Damien of Molokai vs. Pandita Ramabai

Happy Monday! Grab your coffee and read some compelling stories about two saintly souls as we start another full week of the world’s most popular online Lenten devotion. We didn’t necessarily realize their names rhymed when we paired Damien of Molokai with Pandita Ramabai but, as this seems to be the Year of the Limerick in Lent Madness, it somehow feels appropriate.

On Friday, Photini aka The Woman at the Well made it past Ananias aka The Guy Who Helped out Saul/Paul 64% to 36% to advance to the Saintly Sixteen. She’ll face Tabitha in a sure-to-be heart-wrenching matchup.

Stay tuned later today for another sure-to-be scintillating episode of Monday Madness as Tim and Scott highlight the week to come.

Damien of Molokai

DamienFather Damien of Molokai was born Joseph de Veuster on January 3, 1840, in rural Belgium. The youngest of seven siblings, Joseph was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps as a farmer. However, God had other plans for Joseph, and he heard a calling to follow his two older brothers into monastic life. Upon coming of age and entering the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Mary and Jesus, Joseph followed Roman Catholic tradition and took on the name of a sixth-century martyr, Damien of Syria.

Damien was known for praying fervently to Saint Francis Xavier to be sent on a mission. Little did Damien know but his prayers would soon be answered. In 1864, Damien’s brother suddenly became ill, and Damien found himself taking his brother’s place on a mission to Hawai’i.

Upon arrival to the islands, Damien was ordained to the priesthood and settled into a life of spreading the word of God. In 1866, Hawai’i established a leper colony at Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai. Leprosy, or Hanson’s Disease, was rapidly decimating native Hawaiians as their immune systems were unfamiliar with the disease brought by missionaries and other foreign visitors. In a mistaken attempt to control the spread of disease, the Hawaiian monarchy began sending leprosy patients to the remote peninsula of Kalaupapa. Flanked by soaring cliffs, deep ravines, and unforgiving topography, the peninsula ensured there was only one way in (by boat) and no way out for those banished from their homes, families, and friends.

Following a visit to the colony, Damien was dismayed by the poor living conditions, lack of resources, and inhumane treatment of the lepers. He began building homes for the patients, a church (St. Philomena, which stands today), established standards for cleanliness, implemented education plans for the young and old, and ensured the sick were cared for and the dead buried. In each patient, he saw Jesus staring back at him. Damien relocated permanently to Kalaupapa despite the church’s warnings that he would be exposing himself to infection. Damien is said to have replied, “I make myself a leper with the lepers, to gain all to Jesus Christ.” In 1885, Damien contracted leprosy and lived with the agonizing disease for four years before his death in 1889.

Collect for Damien of Molokai
Bind up the wounds of your children, O God, and help us, following the example of your servant Damien, to be bold and loving in service to all who are shunned for the diseases they suffer, that your grace may be poured forth upon all; through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Anna Fitch Courie

Pandita Ramabai

Pandita_RamabaiBorn as Rama Dongre in 1858 in Gangamoola, India, to Brahmin parents, Pandita Ramabai was a champion of women’s rights and a social reformer. Despite the many prohibitions against women, Ramabai’s father, a Sanskrit scholar, taught his daughter the Hindu sacred texts. After his death, she continued his research and teaching at Calcutta University and was the first woman to be awarded the title Pandita for her scholarship.

She married a Bengali man outside her caste, which was socially frowned upon in her time. Her enlightened husband shared her passion for women’s issues, and they hoped to start a school for widowed child-brides, but he died less than two years after their marriage. They had one daughter, who worked closely with her mother, though she died suddenly a year before Ramabai’s death in 1922.

Ramabai continued her work on women’s issues, promoting education and an end to child marriage. To Lord Ripon’s Education Commission, she suggested that because men are not supportive of women’s education, women themselves should be trained as teachers and school inspectors in India. Additionally, she argued that if according to custom only a woman could provide medical care for gynecological issues, then women should be allowed to study medicine in order to do so. This sensational advice was carried all the way to Queen Victoria. The next year, Ramabai went to Britain to study medicine. There she converted to Christianity after spending time with the Wantage Sisters, an Anglican religious community. She also joined a mission that ministered to former prostitutes.

Ramabai returned to India and started the Mukti Mission, a home for widows and orphans. As a supporter of the movement for Indian freedom from colonial rule, Ramabai was one of ten female delegates of the Indian Congress of 1889. She translated the Bible into Marathi, the language of her birth, spoken in Western India. To this day, her Mukti Mission in Mumbai still provides the same much-needed services that Ramabai first offered more than a century ago.

Collect for Pandita Ramabai
Everliving God, you called the women at the tomb to witness to the resurrection of your Son: We thank you for the courageous and independent spirit of your servant Pandita Ramabai, the mother of modern India; and we pray that we, like her, may embrace your gift of new life, caring for the poor, braving resentment to uphold the dignity of women, and offering the riches of our culture to our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Amber Belldene

Damien of Molokai vs. Pandita Ramabai

  • Pandita Ramabai (50%, 4,277 Votes)
  • Damien of Molokai (50%, 4,232 Votes)

Total Voters: 8,509

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Damien of Molokai: By William Brigham [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Pandita Ramabai: By Ramabai Sarasvati, Pandita, 1858-1922 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

188 Comments to "Damien of Molokai vs. Pandita Ramabai"

  1. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    March 25, 2019 - 8:02 am | Permalink

    Though he knew well the risk of infection
    Father Damien maintained his direction,
    By the Word and by deeds
    Eased his sufferers’ needs;
    Which why I support his election.

    • Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
      March 25, 2019 - 8:48 am | Permalink

      Mine, too. He knew the risks and chose to remain with his congregation. All honor to Pandita, but I’m rooting for Damien to win the Golden Halo. When I saw his name and Wilberforce’s on the bracket, I knew immediately that I wanted either one to win.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 25, 2019 - 10:01 am | Permalink

      Thank you, John. Lovely!

    • Amy Kendall's Gravatar Amy Kendall
      March 25, 2019 - 8:00 pm | Permalink

      I agree!

      • carol Stott's Gravatar carol Stott
        March 27, 2019 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Thank you Jennifer. I found this very interesting. Love, Mom

  2. Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
    March 25, 2019 - 8:02 am | Permalink

    Today’s tribute to Damien and Pandita can be sung to “Oh, What a Circus” from the musical “Evita.” See you on the balcony of the Casa Rosada!

    The 19th Cent’ry – in ’89,
    All of Molokai wailed and moaned
    Over the death of a priest who served lepers exiled.
    It was Hawai’i.
    But far from the luaus, the surfboards, and leis.
    Father Damien made a place
    Where their dignity’s raised.

    He knew the dangers, but said, “That’s fine.
    As a leper, I’ll serve my own
    And bring to Christ Jesus these lepers reviled.”
    St. Philomena’s:
    The church that he built is still standing today
    And where Damien’s plans bore fruit.
    Chaos and doom went away.

    He started his life Joe de Veuster,
    Just one of seven born of a farmer.
    But like two brothers,
    Joe joined the friars.
    His mission lead to
    This life inspired…

    Born high-caste Brahmin, a woman taught,
    Rama Dongre brought reform –
    Women should not be denied just because of their sex.
    “Our girls can be teachers and doctors!” she’d yell.
    Her efforts gained traction there
    And in England as well.

