Francis of Assisi vs. Cecilia

Today Francis of Assisi takes on Cecilia and Lent Madness voters everywhere are forced to choose between animals and music. Okay, that’s just the superficial choice. It’s really a choice between your childhood rabbit and your mother who sang in the church choir. The winner will face Thecla in the Elate Eight, thereby finalizing the first matchup of the next round.

Yesterday Frederick Douglass solidly defeated Juan Diego 60% to 40% to advance. Click here to see the fully updated bracket (scroll down for links to all the previous matchups including Francis’ first round victory over John Wycliffe and Cecilia’s defeat of Balthazar). 

We also gave you an opportunity to vote (it’s what we’re all good at!) for 2013 Golden Halo winner Frances Perkins to appear on the $20 bill. And, no, the SEC hasn’t started printing its own purple money — this is an initiative of the U.S. Treasury Department.

2-st-francis-of-assisi-randy-wollenmannFrancis of Assisi

The Francis of ideas is often quite different from his actual life, ministry, and words. We envision him as a quiet man surrounded by animals who founded a gentle monastic order. In reality, Francis lived his life with a holy blend of rashness, mysticism, and devotion many modern Christians would call extreme.

G.K. Chesterton notes the Bishop of Assisi, when visiting the Order and seeing them without comforts, without possessions, eating anything they could get, and sleeping on the ground, was greatly disturbed. Francis met the Bishop’s concerns with a stunning in-your-face-ness (bishops were often called upon to support military engagements) by saying, ‘If we had any possessions, we should need weapons and laws to defend them.”

Francis wasn’t even his baptismal name; Giovanni was. Francis, the 12th century version of “Frenchy,” was given to him allegedly because Francis was passionate about French Troubadour poetry. While Francis did write in poetic style, he didn’t write the poetic “Prayer of St. Francis.” He did, however, write this prayer of faithful hope:

Almighty, eternal, and merciful God,
grant us in our misery the grace
to do for You alone
what we know You want us to do,
and always
to desire what pleases You.

Francis is often quoted as saying, “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words.” And while Francis did preach the Gospel in word and deed, no record attributes this quote to him. In fact, Francis was a prolific preacher to all creation. He is recorded in Little Flowers of St. Francis as preaching to the birds…using words. The anonymous writer tells: “Francis began to preach. He ordered the swallows, who were calling, to keep silence until he had finished; and the swallows obeyed his voice.”

Francis asked his companions to wait while he went to “preach to my little sisters the birds’; and entering into the field, he began to preach to the birds which were on the ground, and suddenly all those also on the trees came round him, and all listened while St Francis preached to them, and did not fly away until he had given them his blessing.”

In 1224, Francis was engaged in deep prayer when he received the Stigmata. Between the Stigmata and the physical toll from a life of denial, Francis retired to San Damiano, where he composed one of his most famous prayers, The Canticle of Brother Sun, considered the first poem written in the Italian language. Its words celebrate creation — all creation. We read in it, “No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name. Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures.”

Chesterton writes of Francis: “His life was one riot of rash vows; of rash vows that turned out right.”

We give thanks for a man whose real life of rashness, mysticism, and devotion still gives us an example of a life lived in Christ’s love.

Laurie Brock


Cecilia is the patron saint of singers, musicians, organists, and poets. While witnessing the deaths of her husband and brother-in-law, it is believed that she was singing praises to the Lord during her own martyrdom in Rome in 280 AD.

The songs that Cecilia sang while she was being martyred have been lost to the ages. However, the many poems and songs written and performed in her honor remain great contributions to the literary and music world, and are firmly planted in society’s juke box over the centuries.

Henry Purcell’s 1692 “Hail! Bright Cecilia,” also known as “Ode to St. Cecilia,” has a text by Nicholas Brady:

Hail! Bright Cecilia, Hail to thee!
 Great Patroness of Us and Harmony! 
Who, whilst among the Choir above
 Thou dost thy former Skill improve,
 With Rapture of Delight dost see
 Thy Favourite Art 
Make up a Part
 Of infinite Felicity.
 Hail! Bright Cecilia, Hail to thee!
 Great Patroness of Us and Harmony!

Equally famous is Georg Friedrich Händel’s “An Ode For St. Cecilia’s Day,” from 1739. With words by Newburgh Hamilton:

But bright Cecilia raised the wonder high’r:
 When to her organ, vocal breath was giv’n,
 An angel heard, and straight appear’d,
Mistaking earth for Heav’n.

In 1941, at the beginning of World War II, the Andrews Sisters sang, in full harmony, “The Shrine of St. Cecilia”:

Our home is a shambles, all I treasured has gone
The town seems deserted, everyone’s so forlorn
A storm came from up above but somehow it missed
The shrine of Saint Cecilia

I kneel in my solitude and silently pray
That heaven will protect you, dear, and there’ll come a day
The storm will be over and that we’ll meet again
At the shrine of Saint Cecilia

Benjamin Britten’s famous “Hymn to St Cecilia” was sparked by many reasons, among them that he was born on St Cecilia’s day. Written in 1942 Britten’s piece is based on the renowned poet W. H. Auden’s Hymn to St. Cecilia:

Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions
To all musicians, appear and inspire:
Translated Daughter, come down and startle
Composing mortals with immortal fire.

