For the Golden Halo: Martha of Bethany vs. Pandita Ramabai

Well, friends, we set out upon this Lent Madness journey over five weeks ago on “Ash Thursday.” With your help we have narrowed the field of 32 saints down to just two: Martha of Bethany and Pandita Ramabai (who defeated Zenaida 61% to 39% yesterday). Who will win the coveted Golden Halo of Lent Madness 2019? Only 24 hours and your voting participation will reveal this holy mystery.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, we’ve met some truly remarkable saintly folks along the way. Perhaps you learned about some saints you’d never heard of or maybe you renewed acquaintances with saints who have long offered inspiration. Of course the entire notion of placing saints in a bracket is absurd — each “contestant” has already earned a crown of righteousness in addition to a “golden halo.” But at the heart of Lent Madness is the abiding conviction that encountering those who have come before us in the faith enriches and enlivens our own walk with the risen Christ.

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

Of course we literally couldn’t have done this without our stellar Celebrity Bloggers to whom we offer sincere gratitude: Amber Belldene, Laurie Brock, Megan Castellan, Anna Fitch Courie, David Creech, Marcus Halley, David Hansen, Carol Howard Meritt, Emily McFarlan Miller, and David Sibley. Thanks to Bracket Czar Adam Thomas for his unsung behind-the-scenes work in keeping the bracket updated daily — in his inimitable style. You all rock! And we’re all grateful for your good writing, good humor, and adhering to most, if not all, of the SEC-imposed deadlines.

We’re also grateful to the Forward Movement staff who have supported this endeavor: Richelle Thompson, Carole Miller, Jason Merritt, Alyssa Finke, and Alexis Fortuna Caoili, as well as everyone who answered the phone in the Lentorium and all the other things to make Lent Madness successful: Tania Z. Jones, Rachel Jones, Hugo Olaiz, Allison Sandlin Liles, Brandon Hill, Miriam McKenney, Jay Sidebotham, Loren Dixon, Samantha Franklin, Chris Yaw, Liz Brignac, Karen Robertson Henry, Christina Dorn, Jane Paraskevopoulos, Barbara Hine, Vicki Everett, Amy Golden, Kathy Jose, Aleia Robinson, Peggy Sanchez, Debbie Springer, and the office mascot, George T. Dog.

2018 Golden Halo Winner Anna Alexander prepares to hand over the 2019 crown.

Finally, thanks to all of you who participated by voting, commenting, drinking coffee out of Lent Madness mugs, filling out brackets, talking about saints at coffee hour, liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter, and allowing us to play a small role in your Lenten journey. We’ve loved having each one of you along for the “madness” and on behalf of the Supreme Executive Committee we wish you a blessed Holy Week and a joyous Easter.

But enough gratitude. We have a Golden Halo to award! As with all the matchups, the polls will be open for 24 hours and the winner will be announced right here at 8:00 am Eastern Time on Maundy Thursday. At this point, everything about these two worthy saints has been said (though if you need some refreshers, click on the Bracket tab and scroll down).

Today, we have simply asked our remaining celebrity blogger, Amber Belldene (who has faithfully advocated for both Martha of Bethany and Pandita Ramabai) to provide us with one image and one quote.

The rest is up to you, the Lent Madness voting public. So go do your thing! And thanks for playing along this year — we’re delighted you joined us on the journey.

Martha of Bethany

Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” – Martha of Bethany (John 11:27)

Pandita Ramabai

A life totally committed to God has nothing to fear, nothing to lose, nothing to regret. – Pandita Ramabai

Martha of Bethany vs. Pandita Ramabai

  • Martha of Bethany (55%, 4,439 Votes)
  • Pandita Ramabai (45%, 3,561 Votes)

Total Voters: 8,000

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167 Comments to "For the Golden Halo: Martha of Bethany vs. Pandita Ramabai"

  1. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    April 17, 2019 - 8:02 am | Permalink

    What a journey enlightening it’s been;
    Just five short weeks ago did we begin.
    Our bloggers resourceful
    Their arguments forceful
    Have presented; may the best woman win!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 17, 2019 - 8:44 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the limericks, John. It’s been a lot of fun, and I wish you well through Easter, Ordinary Time, and the rest!

    • April 17, 2019 - 9:06 am | Permalink

      Thank you, John. You’ve been a real joy.

    • April 17, 2019 - 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the many limericks–they really added to my Lent!

    • Anita Martin's Gravatar Anita Martin
      April 17, 2019 - 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Great words shall look forward to next year.

    • kesmarn's Gravatar kesmarn
      April 17, 2019 - 8:15 pm | Permalink

      John, you’ve added so much to this year’s Lent Madness. Many thanks and Happy Easter!

    • Sharon Dianne Foster Partison's Gravatar Sharon Dianne Foster Partison
      April 17, 2019 - 9:09 pm | Permalink

      This has been the best 5 weeks of late! Never tried this last year, it has been a hard and emotional roller coaster for 3 1/2 years personally, but, came thru the storm Christmas 2018! It has been a struggle, but the help and love of many friends and family, I am here to cast my final vote! It doesn’t really matter who wins , it is how you ran the race! I could hardly wait each day to read and learn more of these saints, most of Who I couldn!t even pronounce their names! I was healing thru this Lenton Madness and thru them and the grace of God I made it thru the storm and learned that I still had more to learn and to share! I have learned to stop overcompensating and TO LET IT GO!
      Now to,put on my other hat of wife, mother,and grandmother, and to use what I learned from these saints to just take one day at a time and to thank God of each day I am here,! HE has a plan for me and I am listening! God Bless to all from CANADA And a Blessed Easter to all!. . .

      • Kim's Gravatar Kim
        April 18, 2019 - 7:05 am | Permalink

        I am a Lent Madness “vet”, and say, Welcome, Sharon! So glad you have found fun and solace with us. May the Lord bless you richly this Easter and always!

        • SharonDianne Foster Pattison's Gravatar SharonDianne Foster Pattison
          April 18, 2019 - 12:58 pm | Permalink

          Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I have felt so welcomed to the Madness, what will I ever fill my time with, gardening in our new home! Blessingsmtomall, and HAPPY EASTER,. .

        April 18, 2019 - 7:34 am | Permalink

        Typo should say Sharon Dianne Foster Pattison

        • Sharon Dianne Foster Pattison's Gravatar Sharon Dianne Foster Pattison
          April 18, 2019 - 7:51 am | Permalink

          So sorry stupid crooked fingers, Sharon Dianne Pattison! Just love this Lenton madness and even figured out how to get my picture with husband taken in Antartica Feb. 14/2013 lon Valentine’s Day, he proposed to me Vslentines day 1962, and our house of 51 years sold Vslentines Day 2019! We have just moved into our new HOME Marxh 18/19 until God takes us to,our forever home!
          This Lenton madness not only taught me about the Saints but resilance and to,keep going no matter what happens to you, it is for a reason! Only with the GRACE of GOD will we all be saved and taken HOME, someone will wear the HALO ,but in GODS eyes we are all worthy of that HALO, IF NOT HERE ON EARTH THEN IN HEAVEN WITH HIM!
          Remember he has a New Jersulem waiting with many floors, some of us will have a room with a view and some will be the worker Bees and some in the basement stoking the coals ! Keep,the faith and NEVER SAY NEVER! I wish you all a BLESSED EASTER!

