Brother Lawrence vs. Patrick

One of the joys of examining the lives of the saints is observing how their lives take twists and turns that lead them to the places they are ultimately called to serve. This is the case with both Brother Lawrence, whose life was forever transformed through his experience as a soldier, and Patrick, whose early years as a slave in a foreign country changed the trajectory of his life. Through simple faith and legendary acts, the lives of these two faithful servants of Jesus begin to shine through. And yet, only one will advance to the Saintly Sixteen.

Yesterday, in the biggest margin of victory of Lent Madness 2020 to date, Joseph trounced Joshua 73% to 27% to advance to the Saintly Sixteen, where he’ll face the Biblical Elizabeth. None of this gets easier as we move ever closer to the awarding of the Golden Halo.

Time to vote!

Brother Lawrence

Brother Lawrence understands troubling times. Born into poverty in Lorraine, France, around 1614 as Nicholas Herman, he joined the Army during the Thirty Years War in search of regular food and sustenance. Unfortunately, he was spiritually and physically injured by the violence of the battle. It is said that Nicholas first experienced God while staring at a dormant tree in the middle of winter. In that moment, Nicholas realized that God was present and working even in things that appeared to be dead—himself included. His contemplation reawakened his spirit, and Nicholas realized that if God could work in that tree, then God could also work within him and in much of the mundane life around him. Thus, began a journey where Brother Lawrence found God in the simplest of things.

Following his injury, Nicholas joined an upper-class household to serve as a footman. Crippled and awkward, Nicholas reported that he was a clumsy servant, ill-suited to carrying things he was most likely to break. He yearned to be a part of a community in which he could contemplate God. Consequently, he joined the Discalced Carmelite Priory in Paris where he took the name of Brother Lawrence. There he continued to serve others and was often found in the scullery, cooking and doing dishes. During this time, he began to develop his maxims for mundane living, providing the foundation for his book, The Practice of the Presence of God. Brother Lawrence’s book teaches us that even the small things in life are opportunities to pay homage to our Maker.

Brother Lawrence’s contemporaries report that he had an unworldly knack for marrying activity and contemplation. It is said that toward the end of his life, Brother Lawrence achieved living as though it were only God and himself and all his activities solely focused on God.

Brother Lawrence calls us to find God in our chores, our routines, our moments of anger and frustration. Brother Lawrence knows the pain of mental and physical injury and that God is working in the boring, the painful, and the moments we wish we could rush through. Brother Lawrence calls each of us to be fully present with God in every moment, not just those we consider as spiritual. His feast day is January 11.

Collect for Brother Lawrence
Heavenly God, we give thanks for the life and teachings of Brother Lawrence who through his actions, deeds, and words has taught us to believe in and concentrate on God’s continual attention to us that through our growing awareness of God in all things that we may come to realize our dependence on God’s very personal and continuous presence. Amen.

—Anna Fitch Courie

As a sixteen-year-old, Patrick herded sheep. He kept guard as the lambs gnawed clover from the field. Patrick took care of a lot of animals, watching for sickness, cleaning out muck, and gathering in wanderers. With all of that work, his forearms were more muscular than a few months before. He had outgrown his boyhood’s lanky frame and expanded into the body of a man.

Patrick changed in other ways as well. His heart pierced as he thought of his family and birthplace. Out in that space, Patrick felt the acute loss of all he loved. He could not escape the ache of his homesickness, and with no one else to turn to, he began to pray. A few months earlier, bandits had captured Patrick and stolen him from his home in Roman Britain. They had moved him to Ireland, where he became a slave. In his desperate captivity, without the distractions of friends or family, he began to rely on God. Patrick converted to Christianity, and his faith grew deep through his trials.

Six grueling years later, Patrick dreamed that a ship was ready for him. He escaped from his captors and returned home. While Patrick was in Britain, he continued to study Christianity and became a priest. Then Patrick had another dream. Someone delivered a letter to him with the heading, “The Voice of the Irish.” In it, the people of Ireland begged him to walk among them again. He felt deeply moved, but he also had nagging doubts about responding to the call. He didn’t have as much education as he wanted.

Though Patrick was not initially welcome in Ireland, he eventually settled in a place where his ministry flourished. He became a bishop, baptizing thousands of people and ordaining priests who started new churches. He encouraged wealthy women to become nuns and ministered to the royalty. His legends include driving snakes out of Ireland and raising thirty-three people from the dead.

Today, festivities abound in his honor on St. Patrick’s Day. In memory of the patron saint of Ireland, exuberant people parade and green beer flows. The most pervasive emblem harkens back to those grazing sheep. People pin clover to their chests, recalling how Patrick plucked the three-leafed plant from the field in order to illustrate the Trinity.

Collect for Patrick
Almighty God, in your providence you chose your servant Patrick to be the apostle to the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of you: Grant us so to walk in that way that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

—Carol Howard Merritt


Brother Lawrence vs. Patrick

  • Brother Lawrence (57%, 4,813 Votes)
  • Patrick (43%, 3,632 Votes)

Total Voters: 8,445

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Brother Lawrence: Illustration in a book published by Fleming Revell Co., 1900. Jebulon: [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]
Patrick: Stained glass, St. Patrick Catholic Church, Junction City, Ohio. Nheyob [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

196 Comments to "Brother Lawrence vs. Patrick"

  1. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    March 5, 2020 - 8:03 am | Permalink

    This saint, once he’d fled from that land far away
    Returned to the green hills of Ireland to stay
    In the place we still find
    With his name intertwined;
    Though early, let’s celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

    • Alice Roerig's Gravatar Alice Roerig
      March 5, 2020 - 11:02 am | Permalink

      This is sooo unfair. All things Irish are in my blood so it has to be Patrick!! But Lawrence was such a good guy also.

      • Richard Dorn's Gravatar Richard Dorn
        March 5, 2020 - 3:57 pm | Permalink

        I too was in the same quandary, hope my Irish ancestors can look the other way…I voted for Lawrence.

      • Mary Beth Burns's Gravatar Mary Beth Burns
        March 5, 2020 - 4:36 pm | Permalink

        I agree – I love Brother Lawrence’s view, so like the later paths of Mother Teresa and Saint Therese, but the Irish heritage takes over, and I want to sing old songs and wear my green sweater and shamrock earrings!

      • Deborah L Bedard's Gravatar Deborah L Bedard
        March 5, 2020 - 8:03 pm | Permalink

        I am going against my Irish ancestors and voting for Brother Lawrence……Heaven have mercy on my soul!

