Clare vs. Denis

Let’s just state right off the bat that there is no room for nepotism in Lent Madness. Saints related to members of the Supreme Executive Committee are ineligible to compete for the Golden Halo.

Therefore, just because Francis of Assisi won the coveted Golden Halo last year, there was no funny business going on that led to Clare of Assisi’s inclusion this year. The SEC was not coerced by the Assisi mafia. In fact, Clare only made it into the bracket by winning a play-in round against  Chad of Lichfield held during the Episcopal Church’s General Convention last summer.

Anyway, today Clare faces off against Denis. Please don’t lose your head over this battle.

Yesterday, in a VERY tight contest, Columba eked out a victory over Kateri Tekakwitha 51% to 49% in the closest battle to date in Lent Madness 2016. Columba will face Meister Eckhart in the Saintly Sixteen. Sadly, we also saw our first case of voter fraud. At 11:02 pm EST, two addresses, in Vermillion, SD and Medford, OR were blocked. 125 votes for Kateri Tekakwitha were recorded from these two locations, and we do not know of groups participating in Lent Madness in those cities. Not enough votes were cast to affect the outcome, but we have blocked the addresses to prevent further votes. Remember, vote only once per person or be cast into the outer darkness of Lent Madness! Also, Jesus does not approve of cheating.

And finally, if you missed yesterday’s edition of Monday Madness, Tim and Scott share suggestions on how to be a Lent Madness evangelist in your congregation. Using a Lent Madness mug in place of a chalice may or may not be one of their tips.

800px-Simone_Martini_047Often overshadowed by her friend Francis, Clare was one of the most dedicated followers of Saint Francis, the Poor Man of Assisi (and 2015 Golden Halo winner). Clare has been called a clear mirror of a life lived in deep spirituality, dedicated wholly to Christ, embracing the charisms of poverty, cloistered contemplation, and devotion.

Like Francis, Clare was born into a wealthy family in the late twelfth century. She led a life of prayer and devotion from early childhood. Sometime before 1212, Clare heard Francis preach. Soon after, her uncle arranged a marriage for her, and Clare fled to Francis, asking his advice. He implored her to live a life dedicated to Christ. On Palm Sunday in 1212, Clare began her contemplative life in a Benedictine house.

Her father came to the convent to retrieve her and (legend says) she clung to the altar so fiercely that the heavy altar cloths were torn. Clare, however gentle she is portrayed in prayer and devotion, was defiant in her dedication to the contemplative life. She eventually settled in the church of San Damiano, where she and other women became known as the Poor Ladies of Assisi. Clare served as their abbess, the head of the abbey.

Francis’s male followers were itinerant preachers; Clare and the sisters lived a cloistered life of prayer and poverty. For Clare, poverty was foundational to the order’s rule and preserved the purity of the Franciscan heritage. Clare saw poverty as a charism, a gift of the Holy Spirit, which offered the narrow way to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Clare, dedicated to ensuring the rule of total poverty, lobbied throughout her life for papal approval to ensure the Poor Clare’s Rule of Life. In 1253, Clare received news that the pope sanctioned the Rule. Two days later, she died.

Collect for Clare
O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Clare, may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

— Laurie Brock


Saint-Denis-Woodcut-1826We know very little about Denis, a third-century missionary, martyr, and bishop of Paris. The most famous of his feats is also the most improbable: After being decapitated on Paris’ highest hill (today known as Montmartre), he reportedly picked up his own head and carried it six miles, preaching repentance the entire way. This makes Denis one of about fifty cephalophores— saints who are traditionally depicted carrying their heads in their own hands.

Denis’s story is shot through with myth and mystery. Because his name may have originally been Dionysius, he is sometimes confused with Dionysius the Areopagite, a judge converted by the apostle Paul (Acts 17:34). However, Denis is believed to have been a missionary sent by Pope Fabian to evangelize the Romans living in Lutetia (today’s Paris) along with his two inseparable companions, Rusticus and Eleutherius. The three of them may have settled on the island in the river Seine where Notre Dame was later erected.

In the year 250, the emperor Decius issued an edict ordering everyone in the empire to burn incense to the Roman gods and the emperor. Some Christians complied; others went into hiding, and some openly refused to perform the sacrifice. Denis, along with Rusticus and Eleutherius, may have been among those who refused and were executed. Or maybe they were executed because of their success at converting people to Christianity. Allegedly, Montmartre, the traditional place of their martyrdom, comes from the Latin expression Mons Martyrum (Martyr’s Hill); some reject this etymology as fanciful.

According to tradition, Denis collapsed after hiking (while carrying his head in his hands) some six miles north of downtown Paris. In the fifth or sixth century, his final resting place became a shrine, and a chapel was built. During the twelfth century, the impressive Saint Denis Basilica was erected on the spot.

Denis is the patron of Paris, and his basilica is often the burial place for France’s royalty. In the Roman Catholic tradition, he is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers—saints whose intercession is believed to be particularly effective against specific diseases. Denis’s special charism is to help people suffering from headaches.

Collect for Denis
Almighty God, we remember before you the life and ministry of your servant Denis, who even in the most extreme of circumstances, continued to preach the good news of your redemption and love. Grant us faithful companions on our journey to you, that we may encourage each other in our earthly pilgrimage with your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

— Hugo Olaiz

Clare vs. Denis

  • Clare (74%, 5,407 Votes)
  • Denis (26%, 1,908 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,315

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Clare: By Simone Martini – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. 

258 Comments to "Clare vs. Denis"

  1. oliver eight years old's Gravatar oliver eight years old
    February 23, 2016 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    I voted for Clare because she knows Saint Francis and she cut her hair off.

    • Patty's Gravatar Patty
      February 23, 2016 - 8:19 am | Permalink

      Oliver, I always read your comments before voting!

      • Jenna, the Presbyterian's Gravatar Jenna, the Presbyterian
        February 23, 2016 - 8:37 am | Permalink

        Too cute, both of you!

        • Kelley the Presbygeek's Gravatar Kelley the Presbygeek
          February 23, 2016 - 11:05 am | Permalink

          Glad to see another Presbyterian here!

          • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
            February 23, 2016 - 4:56 pm | Permalink

            A Scottish Poem:
            Pisky Pisky confessing sin
            Down on their knees
            And up again.
            Presby Presby will not bend
            But sitteth down
            On the other end.

          • Susan P's Gravatar Susan P
            February 23, 2016 - 6:01 pm | Permalink

            Also Presby!

      • Laura B's Gravatar Laura B
        February 23, 2016 - 8:43 am | Permalink

        Me too!

        • Sue W's Gravatar Sue W
          February 23, 2016 - 9:00 pm | Permalink

          Me, too

    • February 23, 2016 - 9:55 am | Permalink

      Glad you are voting, Oliver! My daughter, who is about your age, is voting too! 🙂

    • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
      February 23, 2016 - 11:27 am | Permalink

      I voted for Clare.❤️

      Any woman who CHOOSES poverty is WAY more of a Martyr than a man carrying his cut-off head!

      Try being a woman that’s cut off her hair (as have I).

    • Toni Ponzo's Gravatar Toni Ponzo
      February 23, 2016 - 8:17 pm | Permalink

      good and worthy reasons Oliver

    • Christie's Gravatar Christie
      February 23, 2016 - 8:52 pm | Permalink

      Is. This the Clare who is the patron saint of television and was reported to have seen St Francis’ sermons on her cell wall?

      • Laura's Gravatar Laura
        February 23, 2016 - 11:24 pm | Permalink

        Yes. Her seeing the visions of Midnight Mass while it was happening is why she is th patron saint of TV.

  2. ChrisinNY's Gravatar ChrisinNY
    February 23, 2016 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    There is no contest for me- I chose Clare (Claire) as my confirmation name.

  3. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    February 23, 2016 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    I voted for Claire because I know Saint Francis and I cut my hair off.

  4. Deacon Marcia's Gravatar Deacon Marcia
    February 23, 2016 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    Clare gets my vote because she fought hard to live as God called her despite the opinions of powerful men. Go, Clare, and pray for us this day.

    • Robyn's Gravatar Robyn
      February 23, 2016 - 8:45 am | Permalink

      Amen Deacon Marcia!

  5. SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
    February 23, 2016 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    Sorry, Oliver! Good reasons, but I’m voting for Denis–he had his HEAD cut off. And he’s the patron of Paris!

