Jonathan Daniels vs. Frances Perkins

And then there were eight. Through your voting and politicking and advocating and agonizing, we have collectively whittled down the field of 32 saints to a mere eight as we continue our march to the 2013 Golden Halo. Welcome to the Round of the Elate Eight, aka the Round of Saintly Kitsch.

Here are the match-ups for the rest of the week: today it's modern Civil Rights martyr Jonathan Daniels vs. the 2013 Lent Madness Cinderella, Frances Perkins. Wednesday: Florence Li Tim-Oi vs. Oscar Romero. Thursday: Harriet Tubman vs. Hilda of Whitby. Friday: Luke the Evangelist vs. Dorothy Day (who defeated Benedict yesterday). Good luck with that. With all of these match-ups, if you need a refresher on these saints beyond the kitsch, simply click on the Bracket 2013 link and scroll down -- you'll find hyperlinks to all of the previous battles listed by round.

Jonathan made it to this point by defeating Macrina the Younger and Janani Luwum while Frances earned her spot in the Elate Eight by overcoming Damien of Molokai and Martin Luther King, Jr. One intriguing thing about this particular match-up is that both have New England roots and Massachusetts connections. Daniels hails from Keene, New Hampshire, while Perkins is from Newcastle, Maine. Daniels attended Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge while Perkins is an alum of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley. However, as far as Tim knows, neither one ever stepped foot in Hingham.

Last year the Supreme Executive Committee responded to those who didn't appreciate our kitsch in a post titled Kitsch Cranks. Sure, it's a bit snarky but it's a pretty good statement about where we stand on the issue. If there's anything we'd do differently, it would be to title it "Kitsch Kranks" because the "K's" form a better visual. Alas.

And finally, if you missed yesterday's Monday Madness video, Tim and Scott talk kitsch and even suffer through a certain holy "interruption." Oh, and like us on Facebook -- the Surgeon General insists it's good for your mental health.

Jonathan Daniels


From a series of exhaustive searches through the seedy underbelly of the internet that is Etsy and Pinterest, one might conclude that the Lent Madness kitsch cause for Jonathan Daniels is lost. In fact, Zazzle, that monumental edifice to internet kitsch, the site which is dedicated to the proposition that your cat, Mr. Biggles, is not only worthy of her own iPhone case – but that other people want to buy it – returns no results!

One might begin to think hope is lost. But lo, out of darkness, a light breaks from Jonathan Daniels Elementarydaniels wall art School in Keene, NH. On the walls of the school hangs a very brightly colored mosaic of the school’s namesake, no doubt lovingly crafted by its students. (According to a story from the Keene Sentinel – unfortunately located behind an internet paywall - one student at the school has proposed the building of a museum dedicated to Daniels – a worthy cause indeed, and worth the Lent Madness public rallying around, if it is indeed still in the works.)

il_fullxfull.195528300While there isn’t much kitsch for Daniels personally, various aspects of his life are very well represented in the kitsch-o-verse. In what is either a deep act of homage or a statement of extreme passive-aggressive feelings towards the Granite State, one may buy this lovely cutting board of Daniels’ home state.

MoosePosterIf framed NH-themed art is more of your thing, I suggest this stunning image, entitled “Moose in the Moonlight.” For the record, we have no idea whether Daniels had a pet moose as a child. (You can also find various Moose-Themed Coffee Mugs, but we wouldn’t dare undercut mug sales over at the Lent Madness “Lentorium.”)

College kitsch is, of course, relatively easy to procure. Daniels’ alma mater, the Virginia Military Institute, offers this one-VMIKeychainof-a-kind “We’re Number One” flashlight keychain. When looking at a “left-handed” version of the keychain, we note it looks much like Daniels’ home state of New Hampshire – no doubt in homage to one of VMI’s most distinguished graduates.

Perhaps one of the most common threads in New Hampshire kitsch – from the state’s license plates, to trucker hats with bears, and everything in between – is a devotion to the state’s motto: “Live Free or Die.” That seems to be the right note on which to end: Jonathan Daniels ultimately gave his life in the service of God, and of that ideal – that all of God’s children should enjoy equal rights and freedoms given to them for the service and glory of Jesus Christ.

-- David Sibley


Frances Perkins

For a Celebrity Blogger,  the Elate Eight round is fraught with fear. What if there IS NO SAINTLY KITSCH? After all, Frances Perkins was a serious woman who took her faith and her public service seriously.

Q: How many kitschy items could there possibly be for Secretary Perkins?

A: A fair few.colorme-perkins-page-001

First, to help children learn about heroes of history, there is the “Color Me Perkins” coloring sheet. You can download it here.

frances_perkins_mugTo help you start your day, there’s the Frances Perkins mug. Available for $12.95, it’s “the perfect gift for the coffee and tea drinkin' feminists in your life.”

frances-perkins--3-greeting-cardLet’s say you’ve put the finishing touches on the most influential legislation of the 21st century and would like to send it off with a friendly handwritten note to the Congressional leadership, you could not go wrong with a Frances Perkins notecard.