    Ramabai’s treatise
    Made it to Queen Victoria.
    She went to Britain as a student
    To learn and train as a doctor.
    But she converted…
    Served as a nun to ex-harlots.
    Returning to start the Mukti Mission:
    A home for widows and orphans.

    First woman to be called Pandita.
    Translates the Bible into Marathi.
    She served on Congress
    And her attendance
    Helped with the progress
    Towards independence.

    • Kathy Hartley's Gravatar Kathy Hartley
      March 25, 2019 - 8:43 am | Permalink

      Yet another triumph!

    • Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
      March 25, 2019 - 8:49 am | Permalink

      Brilliant, as always.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 25, 2019 - 9:54 am | Permalink

      Yeah, these two’s stories don’t lend themselves to comedy, do they? But you do pathos well, and I love the choice of music. It gives them the gravitas they deserve!

    • Rita Chenoweth's Gravatar Rita Chenoweth
      March 25, 2019 - 10:29 am | Permalink

      Yep – you’ve done it again! Thanks for starting off this week with another saintly song!

    • Liz Stevens's Gravatar Liz Stevens
      March 25, 2019 - 10:36 am | Permalink

      Inspiring poem. A vote for Pandita is not a vote against Damien. I am grateful to Lent Madness, once again, for giving us reason to meditate on goodness in the world.

    • Pete's Gravatar Pete
      March 25, 2019 - 10:44 am | Permalink

      I they have not hired you yet for Lent Madness 2020 then they do not care about keeping this exercise fresh! Thank you for your daily contributions which I look forward to eagerly!

    • March 25, 2019 - 6:30 pm | Permalink

      So I see you gave up trying to rhyme with Gangamoola.

  3. Ann G.'s Gravatar Ann G.
    March 25, 2019 - 8:05 am | Permalink

    I had never heard of Pandita before Lent Madness! I was inspired by her story, so must #VotePandita

  4. CN's Gravatar CN
    March 25, 2019 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    Definitely. We need more like her

  5. Kate the Catechist's Gravatar Kate the Catechist
    March 25, 2019 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    I always look forward to meeting an inspiring new saint of two during Lent Madness, so it was a joy to meet Pandita. I have voted for her today.

  6. Carol Miro's Gravatar Carol Miro
    March 25, 2019 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    As a graduate of the University of Hawaii, I must stay loyal to Father Damien, although Pandita is compelling

  7. Carolyn Mack's Gravatar Carolyn Mack
    March 25, 2019 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    In a Lent Madness I am not finding very inspiring, these two are wonderful. I voted for Pandita, but they are both so deserving.

    • Barbara L Ross's Gravatar Barbara L Ross
      March 25, 2019 - 8:52 am | Permalink

      I agree with you, Carolyn. Many times this season I didn’t want to vote for either, and today I wish I could vote for both!

    • Sue Harris's Gravatar Sue Harris
      March 25, 2019 - 8:55 am | Permalink

      I agree. I don’t like voting for the essentially mythological.r

  8. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    March 25, 2019 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    As much as I initially thought to myself that Fr. Damien would be the victor here because of his empathy, and because I had never heard of Pandita, boy, was I wrong. In her honor, and in thanks to the smart, intelligent, strong and highly educated women I have met from India, Pandita gets the nod, and we all win.

  9. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 25, 2019 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the opportunity to discover these two wonderful saints. Both are impressive, but my vote goes to Pandita who not only worked for the poor and vulnerable but challenged the authorities of the day to take action. I have also visited the Sisters at Wantage so vote in thanksgiving for their ministry.

  10. Marcia A Tremmel's Gravatar Marcia A Tremmel
    March 25, 2019 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    I too expecting to vote for Fr. Damien. I had never heard of Pandita. It was a tough choice, but she gets my vote today,

  11. Debbie Northern's Gravatar Debbie Northern
    March 25, 2019 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Having visited a leper colony in Tanzania, I saw the devastating effects of this disease. To think of someone like Damien voluntarily working and ministering to these abandoned people and eventually succumbing to the same disease is truly sacrificial. My vote is Damien!

  12. Susan C's Gravatar Susan C
    March 25, 2019 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Pandita Ramabai is so impressive, so involved in everything I hold important, and so amazing that she was able to do all she did in an extremely male-dominated society. Even the honorific name Pandita is generally applied only to men, if I understand correctly. However, my vote goes to Father Damien, who walked the walk of Jesus, reaching out to the lepers, improving their lives, and sharing their fate unto death

  13. Bridget Buchan's Gravatar Bridget Buchan
    March 25, 2019 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    I am so excited. Over 40 years ago I spent some of my gap year volunteering at the Pandita Ramabai Mission in Maharashtra but I have NEVER EVER since heard or seen her mentioned anywhere! Of course I have voted for her.

    • Karen Sculley's Gravatar Karen Sculley
      March 25, 2019 - 9:42 am | Permalink

      That’s wonderful! I had never heard of her either, but I have a particular affection for India and the ongoing plight of countless women and children, so my vote is with Pandita also.

  14. Norab's Gravatar Norab
    March 25, 2019 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    I have looked upon molokai from Maui. I know Pandita a will win so I voted for Damien.

  15. Ruth Davis's Gravatar Ruth Davis
    March 25, 2019 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Damien. As impressive as Pandita is, Damien literally gave his life for the lepers.

  16. Patricia Evans's Gravatar Patricia Evans
    March 25, 2019 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Remembering my grandmother who was born in Hawai’i :, my immigrant family members who were ostracized both because of their race and contraction of Hanson’s Disease, our Saviour who reached out to the outcast, including the ten lepers, today my vote goes to Fr. Damien and all who do the quiet, much need part of bringing God’s Light into the world.

  17. EAH's Gravatar EAH
    March 25, 2019 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    I love Lent Madness this year. The saints are less familiar and the writings are more informative (by intent, I suspect). I am inspired and grateful.

  18. Jane Christmas's Gravatar Jane Christmas
    March 25, 2019 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Both of today’s candidates are inspiring but I cast my vote with Pandita. She has something in common with Hannah Grier Coome (who faced off a few weeks ago against Richard Allen): Both of them developed attachments with the Wantage Sisters’ community in England. All part of the Lent Madness Circle of Synchronicity!

  19. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    March 25, 2019 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    Now this is more like it! Two very real people, two very real followers of our Lord, two very real contenders for the Golden Halo. This was a choice that needed to be made with prayer! Much as I was moved by Pandita’s story, my heart is with Father Damien, and he gets my vote today. Thank you for restoring an element of sanity and reality into Lent Madness.

  20. Sandy Warren's Gravatar Sandy Warren
    March 25, 2019 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    This is the first matchup this year where I found it nearly impossible to choose – both so inspiring. In the end I had to choose Pandita for the sheer breadth of her work.

    • Shorty_F's Gravatar Shorty_F
      March 25, 2019 - 9:12 pm | Permalink

      I agree. This was an even match between two very worthy saints.

  21. Gena Gilliam's Gravatar Gena Gilliam
    March 25, 2019 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    Greatly admire Pandita Ramabai for her service and devotion to her people, but I have always had a soft spot for Saint Damien. (Especially since reading Alan Brennert’s Molokai!) Damien gets my vote today.

    • Anna's Gravatar Anna
      March 25, 2019 - 10:18 am | Permalink

      I love that book too!

