Anna Alexander vs. Edith Cavell

The Saintly Sixteen continues with a matchup between two inspiring women, Anna Alexander and Edith Cavell. To get to this round, Anna got by Peter Claver while Edith surprised John Wesley.

Yesterday, Maria Skobtsova advanced to the Elate Eight by trouncing Quiteria by what is likely a record margin, 91% to 9%. We’re too lazy to look back at all the previous matchups to figure out if this is an actual record margin, but knock yourself out and let us know. She’ll face the winner of Martin de Porres vs. Dymphna.

“Hey, wait,” you’re thinking to yourself, “What happened to this week’s episode of Monday Madness?” Don’t worry, you’re not losing a step. Due to some technical difficulties based on being in exotic locales like outside-of-Cleveland, there was a glitch in the production process. Look for a better-late-than-never edition later today.

Anna Alexander

Anna Alexander“The Bar is Open!” is not a phrase uttered by Deaconess Anna Alexander, but it could be. Stories tells us that when the diocese would not build her a new church, she took over an abandoned whiskey bar and converted the bar to an altar to God. Come one, come all to the Bar of Christ! Maybe church membership would not be in decline if we decided to implement such creative practices in getting the job done as Deaconess Anna.

But Deaconess Alexander’s zeal for her fellow brothers and sisters in Christ did not just begin or end at the Altar of God, she walked the talk right out into her community and kept walking by foot to spread the word of God to African American Georgians between the towns of Brunswick and Darian. That’s what I call a real ChristWalk (™)! The children she touched along the way went on to become teachers, nurses, and advocates in their own communities for the education and inclusion of black people in the south. Deaconess Alexander is the pebble that was dropped in the pond of Georgia that had ripples of impact that went on for generations.

Recollections from her students account Deaconess Alexander as both mother and father to the children in Pennick, Georgia. No matter how bad her students acted, she responded with kindness and a firm assurance that learning to read and write would make a difference one day, even if her students did not realize it now. Students remember that Anna Alexander would not just ensure her students were well educated enough for college, she would drive them there if they did not have the means to do so. She was known for providing not just education, but clothes, food, and shelter to ensure the well being of her flock.

What comes to my mind as I read about Deaconess Alexander is a saying my father said to me growing up. He would say, no matter the situation, “Anna, soft overcomes hard.” Like my father, Deaconess Alexander responded to all from a place of consistency, tough love, and enduring kindness, to soften the hardest hearts. Her love established something that the community recognizes it needs more than ever today: how do we love others, more than we love ourselves? How do we love others enough to not just fix things on the surface, but to strive for a change that makes the world a better place? Through this softness she made a place for her children, assured their future, established a place for women and African Americans in the Episcopal church and lived the words that Jesus charged to us when he said, “Love one another.”

-Anna Courie

Edith Cavell

EdithWhile some saints were deeply devout to all things God and church from infancy, Edith was not one of these saints. She was a typical child of her era. An avid artist (several of her paintings survive) and active outdoorswoman, she found Sundays tedious, as her father kept a strict Sabbath – no reading from any book other than the Bible, no play, and certainly no card games. We glimpse Edith’s opinion of this Sunday routine in a letter to a cousin, where she says, “Do come and stay again soon, but not for a weekend. Father’s sermons are so long and dull.” Servants of the household also frequently discovered the Cavell children deeply involved in card games while their father made Sunday parish calls.

Edith eventually found her way into nursing. Again, while some saints discovered their vocation and received glowing reviews, Edith reminds us of the beautiful holiness of mediocrity. Her nursing instructor said of her, “Edith had plenty of capacity for her work, when she chose to exert herself,” noting, “She was not at all punctual.”

As the daughter of a priest and an educated woman of her time, Edith was not expected to become a career woman. In fact, she received heavy criticism for her desire to become a career nurse. Edith observed in a letter to her family, “The old idea that it is a disgrace for women to work is still held in Belgium and women of good birth and education still think they lose caste by earning their own living.”

Nevertheless, she persisted in her calling and career as a nurse.

Edith ministered at the Red Cross Hospital in Belgium, where all wounded soldiers, regardless of nationality, received equal care. Edith was eventually arrested and tried for “assisting men to the enemy.”

In the hours before her execution, her chaplain reports she said, “I have no fear nor shrinking; I have seen death so often that it is not strange or fearful to me.” She said goodbye to her priest, adding she would see him again in the presence of God.

Edith was executed by a German firing squad on October 12, 1915.

Edith, quite contrary to her desire only to be remembered as a nurse who did her duty, was recast as a national martyr. She has numerous memorials in England, including a statue near Trafalgar Square in London inscribed with her most famous quote, “Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.”

Her other memorials include Mount Edith Cavell in the Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, several movies, musicals, and masses and an opera composed in the late 1920’s, of which two of three acts have been found.

-Laurie Brock

Anna Alexander vs. Edith Cavell

  • Anna Alexander (65%, 4,451 Votes)
  • Edith Cavell (35%, 2,405 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,856

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Anna Alexander:
Edith Cavell: Robert Cutts from Bristol, England, UK – The Edith Cavell Memorial via Wikipedia

196 Comments to "Anna Alexander vs. Edith Cavell"

  1. March 13, 2018 - 8:05 am | Permalink

    Turning a bar into a place to praise God is cool. #Anna

  2. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 13, 2018 - 8:06 am | Permalink

    Both are holy women — the most difficult choice of this year’s LM to date! I’m holding off my vote for now…

    • Mary Lou Creamer's Gravatar Mary Lou Creamer
      March 13, 2018 - 8:34 am | Permalink

      I so agree, Ann. Think I’m going to have to pray on this a bit…

      • Dena Morris's Gravatar Dena Morris
        March 13, 2018 - 10:22 am | Permalink

        Me, too. These are my two “finalists.” All I can say is that I’m glad this is just a “game” & that I’ve learned about two women/saints that I’d never heard of before. Thank God for both of them.

        • Alicia's Gravatar Alicia
          March 13, 2018 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

          I agree! This was the hardest choice in all the years of doing this. I ended up going with Anna Alexander. As a teacher who deals with kids who do not seem to care, I have seen what happens when one educator won’t give up on them. I feel like she quietly changed so many lives! And she inspired me to be a better teacher!

        • Mary Beth Burns's Gravatar Mary Beth Burns
          March 13, 2018 - 12:11 pm | Permalink


          Part of the joy of Lent Madness has been learning about some of God’s people for the first time, and the other great joy is reading the thoughtful comments of the Lent Madness Community – And like Karen. I want them both to advance.

    • KarenR's Gravatar KarenR
      March 13, 2018 - 9:03 am | Permalink

      Thank you for clarifying my dilemma. I want both of them to advance.

