Henry Budd vs. Cecilia

Today in the Saintly Smackdown, we encounter a 19th century Canadian missionary and a 3rd century Roman martyr, as Henry Budd faces Cecilia. Will the entire nation of Canada rise up to vote for one of their own? Or will Cecilia, patron saint of musicians, strike a chord? Only the next 24 hours and your vote, will tell!

In yesterday's matchup, Moses the Black defeated John Wycliffe 65% to 35% to advance to the Saintly Sixteen where he'll face the winner of Raymond Nonnatus vs. John of Nepomuck.

Oh, and in case you missed yesterday's stirring edition of Monday Madness, watch it here. Tim and Scott give shout-outs to parishes and schools who are all in for Lent Madness 2017 (send us your photos!), discuss the importance of the comment section, and invite viewer mail. Yes, YOUR QUESTION for the SEC could be answered in an upcoming episode. Submit them via Facebook or Twitter.

Henry Budd

Sakachuwescam (Going-Up-The-Hill) was born to Cree parents in what is now Manitoba, Canada. He was baptized in 1822 by an Anglican missionary, who gave him the name Henry Budd (Budd is thought to be the surname of Henry’s father). Budd, his wife Betsy, and their children, as well as extended family moved to the Red River area where he taught at St. John’s parish school and served as a lay minister in the church. Budd proved a capable and enthusiastic teacher and a dedicated Christian serving the Cree community.

His success at St. John’s eventually led Budd to move with his family to W’passkwayaw (The Pas). He built a house church and held regular worship services. In June 1842, John Smithurst (another Anglican missionary) was overjoyed to see the result of Budd’s dedicated ministry: baptisms of 39 adults, 27 infants, and 22 schoolchildren. Pretty impressive numbers!

Budd was tutored and mentored by other clergy in the area, including Bishop David Anderson. Budd was ordained to the diaconate on December 22, 1850—the first person of First Nations ancestry to be ordained in the Anglican tradition in North America. Ordained a priest three years later, Budd served in Saskatchewan until 1867 and then resumed his previous ministry in The Pas. That same year, the local ministry board recommended reclassifying The Pas from a missionary station to one requiring a priest, preferably a First Nations pastor. Four previous English missionaries had failed to establish any thriving mission, complaining of “lack of evangelistic opportunities.” For all his success and exemplary ministry, Budd was paid half of what white missionaries in the same position made.

Budd was an eloquent preacher in Cree and English. His missions exhibited the highest standards of good management, self-sustainability, and outreach to the community. He translated the Bible and The Book of Common Prayer into Cree. He remained at The Pas until his death in 1875. His legacy includes the Henry Budd College for Ministry in Canada, which seeks to form Indigenous people for Christian ministry in the Anglican Church in Canada and to further the Christian expression of faith within the traditions of First Nations’ cultures and languages.

Collect for Henry Budd 
Creator of the light, we thank you for your priest Henry Budd, who carried the great treasure of Scripture to his people the Cree nation, earning their trust and love. Grant that his example may call us to reverence, orderliness and love, that we may give you glory in word and action; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

-Laurie Brock


Cecilia harkens from the second century in Rome. Like many of the ancient saints, she is found somewhere in the mix of truth, legend, myth, and fiction. Whichever pieces of the story are “real,” they combine for a compelling picture of faith, belief, and devoutness to God’s calling.

Born to a wealthy Roman family, Cecilia was betrothed to a man named Valerian. Her family wanted her marraige to strengthen the bonds between the two families. Cecilia did not listen, instead insisting that she heard a chorus of angels calling her to a life of chastity and virginity. In the days before her wedding, Cecilia prayed, fasted, and sang, imploring God to protect her virginity. God sent an angel to protect Cecilia on her wedding bed. She told her husband that if he tried to consummate their marriage, the angel would smite him. Valerian could not see the angel, so Cecilia instructed him to walk to the third milestone on the Roman road, Via Appia, where his eyes would be opened. True to Cecilia’s word, an angel appeared to Valerian and his brother, and in short order, both converted to Christianity and were baptized. The brothers dedicated their lives to burying martyrs of the church who were persecuted by the local Roman officials.

