Frederick Douglass vs. Egeria

In the last battle of the last full week of the last ever (just kidding!) Lent Madness, the last spot in the 2015 Faithful Four is up for grabs. Who will join Francis of Assisi, Brigid of Kildare, and Molly Brant (who defeated Bernard Mizeki 59% to 41%)? Will it be Frederick Douglass or Egeria? Well, that’s up to you.

To make it this far, Frederick Douglass defeated Dorcas and Juan Diego while Egeria got past Hildegard of Bingen and Thomas Ken.

Lent Madness will continue on the Monday of Holy Week with Francis of Assisi vs. Molly Brant. On Tuesday Brigid will take on today’s winner. Then it all comes down to Spy Wednesday as the two remaining saints will compete for the right to wear the 2015 Golden Halo. Stay with us, folks, The End is Near!

Frederick Douglass

Cedar HillEvery tourist to Washington, D.C., visits the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Capitol Building. Such sights are classic but they’re so…pedestrian. If you want a bird’s eye view of the city and an opportunity to imagine a day in the life of one of North America’s greatest embodiments of faithfulness, wisdom, and activism, head south to Cedar Hill, Frederick Douglass’ historic and beautifully restored property in Washington’s Anacostia neighborhood. There you’ll have a chance to walk his expertly manicured lawn, which Douglass tended and on which he lifted weights each morning.

Yes, my friends, Douglass was a fitness buff and a naturalist who tended to his body and garden with great affection and detail. FRDO3136_3135_dumbBellsIndeed, he was a well-rounded man long before “well-rounded” became a buzzword on college applications.

Inside his home you’ll find the East Parlor room, where Douglass entertained guests with checkers, Roman mythology, and musical selections on his violin or from his family. In the same space, you will also find original copies of his 3 autobiographies — three, y’all. Most folks can’t even write one.

s99.2p1 copyAlthough, there are always at least one or two overachievers in every family, everyone in Douglass’ family was an overachiever. After supper — at which all the children were expected to attend no matter their age — the family would retire to the West Parlor room where they regularly regaled one another with stories, musical shows, and readings. They were also expected to engage in conversations on current events, literature, and history. Kids today don’t know how easy they have it, do they? Of course, with Frederick as their father, the Douglass kids stood little chance. Well into his 60s and 70s, Douglass continued to spend up to 5 hours a day in his study, reading, teaching himself foreign languages, and writing letters. So much for early retirement.

Now, lest one think Douglass is an ancient figure only fit for historic sites, museums, and Afro_Sheen_Douglasstextbooks, Mr. Douglass has also had his share of television fame. In a 1970’s commercial for Afro Sheen, the ghost of Frederick Douglass instructed a young co-ed on properly styling his Afro and shared his thoughts on American progress.

So next time you visit Washington, D.C., don’t go where all the regular people go. Be an overachiever like Frederick Douglass and head across the river to Cedar Hill. There you will hear the triumphant story of a man who educated himself, escaped to freedom, published a newspaper, advocated for the disenfranchised, dedicated time to his children and grandchildren, and toned his way to some of the best biceps in town. The only thing he’s missing is the Golden Halo.

Maria Kane


Egeria stampEgeria, kindly recollect, was a Spanish nun who travelled to Palestine, Turkey, and Greece from 381-384 CE, and wrote letters home describing her adventures. As befits one of the first Pioneers of PenPals, Spain issued a stamp for her in 1984.

Somewhat confusingly, there is also a tropical aquarium plant named for her. Because egeria plantevery trip around the bowl is a pilgrimage for a goldfish who can only remember 30 seconds worth of stuff!

p-437-iwalkedblack_2Once she returned home, however, I feel confident in asserting that Egeria had a garment similar to this to notify people of her travels.

Egeria is invoked as an authority by the custodian Franciscans who live in and care fore the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and they invite you to pull a virtual-Egeria, and go on a pilgrimage through the shrine at their site. (It’s not bad—it’s just missing the pushing crowds, and the arguing priests, and the conflicting liturgies, and riot of humanity which sort of both ruins and makes the whole thing worth it).

For this reason, I think this means that any kitsch associated with the Holy Sepulcher (more properly titled Church of the Resurrection by the locals, as it marks the sites where Our Lord was crucified, died, was buried and rose again) can be attributed to Egeria. AND GOOD LORD, IS THERE A LOT.

egeria perfumeDo you want to smell like Jerusalem? (You don’t, actually. You really, really don’t.) But in case you’d like to smell like what these folks THINK Jerusalem smells like, there is perfume for that.

And get your own Holy oil from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It comes with a how-to pamphlet, and egeria holy oila certificate of authenticity from the Greek Orthodox Church. It is also buy 3, get 1 free, so act now!

There is also a pleasing/overwhelming assortments of rosaries, holy cards, olive wood carvings, relics, holy water, incense, candles, icons, and whatever else you can imagine available. Since Egeria’s time, pilgrimage has become a high-value industry.

However, her influence isn’t all commercial; there’s also the Egeria Project — a cooperative project between 12 state and religious organizations throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East, to promote pilgrimage and peace throughout the lands in which Egeria travelled.  The groups involved in the project look to Egeria as someone who embodies the values of coexistence, learning from others, and creative cooperation — truly a saint sorely needed!

Megan Castellan


Frederick Douglass vs. Egeria

  • Egeria (51%, 2,747 Votes)
  • Frederick Douglass (49%, 2,674 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,421

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174 Comments to "Frederick Douglass vs. Egeria"

  1. Doug Thorpe's Gravatar Doug Thorpe
    March 27, 2015 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    Who could pass up a “buy 3, get 1 free” deal? It’s Egeria for me>

    • Diane's Gravatar Diane
      March 27, 2015 - 8:30 am | Permalink

      My husband and I went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. When we entered the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, I remember the overwhelming perfume in the air. It is the smell of chrism, which the Greek Orthodox priests use to anoint the anointing stone.
      The oil advertised must surely have some of those spices in it.
      What an amazing smell. It was truly heavenly.
      Thanks for the memory.

      • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
        March 27, 2015 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

        Her husband seconds the motion!
        I actually thought Douglas had the better blog (at least nobody inflicted a CE date on him) but loved
        Egeria’s kitsch.
        One o f the beauties of Holy Sepulchre is that at least five different Christian Churches (none in communion with the others) occupy it — usually peacefully — and all of them agree on NO Daylight Savings time.

        • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
          March 27, 2015 - 3:36 pm | Permalink

          Well that;s good because it’s Daylight SAVINGGGG Time. NO “s” on the end of it!!

    • babzee's Gravatar babzee
      March 27, 2015 - 10:54 am | Permalink

      i’ll spit it with you Doug. (Barbara Marques)

      • Sonia's Gravatar Sonia
        March 27, 2015 - 11:13 am | Permalink

        Freudian ‘split,’ maybe?

  2. Jen Ochsner's Gravatar Jen Ochsner
    March 27, 2015 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    Have to go with the father who required something of his children……wish more families today would follow his example!

    • Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
      March 27, 2015 - 1:06 pm | Permalink

      No television, nor all the electronics we love today. I am impressed with all Frederick Douglass did.

  3. Carter McNeese's Gravatar Carter McNeese
    March 27, 2015 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    I’m waiting for Oliver to tell me how to vote on this one.

  4. Oliver--Seven years old's Gravatar Oliver--Seven years old
    March 27, 2015 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    I vote for Egeria because she is riding a pony and she looks awesome.

    • Kathy's Gravatar Kathy
      March 27, 2015 - 9:52 am | Permalink

      You tell ’em, Oliver!!

    • Katherine Schroeder's Gravatar Katherine Schroeder
      March 27, 2015 - 3:17 pm | Permalink

      I voted for Frederick Douglass this time, Oliver. But you’re making me wish I’d chosen Egeria because I do love ponies. Well, I’ll be happy whoever wins. Go, Oliver!

  5. March 27, 2015 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    I vote for Egeria, as Christians around the world prepare to imagine themselves in the holy places of Jerusalem — we have her to thank for helping us picture Holy Week in the Holy Land. I am glad, however, that we can just imagine the smells.

  6. Carla's Gravatar Carla
    March 27, 2015 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Go Oliver!

  7. Rambler's Gravatar Rambler
    March 27, 2015 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    As one who loves liturgy and tradition, I vote for Egeria who recorded and preserved so much.

  8. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    March 27, 2015 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    Oh Dorcas, we hardly knew ye!

  9. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    March 27, 2015 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    I love liturgy, so Egeria is one of my favorites – but unless liturgy is enacted in the world and in the home, what is the point? Frederick Douglass for me.

  10. March 27, 2015 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Egeria looks awesome indeed, Oliver. And you ARE awesome! I voted for Egeria too.

  11. Lexington's Gravatar Lexington
    March 27, 2015 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    It’s Douglass for me. He was a brilliant man of faith and courage. His autobiography is a gripping testimony of resistance to oppression. Douglass was not afraid to criticize President Lincoln when his actions indicated a hesitation in the movement to end slavery. He continued to strive for racial equality in the post-Civil War era. Throughout his adult life, he was committed to the equality of sexes. Douglass is a great American prophet and a personal hero.

    On the kitschy side, those interested in seeing the Afro Sheen commercial can find it here:

    • March 27, 2015 - 9:32 am | Permalink

      My neighbor when I was a child growing up in NH told me that I shared Douglass’ birthday. Thanks to Mr. B, I always think of my natal feast day as “Frederick Douglass Day.” He was a true giant of our nation’s history. And thanks for posting the link to the ad. The saintly kitsch round is my favorite!

  12. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    March 27, 2015 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Oh my goodness, I would vote for Egeria’s anyway, but she definitely won the kitsch kompetition!!

    • Lucy Alonzo's Gravatar Lucy Alonzo
      March 27, 2015 - 8:58 am | Permalink

      I agree totally, since I also voted for Egeria and would have anyhow, but wasn’t there any reasonably kitschy thing possible for Frederick Douglas, even a postage stamp?

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 27, 2015 - 9:03 am | Permalink

      Absolutely! What a great assortment ~ way to go CB!

  13. Michelle Crull's Gravatar Michelle Crull
    March 27, 2015 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    As we approach Holy Week, I had to vote for Egeria since so much of our liturgy comes from her letters. No vote button for this, but I vote for Oliver as this year’s most loved commenter.

  14. Susan Comer's Gravatar Susan Comer
    March 27, 2015 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    I wanted to vote for both of them, as they were both incredible human beings and contributed much to the world that was good. However, as I imagined a man that would right three (THREE!) autobiographies, the quality of humility was sorely lacking. I thus choose Egeria, who “embodies the values of coexistance, learning from others and creative cooperation”, and provided a history of our church rather than of herself.

    • March 27, 2015 - 9:09 am | Permalink

      Yes, teh three AUTObiographies is a bit much for me too. OTOH, I’m in DC with a free day today, so maybe I’ll find the Metro down there and go pilgrim aging myself before I vote…

      • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
        March 27, 2015 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

        pilgrim aging? Does being a pilgrim cause one to age prematurely?

  15. Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
    March 27, 2015 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    This is a hard one. Both deserve the vote but I am really impressed by what must have been tremendous obstacles faced by Douglas in pursuing the life he did.