    • MartiF's Gravatar MartiF
      February 23, 2016 - 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Denis was my vote. He is remarkable because he remembered his head even though it was not attached!

    • Jason Tank's Gravatar Jason Tank
      February 23, 2016 - 4:59 pm | Permalink

      I voted for Denis so that maybe he could help with this headache I’m having.

    • Cindy's Gravatar Cindy
      February 23, 2016 - 11:16 pm | Permalink

      Amen. Haven’t we all had our head cut off and had to keep on going? St. Denis did that and deserves credit. Plus wouldn’t a week in Paris be more edifying in many ways that hanging out with the Poor Clares? Denis needs our votes.

  6. TM's Gravatar TM
    February 23, 2016 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    The collect for Clare (as well as her works) did it for me.

  7. Michael Cudney's Gravatar Michael Cudney
    February 23, 2016 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    Although I did learn a new word – cephalophore – which I will attempt to weave into my conversations today – I had to go with Clare for her persistence against papal sluggishness.

    • February 23, 2016 - 9:11 am | Permalink

      Although I didn’t vote for Denis I did get to use the new word in my comment for today’s B.C Comic strip on go comics.

      • M J's Gravatar M J
        February 23, 2016 - 9:43 am | Permalink

        You made me laugh. Thank you!

      • Joan's Gravatar Joan
        February 23, 2016 - 12:58 pm | Permalink

        Love this new word and your depiction!

      • Doris Udry's Gravatar Doris Udry
        February 23, 2016 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

        One of my favorite comics! The comic is even funnier knowing the new word today. Thank you for making me laugh.

      • Erica's Gravatar Erica
        February 24, 2016 - 1:14 am | Permalink

        Terrific comment, that was fun to see! What a lovely coincidence.

    • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
      February 23, 2016 - 11:42 am | Permalink

      Oh, Michael, I’m going to try to work in ‘Charism’. Seems like
      Cephalophore would be hard.

  8. February 23, 2016 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    I voted for Denis because I liked the name of his inseparable companion, Rusticus.

    • Emmy's Gravatar Emmy
      February 23, 2016 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      I voted for Denis as well, knowing he would be the decided underdog today, and for his faithful companions as well. Rusticus goes to the top of the list of names for my next dog.

      • Babzee's Gravatar Babzee
        February 23, 2016 - 9:35 am | Permalink

        i was just thinking that it would be a great name for a dog especially a red one!!

      • JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
        February 23, 2016 - 9:51 am | Permalink

        I was thinking the same for Rusticus, as our most recent rescue pup was a red-headed Dachsie – and I have a grand-niece with stunningly lovely red locks! However, in light of Claire’s patient persistence in the protection of the life of poverty (sorry!), I cast my vote for her!

    • February 23, 2016 - 10:47 am | Permalink

      The names Rusticus and Eleutherius sound like minor characters in a Shakespeare romance or comedy in a country setting.

      • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
        February 23, 2016 - 11:42 am | Permalink

        I looked up Eleutherius (Rusticus is way too obvious) and found that it’s the Latinized form of the Greek word meaning “free”. Perhaps a melancholy musician who has been freed from his service to an unpleasant king/prince/duke?

        • Bridget's Gravatar Bridget
          February 23, 2016 - 1:15 pm | Permalink

          Is Eleutherius the source of the name Luther, did you discover ?

      • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
        February 23, 2016 - 11:44 am | Permalink

        Coming from where I grew up,They sound like NFL players.

  9. NJ's Gravatar NJ
    February 23, 2016 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    I voted for Clare. I thought it was a stretch with Denis, carrying his decapitated head?
    I concur with the saying, keep your head while all about you are losing theirs–which seems to be something people are conveniently forgetting in the current political climate. Nuff said.

    • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
      February 23, 2016 - 11:46 am | Permalink

      No wonder he was the patron Saint of headaches.

  10. Sheila's Gravatar Sheila
    February 23, 2016 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    I love Paris…in the springtime….but for Lent Madness it is Clare over Denis.

  11. Jean's Gravatar Jean
    February 23, 2016 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    I almost lost my head and voted for Denis (yes, pun intended) because a decapitated saint preaching repentance is a pretty cool story. However, I’ve always been a huge fan of Clare’s. In addition to being a great saint, she was an incredible feminist and had to battle quite hard against the male establishment to hold fast to the principles of her rule for the Poor Clares.

    • Glenn Horton-Smith's Gravatar Glenn Horton-Smith
      February 23, 2016 - 8:51 am | Permalink

      My thinking ran along exactly the same path.

  12. Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
    February 23, 2016 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    Went with Denis today for no other reason that imagining the opportunities for his Saintly Kitsch if he makes it to the Elate Eight. But not holding my breath (or my head).

    • Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
      February 23, 2016 - 10:55 am | Permalink

      Ooh, good point. Denis’s kitsch is likely to be abundant.

  13. Thomas S. Tuthill's Gravatar Thomas S. Tuthill
    February 23, 2016 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    I voted for Clare because we have a black hearted but affectionate black Lab whom we named after Clare.

    • Thomas S. Tuthill's Gravatar Thomas S. Tuthill
      February 23, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

      P.S. – I voted for Julian of Norwich several days ago because we named our Norwich Terrier after her — Julian of Norwich (as distinguished from Julian THE Norwich).

  14. Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
    February 23, 2016 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    I’m voting for Clare, because anyone who carries his head around after being decapitated is a little weird for my liking. Also I was inspired by Clare’s dedication to a life of devotion.

  15. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    February 23, 2016 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Despite the fact that the story of Denis gave me a headache, I voted for Clare.

  16. Jen E. Ochsner's Gravatar Jen E. Ochsner
    February 23, 2016 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    My aunt supported the Poor Clares spiritually and financially. But you have to admire Denis who carried on under extreme conditions. Still need to go with Clare.

  17. Tready3's Gravatar Tready3
    February 23, 2016 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Like Denis I’ve been mistaken for Dionysius, happily walked many miles through Paris, and lost my head on Monmartre; he’s got my vote!

  18. Karin Rosner's Gravatar Karin Rosner
    February 23, 2016 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    I love Clare, I really, really do. But I voted for St. Denis. I had a mild headache before reading this morning’s post. I just now asked Denis, in a comradely, thoroughly Episcopalian sort of way, to pray for my headache to go away… and guess what???? Denis gets my vote this morning.

    And if Denis goes all the way to snatch the Holy Halo… how cool would the cut-out be?

    • Jenna, the Presbyterian's Gravatar Jenna, the Presbyterian
      February 23, 2016 - 8:39 am | Permalink

      HAHHAA!!! Yes, he presents a challenge for the Golden Halo!

  19. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    February 23, 2016 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    I’d say this is a no-brainer, except that seems disrespectful to Denis. After all, if you can keep your head when those about you are losing theirs…

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      February 23, 2016 - 8:27 am | Permalink

      NJ’s comment was posted while I was typing mine. And seriously, I’m touched by Clare’s dedication and the ministries that grew from her devotion.

    • Megan's Gravatar Megan
      February 23, 2016 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for the smile today!

  20. Johanne Hills's Gravatar Johanne Hills
    February 23, 2016 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    The patron saint of those suffering headaches….a man who was beheaded and then walked six miles carrying said object tucked, no doubt, underneath his arm…for comic relief alone I vote Denis.

  21. Pat Floerke's Gravatar Pat Floerke
    February 23, 2016 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    I had a migraine today as I voted, and oh! How I wanted to vote for Denis to gain his intercession! But I believe too strongly in the value of voluntary poverty — I had to vote for Claire.

  22. Joyce S's Gravatar Joyce S
    February 23, 2016 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    I get weary of wealthy people deciding that poverty is wonderful and pious. I vote for Denis.

    • Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
      February 23, 2016 - 10:57 am | Permalink

      I do as well, Joyce.

  23. Carol Amadio's Gravatar Carol Amadio
    February 23, 2016 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Despite the fact Denis had a head start I voted for Clare who I much admire for her persistence in heading off the sexists of her time in order to follow her call and that of her sisters to a life of poverty.

  24. February 23, 2016 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    It doesn’t seem that Denis will make it any farther, for which I’m sorry because the opportunity for comments would be wonderful. But Clare got my vote. I belong to the St. Clare chapter of the Daughters of the King.