    • Sharon Kilpatrick's Gravatar Sharon Kilpatrick
      March 25, 2019 - 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Currently reading his Daughter of Molokai – so cast my vote for Damien.

  22. Nancy C's Gravatar Nancy C
    March 25, 2019 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    “In each patient, he saw Jesus staring back at him.” For that moving description of his life’s work and ministry, and as a hospice professional, my vote today must go to Fr Damien.

  23. March 25, 2019 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    Indeed, two inspiring candidates for Halo-hood! My vote comes down on the side of Pandita, for her steadfast work for women and for inspiring Queen Victoria to bring her to England to become a doctor. I sure Pandita faced challenges because of her sex and race everyday, but she kept fighting and achieved so much.

  24. Marlena's Gravatar Marlena
    March 25, 2019 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    Oh, so not fair. Two saints that I admire pitted against each other and on a MONDAY no less. I had to almost finish my coffee before I could bring myself to a vote.

  25. Annette's Gravatar Annette
    March 25, 2019 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    I voted for Damien because he did what he did for Christ, and it cost him his life. I don’t want to diminish what Pandita did, but she did her work as part of what she personally thought was right, not because she was dedicated to Christ.

  26. Pat Sadd's Gravatar Pat Sadd
    March 25, 2019 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    If anyone is interested in reading about what the true situation was in Hawaii and the Lepers they should look to a book titled “The Colony”. Having read that book as much as I can rejoice in Pandita’s mission and it’s lasting effects, I could not vote for her. The reality of the colony on Molokai, the deep rooted anger and fear that created the handling of those sent there and Fr. Damien’s service and love for the people who were eaten away by the disease (the most unlovable), won my vote today. Not because he put himself in death’s path we are all on that path, nor that he picked a horrible manner, but he saw life amid the death and nurtured it.

  27. Kate Mason's Gravatar Kate Mason
    March 25, 2019 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Father Damien…
    The quiet practice
    of loving, giving, caring.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 25, 2019 - 9:59 am | Permalink

      Yay! The return of haiku to our comments!

  28. Judith Landry's Gravatar Judith Landry
    March 25, 2019 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    This was a “eeny meeny miney mo” vote.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 25, 2019 - 10:00 am | Permalink

      I’m with you, Judith. I think for the first time in my Lent Madness career, I may be flipping a coin.

    • Kathi Ann Kovacic's Gravatar Kathi Ann Kovacic
      March 25, 2019 - 10:04 am | Permalink

      I thought so too – the hardest one yet.

  29. March 25, 2019 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    This was a really hard one, and it appears so far that the community as a whole agrees with me, including my reluctant choice to vote for Ramabai, though I hate dissing Fr. Damien whom I admire immensely too. I just find Ramabai such a fascinating and little-known character. And ironically probably the fact that I’m now RC makes me less likely to vote for Fr. Damien. Back when I was Protestant and my grandmother (who admired him and wrote about him) made disparaging comparisons between him and the evangelical missionary Mary Slessor, I was more of a champion of Fr. Damien. Now that he’s on “my team” I want to vote for Ramabai 🙂

  30. Marjorie's Gravatar Marjorie
    March 25, 2019 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    I want this one to be a tie, so I’ll vote later for whoever is behind.
    Wonderful saints today!

    • Patrice's Gravatar Patrice
      March 25, 2019 - 9:53 am | Permalink

      I’m with you, Marjorie. Both are so deserving.

  31. Kate Mason's Gravatar Kate Mason
    March 25, 2019 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    P.S. With others, I agree – this is the toughest matchup I can recall.

    The Spirit moves in mysterious ways this Lent. I mean, who would have thought the marvelous John Cabot could rescue limericks from infamy as he so soundly has?

    And Michael Wachter’s musical salutes … WOW.

    I’m sure I’m not alone in noting these guys post at 8:02 am EDT. How the heck do they DO that??

    • Judith Peterson's Gravatar Judith Peterson
      March 25, 2019 - 4:41 pm | Permalink

      I suspect they have a Saintly Scorecard and read ahead and made their decisions, or began writing the song long before Lent Madness started. When I finally voted at 4:30 today I was pleasantly surprised to see a tied vote. What does happen if, at the end of today the actual numbers are the same?

  32. Ruth Douglas Miller's Gravatar Ruth Douglas Miller
    March 25, 2019 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    Ramabai worked hard and faced battles, but not ones that would lead to slow painful death. Father Damien willingly out of love, against advice of his elders, sacrificed himself knowing he very likely would join his patients in pain and death. Father Damien! With a strong nod to the wonders of antibiotics.

  33. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    March 25, 2019 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    Both saints are compelling candidates, but Fr. Damien joined a community drenched in loss and death to bring living water. He looked into their faces and saw Christ in each one. They looked into his face and saw not fear or loathing but love.

  34. Kc's Gravatar Kc
    March 25, 2019 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    Damien, by far.

  35. Elaine's Gravatar Elaine
    March 25, 2019 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    One important aspect of Fr. Damien’s story that stood out for me today is that the illness he was willing to contract and die from was one brought to the people of Hawai’i by colonizers. That detail doesn’t really have anything to do with Fr. Damien, who responded in the most Christlike way possible, I think; but it’s something we should be mindful of.

    And Ramabai’s work began well before her conversion. The work she accomplished might well have been done completely outside the Christian faith. There are saints in many traditions!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 25, 2019 - 10:09 am | Permalink

      Oh, good point, Elaine! I loved that her dad taught her the sacred texts, and she studied Hinduism, then Christianity, and made a choice of head and heart. Hmmm, I may be leaning toward Pandita!

  36. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 25, 2019 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    It’s a tossup for us today! Both are very worthy, so Pandita it is by the flip of a coin. We’d be happy if either of them made it to the Golden Halo.

  37. madamesenora's Gravatar madamesenora
    March 25, 2019 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    Child marriage in 2019 is still a huge problem worldwide and especially in the US. Women’s access to trained medical doctors is a huge problem in countries where women are not permitted to work, let alone to be educated.
    Pandita Ramabai’s story sheds light on both of these important issues, during Women’s History Month, no less. She gets my vote.

  38. Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
    March 25, 2019 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    Oh, this was such a hard choice. They are both so worthy.

  39. St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
    March 25, 2019 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    Pandita Ramabai. “The mother of modern India.” The ne plus ultra of Social Justice Warriors. Very impressive.

  40. Brixham Beth's Gravatar Brixham Beth
    March 25, 2019 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    Although Pandita Ramabai must have been a remarkable lady deserving a halo, I’m going for Damien today as my grandfather when state surgeon in Malaya at the end of the 1800s worked with the lepers and set up new treatments and activities for them and is still remembered today for his pioneering work.

  41. Margaret T.'s Gravatar Margaret T.
    March 25, 2019 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    I was well aware of Damien and his wonderful works, but had never heard of Pandita. She who worked so hard for women’s rights has been essentially ignored by the church. Time to change that! My vote is for Pandita.

