Franz Jägerstätter vs. Joan of Arc

Another day, another tough matchup. Today it’s Franz Jägerstätter (double umlaut!) vs Joan of Arc. One, a little-known (until today)  conscientious objector and opponent of the Nazis; the other, a well-known if often misunderstood saint from France.

Yesterday, Martin Luther overwhelmed the upstart David Oakerhater, despite a valiant showing, 58% to 42% to advance to the Saintly Sixteen.

The Supreme Executive Committee also released its annual (unless we forget) saintly analysis of the NCAA bracket. Yes, some people apparently pay attention to another bracket-based tournament with “Madness” in the name that takes place this time of year.

Franz Jägerstätter

The short life of Franz Jägerstätter (OFS) is an underreported example of quiet faithfulness and unswerving conviction. Jägerstätter was born in Austria in 1907, th illegitimate child of a chambermaid and a farmer. He was raised by his maternal grandmother for much of his early life; his biological father died in World War I. Jägerstätter’s stepfather adopted him and gave Franz his last name.

In 1936, Jägerstätter married Franziska Schwaninger on Maundy Thursday, followed by a pilgrimage-as-honeymoon to Rome—a sign of Jägerstätter’s spiritual awakening and commitment to his faith. While working the family farm to provide for his family, Jägerstätter served as the sacristan for the local parish and received the eucharist daily. He embraced the simple life of Franciscan spirituality, becoming a member of the Third Order of Saint Francis (hence the OFS after his name).

In 1938, Jägerstätter was the only person in his village to cast a vote against the German annexation of Austria. He became increasingly outspoken about his anti-Nazi views, seeking out the advice of his spiritual community leaders about how to respond when he would eventually be conscripted into military service for the Third Reich. Jägerstätter’s spiritual advisors—local priests and the bishop—asked him to consider his wife and three daughters. How would they survive if he were arrested? Perhaps he should swallow his objections and serve in the military. When he was conscripted in 1943, Jägerstätter ignored their sensible, practical advice and declared himself a conscientious objector. He was subsequently jailed by the Nazis.

Jägerstätter spent his time in prison devoted to prayer: “There is practically nothing to do here in the prison, but that does not mean that I have to let my days pass by without putting them to some use. As long as I can pray, and there is plenty of time for that, my life is not in vain.” On August 9, 1943, Jägerstätter was tried for undermining military morale and executed by the Nazis. His conscience was firmly rooted in his faith and life of prayer. This ordinary farmer lived out an extraordinary faith, witnessing to the importance of standing up to evil in our world for Jesus’ sake.

Collect for Franz Jägerstätter
God of all nations, we remember before you our brother Franz, who for love of you and the Jewish peoples of Europe conscientiously objected to being drafted into the Nazi army, was imprisoned and executed: Grant us a measure of this bravery and integrity, that in our own day we may defend the cause of those for whom there is no one else to speak, for the love of Jesus, who with you and the Holy Spirit, reigns now and for ever. Amen.

— David Hansen

Joan of Arc

Born in 1412, Joan began receiving visions as a teenager. At just sixteen, she sought out Charles VII, the uncrowned and embattled king of France, saying, “I must be at the king’s side…there will be no help for the kingdom if not from me.” Joan would go on to become a symbol of French independence during the Hundred Years’ War and one of France’s patron saints.

During Joan’s first meeting with Charles VII, she reported that God had commanded her to lead her country’s army to victory. Desperate and near collapse, the royal court saw Joan as a small and singular source of hope. Charles’s advisers worried that Joan was a liability—enemies of the crown could accuse her of witchcraft and label any victories she won as gifts from the devil. So Joan was subjected to a theological and moral examination. Joan was irreproachable, humble, honest, and simple, but her examiners could not attest to the veracity of her visions. They recommended the king send her to Orleans to see if she could lift the five-month siege. Nine days after her arrival, the siege ended. Joan cemented her reputation as a beloved hero of the people and changed the course of the war. In 1430, she was captured by Burgundian forces and sold to the English, who put her on trial for heresy.

Although an illiterate farm girl, Joan’s subtle and clever testimony avoided the rhetorical traps set by her learned inquisitors. Joan was charged with the heresy of dressing like a man. During the trial, she wore a dress, but since Joan was housed in a men’s prison, the dress provided no safety from sexual assault. After fending off an English lord, Joan resumed wearing pants. Her resumption of male military dress was labeled a relapse into heresy. During her 1431 trial, Joan was condemned and sentenced to be burned at the stake despite medieval Catholic doctrine holding that cross-gender dressing was permissible when it afforded a woman safety.

Joan of Arc was killed on May 30, 1431. Her remains were burned repeatedly and her ashes were thrown into the Seine so that no relics could be collected or venerated. At the end of the Hundred Years’ War, a posthumous trial reversed Joan’s conviction. Canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920, Joan’s feast is celebrated on May 30.

Collect for Joan of Arc
O God, who raised up the brave Joan to defend her faith and homeland, grant to us the courage to stand for freedom and speak the truth, overcoming the powers of oppression, so that we may rejoice in a perpetual peace. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

— Amber Belldene

Franz Jägerstätter vs. Joan of Arc

  • Franz Jägerstätter (52%, 4,067 Votes)
  • Joan of Arc (48%, 3,819 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,886

Loading ... Loading ...

Franz Jägerstätter—Franz Huber; gestorben 9.
August 1943 in Brandenburg an der Havel, Deutschland. Licensing information:
Joan of Arc—Depicted on horseback in an illustration from a 1505 manuscript.
Public domain

331 Comments to "Franz Jägerstätter vs. Joan of Arc"

  1. Colin McKhann's Gravatar Colin McKhann
    March 15, 2017 - 8:04 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joan of Arc because she freed France and died fighting for her beliefs.

    • Christina Joy Thom's Gravatar Christina Joy Thom
      March 15, 2017 - 10:40 am | Permalink

      Joan has had hundreds of years of adoration. Today Franz gets some recognition.

      • Rosanne Adderley's Gravatar Rosanne Adderley
        March 15, 2017 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

        True, true. But people who opposed Nazis are held in high esteem. Women for the most part still are not esteemed; and remain considered “lesser.” I loved the write up because it focused on her thought as well as her actions. Woman-thinking. Our capacity to do that still daily doubted.

        • Sally Rhett Roberts's Gravatar Sally Rhett Roberts
          March 16, 2017 - 1:13 am | Permalink

          I agree, Roseanne.

      • Jamie Glock's Gravatar Jamie Glock
        March 15, 2017 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

        Totally agree… the quiet “saints” deserve recognition too.

      • Emily's Gravatar Emily
        March 15, 2017 - 2:09 pm | Permalink

        I agree. Reading about Franz was so uplifting and I could relate to him. He reminds me of another great man, Bonhoeffer.

      • KD Burnett's Gravatar KD Burnett
        March 16, 2017 - 12:51 am | Permalink

        My feelings exactly. Franz had no reason to think he would be remembered. His sacrifice was made against the advice of his priests and endangered his wife and children. Yet he gave his life rather than play any part in an evil design. I also remember that no one who resisted the Nazis knew that they would be defeated in the end. To offer one’s life under such circumstances is truly extraordinary!

    • Michael Rader's Gravatar Michael Rader
      March 15, 2017 - 2:47 pm | Permalink

      What other 17-18 year old girl has made such a difference in the course of human history?

      • Nancy Oliver's Gravatar Nancy Oliver
        March 15, 2017 - 8:08 pm | Permalink

        The virgin Mary???

        • Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
          March 15, 2017 - 9:16 pm | Permalink

          We don’t really know the Virgin Mary’s age.

      • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
        March 15, 2017 - 8:59 pm | Permalink

        Victoria was 18 when she ascended to the throne, as I recall. I’m not sure Joan changed history to any great extent. Victoria and her empire certainly did.

      • Rita Griffith's Gravatar Rita Griffith
        March 15, 2017 - 10:50 pm | Permalink

        Queen Victoria

    • Nick's Gravatar Nick
      March 15, 2017 - 4:37 pm | Permalink


    • Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
      March 16, 2017 - 12:23 am | Permalink

      Joan of Arc was a simple, peasant girl. She was betrayed and burned at the stake…for dressing in “men’s clothing”. All of you females dressed in pants or jeans, etc., Joan paved the way for you (me). Franz is an heroic figure, too. Bring either Joan or Franz back next year.

  2. LM's Gravatar LM
    March 15, 2017 - 8:05 am | Permalink

    Go Joan! She was a young girl with limited options, but she stood up for what she believed in!

  3. March 15, 2017 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    As of this writing, Franz and Joan are neck and neck…10 votes each.
    Go Franz!

  4. Lindsey age 10's Gravatar Lindsey age 10
    March 15, 2017 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joan because my middle name is Joan, after her. Plus I like that she followed God’s call for her.

    • Patty's Gravatar Patty
      March 15, 2017 - 8:19 am | Permalink

      Good reason, Lindsey!

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 15, 2017 - 9:29 am | Permalink

      You have to go with Joan, Lindsey!

  5. Charlyn's Gravatar Charlyn
    March 15, 2017 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for this simple courageous Austrian. Bored with Joan.

    • Carol's Gravatar Carol
      March 15, 2017 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

      I voted for the man who stood up to evil when it would have been safer not to. We could use a bit of his courage in these weird times.

      • Christina's Gravatar Christina
        March 15, 2017 - 4:31 pm | Permalink

        I too felt it was important to vote for him, as I too believe that courage and conviction need to be shown, in these turbulent times.

  6. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    March 15, 2017 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    This was an especially hard match-up for me. On the one hand Franz resisted Nazi conscription and was jailed and killed for it. On the other hand Joan took a more militant stance to lead her nation’s army like Joshua at Jericho. Then when jailed she was labeled a heretic for wearing pants as protection against sexual assault. How crazy is that? But what it finally came down to was prayer in action vs prayer in solitude. I had to vote for Joan.

    • Lynda-Marie's Gravatar Lynda-Marie
      March 15, 2017 - 8:40 am | Permalink

      … and the Cross of Lorraine, the traditional cross associated with Joan, was the symbol of the Free French Forces during WWII that represented resistance to the Nazi occupation of France.

    • March 15, 2017 - 10:33 am | Permalink

      I also found this a very difficult choice, but I was so entranced with Joan as a child that I chose her as my confirmation name, so I can’t desert her now.

      • Marilyn Johnson's Gravatar Marilyn Johnson
        March 15, 2017 - 11:32 am | Permalink

        Kathleen! I have loved Joan of Arc for her courage and strength since I was a child, and I too took Joan as my confirmation name. I never used the name, but my admiration for Joan remains to this day and earned her my vote. I hope she takes the Golden Halo this year.

    • Marlene's Gravatar Marlene
      March 15, 2017 - 10:56 am | Permalink

      It’s kind of difficult being “active” when one is in prison!

  7. Harriet's Gravatar Harriet
    March 15, 2017 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    Franz is a new person to me. His testimony is worth celebrating today!

    • Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
      March 15, 2017 - 10:40 am | Permalink

      I agree! A new hero!!!

    • pHil's Gravatar pHil
      March 15, 2017 - 10:54 am | Permalink

      Amen! This is a time for Franz.

      Though Joan’s spiritually fed gender bending should not be ignored today, either, I’m still trying to sift through her other baggage. Double umlaut notwithstanding, Franz’ simplicity got my vote. (After waiting so long for a name, I guess he deserved all dots anyone wanted to give him.)

