Elizabeth of Hungary vs. Herman of Alaska

A Tuesday during Lent, can mean only one thing: time to cast a vote in Lent Madness! But first, some results. Yesterday, Eva Lee Matthews soundly defeated Hervé (and his little dog too!) 61% to 39%.

Today, the second of the four Elizabeths in the 2020 bracket makes an appearance, as Elizabeth of Hungary takes on Herman of Alaska. Will this 13th century Hungarian royal with the generous heart prevail? Or will it be the Russian-born 18th century missionary monk? Two compelling saints but, alas, only one will move on to the Saintly Sixteen.

In case you missed yesterday globe-trotting edition of Monday Madness (and if you did…for shame!), you can watch it here. In it, we gave a shout out to the good people of St. Stephen’s in Terra Haute, IN, who have embraced Lent Madness with reckless abandon. Read an article in the local paper about their foray into the Saintly Smackdown, led by their pastor, the Rev. Drew Downs.

And if you have compelling stories or photos to share from your own context, please do send them our way. Now go vote!

Elizabeth of Hungary

Elizabeth of Hungary did not live long—she died at the age of 24 in 1231—but she left a powerful and lasting impression during her short life.

Elizabeth was born into the royal family of Hungary and promised in marriage to Ludwig IV, Landgrave of Thuringia, to cement a political alliance between the two noble families. Once she reached the age of fourteen, the two were married.

Two years later, Elizabeth heard the teachings of the Franciscan community. She was deeply moved by the Franciscan ideals and almost immediately began to put them into practice in her own life. She became known for dressing simply despite her royal station and for regularly baking bread in her estate and then distributing it to the local community.

Some in the royal entourage became suspicious of Elizabeth’s activities and accused her of stealing goods from the royal household. Legend says that on one day, Ludwig and his hunting party encountered Elizabeth. She had hidden bread in the folds of her dress to be handed out to those in need; Ludwig saw an opportunity to clear her name so he asked her to show what she was carrying. When she opened her arms, the bread was gone and instead her cloak was full of white and red roses—proof to Ludwig that she was doing God’s work.

When Elizabeth was twenty years old, tragedy struck when her husband died en route to the crusades. Given her relative youth, Elizabeth’s family was ready to match her in another marriage for political gain. Instead of the welltrod path of being used as a political pawn, Elizabeth took vows of celibacy and obedience to her confessor. She joined the Third Order of Saint Francis and used the funds intended for her dowry to build a hospital dedicated to Francis.

When Elizabeth died at the age of twenty-four, miracles were almost immediately attributed to her at her grave.

Elizabeth was so highly revered that she was officially declared to be a saint just four short years after her death, an acknowledgement of her tireless generosity toward the poor and ill. She is considered a patron to the Third Order of Franciscans, widows, exiles, and people experiencing homelessness.

Collect for Elizabeth of Hungary
Almighty God, by your grace your servant Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world: Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

—David Hansen

Herman of Alaska

Herman of Alaska was known for his Christian compassion, leadership, humility, personal warmth, and deep kindness. Although his birth name and details of his childhood are lost to history, Herman was born in the 1750s near Moscow.

Never ordained, Herman—his monastic name—joined a hermitage near St. Petersburg at sixteen years old and then transferred to Valaam Monastery to study with Abbot Nasarios. After taking vows, he happily lived the life of a hermit until he was called to join others for missionary work in Alaska, at that time owned by Russia. The area was a thriving trading post for sea life, animal pelts, and crops. In 1794, the missionaries established their base on Spruce Island, near the village of Kodiak. Herman chose to live a spartan life, sleeping on hardwood boards and eating little.

Herman was good to the native people, something his fellow Russians were not. He was shocked and saddened to witness the abuse of the Aleuts, the Native Americans living in the area, by the Russians and Europeans. Herman defended the rights of the Aleuts against many, including his own government.

Despite the hardships of low supplies and harsh weather, Herman and his monastic group preached the gospel throughout the Kodiak area, baptizing a reported 7,000. He was named head of the mission in 1807. Herman was well-known and well-loved, living among the Aleuts and being a participant in their everyday lives as a teacher of reading, writing, music, and catechism, and as a medic. During an 1819 epidemic, he nursed the people of the village—both Aleuts and Europeans—without thought about his own well-being.