      • yes's Gravatar yes
        March 5, 2020 - 11:36 pm | Permalink


    • SharonDianneFosterPattison's Gravatar SharonDianneFosterPattison
      March 5, 2020 - 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Oh, what a choice today of all days!
      My husband Gary had a procedure in out local,hospital, he was told, NOT CANCER, but to see his family doc in 4 weeks, thanks be to God for small miracles! I was the Catholics Irish. And my husband of almost 57 years (June 29,1963) was the Anglican Irish, so we not only married but I choose to be confirmed into the Anglican Church of Canad! Hey, my grandfather Wilfred Austen Tott was ‘Anglican’ from London England! So, I voted for Patrick☘️

    • Anita's Gravatar Anita
      March 5, 2020 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Been to the site of this Saintly Man. Beautiful and and green was the land. Was so impressed by all that I saw. All I can say is. Beautiful and that is why I voted for He

  2. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 5, 2020 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    I am part Irish and so am quite biased. Cannot help myself. I had to vote for Patrick although very sympathetic and enthusiastic about Lawrence.

    • Kathleen Richards's Gravatar Kathleen Richards
      March 5, 2020 - 9:42 am | Permalink

      I felt my heritage calling so voted for Patrick even though I truly felt Brother Lawrence should be the winner. I was actually happy to see that he’s way ahead of Patrick.

  3. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 5, 2020 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    “God was present and working even in things that appeared to be dead”. I wanted to vote for Patrick, but this changed my mind. Brother Lawrence for me!

    • andrea's Gravatar andrea
      March 5, 2020 - 8:13 am | Permalink

      Me too!

    • March 5, 2020 - 8:27 am | Permalink

      Yes, it was the dormant tree that swayed me also.

      • Karen's Gravatar Karen
        March 5, 2020 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Me too

  4. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 5, 2020 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    God is present in the boring, the painful, and the frustrating. Brother Lawrence it is for me today. I am guessing we will see the Irish bloque out in force today; the biggest scandal of Lent Madness took place when an Irish saint made it to the KO round. I am very tender toward the garter snakes in my garden and will not think kindly toward any wannabe saint who tries to drive them out. Also, technical aside: can one “gnaw” clover? Thank goodness God is present in the frustrating. Brother Lawrence, pray for me today during all the boring, the painful, and the frustrating. May the dormant tree in my life, and the lives of all this little company, come awake.

    • Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
      March 5, 2020 - 8:25 am | Permalink

      Same here. I was all ready to vote for Patrick in order to honor one of our Celtic Saints, and he is a perennial favorite saint of mine. However after reading the bio about brother Lawrence I felt much more in need of his prayers and example at this time in my life. Finding God in the mundane, finding God in housework especially. I would much rather contemplating my navel then wash dishes. Hooray for brother Lawrence and the example he sets for us.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 5, 2020 - 8:34 am | Permalink

      Lovely! I hadn’t read this at 8:25 when I wrote my little comment, and with more time I might’ve said several of the other things you have, though with less grace. On my way to Morning Prayer I’m going to look more closely at the trees.

    • Denise LeGendre's Gravatar Denise LeGendre
      March 5, 2020 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      “Brother Lawrence, pray for me today during all the boring, the painful, and the frustrating.” Amen. I’m going to print this out and keep it on my desk!

      • Alan Christensen's Gravatar Alan Christensen
        March 5, 2020 - 9:22 am | Permalink

        Lawrence should be patron saint of those stuck in meetings.

        • RoseAnn Evans's Gravatar RoseAnn Evans
          March 5, 2020 - 9:38 am | Permalink

          Or traffic!

      • March 5, 2020 - 10:35 am | Permalink

        Or with computer issues!

    • Jane's Gravatar Jane
      March 5, 2020 - 11:09 am | Permalink

      :))) Well, if your teeth are a bit on the old side, I think you’d be “gnawing” the clover. I believe sheep are infamous for pulling plants up by the roots, so that would take some gnawing too.

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        March 5, 2020 - 11:21 am | Permalink

        I sense a new banjo album for Mumford and Sons: “Gumming the Clover.”

        • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
          March 5, 2020 - 5:47 pm | Permalink
          • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
            March 5, 2020 - 5:49 pm | Permalink

            That was supposed to be a laughter-with-tears emoji!

    • Patricia Lyons Samuel's Gravatar Patricia Lyons Samuel
      March 5, 2020 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Very well spoken; I look forward to your posts. I am Irish, too, but voted for Brother Lawrence even so. Most of us have mundane parts to our lives; he is the example of how we can make use of the boring, the mundane and the sometimes irritating. As some of my grade-school teachers said, “Offer it up.” I also admire Lawrence’s ability to combine chores with contemplation; let’s have more contemplative prayer, along with thoughtful action, in our world.

      • Mary Beth Burns's Gravatar Mary Beth Burns
        March 5, 2020 - 4:41 pm | Permalink

        Amen –

  5. March 5, 2020 - 8:13 am | Permalink
    • Mary Cay's Gravatar Mary Cay
      March 5, 2020 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      Ok, that’s funny! I LOVE Brother Lawrence, but Patrick gets my vote. How many enslaved children go back to the people who enslaved them to bring the LOVE of Christ. They were both obedient and found God in the every day; their every days were just different. Mine is more like Brother Lawrence, but I pray that my every day may inspire future generations — like the generations of Irish after Patrick who preserved Christianity while it was deteriorating in the interior of the Continent.

      • Brianne Willard's Gravatar Brianne Willard
        March 5, 2020 - 7:44 pm | Permalink


        • Brianne Willard's Gravatar Brianne Willard
          March 5, 2020 - 7:44 pm | Permalink

          That would be Wunnerful!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 5, 2020 - 9:22 am | Permalink

      I didn’t know anyone remembered Lawrence Welk anymore! I have very fond memories of watching that show as a child.

      • Joanne Reams's Gravatar Joanne Reams
        March 5, 2020 - 9:46 am | Permalink

        My parents loved that show, and I watched it with them. I liked the Lemmon sisters, especially the youngest, Janet. I watched it until the Beatles and Rolling Stones came along!

      • Jeff Downey's Gravatar Jeff Downey
        March 5, 2020 - 11:00 am | Permalink

        A one, anna two, anna three…

      • Linda M.'s Gravatar Linda M.
        March 5, 2020 - 5:25 pm | Permalink

        I would watch Lawrence Welk with my grandma Pat as a child.

      • Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
        March 5, 2020 - 10:22 pm | Permalink

        So do I… – and as much as I enjoyed the Lawrence Welk Show… – in the scheme of “Godly” things… – he does not compare… – yet Brother Lawrence is the epitome of Christ-likeness…! Just a thought….

  6. Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
    March 5, 2020 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    Brother Lawrence has been an inspiration to move for years. Part Irish though I am, it’s Brother Lawrence for me!

  7. Barbara Ross's Gravatar Barbara Ross
    March 5, 2020 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    It’s Lawrence for me. You had me at “marrying activity and contemplation.”

  8. Ellie Tupper's Gravatar Ellie Tupper
    March 5, 2020 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    I suppose Patrick will win just for all the green beer. But Brother Lawrence’s faith and insight resonate for me: the tiny green leaves of spring are from God.

