Lent Madness 2016 Play-in: Chad vs. Clare

Welcome to this special edition play-in round of Lent Madness 2016 as we mark International Lent Madness Day with purple trumpets blaring. Coincidentally, this monumental occasion coincides with Lent Madness Day at the Episcopal Church's triennial General Convention in Salt Lake City.

Voting will run for 12 hours, from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm Eastern Time with both an online poll and an in-person voting opportunity at the Forward Movement booth on the Convention floor. The winner in this matchup of the Holy C's will advance to the to-be-determined 2016 Lent Madness bracket. Stay tuned for the announcement of the full bracket on All Brackets Day, November 3rd. We suggest sitting at your computer and hitting "refresh" for the next four months in anticipation of the blessed event.

In honor of all the voting at General Convention, we thought (Hanging) Chad of Lichfield would be a worthy contender to face Clare of Assisi as the Church seeks Clare-ity in its discernment on the issues of the day.

So, friends, the fate of the initial entrant into Lent Madness 2016 rests in your capable voting (once!) hands. We will share the result sometime soon after the live and in-person polls close. Minions have been acquired to tally the results of the paper ballots in a secure, undisclosed location in the salt flats, which will then be added to the online count.

While you wait for the results, perhaps you'll want to warm up with a cup of coffee from a Francis of Assisi 2015 Golden Halo Winner Coffee Mug or cool down with a pint of your favorite beverage from a Brigid of Kildare 2015 Silver Halo Winner Winner Pint Glass. You may also want to prepare for Lent Madness 2016 by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter.

Now, on to the most important vote of the week and a brief foretaste of the Madness that is to come!

2-march-chad-bishop-of-lichfieldChad of Lichfield

Chad (634-672), a native of Northumbria, was one of four brothers who lived lives in service of the Church. Chad’s eldest brother, Cedd, was Abbot of a large monastery at Lastingham. Upon his brother’s death in 664, the abbacy passed to Chad. The Venerable Bede recounts that Chad was “a holy man, modest in his ways, learned in the Scriptures, and zealous in carrying out their teaching.”

Around the time he became Abbot of Lastingham, the Bishop of Northumbria died, setting in play a strange series of events in which Chad would ultimately become intricately involved. Oswiu, the King of Northumbria, chose Wilfrid, a Northumbrian noble, to become Bishop. However, due to an outbreak of the plague in England, Wilfrid found himself unable to find the three bishops necessary to ordain him; undeterred, he sailed for France to seek ordination.

Bede notes that during Wilfrid’s absence, the King of Northumbria became impatient with the vacancy and decided to take further action. Impressed by Chad’s holiness, the King appointed him to take Wilfrid’s place as Bishop of Northumbria. Chad encountered the same problems in tracking down bishops as Wilfrid did; ultimately, he traveled to Wessex, where he was irregularly ordained bishop by two British and one Welsh bishop – none of whom were recognized by Rome. Bede recounts that Chad diligently set himself to the work of administering his see.

By the time Wilfrid returned from France, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus, denied the legitimacy of Chad’s appointment, and announced his intention to install Wilfrid to Chad’s see. Theodore instructed Chad to step down from his position as Bishop of Northumbria. In an act of profound humility and obedience, Chad did so without hesitation or reserve, and he returned to his abbacy at Lastingham.

Later that same year, the King of Mercia requested a Bishop. Remembering Chad’s example of humility and holiness, Archbishop Theodore recalled Chad from his retirement to Lastingham, and had him re-ordained as a bishop. Chad’s humility was most acutely seen when he refused to use a horse to travel his diocese, preferring to follow the example of the apostles by walking.

Chad ran his new diocese as diligently as he had administered his former one, establishing a Monastery at Barrow. Two and a half years after his re-ordination, Chad succumbed to the plague in 672. Bede recounts that Chad was “mindful to his end of all that the Lord did.”

saint-clare-of-assisi-01Clare of Assisi

Clare (1194-1253) was born to a wealthy family in Assisi and as a teenager heard a moving sermon by Saint Francis (of Lent Madness 2016 Golden Halo fame).

Much to the chagrin of her family, at the age of 18 she decided to take a vow of poverty and follow a Franciscan lifestyle. Her family brought her back by force but she slipped out again and entered a nearby convent of Benedictine sisters. Soon enough Francis gave her and several other nuns both a rule of life and a dwelling built next to the church in San Damiano. They became known as the "Poor Ladies of San Damiano," living a life of poverty, prayer, and seclusion. In time, two of her sisters, her widowed mother, and several close friends also joined the order.

These female Franciscans came to be known as Poor Clares and Francis himself named Clare the Superior. The Poor Clares devoted themselves to prayer and caring for the sick, needy, and marginalized. They also lived a life of extreme poverty — beyond what other female orders had ever experienced. They lived a life of complete poverty individually and collectively; they had no beds beyond piles of twigs, they engaged in hard labor, and begged for whatever food they ate.

Clare stood up to various ecclesiastical authorities seeking to impose a less severe rule upon her order. Her strength of conviction defied the norms of female religious orders in the same way Francis faced criticism for his strict and passionate observe of his own faith.

