Lawrence vs. Albert Schweitzer

As the drive toward the Golden Halo continues, we meet a martyred 3rd century deacon and an early 20th century renaissance man, humanitarian, and Nobel Prize winner. Lawrence lived out his faith in Rome, giving all that he had to the poor while Albert Schweitzer gave much of his energy and talents to building hospitals to care for the sick.

Yesterday, in the second lopsided contest in as many days, Sojourner Truth set Soren Kierkegaard free 77% to 23%. She’ll face the winner of Frances Joseph-Gaudet vs. John Mason Neale in the Saintly Sixteen.

And remember, if anyone “grills” you about Lent Madness today, just tell them it’s the world’s greatest online Lenten devotion!


saint-lawrence-lyon-franceLawrence of Rome was a deacon who was martyred during the Valerian persecution of the Roman Church in 258. As he watched Pope Sixtus II being taken into custody, Lawrence cried out, asking Sixtus, “Father, where do you go without your deacon?” Sixtus replied that he would not leave Lawrence, but that Lawrence would follow him in three days. Upon hearing Sixtus’s statement, and in apparent joy that he would soon meet the nearer presence of the Lord, Lawrence went out and offered all he had to the poor, the widowed, and the orphans of Rome, even selling the vessels of the church to increase the amount of alms to distribute. When a Roman prefect became aware of Lawrence’s fire sale, he charged Lawrence to yield all the treasures of the church to the emperor within three days. Lawrence agreed to do so.

Lawrence went out among the city, seeking the lowest of society, the sick, the outcast, the orphaned, and the unloved. Three days later, this gathering made their way to the Roman prefect, who turned to Lawrence in rage. Lawrence, seeing the official’s anger, turned to him and reportedly asked, “What are you displeased at? These are the treasures of the Church.”

In return, Lawrence (sometimes spelled Laurence) was condemned to a slow death on a hot gridiron. After hours of torture, Lawrence is reputed to have quipped, “Let my body be turned; this side is well done enough.” After still more time, he spoke to his executioner, saying, “Assam est; versa et manduca!” which translates roughly to, “It is well done; turn it over and eat!” With his final quip, he died. While modern scholars have dismissed the legend as a fable, the story was clearly known to Ambrose, Augustine, and Prudentius, among others. After Constantine’s legalization of Christianity in 315 CE, a chapel was constructed over Lawrence’s grave in the Roman catacombs.

Lawrence’s martyrdom continues to inspire devotion. For his piety and charity to the poor and outcast of Rome, he remains venerated as one of the city’s patron saints. While traditionally depicted in art holding a gridiron, the legendary instrument of his death, he is not, so far as sources can tell, the patron saint of American football, but he is the patron of archivists and librarians.

Collect for Lawrence
Almighty God, you called your deacon Lawrence to serve you with deeds of love, and gave him the crown of martyrdom: Grant that we, following his example, may fulfill your commandments by defending and supporting the poor, and by loving you with all our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

—David Sibley

Albert Schweitzer

Polymath Albert Schweitzer was born January 14, 1875, in Kayersberg, Germany (now France). He was the son of a Lutheran pastor and studied theology at what is now known as the University of Strasbourg. He wrote many important volumes, perhaps none as influential as The Quest for the Historical Jesus. He was also an internationally regarded concert organist and musicologist.

In 1905, at age thirty, Schweitzer felt called to take up medicine to help those in need. Eight years later, Schweitzer and his wife, Hélène, founded a hospital in Lambaréné Gabon in French Equatorial Africa. In 1917 they were sent to a French internment camp as prisoners of war. Four months later they were released. The following year, they returned to Europe, where Schweitzer resumed writing books, performing concerts, and preaching in churches. In 1924, Schweitzer returned to Lambaréné, where he lived until his death on September 4, 1965. He used royalties from books, speaking fees, concert revenues, and donations to transform the humble hospital into a massive complex capable of serving more than five hundred patients at a time.

He was awarded the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in Africa. In his later years, he used his platform to warn against the dangers of nuclear proliferation and to lobby for an end to nuclear testing. He is buried on the hospital grounds with his wife. A cross he made with his own hands marks his grave.

Collect for Albert Schweitzer
Almighty God, whose will it is to be glorified in your saints, and who raised up your servant Albert Schweitzer to be a light in the world: Shine, we pray, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may show forth your praise, who called us out of darkness into your marvelous light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

— David Creech

Lawrence vs. Albert Schweitzer

  • Albert Schweitzer (60%, 4,113 Votes)
  • Lawrence (40%, 2,775 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,888

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Lawrence: Limoges polychrome enamel plaque, late 16th century–early 17th century.
Albert Schweitzer: By Nobel Foundation ( [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

209 Comments to "Lawrence vs. Albert Schweitzer"

  1. Oliver--eight years old's Gravatar Oliver--eight years old
    February 25, 2016 - 8:03 am | Permalink

    I voted for Albert because he made his own cross and he looks fun.

    • Lesley's Gravatar Lesley
      February 25, 2016 - 8:08 am | Permalink

      I see that twinkle in his eyes, too!

    • Lindy's Gravatar Lindy
      February 25, 2016 - 8:40 am | Permalink

      While I appreciate Lawrence and his definition of the “treasures” of the church, I have to agree with Oliver. With that hairdo and that twinkle, Albert had to be a fun guy!

      • MusicResonator's Gravatar MusicResonator
        February 25, 2016 - 9:00 am | Permalink

        I’m with Lindy on this one, plus, as Music Resonator, I jibe with Albert.

        We were at a church supper last night, and dang, we should have brought our LM mugs from two years ago for our wine. My husband balked: while he asks me every day about LM (if he voted, we would have to do so from the same computer, even though he has an address he never uses), he prefers to drink wine from a glass. I’ve not approached our rector about a mug as chalice, but I suspect he would respond similarly.

        • Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
          February 25, 2016 - 11:08 am | Permalink

          There was a pint glass for Brigid last year, I use mine frequently. (Perhaps TOO frequently.) Maybe this year the Silver Halo winner might be commemorated with a wineglass? I’m sure the good folk at Forward Movement can work that out.

    • February 25, 2016 - 9:23 am | Permalink

      Oliver, I bet he was fun!

      • Wendy's Gravatar Wendy
        February 25, 2016 - 8:52 pm | Permalink

        I agree! Hi Mercy

    • Lea's Gravatar Lea
      February 25, 2016 - 10:37 am | Permalink

      If I had chosen to serve in equatorial Africa at that time I would want someone with a twinkle in his eyes to be working beside me. Good call, Oliver!

      • Richard Hooton's Gravatar Richard Hooton
        February 25, 2016 - 11:10 pm | Permalink

        Oh, come on. Anyone with a sense of humor like Lawrence while in dire circumstances has my vote. He needs to be patron saint of grill masters!

    • Marah. W 13's Gravatar Marah. W 13
      February 26, 2016 - 1:19 am | Permalink

      I voted for Lawrence because I loved his view on the treasures of the church.

  2. Ann G.'s Gravatar Ann G.
    February 25, 2016 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    Gotta go with the underdog today: Lawrence (and his grill!). One year, I went to an All Saints’ Day costume party as Lawrence… So he gets my vote!

    • Diane's Gravatar Diane
      February 25, 2016 - 9:07 pm | Permalink

      I had to go with L because he did all he could and on his own.

      • Gwen Kingsley's Gravatar Gwen Kingsley
        February 25, 2016 - 9:57 pm | Permalink

        Me too, for Lawrence. Hideous executions continue to this day, and am sure Lawrence awaits the newly executeds’ arrival in Heaven to comfort them. But, have loved Schweitzer since learning of him as a child. Hard decision again!