    • Sonia Stevenson's Gravatar Sonia Stevenson
      March 15, 2017 - 2:30 pm | Permalink

      An American, Gordon Zahn , discovered Franz Jagerstatter (sorry I can’t access umlauts) while he was researching the response of German Catholics to Hitler. The book Zahn wrote, Solitary Witness, influenced Daniel Ellsberg and his decision to protest the Vietnam War and to bring the Pentagon Papers to public attention.
      Franz’ widow, Franziska, lived to be 100 dying quite recently on 16 March 2013.

      • March 15, 2017 - 3:18 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that additional info, Sonia. Now *that’s* an impressive legacy. Joan’s impressive too, of course. Now yet sure how I’ll vote.

        • Carol's Gravatar Carol
          March 15, 2017 - 11:15 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for sharing this information.

    • Danita Shaw's Gravatar Danita Shaw
      March 15, 2017 - 8:34 pm | Permalink

      I agree totally. Franz a quiet saint.

  8. Elaine's Gravatar Elaine
    March 15, 2017 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    “…charged with the heresy of dressing like a man” – slam dunk for Joan (no disrespect intended towards Franz).

  9. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    March 15, 2017 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    First time replying. I had to go with Franz. With what is happening again, even in our own country, I think that this man is an inspiration to us all. May we learn from him.

    • Rachel Zoller's Gravatar Rachel Zoller
      March 15, 2017 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      I agree, Michelle. He is an inspiration we need now!

    • Ann Garvin's Gravatar Ann Garvin
      March 15, 2017 - 9:17 am | Permalink

      Completely agree! Good example for these times. Franz (who I’d never heard of before this year) has my vote!

    • ArtemisB's Gravatar ArtemisB
      March 15, 2017 - 9:42 am | Permalink

      Agreed. Frank is an example of everyperson’s faith. May we all find that strength of faith when put in a difficult position. Thank you, Supreme Committee for bringing this saint into the light.

      • Patty's Gravatar Patty
        March 15, 2017 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

        So true about finding that courage today, although I voted for Joan, who was also pretty courageous. 🙂

    • Linda's Gravatar Linda
      March 15, 2017 - 10:29 am | Permalink

      That was my feeling, Michelle!

    • Karen Howe's Gravatar Karen Howe
      March 15, 2017 - 11:44 am | Permalink

      Yes. That was also my first thought. Today more than ever we need more “ordinary” people to stand up for what is right.

      • Rita Griffith's Gravatar Rita Griffith
        March 15, 2017 - 10:58 pm | Permalink

        Yes. Not everyone can lead an army into battle, but Franz is the saint of whom one can really sing:
        “And there’s not any reason, no, not the least,
        Why I shouldn’t be one too.”

    • Jamie Glock's Gravatar Jamie Glock
      March 15, 2017 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Exactly how I felt.

    • Laura Clarke's Gravatar Laura Clarke
      March 15, 2017 - 1:16 pm | Permalink

      This was the tipping point for me also.

    • Joyce A Gieza's Gravatar Joyce A Gieza
      March 15, 2017 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Franz for me today. He reminds me of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whom I admire greatly.

  10. Kristin's Gravatar Kristin
    March 15, 2017 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for a woman who was persecuted for wearing pants – even to protect herself from assault! Plus this was something new that I learned about her – inspring!

  11. Michael's Gravatar Michael
    March 15, 2017 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Joan of Arc, with the Lord to guide her, she was a sister who really cooked!

    Go Joan!

    • John The Beard's Gravatar John The Beard
      March 15, 2017 - 9:31 am | Permalink

      And then there’s St. Maud…

      • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
        March 15, 2017 - 12:16 pm | Permalink


  12. Olivia's Gravatar Olivia
    March 15, 2017 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    It is unfortunate that Joan had to wear pants to fend off sexual assault, and yet was criticized for that. “..the dress provided no safety from sexual assault. After fending off an English lord, Joan resumed wearing pants. ” We are now in a time where people cannot choose the bathroom that makes them most comfortable. Vote for Joan to support freedom of choice.

  13. Janet's Gravatar Janet
    March 15, 2017 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Very few people know of a book called “Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc,” as told by Mark Twain. He, considered a religious iconoclast, thought Joan “the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced.” It was his favorite of all the books he wrote. That is enough for me to vote for Joan.

    • Lynn's Gravatar Lynn
      March 15, 2017 - 11:40 am | Permalink

      Oh my goodness , thank you for mentioning the Mark Twain title “Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc ” Janet!
      I just downloaded it on Kindle for $ 2.50!

      • Janet's Gravatar Janet
        March 16, 2017 - 8:25 am | Permalink

        I hope you enjoy it, Lynn!

  14. Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
    March 15, 2017 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    I am currently teaching five periods a day of US and European History. I have vowed to teach my AP students (and maybe all the rest) to sing “Down By the Riverside” because, at least for the summer, “I ain’t a gonna study war no more.” Franz all the way!

  15. Ruth W.Davis's Gravatar Ruth W.Davis
    March 15, 2017 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    Voted for Franz. His is a more verifiable witness. He was more a follower of Christ than the ‘leadership’ of his church who were willing to accommodate evil.

  16. March 15, 2017 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    Franz is new to me as well and in my opinion his testimony is well worth celebrating.

  17. Judy A's Gravatar Judy A
    March 15, 2017 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joan, who suffered mightily at the hands of the Fashion Police.

  18. Liz Parmalee's Gravatar Liz Parmalee
    March 15, 2017 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    There’s something about Franzvthat spoke to me in this world today. He certainly is a model for us all to emulate.

  19. Rita Griffith's Gravatar Rita Griffith
    March 15, 2017 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    I came to vote for Joan but instead voted for the simple farmer who stood up to the Nazis. A well needed reminder in these perilous times that courage also has to be individual and we each can and should stand up for what is right.

    • k's Gravatar k
      March 15, 2017 - 11:12 am | Permalink

      I completely agree with you Rita. Also, in these times when few women regularly wear dresses and yet sexual assault against women (and boys who wear pants) is abysmally common, I’m pretty sure that it was not the pants that protected her. Courage, integrity, and defending not just yourself but others as well is saintly.

  20. March 15, 2017 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Both are good examples of dying for your beliefs. I voted for Joan because she was brave to stand up for her beliefs and do something about them. I like people of action so Joan it is. On another note we are still fighting this gender thing centuries later. Nothing changes.

  21. Emily Correll's Gravatar Emily Correll
    March 15, 2017 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    Franz for me. Resisting evil to the death and using prison for prayer seem to be a message for our times. I’ve always had a problem with the idea that Joan’s mission was to fight for France.

  22. Nancy Strong's Gravatar Nancy Strong
    March 15, 2017 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    Have been intrigued by Joan’s courage and faith under fire all my life, ever since discovering an old broadside of a WWI popular song “Joan of Arc, They are Calling You” in my grandmother’s piano bench. However, the witness of Franz Jagerstatter is simple, costly and profound, and reminds me of my Quaker relatives’ CO status during WWII. In the end, I think I have to go with Joan.

    • Wanda Stahl's Gravatar Wanda Stahl
      March 15, 2017 - 10:25 am | Permalink

      My mother taught me to sing that second world war song. I didn’t know there was music for it still around.

  23. Vicki Hughrs's Gravatar Vicki Hughrs
    March 15, 2017 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    The feminist in me wants to vote for Joan; the no- violent, non-cooperator with evil wants to vote for Franz. Also i feel the need to balance out the antisemitism of yesterday’s winner. Principles contemplated and prioritized, I’m voting for the peaceful, radical, courageous, prayerful farmer. Also – thanks for including Franz Jägerstätter, his story is new to me. Cool saint!

  24. Edwina's Gravatar Edwina
    March 15, 2017 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Joan of Arc has always been a favorite I must vote for Franz of Austria in memory of dear friend who escaped Jewish persecution there.

  25. Rev. Vicki Hesse's Gravatar Rev. Vicki Hesse
    March 15, 2017 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    Voted for Joan. She wore pants.

  26. Ntathu's Gravatar Ntathu
    March 15, 2017 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    We’re reading “Night” by Eli’s Wiesel in my ninth grade English class. The essential question guiding our reading is ” How do good people allow a holocaust to happen?” One of the answers to this open ended question is that too many remain silent and turn away. Taking a stand is a very powerful action. In honor of Herman Will, a cocienftious objecter and my beloved father-in-law, I vote for Franz.

  27. Holly Green's Gravatar Holly Green
    March 15, 2017 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    Climb every mountain, ford every stream! My vote goes to Jaggerstatter.

  28. Cassandra's Gravatar Cassandra
    March 15, 2017 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    I’ve always admired Joan, but I voted for Franz today. Never heard of him before, but, having grown up in a pacifist household, he is a new hero.

  29. Gloria Ishida's Gravatar Gloria Ishida
    March 15, 2017 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Much of the story about Joan is questionable; it has become a myth. Franz is an excellent competitor with Bonhoeffer.

    • Lynda-Marie's Gravatar Lynda-Marie
      March 15, 2017 - 8:43 am | Permalink

      much of the myth was concocted by the English….

      • Jules's Gravatar Jules
        March 15, 2017 - 10:38 am | Permalink

        Supposedly one English soldier, watching her execution, wailed, “We are lost; we have burnt a saint!” – And indeed, after her death the English side never won another battle of any significance.

        • March 15, 2017 - 3:24 pm | Permalink

          Fascinating, Jules. I didn’t know that.

  30. Brian's Gravatar Brian
    March 15, 2017 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    I wonder how many of these saints who saw visions and acted in ways inconsistent with community norms would be diagnosed with a brain disease or a mental disorder today…

    • Annie Dolber's Gravatar Annie Dolber
      March 15, 2017 - 10:10 am | Permalink

      In that vein, I love this quote from Lily Tomlin: Why is it that when we talk to God we’re said to be praying, but when God talks to us we’re said to be schizophrenic?

  31. Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
    March 15, 2017 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    In this time, when I am sure many of us wonder what will be asked of us, as we support refugees, immigrants, women’s health care, the environment, common sense gun laws, etc. I can’t help but be moved by the actions of Franz. Yes, I love Joan, but today Franz’ courage and faith speak to me.

    • Pauline Dawson's Gravatar Pauline Dawson
      March 15, 2017 - 11:59 am | Permalink

      “In this time, when I am sure many of us wonder what will be asked of us…” This is something I have thinking of lately. Would I have the courage and conviction of a Franz Jaggerstatter or a Bonhoeffer? Will I be tried and found wanting?

  32. Kelley B.'s Gravatar Kelley B.
    March 15, 2017 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Franz’s story and faithful witness really spoke to me. As a parent, I can’t think of anything harder to do than to take a stance that might (and did) result in your separation from your children. Both are deserving Saints, but I have to go with Franz today.

  33. Nolan McBride's Gravatar Nolan McBride
    March 15, 2017 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    I voted for Franz. I read a whole article why about a year ago, though it was only published a couple months ago.

    • March 15, 2017 - 11:42 am | Permalink

      Great article!

    • Jeanne Stevens's Gravatar Jeanne Stevens
      March 15, 2017 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the article. I always admired Joan but I believe Franz should get my vote now.