  16. Thomas van Brunt's Gravatar Thomas van Brunt
    March 27, 2015 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    Sign me up for the Egeria Project.

  17. March 27, 2015 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    Come on, how can you not vote for a guy who comes back from the dead to advise us on grooming! Egeria is an obviously exceptional person who did so much for the early faith (are her works published), but Mr. Douglass is a particular hero of mine, and I want him to go on through to the Faithful Four!

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 27, 2015 - 9:10 am | Permalink

      Yes, kudos for the TV commercial!!!!

  18. Anne Margo's Gravatar Anne Margo
    March 27, 2015 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    Much as I am learning to appreciate Egeria, Frederick Douglass got my vote. I had forgotten all about the Agro-Sheen commercial (not why I voted for him, but kudos for dredging that up!)

  19. March 27, 2015 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    I vote for egeria because it is pretty cool that she has her own stamp in Spain. I didn’t vote for Freddy because he beat Juan Diego in the round of saintly sixteen

  20. March 27, 2015 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    An aquarium plant? LOL!! While the Egeria write up made me laugh, I am pulling for Frederick Douglass for his care of body and mind and the spirit of freedom.

  21. Lindy's Gravatar Lindy
    March 27, 2015 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Let’s face it, Frederick Douglas had bad hair, no miracles, and what kind of saint writes THREE autobiographies?

    It’s the traveling woman for me.

    • Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
      March 27, 2015 - 11:39 am | Permalink

      Did you ever think that maybe Frederick Douglass wrote 3 autobiographies because he had a lot to say that is of infinite value?

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 27, 2015 - 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Thinking back to my years in EfM and my years in certification trainings and my years as a mentor, I’ve written far more than 3 autobiographies. Times change people. Events change outlooks and perceptions. With all that Douglas did and saw he probably could have legitimately written several more autobiographies. Doesn’t make him arrogant or anything of the sort. Might just be proo thathe was more perceptive and sensitive to his changing self.

  22. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    March 27, 2015 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Ride on Ride on Egeria. Couldn’t quite bring myself to call her Queen but the thought was there. Because of Egeria, I’m understanding the venerations of the cross, appreciating the stations of the cross and who know what else as I get into her diary. What a gift she has been for me. Oliver, she not only looks awesome, she IS awesome.
    Egeria — Y0u Go Girl!

  23. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    March 27, 2015 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    After voting I began to check my other e-mail and on a site I sometimes use for my work there is an offer for a making your own Pascal candle. the blurb says it’s believed hat the Pascal candle was made popular by St. Ambrose. Huuummmm. Now I wonder, did St. Ambrose read/hear about the Pascal candle because of Egeria’s writings. Knowing about her will change the way I look at and think of so much now.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 27, 2015 - 9:34 am | Permalink

      Donna, can you share that link? And you make an excellent point about St. Ambrose, BTW!

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 27, 2015 - 9:41 am | Permalink

        Probably can’t do a link, I’m technologically very challenged but it’s a Roman site for educators — Holy Heroes should get you to it, Susan.

        • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
          March 27, 2015 - 9:50 am | Permalink


          • Pat's Gravatar Pat
            March 27, 2015 - 10:13 am | Permalink

            I got one from

  24. March 27, 2015 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    As we enter into Holy Week I vote for Egeria who preserved us so much of the liturgy for us. Learning about her has made Holy Week even more meaningful as I reflect not only on our Lord but also feel connected to the earliest years of the Church and one with them in liturgical action.

  25. Meridith's Gravatar Meridith
    March 27, 2015 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    What a great contest. I am amazed and inspired. Who will join me in a rousing chorus of “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God”?

    • Patty's Gravatar Patty
      March 27, 2015 - 5:59 pm | Permalink

      I will!

  26. Lane Johnson's Gravatar Lane Johnson
    March 27, 2015 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    My bracket blew up after the first vote.

    • A Different Jennifer's Gravatar A Different Jennifer
      March 27, 2015 - 10:50 am | Permalink

      I have never had such a losing bracket but I feel like a winner because most of my picks have been affirmed by Oliver.
      Hawking Afro Sheen from the Great Beyond is pretty groovy but I remain loyal to Egeria on this one. She would probably let me keep my messy hair.

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 27, 2015 - 11:14 am | Permalink

      Me, too ~ this is my worst bracket year ever. sigh But they’re all winners, right? (smile)

  27. Carla's Gravatar Carla
    March 27, 2015 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    I’m no soothsayer, but I can picture all this coming down to a battle between Francis and Egeria. And what a tough call that would be. Egad !!

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 27, 2015 - 9:39 am | Permalink

      Yikes!!! And yet, in that eventuality I do know how I’d vote. And ask forgiveness of the other.

  28. Vicki Wadlow's Gravatar Vicki Wadlow
    March 27, 2015 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    Voted for Egeria b/c the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is really special to us since we had our wedding vows blessed there last year!

  29. lindanola's Gravatar lindanola
    March 27, 2015 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    i want to change my vote. i voted for Frederick Douglass before i read the comments. while i was reading about him i did think the 3 autobiographies were a bit much, but i voted for him anyway. i want to change my vote to Egeria. who determines what person gets the first writeup? it doesn’t matter as long as Francis gets the golden halo!

  30. justin wright's Gravatar justin wright
    March 27, 2015 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    I’ve been on the unpopular side of almost every one of these, and it looks like egeria will win this one, but in my mind, there is no question which saint to choose here, it is unquestionably frederick douglas for me, an unlike in the case of molly brandt, I can at least understand the rationale behind egeria. Rise up all you fans of frederick douglas, bring him home to victory!