While Valerian and his brother tended the dead, Cecilia preached and encouraged more than 400 souls to dedicate their lives to Christ. Her fervor attracted the wrath of the local prefect, and Valerian and his brother were executed, with the presiding prefect ordering Cecilia to be killed as well. They attempted to drown her. Then, they tried to burn the building down around her. An executioner was summoned by the prefect to behead her, and though he struck her three times, Cecilia remained in possession of her head. Three days later, she succumbed to her wounds and was buried by Pope Urban.

About 1,300 years later, in 1569, the church exhumed her body and found it to be incorrupt—without decay, the first saint to be found in such condition. The feast of Saint Cecilia is celebrated on November 22. Cecilia is the patron saint of music, in commemoration and honor of the heavenly chorus she is said to have heard each time she prayed to know and do God’s will in her life.

Collect for Cecilia 
Saint Cecilia, heroic martyr who stayed faithful to Jesus your divine bridegroom, give us faith to rise above our persecutors and to see in them the image of our Lord. We know that you were a musician, and we are told that you heard angels sing. Inspire musicians to gladden the hearts of people by filling the air with God’s gift of music and reminding them of the Divine Musician Who created all beauty. Amen.

-Anna Fitch Courie

UPDATE This morning at about 11:45 EST, we became aware of voting patterns that are against the rules of Lent Madness. We discovered some 546 votes for Cecilia cast from a computer in Austin, TX, apparently at St. Andrew's Episcopal School (according to IP address databases). These votes have been removed, and the address in question has been banned. Please remember: vote once only! If you can encourage your friends to vote, that is wonderful. But do not attempt to cheat the system by using a single computer to vote multiple times. Big Lent is watching.

UPDATE AGAIN: A student has admitted gaming the system, apology has been accepted, and we've restored voting to the school in question. Please don't try to cheat. It's Lent, for Pete's sake!

Henry Budd vs. Cecilia

  • Henry Budd (50%, 4,559 Votes)
  • Cecilia (44%, 4,002 Votes)

Total Voters: 8,561

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Henry Budd: The photograph of Reverend Henry Budd is used with the kind
permission of the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan.
Cecilia: Richard Westall, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons


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375 comments on “Henry Budd vs. Cecilia”

  1. I'd never heard of Henry Budd before this, but was charmed and energized by his story. So, Henry for me!

    1. I agree Ann. I struggled with this as Cecilia is so well known, but Henry's story was pretty compelling.

      1. I'm in for Budd. Last year I learned that I enjoyed reading about the mystics (and our CBs make them sooo entertaining) I have a hard time voting for them.❤

    2. I agree that Henry has great merit. He shares a name, albeit middle, with my husband, was a great worker for the faith and will undoubtedly get the vote of said husband. However, as a vocalist, I must uphold the importance of music in our lives. Cecelia it is!

        1. I'm rolling on the floor - laughing!!! Thank you, Ethel!
          It's a tough choice for me today. But since I love music and sing (or try to sing) in our choir, it's Cecelia for me!

    3. Living in Canada, and knowing how hard Henry struggled, to not only survive living in the Canadian North, but to be such a warrior for the glory of God , really energised me. Bravo! Henry!

      1. His impact upon the indigenous people appears extraordinary. I don't doubt Cecelia was important in her own right, but I feel Henry's life was hard and he was dedicated to his people and God despite what he had to overcome.

    4. In solidarity with all the women--even today--who get paid less than a man while doing the same job, I voted for Henry Budd who also got paid less because he was a First Nation teacher and minister.

      1. I don't understand--you're in solidarity with all women, so you voted for a man over a woman?

        1. No, that was a typo that I did not see before I posted the comment. Obviously, Cecilia is a "she" not a "he". She is like a Timex watch. She took a lickin" and kept on tickin" - at least for three days. Tough woman!

    5. Translating the Bible and the Prayer Book into Cree! And a successful evangelist and pastor as well as a scholar. Henry Budd is a very impressive Christian. And let's be sure to have a First Nations person in the Saintly 16.