  9. Melanie's Gravatar Melanie
    March 5, 2020 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    I am the daughter of a Lawrance and the aunt of a Patrick. Today’s readings were an interesting contrast between the utterly new and the utterly known. Strangely, that made my decision easier–I voted for the saint I had never heard of before, rather than the saint whose story is so familiar as to almost be trite. Also, the image of the barren tree in the wintertime was very meaningful for me, as the barrenness of winter trees weighs heavily on my spirit as the arrival of spring seems to take far too long.

  10. Deborah Northern's Gravatar Deborah Northern
    March 5, 2020 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Brother Lawrence had a strong pull but my Irish roots went for Patrick who returned to a place of painful memories to serve the people who had enslaved him. Plus, getting rid of snakes is a big plus too!

    • March 5, 2020 - 9:06 am | Permalink

      I canceled out your vote, Debbie! When I was part of the Contemplative program, Brother Lawrence was recommended reading. If you haven’t read his book, let me strongly suggest you do. What I love about Brother Lawrence is he was not a very impressive man on the surface. The other monks would make fun of him because while he found God in his chores, he still wasn’t very good at them. He broke a number of dishes in his attempts to clean them. But spiritually he was on another level than most of us. If anyone came close to succeeding at constant prayer, it was him. Humble beloved Brother Lawrence, pray for us!

      • Elizabeth C.'s Gravatar Elizabeth C.
        March 5, 2020 - 10:28 pm | Permalink

        Ahmen… – HalleluYah – Ahmen…!!!

  11. Vicar Mollie's Gravatar Vicar Mollie
    March 5, 2020 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    So difficult! I can only imagine the Irish kitsch to come, and my heart leaps with the deer when I sing “St. Patrick’s Breastplate.” But my life is no legend, nor ever will rub shoulders with one. Brother Lawrence gently shows me where God waits in my sort of life, watching me as I cook and clean, run errands and find rest. No showdowns at the Hill of Tara, just a quiet “That’s good.”

  12. Ruth Douglas Miller's Gravatar Ruth Douglas Miller
    March 5, 2020 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    I saw this matchup coming early on. I am an engineer; Patrick is the patron saint of engineers, for ‘engineering the snakes out of Ireland.’ And I was born on his day, though I am English, not Irish. But Brother Lawrence’s little book has woven its way through all my Christian life, poor though I am at Practicing the Presence. No idea what to do, which I suppose makes for good meditations all day. One minor correction: Patrick’s symbol is a shamrock–a sorrel leaf, not clover–a plant of woodlands and wet places, summarizing the Emerald Isle!

  13. Donna Donahay Devlin's Gravatar Donna Donahay Devlin
    March 5, 2020 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Brother Lawrence is a worthy personage but come on now–with names of Donahay and Devlin it should be obvious who I voted for. Erin Go Bragh! Patrick too.

  14. Jan's Gravatar Jan
    March 5, 2020 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Brother Lawrence’s philosophy of worshiping and serving God in all we do, from, the big to the little, has been in my heart for years. Not saying I’m near in holiness to him.

  15. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 5, 2020 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    I feel sorry for the snakes.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 5, 2020 - 10:07 am | Permalink

      I have never been able to muster a lot of sympathy for snakes. Our yard is full of copperheads. I’m not a fan. Almost picked up one a few years ago while pulling up weeds…

      • brighter's Gravatar brighter
        March 5, 2020 - 10:29 am | Permalink

        Snakes are just doing what they do, just as we do. We all have our roles to play and all are important.

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 5, 2020 - 11:56 am | Permalink

      St. Patrick was a gentleman
      Who through strategy and stealth
      Drove all the snakes from Ireland.
      Here’s toasting to his health.
      But not too many toastings
      Lest you lose yourself and then
      Forget the good St. Patrick
      And see all those snakes again.

      I’m a bit concerned about anyone who can drink enough to require 90 toasts.

  16. Fr. Patrick Ward's Gravatar Fr. Patrick Ward
    March 5, 2020 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    On this one I just went with Patrick! How could I not since I’m a Patrick

  17. Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
    March 5, 2020 - 8:26 am | Permalink

    Although I am very partial to St Patrick and his feast day, as a fellow denizen of the scullery I am casting my vote for Brother Lawrence.

  18. Cathie's Gravatar Cathie
    March 5, 2020 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Brother Lawrence’s story really speaks to me, as I recover from surgery with a long recovery-12 weeks to 6 months.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 5, 2020 - 8:32 am | Permalink

      Donna Tartt’s novel The Goldfinch is nearly 800 pages long and is supposed to be wonderful. That might fill much of those long weeks.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 5, 2020 - 10:08 am | Permalink

        It IS wonderful!

      • March 5, 2020 - 10:44 am | Permalink

        All right, now you’ve got my interest. Considering it is 800 pages long, I think I’ll put it on my kindle.

  19. Noelle Webb's Gravatar Noelle Webb
    March 5, 2020 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Has to be Patrick for me.

  20. Liz's Gravatar Liz
    March 5, 2020 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    I will peel potatoes to the glory of God, and vote for brother Lawrence

  21. March 5, 2020 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    I think that Br. Lawrence’s story, his book, and his theology make God present to us everyday folks. Maybe that’s why so many of us Lent Madders are drawn to him., despite our love for and allegiance to St. Patrick.

  22. March 5, 2020 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Imagine my delight, when, for several days I had been consoling myself over the idea that my decision to cast my vote for Lawrence would be utterly absurd, given the widespread love for Patrick, and the close proximity of St. Patrick’s Day, after voting, I see Lawrence in the lead! (Gobsmacked enough to compose a dreadful sentence, I fear!) His sweetness and simplicity in his persistent faith inspired me, and I persisted, though I do realize there is plenty of time for a groundswell to change that! As a loyal graduate of St. Lawrence U., albeit a different Lawrence, keeps me strong in my faith, today!

  23. Jim Jaworski's Gravatar Jim Jaworski
    March 5, 2020 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    Was so surprised to see Bro Lawrence ahead at early voting, but given my daily contribution to the mundande chores that make for a happy household i had to go with Brother Lawrence!

  24. Margaret Dunstan's Gravatar Margaret Dunstan
    March 5, 2020 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    Contemplation won the day!

  25. Christiana Adams's Gravatar Christiana Adams
    March 5, 2020 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    I am of Irish Catholic heritage. I lived in France for 20 years and for a year in Alsace with frequent trips to Lorraine. So Brother Lawrence it is for me. Also because Patrick is so well known and it seems to me that Brother Lawrence deserves to be well known, too!

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 5, 2020 - 8:52 am | Permalink

      Bienvenue à cette petite compagnie de pèlerins et pèlerines !

