Eva Lee Matthews vs. Margaret of Castello

“Get thee to a nunnery!” could be the theme of today’s matchup between Eva Lee Matthews of the Community of the Transfiguration and Margaret of Castello of the Dominican Sisters. These faithful women meet in this sure-to-be hotly contested Saintly Sixteen battle.

Yesterday, in a serious rout, Brother Lawrence soundly defeated Margery Kempe 81% to 19% (insert joke about weeping and gnashing of teeth. Brother Lawrence becomes the third saint to reach the Elate Eight, joining Herman of Alaska and Joseph.

If you missed yesterday’s episode of Monday Madness with Tim and Scott, you can watch it here. This historic episode includes the first-ever post-credits scene. Check it out and then go vote!

Eva Lee Matthews
Jordan B. Peterson described the Christian cross as representing the intersection in which suffering and transformation occur; not just the crossed beams on which Christ was hung. To be transfigured, means to be transformed. Jesus was transformed. Often when we look at the saints, they are transformed individuals. As the founder of the community of the Transfiguration, Mother Eva Lee Matthews knows of transformation. Eva Lee transformed from a wealthy, young debutante into a servant of God. As a servant of God, by works, deeds, action and prayer, she then transformed others who were poor, disenfranchised, and neglected. Mother Eva Lee said, “The vision of the King is his beauty is given that the light may shine through us and guide others to know, love, and glorify him.” Eva Lee knew that to be transformed and to transform others was to share the light of God. This is the sort of transformation that awaits us all when we take up God’s calling in our lives.

One of Mother Eva Lee’s contributions to the transformation of others was The Bethany Home. Mother Eva Lee said, “A home in the cool green country…such an institution is Bethany Home.” There, individuals were nurtured in their own transformation to see the light of God in themselves and those around them.

The Community of the Transfiguration continues today. The sisters continue to shine God’s light, glorify God, and guide others to God in an active realization of Mother Eva Lee’s vision. They established the Transfiguration Spirituality Center where “the Community of the Transfiguration and the world come together, enriching each other in a spirit of kindness, simplicity and joy. All are welcome, in the name of Christ, to a peaceful place apart for time to rest, reflect and pray.”

If you want to see this light, check out these real live/living saints. Their beautiful, joy-filled faces will also make you feel transformed in your day (the are ALL smiling—their joy is palpable): View here.

As you think of your own transformation this Lent, smile, and share it with others.

A collect for Eval Lee Matthews: O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us, we pray thee from an inordinate love of this world, that, inspired by the devotion of thy servant Eva Lee Matthews, we may serve thee with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. Retrieved from the Episcopal Church’s website.

Anna Fitch Courie

Margaret of Castello

Margaret of Castello was born sometime in 1287, and died on April 12, 1320. She was born blind, with severe scoliosis, and also with dwarfism. Her parents considered her condition a punishment from God, and a familial shame, and so they proclaimed her dead, and sealed her up in a back room of the castle. (Their family name means “of the castle”—her father, Parisio, kept the castle garrison in Perugia.) However, a maid snuck in to make sure she was fed, and the maid named her Margaret. The maid also snuck in the priest, who taught Margaret literacy, and her prayers.

After her parents abandoned the 13-year-old Margaret on the streets of Castello, she found a temporary home in a convent. However, Margaret was more devout than the nuns. They became jealous, and soon kicked her back on the streets, where she again got by through caring for the children of the workers, and teaching them psalms and prayers.  (As a sidenote: blind people are very able to care for children. “Watching children” is a metaphor in Margaret’s case.)

When she met some traveling Dominican friars, she demanded to be inducted into their order, and was granted admission to the third order of St. Dominic. This came in handy one night, when the house where she was staying caught fire, and the family became concerned that Margaret, alone in the attic, wouldn’t be able to evacuate in time. “Never fear” called Margaret from above, and she calmly extinguished the fire with her holy habit, saving herself and the house. She also visited the sick, attended prisoners and comforted the dying.  While at prayer, observers said she would hover several feet off the ground.

