Moses the Black vs. Raymond Nonnatus

Today the Saintly Sixteen continues as Moses the Black faces Raymond Nonnatus and legends abound! These two fascinating souls have much to teach us about non-violence, passing judgment, and idle gossip. Yet only one will make it to the next round.

To make it this far, both saints vanquished Johns as Raymond routed John of Nepomuk while Moses took it to John Wycliffe. Is this tidbit a harbinger of saintly things to come? Probably not.

Yesterday, Mechtild of Magdeburg secured her place in the Elate Eight 52% to 48% by holding off a late charge by Odo of Cluny.

In case you missed yesterday’s episode of Monday Madness, in which Tim and Scott offer a rare glimpse behind the SEC’s purple curtain, you can watch it here.

And finally, Episcopal News Service scored a journalistic coup by gaining an exclusive interview with both members of the SEC. Read the Q & A under the title Lent Madness Duo Shines Competitive Spotlight On Saints’ Inspiring Stories. And thanks to you all for being a part of the ever-unfolding Madness this year!

Moses the Black

To paraphrase an ancient biographer, to the degree that Moses was a wayward soul, so great also his virtue. Moses is remembered as a thief and a murderer, a marauder and a womanizer. The ancient hagiographer Laurence remarked that Moses was “unrivaled for cruelty.” Another described him as “vulgar and worthless.”

“Spurred by some crisis,” Palladius tells us, Moses traveled to the monastery in Skete and was received by the monks there. Moses gave himself entirely to ascetic practices, training his body to be a pure temple. At night Moses especially struggled with temptation. First he tried to avoid sleeping. When this was ineffective, Moses began using the night to go fetch water for the other monks. He would walk as far as two miles to fill his jug to bring water back to the brothers. Serving the community in this way he found strength to resist temptation. It was not without cost, however. He had already denied his body excessive food and was traveling many miles each night. One evening he collapsed at the well, weary from the physical toll (ancient sources recount how he collapsed after a fierce struggle with the devil). His brothers found him and brought him back to the monastery. It took over a year for him to recover.

With such discipline, Moses grew to the point where he no longer struggled with temptation. Palladius gives us the memorable line that “we are more afraid of flies than he of demons.” Previously Moses was a formidable specimen who would take what he wanted with brute force. Now he was a model of hospitality, kindness, and nonviolence.

One story tells of how the monks at Skete were ordered to observe a fast for a week. That same week some brothers from Egypt came to visit Moses. Moses prepared for them a small cooked meal. The neighbors saw the smoke rising as Moses cooked and complained to the clerics. The following weekend, the clerics called Moses to stand in front of the community and pronounced, “O Father Moses, you have broken the command of men but observed that of God.”

One of Moses’ highest values was to avoid judging others. We have already seen how he refused to pass judgment on a brother by carrying a leaking basket to the meeting. Moses is remembered as saying, “If we are able to see our own faults, we will not see the faults of our neighbors. For it is folly for someone what has their own dead to leave it and to go and weep over their neighbor’s dead. To die to one’s neighbor is this, to bear one’s own faults and to be unconcerned about every person, that this one is good and that one is bad.”

Moses died with six other monks peacefully protecting the monastery from invaders. His pleas for conversion went unheeded. When he died a witness reported seeing a crown from heaven descend upon him. His body is honored at the Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Monastery of El-Baramous in Egypt.

— David Creech

Raymond Nonnatus

As was recounted in Round One, Raymond Nonnatus was so named because of the traumatic circumstances surrounding his birth. According to legend, his father, a local count, used a sword to perform a rudimentary caesarean section on his mother, who had already died thus rendering him “not-born.”

Raymond spent his earthly ministry among an order of monks who took a special vow to ransom enslaved people. While in Tunis, trading himself for some 28 slaves, Raymond ran afoul of the city authorities, who took a serious dislike to his preaching. They bored a hot poker through his lips and padlocked his mouth shut. For this reason, Raymond is invoked not only by mothers in labor, but also by priests trying to preserve the seal of the confessional, and those wishing to stop harmful gossip.

There is also a legend that Raymond had been made a cardinal when he died, and so was on his way to Rome for the ceremony. For this reason, he is often depicted in a cardinal’s outfit, in red and white robes, complete with his mouth locked shut. While selecting a cardinal who cannot speak does seem like an excellent pick, it also seems like this tradition conflates Raymond with someone else. Poor Raymond died without ever being a cardinal.

Along with being the patron saint of a popular English costume drama, devotion to Raymond Nonnatus is especially widespread in Latin America. Because of Spanish colonization, massive festivals to the saint are found all over the Spanish-speaking world, with their own unique contributions. In Costa Rica, the festival includes a three-hour long parade of oxen and cowboys — presumably to commemorate the blind ox that carried the saint’s body, and his early life as a farmhand. The high point of the festival is when 30 other statues of San Ramon are processed in from around the country to have a saintly family reunion.