  3. ChrisinNY's Gravatar ChrisinNY
    February 25, 2016 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    I “should” vote for Albert for the good he accomplished. But Lawrence had my vote as the patron saint of libraries- also his understanding of the true treasures of the Church. (But I am rooting for Albert to win.)

    • Christine CO's Gravatar Christine CO
      February 25, 2016 - 8:54 am | Permalink

      ChrisinNY, are you a librarian, too? Maybe I should change my signature to ChristineinNY. As a librarian and archivist, I had to vote for Lawrence. But my vote may be cancelled out by my husband’s, as he is very much a musician–vocal, instrumental, and composing.

      • February 25, 2016 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

        Are you aware of NEHA? National Episcopal Historians and Archivists They are a great group and have fun events.

      • Jim Oppenheimer's Gravatar Jim Oppenheimer
        February 26, 2016 - 12:41 am | Permalink

        Schweitzer was the physician who would not allow flies to be killed in his operating room. the fly had to captured and released outside. At the end of his book _In Quest of the Historical Jesus_, he says something wonderful:
        “He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lakeside,
        He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same words: “Follow thou me!” and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is.”
        It is so moving that the noted composer Jane Marshall has set the words in an excellent anthem. One of the few anthems taken directly out of a theology text.

    • Beth's Gravatar Beth
      February 25, 2016 - 10:24 am | Permalink

      Well, my husband is a sometimes substitute organist, but I am a library assistant (not librarian) so I went for Lawrence today.

    • Chris Plantz's Gravatar Chris Plantz
      February 25, 2016 - 2:14 pm | Permalink

      I, too,cannot but vote for the patron saint of libraries. 31 years as a librarian make this necessary.

    • Char Vinik's Gravatar Char Vinik
      February 25, 2016 - 3:43 pm | Permalink

      My husband works for the libraries here in south Florida, and he is also a musician. I could vote either way, but he plays his guitar once a month at the worship service at the homeless shelter, which happens to be known as St. Laurence Chapel. St Lawrence gets my vote!

    • Jamie Glock's Gravatar Jamie Glock
      February 25, 2016 - 7:22 pm | Permalink

      As part Italian (the Rome connection) and a fellow librarian Lawrence gets my vote. I also like the way he outwitted the authorities while showing that people not things are the true treasures of the church.

  4. Geoff McLarney's Gravatar Geoff McLarney
    February 25, 2016 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    Gotta be the deacon for me, every time.

  5. Pat Floerke's Gravatar Pat Floerke
    February 25, 2016 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    This was a hard one for me. I REALLY wanted to vote for both. But Lawrence’s quote, “These are the treasures of the Church” was what finally decided me. I want to remember that one.

    • Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
      February 25, 2016 - 9:02 am | Permalink

      Exactly why I voted for Lawrence as well.

      • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
        February 25, 2016 - 10:53 am | Permalink

        Hardest one for me yet!
        Albert was brilliant with is preaching a, writings and he built a hospital and helped people.
        Seems like a worthy vote.
        But I voted for Lawrence.❤️
        Real devolution and faith AND HUMOR!
        Today he would be HEAD of the SEC!

        • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
          February 25, 2016 - 12:28 pm | Permalink

          I also voted for Lawrence. Although Albert Schweitzer’s Nobel Prize is well deserved, I had to vote for the man who was a martyr for his faith, especially if the legend that he retained his sense of humor while being tortured is true. His statement “These are the treasures of the Church” is another good reason to vote for him. These two were sufficient. The fact that he is the patron saint of librarians and archivists is a plus. As a librarian (in central NJ) who has done some archival work, I think I’ll start asking Lawrence for his prayers. The community I serve can use all the help it can get! And most days I could use some, too.

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        February 25, 2016 - 3:19 pm | Permalink

        And why I’m about to.

    • tonip1's Gravatar tonip1
      February 25, 2016 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I voted for Lawrence too for that comment. Not only a heart for the poor but there had to be a bit of snark in there as well. Gotta go with the guy with a sense of humor.

    • Grace's Gravatar Grace
      February 25, 2016 - 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Pat Floerke – I agree with you completely! It was a tough decision today, but the recognition of people (especially those who are often marginalized) was the factor leading me to vote for Lawrence.

  6. uncle T's Gravatar uncle T
    February 25, 2016 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    turn me over, I’m done (voting)

  7. Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
    February 25, 2016 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    Lawrence’s story touched me, but I also appreciated his wry humor (or such humor being attributed to him).

  8. February 25, 2016 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    a very difficult choice as both are inspiring in faith and love

  9. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    February 25, 2016 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    wonder if Schweitzer’s hair do will become a fad

  10. Harry Alford's Gravatar Harry Alford
    February 25, 2016 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Albert. Nice hair and ‘stache.

  11. Sarah's Gravatar Sarah
    February 25, 2016 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    I’m always a sucker for a story with a deacon since my husband is one!

  12. Michael Cudney's Gravatar Michael Cudney
    February 25, 2016 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    Schweitzer. Because. Bach.

    • MusicResonator's Gravatar MusicResonator
      February 25, 2016 - 9:04 am | Permalink

      There you go!

    • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
      February 25, 2016 - 10:48 am | Permalink

      That’s what makes this one SO hard–I took organ lessons as a teenager and had a couple of Schweitzer’s big green books for years AND I spent a good 20 years volunteering and working in libraries (library technician).

      • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
        February 25, 2016 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

        That is hard! Re-read the short biographies and decide based on what each man did, not what group he is considered the patron saint of. Good luck with your choice!

  13. karen's Gravatar karen
    February 25, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    I voted for Albert because he was also an organist.

  14. Lora's Gravatar Lora
    February 25, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Organist and musicologist!! I had to vote for him – it’s because I loved music, especially Bach, first that I am now studying theology.

  15. Ann Landers's Gravatar Ann Landers
    February 25, 2016 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    The treasures of the church comment sealed the deal for me. Lawrence.

  16. Diane Hayes's Gravatar Diane Hayes
    February 25, 2016 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    A tough decision today. I love the story of Lawrence and the treasures of the Church, but as a musician and the mother of a musicologist, the vote today is for Albert.

  17. Sarah's Gravatar Sarah
    February 25, 2016 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    Although we have never had a two-fer before (as the SEC enjoys pitting brother against brother), we have one today. Mrs. Schweitzer must have been made of pretty hardy stuff herself to have shared this man’s life and vision.

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      February 25, 2016 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Good observation!

  18. Robert Corey's Gravatar Robert Corey
    February 25, 2016 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    Delight is one thing the Saints give us. A small measure perhaps, compared to the delight God take in them. What greater delight than Lawrence’s presentation to the Emperor of the treasures of the Church. Perhaps if I had heard Albert play. I remember reading Historical Jesus ages ago, and living since with the notion that Jesus presented Himself in a vastly different role than He is presented to us (by Paul especially). You can’t put that toothpaste back in the tube. I think I must ‘blame’ Albert with my preterist inclinations. Come to think of it — listening to Jesus (in the Gospels) through a preterist lens is a source of no small delight. But I’ve already cast my vote for Lawrence. I’m reminded of the grate (gridiron?) sleepers of the 80s. That small comfort denied the homeless by various means — including barbed wire. I think Lawrence might be their patron saint.

    • Lindsay's Gravatar Lindsay
      February 25, 2016 - 9:22 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your remarks….you have inspired me to deepen my theological education…the word Preterism is new to me …lots more reading and prayerful study are in order!

