Christina Rossetti vs. Joseph

Today in Lent Madness, we head back to the time of the “bleak midwinter” to encounter Joseph of Holy Family fame and then zoom up to the 19th century to meet an English poet, Christina Rossetti, who coined that very phrase. To the outside world this is an unlikely pairing. To us, it’s just another day of Madness during the season of Lent.

Yesterday, in the most lopsided matchup thus far in Lent Madness 2016, Constance rolled over Dominic 77% to 23%. Or you could say that she swatted him away like a pesky mosquito, if you want to get technical about it. Thus setting up the first confirmed battle of the Saintly Sixteen as Constance will face Helena with a shot at the Elate Eight.

While an impressive margin of victory, you may be curious where this ranks among the annals of Lent Madness blowouts. Last year King Kamehameha of Hawaii spanked William Laud 84% to 16% and in 2013 Florence Li-Tim Oi, the first woman ordained in the Anglican Communion, defeated Chad of Lichfield by the same percentage. Talk about your hanging Chad…

But the greatest blowout in Lent Madness history, percentage-wise, came in the very first year this devotional started. In 2010, Francis of Assisi defeated Aelred of Riveaulx 87% to 13% in the Elate Eight. For the record, Francis lost to Julian of Norwich in the Faithful Four that year before redeeming himself by winning the Golden Halo last year while Julian lost in the final to the first ever Golden Halo winner, 17th century priest and poet George Herbert. There’s your Lent Madness history lesson for the week!

Christina Rossetti

Christina_Rossetti_3A devout Anglo-Catholic, Christina Georgina Rossetti was a fascinating English poet of the nineteenth century, embodying numerous contradictions. Her poetry, influenced by the Oxford Movement’s notion of restraint, subtly hints at the great Christian mysteries, and this ambiguity has left her writing open to a diversity of interpretation. Friend of feminists and fallen women, Rossetti nevertheless was opposed to women’s suffrage, perhaps because of her commitment to the church’s enshrined male hierarchy. Her poems are considered profoundly romantic, yet two of her romantic affairs ended because she would not compromise her beliefs to marry a Roman Catholic or an agnostic.

Although a cheerful child, at age fourteen, Christina suffered a nervous breakdown, followed by fits of depression. Some Rossetti scholars believe the breakdown was caused by Grave’s Disease, which plagued her later in life.

Though she lived a quiet, private life, Rossetti sat for several paintings by her brother, Dante. In 1848, she was the model for his oil painting, The Girlhood of Mary Virgin.

Her most famous collection, Goblin Market and Other Poems, appeared in 1862, when she was thirty-one years old. In it she explores the theme of consumption, possibly reflecting the Oxford Movement’s emphasis on the eucharist. She is also known for her love poem, “Remember,” and for the words of what became the popular Christmas carol, “In the Bleak Midwinter.” Her works enshrine femininity as an ideal religious state, and since the 1970s feminists have held her up as a genius poet, offering constrained critiques of male authority while maintaining her devotion to the Church. In her later life, Rossetti primarily wrote devotional prose and children’s poetry. She died in 1894.

Collect for Christina Rossetti
O God, whom heaven cannot hold, you inspired Christina Rossetti to express the mystery of the Incarnation through her poems: Help us to follow her example in giving our hearts to Christ, who is love; and who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

-Amber Belldene



Very little is known about Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. Mary receives the bulk of the attention paid to Jesus’ parents and parenting in both the New Testament and in tradition; Joseph is rarely discussed. Most of our information comes from a few verses in the Gospel of Matthew.

Jesus is described as the son of Joseph in the gospel stories of Matthew, Luke, and John. Joseph is not mentioned in Mark’s stories at all. Luke, who has high regard for Mary, marginalizes Joseph. Matthew finds Joseph’s Davidic lineage quite important. An early Christian text, the Protoevangelium of James, describes Joseph as an old man with older children when God calls him to take Mary as his wife. Perhaps there is some veracity to this tradition, and Joseph died while Jesus was still in his youth.

Joseph was tasked with an enormous responsibility that carried serious ramifications. The social stigma of an unwed couple with child was real. For this reason, Joseph, whom Matthew describes as a “righteous man,” initially planned to dismiss Mary quietly. One can also imagine Joseph’s incredulity when Mary promised him she was still a virgin. When an angel revealed to him that in fact the Holy Spirit conceived the child, Joseph’s response is one of total obedience to God. Throughout Matthew’s infancy narrative, whatever God commands, Joseph does word for word.

The delightful Infancy Gospel of Thomas describes the challenges of raising the Son of God. In this imaginative narrative, the young Jesus is an impetuous and dangerous child. Joseph, basically absent in the canonical gospels, is present and provides guidance. Joseph is wise and patient and active in damage control. Joseph’s steady hand helps guide the boy into maturity. By the end of the story, Jesus has grown from a holy terror into a young man who is in the temple teaching the elders.

Collect for Joseph
O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

— David Creech


Christina Rossetti vs. Joseph

  • Joseph (79%, 5,920 Votes)
  • Christina Rossetti (21%, 1,549 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,469

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Christina Rossetti: By user:Phrood (based on [1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Joseph: By Guido Reni – The Yorck Project [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons

248 Comments to "Christina Rossetti vs. Joseph"

  1. Oliver--eight years old's Gravatar Oliver--eight years old
    February 18, 2016 - 8:04 am | Permalink

    I voted for Christina because everyone knows Joseph.

    • Christie's Gravatar Christie
      February 18, 2016 - 8:14 am | Permalink

      Oliver, I like your passion for the underdog!

      • Danita's Gravatar Danita
        February 18, 2016 - 10:43 am | Permalink

        It is my favorite carol, and until today had paid no attention to who wrote it.

        • Diane's Gravatar Diane
          February 18, 2016 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

          It is also one of my favorite carols, too.

        • Katherine Clark's Gravatar Katherine Clark
          February 18, 2016 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

          mine too. although knowing she wrote might dim my enthusiasm, she writes prejudicially

      • Carolyn Markson's Gravatar Carolyn Markson
        February 18, 2016 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

        I do too, but had to vote for Joseph, although we all know the little there is to know about him, he stood by Mary when she most needed a steady partner, as any married woman knows, is paramount!!!

    • Mary Ann G.'s Gravatar Mary Ann G.
      February 18, 2016 - 10:23 am | Permalink

      Oliver I love your passion for the underdog. I wish more young people were like you. God Bless.

    • tonip1's Gravatar tonip1
      February 18, 2016 - 11:08 am | Permalink

      I am so glad you are participating in this. I look forward to your comments every day. I voted for Joseph because his obedience to God was just as profound as Mary’s.

      • Linda McGee's Gravatar Linda McGee
        February 18, 2016 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

        Amen to that!! I’ve always had a fondness for Joseph because of his obedience to God and for his care of Jesus & Mary.

    • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
      February 18, 2016 - 11:32 am | Permalink

      As devout, artistic and spiritual as Christina was, I think in today’s terms she would be put into a whole other ‘box’.
      And again, while I know how important the spirituality is, I still think the actual DOING of something is just as important.
      I voted for Joseph❤️.
      Come ON, He was Jesus’s Dad for Christ sake!!

      • Karen's Gravatar Karen
        February 18, 2016 - 7:03 pm | Permalink

        What other kind of ‘box’?

    • Edward Fliss's Gravatar Edward Fliss
      February 18, 2016 - 11:47 am | Permalink

      I voted for her for perpetuating the use of the subjunctive, which is currently dissappearing: “If I were a shepherd…”

      • Nancy T.'s Gravatar Nancy T.
        February 19, 2016 - 12:00 am | Permalink

        Thinking about Joseph doesn’t do much for me spiritually. Christina’s poetry does.

    • Gwen Kingsley's Gravatar Gwen Kingsley
      February 18, 2016 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Ditto Oliver! Although dear Joseph I know has been watching over my son Chad, also a carpenter, I vote for Ms Rossetti- a fellow depressive. Just now listened again to “In the bleak midwinter”, on youtube this time by the Gloucester Cathedral Choir, and have fellow depressive Roethke’s poem ‘In a Dark Time’ in my prayer book.

    • TM's Gravatar TM
      February 18, 2016 - 5:43 pm | Permalink

      I agree. There is something particularly saintly about going through saintly sufferings in obscurity.

    • Mary Jane's Gravatar Mary Jane
      February 19, 2016 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

      I favor Christina as I have a gratitude for the Oxford Movement as one of the foundation groups for AA. I hope some day to see Bill W as a Lent Madness contestant.

  2. Christie's Gravatar Christie
    February 18, 2016 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    As an adopted child, I have to vote for the world’s most famous adoptive father. I was momentarily attracted by Christina, I am an English teacher after all, but the hidden stories behind Joseph are full of steady grace. There is a church in Istanbul, I think it is called Chora, that has a series of mosaics telling the Joseph story, one of obedience, trust, and grace.

    • Susan's Gravatar Susan
      February 18, 2016 - 9:36 am | Permalink

      When you find yourself in Istanbul, do not miss Chora – the mosaics are breathtaking.