  31. Carla's Gravatar Carla
    March 27, 2015 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    We’ll all be on “pins and needles” for the next few days.

  32. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    March 27, 2015 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    Please don’t tell my sister, but I voted for Egeria again in this round. I loved learning about her, and she has given us so much!

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 27, 2015 - 9:52 am | Permalink

      Why does your sister not like Egeria?

      • JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
        March 27, 2015 - 4:59 pm | Permalink

        She doesn’t dislike Egeria, but she is really Gung Ho for Frederick Douglass to get the Halo!

        • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
          March 27, 2015 - 7:36 pm | Permalink

          Ah, I see. How nice that you are doing this together!

  33. Carol Kangas's Gravatar Carol Kangas
    March 27, 2015 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    I am seriously considering abstaining, but perhaps I’ll join Meridith in belting out several verses of “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God” as an aid to discernment.

  34. March 27, 2015 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    I had to vote for Egeria again after seeing the kitsch… I have two of the products, the T-Shirt and the perfume. The Jerusalem scent is my favorite perfume. I bought my first bottle in Jericho in 2011 and have been buying it online ever since. It truly reminds me of Jerusalem!

  35. March 27, 2015 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    I have to disagree that writing three autobiographies showed a lack of humility or anything else negative about Douglass’s character. He lived at a time when many people, North as well as South, believed in an evil mythology about people of color: that they were childlike, less intelligent than whites, untrustworthy, incapable of governing themselves or making good use of an education, even (in the eyes of too many) less than fully human. Autobiographies such as those Douglass wrote were forms of witness to the contrary, powerful counter-narratives to the ideology of racial inferiority. Even today among some groups in the U.S. and elsewhere, such witness is still sorely needed.

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 27, 2015 - 11:12 am | Permalink

      Good point ~ thanks for the reminder.

  36. Doctor M's Gravatar Doctor M
    March 27, 2015 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Frederic Douglass–such a key figure in US history–tho the amazing Egeria kitsch entry almost swayed me. And I am surprisingly glad, after I vote, to see that she’s a little ahead. A nail-biter!!

  37. Brian Perkins's Gravatar Brian Perkins
    March 27, 2015 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Mr. Douglass. I visit DC for business all the time, and now know where to go.

  38. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    March 27, 2015 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    I was all set to vote for Douglass, since my sister and I passed through his Anacostia neighborhood on our way to a quadruple committal service for our aunt and uncle and our cousins’ parents, and because he was such an exemplary father, but then there was Project Egeria, a wonderful example of direct action to heal the Holy Land and its neighbors: O pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee. And here’s Good Friday breathing down our necks like the dragon Archibald that Uncle Chub invented to delight our cousins’ childhood.

  39. Kathy's Gravatar Kathy
    March 27, 2015 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    I once again cast my vote with Oliver. After all, aren’t we to come to the Kingdom of Heaven as a child? Amd Jesus said “let the children come to me.” It is refreshing to look at our saints through a child’s eye. And the winner of the Golden Halo should receive it like a child.
    I love the innocence and simplicity of Oliver’s comments.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 27, 2015 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Oliver at 7 and still at 8 years old is a joyful addition to this very joy filled Lenten discipline. Than you SEC and Oliver’s parents.

  40. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 27, 2015 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Neck-n-neck right now. Egeria for me.

  41. Sheila's Gravatar Sheila
    March 27, 2015 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    I’m voting for Oliver (the 8 years old) to be a guest blogger next year. Today’s vote? Egeria. FD had a less than saintly love life. ‘ nuf said

    • Beth's Gravatar Beth
      March 27, 2015 - 10:24 am | Permalink

      *like* 🙂

      • Kathy's Gravatar Kathy
        March 27, 2015 - 11:56 am | Permalink

        We need more of Oliver!!

  42. Vicki's Gravatar Vicki
    March 27, 2015 - 10:09 am | Permalink which can be obtained by anyone playing; we have to up the anti on the kitch here folks. Still haven’t decided though on a vote.

  43. Ellen Gracie's Gravatar Ellen Gracie
    March 27, 2015 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    Egeria is still my girl!

  44. Barbara S.'s Gravatar Barbara S.
    March 27, 2015 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    Egeria for the finals! (I’m going to vote for Francis at that point, I’m almost certain, but I’d love to see these two in the last round….)

  45. eve moyer's Gravatar eve moyer
    March 27, 2015 - 10:20 am | Permalink

    Egeria all the way!! She gave so much to future generations and we can thank Her for all the
    beauty and ritual we will celebrate this week. And to have a Project today which: ” embodies
    the values of coexistence, learning from others, and creative cooperation” what a legacy!!
    —” truly a saint sorely needed!”

    Egeria, You go girl, GO!!!

    • sue's Gravatar sue
      March 27, 2015 - 10:58 am | Permalink

      My sentiments exactly!!!!! What an incredible woman!!!! What she did would be amazing today let alone back then. What a gift she gave us in the history she preserved!!! GO GIRL GO GIRL ALL THE WAY!!!!!

      • andrea's Gravatar andrea
        March 27, 2015 - 2:44 pm | Permalink

        I agree. Egeria for Holy Week and the Project. Also for those of us who like to take notes on everything and who travel. Egeria, You go girl!!

  46. Jane Bucci's Gravatar Jane Bucci
    March 27, 2015 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    Oh the agony and the ectasy of these impossible choices! Oliver, you wise soul, you’ve helped yet again. While asking the forgiveness of Frederick Douglass, I stand with Egeria.