In time, yearning for his solitude, he returned to the life of a hermit, but he never considered himself alone. “God is here, as God is everywhere,” he maintained.

Herman never left Alaska and died on Spruce Island in 1837. St. Herman’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Kodiak is named in his honor. Herman, called the “Wonderworker of All America,” is remembered on November 15.

Collect for Herman of Alaska
Almighty God, who raised up your servant Herman to be a light in the world, and to preach the Gospel to the people of Alaska: Illuminate our hearts, that we also in our own generation may show forth your praise, who called us out of darkness and 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.

—Neva Rae Fox


Elizabeth of Hungary vs. Herman of Alaska

  • Herman of Alaska (58%, 5,243 Votes)
  • Elizabeth of Hungary (42%, 3,787 Votes)

Total Voters: 9,030

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Elizabeth of Hungary: Francisco de Zurbarán [Public domain]
Herman of Alaska: AlexEleon [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/bysa/3.0)]

117 Comments to "Elizabeth of Hungary vs. Herman of Alaska"

  1. March 3, 2020 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    The second of four Elizabeths versus the only Herman and only Alaskan…


    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 3, 2020 - 9:40 am | Permalink
      • Debra Csikos-Vandrasik's Gravatar Debra Csikos-Vandrasik
        March 3, 2020 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Nooooo! I’m Hungarian! I need Elizabeth of Hungary to win! She’ll be my first loss this Lent! Please vote for Elizabeth!

        • Patricia Gordon's Gravatar Patricia Gordon
          March 3, 2020 - 1:44 pm | Permalink

          Not such a difficult choice for me today – voted for Herman because of loving care for the indigenous people – still a concern and a need 200 or so years later and not only in the U.S.


          • KarenR's Gravatar KarenR
            March 3, 2020 - 4:03 pm | Permalink

            Yes. And a big issue for our neighbor to the north even today. I prayed Elizabeth’s collect but voted for Herman.

          • Lauren Orella's Gravatar Lauren Orella
            March 3, 2020 - 6:55 pm | Permalink

            I am an Alaskan. My grandaughter is part Aleut. Her grandmother and her family suffered much during the war. Herman showed love and concern for the indigenous people. Of course I voted for him.

          • March 3, 2020 - 8:50 pm | Permalink

            Yes from me also, one of your “neighbours to the north” here in B.C. Herman’s love and care for the indigenous people and his courage to speak out and defend their rights made this an easier choice to vote for him.

        • March 3, 2020 - 4:02 pm | Permalink

          Yohe! I hear you Debra! We have to help our fellow Magyar! I’ve visited her home at the Wartburg and her grave in MArburg!

        • Richard Harvey's Gravatar Richard Harvey
          March 4, 2020 - 6:38 am | Permalink

          Done!….but alas, I fear I am too late.

    • Sandra M Hunnicutt's Gravatar Sandra M Hunnicutt
      March 3, 2020 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Hear yeah! Herman is as devoted guy.

    • March 3, 2020 - 6:18 pm | Permalink


  2. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    March 3, 2020 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth did in Thuringia dwell;
    Of her kindness many a tale do they tell:
    Spent her marital bling
    On a hospital wing;
    To the poor she brought bread — and roses as well.

    • Anita's Gravatar Anita
      March 3, 2020 - 8:35 am | Permalink

      This shows her true being

    • Diane Mc's Gravatar Diane Mc
      March 4, 2020 - 12:20 am | Permalink

      Thank you for that John Cabot. 🙂 All true but I had to vote for Herman, he baptized 7,00 people! Wish I could rhyme.

  3. Deborah Northern's Gravatar Deborah Northern
    March 3, 2020 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    Hard choice but went with Herman because of his sympathy for the indigenous peoples of Alaska. I think he may have been mentioned in James Michener’s book “Alaska”….

    • Carla's Gravatar Carla
      March 3, 2020 - 9:40 am | Permalink

      I went with Herman. I so admired the church in Sitka with the Russian missionary influence.

    • Diane's Gravatar Diane
      March 3, 2020 - 10:55 am | Permalink

      I am drawn to anyone who works for the indigenous peoples of the world.

