Martin de Porres vs. Maria Skobtsova

The fast and furious pace of the Saintly Sixteen continues today as Martin de Porres faces Maria Skobtsova. To get to this round, Martin defeated John of Beverley and Dymphna while Maria took down Thomas à Kempis and Quiteria.

In yesterday’s saintly action, Richard Hooker and his three-legged stool buried Phocas the Gardner and will face the winner of tomorrow’s battle between Anna Alexander and Eglantyne Jebb in the Faithful Four.

As we get deeper into the season, many of the Lent Madness faithful must decide between two saints they voted for in previous rounds. Oh, the agony! And yet in the end, despite all the amazing saintly souls, only one will emerge victorious.

Martin de Porres

Martin de Porres paintingSt. Martin de Porres Velázquez, born in 1579, died in 1639, and lived his entire life in Peru. After years of disrespect and oppression, he was eventually admitted as a lay brother of the Dominican Order.

Martin was known for his kindness to those with no hope; his compassion to the sick, the weary, and children; his healing abilities; and his miracles.

In artwork, windows, statues, statuettes, medals, holy cards, posters, and books, he wears the Dominican lay brother habit, often with a broom (because no chore was beneath him), sometimes with a dog, a cat and a mouse or a bird.Friar Broom Movie cover

He is a media star, too. Among the movies and television shows depicting his life are the 1963 film Fray Escoba (Friar Broom) and 1975 Un mulato llamado Martin.










A character in the popular 1980 novel A Confederacy of Dunces prays to Martin for justice for black factory workers. Jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams honors him with “St. Martin De Porres,” a track from Black Christ of the Andes.

Book cover

Album cover







Martín de Porres Velázquez – St. Martin of Charity – St. Martin the Charitable – the first Black Saint from the Americas – Saint of the Broom – pray for us.

-Neva Rae Fox


Maria Skobtsova

Being a Russian Orthodox nun living in Nazi-occupied France, you might think that Maria Skobtsova would not have much in the way of kitsch. You would be wrong.

Maria IconMaria excels not just at poetry, not just at theology, and not just at Nazi-fighting, but also at kitsch-producing. Behold, for starters, this lovely icon. It includes a quote from her, as well as the crucifix she showed the German official who asked her where she was hiding the Jews during her interrogation. (Not without a sense of humor, was Maria.)Street sign

She also has her own street in Paris!  That’s right!  Smack dab in the 15e Arrondissment, a street sign memorializes the life of “Mère Marie Skobstova,”  (In English the sign reads: Resistance member assassinated at Ravensbruck)

embroidery Oh, did I not mention she was an artist?
YOU BET YOUR BORSCHT SHE WAS. Look at this icon she embroidered!  (That’s embroidery, y’all.)

Saint painting


And this one, that she drew, of a Russian saint who I’m sure is very holy, but appears to be doing a little dance!

Now, perhaps you are a bit sad, because what you are looking for is some fun kitsch. Some wacky kitsch. You’re in luck!

If you truly want to follow in the poetry-writing, icon-embroidering, beer-drinking footsteps of Maria, then firstly, you need a crucifix. I recommend this one. It is an excellent size to brandish in the face of any fascists you might encounter in your daily life. Carry it in your pocket and if someone asks you to do anything evil, pull it out and wave it in their face! Also wards off vampires, so: bonus!

Quote from SolomonYou’ll also need a notebook, for those flashes of inspiration. There are many to choose from, of course. We have the inappropriately-religious themed (that’s….not what that verse is about) to the humble-brag themed, to the hipster meme-approved! Definitely something for everyone! (My money is on Maria owning the last one.)


To conclude on a more solemn note, Maria did leave a final, poignant bit of herself behind, as well as a lot of amazing work and inspiration. While she was in Ravensbrück, she traded her bread rations each day for a bit of colored thread, so she could continue to make art. She embroidered icons, including one of the British landing at Normandy, until she died. Her work, up until her final moments, was bringing light and joy into the lives of those around her in any possible way she could, even in the worst possible conditions. And miraculously, her final work survived the camps.

-Megan Castellan


Martin de Porres vs. Maria Skobtsova

  • Maria Skobtsova (62%, 3,854 Votes)
  • Martin de Porres (38%, 2,400 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,254

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159 Comments to "Martin de Porres vs. Maria Skobtsova"

  1. Oliver--Ten Years Old's Gravatar Oliver--Ten Years Old
    March 22, 2018 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    I voted for Maria because she let people into her house and died for them. Her daughter and son died.

    • Robyn's Gravatar Robyn
      March 22, 2018 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      I agree with you Olive!

      • Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
        March 22, 2018 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

        Ms. Castellan , I am your biggest fan!
        Voted for Martin❤️

    • Jack's Gravatar Jack
      March 22, 2018 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Good call Olivia.

    • Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
      March 22, 2018 - 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Me too, Oliver. I’ve had this song in my head all day and it’s appropriate for Lent Madness. “They loved their Lord so dear, so dear, and His love made them strong.”