    • Rebecca Owsley's Gravatar Rebecca Owsley
      March 13, 2018 - 9:35 am | Permalink

      Maybe the most difficult choice of ALL Lent madness matchups, ever. Even after a pause for morning prayers, still impossible! Good to remember they already share in all the company of heaven. In the end, I voted for Edith, for her holy “mediocrity” and persistent example to all extraordinary ordinary people.

      • Kathy Trotter's Gravatar Kathy Trotter
        March 13, 2018 - 11:11 am | Permalink

        Me too!

      • March 13, 2018 - 11:37 am | Permalink

        I as well. Also for her willingness to take care of others at ultimate cost to herself.

    • March 13, 2018 - 9:57 am | Permalink

      I agree, most difficult choice of the year. As an underachiever of some stature I can certainly lean in to Edith but……I am profoundly touched by both women

    • Nancy Ciaffone's Gravatar Nancy Ciaffone
      March 13, 2018 - 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Yes, this is a tough choice. Both deserve the Golden Halo.

      • Diana's Gravatar Diana
        March 13, 2018 - 1:03 pm | Permalink

        I absolutely agree so I just quickly shut my eyes and kept trying to vote until I managed to hit one of the names. I’ll never say which one.

    • Margaret Forsythe's Gravatar Margaret Forsythe
      March 13, 2018 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. This is the first time I returned to the original writings on each, and still couldn’t really decide.

    • Kathi Tiltman's Gravatar Kathi Tiltman
      March 13, 2018 - 8:47 pm | Permalink

      I agree hardest decision .. took so long to decide and still not sure I voted as my heart wanted me too

  3. Wallace's Gravatar Wallace
    March 13, 2018 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    I voted for Anna Alexander because I’ve lived in Georgia for most of my life, but have never heard of her.

  4. Steven Niccolls's Gravatar Steven Niccolls
    March 13, 2018 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    The quote, “Edith has plenty of capacity for her work when she chooses to exert herself” was the kiss of death for me. I cannot vote for someone who is only occassionally into it.

    • Christina's Gravatar Christina
      March 13, 2018 - 8:22 am | Permalink

      I don’t know. I am a huge fan of the flawed heroes

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 13, 2018 - 8:23 am | Permalink

      My father used to say about me that I did good work although not much of it. That was his opinion, it was Edith’s teacher’s opinion. Opinion is not necessarily fact.

      • Jane W.'s Gravatar Jane W.
        March 13, 2018 - 11:46 am | Permalink

        Here here. In school I got the same evaluation. Of course that was well before anything was known about learning disabilities. As an adult I return to college, was tested and helped. It may have taken me 12 years to work, raise 3 kids, and go to school from no credit to Massters. But I did it, and with straight As. To this day I also credit spell check to help my dyslexic eyes.

        • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
          March 13, 2018 - 12:35 pm | Permalink

          Good for you. My brother-in-law had educational support from the day her started school, thanks to his forward thinking mother. He even attended a very good college under an LD program. However, he still does not read well, but has learned to make the most of his gifts and is a very successful salesman.

          Following my mother-in-law’s example, we got our daughter diagnosed early, with NonVerbal Learning Disorder, and with lots and lots of support and focusing on long-term progress, she is now a senior in high school taking 5 AP classes, and has been accepted to a very prestigious college. She never learned phonics well, or to spell well, but she is an amazing sight-reader.

    • Mindy Duryea's Gravatar Mindy Duryea
      March 13, 2018 - 8:36 am | Permalink

      Interesting that didn’t bother me at all. It just sounded like an officious boss who wants things done the way she wants them done and she hadn’t found her calling yet. Once she did it sounds like no one would call her lazy or not a hard worker. As a person who has often fallen short of others expectations to be someone I am not I completely related to this part of her. It was inspiring to see the amazing person she became once she found her niche.

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 13, 2018 - 8:42 am | Permalink

        Yes Mindy!

    • March 13, 2018 - 8:38 am | Permalink

      And yet, there must be something about her. Last round she won soundly and there has likely not been another person more devoted to his work than the opponent she beat. Work with a world-wide impact a hundred-fold greater than her own. Sometimes, a simple example and a martyrdom carry a lot of weight.

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        March 13, 2018 - 9:40 am | Permalink

        I think you’re right about the advantage martyrdom gives. I myself am not tempted to be martyred, even if it gave me an edge in some future Lent Madness bracket. I hope to see a contemplative win one day and look forward to Julian of Norwich returning to the madness; someday she’ll get that golden halo.

    • Dee's Gravatar Dee
      March 13, 2018 - 9:27 am | Permalink

      I have read books on Edith Cavell’s life & works and totally disagree with her teacher’s comment! She went on to open a School of Nursing in Belgium where she taught and nurtured Nursing students. During WWI she sheltered and hid British and Belgium soldiers from the Germans. Her life ended in front of a German Firing squad for all her good work! This short note does not begin to tell all the good work she did in her short lifetime!!!

    • Elaine's Gravatar Elaine
      March 13, 2018 - 9:31 am | Permalink

      That quote about Edith’s mediocrity nearly won her my vote! I’m kinda mediocre, if I’m honest. And we who are mediocre need our heroes!

      But I voted for Anna because WOW, what an incredible woman. Nothing stopped her. I’ll admit, though, the wording about “the children she touched along the way…” made me imagine her walking between Brunswick and Darian and tapping kids as she passed them in the street, and due to her magic touch, they became “teachers, nurses, and advocates.” Of course it wasn’t that simple, but if anyone writes up her official hagiography, you can have that one.

      • Stevie's Gravatar Stevie
        March 13, 2018 - 9:44 am | Permalink

        I’m so glad I’m not the only one that read that with that image in her head. I figured I needed another cup of coffee after that one!

        I haven’t voted yet. I’m torn; this is a really difficult match-up.

    • Indie Pereira's Gravatar Indie Pereira
      March 13, 2018 - 9:55 am | Permalink

      Seriously? She died for doing the right thing. I’m pretty sure she exerted herself when it counted.

    • Dena Morris's Gravatar Dena Morris
      March 13, 2018 - 10:27 am | Permalink

      OK, but remember that was when she was a student. Many students that I encountered, as a high school teacher, did not “hit their stride(s)” until they entered the “real” world. However, I still haven’t decide which to vote for. I may decide to sit this one out (which I NEVER do in “real” elections), just because I can’t vote for BOTH of them. Those of you who were able to make a decision are to be commended.

    • Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
      March 13, 2018 - 11:21 am | Permalink

      Um . . . Edith was executed for helping free hundreds of Allied POWs. You think she was “only occasionally into it”?

    • James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
      March 13, 2018 - 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Stood fearless before the firing squad, but some clown at some point early in her life said she was not always doing her best. Well, obviously the clown must be right — uh, right???
      Lord help Saint Francis of Assisi if you ever wander into an area where they determine whether he ought to be a saint.

  5. Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
    March 13, 2018 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    I agree that this one is difficult–both left a wonderful legacy.

