Helena vs. Constance

Welcome to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen. Sixteen saints in Lent Madness 2016 have been sent packing and sixteen more remain as the struggleBundesstraße_16_de_number for the coveted Golden Halo continues. Get ready for some high stakes, thrilling saintly action over the coming days. Click the Bracket tab to view the updated tournament bracket and see all the upcoming matchups (you do know it’s updated daily by our unsung Bracket Czar Adam Thomas, right?).

Round One consisted of basic biographical information about the saints. Since there’s no need to rehash previously covered ground, the Round of the Saintly Sixteen is made up of what we call Quirks & Quotes. Prepare for some little known facts or legends accompanied by quotes either by or about the saint in question. As you make your decision, you can always review the previous rounds by again clicking on the Bracket tab and scrolling down. Simply click the link to the previous battle and voila! All the earlier information is at your fingertips.

Yesterday saw the conclusion of the first round as Barnabas defeated Elmo 72% to 28%. Apparently Barnabas did not include Elmo as he sang the irritating song about being “a happy family.” Who knew?

Today it’s two women, separated by 1,600 years or so, squaring off to make it to the Elate Eight. To get to this point, Helena defeated Monnica in the Matronly Meltdown (the very first matchup of Lent Madness 2016) while Constance defeated Dominic. Ladies and gentlemen, start your Saintly Sixteen engines!


unnamed-2Helena, mother of Constantine, church-builder and relic-hunter extraordinaire, had an early life shrouded in mystery. St. Ambrose says she was a stable-maid; others just hypothesize she was poor. And it is also not clear where she met Constantine’s father.

One story posits that the Roman emperor was on a military campaign through Asia Minor, when he chanced upon Helena who was wearing matching silver bracelets to his own. Constantius took this as a sign from God that they were meant to be. Aw.

Sadly, this bracelet-magic-feeling didn’t last. He either divorced her, sent her away, or just broke up with her in 289, after Constantine was born, because the emperor wanted a wife of noble birth. Helena and the baby Constantine stayed with the former emperor Diocletian during their exile, which couldn’t have been a pleasant experience, given his penchant for executing lots of people. It is for this reason that Helena is the patron saint of divorced people, and people in difficult marriages.

After Constantine’s ascension to power, Helena came into her own in the second act of her life. She went to Palestine and built churches, searched out relics, and used the imperial treasury for the relief of the poor.

She had the Roman temple Hadrian had constructed over Golgotha torn down. Underneath the temple, she and her team found the shards of many crosses. (This is not surprising–according to modern archeology, that site was used extensively as a crucifixion ground.)

Determined to figure out which was the cross of Christ, Helena had a dying woman brought to the site, and presented her with various pieces of wood. When she was miraculously cured by one piece in particular, Helena declared that they had found the True Cross. It was here that she had the Church of the Holy Sepulchre built.

On her way back to Rome, Helena had several other saintly adventures. As she passed through Cyprus, a local monastery asked for her help in ridding the place of snakes. Accordingly, she imported several dozen cats, which have since multiplied in that place, and to this day, the monastery is known as St. Nicholas of the Cats.

It should also be noted that in classic British fashion, England also lays claim to Helena.
One story of her origins holds that Helena was actually the daughter of the English king, and she met Constantius when her father formed a strategic alliance. Further legends hold that she would frequently turn up back in her homeland. Over 25 wells and springs of water throughout Great Britain are named for her, and according to legend, she is credited with establishing several churches around Colchester.

No matter where she turned up, Helena spread generosity and strength to all she encountered.

— Megan Castellan



constance-and-her-companionsThe Hawaiians have a saying that “Eddie Would Go.” You see, during the course of his life, Eddie saved over 500 people as a lifeguard. “Eddie Would Go” is plastered on cars throughout the Hawaiian Islands and is a universal response to questions of what someone should do in a situation. Long before Eddie was born, the people of Memphis could have coined the term “Constance Would Go.” Imagine the horse and buggy crowd of the 1800s with bumper stickers declaring, “Constance Would Go.” Eddie and Constance are heroic witnesses to the lives of those around them and those in need. Constance Would Go.

Think about this: Mosquitoes transmit yellow fever by biting their victims. Think of the Mississippi River as a grand breeding ground for these miniature vampires on the banks of the town of Memphis. In the first stages, symptoms are much like the flu: fatigue, malaise, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and loss of appetite. If the body does not fight the infection, the patient enters into a toxic phase that causes organ damage, yellowing skin, bleeding from the nose, mouth and eyes, liver and kidney failure, and brain dysfunction. Remember, it is 1878 and modern medicine is not available to Constance and her companions. All they have is their love and care to give to the people of Memphis. Constance Would Go.

With thousands of people dying in Memphis, despite the ministrations of the sisters, a new problem arose: the growing orphan population. It is said that Constance and her Companions would go through the city searching for the orphans to place them in an asylum to care for them as their parents had passed. At one point, a mob of adults confronted Constance and her Companions out of fear that these orphans would spread the yellow fever to families who were living near the asylum. Wrapping her faith in God around her like armor, and brandishing her faith like a sword, she called out to the mob saying, “Sirs, is it possible that you would have us refuse to these children the very protection you have obtained for your own? We do not propose to make a hospital of the Asylum; if any of the children are taken ill with the fever, they shall be carried immediately to our Infirmary at the Church Home.” The mob would bow before her resoluteness and allow the children to pass to the safety of their new home. Constance Would Go.

Constance and her companions held firm five goals during the Yellow Fever Epidemic:
To feed the hungry,
To care for the sick,
To minister the dying,
To bury the dead,
And to care for the orphans.

On September 5th, 1878, the yellow fever would claim new victims: Constance and several of her sisters. It is said that while she lay dying, she would pray: “O God, make speed to save; O Lord make haste to help us.”

Constance Would Go.

PS from Anna: We fully expect the SEC to add bumper stickers with “Constance Would Go” to the Lentorium following this year’s bracket.

—  Anna Courie

Helena vs. Constance

  • Constance (68%, 4,322 Votes)
  • Helena (32%, 1,992 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,314

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Helena: by Lucas Cranaach the Elder, Google Art Project.
Constance: Icon by Br. Tobias Stanislas Haller, BSG (1999).