  2. Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
    April 17, 2019 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    There is one day more of voting. What would be a more appropriate tribute for Martha and Pandita that a tribute sung to the tune of One Day More from Les Miserables?

    One vote more.
    Another saint will find her destiny
    Is written in Lent Madness history.
    Though technically it’s not a crime,
    Please do not vote a second time.
    One vote more.

    I could not rest at all today.
    Who can relax when Jesus visits?

    One vote more.

    So, at the Lord’s feet she (I) will lay.
    I’ll (She’ll) ask for help and just get crickets.

    One more day here with my mug.

    Will our brother breathe again?

    Cold brew, pour over, or K-cup.

    We can smell him from the tomb!

    Why’s my nemesis so smug?

    Why did Jesus wait four days?

    And when we will Skype again?

    From my bio, you now know…

    Will I meet him on the road?

    …Of the plight of Hindu women.

    Will my sister join me there?

    Lives so poor if they’re widowed.

    Or scrub nard out of her hair?

    Will you fight for them with me?

    The time is now!
    The email’s here!

    One vote more!

    Women need an education.
    They deserve this right, you see.
    Holding lectures without schoolgirls
    Is like naan not brushed with ghee.

    One vote more!

    We are both dumbstruck
    We did not move on.
    Wish those two some luck
    ‘Cause their lives are a yawn.
    Training swarms of bees.
    Healing for no price.
    I’d (She’d) be in the finals
    But they voted twice!

    One vote! Do not be a cheater!
    (Raise the Golden Halo high!)
    Be you sheep or be you goat!
    (Be you sheep or be you goat!)
    Opt for Martha or Pandita!
    (One of them will wear the crown)
    Do you count the people’s vote?

    My place is here.
    It’s time to choose.

    One vote more!
    (it is at this point that the ensemble begins the iconic marching-in-a-triangle choreography.)

    One more day here with my mug.

    I will study in Great Britain.
    I’ll convert and be a nun.
    I’ll return and fight for justice.
    Mukti Mission I will run.

    One vote more!

    We are both dumbstruck
    We did not move on.
    Wish those two some luck
    ‘Cause their lives are a yawn.

    Women need an education.
    They deserve this right, you see.
    Holding lectures without schoolgirls
    Tomorrow the judgement day.

    The finals seemed so far away.
    Tomorrow is the judgement day.

    Tomorrow we’ll discover
    Who won. Maybe there’ll be an encore…
    One more choice.
    One more click.
    One vote more!

    (TIM SCHENCK waves a large flag emblazoned with the Lent Madness bracket.)

    • Rebecca's Gravatar Rebecca
      April 17, 2019 - 8:28 am | Permalink

      The best yet! You are a gifted lyricist.

      • Susie Stanley's Gravatar Susie Stanley
        April 17, 2019 - 9:29 am | Permalink

        Wow these songs have been the highlight of Lent Madness for me. This one is superb!

    • Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
      April 17, 2019 - 8:30 am | Permalink

      [me, standing on the coffee table whistling, clapping, and stomping]

      • Susie's Gravatar Susie
        April 17, 2019 - 10:50 am | Permalink

        And me! AWESOME!! (Standing Ovation by All! :- )
        Love your combo of humor, theater, & more (pls consider doing more–a blog or?)

    • Lynn Willis's Gravatar Lynn Willis
      April 17, 2019 - 8:30 am | Permalink

      This is one of the best things I’ve ever seen.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 17, 2019 - 8:40 am | Permalink

      O.M.G. (Can I say that here??!) I thought you might do something from “Candide” (Candi-da?), but this was fantastic, Michael; you really pulled out all the stops. So much in there, but the line that made me and hubby spit out our coffee was Mary washing the nard out of her hair. This has just been the best part of the whole she-bang for me. Thank you so much, and have a great rest of the year. (I’m dying to hear what shows you will see this year. May I recommend “The Prom”? My former voice teacher is Mrs. Green!

      • Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
        April 17, 2019 - 9:43 am | Permalink

        I have heard music from The Prom and I am very intrigued. I really want to see King Kong.

        • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
          April 17, 2019 - 10:13 am | Permalink

          The Prom was great!!
          Especially the musical number “Love Thy Neighbor” for your Lent Madness tie-in!

    • Theresa's Gravatar Theresa
      April 17, 2019 - 8:58 am | Permalink

      Can we get someone to make a video of this one? So good!!

      • Leslier's Gravatar Leslier
        April 17, 2019 - 9:38 am | Permalink


    • Laura's Gravatar Laura
      April 17, 2019 - 9:03 am | Permalink


    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      April 17, 2019 - 9:13 am | Permalink

      Brilliant! Michael, this is your best yet. Grand finale, everyone on stage, wonderful music. The next time I listen to Les Miserables, this image will be in my head.
      Rest well these next several months so you can come back next year.

    • Donice Gilliland's Gravatar Donice Gilliland
      April 17, 2019 - 9:21 am | Permalink

      This is my absolute favorite of all the wonderful renditions you’ve presented! Bravo, and thank you for appealing to the theater nerds among us!

    • Chris Rhoads's Gravatar Chris Rhoads
      April 17, 2019 - 9:21 am | Permalink

      What a gift of cheer in the midst of Spy Wednesday! Bravo!

    • Ginny Berkey's Gravatar Ginny Berkey
      April 17, 2019 - 9:25 am | Permalink

      I too vote for turning this into a rousing video! Our favorite Lenten duo would do it up right.

    • Deborah D's Gravatar Deborah D
      April 17, 2019 - 9:42 am | Permalink


    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      April 17, 2019 - 9:53 am | Permalink

      Martha has an excellent and extremely Biblical quote and a colorful, albeit shared with her sister and our Lord, image.

      That had me leaning toward the sister from Bethany, then among the the lyrical talent of Michael Wachter I encountered the question from a Sister in regard to our sisters in India . . .

      Will you fight for them with me?

      No matter who wins, I plan to order a celebratory cup, so I can toast Gobnait & Zenaida with a 2019 LM mug full of a nice medicinal tea sweetened with honey come next Common Cold Season.

      I hope G & Z are back in future years and each get a future LM Golden Halo.

      • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
        April 17, 2019 - 9:54 am | Permalink

        Will you fight for them with me?

        Should be
        Will you fight for them with me?