For the faithful who deal with disability in their daily life, Margaret is a special source of inspiration. Robert Orsi writes, in an article about Catholic attitudes towards suffering, that his Uncle Sal, who had cerebral palsy in the 1960s and attended mass daily, had a special fondness for Margaret. Sal tells him about his friends who were hidden away in institutions and back rooms, by families who were ashamed of them and what they represented. “‘You know what I like about [Margaret]?’ my uncle asked me at the end of the story. ‘I like it that there’s somebody up there’—he glanced heavenwards—‘like us.’ He was smiling.”

Megan Castellan


Eva Lee Matthews vs. Margaret of Castello

  • Margaret of Castello (69%, 4,525 Votes)
  • Eva Lee Matthews (31%, 2,063 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,588

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Image credit: http://anglicanhistory.org/women/evamary/pictures.html

106 Comments to "Eva Lee Matthews vs. Margaret of Castello"

  1. Diana's Gravatar Diana
    March 24, 2020 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    Words of Wisdom from Mother Eva Mary, C.T., aka Eva Lee Matthews

    Let us not think that life is too small to be made great.

    To envy is to shrink, to be dwarfed in all spiritual things, to cling to earth and its worms instead of soaring to the stars,

    The objective side of a Sacrament is the gift as God gives it, the subjective side is our use of the gift – what we make of it ibn the course of our daily living.

    Truthfulness is not incompatible with courtesy.

    If our salvation cost so mighty an effort and agony to Christ, shall it not cost us something also? Would we have him to it all and we nothing? Truly a sorry sort of immortality that would be!

    If in prayer we are going to stand always in our own shadow, the dull list of our own grievances, we shall not catch the reflected glory of God’s joy.

    Wherever and whatever God’s will is for me, there is my heaven.

    If we are going to be friends with God, we must sometimes let him do some of the talking; listen for his voice, strive to penetrate the thick veil of self that envelops us.

    We grow in spiritual stature by the choices our wills make from day to day.

    We want to compel the world to righteousness – God wants to love the world into righteousness.

    Love grows on what it gives.

    We are in danger whenever we begin to applaud ourselves. Praise is always dangerous and self-praise is deadly.

    Prayer should begin with praise – not with self but with God – God in his glory, in his Holiness.

    If you pray “Thy Will be done” who is there to do it but you? How could you think to pray with your lips and not in your life?

    • Ann's Gravatar Ann
      March 24, 2020 - 8:30 am | Permalink

      thanks for this! I did vote for Eva. #StaySafe

    • Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
      March 24, 2020 - 9:46 am | Permalink

      I should have read the comments before voting. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Barb's Gravatar Barb
      March 24, 2020 - 10:43 am | Permalink

      I wish I’d read this before voting. Thank you!

    • LA's Gravatar LA
      March 24, 2020 - 10:47 am | Permalink

      Oh, I love these! Thank you, Eva! Is this a list you collected or could I find it somewhere online? (I’d like to share the list and link if possible with my Facebook friends. So much profundity!)

      The “salvation cost” quote is reminiscent of Bonhoeffer. I wonder if he ever had opportunity to read her words or if the Holy Spirit simply moved in them (and likely others) in the same way?

      I confess, I voted for Margaret (before reading any comments) because with disabilities of my own I really connect with her. But today’s write up and now these quotes of Eva you’ve shared have endeared me more deeply to her as well.

      • LA's Gravatar LA
        March 24, 2020 - 10:48 am | Permalink

        Sorry, Diana! My mind must have slipped between seeing your name and starting to type! I meant to thank YOU for the list of Eva’s quotes!

        • Diana's Gravatar Diana
          March 24, 2020 - 3:40 pm | Permalink

          LA, I chose the quotations from a collection we have here. You are certainly welcome to copy them for you own use.
          Sr. Diana, C.T.

    • Melanie R Barbarito's Gravatar Melanie R Barbarito
      March 24, 2020 - 2:51 pm | Permalink

      I voted for Eva because of you and others in the Community of the Transfiguration. I still make the prayer beads as you taught me.

    • Pamela Duncan's Gravatar Pamela Duncan
      March 24, 2020 - 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for posting these sayings Diana!

