Martin Luther vs. Florence Nightingale

A day after Stephen became the first saint to make it to the Faithful Four, by defeating Augustine of Canterbury 62% to 38%, the Elate Eight rolls on!

Today it's Martin Luther taking on Florence Nightingale in a matchup featuring two saintly heavyweights of kitsch. To make it to this point, Martin defeated David Oakerhater and Joseph Schereschewsky while Florence got the best of Anselm of Canterbury and Henry Beard Delany.

Yes, folks, March Madness may be done (congrats to the North Caroline Tar Heels) but Lent Madness is just heating up!

Martin Luther

Martin Luther loved life! He loved to drink beer. He loved to eat. And, he loved to wrestle with his faith with other clever, inquisitive people.

As we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, the creation of Martin Luther kitsch (or lovely commemorative keepsakes, depending upon your perspective) has cranked up.

If you make the pilgrimage to Wittenberg, Germany you’ll certainly want to taste some of their famous Luther Biere which you may drink from a Luther stein!





And, since you wouldn’t want to drink too much beer on an empty stomach, you might as well purchase some Luther wurst topped off by Lutherbrodt (Luther bread) for dessert.







Of course, you’ll want to bring home a souvenir or two from your sojourn. There are plenty of t-shirts to be found, as in any town catering to tourists. 
But, for something truly special, you’ll stand proudly in your “Here I Stand” socks. Or, for warmer weather, Luther flip flops.






Scholars may think that Brother Martin never actually stated “Here I Stand, I can do no other” at the Diet of Worms, but it is popular and we aren’t going to let go of this catchy phrase anytime soon!

Or, perhaps you could tuck small souvenirs in the corners of your suitcase for the kitchen workers in your church back home; a Martin Luther cookie cutter!




Courtesy of several websites, you don’t have to go to Wittenberg to collect Martin Luther paraphernalia. In February 2015, the Playmobil company announced that their then newly launched Martin Luther Playmobil figure had sold out of the first 34,000 figures manufactured in less than 72 hours! Sales are now over 500,000 of the little plastic reformer!

If you’d like something equally fun, but a bit more edifying, you’ll enjoy Papa Luther: A Graphic Novel or, The Life of Martin Luther: A Pop-Up Book.






A popular decorative element on a wide range of Luther kitsch is the Luther Rose. This seal was designed in 1530 for Martin at the behest of Luther’s protector, John Frederick, Elector of Saxony.





Earrings? Tie? Pillow? Temporary tattoo? (you just can’t make this stuff up!)

Martin Luther had a sense of humor, so while I’m guessing he would be astonished by the fuss in this 500th year after he hoped to share some reforming ideas with other scholars, I think he’d chuckle and go right along with the jokes! And, he’d especially enjoy the fact that Pope Francis and Protestant leaders from around the globe are commemorating this 500-year milestone together.

-- Beth Lewis

Florence Nightingale

If you have a nurse in your life that you’d like to thank, here are the top 10 “Florence Nightingale” gifts that you can give!

1. Every nurse secretly wants to be the original Florence Nightingale. For just $19.99, you can give your special nurse that opportunity with his/her own special Florence Nightingale costume:

2. Is your nurse not the type to dress up? Never fear, you can get your special nurse their own troll doll dressed like Florence to ride on the dash of their automobile for a cheap $10.00 on Etsy: 

3. If you really love your nurse, grab that special person a 1st edition copy of Florence Nightingale’s “Notes on Nursing.” Drop your bid over on Ebay for a mere $625.00. Every nurse should have a copy of “Notes on Nursing.”

4. If your nurse likes to show his/her Nightingale pride, this shirt is just the thing for $21.99.






5. Every nurse today needs a Nightingale lamp for those graveyard shifts when the generator fails. For just $18, your nurse can let their light shine, just like Florence Nightingale.

6. Many nurses take, or have taken, the Nightingale Pledge when they graduate from nursing school. You can purchase your special nurse this beautifully framed copy of the pledge that shows their dedication to their fellow man:
7. Have you been so moved by the story of Florence Nightingale that you’d like to encourage your son or daughter to follow in her footsteps? Start telling them the story of Florence Nightingale and her courage during the Crimean War. It’s now on SALE in the Easy store.










8. Share the prayer of Florence Nightingale with your special nurse and let them know that they touched your life in a special way.

9. After a long shift at work, what every nurse really wants is a foot rub. Known as the “Nightingale Special,” a foot, back, or any kind of massage is just the ticket to show your special nurse that their work matters.

10. Finally, while someone is giving your nurse a foot rub, whip up the “Nightingale cocktail” to help your special nurse unwind:

The Nightingale cocktail recipe is made from banana liqueur, triple sec, light cream and egg white, and served in a chilled sherry glass.
Shake all ingredients vigorously with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a chilled sherry glass and serve.