Raymond’s padlock has also given rise to another ritual, which has taken off at the cathedral in Mexico City. If you want to stop a particularly slanderous rumor about yourself, you go to an altar of Raymond Nonnatus, place a padlock upon it, and place the key to the padlock in the saint’s piggy bank, so the mouth of the slanderer is forever in the saint’s control. Then seat yourself in full view of the congregation, so everyone can gaze upon your spotless conscience, and feel properly chastened! Writing a plea to the saint and placing it on the padlock is also popular.

— Megan Castellan

Moses the Black vs. Raymond Nonnatus

  • Raymond Nonnatus (51%, 3,663 Votes)
  • Moses the Black (49%, 3,478 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,141

Loading ... Loading ...

Moses the Black Image:

Raymond Nonnatus: By Follower Of Eugenio Cajes – [1], Public Domain,

147 Comments to "Moses the Black vs. Raymond Nonnatus"

  1. Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
    March 28, 2017 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    Remember Raymond is the one who sold himself into slavery to ransom others. That gets lost in today’s interesting side stories.

    • Sarah Ranier's Gravatar Sarah Ranier
      March 28, 2017 - 9:36 pm | Permalink

      Could you guys take over the Episcopal Church twitter? I just don’t think it understands twitter and this is just great fun and making me read all these wonderful biographies. You are engaging. The E Church twitter feed is just a stream of posters from the 1980s with quotes from the CBP. There’s no discussion that gets going. No interaction. Nothing that makes me know there is a human behind it. And its not related to real time. I just want to have a dialogue with my church. The Pope is doing it. Come on. That all always gets them. Thank you so much, Sarah

  2. Lee Greenawalt's Gravatar Lee Greenawalt
    March 28, 2017 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    Raymond’s padlocked mouth is a clear message to me, a professional public speaker. Moses deserves sainthood, but his demons do not relate to my verbal not vicious sins.

  3. Jess's Gravatar Jess
    March 28, 2017 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    I voted for Moses because he transformed his whole life!

    • Elizabeth Coombs's Gravatar Elizabeth Coombs
      March 29, 2017 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Yes! ‘Moses is remembered as a thief and a murderer, a marauder, “unrivaled for cruelty,” “vulgar and worthless,”!’ So there’s space in God’s kingdom for me, too!

  4. Thomas G. Stama (Athanasios)'s Gravatar Thomas G. Stama (Athanasios)
    March 28, 2017 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Moses the Black I voted for. Nice to to see one of the ancient monastics.

  5. Diana's Gravatar Diana
    March 28, 2017 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    Hymn for Moses the Black and Raymond Nonnatus
    Tune: Old 124th, Hymnal ’82, 404, We will extol you, ever blessed Lord

    We will extol you, ever blessed Lord
    For your amazing saints be e’re adored.
    Moses and Raymond each found ways to be
    Servants to others, servants thus to thee.
    Led by your Spirit; so also may we.

    Moses could fight and rob with great aplomb;
    But found his truest battle was within.
    Through prayer and meditation he was formed
    To lead in peace; hospitable and kind.
    And from all judgment; others he’d unbind.

    Raymond the ransomer was brave and true.
    Ran out of money, gave himself anew.
    Converted many through fine preaching so
    His lips were padlocked; yet love still shone through.
    Thus may all preachers excess words eschew.

    Two saints renowned each came through heavy strife.
    We can learn from them gracious, loving life.
    Through grace can learn to conquer inward fights;
    Through grace can give ourselves, be gentle lights.
    Whom shall we vote for, for the halo bright?

    • March 28, 2017 - 8:56 am | Permalink

      Marvelous lyrics, and a brilliant job of finding the theme that unites these two worthies. Thanks for another fine hymn, Diana.

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 28, 2017 - 9:14 am | Permalink

      “Be gentle lights”–I like that.

    • Diane's Gravatar Diane
      March 28, 2017 - 9:55 am | Permalink

      I have so enjoyed your hymns! Have you ever considered publishing them?

    • kesmarn's Gravatar kesmarn
      March 28, 2017 - 10:31 am | Permalink

      “Through grace can learn to conquer inward fights;
      Through grace can give ourselves, be gentle lights.”

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 28, 2017 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

      “Thus may all preachers excess words eschew.” Fortunately, our priest already does this.

      • Gillian Barr's Gravatar Gillian Barr
        March 28, 2017 - 9:07 pm | Permalink

        Biting my tongue,Verdery. 😉

      • Simon Hartropp's Gravatar Simon Hartropp
        March 29, 2017 - 6:42 am | Permalink

        Hello Verdery! Good to see you on-line to Lent Madness again. I can’t believe that a full year has gone by since I was last at Good Sam. So Mother Janine eschews excess words, eh? I must try and follow her example – I have just started preparing to preach here in Montreal on Easter 5 Sunday. The readings are so good and pertinent – I’m not sure I know where to start – and, to your point, where to stop!. 2000 words maybe…..