      • Rodney's Gravatar Rodney
        March 3, 2020 - 11:09 am | Permalink


    • Mary Beth Burns's Gravatar Mary Beth Burns
      March 3, 2020 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

      I agree – It was a hard choice, but I already knew of St. Elizabeth, but not St. Herman,who cared for indigenous Americans –

    • March 3, 2020 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

      This was the hardest so far – went with Herman of Alaska

  4. Anne Becker's Gravatar Anne Becker
    March 3, 2020 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    Wow, this was a hard one. Both Elizabeth and Herman followed Jesus’ path well. As much as I liked Elizabeth’s solution to caring for the poor and hungry, protecting all the people against harm as Herman did for the Aleuts, while nursing everyone during an epidemic, wins my vote.

  5. Elizabeth C.'s Gravatar Elizabeth C.
    March 3, 2020 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    As a fellow Elizabeth, I have to go with her. Always loved the story of bread being turned into roses. Can’t go wrong building a hospital.

  6. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 3, 2020 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    An easy choice for me today. We lived in Kodiak from 1970-72. I loved it there. My 2nd child was born there.

  7. Tonya Eza's Gravatar Tonya Eza
    March 3, 2020 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    Such a hard choice today; I loved both of these saints and their stories! I ultimately went with Herman because 1) I spent a year living in Alaska and absolutely loved it! and 2) He was kind to the Native Americans. Oh, by the way, Terre Haute is spelled with an “e” at the end and not an “a”.

  8. March 3, 2020 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth’s short life is inspiring. Hurman’s four decades of devotion and work get my vote. Befriending the oppressed Aleuts and braving the epidemic helps me seek ways to express my faith in my eighties.

  9. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 3, 2020 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    To be married at fourteen to someone she didn’t really know. Still a child and yet a woman who went on to feed the hungry. And Herman was only sixteen. Amazing stories but i had to vote for Elizabeth.

    • Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
      March 4, 2020 - 12:06 am | Permalink

      Judy, don’t confuse 14-year-old Elizabeth with today’s 14 year old girls. In the thirteenth century, one was considered a woman and of marriageable ge at 12, and as a member of Hungary’s royal family, Elizabeth fully understood that she was destined to marry for dynastic reasons. The only thing unusual about the marriage of Elizabeth and Ludwig is that they genuinely loved one another.

  10. Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
    March 3, 2020 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    I love the story of Elizabeth concealing bread in the folds of her dress to distribute to the needy, but Herman’s long life of service and his support for the Aleuts earned my vote.

  11. Librarycat's Gravatar Librarycat
    March 3, 2020 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    It was a difficult choice, but I remember visiting Alaska. The people who live there are truly awesome and strong. Herman was a true sour dough, one who truly shared the hardships and lived the Gospel with the native people. Awesome witness!
    Go, Herman, Go!

  12. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 3, 2020 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Another nail biter, it seemed to me. Elizabeth had great courage to choose joining a religious community over becoming a “political pawn” in a second marriage. That said, I voted for Herman because of the variety of work he did among the people in Alaska. Also, his serving during an epidemic reminds me of St. Damian of Molokai, who accepted his ministry to persons afflicted with Hansen’s disease before the time of antibiotics, knowing the risk he was taking.

  13. Tom Wintle's Gravatar Tom Wintle
    March 3, 2020 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    Ah yes, feeling a personal connection to Elizabeth: there’s a stained glass window to her in the Unitarian church in Weston MA, and I’m now attending St Elizabeth of Hungary Episcopal Church in Sudbury, MA. She is like an old friend giving flowers and bread to the poor. We should do likewise.

    • March 3, 2020 - 8:36 am | Permalink

      I have difficulty with missionaries to indigenous peoples. No matter how they help, they still create avenues for others to come, others who may not have similar loving intentions.

      And from where and whom did the germs for the epidimic originate?

      I guess I’m a Prime Directive gal.

      • Jerry Cappel's Gravatar Jerry Cappel
        March 3, 2020 - 2:30 pm | Permalink

        True that. Voted for him anyway, messy as it all is.

