Dorcas vs. Frederick Douglass

Occasionally the SEC adds matchups based on little more than (deeply prayerful) whim. This isn’t such a case, mind you, but we do sometimes get jazzed by things like alliteration. Thus, today it’s Dorcas vs. Douglass. That has a certain saintly ring to it, don’t you think? The winner faces Juan Diego in the Saintly Sixteen.

Yesterday, Cuthbert sent the Venerable Bede packing with a veritable Bede-down of his medieval contemporary, 63% to 37%. He’ll next square off against Molly Brant.

Don’t forget that our Bracket Czar updates the online Bracket each day. Scroll down to see the corresponding Matchup Calendar and learn the precise date when your favorite saint will be locking horns (not that saints have horns) with his or her next saintly rival.

After today’s competition, we will be exactly halfway through the first round. Remember, no voting takes place over the weekend so the next matchup will be Francis of Assisi vs. John Wycliffe on Monday morning. Now go vote!


Dorcas, which is not as bad a name as it sounds (it translates into Tabitha in Aramaic and Gazelle in English), made her first and only appearance in scripture after she had already died.

A lay leader of the early church in the port city of Joppa (now Tel Aviv-Yafo), Dorcas is known only by what was reported about her in Acts 9:36-42. She was described first as a disciple, and then as a person “devoted to good works and acts of charity.” After Dorcas’ death from an unnamed illness, the church in Joppa sent two men to get Peter, who was visiting in nearby Lydda. When Peter arrived, he was taken to see the body by a group of widows, who wept as they showed some of the garments Dorcas had made for them. Peter cleared the room, prayed, and said, “Tabitha, rise,” at which point she returned from the dead, presumably to continue in her ministr y.

Reading between the lines, it seems likely that Dorcas was young and her death untimely. Although it’s easy to infer that her good works were the sewing of “tunics and other garments,” there is nothing to say that Dorcas’ charity stopped there. It is likely they were only the outward and visible signs of a life devoted to charity.

In these visible signs, Dorcas shows us that charity is eminently practical and involves providing things for people close at hand. However, charity also involves the heart and spirit. Had these practical gifts been given with a condescending attitude or unkind heart, would she have been mourned to the point of two men traveling to another town to get Peter?

In the Episcopal Church, Dorcas is remembered along with Lydia, the dealer of purple cloth who was converted by Paul, and Phoebe, a church leader mentioned in Paul’s letter to the Romans. Although understandable, it is perhaps unfortunate that these three are grouped; it seems to suggest that being a woman was the distinctive role each brought to the early church as opposed to her charity, her faith, or her leadership. In Dorcas’ case, it is easy to focus on her sewing instead of the bigger picture of her deeply rooted charity. But in Acts, the fact that Dorcas was a woman is, at best, a secondary consideration. She was first a disciple, full stop.

Even in the very brief passage in which she appears (during which she was dead most of the time), Dorcas comes across as loving, pragmatic, and well-respected — a worthy model of charity for all of us.

Collect for Dorcas

Almighty God, you raised to life again your servant Dorcas. Grant, that like her, we may always seek to weave your love into every fiber of ourselves, clothing those we love and care for in the raiment of your mercy and kindness. May we, like Dorcas, rise up from the impossible places in our lives, praising you and emboldened to continue the ministries to which you have called us. Amen.

Laura Darling

Frederick_Douglass_c1860sFrederick Douglass

Many people are familiar with Frederick Douglass’ work as an abolitionist in the nineteenth century. What is not as well-known is the depth of Douglass’ Christian faith. Douglass’ love of scripture and his fascination with the apocalyptic writing of Revelation was a guidepost in his quest for personal holiness and social transformation.

Born to an enslaved woman and a white slave owner in 1818 on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Douglass was sent to work for a Baltimore shipbuilder following his mother’s death when he was seven years old. Over the course of the next eight years, Douglass learned to read and write and developed a love of the Bible. His affinity for the Bible served as a catalyst for his conversion to the Christian faith when he was thirteen. In his well-known autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, he recalled that after being sent back to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, he continued to have abiding hope in God’s promises and established a Sunday school for other enslaved men and women.

While on the Eastern Shore, Douglass was subjected to numerous whippings and beatings from the plantation’s overseer, which left permanent scars on his body. These violent beatings and Douglass’ prophetic reading of scripture led him to plan his escape to freedom. Although his first attempt was not a success, in 1838 Douglass finally fled to safety in New York, before settling in New Bedford, Massachusetts, with his wife. Together, they had five children.

In New Bedford, Douglass joined an abolitionist society and an A.M.E. Zion church, where he assumed leadership as the church’s preacher. By 1841 Douglass was traveling across Canada and the northern United States rallying support against slavery. Douglass believed that individual holiness was essential to the reformation of society’s morals and the work of abolitionists. To this end, Douglass refused to drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, or engage in any other behavior he felt threatened the Christian’s call to righteousness.

After the Civil War ended, Douglass continued advocating for equality — not only on behalf of African Americans, but Native Americans and women. For Douglass, God’s justice would not be complete until all were treated with dignity. Douglass published more than ten books and speeches, including the conscience- raising, “What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?” He died at his Washington, D.C., home in 1895 and was buried in Rochester, New York. His Washington home is currently a national landmark, housing Douglass’ collection of Bibles, religious books, and angel depictions.

Collect for  Frederick Douglass

Almighty God, whose truth makes us free: We bless your Name for the witness of Frederick Douglass, whose impassioned and reasonable speech moved the hearts of a president and a people to a deeper obedience to Christ. Strengthen us also to be outspoken on behalf of those in captivity and tribulation, continuing in the Word of Jesus Christ our Liberator; who with you and the Holy Spirit dwells in glory everlasting. Amen.

Maria Kane


Dorcas vs. Frederick Douglass

  • Frederick Douglass (69%, 4,423 Votes)
  • Dorcas (31%, 2,012 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,435

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192 Comments to "Dorcas vs. Frederick Douglass"

  1. Randall Byrd's Gravatar Randall Byrd
    February 27, 2015 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    Have got to go with “a disciple” on this one.; Dorcas

  2. cjennings's Gravatar cjennings
    February 27, 2015 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    I have been unable to vote for the last several days.

    • Corinne's Gravatar Corinne
      February 27, 2015 - 10:44 am | Permalink

      I too had trouble. I think you can only vote using the same computer (IP address) and not just any computer. I think it may help prevent multiple votes on the same day??? I managed to vote from my home computer rather than the computer at work. Try that. I made a similar plea but received no reply.

      • Linda's Gravatar Linda
        February 27, 2015 - 10:55 am | Permalink

        I have logged on to several different computers, kindle, and my Android phone to vote with no problem

        • Diane's Gravatar Diane
          February 27, 2015 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

          I too, have voted from work, home or my tablet with no problems.

          • Corinne's Gravatar Corinne
            February 27, 2015 - 12:45 pm | Permalink

            Certainly a conundrum. All I know is that the vote button and View Results do not work when I access from my work computer. I’ll just have to wait until I am home to vote, as I did yesterday.

      • Carol's Gravatar Carol
        February 27, 2015 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

        It may not be the computer, but the source. I can’t vote from the Facebook link, but can vote from any browser. (Safari, Firefox, etc. )

      • Michael R's Gravatar Michael R
        February 27, 2015 - 5:10 pm | Permalink

        It may also depend on which browser you are trying to use: I.E., Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc. Some can be real boogers for the odd website.