  42. Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
    March 25, 2019 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    Imua, Damien! (Go, Damien!) He gave his all, lovingly and sacrificially, for the very neighbors Jesus implored us to love and care for. Pandita is admirable, but it’s Damien all the way for me, and not just because I was born on Molokai! (On the other side of the island — my dad’s career was with Del Monte Pineapple.) Off and on over the past 5o years, after quarantine was lifted when understanding of and treatment for Hansen’s Disease had improved, there have been mule ride tours down and back up the steep and treacherous cliffs separating the Kalaupapa peninsula from the rest of the island. (Too steep for human hikers, but the mules are amazingly sure-footed!) The tours of Kalaupapa, led (at least when I went in the 1980s) by patients who chose to stay out their lives there after quarantine ended, are very moving. I remember especially the grooves cut through the floor in front of every pew in St. Philomena’s Church. As patients lost tissue and muscle control, many of them needed to drool and spit frequently. So Damien made sure they could discreetly do so during mass through holes to the ground beneath the church. For this act of compassion alone, I’d say his sainthood is well earned.

  43. Michele's Gravatar Michele
    March 25, 2019 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    My vote today honors Damien Ministries in Washington DC who helped people with AIDS in the ‘80s…

    • Br. Thanasi's Gravatar Br. Thanasi
      March 25, 2019 - 10:54 am | Permalink

      It was the example of St. Damien that guided me on how to respond in 1981 in San Francisco to those first being struck down! Serve them!

      Praise God for his example! Praise my parochial school for having us read Fr. Damien and the Lepers in 1959!

  44. Len Freeman's Gravatar Len Freeman
    March 25, 2019 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    Glad Pandita was a “social justice warrior” but I don’t think that’s what we’re voting for this year. We served in Hawaii, and Damien was clearly the voice and face and hands of Christ in a circumstance where too many of his “missionary” predecessors did well for themselves by supposedly “doing good.”

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 25, 2019 - 11:06 am | Permalink

      Oh, but Len, I think that protecting little girls from becoming child brides, and saving women from untimely death resulting from childbirth, rape, gynecological issues, abusive relationships, and giving them the knowledge to protect themselves and their children from predatory legal issues and crime is equally serving Christ. In fact, I’d say Jesus was a pretty strong social justice warrior. His whole life was lived in service to the sick, poor, and ostracized.

  45. March 25, 2019 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Today has been a REALY hard choice! As a feminist, nurse, and distantly related to Elizabeth CADY Stanton, I am drawn to Ramabai BUT Fr. Damian’s work in the least almost us at risk to his own health wins me over.

  46. Richard J. Adams's Gravatar Richard J. Adams
    March 25, 2019 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    It’s rather unfortunate that two number one seeds were pitted against each other so early in March madness.

  47. Carl Peterson's Gravatar Carl Peterson
    March 25, 2019 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    Never having been to India and just back from Hawaii have to vote for Molokai. And his passion for those forsaken to death is quite a sacrifice making what we do pale in comparison to his work. Give me the strength to do my part.

  48. Diane Manko-Cliff's Gravatar Diane Manko-Cliff
    March 25, 2019 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    While they are both admirable, Damien has always had a special place in my heart. He willing went into a situation knowing he would most likely die. What an act of love.

  49. Laura Heid's Gravatar Laura Heid
    March 25, 2019 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    This is a tough one! Both are so deserving! Yet I went with Pandita because she was so ahead of her time. I am a retired physician and am grateful that she saw the need for women to be educated and especially, to be educated in medicine. This is a challenge even today in developing countries. I am also grateful that both she and her husband had the courage to follow their love for one another in spite of the caste system.

  50. March 25, 2019 - 10:29 am | Permalink

    Sometimes, having put your hand to the plow you cannot turn back – even when the cost is health, identity, even life itself. Damien all the way!

  51. Susan Reeves's Gravatar Susan Reeves
    March 25, 2019 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    Hard one today. While I feel drawn to support women who dedicate their lives to the service and education of others, having lived in Hawaii for a couple of years early on I learned about Damien and my vote goes to him today for his gift of his very life for those who were marginalized and isolated through no fault of their own.

  52. Weatherly Verhelst's Gravatar Weatherly Verhelst
    March 25, 2019 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    This is a tough choice! Such brilliant, compassionate people. Do we get to have a tie today?
    Reluctantly I chose Pandita Ramabai. Father Damien deserves a halo as well.

  53. Michelle's Gravatar Michelle
    March 25, 2019 - 10:43 am | Permalink

    This is such a hard pairing! I don’t want to say how I voted because I could have voted for either of them. The shame is one of them will loose today!

  54. Mary O'Donnell's Gravatar Mary O'Donnell
    March 25, 2019 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    A difficult decision. Both Saints had extremely important missions.
    I do not consider either of these Saints modern. The two wonderful Saints we encountered today simply do not encounter a world like our own. Contemporary Saints are needed to address the issues of our times. Referring on the themes of faith and politics, and martyrdom are important resources for Christian thinking and action in our world today. Oscar Romero is one such saint who was executed in 1971.

  55. Tonya Eza's Gravatar Tonya Eza
    March 25, 2019 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    What an agonizing choice today! Both saints are so worthy of the vote. I had never heard of Pandita Ramabai before and was fully expecting to vote for Damien. But my admiration goes for Pandita Ramabai, since she is a woman who struggled on behalf of women. I will be just as happy if Damien wins the vote.

  56. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 25, 2019 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    I found Pandita’s story interesting and inspiring, as a woman called to ordained ministry at a time when there were precious few of us. However, much of her work was done before her conversion to Christianity. That doesn’t negate her importance in the history of India, but…Anyway, remembering the early days of my “final” career as a hospital chaplain, when AIDS was raging and taking many of our friends and acquaintances and patients, how scared I was, especially before the training we got in infection control. God gave me courage and strength when I needed it, enabling me to minister to AIDS patients, as well as the others. I have to go with Damien. God gave him courage and strength to minister to the lepers’ colony, and enabled him to love the people he found there, to see Jesus in each of them. He was given such wisdom, providing for even the least of their needs…

  57. Joyce Gieza's Gravatar Joyce Gieza
    March 25, 2019 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    Couldn’t read anything with that awful purple background. So I voted for Damien since of him I know. Please go back to a white background. This one actually makes my eyes hurt.

    • March 25, 2019 - 11:00 am | Permalink

      Hm…it’s a white background on my computer.

    • Kate's Gravatar Kate
      March 25, 2019 - 11:27 am | Permalink

      Joyce, I’m not sure why your background is purple–mine is white.

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 25, 2019 - 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Something isn’t loading right in your browser.

      Try using a different browser, especially if you are using Internet Explorer*. Or clear your browser history, make sure all available software updates are installed, then restart your computer/tablet/smart phone.

      If the issue persists, depending on your operating system, check out either support.microsoft.com or getsupport.apple.com for further assistance.

      *I used to do web design. Internet Explorer has a habit of not displaying websites the same as Safari/Google Chrome/Firefox/Opera et cetra . . . .

  58. Petie Pete's Gravatar Petie Pete
    March 25, 2019 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    At least we have an actual contest today. Lent “Yawn” Madness is yet so predictable. My suggestion for next year is to ONLY have contestants who are women of color…that will be a contest. My guess is Pandita will win, though I believe this time Damien deserves the win. If you are playing Lent Madness to win…remember…vote for the woman or person of color, if up against a male, particularly of European decent or depicted as such by artists…the woman/person of color will win 90% of the time. The predictability sort of takes the fun out of the game.