    • Trudy's Gravatar Trudy
      February 23, 2016 - 9:41 am | Permalink

      I am the current President of our Chapter of St. Clare of Assissi, Daughters of the King. I proposed St. Clare to be in this year’s LM. I believe she will follow in the footsteps of our beloved St. Francis and win the Golden Halo.

  25. February 23, 2016 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    Clare is very admirable defying her father and tearing altar cloths. However anyone that can convert others and carry his head for six miles is also admirable. Denis gets my vote today.

  26. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    February 23, 2016 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    I cannot resist Clare. She was stalwart in the struggle and resisted many bullying men.

  27. Erin's Gravatar Erin
    February 23, 2016 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    As a member of St. Clare of Assisi in Ann Arbor, Michigan there is only one way to vote–Clare!

  28. Bob's Gravatar Bob
    February 23, 2016 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Headaches are a seriously under-rated cause of ill heath. Go Denis.

  29. Dawn's Gravatar Dawn
    February 23, 2016 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    As a Parisienne at heart, if not currently in reality, I voted for our patron saint because he brought the light of Christ other the City of Light.

  30. Jan's Gravatar Jan
    February 23, 2016 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    St. Clare Chapter of DOK

  31. Lauren's Gravatar Lauren
    February 23, 2016 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    As much as I like St Clare, I’m drawn to Denis for his involvement in Roman history and his patronage of headache sufferers. Now I know whom to entreat next time I have a migraine! Also, cephalophore is an amazing word.

  32. Liz Parmalee's Gravatar Liz Parmalee
    February 23, 2016 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    I picked Denis because I love Paris and I loved that he got his head cut off and is now the patron saint of headaches!!

  33. February 23, 2016 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    I find the idea of a headless person walking around carrying said head somewhat frightening and could lead to cart pile-ups and near-miss collisions as folks rubberneck to see such a sight. So no to St. Denis the Menace for me!

  34. Mary O'Hara's Gravatar Mary O'Hara
    February 23, 2016 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Denis for me this morning to honor the people of Paris who have been through so much lately.

  35. Melanie Mitchell's Gravatar Melanie Mitchell
    February 23, 2016 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    St. Clare is the patron saint of television. How cool is that?

    • Sheila's Gravatar Sheila
      February 23, 2016 - 10:16 am | Permalink

      Really? The least likely person to watch television (unless it’s EWTN).

  36. Katherine's Gravatar Katherine
    February 23, 2016 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    As a migraineur, I must vote for Denis. I would love to see his picture on a bottle of sumatriptan.

    • Lauren's Gravatar Lauren
      February 23, 2016 - 10:42 am | Permalink

      Absolutely Katherine!! (That’s my prescription too!)

  37. Vicki Hughes's Gravatar Vicki Hughes
    February 23, 2016 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    I have a feeling that Clare is going to take it… and she’s a good one for sure, and i admire her. But St. Denise was one of my parents’ favourite churches, and when i was growing up they would point out his picture in museums, and tell us his story – with all the gory and fun bits described with drama (they did this for quite a few people, thus making art museums infinitely fascinating for their small children). Also, for those having doubts about the walking decapitated, there was recently a verified report of a chef being bitten by a snake whose head had been separated from the rest of itsself…. so with a joyful nod to my sainted and crazy-wonderful parents, a vote for the underdog, and with many questions about this ambulatory decapitated thing… a vote for the guy with ‘his head tucked underneath his arm.’

  38. Matt's Gravatar Matt
    February 23, 2016 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    How could you not vote for the guy who carried his own head?

  39. February 23, 2016 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    Denis, Rusticus and Eleutherius walked into a bar . . . and next thing we know out came Denis with his head in his hands. Madness reigns today! I pick Denis just for that incredible feat! Will his Golden Halo hover over his neck or his head?

  40. Bridgett's Gravatar Bridgett
    February 23, 2016 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    Je suis Paris.

    • Nancy R's Gravatar Nancy R
      February 23, 2016 - 10:00 am | Permalink

      Bien dit et Amen.

  41. Mary Robert's Gravatar Mary Robert
    February 23, 2016 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    Last summer I was in Florence, Italy, and visited the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte (St. Miniato of the mountain). St. Miniato got in trouble with an Emperor who had him beheaded. He, too, picked up his head, crossed the Arno and walked up the mountain to his hermitage. A shrine was later erected there, and then the Basilica. I didn’t know the word cephalophore then, but it is a cool word.

    I also got to visit the church of San Damiano, which is striking in its simplicity compared to some of the other churches in Assisi. (Francis gets all the hype there.) St. Clare is looking at me from a poster on the wall above my desk as I write. She gets the vote.

  42. Alan Christensen's Gravatar Alan Christensen
    February 23, 2016 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    How did our blogger not mention that Clare is the patron saint of television? Saving that fun fact for the Saintly Sixteen?

  43. Peggy Pate's Gravatar Peggy Pate
    February 23, 2016 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    Tempted as I am to put head over heart this morning, I must vote for Clare. My dear friend suffers from migraines, is a devout Catholic, and Denis hasn’t pulled through for her to date. Brother Sun, Sister Moon.

  44. February 23, 2016 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    My vote for Denis is because of the wonderful Norman architecture cathedral in Paris, St. Denis, with which I fell in love when visiting there.

  45. Sally's Gravatar Sally
    February 23, 2016 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    My favorite part of Lent Madness every day is reading the comments. Witty, insightful, thought provoking – I usually read them before voting. And Oliver, you’re my favorite. What a wonderful Lenten tradition Lent Madness has become in our family. But each of votes his or her conscious (without ballot box stuffing, SEC).

  46. Claire's Gravatar Claire
    February 23, 2016 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    With my head firmly attached, I vote for Claire of Assisi.
    Denis’ story is a little too fanciful and silly for me to bear.
    Also, as my namesake, I cannot not vote for her.

    • Claire's Gravatar Claire
      February 23, 2016 - 9:09 am | Permalink

      Claire for the Golden Halo!!!

      • Paul's Gravatar Paul
        February 23, 2016 - 7:21 pm | Permalink


  47. Denise's Gravatar Denise
    February 23, 2016 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    I had to go with Clare. Love her spunk in defying her father and sticking to her beliefs!

  48. Jo's Gravatar Jo
    February 23, 2016 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    I love Paris in the springtime and have a bit of a headache but I have to vote for Clare because family history says my Irish grandmother belonged to a lay order of the Poor Clares and was buried in robes of the order in Ireland in the 1920s. How cool is that.

  49. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    February 23, 2016 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    The collect for Denis swung it for me today. That decapitation can be described as ‘the most extreme of circumstances’ made me smile. I cannot imagine keeping my head in such extreme circumstances, never mind preaching for a good 90 minutes (assuming a speed of 4 miles per hour). And as an added bonus I learnt a wonderful new word, cephalophore.

  50. Denise's Gravatar Denise
    February 23, 2016 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Voting for the underdog today, due to his being the patron saint of Paris (my daughter’s favorite place) and because his name is similar to mine – it’s the closest I’ll come to being a saint! Would love to see his basilica… and for all those who suffer headaches… Go Denis!

  51. Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
    February 23, 2016 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    I would like to point out that Clare is not the only Saintly Friend that Francis had. Dominic (founder of the Dominican order and Lent Madness loser to Constance) also knew the Poor Man of Assisi and revered him.

  52. Char Vinik's Gravatar Char Vinik
    February 23, 2016 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    I voted for Denis, patron saint of headaches–I get headaches that make me wish I could cut MY head off!

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

    It seems so “Lent Madness” to vote for Denis…cuz it is just so dang cool to vote for somebody who walked for six miles holding his own head. Imagine the preaching…blows me away just to type that…Wouldn’t you convert if some dude holding his own head is preaching Christ Crucified as he is walking along?! Denis…what an Evangelist…gets my vote.

    • Grace Cangialosi's Gravatar Grace Cangialosi
      February 23, 2016 - 9:33 am | Permalink

      Michael, I’m not sure you could preach with your head cut off…the image boggles the mind.! But it might make for very short sermons, which could be a blessing.

    • February 23, 2016 - 10:05 am | Permalink

      If someone came to me talking from his he’d tucked under his arm, I would not stay to listen, I would run away as fast as possible! Still, my husband suffers from migraines, and who on earth would give television a saint? If they did, would it help?