  3. Mike's Gravatar Mike
    February 27, 2015 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    We have so few named women among the early Christians, yet I have to vote for Douglass. The choice was much easier than yesterday.

    • fredericka l smith's Gravatar fredericka l smith
      February 27, 2015 - 8:57 am | Permalink

      As did the Democrats, you present the hard choice of female vs black. And with male insensitivity, you put down the importance of providing raiment. (ILGWU rise up in protest) The importance of women in the early church as well as in institutional religion ever since cannot be allowed to continue. Who forms the young; who “bends the twig so the tree will grow”? So here’a a vote for the underdog.

      • Carol Anderson's Gravatar Carol Anderson
        February 27, 2015 - 11:27 am | Permalink

        Well put!!

      • Sandra Rode's Gravatar Sandra Rode
        February 27, 2015 - 10:14 pm | Permalink

        I felt this was more of a Mary vs. Martha matchup. What initially catches the attention is two groups that have not been given full leadership access in society and church over time. However, that is not the only difference.
        I find that this difference in ministerial gifts and offerings is often treated as the Mary Martha conflict when Jesus came to visit.

    • Gail Renborg's Gravatar Gail Renborg
      February 27, 2015 - 1:01 pm | Permalink

      I have been conflicted on many of the votes, especially when the candidates time and place in life is so vastly different. I voted for Frederick Douglass, but I have printed out the Collect for Dorcas, and posted it to say every day during Lent. She embodies the qualities of charity that I most admire.

      • Ellen T's Gravatar Ellen T
        February 27, 2015 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

        I feel the same as you. It is hard to choose when they are from different times. I also think the writer sometimes influences our votes by their subtle personal comments. Still, I am learning about so many historical, influential people and enjoying the diversity of all these personalities.

  4. February 27, 2015 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” – Oscar Wilde
    So, maybe the horn thing applies.

    • A Different Jennifer's Gravatar A Different Jennifer
      February 27, 2015 - 10:40 am | Permalink

      That Wilde quotation should totally be the tagline in the next Lent Madness Super Bowl ad.

      • Margaret Bivins's Gravatar Margaret Bivins
        February 27, 2015 - 10:54 am | Permalink

        I second that!

      • Jen Tarling's Gravatar Jen Tarling
        February 28, 2015 - 3:49 am | Permalink

        I third that!

        • MegN's Gravatar MegN
          February 28, 2015 - 7:18 am | Permalink

          I like the quote, but doubt that Oscar himself will make it to the roster…

    • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
      February 27, 2015 - 12:24 pm | Permalink

      “Horn thing”??? Do you mean the horns of a dilemma? In which case you are absolutely correct!
      And I third the suggestion about using the Oscar Wilde quote.

  5. February 27, 2015 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    Today I’m busting my own bracket after re-reading the saintly biographies.

  6. Millie Ericson's Gravatar Millie Ericson
    February 27, 2015 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    I see that, once again, the male candidate is winning. Douglas’ story is pretty amazing, I must agree, and I found it interesting, new information for me, that he advocated for Native Americans and women, as well as African Americans. However, I must stay loyal to sweet Dorcas, another of the great women, hidden in the mist of male dominance, who was not given the credit she was due, not even her own name day! Hooray for Dorcas!

    • John Hogan's Gravatar John Hogan
      February 27, 2015 - 8:50 am | Permalink

      Well said! I too have been dismayed at the matchups this Lent madness that is pitting wonderful women whose stories have gone untold against male “saints” whose stories are well known, and have placed those women in a position that is subjective.

      • John Hanson's Gravatar John Hanson
        February 27, 2015 - 10:14 am | Permalink

        I’ll defend the Lent Madness writers; I think they did a good job of writing about how compelling a story Dorcas has, based on very little real information about her. I voted for Dorcas.

        • Liz's Gravatar Liz
          February 27, 2015 - 11:15 am | Permalink

          I agree with John that the SEC wove an interesting story about Dorcas with what appears to be scant information. Most of these narratives leave me with questions, which is a very good thing. I am enjoying being introduced to so many new stories. While I am glad to have made Dorcas’ acquaintance, I have long been an admirer of Frederick Douglass.

          • Amanda's Gravatar Amanda
            February 27, 2015 - 11:43 am | Permalink

            Agreed on all counts, Liz.

    • Carol Ingells's Gravatar Carol Ingells
      February 27, 2015 - 11:07 am | Permalink

      I agree with Millie, but I still felt compelled to vote for Douglass. I don’t feel this was a very fair matchup, as there is so little known about Dorcas. I suppose she was lucky to even be allowed naming in the Bible! Hard choice for me.

    • Kris Hatch's Gravatar Kris Hatch
      February 27, 2015 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Oh, please do not play “the Woman Card!” In San Diego, we have a deep affection for Dorcas where we sponsor “Dorcas House,” a home for orphans and children of parents incarcerated in the T.J. jail system. She is a wonderful inspiration to us us… however, in the voting for today, I just realized the impact Douglass had on the awareness and justice of all people with his Christian attitude and actions.

  7. relling's Gravatar relling
    February 27, 2015 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    I have especially admired Douglass for the way he criticized badly educated clergy in his day and the damage they did to their credulous flocks. An educated clergy is one of the best things about the Episcopal church and the Anglican church.

  8. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    February 27, 2015 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    I went with Dorcas today. She was a disciple. She made clothing and gave it away. She got sick and it distressed her friends so that they sent for Peter. It doesn’t seem to compare with Douglas teaching and working for equality for all but there is something very compelling to me about living a simple life of charity and love. Perhaps it speaks to me because I am retired.

    • Terry's Gravatar Terry
      February 27, 2015 - 9:51 am | Permalink

      Your reply speaks to me, newly retired, hoping for simple ways to serve.

  9. February 27, 2015 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    Another interesting matchup. Can’t wait to read the comments so that I can make an informed decision.

    • Harry Alford's Gravatar Harry Alford
      February 27, 2015 - 10:02 am | Permalink

      Yes! Finally! Someone else who gets it! Well said Paul.

  10. Matthew's Gravatar Matthew
    February 27, 2015 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    Thus was no contest, living in Maryland, not to mention Fredrick Douglass’s role as an American hero.

  11. February 27, 2015 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Re: the horns: Recall that in the Vulgate, the description of Moses coming down from Sinai with beams of light radiating from his head (Exodus 34:29) was translated as: “Cumque descenderet Moyses de monte Sinai, tenebat duas tabulas testimonii, et ignorabat quod cornuta esset facies sua ex consortio sermonis Domini.” (And when Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he held the two tablets of testimony, and did not know that his faced was horned from his conversation with the Lord.)

    It is that description of Moses as “horned” (cornuta) that led to the standard iconography of the lawgiver — you can see the horns, for example, on Michaelangelo’s sculpture of Moses on the tomb of Pope Julius II in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome.

    • Mariana Bauman's Gravatar Mariana Bauman
      February 27, 2015 - 10:01 am | Permalink

      Another educational day! Thanks for this.