More seriously, forget the kitsch and craziness above, if you have ever been sick, or injured, or afraid, and have been blessed by the caring hands of a nurse, say a prayer of thanks for Florence Nightingale. Every nurse today has been influenced by her legacy. Thanks Flo, the love of God is indeed in the face of every patient we touch.

-- Anna Fitch Courie

Martin Luther vs. Florence Nightingale

  • Florence Nightingale (54%, 3,927 Votes)
  • Martin Luther (46%, 3,359 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,286

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238 comments on “Martin Luther vs. Florence Nightingale”

      1. Oliver is back! And maybe Oliver has to go to school these days so can't post first thing at 8am? Good to hear from you though!

    1. For my wife, a retireed RN, I just had to vote for Florence. Wife had a hard time giving it up after she retired, but now - 5 years later - our lives are filled with travel and enjoying our grand kids.

  1. My vote has to go to Florence Nightingale. My mother is a nurse and it is so interesting seeing the resemblance between both of them!

    1. Florence is awesome. I hate this pairing. But yes, I had to vote for Martin for this reason.

  2. In my role as hospice chaplain, I work with some amazing nurses. Anyone of us, when sick, would be lost without them. Florence gets my vote.

  3. If you are a nurse who graduated before 1965, chances are you carried the lamp at your capping ceremony or graduation. I still have mine, as well a deep love of the healing arts. Ms. Nightingale's influence has saved untold thousands of lives, and comforted many more.
    Thank you Lent Madness for giving her her due.

    1. My nursing school still does the capping ceremony with the lamps. It's separate from the graduation for the whole college, and takes place the night before graduation in a more intimate venue.

      1. That is awesome. When I was going through my mother's things after her death, I found her cap. (No lamp, though. Too bad.) I gave it to the Director of Nurses at the local hospital for a display they were doing on the history of nursing. I kind of miss nurses wearing caps, though as a Sister who wears a veil, I can understand first hand that there are good reasons for not wearing them - comfort for one, and slip sliding around for another. But there was something beautiful and professional about nurses in those caps. Glad they get to wear more comfortable clothes these days, though. Starched white dresses must have been a pain to keep clean, given what nurses deal with.

        1. I wore my cap once after the day my license came. I'm a pediatric nurse (now a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner). The first child I took care of that day knocked it off my head and it never went back on at work. And I don't miss the white dresses, pantyhose and nurse's shoes. Who ever said white was practical when you were working with messy stuff.

          Go Flo for the Golden Halo!

    2. I graduated in 1967 and, at my capping in 1963, I got a lamp and candle. One of the proudest moments of my life! My favourite nursing instructor's name was Florence, we called her Flossie behind her back! I have nursed for 51 years, how could I vote for anyone but Ms Nightingale even though I understand she was a very difficult woman to deal with.

  4. I usually vote for whoever has the better kitsch in this round, and it's hard to beat Luther's "Here I Stand" socks and flip flops. But Florence is a childhood source of inspiration, and there I stand.

    1. How ironic you would say, "there I stand" as that was Luther's critical final comment when being tried for heresy: "Here I stand...God help me!"

      1. I voted for Florence, partly thinking of the children in Syria who need compassionate care and skilled treatment following the horrendous evil of that brutal attack. Thanks for your thoughtfulness, St. Celia.
        Florence stood firmly against the arrogance and stupidity of the powerful war machine of her day as she served those who were its victim.

  5. Florence was a great lady, but I cannot imagine the church without Martin Luther. He ended the celestial treadmill that glorified works (to support the largess of the holy princes in Rome) over all else and kept the words of scripture and the Eucharist out of the hearing of the insufficiently holy masses. Without him, there is no Grace, no Middle Way, no modern Catholic Church, no tradition that recognizes the variety of ways to know God. For me, it has to be Luther, especially on this 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. "The body they may kill, His Truth abideth still..."

      1. If I couldn't believe that God works through me in spite of me, I'd give up. My favorite word of all time is Grace!

    1. All people everywhere must read the the 95 Lent Madness Theses (above) before voting. And then vote Luther. Even if he doesn't win halo think how perfect it would be in an imperfect world for him to win a runner-up stein...but to do that he needs your vote today!!

    2. Thank you for the well presented information on Luther! Kind of wish I had read it before I voted! My vote for Florence was in large part due to my gratitude to the nurses who have helped me through a scary time recently, and for my deep respect for those who serve in this profession. However, after reading your very persuasive and compelling Vote for Luther piece, I realize what a debt I owe to him for my own understanding of Christian love and salvation. So though he didn't get my vote this time, if he should be in future contests I would be much inclined to support him for the Golden Halo!