185 Comments to "Helena vs. Constance"

  1. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    March 3, 2016 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    “Constance would go!” What else could possibly matter? (And, yes, I would love to have that bumper sticker on my car!)

    • JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
      March 3, 2016 - 8:16 am | Permalink

      Wow! The first comment today!

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 3, 2016 - 8:19 am | Permalink

      Go Constance!

      • March 3, 2016 - 8:42 am | Permalink

        Go Helena !

        • K Hall's Gravatar K Hall
          March 3, 2016 - 10:40 am | Permalink

          Would there have been a Constance without Constantine? My vote is for Helena.

    • Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
      March 3, 2016 - 8:48 am | Permalink

      I’d love to have a “Constance Would Go!” bumper sticker too.

      • Wynne Osborne's Gravatar Wynne Osborne
        March 3, 2016 - 11:49 am | Permalink

        Me too. And then we could explain it. I like a saint who followed her conscience. I have to like a woman who made the second part of her life valuable, so Helena is not without admiration. But “Constance would GO!”

        • March 3, 2016 - 3:48 pm | Permalink

          Helena went too! Many places, and found many things. Constance (may the Lord bless her!) is not the only go-er.

    • PhilS's Gravatar PhilS
      March 3, 2016 - 9:26 am | Permalink

      Bumper sticker or decal? Yes, please.
      Much better to support “going” than a political candidate.

      • Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
        March 3, 2016 - 10:44 am | Permalink

        Totallly agree

    • Tracey Henley's Gravatar Tracey Henley
      March 3, 2016 - 9:38 am | Permalink

      Me too! I love that Helena is the patron saint of divorced people and loved cats, but Constance and her Companions showed incredible bravery in the face of horror we today can only imagine. Constance Would Go!

      • Jane's Gravatar Jane
        March 3, 2016 - 2:43 pm | Permalink

        Yes! I couldn’t agree more!!

    • Ronnie Warren's Gravatar Ronnie Warren
      March 3, 2016 - 10:52 am | Permalink

      Now that the Supremes 🙂 have approved the idea, I expect the bumper stickers to appear in the Lenten Madness gift shop.

    • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
      March 3, 2016 - 11:25 am | Permalink

      I voted for Constance❤️
      Yet, again I find myself voting for the candidate that did the most to help people.
      This is my first year, and I’m trying to figure out what I can learn from ‘pitting’ unlike saints against each other.
      One so mystical and one more practical.

  2. Jean's Gravatar Jean
    March 3, 2016 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    Helena is pretty cool and I do like both cats and basil, but I had to go with Constance. Her fearlessness in caring for weak and infirm the face of deadly disease, mob hysteria, and prejudice is a shining example to the modern church.

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      March 3, 2016 - 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Good comment, Jean. I appreciate the work of both saints but particularly admire Constance’s actions in the face of fear. Helena spent money to have churches built; Constance built up the Church by ministering to the sick, dying, and orphaned.

  3. March 3, 2016 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    Constance could win the halo. You heard it here first.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 3, 2016 - 8:53 am | Permalink

      I think she just might.

    • Ann in MI's Gravatar Ann in MI
      March 3, 2016 - 9:15 am | Permalink

      completely agree! Constance today and always! what a hero and role model for us all

  4. Pat Floerke's Gravatar Pat Floerke
    March 3, 2016 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    I love “Eddie would go”. Thank you, Anna Courie, for that inspiration of the day and hopefully lots more than a day. I voted for “Constance would go.” And for maybe living a a little bit more of “Pat would go.”

  5. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    March 3, 2016 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    At least for the moment, Constant Constance is getting her due.

  6. March 3, 2016 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    I never heard of Constance of TN until I read about her in Lent Madness. Constance gets my vote.

    • Kathleen Sheehy's Gravatar Kathleen Sheehy
      March 3, 2016 - 10:03 am | Permalink

      Indeed! Amazing how hidden some of these wonderful saints are.

  7. Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
    March 3, 2016 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    Today exemplifies the power of a well written blog entry – I favored Constance before I read Anna’s stirring entry. Now I have the stirring phrase ringing in my mind — “Constance would go” and it’s full speed ahead! Two strong, determined woman today, but I stand with Constance – except she isn’t standing still!

    • beth's Gravatar beth
      March 3, 2016 - 9:21 am | Permalink

      i second this – both entries are well written, but ‘Constance Would Go’ tipped it for me.

  8. Mary O'Donnell's Gravatar Mary O'Donnell
    March 3, 2016 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    If you won the power ball how much good work could you do. Helena’s good works all came from the money her son gave her. Constance gave of herself day after day.

    • Slugger's Gravatar Slugger
      March 4, 2016 - 1:41 am | Permalink

      Of course. I missed the point. It’s about material wealth! Helena could have done nothing. She would have been comfortable.

      In no way do I want to diminish Constance. She’s amazing and I am in awe of her selfless acts; however, with privilege comes responsibility and Helena was not a slacker either.

      My metric is the scope. Helena impacted more lives and generations than Constance and was historically more significant.

      I just can’t predicate my vote based on gender, skin color, or wealth.

  9. March 3, 2016 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Had to admire the lead on the Constance story.

  10. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 3, 2016 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    First time the writing of the celebrity bloggers was the turning point for me – loved Constance Would Go!

  11. Catherine's Gravatar Catherine
    March 3, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying–and learning from–the posts about each saint. Today’s were particularly wonderful and made the choice between the two difficult for me. “Constance would go” or Helena’s gutsy second act: both present models for choosing a life of faith that draws upon the talents (wisdom, common-sense, rhetoric) God gave them.

    • Janet Birckhead's Gravatar Janet Birckhead
      March 3, 2016 - 1:28 pm | Permalink

      I agree, Catherine. Two well-written posts. Two saints who served God faithfully and well. Hard choice!

  12. Leonard Matusik's Gravatar Leonard Matusik
    March 3, 2016 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Im not sure that I can say, “Wither goes Constance so go i” but her selfless example gives me reason to try.

  13. Louis Bannister's Gravatar Louis Bannister
    March 3, 2016 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    I missed reading Collects for today’s pair.

    • junebuggin's Gravatar junebuggin
      March 3, 2016 - 8:35 am | Permalink


    • Paul (A.)'s Gravatar Paul (A.)
      March 3, 2016 - 8:36 am | Permalink

      Collects are in the first round. The post above explains how to revisit those descriptions.