    • Bryan's Gravatar Bryan
      March 23, 2018 - 9:15 am | Permalink

      Martin did so much more and he let sick people in ad cured them and helped the poor and Minority even if he wasn’t treated correctly

      • Brian in Ohio's Gravatar Brian in Ohio
        March 23, 2018 - 11:56 am | Permalink

        Spot on Bryan! Martin and the Uof K both lost yesterday. I’m done with Lent Madness this year. Time to focus on Holy Week and Easter.

  2. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 22, 2018 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    What a struggle! I voted for both in earlier rounds. However, I’m going with Martin today, because of the many groups for which he is the patron: Peru! and public health workers, particularly. Tough choice!

  3. Wallace's Gravatar Wallace
    March 22, 2018 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    As someone who never saw a saint who looked like me, I’m pushing for Martin all the way to the finish line!

    • Linda LeBreux's Gravatar Linda LeBreux
      March 22, 2018 - 8:42 am | Permalink


    • Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
      March 22, 2018 - 9:10 am | Permalink

      Wallace, you may have just swayed my vote in this tough pairing. We all need saints of God who “are just folks like me”!

      • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
        March 23, 2018 - 3:32 am | Permalink

        I agree.

    • Ann's Gravatar Ann
      March 22, 2018 - 9:39 am | Permalink

      agree — thanks!

  4. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    March 22, 2018 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    A foot and a half of snow, can’t get out, cats wait, not patiently, what would Martin do ?

    • Mary Miers's Gravatar Mary Miers
      March 22, 2018 - 8:17 am | Permalink

      Probably shovel a little space just outside the door, as I used to do. Thankfully, my cats are now of the indoor persuasion.

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 22, 2018 - 8:20 am | Permalink

        4 are, 3 aren’t — 2 cans of food, a few cups of dry left — needing strong solar power today

        • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
          March 22, 2018 - 8:22 am | Permalink

          You could always eat them.

          • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
            March 22, 2018 - 8:23 am | Permalink

            I used to like you.

          • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
            March 22, 2018 - 8:24 am | Permalink

            The food, not the cats — haha, just kidding, sorry if it wasn’t even funny

          • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
            March 22, 2018 - 8:26 am | Permalink

            My faith is restored! There is plenty of people food.

          • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
            March 22, 2018 - 8:59 am | Permalink

            ha ha! “I used to like you.” Had Donna had a “reply” button, I would have said “same.”

          • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
            March 22, 2018 - 9:27 am | Permalink

            he redeemed himself

          • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
            March 22, 2018 - 10:19 am | Permalink

            I, too, thought you meant the cats. Horrors! Won’t the outdoor cats condescend to use the litter box in an emergency?

          • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
            March 22, 2018 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

            They wouldn’t need to use a litter box and how would they get one?

          • Ray's Gravatar Ray
            March 22, 2018 - 11:03 am | Permalink

            I’m still laughing out loud at this exchange…thanks for the morning chuckle!

          • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
            March 22, 2018 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

            I credit my vote for Martin de Purrs getting the driveway cleared(St. Carla had much to do with the labor of that) but the temperature was above freezing so clearing and “finding” the car under 12+ inches of snow was a lot easier and quicker than could reasonably be expected. I’m sure it was Martin’s smile- the cats have now gotten the proper/usual amount of food since I was able to get to the store. Go Martin!!

          • Carla Navallo's Gravatar Carla Navallo
            March 22, 2018 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

            “St” Carla’s horns hold up that halo.

    • Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
      March 22, 2018 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Thank you St. Carla for getting Donna’s driveway cleared.
      Now, if St. Martin de Purrs could thaw enough soil that the outdoor cats can get their business accomplished and covered…or do they dig in the snow and use that to cover up afterwards?

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 22, 2018 - 2:18 pm | Permalink

        never asked them about that end of their business

    • Michael Townsend's Gravatar Michael Townsend
      March 22, 2018 - 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Vote for himself!

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 22, 2018 - 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Good thought. So I voted for him.

  5. Pat Smith-Huntoon's Gravatar Pat Smith-Huntoon
    March 22, 2018 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    Very difficult vote- went with Maria.

  6. Betty Lane's Gravatar Betty Lane
    March 22, 2018 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Martin is one of the saints venerated at my church, so I had to vote for him. Besides being poor, black, and a lay person from South America people like this are all too often overlooked! Go Martin!

  7. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 22, 2018 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    On Monday, in the pouring rain, I visited Civitella Della Chiana, a tiny Tuscan hill town where in 1944 the Nazis massacred over 100 people including the parish priest, who refused to be exempted, as a reprisal. That moving experience has captured my vote in this round.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 22, 2018 - 8:33 am | Permalink

      Well, I can see why! How tragic.

  8. Patty's Gravatar Patty
    March 22, 2018 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    I went with Maria. It was a tough choice voted for both earlier. Had to support her fight for all humans. Can’t get the song out of my mind. “I once knew a girl named Maria . . .”

    • Grace Cangialosi's Gravatar Grace Cangialosi
      March 22, 2018 - 9:06 am | Permalink

      Of course, there’s that other song:”How do you solve a problem like Maria?”! (I voted for her, though.)