  6. Kathy Hartley's Gravatar Kathy Hartley
    March 13, 2018 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    I agree. I am extremely torn this morning. Both are inspiring women.

  7. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    March 13, 2018 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    Tough choice today. I voted for both of these amazing women in the first round. On the one hand, Edith who undoubtedly saved many people through her nursing and was martyred for not refusing to help anyone regardless of their side in the war. On the other hand, Anna who walked in love through many obstacles and made a profound difference that is probably still felt today in Georgia. In the end, I had to go with ” tough love, and enduring kindness, to soften the hardest hearts” so I voted for Anna.

    • Alicia's Gravatar Alicia
      March 13, 2018 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Michelle! Thank you so much for explaining my interior struggle so well! 🙂

  8. Audrey Grier's Gravatar Audrey Grier
    March 13, 2018 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    I agree with Ann’s comment above: this is such a difficult choice. I voted for my fellow American, and that’s the only reason! I love reading about these wonderful people.

    • Deb Seles's Gravatar Deb Seles
      March 13, 2018 - 2:13 pm | Permalink

      That was my rationale too! It’s true that the longer we go in Lent, the harder the choices are.

  9. Anne C.'s Gravatar Anne C.
    March 13, 2018 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    “Stories tells us that when the diocese would not build her a new church, she took over an abandon whiskey bar and converted the bar to an alter to God.”

    Really, people. If you’re going to advocate for a proponent of education, you need to check your copy better – it should be an “abandonED” whiskey bar and it’s “altar” not “alter”. Despite these goofs, my vote goes to Anna!

    • Denise LeGendre's Gravatar Denise LeGendre
      March 13, 2018 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      Must be technical difficulties due to the exotic location!

    • Verdery D. Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery D. Kassebaum
      March 13, 2018 - 9:58 am | Permalink

      By the time I read this morning’s post (almost 7:00 a.m., PDT), those goofs had been corrected.

      • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
        March 13, 2018 - 11:00 am | Permalink

        If only we who comment could edit our comments too. Autocorrect wrecked one of mine last week.

        • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
          March 13, 2018 - 1:01 pm | Permalink

          This is a big, big wish of mine. Surely that is possible, she said winningly. 😀

    • Fran in the Pines's Gravatar Fran in the Pines
      March 13, 2018 - 8:03 pm | Permalink

      “…and converted the bar to an alter to God…”
      I’m disappointed that this had been corrected before I had a chance to read it.
      As an English teacher, I should be glad it was fixed. However, as one always in need of grace, I love the idea of an ALTER to God. The greatest gift we can place on the altAR before God is our willingness to be converted from whatever we were (a bar, a sinner, a saint….) and be altered into the persons we were created to become.

  10. March 13, 2018 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Presiding Bishop Curry preached three times recently on Deaconess Anna Alexander. Here is a short video we in Anna’s Diocese created to share some of those sermons:

    • Sandi's Gravatar Sandi
      March 13, 2018 - 8:39 am | Permalink

      The video sealed it for me – thanks, Frank!
      Deaconess Alexander it is!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 13, 2018 - 9:19 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Frank!

    • Dena Morris's Gravatar Dena Morris
      March 13, 2018 - 10:35 am | Permalink

      This is a great video. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Elaine Chilcote's Gravatar Elaine Chilcote
      March 13, 2018 - 10:38 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Frank. The video you produced about Anna’s father learning to read, using the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, was inspiring too. This was the hardest choice yet, coming right after the easy one yesterday, but Anna speaks to my heart. She gets my vote.

    • Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
      March 13, 2018 - 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Frank.

    • Rebecca Christian's Gravatar Rebecca Christian
      March 13, 2018 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Such a wonderful message from Presiding Bishop about Deaconess Alexander. Thanks, Frank, for sharing it here. So many of the great women and men with whom I have taught over the years consider teaching their ministry. Most teachers I know and love go way beyond teaching the standards. Each goes the extra mile to meet individual needs of children. Whether it is a hug, a new pair of shoes, a listening ear, food for the weekend…every extra gift brings with it love and hope. My vote is for Anna.

  11. Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
    March 13, 2018 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Like many of you, I struggled with this decision and ended up choosing Anna. I am inspire by her commitment to educating marginalized African-Americans in Reconstruction Era South. Plus, the song written by the kids at the Episcopal Day School in Augusta is darn cute!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 13, 2018 - 9:20 am | Permalink

      Fabulous! What a bright way to start the day!

  12. Maya's Gravatar Maya
    March 13, 2018 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Tough choice, I agree. Both are extremely worthy and inspirational women.
    Had known of Edith Cavell before L.M. but not of Anna Alexander.
    Going for Deaconess Anna in this round in the hope she will become better known.
    (Also because we are fortunate to have a terrific deacon in our parish.)

  13. The Rev'd Paul Gill Rider's Gravatar The Rev'd Paul Gill Rider
    March 13, 2018 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    One of the schools in the benefice I serve is named after Edith Cavell. She is a beloved and saintly woman whom the people here admire greatly.

  14. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    March 13, 2018 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Truly tough choice today. I can relate to Edith is so many ways — the awful Sundays of enforced piety to the comments about her work efforts — go Edith.

  15. The Rev'd Paul Gill Rider's Gravatar The Rev'd Paul Gill Rider
    March 13, 2018 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Speaking of bars… Edith Cavell’s is a pub just across from Norwich Cathedral.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 13, 2018 - 8:56 am | Permalink

      Well, that does it. I’ve got to go back to Norwich!

      • Lynn Maxwell-Gascoyne's Gravatar Lynn Maxwell-Gascoyne
        March 13, 2018 - 10:11 am | Permalink

        ME, TOO! Hope all is well with you! 🙂 (Lynn Maxwell (Gascoyne))

        • Paul Rider's Gravatar Paul Rider
          March 13, 2018 - 6:03 pm | Permalink

          Thank you. All is well indeed!

        • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
          March 13, 2018 - 10:16 pm | Permalink

          Oh my gosh, Lynn!!! Hello!!

      • Paul Rider's Gravatar Paul Rider
        March 13, 2018 - 6:04 pm | Permalink

        Yes. Indeed do come back. And be sure to stop by Old Lakenham to say “Hi!”

  16. Debbie Northern's Gravatar Debbie Northern
    March 13, 2018 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Tough choice but went with Anna because she reached out to the African American community which was marginalized and with education helped the community.

  17. Betsy in Reston VA's Gravatar Betsy in Reston VA
    March 13, 2018 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    I had to vote for Anna, in tribute to the amazing Deacons I have known.
    But this does not in any way disparage Edith, who sounds like she would be equally deserving of the golden halo. Hope to see her in future Lent Madnesses!!

  18. Mindy Duryea's Gravatar Mindy Duryea
    March 13, 2018 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    What a hard choice to make today!! Ugh. I went with Edith probably because I read her second… i wish these two were meeting later.