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 25, 2019 - 11:11 am | Permalink

      Really? So far this year there have been seven matchups with one man and one woman (including Dominic vs. Marina the Monk). 4 of those 7 were won by the woman (Tabitha/Dismas, Ananias/Photini, Dominic/Marina, Phillips Brooks/Marguerite d’Youville) and 3 by the man (John Chrysostom/Margaret of Cortona, William Wilberforce/Agatha Lin Zhao, Hannah Greier Coome/Richard Allen). 4/7 is not 90%.

      In the second round there are two certain man/woman pairings (Martha/Nicodemus, Ignatius/Marina), one that will be man/woman since the unknown against Zenaida is either Nichols of Myra or Rudolph of Gubbio, and one that could be man/woman or woman/woman depending on who wins today. Now I am interested to continue the statistical analysis.

      I am not touching the person of color question, in many cases that is not known.

      And if LM this year makes you yawn, that is your prerogative. Personally I’m not in it for the win, I’m in it for the learning.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 25, 2019 - 11:24 am | Permalink

        The learning, the community, and, of course, the laughter! Thank you for your comment; I didn’t quite know how to respond to that comment in a positive way.

        • Sally Duernberger's Gravatar Sally Duernberger
          March 25, 2019 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

          Come on now. Let’s give Damien a chance at the Golden Halo! He’s been nominated several times over the years yet never advances. It’s time to honor Damien for his tenacity in loving those who lived unloved, just as Christ teaches us.

          • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
            March 25, 2019 - 2:13 pm | Permalink

            No kidding? He’s never made into the Saintly Sixteen? Well, that is a shame!

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 25, 2019 - 11:26 am | Permalink

      How sad that you are so cynical. And so morally and mathematically challenged. I did a very quick check of the winners of the last nine years of Lent Madness (it only seems as if this pious practice has been around since the desert fathers and mothers). Of the nine winners, five were European White Males (EWM: pronounced “uuhhhmmmm”). That is 55%. They were George Herbert, C.S. Lewis, Charles Wesley, Francis the Saint not Francis the pope, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. All highly European, highly male, even masculine. If we include the two white women, Florence Nightingale and Frances Perkins, as Awards Given to White People, we have 7/9, or 78%. TWO of the golden haloes have been given to Women of Color (or WOC, rhymes with “rocks your world”): Mary Magdalene (not a white woman, sorry to break it to you) and Anna Alexander. Actual winners who were women of color comprise 22% of the total. So, still a minority. If I were on the NYT or WaPo website right now, I would assume you were yet another Russian tr0ll and would be ignoring you. Instead I’ll say a quick prayer (22% sincere) for your conversion to reason if not faith and remind you that since this isn’t fun for you, you can go elsewhere. Breitbart is desperate for more bitter white men on its site.

      • Judy F N's Gravatar Judy F N
        March 25, 2019 - 2:44 pm | Permalink

        Well said. Thank you for this interesting information. I love statistics, especially accurate ones!!!

      • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
        March 25, 2019 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

        (Seven handclapping emoji)

      • Patricia White's Gravatar Patricia White
        March 25, 2019 - 4:37 pm | Permalink

        Oh, thank you and bless you for doing the survey, statistics, and percentages. I guess the white men need their own “metoo,” poor thangs.

      • March 25, 2019 - 11:19 pm | Permalink

        “Like”. For St. Celia

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 25, 2019 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Petie Pete, I’ve been thinking about what you wrote. I understand that it does seem that women and people of color are often the winners in this competition. What I don’t understand is why that bothers you. I hope you could consider this from, say, my shoes. No women were included in the list of The Disciples; few women are even named in the gospels; no women have their names attached to any of the books in the NT; women are still not allowed to be ordained in many branches of the church worldwide; and, even broadly, most of the authors, playwrights, artists, composers, politicians, world leaders, historians, and judges, lawyers, and other decision makers have been men. For MILLENNIA. Not because they had nothing to contribute, but because a majority of men have not allowed or facilitated our contributing to anything except child-rearing. (I got no beef with child-rearing! I was a stay-at-home mom myself.) I can’t begin to speak to the experiences of women of color, so I won’t try. Given all these things, is it really too much to ask that we celebrate women’s contributions to the faith in our small competition here? So what if women and people of color predominate here? We never have prevailed before in any public sphere at any time. I say all this not as an attack on you; just continuing the conversation in which I hope you will also continue.

      • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
        March 25, 2019 - 1:39 pm | Permalink

        Bless your good heart, Susan.

      • Judy FN's Gravatar Judy FN
        March 25, 2019 - 2:46 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Susan.

  59. Christine's Gravatar Christine
    March 25, 2019 - 10:49 am | Permalink

    Tuff match!!! I honor them both ,but Pandita won my heart.

  60. March 25, 2019 - 10:58 am | Permalink

    I have enormous respect for Bible translators and work to support them in whatever way I can. One vote here for Pandita Ramabai, translator of the Marathi Bible.

  61. Carolyn's Gravatar Carolyn
    March 25, 2019 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    Both amazing lives in which God’s hand is clearly visible in these great servants of the greater good .
    Voted for Pandita as I see hers the even more powerful contributions to Christianity and women’s issues on going.

  62. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    March 25, 2019 - 11:03 am | Permalink

    I love how Fr Damian said he saw Christ in each of the lepers- so difficult for us to see beyond the ugliness of disease- yet he could see beyond that which means he saw with his heart. He gets my vote

  63. Alec Clement's Gravatar Alec Clement
    March 25, 2019 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    Amazing saints…God Bless them

  64. Robin Rosbolt's Gravatar Robin Rosbolt
    March 25, 2019 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    Difficult choice today. My grandfather’s Aunt, Dr Margaret O’Hara, was a medical missionary in India and one of the first women to earn a medical degree from Queens College. There is a clinic names after her in a leper colony over there. So… women doctors in India and also lepers. Was a difficult choice but I went with Pandita.

  65. Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
    March 25, 2019 - 11:26 am | Permalink

    As most folks have said, this was a really difficult match-up, as evidenced by the 51% to 49% status as of 8:22 a.m. PDT. I voted for Damien this time, partly because I admire his work and selfless dedication, but partly because he was a “contestant” several years ago and didn’t make it.
    I look forward to voting for Pandita in the next couple of years.

    • Grace's Gravatar Grace
      March 25, 2019 - 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Well said. I’ll never forget that St. Joseph, adopted father of Christ, was eliminated in round two a few years ago. Glad the SEC provides second chances. So many holy people, so little time!

  66. Tobu's Gravatar Tobu
    March 25, 2019 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    Both saints did great work in the world, but for starting with far fewer resources and yet achieving a broader and more lasting scope of benefits, in a time when every disadvantage was stacked against her, and working within her own culture to boot, I have to vote Ramabai. My goodness, but She Persisted!

  67. Whitney's Gravatar Whitney
    March 25, 2019 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    So impressed by the works of Pandita but I must be loyal to Fr. Damien. While living in Hawai’i some years ago, I was fortunate enough to go to Molokai and travel by mule down 26 switchback turns of sheer cliff to the remote town of Kalaupapa. I will never forget learning about Fr. Damien’s tiredless ministry to the lepers! So respected by the Hawaiian people, his statue stands to this day in front of the capitol building in Honolulu!

  68. Michael Redmond's Gravatar Michael Redmond
    March 25, 2019 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    Whoa. Very tough call here. I went with St. Damien only because the sheer horror of leprosy challenges my faith in God’s mercy. Then I recover it in his ministry.

