Lydia vs. Harriet Bedell

We started Lent Madness 2014 with 32 saints and now we’re down to four. The Faithful Four. Who will win the coveted Golden Halo? Only a few short days and your voting participation will give us the answer. But it’s come down to this: Lydia, Harriet Bedell, Charles Wesley, and Phillips Brooks.

Today we begin the first of two Faithful Four match-ups as Lydia takes on Harriet Bedell. In this round we ask our Celebrity Bloggers to briefly answer one question: “Why should Saint XX win the Golden Halo?” Speaking of which, how about a round of applause for our fabulous CB’s who toil away in the salt mines of Lent Madness without nearly enough recognition? They are truly the backbone of this operation and are worthy of our gratitude. Please do hound them for autographs when you spot them wearing sunglasses and baseball caps just trying to lead normal lives.

To make it to the Faithful Four, Lydia defeated Moses the Black, John of the Cross, and Basil the Great while Harriet turned back Joseph Schereschewsky, Thomas Gallaudet, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. (click on the names of defeated opponents to view previous match-ups and refresh your memory about these two saintly women).

And, in case you were wondering, we’re tantalizingly close to our goal of 10,000 Facebook likes. Over 9,920! Encourage that freshly minted teenager who just became eligible for an account to like us. Compel your grandfather for whom you just did spend the last five hours setting up his new computer and teaching him how to use Facebook to join the Lent Madness party. We can do this!

Finally, here’s the Archbishop’s Update highlighting today’s battle:


unnamedSt. Lydia, unlike other saints, stands in the shadows. No legends, no stories of miracles, no healings. She just shows up in Acts, does her thing, disappears again. Yet she has lasted. She is a saint of paradox, standing with feet in two worlds..

Her very name, in Acts, is a contradiction. She’s Lydia Thyatira, which indicates she is from Thyatira, a town known for its dyeworks, but she appears in Philippi of Macedonia. She must have moved her family from the small town to the more-bustling crossroads of Philippi at some point. She’s a transplant, at a time when people didn’t move from their hometowns. She’s from two places at once.

She’s a powerful business woman in her community and head of her own household. That’s rare in her time and place. While we have other examples of female heads-of-households during the Pax Romana, it wasn’t common, and Lydia running her own prosperous dye business would have raised a few eyebrows, and caused a few Roman patriarchs to despair for the soul of the Empire. A strong woman in a strongly patriarchal society, she would not have been the most popular person.


Paul and Lydia, Church in Philippi

When we meet her, she is praying with the Jewish community, but she hasn’t converted. And she’s not at the synagogue; she’s at the riverbank, with the other God-fearers. Even when it comes to matters of faith, she’s holding several things in tension.

And yet, when she meets Paul, she’s drawn to the Jesus that he preaches, to the Jesus that he describes. She is immediately baptized, along with her entire household. And her life is changed. From that moment on, the entirety of her wealth, her status and her resources are dedicated to starting and sheltering the Christian mission in Philippi.

It’s impossible to crawl in the mind of another person, so who knows what drew her that day by the river. But perhaps part of the attraction was her unique blend of paradoxes. Perhaps she recognized in Jesus a sort of kindred spirit, who held together in himself the ultimate tension of heaven and earth, God and humanity.

unnamedPerhaps she found in Paul a kindred spirit who recognized her full potential for, in the words of Paul himself, “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free, for all are one in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Whatever the case, since then, she has been an inspiration for countless others to find their own voice in ministry. The ministries, the churches dedicated to Lydia testify to her enduring legacy. Even though not much is known about her, and even though the political whims of the later church never allowed for the popular devotion accorded to other saints, Lydia’s unique brand of dedication, perseverance, and faith have inspired many in their faith.

So who better to wear the Golden Halo than Lydia? Let’s give it to the woman who emerged from the shadows to lead the early church, and poured all she had, paradoxes and all, into the Gospel.

Megan Castellan

Harriet Bedell

unnamedLast summer the assignment of saints descended from the Supreme Executive Committee. I scanned the list for mine, pausing at Harriet Bedell. I had no idea who she was. These many months later, I am glad for the privilege to learn her story and to share it with you, the citizens of Lent Madness Nation.

(Oh, wait. That’s Red Sox talk best saved for tomorrow’s write-up on Phillips Brooks.)

Bedell’s story is infused with the stuff we associate with saintliness: charity, sacrifice, poverty, tenaciousness, courage, humility. The beauty of her story is also measured by the frailty that seeps through her narrative. In her early thirties, when she first arrived at the Oklahoma mission, she blanched at learning to ride a horse. Rather than embarrassing herself by asking tribal members to teach her, she took a horse out on the range and taught herself to ride in private. We can only imagine the bumps, bruises, and wounded pride she sustained in the process.