    • Renee Stewart's Gravatar Renee Stewart
      April 17, 2019 - 9:53 am | Permalink

      You are AWESOME!

    • April 17, 2019 - 10:12 am | Permalink

      that is just about the best yet!!!!!

    • Katrina S Soto's Gravatar Katrina S Soto
      April 17, 2019 - 10:22 am | Permalink

      This one was masterful. I’ll miss the daily musicals! Thank you for your delightful contributions.

    • Marie Cantrell’s's Gravatar Marie Cantrell’s
      April 17, 2019 - 10:29 am | Permalink

      Wow! This is a tour de force. Thank you. Thank you.

    • Katrina's Gravatar Katrina
      April 17, 2019 - 10:49 am | Permalink

      So great! Laughed out loud at *Be you sheep or be you goat*!

    • Diane's Gravatar Diane
      April 17, 2019 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

      This was absolutely brilliant!

    • Rita Chenoweth's Gravatar Rita Chenoweth
      April 17, 2019 - 3:40 pm | Permalink

      One vote more, indeed! Thanks, Michael, for all of the amazing lyrics and choice musical selections. I too vote for a recordings of your fine parodies, perhaps on a Lent Madness YouTube channel????

    • April 17, 2019 - 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Wow! You rock! Thanks!

    • Anita Martin's Gravatar Anita Martin
      April 17, 2019 - 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Love the lyrics. I am holding out for Mary to win.

    • Anita Martin's Gravatar Anita Martin
      April 17, 2019 - 8:12 pm | Permalink

      The time flew by and want Mary for the Golden Halo

    • kesmarn's Gravatar kesmarn
      April 17, 2019 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Just wonderful! Thank you so much!

    • Martha Tecca's Gravatar Martha Tecca
      April 17, 2019 - 10:36 pm | Permalink


    • Lauren Dill's Gravatar Lauren Dill
      April 17, 2019 - 11:08 pm | Permalink

      “Like naan not brushed with ghee” is the best line you’ve written. What a rhyme!

    • Josie Yarham's Gravatar Josie Yarham
      April 18, 2019 - 4:39 am | Permalink

      My favourite so far – possibly because I know the tune so well. Thank you mate!

    • TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
      April 18, 2019 - 6:37 am | Permalink

      We need to beg Tim and Scott for “Lent Madness, the Broadway Musical”.

    • April 18, 2019 - 7:41 am | Permalink

      How can we choose ‘tween two beautiful souls!!?

      One knew Jesus first hand,
      One lived Jesus, ‘first’ in her land.
      One who served Jesus his meal,
      One who served others with zeal.
      One knew Christ, the First Day,
      One followed Christ All the Way.

      How can I choose in a day?
      How will I find the best way?

      Pandita or Martha?
      Martha, Pandita?
      As the grandaughta,
      Who brought her gram, Martha,
      Down to us , here, near our day,
      Pandita it is who holds sway.
      [But, just barely… :-)]

    • Francesca Kavalir's Gravatar Francesca Kavalir
      April 18, 2019 - 3:50 pm | Permalink

      highlight of my day right here!!

  3. Taylor's Gravatar Taylor
    April 17, 2019 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    Pandita Ramabai literally did so much for women’s rights. Martha was great, but Pandita deserves the Golden Halo. She deserves the honor. Ramabai was an incredible woman and everything she has done is known to be true.

  4. Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
    April 17, 2019 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    This is a super hard choice. Pandita was clearly a Martha in her time. But it’s MARTHA!!! What a choice.

    • madamesenora's Gravatar madamesenora
      April 17, 2019 - 8:18 am | Permalink

      Two saints for whom I’ve voted all the way, but today there is no choice: without Martha there is no Pandita. Martha has taught all of us how important it is to. DO God’s work.

      • Sue's Gravatar Sue
        April 17, 2019 - 10:08 pm | Permalink

        That’s what I thought too

    • Taylor's Gravatar Taylor
      April 17, 2019 - 10:17 am | Permalink

      Pandita was a PANDITA of her time! Are you going to compare every Saint to Martha?

  5. Mary O'Donnell's Gravatar Mary O'Donnell
    April 17, 2019 - 8:13 am | Permalink


  6. Debbie Northern's Gravatar Debbie Northern
    April 17, 2019 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    I was once told that if a woman was mentioned, especially by name, in the Bible, she must have done something extraordinary and that was well known so could not be denied because in Jesus’ time, women were not to be seen or heard. So to see Martha remembered as a friend and faithful follower of Jesus shows how esteemed she must have been to the early Christian community. So I vote for Martha who showed the path for future women of leadership and faithfulness as followers of Christ.

    • Helen's Gravatar Helen
      April 17, 2019 - 8:46 am | Permalink

      I have the exact opposite interpretation of Martha. Mary wanted to learn from the rabbi, like a man, but her unconventional sister protested that she belonged in the kitchen. Jesus spoke up for Mary, but 2,000 years later, women are still struggling to get out of the Church’s kitchen.

    • April 17, 2019 - 8:47 am | Permalink

      Well, Debbie. I thought I was going to #votemartha, but once again, I changed my mind at the last moment and #votedpandita. I was persuaded by the arguments on behalf of lesser known saints yesterday. I still wish, however, that I voted for Martha. I love her story and the friendship and devotion the showed to Jesus. It’s nice to know he had some human friends beyond the twelve disciples. Whoever wins, I’ll be toasting you with the latest coffee mug soon (and I drink a lot of coffee!).

  7. Bob Freudenberg's Gravatar Bob Freudenberg
    April 17, 2019 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    Thanks a bunch! To ALL! I’ve been gratified and affirmed as a person who looks to and is inspired by saints living and dead, recognized by the people of God or just by ‘yours truly’.
    As a man married to a ‘Mary’ who lives and moves and has her being fashioned more like a Martha my vote was not that difficult; I voted for Martha.

  8. Linda S's Gravatar Linda S
    April 17, 2019 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    Although I’m a huge devotee to Martha, Ramabai has won my heart. I’m looking for modern day inspiration.
    Thanks, SEC, for another rich Lent season. Also, sorry I got so ticked off when Wilberforce went doooown.

  9. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    April 17, 2019 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Yikes. That quote from Martha seems more like something Mary her sister would have said; but Pandita’s citation is genuinely from her heart, her soul, and her own lips.

    Pandita gets my vote. Blessings upon you all for a great job this year, fellow madcappers. Can’t wait for Nominationtide!

    • TLB West's Gravatar TLB West
      April 18, 2019 - 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Good heavens, TJ. “That quote”, that confession of Jesus as the Christ, is scripture: John ch 11, vs 27. Read the story of Lazarus again. It is Martha who goes out to greet Jesus when he comes. Mary stays in the house and has to be urged by Martha to go out and meet Jesus…

  10. Jane Christmas's Gravatar Jane Christmas
    April 17, 2019 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    On behalf of the non-executive ranks that participate in Lent Madness a big thank you to John Cabot and Michael Wachter for your inspiring limericks/poems/musical numbers. Who knew you could set the saints to show tunes? You brightened up many a Lenten morning.