  14. oliver eight years old's Gravatar oliver eight years old
    March 3, 2016 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    I voted for Constance because she helped the sick people.

    • March 3, 2016 - 8:51 am | Permalink

      I did as well, Oliver

    • Christina Thom's Gravatar Christina Thom
      March 3, 2016 - 11:05 am | Permalink

      Me too

    • Joyce Rush's Gravatar Joyce Rush
      March 3, 2016 - 11:48 am | Permalink

      You and I agree again, Oliver.

    • Karen Mills's Gravatar Karen Mills
      March 3, 2016 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Oliver – as we say here in the south: you are the cat’s meow!

    • Miss Jennifer's Gravatar Miss Jennifer
      March 3, 2016 - 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Me too! Although I was almost swayed by St. Nicholas of the Cats!

    • Beth's Gravatar Beth
      March 4, 2016 - 12:42 am | Permalink

      Me too, Oliver.
      And took care of orphans.

  15. Kim Rossi's Gravatar Kim Rossi
    March 3, 2016 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Always looking for a great new bumper sticker for my car! Go Constance!

  16. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    March 3, 2016 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    What an inspiring and beautiful and appropriately quirky blog for Constance! Glad to know her and to meet Eddie, and hoping like others to bear them in mind when it’s go time.

  17. March 3, 2016 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    Constance, you go Girl!!

  18. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 3, 2016 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    Constance protected the children. Helena dragged a dying person in to perform an experiment on her: would one of these shards of wood enact a miracle? I thought that was a bit distasteful. It was an easy choice today: Constance.

  19. junebuggin's Gravatar junebuggin
    March 3, 2016 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    I love cats and basil and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but I had to vote for Constance and her demonstration of God’s love through her works. Constance would go!

    • March 3, 2016 - 9:14 am | Permalink

      I agree junebuggin with you thoughts about cats, basil, and the Holy Sepulchre, and while I will be proud to vote for Constance in future rounds–“Constance Will Go”–as an associate of the Order of St. Helena, whose incredible sisters have inspired me for years, I cannot desert Helena!

  20. uncle T's Gravatar uncle T
    March 3, 2016 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Constance has my vote. In 2013, after much searching I found my gg grandfather’s grave at Elmwood. The caretaker there was so helpful. My ancestor died and was buried just before the epidemic hit. Go Constance!

  21. TLH's Gravatar TLH
    March 3, 2016 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    I have a soft spot for people in unhappy marriages. Helena for me.

  22. March 3, 2016 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    I’d love a “Constance Would Go” bumper sticker.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 3, 2016 - 8:40 am | Permalink

      Go Debbie! Good to hear from you.

    • Deacon Carol's Gravatar Deacon Carol
      March 3, 2016 - 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Me Too! We lived in Cyprus for 5 years and we still have lots of feral cats and no snakes, but Constance gets my vote for her brave work!

  23. Mary Lysbeth Andrews's Gravatar Mary Lysbeth Andrews
    March 3, 2016 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    Constance born the same years as my Grandmother who lost her Mother at 3daysold . I want a Constance will GO ! also for my car ! A good Mayflower name also,

    Constance Hopkins.

  24. John's Gravatar John
    March 3, 2016 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    I think Constance is headed for a landslide victory!

  25. March 3, 2016 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    I’m all for the bumper sticker!

  26. March 3, 2016 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Although I wanted to vote for Helena, too much of her story seems bound in myth. Constance’s story is more concrete and timely with so much worry today about apocalyptic plagues. She shows that not everyone will lose their head during the plague; a good role model for us.

    • Eileen Novotny's Gravatar Eileen Novotny
      March 3, 2016 - 3:45 pm | Permalink

      I too love to read about people who cared for others in terrible and frightening circumstances and would ordinarily chose Constance would go BUT in this case Helena is my patron saint — my name is Eileen —
      Again two great women who went beyond the expectations of their times and culture.

  27. Pastor Lisa's Gravatar Pastor Lisa
    March 3, 2016 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    Helena got my vote. She converted to Christianity as an adult. She was a woman builder in a man’s world. She used her power and wealth to help the poor. She is responsible for the restoration and preservation of many Christian sites in Jerusalem and the Middle East. And she did all these things in the second act of her life, after having been divorced from a powerful man. All of Christianity owes a debt of gratitude to Helena for using her influence as she did. Constance would go? Well, so did Helena, to great lengths!

    • Evelyn Czaja's Gravatar Evelyn Czaja
      March 3, 2016 - 9:53 am | Permalink

      I agree 100%. And let’s applaud Helena also for using the imperial treasury to help the poor. No small taks in her day and age.

    • Jill's Gravatar Jill
      March 3, 2016 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

      I agree. I am also biased as Helena is my Patron Saint. My first name is Jill (no named Saint Jill’s – yet!) but my middle is Ellen, which is derived from Helena. I always have admired Helena’s courage to do things at a time when women did not have much power, especially divorced women. I admire Constance, but Helena has my vote!

  28. Diana Wright's Gravatar Diana Wright
    March 3, 2016 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    I really do like the bumper sticker idea. Seriously.

  29. Tready3's Gravatar Tready3
    March 3, 2016 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    If Constance had bestirred herself to snatch a relic she could have cured all of Memphis; my bumper sticker and vote is Helena Handbasket – full of relics!

    • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
      March 3, 2016 - 10:08 am | Permalink

      Helena Handbasket!!! Love it!!

  30. Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
    March 3, 2016 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Both bloggers did an excellent job today. I’m not discounting Helena’s ministry just because it was funded by the Roman treasury. After all, just because someone has access to a lot of money it doesn’t mean that they do good with it. But I’ve loved Constance since I first heard of her and today’s blog made me love her more.

  31. SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
    March 3, 2016 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    I decided to vote today solely from a “quirks and quotes” perspective, and so my vote went to Helena. Matching silver bracelets! Snake exterminations! Turned out of her home by the father of her child–and ending up under the same roof with the most notorious anti-Christian Roman emperor! And I had no idea that Hadrian put up a temple over Golgotha. Helena was an early archaeologist, no?

    Great write-up, Megan! Helena DID go, and go, and go, and go….

    • Anna's Gravatar Anna
      March 3, 2016 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

      I too found Helena by far the “quirkier” saint. Cats and snakes and scientific tests of cross fragments!