It is reported that Paul Simon claims his famous “Cecilia” refers to our saint, in her role as muse:

Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart
, You’re shaking my confidence daily. 
Oh, Cecilia, I’m down on my knees, 
I’m begging you please to come home

Simon refers to Cecilia in another of his songs, “The Coast”:

A family of musicians took shelter for the night in the little harbor church of St. Cecilia.

In 1966, Michael Hurd composed “A Hymn to Saint Cecilia” based on John Dryden’s 1687 visually stirring poem, A Song for St. Cecilia’s Day:

Orpheus could lead the savage race;
And trees unrooted left their place,
Sequacious of the lyre;
But bright Cecilia rais’d the wonder higher:
When to her organ vocal breath was given,
An angel heard, and straight appear’d
Mistaking Earth for Heaven.

There are numerous others through the ages who have written and composed pieces to St. Cecilia. Based on poems and music, whether old and modern, there’s no way around it – Cecilia is one popular gal!

Neva Rae Fox


Francis of Assisi vs. Cecilia

  • Francis of Assisi (70%, 4,401 Votes)
  • Cecilia (30%, 1,931 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,332

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135 Comments to "Francis of Assisi vs. Cecilia"

  1. Francis of Granby's Gravatar Francis of Granby
    March 18, 2015 - 8:05 am | Permalink

    I read somewhere that, despite all the other divergences, contemporary accounts of St. Francis all agree on one thing: his “extreme natural sweetness.” But it is important to know that St. Francis is much more than a birdbath: he was also, in his time, a revolutionary.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 18, 2015 - 3:27 pm | Permalink

      “St. Francis is much more than a birdbath”. Very well put!

    • Gay Jolley's Gravatar Gay Jolley
      March 18, 2015 - 5:02 pm | Permalink

      So I tried to vote. all kinds of nasty messages: WARNING WARNING WARNING
      so did I vote or not?

  2. Oliver Seven years old's Gravatar Oliver Seven years old
    March 18, 2015 - 8:06 am | Permalink

    Celicia was a very good and very kind and wrote songs. But I like her best in pictures of her growing up.

    • Sara L.'s Gravatar Sara L.
      March 18, 2015 - 5:47 pm | Permalink

      True Oliver. Thanks for voting.

    • Kevin. M.'s Gravatar Kevin. M.
      March 18, 2015 - 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Again Oliver makes good points. I wonder what he will vote tomorrow.

      • Oliver- 7 year old's Gravatar Oliver- 7 year old
        March 18, 2015 - 6:00 pm | Permalink

        Probably Bridgit.

  3. Oliver Seven years old's Gravatar Oliver Seven years old
    March 18, 2015 - 8:06 am | Permalink

    Celicia was very good and kind and wrote songs but I like her best in pictures of her growing up.

  4. George Werner's Gravatar George Werner
    March 18, 2015 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    Her other song was ” Does Your Mother Know You’re Out, Cecelia?” SEC is too green to remember this oldie but goodie.

    • Cheryle's Gravatar Cheryle
      March 18, 2015 - 10:25 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the jaunt down Mem’ry Lane! My mother’s name was Cecilia and I recall her singing that one for as long as I remember!

      Does your mother know you’re out Cecilia?
      Does she know that I’m about to steal you?
      Oh my when I look in your eyes
      Something tells me you and I should get together

      How bout a little kiss Cecilia
      Just a kiss you’ll never miss Cecilia
      Why do we two keep on wasting time?
      Oh Cecilia
      Say that you’ll be mine

      • Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
        March 18, 2015 - 11:20 am | Permalink

        My dad used to sing this song as we drove on camping adventure or when he was singing me to sleep. Brings back some wonderful memories.

  5. Fiona Haworth's Gravatar Fiona Haworth
    March 18, 2015 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    Voting for Francis today because we need more rashness and risk taking in the church. And I admire him for seeking dialogue with Islam during the crusades.

  6. Marisa's Gravatar Marisa
    March 18, 2015 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    I love Cecelia and all the music, but seriously. It’s St. Francis.

  7. Antony's Gravatar Antony
    March 18, 2015 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    As an organist I feel torn, as Francis has always been a particular favourite, but Cecilia is patron saint of musicians. A Lenten headache…..!

    • Marney's Gravatar Marney
      March 18, 2015 - 11:27 am | Permalink

      I feel your pain, Antony. I’m a musician who grew up surrounded by Franciscans. What to do?!?

    • Patty's Gravatar Patty
      March 18, 2015 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

      I share your Lenten headache, Antony.

    • Nancy Wylie's Gravatar Nancy Wylie
      March 18, 2015 - 9:56 pm | Permalink

      Headache or Heartache? This bracket hurts! But aside to belonging to a family of musicians, my dIl’s Confirmation name is Cecelia; and she’s a musician, too.

  8. Peter's Gravatar Peter
    March 18, 2015 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    The good news is no matter what the vote Cecelia will STILL be the matron saint of music. For me this is a no brainier – Francis ’tis!

