day lived the faith … she taught her faith to others … and she inspired thousands to do the same. Good enough for me!!

  23. Gwin Hanahan's Gravatar Gwin Hanahan
    March 18, 2013 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    Benedict’s Rule on the Reception of Guests asks that “the head be bowed in adoration of Christ” when receiving guests because Christ “indeed is received in their persons.”
    In the Baptismal Covenant, (BCP, 305), the people are asked “Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?”
    Not always an easy thing, seeking, adoring, and serving Christ in all persons, but I must try. I hope and pray that someone, upon seeing me, will seek, will adore, will serve Christ in me.
    May Christ in me speak to Christ in you!

  24. The Holy Fool's Gravatar The Holy Fool
    March 18, 2013 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    The key to today’s matchup…..treated like a Lent madness celebrity blogger…..The Holy Fool votes for Benedict…..

  25. Joy's Gravatar Joy
    March 18, 2013 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    Have received such blessings from the hospitality of the Benedictines and have been reminded by them in retreat that work, prayer, and hospitality are all forms of worship. Yet must vote for Dorothy this day. She challenges me to act, to serve Christ in the world, each day, every day. Dorothy Day this day for me.

  26. Brigid Courtney's Gravatar Brigid Courtney
    March 18, 2013 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    I voted for Dorothy Day. I think she is a a great modern example of living out a way of love.

  27. March 18, 2013 - 10:29 am | Permalink

    I know that it’s unseemly to “play the brackets, ” but in order to face the possible and very hard choice between Hilda of Whitby and Benedict of Nursia, I need Benedict to advance. No matter what happens, I have been blessed by the energy of the Celebrity Bloggers as well as the many commentators who remind me that God uses the least likely people to do God’s work. This thought is offered with the SEC very much in mind!

  28. Jon's Gravatar Jon
    March 18, 2013 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    For those open to tactical considerations, the next round will call for saintly kitsch. There is almost certainly plenty of Benedictine kitsch while there may not be any for Dorothy Day.

    • JaneC's Gravatar JaneC
      March 18, 2013 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Good point, Jon!

  29. Adam Trambley's Gravatar Adam Trambley
    March 18, 2013 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    Come on, there are so many better things to say about St. Benedict. Like when a monastery called him in to straighten them out, but then tried to poison him because they didn’t like what he was telling them to do. The chalice broke in his hands and the poison ran out. Or where he says in the Rule that monastics shouldn’t sleep with knives in their belts (and one can only wonder what monk required that rule) or that if the Abbot gives an impossible task to a monk, the monk may request him to reconsider, but, if the instruction remains, the monk needs to just go do it.

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      March 18, 2013 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget the raven and the bread:

      • Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
        March 18, 2013 - 11:46 pm | Permalink

        I was wondering when someone would bring up the raven bringing bread. I was just going to do some research to see if it was Benedict of Nursia, because I was sure it must have been another Benedict since it was never mentioned. Needless to say, I went with Benedict. He has been a favorite of mine for a long time, but it was the raven that originally caught my eye.

  30. Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
    March 18, 2013 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    “Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed so easily.” Taking her at her own word: Benedict today. And srsly, folks – our debt to B is incalculable.

    • Adam Trambley's Gravatar Adam Trambley
      March 18, 2013 - 11:08 am | Permalink

      Definitely — just think modern farming, any books from before 1000AD that didn’t come to us through Arabia, Western Monasticism, the formation of all the Catholic sisters that are voting for Dorothy Day, Canterbury Cathedral (build by a Benedictine Archbishop), etc…

  31. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 18, 2013 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    Two great examples of hospitality–both of them lived it as well as taught it. At the moment, Benedict is a little behind, so in honor of some dear friends who are lay associates of various Benedictine-inspired orders–as well as Br. Cadfael–I’ll go for Benedict.
    With a revential bow to Dorothy.