Nothing is wasted in God’s economy. Bedell’s experiences in Oklahoma paved the way for her years in Alaska just as those years prepared her for her unnamedlong ministry among the Seminole in Florida. “Miss Harriet Bedell, of long experience in Indian work…for three years past has lived in…one of the most isolated spots in interior Alaska,” wrote Hudson Stuck, Archdeacon of the Yukon, in 1920. “Such a post requires a missionary entirely absorbed and happy in the work, and such a one is Miss Bedell.”

Her devotion to God and to the people she served may have been grounded in faith but its expression was always practical. The naturalist Thomas Barbour called her, “a hard-nosed realist.” And no account of Harriet Bedell would be complete without a listing of her no-nonsense “Rules of Life.”

  1. God is first.
  2. Don’t worry. Put all in the hands of God. Don’t think or talk about troubles.
  3. Don’t hurry.
  4. Don’t eat too much between meals.
  5. Don’t do two things at the same time.
  6. All life involves sacrifice.

unnamedThat sacrifice serves as a remarkable example. Bedell, who died in 1969, never saw a movie or owned a radio. She lived a life solely focused on her call from God. Marya Repko’s biography, Angel of the Everglades, records a letter from Bedell to Bishop John D. Wing of the Diocese of South Florida. She wrote, “Our days are very full and it is so impossible to work at letters. The care of the sick is an important part of our work. They send for us or bring their sick ones to the mission…In the glades visits we often find medicine-men caring for the sick. At first they were not friendly but going as we do with Indians they saw we wanted to help.”

Repko writes, “When an influenza epidemic broke out in 1937…she took the sufferers into her own home where she fed them soup and aspirin. Her efforts were appreciated by the Medicine Man who called her ‘sister.’ She was also known as “in-co-shopie,” the woman of God.”

Photos courtesy of Florida State Archives

Heidi Shott


Lydia vs. Harriet Bedell

  • Harriet Bedell (54%, 2,550 Votes)
  • Lydia (46%, 2,177 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,726

Loading ... Loading ...

119 Comments to "Lydia vs. Harriet Bedell"

  1. Robyn's Gravatar Robyn
    April 14, 2014 - 8:05 am | Permalink

    Lydia rocks!

    • April 14, 2014 - 8:34 am | Permalink

      Wow!This is a tough one. They are both “giants” in the realm of saintdom. Although Lydia gave up her wealth and more than likely her stature in the community, to become a follower of Christ, I think Harriet Bedell was more Christ-like in her dealings with others. She came to serve and not to be served and serve she did! I think God would say with a resounding voice, “WELL DONE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT!”

    • Patricia Nakamura's Gravatar Patricia Nakamura
      April 14, 2014 - 10:01 am | Permalink

      Lydia is the ultimate Anglican, holding several opposites or impossibilities in tension. She gets my vote!

      • Johannas Jordan's Gravatar Johannas Jordan
        April 14, 2014 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

        Pat, I agree with you.

    • Kim B's Gravatar Kim B
      April 14, 2014 - 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Robyn: I agree. Lydia does rock.

      She had few role models in the Christian church. She IS the role model.

      • Kim B's Gravatar Kim B
        April 14, 2014 - 5:30 pm | Permalink

        I meant, few *female* role models.

  2. Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
    April 14, 2014 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    Ah, Holy Week. It has been another great Lent. I’d like to dedicate the song “Madness” by Muse to the LM Community and the SEC: “And after all the crazy fights we’ve had, like some kind of madness, was taking control”

    • Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
      April 14, 2014 - 8:12 am | Permalink

      “Yes, I know I can be wrong,
      maybe you’re too headstrong….”

    • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
      April 14, 2014 - 2:14 pm | Permalink

      My musical dedicate to both of these saintly women. This is my favorite song of lately, and when it first occurred to me, I thought this is the anthem of the modern Lydia (of the purple finger tips), but I think the lyrics speak to Harriet’s approach to earthly life, too. Both of these women used figurative machetes to cut through the red tape of their worlds in service to God’s children.

      • Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
        April 14, 2014 - 4:09 pm | Permalink


  3. Linda Sturtevant's Gravatar Linda Sturtevant
    April 14, 2014 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    Florida casts one vote for Harriet!

  4. Natalie's Gravatar Natalie
    April 14, 2014 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    It is with great trepidation that I cast my vote for Harriet. Not one person I have voted for has survived to the next round – in three Lents! I love her rules.

  5. Nancy Temple Jerome's Gravatar Nancy Temple Jerome
    April 14, 2014 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    So hard to choose between these two- they both gave everything they had.

  6. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 14, 2014 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    Hi Molly,
    Thanks for posting the video!
    It was Harriet’s rules of life that won me over, especially “don’t do two things at once”. I’ve tried to do two things at once, the result being that neither turned out very well….

    • Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
      April 14, 2014 - 8:27 am | Permalink

      Me too, but I am conflicted. I’ll be listening to the spirit today, and check in later.
      “and I, have finally, seen the light…” sigh.

