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. Jane C---The house in the painting looks a lot like Johnson Hall in Johnstown, NY, complete with the two blockhouses, and the painting appears on the Johnson Hall Wikipedia page. I also voted for Molly Brant because of my Saratoga County upbringing...although well aware that Native American behavior during the pre- and Revolutionary War period was not always exemplary (poor Jane McCrea)...

    1. Mark--OnceSevenYearsOld--Yes, I think you are correct. Not unusual (but perhaps lacking in architectural creativity!) both Chiefswood and Johnson Hall are almost identical. Chiefswood was in fact the home of George Johnson, one of Molly Brant's children, who became a Mohawk chief. He and his wife had children of their own, one of whom was E. Pauline Johnson, a celebrated poet who used her native identity to celebrate and promote First Nations cultures. Thanks for pointing out Johnson Hall to me, and allowing me to correct my error!

      1. Um. If you say so. Johnson Hall is a pretty classic Colonial/Georgian/Federal 5-bay and the pictures of Chiefswood show a 3-bay Italianate with projecting middle bay, much-smaller house. But it's all good. I learned about a new historical site in Canada of which I had never heard before, and I got to read about Johnson Hall again, which I hadn't visited since I was a kid. God bless those saints.

  2. Though I crossed the Mohawk River (and the Erie Canal - "Low bridge, everybody down!") every day through my 18th year, I've going with the one who counted the full cost of discipleship. In May, when I get to Cape Town where our son is studying (or not, according to the FB photos) at UCT this semester, I hope to visit the Bernard Mizeki Centre to offer greetings to fellow diocesan staffers. Dioceses don't name their offices after just anybody, you know.

  3. While Molly's pragmatism may have served her very well Bernard's kitsch served him better. I was not familiar with either of these saints before and having been introduced to them both consider myself the winner!

  4. I didn't know Anglicans/Episcopalian's had prayer cards! Really? (I assume there was a typo, or perhaps there's yet another stewardship technique to explore.)

    Despite the marvelous kitsch, Molly's pragmatic approach to living in the world is a strong recommendation to advance her in the "Madness."

  5. Not too kitchy people today… probably because a closer-to-home martyr, and a British sympathizer during the Revolutionary war, don't immediately translate into cutesy cutout toys.
    Bernard for me.

    1. Well, Len, once again we vote on the opposite side. Wandering through the Mohawk Valley on our way to the Adirondcks, we visited Johnson's mansion, which is where I first learned about Molly. The house is well worth anyone's visit.

  6. Very very tough. I've voted for both all the way through. They were both new to me and I fell in love with both for very different reasons. Molly's a woman after my own heart. Bernard's a man to be honored and emulated. Oliver not withstanding it's Bernard for me today.

  7. Bernard Mizecki for me, definitely. Even aside from the martyrdom, I could never vote for Molly Brant because of the slave-holding issue, and I fervently hope she doesn't advance.

    Prospects look pretty dim, though, I have to say....

  8. This is the original Jane C. I don't know who the other Jane C is.
    Perhaps there is some Musical Kitsch. Maybe Little Richard was singing about the Molly described above: "defies categorization", "did not typify the acceptable metaphor, "grew into her own voice.” Good Golly Miss Molly!
    From the early, early mornin' till the early, early night
    You can see miss Molly rockin' at the house of blue light.
    Good golly, miss Molly, sure like to ball.
    When you're rockin' and a rollin' can't hear your momma call.

    1. Oh very good, Original Jane C!!! You gave me a good chuckle, on that one. Still voting for Bernard, but that was funny!

  9. Both of these saints were new to me this year, so in addition to the fun, I thank you for the education!

    Today, despite my ancestors having fought on the opposite side, I have cast my vote for "Molly of the Mohawks," just because it rolls off the tongue so easily!

  10. Molly was bold and determined on behalf of her people; Bernard's passion was focused on Jesus and the Gospel. Different times and circumstances, and I vote for Bernard.

  11. You got me at "dogged stubbornness and occasional defiance of political norms."
    Molly is my girl!

  12. I have to vote for Molly, for her strength as a person, as a leader and negotiator, and as a Native woman who stood tall and proud

  13. Bernard, Molly, and Oliver too make me proud to be a Christian!
    Come Easter, I'm going to miss you, Oliver. I'm a bit confused as to when your birthday is, but I can tell you that your comments make each of these 40 days happier for me! Thank you, Young Mister O!

  14. How clever Ms original Jane C! And little Richard has the emotional tembre in his voice that is befitting for a woman that I'm sure must have been the inspiration for many emotional tirades.

  15. Though a staunch believer in women's rights--and responsibilities--something draws me to Bernard today. And it wasn't just because Molly didn't really have any kitsch, poor thing.
    Maybe it was the icon on the mug that did it; I've sure seen other icons of modern saints written by this same artist--Martin of Birmingham, Harvey Milk, etc.

  16. I voted for Bernard because I believe I read previously that Molly went over to the British side during the Revolutionary War.

