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. Thanks SEC, thanks Maple Anglican, thanks CBs, and thanks Archbishops for the best commentary around. It's been a fun ride! LMW will be a problem I fear.

  2. Thanks for another glorious, thought provoking, laughter filled Lent. It has truly flown by.

  3. The Frances Perkins juggernaut has been nothing short of astounding, and her impact on American society profound. However, where would Christianity be without Luke's gospel? No Magnificat, no baby in the manger, no Prodigal Son, no Good Samaritan, no 'Today you will be with me in paradise,' no Road to Emmaus, no 'Good News for all the people.' Given all that, I had to cast my final vote for Luke.

  4. I tried to introduce Lent Madness at my parish last year. Alas, worthless priest that I am...I failed miserably. I tried again this year, and while I am still a worthless priest...this year...I cast all worry to the wind and preached, talked, and breathed LENT MADNESS all through Lent. There are poster sized brackets in the parish hall, and paper sized around the offices. St. Mary's did Lent Madness. Next Jerusalem! Thanks to all of you for this fine madness. It has been a great ride.

  5. Well.......just imagine the withdrawal coming our way now. Only a cuppa Joe in my 2012 GOLDEN HALO/Mary Mags mug will begin a valiant attempt at calming my nerves as I steel myself for no more reading and casting my vote and getting shocked outa my gourd at picking the lesser one----theoretically.....again. Now...find a longer run-on sentence than that! LUKE! LUKE! LUKE! all the way to the 2013 GOLDEN HALO!!!!! Love you Frances at the end of every month when that SS deposit makes it into my checking account but the 24/7 deposit of the Holy Gospel according to Luke has been my salvation that has allowed me to live to see the end of the month and get my retirement check! Thanks guys for a fantanstic contest and I still think y'all are the MAPLE ANGLICAN voices in a feeble, yet noble, attempt at Canadian dialect(?)...whatever. Hi! Ms. Papadop-adop-a-be-bop-a-loo-la! at FORWARD MOVEMENT! and did you ever get a well-deserved raise? (Hint-hint.Fr. Gunn)

  6. I was going to vote for Luke. Then I read the wonderful sermon about Easter as a comedy and I had to vote for Francis. Thank you to all who contributed to my Lenten devotion of Lent Madness!

  7. The Holy Fool is picking DUKE to win it all. I'm sorry wrong Madness......LUKE to win it all.

  8. If Frances wins, some will gnash their teeth at the "political correctness." If Luke wins, some will likely bristle at the patriarchal or mythical aspects of his victory. I'll be happy either way. Both remind us of our own call to be saints in our context. Some may never know our doubts and darkness, seeing only our public "mythic" face. Some may disagree with our attempts to love or even aspects of our faith and theology. Yet I firmly believe that we are saints nonetheless, and God will make our lives speak to his glory. Thanks to the SEC, the writers, and all those who took the risk to share comments - those serious or those that made me laugh. Lent Madness was a wonderful ride and true devotional for me. "I thank my God every time I remember you" (Phil. 1:3). See you next year!

      1. Thank you, Lou, for your gracious and thoughtful words. They express my thinking too. I voted for Luke.

      2. I KNOW, right? Luther indeed! Such a scrapper, yet out in only one round?! Man....Talk about "putting the 'mad' in Madness"! Ironically I think it was partly Luther's anger issues that sunk him here, when his life was really dedicated to opening up the insight of God's grace and freeing people from 'angry God' theology.

        Ah well. It's Madness. Lots else to celebrate, so I shall neither gnash nor bristle at the ultimate result. I do love the glorious variety in the Final Four. Thanks to bloggers and fellow posters if anyone asks "Why ____?" of the result I am well-equipped to answer based on the aspects of saintliness they each particularly embody.
        Thanks be to God! : )

  9. In all too many elections, I have been reduced to voting for the lesser of two evils. And it is reducing. We are less when we do that. What I love about Lent Madness is that we get to vote for the perceived greater of two goods. We are enlarged in the process. Thank you, LM folks and all of you in the outfield bleachers/comment section.

  10. I am for Luke all the way!!! With out him we would not know the Lord as well as we do. God Bless Scott, Tim, the Archbishops, the Celebrity Bloggers, and last but not least Maple Anglican for Lentmadness!

  11. Thanks for giving me a new twist on Lent. I really enjoyed learning about the 32 saints competing for the Golden Halo. Vote Luke!

  12. For all the reasons I wrote about before, I vote for Luke. Thanks to our beloved Prior of the OSL Cyber-Chapter for introducing me to Lenten Madness. I have enjoyed it so much, learned so much, and value all of you and your comments so much! Please include this United Methodist elder in your Madness next year, and any other humorous and/or educational endeavors you may conceive in the meantime.
    Lucy H. Porter, OSL

  13. I shall be so lost on Friday ... I now know about Spy Wednesday and so many wonderful people I did not know about before, including Frances, who has my vote for living "the cruciform life," and helping our nation recognize its compassionate potential, its ability to share its abundance.
    Thank you to all who put their time and effort into Lent Madness 2013. I'm hooked and can't wait for next Lent -- imagine that?
    Is Advent Madness a possibility?

  14. Come to think of it, all the "official" saints are depicted with a gold nimbus in religious art. I love Luke's Gospel, but my vote goes to Frances.

