Bernard Mizeki vs. Molly Brant

With yesterday's victory for Brigid of Kildare over Kamehameha IV, 55% to 45%, half the Faithful Four is set. Brigid and Francis are in with two remaining spots up for grabs. Today it's Bernard Mizeki vs. Molly Brant. Tomorrow Frederick Douglass faces Egeria. Things are fast and furious as we race toward the finish line of Lent Madness 2015! Oh, yeah, and Easter.

To get to the Elate Eight, Bernard defeated Margaret of Antioch and Jackson Kemper while Molly bested Swithun and Cuthbert.

Let's face it, some saints are more prone to kitsch than others. We're grateful to those Celebrity Bloggers who have not been dealt low hanging saintly kitsch fruit. Like those advocating for today's saints. Kudos for kitschy kreativity!

mugBernard Mizeki

While not as plentiful as, say, Francis or Brigid saintly kitsch, those seeking South African martyr Bernard Mizeki items are not left completely bereft. If you too want to inspire thousands of people to love God and the Gospel get your Bernard Mcross-carved-tree-12690430izeki t-shirts and mug -- find either in this fashionable design.

Although Bernard was known to be sensitive to the ways of the local Spirit religion, he once angered local religious leaders when he carved crosses into some trees sacred to their ancestral spirits. 

bookStart off the day right with a hot cup of coffee in your Bernard Mizeki mug as you plan out the best way to use wood carving tools to carve out crosses on trees just like Bernard! (Caution: this might anger some folks). 

Tree carving not your thing? Then pick up this wonderful book and learn more about an amazing pioneer of the church.bernard-mizeki

Or hang this beautiful tapestry on your living room wall to remind you that true discipleship means that there will be times where your life will be in danger and instead of running away we must stand our ground and proclaim the Gospel at all costs.

mens guildNever be afraid to solicit information regarding your local Bernard Mizeki Men’s Guild or better yet let us start the Bernard Mizeki Women’s Guild so both male and females can sport this033bebccf577efb3ad58b29997e1a44a lovely badge on our blazers.

Not ready to commit to an organization? Then simply carry with you this payer card with Mizeki's picture and recite the collect for Martyrs to remind you of the courage we all need in order to proclaim the gospel wherever we may be.

-- Nancy Frausto

Molly Brant

440px-Joseph_Brant_by_Gilbert_Stuart,_1786Long before Sheryl Sandberg wrote Lean In and got the internet all abuzz, Molly Brant was already leaning in.

Long before networking became a skill at which extroverts excelled and introverts avoided, Molly Brant was already establishing connections and making deals.

Long before people turned to HGTV and Architectural Digest for design inspiration, Molly Brant was already wowing British and French nobility.

…And long before Route 5S became an often-traveled highway in upstate New York, Molly Windows-Live-Writer-Augusta-Cecconi-Bates-Willow-Wind_122AE-img081_3Brant was walking and riding its dusty paths as a business leader and a mediator.

In short, Molly Brant defies categorization. As one historian wrote, “Molly Brant…did not typify the acceptable metaphor. She was active and pragmatic enough to adapt to the shifting realities of her day…In short, she grew into her own voice, appropriating a role seen by Europeans as a function of masculinity.”

Unlike some of the other wonderful saints featured this season, Molly has not received a great deal of attention or acclaim in American history. No doubt, she made mistakes and was known for her dogged stubbornness and occasional defiance of political norms. She was, however, a woman who lived beyond the cultural, political, and religious limitations of her era. She faithfully integrated her Anglican faith with her Mohawk heritage without confusing the two.

Johnson_Hall_by_HenryWhile criticized for her support of Great Britain during the American War of Independence, such criticism is based on hindsight. Everyone wants to be on the side of the winner, of course! One cannot disregard how Molly and her family were able to create an alliance with the British that helped preserve what remained of Mohawk land and culture. As one scholar noted: “Viewed as a woman of her people, Molly Brant must be viewed as effective if not ultimately successful because she…understood that the Mohawk Valley would inevitably pass from tribal hands…She sought to carry something of the Mohawk/European past into a future stabilized by British military might.”

UnknownMolly was not without a playful side, though. Legend has it that as an older teen Molly drew the attention of her future husband, Sir William Johnson, by jumping out to surprise him from behind his horse during the militia’s muster. She was also known to intrigue dignitaries who visited the family home with her wit, wisdom, and impeccable graciousness as a host.

Long before it becomes too late, cast your vote for the one-of-a-kind Molly Brant.