    1. What do you mean "because"? We are voting for saints: nationality or partisan affiliation are not a reason to vote one way or another.

  17. Those whom I've felt most passionate about have fallen by the wayside. I'm struggling with getting up any energy for any still left in the race. This has resulted in my switching some loyalties as we move along. Molly has not appealed to me in past rounds, nor has Mizekei, though I supported him last round. Today, however, I'm more drawn to the "warrior woman"(love that portrait) turned "mother of many" sharing her wit and wisdom with her people as well as with all those dignitaries. I'm glad she found her voice. I love the beautiful church in Kingston, Ontario. She might even give Francis a challenge! So Molly it is. Great write up today! And hooray for Oliver and his neat thoughts each day!

  18. I must assume that there is a tournament for choosing the greatest American citizen at some web site with a similar URL, given the number of commenters who have stumbled in here thinking that this is that contest. I would ask them to please leave those of us who are here to learn about the saints for their sainthood to get on with it, and start their own website if they wish to debate their civic virtues.

  19. Molly Brant is a fascinating woman, and learning about her life has challenged me to recognize that even saints sometimes make mistakes.

    I had a college professor who pointed out that in most (if not all) major battles in history, the winning side thought that God was on their side, but the losing side thought the same thing. Maybe God is with everyone.

    Brant chose the losing side in a war, but that merely adds to the tragedy of her life and shows what great character she had in the way she survived that defeat and continued working for her communities, British and Mohawk. Brant also owned slaves, which is a sin, but all of us sin one way or another. She made mistakes, but she also helped navigate the Iroquois through a difficult time in history.

    Brant's work as ambassador between Mohawk/ Iroquois and British helped to make Canada, and the United States, the great nations that they are today.

    Now we can be friends, and completely forget about the time that the future United States citizens defeated the British in the American Revolution, and we can forget about that other time the United States defeated the British in the War of 1812.

    I have great respect for a woman whose diplomacy skills far surpass my own.

  20. I am very sorry to see that Molly is so far ahead of Bernard in the early voting, and I am trying to console myself with the thought that surely St. Francis will prevail in the next round even if Bernard does not prevail in this round. Bernard's life is much more saintly than Molly's by any conventional measure, and it seems to me that many voters are letting the romance of a beautiful Indian woman who converted to the Anglican faith cloud their judgment.

    As I noted in my comments on the last round, it is easy to understand why the Mohawks sided with the British, and one can't let that fact alone disqualify Molly from consideration. Nevertheless, the Mohawks employed means of warfare that are as un-Christian as one could imagine. A band of Mohawks under Joseph Brant (Molly's brother, to whom she was very close) entered the schoolroom of my great-great-great-grandfather's older brother, a lame young man who couldn't fight in the war because of his disability, and scalped him, probably in front of his pupils, who probably included my great-great-great-grandfather. In my mind, this type of warfare, committed after the Brants converted, is far different from killing enemy soldiers with a musket on the battlefield.

    1. Although scalping horrifies most people, it is no more than a way of collecting proof of a killing. Other cultures collected heads or hands. And those who are disrespecting Molly for owning slaves are forgetting that slavery was the world-wide norm until recently. Nevertheless, I am more attracted to Bernard's saintly efforts.

  21. I guess I'm just an old grump--the opposite of Oliver. The whole idea of voting for kitsch turns me off. There--now I feel better!

  22. I'm part Cherokee but I cannot and will not vote for a slave owner even if she was Mohawk (I might be able to overlook siding with the Brits who did not respect or treat well the residents of the 13 colonies, but never could I overlook slave-owning as I'm also part Irish & both Saints Patrick & Brigid were ex-slaves). So Saint Bernard Mizeki the Martyr gets my vote today, though I suspect the Golden Halo will go to a certain Italian monk and birdbaths everywhere will be sporting a Lent Madness Golden Halo Flying Disc atop his saintly head.

    I would point out that the American Revolution is rather remarkable because the army that lost had a reputation as the best & strongest army of that time. So I can see how some choose the Brits to win, but in the War of 1812 the British burnt D.C., including the Library of Congress! They burnt a Library! A Library! That should be a war crime (and it was not the only bad thing those Redcoats did).

    The modern day Brits (who without us might be speaking German) are much better than those who committed such atrocities, but can some of you from outside the US see how many in this country have good reasons to still dislike royal loyalists circa 1775-1815?

  23. PS I do not support carving anything on living trees as it is not good for the trees, but carving a cross on a tree created by God is nowhere near as horrid as subjugating to slavery a fellow human created in the image of God.

  24. I thought this was the kitsch round. Where's Molly's kitsch? For this and a myriad of other reasons, I continue to vote for Mizeki (as in voting each round, not several times in this one!)

  25. I am so surprised Bernard is behind. But he has excellent company if he does wind up on the bench. Molly's charms are lost on me. If it will help, I could set to work on a Mizeki birdbath or concoct and bottle a liter of hand-labeled Bernard Bubbly Joyful Dancing home brew. I'd even make a tee shirt for a stuffed animal.