For the Golden Halo: Francis of Assisi vs. Brigid of Kildare

Charles Wesley

2014 Golden Halo Winner Charles Wesley prepares to welcome this year's saintly champion.

We embarked upon this Lent Madness journey over five weeks ago on “Ash Thursday.” With your help we have whittled the field of 32 saints down to two: Francis of Assisi and Brigid of Kildare. Who will win the coveted Golden Halo of Lent Madness 2015? Only 24 hours and your voting participation will reveal this holy mystery.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, we’ve met some truly remarkable saintly folks along the way. Perhaps you learned about some saints you’d never heard of or maybe you renewed acquaintances with saints who have long offered inspiration. Of course the entire notion of placing saints in a bracket is absurd — each “contestant” has already earned a crown of righteousness in addition to a “golden halo.” But at the heart of Lent Madness is the abiding conviction that encountering those who have come before us in the faith enriches and enlivens our own walk with the risen Christ.

In the process of this whimsical Lenten devotion we’ve all made some new online friends, encountered a community of believers who take their faith but not themselves too seriously, learned a few things, were inspired by saintly witnesses, and had a lot fun along the way.

Of course we literally couldn’t have done this without our stellar Celebrity Bloggers to whom we offer sincere gratitude: Amber Belldene, Laurie Brock, Megan Castellan, David Creech, Laura Darling, Neva Rae Fox, Nancy Frausto, Robert Hendrickson, Maria Kane, and David Sibley. Thanks to Bracket Czar Adam Thomas for his stellar behind-the-scenes work in keeping the bracket updated daily -- in his inimitable style. And to our Resident Foodie, Maria Nolletti Ross, whose recipes in the Saintly Scorecard quite literally helped spice things up. You all rock! And we're all grateful for your good writing, good humor, and adhering to most, if not all, of the SEC-imposed deadlines.

Finally, thanks to all of you who participated by voting, commenting, drinking coffee out of Lent Madness mugs, filling out brackets, talking about saints at coffee hour, liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter, and allowing us to play a small role in your Lenten journey. We’ve loved having each one of you along for the “madness” and on behalf of the Supreme Executive Committee we wish you a blessed Holy Week and a joyous Easter.

But enough gratitude. We have a Golden Halo to award! As with all the matchups, the polls will be open for 24 hours and the winner will be announced right here at 8:00 am Eastern Time on Maundy Thursday. At this point, everything about these two worthy saints has been said (though if you need some refreshers, click on the Bracket tab). We have simply asked our two remaining celebrity bloggers, Laurie Brock (Francis) and Megan Castellan (Brigid) to provide us with one image and one quote.

The rest is up to you, the Lent Madness voting public. So go do your thing! And thanks for playing along this year -- we're delighted you joined us for the journey.

Francis of Assisi


Stigmatization of St. Francis by Carducho

Lord God, living and true.
You are love, charity.
You are wisdom; You are humility; You are patience;
You are beauty; You are meekness; You are security;
You are inner peace; You are joy; You are our hope and joy;
You are justice; You are moderation; You are all our riches;
You are our enough…
You are all our sweetness,
You are our eternal life:
Great and wonderful Lord,
God almighty, Merciful Saviour.
From ‘Praises of God’ in a letter to Brother Leo

 Brigid of Kildare


I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us.
I would like an abundance of peace.
I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich treasures of mercy.
I would like cheerfulness to preside over all.
I would like Jesus to be present.
I would like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us.
I would like the friends of Heaven to be gathered around us from all parts.

UPDATE: The Supreme Executive Committee is serious about one person, one vote. We have discovered some cheating, that is, people who are voting multiple times from one location. As many as 121 votes have been cast from one place. To keep the race fair, we are removing 201 votes from Brigid, and 46 votes are under suspicion. The excessive voting was from Santa Clara, CA; Washington, DC; Lawrenceville, GA; Baltimore, MD; and Fort Washington, MD. If we discover that some of these votes were legitimate we will re-add the votes to the total. For now, expect the total number of votes for Brigid to decrease around 6:45 p.m. EST.