    • Kitty's Gravatar Kitty
      March 28, 2017 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Wonderful!!! Thanks!

    • Emily's Gravatar Emily
      March 28, 2017 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Diana.

    • David N.'s Gravatar David N.
      March 28, 2017 - 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Can some of your hymns be included in the next edition of the Hymnbook? Revisions happen every 40 years or so, next round should be coming up soon.

  6. Michael McInerney's Gravatar Michael McInerney
    March 28, 2017 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    Two GREAT accounts. Moses’ path is of redemption, work to convert others who led a life of similar evils, and to finally have his life ended by those of the evil lifestyle that he left behind. Poetic, circular, symmetrical, no disrespect to Ray, but Mo gets my vote today.

  7. Corban's Gravatar Corban
    March 28, 2017 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Nonnatus was my favorite the last time he came up for a vote, and he’s still my favorite this time. Moses the Black is a tremendous inspiration for those struggling with temptations, but Nonnatus seemed to have already mastered the art of denying oneself (or being denied): He sold himself into slavery to free others, and he lived most of his life with his mouth locked shut. Though, I wonder how he managed to eat?

  8. Sofie's Gravatar Sofie
    March 28, 2017 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Went purely with my gut on this one. Although I must admit the image of Raymond with his padlocked mouth is stomach-turning, so that could be a reason. Anyway, I voted for Moses.

    • Sara L's Gravatar Sara L
      March 28, 2017 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

      I had a similar reaction to the bloody birth, life, and death of Raymond in the first round and tried to turn back to him through this round’s quirks and quotes. Nope.

      Moses, although also replete with violence about him all his life, still strikes me as the most deserving of a saintly crown.

  9. March 28, 2017 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    I have to give the nod to Raymond for his willingness to trade himself for others.

    • Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
      March 28, 2017 - 9:20 am | Permalink

      That’s what won my vote for Raymond, too.

  10. Patricia White's Gravatar Patricia White
    March 28, 2017 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    I liked the story of fixing the slander spreading speaker by placing a padlock on the altar and the key in the saint’s piggy bank. This would be a helpful cure for the spreaders of fake news today.
    In honor of my granddaughter Kathryn as Rosalind in “As You Like It” next month, I cast my vote for the “Patron Saint of a popular English Costume Drama.”

  11. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 28, 2017 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    Especially difficult match today. I voted for both in previous rounds. In the end I opted for Moses in thanksgiving for a former tutor, a lovely Coptic Christian who introduced me to the Desert Father’s, and who was inspiring and challenging in equal measure.

  12. Lois Keen's Gravatar Lois Keen
    March 28, 2017 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    Tough choice – Moses the Black for this sinner.

  13. March 28, 2017 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    The story of Moses’ transformation speaks to me, especially because it was so complete. He was humble and he knew that the law of love is greater than human laws. I love that he fought temptation by serving his fellow monks. I have Moses for the Golden Halo!

    • March 28, 2017 - 10:43 am | Permalink

      Ann, I’m also rooting for Moses to win the Halo. His love for others, his gentleness, and his pacifism has always endeared him to me. It’s the supreme irony that Moses, the martyr of nonviolence, shares a Feast date (August 28) with Augustine of Hippo, proponent of the just war theory.

  14. Brianne's Gravatar Brianne
    March 28, 2017 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the wonderful hymn. Being from a former Slave State, gotta go for Raymond today. Please remind me where to easily find the original story of each Saint. Thanks.

    • March 28, 2017 - 8:58 am | Permalink

      Brianne, click on the Brackets tab at the top of the page, then scroll down.

  15. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 28, 2017 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    This one is tough, but Sam Ramon has had more of the spotlight over the years it seems, so I’m voting for Moses the Ethiopian.

  16. March 28, 2017 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Take a look at that picture of Moses, the guy is downright scary! Plus Raymond gave himself in exchange for all those slaves. I also like the angels gathered around after apparently performing that caesarian the thought of which is enough to make me wince.

  17. RevCat's Gravatar RevCat
    March 28, 2017 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    “Vulgar and worthless” won it for me. That gives me hope!

    • Jules's Gravatar Jules
      March 28, 2017 - 9:25 am | Permalink

      Moses immediately reminded me of St Jerome – not that Jerome was a reformed reprobate, but that he could be vicious in disputation and was reputed to be a mean old crank. So I’ve always thought that if a vituperative old codger could be a saint – and a Doctor of the Church, no less – there’s hope for the rest of us. Moses’ story repeats that idea on a more dramatic scale.

  18. Pam's Gravatar Pam
    March 28, 2017 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Today as I walked into school, I told myself that I was going to engage in gossip or general snarkiness. With that being said, going for Raymond today.