    • Elsa's Gravatar Elsa
      February 18, 2016 - 10:00 am | Permalink

      Yes, I think it is Chora. Mosaics there are wonderful and tell stories …

    • Cynthia Baker's Gravatar Cynthia Baker
      February 19, 2016 - 8:24 am | Permalink

      Christie – As a parent of an adopted child, I, too have always had a special love for Joseph.

  3. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    February 18, 2016 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    Christina’ s story is very appealing, but I have long been captivated by Joseph’s humility, and so voted for him.

  4. Tready3's Gravatar Tready3
    February 18, 2016 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    Today’s contest is certainly fraught with mystery, and while I love The Bleak Midwinter, I am otherwise mystified as to what Christina actually did to become a saint, so I gotta go with Joe.

    • Pam's Gravatar Pam
      February 18, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

      My sentiments exactly, Tready3!

    • Mary M's Gravatar Mary M
      February 18, 2016 - 9:21 am | Permalink

      I agree with Tready. I have a tender heart when it comes to poetic composers. However, based on what is written here, I fail to see how Rosetti deserves canonization over others who have the same passionare and controversial compositions. My vote went to Joseph who not only had unquestionable faith but also followed through with what was commanded of him.

      • Geoff McLarney's Gravatar Geoff McLarney
        February 18, 2016 - 11:01 am | Permalink

        “Canonization” is perhaps not as helpful a way of thinking of sainthood in the Anglican understanding. The saints have all witnessed to Christ in their own ways, and in the English church, ever since Cædmon, it has often been the poets who have given expression to the faith.

      • Claire's Gravatar Claire
        February 18, 2016 - 11:16 am | Permalink

        Your comment explains my vote also, and I would add that the opposition to women’s suffrage mystified me; this is why I voted for Joseph. Joseph’s obedience and commitment to do his best completely is a model for men (and women too!)today, and he certainly deserves the accolades.

      • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
        February 18, 2016 - 11:42 am | Permalink

        I just read some of her poems. And I agree and I’m glad that I voted for Joseph.

    • Karen's Gravatar Karen
      February 19, 2016 - 12:15 am | Permalink

      Joseph is too often the unsung hero. Think of the Christmas pageant casting struggles with Mary getting all the glory while Joseph struggles with the donkey.

  5. February 18, 2016 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joseph because he is among the unsung heroes of the Christmas story.

  6. Sara P.'s Gravatar Sara P.
    February 18, 2016 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    What can one say about this matchup? Absurd? At any rate, I cannot vote for a person opposed to women’s suffrage.

  7. MK's Gravatar MK
    February 18, 2016 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    I do love me some Bleak Midwinter, but how could Christina oppose the vote for women!?!? I’ve always loved Joseph’s comittment to raise someone else’s child

    • Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
      February 18, 2016 - 8:31 am | Permalink

      I’m with you on that!

      • JE Kaufman's Gravatar JE Kaufman
        February 18, 2016 - 10:27 am | Permalink

        Yes indeed!

    • S's Gravatar S
      February 18, 2016 - 9:39 am | Permalink

      I agree. That is big. But also he was brave

    • Mark G's Gravatar Mark G
      February 18, 2016 - 9:45 am | Permalink

      Well, not just any “someone else.” But clearly a very trusting guy.

  8. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    February 18, 2016 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    I have a great admiration for Rossetti’s poetry but am disappointed to learn she opposed women’s suffrage. I cast my vote for Joseph in part because of a poem by UA Fanthorpe, I am Joseph which ends with these words,
    I am Joseph, who wanted
    To teach my own boy how to live.
    My lesson to my foster son:
    Endure. Love. Give.

    • Greta's Gravatar Greta
      February 18, 2016 - 1:47 pm | Permalink


    • Deacondi's Gravatar Deacondi
      February 18, 2016 - 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Beautiful poem, thank you for the reference to the poem. One of my favorite sermons I have done was about Joseph as a step father.

  9. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    February 18, 2016 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Joseph, because in spite of what he took on to play a supporting role in the Incarnation, he really does get the short end of the stick.

  10. Gay Jolley's Gravatar Gay Jolley
    February 18, 2016 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Suppose Joseph was young and loved Mary dearly. What a guy!

  11. Jen E. Ochsner's Gravatar Jen E. Ochsner
    February 18, 2016 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Joseph had the more difficult choice to make in a male dominated society……put Mary aside or do as God asked.

  12. Bob's Gravatar Bob
    February 18, 2016 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    Good parenting deserves praise, and men are often described by their job-role (cf Joseph the Carpenter and Mary The Mother Of God) so plus-one to Daddy Joe

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      February 18, 2016 - 8:56 am | Permalink

      “Daddy Joe”…I like that! Voted for him too.

  13. Roberto Marquez's Gravatar Roberto Marquez
    February 18, 2016 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    Definitely voting for Joseph. As a dad and because I’m certain my novena to him got me my current job which is way better than my last job. Not because of some “magic” but because the prayer gave me the strength to branch out (which I guess was magic).

  14. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    February 18, 2016 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    I go with Joe — patron saint of workers and fathers. Talk about the supportive role!

  15. Just me's Gravatar Just me
    February 18, 2016 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    I never gave much thought to Joseph until I read “Faces at the Manger” by J. Barrie Shepherd. His story of Joseph was moving. Joseph didn’t do “great” things but he did something very important – he was there – for Mary and for Jesus. Working in a time when women were paid less for the same job a man did – I wish Christina didn’t just accept the status quo.

    • MK's Gravatar MK
      February 18, 2016 - 9:00 am | Permalink

      Wait a minute – women are STILL paid less for the same job as a man! We’ve still got a LONG way to go…

      • Just me's Gravatar Just me
        February 18, 2016 - 10:22 am | Permalink

        Guess I was lucky – my next 3 jobs all paid equal wages!! But, yes we have a long way to go in many areas

      • Mary Ferry's Gravatar Mary Ferry
        February 18, 2016 - 1:53 pm | Permalink


  16. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    February 18, 2016 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    David Creevh’s informative bio helped me decide to vote for Joseph. I’ll bet The Holy Kid was quite a handful.

  17. Harriet's Gravatar Harriet
    February 18, 2016 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    Although Christina is a favorite, I had to vote for Joseph.

  18. edward's Gravatar edward
    February 18, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    I voted for joshep because he is the earthly father of jesus

  19. Bob Challinor's Gravatar Bob Challinor
    February 18, 2016 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Joseph embodies faith and trust and obedience. He seemed to be a quietly strong pillar in Jesus’ upbringing. I wish I knew more about him. My vote for Joseph is giving some credit where credit is due.

  20. Joanna Burt's Gravatar Joanna Burt
    February 18, 2016 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joseph, much as I love Christina. Why? Among my friends are several adoptive parents and/or adopted children. In my extended family there are several generations of people named Joseph and my name Joanne or Joanna was given to me by my mother, the daughter of a Joseph and the sister of a Joseph…in honor of both of those relatives…and then my brother has a son named Joseph. I really did not have a choice here.

  21. pris's Gravatar pris
    February 18, 2016 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    I vote for Joseph. It must have taken a lot of courage to accept Mary. He could have had her stoned. Also my last pregnancy was difficult. I prayed to St. Joseph. My healthy son was born on March 19, St. Joseph’s feast day.

  22. February 18, 2016 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joseph as the one who dared to trust the voice of God in his dreams

    • Ann's Gravatar Ann
      February 18, 2016 - 8:50 am | Permalink

      perfect! thanks

  23. Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
    February 18, 2016 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    I’ve always felt that Joseph was an unsung hero who was largely ignored by the writers of the Gospels. What faith he must have had! I mean really people, what would you have said if someone told you that your pregnant fiance was still a virgin and the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit. I suspect most of us would have said, “Yeah, right.” And in those days, they stoned unwed mothers. Then twice (that we know of) he picked up, left everything, and moved at the behest of an angel. So, Joseph all the way!!!

    • Ronda B's Gravatar Ronda B
      February 18, 2016 - 11:40 am | Permalink

      Well said. I love St Joseph for his faith, trust in God, love for Mary, and for his courage. He gave all he had without question and was largely ignored by the Gospel writers.

      • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
        February 18, 2016 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

        I think Matthew did alright by him. In Matt’s account, Joseph is the Primary Actor, even though he has no lines. He’s the doer in these scenes: Taking Mary as his wife, naming the child Jesus, taking his family to Egypt, bringing them back to Israel, taking them to Nazareth. And, comparing the Infancy Narratives of Matthew and Luke, Joseph had three (perhaps four) angelic visitations, compared to Mary’s one encounter with Gabriel.

  24. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    February 18, 2016 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    In the Bleak Midwinter — drat! Now I’ll be singing that all day long! One of my all time favorites.

    • Dorothy Johnson's Gravatar Dorothy Johnson
      February 18, 2016 - 10:00 am | Permalink

      I agree, it is one of my favorite hymns. However, I have often wondered that the winds were not so bad, there was no snow, especially if you believe that Jesus was born in the spring when the sheep were grazing in the fields

  25. Danielle Perkins's Gravatar Danielle Perkins
    February 18, 2016 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    I have always had great respect for Joseph. God spoke to him, he got up and immediately responded. He had to have been quite a man for God to choose him to rear His son. But I have always thought of him as young, disappointed at first with Mary’s pregnancy, yet going forward when he had God’s word.

