For the Golden Halo: Maria Skobtsova vs. Anna Alexander

2017 Golden Halo winner Florence Nightingale prepares to anoint the 2018 winner.

It’s hard to believe Lent Madness 2018 is coming to an end. We started this Lenten journey five weeks ago on “Ash Thursday” and it will conclude tomorrow as the Golden Halo is announced at 8:00 am Eastern Time on Maundy Thursday. We began with 32 saintly souls and, with your help, we have whittled down the field to just two: Maria Skobtsova and Anna Alexander.

Along the way we’ve met some truly remarkable holy women and men. Perhaps you learned about some folks you’d never heard of or maybe you renewed acquaintances with saints who have long offered inspiration. Of course the entire notion of placing saints in a bracket is absurd — each “contestant” has already earned a crown of righteousness in addition to a “golden halo.” But at the heart of Lent Madness is the abiding conviction that Lent need not be gloomy or depressing. After all, what could be more joyful than a season specifically devoted to being drawn into deeper relationship with the risen Christ?

In the process of this whimsical Lenten devotion we have made some new online friends, encountered a community of believers who take their faith but not themselves too seriously, learned some things, were inspired by saintly witnesses, and had a lot fun along the way.

We literally couldn’t have done this without our “Celebrity Bloggers” to whom we offer sincere gratitude. Amber Belldene, Laurie Brock, Megan Castellan, Anna Fitch Courie, David Creech, Neva Rae Fox, Marcus Halley, David Hansen, Carol Howard Merritt, Emily McFarlan Miller, and David Sibley — you guys rock! Thanks also to Bracket Czar Adam Thomas and Celebrity Chef Maria Ross.

We’re also grateful to the entire team at Forward Movement, especially Lexi Caoili, Alyssa Finke, Theo Lambert, Jason Merritt, and Richelle Thompson.

Finally, thanks to all who have participated in this devotional journey. We’ve loved having each one of you along for the “madness” and on behalf of the Supreme Executive Committee we wish you a blessed Holy Week and a joyous Easter.

To make it to the Championship Round, Maria made it past Thomas à Kempis, Quiteria, Martin de Porres, and Esther. Anna defeated Peter Claver, Edith Cavell, Eglantyne Jebb, and Richard Hooker. (Click on the names of the vanquished saints to refresh you memory about what has been previously written about these saintly souls).

Everything you need to know about Maria and Anna has already been written. For this final round we simply ask our two remaining Celebrity Bloggers (Megan Castellan for Maria and Anna Fitch Courie for Anna) to supply a single image of their saint and their favorite quote either by or about their saint.

Maria Skobtsova

Christ, who approached prostitutes and tax collectors, and sinners, can hardly be the teacher of those who are afraid to soil their garments, who are completely devoted to the letter, who live only by the rules, and who govern their whole life according to the rules. — Maria Skobtsova

Anna Alexander

In a calling of sixty years or more, her indomitable spirit and fierce devotion to God still illuminates our understanding of ministry. — Bishop C.K. Nelson, Bishop of Georgia.

Let’s award the 2018 Golden Halo!

Maria Skobtsova vs. Anna Alexander

  • Anna Alexander (62%, 4,676 Votes)
  • Maria Skobtsova (38%, 2,903 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,579

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199 Comments to "For the Golden Halo: Maria Skobtsova vs. Anna Alexander"

  1. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 28, 2018 - 8:02 am | Permalink

    #GoAnna for me (and #GoHarriet)

    • Jan Louttit's Gravatar Jan Louttit
      March 28, 2018 - 8:46 am | Permalink

      #GoAnna for me (and #GoHarriet)
      Agree & Thank you for your insight !
      From South Florida & Geargia

      • Ann's Gravatar Ann
        March 28, 2018 - 9:38 am | Permalink

        thanks! good to hear from you, again~ Have a blessed Tridium and Happy Easter.

    • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
      March 28, 2018 - 10:44 am | Permalink

      I’m so excited!! I had both Maria AND Anna going to the championship!! Picked Anna to win ! It’s bee fun y’all ❤️

  2. Oliver--Ten Years Old's Gravatar Oliver--Ten Years Old
    March 28, 2018 - 8:02 am | Permalink

    This time it was tight. I voted for Maria because sacrificed herself and her kid for what she believed.

    • Sister Mary Winifred's Gravatar Sister Mary Winifred
      March 28, 2018 - 8:13 am | Permalink

      No – she did not “sacrifice her kid” . . .he was an adult and chose his own path.

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 28, 2018 - 8:19 am | Permalink

        Thank You! I wish this stuff about he children would STOP. But then, I guess it will stop today.
        Thank wonderful smile got me.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 28, 2018 - 8:54 am | Permalink

      Oliver, I am so glad to see you back! I’ve missed you!

    • Ann B's Gravatar Ann B
      March 28, 2018 - 10:20 am | Permalink

      I’m with you Oliver. There is a saying, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Obviously, there was enough evidence to convict Maria. Through her life she wrestled with her faith which made it and her stronger, while remaining a down to earth person. And by seeing his mother’s actions her son followed in her footsteps of his own freewill. Saints not only live a holy life of action, but inspire others to do the same.

      • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
        March 28, 2018 - 11:40 am | Permalink

        Ann, thank you for reminding me of that saying, which has been important to me my whole life long. I had to vote for Maria, remembering all I know about WWII, which I remember very well, and those Holocaust survivors, some of whom are still alive today.

    • Miss Jennifer's Gravatar Miss Jennifer
      March 28, 2018 - 11:18 am | Permalink

      I agree with you Oliver that she was such an inspiration that her own son followed her to martyrdom. She has been my favorite saint I learned about this year. Best wishes to you and your family and I hope to see you here next Lent!

  3. Claudia's Gravatar Claudia
    March 28, 2018 - 8:04 am | Permalink

    This is such a tough call. However, as a native of Georgia I’m going with Anna, our home-grown saint.

    • Jean Middleton's Gravatar Jean Middleton
      March 28, 2018 - 8:15 am | Permalink

      Agreed. That’s why/how I voted.

  4. Laura Campbell's Gravatar Laura Campbell
    March 28, 2018 - 8:06 am | Permalink

    Anna gave her whole life, one day at a time, to set her students on the road to a better life. She loved her God with all her heart, and her neighbors as herself. Go Anna!

  5. Carolyn D. Mack's Gravatar Carolyn D. Mack
    March 28, 2018 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    Go, Anna Alexander! Plus, second year in a row a woman is going to win the Halo! Maybe those church fathers and lawyers who questioned whether women have souls are finally being proven wrong once and for all.

  6. Leanna's Gravatar Leanna
    March 28, 2018 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    I look at the barefoot children in the photo of Anna Alexander above and see how she was a living martyr who offered her whole life day by day being the hands and feet of Jesus in her poor rural community. In the words of a short film on her life, she depopulated Pennick one car load at a time taking her students to lives they could not have imagined as she secured scholarships at historically black colleges and universities for children with no opportunity otherwise. Maria is amazing, but Anna’s call as a black woman starting a church and school against all odds speaks to me. I am standing with Anna for the children. Linnea Burke, Asheville, NC

    You should watch the film at

    • Venitra DeGraffenreid's Gravatar Venitra DeGraffenreid
      March 28, 2018 - 9:41 am | Permalink

      What a lovely expression of Anna and her mission! Thank you!