    • Mary M's Gravatar Mary M
      February 25, 2016 - 10:57 am | Permalink

      This was a tough one for me. While I have great admiration for Einstein, Laurence got my vote with his presentation of the “treasures” of the Church.

    • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
      February 25, 2016 - 11:43 am | Permalink

      What do you mean, grate sleepers of the 80’s? The last time I was in NYC (in January) it was very cold, and I saw people lying on the grates near Penn Station. Their life hasn’t changed much. (I had foot surgery on Jan. 11 and haven’t been anywhere except medical appointments since.)

      • Grace's Gravatar Grace
        February 25, 2016 - 1:38 pm | Permalink

        In a lot of places circumstances for people who are homeless have changed a great deal. Spaces and furniture are now being designed now with the specific intention of being inhospitable to homeless people. In some places it’s even illegal to give homeless people food.

        I love Lawrence’s definition of the riches of the church; but as a former physician and missionary to Africa, had to go with Albert!

  19. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    February 25, 2016 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    Besides that St. Lawrence is my parish, I voted for his recognition of the treasures of the church And for his wry sense of humor.

  20. Susan C.'s Gravatar Susan C.
    February 25, 2016 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Albert Schweitzer is a model that we should all follow. As retired physician and a currant musician, I am further drawn to him, and his dedication to ending nuclear proliferation should have cinched my vote for him. Lawrence, however won me over as well with his daring presentation of the sick, the outcast, the orphaned, and the unloved as the true treasures of the Church. Lawrence gets my vote.

  21. Jean's Gravatar Jean
    February 25, 2016 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    Voted for Lawrence because he was a comedian to the very end and he’s the underdog in today’s match. I admire Albert greatly though. It’s a tough choice.

    • Kathleen Sheehy's Gravatar Kathleen Sheehy
      February 25, 2016 - 9:37 am | Permalink

      I agree. I voted for Lawrence because his picture is one of the few in which the saint is actually smiling! And his definition of the treasures of the church is priceless.

  22. Rod's Gravatar Rod
    February 25, 2016 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    thinking he was going to die, Lawrence gave away all his belongings – Wouldn’t you do the same??
    My vote very strongly goes to Al

  23. Juju's Gravatar Juju
    February 25, 2016 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Albert Schweitzer has been my hero since I was a child. Our Sunday school teachers
    used his good works as a prime example of God working amoung us.
    So glad he is in the running.

  24. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    February 25, 2016 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Schweizer was so steadfast in his mission. He just kept pushing along with his calling. A genius and a devout Christian. And I cannot resist a musician.

  25. Mcobb's Gravatar Mcobb
    February 25, 2016 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Lawrence hands down. I admire Albert but Lawrence is a true martyr of the faith.

  26. Jim Carr's Gravatar Jim Carr
    February 25, 2016 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    St. Lawrence by a long shot.

  27. Lincoel's Gravatar Lincoel
    February 25, 2016 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Lawrence, because he recognized the poor and unloved as the “treasures of the Church.”

    • Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
      February 25, 2016 - 11:13 am | Permalink

      I have to agree with Lincoel on Lawrence,how people that you know will recognized the poor,the sick & unloved to the treasures of the church

  28. HeatherC's Gravatar HeatherC
    February 25, 2016 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    Archivists and Librarians, unite for Lawrence!

  29. Geoffrey Pratt's Gravatar Geoffrey Pratt
    February 25, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    My wife and I live on an island in the 1000 Islands in the summer. The islands are in the St. Lawrence river. A statue of St. Lawrence is located near the 1000 Islands bridge on the Canadian side of the river. Our family love this part of God’s world with a passion. How could I not vote for Lawrence?

  30. February 25, 2016 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Deacons unite!

    Lawrence for the win — and for the snappiest one-liners!

  31. Michelle M's Gravatar Michelle M
    February 25, 2016 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    Both of these are worthy of my vote. I always have a tough time deciding when one is from long ago with mostly legends to go on and the other is from modern times with known records. Albert did so much to serve and his time in the internment camp was part of that service since he could have gone home before he became a prisoner. But I had to go with Lawrence today because of presenting the poor, the sick, the outcast, the orphaned and the unloved as “the treasures of the Church”. Also, he’s the patron saint of librarians.

    • February 25, 2016 - 11:10 am | Permalink

      This was the hardest one yet for me, but I voted for Lawrence, for the reasons you mention, especially his presentation of the poor as “the treasures of the church.”

  32. Jim B's Gravatar Jim B
    February 25, 2016 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    Libraries, the realization that the poor were the treasures of the church, and a sense or humor. Lawrence is my kind of Saint.

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      February 25, 2016 - 12:34 pm | Permalink


  33. February 25, 2016 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    A nice lady (widowed I think) who lived in my little hometown was a practical nurse. She called herself a Mother’s Helper and she’d come and stay in a home if there was a new baby or illness or someone just needed an extra hand. One day, when she was at our house, helping while my mother recovered from meningitis, she asked my father for an envelope. She had pen and paper and she wanted to answer a letter she’d gotten–and she showed us the thick letter with odd handwriting–from cousin Albert in Africa. I didn’t understand then why my father was SO impressed. Of course I voted for cousin Albert.

    • Carol Boyle's Gravatar Carol Boyle
      February 25, 2016 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

      What a beautiful memory to cherish. I guess helping others runs in the Schweitzer family. It’s also nice to remember that good works come with many different life styles and skill sets.

  34. Mary O'Donnell's Gravatar Mary O'Donnell
    February 25, 2016 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Although I really liked Lawrence “these are the treasures of the church”, I do not think you should sell things that do not belong to you. ( fire sale) Schweitzer on the hand has my vote. He used money he earned to build a hospital.

  35. February 25, 2016 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    A tough one for me. I love Lawrence for his goodness and his sense of humor. Plus upon my “return” to the faith, the priest who helped me and has remained a good friend since was named Laurence. Thanks, Father Larry! At my church we have a painting with Sts. Mary, Stephen and Lawrence, with Larry holding his gridiron and Steve contemplating a rock. Why do we remember saints for how they died and not for the good work they did? As for Albert, he was still alive when I was a child and I remember how admired he was, but mostly as a child I knew he played the organ, and I pictured him in a hut in Africa playing church music surrounded by the locals.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 25, 2016 - 10:37 am | Permalink

      Because their deaths are considered their greatest sacrifice, and their gateway to paradise, I suppose. I agree, though, symbols of their life’s work would be of more significance to our modern way of thinking.

  36. Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
    February 25, 2016 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    Tough choice. Have always loved Laurence’s recognition of the true treasures of the church. Didn’t know he was patron of librarians, which I value But Schweitzer’s combination of music, scholarship and service won the day for me.

  37. RoseAnn's Gravatar RoseAnn
    February 25, 2016 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    I was all set to vote for Albert but then I read about Lawrence being roasted on the grill. I thought that deserved a halo and a vote.

  38. Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
    February 25, 2016 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Speaking as another smart-ass deacon who strives to give it all, it’s Laurence all the way.

  39. February 25, 2016 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    “These are the treasures of the Church” won my my heart.

  40. Diana Wrigth's Gravatar Diana Wrigth
    February 25, 2016 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    Albert tended to believe that the people he served needed his paternalistic guidance. Lawrence, on the other hand, seems to believe everyone is equal in the eyes of God.

    • Emily Correll's Gravatar Emily Correll
      February 25, 2016 - 10:21 am | Permalink

      I had heard that Albert was paternalistic, too.
      As a librarian, Lawrence for me.

  41. Carie's Gravatar Carie
    February 25, 2016 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    I find it hard to believe the Lawrence story, As above Albert was an admired figure when I was a child. He was dedicated to helping others. My vote went to Albert.