  2. March 24, 2020 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    A nun from Cincinnati versus a blind tender of children turned Domincan. Hey, Abbot!https://birdsonstix.wordpress.com/2020/03/24/lent-madness-meme-eva-lee-matthews-versus-margaret-of-castello/

    • Marie Cantrell's Gravatar Marie Cantrell
      March 24, 2020 - 8:29 am | Permalink

      Love it!

    • March 24, 2020 - 8:50 am | Permalink

      Excellente! Keep it up, Michael, always a way to start the day!

    • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
      March 24, 2020 - 10:03 am | Permalink

      Thank you for all your laugh-provoking “comments”! In the midst of the 21st century plague, laughter is one great source of relief!

    • LA's Gravatar LA
      March 24, 2020 - 10:49 am | Permalink

      HA! Classic and clever!

    • Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
      March 24, 2020 - 11:37 am | Permalink

      Michael, it’s Lent, Stop having so much fun and making me laugh! 😉

    • Just a FL gal's Gravatar Just a FL gal
      March 24, 2020 - 10:44 pm | Permalink

      the best one yet!! Grew up watching a&c movies … Thank you for bringing back great memories that instantly made me smile!

    • March 25, 2020 - 7:52 am | Permalink

      Thank you all for your kind words! I hope you keep enjoying the memes.

  3. Diana's Gravatar Diana
    March 24, 2020 - 8:03 am | Permalink

    If you want to learn more about Eva Lee Matthews – Mother Eva Mary, CT – here’s a link to her biography: http://anglicanhistory.org/women/evamary/

  4. Michael Shea's Gravatar Michael Shea
    March 24, 2020 - 8:08 am | Permalink

    Margaret was born to wear the Golden Halo. She was born a martyr.

    • Denise LeGendre's Gravatar Denise LeGendre
      March 24, 2020 - 8:19 am | Permalink

      It was the story about Uncle Sal that clinched it for me.

  5. March 24, 2020 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    As a disability advocate and a person with a disability herself, I had to vote for one of our own. Margaret shows that her abilities were greater than her disabilities.

  6. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 24, 2020 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Another tough choice. My parish is The Church of the Transfiguration and so, of course, my first inclination was to vote for Eva Lee Matthews. After reading Margaret’s bio, I had to vote for one who was born with severe challenges but who overcame every one. There’s the saying, “He (or she) ain’t got sense to know he’s (or she’s) licked.” It’s a high compliment.
    All honor as well to the maid who cared for Margaret when she was locked away as a child. I’m sure that she and people like her are wearing a golden halos in heaven.

    • Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
      March 24, 2020 - 8:28 am | Permalink

      correction: wearing golden halos

  7. Amy's Gravatar Amy
    March 24, 2020 - 8:34 am | Permalink

    Margaret for me today, because she called out, “Never fear!”

  8. John Blackwood's Gravatar John Blackwood
    March 24, 2020 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    Eva Lee Matthews started life from wealth and ministered to these: “…then transformed others who were poor, disenfranchised, and neglected.” “…All are welcome, in the name of Christ…”
    Margaret started life being extremely challenged: “…blind, with severe scoliosis, and also with dwarfism.” …and was essentially abandoned as dead as a child. She overcame her many difficulties, cared for children, attended the sick and dying.
    Both worthy, we have to choose. I’m thinking of the scripture, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
    It’s a difficult choice but my vote goes to Eva Lee Matthews.

  9. Jim Wheeler's Gravatar Jim Wheeler
    March 24, 2020 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    I just watched the movie ‘The Greatest Entertainer’; Margaret of Castello reminded me of my favorite song from that musical, ‘This is Me,’ which is sung by the bearded lady and all the sideshow “freaks” in Barnum’s Greatest Show on Earth. I’ll share the first verse and chorus:

    I am not a stranger to the dark
    “Hideaway” they say
    “Cause we don’t want your broken parts”
    I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
    “Runaway” they say
    “No one will love you as you are”

    When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
    I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
    I am brave, I am bruised,
    I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
    Look out ’cause hear I come
    And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
    I’m not scared to be seen
    I make no apologies, this is me

    Margaret is to me a wonderful example of a person standing up for herself unafraid to be seen and share her light and her love in the world – a world and even her own family who keep trying to tell her that she is repulsive.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 24, 2020 - 9:30 am | Permalink

      Thank you for this! Holy defiance!