    • kesmarn's Gravatar kesmarn
      February 23, 2016 - 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Exactly! If it’s going to be called “Lent Madness,” might as well go full mad and vote for the cephalophore. It’s a great story.

  54. Joanne's Gravatar Joanne
    February 23, 2016 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    It’s all about the mug! Gotta have one with a picture of Denis, aka “The Headless Hiker”.

  55. Emily Correll's Gravatar Emily Correll
    February 23, 2016 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    As a child of the South, who when being scolded was always called by her full name, Emily Clare, I had to go with Clare. Also, isn’t she the patron saint of television?
    I do like her determination to devote her life to God in spite of powerful male resistance. Kudos to Francis also for not putting more barriers in her way.

  56. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    February 23, 2016 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    This should have been clear cut for me. I go to Saint Clare’s. I remember, when visiting Nome, Alaska, being impressed by the story of the Poor Clares coming to provide relief there in the early 20th century when there was some epidemic there.

    Then I found out that Denis is the patron saint of headaches. I’ve had a migraine for over two years. Botox provides relief and makes me functional but it never quite goes away. Hmmm…

    I think I will still risk the wrath of Denis and go for Clare though.

  57. Grace Cangialosi's Gravatar Grace Cangialosi
    February 23, 2016 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    Ewwww! That picture of Denis did it for me…I voted for Clare.

  58. Diane Pike's Gravatar Diane Pike
    February 23, 2016 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Gotta vote for the guy that can carry his own head six miles!

  59. HeadlessDave's Gravatar HeadlessDave
    February 23, 2016 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    Denis it is! He’s my favorite old woman, I mean, man, from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

  60. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    February 23, 2016 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    Am I silly or serious today? I wish I’d known about St. Denis during the headache I had for 40 years. Alas he either never helped me or it took 40 years. So my vote goes to Clare.

  61. Shirley Swardenski's Gravatar Shirley Swardenski
    February 23, 2016 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    Thank you Oliver. Your comments are clear and always make me smile

  62. Holly's Gravatar Holly
    February 23, 2016 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    The movie “Brother Sun Sister Moon” is probably my favorite overtly religions movies. I voted for Clare of Assisi. I also believe that many American church goers need to appreciate the merits of voluntary poverty.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      February 23, 2016 - 11:07 am | Permalink

      “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” is a great movie! However, it is inaccurate in one respect: The bishop of Assisi (for dramatic purposes, I suppose) is presented as being hostile to Francis. I think Zefferelli (the director) wanted the bishop to symbolize the corrupt church of the time. In reality, Assisi’s bishop was a warm supporter of Francis and his movement.

  63. February 23, 2016 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    I, too, went with Clare. We need some humble silence in my state right now … S.C.
    But, I do wonder, why are the saints so often from wealthy families originally?

    • Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
      February 23, 2016 - 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Possibly because it is the wealthy who have time to consider the health of their souls; the impoverished are too busy working to keep body and soul together to indulge in these kinds of intense metaphysical issues.

  64. Lee Greenawalt's Gravatar Lee Greenawalt
    February 23, 2016 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    In spite of the beautiful church of St. Denis, praying and praise for headache cures, and inspired in a new appreciation for words, I cannot relate to cephalophorism. I go quietly with Clare to whose life I can better relate.

  65. Archdeacon Malcolm French's Gravatar Archdeacon Malcolm French
    February 23, 2016 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    Odd. One would have expected voting irregularities in a round involving Saint Chad of Lichfield – who was the patron of disputed elections long before 2000 in Florida.

    • February 23, 2016 - 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Ha! And please note that the detected voting irregularities were NOT originating from Florida!

  66. Christianne McKee's Gravatar Christianne McKee
    February 23, 2016 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    As a passionate Francophile who suffers from migraines, I have to cast my vote for Denis.

  67. Priscilla Promise's Gravatar Priscilla Promise
    February 23, 2016 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    A vote for cephalophores and relief from headaches. And my husband found Denis in his ancestral crowd. And I love Paris!

  68. peggy's Gravatar peggy
    February 23, 2016 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    Clare is the patron saint of television. From Wikipedia:
    Pope Pius XII designated her as the patron saint of television in 1958, on the basis that when she was too ill to attend Mass, she had reportedly been able to see and hear it on the wall of her room.

  69. Nancy R's Gravatar Nancy R
    February 23, 2016 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    Paris is my second home, so my heart goes with St. Denis, even though my mother is Clare, my mother-in-law was Clarice, and my daughter’s middle name is Claire.

  70. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    February 23, 2016 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    Clare might have given up her hair for The love of Jesus, but Denis gave up his head! Had to cast my vote for the headless bishop.

  71. John G.'s Gravatar John G.
    February 23, 2016 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    Clare it is. If I had witnessed Denis walking by with his head in his hands preaching to me, I would have repented for sure. But, Clare the abbess dedicated to poverty, contemplation and devotion gets my vote. Glad to learn of them both. Like Allison, I pray for humble silence in Tennessee as we prepare to vote next week.

  72. Janet's Gravatar Janet
    February 23, 2016 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Obviously Clare will be the favorite but I had to vote for Denis because anyone who carry his head for six miles needs to be recognized …. even if it is all conjecture and a fable.

    • Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
      February 23, 2016 - 10:01 am | Permalink

      I agree!

  73. The Rev. Cynthia D. Pape's Gravatar The Rev. Cynthia D. Pape
    February 23, 2016 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Isn’t Clare the Patron Saint of Television and Radio Artists as well?

  74. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    February 23, 2016 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    Im casting my vote today for Denis in honor of a friend named Dennis who recently lost his battle with alcoholism and related health consequences.

  75. Lisa Rose's Gravatar Lisa Rose
    February 23, 2016 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Is it sad that I’m more impressed with the name of his companion than I am with Denis? A bit too many MAYBEs for me. Think I’ll stick with Clare, who in 1212 REALLY hung on with both hands. Rusticus, however, goes on my list of names for characters.

  76. February 23, 2016 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    Oh dear, my Vote button does not seem to be working. I can’t tell if my vote for Clare counted, nor can I see the current status of the competitors. I vote for her because she followed her calling despite bullies trying to stop her and counted her life in Christ more than any riches or comfort.

  77. Duke DuTeil's Gravatar Duke DuTeil
    February 23, 2016 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    In honor of many clergy I have known that have were lost in their head and kept on preaching, Denis

    • Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
      February 23, 2016 - 5:53 pm | Permalink

      That is great. I will never fail to recall Denis when I’m listening to one of those preachers. Great, as well as hilarious, point!

  78. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    February 23, 2016 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    St. Clare. A gentle soul who knew what she wanted.

  79. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    February 23, 2016 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    I voted for Clare in Salt Lake City and I cannot abandon her now. This matchup is giving me a headache.

  80. Danielle Perkins's Gravatar Danielle Perkins
    February 23, 2016 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    I am fighting a headache as I prepare to go to Bible study. Now I know who to ask help from beside the Bayer company.

  81. Richard Leslie's Gravatar Richard Leslie
    February 23, 2016 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    I’m an alum of Santa Clara University, go Clare!

  82. Antoinette's Gravatar Antoinette
    February 23, 2016 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    Thanks for all the information about the various candidates. I vote for Clara because she’s cool!

  83. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    February 23, 2016 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    Clare. Denis was probably a good person, but give me a break… walk six miles carrying your own head? Besides, I like contemplative prayer.

  84. Terry's Gravatar Terry
    February 23, 2016 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    My vote won’t register today! What’s up with the feed?

  85. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    February 23, 2016 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    Denis may not be as well known as Clare and there may be conjecture as to the truth(s) about him and the whole severed head incident may just be too much for some voters. He gets my vote because those with minor problems considered not worthy of the trouble taken to even listen to them got my attention. For instance, think about how you’re pooh-poohed if you complain about a headache..”Well, — has a fatal disease or a chronic one!” But your head still hurts and Denis could be the saint who won’t scoff at you. He gets my vote for attention to small things. Bloggers Big Day for Small Things !!

  86. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    February 23, 2016 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    All this saintly talk about poverty and virginity — oh, the poverty has to be voluntary? And I don’t qualify on the other. Sorry, I lost me head for a moment.

