Elizabeth Fry vs. Clare of Assisi

Hey, today marks the very last matchup of the Saintly Sixteen! Elizabeth Fry faces Clare of Assisi in an attempt to join Herman of Alaska, Harriet Tubman, Hildegard of Bingen, Brother Lawrence, Margaret of Castello, Joanna the Myrrhbearer, and Joseph in the Elate Eight.

As hinted at above, on Friday Hildegard of Bingen took down Elizabeth the New Martyr 57% to 43%. This means that of the quartet of Elizabeths in the 2020 bracket only Elizabeth Fry remains. Will a single Elizabeth continue on in this year’s tournament? Or will the four be barred from further Lenten glory? That’s the decision you’ll make today, friends. Now go vote — it’s the last full week of Lent Madness!

 Elizabeth Fry

“Oh Lord, may I be directed what to do and what to leave undone.”

Imagine an industrious nineteenth-century woman of conviction who, after giving birth to eleven children, had her eyes opened to the brutal and horrifying conditions of women in her society. Elizabeth Fry was so compelled to act and so efficacious that she prayed for guidance about what to leave undone. Elizabeth, called Betsy, was a devout Quaker and saw the inner light of God in every person no matter their race, social class, or the crimes they’d committed. She had the wisdom to understand the causes of social problems and the courage to change them, working to reform the status of women and for the cause of abolition. She is best known as a prison reformer.

“Punishment is not for revenge, but to lessen crime and reform the criminal.”

The prison officials at Newgate warned her that visiting inmates was dangerous, but she was not thwarted. In the prisons, she saw inmates starving if they had no family to pay for their meals, children imprisoned with their mothers and clinging to them as the women were taken away to be hanged.  Her goal was “to provide for the clothing, instruction, and employment of the women; to introduce them to a knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, and to form in them, as much as possible, those habits of sobriety, order, and industry, which may render them docile and peaceable while in prison, and respectable when they leave it.”

In the prison, she taught women hygiene and skills they could use to earn an income. She advocated that women should be housed apart from men, supervised by female guards, and separated by the severity of the crime. She comforted them and read to them from the Bible.

Prison officials were astounded by her results. The most dangerous and undisciplined inmates were transformed into model citizens of the jail, truly reformed and ready to live an honest life upon their release.

Like Jesus, Elizabeth Fry knew the transforming power of love shown to someone who thinks herself unlovable. She spoke up for women who’d been sentenced to death, arguing for the sentence to be lessened. When her pleas fell on deaf ears, she went with the condemned women to comfort them in the moments before execution.

She went from her work in the squalid jails to the palace, where she several times was granted an audience with Queen Victoria, who greatly admired her and financially supported her cause. For her tireless work and groundbreaking reforms, she was granted a key to Newgate Prison.

Fry’s accomplishments are so widely recognized in England that for fifteen years (2001-2016) her image was on the £5 note. On it, she was depicted reading to the inmates and the design featured the motif of the key she was awarded. In her memory, the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies works on behalf of incarcerated women and organizes National Elizabeth Fry Week every May.

Like those who continue to honor her, may we all be so convicted, wise, and efficacious as to need to ask God what good works we ought to leave undone.

Amber Belldene

Clare of Assisi

St. Clare of Assisi is the first female follower of St. Francis of Assisi and the first woman to write a Rule of Life for a monastic order, what she founded as the Order of Poor Ladies and is known today as the Poor Clares.

She also is a saint for our time, living the #QuarantineLife cloistered with her sisters long before it was mandated for many people all over the world amid the current coronavirus pandemic.

Her austerity, fasting three days a week and praying through many sleepless nights, meant she often was sick and confined to her bed.

That didn’t keep Clare from participating in worship, however.

One Christmas, unable to attend Matins in the chapel with her sisters, Clare sighed, “Lord God, look, I have been left here alone with you.” Immediately, she was able to hear the music and liturgy as if she were in the chapel herself. She even viewed the baby Jesus lying in the manger, as the Gospel of Luke describes, which is why she now is recognized as the patron saint of television.

