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
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
Total Voters: 8,257