Thecla vs. Francis of Assisi

And then there were eight. We started with 32 saints and 3/4 of them have been sent packing. Welcome, friends, to the Elate Eight. Things kick off with Thecla taking on Francis of Assisi. To make it to this point, Thecla defeated John Keble and Brendan the Navigator while Francis of Assisi beat John Wycliffe and Cecilia. (Elate Eight Bonus: click on the names of vanquished foes to refresh your memory by reading the write-ups from previous rounds).

Yesterday, Egeria defeated Thomas Ken 54% to 46% to nab the final spot. After today’s battle, it’s Brigid of Kildare vs. Kamehameha, Bernard Mizeki vs. Molly Brant, and Frederick Douglass vs. Egeria. One of these eight will be awarded the coveted 2015 Golden Halo!

This round is also known as the Saintly Kitsch round. After basic biographies, quotes and quirks, what else could there be? There are always some folks who take offense to this approach — we call them Kitsch Kranks. This round is not meant to belittle or demean our saintly heroes but to have some fun and gaze in wide wonder at the breadth of devotional practice. So kindly relax and enjoy the spirit of the Madness as we push ever onward toward our goal.

Finally, if you want to know more about, and see some examples of, saintly kitsch, tune in to this week’s episode of Monday Madness in which Scott and Tim also reveal why Lent Madness is the Original Saintly Smackdown©.


You may anticipate, Lent Madness reader, that Thecla – proclaimed as an “Equal-to-the-Apostles” and honored as a saint since the time of the early church – would be devoid of saintly kitsch. All hope would seem to be lost, especially when paired against Saint Francis, the saint whose face inspired a thousand birdbaths. With Thecla being most highly venerated in Eastern Christianity – a tradition not particularly known for turning its saints into garden gnomes – some kitsch would, it seem, be missing for Thecla in this round of Lent Madness.

thecla-totebagBut that, dear friends, is why Zazzle and Etsy exist. Truly, it seems, there is no member of the communion of saints beyond plastering on a tote bag. Thecla, revered for her own self-denial, may have travelled light, following in the footsteps of Saint Paul, but that won’t prevent her from helping you carry home your latest purchases from the supermarket in this sophisticated canvas tote bag.

Yet, something, it seems, is still missing. Thecla was put on trial and condemned for thecla-jellybeansrefusing to renounce her faith in Jesus Christ, the true and living bread. Thecla could have tasted death – but was delivered by God each time. While remembering her trials, you, dear reader, can think of the sweetness of God’s deliverance with a free batch of St. Thecla jelly beans!

thecla-mugYet, dear reader, I still sense something missing. Two different cities tried to put Thecla to death for her faith in Jesus Christ. Twice, she was delivered. One can only expect that the rulers of these cities were left asking one another if they “Got Thecla?” as they drank their morning coffee. The answer: no. God always delivered her.

Yet something, it seems, is still missing. The Acts of Paul and Thecla recount wild beasts being struck dead to spare Thecla from martyrdom, but evidently, modern day stuffed beasts haven’t gotten the message. These tigers, bears, horses and moose are big Thecla fans, and want you to vote for her today. They even have the t-shirts to prove it. Talk about rooting against their own self-interest.thecla-stuffedanimals

seal-chesspieceAlas, something, it seems, is still lacking — one key and memorable piece of Thecla’s story. We become Christians through Holy Baptism, and the words of the liturgy remind us that we through that sacrament, we are “sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism, and marked as Christ’s own forever.” And, dear reader, we know that Thecla, like few others, can claim to be seal-ed in baptism, since she baptized herself in a pool of water filled with ravenous sea lions and, yes, loose seals. Yet she was baptized, and was not harmed in any way by these wild beasts – the ravenous sea lions and loose seals did not maul, bite, or harm her – instead, she was baptized in water and delivered. Ultimately, no Thecla kitsch round would be complete without a loose seal. And so, we present one to you now, humbly asking for your vote.

David Sibley

Francis of Assisi

StFrancisGrottoBirdBath100GKC090Faithful Lent Madness readers, Francis, whose life and ministry preached the Gospel both with and without words, gives us such a rich tapestry of love, faith, and adventures that the kitsch is most certainly strong with this one. Sure, he didn’t hang with someone named Paul in the New Testament, but his feast day ups most average Sunday attendance figures if clergy count the two and four-legged souls in church at the Blessing of the Animals.

After all, not every saint has the gravitas or the holy presence to be the final perfect touch for a garden. This particular birdbath captures Francis in the holy position of orans, blessing the water and birdseed for the very birds who set quite the high standard for a flock listening to a sermon. Squirrels, a lamb, a wolf, and bunnies listen in rapt attention. Bunnies. Bunnies loved this man!

i_love_st_francis_south_dakota_bag-rddff6c89dd9d4872a9ad9584455188f1_ftm1h_8byvr_324Francis lived a life of extreme poverty and asked his community to do the same. While not all of us are called to a life of holy vows of poverty, we are all called to remember that less is often more. Remember one of the Franciscan rules by downsizing your baggage with this small purse. Emblazoned with a reminder of our favorite saint, it is just roomy enough for essentials, asking us to leave our extra baggage behind.

st_francis_of_assisi_mouse_pad-rad5636dfcc47472e908f4325c1c0492d_x74vi_8byvr_324Francis’ legacy includes authoring what many consider the first work of literature written in the Italian language, the stunning Canticle of the Sun. In it, all of Creation praises God. While working at our desks, we can be reminded to stop occasionally and join Creation in praising God with this psychedelic mousepad featuring Francis and a unicorn. Bunnies AND unicorns loved Francis! He surely has their votes.

Some saints may try to sway your vote by name dropping their association with certain early il_570xN.729938158_66k5church bigwigs, but Francis just wants us to know that we are all loved. Francis’ compassion and kindness are mentioned with frequency by those who knew him or knew people who knew him. So when you have one of those days where nothing seems to go your way, fix a warm cup of cocoa and snuggle with this St. Francis doll to remind yourself that you, too, are part of God’s beloved creation.

WerewolfFrancis lived a faithful, adventurous life, and the stories of Francis are many. We cannot, however, forget one of his more dramatic encounters, with the Wolf of Gubbio. The ravenous wolf was terrorizing the town, making livestock and citizens the daily lunch specials. The town’s bravest men went to kill the wolf. Armed with their pitchforks and swords, they charged at the wolf, only to become more casualties. The townspeople were terrified of the wolf. They would look out their windows each night and see this. Horror!

Francis, hearing about their plight, took pity upon the townsfolk and the wolf. Francis went to meet the wolf, armed only with his fc,550x550,baby_bluelove and faith. The wolf charged at Francis, and Francis responded by making the Sign of the Cross and saying, “Brother Wolf, in the name of Christ, I order you not to hurt anyone.” Guided by Francis, the wolf and the townspeople made peace and lived in harmony.

