Elizabeth Ann Seton vs. Sarah

Today we make Lent Madness hist0ry. While Old Testament figures are considered saints in some traditions, we have never before had one participate in the Saintly Smackdown. That ends today as Sarah the Matriarch faces Elizabeth Ann Seton in a pairing that spans many, many generations.

Yesterday, in the Battle of the Consonants, Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky outspelled Nikolaus von Zinzendorf 69% to 31% to advance to the Saintly Sixteen where he’ll face Martin Luther.

If you missed yesterday’s Limerick Edition of Monday Madness, you can still redeem your entire week by watching it here. Tim and Scott share some limericks (both on air and in print) and, despite some amazing rhymes throughout yesterday’s comment section, have officially decided NOT to turn Lent Madness into one giant penitential poetry slam.

Elizabeth Ann Seton

Elizabeth Ann Seton was born in New York City in 1774, two years before the United States declared independence from England. Her father was a very popular doctor, and her maternal grandfather was an Anglican priest. Seton’s parents set examples of service and charity that she would follow her whole life.

Seton had a lonely and difficult childhood, losing her biological mother to death and her stepmother to a family rift. In 1794 she married William Seton at a service performed by Bishop Samuel Provoost, the first Episcopal bishop of New York. She and her family were congregants of Trinity Church.

Three years into her marriage, her father in-law died; a few years later, her husband succumbed to tuberculosis, after having lost the bulk of the family’s wealth and social status. Seton found herself a young widow with five children and few resources. She eventually found solace in the Roman Catholic tradition, into which she was received in 1805.

Her world changed again in the next year when she met the Rev. Louis Dubourg, a Roman Catholic priest who wanted to start a Catholic seminary for women in the United States. This piqued Elizabeth’s interest and drive, and in 1809 Elizabeth founded the Sisters of Charity, the first community of nuns who were also citizens of the United States. She professed her vows and became “Mother Seton.”

Locating their community in Maryland, the sisters dedicated themselves to education, social services, and religious formation. In 1810 the community began
St. Joseph’s Free School, the first Roman Catholic school in America, and launched the Roman Catholic parochial school system in the United States. Mother Seton and her order also founded and operated orphanages in major cities along the East Coast.

Seton remained the Mother of the Sisters of Charity until her death from tuberculosis at age 46 on January 4, 1821. She was the first native-born citizen of the United States to become a saint. Her feast is commemorated on January 4.

Collect for Elizabeth Ann Seton 
Holy God, you blessed Elizabeth Seton with your grace as wife, mother, educator and founder, that she might spend her life in service to your people: Help us, by her example, to express our love for you in love of others; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

— Neva Rae Fox


Sarah (formerly Sarai), daughter of Terah, wife of Abraham, first of the matriarchs in the Old Testament, is the mother of nations.

When Sarah was 90 years old, three strangers came to visit her tent. She and her husband and their household had been living in tents for the last twenty-five years, and she had seen and heard plenty. Abraham and his God were the mainstays of Sarah’s life; even her name had been changed as they journeyed toward a place of promise. She was Abraham’s half-sister and younger by about ten years. Abraham had pulled more than one rabbit out of his hat by diplomatically omitting the nuptial aspect of their association. He was also insistent that God had promised them a child—together. Sarah had heard some crazy things come out of Abraham’s mouth and had seen some crazy things standing at his side, but when she heard the three strangers tell Abraham that she—Sarah—would hold her very own baby in just a short while, she laughed out loud. She had been in the desert a long time, but she wasn’t all the way crazy.

Sarah laughed Isaac into the world and held the living proof of God’s promise in her own hands. If we are honest, we can imagine her making the totally opposite noise some years later when Abraham took the boy off into the badlands, clumsily trying to explain to her that God had asked him to do another impossible thing.

Some years after Abraham and Isaac returned from Moriah, Sarah died. In the first recorded commercial transaction in the Bible, Abraham bought a resting place for the woman who had moved everywhere with him and who had died while he was away on business. And in the first burial recorded in the Old Testament, Abraham lays the bones of Sarah down to rest overlooking the oaks of Mamre from where her daughter-in-law Rebekah would come. Sarah is remembered for her devotion, bravery, tenacity, and laughter.

Collect for Sarah
Ancient of Days, you have called nations into being which number more than the grains of sand on all the beaches in all the world. Thank you for Sarah, who journeyed through deserts toward a land of promise, entertained angels, laughed a promised child into the world, and mothered nations. Help us, like her, to remain faithful to your promises, no matter how unlikely the world may find them. We pray this in the name of your son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

— David Creech

Elizabeth Ann Seton vs. Sarah

  • Sarah (51%, 3,693 Votes)
  • Elizabeth Ann Seton (49%, 3,528 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,221

Loading ... Loading ...

Elizabeth Ann Seton—By Jacques Reich (probably based on an earlier work by another artist), Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Sarah—Guillaume Rouille (1518?-1589) (“Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum”), Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

301 Comments to "Elizabeth Ann Seton vs. Sarah"

  1. Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
    March 21, 2017 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    Welcome Old Testament saints! I voted for Sarah.

    • Thomas G. Stama (Athanasios)'s Gravatar Thomas G. Stama (Athanasios)
      March 21, 2017 - 8:19 am | Permalink

      So agree! Poor dear with the husband she had, I cannot understand why he was the center of the story. How many times did he pimp her out saying she was his sister?

      • Laurie's Gravatar Laurie
        March 21, 2017 - 10:27 am | Permalink

        what is the backstory here? I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school almost my whole life, and am now a practicing Episcopalian – HOW DID I NOT KNOW SHE WAS HIS HALF-SISTER?? Truly I can’t believe I am just learning this now. Please educate me!

        • Virginia W. Nagel's Gravatar Virginia W. Nagel
          March 21, 2017 - 11:46 am | Permalink

          If you read your Bible carefully, you will find out the details. It’s in Genesis. I won ‘t tell you the chapter and verse, I want you to read and reflect on the book.

          • Linda Watson-Lorde's Gravatar Linda Watson-Lorde
            March 21, 2017 - 2:28 pm | Permalink

            LOVE this response!

          • Claire Fitzmaurice from Quincy MA's Gravatar Claire Fitzmaurice from Quincy MA
            March 21, 2017 - 4:39 pm | Permalink

            Pre-Vatican II Catholics were actively discouraged from reading The Bible. That was the Priests’ job. Laura, I was baptized during Vatican II and have grown up top be a Unitarian-Universalist. I get your dismay. “If you read your Bible carefully” sounds awfully judgmental. IMHO.

          • A kid's Gravatar A kid
            March 21, 2017 - 5:47 pm | Permalink


        • Christina Joy Thom's Gravatar Christina Joy Thom
          March 21, 2017 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

          Got that story from a junior high Sunday School teacher who was trying to get the boys interested in the Bible. He also played Jesus Christ Super Star and Tommy. He only taught for one year. He also taught us not to feel sorry for ourselves or others, he had had Polio.

        • Story's Gravatar Story
          March 21, 2017 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

          Laurie, I don’t remember reading that either. It’s crazy.

        • Marty Vega's Gravatar Marty Vega
          March 21, 2017 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

          Genesis 20:12

        • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
          March 21, 2017 - 5:24 pm | Permalink

          Laurie, if you read Genesis 12, 20, and 26, you will find several sister-wife stories. Avram passes off his wife Sarai as his sister to Pharaoh and to Avimelekh, and Yitzhak (Isaac) passes off his wife Rivka (Rebecca) to Avimelekh, again as his sister. In the case of Avram, it seems that Sarai is indeed his half-sister, whom he married. In each case the ruse results in great wealth. The woman’s beauty attracts wealth, but the theme of deceit is introduced as well. The trope seems to suggest that human efforts are always impure, but it also asks the question: Who is the Other? Where and how do we draw the lines between the in-group and the out-group? These stories early in the primeval history of the patriarchs are mytho-poetic and establish deep ground questions for our understandings of ourselves and our relationship with “Breath.” Can recommend the Everett Fox translation of Torah, The Five Books of Moses.

        • Mary Winston's Gravatar Mary Winston
          March 21, 2017 - 6:16 pm | Permalink

          Me too and me neither!!!

    • Sister Barbara Jean Brown's Gravatar Sister Barbara Jean Brown
      March 21, 2017 - 8:55 am | Permalink

      Me too!

      • Mary Banecker's Gravatar Mary Banecker
        March 21, 2017 - 11:39 am | Permalink

        Join Education for Ministry to learn more.

    • Patricia Gordon's Gravatar Patricia Gordon
      March 21, 2017 - 10:18 am | Permalink

      Me, too. I loved the bio – made her come alive in my mind. Before I found the Episcopal Church – one of the best days of my life – I was raised Roman Catholic and attended a school run by the Sisters of Charity. I have fond memories of several of them (Love you Sister Angela and Sister Bernadette!). I lived on Staten Island so often visited the Mother Seton “shrine” at the south end of Manhattan Island. We offered many prayers for Mother Seton’s canonization, too. Nonetheless, it was Sarah and especially her laughter and her willingness to have a baby at 90!! for me.

    • Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
      March 21, 2017 - 11:22 am | Permalink

      Wow! Is this the most exciting Lent Madness match up ever. 11:20 and still nose to nose at 50%. Two fabulous saints! One fabulous Lent Madness!

    • Francis Hubbard's Gravatar Francis Hubbard
      March 21, 2017 - 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Sarai/Sarah is a remarkable example of faith because she believed and walked the walk of faith even though, unlike Abram/Abraham, did not hear directly from God. Let’s hear it for the original matriarch!

  2. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 21, 2017 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    Today seems impossible to me but I have to give in to “Sarah laughed” This is probably because I am closing in on that late age. But who can imagine what she must have thought. I am laughing, just thinking about it.

  3. Harriet's Gravatar Harriet
    March 21, 2017 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    Good to see OT women highlighted.

  4. Sheila Wheltle's Gravatar Sheila Wheltle
    March 21, 2017 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    Yes! Finally, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton! Wife, mother, educator and founder. With two Mount St. Mary’s graduates, I have grown to love and respect Mother Seton. As the mother of a 5th grade teacher in a West Philly parochial school, my admiration of teachers, which has always been high, has grown tremendously.

    • Virginia W. Nagel's Gravatar Virginia W. Nagel
      March 21, 2017 - 11:54 am | Permalink

      When we lived in the Philadelphia area, our church, All Souls Episcopal Parish for the Deaf, worshipped in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, about 4 blocks from City Hall. Later, I was ordained at St. Luke’s. Elizabeth Ann Seton was baptized at St. Luke’s and my kids were very impressed by the enormous baptism site in the back of the church…one of my son referred to it as “the church’s swimming pool.”