  87. Mary Ann G.'s Gravatar Mary Ann G.
    February 23, 2016 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    I was going to vote for Clare until I found out that Denis is associated with headache sufferers. With my migraines that won the vote.

  88. Pat R's Gravatar Pat R
    February 23, 2016 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    Clare for me, especially for her resistance to her father’s pressure to conform to the male-dominated culture of her era. The Denis story is just a bit too ephemeral and weird for my taste. But I can certainly see why he is the saintly refuge for people with headaches. He found the ultimate cure…..

  89. Lynne Walton's Gravatar Lynne Walton
    February 23, 2016 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    Love the story on Denis, particularly his birth name Dionysius. We just had a very nice young man come to our church to paint the kitchen and halls, and his first name is Dion, which I found unusual. Now it makes sense. The fact that Bishop Denis outright defied pagan worshipers and died for his faith, on Martyr’s Hill, no less, makes him my choice in this comparison.

  90. Gloria's Gravatar Gloria
    February 23, 2016 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    It is time for Clare to get the recognition due her. Voting will easier with Clare in the bracket…I hope.

  91. Catherine Broatman's Gravatar Catherine Broatman
    February 23, 2016 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    Saints Oswald and Cuthbert have a special place for me, and I’m glad to learn more about the depiction of saints — such as Denis — holding severed heads. I did some investigating, and found this: “Cephalophory is, perhaps, one of the most dramatic examples of a saint’s triumph over death.” (from As Lent Madness so clearly demonstrates, saints do survive after death and are in the midst of us. Thank you to the SEC for these daily challenges to learn and contemplate.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      February 23, 2016 - 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for finding “cephalophory” in a quotation. I made it up in writing my post and just hoped I was right. Much relieved.

  92. February 23, 2016 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    I do live in Medford, OR and there are other Episcopalians living here too. Some of us attend St Mark’s Medford and others attend Trinity Ashland. Trinity is participating in the Lent Madness [we have the poster and fill in the brackets accordingly in the parish hall]. I have only cast one vote for each bracket since competition began for the record. I wouldn’t even know HOW to cast a vote twice and nor would I wish to. Thanks for the heads up about this situation all the same. May the brackets continue! I love Lent Madness!!!

  93. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    February 23, 2016 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    Oliver, I totally agree with your choice today, and for good reason. First, I thought the drawing of Denis was GROSS and silly. I think there should be a rule against walking around carrying your head. Second, I greatly admire Claire for her personal choice in taking and following through with her vow of poverty.

  94. Harriet's Gravatar Harriet
    February 23, 2016 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    Denis wins for me! Anyone who can walk six miles carrying his own head sure gets my vote!

  95. Madamesenora's Gravatar Madamesenora
    February 23, 2016 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    Clare, Clare, Clare, even though this French teacher’s very favorite sacred place in Paris is the Basilique St. Denis. Clare gave up everything to live a cloistered life of poverty to set an example for is all.

  96. Kelley the Presbygeek's Gravatar Kelley the Presbygeek
    February 23, 2016 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    Again, a tough choice. I admire Clare and her determination to live out her calling. As someone who has suffered from headaches, and whose mother has terrible issues with migraines, I am appreciative of the fact that Denis is seen to be effective in helping people with headaches. But as a Presbyterian I have no experience with asking the saints to intercede on my behalf – that whole “priesthood of all believers” thing. And I’m with the person who says that the whole carrying his head thing just seems weird (although I agree that the Kitsch possibilities are great). So I’m voting for Clare.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      February 23, 2016 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Whoa, whoa, the priesthood of all believers means that all of us are priests, not just those ordained as such. I associate it with Luther (could be mistaken about that), but it’s certainly a prominent current in Anglican theology. Don’t know how it fits into Presnyterianism, but I’d expect you folks to be sympathetic.

      The intercession of saints is another thing entirely and isn’t In the Anglican mainstream, though a number of Anglicans accept it. One of the many optional extras in a belief system whose dogma stops at the Creeds.

  97. Deb's Gravatar Deb
    February 23, 2016 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    Voting for Denis. Carrying his own head for six miles deserves some sort of recognition!

  98. Jane Cutting's Gravatar Jane Cutting
    February 23, 2016 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    Claire without a doubt.

  99. Matt's Gravatar Matt
    February 23, 2016 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    Clare is pretty great, but I have to embrace the weird on this one! The image alone! What fun!

  100. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    February 23, 2016 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    Denis is an attractive candidate, not least because of his beautiful basilica, generally considered to be the first Gothic church. (Think of that! The Gothic arch, almost synonymous with church in the minds of many of us, began at St-Denis; and the very first of them, with some gorgeous stained glass, can still be see, conveniently located at the end of a Paris Métro line.). Then, too, there’s the cephalophory, if you like that sort of thing: personally the thought of it gives me a headache which Denis is fortunately always available to cure.

    Unluckily for him, however, Denis is out of his league in this matchup, reminiscent of an exhibition game between the Boston and Pawtucket Red Sox. Not to minimize the accomplishment of evangelizing Paris, but Clare’s career speaks for itself in both her earthly life and the shaft of light that Since her death has shone down the centuries to our own time. Her own 13th-Century early Gothic basilica in Assisi, though not an architectural milestone, isn’t exactly shabby either.

    • Beth's Gravatar Beth
      February 23, 2016 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Davis, but Pawsox may one day grow up to be Red Sox. I still voted for Clare

  101. Leamarie's Gravatar Leamarie
    February 23, 2016 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    No contest today, or even much internal discussion. I generally tend not to believe unbelievable mythology, so Denis has very little attraction to me. St Clare, on the other hand, was a strong women in a time when being strong was greatly disapproved of for women, and her life set an example for others for the comtemplative life. She greatly advocated for poverty, which helps us see life in such a different perspective, as I know from working a little with people in Honduras. Faith grows stronger when we know we can not trust ourselves or our money to provide what we need. We must depend on God more. Clare has a solid foundation to build upon.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 23, 2016 - 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Ah, but you believe the stories about Jesus–walking on water, water into wine, healing the lame, raising the dead?

  102. Harry Moncelle's Gravatar Harry Moncelle
    February 23, 2016 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    I am voting for Denis because he has demonstrated how to lose your head for Christ!!

    • Renie's Gravatar Renie
      February 23, 2016 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Had to go with St. Clare – she admired and followed St. Francis and listened to his advise to follow her heart, live her life as God was leading her and to give up worldly wealth to have a greater wealth – God’s peace and love. Denis carried his head and relieves headaches – gotta love him too! Clare though, clung to an alter so tightly and I would imagine made quite the scene that day her Uncle tried to impose his will on her – imagine that scene…her on the floor holding tight, the Uncle pulling her feet while sweating profusely, her screaming while he’s pulling her feet trying to get her loose!!! Quite dramatic!

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        February 23, 2016 - 1:26 pm | Permalink

        But of course — She was Italian!

        • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
          February 23, 2016 - 8:12 pm | Permalink

          Haha, Davis! Love. It!

  103. Marty Garwood's Gravatar Marty Garwood
    February 23, 2016 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    I had to go with Denis. He collapsed after hiking and I could relate. That is how I often feel after hiking – and I don’t even have the additional burden of carrying my head in my hands.

  104. Jeaninejj's Gravatar Jeaninejj
    February 23, 2016 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    Today I’m embracing the madness and going for the fun factor – if having one’s head cut off can be called fun. Rude or not, I laughed out loud at the drawing of Denis so daintily stepping along with his head. I have loved Clare since childhood – but also get migraines, love Paris, and like learning new words. Denis!

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 23, 2016 - 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Yes! Embrace the madness!!

  105. Rosemary's Gravatar Rosemary
    February 23, 2016 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    I want to be a cephalophore when I grow up. But since I am not there yet, I will settle for cutting hair. And, for many reasons, Clare’s devotion and perseverance gain my vote today.

    • Rosemary's Gravatar Rosemary
      February 23, 2016 - 11:28 am | Permalink

      and Oliver, I am way more than 8 years old, and still not grown up. Stay young forever!

  106. MusicResonator's Gravatar MusicResonator
    February 23, 2016 - 11:34 am | Permalink

    Clare. No contest there.

    And to the SEC: why not sell chalices to advertise Lent Madness?

