For the Golden Halo: Frances Perkins vs. Luke the Evangelist


2012 Golden Halo winner Mary Magdalene prepares to welcome her successor.

Well, friends, we began this Lent Madness journey over five weeks ago on “Ash Thursday.” We started with 32 saints and have now whittled the field down to two: Frances Perkins and Luke the Evangelist.

While there's been lots of talk about modern saints vs. "bedrock" saints and the "fairness" of it all, in the end the Faithful Four was very well balanced. We had a 20th-century lay woman, a 1st-century evangelist, a 20th-century martyred Salvadoran bishop, and a 7th-century abbess. Wow!

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, we’ve met some truly remarkable holy people along the way. Perhaps you learned about folks you’d never heard of or maybe you renewed acquaintances with saints who have long offered inspiration. Of course the entire notion of placing saints in a bracket is absurd — each “contestant” has already earned a crown of righteousness in addition to a “golden halo.” But at the heart of Lent Madness is the abiding conviction that encountering those who have come before us in the faith enriches and enlivens our own walk with the risen Christ.

In the process of this whimsical Lenten devotion we've all made some new online friends, encountered a community of believers who take their faith but not themselves too seriously, learned some things, were inspired by saintly witnesses, and had a lot fun along the way.

Of course we literally couldn’t have done this without our stellar “Celebrity Bloggers” to whom we offer sincere gratitude. Laurie Brock, Megan Castellan, Penny Nash, Heidi Shott, David Sibley, Laura Toepfer, Neil Alan Willard, Chris Yaw. The unsung hero of this whole operation is former Celebrity Blogger and current Bracket Czar Adam Thomas. And we can't forget the ever mysterious Maple Anglican who brought us the inimitable shenanigans of Archbishops Thomas and John (watch today's video highlighting our final match-up here). You all rock!

Finally, thanks to all of you who participated by voting, commenting, drinking coffee out of Lent Madness mugs, filling in brackets, talking about saints at coffee hour, and allowing us to play a small role in your Lenten journey. We’ve loved having each one of you along for the “madness” and on behalf of the Supreme Executive Committee we wish you a blessed Holy Week and a joyous Easter.

Oh, wait, there’s one more thing before we set our face toward the Triduum. Cast your vote for either Frances Perkins or Luke the Evangelist — the 2013 Golden Halo hangs in the balance! The polls will be open for 24 hours and the winner will be announced at 8:00 am Eastern time on Maundy Thursday.

Frances Perkins


"The technique of administration in a democracy is not easy…The statute law and the natural law, the law of God, must be somehow or other blended together, and fairness and decency and patience must prevail."
Frances Perkins, 1939

Luke the Evangelist


"Do not be afraid; for see -- I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people."
Luke 2:10


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207 comments on “For the Golden Halo: Frances Perkins vs. Luke the Evangelist”

    1. How is it possible that voters would select Perkins over St. Luke. Where would we be without Luke? Where were we be without his gospel and the Acts of the Apostles?

      1. It's a mystery to me too why anyone would vote for Frances who strikes me as a socialist in her beliefs. Luke's focus was on Christ, Frances' focus in my opinion is on being "fair".
        It has been nice learning about the Saints, a blessed Easter to all as we focus on Christ and His sacrifice for us.

    2. Thank you, Maple Anglican (and thanks to the archbishops) for your amazing contribution to Lent Madness.

  1. Thanks for the maddest of Lent Madnesses. It's been a slice. Can't wait for next year. Blessed Holy Week to you, the SEC, and all the Celebrity Bloggers! (Oh, and Maple Anglican, too, eh...)

  2. Every person who endeavors to follow Christ must interpret His message for the time in which that person lives. Go Frances Perkins!

  3. I have truly enjoyed Lent Madness as it has allowed some joy in Lent plus has allowed me to learn of the many saints of the church. Here we are at the end and until this year I did not even know that Frances Perkins was a saint!

  4. '@ Marj: That's true. But without Luke and the other New Testament writers, how would Frances Perkins know what Christ's message is?