  5. Lisa's Gravatar Lisa
    March 21, 2017 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    As a graduate of Elizabeth Seton College in Yonkers, NY, there was only one way you this could go for me.

    • Laurie's Gravatar Laurie
      March 21, 2017 - 10:27 am | Permalink

      my mom went there too!

  6. Lynda-Marie's Gravatar Lynda-Marie
    March 21, 2017 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    Mother Seton is personally responsible for making possible the education of many Americans through the ages, and her influence continues to this day.

    • Rita Griffith's Gravatar Rita Griffith
      March 21, 2017 - 7:10 pm | Permalink

      I voted for Elizabeth Seton too, because I never liked Sarah for how she treated Hagar & Ishmael. She was a wicked old lady, in my book.

  7. Joyce A Fletcher Menard's Gravatar Joyce A Fletcher Menard
    March 21, 2017 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    Are you kidding me? Sarah/Sarai is my 3rd favorite Bible character after our Lord and the Blessed Mary – What women at 90 wants to have a baby? If one reads this scripture literally, she is indeed to be honored. If you just read 90 years of age as an old women (at whatever old is for you), few among us of grandma status can keep up with the kiddos for days on end with exhaustion beyond belief.

    • Laura's Gravatar Laura
      March 21, 2017 - 11:26 am | Permalink

      Joyce, I haven’t ranked my Biblical favorites but your comment made me smile. Sarah is certainly right up there for me! I respect all that Elizabeth Ann Seton accomplished in her young life (I’m sure 46 was not the “young” that it is today) and the long-lasting effect that she’s had but Sarah got my vote!

  8. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 21, 2017 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    Am I really the first to comment this morning? Since I live just a few miles from St. Elizabeth Seton College, I was very interested in the process of her being made a Roman Catholic saint. Her order has done great good, and the college that bears her name has an illustrious reputation. She was born in my favorite city, New York. How could I not vote for her?

  9. Melanie's Gravatar Melanie
    March 21, 2017 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    Hard to vote against Sarah, but the home-town saint of Emmitsburg, Maryland wins my heart today.

  10. JE Kaufman's Gravatar JE Kaufman
    March 21, 2017 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    I usually have a good imagination, but today, I can’t imagine voting for anyone except Sarah. I often wonder if Lent Madness featured Jesus vs. someone, if He might not get all the votes…

    • Kim R's Gravatar Kim R
      March 21, 2017 - 9:45 am | Permalink

      I know, right??! Sarah was the only woman in the Bible whose name was changed BY GOD. Surely this is a winning characteristic, if ever there was one!

    • March 21, 2017 - 11:21 am | Permalink

      Actually, the SEC has specifically stated that Jesus and Mary are ineligible for the bracket. A wise decision, I think… I mean, who would DARE vote against either of them?

  11. Debbie Northern's Gravatar Debbie Northern
    March 21, 2017 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    This was a tough choice again between two faithful women, but I went with Elizabeth for her dedication to educating women at a time when it was thought an education was wasted on females.

    • March 21, 2017 - 9:33 am | Permalink

      Good morning, Debbie. Love Sarah and Abraham, but couldn’t vote against a New Yorker who was baptized Episcopalian and a teacher! Go Liz!

    • Patricia (P.A.) Samuel's Gravatar Patricia (P.A.) Samuel
      March 21, 2017 - 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Debbie N., lest we forget. The value of education for women was still raging when I was a fresher at Notre Dame College (East Side of Cleveland, O.) in 1962, although the discussion had advanced to the college level. The Sisters of Notre Dame also excellent at education; go, Elizabeth Seton!

    • D Taylor's Gravatar D Taylor
      March 21, 2017 - 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for changing my mind. I was going with Sara until I thought about the benefits of education for my own 4 daughters

  12. Rev. Steve's Gravatar Rev. Steve
    March 21, 2017 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    I went with Seton even though my younger daughter is named Sarah. Main reason is that Sarah’s encouragement for Abraham to have a child with Hagar has lead to never ending problems.

    • March 21, 2017 - 8:53 am | Permalink

      A point, but tells us, as Abraham’s like callings do, that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Yet God loves us, blesses us–why?!

      • March 21, 2017 - 8:54 am | Permalink

        I meant, ‘fallings’. Or failings. (Autocorrect…)

      • Rev. Steve's Gravatar Rev. Steve
        March 21, 2017 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

        Point well taken Ruth. All of us fall short of the glory of God and receive forgiveness and blessings from our gracious Lord. I just needed a tie breaker between two people who were powerfully used by God.

    • Hilda Maria Knowles's Gravatar Hilda Maria Knowles
      March 21, 2017 - 10:03 am | Permalink

      I voted for Mother Seaton because in addition to agreeing with Rev. Steve I too was a relatively-young widow with 5 children, was raised in New York and was a teacher.

      • March 21, 2017 - 10:14 am | Permalink

        As a widow yourself with 5 children, didn’t you wonder just a bit what Mother Seton did with her 5 still young children when she went off to found the Sisters of Charity? If there is a good answer to that question, I wish it had been mentioned in the biography. But, in any case, my vote goes to Sarah for her immense patience, both with Abraham and God.

        • Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
          March 21, 2017 - 10:39 am | Permalink

          I wonder about that too. No info on Wikipedia.

          • Kate's Gravatar Kate
            March 21, 2017 - 3:44 pm | Permalink

            Lots of people wondering about what happened to Mother Seton’s 5 children…here is a good link with a great deal of info on her “darlings”, as well as the rest of her life. Vote for Elizabeth. Her life was filled with faith in and dvotion to our dear Lord, helping her own children and countless others through helping with orphans, the sick , the homeless and the uneducated. Her work in these areas also included her founding of the Sisters of Charity in America and a life dedicated to following God’s will for her in providing for her own and myriad other chidren… God bless her!!!

          • Kate's Gravatar Kate
            March 21, 2017 - 3:48 pm | Permalink


            Sorry…forgot to add site!!! (Children info and lots more!)

        • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
          March 21, 2017 - 10:58 am | Permalink

          That was what gave me pause also, glad others thought that. She was married in 1794 so in 1809 her oldest child was unlikely to have been more than 14, and she had four other younger children. Commenters piled on Augustine of Hippo when they thought he had abandoned a child. IMHO if you bring children into the world you are responsible for raising them — especially remembering that they had already lost one parent, their father. I think God could have waited a few years until she had raised her children before devoting herself to the Sisters of Charity.

          • Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
            March 21, 2017 - 11:30 am | Permalink

            Her Wikipedia entry says nothing about the children post starting the order. But she started a school and Sisters of Charity were not cloistered so it’s possible they were cared for within the community or by the extended Seaton family.
            Don’t assume she left them to fend for themselves. Remember, the CB can’t put an entire life in the first round or they have nothing left to write about for subsequent rounds.

          • Mary Lynn's Gravatar Mary Lynn
            March 21, 2017 - 1:44 pm | Permalink
          • Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
            March 21, 2017 - 3:48 pm | Permalink

            I found a much more detailed bio of Seton here http://www.emmitsburg.net/setonshrine/

            “During the period 1809-1820, of the ninety-eight candidates who arrived in Elizabeth’s lifetime, eighty-six of them actually joined the new community; seventy percent remained Sisters of Charity for life. Illness, sorrow, and early death were omnipresent in Elizabeth’s life. She buried eighteen sisters at Emmitsburg, in addition to her two daughters Annina and Rebecca, and her sisters-in-law Harriet and Cecilia Seton.”

            I’ve seen elsewhere that when she took her vows, it was understood her children would be with her and cared for within the community. Anna died at age 17 and Rebecca at age 18. Richard died at 25 while serving in the Navy. William lived until 72 and Catherine until 91.

        • March 21, 2017 - 3:50 pm | Permalink

          I was wondering myself, and I finally found a bio (link below) that explained that two of her sons were in college, and two girls lived in the community with her. Not sure what happened to the fifth… She and her husband had also been responsible for a large number of his siblings. Goodness. http://www.stmarymagdalen.org/Catholicism/Saints/StElizabethSeton.htm

          • March 21, 2017 - 3:52 pm | Permalink

            Also, this one says, “Rebecca died in her mother’s arms in 1816, when she was only fourteen years old.”

        • Carol B's Gravatar Carol B
          March 21, 2017 - 4:00 pm | Permalink

          I absolutely wondered about that. The oldest couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8.

    • Linda Hanson's Gravatar Linda Hanson
      March 21, 2017 - 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Abraham did not HAVE to rape his slave and then send her and young son into the desert. He could have raised an extended family and taught them to love one another.

  13. Thom Peters's Gravatar Thom Peters
    March 21, 2017 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Jesus wept. Sarah laughed.

  14. Ntathu's Gravatar Ntathu
    March 21, 2017 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    Seton Hall was knocked out early in that other “madness.”I’m rooting for Elizabeth Ann all the way in the true madness!

  15. Newton Lewis's Gravatar Newton Lewis
    March 21, 2017 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Coming from Maryland, with the Ann Seton Shrine just up the road, had to vote for her.

  16. March 21, 2017 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    I really wanted to vote for both. In the end Sarah won because she “laughed.” Although if I was told at 90 I was having a child I would probably cry.

  17. Sister Mary Winifred's Gravatar Sister Mary Winifred
    March 21, 2017 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Since everyone was quick to jump on Augustine’s case, what ever happened to the Seton children?

    • ChrisinNY's Gravatar ChrisinNY
      March 21, 2017 - 8:31 am | Permalink

      Two died young (in the first years of the Sisters of Mercy). Two boys were 15 and 11 (and lived long lives). Her daughter Catherine joined her in the order.

      • Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
        March 21, 2017 - 9:01 am | Permalink

        Thanks, ChrisinNY. I was wondering the same thing because they couldn’t have been what we would consider adults when she took vows. I had to vote for Sarah because of her long faithfulness and “Sarah laughed”.

    • March 21, 2017 - 9:13 am | Permalink

      Nothing like what happened to Ishmael and to Isaac…

      But it’s an interesting question. She had 3 daughters and 2 sons. Two of the girls died in their teens; the surviving daughter entered religious life and lived into her 90s. One of the boys died in his 20s, the other
      For varying reasons, children were often raised by relatives. Perhaps this was what happened for the Seton children. I also wonder whether founding an order required the same sundering of ties that entering an order would have done at that time?

      • March 21, 2017 - 9:20 am | Permalink

        I edited badly in my comment above. The other boy lived to be 72, I think. And his son, Wm III was a writer.
        Thus speaketh the Wiki.