  9. est's Gravatar est
    March 18, 2015 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    Dear SEC, Paul Simon’s “Cecelia” is an infelicitous choice. Look up the rest of the lyrics, I won’t put them here. Francis for me: the Church lives on music, but kindliness is more basic.

    • Linda's Gravatar Linda
      March 18, 2015 - 8:35 am | Permalink

      *chuckle* It’s a little like being told not to think of chocolate: I can’t get that verse out of my mind…

      • Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
        March 18, 2015 - 10:01 am | Permalink

        I know it! That verse is all I can think of. Thanks Neva!

    • Diane's Gravatar Diane
      March 18, 2015 - 9:10 am | Permalink

      I have the Simon and Garfunkel cds in my car cd player. You are right, est, that is one risque song.
      Did that blogger really read all of the lyrics and listen to the music? Muse? No, more like one of the sirens of legend.
      Lent madness really does go mad at times.

  10. Denise's Gravatar Denise
    March 18, 2015 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    St. Francis is my favorite saint. When we traveled to Italy one of the places I most wanted to visit was Assisi. I love his story, from being brought up in luxury to giving it all away to follow Christ. He’s got my vote!

  11. maria jackson's Gravatar maria jackson
    March 18, 2015 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Very difficult choice. I appreciate your summation. But she who sings prays twice

    • Lindsay's Gravatar Lindsay
      March 18, 2015 - 9:49 am | Permalink

      Alleluia to that. My mother and her music played a major role in my Christian formation.

    • Carol's Gravatar Carol
      March 18, 2015 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

      As a long-time choir member I voted for Cecilia, even as I said to myself that Francis will easily win this round.

      • Robert Bruce's Gravatar Robert Bruce
        March 19, 2015 - 1:14 am | Permalink

        Thank you, Carol. I feel the same way, but being in the choir at St Cecelia’s Parish, I’m sticking with Cecelia all the way to the Golden Halo.

  12. Kathy Hartley's Gravatar Kathy Hartley
    March 18, 2015 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    This morning Francis’ message to live the Gospel, not just preach it, resonated with me. Count me in teh St. Francis group!

  13. Karen Johnson's Gravatar Karen Johnson
    March 18, 2015 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    One of my very favorite quotes is attributed to St. Francis: “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words.”

    Living my faith through outreach is important to me, and I like to think my actions, and those of my fellow volunteers, help to bring others just a little closer to God.

  14. Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
    March 18, 2015 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    “No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name. Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures.” and “…..rash vows that turned out right”.
    I decided on Francis before I read today’s entries and these bits sealed the deal.

  15. Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
    March 18, 2015 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Oh, for all of us to be able to do this! “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words.”

    • Christi Hill's Gravatar Christi Hill
      March 18, 2015 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Just sing! I think the deck was stacked: Francis has a beautiful window and dear Cecilia has a bland picture. My former church edifice has a magnificent Cecilia window

  16. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    March 18, 2015 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    I’m still struggling with Paul Simon making love in the afternoon with (St.)Cecilia up (his) bedroom…. I mean, that IS the rest of the song and it doesn’t fit!

    • Kim's Gravatar Kim
      March 18, 2015 - 10:28 am | Permalink

      (He) gets up to wash his face when (he) comes back again someone’s taken (his) place.
      But at least there is …
      Jubiliation! She loves (him) again!
      Once that lyric is stuck there is nothing to be done but play it on out. The music is joyous, too.

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      March 18, 2015 - 11:30 am | Permalink

      A metaphorical muse can be as elusive and non-exclusive as Lady Luck. It’s only rock and roll, anyway. I was more taken with the image of Cecilia singing praises to God in the face of tragedy and danger–so taken, I wandered away from the bird feeders and samplers and my deep fondness for Francis the Rash and voted Cecilia.

  17. Alan Justice's Gravatar Alan Justice
    March 18, 2015 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    Having just purchased an accordion, I invoke Cecilia to protect all of those near me.

  18. Ellen Gracie's Gravatar Ellen Gracie
    March 18, 2015 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Today was the first day I looked to see the results before voting. This was a toughie but Francis was my vote.

  19. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 18, 2015 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    As a nearly lifetime chorister I am a bit torn–but Francis’ example of living the Gospel, as well as his love for God’s creation and all creatures, makes him clearly a winner in my book.

  20. Carol Virginia's Gravatar Carol Virginia
    March 18, 2015 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Music is compelling, and the creatures of the earth yet more so, but because we’ve been admonished to vote with deep sensitivity?!!, a very great blue heron landed in a neighboring salt marsh yesterday, and guess whose name he shouted without needing any words…yes…..

  21. Michael's Gravatar Michael
    March 18, 2015 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    Francis for his if we had possessions we would need weapons and laws to defend them comment.

  22. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 18, 2015 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Today I wear my Cecilia cross, but I’m voting for Francis anyway in the hope that this will persuade the squirrels and deer in my yard to leave something for the cardinals and sparrows and even the orioles who also come to visit….

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 18, 2015 - 8:57 am | Permalink

      Barbara, what is a St. Cecilia cross?