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      February 18, 2016 - 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Joseph’s response of immediate obedience to God is as awesome as Mary’s — although her obedience came with greater risk. I do like Rossetti’s poetry, but I had to vote for the man who raised Jesus.

  26. February 18, 2016 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    Please, Supreme Executive Committee, at least make sure you are spelling Christina’s surname correctly.

  27. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    February 18, 2016 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    My word for today is “interpretation.” Nothing else will do for such an odd match-up. To prepare for this vote I re-read “Goblin Market” and the beginning of Luke. Normally I would go with the poet, and I have always loved “Goblin Market” for its stirring depiction of sororal love, but I was struck in the write-up for Christina Rossetti by a certain rigidity. Is it not possible to follow one’s heart and embrace a companion of a different religion? “Goblin Market” is all about resisting the temptation of men with their fruit, even as it enhances their attractiveness with language from the Song of Songs. Can one not widen one’s love? Joseph, on the other hand, who is practically anonymous and erased from the story, seems in Luke to be deeply involved in widening one’s love. I say this by way of accepting the interpretive model of the poetry of the Hebrew Psalms with their powerful parallelisms. Luke begins with the Annunciation. To Zechariah. In my reading, there is a profound parallel between Zechariah/Elizabeth and Joseph/Mary. So I read Joseph through the lens of Zechariah. “In those days”/back in the day/”once upon a time” there was an amazing story: someone (Joseph: Mr. Anonymous: us) embraced the unknown and it led to things never seen before. I look for the poetry in this match-up and I find it in the near anonymity of accepting something so new and different that it cannot be expressed directly but can only be told, as Emily Dickinson put it, “aslant.” Or as Rilke said: Du muss dein Leben andern. You must change your life. I voted for Joseph.

  28. Geof Smith's Gravatar Geof Smith
    February 18, 2016 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    I’ve often thought Jesus’ parable about how “in my Father’s house there are many rooms” was a parable learned from a man with sawdust in his hair.

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      February 18, 2016 - 9:13 am | Permalink

      Oh, what a beautiful thought. It could be Joseph himself singing Christina’s famous words, because he truly gave Jesus what he could– his heart.

      • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
        February 18, 2016 - 10:56 am | Permalink

        Thank you, Geof and Peg!

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      February 18, 2016 - 9:23 pm | Permalink

      Nice, Geof!

  29. Mark E's Gravatar Mark E
    February 18, 2016 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    I’m for the underdog, because she wrote one of my very favorite hymns, and some really cool poetry.

  30. JayWard's Gravatar JayWard
    February 18, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Supportive quiet father in the shadow of a bright mother and child. Check.

  31. Christine's Gravatar Christine
    February 18, 2016 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    In honor of all the foster and adoptive dads I know and in honor of the strength it takes to say yes to God- Jospeh.

  32. Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
    February 18, 2016 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    Figuring Joseph would win by a landslide, I went with the author of the deeply moving, “In the Bleak Mid-winter,” one of my favorites.

  33. LadyGator77's Gravatar LadyGator77
    February 18, 2016 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    I am wondering how the SEC thinks this Christina should even be in the Bracket. She’s a one hymn/hit wonder! She’s had a very sad life and I’m grateful that God loves her. I just didn’t find her life and ‘witness’ one that would be helpful to me in my spiritual journey.

    • Alyn's Gravatar Alyn
      February 18, 2016 - 11:47 am | Permalink

      One hit/one hymn wonder lol

    • Nancy T.'s Gravatar Nancy T.
      February 19, 2016 - 12:05 am | Permalink

      That one hymn has changed lives. Quality, not quantity.

  34. Karen's Gravatar Karen
    February 18, 2016 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    Although Christina wrote my favorite Christmas Carol – Love Came Down At Christmas, I voted for Joseph. His faithfulness and compassion are evident even in the little we know about him.

  35. Joyce in Georgia's Gravatar Joyce in Georgia
    February 18, 2016 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    I have always been a fan of Christina’s. This time I go with the poet.

  36. Mary Robert's Gravatar Mary Robert
    February 18, 2016 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    I was ordained priest on St. Joseph’s Day – 33 years ago this March 19. I knew when I read his name on the bracket that he would be my choice, even though the Bleak Midwinter is one of my all-time favorites.

  37. Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
    February 18, 2016 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Joseph. He was obedient to God and kind to Mary. And one of the indelible marks of Christianity on western culture is the willingness to adopt. We learning this not only from God adopting us, but also from examples in the bible – Moses and Joseph being the two that stick out in my head most often. So, to step-fathers, foster-fathers, and adoptive dads everywhere, I praise Joseph for putting the works of God first.

  38. Laura B's Gravatar Laura B
    February 18, 2016 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Oh, NOT FAIR! LOL! These are 2 of my very very favorites. I almost didn’t vote this time because it was so difficult to decide. However, Joseph is one of my favorite Biblical figures, and I have a treasured St Joseph medal I bought at St Patrick’s Cathedral on a school trip to NYC, so I went with this Godly man. But it hurt to vote against the writer of one of my very favorite hymns.

  39. Janet Holmberg's Gravatar Janet Holmberg
    February 18, 2016 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for the unsung hero – Joseph – stuck with Mary, found a place to stay in which I am sure was not fun considering Mary was laboring and then helped raise Jesus … quiet supportive man in the midst of so many challenges.

  40. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    February 18, 2016 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    I was born on St. Joseph’s feast day, and my aunt who was the housekeeper in the rectory insisted I be named Mary Jo in honor of him and his blesssed wife. My mother declined, but I still consider him my guy.

  41. Judith's Gravatar Judith
    February 18, 2016 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    While at a Lenten Luncheon gathering this week, I shared my joy at participating for the third year in Lent Madness. We sang “In the Bleak Midwinter” and one of the attending clergy pointed out to me that its author was a worthy saint to study. Lo and behold I open my email this morning and there is Christina!! My vote for her this morning is a pledge to learn more about her and her poetry. Cannot wait to share this story at lunch next week! I read the bracket but did not recognize many names. Meanwhile onward and upward Joseph

    • February 18, 2016 - 9:36 am | Permalink

      Ah, Judith, you strike a chord! “In the Bleak Midwinter” has been my favorite Christmas Carol for as long as I can remember, and while agree Christina may lack some of the virtues apparent in Joseph, I have to vote for Christina for giving me “Midwinter.”

  42. Suanne's Gravatar Suanne
    February 18, 2016 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joseph because I was blessed with a wonderful father and many male mentors in my life. I also know several super”men” who are fathering solo. Joseph needs more PR as role model. Besides – he helped us sell our home over asking price!

  43. Donna's Gravatar Donna
    February 18, 2016 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    I have always had a special place in my heart for Joseph. I also appreciate this modern take on his story. It is a 5 minute YouTube video made by friends. Enjoy!

    • Jan LaBonte's Gravatar Jan LaBonte
      February 18, 2016 - 9:37 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the link to the video. So beautiful!

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 18, 2016 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Nice! It looked like it was filmed in my home county in north Georgia! And I loved those sweet little angels. Joseph as midwife–love it!

  44. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    February 18, 2016 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    I went into this fully expecting to vote for Christina–I love her poem “remember me”. But after reading you celebrity blogger’s excellent write up, I voted for Joseph. Sure we don’t know much about him emperically, but the beautiful legends and mythology around him exemplify him as the model step father and supportive spouse. And isn’t the Episcopal definition of Sainthood to be a model human being, flawed for sure, but an example of the faithful and obedient life??

  45. Dana Glenn's Gravatar Dana Glenn
    February 18, 2016 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    I voted for Christina because I suffer from depression and anxiety. So, I can relate to her struggle. However, we both have kept the faith.

  46. Mary O'Donnell's Gravatar Mary O'Donnell
    February 18, 2016 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joseph. He married a woman that did not have his child. He traveled with mother and child to protect them. He helped raise this child. Even in todays standard this is saintly behavior.

  47. Laura Peckham's Gravatar Laura Peckham
    February 18, 2016 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    I will not be voting for anyone over St. Joseph, even though their are several saints that are very dear to me in this year’s round-up.

    • Laura Peckham's Gravatar Laura Peckham
      February 18, 2016 - 9:13 am | Permalink

      Ack! Cannot edit! I meant “there”.

  48. Joan's Gravatar Joan
    February 18, 2016 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    As a child, I prayed to St. Joseph because people rarely mentioned him and I assumed he had more time to listen to me. So in gratitude for his patience all those years…Joseph!

  49. Bill's Gravatar Bill
    February 18, 2016 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    What a RECOMMENDATION!! God selected this man to be the father-figure for his own Son while he was incarnate upon the Earth. How can you argue with Gods logic!! Do think Joseph would make a wonderful sermon topic for Father’s Day for that very reason.

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      February 18, 2016 - 9:28 pm | Permalink

      What a recommendation, indeed! And amen to the suggestion for a Father’s Day sermon topic.

  50. Joe (Joseph)'s Gravatar Joe (Joseph)
    February 18, 2016 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joseph because, well, his name is Joseph.