  47. Wendy Webster Coakley's Gravatar Wendy Webster Coakley
    March 27, 2015 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    An impossible choice between Frederick and Egencia? How about having to choose between Maria and Megan? Bravo to them and ALL of this year’s celebrity bloggers, for demonstrating day after Lenten day that thoughtful composition still has value in this age of texts, tweets and emoticons. Thank you, CBs, comment community and, of course, the SEC, for sharing the written gifts of your wit, warmth and spirituality.

  48. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    March 27, 2015 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    Sorry, Mr. Douglass. The Egeria Project nailed it for me. Anything that works for peace in the Middle East.

  49. jane's Gravatar jane
    March 27, 2015 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    Egeria preserves the early traditions of the church that make many of the Holy Week services special. But, Douglass faced and overcame many mental and physical abuses, and cultural biases in order to make the world in which he lived aware of the misuse of scripture to oppress others. It seems that his 3 autobiographies may have been in response to those that thought he was not worthy to be considered more than 3/5 of a person.

  50. Linda DelaCruz's Gravatar Linda DelaCruz
    March 27, 2015 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    I wish that FD’s time in Rochester, NY, where I live, was mentioned too. The church where he and his pal Susan B. worshiped has been turned into a lovely performance hall for a music school.

  51. Jim Wheeler's Gravatar Jim Wheeler
    March 27, 2015 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    Egaria was a wonderful pilgrim and I cheered her on in the last round, but how can I not vote for a great American hero who was one of the most persuasive voices against the horrible injustice of slavery? Not only that, he also stood proudly against the opinions of the times for women’a suffrage. Frederick Douglas has my vote and I hope he will have yours as well. Saintly kitsch is fun but not to take this great man to the final four would be an injustice.

  52. Kelly Pulsifer's Gravatar Kelly Pulsifer
    March 27, 2015 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    Frederick Douglass does not need kitsch. He was a great man of faith and courage who lived his faith and positively affected humanity, not liturgy or travel literature. Unfortunately, his write-up does him an injustice, not only by omitting kitsch (for those who value it). He is more than a tourist destination. He was a very real and powerful force for proper behavior toward others, irrespective of faith. Having visited his home in DC, however, I agree that it should be on everyone’s schedule when in DC.

    • March 27, 2015 - 11:04 am | Permalink


    • Diane's Gravatar Diane
      March 27, 2015 - 7:36 pm | Permalink

      FD may not need kitsch, but this is the kitsch round. The tradition isn’t new.

  53. eve moyer's Gravatar eve moyer
    March 27, 2015 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    Just a chant to get into the Lenten Madness spirit and cheer on our Egeria!

    Hey there Episcopalians,
    Have you heard?
    Our Egeria the greatest,
    Yeah, that’s the word.

    Hey there Episcopalians,
    What do you say?
    If you love your liturgy let’s
    Cheer Egeria on today!

    Hey there Episcopalians,
    What do you know?
    If you’ve got Easter spirit,
    Then let it show!

    Say, “Hey! Ho!
    C’mon Egeria, let’s go!”
    “Hey! Ho!
    C’mon Egeria, LET’S GO!

    • sue's Gravatar sue
      March 27, 2015 - 11:00 am | Permalink

      OH THANK YOU FOR YOUR CREATIVITY! She’s my girl! Thanks for providing me with a huge smile this morning!

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 27, 2015 - 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Hey Ho Egeria, let’s go! Hey Ho Egeria YEA team.

    • Susan Boyer's Gravatar Susan Boyer
      March 27, 2015 - 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Somehow this reminded me of Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act! LOL

  54. klf's Gravatar klf
    March 27, 2015 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    I know we’re not supposed to make snippy comments. But I was astounded yesterday when Molly Brant beat Bernard Mizeki. And as I write Egeria is ahead of Frederick Douglass. Africans and people of African descent seem to be less appealing to the majority of Lent Madness voters, which is making me very sad. Of course, Bernard and Frederick both made it to the Elate Eight, a notable achievement. But I’m still disturbed and sad today.

    • justin wright's Gravatar justin wright
      March 27, 2015 - 11:02 am | Permalink

      totally agree, no reason either of these men should have lost, apparently they aren’t popular enough, apparently, some things still need to change.

    • Patrice's Gravatar Patrice
      March 27, 2015 - 11:06 am | Permalink

      I voted for Mizeki yesterday, not because he was African, but because of his inspiring life and incredible sacrifice. My vote today goes to Egeria, not because she is a woman or because Fredrick Douglass is a man of color, but because she represents more of what I call a saint, while he will forever be an American hero. With all the difficulties in deciding between such equally admirable candidates, color of skin is not even a consideration except in his favor.

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 27, 2015 - 11:09 am | Permalink

      It wd be interesting to know. I don’t believe Mzeki lost b/c he is African. Rather, I think there was an inexplicable surge for Molly who, in my mind, is cold-eyed, self-serving, and not really Final Four material for the Golden Halo. I, too, was vy disappointed in the result, but I am not thinking Mzeki’s Africa origin was the cause, simply one set of supporters more efficient at turn-out-the-vote than the other set!

      • Sonia's Gravatar Sonia
        March 27, 2015 - 11:32 am | Permalink

        I think all this “Kitsch” stuff was the driving force, not race or color or ethnic origins. I didn’t like it yesterday and I don’t like it today!

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 27, 2015 - 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Oh my goodness, please don’t make us out to be rascists. Frederick Douglass has made it to the Elate Eight and is in a tie, last time I checked, with Egeria’s. I hardly think that shows a prejudice against people of color. Although I am also puzzled about Molly Brandt’s victory, I think don’t think race was a factor.

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 27, 2015 - 3:38 pm | Permalink

        Oh PLEASE! Racists are not hiding behind every bush!