    Space does not permit, but I think a rousing chorus of "For All the Saints" is in order here. All together now...

    1. "...who from their labours rest..." (from Alberta, Canada - hey there, Maple A!)

      [not to be construed as an endorsement of Frances Perkins, btw. I'm voting Luke]

  15. Have loved participating in Lent Madness and all that I have learned. Now, looking for ways to introduce this to my parish next year. All suggestions welcomed!
    I voted for Luke as he introduced me --and continues to teach me about the Loving, Compassionate Christ.

  16. Blessed Triduum and Easter, Friends. Can't wait for next year. As SEC stated above, but I'll use my words - how blessed are we that we can be light-hearted and take ourselves not too, but our faith quite seriously. Cheering Luke on!

  17. With many thanks for once again expanding our horizons and enlivening our mornings...

    Till next year!

  18. My vote for The Golden Halo is St. Luke. What a wonderful season this has been! This is my first year with Lent Madness, and I'm hooked. It's incredible how much I've learned and grown in my Lenten journey through this funny, clever experience. Haven't heard "Spy Wednesday" since my childhood. Love it! I feel I know the SEC, bloggers and commenters and of course, Archbishops Thomas and John, and anticipate Lent Madness 2014. Thank you for the fun, and a Blessed Triduum to all!

  19. Thanks SEC for another successful round of Lent Madness. And to paraphrase what others have said, this proves (as though most who hang out with other Lent Madness types didn't already know) learning can be fun and faith deepened simultaneously. One of my picks, Oscar Romero, did make it to the Faithful Four. The other, Janani Luwuum, sadly was elimnated in the round of 32. As a Jesus kitsch lover (Ask Me Jesus, anyone? Refrigerator Magnet Jesus? Flipflops with Jesus' face imprinted on the soles to leave tracks in the sand, anyone?) I was inspired by the level of kitsch the Celebrity Bloggers were able to uncover. I look forward to adding the next mug in the series to proudly display next to Mary Magdelene who did coffee service at the office as a Lenten practice (hers? mine? who knows....). Blessing at the Triduum and Happy Easter to all --

    1. Correction! Janani was eliminated during the Saintly Sixteen. Oh, and I voted for Frances who I am sure was a real person. And an inspiration.

  20. The Frances Perkins quote is made for today's DOMA case before the Supreme Court -- "administration in a democracy is not easy". While I am a Luke devotee, I give my vote to her.

    Unlike in the DOMA case, I will rejoice when either side wins!

  21. After much gnashing of teeth (my dentist will not be pleased), I'm voting for Frances. The aggravating pair-ups in this competition have forced me to think hard about my attraction to biblical, celtic, and medieval saints — any saint, in fact, from some misty past. So my vote is as much as anything a hat's off to Lent Madness for prodding me to see the 20th century (and even this 21st) as fertile soil for the saints of God. I might rather it had been Oscar Romero in this final matchup, but Frances would look so cute in that little halo.

  22. Can't believe it's almost over! This was a wonderful Lenten activity. Thanks to all who made it so. Voting for Frances today. Luke's already got his halo and we need all the modern day examples we can get to remind us - "the saints of God are just folk like me, and I mean to be one too." Blessed Triduum and joyous Easter to all!

  23. I am so grateful for this Lenten observation. I had expected it to be fun and informative. I am delighted to have experienced as well a sense of community developed among the SEC, the CB's, the commenters, Maple Anglican and the archbishops. May all here be blessed in the Triduum and may all have a joy-filled Easter. During the march toward the final four, I had voted for each of the four saints who made it to this week. Today I consider that I meet with a Bible study that has been reading and reflecting upon the Acts of the Apostles. From that experience, I perceive Luke as one who would have been an unlikely follower of Jesus of Nazareth. But for the Spirit of Christ's gracious power to prompt Saul’s conversion . . . But for Paul’s response to divine call to proclaim Good News among the gentiles, the Greeks, and the Romans . . . But for Luke, apparently through mentor Paul, apparently meeting first degree witnesses and perceiving their stories about Jesus through a different lens . . . But for a physician’s appreciation for the power of healing . . . And so, for all of us unlikely followers and pilgrims, who are immensely influenced by Luke’s witness to Jesus the Christ, I vote for Luke. I will, nonetheless, be elated should Frances win the coveted Golden Halo, for her story provides us an opportunity to witness to the power of Christ embodied in a lay person of deep devotion to Jesus’s commandment to love our neighbors, identified in Luke’s account as the marginalized “other” whom Pharisee and Levite would not touch.

  24. No one can enhance Luke's position, certainly not us and our Madness, so my vote goes to Frances Perkins because she became more than women were expected to be... bravely and with a heart attuned to God's call...and played the game of power and influence successfully. Thank you for a delightful journey through Lent.

  25. I think Luke would vote for Frances, because she took what she learned, in great part from him, and put it into practice. And that, I'm confident, would make Luke smile. So my vote goes for the woman who worked against all odds to change the world, to make it a better place, based on what her faith told her, much of which she learned from blessed Luke. Go Frances!!!!

  26. Thank you TEC and celebrity bloggers, madness has been a larger part of my lenten devotions for many years now, and it's new and exciting every year. I raise my mug in salute to you all! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  27. Just cast my vote -All good things must come to an end –this has been an awesome Lent madness –thank you!