Ignatius of Loyola vs. Marina the Monk

We’re back for an ENTIRE WEEK OF THE SAINTLY SIXTEEN! Yes, there’s a parallel basketball tournament going on that some folks — even many in our ranks — think is “sweet” or “elite.” But over here, it’s saintly and elate. (For the college basketball aficionados among us, be honest. How many times have you accidentally referred to your other brackets by the wrong name?)

Last week we kicked off the Saintly Sixteen with Martha of Bethany and William Wilberforce becoming the first two saintly souls to reach the Elate Eight. Today Ignatius of Loyola and Marina the Monk wrangle in an attempt to join them.

Don’t forget, to head over to the Bracket tab to refresh your memory on the first round matchups and the basic biographical information presented in the Round of 32. For instance, you can easily reference Ignatius’ victory Tikhon of Zadonsk or Marina’s win against Dominic before casting your vote today. Remember, the informed voter is the wise voter.

Look for Tim and Scott‘s latest life-changing episode of Monday Madness coming later today. Can’t wait? Well, patience is apparently a virtue. In the meantime, go vote!

Ignatius of Loyola

“Up to the age of twenty-six [Ignatius of Loyola] was a man given to the vanities of the world; and what he enjoyed most was warlike sport, with a great and foolish desire to win fame.” This assessment of Ignatius’ early life didn’t come from a disapproving biographer, but from the pen of Ignatius himself, in the opening line of his Autobiography. Ignatius wrote this in the last of his major writings, having experienced for himself the transformative power of living life aligned with God’s loving purposes.

Ignatian spirituality, and most especially Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, have served as a template for millions of retreatants through the centuries who seek to encounter God in all things. Ignatius begins the exercises with his understanding of our purpose, and how we can live a life to the greater glory of God: “Human beings are created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by means of this to save their souls… I ought to desire and elect only the thing which is more conducive to the end for which I am created.” The Spiritual Exercisesare a guided template for responding to the call of God.

But they aren’t a glorified quiet day. Ignatius sought not to develop cloistered monks, but contemplatives in action – “love ought to manifest itself more by deeds than by words,” he writes. The Exercises don’t just lead a retreatant through a series of guided contemplations on the life of Jesus – but actively encourage her to imagine herself in the scenes of Jesus’ life and ministry. The Exercises don’t direct a retreatant to simply listen for God in silence – but also to see how God speaks to him through his desires when considered in the light of the immense love of God: “Ask for what [you] desire… ask for interior knowledge of all the great good [you] have received, in order that, stirred to profound gratitude, [you] may become able to love and serve his Divine Majesty in all things.” Here is the core of Ignatian spirituality: finding and serving God in all things.

Having experienced the profound love of God, and desiring to offer ourselves to God’s redemptive purposes in this world, in the final week of the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius offers this prayer for us to use in offering ourselves for God’s purposes:

“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and all my will – all that I have and possess. You, Lord, have given all that to me. I now give it back to you, O Lord. All of it is yours. Dispose of it according to your will. Give me your love and your grace, for that is enough for me.”

David Sibley

Marina the Monk

Marina the Monk wasn’t one of those saints who left behind volumes of theological writings and letters.

But some legends say Marina the Monk, known by the male name Marinos to the other monks at the Monastery of Qannoubine in Lebanon, left behind a note as the saint lay dying. It read: “I am a woman and not a man. I embraced the monastic life with my father. I was falsely accused. I have raised this child with my care. I beg of you not to remove my habit, my brothers.”

That’s a short summary of the saint’s life. Others have found many more words to say about it.

Some admire Marina as a feminist hero who didn’t let the limitations of 5th century society stand in the way of her calling. Shaving her head, dressing as a man and taking a male name allowed the saint and other women who followed her “to enter an exclusively male dominated part of their faith that also happened to have been the ideal, Coptic ascetic way of living,” according to Madeléne Tjernqvist in the paper “Woman Monks of Coptic and Christian Hagiography.”

Others admire Marinos as the first transgender saint who set the bar for those who followed him. “Rooted in the origins of the early Church, Marinos becomes a narrative and material foundation for later trans saints to be built upon. On this rock, Christ builds his transgender church,” writes Dr. M.W. Bychowski, Ph.D, on the website Transliterature.

Some identify with Marina the Monk because they have been similarly misjudged, and some are inspired by Marina the Monk’s care for the child who the saint was falsely accused of fathering.

Biographer Guita Hourani called Marina the Monk “a model monk.”

“She is described as a strong person who persevered under harsh physical and emotional circumstances in order to follow the life she had chosen. She endures in silence both the cruel judgment of people and the hard conditions of ascetic living,” writes Hourani in The Journal of Maronite Studies“In life, she was a living martyr; in death, she was a saint!”