There is also a Frances Perkins cartoon by Michael 87-frances-perkinsMcLean at Mini Dove Comics and, for the more serious among us, a lovely poster.



But the mother-perkins-lode may be found on the Mount Holyoke College website where some good soul has gathered no fewer than 57 (57!) examples of First Day Covers (FDC) of the Frances Perkins postage stamp issued to commemorate her 100th birthday on April 10, 1980.

Having studied all 57, I can assure you that not all FDC art is created equal. Here are two of my favorites. The first makesPerkins10 her look like she’s playing Mel Gibson’s mother in “The Patriot,” and the second, besides being a little goofy, gets her birth year wrong.

To see them all, click here.

“But these commemorations are all secular!” some may say. “What do they have to do with serving God?”

Perkins57fWhen Frances Perkins said, “I came to Washington to serve God, FDR, and millions of forgotten, plain common workingmen,” she demonstrated by her life and work that there is no secular world. It all belongs to God.

-- Heidi Shott


Jonathan Daniels vs. Frances Perkins

  • Frances Perkins (57%, 2,523 Votes)
  • Jonathan Daniels (43%, 1,938 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,460

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118 comments on “Jonathan Daniels vs. Frances Perkins”

    1. This was the most difficult one for me. I signed the petition at General Convention for Jonathan Daniels and his day is my birthday. He is a modern day martyr for his beliefs and his faith. As I stated before, I am a social worker and using the Social Security program for which Frances Perkins fought, but I had to go with Jonathan - he gave his life.

  1. Mount Holyoke College is not in Springfield, Massachusetts ... but in South Hadley, Massachusetts. If you are going to give folks geography lessons, please be accurate.

    1. Thanks. (An Amherst native and a Smith grad.) There is more to Mass. than Springfield and Boston.

  2. Oh God, this is where the rubber really hits the road for both are worthy of the Golden Halo, which is probably they have gotten this far. Martyrs both, since the word means "witness". So I'm with Laurie Atwater - a long day, at the end of which I shall probably have to gather up all my chopsticks and throw them on the ground to see whose name they spell out. For the record, I live by Heidi's statement at the end of this article: "...there is no secular world. It all belongs to God."

  3. Do I vote for my current home town gal or my home state guy? Do I vole now or risk a power failure later in the day? I do like the Perkins kitch better, but wonder if i could lay down my life like Daniels. I think I'll wait a bit to vote.

  4. daniels deserves it-martyred at 26ish while saving a woman. francces perkins is sort of well known. let;s give daniels a break-besides, my grandson is named daniel. so vote for him-not for my grandson but for daniels.

    1. Although this is the stage for comparing kitsch, when it comes down to some serious reflection, though Frances got my vote in previous rounds, there is no choice for me but Jonathan Daniels.

  5. Lord, this is getting sooo hard. Daniels was a VMI classmate of a dear friend of mine - I've voted for him consistently. Perkins was a giant - a GIANT, I say - who gets so little credit. Both believed that all belonged to God. One laid down his life, the other dedicated her life. So ... forgive me, dear friend, but today I vote for Frances Perkins. Her kitsch rocks!

  6. Okay, fixed the location of Mount Holyoke. Sorry Holiokians -- not sure where Springfield came from. Must have been thinking of the Simpsons. My wife's best friend went to Mount Holyoke (class of '93) so please know that I will be adequately chastised.

    1. As long as we're ganging up on you, I must comment: You wrote "stepped foot".
      Is that a New England expression? We don't talk lak that out here in Arizonee!
      But seriously, I'd like to wish you and all the Lent Madness folks a Happy
      St. Joseph's Day. He's my patron, so my wife is making cream puffs. We're going
      to have them tonight with champagne. Mmmm!

      1. Native Mainer here (or hea-arr!) I have to coment on "stepped foot", which I'd never thought of as being a New England expression, but it probably is. We do have lots of wonderful old expressons in NE. "Stepped foot" (past tense of step foot!) would be another way of saying "set foot", as in, when being offered a lift in a questionable looking vehicle might say, "Guess probably I'd never be caught stepping foot/setting foot in that contraption!" Ayuh! ;oD
        Regarding today's match-up, I have to stick with my fellow Mainer, Francis Perkins. The continuing blessings of her influence and actions enhance the quality of life of millions today. But I'm wondering if the blogger for Jonathan Daniels, David Sibley, was aware that Daniels has his own Brotherhood? That could've been a plus. Some time ago there was a small chapter of his brotherhood at my church, Portland's Cathedral Church of St. Luke.
        Lent Madness has been great fun this year and I will join you all bereft in Lent Madness withdrawal! Alas!

  7. Jon Daniels went to ETS. EDS did not exist until 1975, when it was formed out of the merger of ETS and PDS.

  8. Being the Class of '95, I know you'll be properly chastised by '93 - she'll take care of you! That being said - Go Frances! LOVE the kitsch and hope we MHCers end the day victorious - We all DO belong to God...