  42. Mary Beth Smith's Gravatar Mary Beth Smith
    February 25, 2016 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Another really tough one! I voted for Lawrence, because, among other things, that’s my husband’s middle name. He also reminds me of our current Pope, who speaks often and forcefully about the true treasures of the Church. All of the candidates are such an inspiration and cause for reflection.

    And, Oliver, you’re the best!

  43. NJ's Gravatar NJ
    February 25, 2016 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Albert Schweitzer gets my vote.

  44. February 25, 2016 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Is there really any contest? It’s Polymath for me! His work on nuclear proliferation could very well be why any of us are here to vote today.

  45. Bill Pyatt's Gravatar Bill Pyatt
    February 25, 2016 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    For Albert. for his willingness to commit all his gifts in service of love.

  46. NJ's Gravatar NJ
    February 25, 2016 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    Lawrence was the patron saint of libraries, but the write up only mentioned it at the end –with nothing to bolster the statement.

  47. Danielle Perkins's Gravatar Danielle Perkins
    February 25, 2016 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    I grew up with stories and quotes from Albert Schweitzer. I know he allowed the families of his patients to be with their loved one in the hospital and cook familiar food for them. But one quote has shaped my life, “There are three ways to teach children: by example, by example and by example.”

  48. Kelley the Presbygeek's Gravatar Kelley the Presbygeek
    February 25, 2016 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    I love to read the comments, because often facts are highlighted that don’t always jump out at me when I read the articles. I also love Lent Madness because I learn so much about individuals that aren’t necessarily highlighted in my denomination.

    Today I vote for Lawrence! I’m a book lover, my husband is a book lover, and my 9 year old says she wants to be a librarian when she grows up.

  49. Jane's Gravatar Jane
    February 25, 2016 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    Toughest choice yet! Loved it that Lawerence is patron saint of libraries; I love books! Love it that he gave away material things to help the poor, then called Them the church’s treasures, but my vote went to Albert, one of my all-time childhood heroes; I’d always wanted to help the sick. Never was able to become a nurse, but was a home health aide for many years!

  50. Jo's Gravatar Jo
    February 25, 2016 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    I was predisposed to vote for Albert until I read Lawrence’s “These are the treasures of the Church.”
    As the sister of a lovely, loving woman with intellectual and developmental disabilities, I think of those who are in the shadows of society, and often forgotten, unrecognized and undervalued. Thank you, Lawrence, for raising them up and helping us remember to see and treasure them!

  51. Maribeth's Gravatar Maribeth
    February 25, 2016 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    A vote for Lawrence is a vote for deacons and librarians everywhere!

  52. Lois Davis's Gravatar Lois Davis
    February 25, 2016 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Martyrs are important but a musician who used his intellect and talent to help others gets my vote. He really connected his Art to action.

  53. Lola's Gravatar Lola
    February 25, 2016 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    A Lutheran and a Doctor and a musician? The trifecta!

  54. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    February 25, 2016 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    I had to go with Lawrence as I grew up in St. Lawrence county NY. The story of his treasures of the church had me teary. We so often forget that where our “treasure” is, our heart will be also!

  55. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    February 25, 2016 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    Ah! A difficult choice for me today. As an alum of St. Lawrence University, where his purported quips in the course of his martydom we treated as absolute truth, I was sure I would cast my vote for such a worthy saint… but after reading of how Schweitzer put himself through medical school specifically to minister to the poor and needy, and used his own money to build such a far-reaching medical complex, I finally went for Albert, instead! Also because. music! Besides, the hair is just too charmingly messy!

  56. February 25, 2016 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    As we used to say when I was growing up…”stick a fork in me, I’m done”. Laurence all the way today!

  57. Sheila's Gravatar Sheila
    February 25, 2016 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    Voted for Lawrence and the potential swag for the Elate Eight.

  58. February 25, 2016 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    I’m thankful for both, again, but my vote is with Albert today, as one who wrote, taught, and made beautiful music, all very dear to my heart. May God raise up more Renaissance men and women, boys and girls, today, who will not hold back from using all the good gifts He’s given them to bring Him glory in every arena in our culture!

  59. Patti's Gravatar Patti
    February 25, 2016 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    Well, as a deacon postulant and avid grill-girl, our house votes for Lawrence. (Though I prefer being next to the grill…!)

  60. February 25, 2016 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    Wondered what Lawrence would do after being told to return the “treasures of the church.” What he did, plus the fact that he is the patron saint of libraries, won my vote.

  61. Sarah- 15 years old's Gravatar Sarah- 15 years old
    February 25, 2016 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    I voted for Lawerence, because he help all the poor and neglected and he was very loyal.

  62. Jan Hamill's Gravatar Jan Hamill
    February 25, 2016 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    Lawrence- a childhood nickname for a cousin who got badly sunburned once… now is a dermatologist (who also volunteers for Medecins Sans Frontieres). So, Lawrence.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 25, 2016 - 10:40 am | Permalink

      Great story!

  63. Christine's Gravatar Christine
    February 25, 2016 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    Not fair! Two equally amazing people! Albert has been my hero since childhood. My parents’ bookshelves were lined with his work and stories about his life, and I have followed suit. But then there’s Lawrence – a deacon with an attitude! He knows where the real treasure lies in a church – and that is with the people on the margins. The SEC is really trying my patience today. 🙂

  64. Leonard Matusik's Gravatar Leonard Matusik
    February 25, 2016 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    Again, a tough choice.
    At first glance.. for shear unabashed sanctity.. St. Lawrence takes this. Not only for his comedic martyrdom (super yikes!) but his affirmation under duress that the poor were the real treasures of the church.

    However.. imo.. the main criteria to take the golden halo is relatability. imo.. there are just very few modern christians who lust after martyrdom. If Christ returns tomorrow or a thousand years from now.. it’s no biggie for most. Many of us are in this for the long game.

    Albert gives us an affirmation that the poor, no matter our bank account balance, alays include ourselves.
    We all must persue the inner life and tread the path toward self actualization to become the treasures of the church.

  65. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    February 25, 2016 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    I’m for Big Al. I was, of course, aware of his work at Lambaréné, which most people probably consider his major contribution, but as an organist I’m far more impressed by his work in organ music, particularly that of Bach, which is too extensive to synopsize here (and which Creech didn’t say much about). As long as we’re into apocryphal myths, there’s a story that while he was at Lambaréné, a goat ate the manuscript to one of the books he was working on.

  66. Rev. Cynthia Pape's Gravatar Rev. Cynthia Pape
    February 25, 2016 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    I voted for Lawrence of the Griddle. He was a deacon as I am a deacon. His passion for the Lord and doing was kind and right cost him everything. I respect and admire Albert S., but a deacon should vote for a deacon. So there. 🙂

  67. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    February 25, 2016 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    I voted for Albert. I’m partial to healers. Also, while Lawrence gave his things directly to the poor, Albert put a system in place for long term benefits to the people. He used his talents effectively. But I do love the “treasures of the church”. A powerful image.

  68. February 25, 2016 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    I did not know of Lawrence and his ‘riches of the Church’ is wonderful, but I fell in love with Schweitzer long before I met Christ, with his stories of non-human animals in Africa, and acknowledging their value and right to life and honour. I wanted Albert for the Halo as soon as I saw this year’s bracket!

  69. Rosemary's Gravatar Rosemary
    February 25, 2016 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    I vo Albert. My brothers life was saved in his hosital in 1963.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 25, 2016 - 10:44 am | Permalink


  70. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    February 25, 2016 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Absolutely Lawrence! But there go my good feelings about grilling out.

