Gobnait vs. Paula of Rome

In yesterday’s Saintly Sixteen pairing, Pandita Ramabai trounced Marguerite d’Youville 62% to 38% to advance to the Elate Eight vs. William Wilberforce. And, yes, Pandita, much like the Grinch, stole Lent from all the d’Yous down in d’Youville.

Today’s battle features Gobnait vs. Paula of Rome for a chance to square off against Ignatius of Loyola in the Elate Eight. While you may think there is scant evidence about the lives of either of these saints, you can always check back to their earlier matchups to help fill in the gaps. Gobnait defeated Hrotsvitha and Paula of Rome bested Marcella of Rome.

This also marks the final matchup of another wild and wacky week of loony Lenten learning. We’ll be back first thing Monday morning for the final battle of the Elate Eight as Zenaida faces Nicholas as Myra. Then it’s on to the next round!

“The bee is more honored than other animals not because she labors, but because she labors for others.” -John Chrysostom

As the female leader of a convent and a community in medieval Ireland, there are not any writings or quotes preserved from Gobnait. However, this line from John Chrysostom sums up well her devotion to our honey gathering friends.

Gobnait’s name is often anglicized as “Deborah” – a name which means “honey bee.” And this is no accident. She is best remembered for her work raising bees at the convent she helped to establish.

And then there were the times she organized the bees to the defense of her community. For example, the cattle rustlers who were strongly encouraged to leave the area by a swarm of Gobnait’s bees. In some of these legends, the bees were transformed into soldiers to provide safety and security for the community.

According to Celtic tradition, when the soul departs from the physical body it departs as either a bee or a butterfly. Gobnait stayed in Ballyvourney until she died – it was the place where God had given her a sign to “wait for her resurrection.” The bees she worked with remaining as a sign of God’s promise.

David Hansen

Paula of Rome
Paula of Rome was born into a family of distinction, and she married well too. She lived a life of luxury, wearing the finest silks and ordering slaves to carry her around the city.

Then, upon the death of her husband and her daughter, Paula’s life changed. She went on a pilgrimage and began to give all of her riches to the poor. People became nervous and considered her generosity reckless. Then Paula became friends with St. Jerome. She left her children, moved to the desert, and took her asceticism very seriously. Maybe even too seriously. After all of these years, we know about Paula’s great generosity to the poor. We remember that she founded a monastery and three convents. And, we also have the enduring knowledge that Paula of Rome…didn’t bathe.

The fact (and the smell) seemed to frustrate those working with her. Evidently, Jerome tried to get her to take a bath, and the Sisters would give her severe looks. But Paula would simply reply, “A clean body and a clean dress mean an unclean soul.”

Though John Wesley’s quote, “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” gets a lot more attention among Christians, Paula of Rome may have had a point. At least, St. Jerome may have come around to her thinking. When he reflected on her life, he said, “The more she cast herself down, the more she was lifted up by Christ. She was hidden and yet she was not hidden. By shunning glory, she earned glory, for glory follows virtue as its shadow; and deserting those who seek it, it seeks those who despise it.”

Carol Howard Merritt

Gobnait vs. Paula of Rome

  • Gobnait (72%, 4,861 Votes)
  • Paula of Rome (28%, 1,848 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,709

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Saint Gobnait: Used with permission by artist, @theworkofbees

105 Comments to "Gobnait vs. Paula of Rome"

  1. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    April 5, 2019 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    (continued from yesterday: http://www.lentmadness.org/2019/04/marguerite-dyouville-vs-pandita-ramabai/#comment-67759)

    Mellitus fled and Ephrem led, according to the crowd
    That late evangelist, poor Dismas was dismissed
    Then Marguerite edged Phillips; Olde Bostonians were cowed
    When Brooks offstage was hissed — how Trinity was missed!
    A pair of unpronounceable monastics then ensued
    The bees so pleased, they beat the sneeze (forgive me if I’m rude)
    Zenaida Apollonia fought; the latter lost some teeth
    Ananais from Photini then received a funeral wreath
    Though with ‘em in communion as we share the Eucharist
    As bracket picks they missed — they’ve fallen off the list.