    • Ann of NH's Gravatar Ann of NH
      March 13, 2018 - 10:31 am | Permalink

      Me too ! They are both so worthy……

  19. Joanne B. Parrott's Gravatar Joanne B. Parrott
    March 13, 2018 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    Episcopalian nuns do exist, they do exist, they do exist.
    Anna gets the vote today.

    • Ann of NH's Gravatar Ann of NH
      March 13, 2018 - 10:33 am | Permalink

      Of course they do ! God bless them all !

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 13, 2018 - 11:21 am | Permalink

      Deconesses, unlike nuns, could be married, but like nuns prior to the decision of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church to allow women to be ordained as deacons, they were not ordained as they were not male. Once the diaconate was open to women, becomes a deaconess was no longer an option. Note by this time then-British Hong Kong had had female deacons since before WWII and had already priested three of them (Florence+ in 1944, and two more in the late 1960s).

      But yes, there are multiple orders of nuns and monks in the Anglican Communion, including here in the States. While all three ordained orders are open to both monks or nuns, as they are to lay men and women, I only know of one monastic, an SSJE monk whose name escapes me pre-coffee, who has served in the House of Bishops.

      • Emily W Shepherd's Gravatar Emily W Shepherd
        March 13, 2018 - 11:56 am | Permalink

        Thomas Shaw

  20. Pat Smith-Huntoon's Gravatar Pat Smith-Huntoon
    March 13, 2018 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    This was a very hard choice; both embody women I try to emulate on a daily basis. I only voted for Edith because she paid for her beliefs with her life.

  21. Richard Adams's Gravatar Richard Adams
    March 13, 2018 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    I agree that this one is close. In death Edith has been remembered and memorialized. But although I am from Georgia I never heard of Anna Alexander of Pennick, GA before. I like voting for an obscure Deacon. She belongs to the History of Georgia and the Episcopal church.

  22. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    March 13, 2018 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    another VERY difficult choice. Both women highly deserving of their own Golden Halos

  23. Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
    March 13, 2018 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    I find the focus in the Saintly Sixteen on pithy sayings and quirky quotes to diminish many of the saints and it helps to go back to the initial write-up from Round One. For example, today’s text on Edith makes her seem like a well-off slacker who didn’t use her gifts wisely.
    But, thinking there must have been more to Edith if she bested John Wesley, I went back to find this information:
    “Realizing the danger for citizens and soldiers alike, Edith helped provide an underground escape route for those fleeing to the Netherlands. More than 200 soldiers escaped to safety. German military authorities discovered her acts. Edith confessed—which likely saved the lives of others who assisted her—and was sentenced to death.”

    And, “As she awaited execution, the Germans allowed an Anglican priest to visit her. He recalls that in their final meeting, Edith received communion and prayed, expressing forgiveness toward her executioners. She said, “I thank God for this ten weeks’ quiet before the end. Life has always been hurried and full of difficulty. This time of rest has been a great mercy. But this I would say, standing as I do in view of God and eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness toward anyone.”
    I’m sure many of us wouldn’t want to be examined today based solely on our high school report cards.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 13, 2018 - 10:08 am | Permalink

      Thanks for republishing those words, Deborah. I too went back and confirmed my sense that Edith’s biographer, probably unintentionally, had thrown her under the bus in this round.

      • Jennifer of Sol's Gravatar Jennifer of Sol
        March 13, 2018 - 3:36 pm | Permalink

        “thrown under the bus”.
        Dang. Martyred again, eh?

        Yes and no – Laurie Brock’s write up got my attention by telling a different sort of story, not the same old same old hagiography. She painted a portrait of a saint I’d really love to have met “at tea”…tho’ EC would probably not have wanted to take time away from her work. (“Yeah, just doin’ the right thing, fighting Nazis, etc. No biggie.”)

        • March 14, 2018 - 1:58 am | Permalink

          By the way, she wasn’t fighting Nazis. This was WWI, not WWII. (I’m a stickler for detail. 🙂 )

          • Jennifer of Sol's Gravatar Jennifer of Sol
            March 14, 2018 - 3:00 pm | Permalink

            !! Oops!! Here I stand…corrected! (blush)

    • Ann of NH's Gravatar Ann of NH
      March 13, 2018 - 10:35 am | Permalink

      Thank you so much for reminding me about the facts in the first bio sketch about Edith.

  24. B A Robinson's Gravatar B A Robinson
    March 13, 2018 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    I would have appreciated birth and death dates for both candidates. It would have given me a historical frame of reference to make a more educated choice.

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 13, 2018 - 11:32 am | Permalink

      Those should be in the biographies in the first round, the links to which are in the very first paragraph. Anna’s date and even time of death, appears in the photo of her statue up above her quirks & quotes section.

      To quote what, other than her own words, is on the base of her statue:
      OCTOBER 12

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 13, 2018 - 10:18 pm | Permalink

        That just breaks my heart.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 13, 2018 - 10:19 pm | Permalink

        “The peace of God it is no peace,
        But strife closed in the sod.
        Yet let us pray for but one thing:
        The marvelous peace of God,
        The marvelous peace of God.

  25. Denise's Gravatar Denise
    March 13, 2018 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    I voted for Edith because when I was growing up we went to my maternal grandparents’ house every Sunday and after dinner the adults played bridge in the dining room and the children played Rook in the living room. Every Sunday my grandmother said “If the preacher comes put the cards away.” I never understood as a child why she said this since the preacher never came to visit on Sunday, never ever. Brought back found memories.

  26. Debbie Brewin-Wilson's Gravatar Debbie Brewin-Wilson
    March 13, 2018 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    Oh, this was a hard choice. Both deserve golden halos.

  27. Catherine W Huber's Gravatar Catherine W Huber
    March 13, 2018 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    The Pebble in the Pond of Georgia

  28. Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
    March 13, 2018 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    Great wailing and gnashing of teeth this morning! How do we choose?

  29. Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
    March 13, 2018 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Anna Alexander all the way!

  30. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 13, 2018 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Oh what a difficult choice. Having voted for both first time round I have struggled today. There is so much to admire in both women, and I am so grateful to make Anna’s acquaintance having not heard of her before. However, I cast my vote for Edith on several grounds: I now live in Norwich where she was laid to rest, because I suspect that Anna will prevail today, and finally for all latecomers who get there in the end…


  31. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 13, 2018 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    I commiserated with nurse Edith. What a trial to have a father whose long and dull sermons were what impressed him onto your memory. And I painfully get the criticism, “she’s always late.” But I voted for deacon Anna. I voted for her because she taught and raised up new teachers, nurses, and community organizers. She insisted that reading and writing would matter to students in the future even if they didn’t value those skills now. She persisted.

  32. Sally Fox's Gravatar Sally Fox
    March 13, 2018 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    Most difficult choice thus far! I had to go with Deaconess Anna as she so epitomizes the ministry of Deacon and has not been celebrated as has Edith Cavell has deservedly been! We so need Deaconess Annas in every struggling community!