  71. Vicki Hughes's Gravatar Vicki Hughes
    February 25, 2016 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    Love Lawrence… another one of the great stories told by parents in museums BUT Albert is one of contemporary great great souls. The bio left out his work for animal rights, and his comprehensive preached and lived “reverence for life” for which he won the Nobel Prize. I too read ‘search for the historical Jesus’ and it was a furthered my understanding of the multi levels at which we read historical and mythic material. And he too had a sense of humor; as Oliver pointed out, you can see it in his eyes. I’d like to Albert go all the way!

  72. Bill Geiger's Gravatar Bill Geiger
    February 25, 2016 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    A tough choice; my uncle/godfather was inspired by Schweitzer’s example, and himself served several years as a medical missionary in Ethiopia. But what’s not to like about Lawrence? Speaking truth to power (“These poor ARE the treasures of the Church!”), sense of humor, even in death (one wonders if he might have been prophetically humming the Byrd’s, “Turn, Turn, Turn”), and the patron saint of librarians (my dear wife being one of them).

  73. Christina Thom's Gravatar Christina Thom
    February 25, 2016 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    At St Mark’s Altadena Ca. Albert has his own stained glass window. How could I vote differently.

  74. Mark G's Gravatar Mark G
    February 25, 2016 - 10:20 am | Permalink

    This is a tough one. If the story of Lawrence outwitting the Consul weren’t true, it would be necessary to tell it anyway. It is such a clear expression of the Christian message, and one that needs constant repeating in our Romanish culture.
    Albert used his many talents to live the message and serve the underserved for all his days. (I still marvel that as a youngster I saw news stories about Dr. Schweitzer and his mission in Africa. I couldn’t understand what would impel someone to make such a strange choice.)

  75. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    February 25, 2016 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    Trying so hard not to make barbeque jokes here…but it appears that Deacon Lawrence wasnt-even at the one thrown in his honor. Viva Lawrence!

  76. Jeaninejj's Gravatar Jeaninejj
    February 25, 2016 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    Tough choice. I remember seeing film of Schweitzer at Lamberene on the Jack Paar Tonight show (!) – his Christian acts and devotions are inspiring. Yet I’ll go for the Henny Youngman of the Gridiron: Lawrence.

  77. February 25, 2016 - 10:29 am | Permalink

    Some contemporaries have criticized Schweitzer as “paternalistic, condescending and colonialist” towards Africans and did not teach them to run the hospital, instead relying on Europeans for nurses and doctors. But sadly that was common for the time and Schweitzer was better than most. Besides, as a young boy, I came to appreciate the organ works of Bach from an old recording of his. Sorry Lawrence, I just have to tip towards Albert, so far the most difficult choice in LM this year.

  78. Ellie Tupper's Gravatar Ellie Tupper
    February 25, 2016 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    Tough, tough. Schweitzer was a hero while I was growing up. But Lawrence and books and humor (and grills) – and the best “Take this job and shove it” gesture ever.

  79. February 25, 2016 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    Hurrah for Albert, he is well deserving but I voted for Lawrence because he was willing to take on a corrupt church and I knew Albert would win. Lawrence was clever in the face of knowing he would be executed.

  80. Marty Garwood's Gravatar Marty Garwood
    February 25, 2016 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    We deacons are to be the bridge between the church and the world – to bring the needs of the world into the church and to send the church out into the world. How could I not support Lawrence who epitomizes what our diaconal ministry should be?

  81. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    February 25, 2016 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    As a librarian, I was swayed by Lawrence, but then remembered that whilst in library school working on a project where we catalogued a warehouse full of antique books, I found in my pile a book authored and autographed by Doctor Schweitzer. It was an exciting find and led me to learn more about him.

  82. Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
    February 25, 2016 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    IT IS the worlds Greatest online Lenten Devotion known.
    Wonder how the battles between the -soon to be Saints- on the SEC
    will read in the future?

  83. Laureli's Gravatar Laureli
    February 25, 2016 - 10:44 am | Permalink

    I went with Lawrence. he sold all and then brought the true meaning of the church riches to the Emperor – gotta luv it.

  84. Kim Crecca's Gravatar Kim Crecca
    February 25, 2016 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    As a candidate for the diaconate and an avid chef, I had to vote for Deacon Lawrence and the patron saint of cooks! Plus his “treasures of the Church” comment is an incredible reminder of where our “valuable” time should be spent.

  85. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    February 25, 2016 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    It was Lawrence for me today. His boldness confronting the power of the empire with the truth of the powerless as “the treasures of the church” is, priceless!! Albert is amazing and I imagine he will win.

  86. SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
    February 25, 2016 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    All those out there who always want to vote for the “doers” must be really gnashing their teeth today!

    I found it tough as well. I was all set to vote for Lawrence–for so many of the reasons others have listed–but Schweitzer’s being a musician won me over. I’m thrilled by his whole life’s story–down to the very end, constructing the very cross that marked his grave.

    And, Oliver, his hair and mustache remind me of some other really cool guys–Einstein, Mark Twain, and if he had had his photo made without combing his hair, William Faulkner!

  87. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    February 25, 2016 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    With profound apologies to the man who brought us not only the Toccata and Fugue in D minor but also the much-less-known Prelude and Fugue in G, I voted for the librarian who refused to give the authorities the names of his fellow Christians (at least I seem to remember something about that, probably from Lent Madness).

  88. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    February 25, 2016 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    Lawrence speaks to me today as a man who took immediate and effective action when needed. That must be the inspiration I need.

  89. Lisa Rose's Gravatar Lisa Rose
    February 25, 2016 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    A man who bravely faced death vs a man who bravely faced life. Much as I love a smarta**, not to mention the Great Seaway, there are two ways to take that famous quote about the treasures of the church. Figuratively or quite literally. St Lawrence was in charge of the church’s wealth and charity which he protected …right up until the day he was ordered to turn it over to Rome. Rather than doing so, he distributed it among the people. So, when questioned as to its location, he very truthfully answered. It was in the pockets of the people. Whether he did it out of charity or did it out of spite is between him and God. Sorry, but my money is on the treasure who said: “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.”

  90. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    February 25, 2016 - 10:57 am | Permalink

    It is so much easier to vote for the more modern saints because we know more ‘facts’ about them. Albert Schweitzer is certainly worthy of our admiration. However, while perhaps the quips while he was being killed were apocryphal, the core story of Lawrence giving away all his and the church’s possessions resonantes as the probably kernel of truth in the story, and I very much admire that. I’m going with him.

  91. Ann E's Gravatar Ann E
    February 25, 2016 - 10:58 am | Permalink

    Another really difficult choice! I voted for Lawrence after a lot of back-and-forthing, for his charity and courage and wit, even under torture, and for being the patron of archivists and librarians. The lovely little Collect was a significant factor in my choice, as well.

  92. Shirley's Gravatar Shirley
    February 25, 2016 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    Tough decision, but I went for Albert…. Nobel Peace Prize, founding a hospital for the sick and improving & maintaining it with the royalties from his God-given talents and lobbying for an end to nuclear testing. Truly a saint for modern times.

  93. Judi Putnam's Gravatar Judi Putnam
    February 25, 2016 - 11:04 am | Permalink

    Lawrence is my choice.
    I am a musician and greatly appreciate Schweitzer’s contributions, especially in the works of Bach, but Lawrence’s belief in the importance of the poor in our lives speaks to today’s world. Pope Francis, if he was participating in Lent Madness would say that Lawrence was an ancient model of the world’s need at this point in time

  94. Corban's Gravatar Corban
    February 25, 2016 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    It seems Albert Schweitzer is roasting the competition today. Lawrence must be pretty burned out. Though both men had their hearts in the right place, I voted for Lawrence because of his (supposed) wry humor, bravery in the face of death, and his knowledge of who the true treasures of the Church are. I’ll definitely use his collect.