  7. Mark Lobb's Gravatar Mark Lobb
    April 14, 2014 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Voted for Lydia but will not be disappointed if Harriet wins. Both are “hands on” saints.

  8. Elizabeth Rundquist's Gravatar Elizabeth Rundquist
    April 14, 2014 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    “Holding things in tension”, living with paradox, rings a bell.

  9. Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
    April 14, 2014 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    My vote is for Lydia, an amazing shadowy Christian Presence in the deep past. But Harriet rocks, too, and either will be a worthy foe for………

  10. Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
    April 14, 2014 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Harriet had me in the 1st round, with her re-visioning of Psalm 23 for her Native American mission community. Reading her 6 Rules for Life, she is brought right into my personal struggles of focus on listening and living in the present moment (I was breaking #5 as I listened to NPR while I read the write-up). I’m backing The Deaconess all the way! Thank you SEC and CB Shott for introducing Harriet Bedell to those of us who did not know of her, but needed to have her in the front row of our Cloud of Mighty Witnesses.

  11. Laura J. Schomberg's Gravatar Laura J. Schomberg
    April 14, 2014 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    Another Florida vote for Harriet.

  12. Millie Ericson's Gravatar Millie Ericson
    April 14, 2014 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    Harriet was one if the heroines of my childhood growing up in the Diocese of South Florida. I heard about her work in my parish church for she was still actively involved in her mission in those days. I have a vague sense that she may have visited our church but, sadly, I can’t say that for sure. I remember clearly the beautiful Seminole crafts that she helped to be developed. This personal connection makes it hard for me to choose today because I find Lydia full of Grace and have also long admired her leadership in the early church, a beacon through the ages for women to be able to finally be able to take their rightful position in all orders of ministry. She was the biblical forerunner of our beloved Presiding Bishop. So which to vote for? My heart says Lydia – without her witness we might never have had Harriet.

  13. Brigid Courtney's Gravatar Brigid Courtney
    April 14, 2014 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    Harriet’s rules of life I really I.D> with

  14. Anne Burton's Gravatar Anne Burton
    April 14, 2014 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Without Lydia there might not have been Harriet. I have great admiration for the early women who supported those on The Way.

  15. Mary Lysbeth Andrews's Gravatar Mary Lysbeth Andrews
    April 14, 2014 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    In Memory of all the Deconess of the past and the Sisters at St Hilda’s Christ Church I vote for Harriet Bedell.

  16. Joy's Gravatar Joy
    April 14, 2014 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    Intended to vote for Lydia but hearing again about Harriet Bedell, and especially her Rules of Life (loved them!) had to change my mind. Harriet Bedell all the way!

  17. Another Peg's Gravatar Another Peg
    April 14, 2014 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    I thought I wanted Lydia to be the champ of them all, but Heidi’s wonderful writing and Harriet’s humble, determined life changed my mind. I like the old timey saints, but Harriet is a saint for any age. From the bruising horse pasture to the streets of New York to the bedside of the ill, she moved with grace and angelic beauty. Hooray for Harriet!

  18. Theresa Wheeler's Gravatar Theresa Wheeler
    April 14, 2014 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    I vote Harriet, but as already shared by others, this was a tough one. BTW, my thanks goes out to all who make. LM possible and to the those who share such interesting feedback.

  19. aleathia (dolores)nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores)nicholson
    April 14, 2014 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    I still admire Lydia for her resourcefulness and dedication in supporting those going out to spread the Good News while always in danger from the authorities. Also, purple is my very favorite color. BUT, nobody can top the Deaconess for her utter devotion to God and God’s people and foremost for her ability to truly” squeeze blood from a turnip.” Just picture that tiny, frail-looking woman besting all those authorities whose fingers had a tight grip on all the funding available for ministries. She was fearless in forging ahead in the most brutal climatic extremes…Alaska to Florida, yet able to conquer her fears about mounting a horse! But she overcame and won that battle, too…scars, bumps, and bruises to boot! A true role model in serving God by serving God’s people.

  20. Grace Cangialosi's Gravatar Grace Cangialosi
    April 14, 2014 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    Harriet again for me! Her kind of selfless service, so typical of the Deaconesses, is eminently Christlike and largely unsung. I have great admiration for Lydia, as well, but after all, she DID get a mention in the NT! Harriet should at least get a shot at a halo!

  21. Gloria's Gravatar Gloria
    April 14, 2014 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    Wonderful write-up! Kudos to the author for the inspiring words about inspiring women.

  22. Shelley Kesselman's Gravatar Shelley Kesselman
    April 14, 2014 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    Another tough call, but in the end, it came down to Lydia, the “both/and” gal to whom I relate more closely.

  23. Marj's Gravatar Marj
    April 14, 2014 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    Snowbirds for Harriet!!

  24. Susan Brooks's Gravatar Susan Brooks
    April 14, 2014 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    I find it interesting that of those who have chosen to comment, so far. the men voted for Lydia and the women have all voted for Harriet. Something to ponder…I know it is very early in the day!