  23. March 18, 2015 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    Somebody did their research to come up with all those Cecilia-themed compositions. She gets my vote mostly as a thanks for that.

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 18, 2015 - 9:15 am | Permalink

      Yes, whoever you vote for, this CB gets the award, I think, for best exemplifying the Quotes and Quirks theme of this round!

  24. Alec Clement's Gravatar Alec Clement
    March 18, 2015 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    Have sung the Britten work many times and have felt her presence

  25. March 18, 2015 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    I love both of these Saints, however, I’m a little disappointed in the description of Saint Cecilia. Quoting songs is nice but she was so much more than an inspiration for musicians, poets and artists. She converted over 400 people from what I read in other texts and she wanted her home to be used as a church. During a time when women were not really considered leaders in my opinion she was! I’m very biased with this one I must admit as my mother bears her name. So all that being said while I do love Saint Francis I’m voting for Saint Cecilia!

  26. Laura Jo's Gravatar Laura Jo
    March 18, 2015 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    I think one can interprit Simon’s lyrics metaphorically. If St. Cecilia is the muse, then making love to her is creative expression….creative expresssion that is fleeting and unbound! That said, this is the toughest matchup. I think Francis is Golden Halo material, but these are maybe my two favorite saints ever. Sigh.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 18, 2015 - 9:22 am | Permalink

      Ah, thank you , Laura Jo!

    • Sister Janet's Gravatar Sister Janet
      March 18, 2015 - 10:27 am | Permalink

      As a third order Franciscan (TSSF), of course I had to vote for Francis (although I imagine he would have won without my vote…)
      But as an artist, I love your second layer of meaning for Paul Simon’s Cecilia, Laura Jo; of the artist eager to keep tryst with his muse. Sometimes the stolen moments of sneaking away to the studio in the afternoon are the sweetest!

      • andrea's Gravatar andrea
        March 18, 2015 - 11:57 pm | Permalink

        I also like your metaphorical interpretation of Paul Simon’s lyrics, Laura Jo. I agree with Kim that the song is joyous. Another thing that is joyous is the sung Eucharist. Cecilia got my vote with much jubilation!!

  27. Corey's Gravatar Corey
    March 18, 2015 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    I voted for Francis, but the write-up for Cecilia was one of the best I ever read for Lent Madness.

  28. Ann E's Gravatar Ann E
    March 18, 2015 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    Francis was a musician and poet, too. A popular biography is titled God’s Troubadour. Many stories are recorded about his sweet singing.

  29. nancy strong's Gravatar nancy strong
    March 18, 2015 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    Tough choice…Francis for his whole-hearted, risk-taking witness, passionate and generous giving of his whole being to the Crucified OR Cecilia who sings at her martyrdom (not unlike the French Carmelites going to the guillotine in Paris during the Reign of Terror –look it up!). I know Francis is most likely to take this round, so remembering singing Gounod’s Saint Cecilia Mass as a teenager in summer music camp, my vote today is for the sweet singer of the third century!

  30. Phillip B.'s Gravatar Phillip B.
    March 18, 2015 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    It’s odd, I have always been a big fan of St. Francis, but there was something about the writing about St. Cecelia today, and that beautiful painting of her, that swayed me. Alas, I fear she is a lost cause in this contest….

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 18, 2015 - 10:54 am | Permalink

      You just nailed the reason why I wasn’t comfortable voting for Cecilia. The writeup was all about music written about her and invoking her name. Almost nothing about what she herself did. I remember reading a little more about Cecilia’s life (what is known of it) in the first round, but I think Francis did more to advance Christianity.

  31. Carol Mannchen's Gravatar Carol Mannchen
    March 18, 2015 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    I love music! I just started singing in the church choir at the age of 68 and it is the highlight of my week. I am a Lutheran and think Bach is one of the best reasons for being Lutheran. Still, St. Francis of Assisi has always been my favorite saint, because I feel he followed most closely the example of Jesus.

    • Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
      March 18, 2015 - 3:24 pm | Permalink

      I’ll second that sentiment about Bach and Lutheranism. If I ever converted from Anglicanism, it would be to Lutheranism, but there’s not much chance of that, now that the differences between the two are negligible and I can do all the Bach I want in an Episcopal church.

  32. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    March 18, 2015 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    My favorite Cecelia hymn is one we sang with the Alma College Choirs:

    Consecrate the place and day to Music and Cecilia!
    Consecrate the place and day!
    Let no rough winds approach, nor dare invade these hallowed grounds,
    Nor rudely shake the tuneful air, nor spoil the fleeting, fleeting sounds
    No mournful sigh nor groan be heard, but gladness dwell on every tongue,
    Whilst all with voice and strings prepar’d, keep the loud harmonious song.
    And imitate the blest above in joy and harmony.
    Consecrate, consecrate joy and harmony!
    Joy, harmony, and Love!
    –Hymn for St. Cecilia’s Day by Joseph Addison

  33. Harriet's Gravatar Harriet
    March 18, 2015 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    I vote for St. Francis!