  55. March 27, 2015 - 10:43 am | Permalink

    Douglass wins for me without waffling. Thanks also to Susan Wall for addressing the three autobiographies issue. In a time when it was in many states illegal to educate people of color, Douglass’ story, as experienced by him, is an important record.
    I’m also grateful for Egeria and for the Lent Madness reminders that lives of faith can take many paths.

  56. Sally M's Gravatar Sally M
    March 27, 2015 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    The comments from my fellow Christians and Episcopalians has perhaps been the most wonderful part of this year’s Lent Madness. Thank you to ALL of you! We ARE a worldwide community.

  57. March 27, 2015 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    From this post you would be led to believe that there is a dearth of Frederick Douglass kitsch. But do a search on ebay and you’ll know the opposite is true. This should have been an easy win for him…and a much more interesting post.

  58. justin wright's Gravatar justin wright
    March 27, 2015 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    getting tight, a difference of ONLY 40 votes right now!

  59. Carol Virginia's Gravatar Carol Virginia
    March 27, 2015 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    Frederick Douglass embodies the characteristics of a great human being, but Megan’s choices of including references and connections to not only the Church of the Holy Sepulchre but to the Nicene Creed
    were akin to genious in promoting Egeria. The write-ups for the final round are sure to impress and unsettle… our kettle of …. kitsch. 😉

  60. Kim on the Bayou's Gravatar Kim on the Bayou
    March 27, 2015 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    The Egeria Project tipped the scales.

  61. Jody's Gravatar Jody
    March 27, 2015 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    This one was a tough choice. I see I’m not the only one who thought so, and it seems this match-up will be won by a very slight margin at the end of the day. I cast my vote for Egeria. I think it was her “values of coexistence, learning from others, and creative cooperation” that swayed me. Although, the buy three, get one free offer for the Holy Olive Oil didn’t hurt!

  62. Fiona Haworth's Gravatar Fiona Haworth
    March 27, 2015 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    Staying faithful to Egeria in anticipation of the prayers and liturgies of Holy Week.

  63. John Sorensen's Gravatar John Sorensen
    March 27, 2015 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    What a cool round. I think I’ll visit Fred’s home in DC and vote for Egeria . . . too many sacred memories from 28 days at St George’s College, Jerusalem in 1998. By the way, I recall Holy Sepulcher was originally called CHURCH OF THE RESURRECTION and only after destruction (Hakim the Horrible) and the stunted “renovations” was it tagged HOLY SEPULCHRE. To recover some of the sacredness from the tourists, 4 of us sang in parts Cross of Jesus, Cross of Sorrow, all verses in 1998 by the hobbled Anastasis.

  64. Andrea Feist's Gravatar Andrea Feist
    March 27, 2015 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    Frederick for the Golden Halo!

  65. Alec Clement's Gravatar Alec Clement
    March 27, 2015 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    Douglass reminds me of Old Testament prophets..can’t resist that

  66. Megan-12 yrs old's Gravatar Megan-12 yrs old
    March 27, 2015 - 11:52 am | Permalink

    I have an objection to this statement “After supper — at which all the children were expected to attend no matter their age — the family would retire to the West Parlor room where they regularly regaled one another with stories, musical shows, and readings. They were also expected to engage in conversations on current events, literature, and history. Kids today don’t know how easy they have it, do they?” My parents also expect me (and my 2 sisters) to do converse, read,tell stories, and I often practice the flute before my elders. Besides, Egeria’s letters have benefited the church immmensly! The letters were “earliest record of Christian liturgy during Holy Week that we have”!

    • Megan Castellan's Gravatar Megan Castellan
      March 27, 2015 - 7:27 pm | Permalink

      High five, fellow Megan! 🙂

  67. Barbara Frye's Gravatar Barbara Frye
    March 27, 2015 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    i have to vote for Egeria because she is at least part of the reason that we have the magnificent Holy Weekand Easter Vigil services which I so love!

  68. Tim Dewart's Gravatar Tim Dewart
    March 27, 2015 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Living in Rochester, NY I had to vote for Frederick Douglass as our hometown saint. He lived here for 25 years and did some of his most important work during that time. In terms of Frederick Douglass kitsch, there are several notable examples in the Rochester area which you missed: the Frederick Douglass-Susan B. Anthony Bridge, the statue of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony having tea together located in a park near her home, and the Frederick Douglass statue in Rochester’s Highland Park.

  69. Deb's Gravatar Deb
    March 27, 2015 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Egeria. She preserved the ancient liturgy for us. And inspired sepulcher perfume.

  70. Deb's Gravatar Deb
    March 27, 2015 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Oops. Jerusalem perfume.

  71. Sue's Gravatar Sue
    March 27, 2015 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never before seen co-ed used to describe a male. Very interesting.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 27, 2015 - 4:17 pm | Permalink

      co-ed for a male —isn’t it time?

  72. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 27, 2015 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Cool to see a 50/50 split at midday. Will be interesting to see final results!

  73. Suzanne's Gravatar Suzanne
    March 27, 2015 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    This was tough, as both are amazing people whose influence persists today. I tried to imagine a world where neither had existed. The power of tradition may have preserved the liturgy in the church, but the power of tradition would have perpetuated deep injustices in American society. I had to vote for Douglass, whose courage lay in challenging tradition.

  74. lindanola's Gravatar lindanola
    March 27, 2015 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    @klf- i like Lent Madness. the only semi sane thing on the internet. when the race card gets played i am out of here. i dislike that soooo much.

  75. Robert Bruce's Gravatar Robert Bruce
    March 27, 2015 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Holy Lent! Only a 33 vote separation.

  76. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    March 27, 2015 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

    The Frederick Douglass house qualifies as kitsch? Afro sheen commercial much better! But no, my vote went for the poor little goldfish making his perpetual journey…and the Jerusalem memorabilia. Egeria for sure…not sure how she’ll do up against the likes of Francis tho.

