Hildegard of Bingen vs. Brother Lawrence

Hey, guess what? We’re halfway through the Elate Eight! Yesterday, Joseph swept past Joanna the Myrrhbearer 69% to 31% to join Harriet Tubman as the first two saints to make it to the Faithful Four.

Today Hildegard of Bingen squares off against Brother Lawrence for a shot at Harriet. To get to this round, Hildegard got by Romanos the Melodist and Elizabeth the New Martyr, while Brother Lawrence upset both Patrick and Margery Kempe.

So, how’s your bracket going? For those of you who filled out brackets in advance, are you thriving, surviving, or dying? We want to know! But first, go do your civic Lenten duty and cast today’s vote.

Hildegard of Bingen

Before I begin, please click this link and let it play in the background. It’s a Hildegard chant remix and it helps to set the mood.

When I began investigating the strange world of Hildegard von Bingen kitsch, I wondered if I’d find anything at all. I knew she was popular in academic and environmental circles but nothing prepared me for the Hildegardian bazaar.

Join me as we walk through the market stalls and allow the repetitive thrum of this terrible remix to lull you into not asking too many questions.

At the Hildegard bazaar, we will find facial creams, intermittent fasting regímenes, Strong Will Tea, cookies to alleviate unhappiness, and something called “Hildegard’s original bitter herbal supplements.”

“Original how?” I wonder.

Here you’ll also find an entire German company named after Hildegard which claims to be among the oldest sources of knowledge on the saint and the reason that she’s so popular. They were established in 1976, by the way. The company sells a white wine with parsley and honeythat cures heart ailments. “Anyone who drinks the heart wine on time and regularly will very likely be spared serious heart problems in old age!”

At yet another section of this bazaar, it is all about green. Playing off Hildegard’s use of the term viriditas, we find a holistic beauty and wellness company based out of Austin, TX named Viriditas Botanicals, as well as a landscape company hoping to bring that medieval German flair to customers who long to see their lawns “sweat green.”

I’ll admit that having become invested in Hildegard as a thinker, mystic, scientist, and composer, it’s both funny and a little disappointing to see her name and theological concepts slapped onto everything from a (really, really terrible) remix to intermittent fasting regímenes with green herbal pills that make it all possible.

And yet…

Stepping back, and seeing the market as a whole, I also can’t help but be impressed by the vibrancy and sheer variety of all these people hawking their wares. Under the remarkably large tent of Hildegard’s legacy, one finds both theologians and environmentalists, mystics, musicians, and herbalists, gardeners and DJs. There are people selling both “original bitter herb supplements” as well as a medical doctor and medievalist who has been inspired by Hildegard to advance a movement called Slow Medicine.

What this busy marketplace makes clear is that in these strange days of COVID-19 and environmental collapse, Hildegard’s relevance is only increasing and that more and more people will find inspiration in the musical, theological, and environmental universe envisioned by this medieval saint. It feels as if we’re all still catching up with her.

Miguel Escobar

Brother Lawrence
You cannot get to know Brother Lawrence without reading his work. You can start your immersion into an ordinary life with a copy of “Practice in the Presence of God” from Ebay for a mere $3.99:

While you peruse Brother Lawrence’s work, marvel at the ordinary, while sipping on a cup of ordinary water.


Examine your ordinary life while gazing at an ordinary tree in winter and realize that God is working through you as well:

Consider the broken plates for which Brother Lawrence is known for shattering.  Can you think of ways that God can piece you back together?


Look in this ordinary mirror—see that ordinary face staring back?  That’s the image of someone whose extra-ordinary grace of God is working:

While realizing your ordinary awesomeness. Go make an ordinary omelet and contemplate the enjoyment in the simple things in life. Anna says to crumble in some goat cheese into the mix for a little extra-ordinary, you can thank her later.

Anna Courie

Hildegard of Bingen vs. Brother Lawrence

  • Hildegard (52%, 3,649 Votes)
  • Brother Lawrence (48%, 3,357 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,006

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134 Comments to "Hildegard of Bingen vs. Brother Lawrence"

  1. April 2, 2020 - 8:01 am | Permalink
  2. April 2, 2020 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    Another tough choice . But thanks to the Product Overviews, we know who has the superior name branding, breadth of product, and market penetration. Capitalists and business majors of the world unite for Hildegard!

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      April 2, 2020 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      Mark, the sarcasm round is next round. But you make a really good point about name branding and “market penetration.” (Certainly that club mix has become an ear worm.) It’s hard to separate our judgements about Christian fidelity from the PR people who have “made straight a highway to the larder” of spiritual consumerism. In an era when states are forced to compete on the open market for face masks, when the stockpile was sold off, I’m not sure “simplicity” offers the answer. Speaking of “capitalism,” you still have your name written all over a certain Vatican Bank reform. . .

    • Rick's Gravatar Rick
      April 3, 2020 - 5:36 am | Permalink

      Follow the money. Just like pro athletes whose skills and work ethics garner huge sums, Hildegard has been lifted to our awareness. It is deserved in her case especially as all the money was not hers. Give me an athlete that lives in poverty like Hildegard.

  3. Gloria Ishida's Gravatar Gloria Ishida
    April 2, 2020 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    Even though I love Hildegard, I voted for Brother Lawrence after downloading his book on kindle and reading every evening before sleeping. Repairing Broken plates yes, a way. Japanese do it with the art of kintsugi (using gold to put the oiece tigether. Is n’t that what God does for us?

    • sue's Gravatar sue
      April 2, 2020 - 10:45 am | Permalink

      Me TOO!!!!!!

    • Lucia Aloi's Gravatar Lucia Aloi
      April 2, 2020 - 10:46 am | Permalink

      Yes, Gloria. That is what God does for us. Well said, and the art of kintsugi is so very beautiful.