  19. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    March 28, 2017 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    Popular customs in Latin America regarding Raymond/Ramon carried the day for me. In my home I’m surrounded by reminders of such write-a-message-and-leave-it-with-an-image from several traditions (I believe I first learned about them from Sir George Fraser’s “Golden Bough,” a very potent life-changing book from my late teen years. Signing off for now–it’s time to change the messages on my collection of padlocks!

  20. Debbie Northern's Gravatar Debbie Northern
    March 28, 2017 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    Voted for Moses because of reforming his life…I do prison ministry so I believe people who do bad things can be redeemed. But did like Raymond too because in El Salvador belonged to San Ramon church…never saw a family reunion of San Ramon statues though.

  21. Edwina's Gravatar Edwina
    March 28, 2017 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    How many of us can see bits of Moses’s life in our own…even the simple ‘judging of others’…
    his life shows there is ALWAYS hope for earthly redemption….

  22. Ann E's Gravatar Ann E
    March 28, 2017 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Raymond Nonnatus gets my vote. He offered his life to ransom others, and he watches over expectant mothers. How much more saintly can one get?

  23. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 28, 2017 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    All the way with Ray!

  24. Karen Mallon Sharp's Gravatar Karen Mallon Sharp
    March 28, 2017 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    Well done, good and faithful servants Tim and Scott!

  25. March 28, 2017 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    Why I voted for Raymond Nonnatus:

    1. Traded himself to free 28 slaves. I shouldn’t need to go on, but I shall.
    2. Costa Rica loves him. I love Costa Rica. Therefore, I should love Raymond Nonnatus.
    3. The padlock ritual in Mexico City. Thinking about instituting it here.
    4. Call the Midwife.

  26. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    March 28, 2017 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    A hard choice today, but with my own leaky bucket in hand, I say it’s Moses, Moses, Moses, who trudged through dark nights of the soul and finally laid down his life for his fellows.

  27. Bob P.'s Gravatar Bob P.
    March 28, 2017 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    Raymond’s birth delivery still has it for me.

  28. Beth Owen's Gravatar Beth Owen
    March 28, 2017 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    But where is Oliver????????????????

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 28, 2017 - 9:49 am | Permalink

      The question for which there seems to be no answer, Beth…

      • March 28, 2017 - 9:54 am | Permalink

        Chances are, Oliver and his family are away for Spring Break. Actually, none of our younger commenters have been posting lately, and I’d guess it’s for the same reason.

        • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
          March 28, 2017 - 4:28 pm | Permalink

          I don’t know, our Oliver has been missing since the Great Multiplying of the Olivers scandal several weeks ago.

          • March 28, 2017 - 4:43 pm | Permalink

            I seem to remember Oliver posting after that weird scandal was over. Dunno.

  29. Kathleen Sheehy's Gravatar Kathleen Sheehy
    March 28, 2017 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    Both, as usual, very compelling but Raymond’s dedication to freeing slaves is what got me.

  30. March 28, 2017 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    Raymond’s selling himself into slavery to ransom others was truly Christ-like, but why did the slavers consider him worth 28 people?

  31. Susie's Gravatar Susie
    March 28, 2017 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    Diana, thanks so much for your wonderful lyrics–I sing them in my head if I know the tune :- ) What a creative & clever way to celebrate them & our votes–thanks for sharing your talent w/us all!

  32. Pat Blair's Gravatar Pat Blair
    March 28, 2017 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Oh, man! Both wonderful saintly candidates. Going with Raymond because of Call the Midwife and the many wonderful stories that took place at Nonnatus House.

  33. Dutton in Madison, GA's Gravatar Dutton in Madison, GA
    March 28, 2017 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    Moses. Conversion of life. An example.

  34. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    March 28, 2017 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    Because of Lent Madness and Raymond Nonnatus, I discovered Call the Midwife! Love it, love it, love it! Go, Raymond!

  35. Benny Wanna Be Hinn's Gravatar Benny Wanna Be Hinn
    March 28, 2017 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    Moses got my vote today! His brothers were more afraid of flies than he was of demons. Not that I have seen a demon, but I am sure that they are scary. But then again, horse flies and deer flies are scary too. I don’t like wasps neither.

  36. Yvonne -=^..^=-'s Gravatar Yvonne -=^..^=-
    March 28, 2017 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    How can I not respond to the transformation and example of Moses the Black? A man as reprobate as all that legends says about him, struggled to transform himself into a better human being. Wow! Who does not struggle with inner demons, temptations and fears, especially in the darkest hours of the night?
    My vote goes for Moses this time.

    • K8+'s Gravatar K8+
      March 28, 2017 - 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Me, too

  37. March 28, 2017 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    As always, a difficult choice, as Diana’s hymn relates, this time between devotion and persecuted works. Perhaps we could transform politics with a few padlock pilgrimages to the Cathedral in Mexico City?