  77. Tamara's Gravatar Tamara
    March 27, 2015 - 12:58 pm | Permalink

    People! Egeria traveled and wrote; that is great. What did she personally do to improve the loves of her fellow human beings, at great cost to herself? I’m currently reading Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms -Journeys into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East by Gerard Russell. Apparently Egeria’s pilgrimage also took her to Edessa, now the Iraqi city of Sanliurfa. Fish in a stream there were (and are) considered holy to the local inhabitants. Egeria made a point of eating some and declared them “very tasty.” Sounds like a Jewish teenager sneaking out for a bacon cheeseburger during Passover… I enjoy Egeria’s writing on Holy Week in Jerusalem. But we are talking about saints, or at the minimum Holy Women (and) Holy Men… people who manifested the will of God in concrete ways to their fellow human beings. Not travel writers, however interesting. I’ve also been wondering how much all that travel cost… might someone else have spent it differently?

    • Casandra's Gravatar Casandra
      March 27, 2015 - 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Tamara, your thoughts have made me consider the ways we define or look for saintliness. The Hindu tradition defines several ways: there is knowledge, wisdom, scholarship (Thomas Aquinas, for example); action and service (like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Mother Teresa); devotion (Therese of Lisieux, for example), as well as meditation (the Desert Fathers). In Christianity, western Christianity especially, we have leaned very heavily toward devotion and service, and examples of the other kinds of holiness are less common. But could those ways be just as valid for those whose natures incline them to scholarship or meditation? I don’t know that the answer is yes; I think our preference for devotion and service comes from the teachings of Jesus. And if that’s right, then yes, the saints who sacrifice and serve are of a higher order than those who ponder and write. I’d be interested in what others think about this.

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 27, 2015 - 3:16 pm | Permalink

        Different gifts for different people — like the different members of the body — none higher/better than the other.

      • Susan Boyer's Gravatar Susan Boyer
        March 27, 2015 - 6:10 pm | Permalink

        Hmmm. This thought follows the stream (or swims in the fish bowl) of consciousness I’ve been playing with today. My first thought this morning was: “How can I choose between contemplation and action???” As a choir member in a parish with a very traditional and serious RSCM music program, and as the spouse of a priest who loves to sing the Exultet, I could gladly vote for Egeria in anticipation of Holy Week. And since my Lenten reading has been focused on racism (OK y’all must read The New Jim Crow) I have new appreciation for justice-making Douglass. Your description of areas of saintliness is instructive; I see Egeria as a model of devotion and knowledge, Douglass as scholarship and action born of devotion. Personally, I feel nudged toward more action so, I believe I’ll vote for Douglass. thanks.

  78. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    March 27, 2015 - 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Egeria has better kitsch but Douglass is one of my all-time favorites. One of my college nicknames was “Fred” due to the uncanny resemblance my hair bore to his at that stage in my life.

  79. Miss J's Gravatar Miss J
    March 27, 2015 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Decision, decisions, decisions . . .

    without her recordings how much of early Lenten & Holy Week liturgical practice would we know?

    without him agitating Lincoln towards ending slavery where would we (in the U.S.) be in terms of basic human rights?

    I want to vote for her & him both, but since I only get one vote I’m voting for him in case slave-owning Molly (how she for this far is madness indeed) somehow sneaks past nothing-owning Francis, in which case an eventual trouncing of Molly by Fredrick for the Golden Halo would be most appropriate.

  80. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 27, 2015 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I have been vacillating all day between these two saints. Every time I’m ready to vote for Frederick Douglass, I think of his sexual escapades and Eugenia’s devotion to liturgy and to preserving her observations of it for the benefit of her community Every time I’m ready to vote for Egeria, I think of Frederick’s contributions to a freer and more democratic America, and his early support of the vote for women, and Eugenia’s “mere journalism” vs. “true creativity”. Both have had their influence on the way we live today. I think I will have to decide for Frederick Douglass.

  81. Miss J's Gravatar Miss J
    March 27, 2015 - 1:23 pm | Permalink

    A fifty vote margin? Wow this could be one of the closest Lent Madness votes ever!

  82. John G.'s Gravatar John G.
    March 27, 2015 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Well, down to 50 votes of separation right now. That is impressive. I finally went for Egeria although it was a very hard choice. I think Frederick Douglass is a great American hero and enjoyed learning a good bit about him. This is one where I will be checking in this evening to see the vote count!

  83. March 27, 2015 - 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Any woman who would walk or ride a donkey hundreds of miles to go from Spain to Jerusalem in the name of Jesus Christ and preserves the church’s early liturgy gets my vote.

  84. Kay Richardson's Gravatar Kay Richardson
    March 27, 2015 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Egeria got my vote, despite not being on TEC’s calendar of saints. Seems the SEC has some ‘splainin’ to do about this . . .

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 27, 2015 - 3:22 pm | Permalink

      GC is comin’ up.

      • Kay Richardson's Gravatar Kay Richardson
        March 27, 2015 - 4:11 pm | Permalink

        Is there a list of potential additions to the TEC calendar to be voted on at GC?

  85. Cindy Curry's Gravatar Cindy Curry
    March 27, 2015 - 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Oh my, while muddling through the conundrum of voting choice, I somehow envisioned Douglass & Egeria Gracefully – & Gratefully – waltzing in the West Parlor…or was it on the Lawn?……

  86. Robert Kent's Gravatar Robert Kent
    March 27, 2015 - 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Egeria! Love pilgrimages!