  26. Lisa from LKW's Gravatar Lisa from LKW
    March 5, 2020 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    I’ve been dreading this match-up, since I first spotted it. Kudos to Anna Fitch Courie and Carol Howard Merritt for honoring these two faithful men so very well! As much as I look forward to celebrating Patrick, my vote went to Lawrence. Next to my dad and 2016 Lent Madness Silver Halo winner, Julian of Norwich, no one has shaped my faith more than this dear brother.

    • March 5, 2020 - 11:30 am | Permalink

      I want to vote for both ! I lean toward Brother Lawrence, but given my husbands heritage, I voted for Patrick

  27. March 5, 2020 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    I vote for Brother Lawrence and hope that all those suffering from PTSD today find similar healing and solace in combining everyday work and contemplation.

    • Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
      March 5, 2020 - 9:50 am | Permalink

      Do people with PTSD have an official patron saint? If not, Lawrence is perfect for the job — in his imperfection.

  28. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 5, 2020 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    Patrick’s story is inspiring, called to return to the people who enslaved him, but practicing the presence of God in the mundane and everyday is something I aspire to. My vote goes to Brother Lawrence.

  29. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    March 5, 2020 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    This is rough!!! I’ll vote how I often do and choose the lesser known. Patrick was amazing and lovable. He just doesn’t need the press. As one commenter eloquently put it, I want to hear more of Brother Lawrence’s story! Finding God in the frustrating and mundane is something I could really use right now.

    One note about those snakes – Patrick himself never claimed to have banished snakes, which makes sense because 1) he was truthful, and 2) there never were native snakes in Ireland. The area was too cold for them during the Ice Age, and when the glaciers melted, they didn’t manage to slither in before Ireland became an island.

    • March 5, 2020 - 1:51 pm | Permalink

      I have heard that the priests of the Old Gods and Old Ways had snakes tattooed on their arms. Hence driving out the snakes was a metaphor for Christianity triumphing (displacing?) the native religions.

  30. Jo's Gravatar Jo
    March 5, 2020 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Love Brother Lawrence and am moved by the story of the dormant tree and finding God in the mundane – such a great reminder in an age of the sensational! But it IS March…so Patrick gets the nod today! (However I will be thinking of Brother Lawrence as I go about my ordinary tasks today with a smile).

  31. Rita PinoVargas's Gravatar Rita PinoVargas
    March 5, 2020 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    I just finished reading Bro Lawrence’s book. How could I not vote for him!
    Besides I have questions about Patrick’s ministry in relation to the Druids.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 5, 2020 - 10:23 am | Permalink

      I wish you’d say more about this.

  32. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 5, 2020 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    my vote for Patrick!

    • Donna's Gravatar Donna
      March 5, 2020 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

      I was feeling very much alone.

  33. John E. Sowers's Gravatar John E. Sowers
    March 5, 2020 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    In reading the biographies I was drawn to voting for Lawrence, but I almost didn’t because I knew “everyone” would vote for Patrick. Yet, the feeling to vote for Lawrence was much stronger. Imagine my surprise to see Lawrence in an early vote lead. His story has been the story of my faith development.

  34. Rufus's Gravatar Rufus
    March 5, 2020 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    Finding God in the dormant tree and service in mundane tasks—these ideas definitely led me to cast my vote for Lawrence

  35. Sister BJ Brown's Gravatar Sister BJ Brown
    March 5, 2020 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    These are each great saints, and hard to choose from, but my heart belongs to Ireland, to the Celtic tradition… and especially that Patrick returned to the place of his imprisonment and evangelized the people who had once oppressed him. Romantically, I hear the Cry of the Deer much more than the cry of my pots and pans. (however, I did do my dishes last night!)

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      March 5, 2020 - 9:56 am | Permalink

      I’m with you
      The lasting effect of transforming so many li es goes with me. The Irish in me holds tight

    • LA's Gravatar LA
      March 5, 2020 - 11:43 am | Permalink

      Yes, this has been my hardest choice to date. I loved all things Irish and the Celtic Christian tradition long before I understood why or really knew what they were. But I still say it’s because I’m 12.5% Irish (also 12.5% Scottish, a bit English and more than 50% German—based on grandparents, not any DNA tests—to which I attribute all my inner turmoil and self-arguing)… but I digress…

      I discovered the full story, depth and beauty of St. Patrick in seminary (thanks primarily to a paper on Celtic Art for my Theology and Arts class) whereas I’d only heard about Brother Lawrence in bits and pieces over the years but not with any significance until the past decade or so. And as much as I respect him and love and need to hear his words and learn for myself to be aware of and “practice” God’s presence continually… well… I just can’t shake my affinity for Patrick. (Besides, I figure he’s likely to get overlooked BECAUSE he’s more well known and all sorts of legends and tangential traditions now surround him.)

    • LA's Gravatar LA
      March 5, 2020 - 11:57 am | Permalink

      Yes, this has been my hardest choice to date. I loved all things Irish and the Celtic Christian tradition long before I understood why or really knew what they were. But I still say it’s because I’m 12.5% Irish (also 12.5% Scottish, a bit English and more than 50% German—based on grandparents, not any DNA tests—to which I attribute all my inner turmoil and self-arguing)… but I digress…

      I discovered the full story, depth and beauty of St. Patrick in seminary (thanks primarily to a paper on Celtic Art for my Theology and Arts class) whereas I’d only heard about Brother Lawrence in bits and pieces over the years but not with any significance until the past decade or so. And as much as I respect him and love and need to hear his words and learn for myself to be aware of and “practice” God’s presence continually… well… I just can’t shake my affinity for Patrick. (Besides, I figure he’s likely to get overlooked BECAUSE he’s more well known and all sorts of legends and tangential traditions now surround him.)

    • Donna's Gravatar Donna
      March 5, 2020 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the deer wins over pits and pans every time.

  36. Mary O'Donnell's Gravatar Mary O'Donnell
    March 5, 2020 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day every year but I am celebrating Lawrence today. Lov the way he finds God in everydsy life especially trees.

    • Elizabeth C.'s Gravatar Elizabeth C.
      March 5, 2020 - 10:29 pm | Permalink

      Yes…, HalleluYah…!!!!

  37. Karen Sculley's Gravatar Karen Sculley
    March 5, 2020 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    I have been greatly influenced by the idea of practicing the presence of God in the ordinary and even mundane parts of life, plus the realization that God is present and working even in things that appear to be dead, so my vote went with Brother Lawrence today!

  38. Jude's Gravatar Jude
    March 5, 2020 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    My vote goes to St. Patrick today. I can’t think of a more Christ-like thing to do than to return to the people who enslaved you to bring them salvation.

  39. Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
    March 5, 2020 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Did not know of Brother Lawrence. One of his prayers starts “Lord of all the pots and pans” and my mother had that prayer hanging in the kitchen 50-60 years ago. I am in the same house so it remained. I am going to look more into his writings. Thank you for his nomination.

  40. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 5, 2020 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    Time to read again Thomas Cahill’s How The Irish Saved Civilization. Thanks for your part in this, St. Patrick. I think I’ll skip the green beer next week, however.

