Well, we hope you enjoyed your first foray into the round of Saintly Kitsch. If you didn’t, that’s a shame since we’re all kitsch, all the time here at Lent Madness for the rest of the week.
Yesterday Frances Perkins continued her Cinderella-like run through the bracket defeating Jonathan Daniels in heavy voting to earn a spot in the Faithful Four where she’ll face either Hilda of Whitby or Harriet Tubman.
Today it’s another trailblazing woman facing off against another modern martyr. Florence Li Tim-Oi made it to the Elate Eight by stomping on Chad of Lichfield in the most lopsided match-up of Lent Madness 2013 and then sailing past Gregory the Great. Oscar Romero emerged victorious in his two previous battles soundly defeating Elizabeth Ann Seton and trouncing Lucy.
Along the way we heard from at least a few Kitsch Kranks — if we don’t, we start to get worried. Among the comments were
“The kitsch thing is distracting…you’re trying too hard to be funny.”
To which we respond: Kitsch, like Lent Madness, is serious business. Also, we’re never funny. We leave that to circus clowns and cats making funny faces on Facebook.
Yesterday’s match-up also had someone “quit” Lent Madness for the first time:
“I give up. Obviously PC has governed both the brackets and the voting. When Christ’s own apostles are beaten out by simply good people, the humor and fun goes out of the game. I’m glad, however, Jesus was not one of the ‘contestants.’ He would have lost to a feminist, ecologist, or chicken-raiser. It was fun for a while, but I quit.”
First of all, both members of the Supreme Executive Committee use Macs so the statement “Obviously PC has governed both the brackets and the voting” is impossible. Secondly, there are two untouchable in Lent Madness — you will never see Jesus or Mary in a bracket. Finally, we prefer our saints to be hell-raisers (like John Donne) not chicken-raisers (like whatever you’re referring to).
Finally, check out Maple Anglican’s Lent Madness video of the day as the Archbishops preview today’s match-up and answer viewer mail.
This much beloved daughter of Lent Madness was baptized as a student and took the name Florence, in honor of Florence Nightingale. She was the first woman ordained to the Anglican priesthood on January 25, 1944. This is her beautiful icon.
The Celebrity Bloggers prayerfully celebrate and thank Florence for her witness and courage as she paved the way for women’s ordination by her faithful ministry and witness. However, Florence has no saintly kitsch. None. Nada. And believe me, if the Celebrity Bloggers and the Supreme Executive Committee couldn’t find kitsch, it simply does not exist.
So, bewailing the lack of anything resembling kitsch or even things oddly funny (we found a calendar, but it was just, well, a calendar), the snark triumvirate of Fr. Tim, Megan, and Laurie combined their respective superpowers and give you the best we have: Famous Flos.
Florence, Italy. The birthplace of the Renaissance, the home to the Medici family (which weren’t all that honorable like our Florence, but they did support many starving artists), and the place where the monk who lambasted immorality and greed (especially in the church) Savonarola was killed and Machiavelli, the political thinker, wrote The Prince.
Florence, Kentucky. It has this awesome water tower.
Florence Jean Castleberry is noted for her servant ministry. Born in Cowtown, Texas, to Edsel and Velma, she dropped out of school at 16 and subsequently married three times before finding her true calling as a waitress at Mel’s Diner. She became a confident and spiritual director of many patrons and fellow waitresses alike, most notably Alice. Flo (as she was known) eventually returned to Cowtown and bought a roadside juke joint, naming it Flo’s Yellow Rose. Her main liturgical response to many men and women is, “Kiss my grits.” Flo’s alter-ego, Polly Holliday, is an active member of the Episcopal Church.
Florence Henderson is best known for her role as Mrs. Brady. She was married before and had three daughters, but her former husband was apparently abducted by aliens, as he was never mentioned in the series. Mrs. Brady married Mr. Brady and this group would somehow form a family. That’s the way we all became the Brady Bunch. The Brady Bunch, The Brady Bunch. That’s the way we became the Brady Bunch.
You’re singing the theme song now, aren’t you? It will be in your head all day long. You’re welcome.
Florence Nightingale Also a saint, this Florence was born in the afore-mentioned Florence, Italy in the early 19th century. She became a nurse and volunteered to serve as a nurse during the Crimean War. Her strict approach to cleanliness and sanitation drastically reduced the death toll in field hospitals, and her leadership and innovation elevated nursing into a profession. Nursing Florence, we might add, has kitsch, like this Andy Warhol-esque tote bag, because…why not?
Yes, yes, we KNOW about Florence + the Machine, about the Jefferson’s maid Florence, and a few others, but we do have day jobs. Sort of.
The RELICS: There are first-order relics. When Romero was killed, he was celebrating mass at the cancer hospice where he lived. His vestments have been preserved, and can be viewed in San Salvador, (or online, at the Romero Trust, here). His body, on the other hand….
So we know Romero was killed by a death squad member. But we don’t know who. And lo these thirty years later, we still don’t really know for sure. (Though, there be many theories). After his death, his funeral was held on Palm Sunday, March 30 (appropriate.) It was a huge event, with thousands flocking to the cathedral, and TV crews broadcasting it around the world. During the service, the army threw smoke grenades into the crowd, then opened fire on the mourners. Over 40 people were killed by the end. The service was never finished, and Romero ended up hastily buried under the cathedral. When Rome recognized that there was a case for canonization, Romero was re-buried in a nicer (read: an actual) grave. As the government feared, this site has become a place of pilgrimage for many, including Pope John Paul II, and President Obama.
Less Upsetting Kitsch:
The MOVIE: Romero, with Raul Julia, made in 1989. Gomez Adams, as you have long wished to see him! (The whole thing can be viewed in really bad quality on YouTube. Or, if you wish, it is also available on Amazon, as are all things, save salvation). It is very heartfelt, and quite moving.
Fortuitously, the casting of Raul Julia means that the saint Romero is name-checked in Mystery Science Theatre 3000: Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, a movie ALSO starring Raul Julia. Yes, even Tom Servo and Crow know and appreciate the good archbishop.
The MUSICAL! And not just any musical: a children’s musical. Here, at long last, is an activity for that bored Sunday School class! Awesomely, when you buy the rights, the music or the backing track, the proceeds all go to development projects in El Salvador.
There are SONGS! Namely, the Martyrs’ Project has a rather good song, with lyrics entirely taken from the Archbishop’s sermons and prayers. The video is here (scroll to the bottom), and is also comprised of footage of that time of war.
There are STATUES. Like at the National Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. While the Roman Catholics may be late to the game in even officially proclaiming Romero a martyr, we Episcopalians have no such compunction. Martyrs are martyrs, y’all.
In all seriousness, Romero’s face has become as recognizable in Latin America as Washington’s or Lincoln’s is to us here in the United States. He truly does live on in the Salvadoran people.
Florence Li Tim-Oi vs. Oscar Romero
- Oscar Romero (63%, 2,134 Votes)
- Florence Li Tim-Oi (37%, 1,256 Votes)
Total Voters: 3,389