      • March 21, 2017 - 9:40 am | Permalink

        I have to look up where (I think it’s in Ladies of Liberty by Cokie Roberts, but I’m not sure), but I’ve read that before she took vows or founded her community, she specified that she wasn’t going to give up her duties as a mother to her children. That was one of the concessions granted her at the time.

    • Nancy Oliver's Gravatar Nancy Oliver
      March 21, 2017 - 9:28 am | Permalink

      AMEN- My question exactly! Her oldest could not have been more than 10 or so (and she had 5 children) when she went off to start a “Community of nuns”. What the heck??? I kept reading to find out if she brought them with her- which would not be conducive to a contemplative life- or gave them to someone else. What did happen to her kids????

      • Jenna's Gravatar Jenna
        March 21, 2017 - 9:36 am | Permalink

        I admit I had the same thoughts.

  18. ChrisinNY's Gravatar ChrisinNY
    March 21, 2017 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    I named my daughter Elizabeth Ann (two first names), our first wholly American saint. No contest here, although the write-up of Sarah is wonderful.

    • Sister Mary Winifred's Gravatar Sister Mary Winifred
      March 21, 2017 - 8:47 am | Permalink

      . . . there were a lot of saints out there, but the Episcopal Church doesn’t canonize people.

      • March 21, 2017 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

        But the fact that someone is on a church’s liturgical calendar means that the church concerned regards the person as a saint. It’s just that the Catholic and Orthodox churches have a more involved process of saint-making than many other churches.

  19. Tim Trussell-Smith's Gravatar Tim Trussell-Smith
    March 21, 2017 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised to see Mother Seton, as wonderful as she was, in a dead heat with Sarah. It’s Sarah! What person is more important than Sarah? Maybe Moses or Mary, but it’s pretty select company we’re talking about 🙂

  20. Lindsay Graves's Gravatar Lindsay Graves
    March 21, 2017 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Our lovely daughter is named Sarah Elizabeth….so this was a tough choice. If the voting ends in a 50-50 split, how will the SEC break the tie?

  21. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 21, 2017 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    As a product of several years in Catholic schools–I had to vote for Sarah. (I was also quite taken by the description of her laughter…)

  22. Kathleen Sheehy's Gravatar Kathleen Sheehy
    March 21, 2017 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one. Even though I am currently playing Sister Aloysius in a production of Doubt, I decided to go with Sarah. It was great to see an Old Testament matriarch in the bracket.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 21, 2017 - 10:06 am | Permalink

      Sister Aloysius? How wonderful!

    • PatMuller's Gravatar PatMuller
      March 21, 2017 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Sister Aloysius? How delicious! I feel a limerick gestating

  23. Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
    March 21, 2017 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    A question I have about Elizabeth Ann Seton is what happened to her children when she entered religious life. As best I can figure from her Wikipedia entry, they ranged in age from 7 to mid-teens in 1809 when she founded the Sisters of Charity. Did she keep them with her in the community and school? Were they raised by other family members? For all the good she did for other children, I’m hoping it was not at the expense of her own. Wikipedia is silent on this question. Does anyone here know?

    • Mary's Gravatar Mary
      March 21, 2017 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      I wondered this, too, Jack!

    • Sheila Wheltle's Gravatar Sheila Wheltle
      March 21, 2017 - 9:24 am | Permalink

      According to ChrisinNY: Two died young (in the first years of the Sisters of Mercy). Two boys were 15 and 11 (and lived long lives). Her daughter Catherine joined her in the order.

  24. Tonya's Gravatar Tonya
    March 21, 2017 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    Sarah certainly is wonderful, but as a graduate of Elizabeth Seton High School, I just have to vote for her.

  25. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    March 21, 2017 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    “Sarah Laughed” says it all for me!

  26. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    March 21, 2017 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    Does anyone know what happened to Elizabeth Ann Seton’s children when she became a nun? Were they farmed out to relatives or were they grown by that time?

    Because I don’t know the answers to those questions and because “Sarah laughed,” it’s Sarah that gets my vote!

    • Sheila Wheltle's Gravatar Sheila Wheltle
      March 21, 2017 - 9:25 am | Permalink

      According to ChrisinNY from an earlier post: Two died young (in the first years of the Sisters of Mercy). Two boys were 15 and 11 (and lived long lives). Her daughter Catherine joined her in the order.

  27. Emily in PA's Gravatar Emily in PA
    March 21, 2017 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    I’ve always been bothered by the way Sarah mistreated Hagar, who is one of my favorite people in the Bible. Reading in her bio about all she put up with made me soften a bit towards Sarah, but not quite enough. My vote went to Elizabeth.

    • Becky's Gravatar Becky
      March 21, 2017 - 11:00 am | Permalink

      Hagar’s treatment by Sarah really bothers me as well.

      • March 21, 2017 - 11:24 am | Permalink

        I also was bothered by Sarah’s treatment of Hagar, and accordingly voted for Elizabeth Ann Seton.

    • March 21, 2017 - 4:22 pm | Permalink

      I so agree with you. Sarah drove Hagar and Ishmael out into the dessert with few provisions. Not exactly saintly behavior. Both Jews and Christians hold Sarah in high esteem, but I think she was mean-spirited. Of course, Hagar and Ishmael go on to play a role in the founding of Islam. Maybe God had a hand in all f this.

      • John Crittenden's Gravatar John Crittenden
        March 22, 2017 - 12:06 am | Permalink

        Had a hand….Has a hand…
        I am a believer in this.
        It seems that God worked in a more complicated way in Elizabeth,
        And Elizabeth reciprocated. Who can be in another’s mind. How
        Does God work in yours, in mine. Deeply interesting meditations about
        Hagar. We have much to learn.

    • March 21, 2017 - 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Most scholars see the to-ing-and-fro-ing between Sarah and Hagar as legendary rather than actually historical.

  28. Diana's Gravatar Diana
    March 21, 2017 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    For Elizabeth Ann Seton and Sarah

    Tune: Eventide, Hymnal ’82, 662, Abide With Me

    Abide with them, O Lord, the SEC!
    They’ll need protection if they constantly
    Bring to our days excess diversity!
    On just one ballot, it’s a choice thorny!

    She is a sign of grace in midst of woe,
    Elizabeth knew sorrow, loss and foes*.
    Gave of herself wherever there was need,
    Gave women purpose, bravely took the lead.

    Sarah was strong, a model women need.
    Learned the hard way that God is truth indeed.
    Endured long years of empty womb and arms,**
    Freed from sore bitterness to joy affirmed.

    *There was tremendous prejudice against Roman Catholicism at the time, as well as against the religious life which was seen as “unnatural”.

    **I often wonder how she felt when she had to lie about being married, was taken into a harem to protect her husband’s hide then booted out to protect the king’s/pharaoh’s hide. She had so little opportunity for joy in her life, this matriarch of three faiths.

    • Diana's Gravatar Diana
      March 21, 2017 - 9:47 am | Permalink

      Not that I’d ever threaten the SEC, but really, it’s a serious toss-up today! Please won’t you let us vote twice just one time in Lent? You could call it our rose vote for Rose Sunday.

    • Lauren Zook's Gravatar Lauren Zook
      March 21, 2017 - 10:43 am | Permalink

      Thank you for these hymns — I look forward to them every morning!

  29. Edwina's Gravatar Edwina
    March 21, 2017 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown NJ was the choice of family members and I visited there often. The Sisters of Charity also did work for Lepers. I must vote for Elizabeth Seaton for the good works she performed.

  30. Timothy Cole-French's Gravatar Timothy Cole-French
    March 21, 2017 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    I voted for Sarah because she has one word in her name.

  31. Alison Earles's Gravatar Alison Earles
    March 21, 2017 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    I think Sarah is just too much of a holy figure in Christianity and in other world religions to include her in this challenge. It would also be inappropriate to include Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Rachel, Leah in this challenge.

  32. Jill's Gravatar Jill
    March 21, 2017 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Much respect for Sarah today. With small kids, I sometimes think I am too old for this. And I am not half her age!

  33. Lois Keen's Gravatar Lois Keen
    March 21, 2017 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Wow! This is a close one! Sarah.

  34. Peter's Gravatar Peter
    March 21, 2017 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    You would have to be a saint to put up with being married to Abraham. “You took my son where?”

  35. Ruth W.Davis's Gravatar Ruth W.Davis
    March 21, 2017 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    Sarah, like Abraham, is an archetype (“the original model from which all other things of the same kind are made”), and she speaks to all who are called out of the familiar to journey into the unknown. Plus, she laughed!

  36. Kristin's Gravatar Kristin
    March 21, 2017 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    Had a baby at 90. Enough said.

  37. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 21, 2017 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    This is gonna be a close one! Saint Sarah and her laugh.

  38. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    March 21, 2017 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Sarah….because she laughed.

  39. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    March 21, 2017 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Sarah! Her story carried me through years of childlessness, reminding me through it all that there is God, and there is laughter and hope.

  40. Mollie Douglas Turner+'s Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner+
    March 21, 2017 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    It was a hard choice today, but I finally voted for Sarah after getting little help from previous commenters. Sorry, Mother Seton, but it’s always miffed me that you left the Episcopal Church (though I see that the church may well have let you down in a really difficult time). Still.

    • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
      March 21, 2017 - 10:34 pm | Permalink

      I agree completely, and made the same choice.

  41. Sofie's Gravatar Sofie
    March 21, 2017 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    I find it difficult to vote for someone who may well be a mythical figure, or at the very least, a real figure whose life has been mythologized. Also, I’m concerned about the way Sarah’s complicated nature and story has been abridged here, in a way that omits her insistence on banishing her handmaid Hagar and Hagar’s son Ishamel. The Hebrew Bible’s stories are important because its figures aren’t ideals, although they’re frequently idealized by others. Rather, these characters are flawed humans (even if mythical ones), and the flaws are important to consider as we take lessons from the scriptures.

    Meanwhile, I love Seton’s story of service in the face of loss and adversity. I love Seton as the trailblazing founder of schools and social services. She is brave and inspiring to those who would allow themselves to be swamped under such life circumstances. She gets my vote, hands down.

    • Sofie's Gravatar Sofie
      March 21, 2017 - 9:00 am | Permalink

      Sorry for the typo above: “Ishmael,” not “Ishamel.” Typing in the early morning has its hazards…

    • Camille's Gravatar Camille
      March 21, 2017 - 9:32 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Sofie. My thoughts exactly. While myth is an important teaching tool, real human beings and their good works always get my vote in Lent Madness.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 21, 2017 - 10:15 am | Permalink

      I knew someone would diss Sarah for not being “real”! How do we decide who is real and who isn’t? Abraham? Isaiah? Was Jesus real? How about Mary? What are the criteria?