    • March 24, 2020 - 11:02 am | Permalink

      Absolutely perfect! Thanks!

    • Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
      March 24, 2020 - 11:04 am | Permalink

      Jim, it’s interesting that the song that came to your mind is ‘This Is Me!” The story of Margaret of Castello reminded me of Leonard Cohen’s great song ‘Anthem’, and the refrain thereof:
      “Ring the bells that still can ring.
      Forget your perfect offering.
      There is a crack, a crack in everything,
      That’s how the light gets in.”

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 24, 2020 - 12:10 pm | Permalink

      OK, Jim and Rene, I was going to vote for Eva Lee (especially after looking at the photos of the current sisters) but your references to songs about persistence in the face of great odds have changed my mind, especially “There is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
      Hooray for Margaret! (Which just happens to be my sister’s name.)

  10. March 24, 2020 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Thamks for the link to the Community of Transfiguration website. Love those smiling nuns and Patches the dog, especially! It’s good to see Eva Lee’s legacy lives on and brings such joy to her followers. But I had to vote for Margaret as one who rose above so much hardship and apparently with such a positive spirit as well. Especially loved the story about the fire and her call, “Never fear”.

  11. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 24, 2020 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    Margaret gets my vote this morning!

  12. March 24, 2020 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    Sister Eva’s bio had very little real information: no dates, places, etc. making it difficult to evaluate her accomplishments in context. This is the first time I have noticed this.

    • TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
      March 24, 2020 - 9:21 am | Permalink

      All that stuff appeared in the earlier contest she won. Check it out in the archive on the right hand side of the screen on the website.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 24, 2020 - 9:22 am | Permalink

      The Saintly Sixteen wrote-ups aren’t bios; they are quirks and quotes. For the biography you need to look back at the original write-ups in the round of 32 saints.

    • Lynn's Gravatar Lynn
      March 24, 2020 - 10:34 am | Permalink

      Exactly! I reread it trying to figure out where Mother Eva was from and where her community is…..

      • Diana's Gravatar Diana
        March 24, 2020 - 5:11 pm | Permalink

        Hi Lynn, Mother Eva was from Glendale, Ohio, now part of greater Cincinnati. We are still here.
        Sr. Diana, C.T.

        • Anne Ravenscroft's Gravatar Anne Ravenscroft
          March 25, 2020 - 1:19 am | Permalink

          Oh is that your picture on the web site? So wonderful now to put a face to your name & posts

  13. SharonDianneFosterPattison's Gravatar SharonDianneFosterPattison
    March 24, 2020 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    Aging having three grandchildren with ‘special needs’ you know who I voted for!
    Those with ‘special needs’ are especially ‘special’ with our Lord and Saviour, HE always seems to send the meek and mild to do HIS work!
    On a side, note. Please everyone out there practice social distancing at least 6 feet apart and no more than 4 together at any time! We will get thru this together, if we stay the course!

  14. Marianne Zabukošek's Gravatar Marianne Zabukošek
    March 24, 2020 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    A great way to start the morning? Here, Down under in Australia I wait till almost midnight to get my vote in. I can’t go to sleep if I haven’t done it,in case my day gets busy quickly and I miss the vote. I live in a Dominican parish, so Margaret for me!

  15. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 24, 2020 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    I’m torn. For me the vote is one of affirming the right of people to be seen, not to be locked away, versus one of embodying a life of charity in community. I chose community. I voted for Mother Eva. I myself would not try to put out a fire with a cloth habit; I would instead stop, drop, and roll wearing it. I doubt very much I hover while I pray; my matins are definitely poor affairs of me sitting bleary eyed with coffee making my way through morning prayer in the New Zealand book of common prayer. I often look for shorter rather than longer psalms. But I imagine the sisters perform the daily office with much love; way to go, Ohio.

  16. Marianna Matthews Peipon's Gravatar Marianna Matthews Peipon
    March 24, 2020 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Eva Lee Matthews! I am currently reading a book loaned to me by the convent that is written about her life, her initial calling, and her work. Honestly, this woman followed Him closely. Also, my family was fortunate enough to welcome some of the children from the Bethany Home YEARS ago at Thanksgiving time…what a joy and privilege!