  32. Mike of Kenton's Gravatar Mike of Kenton
    March 3, 2016 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing the “Eddie Would GO” phrase. I looked it up and its a great story. That being said, I voted for Constance

  33. Lauren's Gravatar Lauren
    March 3, 2016 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    This was an easy choice. Constance was a true saint. I maintain that Helena destroyed more than she created in her quest to find relics.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 3, 2016 - 9:08 am | Permalink

      What did Helena destroy in her search for relics?

      • Jennifer Rich's Gravatar Jennifer Rich
        March 3, 2016 - 9:20 am | Permalink

        My thoughts exactly!! I can’t believe all those churches built on top of historical and spiritual places was a good idea.

        • SusanLee's Gravatar SusanLee
          March 3, 2016 - 10:10 am | Permalink

          Actually, according to the write-up, Helena tore down the Roman temple that Hadrian built in the “historical site.”

          • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
            March 3, 2016 - 10:50 am | Permalink

            And that site had been venerated by Christians before Hadrian built his temple over it, so Helena simply restored it to it’s original purpose.

    • Sandy's Gravatar Sandy
      March 3, 2016 - 10:21 am | Permalink

      Building on top of historic and spiritual places was the pervasive practice of the ancient world. Visiting Turkey, I came to see it more as recycling than destruction – the current civilization built using the beautiful and useful from the old. I came to truly admire the interweaving of the earlier eras into the more recent.

      • Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
        March 3, 2016 - 10:54 am | Permalink

        Also, we in most of the US are used to having large amounts of land available on which to build, and we in this day can build where we want because we can drive to other places we want to be or have supplies brought to us mechanically. The ancient world did not have those privileges. Historic and spiritual places were located where they were partly because that was where the spring was, or near the road, or where the people had settled. You either built on top of previously used locations or you had to walk a long way into town and carry water back out again to your previously unused piece of land. And in cities and towns, there wasn’t (and still isn’t) any open land on which to build — you had to build on top of a historic place. Look at King Richard III’s bones excavated from a Leicester parking lot, or the ruins excavated when a European city is building a new subway stop. I agree, this should be considered recycling and reusing and possibly a good thing if what is good and old is preserved, rather than a desecration of historic and spiritual places.

  34. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    March 3, 2016 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Second acts for divorced women has a tremendous appeal to me, having repeatedly seen the need for healing among my friends, whose generation forms the bridge between the era when such women were shamed and treated like outcasts. But Constance and Companions and their faithfulness unto death are a compelling example of what we need today. Shouldn’t we create a modern or contemporary version of the Fourteen Holy Helpers among which Constance is numbered?

  35. Sonia's Gravatar Sonia
    March 3, 2016 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    Divorced, . . .survived. Helana’s story reminds me of the rhyme associated with Henry VIII regarding his wives. Helena was married on a “whim” to a powerful man – did she have a choice? Then divorced because she didn’t have the right “credentials” and left a single mother with a child in the household of another powerful, violent man! She survived and eventually thanks to her son made a name for herself, building churches and according to legends, bringing in cats to drive out snakes and having wells spring up wherever she went. Legends or not there’s something about her story that resonates with me.

  36. Joyce in Georgia's Gravatar Joyce in Georgia
    March 3, 2016 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    How about “Constance Would Stay!” since others abandoned the sick in Memphis, but she and others stayed to heal the sick. know it’s not as catchy, but you get the idea! Staying to help the sick and orphaned even suits her name. Keep staying, Constance! And keeping going for the golden halo1

  37. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 3, 2016 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    Anna Courie’s “Constance Would Go” slogan was a stroke of genius and doubtless helped tip the scales. But aside from that, Constance’s story is deeply inspiring.

    • Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
      March 3, 2016 - 2:41 pm | Permalink

      I agree. Terrific writing, Anna.

  38. Bill Pyatt's Gravatar Bill Pyatt
    March 3, 2016 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    Constance gets my vote for going to those most in heed.

  39. Mary E. Winston's Gravatar Mary E. Winston
    March 3, 2016 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    Both Eddie and Constance would go – thank you so much for the inspiration of the day and yes, I would get a Constance would go bumper sticker too!!!!

  40. Carol Kangas's Gravatar Carol Kangas
    March 3, 2016 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    I missed Constance in the first round since I was traveling in Guatemala out of wi-fi range, so I’m delighted to be able to vote for her today. Like Mark, however, I find that a matchup between someone of more recent vintage, about whom we have concrete information, and someone whose “story seems bound in myth” is a tad unfair.

  41. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 3, 2016 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    Chaplains work alongside the doctors, nurses, and other medical people in hospitals. With that experience the most important and satisfying work of my life, I have to vote for Constance.

  42. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    March 3, 2016 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    I live in Tennessee and am a nurse so had to go with Constance. Having worked for 20 years with patients with HIV, I like to think there is a little bit of Constance in me though the danger was never as significant as Constance’s.

    • Jennifer Rich's Gravatar Jennifer Rich
      March 3, 2016 - 9:18 am | Permalink

      Linda Would Go!

  43. Gloria's Gravatar Gloria
    March 3, 2016 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    No contest for a nurse…Constance.

  44. Gillian's Gravatar Gillian
    March 3, 2016 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    I was ordained Deacon on Constance’s observance, which I thought very appropriate. The preacher did a good job, but not as good as “Constance would go!” That will now be my mantra for recalling the diaconal dimension of my call. Thank you!

  45. March 3, 2016 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    “Constance Would Go!” A great bumper sticker for the Jesus Movement! Hey, maybe they can be personalized! Scott Would Go! Tim Would Go! Joyce in Georgia Would Go! Mike of Kenton Would Go! Or, perhaps the best one for all, “I WOULD GO!”

  46. Anne Margo's Gravatar Anne Margo
    March 3, 2016 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    I was neutral when I started this morning. And I have to say I just loved the story of the monastery in Cyprus, as I was expecting the usual saintly miracle story and instead got the extremely practical and realistic cat solution. That just delighted me. But in the end, I had to go with Constance, what with her standing up to a mob that was prepared to attack children, and just generally staying in the face of a horrific disease. Not to mention the catchy slogan! Go Constance go!

  47. Tony Lubong's Gravatar Tony Lubong
    March 3, 2016 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    While Helena went about hunting for relics, Constance would go searching for orphans. I vote Constance.