Like many of us who are staying home to prevent catching or spreading the coronavirus, Clare turned to a pet for comfort during those times she was alone — and once for a towel that was just out of her reach.

When a little cat in the monastery attempted to drag the towel to her, Clare chastised it for dragging it on the ground. The cat, as if it understood, responded by rolling up the towel and carrying it to her neatly.

Clare took social distancing seriously.

During the war of Assisi, members of Emperor Frederick II’s army scaled the wall of the monastery of San Damiano. Clare comforted her sisters: “Do not be afraid, because they will not be able to hurt us.”  Then she threw herself on the ground in front of a monstrance holding the consecrated bread for the Eucharist, praying, “Lord, look upon these servants of yours because I cannot protect them.” The troops suddenly fled, and the saint now is depicted holding a monstrance.

Clare also is credited with a number of miraculous healings — once healing five sisters at once by making the sign of the cross over them while delivering their medicine.

And Clare wrote a handful of letters to Blessed Agnes of Prague, through which she still speaks to us. They include the quote she perhaps is best known for: “Love Him totally who gave Himself totally for your love.”

 — Emily McFarlan Miller

Elizabeth Fry vs. Clare of Assisi

  • Elizabeth Fry (75%, 5,278 Votes)
  • Clare of Assisi (25%, 1,792 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,070

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Elizabeth Fry: Portrait of Elizabeth Fry by Joseph Simpson, 1915. Public domain
Clare of Assisi: Detail depicting Saint Clare from a fresco (c. 1320) by Simone Martini in the Lower basilica of San Francesco, Assisi. Public domain.

89 Comments to "Elizabeth Fry vs. Clare of Assisi"

  1. March 30, 2020 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    Can the last of four Elizabeths make it through to the Elate Eight? It’s unClare…


  2. Doug Kuhlmann's Gravatar Doug Kuhlmann
    March 30, 2020 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    We should say physical distancing rather than social distancing. We need social connections now more than ever. P.S. I went with Elizabeth.

    • Denise LeGendre's Gravatar Denise LeGendre
      March 30, 2020 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      Well said.

    • March 30, 2020 - 9:11 am | Permalink

      I am calling it “Compassionate Retreat”.

      • Chris Durnan's Gravatar Chris Durnan
        March 30, 2020 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

        Me too. Love that phrase much more.

    • John Howard's Gravatar John Howard
      March 30, 2020 - 10:30 am | Permalink

      I agree, well said.

    • Kathleen Richards's Gravatar Kathleen Richards
      March 30, 2020 - 3:58 pm | Permalink

      I was delighted to find an Elizabeth Fry 5 pound note among my leftover English money from a choir tour to Chichester. But that didn’t influence my vote, since I had already voted for her.

  3. Aidan's Gravatar Aidan
    March 30, 2020 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    My church is called the Parsish of St. Clare’s, so an easy decision for me today

  4. William Osborne's Gravatar William Osborne
    March 30, 2020 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    It was not an easy decision. I have been aware of Clare and her activities for several years, but Elizabeth was a woman of action. That carried the day on my vote for Elizabeth.

    • Laura Burgess's Gravatar Laura Burgess
      March 30, 2020 - 9:50 am | Permalink

      Same. I voted for both of these ladies in the first round, so this was a tough one. I love Francis, so I assumed I would vote for Clare. However, the repeated story of Elizabeth’s hard work for others (while mothering ELEVEN children) won me over.

    • Dixie Snider Jr's Gravatar Dixie Snider Jr
      March 30, 2020 - 11:58 am | Permalink

      Yes, I also voted for Elizabeth Fry because she was a woman of action who lived the gospel. So did Elizabeth the New Martyr and I believe we made a mistake not putting her into the Elite Eight.

  5. March 30, 2020 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    I voted against my own bracket once again for Elizabeth Fry. Reading the story of her church viaits with women reminded me of many of the lay missioners I work with. Prison visitation is a big part of the work of many of our women missioners. They frequently serve both women and men in prison in places like Brazil and Bolivia. I have seen a video of one young woman in her twenties in a prison yard leading a church service with dozens of men surrounding her. I admire their courage and compassion.