  9. Walter Jaap's Gravatar Walter Jaap
    March 22, 2018 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    More tough decisions no loosers in these brackets. I am compelled to Maria for her devotion, her sacrificing for others, her sence of humor, and that she enjoyed a glass of beer from time to time.

  10. Brixham Beth's Gravatar Brixham Beth
    March 22, 2018 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Lovely animals, helping those with no hope, happy to sweep up and good at flight and bilocation – just the Saint I need as I wait for an international flight ..go Martin, go.

  11. March 22, 2018 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    As a member of the naturalism committee of the diocese of New York, I have no choice but Martin. Anyone who can fly, heal people and befriend animals has my vote!

  12. Belle's Gravatar Belle
    March 22, 2018 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    Wow, I voted for Maria thinking that Martin would soundly defeat her, so when I saw the vote totals so far I was blown away! Both of these saints are deserving, so no argument with whoever wins this round.

  13. Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
    March 22, 2018 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Today it was Martin for me. I was won over by the jazz album and the “Poof! I’m healed!” illustration and the jazz album. (Although Megan’s “You bet your borscht she was” gave me a good pre-breakfast chuckle!)

    As a side note, our newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, had an article yesterday on Anna Alexander, in honor of Women’s History Month. How about that, Lent Madness Global Public!

    • Verdery D. Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery D. Kassebaum
      March 22, 2018 - 11:53 am | Permalink

      Cool! And you and other Lent Madness fans could say, “I know about her from Lent Madness!”

    • Lucretia's Gravatar Lucretia
      March 22, 2018 - 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Anna for gold!!!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 22, 2018 - 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Did I mention the jazz album??

  14. Denise Evans's Gravatar Denise Evans
    March 22, 2018 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    This is a tough matchup. I had to go with Maria.

  15. Denise LeGendre's Gravatar Denise LeGendre
    March 22, 2018 - 8:44 am | Permalink

    This was such a difficult choice. As other’s have said, both are deserving, so who to vote for?? I voted for Maria but I’m still torn. Will be happy no matter which one wins. That said, google Maria (no matter who you vote for) and look at the many images – they’re very moving, especially the images that show her with a cloth and thread. Some of them really reminded me of my mother and grandmother, so much so that I’m crying into my coffee!

  16. Mary-Theresa Anderson's Gravatar Mary-Theresa Anderson
    March 22, 2018 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    My vote for Martin. I’m not doing well on this round, but it’s ok. I have to follow my heart.❤️

  17. March 22, 2018 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    “Her work, up until her final moments, was bringing light and joy into the lives of those around her in any possible way she could, even in the worst possible conditions. And miraculously, her final work survived the camps.” I loved this. Both are deserving. The rounds get tougher and tougher.

  18. Patrice Rohde's Gravatar Patrice Rohde
    March 22, 2018 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    A saint who stood up to the threat of facism and treated all with compassion, vs a saint who made a difference despite the scourge of racism and treated all with compassion. I see Christ clearly in each of them. What a hard choice!

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 22, 2018 - 8:57 am | Permalink


    • Rosemary Tseng's Gravatar Rosemary Tseng
      March 22, 2018 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Well said, Patrice! I fully agree. This vote was the toughest choice for me, so far…both are so deserving!

  19. Debbie Northern's Gravatar Debbie Northern
    March 22, 2018 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    I also went for Martin because I have admired his humility and determination in the face of prejudice and injustice for a long time. However, I would not be disappointed if Maria wins and I am sure Martin would cheer her on for her courage and determination to do what was right instead of what was easy.

    • Catherine Donohue's Gravatar Catherine Donohue
      March 22, 2018 - 9:44 am | Permalink

      Well said!

    • March 22, 2018 - 9:53 am | Permalink

      Same here. I’ve long admired Martin and vote for him today as the underdog. But I am very happy about MARIA, a brand newly admired saint in my book. Here’s a verse I wrote for her in the last round in celebration of her witness that a nun could be a free spirit and evil could be met with whimsical defiance (i.e. the Mary icon gift to the Nazis). I reprint it here in hopes that somebody else can expand it into a PUB SONG:

      When fascism raises it’s fear mong’ring head,
      and the Bandwagon March has begun,
      Dance a song of faith and wit instead,
      in the steps of the good Russian nun.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 22, 2018 - 11:04 am | Permalink

        Great idea!

      • Verdery D. Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery D. Kassebaum
        March 22, 2018 - 11:56 am | Permalink

        Oh, yeah! There’s probably a hymn tune that would work also–a real tw0-fer.

  20. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    March 22, 2018 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    I would love a “both button”.

    • Sheila B's Gravatar Sheila B
      March 22, 2018 - 9:30 am | Permalink

      I completely agree with Megan! This is the hardest choice yet!

  21. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 22, 2018 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    That one’s artistic work survived a concentration camp is indeed a miracle. That’s the sort of miracle I can believe in. And the concept of brandishing a crucifix in the face of fascists is too charming to pass over. Whenever I see the white supremacist talking heads on large-screen TV’s airing a maleficent station that rhymes with Pox, I can wave a crucifix at them, and that will be very satisfying. Plus Mother Marie had a sense of humor. How can I not vote for a bonne vivante who was “assassinated” by spitters upon poetry and tramplers of icons? Va, Marie!