    • beth's Gravatar beth
      April 17, 2019 - 9:31 am | Permalink

      i’ll add my thanks here, as well – reading john and michael’s contributions to the conversation has been wonderful. many thanks to you both!

    • Sue's Gravatar Sue
      April 17, 2019 - 10:16 pm | Permalink

      I will add my thanks here too. John, Michael and others clever rhymes have made Lent Madness over the top extraordinary this year. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

  11. Melanie Mitchell's Gravatar Melanie Mitchell
    April 17, 2019 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    Martha, for her confession. Photini, the woman at the well, steadies my hand as I click. Mary of Bethany, who was never her sister’s rival, smiles wistfully. Go, Team Biblical Women!

  12. Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
    April 17, 2019 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    I had to stick with Martha but I love Pandita Ramabai as well. It has been great learning about her. I will add both of today’s quotes to my file of quotes that I use when I need inspiration.

    This has been a spectacular Lent Madness! Thank you to everyone involved. I’ve learned about some incredible saints, had lots of morning chuckles, and enjoyed some thought provoking conversations in the comments. I will miss this morning discipline but I am inspired to do some research to find a saint or two for nominationtide.

    • AmyL's Gravatar AmyL
      April 17, 2019 - 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Oh yeah, Michelle C, me too! This was my first Lent Madness, but I have some ideas for nominationtide already.

  13. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    April 17, 2019 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    Genuinely struggling to choose today. What wonderful saints and inspiring women. However, having come this far, I can’t not vote, so my support will go to Pandita because of her role in educating women, and because I have visited the convent at Wantage that played a part in her conversion.
    Thank you all for another fabulous year. I have learned so much and I am deeply grateful to widen my acquaintance of saints and glimpse a little more of the wonderful diversity of the Kingdom of Heaven.

  14. Sandy's Gravatar Sandy
    April 17, 2019 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    I have always loved Martha. However, even though I have only just learned of Pandita Ramabai this Lent Madness, she has my vote. In addition to her deep faith, she had extraordinary vision and courage in her tireless work to educate women in India, a legacy that continues in our time.

    • April 17, 2019 - 4:09 pm | Permalink

      You spoke how I have been thinking. In the end, I had to vote for Pandita Ramabai also. This year there were a number of really hard choices. Whoever wins will be the correct one.

      Also many thanks to Tim and Scott, the scribes who did the research and to all the comments.

  15. St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
    April 17, 2019 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    The first thing to do today is say thank you thank you thank you to Tim and Scott and to all the bloggers. You give of your Lent to join us on this remarkable virtual pilgrimage to Canterbury. This is a social medium as a best practice. WordPress may be a spavined nag, but we are within sight of the spires of Canterbury and riding into the city. No Russian novichok poisoners among us, no Irish saints in the final round to tempt the compulsive UberVoters, alas Notre Dame has burned. But we have arrived. I had thought I would vote for Rama; I was quite certain I would. I wanted to affirm otherness and difference and the rights of the sojourner in an era when brown children have been caged at the border by an illegitimate Herod. But in today’s pictures, I was struck by something. I saw it the other day as well: in the images of Jesus with Mary and Martha, Martha is always shown with her face toward Jesus. Mary’s face is always downcast, shaded, demure. But Martha’s face is shown on a par with Jesus’s. She is standing, an equal. She is the new Eve: feisty, giving, a kitchen evangelist. So to my surprise, I voted for Martha.

    • Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
      April 17, 2019 - 8:43 am | Permalink

      Thank you, St. Celia! Brilliant commentary. And I love your final statement about Martha. Thank you. It is a pleasure to know you, even if not in person.

      • April 17, 2019 - 8:51 am | Permalink

        Yes, I agree, a tip of my halo to you, St. Celia. Brilliantly said! I made the opposite move you did, and surprised myself by voting for Pandita.

        • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
          April 17, 2019 - 9:01 am | Permalink

          Richard, we cast each other’s vote. A saintly best practice!

        • Marian the Lutheran's Gravatar Marian the Lutheran
          April 17, 2019 - 9:12 am | Permalink

          I see, and feel, that Martha is the epitomy of child-like faith in Jesus. Ask any 5 year old if they know that Jesus loves them add you will get the equivalent of any eye roll and yes.
          “If you were here, my brother would not be dead”. “Yes, I believe you are the messiah.”
          No need to show her by miracles, no need for supernatural encounters, it’s not necessary to explain. She Knew this to be true and simply continued with her life – feeding people, protecting them, loving them. And looking them straight in the eye just like she does with Jesus in the picture above.

      • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
        April 17, 2019 - 8:16 pm | Permalink

        And you likewise. Have a blessed Easter.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 17, 2019 - 8:55 am | Permalink

      You got me with “spavined”! Another word to lift your hat to–merci!

  16. Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
    April 17, 2019 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Martha! Her recognition and affirmation of Jesus as the Messiah in the midst of her grief for her brother would be sufficient to earn her the Golden Halo. But there’s more. That ringing declaration of faith is inspiring, eloquent and heartwarming. Mary wasn’t the only one who chose the “better part.” Martha clearly got the message and then lived it. A great role model – if only I could live it as well.

  17. Mollie Douglas Turner's Gravatar Mollie Douglas Turner
    April 17, 2019 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    Martha for me—my birthday matron saint (along with Mary, of course, and Lazarus on the side). But Pandita Ramabai is inspiring and new to my understanding; I knew nothing of her before and am glad to have met her.

    Thanks to all the CBs and the SEC for another great Lent Madness.

  18. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    April 17, 2019 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Thanks to all whose thoughts and writings have uplifted me through this year’s Lent. It has gone by incredibly rapidly! Martha gets my vote today, though I value her rival tremendously. Where would all of us women clergy be without our foremothers and sisters who blazed the trail ahead of us? I thank God for you all, and look forward to net year’s Madness.

  19. Kim Olstad's Gravatar Kim Olstad
    April 17, 2019 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    both women would vote for the other woman

    • Kim H Olstad's Gravatar Kim H Olstad
      April 17, 2019 - 8:51 am | Permalink

      so honor Martha’s vote!

  20. Patricia White's Gravatar Patricia White
    April 17, 2019 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    Thank you two delightful Nemeses, the amazing bloggers, amusing limericker, superb song writer, and all the responders. Each year is more amazing than the last. How inspiring are the lives of the saints!
    I am truly inspired by this sweet circle of saintly Lentmadness aficionados. Until next year.

  21. Petie's Gravatar Petie
    April 17, 2019 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    Too easy this year. Go “left,” go female gender, go persons of color. Though not perfect my personal algorithm got me into 2nd place with my prediction of Martha being in the final 2. Why not take her across the finish line!?