  33. Karen Pearson's Gravatar Karen Pearson
    March 13, 2018 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Anna appears to be one who quietly went about dramatically changing the lives of those she came in contact with for the better. I am convinced that these many, many often unknown saints bring the kingdom of God closer to us than some of the more famous ones, and exhibit in their own persons what God wants us to be.

  34. Lane's Gravatar Lane
    March 13, 2018 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Although Anna was not executed, she too gave her life for her beliefs. She lived for her call.

    • Dena Morris's Gravatar Dena Morris
      March 13, 2018 - 10:38 am | Permalink


  35. Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
    March 13, 2018 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    Though I’m from Georgia, and a teacher, I’m going with Edith. I am so impressed by her healing indiscriminately. The Good Samaritan has nothing on her, and she followed Christ’s example far beyond anything I would have done. She even surpassed John 15:13; she laid down her life for her enemies. Wow!

  36. evelyn dean casey's Gravatar evelyn dean casey
    March 13, 2018 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    “How do we love others enough to not just fix things on the surface, but to strive for a change that makes the world a better place?”
    This is something I strive to do in my life too – with God’s help.
    While “nevertheless, she persisted” is a nice rallying cry today – Anna gets my vote!

  37. Anne Meredith Kyle's Gravatar Anne Meredith Kyle
    March 13, 2018 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed reading about both of these women. Normally I would be an easy pick as my twin sister is named “Edith” and I am a nurse! I would have followed my heart voting almost by name and calling alone… Then I read more about Anna. An old, competitive, twin thing has emerged to guide my choice between these two interesting and devoted women. Anna, it is!

  38. Carol Miro's Gravatar Carol Miro
    March 13, 2018 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    As a nurse I leaned to Edith, but in honor of Archdeacon Jan Grinnell and Deacons, Jean Barry and Gail Wheelock, all of my parish. Jean started many programs and two shelters for the homeless and Jan has revitalized campus ministry at the University of Rhode Island and prepares many deacon postulates.

  39. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 13, 2018 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    While both are worthy choices, Anna’s legacy of education helped many across Georgia, and she deserves the notoriety a Golden Halo would bring for her efforts.

  40. Betty Lane's Gravatar Betty Lane
    March 13, 2018 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    I voted for Anna. We need to know and celebrate those who cared for and educated African American children when public education too often ignored them.

  41. Sally in Dallas's Gravatar Sally in Dallas
    March 13, 2018 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    I was struck this morning by the similarities of these two women when I reread their original bios. Both believed that anger, whether by hatred or bitterness, was a wasted emotion; that the only way to change her community, and ultimately the world, was through love for our fellow humans and the commandment of Christ to love and forgive, without regard to nationality, ethnicity, or our own bitterness. Could I vote for both of them?

  42. March 13, 2018 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    Deaconess Alexander persisted and raised up generations of educated African-Americans…even without the help of her diocese. She walked and rowed her boat several miles to touch and change lives. She was a determined spirit. Proud of our diocesan Saint who didn’t wait around for somebody to get behind her efforts.

  43. Lindsay Graves's Gravatar Lindsay Graves
    March 13, 2018 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    I will vote for Anna today…softness overcomes hard. Perhaps I will use this thought in one of my (lay preaching) sermons…hope Edith would approve, and invite folks for the weekend!

  44. March 13, 2018 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    I, too, have converted a bar to an altar. And I strive to be a pebble in a pond. So Anna it is.

  45. Christopher's Gravatar Christopher
    March 13, 2018 - 9:21 am | Permalink


  46. Amy Kendall's Gravatar Amy Kendall
    March 13, 2018 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    Tough choice, today, but I went with Edith.

  47. PhilEsq's Gravatar PhilEsq
    March 13, 2018 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    Let us all be “pebbles” from which ripples spread across generations! Edith has gotten enough recognition; go Anna!

  48. March 13, 2018 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    Today’s was the first time I wavered in my choice ..These are both courageous and wise women…but I finally chose Anna….

  49. Alan Christensen's Gravatar Alan Christensen
    March 13, 2018 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    “Edith had plenty of capacity for her work, when she chose to exert herself.” I had at least one similar review as a student. I also love the quote on the memorial. My vote goes to Edith.

  50. Laura Clarke's Gravatar Laura Clarke
    March 13, 2018 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    Anna had me at ‘converted a bar into an altar’. I think she truly was a pebble in the pond of Civil Rights, without any goal but to improve the live of the Children of God who looked like her.

  51. Michael Shea's Gravatar Michael Shea
    March 13, 2018 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    I was torn, but martyrs do it for me.

  52. Walter Jaap's Gravatar Walter Jaap
    March 13, 2018 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    Tough-Tough-Tough. I was swayed by the memorial inscription:

    her most famous quote, “Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.”

    This is a model and inspiration for us

  53. March 13, 2018 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    As a retired nurse this WAS a really hard choice but, in the end I had to go with Anna because she overcame so much prejudice in helping educated people of color in a time it meant risking her safety. Again I say, a really hard choice today as both deserve a halo!

  54. Mary-Theresa Anderson's Gravatar Mary-Theresa Anderson
    March 13, 2018 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Anna’s work continues to bless.

  55. Melanie Mitchell's Gravatar Melanie Mitchell
    March 13, 2018 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    This was a hard choice, and I believe both women are deserving of advancement. But in the end, I voted for the daughter of slaves who rose to near total obscurity, despite her service and ministry, rather than the daughter of privilege who is already admired and celebrated for her good works.

  56. HIPPO's Gravatar HIPPO
    March 13, 2018 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    Anna Alexander is the best vote for her peoples.


    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 13, 2018 - 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Um…. okay.

  57. Emily's Gravatar Emily
    March 13, 2018 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    May we all do small things, greatly. Ann today, after much thought.

  58. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    March 13, 2018 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Two fine saints, two fine blogs, equals two too-hard choices. But as much as I like and relate to Edith, today I went with soft Anna, who truly raised the bar for worship spaces. Our college parish had a ’70’s slogan that went something like “Live music, no cover!” Cheers, ladies!

  59. Sara's Gravatar Sara
    March 13, 2018 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    This was a difficult choice, and I agree with the person who wanted both to advance. I voted for Edith because she continued to help all those wounded regardless of nationality even though she knew that this could be viewed as treason, and, in fact, she gave her life as a result of her commitment to this service.

  60. Patricia White's Gravatar Patricia White
    March 13, 2018 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Impossible choice. The saving grace is they are already saints.

  61. March 13, 2018 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    My late husband was a teacher and it has been said of him that his work with his students was like dropping a pebble in a pond–his impact was so great and the ripples spread so far. So, of course, I voted for Anna, although Edith is certainly deserving too.

