Frances Joseph-Gaudet vs. John Mason Neale

In the penultimate (we love that word here at Lent Madness) matchup of the first round, it's Frances Joseph-Gaudet facing off against John Mason Neale. Six names, two saints, only one will emerge victorious and advance to the next round.

Yesterday Vida Dutton Scudder skated to an easy win over F.D. Maurice, 72% to 28%. She'll face Clare of Assisi in the Saintly Sixteen.

Stay tuned for a special "Tuesday Edition" of Monday Madness in which Tim and Scott wax eloquent(ish) on a variety of Lent Madness topics. It will be epic, as usual.

And finally, if you live in a Super Tuesday state, make your first and most important vote right here at Lent Madness, before heading out to those other polls.

Frances Joseph-Gaudet

Frances Joseph-Gaudet was born 1861 in Holmesville, Mississippi, during the American Civil War. Of Native American and African American parentage, she moved to New Orleans to pursue her education at Straight College. She breathed fire into every aspect of her calling: as an educator, single mother, social worker, principal, philanthropist, and Christian.

Joseph-Gaudet was a game changer in the world of African American prisoners and youth. She sought reform in the conditions and educational opportunities in prisons, and she brought clothes to the incarcerated. Joseph- Gaudet would often attend the juvenile courts, taking responsibility for youth offenders by bringing them into her home. Joseph-Gaudet wrapped these children and mothers in her love and care, giving them a chance at a better life.

When her home became too small for the number of individuals she brought home from the courts, she purchased a small farm that became the Gaudet Colored Normal and Industrial School. Joseph-Gaudet served as its principal until she donated it to the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana where it remained a school until the early 1950s. The building later reopened as the Gaudet Episcopal Home in 1954, as an African American children’s home. In 1966, it closed its doors permanently, but the proceeds from the sale of the land continues to fund scholarships for African American children pursuing higher education.

Joseph-Gaudet later moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she died on December 30, 1934. The Episcopal Church added Joseph-Gaudet to the calendar of saints in 2006 for her work in bringing a voice to all people—black, white, old, and young—in the prisons of the South.

Collect for Frances Joseph-Gaudet
Merciful God, who raised up your servant Frances Joseph-Gaudet to work for prison reform and the education of her people: Grant that we, encouraged by the example of her life, may work for those who are denied the fullness of life by reasons of incarceration and lack of access to education; through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

— Anna Fitch Courie

John Mason Neale

John Mason Neale, the prince of hymn translators, was born in the shadow of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, to an evangelical family in 1818. Neale was deeply influenced by the Oxford Movement, which stressed the apostolic character of the Church of England and sought to put it back in touch with its historical roots. Neale’s imagination was sparked by the vision of a church in touch with the medieval past and alive with the beauty of ornament, architecture, and song.

Neale was ordained a deacon in 1841, but his bishop refused to grant Neale a position based on his theological positions. After finally being ordained a priest, Neale was eventually appointed warden of Sackville College, a home for the elderly poor, in 1846. Refurbishing the chapel from his personal funds, he installed open pews, a rood screen, and two candles and a cross for the altar.

The Bishop of Chichester, offended by this “spiritual haberdashery,” inhibited Neale from functioning as a priest. Stymied, Neale threw himself into translating and writing, while also founding the Sisterhood of Saint Margaret. There were multiple riots because of his theological and liturgical beliefs between 1848 and 1866. His inhibition was formally withdrawn in 1863. Three years later, Neale died from exhaustion at the age of forty-eight on August 6, 1866.

Neale believed deeply in imagination and beauty as pathways to the holy. He won the Setonian Prize for Poetry at Cambridge ten years in a row, and while other members of the Oxford Movement had drawn attention to the old Latin hymns, Neale translated them with a beauty and vigor unsurpassed. Furthermore, he was the first to look eastward and to translate hymns from the great store of Eastern Orthodox materials. Neale communicated his faith with doctrines for the mind, beauty for the senses, and songs for the heart.

Collect for John Mason Neale 
Grant, O God, that in all time of our testing we may know your presence and obey your will; that, following the example of your servant John Mason Neale, we may with integrity and courage accomplish what you give us to do, and endure what you give us to bear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

— Derek Olsen

Frances Joseph-Gaudet vs. John Mason Neale

  • Frances Joseph-Gaudet (68%, 4,338 Votes)
  • John Mason Neale (32%, 2,044 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,382

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Francesca [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
John Mason Neale: “John Mason Neale”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons


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218 comments on “Frances Joseph-Gaudet vs. John Mason Neale”

  1. Prison reform is such an important issue in our own time as well as in the time of Frances Joseph-Guadet. But how on earth did a single mother of Afro-American/Native American descent manage financially with all those kids?! Amazing!

    1. I voted for Madame Joseph-Gaudet.❤️
      I think what she did was astonishing. A great example to live by.

      I do have a place in my heart for Mr. Neale. (Not a big fan of the blue hymnal though)

    2. Both of them touched my hart and I REALLY could not pick so in the end I looked at the results and saw that Frances j.g was winning so I voted for john m.n to give him some support.