    • Elaine Chilcote's Gravatar Elaine Chilcote
      March 28, 2018 - 10:28 am | Permalink

      Leanna, you have expressed my reasons exactly for voting for Anna. The photo of her with those children touched my heart.

      • Beverly A Duncan's Gravatar Beverly A Duncan
        March 28, 2018 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

        I thought that I would have to toss a coin to decide my vote – then I saw the picture of Anna and the children and knew that she would get my vote.
        Couldn’t we have a Second Place silver halo???

    • Linda Sylvester's Gravatar Linda Sylvester
      March 28, 2018 - 10:56 am | Permalink

      Ok, your comments Leanna have softened the blow of Maria’s loss for me.

    • Mollie Douglas Turner+'s Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner+
      March 28, 2018 - 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Linnea, thanks for posting the video! I vote for Anna today as one who lived in Georgia for more than 30 years and as an awed admirer of all that Anna accomplished by force of will and the grace of God.

      Maria also deserves admiration—gold and silver haloes well earned!

    • Deirdre McElroy's Gravatar Deirdre McElroy
      March 28, 2018 - 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for the short film.

    • Rosemary Tseng's Gravatar Rosemary Tseng
      March 29, 2018 - 12:25 am | Permalink

      Thank you for the link. I enjoyed learning more about Anna Alexander and her ministry. I pray that she officially achieves sainthood at the next national convention!!

    • Zora Yvonne Nobles's Gravatar Zora Yvonne Nobles
      March 29, 2018 - 12:30 pm | Permalink


  7. Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
    March 28, 2018 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    In honor of my Jewish friends and teachers of the Holocaust class at Ferrum College, on the eve of Passover, I vote for Maria Skobtsova, but this was a hard choice, with two admirable people in the last round.

  8. Elaine's Gravatar Elaine
    March 28, 2018 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    They both gave their whole lives for for others and their belief in God, but it’s hard to beat a martyr

  9. Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
    March 28, 2018 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Anna, who did it for the least of these.

  10. Nancy Strong's Gravatar Nancy Strong
    March 28, 2018 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Both more than worthy of the Golden Halo, and already both are adorned with the Crown of Life!

    Hard, hard, hard to choose between Anna and Maria…flipping a coin, it’s Maria for me.The feisty Russian nun captured my imagination from the first encounter.

    Hats off — or should I say “crowns cast”? — to those who selected this Lent’s roster for the “Madness”! Many days, we were faced with choices that required a lot of thought and consideration — very few were easy decisions for me once past the first round. So, I appreciate the work of selection and discernment, as well as the celebrity bloggers’

    Many blessings and thanksgivings for all…what a joy to be surrounded, challenged and encouraged by so great a cloud of witnesses,
    who in life and death strove to be faithful in following Jesus.

    • Nancy Costea's Gravatar Nancy Costea
      March 28, 2018 - 8:56 am | Permalink

      Amen to that!

    • Verdery D. Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery D. Kassebaum
      March 28, 2018 - 10:02 am | Permalink

      Well put! Many thanks to all of you folks at Lent Madness.

  11. Mary Katherine's Gravatar Mary Katherine
    March 28, 2018 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    Toughest choice EVER!

  12. John the other Verger's Gravatar John the other Verger
    March 28, 2018 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Gotta go with Anna. It was hard voting for my overall guy Richard Hooker in the matchup with Anna.

  13. Debbie Northern's Gravatar Debbie Northern
    March 28, 2018 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Sorry to see it end, but this bracket went better than my other brackets! Tough choice between two great women whom I did not know about before Lent Madness. I went with Anna because coming from the segregated South and having worked at a Historically Black Episcopal College, I have seen how important education is for enabling people to reach their dreams and change the world.

  14. Maria Jackson's Gravatar Maria Jackson
    March 28, 2018 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Anyone brave enough to take on Hitler has my vote

    • char's Gravatar char
      March 28, 2018 - 9:10 am | Permalink

      I agree!

  15. Deirdre kraft's Gravatar Deirdre kraft
    March 28, 2018 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    I want a tee shirt celebrating lent madness please. I enjoyed learning about these wonderful people and am looking forward to next year. The smile got my vote. But you could vote for either and have a winner for God.

    • Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
      March 28, 2018 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      Would love a Lent Madness T-shirt.

      • Susan's Gravatar Susan
        March 28, 2018 - 8:50 am | Permalink

        Me, too!

        • Pat Smith-Huntoon's Gravatar Pat Smith-Huntoon
          March 28, 2018 - 10:02 am | Permalink

          Me three!

          • Mariana Bauman's Gravatar Mariana Bauman
            March 28, 2018 - 10:57 am | Permalink

            Yes Please! In deep purple!

      • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
        March 28, 2018 - 11:19 am | Permalink

        It could have the logo & year on the front and that year’s completed bracket on the back.

    • Verdery D. Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery D. Kassebaum
      March 28, 2018 - 10:04 am | Permalink

      Same here. Didn’t there used to be T-shirts in the Lentorium?

    • Laura N's Gravatar Laura N
      March 28, 2018 - 11:43 am | Permalink

      Yes! Yes! Yes!

      • andrea's Gravatar andrea
        March 29, 2018 - 12:37 am | Permalink


  16. Brixham Beth's Gravatar Brixham Beth
    March 28, 2018 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Both of them are lovely and very loving, being English, with relations who were involved in the Second World War and a mother who was in Austria and Chekoslovakia during the war I voted for Maria, and I love her smile and her feisty way with the church authorities.

  17. Lisa's Gravatar Lisa
    March 28, 2018 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Well said, Nancy, although my vote was cast for Anna. May each of us strive to live as all these amazing people did. Easter Blessings to everyone!

  18. John Colón's Gravatar John Colón
    March 28, 2018 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Thank you. It’s been quite a Lent Madness and I have learned new things. “I sing a song of the saints of God!”

    • Frank Logue's Gravatar Frank Logue
      March 28, 2018 - 9:09 am | Permalink

      John, here are 4th graders at Episcopal Day School in Augusta, Georgia singing, “I Sing a Song of the Saints of Lent:”

      • Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
        March 28, 2018 - 9:28 am | Permalink

        what a great video!

      • Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
        March 28, 2018 - 10:00 am | Permalink

        Love it!

      • Lorna's Gravatar Lorna
        March 28, 2018 - 5:29 pm | Permalink

        What an awesome video! Thank you kids

        • andrea's Gravatar andrea
          March 29, 2018 - 12:36 am | Permalink

          Thanks for the wonderful video!

      • Rosemary Tseng's Gravatar Rosemary Tseng
        March 29, 2018 - 12:26 am | Permalink

        Hahaha…Loved that!!!!