  51. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    February 18, 2016 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    If Jesus was a Holy Terror I guess there is hope for some of my grandchildren! Joseph had his hands full!

  52. February 18, 2016 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    Having a life long devotion to St. Joseph, I voted for him.
    The picture you guys selected perpetuates the myth that he was an old man when married to St. Mary, not logical. He had to have been a young craftsman in order to
    support a family. The old man myth is suppose to ensure in our minds they did not
    have a full marital (physical) relationship. That is not only wrong, but flies in the
    face of all that is reasonable and SACRED!

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 18, 2016 - 11:04 am | Permalink


  53. February 18, 2016 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    Joseph, because I had a step-mother and know how tough kids can be on step-parents.

  54. Lyn lawyer's Gravatar Lyn lawyer
    February 18, 2016 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    I have never thought Joseph got enough press for his strength of character. He was a brave and faithful servant and deserves recognition.

  55. Peggy Pate's Gravatar Peggy Pate
    February 18, 2016 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    My vote goes to Joseph. I’ve taught Christina’s children’s poems to many a small child, andher poetry resides in my memory and blesses many a chance encounter creatures in nature. Nonetheless, JOSEPH is the representation of ideal fatherhood and husbanding. My mom always pointed out that St. Joseph was the unsung hero in the Nativity narratives and glimpses into the childhood of Jesus. I own a charming wooden figure of Joseph, holding Jesus on his left arm and a saw in his left hand. Imagine the outcomes and story if Joseph had chosen different responses!

  56. Peggy Pate's Gravatar Peggy Pate
    February 18, 2016 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    Hmmmm. My comments are in need of editing. Lesson learned. Cheers!

  57. Peggy Pate's Gravatar Peggy Pate
    February 18, 2016 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    Baby on the left arm. Saw in the right hand. Sheesh

  58. Pat R's Gravatar Pat R
    February 18, 2016 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    My birthday is the day after St. Joseph’s day and I was named after St. Patrick, whose feast is a few days earlier. So I have to go with one of my March buddies!’
    Also, as a cradle RC who married a Methodist (who loved me in spite of family prejudice toward RCs), I have a BIG problem with Christina’s anti-RC prejudice, although, to be fair, she did live in another century and a different culture. (btw, my husband and I resolved our differences by becoming Episcopalians!)

    • Bob Andrews-Bryant's Gravatar Bob Andrews-Bryant
      February 18, 2016 - 2:24 pm | Permalink

      I once read that as long as Baptists marry Roman Catholics there will always be The Episcopal Church. Guess we can add Methodists to the first part of that equation. Lol!

  59. Marilyn D's Gravatar Marilyn D
    February 18, 2016 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    How can anyone compete against the father of our Lord?
    His story is beautiful. I voted for the patient husband and father.

  60. Chris's Gravatar Chris
    February 18, 2016 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    No contest, and I always want to vote for the woman. But this time it’s Joseph with no hesitation. Now if you’d matched Christina Rosetti against Helena or Monnica, she might have had a chance. But her biography made her sound like a very unfortunate and sickly version of Elizabeth Barrett.

  61. JP's Gravatar JP
    February 18, 2016 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    In this era of single parents Joseph is such an example of being true through thick and thin. He took on the responsibility of continuing in his relationship with Mary. He was true to God in following his angel’s commands to understand what was happening, to travel from Bethlehem to Egypt, to be an immigrant, to return to his native land when the fear of danger was over. Joseph made sure that although he did not understand what had happened in his life he stayed true to his religion.

  62. Curt VanAllen's Gravatar Curt VanAllen
    February 18, 2016 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    I recently read an historical fiction book “Before Bethlehem” by James Flerlage. Basically it tells the story of the life of Joseph in relationship to all of his children. It’s as good read and, even though it’s fiction, gave me a new perspective on the possible life of Joseph. I voted for Joseph mainly because of Christina’s stance on women’s suffrage. Also, I agree with Peggy, Joseph has been the unsung hero of the Nativity story.

  63. February 18, 2016 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joseph because he just doesn’t seem to get the credit due him.

  64. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    February 18, 2016 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    Every day I look for Oliver’s answer and usually agree with him. Not today, Oliver, because everybody does not know Joseph…indeed, we know so little in comparison to other fathers. For starters , he isn’t the real father, only a surrogate stand-in. Can you just imagine how humiliated he was with Mary’s first announcement and subsequent ones? Never mind what his neighbors and peers probably had to say…to his face and behind his back. But he honored Mary as commanded and fathered Jesus to the best of his ability in accordance with God’s commands. He was a true father in word and deed to a Son who gave His life for ours. Good work bloggers.

  65. AnchorageABC's Gravatar AnchorageABC
    February 18, 2016 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    All the comments above are great. I have to go with Joe. I admire his loyalty, his faith in God and his word and his bravery to stay by Mary with what would seem to be an implausible story.

  66. Lisa Rose's Gravatar Lisa Rose
    February 18, 2016 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    While I am always tempted to stand in sisterly solidarity with a fellow writer, I’m with a few others here in failing to understand what earned her sainthood. I read several other bios on her and still baffled. She is held up for dismissing suitors who, though Christian, were not of her particular sect.As I know too many folks who believe their way is the only way,this is not a plus in my eyes.Nor is her volunteering with prostitutes while opposing suffrage. She baffles me.
    On the other hand, we have Joseph… proof that even the quiet actions of a quiet man can forever change the world. Whether he acted out of love for God or love for Mary or both, the faith and fortitude of the unsung step-daddy has earned my devotion.

  67. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    February 18, 2016 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    In the Bleak Midwinter is my favorite Christmas hymn, so Christina got my vote.

  68. John's Gravatar John
    February 18, 2016 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    As a poet, I probably would have voted for Christina Rosetti against another challenger, but poor Joseph definitely deserves more recognition for what he did, which had to be tremendously difficult back then (and challenging even now), and required true faith, determination, and love. I wish we knew more about him.

  69. Karen's Gravatar Karen
    February 18, 2016 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    “In the Bleak Midwinter” is one of my favorite Christmas hymns, but as an adoptive parent, I had to vote for Joseph. He embodied faith and love and that’s what it’s all about.

  70. Antoinette's Gravatar Antoinette
    February 18, 2016 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Voting for the underdog.

  71. Manny's Gravatar Manny
    February 18, 2016 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    Gotta go with Christina, happy once again to be in the minority. Joseph is just a little too vague to be comfortable with, but then again, I guess we can project whatever we want on him.

  72. Matthew's Gravatar Matthew
    February 18, 2016 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    I probably would have voted for Joseph anyway, but, as a devoted pop culture fan, what appears to be one of the world’s first fanfics, “The Infancy Gospel of Thomas,” clinched it for me.

  73. Ellie Tupper's Gravatar Ellie Tupper
    February 18, 2016 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    Years ago I heard a lovely Christmas carol about Joseph, from his point of view. I wish I could find it again. Joseph did one amazing job raising the Holy Son. I hope he goes all the way!

  74. Lucinda's Gravatar Lucinda
    February 18, 2016 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joseph because where would we all be had he not listened and obeyed? But this is the first set of 2016 Lent Madness commentaries that has inspired me to (1) do more research and (2) actually post a comment. First I went and read The Infancy Gospel of Thomas which was rather shocking at first (I thought, how can we worship this little BRAT!?) but eventually gave me even more respect for Joseph (and Mary). Then I downloaded some of Rossetti’s poetry from Project Gutenberg. I wasn’t clear as to why she was even included in the battle until I read some of her Devotional poems.

    So THANKS! Lent Madness, for making sure that I learned something new today. 🙂

  75. Dutton Morehouse's Gravatar Dutton Morehouse
    February 18, 2016 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    Have to ask myself, where would the church – and the world – be without Joseph. Would they really have stoned the theotokos?

  76. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    February 18, 2016 - 10:11 am | Permalink


  77. TLH's Gravatar TLH
    February 18, 2016 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    Joseph all the way, not least because I married a Joseph. But also because I think of him as a semi-patron saint of adoptive parents and adopted children, and my father was adopted…

  78. Mike Juhasz's Gravatar Mike Juhasz
    February 18, 2016 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    I can’t go against the patron saint of the church I attend. At least not in the 1st round.

  79. Anne Schwaller's Gravatar Anne Schwaller
    February 18, 2016 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    In the Bleak Mid-Winter is worth everything!

  80. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    February 18, 2016 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    All I have to say is…Holy Joseph pray for us!

  81. February 18, 2016 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    As several folks pointed out, Joseph could have had Mary stoned to death for (as he thought) being unfaithful to their engagement contract with another man. Yet even before the angel appears to him in a dream, Matthew says, Joseph “being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” Joseph chose love, not judgment. And that would become his son’s message too, for all of us to follow.

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      February 18, 2016 - 9:35 pm | Permalink

      Good point about Joseph choosing love, not judgment!

