Hermione vs. Melangell

Saints end up in the Lent Madness bracket for a variety of reasons. Some for heroic acts or miracles, some for leadership or great teachings. And some simply because they have cool names (ie. Christina the Astonishing in 2014). Today’s saintly souls didn’t end up in the bracket because of their names alone, but they are kind of awesome. Hermione vs. Melangell. It just kind of rolls off the tongue — at least if you can pronounce them. But just to be clear, Hermione is not the one from the Harry Potter series. And Melangell is not the one from, well, no best-selling book series we’re aware of. Yet.

Yesterday, Albert the Great proved greater than Leo the Great 54% to 46% in a matchup between two great saints.

Also yesterday, Tim and Scott shared another epic episode of Monday Madness. You can watch it here, but know that we’re disappointed in you. Fortunately you can redeem yourself by watching this week’s episode and waiting with an expectant heart for next week’s version.

Hermione
Hermione was a saint of the second century who had an ability to both heal people—and avoid martyrdom.

According to church tradition, Hermione was one of the daughters of Philip, the deacon. She and her sisters had the gift of prophecy and were Christians from an early age. We know nothing about her childhood, but we know that when she became an adult, she and her sister Eutychia set out from Caesarea in Palestine to Ephesus, to seek out the apostle John to study with him.

Upon arrival, they discovered that John had died, so they studied instead with Petronius, a disciple of Paul’s. From Petronius, Hermione learned about healing and began to minister to the sick of the city. Meanwhile, the emperor Trajan came to town on his way to battle the Persians. Encountering Hermione, he ordered her to renounce Christianity, but she refused. He ordered her to be hit in the face for hours on end. By all accounts, she withstood this undeterred because she had a vision of Jesus sitting enthroned in front of her, encouraging her. Seeing that she would not renounce her faith—and not wanting to be late for his war—Trajan finally let her go.

Hermione decided this would be a great time to start setting up hospices in Ephesus—a place that was half-hospital, half-hotel, where people could receive both spiritual and physical nourishment. She carried on her hospice work with vigor until the next emperor, Hadrian, came to town. He, too, decided to try his luck with Hermione and demanded she recant her faith. When this didn’t work either, he ordered her to be boiled alive in a cauldron of boiling lead, tar, and brimstone. But one did not simply boil Hermione; an angel appeared and scattered the coals so that the cauldron went cold. Enraged, the emperor came forward and touched the cauldron to see if it had gone cold. (He burned his hand off.)

Not being one to take a hint, Hadrian ordered Hermione to be roasted on something like a big iron skillet. This also didn’t work. He then told two servants to go and chop her head off. When they tried, their hands withered, and beholding the miracle, they immediately converted themselves. Hadrian declared defeat, and Hermione died of natural, non-martyrdom causes in 117.

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

 —Megan Castellan

 

Melangell
A poem penned in 1723 in the registry of the Welsh church named for Melangell reads: “Melangell with a thousand angels triumphs over all the powers of evil.” Also hunters, as her story goes.

Melangell was the daughter of a sixth-century Irish monarch, as recorded in the book Tours of Wales. When her father attempted to marry her off to a nobleman in his court, Melangell, who wanted to pursue a life of prayer and solitude, fled Ireland. She found sanctuary deep in the Berwyn Mountains in what is now Wales, where she lived as a hermit for fifteen years.

Enter the hunter in our tale, the prince of Powys. While hunting a hare, the prince chased the animal into a “great thicket,” where he was surprised to find instead “a virgin of surpassing beauty.” It was Melangell, deep in prayer, with the hare seeking sanctuary beneath her robe. The prince’s hunting dogs retreated, howling. Impressed by the hermit’s courage and devotion, the prince not only let the hare go free, but he also gave the land to Melangell to be “a sanctuary to all that fled there.”

Melangell founded an abbey on the land, where she remained abbess until her death. Her small religious community ordered its life around prayer and works of mercy, providing sanctuary to all creatures in need. Even the hares. After her death, she became known as patron saint of the hares and other small animals who continued to come to her. The hares became known in Welsh as “Wyn Melangell”—or St. Melangell’s lambs. Centuries later, the Tours of Wales recounted, hunters still refused to kill hares in the parish.