There are some secrets the saint took to the grave — and legends about what happened afterward. One legend has another monk being cured of blindness when he approached the body of the saint. Another has the birth parents of Marina the Monk’s child driven to the saint’s gravesite, where they confessed to falsely accusing Brother Marinos of fathering the child.

Whatever it is you see in the saint’s life that inspires you, a later poet composed these thoughts“Hence we see in Saint Marina a proof. She has gained the glory of joy through grace-filled patience.”

Emily McFarlan Miller

Ignatius of Loyola vs. Marina the Monk

  • Ignatius of Loyola (60%, 4,363 Votes)
  • Marina the Monk (40%, 2,947 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,310

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Ignatius: Ignatius of Loyola by Francisco Zurbaran (1598-1664). Public Domain.

109 Comments to "Ignatius of Loyola vs. Marina the Monk"

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

    For his teachings and spirit tenacious
    Matched with intellect most efficacious,
    Today, let’s Elate him,
    Not defenestrate him;
    For his goodness so gracious: Ignatius.

    • Ann G.'s Gravatar Ann G.
      April 1, 2019 - 8:07 am | Permalink

      #VoteIgnatius — I’m a Jesuit at heart

      • Scott Elliott's Gravatar Scott Elliott
        April 1, 2019 - 10:38 am | Permalink

        Like my mom used to say when I was a kid: Jesuit until your father gets home!

        • andrea's Gravatar andrea
          April 1, 2019 - 10:01 pm | Permalink

          Ha ha!:) Like!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 1, 2019 - 9:05 am | Permalink

      Every time I read one of your limericks, I think, now THIS is the cleverest of all. And, indeedy, this one has so much going for it–it almost makes me want to vote for Ignatius!

    • Grace's Gravatar Grace
      April 1, 2019 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Love your creative rhymes!

    • Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
      April 1, 2019 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Brilliant! Thanks for yet another one.

    • Sunderland Em's Gravatar Sunderland Em
      April 1, 2019 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Terrific…complete with internal rhyme! And I’m a fan both of Ignatius and the Jesuits.

  2. Carolyn Mack's Gravatar Carolyn Mack
    April 1, 2019 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    Not a fan of the Jesuits. Am a fan of Marina.

  3. Jackson's Gravatar Jackson
    April 1, 2019 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    On the Monday after the #transgender day of remembrance, I have to vote for Marina.

    • Andrena Wishnie's Gravatar Andrena Wishnie
      April 1, 2019 - 8:28 am | Permalink

      I agree, and my trans friends would ask me to use the pronoun ‘they’, not she…

      • Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
        April 1, 2019 - 10:08 am | Permalink

        We need a singular neuter-gender pronoun for a person. A person is not “they,” as a person is not plural. A proposal that makes sense to me is “te” for he or she, “tem” for him or her, and “ter” for his or her.

        • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
          April 1, 2019 - 10:11 am | Permalink

          I agree that a neutral pronoun would be helpful. “They” used as singular grates like fingers on a chalkboard for me. But I think that’s a losing battle, Katherine….

        • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
          April 1, 2019 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

          I third the motion that we develop a gender neutral third-person singular personal pronoun. Over the past 20 years or so I have gotten used to using “they” as the singular when the person is neither present or known to me. But when the person in question is present or is someone I know, I find it jarring, almost disrespectful.
          And there’s no way on God’s green earth I will refer to God as “They”! (Unless I’m discussing the Trinity.)

        • CB's Gravatar CB
          April 1, 2019 - 1:26 pm | Permalink

          May we put aside grammar preferences to honor and respect those around us who clearly and vulnerably name their pronoun preferences.

          • Denise's Gravatar Denise
            April 1, 2019 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

            Thank you CB – a heartfelt, simple and obvious observation. There is a great vulnerability in naming that need for respect.

        • Diane Manko-Cliff's Gravatar Diane Manko-Cliff
          April 1, 2019 - 1:59 pm | Permalink

          My eldest child uses Ze and Zir.

        • SDQ's Gravatar SDQ
          April 1, 2019 - 4:14 pm | Permalink

          Have also seen “per” as in person, which is better than the confusing plural they/them, what suggests multiple personality. Just mho

          • Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
            April 1, 2019 - 9:51 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I’ve seen “per” also. I don’t really care what we use, but I really wish we could use some word other than “they” for a person when we don’t know the gender (as in “someone left his or her (or ter) book”) or when the person does not want to be identified by gender.

    • Alyssa Sali's Gravatar Alyssa Sali
      April 1, 2019 - 8:47 am | Permalink

      Yes, this vote on this day! Marinos!

      Vote to lift up Marinos; vote to make a largely invisible experience more visible. Vote for the self-giving, faithful saint you hadn’t heard of so that others may hear of him and believe that their story –as oppressed women, as transgender, as adoptive parents– is also important to the Christian witness in the world.