    • Patricia Gordon's Gravatar Patricia Gordon
      April 2, 2020 - 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Gloria, such a beautiful image! Thank you so much! And I voted for Brother Lawrence straight through and I am sticking with my first choice today, too. I don’t think he has much of a chance but I think it will be a close race. His philosophy of being fully present with God in every moment of our lives, not just the so-called spiritual moments – hard to do but definitely worth working toward. It would be wonderful if the proponent of that philosophy won the Golden Halo.

    • Millie's Gravatar Millie
      April 2, 2020 - 4:23 pm | Permalink
    • April 2, 2020 - 10:51 pm | Permalink

      Love this!

  4. Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
    April 2, 2020 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    PLEASE p L e A s E. Please re-read the original write-ups before you vote this time!

    • Marsha's Gravatar Marsha
      April 2, 2020 - 9:18 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Beth, for encouraging the re-read of the original posts before voting. It was a tough choice as I love them both. Rereading the posts made the choice clear for me.

    • F. Pirquet's Gravatar F. Pirquet
      April 2, 2020 - 11:35 am | Permalink

      Well said!
      Please do not let the Hildegard kitsch distract from her profound wisdom and Menschlichkeit.

  5. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    April 2, 2020 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Very tough choice today! Two of my favorite saints pitted against each other. I finally settled on Hildegard von Bingen, for the music and medicine and theology, though I will continue to revere Brother Lawrence for the Practice and the tendency to drop the dishes we are drying!

    • Sheila Brockmeier's Gravatar Sheila Brockmeier
      April 2, 2020 - 10:13 am | Permalink

      I agree with Lucy and with Beth who encourages voters to red the original bios before voting. I love brother Lawrence’s simple, dogged devotion to God and strive to find such patience and humility in myself. But Hildegard was so talented, so bold and I’m so thrilled that her impact on medicine continues today (actually, is being rediscovered in the 21st century)!

  6. John Blackwood's Gravatar John Blackwood
    April 2, 2020 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Hildegard’s bazaar music made me nuts so I voted for Bro. Lawrence and his simplicity in recognizing the grace of God.

    • April 2, 2020 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

      PLEASE listen to some of the other Hildegard selections – I found many right on the same page. Her Vision and Feather on the Breath of God are so beautifully calming and sacred. Veriditas is the name of the Society of the Labyrinth – please discover that and the beauty and simplicity of both these saints will just wash over you like the beauty of Spring. In this time of sequestering and returning to basics – they are the ones to turn to. This looks like the closest race to date. There is an awesome movie about the first 60 years of Hildegard’s life called Vision – please watch. I met the amazing director as it was premiered and showcased at the Miami Film Festival a few years ago. It ended with her getting on a horse to start preaching around Europe, often accompanied by St. Bernard de Clairvaux, who had taken her visions to the Pope who blessed them. These visions were interpretations of the Gospel, making it possible for the people of that time to see and understand them for the first time on their own. The comment was right – we are just now catching up with what Hildegard’s gifts brought to the world. Her healing herb therapies, her amazing writings and interpretations, her boldness and her music – she was the first one to use 3 octaves. And she learned from the Benedictine monastery where she grew up when basically abandoned by her folks at 8 years old, the 10th child and very sickly. She lived, worked, advised, prayed, worshiped, preached and sang till 80!!!

    • Linda M.'s Gravatar Linda M.
      April 2, 2020 - 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Me, too. I turned the music off after 20 seconds. Awful! I think I will read “Practice in the Presence of God” in the near future. Also I am a klutz in the kitchen, especially when it comes to knives. Need I say that my husband does most of the cooking?? I need Brother Lawrence’s words of wisdom.

  7. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    April 2, 2020 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    That remix is a brain-crusher. “Starker Wille” means strong will in German. You say tea, but I’m thinking more like laxative. Thank you, Miguel, for your “big tent” approach; your creativity matches Hildegard’s (and certainly surpasses DJ BrainCrusher’s). Anna deserves some kind of award for her inspired approach to Brother Lawrence, the MAN WITH NO KITSCH, probably because he broke it all. ‘Tis a gift to be simple,’tis a gift to have no kitsch. Thanks, bloggers. Bravo, and brava.

    • Bring Back Philander's Gravatar Bring Back Philander
      April 2, 2020 - 8:36 am | Permalink

      I’m with St. Celia – that remix is definitely crushing something inside my skull this morning I don’t think it’s the coffee pounding. 🙂

      Two really great write-ups today – thanks to both bloggers, very much. I’ve rooted for both of these saints, and I’m now forced to decide between the one my father would have chosen, and the one who speaks most to me. Hmmm.

    • Gregory of Ravenna's Gravatar Gregory of Ravenna
      April 2, 2020 - 2:38 pm | Permalink

      I punche dup canticles of Ecstasy online… Ahhh…

  8. Bonnie's Gravatar Bonnie
    April 2, 2020 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    I voted for Brother Lawrence. I like his book and approach to life.

  9. Rufus's Gravatar Rufus
    April 2, 2020 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    Really, REALLY relieved that Mr. Escobar finds the “remix,” or better, travesty, of Hildegard’s chants “really, really terrible.” It so distorts and ruins her music. Ugh!

  10. Joanne B. Parrott's Gravatar Joanne B. Parrott
    April 2, 2020 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    It’s Hildegard today to set up the Battle of the H’s (Ages). The left side of my bracket is looking good, right side is kaput.

    • Karen Sculley's Gravatar Karen Sculley
      April 2, 2020 - 9:10 am | Permalink

      very clever!

  11. Donna's Gravatar Donna
    April 2, 2020 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    The photo of the tree in Br. Lawrence’s write up is anything but ordinary! It is spectacularly beautiful. Thank you for that. ANd your inspires write-up. However, I went with Hildegard who’s music I’ve loved for years and who was so extraordinary.