  95. Glad McCurtain's Gravatar Glad McCurtain
    February 25, 2016 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    His presentation of the “treasures of the church” was the decider for me, too, in voting for Lawrence.

  96. Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
    February 25, 2016 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    I voted for St. Lawrence, but it looks like Albert is scorching him. As with St. Denis, another excellent source of Saintly Kitsch for the Elate Eight will advance no more. I submit a proposal to the SEC that there be a special edition of Saintly Kitsch (some Monday, perhaps) with examples for saints that don’t make it that far?

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 25, 2016 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

      I love this idea!!

  97. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    February 25, 2016 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    Lest we forget, the treasures of the church belong to GOD, not the people so Lawrence didn’t give away people’s stuff. Of most importance is the undisputed truth that Lawrence was a deacon and in 2014, I retired as a Vocational Deacon at Christ Church Cathedral-Diocese of Tennessee after 25 years of service also at St. Matthias and St. Anselm. We never desert our own. Onward worthy bloggers !

  98. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    February 25, 2016 - 11:17 am | Permalink

    I voted for Lawrence,he believed in the church with all of his heart,he even believed that the ones that are unworthy are worth something in the church & in the eye of god

    • Dutton Morehouse's Gravatar Dutton Morehouse
      February 25, 2016 - 11:33 am | Permalink

      As a deacon for 22 years, I voted happily for Lawrence – the deacon’s deacon. We need not only to remember and pray for the needs of the poor and disadvantaged, we must act constructively to help the treasures of the church.

  99. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    February 25, 2016 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    Oliver and Others: I cast my vote for Big Al today. I have admired him all my life. I must say, after reading about Lawrence I developed a real fondness for the guy. Anyone who can joke about their doneness while being roasted has quite a sense of humor.

  100. Renie's Gravatar Renie
    February 25, 2016 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    Voted for Lawrence. I loved that he recognized the poor, lonely, forgotten and burdened as the treasures of the church. I’ve often looked at people at Mass – can’t say I attend on a weekly basis though! – and thought to myself – we’re all here for different reasons, but when we’re all together at Mass each of our burdens seem less……burdensome. Lawrence recognized that the people who love God are the treasures of his church, not things. Love that he’s the patron saint of librarians and archivists. Would we even have Lent Madness without archivists!!!?? Love Al’s contributions too. Modern day saints seem harder to identify, but he sure is worthy.

  101. Anne Clayton's Gravatar Anne Clayton
    February 25, 2016 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    Tough one for me – because Laurence correctly identified the treasures of the Church, and because there is probably a whole lot more about Laurence we don’t know. I do know that I think of him every time I use my George Foreman Grill. Albert we know more about because he is more contemporary. In the end I voted for Albert because he of the continuing legacy he left, but I know I will face constant soul-searching and a serving of guilt with every grilled sandwich from now until eternity. Thanks for this, Supreme Executive Committee.

  102. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    February 25, 2016 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    What a tough one! But in the end, I have to go with St. Laurence, for living out in the fullest way Jesus’ dictum, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [Luke, 12:34]

  103. Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner's Gravatar Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner
    February 25, 2016 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    I thought today was a slam dunk for Albert Schweitzer, as far as my vote goes. I’ve admired him all my life, and it does appear that he will advance, so I’ll vote for him in the next round.

    But today I had to vote for Laurence, patron of librarians and archivists – how could I not? And how could I not vote for a man who was not only devoted to the poor, but could joke as he was being tortured. (I don’t care if it isn’t true, laughter is the best medicine, and he must have had a slightly bizarre sense of humor to even inspire the fable!)

  104. Rose Mahan's Gravatar Rose Mahan
    February 25, 2016 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    Both of today’s saints take me back many years to my college days. I went to St. Lawrence University in New York state whose yearbook was appropriately named the Gridiron. And at St. Lawrence, I wrote my freshman research paper on Schweitzer because I was interested in (and played badly) the organ. Sentimentality aside, I voted for Schweitzer as a muscian and for his work in Africa.

  105. Jody Gebhardt's Gravatar Jody Gebhardt
    February 25, 2016 - 11:40 am | Permalink

    Although I was impressed with Lawrence’s resume, I voted for Albert. He loomed large in my childhood and youth since my mother was a great admirer. She once told that had she not married she would have been a missionary nurse, and I have no doubt she would have headed to Africa and Schweitzer.

  106. Timothy's Gravatar Timothy
    February 25, 2016 - 11:51 am | Permalink

    Being reminded of the true treasures of church, I vote for Lawrence, while acknowledging gratefully Albert’s dedication to serve those who could be named similarly as treasures. Thanks, LM for a good pairing.

  107. Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
    February 25, 2016 - 11:54 am | Permalink

    I admire Albert so much, but I voted for Lawrence. I realize that much of his story may be ficticious, but it has nevertheless enriched church literature so much, with its tongue-in-cheek attitude.

  108. John's Gravatar John
    February 25, 2016 - 11:57 am | Permalink

    Glad it was Lawrence of Rome rather than of Arabia,

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 25, 2016 - 2:04 pm | Permalink


  109. Joyce in Georgia's Gravatar Joyce in Georgia
    February 25, 2016 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

    A theologian, musician, medical doctor and humanitarian. All these in one amazingman. My vote is with Albert. Go Bertie!

  110. Karen Saunders's Gravatar Karen Saunders
    February 25, 2016 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    As a deacon and a (non-practicing) librarian, I had to vote for Lawrence. And I love his treasures.

  111. Claire's Gravatar Claire
    February 25, 2016 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Albert. I can’t help but wonder how much good Lawrence might have done if he had not insisted on dying for his faith, since it doesn’t seem his arrest was a sure thing before he spoke up. My slant is mostly to bring people to Christ and helping those in need, so Albert has my vote this time.

  112. Johanne Hills's Gravatar Johanne Hills
    February 25, 2016 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Have found the comments very interesting. In presenting the poor as the riches of the church perhaps Lawrence was just trying to divert the Emperor’s attention from the objects and the wealth that was beginning to accrue to the early Christian church. He may have been doing the right thing for the wrong reason….

  113. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    February 25, 2016 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” As a lifelong musician and appreciater of felines, as well as having gone to seminary in midlife, then later having gone from parish ministry to hospital chaplaincy, how could I not vote for Albert? As for his “paternalism”, I think he was simply trying to get the best care to the most people possible. Starting a medical school was not as urgent as treating patients.

  114. Karen's Gravatar Karen
    February 25, 2016 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

    This was really hard. I love St. Laurence for his statement “these are the treasures of the church,” even though the way I heard it was that he gathered the old, the crippled, and the poor. I was just adjusting to my wheelchair at the time, so the timing was perfect. The doubts of modern scholarship did, however, leave me feeling free to vote for Albert the organist.

  115. Sarah's Gravatar Sarah
    February 25, 2016 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

    It might be nice to note that Dr Schweitzer was one of the foremost musicians of the 20th century- a player of the organ music of Bach whose interpretations are still noteworthy!

  116. Onionsauce's Gravatar Onionsauce
    February 25, 2016 - 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Lawrence is the patron saint of librarians, but (though I am making light of his torture – something he himself did) he should also be the patron saint of barbeque. Pass the Texas Pete!

  117. George Packer's Gravatar George Packer
    February 25, 2016 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

    As a postulant for the vocational diaconant, I feel a great kinship with Laurence and his calling to help the poor and the marginalized and must vote for my brother deacon.