    He put them on his list — he’s got ’em on the list;
    But now five of them he’s missed — a handful that he’s missed

    Pandita just edged Damien in a daylong head-to-head
    Then Paula topped the list — Marcella’s feeling dissed
    When Nicholas crushed Rudolph, more than Rudolph’s nose turned red
    Poor Rudolph masochist — I don’t think he’ll be missed!
    In the next round Martha sent old Nicodemus to the showers
    And Wilberforce remained ahead of Allen after hours
    Ignatius of Loyola Marina he sailed past
    Sing requiem for Ephrem, by John Chrysostom surpassed
    And yesterday Photini well-nigh Tabitha dismissed
    Good Tabitha is missed — I had her on my list!

    He put them on his list — he’s got ’em on the list;
    Now thirteen of them he’s missed — unlucky lyricist!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 5, 2019 - 8:38 am | Permalink

      Now that’s funny!

    • Joyce Zenker's Gravatar Joyce Zenker
      April 5, 2019 - 11:11 am | Permalink

      Wonderful prose!

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      April 5, 2019 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

      So it’s pronounced CHRYSostom! (At least for this poem.)
      I kept trying to sing this to “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General” and it almost worked. I’ll have to go find my recording of Mikado.

  2. Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
    April 5, 2019 - 8:05 am | Permalink

    In this week’s final show tune tribute, we salute Gobnait and Paula of Rome to the tune of “Ring of Keys” from Alison Bechdel’s autobiographic musical “Fun Home.” For those unfamiliar with this musical and song, a YouTube link to its performance at the Tony Awards has been included. It is outstanding.

    In Gobnait’s last fight, she trounced
    That saint with the name I can’t pronounce.
    She won…
    She won…

    “Protectress”: Her claim to fame.
    She made foes wish they never came.
    She won…

    Attackers are withdrawing
    From protection lines you’re drawing.
    They try to build for lengthy siege
    But you knock it down.
    And your bees, oh
    Your killer bees.

    The Battle for Rome: Paula beat
    Marcella – and moved to the next heat.
    She moved on…
    Moved on…

    So, she traveled east with Jerome.
    Founded four abbeys and made her home.
    Moved on…

    Good works matched with oblation
    And that biblical translation.
    The edits that you made with ease
    We can trace them to…
    Expertise, oh
    Your expertise.

    And I feel my heart asking, “Why?
    In this Lent Mad bracket,
    Why are we the Madness fans who choose why one gets crowned?
    No, I mean…

    Both saints lived their vocation:
    Paula’s biblical translation
    And Gobnait brings her foes to their knees.
    So, to sum things up…
    Gobnait’s bees, oh
    Paula’s expertise.

    Let’s vote now.
    Let’s vote now.
    Let’s vote now

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 5, 2019 - 8:44 am | Permalink

      “Her killer bees”—!! That’s fabulous! I really love this song and the performance is amazing. (I wonder what that kid is doing now. What a little actress!) Thanks for posting the YouTube version; it really helps for those of us singing at breakfast.

      • Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
        April 5, 2019 - 8:50 am | Permalink

        We saw Fun Home on Broadway. By then, Alessandra Baldacchino replaced Sydney Lucas
        as Small Alison – mainly because Sydney grew taller than Emily Skeggs, who portrayed Medium Alison. It is an amazing show which just brings tears to the eyes,

        • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
          April 5, 2019 - 9:26 am | Permalink

          Our trip to NY that year was right after it ended. How wonderful that you got to see it. Do you know if Sydney has done anything else since then?

          • Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
            April 5, 2019 - 10:23 am | Permalink

            She played Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden with Manhattan Concert Productions on February 21 and 22, 2016. She is also a series regular on an AMC show called The Son (I am not familiar with it). So, yeah. Not bad for a 15 year old!

            I also go to see The Color Purple which was phenomenal!