  19. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    March 28, 2018 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    Anna for me today. It was almost an “eenie, meenie” decision as these were two amazing women. But my heart just said “Anna”. I love the picture with her and the children. This is how I have pictured her from the first day I was introduced to Anna.

    Thank you all for a wonderful Lent. Thanks to Tim and Scott for organizing Lent Madness, thanks to the celebrity bloggers, and thank you to all of you who have commented every day. Since I started participating in Lent Madness a few years ago, I have looked forward to it every Lent and I have been inspired to learn more about the saints (I hadn’t given them much thought before).

    See you next Lent!

  20. Leamarie's Gravatar Leamarie
    March 28, 2018 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    Both women gave so much of themselves for others. Today I will go with Anna, whose particular way of fierce giving informs us that all children are worth educating and inspiring to be all they can be. As a retired teacher in Georgia, I will go with Anna, though both women are very inspirational. Thank you Lent bloggers for your marvelous write ups of these saints, many of whom I knew nothing about pre Lent.

  21. Patricia White's Gravatar Patricia White
    March 28, 2018 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    I voted for selfless Anna who shepherded generations of young people towards successful futures. And we see many continue to rise up and call her blessed. May we all see a need and fill it in honor of Deaconness Anna.

  22. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 28, 2018 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    Both are worthy, but voted for Anna, as we did for several rounds. Go Anna!

  23. Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
    March 28, 2018 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    I still cannot believe that we had the upset of Esther over Peter. I thought for sure that the Rock of the Church was going to win.

    • Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
      March 28, 2018 - 8:38 am | Permalink

      Me, too!

    • Venitra DeGraffenreid's Gravatar Venitra DeGraffenreid
      March 28, 2018 - 9:44 am | Permalink

      Me too!

      • Chris Wrampelmeier's Gravatar Chris Wrampelmeier
        March 28, 2018 - 10:10 am | Permalink

        It’s madness.

    • Linda LeBreux's Gravatar Linda LeBreux
      March 28, 2018 - 10:39 am | Permalink

      I thought Peter would go to the top, too!! But very pleased with the choices we have today – both inspiring! Thank you for this wonderful way to start my day throughout Lent!

    • Judith Peterson's Gravatar Judith Peterson
      March 28, 2018 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

      And President Obama and I thought Michigan State Spartans were going to take March Madness, too.

  24. Joy's Gravatar Joy
    March 28, 2018 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    Thank you!

  25. Dr Art Torpy's Gravatar Dr Art Torpy
    March 28, 2018 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    Still think Richard Hooker had a greater positive influence, but went Anna’s practical implementation of the Imago Dei in her vocation.

  26. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 28, 2018 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    As a resident of Georgia, I’m a proud member of Team Anna!

    No matter how you vote, I hope you’ll take time to go to

    to see a fascinating video about how Anna’s father learned to read in spite of great personal risk.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 28, 2018 - 9:06 am | Permalink

      Fascinating! Thanks, Ann! There was a link to an old recording of Anna singing a couple of hymns on the same page that thrilled me. I don’t know if anyone has shared it, but here it is:

    • Marie Cantrell's Gravatar Marie Cantrell
      March 28, 2018 - 9:33 am | Permalink

      I am glad to have seen both videos. Together they tell a wonderful story and I am glad to be introduced to both anna and her father. Also worthy is the plantation owner’s wife who taught Anna’s father to read and who put into writing her belief that unjust laws were made to be broken.

  27. Patrice Rohde's Gravatar Patrice Rohde
    March 28, 2018 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    What a great final round! I feel deep gratitude today for the opportunity to get to know the stories of these two brave, selfless women, as well as all the other inspirational individuals from all times in history and all walks of life, who have “competed” in this year’s bracket. Thank you bloggers and commentators; thank you Forward Movement; and thank you Scott and Tim for giving us reasons to take our faith, but not ourselves, seriously.

  28. Sarah's Gravatar Sarah
    March 28, 2018 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    It was a coin toss for me. Anna, because of her love of God through children. I DO stand convicted today by Maria’s statement concerning our “all about the rules” attitudes. However, I think there is much to learn from her stellar example. An interesting Lenten journey…

  29. Donice Gilliland's Gravatar Donice Gilliland
    March 28, 2018 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    Toughest vote in all of Lent Madness! I voted for Maria because I had chosen her early on to go all the way and it’s the first Lent Madness I ever came this close in my choices. But Anna is such a worthy candidate in every way possible. This is truly a case deserving of a two winners – a double halo! What a great mug that would make – Anna on one side and Maria on the other!

    • Amy Clayton's Gravatar Amy Clayton
      March 28, 2018 - 8:58 am | Permalink

      That would be awesome to have a tie! i usually vote before reading comments but the comments have made the choice even more difficult.

  30. June's Gravatar June
    March 28, 2018 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Both ladies are more than worthy and this was a really tough one. However, Maria got my vote, as I can’t resist a Nazi-defying nun.

    • Melissa Campbell-Langdell's Gravatar Melissa Campbell-Langdell
      March 28, 2018 - 10:50 am | Permalink

      Me too!

  31. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 28, 2018 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    If I may, I’d like to share a story.

    In Cortona, Italy, where I’ve been for the last two weeks, I’ve met a Jewish couple who are going to buy a house here and with time may become good friends. The wife was born in New Zealand, where her parents found refuge after leaving Czechoslovakia in the nick of time. The husband’s parents weren’t so fortunate: on July 16, 1942, they and their family were rounded up in Paris and taken to that infamous Vélodrome d’Iver where, one hopes, they may have benefited from the ministry of Maria Skobtsova before being shipped to oblivion in the camps.

    At the last minute my new friend’s mother managed to hand him to a fireman, who passed him on to a priest, who had him smuggled to America via the Jewish underground. He thinks he was maybe nine months old at the time. He was adopted by a loving family in Queens and became, like his wife, a brilliant academic. He never saw his parents again, and I don’t know what more he knows beyond the fact that they never returned.

    As you can imagine, hearing this story on Monday made it, if possible, even more deeply moving than it might otherwise have been; and I cast my vote for Maria in special honor of the man’s family and those who perished with them. Today, however, I’m going for Deaconess Anna. Before now I was ignorant of both of these holy women; but my ignorance of Anna, a saint of my own tradition, merits a special kind of individual and collective penitence as Lent draws to a close and the Madness subsides.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 28, 2018 - 9:08 am | Permalink

      Wow, what a story!

    • Linda Sylvester's Gravatar Linda Sylvester
      March 28, 2018 - 11:02 am | Permalink

      At risk of sounding trite: thanks for sharing this.

    • Belle's Gravatar Belle
      March 28, 2018 - 11:02 am | Permalink

      Thank you for sharing that amazing story. Either one of these women will make a fitting recipient of the Golden Halo.

    • Megan L Castellan's Gravatar Megan L Castellan
      March 28, 2018 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Oh my goodness. This story is amazing. We know that Maria and her chaplain, Fr Dimitri, smuggled numerous children out of the Velodrome in trash cans, because they were small enough to be hidden.