      • March 21, 2017 - 11:52 am | Permalink

        Right on, Susan!

      • Camille's Gravatar Camille
        March 21, 2017 - 11:56 am | Permalink

        Check out Biblical scholars.

        • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
          March 21, 2017 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

          My point, Camille, is that no one knows with perfect historical accuracy when, how long, or if many of the people of the Bible lived, but for people of faith the “realness” or significance of these people and their stories is not diminished. If we depend on historical references, photographs, or archaeological or other scientific evidence for our faith, all of which can be destroyed or lost throughout time, then we are standing on shaky ground indeed.

      • William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
        March 21, 2017 - 10:37 pm | Permalink

        Anyone who had the nerve to serve the [angels of the] LORD milk and meat zt the same meal has to be real in my book.

        • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
          March 22, 2017 - 11:22 am | Permalink

          This was prior to the time of the establishment of the Kosher dietary restrictions, since those came at the time of Moses, who was a descendant of Sarah.

    • Cheryl L Nix's Gravatar Cheryl L Nix
      March 21, 2017 - 11:12 am | Permalink

      I agree with you too. Sarah is likely a mythological figure, so I’ll vote for a real person. I was a Catholic as a young child and went to Catholic schools for 3 years and got an awesome educational foundation.

  42. Elizabeth Neeld's Gravatar Elizabeth Neeld
    March 21, 2017 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    Couldn’t vote for Sarah because of what she did–or allowed to be done–to Hagar and Ishmael.

    • March 21, 2017 - 4:30 pm | Permalink

      As I’d commented on an earlier post, “Most scholars see the to-ing-and-fro-ing between Sarah and Hagar as legendary rather than actually historical.”

  43. Michael Cunningham's Gravatar Michael Cunningham
    March 21, 2017 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    Sarah, for my daughter, Sarah Mary Grace.

  44. Claudia's Gravatar Claudia
    March 21, 2017 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    Although I am a cradle Episcopalian, I am also a product of Maryland parochial school, Notre Dame Preparatory (School Sisters of Notre Dame). With vaguely parallel histories, I had to vote for Mother Seton!

    • Sheila Wheltle's Gravatar Sheila Wheltle
      March 21, 2017 - 9:27 am | Permalink

      Hooray NDP! (a Mount de Sales and Mt. St. Mary’s mom) Mother Seton has my vote too!

  45. Pesterl's Gravatar Pesterl
    March 21, 2017 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    Seton opened the doors to education in this country that continues to this very day. Remember the movie “Doubt” g hose were Seton Sisters.

  46. Betty A Morris's Gravatar Betty A Morris
    March 21, 2017 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    We have a mixed family of Episcopal and RC and Elizabeth Ann Seton is my granddaughter’s confirmation saint so I had to vote for her. I wish I could have voted for both. Sarah putting up with Abraham and all his shenanigans deserves to be St. Sarah. I’m sure she already has a golden halo.

  47. Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
    March 21, 2017 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    Re Sarah being the first OT figure to make a bracket: I thought Moses made an appearance in a previous Lent Madness tournament?

    As for my vote today – while CB David Creech crafted a very enticing and poetic entry on behalf of Sarah, my vote goes unreservedly to Elizabeth Ann Seaton. Although I traversed the Roman Catholic-Episcopal path in the opposite order from Mother Seaton, I owe much of who I am, personally and professionally, to my 12 years in parochial schools under the teaching of the good Sisters of the Adrian (MI) Dominicans.

    • March 21, 2017 - 9:15 am | Permalink

      That was Moses the Black. This year is his second time in the bracket. Go Moe, for the Halo!

  48. Jackie Blake's Gravatar Jackie Blake
    March 21, 2017 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    Having received an excellent education in the Catholic school system, and then gone on to DePaul School of Nursing, run by the Daughters of Charity (our dorm was called Seton Hall) this is a no-brained for me. Besides, their habits looked like the Flying Nun!

    • Constance Santana's Gravatar Constance Santana
      March 22, 2017 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Ha! Ha! I missed this contest but had to comment. I was raised by the Daughters of Chairity (the true flying nuns) and dearly loved them too. Still remember Sr. Annalee roller skating with us…but nothing beat Sr. Frances skiing on Mobile Bay in her full regalia with her wings folded over and paperclipped down. What a sight! She never once fell either. Love those great memories.

      Of course I would have voted Elizabeth Ann Seton as well…next time.

  49. March 21, 2017 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Thanks, SEC, for including an Old Testament saint in the bracket. May there be more in future brackets!

    • Robert's Gravatar Robert
      March 21, 2017 - 9:46 am | Permalink

      Hear, hear!

  50. Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
    March 21, 2017 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    During Lent our parish is using Eucharistic prayer C
    “Lord God of our Fathers; God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (BPC)
    “Lord God of our ancestors; God of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel and Leah” (alternative, with other names also suggested by various sources, and assorted grumpiness that goes with this change; c.f. Derek Olsen: “Sarah laughed”)
    but in all things the words that follow “God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ: Open our eyes to see your hand at work in the world about us. …”
    so TODAY my vote is for Sarai / Sarah

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 21, 2017 - 10:41 am | Permalink

      Thank you!

  51. Martha Frances's Gravatar Martha Frances
    March 21, 2017 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    I voted for Elizabeth Ann Seton, mainly because I figured she was pretty sharp to start a religious community to help her w/ 5 children! Smooth move! Anyway, as much as I admire Sarah & certainly understand her laughing behind the tent flap at the idea of a child at 90 (I’d actually be crying, but hysteria is an understandable response), I’m still a little ticked at her in the way she treated Hagar & Ishmael when Abraham turned that choice over to her.

  52. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    March 21, 2017 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    Here’s to Sarah, who “laughed a promised child into the world,” and to David Creech, who made me cry before 9 am Central Time. Kudos to Ms. Fox and marvelous Mother Seton as well.

  53. March 21, 2017 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    I have to vote for Sarah. My Pottery Studio is named, And Sarah Laughed from a TR that we did in
    EfM. I identify with both and greatly admire Elizabeth Seaton. True Saint and a true American with her “can do” attitude. I agree “because everything is possible with God”Mark 10:27

  54. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    March 21, 2017 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    Kudos to celebrity blogger David Creech for a beautiful write-up on Sarah. She gets my vote today.

  55. Mary Cay Pelot's Gravatar Mary Cay Pelot
    March 21, 2017 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one for me. I sooooo wanted to vote for Elizabeth Ann Seton, BUT . . . if Sarah had not birthed Laughter, we wouldn’t be talking about the rest of the people on this bracket.

    • John Crittenden's Gravatar John Crittenden
      March 22, 2017 - 12:15 am | Permalink

      ‘Twas Mary to whom the Lord did bid a child Jesus.
      God works his will in mysterious ways.
      My daughter always said “if I were not born of you, I would have been born of a bear”
      Who knows the ways of God.
      I voted for Elizabeth because she was often out of community and alone.

  56. Robert's Gravatar Robert
    March 21, 2017 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Sarah even though Elizabeth Anne Seaton’s story is very compelling. My daughter who is also an Episcopal priest was named after Sarah!

  57. Fran's Gravatar Fran
    March 21, 2017 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    Now I understand the “Madness” part of this “game”. These 2 were again so difficult to separate. However, I voted for the first American Saint!

  58. Sally's Gravatar Sally
    March 21, 2017 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    I voted for Sarah. That’s my legal name (nickname is Sally).

  59. Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
    March 21, 2017 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    Wow – almost a Sophie’s choice. I am a music director at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish, but I have always loved the story of Sarah.

  60. Jill LaRoche Wilson's Gravatar Jill LaRoche Wilson
    March 21, 2017 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    This was a hard choice; I’ve always been inspired by Mother Seton’s story.

    However, my middle daughter is Sarah… And my youngest daughter (who helps me vote) loves the idea of living in a tent for twenty-five years (yay camping!).

    Sarah took our vote.

  61. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    March 21, 2017 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    This is another hard one. I’ve known many terrific Sisters of Charity, and I admire Seton. But Sarah? She went with her husband and wandered, and was faithful to God. And her laugh is one of the great biblical moments.

  62. P!ATD crazy fan's Gravatar P!ATD crazy fan
    March 21, 2017 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    I voted for Elizabeth, because I feel like Sarah gets a lot of popularity and attention, being the mother of many nations. I also felt that Elizabeth’s story was more interesting and more dutiful.

  63. Toni Ponzo's Gravatar Toni Ponzo
    March 21, 2017 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    I really admire Mother Seaton and the work of her order to this day. That said I had to go with Sarai/Sarah. What a great symbol of all that women endure (even Mother Seaton) in the name of faith and family. And she laughed!

  64. Bill Geiger's Gravatar Bill Geiger
    March 21, 2017 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    Tough choice, none the less because our oldest daughter is Sarah Elizabeth. Both are amazing women, and I hate to choose; but the very crazy story of Sarah and how she faced her extraordinary calling with laughter, and all the ambiguity laughter entails.

  65. CJ's Gravatar CJ
    March 21, 2017 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    Sorry. I can’t vote for Sarah after the way she treated Hagar…….. It’s Mother Seton for me!

    • pHil's Gravatar pHil
      March 21, 2017 - 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Yes. There seems to be no laughter AFTER Isaac is born. She traded her courage for resentment and possessive attachment issues. (As feminist OT scholar Phyllis Tribble suggests, SHE should’ve been the one asked to sacrifice Isaac.) Can’t know, of course, but one can imagine Abraham burying an very old, tired, and bitter woman.

  66. Yvonne Telep's Gravatar Yvonne Telep
    March 21, 2017 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    There is a wonderful short story about Sarah, going off into the desert and plotting to undo Abraham’s crazy plan to kill her beloved son. It is for that version of Sarah, who refused to let God and her husband take her child, that I vote today. I know that is probably counter to the spirit of Lent, but I am a rebel at heart. Tough choice this one!

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 22, 2017 - 11:34 am | Permalink

      I know that story. A year or so ago it was read by Jane Curtain on Selected Shorts which I listen to as a podcast, but is aired by many National Public Radio affiliated stations. If the podcast is still available or if you can track down the story to read, it is marvellous. Sadly, I can’t recall the title, just the wonderful story of Sarah helping to do God’s unstated will.

  67. Allison Askins's Gravatar Allison Askins
    March 21, 2017 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    I must go with Elizabeth. My stepfather was recently cared for in a Sisters of Charity hospital and I truly felt the presence of God in every person’s care of him. It was a rather amazing thing. I also know that the Sisters do an enormous amount of good work in our state, which has so many pockets of need.