-- Maria Kane


Bernard Mizeki vs. Molly Brant

  • Molly Brant (59%, 3,010 Votes)
  • Bernard Mizeki (41%, 2,056 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,066

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134 comments on “Bernard Mizeki vs. Molly Brant”

  1. I find Molly Brant to be very intriguing. She was certainly a woman to be reckoned with and her perseverance of her Anglican faith is very admirable. Ability to mediate between differing parties is unusual. That in the midst of raising a family and managing in her husband's absence.

    1. I certainly agree that Molly seems to have held fast to her Anglican faith. I am not certain, though, that her mediation was in any way impartial. She had a dog in the fight and is largely credited w/ policies and efforts that, although claiming to be working toward peace, brought about the near eradication of the Iroquois and actual eradication of their lands. She and her brother Joseph were noted for tactics that were brutal even by the standards of a particularly brutal war. I think Molly is a complicated woman ~ I like your word "intriguing," Judy ~ and over the weeks of Lent Madness have come to think of her as a survivor rather than a saint. I can respect her perspicacity and shrewdness, and her fierce protection of her own, but not her compassion and judiciousness.

      1. Linda,
        I agree with you. I see Molly as someone who tried to protect and advance her family. She may have held to her Anglican faith, but it was not her motivating factor. Bernard was driven to share his faith with all at the risk of his life and that of his family, knowing that by losing his life he would gain eternity. Molly was a product of her time. Bernard is a person to emulate for all time. As for carving crosses onto sacred trees, he challenged the powerful people in the area to make a move, by doing what our church fathers did so many years ago and superimposing Christianity on "pagan" beliefs. So, Bernard it is for me.

    1. oliver i have really enjoyed all your comments! thank you for making lent madness even more fun.

    2. Oliver, weren't you eight years old yesterday? Or am I losing my mind (entirely possible). Whatever, I completely agree with Babzee -- you have made Lent Madness even more fun!

      1. I agree with babzee and Tracey, Oliver! Your comments have really helped make this a special Lent Madness for me. You rock!!!!!

      1. I respect your vote and especially appreciate the clarification regarding the Mohawk nation, Jane ~ thank you for that! But I gotta say, I don't share your characterization of Molly: pragmatic ~ yes! Peace-seeking ~ no, indeed quite brutal. A rebel with a cause ~ only her own. I try not to vote against candidates, and to be open to what is said about them as I go along b/c of them have saintly qualities from which I can learn, but I have completely missed the charm of Molly Brant, and her saintliness, throughout LM. Sorry!

        1. I couldn't agree more. While the quirkiness of Lent Madness is part of its appeal, the voting patterns often leave me with a serious case of the blahs.

      2. I'm with you, Anne! This "kitsch" stuff turns me right off!
        And while I'm at it: we were all 7 once I would think! Let Oliver be his own "man!"
        And I can't decide yet between Molly and Bernard

    3. Dear Oliver,
      I have looked forwarding to hearing your thoughts during this L. Madness as much as I have learning about these wonderful saints! May this new year of your life in Christ be filled with Grace and Joy,

      1. Thank you all for your comments!!!!!!!! Oliver and I have LOVED this opportunity to explore these amazing people of history and connect with the amazing people voting on Lent Madness. Every morning it is the first thing he things of and today he shared Lent Madness to his first grade class.

    4. Oliver - I join with the others to say, "thank you!" I look forward to your comments each day as much as to Lent Madness itself.

  2. Bernard, because he was a champion of the Christian faith who paid the ultimate price and I think the mug is stellar!

  3. Why I am in awe of how Bernard Mizeki lived and died, the upstate New Yorker in me has to vote for Molly Brant! I have heard about her since I was little.

  4. I just have to love a Christian missionary who was respectful of the local traditions and found ways to preach the Gospel that fit in with those local traditions instead of trying to stamp them out. Mizeki for me today.

  5. While Molly seems to have been a faithful Anglican, it's hard for me to see her as a great saint. Bernard, on the other hand, was (as TJ nicely puts it) a "champion of the faith" and a martyr. He has my vote today.

  6. Molly Brant made deals but Bernard Mizeki was a martyr for his faith. No contest. Saint Bernard for me!

  7. Yep, Bernard's overwhelming trust in God, care for his people, and ultimate martyrd--plus the dances and celebrations of thousands today compel me to vote for him. Plus he has great kitsch! Love the mug

  8. Where is Oliver when I need his voice?
    Because I fear I may not remember in time I must vote now. Despite Molly ' s colorful portrait I am choosing Bernard who was martyred (and whose remains are a mystery
    Plus I would love to have that wall hanging as well as to see an African saint represented in the Saintly Four.

  9. Molly was a powerful and steadfast mediator between the Brits and the Natives. She deserves some R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for her abilities to sacrifice and compromise.