  22. Susan C's Gravatar Susan C
    March 22, 2018 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    I vote for Martin today because perhaps it may be harder to fight every day evil and dispair than to fight obvious evil and dispair.

    • Kathy's Gravatar Kathy
      March 22, 2018 - 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Susan. I agree with you. I will vote for Martin for doing the hard thing over and over when it would be easy to give up/in.

  23. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 22, 2018 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Both are deserving, but Maria got myvo vote today.

  24. Marian the Lutheran's Gravatar Marian the Lutheran
    March 22, 2018 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    I had to go with Maria today. All I could see in my mind’s eye was my Volga Deutsch grandmother saying. “You want ‘my’ Jews? I’ll show you a Jew!!” And then shoving a crucifix in a Nazi’s face. My grandmother’s voice compels me, haha.

    • Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
      March 22, 2018 - 10:17 am | Permalink

      I love this!

    • Amy's Gravatar Amy
      March 22, 2018 - 3:05 pm | Permalink

      I love your grandmother! This was the hardest decision yet. Both are so deserving, but I went with Maria who stood up to the Nazis.

  25. Joanne B. Parrott's Gravatar Joanne B. Parrott
    March 22, 2018 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    This bracket is getting as tough as the Basketball brackets. Do I vote for Martin today
    because I think Esther will easily win later? Or vote for Maria & toss a coin for that challenge?
    Problem solved-Maria of the cloth & thread.

  26. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 22, 2018 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    This has been the most challenging choice yet. I re-read the first two entries on each saint. I’ve been participating in Lent Madness for three or four years now, and this is only the second time I read the comments before voting. Each time I decide, “I’ll vote for . . .” there’s a “but . . .” I think finally I am going to have to vote for Martin. I think it’s important for us to recognize saints of color and the Lent Madness crowd has a tendency to ignore the more historical saints as well. In addition, I have been in the presence of his remains in Lima, Peru. (I wasn’t close enough to discern how they smelled!) But Maria is certainly worthy of everyone’s vote who chose her. What a hard decision today.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 22, 2018 - 9:50 am | Permalink

      That’s very cool that you have been in the presence of his remains, and in Lima.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 22, 2018 - 11:06 am | Permalink

      What you said, Kathy! And it’s time for the Southern Hemisphere to be represented as well!

    • Emily's Gravatar Emily
      March 22, 2018 - 11:17 am | Permalink


  27. Richard Adams's Gravatar Richard Adams
    March 22, 2018 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    Both are worthy contenders. The daily struggle and courage of Martin and the extraordinary self-sacrifice of Maria Skobstova are different but great examples of the human spirit and what Judaism calls “tikkun olam”, THE IDEA THAT JEWS BEAR RESPONSIBILITY NOT ONLY FOR THEIR OWN MORAL, SPIRITUAL, AND MATERIAL WELFARE, BUT ALSO FOR THE WELFARE OF SOCIETY AT LARGE (WIKI).

  28. Karen H.'s Gravatar Karen H.
    March 22, 2018 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    This was the hardest choice I have had to make. They are both so saintly and would fit on opposite sides of a mug, but I finally went with Martin, whom I first encountered on a trip to Peru.

    • Cindy Schuricht's Gravatar Cindy Schuricht
      March 22, 2018 - 7:10 pm | Permalink

      How about it, Lent Madness? A mug for this really hard match-up with both these wonderful saints? Great idea, Karen.

  29. Betsy in Reston VA's Gravatar Betsy in Reston VA
    March 22, 2018 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    So I’m pretty sure Maria is going to win this one (and she would be most deserving) but any saint depicted with a dog, a cat, a mouse, and/or a bird who finds no task too menial gets my vote!

  30. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 22, 2018 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Tough choice today. Went with Maria.

  31. Patricia Evans's Gravatar Patricia Evans
    March 22, 2018 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    While very moved by Marian the Lutheran’s remembrance – and keenly aware of the (sadly) increased need to “never forget” and to “never let it happen again” my vote goes with Martin. I am with Wallace “As someone who never saw a saint who looked like me, I’m pushing for Martin all the way to the finish line!” May Martin make a clean sweep of the 2018 bracket, but am I the only one who sees the irony that Martin’s kitsch is of yet another person of color with a broom (or mop, or duster or apron….)?

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 22, 2018 - 11:08 am | Permalink

      No… it occurred to me as well.

  32. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    March 22, 2018 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    Maria, I just picked a saint named Maria,
    For Marty I had planned
    To take a Halo stand, but gee–
    Maria, a beer-sipping nun named Maria–
    Her kitsch, her quips, her guts–
    To Hitler she said, “Nuts to thee!”
    To the last she found ways to make art
    In the hope all around her could take heart.
    Maria– today I am voting Mariaaaaaaaa…

    • Hannell Thompson's Gravatar Hannell Thompson
      March 22, 2018 - 10:08 am | Permalink

      I did the same. Thought it would be Martin and changed to Maria. Both are so worthy! Thanks for the lyrics!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 22, 2018 - 11:08 am | Permalink


    • Verdery D. Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery D. Kassebaum
      March 22, 2018 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Brilliant! I may be singing this all day.
      Still don’t know for whom to vote. I may just see the current score and vote for the underdog (no, that’s not a clue).