    • Bob Corey's Gravatar Bob Corey
      April 14, 2014 - 10:00 am | Permalink

      Interesting observation. Let me be an exception. Deaconess Harriet Bedell has my vote. I think I see other exceptions below, of the “Without Lydia, could there have been a Harriet” type from women.

      I have my reservations — possible pun? Did Harriet create enduring institutions, or just work very hard and very well only to see failure, abandonment or obsolescence in the end? Lydia’s institution of female presiding of a apostolic-era congregation, though long abandoned, has made possible the blessings I and others find in our female clergy and episcopacy.

      Has something from the Deaconess days, having been abandoned, ready to revive?

      • Heidi Shott's Gravatar Heidi Shott
        April 14, 2014 - 10:16 am | Permalink

        Last night my husband – that long-suffering CB-spouse who has listened to me babble “my” saints for the past three years – asked that very question. We know that Hurricane Donna knocked out the mission in 1960, but I feel persuaded that Bedell’s 62 years of ministry had lasting and ripple-like effects in the lives of individuals and communities wherever she served, most of which are unknown to us. As a church we are, perhaps, too much in love with the notion that a sustained institution is a good measure of success in the Kingdom of God.

        As Bedell’s 1928 BCP commended her, she faithfully did “all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in .” I’m not sure, in the day-to-day, if she was too much bothered about her legacy but rather left it up to God to sort out.

        • Another Peg's Gravatar Another Peg
          April 14, 2014 - 11:15 am | Permalink

          Yes! She did small things with great love, and the light of her life continues to shine into hearts, in part thanks to this devotion we are blessed to share. And now, for a truly mangled reference: In time, the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltar may tumble–they’re only made of clay–but her love is here to stay.

    • Millie Ericson's Gravatar Millie Ericson
      April 14, 2014 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Not completely true. I voted for Lydia in the end though I greatly admire Harriet.

  25. Betsy VanderBurg's Gravatar Betsy VanderBurg
    April 14, 2014 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    What a choice!!I have voted for both of these ladies during the first rounds. Now I have to choose one of them!! Can we claim half a vote for each?

  26. Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
    April 14, 2014 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Rebecca Stephens, this one’s for you–Harriet Bedell all the way.

  27. Lucy Alonzo's Gravatar Lucy Alonzo
    April 14, 2014 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    Both are certainly Saints, with a capital S! But it seems to me, there are many women in churches today, who are following in Lydia’s footsteps, giving their wealth and support – without them, most churches could not survive, and I’m sure they will have halos in heaven. But Harriet’s ministry was unique and certainly her life was Christlike, so she gets my vote.

  28. Lindsay Graves's Gravatar Lindsay Graves
    April 14, 2014 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Paul, who traveled the ancient world, endeavoring to spread the message of Christ in many hostile/indifferent lands. Lydia supported Paul’s ministry, thus enabling us moderns to know Christ.

    My hat is off to both of our bloggers today. Their writing is nothing short of sublime.

  29. Maria's Gravatar Maria
    April 14, 2014 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    What a trip this has been and what a tough final four. I’ve been with Harriett all along and see no reason to change now. One vote from Mississippi for Harriett!

  30. April 14, 2014 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Yes, I am also grateful to be introduced to Harriet Bedell. She was an amazing person. In addition to everything else, I am trying to wrap my head around someone who never owned a radio or a tv and lived until 1969. I don’t think media is a bad influence, but I do marvel at her focus and concentration on her work and life. Talk about “a life undivided,” as the current mantra labels it, that is Harriet. What a great example of holiness. Thanks. I still look forward to being “welcome in the Great Chickee,” as Harriet translated the 23rd Psalm for the Seminoles at a funeral.

  31. Kathy Schillreff's Gravatar Kathy Schillreff
    April 14, 2014 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    Another Floridian for Harriet

  32. Ann Shelly's Gravatar Ann Shelly
    April 14, 2014 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    Both are marvelous women. Lydia gets my vote for her very real presence across the ages.

  33. Margaret Moran's Gravatar Margaret Moran
    April 14, 2014 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    Harriet gave her all to what she believed God wanted. I wonder if our other saintly people knew of Harriet. I’m glad I finally do.

  34. Cindy Scott's Gravatar Cindy Scott
    April 14, 2014 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    I just can’t bring myself to vote for someone who threw John of the Cross off the bracket, even if it wasn’t her own fault. Harriet Bedell for me, despite the fact that she was far from my original first choice. I’m putting the real money on tomorrow’s smack-down however – Phillips Brooks all the way! BTW, don’t any of you Lent Madness players even bother trying to bribe the SEC into skewing results your way – I have inside knowledge from an anonymous, but extremely reliable source, that it WILL NOT work and it could, potentially, have the OPPOSITE effect (see Charles Wesley v/s Thomas Merton).