    • Anita's Gravatar Anita
      March 3, 2020 - 8:38 am | Permalink

      Amazing, the church is on my wish list next time I am in Massachusetts

  14. March 3, 2020 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    I have many reasons to support Herman today. First, I nominated him, and have to admit I was pleasantly surprised to find that he had made the final bracket. Second, I strongly appreciate his ability to see beyond his race and treat the native Alaskans with dignity and respect. Third, my nieces are native Alaskans (Tsihimian and Tlingkit, members of the Frog clan), so I have a special feeling for anyone from Alaska, even if not born there. Fourth, he is one of those people who are willing to leave a life they enjoy when feel called by God to do so, such as the missioners I work with who go overseas away from their families and friends to work with people in need. I am happy that Herman was able to return to his life in solitude at the end of his life. I am also pleased to see that Herman is in the lead at the present moment. Go Herman!

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 3, 2020 - 8:56 am | Permalink

      Take a look at the Tlingit Madonna. The frog is the figure at the very top. You may not be able to see it in this reproduction. The four figures in the corners are the four evangelists. But at the very top center in the border there is a frog as the presiding entity.

      • March 3, 2020 - 9:08 am | Permalink

        Wow! I love it! Thanks, Celia! I have to share this with my nieces!

      • Carole's Gravatar Carole
        March 3, 2020 - 9:31 am | Permalink

        Beautiful story and image. Thank you St. Celia. I forwarded it to Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, which was founded in Alaska more than 50 years ago. I served in Seattle. Have to go with Herman today for the JVC connection and his respect for and defense of the Aleut people into whose home he moved.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 3, 2020 - 9:58 am | Permalink

        How do you know these things, St C????

        • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
          March 3, 2020 - 10:14 am | Permalink

          (Secret reply to St. Susan: I’m taking iconography, and as grace would have it, we just looked at that icon last night; the iconographer passed a day or so ago, and we were looking at all her icons. The Tlingit Madonna is especially amazing. The child is wearing elaborate beadwork as the son of a chief, and all the imagery is drawn from indigenous symbolism.)

      • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
        March 3, 2020 - 11:31 am | Permalink

        I found it under the name “Our Lady of Alaska”–Mary herself looks much the way she does in “traditional” paintings, but in her lap little Jesus is wearing a robe that looks indigenous. There’s a similar blanket hanging behind the Madonna and Child. Lovely combination of Western and Indigenous spirituality!

    • sue's Gravatar sue
      March 3, 2020 - 11:35 am | Permalink

      Thank you for nominating this very worthy Saint. I too was very moved by his care for the Aleut people. It also didn’t hurt that one of my Grandfathers was named Herman.

  15. Anita's Gravatar Anita
    March 3, 2020 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    I went with Elizabeth since sacrifice was her goal in life. Give to the poor, built a hospital amazing young woman. Walked the way of Jesus

  16. Kathy Rooney's Gravatar Kathy Rooney
    March 3, 2020 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Gotta go with Liz. My Hungarian grandmother (also Elizabeth) would come back to haunt me if I didnt.

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      March 3, 2020 - 9:17 am | Permalink

      Same here. Grandmaster have strong powers.

    • Lisa Rapp's Gravatar Lisa Rapp
      March 3, 2020 - 11:11 am | Permalink

      Haha! Me too- Hungarian grandmother Elizabeth.

  17. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 3, 2020 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth has my vote!

  18. Mariclaire Buckley's Gravatar Mariclaire Buckley
    March 3, 2020 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    I wonder if Herman’s Hermits got their name from this saint

    • Maria Hassanin's Gravatar Maria Hassanin
      March 3, 2020 - 11:06 am | Permalink

      haha! Good thought!

  19. Brixham Beth's Gravatar Brixham Beth
    March 3, 2020 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth also had four children, was devastated when her husband died and subsequently bullied by her spiritual advisor into privations that probably shortened her life. A great saint -vote Elizabeth.

  20. Sherryl Parks's Gravatar Sherryl Parks
    March 3, 2020 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    I notice the male/female ratio of (annual) winners is even = 5 each. I don’t always want to vote for a woman but from my perspective, thus far, they are the stronger choice.

  21. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 3, 2020 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    This was easy for me. Elizabeth seems like a mash-up of the Virgin of Guadalupe and any number of Roman virgin martyrs. But Herman of Alaska appealed to me due to his commitment to the well being of indigenous peoples. The Tlingit Madonna is especially lovely and the iconographer has just died requiescat in pace. In honor of the Virgin of Alaska I vote for Herman.