      At this moment in history, when so many Christian environments stand against transgender people, we have an opportunity as a community to take a simple action to stand with them. As Ignatius put it: “Love ought to manifest itself more by deeds then by words.”

      Ignatius eventually used his great privilege to pursue something other than “the vanities of life”. But he did manage to “win fame”. Perhaps he has enough.

      • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
        April 1, 2019 - 9:19 am | Permalink

        I agree with you. And I would add that we in the west should support the Coptic church and all the struggling Christian communities in the east that did not have the temporal advantage of being a state religion. Perhaps had I reflected on that more deeply and a little longer, I would have voted for Marinos. But I am not sure she can carry that weight. Many Xian communities have been snuffed out by intolerance and suppression. But that happened in the west as well; witness the Albigensians. Today I simply look at each individual and reckon that as saints each “has enough.” I feel Ignatius in my daily practice more immediately and am drawn to the idea of being a “contemplative in action.” Blessings to both of them.

      • Barbara A.K. Franklin's Gravatar Barbara A.K. Franklin
        April 2, 2019 - 1:52 am | Permalink

        I agree. Everyone knows Ignatius and admires and loves him, but who had heard of Marina? My vote’s for her so others will.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 1, 2019 - 9:10 am | Permalink

      All the more reason to vote for Marina. Thank you for pointing that out, Jackson. That last line, “I beg of you not to remove my habit, my brothers” is heartbreaking. Let’s not forget either what Marina did for the baby and mom. That was one selfless saint!

  4. Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
    April 1, 2019 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    The musical tribute for today’s saints can be sung to the tune of “Memory” from “Cats” – now and forever!

    It’s the first day of April,
    But, no joke, it’s Ignatius
    Who is up for the vote.
    In the last round,
    Íñigo won by 30 percent.
    On an iceberg, Tikhon floats.

    Lost last round to Marinos
    (Or should we say Marina?
    It’s confusing, I know.)
    Cent’ries later,
    Who knows what pronouns this monk preferred?
    Will Marina win Halo?

    St. Ignatius. Who’d believe
    This boastful glory-seeker
    Gained perspective
    And got introspective
    And became a mystic speaker?

    Great work!
    Iggy’s “Spiritual Exercise”
    But some thought it a her’sy.
    (They’re in Spain. Guess who’s it…?)
    He contended
    A monk’s work’s not defined by four walls.
    Iggy’s such a Jesuit.

    Once, Marina, took a trip on
    Business for the Chancel.
    A girl was raped and
    Then she blamed Marina.
    Proof barely circumstantial.

    Ohm Gee!
    ‘Rina’s kicked from the Abbey
    And then raises the baby
    As a beggar for bread.
    No one noticed
    The monk “Marinos” was not born male
    Until after she was dead.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 1, 2019 - 9:38 am | Permalink

      “Iggy”–you are so bad! Love the Marinos/Marina verse especially (“It’s confusing, I know” goes so well with the music and the story both!) Great job. AGAIN!

    • Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
      April 1, 2019 - 10:00 am | Permalink

      I choked on my coffee while reading this in a café. Michael, you have earned your own Golden Halo with your brilliant and entertaining work.

    • Grace Kennedy's Gravatar Grace Kennedy
      April 1, 2019 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Another great one! Michael, are you the Michael Wachter who played Burbage in the recent production of “Shakespeare in Love” at the Erie Playhouse? If so, congratulations on a great show, I enjoyed it. I can’t believe you’re local, I look forward to meeting you someday!

      • Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
        April 1, 2019 - 3:59 pm | Permalink

        Me? The Scourge of the Suburbs? A peddler of bombast?

        Guilty as charged.

        I am so glad you enjoyed the show! Thank you for coming! Are you a fellow Episcopalian?

        • Grace Kennedy's Gravatar Grace Kennedy
          April 1, 2019 - 4:08 pm | Permalink

          I’m a member of St. Mark’s in Erie. I may show up at the Cathedral occasionally so if I do I’ll look for you.

          • Michael Wachter's Gravatar Michael Wachter
            April 1, 2019 - 4:33 pm | Permalink

            I will be singing in the choir!

            Are you joining us this Sunday (April 7) for the Lenten Meditation?

            Meditation on the Passion of Christ
            Sunday, April 7 at 5 pm
            Similar to the popular format of Lessons & Carols, this service contains scripture readings, spiritual writings and poetry focusing on Gethsemane, the Trial, the Via Dolorosa, the Crucifixion, and Burial. Come for reflection and prayer in a beautiful sacred space just before the holiest week of the year. Child care provided.

          • Grace Kennedy's Gravatar Grace Kennedy
            April 2, 2019 - 11:37 am | Permalink

            That sounds nice, I didn’t know about it. I’ll try to make it.

    • Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
      April 1, 2019 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Also brilliant! Many thanks for helping me get my day off to a good start.