    • Sister Janet's Gravatar Sister Janet
      February 27, 2015 - 10:50 am | Permalink

      The statue of Moses among all the (unfortunately all male) saints that surround the chancel of our Cathedral has those rays or horns coming out of his head. I always smile, as it looks to me like someone is standing behind him making “rabbit ears” with their fingers for a photo. (did he have a little brother? Maybe it was Aaron…). I think we need a statue of Dorcas to insert in the chancel line-up! I’m voting for her.

    • jpr's Gravatar jpr
      February 27, 2015 - 11:59 am | Permalink

      I seemed to be unable to find what must have preceded this comment… horns?

      • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
        February 27, 2015 - 1:39 pm | Permalink

        It all started with the SEC intro today, preceding the bios. Look for “(not that saints have horns)”.

  12. February 27, 2015 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    On an extended tour of Great Britain, Frederick Douglass so impressed and inspired those who heard him that a group of people raised the funds to buy his freedom – he was still considered “property” after his escape. He returned to the US a free man to inspire us all even further.

  13. Christine CO's Gravatar Christine CO
    February 27, 2015 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    My mother was a passionate needlewoman, taking classes throughout her life to learn new techniques. She did everything from making all her own clothes to counted cross stitch to beautiful metal thread embroideries. Her local chapter of the Embroiderers Guild of America had a project of making lovely smocked and embroidered baby gowns that they gave to a hospital in Tucson to give to people whose babies were born dead or died soon after birth, so they would have something beautiful in which to bury their babies. She became the leader of this group, almost certainly influenced by her own child who died within a day of his birth.

    Before she died, my mother told my husband that she wanted him to conduct her funeral. When the time came, he was putting things together, and read me a high-falutin’ reading from Revelations to see if I liked it. I said, “There’s a passage in Acts about a woman named Dorcas who sewed cloths for poor people. Please find that.” And I read it at her funeral.

    So how could I not vote for Dorcas?

    • jacquie's Gravatar jacquie
      February 27, 2015 - 10:39 am | Permalink

      Christine, thank you for sharing a portion of your mother’s story. Beautiful!

    • Jane C's Gravatar Jane C
      February 27, 2015 - 11:23 am | Permalink

      That is a lovely story. Thank you. My mother was a talented sewer, knitter, quilter, needle point and crewel worker and I am voting for Dorcas. The sentiment expressed in the comments would lead one to believe Dorcas had the match sewn up but it is Frederick Douglass who has pulled way ahead.

    • Zoe's Gravatar Zoe
      February 27, 2015 - 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Thank you so much. Beautiful story of another wat to serve. My Presbyterian friend in N M is a leader of a “Comfort and Joy” group of women who make prayer shawls for the elderly, sick, and dying. As a former teacher, I assisted my special ed students each year in making flannel baby wraps for newborn homeless babies at Christmas. Who says we cannot teach our faith in public schools, simply by the way we live. Have to vote for Dorcas. My quiet, humble maternal grandmother, Elizabeth, was also a seamstress.

    • February 27, 2015 - 11:02 pm | Permalink

      That is a beautiful story. Thank you.

  14. Grace Cangialosi's Gravatar Grace Cangialosi
    February 27, 2015 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    No contest here, either. I would have a hard time picking anyone over Douglass! If you doubt, read his Autobiography.

    • Mike Essig's Gravatar Mike Essig
      February 27, 2015 - 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Yes I think FD has a chance to go the whole way

  15. John Hogan's Gravatar John Hogan
    February 27, 2015 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    As a Rochester, NY resident I have to go with Frederick Douglass.
    He was a pioneer in so many ways – political, social, racial, and religious.

  16. February 27, 2015 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    Much as I admire Douglass, I vote for Dorcas as representative of all the anonymous saintly women who have been forgotten. Douglass is recent, so we know what he did. We know almost nothing about Dorcas, or about the other women who led house churches in the early history of the church. Lydia, as a dealer in very valuable purple cloth, would have been rich and influential. What do we know about her except that Paul converted her? Did she sell all she owned? We don’t know. What else did Dorcas do? The author(s) of Acts don’t tell us.

  17. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    February 27, 2015 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    Voting for Dorcas!! I was in a group of women in college named for Dorcas. Our sole purpose was to do acts of charity for others in secret, so that our good works were never to bring us credit. We also prayed together and for our community and were very close. In short, we tried to pattern our young lives after this great woman.

    She’s not an in an American ethnic minority; there’s no modern-day photograph to make her more compelling. But she was a saintly soul. That her name would be revered–even mentioned at all–in our sacred stories is proof that she made a Big Impression in her day

    Besides, I’m a big fan of the TV series “Bewitched”. This is a vote for Tabitha as well!

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      February 27, 2015 - 10:06 am | Permalink

      Laura Darling, is that portrait of Dorcas by Giotto? It’s marvelous!

      • February 27, 2015 - 10:29 am | Permalink

        It’s by Masolino da Panicale. Thank you, Wikipedia!

  18. Susan Comer's Gravatar Susan Comer
    February 27, 2015 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Douglass is such an amazing man! I feel moved to read his autobiography now. However, my sympathy vote goes to Dorcas. If the writers of her biography above hadn’t commented that her name “isn’t as bad as it sounds”, I could have sent it to my friend Dorcas. When she found out that I was playing Lent Madness, she commented “We don’t have saints”…It is great to hear about lesser known saints who are equally holy in their unique way.

    • February 27, 2015 - 10:33 am | Permalink

      I’m sorry about that! It was flippant, snarky, and uncalled for.

      • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
        February 27, 2015 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

        Bless you, Laura, for your humility.

    • jane's Gravatar jane
      February 27, 2015 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Copy the write up and delete the first part so your friend can share Lent Madness with you.

  19. Anne Clayton's Gravatar Anne Clayton
    February 27, 2015 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Always learning in Lent Madness!

  20. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    February 27, 2015 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    I think Laura Darling had a nearly impossible job trying to recreate Dorcas from the little that is recorded about her in Acts! Lots of worthy comments, but my vote is with Douglass today.

  21. Sarah's Gravatar Sarah
    February 27, 2015 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    I had to go with Dorcas, and I think it would be wise to look at clothing others, in that time, as an act of extreme generosity as well as charity. I have been reading about the current cheap clothing industry that gives us such an excess of inexpensive clothing today, making clothing the poor something we can do by merely setting aside some of our own over abundance. I was reminded of the differences when reading an article describing the expense of clothing in earlier times, giving the equivalent cost of a single shirt as around $2000 in today’s dollars. To make and give clothes to others in need was no small act in Dorcas’ day.

  22. Ellen Mintzmyer's Gravatar Ellen Mintzmyer
    February 27, 2015 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    For me, the choice had to do with timing, not gender. So many of the saints we know are from Biblical stories. It’s almost as if Christianity jumps from Bible times to contemporary life. So I had to go with Douglass, a 19th century saint. Dorcas is already in my heart.

  23. Pat's Gravatar Pat
    February 27, 2015 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    I too am a sewer, and have seen how the simple gift of tshirt and pillowcase dresses helps thousands of children to have pretty clothing and their parents to have dignity. The dresses are sent with missions throughout the world and provide a ministry in themselves. I understand the sewers ministry and am compelled to vote for Dorcas.

  24. Ron's Gravatar Ron
    February 27, 2015 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    Voted for Dorcas because my wife was named for her.