    • March 15, 2017 - 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that link, Nolan. He was beheaded?!?! I didn’t know any Europeans employed that barbaric practice.

  34. BeachcomberT's Gravatar BeachcomberT
    March 15, 2017 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Chose a peacemaker over a warrior. Always nervous when a religious person tells people that God favors one army over another.

    • k's Gravatar k
      March 15, 2017 - 11:14 am | Permalink


    • Rita Griffith's Gravatar Rita Griffith
      March 15, 2017 - 11:08 pm | Permalink

      You made me think of this:

      In Westminster Abbey
      by John Betjeman

      Let me take this other glove off
      As the vox humana swells,
      And the beauteous fields of Eden
      Bask beneath the Abbey bells.
      Here, where England’s statesmen lie,
      Listen to a lady’s cry.

      Gracious Lord, oh bomb the Germans,
      Spare their women for Thy Sake,
      And if that is not too easy
      We will pardon Thy Mistake.
      But, gracious Lord, whate’er shall be,
      Don’t let anyone bomb me.

      Keep our Empire undismembered
      Guide our Forces by Thy Hand,
      Gallant blacks from far Jamaica,
      Honduras and Togoland;
      Protect them Lord in all their fights,
      And, even more, protect the whites.

      Think of what our Nation stands for,
      Books from Boots’ and country lanes,
      Free speech, free passes, class distinction,
      Democracy and proper drains.
      Lord, put beneath Thy special care
      One-eighty-nine Cadogan Square.

      Although dear Lord I am a sinner,
      I have done no major crime;
      Now I’ll come to Evening Service
      Whensoever I have the time.
      So, Lord, reserve for me a crown,
      And do not let my shares go down.

      I will labour for Thy Kingdom,
      Help our lads to win the war,
      Send white feathers to the cowards
      Join the Women’s Army Corps,
      Then wash the steps around Thy Throne
      In the Eternal Safety Zone.

      Now I feel a little better,
      What a treat to hear Thy Word,
      Where the bones of leading statesmen
      Have so often been interr’d.
      And now, dear Lord, I cannot wait
      Because I have a luncheon date.

  35. Diana's Gravatar Diana
    March 15, 2017 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    For Franz Jägerstätter and Joan of Arc
    Tune: Paderborn, Hymnal ’82, Ye Servants of God

    God’s saints who have led in quite diff’rent paths
    Still show us two ways to face evil’s wrath.
    One heard that her call was to take up the sword.
    The other resisted through pow’r of the Word.

    Joan went to the king, spoke truth she had heard.
    Victorious in war, then sold to the foe.
    Was faithful in trials, in imprisonment too
    Endured fiery murder for wearing men’s clothes.

    Rejecting advice to just go along
    Franz chose the hard way; resisting the wrong.
    His life was a prayer and a strong witness to
    Discipleship’s way up to death and on through.

    How can we discern which saint shows the way
    In our times of need when much is awry?
    To lead in the battle, or stand quietly –
    God give us the wisdom to not go astray!

    • Mollie Douglas Turner+'s Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner+
      March 15, 2017 - 9:08 am | Permalink

      Wow! I’ll be humming Paderborn all day, Diana! I think the SEC needs to institute a prize for best new hymn text to go with the Golden Halo, regardless of which saint wins that prize. This one is great.

    • Kate's Gravatar Kate
      March 15, 2017 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Wow! You came up with a whole hymn before 8:46 a.m.? I’m looking forward to future efforts!

    • Chuck Kramer's Gravatar Chuck Kramer
      March 15, 2017 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Beautiful! And much my take on these two saints.

    • Karen Mills's Gravatar Karen Mills
      March 15, 2017 - 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Your poems/hymns are wonderful! Thanks for sharing. Now in addition to watching for Oliver’s statements, I am watching for yours! Cheers to you – Keep it up!

    • Karen Mills's Gravatar Karen Mills
      March 15, 2017 - 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Wow – I love this! In addition to searching for Oliver’s comments, now I will be watching for a new hymn to sing each day of Lent madness. Thanks for sharing your gifts!

    • Linda's Gravatar Linda
      March 15, 2017 - 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Wonderful! And one of my favorite tunes, too! Thank you!

    • March 15, 2017 - 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Another excellent offering, Diana. Thank you.

  36. Katrina Soto's Gravatar Katrina Soto
    March 15, 2017 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    I was moved by the faithfulness of both saints today. I cast my vote for Franz because I have struggled internally with the question of how loyal I would be if put to the test, having seen in the news how Christians have been tortured and killed in other parts of the world because they would not renounce their faith. Also, I’m an Altar Guild Directress, so I feel a kinship with Franz who served as a sacristan.

    • Pat's Gravatar Pat
      March 15, 2017 - 7:52 pm | Permalink

      God bless you for your service. The director of my altar guild is a saint and I’m sure you mean to be one too.

  37. Timothy J's Gravatar Timothy J
    March 15, 2017 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Voting for Franz, because he lived his faith peacefully. He did not kill the English, his enemy, like Joan. He is the better choice. Better luck next time, Jeanne d’Arc!

  38. Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
    March 15, 2017 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    For the moment, it appears my vote put Franz ahead by a single ballot! Didn’t think it would be this close, but I had to vote for someone who took seriously Jesus’ call to non-violence.

  39. March 15, 2017 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    Joan has always been one of my favorites. Her zeal, conviction, military savvy (aka the guidance of the Holy Spirit!) and leadership are inspirational. I love her. I also love Franz’s story. His is a testimony of how each of us are called into our lives as Christians – to stand up for others, to live daily for our faith. Joan’s story is much the same, I realize, but Franz’s story resonates with me because of what is happening today. His is a story I need right now, so I voted for him.

  40. Jill's Gravatar Jill
    March 15, 2017 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    It was a tough choice, given that Nazi resistance won the halo last year. While both were brave, Joan won my vote. A 16 year old illiterate farm girl in the 1400s with a message from God who could outwit learned examiners and go to war for her faith is a more compelling story.

    • Henry Langknecht's Gravatar Henry Langknecht
      March 15, 2017 - 8:53 am | Permalink

      What she said. Toughest choice of the year for me.

  41. Denise Evans's Gravatar Denise Evans
    March 15, 2017 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    This is why I love Lent Madness. I would never have known about someone like Franz without this Lenten fun. That being said…I went with Joan. Gotta give the girl credit for wearing pants in the 15th century.

  42. Rhee M Howard's Gravatar Rhee M Howard
    March 15, 2017 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Voted for the conscientious objector over the one who fought to keep a monarch in power.

  43. K8+'s Gravatar K8+
    March 15, 2017 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    As I read the bios for today and thought about the chaos that is our country and world, this quote came immediately to my mind.

    Edmund Burke:
    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”
    Kate Guistolise:
    “Sometimes the first thing necessary for the triumph of good is for good men (sic) to refuse to do evil”

    I voted for Franz

    • Meg's Gravatar Meg
      March 15, 2017 - 9:43 am | Permalink

      I voted for Franz as well… fighting for the nation/king and glory is prominent and thus more popular than simply refusing to do evil and praying. Franz’s the sacrifice of everything in the refusal to do evil needs recognition and reward, even in such a small thing as a vote for him in Lent Madness.
      Memory eternal..

  44. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    March 15, 2017 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Franz: “As long as I can pray…my life is not in vain.”

  45. Tony Lubong's Gravatar Tony Lubong
    March 15, 2017 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Franz… because he chose to “do harm to no man”, rather through prayer he waged spiritual warfare.

  46. swed0019's Gravatar swed0019
    March 15, 2017 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Joan of Arc – a gender non-conforming young woman who stood for her cause and was crushed by power of the state and the church. Franz is an inspiring witness, but Joan’s path speaks so much to the issues queer youth, rebels, those who feel called, and all who fight against oppression face today. She was a peasant girl – yet this one person’s stand made a difference.

  47. March 15, 2017 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    Joan was an amazing woman. She fought in a war, leading men into battle. She was persecuted for so many things that are perfectly fine today, and in the end o fit all, she was burned for being a witch! Vote Joan!!!

  48. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    March 15, 2017 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    I’ll keep this short to avoid crossing the laptop demons. Joan well-known, visionary, resourceful, namesake of my mother’s best friend during the early years of her marriage, a warrior saint (there have been many). Franz a tertiary of a peaceable order valuing prayer above all else (the first way in which we serve the Kingdom of God), bearing witness against the Nazi regime even to death. Very much a saint for our times. He had my vote.

  49. Sofie's Gravatar Sofie
    March 15, 2017 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    Love the farming theme in this round. Voted for Franz, who was persecuted as a conscientious objector, and who had every reason to just go along to get along. Apparently without outward miracles or visions to spur him on, this man stood for what was right. An everyday hero who was far from ordinary.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 15, 2017 - 9:25 am | Permalink

      Me too–wanted to rewrite “How You Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm,” but haven’t had enough coffee yet for that!

  50. Debbie Northern's Gravatar Debbie Northern
    March 15, 2017 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    Both Joan and Franz stood up for their convictions and were not swayed by public opinion but stayed firm in their faith. They both gave their lives for their convictions and were later vindicated. Even though Joan is my confirmation name and Joan of Arc was patroness of my college, I voted for Franz because of his sheer audacity of standing up to Nazism. His courage is an inspiration that I hope I can emulate in the current political climate.

    • March 15, 2017 - 9:36 am | Permalink

      I agree, Debbie, nicely said. Franz shows that all of us, no matter if we lack traditional power, fame or wealth, have been called by God to do his will. We should not leave the battle for good to others, no matter how insignificant we may feel.

    • Carolyn's Gravatar Carolyn
      March 15, 2017 - 9:43 am | Permalink

      Exactly. Franz is an inspiration for us to stand up and protest when our faith and values direct us.
      Joan has her golden halo from a previous Lent Madness.

      • Carolyn Brown's Gravatar Carolyn Brown
        March 15, 2017 - 10:02 am | Permalink

        I just did a fact check, and I am sad to say that I reported an alternate fact. Joan does not have a golden halo.

        • March 15, 2017 - 3:55 pm | Permalink

          LOL, Carolyn. Good on you for ‘fessing up. 🙂 Of course, Joan *does* have a golden halo – just not a Lenten Madness Golden Halo.

          • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
            March 15, 2017 - 4:46 pm | Permalink

            There is a gold leaf covered statute of Joan d’Arc in Cor Circle near All Saints Catholic parish & school here in Portland. I do not recall if the sculptor included a golden halo or not. I shall have to check the next time I’m on that side of the Willamette (Wil-lam-et).

      • Gene Kleppinger's Gravatar Gene Kleppinger
        March 15, 2017 - 10:16 am | Permalink

        Joan may have been in previous LM tournaments, but she did not win the Golden Halo. Perhaps you are thinking of Frances Perkins (2013)?

        • Gene Kleppinger's Gravatar Gene Kleppinger
          March 15, 2017 - 10:17 am | Permalink

          I supported the pacifist Franz J.

  51. Barbara J. Ruhe's Gravatar Barbara J. Ruhe
    March 15, 2017 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Joan was cool, but I think some of her story has been lost to myth–Franz is a modern saint who deserves to be known and recognized.

  52. March 15, 2017 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    My vote is for Joan –

  53. Lois Keen's Gravatar Lois Keen
    March 15, 2017 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    I want to vote for Joan, but I fear we will need more Jägerstätter’s in the U. S. in the coming years, so I vote for him as my petition that he pray for us before the throne of God, and may Saint Joan join Franz in prayer.