  82. Rose Mahan's Gravatar Rose Mahan
    February 18, 2016 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    I always vote before I read the comments. So I was pleasantly surprised that Joseph is leading. I am a retired college English professor who taught the Victorian Literature course for 30 years. Rossetti is anything but a great poet and a feminist. My favorite story about her silliness regarding her faith is that she read Swinburne’s poems because he was a good friend of her brother, Dante. And she liked the poems (sorta like the prude who reads lewd fiction but hides the book, eh). But one line which calls God evil she covered with a strip of paper so that reading it would not affront her religious beliefs! She did keep reading Swinburne, apparently, who did not like God or religion and was also saying so poetically.
    Much of her poetry is second rate at best and sentimentally “Christian.” I like the Christmas hymn though she obviously knew little about Palestine as I doubt the snow piled snow on snow!

  83. Mary Ann G.'s Gravatar Mary Ann G.
    February 18, 2016 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    Okay, with all due respect to Christina I feel like today is a no grained. Joseph had to overcome his doubts and fears to marry a pregnant woman who was said was carrying the Son of God. Think about how crazy that must have sounded?

  84. February 18, 2016 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    Joseph was a great caricature for as much as we really know of him… solid, compassionate, kind, with a bigger than life role… nevertheless,

    Yet, since He calls me still with tender Call,
    Since He remembers Whom I half forgot,
    I even will run my race and bear my lot:
    For Faith the walls of Jericho cast down,
    And Hope to whoso runs holds forth a Crown,
    And Love is Christ, and Christ is All in all.

  85. February 18, 2016 - 10:34 am | Permalink

    I should have gone with Christina as a fellow poet… but Joseph has always struck me as a strong, significant player in the story of our faith… and representative, perhaps, of all the hard-working straight forward dads of this world who put one foot in front of the other to support their families and make the difference they can. Also, on a reading of the two Christmas stories, it’s long struck me that while Luke has Mary saying and taking all the major actions, if you look at Matthew, it’s Joseph who takes the lead with all the tough decisions…. to not put Mary away, to listen to the angel and take them away out of harm’s way.. and when to return, etc.
    So today, Joseph.

  86. Shakura's Gravatar Shakura
    February 18, 2016 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    I admire Joseph, but seems like he’s getting plenty of votes. I will vote for Christina, who wrote a poem that refers to Mary breast-feeding Jesus. I think she was a feminist within the context of her time, and it’s not really fair to wish she saw things the way we do. She was part of the amazing and creative Pre-Raphaelite bunch of writers and artists, and was the model for one of my very favorite paintings of the annunciation; “Ecce Ancilla Domini” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, in which, rather than looking pious, Mary is curled up on her bed, as far away from the angel as she can get, and looking pensive and a little frightened as she ponders what is being asked of her.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 18, 2016 - 12:44 pm | Permalink

      That’s why I’ve always loved this spin on the annunciation–it shows the emotion that must have prompted the angel’s “Fear not!”

  87. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    February 18, 2016 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    Saint Joseph gets my vote. Of course he does! Loving, patient husband and earthly father of Jesus. Joseph always did the right thing. I love that and would enjoy knowing more about him. Christina is a puzzlement. I admire her sensitivity and softness in her faith and love of God, as well as her support of women. Yet opposed to women’s suffrage? I agree with Amber Belldene that Christina’s support stopped with her commitment to the Church’s enshrined male hierarchy. It was the style of the day. Go Joseph!

  88. Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
    February 18, 2016 - 10:43 am | Permalink

    I voted for Christina Rossetti, in spite of her resistance to women’s suffrage. I love “Goblin Market” for its evocation of a Christ-like sacrifice by Lizzie for Laura and, in general, I admire Rosetti’s melding of the sacred and secular in her poetry. As an example of her nineteenth-century feminism, see the sonnet “In an Artist’s Studio.” It contains a forthright critique of how her brother and his Pre-Raphaelite friends used women. I’m an adoptive mom, so I like Joseph, too, but Christina gets my vote today.

  89. Rex Van Alstine's Gravatar Rex Van Alstine
    February 18, 2016 - 10:43 am | Permalink

    Always thought Joseph should be the Patron Saint of all step-parents. It’s not an easy job and his stepson didn’t turn out even half-bad.

  90. Kate DiLiberto's Gravatar Kate DiLiberto
    February 18, 2016 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    As much as I admire Christina Rosetti, and have always enjoyed her poems, I had to vote for Joseph.

  91. Lorna Worley's Gravatar Lorna Worley
    February 18, 2016 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    I voted for the man who changed his life for God.

  92. Max's Gravatar Max
    February 18, 2016 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    I cringe every time I hear Christina Rossetti’s “In the bleak midwinter.” It is all poor rhyming and sappy, theologically irrelevant lyrics -a symbol of how a consumerist Christmas has infected the Christian holy day. On the other hand, St. Joseph was never very popularly venerated in the Middle Ages –I think its good that in the past few centuries the Church has encouraged devotion to him as surely one of the closest people to Jesus along with his mother and the Apostles.

    • Max's Gravatar Max
      February 18, 2016 - 10:49 am | Permalink

      I have to amend my consideration of Christina after reading a little more about her. I still dislike her poem and the song that is overdone now, but she certainly seems like a holy woman.

  93. Yogi Heidi's Gravatar Yogi Heidi
    February 18, 2016 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    Joe. Def. Good Dads are not celebrated enough.

  94. Jim W's Gravatar Jim W
    February 18, 2016 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    I vote for Joseph because Jesus taught us to call God “Abba” (dad). And if Jesus felt that warmly about a word he must have used hundreds of times for his adopted father, then Joseph must have been a very good man indeed.

  95. Dix's Gravatar Dix
    February 18, 2016 - 10:58 am | Permalink

    I’m sure Joseph wasn’t in favor of women’s suffrage in his day, either. I suspect that Joseph’s voting is based on the warm, fuzzy, sacharine projections of our feelings of our childhood Christmas pageants.

    I voted for Christina, she seems more real to me. It sounds like people are describing their ideal, imaginary Dad.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 18, 2016 - 11:16 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Dix! Agree 100%!

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      February 18, 2016 - 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Dix, you seem to be saying that Christina’s opposition to women’s suffrage shouldn’t be a deal breaker in voting for her. I agree. But to say that Joseph was also against votes for women is like saying he didn’t believe in flying saucers. As far as I can see, suffrage (women’s or men’s) wasn’t even a concept for first century Jews, so how could he be opposed to it? On the other hand, if it had been an issue in his time and place, Joseph might very well have been in favor of women’s suffrage. It’s an historical fact that in the controversy over women’s votes there were men who supported suffrage. I can picture Joseph being in favor of it, especially as he was married to Our Lady and learned from her what women could do.

  96. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    February 18, 2016 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    I love Christina Rossetti, even more so after learning that the Oxford Movement was a source of inspiration for her. But how can I NOT vote for Joseph? What an amazing example of faith, humility and obedience. Count one more for St. Joe.

  97. Jim Hampton's Gravatar Jim Hampton
    February 18, 2016 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    While “In the Bleak Midwinter” is one of my favorite Christmas poems, to me it came down accomplishments:
    Christina – wrote poems
    Joseph – raised the Son of God

  98. February 18, 2016 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    As a hymn writer, I would be inclined to vote for a hymn writer. But Joseph was given those wonderful dreams and then he actually DID what God said to do. So have to vote for Joseph. Rossetti’s most famous hymn, “In the Bleak Midwinter,” is not one of my favorites. An entire verse that has nothing to do with God or actual events of the Nativity (but does get used on SPCA commercials) and the irregularity of the verses bother me. It is interesting to compare the different ways hymnals deal with the oddities – some just leave off the first 2 words of the second verse – cutting out God even more. An interesting place to find this is on Hymnary – if you scroll down, you can click on many different hymnal pages.

  99. Dawn's Gravatar Dawn
    February 18, 2016 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    I had to vote for Christina today. My Aunt (who turned 99 yesterday) is a composer, and also a poet. She has used Christina’s words in some of her hymn compositions, which is where I learned of Christina’s poetry. I went with the arts – poets & composers today. Plus, it still looks like rain here – so it’s sort of bleak & it is mid-winter!

  100. Miriam Brown's Gravatar Miriam Brown
    February 18, 2016 - 11:11 am | Permalink

    I am in awe of Joseph. He was obedient to God and he provided a strong, firm, moral compass for the son of God. Jesus had Joseph’s great example to follow. We are blessed even today with the devout nature of Joseph.

  101. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    February 18, 2016 - 11:21 am | Permalink

    Like others, I didn’t really see what Christina did that distinguished her as a saint. On the other hand, Joseph wed a pregnant Mary in a time when he easily could have renounced her. I’m going with Joseph, although I may have to read ‘Goblin Market’!

  102. Judy C's Gravatar Judy C
    February 18, 2016 - 11:28 am | Permalink

    I’ve always thought Joseph got short shrift. He took a woman who was pregnant, had to leave their home for the census, had to find a place for Mary to deliver the baby and probably delivered Jesus himself. This was way out of the box for a man in that age.

  103. Mariana Bauman's Gravatar Mariana Bauman
    February 18, 2016 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    Some years back Michael Crawford (of Phantom fame) recorded a piece called Joseph’s Lullaby. The lyrics touched me deeply and gave me a better appreciation of what Joseph’s character must have been. “What can I give you… made from miracles?” I voted for Joseph.