So, in honor of Francis, who made ravenous wolves hold hands with children and who reminds us that everything can nudge us to remember the love of God, even questionably decorated mousepads, we humbly ask for your vote.

Laurie Brock


Thecla vs. Francis of Assisi

  • Francis of Assisi (71%, 4,142 Votes)
  • Thecla (29%, 1,728 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,870

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182 Comments to "Thecla vs. Francis of Assisi"

  1. Francis of Granby's Gravatar Francis of Granby
    March 24, 2015 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    St. Francis has indeed inspired some great kitsch, but please don’t think of him in those terms alone. Both the extraordinary facts of his life and the lovely (albeit too “sentimental” for the taste of some) myths surrounding it have served as a source of profound and life-changing inspiration for countless people through the centuries. It is easy to be blinded by one’s distaste for the kind of saintly kitsch and “sentimentality” St. Francis has inspired– push past that and you may be surprised by what you will discover.

    • Judy Batson's Gravatar Judy Batson
      March 24, 2015 - 2:10 pm | Permalink

      I believe the “kitsch” portion of Lent Madness is all in good fun and not to promote our thoughts on any saint in one way or another since we covered bio and other aspects of saintliness in previous rounds. I voted for both of these saints, but I remained with Thecla since women’s contribution to the early church has not been sufficiently written into history. She is a significant person and deserves her righteous place as a fully recognized influence on the very earliest days of Christendom. St. Francis has already achieved this status, and I could not agree with you more about his merit. My bookshelf reflects my devotion and admiration in the Franciscan direction. However, Thecla is largely unrecognized, and I only heard of her through Lent Madness, and she emerged as a champion of the faith and as a significant purveyor of the Gospel long before Francis was on the scene. Many times women are not sufficiently written into history since they do not enjoy the attention and traditional influence of men, and thus I adhere to my support of Thecla.

  2. Harry Moncelle's Gravatar Harry Moncelle
    March 24, 2015 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    This was a no brainier, St. Francis who shows us all how to treat not just animals but all of God’s creation, gets my vote

    • Vonelle Kostelny-Vogts's Gravatar Vonelle Kostelny-Vogts
      March 24, 2015 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

      I agree!

  3. Oliver Seven years old's Gravatar Oliver Seven years old
    March 24, 2015 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    I voted for the thecla because everyone votes for st. Francis. And she almost died from fires and lions.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 24, 2015 - 8:23 am | Permalink

      And there’s Oliver! And right again, at least at this stage — almost everyone votes for Francis. I would love some Thecla jelly beans though. After Lent of course.

    • Nancy Gossling's Gravatar Nancy Gossling
      March 24, 2015 - 8:26 am | Permalink

      Yes, Oliver!

    • JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
      March 24, 2015 - 9:30 am | Permalink

      Done, dear Oliver! I could not forsake her at this time, whatever the odds!

    • Katherine Schroeder's Gravatar Katherine Schroeder
      March 24, 2015 - 9:50 am | Permalink

      Same vote for the same reasons, Oliver. You are one smart voter.

    • March 24, 2015 - 9:59 am | Permalink

      How can I stand against the most popular poster on this website. For you, Oliver, I too cast my vote for Thecla. Can you lead us to the greatest upset ever?

    • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
      March 24, 2015 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Joining in Oliver’s band of voting for the less-known saint. After all, learning about saints is what Lent Madness is all–OK, mainly–about.

    • Racheal's Gravatar Racheal
      March 24, 2015 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you Oliver! Thecla over came some big challenges!

    • March 24, 2015 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

      I’m with Oliver (and Thecla)!

    • Judy Batson's Gravatar Judy Batson
      March 24, 2015 - 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Me too, Oliver, and I love it that you’ve been faithful to Lent Madness and hope you have learned a great deal about our Communion of Saints that we mention in the creeds. You make me happy every day when I see your comments. Theca NEEDS recognition as a woman who has not been recognized enough for her devotion to Jesus in the earliest days of Christianity. Thanks for your vote! GOOOOO Thecla!

  4. Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
    March 24, 2015 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    Really great kitsch for Thecla!! And probably not easy to find.

    • babzee's Gravatar babzee
      March 24, 2015 - 9:03 am | Permalink

      i almost swayed to Thecla just because of what a great job David did with the kitsch. Well done. but ultimately I had to vote for one of my all time favorite saints.

      • Judy Batson's Gravatar Judy Batson
        March 24, 2015 - 2:14 pm | Permalink

        St. Francis, like Theresa of Avila (and Ignatius of Loyola) are my tippy-top faves, but I went with Thecla because she deserves her spot as a woman who was devoted to Jesus in the earliest days of Christianity while St. Francis is already highly recognized.

  5. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    March 24, 2015 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    If you are ever as fortunate as I was to make the trip to Assisi, the entire town offers lots and lots of Francis-themed kitsch. Some of it is very tasteful; others, not so much.

    • Wynne Osborne's Gravatar Wynne Osborne
      March 24, 2015 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Oh! the windows filled with fat friars for the kitchen, bath, garden or any shelf space one has left over. I loved Assisi and found it to be much more than the snooty Roman tour guides predicted. I have a special fondness for St. Francis kitsch. As a 9 year old, I saw St. Francis placed in a wooden shelter displayed in a Santa Cruz, CA gift shop. I knew my mother liked St. Francis and asked my grandmother to help me find ways to earn the money to buy this. I don’t remember the cost, but in the mid 50’s it was more than one weekend of chores could earn. On every visit to my grandmother, and she was a 1/2 car trip away, I did any task requested and visited St. Francis (around the corner and down two blocks) anxiously checking to make sure he was still there. I think my usually ultra-thrifty grandmother bought the statue and let me pay her. She must have been worried that time was not on my side. Giving that gift to my mother was incredibly special. St. Francis lived in her garden for 50 years. Both my mother and grandmother live in my heart. and I shed a tear when I found that Francis had been broken by a little creature in my garden shed.

      • Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
        March 24, 2015 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

        What charming story. I bet, too, that your grandmother made a deal
        With the proprietor of the store. Aren’t grandmother’s the greatest
        Of creation. Mine certainly were.

      • Em's Gravatar Em
        March 24, 2015 - 11:01 pm | Permalink

        A delightful and sweet story. And I hope you’ll find some solace in knowing that Francis would have understood and forgiven the “little creature in my garden shed” who brought about his demise.

        Happily, he lives on in glory and perhaps chats with your grandma on occasion.