  12. Donna's Gravatar Donna
    April 2, 2020 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    Oh, my bracket is so shot to heck!

  13. Beverly's Gravatar Beverly
    April 2, 2020 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    I love Brother Lawrence because he saw God in the most ordinary, simple things and actions. Yes, I love spectacular sunsets and gorgeous stained class windows but he taught us to love a single blade of grass and simple chores such as washing dishes. If we can see God in these mundane things and actions, then we can see God everywhere!

    • Beverly nichols's Gravatar Beverly nichols
      April 2, 2020 - 10:37 am | Permalink

      I agree

  14. Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
    April 2, 2020 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    I fell for Hildegard’s kitsch, and Miguel’s text. But I am intrigued by Brother Lawrence and will download his book.

  15. April 2, 2020 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    YouTube unexpectedly shut down before the remix could start, so Hildegard broke the internet.

    • Amy's Gravatar Amy
      April 2, 2020 - 10:58 am | Permalink

      Hahaha – It’s because we did not vote for the Internet’s patron saint in the 1st round!

  16. Sarah P's Gravatar Sarah P
    April 2, 2020 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    I’ve always been a fan of both, and whoever wins today will make me happy. I thought the cleverness of the Lawrence kitsch had me, but the final line in the writing about Hildegard sealed the deal today.

  17. April 2, 2020 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    THANK YOU to our bloggers. Both brought me to tears, laughing all the way, because permeating it all is the amazing grace of the Holy, who makes all things holy! Hildegard for her vast wisdom and experience, and Br. Lawrence for his particularity of the ordinary. If there ever was a time to have the “both/and” vote, this is it! But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! This is MADDNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Vicki's Gravatar Vicki
    April 2, 2020 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Miguel did a terrific job! This is exactly the kind of in-depth reporting that I come to this round for.

  19. April 2, 2020 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    I voted for Brother Lawrence because I need peace, not a violent remix of Hildegard of Bingen.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      April 2, 2020 - 9:35 am | Permalink

      If you’re not into Violent Hildegard, how about the Violent Femmes? You can use Hildegard’s aloe vera cream to soothe that blister in the sun.

      • April 2, 2020 - 9:45 am | Permalink

        The Violent Femmes are somehow soothing all on their own after listing to the remix.

        • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
          April 2, 2020 - 11:26 am | Permalink

          I thought the same thing, Richard!

      • Amy's Gravatar Amy
        April 2, 2020 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

        Blister in the Sun is not quite the icepick-in-the-ear that the “Hildegard Remix” is, thank the Lord.

  20. April 2, 2020 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    I agree, this should be a both/ and vote but……. Life isn’t easy these days. I love Hildegard and admire her contributions, but I live with Brother Lawrence and take God with me into the supermarket, the laundry, out to my old fashioned clothesline where I still hang the sheets and towels, at the sink as I scrape carrots and pray, or as I pull weeds and praise God for the coming spring. The disciples started as ordinary people doing ordinary things. Let’s take the ordinary road today. Vote Brother Lawrence!

  21. ellietupper's Gravatar ellietupper
    April 2, 2020 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    Yes, both bloggers are exceptional today. I hope Miguel returns for future Madnesses; thank you, Anna, for the lovely take on the kitchless Lawrence (goat cheese and all).

  22. Jeanine's Gravatar Jeanine
    April 2, 2020 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    Oh, that club mix made me laugh – before it made me want to break some plates. Both bloggers did so well today – I was laughing the whole time.
    I intend to make each disinfecting swipe an honor to God today in honor of Brother Lawrence, for whom I’ll cast my vote.

  23. April 2, 2020 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    I still have two in the running for Final Four: Harriet and Joseph. My winner was Clare, so I’m really sad she lost to Elizabeth Fry (though she’s a great substitute). I am now #TeamHarriet!

  24. April 2, 2020 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    I tried to listen to the remix while reading and deciding. Gave up after four minutes, which personally I consider quite an achievement. Did anyone make it all the way through? In my pandemic haze I’m visualizing a dark club while everyone is dancing to Hildegard six feet apart. Anna made an excellent effort to put together something for Larry. I shouldn’t be surprised that he is a man without kitsch, but thanks to the film efforts of St. James, we know there is at least one peg doll out there. All kitsch put aside (which I hate to do), my vote went for Lawrence, who I only learned about two years ago. He has become a huge inspiration for me.

  25. Donald Hill's Gravatar Donald Hill
    April 2, 2020 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    You forgot to mention the Benedictine Abbey of St. Hildegard is a community of Benedictine nuns in Eibingen near Rüdesheim in Hesse, Germany. Founded by Hildegard of Bingen in 1165, it was dissolved in 1804, but restored, with new buildings, in 1904. It specializes in making marvelous wine

  26. SharonDianneFosterPattison's Gravatar SharonDianneFosterPattison
    April 2, 2020 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    Of course, as I plant my herbal garden, inside, I must vote for the gardener! Using what God provided and we replant every year to, help,those affected with whatever!
    I also on my Facebook page asked for donations for my 77th EASTER SUNDAY, towards Mental Health! Do whatever we can this 2020 to help physically and emotionally everyone we know and do not know on this planet we call EARTH! God our maker is watching!

  27. Steve Clifton's Gravatar Steve Clifton
    April 2, 2020 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    This could be the closest head-to-head yet! I voted for Hildegard (despite the really, really terrible remix — if anyone would like the opportunity permanently to erase that travesty from auditory memory, feel free to imbibe a beautiful album of Hildegard’s music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6qFCYRQKVA). But finding God in the ordinary is always a particular desire (and need) of mine — on pretty much any other day I would have gladly cast a ballot for the humble Brother Lawrence.