      I’m going to choose to believe you’ve befriended someone Maria and Dimitri saved.

      • Frank Logue's Gravatar Frank Logue
        March 28, 2018 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

        Every reason to believe that this was yet another life saved by the amazing Maria Skobtsova.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 28, 2018 - 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Arrivederci. Until next Lent. Be well, be happy. Thank you for being you.

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 29, 2018 - 5:19 am | Permalink

        E viceversa.

  32. Gary Lubin's Gravatar Gary Lubin
    March 28, 2018 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    Difficult. I am hoping for a tie so they both win. Silly me. But what a sign that would be!?!? So I cast my vote for the current underdog.

  33. Anita's Gravatar Anita
    March 28, 2018 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    This has been a great Lent Madness ride and I so enjoyed learning about all of the Saintly Souls I learned about on this journey. Thank you to all who inspire us during Lent 2018 and look forward to next year. I pray my pick is the Golden Halo as my pick last year’s Golden Halo Florence Nightingale the leader of Nursing (my profession). May all have a Blessed Holy Week and Blessings for Easter. Again thank you.

  34. Anita's Gravatar Anita
    March 28, 2018 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    I am also with others about the Lent Madness T-Shirt

  35. Paige Corologos's Gravatar Paige Corologos
    March 28, 2018 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    I vote for Anna as I admire the meek and those working hard for very little. Maria was impressive and impetuous. That is not a bad thing in her circumstances, but the but the continuous and small ways that Anna worked impressed me: taking on sewing to build a church and school!

  36. Catherine W Huber's Gravatar Catherine W Huber
    March 28, 2018 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Very difficult choice. For me today it comes down to the expression on Anna’s face as she regards those children in the photograph – beaming Faith, Hope and Love – our original 3-legged stool.

  37. CB Loftin's Gravatar CB Loftin
    March 28, 2018 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    This years LM presented the hardest choices ever!

  38. Michelle Hellner's Gravatar Michelle Hellner
    March 28, 2018 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    “The liturgy must be translated into life,” my favorite quote from Maria, a true martyr who helped those being persecuted by the Nazis despite the threat of death.

  39. CherylK's Gravatar CherylK
    March 28, 2018 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    I was worried about this year’s Lent Madness when I saw Peter and Paul in the brackets – how would anyone emerge from the shadows of giants? So I was afraid this was going to be a very boring year, watching one or the other of the P’s roll over the rest. Thank goodness that is not what happened. Here we are with two women whose stories have things to teach us in the current time. One quietly did the work that needed to be done, the other did the work that needed to be done, but with a lot of sass. Right now, I had to go with sass over quiet – so go Maria! But they have both been winners in my bracket, so I don’t think your vote can go wrong.

  40. Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
    March 28, 2018 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    As a priest up to my eyeballs in preparation for our glorious but yes exhausting 4-day liturgical marathon, the rebel in me is tipped toward Maria in this very close final matchup, for her wise and brave homage to the spirit rather than the letter of the law — following the example of Jesus.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 28, 2018 - 9:30 am | Permalink

      Happy sermonizing, Lisa. Hopefully there’s a mimosa for you come Sunday brunch!

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        March 28, 2018 - 6:04 pm | Permalink

        Until next year, Sweet Lee of Georgia. I wish you a champagne cocktail a day until next Lent. That should last you. I will miss you.

  41. Susan C's Gravatar Susan C
    March 28, 2018 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Maria Skobtsova, because she not only lived and worked for the poor and persecuted, she was willing to die for it. Both women walked the walk of Christ. Maria said “The liturgy must be translated into life. Maria was killed on Holy Saturday, and I will take a moment this Saturday to honor her life and death as I watch the Final Four of March Madness.

  42. March 28, 2018 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    Two amazing insightful women and I must choose one. Anna finally grabbed me though I expect she and Maria are together in Christ.

  43. Mary-Theresa Anderson's Gravatar Mary-Theresa Anderson
    March 28, 2018 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    Both so deserving, but Anna gets my vote. Thank you Anna for the work you did.

  44. Betsy in Reston's Gravatar Betsy in Reston
    March 28, 2018 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    Wow, just…wow. I would be happy with either golden halo recipient and I hope a silver halo will be awarded (with the appropriate beverage container in the Lentorium of course!).
    But looking into Maria’s kind eyes, and thinking about the Russian Jews that she saved—and my husband’s Russian Jewish heritage—I had to vote for her.
    Thank you for an especially inspiring Lent Madness this year, I actually look forward to Lent each year now, and have learned so much.
    And now on to the Triduum and Calvary…

  45. March 28, 2018 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Thank you all for offering this service. I learn from it. It enriches my Lenten experience, provides rich topics for meditation and prayer, and is fun.

  46. Lee W.'s Gravatar Lee W.
    March 28, 2018 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    This was so hard! As a southerner, my heart is with Anna whose dedication and service impacted so many lives and offered hope in the midst of devastating poverty. However, my vote went to Maria, whose fearless living of the Gospel made her a martyr. Thanks for a wonderful Lent Madness this year, and for introducing me to more members of that blessed Communion of Saints!

  47. Toni Ponzo's Gravatar Toni Ponzo
    March 28, 2018 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    Very tough choice! Both amazing and admirable women. Each courageous for her faith in her time and place. For me it came down to Anna. Sometimes being willing to live for what you believe is harder than being willing to die.

  48. March 28, 2018 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    Thank you, celebrity bloggers, for all your research and information about our many saints. I had never heard of Maria Skobtsova and I am so glad to have made her acquaintance. However, I voted for Deaconess Anna Alexander because she truly persisted in an environment, both culturally in Georgia and in the church of her day, that didn’t always welcome what she had to offer. Her efforts to educate the black population of Pennick truly paid off. Thanks be to God for such an amazing woman.

  49. March 28, 2018 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Go Anna! And I think that we SHOULD have a t-shirt with all the wonderful art of each saint in small vignettes! And the winner on the front with LENT 2018!

  50. Joanne B. Parrott's Gravatar Joanne B. Parrott
    March 28, 2018 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    I was a rebellious baptist growing up, but I found my religion
    w/the Episcopalians! I lived in Alexander Hall in college,
    But that’s probably not who it was named for, nevertheless it’s
    Anna Alexander for the Halo,
    But I think we need coffee mugs for both Anna & Maria, the smiling nun.

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 28, 2018 - 11:30 am | Permalink

      A beer stein ala Saint Brigid’s from a few year’s back might be more appropriate, at least for smiling nuns who drink beer at the sidewalk tables of Parisian cafes. 😉

  51. sue's Gravatar sue
    March 28, 2018 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    Wow, this was a tough one. Both women are such fine examples of Christian servanthood. I’m going to go with Maria. I read more about both women online, and I would love to make it a tie and give two golden halos. However, in reading about Maria’s life, I can see the remarkable work of the spirit that turned her completely from earlier ways of thinking, in which she espoused atheism, to equally passionate dedication to Christ’s work. The constant in her life was passion, through her poetry and political work – and her spiritual evolution brought her to use every ounce of her passion in service to our Lord. Her life journey is truly a remarkable witness to the power of Word and Spirit.