  25. Fiona Haworth's Gravatar Fiona Haworth
    February 27, 2015 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    Love the story of Dorcas and feel bad for not voting for her, but Frederick Douglass is inspirational; to work not only for his own people, but for the freedom of Native Americans. And besides, living in Britain, I am pleased that this land had some small part to play in his story.

    • February 27, 2015 - 11:08 pm | Permalink

      I think if I were to ask Frederick Douglass in the next life about your comment, he would say something to the effect that all people were his people. His inspiration was why I voted for him.

  26. Lithophyte's Gravatar Lithophyte
    February 27, 2015 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    I am with Fred, but I was much taken with the very interesting Prayer for Dorcas- “seek to weave your love into every fiber of ourselves, clothing those we love and care for in the raiment of your mercy and kindness.” Given that Dorcas had a ministry using cloth the wording hits the target so well. Thank you Laura!

    • Karen's Gravatar Karen
      February 27, 2015 - 9:49 am | Permalink

      I was really impressed by the words in the prayer also. Well crafted!

    • February 27, 2015 - 10:08 am | Permalink

      Laura’s write up and the prayer sway me to vote for Dorcas. The modern fellow will probably win, but Dorcas’s story has inspired multitudes of good works done in secret, across the Kingdom.

      • February 27, 2015 - 10:45 am | Permalink

        I wish I could claim the prayer was my writing, but that comes from elsewhere. I too think it is beautifully crafted. Thank you to whomever wrote it.

  27. Linda Hollis's Gravatar Linda Hollis
    February 27, 2015 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Frederick Douglas continued Dorcas’ ministry.

  28. Alec Clement's Gravatar Alec Clement
    February 27, 2015 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    Douglass seems to have an Old Testament flavor..and his triumph over adversity coupled with his deep faith creates a powerful picture

  29. Margery's Gravatar Margery
    February 27, 2015 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    As a young girl growing up in Alberta, I witnessed the involvement of our Anglican congregation (then St Martin’s) in the creation of a beautiful hooked carpet for the entire sanctuary of our new church building. It was designed by my father, the Rector, and several other creative parishioners. In addition, there was an extraordinary group of women needle crafters (including my mother) who made the vestments & liturgical hangings. They collectively called themselves the Dorcus Guild.
    I have been a needlecrafter (embroidery, needlepoint, crochet & knitting) all my life. So Dorcus has woven her way through my life. This little known, barely mentioned faithful woman referenced in Acts has informed my life and ministry. I have made over 2 dozen prayer shawls given to others in need and have been blessed a thousand times over for it.
    While I have tremendous respect & admiration for Frederick Douglass, had he not been pitted against so mighty a simple, faithful woman, I would surely have voted for him!

    • Jen Tarling's Gravatar Jen Tarling
      February 28, 2015 - 3:50 am | Permalink

      This is a well-thought out position, and one with which I concur.

  30. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    February 27, 2015 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    I really need to read Douglass’ writings, I see now. An amazing man who definitely gets my vote today.

  31. Alan Christensen's Gravatar Alan Christensen
    February 27, 2015 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    That picture of Douglass should be on our money. After reading the comments in favor of Dorcas, though, i may have to go with her.

  32. Barbara Ross's Gravatar Barbara Ross
    February 27, 2015 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    I too was moved by Laura’s lovely prayer for Dorcas, although my vote goes to Frederick Douglass for the great work he helped to accomplish on behalf of enslaved African-Americans and other minorities.

  33. Sheila Wheltle's Gravatar Sheila Wheltle
    February 27, 2015 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    I voted for Dorcas because……..Dorcas was the name of my favorite bride in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, played by Julie Newmar. See? There is a variety of reasons for how we cast our votes! Sheer Madness in that reasoning but that’s why I love Lent Madness!

  34. February 27, 2015 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    Nothing against the man, his story is inspiring (to say the least) but since when was Fredrick Douglass a saint?

    • Susan Comer's Gravatar Susan Comer
      February 27, 2015 - 9:31 am | Permalink

      All of us are saints of God. Some of us are more saintly than others…

      • February 27, 2015 - 10:15 am | Permalink

        From “About Lent Madness”, ” In seeking a fun, engaging way for people to learn about the men and women comprising the Church’s Calendar of Saints”

        So is Douglass part of the Church’s Calendar of Saints?

  35. Cheryl Parris's Gravatar Cheryl Parris
    February 27, 2015 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    Sadly, we were not told a full story about Mr. Douglass. As someone who lived in Rochester (Bexley Hall!!!!), I learned about some of Frederick Douglass’ marital drama.

    “Anna Douglass, Frederick’s wife, was somewhat older than Frederick and illiterate, was als ill much of the time. She shared little of her husband’s intellect or interests, and seemed unable to cope with the large household.

    Assing, on the other hand, was a passionate abolitionist, was politically astute, and contributed a great deal to Douglass’ work. The affair was never confined to the domestic sphere, and it was never a secret. For most of their 26 year friendship, when apart, Frederick and Ottilie weekly wrote each other. Assing was confident that, upon Anna’s death, Douglass would marry her. Oh, bitter news! He wed another woman – white, bright and 20 years his junior. Heartbroken and ill with breast cancer, Assing walked into a park, opened a tiny vial and swallowed the potassium cyanide within. Still Ottilie left Frederick Douglass as the sole heir in her will.”

    • Linda Maloney's Gravatar Linda Maloney
      February 27, 2015 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Ah, how sad and how contemporary! How many of the male supporters of women’s rights in general are oblivious to the callousness of their treatment of the particular women in their lives. Though Douglass was a women’s rights advocate before the Civil War, when it came to passage of the Fourteenth Amendment he chose his fellow black men to the exclusion of all women, saying “this is the Negro’s hour.” (I believe the quotation is attributed to him; if not, I stand corrected, but he shared the sentiment. Note that “the Negro” = males only.) In any case, and despite my admiration for Douglass’s many achievements, my vote goes to Dorcas, a woman in solidarity.

    • Beth Ann Maier's Gravatar Beth Ann Maier
      February 27, 2015 - 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Proving that “Every saint has a past…”

    • Lesley Hildrey's Gravatar Lesley Hildrey
      February 27, 2015 - 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Thank you. That sorts my difficult decision out then- I’m for Dorcas!

    • Megan's Gravatar Megan
      February 27, 2015 - 9:27 pm | Permalink

      That clinches it. I couldn’t decide at all, thinking we had a situation where one saint may have inspired another, who then carried on her good work. But I’m going against Douglass, based on this story. Dorcas gets my vote!

  36. Barbara from St. Barnabas's Gravatar Barbara from St. Barnabas
    February 27, 2015 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    My vote goes to Douglass! I knew and had admired his work as an abolitionist. I did not know that he also had a deep Christian faith & that he served as the leader/preacher of a church! I also was not aware that he advocated not just for African Americans, but also for Native Americans and women. My admiration for him has grown – after reading today’s story about him!

  37. Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
    February 27, 2015 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    I chose Frederick Douglass on my bracket, but after reading Dorcas’ bio and about Christine CO’s wonderful Mother, I have changed my vote to Dorcas as representative of all those quiet women who over the centuries have needlepointed kneelers, ironed the fair white linens, polished the brass, kept the nurseries, birthed and raised the future priests in the faith, including my own precious Mother: organist, altar guilder, Sunday School teacher, flower arranger, Girl Scout leader, teacher, and in a second career, wife of a priest.

