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

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.
Amen.
From ‘Praises of God’ in a letter to Brother Leo

 Brigid of Kildare

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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!

Vote!

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. I must admit my Celtic roots called me to vote for Brigid as did her prayer. I was also very pleased to see Charles Wesley waiting with his halo to greet this year's winner.

  2. Yes, I would like a Brigid mug. She has received my vote. Either way, we are all winners.

  3. Thanks to everyone who planned and participated in this year's Lent Madness. It is always great fun to be reminded of our heritage and share thoughts, witty and wise, with fellow pilgrims. Blessed Easter to all.

  4. It has been a very bumpy ride this year as far as I'm concerned but lovely to come to this choice but I started the day with an emil from my daughter in law showing me my grand daughter's first completed fresco..inspired by Giotto..St Francis preaching to the birds..her own touch? the birds are perched in a tree that kneels to Francis. Generation to generation the love of Francis. Love for
    both true Saints going onward. In honor of my grand daughter Lily..,.casting for once a joy filled vote

  5. "I would" like Brigid to win the Golden Halo. And, I'm with Patsy- if Brigid wins I'm ordering the mug.
    Thank you all Lent Madness contributors, humorists, celebrities and leaders. What a gift you've given.

  6. Two powerful constituencies: pet owners versus Irish. A life of charity and leadership vs stigmata and a pope. But I like Brigid's guest list. I would pray to be even a bus boy at that party.

  7. If Brigid wins, might we consider the first ever Golden Halo pint glass? Home brewers would buy them like crazy!

    1. Brilliant idea!! I'd love a St. Brigid pint glass. Even though I voted for Francis (after much gnashing of teeth), I'll be thrilled if Brigid wins.

      1. thank you,Oliver, for your wisdom throughout this contest. I think I missed the good qualities you named for Brigid. Her collect is perfect. That is what I would like too. AND a grilled cheese sandwich and a glass of milk. Blessings.

    2. I had the same thought! Francis may have been one you'd want to have a mug of coffee with. Brigid is one I'd like to hoist a pint with, in a glass with a Golden Halo on it!

    3. I'm in for a pint glass...win or lose. What a terrific matchup. I have a son with Francis as his Confirmation name and a daughter with Brigid. I have dual citizenship with Ireland which make me lean towards Brigid but the 125# St. Bernard named Guinness sitting by my feet is sending nonverbal suggestions for Francis. Sorry Oliver, I'm voting for Francis but my sister will wipe out my vote with one for the girls. Thanks to the SEC for a terrific, nail biting LM season.

      1. Ooooooh! Excellent idea! If Brigid wins we could celebrate with a Guinness in one of her pint glasses!

      2. Like the poem! So true. But today I will keep calm and Brigit on!-(As was said by Barbara and Christie in a previous discussion.) I also like grilled cheese and a glass of milk. Thank you Megan and Laurie for those beautiful prayers.

  8. LM has been wonderful this year - thanks to the SEC and all the celebrity bloggers. I must go with Brigid, a saint I knew little about and was delighted to become better acquainted with. I think the world is better for having had both Francis and Brigid in it.

  9. I was hoping for St. Francis to win all along. Then this morning, my Celtic heart was moved to vote for Brigid. Francis already has much acclaim--let's highlight another wonderful, but less known saint. A man won the Golden Halo last year, let's give it to a woman this year. What really pushed me to Brigid was the beautiful quote and the "three Marys". Those Marys stood at the foot of the cross on Good Friday. It is fitting to commorate that during Lent and Holy Week. Brigid for the Halo!

  10. My very Irish heart voted for Francis. I do not believe that anyone other than Francis has lived a "Jesus life". I've walked the streets of Assisi and breathed the air and have forever been changed.

    I do want to thank everyone who participated in every way. Lent was made a holy pilgrimage for so many. With gratitude.

  11. Shouldn't Brigid be honored with a stein instead of a mug? Put me down for a Brigid Beer Stein! Let's vote people!

  12. If it were any other I'd vote for Francis, but I must vote for my namesake an unofficial patron Saint.

  13. I am going to miss Lenten Madness so much! Reading it and voting is such a great way to start the day!I voted for Francis (the rainbow bridge is crowded with those I have loved) but will be happy with either one as the winner.

    1. Yeah, I'm going to miss LM also. Why don't we petition the SEC for Ordinary Time saints? Grins.

  14. Although the grilled cheese really does sound great, it's without a doubt Francis for me. Even before I became Christian I knew of and admired him; he was deeply authentic and frequently did the most astonishing and gratifying things. Now I see that his deep love of and for Christ was the source of everything he said and did.

    A supreme mystic and and a true disciple - and one of the faith's greatest ambassadors, IMO. (And don't forget: if he wins, he gets retired from competition permanently. So for those who find the contest "unfair" or "boring" with Francis in it: Vote Francis!)

  15. A hard choice. Spent our honeymoon in Ireland, thought the beer was bitter and the milk and ice cream tasted like a cow smelled. Francis is an inspiration, but Brigid stood her ground, freed her mother, started an equal opportunity monastic order, was the first woman bishop, and Celtic wisdom, humor, literature and music are the best. So here's to Brigid and her prayer .

  16. I am an admirer of Francis and even tho I voted against Brigid in all the other rounds I am going to throw my hat in the ring for the mirrored Abbess who gave away her fathers stuff and liked beer. Its been a good Lent in part because of the madness. Now can only hope Michigan State can beat Duke on Holy Saturday.

  17. Voted for Brigid because the prayer in this post reached me and I'll be delighted if she wins. However, the prayer attributed to Francis is one of my "go to" prayers so if he wins, I'll buy a mug and keep it on my desk to remind me to say it more often. I'm in a win-win!

  18. Thanks to the SEC, Celebrity Bloggers, the inspirational saints, and all of you commenters. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your comments and the respectfulness. It has been a wonderful Lent Madness this year.

  19. This was a tough vote, I love both of these saints, but the young farmer in me voted for Francis, the patron saint of animals and ecology. Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter everyone!

  20. As I'm looking out my window and watching the first robins of spring fly into my yard, I cast my vote for Francis. Thanks to the SEC for a memorable Lent Madness.

  21. It's been a wonderful Lent Madness: thank you to everyone involved. It's been great to be a part of it. I am inspired and encouraged by this wonderful array of saints. Today I am voting for Francis, for his radical call to the church and for bringing to the fore and celebrating our interdependence with the whole created order.