  104. ecdjp's Gravatar ecdjp
    February 18, 2016 - 11:30 am | Permalink

    I chose Christina. While she did say she opposed women’s suffrage it was supposedly because she felt that it would not protect women as well as others thought and that it would be better for women to be represented in Parliament. In addition she did charitable work including volunteering a penitentiary for “fallen” women and staying there a fortnight at a time while volunteering. I am fond of Joseph as he helped me sell my first home and was the focus of one of our Christmas Pageants (talk show on men raising children even though the men were not the child’s biological father) Still and all Christina gets my vote.

  105. Greg Ridenour's Gravatar Greg Ridenour
    February 18, 2016 - 11:34 am | Permalink

    In other circumstances, Christina would be my kind of girl, wild, crazy, doing it her way. But Joseph is Joseph. Joseph is the second disciple, Mary being the first. Without Joseph, there is no Christian story. He is a husband, a father, an “adoptive” parent, and I have an adopted son. He led Mary and Jesus to safety in Egypt. He is of the “house and lineage of David” and so fulfills that prophecy. He truly is a “righteous man.”

  106. Michelle Walker's Gravatar Michelle Walker
    February 18, 2016 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    I am doing my annual Lenten read of Lamb by Christopher Moore. His beautiful portrayal of a man who might have had to hear the Son of God yell, “you’re not the boss of me!” has made me even more a fan of this man who said yes.

    • JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
      February 18, 2016 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Michelle, for this reminder of my long-held intention to read Lamb! It is now on its way to my Kindle! This keeps happening to me! Our Lenten Study book this year is Songs my Grandma Sang by our own Presiding Bishop, and as I am reading this, it has already sent to to the purchase of a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. So many book – Deo Gratias I am now retired!

    • Pam Payne's Gravatar Pam Payne
      February 18, 2016 - 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Michelle: Thanks for the reference to “Lamb”! I found it both funny and a very creative exploration of the development of faith. I need to read it again. Was having difficulty deciding this bracket, but your comments clinched it for St. Joseph for me.

  107. NJ's Gravatar NJ
    February 18, 2016 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joseph, though I do love Christina’s In the bleak mid-winter and Love came down at Christmas, as well as this prayer for illumination (UMH 477): Open wide the window of our spirits, O Lord, and fill us full of light; open wide the door of our hearts,, that we may receive and entertain thee with all our powers of adoration and love. A worthy prayer, especially on the first sunny day we’ve had here in ten days!

  108. Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
    February 18, 2016 - 11:55 am | Permalink

    I love “In the Bleak Midwinter” but voting Joseph was a no-brainer for me. I consider him the patron of step-fathers, of whom I am one,

  109. SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
    February 18, 2016 - 11:55 am | Permalink

    I was prepared to vote for Joseph, follower of dreams and Jesus’ daddy. And I figured he’d be the loser, as more modern saints often win in these contests over those further back in time, and certainly over those of whom so little is known.

    But poets and the arts often don’t get the credit I think they deserve for spiritual transformation. And so Christina is being soundly defeated.

    So I’m voting for Christina and her poems-turned-hymns, and for being the model for Mary in my absolutely favorite painting of the annunciation. (I wish I knew how to post it here!)

  110. Kelley the Presbygeek's Gravatar Kelley the Presbygeek
    February 18, 2016 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I would have voted for Christina against many others, but as a person who grew up in a Presbyterian children’s home and was adopted as an adult by an awesome couple I can’t vote against Joseph. He shows that family isn’t all about biology but about the choices and commitment. Joseph for the Golden Halo!

  111. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    February 18, 2016 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe I just voted against Oliver’s choice! I do have a warm spot in my heart for Christina Rosetti’s poetry, but, like Constance, Joseph stayed – under circumstance where he had every right under the law, but instead he chose compassion. He stood with Mary’s utterly courageous “Yes!” to God, and added his own in support. It breaks my heart that the Gospels give him such short shrift.

  112. Isabel Stanley's Gravatar Isabel Stanley
    February 18, 2016 - 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Joseph, because he is an unsung hero. As an English teacher, I admire Christina Rossetti, but I don’t think “The Goblin Market” is about consumption and the Eucharist.

  113. Brenda McH's Gravatar Brenda McH
    February 18, 2016 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Although I’ve been a strong feminist for a lot of years, I had to go with Joseph for several reasons, many of which have been noted above, and also because I live in his city– San Jose.

  114. Isabel Stanley's Gravatar Isabel Stanley
    February 18, 2016 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I vote for Joseph because he is an unsung hero. As an English professor, I admire Christina Rossetti, but I don’t think “The Goblin Market” is about consumption and the Eucharist.

  115. Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner's Gravatar Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner
    February 18, 2016 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Joseph – the almost forgotten man, the man who stayed the course, who embraced his commitment. As a basically fatherless child, the examples of men who actually cared resonate strongly with me.

    Besides, Christina’s devotion to the male hierarchy of the Church is a bit off-putting!

  116. Sarah- 15 years old's Gravatar Sarah- 15 years old
    February 18, 2016 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I really liked Christina but at the same time I really like Joseph. But I’m going to go with Christian, because I really enjoy poetry and English.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 18, 2016 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Way to go, Sarah!

  117. Melissa Ridlon's Gravatar Melissa Ridlon
    February 18, 2016 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

    There is a lovely, homely, statue in the Cathedral in Rouen of Jesus on tip toes on Joseph’s sandals, reaching up to be held and Joseph reaching down to scoop him up. He is truly the saint of dads.

  118. Judy Newblom's Gravatar Judy Newblom
    February 18, 2016 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Joseph’s faith is an amazing example for all of us. I have always wished more had been written about him. As far as Christina, I could never vote for anyone who opposed women’s suffrage!

  119. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    February 18, 2016 - 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Well, for me, Rossetti was a no-brainer, even though she seems to be getting stomped by Joseph. She has captured my heart not only with “In the bleak” but with the text to “Rest,” a stunning anthem by Vaughan Williams. Her life may have been full of ambiguity, but that’s alright by me. However, Joseph was a close call. He was put in a rather difficult position and handled it gracefully. I’ve never been able to understand why Matthew went through all those begats to show that Jesus was descended from David when Joseph was supposedly not his father, but I may be treading close to heresy there. (Can we do some DNA testing?) Anyway, I like the story of Jesus being a “holy terror” (well, obviously not an unholy one) as a child.

  120. Katherine's Gravatar Katherine
    February 18, 2016 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Unfair to pit anyone against Joseph. I love a piece we sing using the words of Bleak Midwinter so because of that and the unfair matchup I voted for Rosetti

  121. Rita's Gravatar Rita
    February 18, 2016 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    As an oblate in the Community of St. Joseph, I am happy to be able to vote for Joseph. Always loved his story of faith and love!

  122. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    February 18, 2016 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Two saints pointing the way to two aspects of the Incarnation. Christina captures the mystical experience, using indirection and metaphor to ineffable and irrational aspects of intimate encounters with God. I have long loved her poetry, especially “Goblin Market” and “When I am Dead, Mu Dearest.” and reading the account of her life here I am impressed by the rigor of her faith, rejecting a Catholic suitor and also an agnostic. She’s the quintessential Victorian saint. The story of Joseph, on the other hand, with all its “extracanonical” (read “popular”) elaborations, brings out the challenges in taking on an incarnate existence, and the danger of the contact of Jesus Christ with the world and of the world with Jesus Christ. The Joseph legends give weight and seriousness to the process of Incarnation. In the end I had to go with Joseph.

  123. TLH's Gravatar TLH
    February 18, 2016 - 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I should add this: I also think of Joseph as the patron saint of labor. He was a carpenter, after all, so he’s like every working man’s saint. Believe me, the BA of Carpenters local 1905 is quite proud of the fact that St Joe was a carpenter! So, given that I am married to a blue collar union man (named Joseph) that also guided me into voting for St Joe!

  124. Laureli's Gravatar Laureli
    February 18, 2016 - 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Other than a great devotion to her faith she tended to focus a lot on the bleakness of things. So, I went with Joseph. He didn’t abandon mother or child even though Jesus was not of his own blood. what courage in those days. Hearing God and sticking by the request – and from all accounts seemingly without complaint

  125. Ann Willis Scott's Gravatar Ann Willis Scott
    February 18, 2016 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m a stepmother and I know what it takes…Joseph for me!

  126. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    February 18, 2016 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I cast my vote for Joseph, not primarily for his importance in the life of Jesus, but for his unconditional obedience to God’s word to him. He is definitely one to be emulated, by Christians of any age, any church, either sex, any calling. (My own father loved to do woodworking too.)

  127. Jen M's Gravatar Jen M
    February 18, 2016 - 1:51 pm | Permalink

    St. Joseph helped me sell my house so despite my fondness for Christina, “Better by far you should forget and smile”….my vote goes to Joe!

  128. February 18, 2016 - 1:53 pm | Permalink

    How could one NOT vote for the earthly father of Christ?

  129. Greta's Gravatar Greta
    February 18, 2016 - 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Lucy I have a grandson who was adopted. It takes great strength and faith to raise a nother mans child There for I cast my vote for Joseph.