    6. Close one. The early female Saints seem to have some of the same attributes . Yes I believe there was a St. Cecelia but what she did I take with a large grain of salt.

  2. Going "real" rather than myth this year. It didn't work for Wycliffe yesterday. I hope Budd does better; he certainly did fight an uphill battle like his Cree name suggested.

      1. I think she means going "real" by voting for Wycliffe didn't work yesterday, since Wycliffe didn't win.

      2. Carolyn is saying that Moses is a myth, and Cecilia too. I respectfully disagree on both counts.

    1. Carolyn,
      That's what I said. CBers make them so interesting to learn about. But this year I'm going 'real'❤

  3. The stained glass St. Cecelia window in our church is one of my favorites. I had to give her my vote because she looks at me every Sunday! Having a great time learning about this cloud of witnesses. Thanks SEC et al.

    1. Maybe the SEC would allow for the posting of stain glass window photos. Over time many beautiful windows have been mentioned. We could have a smackdown of stain glass windows!

      1. Perhaps there could be a stained glass feature in the "Saintly kitcsh" round; although, it might put the "modern saints" at a disadvantage.

        1. Not necessarily, since some modern saints have windows too. At least one Episcopal parish in the U.S. has a window dedicated to Saint Fred McFeely Rogers.

          [Don't think we supporters of his cause have given up on getting him an LM bracket berth Scott & Tim.]

        2. Our church has stain glass windows of: Bonhoffer, Mother Theressa , Desmond Tutu, Albert Sweitzer, Martin Luther King Jr., Bishop Talton Retired Bishop Diocese of Los Angeles and his grandchildren, he's still alive and the kids go to our church, Rosa Parks , to name a few. The last one is blank for more Saints that haven't been born.

      2. That's a great idea. I love all the images portrayed. St. Peter's iinPerth Amboy NJ is a contender.

      3. I love stain glass windows. Amongst my favourites is the moon rock window at the national cathedral.

        1. I agree....SEC, start scouring the Anglican Communion for stained glass windows of these saints!!! What a fabulous treat that would be.

      4. I did post on the FB page the pics side-by-side of both Stephen and Alban, which are on opposite sides of our nave, making the first vote of Lent a very difficult decision.

  4. Cecilia's is a beautiful story, but I am so moved by Henry's conviction and sorry for the pay inequality that I have to vote for him.

    1. Greetings, Dorothee. I agree with your opinion of Cecilia's story, but I do have one question. What does pay inequality have to do with Henry Budd? I must have missed it in the reading. Feel free to explain! Thanks!

      1. Jack, he was paid one half of what white guys had been paid in the same position, if I'm remembering correctly without scrolling all the way up there. Hope that helps!

      2. The last sentence of the third paragraph: "For all his success and exemplary ministry, Budd was paid half what white missionaries ion the same position made."

          1. Alas, the "St Bridget" phenomenon has hit again. I wondered, when I saw that shift. I wish people would not tarnish the results of the women saints. Women are having a tough enough time with structurally unfair elections right now.

  5. The musician in me voted for Cecilia, but I loved Henry Budd's story - I don't think I've ever had so many tough choices in the first round! This is a hard bracket this year!

    1. Kristin, I agree. I sing in the choir, and so I voted for Cecilia, but Henry Budd's story was amazing. Too bad he wasn't up against Cecilia!

  6. I'm interested in the criteria other people use to make their choices. Personal saintliness? Influence on future generations? Commitment to others' welfare? Uniqueness of story? Please let us know how you make your decision each day and whether your criteria are consistent day to day.

    1. Really good question! I look at what I most respond to, and when it is close (and all thus far have been close!) I think about who has the better stories...and who might hold up best in the kitsch round. All of these saints have earned their standard issue halos and are deserving of our admiration and respect!

      1. Like Nancy, I just go with the saint who strikes my heart that day. Sure, another day I might make a different choice, but that isn't the day I'm voting. So far the factors that have guided my voting on various days have included a screaming headache and a deep desire to be alone.