  62. Karen Sculley's Gravatar Karen Sculley
    March 13, 2018 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    Yes, two fine saints and two fine blogs – thank you to each blogger for helping us appreciate the saints who have gone before us! I voted for Anna because a) she’s from Georgia, where I live, and b) she overcame despite the many prejudices she undoubtedly faced, and c) “Deaconess Alexander responded to all from a place of consistency, tough love, and enduring kindness, to soften the hardest hearts. Her love established something that the community recognizes it needs more than ever today: how do we love others, more than we love ourselves? How do we love others enough to not just fix things on the surface, but to strive for a change that makes the world a better place?”

  63. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    March 13, 2018 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    How can I possibly choose? This feels like the “Sophie’s Choice” of Lent Madness.
    I love Anna’s ‘Bar of Christ,’ and she educated/caused to be educated so many young people. Imagine the ripple in the pond she created with all the “…teachers, nurses and advocates…” she influenced! As someone who deeply values education, I thought this would be an easy choice.
    Then along came Edith, rising above her supposed mediocrity and eschewing the social norms of the time by pursuing a career in nursing…during war time, no less! What really got to me, though, was her belief: “Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.” She died for this belief!
    Oh, Supreme Executive Committee, why do you torture us with such impossible choices??? How can I even vote? Truly, a conundrum.

  64. March 13, 2018 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    Tough choice today!

  65. Helen Ryan's Gravatar Helen Ryan
    March 13, 2018 - 10:20 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised the vote isn’t much closer.

  66. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 13, 2018 - 10:35 am | Permalink

    “The beautiful holiness of mediocrity”? We mediocrities may strive to be holy, and some of us may succeed, but mediocrity itself is not a holy condition. Neither, for that matter, is excellence.

    Edith’s story of finding her calling and following it into the jaws of death is deeply moving and inspirational; but my vote must go to Deaconess Anna, who persisted in her calling, against great odds, for at least sixty years.

    That number, and much other information, comes from a piece about Anna posted on the Internet by the Diocese of Georgia. You can find it by searching on her name and dropping down past the first few entries, which notwithstanding your search terms will concern the actress Ana Alexander.

  67. March 13, 2018 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    I found both women to be remarkable. It was a difficult choice. I, too, am surprised the vote was not closer. I had heard of Edith before but not Anna. Since people already know something about her, I voted for Anna. May all the strong women have their stories told so that they can take their rightful places in history.

  68. Michael Shea's Gravatar Michael Shea
    March 13, 2018 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    I’m enjoying reading all the good comments. Tough choice. There aught to be a way to split your vote. But had to go with Edith because I’m a sucker for the stubborn Martyrs of the world. Like Bonhoeffer she stepped up for what was Right.

  69. Randy Marks's Gravatar Randy Marks
    March 13, 2018 - 10:44 am | Permalink

    My wonderful church near the US Capitol, St Mark’s Episcopal (, has had a pub for decades. It serves beer and wine after the 11:15 service and social events.

    • Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
      March 13, 2018 - 11:33 am | Permalink

      Maybe it has something to do with being near the U.S. Capitol. The parishioners need a drink after seeing what happens there.

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        March 13, 2018 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

        And there’s a pork and sausage shop at the other portal.

  70. March 13, 2018 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    In the end, I closed my eyes and picked. Otherwise, I could not have chosen.

  71. Dena Morris's Gravatar Dena Morris
    March 13, 2018 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    Giving one’s life IS the ultimate sacrifice & I’m going to continue to “research” both women, because I know that their lives will guide me. However, I’m voting for Anna. The PB mentioned in his video that “she realized that what she had received, she must give” and noted that “she dreamed things…that had not even been dreamed of , and asked ‘why not?'” Yes, this is just another person’s interpretation of someone else’s behavior, but it decided me . . .for today. These women are still BOTH my “finalists.”

  72. Ann of NH's Gravatar Ann of NH
    March 13, 2018 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    What a heart wrenching choice ! As many others I voted for both in the first round. Grabbing at straws to make a choice I added up that I’m a nurse, my parents severely restricted activities on Sunday, and hope that I would be strong enough to die for my love of Jesus……….my vote goes to Edith.

  73. eljay's Gravatar eljay
    March 13, 2018 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    Edith prevailed against all those who did not want her to do the work of God–to become a nurse, to care out of love to all people. Her selflessness was not sanctioned. As a nurse, I applaud her and hold her up as an inspiration and model.

  74. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 13, 2018 - 10:58 am | Permalink

    This match-up puts the “madness” in Lent Madness.
    I haven’t voted yet but am leaning toward Edith in honor of nurses everywhere. As a retired nurse I know how stressful the job is. Add the political climate of WWI Europe and…. Edith for me.

  75. Alice morrison's Gravatar Alice morrison
    March 13, 2018 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    Tough choice. All of these saints are amazing
    Makes me feel I should be doing something

  76. aleathia nicholson's Gravatar aleathia nicholson
    March 13, 2018 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    No problem at all choosing this morning. The Deacon(ess)-I still have trouble with that “-ess” as I am a Deacon! The issue today is choice and I voted for Anna who ministered in a Church that was S-L-O-W to welcome those of us “sable-hued” Episcopalians. That was not a problem with nor to her because she ministered in the name of Jesus Christ to those who knew and didn’t know Him as their personal savior. She was a true emissary of Christ as she equipped all those who would be lifted up even when they didn’t know they needed or wanted to so be….and in Georgia, of all places ! OK ! Just joshing ! Mea Culpa !

  77. Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
    March 13, 2018 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    I am sorry to have to choose between these two, but Edith both set aside national loyalties to treat enemy soldiers and gave her life for others’ freedom without fearing death. I hope that in such a situation I could make the choices she did. No contest.

  78. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 13, 2018 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    As a deacon, I feel I ought to vote for Anna. After reading about her life and watching the videos, I am compelled to vote for her. There was nothing occasional or reticient about Anna. Even though she wasn’t a martyr, she dedicated her life to serving others in all the ways that Jesus instructed us.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 13, 2018 - 11:34 am | Permalink

      I like the Celtic concept of the “green martyr,” the one who lives life daily striving to usher in the kingdom. “Martyr” is Greek for “witness”; there are many ways to witness. The early church identified martyrs as those who died for the faith. But perhaps our faithfulness is a type of martyrdom of self in favor of a higher selfhood.

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 13, 2018 - 11:39 am | Permalink

        I’m going to hang onto that thought.

      • Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
        March 13, 2018 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

        I really like that thought St. Celia.

  79. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 13, 2018 - 11:31 am | Permalink

    I’m afraid I’m going with the crowd because of Anna’s inspiring work in educating black children (and I will not apologize for using the term “black”; it’s a lot better than what they were probably called at the time). However, I’d like to know who the composers were for the masses and opera in memory of Cavell.

    • Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
      March 13, 2018 - 11:37 am | Permalink

      I was also attracted by the idea of turning a bar into an altar. Divine intoxication.

    • Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
      March 13, 2018 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

      I did my own homework:
      Eventide: In memoriam Edith Cavell – oratorio by Patrick Hawes
      The Cavell Mass, by David Mitchell
      Standing as I do before God – choral setting of her last reported words by Cecilia McDowall

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 13, 2018 - 1:20 pm | Permalink

        On YouTube, I hope!

        • Yet another margaret's Gravatar Yet another margaret
          March 13, 2018 - 1:51 pm | Permalink

          People are still searching for the third act of the opera, at least as reported on the first few entries on the search. According to the internet the opera was performed in 1927. Use the information with auction: the internet is not always reliable…

          • Yet another margaret's Gravatar Yet another margaret
            March 13, 2018 - 1:55 pm | Permalink

            Darned autocorrect….use the internet with caution!

          • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
            March 13, 2018 - 10:24 pm | Permalink

            Yes, couldn’t find that. But I really loved the Cecilia McDowell piece! Lovely!

  80. Marie-Luise Faber's Gravatar Marie-Luise Faber
    March 13, 2018 - 11:37 am | Permalink

    Two fearless women. Both very inspiring. I went with Anna for being American, doing her good work despite push-back from those in charge, and touching so many children!

  81. Ruth Anne's Gravatar Ruth Anne
    March 13, 2018 - 11:45 am | Permalink

    How very interesting that both saintly women were the epitome of God’s peace and justice. Both worked in her own way to heal and empower ‘all of God’s children’. Both recognized the importance of each and every one of God’s children and worked to help each student/patient become the person that God created them to be. Both women are so worthy that choosing was hard…I cast my vote for Anna but will delight in either saint advancing to the next level. Rock on, ladies!!!

  82. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 13, 2018 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    I had to read through the comments first, but finally decided who to vote for. Edith the nurse already has a martyr’s crown from 1915 courtesy of the Germans, so I’m voting for Anna the deaconess who had way less privilege and in her day did not receive the support of her diocese the way she should have because of the color of her skin and her gender.

    And altering a bar into an altar is pretty cool. Wine & bread took the place of whiskey & bourbon.

  83. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 13, 2018 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    While I admire Anna and all her good works, Edith really speaks to me. “The beautiful holiness of mediocrity.” I’m sure Anna will win today’s matchup and that’s super, but Edith was approachable, a regular person like me.

  84. Beth Owen's Gravatar Beth Owen
    March 13, 2018 - 11:57 am | Permalink

    Anna got my vote, but I liked that Edith maybe did “not live up to her potential” Seems like teachers said that about me.

  85. Carol Townsend's Gravatar Carol Townsend
    March 13, 2018 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

    As the daughter of an Episcopal priest, I *totally* get Edith’s “Do come and stay again soon, but not for a weekend. Father’s sermons are so long and dull.”

  86. Julie C. Watt Faqir's Gravatar Julie C. Watt Faqir
    March 13, 2018 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

    I chose Anna Alexander in my bracket and while it was a hard choice today, I stuck with her because as it says in the final paragraph, “Her love established something that the community recognizes it needs more than ever today: how do we love others, more than we love ourselves? How do we love others enough to not just fix things on the surface, but to strive for a change that makes the world a better place? Through this softness she made a place for her children, assured their future, established a place for women and African Americans in the Episcopal church and lived the words that Jesus charged to us when he said, “Love one another.”

  87. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    March 13, 2018 - 12:28 pm | Permalink

    A tough choice, but I chose Anna Alexander because I think we do not recognize enough of the holy men and women of African descent, with the exception of Martin Luther King and Bishop Tutu (who is not yet eligible!). And now that I think of it, we especially do not recognize the contributions of African-American women enough, especially those who came after Abolition.

    • Ann's Gravatar Ann
      March 13, 2018 - 3:47 pm | Permalink

      I agree! This is why I finally went w/ Anna. Tough choice and I do hope we see Edith Cavell again in LM.

  88. Judy Bye's Gravatar Judy Bye
    March 13, 2018 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Anna all the way. We had a mostly African-American mission that was partially funded by canon law of the diocese. The diocese de-funded. It was a struggle, but with grants and support from other churches it continued to feed three meals a day, do job training, keep the day school going, before school and after school programs, drive kids to school, fight for them, get them boots when it snowed, etc. Now they struggle, but have raised enough to pay half the salary for a part-time priest. Having lived in the south and worked for and with a number of African-American churches, I know the struggle. I can’t imagine the strength of Anna. She stayed focused on her community and the art of education and Christian formation. She was so wise to preserve her energy and not get distracted by the injustices. It’s amazing that she so impressed her bishop that he named her a deaconess. (No small miracle there). Oh. Ironically, the defunding bishop preached at Anna’s church. He’s a spectacular preacher. Don’t miss an opportunity to hear him in person–even if it’s a days drive, or more. He’s at his best in a pulpit and when he comes down right into the congregation. Tis a joyful experience. Treat yourself–he’s that good. Last thought. I remember all the innocent children and mothers that were lined up and shot or sent to the gas chambers, and the Nightingales of WWII who landed at Normandy–especially Dot Lewis. They also treated all the wounded.

  89. Hannell Thompson's Gravatar Hannell Thompson
    March 13, 2018 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

    This was the hardest! I finally went with Edith. It’s hard to live and treat your enemy equally.

  90. Yet another margaret's Gravatar Yet another margaret
    March 13, 2018 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Edith has my vote. The courage it must have taken to persist in spite of man’s evil is astounding to me.

  91. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 13, 2018 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I agree with everyone; this is a tough choice. In the end I think I will go for Anna because she did all that work and went unrecognized.

  92. March 13, 2018 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Anna serves as an example for all of us, striving every day to help others and to spread the Christian faith. Thank you Anna for reminding us that we all are called to share our gifts.

  93. Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
    March 13, 2018 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

    “Soft comes hard.” I need to remember this.

  94. LoisAnne's Gravatar LoisAnne
    March 13, 2018 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I wanted both of these women to win. Both did God’s work through their own life choices. Edith was killed on my birthday, Oct 12, so that gave her a little edge, but I live in Georgia and I know how important it is to instill love of learning to children who don’t always have opportunity, so I went with Anna.

  95. Mac Carey's Gravatar Mac Carey
    March 13, 2018 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure if “Edith, quite contrary to her desire only to be remembered as a nurse who did her duty, was recast as a national martyr” is quite accurate. Recently discovered information has revealed that she was in fact sending secret intelligence to the British and thus essentially acting as a spy. The MI5 wanted to suppress this information and also use Cavell’s death as a useful propaganda tool.

    I suppose how this plays into one’s view of her saintliness depends on one’s views of WWI.

  96. Kathy Rooney's Gravatar Kathy Rooney
    March 13, 2018 - 1:28 pm | Permalink

    A difficult choice, but I had to go with Anna. Have lived in both Georgia and Belgium, so I couldn’t use “Where have I lived? ” to make a connection. Why do you have to make it so difficult?