  68. Krisan L's Gravatar Krisan L
    March 21, 2017 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    Such a TOUGH choice for this round. But alas, while Sarah essentially mothered us all she is renowned throughout the world. Therefore my vote was for Elizabeth as the first saint from the US.

  69. Chris R's Gravatar Chris R
    March 21, 2017 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    I as taught by the sisters of charity of mother seton in grammar school and in high school in nyc. So I had to vote for mother seton.

  70. March 21, 2017 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    Mother Seton has been a personal hero of mine for decades, and I’ve never liked Sarah’s treatment of Hagar and Ishmael. In fact, I wonder if when Abraham took Isaac into the wilderness, Sarah thought at all about how years before she had forced Abraham to send his other son and that son’s mother into the wilderness to most likely die. Elizabeth Seton it is.

  71. Beth Bartniczak's Gravatar Beth Bartniczak
    March 21, 2017 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Without a doubt I had to vote for Mother Seton. The Sisters of Charity have done such great works in making education accessible to the masses. Also their work with the orphaned and the sick touch so many lives. The biggest reason, though, is that I am a product of that Elizabeth Ann Seton education. Went to an all-girl, catholic prep school and got the education of a lifetime. It launched me on a path of further education and gave me the needed skills to work my way through college and into my career all the while making the dearest friendships of my life. 45 years later, I am proud to still call these women my dearest friends. While I am happily an Episcopalian, Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity gave my life a firm foundation upon which to grow. Elizabeth Ann Seton for the win!

  72. Joyce in Madison. GA's Gravatar Joyce in Madison. GA
    March 21, 2017 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    This is going to be a tough battle, but I must vote for the first saint of the Church born in the U.S. What an advance for women she made. I vote for the Mother of the Sisters of Charity. Move ahead, Elizabeth!

  73. jpr's Gravatar jpr
    March 21, 2017 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    Sarah’s treatment of Hagar spoils her story for me.

  74. Sarah Pope's Gravatar Sarah Pope
    March 21, 2017 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    As a fourth-generation Sarah, I had to vote for my namesake. I felt I had made the right choice when I read the biography.

  75. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    March 21, 2017 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    Omitted in Sarah’s bio is her vicious treatment of Hagar and Ishmael. First she abused a pregnant woman, who was pregnant only because Hagar as a slave had no choice about sleeping with Abraham. What if Hagar did crow over Sarah? Does that justify Sarah mistreating her so badly that she had to run away? Then when Sarah did bear a son, she insisted Abraham get rid of Hagar and Ishmael. I think it’s safe to assume she was just fine with Abraham’s wussy decision to send the pair out into the wilderness with nothing but a little food and water. (And how nice for Ishmael to be suddenly rejected by his father.) On the other hand, Elizabeth Ann Seton stood up for her faith against social pressure, educated women, and cared for the poor. Mother Seton for me.

    • pHil's Gravatar pHil
      March 21, 2017 - 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, it’s sad that Sarah’s witness goes sour like it does. Some biblical characters rise from the pits to great heights, others are up and down and up and down (like David?). Sarah seems to plummet downhill after flashes of faith. I wonder if it is unfairness (dare I say misogyny?) on the part of the writers that her short-lived laughter becomes bitter spite? Was she truly this fallen? Or was she robbed of her redemption?

    • John Crittenden's Gravatar John Crittenden
      March 22, 2017 - 12:24 am | Permalink

      It seems we could call many saints to task for their actions or inactions.
      We could try to unravel Sara and Hagar through theological reflection though our minds will not likely want to accept how close we are in spirit to those sent away. And today, also, to the spirituality of Islam. We might think it is up to Them to open the door but more importantly, how can we, as Christians, open the door shut by Abraham.
      Peaceful dreams friends.

  76. Sonia Stevenson's Gravatar Sonia Stevenson
    March 21, 2017 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    “in 1809 Elizabeth founded the Sisters of Charity, the first community of nuns who were also citizens of the United States. ”

    I am glad to see that the writer specified “in the United States.” Last week at our Wednesday morning Eucharist in the absence of any Anglican saint we celebrated the life Louise de Marillac, a French woman, who along with Vincent de Paul founded the Daughters of Charity in 1633. It was almost two centuries later when
    Elizabeth Ann Seton, a recent convert to the Catholic Church, hoped to establish a community of Daughters of Charity. Unable to do so because of the political situation during the Napoleonic Wars, she founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph at Emmitsburg, Maryland on 31 July 1809.

    Elizabeth sent to France to request the Rules of the Daughters of Charity. In 1810 the Rules by which she guided her community during her lifetime were brought to her. At the time of her death in 1821, the community numbered fifty Sisters. Eventually in 1850, the community at Emmitsburg affiliated with the Mother House of the Daughters of Charity in Paris and at that time adopted the blue habit and the white collar and cornette. The community in Emmitsburg thus became the first American province of the Daughters of Charity.

  77. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 21, 2017 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    Sarah: Matriarch of three religions, whose descendants were as numerous as grains of sand on the earth. Abrahamic, sure. But Sarah did the heavy lifting. It has to be Sarah today.

  78. Kathy Wisconsin's Gravatar Kathy Wisconsin
    March 21, 2017 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    If my math is correct, when Elizabeth created the convent, her oldest child would have been a teen . What happened to the five children or were they permissible in convents in those days? Curious mom.
    My vote is for Sarah.

  79. Denise Evans's Gravatar Denise Evans
    March 21, 2017 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    My mother’s name was Sarah, but I had to go with Elizabeth Ann Seton. Not only have the Sisters of Charity done great work, but Seton Hall University is named for her and they made it into this year’s other bracket mania (alas…they got smacked down early).

    • Ntathu's Gravatar Ntathu
      March 21, 2017 - 4:59 pm | Permalink

      I mentioned this in an earlier comment. I’m rooting for Elizabeth in this bracket. My son is a proud alumnus.

  80. Jan Martin's Gravatar Jan Martin
    March 21, 2017 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Having lived in the shadow of Seton Hospital for many years, I had to vote for her; however, it is hard to ignore the “mother of all nations.”

  81. kesmarn's Gravatar kesmarn
    March 21, 2017 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    I’m Roman Catholic, but I had to go with Sarah — simply based on what might be the funniest bio in Lent Madness history. Thank you, David Creech.

  82. March 21, 2017 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    I always get stopped at, “and Sarah laughed.” Go Sarah.

  83. Duchess's Gravatar Duchess
    March 21, 2017 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    I was a young widow. I’m an Episcopalian who taught at St. Elizabeth Catholic School. I have a pretty clear choice here.

  84. March 21, 2017 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    Finding out I was pregnant at 40 only brought forth stunned silence. (Turned out great, however.) But someone who had the resilience to laugh at being pregnant at 90, even though I don’t approve of her treatment of Hagar, and even though I love Mother Seton, got my vote.

  85. John's Gravatar John
    March 21, 2017 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    Seton’s personal story of success and tragedy and death, is intertwined with a religious saga both personally and in the Episcopal Church in New York and its growing competition with emergent Roman Catholicism and other Protestant Denominations. Even as the Episcopal Church was developing it’s own identity in the new American republic – catholic & protestant – we see clergy like (Anglocatholic) Henry Hobart with a strong influence on Seton. Her personal crisis in poverty as a widow with 5 children and the fact that Italian Catholics came to her financial rescue seem to have moved her to embrace Roman Catholicism which became our loss. So do I vote for her for the great good she did as a Roman Catholic, or against her because she defected to the “other side?”
    Read more on her at http://www.emmitsburg.net/setonshrine/

  86. Mefster's Gravatar Mefster
    March 21, 2017 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    So far nobody has commented on the parallel visual images of the “roman coin” profiles and hairdos. I see what you did there! When I saw Seton’s, I said to myself “how like a roman coin” and then when I saw Sarah I laughed. I was glad to see that some are arguing the merits of Catholic school, as I imagine there are others who would say that Seton has a lot to answer for. Tough choice today!

  87. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 21, 2017 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    How can I turn down a native American saint? But Sarah had a baby at 90, and that trumps everything. She laughed at the news, but Sarah is right up there with Eve in mythological importance (“mythos” being mouth, the source of our vital stories about ourselves). “I’m with her” today.

  88. Karen Mills's Gravatar Karen Mills
    March 21, 2017 - 10:13 am | Permalink

    It’s Sarah – in honor of my beautiful and fun-loving daughter, Sarah Rosalind.

  89. Betsy H's Gravatar Betsy H
    March 21, 2017 - 10:13 am | Permalink

    Another tough choice! Even though I live Crosd the river from Maryland where Elizabeth Seton is a deal, I voted for Sarai/Sarah because of the gentle humor David screech used in portraying her. I will be happy with which ever of these Matriarchs wins this saintly smakdown.

  90. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 21, 2017 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    Wow, this is close! As of my voting: Sarah 51% vs. Seton 49%. While I like the idea of laughing at God’s prophecies, I find much of Genesis a little too close to mythology for my taste, so I’m going with Seton, who did such incredible work in religious orders for women. Interesting that she found more solace in the Roman Catholic “tradition” than in the Episcopal Church. Canterbury dropped the ball on that one.

  91. Lucia's Gravatar Lucia
    March 21, 2017 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    My husband and I were married at Trinity church in Manhattan, same as Elizabeth Ann Seton, but her compelling story got my vote.

  92. March 21, 2017 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    Interesting to read about Seton’s life and how she nevertheless persisted. But Sarah laughed, and God said, “I’m not joking!” My morning midrash for a saint of Hebrew Scriptures.

  93. Dutton in Madison, GA's Gravatar Dutton in Madison, GA
    March 21, 2017 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    Sarah, who laughed her way to become the ‘Mother of Nations.’

  94. Walker Shaw's Gravatar Walker Shaw
    March 21, 2017 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    Sarah for her sense of humor, a gift from God who said “I’m not joking!”

  95. March 21, 2017 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    As a Methodist pastor’s wife for 5 decades, gotta go with she who was the first spouse in the itineracy!

  96. Mark Wilkinson's Gravatar Mark Wilkinson
    March 21, 2017 - 10:35 am | Permalink

    As President of the Board of Seton Youth Shelters in Va Beach I had to vote for her!

  97. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    March 21, 2017 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    Unfair! I wanted to vote for Elizabeth Ann Seton, but my mother’s name was Sarah. How could I not vote for her?