    • March 3, 2020 - 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for the link to this wonderful icon. Having lived in Newfoundland and Labrador for 25 years (including 26 winters) I have great respect for anyone who chose to live in the far north and cared for indigenous people. Herman was an easy choice for me.

  22. Eileen Miller's Gravatar Eileen Miller
    March 3, 2020 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    How could I not vote for Herman? That was my father’s name and he LOVED Alaska. He was in the Air Force there and worked on the Pipeline for a few years. Even though he live most of his life in New Jersey

  23. March 3, 2020 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    A ‘coin toss’ decision. Two more-than-worthy saints who are every bit models for our ‘modern’ times. She for her care of the poor, sick, and outcast and he for similar reasons. You can’t go wrong either way.

  24. Irene's Gravatar Irene
    March 3, 2020 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Herman for his defense of native peoples.

  25. Karen's Gravatar Karen
    March 3, 2020 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Herman because he defended the Aleuts and is remembered on my birthday.

    • March 3, 2020 - 9:36 am | Permalink

      Hey, Karen. Me too! My birthday is November 15th as well! I forgot to mention that in my comments above.

      • Linda S's Gravatar Linda S
        March 3, 2020 - 11:53 am | Permalink

        Herman of Alaska. A sublime example of a faithful servant of God putting that faith into action where he was and using the tools he had available. Perhaps the most valuable tool he had was that classic White Male Privilege! He wrote letters to the Russians in charge of Russian America urging that their duty was to protect the Aleuts and not brutalize them. There are memories extant of his concern for peaceful harmony within families! He would stay up all hours with a bickering Aleut couple assisting them to find a place of peace in their relationship. There are memories of Herman’s love of children! The man would make tons of cookies for the visiting children.
        What a lovey, saintly man, Herman of Alaska.

  26. March 3, 2020 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    I was compelled to go with St. Elizabeth because my grandmother (who spoiled me rotten) was Elizabeth, my first granddaughter is Elizabeth and my grade school growing up was St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic School.

  27. Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
    March 3, 2020 - 9:17 am | Permalink

    Like others, I find this a very difficult choice. I moved by Herman’s prayerful solitude and faithful solidarity with the Aleut in a context where racism was running rampant. But Elizabeth’s embrace of the Franciscan charism and being the patron saint of widows wins the vote of this widower who serves a parish dedicated to Francis.

  28. Noelle Webb's Gravatar Noelle Webb
    March 3, 2020 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    Going with Herman for his devotion to the Aleuts. I believe he really “walked the walk”.

  29. Lynn Wilson's Gravatar Lynn Wilson
    March 3, 2020 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    St. Elizabeth of Hungary has always been my favorite saint. There is a story of her moving the poor and the sick of her community into her palatial home and tending them herself. Her family–especially her in-laws–were terribly upset by this. Her husband had been away from Thuringia at the time. He returned home to find all manner of suffering peasants in his home, including a sick man in his own bed! I can picture a moment like “I Love Lucy” when he questioned his young wife. “Elizabeth, you’ve got a lot of ‘splainin’ to do!” 🙂 Herman was someone I had never heard of and I love his story. But, St. Elizabeth has my heart and my vote!

  30. Rufus's Gravatar Rufus
    March 3, 2020 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    I voted for Elizabeth, because I believe it was likely much harder for a woman to resist the traditions of a royal family than a man. In England, the man who would have been Edward VIII renounced the crown and became the Duke of Windsor; recently Prince Harry has withdrawn from the royal Windsor circle. These two men renounced their royal connection for love, but also to be unshackled by obligations. Elizabeth turned her back on her privileged position to take up service to the poor.

  31. TJ's Gravatar TJ
    March 3, 2020 - 9:36 am | Permalink

    I’m still voting for everybody named Elizabeth in Lent Madness 2020, but Herman is a compelling saint indeed!

  32. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 3, 2020 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Herman gets our vote today! Go Herman!

  33. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    March 3, 2020 - 9:49 am | Permalink

    I voted for Herman because of his care and concern for the treatment of the indigenous people of Alaska. At a time in Canada when many of those of us who are not indigenous North Americans are beginning to realize how much the indigenous peoples have suffered under colonial/settler regimes, Herman spoke to my heart. I realize that Elizabeth of Hungary, a better-known saint, will probably win hands down, but it’s Herman for me.