  34. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    March 18, 2015 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    Just as we must remember that St. Francis is much more than a birdbath, so too must we recognize that Cecilia’s life (and death) was about much more than music, as wonderful as music is. She spread the Gospel at a time when doing so really and truly meant risking everything; she, her husband and her brother-in-law lost their lives because of it. I think that Francis, as a writer himself, is more of a natural for the “Quirks and Quotes” round. You can’t do justice to the ministry of a 3rd century martyr with poems and lyrics that refer to her as the patron saint of musicians. While recognizing Francis’ many contributions, my vote goes to Cecilia.

  35. March 18, 2015 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    As Laurie Brock writes today, “In reality, Francis lived his life with a holy blend of rashness, mysticism, and devotion many modern Christians would call extreme.” I looked into this claim some more to see how Francis set himself and his followers against some of the currents of their time. For instance, instead of defining a religious order that kept to itself in monasteries, the Friars were sent out into the world as mendicants so that they would get to know ordinary people and understand as well as minister to them. They fostered religious art so as to make the Gospel more accessible to all. During that time when the Church was engaging in violent Crusades, Francis believed instead that it was important to try to engage Muslims in rational dialogue. Finally, in a strongly patriarchal society, Francis “came to understand that he was spiritually both male and female. . . Francis sometimes called himself ‘mother’ and in the presence of the Pope, related a dream in which he received assurance that God would feed his Friars, as a mother feeds her children. . . . He passionately believed in the universal sisterhood and brotherhood of all people.” ( In many ways he would, I suspect, still seem radical to many living today.

  36. March 18, 2015 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    I must choose Francis, for he had the quality of “in-your-face-ness” that I truly believe that I need…and that the modern church does, too.

  37. March 18, 2015 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    It is time and past time we recognized all of Creation as our sisters and brothers. What our Earth might look like if we all strove to ‘preach’ the way Francis did!

  38. Doctor M's Gravatar Doctor M
    March 18, 2015 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    I was always gonna vote St Francis — and did — but I have to say the effort put in to researching St Cecelia music history almost swayed me. Nice write-up, Celebrity Blogger!

  39. Nicole's Gravatar Nicole
    March 18, 2015 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    Both saints have contributed greatly to our Christian heritage. We wouldn’t be who we are without either of them, and its Francis for me hands down. His embrace of all creatures and his rashness-Lord give me that faith!

  40. John's Gravatar John
    March 18, 2015 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    Maybe it’s time to dethrone the insane but popular mystic who wouldn’t care for his brothers basic needs. Why not a courageous young martyr who loved singing . . . Like the angel choir. Go, Cecilia!

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 18, 2015 - 11:39 am | Permalink

      Francis did have a wart or two, didn’t he? (smile) I guess we all do. I, too, voted Cecilia today although it seems Francis’ gentle vs. rash side will win over!

  41. March 18, 2015 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    Not really a tough one for me. Music allows the message of Christ to be heard and felt across the universe. From Miriam to Cecelia and lets not forget all the singing in the Gospel of Luke – where would Christianity be without music?

  42. Cecile's Gravatar Cecile
    March 18, 2015 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    ‘Though partial to my namesake saint, my vote goes to Saint Francis (who would probably give away the Golden Halo) because of his exemplary love of God and creation.

  43. Nancy T.'s Gravatar Nancy T.
    March 18, 2015 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Even though I voted for St. Cecilia, it’s going to be hard to beat St. Francis. Almost not fair.

  44. Christianne McKee's Gravatar Christianne McKee
    March 18, 2015 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    Oh, Cecelia, you’re breaking my heart! I want to vote for you so badly, but must go with Francis the troubadour. Perhaps you startled him with composing fire. Please continue to startle all of us musicians.

  45. jack zamboni's Gravatar jack zamboni
    March 18, 2015 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    I serve a parish dedicated to Francis and am becoming yet more shaped by his witness through the teaching of RC Franciscan, Richard Rohr, whose “Embracing an Alternative Orthodoxy: The Legacy of St. Francis” we are using for our Lenten program this year (check it out on the Church Publishing Group website). I am also a musician, and in honor of Cecilia, I will listen to Britten’s wonderful Ode to her today. But my vote goes to Francis.

  46. March 18, 2015 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    What a choice! I think my vote goes to Francis for many reasons. Attributed quotes not withstanding, he is a role model for how to live out a life following Jesus. To love all life, to preach more without words, to be gentle and kind, to live without possessions (how they get in the way) …revolutionary! Music will always be a large part of my worship, and we will always have music, muse, Cecilia or not. But how we live our lives, ah! That is the challenge.

  47. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 18, 2015 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Today’s matchup is not fair, SEC! I am so torn. Love them all, animals, birds, music. Had to go with St. Francis.

  48. Laurie's Gravatar Laurie
    March 18, 2015 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Simon and Garfunkle and Ceclilia, I have a serious ear worm today. No wonder I had to go with Francis today.

  49. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    March 18, 2015 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    I have always loved a story I read once about St. Francis in which he gave away all his fine clothes and walked into the street in his birthday suit, to his father’s ire and mortification. Gotta love that! Still, I cannot worship without music, and even though my voice is going (and this is a great sorrow and challenge to me), “I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on”–and vote for St. Cecilia!