Clare and Francis have been linked by their friendship and dedication to the Gospel of Christ. During her lifetime some even referred to her as alter Franciscus, or "another Francis." Clare tended to Francis during his old age and considered him always her spiritual father.

Clare died in 1253 at the age of 59 and her remains are kept in the Basilica of St. Clare in Assisi. Ten years after her death the order she led became known as the Order of Saint Clare.


Chad of Lichfield vs. Clare of Assisi

  • Clare of Assisi (63%, 862 Votes)
  • Chad of Lichfield (37%, 510 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,372

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75 comments on “Lent Madness 2016 Play-in: Chad vs. Clare”

  1. I've never heard of Chad before, and while I love Clare, one reason for Lent Madness is to learn about new saints. I'd love to hear more about Chad simply because he's such an unknown to me.

    1. Chad showed his extraordinary "people skills" by avoiding disobedience and serving where ever he was told. His outlook shows humility and common sense. He also did not complain about following in his brother's footsteps.

      Clare disobeyed her family who might well have questioned her grasp of reality. Anyone who insists on sleeping on a bed of twigs is, in all likelihood, is a masochist--not a good example for young women. She could at least havetaken a bed of straw!

  2. Only one choice when you worship every week at St. Clare's in Ann Arbor, MI! Go Poor Clares!

  3. Either y'all are time-traveling or there's a typo in this post, as Lent Madness 2016 hasn't happened yet, so how could Francis be the winner of the 2016 Golden Halo?

  4. I agree that I look forward to Lent Madness to learn about all sorts of holy people, many of whom I have not heard of before. But this time I had to vote for a long-time "aquaintance", Clare. I have always admired her dedication to God and her Sisters, as well as her perserverance.

  5. Voting for Chad, inspired by his humility and sense of service. Also I live close enough to Lichfield to count him as a local saint and very much enjoyed seeing the St Chad Gospel's, thought to have been created to adorn his shrine in around the year 730.

  6. As our church is just planning a pilgrimage along the Two Saints Way - the two saints being St Chad and St Werburgh - I feel I've got to vote for St Chad

  7. Had to go with Clare, as we just named a new outdoor worship space St. Clare of Assisi!

  8. One would think coming from Florida, the choice would be easy. After all, we have been castigated over the years for our "hanging chads." But I have always admired Clare and so the choice was harder than it would seem on the surface. I ended up voting for Chad because of his humility and sense that serving God and his people was more important than a title or a position.

  9. We will be traveling in Northumbria in two weeks, so that was as good a reason as I could muster in choosing between two worthy people.

  10. I say the blessing of St Clare at the end of every service. How can I not vote for her?

  11. A bit shocking that Clare has to play for a buy-in: I would have seeded her much higher from the get-go.

  12. Chad's story offers a reflection on episcopal election. I pray for the wisdom of General Convention.

  13. Clare too showed great humility, not too mention forbearance , as the church higher ups persistently attempted to force her and her sisters to accept comfortable gentility rather than the life of poverty to which she felt they were called..

  14. Clare has my vote!

    (Although I was unable to actually vote due to the vote button not being functional..)

  15. Chad's humility captured my pilgrim attention with his preference for walking as a means for traveling around his diocese. A pity that he died of The Plague.

    1. I wonder what he died of, because what we normally think of as the plague (the bubonic plague) was not around in the 7th century.

      1. It was, actually; the early Middle Ages saw a number of occurrences of the bubonic plague (the so-called "Plague of Justinian") , though a genetically different strain from that responsible for the fourteenth century Black Death.

  16. I belong to St. Clare of Assisi chapter of Daughters of the King, Estes Park, CO. Of course I voted for Clare.

  17. I tried to vote, but the vote button did not function. I wonder why it didn't.

    1. Try to shut the site down entirely, and restart it from scratch. That usually does the trick. The internet elves are sometimes confused.

  18. This was a tough one--Chad appears to be the ultimate in substitutes, not an easy calling, and he handled it with humility. But I have to vote for Clare, who served the marginalized of society and who stood up to the authority of the church. I actually could live with either winner.

  19. Chad's humility is impressive when so many resorted to intrigue, thuggery or worse to attain their bishop position. At the risk of being scorned, I say that humility comes easier for a woman, especially at that time. It's a hard choice, but I vote for Chad.

  20. I am grateful for the memory of pausing close to the remains of St. Clare in Assisi some years ago.

  21. A difficult choice, but in light of the election of a new PB this year, Chad's example of service and humility spoke to my heart. I do love St. Clare, though.

  22. An easy choice . . . finds me in with the winners this time. Rare. Blessings on your good work at Convention. Nice to see Lent Madness in play . . . .

  23. Clare's simplicity and wisdom are honored by her namesake church in Ann Arbor around this time every year. I have to support the home team. As a first timer, I'm wondering where the tourney goes from here.

  24. After the fiasco of the "hanging chads" and the mess left behind after the slow count in Florida not to mention the aftermath we're still suffering, I could not in good conscience vote for Chad...sorry, old chap !

  25. I thought St. Francis of Assisi was winner of the 2015 Golden Halo. Maybe Lent Madness has some foreknowledge of the 2016 elections and for the first time in history a Golden Halo winner is entered in a second race and wins both! I'm sure only the SEC is gifted with such wisdom and vision.