  17. Anna's Gravatar Anna
    March 24, 2020 - 9:16 am | Permalink

    The gift of my daughter with disabilities has transfigured my faith. She has changed my life in so many ways, but the most powerful has been seeing the purity of God’s love and light in her. It’s a vote for Margaret for me today!

  18. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    March 24, 2020 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    Agonizing decision, but I had to go with Eva. This is a time for the corporal works of mercy in abundance for those in need.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 24, 2020 - 9:32 am | Permalink

      Agree. Today’s Forward Day by Day (executively directed by someone near and dear to us in this community) is dedicated to Oscar Romero. Romero spoke of the need to advocate for the poor from within the framework of the church. The church speaks collectively with a powerful voice, both aloud in advocacy and silently in prayer.

  19. Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
    March 24, 2020 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    I’m the Godly Play leader at our church and have always done children’s education—both in the church and outside. I feel such affinity with Margaret and the important work of caring for the little ones. I do wonder what it would be like to live in a little community like Eva Lee’s, but I vote for Margaret.

  20. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    March 24, 2020 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    As a founder of Bethany Mission
    Mother Eva sought no-one’s permission.
    Blending service and prayer
    Proved a powerful pair:
    To support her today’s my ambition.

  21. Manda's Gravatar Manda
    March 24, 2020 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    The photos of the Sisters and the community they nurture are wonderful, thank you for that link Anna Fitch. My vote is for Eva Lee.

  22. ReJoyce's Gravatar ReJoyce
    March 24, 2020 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    My friend Joe has CP and we grew up together from 3d grade on. He taught me to treat those with physical disabilities as PEOPLE with disabilities. My life is richer for this subtle teaching to this day. As adults we still maintain that relationship. I wouldn’t have had the blind magician in my life, a deaf cheerleader from Gaulledet Univ., or as fully appreciated my brother in law who became a dentist practicing with one hand after an accident. –

  23. Susan C.'s Gravatar Susan C.
    March 24, 2020 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    I still don’t understand how Margaret could be taught “literacy” and teach children how to read when she is blind. they did not have Braille yet. My vote is however for she who knew the pain of rejection and neglect, and through grace rose above it to share her gifts and service with others.

    • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
      March 24, 2020 - 10:15 am | Permalink

      Remember my blind colleague who taught music in a public school–including teaching children to read music!

  24. March 24, 2020 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    I went to the Transfiguration website and thought the nuns looked moderately happy. I didn’t get ‘palpable joy.’ I don’t know, maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I’ve been watching too many episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm and picking up a Larry David vibe. Voted for Margaret.

  25. Pastor Rick's Gravatar Pastor Rick
    March 24, 2020 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    I missed praying a prayer commemorating Margaret.

  26. Mark Fernau's Gravatar Mark Fernau
    March 24, 2020 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    It is probably too late for this, but people seeking insight into Eva’s biography and personality should definitely check out the link from the Bethany site that Diana posted above, a biography/memoir written by her sister. She was, I think, a remarkable (and highly intelligent and empathetic) woman. Even a cursory reading shows that she (and her sister) too are fascinating people. http://anglicanhistory.org/women/evamary/

  27. Donna's Gravatar Donna
    March 24, 2020 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    I became totally disabled after an accident and was unable to sit–my only positions were lying down or standing. I refused to go hide in the dark and instead went out to parties and restaurants where I stood (and ate spaghetti) and enjoyed friends. When the pain got to be too much I often would just lie down on the floor for a time (not in the restaurant, though) My mother was so embarrassed by me and my refusal to “go quietly” . Margaret all the way!

  28. Mary O'Donnell's Gravatar Mary O'Donnell
    March 24, 2020 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    Impossible decision

  29. Lois Alworth's Gravatar Lois Alworth
    March 24, 2020 - 10:28 am | Permalink

    Voted for Eva although she seems to be losing. “Hovering” always is a bit off putting to me but I admire all Margaret overcame and accomplished.