  5. Marian the Lutheran's Gravatar Marian the Lutheran
    April 1, 2019 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Whether or not she was transgender, she chose a life that felt right in her heart. For my child, I choose Marinos.

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

      Thank you for honoring your child and this saint.

  6. Ruth Douglas Miller's Gravatar Ruth Douglas Miller
    April 1, 2019 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    Though Marina chose a hard way, Ignatius had much greater impact on the Church. I note too that pretending to be a man does not make a woman transgender–the latter is a good bit more complicated, and not likely to have survived centuries.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 1, 2019 - 9:18 am | Permalink

      True, Ruth. You make a good point. But we often find inspiration in saints who, though they’re not just like us, inspire us by resonating with us.

  7. Gloria F. Ishida's Gravatar Gloria F. Ishida
    April 1, 2019 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    As nother wrote, whether she was transgender or not,it doesn’t matter. She had to do what what was require of her at that time. As far as Igatius is concerned, recently I bought the book on kindle but it really isn’t getting to me; nothing more than others. I go for Marinos.

  8. St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
    April 1, 2019 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    Having been a retreatant for Ignaz’s spiritual exercises, I will vote for Loyola today. If we could post pictures, I would here attach the icon of Loyola, “Come at me, bro” with its basketball for a halo. But if you follow James Martin, SJ you will surely have seen it. It will be perfect for the kitsch round, just sayin’. I understand being falsely accused, and I think I know a little of “grace-filled patience.” But while Marinos supplies a vessel in which we can examine our gender assumptions, Ignatius supplies a prayer vessel in which we can examine all our assumptions. I do the examen every day.
    Here’s a post from a contemporary Jesuit: “Come at me, bro.”

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 1, 2019 - 9:31 am | Permalink

      I liked it! Thanks for posting. Reminds me of my entanglements with political antagonists on the Internet. Maybe this will give me a new perspective in that arena.

    • Michelle M's Gravatar Michelle M
      April 1, 2019 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for posting this link. Great article.

  9. Rene Thompson's Gravatar Rene Thompson
    April 1, 2019 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    While both set-aside aspects of themselves during their journey of discovery, Marina ignored accusations and went so far as to adopt the child of her accuser. If Marina was indeed transgender, she is an excellent example of LGBT as religious, and if Marina wasn’t transgender, sacrificing that large an aspect of yourself is a huge gift of commitment to her vocation.

    Either way, I vote Marina.

  10. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    April 1, 2019 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    “Finding and serving a God in all things”….love this!
    Ignatius for me

  11. Mary O'Donnell's Gravatar Mary O'Donnell
    April 1, 2019 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    Love Ignatius. “God is in all things”

  12. madamesenora's Gravatar madamesenora
    April 1, 2019 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    Must vote for Iggy today – his prayer sums up why:

    Teach us, good Lord to serve thee as thou deservest,
    to give and not to count the cost;
    to fight and not to heed the wounds;
    to toil and not to seek for rest;
    to labour and not to ask for any reward;
    except that of knowing that we do thy will. Amen.

  13. Sharon Pattison's Gravatar Sharon Pattison
    April 1, 2019 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    I still think , Marina’s father was the one who raped the young woman, and Marina somehow knew that and that is why she ‘fell on the sword’ to take the child and raise her ‘sibling’, my vote is for Marina, I Have been to a retreat and it is an eye opening event in ones life as to your spiritiually!

  14. Kit Mackenzie's Gravatar Kit Mackenzie
    April 1, 2019 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    “In life, she was a living martyr; in death, she was a saint!”

  15. Tiffany's Gravatar Tiffany
    April 1, 2019 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    I’m curious about whether Marina became a monk because that was the only option for monastic life for her – i.e., there were no convents – or whether it was a choice she made because she wanted to remain with her father, because the monastery was closer to home, or because she may have preferred to live as a man/among men. Does anyone have any idea?

  16. Shepothedepo's Gravatar Shepothedepo
    April 1, 2019 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    Let’s go Iggi, let’s go!!! Bum bum bum

  17. Susan Reeves's Gravatar Susan Reeves
    April 1, 2019 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    The phrases “contemplatives in action” and “finding and serving God in all things” were key in my choice of Ignatius.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      April 1, 2019 - 2:52 pm | Permalink


  18. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    April 1, 2019 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    Ignatius is our vote today. We still find Marina/Marinos not believable even if it is Lent Madness.

  19. Mary Jane C. Ingalls's Gravatar Mary Jane C. Ingalls
    April 1, 2019 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    I voted for Marina; that is not to say that Ignatius is less compelling. The Spiritual Exercises expounded by Ignatius echo from the bedrock of the Twelve Steps Program of AA, which I believe to be the most successful mental health treatment ever conceived. The stranglehold of patriarchic culture has and does enslave women and girls to which a blind eye may no longer be turned. Altogether, a very interesting read to begin the day.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 1, 2019 - 9:41 am | Permalink

      So Bill and Bob were Catholics? I didn’t know there was a connection, Mary Jane. Very interesting!

      • Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
        April 1, 2019 - 10:31 am | Permalink

        Pretty sure at least one of them was an Episcopalian, since AA got its start in an Episcopal church basement!

      • Mary Jane C. Ingalls's Gravatar Mary Jane C. Ingalls
        April 1, 2019 - 11:10 am | Permalink

        Yes, Episcopal. The early AA sprang as a fledgeling called “The Oxford Group”, who set the cornerstone of recovery in fellowship.

        • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
          April 1, 2019 - 2:12 pm | Permalink

          I missed that somehow. Another reason to love being a Piskey!

          • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
            April 2, 2019 - 7:14 am | Permalink

            Piskey piskey, Nancy piskey,
            Paisley piskey, Nancy oh!

  20. April 1, 2019 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    I love Marina(o)’s story, but I will vote for Ignatius because he had more overall impact on the church. Someone has to lose, the path behind us is littered with folks deserving the halo. Marina(o) was exemplary in her behavior, taking care of that child she was undeserved shamed with and living without complaint or protest beyond the walls of the sanctuary she desired. But every morning I think of doing Ignatius and his practices, even if I don’t always get around to them. Farewell, Marina(o)! Excesior, Ignatius!

  21. Jennie O's Gravatar Jennie O
    April 1, 2019 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    Have been studying Ignatius’ rules for Discernment of Spirits (Gallagher) and they are brilliant. So, the gentleman gets my vote today.

  22. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    April 1, 2019 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    I see no where that Marina was transgender. I don’t know why it is assumed by some. She chose the monastic life with her father and had to dress as a monk or she would be thrown out. She suffered for no reason, yet never revealed the truth that the child could not be hers. I vote for Marina.

  23. Juanita's Gravatar Juanita
    April 1, 2019 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    Ignatius and his teachings have had the most impact on my life.
    It was in the Spiritual Exercises that I first learned that God loves us first, God loves me first, and everything proceeds from that point. Love is God’s default setting, not anger or wrath.
    Ignatius for the (maroon and) Gold!

  24. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    April 1, 2019 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    I surprised myself by voting for Marinos, but she seemed right for this moment in the life of the Church. Ignatius is one we will have with us always, like the poor.

  25. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    April 1, 2019 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    To connect Marina/Marinos and transgendered people is reaching! My transgendered friends are real, Marina/Marinos was not. My transgendered friends sufferings have been real, Marina/Marinos’ sufferings were not. Get real. The pious fiction of Marina/Marinos pales in comparison to the true story of the evolution of St. Ignatius from a vainglorious boy to a deeply spiritual man who saw God in everyone and everything. Besides, his prayer has been one of my favourites since I as a child.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 1, 2019 - 10:07 am | Permalink

      Why do you say Marina was not real?

    • Irene's Gravatar Irene
      April 1, 2019 - 10:57 am | Permalink

      I went with St Ignatius for much the same reason.

  26. Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
    April 1, 2019 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    I am grateful for the opportunity to become acquainted with the life of Marina/Marinos, but Ignatius gets my vote for his story of transformation and his principle of “finding and serving God in all things.”

  27. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    April 1, 2019 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    How appropriate for Marina/Marinos to come up again on the day after Transgender Day of Visibility! They are the first saint I have encountered who could be a patron for trans and non-binary people (even if that’s not what Marina/Marinos was; we’ll never know). For that alone I would vote for them. But they are also a model for compassion, generosity, and courage for anyone.

  28. Kathleen's Gravatar Kathleen
    April 1, 2019 - 10:15 am | Permalink

    As a Loyola (Chicago) alumna, I had to vote for my school’s patron saint. True, the Jesuits have had a checkered history, but in the past century they’ve largely been a voice for conscience and reason (women’s rights are still a major blind spot, though.)

    Still enjoyed the (rather apocryphal) story of Marinos, however. I recommend Louise Erdrich’s novel *The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No-Horse* (a favorite of mine) to anyone with whom her story resonates.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 1, 2019 - 10:24 am | Permalink

      Added to my “want to read” list. Thanks!

  29. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    April 1, 2019 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    Forgot to make it clear that the Ignatian prayer I referred to is not the one from his Spiritual Exercises, quoted in the biography today, but the one I discovered when i was about twelve that has always resonated with me: Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve: to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labour and not to ask for any reward save that of knowing that we do your will. Amen.