    • Carol Barker's Gravatar Carol Barker
      February 25, 2016 - 1:58 pm | Permalink

      I understand your point of view, and I was really inpressed by Lawrence, but for several years our choir (one of whom I am) has sung Albert Schweitzer’s words “He comes to us as one unknown/ without a name/ as of old by the lakeside he came to those men who knew him not/ He speaks to us, He speaks the same words, “Follow thou me.”/ and sets us to the tasks which he has for our time” Amazing words and very meaningful.

  118. Susan Mulledy-DeFrank's Gravatar Susan Mulledy-DeFrank
    February 25, 2016 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Though Laurence was very faithful and went to his death with full belief I had to choose Albert. He certainly lived a long and busy life and left his mark on this world.

  119. Myrna's Gravatar Myrna
    February 25, 2016 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Albert. Partly because my family revered him so much when I was growing up.

  120. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    February 25, 2016 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

    At the moment I can’t recall the reason for this, but at the time of my confirmation as an Episcopalian (age 19) I had conceived an antipathy for Schweitzer. Maybe it had to do with the “historical Jesus” book. And after he washed out of Annapolis, my father ended up at football-mad St. Lawrence in upstate NY, where the yearbook was called “The Gridiron.” So there’s your football link, dear SEC and friends! In addition, the story of his humor and his recognition of the plebs sancta dei as the real treasure of the church, a nicely didactic implant in this legend that owes so much to Daniel’s fiery furnace and all sorts of parallels in Greek and Celtic mythology! Lawrence for me, and me for Lawrence!

  121. james lodwick's Gravatar james lodwick
    February 25, 2016 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Another impossible choice! I rather impulsively voted for Lawrence, then had some regrets for not choosing Albert Schweiter. His ground-breaking New Testament studies affected me greatly in seminary, he left a very successful multi-leveled career to serve others in a difficult environment, and he gave us a great example of what he meant by “reverence for life.” I voted for the great Roman martyr Lawrence for the sake of history–all he has inspired in devotion (the Church of Rome formerly celebrated his feast with an octave), art, poetry (Prudentius), architecture (San Lorenzo fuori le Mura), the Escorial. And as a martyr-deacon he literally fulfilled what it was not to be served but to serve. “Live with Christ and Lawrence!”

  122. Sharyn Flanagan's Gravatar Sharyn Flanagan
    February 25, 2016 - 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Lawrence. Long live the librarians!

  123. TLH's Gravatar TLH
    February 25, 2016 - 2:21 pm | Permalink

    My father’s middle name was Lawrence.

    My own middle name is the feminine form of that name: Laureen.

    I’m voting for Lawrence.

  124. Jacob's Gravatar Jacob
    February 25, 2016 - 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never commented here before but I had to jump in and say that I’m confused by the lack of connection that the majority seem to have with the ancient Saints of the Church. It seems that time after time the newer, modern (usually European or North American) folks beat out the established Fathers and Mothers of the Church.

    I voted for St. Lawrence…by a mile.

    I guess I take this all too seriously…not the first time in my life where I’ve had that problem. (Not even the first time *today*!)

    Thanks for making this site available…I really enjoy it each year.

    • Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
      February 25, 2016 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Personally I’m convinced that’s why the SEC put Cyril and Methodius up against each other — so SOMEBODY from those early centuries would advance!

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      February 25, 2016 - 4:33 pm | Permalink

      You’re right, Jacob, and if you think it necessary you can compensate for these serious episodes by cracking silly jokes on other days.

      The prevailing mindset amongst us Madsters means that, put up against a modern saint with lots of documented accomplishments, a publication or two, and maybe even a Nobel Prize, the ancient will always lose. The ancient stories have from their birth been invitations to imagine the historical figure that lies behind them (or even in some cases, such as George, to imagine a figure that might have lain behind them). Unlike contemporary factual accounts, they were never meant to put bounds on our imagination.

      Lawrence’s stories evince a character and a faith fully the equal of Albert Schweitzer’s, with none of the off-notes sounded by contemporary descriptions of the conditions and management at the hospital at Lambaréné. From the few fragments we have concerning Lawrence it’s fair to assume, I think, that he excelled in good works as well as faith of exceptional purity and devotion. Though he lived in a time when practical accomplishments such as Schweitzer’s were impossible, not to say unimaginable, his story is of one who cheerfully did and gave his utmost — good enough to get my vote.

      • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
        February 25, 2016 - 8:05 pm | Permalink

        AND the “doer” usually wins over the mystic, which drives me crazy, because the mystics and writers did plenty!! And early saints with miraculous stories are discounted as “not realistic”–even though there’s nothing at all realistic about the miracles and resurrection of the Lord at all!
        But, yeah, if there’s a photograph, and it’s of a woman, she’s in like Flynn!

        • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
          February 25, 2016 - 8:25 pm | Permalink

          Woo! Rather cynical. I must have missed the woman’s photograph when Joseph won so handily?y

  125. Elizabeth River's Gravatar Elizabeth River
    February 25, 2016 - 2:38 pm | Permalink

    This one was tough. No easy quick decision. They both were filled with holy purpose and followed their “call” to help others. I did end up choosing Lawrence, as he was so smart and swift to dispose of all the “valuables” of the Church and turn it in to sustenance, clothing, etc. for the immediate and present poor, knowing he had only 3 days to get this done! Then he wisely brought the poor (the ones Jesus told us to take care of, for heaven’s sake) to the Church hierarchy presenting them as the (true) Treasure of the Church. And THEN, to top it all off, he retained and shared his gift of humor all through the agonizing torture right up to the very end! Whatta guy!

  126. Jennifer Rich's Gravatar Jennifer Rich
    February 25, 2016 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I love Lawrence proclamation “here are the treasures of the church” as he presented the poor and downtrodden to the Romans. He gets my vote!

  127. Jan's Gravatar Jan
    February 25, 2016 - 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I first learned of the extensive accomplishments of Albert Schweitzer when an organ memorial was dedicated to him at Spivey Hall on the Clayton State University campus. His daughter and only child Rhena was there for the ceremony. So my vote goes to Dr. Schweitzer.

  128. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    February 25, 2016 - 2:50 pm | Permalink

    As a physician who is also a musician (not to mention that I am 1/2 German), I could only make one obvious choice: DR. ALBERT SCHWEIZER!

  129. Liz's Gravatar Liz
    February 25, 2016 - 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Two great men, but I have to give points for being able to offer excellent snark under considerable duress. Lawrence!

  130. Lauren's Gravatar Lauren
    February 25, 2016 - 4:03 pm | Permalink

    As my namesake, and as a patron saint of my favorite city to visit, and for his witty quips, Lawrence gets my vote!

  131. Mary Phinney's Gravatar Mary Phinney
    February 25, 2016 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

    It is too easy to vote for a man who lived and worked so recently. Lawrence died for his faith and his love of the poor. Plus he died a painful death joking all the way. Go Lawrence!