    • Donna's Gravatar Donna
      March 5, 2020 - 12:18 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been rereading the Sr. Fidelma series of books which start with the disastrous (for the
      church and the world in general) decision at Whitby. The I rush way of live was so much more civilized than the Roman way of judgement and retribution. Wish we could have a Whiby do-over!

  41. March 5, 2020 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    Inspired by John Cabot’s daily limericks, we thought we’d respond with some verse of our own:

    Though homework and chores
    we like less than fun and games
    God is in them all.

    • Elizabeth C.'s Gravatar Elizabeth C.
      March 5, 2020 - 10:37 pm | Permalink

      Ahmen-Ahmen…, HalleluYah!!!!!

  42. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    March 5, 2020 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    That is the reason Brother Lawrence is so special to me. He did everything as if he were doing it for the Lord. Makes you so thankful for saints like him when were are suffering. God be with you.

  43. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 5, 2020 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    First, I thought I had voted and then I went and looked at the Birds on Sticks meme of the day and came back and it looked like my vote hadn’t taken so of course I want to have my one vote count, so I attempt to get my vote to take, then it tells me I have already voted, so I hope my one vote got counted..

    Second, I’d like to recommend the following novelization of the autobiography of Saint Patrick:

    “I, Patrick,
    A Sinner . . .
    A novelization of the TRUE LIFE STORY
    of Patricius Magonus Sucatus
    A Tale Worth Telling”

    By Stephanie Lavenia Swinnea

    No matter who you vote for, this telling of the life of Patricius Magonus Sucatus will have you turning pages.

    • Elizabeth C.'s Gravatar Elizabeth C.
      March 5, 2020 - 10:43 pm | Permalink

      Thank You… – I have always loved Saint Patrick…, although ‘never’ knowing about the story, “A Tale Worth Telling []!”

  44. Bea Fosmire's Gravatar Bea Fosmire
    March 5, 2020 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    Brother Lawrence’s feast day is my birthday. Not the best reason to vote for him, so I shall look to the trees and be reminded of all the right reasons. Brother Lawrence gets my vote.

    • Elizabeth C.'s Gravatar Elizabeth C.
      March 5, 2020 - 10:44 pm | Permalink

      Ahmen – Shalom-Shalom!

  45. Michael Cudney's Gravatar Michael Cudney
    March 5, 2020 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    As I’m Irish, my first reaction is to just automatically go with Patrick. But then I thought ‘Doesn’t he get enough attention as it is? I mean, a ginormous parade down Fifth Avenue?’
    Br Lawrence, in his daily devotions and seeing Jesus in all things is my choice today.

    • Elizabeth C.'s Gravatar Elizabeth C.
      March 5, 2020 - 10:46 pm | Permalink

      Wow! Ahmen…, I so agree… – taking nothing from Saint Patrick…, he is one of my great loves as well….

  46. Pastor Rick's Gravatar Pastor Rick
    March 5, 2020 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    Ninety nine percent of life is common and ordinary, including me. This Scotsman has appreciated Brother Lawrence since first I read of him. Indeed, what is more ordinary than washing and baking (Baptism and Supper), or more filled with grace because of (incarnate) Presence.

    • Elizabeth C.'s Gravatar Elizabeth C.
      March 5, 2020 - 10:49 pm | Permalink

      Ahmen-Ahmen… – Shalom-Shalom; in the greater scheme of things…, excellently well said!

  47. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 5, 2020 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    We’ll go with St. Patrick today, though there are dishes to do after this voting and exercises are done, so we appreciate God in the mundane and ordinary. No mention of the Blarney Stone though???

  48. Leamarie's Gravatar Leamarie
    March 5, 2020 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    I voted for Brother Lawrence over Patrickfor the tree in winter image. When I visited Hawaii I saw tiny ferns growing in a black lava hollow and the lava lads returning to life and it had the same effect on me. God is in the seemingly dead things, silently returning dead things to life, if only we lethim. So Lawrnce gets my vote for the mundane we all get lost in, reminding us to keep the faith and never give up.

    • Elizabeth C.'s Gravatar Elizabeth C.
      March 5, 2020 - 10:55 pm | Permalink

      Wow…! So beautifully stated – that is the purpose of the life of Christ Jesus [(Yahshuah Ha Moshiach!) Making dead dry bones come to life, with total restoration! ]

  49. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    March 5, 2020 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    I vote for Brother Lawrence today in solidarity with those people who find themselves struggling with the lingering effects of war and violence. May they too find a path to inner peace.

  50. John B Blackwood's Gravatar John B Blackwood
    March 5, 2020 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    Brother Lawrence walked humbly, finding God in the simplicity of life. St. Patrick is certainly deserving of sainthood in his efforts but I’m going with the one who finds value in the often overlooked objects of creation and participates in life’s menial activities for the benefit of others.

  51. Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
    March 5, 2020 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    Well I may be more Irish by dna than many I must say Patrick lost me at his encouraging wealthy women to become nuns. I knew right then that Lawrence’s simple life of eeping God in his everyday life was the saint for me.

    • Marjorie Menaul's Gravatar Marjorie Menaul
      March 5, 2020 - 3:58 pm | Permalink

      I had the same reaction – was leaning toward Patrick until it sounded like he had a bias toward the wealthy. Anyway, the older I get, the clumsier I get. St. Lawrence will be a good patron saint for my later years.

      • Elizabeth C.'s Gravatar Elizabeth C.
        March 5, 2020 - 11:06 pm | Permalink

        Yes…, he [Bro. Lawrence] might have “in his mind” been clumsier due to his war injuries… – but he was “not” to G-d Almighty [G-d waited for him, Bro. Lawrence]…, that was humbling to Bro. Lawrence! So Marjorie…, ‘we’ might see what ‘we’ call clumsiness…, but Abba YHWH sees us through the ‘blood of Yahshuah Ha Moshiach…, Abba sees us as ‘Perfect!”

  52. Owen's Gravatar Owen
    March 5, 2020 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    I’m part Irish. I’m going to vote for St. Patrick

  53. judy cape cod's Gravatar judy cape cod
    March 5, 2020 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    Brother Lawrence. Tis a gift to be simple. I’m too often distracted by the latest and greatest. I need to simply be with and act for God. Oh, that I might be as gifted as Lawrence!

    • Elizabeth C.'s Gravatar Elizabeth C.
      March 5, 2020 - 11:08 pm | Permalink

      Ahmen, Judy… – I agree!

  54. Owen's Gravatar Owen
    March 5, 2020 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    I’m part Irish. I’ll vote for St. Patrick

  55. Irene's Gravatar Irene
    March 5, 2020 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Patrick has much to offer, but i went with the man who found God in small things. Very inspirational.