  32. Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
    March 18, 2013 - 11:30 am | Permalink

    I didn’t have to read the bios to know I would be voting for Dorothy Day (but I did read them both, just to give BoN a semblance of a shot). I discovered Dorothy Day as an impressionable twenty year-old, writing a research paper for Berea College’s religious studies course, “Radical Christianity”. Searching for a topic for a research paper, I was plowing through the library stacks and found Catholic Workers articles. Dorothy Day was in the midst of those articles and I was so taken by her dedication, then and now. Her autobiography is on my list of always-keep, as I let other books come and go. Benedict is a fine fellow and I’ve been blessed by the Benedictine way, but discovering Dorothy changed my life. I haven’t always been faithful to Dorothy, but she always has kept the faith.

  33. March 18, 2013 - 11:46 am | Permalink

    There are plenty of RC Benedictine Religious Orders, so I can’t see why people assume the Catholic bloc would necessarily go with Dorothy Day . . . this Episcopal Sister (yes we also have monks and nuns!) votes for Benedict.

  34. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    March 18, 2013 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    What Brian Ahlstrom said. Double that. Voted B.

  35. William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
    March 18, 2013 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

    It has been said that the BCP Daily Offices were Cranmer’s way of bringing the essentials of Benedictine spirituality to the whole Church. I have profited from this in my own life, and have seen the regular use of the offices in a parish church draw others in also. I am also a Benedictine Confrater, a former chaplain in a Benedictine Rule Convent (Anglican), and an occasional visitor to the Community of Regina Laudis (Thanks Merrilee for mentioning them), I simply have no choice but to vote for Benedict

  36. Martha's Gravatar Martha
    March 18, 2013 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Benedict’s continuing influence PLUS the generous spirit of his rule win the day for me. But I love DD too.

  37. William Cooper's Gravatar William Cooper
    March 18, 2013 - 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I cannot vote for anyone who apologized for Lenin and Mao with nonsense like, “Lenin…. Mao Tse-Tung…. These men were animated by the love of brother and this we must believe though their ends meant the seizure of power, and the building of mighty armies, the compulsion of concentration camps, the forced labor and torture and killing of tens of thousands, even millions.” (“The Incompatibility of Love and Violence”
    By Dorothy Day
    The Catholic Worker, May 1951, 1, 2. )

    Those are not the words of a saint. Lenin and Mao were not motivated by love, because love does not kill upwards of 100 million, not counting combat deaths.


    • Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
      March 19, 2013 - 12:02 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your comments. I could not possibly vote for Dorothy Day for just the reasons you noted. I find it incomprehensible that comments like these, which were never refuted by her during her lifetime, stand as stated. We may be playing here, but we are “learning” about lives of the saints. I think the standard for sainthood is still very high. Dorothy, great activist. Benedict though, is a tried and true SAINT.

  38. Susan Chacon's Gravatar Susan Chacon
    March 18, 2013 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I can’t resist a saint who will repair a broken kitchen gadget!

    Waiting impatiently for tomorrow. KITCH! KITCH! KITCH!

  39. dr.primrose's Gravatar dr.primrose
    March 18, 2013 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

    As an associate of an Episcopal Benedictine order, the Order of the Holy Cross, which has had a profound influence on my spiritual life, I have to go with Benedict.

  40. Rich's Gravatar Rich
    March 18, 2013 - 12:45 pm | Permalink

    As great the legacy of Dorothy day in the last 75 years, Benedict’s legacy has lasted 20 times that long. And having a Benedictine Nun as a spiritual director doesn’t hurt either. They honor Christ through the greatest humility and service, while understanding this broken world and the people in it.

    • Peg's Gravatar Peg
      March 18, 2013 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Excellent points! Benedict reaches around the world and down through the ages. Plus, Benedict was handy around the house. For me, he outshines the Day.

  41. March 18, 2013 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Benedict – his rule gives me that blessed and greatly needed touchstone and continued connection to the Trinity during the secular job week.

  42. Skip's Gravatar Skip
    March 18, 2013 - 1:13 pm | Permalink

    While Dorothy Day offers much how can we overlook the enormous contributions by Benedict? His writings and teachings are the basis of so much.

  43. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 18, 2013 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I must vote for Benedict as I am reminded so frequently of the truth in his writing about the difficult necessity of living in Christian community, of seeking the face of Christ in others, even those others who annoy me. In our modern (post-modern) world of living a life that is “spiritual but not religious” I find his challenge to remain in faithful community one worth taking on.

