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. Our class of 27 faithful Catholic 5th graders have so enjoyed learning about all the holy men and women during Lent. We looked forward everyday to reading about these individuals, voting and then reading the comments of others. It was interesting to read the motivation behind why people voted the way they did. Today's choice was difficult. It was so close I had to ask students to stand for their Saint when called, and then count heads...twice! In the end Brigid prevailed, but by only 2 votes. When we looked at who was currently ahead, a great cheer rang out for Francis, while the Brigid fans discussed how they thought his lead wouldn't last. Lent Madness has been a terrific teaching tool and one I will use again next year. Thank you:)
    P.S. Oliver rocks!!

    1. So encouraged to know your class was involved in LM. Trust you are planning on next year also. I think there were several other children voting and commenting and it is, as I've already said, very encouraging. Blessed Easter.

  2. I was going to vote for Francis but then I read Brigid's quote and while both quotes spoke to me Brigid's spoke just a little bit louder. This is my first year being a part of Lent Madness and I really appreciate all the hard work that has been put into this. Thank you. And thank you Oliver for your posts!! And if I may be so bold to add I so appreciate that this last day of Lent Madness happens to fall on my birthday. What a wonderful way for me to celebrate!!! Thanks and God bless.

  3. It seems a foregone conclusion that Francis will win, but I'm glad the margin is as close as 4% (at the time I voted). Both the closing quotes are marvelous, but I find it interesting that all Francis's lines begin with "You are" (i.e., God is) all things things, and all Brigid's begin with "I would like" all these things.

    1. Should have been "all *these* things," of course. Lord, make me a better proofreader.

  4. Going with Brigid. Everyone knows St. FRancis, And considering fire from heaven shown down on her, I think we should recognize her in modern times. Can't wait to order this year's mug. Thanks to Oliver, your comments were wonderful!

  5. They are both more than worthy. Tough choice. However, I will never forget Thecla and her ravening seals.

  6. Across the centuries, Francis has had a profound impact on the whole world ...
    'nuff said ... and yes, Oliver does rock!

  7. I voted St Francis not only because his life is to emulated, but also I am an avid animal lover, and I had to put to sleep my beloved bailey, our bassett hound, this year. I have to vote for someone who treasured the lives that I do, the innocent and sweet natured animals that comfort us and are with us. I feel if I support francis, perhaps a part of my bailey-boy will be back with me for a little bit, and that is something worthwhile, to be treasured.

    1. So sorry for your loss.

      And bless the beasts who bite, sting, snarl, smell bad, and poop in all the "wrong" places as well!

  8. Brigid all the way! We need an abundance of peace; we need Jesus among us and yes, make us full vessels of peace! AMEN

    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.

  9. I enjoy all the celebrity bloggers comments but wonder if you could have a few more links to the saints writings. Just a thought.

  10. What fun this has been!! Thank you to Tim and Scott and everyone at Forward Movement for the (obvious) hard work that goes into making this informative, fun, and a bit of a spiritual journey:). Blessed Holy Week....continuing.

  11. Long ago, I chose Brigid as my personal saint, so she must have my vote. They are both worthy of the golden halo, though!

  12. The gift of being named for Brigid of Kildare provides me with a daily role model, and sometimes I need the modeling minute-to-minute. My father was particularly fond of this description that follows (I have it on a prayer card, but I don't know the origin): "For this was her desire: to satisfy the poor, to expel every hardship, to spare every miserable man...She was single-hearted (towards God); she was compassionate towards the wretched, she was splendid in miracles and marvels; wherefore her name among created things is Dove among birds, Vine among trees, Sun among stars...she is the prophetess of Christ;....she is the Mary of Gael." Not to slight Francis, but it seems this is Brigid's moment.

  13. And yes, I love the words about this being a community that takes their faith, but not themselves, seriously. May it ever be so!

  14. Though it was a difficult choice, I had to vote for St. Francis because my dog asked me to!
    Thank you celebrity bloggers, SEC, and voters. Wishing you all a Blessed Easter.
    "They were all of them Saints of God . . ."

  15. This final choice clearly illustrates the absurdity of choosing between two saints. So, those other Irish women (of Notre Dame) are facing off against fur, feathers, and shells of the huskies, gamecocks and terrapins this Holy weekend. They need St. Brigid on their bench to overcome St. Francis and his creatures great and small. So, St. Brigid to take the Fighting Irish to their Golden Trophy.

  16. I would be dead today were it not for Francis's intercession. So, well, what can I say?

  17. Heartfelt thanks and kudos to the SEC and the celebrity bloggers! You have enriched my Lenten journey, along with the good brothers at St. John the Evangelist monastery. I found out about them right here at Lent Madness. See you next year. He is risen!

  18. Thank you Lent Madness and SEC for another GREAT season! There were surprises along the way, as my poor bracket will attest, but I still have a shot at predicting the Golden Halo winner. Go Francis!

  19. I was going to go with Francis, but I had a last-minute conversion to Brigid. Either way, I'll be happy with the golden halo winner!

  20. It will be close but I voted for Brigid. Congrats to the Bracket Comm for this years wonderful women.
    I hope Brigid wins

  21. Voting for St Brigid today because the eternal flame she kept going until Henry VIII extinguished it has been reignited by her order. May that light burn in all our hearts daily. With thanks to Scott, Tim and each celebrity blogger for their gift of faith, history and fun. My second year of participating. What date do we start next year??

  22. Swayed by Oliver's comment this morning, I voted for Brigid. Thanks for a great LM season. I would like all here to enjoy a blessed Holy Week and joyful Easter. (Has anyone given a shout out for Laurie Brock's 50 Days of Easter, and is that continuing again this year, oh Forward Movement gurus? I enjoyed that last year -- not quite like LM but good and rich in its unique way.)

  23. This morning, as soon as I was awake enough to be aware of anything, a beloved folk song from the 1960's appeared on my personal "Muzak"--whose playlist I seldom have any choice about. (That's the music playing in my brain.) How appropriate for either of today's choices!
    "All God's critters got a place in the choir,
    Some sing low, some sing higher,
    Some just sit on a telephone wire,
    Some just clap their hands, Oh!
    (Thank you all for a most blessed and meaningful Lent. I'll miss you until next year. And I voted for St. Francis of Assisi, my most beloved saint.)

    1. That one brings tears, for no good reason. Mango (the Senegal parrot who runs this house) and I are voting for St Francis, and would like to remind all that Francis too gave away a lot of his father's stuff, much to his father's dismay.

  24. Five weeks?!? Some of us have been waiting for NINE MONTHS (interesting time frame) for Saint Francis of Assisi to stand for the Golden Halo. The Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) community voted him into this year's Lent Madness bracket last JULY!!! GO FRANCIS!!!!

  25. "You are our enough..." I vote for Francis.
    Thank you all for another wonderful Lent Madness!

  26. I can't even use my tiebreaking method for this one (choosing the one I've voted for most...I've had both Brigid and Francis from the very beginning.) What an excruciating choice. Time to take a peek at Oliver's vote!

  27. Lisa Brown, your post above reminded me to thank church staff everywhere for the hard work that goes into Holy Week, planning everything so well that we in the pew can worship without distraction and emerge with the joy of our Risen Savior. Well done!

  28. Brigid. And may her mantle cover all of us. (I still love Francis, though).
    Thanks so much for this wonderful Lenten exercise.