  56. March 5, 2020 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    We are lucky indeed that out of terrible luck — for Patrick, slavery; for Lawrence, war wounds, including perhaps traumatic brain injury affecting his motor skills and making him clumsy — both of today’s saints had the luck and grace to make lemonade out of life’s lemons, and each lead lives and callings that made a difference in the world. Brother Lawrence’s celebration of the sacred in the ordinary, however, for me gets at the heart of our incarnational faith, so he gets my vote.

  57. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    March 5, 2020 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    That is the reason Brother Lawrence is so special to me. He did everything as if he were doing it for the Lord. Makes you so thankful for saints like him when we are suffering. God be with you.

  58. Jim Whittington's Gravatar Jim Whittington
    March 5, 2020 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    Anna, a comprehensive and beautiful exposition on Lawrence, lovely to read. Also put Lawrence ahead of Patrick, a difficult thing to accomplish!

  59. Jeanine Jewell's Gravatar Jeanine Jewell
    March 5, 2020 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Here I am, Irish by descent, and a former Roman Catholic whose parish church and school were names St. Patrick’s. However, the story of Lawrence moved me, mired as I am this week in chores and everyday things. Then, as always, I first looked for St. Celia’s and Richard the Chalice Bearer’s comments – and will be changing my vote. Also, I’ll be ordering Lawrence’s book. He sounds like someone I need.

    • Elizabeth C.'s Gravatar Elizabeth C.
      March 5, 2020 - 11:14 pm | Permalink

      Jeanine, I have been through 2 copies of Bro. Lawrence’s book; I can attest to the fact that you will be not just inspired beyond measure…, but your paradigm will change, and your ‘walk with G-d’ will totally change for the better! Blessings & Shalom-Shalom

  60. March 5, 2020 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    In honor of the great short Lutheran cartoon video, St. Patrick’s Bad Analogies, which I use in teaching my online courses, a nod to Patrick.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 5, 2020 - 10:31 am | Permalink

      That’s a hoot, Beth! Thanks!

    • LA's Gravatar LA
      March 5, 2020 - 11:50 am | Permalink

      That one always makes me laugh! I’d come across it a few years back and rewatched it several subsequent years on March 17. (Though my favorite St. Patrick video by far is the VeggieTales version of his story.)

    • Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
      March 5, 2020 - 1:55 pm | Permalink

      That was fun. Thanks, Beth L Galbreath.

  61. Jeff Marsh's Gravatar Jeff Marsh
    March 5, 2020 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    Brother Lawrence practiced what we call today “Mindfulness” This is the same practice of Thich Nhat Hanh and his monks and nuns of Plum Village Buddhist monastery. It is true all we truly have is the present moment and God is in each moment and God is each moment,

    • Elizabeth C.'s Gravatar Elizabeth C.
      March 5, 2020 - 11:18 pm | Permalink

      …, And G-d is in each of us, who believe in HIM and receive HIM as our personal L-rd & Savior! HE lives in us and ‘we’ live in HIM…!!!!

  62. March 5, 2020 - 10:20 am | Permalink

    I agree with Jim W’s assessment. I met Brother Lawrence many years ago in my spiritual reawakening as a young mother with a passel of kids and plenty of ‘mundane’ work; work that was turned to prayer and what I perceive now as spiritual growth. Patrick is a beacon to conversion but Lawrence, for me, is a revelation of the sacred in all things.

  63. Joyce's Gravatar Joyce
    March 5, 2020 - 10:29 am | Permalink

    How encouraging that so many voters were struck by the idea of finding a spiritual renewal in the mundane. Go, Brother L.!

  64. March 5, 2020 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    Can you get Anna Fitch Courie to write about another saint? I was certain I’d vote for Patrick since my Mom was a Byrnes, her Mom a Dempsey, and my Grandfather running a SpeakEasy in Lower Manhattan back-in-the-day, yet no, I went with Lawrence bc AFC’s prose was cause for pause. Go Larry!

  65. Claire in Quincy MA's Gravatar Claire in Quincy MA
    March 5, 2020 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    While I am very proud of my Irish heritage, I just finished hand-washing and drying dishes for an hour. Plus I am an avid gardener who is celebrating the blossoms of my Lenten Roses in my otherwise dormant flower beds. Signs and wonders! Brother Lawrence gets my vote this morning.

  66. Leslie's Gravatar Leslie
    March 5, 2020 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    I can attest to contemplating God while running the cafeteria-style dishwasher at community suppers. The task is so conducive to it, that there are often multiple volunteers who want to run the machine 🙂

  67. Dorothée's Gravatar Dorothée
    March 5, 2020 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    I’m so moved by Brother Lawrence, a saint I knew nothing about. I’m reminded why the practice of Lent Madness is such a blessing for me.

  68. Pam Seremak's Gravatar Pam Seremak
    March 5, 2020 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    Brother Lawrence’s story is so inspiring, I’m sending it to my prison pen pals. I’m sure they will find it encouraging. Life with the Lord is a blessing to all.

    • Maria Hassanin's Gravatar Maria Hassanin
      March 5, 2020 - 10:55 am | Permalink

      So agree Pam!

    • Anna Fitch Courie's Gravatar Anna Fitch Courie
      March 5, 2020 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Aw. The feels.

  69. Nolan's Gravatar Nolan
    March 5, 2020 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    When your family is named after St. Brigid and you are still a little upset she didn’t win a couple of years ago, St. Patrick it is.

  70. Maria Hassanin's Gravatar Maria Hassanin
    March 5, 2020 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    It’s Brother Lawrence for me! Patrick has enough notoriety! I love seeking GOD in the simple things–the world needs more Lawrence’s!!!

  71. Kathy Rooney's Gravatar Kathy Rooney
    March 5, 2020 - 11:01 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one. But since I voted for Elizabeth of Hungary to honor that side of my family, i have to equally honor my Irish side. So it’s Patrick.

  72. Patricia Chambers's Gravatar Patricia Chambers
    March 5, 2020 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    Looks like I might lose this round but had to vote for Patrick. My father had Irish heritage which he of course passed along to me. Had I been male, Patrick was the name I’d have. I already passed on Andrew, the Scottish part of my heritage. But I had to vote for Patrick! Very proud of my ancestral heritage!

  73. Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
    March 5, 2020 - 11:06 am | Permalink

    I am also voting for Brother Lawrence. Anna’s sentence about finding God “in the boring, the painful, and the moments we wish we could rush through” caught my attention. Between my addiction to my phone and my desire to slow down the rush of my days, I suspect that the “mindfulness” of Brother Lawrence (and our Buddhist friends) is what I need these days. I’m not sure that all makes sense, but I’m hanging my hat on this.

  74. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 5, 2020 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    Brother Lawrence for me. And I have learned that the 20 second hand wash is just enough time to say the Lord’s Prayer or to sing the doxology. Much more meaningful to me than happy birthday or the abc song.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 5, 2020 - 11:24 am | Permalink

      Great idea!