  97. Tommy's Gravatar Tommy
    March 13, 2018 - 2:24 pm | Permalink

    It was so hard to pick today. I thought about closing my eyes and hitting the screen. Both were remarkable women. I am blessed to have learned about their lives and wonderful works. In the end, I think I will vote for Edith.

  98. john w miller's Gravatar john w miller
    March 13, 2018 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

    We owe so much to african-Americans for our history of slavery and bigotry. Anna worked tirelessly in the face of adversity. She has my vote.

  99. Anne Buster's Gravatar Anne Buster
    March 13, 2018 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Anna got my vote but “the beautiful holiness of mediocrity”, in reference to Cavell, is the phrase that stuck with me. I’m going to go hunt for some holiness in my mediocrity.

  100. Carol from the North's Gravatar Carol from the North
    March 13, 2018 - 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I am a nurse, could I vote for anyone other than Edith? Anna comes close but Edith won my vote! Tough choice today.

  101. Denise Bell's Gravatar Denise Bell
    March 13, 2018 - 3:08 pm | Permalink

    A very difficult choice – both such amazing women who greatly enriched the lives around them. What tipped my hand was a simple and frivolous thing… that my mother chose to climb many times into the crawl space under their home to retrieve the cards that my grandfather had tossed through the unfinished floor to keep her from utilizing the devil’s playthings! Nevertheless, Edith, and my mother, persisted in their passion for cards!

  102. Nancy Costea's Gravatar Nancy Costea
    March 13, 2018 - 3:31 pm | Permalink

    This is a really tough matchup, and either one is worthy of the Golden Halo in my book! But as a practicing RN for almost 40 years, who also didn’t get glowing reviews as a student at times, today I must go with Edith.

  103. Donna Kerry's Gravatar Donna Kerry
    March 13, 2018 - 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Yes this is a very difficult choice. I too am one of those who just kind of skates through life with only mediocre effort. I really could do much better if I applied myself. I am however, very punctual. But when I read Anna’s story, I immediately thought of one of my favorite fellowship activities “Beer and Hymns”. Anna gets my vote.

  104. Marjorie menaul's Gravatar Marjorie menaul
    March 13, 2018 - 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Since I admire both, I followed my habit in such situations by checking vote totals and voting for the one with the lower total. Either would be a good example for us, but I want the vote to be close.

  105. Kathy M's Gravatar Kathy M
    March 13, 2018 - 4:01 pm | Permalink

    In today’s political climate, Edith’s quote, “Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness toward anyone”, was the tipping point for me. She got my vote!

  106. Pam Payne's Gravatar Pam Payne
    March 13, 2018 - 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Tough choices today! I agree, Golden Halo for both women would be most appropriate. As a nurse and a nursing instructor, I had a hard time to decide between the nurse and the teacher. In the end I went with Edith, but am blessed by now knowing about Anna as well. I will strive to follow in both their footsteps.

  107. Marilyn Johnson's Gravatar Marilyn Johnson
    March 13, 2018 - 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Tough choice today. I’m still pondering my vote.

  108. March 13, 2018 - 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Anna Alexander was virtually unknown to me before this edition of Lent Madness, while as the result of many visits to the UK I knew the story of Edith Cavell fairly well. It took me a while to agree with the “recasting” of her as a “national martyr” in the ’20s partly because it sounds as though Edith was being co-opted into a form of civil religion rather than being recognized as a saint in Christian terms. I view her differently today. However, my dawning recognition of the role of African-American in all aspects of American life–the nearly invisible brought into our vision by a certain softening of our hearts–makes the example of Anna one I can strive to follow wholeheartedly, so she received my vote.

  109. Anita's Gravatar Anita
    March 13, 2018 - 4:58 pm | Permalink

    As a nurse I support the nurse and the call to care

  110. Victoria Bennett's Gravatar Victoria Bennett
    March 13, 2018 - 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Edith’s unwillingness to be bitter is even more admirable when you know the full extent of what happened to her, which hasn’t been mentioned. Britain thought they would go in and win WWI rapidly and be home by Christmas. By the time Edith was tried, the Brits were weary of the war, the Americans weren’t involved yet, and the end was nowhere in sight.
    The Americans and the Spaniards made desperate efforts to save her life; the Brits did not. I am English, BTW. From what I’ve read, it seems Edith was a pawn, at least to an extent, in rallying public opinion in support of the war – a young woman martyred for God and Country. Had she been spared, the support of the war might not have sustained the effort until the Americans joined in.
    A terrible thought, but Edith may well have saved many, many more lives than anyone will ever know.

    • Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
      March 13, 2018 - 6:14 pm | Permalink

      I’ve read that, too. But I can’t agree with you that Edith’s death being used to gain more support for the war saved lives. If the war had ended in 1915 or 1916, far fewer people would have died.

  111. Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
    March 13, 2018 - 6:17 pm | Permalink

    “Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.”

    Edith’s quote is striking a cord with me today. In my mind, respect for humanity should outrank everything. It doesn’t matter the source of a disrespect, my personal responsibility is respect.

  112. Zazzsu's Gravatar Zazzsu
    March 13, 2018 - 6:30 pm | Permalink

    As a teacher and as a Georgian, I had to vote for Anna. I loved both choices in the earlier round, but Anna is the one I find myself gravitating to here. Her work built more than just educated people, it built a legacy of caring which is long lasting.

  113. Gloria Ishida's Gravatar Gloria Ishida
    March 13, 2018 - 7:52 pm | Permalink

    I decided on anna. What a difficult choice. Both are saints in my book. I’d like to vote for both! Not possible and a no vote doesn’t count.

  114. Elizabeth (12 years old)'s Gravatar Elizabeth (12 years old)
    March 13, 2018 - 8:09 pm | Permalink

    I chose Edith because she had a relatable child life.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 13, 2018 - 10:28 pm | Permalink

      Well, that is good thinking, Elizabeth!

  115. Deborah Hays's Gravatar Deborah Hays
    March 13, 2018 - 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Had me a bar.

  116. Kate b's Gravatar Kate b
    March 14, 2018 - 12:48 am | Permalink

    Both these biographies were so beautifully written! Really made both of these remarkable women come alive for me. Wish I could vote for both.

  117. March 14, 2018 - 2:12 am | Permalink

    The apparently somewhat controversial quote about Edith having “plenty of capacity for her work, when she chose to exert herself,” actually helped me to identify with her. I do admire Edith, but Anna is the clear choice here, and she got my vote.

  118. James's Gravatar James
    March 14, 2018 - 2:41 am | Permalink

    “… the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” Tertullian

    We sometimes forget that Christianity was built on the blood of martyrs because it happened in such a remote past. Edith has my vote.

  119. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 14, 2018 - 7:59 am | Permalink

    Anna gets my vote, partly because of her father’s maxim, “Soft overcomes hard.” That is a difficult maxim to live by, but I have seen it prevailing in so many situations.

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