  34. Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
    March 3, 2020 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    St. Elizabeth turned her back on a life of riches and ease. Instead, she sacrificed all she had in order to serve the poor. The story of the roses, which I’ve always loved, is a bonus.

  35. March 3, 2020 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    This is a difficult choice as both did good works and Elizabeth used her royal resources to help those in need. Not sure if I believed the miracle of the roses but It’s a good story. However, as one who hates cold Canadian winters, my vote goes to Herman for surviving the bitter temperatures of Alaska and staying on to finish his work.

  36. Karen Sculley's Gravatar Karen Sculley
    March 3, 2020 - 10:10 am | Permalink

    another tough choice . . . I voted for Herman because he lived a life of love and service to all in a way that honored God and left a lasting legacy, secure in God’s presence and love (just checked out the seminary named after him – my faith was encouraged just visiting this website – https://www.sthermanseminary.org/)

  37. Joyce M.'s Gravatar Joyce M.
    March 3, 2020 - 10:14 am | Permalink

    Anyone who leaves the comfort of his own culture and works with indigenous people in a harsh and foreign land deserves respect, and he did it with such commitment and grace. Plus, “Herman” is the name of my favorite uncle who always shared what he had learned and what he had in wordly goods with others.

  38. Joanne B. Parrott's Gravatar Joanne B. Parrott
    March 3, 2020 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth H gets my vote today just because I’d like to see 4 Lizzie in the Fina Four, but Thanks for the info on Herman. I always wondered about the Russian Domed church on Deadliest Catch

  39. Rhonda's Gravatar Rhonda
    March 3, 2020 - 10:25 am | Permalink

    My second vote of the day for an Elizabeth

    • Rebecca Smith's Gravatar Rebecca Smith
      March 3, 2020 - 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Me too!

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 3, 2020 - 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Finally at the end of the day, I see what you did there! (I kept thinking of the queen.) Thank you! Me too!!! (in anticipation). You just made Tuesday super.

  40. Brigid's Gravatar Brigid
    March 3, 2020 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    Saint to the homeless…. that clinched it for me.

  41. March 3, 2020 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    This is a tough decision…on one hand you have Elizabeth who was 13th c. #MeToo who saw herself in the most impoverished vs. Herman who fought for Indigenous Peoples rights at the outset of colonialism in Alaskan frontier. One an upbringing in affluence vs. the other whose likely was abject poverty. While I want one for the ladies here, I’m voting for Herman whose 16th c. example shows us the Way as we navigate the coronavirus pandemic this Lenten season.

  42. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 3, 2020 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    Well, somewhat to my surprise, Herman’s in the lead. I confessed last week to a sympathy for hermits, and I served a year in the Army in Alaska, in Fairbanks. At first I thought, on the basis of my memory of winter in Fairbanks, that a hermit in Alaska would have a rough time in winter, but I notice Kodiak is considerably south of Fairbanks and on the sea coast, so winters there might not have been that bad. Plus, his advocacy of and work with the Aleuts is another selling point.

  43. Pat Pankey's Gravatar Pat Pankey
    March 3, 2020 - 11:01 am | Permalink

    I never saw yesterday’s post . I kept looking but to no avail

  44. Martha S.'s Gravatar Martha S.
    March 3, 2020 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    Hard choice today – I love Herman’s kindness and respect for the native people. But, as my grandmother was born in Hungary, I have to support my peeps. Elizabeth of Hungary it is.

  45. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 3, 2020 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    Team Lizzie. I like Herman as well though. Tough call.

  46. Nancy Anthony's Gravatar Nancy Anthony
    March 3, 2020 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    I visited Kodiak Alaska last September and toured both the chapel at the Institute and the Russian Orthodox church there. (Herman is interred at the front of the church.) I was overwhelmed by the beautiful icons in both places. Under any other circumstances I would have voted for Elizabeth.

  47. Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
    March 3, 2020 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    I, too, went with Herman. Treating indigenous people as fellow human beings is an important witness, especially nowadays.

    Elizabeth of Hungary for Lent Madness 2021!