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 5, 2020 - 11:35 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Carol, for the idea of saying the Lord’s Prayer or singing the doxology!
      And I’m voting for Lawrence because someone (it might have been the man I eventually married) told me about Lawrence and gave me “The Practice of the Presence of God”–praying while shelling beans.

  75. March 5, 2020 - 11:23 am | Permalink

    I just could not turn my back on a man who overcame his handicap to build into serving the Lord, and who believed that even the smallest tasks were done in the name of our Father. Not to mention I share my birthday with his feast day! Brother Lawrence it is for me!

  76. Joanne B. Parrott's Gravatar Joanne B. Parrott
    March 5, 2020 - 11:23 am | Permalink

    You’d think the bracketologists would’ve put St. Patrick on his day but I guess that would have been too easy to choose. With all the Bradford pear trees coming out in bloom Lawrence seems to bet the one, but my mother so loved Patrick’s use of the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity he gets my vote today.

  77. March 5, 2020 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    I had to go with Brother Lawrence we are all so much better when we can “find God in our chores, our routines, our moments of anger and frustration.”

  78. March 5, 2020 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    Being French-Irish, this was a hard choice but I had to go with Patrick. Love the legend of the clover and celebrating St. Paddy’s Day. Not to mention, I am petrified of snakes so that legend is a win in my book.

  79. Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
    March 5, 2020 - 11:37 am | Permalink

    Much as I loved our trip to Ireland with its stories of Patrick, I went with Lawrence for finding God in everyday life, even in the boring parts.

  80. Margaret Watson's Gravatar Margaret Watson
    March 5, 2020 - 11:46 am | Permalink

    This was sooooo difficult! My paternal grandmother was the daughter of Irish immigrants, i grew up in St. Patrick Parish, was educated for 12 years in St. Patrick’s School, and as an adult have had very good care at St. Patrick Hospital, so I am greatly indebted to St. Patrick and all the good works and wonderful institutions that his followers have produced. But today I learned for the first time of Brother Lawrence and found myself inspired. I want to read his book and learn more about his way of living with God. So, begging the forgiveness of St. Patrick, I voted for Brother Lawrence.

  81. Revann's Gravatar Revann
    March 5, 2020 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    As interesting as the concept of Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland might be, the truth is that there were never any snakes in Ireland!

  82. paul murgatroyd's Gravatar paul murgatroyd
    March 5, 2020 - 11:52 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry that the argument for Patrick was not what it should have been. I recommend Thomas Cahill’s book “How the Irish Saved Civilization”: without Patrick and his works, we would have lost Christianity as we know it.

  83. LA's Gravatar LA
    March 5, 2020 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    I can’t not vote for Patrick. I just can’t. No matter how much I love and respect (and desperately need to learn from) Br. Lawrence.

    But is it weird that I hope I get the chance to vote for Br. Lawrence later? I mean, if he beats out Patrick today, I can see me rallying for Lawrence the whole way through!

  84. Diane Quantic's Gravatar Diane Quantic
    March 5, 2020 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Brother Lawrence shares so much reality with me: he saw trees as living messengers of God: I too believe that trees and nature are integral parts of my religious life, and he found God in everyday work. I would like to have known Brother Lawrence. Patrick, I fear, would be too intimidating. He’s busy with snakes and bishops.

  85. Mel Caraway's Gravatar Mel Caraway
    March 5, 2020 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

    What a terrible choice to have to make. Each of these saints deserves to be a finalist. In the end, in spite of my Irish heritage, I voted for Brother Lawrence.

  86. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 5, 2020 - 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Has anybody else noticed that usually the majority of the comments are in favor of the saint who is NOT winning that day? But today Brother Lawrence not only has the votes, he has the comments as well. I certainly voted for him. I have been trying to learn the Practice of the Presence for some forty years. I think I’m maybe a little better than I was when I started, but I have a long way to go.

  87. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 5, 2020 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

    In any other matchup I would have voted for Lawrence, but hey, I’m Irish. And as most Americans know, if you have even a drop of Irish blood in you, you are Irish.

    • Donna's Gravatar Donna
      March 5, 2020 - 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Right on!

  88. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 5, 2020 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Also, I’m wondering whether the Executive Committee have rigged it so that if Patrick gets far enough, he’ll be in a match up on 3/17.

  89. James N Lodwick's Gravatar James N Lodwick
    March 5, 2020 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Given my maternal Irish roots, I felt I had to vote for Patrick. I also admire greatly how he, by the grace of God, was able–even in the midst of grueling and lonely slavery–to develop sympathy for his captors, become bold enough to escape from them and return later in life to help them turn to a better way.

    I also admire Brother Lawrence and believe we/I have much to learn from his spirituality of the everyday. Nevertheless, I must comment that the collect given for his day is a spiritual and linguistic atrocity that begins by addressing God but then goes on talking glibly about the Deity in the third person. Good Lord, deliver us!

  90. KarenR's Gravatar KarenR
    March 5, 2020 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I am Irish as Paddy’s pigs and grew up on Patrick’s legend. Then Lawrence’s life and the image of the dormant tree; getting angry or frustrated in the mundane tasks and unexpected challenges of daily life yet knowing God is present, grabbed me . Brother Lawrence it is.

  91. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    March 5, 2020 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    My favorite quote is “ Teach us to delight in the simple things.”—- Rudyard Kipling
    So Lawrence it is!

  92. March 5, 2020 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I like Lawrence’s teaching about being present with God in whatever the moment is. Besides, my mom went Home St. Patrick’s Day 2008… kind of spoiled it for me from then on

  93. San's Gravatar San
    March 5, 2020 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I’m missing Oliver’s young wisdom this year.

    • Margaret J Meachem's Gravatar Margaret J Meachem
      March 5, 2020 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Yes! I started on day one searching the comments for Oliver – alas, to no avail! I miss him dearly!

    • March 5, 2020 - 1:28 pm | Permalink

      me too. whenever the choice was too close, I always looked for what Oliver said

    • March 5, 2020 - 2:40 pm | Permalink


  94. Rich's Gravatar Rich
    March 5, 2020 - 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been searching for meaning in a job that I’ve spent a long time in, mainly because it has allowed me to keep it despite my health issues. I’m over educated, underpaid and have been fearful of leaving because who knows if I could survive the change to something else. Lawrence’s humble attitude and the acceptance that God is with me in even the least of tasks tells me that I am ok, and to stop being so hard on myself and my life for being such an “under achiever”. Thank you for including him in this year’s tournament, and he has my vote to go all the way!

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 5, 2020 - 3:41 pm | Permalink

      “Overeducated and underpaid”: the chronic theme for our time. The “precarious class” is the disgrace of our era, the stain on American democracy today. Sending you a prayer for well paid work with benefits, a position commensurate with your education and talents.

  95. Jon's Gravatar Jon
    March 5, 2020 - 1:16 pm | Permalink

    This one is a tough one. I just became acquainted to the story of Br. Lawrence and “wow” truly a saint. But, I had to go with Patrick cause he is my patron saint from 8th grade confirmation…certain loyalties I guess 🙂 Great match ups this year!