  54. Corey's Gravatar Corey
    March 15, 2017 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Joan is incredible, but I have to pick conscientious objection over war every time.

  55. Susan Fisher's Gravatar Susan Fisher
    March 15, 2017 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Today I vote for Franz’ quiet fortitude in the face of the Nazi behemoth. He speaks to the story I fear we may be living in the prequel of and reminds us that resistance has many forms. I’m moved by Diana’s new hymn for today’s battle, and love that the contest is so close.

  56. Christine Parkhurst's Gravatar Christine Parkhurst
    March 15, 2017 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    Joan seems supernaturally holy. Franz is a more ordinary saint, so easier to identify with. When confronted with evil, would I do the same? I’d like to think so but I suspect I would not, especially if it meant leaving my family in danger. Most ordinary people just lie low, as in the documentary The Sorrow and the Pity. Franz has my vote.

    • pHil's Gravatar pHil
      March 15, 2017 - 11:15 am | Permalink

      I’m still resolute in my vote for Franz but I do find it interesting that not too long ago we were all over Hippo for desertion of his family. Is that because we see more selflessness in Franz’ conscience?

  57. Mollie Douglas Turner+'s Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner+
    March 15, 2017 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised to see Franz ahead, honestly–thought I’d be voting for him in preparation for a likely vote for Joan in the next round. But no regrets. His peaceable path is a shining example, and reflects a work for God that all of us could undertake, as opposed to leading an army (in a war generated by greed). Thanks for introducing a new saint to us, SEC! And thanks again to Diana for her provocative hymn text!

  58. marie jones's Gravatar marie jones
    March 15, 2017 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    Oh, Lois, you said it so well! My thinking exactly! Franz may surely be the underdog, but my vote is for him, as well! We need more ‘common folks’ doing rightly!

  59. Carol Mannchen's Gravatar Carol Mannchen
    March 15, 2017 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    I have always loved Joan. I used to think her story was mythical, and it is still mysterious to me. This was a case of wanting to vote for both, however.

  60. Anne Beckett's Gravatar Anne Beckett
    March 15, 2017 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    I’m voting for Franz because a question I’ve been wrestling with lately is “how courageous am I willing to be in the face of what I’m witnessing?” What Joan did was remarkable, but there’s something extraordinarily powerful in the action of one person for good.

  61. March 15, 2017 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    Both Saints seem so close in their type of devotion and deaths. This is tough! i voted for Joan because as a woman I identified with her trials. Both are so worthy to be in the Saintly Seven.

  62. Timothy Cole-French's Gravatar Timothy Cole-French
    March 15, 2017 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joan of Arc because she was the FIRST saint I ever heard of. She is loyal, brave, and a great role model.

  63. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    March 15, 2017 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    I didn’t expect I’d think twice about this match-up—vote against Jeanne d’Arc? Probably the most famous of all burned-at-the-stake martyrs in Christendom? Farmgirl-turned-martyr, rallying kings and generals to her side, bravely facing prison and the condemnation of all those with much more power than she? Non, jamais!

    But Franz, farmer-turned-martyr, besides conjuring images of Captain von Trapp ripping the Nazi flag off the front of his house, raised again the troubling question I’ve been wrestling with all during the recent presidential campaign and election: Would I have the courage of my convictions to stand up for Jesus if put to the test? I’m pretty sure I would not.

    So not only am I voting against my own bracket, but against my whole rationale for Lent Madness—and voting for the guy in the photograph instead of the medieval woman with visions. Both showed extraordinary courage, both faced death for their convictions (thanks to the “dunker-punk” article above, I now know that Franz was beheaded!). But Franz is needling my conscience more.

  64. March 15, 2017 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    I voted for Franz. Conscientious objection, even in the face of deadly opposition, may well become a model in these times. This is not to say that I don’t love and admire Joan as well.

  65. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 15, 2017 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    These choices are becoming increasingly difficult. I went with Franz because the fear of fascism is so overwhelming in our own country right now (US, but the far right is threatening other nations as well). I had never heard the story of Joan wearing pants; I knew she had been tried and condemned as a relapsed heretic. The weak Charles VII did not support her; Joan is not the first woman to be abandoned by a man she helped to power. Joan’s story is lurid and overdetermined for me. I felt much more moved by the simple, difficult courage of resisting insane and violent nationalism. The fear in my parish since the election is very real. Franz’s story feels personal. I remember how committed I felt to Dietrich Bonhoeffer last year, and I lament that we’re still resisting Nazis. Given that the KKK is still showing up at rallies today (today in the 21st century!) and that racism and white nationalism still afflict our world, I feel swayed by Franz today. But if Joan can be viewed as a figure fighting against the interference of a foreign country (Russia, say) in one’s own nation, then I see this choice as a toss-up. Both are saints to be honored.

  66. Nancy Oliver's Gravatar Nancy Oliver
    March 15, 2017 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    A voice crying in the wilderness- Franz stood alone against the Nazis- Joan was a woman in a mans world- but had a King and an army on her side. Franz listened to his conscience and not the priests or surely his wife. Everyone said or just capitulate- and he said no wrong is wrong no matter how many say it’s right. Franz got my vote.

  67. March 15, 2017 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    This was a tough matchup. I went into it thinking I would vote for Joan but after reading about Frank, I was so moved. This man is a saint for our time, resisting political oppression. Yet, when reading Joan, I finally voted for her. It is so difficult for women to be elevated to their rightful place in the church and in the world. Joan of Arc suffered much for the sake of Christ, was martyred, and finally, in 1920!!! was recognized for the inspiration that she is. This is the same match up as the final one last year when Bonhoeffer won over Sojourner Truth and then again over Julian of Norwich. The win over Sojourner Truth broke my heart. Both strong people speaking truth to power but somehow the woman’s voice was not considered the most worthy. That is the match we are facing today. Yes, the woman is the most well known, so perhaps some might want to vote for the underdog who stood up to Nazi oppression. Yet, the woman not only stood up against political oppression, she was ridiculed for it, sexually assaulted, (grabbing a woman was condoned by the highest powers back then too as it is today), imprisoned, and finally burned at the stake. Needless to say, as much as I admire the witness of Franz, I voted for Joan of Arc and hope others will too.

    • March 15, 2017 - 9:36 am | Permalink

      I know it is Franz. Spell check altered the name the first time but I caught it the second.

      • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
        March 15, 2017 - 9:39 am | Permalink

        I thought maybe “Frank” was a term of endearment!

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 15, 2017 - 9:48 am | Permalink

      I think you are right to insist on honoring women’s voices, choices, and spirituality, and I wish I had read your commentary before thinking through my own position and casting my vote. Bonhoeffer was a profound choice for me last year; he was my personal saint and the focus of my Lenten reading. I hope Sojourner Truth and Julian of Norwich will return to get the Halo soon. But today Franz’s position as a witness against corrupt state power feels very real and very close (too real, too close), even as you rightly point out that women are not just crushed but brutalized and mocked in the crushing. I believe we need all our saints, and I like many previous commentators in this thread am worrying about my strength and courage in our present trials. If Joan goes forward, I will be perfectly happy to see a woman saint win the Halo.

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 15, 2017 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Hi, St. C, just saw your reply on the day of the Augustines.

  68. Patricia Dobro's Gravatar Patricia Dobro
    March 15, 2017 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joan. She has always been one of my favorite people. Joan it is!

  69. March 15, 2017 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    Not to influence a vote, but to share resources for the many commenting that Hans Jagerstatter is new to them, I urge you to watch the video (about one hour long) embedded in this blog post:

    • Arnold's Gravatar Arnold
      March 15, 2017 - 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Speaking of films about these saints, The Passion of Joan of Arc is one of the great masterpieces in all of cinema. It’s directed by Carl Dreyer, one of my favorite directors, who made a number of spiritually significant films with Christian themes. And a film on Franz J called Radegund (the name of his town) is scheduled to come out this year. It’s directed by Terrence Malick, likewise a favorite director whohas made a number of spiritually significant films with Christian themes!

  70. Sarah Lund's Gravatar Sarah Lund
    March 15, 2017 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    What a toughie!! But I have to go with Franz. Franz stood up against Hitler … Joan against England. Franz is almost unheard of, and Joan is known throughout the world. It’s Franz’s turn.

  71. Stephen Muncie's Gravatar Stephen Muncie
    March 15, 2017 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    I love Joan of Arc. Always have. But Franz is a Christian witness to non-violent pacifism in a world of evil militarism. His costly discipleship is a challenge to me. After yesterday’s disappointing victory of the disturbingly anti-Semitic Martin Luther, I am led to vote for the anti-Nazi, anti-militaristic parish sacristan, blessed Franz.

  72. Samantha E.'s Gravatar Samantha E.
    March 15, 2017 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    I’m voting for Franz- how hard when you have no one to uphold your beliefs- not even your clergy. That’s alone.

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 15, 2017 - 10:39 am | Permalink

      Very good point. I wonder if his wife and daughters thought he should submit to conscription or follow his conscience.

  73. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 15, 2017 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    Wow, this is hard! Two strong and courageous people who died for their beliefs. I’ve never heard of Franz until today but he’s such an inspiration. Finally had to go with Joan of Arc. She was a true fighter, and I love her spirit and conviction. Go Joanie for the Golden Halo!

  74. Jennifer Mariano's Gravatar Jennifer Mariano
    March 15, 2017 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    I think the write up for Joan does not do a good job explaining the importance of what she did. The write ups of several of these saints seem slanted or focus too much on the graphic nature of their life and death instead of the impact of their Spirituality then and now.

    • March 15, 2017 - 12:48 pm | Permalink


    • Annemarie's Gravatar Annemarie
      March 16, 2017 - 10:57 am | Permalink

      I agree, Jennifer! I look to the spiritual impact of the individual on others when deciding my vote.

  75. March 15, 2017 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Franz as he lost his life because he stood up against the Nazis. Important to recognize people on the modern era who lived their faith to his last breath.

    • pHil's Gravatar pHil
      March 15, 2017 - 11:19 am | Permalink

      He had ME with his daily Eucharist! (Well, almost.)

  76. Johanne Hills's Gravatar Johanne Hills
    March 15, 2017 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Voted Franz. I am wondering and believing that across the world there are unsung, and largely unknown people of good faith and good consience who are living out Christ’s mandate at great personal cost to themselves and their families. Like so many who follow this Lenten practice it helps us keep faith in our own small ways. blessings on all who yearn r justice and peace, and the day of compassion.

  77. Gian Inchauspe's Gravatar Gian Inchauspe
    March 15, 2017 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    Joan of Arc?! Seriously?! I did not have even to read the posting to know for whom I was not going to vote.

  78. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    March 15, 2017 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    Ever since the bracket was revealed, I have expected to vote for Joan. But Franz–facing the Nazis, relinquishing his dearest, and praying faithfully in his prison cell–won my vote. What a difficult pairing, and how glad I am now to know of both. (P.S. LOVED the Fashion Police comment!)

  79. Christopher's Gravatar Christopher
    March 15, 2017 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    Nazi conscientious objectors are just so zeitgeisty right now.

    • March 15, 2017 - 4:12 pm | Permalink

      LOL, Christopher. I need to work “zeitgeisty” into conversation this week. Best neologism I’ve heard in a while.