    1. We are the hands and feet of Christ. Luke may have written the story, but Frances followed up.

  5. This has been a wonderful journey and I thank you for the opportunity to learn about some incredibly powerful and devoted people. I like the fact that you are acknowledging the modern day saintly along with the ancient and classic saints. It is difficult to think about now, but some 400-500 years from now these modern saints will still be in the haloed halls of the great and people will still be in awe of their holy works.

  6. We could use any number of reasons to pick the Golden Halo winner. But whatever they are, they all come down to the same thing...Amazing people who followed their faith no matter what. Each and every one was a great example to us all and gave us something important. Thank you SEC and all the fab-o bloggers for another great Lent Madness! I learn more and more each year. (Go FP!)

  7. Secretary Perkins showed us how to be Christians in the twentieth century. It is up to us now.
    Vote for Perkins!

  8. I'm already eagerly looking forward to next year's Lenten Madness. Thanks for putting so much fun in the Faith.

  9. With thanks to the Celebrity bloggers for wonderful writing, to Maple Anglican for bringing us The Archbishops (and the skinny on chocolate), and to the SEC for making it all happen, I'm casting my final vote for Luke who wrote, lived, and spread the Gospel.

  10. This my first year with Lent Madness and like so many others, I will look forward to Lent Madness 2014. Thank you for bringing a bit of fun during such a very serious and important time in our Christian year. I have learned a lot about a lot of well deserving people, but my vote will got once again to Frances Perkins.

    1. Although this is my first Lenten season to follow Lent Maddness, it won't be my last.I look forward to learning much more about lots of amazing individuals who have followed the path our Christ laid out for us.

  11. A blessed Triduum to the SEC, bloggers, commenters, and anonymous voters in the 2013 LM. It's been a bizarre ride - local people whose history I grew up with, one whose family I knew, and let's not forget the friends and comrades of the parents - those who were always held up as an example of what can be done by one. In the end, the results of LM matter not. The point is, as always, what have we learned?

  12. I had to vote for Frances Perkins. Seeing how you can live out a Christian life in the 20th Century is inspiring, especially for the 21st Century. Thank you to all, I'm not sure what I will do on Friday at 8am....

  13. All of this year's saints have inspired me and made me think about my faith and how to live it. I'm voting Frances all the way to the golden halo.

  14. My humble theory is that the closer we are in time to the person the more accurate the information. The great company of saints is so encrusted with mythology and legend that I wonder if we have any sense of the person. We do know the power of what "they" wrote or the stories of what "they" did. Also the pull as a MHC graduate makes the choice easier.

  15. It's a win-win today. Voting for Luke because....Luke. But if it's FP, great new Golden Halo kitsch. Really, the Faithful Four turned out splendidly. And FWIW I picked the both brackets on the right exactly* (with Luke winning it all today.)
    *Well, I had Martin of Tours over Greg the Great, but everyone else was spot on.
    A blessed Triduum to all!

  16. What is a tragedy? By Ancient Greek theatrical standards, a tragedy is a story whose ending is obvious, a plot which observers are powerless to alter. Luke is the obvious choice, a chicken-and-egg-argument saint who will take the Golden Halo and, tra-la, all shall go as expected.

    What is a comedy? By the same standards, a comedy is an upset, a wild veering plot with an utterly unexpected conclusion. Easter is a comedy, divine as they come. A comedy shakes us up, awakens us, opens us to new possibilities. It lights the mind and the spirit up and sends neural pulses firing in all directions as we discover wider patterns of connection. Joy feeds the soul. Laughter--in the service of wisdom and compassion--heals us all.

    I vote for Frances Perkins. Because Lent Madness should make us laugh. Lent madness--and Easter madness--should dazzle us with surprises and jostle our frozen-chosen minds out of their self-righteous winter ruts. I vote for Frances Perkins because, unlike Luke, she gets so little glory, and because she white-knuckled it for years for the sake of all the forgotten voices in the shivering, anxious crowds. I vote for Frances Perkins because--despite her association with that expedient, motherly tricorn hat--I think she'd look fantastic on a mug, wearing a halo.