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      April 17, 2019 - 3:03 pm | Permalink

      So you see faithful Christian witness as “left.” Sounds good to me. Perhaps to this generation WILL be given a sign.

  22. Joyce's Gravatar Joyce
    April 17, 2019 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    A big thank you to all the bloggers who have educated me on Saints that I did not even know. I voted for Pandita simply because she is the lesser known of the two Saints. Both deserve the Golden Halo and the voting has been enlightening and fun. Thank you Lent Madness. I look forward to next year’s blogging.
    Happy Easter Morning to all.

  23. Patricia Evans's Gravatar Patricia Evans
    April 17, 2019 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    I believe in God, the Almighty,
    Creator of heaven and earth.
    I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord.

    “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
    But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
    Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again…
    Jesus said to her [Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life.
    The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;
    and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.
    Do you believe this?”
    “Yes, Lord,” she replied,
    “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”.
    [but] When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him,
    she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
    John 11

    Voting for one of the first who confesses I BELIEVE.
    The Peace of G-d be with us all as we renew our baptismal vows this Eastertide
    saying, along with Martha,

  24. Barbara Kurtz's Gravatar Barbara Kurtz
    April 17, 2019 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    I love that this contest has come down to two Saints for whom I’ve voted all the way. First time that has happened. Today I voted for Martha, because I dare say that without Martha, Pandita’s fait wouldn’t have been as strong. Pandita was the Martha of her time.

  25. Laura Green's Gravatar Laura Green
    April 17, 2019 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    I voted for both women all the way through, too, but feel that a saint who toiled for women’s rights and changed her corner of the world deserves to wear the Golden Halo.

  26. Ruth Douglas Miller's Gravatar Ruth Douglas Miller
    April 17, 2019 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Quite the quandary, what to do? But my husband is looking at pictures of Notre Dame, which I visited only 6 weeks ago–and it occurs to me that Martha would be organizing the clean-up and feeding the workers. So there I go today, hoping to see Ramabai again soon.

  27. Laura of Ohio's Gravatar Laura of Ohio
    April 17, 2019 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    If you had asked me yesterday who I’d vote for in this final matchup, without reservation, I would have said Martha. But after rereading their bios by the celebrity bloggers this morning, , I’ve changed my mind. I love Martha of Bethany (as a Martha myself), but I believe that Ramabai had a much greater impact on society as God’s love in action. Pandita Ramabai gets my vote. Ramabai for the win!

  28. Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
    April 17, 2019 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    From the beginning I eagerly predicted Martha for the win, and I have always been a big advocate for her. That there were two separate stories circulating about these sisters speaks volumes to me about their importance in the early Christian communities. That they seem to have lived alone is interesting–were they widowed? were they wealthy? or were they leaders of a church house, as feminist scholars believe? I love Martha for always being totally frank with Jesus (“I’m sick of doing this by myself!” “Don’t open that tomb; he’s been in there long enough to smell to high heaven!”)

    And yet. I am so moved to have the opportunity to vote for a saint in a part of the world that we in the west forget has Christians among its multitudes. Her struggle was not just against ignorance, illiteracy, poverty, and gender, but the whole oppressiveness of a centuries-old caste system that is really beyond our ken. I treasure my education, the languages I have learned, the professors I have met and sparred with and been challenged by, the many things to which my mind has been opened, the books–the books!–I have read, the writing I am able to do.

    Out of gratitude for all this, and with awe for her vision and persistence, I cast my final vote for Pandita Ramabai.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      April 17, 2019 - 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Beautiful, Susan.

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      April 17, 2019 - 4:09 pm | Permalink

      You have offered a very moving witness, Susan. Thank you.

  29. Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
    April 17, 2019 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    Not an easy choice, but I went with Martha–even up the old-vs.-new now that the women-vs.-men is balanced, voted for her since the beginning–and St. Cecelia’s comment about Martha actually looking at Jesus, truly seeing him, following him in her own way. That really cemented my vote.
    Thank you all for another interesting Lent and for getting to know some new-to-me saints.

  30. Philip's Gravatar Philip
    April 17, 2019 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the wonderful Les Mis song.
    Need to go with Pandita since she worked for Christ with true beliefs and not from ‘seeing’ him.

  31. Dorothy's Gravatar Dorothy
    April 17, 2019 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    Martha! Martha! Martha!

    • Bob A-B's Gravatar Bob A-B
      April 17, 2019 - 1:11 pm | Permalink

      John! John! John!?

  32. Judy Bye's Gravatar Judy Bye
    April 17, 2019 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    I’ve always liked Martha, even though I never gave her the credit she deserves for recognizing Jesus as the messiah. In my world she’s not been celebrated as an outstanding evangelist. In fact she’s been pretty much relegated to the kitchen. Martha has kept us cooking and scrubbing with a nod, a push or a shove, as needed, with encouragement to meditate or sing praises as we do our chores. Women still feel guilty for going to work as it’s necessary to have the minimum food, clothing and shelter. Many widows are still poor. Single female head of households are still poor. Most men, (as the mother of five grown men, I don’t say this lightly) most men still hope to find a woman who will cook, clean, do the laundry, have their babies AND bring in a good income. I don’t know the current statistics but it seems to me it’s mostly males who want to reverse Roe Vs Wade. We all know it’s still a man’s world. Women have made progress and are gaining recognition for their achievements. At least some of them are. As recently as last month. Pandita Ramabai has been a driving force for women’s education and for Jesus. Her work is still on going. The experience of many women has encouraged women to be able to support themselves. It hasn’t been that long that women expected more, much more than graduating from high school and getting married. My vote is in thanksgiving for the life and ministry of Pandita Ramabai. I still really like Martha. Shame there isn’t a Gospel of Martha, or Mary and Martha, and a lot more books in the bible named for women. Especially ones who lived in Jesus’ time and actually knew him. Interesting that men are commenting on women’s agenda to vote for women in these “playoffs”.

  33. Mama J's Gravatar Mama J
    April 17, 2019 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    Today I will offer my activities with the St. Vincent de Paul Society in thanksgiving for the Marthas of the world who respond to the needs of all they encounter as if they were responding to Christ, Himself. With profound gratitude to the SEC, the bloggers supreme, and the whole ‘Madness community,’ I cast my vote for Martha! Blessed Easter to all!

  34. Leslier's Gravatar Leslier
    April 17, 2019 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    #VoteMartha. All the way!

  35. Marion Jenkins's Gravatar Marion Jenkins
    April 17, 2019 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    Thank you very much to all who have a hand in making Lent Madness a reality. Thanks, Tim and Scott for your visionary leadership in adding devotional lightness too Lent.