    • Pendletown's Gravatar Pendletown
      March 28, 2017 - 6:13 pm | Permalink

      We’ll have to padlock a few (keyboarding) fingers too…

  38. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 28, 2017 - 10:56 am | Permalink

    Since they’re so evenly matched and neither one really grabs me, I voted for Moses for no other reason than that I’m tired of voting for losers.

  39. Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
    March 28, 2017 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    Looking at today’s matchup, there are others who were knocked out in the first round who I would have rather seen advance.

    That said, I am still contemplating the merits and saintliness of both men as described by two excellent writeups.

  40. Donald Lowery's Gravatar Donald Lowery
    March 28, 2017 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    Two totally weird choices

    • Judy F. N.'s Gravatar Judy F. N.
      March 28, 2017 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

      I agree!

  41. March 28, 2017 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    In this day of fake news, it seems especially appropriate to honor the patron saint of no-gossip.

  42. Sarah Pope's Gravatar Sarah Pope
    March 28, 2017 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    Both men made major trades–both for the lives of others. A very hard choice, especially because of my penchant for gossip, but Moses the Black carried the day for me.

  43. Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
    March 28, 2017 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Moses when he said “it’s folly to leave your own dead to go weep for your neighbor’s dead” I’ll be carrying around that nugget for awhile. Nonnatus is a fine man, but the bought of his padlocked mouth frankly gives me the creeps.

    • Linda Sylvester's Gravatar Linda Sylvester
      March 28, 2017 - 3:31 pm | Permalink

      I agree! I love Nonnatus but …. that terrible image of the padlocked lips …. hard to unsee that one.

  44. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 28, 2017 - 11:11 am | Permalink

    Well, I don’t like either of these choices, tbh. I don’t remember “womanizer” showing up on the original list of Moses the Black’s sins. And I recoil at the mental image of a rudimentary caesarian by way of a sword. I do like the phrase “spotless conscience.” I vote for both of today’s bloggers, who gave a valiant effort with less than stellar material.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 28, 2017 - 6:54 pm | Permalink

      “Vulgar and worthless” is also an interesting commendation for a saint.

      • March 28, 2017 - 7:06 pm | Permalink

        Of course, “Vulgar and worthless” is a description of Moses before his conversion.

  45. Walker Shaw's Gravatar Walker Shaw
    March 28, 2017 - 11:17 am | Permalink

    Poverty street fighting criminal vs Wealthy son not taking to farming. Not sure I care either way but voted for the farmer’s son.

  46. MartyV's Gravatar MartyV
    March 28, 2017 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    A toss-up between two great men – solved by voting for the one who shares my husband’s name: Moses

  47. Katrina Soto's Gravatar Katrina Soto
    March 28, 2017 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    Not voting today. Neither of these stir my soul.

    • March 28, 2017 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Ms Soto: These thumbnails are summaries from the viewpoints of a few people but each of the saints are exemplary beyond measure for a lifetime – when I’m not stirred by such a summary, I do my own looking into the saints. This is sure to open new dimensions for any one of them for which modern knowledge exists. I believe that an understanding of any one of them will make a choice which denies a vote for one of them in favor over another a wrenching choice.

  48. Allison Askins's Gravatar Allison Askins
    March 28, 2017 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Had to go with someone who traded himself for slaves. Very few would ever do such a thing.
    Raymond received my vote today.

  49. Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
    March 28, 2017 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Moses the Black.

    He endured racism and rose to become an abbot.

    He reformed swiftly and thoroughly, transforming himself from a pagan bandit chief to a Christian monk. An Orthodox website gives a sweet detail: “[H]e repented, left his band of robbers and went to one of the desert monasteries. Here he wept for a long time, begging to be admitted as one of the brethren. The monks were not convinced of the sincerity of his repentance, but the former robber would neither be driven away nor silenced. He continued to implore that they accept him.” ( I love the thought of this big scary guy weeping because the monks were reluctant to accept him.

    Moses the Black was wise and forgiving: consider the story of the leaky jug told in his Round of 32 bio.

    After his conversion, he was committed to nonviolence, ultimately giving his life to uphold his ideal.

    • March 28, 2017 - 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Awww… Thanks for sharing that, Beth.

  50. John Crittenden's Gravatar John Crittenden
    March 28, 2017 - 12:07 pm | Permalink

    My heart goes to Raymond, mostly because he put his life on the line for his faith, whereas Moses ran to the safety of the convent and saved himself. Moses is more like the rest of us who come to faith from a worldly life and have to fight with our demons. He is more like me and I know what that is like. So Raymond, courageous, till death, is the Saint for me.