    2. I just go with the one that gets to me at the moment. Apparently, that's not working to pick winners thusfar since none of my choices have won as yet. However, I would still make the same mistakes again because it's my heart talking!

    3. I think a lot of people have a hard time voting for someone whose life hasn't been documented in a photograph. If a saint is "only" found in scripture, or, heaven forbid, in legend, there's no chance of that saint winning. And when a 19th-century social reformer is matched against a mystic--forget it. Mystics and monastics have no chance! (I'm still chafing from Christina the Astonishing's loss three years ago.)

        1. Haha! I couldn't remember what I went by!! But, yep that's me. You just made my day!

          1. Salutations, Harlie! (I keep wanting to type "Charlie.") BTW, I agree about wanting to support mystics and monastics; I too want to favor them. It's just that we always seem to have such weighty issues before us. I will cut loose one of these days and go for a lovely aspirational legend that soars above mere earthly "facts."

      1. I agree with your general observation (in the first two rounds only) over the years, Susan, but this year it's not holding true, so far! H.B. Delany over Aelred and Moses the Black over Wycliffe! Also, what about recent Golden Halo greats Mary Magdalene, St. Francis and George Herbert--no photos of any of these, a mystic, and Mary -- the majority of what we know of her is legend! On the other hand, C.S. Lewis, Francis Perkins and Dietrich Bonhoeffer! I think we Lent Madness faithful swing back and forth from year to year like a spiritual pendulum.

      2. But last year please remember that the final vote was so close that not only did Saint Bridget almost defeat Saint Francis of Assisi for the Golden Halo, she was also the first runner-up to have her likeness placed on a beer mug. Also, I would like to point out that both the man from Italy and the woman from Ireland lived and died long before the French invented photography.

        Additionally, I think France's Perkins is the only Golden Halo winner of whom we have a decent photographic likeness.

        Furthermore, one Biblical saint does have a Golden Halo -- Mary Magdalene, who is owed an apology by Gregory the Great, if he's not already made amends for tarnishing her reputation by conflating her story with that of another woman in the Gospels.

    4. My name is Sheila which is Gaelic for Cecelia...plus I love music. I sing in my church folk group and have since 1979. No brained for me, Cecelia has my vote!

    5. I go with the one who I think had the greater impact in their world. The fact that neither choice is wrong just deepens my reflection. The tie breaker is learning about a saint I knew little about.

    6. I try to crawl inside the person as best I can and keep my Roman Catholic definition in mind: who possessed "heroic virtue?" Cecilia and Fr. Budd were tough. I love Cecilia but I thought Fr. Budd had to contend with racism and poverty. I don't know how much of Cecilia's story is fact. So Budd got my vote

    7. My only consistent criteria (if you will) is that I will vote for the mystics first! Of course, I really am in a pickle if both saints have had visions!!

      1. Yep. I find I get the most out of Lent Madness if my criteria is "Who inspires me the most today."

    8. I look at the person's circumstances and the difficulty of proclaiming the gospel under those circumstances. I am slightly less likely to vote for those with a mythical aspect to their story. So for instance, today, Budd preaching on the far northern frontier, caught my attention and got my vote

  7. Henry Budd was a priest, catechist, teacher, advisor, farmer, and missionary who worked tirelessly to meet the spiritual and physical needs of his people, doing twice the work of a white man for half the pay. As an Indigenous leader, his incredible influence is still felt today in a part of the world that I am privilaged to call home (as the Coordinator of Henry Budd College) Vote Budd!

    1. I did! I voted for him because his story is real; there are aspects of his story and life that are tangible today. I also wish to see more diversity in the pool of saints in the later rounds.

    2. I voted for Budd because of his influence on those he ministered to and future generations. Also sorry about his salary.

  8. Cecilia is my confirmation name, and she's quite a woman. Miracles and unwavering faith have my vote today. I also dig that her husband was Valerian...it's so Game of Thrones.