  35. Kathy Munroe's Gravatar Kathy Munroe
    April 14, 2014 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    As wonderful as Lydia was, Harriet is our ‘Mother Theresa’. Harriet gets my vote, again!

  36. April 14, 2014 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    Megan Castellan, I am curious about this line in Lydia’s biography: “even though the political whims of the later church never allowed for the popular devotion accorded to other saints.” Would you please explain? Thanks.

    • Megan Castellan's Gravatar Megan Castellan
      April 15, 2014 - 8:03 am | Permalink

      Sorry, Linda! I’m just seeing your comment now!
      I meant that, as the institutional church developed, and gained traction under Constantine, it moved away from allowing women’s public leadership. So the church emphasized saints that idealized the values it wanted to encourage, and Lydia got moved more to the shadows. As a saint, she’s notable by her lack of legends.

      • April 15, 2014 - 10:33 am | Permalink

        Thanks, Megan. I’m really enjoying learning more about the saints. So it sounds like there was a disinformation campaign against Lydia!

  37. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    April 14, 2014 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    St. Lydia rocks!

  38. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    April 14, 2014 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    Love Harriet’s Rules of Life! I must try to follow them. Voted for both Ladies in the past but had to go with Lydia today because without her, there would probably not been a Harriet. And besides, she got a bad deal with those snails.
    Not to flaunt a seminary education, but my favorite biblical archeologist and scholar, Dr.. Jim Fleming, at a recent conference on woman and the Bible, told us that the language says “slave nor free, etc. BUT “male AND female”.

  39. Patricia Blair's Gravatar Patricia Blair
    April 14, 2014 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Once again, wonderful write-ups. My heart goes with Lydia, but I am truly amazed at Harriet Bedell’s life and accomplishments. What a ministry her entire life was! She gets my vote today. Thanks to all for the LM journey – I’ve really enjoyed it – and LEARNED A LOT!

  40. April 14, 2014 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    While Lydia certainly helped Paul’s ministry, Harriet seems to me the one who truly followed in his footsteps, bringing the Gospel and God’s compassionate love to all peoples of the earth. She is the “sleeper” of this year’s Lent Madness!

  41. April 14, 2014 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    This cowgirl votes for the OG, soul Sistah, LYDIA all the way..

  42. Gail's Gravatar Gail
    April 14, 2014 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    What faith & courage to serve Jesus and the church as it was beginning!
    What an example to be present and help in ministry!

  43. April 14, 2014 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    It is wonderful that the wealthy give to support the Church . . . it is something else, altogether, to give it your whole life. From one born a few years too late to be a deaconess, my vote goes to Harriet.

    • Andrea Feist's Gravatar Andrea Feist
      April 14, 2014 - 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Sister Mary for putting that thought into words. Harriet gave her whole life. Harriet!

      • Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
        April 14, 2014 - 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Very eloquently put!! Thank you for these words.

  44. patricia's Gravatar patricia
    April 14, 2014 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    lydia for me! i agree with the earlier comments about the important work of women in the infant church. (my less-than-smart phone does provide upper case letters. no disrespect intended.)

  45. Rev. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Rev. Lucy Porter
    April 14, 2014 - 10:29 am | Permalink

    Harriet Bedell’s rules for life win my vote. I’m not a very good multi-tasker, though I often do housework while listening to classical music. That hardly seems like multi-tasking, though, as the one doesn’t interfere with the other; the music makes the housework go better. Still, let’s hear it for concentration on the task at hand!

  46. j.b. Hinds's Gravatar j.b. Hinds
    April 14, 2014 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    I’m another Lydia voter thinking that but for Lydia, there would have been fewer Harriets. I’ve had my feminist issues with St Paul, God knows, and his relationship to Lydia is an invitation to think and study more deeply.

  47. Fiona Haworth's Gravatar Fiona Haworth
    April 14, 2014 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    So pleased to have met Harriet, but voting for Lydia, and all those living with paradox and so often in the shadows.

  48. Jean Scott's Gravatar Jean Scott
    April 14, 2014 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    I had never heard of Harriet Bedell before this year’s Lent Madness. When I was a very young girl back in the 1940’s my grandparents, returning from a Florida vacation, brought me back a little Seminole Indian doll. It looks just like the ones pictured in Harriet’s “kitsch” photos. I always kept the doll, and was fascinated to learn in later years that I am part Seminole Indian, according to my grandmother. I feel so happy to know about Harriet now, and feel sure she had some sort of distant influence on the formation of my faith. Whether she continues on after today’s vote or not, I have met a new saintly friend! She has my vote grateful vote again today.

  49. April 14, 2014 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    Hooray for Harriet! FSU and the Seminole Nation rally for our very own! Let’s make it a Seminole Trifecta: The Heismann Trophy, the BCS Nat’l Championship, and the Golden Halo! Wonder what sort of odds the Seminole Tribe is giving at their Casinos? And will there be a big party at the Hollywood, Fla., Seminole Casino when she takes the coveted prize? We can only hope!