        • Annette's Gravatar Annette
          April 5, 2019 - 9:33 am | Permalink

          I enjoyed reading a fictionalized version of Gobnait’s ministry in Kristin Gleeson’s book In Praise of Bees. Gobnait gets my vote.

    • Mary Jane C. Ingalls's Gravatar Mary Jane C. Ingalls
      April 5, 2019 - 10:20 am | Permalink

      Quite the moving expression of finding “belonging”. Thank you for fabulous good morning song.

    • Grace Kennedy's Gravatar Grace Kennedy
      April 5, 2019 - 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for including the video. Great job as always!
      I want you to know in honor of yesterday’s limerick I went home and made a curry for dinner.

    • kesmarn's Gravatar kesmarn
      April 5, 2019 - 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Wow! Thanks for introducing me to Sydney Lucas. So, so talented.

  3. Diana's Gravatar Diana
    April 5, 2019 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    Gobnait is a name rather funny.
    The Saint’s known for bees and for honey.
    But her courage and faith
    (Prayed against those who preyed)
    Brings a halo both golden and stunning.

    Paula’s patience could fill quite a tome.
    For the woman endured Saint Jerome.
    Gave her money away,
    Fed the poor of her day.
    May her halo be golden, not chrome.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 5, 2019 - 8:48 am | Permalink

      Your rhymes are really clever, Diana. “The woman endured St. Jerome” rhymed with “chrome”–hilarious!

    • Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
      April 5, 2019 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Diana! Made my day. ” Prayed against those who preyed” is my line of the day!

      • sue's Gravatar sue
        April 6, 2019 - 7:02 am | Permalink

        yes that’s fabulous!

  4. Carolyn Mack's Gravatar Carolyn Mack
    April 5, 2019 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Honey bees need all the help they can get! Go, Gobnait!

    • Amy's Gravatar Amy
      April 5, 2019 - 9:18 am | Permalink

      Bee Gobnait!
      As a beekeeper in a big city, translation, backyard is the size of three parked cars, we share the backyard with our honeybee hive, flowers, and the grill. Summer evenings finds us grilling, conversing, chilling with a glass of wine and watching the honeybees flight path as they return to their hive.

  5. Mary O'Donnell's Gravatar Mary O'Donnell
    April 5, 2019 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    I often wonder if the ten commandments are the only true piece of bible. How many times has the bible been translated and with each translation how many changes from its original conversation. And to add to this dilemma many preachers read portions of the gospel than proceed to tells us what it means in place of a sermon.
    Gobnait all the way. God bless.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 5, 2019 - 8:50 am | Permalink

      Are you familiar with the Jesus Seminar? I don’t agree with everything they say, but their scholarship on the gospels and traditions of the day–what did Jesus actually say and do–makes for some really interesting reading. https://www.google.com/search?q=amazon+the+five+gospels&source=univ&tbm=shop&tbo=u&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjwmP3h_rjhAhUQWqwKHdxDDKkQsxgILQ&biw=1440&bih=660#spd=2676025071643362987

      • Mary K Freel's Gravatar Mary K Freel
        April 5, 2019 - 9:37 am | Permalink

        Excellent books by the Seminar

      • Elaine Chilcote's Gravatar Elaine Chilcote
        April 5, 2019 - 11:12 am | Permalink

        I recommend the five volumes of “A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus,” by John P. Meier. It is especially good on the criteria for possible historicity of a pericope (love that word, which I learned from these books) or particular passage of scripture. This is part of the Anchor Bible Commentary.

      • Grace Kennedy's Gravatar Grace Kennedy
        April 5, 2019 - 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

    • April 5, 2019 - 10:01 am | Permalink

      Peter Enns: How the Bible Actually Works. Light-hearted, often LOL funny, yet cogent premise. Reading it now and highly recommend.

    • April 5, 2019 - 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Actually it’s pretty consistent and accurate with most “changes” being about linguistic nuances that allow for some updating or choices, but virtually all true to the underlying original texts

  6. April 5, 2019 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Tend to agree more with Wesley about cleanliness, but giving my vote to Paula the editor anyway.