    • March 28, 2017 - 2:27 pm | Permalink

      But Moses did put his life on the line for his faith. When word came to the monastery that raiders were coming, he ordered his monks to flee, but he remained (with six monks who chose to stay with him). When the bandits arrived, Moses offered them the abundant life that he had found. They rejected it and killed him and his companions. Like Raymond, Moses was courageous, till death.

  51. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 28, 2017 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Raymond Nonnatus gets my vote today. Thanks to his father’s quick action, he survived his mother’s death. He offered himself to free others. Call the Midwife–which will start a new season this Sunday!

    • Elizabeth Coombs's Gravatar Elizabeth Coombs
      March 29, 2017 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Read the book, too, on which CtM is based. You get a view of Jenny’s own spiritual journey. The match-up was a tough one, because I love what Moses stands for. But in the end, Raymond ransoming himself for others, and the fact that he watches over the same dear midwives who helped me through a hard pregnancy and brought a blessed daughter into the world–well that it finally took it for me, in both rounds.

  52. Emmy's Gravatar Emmy
    March 28, 2017 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

    C’mon… where are the Call the Midwife fans out there? I know there are a lot of RNs on this site. I’d never heard of Raymond Nonnatus till the BBC/PBS brought out the series and have been delighted to learn more about him. Truly a man for others, as the Jesuits say.

    And there are plenty of times I need to remember that padlock for myself… go, Raymond!

    • Janene's Gravatar Janene
      March 28, 2017 - 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Agree. Anyone who could be associated with Call the Midwife series deserves a vote.
      Plus he was a freedom fighter

  53. Linda Sylvester's Gravatar Linda Sylvester
    March 28, 2017 - 1:23 pm | Permalink

    In preparing for this match-up, I was most captivated by Raymond Nonnatus with his passion for freeing captive slaves at great risk. Then reading Moses the Black’s story this morning changed my mind. The blogger’s sensitive writing brought Moses to life and had me doing a lot of soul searching.
    I also commend SEC’s introduction of today’s pairings. I appreciated the lead in that had me focusing on their special spiritual qualities and achievements. ” These two fascinating souls have much to teach us about non-violence, passing judgment, and idle gossip.”
    I’m going to spend time today contemplating these men’s qualities of non-violence and non-judgement and I might appropriate those qualities into my life.
    That said, in an upset no one saw coming, in today’s pairing of Moses v Raymond, Linda is the big winner today!
    Thanks go to the powers that be!

  54. Timothy Cole-French's Gravatar Timothy Cole-French
    March 28, 2017 - 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Raymond, he gave his life over for others. One of the biggest sacrifices I have seen.

  55. Linda Hornyan's Gravatar Linda Hornyan
    March 28, 2017 - 2:34 pm | Permalink

    The reason for my choice is probably a bit shallow but I love the series “Call The Midwife” and Nonnatus House is the name of the Mother House on the show. Series is based on a book by former midwife.

    • VT Patty's Gravatar VT Patty
      March 28, 2017 - 8:42 pm | Permalink

      That’s how I finally decided, too!

  56. Matthew of Nashville's Gravatar Matthew of Nashville
    March 28, 2017 - 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Moses, you represent an entire continent, and your conversion story is so inspiring. You went from being “The Rock” to grounding your life upon The Rock. The repentance you showed…Wow!!! You have my vote and my well-wishes in the rounds to come.

  57. Megan Devlin's Gravatar Megan Devlin
    March 28, 2017 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Moses could be a patron of the 12 step tradition of taking your own inventory instead of stressing yourself out finding fault with others.

    • Linda Sylvester's Gravatar Linda Sylvester
      March 28, 2017 - 3:35 pm | Permalink

      That jumped out at me too, Megan. Moses seems to be the patron saint of AA with the non-judgment, his tenacious action plan employed to beat temptation. Inventories, living for others….

  58. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    March 28, 2017 - 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Moses for me. I’m inspired by the account of his transformation and his example of nonviolence.

  59. March 28, 2017 - 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m a sentimental old man. I voted for Raymond Nonatus to honor the sisters and nurses at Nonatus House in “Call the Mid Wife.” While they are fictional characters, they represent something good in a broken world.

    • Elizabeth Coombs's Gravatar Elizabeth Coombs
      March 29, 2017 - 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Ahh, but not all of the sisters and midwives, and their friends, patients and paramours are fictional. Read the book! You will love it.

  60. John's Gravatar John
    March 28, 2017 - 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Too wierd. Both of them. Will likely vote for either of their opponent next round!

  61. Janet's Gravatar Janet
    March 28, 2017 - 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I Love Call the Midwife! I read the books, and the TV show has quite a bit of truth to it. That show makes me proud to be an Episcopalian. I think St. Raymond deserves so much credit for what he did, and has left a lasting impression. I think it would be awesome if he wont Golden Halo! And we could write the Call the Midwife show to tell them. And have an awards ceremony instead of those dull introductory remarks Talk about culture affecting religion! What a testimony Raymond’s Golden Halo could be to thousands of PBS watchers!