        • Em's Gravatar Em
          March 24, 2015 - 11:05 pm | Permalink

          It’s late and that last sentence wasn’t very clear… the reference was meant to be to St. Francis, but on second thought it could as easily be the little creature 😉

    • Judy Batson's Gravatar Judy Batson
      March 24, 2015 - 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Why is everyone making this so MUCH about the quality of “kitsch” when we should see that significant lead for the Thecla piece: “proclaimed as an “Equal-to-the-Apostles” and honored as a saint since the time of the early church” Let’s boost votes for her and recognize her, as St. Francis has already and rightfully recognized, as a significant player in our caravan of ancestors who brought us to this moment. The kitsch is totally fun, and yet that’s not the full point, is it? VOTE FOR THECLA!

  6. March 24, 2015 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    I totally don’t understand how Theccla can be so far behind Francis? Her Kitsch is way better than Francis’ stuff–com’on people; don’t play favorites at this stage! SHEESH!

    • Nancy Gossling's Gravatar Nancy Gossling
      March 24, 2015 - 8:26 am | Permalink


    • MegN's Gravatar MegN
      March 24, 2015 - 8:39 am | Permalink

      Theccla’s kitsch made it a close call… but I had to vote for Francis. So very sorry. I just have terrible problems with the seals. In time, and perhaps in spirit, Theccla may be closer to Jesus, but I’m also inspired by people closer in time to me.

      • babzee's Gravatar babzee
        March 24, 2015 - 9:05 am | Permalink

        had to love the seal-ed in baptism. don’t know if i will ever be able to keep a straight face when i say that in the future

        • JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
          March 24, 2015 - 9:33 am | Permalink

          I usually cry during Baptisms/Renewal of Baptismal vows… I fear some hysterical mixture of that and giggles when I renew in May! Oh, dear!

        • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
          March 24, 2015 - 10:43 am | Permalink

          I think that was one of the most memorable puns the Celebrity Bloggers have come up with.

          • Sonia's Gravatar Sonia
            March 24, 2015 - 11:28 am | Permalink

            Agreed! If not THE most memorable! Except, of course, you won’t get it, if it’s said; it has to be written! I’m glad to see Oliver is a person of principle but I voted for Francis. Sorry, Oliver!

  7. Ruth's Gravatar Ruth
    March 24, 2015 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    These are the best write-ups yet! I love participating and yes, learning.

    • Barbara Ross's Gravatar Barbara Ross
      March 24, 2015 - 9:22 am | Permalink

      I agree; the celebrity bloggers outdid themselves today. I love the play on the word “seal” in Thecla’s write-up. The comments are great, too (i.e., Francis and Clare Underwood vs. Assisi – I never would’ve made that connection!)

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      March 24, 2015 - 9:49 am | Permalink

      Amen to that! This is the best kitsch round ever! I laughed so loud I scared my cats. So, with apologies to them— and in spite of Thecla’s plush forest minions, misspelled mug, and adorable loose seal–I cast my vote for St. Francis of the Holly Hobbie-inspired couch doll, with his army of psychadelic unicorns, evangelistic bunnies, and repentant wolves. Celebrity Bloggers, good on you both!

      • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
        March 24, 2015 - 11:43 am | Permalink

        loudly I mean

  8. March 24, 2015 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Though I was planning to vote for Francis anyway, the fact that bunnies AND unicorns loved him pushed me over the top.

    His was a disarming character, all right. May we all lay down our weapons — our anxiety and need to be right — and instead fling wide our embrace of welcome!

    • Susan Boyer's Gravatar Susan Boyer
      March 24, 2015 - 10:55 am | Permalink

      Ah yes! Disarming. Even with all the frivolity, this phrase is moving. And somehow there’s a balance. The animals and fierce humans laid aside their ferocity in the face of Thecla’s faith and God’s fierce love. They gave of self (willingly or not) for her and for God. And Francis disarmed himself, laying aside the wealth and power of his family, he gave of self for “all his relations” – brother/sister creatures and for God. Welcome seals and wolves, Thecla and Francis! As for voting…… well…..

    • Judy Batson's Gravatar Judy Batson
      March 24, 2015 - 2:20 pm | Permalink

      But Francis already has earned his own very well-deserved recognition, and Thecla, a woman who served the earliest days of Christianity, has not been recognized as she well deserves! VOTE FOR THECLA! Women were almost invisible back in the earliest days for a variety of reasons, and yet Thecla overcame blocks and achieved greatness as proclaimed as an “Equal-to-the-Apostles.” My bookshelf overflows with St. Francis who I adore in deeply heartfelt ways, but let’s give Thecla her due and move her from obscurity. I had never even heard of her until this year, and I am grateful for that.

  9. Shirley R's Gravatar Shirley R
    March 24, 2015 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Both deserving, but come on, who can resist Thecla jelly beans!

    • Nancy Gossling's Gravatar Nancy Gossling
      March 24, 2015 - 8:27 am | Permalink

      I once heard of an Easter communion service (not TEC mind you) that used coke and jelly beans. Vote Thecla.

      • Joanne's Gravatar Joanne
        March 24, 2015 - 10:01 am | Permalink

        Uh, Coca-Cola, right? 🙂 SEC, please accept my apologies if this type of joking around is not allowed!

  10. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    March 24, 2015 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Just right, it is a no brainer for me. But yet I love the Thecla kitsch. Today I don’t need Oliver’s commentary to know who to vote for but I will be looking for his words of wisdom as the day progresses.

  11. Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
    March 24, 2015 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    In honor of St. Francis, let’s all hold animals in our hearts today.

    • Sr. Brigidssm's Gravatar Sr. Brigidssm
      March 24, 2015 - 3:57 pm | Permalink

      beautiful thought

  12. rita's Gravatar rita
    March 24, 2015 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Where can I get that bag?

  13. Nancy Gossling's Gravatar Nancy Gossling
    March 24, 2015 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Sealed as Christ’s own forever did it for me.

  14. Matthew's Gravatar Matthew
    March 24, 2015 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    I’m going with Fluttershy (the yellow animal-loving pegasus from My Little Pony) on this one. She and Francis would’ve been great friends.

  15. Francis of Granby's Gravatar Francis of Granby
    March 24, 2015 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    The case of St. Francis and his kitsch actually provides us with substantive food for thought: To what extent are “sentimental” expressions of popular piety, on the one hand, and expressions of what we tend to perceive as “deeper,” more genuine spiritual engagement, on the other, necessarily diametrically opposed? Can “sentimental” popular piety be a stepping stone to “deeper” spirituality? Can a genuinely “deep” spirituality be tinged with some “sentimentality” and still be “deep”? To what extent are these distinctions, or perceived distinctions, just expressions of the class, education and culture of the individual believer? etc. The countless kitsch-sellers and jaw-droppingly tacky commercialization of Lourdes, for example, have not prevented hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from having a genuinely “deep” experience there.