  48. Jennifer Rich's Gravatar Jennifer Rich
    March 3, 2016 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    Helping the orphans of Yellow Fever victims – you can’t get much more saintly than that. Go Constance!!

  49. Grace Matthews's Gravatar Grace Matthews
    March 3, 2016 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    Helena went, too! She lived in uncertain times and over centuries lots of legends grew about her decades of spreading the faith. Some must be true. She actuallly used common sense in solving some problems, e.g. cats vs. snakes, something holy may cure disease. She persists in being revered as an important woman in the history of the faith. Helena would go, too!

    • Tammie's Gravatar Tammie
      March 3, 2016 - 11:31 am | Permalink

      Well put! I’m not sure many readers understand how extraordinary it is that Helena accomplished so much in her life, her story survived to this day. Makes me wonder how many unnamed women saints lived alongside her in the 3rd and 4th centuries!

  50. Lucia's Gravatar Lucia
    March 3, 2016 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    I miss the archbishops.

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      March 3, 2016 - 11:40 am | Permalink

      Oh yes, and all their mapel-y goodness

  51. Martha Frances's Gravatar Martha Frances
    March 3, 2016 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    Oliver has the right idea again today. I’ve just recently visited St. Mary’s Cathedral in Memphis where Constance & her companions worked & died. She & those who cared for the community who were dying were amazing. Today, there’s a vibrant community who care for & feed the homeless & nourish them with the Eucharist. The great work continues. Even tho I’m an associate with the Ordr of St. Helena, I had to vote for Constance today.

  52. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 3, 2016 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    Yep, that ‘Constance would go’ thing is a bit of smart writing. And no doubt Constance was a great person. However, Helena shouldn’t be out-done just because of a great catchy phrase. When Constantine became emporer, she could have literally just rested on her laurels. Instead she got to work big time. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre? That’s big. Then there’s all the complaints people keep making about ancient saints and the wild stories about them. So what happened when the monstary asked her to get rid of the snakes? Did she pull a St. Patrick? No, no crazy story here, she just got cats. Now I could go on about the impact in modern times of that many cats on the local ecosystem, but the fact is she came up with a practical solution.

    Plus, as a divorced person who likes cats, I have to go with Helena anyhow.

  53. Sr Helena Barrett OSB's Gravatar Sr Helena Barrett OSB
    March 3, 2016 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    Helena did her most active work at about the age of 80, so she’s an inspiration on that count as well as for distributing imperial monies to the poor. Rather than a British princess, she was more likely a Bythinian barmaid discarded by her ambitious soldier for a politically advantageous trophy wife. Besides abandoned wives she’d be a good patron for older women, for pilgrims, archaeologists, and church architects.
    Constance is wonderful, but Helena has been my patron saint for 70 years …so no contest for me.

  54. Celeste's Gravatar Celeste
    March 3, 2016 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    First order: 20 bumper stickers, primarily for a group of friends at the CREDO Office in Memphis. Beautiful writing from your heart Tobias.

  55. Michael Cawthra's Gravatar Michael Cawthra
    March 3, 2016 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    In today’s negative political arena, it is a breath of fresh air to hear Constance stand up to hate, fear, and prejudice. I vote Constance.

  56. Natalie's Gravatar Natalie
    March 3, 2016 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    “Constance Would Go” – I would definitely buy one of those bumper stickers. Or a tote bag.

    I think Constance might go all the way – I’m seriously considering a pilgrimage to Memphis thanks to this Lent Madness season!

  57. Patsy's Gravatar Patsy
    March 3, 2016 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    From re-reading the first bios, I had decided to vote for Helena for her heading out on such a mission in her 70s, but I was so inspired to hear of Constance ‘ s care of the orphans as well as the sick and dying that I changed my mind.

  58. Betsy's Gravatar Betsy
    March 3, 2016 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    Alas, Helena’s connections to cats and possibly to England, while possibly only the stuff of legend, won out over “Constance Must Go!” for me. But there must be some sort of honorary golden wings or something for Constance’s celebrity blogger–how creative!

  59. Lisa Rose's Gravatar Lisa Rose
    March 3, 2016 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    This IS a tough one … but I guess what bothers me a little about the Constance story is that there were a number of Martyrs of Memphis (including a prostitute) but only Constance is singled out, and she died soon after the 2nd plague started. I guess she gets the credit because she was the sister in charge. Yes, what she did was admirable, but it was also her job. So much of Helena’s story is shrouded in myth but it is hard to ignore that she raised Constantine in Diocletian’s household, and they became Christian anyway! For that and other sisterly reasons I will stand by Helena

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 3, 2016 - 11:10 am | Permalink

      Actually, it wasn’t her job. She and her nuns moved to Memphis to be teachers, not nurses. Yet they chose to remain and care for the stricken. And yes, the focus is on Constance, probably because she was the sister in charge. But the other Martyrs aren’t ignored: In the Dedications in Memphis their names are listed as well. And the icon with the write up shows all the nuns and the priests. I would like to know more about the prostitute and her girls (she was a madam, I believe).

  60. aleathia (dolores) nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores) nicholson
    March 3, 2016 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    Well…..Oliver eight years old pretty well summed it up today: CONSTANCE WILL GO. Poor Helena can hang it up unless I have grossly missed the mark. We do know that the SEC Padres are in a mad frenzy having the new bumper stickers manufactured and the LENT MADNESS lovers in Memphis TN are running amok urging all their compadres to vote for Constance. We shall see what the end will be. Well done Bloggers as you hit the marks today for both women.

  61. Miriam Elizabeth, OSH's Gravatar Miriam Elizabeth, OSH
    March 3, 2016 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    Sisters in the Order of Saint Helena are rooting for our patron today!

  62. Nyck's Gravatar Nyck
    March 3, 2016 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    There is so much to love about Helena but Faith in Action wins the day for me. Constance Would and Did Go!

  63. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 3, 2016 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    SEC —

    I decided since there had been so many one-sided outcomes in the Round of 32 that I would go back and write in the percentages on my bracket for future reference. And although I, too, was disappointed that Katerri Tekakwitha lost the year’s closest race so far to Columba, I very much doubt that the final score was 51% to 51%! Adam may want to take another look at that entry.

    (I accidentally posted this on yesterday’s contest, and am repeating it here. Not nagging — just trying to make sure it gets seen.)