  69. Judy Bye's Gravatar Judy Bye
    March 25, 2019 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    In 1969 Vimla moved two apartments down from me. Her husband was a surgeon. They had two very young sons. Theirs was an arranged marriage and Vimla was educated to be a doctor’s wife. They both believed their parents would only choose the best mate for them. They included me in all their celebrations, introduced me to Indian food and their daily life. She baked naan on the sidewalk. Her ceremonies were incredibly beautiful. I was accused of Americanizing her. She learned how to drive and wore pants! For what Pandita Ramabai accomplished for women, against odds we can barely grasp, affect women today in India and even in America. I know much is yet to be–in India, in America, in the world. It is women like Pandita Ramabai who survived all odds, all setbacks who finally was brought to her knees and carried on with God’s help. I wonder if each of us has done all we could for humankind.

      March 25, 2019 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

      I love your story! Naan baked on the sidewalk! I’ll have some, please!

  70. Sydney Vickers's Gravatar Sydney Vickers
    March 25, 2019 - 11:43 am | Permalink

    Thank you for including Damien. My great, great aunt was Sister Leopoldina Burns. She originally was with the Sisters of St. Francis in Syracuse, NY and traveled to Hawaii to work with the lepers. She became the biographer of Saint Marianne Cope and was the last of the Catholic sisters to serve along side Father Damien.

    • Grace's Gravatar Grace
      March 25, 2019 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Beautiful! God bless your family and the sisters!

    • Amy Kendall's Gravatar Amy Kendall
      March 25, 2019 - 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Wow! What a wonderful person to be related to!

  71. March 25, 2019 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    Oh, gosh, this was a hard one. I’ll be happy if either of these hoes to the next round. Finally voted for St. Damien because he gave everything, including his life, to help some of the most disadvantaged people of his time. But I’m very drawn to both!

  72. Stephanie Schultz's Gravatar Stephanie Schultz
    March 25, 2019 - 11:56 am | Permalink

    Praise for Pandita! Proud to be an oblate of the Sisters of the Transfiguration, an Episcopal order who’s convent is in Cincinnati! They have saved my life in many ways!

  73. Linda Tyler's Gravatar Linda Tyler
    March 25, 2019 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Just a little housekeeping comment. I believe leprosy is Hansen’s Disease, not Hanson’s.

  74. John Miller's Gravatar John Miller
    March 25, 2019 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Both of these saints deserve a vote; but, alas, we had to choose one. I went with Pandita, because she had so many obstacles to overcome. Damien is close to my heart, because as a child, I filled a little piggy bank, the contents of which went to some leprosy mission. He literally put his life on the line.

  75. Mary Jane C. Ingalls's Gravatar Mary Jane C. Ingalls
    March 25, 2019 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

    The most challenging match to date. The horrific circumstances on the island of Molokai to which Father Damien exposed himself is truly a Christ-like commitment of self-sacrifice in the service of others.
    However, I believe women continue to be the second-class citizens of the world and, as such, those who champion the equality of women from social, economic and culture servitude has my vote. My husband’s recent return from Saudi Arabia served to more deeply root my conviction in this regard. Have a wonderful day.

  76. Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
    March 25, 2019 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

    This was a hard choice, because I have always had a deep respect for Father Damien, but Dr. (?) Ramabai’s multiple missions are near and dear to my radical feminist heart. And I am certain that, as a female medical worker in a deeply misogynist society, she herself likely faced many dangers in the course of her work–from disease to male pattern violence. I am interested to see if she’ll make it all the way to the final bracket!

    • Patricia White's Gravatar Patricia White
      March 26, 2019 - 6:52 am | Permalink

      I have never heard the term, “Male pattern violence.” Oh, my, is it truly as innate as baldness? I know this is fodder for another thread, but you have surely given me something to think about.

  77. Elise A's Gravatar Elise A
    March 25, 2019 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Two very worthy saints. I voted for Ramabai because she is an Anglican saint and apparently Damien was harsh to Protestants.

    • Grace's Gravatar Grace
      March 25, 2019 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

      It seems there was controversy involving deportation of a Protestant minister in the colony, but the Hawaiians played an active role in this decision. Biographer Pennie Moblo writes that to blame this on Damien “preserves a colonially biased history.”

  78. Ruth Anne Hill's Gravatar Ruth Anne Hill
    March 25, 2019 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

    My vote goes to Damien…not only to advance towards the prize, but to take the title for the year! Hands down, he is meant to wear the crown.

    • Amy Kendall's Gravatar Amy Kendall
      March 25, 2019 - 8:09 pm | Permalink

      I agree! He epitomized what Christ stood for!

  79. Grace's Gravatar Grace
    March 25, 2019 - 12:30 pm | Permalink

    After visiting Kalaupapa on my honeymoon, I have to go with Father Damien. Another beautiful witness in his story: initially, he was one of five priests assigned to minister to the leper colony on rotation, so the risk of infection might be lower. However, after his first visit, he refused to leave, saying, “these sheep need a shepherd, and so I will be.”

  80. Beverly Duncan's Gravatar Beverly Duncan
    March 25, 2019 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

    And I thought that some of our previous choices were difficult! I have read a lot about Damien so that when I saw his name I thought: no contest. Then I read their bios and indecision set in. Normally I don’t read the comments before voting, but did so today. Fascinating and informative, but of absolutely no help in deciding. Will probably vote for Damien – unless I change my mind before scrolling up to the vote button!

  81. Wendy's Gravatar Wendy
    March 25, 2019 - 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Toughest one to date, for me! I have always been a fan of Damien and this is my first introduction to Pandita; a brave and faithful servant. My goodness…

  82. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    March 25, 2019 - 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Wow; Pandita Ramabai’s lead over Damien of Molokai, always slender, has dwindled to 20 votes in the last half hour. Looking at my watch, I have to wonder if residents of Hawaii are starting to weigh in…

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 25, 2019 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

      In the past whenever this has happened, we have received breaking news about “gnashing of teeth” and “outer darkness,” etc, and an ISP address finds itself blocked.

      • John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
        March 25, 2019 - 1:25 pm | Permalink

        The lead, as I said, has always been slender (less than 75 votes). It was hovering in the 40-50 range after 11 EDT, and gradually drifted lower beginning at 12:15 EDT (6:15 HST).

        I think it’s reasonable to expect that at least twenty residents of Hawai’i have an interest in today’s match-up.

        • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
          March 25, 2019 - 9:58 pm | Permalink

          69 votes difference: nice.

  83. March 25, 2019 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Very unfair to pit these 2 magnificent saints against one another. I hate the fact that one of these 2- either Pandita or Damien has to be eliminated today. In some of the earlier contests, i would easily have eliminated both of the the contestants. Sigh. This is a very tough choice, as both of these people lived as Jesus did and invited us to do. I’m not surprised to note that, upon my vote at 10 am PDT, they each have 50% of the vote! Maybe one of them (if the other doesn’t win the Golden Halo) can be resubmitted next year?

  84. Scott Madison's Gravatar Scott Madison
    March 25, 2019 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    This was a tough one, but voting for Damien, because we share the same birthday

  85. Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
    March 25, 2019 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    How about a wild card spot do that both of these worthy saints can advance?

