Elizabeth Fry vs. Florian

With today’s matchup we jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. Yes, it’s Elizabeth Fry vs. Florian, patron saint of firefighters. Sometimes matchups are engineered by the Supreme Executive Committee just to keep themselves amused. We assure you, It doesn’t take much.

Yesterday, it was Hildegard of Bingen in a romp as she made Romanos the Melodist sing the blues 75% to 25%. She’ll go on to face the winner of Gregory of Nazianzus vs. Elizabeth the New Martyr in the Saintly Sixteen.

Time to vote!

Elizabeth Fry
Elizabeth (Betsy) Fry was born in England in 1780. Both her parents came from prominent banking families. Raised a Quaker, she married at twenty, was a minister in the Society of Friends, and gave birth to eleven children.

Inspired by the preaching of social reformers, Betsy visited Newgate Prison at the age of thirty-three. The conditions shocked her: some women had not even had a trial. Children lived with their incarcerated mothers, and the women cooked in their cells. Within a few years, she bankrolled a prison school for the inmates’ children. In the spirit of the Society of Friends, she brought democratic principles to the prison, organizing the women to create their own rules. Her work led to the founding of the Association for the Reformation of the Female Prisoners in Newgate, which trained the women in useful skills that might make them employable upon their release. Through this reform work, Betsy advocated the goal that prison should be rehabilitation rather than punishment, an idea that influenced many municipal leaders in London and prison authorities throughout Britain.

For women being transported to penal colonies abroad, Betsy took up the cause of their safety and welfare. She sent them aboard ships with a Bible, practical items like eating utensils, and material to make a quilt to sell when the women reached their destination. Her efforts to improve conditions for these female travelers ultimately helped bring about the abolition of the practice in her lifetime. In 1818, Betsy spoke to a committee of the British House of Commons about the plight of prisoners, making her the first woman to give evidence in Parliament.

Wherever she saw suffering, she took action. After seeing a homeless boy dead from exposure, she built a shelter in London. She started a visiting society in Brighton to provide help for the poor, and as with her prison efforts, the model caught on. Like other reforming Quakers, she was an outspoken abolitionist. The nurse training program she began in 1840 provided nurses to travel to Crimea with Florence Nightingale. In the words of her Quaker tradition, Betsy saw the inner light of God in every person, and from within her, let the light guide her many actions of compassion, leading to just reforms.

Collect for Elizabeth Fry
Almighty God, whose will it is to be glorified in your saints, and who raised up your servant Betsy to be a light in the world: Shine, we pray, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may show forth your praise, who called us out of darkness into your marvelous light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

—Amber Belldene

FlorianFlorian was born in 250 CE in the Roman city of Aelium Cetium located in modern-day Austria. He was a soldier in the Roman army. One of his primary roles was to organize and lead a firefighting brigade. He ascended the ranks of the Roman military and was ultimately assigned by Diocletian to an administrative position in Noricum (again in contemporary Austria).

After the Diocletian persecution broke out in 303, Florian refused to carry out his orders to seek out and prosecute Christians. In 304, the emperor sent his emissary Aquilinus to convince Florian to fulfill his duties. Florian announced his own commitment to Christianity and was subsequently beaten. He is said to have declared that a “few scratches” is a small price to pay for his faith. When he refused to offer sacrifices to the Roman gods, Florian was condemned to death.

After enduring more beatings, the initial plan was to burn him publicly. He replied that if he were to be placed on the pyre he would ascend the flames to heaven. It was then decided that he be drowned. He was taken by boat into the Enns River and was thrown overboard with a millstone around his neck. Later faithful Christians rescued his body and gave him a proper burial.

Florian is the patron saint of firefighters, chimney sweeps, and brewers. He is celebrated on May 4, coinciding with International Firefighters’ Day. His symbol, the Florian Cross, is used as a symbol for firefighting, especially in the United States.

Collect for Florian
Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyr Florian: Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

—David Creech


Elizabeth Fry vs. Florian

  • Elizabeth Fry (82%, 5,829 Votes)
  • Florian (18%, 1,321 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,150

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Elizabeth Fry: National Portrait Gallery [Public domain]
Florian: Jebulon [CC0]; statue, street corner, Oberammergau, Bavaria, Germany

120 Comments to "Elizabeth Fry vs. Florian"

  1. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    March 12, 2020 - 8:00 am | Permalink

    She really did try, did Elizabeth Fry,
    The women of Newgate with skills to supply,
    Sent utensils, they say,
    Off to Botany Bay:
    And so to the Saintly Sixteen she should fly.