  7. Susan C's Gravatar Susan C
    April 5, 2019 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    I vote for Paula for her intellect, her facility with languages, her hard work of translating the Bible from Hebrew into Latin, her voluntarily choosing poverty while using her fortune to help the poor, and for her adventurous spirit. I do like bees, though.

  8. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    April 5, 2019 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    To misquote– Lord, an stinketh.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      April 5, 2019 - 8:35 am | Permalink

      really misquoted! Should have read — Lord, She stinketh.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        April 5, 2019 - 9:38 am | Permalink

        But didn’t everybody back then? I don’t think bathing was a thing till last century. BTW, welcome back!

        • Tobu's Gravatar Tobu
          April 5, 2019 - 10:14 am | Permalink

          That’s a common misconception, actually. Climbing into a large personal tub of hot water on a regular basis was a luxury reserved for the rich until the invention of indoor plumbing and mechanical heaters, but there are many other ways to get clean and they’ve all been popular for millennia! Ordinary folks have often favored a good scrubdown with a small bucket of water and a cloth, and keeping their undergowns/shirts/hose changed daily did a lot to absorb sweat and keep the harder-to-launder outer garments smelling sweet. Public bathhouses have also flourished in many cultures – the most famous have been in Rome, Japan, and Turkey, but even in London you could once spend a small coin to wash in the common “stew”, which priests in the medieval era sometimes railed against as a human soup of sin (all that exposed flesh)! And of course, there’s always a wash in the river or lake when the weather permits. Our exact standards (daily, weekly, with soap, with oils, wash the hair or just brush the dirt out daily) vary with culture and time, but we humans have always preferred to smell nice and keep tidy! No wonder Paula stood out in a crowd.

          • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
            April 5, 2019 - 8:53 pm | Permalink


        • Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
          April 5, 2019 - 10:17 am | Permalink

          Hi Susan! Actually, bathing was a thing in Europe through the 16th century. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, most people couldn’t afford private baths, but every little town had its public bathhouse. These declined in the 17th century and things got progressively nastier. I don’t know the history after that. I’m a Renaissance reenactor, and “nobody bathed” is one of the misconceptions we most enjoy fixing!

          • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
            April 5, 2019 - 8:57 pm | Permalink

            Well, I walked into that one! Thanks for setting me straight, Barbara and Tessa!

        • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
          April 5, 2019 - 12:59 pm | Permalink

          The Romans certainly did bathe. Paula lived c. 400 CE and there were at least 11 large public bathhouses in Rome, with hundreds of smaller baths and over a thousand fountains for people to draw water. Jerome was commenting because Paula did not conform to the standards of the time regarding personal cleanliness. In addition, if the linen worn closest to the body is changed and washed regularly people can go a long time without bathing and not develop an offensive odor. It’s a lot easier to wash and boil linen garments than it is to boil a person! While Paula probably didn’t have access to modern baths, that did not excuse her antipathy to washing and to putting on clean clothing.

          Mind you, we have no idea how often Gobnait washed and changed her clothes either.

    • April 5, 2019 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Dear Paula, I promise that I will not tease,
      as far as I care you may smell how you please.
      But did you not know, cuz in the tub we are bare,
      we can remember our baptism there?
      For symbols’ sake, I will vote with the bees,
      Despite your brain and your loving care.
      And sisters, both, now pray if you please:
      from this same site, I do declare,
      I seem to have caught a dang rhyming disease.

      • Kate the Catechist's Gravatar Kate the Catechist
        April 5, 2019 - 1:06 pm | Permalink

        I thought you were channeling John Donne with this! Hear, hear!

      • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
        April 5, 2019 - 3:37 pm | Permalink

        You have Evangelism Disease, you acidic person, you.

        In baths-ample Rome, Laura was crucified for smelling at her post;
        Mary, Martha worried, was whom Jesus loved the most.
        The ascetics are crypto-anorectics, St Guinefort’s got fleas
        And everyone’s concerned about Evangelism Disease.
        There’s panic among the voters because some saints owned slaves
        we moderns blame those hermits whose flesh was piously unlaved
        Some blame anti-semitism some the Nicene Creed
        But everyone knows Evangelism Disease did the deed.

