Brigid of Kildare vs. Kamehameha

The Elate Eight, and our endless fascination with saintly kitsch, continues with Brigid of Kildare facing Kamehameha IV. To make it this far, Brigid defeated Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist) and Dionysius the Great. Kamehameha trounced William Laud before besting David Oakerhater.

Yesterday, Francis of Assisi trounced Thecla 71% to 29%. Tomorrow the Elate Eight continues with Bernard Mizeki taking on Molly Brant.

While we all know the real point of Lent Madness is to be inspired by saintly souls and grow closer to Jesus during this holy season, this doesn't mean the competitive spirit remains completely dormant. Over the years, thousands of dollars have been raised in parishes that use the saintly smackdown for charitable purposes. In most places this involves parishioners filling out and submitting Lent Madness brackets in advance with a small donation. When the Golden Halo is awarded, the one who "wins Lent" gets to decide which charity gets the pot.

The point it, we're curious about how people's brackets are faring? Does anyone have a 11081669_10153232593998385_2072347019_nperfect bracket? Is anyone 0-for-Lent? One of Tim's parishioners was pleased to report he'd only gotten three wrong heading into the Elate Eight (see photo). Of course, as he put it, "Most years I only have three correct at this point."

brigid ceramicBrigid of Kildare

As a patron saint of both Ireland and beer, Brigid has much merchandise to her name. For starters, the depictions of Brigid one can procure are as numerous and as varied as the Irish diaspora.

Here’s one in ceramic tile work, in the style of the American Southwest (of course!) It is complete with a little flame above her head, and a butter churn for all her dairy-related miracles.brigid collage 

If you can’t find a commercially available depiction to suit your needs, there are online classes devoted exclusively to making your own Brigid-collage.

True! Like the crystal vortexes of Sedona’s red rocks, it appears that St. Brigid has a special allure for the New Age-inclined among us, and thus we get this gem of a painting. 

china crossIf collages are not quite your style, never fear — you can get Brigid’s cross as a stylish item of decor. On basically anything. Hats, shirts, plates, cufflinks, earrings, sweaters, wall hangings, etc.

We have china! 

We have necklaces! 

If you are worried that silver just doesn’t have that flash, we also have brigid gold medal14K gold! Because nothing speaks of a woman who cheerfully gave away everything she had like a $340 pendant. 

If you’d like to go all DIY/hipster, then there are also real rush crosses available.

rush cross

And also, if you have a hard time finding your keys, thenmarble keychain you can purchase a Brigid’s cross made of real Connemara marble on a keychain. 

But of course, as a famous lover of beer, Brigid has inspired much modern-day brewing as well.

You’ll be pleased to note that there now stands a microbrewery in Kildare, a few miles from Brigid’s old monastery. The Great Divide Brewing Company has a porter named after Brigid (which is not rated so highly. Must be the bathwater overtones.) 

bathtub pubThere is also an entire beer company in the US named St. Brigid’s Brewery, in Washington. And again, should you want to be more hands-on, you can purchase a beer recipe for St. Brigid’s Blonde to make yourself, or with a trusty group of monastics.

And finally, there exists in Detroit, a bar named St. Brigid’s Bathtub Pub—by far the best name for a bar ever. 

Congratulations everyone — a new high in kitsch has been scaled!

-- Megan Castellan

Kamehameha IV

StainedGlass2Kamehameha IV may have reigned for less than a decade, and he may have died as a young man at only 29 years old, but over 100 years later, his legacy and lasting marks can be seen clearly. His imprint remains on the Hawaiian Islands, and images of him, often with his much-loved wife Queen Emma and their young son Prince Albert, are still prominently evident.

Kamehameha IV is credited with being foundational in introducing Anglicanism to the Hawaiian Islands, and one of his great accomplishments is that he translated the Book of Common Prayer into the local language. So it is fitting that, at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Honolulu, the church they were instrumental inimages establishing, a stained glass window depicting him and his queen fills the pews with heavenly light.

Portraits of Kamehameha IV, often but not always with Emma and Albert, dot the Islands, including this one of the handsome young king, currently on display at the Bishop Museum. It’s available as a poster.