  48. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    March 3, 2020 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I’d never heard of Herman but was captivated by his story, so I did a little research. His last decades when he returned to being a hermit ended up as being more outgoing than he likely anticipated! It sounds like people loved him so much that they couldn’t just leave him alone in the forests of Spruce Island. And he continued to work with them. He received visitors, especially indigenous people, on Sundays and feast days. He would preach on those days in the chapel that soon needed to be built at his hermitage, along with a guesthouse and a school, where he taught.

    Many fans of Lent Madness esteem “active” saints more highly than “contemplative” saints. Herman is both!

    Although I find Elizabeth lovely too. Who knows what more she would have achieved had she been graced with a longer life. I’m glad Herman was.

    • Linda S's Gravatar Linda S
      March 4, 2020 - 2:47 am | Permalink

      Love this, Barbara!

  49. Kit's Gravatar Kit
    March 3, 2020 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

    How could the Elizabeth bio NOT have mentioned that Elizabeth of Hungary, who became Elizabeth of Thuringia, lived in the Wartburg Castle 300 years before Martin Luther translated the New Testament from Greek into German there?!

    • Karen's Gravatar Karen
      March 3, 2020 - 4:29 pm | Permalink

      I have a poster in my office of the chalk drawing of the depiction of Rosenwunder der hl. Elisabeth from the Wartburg Castle which I got on a trip there with my father, a church historian, in 1982. Go Elizabeth!!!

  50. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 3, 2020 - 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Herman, for his selfless work with the indigenous people of Alaska.

  51. David Jette's Gravatar David Jette
    March 3, 2020 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this fascinating pair of saints today! I’ve always been a fan and almost in awe of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary; however I did not know about Saint Herman and found his experience and story most compelling. He seemed to embody what is best in the missionary endeavor showing profound respect and love for the native peoples of Alaska. Also his feast day, November 15 is my birthday! Wishing everyone a holy Lent. David, parishioner of All Saints’ Church, Peterborough, New Hampshire

  52. Jeff Downey's Gravatar Jeff Downey
    March 3, 2020 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I love the urgency of Herman of Alaska’s prayer:

    From this day, from this hour, from this minute, let us strive to love God, above all, and fulfill his holy will.

  53. March 3, 2020 - 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Saint Elizabeth is also the patron of bakers so it’s fair to say she’s the patron of pizza and calzones! Plus, she was so crafty, she qualifies as a patron of sewing, needlepoint and quilting, imo. She reminds me of Our Lady of Guadalupe too, since they both opened their robes and dressings to reveal miraculous sights!

  54. March 3, 2020 - 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I’m going against my own bracket and voting Elizabeth. When I read about them in the Saintly Scorecard, I was Team Herman. But, today I saw that Elizabeth was a Third Order Franciscan. In honor of my friend and fellow parishioner Bonnie, who got our church to tear up part of our parking lot to make room for a refugee garden, and who also is Third Order, Elizabeth for the win!

  55. March 3, 2020 - 2:06 pm | Permalink

    My fourth grade class is studying the upcoming Iditarod in Alaska (so I thought they’d vote for Herman), but the bread-to-roses miracle swayed them to vote as a class for Elizabeth!

  56. March 3, 2020 - 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I find it hard to pick and choose between such worthy candidates every day. Although all of us Christians are called saints of God, it is inspiring to read the stories of those amazing and humble saints doing their part in serving our Maker.

  57. Ruth Douglas Miller's Gravatar Ruth Douglas Miller
    March 3, 2020 - 2:38 pm | Permalink

    The 1918 ‘plague’ was influenza, the ‘Spanish’ flu that decimated the whole world. Worst hit were soldiers fighting WWI, probably in deplorable conditions, but it is worth paying attention to that flu, as the latest coronavirus (Covid-19) is at this point pretty similar in its global influence, though very fortunately nothing like as deadly. I’m sure St Herman wasn’t the only monk/minister/missionary/evangelist working with sufferers in the 1918 flu, but in honour of those working very hard now to keep Covid-19 from going down the same trail, Herman seems the one to vote for!

    • Ruth Douglas Miller's Gravatar Ruth Douglas Miller
      March 3, 2020 - 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Oops–I have numbers dyslexia, apparently! 1819, not 1918. Even so, my sympathies are with those caring for the ill, at the moment!