    1. Wow! Your first two paragraphs are the best Easter sermon I have ever "heard." Very well put. And brief. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

      1. Very well said, all around! How to decide . . .
        I cast my vote for Luke --- think of the divine upset [comedy!] of the Christmas story Luke passes to us. God comes to earth as a powerless human baby, laid in a feeding trough! Angels announce the crazy, glorious news to the lowliest, least educated of society-- some shepherds. I am so thankful for Luke's account, which no one else recorded. If Frances wins I will rejoice as well. Thanks to all for the joyous lenten madness!

    2. agreed--a great easter sermon! so great, in fact, that I might just borrow this idea for the easter sermon I still need to write. 🙂

      1. Apologies for that electronic trip.
        My comment was that I hope you are in a pulpit. Speak with that much energy and your own golden halo shines out.

    3. thank you for these words to inspire my Easter sermon as well. Holy Week as the tragedy and Easter as the great divine comedy! Thanks be to God the inevitable will never be inevitble again!
      Following Luke this year and his close relationship with the prophets makes me not be able to vote for anyone but him. My apologies to Frances who is truly a saint and a new hero in my life!

    4. Well said, Mainecelt! I agree. Luke has been honored for centuries and will continue to be (deservedly). The work Frances Perkins did is still under fire today--she needs the Golden Halo more! The way she was able to accomplish God's work within the framework of our flawed human system of government was miraculous!

    5. Ditto all your comments, Mainecelt..hope you are in a teaching/pulpit position somewhere.

    6. Spot on, Maincelt! I agree that you're a powerful preacher of the point/joy/mystery of Easter--how can we get copies of all the sermons that reference your words???!!! So, also because she's the underdog, I'm voting for Frances, even though Luke is my favorite gospeller (for so many reasons) and I love Acts as a "novel" with a cliffhanger ending. Thanks, SEC and CB's (especially my friends Neil, Megan, and Penny), for another great Lent!

      1. How can anyone refer to FP as the underdog when she clearly has the vote of so many Dept of Labor and state of Maine folks on her side? Anyone who looks at the count on days FP was in the running can seethe impact of visitor votes. FP's halo will definitely be a direct result of her faction's promotion and in no way will tarnish the shine on Luke's well worn one. Certainly FP's win will bring national attention to LM.

        Thanks for all your combined efforts in bringing us Lenten Madness everyone. I am still having trouble reconciling the loss of so many of my personal saints, Martin Luther King, Oscar Romero, Jonathan Daniels, Absalom Jones, Harriet Tubman...but thank you all for bringing up their lives and actions for our consideration.
        See you next year....

  17. The Archbishops make a telling point about numbers (not to mention chocolate in the afterlife). But I'm still voting and hoping for the halo to go to Luke. Any one of the Faithful Four would wear it well, but Luke touched and touches the most lives in the most places. He touches my spirit. Lent Madness once again expanded my world, challenged my beliefs, and deepened my faith. I will try to let go of worries about the final vote. If visitors skew the numbers, well, it's nice that they at least came in and found out what a cool church this can be, and what truly beautiful people abide here. Thanks, commenters and chicken-raisers. Thanks, Celebrity Bloggers. Thanks, Maple Anglican. Thanks, SEC. Bless you each and all.

  18. "... encountering those who have come before us in the faith enriches and enlivens our own walk with the risen Christ." For me, that is Luke, and so I vote for him, although I have the greatest admiration for Frances Perkins.

    Thank you, SEC, for Lent Madness! And thanks to all who brought it about. It's wonderful! Keep up the Good Work--who knows, some day in the far distant future you may look down from heaven and see yourselves in a bracket!

  19. Thanks for Lent Madness, it was great. Fun and educational. Looking forward alaready to next year's Lent Madness!

  20. As a proud Christian and proud MHC alumna, I am thrilled to see Ms. Perkins in the final round, against so worthy a brother as Luke. Thank you so much for this year's lenten madness. It has been instructional and enjoyable, and way better than my seminary's daily devotionals leading to easter. 😉