Celebrity Blogger Week (or however long it takes) kicks off today! We’ll introduce you to the fabulous writers who will help make our 32 Lent Madness 2016 saints come alive.
We’ve asked all of our CBs to answer a few questions and provide a photo that somehow reflects or sheds new light upon them in a way that transcends their official headshot. The Supreme Executive Committee will be posting these intros in the order we receive them. Mostly because this will offer subtle motivation to those Celebrity Bloggers who have yet to submit their answers. Don't make us write the answers for you! (as we famously did one year for a particularly deadline averse former Celebrity Blogger).
As the pre-Lent Madness frenzy ratchets up, we hope you’ll enjoy spending some time with the men and women of Lent Madness 2016. We think they’re all pretty amazing and not just because they work for free mugs.
Then make sure to order your copy of the Saintly Scorecard: The Definitive Guide to Lent Madness 2016 and large Bracket Poster in order to fully participate in the Madness.
Anna Fitch Courie is an army wife, nurse, layperson, and the author of Christ Walk: A 40 Day Spiritual Fitness Program (Church Publishing 2015). She is excited to be a newbie on the Lent Madness team, and is digging deep for her own brand of spiritual snark. She secretly believes the only reason she is blogging for Lent Madness was her repeated posts about the importance of coffee. Anna finds her calling where health and spirituality intersect. She will be searching for the saint that has walked the most “Christ Walk” miles and determining if they lead healthy lives. Read her blog Christ Walk and follow her on twitter @christwalk1. In her spare time, she fights cancer, consults in public health, and runs the “Christ Walk” program at various churches. In her dream world, she hikes the El Camino and Mount Rainier, sails, travels, cooks, reads, and attends every Clemson football game each season. Home is currently in Virginia, but really, home is wherever the Army (and God) sends her.
1. Since being named a Celebrity Blogger is obviously your greatest lifetime achievement, how will you handle the inevitable post-Lenten letdown?
Celebrity? I am still trying to get a free cup of coffee out of this gig. I was told there was a coffee mug involved....
More seriously, Lent is a hugely busy time for me. Not only am I writing for Lent Madness, but also I am blogging on Christ Walk: A 40 Day Spiritual Fitness Program throughout Lent to support churches and individuals taking on a Lenten journey, I am running Christ Walk at my own church, and striving to get my miles in on my own Christ Walk journey. Mostly by the end of Lent, I want a nap. Then it's Easter! Rise Up! It is Resurrection time! I am energized to get up and keep going. Much like our saints, the journey towards a life with Christ never ends. I love Lent. It is an awesome time and I am thrilled to be blogging for my saints: Roch, Constance and her Companions, and Frances Joseph-Gaudet. Their journeys humble me.
2. What is the single strangest thing you’ve learned about one of your assigned saints?
Saint Roch has his own football (soccer) team in Glasgow called "the Candy Rock." Players wear a badge of the saint with his dog. As a sports enthusiast, this is kind of cool.
Roch also has mob connections. He is seen in The Godfather II as a part of the Saint Rocco procession and was featured in James Gandolfini's (of the Sopranos) last film, The Drop. Roch may be the most famous, unknown saint in popular culture. Do not let the weird connections fool you though, Roch is part James Bond (accused of being a spy), heals the plague, patron saint of dogs, and has 173 churches named for him worldwide.
3. What is your favorite saint-inspired food and why?
Alas, none of my saints have food associated with them, but they come from three food-villes I will claim: Roch is French (hello Bordeaux!) and highly venerated in Italy. Pizza is my all time favorite food. People will argue that pizza does not come from Italy, BUT the best pizza in the world is made in Naples, Italy. That pizza may be my deathbed food. I am drooling a little as I write this memory. Hands down: The. Best. Pizza. In. The. World.
Frances hails from the Deep South (Mississippi and Louisiana): Give me fried chicken, gumbo, biscuits, and grits (in moderation of course). Stick me with a fork and call me happy (in moderation of course).
My third saint, Constance, is from Memphis, Tennessee, where it is all about barbecue. It does not get better than barbecue. However, I will argue sauce with the Memphians: Slather it with vinegar sauce and call it a day. Barbecue is a noun, not a verb.
4. Besides Lent Madness, what do you most look forward to during the season of Lent?
As busy as the Lenten season may be, it never fails to open my eyes to journeys with Christ. These journeys may be my own, my saints, or others. I am really inspired by the concept of journeys. Journeys take us places physically, spiritually, and mentally. Journeys change us. For me, Lent has always been a period of a very vivid journey. It allows me the time to reflect on what has happened to me (hearing loss, cancer, parental illnesses), create meaning from events, share Christ with others, HEAR God's call, discern where I need to go in the future, and grow as an individual. When I look at my saints journeys, they followed similar paths of hearing Christ's call, discerning what it means, overcoming adversity, sharing that love with others, and being changed by their experiences. Sharing in the lives of saints, we learn that we are not alone on our journeys. They give us role models of behavior and action in the light of social injustice, world unrest, fear, pain, illness, disease, and a whole slew of other problems. Yet through their FAITH, they learned to TRUST in God and find PEACE. I think this is an important lesson that we all can learn from the saints and each other. FAITH, TRUST and PEACE. And lest we forget love, faith, trust and peace, first starts from a place of love.