    C’mon, Tim and Scott – rules were meant to be bent!!

  86. Corey Sees's Gravatar Corey Sees
    March 25, 2019 - 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Some of my favorite unmentioned details about St. Damien:

    His assignment to the leper colony was supposed to be on a rotation with three other priests. Instead of returning and letting one of them take his place (and the risk of contracting leprosy), he volunteered to stay repeatedly.

    While the many building projects he organized are listed, the blogger did not mention that St. Damien did not build a house for himself until every other resident had a place to live, and instead he slept in his hammock under the stars until everyone else was provided for first.

    He organized a choir in the community. Before his ministry, people were basically just waiting to die, but he taught them not only to work and provide for themselves, but to sing. People were literally lying around waiting to die, and afterwards, they were singing praises to God. If that’s not a resurrection, I don’t know what is.

    St. Damien is often remembered as a patron saint of people living with HIV/AIDS because of the disease’s parallels with leprosy.

  87. Cathy Cox's Gravatar Cathy Cox
    March 25, 2019 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    ” Pandita” is an honorific bestowed upon her – not really her name – It signified someone who was an expert in the Hindu scriptures – Rare for a woman. hen she became a Christian, she refused to join any denomination, saying, in effect, “I have just been freed from the authority of men; do not be shocked that I am not eager to submit myself to that again.” She was well aware that male authority would doom, or restrict, her vision. Her first schools were for child brides who were married off to older men, who were then cast off when those men died – “widows” restricted to certain places to live, who had to wear white, and were never eligible for remarriage – She changed the lives of those girls – “Mukti” means both freedom and salvation – and it is still a remarkable place – although, as she expected, once it became a denominational entity, governed mostly by men, it has become more conservative, and less innovative. She was a remarkable woman – beginning to end –

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 25, 2019 - 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for this.

  88. Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
    March 25, 2019 - 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I wavered over my vote in this matchup more than any other, and I’ve done lots of wavering during this season of Lent … Madness. Damien the saint who walked in the footsteps of Christ in his sacrificial mission, or Pandita the healer and translator who defied the conventions of her time to improve social conditions in colonial India and communicate the gospel? I cast my vote for Damien simply to even the score with Pandita, who had a slight edge numerically despite the two being tied proportionally at 50/50. So I’m with Jennifer (1:21 pm): Tim and Scott, be like Pandita in defying convention and like Damien in repudiating authority and allow both these equally worthy Golden Halo candidates to advance!

  89. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 25, 2019 - 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Both of these Saintly souls did much in their selected communities to the point that it was difficult to pick one over the other. I’m not surprised at all that the voting is so close and considered a tie at this point. They both answered a much needed call!

  90. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 25, 2019 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

    12:07 central standard time – 1 vote apart. Can’t remember a more exciting race

  91. March 25, 2019 - 2:21 pm | Permalink

    As of 2:17 eastern time, Fr. Damien leads by 15 votes. I voted for Pandita. Lent Madness trivia: weren’t the Wantage sisters of his day known to C.S. Lewis? I seem to recall reading one of his letters to them. I’m perfectly willing to be corrected, enlightened even, if I am wrong.

  92. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 25, 2019 - 2:33 pm | Permalink

    It’s gonna be a close one! Went with Damien.

  93. Mike's Gravatar Mike
    March 25, 2019 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Damien. The gravity of his actions – defying the leadership of the RC Church and venturing out into multiple unknowns to love the “unlovable” and risk the scourge of a disease of biblical proportions – make him the clear choice. He’d hold his own against any past Golden Halo recipient.

  94. March 25, 2019 - 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Both are very worthy soles. I voted for Pandita because as a woman she had so many additional problems (still a problem in India today). This on top of the worthy things both candidates did pushed her to the top.

  95. Amy Miller's Gravatar Amy Miller
    March 25, 2019 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Both of these saints made great contributions

  96. Judy FN's Gravatar Judy FN
    March 25, 2019 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

    This is the most difficult pairing yet. Great Damien is the perfect Saint and one I have always loved. Pandita speaks to my feminist side which usually wins out but…! I’ll be happy with either but Wish we had a “tie” vote too,

  97. Carolyn A. Johnson's Gravatar Carolyn A. Johnson
    March 25, 2019 - 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Just checked the bot and at 2:55 pm the two are only 11 votes apart. It was a hard choice for me. I voted before I read the comments. I had heard of Father Damien long time ago but had never heard about Rama “pandita” before. I really appreciate what I have learned with Lenten Madness the past bunch of years.

  98. Grace Kennedy's Gravatar Grace Kennedy
    March 25, 2019 - 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m with those hoping for a tie and a wild card spot. I love both of them! As a women of mixed color, a physician, and former missionary, I have great respect for both.

  99. Randomdude101's Gravatar Randomdude101
    March 25, 2019 - 3:45 pm | Permalink


  100. Cynthia Cravens's Gravatar Cynthia Cravens
    March 25, 2019 - 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Whoa! What a tough choice. But Damien’s story really grabbed me. True, profound charity and generosity of spirit…hard to beat those!

  101. Eileen C Fisher's Gravatar Eileen C Fisher
    March 25, 2019 - 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I did not receive an email from the SEC today. I hope this can be fixed as I am an interested participant.
    Go Father Damien. I’ve known about your work since I was a child. Your caring and persevering work inspired me to pursue a medical career, although not one in infectious diseases.
    Eileen Fisher

  102. Gail's Gravatar Gail
    March 25, 2019 - 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I visited the leper colony at Kalaupapa Peninsula, and met the lepers. I read there of the wonderful work of Damien, and have been waiting for years to see him honored. YES, for Damien! YES, YES, YES!

  103. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    March 25, 2019 - 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Two compelling contenders today but I had to go with Pandita Ramabai for her focus on educating women.

  104. Debbie Griswold's Gravatar Debbie Griswold
    March 25, 2019 - 4:27 pm | Permalink

    THIS IS A NO BRAINER! Father Damien gave his life in the name of Christ and to help those poor souls in Hawaii. There is no other choice.

  105. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    March 25, 2019 - 5:03 pm | Permalink

    This one’s a nail biter! It goes to show how each saint is so deserving of the Golden Halo.

  106. Catherine Linberg's Gravatar Catherine Linberg
    March 25, 2019 - 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Am counting on the folks voting late in HI and AK to surge Damien past a tie and into the Saintly Sixteen.

  107. Sharon Dianne Foster Pattison's Gravatar Sharon Dianne Foster Pattison
    March 25, 2019 - 5:10 pm | Permalink

    This was a tough one, we had been to Hawaii 2012 and after a 3 week vacation and learning of this Island for the Lepars and the whole history of how it became part of the USA, bad thing that they didn’t join Canada , Canada should have tried harder to have them join Canada!
    I had an ANEURSYM on the big Island and was flown to Maui Memorial Medical Center and treated by Dr. Rogers, who built this beautiful hospital, after two,weeks and losing 6 days of memories, I was brought home by a very handsome strong medic, first to Detroit, Michigan, USA and then To Windsor, Ontario, Canada and then to,Hotel,Dieu Hospital for two weeks, then Rehab for 2 years! I have very good medical coverage and medical care by both male and female nurses! But, it is harder for the female caregivers to be taken seriously! I had to,vote for Pandita sorry Damien! You both deserve to,win!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 25, 2019 - 8:10 pm | Permalink

      What a tale! So glad you are recovered. You will be forever hanged, won’t you?