  58. Harry Alford's Gravatar Harry Alford
    March 3, 2020 - 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Have to go for Herman. My stepmom was a native Aleut—1908-2008–sweet caring loving.

  59. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 3, 2020 - 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Lovely to make the acquaintance of Herman today. He wins my vote for recognising and upholding the rights of indigenous peoples, and for balancing the active and contemplative life.

  60. Jennie Lou Reid's Gravatar Jennie Lou Reid
    March 3, 2020 - 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I thought the E’beth from Hungary spelled her given name with an “s”: Elisabeth. We gave our first-born this name and spelling because of this saint. Live and learn! Sigh…

  61. Vicar Mollie's Gravatar Vicar Mollie
    March 3, 2020 - 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Both wonderful, but I have a daughter Elizabeth. Plus I want to do my bit for an all-Elizabeth Faithful Four!

  62. March 3, 2020 - 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Difficult choice today: both saints met the needs of their community because of their devotion to Christ’s call. Had to go with Herman though, his dedication during an epidemic struck a chord!

  63. Robert Coates's Gravatar Robert Coates
    March 3, 2020 - 5:34 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Elizabeth. We queens need to stick together.

  64. Joyce Rush's Gravatar Joyce Rush
    March 3, 2020 - 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Herman for me today. The fact that my Dad’s middle name was Herman may have entered in. His care of the sick cinched it for me.

  65. Laura R.'s Gravatar Laura R.
    March 3, 2020 - 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I may break my perfect losing streak today! I voted for Herman! 🙂

  66. March 3, 2020 - 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Both are inspirational but I was especially moved by the Collect for Herrman.

  67. Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
    March 3, 2020 - 7:04 pm | Permalink

    What to do????! Both so inspiring and both so needed as exemplars for our times. I think I may have to go with St. Herman today, as much as I want to vote for St. Elizabeth. Excellent collects today.

  68. March 3, 2020 - 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Tough, tough choice today, but in the end I went with Herman. His defense and care of the indigenous people was truly from his heart.

  69. Gail's Gravatar Gail
    March 3, 2020 - 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Herman stood up against his own people, in support of the natives of Alaska. A humble man, he deserves our support.

  70. Betsy aka Elizabeth D's Gravatar Betsy aka Elizabeth D
    March 3, 2020 - 9:37 pm | Permalink

    This was a tough choice for a social worker, both worked tirelessly for the poor and disenfranchised, but loyalty to the club of those of us named Elizabeth and a recent interest in addressing food insecurity caused my vote to go to Elizabeth of Hungary. But both are worthy, and I shall not weep if St Herman advances.

  71. Debbie's Gravatar Debbie
    March 3, 2020 - 10:16 pm | Permalink

    I felt moved to vote for Herman for his concern and care of the native people in the Kodiak region of Alaska. I ended up voting for Elizabeth of Hungary because I believe my Lenten lesson for the day is a reminder of the importance of living God’s word every day of our lives, no matter how long or short our time on earth may be.

  72. Helen's Gravatar Helen
    March 3, 2020 - 10:32 pm | Permalink

    My Hungarian great grandmother (Nagymama) was named Elizabeth (Erzsebet) so I felt compelled to vote for Elizabeth of Hungary.

  73. andrea's Gravatar andrea
    March 3, 2020 - 11:55 pm | Permalink

    Herman. For defending the rights of the Aleuts, for nursing the people of his village during the 1819 epidemic and “God is here, as God is everywhere” I like that. Go Herman!

  74. Carolyn A's Gravatar Carolyn A
    March 4, 2020 - 6:30 am | Permalink

    I voted for Elizabeth because of my own involvement with the poor in the inner city (www.ripplecommunityinc.org), AND our daughter is named Elizabeth, after my grandmother, who was generous like St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

  75. Joyce's Gravatar Joyce
    March 4, 2020 - 7:35 am | Permalink

    Herman growing up in Russia would certainly prepare him for life in AK. The number of 7000 sounds a little inflated given the time and the density of the likely populations. This said, the length of service and to the support of the Aleuts – I can’t fail to appreciate his effort

  76. Rita's Gravatar Rita
    March 4, 2020 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    Both saints showed courage . Elizabeth has gotten good press through out the years now it is timeto recognize Herman ( never heard of him til today)and his work among the indigenous folks .
    I vote for Herman.

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