  2. I have deep respect for Neale but my heart is tugged to Joseph-Gaudet. She took people into her home and helped youth. What a woman.!!!!!

      1. A pity the biography did not mention some of the hymns he edited: Of the Father's Love Begotten; O Come, O Come Emmanuel; and All Glory, Laud and Honor.

  3. Translating hymns, writing poetry, believing in the imagination and beauty as pathways to God, JM Neale gets my vote.

    1. I agree, translating so many of the hymns that touch us today brings beauty and moments close to God to so many of us. It was a tough decision because I greatly admire Joseph-Gaudet and her work but I have to go with Neale today.

  4. Onward, "spiritual haberdashery." I'm for beauty and the imagination as a pathway to the holy. Those too are avenues of fire and voice. Take beauty to the prisons along with justice.

    1. loved the use of "spiritual haberdashery" and I greatly appreciate the Neale struggled in bringing the beauty of God through various symbolism.
      This pairing was a tough one and I know that voting for Neale is going for the underdog but as amazing Gaudet was with her service to the people in physical form we must not forget the spiritual as specs and being able to translate things for the all people to understand is just as awesome a gift.
      Neale got the vote for me today.

    1. It was a very difficult choice for me, as I'm a music lover. But her story won me over in the end. #hers4thewin #Isawwhatyoudidthere

      1. Spiritual haberdashery. Gotta love that! Still, I voted for Gaudet because of the heroic passion of her mission in the face of insurmountable trials. Neale, although I greatly respect his ideals, was a man and white. Gaudet was black and a single mother during a time when being a single mother basically meant you were a whore. She took that and ran with it and I really have to love that!

        1. I appreciate your being more transparent than most about assessing their sanctity based on gender and colour. I'm sure Ms Gaudet would be honoured and not patronized at all -_-

  5. I only had to read one sentence today to decide! Anyone born in Mississippi, like me, gets my vote!

    1. Also, she helped youth in Louisiana.

      Lent Madness challenges us to identify what's important in our lives and Christian faith, and of course our communities (and our home states) are key.

      1. I love reading the reasons for voting that people share. Amazing how varied arguments are - even for the same Saint!

  6. Neale gave "All glory laud and honor to you Reedemer King" and Come O Come Emmanuel to the English speaking church, his poetry has sustained generations. worthy as his opponent is, I give my vote to the one who gave us words to sing our faith.

    1. Thank you, Johanne, for naming the hymns he translated. If I had known Neale was the "All Glory, Laud, and Honor" guy, he would have received my vote.

      1. Of the Father's love begotten,
        Ere the worlds began to be,
        He is alpha and omega,
        He the source, the ending He...

    2. I voted for Joseph-Gaudet for her gift in mission, but now I wish I had two votes to give.

  7. I am awed by the story of Frances Joseph-Gaudet, a remarkable woman; her like is sorely needed in reforming prisons today. However, I am casting my vote for John Mason Neale because of his belief in beauty and the imagination as pathways to the holy. I have begun studying for an MA in Theology, Imagination and Culture which is hugely rewarding and full of exciting possibilities. I expect Frances to progress to the next round and will be very happy to see her do so.

      1. As an introvert, and an associate of a religious order, I'm sorry your quiet witness is so consistently undervalued by the utilitarian bias toward "social work" that prevails here.

  8. This was a tough choice for me, but in the end "doctrines for the mind, beauty for the senses, and songs for the heart" drew me to the one I knew would be today's underdog. I'm another Margaret for John, who would join me in singing praises for the hardworking, generous Frances.

  9. Neale wrote half my favorite Christmas carols: "Of the Father's Love Begotten," "Good Christian Men [now Friends] Rejoice," "O Come, O come, Emmanuel," and the eternal Good King Wenceslas. I'll probably get to vote for Joseph-Gaudet next round. John Mason Neale, a God-loving soul of a poet, today.

    1. Had I only known that he wrote "Of the Father's Love Begotten" before I voted... I went with Joseph-Gaudet because of her work with prison reform. Now I feel like I betrayed the author of my favorite hymn. *sigh*

      1. I'm feeling that right now! Thought I was voting for Joseph-Gaudet because of her unselfish work but I do love hymns. Might have to ruminate a bit.

  10. Tough call...but my vote today goes to the founder of the Society of Saint Margaret, key in the revival of the religious life in the Anglican Community. Early members of the sisterhood practiced nursing among the poor and the elderly, developing such a reputation that the founders of Children's Hospital,Boston, invited the community to send sisters to run the hospital and provide care to those in need. Once that work transitioned,for decades, the sisters offered nursing care to the people of Roxbury, especially African-American women and their families, and opened a nursing home in that community, Saint Monica's.
    Today, the Sisters have refocused their energy and their vision on rebuilding their work in Haiti among the poor, in The aftermath of the devastating earthquake...all this, and hymns to sing as well, because of the seed of a vision from an "inhibited" English priest, who was obedient over the course of many years to a bishop and a church threatened by renewal. I am thankful for that witness and its impact upon my own life. (Read more about John Mason Neale, if you can...amazing what he was able to accomplish in a relatively short life)

    1. My great aunt was a member of the Sisters of St Margaret. I remember visiting her at the convent at Louisburg Square finding the peace and quiet fascinating. I was also very curious about what her head looked like under the "whimple" (the white bonnet). Thanks for stimulating memories of a brave woman.