        • Kate the Catechist's Gravatar Kate the Catechist
          April 5, 2019 - 8:58 pm | Permalink

          LOVE THIS!!!!

          • sue's Gravatar sue
            April 6, 2019 - 7:08 am | Permalink

            You all are amazing!!!! Thank you!

  9. Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
    April 5, 2019 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    I wanted to see what Ballyvourney looked liked–where her kitchen, well, and the monastery were. There are still ruins of all those things, plus a lovely medieval church. And I found this interesting bit at a website for Gobnait and Ballyvourney: “Traditionally it is believed she fled from Clare and took refuge on the Aran Islands. It is said she studied there under St Enda. Kilgobnet Church on Inis Oirr (Inisheer) is dedicated to her. While on Inis Oírr an an angel instructed her to go on a journey. The angel told her that when she came upon nine white deer, that would be her place of resurrection. Gobnait travelled through Waterford, Cork and Kerry. There is a Holy Well and a church named after her in Dunquin, County Kerry, a town near Dungarvan in Waterford. and also Kilgobnet near Killorglin in Kerry. But it was at Baile Bhúirne -Ballyvouney in Cork where she finally came across 9 white deer grazing.” The photos are really lovely. http://www.megalithicireland.com/St%20Gobnait%27s%20House%20and%20Holy%20Well,%20Ballyvourney.html

    • Patrice's Gravatar Patrice
      April 5, 2019 - 10:27 am | Permalink

      Delightful, Susan! Thank you so much for sharing.

      • Elaine Chilcote's Gravatar Elaine Chilcote
        April 5, 2019 - 11:17 am | Permalink

        Thank you, Susan!

  10. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    April 5, 2019 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    There is no credit given for the artist that did the image of Saint Paula of Rome.

    Did someone think no one would notice?

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 5, 2019 - 9:21 am | Permalink

      Icon artists usually don’t give their names.

      • Elaine's Gravatar Elaine
        April 5, 2019 - 9:30 am | Permalink

        It looks like it’s on a wall in a church, doesn’t it?

  11. Karen's Gravatar Karen
    April 5, 2019 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    I love Gobnait’s story and her bees, but I love Paula and her importance for Bible translation even more.
    “Paula and Jerome continued working together. Jerome was commissioned to revise the Old Latin Gospels. Paula encouraged Jerome to expand the job and translate most of the books of the Bible into Latin. She provided him with resources for the translation, suggested revisions, and edited the manuscripts. The women of the convents served as scribes, making copies of this groundbreaking work, which became known as the Vulgate, the first translation of the Old Testament directly from Hebrew to Latin (rather than from Hebrew to Greek to Latin). In the sixteenth century, the Roman Catholic Church affirmed the Vulgate as its official Latin Bible, and it remained the standard until 1979.”

    • sue's Gravatar sue
      April 6, 2019 - 7:11 am | Permalink

      I’m with you.

  12. Ruth Davis's Gravatar Ruth Davis
    April 5, 2019 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Gobnait and for the bees.

  13. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    April 5, 2019 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    Oh dear, I was hoping to be more inspired today. The image of the soul leaving the body as a butterfly or bee is lovely and it was tempting to vote for Gobnait because of it. However I voted for Paula last time, and have held my nose and voted for her today because of her transformed life and her little known influence.

  14. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    April 5, 2019 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    I appreciate Saint Paula of Rome’s knowledge that a clean exterior was not indicative of a clean interior. For that and for her careful work of Bible translation, I’m tempted to vote for her.

    That be had, I’m a wee bit Irish and I’m really drawn to Saint Gobnait. Her friends the bees, without whose lpollinating abor we would shortly be doomed, need all the help they can get these days.

    • Miss Jam's Gravatar Miss Jam
      April 5, 2019 - 9:07 am | Permalink

      . . . whose pollinating labor we . . .