    Merton, writing about the Sacred Heart (a popular devotion often accused of “sentimentality”), has something interesting to say on the subject:

    ” […] there really is an abyss of light in the things the simplest faithful believe and love, and that sometimes seems trite to the intellectuals. Indeed, perhaps it is the simplest and most popular truths that are also the deepest after all.”

    • Susan Boyer's Gravatar Susan Boyer
      March 24, 2015 - 10:59 am | Permalink

      Yes! Thanks for this. I needed to be thus humbled. A lovely novel on this theme is Maeve Binchy’s “Whitethorn Woods”.

      • Francis of Granby's Gravatar Francis of Granby
        March 24, 2015 - 11:06 am | Permalink

        Thanks so much for the recommendation, Susan. I just ordered it.

  16. Ann E's Gravatar Ann E
    March 24, 2015 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    St. Francis, of course. My dogs agree.

    • Nancy C.'s Gravatar Nancy C.
      March 24, 2015 - 11:24 am | Permalink

      As do my cats. St. Francis all the way!

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 24, 2015 - 11:40 am | Permalink

        Mine too and the two strays that we feed and pet and love dearly.

  17. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    March 24, 2015 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    Go, Oliver! I’m voting for Thekla for sure. Love the “Got Thekla?” mug, the jellybeans, and, of course, that ravenous seal! But kudos, Laurie, for finding that coaster–it’s a hoot!

  18. Donna's Gravatar Donna
    March 24, 2015 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Hands down, Thecla wins my “seal” of approval!

  19. Brian Grantz's Gravatar Brian Grantz
    March 24, 2015 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    “This core Christ identity was made into a worthiness contest, or a moral contest, at which almost no one wins and so most do not even try. Francis and Clare (of Assisi, I’m assuming, not Underwood) undid the whole contest by rejoicing in their ordinariness and seeming unworthiness…” Fr. Richard Rohr in Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (parens mine, which I hope is obvious). So, beyond the rich irony of voting for Francis in a contest at all (and with a tip of my San Diego Padres baseball cap to Oliver), Francis gets my vote for his example and challenge to live life in Christ far beyond the birdbath.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 24, 2015 - 9:02 am | Permalink

      Haha! Francis Underwood! I also think “Beyond The Birdbath” would make a great title for something.

      • Sister Janet's Gravatar Sister Janet
        March 24, 2015 - 10:10 am | Permalink

        “Beyond the Birdbath” was the name of a teaching series a few years ago by Franciscan priest Richard Rohr. if you want to check out his work.

        • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
          March 24, 2015 - 10:15 am | Permalink

          And here I thought I was being so clever! Nothing new under the sun, eh? Thanks for the link!

  20. Patrice's Gravatar Patrice
    March 24, 2015 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Even though I would love to see Saint Francis win the Golden Halo, I cast my vote today for Thecla in gratitude for her story as “One-Equal-to-the-Apostles.”

    • Judy Batson's Gravatar Judy Batson
      March 24, 2015 - 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Me too, Patrice! It is not often that one learns about a woman in the earliest days of Christianity who was “One-Equal-to-the-Apostles,” and as much as I love St. Francis, I am sticking with Thecla too!

    • Judy B's Gravatar Judy B
      March 26, 2015 - 11:41 pm | Permalink

      Just looked at the registration cost for Beyond the Birdbath at $150, I won if st Francis would much appreciate the sharing of his spirituality at what seems like a usury price for the elites who can afford it.

  21. Elizabeth E's Gravatar Elizabeth E
    March 24, 2015 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    I prefer the Thecla coffee travel mug. How amazing those Australians are to have so much Thecla kitsch.

  22. Harry Moncelle's Gravatar Harry Moncelle
    March 24, 2015 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    I just discovered that I made an egregious error in the spelling of “brainer” for this I ask the Supreme Executive to pardon me! And while I have their attention I have a recommendation for the 2016 contest.
    I have just finished teaching about the Nanjing Genocide of 1937-38. I am requesting that you consider Miss. Minnie Vaurtrin, who is considered a “Living Goddess” by the Chinese People of Nanjing in her efforts to protect innocent civilians from the deprivations of the Imperial Japanese Army. I humbly ask the Supreme Executive to check out this courageous women s deeds in China.

  23. Millie Ericson's Gravatar Millie Ericson
    March 24, 2015 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Sticking with Thecla, the Apostle, even though Francis will win. You go, girl! The kitsch was great for both but “sealed” by the Spirit in Baptism sealed it for me!

  24. Laurie's Gravatar Laurie
    March 24, 2015 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Francis, the saint that intentionally lived in poverty and without posessions is probably the undisputed king of kitsch. Love the irony of it all and he wins my vote again.

  25. Carol Virginia's Gravatar Carol Virginia
    March 24, 2015 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    Words of wisdom Rodger Patience. I had great fun in January sitting on a tree stump, on the top of a mountain, overlooking Lake Tahoe, a little fatigued, wearing snowshoes; whereupon I filled my hands with birdseed and stretched out my wondering arms. You can guess the rest. Absolutely joyful! If I were a better techie I would paste the nice pic as my profile! Humbly of course.
    Meanwhile, I ADORE that adorable rag doll!! 🙂

  26. Frederick Mann's Gravatar Frederick Mann
    March 24, 2015 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    I have always had a strong connection with St.Francis. Heck, my grandfather was George Francis, and my mom was Frances Marie. However, I resonated with Thecla in this series to the extent that I felt compelled to vote for her. And, I agree with my friend Sylvia Vazquez….Thecla has way better kitsch.

  27. Vicki Wadlow's Gravatar Vicki Wadlow
    March 24, 2015 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Having always thought of seals as gentle, amusing creatures, Thecla’s story changed them to “ravenous” terrors. While Francis, tamed a truly ravenous wolf and had him hold hands with children. My vote had to go to Francis. As it would have anyway…………

  28. Grace Cangialosi's Gravatar Grace Cangialosi
    March 24, 2015 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    Whoa!!! A spelling error on THECLA’s coffee mug??! If you buy one, does the good saint miraculously change the “k” into a “c”?

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 24, 2015 - 9:14 am | Permalink

      It’s the Greek spelling…

  29. March 24, 2015 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    Though St. Thecla was seal-ed as one of Christ’s own by baptism, my vote is going with St. Francis.

  30. Dan's Gravatar Dan
    March 24, 2015 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    If this were a US Election, it would be a landslide. Poor Thecla. Another vote for Francis.

    • Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
      March 24, 2015 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

      The Saint Francis statue on my patio bid me to vote for him.