  107. Lesley's Gravatar Lesley
    February 23, 2016 - 11:34 am | Permalink

    He carried his chopped off head for 6 miles??!! Well done; hard not to be both totally impressed and totally grossed out. Plus, I love Montmartre.

  108. Dan's Gravatar Dan
    February 23, 2016 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    I knew I was voting for Denis as soon as I saw the picture of him carrying his own head – complete with his miter still firmly in place. And to carry it six miles! I can’t walk that far with my head still attached.

  109. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    February 23, 2016 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    I voted for Denis because he was losing the competition as well as his head.
    But Clare is certainly worthy of going on to the next round.

  110. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    February 23, 2016 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    St. Denis walking around carrying his head, all I could think of is “…It’s just a flesh wound!!” and does anyone even know how to pronounce ‘cephalophore’ (maybe if I try it in French?). Now, if you are voting because of the kitsch factor –Clare has plenty of good stuff, especially as patron saint of television. check out
    Clare it is –though I do have a headache!

  111. Yvonne's Gravatar Yvonne
    February 23, 2016 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    It is hard to vote against someone who is pictured carrying their own head. Also hard to vote against the witty collect ” Denis, who even in the most extreme of circumstances, continued to preach the good news …” Effective use of understatement that!
    But in the end, Clare, simple, poor, devoted. A saint to emulate in these days. She got my vote.

    • Lynn baker's Gravatar Lynn baker
      February 24, 2016 - 2:51 am | Permalink

      Yes, this is the first time I’ve laughed out loud at a collect. And great word play, all you clever responders.

  112. Elaine's Gravatar Elaine
    February 23, 2016 - 11:46 am | Permalink

    One of the 14 Holy Helpers, St. Denis it is!

  113. Sallie Hane's Gravatar Sallie Hane
    February 23, 2016 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    I’m so conflicted– I spent a wonderful day visiting the Basilique St. Denis with my daughter Clare a few years ago. The architecture! The history! And I carry a St. Denis keychain… I guess my vote needs to go to him, but I won’t be at all upset if he loses–St Clare is an old favorite of mine.

  114. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    February 23, 2016 - 11:58 am | Permalink

    Carrying your own head for six miles seems more than a little fanciful …. Clare at least seems real!

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 23, 2016 - 8:17 pm | Permalink

      See my response to Leane above: What seems real about walking on water or raising the dead–yet we believe that, non?

  115. Debbie W.'s Gravatar Debbie W.
    February 23, 2016 - 11:58 am | Permalink

    I had to vote for Denis because my sister has suffered with migraines all of her life and I didn’t know there was a saint for headaches.

  116. k e rice's Gravatar k e rice
    February 23, 2016 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Clare. with a comfy life and standing set aside, she chose the better. Besides, it is beyond probable that Denis carried his head for about six miles, preachng all the way. Kind of devalues good works that he may have done. And it is hard to vision his lopped of head used as an icon on headache relief medications.

  117. Joanna Burt's Gravatar Joanna Burt
    February 23, 2016 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Okay, that picture of Saint Denis gave me a fright and upon seeing the word “cephalophore” I pictured a cephalopod (they are okay) and then a “cephalophage”–which may be some kind of techno-thing in reality but in my mind it turned up as a yucky zombie kind of creature from a horror movie…and I chose to vote for Clare because I like that “voluntary poverty” idea IF and WHEN it is voluntary and because she made her own decision!

  118. Mollie Williams's Gravatar Mollie Williams
    February 23, 2016 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Clare because she successfully maintained that women religious should be able to determine their own rule of life and not be required to live a rule that men thought was better for them. She is an early feminist leader.

  119. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    February 23, 2016 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

    What to do? I love Clare and I love Assisi. I know her and have admired her for years. But Denis carried his own head for 6 miles – I mean, 6 miles is already a pretty long walk, even with an attached head. I know that my students are going to think that Denis was the coolest guy ever. But then…there’s Clare and her devotion and persistence. And Assisi. I’m going to have to come back later to vote.

  120. Curt VanAllen's Gravatar Curt VanAllen
    February 23, 2016 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I had to go with Denis, Patron Saint of Paris. Just my mind’s image of him walking down the road, head in hands was enough, although, to some it may sound like a Tim Burton movie.

  121. Nolan McBride's Gravatar Nolan McBride
    February 23, 2016 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Thank you to everyone who is praying for my community. We are having a campus memorial service tomorrow.

    • Pam Payne's Gravatar Pam Payne
      February 23, 2016 - 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Your Lent Madness community continues to hold you in their prayers.

  122. Fr. Bill Loring's Gravatar Fr. Bill Loring
    February 23, 2016 - 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Had I thought it would be a close contest, I should have voted for Claire, but Denis’ story — cephalaphore and all — was just too good to not vote for him on this round.

  123. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    February 23, 2016 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I could have voted for Denis if more were known about him. Clare gets my vote today because more is known about her life, and I remember reading some beautiful things she wrote about reflections (in mirrors?)
    and images of our inner selves years ago. I need to review these writings, since I’ve slept several times since then.

  124. Mollie Douglas Turner's Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner
    February 23, 2016 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I was all set to vote for Clare (feminism, devotion, persistence, and the cloister all figuring in that opinion)…but I do love Paris, and my beloved husband pondered with me and swayed me over to Denis. And the collect was wonderful: we all need companions as we hike through the world in faith. Thank you, Hugo, for finding/writing that one; beautiful.

  125. Jane Hawthorne's Gravatar Jane Hawthorne
    February 23, 2016 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Clare–however, I appreciate knowing about Denis and his patron saint status in Paris. My grandfather was stationed at the Army Base Hospital in St. Denis during World War I and now I know where the name comes from. Thank you for inducing warm thoughts of his service there.

  126. Jim Carr's Gravatar Jim Carr
    February 23, 2016 - 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Claire has always been a favorite of mine, for her strength of faith and endurance. St. Denis’ story seems more woven with fantasy….but then, I’m for anyone dealing w/headaches.

  127. Rayelenn's Gravatar Rayelenn
    February 23, 2016 - 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Named our daughters Emily Clare and Elizabeth Clare so that’s my decision made. But I’m planning a nightmare tonight that will include a disembodied head with its lips going 100 mph…

  128. February 23, 2016 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Clare because, well, I go to St.Clare’s Episcopal Church, so Clare is my home girl. But I must admit, if there was undeniable evidence that Denis really did walk seven miles carrying his own talking head (such as a Youtube video) I just might have gone the other way. But a rich girl choosing to live in poverty, cutting her hair(!) and eventually becoming the patron saint of television–I’m rooting for her to go all the way, and maybe even some day have a life size cardboard cutout of her made to stand along side her compatriot from Assissi.

  129. Katrina Soto's Gravatar Katrina Soto
    February 23, 2016 - 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Denis for two reasons. I favor doers over thinkers. But mostly I was hoping he’d make it to the kitsch round. Would love to see some of that. But it doesn’t look like that’s gonna happen.

  130. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    February 23, 2016 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t much use for people about whom practically nothing is known except a few impossible myths (which by definition don’t count as knowledge), and judging from the poll results, not many other people do. If there are already fifty “cephalophores” (a nice term to pull up at parties), what’s another one here or there? Clare, on the other hand, has a lot going for her, not least being that she left a wealthy family to embrace poverty. A strong woman and leader. Lobbying a pope can’t be easy (depending on the pope).

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      February 23, 2016 - 2:49 pm | Permalink

      That’s OK, I spoke with Denis a few minutes ago and he’s not offended.

    • John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
      February 23, 2016 - 5:23 pm | Permalink

      While a myth “doesn’t count as knowledge,” understanding the nature and function of a given myth does. The legend of St. Denis is one in a series of myths exploring what happens when cultures and their faiths collide–and that’s something we need to understand now, when our own faith is embedded in a world-wide religion. With respect,

  131. Nancy Boerup's Gravatar Nancy Boerup
    February 23, 2016 - 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Clare because one of our Sunday School rooms is St Francis/St.Clare! We also have a Mary and Joseph room and a Abraham and Sarah one, and Adam and Eve! Always been a fan of Clare anyway, but walking 6 miles and carrying your own head is kind of impressive!