    • Michael Hartney's Gravatar Michael Hartney
      March 3, 2016 - 6:07 pm | Permalink

      It was officially:
      Columba (51%, 3,885 Votes)
      Kateri Tekakwitha (49%, 3,755 Votes)
      Total Voters: 7,640

  64. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 3, 2016 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Perhaps I am being too pedantic, but the point about Constance was that she stayed, and didn’t go when she had the chance. Helena’s biography swung it for me. abandoned with a child, using her old age to distribute the imperial monies to the poor, building churches, finding practical, feline solutions to snake infestations. I am also influenced by ‘Helena’, written by Evelyn Waugh which is a great read, and by my sneaking suspicion that Helena is a real under dog today.

  65. March 3, 2016 - 10:13 am | Permalink

    As the oldest child of a divorce during an era when women had very little support after such bravery, I have to go with Helena. We could have used a patron saint back then. Constance is impressive, though, I admit. Still Helena resonates with my life story.
    Helena did go!

  66. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    March 3, 2016 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    I did like the bit about all the cats, but Go Constance. And the bumper stickers are a cool idea.

  67. Dutton Morehouse's Gravatar Dutton Morehouse
    March 3, 2016 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    Hard to vote against cats and basil, but Constance has always been an inspiration for me. She exemplifies what it means to be a faithful – and constant – doer of the word. Pray that we have more like her in today’s broken world.

  68. JP's Gravatar JP
    March 3, 2016 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    Constance is an example of what all Christians (and god-fearing people) should be doing all the time.

  69. March 3, 2016 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    There are so many wonderful things about Constance and the others who gave of themselves (not always unto death) during those terrible days in Memphis. Two things I like to note are the local Madam, Annie Cook, who opened her “house” as a hospital and cared for the sick and dying. She became known as the “Mary Magdalen of Memphis.” She is buried not far from the four sisters and the two priests. Which reminds me of two other things: The text on the priests’ monument is that of the scroll in the icon: “Greater love hath no man….” The other thing is that the four sisters are buried head to head, with a small square marker at the point where their heads would touch. I picture them resting there, awaiting the day when they joyously pinwhell up to glory shouting Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

    • Carie's Gravatar Carie
      March 3, 2016 - 10:43 am | Permalink

      Thanks for that information about them.

      • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
        March 3, 2016 - 11:17 am | Permalink

        Yes, thank you, Tobias.

    • kristy's Gravatar kristy
      March 3, 2016 - 11:20 am | Permalink

      We don’t often have recent art nor explanations by the artist. That really added to my enjoyment of today’s post.

  70. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 3, 2016 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    Constance Would Go! Love it! This native Memphian needs that bumper sticker. Helena would have had my vote if not for this match-up. Constance for the Golden Halo!

  71. Carie's Gravatar Carie
    March 3, 2016 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    Being a nurse for many years; I have to admire
    Constance’s courage & her sisters. My vote went to them.

  72. John of Concord's Gravatar John of Concord
    March 3, 2016 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    Constance had the better “spin” from her political surrogate (how can you beat a “Constance will Go” bumper sticker?). But having seen some of Helena’s Pilgrimage Churches, like Jerusalem’s Holy Sepulchre (originally Resurrection Church), and approaching Holy Week, with its Holy Sepulchre-based rituals, I’m an Helena loyalist!

  73. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    March 3, 2016 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    How could one not vote for Constance? She is everything we should all aim to be. There is so much fantastical legend about Helena in her write up, but I suppose in as many years, the same can and will be said about Constance. But as for me and my house, we will follow Constance’s example. (And by house, I mean me and my dog, Farley.)

  74. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 3, 2016 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    Helena did much in what Fr. Richard Rohr calls “The Second Half of Life”, and while some of the tales told of her might be more fairy tale than fact, even fairy tales tell us something important about life. As for building Christian shrines and churches and…over pagan ones, we’ve been doing that all along; we recognize the thin places and make them our own.
    Plus, I’ve been to Holy Sepulchre and found it amazing.

  75. Sheila's Gravatar Sheila
    March 3, 2016 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    As an almost empty-nest mom, I’m looking forward to my second act. The first one was a fun ride. Helena did not rest on her laurels but moved forward with gusto. My vote is for Helena!

  76. March 3, 2016 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    The discipline we learn as Religious (either men or women), the power of a regular prayer life, and dedication under Obedience gives us the courage to move forward in the Gospel Life. Voted for Constance and Companions!

  77. Heather Warren's Gravatar Heather Warren
    March 3, 2016 - 11:07 am | Permalink

    Yes, bumper stickers! The world needs more saintly kitsch.

  78. Emily's Gravatar Emily
    March 3, 2016 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    As much today as then, the ancient faithful women laid the groundwork for our more current sainted women of God…Helena for me.

  79. Mrs. B.'s Gravatar Mrs. B.
    March 3, 2016 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    “Their parents had ‘passed.'” Horrors!

  80. Claudia Horner's Gravatar Claudia Horner
    March 3, 2016 - 11:22 am | Permalink

    The possibility of new saintly kitsch has won me over, and now I find myself voting for Constance simply is the hope of a new bumper sticker. It’s not Lent Madness for nothing.

  81. Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner's Gravatar Cheryle Cerezo-Gardiner
    March 3, 2016 - 11:26 am | Permalink

    I was going to vote for Helena the Cat Lady, but Helena only sent, Constance would go.

    Constance for me.

  82. Alene's Gravatar Alene
    March 3, 2016 - 11:47 am | Permalink

    Really wanted to vote for Constance would go, but then I remembered all the people who have been denied communion or convinced that they are unworthy to partake because of their marital status and I realized that the patron saint of divorced and unhappy marriages needs to be more well known.

  83. drM's Gravatar drM
    March 3, 2016 - 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Having just yesterday been a pilgrim in the chapel of.St Helena in the church of.the holy sepulcher, I.could.vote but one.way!

  84. Catherine's Gravatar Catherine
    March 3, 2016 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Helena – patron saint of divorced people and people in difficult marriages.

  85. Patricia Nakamura's Gravatar Patricia Nakamura
    March 3, 2016 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Constance was a wonder and yes, I’d love a bumper sticker.
    But I had to cast my vote for Helena: Divorce, difficult marriage. She knows me.