    • Mercy Hobbs's Gravatar Mercy Hobbs
      March 12, 2020 - 8:30 am | Permalink


    • March 12, 2020 - 9:39 am | Permalink

      Elizabeth Fry all the way!!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 12, 2020 - 10:57 am | Permalink

      Best one yet!

      • John Howard's Gravatar John Howard
        March 12, 2020 - 10:59 am | Permalink

        I agree Susan!

    • Mary Lou's Gravatar Mary Lou
      March 12, 2020 - 11:36 am | Permalink

      While I can appreciate Florian, Elizabeth has my heart for the many contributions she made. The fact that she started a school for children whose mothers were incarcerated and then started rehabilitating the women was the best! We don’t even do that today. I believe our criminal justice system could take a cue from her. Go Elizabeth all the way!

    • Carol Tyrrell's Gravatar Carol Tyrrell
      March 12, 2020 - 12:35 pm | Permalink

      I am a nurse who has worked in a prison. We could use a bit more Betsy Fry in society today.

      • March 12, 2020 - 1:34 pm | Permalink

        I, too, have worked as a nurse in a women’s prison, and Elizabeth gets my vote hands down!!

    • Anita's Gravatar Anita
      March 12, 2020 - 8:57 pm | Permalink

      Love the prose also sending nurses to the frontline with Florence another Golden Halo winner

  2. March 12, 2020 - 8:00 am | Permalink
  3. March 12, 2020 - 8:01 am | Permalink
    • March 12, 2020 - 8:28 am | Permalink

      Funny, but also-groan inducing.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 12, 2020 - 10:58 am | Permalink

      Having just had my annual physical yesterday, and bad news about my cholesterol, I had to laugh, Michael!

  4. Deborah Northern's Gravatar Deborah Northern
    March 12, 2020 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    I have been involved in prison ministry for many years so have to go with Elizabeth for her outreach to women prisoners.

    • March 12, 2020 - 8:32 am | Permalink

      It’s Fry for me, too, Debbie. Although I love that he’s a patron saint of firefighters and that he stood up for Christians and announced his faith when he knew where it would lead, I have to admit that Elizabeth seemed to have unbounded energy and wherever she saw injustice or a need, she did everything she could to make things better. Plus, I love that finish to her bio: “Betsy saw the inner light of God in every person, and from within her, let the light guide her many actions of compassion, leading to just reforms.” I believe in the inner light of God in all of us.

    • March 12, 2020 - 8:38 am | Permalink

      She got my vote as well, Debbie. I admire Florian’s bravery in refusing to do what was wrong, and admitting his faith when he knew what would happen, plus I’m fascinated to hear about his cross on firetrucks, I’ll be looking for it whenever one passes. But Elizabeth was someone who whenever she saw an injustice and people in need, did whatever she could to solve or alleve the problem. I also loved the end of the bio and share the sentiments: “Betsy saw the inner light of God in every person, and from within her, let the light guide her many actions of compassion, leading to just reforms.” We could use more Betsy Frys!

      • March 12, 2020 - 8:40 am | Permalink

        I apologize for the double posting, but my posts seem to disappear in ether sometimes, and even if I leave the site and come back, it’s still not there, so determined to be heard, I post again! And end up looking like I’m going senile. I probably am.

      • Katherine Tolf's Gravatar Katherine Tolf
        March 12, 2020 - 8:58 am | Permalink

        Florian’s Cross is mistakenly called a Maltese Cross by many- including those in the Fire Service.

    • Jill Reynolds's Gravatar Jill Reynolds
      March 13, 2020 - 12:54 am | Permalink

      I wAnted to support the firefighters. Saint
      But have volunteered for Kairos for years, so when I I learned that was Betsy’s first cause, I voted for her

  5. Gillian's Gravatar Gillian
    March 12, 2020 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    A great friend of mine was just named fire chief so in honor of all the firefighters out there, Florian all the way today!

  6. Katherine Tolf's Gravatar Katherine Tolf
    March 12, 2020 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    As a firefighter, I can only vote for Florian. And, as a firefighter, I am thrilled that someone else besides US, knows who Florian is!

  7. Marian the Lutheran's Gravatar Marian the Lutheran
    March 12, 2020 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    In honor of the firefighters that saved my house this past November 30, I must vote Florian. They went back in and gathered my medication and EMS have us a blanket to wrap my service dog in because it was snowing, and gave her treats and praised het for waking us up. St Florian must have hurried Fire House 5 to my house. Thanks be to God.