  62. Linda Watson-Lorde's Gravatar Linda Watson-Lorde
    March 28, 2017 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Two honorable men! Moses the Black and Raymond Nonnatus

    Moses for Me today!

    Moses the Black.
    A man who can turn around his life, but finding all things possible to resist temptations is a virtue some should follow. He did not depend on his own strength but resisted all evil.

    Raymond Nonnatus.
    Being a mother of caesarean section child, I feel the pain of his parents, one dying for his to live the other killing that he may have life!

  63. Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
    March 28, 2017 - 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Moses is so inspirational. From a taker, he turned himself into a giving, humble man.

  64. Zoey - 6 years old's Gravatar Zoey - 6 years old
    March 28, 2017 - 6:07 pm | Permalink

    My name is Zoey and I am 6. I like Raymond because my Grampie and my Dadas names are Raymond.

    Mamas side note – we’ve been voting but haven’t commented! Wouldn’t miss a day of it for the world! Happy voting everyone!

    • March 28, 2017 - 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Good to hear from you again!

    • VT Patty's Gravatar VT Patty
      March 28, 2017 - 8:46 pm | Permalink

      Hi Zoey! I voted for Raymond, too.

      • Zoey - 6 years old's Gravatar Zoey - 6 years old
        March 29, 2017 - 4:58 pm | Permalink

        Thank you!

        From Mama – thank you so much for inviting her so warmly in to the discussions! Hope you all have a great day and evening!

  65. Kodjo the Great's Gravatar Kodjo the Great
    March 28, 2017 - 6:42 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Moses because he changed his whole life around and I did a project on him.
    MOSES FOR THE WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  66. Sara L's Gravatar Sara L
    March 28, 2017 - 6:55 pm | Permalink

    First time I’ve seen Lent Madness at 50-50! Moses the Black is the greatest conversion story since Saul/Paul – have to give him your vote!!

  67. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 28, 2017 - 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Wowza, only a 27 vote difference at the moment!

  68. Tom of St. Stephen's's Gravatar Tom of St. Stephen's
    March 28, 2017 - 7:20 pm | Permalink

    I’m on Team Moses today, but I’m really missing the thoughtful input our friend Oliver.

  69. Gloria Ishida's Gravatar Gloria Ishida
    March 28, 2017 - 7:52 pm | Permalink

    I would rather not have voted for either. So much whatever. But after all I chose Nonnatus for his bravery for ransoming slaves. Still the rest of his story seems hocus pocus by others. Moses overcoming his temptations, well, self discipline but really where was God’s grace. Too much do-it-yourself here.

    • March 29, 2017 - 7:46 am | Permalink

      I think God’s grace was amply shown in the total transformation of Moses’s life. You can’t go from being a vicious murderer to a gentle, loving Abba without God’s grace.

  70. Vickie's Gravatar Vickie
    March 28, 2017 - 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Only 20 votes behind. Come on, Raymond!

  71. Timothy J's Gravatar Timothy J
    March 28, 2017 - 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Moses, because “Moses supposes his toeses are roses.”

  72. Mary Lynn's Gravatar Mary Lynn
    March 28, 2017 - 9:55 pm | Permalink

    I believe most men would try a number of things to save their baby. I also believe angel’s are with lil’ newborn babes. My stomach turns thinking of poor Raymond and the padlock. This is something to think about next time we gossip in any form, especially harmful. I applaud Raymond giving himself up to save others too.
    BUT…. I’m going with Moses. He was such a horrible animal. It’s astonishing how such an evil person could transform into love. Now that’s a Crazy Christian and that’s turned right side up!!
    MOSES!! You have my vote, Saint!! ❤

  73. March 28, 2017 - 10:20 pm | Permalink

    19 votes ahead, go Moses! Still love him for the leaking basket story.

  74. Janis F's Gravatar Janis F
    March 28, 2017 - 10:40 pm | Permalink

    On this day the US Congress voted to allow Internet Service Providers (not just websites, the pipes that get you there) full access, sale, and distribution of personal data (down to keystrokes), I have to vote and pray (and probably weep) with Raymond.

  75. March 28, 2017 - 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Only a one vote difference between the two! Go, Moses!