  50. Kathy Hartley's Gravatar Kathy Hartley
    April 14, 2014 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    A southern Californian for Harriet.

  51. Tom Connolly's Gravatar Tom Connolly
    April 14, 2014 - 11:43 am | Permalink

    I’m all in with Harriet. There’s no speculation about her; it’s all documented. And it’s just coincidental that I live in south Florida!

  52. Jayne's Gravatar Jayne
    April 14, 2014 - 11:43 am | Permalink

    I would have loved to live in the times of Harriet and followed in her footsteps…another So Cal for Harriet!

  53. Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
    April 14, 2014 - 11:46 am | Permalink

    As appealing as Harriet’s ministry and“Rules of Life” are, in the end I can’t cast my vote for her. “All life involves sacrifice” but..”that sacrifice serves as a remarkable example. Bedell..never saw a movie or owned a radio. She lived a life solely focused on her call from God.” Harriet’s devotion to the work is wonderful, but I believe God also wants us to enjoy the many good things in this world. Lydia seemed to know how to balance all things. As we enter Holy Week and the way of the cross, my vote goes to Lydia’s “unique brand of dedication, perseverance, and faith”, doing good works at the Cross-road(s).

  54. Laurie Owens's Gravatar Laurie Owens
    April 14, 2014 - 11:47 am | Permalink

    As a no-nonsense woman, I have to admire both of these no-nonsense women of faith. But the image of Harriet teaching herself to ride a horse along with her great works finally sold me. She’s got the right stuff.

    Great but surprising final four. I was sure Bach and Merton would have gone further. But I’ll be happy with any of the final four winning the halo.

  55. Jessica DS's Gravatar Jessica DS
    April 14, 2014 - 11:55 am | Permalink

    Like many I’m sure, I don’t vote for who’s “worthiest”, as if we could know such a thing. I vote for the one I need today to look up to, the one that I can identify with, the one who sparks something in me. Today, that’s Lydia. And props to Megan for an exquisitely written post, working imaginatively and empathetically with very little material.

    “Even when it comes to matters of faith, she’s holding several things in tension.” I, too, am transplanted both physically and spiritually, and I, too, feel I must hold several things in tension at times.

    “Whatever the case, since then, she has been an inspiration for countless others to find their own voice in ministry.” To finding our own voice, paradoxes and all, and to remembering those in the shadows, which is most of us, whose stories will not be told in any great detail in future generations. And yet what we do, how we live, it matters.

    Thank you, Lydia.

    • Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
      April 14, 2014 - 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Beautiful endorsement. Thank YOU Jessica.

    • Mollie Douglas Turner's Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner
      April 14, 2014 - 11:58 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Lydia…and thank you, Megan, for illuminating her. LYDIA even this late!

  56. Kim B's Gravatar Kim B
    April 14, 2014 - 11:55 am | Permalink

    1. Lydia made an awesome choice.
    Lydia had already achieved success in running both a business and a household. Instead of resting on her laurels, she completely changed the direction of her life by embracing Christianity and building the church.

    2. Lydia made a commitment.
    Neither Lydia nor Bedell were young when they began to serve the Christian church. Bedell was 30. Lydia’s age was unknown, but she had already established a full life for herself when she heard Paul preach in Philippi. Yet Lydia made a choice to devote the rest of her life to Christianity.

    3. Lydia’s work made Bedell’s service possible.
    Lydia also has inspired countless other women to adopt active roles in the church.

    4. Lydia had charisma, self discipline and tenacity.
    And all of the other talents and character traits that are needed to build a church from scratch. A church is not merely a building that needs good architectural plans. A church is a community of people who commit themselves to supporting each other in their spiritual journeys. Lydia had to be an amazingly wise, trustworthy, and passionate leader to call a Christian church into existence where there had been none before in Philippi.

    As Robyn, the first commenter of the day, says: Lydia rocks!

  57. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    April 14, 2014 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

    As glad as I am to have learned about Harriet, her openness, and her witness, Lydia’s ability to live in paradox won me over today. As someone commented, she’s a prototype of us Anglicans (in the original sense), those with a foot in both worlds.

  58. Johannas Jordan's Gravatar Johannas Jordan
    April 14, 2014 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Thanks and blessings to the CB’s who have done a wonderful job!! Each and everyone of them also deserves a golden quill.

  59. April 14, 2014 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Lydia…a favorite of mine at all times, a woman leader of the church, and the only one left from my original bracket.

  60. April 14, 2014 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Paradoxes, that would be my constituents. “Don’t do 2 things at once.” is a luxury .

  61. Krisan's Gravatar Krisan
    April 14, 2014 - 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I love both of these saints however I must speak up on behalf of Harriet Bedell. She had a far-reaching ministry at a time when women were not well recognized for their work. In her life and ministry she learned to ride a horse in Oklahoma, mush a dog sled in Alaska, and then drive a car and navigate with a canoe in Florida. She was adopted into all of these communities, often the first “white” to claim that honor. All of this while sharing Christ with the indigenous peoples in an accessible manner. Go Harriet!