  9. What a challenge! Again, really torn...but my vote went to Jonathan Daniels, though I am very drawn to Frances...

  10. Hard choice, but in these times of economic oppression, Frances Perkins is the saint of the hour.

  11. Can't we declare a tie and let them both move forward or, better yet, give out two Golden Halo's this year? We need both their examples right now with basic securities being threatened and structural discrimination on the rise!

  12. Today is a hard decision for those of us who think that the social Gospel deserves more than a passing mention in sermons and EfM. Having said that, both Frances and Jonathan are true modern witnesses to God's love. As a martyr, Jonathan gets my vote in this round.

  13. However the (extremely difficult) voting goes today, I'm so glad to have learned about both of these remarkable people.

  14. Not to dis Jonathon Daniels, but I don't necessarily believe being a martyr automatically gives you extra credit. Although it is sad that his life was cut short, and certainly for a very worthy cause, there were many other civil rights martyrs, and the bulk of his influence is nowhere near that of Frances Perkins. Where's Big Lobster?

    1. Here's a nod to martyrdom: "There is no greater love than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
      Most of us try to work for a worthy cause . . . not so many have died or will die for our friends.

    2. This one is indeed a tough call. But I had to vote for her who laid down her life everyday of a long life. To me doing God's will consistently everyday of a long life is definitely a heavier slog than being a martyr in your 20s.

      1. Jon Daniels was a good personal friend. And I grieved his death at a personal level for years. But I am(always) in awe of folks who put one foot in front of the other year after year. Just doing the right thing. So I voted for Francis. Without her, the New Deal would have probably been much less effective as program for mercy and justice.

  15. Live free or die! Frances undoubtedly has more and better kitsch, but I vote for Jonathan in the hopes that more will be produced in his honor. Those of you on etsy and zazzle, get busy.

  16. I vote for Frances. In the world of martyrdom, it is interesting to think on the difference between “giving” one’s life (a conscious choice) and having it taken by an uncontrollable event or person. Frances deliberately gave her life to God and a cause to which she felt called. So did Daniels, but in a different way. I doubt the wisdom of judging one as being harder or better than the other.

  17. Oh! With strong ties to both Keene, NH, and Maine, too, how to vote, how to vote! As already noted in comments: vote now, or later, and risk a power outage from today's snow storm?

    I like how making the Elate Eight gives people time to read and remember both Daniels and Perkins, and both would be wonderful as the Golden Halo winner. It's just that, that both fully deserve to win that makes me cast a vote based on the idea of kitsch. Instead of agonizing between the choices, toss a pretend coin, and Frances has the better loot.

    1. Yes, and if you lost your crayons just look a this suggestion by amazon.

      Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
      Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook,

      What a great idea; color over and over again and it would be as good as new.

    2. Laura, Check out Amazon - search for "saints coloring book" and you will find several. I used one, no longer in print, for several years with my Sunday School classes. But, I think one to go along with Lent Madness each year would be a great addition to the Lentorium. How about it Forward Movement?

  18. There's no question that Frances Perkins has the better kitsch, by a long shot. (Love that poster!)

    My vote goes to Jon, though - and David Sibley's fantastic write-up.....

  19. Both are worthy, and I love New Hampshire. I also love Maine. I lived for two summers in New Castle, New Hampshire and Frances Perkins was from Newcastle, Maine. For that reason , I voted for Frances.

  20. I don't think martyrdom is necessarily harder or more devout than slogging through a long lifetime of service to God—and I attend Francis Perkins' home church in Maine—so my vote goes to Francis. Also, her kitsch is better by far...

    1. That's what I was trying to say, but you said it better. Thank you. I love to see the kitsch, but will not judget by it.

      Also, having a mother named Frances, I'm feeling a bit nit picky. FrancIs is a boy's name, whereas FrancEs is a girl's name.

  21. I live in Lexington, VA, the home of VMI. My EFM class mentor is the VMI Episcopal chaplain and one of my fellow students is a VMI professor. I've forwarded the Lent Madness url to them. Do you think the VMI faculty and students could turn the tide for Jonathan Daniels?

    1. As a VMI grad, I'm hoping so, but I haven't seen much movement there yet. Win or lose here, at least a loving person is getting to be better known. That's my take anyway.

  22. Since both saints are so saintly, I had to go with the one whose biographer made me laugh more. Hats off to Jonathan Daniels.

  23. VMI vs. MHC? Not sure that's a fight y'all want to have ... Warrior Women, vote for Frances!

  24. I'm pretty sure they both visited Hingham and, at different times, declared Main Street the prettiest street in America

  25. J.D. all the way. I picked him from the very start...and when I "did" my brackets...he made it all the way to the Halo. SO...all that is left for that to happen is for J. Daniels to win and I will be the brilliant small town priest who picked a winner. Come on...have a heart. His kitsch will get better when he wins the halo! VOTE J.DANIELS!