Today, the land remains a sanctuary, ringed by trees estimated to be more than 2,000 years old. Some consider it a “thin place,” where Celts believe heaven and earth seem especially close. The Shrine Church of St. Melangell calls it “a place beyond words and far from the rush of twenty-first-century life; a place where God speaks in the silence and where all people have an opportunity to experience a sense of the holy.”

Anglican, Catholic, and Orthodox pilgrims visit the shrine, where bones that are believed to belong to the saint were discovered beneath the floor in 1958. Melangell is remembered on May 27.

Collect for Melangell
O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Melangell, may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

—Emily McFarlan Miller

NOTICE

At about 8:30 p.m. EST, the Lent Madness Voter Security Unit noticed 389 bogus votes for Hermione. These votes were removed, and the suspect addresses were blocked. This is a reminder. Do not cheat. Vote once. Get your neighbors to vote. But don’t vote several times, lest you be cast into the outer darkness of Lent Madness.

 

Hermione vs. Melangell

  • Melangell (52%, 4,112 Votes)
  • Hermione (48%, 3,780 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,892

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Hermione: Unknown
Melangell: Unknown

221 Comments to "Hermione vs. Melangell"

  1. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    February 23, 2021 - 8:00 am | Permalink

    Since his hounds’ frantic baying did cease
    And the prince gave Melangell the lease,
    Her chapel remains there:
    Both pilgrim and wild hare
    Often stop when they’re seeking some peace.

    Although I have never visited the church of St. Melangell, Wales continues to draw me to itself. A few years ago, while following an ancient drovers’ path through an isolated mountain pass, Kate and I took a side road to Soar y mynydd, known as “the most remote church in Wales”. I see Melangell’s church as similar (although it’s only a couple of miles from the nearest pub): aged, unadorned, clearly part of its land.

    I’m also guided today by my love for the works of Dame Edith Pargeter (better known by her pen name Ellis Peters), especially her fictional chronicles of Brother Cadfael, a 12th century former man-at-arms and Crusader turned Benedictine monk, herbalist (and part-time detective) at Shrewsbury Abbey, near the border with Wales. The first book in this series (A Morbid Taste for Bones) involves another chaste Welsh holy woman, Saint Winifred, whose remains are sought by the abbey for their value as pilgrim clickbait. Some say that G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown is the summum bonum of ecclesiastical detectives; I believe that Cadfael beats him all hollow. The BBC series is not as good (despite Derek Jacobi’s talents); if you have not read these books, I urge you to do so.

    • Josh Nixon's Gravatar Josh Nixon
      February 23, 2021 - 8:14 am | Permalink

      And one playing on the Welsh pronunciation:

      Lo, she who not nature estrangeth,
      her bracket she now rearrangeth;
      for the poor hounded hare 
      that the huntsman didst spare
      was safeguarded by sweet Saint Melangell.

      I’m a Father Brown fan (the stories, not the show); always meant to get into Cadfael but haven’t yet.

      • Martin Koepke's Gravatar Martin Koepke
        February 23, 2021 - 8:20 am | Permalink

        In contrast to Father Brown (also a big fan), I found Father Ted fun in a different way

        • Josh Nixon's Gravatar Josh Nixon
          February 23, 2021 - 9:10 am | Permalink

          Father Ted is irreverently hilarious.

          • Patricia Gordon's Gravatar Patricia Gordon
            February 23, 2021 - 1:51 pm | Permalink

            Josh Nixon, other than my brother and sister, you are the only person I know who even knows about Father Ted and/or enjoys him. I love that show! I am also extremely fond of Brother Cadfael too but only in book form. I don’t know why I am delighted about this but I am.

        • Nancy Noel's Gravatar Nancy Noel
          February 23, 2021 - 3:24 pm | Permalink

          Ok I’ll admit ignorance. Who or what is Father Ted?
          Rarely watch TV but have see a few Fr Brown episodes

          • Kate Cabot's Gravatar Kate Cabot
            February 23, 2021 - 4:54 pm | Permalink

            It’s an older BBC show and it is going to offend some folks, so it may not be for you. But the people who like it really like it. I’m more of a Vicar of Dibley type myself (another older BBC show).