  31. Vicki's Gravatar Vicki
    March 24, 2015 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    For creativity alone in the kitch dept., i was for a brief moment tempted to go with Thekla. The awesome blogger miraculously ‘found’ some surprising stuff!!!! I am not not saying that he crafted some of the wonderful souvenirs, but even if that were the case, what a dedicated effort for one’s saint! And Thekla certainly deserves mugs and teddy t-shirts, not to mention a jelly bean jar. Totally admiring the effort, nonetheless (and because it is about favourites at least some of the time… sometimes newly learned about and acquired favourites), Francis has been my favourite saint for as long as i can remember. And since i’m pretty sure he had a hand in my mum saying ‘ok’ whenever i said “this crab (or whomever it was) followed me home,” and then inspired me to let whomever go, and despite the neon mouse pad…. Thanks Francis, let’s go for the halo bro. He would probably say ‘give it to Thekla’ of course and help her sit down and have a chat with the seals.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 24, 2015 - 11:29 am | Permalink

      I just GOTTA know how to get those sealed jelly beans!

  32. Fiona Haworth's Gravatar Fiona Haworth
    March 24, 2015 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Seriously impressed with both write-ups today. Thecla’s is laugh out loud funny 🙂 However, having just discovered that it is National Puppy Day (in which nation I do not know) I had to vote for Francis.

    • Judy Batson's Gravatar Judy Batson
      March 24, 2015 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Dear Friends who voted in favor of puppies,
      My gorgeous Standard Poodle would have adored St. Francis as do I, but today’s vote is a serious one, and not to be made on the basis of National Puppy Day, on a statue in one’s garden or on the naming of dogs (or cats or popes for that matter!). This is about recognition of a woman who was proclaimed as an “Equal-to-the-Apostles,” and honored as a saint since the time of the early church but who has not received the recognition SHE deserves. Having just met her for the first time in Lent Madness, and having voted in previous rounds for both of the contenders today, I remain loyal to Thecla in homage to her service to the launch of Christianity and her work against adversity to spread the Gospel.

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 24, 2015 - 2:52 pm | Permalink

        Excuse me — I didnt’ vore for puppies or such. I voted for a real live authenticated man of God who lived and breathed and was well documented. I did not vote for a specious woman of suspect existence, strange behaviors and obsessions who was apparently prone to rather rash acts of questionable value. Nice to on an equal with the apostles but from whence cometh that pronouncement?

  33. Cecelia Rood's Gravatar Cecelia Rood
    March 24, 2015 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    Just got a new puppy named him Francis, so I had vote for St. Francis or have a very naughty puppy today.

  34. Michelle Crull's Gravatar Michelle Crull
    March 24, 2015 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    Thecla gets my vote again. Any female who would break into prison to save Paul is a true warrior for Christ (and I love the mug). But I would like to have the St. Francis doll.
    To the SEC – I love all the kitsch. Great round!

  35. Alec Clement's Gravatar Alec Clement
    March 24, 2015 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Maybe it’s the animals that he loved and they loved him and his love and selflessness just tipped the scales for me. As to the blogger….GO TO YOUR ROOM!!!

  36. March 24, 2015 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    This is always my favorite round because I love seeing the whacky ways in which marketers commemorate the saints. I think there’s a push to get Francis the Golden Halo, but no doubt Thecla got my vote…especially with that write up and refernce to St. Francis adorning many a birdbath. That gave me a good belly laugh for the morning!

  37. Another Laurie's Gravatar Another Laurie
    March 24, 2015 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    As a member of St. Francis, I really had no choice today, but as a knitter, it was nice to have confirmation of my choice. While I couldn’t find the pattern for the cuddly St. Francis (and I’ve really never thought of him as cuddly, sorry), I was able to find some crocheted Francises for those who might be interested. Yay

  38. Jeanie Martinez's Gravatar Jeanie Martinez
    March 24, 2015 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    While we are all equal in the eyes of God, we are not all equal in the eyes of historians. Thecla must have been a truly amazing person to have earned any mention at all, let alone a whole alternative gospel (Acts of Paul and Thecla). That the best historians could do to malign her was to hint that she may have had a less than proper relationship with Paul, puts her into the realm of Mary Magdalene–also maigned as being a woman of questionable character.

    For having not only survived both human and non-human beassts, as well as the persecution of historians, it is Thecla all the way!

  39. March 24, 2015 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    St. Francis is one of the two patron saints of Italy, the other being St. Catherine of Siena. I am astounded that there has been little or no mention in three rounds of this decidedly non-trivial fact!

  40. Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
    March 24, 2015 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    Thecla won the kitsch, but Francis has been my choice the get-go unless he goes up against Kamehameha. Then, I will have a mighty struggle.

    • Sonia's Gravatar Sonia
      March 24, 2015 - 11:34 am | Permalink

      I think we need to prepare ourselves for that one!

  41. March 24, 2015 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    Without reading any of the comments so far, I voted for Francis yet again. I can’t help but think…I am voting as much for the writing about the saints as for the saint him or her self! The writer of both these kitschy bios deserve a vote, but the writer about Francis had me laughing! I love this tongue in cheek round! Yay, Lent Madness! You are making this fun and informative. Thank you to ALL the writers.

  42. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 24, 2015 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    It almost seems unfair for anyone to have to compete against Francis; the only one remotely likely to approach him in a popularity contest would be Patrick–birdbaths against green beer. Being constitutionally averse to fun (not out of any particular asceticism but simply from a dour temperament), I could care less about the kitsch, but aside from fighting off ravenous seals and putting up with the notoriously misogynistic Paul, Thecla really doesn’t have much to appeal to me. Francis is a no-brainer.

  43. Jody's Gravatar Jody
    March 24, 2015 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    I wish I could knit! I LOVE the St. Francis doll.

  44. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    March 24, 2015 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    Sorry, Oliver. Francis because I love the story of the wolf of Gubbio. I live in the foothills and coyotes abound. They are known to have the neighborhood cats for lunch.

  45. Christina+'s Gravatar Christina+
    March 24, 2015 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    I voted for Francis and have to recommend this delightful new book for children and adults told from the point of view of the wolf, The Wolf at the Gate! The beautiful wood block prints are too nice for classification as “kitch,” but the book needs a mention as “necessary merchandise” for St. Francis fans!

  46. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 24, 2015 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    I voted for both these saints the first go-round so this is a hard choice for me. St. Francis it is.

  47. Judith's Gravatar Judith
    March 24, 2015 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    Have voted with Thecla in every round so
    ar; cannot desert her especially when she is the “underdog” in this match up. Forgive me St. Francis; her victory in this round would in no way diminish the examples of your life or my love of animals. Just raises visibility of another extraordinary life to try to emulate.