  30. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    April 1, 2019 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    Susan Lee Hauser, my first clue that Marina/Marinos is a fiction is the fact that the story about her takes place in either the fifth or the eighth century. My second clue is that her legend is also ascribed to one Pelagia and also to Mary of Alexandria. My third clue is that a quick browse on the internet reveals that there is no basis in fact for Marina/Marinos and that the story is generally considered a pious fiction. I prefer real saints, and I am not in favour of making Marina the patron saint of those who are transgendered when she was no more transgendered than I am. If anything, Marina was merely a cross-dresser, and there’s a real saint who did that – name of Joan of Arc.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 1, 2019 - 11:22 am | Permalink

      There were Christian monastics, real people who lived in the fifth and eighth centuries; the fact that this story of a female saint has survived sixteen centuries says to me that someone remarkable is the basis of the story. What started that story? I would argue a “real” person with a “real” life story worth remembering is the basis for these stories/legends that have been preserved for us today. If we are only going to retain traditions of “real” people, and we base their verity on independent, verifiable sources, then there is very little outside the bible to say that Jesus and all the stories we have about him (or Paul, or Moses, or Isaiah, for that matter) are “real.” There is a reality that transcends our sentient analyses, something beyond photographs and historical records, no?

  31. Sarah P's Gravatar Sarah P
    April 1, 2019 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    I was fully prepared to vote for Marina as a living martyr and saint in death. Period. Then we get all the discussion about gender-neutral pronouns and many other issues that warrant discussion in another place, which distracted me. The prayer shared in the Ignatius post resonated with me and I was called to vote for him, as him, not as a part of any man-created group of Christians, with whom I may or may not agree on many issues.

  32. Judy Bye's Gravatar Judy Bye
    April 1, 2019 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    Marina and her father misrepresented themselves to the brothers, to the community and to the child. That’s the best case scenario. I know what some have done to protect Christianity. I do hope Marina’s story is absolutely true. Kudos on her sainthood anyway. Ignatius seems more believable and there’s “contemplatives in action” that matters to me.

  33. Linda S's Gravatar Linda S
    April 1, 2019 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    Discovering the way of Ignatius through the wonderful podcast, Pray-As-You-Go, had a huge impact on my life 10 or so years ago. His spin on contemplative living was a game changer.
    I am truly grateful to have met Marina, but considering Ignatius’s impact on millions of Christians, and the ripple of that goodness, it’s Ignatius all day long.

  34. Kate Mason's Gravatar Kate Mason
    April 1, 2019 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    Marina modeled
    faith and trust. But Ignatius
    gave us a pathway.

  35. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    April 1, 2019 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    Ignatius for me.

  36. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    April 1, 2019 - 11:42 am | Permalink

    Actually, Sarah, I think the discussion is entirely appropriate here. Jesus helped, cared for, and worked with marginalized people. By discussing gender-neutral pronouns, etc., we are working on understanding what will help transgender individuals feel and be included — working on a more inclusive Christianity. This is certainly something Christ would support.

    With that being said, I find it hard to understand how Marina/Marinos can be described as transgender. I think at best, we can say she is gender non-conforming. Gender non-conforming is “a term used to describe some people whose gender expression is different from conventional expectations of masculinity and femininity. Please note that not all gender non-conforming people identify as transgender; nor are all transgender people gender non-conforming. Many people have gender expressions that are not entirely conventional – that fact alone does not make them transgender. Many transgender men and women have gender expressions that are conventionally masculine or feminine. Simply being transgender does not make someone gender non-conforming.” https://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender
    From https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/hartkes-book-teaches-about-gifts-transgender-christians

    “A New York Times article announced ” ‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration.” It revealed that President Donald Trump’s administration was considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a government-wide effort to roll back protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law. Overnight, calls quadrupled to TransHelp, the suicide hotline by and for transgender people. This “leak” may have been an election device to pander to Trump supporters, but it underlines both the fragility of this marginalized group and the contempt with which portions of our society treat us. Into this cultural divide comes this book by a transgender theologian to help readers visualize a more inclusive Christianity.”

  37. Alene's Gravatar Alene
    April 1, 2019 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    To the SEC: The name chosen by ‘Marina’ the monk was Marinos. Shouldn’t we be referring to him by the name he chose to live into throughout his life?

  38. Bree's Gravatar Bree
    April 1, 2019 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I really, really wanted to vote for Marina for her piety and her unfailing love for the child that she sheltered, all for the love of God. May I have a drop of that divineness please. In the end, I cast my vote for Ignatius because of his far reaching, instructional practices that keep on giving.

  39. Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
    April 1, 2019 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

    “contemplatives in action” – I like that. Besides, my older son went to Jesuit College Prep in Dallas.

  40. John Miller's Gravatar John Miller
    April 1, 2019 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Ignatius is my choice today. He has, literally, influenced millions of christians with his writings and retreats that number in the thousands. I needed a template of obedience and service that was given me by Loyola.