  36. Mary Jane C. Ingalls's Gravatar Mary Jane C. Ingalls
    April 17, 2019 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    I voted for Pandita because she is a verifiable, living, breathing woman whose existence and accomplishments are undeniably an example of the potential for good in a human being. Biblical persons feel remote to me and seem to be religious traditions and moral concepts that have been anthropomorphized into an individual. Indeed, this practice of using an individual is a time-tested tradition that provides a secure vessel for communication of spiritual concepts through many generations. However, I feel people such as Pandita are more accessible to people living here and now. Also, at this time in my life, I pretty well stuck on the historic omission of women in social and spiritual development. How much further along would humanity be if over 1/2 of the world’s population had an equal hand in the progress of humankind.

    • Jan T's Gravatar Jan T
      April 17, 2019 - 11:49 am | Permalink

      Well said Mary Jane

  37. Peggy Nelson's Gravatar Peggy Nelson
    April 17, 2019 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    Thanks to all the folks behind Lent Madness. This is my first rodeo with all of you and it
    has been fulfilling and tons of fun….have begun recruiting friends and family and hope
    they will tune in next year. Pretty sure I hooked friends in Utah and we will see them
    at Lent Madness next year. Blessings to one and all and I am working on a Photini Martini
    for the drink list.

  38. Peggy Nelson's Gravatar Peggy Nelson
    April 17, 2019 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    Thanks to all the folks behind Lent Madness. This is my first rodeo with all of you and it
    has been fulfilling and tons of fun….have begun recruiting friends and family and hope
    they will tune in next year. Pretty sure I hooked friends in Utah and we will see them
    at Lent Madness next year. Blessings to one and all and I am working on a Photini Martini
    for the drink list. oops! looks like I clicked twice when I posted..sorry….

  39. Mary Ruth McKenney's Gravatar Mary Ruth McKenney
    April 17, 2019 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    Thank you all, the bloggers, SEC, John Cabot, Michael Wachler (who made me investigate the show tunes so I could sing along) and all of you, my friends in the faith! Really looking forward to next year!

    • The only atheist here's Gravatar The only atheist here
      April 17, 2019 - 11:34 am | Permalink

      No, vote for Pandita

  40. Heather Gillon's Gravatar Heather Gillon
    April 17, 2019 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    In a world where women as still marginalized, I vote Pandita. We need more women like her to help women, families and communities! There’s a Martha in all of us but we all need to be more like Pandita.

  41. Unknown's Gravatar Unknown
    April 17, 2019 - 10:17 am | Permalink


  42. Joy Cass's Gravatar Joy Cass
    April 17, 2019 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    Amen! I LOVE Lent Madness!

  43. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    April 17, 2019 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    I said in my comment for the Martha/Mary matchup, “Here’s to everyone who does unglamorous but necessary day-to-day tasks–Martha for the Golden Halo!” I’m thrilled that she now has a shot at it!

    It’s occurred to me for the first time that the ending of the Mary/Martha story in Luke is deeply unsatisfying because there’s something missing. It ends with Jesus telling Martha, “No, your sister has chosen the better part, so I won’t tell her to get up and help you.” So…why then doesn’t Jesus invite Martha to stop bustling around and sit at his feet too? No wonder so many of us sympathize and identify with her!

    And yet, in John (where the personalities of the two sisters are absolutely consistent with how they appear in Luke) it’s the forthright Martha whose determined faith calls forth once of Jesus’ most profound and comforting statements. “I am the resurrection and the life.”

    Thank you, SEC! Thank you, bloggers, song and limerick writers, and fellow commenters! I learned about wonderful saints I’d never heard of, and was driven to learn much more about some people of whom I had been only vaguely aware. See you next year!

  44. Gertraud Garner's Gravatar Gertraud Garner
    April 17, 2019 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    I wish we could have a double halo! I love both these women.

  45. The Tysons's Gravatar The Tysons
    April 17, 2019 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    We loved it all. Thank you for a memorable lenten journey.

  46. Jeff Downey's Gravatar Jeff Downey
    April 17, 2019 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    One more quote from Pandita Ramabai:
    “People must not only hear about the kingdom of God, but must see it in actual operation, on a small scale perhaps and in imperfect form, but a real demonstration nevertheless.”

  47. aleathia nicholson's Gravatar aleathia nicholson
    April 17, 2019 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    From my childhood ’til this very day, I have been exposed to and served by the Marthas of this world while the Marys sit in the best seats being served along with the guest of honor. Here’s hoping Martha gets hers today-the GOLDEN HALO she deserves.

  48. Sonia's Gravatar Sonia
    April 17, 2019 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    Doesn’t Martha remind anyone of Thomas? She believed because she saw! Pandita, like us faithful followers, believed because she heard!

  49. Nancy D Stevens's Gravatar Nancy D Stevens
    April 17, 2019 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    I predicted Martha for the Halo, yet voted for Ramabai. I so appreciate the ministries of the Celebrity Bloggers, everyone who makes Lent Madness happen, the thoughtful reflections behind others’ votes, and especially the humor. I will never, ever, give up laughter for Lent!

    Now, looking ahead to next year while these are fresh in my mind …

    Tim & Forward Movement:
    Find a volunteer church choir (or create one from volunteers in a location of your choice) to record the best of Michael’s songs, Sr. Diana’s hymns and/or John’s limericks. Then make them available for sale via iTunes and/or other sources. Perhaps not a huge money-maker, but since there were usually over 8000 votes per day, if marketed via email, FB, Twitter, etc., this year’s participants might bite. If nothing else, the singers will have a blast!

    Tech folks re: website:
    1. Many commenters have requested a “Like” button for years. PLEASE find a way to make this happen! We want to express our appreciation for various posts, but don’t need to comment to do so.

    3. I really liked the external links in Comments, which gave us another great way to expand our knowledge – and to find the tunes to Michael’s lyrics for those of us who are Broadway-song-challenged. For those who would like to add a link to their post(s) and don’t know how, could you include instructions for doing so at the top of each day’s Comments section? Or, create a link to a place on the website where we can find such instructions?

    Now to await the awarding of the Golden Halo. If it’s really close, perhaps another Silver Halo might be in the offing as well?

    Wishing everyone a blessed Triduum and Easter.

    • Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
      April 17, 2019 - 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Agreed! I would so have “Liked” this comment had there been that option.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        April 17, 2019 - 7:23 pm | Permalink

        But then we wouldn’t have heard you “speak.” Complete sentences are so nice! I offer up a vote for continuing without a “like” option.

        • Elaine Chilcote's Gravatar Elaine Chilcote
          April 17, 2019 - 7:54 pm | Permalink

          I can just imagine a “comments” section with hundreds of “Like” entries. Please don’t do that.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 17, 2019 - 7:39 pm | Permalink

      I have just one request: that the website recognize our address so we don’t need to type it in with every comment. The more you can encourage conversation here, IMO, the better!