        • Mary-Beth Esser's Gravatar Mary-Beth Esser
          February 24, 2021 - 12:01 pm | Permalink

          A vote for Father Ted. Have a cup of tea why don’t you…

      • John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
        February 23, 2021 - 9:01 am | Permalink

        Good on you, Josh. I’ve had enough embarrassing moments with Welsh pronunciation that I avoided trying to rhyme “Melangell”!

        • Nancy Noel's Gravatar Nancy Noel
          February 23, 2021 - 3:22 pm | Permalink

          So how does one pronounce Melangell?

          • Josh Nixon's Gravatar Josh Nixon
            February 23, 2021 - 11:38 pm | Permalink

            I’m no expert, but from what I understand, the Welsh “LL” is pronounced with the tongue in the “L” position with air forced outward. It’s similar to, but not quite, the soft “TH” sound.

            “Meh-LAN-geth” should be pretty close to the right thing without injuring yourself.

      • Kate W's Gravatar Kate W
        February 23, 2021 - 9:03 am | Permalink

        The Cadfael books are wonderful, and I highly recommend them. (They’re what got me started growing and using herbs)

        • Alice Johnson's Gravatar Alice Johnson
          February 23, 2021 - 9:51 am | Permalink

          yes, the Cadfael series is wonderful! Ellis Peters is one of my favorite authors.

      • The Rev Chris Plantz's Gravatar The Rev Chris Plantz
        February 23, 2021 - 9:43 am | Permalink

        I enjoy Father Brown, but you have missed real joy if you have not read Cadfael. Welsh saints always get my vote

    • Dean Nelson's Gravatar Dean Nelson
      February 23, 2021 - 8:35 am | Permalink

      I picked up A morbid case of bones at the bookstore in London’s King’s Cross station to have something to read as I rode the train to Edinburgh when I was on sabbatical in 1989. After a few pages I was hooked, and over the next few years read all in the series, introducing Brother Cadfael to my parishioners in Milwaukee along the way.

    • Dianna M Woods's Gravatar Dianna M Woods
      February 23, 2021 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      I had forgotten all about the Ellis Peters series! And I have several Br. Cadfael novels. I must find them and reread. Thank you for.the.reminder.

      • Alice Johnson's Gravatar Alice Johnson
        February 23, 2021 - 9:57 am | Permalink

        You haven’t read them all? What fun to have a favorite author with more books to read for the first time! There’s 21 books, plus the last book: A Rare Benedictine: The Advent of Brother Cadfael. I had lots of fun about 15 years ago completing my collection. I just started re-reading Book 1.

    • Skip White's Gravatar Skip White
      February 23, 2021 - 8:59 am | Permalink

      Agree with you regarding Brother Cadfael. Have read the series numerous times.

    • Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
      February 23, 2021 - 9:26 am | Permalink

      I love the Brother Cadfael books and have read them all several times. Our Sunday School class is currently studying the Rule of Benedict and I keep seeing Brother Cadfael as I read it. I agree about the BBC series. It’s good but not as good as the books.

    • February 23, 2021 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree that the Cadfael series is excellent, not just for the good Brother’s detective work, but for the history lessons contained in the war between Queen Maud and King Stephen. I have read the entire series and loved every one.
      These two women remind us that each person can serve God in our every day life. To me, this is the message of Lent Madness that we can use every day, not just in Lent. Another difficult choice today!!!

    • Margaret Sacht's Gravatar Margaret Sacht
      February 23, 2021 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Ellis Peters also wrote a great group of books about Inspector George Felse. The books are both moving and exciting, as is our choice today. As drawn as I am to Wales, I have to say that Hermione seems like a smart, practical woman. It’s good to know where Harry Potter’s friend got her name. Thank you for a fascinating pair to choose from!

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      February 23, 2021 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, John, for reminding me of Br. Cadfael. I have all the books (I think) and as soon as I finish the G.K. Chesterton non-Father Brown book I will return to Cadfael.
      I’ve already finished going through the Father Brown books, and while I like the actor who plays him on PBS, having seen him in several movies, he doesn’t look anything like Chesterton’s.