      Can we get an edit button Scott & Tim?

  15. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    April 5, 2019 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    Though I loved Carol Howard Merritt’s description this morning, it was all about the bees for me.

  16. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    April 5, 2019 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    St. Gobnait and her bees for me. She’s a saint to whom I can relate. St.Paula comes across as somewhat deranged, with her clean body/unclean soul philosophy.

    • Elaine Chilcote's Gravatar Elaine Chilcote
      April 5, 2019 - 11:21 am | Permalink

      I agree. I voted for the sweetness of bees. Besides, we used to have eight beehives in a farmer’s apple orchard, plus one on the flat roof of an addition to the house we lived in at the time.

  17. Rosemary's Gravatar Rosemary
    April 5, 2019 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    Where would we be without bees?
    Also, Gobnait because…Ireland.

    • Victoria's Gravatar Victoria
      April 5, 2019 - 10:18 am | Permalink

      Yeah (your second sentence). At this point the choosing is almost arbitrary, given how these saints made their lives a witness. So, Ireland is at least as good as any other reason.

  18. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    April 5, 2019 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    Maybe Paula was into water conservancy ahead of her time. I’ve always thought modern U.S.ers bathe far more than they need to and consequently waste an inordinate amount of water.

  19. April 5, 2019 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    John Wesley was right . . . remembering the Beacon Day Center at Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, TX (serving the homeless and poor), and all other laundry facilities – and the bees – voting for Gobnait.

  20. St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
    April 5, 2019 - 10:06 am | Permalink

    My vote is for Hrotsvitha. Only . . . she’s not here. I think I would have concentrated on the Vulgate instead of on how Paula stank. I would vote for the bees, but they’re not the nominee. I’m put off by the “for Ireland” contingent. It’s possible I might not vote today. Ignaz is going to wipe the floor with either of these. What to do . . .

    • Kate the Catechist's Gravatar Kate the Catechist
      April 5, 2019 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

      My vote was with Hrotsvitha as well, but I went with Gobnait today. It might be that spring flowers are making me think of bees.

  21. Ann Tottenham's Gravatar Ann Tottenham
    April 5, 2019 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    The non-bathing thing put me off Paula completely. The cleaner Gobnait is a much more appealing role model. Though not very godly I can deal with cleanly and, besides, I love honey.

  22. Mary Jane C. Ingalls's Gravatar Mary Jane C. Ingalls
    April 5, 2019 - 10:14 am | Permalink

    Speaking of smells…. I am thoroughly enjoying a read of Holy Grounds, delivered yesterday by the hard-working delivery minions of Amazon. Loving PS to Tim, when we ladies are purchasing perfume, the finer establishments have a cup of coffee beans at hand with which to cleanse the palette nasal.

    I voted for Gobnait because my sister’s name is Deborah, and I like bees and honey. My heart goes out to Paula as her refusal to bathe is frequently a result of severe trauma particularly among young women who have been sexually abused.

    • Victoria's Gravatar Victoria
      April 5, 2019 - 10:20 am | Permalink

      Interesting information at the end there, Mary Jane. A compassionate observation. Prayers for healing and courage for girls and women who have been sexually abused.

  23. Jane Fenicle's Gravatar Jane Fenicle
    April 5, 2019 - 10:14 am | Permalink

    How many came to faith via the Vulgate? How many via bees?

  24. Carolyn's Gravatar Carolyn
    April 5, 2019 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    Go Gobnait, naturalist honoring God thru his creation of bees . Wish our world respected pollinators now the way Gobnait did !

  25. Richard the Chalice Bearer's Gravatar Richard the Chalice Bearer
    April 5, 2019 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    I’ll take trained bees over holy smelliness any day of the week!

  26. Doris's Gravatar Doris
    April 5, 2019 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    Paula…not bathing. Voted for Gobnait.