    • Curt Harker's Gravatar Curt Harker
      March 12, 2020 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

      My home was also saved from fire on November 30th, albeit in 1868.
      Thanks Union Fire Company (Salem NJ) and St. Florian.

  8. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 12, 2020 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Eleven children – Betsy gets my vote!

  9. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 12, 2020 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    How can I not vote for a local girl, born in Norfolk not far from where I now live. Elizabeth Fry was a gifted preacher and campaigner. To further her campaigning for the abolition of capital punishment, Elizabeth began to hold prayer meetings in prisons to which she invited people with influence. She would invite women condemned to death, often for trivial offenses like forgery, to sit on the front row, thus giving a human face to what was for many an abstract principle. The American Ambassador, in late 1818, said, ‘I have seen the two greatest sights in London – St Paul’s Cathedral and Elizabeth Fry reading to the prisoners in Newgate.’

  10. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 12, 2020 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    Florian reminds me of so many of the saints we have read about over the past years: burned, tortured, drowned, beheaded. They just wouldn’t die! Until they did.
    If only Florian had carried his own head, like St Denis. I love the cupola figurine. At first I thought he had a blue mop, and then I realized he is dumping a bucket of water onto the little burning house. If only he had been there when Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over that oil lamp. The right-wing press could be perpetually lambasting Florcago. (Richard the Chalice Bearer, I did not fact check that, because I knew you would catch my mistakes. Now you are Richard the Wing Man.)
    As much as I have been trying to steer this little company’s Deacon Loving tendencies toward a valorization of mysticism (all you social justice warriors have been skewing the votes!), I must vote for Elizabeth Fry. I am deeply impressed by her commitment to prisoners and by her stance for abolition. I was just at a day-long workshop on “Hearing the Cries for Justice” offered by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, on this country’s (In)Justice system. I heard the stories of former imprisoned felons and learned of the struggles they have upon release. Visiting prisoners is a mitzvah. American society is deeply impoverished in terms of a sense of community. No one has a social safety net. The rich have their own plunder to hoard. But the poor are left defenceless. I wondered what I could do to help. I doubt I could ever be as energetic at the “Martha” work Elizabeth Fry did for the prisons, but I can certainly see the contemporary parallels between transporting people and sending ICE to deport people in local communities and using the border patrol to lock people out and put their babies in cages. “Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me.” I wholeheartedly cast my vote for Elizabeth Fry today, and wish I could do one tenth of what she did. First woman to give evidence in Parliament; would that we could elect a woman president (and I’m not talking to you, Nikki; go away). May we each be raised up to contribute to our time.

    • Ruth Douglas Miller's Gravatar Ruth Douglas Miller
      March 12, 2020 - 9:00 am | Permalink

      Thank you, St. Celia, for this and all your wonderfully thoughtful and complete daily posts. You are at the top of your game this year. And I agree, in a time when children are separated from their parents, and all are imprisoned because they speak Spanish, one working for prison reform deserves my vote. Besides, the fire company wouldn’t hire my friend who’d been in prison.

      • Kyle Dahlem's Gravatar Kyle Dahlem
        March 12, 2020 - 10:39 am | Permalink

        You made my cases for me, Ruth!!

    • March 12, 2020 - 11:35 am | Permalink

      I would have let it go, St. Celia, but since you have hired me and the story is so appealing, here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

      “On the evening of October 8, 1871, a fire consumed the O’Leary family’s barn at 137 DeKoven Street.[1] Due to a high wind and dry conditions, it spread to burn a large percentage of the city, an event known as the Great Chicago Fire.

      After the Great Fire, Chicago Republican (now defunct) reporter Michael Ahern published a claim that the fire had started when a cow kicked over a lantern while it was being milked. The owner was not named, but Catherine O’Leary soon was identified because the fire had begun in her family’s barn.[2] Illustrations and caricatures soon appeared depicting Mrs. O’Leary with her cow. The idea captured the popular imagination and still is circulated widely today.[3] However, in 1893 Ahern finally admitted he had made the story up.[4]

      The official report simply states: “Whether it originated from a spark blown from a chimney on that windy night, or was set on fire by human agency, we are unable to determine”.[3]

      Mrs. O’Leary testified that she had been in bed when the fire began, and she had no idea what caused it. Daniel “Pegleg” Sullivan, the first person to raise the alarm, said that on seeing the barn on fire, he ran to free the animals, which included a cow owned by Sullivan’s mother. He then informed the O’Learys, who were in their home and were unaware of the fire.