  48. Carol Riddick's Gravatar Carol Riddick
    March 24, 2015 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    I can’t believe that this is decided by Mid-morning. Thecla’s story seems to be all about what her faith did for her. St Francis, on the other hand is about his concern for others, including God’s animal creatures.

  49. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    March 24, 2015 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    There is a reason why The Acts of Paul and Thecla is non-canonical, enough said!

  50. Barbara S.'s Gravatar Barbara S.
    March 24, 2015 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    I would so love for Thecla to advance – but found it impossible for me not to vote for my favorite saint and mystic.

    Frenchy for the Golden Halo!

  51. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 24, 2015 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    I love the “wild beasts” in the “I [heart] Thecla” shirts, but a moose? Really? I also love the seal. Awesome!
    Nevertheless, my vote today goes to St. Francis. The story of the Wolf of Gubbio is depicted on one end of the altar in my parish, The Church of the Transfiguration in Dallas,TX. The version of the story that we tell is the one in which St. Francis solves the problem by telling the villagers to feed their wolf if they want him to leave them in peace. They do, and he does. Everybody wins.

  52. lucia's Gravatar lucia
    March 24, 2015 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    My great compliments to the bloggers! This was a hoot! Francis has been my pick for the Golden Halo from day one. Always good to be reminded that I, too, am beloved of Almighty God.

  53. Holly's Gravatar Holly
    March 24, 2015 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    I was leaving Francis and the there were “loose seals.” So David got one vote for Thecla (slow wink.)

  54. Lindsey McLennan's Gravatar Lindsey McLennan
    March 24, 2015 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    I’m still leaning toward Francis, but Thecla’s loose seal kitsch nearly has me hooked. It really was a miracle that none of those seals had experienced the taste of mammal blood before Thecla was cast into their midst. I really gotta hand it to Rev. Sibley on this one.

  55. Kim on the Bayou's Gravatar Kim on the Bayou
    March 24, 2015 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    The Canticle of Brother Sun

    Most High, all powerful, good Lord,
    Yours are the praises, the glory, the honor,
    and all blessing.

    To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
    and no man is worthy to mention Your name.

    Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
    especially through my lord Brother Sun,
    who brings the day; and you give light through him.
    And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
    Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

    Praise be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon
    and the stars, in heaven you formed them
    clear and precious and beautiful.

    Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
    and through the air, cloudy and serene,
    and every kind of weather through which
    You give sustenance to Your creatures.

    Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
    which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

    Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
    through whom you light the night and he is beautiful
    and playful and robust and strong.

    Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
    who sustains us and governs us and who produces
    varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

    Praised be You, my Lord,
    through those who give pardon for Your love,
    and bear infirmity and tribulation.

    Blessed are those who endure in peace
    for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.

    Praised be You, my Lord,
    through our Sister Bodily Death,
    from whom no living man can escape.

    Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
    Blessed are those whom death will
    find in Your most holy will,
    for the second death shall do them no harm.

    Praise and bless my Lord,
    and give Him thanks
    and serve Him with great humility.


    St. Francis of Assisi

  56. Sandy's Gravatar Sandy
    March 24, 2015 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    Thank you SEC for the perspective to “gaze in wide wonder at the breadth of devotional practice” – extremely helpful. In the past, the kitsch round has always felt like a let down after all the inspiring bio’s, but today I fully enjoyed this first match up. Well done both David Sibley and Laurie Brock!

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      March 24, 2015 - 5:30 pm | Permalink

      “Humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer.” –Reinhold Niebuhr (quoted recently in Lenten devotions offered by the Society of St. John the Evangelist)

      • Kim on the Bayou's Gravatar Kim on the Bayou
        March 24, 2015 - 7:13 pm | Permalink

        What a great quote! I’m going to look up some of Reinhold Niebuhr’s writing.

  57. March 24, 2015 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    Thekla the Equal of the Apostles still has my vote because I love her mug. Got Thekla? indeed. And the lovely tale of the Wolf is probably a reworking of one of the tales of the Desert Fathers. He persuaded a hungry hungry hippo on the banks of the Nile to leave the villagers and their gardens alone. (Hippos are actually nasty and aggressive).

  58. Diana Leavengood's Gravatar Diana Leavengood
    March 24, 2015 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    Am wondering if I should just throw in the towel and consider Madness over. It is clear that Francis is going to win. Yawn.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 24, 2015 - 11:48 am | Permalink

      It does seem rather predictable, doesn’t it? 🙁

  59. Janet Holmberg's Gravatar Janet Holmberg
    March 24, 2015 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    In honor of March Madness and Wichita State Shockers who took down KU (University of Kansas) had to go with Thecla!!! Got to love an underdog!!!!

    And yes I live in Wichita KS.

    • Sonia's Gravatar Sonia
      March 24, 2015 - 11:37 am | Permalink

      Yes, and now we know why Kansas won’t play Wichita in the regular season. On Wisconsin!

  60. March 24, 2015 - 11:30 am | Permalink

    Good heavens! “Got Thekla?” Is that for real–or did blogger David Sibley have that made up at his local kitsch supply house? In any event that mug is just too good. I want one!

  61. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 24, 2015 - 11:30 am | Permalink

    LOVE • THE • KITSCH!! Can hardly wait for the rest of the week.

  62. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 24, 2015 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    St. Francis all the way!!! Woo – Woo! I wonder what St. Francis will do with the Golden Halo? That vow of poverty might make this a sticky wicket for him.

  63. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    March 24, 2015 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    Went with Francis after much hesitation. I’ve always loved the Wolf of Gubbio since I encountered this tale in Italy back in the day.

  64. Linda Fernandez's Gravatar Linda Fernandez
    March 24, 2015 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    This is a match up of heavy weights that should not have occurred so early! (Grumbling about brackets…….) both of these saints get love from me.. but Thecla is a little less crazy so gets my vote

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 24, 2015 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Thecla’s a little less crazy? Wow!! What have you been reading about Francis? And where?

    • Rich's Gravatar Rich
      March 24, 2015 - 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Francis helped keep the humanity in the Church at a time when it was headed towards automatic sainthood for those at the top and eternal purgatory for the rest of us. Francis gets my vote.

  65. Harry W's Gravatar Harry W
    March 24, 2015 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

    While I know that I and others know more of Francis, Thecla was better known by early church. I want to thank again March Madness for bringing her deeds and thoughts forward so we all can see what she brought to our knowledge of God at work in her life and in ours. Thelca is my choice today.

  66. John Sorensen's Gravatar John Sorensen
    March 24, 2015 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I wanted to see Francis knocked off in the last round. But this round with Spring on the way, who can pass up a good bird feeder or garden statue with wolves and lions and lambs all gathered around in rapt attention, without eating each other. Gotta admit, the “Got Thecla” coffee mug is a stroke of genius, narrowly beating the Canticle of the Sun Mouse Pad. But after this Winter, with the looming hope of spring it’s St. Francis all the way!