  38. Ann E's Gravatar Ann E
    February 27, 2015 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    As a Maryland resident, I am pleased to give my vote today to Frederick Douglass, a saint who overcame so much tribulation and suffering, who worked for the welfare and dignity of all peoples, treasured education and taught responsibility.

  39. Lee Greenawalt's Gravatar Lee Greenawalt
    February 27, 2015 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    Although my mother diligently displayed the saintly spirit of Dorcas in the ladies group by that name, I must vote for Douglas as a clear example of courage and perseverance and even a miracle , going from slavery to leadership in salvation of body and souls for all, including Native Americans and women.

  40. Melanie Barbarito's Gravatar Melanie Barbarito
    February 27, 2015 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    Having grown up in Rochester and visited the grave site of Frederick Douglas, I had to vote for him. Kind of missing my home state . . . no better reason than that to choose him over the worthy disciple, Dorcas.

  41. Kim Forbes's Gravatar Kim Forbes
    February 27, 2015 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    I went with Fredrick Douglass because I admire the personal call to holiness, the physical, spiritual and intellectual courage it took to do all he did, and the South Coast Massachusetts connection. (I had no idea he lived for a while in New Bedford.)

  42. Kathy Hartley's Gravatar Kathy Hartley
    February 27, 2015 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    We always read part of Frederick Douglass’ autobiography in my US History class, and the kids are always blown away when I tell them that my church honors him as a saint. It is so cool. I love his focus on :individual holiness”.

  43. Dr. Dorothy's Gravatar Dr. Dorothy
    February 27, 2015 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    As important as our country’s struggle for racial equality is and how much admiration I have for brave persons who have led us toward the right, Dorcas’s life and relife is a foundational part of our faith story. Dorcas is the ONLY woman called a disciple in the NT, the first resurrection among believers after Jesus’s ascension, and a beloved pillar of the church. She is a an oft overlooked saint for the ages. Dorcas, Dorcas, Dorcas !!!

  44. Bonnie Thacker Lloyd's Gravatar Bonnie Thacker Lloyd
    February 27, 2015 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    While Frederick Douglass had many admirable qualities–I must vote for Dorcas. Her quiet and faithful devotion to DOING something feeds my deacon’s heart. Not that many women are celebrated in the Bible–so I will support those faithful female disciples!

  45. Mary Angela Brinton's Gravatar Mary Angela Brinton
    February 27, 2015 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    Yes, Douglas was out there, rallying the troups, preaching God’s ways, but there is something to be said for the quiet, steady Word spoken in deed by the countless that also serve who stand and wait.

  46. Cheryle's Gravatar Cheryle
    February 27, 2015 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    I was tempted to vote for Dorcas, largely because I’m an underdog kind of person, but also because her story is compelling in its simplicity and brevity. However, Frederick Douglass has to have my vote. As recently as four generations ago, my ancestors held people in slavery and it was the strength and perseverance of Douglass and others who followed his example that helped to bring it to an end. I have enormous admiration for the man and all he did. That he also worked for equality for Native Americans and women adds to his appeal.

  47. Brian Perkins's Gravatar Brian Perkins
    February 27, 2015 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Again, I am faced with a choice where there are no bad options. I love it. Peter did not raise many people from the dead, so clearly the man chosen by Christ to found his church felt strongly that this was worthy and the right thing to do. On the other hand, you have a modern Christian who had an enormous impact on a country that had wandered astray and was leading a sanctioned national sin. A light had to be focused, and it was no easy thing to do it. And those who suffer greatly, but remain compassionate Christians who lead and give throughout a lifetime are our among most worthy examples. These are great saints, and a worthy matchup. Go Christians!

  48. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    February 27, 2015 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Gender should not be an issue here. It seems to me, however, there are plenty of women (and men, too) who engage in wonderful acts of charity and kindness and who would NEVER be recognized by being on this list. Being mentioned in the Bible hardly makes one qualified either. Dorcas may have done things that qualify her as a saint, we just don’t know a whole lot about her. But I am left with no reason to especially single her out here. Yes, she is a great symbol for women in the church, as are Phoebe and Lydia, but what did she really do that makes her stand out? I did vote for Frederick Douglass because I know a lot about what he did for African-Americans, Native Americans, and women, he did something that was unique as an African-American and ex-slave: daring to speak out for human rights when doing so for a black man was dangerous, even after the Civil War! My vote is most certainly not a vote against women in the church. I have voted for women here, but there has to be a reason for voting for someone more than just because the person is a woman. I just don’t think there is enough, given what little we know, to vote for Dorcas. There clearly is for Frederick Douglass!

  49. February 27, 2015 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    Wow, it’s hard to say who the under dog is in this match up. A female who is barely mentioned in scripture and in an era when women were mostly (institutionally) powerless verses a slave who rose above the torture of his captivity to become a powerful agent of liberation. Hmmm…I’m predicting a win for Douglas so in that case, I have to vote for Dorcas/Tabitha. Sheesh…this is hard!

  50. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    February 27, 2015 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    I wanted to vote for Dorcas (the name of the saintly wife of my saintly junior high band instructor, both of whom have halos awaiting them), especially for the quiet grace of her ministry and the importance of her story, but Douglass won me over with his tireless efforts to uplift all humanity.

  51. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    February 27, 2015 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    I am honored to cast my vote for Dorcas, a true Disciple.

  52. Anne's Gravatar Anne
    February 27, 2015 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    Douglass was extraordinary. he inspired so many in so many ways, was able to speak truth to power. Ancestors of mine were among his many friends in the Rochester area who supported his works, and that led me to read more about a person who until then had been a single line in a school history book. I am still in awe.

  53. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    February 27, 2015 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    My vote is with Dorcas. I have been fascinated with her ever since I first read about her in the

  54. Michele's Gravatar Michele
    February 27, 2015 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    I voted for Dorcas. Sometimes those who work in small quiet ways do the most astounding work for the kingdom which may or may not be noticed in their time.

  55. John Colón's Gravatar John Colón
    February 27, 2015 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    My first year doing Lent Madness and this is proving to be much tougher than I had imagined.

  56. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    February 27, 2015 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    Being a loyal GFS member, I have to go with Dorcas.

  57. shawn's Gravatar shawn
    February 27, 2015 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    I was going to vote for FD but if it is true that he was having affairs and did not repent them to have a change of heart and lifestyle, then I would not consider him a saint or a person who’s footsteps I would like to walk in. I am going to do some research on this but in the meantime I think I will vote for Dorcas for “rising up out of an impossible situation” and living a life praising God with her gifts.

  58. Solange De Santis's Gravatar Solange De Santis
    February 27, 2015 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    Sorry, Dorcas. For me, it’s Douglass all the way.

  59. Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
    February 27, 2015 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    Douglass is one of those represented in the National Women’s Center visitor lobby statue in Seneca Falls; he spoke at the first Women’s Rights Convention. A magnificent person indeed.

  60. Jeff Sharp's Gravatar Jeff Sharp
    February 27, 2015 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    “Douglass believed that individual holiness was essential to the reformation of society’s morals and the work of abolitionists”

  61. Anne Tanner's Gravatar Anne Tanner
    February 27, 2015 - 10:49 am | Permalink

    Once again we seem to be going for modern-day politics instead of weighing the attributes of the candidates. Any woman candidate is better than any male candidate, in the eyes of these voters. That is sad, and it very much takes away from the joy of Lent Madness–at least for me.