If you want your saint to win, get others to vote. Do not cast several votes yourself!


Francis of Assisi vs. Brigid of Kildare

  • Francis of Assisi (50%, 4,217 Votes)
  • Brigid of Kildare (48%, 4,040 Votes)

Total Voters: 8,257

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387 comments on “For the Golden Halo: Francis of Assisi vs. Brigid of Kildare”

  1. It's going to be a close one. I will be happy either way; however, if Brigid wins, I'll order a mug.

    1. I was born on St. Francis day. Need I say more?
      It would be awesome to have a mug with St. Francis on it!

          1. '@Chris .. sorry if it's confusing .. I wanted to indicate where I found the address that I posted. I saw a few variations on the web and before someone said it was wrong, offer the source, not just a postal address. Discovering the U.S. has an embassy to the Holy See gives me some confidence they would know correctly how to get mail to His Holiness.

        1. Sending a Francis mug--along with suitable explanation-- to the Bishop of Rome is a splendid idea. However, I voted for Brigid for her work among the poor and hungry--shepherds crook to bring along those who feel unworthy

        2. Absolutely !
          He's the first pope I've ever seen worthy of the title.
          Besides, he seems to have a good sense of humor !

    2. I am delighted with the final matchup between St. Francis and Brigid! Either way, I win! They have been my faves all along. I do now pray to Dorcas, however; For suffering a name like that puts her at the top of my list of holy people. Thank you to the SEC for a fun and information filled Lenten experience. You have another devoted player in your Lenten Madness!

  2. I voted for brigid because she makes a good grilled cheese sandwich and perfect milk.

    1. And that is an excellent reason, Oliver. Thanks for your comments throughout this journey!

    2. Sounds like someone voted when he was hungry! But made a good choice anyway. You and your family have a blessed Easter, Oliver!

      1. Another Irishman for Brigid! I'll get a mug if she can mount a comeback and wins, and I don't even drink coffee!

  3. St. Francis is my man! He has my vote for the golden halo! Thanks to Lenten Madness I enjoyed participating & learned a lot about the saints!

  4. Brigid of Kildare! Francis is already so popular and famous, let's show some respect for a woman who did just as amazing things!

  5. A match up of two saints I've been pulling for all along. How will I ever decide? Perhaps I'll wait to hear from Oliver.

  6. I cast my vote for Francis in honor of my daughter whose high school pilgrimage was to Assisi, and for my other daughter who is a champion for the downtrodden and for all the fur I share my life with who show me what unconditional love is.

    1. Amen! I, too, am awash in four-legged fur at my house! God bless St. Francis, I've always blamed him for my inability to say "no" to any living creature that needs a home!

  7. May God continue to bless all of you who made this amazing Lenten devotional possible!

  8. Brigid has already won the Golden Halo in my heart, even in the light of my appreciation of Francis on the likes of Richard Rohr and the Pope. Thanks SEC and bloggers for a witty and wise Lent Madness.

  9. Francis already has a pope, and lots of recognition. By bringing Brigid beatifically forward, we expand our knowledge of yet another saint. I say give (another) Halo to Brigid; more prayers to Francis.

    And thanks indeed to the Celebrity Bloggers, who brought all 32 saints more fully into our lives.

  10. Thanks, Oliver! I'm voting for grilled cheese today, too! Martin and 12-yr-old Megan, what say you?

  11. As much as I love all things Celtic, I had to put my vote where I am reminded of my sweetie that has gone over the Rainbow Bridge and a Pope who has offered some terrific unstuffy actions over the last two years.

    1. This Pope gives me hope that the Holy Catholic Church can evolve! Hurray for both Franicises!

  12. I voted for Brigid because the bathtub of beer reminded me of Bacchus in Prince Caspian. (Age 7)

    1. I'm sure Brigid and Bacchus would lift a companionable mug together if they ever meet.

  13. Hard to decide this time! But I knew it would come to this. Voted for Brigid because the only United Methodist monastery I know of is St. Brigid's - since last year's Golden Halo went to a man.....

