Martha of Bethany Wins 2019 Golden Halo!

The Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness congratulates Martha of Bethany for winning the 2019 Golden Halo. Martha became the 10th saint to wear the golden crown by defeating the inspiring runner up Pandita Ramabai. She joins previous Golden Halo winners George Herbert (2010), C.S. Lewis (2011), Mary Magdalene (2012), Frances Perkins (2013), Charles Wesley (2014), Francis of Assisi (2015), Dietrich Bonhoeffer (2016), Florence Nightingale (2017), and Anna Alexander (2018).

To help celebrate Martha's victory, we've invited the creative geniuses who have shared their talents throughout this holy season to honor the Golden Halo winner. We're delighted they answered the call!

Sr. Diana Doncaster has penned one final hymn in her growing saintly hymnal:

What fun among Saints when Lent Madness deploys;
We give them excuses to smile and rejoice.
They smile when we learn and share and long to grow;
And gladly sing praises when love among us flows.  

Today is the day when we learned what they knew;
St. Martha’s the one won; the halo is her due.
A hostess, a servant, Confessor, Christ’s Saint.
No one could not love her; rejoice without constraint.

With Martha we grow to trust Christ’s holy grace.
It’s fine to set work down to listen as he says;
“One final commandment I now give anew,
To love one another as I have loved you.” 

How Firm a Foundation - Hymn 636 or 637 – (Whichever tune you like better) 

John Cabot has graced us with a last limerick:

In spite of His early admonishing
Yet Martha displays faith astonishing.
As a fitting reward
For that trust in our Lord:
A Halo that never needs polishing!

And Michael Wachter offers his final show tune of the season (how did he manage this each day?!), setting it up for us thusly:

Martha of Bethany deserves a special musical tribute to commemorate her Golden Halo victory. Her song chronicles her journey from resentful housekeeper and sister to theologian to miracle-working dragon tamer - in France. Which tune would be most appropriate to sing her praise? Why, "It's a Hard-Knock Life" from "Annie," of course!

It’s a servant’s life for me,
Living here in Bethany!
‘Stead of playing, I get work.
Mary always get the perks.
It’s a hard-knock life.

Set the table, serve the meat,
While she lies at Jesus’ feet!
I complain I (clap-clap) get no rest.
Jesus tells me, (clap-clap) “She chose best!”
It’s a hard-knock life.

When you feel like your life has bitter fragrance
‘Cause your hair smells of sweat and never nard.
You can bear it and work up your impatience;
Complaining how your life is very hard.

Jesus praises your sister who’s a slacker.
Calls you out though you’re giving it your all.
Freud’s not born yet, and still you reexamine
That by serving others you have heard God’s Call.

Mary goes Round One.
Nicodemus done.
Well Girl’s luck runs dry.
Gobnait’s stung. Oh, my!

Santa Claus, I’ll never see –
Never made it to Round Three.
I’ve embraced my destiny:
Cinderella – First Cent’ry.
Love my serving life!

I gotta stay up till this dump shines like the Ark of the Covenant.


When my brother up and died,
On the road while Mary cried.
Raise him if my faith sufficed.
“I believe you are the Christ!”

After Pentecost’s events,
Go to France. We’re mission bent.
Miracles in Jesus’ name
And that dragon that I tamed.
Golden Halo life!
Golden Halo life!
Gol! Den! Ha! Lo! life!

What’s nearly as important as announcing the Golden Halo winner? Sharing the Lentorium link to the winner’s swag! Be the first one on your block to order the official Martha of Bethany 2019 Golden Halo Winner Mug. Your brand new mug will ship later this spring in plenty of time for you to serve your friends warm beverages, just like Martha would do.

Want to nominate a saint for Lent Madness 2020? Tim and Scott will be opening up the week-long nomination process (aka Nominationtide) in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Finally, blessings to all as we head into the Triduum and enter into the death and resurrection of our Lord. It’s been a privilege to have you join us on our Lenten pilgrimage!


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104 comments on “Martha of Bethany Wins 2019 Golden Halo!”

  1. Thank you all. I love learning about the saints and I love the comments which I also learn from. But I also feel connected to all of you - part of the "cloud of witnesses". (A new perspective on that cloud...)
    Best wishes til next Ash Wednesday!

    1. It's been another wonderful Lent Madness, thank you one and all. I have so enjoyed the learning, the laughter, the insightful, gracious comments. Looking forward to Lent 2020 already 🙂

  2. Outstanding season, and many thanks for all the extras - the hymns, the limiericks and the musicals! Such talent among the ranks of the faithful. As a Martha I'm very excited and can't wait to sip from my Golden Halo mug! Thanks again SEC for a very special journey

  3. What a roller coaster ride this Lent Madness has been! And so enjoyable and challenging. I'm happy to see Martha win the Golden Halo because she is such a human saint, one with whom we can all identify. Thanks for introducing us to some saints not usually found in western hagiographies. I must admit I'm still mourning the loss of William Wilberforce, but I can always hope that he will be a worthy contender for the Golden Halo in other years. (Is it too soon to nominate him and Father Damien for 2020?). I can also hope that in succeeding Lent Madness events you will NOT include spurious saints. Heaven knows there are enough real ones to keep us going for years to come.

  4. I know it is almost seven years off, but when we get to the 17th year of LM, the contestants for 2026 should come from the top two vote getters from each of the previous years. The prize that year could be a platinum halo or a super-sized gold one.

    Just a thought.

    1. I've been saying all season that, in 22 years, all the winners should vie for the Diamond Halo!

  5. Thank you everyone who contributed, posted, made jokes, educated us, wrote poems and I will go through Madness withdrawal for a few days. It's always a glorious time.