  132. Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner's Gravatar Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner
    February 23, 2016 - 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I do hope that when I implore Denis for relief from a headache he won’t hold it against me that I’m voting today for Clare! I have long admired her devotion, and have – in my most fanciful moments – wished to live a life as dedicated as hers was.

  133. Nancy Boerup's Gravatar Nancy Boerup
    February 23, 2016 - 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Clare because we have Sunday School rooms named Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Mary and Joseph AND St. Francis and St.Clare!

  134. David Crosson's Gravatar David Crosson
    February 23, 2016 - 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I am hoping that Clare’s victory in the playoff round did not leave a hanging Chad.

  135. Bob Andrews-Bryant's Gravatar Bob Andrews-Bryant
    February 23, 2016 - 2:31 pm | Permalink

    This has been a year for LM earworms. First we had Amazing Grace (Wilburforce), then The Singing Nun (Dominic), Love Came Down at Christmas (Rosetti), and today Gilbert O’Sullivan (Claire). Wow! Next???? That said, I voted Denis. At every level of education my language was French, in Pillars of the Earth, Jack goes to St. Denis and brings Gothic to England, and cephalophore! Lol

    • Emmy's Gravatar Emmy
      February 23, 2016 - 11:14 pm | Permalink

      My earworm all day has been “With ‘er ‘ead Tucked Underneath ‘er Arm” Wrong country, wrong beheaded (beheadee?) but still the melody lingers… 😉

      And I noticed tonite that the percentages are pretty much the same as they were at 8:15AM. Are there those among us who track such things? SEC? I need to pay closer attention, but it seems to me that the opening ratios by 8:30 hold pretty steady for the duration.

      • Bob Andrews-Bryant's Gravatar Bob Andrews-Bryant
        February 23, 2016 - 11:57 pm | Permalink

        I’ve noticed that several times this year. The percentages serum to hold steady all day, only fluctuating a point or so. A statistician among us might have an academic explanation. Lola.

  136. Eileen C. Fisher's Gravatar Eileen C. Fisher
    February 23, 2016 - 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Claire is my middle name, but that’s not the reason I am voting for her. In a world now consumed by avarice and acquisition, I am humbled by and have much to learn from a woman who chose a life of poverty and prayers. Here was a woman with a request to the pope to establish a standard of Christian life which represented the life she lived. Her petition was granted and then she “went home.” (That’s how my husband refers to heaven, as “home.” I like that.) Maybe she’ll win the Golden Halo and join her brother in Christ.

    Talking Heads? Never liked the rock group and these allegories were too over the top for me.

  137. james lodwick's Gravatar james lodwick
    February 23, 2016 - 3:13 pm | Permalink

    For me it’s clear: it’s Clare!

  138. Ivan Corbin's Gravatar Ivan Corbin
    February 23, 2016 - 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I had to vote for Denis because I have a brother with that name and you have to like someone who can keep his head under any circumstance! 🙂

  139. Claire's Gravatar Claire
    February 23, 2016 - 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I’m all in for Clare who is the patron saint of needle workers. I started sewing by age 9 – and have a big costume deadline for tomorrow. Are names destiny? Clare all the way because my Brother Frank ought not to be the only one in our family to have a namesake with a Golden Halo.

  140. Pam Payne's Gravatar Pam Payne
    February 23, 2016 - 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I had come prepared to vote for Clare, and my admiration is still undimmed. However, I did not know anything about St. Denis, other than he is the patron saint of Paris, and his story is just too good to miss. Go, St. Denis! (and St. Clare too, but I cannot vote twice!).

  141. February 23, 2016 - 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I know Clare is winning in a landslide here, but the story of St. Denis is just so mad that it deserves a vote. And how could you resist a beheaded Saint who intercedes on behalf of those with headaches?! Brilliant! Vive le St. Denis!

  142. February 23, 2016 - 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Have to go with Clare. Our family always enjoyed seeing the miniature horses raised by her nuns near Brenham, TX. Although, sadly, they aren’t there anymore.

    • Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
      February 23, 2016 - 4:31 pm | Permalink

      I wasnt aware the nuns with the little horses werent there anymore. I never did get to visit them, even though I used to travel through Brenham regularly on the way to Camp Allen from Austin and back.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 23, 2016 - 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Oh, we saw those horses when we lived in Texas. How sad!

  143. Kathleen from Sask.'s Gravatar Kathleen from Sask.
    February 23, 2016 - 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Denis because I love the word cephalophore. It was one of my late mother’s favourite threats that I would get my head in my hands to play with if I continued to ….. (fill in the blank with all manner of childhood misdemeanors such as “kick the back of the chair,” “pull the cat’s ears,” “scuff my shoes.”) I also like his sidekick Rusticus which I believe comes from the Latin “Rusticari” which means to practise farming or to speak like a rustic.

    • Kathleen from Sask.'s Gravatar Kathleen from Sask.
      February 23, 2016 - 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Oh, and I live within 20 km of St. Denis–but not in France.

  144. Bob Faser's Gravatar Bob Faser
    February 23, 2016 - 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Clare, because I admire the Franciscan tradition with which she and her friend Whatshisname are associated, and believe its identification with the poor and with the wider creation is an essential way forward for the Christian faith today (even if some Franciscans brought some disrepute to their tradition by their actions during the Inquisition and during the Spanish conquest of the New World). As well, I really can’t vote for a saint for whom the main feature of his story is a legend of a beheaded head that continues to speak after beheading. “Cephalophore” is an impressive word, though.

  145. Alec Clement's Gravatar Alec Clement
    February 23, 2016 - 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Clare’s devotion and her singlemindedness made my choice an easy one

  146. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    February 23, 2016 - 4:30 pm | Permalink

    THIS JUST IN! Not to deal further humiliation to poor Denis, but I’ve just learned that Clare is the patron saint of television! According to Wikipedia, “Pope Pius XII designated her as the patron saint of television in 1958, on the basis that when she was too ill to attend Mass, she had reportedly been able to see and hear it on the wall of her room.”

    Flat-screen, no less!

    Sorry if this repeats something someone’s already posted, but it’s clearly information that needs to be out there.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      February 23, 2016 - 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Oops, I see Peggy did, at 9:55 a.m. Missed it, sorry.

      • John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
        February 23, 2016 - 4:58 pm | Permalink

        I admit my heart wasn’t in this one all that much, so after a prolonged period of staring at the flowers on the wall I went with Clare and her willingness to defy paternal (and patriarchal) authority. She sought to bring order into the spiritual life of those around her, and in that sense she reminds us that effective efforts at evangelizing begin with getting one’s own life in order. Benedictines have my attention always, from the first time I read Dom Gregory Dix to the time a noted and rather lordly Benedictine visited the Cowley Fathers’ Bowdoin Street mission, prompting the priest in charge to mutter that the visiting missioner was “a real O. S. B.” We knew just what he meant, even though this happened before the publication of “The Name of the Rose”!

  147. February 23, 2016 - 4:38 pm | Permalink

    I did not vote for Clare because it appears she may have prayed for others, but living in poverty is not terribly helpful or enabling, I feel.
    Denis on the other hand was a preacher – with or without his head – and converted many to Christianity away from idolatry to Roman gods and the Emperor.

    • Bernadette Hartsough's Gravatar Bernadette Hartsough
      February 23, 2016 - 6:07 pm | Permalink

      I agree. Denis had to sacrifice his life to be a Christian.

  148. Charles F.'s Gravatar Charles F.
    February 23, 2016 - 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Had to vote for Denis. Gotta respect someone who doesn’t lose his head just because he, er, loses his head.

  149. Carol Townsend's Gravatar Carol Townsend
    February 23, 2016 - 4:41 pm | Permalink

    As a Harry Potter fan, I have to go with the embodiment of Gryffindor’s House Ghost, Nearly Headless Nick. Go Denis!!

  150. February 23, 2016 - 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Saint of headaches? Or neck injuries? Apologies! But, Clare vote

  151. Sarah's Gravatar Sarah
    February 23, 2016 - 4:51 pm | Permalink

    As a chronic headache/migraineur, St. Denis gets my vote. I will be setting up a shrine in my home for use the next time I get a headache!

  152. Hugh Matheson's Gravatar Hugh Matheson
    February 23, 2016 - 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Denis. I don’t think poverty is a charism. I think poverty is a curse, to be expunged. Denis was just doing normal ministry and lost his head for it. I know lots of guys sho carry their heads in their hands after a long night with the creature. It’s no miracle.