  62. Lea's Gravatar Lea
    February 27, 2015 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    As much as I respect Mr. Douglas and all he did, I’m sticking with the women of the early church. They get no respect and are mentioned, if at all, in a few paltry lines. Phooey on that!

  63. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    February 27, 2015 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    Difficult as voting in these matchups are, it’s more difficult to be a saint with name recognition, whose influence is acknowledged widely here on earth. Dorcas and Douglass are two such. My mother was a hidden saint in the line of Dorcas; Douglass’ powerful testimony to the hunger and thirst for justice (the virtue of love in action) speaks to the needs of my wounded nation. His failings in his marital relations were sinful, as were those of Martin Luther King, whose effigy now graces a portal of Westminster Abbey: if one can’t be a sinner and a saint both, a lot of us are in serious trouble! I voted for Douglass, but I hope to serve the nearby needy like faithful Dorcas.

    • Judy Newblom's Gravatar Judy Newblom
      February 27, 2015 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Well said, John!

    • pHil's Gravatar pHil
      February 27, 2015 - 5:08 pm | Permalink

      All said, 31% of the vote’s not too bad for someone who “was dead for most of the time” of their biblical appearance.

  64. Diane Norton's Gravatar Diane Norton
    February 27, 2015 - 11:19 am | Permalink

    I like her.

  65. tony.lubong's Gravatar tony.lubong
    February 27, 2015 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    Although Dorcas has my vote (what a beautifully written colllect!), I cast it with a much greater appreciation for Douglas (I look forward to reading his autobiography).

  66. Marney's Gravatar Marney
    February 27, 2015 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    I’m going with Dorcas. The idea of rising out of an impossible situation is appealing, although I suppose one could say FD did also, but he didn’t do needlework.

  67. February 27, 2015 - 11:28 am | Permalink

    I love them both but freedom for all wins over pretty vestments.

  68. Edna's Gravatar Edna
    February 27, 2015 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    Another tough choice today–thought about this all morning and finally decided to go with Dorcas, a disciple of the early church whose work and faith has received so little attention as compared with Douglass and so many other faithful and inspiring saints who have followed (also don’t want to break my oft times pattern of voting for the underdog).

  69. Peggy Floyd's Gravatar Peggy Floyd
    February 27, 2015 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    Douglass today!

  70. Peggy Floyd's Gravatar Peggy Floyd
    February 27, 2015 - 11:34 am | Permalink


  71. Sallie's Gravatar Sallie
    February 27, 2015 - 11:37 am | Permalink

    I thought Julia (9 yr old) would choose Douglass, but she surprised me by going for Dorcas. She felt that being raised from the dead was a more saintly thing to do. As I thought about the choice, I realized that Dorcas can be one of my exemplar saints–since I am retired, I spend a lot of time knitting socks and sweaters for children in extremely cold climates (and currently, for Syrian refugees). I am following Dorcas, and I didn’t know it! Since one of the reasons for naming a saint is to point out examples of holy behavior and dedication, I think Dorcas has won this one, whether or not she gets the most votes.

  72. Priscilla's Gravatar Priscilla
    February 27, 2015 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    I almost voted without reading. Dorcas has always been special to me.

  73. Patti Blaine's Gravatar Patti Blaine
    February 27, 2015 - 11:51 am | Permalink

    This Rochesterian voted for Dorcas.

  74. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    February 27, 2015 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    Altbough long a suppoter of Frederick Douglass, I decided to go with Dorcas today. No doubt she went about her days as many of us do -tending to the business of the day and attempting to remain faithful in the process. Maybe its my love for the underdog or the fact that I had a friend in my past actually named Dorcas-either way she is my sentimental favorite today. Girl power!

  75. Michelle Pittenger's Gravatar Michelle Pittenger
    February 27, 2015 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Dorcas. I have great respect for Frederick Douglass. And all saints have very human failings. Some of our most revered Church fathers were extremely misogynistic and anti-semitic.

  76. February 27, 2015 - 12:24 pm | Permalink

    2.27.2015 [Frederick Douglass]

    holiness, difference
    a personal connection

    you taught, cared
    and fought
    for the change that
    would bring changes

    Blessings to you
    and for us
    in the wisdom
    of your choosing.

    Friday in 1Lent

  77. Vicky's Gravatar Vicky
    February 27, 2015 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I wish I had written yesterday, about Bede, but I’m going to start to jump in.
    I think if Dorcas is mentioned at all in the mainly man-centric Bible, then she must have been much more important than we will ever know. As one of the first disciples, when following Christ was a new and frightening act of faith, she has my vote.

  78. February 27, 2015 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Let me be the first to nominate Spock for next year’s Lent Madness. Yes, I know he’s not a saint, but…
    RIP Spock.

    • Lea's Gravatar Lea
      February 28, 2015 - 10:15 am | Permalink

      Indeed. He brought much amusement and entertainment to the masses and for one half hour at a time helped us forget ourselves and enjoy other cultures and personalities. RIP Spock, you deserve it if anyone does.

  79. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    February 27, 2015 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Another difficult decision, but I’m going with the underdog (again). There’s plenty of information about Frederick and the great things he did for the equality of all disenfranchised people. I was really glad to hear more about Dorcas and to reflect on those who “rise up from the impossible places in our lives, praising you and emboldened to continue the ministries to which you have called us.”

  80. Jennifer B-C Seaver's Gravatar Jennifer B-C Seaver
    February 27, 2015 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Since I feel dead most of the time, myself, I have to cast a vote for Dorcas.

  81. Rich's Gravatar Rich
    February 27, 2015 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    looks like the top seeds are dominating the first round.

  82. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    February 27, 2015 - 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I identify with Dorcas because on numerous occasions, when my life was in grave danger, God stepped in and snatched me back from the edge. I have loved and served God and God’s people as best I could, but do not know why I have been so preserved. I am very grateful, and happy to continue my (much quieter) life as a retired clergy women. I vote for Dorcas, and hope to see her in Heaven.

  83. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    February 27, 2015 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Frederick Douglass. I never realized before how little we know about some of the people in the Bible. At least there were no ravenous seals. Being raised from the dead seems rather humdrum by comparison.

  84. Robert's Gravatar Robert
    February 27, 2015 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Frederick Douglass was a great, great man and one of the people I most admire in history. However, I somehow don’t think he really fits into the theme of Lent Madness. Dorcas was of so respected that Peter traveled from another town just to see her body. Besides, how many times did Frederick Douglass rise from the dead? : )

  85. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    February 27, 2015 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Dorcas is a reminder that women’s work is never done, but I had to go with Frederick Douglas because he has been neglected over the years. Hard choice.

  86. Mary W's Gravatar Mary W
    February 27, 2015 - 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I contually struggle in general with the fact that more recent saints tend to have more concrete facts and history, and thus votes are biased for them when pitted against more historical saints because “I don’t believe half/any of that stuff about so-and-so, so I’m voting for the one with the FACTS!” I’m also struggling in particular with today’s vote. I’m inclined to vote for Frederick Douglass, because with his social justice work he seems to have more ‘action’ for Christ in his life. However, is that true? Dorcas’ actions of charity may not have been as broadly reaching geographically, but it was action nonetheless, and the people who knew her had enough admiration for it to get Peter to raise her from the dead, AND get her a rare, for women, mention in the bible. I’m going to have to think about it some more.