  50. Vicky's Gravatar Vicky
    March 18, 2015 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    Cecilia for me – for my granddaughter and for my son the musician, for the deep prayer and love that can be felt and shared in music.
    But I really won’t mind Francis winning, either!

  51. Grace's Gravatar Grace
    March 18, 2015 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    Wasn’t that sticky-sweet Victorian song “Drink to me only with thine eyes” actually titled “To Cecelia?

  52. Janet's Gravatar Janet
    March 18, 2015 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    Once again how do we pick between two amazing Saints – sigh. In the end had to go with Francis …… But it was with Simon & Garfunkle playing in my head.

  53. Marj Lewis's Gravatar Marj Lewis
    March 18, 2015 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    While I do love music and consider it a form of prayer, I also love the inclusiveness and revolutionary theology of Francis. So Francis it is for me.

  54. Lauren Stanley's Gravatar Lauren Stanley
    March 18, 2015 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    “His life was one riot of rash vows; of rash vows that turned out right” – Lord, let that be true for me as well.

  55. Terry Proctor's Gravatar Terry Proctor
    March 18, 2015 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    Francis for me. I’ve been a fan for decades– not just because of the critters– but because of the revolution France brought to the church.

  56. Sr. Brigidssm's Gravatar Sr. Brigidssm
    March 18, 2015 - 10:58 am | Permalink

    I adore Francis, but I need all the help I can get, big concert coming up on the 21st at Christ Church Plymouth…. My very first biggie ever…

  57. Barbara S.'s Gravatar Barbara S.
    March 18, 2015 - 11:11 am | Permalink

    Francis for the Golden Halo!

  58. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 18, 2015 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    If St. Francis didn’t write the Prayer, who did? One of my most treasured memories is singing that piece in the Concert Choir at my college graduation, and then hearing it sung at my first ordination as a United Methodist clergy. (In those olden days in 1980 we were first ordained Deacon, served at least two years under supervision, then were ordained Elder.) Anyway, based on his being my favorite saint, who has inspired me more than any other, I could not do anything except vote for him! He followed so completely in the steps of Jesus.

  59. Karen's Gravatar Karen
    March 18, 2015 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    The match up this week have been hard but this one is just cruel! I have been an animal advocate my whole life, disappointed the Christian church often limits its focus to people and not the sentient being world and our environment. BUT I am also a full-time musician so St Cecelia is near and dear to my heart. Still- the animal advocacy (or love from my youth) will win out. How terrible to have to choose!

  60. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 18, 2015 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    Music is what draws me into the heart of God more than most anything. So, forget all the profane music written about a girl named Cecelia, the matron
    saint of music gets my vote, even over the patron saint of my city.

  61. Cat's Gravatar Cat
    March 18, 2015 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    My Uncle Francis had a daughter, Cecilia, not to be confused with my other cousin Cecelia. What to do, what to do …. And I have stoles and vestments from Uncle Frank since he is in glory with Sts. Francis and Cecilia. Maybe I’ll just go back to bed!

  62. Cassandra's Gravatar Cassandra
    March 18, 2015 - 11:40 am | Permalink

    Has any Christian better exemplified Christ’s devotion and emptiness of self before God than Francis? We all fall short in our effort to imitate Christ, but it is inspiring to know that Francis came awfully close. His example has resonated through the centuries. How deeply we need his spirit of Holy Poverty today.

  63. Marilyn D's Gravatar Marilyn D
    March 18, 2015 - 11:54 am | Permalink

    In the first round I voted for Francis but not Cecilia. My reasoning today is to vote for the patron saint of music and all whom she has inspired through the ages.

  64. Kim on the Bayou's Gravatar Kim on the Bayou
    March 18, 2015 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    St. Francis challenges us, while Cecilia inspires.

    My vote goes with St. Francis, who cared for all of God’s creation.

  65. March 18, 2015 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I found it hard to vote Francis because so much of his portion was taken up by things he didn’t do. But I was pleased to hear that he was more than his reputation as far as action, so I went with him.

  66. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 18, 2015 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Well, it stands to reason that Francis is taking this vote by storm, but it will surprise no one who has read my previous comments that I’m going with Cecilia. Even if most of her hagiography is improbable, if not apocryphal, so were those of many saints in the early Church. And trivial as it may seem as an influence, one of my favorite lines is from Britten’s setting of Auden’s poem: “Come down and startle composing mortals.” (By the way, Britten’s birthday is Cecilia’s feast day. Or did someone else mention that already?)

    • Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
      March 18, 2015 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

      That said, Francis’s Canticle of the sun (“Altissimu, onnipotente bon Signore, Tue so le laude”) is also one of my faves.

    • March 18, 2015 - 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I agree.

  67. March 18, 2015 - 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I am an organist. A church organist. And while I appreciate all that St. Francis did, I must remain loyal to the “one who brung me” (as we say in the South). Cecilia stands for all of those who make music, which serves not only as a vehicle of praise to our Creator, but also as a comfort and encouragement to God’s children, much like angels are.