  67. Jim Bimbi's Gravatar Jim Bimbi
    March 24, 2015 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Gotta vote for Thecla almost as a protest vote against putting Francis in the Lent Madness match-ups. Having the Saint of Assisi in this is competition is like putting Lebron James play in that other March Madness tourney.

    • Jim Bimbi's Gravatar Jim Bimbi
      March 24, 2015 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Let me try that again: “Having the Saint of Assisi in this competition is like letting Lebron James play in that other March Madness tourney.”

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 24, 2015 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

        And? So? Not knowing anything about that March Madness stuff, happily, the point is….?

      • Barbara S.'s Gravatar Barbara S.
        March 24, 2015 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

        Actually, Francis lost to Julian of Norwich in the semifinals in 2010! Check it out here:

        • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
          March 24, 2015 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

          Quite a different competition altogether, though, in 2010, wouldn’t you say? mich smaller voting pool, mostly clergy, I’m thinking…

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 24, 2015 - 12:25 pm | Permalink


  68. Michelle Boomgaard's Gravatar Michelle Boomgaard
    March 24, 2015 - 12:28 pm | Permalink

    You neglected to mention Thecla’s non-tangible kitsch. During my seminary days, “Thecla’s Ravenous Seals” competed in weekly trivia contests at a local watering hole.

  69. Claudia Horner's Gravatar Claudia Horner
    March 24, 2015 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    You know, silly me, I thought this Lent Madness stuff would be EASIER than giving up chocolate, or something like.

  70. Miss J's Gravatar Miss J
    March 24, 2015 - 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Francis do to the need of Thecla’s section needing proof reading. Hint to David Sibley: read it out loud and where you stumble over words, fix them.

    Also, while seal-ed as Christ’s own makes for a good written pun doesn’t the Sacrament of Baptism require administration be done by a person who is Baptized? Therefore how could Thekla/Thecla immersing herself be considered legit? (Even Jesus was Baptized by John.). Her solo immersion has bothered me since round one.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 24, 2015 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

      speaking of the need for proof reading —

  71. Elaine's Gravatar Elaine
    March 24, 2015 - 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Love St. Francis, but my mother in laws middle name is Thecla. She has never liked that name, but I will need to tell her that St. Thecla is ‘closet to the Apostles ‘. That might change her mind. Her first name is Marian, how much closer to Jesus can a woman’s name be?

  72. Miss J's Gravatar Miss J
    March 24, 2015 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Stupid iOS autoco-wreck . . . due to not do to

  73. Sheryl's Gravatar Sheryl
    March 24, 2015 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I was hoping that Thecla would move to the forefront, especially since jelly beans are involved! This was a tough one because Francis was never one to cry wolf!

  74. Judy Batson's Gravatar Judy Batson
    March 24, 2015 - 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I’ve voted for both of these saints, so this is a tough decision, but I’m going with Thecla again since few of the women associated with early Christendom are recognized, and she was a major player. St. Francis is already highly recognized and revered. Thecla deserves recognition too, something few women of that era received. I adore St. Francis, and I have many books and devotionals to refer to thanks to him, but too many women who promoted Christ in the earliest days are written out of histories and awareness. Let’s include Thecla and grant her a righteous place.

    • Beth M's Gravatar Beth M
      March 24, 2015 - 2:31 pm | Permalink

      I don’t often respond here–a bit shyish–but I did get up the nerve to be the 1st (I think) to suggest Thecla be nominated, and I was thrilled when she was. I actually read the Acts of Paul and Thecla (on the computer), and I was ever so impressed. I hated to see that she was up against Francis–we all love him–but Thecla DID work miracles, and I’m hoping for one here.

  75. March 24, 2015 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Go Thecla! She was quite the lady. If you read my book you’ll learn more about her. Check it out…. Revelation in the Cave by Nancy Flinchbaugh; — Nancy

  76. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 24, 2015 - 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Poor Thecla may as well be kin to St. Judas Tadeo Patron Saint of Lost Causes, at this point, but as I am all in for lost causes and invented kitsch (I need a “I heart Thecla” moose.) go Thecla!

    • Kim on the Bayou's Gravatar Kim on the Bayou
      March 24, 2015 - 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Are there three of us named Kim?

    March 24, 2015 - 2:31 pm | Permalink

    You picked a fine time to leave me loose seal. Frankie is such a giant, and I’m not certain I want Thecla around my dog.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 24, 2015 - 2:52 pm | Permalink
    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      March 24, 2015 - 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Outstanding lyric!

  78. Christine CO's Gravatar Christine CO
    March 24, 2015 - 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Where can I get that wonderful statue of Francis and all the animals? We have a simple statue of him in our back yard as a memorial to the cats who have lived out their lives with us, but I’d love to have that one join it.
    Also, why is there no lion among the “I [heart] Thecla” animals? They actually got to show that they did. And maybe there should be a sea lion, too. We saw a show on TV recently (on History 2?) that had a segment about Thecla. Apparently, there’s some doubt about the animals in the water tank, as they suggested sharks.

  79. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 24, 2015 - 2:47 pm | Permalink

    That Francis doll with the big nose just made me laugh! Debated back and forth but with apologies to Oliver I think it’ll be Francis for me.

  80. Stephen's Gravatar Stephen
    March 24, 2015 - 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Had to go with the bunnies….

  81. Linda McGee's Gravatar Linda McGee
    March 24, 2015 - 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t sure whether I was going with Thecla or Francis this round. But I lost it reading & seeing the stuffed animals in their I love Thecla tees & the seal. As much as I love Francis, I am voting for Thecla. I can’t stop laughing about the Theclas kitsch. Who would have thunk it?

  82. Cheryle's Gravatar Cheryle
    March 24, 2015 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I almost voted for dear Thecla just because of the “seal” reference at the end. Yes, you almost got me with that one! However, Francis defeated my mother’s name-saint, Cecilia, so I have cast my vote for him.

    Oh – and I’m really surprised that you didn’t recognize that those stuffed critters are wearing those shirts to proclaim their allegiance to Thekla and thus ward off certain death!

  83. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    March 24, 2015 - 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Thecla, because that St. Francis doll looks entirely too much like a sock monkey.

  84. Wendy L. Bell's Gravatar Wendy L. Bell
    March 24, 2015 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m still bitter about St. Brendan. Go, St. Francis!

  85. Bill Ericson's Gravatar Bill Ericson
    March 24, 2015 - 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I am joining young Oliver!