  80. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 15, 2017 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    Most difficult choice for me in all the years I’ve been playing Lent Madness. I finally voted for Franz Jägerstätter because he was a contemporary martyr and deserves to be better known and honored for his courage and devotion. I also like his statement, “As long as I can pray, and there is plenty of time for that, my life is not in vain.”

    • Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
      March 15, 2017 - 10:09 am | Permalink

      It would be such a trip to see this remarkable and yet so little known person win the Golden Halo. He faces stiff competition in the weeks ahead, but I’ll continue to hope, pray, and vote (only once a day) for him as long as he’s in the running.

  81. Joyce in Madison. GA's Gravatar Joyce in Madison. GA
    March 15, 2017 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    How many of us would be willing to be the only person in our town to stand up to a dictatorship with the faithfulness Franz did? He won my vote.

  82. Dorothy's Gravatar Dorothy
    March 15, 2017 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    I have just finished reading Bonhoffer feel for those who stood for their convictions against overwhelming odds. The church of Germany and Austria did not make a stance against the evil instead, embraced it and became part of it…we need to take heed. Go Franz!

  83. JMart's Gravatar JMart
    March 15, 2017 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    My vote goes to Franz. How difficult it must have been for a simple Austrian farmer to stand up to the juggernaut that was the Nazi Reich. if only more had followed their convictions, the outcome might have been so different. May his faith and courage inspire us this Lenten season.

  84. Mindy Duryea's Gravatar Mindy Duryea
    March 15, 2017 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    Unlike yesterday when I didn’t really feel good about voting for either… today was bad because they were both so good! I voted for Joan of Arc because she fought the same fight that is still being fought by so many women today…. and lost. See this article from the Atlantic if you are interested in how difficult even the most basic things are for women today.

  85. Lee Greenawalt's Gravatar Lee Greenawalt
    March 15, 2017 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joan as having inspired more saints, However, after reading comments, realize Franz is more of a saint for our times.

  86. CJ's Gravatar CJ
    March 15, 2017 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    I had to vote for Joan. I have a real problem with someone who chooses martyrdom at the expense of his wife and children.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 15, 2017 - 10:36 am | Permalink

      I thought that at first, too, but wasn’t Franz’s choice to go to war for the Nazis or to go to prison? With either scenario the family was left to take care of themselves. It wasn’t like he went off to martyrdom without thinking of his family.

    • Freeman Gilbert's Gravatar Freeman Gilbert
      March 15, 2017 - 10:38 am | Permalink

      And yet that’s precisely the path Jesus tells his followers they must follow. Still it is discomforting when somebody takes Jesus literally.

    • Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
      March 15, 2017 - 10:40 am | Permalink

      Matthew 10:37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;

  87. Mrs. B.'s Gravatar Mrs. B.
    March 15, 2017 - 10:20 am | Permalink

    Agree with Brian (and Christopher). Someone suggested that Joan suffered from bovine tuberculosis. Regardless, she led an army and saved many lives by keeping France neutral in the Hundred Years’ War. By her martyrdom she earned the veneration of faithful people throughout history. Franz was one of many resisting Naziism, including millions of Jews.

  88. Beth Owen's Gravatar Beth Owen
    March 15, 2017 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    I always look to see how Oliver voted, today I find Lindsey, also age 10. I was going to vote for Joan, but Franz story…

  89. Lee Wilkins's Gravatar Lee Wilkins
    March 15, 2017 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    Joan earned my vote. Can you imagine how intimidating it was for a young woman to be brought before ‘the mighty’ to defend her faith on charges of heresy, all the white being objectified (and assaulted) and ridiculed? And the pants – who knew? While I truly admire Franz’s faith and convictions, I took the side of the sisterhood today.

  90. Cath Fenton's Gravatar Cath Fenton
    March 15, 2017 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    Joan is already recognised, so I voted for Franz.

  91. Barb Gutzler's Gravatar Barb Gutzler
    March 15, 2017 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    Having grown up in Jackson Heights, Queens, we frequently attended St. Joan of Arc Church because of Mom’s devotion to her. Feminist, courageous. Franz is a great model of courage, too. Like Joan, he stood up for his beliefs and died for them. But she set the standard! Go, Joan!

  92. Josie Delmonico's Gravatar Josie Delmonico
    March 15, 2017 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    As much as I love Joan, the simple faith and veracity of Franz Jägerstätier in standing up to the Nazis is an act of the highest measure. God bless this humble man.

  93. Walker Shaw's Gravatar Walker Shaw
    March 15, 2017 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    Saint Michael the Archangel, Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Saint Margaret guided Joan of Arc, clearly a most remarkable saint herself.

  94. Patricia Handloss's Gravatar Patricia Handloss
    March 15, 2017 - 10:34 am | Permalink

    Go Joan

  95. Chris's Gravatar Chris
    March 15, 2017 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    What a tough choice. Joan has been a hero for me since childhood. I admire her persistence and courage, in the face of such assault. The story of Franz, however, is heart-wrenching. He resisted evil, a model for our times. After a struggle, I joined Lee on the side of the sisterhood, too.

  96. Sally Fox's Gravatar Sally Fox
    March 15, 2017 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    WOW, what a pair, and what a choice challenge! Both committed to God and to the good of humankind against political and religious extremism. In their ends each lost to the political power of their times, wrong and evil though it was. Leaves the age old question as to which would have made more difference in the long run: their single minded determination and commitment to their beliefs to the death, OR patience, perseverence, prayer, and even temporary compromise so as to continue working and leading others toward their goals for God’s way and the good of humankind?

  97. Freeman Gilbert's Gravatar Freeman Gilbert
    March 15, 2017 - 10:43 am | Permalink
    Read this in its entirety, but here’s a brief excerpt:

    Franz Jägerstätter’s widow, ‘a warm, gentle soul,’ dies at 100

    Franziska Jägerstätter attends her husband’s beatification ceremony at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Linz, Austria, in 2007. (CNS/Reuters)

    Tom Roberts | Apr. 8, 2013

    Franziska Jägerstätter, the widow of Austrian conscientious objector and martyr Franz Jägerstätter, died March 16, two weeks after celebrating her 100th birthday.

    A native of Upper Austria, Franziska Jägerstätter gained a certain international renown nearly six years ago when her husband, who was beheaded in 1943 for refusing to join the Nazi cause on religious grounds, was beatified in an elaborate ceremony in St. Mary’s Cathedral in Linz, Austria.

    During the October 2007 ceremony, Franziska, then 94, was introduced to a sustained standing ovation. At one point in the ceremony, she walked to the sanctuary where she kissed an urn containing a bone fragment of her husband before turning it over for preservation in the cathedral.

    Her funeral was held March 23 in her home village of St. Radegund. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn and several other bishops officiated at an outdoor Mass.

    Author Erna Putz, a longtime friend of the family, explained at the time of the beatification that while the honor was an acknowledgment of Franz Jägerstätter’s courage and conviction, it was also a vindication of Franziska, who had been the target of resentment among those in the farming village of St. Radegund, where the Jägerstätters lived. Some blamed her for influencing her husband’s outlook and thus, ultimately, the path he took to his death.

    It is clear from a biography, In Solitary Witness: The Life and Death of Franz Jägerstätter, written by the late Catholic peace activist Gordon Zahn, that the devout resister was a somewhat wild young man who had a reputation as a womanizer. According to the later Putz biography, Franz Jägerstätter Martyr: A Shining Example in Dark Times, he questioned his faith and stopped attending church during the period of 1927-30 while working in the iron ore industry in Eisenerz. Putz said he eventually returned to his home village “a stronger believer than ever.” The faith apparently continued to grow and deepen throughout the rest of his life. At one point, he considered religious life but was discouraged from it by a parish priest. He married Franziska in 1936. The abundant correspondence between the two during the slightly more than three months Jägerstätter spent in prison before his death show that she actually had tried to change his mind at the start of his imprisonment, but came to an understanding of his deep convictions during his prison stay.

    Jesuit Fr. John Dear, a peace activist who said that Jägerstätter’s life was one of the influences that convinced him to go into the seminary, once wrote of a chance meeting with Franziska in St. Radegund. He had gone there to look for the homestead and came upon an elderly woman eating plums from a tree outside a residence. When he asked if she knew where the Jägerstätters lived, she responded, “I am Frau Jägerstätter.”

    “She looks like Georgia O’Keefe,” Dear wrote, “has the sparkling eyes of Mother Teresa, a warm, gentle soul with an infectious joy and loving kindness. She carries herself with humility, a hint of shyness. But beneath lies strength, a solid faith, deep peace, towering Gospel conviction. She stands, to my mind, as much a saint as her martyred husband. After Franz died, she took up his job as sacristan and set about to raise their three girls and keep his memory alive.”

    • March 15, 2017 - 10:54 am | Permalink

      Thank you for posting this info

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 15, 2017 - 11:44 am | Permalink

      Wow! God love her, she sounds amazing. Thanks.

    • March 15, 2017 - 11:48 am | Permalink

      What a wonderful account! Thank yo you for posting it

    • March 15, 2017 - 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for this additional info, Freeman. I really appreciate how this community shares info to deepen our understanding of all the saints.

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 15, 2017 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing this information. She sounds like a wonderful woman.

      I voted before reading any comments today. At the top of the page I was thinking I’d vote for Joan but after I had read both mini-hagiographies, I felt Joan was saying to vote for Franz, who (metaphorically at least) punched the Nazis.

      Franz’s stand against the Nazis reminds me of Queen Esther’s willingness to die if necessary to protect her people (Esther 4:14-16). And that leads me to share this collect I composed back in mid-January. (Feel free to use/share/pray it.)

      Give us strength O God of Esther who has called us for such a time as this. Enable us to contend against the spiritual forces of evil and the cosmic powers over this present darkness. Give us the grace to make no peace with oppression, and the spirit to think and to do that which sets at liberty those who are oppressed, that our society may be cleansed and strengthen. This we ask through Him who humbled Himself to share our humanity, Thy son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

      • Freeman Gilbert's Gravatar Freeman Gilbert
        March 15, 2017 - 8:00 pm | Permalink

        That is really really good. Thank you!!!!!

  98. Michael Spring's Gravatar Michael Spring
    March 15, 2017 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    hmm. I thought Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.

  99. Freeman Gilbert's Gravatar Freeman Gilbert
    March 15, 2017 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    Oops, only meant to share the last two paragraphs.

  100. March 15, 2017 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    Such a hard decision!
    But wanted to give Franz his due respect too. Facing the Nazis must have been living hell

  101. Gale Smetana's Gravatar Gale Smetana
    March 15, 2017 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    Franz seemed like a poor man’s Boenhoffer, so he gets my vote!

  102. Kandice's Gravatar Kandice
    March 15, 2017 - 10:56 am | Permalink

    I don’t know what to do! So, I read all the comments…still don’t know what to do!! My first instinct was to vote for Franz. Remaining faithful and standing up to the Nazi regime took great courage and conviction. It doesn’t say how he was executed but I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant (poor Joan experienced that herself). For the millions and millions of Jewish people who were murdered, I vote for Franz.

  103. Georgie B's Gravatar Georgie B
    March 15, 2017 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    Would that we all possess the conviction and fortitude of Franz in the face of what is happening in today’s political climate. Did anyone else notice that he was killed on the first anniversary (and fest day) of Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, aka Edith Stein?