  86. Yoga Heidi's Gravatar Yoga Heidi
    March 3, 2016 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Helena got me at the cats.

  87. Janene Gorham's Gravatar Janene Gorham
    March 3, 2016 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

    You all are a riot. Somewhat unorthodox but you did make me laugh.
    Especially since my grandkids hated Barney.

    • Janene Gorham's Gravatar Janene Gorham
      March 3, 2016 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

      I love them both so much. Had to go with the nurse nun though

  88. Constance's Gravatar Constance
    March 3, 2016 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Constances of the world unite!

  89. tonip1's Gravatar tonip1
    March 3, 2016 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I was leaning towards Constance but “Constance would go” clinched it for me. I hope in my life people would be able to say “Toni would go”

  90. Judy Fleener, ObJN's Gravatar Judy Fleener, ObJN
    March 3, 2016 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

    We need a mention of monastcis in

    We all need to be reminded of monasticism in the e Episcopal Church. My vote is for Constance.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 3, 2016 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

      I agree. Many people (including Episcopalians) are surprised when they learn we have monks and nuns.

  91. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    March 3, 2016 - 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Jesus said to Simon Peter “Feed my Lambs” to God he said, “Constance would go”

  92. RHL's Gravatar RHL
    March 3, 2016 - 12:47 pm | Permalink

    How fun. Constance and Helena live on in two religious communities for women in the Episcopal Church. The Community of Saint Mary. The Sisters of Saint Helena. May they both blossom and flourish. Thanks be to God for their witness.

    • andrea's Gravatar andrea
      March 4, 2016 - 12:14 am | Permalink


  93. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 3, 2016 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Having voted for Helena in Round One, I’m going with Constance today. One reason is the darker parts of the Legend of the True Cross, Piero della Francesca fresco cycle of which is in the Church of San Francesco in Arezzo, Italy. To my knowledge they haven’t yet appeared in these conversations. Perhaps the most troubling part is this, to be found (with the rest of Piero’s stunning paintings) at wag.hu:

    “6. Torture of the Jew

    Fresco, 356 x 193 cm
    San Francesco, Arezzo

    At the end wall of the chapel, around the stain-glass window and below the prophets were placed the Burial of the Wood (on the left) and the Torture of the Jew (on the right). These two stories were painted by Piero’s main assistant Giovanni da Piamonte, who used the cartoon by Piero.

    Having achieved his victory, Constantine determined to find out more about the mysterious cross. His mother, Empress Helena, set out for Jerusalem to learn what she could. There she questioned all of the Jewish scholars, and when she sensed that information was being withheld from her she threatened to have them all burned. At that a man by the name of Judas, who knew where the cross was to be found, was sent to her. He would not reveal the secret, however, so Helena had him thrown down into a dry well. After six days without food he begged to be released. We find this scene in the middle register of the choir wall. Judas has only halfway emerged from the well. One man holds him by the hair while two others pull him out with the help of a winch set up behind the well, from which a rope has been tied around his body.”

    No further comment is needed, I trust.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      March 3, 2016 - 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Piero’s fresco cycle is based on tales from “The Golden Legend” by Jacobus de Voragine.
      Not every story in “The Golden Legend” should be accepted as historical fact. Many of them are pious fictions and the Legend of the True Cross has the strong ring of Fairy Tale.

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 3, 2016 - 10:00 pm | Permalink

        Of course; but the saints we’re voting on, especially those of antiquity, are as portrayed by the stories that surround them. I’d never heard the version of finding the cross presented in today’s bio and thought the version with which I was familiar should be added. We can take each of these stories into account or discount it, but the saintly candidate has, as it were, to live with the whole body of his or her legend.

        • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
          March 4, 2016 - 8:32 am | Permalink

          You wrote “…the saints we’re voting on…are as portrayed by the stories that surround them.”
          I wouldn’t put it quite that way. I would say “The saints are who they actually are. There are true stories about them and sometimes stories that aren’t true.”
          As for the different versions of finding the cross, my experience was just the opposite of yours: the one presented with the write-up is what was familiar to me.

          • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
            March 4, 2016 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for enlightening me about the legend. I may have encountered it elsewhere, but the fresco cycle is really my only source. Maybe I’ve spent too much time in Arezzo and not enough in the wider world.

            The proper relationship of legend and and fact is a fascinating subject, isn’t it? And of course it permeates Lent Madness. Your formulation works best where, as in Helena’s case, there’s a reasonable body of more or less verifiable fact with legendary accretions. It’s harder to apply it, though, to a case like Elmo’s, where wild improbability is all we have. The bios seem to me to invite us to treat all of it as true for electoral purposes.

            Incidentally, the prize relic of the Church of St. Francis in Cortona is a piece of the True Cross in a gorgeous reliquary. The church itself is the first one dedicated to Francis outside Assisi and was built by Brother Elias, Francis’s lieutenant and a Cortona native. The not implausible story goes that Elias visited Constantinople and there acquired the relic: I think I read that he was given it by the Emperor, but that part may not be verifiable. Of course the story says nothing about the provenance of the splinter before it came into Elias’s hands; nor does the fact that he was a gifted (some would say “self-“) promoter assist the credibility of the I-got-it-in-Constantinople” segment.

  94. Marsha Scharnberg's Gravatar Marsha Scharnberg
    March 3, 2016 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

    As an alumna of St. Helen’s Northwood (UK) I fully expected this to be a no-brainer for Helena,* but Constance’s story is so compelling I have to vote for her.

    (from the school song: “…Empress and Queen, o Helen,/ To all in need a friend indeed/ Our praises are ringing, St Helen!”

  95. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    March 3, 2016 - 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I have always been fascinated with Helena, and the story of the cats almost swayed my vote for her today. But, I had to cast my vote for Constance! To lay down one’s life is the ultimate sacrifice.

  96. March 3, 2016 - 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always loved Helena, but today I had to GO with Constance

  97. Mary Lou Creamer's Gravatar Mary Lou Creamer
    March 3, 2016 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I did too, Oliver. I hope that people would say about me, “Mary Lou would go.” We need that bumper sticker or magnet next year!

  98. Pat's Gravatar Pat
    March 3, 2016 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I am in the sad process of divorcing and admire Helena’s perseverence. My vote is for Helena.