  68. Judi Collins's Gravatar Judi Collins
    March 18, 2015 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Think I may have voted twice had difficulty getting vote to register. Sorry

  69. Miss J's Gravatar Miss J
    March 18, 2015 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Since my mother’s singing (more like a joyful noise) has never been church choir-worthy and I never had a pet bunny as a child I had a hard time choosing today. I eventually decided to vote for Cecilia since she was a martyr.

  70. Anne Clayton's Gravatar Anne Clayton
    March 18, 2015 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

    That was a tough choice, but Francis for me.

  71. Jean Abbe's Gravatar Jean Abbe
    March 18, 2015 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Francis for Earth Day!

  72. Barbara Ross's Gravatar Barbara Ross
    March 18, 2015 - 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Toughest match-up yet between two of my favorite saints. As a lifelong choral singer who connects with the divine through music, I’m tempted to vote Cecilia. But the teachings of St. Francis have greater relevance in today’s world where we do indeed rely on weapons to protect our “stuff.” My husband’s niece, who has an Episcopalian mother and Jewish father, attended a Franciscan pre-school and kindergarten. I was always impressed with the spirit of kindness and lack of competition (rare in affluent northern NJ) that characterized the teachers, kids and parents.

  73. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    March 18, 2015 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

    As an animal lover — and I almost went to veterinary medical school, but human medicine was my first love — I could go with St. Francis, but as a musician (singer) I still have to go with the patron saint of musicians and singers, St. Cecilia. And I was a fan of Simon and Garfunkel when I was growing up (still am ….). But this was a very tough choice!

  74. Diane Norton's Gravatar Diane Norton
    March 18, 2015 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

    From experience as choir mum of a Choir of Men and Boys at Christ Church Grosse Pointe, choosing music had its charm. I waffled. Your image of Saint Francis won me over.

  75. JimExit0's Gravatar JimExit0
    March 18, 2015 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I put down my guitar to read the bios and vote. A hard one. But, I went with the patron of Environmentalist and my Confirmation Saint Francis.

  76. March 18, 2015 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

    In beautiful St. David’s (Austin) St. Cecelia’s window is closest to the choir, and from where I sat in that choir for decades, her winsome smile was almost directly before me. Church music has always been a driving force in my spiritual life. However, I’ve loved St. Francis just as strongly, and today must go with him as a shining example in following in the steps of our Lord.

  77. Donald Lowery's Gravatar Donald Lowery
    March 18, 2015 - 2:24 pm | Permalink

    As much as I love St. Cecilia for the music she inspired, I love St. Francis more for the discipleship he inspires.

  78. Vonelle Kostelny-Vogts's Gravatar Vonelle Kostelny-Vogts
    March 18, 2015 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

    “It’s really a choice between your childhood rabbit and your mother who sang in the choir.”

    I voted for Francis because no bunny ever gave me a spanking or made me listen to opera.

  79. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    March 18, 2015 - 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Coming from the Cathedral Church of St. john the Divine in NYC how could I not vote for Francis? Music gave me back my life, enriches my life, Simon and Garfunkel included, but there are those wonderful camels and eagles and tortoises and oxen who come down the aisle each St. Francis Day celebration and all of my own parade rescued ad loved animals. Francis all the way.

  80. Buffalogal's Gravatar Buffalogal
    March 18, 2015 - 3:33 pm | Permalink

    As a choir member and environmental scientist, I had to vote for St. Francis. I cannot think about him without hearing birds. I think even Cecilia would support bird song!

  81. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 18, 2015 - 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Voting for Cecelia for my mother who sang in the choir and for me who sings in church and also in a women’s barbershop chorus. We go to regional competition next week. May St. Cecelia be with us!

  82. Duane's Gravatar Duane
    March 18, 2015 - 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to be a stickler, but the blogger for St. Cecilia attributed the same words to Newburgh Hamilton and to John Dryden. Dryden, by the way, is the correct attribution.

  83. Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
    March 18, 2015 - 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Just voted (one time only) but got several boldly noted WARNINGS as I did so. I’m thinking this means I might be flagged as a possible multiple voter. I hope not ’cause I’m certainly not. If you look at the results prior to voting does it register as though you have already voted? I do look prior to voting if only to cast a vote for the obviously losing candidate. I call that a grace vote. I figure the winning saint approves of that.

  84. March 18, 2015 - 4:21 pm | Permalink

    This should have been a finals match-up between Francis’s style of discipleship and Cecilia’s role as a symbol of music. Any later match-up for whoever wins is bound to be anticlimactic.
    I also saw some high-powered cyber-warnings. There may be some site-related issues. (Note. I only voted once.)

  85. Miriam Elizabeth's Gravatar Miriam Elizabeth
    March 18, 2015 - 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I just got all the warnings too and I ‘ve only voted once. I hope my vote counted!

  86. Bob's Gravatar Bob
    March 18, 2015 - 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Francis, but iI enjoyed the different song’s for Cecilia.

  87. Rich's Gravatar Rich
    March 18, 2015 - 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Francis is due this year, Las
    Vegas has good odds

  88. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    March 18, 2015 - 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Cecilia early this morning (and wouldn’t dream of voting otherwise!). But if she had to be trounced, at least it was by Francis (for whom I would vote in nearly any other match-up).