  87. Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
    February 27, 2015 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    This was another amazing set of Saints. Not sure it was as difficult as some, but it did require some thoughtful prayer. I finally chose Frederick Douglass after reading about his desire to help African Americans and Women. Both did exceptional things, but that line really grabbed me. Thank you SEC for once again making Lent Madness think.

  88. Kris Austin's Gravatar Kris Austin
    February 27, 2015 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Hard not to vote for one of the first female disciples–but Douglass’ passion for the gospel is incredibly compelling.

  89. February 27, 2015 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

    This was not a tough vote for me… Douglas it is…. I appreciate the small part that Dorcas had in scripture nevertheless, but my friends this is politics. There can be only one golden halo…. by the way, for whatever it matters, I am 8 and O…..

  90. February 27, 2015 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I had an extremely hard time with this vote. How can I possibly pick between one of my all-time favorite “spread the word” Christians and a woman who was one of the very people who actually helped start the earliest “churches” ? I finally picked one of the first who helped bring the marginalized into the family of God, something that Still needs to be done.

  91. Judy Newblom's Gravatar Judy Newblom
    February 27, 2015 - 1:28 pm | Permalink

    This was a difficult one. With Dorcas sewing for the poor and our church sewing prayer quilts for the sick, it is a wonderful ministry especially to one who is fortunate to sew a button back on! FD, however endured so much in his lifetime and never lost his faith. That is what inspired me regardless of his personal shortcomings. I haven’t met a perfect person yet and don’t expect to in this lifetime!

  92. Brenda's Gravatar Brenda
    February 27, 2015 - 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Wow this one is tough. I agree with Mary W. My thoughts are that both Dorcas and Douglass were bold in their individual works and testimonies. I have been vacillating betwen the two. Dorcas has my final vote because she was raised from the dead to continiue her work in the early church. Douglass would not have been able to carry out his God given mission without the foundation of the bible and witnesses like Dorcas.

  93. February 27, 2015 - 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad so many people voted for Dorcas for many of the reasons they mentioned. But I couldn’t not vote for Frederick Douglass. We still need both their examples (except for the how to treat a wife and a long-time partner part and we don’t know what part of Dorcas not to emulate).

  94. Jo's Gravatar Jo
    February 27, 2015 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    The choices for today prompted additional reference research, especially for Dorcas. A pioneer in her time comes to mind for me. She got my vote.

  95. mjk's Gravatar mjk
    February 27, 2015 - 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Having lived for years in the shadow of Notre Dame’s Golden Dome, today I must say, as an Episcopalian, Fr.Ted(Hesburgh, RIP) could easily qualify as one of the saints with whom we have shared this world.

  96. Opus2010's Gravatar Opus2010
    February 27, 2015 - 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Please. Give us a *real* matchup. The “mostly dead” Dorcas vs. Douglass (ok, ok so they are technically all dead at this point)?

  97. February 27, 2015 - 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I thought Dorcas shows us all how to share our faith through our work.

  98. Rhee Howard's Gravatar Rhee Howard
    February 27, 2015 - 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Beautifully written and inspiring Celebrity Blogpost about Dorcas. But I can’t vote against Frederick Douglass.
    It’s not really fair to pit two saints against each other when so much more is known about one of them.

  99. Rhee Howard's Gravatar Rhee Howard
    February 27, 2015 - 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Ha-ha! Bede-down! Well played! 😀

  100. February 27, 2015 - 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Ironic that Dorcas is not doing better considering how well Lydia did in last year’s voting . . .

  101. Robert Corey's Gravatar Robert Corey
    February 27, 2015 - 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m not altogether sure why I couldn’t vote for Douglass. Many other matchups, I probably would. I guess I think of him in terms of pigs on hind feet, eating with knife and fork in the company of paternalistic scolds. But then, he did transcend that role. Dorcas was just too compelling to allow Douglass the benefit of the doubt. In the embryonic Christian community, she is one of those named, and named as one beloved and exemplary. For all those un-named, I vote Dorcas.

    Douglass has his own un-named companions — refugees on the Underground Railroad, not to mention conductors along the way, and those denied asylum by the Refugee Slave Act (and those free brought into bondage unjustly in the same era). What unknown saints were among them?

  102. Angie's Gravatar Angie
    February 27, 2015 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Dorcas’ charity, beautifully described through her collect, is very powerful. It’s a hard choice today.

  103. Nancy T.'s Gravatar Nancy T.
    February 27, 2015 - 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Douglas is already a secular saint, and well- deservedly so. If Dorcas was mentioned in the Book of Acts, she had to be someone special, indeed. Here’s my vote for Tabitha (much nicer name…) and all otherwise nearly forgotten women.

  104. Andrea Feist's Gravatar Andrea Feist
    February 27, 2015 - 2:59 pm | Permalink

    The collect for Dorcas is lovely, but I am going for FD today. His Narrative is a powerful denunciation of slaveryand a wirness to the dignity of all human beings.

    • Richard Asmussen's Gravatar Richard Asmussen
      February 27, 2015 - 3:09 pm | Permalink

      I must vote for the”Diseiple Dorcas” on this one .

  105. Deb C-V's Gravatar Deb C-V
    February 27, 2015 - 3:13 pm | Permalink

    We know very little about Dorcas, but we know a tremendous amount about Frederick Douglass and his hugely important body of work. I’ve been a fan ever since I read his autobiography in college. He gets my vote, easily.

  106. j's Gravatar j
    February 27, 2015 - 3:15 pm | Permalink

    It is fascinating that Paul relegated these three women to the same chores that so many churches continue to relegate their women members to. Phoebe was a deacon (Rom. 16:1). Lydia, a “dealer in purple cloth”, had to be rich. So her contribution was her fortune, just as now. Dorcas was likely also a deacon as well. She was numbered among the saints in her lifetime.
    But I voted for Douglass, because this is black history month.

    • February 27, 2015 - 3:31 pm | Permalink

      The order of widows were actually considered clergy in the early church –though too many sermons consign them to care recipients alone–and Dorcas was clearly a leading member of it in its nascent form. So I had to vote for her even though Douglass is amazing and scriptural people never trump modern ones!

  107. James Newman's Gravatar James Newman
    February 27, 2015 - 3:33 pm | Permalink

    All “saints” have some mud on their shoes. My vote goes to Douglass.

  108. Carol Amadio's Gravatar Carol Amadio
    February 27, 2015 - 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I sympathize with the position that women are outnumbered and underpraised in the history of the church- I won’t go on and on… But I would like to state that Frederick Douglas was a powerful and persistent advocate for women’s rights including the right to vote. He attended the First Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls New York in Seneca Falls New York in 1848 and eloquently spoke out of the equality of women at a time when men who did do were ridiculed and accused of all manners of weirdness. Shortly after the convention in an issue of North Star he wrote:” In respect to political rights, we hold woman to be justly entitled to all we claim for men..” You can read the remainder of this quotation which ends, “Right is of no sex.” by looking up Frederick Douglass women’s rights advocacy on your friendly internet. Dorcas did get the short straw, as did so many women in the Bible, but Lent Madness is giving us an opportunity to celebrate them and to learn more about them even if that be only a small glimpse of their lives.