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 22, 2018 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

        But Martin should not be voted for because he’s the underdog!!!!! How demeaning for such a righteous man!

  33. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    March 22, 2018 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    I hate to see either of them go!

  34. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 22, 2018 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    Please can both win… This is such a difficult choice. I wanted to vote for both, but didn’t (in this round anyway). In the end, as my collie invited me to play, I went for Martin. I hope he put his broom down to enjoy the animals he is depicted with. And if Maria prevails, I will be delighted too.

  35. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 22, 2018 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    I voted for Maria. I think she might get the golden halo. Martin’s broom will stick with me as a reminder that no job is beneath me.

  36. Marie Jones (Mama J)'s Gravatar Marie Jones (Mama J)
    March 22, 2018 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    Oh, Megan! What a wonderful collection of ‘stuff!’ It surely will sway many votes for Maria, but I still must cast my fate with Martin. There is something about a person who steadfastly serves even when castigated for an accident of birth.

    • Rosemary Tseng's Gravatar Rosemary Tseng
      March 22, 2018 - 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Mama J, NO birth is an “accident” in God’s eyes. I think Martin knew that, and it empowered him to overcome the injustices against him and to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the world, in spite of “the world, the flesh and the devil.”

  37. Rene Thompson's Gravatar Rene Thompson
    March 22, 2018 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    Love them both but as I lost family in the camps, I choose to honor Maria.

  38. March 22, 2018 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Ohhh, this is so hard!!! Whoever loses, please bring them back.

  39. Jan Smith's Gravatar Jan Smith
    March 22, 2018 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    As a curler, I declare the saint of the broom to be the patron saint of curling! Sweep!

    • Linda's Gravatar Linda
      March 22, 2018 - 12:33 pm | Permalink
  40. Elaine's Gravatar Elaine
    March 22, 2018 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    Icons are not kitsch! Good grief.

    Anyway, I love Martin de Porres. But I have Maria on my bracket as the Golden Halo winner. Seeing she’s so far ahead, I voted my heart: Martin.

    It’s a really tough call, though, and I think since Maria is more recent, and since she gave her life for others, she’ll have no trouble sweeping this round. I’d never heard of her till Lent Madness this year. She’s now lodged in my heart along with Martin, but he still got my vote today.

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 22, 2018 - 11:06 am | Permalink

      Nor are icons drawn . . . iconography literally means image-writing.

  41. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 22, 2018 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    Martin voter here, but I must say I love Megan Castellan’s writing, which is consistently enchanting.

  42. sue's Gravatar sue
    March 22, 2018 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    I was all about Martin for his humility and desire to be useful until I got to Maria’s embroidery. As a fellow embroiderer, I can certainly identify with trading bread for thread in order to create beauty and leave something behind. This Lent I have been stitching on a piece with the prayers of Sir Francis Drake; it’s taken me all Lent to finish the first prayer (I’m on the last line now) and I’m debating whether to put it aside for next Lent to do the second one, making this a three-year piece, or whether to set it aside only temporarily and pull it out again in a month or two. It’s been a very meaningful piece to work on during this season and especially in the challenging news cycle we are enduring now.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 22, 2018 - 10:47 am | Permalink

      I love this:

      Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
      When our dreams have come true
      Because we have dreamed too little,
      When we arrived safely
      Because we sailed too close to the shore.

      Disturb us, Lord, when
      With the abundance of things we possess
      We have lost our thirst
      For the waters of life;
      Having fallen in love with life,
      We have ceased to dream of eternity
      And in our efforts to build a new earth,
      We have allowed our vision
      Of the new Heaven to dim.

      Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
      To venture on wider seas
      Where storms will show Your mastery;
      Where losing sight of land,
      We shall find the stars.
      We ask You to push back
      The horizons of our hopes;
      And to push into the future
      In strength, courage, hope, and love.

      • Pzina's Gravatar Pzina
        March 22, 2018 - 11:15 am | Permalink

        Celia: That prayer is beautiful. Can you give me the attribution as I would like to use it for worship in my EfM group?

        • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
          March 22, 2018 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

          I clicked on the link sue provided for the cross-stitch design. But then I did a search for the prayer itself. I found it at, a prayer site. Here’s the url for the version I used:

          I will note that sue’s version has a cool conclusion which is not included in the prayer: “This we ask in the name of our captain, who is Jesus Christ.”

        • Robin Nicholls's Gravatar Robin Nicholls
          March 22, 2018 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

          Too funny – I had exactly the same thought: EfM worship!

          • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
            March 22, 2018 - 2:21 pm | Permalink

            How great it is to see someone say “exactly the same ” instead of the incorrect “exact same” which is so dreadfully common now — THANK YOU!