    “Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions
    To all musicians, appear and inspire:
    Translated daughter, come down and startle
    Composing mortals with immortal fire!”

  89. March 18, 2015 - 5:03 pm | Permalink

    I also got the warning notice after voting once . . . although I can’t vouch for what the cats did while we were out.

  90. Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
    March 18, 2015 - 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Francis–who inspired the sublime Assisi Basilica.

  91. Rose Mahan's Gravatar Rose Mahan
    March 18, 2015 - 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I also got an ugly WARNING when I tired to vote and not sure if my vote counted. I voted for Cecilia in round one, and I was tempted to again as I love music — my chief form of prayer. But I went with St. Francis. The words attributed to him may not be true, but who knows. I love the quote to preach gospel but not use words unless absolutely necessary. Perhaps on the basis of that ( and my love of nature and animals), I made a hard choice for him.

  92. Hilda's Gravatar Hilda
    March 18, 2015 - 5:27 pm | Permalink

    This has been the hardest so far as it paired off two that I had voted for previously. As a woman and a singer, I should go with Cecilia but in the end, Francis won out. I have 2 statues of him in my garden. One feeding the birds, the other with his hands stretched out in praise and a dog at his feet. Seeing this on a daily basis, how could I not vote for him??

  93. Phil's Gravatar Phil
    March 18, 2015 - 5:53 pm | Permalink

    I got lots of warnings about arrays and whatnot so voted again…. Got them again. Hope I didn’t vote twice.

  94. Joanne's Gravatar Joanne
    March 18, 2015 - 5:59 pm | Permalink

    I, too, got the WARNiNGS but I trust that my vote counted anyway.

  95. Ren's Gravatar Ren
    March 18, 2015 - 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Everyone loves St. Frank, as well they should, but someone’s gotta hold the underdog and cheer for all they’
    re worth!

  96. Eileen Fisher's Gravatar Eileen Fisher
    March 18, 2015 - 8:00 pm | Permalink

    St. Francis was the first saint I learned about as a very young child. I owe this to a beautifully illustrated book by the children’s author/illustrator Leo Politi. My mother bought the book at a signing and he inscribed my name in the most beautiful colors. This all took place in LA, Calif. in the 1950s. I’ll bet no else has ever heard of this wonderful author. The book had a major impact on my life and later lead me to read more about St. Francis as well as his personal writings. “Train up a child in the way in which he shall go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Book of Proverbs Yes, I voted for St. F.

  97. Susan Mattingly's Gravatar Susan Mattingly
    March 18, 2015 - 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Eileen, I too had that book. And I can still clearly remember the beautiful movie Brother Sun, Sister Moon, I love music and Cecelia has been singing in my head all day, but Francis gets my vote.

  98. Sue's Gravatar Sue
    March 18, 2015 - 9:40 pm | Permalink

    I had to vote for Saint Cecilia… I’m the Coordinator of Liturgy and Music there….. but my heart is with St. Francis, too! Oh… we do the blessing of the animals and the pastor has 2 dogs and a cat!

  99. March 18, 2015 - 10:06 pm | Permalink

    This was so difficult. As a musician, I should vote for Saint Cecilia. But as an obsessive animal lover I had to go with St. Francis.

  100. Robert Coates's Gravatar Robert Coates
    March 18, 2015 - 10:10 pm | Permalink

    It really isn’t fair. I mean, Cecilia was a great gal, but St. Francis? Really? Like who in all Creation could out-saint St. Francis? Running ANYbody against Francis is unfair. If birds could vote!

  101. Denise Bell's Gravatar Denise Bell
    March 18, 2015 - 11:40 pm | Permalink

    A very tough choice! I love Cecilia and what she brought to music, but I have to vote for St. Francis…

    • Denise Bell's Gravatar Denise Bell
      March 18, 2015 - 11:41 pm | Permalink

      Special thanks to Neva for all of the wonderful lyrics!

  102. Karen's Gravatar Karen
    March 18, 2015 - 11:59 pm | Permalink

    This ballot is so difficult… I wrestled all day over it. In the end, the organist in me won out, and I voted for St. Cecilia. The locals Franciscans are all great supporters of the arts, including music, so I suspect even Francis would approve…

    Soli Deo Gloria

  103. Trudy's Gravatar Trudy
    March 19, 2015 - 12:48 am | Permalink

    I voted for St. Francis. I have always loved his story and am currently attending St. Francis Episcopal Church. On an interesting sidebar, we had a beautiful bunny for a few years, whose name was Cecilia. I think St. Cecilia could have been in the Faithful Four, if not in final contention for the Golden Halo, had she not come up against the most worthy St. Francis, this round.

  104. Nolan McBride's Gravatar Nolan McBride
    March 19, 2015 - 6:01 am | Permalink

    I feel like a traitor for not voting for St. Cecilia when my nickname is Singsong due to how often I break into song at random, but I have to go with St. Francis. Being Anabaptist, I find much in common between the Fransican tradition and my own.

  105. Frank Jacob's Gravatar Frank Jacob
    March 19, 2015 - 8:00 am | Permalink

    These words “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words” have lasted to today. Lead by example. Walk the walk. We should preach the gospel by living like Christ.

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