  50. Mary Vincent's Gravatar Mary Vincent
    April 17, 2019 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    Bouquets of roses to all! It has been awesome.. I have learned of saints I never heard of and my opinion of Martha is altered forever. Thanks.

  51. Jessica Hughes's Gravatar Jessica Hughes
    April 17, 2019 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    I voted for Martha of Bethany. During this Lent, I’ve very much been called to be more of Martha than Mary and learning more about her has been a blessing indeed. And I leave this verse from Rudyard Kipling’s “The Sons of Martha,”
    It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and cushion the shock.
    It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that the switches lock.
    It is their care that the wheels run truly; it is their care to embark and entrain,
    Tally, transport, and deliver duly the Sons of Mary by land and main.

  52. rob's Gravatar rob
    April 17, 2019 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    I voted for you, Martha. I guess you had it coming when you complained to Jesus about your sister, Mary. Personally, He could have been a little nicer to you, in my opinion, but I’m just a mere mortal. I learned the distinction between being an “entertainer” and a “host” – hope to become a better host in the future. Happy Easter, Martha! I’m sure you’re doing all the cooking and cleaning. Hopefully Mary will at least do the dang dishes. She can pray while she scrubs and you can rest.

  53. April 17, 2019 - 11:43 am | Permalink

    Once again a huge “Thank You” to the entire Lent Madness team!!! This is one of the best ways to spend Lent. It was even harder to vote for our favorite saint as the choices so interesting. So many new saints to discover this year! Thank you again for making this a really special Lent!!

  54. April 17, 2019 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    Shoulda been Gobnait for the halo . Maybe there could be a glass or other kitsch in her honor since she has so many fans??!!

    • Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
      April 17, 2019 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Here, here! I agree!

      • andrea's Gravatar andrea
        April 18, 2019 - 12:01 am | Permalink

        Me too. Don’t stop bee-lieving. 🙂

    • Gobnait's Gravatar Gobnait
      April 17, 2019 - 4:20 pm | Permalink

      Exactly! Gobnait T-shirts would be excellent just saying…..

      • Terrie W.'s Gravatar Terrie W.
        April 19, 2019 - 10:48 pm | Permalink

        A little late, but this evening I thought I would peruse through some of the things I didn’t get to see yesterday! Where the tee-shirts are concerned, what a neat idea- and the picture could be Gobnait holding a few flowers with a smiling little bee perched in among the flowers looking up at her.

  55. Story's Gravatar Story
    April 17, 2019 - 11:54 am | Permalink

    I voted for one but I don’t care, I like them both.

  56. LOUISE's Gravatar LOUISE
    April 17, 2019 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I find it so interesting that almost all the male voices seem to have dropped out of these comments. Not sure what that says.

    • John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
      April 17, 2019 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Most of us sleep in, I guess…

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        April 17, 2019 - 7:26 pm | Permalink

        But why?

  57. Lindsay Hardin Freeman's Gravatar Lindsay Hardin Freeman
    April 17, 2019 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Martha of Bethany is one of my favorite women in the Bible: smart, practical, deeply committed to Jesus and a wonderful minister of hospitality. I often think that Jesus would not have kept coming to that little house in Bethany we’re it not for Martha’s wonderful welcome of food, respite, and shelter. Go, Martha!

  58. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    April 17, 2019 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Martha of Bethany for the Golden Halo!

  59. Jan Robitscher's Gravatar Jan Robitscher
    April 17, 2019 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

    How exciting to not only bestow the Golden Halo on the winner of Lent Madness, but to see that it has spread far and wide! The Hymn Society of the Us and Canada has picked it up as “Hymn Tournament 2019” complete with brackets and voting for the “greatest hymn of all time”! Perhaps a reprise of the Official Hymn of Lent Madness is in order? May the best saint win!

  60. Gena Gilliam's Gravatar Gena Gilliam
    April 17, 2019 - 1:26 pm | Permalink

    My confirmation name is Martha. Blessed is she. May all of you have the holiest of Holy Weeks.

  61. Loretta Ishida's Gravatar Loretta Ishida
    April 17, 2019 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Martha is already immortalized in the Bible. Pandita Pandita Pandita !!!!

  62. Jane Bucci's Gravatar Jane Bucci
    April 17, 2019 - 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I am so very grateful to EVERYONE who has added dimension, humor, education and awe to this magnificently irreverent and precious Lenten activity. I’m already excited for next year. Thank you and I ended up voting for Pandita…..

  63. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    April 17, 2019 - 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Sad to see this end. I look forward every year to Lent Madness. What a wonderful experience to learn about so many of our fellow faith travelers. I will miss you all. Blessings my brothers and sisters!

    • Linda S's Gravatar Linda S
      April 17, 2019 - 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Everyone of us Lent Madness Faithful ditto your comments!

  64. Rose Mahan's Gravatar Rose Mahan
    April 17, 2019 - 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I would normally vote for the more contemporary person. Pandita is certainly worthy of the Golden Halo. I voted for Martha, however. I am a Martha. For all my 82 years, I have wished I could feel the presence of Christ but I never have. So I love Him and try to serve Him. And in not many more years, I will see Him face to face. My husband was a Mary. When our rector asked him how he felt about dying, Ron said, “I’d rather live, but I am not afraid to die. I have seen Christ.” I wish I had, even just once. But I am who I am. So my vote goes for all of us who are Marthas — practical, prosaic, but lovers of the Lord.

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      April 17, 2019 - 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Peace. I read that Mother Teresa, like you, felt she had never seen Christ, never felt in the presence, though her whole life was dedicated to good works. I think we have to be grateful for our gifts. I hope you have felt in the presence of the company of saints this Lent. Thank you for being with us.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 17, 2019 - 7:36 pm | Permalink

      But isn’t Christ in those we love and serve? Perhaps your husband was not only a Mary, but full of Christ’s love as well? In the hymn St. Patrick’s breastplate, it says,
      “Christ with me, Christ before me,
      Christ behind me, Christ within me,
      Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
      Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
      Christ in the fort,
      Christ in the chariot seat,
      Christ in the poop deck,
      Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
      Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
      Christ in every eye that sees me,
      Christ in every ear that hears me.”
      Maybe we’re just looking for or expecting a different thing? I wish you peace in your searching and a blessed Easter.

  65. Grace Munro's Gravatar Grace Munro
    April 17, 2019 - 3:52 pm | Permalink

    My participation in Lenten Madness has been a first for me — literally! I’ve never observed anything for the season of Lent. So, I have been impressed, amazed, and thankful for the many saints I have met, the writers who have blogged or commented, and the pervasive sense of God’s presence with me, and with you all. Also the occasional chuckle. Will join you all next year. Voting for Pandita, of whom I heard only last week!

  66. Claire's Gravatar Claire
    April 17, 2019 - 4:22 pm | Permalink

    In the chronology of John’s Gospel Martha is the first to declare Jesus as Messiah, long before Peter ever does. We tend to forget that here it is a woman that recognizes Jesus for what he is.