  43. Corey Sees's Gravatar Corey Sees
    March 22, 2018 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    I love Martin… But Maria is one of my new favorites! (How have we not mentioned (or did I miss it?) that she briefly became the mayor of the southern Russian town of Anapa, was put on trial there for being a Bolshevik, but was let off because the judge was a former teacher – whom she later married???)

    What we need for today is a saint that protects those who are persecuted and wields the cross in the face of fascists.

  44. Mark's Gravatar Mark
    March 22, 2018 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    Sorry, Martin. Apparently, again this year, a lifetime of good works doesn’t measure up to fighting Nazis. You still got my vote.

  45. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    March 22, 2018 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    Martin is certainly a compelling choice with his humility and wit (two characteristics not usually found together). The image of him with his broom surrounded by a dog, cat & mouse all eating peacefully out of the same bowl is moving as well as charming. However, I feel a much greater affinity for someone in more recent history, someone with photos and genuine artifacts. Maria seems very, very real to me. While I’m sure her history has been embellished, her acts of charity and courage in the face of the Nazi regime are inspirational. I am also swayed by the fact that Israel, at Yad Vashem, recognized Yelizaveta Skobtsova (Mother Maria) as Righteous among the Nations. Yad Vashem is Israel’s Holocaust Memorial. For Israel to honor a Christian in their somber memorial speaks volumes to me.
    My vote is for Mother Maria.

    • Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
      March 22, 2018 - 10:34 am | Permalink

      Yes, so true for me as well.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 22, 2018 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for that wonderful information about Yad Vashem.

  46. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    March 22, 2018 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    Such a hard choice…went with Maria. She reminds me of my Danish priest friend who had such a profound influence on me when I came to the Episcopal church. Artistic and defiant in the face of evil, two qualities I admire in both women. Maria is my new favorite saint and an example for our time.

  47. Amanda Williams's Gravatar Amanda Williams
    March 22, 2018 - 10:34 am | Permalink

    What a line up! But, Martin. Humble domestic and champion of the oppressed. And the cats, obviously.

  48. Catherine W Huber's Gravatar Catherine W Huber
    March 22, 2018 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    Terrible choice. Martin today – for the mention of the children

  49. March 22, 2018 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    I love both these saints. But Maria speaks to me more, and has for a long while. I am inspired by her work in Nazi occupied France and blown away by the last bit of information in her write-up today!

  50. Judy Bye's Gravatar Judy Bye
    March 22, 2018 - 10:57 am | Permalink

    Maria’s loyalty was to those whose need of justice was greatest-“I will act for justice and for the relief of suffering. I will try to love my neighbor.” If we were true Christians, we would all wear the Star.” “The way to God lies through love of other people, and there is no other way. At the Last Judgement I shall not be asked if I was successful in my ascetic exercises or how many prostrations I made in the course of my prayers. I shall be asked, did I feed the hungry, clothe the naked visit the sick and the prisoners: that is all I shall be asked.” Mother Maria of Paris. That and she died at Ravensbruck.

  51. Jan Robitscher's Gravatar Jan Robitscher
    March 22, 2018 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    Only one small comment: She wrote an icon.
    She did not draw it. Otherwise a great Lent Madness so far. Hard choice, but my heart (and vote) went to Martin

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 22, 2018 - 11:10 am | Permalink

      Like & agree (except my vote went to Maria).

  52. Mollie Douglas Turner+'s Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner+
    March 22, 2018 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    Megan, I knew it had to be you writing Maria’s kitsch up—totally your voice! Good kitsch, too! Is there a picture of the Ravensbrück embroidered icon?

    I voted happily for both in prior rounds, but today it’s Maria for me, with my friend Megan’s delightful advocacy.

  53. March 22, 2018 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    I fell in love with Martin ever since the bracket for 2018 was first released. I was delighted to learn his was the first “Animal Shelter” and you can read about his being the “Unofficial Saint of Veterinarians” aka Dr. Doolittle of the 16th century at (also includes trekkies, for some reason, which is why there is a Star Trek still on the blog). I also found there are many homeless shelters named for him, including one in Seattle WA and one in my own state of Maine in Lewiston. Naturally, there are animal shelters named for St. Martin, including this one in Dania Beach in FLA of, “St. Martin’s” was formed in 2003 to help meet the needs of the neediest dogs in the world of rescue – the handicapped and homeless. The dogs are all provided with veterinary care and loving homes, either permanent or foster. In addition, the dogs are provided with any necessary rehabilitation and physical therapy. “St. Martin’s” also provides medical care to animals belonging to the poor and the elderly in the community, who otherwise would not receive any medical care at all. And, when possible, we help other kinds of animals in need, such as injured ducks. Finding there was a middle school named for him in New Haven CT (that provides tuition-free, extended day education for low-income families), I can only imagine there must be other schools named for him as well… his impact on the world today is immeasurable!

  54. Ray's Gravatar Ray
    March 22, 2018 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    This was super tough for me, but ultimately I went w/Maria. Speaking of kitsch, I was given a fairly large statue of Martin, as a gift for my first communion. Odd gift, but I always remember it sitting on my dresser. In any event…Maria got today’s vote.