  28. April 2, 2020 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    I can’t stand all this hype about Hildegard and as I look out on my peaceful lake I vote for Brother Lawrence and pray for peace and calmness for us all at this time.

  29. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    April 2, 2020 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    Going with Brother Lawrence today. It’s the ordinary, the routine, that helps us get through this unprecedented, unpredictable time of Covid-19.

  30. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    April 2, 2020 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    Love you, Brother Lawrence and all professors and practitioners of Practical Theology, especially the ones at Perkins School of Theology. This is where the rubber meets the road, and you’re one of the foremost authorities on the subject.
    I voted for Hildegard, remix notwithstanding, because she was not only a saint but a Renaissance (the twelfth century one) woman. I wonder how many years off purgatory Fr. Jonathan of the St. Laika’s website would give anyone who could manage to listen to the whole thing.

    • Tessa Lucero's Gravatar Tessa Lucero
      April 2, 2020 - 3:41 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know…because I think we now know what the background music in Purgatory consists of.

  31. Lucia Lloyd's Gravatar Lucia Lloyd
    April 2, 2020 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    Is it just me, or is the writing from the celebrity bloggers on the kitsch better than ever this year?

    • Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
      April 2, 2020 - 10:38 am | Permalink

      I agree. Awesome kitsch round this year.

    • April 2, 2020 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

      It’s not just you. I think the bloggers have been in especially fine form this year.

    • Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
      April 2, 2020 - 5:04 pm | Permalink

      All the celebrity bloggers this year are fabulous. They have all earned CB Halos!

  32. GaenM's Gravatar GaenM
    April 2, 2020 - 10:13 am | Permalink

    I had intended to vote for Hildegarde because she’s an extraordinary woman who made her own pathway at a time when that was almost unheard of and, unlike Clare of Assisi, e.g., she didn’t or wasn’t required to or bucked requirements to lock herself away from humanity. I’ve been listening to her music for several decades now and love that she even wrote a play. But when I read today’s meditation on Brother Lawrence I felt the writer was speaking to me the words I very much needed to hear. Can God’s grace actually be working through my oh-so-ordinary life? It made me stop in my tracks to take this in as even a possibility . . . and to consider the blessedness of daily toil and daily joys, work, and sharing.

  33. Jane Garrett's Gravatar Jane Garrett
    April 2, 2020 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    Lawrence, the patron saint of TRs!

  34. Deborah Gardner Walker's Gravatar Deborah Gardner Walker
    April 2, 2020 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    I love Hildegard and more than 35 years ago rescued a stray in Brooklyn NY after her (nickname Hildy). I gave her my last name and her formal name, Hildegard Gardner, made the name even more delightful and funny.

  35. Deborah Gardner Walker's Gravatar Deborah Gardner Walker
    April 2, 2020 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    Comment edit:

    I love Hildegard. More than 35 years ago I rescued a stray in Brooklyn NY and named her after Hildegard (nicknamed Hildy). I gave her my last name, so her formal name was Hildegard Gardner, which made the name even more delightful and funny.

  36. Jane Elizabeth's Gravatar Jane Elizabeth
    April 2, 2020 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    When visiting Germany severely years ago to study the life of Hildegard, my favorite place was Disenbodenberg where she was interred with Juta as a child. They made a wonderful white wine there. If I wasn’t interred in another state due to the virus, I would send a picture of a cork board I made from Disenbodengurg Winery corks.
    Hildegard challenge popes, wrote music including an opera, painted her visions, developed medicinal garden that grow complementary plants together that even today modern science confirms as unbeatable. She followed the vision given her to found convents, and care for all who came to them. Truly and amazing example of a woman who accomplished much in a time when it was not the norm for women to do so. Can you tell I’m talking golden halo here!

  37. Len Freeman's Gravatar Len Freeman
    April 2, 2020 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    Wow. This is tough today. Both understanding the deep wisdom in and of God’s natural world. Hildegard’s images and vision especially have sung to me through the years as a person for whom dream life has been and is one of the deep wells. We visited Hildegard’s abbey in Bingen this past year, and earlier in my life I was involved in producing a Hildegard video. And yet I’ve never quite touched the simplicity of Lawrence’s vision as much and as clearly as the “kitsch” of Anna’s images conveyed today. Thank you Anna.
    Given these, I am going to ponder through the day, and vote late.

  38. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    April 2, 2020 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    Brother Lawrence for me for finding the Sacred in ordinary things and everyday life. In these days of quarantine I am finding myself thinking of others in all times and places who have been isolated or quarantined – the homesteader of the American West (including my grandparents), those who fought the plague in the Middle Ages (read the book Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks), so many others. My grandmother told me living on the prairie was lonely and difficult but that the prairie has a beauty all its own. May you and I find holiness in the beauty and the weeds of our own yards, and in the everyday tasks and chores we do today.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      April 2, 2020 - 11:35 am | Permalink

      Beautifully put. Thank you.

  39. Jo's Gravatar Jo
    April 2, 2020 - 10:44 am | Permalink

    Viriditas now! With Hildegard all the way! Love for Brother Lawrence but Hildegard brings it today.

  40. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    April 2, 2020 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    If memory serves, this is the closest match yet this year. I am such a huge fan of Brother Lawrence (I hesitate to actually label myself a follower, as I still fall so short of the Practice of the Presence). But I have this consolation if Hildegard hangs onto her lead. It would have broken my heart to vote against either Brother Lawrence or Harriet Tubman. I had almost decided not to vote in that one.