  27. Terrie W.'s Gravatar Terrie W.
    April 5, 2019 - 10:29 am | Permalink

    Gobnait is a little more down to earth for me, whereas St. Paula’s unclean b9dy clean soul idea kind of repulsed me and I too thought it wasn’t too normal. We also have a neighbor who is a hoarder and lives in the next set of buildings in front of where I and my significant other are at. The man also never bathes and I kind of had that to relate to when reading through the vignette on Paula. Instant choice of Gobnait!

  28. Mary Jane C. Ingalls's Gravatar Mary Jane C. Ingalls
    April 5, 2019 - 10:35 am | Permalink

    Quite the moving expression of finding “belonging”. Thank you for fabulous good morning song.

  29. Mama J's Gravatar Mama J
    April 5, 2019 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    So many cogent comments! I, too, was ‘put off’ by Paula’s bodily care habits, much like others of her own time and community. I was bee-guiled by Gobniat, however.

  30. Anne E.B's Gravatar Anne E.B
    April 5, 2019 - 11:11 am | Permalink

    Today’s easy peasy for me. Go Gobnait!

  31. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    April 5, 2019 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    Paula sounds like she always went 110%, and she liked to show off! When she was a Roman matron, she made sure everyone in town saw her fancy duds. When she practiced asceticism, she went so far with non-bathing that even St. Jerome thought she should put on the brakes. She had a huge fortune, and she gave it all away through the convents and monastery she founded, and through other good works. She might have irritated me had I met her in person, but for her high spirits, charity, and scholarship, I’ve voted for her.

  32. Irene's Gravatar Irene
    April 5, 2019 - 11:21 am | Permalink

    Paula for me, for the same reason I voted for Hrotsvitha in the earlier round. Gobnait’s story sounds like beautiful folklore (I adore bees) , but in the end I prefer the real life saints with all of their warts and odors.

  33. Sandy's Gravatar Sandy
    April 5, 2019 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    I have completely OD’d on asceticism and self-mortification this Lent Madness, so I had to vote for Gobnait even though I admire Paula’s scholarly work on the Vulgate tremendously.

  34. Waynecarlos's Gravatar Waynecarlos
    April 5, 2019 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

    “She left her children, moved to the desert, and took her asceticism very seriously. ”
    She left her children did it for me. As to the bathing issue, there’s generally not a lot of water in the desert.
    St Gobnait is the bee’s knees for me.

  35. John Miller's Gravatar John Miller
    April 5, 2019 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    These two were, to me, lightweights in comparison to other matchups. I went with Gobnait since bees are endangered, at least in the USA. Perhaps if Paula had bathed, she might have attracted my devotion.

  36. Jaron Burdick's Gravatar Jaron Burdick
    April 5, 2019 - 12:29 pm | Permalink


  37. Donald Harting's Gravatar Donald Harting
    April 5, 2019 - 1:23 pm | Permalink

    As a professional writer/editor, had to vote for Paula, the editor. I can see I’m outnumbered, however.

  38. Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
    April 5, 2019 - 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I suggest that if Gobnait defeats Paula, the announcement would read “Gobnait sent Paula to the showers.”

  39. Deborah Sampson's Gravatar Deborah Sampson
    April 5, 2019 - 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Gobnait anglicized is Deborah? How can I not?

  40. Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
    April 5, 2019 - 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I love the idea of the “bee army”…surely an excellent metaphor for today’s attempts to protect our environment. I am not a champion of asceticism, but I try to remember that we benefit from centuries of accumulated wisdom and science, as in Jesus’ words that “there is much you are not ready to understand, but I will send the Spirit who will guide you.” Putting our 21st sensibilities onto 3rd century lives can blind us to what their example was trying to offer. For her care for the poor and for her work on the Latin Bible, it is Paula for me today.

  41. Corey Sees's Gravatar Corey Sees
    April 5, 2019 - 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Woof! Lent Madness is coming down hard in favor of personal hygiene today!

  42. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    April 5, 2019 - 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Celebrity Bloggers, you have such power! Maybe Gobnait would have overtaken Paula anyway, but Paula’s anti-bathing Quirk has clearly helped wash her out of the running. However, I applaud Carol Howard Merritt for not shying away from her saint’s weirdness. If the saints were perfect, how could they be inspirations and models for us?