  30. March 24, 2020 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    This was one of the toughest choices to date. The consolation for many is that the winner is a sister. 🙂

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 24, 2020 - 11:45 am | Permalink

      The sad corollary to that is that today a sister is a loser. “For there is no competitor like a sister, in calm or stormy weather.”

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 24, 2020 - 2:51 pm | Permalink

        And Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister. (Sorry—I couldn’t resist.)

        • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
          March 24, 2020 - 2:55 pm | Permalink


  31. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 24, 2020 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    I was blessed to have had a father who, having the same visual disability as I, taught me that I was a normal person who did not see very well, not a “HANDICAPPED PERSON”. When I was in seminary, in a time when I was in danger of succumbing to fear, I asked God how I could possibly serve as a pastor when I couldn’t see well. The answer came immediately: “Don’t be afraid, you will see what you need to see.” It’s one of the few times in my life when I received an answer to prayer so definitely and immediately. And that promise has been fulfilled, even in retirement. I vote for Margaret.

    • Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
      March 24, 2020 - 10:55 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Lucy.

  32. March 24, 2020 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    I have struggled all my life with large hearing loss due to a childhood case of measles. Early on, when I said I couldn’t hear, I was told by a family member “well, just don’t tell anyone.” When I finally got the courage to tell people my life, my career and my relationships improved dramatically. Go, Margaret!

  33. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 24, 2020 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    Well that was surprising, I cast my vote for Margaret, expecting the more recent (and so in some eyes, more verifiable) saint to be ahead. Both are no doubt worthy, but my vote was swayed today by Margaret’s enforced social isolation in her early years, and the faith that enabled her to overcome such significant disadvantage to reach out to others and care for them.

  34. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    March 24, 2020 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    Another difficult decision today. As an associate of the Sisters of St. john the Divine, a Canadian order of Anglican Nuns, I was very drawn to Eva Lee Matthews, but the story of Margaret is also very compelling. In reflection on these two worthy women, it occurred to me that two of the most Christ-like and Christ-filled people I know have cerebral palsy. One of them I have known since he was a boy, the other is a young man whom I met when we were members of the same EfM group. Both are shining examples of Christian love and compassion, and neither of them have ever let their physical limitations get in the way of their ministry to others. They are, if you like, my personal experience of Uncle Sal. I give thanks to God for putting them in my life. In their honour, I voted for Margaret of Castello today.

  35. Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
    March 24, 2020 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    This is hard! Could we not be able to vote twice once in a while. Results might be the same as cancel each other, but my heart would feel better. Those smiling faces and Patches. Margaret, such a dear soul. Well, my name being Margaret Elizabeth… (I have not voted for a Margaret before and I may have only voted for 1/4 Elizabeths) did not influence me. I did vote for M.

  36. Barbara Brooks's Gravatar Barbara Brooks
    March 24, 2020 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    To all of you who have experienced something of what Margaret did (perhaps excluding hovering) and overcome, bravo! No one, no one! should have to hide their light under a bushel. Eva Lee, you’re lovely, but in honor of all the children I’ve worked with, disabled and otherwise, it’s Margaret for me.

  37. Barbara MacRobie's Gravatar Barbara MacRobie
    March 24, 2020 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    It takes great courage to walk away from a privileged life, and Eva Lee Matthews did so right at the height of the Gilded Age. Especially in light of last year’s Golden Halo and the back-and-forths on Lent Madness between active and contemplative lives, I’m delighted that she and Beatrice Henderson called the home they founded Bethany House to recognize the value of the ways of both Martha and Mary, active and contemplative, service and prayer Thank you, Diana, for sharing her words. Wise, straightforward, good-natured, and often gently witty. “Truthfulness is not incompatible with courtesy.” It’s “not incompatible” that’s the zinger. I’m glad to have met her through Lent Madness and I bet I would have liked her a lot.

    That said – I’ve got to vote for Margaret. What a person! So much horror in her life and yet she was determined, brave, and cheerful throughout. Amazing, and yet someone from whom anyone can draw inspiration for daily life.

    Although the reports of Margaret hovering above the ground during prayer are most likely the exaggerations that accrue to people of recognized holiness during and after their lives, there’s nothing else that even remotely strains the boundaries of credibility. I’d love to know the primary sources from which we know her story.