  52. Jessica Pitzel Anderson's Gravatar Jessica Pitzel Anderson
    March 28, 2018 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    I love that Anna was the first African-American Deaconess of the Episcopal Church. She paved the way for ALL women in the church during a time when female suffrage was still very much being debated. Mad respect for Maria as well but I am voting for Anna. GREAT matchup for the Golden Halo!

  53. Kathleen Connell's Gravatar Kathleen Connell
    March 28, 2018 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    Heading into today, I thought I was going to vote for Maria, her witness touched me deeply. However, when I saw the photo of Anna and her little ones, my heart screamed, “Black Lives Matter.” In light of yet another murder of an unarmed black man in Sacramento, I realized that Anna was a witness to how long our African American brothers and sisters have been fighting to have their dignity as sons and daughters of God recognized. Go Anna!

  54. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 28, 2018 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    Wow, what a choice. Both fought the systemic evil of their time and both can guide us in fighting the systemic evil of our time. My vote goes to Maria because of the words today about not getting stuck on rules.

  55. Timothy J. Mannion's Gravatar Timothy J. Mannion
    March 28, 2018 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    What an agonizing decision. But in the end, it comes down to Deaconess Anna for me. Her lagacy is unmatched. She is the saint we need for today.

    Thanks for a splendid season of Lent Madness 2018. I’ve enjoyed this year more than any other year.

    See you all in 2019!

  56. Wendy's Gravatar Wendy
    March 28, 2018 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    Tough choice. They were both such wonderful women. I will be happy with either of these blessed saints on a mug!

  57. Verdery D. Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery D. Kassebaum
    March 28, 2018 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    If we can’t have a tie with two folks on the mug, please have a runner-up mug/glass/soup bowl.

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      March 28, 2018 - 10:55 am | Permalink

      Yes, it’s definitely a Silver Halo-worthy year. And SEC, let’s please have the remaining three of the Faithful Four in future brackets.

  58. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    March 28, 2018 - 10:13 am | Permalink

    I am flipping a coin; and the winner is… ANNA

  59. Fran's Gravatar Fran
    March 28, 2018 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    Literally could not decide…used the flip of a coin. Good luck to both ladies!

  60. R. Reimer's Gravatar R. Reimer
    March 28, 2018 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    As one who does not govern her whole life according to the rules, I have to vote for Maria who went to her death as a result of her work and advocacy for the marginalized. Her defiance and strength in the face of authority makes me think of so many thousands marching in the streets now for justice and change, and of those who are risking their careers and reputations to speak out against injustice. As has been said often – prayers are not enough – we need a ‘saint’ and an example of action for today’s world. Maria is that person.

    Anna worked bravely and tirelessly in her corner of the world but for me Maria’s life and work reflects a deeper understanding of what is needed to be Christ’s hands and feet in our increasingly chaotic and unjust times. Would that one had a fraction of her spirit and zest for life!

  61. rm gens's Gravatar rm gens
    March 28, 2018 - 10:22 am | Permalink

    I think I called this yesterday! But I still am very impressed with Maria! I have so enjoyed this adventure .

  62. Thomas A Pugh's Gravatar Thomas A Pugh
    March 28, 2018 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    This is honestly the toughest final I’ve ever voted in. Both were amazing women. I love St. Simon’s Island, and I’ve seen a little bit of where Anna lived, and everything she stood for and did was rooted in strong faith and a desire for a better life for those that couldn’t achieve it by themselves. However, you could describe Maria the same way. And Maria just sounds like a fun person to meet in real life. So I’d be happy with either win, and if they produce some goods to buy from this I could definitely see a pint glass for Maria (still love my Dietrich one) or a mason jar for Anna. Honestly I hope there’s a tie and we get a two sided glass. But I still have to vote and my deciding factor today is a coin flip.

    Also, a big thank you to Tim & Scott and all the celebrity bloggers and everyone that makes Lent Madness so awesome!

  63. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 28, 2018 - 10:34 am | Permalink

    Thank you all for another wonderful, inspiring Lent. I am sad to see it end, for this year at least. Maria and Anna are both remarkable women, and both a deserving of the golden halo. Both lived extraordinary lives, Maria in extraordinary times, and Anna in ordinary times. My vote goes to Anna, for her steadfastness, compassion, and loving faithfulness through the long and ordinary years facing entrenched racism and oppression.

  64. March 28, 2018 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    Two inspiring saints, both new to me this Lent. Am grateful to have become acquainted with them. As someone whose family was deeply affected by WWII and its aftermath, I voted for Maria. But Anna will make a worthy winner of the Golden Halo.

  65. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 28, 2018 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    Many thanks to the “Celebrity Bloggers,” who gave so much time and thought to the presentation of these saints this year. I voted for Anna, because I wanted to affirm the “green martyrdom” of faithful service. I admire Maria Skobtsova greatly and wish to see her receive the Golden Halo one day. But in this year of our lord 2018, when we just heard the news that a black man was shot by police for holding a cell phone in his own back yard, I believe in the power of stories to create reality. I just saw “Black Panther,” and though it is fictional, it offers a vision of black people generating and using advanced technology and black people wrestling with ethical issues. It is an affirmative vision of black culture distributed for popular consumption. We have an opportunity by means of this holy quidditch bracket (or some game involving balls way up in the air) to put our imprimatur on a black woman deacon and give her to the world through our lens as a model for Christian witness and active devotion. On this day, when we trot through the gates of Canterbury to see the cathedral, amid all the saints, let us put Anna at our head and affirm our vision of inclusivity, compassion, and justice. I’ll bet Anna has a very good seat on a horse, just as she–and we–have a seat at the table in the kingdom.

    • Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
      March 28, 2018 - 10:58 am | Permalink


      • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
        March 28, 2018 - 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Yes, thank you bloggers! Much appreciated!

  66. AnneMarie Ellis's Gravatar AnneMarie Ellis
    March 28, 2018 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    This was a terrific lineup. I enjoyed learning about these remarkable women and men. Thank you.

  67. Toni van Kriedt's Gravatar Toni van Kriedt
    March 28, 2018 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    I had never heard of Anna before being introduced to her through Lent Madness. I’m voting for her in hopes that the Golden Halo will make her a more recognizable figure. Maria is also worthy and I will not be disappointed if she is the one to wear the Golden Halo.