  44. Corey Sees's Gravatar Corey Sees
    March 18, 2013 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

    My favorite Dorothy Day quote: “I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.”

  45. Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
    March 18, 2013 - 1:33 pm | Permalink

    “The Holy Twins: Benedict and Scholastica”–lovely children’s book by Kathleen Norris and Tomie De Paola.

  46. March 18, 2013 - 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Sieves, scythes, cats, knives we may eventually get to Saint Ives.
    I’m an Anglican therefore one way or another I’m Benedictine.
    Prayer being outside of time in God’s eternal realm works for me,
    but Bringing Him the Sieves keeps ringing through my head.
    I’ll be found rejoicing in Benedict of Nursia today.

  47. Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
    March 18, 2013 - 4:00 pm | Permalink

    The guy is famous for telling guys how to beat themselves up.
    The gal started out in the light (TEC) but went over to the Dark Side.
    What to do? What to do?
    Because so many are determined to vote for the woman just because she’s a woman, should I therefore go for Ben?
    Between here and the vote button, I’ll make up my mind, such as it is.

  48. Blair Bickford's Gravatar Blair Bickford
    March 18, 2013 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Dorothy Day…however after rereading the comments..probably should have been Benedict…its Maddening!!

  49. Beth Ann's Gravatar Beth Ann
    March 18, 2013 - 4:07 pm | Permalink

    In my community, when I walk the streets, many of my fellow walkers have no place to return to at the end of their walk. If it is raining, they are wearing the ponchos given them by the Catholic Workers. They are very likely to have eaten a hot breakfast from the Catholic Worker truck. They may have slept in the emergency weather shelter, maintained by the Catholic Workers. So, while many of us are at home, warm and toasty, benefiting from our quiet practices of evening prayer and compline, the Catholic Workers are out serving Christ on the street.
    P.S. Another vote for Martha!

  50. Kate from St Mark's, Los Olivos,CA's Gravatar Kate from St Mark's, Los Olivos,CA
    March 18, 2013 - 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Love this ancient-modern comparison shopping. Have learnt a lot. Somehow it is the enduring example of Benedict and his Way that is so outstanding to all generations. He has my vote although I am thrilled to make the acquaintance
    of Dorothy .

  51. Marilyn Weir's Gravatar Marilyn Weir
    March 18, 2013 - 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I am impressed with a woman (Day) who can transform from a wild Bohemian to a selfless servant of Christ and give her life to that dedication.
    On the other hand my right eyebrow went up and I said “huh?” to myself when I read in Benedict of Nursia’s writing “… Let the divine law be read before the guest for his edification, and then let all kindness be shown him….” He must be edified before kindess is offered. Like I said, “Huh?”

    March 18, 2013 - 5:20 pm | Permalink

    I love Dorothy Day and am proud to say the local parish that supported her during her days as an Episcopalian (Church of Our Saviour, Chicago) is also the parish that sporsored me for priesthood. And I love the work that Catholic Worker movement has done and continues to do. But I am also eternally grateful for the ministry of Benedict in “sorting out” the irregularities of monasticism. We all still continue to benefit from his sanctity and sanity. Sign me up for Benedict.

  53. Cheribum's Gravatar Cheribum
    March 18, 2013 - 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Hollandaise carried Benny through the last round but not this time. I do not care for guests. But children change all of us in crazy ways. Vote to Doris. Plus, I loved her in Pillow Talk.

  54. JenniferThomasina's Gravatar JenniferThomasina
    March 18, 2013 - 5:36 pm | Permalink

    I do love ravens and bread, and work as prayer.
    I also love social justice and the miracle of childbirth and “prayer outside time.”
    I don’t like being accused of mindless gender-based voting.
    Hating is easy. Voting is hard.
    Still deciding.