  43. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    April 5, 2019 - 3:20 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry, but Paula lost me over the hygiene issue. She was at best deluded and at worst passive-aggressively defiant, and likely a stumbling block to the faith of others. No, dear Paula, a clean body does NOT mean an unclean soul; and the fact that in you a pure soul happened to dwell in a filthy body was a coincidence, as you would have learned if you had responded to Jerome’s entreaties just once by bathing.

    So in making my choice I didn’t even have to think about the bees, except to the extent that Paula’s refusals probably gave poor Jerome hives. But for the record, I agree with all the good things everybody else has been saying about them.

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      April 5, 2019 - 3:42 pm | Permalink

      “hives”; I saw what you did there.

  44. Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
    April 5, 2019 - 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Years ago a professor of Spanish literature at U.T in Austin told our class about a nun in Spain who bathed that she had not bathed in 60 years. Seems that the cleanliness of the Muslim populations of Spain and Portugal caused some Christians to think that they should distinguish themselves from these persons by not bathing. “La gente olía,” he said, “The people smelled.” All honor to Paula for her generosity to the poor, but I disagree that an unwashed body necessarily means a clean soul. I wish she had extended more charity toward those who lived close to her, the nuns who were signaling that she could use some Irish Spring.
    My vote goes to Gobnait and the bees. Again.

    • Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
      April 5, 2019 - 3:35 pm | Permalink

      correction: “…a nun in Spain who bragged…” instead of “…bathed….”

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 5, 2019 - 9:05 pm | Permalink

      “Irish Spring”!!!

  45. Paul A's Gravatar Paul A
    April 5, 2019 - 4:06 pm | Permalink

    So this is one of those honey / vinegar contests?

  46. Melissa's Gravatar Melissa
    April 5, 2019 - 5:13 pm | Permalink

    As one of those with a honeybee moniker, I have to vote for Gobnait.

  47. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    April 5, 2019 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

    God, bless Gobnait, again and again! Anyone who is friends with bees deserves to win, and to win big. You go, guuuurl!

  48. NoraB's Gravatar NoraB
    April 5, 2019 - 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Celtic bee whisperer all the way!

  49. Carol Schwien-Weider's Gravatar Carol Schwien-Weider
    April 5, 2019 - 8:47 pm | Permalink

    When Paula of Rome was victorious in a previous round, her narrative was more appealing. Sadly she is headed for the barn round.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      April 5, 2019 - 9:32 pm | Permalink

      appropriate since she must have smelled like a barn only more so

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        April 6, 2019 - 1:51 pm | Permalink


  50. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    April 5, 2019 - 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Go Gobnait! Honey can be used in soaps too!

  51. Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
    April 6, 2019 - 12:33 am | Permalink

    If Gobnait wins, my church’s traditional chocolate and champagne “Break the Fast” following the Great Vigil may have to give way to honey treats and mead (honey wine). I just happen to have a few bottles of mead from the last batch I brewed!

  52. Linda S's Gravatar Linda S
    April 6, 2019 - 12:39 am | Permalink

    I’m in vaycay… thot today was Saturday and didn’t dive into the madness of Lent early. I’m shocked. SHOCKED! That Gobnait is killing Paula.
    The woman who literally funded the translation of Scripture for the first bunch of masses. I’m undone. You guys broke my bracket! (I’m also a little on edge….I’m visiting relatives….)
    My consolation prize is getting to know St Paula of Rome. And, I learned how to say Gobnait.

  53. Nell Spillane's Gravatar Nell Spillane
    April 7, 2019 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I ‘paid the pattern’ at Saint Gobnait’s shrine this morning and during the hour of my visit there was a steady trickle of pilgrims to the site. Pilgrims leave little personal momentous as an offrings one of the sweetest was bowl with a little posey of Mayflowers & honeycomb. I said a prayer for everyone who voted…..for Gobnait!

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