  68. Marian the Lutheran's Gravatar Marian the Lutheran
    March 28, 2018 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    Thank you. All of you. You have taught me much, made me laugh, made me fight for my choice while using a 3-legged stool (which I had never heard of until recently), and clarified my views on many things. I have been moved to tears and inspired by the chosen Saints, as well as all of you. And good luck to all the clergy for the week. As a former church secretary, I used to privately refer to Holy Week as Hell Week because of all the extra prep. lol

    • Denise Bell's Gravatar Denise Bell
      March 28, 2018 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

      I’m so very glad that the LM experience has been fulfilling for you, Marian. Looking forward to seeing you soon. 😉

  69. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    March 28, 2018 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one! I have known about Maria for awhile, but was introduced to Anna this Lent Madness. Both of these women of God are worthy contenders for the Golden Halo! I ended up voting for Anna, but won’t be sad if Maria wins. Anyway, love the madness and thanks to all who make it possible every year. To all the Lent Madness community, have a holy Holy Week and a blessed Easter Day!

  70. Judy Bye's Gravatar Judy Bye
    March 28, 2018 - 10:56 am | Permalink

    In memory of our German exchange student, Prof. Dr. Reinhard Kurth and six million Jews. Reinhard and his family hid from the Nazis when he was two, for two years. He remembered running across a field to get away after being reported by neighbors. He kept in touch and visited us very often. He was one of the top cancer and A.I.D.s researchers in the world and consulted at Salk, Inst. NIH and Duke. My cousin’s father-in-law was a Holocaust survivor. A kid from our youth group in the ’80’s now has her Phd. and works for the National Holocaust Museum. I know many survivor stories. I can not imagine how dangerous, brave and defiant Maria was to help Jews escape the Nazi’s. And then she herself died at Ravensbruck. All that, AND she said ” If we were true Christians, we would all wear the Star”. Then there’s, “The way to God lies through love of other people, and there is no other way”. And in the end all she will be asked is “did I feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the prisoners?” Hard to believe I’d never heard of her. I voted for Maria Skobtsova. Loved this madness. Comments were quite something and the blogs were amazing. Thank you for your time and due diligence. I still want a black t-shirt with bishop magenta and gold.

    • Linda Sylvester's Gravatar Linda Sylvester
      March 28, 2018 - 11:06 am | Permalink

      Yes, and your comments were amazing for me to read. Thank you!

  71. Belle's Gravatar Belle
    March 28, 2018 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    I’d never heard of either of these amazing women before participating in this year’s Lent Madness, so thank you very much. I know that Anna will win, and I’m glad for that. As someone of part-Jewish heritage, however, I had to vote for Maria. What a shining soul. Very happy that she made it to the final round.

  72. Cynthia Cravens's Gravatar Cynthia Cravens
    March 28, 2018 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    Go, Anna! Go, Georgia!

    Maria was very inspiring, but, in the end Anna’s humble lifelong dedication and sacrifice against great oppression won out.

    Thank you, Organizers of Lent Madness!

  73. Carol Ann Webb's Gravatar Carol Ann Webb
    March 28, 2018 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    Yes, this is another year for a Silver Halo!

  74. Jan Robitscher's Gravatar Jan Robitscher
    March 28, 2018 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    Such a hard choice–both are wonderful saints–but I voted for Anna. Wearing my “Who Will Win the Golden Halo” T-shirt today.

  75. Linda Sylvester's Gravatar Linda Sylvester
    March 28, 2018 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    I’ve just picked myself up from the floor after realizing Plucky Maria is going down. She had my heart from the get-go. Aaaaawwwwwrghhhh!
    I knew Maria would be a tough sell upon first glancing at the imagery presented: Anna and all those cute kids vs Maria, that kind face behind the Orthodox habit. Ok. Ok. I’m fine.
    Sniff. I’m glad for Anna and I will proudly have my morning coffee from her mug. Most importantly I am so thrilled to have met these amazing saints and I shall immediately dedicate myself to deeper study of their lives. Thank you, everyone for the rich comments. I will miss this Lenten ritual and look forward to next year!
    P.S. Can we get a Silver Halo awarded this year?

    • Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
      March 28, 2018 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Maria looks like someone by whom I would want to be hugged.

  76. Mary Lou Creamer's Gravatar Mary Lou Creamer
    March 28, 2018 - 11:23 am | Permalink

    The. Toughest. Choice. Yet. Thank you for a memorable and Lent Madness! May everyone have a blessed Easter!

    • Mary Lou Creamer's Gravatar Mary Lou Creamer
      March 28, 2018 - 11:24 am | Permalink

      Strike the “and” between memorable and Lent Madness.

  77. Mary Jane Jane Ingalls's Gravatar Mary Jane Jane Ingalls
    March 28, 2018 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    I am made aware by the comparison of these two women the similarities of human destruction that resulted from slavery and the Holocaust. I voted for Maria based on my predilection to snub convention for which Maria seemed to have shared a proclivity. LOVE LENT MADNESS! Thank you. Always, MJ

  78. Katrina Soto's Gravatar Katrina Soto
    March 28, 2018 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    Voted for Maria in the name of all atheists, in the hopes that they will eventually accept the embrace of God’s love. This hits home for me, as one of my kids is on that journey. I hope it ends well.

  79. Nolan McBride's Gravatar Nolan McBride
    March 28, 2018 - 11:31 am | Permalink

    As I’ve said many times this Lent, dfficult choice today. I finally settled on Maria, but will be delighted whoever wins.

  80. aleathia nicholson's Gravatar aleathia nicholson
    March 28, 2018 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    Anna for the truly disenfranchised due to ignorance of all kinds and types. She took the little she had and spread it further than one could even imagine. An unknown saint who will henceforth be known to all whether she gets the halo or not. She’ll wear it in my heart and the hearts of many more who now know her.

    • Mj of St. Francis''s Gravatar Mj of St. Francis'
      March 28, 2018 - 11:50 am | Permalink

      I am sooo appreciative of all the deacons in our deanery and the work they do so for deacons everywhere, my vote goes to Anna!

  81. jeaninejj's Gravatar jeaninejj
    March 28, 2018 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    Usually I have an idea of how I’ll cast a vote, then I read comments before actually voting. Often, the comments offer clarity and guidance. Not this time! Everyone else is as tied up as I am. I join in thanks to those who put together this year’s brackets, I join in the call for a T-shirt, and I thank the rest of you for participating and making Lent Madness such a fun and educational part of my day. (Now if I could only remember the name of the saint whose portrait included a mouse and a cat…)
    Really, we need to just declare a tie and have a shared halo. If God’s grace is spacious, so should be the space on the mug!

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 28, 2018 - 12:45 pm | Permalink

      St. Martin de Purrs (apologies)

  82. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 28, 2018 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    Happy Spy Wednesday! Go Saint Maria!

  83. Joann Heron's Gravatar Joann Heron
    March 28, 2018 - 11:55 am | Permalink

    A very difficult choice as I had voted for both in the march to the final but Anna wins for me.

  84. March 28, 2018 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    This is the completion of my 4 year of Lent Madness. Thank you to all who have made it possible. It is my favorite Lenten activity and I have learned so much. I had never heard of Anna Alexander before this years Lent Madness. What an inspirational person she was for all mankind!!

  85. Diane MC's Gravatar Diane MC
    March 28, 2018 - 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Both of these women could easily win, I wish it could be a tie. It is Maria for me today.