    • Emily McFarlan Miller's Gravatar Emily McFarlan Miller
      February 23, 2021 - 3:07 pm | Permalink

      A lot of people have mentioned to me that now they want to visit Pennant Melangell in Wales. Count me in! Who’s planning the Lent Madness pilgrimage for when it’s safe to travel again?

      • February 23, 2021 - 3:29 pm | Permalink

        Me Me Me! I’m a sucker for a thin place, Melangell got my vote.

        • Mama J's Gravatar Mama J
          February 23, 2021 - 7:56 pm | Permalink

          Lisa, Emily! When do we leave?!
          . . .and gracious ‘THANK YOU!’ to all the Lent Madness community. . . I am just now reading all the comments and can hardly wait to get to the library!

          • Sue's Gravatar Sue
            February 24, 2021 - 7:50 am | Permalink

            That’s what got me too!
            Thanks to everyone for new series to read!

    • Linda Maloney's Gravatar Linda Maloney
      February 24, 2021 - 2:55 am | Permalink

      I quite agree. However, any chance to watch Derek Jacobi in action, be he only reading the phone book, is a thing to treasure.

  2. Ellen L.'s Gravatar Ellen L.
    February 23, 2021 - 8:07 am | Permalink

    I have no real reason either to vote for or against one of these saints. But I like rabbits, so I’m voting for Melangell.

    • Gwen's Gravatar Gwen
      February 23, 2021 - 8:15 am | Permalink

      . I liked her, too. My first name is Welsh and my last name Irish! I also dig thin spaces!

    • Trisha's Gravatar Trisha
      February 23, 2021 - 9:30 pm | Permalink

      How right you are! St. Melangell is the Patron Saint of Rabbits, Hares, and the Natural World, which needs all of the help it can get these days.

      I also think of Melangell as the Protector of Small Animal Rescues, whether focused on rabbits. Guinea pigs, or other small creatures.

  3. Margo Whittaker's Gravatar Margo Whittaker
    February 23, 2021 - 8:09 am | Permalink

    I second Brother Cadfael as the supreme ecclesiastical detective from across the pond! I’ve some North American on a different list!
    Melangell has my vote.

    • February 23, 2021 - 10:02 am | Permalink

      Margo, I would be interested to see your list of North American ecclesiastical detectives (or any others). This is a speciality of mine, as I’ve written a number of church-based mysteries, and collect/lecture on books in that fascinating sub-genre.

      • Pamela Wren's Gravatar Pamela Wren
        February 23, 2021 - 11:50 am | Permalink

        I love the Lucy Kingsley series! Glad to see your name pop up here.

        • February 23, 2021 - 12:19 pm | Permalink

          Thanks very much, Pamela!

          • Patricia Gordon's Gravatar Patricia Gordon
            February 23, 2021 - 3:33 pm | Permalink

            I too was delighted to see your name here – I love your books and own most of them because they are so much fun to read more than once. Thank you for many hours of enjoyment.

          • February 23, 2021 - 6:15 pm | Permalink

            Patricia, how kind of you – you’ve just made my day!

      • Nancy Noel's Gravatar Nancy Noel
        February 23, 2021 - 3:32 pm | Permalink

        Julia Spencer-Fleming series with priest Clare Ferguson

        • February 23, 2021 - 6:13 pm | Permalink

          Nancy, I agree – Julia’s books are brilliant. An excellent series.

        • Nancy Muhlheim's Gravatar Nancy Muhlheim
          February 23, 2021 - 8:01 pm | Permalink

          I voted for Melangell & am fascinated by most things Welsh.

          In other news:
          I loved the Julia Spencer Fleming series set in the Adirondacks with Clare Ferguson+ & Russ Van Alstyne solving mysteries & some of their own problems as well.

      • John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
        February 23, 2021 - 5:46 pm | Permalink

        For a dauntingly thorough roundup of clerical detectives, visit http://www.detecs.org. Ms. Charles, I am delighted to tell you that you are listed twice: once for David Middleton-Brown and Lucy Kingsley, and once for Rev. Callie Anson.
        Caution: plot synopses are given, so don’t scroll down too far if you dislike spoilers!