  62. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    April 14, 2014 - 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Now’s the time to show us how really BIG and influential LM is — I went looking to buy a copy of Angel of the Everglades, only to find out that it’s Angel of the Swamp. The title not withstanding, the cheapest used copy available from Amazon is a little less than $23. while a new one weighs in at over $500.00. Yikes! So how’s about a reprint of this great Saint’s story LM or FM?

    • Heidi Shott's Gravatar Heidi Shott
      April 14, 2014 - 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Sorry! Totally my bad on the title. That’s what I get for relying on memory. Here’s a link to an order form direct from the publisher. It’s $10 plus $2.50 for S&H. Hope this helps!

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        April 14, 2014 - 2:59 pm | Permalink

        LM/CB are totally AWESOME! But then we knew that before. Thank you for that link Heide — order for two is on it’s way.

  63. Susan Fiore's Gravatar Susan Fiore
    April 14, 2014 - 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Today I’m voting for Harriet Bedell for her refusal to waste her time on broadcast media. Lydia didn’t have to face that cultural pressure.

  64. April 14, 2014 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Well, at the risk of having my head handed to me… Harriet’s rules for life do not strike me as much different from other note-worthy (or should I say halo worthy) missionaries or philosophers… except the snacking part. Lydia had to face far more difficult cultural pressure in her time and gave up far more than I suspect Harriet ever had in the first place. It isn’t hard to give up something you never had, but to sacrifice your entire life’s existence to follow her Lord deserves much more than the golden halo. Besides, to work with those snails she had to have a patience far surpassing Job himself! Go Lydia!!!

    • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
      April 14, 2014 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Here’s your head, Lillie, scuse me while I go wash my hands…..

    • April 15, 2014 - 6:27 am | Permalink

      Killing snails made Lydia rich — that’s not what made her holy.

      • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
        April 15, 2014 - 6:42 am | Permalink

        Amen, sister! (Poor snails. I looked it up, and it turns out that snails do have a nervous system and can therefore feel pain)

        • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
          April 15, 2014 - 8:25 am | Permalink

          re: those snails can’t we just believe that the snails Lydia used are the ones that are found with the healed over holes dried in their shells which rove they were “recycled” at least trice and continued to “purple” to their little hearts content?

          • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
            April 15, 2014 - 8:29 am | Permalink

            No Donna, we can’t. Pain is pain. Coming from one who labeled Fred Rogers “insipid”…..

          • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
            April 15, 2014 - 11:26 am | Permalink

            Madeleine, you are right, that’s why I always had lots of pans of beer for the dastardly snails who marauded my garden.
            Huummm, slow moving, slow speaking, never wore a purple sweater (that I remember)…I wonder…

          • April 15, 2014 - 2:46 pm | Permalink

            OK, so what about Jesus and the loaves and fishes? I was gonna say lamb, but not sure there is direct evidence he ate lamb. Definite evidence he ate fish after the resurrection to prove he had a physical body.

      • April 15, 2014 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

        No, turning those profits/talents to the use of the church did. Like Matthew the tax collector, Saul the pharisee, etc. All we know is that Paul thought her worthy to mention. Curious, did he mention other women by name?

  65. Laura Jo's Gravatar Laura Jo
    April 14, 2014 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I’ve voted for Harriet all the way through and against Lydia in favor of John of the Cross. But when these two are up against each other today, I feel more drawn to Lydia. Kudos to Megan whose write-up was superb. And thanks to comments by Jessica DS for reminding me that it’s valid to vote for which saint is speaking to me today (not who I’ve supported in past rounds!).

    • April 14, 2014 - 2:49 pm | Permalink

      As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds!

  66. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    April 14, 2014 - 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Harriet ‘ s rules speak to my heart. It is such a great but hard message to live out. I vote for her.

  67. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    April 14, 2014 - 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Lydia but I am writing down Harriet ‘ s rules for further thought and action.

  68. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    April 14, 2014 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I”m still feeling a backlash to the more modern saints that we know more about, so I went with Lydia. As Megan said, the fact that she is even mentioned shows how important she was. Great writeups by both Heidi and Megan though!

  69. Alison Tomme's Gravatar Alison Tomme
    April 14, 2014 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Very difficult today. I was nearly named Lydia after a great Aunt. I love the feminism in her story in a time where the world was male dominated. However, I am also from Florida with strong Oklahoma roots too. What won me over to vote for Harriet Bedell was her instructions for life. I think that is going to become my new mantra.

  70. April 14, 2014 - 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Notice low voter turnout. Theories?

    • Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
      April 14, 2014 - 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Theory 1) people will be happy with either candidate, and are abstaining. 2) people will be unhappy with either candidate moving forward, and are abstaining 3) like me, they may have wanted to let it rest for a while before making a decision 4) people are in total lock-down preparing for Holy Week 5) someone paid people off to abstain, and they didn’t include me (harrumph).