      Anti-Irish attitudes at the time encouraged making scapegoats of the O’Leary family. It was claimed that the alleged accident happened because she was drunk or that she had hidden the evidence of her guilt. Neighbors were reported to have claimed that they saw broken glass from the lamp, though all these “reports” were unverified. One man claimed he had found the damaged lamp, but it had been stolen by another Irishman to protect the O’Learys.[3]

      Other rumors insisted that Daniel Sullivan had started the fire, or perhaps it was Louis M. Cohn, who claimed to have been gambling in the barn with the O’Learys’ son and others. ”

      Seems like it was a 19th century case of “fake news,” sadly with biased scapegoating added in. Sound familiar?

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 12, 2020 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

        It sure does. How sad. Tragedy upon tragedy.

      • A Florida girl's Gravatar A Florida girl
        March 12, 2020 - 10:38 pm | Permalink

        I rarely comment as I read these posts at night before hitting the sack (makes for interesting dreams!), but must say the banter among the daily participants is much appreciated!! I am learning so much and love the links for additional info and perspective! Thank you to St Celia and Richard…

  11. Deacon Dot's Gravatar Deacon Dot
    March 12, 2020 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    As a deacon who has a prison ministry (women’s prison), it was necessary for me to vote for Elizabeth. Her work with the poor, homeless, and prisoners is a standard for those of us in the diaconate.

  12. Cassandra's Gravatar Cassandra
    March 12, 2020 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth’s work has changed prison life forever. It’s a testament to the depth of her strength and persistence that she saw results of some of her work during her own lifetime. However, St. Florian was a true Christian martyr, and as patron saint of firefighters, saves lives every day. I vote for for him to honor all firefighters, especially my brother John, who is retired from the Boston Fire Department.

  13. John Blackwood's Gravatar John Blackwood
    March 12, 2020 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    These choices seem to be getting more difficult each day. It’s not saintly to choose one over the other but I must if I’m going to play.

  14. Pat Sadd's Gravatar Pat Sadd
    March 12, 2020 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    There are a lot of good people in the match ups this year making choices harder.
    In this case I think Elizabeth acted out the work of true Christianity better than Florian. She ministered to the poorest among us in a constructive manner and that while having a large family that needed her. She gave up herself to do for others following Christ’s example. Florian made the ultimate sacrifice for his beliefs which was the great tribute to his faith. But I believe we are to live our faith as Elizabeth did to do God’s work in this world.

    • Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
      March 13, 2020 - 12:47 am | Permalink

      Amen Pat!

      I reckon 11 children ought to qualify her for sainthood in and of itself!

  15. March 12, 2020 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    For the 231,000 women incarcerated in the US, including the innocents duped into taking a plea deal, this one’s for you.

  16. March 12, 2020 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    I can see how Elizabeth is winning but in all fairness, I salute Florian, the patron saint of firefighters. In our community they are all volunteers.

  17. Rita's Gravatar Rita
    March 12, 2020 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    Having worked in a prison I cast my vote for Elizabeth.

  18. Ellen's Gravatar Ellen
    March 12, 2020 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    In a time when we desperately need reform of our policing, judicial, and incarceration systems, I feel I have to give this one to Elizabeth.

  19. Katrina S Soto's Gravatar Katrina S Soto
    March 12, 2020 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Prisoners and the homeless! Lizzy is my saint today.

  20. Blair's Gravatar Blair
    March 12, 2020 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    My son is a firefighter. With our national emergency in mind, I voted for Florian out of respect for our first responders who continue to serve the public despite the risks to themselves and their families.

  21. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 12, 2020 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    Again, a tough one: a martyr or a social reformer? I voted for Elizabeth Fry because she was, among other remarkable things, and abolitionist. That said, I think that fire fighters have one of the toughest jobs on earth. Prayers for and blessings on those who run into burning buildings, when the rest of us are running out.

  22. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 12, 2020 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    I worked in the city/county jail for a couple of years, so my heart is for the reformer. I am sad to say, the current administration in my state is going backwards in rehab for prisoners. I have to vote for Elizabeth Fry.

  23. Joyce's Gravatar Joyce
    March 12, 2020 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    I am once again with the losing Saint, but I had to honor all the firefighters out there that save lives everyday. So here is to my go to person that fights fires, rescues people and takes care of widows.