  130. Kim Morse's Gravatar Kim Morse
    February 18, 2016 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

    “In the Bleak Midwinter” is so perfect it makes me cry every time, especially the last verse. Even so, Joseph. He helped me sell my house, too, and I have to think he must have been a fine father, if the son was any evidence. He certainly was the best of husbands. All of that is vote-worthy.

  131. Eileen C. Fisher's Gravatar Eileen C. Fisher
    February 18, 2016 - 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I ask this single question: If Joseph had not married Mary and she stoned to death while pregnant, where would we be?
    It’s all about love, faith, and strength of character. Joseph, you’re the man!

  132. Steve Caldwell's Gravatar Steve Caldwell
    February 18, 2016 - 2:09 pm | Permalink

    There are special problems being an adoptive father. Most are welcome, but some are hurtful, especially the disciplined, angry child who cries in revenge, “You’re not my REAL father!” Not that Jesus ever did that, but being fully human, he could have.

    Joseph not only got my vote, but all fathers who have adopted children have my prayers for strength and courage in handling similar situations.

  133. Leonard Joseph Matusik's Gravatar Leonard Joseph Matusik
    February 18, 2016 - 2:12 pm | Permalink

    It is quite noteworthy that Joseph never received angelic visions to guide his decision making. He proceeded by intuition and a profound sense of dignity of the human person.
    All that said, I think its a shame that my Mother Church (RC) insists on this
    “Perpetual Virginity of Mary” jazz.
    Ill bet 20 minutes in purgatory that the Holy twosome were tender and frisky Lovers!

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      February 18, 2016 - 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Just for using the word “frisky” with respect to Mary and Joseph, I suspect that you will get 20 minutes on the angelic merry-go-round when you get into heaven (through the front door).

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        February 18, 2016 - 11:33 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, dangling modifier. Let me try again: Just for using the word “frisky” with respect to Mary and Joseph, you will, I suspect, get 20 minutes on the angelic merry-go-round . . . Long day. Heavy rain. Traffic. Fatigue. That’s better.

  134. Richard Asmussen's Gravatar Richard Asmussen
    February 18, 2016 - 2:14 pm | Permalink

    We need a Joseph in our lives every day, as a dad, I must have every image of God’s love I can find.

    • Isabel Stanley's Gravatar Isabel Stanley
      February 18, 2016 - 2:36 pm | Permalink

      I am really touched by the many tributes to step-fathers and fathers in these comments about Joseph.

  135. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    February 18, 2016 - 2:18 pm | Permalink

    As a survivor of physical and sexual child abuse I was quite distressed in your phrase that King Kamehameha “spanked” his competitor. Words matter. Choose them wisely

  136. Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
    February 18, 2016 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Oh how I love Christina Rossetti’s poetry and children’s books. I have never considered her a saint, though, in the sense of living sanctity. Joseph though, ah dear daddy Joseph! My wonderful husband was Father to the son I brought into our marriage and to the two daughters we adopted. Needless to say, I’m for Joseph all the way.

  137. Desiree's Gravatar Desiree
    February 18, 2016 - 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Was intending to vote for Joseph as compared to Mary he is so ignored.
    But reading that Christina suffered with depression resonated with me as I too battle that. Reassuring and empowering to know that despite such a stifling illness God can still use us to help others and spread His word

  138. Mary Ferry's Gravatar Mary Ferry
    February 18, 2016 - 2:30 pm | Permalink

    With an older adopted son who picked the name Joseph, me choice was clear, though I love Christina’s poetry.

  139. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    February 18, 2016 - 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I admire Christina as a writer and feminist and a person who struggled with mental demons, as I have. But today my vote is for Joseph, who took a giant risk and responsibility in the service of the Lord.

  140. Deborah Hays's Gravatar Deborah Hays
    February 18, 2016 - 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I like Christina ‘s poetry but I think of all the men in the present who have loved and graciously raised the children who they know are not their biological children. Joseph should be the patron saint of them. Joseph could have abandoned Mary and society would not have criticized him. However, he followed his heart and soul.

  141. David's Gravatar David
    February 18, 2016 - 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I wanted to vote for Christina Rosetti because of my love for her literary work, and because she would obviously be the underdog. However, in the end I had to vote for Joseph because he was an adoptive father, so to to speak, as I am, and I often think of him when I feel overwhelmed and like a failure. Also, as a child, I had several surgeries at St. Joseph’s hospital (in Orange, CA) that helped me to walk, so in a way, I think of him as helping to walk. Gotta love St. Joe.

  142. Kelly's Gravatar Kelly
    February 18, 2016 - 3:18 pm | Permalink

    This was a no-brainer for me today. Although Christina definitely speaks to my romantic side, when I saw the name Joseph I knew immediately that he “had me at ‘hello’.” Joseph accepted what the angel told him unquestioningly and stood by Mary through what must have been a very difficult time for both. He was Jesus’ earthly father and had much to do with the worldly man He became. Joseph got my vote today.

  143. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    February 18, 2016 - 3:21 pm | Permalink

    My late mother, who was plagued throughout her life by terrible insecurity, would, now and then pay me the indirect compliment (I think) of saying, “Well, I must have done something right!” That’s how it is with Joseph: However little we know about him, he must have done lots right, especially after that angel straightened him out. Bad parenting doesn’t produce the Savior of the World. So he has my vote today.

    On a larger theme, we seem repeatedly to be encountering the idea that what to us are obvious misdeeds are an automatic disqualification from halohood, at least of the golden kind. I may myself have fallen into that trap a few days ago over Wilberforce and the Reform of Manners. That type of judgment, or the risk of it, often finds expression in a sentence beginning with “How could she/he have [behaved in this awful way]?”

    This puzzle is in a way the converse of “why do bad things happen to good people”: “Why do good people do bad things [believing them to be good]?” My best explanation so far is that the prevailing morality of their cultures infects them with a strain of moral blindness. We are almost certainly victims of the same sort of blindness and the perpetrators of other atrocities, which we cannot see but which future generations will condemn as so obviously wrong that “How could they?” is they only response they can muster.

    So far my halting efforts to think this seeming paradox through convince me of two things:

    1)Our response shouldn’t be to deny the goodness of these people. In our daily lives we don’t find it hard to say, “that is a good person” or “that is a bad person,” even as we acknowledge the hopeless, multilayered oversimplification of such statements and the hubris to which they tempt us. It has to be a mistake, however, to tar Wilberforce, Dominic, and Christina Rossetti with the same brush we apply to their and our truly bad contemporaries; and I find the analogy to blindness of help in discerning the difference.

    2) When we find ourselves asking, “how could they?”, we need to respond by struggling to answer the question. By doing so, even if we fail, we transform a barren dismissal into a sincere and maybe fruitful inquiry; whatever the outcome, the effort is likely to improve our empathetic and other benign capacities for application to future situations.

    If that be a listicle, make the most of it.

    • Carol Boyle's Gravatar Carol Boyle
      February 18, 2016 - 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Well said, Davis Dassori. If I remember nothing else from this Lent Madness, I hope to remember your points made here and carry them forward. This is my first Lent Madness and it’s wonderful fun!

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      February 18, 2016 - 6:30 pm | Permalink


    • Karen's Gravatar Karen
      February 18, 2016 - 7:33 pm | Permalink


  144. Cassandra's Gravatar Cassandra
    February 18, 2016 - 3:37 pm | Permalink

    “In the Bleak Midwinter”

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      February 18, 2016 - 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Lovely, Cassandra, thank you!

    • Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
      February 19, 2016 - 2:41 am | Permalink

      Thank you everyone for all the comments, videos,references! Great day at the madhouse, I mean, Madness.

    • Donna's Gravatar Donna
      February 19, 2016 - 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your beautiful video.
      How did you paste a photo of the YouTube video and not just a URL ?

  145. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    February 18, 2016 - 3:57 pm | Permalink

    When I read who was competing today I immediately expected a quick vote for Christina. After all I am a singer, and have performed numerous songs based on Rossetti Lyrics. I love singing those songs. Before casting my vote however, I read about Joseph and it got me to thinking about my own dear husband who married me regardless of being warned about marrying a woman with soon to be teenaged children. He has been a wonderful father to “our” children, and husband to me. I have admired up close how much time and effort he has put in on the care of our family. I think Joseph did far more than God charged him to do. I think he was just a good man and did his best to be a good earthly father to Jesus, and a good, caring husband to Mary.
    AND, for those reasons (I can’t believe it) I voted for Joseph!

  146. james lodwick's Gravatar james lodwick
    February 18, 2016 - 3:59 pm | Permalink

    With all due respect to Joseph, whose faithfulness to God’s call I greatly admire, I voted for Christina partly because (before looking at the vote tally) I just knew she would be the underdog, but partly also because as a student and lover of poetry I have found that it has been Christian poets and hymn-writers like Christina (and Dante, Donne, Herbert, Eliot, Fortunatus, Notker, Adam of St. Victor and so many, many more) who have confirmed and deepened my own faith and devotion.