  6. March 30, 2020 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth’s prison ministry is a timely reminder for us invthese days of physical distancing. The incarcerated are on my heart and I pray for them and those who minister to them. This I had to bote for Elizabeth.

  7. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 30, 2020 - 8:36 am | Permalink

    I worked at a prison for a short period of time and have great admiration for anyone who is willing to take on the challenges of trying to change conditions for the better. Yes, even in this modern age. More resources and help for the women in prison. I had to vote for Elizabeth.

  8. Gretchen Denton's Gravatar Gretchen Denton
    March 30, 2020 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Clare–the patron saint of television! I went with the Quaker lady, a Friend to all.

  9. Pailet (age 8)'s Gravatar Pailet (age 8)
    March 30, 2020 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    Strong matchup, however we chose Elizabeth. We want to show this sort of love.
    “ Like Jesus, Elizabeth Fry knew the transforming power of love shown to someone who thinks herself unlovable. ”

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 30, 2020 - 10:04 am | Permalink

      Good thinking, Pailet! Nice to hear from you!

  10. Rose Elizabeth (Clare) Brown's Gravatar Rose Elizabeth (Clare) Brown
    March 30, 2020 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    I’m angry Clare anit winning and she my patron saint

  11. Sally C.'s Gravatar Sally C.
    March 30, 2020 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    As a past volunteer for prison ministry, I just had to vote for Elizabeth.

  12. Rita PinoVargas's Gravatar Rita PinoVargas
    March 30, 2020 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    I was a prison(men) Librarian for many years and know the power
    of honor each person’s humanity. Thank you Elizabeth.

  13. Emily Correll's Gravatar Emily Correll
    March 30, 2020 - 9:15 am | Permalink

    Although my middle name is Clare, and I’ve read a lot about her and admire her, I had to go with Elizabeth Fry.

    • March 30, 2020 - 10:47 am | Permalink

      Emily, I voted for your name-sake nonetheless. The frustrating thing about Lent Madness is who they pit against each other. Since I have been living in front of the television set during this isolating time, I voted for the patron of television.

  14. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 30, 2020 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    The decision today is even tougher than usual. Both are so worthy. But my Quaker ancestors are pulling me toward the Quaker lady who even comforted prisoners as they were led to their deaths. Her prayer also becomes mine, as I feel overwhelmed at times by all there is to do, far more than I am able to do, to ask God for guidance in what to do and what to leave undone. Elizabeth Fry!

  15. SharonDianneFosterPattison's Gravatar SharonDianneFosterPattison
    March 30, 2020 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    Hard one today, my thoughts are for the last Elizabeth to go on, but, not to leave Clare out to hang so I voted for her! I originally voted for both of these remarkable woman and prayed on who vote for, and to send at least Clare out with a decent vote to meet her ends!

  16. March 30, 2020 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    I went with Elizabeth today, because her actions are tangible and verifiable.
    If anyone in the DC, Maryland, Virginia region is interested in working towards compassionate justice reform in our own time, sending letters of encouragement to prisoners, or writing letters to lawmakers to abolish solitary confinement, the Interfaith Action for Human Rights is a good place to start. https://www.interfaithactionhr.org/

  17. Laura Clarke's Gravatar Laura Clarke
    March 30, 2020 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    I have always been a fan of Clare, however, chastising her cat when it had deigned to assist her troubled me. I’m going with Elizabeth, who willing moved among those ‘quarantined’ by society.

    • Donna's Gravatar Donna
      March 30, 2020 - 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Yeh, but the cat took instruction and learned a better response. Go CAT!

    • Nancy Noel's Gravatar Nancy Noel
      March 31, 2020 - 12:12 am | Permalink

      Ooh I hadn’t perceived Clare’s response as chastisement [though was puzzled by it]; was going to vote for Elizabeth due to her fighting for women, but as the “staff” to [now ONLY] 10 cats, learning Clare had a cat made it a tough call. But principles over crazy cat ladies won so went with Elizabeth

      • Donna's Gravatar Donna
        March 31, 2020 - 2:22 am | Permalink

        Yay, Crazy Cat Ladies!