  24. Betsy H's Gravatar Betsy H
    March 12, 2020 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    Today, Betsy Fry would be a Social Worker!
    As I am a Social Worker named Betsy, there’s no contest, although Florian is a worthy Saint in his own right.
    Just love that we have so many Elizabeth’s in the line up
    this year.

  25. March 12, 2020 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    I knew before I voted that I was going against the tide. My son is a crew member on an Air Force rescue helicopter and one of the units he has trained with is a New York Air National Guard rescue squadron on Long Island, a lot of whose members are New York firefighters. I guess they don’t give enough service in their 9 to 5 jobs and have to do it on the weekends, too. So I gotta go with Florian.

    • March 12, 2020 - 2:24 pm | Permalink

      A great reason to vote for Florian, Peter. It may be a runaway today, but Florian is deserving and your son is doing a wonderful thing I’ll keep him in my prayers.

  26. SharonDianneFoster Pattison's Gravatar SharonDianneFoster Pattison
    March 12, 2020 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    Wow, what a vote we have to do today, March 12/2020! How we have grown, acknowledging the works of many courageous women! We,today have preachers, male and female, that volunteer to go into prisons to bring the word of God to those who want to hear, be forgiven and also many firefighters who put their lives on the line for all of us! My husband was Occupational Health & Safety for our city of Windsor, Ontario , for over 30 years and I also, have firefighter and police and medics in my family, but, Lizzy gets my VOTE!

  27. SharonDianneFosterPattison's Gravatar SharonDianneFosterPattison
    March 12, 2020 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Forgot to remind everyone, that I have English and Irish roots and my husbands mother was born IN CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio, USA
    My brother Stephen Wayne Foster was a Vancouver uncover narc and he also set up the whole 911 Cross Canada
    I was the Irish Catholic and my husband Gary the Protestant Anglican Irish, but when we wed June 29/63 I took confirmation in the Anglican Church of Canada, our 4 children and 9 grandchildren and 1 great grand child refers to,us As the Modern ‘ROMEO AND Juliet’,‍❤️‍

  28. March 12, 2020 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    Any patron saint for BREWERS deserves Ballot Stuffing!
    BEER, BITTERS, ALE, PORTER, STOUT! Now that’s a saint to shout about!

    (anime sea shanty – age restricted video due to language and imagery)

    • Amy's Gravatar Amy
      March 12, 2020 - 11:33 am | Permalink

      And here is “In Heaven There Is No Beer” for you —

      • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
        March 13, 2020 - 8:01 am | Permalink

        That video inset doesn’t seem playable. Like it is a still image. Does anyone have the url?

  29. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 12, 2020 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth today.

  30. March 12, 2020 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    Wherever she saw suffering, she took action. ‘ Whatever you do for the least of these. . .’ There was no doubt nor argument in my mind today. (Thank heavens!) Florian was most admirable but the turmoil of ‘spiritual decisions’ was allayed today with a ‘no doubt about it’ choice. Bless you, Ms. Fry!

  31. Gaen Murphree's Gravatar Gaen Murphree
    March 12, 2020 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    In normal circumstances, I would have voted for Elizabeth Fry because of the multiple ways she worked to protect the most vulnerable and the vilified and because she was a woman ahead of her times and one who despite what society told her she could or couldn’t do or be heard God’s call and acted. But in our times, I voted for Florian in honor of Alexander Vindman and all who stand by their conscience in the face of unethical and immoral orders from superiors.

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 12, 2020 - 11:38 am | Permalink

      Good point, Gaen Murphree. With all the emphasis on fighting fires, I had forgotten Florian’s resistance to authority. I had been wavering between the two, but Florian gets my vote after all.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 12, 2020 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Nice angle! Resistance!

    • Shelly's Gravatar Shelly
      March 13, 2020 - 1:22 am | Permalink

      I try to read the comments before voting, and this is why. Because of your comment, I may have to reconsider my vote.

  32. ellie tupper's Gravatar ellie tupper
    March 12, 2020 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    Florian patron saint of firefighters *and* brewing – two types of hero in my book! There’s an excellent little brewpub in my area devoted to both. But Elizabeth’s example spreads a little wider, to people who were a little more than thirsty.

  33. Jeanine's Gravatar Jeanine
    March 12, 2020 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    As someone who lives in a state with a prison system in terrible shape (150% of capacity) and a governor who seems unwilling to do anything about it, I vote for Elizabeth. And, as usual, I appreciate both St. Celia’s and Richard the Chalice Bearer’s thoughts.

  34. John Hammer's Gravatar John Hammer
    March 12, 2020 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    Woman vs. Man. 90% of the time a woman wins. I cannot believe that Florian has so few votes.

    • Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
      March 12, 2020 - 10:54 am | Permalink

      Is there a point to your comment, John Hammer?

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 12, 2020 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Oh, not this again. That 90% is absolute rubbish. Please detail your statistics.

      So far this year there have been 7 male-female pairings and 4 male-male. No female-female yet, though a few are coming up.

      Of the 7 male-female pairings, the score stands at male 2, female 5. 5/7 is NOT 90%. It’s 71%.
      A small sample, statistically, I admit, but 90% is not accurate.

      So far we have 6 men and 5 women in the Saintly Sixteen. Looks pretty fair to me.

      And I might also comment that out of 10 previous Golden Halo winners, 5 were male and 5 female.

      I don’t have time to go back and analyze previous years right now; if someone with more time and/or better statistics analysis skills would like to do so, please do. But even I can call out an obviously false number.

    • Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
      March 13, 2020 - 12:55 am | Permalink

      John –

      Even if I have felt some of your frustration in past match-ups, this one is a no-brainer.

  35. Lynn Bonney's Gravatar Lynn Bonney
    March 12, 2020 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    Florian … in tribute to my brother, a volunteer firefighter.

  36. March 12, 2020 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    My vote today is for Elizabeth Fry. We need more social activists today who are prepared to use their love of God, positions in society, wealth, experience in child raising, teaching and organisational talents to improve society. And remember, she was a volunteer, so let’s hear it for all volunteers.

  37. Sonia Stevenson's Gravatar Sonia Stevenson
    March 12, 2020 - 10:50 am | Permalink

    My son is also a firefighter, for our local volunteer fire department, so there was no question in my mind for whom to vote.

  38. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    March 12, 2020 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    While I yield to no one in my admiration for firefighters, EMS, police and any and all first responders, my vote today goes to Elizabeth Fry, an amazing woman whose Christian action had far-reaching effects. Her work among women prisoners continues to inspire and inform those who work in prisons and in justice venues.

  39. Marjorie Menaul's Gravatar Marjorie Menaul
    March 12, 2020 - 10:58 am | Permalink

    Not having previoiusly known about either of these terrific saints, I’m very glad to have read their bios today. Whatever the vote adds up to, we’ve all gained a lot from the Madness that keeps us reading.

  40. AnnaGayity's Gravatar AnnaGayity
    March 12, 2020 - 11:04 am | Permalink

    I wonder if the woman being listed first might skew the votes.

  41. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 12, 2020 - 11:04 am | Permalink

    It appears I will have a future opportunity to vote for the amazing Elizabeth Fry, so I cast my vote for Florian in honor of my firefighter neighbor across the street and also the firefighters who showed up six years ago next Monday at 5am on a Sunday morning to the five alarm fire in the apartment building I lived in at the time. Due to alert neighbors who woke the rest of us up and to the work of the firefighters, not one human or animal was lost.

    See you in the next round Elizabeth Fry and thank you for all the work you did. Yes, prison should be about reform (the use of the words reformatory & penitentiary come from that idea) and not excess punishment. (See Second Peter 3:9.)

  42. Amy's Gravatar Amy
    March 12, 2020 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    I don’t see anything in the write-up that suggests Betsy Fry gave up her privileged position or gave away the lion’s share of her personal wealth to serve imprisoned and poor people. Florian, having been elevated to a high “administrative position” in the Roman army, gave up his entire life for the sake of Christ. He, like the widow who put 2 copper coins into the collection box at the Temple, is the one who gave more, imho. I’m also drawn to him because we in the United States West rely heavily upon wilderness firefighters. Those folks also travel to Australia and other places, whenever there are large fires and a need for more people to fight them. Sacrificial heroes, all of them! So my quixotic vote, once again, goes to the saint who is far behind in the polls.

    • Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
      March 13, 2020 - 1:05 am | Permalink

      It seems to me beyond churlish to take a woman of that time to task for not giving “up her privileged position” – that was part of what made her effective, no doubt.

      But Amy, you’re not satisfied unless Betsy gives everything up? This seems to me to be applying current models to past realities; the sort of thing we are warned against doing when we read scripture.

      Amy – you can vote for Florian without dissing Betsy.

    • Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
      March 13, 2020 - 1:27 am | Permalink

      Before making assumptions, we should probably look beyond the write-up, which is not intended as a comprehensive overview –

      “At the time, it was unusual for a woman to have an active public profile and move out of the confines of the home. Particularly in the early years, Fry was criticised for neglecting her role as mother and housewife. Lord Sidmouth, the home secretary preceding Peel, rejected her criticisms of the prisons. In this regard, she can be seen as an important figure in giving women a higher profile in public affairs. She could be seen as an early feminist and fore-runner of the later suffragists, who campaigned for women to be given the vote.” https://www.biographyonline.net/humanitarian/elizabeth-fry.html

      It is fair to assume that as a woman of that era she paid a price for her actions – after all, she even spent a night in prison:

      “Fry’s unique contribution was the willingness to raise an unpopular topic, others would rather leave untouched; she also sought to take practical steps to improve conditions in prisons.”

      By the way – her husband went bankrupt at some point; her work was then supported by her brother, also a banker.

  43. Hugh's Gravatar Hugh
    March 12, 2020 - 11:20 am | Permalink

    I voted for Betsy, but I also found this, which gives me a mellow place for Florian …

    St Florian IPA

    • Amy's Gravatar Amy
      March 12, 2020 - 11:42 am | Permalink

      Cool. And a great logo.

  44. Steve P's Gravatar Steve P
    March 12, 2020 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    As a home brewer, this vote was easy!

  45. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 12, 2020 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    See, this is why I love the Madness so much. I learned something new about these two deserving Saints. Bets for me.

  46. March 12, 2020 - 11:51 am | Permalink

    One fryed the other escaped

  47. LA's Gravatar LA
    March 12, 2020 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Well, here I go again. I was all set to vote for Elizabeth until I read about Florian. Again, something just connected. Probably also helps that my niece is with a firefighting company as well as many loved ones of my friends. But that’s just a bonus.

    Oddly enough, I also seem to be connecting with the underdog more days than not. On the other hand, that means I may get to vote for Elizabeth (and the other winners I hadn’t originally voted for like Brother Lawrence and Bartimaeus) next round!

  48. Bill Bosies's Gravatar Bill Bosies
    March 12, 2020 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

    As the son, grandson and father of firefighters (becoming a lawyer, I was the black sheep of the family), this choice is a no-brainer.

  49. Karen E's Gravatar Karen E
    March 12, 2020 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Living in NorCal and after all the amazing work from firefighters around the world, this one is tough—Elizabeth resonates for her compassion and work for women in prison, but we sure do love and appreciate firefighters around here!

  50. Joanne B. Parrott's Gravatar Joanne B. Parrott
    March 12, 2020 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    The lady with 11 younguns gets my vote today but I did enjoy the beeriest last weekend

  51. Chuck's Gravatar Chuck
    March 12, 2020 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Had to go with my fellow Quaker. Didn’t even know we had saints!

  52. Peggy Nelson's Gravatar Peggy Nelson
    March 12, 2020 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

    My son-in-law is a firefighter and a first responder not only to fires but to accidents on the
    highways. I am voting for Florian not only for firefighters but for their families and the
    countless sacrifices in time they have given while he does the work he does for the community.
    I have not heard a complaint about Christmas being celebrated or any other holiday or birthday
    being rescheduled from his family including the kids because they understand that Dad’s job is
    about keeping others safe. Florian has my vote today.

  53. Deborah Perrin's Gravatar Deborah Perrin
    March 12, 2020 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

    In honor of my grandfather, an FDNY captain, it had to be Florian.

  54. Evelyn's Gravatar Evelyn
    March 12, 2020 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I love fries and she was an awsome person, elizabeth it is.

  55. Myrna's Gravatar Myrna
    March 12, 2020 - 1:26 pm | Permalink

    I wanted to vote for both (as usual). I voted for Florian because I loved his story,( which I’d never heard), and my son and a few other relatives are firefighters. That was mainly it. Now I’ll have to tell my family about St. Florian’s Cross!

  56. Diane Quantic's Gravatar Diane Quantic
    March 12, 2020 - 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Elizabeth was a social net all by herself!! Today, it takes huge organizations to do what she did by force of her will. I’ll vote for the caretaker any day!!

  57. Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
    March 12, 2020 - 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Elizabeth Fry’s good works were manifold and make her a favourite choice today. She is certain to advance. That is why my vote is for poor neglected Florian. Also, he is the patron saint of brewers.

  58. Foster Eich's Gravatar Foster Eich
    March 12, 2020 - 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Although I live at St. Florian, AL (here it’s pronounced St. FLOREEN, By the way!) and who could fail to admire his faith and courage, I still have to vote for Elizabeth.