  41. Amy's Gravatar Amy
    April 2, 2020 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    Well, this one is shaping up to be the first barn-burner of Lent Madness 2020. Currently Hildegard 52% to Lawrence 48%. What to do? If the contest were on who has the most outstanding kitsch Hildegard would be the clear choice. (“Outstanding” not in a good way.) That acid jazz remix probably has Hildegard rolling in her grave. But I’m voting for Lawrence today, partly because I like underdogs, and partly because I don’t think our friend Hildegard needs any more kitsch — and remember, the Golden Halo comes with a kitschy mug. Many kudos to Anna Courie for a valiant effort on behalf of Lawrence in this round!!

  42. Martha Shea's Gravatar Martha Shea
    April 2, 2020 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    I handled about 5.3 seconds of the remix and escaped with my ears intact. Thank you Miguel for this fine, funny and insightful write-up of Hildegard. Your last sentence threw my vote to Ms. von Bingen. It was a tough decision as Anna’s writing gave me new and find insight into Bro Law. Today’s is the best celebrity blogging I’ve read since I started Lent Madness!

  43. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    April 2, 2020 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    There are hard days and there are harder days. This is truly like choosing between your two favorite children. Arghhhhh

  44. Marlene's Gravatar Marlene
    April 2, 2020 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    I wanted to vote Lawrence, I had a simple boiled egg with salt & pepper for breakfast. However I voted for Hildi.

    It is time to seriously assess Hildegard’s form of healing compared to our modern healing system. Today, if we come down with the covid19 virus, we are asked to stay home and care for ourselves and only seek healthcare assistance when we have breathing problems, at which time we can go to a facility where they will mechanically blow air into one’s lungs, a desperate act that will keep one alive, but damage the lungs. Dr Fausi just isn’t telling us to shelter in place and drink water infused with things like elder anise, long used to support the lungs.

    So how is it we care for ourselves and our families and help our sick ones to heal and maintain health? I sense that looking to Hildegard is helping address those questions at this difficult time.

  45. Ruth W Davis's Gravatar Ruth W Davis
    April 2, 2020 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    Sad to have two such worthy persons competing against each other, but I went with Hildegard. I think this may come down to Hildegard vs. Joseph, and Joseph will win the Golden Halo.

    • Lauren's Gravatar Lauren
      April 2, 2020 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

      You really think Hildegard would win over Harriet Tubman? I don’t think Hildi stands a chance!

  46. Sally Manning's Gravatar Sally Manning
    April 2, 2020 - 11:11 am | Permalink

    Staying home and experiencing the “ordinary” of life at this extra-“ordinary” time in the life of this fragile home to all of us mortals, has made me appreciative of so much. Books. Candles that adorn my sacred space. Lent Madness that entertains my morning! Gardening that brings me closer to God’s “natural” world. Creating meals from a freezer that used to “eat better” than we did. I love the ordinary! I love Brother Lawrence for helping me see God today in the “ordinary”.

  47. Cap'n Black's Gravatar Cap'n Black
    April 2, 2020 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    Aye, I be for Brother Lawrence ta sail forth with. Me life has been strewn with broken pottery and I feel a ken to this good fellow as a mate of me own callin’ Tis Lawrence for me!

  48. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    April 2, 2020 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    I am a great admirer of Hildegard. No one can deny her many gifts, her many accomplishments, but those very qualities make her somewhat intimidating. Brother Lawrence, on the other hand, is not the least bit intimidating. He is so beautifully ordinary, that one can relate to him. I can imagine chatting with him as we do the dishes together – he washing, me drying, and both of us dropping plates. Ordinary me voted for ordinary Lawrence.

  49. Wynne's Gravatar Wynne
    April 2, 2020 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    I have known about Hidegard for a long time. But Brother Lawrence speaks to me as an ordinary person doing the best she can. Difficult vote.

  50. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    April 2, 2020 - 11:52 am | Permalink

    Fortunately, at least on my version of YouTube, other works by Hildegard show up that make for easier listening. Unfortunately for her, though, they sabotaged her candidacy in my case. As the Hortus Deliciarum drew me closer to contemplation, it also drew me toward Brother Lawrence, the apostle of the commonplace. I don’t think such an outcome would displease Hildegard.

    So in her honor I submit the following recipe for Hildegard Cocktails or, more familiarly, The Hildegard:

    Start to play the Hortus Deliciarum.
    Thoroughly wash your hands for as long as it takes to play the first chant.
    Pause the Hortus.

    Run out to the grocery store and buy up to six different fresh herbs.

    On returning, wash your hands for the length of the next chant.

    Disinfect the herbs by soaking them in white vinegar during the third chant. Rinse them and place them in a large bowl.

    Pour a bottle of good Rhine wine over the herbs and leave them to steep for the rest of the video.

    Remove the herbs and, if necessary, strain the wine through a muslin cloth. If you don’t have one, strain it through a scarf not previously used as a substitute for a face mask.

    Taste the wine with a teaspoon. Add a tablespoon of raw honey and taste again with another teaspoon.

    Add honey until the cocktail is barely drinkable, or more to taste, using a different teaspoon each time you taste it.

    Using a funnel, pour the resulting potion back into the wine bottle.

    Serve over ice.

    I can’t wait to try this out.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      April 2, 2020 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Wow, Davis. That’s a whole spiritual practice. (Won’t the vinegar wilt the herbs as it disinfects them?) Honestly I think I’d rather run lots of water over the herbs and let them dry on a paper towel. Then sit down and enjoy that good bottle of Rhine white wine (riesling?) Then mince the herbs over chunks of chuck roast that have been marinated in Guinness overnight then floured and browned. Then put it all into a big pot and add beef broth and carrots and leeks and garlic and maybe more onions and some mushrooms. Simmer for a couple of hours. In the meantime open and drink a good bottle of pinot noir (from Oregon this time). When the pot is done, serve the contents over mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles. Enjoy. I call that the Irish Stewdegard. Very good for your health and wellbeing. “May you live a thousand years.”