  18. Pamela Duncan's Gravatar Pamela Duncan
    March 30, 2020 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    I found this a struggle I recently developed a devotion to St Clare…but I’ve done some reading on the women reformers of the early 19th century and just had to go with Elizabeth….it was an exceptional person who could do such work…..

  19. Melanie's Gravatar Melanie
    March 30, 2020 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    In the previous round, I voted for Clare because of television in the time of being confined to home. It was a somewhat selfish motive. But with the novel virus starting to invade the prison systems, I was moved to vote for Elizabeth Fry.

  20. March 30, 2020 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    This was a hard one, as both women are deserving…

  21. Ruth Douglas Miller's Gravatar Ruth Douglas Miller
    March 30, 2020 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    I was sure Clare would take this easily, but the write up for Elizabeth Fry is too compelling and too relevant to ignore. Imprisonment is now much less common in Britain than in the US; we need LOTS of Elizabeth Frys here if there is hope of fixing our seriously unjust system!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 30, 2020 - 10:08 am | Permalink

      I thought Clare would be in the final round, but even I didn’t vote for her. I was again so taken with Elizabeth’s focus and drive, something I truly lack in my later years.

      • March 30, 2020 - 1:55 pm | Permalink

        Myself as well, Susan. My bracket had her going to the final. I voted for Elizabeth after reading her bio and then was stunned to discover Elizabeth was leading by a wide margin. It’s even wider now. Understandable when you read the bios, but I never would have predicted this upset.

  22. March 30, 2020 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    As a benched volunteer for Kairos Prison Ministries, my heart and my vote are with Elizabeth and her work. Looking forward to resuming our visits to the local women’s prison.

  23. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    March 30, 2020 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    I love St. Clare, I admire Elizabeth Fry. What to do? What to do? Patrice, your comment that Elizabeth Fry’s actions were tangible and verifiable tipped the scales for me and I voted for Elizabeth. I like her prayer: “O Lord, may I be directed what to do and what to leave undone.” – a prayer in we all can join.

  24. chrissie's Gravatar chrissie
    March 30, 2020 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    In normal times I am privileged to do jail ministry with women. They have not had any programs or volunteer gatherings in over 3 weeks to keep the virus out. It’s very sad.

    I gotta vote for Elizabeth!

  25. Betsy Amey's Gravatar Betsy Amey
    March 30, 2020 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    Gotta vote for another “Betsy!” Although I shivered my way through a stay at a convent in Assisi in 1967 — embarrassed to ask the sisters for another blanket!

  26. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 30, 2020 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    It’s not a real choice for me today: I voted for Elizabeth Fry. I am so impressed by her dedication to prison reform and women’s uplift. Bold move on Emily’s part to play the coronavirus card; almost as good as #AndYetShePersisted. If we’re going to view the saints this year through the lens of coronavirus, then it seems to me we must confront our (western) Victorian legacy. As Americans reap the whirlwind of forty years of anti-government rhetoric, and suddenly discover that they do want and need effective government and leadership, we all have an opportunity to reassess the inheritance the Victorian era left us. Elizabeth Fry is the quintessence of the earnest, sincere Victorian reformer: her work involves the amelioration of institutions. She works at the bleeding edge of social norms and government services. She reminds me very much of the nuns and nurses at Nonnatus House in “Call the Midwife.” While the British health service was a post-war phenomenon, its roots lay in the Victorian era. The Victorian era brought us electric lighting, indoor plumbing, the postal service, and public sanitation. Let us include, too, Karl Marx as a good Victorian. His work documenting poverty using the Blue Books in the British museum laid the foundation for a system of thought that prioritized an understanding of the material conditions of people’s lived lives as a basis for seeking radical change in and renewal of society. How can we possibly deny that we need radical change today? Let us also remember that the concept of “privacy” is a central good bequeathed to us by the Victorians. Victorian social reform and Christian conviction unite in Mrs. Fry. I am troubled by Clare’s cryptoanorexia; starving oneself into ill health does not seem to advance the glory of God. But I am not troubled by good works that advance the dignity and empowerment of one’s fellow human beings.

    • Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
      March 30, 2020 - 11:50 am | Permalink

      “You’re quite a powerful speaker, [ma’am],” …. “I wonder you don’t go into Parliament.”

      Hear hear! St. Celia – timely and well said!

    • SharonDianneFosterPattison's Gravatar SharonDianneFosterPattison
      March 30, 2020 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree with your St. Celia

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 30, 2020 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Very interesting, St. C; being described as Victorian is usually not a compliment, so I thank you for the reminder of what progressives they were at the time.

  27. Katrina Soto's Gravatar Katrina Soto
    March 30, 2020 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    In honor of my online prayer friend, Francesca, I vote for Betsy. Francesca lived near a prison for quite some time, and she held Bible study and worship time with women at a Max unit at the prison. So, even though Francesca would be likely to vote for Clare today, (she is a third order Franciscan) I vote for Elizabeth.

  28. Anne Crawford's Gravatar Anne Crawford
    March 30, 2020 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    I voted for Clare (again) today, but both are worthy choices. Looks like my choice is going to get trounced, but I can’t be too upset since Elizabeth is also a great choice.

  29. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 30, 2020 - 10:34 am | Permalink

    I just finished the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Our criminal justice system in the US has serious issues. So I voted for Elizabeth. I was surprised to see her so far ahead because I had assumed Clare would take this round.
    I hope you all stay home when you are not required to be at work and that we will all be here for the Golden Halo and beyond.

  30. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 30, 2020 - 10:37 am | Permalink

    Lots of Quakers in my family, so I had to go with Elizabeth Fry. No offense to Clare — these later rounds almost always find me voting against somebody I voted for the first time.

  31. Sarah Hillman's Gravatar Sarah Hillman
    March 30, 2020 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    I’m a little biassed today – Elizabeth Fry is a distant relative in my family tree

  32. March 30, 2020 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    I have to vote for saint Clare. She was not tall. And she had a healthy appetite, it seems. Visiting with her in Assisi is always very moving and her work is so admirable. I’m pretty sure Sister Helen Prejean, the saint-to-be, is a member of the Poor Clares. Don’t quote me on that but please do affirm or refute. Cordially, rob

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 30, 2020 - 12:59 pm | Permalink

      I just looked it up: Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille. That’s a new one for me!

  33. Anne Madden's Gravatar Anne Madden
    March 30, 2020 - 10:56 am | Permalink

    I loved that Elizabeth Fry was on the five pound note for years in Britain. I so hope to see dear Harriet Tubman on our 20 dollar bill soon!!

  34. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    March 30, 2020 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    When presented with poverty’s pain
    Betsy Fry was not one to abstain:
    To the poor she brought ease,
    To the suffering, surcease;
    As a candidate she should remain.

  35. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 30, 2020 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    My vote for Clare is actually a cryptovote for Elizabeth, who wins hands down on what we lawyers call “the merits” for all the reasons St. Celia sets forth with her usual eloquence. I just can’t abandon my beloved Clare in her hour of need.

    Please pray for Assisi, and especially for the Church of England congregation of St. Leonard’s, with whom I worship when in my beloved Cortona. The core congregation is small, but it plays an important role in welcoming Anglican pilgrims and has a close relationships with the Anglican Franciscans and the Roman Catholic diocese. If you’re in Assisi on a Sunday once the corona crisis is over, the church is in Via Antonio Cristofani and the service is at 11 am.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 30, 2020 - 11:33 am | Permalink

      You have a good heart, Davis.

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 30, 2020 - 8:26 pm | Permalink

        You are kind, Celia.

    • Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
      March 30, 2020 - 12:02 pm | Permalink


      I’m voting for Clare because I serve a parish dedicated to Francis. But I admit Elizabeth is impressive, and against someeone else, I’d likely vote for. On a more personal note, I’m thinking that we served together on the Board of the Epsicopal Church at Yale back in the 70’s. Yes?