  132. Bob Faser's Gravatar Bob Faser
    February 25, 2016 - 4:06 pm | Permalink

    This is a hard vote for me. Both made serious sacrifices for their faith (Lawrence’s life, Schweitzer’s academic career).
    For Lawrence, there’s the added positive factors for my vote that (1) the voting in Lent Madness tends to be skewed in favour of more modern saints as opposed to the ancients, (2) that his “treasures of the church” comment is one of the great one-liners of church history, (3) that there are no fanciful stories of “talking heads” and such that are often present in the stories of ancient martyrs, (4) his sense of humour even in a horrific death, and (5) the fact that Christ Church St. Laurence is one of three or four ‘oasis churches” in the dry desert of Sydney “Anglicanism”.
    For Schweitzer, (1) his conviction that God needed him not to be a brilliant biblical scholar in Europe but as a just-barely-OK MD in Africa and the fact that he followed up on this, (2) the fact that he persisted in following up on this call after the bureaucrats of the mission board first knocked him back because his theology wasn’t conservative enough, (3) his love for – and skill in – classical music.
    Line ball for me. And I can’t go for the underdog on the basis of the comments because almost everyone else is similarly conflicted. On the simple basis that earlier centuries of Christian history are often underrepresented in the later rounds of LM, I’ll vote for Lawrence.

  133. Cricket Park's Gravatar Cricket Park
    February 25, 2016 - 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Having worn a deacon’s stole for 15 years prior to being demoted to priesthood, it’s Lawrence for me.

  134. Marilyn's Gravatar Marilyn
    February 25, 2016 - 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m really torn here. There are so many reasons to admire both saints in competition here. Oliver is right once again that Albert Schweitzer looks like a fun guy, how can you be more of a fun guy than joking with your torturers as they are killing you! I’ve gone back and forth and finally voted for Lawrence for personal reasons. Lawrence was my father’s name!

  135. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    February 25, 2016 - 4:37 pm | Permalink

    With all deference to Marilyn and Oliver, it’s not at all clear that Schweitzer was a “fun guy,” however many his other virtues.

    • Leonard Matusik's Gravatar Leonard Matusik
      February 25, 2016 - 4:54 pm | Permalink

      True enough. Mother Teresa never seem very fun to me.
      Maybe some back stage footage of her cutting up will surface in the future.

      We can only pray.

  136. Alan's Gravatar Alan
    February 25, 2016 - 5:53 pm | Permalink

    I remember reading Albert Schweitzer in high school German class. I’m surprised I remembered as much as I did after reading the synopsis. Good to remember, good to know. Now I know something about Laurence. In the end..Herr Schweitzer.

  137. Yvonne's Gravatar Yvonne
    February 25, 2016 - 6:54 pm | Permalink

    I love Lent Madness for days like this. I knew so little of Albert Schweitzer before and had no idea he was such a renaissance man with so many talents. Although he is fascinating and utterly worthy, I must go with Lawrence for the sheer audaciousness of presenting the poor to the Emperor as the treasures of the church! We all need to internalize that statement!

    I’m also amazed and thrilled to hear that St. Lawrence University has a paper called the gridiron. Very sly… and funny!

  138. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    February 25, 2016 - 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Another tough one. Lawrence, because he made a powerful and poetic statement about the priorities of the Church. Quips or not, he endured the, (for a wimp like me) unimaginable as a witness to his faith.
    “If anyone grills you about Lent Madness….” ??? Groaner of the year.

  139. deacon georgia's Gravatar deacon georgia
    February 25, 2016 - 7:46 pm | Permalink

    I just returned from my weekly work on the diocesan archives. Like my fellow deacons before me, I vote for Lawrence. He has been a favorite of mine for years. Enough said.

  140. Alice Speers's Gravatar Alice Speers
    February 25, 2016 - 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Toughest choice yet! But I had to go for the “treasures of the church”.

  141. Carmen Fairley's Gravatar Carmen Fairley
    February 25, 2016 - 8:28 pm | Permalink

    I’m partial to deacons, being married to one. Lawrence thought outside the box regarding the treasures of the church and he kept his sense of humor right till the last so he got my vote.

  142. Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
    February 25, 2016 - 8:36 pm | Permalink

    seriously ??? Lawrence all the way!

  143. david's Gravatar david
    February 25, 2016 - 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I voted for the true story.

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 25, 2016 - 9:18 pm | Permalink

      Not quite sure what you mean there, David.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      February 25, 2016 - 10:18 pm | Permalink

      Read “The Life of Pi” and reconsider.

  144. J A Reyes's Gravatar J A Reyes
    February 25, 2016 - 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Even though I am a librarian, I voted for Mr. Schweitzer.

  145. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    February 25, 2016 - 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Glad to see that Laurence has closed the gap since the morning, but still … Albert has his Nobel Prize. And if you polled the world over, how many people today know of the contributions of Laurence vs. Albert, who is still a household name? Let’s diversify a little here! Come on people, vote for Laurence! Besides, the Saintly Kitsch round will be so much better with Larry and his barbeque rack than Albert with his organ.

  146. Rebecca DB's Gravatar Rebecca DB
    February 25, 2016 - 9:23 pm | Permalink

    My 8 year old twins and I voted for Albert today because he is a preacher’s kid. Everybody in our house is a preacher’s kid.

  147. Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
    February 25, 2016 - 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Had to go with Lawrence. Libraries are my favorite places in all the world

  148. Robert C's Gravatar Robert C
    February 25, 2016 - 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Last summer I read Albert Schweitzer’s autobiography. He was quite simply one of the most amazing people who ever lived. While studying for his doctorate in theology, he was teaching classes and pastoring a church. He became a self-taught virtuoso organist, cataloged all of Bach’s works and wrote the definitive biography of Bach. In his spare time, he worked his way through medical school. He believed it was hypocritical to preach about love for his fellow man without actually doing something for them. So, he went to Africa, a very difficult feat in those days, and created a medical mission in the jungles of Gabon. With all these different projects, the depth of his intellect and spirituality is astounding. Ten people could work very hard and not accomplish half what this one man did. If any human being deserves to be sainted, it’s him.

  149. February 25, 2016 - 10:59 pm | Permalink

    I especially love the saints with a sense of humor and his wisely innocent explanation about the treasures of the church reminded me of another sweetly innocent saint, Brother Juniper and that face, angelic! Hoping for a St. Lawrence rally!

  150. Leamarie's Gravatar Leamarie
    February 25, 2016 - 11:09 pm | Permalink

    One of the last again today, I cast my vote for Albert Sweitzer. The comments are so good, and humorous, so I choose Albert for his musical ability, (as a nearly lifelong choir member) for his medical knowledge put to use for so many people, for his missionary zeal, for using his wealth, such as it was, as influence for the betterment of others. It does bother me a bit that Lawrence did not sell so many personal and church items until the last three days of his life, though I am sure he must have done some good works before that in his life as a deacon. But, woe unto me…for it is said, “judge not, lest….”

  151. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    February 26, 2016 - 12:25 am | Permalink

    Lawrence. For distributing goods to the poor and pointing out the “treasures of the Church.” I admire his bravery and his sense of humor! Also he is the patron saint of librarians.

  152. Diane Amison-Loring's Gravatar Diane Amison-Loring
    February 26, 2016 - 12:39 am | Permalink

    Librarians, unite! Lawrence!
    I remember seeing the church in Rome that marks the spot where the martyrdom happened.

  153. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    February 26, 2016 - 2:17 am | Permalink

    Lawrence the Martyr for me.

  154. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    February 26, 2016 - 3:20 am | Permalink

    Much as I love Lawrence, making my first retreat at the Convent of St Lawrence in Belper, I had to vote for Albert. To set all his considerable gifts int eh service of the poor is an extraordinary example. I do wish we knew more of Lawrence though, his sense of humour in extreme circumstances is a joy.

  155. February 26, 2016 - 4:59 pm | Permalink

    2/26 I’m Lost ! I’ve tried everything, but still can’t find today’s match. This is worse that the withdrawal I have to go thru’ after the golden halo is presented !

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      February 26, 2016 - 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Marjorie, type in the address line–only that–and it should be right at the top of the page, on a computer or on the phone.

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