  87. Kim Brinkmann's Gravatar Kim Brinkmann
    March 27, 2015 - 3:03 pm | Permalink

    My first Lent Madness season & what fun it is!! Even though I love Frederick Douglass on many levels (the retro Afro-Sheen ad not withstanding! Really??!) I have to go with my girl Egeria because women saints rock! Just wondering if Oliver is voting St. Brigid?? And since he has such a great Golden Halo voting record – could he put in a special word for Notre Dame against Kentucky in that other “madness” contest? Happy Holy Week!

  88. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    March 27, 2015 - 3:09 pm | Permalink

    The SEC should hire Oliver to do the ‘color commentary’ next year. I haven’t voted without reading about his selection first!

  89. Carol Riddick's Gravatar Carol Riddick
    March 27, 2015 - 3:09 pm | Permalink

    The story of the Goldfish’s memory and his 30 second trip half way around the bowl got me right off. I realize that is not exactly the serious stuff of which LM is made, but …. Egeria had better stuff than Frederick!

    • andrea's Gravatar andrea
      March 27, 2015 - 4:10 pm | Permalink

      I liked the postage stamp. I was able to find an I love Egeria/I heart T-shirt on the web. Not sure how to link to it or if it was named after her, but you go girl!

  90. Leamarie T's Gravatar Leamarie T
    March 27, 2015 - 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I must admire the man who came so far within his own lifetime, despite such a harsh beginning, and still kept so much love, grace, and strength. He certainly knew how to put his priorities in order as he worked for equality and respect for his people, and by extension all people. He lived the principles he espoused, despite the unsavory times in which he lived. Egeria has her strengths, yet I must vote for the man who exemplified the courage of his convictions. And a family man, too! Yay, Frederick Douglass.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 27, 2015 - 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Aren’t there always? Maybe the SEC has Connections.

  91. March 27, 2015 - 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Looks like a close one this time.
    It’s difficult when the choice is between a figure from the distant past who remains significant for our faith and spirituality and a more modern figure who is noted for practical expressions of faith.
    As a result, in this round, the Brigid/Kamehameha IV and Egeria/Frederick Douglass match-ups were the hardest ones for me to make a choice.

  92. Christine CO's Gravatar Christine CO
    March 27, 2015 - 5:51 pm | Permalink

    I was seriously leaning towards Egeria anyway, but the discovery of the Egeria Porject clinched my vote. My signoff for e-mails, etc., is “Peace,” and what I have in mind especially is peace in the Middle East (where I grew up). Discovering an organization that involves both Middle Eastern countries AND Israel was a happy surprise!



  93. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 27, 2015 - 6:18 pm | Permalink

    I was going to vote for Frederick; not only is he an amazing hero, but a Francis/Frederick match-up is too good to miss!
    And then I read about the Egeria project, and had to vote for her. Anyone who inspires folks in the Middle East to co-operate has got to get my vote.

  94. March 27, 2015 - 8:00 pm | Permalink

    I also find Egeria’s attitude saintly: she observed and recorded with interest and acceptance, not with judgement. She certainly risked her life to record what we now know thanks to her. She reminds me of her little mount: that’s a donkey, not a pony, Oliver, check the ears. Donkeys are small, humble, and hardworking. I hope the Egeria project succeeds. Maybe if Egeria wins the Golden Halo, it will raise the profile of her project.

  95. glenda woodward's Gravatar glenda woodward
    March 27, 2015 - 8:44 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe you remembered that AfrO Sheeeen ad from the 70’s. It used to come on during SSSOOOOUUULLLL TRAAAIN ! Now I can not get the theme song out of my mind. LM always has a surprise. Love it.

  96. Diane HH's Gravatar Diane HH
    March 27, 2015 - 9:17 pm | Permalink

    My first year of ministry, I knew very little about Holy Week traditions (PCUSA), so Egeria was one of my best and favorite resources. Twenty years later, I am rooting for her to win the Golden Halo! By the way, from — the Definition of EGERIA
    : a woman who is an adviser or a companion. Makes total sense to me!

  97. Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
    March 27, 2015 - 10:29 pm | Permalink

    This is such a tough match-up. I’ve admired Frederick Douglass my whole life. But I deeply love travel and writing about what I find. Oliver clinched it for me – donkeys/ponies are the coolest critters. Have to go with Egeria.

  98. Rex McKee's Gravatar Rex McKee
    March 27, 2015 - 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Douglas. He needs last minute help…

  99. Jason's Gravatar Jason
    March 28, 2015 - 1:33 am | Permalink

    No kitsch can top a ghost who gives hairstyling tips!

  100. March 28, 2015 - 7:48 am | Permalink

    I’ve learned so much from this series, huge thanks to everyone involved–and all the commenters who’ve kept it lively yet gracious. My traveling sister was losing when I was early to bed last night and I’m so happy this morning to see that she won!

  101. Wendy's Gravatar Wendy
    March 28, 2015 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    My Sunday School class has been tracking the Lent Madness. We did our lesson last Sunday reading up on Brigid and Kamehameha so when that vote came up this week, they were ready with many thoughts to inform their votes. My son’s been saying it’s going to be Frederick Douglass for the golden halo, so this morning when I told him Egereia had “edged” out Douglass, we were both pretty surprised. I voted for Egeria, full disclosure. And, I’m still whole-heartedly FOR BRIGID FOR THE GOLDEN HALO ALL THE WAY !!!

  102. Garrett Fonda's Gravatar Garrett Fonda
    March 28, 2015 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    Seems to me we need a recount. Looks awful fishy with less than 100 votes separating Egeria and Frederick Douglas. Florida all over again. I see hanging chads in the SEC offices. A man of Douglas’s stature certainly could not be defeated by a 2000 year old woman. We want a recount!!!!!

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