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        April 2, 2020 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

        Ooh, I like it. And I just happen to have some Guinness left over from St. Paddy’s Day.

      • April 2, 2020 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

        My friends, you have outdone yourself. Davis, your cocktail preparations sound very safe and CDC approved. (Although some may argue whether or not that trip to the grocery store is an “essential” trip; I say, of course, it is essential!”) You are on to something there–but it sounds too sweet even for me, and that’s saying something!

        St. Celia, the roast made my mouth water. One of these days we need to have a big party with all these great recipes–food AND drink!

      • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
        April 2, 2020 - 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Irish Stewdeguard! Brilliant. Somehow, I think Brother Lawrence would have enjoyed it, too.
        But it makes it even more difficult to choose between them. Sigh.

      • Donna's Gravatar Donna
        April 2, 2020 - 1:26 pm | Permalink

        I’m STARVING!

  51. Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
    April 2, 2020 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    I voted against my own bracket today and voted for Lawrence. (Which brings me to my eternal question on brackets: Does one fill them out the way one prefers it to go, or the way one suspects the Lent Madness Global Public will vote? They are not the same at all.) So I voted for Brother Lawrence, though my bracket has Hildegard vs. Harriet in the next round. I had Harriet vs. Clare in the matchup for the halo, so you can see my bracket is halfway demolished. So far.

    Kudos to the bloggers—great kitsch vs. great imaginary kitsch. Oh the cleverness of thee!

    • Lauren's Gravatar Lauren
      April 2, 2020 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

      SUCH an eternal Lent Madness question, Susan! I stopped trying to fill out my bracket ahead of time a few years ago, because I always end up voting contrary to my own picks!

      If I had filled out my bracket beforehand based on my own preferences, I would have had Andrew (who is SO underrated, plus I teach at St. Andrew’s Episcopal in Austin) and Eustace (because Sant’Eustachio Cafe in Rome has the best coffee in the entire world) as my final two… and they both got knocked out in the first round!

  52. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    April 2, 2020 - 11:54 am | Permalink

    Today’s gonna be a close one. Sorry Bro, gotta go with Hildy.

  53. freya hansen's Gravatar freya hansen
    April 2, 2020 - 11:54 am | Permalink

    i love how it said “go make an ordanary omlet.”when not everything is ordanary.

  54. April 2, 2020 - 11:56 am | Permalink

    Almost laughed ’til I wept. . . the bloggers today have outdone themselves! God bless ’em! Gloria, your sharing of the Japanese repair of ‘broken things’ touched a spiritual nerve. . .my vote goes to Lawrence.

  55. freya hansen's Gravatar freya hansen
    April 2, 2020 - 11:57 am | Permalink

    my mom makes me do this every day that I can do lent madness.

    • April 2, 2020 - 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Good for your mom! She’s got your best interests at heart. Give her a hug for me.

  56. Kathryn's Gravatar Kathryn
    April 2, 2020 - 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Hildegard because of her music and amazing career, and because I would LOVE a mug w/ her on it, but this was a toughie because I remember reading and loving Brother Lawrence’s book years ago — I should read it again!

  57. Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
    April 2, 2020 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Hildegard and Brother Lawrence are my last two saints on my bracket!

    I think it was from a childhood connection to her name, that I picked Hildegard, and she is my choice to go forward. I can only hope that the next round will go as her celebrity blogger writes, “… in these strange days of COVID-19 and environmental collapse, Hildegard’s relevance is only increasing and that more and more people will find inspiration in the musical, theological, and environmental universe envisioned by this medieval saint.”

    All, be well.

  58. April 2, 2020 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

    That “Hildegard Remix” nearly turned me off voting for her. But I’ve been a supporter for years, so I just turned IT off. What were you thinking?

  59. April 2, 2020 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

    This was a very difficult choice as I admire both Hildegard of Bingen and Brother Lawrence. I have deepened my walk with Christ through the example of their lives and writings. The re-mix is not very indicative of the contemplative, mystical, and spiritually deep music of Hildegard. I recommend trying this beautiful meditative example of Hildegard’s music. http://www.openculture.com/2018/06/experience-the-mystical-music-of-hildegard-von-bingen.html

  60. Diane Quantic's Gravatar Diane Quantic
    April 2, 2020 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    A virtual tie–with Hildegard surging forward in the commercial line. I feel sad for Hildegard who probably never intended to birth an industry. I’ll go with the simpler Brother Lawrence.

  61. Stephen Greene's Gravatar Stephen Greene
    April 2, 2020 - 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Well, the club remix certainly was interesting! For something closer to music Hildegard might recognize, here’s a sampling of pieces from the wonderful, award-winning 1982 CD on Hyperion Records, _Feather on the Breath of God_, which features soprano Emma Kirkby and
    Gothic Voices performing music by Hildegard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NGTsdL2YzE

  62. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    April 2, 2020 - 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Practicing the presence today in the ordinary things.

  63. Lauren's Gravatar Lauren
    April 2, 2020 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Thankfully I read the posts and enjoyed both, withOUT listening to the Hildegard (attempt at a) remix, and I voted for Hildi. (As an amateur gardener, I really love the concept of Viriditas!)

    I came back to listen to the remix after I’d had my coffee, and it’s truly terrible… and I can appreciate a good House music remix… but that one, as Hildi might say, was nicht gut!

  64. Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
    April 2, 2020 - 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Practicing the Presence or singing chants about greenness? Today I went with Hildegard for her music–NOT the remix, thank you very much! I can imagine Hildi and Larry in the kitchen together, fixing supper with an awareness of God and a lovely green salad, singing all the time.