    • Freeman Gilbert's Gravatar Freeman Gilbert
      March 15, 2017 - 11:28 am | Permalink

      SEC, I nominate Edith Stein for 2018.

  104. Story's Gravatar Story
    March 15, 2017 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    This is a very tough decision. In many ways the two are so similar. Some may take exception to this reason but I am voting for Joan of Arc because she is a woman. I could be wrong but it seems that there are not that many female saints represented in this year’s Lent Madness.

    • Story's Gravatar Story
      March 15, 2017 - 11:03 am | Permalink

      Yes, out of 32 saints I believe only 10 of them are women this year. Hmm…

      • Freeman Gilbert's Gravatar Freeman Gilbert
        March 15, 2017 - 11:45 am | Permalink

        Well, the first two years, there were only 4 or 5 women. Since then, there have been as many as 14, but generally more in the 9-12 range. No reason why there shouldn’t be a bracket that is majority women.

  105. Freeman Gilbert's Gravatar Freeman Gilbert
    March 15, 2017 - 11:01 am | Permalink

    I think in future brackets it should be Franz and Franziska Jagerstatter that we vote for, or maybe even give Franziska her own well deserved spot.

    • Story's Gravatar Story
      March 15, 2017 - 11:05 am | Permalink

      I just hope that next year 22 of the saints who are represented are women.

      • Freeman Gilbert's Gravatar Freeman Gilbert
        March 15, 2017 - 11:35 am | Permalink

        Even though I don’t think Lent Madness should be about identity politics, I agree.

  106. Michael DeVine's Gravatar Michael DeVine
    March 15, 2017 - 11:04 am | Permalink

    As a conscientious objector, who suffered no real negative consequences for my stand, I have to give it to Franz who gave his life in service to his faith.

  107. Sarah Pope's Gravatar Sarah Pope
    March 15, 2017 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    Love the Joan of Arc stories, admire her heroism, but the Franz story brought tears to my eyes. We can all learn a lesson about normalizing hate, and standing up for Love.

  108. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    March 15, 2017 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    If this is going to become a debate over the election in the USA, I, for one, am going to bow out of Lent Madness. I deactivated my Social Media accounts for just that reason. Will read St. lives and vote and follow for one more week… I enjoy the comments immensely….or did, until 2016 USA election results became the basis for a growing number of Halo votes.

    • k's Gravatar k
      March 15, 2017 - 11:20 am | Permalink

      Via con dios

      • Kate's Gravatar Kate
        March 15, 2017 - 11:08 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for your kindness, k.
        The other 2 comments were meaningful and warm and considerate…and made good points for me to ponder. I truly appreciate that. God bless you!Ka

        • Kate's Gravatar Kate
          March 15, 2017 - 11:13 pm | Permalink

          Sorry…I meant other THREE comments…thanks again and God bless you.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 15, 2017 - 11:37 am | Permalink

      Peace be with you. It is a real struggle to balance “spiritual” considerations with “boots-on-ground” practical reasons for faith. I believe the saints lived lives in which elections, diseases, war, and quarrels with neighbors were all parts of their reality; we’re all trying to find spiritual sustenance within very real social and political conditions. Can certainly understand stepping out of social media. Hope LM strengthens and blesses your Lenten experience. Again, peace to you.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 15, 2017 - 11:54 am | Permalink

      Proportionately, I’d say there are very few of us who mention the election, and no one has mentioned any party or candidate by name. I’m sorry that the few outnumber the many for you.

    • March 15, 2017 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

      I hope you will not only choose to stay, but to join the conversation. Your thoughts and reasons for voting are as valid as anyone else’s.

      Just as we look to Scripture as a guide for our lives, I believe it’s appropriate to look to those who have gone before for inspiration as to how we live. I haven’t found any remarks that are overtly “political,” but many that speak of standing up for the oppressed, which is what we’re called to do as Christians.

      • Vicki Hughrs's Gravatar Vicki Hughrs
        March 15, 2017 - 4:48 pm | Permalink


      • Isabelle Melese-d'Hospital's Gravatar Isabelle Melese-d'Hospital
        March 15, 2017 - 10:34 pm | Permalink

        Amen, as followers of Christ, we are called to stand up for the oppressed, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, etc. I think Joan was an amazing, gifted young woman. She took up arms, resisted conventional norms, changed history and earned the love of a nation.
        Franz stood up for peace and refused to pick up weapons and join an evil army.
        His simple faith and resistance to the Nazi’s pressure inspire me, especially as the daughter of a Jewish Holocaust survivor.

      • Kate's Gravatar Kate
        March 16, 2017 - 12:24 am | Permalink

        I am praying they are including the unborn among the “oppressed”. Thank you for a kind response. There were several very overt references to politics I was reacting to…it is not difficult to ascertain the parties when one speaks of not electing a woman in the USA election. I just didn’t reign in my feelings before I spoke as I felt like things were becoming a commentary on the US political differences that have divided our nation, rather than Christ centered and Saint oriented Lenten discernment…and fun. Again, I appreciate the kind and thoughtful comments. Blessings! I,too, picked Franz for his stand on peace, his prayerfulness, and his courage to oppose those who brutally supported ending millions of innocent lives.

  109. Anna's Gravatar Anna
    March 15, 2017 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    I voted for Joan because her faith helped to change history.

  110. Doc's Gravatar Doc
    March 15, 2017 - 11:17 am | Permalink

    Tough vote today. Both candidates such good models for our troubled contemporary time and place. Both resisted and fought the evil around them. One by quietly standing firm against what we might call popular opinion, one by taking the battle to the field. And now I can revere St Joan as a cross-dresser — a way I’d never before thought of her, trans! — which makes her even more compelling.

    For me in the end, it comes down to quiet, firm, steadfast resistance grounded in faith and family. A model I will cling to in these troubled times. Franz gets my vote.

  111. Rose Mahan's Gravatar Rose Mahan
    March 15, 2017 - 11:17 am | Permalink

    It seems contradictory that a culture like ours generally opposed to war would venerate a woman whose only claim to fame is that she fought and died fighting for France..

  112. March 15, 2017 - 11:21 am | Permalink

    Franz not only stood up to the Nazis but to his own church. In 1938, the year the Nazis conquered Austria, the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Theodor Innitzer, issued a directive to Austrian Catholics to “unconditionally support the great German state and the Fuehrer because the historical struggle against the criminal illusion of Bolshevism is obviously accompanied by the blessing of Providence.” For many years, young people made pilgrimages to Franz’s grave, and there were demands made that he be considered a martyr and beatified. Finally he was beatified by Benedict XVI, and his wife Franziska was still alive to see it. I agree with Freeman Gilbert that she deserves a spot in the Lent Madness bracket too. If it had been almost anybody else, I think I would have voted for Joan but had to vote for Franz. If anybody visits Pittsburgh, there is a magnificent statue of Joan in St. Paul Catholic Cathedral. She is sitting on her heels with her hands folded in her lap, looking upward, her sword and helmet beside her, her short hair tousled as if she had just removed the helmet. It is utterly unsentimental and powerful.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 15, 2017 - 11:31 am | Permalink

      I would like to see that sculpture.

  113. Betsy H's Gravatar Betsy H
    March 15, 2017 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    I was influenced by the Theodor Dreyer silent movie with Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light magnificent score. But both of these fine saints richly earned their standard issue halos.

  114. Natalie's Gravatar Natalie
    March 15, 2017 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    I have to vote for St Joan… She is my darling sister’s patron saint. Sorry, Franz.

  115. Joann's Gravatar Joann
    March 15, 2017 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    Have long been inspired by Joan and her story, ever since I was a tween. So much so that when my husband and I honeymooned in France 30 years ago, we did a little pilgrimage and made it to Rouen on the anniversary of Joan’s burning at the stake (how is that for romantic?!) (True story!) But I think it was Joan’s standing up to power in an age and in a way that was so completely out of the norm, along with her deep spiritual conviction, that continues to make her story so compelling and inspiring throughout the ages. Go Joan!

  116. Julie's Gravatar Julie
    March 15, 2017 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    I am somewhat disappointed that the same saints are being used again this year when there are thousands to choose from.

    • Freeman Gilbert's Gravatar Freeman Gilbert
      March 15, 2017 - 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, looking over the brackets to see what the gender mix was, I noticed how many repeats there were. The poor dear patron saint of brewers has been in three brackets so far and is in danger of becoming Harold Stassen of Hippo, instead of Augustine of Hippo.
      Let’s start a campaign on to get the SEC to limit repeats. SEC, DO YOUR JOB SEC DO YOUR JOB SEC DO YOUR JOB
      And don’t you think it is about time that the SEC releases its tax filings? I think we have a right to know.

      • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
        March 15, 2017 - 2:52 pm | Permalink

        We can choose the 2018 bracket in a town hall. What could go wrong?

        • Kris's Gravatar Kris
          March 15, 2017 - 4:43 pm | Permalink


  117. Mark's Gravatar Mark
    March 15, 2017 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    A good, competitive match-up. I suspect that being persecuted by Nazis has more vote-getting mojo than being persecuted by more distantly placed evil-doers, sort of like playing a mentally challenged character is almost always good for a best-actor/best-actress nomination. Anyway, glad to see the voting is close on two very different, very inspiring saints. I ultimately cast my vote for Joan.

  118. Brenda McHenry's Gravatar Brenda McHenry
    March 15, 2017 - 11:46 am | Permalink

    I vote before I read any comments, relying, especially for unfamiliar names, on the short biography. I voted for Joan, but kept wondering about Franziska and the 3 daughters ( I have 3 daughters, too.) Had I known a it more about Franz, I think I would have been swayed. But the fending off sexual advances made the decision.

  119. Shan's Gravatar Shan
    March 15, 2017 - 11:47 am | Permalink

    All these serious reasons for voting, but I’m sure Franz received some votes because he sounds like Jägermeister. Honesty matters, fellow voters!

  120. Sue's Gravatar Sue
    March 15, 2017 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    When I grew up, I was a admirer and fan of Joan of Arc for her devotion, feminism, conviction & inspiration.
    But, to meet Franz, and learn some about him- the lone vote against German annexation of Austria, to be jailed by the Nazis because of his refusal to serve in the military and to be killed- someone who stood up to evil is inspiring.
    Today, when people only do what it popular, I think we need to be reminded that each of us should whats right even if we stand alone and protest. I think we will find that there are more of us than we imagine.
    Go, Franz…

  121. Heather's Gravatar Heather
    March 15, 2017 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    ” I am not afraid, I was born for this.” Joan continues to inspire me to persevere no matter what and to always align myself with Christ when there are choices to be made.

  122. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 15, 2017 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    A surprise upset! The obscure Jägerstätter beating (narrowly) the ever-popular Joan! Here I was prepared to vote for the underdog, and he isn’t the underdog! But I’ll go with him anyway. Who can resist the bastard son of a chambermaid and a farmer? (Most of my familiarity with Joan comes from Honegger’s oratorio, “Joan of Arc at the stake.”)

  123. March 15, 2017 - 11:51 am | Permalink

    I was happy to learn about Franz. In the current climate, I appreciate his principled stand against war and oppression. I do hope his family survived.