  86. March 28, 2018 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Lent Madness has been, as always, a pleasure. And as always, it has ended with a contest so close that I could only settle it on a whim. So with the recollection of Thomas Gold Appleton’s oft-stolen* witticism: “Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris,” I whimsically voted for Paris and Maria Skobtsova.

    *It’s often attributed to Oscar Wilde, for example.

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

    A very tough call. Went into overtime with my thoughts. Both strong candidates who risked their lives and literally left a lasting legacy– children learning, lives saved. I will always be amazed by those who stood firm against the Nazi atrocities and risked their lives to save others, so Maria wins my vote. Thanks to all– the bloggers, Tim, Scott, and all of you who have commented for this season.

  88. Brian Thom's Gravatar Brian Thom
    March 28, 2018 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Both women faced the atrocities of their times. Yet after reading all the biographies on the Eve of Lent Madness, I picked Maria to ascend to the Golden Halo. Voted thus.

  89. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 28, 2018 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I admire both of these women so much. I can’t believe that I sat here agonizing who I would vote for. I have a really big day ahead of me.
    So I voted for Anna! She did so much for Americans who were and are kept separate from American society.
    See all of you next year

  90. Mike Bond's Gravatar Mike Bond
    March 28, 2018 - 1:15 pm | Permalink

    As I said yesterday, yes Anna, it’s going to be a very good day! Deaconess Anna!!!!!!

  91. Sandy's Gravatar Sandy
    March 28, 2018 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

    When faced with an impossible choice like this one, I am always a little relieved to see the person I did NOT vote for in the lead – at least my vote didn’t disadvantage a such a worthy person and at the same this I supported another equally worthy person.
    I voted for Maria for her great courage facing the Nazis on top of all the extraordinary good she did. That said, Anna’s courage and faith facing the forces of racism was also great. As I said, an impossible choice.
    Thank you Lent Madness – I am grateful to have learned about these two inspiring women.

  92. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    March 28, 2018 - 1:29 pm | Permalink

    this round was the most difficult of all for me this season. The most wonderful gift from all of this is that both Anna and Maria spoke to me more than any of the other entrants for this year’s bracket. It is led me to read many other stories, watch wonderful videos, and meet many other fellow travelers through the comments you all have posted. I ultimately voted for Maria because of how much she reminds me of the dear mentor and priest who laid the foundation for me as I entered he Episcopal Church. They are Kindred Spirits. Thank you, JAO. (she, of course, would have had me vote for Anna, being herself an educator as well as having a teacher as a daughter.) I also had the opportunity to visit St Simons Island many years ago as the result of winning a contest through Sea-Pak seafood. I wish now I had known about Anna then because it would have made the experience even richer than it already was. It was so easy for me to imagine Anna with all of her children paddling her boat through the Georgia humidity and heat all the while doing it for the love of God.
    I also read several of Maria’s writings in which she liken her ministry to Social Work. Being a social worker myself, her writings and her actions resonated with me. It truly is a vocation and a calling, not just a career path.
    Ultimately I went with Maria but could have just as easily voted for Anna. She is truly an American saint and fellow Episcopalian to boot so it was difficult not to vote for her. Hopefully she will receive her well-deserved recognition at General convention here in Austin. She would have felt right at home in the Texas heat and humidity in July. Haha. I so much love Lent Madness because of what I have learned over the several years I have participated it is my favorite part of Lent. Here’s to Anna, and to Maria and here’s to adding to my collection of wonderful coffee mugs as well as, and most importantly to my journey with Jesus. Amen!.

  93. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    March 28, 2018 - 1:57 pm | Permalink

    In another year, I would have voted for Maria. Her devotion to service so resonated. But this year, I felt called to Anna, whose ministry was to an ignored and oppressed people. I am so shook and woke by the shooting of black men by police with no justice that the first discussion of Anna walking to her charges just called me.

  94. Lyn Morander's Gravatar Lyn Morander
    March 28, 2018 - 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I must have a thing for underdogs, as I realize after I vote I seem to pick the one who’s behind! However it’s hard to consider any of these Saints “losers”! Thanks for a very informative and enjoyable Lent!

    • Joyce Rush's Gravatar Joyce Rush
      March 28, 2018 - 2:30 pm | Permalink

      This was a very tight one between two powerful women. Anna got my vote this time.
      Lent Madness is so educational. Thank you!!!

  95. Anna Powell's Gravatar Anna Powell
    March 28, 2018 - 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Both worthy of the Golden Halo. I must go with my namesake and fellow Georgian, Anna.

  96. Marie Jones (Mama J)'s Gravatar Marie Jones (Mama J)
    March 28, 2018 - 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Thank you SEC, celebrity bloggers, and all participants! What a delightful and edifying ‘madness’ this has been; I feel I have learned so much from you all! Giving thanks to God this Easter for this blessed on-line community of believers/

  97. melissa g's Gravatar melissa g
    March 28, 2018 - 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for enlightening my Lenten season! I started out studiously reading the materials to decide who to vote for, and greatly appreciate the bloggers’ contributions. Occasionally, I voted with the majority, and over time that mattered less. Alas I have voted for Maria each chance I got, and remain steadfast that her example of walking the talk is inspiring. Easter blessings from Ithaca NY!

  98. Peggy Hans's Gravatar Peggy Hans
    March 28, 2018 - 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Please, please, please. Golden Halos for both. I vote for Anna, but am so grateful to have learned about Maria and her selfless commitment to service for her Lord. Two wonderful women. Thank you, Lent Madness, for this season and for introducing me to so many “saints among us.”

  99. Deacon Victoria Rebeck's Gravatar Deacon Victoria Rebeck
    March 28, 2018 - 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Another brutally hard choice. I went with Anna the deacon(ess).

    • Sister Mary Winifred's Gravatar Sister Mary Winifred
      March 28, 2018 - 5:11 pm | Permalink

      For those who still can’t bear to use the term deaconess – you should realize that they were not deacons. . .as all other women, they were not allowed any liturgical role and were “set apart,” not ordained. Even when the church allowed women to be ordained (in 1970) and made all deaconesses deacons, some refused. Here are two sites that you might want to look at:

      And yes, I voted for Deaconess Anna.

      • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
        March 28, 2018 - 5:47 pm | Permalink

        Both links appear the same. Typo?

        • Sister Mary Winifred's Gravatar Sister Mary Winifred
          March 28, 2018 - 6:53 pm | Permalink

          Sorry – second link should be:

          • Susan's Gravatar Susan
            March 28, 2018 - 9:00 pm | Permalink

            Thank you. Very interesting and informative.

          • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
            March 29, 2018 - 4:29 am | Permalink

            Thank you. The parish I attended while in college at SMU was founded by Deaconess Crow who is pictured in the linked PDF, in a photo I had not previously seen.

  100. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 28, 2018 - 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Did you sell out the Florence Nightingale mugs from 2017? You should issue a set of “women of the golden halo” mugs: Frances Perkins, Mary Magdalene, Florence Nightingale, and Anna Alexander (heiress apparent as of 2 pm).