    Speaking of stories, somebody needs to write a historical novel about Margaret!

  38. Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
    March 24, 2020 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    Thank you, everyone for this community! Diana, the Eva quotes you provided greeted me right after I voted, and since Eva was my choice, I was delighted.

  39. Allison's Gravatar Allison
    March 24, 2020 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    What a hard choice today! Both are deserving so I decided to read the comments before deciding. I was swayed by the great website of the smiling sisters and beautiful retreat center but am choosing to vote for those who overcome disabilities in honor of my son. Have a blessed day everyone.

  40. Sarah P's Gravatar Sarah P
    March 24, 2020 - 11:11 am | Permalink

    Both worthy, and I know who will win, but the smiling faces on the Community of Transfiguration’s website told me all I needed to know after reading the write-ups today. Eva Matthews, a breath of fresh air.

  41. Deborah Hays's Gravatar Deborah Hays
    March 24, 2020 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    My take away from today is neither of these women would have cared about which one of them got the most votes. They were too busy to doing their Father’s work. Really appreciated their stories today. Confined at home with most of the country I have to think of new ways to be about my Father’s work.

  42. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 24, 2020 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    My late wife’s and my love affair with Italy began with a stay in the restored house of an American friend. It was looked after by a devoted though poor and ignorant couple. Their daughter, who would have been in her twenties or thirties, had been born with scoliosis, and out of shame they kept her indoors. She wasn’t even allowed to cross the street to the shop in their little village. Our friend, who was a physician, pleaded with them to be seen and treated at the nearby teaching hospital, but they refused.

    I only glimpsed her once when I came to their front door for something, but her distant, shadowy face remains in my mind like an old photograph. It literally put a face onto Margaret for me, and my vote goes to her in honor of all the faceless who, even up to the present day, have been literally or figuratively shut away out of ignorance.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 24, 2020 - 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Oh my, Davis, that you would see a Margaret in our lifetime—! And in Italy! That is heartbreaking.

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 24, 2020 - 3:46 pm | Permalink

        It is.

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        March 24, 2020 - 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Not all that far from Castello, as a matter of fact.

  43. Linda MacDonald's Gravatar Linda MacDonald
    March 24, 2020 - 11:47 am | Permalink

    For many years the congregation where I had the privilege to serve as pastor had a congregation composed primarily of people living with all type of disabling conditions. I have never experienced such joy and community and caring as in this congregation. I recall one time one of members named Dorothy told me how she was kept in a back room of her family’s home and only came out when they were sure no one else was around. It was her face I saw and her story I heard as I read this morning. I had to vote for Margaret, just as I did the first round. A blessed life.

  44. Diane Quantic's Gravatar Diane Quantic
    March 24, 2020 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    Three quiet cheers for Eva. It’s good to know there are places, including Bethany House, to find refuge in this alarming world.

  45. Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
    March 24, 2020 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Megan – doesn’t your name reference a castle as well?

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 24, 2020 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Megan is “pearl.”

    • Megan Castellan's Gravatar Megan Castellan
      March 24, 2020 - 3:45 pm | Permalink

      It does-“Megan” means “pearl” in Welsh, I think and my last name denotes the person who cares for the castle. My family hails from the Italian-speaking parts of Dalmatia—right across the Adriatic from where Margaret was, so who knows? Maybe we are distantly related! Though I had never heard of her until this year.

  46. JessicaD's Gravatar JessicaD
    March 24, 2020 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Jordan B Peterson? Is there another, less inflammatory Jordan B Peterson that I don’t know about? My vote would have gone for Margaret on her own merits anyway, but opening with a quote by that Questionable Opinionator did Eva no favors in my eyes. An especially curious choice given that Eva herself apparently said many wise and quotable things (which I only know about because of the comments).

  47. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 24, 2020 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Go Margaret Go!

  48. Judith Mack's Gravatar Judith Mack
    March 24, 2020 - 1:14 pm | Permalink

    While both saints have compelling biographies, I voted for Mother Eva. A was at Bethany Home as a young child. We met at Margaret Hall a small Episcopal boarding school in Versailles KY run by Sister Rachel Hosmer, of the Order of St. Helena. I knew of the good works at Betheny Home and voted for Eva.

    • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
      March 24, 2020 - 1:48 pm | Permalink

      A close friend of mine was in that order for several years before realizing that she was not called to that life. Her name is Deanna Bowling, and I can’t remember her nun’s name, though it may have been some form of Johann. She was at Versailles for some time. Eventually she left the order, married, and has lived an interesting and musical life ever since. I was wondering if you had known her?

  49. Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
    March 24, 2020 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Margaret is the answer to those of us who are ableist or unconsciously so.

  50. March 24, 2020 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

    With respect to those responding this is for Episcopalians I thought!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
      March 24, 2020 - 1:57 pm | Permalink

      I am a lifelong Methodist, and have been part of this community for years also. I really didn’t think there were such limitations on it at all.

      • Donna's Gravatar Donna
        March 24, 2020 - 5:35 pm | Permalink

        No limitations re: denomination or faith tradition. What a nasty thought that earlier comment was.

        • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
          March 24, 2020 - 5:52 pm | Permalink

          Thank you.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 24, 2020 - 3:13 pm | Permalink

      It’s for anybody and everybody.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 24, 2020 - 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Giodngrief, why would we shut anybody out of this community?!

      • Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
        March 24, 2020 - 4:02 pm | Permalink

        Thank you!

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      March 24, 2020 - 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Lent Madness, like Lent, and the saints we study, is for everyone.

      Although I wonder if our friends in the Orthodox churches feel a little cheated, because Lent Madness conforming to the Western calendar means that the fun is all over before the Orthodox start in on Holy Week.

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        March 24, 2020 - 4:19 pm | Permalink

        If Lent is good, then a Lent that was twice as long would be extra good! If I were Orthodox, I’d be totally down for 2 x Lent! But I would want an extended Easter as well . . .

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 24, 2020 - 4:28 pm | Permalink

      We are a big tent, and “via media” means “big honking highway to heaven” in Latin. All pilgrims are welcome, and all share in our triumphal entry into Canterbury. We have secured a special band for our Easter party. You might have heard of it; it’s Dé-Pécher Mode.

  51. Chris's Gravatar Chris
    March 24, 2020 - 1:47 pm | Permalink

    This is really hard. I worked with children with disabilities for many years, and I empathize hugely with their families and lifelong obligations involved. I have also fought for better community access for those with disabilities, especially in public bathrooms. But … what we need right now, right here, is the beauty and hope that love provides. The radiant faces of the nuns brought me solace today. Mother Eva Lee gets my vote.

  52. Foster's Gravatar Foster
    March 24, 2020 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

    As an (Anglican) Dominican, and as a pediatrician with a special interest in children with special needs/handicaps/developmental disorders, I’ll vote for Margaret.

  53. Joanne B. Parrott's Gravatar Joanne B. Parrott
    March 24, 2020 - 2:43 pm | Permalink

    The Lion in me makes me vote for the VIP Margaret.

  54. Kevin's Gravatar Kevin
    March 24, 2020 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I lean towards Eva and voted for her in round #1. However…I will vote for Margaret today in honor of my wife of 45 years. She has a Master’s in “Orientation & Mobility” and worked for many years in Special Ed focusing on blind youth and adults teaching them how to travel. When I first knew her she took me on a visit to a woman who was blind, deaf and mute. She lived alone and could go to. Ammazza!

  55. Linda M.'s Gravatar Linda M.
    March 24, 2020 - 4:57 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Eva after looking at the joyful faces of the nuns at the Community of the Transfiguration. On their website is a link to Lent Madness, the LM Hymnal 2017. View the LM Hymnal at https://ctsisters.org/images/stories/HymnsforLentMadness.pdf. It will brighten your day. God’s Peace to all.

  56. Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
    March 24, 2020 - 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Apologies to the saintly and worthy Eva Lee, but I voted for Margaret, who seems to have had not only disabilities but also superpowers.

  57. Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
    March 24, 2020 - 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Having to make such a tough choice is incredibly unfair!!

Comments are closed.