    • March 15, 2017 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

      They did – further up in the comments is an article on the passing of his wife, which includes a delightful account of her – and their children’s – presence at Franz’s beatification

  124. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 15, 2017 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    Another difficult decision today. However I sit here as a woman priest, clad in jeans, and much as i admire and respect Franz’s quiet faith, courage and conviction, i cast my vote for Joan thankful for the progress made, and committed to working for its continuation.

  125. Rodney's Gravatar Rodney
    March 15, 2017 - 11:54 am | Permalink

    ya know, I’m thinkin’ If God spoke to me directly, as with Joan, I would like to believe I had no choice but to do as I was asked…
    voted for Franz!

  126. Mac's Gravatar Mac
    March 15, 2017 - 11:59 am | Permalink

    Franz was a courageous Christian like many before him, persecuted for his faith, but Joan’s symbolic importance as a historical figure and leader, does more for me in this daily “game”.

  127. Linda Hanson's Gravatar Linda Hanson
    March 15, 2017 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Burned for wearing pants? A young woman who spoke truth to power and inspired a nation and continues to inspire millions by her words and faith.

  128. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 15, 2017 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for bringing Franz to our attention. I had never heard of him before. Of course, I had to vote for Joan because it took a lot of intestinal fortitude to stand up to the powers at that time.

  129. Marjorie Menaul's Gravatar Marjorie Menaul
    March 15, 2017 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Joan was a martyr. Then again, as she understood it, her calling from God was to go out and fight wars. Would we name as “saint” any other war leader? The fact that Joan was female and took an unusual leadership role should not outweigh the fact that her leadership was of the military variety. I’m more impressed by someone whose martyrdom was due to resisting wars rather than fighting them.

  130. Beth Bartniczak's Gravatar Beth Bartniczak
    March 15, 2017 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Freeman Gilbert – So glad you ended up sharing the entire article instead of just the last two paragraphs. A lovely story. Very interesting and informative. I will continue to read about them both. Franz and Fran for the win. Thank you so much.

  131. James Lodwick's Gravatar James Lodwick
    March 15, 2017 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Another agonizing choice between two wonderful and fascinating saints who each in their own way appear amazingly contemporary in their convictions and in their trials. I wish I could vote for both, but after much inner debate cast my vote for Franz, as one who gave us such a noble and inspiring example of resisting fascism, encouraging us to do the same today.

  132. Michele Quinn's Gravatar Michele Quinn
    March 15, 2017 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Joan. In a country that just saw a woman loose the presidential election in large part because she is a woman I think we need to raise up women. She represents, for me, all those on the margins. I think Franz is admirable and to be a model but in this time and place I want a warrior!

    • March 15, 2017 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

      And don’t forget, Michele: she wore pants. Heretic!

  133. Debra's Gravatar Debra
    March 15, 2017 - 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Oh, what to do! We seem to have an overabundance of evils to protest, and no way to choose them all. I have a propensity to cheer for the woman, but also have a bit of a bias against the visions and legends that may be larger than (real) life. I ultimately respect Franz for standing behind what he believes is right, not to gain fame or in a grand demonstration, but simply because it is right.

  134. Louise's Gravatar Louise
    March 15, 2017 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

    The world needs more people like Franz who are personally committed to standing up for the voiceless.

    • k's Gravatar k
      March 15, 2017 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

      totally agree

  135. Barbara Franklin's Gravatar Barbara Franklin
    March 15, 2017 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Obviously the key to this race is the meaning of Jagerstatter’s name, unfortunately my German is not up to the job. I know that Jaeger (e = those two little dots) means hunter, which is evocative and NOT very saintly, but statter or staetter is a mystery to me AND to Google, which translates it into Huntsterster ! This is obviously a code of some sort and holds the key to whether or not Franz deserves a halo. I appeal to any German speaker in our audience to solve this mystery so we will know who to vote for.

    • Freeman Gilbert's Gravatar Freeman Gilbert
      March 15, 2017 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Well, you’re right about jaeger meaning hunter, and the final er at the end of the name basically means from. Normally that would mean that there was a place named Jaegerstatt and that his ancestors were from there, but a Jaegerstatt could also be a hunting stand.
      However, in modern slang as referenced by statt means “the coolest, best looking, toughest, or best beer drinker in a group.”

      • Barbara Franklin's Gravatar Barbara Franklin
        March 16, 2017 - 4:36 am | Permalink

        Excellent, thanks Freeman Gilbert, now I know who to vote for! And I see that my candidate won! Good because Joan of Arc has gotten plenty of kudos; she really didn’t need any more!

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 15, 2017 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

      More information, but no answer: In modern German a “Städter” is a city-dweller, but the literal pairing doesn’t seem to make sense, and there seems to be no place named “Jägerstadt.” There is or was, however, a rock musician named “Jägerstadt”; and the Jägermeister [the drink] website formerly had a page called “Das ist meine Jägerstadt.” There the trail grows cold. I think we need an actual Millennial German to sort this out.

      • March 16, 2017 - 4:38 am | Permalink

        A rock musician AND a cool, tough, good-looking beer drinker? Can there be any question about this vote, I ask you??????

  136. March 15, 2017 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

    You’re doing this on purpose! I love Joan – one of those I’ve venerated since childhood – but Franz captured my vote. He sets the example for us today, and I am thankful for that. Joan will still be there for another time.

  137. Carol Oppel's Gravatar Carol Oppel
    March 15, 2017 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

    This choice was tough. I voted for Franz because — “This ordinary farmer lived out an extraordinary faith, witnessing to the importance of standing up to evil in our world for Jesus’ sake” — is so particularly relevant right now, today, in our country.

  138. Mary Lou Creamer's Gravatar Mary Lou Creamer
    March 15, 2017 - 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Go Franz, Go!

  139. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 15, 2017 - 12:42 pm | Permalink

    One of my favorite TV series ever was Joan of Arcadia, which is (very!) loosely based on some aspects of Joan of Arc’s story. It got cancelled, of course – my favorite ones always do! – but I voted to keep Joan alive.

  140. Anthony Easton's Gravatar Anthony Easton
    March 15, 2017 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I am essentially a pacifist, and also there is a model in the refusal of St Jagerstatter. The humilty of it lives up to Francis.

  141. March 15, 2017 - 12:45 pm | Permalink

    While I give her credit for inspiring France and putting an end to the Hundred Years War, let’s face it, she had audible hallucinations and led people to their deaths. Charles VII by all accounts wasn’t mentally fit to be king.

    No, my vote goes to the man who demonstrated he knew what it means to enflesh the Beatitudes. Not to mention he stood up against Hitler.

  142. March 15, 2017 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Another tough choice. Had to vote for Franz because “This ordinary farmer lived out an extraordinary faith, witnessing to the importance of standing up to evil in our world for Jesus’ sake” and he was a conscientious objector.

  143. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 15, 2017 - 1:01 pm | Permalink

    This matchup presents an interesting inversion of that presented by the two Augustines: one saint without whom the world would be quite different, and another whose personal absence would be little noted. Except that in this case Franz’s obscurity is in a sense the point of his sanctity.

    That said, I voted for Joan for what seemed like valid reasons, but I could have voted for Frank, or flipped a coin, with equal validity.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 15, 2017 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Argh, the accursed spellcheck has struck again. Sorry, FranZ.

  144. March 15, 2017 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Oh, wow. A poor Austrian farmer/Jesus follower who stood against evil and paid with his life has become my new faith hero. But for the mad Lent crowd, I might never have ‘met’ Franz – and boy, oh boy, do I need this man’s witness front and center in my life today!
    I also appreciate that peeking out from the shadows is Franz’s wife and daughters, who also deeply suffered for their convictions. As with Bonhoeffer and his cohorts from the Confessing Church in Nazi Germany, I would love to know more about their partners, wives and soul mates. It’s one thing (I imagine) to be a martyr, and another to be married to one. What complex and brave people the spouses, the ones left behind must be. I’m glad that Franziska was present when Franz was celebrated at the Vatican.
    Hey! There’s a new movie about Franz coming out, too.

    • Meg Kimble's Gravatar Meg Kimble
      March 15, 2017 - 3:09 pm | Permalink

      For more about the lives of the families of the German Resistance I can recommend the book Letters to Freya by Helmuth James von Moltke and Freya’s own autobiography, Memories of Kreisau and the German Resistance by Freya von Moltke.
      “In the years when most Germans were abetting a policy of conquest and genocide, Helmuth James von Moltke, an aristocratic and devoutly Christian young lawyer drafted into the German Intelligence Service, was working tirelessly against it. Throughout the war, he fought through the labyrinthine insanity of wartime bureaucracy on behalf of Jews and foreign prisoners and organized a clandestine resistance to the Nazi regime.

      From 1939 to the eve of his execution from treason in 1945, von Moltke wrote letters to his wife, Freya. Gathered here, these letters transcend their format to create at once a horrifying record of the daily ” (Amazon reviewer)
      Two more saints for LM 2018 perhaps?

  145. Celia Cole's Gravatar Celia Cole
    March 15, 2017 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Franz Jagerstatter because it seems that today we may need people willing to suffer for their spiritual beliefs just as he had to do. Venerating such behavior today may be very important.

  146. annieb's Gravatar annieb
    March 15, 2017 - 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Franz Jagerstatter. Would I ever be able to live up to my convictions as he did? Too bad he didn’t have the chance to escape over the mountains with the Van Trapp family!

  147. Claire's Gravatar Claire
    March 15, 2017 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    This one was tough! I finally chose Joan. I would like to vote for both. A consciencious objector or one who follows her conscience. Even if I much prefer pacifism over fighting, it’s Joan’s gender that swayed me.

  148. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 15, 2017 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

    When I was a young child, during WWII, my mother was teaching me the Ten Commandments. When we were discussing “Thou shalt not kill” I asked her: What about the soldiers? She said, “That’s different.” I asked, “How is it different?” I don’t remember what she said, but I was not satisfied with her answer. No one so far has been able to give me a satisfactory answer, and I’m 79! I’m a pacifist. I voted for Franz.

    • March 15, 2017 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Love your comment, Lucy. So you were a rascal from your birth? You sound like someone I would love to know.

  149. March 15, 2017 - 1:49 pm | Permalink

    it was a tough choice! I voted for Franz, but there are many reasons to vote for Joan. Both showed faithful courage, in need in this time, and in every time.

  150. Kimberly B's Gravatar Kimberly B
    March 15, 2017 - 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I tend to vote for some of the lesser known saints. For me, anyone who stands up to the Nazis is a saint and hero!

  151. Bob K's Gravatar Bob K
    March 15, 2017 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I hope Franziska Jägerstätter goes on to win the Golden Halo.

  152. James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
    March 15, 2017 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Definitions of saints change with time. Today, would we even consider Joan, essentially a holy warrior for the Lord? That, plus real probability that Joan was mentally ill has encouraged me to vote for Jaegerstaetter.
    And, of course, Franz really has gotten no recognition to speak of. To me, he represents all of the heroic young people of the time — the heck with gender! Male and female they suffered torture and murder — who stood up to the Nazis and were snuffed out without a thought.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 15, 2017 - 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Just curious, but what’s unsaintly about mental illness?

      • March 15, 2017 - 7:28 pm | Permalink

        I agree & feel if Joan was mentally ill, it makes what she accomplished that much more impressive.

      • James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
        March 16, 2017 - 2:28 am | Permalink

        I’m a little uncomfortable with calling someone a saint when they hear voices of God or angels commanding them to kill other people. I took care of folks like that for thirty years. Some of them became good friends. I would not classify them as saints because of their hallucinations, however.
        Joan was getting command hallucinations to kill people.