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 30, 2020 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

        Yes, we did. I’ve noticed your name as well, and may have asked the same question a few years ago in a comment you didn’t notice and I didn’t pursue.

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 30, 2020 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

        I’ve just googled you and sent you an email.

    • Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
      March 30, 2020 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Good to know. Thanks! I’ll keep this in mind if I’m there in May 2021, this spring’s visit having been cancelled.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 30, 2020 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Oh, the day we can all travel again—seems like a long way away. I’m glad to know about this church. I like to sniff out Anglican churches when I’m abroad.

  36. Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
    March 30, 2020 - 11:27 am | Permalink
    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 30, 2020 - 11:36 am | Permalink

      What an interesting design. I assume the blank head in the center is us joining in the reading circle. Perhaps the Tubman $20 bill can show a blank head too as we witness slaves escaping to the north and sojourners also escaping to El Norte.

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 30, 2020 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Gregory, for sharing the Elizabeth 5-pound note (my computer doesn’t have non-American symbols).

  37. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 30, 2020 - 11:30 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth already has quite the lead, but I’m with Clare.

  38. Jane Elizabeth's Gravatar Jane Elizabeth
    March 30, 2020 - 11:46 am | Permalink

    Though Clare is a long time favorite of mine, I had to vote for Elizabeth. Learning to pray about knowing what to leave undone is a need for me. I can see the good I could have/can do has been diluted by taking on to much. Through the story of Elizabeth it becomes clear how much power these is in a clear focus.

  39. Sara Schulz's Gravatar Sara Schulz
    March 30, 2020 - 11:54 am | Permalink

    This is so much fun, so much to learn, love the good humor and am always thrilled when Monday morning arrives to read who won on Friday! My first time with this and it could not have been a better year to join the fun! Many many thanks.

  40. March 30, 2020 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I sometimes vote for the underdog. While I love Elizabeth Fry (my father worked tirelessly for the right of prisoners to mental health treatment) I also love Clare. I do not think, however, that she was “quarantined” by choice. Rather, she and her sisters were forced to be cloistered. She wanted an active life much closer to that of St. Francis. So while I am happy for Elizabeth Fry, I am sad that Clare most likely won’t make it to the Elite Eight.

  41. Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
    March 30, 2020 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Elizabeth Fry is in the lead and deserves the honour. She is certainly a much more relatable figure than Clare of Assisi, being closer to us in time and a familiar name to this day for her accomplishments in prison reform. But I voted with my heart for the follower of Francis.

  42. Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
    March 30, 2020 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Elizabeth Fry is a saint for our times. Bless all who engage in prison ministries at perhaps a risk of violence. Let’s not forget the humanizing effects they may have on the guards.

  43. Diane Quantic's Gravatar Diane Quantic
    March 30, 2020 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Elizabeth laid the groundwork for prison reform. We need to resurrect her call now more than ever as the corona virus, immune to walls could and probably will invade our prisons, homeless shelters and other places where the lowest dwell (not live).

  44. Joanne B. Parrott's Gravatar Joanne B. Parrott
    March 30, 2020 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

    The last Elizabeth gets my vote today despite my imitation of St. Clare as I watched the Eucharistic Service on EWTN. I then joined my church for discussion and Morning Prayer on Zoom. Our new rector also does Evening Prayer and Compline on Facebook (God bless him,I’m so proud of Rev Sonny) I will be more computer friendly due to all this

  45. john's Gravatar john
    March 30, 2020 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

    As we have begun conversations and laws re prison reform, St. Elizabeth could be our guide. May we not lose the inspiration and actions of Elizabeth.

  46. ellietupper's Gravatar ellietupper
    March 30, 2020 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Props to anyone who can train a cat, but I’m voting today for works over faith

  47. March 30, 2020 - 1:01 pm | Permalink

    When confronted with the names of today’s two saints it neve occurred to my that Clare would not win. I’d never heard of Elizabeth before! But upon reading about her I knew she would get my vote, primarily because I’ver done prison ministry for many years now and witnessed what a difference this can make in the lives of those incarcerated – just ‘showing up’ lets them know that they are not forgotten or throw-away people! What an extraordinary person she was and what a difference her staunch determination made.