  41. Grace's Gravatar Grace
    April 1, 2019 - 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Ignatius because I have found great fruit in his Spiritual Exercises. Surprised to see him in the lead right now.

  42. Kaye Bellot's Gravatar Kaye Bellot
    April 1, 2019 - 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Marinaaaa, I”ve just met a monk named Marinaaaa
    And suddenly that name, will never be the saaaame
    to meeeee

  43. Robert E's Gravatar Robert E
    April 1, 2019 - 1:33 pm | Permalink

    A “Me Too” vote for Marina/o.

  44. Alyssa's Gravatar Alyssa
    April 1, 2019 - 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I find myself frustrated again today, reliving Friday’s match between Richard Allen and William Wilberforce.

    It’s the reasoning in so many of the comments that gets to me. What a surprise that the wealthy, well-educated, Europeans somehow managed to have a more “far-reaching” “impact on millions of Christians” compared to deeply marginalized saints. So let’s vote for them for being more famous.

    I know that is an oversimplification and it is not intended as a personal attack on any of the commenters. But although many commenters give weight to the personal piety of the saints or what they stood for or promoted (which, of course, were amazing or they wouldn’t be in the lineup), the refrain of “if it’s a hard decision, vote for the most influential (i.e. born into privilege) person” gets under my skin.

    Of course, the good news is that this Lenten exercise is causing me to reexamine how I use my “vote” as I interact with the people in my congregation, denomination, and world. Who do I promote, when I find myself with power? Who do I listen to and learn from?

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 1, 2019 - 3:37 pm | Permalink

      I share your frustration.

  45. Patrick Alther's Gravatar Patrick Alther
    April 1, 2019 - 2:02 pm | Permalink

    There is some confusion as to definition. Marina was a crossdresser, one who wore the clothing of the opposite. sex and identified as it. She underwent no physical alteration, as a transgendered person would be.
    Maybe Marina/Marinos can be the saint of drag queens! Voted for her again, but looks like she’s going down to defeat now.

    • Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
      April 1, 2019 - 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Clarification: Transgender people do not necessarily undergo physical alternations. Trans means somebody whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.

      Marina/Marinos was unquestionably a cross-dresser, but other than that, we can have no idea – whether they were just a cross-dresser, or trans, or nonbinary, or anything else. One of the things that’s great about having them in this year’s bracket is that it’s stimulating these conversations!

      • Jim's Gravatar Jim
        April 1, 2019 - 7:26 pm | Permalink

        Marina/Marinos was not “unquestionably a cross-dresser.”

        From https://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender
        While anyone may wear clothes associated with a different sex, the term cross-dresser is typically used to refer to men who occasionally wear clothes, makeup, and accessories culturally associated with women. Those men typically identify as heterosexual. This activity is a form of gender expression and not done for entertainment purposes. Cross-dressers do not wish to permanently change their sex or live full-time as women. Replaces the term “transvestite”.

  46. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    April 1, 2019 - 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Ignatius as I think he did more for the church with his Exercises that help us turn to God.
    I am deeply uncomfortable with today’s emphasis on sexuality and it’s “if you feel it, it is right” mentally. Especially when I am told to accept just about anything yet my feelings and beliefs are unacceptable. Feelings do not change biology. On the other hand I have no place in someone else’s bedroom I just wish others would not criticize what goes on in mine. Do we really need all this discussion centered around what is actually a small, albeit important, part of life. End of rant TBTG!

    • Alyssa's Gravatar Alyssa
      April 1, 2019 - 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Clarification–the discussion about how Marinos’s life intersects with the experiences of transgender people is not actually about sexuality or bedrooms.

  47. Carolyn's Gravatar Carolyn
    April 1, 2019 - 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Marina for perseverance .

  48. Joe's Gravatar Joe
    April 1, 2019 - 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Marina got my vote
    After looking more into her story
    I think that her devotion to the unwanted
    Child was a great burden on her
    And from what I read on one site
    She was staying at the home of a friend
    Of the church and the mans daughter
    Was not raped but committed adultery
    So to protect herself and her lover
    She blamed marina
    I think one reason marina kept silent
    Was that knowing the girl was an adulteress
    She would have been severely punished
    So in her silence she protected the girl
    Also I don’t think she was a tranny
    But a trasvestite
    Trannys usually dress in opposite clothing
    Because they feel the are in the wrong body
    Transvestites dress in opposite clothing
    Because they like the feel of them or
    They are in disguise as with the case
    Of marina

    • Alyssa's Gravatar Alyssa
      April 1, 2019 - 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Although some people commenting today might be interested in discussing the nuances of exactly how Marinos (a) understood gender and the choice to live the life of a male monk, I think the main point is that Marinos (a) faithfully lived a Christ-centered life outside gender norms of the time.