  55. chaplain tom chapman's Gravatar chaplain tom chapman
    March 18, 2013 - 6:01 pm | Permalink


  56. Rev. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Rev. Lucy Porter
    March 18, 2013 - 6:01 pm | Permalink

    This is another tough choice. Sort of like choosing between Mary and Martha, the sisters of Bethany. I think I have to go with Benedict. I love the story of the sieve; it reminds me of the many small miracles for which I thank God daily.

  57. Molly R's Gravatar Molly R
    March 18, 2013 - 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Because I admire the way the Rule balances time, a great gift from God that goes unrecognized, Benedict. However, much blessings upon Dorothy Day. I have enjoyed learning about her and find her very inspirational.

  58. Molly R's Gravatar Molly R
    March 18, 2013 - 7:23 pm | Permalink

    “If this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so many enemies.” Teresa of Avila. Friends, although I voted for Benedict (apparently defying all odds as a modern woman) I feel a desire to remind all to take Lent Madness with a light hand, for our virtual community is made up of real people, therefore it is the beginning of a real community. I have to say that I have had a couple of defeating days that almost (I kid you not) had me wanting to boycott Lent Madness. Such was my investment in a few particular saints, that some rather unSaintly thoughts and feelings were bedeviling me. Then I remembered,”This is supposed to be fun and educational. The outcome in no way diminishes the sanctity of another saint. Only we can do that, both in our comments about the saints and in the way we treat one another.” C’mon, it’s not like the winner’s PR tour is really significant, like who wins the NCAA tournament (says the UNC alumna-but don’t let the SEC hear of it, or like the Inquisition, they will accuse me of heresy and burn me at the stake). See what I mean? A LIGHT hand. “God save us from gloomy saints!” Teresa of Avila (again).

    • Heather C's Gravatar Heather C
      March 18, 2013 - 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Molly. I needed this reminder today!

  59. Melissa C-L+'s Gravatar Melissa C-L+
    March 18, 2013 - 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Love learning more about our luminaries! I owe so much to Benedict but today I am going with Dorothy because she challenges me to live into my faith more fully.

  60. Robin's Gravatar Robin
    March 18, 2013 - 7:59 pm | Permalink

    There was a great interview with Dorothy Day’s granddaughter last Wednesday on the public radio program “The Story”:
    It starts a little over half way throught the program. The first half of the program is pretty interesting, too!

  61. Anne McCarthy's Gravatar Anne McCarthy
    March 18, 2013 - 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm, I’m a Benedictine, living in a Catholic Worker (of sorts) house. Dorothy was a Benedictine oblate and would vote for Benedict….So…I’ll vote for her.
    She enfleshed Benedict’s call to prayer, community, hospitality, living on the edge of church and society. Dorothy!

  62. Sudie B's Gravatar Sudie B
    March 18, 2013 - 10:54 pm | Permalink

    I admire Dorothy, and have loved learning more about her, but today, my vote goes to Benedict. His Rule has helped order my life and the lives of so many others…
    But–no matter how this vote turns out, I am happy. Today, a friend’s 17 year old deaf toy poodle found her way home after more than a week in the snow, and my Lent Madness mug arrived–in time for Holy Week.

  63. Nanalee Raphael's Gravatar Nanalee Raphael
    March 18, 2013 - 11:32 pm | Permalink

    With so many commenters saying they’ll vote for Benedict, how can Ms. Day be leading (as of 8:31 pm Mountain time) with 59% of the vote? Must be a Lenten Madness Miracle!

    • Peg's Gravatar Peg
      March 19, 2013 - 12:00 am | Permalink

      It’s more like the hope for a Lenten Madness miracle, as we who are voting Benedict today see the improbability he will advance, and write in hopes we can persuade the uncertain to cease the Day and “x” Benedict.

  64. JMBRKE's Gravatar JMBRKE
    March 19, 2013 - 12:40 am | Permalink

    I’ve had the Benedictines in high school. And I know there’s no way that Benedict can ever be short-changed for his contributions. But I’ve also seen today’s fringe people, and know that Dorothy’s contribution deserves acclaim as well. So my vote goes for Dorothy.

  65. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    March 19, 2013 - 2:03 am | Permalink

    Benedict organized a rule balancing worship of Christ and hospitality—including education– to wayfairers. Rather wonder-full.

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