  153. Rita OConnor's Gravatar Rita OConnor
    March 15, 2017 - 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Though I am Episcopalian, my mother’s family were Jews, so I voted to honor Franz Jaegerstaettner.

  154. March 15, 2017 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I thought it be no contest, with Joan the obvious winner. But Franz quiet strength just spoke to me heart…. so many feel as if their quiet witness may not count in our busy workaday world, but the promise is that they are often the ones through whom God prevails. Blessings and appreciation for quiet Franz.

  155. March 15, 2017 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

    While I have long admired Joan I have to vote for Franz, a man of priceable and follower of his call to follow God despite the knowledge he would probably loss his life. Tough choice today for sure.

  156. Linda Watson-Lorde's Gravatar Linda Watson-Lorde
    March 15, 2017 - 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Franz got my vote: his write is similar to our Lord Jesus Christ. His humble birth – to his adult life. no mention of his teenage or young adult years.

    Only his ministry is important.

  157. Dorothy's Gravatar Dorothy
    March 15, 2017 - 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Happy to see that Joan’s renown has not led to an early lead! Go Franz Go!

  158. Nancy C.'s Gravatar Nancy C.
    March 15, 2017 - 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Against almost anyone else, my vote would’ve gone to Joan. But I was so moved by Franz’s story that today my vote goes to the unsung hero who gave his life to resist the forces of evil. Franz for me!

  159. Keith A Davis's Gravatar Keith A Davis
    March 15, 2017 - 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Both are worthy, both were guided by a divine purpose. I chose Joan in honor of Women’s Month.

  160. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    March 15, 2017 - 3:54 pm | Permalink

    A light in a sea of darkness. Had to vote for Frank.

  161. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    March 15, 2017 - 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Franz’s quiet courage emerging from an ordinary life is a wonderful inspiration. I’m so glad to have learned about him. Joan’s accomplishments were remarkable, but I’m not sold that God wanted the French to win and therefore intervened.

  162. Michelle Jackson's Gravatar Michelle Jackson
    March 15, 2017 - 4:21 pm | Permalink

    It’s tempting to vote for anyone with a double umlaut, but Joan has had my heart since I was a small child and read her story, beautifully illustrated by Boutet de Monvel

  163. Joan Reyes's Gravatar Joan Reyes
    March 15, 2017 - 4:29 pm | Permalink

    You go, Joan! While you aren’t my patron saint, you stood up for yourself and your beliefs against the English. Today’s match-up is tough because both candidates stood up for truth.

  164. Dutton in Madison, GA's Gravatar Dutton in Madison, GA
    March 15, 2017 - 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Franz for sure. A real modern saint.

  165. Roberta Matty's Gravatar Roberta Matty
    March 15, 2017 - 4:32 pm | Permalink

    This was a very difficult decision today with both candidates conscientious objectors. Anyone who spoke against the Nazis is to be commended. However I voted for Joan of Arc because she had to wear men’s clothing to protect herself from sexual assault and discrimination. She serves as a reminder that as women we still have to fight for equality and safety. Just read the latest news about our women Marines being “assaulted” by fellow male Marines.

  166. Erik's Gravatar Erik
    March 15, 2017 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

    If Franz deserves a vote, so does any young man c. 1965-1973 who refused to fight for the U.S. in Vietnam and was jailed for being an objector. Why aren’t any of those persons “saints”? We don’t even remember any of their names. Joan is a test of faith – either she had a direct line to God or she was insane. There is no middle ground. What is clear is that she completed transcended traditional gender roles at a time when such were never even questioned or debated. She broke all the rules. Think of what would happen today if a 17 year old woman approached the U.S. Secretary of Defense and said she could break the siege of Aleppo! I admire Franz but he isn’t in the same league as Joan. Clearly that is a minority opinion in today’s’ vote.

    • March 15, 2017 - 5:00 pm | Permalink

      You make very good points, Erik, different than others I’ve read here. Thanks a lot for further complicating my choice. 😉
      BTW, I did and do honor the Vietnam War conscientious objectors.

  167. Kris's Gravatar Kris
    March 15, 2017 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Finally a Sacristan!!!!! After all these years.

    We can make Franz the patron saint of Sacristies. We are a deviant little group in The Church!!!!

  168. Mrs. B.'s Gravatar Mrs. B.
    March 15, 2017 - 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Meg K. Von Moltke would have made a splendid choice, combining faith with courageous action. Sometimes “quiet strength”. Is not enough. Both V. M. And J. died gruesome deaths (never forgetting the gas ovens).

  169. Lane Johnson's Gravatar Lane Johnson
    March 15, 2017 - 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I was moved by the life of Franz. An unknown hero.

  170. Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
    March 15, 2017 - 4:48 pm | Permalink

    As a fellow child of a farmer, I loved learning about Franz, so my vote went to him.

  171. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    March 15, 2017 - 5:07 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Joan, because “After fending off an English lord, Joan resumed wearing pants.” and to honor the women who serve/have served in the military, and those who face harassment. Also “St. Joan” by George Bernard Shaw, “Joan of Arcadia”, and pants.

    • andrea's Gravatar andrea
      March 15, 2017 - 5:09 pm | Permalink

      oops-should be those who face/suffer harassment.

  172. March 15, 2017 - 5:10 pm | Permalink

    SEC, is there a golden halo for those who read all 279 comments before voting? 😉

  173. March 15, 2017 - 5:40 pm | Permalink

    I must be missing something about the veneration of St. Joan. God gave her a vision to support royal power by killing people? I’m no historian, so I know nothing more about her than is shared in the bio. So I feel like I’m going on a deficit of info about her.

    By contrast, the bio and the resources many of you have posted here give me a clear sense of Franz’s life and witness. I had never heard of him, but am grateful to Lent Madness for introducing him. I am in awe of his quiet courage, which many of you have expressed better than I can.

    No one seems to have a negative word to say about Blessed Franz, so let me be the first. The dude married on Maundy Thursday. Maundy blipping Thursday? What devout Christian marries in Holy Week??? 😉

    All things considered, I had to vote for the humble farmer who stood up to the Nazi juggernaut.

    • Freeman Gilbert's Gravatar Freeman Gilbert
      March 15, 2017 - 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Was it a bun in the oven scenario?

      • March 15, 2017 - 10:53 pm | Permalink
      • March 15, 2017 - 10:57 pm | Permalink

        Could be. The article Nolan linked said Franz was a big of a wild thing until his marriage. Still … they couldn’t wait until after Easter? 😉

  174. David Clemmer's Gravatar David Clemmer
    March 15, 2017 - 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Franz for me. As a cradle Mennonite steeped im Anabaptism, it is good to see a new story of faithful resistance.

  175. March 15, 2017 - 5:42 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Herr Jägerstätter (double umlauts and all) because of his witness for peace and his resistance to the Nazis.

  176. Kate Cabot's Gravatar Kate Cabot
    March 15, 2017 - 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Vive la France! Vive la resistance! Joan for me!

  177. March 15, 2017 - 6:29 pm | Permalink

    This was another real tough one. But I went with Jägerstätter because he was sacristan / alter guild member, which do on occasion.
    It was tough to say no to Joan, as The Passion of Joan of Arc [1928] is one of the most remarkable and moving films about a religious figure, written by the great Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer. If you don’t know it, seek it out.

  178. March 15, 2017 - 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Altar Guild

  179. March 15, 2017 - 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Another thing that led me to vote for Herr J. was that, while he resisted destructive nationalism, Mademoiselle Jeanne was a voice for (during her life) and a symbol of (after her death) the same sort of destructive nationalism.

  180. Izzie's Gravatar Izzie
    March 15, 2017 - 6:43 pm | Permalink

    I love Joan’s story she did a report on her in 5th grade and lover her since. She represented hope for her people and had faith to believe still when she was questioned and told she was wrong. She was intelligent and brace and was killed for political reasons and slandered because of politics, which both saints seem to have a connection to.

  181. Izzie's Gravatar Izzie
    March 15, 2017 - 6:49 pm | Permalink

    A lot of people are connecting Joan to war and killing which is not case. After a battle which she won she wept and prayed for the souls of the soldiers on BOTH sides. I don’t know of another military leader who was sad about the enemies loss of common soldiers.

  182. Fran's Gravatar Fran
    March 15, 2017 - 7:46 pm | Permalink

    late in voting today, however, I voted for Joan, but Franz was a close contender. Although today was the first I heard of Franz, I did admire his willingness to stand against the horrific Nazis. When I read the 2 names for today, I scoffed…Joan will rout this no name…but it appears the votes are clearly closer than I expected. Nonetheless… Joan all the way because she was a girl that stood for her country against tyranny and was killed for her helpfulness 🙁 !

  183. J. Putnam's Gravatar J. Putnam
    March 15, 2017 - 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Franz gets my vote as an example in this time of contentious politics.

    Please don’t comment on how the voting is going until later on the day – those of us who have to wait until later to vote don’t want to be swayed by early voters.

  184. Bekka's Gravatar Bekka
    March 15, 2017 - 9:35 pm | Permalink

    I love them both!

  185. Robert Coates's Gravatar Robert Coates
    March 15, 2017 - 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Joan. The world needs strong women more than it needs passive men.

  186. Debbie's Gravatar Debbie
    March 15, 2017 - 10:24 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Franz. I saw the film mentioned above and loved it. I admire his devotion to prayer and expressing his beliefs by standing against rabid nationalism. I struggle to stand against its expression in the US but am not sure I could make the decision he did. I also love the bits of information as I did not know that Joan wore pants.

  187. J.J. Cape Cod's Gravatar J.J. Cape Cod
    March 15, 2017 - 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Whoa! Passive man?! To say “No” to the Nazis wasn’t passive. It was a very bold and active statement and act of resistance to the evil and maniacal Nazi regime. Franz all the way!

  188. Kathy's Gravatar Kathy
    March 15, 2017 - 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Another hard choice. A friend and I made a Joan of Arc pilgrimage in France, after reading several books. It was wonderful. I voted for Joan.
    But Franz is such a phenomenal example of commitment an integrity and faith. Can I vote for him, too?

  189. Ben B's Gravatar Ben B
    March 15, 2017 - 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Had to vote for Franz in this time when principled objection is so important.

  190. Howard's Gravatar Howard
    March 16, 2017 - 12:29 am | Permalink

    Such a tough one today. I had never heard of Franz before, so I was immediately with the underdog. Esp since Joan is so well known. After reading and praying, I just had to go with Franz. Such courage, esp since his wife well-being had to be a huge concern for him. Quiet prayer and contemplation, with God on your side is certainly a strong power to be reconned with. Maybe us small folk who don’t have any big crusade to champion can be uplifted to know that God’s power to make things happen. There are certainly more Franzs in this world than there are Joans.

  191. Mary Beth's Gravatar Mary Beth
    March 16, 2017 - 12:51 am | Permalink

    Especially good comments today, in honor of two saints with extraordinary faith and courage. Like several days, I voted today for the saint who was new to me, but Franz and Joan both inspire with their combination of passion, faith, and courage.

  192. Mike Eck's Gravatar Mike Eck
    March 16, 2017 - 4:41 am | Permalink

    This is just like a #16 mustard seed takin down a #1 walnut seed, only different.

Comments are closed.