    1. As the Canadian author of a soon to be released biography of Molly Brant, I agree that her qualities were admirable but that she was never a saint. While researching her life, I was surprised how little is known of her story, even in central New York State. She was chatelaine of Johnson Hall, Sir William's manor house, and it was there that their eight children were born, and yet it almost as if she never existed.

    1. Oh, I have to agree on this, sacred trees are not to be messed with, even if you don't agree with why they are sacred.

  10. I just have to note how cool it is that the bracket reflects so much diversity and gender equality. It helps us to see that we truly are all equal in God's Kingdom and can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

  11. I have to go with Bernard. I feel as if Molly Brant's life story shows poor discernment not only as a Royalist but as the consort of a man reputed to have dozens of children by numerous women not to mention the fact he wasn't particularly liked and purchased lots of slave labor to do his work. That doesn't make her a bad person, it just doesn't make her a saint in my opinion.

    1. What a great idea, Gloria!
      Maybe I ought to get a set of Golden Halo mugs for our coffee hours.

  12. No offense to the hard-working CBs, but neither of today's candidates have particularly intriguing kitsch!

  13. Molly's got my vote! Pragmatic, peace-seeking, and a rebel (the level-headed kind) with a cause.
    At the risk of seeming picky, it must be pointed out here that Maria Kane's otherwise thoughtful synopsis indicates that Molly was "American". She was, in fact, a Mohawk. And First Nations people do not fall into "American" or "Canadian" categories. The painting above of the house depicts the ancestral home, Chiefswood, in Brantford, Ontario, where her brother Joseph was the Mohawk chief. And the plaque in the photo is a Province of Ontario historical plaque. "North American" would have been a more inclusive term to use for Molly. That said, she is highly honoured in Canada, unlike in the States where she has only recently been recognized.

    1. Excellent point: the Mohawk of course have never recognized the US-Canada border, which runs right through their community of Akwesasne, and their right of free passage has been recognized in the Jay Treaty, though often disregarded.

    2. Good points, Jane C., about being Mohawk and also having Canadian ties. The painting, however, is of Johnson Hall in Johnstown, NY. Chiefswood is Italianate style and was not built until 1853.

  14. I am following young Oliver's lead today and voting for Molly. Oliver is just too darned cute.

  15. I continue to be mystified of the votes for a slave-owning, british- sympathizer, I see in the comments appreciation for her pragmatic, mediating ways. Only if pragmatic=self serving, this vs someone martyred for their faith, again the rationale is completely befuddling. Was she a good person (I am not even sure of that), but against Bernard, no question who should win.

    1. I continue to be mystified by our preference for "dying for the faith." I would like to believe that if I were ever held at sword point for being a Christian, I would throw my faith back in my captors' faces as an ultimate act of defiance; but I don't kid myself that's a sign of "faith" on my part. In reality, I think I'd wimp out to live another day. In any event, being glorified for dying a martyr's death holds no attraction, and I am always suspicious about those who are glorified as martyrs. None of which is meant to take anything away from Bernard M.'s faith or his many accomplishments on earth.

      1. It is his willingness to die his faith, that I find to be admirable, to me there could be no more indication of belief, than your willingness to give your life for it.

    2. While I'm kind of blown away by your comment, I appreciate how up front you are about a sentiment that seems to be below the surface of many comments - that good judgment means accepting the American political order, and those of us who are Canadians, Jamaicans, Spaniards, Swedes, Dutch, Thai, etc. and comfortable with our own systems demonstrate "poor discernment."

      Molly may not have "discerned" which side would win the war - or she may have (as I have been during Lent Madness) made her choices without any such calculation or speculation - but to echo your conclusion, that doesn't make one less of a saint.

      1. I think her lack of good judgment (the term used here) has little to do with which side won the war, or whether she was a loyalist or not, or with whom her husband may have consorted ~ in my mind, the negative is lack compassion and judiciousness in dealing with the various Indian tribes (other than her own). She was a pragmatist, and cold-eyed one at that. I don't find much saintly about her and I find little in her that I want to emulate or that helps me practice my faith a little more . . . faithfully!

    3. This is the World Wide Web: not all of us are American and to many of us "British" is not a four-letter word!

      1. Amen--this is also, and more importantly, the worldwide communion of faith. One's nationality is not a criterion for sainthood, y'all!

        1. My problem with molly brandt's sympathizing with the british, was that it was at the expense of her own people, along with the fact, it is in addition to the fact that she owned slaves, together, this illustrates a pattern of less than saintly thoughts and behaviors.

        2. And not all of us who are Americans think that British or Iranian or Spanish or Whatever are four-letter words. I've been dismayed at the display of other-phobia that has proliferated around Molly matchups.

  16. Initially I thought I'd vote for Bernard but the write up on Molly was so well done, I changed my mind. Both saints were unknown to me and equally admirable. This is getting more fun everyday!