  101. Jacque Fertick's Gravatar Jacque Fertick
    March 28, 2018 - 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Again, so hard. I had both Anna and Maria in the finals, but had Maria as my winner. But after yesterdays blog, and todays picture, I decided Anna deserved the Golden Halo.
    I’ve enjoyed learning about so many saintly men and women.

  102. Lauren D's Gravatar Lauren D
    March 28, 2018 - 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I have never had a more difficult time making my choice! I thought surely the Nazi resister would be winning the day and my vote today, but from one Georgia peach to another… Anna got my vote!

  103. Judy F. N.'s Gravatar Judy F. N.
    March 28, 2018 - 5:36 pm | Permalink

    There should be a third button for a tie in the final round! Both these women are so deserving; the most difficult choice since I have been doing LM. I have changed my mind a dozen times. Guess I need to vote now!

  104. Erica Roark's Gravatar Erica Roark
    March 28, 2018 - 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m awed by both these women, but as an educator in a poor area, I had to go with Anna this time.

  105. Scott Glidden's Gravatar Scott Glidden
    March 28, 2018 - 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Well… “We’ll always have Paris.”

  106. Nora's Gravatar Nora
    March 28, 2018 - 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for another great journey through Lent!

  107. Cameron's Gravatar Cameron
    March 28, 2018 - 8:12 pm | Permalink

    I’m a little disappointed by this final match-up. While I admire both of these women, I really don’t think either of them rises to the Golden Halo level.

    • Susan's Gravatar Susan
      March 28, 2018 - 9:08 pm | Permalink

      Wow, you’re a tough critic! Most of us have been lamenting what a difficult choice it is, deciding between two such incredible, inspirational women…and you’re disappointed??? I’m sorry you are not as moved as most of us by the lives of these selfless, dedicated women. Easter blessings on you and yours.

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        March 28, 2018 - 10:50 pm | Permalink


      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 29, 2018 - 8:29 am | Permalink

        So many men — so many disappointed men. So sorry. Not.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 29, 2018 - 5:38 am | Permalink

      Of course, by many measures, Anna and Maria lack the stature of the “giants” of the Church. One great gift of Lent Madness, I’d say, is that it raises up “lesser” figures so we can reflect on the holy lives of such folk. It’s framed as a competition but, as Jesus explained to the Apostles, following him isn’t a matter of who is the greatest.

      To put it another way, the loving gaze of God rests alike on Peter & Paul, Anna & Maria, you & me, and the sparrow.

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 29, 2018 - 8:32 am | Permalink

        Davis, you’re so much kinder, nicer than I am particularly at this hour of the morning. It’s safe to say I’ll never make it to LM — but you might. Nomintiontide is coming.

        • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
          March 30, 2018 - 6:53 am | Permalink

          If I seemed kinder and nicer, it would be because I was writing at 11:38 am instead of 5:38.

          I’m considering nominating the sparrow.

          Have a lovely Easter and a grace-filled year.

          • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
            March 30, 2018 - 4:51 pm | Permalink

            Blessed Easter to you!

  108. Isabel Stanley's Gravatar Isabel Stanley
    March 28, 2018 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful cloud of witnesses these men and women are! We have been blessed!

  109. Doreen A Stryson's Gravatar Doreen A Stryson
    March 28, 2018 - 9:08 pm | Permalink

    This has been my first Lent Madness. Loved it right from the start. Hoping to see Anna win the Golden Halo! Kudos to all the people who put hours of hard work into this fabulous event!
    Thanks so much. I’m looking forward to next year.

  110. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    March 28, 2018 - 9:22 pm | Permalink

    I echo just about everyone else – impossible choice! I voted for Maria, but will be just as happy if Anna wins. Thank you SEC and bloggers for an enlightening, inspiring, and entertaining journey!

  111. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    March 28, 2018 - 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Tough choice today. Liked both, but voted for Maria because she defied the Nazis and smuggled the Jews out of Paris-and her inventiveness in using the trash cans to get out the children. Also to honor those killed in the Holocaust.

    March 28, 2018 - 10:22 pm | Permalink

    This is a most disappointing year of Lent
    Madness. The new qiad arrangement sounded good in theory but not in practice. And in almost every pairing, the most obscure “saint” won. I like the underdog, but not every time
    I lost interest as the brackets progressed and chose not to vote today. Boo to LM 2018.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 28, 2018 - 10:49 pm | Permalink

      Jesus loves you. And FYI, the basketball brackets work the same way: your teams may lose the whole way. Even when you pout out, the sport goes on. Every party needs a pooper, but remember you have a choice: when the bridegroom comes, wash your face and put on the fresh robe and smile. That’s your contribution to the kingdom. Easter will soon be here.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 29, 2018 - 5:40 am | Permalink

      See my reply to Cameron a few posts up.

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 29, 2018 - 7:51 am | Permalink

        This is not for Davis- it’s pointed, very pointed at Richard who doesn’t like the “little” saints like me and thee. “Little” with the lives of Maria or Anna, or ANY or the others in this year’s match-ups is an insult. I f any one of us, Richard included, could begin to approach the level of dedication, sacrifice, Christ-like steadfast faith and behavior, the world would be a far better place. Don’t like LM? Fine- it’s optional! What thou doest, do quickly.

  113. Robin Nicholls's Gravatar Robin Nicholls
    March 28, 2018 - 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Lent Madness 2018 was great! plenty of thrills, chills, and spills.
    This really surprised me, but it looks like “Itsova” for Maria!

  114. Maureen Wilson's Gravatar Maureen Wilson
    March 28, 2018 - 11:45 pm | Permalink

    I chose Maria because she saved children women and men. She also died for her cause. She was holy.

  115. Rosemary Tseng's Gravatar Rosemary Tseng
    March 28, 2018 - 11:49 pm | Permalink

    This was the most difficult decision I faced today…and that includes choosing Easter shoes and what flavor of coffee creamer to buy. Seriously, this is my first Lent Madness experience, and the best lent I ever spent! Thank you to all responsible for putting this series together–I learned so much and am deeply inspired by all the saints I met on this journey. Thank you to each of the saints for your faith and witness! May we ever aspire to answer the Lord’s calling, whatever and wherever it may be. Finally and especially, thanks be to God for giving us the gift of love in the person of Christ Jesus. We love because he first loved us.

  116. Lynn Maxwell-Gascoyne's Gravatar Lynn Maxwell-Gascoyne
    March 29, 2018 - 1:55 am | Permalink

    Tough decision. They both easily earned it. Thanks to all who put this year’s Lent Madness together. I have enjoyed reading about all of this year’s folks, and learned a lot in the process. Since I’m not a bit sports fan, this is a lot of fun for me!

  117. Geri Lee Nelson's Gravatar Geri Lee Nelson
    March 29, 2018 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    Golden Halo for our beautiful Anna!

  118. Marion Curry's Gravatar Marion Curry
    March 30, 2018 - 7:31 am | Permalink

    Anna is my choice♥️

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