  98. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 21, 2017 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    Wow! Just under 3,000 votes and Sarah and Elizabeth are separated by only 16 votes! What an exciting match-up. I thought Elizabeth would be shoo-in, but David Creech’s write up of Sarah was just excellent! Thanks, David. I like having an Old Testament saint in the line-up and especially after reading the bio thought about voting for her (also assuming she would be the underdog and could use a vote or two). In the end I had to vote for Elizabeth in honor of a very dear friend of mine who was a Sister of Charity and just died last year. As with every one of these contests, whoever wins certainly deserves to move on. The SEC did a great job of choosing 32 saints for us this year.

  99. Timothy J's Gravatar Timothy J
    March 21, 2017 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    Sarah, plain and tall. Or, maybe not, but honest. At least that.

  100. Carol Oppel's Gravatar Carol Oppel
    March 21, 2017 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    Sarah — and her tenacity of hope. Loved David Breech’s bio.

  101. Kathy Meyer's Gravatar Kathy Meyer
    March 21, 2017 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth! All this and she died at 46? Whoa!

  102. Anne Beckett's Gravatar Anne Beckett
    March 21, 2017 - 10:57 am | Permalink

    I cast my vote for Mother Seton in memory of my great aunt, Sister Mary Dionyonysia – aka Sister Auntie Bessie. A more loving, generous, ecumenical soul could not be found. From her I learned to love everyone.

  103. Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
    March 21, 2017 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    I find the stories of the Biblical ‘saints’ inspiring as stories that are not necessarily factual, but real. Mother Seton, on the other hand is both historical and inspiring. I go with her!

    Oliver, are you all right? Have you outgrown us?

  104. Christopher's Gravatar Christopher
    March 21, 2017 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    Mother Seton is the patroness of Seton Hall University, and so as a loyal New Jerseyan…

    (whose folks went to St. Peter’s)

    I had to go with Sarah.

  105. Dick Mitchell's Gravatar Dick Mitchell
    March 21, 2017 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for my fellow Marylander.

  106. Karin Rosner's Gravatar Karin Rosner
    March 21, 2017 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    Oh, this is so hard! I love Elizabeth Ann Seton. Apparently, she was baptized in my parish (when St. George’s was a chapel of ease in the Trinity parish) and I _live_ on what was her husband’s family’s estate in the Bronx. My mom was educated by the Sisters of Charity, and I grew up to love them, too. The traditional habit still includes the bonnet! Growing up RC, EAS beatification and her canonization were big deals. I’m sorry, Sara and my Jewish half… I have to vote for Elizabeth Ann Seton today… and in fact, support her for the Golden Halo. Go all the way in the name of Christian reconciliation! Win it, lady!

  107. Rose Mahan's Gravatar Rose Mahan
    March 21, 2017 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    I am always amazed that people who don’t take the Bible literally (all of Creation in Genesis, eg.) suddenly take the Bible literally. A baby at 90! Really?

  108. Janet's Gravatar Janet
    March 21, 2017 - 11:11 am | Permalink

    I voted for Mother Seton. My mother was trained as a nurse by her order at Saint Vincent’s in NYC. I also thought the sisters wore a totally cute old timey bonnet, even through the 1960’s.

  109. Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
    March 21, 2017 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    Many commemorated saints from early Christianity may or may not have existed, so whether Sarah was physically or just mythically real should not matter. But her cruelty to Hagar and Ishmael disturbs me, there are many more saintly figures than Sarah among all the wonderfully and less wonderfully human characters in Hebrew Scripture. How about Ruth? She didn’t try to kill anyone to do what she had to do to secure a lineage and future!
    It looks as if Elizabeth Ann Seton did not pull an Auggie of Hippo and back out of her family responsibilities when she began her order’s good work of supporting families and education. I wish she hadn’t had to cross the Tiber to do it, but she gets my vote.

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 22, 2017 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

      As was oft stated in the comments section of the Battle of the Augustines, A. of Hippo took care of his son, who remained living with his father after his mother return led to North Africa, until his son died at the young age of 16.

  110. Michael Shea's Gravatar Michael Shea
    March 21, 2017 - 11:15 am | Permalink

    WOW– 50/50 as of this writing. This is crazy!

  111. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 21, 2017 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    I’d have liked to vote for Sarah; but on poking around in Genesis I concluded that, apart from her sense of the absurd, she didn’t seem to be a very nice person. Her treatment of Hagar and Ishmael, even though she may have had reason to hold a grudge and even though Yahweh vindicated her behavior and protected its victims, was spitefully unkind; and the Biblical account gives us no reason to suppose that she gave a tinker’s damn what became of them.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 21, 2017 - 6:37 pm | Permalink

      “Tinker’s dam” per Wikipedia:
      A tinker’s dam is a temporary patch to repair a hole in a metal vessel such as a pot or a pan. It was used by tinkers and was usually made of mud or clay, or sometimes other materials at hand, such as wet paper. The material was built up around the outside of the hole, so as to plug it. Molten solder was then poured on the inside of the hole. The solder cooled and solidified against the dam and bonded with the metal wall. The dam was then brushed away. The remaining solder was then rasped and smoothed down by the tinker. In the Practical Dictionary of Mechanics of 1877, Edward Knight makes this definition: “Tinker’s-dam – a wall of dough raised around a place which a plumber desires to flood with a coat of solder. The material can be but once used; being consequently thrown away as worthless.”
      Given that Hagar founds the Arabic line from Abraham, I wonder if sentiment while sending Hagar out to encounter the angel wouldn’t possibly be a “tinker’s dam,” disposable.

  112. March 21, 2017 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    Great to see Mother Seton on the slate. I was taught by the Sisters of Charity, (called them “Widow weeds” because of their habit). Great educators and spiritual advisors.
    I remember my teachers with great affection and respect.

  113. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 21, 2017 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    Wow, is this a close one! Three votes separated the candidates when I went back and looked after posting.

  114. Sarah awan johnson's Gravatar Sarah awan johnson
    March 21, 2017 - 11:23 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for my namesake…m

  115. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 21, 2017 - 11:25 am | Permalink

    Surprised to read Sarah’s biography and find no mention of Hagar. I have always had a soft spot for Hagar, the first theologian of the Bible (the first person to reflect on God’s character and name him). It​ is because of Hagar and Ishmael’s poor treatment at Sarah’s behest that I cannot vote for her. I voted for Elizabeth Ann Seton in thanksgiving for her commitment to the well-being and education of women.

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      March 21, 2017 - 3:07 pm | Permalink

      I blame Abraham for the treatment of Hagar. He was always coming up with excuses for other stuff, after all. This sounds like yet another case of “She made me do it,” sort of like Adam did to Eve. Whatever, Sarah laughed. That’s enough.

  116. March 21, 2017 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    If my husband and I had a daughter instead of 2 wonderful (grown) sons, her name would have been Sarah. Therefore I must go with Sarah!

  117. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    March 21, 2017 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    Whew! About to get through
    The theological 32!

  118. Bettie's Gravatar Bettie
    March 21, 2017 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    Although I love Sarah (and have a daughter by that name) I have to vote for Elizabeth Seton. My great-great-great-great grandmother, Mary Seton Wilkes, was cousin to William Seton, Elizabeth’s husband. I knew that when she died and her children were all small, the son through whom I am descended was only 3 and went to live with Mother Seton and she helped to raise him. What I only learned recently was that the week Mary Wilkes was dying, Elizabeth Seton was over there every day to nurse her, despite the burden of her husband’s failing business, his own illness and her own small children. That’s a saint! By the way, this branch of the family stayed Episcopalian and actively so, each generation making their own contribution in their own way. I have often wondered if this time with her was not transformational.

  119. dewluca's Gravatar dewluca
    March 21, 2017 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    wow. very surprised this one is close! How can anyone compete with the mother of nations?

    • dewluca's Gravatar dewluca
      March 21, 2017 - 11:36 am | Permalink

      and reading the comments it seems this is a very tough judgmental crowd. Glad I’ve been too busy to follow much madness this year

  120. Joan Reyes's Gravatar Joan Reyes
    March 21, 2017 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    On any other day I would vote for Sarah but I am a product of the Sisters of Charity, born in one of their hospitals and received my education in one of their high schools and colleges. Go, Lizzie! You go, girl!

  121. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    March 21, 2017 - 11:38 am | Permalink

    Cast my vote for Sarah since I favor the Orthodox inclusion of “Old Testament” figures like her in our own Anglican faith tradition. With her husband’s slave Hagar she is the mother of our Abrahamic faiths. Sarah and Hagar figure largely in Godly Play, and their stories provoke wonderful insights from the little ones at our church. True, I don’t expect Hagar will be commemorated in our calendars any time soon, but the Holy Spirit hasn’t finished speaking to us yet!

  122. Len Freeman's Gravatar Len Freeman
    March 21, 2017 - 11:46 am | Permalink

    The first Great mother of our traditions… (after Eve)…. mother of nations… one of the great voices of Scripture. Sarah for me today.

  123. Robyn's Gravatar Robyn
    March 21, 2017 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    What you have to remember is that Abraham laughed to. It was a promise to laugh at.
    May we all join Sarah in joyous laughter!

  124. Rosemary Beales's Gravatar Rosemary Beales
    March 21, 2017 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    I love our foremother Sarah, but my children were born at Seton Medical Center in Austin and my middle name is Elizabeth. Giving thanks for motherhood, and the first American saint, I cast my vote for Elizabeth Seton.

  125. Bill Bosies's Gravatar Bill Bosies
    March 21, 2017 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    As a graduate of Seton Hall University and one who has toured her home in downtown Manhattan, I could not help but vote for Elizabeth.

  126. douglas rogers's Gravatar douglas rogers
    March 21, 2017 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    Curiously, the number of stars is in the same ball park as the number of grains of sand. About 3000 can be seen in a dark sky, maybe 5000 in the ancient middle eastern skies. Clearly, Abraham and Sarah have more than 5000 descendants. The larger of these numbers would fill many Earths. I voted for Sarah because of the shear profundity of this!

  127. HeatherC's Gravatar HeatherC
    March 21, 2017 - 11:59 am | Permalink

    Such a close one! I had to vote for laughing Sarah, who indeed put up with so much and kept faith. My God is a laughing God.

  128. Sarah Bryan Miller's Gravatar Sarah Bryan Miller
    March 21, 2017 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Mother Seton was responsible for the custom of sisters serving as housekeepers for rectories, which wasn’t a positive thing. I voted for Sarah, and for her sarcasm.

  129. Pat Hoffman's Gravatar Pat Hoffman
    March 21, 2017 - 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I live not far from Emmitsburg and have often visited the Grotto. I have walked the paths and attended church at the foot of that inspiring tribute to Mother Seton. Anyone who visits this beautiful location where she toiled and persevered to establish her school will be moved to revisit again and again. It restores those seeking renewal of faith and refreshes our spirit. Any who can visit this serene and uplifting devotional place will return as often as possible to see the rock upon which she sat to teach and pray.