  55. Diane MC's Gravatar Diane MC
    March 22, 2018 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    I clicked through thoroughly intending to vote for Martin, but my heart went to Maria. Tough, tough choice, today.

  56. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 22, 2018 - 11:28 am | Permalink

    Martin served God’s people during his life and died at 60.
    Maria served God’s people and persisted in resisting against evil powers during her life and therefore was assassinated/executed/murdered by the Nazi’s at Ravensbruck at 54.

    Yes, Maria already has Marytr’s Robe (Rev. 6:11), but a Golden Halo goes nicely with a white robe.

    Maria Skobstova pray for us in whose time fascism has once again reared its ugly head, may God grant us even a portion of your truly Christian persistence in resisting the powers of evil.

  57. Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
    March 22, 2018 - 11:35 am | Permalink

    I’m voting for Martin because of his life of faith and service, also because of his saintly patronage of just causes and of so many in need. St. Martin de Porres candles are big sellers in the bodegas in my neighborhood, too. When I bought one, the cashier told me that his mom always told him to acquire money, especially if it was honest!

  58. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    March 22, 2018 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    This was hard. The tipping point for me was that Maria Skobstova was martyred for her faith.

  59. March 22, 2018 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Maria is going all the way!

  60. Linda Sylvester's Gravatar Linda Sylvester
    March 22, 2018 - 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Not even a hint of hesitation for me today. Maria lights my night sky as a faithful example – standing our ground for Christ when confronting (excuse my histrionics) our recent hard right turn towards autocratic crazy. Love to the end!

  61. Maryw47's Gravatar Maryw47
    March 22, 2018 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Impossible choice! I voted, but I believe both of these saints deserve the Golden Halo, and whoever doesn’t make it to the finals should come back next year!!

    • Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
      March 22, 2018 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Anyone who has made it to the Elate Eight is not eligible for several years. But — when he/she is next eligible, let’s see them again!

  62. March 22, 2018 - 12:20 pm | Permalink


  63. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    March 22, 2018 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

    This was really hard. I had to choose between “y’all” and A Confederacy of Dunces! Voted for Martin because of the animals; my daughter is a veterinarian.

  64. Laurie Gibbons's Gravatar Laurie Gibbons
    March 22, 2018 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

    In any other matchup, I’d be all about Martin de Porres, but I think Maria is the one this year. Every writing about her, even this one with the kitsch, speaks to me. She is the Lent Madness hero we need right now.

    • Linda Fernandez's Gravatar Linda Fernandez
      March 22, 2018 - 12:58 pm | Permalink

      I voted for Martin. We don’t often get to celebrate the life of a black saint. I was ordained at St. Martin’s church on the west side of Chicago and I cant tell you how many people in the neighbor,hood especially our young people, we’re excited to have a saint that represented them. He still is an inspiration. But I’m seeing a pattern here. This is the year of the woman, and poor Martin doesn’t have a chance. Ah well, I’m so far down no one will read my post anyway..

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 22, 2018 - 1:04 pm | Permalink

        I read it! And I celebrate you and your thoughts and Martin.

      • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
        March 22, 2018 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

        So did I! I also hope to vote for St. Martin in a future Lent Madness.

      • Laurie Gibbons's Gravatar Laurie Gibbons
        March 23, 2018 - 9:44 am | Permalink

        I’m not supporting Maria because she’s a woman. I’m supporting her because she stood up to tyranny, spoke truth to power, acted on behalf of those who couldn’t defend themselves, and through it all kept hope for a better world, despite all indicators to the contrary. Her story and that time period is so relevant to now. She inspires me and I hope to emulate her in any way possible.

  65. Jeanne King's Gravatar Jeanne King
    March 22, 2018 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Martin. I love his humble patience and his kitsch. Megan is an entrancetress ( yes a made up word but expresses my feelings accurately)

  66. aleathia nicholson's Gravatar aleathia nicholson
    March 22, 2018 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

    First Black saint from the Americas and then… be in A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES pretty well clinches it for me despite the fact that Martin is already behind. Also, the late, great jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams honored him musically…Not bad for a lay brother who cared naught for fame and honors and proudly carried his broom to clean up messes. He’s a mainstay for Catholics who adore him and hopefully are voting for him today.

  67. john w miller's Gravatar john w miller
    March 22, 2018 - 1:15 pm | Permalink

    I would, in normal times, vote for St. Martin, given his impact on so many, world-wide. But, I voted for Maria who was so courageous, and yet not full of herself. In the present turbulent times, we need a beacon of bravery and courage, like that of Maria.

  68. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 22, 2018 - 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been trying all day to decide between these two saints who have won my heart and mind! I still remember the joyful celebration when the beloved Pope canonized St. Martin; that got the attention of even Methodist clergy! But Mother Maria’s resisting Nazism with such determination and even humor (though I’m sure she wasn’t laughing and the storm troopers failed to get the joke), and paying the ultimate price, leads me to vote for her this time.