    • Elyse Moore's Gravatar Elyse Moore
      February 18, 2016 - 6:33 pm | Permalink


  147. edward's Gravatar edward
    February 18, 2016 - 4:01 pm | Permalink

    hello i voted for joseph

  148. edward's Gravatar edward
    February 18, 2016 - 4:03 pm | Permalink

    joseph rules he will win the golden halo

  149. Carmen Fairley's Gravatar Carmen Fairley
    February 18, 2016 - 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Joseph is winning by a long shot and I might have voted for him except for the fact that my community band in which I play was given an arrangement of “In the Bleak Midwinter” to work on. Nobody but me (former church organist & student of English Lit) knew that it was a Christmas hymn with lyrics penned by Christina Rossetti, a fact that the conductor confirmed when he read us the “notes to the conductor” about the piece.

  150. Carol Boyle's Gravatar Carol Boyle
    February 18, 2016 - 4:13 pm | Permalink

    My vote goes to Joseph because I think he and Mary must have modeled a loving family to have produced a man like Jesus. Joseph was a good and obedient Jew who understood the law regarding women who had a child out of wedlock. But he opted for love over law and took Mary in anyway, protecting her and the child. One sees that beautiful attitude in Jesus also.

  151. sniglet's Gravatar sniglet
    February 18, 2016 - 4:18 pm | Permalink

    This version of “In the Bleak Midwinter” with melody by Gustav Holst is the very best. Beware the music by Harold Darke. The former is the one congregations love to sing. The latter is the one choirmasters choose to show off their choir. More than once I’ve looked forward to this hymn at the Christmas service only to find they were singing the Dreaded Darke version. We used this hymn, Holst, of course, at my mother’s service because she was born on Christmas Day.

    • Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
      February 18, 2016 - 11:41 pm | Permalink

      Both settings are very fine. Lighten up.

  152. Leo's Gravatar Leo
    February 18, 2016 - 4:20 pm | Permalink

    For “Bleak Midwinter” I thank you so
    Christina Georgina Ro’
    I love the heart of a poet
    but my vote cannot show it
    This vote has to go for Joe!

    • Beth's Gravatar Beth
      February 18, 2016 - 7:44 pm | Permalink

      great response, Leo

  153. Michael Gray's Gravatar Michael Gray
    February 18, 2016 - 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
    What more needs to be said?

  154. February 18, 2016 - 5:32 pm | Permalink

    With all due respect is this an Episcopal or Ronan Catholic Lenten Madness deal! Joseph was a mythical Character whose name was made up! We live in 2016 not 1016.

    • February 18, 2016 - 6:09 pm | Permalink

      And what gives you confidence that your statement is true? If you are saying there was no Joseph, how can you be so certain?

      • Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
        February 18, 2016 - 11:39 pm | Permalink

        There’s a lesson in this. A lot of folks take some finding and conclude that it teaches more than it actually does. Considering that virtually nothing is written about Joseph, and that the gospels were written decades after the fact, one might suggest that, while Jesus (obviously) had a human father, the name of the father may not have been Joseph. Do we know that? Of course we don’t know it; but some folks, encouraged by the possibility, may be sucked in by the temptation to say so, as was apparently the case here.

        If FSJ means “Fellowship of Saint James” this gets curiouser and curiouser, since FSJ supposedly is ecumenical. [And this James person is also hardly ever mentioned in scripture either, so maybe there also was no “James”??]

        I wonder how Ms Rossetti would have fared if matched up with Frances Perkins. It would have been intriguing.

  155. Robert Corey's Gravatar Robert Corey
    February 18, 2016 - 6:04 pm | Permalink

    The person who taught me to care about saints… one, at least. was a scholar of late 19th century English poetry and especially Alice Meynell. He would want me to vote for a muse and voice, both, of the pre-Raphaelites. And so I did… and wonder where the female-saint bias leaves her in this contest. It left her.

    I’ve a dead friend named Joseph. I named him Joseph during an Advent retreat. It seems that my friend, an ancient (by American standards) oak tree, had to be removed to leave room for a church expansion. Like Joseph, the tree would not be present to witness the full flower of the Person he nurtured. Despite my affection for the tree, at times approaching that of Dante R for his sister, I had to give my vote in favor of the better artist and poet. The dullard having spoken… Tag, She’s IT! (Private joke with my Vicar)

  156. Leamarie's Gravatar Leamarie
    February 18, 2016 - 6:30 pm | Permalink

    I have little to add to comments above. I wonder how my votes might change if I took into account independent knowledge, or lack thereof, of any particular saint, or just continue to choose based largely, if not solely, on the brief descriptions given? I will stick to my pattern of deciding based on what is written herein. I have to vote for Joseph, as my church is named for the Holy Family, though I admire much about Christina R-making the giant exception of her position on women’s suffrage.

  157. Claire's Gravatar Claire
    February 18, 2016 - 6:32 pm | Permalink

    This is my third LM. Former Catholic now a Unitarian Universalist. Going in I was prepared to vote for Christina (“Bleak Midwinter” being one of my favorite hymns.) But I am moved to vote for Joseph because I miss my father who has been dead over 30 years. The power of a good father to model kindness, patience and loyalty cannot be overestimated. Joseph had Mary’s back. Rock on Joseph.

  158. February 18, 2016 - 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I named my son for Joseph, so how can I vote for another? Joseph was faithful. He accepted his supporting role in a time when that was a counter-cultural act. He subordinated himself to Mary, Jesus, and God, demonstrating that his ego was of little importance. A marvelous role model for men everywhere.

  159. February 18, 2016 - 7:26 pm | Permalink

    You do not make choices easy for us. So much of this has already been said, but Joseph stepped up to God’s invite and and did His will when so many times he could have taken care of himself. He is a wonderful model for all of us to follow.

  160. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    February 18, 2016 - 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Joseph, hands down.

  161. Beth Walton's Gravatar Beth Walton
    February 18, 2016 - 7:50 pm | Permalink

    As much as I love Christina Rosetti’s verse, I voted for Joseph. In a life full of surprises, he does a lot of unpopular, unsung, unappreciated stuff. Who found a shelter when there was no room in the inn? Who made sure they safely escaped to Egypt? Who went back into the temple to find a missing child rather than panic? Who do you know who is consistently doing the unpopular, unsung, under appreciated stuff? The stuff that keeps others alive and well? Maybe it is time we gave the Josephs in our lives (women and men) some loving attention.

    • February 18, 2016 - 8:10 pm | Permalink

      Well put.

      • andrea's Gravatar andrea
        February 18, 2016 - 10:43 pm | Permalink

        I agree. That’s why I voted for Joseph. Also for being a loving husband to Mary and a good earthly father to Jesus. Putting family first in times of great peril and being the patron saint of carpenters.

  162. February 18, 2016 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Joseph because he’s so central to our whole story. That said, I love Christina Rosetti. Her poems and hymns are some of my favorites. Must have been hard as a teenager to have a breakdown. God bless her, and all those who suffered from undiagnosed medical conditions back in “the day…”

  163. February 18, 2016 - 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Such a difficult choice. I admire St. Joseph and am thankful that his solemnity occurs during Lent, but I’m also a fan of “In the Bleak Midwinter” (and I think Ms. Rosetti was one of my nominations) and would love to see some of her poems in a later round. And they’re both associated with Christmas! What to do?!

    Deciding factor: I got my Ancestry DNA results back today and my Italian DNA is nonexistent while Great Britain DNA is my 2nd largest %, so Christina Rosetti it is. (St. Joseph’s Day is like the Italian St. Patrick’s Day.)

  164. Bill Pyatt's Gravatar Bill Pyatt
    February 18, 2016 - 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Christina Rosetti for her gift of poetry

  165. Julie G.'s Gravatar Julie G.
    February 18, 2016 - 8:48 pm | Permalink

    I think this was the most unfair match-up I’ve seen to date in LM. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, what were you thinking? John the Baptist and Joseph, maybe–but Christina Rosetti?

  166. Susu's Gravatar Susu
    February 18, 2016 - 9:38 pm | Permalink

    A patently unfair match up … but then who could possibly compete with Joseph?

  167. mjk's Gravatar mjk
    February 18, 2016 - 10:41 pm | Permalink

    As the earthly mother of Superman (born Martha Kent), I must vote for Joseph, earthly father of Jesus.

  168. KA's Gravatar KA
    February 18, 2016 - 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Just wondering…. How is it that Oliver’s comments are always the first one posted? I love his comments, but hope he’s not up late (like midnight) to get his post in first….

  169. Valinteana for Ann fortune's Gravatar Valinteana for Ann fortune
    February 19, 2016 - 12:00 am | Permalink

    Me and grandma chose Joseph because he is the earthly Father of Jesus and so he is apart of the Holy Sprit and the holy spirit is one part of God so Joseph was very very important to all the churches and with out him Jesus would have still been up in Heaven and wouldn’t have helped this world and because of him and God and Jesus and Mary Magdalene the world is not quite perfect but close .

  170. Donna Wright's Gravatar Donna Wright
    February 19, 2016 - 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Why wasn’t I allowed to vote today?

  171. david's Gravatar david
    February 23, 2016 - 7:46 am | Permalink

    Sorry to see a largely fictional character beat out a saint with well-documented saintliness, and who has materially contributed to the life of Christ’s church.

    Here is a bit I found on the interwebs of Christina Rosetti’s Lenten observance. An astounding saint, she.

Comments are closed.