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 25, 2019 - 8:10 pm | Permalink


        • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
          March 25, 2019 - 8:48 pm | Permalink

          Smelling salts, Susan. Get those smelling salts out. My jaw hung at “hanged” (it was so unlike you). Sal volatile. Or eau de vie if necessary. I’m still giggling at sending hoes forward for the golden halo. “Hoes for the halo!” I’m pretty sure we have solved Tim’s and Scott’s marketing problems for the next decade. Smelling salts, my pretty.

  108. Robert Ewing's Gravatar Robert Ewing
    March 25, 2019 - 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Hawai`i no ka oi!

    Damiein and Sister Maryanne brought love and compassion to an abandoned and shunned people. Having been friends with a few of the Hansen’s disease survivors in years past I can attest even in the 1970s and 80s it was the religious community that fought for their dignity as the state attempted to abandoned them.

  109. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    March 25, 2019 - 5:51 pm | Permalink

    I wanted to vote for both. Voted for Father Damien, because “In each patient he saw Jesus staring back at him”. He worked with those who were outcast and banished from their homes and gave his life for his patients. Liked John’s limerick! Thanks!

  110. Gloria Flowers's Gravatar Gloria Flowers
    March 25, 2019 - 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Damien has my sympathy vote ( my grandson is named for him) Other than that quirk of faith (?) My vote would have gone to Pandita

  111. March 25, 2019 - 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Has there ever been a tie? What are the rules for a tie-breaker? I am hoping Damien will hold his slim lead! The reverence for Fr. Damien in Hawaii is inspiring.

  112. Patricia Rosenberg's Gravatar Patricia Rosenberg
    March 25, 2019 - 6:25 pm | Permalink

    2 votes apart at 6:25!!!!

  113. Leslie's Gravatar Leslie
    March 25, 2019 - 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Well, as of 6:28 this evening, it looks like a tie. Both Father Damien and Pandita Ramabai are compelling candidates, but I had to vote for Pandita. Working to secure dignity, education and care for women in a predominantly patriarchal and caste-bound society was no small feat – and add to that her translation of the Bible into Marathi. She cared for the minds, bodies – and souls of girls and women.

  114. Mariclaire Buckley's Gravatar Mariclaire Buckley
    March 25, 2019 - 7:16 pm | Permalink

    I remember having a book in my house when I was little-and loving it-called “Fr. Damien and the Bells.” But woah-no one could hold a candle to my new friend, Pandita-what an amazing woman!

  115. lelele's Gravatar lelele
    March 25, 2019 - 7:44 pm | Permalink

    VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FOR DAMIEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

  116. Amy Kendall's Gravatar Amy Kendall
    March 25, 2019 - 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Tough choice! Both are very deserving! I ultimately went with Damien because he ultimately sacrificed his own health and life to help others.

  117. Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
    March 25, 2019 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

    I was moved by the story of Ramabai, which I did not know before Lent Madness. I honor her work for girls and women in India. However, Fr. Damien gets my vote today. Having served as a member of the L.A. Diocese Program Group on HIV/AIDS Ministries, Fr. Damien is our patron saint. His blessed work with the lepers of Hawaii is inspirational to those who work with persons with HIV/AIDS and likely to those who work on the front lines of Ebola as well. Blessings to all who give of themselves to care for the sick and marginalized, and to both Fr. Damien and Ramabai.

  118. Joy Bower's Gravatar Joy Bower
    March 25, 2019 - 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Man oh man this was a hard one! Horrible!

  119. Tom's Gravatar Tom
    March 25, 2019 - 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Nail biter!

  120. Leslie's Gravatar Leslie
    March 25, 2019 - 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Here is a link to the obituary for Pandita Ramabai – published in November of last year as part of the New York Times’ effort to include obituaries for noteworthy people who were “overlooked” –

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 25, 2019 - 11:20 pm | Permalink

      Brahmin customs prohibited widows from remarrying. Considered cursed, they were required to shave their heads, wear drab, coarse clothes and subsist on meager food. Widows were also subject to physical and sexual abuse. The common practice of child marriage meant that some widows were still girls when they were doomed to a lifetime on the margins.

      This is an amazing review. Thank you. So glad I voted for Pandita Goddess.

      • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
        March 25, 2019 - 11:20 pm | Permalink

        Using proceeds from her book and lectures, she raised funds to open the Sharada Sadan (Home of Learning) center in 1889 in Bombay, offering widowed girls a refuge where they could study and learn skills like gardening, carpentry and sewing. The shelter grew, at one point serving more than 700 girls and women. Many became teachers and nurses while others stayed, running a dairy farm and their own printing press. The home is still active.

    • Ann G.'s Gravatar Ann G.
      March 26, 2019 - 7:09 am | Permalink

      Thank you! It’s not too late to #VotePandita

  121. Olga joloud's Gravatar Olga joloud
    March 26, 2019 - 12:38 am | Permalink

    It is very difficult to select between Damien who’s gift of compassion helped people thrown by society, and Pandita who’s gift to study gave hope to women at lowest stage in life get second chance.

  122. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 26, 2019 - 4:20 am | Permalink

    I seem to be using the words “icon “ and “iconic,” which I generally avoid, quite a bit in these pages, and here I go again.

    Who Damien was and what he did are admirable, to be sure; but his sacrifice of self was so complete, so pure, as to transcend the dimensions of the acts by which it was accomplished. He thus is for me an icon of self-giving, a sort of absolute toward which we strive and against which we are measured. Unable to serve those he had chosen without risking and eventually sharing their fate, he chose to serve. That is not in any way to demean the many noble and consequential works of Pandita and others like her, but it sets Damien apart.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 26, 2019 - 4:24 am | Permalink

      Whew, a narrow escape: just before hitting “Post Commentt” I saw that the demonic spell-checker had changed “Pandita” to “Pandora.”

  123. Neva's Gravatar Neva
    March 26, 2019 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    As I looked through the comments what stood out and saddened my heart
    is that anyone is voting just by gender, ethnicity/race. It was a tie for me however I missed the vote on Monday. I read with my heart not with my eyes on color of their skin or gender, only the essence of their ministry. This is my first time with Lent Madness and I pray that this is more for learning and understanding who we are reading about and not just about who receives the “Golden Halo”.
    I pray that I become more enlightened and feel the Holy Spirit in the discipline during my Lenten journey. Damien and Pandita were both worthy of my vote that I missed casting. Peace

  124. Judy Fleener's Gravatar Judy Fleener
    March 26, 2019 - 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Can I break the tie? I didn’t vote yesterday. I would have voted for Damian.

  125. Renee Trunt's Gravatar Renee Trunt
    March 26, 2019 - 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Yes i didnt get to vote yesterday because i couldn’t get the site to load the content for damien and ramabai.

    I was disenfranchised!!

  126. #Heim37's Gravatar #Heim37
    March 26, 2019 - 7:26 pm | Permalink

    What they TIED

  127. March 29, 2019 - 9:18 pm | Permalink

    I live in Hawai`i where we remember Father Damien for his work on Moloka`i. But I would vote for Pandita Ramabai. My historical novel, Rama’s Labyrinth, is based on her life and work. I visited her ashram at Mukti where the work continues. She was in all ways an amazing woman dedicated to God.

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