  76. Eric's Gravatar Eric
    March 28, 2017 - 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Abba Moses used to say, “The man who flees from the world is like ripe grapes; but he who dwells among the ‎attractions of the children of men is like sour grapes.” ‎

  77. Eric's Gravatar Eric
    March 28, 2017 - 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Abba Poemen said, “A brother asked Abba Moses, ‘How is a man supposed to keep himself from his neighbor?’ ‎The elder said to him, ‘Unless a man keeps in his heart that he has been three years in the grave, he will not be ‎strong enough to keep this saying.” ‎

  78. Eric's Gravatar Eric
    March 28, 2017 - 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Once, the Fathers of Scete were gathered together. But because some people wanted to see Abba Moses, they ‎treated him rudely saying, “Why does this Ethiopian come and go in our midst?” But Moses, hearing this, held his ‎peace. When the congregation was dismissed, they said to him, “Abba Moses, were you not upset?” And he said to ‎them, “Although I was upset, I did not utter a word.”‎

  79. Eric's Gravatar Eric
    March 28, 2017 - 11:27 pm | Permalink

    A certain brother committed an offence in Scete, the camp of the monks, and when a congregation was assembled ‎on this matter, they sent after Abba Moses, but he refused to come; then they sent the priest of the church to him, ‎saying, “Come, for all the people are expecting you,” and he rose up and came. He took a basket with a hole in it ‎and filled it with sand, and carried it upon his shoulders, and those who went out to meet him said unto him, “What ‎does this mean, O father?” And he said to them, “The sands are my sins which are running down behind me and I ‎cannot see them, and, even, have come to this day to judge shortcomings which are not mine.” And when they heard ‎this they set free that brother and said nothing further to him.‎

  80. March 28, 2017 - 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Holy Moly Madness Makers: it’s 11:34pm and the margin of difference is 3-points? Somebody set up outside the arc and put it through the hoop for Raymond!

  81. Eric's Gravatar Eric
    March 28, 2017 - 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Lord have mercy this is a nail-biter…when do the polls close?

  82. March 28, 2017 - 11:42 pm | Permalink

    I voted for both of these saints in the first round.

    It was a difficult choice, but I went with Moses the Ethiopian because of his radical transformation from violence to non-violence.

    As a fan of “Call the Midwife”, can I suggest that we have another saint with a TV link next year, St. Fred of the Neighbourhood?

    • Eric's Gravatar Eric
      March 28, 2017 - 11:46 pm | Permalink

      Me too!
      I don’t see anyone beating Sara the wife of Abraham in the end…how can you go against that? Wife of the father of the faith?

      • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
        March 29, 2017 - 8:02 am | Permalink

        Mother of the faith?

  83. March 28, 2017 - 11:43 pm | Permalink

    And by the way, there’s only one vote separating the two at present.

  84. Sara L's Gravatar Sara L
    March 29, 2017 - 12:02 am | Permalink

    What time zone counts as midnight?

  85. Eric's Gravatar Eric
    March 29, 2017 - 12:04 am | Permalink

    I demand a recount. There must be some hanging chads.
    Is the Supreme Council prepared for this?
    Do we need to nominate a third member?

  86. Eric's Gravatar Eric
    March 29, 2017 - 12:10 am | Permalink

    Moses is down 13 votes!
    Someone call Hawaii!

  87. Eric's Gravatar Eric
    March 29, 2017 - 12:30 am | Permalink

    It is interesting that Moses the Black has dropped by about 50 votes since midnight EST. Are there less Orthodox in the west? I doubt it.
    Is there a predominance of post-Benedictine monastaries in the western United States?
    Where did those 50 votes for Raymond Nunnatus come from?

  88. Gail's Gravatar Gail
    March 29, 2017 - 12:43 am | Permalink

    Here’s a late California vote for Moses!

  89. Pendletown's Gravatar Pendletown
    March 29, 2017 - 12:45 am | Permalink

    Someone is packing the ballot box? 350 votes in the last hour or so?

  90. Eric's Gravatar Eric
    March 29, 2017 - 12:54 am | Permalink

    It’s American Samoa!
    Somebody call those people!

  91. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 29, 2017 - 3:42 am | Permalink

    Do the polls close at Midnight in Honolulu (GMT+10) or Midnight in Pago Pago (GMT+11)?

  92. March 29, 2017 - 3:49 am | Permalink

    How about midnight in Hobart? (I mean the one in Tasmania, not the one in upstate NY.)

    • March 29, 2017 - 3:50 am | Permalink

      It’s a few minutes before 7 pm here now.

  93. March 29, 2017 - 6:50 am | Permalink

    Well, it looks like things have reversed themselves exactly from what they were yesterday morning: Raymond 51%, Moses 49%.

  94. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 29, 2017 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    Wow! Is this the closest contest we’ve ever had?

  95. marie jones's Gravatar marie jones
    March 29, 2017 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    Think I’m going with Ray today, though Moses’ ‘conversion’ and struggles are admirable.

  96. Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
    March 30, 2017 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    I don’t see this bit of trivia mentioned in the comments: Because of the traumatic circumstances surrounding his birth, Nonnatus House, home to the nuns and midwives in the PBS series “Calling the Midwife,” was named for St. Raymond Nonnatus. That came up in one of the shows celebrating St. Raymond. (Season 5 begins April 2!)

Comments are closed.