  71. Molly Reingruber's Gravatar Molly Reingruber
    April 14, 2014 - 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Today, Lydia feels to me be the more “modern” of the two.
    The Spirit moves in mysterious ways.

  72. April 14, 2014 - 4:57 pm | Permalink

    This was the toughest vote yet, but Harriet won out for me. She was proof that one person really can make a significant difference in the lives of others.

  73. Emily Correll's Gravatar Emily Correll
    April 14, 2014 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Too bad Lydia’s example couldn’t have changed Paul’s views of women.

  74. Laurie's Gravatar Laurie
    April 14, 2014 - 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Both great women so I won’t be disappointed who wins, but I my vote is for Harriet. I can’t imagine what she must have faced in places she lived. Amazing work and an inspiration in living your faith.

  75. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    April 14, 2014 - 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never been terribly fond of Paul, and with his love of the sound of his own voice, why did I need to be? But still, the more study and learning I’ve done, the more I have come to believe that Paul has been getting at least a partially undeserved rep — particularly re: woman. Mistranslations (by men!) and misunderstanding of the social structure have earned him some slung mud that he probably wasn’t around to duck when it was slung. I can cut him a break or two

  76. Carol Virginia's Gravatar Carol Virginia
    April 14, 2014 - 5:45 pm | Permalink

    I love the hymn “The Chuch’s One Foundation” and reading the eloquent write-ups emphasized the ways in which both saintly women devoted their living souls to humanity. But it was the hymn line “…by water and the word” that brought my heart to Lydia.
    As others have noted, her devotion was foundational.

  77. Richard's Gravatar Richard
    April 14, 2014 - 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Electronic gremlins today. It would not let me vote until I clicked to make a comment.
    Both worthy women but we have more information to hang our hats on or votes for Sister Harriet.

  78. Martie Collins's Gravatar Martie Collins
    April 14, 2014 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

    As a Daughter of the King, trying to follow our Rule of Life, I was particularly interested in Harriet’s. She had me when she said, “Don’t eat TOO MUCH between meals.” I can do that.

  79. Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
    April 14, 2014 - 6:43 pm | Permalink

    A toughie, but I went with Harriet Bedell for the same reasons I voted for her before. Lydia used her wealth to help others and that is very commendable, but for me Harriet more represents for me the way Jesus lived.

  80. Sarah Clark's Gravatar Sarah Clark
    April 14, 2014 - 6:57 pm | Permalink

    How do I vote? Word “vote” is not highlighted at end of Saint descriptions.

  81. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    April 14, 2014 - 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Dear Lydia. What a wonderful person! Independent. Successful, specialty business owner. Also, she worshipped the One, True God with people who were not her kin. One day, she heard Paul preach. In a flash, like at Creation, Lydia saw the Truth: The risen Jesus is the Son of God. What an exciting event her immediate understanding was! Lydia accepted and supported with her whole heart the Jesus Way. It was a shinning moment for Paul, too. Paul, who was, as we all know, only the messenger.

    Poor Paul. Poor, poor Paul. Always getting a bum rap. He would have had a better time if someone had introduced him to commas, semi-colons, and, yes, periods to end his lengthy, dependent clause filled, sentences. Had Paul been anti-woman, it’s doubtful Lydia would have listened to him for very long.

    Strong Lydia received Paul’s message with great JOY! She acted on this Joy.

    Brave Harriet acted on this Joy. Ministering to other cultures, without trying to change them, Harriet brought the love of Christ to the people. The “Energizer Bunny” has nothing on Harriet. My vote is for the lesser known and unsung Harriet Bedell, who continued the message of Paul and of Lydia..

  82. Martha Frances's Gravatar Martha Frances
    April 15, 2014 - 12:49 am | Permalink

    I really wanted to continue to support Lydia who is one of my favorite Biblical figures, but the joyful toil of Ms. Bedell whom I could have met until the year I graduated from undergrad school (wow!) is simply too impressive a record not to recognize this time.
    What a kick this Lent Madness has been. It’s almost the only of my Lenten Disciplines I’ve stuck with this year. What a great idea for leaning the Holy Women & Holy Men. Those folks from LF&F are pretty familiar to me, but there is quite an expansion in the new book, & certainly our Church today needs Heroes in the faith. Glad I stuck it out!

  83. Millie Ericson's Gravatar Millie Ericson
    April 15, 2014 - 1:00 am | Permalink

    I’m sad tonight that the gracious Lydia us going down in defeat. I had her going all the way to the Golden Halo!

    • April 15, 2014 - 10:37 am | Permalink

      Me, too. And from Megan’s answer to my question above, it sounds like the early church had an active disinformation campaign against Lydia, which is why we don’t know more about her celebrations as a saint.

Comments are closed.