  9. Henry Budd. For some reason, this Lent, I am more drawn to the realistic rather than the mythical or legendary.....and particularly saints from populations that have been marginalized or oppressed. I was saddened to learn that Budd's compensation was half that of white missionaries, but amazed to learn that he translated the BCP and scriptures into the Cree language. Thank you for presenting these amazing Christians so we can be inspired by their contributions to our history!

    1. Yes I agree with you Lee and I also liked how budd built his own church and did so much to help

      1. If the Rev. Mr. Budd ends up facing the Rt. Rev. Mr. Delaney at some point, we'll need more information (& pictures if possible) of their ecclesiastical architectural workmanship, since helped to build Christ's church both physically and spiritually.

    2. I also went with Henry Budd for similar reasons. We seem to never learn about the marginalized peoples in our midst. Native peoples seem to be especially missing from our narratives. I am so glad to be participating this year to find out about these saints from our past.

  10. I was curious as to whether or not you can vote more than once on the same device. When I was watching my friends, they would go on private mode for Safari, vote, exit out of private mode, go back on and then revoke. Does all of their votes count to the poll. I find it unfair!

  11. Tough one for me. As I am half Canadian and have a neice named Cecile a. I went foreally Cecilia.

  12. Cecilia is a charming and popular saint, but I was impressed with Henry Budd's solid persistence and hard work to spread Christianity among his First Nations people.

  13. I can't believe I didn't vote for St Cecilia, patron saint of music. But I was interested in Budd's Cree ministry. Here's another translator. I am struck by the number of translators we have had among our saints over the past few years, also by the word "orderliness" in the collect. Offering the word and providing order seem like humble virtues, but they make people's lives livable. Unlike the chaotic disorderliness much of our political life is plunged in now in the service of greed and license. Cecilia seems largely apocryphal. And while I should eagerly vote for music, I note with some dismay the early church's emphasis on virginity, and I think about how that emphasis on virginity often was deflected structurally not into aspirations to chastity of heart and purpose but into protection of institutional wealth and property. So today I'm going to go with the "deacon" type, who faithfully served the needs of the people in the world. May we all be vessels of order and true evangelism in our broken world.

    1. I, too raised my eyebrows at the emphasis on virginity, but I wonder if it came, at least in part, from the society in which Cecelia lived. Woman had few rights, husbands had great control, and chastity was highly valued in women (but not in men). While Cecilia was not able to choose her own husband or even to remain unmarried, it does seem she succeeded in setting the terms for her marriage. And then she had the audacity to go out and preach!

  14. So far a perfect record for the non-winners. Torn between Budd and Cecilia. In honor of my father, the choirmaster, and my St. Cecilia choir, with black velvet hat, my choice was made.

  15. I think it's wonderful to have a Saint who is a member of the first Nations of this country. What an honor! He was a builder, a teacher AND a saint.

  16. Both worthy of my vote. But Cecelia was our patron saint when I was on staff for Cursillo. I hate to think what our lives would be like without music. So I had to vote for the patron saint of music.

  17. Cecelia's inner strength of her conviction won me over. To convert over 400 to Christianity in those days was huge. To know she would sacrifice her life for Christ was also Christlike.

  18. Go Henry! Love Cecilia for her music but an avenging angel in bed with her? Oh, please.

  19. Even though I thought I was going to vote for Cecilia because I enjoy singing and music in general, the story of Henry Budd led me to vote for him. I liked that as a Native American, he became a church leader.

    1. I voted for Henry, too, Debbie. I loved the story of the angel protecting Cecilia's virginity, but my Canadian mother whispered to me to vote for Henry.

  20. Hard choice to make but I went with Henry Budd. Had a problem with Cecilia's story being part truth part myth.

  21. This was a tough choice. I admire the work of Rev Budd but as a choir member, I had to go with St. Cecelia!

  22. This was the hardest choice for me so far. As a singer, I felt I owed it to Cecilia to vote for her. But as a bi-racial woman who has also been paid less than my male counterparts, I wanted to vote for Henry. However, my music ministry won. Judging from the closest margin to date (55 to 45) I would think others had the same difficulty in choosing. So I'm OK with whoever wins today.