  96. Peter's Gravatar Peter
    March 5, 2020 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I have a feeling Brother Lawrence is going to go far in this year’s tournament. But wow, the competition does get tough!

  97. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 5, 2020 - 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Brother Lawrence.

  98. Janene Gorham's Gravatar Janene Gorham
    March 5, 2020 - 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t that how God always works ? Getting us alone without all our worldly goods and cell phones to distract us from Him ?
    Even if its in a pasture.

  99. Will's Gravatar Will
    March 5, 2020 - 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I like them both equally, so I just voted for the one who’s losing. I’m shocked it’s Patrick, though. I thought he would win by a mile.

  100. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    March 5, 2020 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I have often had mixed feelings about St Patrick, despite my ancestry.
    I really need Brother Lawrence in my life right now. It seems I am not alone. Thank you for bringing him to me.

  101. March 5, 2020 - 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Brother Lawrence who found the presence of God in the simplest things and even in things that appeared dead and practiced the presence of God in one single act that does not end.

  102. Virginia wistrand's Gravatar Virginia wistrand
    March 5, 2020 - 2:29 pm | Permalink

    My vote is for Lawrence because he speaks to me in that he found God in the ordinary things in life. I think that most of us are truly Lawrences in the way we come to find God and in the ways we worship Him.

  103. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    March 5, 2020 - 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Today, I am cataloguing documents and receipts for my mother’s 8 years of as-yet unfiled tax returns (she has dementia), so I had to throw my support to Brother Lawrence. Help me, Brother, to stick with this odious task, rather than the hundreds of other things I’d rather be doing on this fine day in Southern California.

  104. Patricia Gordon's Gravatar Patricia Gordon
    March 5, 2020 - 4:17 pm | Permalink

    No problem for me today – in the long ago days before ultrasound, I was to be named Patrick. You see how well that turned out. “I arise today…” to vote for my patron saint.

  105. Katrina Soto's Gravatar Katrina Soto
    March 5, 2020 - 4:38 pm | Permalink

    I was always impressed that Patrick chose to return to the land where he had been enslaved and then worked to spread the Gospel. And I’m mostly Irish. And my rector is Fr. Patrick. So there ya go. This will probably result in my first losing vote this Lent.

  106. March 5, 2020 - 5:02 pm | Permalink

    I have tried to live “The Practice of the Presence of God” ever since I read the book in the 80’s. It’s time for a saint who spreads how to recognize God’s presence in everyday life goes the distance to the Golden Halo! Vote for Brother Lawrence!

  107. Trish Dominique's Gravatar Trish Dominique
    March 5, 2020 - 6:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m torn because St. Patrick is my patron saint but I love Brother Lawrence’s story!

  108. Claire S. Cabot's Gravatar Claire S. Cabot
    March 5, 2020 - 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Oh this is a tough one. Both Patrick and Brother Lawrence have outstanding qualities. But I love the idea of Patrick going back to Ireland to minister to a group of people

  109. Robert Coates's Gravatar Robert Coates
    March 5, 2020 - 6:56 pm | Permalink

    The Discalced Carmelites operate a beautiful shrine called Holy Hill here in Wisconsin. I try to visit it at least once every year. I voted for Brother Lawrence in honor of the brothers at Holy Hill. Besides, St. Patrick has become such a cliche.

  110. Barbara Brooks's Gravatar Barbara Brooks
    March 5, 2020 - 7:37 pm | Permalink

    If he’s not already, Brother Lawrence should be the patron saint of altar guilds. Here’s to finding the holy in the mundane!

    • Elizabeth C.'s Gravatar Elizabeth C.
      March 5, 2020 - 11:37 pm | Permalink

      Ahmen… – G-d is not just in the ‘mundane’ of life… – HE is LIFE – Abba YHWH is our life; as Bro. Lawrence learned and shared [in his writings] G-d is “LIFE;” we, mankind, utterly have NO life if we have not received Abba AdonaiElohim as our ‘personal’ Lord & Savior! Ahmen….

  111. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 5, 2020 - 8:02 pm | Permalink

    A very difficult choice, but in the end, I went with Brother Lawrence. His bio above made me wonder if he returned home from the war with PTSD since his injuries were both physical and spiritual. Perhaps that was partly why the tree in winter was so meaningful for him. Hugely important to me. BUT the clincher was living faithfully in everyday life.

  112. Val's Gravatar Val
    March 5, 2020 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

    No contest….Patrick is the man!

  113. Nora Becker's Gravatar Nora Becker
    March 5, 2020 - 9:27 pm | Permalink

    My heritage is Irish! My heart is Irish! And, now, I must vote Irish!!! Paddy it ’tis!!
    So sorry, Lawrence; if it weren’t for Patrick, you would have my vote!!!
    Mea culpa.

  114. Barbara Hoeneise's Gravatar Barbara Hoeneise
    March 5, 2020 - 9:57 pm | Permalink

    I had to vote for Saint Patrick my son was born on his day! He will be turning 21 this month

  115. MJ Fowler's Gravatar MJ Fowler
    March 6, 2020 - 12:03 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one! For many years I belonged to the Brother Lawrence Guild at church; they cater our parish events, with brunch for annual meeting, cookouts for the Pentecost picnic and Michaelmas, and are inspired by his humility and service.
    But I’m 3/4 Irish stock: my maternal grandparents “came over” from Ireland and my paternal grandmother was Irish as well. St. Patrick and St. Patrick’s Day have always been a big part of my life, so he got my vote today.

  116. Barbara A.K. Franklin's Gravatar Barbara A.K. Franklin
    March 6, 2020 - 2:10 am | Permalink

    Folks, it’s Saint Patrick. SAINT PATRICK!!!!! Come on!!!!

  117. David+'s Gravatar David+
    March 6, 2020 - 7:49 am | Permalink

    Bro. Laurence vs St Patrick
    For me while St Patrick is better known, it seems that Bro Laurence carries more impact in today’s devotional world. I more easily identify with someone who “walks with a limp” and who has self doubts. But what sways me towards Bro Laurence is his knack of finding God’s presence in the things he saw in his daily living and then reflected on those very experiences which led him deeper into a life of practical service and deeper faith

  118. March 6, 2020 - 7:59 am | Permalink

    And so Nicholas is our first story of PTSD driving a wounded veteran to God. A story for our times, and a reason to let Patrick take a break. Let the cripple have his day!

  119. Sally C.'s Gravatar Sally C.
    March 6, 2020 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    I am so sad that St. Patrick lost. I am almost as upset as when Bridget of Kildare lost. 🙁

  120. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 6, 2020 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Somehow I missed voting yesterday, but I would have voted for Brother Lawrence, whose book meant so much to me at a special point in my spiritual journey.

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