  67. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    April 17, 2019 - 4:30 pm | Permalink

    We voted for Ramabai today. Kudos to the SEC, the bloggers, John Cabot, Michael Wachter, and Diana our faithful hymn writer. All have made this year’s Lent Madness so much fun in the learning! We look forward to next year!

  68. David L.'s Gravatar David L.
    April 17, 2019 - 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Do we really know what Martha of Bethany ever did for anyone else?Pandita inspired many thousands of lives. Come on, people! Vote Pandita before it is too late!

    • April 17, 2019 - 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Having spent many years in a retreat house kitchen while others were doing the “important” things, I can assure you that Martha and her example have done a lot for me, and I’m pretty sure that’s the case for others, too.

  69. Marybeth Wright's Gravatar Marybeth Wright
    April 17, 2019 - 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Somehow I was not able to vote. Something happened.

  70. Ben's Gravatar Ben
    April 17, 2019 - 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I vote for Martha today and offer up my thanks for her faith, her declaration of that faith, and her courage.
    Thanks to all for a wonderful Lent Madness season.

  71. Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
    April 17, 2019 - 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Given a choice between supporting Martha, who supported the gender norms of her day — women belonging in the kitchen while men discussed critical issues among themselves — and Pandita, who defied them, I must go with Pandita.

  72. Anita Martin's Gravatar Anita Martin
    April 17, 2019 - 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I am with Martha of Bethany. She welcomed Jesus into her home was the sister of Lazarus and a blessing to us all

  73. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    April 17, 2019 - 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Martha! “If you were here, my brother would not be dead”. “Yes, I believe you are the Messiah.” I’ve always liked the fact that she spoke up for herself with Jesus and she recognized him as the Messiah. She also took care of her house and the people around her, and she tamed a dragon! Great song today, Michael!

  74. Marjorie's Gravatar Marjorie
    April 17, 2019 - 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Another year, how about using the Final Four, or even Elite Eight, who didn’t win the haloes as the saints to choose from. So many admirable Christian people – I’d love to see them all given another chance.

  75. Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
    April 17, 2019 - 8:11 pm | Permalink

    For this year’s Golden Halo, Martha gets my vote. All honor to everyone else in the 2019 Bracket.
    A blessed Great Three Days and a glorious Easter to everyone.

  76. St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
    April 17, 2019 - 8:19 pm | Permalink

    I would like to suggest that if Martha wins the mug should depict a woman slaying a dragon and carry the words MARTHA DOMINATRIX.

    • Isabelle MdH's Gravatar Isabelle MdH
      April 17, 2019 - 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Wow, tough choice. However, I think after taking in all these comments, limericks, and songs, I am leaning toward Pandita…and may I suggest a Pandita Primer on her mug!
      Thank you for another amazing and interesting and fun way of Lent learning lessons! Lent Madness ROCKS!!

  77. Cynthia Cravens's Gravatar Cynthia Cravens
    April 17, 2019 - 8:28 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Pandita, but no matter which godly woman wins…Pandita or Martha, I am so glad to have participated in Lent Madness 2019! Thank you, Scott! Thank you, Tim! Thanks to the wonderful lyricists! Thanks to the earnest and convivial posters! And, thanks be to God!

    Ahem…when does Lent Madness 2020 begin? Withdrawal starting very soon now….

  78. Tobu's Gravatar Tobu
    April 18, 2019 - 1:43 am | Permalink

    Alas, the esteemed Ramabai got so much farther than I dared hope, and yet – barring a saintly miracle – it looks like her halo this year will be silver. I’m so excited that so many people have been introduced to her story and her work for the Lord and for India this year!

    I’m looking forward to buying a Martha mug for my beloved mother-in-law, her namesake…but if the Supremes choose to make any Silver Halo merchandise this year, I’ll be first in line to order both! (Hint, hint!) ;D

  79. Terrie W.'s Gravatar Terrie W.
    April 18, 2019 - 2:46 am | Permalink

    I chose Pandita as I felt her work really took to heart the verse in John 10:10 that talks about Christ coming that they might have life and have it abundantly while the thief comes only to steal. The cultural values of the man always doing everything while their young wives were not taught how to make it on their own should the man die and the woman’s place in society at that time as chattel reminded me a little of the thief in the reading from John. Part of Christianity is also abundant life which includes the life-skills Pandita taught the women as well as skills to have a livelihood and a better life. I also couldn’t help but think after completing an ETS training this afternoon which included scoring 7 sets of essays, 10 a set, all of them written by 7th graders on an anonymous quote dealing with learning and the student’s feelings on learning with another person vs. doing everything yourself. If Martha hadn’t had been taught by her family as well as other women around her when she was young the natural gifts of hospitality she had, as well as skills such as cooking, baking, cleaning, keeping up a home etc. would have been skills she wouldn’t have ever learned. Nor would her personal gifts have had a chance to develop. As I pondered this after getting into a much better mood than I had been after learning I had failed the first attempt at ETS’s training calibration as well today, a couple of the sample essays I had been assigned to read through and score suddenly felt like “out of the mouths of babes.”. Without being taught the young women Pandita was helping would not have gone from destitute widows a deceased spouse left behind to proud women able to support themselves, and most likely from unbelief in Christ to belief . Martha had wonderful people, and homemaking skills. But where would she be if she hadn’t had others there to watch and learn from while she was on her journey to a mature adult woman, and later a follower of Christ whom she also learned from.

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      April 18, 2019 - 11:11 am | Permalink

      Terrie, I thought your late comments were interesting. I went to read John 10 in its entirety. The image is of the gate. The shepherd enters through the gate. The thief climbs over the fence. I think what you are saying is that Rama provided a gate for women. I think you are saying that many people have a “fence” around them of family and cultural institutions that “invisibly” provide them a set of social skills. It is a mitzvah to offer the rest of us a “gate” to those same skills. It is also a good teaching to call all of us to notice the importance of both fence and gate in all our lives and to provide both to those who do not have them. Leave no one out of the flock. Call even the thief to contribute to the good of the whole and repent. Thank you. I hope Rama will be back; she was received with remarkable enthusiasm, and with another appearance may win the golden halo.

  80. Terrie W.'s Gravatar Terrie W.
    April 18, 2019 - 11:22 am | Permalink

    Thank you to St. Celia for the wonderful added insights! I too hope she will be back. 🙂 as so many thought so highly of her. Have a lovely Easter as well!

  81. Terrie W.'s Gravatar Terrie W.
    April 18, 2019 - 11:25 am | Permalink

    A big thank you to Scott, and Tim and all the wonderfully talented people in the Lent Madness Community! Have a blessed, and Happy Easter everyone!

  82. Randomdude101's Gravatar Randomdude101
    April 23, 2019 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Exactly 8,000 votes

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