  99. Eileen C. Fisher's Gravatar Eileen C. Fisher
    March 3, 2016 - 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I hope the Lentorium meisters are prepared for lots of people wanting the bumper sticker “Constance Would Go!” My husband and I want one apiece. This sticker might prompt the curious to enquire about this amazing woman and then we can provide the back story.

  100. Danielle Perkins's Gravatar Danielle Perkins
    March 3, 2016 - 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Eddie? Eddie who? I missed something. Who in the world is this Eddie?

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      March 3, 2016 - 5:50 pm | Permalink

      The first part of today’s essay about Constance mentions his story. Here is more detail: http://www.eddieaikaufoundation.org/eddie.htm

    • Allan in Augusta's Gravatar Allan in Augusta
      March 3, 2016 - 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Go to YouTube and you’ll find several clips from an ESPN documentary on the Hawaiian lifeguard and surfer Eddie Aikau. Or look him up on Wikipedia. He lost his life at sea in an effort to save others. Touching and tragic biography.

  101. Kathy M's Gravatar Kathy M
    March 3, 2016 - 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Once again, as a nurse and an associate of the Community of St. Mary, Go Constance!! Can’t wait to order my bumper sicker!

  102. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    March 3, 2016 - 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Constance still gets my vote — risking her own life to tend to the sick!

  103. james lodwick's Gravatar james lodwick
    March 3, 2016 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

    These choices are maddening! Both of today’s saints shared the same faith and did marvelous things on account of that faith. This contest seems more and more a matter of deep moral discernment. On that basis, I had to go with Constance (her name so apt) and her faithful ministry in the midst of great danger, including to herself. But I still admire Helena for how she used her power and her money, at a ripe old age, to do great things for God–a personal inspiration for me, who have only very modest power and money but do share her age.

  104. Everett H. Klein's Gravatar Everett H. Klein
    March 3, 2016 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

    The careful attention to detail that the Empress Helena put into building the churches in Jerusalem is still with us today. On one side of a hill, she built a basilica like structure where people faced forward. This was for the Liturgy of the Word and for teaching. On the other side of the hill, she built a round structure for the Liturgy of the Table. All eyes faced the table and the body and blood of Christ. Legend has it that she built these two churches on each side of the hill where the cross of Christ had once stood. A worshiper began with the liturgy of the word, processed past the place of the cross, and then partook of sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood at the Liturgy of the Table. This is who Helena was. She still has an effect on the church of today. (For more of the story, see the Lesser Feasts and Fasts Book of 2003, pg 366)

  105. Leamarie's Gravatar Leamarie
    March 3, 2016 - 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Answering the call to go…getting up out of a comfortable (one assumes) home to go meet the needs of the sick, the dying, and the poor, hungry and orphaned, and staying to eventually die of the illness she fought….that is truly saintly. “Constance would go”will be my ideal when faced with a decision of whether to go serve, or stay home. Thanks for this well written inspired commentary!

    • Linda McGee's Gravatar Linda McGee
      March 3, 2016 - 4:22 pm | Permalink

      I so agree with you, Leamarie.

  106. David Shaw's Gravatar David Shaw
    March 3, 2016 - 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Constance for me- her tale borders on Biblical for all that she and her sisters did for the sick!

  107. K8's Gravatar K8
    March 3, 2016 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

    He dumped he
    She not only survived, she flourished.
    It’s not easy.
    Go Helena!

    • K8's Gravatar K8
      March 3, 2016 - 3:58 pm | Permalink

      He dumped HER not he

  108. Linda McGee's Gravatar Linda McGee
    March 3, 2016 - 4:21 pm | Permalink

    It’s Constance for me!

  109. Aimiliona's Gravatar Aimiliona
    March 3, 2016 - 5:20 pm | Permalink

    My cats will never forgive me if I don’t vote for Helena.

  110. sarah- 15 years old's Gravatar sarah- 15 years old
    March 3, 2016 - 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Constance because she really fought through hard times while the yellow fever was running ramped. Even though it was dangerous she still helped dying and sick people.

  111. March 3, 2016 - 6:11 pm | Permalink

    It takes an extraordinary person to have me voting against someone whose post features cats. Constance was an extraordinary person.

    • sarah- 15 years old's Gravatar sarah- 15 years old
      March 3, 2016 - 6:24 pm | Permalink

      i agree

  112. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    March 3, 2016 - 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Two worthy saints who tug at my heart. I wish they were battling for the Golden Halo!

  113. J A Reyes's Gravatar J A Reyes
    March 3, 2016 - 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Instead of a “Constance Would Go!” bumper sticker, I would prefer a tee-shirt. And wear it downtown and have people stop you and ask what the quote was all about. I can imagine wearing this on Duval Street in Key West. It would be laugh out loud funny.

    • March 3, 2016 - 7:38 pm | Permalink

      LOL is right. I like your plan!

  114. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    March 3, 2016 - 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Both saints are worthy winners, but it’s Helena the church-builder for me. Even today her devotion and leadership is remembered by Christian communities throughout the world.

  115. Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
    March 3, 2016 - 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Blackberry and Mouse made me vote for Helena. They pretty much rule the household.

  116. Rebecca DB's Gravatar Rebecca DB
    March 3, 2016 - 9:07 pm | Permalink

    My daughter who is 8 years old and I voted for Constance because she made sure the orphans weren’t sick.

  117. March 3, 2016 - 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Don’t know if anyone has posted this yet, but here’s more of the very dramatic story of Constance and her companions (a.k.a. the Martyrs of Memphis, as you know), see http://www.socialwelfarehistory.com/religious/constance-and-her-companions/ It is a truly inspiring story! I find it most interesting that Constance is now “in competition” with the Grandmother of St. Constantia (a.k.a. Constance). And, as one who suffers mosquitos every summer, I will now remember the tireless dedication of Constance and try not to grumble so much about the little bloodsuckers.

  118. Myrna's Gravatar Myrna
    March 4, 2016 - 12:06 am | Permalink

    I love the miracle stories, plus the other facts, so I voted for Helena. I also figured that Constance would win.

  119. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    March 4, 2016 - 12:47 am | Permalink

    Hard choice today. Really admire Helena, but Constance’s standing up for the orphans, her care for the sick and dying, and her words while she lay dying changed my mind. I was also touched by Eddie’s story.
    Constance Would Go! She went–twice. I would also like a bumper sticker. Thank you, Anna.

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