      Also, just for the sake of education, since I’m sure you were not intending to insult anyone, both Transvestite and Tranny are considered derogatory unless used by the individual about themselves:

      “Defamatory: “tranny,” ….
      [This] words dehumanize[s] transgender people and should not be used in mainstream media. The criteria for using these derogatory terms should be the same as those applied to vulgar epithets used to target other groups: they should not be used except in a direct quote that reveals the bias of the person quoted. So that such words are not given credibility in the media, it is preferred that reporters say, “The person used a derogatory word for a transgender person.” Please note that while some transgender people may use “tranny” to describe themselves, others find it extremely offensive.” https://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender

      For more on current usage of terms (which has changed over the years): https://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender

  49. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    April 1, 2019 - 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Sad to see that Iggy has more fans than Marina. You go girl, you do you!

  50. Sai's Gravatar Sai
    April 1, 2019 - 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand this whole transgender discussion. To me, “transgender” is very much a 21st century concept, which seems misplaced when applied to a 5th century woman trying to survive (and thrive) in a totally male dominated world. We don’t know Marina’s motivation for pretending to be a man so she could live as a monk in a monastery. Wanting to live with the privileges and opportunities of a man in the ancient world does not, in my mind, translate as being transgender.

    • Alyssa's Gravatar Alyssa
      April 1, 2019 - 5:38 pm | Permalink

      “We don’t know Marina’s motivation” is exactly right, and that’s *why* there is discussion. Marinos/a can be a point of connection for many different people, many of whom have a hard time finding people who share their experience held up within Christian tradition. That’s why this monk is such a fascinating and important example for us.

    • Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
      April 1, 2019 - 5:51 pm | Permalink

      “Wanting to live with the privileges and opportunities of a man in the ancient world does not, in my mind, translate as being transgender.” Sai, you are so right; it does not. And we don’t in fact know Marina/Marinos’ motivation. The question is coming up because Marina/Marinos *might* have been transgender (or nonbinary, or something else). Although the word “transgender” is relatively new – a 20th-century word – transgender people are not. We are only now beginning to understand how both sexuality and gender are not either/or, but places on a spectrum. But that our understanding and language to describe our understanding are new, and often confusing, does not mean these characteristics have not been part of human nature for a long, long time.

      I’m hyper-aware of these issues because I have many friends who are members of the LGBTQIA community, and because my late husband was a biologist who taught courses in sex and reproduction.

      Here’s a couple of discussions that tackle the language issue: https://www.dictionary.com/e/transgender; https://www.them.us/story/inqueery-transgender.

    • Jim's Gravatar Jim
      April 1, 2019 - 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Transgender is a term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.

      While the term may be new, the concept is not. For example, Cybele (Ran Republic) was worshiped by a cult of people who castrated themselves, and thereafter took female dress and referred to themselves as female.

  51. judith nicholas's Gravatar judith nicholas
    April 1, 2019 - 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Interesting discussion on Marina. I had a very different understanding , although I only know what I have read here about her. But my guess would be that in that far away age, had no other option but to go to the monastery with her father, as she had no other place to go where she would be safe and fed. A woman pretending to be a man under these circumstances speaks to me more about being a wise survivor than any suggestion that she was transgendered. I think she was courageous and determined. And who was this child? How do we know that it wasn’t her own, and she brought and raised him at the monastery where she knew he would be safe, having lied to the monks not only about her own gender but the parenthood of her child? That really does speak to me of sainthood.

    • Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
      April 1, 2019 - 9:46 pm | Permalink

      And don’t you all think we should watch Yentl again!

  52. Carole, sjv [Society of Jesuit Volunteers :-)]'s Gravatar Carole, sjv [Society of Jesuit Volunteers :-)]
    April 1, 2019 - 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Marquette HS & University – Loyola High School

    – Jesuit Volunteers Northwest ) at a Jesuit parish) and JVC California…

    First Communion with a Jesuit Presider…

    Three generations. Has to be Ignatius today

  53. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    April 1, 2019 - 9:58 pm | Permalink

    I just had to vote for the contemplative Ignatius, who has so influenced some of my living spiritual guides and teachers, and so influenced me in exploring the richness of loving God who first loved us.

  54. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    April 1, 2019 - 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Ignatius. The AA connection, and his prayer. “Contemplatives in action” and “Finding and serving God in all things”

  55. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    April 2, 2019 - 2:29 am | Permalink

    Today Ignatius speaks to me. “Give me your love and your grace, for that is enough for me.”

  56. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    April 2, 2019 - 6:54 am | Permalink

    Spoiler alert: In the Madness there are no bad reasons for a vote.

    When I was little, my father use to call me “Ignaz,” to rhyme with “big hats.” Other than my German-American mother, he had no connection with the German language, and by the time I learned the meaning of the name it was too late to ask him where he’d gottenit. So, finding myself in Germany, I’m going to offset the selflessness of both contestants by voting for myself.

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