  109. Carol Amadio's Gravatar Carol Amadio
    February 27, 2015 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I sympathize with the position that women are outnumbered and underpraised in the history of the church- I won’t go on and on… But I would like to state that Frederick Douglas was a powerful and persistent advocate for women’s rights including the right to vote. He attended the First Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls New York in 1848 and eloquently spoke out on the equality of women at a time when men who did do were ridiculed and accused of all manners of weirdness. Shortly after the convention in an issue of North Star he wrote:” In respect to political rights, we hold woman to be justly entitled to all we claim for men..” You can read the remainder of this quotation which ends, “Right is of no sex.” by looking up Frederick Douglass women’s rights advocacy on your friendly internet. Dorcas did get the short straw, as did so many women in the Bible, but Lent Madness is giving us an opportunity to celebrate them and to learn more about them even if that be only a small glimpse of their lives.

  110. Katherine Schroeder's Gravatar Katherine Schroeder
    February 27, 2015 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Frederick Douglass. Sometimes it’s reassuring to be reminded that being a Christian and being angry about injustice aren’t mutually exclusive.

  111. Mary Lou Creamer's Gravatar Mary Lou Creamer
    February 27, 2015 - 4:35 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t thrilled to see these facing off today. In the end, though, I had to go with the “disciple” in this one. Go Dorcas!

  112. G Rousseau's Gravatar G Rousseau
    February 27, 2015 - 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Social equity and justice win the vote.

  113. Bill Ericson's Gravatar Bill Ericson
    February 27, 2015 - 5:30 pm | Permalink

    i wanted to vote for FD for all the reasons above but voted for Dorcas because my wife said I should and she exhibits all the traits of Dorcas.

  114. Gay Greenleaf's Gravatar Gay Greenleaf
    February 27, 2015 - 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Dorcas in honor of my mother and all the dedicated churchwomen who did so much behind the scenes in the several NYC parishes my family attended in the 1950s and 1960s. They never made the headlines (and were not yet serving on vestries) but their good works and their faithful prayer lives were abundant.

  115. February 27, 2015 - 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Just look at his hair. Douglass is clearly more mad.

  116. James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
    February 27, 2015 - 6:16 pm | Permalink

    My wife already wrote about my mother-in-law, who was a master of needle and thread as few ever attain, and who used her talents always to serve the needs of others.

    There were many Dorcas groups over the decades. I cannot say that I ever, ever heard of a Douglas group.

    The painting attatched to the linked article shows a romanticized picture of a Dorcas group in action, supplying clothing to those in need.

  117. Vicki's Gravatar Vicki
    February 27, 2015 - 6:46 pm | Permalink

    This one is complicated for me on a very personal level. I LOVE Frederick Douglas. He was an incredible person, a beacon of hope in hard times. I’ve read and taught his writings to students who have found in his life an incredible model of courage. And/But, for 4 amazing years i taught at Tabeetha School in Jaffa, named for Dorcas of that fine and ancient town. It’s this incredible school run by the Church of Scotland for over 150 years, that teaches to students of all races, religions and socio-economic groups. It’s living ecumanism and what the UN shoud be, all rolled into one. I learned more than i ever taught there and had a great time. So, despite wanting to vote for one of the bravest guys in American history, i have to push the Dorcas button. You go girl. BTW if anyone is interested in an WONDERFUL school, named for her check out this web site

    • Judith's Gravatar Judith
      February 27, 2015 - 7:02 pm | Permalink

      I’ll look that up–thank you. I voted for Dorcas, giving me a so-far unblemished record of voting for the losing saint each match this year. Dorcas was practical; Dorcas met needs that precede even freedom (what good freedom if you’re cold? hungry?) and I am a fiber-crafter, I knit and spin and sew. Dorcas.

  118. February 27, 2015 - 6:54 pm | Permalink

    I was tempted to vote for Dorcas just to see what else could be written about her if she made it to the next round.
    But as someone originally from northern New York I had to add to the great success we’ve had so far in this madness: David Oakerhater, Molly Brant and now Frederick Douglass.

  119. StPatti's Gravatar StPatti
    February 27, 2015 - 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Tough decision! I admire Dorcas dedication in starting our “new” faith, but I weigh the hurdles Frederick Douglass had to overcome as being greater. He inspired many, also coming from a low rung on the ladder.

  120. Suzanne's Gravatar Suzanne
    February 27, 2015 - 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Not voting….. too hard.

  121. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    February 27, 2015 - 8:23 pm | Permalink

    We are doing a pared-down version of Madness at our parish for Black History Month/Lent. Frederick Douglass beat out Ida B. Wells in the opening round, and is now up “against” MLK in our semi-finals.

  122. February 27, 2015 - 10:12 pm | Permalink

    A tough one today. We know so much more about Douglas but as previously mentioned Dorcas was mentioned in the Bible and modeled charity at a crucial time in church history. She’s part of my Women’s history month unit with the kids so I have to cast my vote with her.

  123. February 27, 2015 - 10:35 pm | Permalink

    I was unable to vote Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Can you only vote on the day of the posting?

    • February 28, 2015 - 2:11 am | Permalink

      Voting for each match up is available for only 24 hours from 8am to 8am EST. So, for this current match up, you have just under six more hours to vote. The next match up is Monday.

  124. Diane HH's Gravatar Diane HH
    February 27, 2015 - 11:17 pm | Permalink

    In honor of all the quilters in our congregations, I’m voting for Dorcas. Is it possible she was the first in a long tradition of women gathered around sewing and good works who appeared to be harmless, but were actually subversively seeking justice for “the least of these”? At least she was known by more than just “Mrs.”; sew God bless all those unknown women!

  125. saskia's Gravatar saskia
    February 27, 2015 - 11:35 pm | Permalink

    Forecast is a perfect example of using the talents God has given you to serve others. This is exactly what God expects for. His disciples. I vote for Dorcas.

  126. ej's Gravatar ej
    February 28, 2015 - 12:52 am | Permalink

    For all Douglas’ rhetoric about supporting women’s suffrage he bolted when given the opportunity for black men to vote he took it. All women were left in the dust. Have to go with Dorcas.

  127. Miss J's Gravatar Miss J
    February 28, 2015 - 2:22 am | Permalink

    Has anyone else noticed that so far the Saint whose hagiography is listed second has been the winner?

    The first shall be last and the last shall be first.

    Live long & prosper \\//_/

  128. Myrna Mai's Gravatar Myrna Mai
    February 28, 2015 - 2:27 am | Permalink

    I always loved Dorcas (I called her Tabitha, her Aramaic name). When I was little and read the Bible story, I thought she must have been a wonderful, helpful person. Now I have a wonderful daughter named Tabitha. I have great admiration for Douglass, but I had to vote for Tabitha (or Dorcas).

  129. Alice Goshorn's Gravatar Alice Goshorn
    February 28, 2015 - 4:22 pm | Permalink

    I am unable to vote – the voting tabulation is what shows, not the voting window. Boo!

  130. Alice's Gravatar Alice
    February 28, 2015 - 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I am not being allowed to vote; first time I’ve had this problem with the site.

  131. Marqua's Gravatar Marqua
    February 28, 2015 - 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I am reading this match-up a day late and I must say that the Collect for Dorcas was beautiful. My ‘saintly’ grandmother was a seamstress and I will remember this Collect in honor of so many that have stitched our lives together with their love.

Comments are closed.