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      April 2, 2020 - 1:29 pm | Permalink

      By the way, I listened to some Hildegard–O Frondens Virga–sung by the group Chanticleer.
      I highly recommend it!

  65. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    April 2, 2020 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I have really struggled today. I love both of these saints. The celebrity bloggers outdid themselves today with their wonderful work. I was very nearly swayed by the simplicity of kitsch free Brother Lawrence, but in the end voted for Hildegard who achieved so much and whose work is still bearing fruit today.

  66. Deacon G's Gravatar Deacon G
    April 2, 2020 - 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I learned so much more about Brother Lawrence thanks to Lent Madness. I believe he is what this pandemic world needs right now. I have known HIldegard longer but I believe it is the kitsch that turned me off. It looks like a close race but whoever wins, I plan on getting to know Brother Lawrence more in the future.

  67. Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
    April 2, 2020 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

    It is lovely to see someone for whom the only “kitsch” is the world of God’s creation. Congratulations to Anna Courie for this tour de force piece.

  68. Rita's Gravatar Rita
    April 2, 2020 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I am presently reading about Hildegard and have read Bro Lawrence…Due to time times we are living through I must vote for Lawrence.

  69. Anita's Gravatar Anita
    April 2, 2020 - 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I had to go with Brother Lawrence to see God in everything. I believe that was taught somewhere during Sunday school. Since now under quarantine I see
    The birds in the sky and their calls to one another. God in every bird, tree, clouds and wind

  70. Marcia Bracy's Gravatar Marcia Bracy
    April 2, 2020 - 2:06 pm | Permalink

    For several years, folks in our congregation would dress up as saints for All Saints Sunday. One year I was Hildegard of Bingen, so had to do some research to discover who she was. What a remarkable woman! A couple of years ago, I read Brother Lawrence’s book. His devotion to God was exemplary and happened in the ordinary. He got my vote today!

    • Lucia Lloyd's Gravatar Lucia Lloyd
      April 2, 2020 - 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Marcia, was that church St. Thomas’s in Richmond? I have fond memories of that place. It’s great to see you here! I’ve moved to Canada and I’m now a priest in Bowmanville Ontario!

      • Marcia Bracy's Gravatar Marcia Bracy
        April 2, 2020 - 4:54 pm | Permalink

        Hi, there, Lucia Lloyd! Yes, Lent Madness has been my Lenten ‘thing’ for about 5 years now. I saw on your Facebook page that you had moved to Canada. What prompted the move? I thought you’d never leave Tappahanock. PS – I’m also trying to get a good Flat Jesus to post.

      • Marcia Bracy's Gravatar Marcia Bracy
        April 2, 2020 - 4:55 pm | Permalink

        It was St. Thomas.

  71. Deborah Northern's Gravatar Deborah Northern
    April 2, 2020 - 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Hildegard. Have a CD of her songs and they are beautiful. too bad it is at my office and I can´t get to it. Right side of bracket is gone!

  72. Wendi's Gravatar Wendi
    April 2, 2020 - 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I am happy today to vote FOR someone I admire and would like to learn more from – Brother Lawrence – and not merely a protest vote against Hildegard von Bingen. I have been thinking that on one level I could apply the same selective approach to von Bingen that I do with the dietary rules in Leviticus or the writings of Paul: discard what is clearly of its time – bound to the cultural milieu – and affirm what is of timeless value. It’s just that the homophobia wasn’t incidental to her work; she was actively hostile.

  73. Nancy Wichita's Gravatar Nancy Wichita
    April 2, 2020 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

    How can I choose between ordinary and extraordinary? I must have both! I love Lawrence. I heart Hildegard. Last night I had a dream about breaking plates——my ordinary/extraordinary Spode earthenware. The Hildegard remix is blaring. I can’t think!!! Lord, help me to pray. The remix ends. Tears flow. The answer comes. It’s Hildegard.

  74. Barbara Brooks's Gravatar Barbara Brooks
    April 2, 2020 - 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Two remarkable people, two remarkable blogs. Hildegard is an example of what I tell people when they begin sentences, “In the past, women couldn’t…” Women could and did, they just had to fight the tide to do it, they were strong in the way women must be, and they didn’t always make the history books. However, Brother Lawrence has captured my heart from the first round, and Anna’s blog was brilliant. May Lawrence’s kitsch be ours in this quiet time.

  75. Mary Lou's Gravatar Mary Lou
    April 2, 2020 - 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Although I like Hildegard, it’s Brother Lawrence for me! I like his philosophy on life and am in awe of his ability to find the Sacred in the simplest of things. That is something I need to work on and he inspires me to get on the stick.

  76. Robert Coates's Gravatar Robert Coates
    April 2, 2020 - 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Hildegarde.
    I predict final matchup will be Harriet Tubman v. Elizabeth Fry, and Harriet will win it in a cakewalk.

  77. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    April 2, 2020 - 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I finally voted. I have waited all day to ponder. I cast my vote for Brother Lawrence, although my bracket has Hildegard all the way to the winner’s circle with the Golden Quidditch (er, halo). I voted solely on the basis of the kitsch. I really admired the creativity with which Anna worked with absolutely nothing but her own imagination. One thing I have noticed is that I think people are starting to relax into the rounds (I have seen this over the years) and respond to the blogs; I am willing to let each day’s blog posts speak to me, and I’m finding that I vote counter to my bracket. I’m not that fond of Lawrence; I can’t quite get past his breaking all the dishes. Were I a monk working next to him, I’d be really exasperated, because I feel that he would cause me extra work (every single day). But the emphasis on simplicity speaks to me. I’m posting here a link to a YouTube video by John Butler on “Without Fear.” I watched it last night on the Trinity Cathedral YouTube channel. I found it really powerful. Peace, all.