  14. Will be happy no matter the winner - a good outcome.

    "I would like the friends of Heaven to be gathered around us from all parts."

    Megan's offering for Brigid today tipped the balance for me as it called to mind the 'communion of Saints'...'the mighty cloud of witnesses" .

    Megan, what is the source?

  15. For Brigid, who was born a slave, gave away all she could to those who were even more needy, freed her mother from slavery, became an abbess, and continued to provide for all around her with spiritual guidance, cheese and milk and, yes, beer.
    St. Francis will live forever in our lives and actions - let's bring Brigid forward, too!

  16. I've got to go with Brigid. She was a model of a Christian woman at a time when women's voices were not often heard. She didn't bow to the demands of society, she did what God called her to do. Love her!! Need a coffee mug.

  17. I am nervous...very nervous. In the end, it doesn't really matter who wins, my spiritual life is richer because of all I have learned during the 2015 Lent Madness. St. Francis will continue to guide and inspire me throughout my mortal life and that's what counts to me. He already has his golden halo.

  18. My little brother wants to vote for lent madness. We said "Brigid?" And he said "no. Lent madness." We said "Francis?" And he said, "no. Lent madness" so, lent madness it is! (He's 2 1/2)

  19. Noooooooooooo!!! What to do, what to do? WWOD???? Oh, he voted for Brigid. OK me too.

  20. I was all set to cast my vote for Francis. Then I read Brigid's prayer and it resonated with me even more than the beautiful prayer of St. Francis. I guess the feminist in me was grabbed especially by the image of "the three Marys of illustrious renown." Like Brigid, I would like the angels to be among us, cheerfulness to preside over us, and all the friends from Heaven to be gathered around us. This is a tight race, both Saints are already crowned in glory. But I hope by the end of the day Brigid will receive the coveted Golden Halo!

    1. I am firmly in the Francis camp, but then I read Brigid's quote and was sideswiped by the word "Cheerfulness!" Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if we could all be a bit more cheerful? Brigid gets my cheery vote!

  21. As a church staff member in the throes of Holy Week preparation I resent that such a close race that will require my constant monitoring, thus preventing me from getting anything done today! Spare a stressed-out church-working Francis fan and VOTE FRANCIS! Woohoo!

    1. Thank you to all the unsung church staff who spend so many hours coordinating the details of Holy Week: the stacks of bulletins, the website updates, the flower deliveries, the information for the welcome tables, ordering extra photocopier paper, reminding the sexton that the timer for the sanctuary lights needs to be deactivated because of the evening services, answering all the phone calls asking what time services are on Easter...Tracy Stapp of St. Stephen's, this is for you and for all the other office managers at all the churches of every denomination dealing with the busiest week of the year.

  22. Well my son is a brew master and his patron Saint is Brigid so there you are, I do like animals also and St. Francis is in our garden so I may as well have Brigid in my cupboard. Thanks for a delightful Lenten exercise.

  23. I forgot to thank the Supreme Executive Committee for a job well done. I cannot imagine all the effort and time it took for the SEC and the Bloggers to make this possible. Thank you very much for all your hard work. See you in 2016!

  24. In the beginning I was rooting for 3-4 saints and now 2 of them made the final two. I am torn. I could vote for either one. But in the end my Celtic roots got me to go for St Bridget. If you have ever been to her cathedral in Kildare, and read her stories and works there is something special with her that got me to say she is the one to get the Gokden Halo in 2015. St. Francis is one my most favorites too.

  25. So far, closer than I thought it would be. Figured Francis would be a shoo-in. Go, Team Brigid! Get out the vote.

  26. it seems like it went by so quickly this year. i am beginning to get LMW. thanks to the SEC and the bloggers. GEAUX Francis....