  86. Ren's Gravatar Ren
    March 24, 2015 - 3:44 pm | Permalink

    In terms of kitsch which, as I understand, is the premise of this vote St. Thecla wins hands down. “Got Thecla” is so over the top…. will this be an incentive to buy “Dust Bunnies”? Buy a “Got Thecla” mug at full retail and get 50% off an autographed copy of Fr. Tim’s “Dust Bunnies”. I’d opt for it!

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 24, 2015 - 10:29 pm | Permalink

      I agree ~ Thecla wins the kitsch hands down!

  87. Michelle Pittenger's Gravatar Michelle Pittenger
    March 24, 2015 - 3:52 pm | Permalink

    What a choice between the seals and the wolves but ultimately the pinned swayed me.

  88. Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
    March 24, 2015 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Here in Hawaii I just swim without ever worrying. Well, while in Mexico I was enjoying my swim when a sea lion’s head came up within an inch of my face! I love Francis but I know he’ll understand why I voted Thekla. Sea Lions are very scary in the wild and up that close!

  89. Bindy Snyder's Gravatar Bindy Snyder
    March 24, 2015 - 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Sister Thecla is among the Martyrs of Memphis, memorialized on the altar at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

  90. justin wright's Gravatar justin wright
    March 24, 2015 - 4:27 pm | Permalink

    consider me a kitch klunker, since I’ve started following lent madness, the only madness I’ve seen, is the need to lower the conversation to retail trinkets, this seems to me like having money-changers in the temple…..

  91. March 24, 2015 - 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Many reasons to vote for Francis, the saintly “class act” for Christians of many denominations, theologies, and spiritualities (as well as a paradigm of Chrisitanity at its best for many people of other faiths and philosophies).
    Many pious legends sprung up around both Francis and Thecla, but there seems to be a greater layer of historical fact around Francis.

  92. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    March 24, 2015 - 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Would have voted for Francis anyway, but seriously…how can you top that kitsch? 😉

  93. March 24, 2015 - 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Last minute push for Thecla here. We all know about Francis, but Thecla is somebody new for many of us. Let’s keep learning about her. Thecla! Thecla! Thecla!

    • Linda Brown's Gravatar Linda Brown
      March 24, 2015 - 10:27 pm | Permalink


  94. Robin's Gravatar Robin
    March 24, 2015 - 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Thecla’s write-up and Oliver’s vote nearly swayed me but since one of my passions is rescued animals, I have to go with Francis.

  95. Ellen Gracie's Gravatar Ellen Gracie
    March 24, 2015 - 5:48 pm | Permalink

    I think I voted? What a day!!

  96. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    March 24, 2015 - 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Well, here is something that many might just find quite interesting:

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 24, 2015 - 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Very interesting! Yes, getting back to the basic criteria might be a good idea. I would, however, love to see Maria Montessori on that new list!!

  97. Blair Bickford's Gravatar Blair Bickford
    March 24, 2015 - 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Really going to miss Lent Madness…especially the kitsch part!! Staying w/Frances to the end..danced to John Michael Talbot’s..Lord, make me an instrument… in great sacred settings..He will always be the Golden Halo guy in my life!!

  98. Sally's Gravatar Sally
    March 24, 2015 - 7:15 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Harry and Vonnelle.

  99. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    March 24, 2015 - 7:16 pm | Permalink

    We have a new young member of our church named Tekla. This round was close, but Tekla inspired me to vote for her saint.

  100. Sally's Gravatar Sally
    March 24, 2015 - 7:16 pm | Permalink


    I totally agree!!:)

  101. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    March 24, 2015 - 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Thecla, for all of us who had to work at getting baptized. I would also like to try the jelly beans!

  102. Adrienne's Gravatar Adrienne
    March 24, 2015 - 8:39 pm | Permalink

    still my mum’s name! but i knew francis would be winning …

  103. Nicole's Gravatar Nicole
    March 24, 2015 - 9:22 pm | Permalink

    I loved the “loose seals”-an allusion to Arrested Developement!

  104. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 24, 2015 - 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Once again, I vote for St. Francis of Assissi, probably my most favorite saint.

  105. Barbara from St. Barnabas's Gravatar Barbara from St. Barnabas
    March 24, 2015 - 9:48 pm | Permalink

    I love that he preached the gospel with & without words. St. Francis is my man.

    PS That is the cutest St. Francis knitted doll!

  106. Florine from Calvary's Gravatar Florine from Calvary
    March 24, 2015 - 9:58 pm | Permalink

    I voted. Can I now get my free St. Francis yarn doll? Gimme, gimme.

  107. Robert Coates's Gravatar Robert Coates
    March 24, 2015 - 10:11 pm | Permalink

    The stuffed animals and coffee mug are adorable, but still — against Francis?! Really? Maybe you should just cancel the rest of the contest and give the Halo to Francis now. And BTW, I do NOT have a St. Francis birdbath in my yard. I have a Virgin Mary and St. Anthony of Padua. So THERE!

  108. Jen's Gravatar Jen
    March 24, 2015 - 10:51 pm | Permalink

    I think there’s a lot of real, ancient thecla kitsch from the massive thecla cults, that is, before the church decided women couldn’t teach. for me, that’s the most powerful piece of her story- she was a baptizer and a preacher and teacher. Go thecla!

  109. Bob's Gravatar Bob
    March 24, 2015 - 11:20 pm | Permalink


    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 25, 2015 - 8:44 am | Permalink

      PLEASE! Stop shouting.

  110. Bob's Gravatar Bob
    March 24, 2015 - 11:21 pm | Permalink


    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 24, 2015 - 11:36 pm | Permalink

      Bob, wake up dude! That’s the point of this round–“Saintly Kitsch.” It’s supposed to be fun!

  111. March 25, 2015 - 12:32 am | Permalink

    I too laughed out loud and scared my cat at “seal-ed in baptism”. Go Thecla!!

    Kudos and thanks to the celebrity bloggers for these excellent writeups.
    BUT — where are the links?? Where can we *get* this kitsch? That’s been one of my favorite aspects of the kitsch round in previous years: I am the proud owner of a St. Paul board game and a “Tea Party with the Saints” mug, found through the kitsch rounds.

  112. Diane HH's Gravatar Diane HH
    March 25, 2015 - 7:18 am | Permalink

    Judy Batson, thank you for your heartfelt campaigning and reminding us of one of the gifts of Lent Madness – that of meeting new saints. Oh, and let’s not forget that Egeria included a visit to the shrine of Thecla in her travels…meaning Thecla was an important inspiration to early Christian pilgrims. Alas, Thecla is the underdog here.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 25, 2015 - 8:00 am | Permalink

      I agree, Diane. My heart was with you, Judy. We tried!!

  113. Carla's Gravatar Carla
    March 25, 2015 - 8:00 am | Permalink

    I remember having an Aunt Tecla (my grandmother’s sister) but I still voted for Francis.

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