    And I too still grieve that Fr. Damien did not get into at least the final four.

  6. Thank you SEC, bloggers and all you talented lyricists and poets! Can’t believe another Lent Madness has come and gone. Blessings to all and may you have a holy Easter season!

  7. They lived not only in ages past;
    there are hundreds of thousands still;
    the world is bright with the joyous saints
    who love to do Jesus’ will.
    You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea,
    in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea;
    for the saints of God are just folk like me,
    and I mean to be one too.

    From "I Sing a Song of the Saints of God," by Lesbia Lesley Scott (1898-1986), who wrote pedagogical and inspirational hymns for her three children during the 1920s.

    Thank you, Lent Madness, for reminding us that the saints were, first and foremost, human.

    1. This verse of I Sing a a Song should become the theme song for Lenten Madness. I taught it to my 3-5 year old Choir Many years ago. They all loved t0 sing it loudly Especially the boys.

  8. This is my first post in 4 years of participating in Lent Madness voting. I have thoroughly enjoyed the commentary, bloggers saintly postings and the 'madness' of the process. I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to everyone involved in Lent Madness. It's a fun way to learn more about the saints that came before us!

  9. Congratulations to Mary of Bethany. Thank you for another fun time during Lent. Always love the comments and blogs and looking forward to next years Lent Madness.

  10. I am so thrilled for Martha and what she represents in the Church today. The Sunday before Lent Madness began, I climbed the stepped to the pulpit to give a short lay-talk about Altar Guild. My talk began and concluded with the example of Mary and Martha. Serving Christ in all humanity is not a bad gig! Thank you to the lyric writers, poets, and respondents this “Season of Lent.”

  11. Three brackets busted as we played, but backed Martha all the way! Will celebrate with java in my Golden Halo mug.

  12. Oh, Susan! You said it so well! I echo your sentiments; what a wonderfully, crazy, edifying Lent Madness this year (even if most of my choices bombed)! Blessings to the Lent Madness community!

  13. Almost sorry to see Lent end.
    A shout out to all the Altar Guilds and especially those that go by the name of St. Martha.

  14. I am happy that Martha has won the Golden Hale.
    I have already ordered my mug. But I wonder if it might be possible to again offer Silver Halo soup mugs... I would dearly love to have one of Pandita Ramabia to go with my soup mug of Julian of Norwich. Please consider making a Silver Halo soup mug this year!

  15. Thank you for hosting this enjoyable march through Lent! As usual, I learned a lot about both some of the well-known and lesser-known saints. I don't think I voted for Martha of Bethamy once, but she is certainly a worthy recipient of the Golden Halo!

  16. Congratulations St Martha! And happy to share I go to one church and work at another church across the street. Many years ago my church started Martha’s Table - a program for meals made and delivered to parishioners in need. A few years ago I suggested this program to my “work” church and now they do it too. How awesome it this that we can celebrate her ministry! A well - deserved Golden Halo.

    1. This is a wonderful idea! Thank you for your service. Now I would like to think that Martha is the patron saint of all “meal trains” out there!

  17. How I love Lent Madness! I enjoy learning about the lives of these faithful men and women throughout the centuries, and I also love the comments everyone makes! Here's to a blessed Easter, and HOORAY for Martha!!

  18. Thank you for the teachings, fun and song! Amazing talent you have at Lent Madness! Happy Easter, soon! See you next year!

  19. What an exciting finish to this year's Lent Madness!! I too hate to see this end but really hope that Laurie Brock will once again take us through to Pentecost with a daily writing.
    Lent Madness has added such a wonderful dimension to our Lenten devotions and opened up a world of Christian practice. We see that even the saints are flawed humans, just like each of us.
    Thank you SEC and the entire team of Celeb Bloggers!!!

  20. This winner suggests that Episcopalians tend to be more disciplined and less flaky than other Christian groups including perhaps evangelicals.

  21. Another Lent season come and gone. Thank you all for the fun and inspiration.
    Just a thought- wouldn’t it be appropriate to have a Martha Apron available through the Lentorium?
    She worked hard for no money...♥️

  22. Lent Madness is something I look forward to all year, and I thoroughly enjoy learning about saints whose existence was previously unknown to me, as well as enlarging my knowledge of the familiar ones. Of course, I loved the daily poems and songs written for that day’s saints, and people’s comments gave increased depth to my understanding and appreciation of the saints. Thank you to all who contributed!
    Both last year and this year, one particular (previously unknown to me) saint became a favorite, so that’s an additional gift of Lent Madness.
    Early in LM 2019, several people requested the SEC include a ‘Like’ button, a suggestion I hope the SEC seriously considers for LM 2020.
    Thank you, Forward Movement, and thank you, Tim, Scott, Adam, the celebrity bloggers and everyone who contributed to and participated in Lent Madness!

  23. I am reminded of the time when I went to a funeral at another church. Reception was held in the meeting hall with all those wonderful church ladies preparing food and comfort for the family and mourners.
    They wore aprons that said MARTHA’S GUILD

  24. Happy Spy Wednesday! Congratulations Saint Martha! You are one deserving Lady! How I love and look forward to Lent Madness! I’ve been addicted since C.S. Lewis won The Halo in 2011. I’ve learned so much and have met some fascinating Madness friends over the years. A blessed Triduum to one and all.

  25. The closeout to Lent Madness 2019 with the showcase of literary/musical/poetic talent sends this year's experience into the realm of pluperfect. Again my deep thanks to ALL. May God's richest blessings be yours.

  26. I have always loved Martha! She’s just like me! Up, up, and away! Greet the morning sun! No rest for the weary! Congratulations to Martha!