Here is a sample of the King’s signature, found in historical writings of the times.2000px-Kamehameha_IV's_signature.svg

7c87c1514b25bdf555c5eecc4470cf6cA place not to miss to learn more about Kamehameha IV is the Queen Emma Summer Palace, which was a retreat house for the royal family. The non –profit organization The Daughters of Hawaii saved the site from being torn down and replaced with a baseball park. At the museum and historic landmark gift shop, operated by the Daughters of Hawaii, numerous items emblazoned with images of Kamehameha IV are available.

But you can collect King Kamehameha IV memorabilia without visiting the Islands.

Don’t miss the King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma figurines.

And the King and Queen playing cards (notice he’s the king!)Kamehameha cards-1

Books, including a lasting account of the King's speeches.








Stamps, an important addition for all stamp collections.



And t-shirts!

And pillows!


The search is on for a Kamehameha IV mug to sit on the shelf next to the Lent Madness collection of mugs.

King Kamehameha IV made a lasting impression on the Hawaiian Islands, and evidence of his reign and that of his Queen still abound in many ways, and in many forms.

-- Neva Rae Fox


Brigid of Kildare vs. Kamehameha

  • Brigid of Kildare (55%, 3,270 Votes)
  • Kamehameha (45%, 2,724 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,994

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192 comments on “Brigid of Kildare vs. Kamehameha”

  1. Voting today for Brigid, the first functioning female bishop. I especially like this bit from (I think) the second round: "Her ministry, in Kildare and beyond, was based on translating the incoming Christian faith into the language of the people’s traditional customs and practices, until it became something they could relate to."

  2. I love the KEEP CALM T shirt, but thanks to this post I've discovered that microbrewery in Kildare. 🙂 Yes, alcohol abuse is a problem nowadays, but we can't blame Brigid for that. Her brew was probably "small beer," which ran about 1 to 2% alcohol. Back then, beer was far safer to drink than water, because it had been boiled.

  3. I think the New Age stuff is more about the Celtic goddess then the Christan Saint. Though in some places the differences between the two get kind if blurry.

  4. Alameda Brewing in Portland, Oregon also has a St Brigid beer, it's an Irish Red Ale (appropriate)

    As for me, I can't not vote for the patron saint of beer. 😀

  5. I am throwing my vote for King K. Not to say I don't like an occasional beer. Cool to find that there is bathtub pub in Detroit of all places.

  6. Tough choice indeed. But Bridget has had her Kitch of goddies least well over a melenium.

  7. Thanks for the gift of the latest Keep Calm t-shirt. I will treasure the memory;also very clever to link King K with Emma,a sort of 2 for 1 in the hope that Emma will share the reflected glow should he wear the Golden Halo that she just missed last year.

    I cast my vote for Brigid because of her Christ-light shining so strongly that men in power had to acknowledge it. No idea how I will vote between her & Francis if that occurs but she deserves the shot (and a beer) LOL!

  8. I vaguely remember an article that said Brigid gave away everybody else's stuff without asking. I'm not sure that is true, but I am sure that Kamehameha never did such a thing.

    1. Whenever I'm disappointed in the writeup by "Holy Women, Holy Men", I go to read what James Kiefer has to say. With respect to Bridget he quotes a poem "The Giveaway" (from "the Love letters of Phyllis McGinley"): (It's too long to quote the whole thing) "Saint Bridget was a problem child. . . . . [She] drove the family mad. For here's the fault in Bridget lay: She would give everything away. . . . Well, one must love her. Nonetheless , In thinking of her Givingness, there's no denial She must have been A sort of trial Unto her kin. The moral, too, seems rather quaint. Who had the patience of a saint, From evidence presented here? Saint Bridget? Or her near and dear?"

  9. With Cecilia out of the running, my bracket is in shatters. Could be worse; every single one of my father's picks has lost. Really.

  10. I voted for Brigid because she clearly had the best kitsch. Raise a glass of Brigid blond and enjoy a glass in the Bathtub Pub!

  11. In response to the query, my bracket was busted on day 2, but I'm still hoping Francis will get the win. I had thought it would be Francis v. Juan Diego at the end; a little wishful thinking on my part. As for today's contest: Go Brigid! I'm raising a glass of tea to her right now, perhaps beer later!