  59. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    March 12, 2020 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Ms. Fry loved by the rule: “If you see something, do something.”. We need more like her.

  60. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 12, 2020 - 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Elizabeth gets my vote today an amazing woman with all she did in her life!

  61. March 12, 2020 - 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I went to vote and got a message that I had already voted. Strange. I have often forgotten whether or not I had actually voted, and found the voting results, along with my last selection. This time, it looked like I had not voted. I am not sure how to check if I’ve voted.
    Also, please don’t send the purple SS after me for voting twice. It was an honest mistake.

  62. Ron Carswell's Gravatar Ron Carswell
    March 12, 2020 - 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Wow, what a day. I learn so much during this contest. The Florian cross – who knew that it was a cross? And, no beer in Heaven. Introspection, learning and voting. Best Lent ever.

  63. Lawrence Jagdfeld's Gravatar Lawrence Jagdfeld
    March 12, 2020 - 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Florian is the patron saint of firefighters and first responders. When I think of modern day heroes, they are at the top of the list. So my vote goes to Florian who still inspires heroism in our day.

  64. March 12, 2020 - 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Gotta go with the nurse. #COVID19

  65. Amy T's Gravatar Amy T
    March 12, 2020 - 5:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m wondering why the use of 250CE instead of AD? I thought this was a Christian based site?

    • Bill Bosies's Gravatar Bill Bosies
      March 12, 2020 - 7:01 pm | Permalink


    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 12, 2020 - 9:35 pm | Permalink

      CE is “Common Era,” and radical welcome is a Christian charism. Christians share the world with Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Wiccan, and so forth, not all of whom believe that world history began with the cross. Even Christians don’t believe world history began with the cross. If “being a Christian” means insisting on an exclusivist history that rejects the Other, then we have failed at Paul’s basic message: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but insist on a bigoted dating system, I am become as a clumsy gong, all sound and fury, signifying nothing.” I might not have quoted that verbatim, but I believe I got at the gist. Have a blessed Lent.

      • Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
        March 13, 2020 - 1:32 am | Permalink

        (That’s how I remember it too.)

      • Julia's Gravatar Julia
        March 13, 2020 - 8:08 am | Permalink

        Thanks you, St Cecelia

        • Julia's Gravatar Julia
          March 13, 2020 - 8:09 am | Permalink

          Oops! Celia. It’s early here.

  66. Lucinda's Gravatar Lucinda
    March 12, 2020 - 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Tough for the grand-daughter of a fire chief to go against Florian, but Elizabeth Fry did so much good for so many of “the least of these”.

  67. Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
    March 12, 2020 - 5:49 pm | Permalink

    So impressed by Florian, with whom I was not acquainted before this day. I am sorely tempted to vote for such s dedicated hero and Christian, but as a women’s health nurse practitioner, I must vote for Elizabeth today.

  68. Linda LeBreux's Gravatar Linda LeBreux
    March 12, 2020 - 6:03 pm | Permalink

    I was ready to vote for Florian as I am married to a retired Fire Chief and have the Florian Cross in several places around our home but as a nurse who cared for ex-convicts, most of them women, with HIV I had to vote for Elizabeth.

  69. Miki Charlton's Gravatar Miki Charlton
    March 12, 2020 - 8:54 pm | Permalink

    I was so delighted and humbled to learn about Elizabeth Fry at a Hearing the Cries for Justice event last weekend. How brave and creative she was. Her methods change the prison system in England and we should pray close attention.
    Way to go Elizabeth!!

  70. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    March 12, 2020 - 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Florian. In honor of firefighters and first responders

  71. Janet's Gravatar Janet
    March 12, 2020 - 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Wait, oh wait, my spirit doth say
    But I think the SEC is going astray
    For rules made for Madness
    Doth fill me with sadness
    Though I try and I try
    Find no feast day for dear Elizabeth Fry.

    I bade by the rule
    It Seemed heartless and cruel
    Since many a Protestant soul
    Is deprived of the bracket
    And thus they are smack’ed
    To never, no never get gold.

  72. Barbara A.K. Franklin's Gravatar Barbara A.K. Franklin
    March 13, 2020 - 2:14 am | Permalink

    The planet is burning up and we are not going to choose the patron saint of firefighters? Come on guys!!!!!

  73. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    March 13, 2020 - 7:49 am | Permalink

    Voting for all the Elizabeths!

  74. March 13, 2020 - 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Dang, I missed this one. I would have voted for Florian because that was my Slovak grandfather’s name.

Comments are closed.