  48. Allidon's Gravatar Allidon
    March 30, 2020 - 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I thought I would vote for Claire but the writing wion me over to Elizabeth. Looks like I am not the only one to switch! Keep safe you all.

  49. Jan Bohn's Gravatar Jan Bohn
    March 30, 2020 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    My youngest child is named Elizabeth Clare, tough decision. But as she is a doer, mover and shaker had to vote for Elizabeth.

  50. Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
    March 30, 2020 - 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Had to go with Elizabeth. She showed the kind of grit that many women undoubtedly had in Victorian times but of which many of us Americans are unaware.

    But if Clare comes from behind for the win, I won’t be upset.

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 30, 2020 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

      And “Punishment is not for revenge, but to lessen crime and reform the criminal.” Would that more people would take that stance!

  51. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    March 30, 2020 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Have to go with Clare .

  52. Rev. Linda Wilson's Gravatar Rev. Linda Wilson
    March 30, 2020 - 3:15 pm | Permalink

    A hard choice but in the end I cast for Elizabeth.
    I have a thought: In addition to the official winner of the golden halo, I think that this year we should award and honorary one to Dr. Anthony Fauci. Like so many of our saints he has dedicated himself to healing others and working for our public health. Like so many saints he has been courageous and spoken up to authority to speak the truth.
    If anyone agrees maybe we can suggest it to the Supreme Executive Council.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 30, 2020 - 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Brava. A “Declaration of Saintly Service.” Expect to find Lent Madness excoriated as LIDDLE’ LYIN’ FAILING OVERRATED LOW IQ SAINTS WHO CHOSE SERVICE OVER RICHES.

  53. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    March 30, 2020 - 3:55 pm | Permalink

    As much as I love Clare, I have to go with Liz today.

  54. Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
    March 30, 2020 - 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I have little patience with anyone, saint or otherwise, who fasts voluntarily 3 days a week and spends many sleepless nights praying and as a result spends a good deal of time sick in bed. Privation should be just that: private. If one’s self-denial means that one cannot participate in the ordinary work of the day, then the practice needs to be reexamined. Especially if Clare’s frequent illnesses required that others take on extra duties to make up for the sickly sister.

    Clare’s achievements are commendable, but I’m going for the active saint rather than the cloistered one.

  55. Ann Smith's Gravatar Ann Smith
    March 30, 2020 - 5:06 pm | Permalink

    I found this one to be the most difficult one yet. I love Clare for many reasons, but above all for her connection to St. Francis of Assisi and the lovely San Damiano. But Elizabeth Fry did so much for women in desperate need. So for her service she gets my vote.

  56. Len Freeman's Gravatar Len Freeman
    March 30, 2020 - 5:08 pm | Permalink

    FIfty-four years ago I wandered into the town of Assisi, and spent an afternoon looking at the leathery face of Clare in her glass casket under an altar. How would she feel about being on this display… why did we (the church) feel the need to do this to/with her.
    I have held a bit of her in my heart ever since as an icon of a life that did what she could, and gave the rest of herself… as least her corpse… for the whatever use to mother church.
    But today, in truth, I think that she too would vote for Elizabeth.

  57. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 30, 2020 - 5:25 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Elizabeth, a local saint, fully expecting her to be behind. We have so much need of her energy, commitment and faith today, not least in our prison service.

  58. March 30, 2020 - 7:17 pm | Permalink

    You go, Lizzy Fry! I’m cheering you on from the sidelines as my own AVP workshop at the medium security prison in Shirley Massachusetts last weekend was cancelled.

  59. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 31, 2020 - 5:22 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth has my vote!

  60. Larry's Gravatar Larry
    April 2, 2020 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    Clare because a young girl named Clare (or Claire) helped shovel my truck out of the snow.

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