  12. There's no doubt that Brigid has the better kitsch today - but I voted for King K. I love Brigid's story - but for this recovering alcoholic, the endless talk about the "lake of beer" kind of gets on my nerves and actually makes her less attractive. Just a personal opinion; I realize others have different views - and that's perfectly OK. I voted for her last round for the very same reason Oliver did, actually. But now I kind of wish I'd voted for Elizabeth.

    As for the bracket: I've never filled one out, even. I like LM for the saints themselves, and reading about them, and just for the ridiculous fun of the whole thing. Don't care all that much who "wins"; what's great, for me, is looking at the whole wide sweep of history - and that people whose names are rarely mentioned today are being talked about again. But then, I play sports just for the fun of it, too; I'm not very competitive. Sorry about that. 😉

    1. Barbara, I'm with you on the reason for playing Lent Madness (which I often put in purple when e-mailing). And you never know when you'll run into mention or depiction of one of these folks--tapestries in Our Lady Queen of the Angels in Los Angeles has a couple from previous years.

      1. Exactly. I have come across people via Lent Madness that I've never heard of before- martyrs and mystics and just plain colorful characters - and I am so glad we are recognizing them again. You're right that you sometimes hear about them elsewhere, later, too.

        Glad to know there are others who feel the same way!

      2. Where do you see anything in Scripture about not drinking alcohol? Our Lord turned water into wine and drank it as well! Drinking in moderation is actually beneficial. It is drinking to excess that is the problem! Do not equate the two!

    2. Don't apologize. I don't fill out the bracket ahead of time either. I just love learning about all the saints the better known and the lesser known. I am not much of a competitor either. I voted for Bridgid, not for the whole beer thing (I'm a teetotaller), but for other reasons. Thank goodness we have safe water to drink

  13. I find myself so distracted by this wonderful kitsch that I have to go back and review the real resumes of these two wonderful saints! Its not getting any easier is it? Did Brigid ever have a stamp?

  14. Welcome to all, no matter how late jumping into Lent Madness. I commend the bloggers who tirelessly repeat the instructions to go back so newcomers can find the critical bio info on all of the saints. That said, the kitsch round is fun though I generally don't make that my deciding factor. Thankfully today the Bathtub Pub coincides with my saintly preference: go Brigid!!

  15. This is a toughie - I grew up in Hawai'i and am of Irish decent. I went with King Kamehameha because of his love of his people and their well-being.

  16. All this merchandise and nothing that glows in the dark? Because that would have made it easier to decide.

    1. Well, it's one of the few times we haven't voted for the same saint, Oliver. But that's okay, because I'm very glad to see that you're still voting and still have such good reasons for your choices. I think you were even the very first person to vote today -- which is so cool. Wish I could get up that early!

    2. I hear ya, Nolan, but interestingly, except for a few references to "butter" most people are focusing on the beer. And I'm so glad that we can hide the problem that permeates our culture, society, pews, and pulpits, by taking the conservationist road and pretend that we are just holding up water preservation in high regard! I'll look later and see how many folks use that to lift up's more about Miller Time.

  17. Francis for the win. He so deserves it, but since another Frances won last year does that make it tougher for him to win? 2 years in a row with a Francis/Frances....what are the odds? did you guys(SEC) think of that when the bracket czars made the bracket?

    1. Actually, it was Charles Wesley who won last year (I had to look it up in the "Saintly Scorecard", so there's some time in between.

  18. There must be a lot of beer fans out there voting for Briged out there. I foted for Kamehameha because he brought Anglicanism to the Islands as well as translating the Bible into the native language, but beer and The Bathtub Pub probably trump translating the Bible.

  19. The amount of people that think brigid is getting past the next round, is astonishing.

  20. Really hard choice--which is good. I went with Kamehameha for translating the BCP into Hawaiian.
    Though I really appreciated Brigid's kitsch

  21. Saner minds must prevail…!!!! At this hour in the morning I am completely surprised by the votes for Brigid because of a supposed miracle of turning dirty bathwater into beer. I for one would be appalled if the Golden Halo went to a beer-swilling barmaid, even if she did wear a tilted kilt. No, my vote goes to the truly saintly spirit of Kamehameha.

  22. Brigid is the patron saint of abused women also. On a side note: I am sorry that the King's house displaced a baseball field; after all, the inventor of baseball lived in Hawaii.

      1. Baseball is mentioned in Northanger Abbey written by Jane Austen. The book was revised and sent for publishing in 1803. 🙂