    • Sally Mangan's Gravatar Sally Mangan
      April 2, 2020 - 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Thank you so much for sharing this video! Brought me to tears. Perhaps this is why Brother Lawrence speaks so strongly to me.

    • Katharine KW's Gravatar Katharine KW
      April 2, 2020 - 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Thank you thank you thank you for this!

  78. Micah W.'s Gravatar Micah W.
    April 2, 2020 - 3:09 pm | Permalink

    From @NobodyLikedThat on Twitter:

    Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)

    Me: This quarantine is great for productivity! I wrote 1000 words today.

    Hildegard: I KNOW! I’ve already written a song, 400 letters, experienced divine, discovered a new plant, skyped with Barbarossa & invented my own language!

    Me: Uh huh

  79. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    April 2, 2020 - 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a squeaker at last! It’s 52/48 at the time I am voting, while listening to that horrible, terrible, hideous remix that I can’t unhear, but it’s what won me over to Hildy today. She’s the übersankt for today. And that, to borrow from a future “Martha”, is a good thing.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      April 2, 2020 - 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Do you mean Übergemeinschaft (Super Community)? I think the Lent Madness community is the Übergemeinschaft.

  80. john's Gravatar john
    April 2, 2020 - 3:33 pm | Permalink

    She certainly was a polymath, particularly relevant to our times. I like action saints and ones who are relevant to our times.

  81. Cheryl Colby's Gravatar Cheryl Colby
    April 2, 2020 - 3:48 pm | Permalink

    As this is my 1st lenten madness I look at the memes as soon as I read the blogs. Then I go back through the day and read the comments.YES VIRGINIA I HAVE NO LIFE NOW!!!. I read all the comments about the remix but missed it in the readings.When I went back to listen it was just what I needed.I laughed so hard my stomach hurt.I rate it an 8. Hard to listen to but fun to dance to. Her music is truly beautiful.I’m glad there is only one dance version though.Couldn’t take anymore. Today was just what I needed I needed the laughter.

  82. Millie's Gravatar Millie
    April 2, 2020 - 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Wow! If I was voting on kitsch alone, Hildegard would already have the Golden Halo. She’s a very strong candidate for non-kitsch reasons, too.

    However, Brother Lawrence has been my model since I was young and I vowed to see him through to final victory. Here’s to the Holy in the Ordinary!

  83. Shelley's Gravatar Shelley
    April 2, 2020 - 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Kudos to Anna Courie for thoughtful points while writing about someone who clearly doesn’t have kitsch associated with them. Very touching writing.

  84. Len Freman's Gravatar Len Freman
    April 2, 2020 - 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Made my choice (see my 10:32am comment). Hildegard would usually have been my vote, but each Saint has their time…. and in the midst of this Covid19 crisis and living in quarantine, and sheltering-in-place, the presence of God in the ordinary, in the simple things actually available to as moment by moment, Brother Lawrence is the saint for this time. God Bless all, stay safe.

  85. April 2, 2020 - 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Love “ordinary” – actually love them both but “ordinary” won out with Brother Lawrence.

  86. Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
    April 2, 2020 - 9:00 pm | Permalink

    As someone who loves to sing, I have to go with Hildegard. A healer is certainly someone our world needs now both physically and spiritually. But it was the white wine with parsley and honey that clinched it for me – I must find this!

  87. One of the Jennifers's Gravatar One of the Jennifers
    April 2, 2020 - 9:06 pm | Permalink

    So glad I clicked. So many ideas for next Labyrinth Walk event at church, though it will no longer be appropriate to call it a “Quiet Day”. Click this link, he said. Right up there with “Here, smell this…” as something I should know better than to do. I really liked the ordinary water and the ordinary tree but I voted Hildegard in celebration of Miguel finding perhaps the worst kitsch week item of all time.

  88. Rev. Ellen L. Ekstrom's Gravatar Rev. Ellen L. Ekstrom
    April 2, 2020 - 10:19 pm | Permalink

    With Hildegard’s narrow win today, my bracket is pretty much intact – I’ve only lost three of the match-ups, which makes me think, “What’s wrong?”

  89. Brian Thom's Gravatar Brian Thom
    April 2, 2020 - 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Monastics & Martyrs is blown. Miscellaneous is blown. Mostly Modern still good. Biblical is excellent, with St. Joseph going all the way to the Golden Halo!

  90. Shelly's Gravatar Shelly
    April 3, 2020 - 1:45 am | Permalink

    Excellent writeups by the celebrity bloggers this year. Excellent kitsch round so far. Excellent comments every year. So needed this year. Thank you all.

  91. Bernadette Lee's Gravatar Bernadette Lee
    April 5, 2020 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    I am so saddened to see Lent Madness 2020 draw to a close. It has been one of the highlights of this year’s madness during Lent. Thank you for helping to keep my spirits lifted on a daily basis. I always experience an element of LM withdrawal the week after Easter; Holy Week is usually so filled with so much activity that I don’t fully digest the end Lent Madness until Easter Monday. Also, absolutely loving the kitsch round! The SEC Monday discussion about it was hilarious!

  92. Judith Mack's Gravatar Judith Mack
    April 6, 2020 - 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Harriet Tubman earned my vote for her faith based fearlessness in not only escaping slavery, but going back to save others, taking them to safety in Canada.
    I also voted for her because slavery is an issue in 93 countries today according to a new UN study. From Reuters: LONDON, Feb 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) —” Slavery is not a crime in almost half the countries in the world, a study of global laws said on Wednesday, urging nations to close legal loopholes that allow abusers to escape punishment.
    “Many states lack laws which directly criminalise and punish exerting ownership or control over another person, according to the Antislavery in Domestic Legislation database, launched at the United Nations headquarters in New York. ”
    Harriet’s struggle for social justice should inspire us to continue the fight.

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