  130. Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
    March 21, 2017 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Very tough choice. I deeply admire Mother Seton, but am compelled to vote for Sarah this time. Her faithfulness in following Abraham around the wilderness, and her laughter at hearing of a pregnancy as an older woman (I don’t take the 90 years as literal) make her worthy of my respect. (I am sorry for Hagar and her son, but it shows us that even the best of us have human failings). Actually, I will be fine with whoever wins today. Hail Lent Madness!!

  131. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 21, 2017 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I am for Elizabeth for her life of work. Sarah having a child at 90 (?!) was not so much her doing but God’s. Elizabeth’s works did it for me.

  132. PatMuller's Gravatar PatMuller
    March 21, 2017 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

    If you’re down on Sarah for what happened to Hagar, what do you say to the God who backed her up telling Abe to do whatever she said?

    • Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
      March 21, 2017 - 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Actually not too cool with that either. But I have a lot of problems with a lot of what the Old Testament God does.

  133. March 21, 2017 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

    As a life-long New Yorker, I have no choice but to go with Mother Seton.

  134. Nolan McBride's Gravatar Nolan McBride
    March 21, 2017 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I visited Mother Seaton’s shrine last summer while serving as an intern with a chaplain in a retirement home. While I waked through the prayer garden on the grounds, the chimes of the former college that had grown up from her school (it closed when women were admitted to St. Mary’s near by and the school was sold) were playing Summer Nights from Grease.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 21, 2017 - 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Love it!

  135. Karen Johnson's Gravatar Karen Johnson
    March 21, 2017 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    My vote is with Sarah. You have to admire a woman who can keep laughing through hardship.

  136. Linda Dunn's Gravatar Linda Dunn
    March 21, 2017 - 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Sarai was truly a saint to put up with the vicissitudes of Old Testament lfe; including marriage to a half brother. I’d laugh also, after 90 years of waiting for a blessing. She lived a life typical of her times. Thank God for the twenty first century!
    Elizabeth shares the name and spirit of my dear Aunt and mentor who lived a life of service in her Church and community for 102 years. It is in her honor that I cast my vote for Elizabeth

  137. Scott Anderson's Gravatar Scott Anderson
    March 21, 2017 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

    It all starts with Sarah and Abraham! Hard to vote against her.

  138. Story's Gravatar Story
    March 21, 2017 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I had to vote for Elizabeth Seton because my best friend is named for her! Also, as others have said, and I guess I shouldn’t blame Sarah for this, because who knows how I would behave in the same circumstances, but I was also bothered by Sarah’s treatment of Hagar.

  139. Kandice's Gravatar Kandice
    March 21, 2017 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

    This is the week I have been waiting for. As a graduate of Mount Saint Vincent University, I attended classes at the Seton Academic Centre each day!! Go Mother Seton!!!

  140. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    March 21, 2017 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I am also bothered by Sarah’s (and Abraham’s) vicious treatment of Hagar and Ishmael. I voted for Elizabeth Ann Seton because she was the first native-born U.S. citizen to become a saint, an educator, her founding of the Sisters of Charity, and establishing the Catholic girls’ school.

  141. Gene Kleppinger's Gravatar Gene Kleppinger
    March 21, 2017 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Asking the Supreme Executive Committee to check their records. The bracket for 2011 includes the name of “David” — was that the Old Testament wonder-boy-turned-king, or the 18th century Neoclassical painter?

    • March 21, 2017 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Good eye. It was actually David Oakerhater who returned this year!

  142. Anne Clayton's Gravatar Anne Clayton
    March 21, 2017 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Elizabeth Ann Seton, for her accomplishments for the Christian Faith and the education of children.
    I couldn’t vote for Sarah, given the way she treated Hagar – even though by the custom of the day her behaviour was acceptable.

  143. March 21, 2017 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

    My wife would like to start voting in Lent Madness, but we have only one email address. What do we do? (I think you addressed this issue once, but I can’t remember what you said)

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 22, 2017 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

      She can go to directly to http://LentMadness.org/ (I don’t get emails, I just go to the website) and vote there by finding the current post and scrolling down to click the button next to the name of who the vote is intended. Now if she wants to comment, the joint email address might confuse the moderator(s), at least at first.

  144. Wilhelmina Jenkins's Gravatar Wilhelmina Jenkins
    March 21, 2017 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I can not forgive Sarah for her treatment of Hagar. As the descendant of slaves, many of whom were forced to give birth to their enslavers’ children, I’m standing with Hagar and voting against Sarah. I had a great, great grandmother named Hagar. She was named in the property section of the will right along with the tables and chairs.

  145. Claire's Gravatar Claire
    March 21, 2017 - 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Sarah for me today. She is, for all intents and purposes, the mother of of the Hebrew people and as such the foundation of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

  146. March 21, 2017 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Where we would we all be without Sarah?

    • March 22, 2017 - 1:18 am | Permalink

      Perhaps not divided between Christianity and Islam?

  147. Viola Day Mullin's Gravatar Viola Day Mullin
    March 21, 2017 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Since this is Lent Madness which suggests to me irrationality, I voted for Elizabeth Ann Seton. Some friends thought she was our daughter’s namesake, but I had never heard of her previously. I have never forgotten the name, though I’ve not remembered her particulars. I might just as well have voted for Sarah as I took her name in baptism and have always been fond of her name and her story. I wasn’t as old as her when my daughter was born, but I was getting up there. So this is for my daughter.

  148. Sara L's Gravatar Sara L
    March 21, 2017 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Sarah laughed; Sara voted.

  149. Mary Lynn's Gravatar Mary Lynn
    March 21, 2017 - 1:49 pm | Permalink


    E. Seton’s children are mentioned in this website. I’m assuming it’s accurate. I wondered if her children before my vote. My vote went to her because she juggled supporting her children and putting in a lot of hard work for others. Kudos!

  150. Vernet Cecilia Spence-Brown's Gravatar Vernet Cecilia Spence-Brown
    March 21, 2017 - 1:55 pm | Permalink

    As a graduate of Seton Hill University I had to go with Saint Elizabeth Seton.

  151. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 21, 2017 - 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Hmm, we need a “like” button on this thread – a lot of great comments! I played Sarah in a church skit several decades ago – now I’m hoping to make it to her age. Sarah it is.

  152. Sarah Erickson's Gravatar Sarah Erickson
    March 21, 2017 - 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Fond of both these women, and my name is Sarah Elzabeth…but Sarah won out.

  153. Bonnie Caudell's Gravatar Bonnie Caudell
    March 21, 2017 - 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I leaned toward Elizabeth, but the more I pondered, Sarah has it. I was surprised that you took her from the OT, but she gave so much!

  154. Sara P. Howrey's Gravatar Sara P. Howrey
    March 21, 2017 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I cannot figure out why Sarah is getting any votes. Seton for me.

  155. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    March 21, 2017 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

    My mom went to the college founded by Mother St. Elizabeth Seton and Sisters of Charity in Maryland. She met my dad there at a tea dance in early 1930’s. He was a student at Mr St Mary’s men’s college. Mom was devoted all her life to Mother Seton and passed that on to us….her 11 children! What an honor to vote for this holy woman who helped so very many people!! Go St Elizabeth!!!

  156. Bonnie Caudell's Gravatar Bonnie Caudell
    March 21, 2017 - 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I just read The Living Church’s daily devotional for today, 3/21. Guess what? It was about Abraham ad Sarah! It double clinched the choice I had already made.

  157. Catherine Cox's Gravatar Catherine Cox
    March 21, 2017 - 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Mother Seton, after I researched and found out that special provision was made for her to continue raising her children after she took her vows. My opinion of Sarah is tied to her very poor treatment of Hagar.

  158. Rita OConnor's Gravatar Rita OConnor
    March 21, 2017 - 2:59 pm | Permalink

    This was of course difficult; however, I leaned toward our first American Saint, Elizabeth Seton.

  159. Arnold's Gravatar Arnold
    March 21, 2017 - 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m usually an advocate for ancient and Biblical saints, some of whom are poorly misunderstood. But I feel like Sarah is familiar and well-understood, at least by those who read those Bible stories. Additionally, Old Testament figures fall outside my parameters for “saints” although I understand why some traditions–including the SEC–include them. If this had been Advent Madness, on the other hand, Sarah the Matriarch for me all the way. (When I saw the bracket, I thought “Sarah” referred to St. Sarah, patron saint of the Romani people.
    I’m also a teacher, which makes me appreciate Seton’s work itself even more.

  160. Donna K.'s Gravatar Donna K.
    March 21, 2017 - 4:10 pm | Permalink

    My goodness this is a close one! My daughter’s name is Sarah….so how can I not vote for Sarah who laughed at God!

  161. JMart's Gravatar JMart
    March 21, 2017 - 4:10 pm | Permalink

    For me, it’s an Old Testament kind of day so Sarah it is. The fact that a very beloved granddaughter carries this name probably swayed me a bit, too.

  162. Linda Sylvester's Gravatar Linda Sylvester
    March 21, 2017 - 4:17 pm | Permalink

    If Sarah doesn’t win this, I’m gonna blame you, SEC, for handicapping her with the most unflattering rendering of her likeness possible. What the what?!

  163. Janice. Bruce's Gravatar Janice. Bruce
    March 21, 2017 - 4:21 pm | Permalink

    OK Christian Clowns that bring smiles and laughter to all, Your votes for Sarah are needed now. Sarah not only laughed, “She persisted”.
    Peanut, the Clown

  164. Kimberly B's Gravatar Kimberly B
    March 21, 2017 - 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Anyone who conceives and bears a child at 90, can live with Abraham after he almost sacrifices their son, deserves the Golden Halo. Sarah gets my vote for this round, at least

  165. Nora's Gravatar Nora
    March 21, 2017 - 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Almost impossible.

  166. christy's Gravatar christy
    March 21, 2017 - 4:38 pm | Permalink

    I went to college in Frederick, Md and knew St. Josephs quite well, have to go for a local gal.

  167. March 21, 2017 - 4:45 pm | Permalink

    In this round, I voted for Sarah, although I had great sympathies for Mother Seton, who had to cope with high levels of bigotry because of her conversion to the RC church.

    Leaving aside the legendary and (probably non-historical) bits of Sarah’s story, such as the conflict involving Hagar and Ishmael, if it weren’t for Sarah and her bloke travelling off into the unknown because of this radical “one-God” notion, none of the great faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam would have come into existence (not to mention their interesting offshoots such as the Baha’is or LDSs).