    2. Thank you for expanding the biography! I will certainly do a little research on my own, as I'm pretty sure Joseph-Gaudet will win the day.

    3. I am a graduate of Children's Hospital School of Nursing, founded in Boston by the Sisters of St. Margaret 10 years after they started the hospital. When I graduated in 1969 it was the 100th anniversary of the hospital and Sr. Susannah's portrait was on the wall. Neale has my vote, Though Frances Joseph-Gaudet is very impressive.

  11. I related more to Neale, but voted for Frances. I think this election year has me thinking Christianity in action.

    1. I've been noticing the same thing about my picks - they've all been about action and caring. I hadn't even connected my reactions to the political climate, but I bet that's a major part of it. Frances gets my vote today.

  12. I'm all for social justice, but I'm moved by the beauty of Neale's poetry and the fact he made so many medieval tunes and thoughts accessible to us all. Music hath charms to move a man's soul....or words to that effect. The impact of Joseph-Gaudet's work was limited only by her resources; Neale's work has no limits.

  13. "Neale communicated his faith with doctrines for the mind, beauty for the senses, and songs for the heart." Sometimes we need those to inspire us to do the work of Joseph-Gaudet. Inspiration wins this time.

  14. John Mason Neale won my heart and my vote. Over 20 hymn texts are attributed to him in the 1982 hymnal - more than for any other author. Famous hymns include Of the Father's love begotten and Good Christian Friends rejoice with heart and soul and voice, both for Christmas; O wondrous type o vision fair for Epiphany; All glory laud and honor for Palm Sunday; Sing my tongue the glorious battle for Holy Week; Come ye faithful raise the strain for Easter; and many more. He was valiant in his theology and practice, and sadly unappreciated in his time - to the point where he died young of exhaustion. Who better to honor the glorious tradition of Anglican hymns?

  15. I voted for the underdog, in gratitude for the hymns and carols. But who exactly was rioting? The bishop? Kind of a startling statement just thrown in there without clarification.

  16. I voted for Francis because she brought boys home and looked after them.

    1. I agree with you, Oliver. Plus I have been to Holmesville, Mississippi and my last name is Holmes. This was an easy choice. Anyone who loved children so much gets my vote. The rest is just lagniappe !!

    2. Susannah eight years old and I voted for her for the same reason. That was a real commitment to the gospel.

  17. As a poet and lover of Neale's work (and "spiritual haberdashery) I would naturally favor Neale, but Joseph-Gaudet did salvific work among people that I would not have the courage to do, so she gets my vote.

  18. Had me at "spiritual haberdashery" as that is my main role at my UU church. And riots too? Go J.M.Neale!

  19. As a single mother, educator in the faith, prison volunteer I had to vote for Frances Joseph-Gaudet. She is an example for all who work with youth and prisoners leading all to Christ.

  20. So hard to choose. Both of these saints speak to why I am Episcopalian. Can we fuse them, please?

    1. Thank you, Kim! I am struggling with this, too! I may have to immerse myself in some serious prayer before I make my decision today! And I am choosing NOT to consult the results as the day goes on, so that I won't be tempted to vote for the underdog. I feel called to make an informed vote on this day!

  21. This was, surprisingly, the hardest decision so far this year for me. Although I went with Frances on the grounds of social justice, I must admire anyone accused of "spiritual haberdashery," and a ten-year poetry prize winner. Beauty and spirituality go well together. Also, Neale's collect was beautiful Good work, Derek.

  22. Sorry, I had to vote for beauty. Without beauty, the world would be so much less. Man does not live by bread alone. Neale gets my vote

  23. My vote goes to J M Neale. The Sisters of St Margarets that he founded are doing today what F.J Gaudet did. They work with the poor in Haiti founded a school, music program for the handicap and work with elderly and infirmed women. They have a jail ministry in the Boston area, educate with music, chapel services, localmeetings, their hospitality mission, retreats and more. Two of the Sisters who are priests may be found celebrating in Boston area churches when needed. They keep their founders goals alive today. Have to support J M Neale.

  24. Joseph-Gaudet is 'naturally New Orleans'. God only knows how many lives she changed and saved. What a blessing! Otherwise as a long time choir member the 'music man' moves my heart and we all know 'he who sings prays twice'. Please bring him back next year.

  25. I voted for John--translator of so many of my favorite hymns--
    "Creator of the Stars of Night,"
    "Sing my Tongue the Glorious Battle," "O Sons and Daughters, Let Us Sing,"
    "O Wondrous Type, O Vision Fair," "Jerusalem the Golden"--
    to name a tiny portion. And cofounder of the Society of St. Margaret, a group of women who took care of the sick. And persecuted by an ecclesiastical bully!

    Poor man, he doesn't stand a chance against an African/Native American female social worker.

  26. By 8:20 I still had no LM posting so I was forced to go searching so I could tame my nearly out-of-control urges to vote. And then to read of liturgical riots — PHEW! I think I have a taste of that frenzy.