  69. Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
    March 22, 2018 - 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Either one would be a most worthy winner of the Golden Halo. Voted for Martin because he’s behind, but will be very happy if Maria wins and goes on to win the halo, too.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 22, 2018 - 2:17 pm | Permalink

      such a negative reason for a vote when the votee is such a worthy candidate

  70. Bonnie Caudell's Gravatar Bonnie Caudell
    March 22, 2018 - 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I came in planning to vote for Martin since I had followed him all the way. But Maria was too much! She was always there for everyone. Great Maria!

    • Constance Santana's Gravatar Constance Santana
      March 22, 2018 - 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Everyone but her children anyway.

      • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
        March 22, 2018 - 10:14 pm | Permalink

        Her son was 24. I think he could make up his own mind.

  71. Constance Santana's Gravatar Constance Santana
    March 22, 2018 - 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I am so disappointed in Lent Madness this year. In my mind any mothet who leads her child into certain death is not a saint. In a prior season Augustine, who shaped our beliefs, appeared to have left his son behind because of his beliefs and HE WAS TROUNCED! Martin de Porres is a true saint! He lived his life for God and helped so many children doing so. Maria helped people but lost sight of her children in the process which led to their certain death. In my mind she missed her motherhood role big time.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 22, 2018 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

      I confess confusion as to your comments on her mothering. Her son who died with her was certainly old enough to make his own decisions about his life . I’m truly glad you don*T know me and/or my story and experiences because surely you’d find my mothering not up to snuff. After all, one of my kids is a lawyer.

    • Sister Mary Winifred's Gravatar Sister Mary Winifred
      March 22, 2018 - 3:41 pm | Permalink

      She did NOT lose sight of her children – her son was 24 when he died. And as for leading children to certain death in a concentration camp, when you were arrested by the Gestapo I’m sure you didn’t have a choice about whether your children went along or not.

  72. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    March 22, 2018 - 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I have a suggestion for the SEC for 2019. No martyrs. Not one!

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 22, 2018 - 4:23 pm | Permalink

      “Like,” except that it’s worth pointing out that “martyr” means “witness,” and there are many ways of witnessing. According to the Coptic church, there are three types of martyrs: green, white, and red. The red died for their faith; the white were persecuted but not killed (the old “confessors”), and the green fasted and prayed.

      Here’s a passage from a Coptic website: An ancient homily from Ireland, written around the end of the 7th century, gives a perfect summary of the three types of martyrdom.

      Now there are three kinds of martyrdom, which are accounted as a cross to a man, to wit: white martyrdom, green and red martyrdom. White martyrdom consists in a man’s abandoning everything he loves for God’s sake, though he suffer fasting or labor thereat. Green martyrdom consists in this, that by means of fasting and labor he frees himself from his evil desires, or suffers toil in penance and repentance.

      • Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
        March 22, 2018 - 6:03 pm | Permalink

        That’s cool! Thanks!

  73. Melissa Ridlon's Gravatar Melissa Ridlon
    March 22, 2018 - 3:28 pm | Permalink

    pHil’s poem works well to the tune of “I sing a song of the saints of God”

  74. Mariana Bauman's Gravatar Mariana Bauman
    March 22, 2018 - 3:45 pm | Permalink

    With strong connections to Peru, still faithful to Martin! A quote attributed to him might be of interest..Forgive my error, and please instruct me, for I did not know that the precept of obedience took precedence over that of charity.
    — Saint Martin de Porres to his superior after being reprimanded for taking an injured Indian to his room.

  75. Mariana Bauman's Gravatar Mariana Bauman
    March 22, 2018 - 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Sorry – his quote should have been with quotation marks!
    ” Forgive my error, and please instruct me, for I did not know that the precept of obedience took precedence over that of charity.”

  76. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 22, 2018 - 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Martin and Maria in earlier, knowing that somewhere down/up the line a decision between the two. Maybe these are not good reasons, nonetheless I voted for Maria today. She is my Name Saint, a creative, a very brave woman and devoted to the Lord.

  77. March 22, 2018 - 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Maria, for what Oliver said. And, the Jew on the crucifix. I pray I’d have such courage.

  78. March 22, 2018 - 10:00 pm | Permalink

    Well, I was overtaken by nostalgia for Paris, the city that good Americans go to when they die (the epigram is associated with Henry James, but it may have been one of his friends who said it first). Not to mention the continuing allure of being able to stand up to the Nazis with the bravery of wit!

  79. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    March 22, 2018 - 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Trading bread for thread….

  80. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    March 23, 2018 - 1:01 am | Permalink

    Maria for fighting the Nazis, opening her house to people, and continuing her art in the camp. I liked the street sign.

  81. Amy Kendall's Gravatar Amy Kendall
    March 23, 2018 - 10:55 pm | Permalink

    I forgot to vote yesterday, but I totally would have voted for Martin!!

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 24, 2018 - 12:21 am | Permalink

      Good woman!

  82. March 24, 2018 - 6:48 am | Permalink

    Oops…things got crazy and I missed voting on this one, but I would have voted for Maria. Amazing that she was still creating art in the midst of the hopelessness of a concentration camp.

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