  153. Anne Clayton's Gravatar Anne Clayton
    February 23, 2016 - 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Clare because she has always been a favourite saint of mine. Besides, cephalophoria should NOT be encouraged. Kids, don’t try this at home!

  154. Susan Mulledy-DeFrank's Gravatar Susan Mulledy-DeFrank
    February 23, 2016 - 5:38 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Clare because it seemed there was much more credibility of her history than that of Denis.

  155. Martin (8 years old)'s Gravatar Martin (8 years old)
    February 23, 2016 - 5:45 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Denis because he preached with his head chopped off.

    • Jeanette's Gravatar Jeanette
      February 23, 2016 - 11:42 pm | Permalink

      I like the you think and I can’t stop smiling

  156. Joyce in Georgia's Gravatar Joyce in Georgia
    February 23, 2016 - 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Having lived 46 years of my life on the Great Lakes, 14 of which were spent in Michigan, I can’t help but favor St. Clare. The beautiful Lake St. Clair near Detroit is named after her, as is my close friend of Irish heritage named Clare. I also love St. Clare’s story of choosing a life of poverty and giving her life to God.

  157. bridget's Gravatar bridget
    February 23, 2016 - 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Clare gets my vote especially as I am about to explore her neck of the woods. I believe she was also a baker and gave away her bread to the poor. Someone will probably correct me if this is a myth.

  158. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    February 23, 2016 - 6:38 pm | Permalink

    The story of his post-decapitation hike is admittedly bizarre, but that didn’t deter me from voting for St. Denis. Regardless of the legend that grew up around his death, he undoubtedly was an early missionary and martyr during a time of persecution, and that took great faith & great courage. I give thanks to God for the work he did. Clare’s dedication is admirable, but her greatest accomplishment seems to be securing a life of poverty for herself and her sisters. In my opinion, this cannot outweigh Denis’ contribution.

  159. Jen M's Gravatar Jen M
    February 23, 2016 - 7:06 pm | Permalink

    How could I not vote for the saint who will help cure me of headaches?!?

  160. Martha Berger's Gravatar Martha Berger
    February 23, 2016 - 7:58 pm | Permalink

    A sister and a daughter with migraines… Denis it is!

  161. Glenda's Gravatar Glenda
    February 23, 2016 - 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I DEMAND a RECOUNT ! Is there no honer for Native Americans ? She deserved to go all the way my bracket is totally broken. Go POOR CLARE !

  162. February 23, 2016 - 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always loved the television saint! A shout out to other Presbyterians on Lent Madness:) And now some words from our Book of Confessions, specifically the 2nd Helvetic Confession: The saints are not to be adored, worshipped, or invoked…At the same time we do not despise the saints or think basely of them. For we acknowledge them to be living members of Christ and friends of God who have gloriously overcome the flesh and the world. Hence we love them as brothers*, and also honor them; yet not with any kind of worship but by an honorable opinion of them and just praises of them. We also imitate them… [& in response to adoration of relics]…the most noble relics of their ancestors were their virtues, their doctrine, and their faith.
    *Of course we love the sisters too, but that confession is pre-inclusive language.

  163. Angie in Iowa's Gravatar Angie in Iowa
    February 23, 2016 - 8:23 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Clare and so did my daughter named Clare.

  164. MegN's Gravatar MegN
    February 23, 2016 - 8:35 pm | Permalink

    The newswaves are quick to talk about ISIS beheading Christians – I had to vote for Denis, in solidarity with this new-is-old situation.

  165. Janene Gorham's Gravatar Janene Gorham
    February 23, 2016 - 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Seriously, this is very funny. Perhaps poor Denis’s decapitation was not completed well and his arteries to his brain were still attached ?
    That would explain his ability to preach carrying his head.
    Oh well, I voted for Clare

  166. Robert Srodulski's Gravatar Robert Srodulski
    February 23, 2016 - 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Dear SEC “We know very little about Denis” if this is so, then how did he qualify for entry into this years bracket? As that great Philosopher Desi said ” you gotta lotta splainin to do Lucy”.Inquiring minds want to know. Also, walking around with a head on a platter. That’s just to creepy. Walkers, once they lose their heads simply don’t do that. Just ask Rick.

  167. John's Gravatar John
    February 23, 2016 - 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Had to go with Denis. How often do you get to vote for a cephalophore!

  168. Leo's Gravatar Leo
    February 23, 2016 - 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Tuesday evening and Clare is A-HEAD with over 75% of the votes!

  169. Robert C's Gravatar Robert C
    February 23, 2016 - 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Finally! A woman leading in the polling. I was starting to think this was misogynistic.

  170. Claire's Gravatar Claire
    February 23, 2016 - 9:35 pm | Permalink

    It was a sweet memory as I read about Clare, when I was reminded of my devotion to her when I was a girl, simply because she was a saint whose name was so close to mine. As I grew older, I was drawn to her commitment to Christ and to the rule of poverty. It was wonderful to find her here in the madness. …and I agree that walking around carrying one’s own head while preaching is a bit weird; I’ll say it, this was a no-brainer for me.

  171. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    February 23, 2016 - 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Clare. In honor of the nuns who raised horses near Brenham, TX. (Thank you Mary Jensen.) Also for cutting her hair, founding the Poor Clares, and defying authority to ensure the Poor Clare’s Rule of Life. She is the patron saint of television and maybe by extension the patron saint of YouTube, Netflix, and live streaming? Go Claire!!

    • andrea's Gravatar andrea
      February 26, 2016 - 12:33 am | Permalink

      Apologies. Should be Go Clare!!!

  172. Sally. D's Gravatar Sally. D
    February 23, 2016 - 9:37 pm | Permalink

    As a member of St.Clare’s guild at St Luke’s Episcopal church in Dallas–we knit prayer shawls and scarves for the homeless–of course I voted for St Clare. A humble servant to those in need, she is an inspiration to us all.

  173. NK Dunkerley's Gravatar NK Dunkerley
    February 23, 2016 - 10:06 pm | Permalink

    that picture of Denis would make one scary saint card for little children… but then the youth group might love it!

  174. Dr M's Gravatar Dr M
    February 23, 2016 - 10:13 pm | Permalink

    I basically voted for Brother Sun and Sister Moon (for those who remember 1970’s Christian folk music).

  175. Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
    February 23, 2016 - 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Clare’s home town of Assisi is so astounding–a beautiful place even in the rain. She cut her hair and set a new fashion. How many women can claim that? Denis is also close to my heart as I live in a town founded by a Frenchman named Louis J. St.Denis, but I just can’t get past the headless legend. We know Clare did exactly what led to her sainthood. So Clare!

  176. Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
    February 23, 2016 - 11:29 pm | Permalink

    There must be more to St.Denis than we know. He is the patron saint of France for goodness sake. Somehow his story became so confabulated that we no longer can ëven deduce the facts. I say his preaching continued to have such an impact after he was beheaded it was like he was still preaching in life. Just thinking…

  177. Jeanette's Gravatar Jeanette
    February 23, 2016 - 11:36 pm | Permalink

    clare has my vote. While researching what was so great about being poor I stumbled on a BBC tv series about this order. I haven’t watched it yet but seems interesting.

  178. Yolanda's Gravatar Yolanda
    February 24, 2016 - 12:58 am | Permalink

    I vote for St. Denis because I really like the show “The Vikings!!” Plus I have to like the patron saint of headaches!!

  179. Louise Larson's Gravatar Louise Larson
    February 24, 2016 - 1:15 am | Permalink

    Here I am on the west coast a couple of hours before the polls close laughing at all these earlier comments…especially the ones about Rusticus being a great name for a rescue dog! A red dog would be perfect! I guess that did it for me, I’m voting for St Denis. I’m afraid neither he nor St Clare will attain the Golden Halo…and where would St Denis put it anyway? And Clare would shun it because of her vow of poverty. So, there you go!

  180. Jennifer Rich's Gravatar Jennifer Rich
    February 24, 2016 - 6:30 am | Permalink

    For a woman in the 12th century to go against patriarchal wishes had to be rough! My vote goes to St. Clare.

  181. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    February 24, 2016 - 7:28 am | Permalink

    Denis, patron saint of Paris and headaches, though the cephalophore thing is creepy.

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