      Only human!

    3. Thank you, Lou Florio! After reading your Lenten Madness Theses on Martin Luther, how could one not for Martin. Now I know that our beloved furry animals go to heaven!

  6. I voted for Florence, but Martin Luther might well win any contest for "most impressive collection of Kitsch".

  7. Florence:
    1. Luther already has a mug and pint glass
    2. SEC didn't congratulate the South Carolina Gamecocks. (And this PC faux pas the day after samepayday....)

    1. I made a similar note of the slight to the USC Women's Basketball Team, aka, 2017 NCAA Champs!
      50 lashes to the SEC! (And that's not the one the Lady Gamecocks are in!)

  8. I would point out that Notes on Nursing is available on Amazon and Kindle for a lot less than $625. I am presuming that Anna Courie does not have a financial stake in promoting the Ebay copy.

    1. Yes, that's correct. It was just the most expensive copy I could find for fun as a part of the Saintly Kitsch round. 🙂

  9. I voted for Florence......the forunner of Claire Randall Fraser of the Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldon.

  10. Where is the package of gummi worms, for the "diet of Worms"?

    How about Paul McCartney's lyric,
    Sister Suzie, brother John
    Martin Luther, Phil and Don
    Brother Michael, auntie Gin
    Open the door and let 'em in, yeah

    Vote Martin Luther.

    1. Or, vote Florence as you think of those healing hands reaching out at all hours:
      Blackbird singing in the dead of night
      Take these broken wings and learn to fly
      All your life
      You were only waiting for this moment to arise.
      Blackbird singing in the dead of night
      Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
      All your life
      You were only waiting for this moment to be free.
      Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
      Into the light of the dark black night...

    1. Either of these two would be very worthy to win the golden halo. For me, the tie-breaker is that it's the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Luther this year and Florence Nightingale next year!

  11. The 95 Theses T-Shirt had me! Being a graduate of a Lutheran university (Go Valparaiso Crusaders!) and marrying a Lutheran helped a little too.

    1. Agree. It's the T-shirt that got my vote. Plus, Luther began the creation of the modern world -- for good or ill.

  12. If one of these two becomes first runner up I'd like to see a commemorative T shirt in the lentorium. No question these two are big on kitsch. I voted for Florence, on general principals. But on kitsch I'd say it was a tie!
    I do sort of wonder about the appropriateness of considering the Nightengale pledge and prayer as kitsch??

    1. I thought about that too, then thought it's not the words of the pledge and prayer, it's the presentation. And even items deemed kitsch can have something important to impart.

  13. Anyone that likes to drink beer, eat food and wrestles with their faith gets my vote. Plus our local Lutheran college Roanoke College has a bust of Luther outside their new sports facility, Luther all the way.

  14. Lent Madness at its finest! Insanity! The patron saint of the reformation...THE REFORMATION PEOPLE...on its 500th anniversary no less versus a woman who changed the entire practice of medical care for the western the end I must confess I think ML was kind of a jerk and Flo was a true saint. Go Flo!

    1. It is perhaps the essence of paradigm shifting to be 'a jerk'--without that part of personality that makes us not want to hang around you after a while, you won't keep pushing the walls down. Doesn't help me decide who to vote for...

  15. Having just wrapped up another graveyard shift, I can only cast my vote for Flo...all the way to the Golden Halo!!! And guess I need to get my gloves on one of those lamps...

    1. Bless you, Nancy, for your work on the graveyard shift. I used to work in nursing homes, and for one year I was on graveyard. Not an easy life.
      I voted for Flo, also.

      1. God bless the souls who work the graveyard shift at nursing homes. Especially if they truly have the healing gift. My parents are there now, and it is a dreadful time of life for them. I am so grateful for the healers.

  16. Had to go with Florence, in solidarity with women everywhere and the caring, nurturing touch of women for humankind in general. When we are sick, we want that gentle touch in nursing care, whether professional or family or friend.

  17. The troll nurse almost tipped the scales, but not quite. Luther's influence is too far reaching to ignore. I will not be disappointed if Nightingale wins, though.

  18. I want/need the Luther socks!! "Here I stand. I can do no other." It's the story of my life.

  19. As much as I love the kitsch of Martin, I come from a long line of nurses in my family. Florence for the win!

  20. Florence almost had me at abstaining from whatever is "deleterious and mischievous," but I had to go for Luther. I own a "Sin Boldly" pint glass already (Thanks, Linda and Gary Loyd!)! I shall have to use it today to put good vibes into the universe for Martin.

    Both such important figures in their own way. Hard to choose.