    Sarah’s journey into the unknown made every other entrant in this year’s LM possible, even my two personal favourites of Nurse Flo for the Gold and Farmer Franz for the Silver. (And the winner of this match-up meets the double-umlaut guy in the next round, anyway.)

  168. Claire Fitzmaurice from Quincy MA's Gravatar Claire Fitzmaurice from Quincy MA
    March 21, 2017 - 4:51 pm | Permalink

    I try to vote on the merits of the biographies offered by the “celebrity” bloggers. I have never read the comments before voting. I also try to wait until lunch or later in the day for my Lent Madness Obligations. Why is everybody in such a hurry? Oh my. The morning postings are like the Oklahoma Land Rush. Today I was stumped. The comments section helped me. I will now go and vote for Elisabeth Ann Seton.

    • March 21, 2017 - 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Claire, you made me laugh when you wrote “The morning postings are like the Oklahoma Land Rush”. Here’s a theory (might be wrong): Early in the day, when the polls open, the comments section is blank. People rush to get their comments in because they feel that it increases the chances of their particular comment being read. As the hours go by and the comments pile up, a lot of folks (myself included) simply don’t have time to read all 562 of them. Every morning I feel the urge to jump in and type something. I usually don’t, but the urge is there.

      • March 22, 2017 - 1:42 am | Permalink

        And then there are those of us who live in time zones (Australia in my case) in which we’re asleep when the early posts are put up, and are always among the later voters/posters.

  169. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 21, 2017 - 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Seton founded an order when her oldest of 5 children could have been no more than 14. What did she do with her children? What did they think of all this? Imagine your mother becoming a nun while you are still a child. I just can’t wrap my head around that.

    So I voted for Sarah. I love the writeup!

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 22, 2017 - 12:42 pm | Permalink

      If you read up the page, you’ll find that special provisions were made to allow Elizabeth Ann to remain a mother while also becoming a Mother. One of her daughters actually joined the order, making her mother her Mother who then called her daughter Sister. The other two daughters sadly died as teens. One son died in the Navy in his 20s. The other son, like his sister the Sister, lived to a ripe old age. I think someone mentioned that he had a son, which eould mean he became a father and therefore neither a Brother or a Father as far as I know.

  170. Janene's Gravatar Janene
    March 21, 2017 - 4:56 pm | Permalink

    It seems so easy for us to judge, discuss, and examine the lives of these women who both served God according to his own purpose for them, in the culture and times they lived in.

  171. Shepherd Ellis's Gravatar Shepherd Ellis
    March 21, 2017 - 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I like Sarah and she inspires me, but I can’t get over how she treated Hagar, so I voted for Elizabeth.

  172. Margaret Bivins's Gravatar Margaret Bivins
    March 21, 2017 - 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I could not vote for Sarah because of the way she treated Hagar and Ishmael. She might be the “Mother of Nations”, but she set the nations against each other.

  173. Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
    March 21, 2017 - 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Hard decision, but I voted for Sarah, recognizing that saints aren’t limited to AD (or CE) times nor to Christianity (sorry, Frs. Scott and Tim).

  174. Kim Rossi's Gravatar Kim Rossi
    March 21, 2017 - 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Elizabeth Ann Seton. Both were worthy of a vote today! The comments were very interesting and yet didn’t make much of a difference today. I somehow I wanted to vote for Elizabeth. She worked so hard and accomplished so much.

  175. Carys's Gravatar Carys
    March 21, 2017 - 6:14 pm | Permalink

    This morning when I voted the saints were tied in percents, although Sarah had eleven more votes. If the votes and percents were tied at the end of the day, what would happen?? I am just wondering and would like it if someone could please give me an answer.

    • Freeman Gilbert's Gravatar Freeman Gilbert
      March 21, 2017 - 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Aside from lots of heads exploding, the SEC would pick their personal favorite. It’s Lent Madness, not Lent Fairness.

      • March 22, 2017 - 1:26 am | Permalink

        LOL, Freeman! I bet you’re right.

        • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
          March 22, 2017 - 12:47 pm | Permalink

          But what if that were to happen and Tim’s favorite was not Scott’s favorite, then there would still be a tie. I can only hope they’d go all early Church (cf. Acts 1:24-26) and allow the Holy Spirit to break the tie by prayerfully casting lots.

  176. Izzie's Gravatar Izzie
    March 21, 2017 - 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Have to go with Elizabeth a lot of my friends go to a Catholic high school just felt right but I really like Sarah too

  177. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    March 21, 2017 - 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Have to go with Elizabeth. Godly service and the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized.

  178. Jennifer Mariano's Gravatar Jennifer Mariano
    March 21, 2017 - 6:49 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was about Saints not about Biblical figures. How can you put Elizabeth Seton who founded Catholic schools in America versus Sarah the wife of Abraham!? Sorry, but I think this is an unfair competition.

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 22, 2017 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

      It is called Lent Madness not Lent Fairness for a reason.

  179. Shelley M's Gravatar Shelley M
    March 21, 2017 - 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Definitely Elizabeth Ann Seton. This vote is in honor of my new daughter-in-law who chose her as her patron when she was confirmed during the RCIA process last year.

  180. VT Patty's Gravatar VT Patty
    March 21, 2017 - 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Where’s Oliver? I miss his words of wisdom!

    • Robert Coates's Gravatar Robert Coates
      March 21, 2017 - 10:54 pm | Permalink

      Maybe he outgrew us.

      • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
        March 22, 2017 - 12:51 pm | Permalink

        Could be he’s away on Spring Break somewhere away from his computer.

  181. Mother and Son's Gravatar Mother and Son
    March 21, 2017 - 9:27 pm | Permalink

    My best friend attended St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Ontario, CA. The Sisters of Charity are still very active. My friend even went on a trip to Zimbabwe to work with them on an orphanage. It’s great to see the work continue!

  182. Martha Bains's Gravatar Martha Bains
    March 21, 2017 - 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Sorry that Sarah is winning. Yes, I love the idea of OT saints – just not her. How many times did she let herself be used by men? Really – laughing – is a reason to vote for her – give me a break.

    And speaking from the infertility standpoint, not 90 but coming on 50, any woman who wants a child would be thrilled to be pregnant, no matter what the age.

    Mother Seaton did so much and empowered so much. I’m all about her. She is role model for all people, men and women in the church.

  183. Jane's Gravatar Jane
    March 21, 2017 - 10:35 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Sarah, for several reasons, a couple of which don’t seem to make much sense, perhaps only to myself. First, Sarah , like you say, MUST have put up with quite a bit, living in harsh conditions with the knowledge hanging over her that she’d been unable to have a child; a disgrace. In those days, for a woman. I am so glad for her that at last she became a mother. Now the two weirder reasons I didn’t vote for Mother Seton. I was raised Roman Catholic, (am now Lutheran,) attended parochial school, and let me tell you, almost without exception, the order she founded, Sisters of Charity, were anything BUT charitable to the children in their care. I remember them being so mean, it would have been better if Mother Seton hadn’t started the order. Secondly, I have always wondered what became of her own children when he became a nun. If I remember correctly, they were still “kids” When she took vows. If she left them to the care of others in order to do so, I don’t think that was right.

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 22, 2017 - 3:01 pm | Permalink

      From previous comments it appears she was allowed to stay a mother while becoming a Mother.

      I had some aweful experiences in public K-12.

  184. Robert Coates's Gravatar Robert Coates
    March 21, 2017 - 10:53 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Mother Seton because she was real.

  185. Karen Ashbrook's Gravatar Karen Ashbrook
    March 21, 2017 - 11:08 pm | Permalink

    I went with Sarah because she laughed! That si one of my favorite comments in the Bible-the reference to her giggling over what she hears.

  186. March 22, 2017 - 12:01 am | Permalink

    As the product of three Catholic schools, I have to vote for Mother Seton who launched the Catholic school system.

    And while I lift up Sarah along with Abraham and love the story of her laughter, I cannot overlook her mistreatment of her enslaved servant Hagar, who she handed over to her husband to rape so that he might sire a child and then threw out of her household, along with the child, when she felt herself affronted and her own son threatened.

  187. March 22, 2017 - 12:37 am | Permalink

    I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for Sarah, who never knew of Jesus, much less proclaimed the Gospel. I’m not all that impressed by Mother Seton, but in the battle between Old and New Covenants, she gets my vote.

    I must give kudos to David Creech for writing what I think must be the most delightful tongue in cheek bio so far in Lent Madness. Apologies, Neva Rae. You usually get my vote!

  188. March 22, 2017 - 12:51 am | Permalink

    I find it fascinating that people are critical of Elizabeth Seton for perhaps abandoning her children, which she did *not* do, as links above show, but are totally cool that Sarah sent Hagar and Ishmael into the desert with no resources.

  189. March 22, 2017 - 1:55 am | Permalink

    I have a procedural question here.

    When we consider saints from the ancient (including Biblical) or medieval eras, are we supposed to take mythic or legendary aspects of their stories at face value? Or are we expected to use our critical faculties in evaluating the heart of the stories?

    I feel that many of us are voting here using a far more literal interpretation of the Sarah-Hagar-Ishmael story than is justified in terms of the way that most OT scholars read the text. It’s Genesis, after all. It’s the same book with the Adam/Eve, Noah, and Babel stories that very few of us would literalise.

  190. Gloria Ishida's Gravatar Gloria Ishida
    March 22, 2017 - 3:04 am | Permalink

    I voted for Sarah just to be ornery. Somehow, I think Sarah was not near 90, probably I messed with menopause. I have also have had suspicions about anyone of those visitors. Poor Sarah having to be responsible for many generations and Abraham gets the credit.

    • Gloria Ishida's Gravatar Gloria Ishida
      March 22, 2017 - 3:06 am | Permalink

      Oops, I didn’ mean “I”. should be Nature messed with her menopause.
      and “any one” of those visitors.

  191. March 22, 2017 - 7:09 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth did more than Sarah. Vote for her. Elizabeth took charge of her life and gave her life to education.

  192. Roxann's Gravatar Roxann
    March 22, 2017 - 9:39 pm | Permalink

    I am confused. If Elizabeth was married in 1894 and had 5 children before her husband died, what happened to her children when she became Mother of the Sisters of Charity in 1909? The oldest would have been 14 at the most. Widows become nuns, but I don’t think they bring their children with them when they do.

    • Kate's Gravatar Kate
      March 23, 2017 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Lots of people had this question, Roxanne, and a great many people researched it. It was all good. Go back through many of those posts! Seek and ye shall find!

Comments are closed.