        • February 23, 2021 - 6:17 pm | Permalink

          John, thanks so much for the heads-up. That’s an excellent web site and I’ve used it often.

      • sue hartman's Gravatar sue hartman
        February 23, 2021 - 5:52 pm | Permalink

        If you would extend it to church music directors – and you’re a fan of puns – you might want to check out the humorous mysteries of Mark Schweitzer.

        https://www.bookseriesinorder.com/mark-schweizer/

        • February 23, 2021 - 6:19 pm | Permalink

          A very funny series, Sue.

        • Sue's Gravatar Sue
          February 24, 2021 - 7:54 am | Permalink

          Yes Marks novels are great! The setting, the characters the humor! I loved them!

      • Barbara Brooks's Gravatar Barbara Brooks
        February 23, 2021 - 6:38 pm | Permalink

        I’m glad to see another mystery series I can try. I’ve gone through the “Liturgical Mystery” series by Mark Schweizer. Very silly, very fun, and the mysteries are good enough to keep me going. There was only one not worth reading, but I can’t remember which it was…

  4. George Elliot's Gravatar George Elliot
    February 23, 2021 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    The unkillable saint! Saint Hermione! My vote goes to Hermione!

    • Barbara's Gravatar Barbara
      February 23, 2021 - 8:22 am | Permalink

      Same here!

    • Lucy Martin's Gravatar Lucy Martin
      February 23, 2021 - 9:27 am | Permalink

      Talk about astonishing! Who could not vote for the invincible Hermione. Hitting her in the face? What was he thinking? Hermione is my heroine for sure.

    • Catherine Rangel's Gravatar Catherine Rangel
      February 23, 2021 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Hermione did build the first hospice, and she ministered to the physical illnesses, as well as gospel which gave true healing. My vote is for Hermione, who gave physical and spiritual healing.

    • Sue's Gravatar Sue
      February 23, 2021 - 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Mine too! A woman who can tolerate being hit in face for hours for her faith, establish hospices, and avoid martyrdom gets my vote! Although I like rabbits……

  5. The Rev. Marcia Tremmel's Gravatar The Rev. Marcia Tremmel
    February 23, 2021 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    I voted for Melangell – a new saint to me. What a beautiful story. Hermione was also pretty cool; so this was a tough choice.

  6. Martin Koepke's Gravatar Martin Koepke
    February 23, 2021 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    The below sentence (no pun intended) got my vote for Herm.

    Not being one to take a hint, Hadrian ordered Hermione to be roasted on something like a big iron skillet.

  7. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    February 23, 2021 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    I had to look up “brimstone” in order to vote in this round. It turns out to be sulphur, and since Albertus had discovered arsenic, I was curious who had discovered sulphur. It is said Lavoisier discovered sulphur in the 18th century, although that sulphur was well known to the ancients. Anyhoo, sulphur is used in alchemy. While I loved the story of Hermione dying of “non-martyrdom causes,” I sided with Melangell, custodian and steward of a “thin place.” I take the story of the hares “seriously but not literally.” Any place, thin or not, that allowed hares to breed freely would soon be overrun with them, and that Celtic thicket would be gnawed to the nubbin. I’m guessing rabbit stew was a regular dish on the board of the sisters. Today’s stories both seem to be attempts to account for single women who got old. One they tried to burn up in various ghastly ways; the other remained magically a “beauteous virgin.” While the latter is more sentimentally satisfying, sort of a Sleeping Beauty story, neither narrative is fully able to capture the complex autonomy of a woman seeking to “be in the world but not of it,” providing service but retaining one foot in the spiritual world. Both are good examples of “green martyrs,” who lived out their lives as richly as possible, connected to the earth but always looking beyond. Melangell’s tale appeals to me for the beauty of the trees, a place for a retreat, and of course the prince.

    • Vicar Mollie+'s Gravatar Vicar Mollie+
      February 23, 2021 - 9:23 am | Permalink

      Thank you, St. Celia!

    • Denise LeGendre's Gravatar Denise LeGendre
      February 23, 2021 - 10:10 am | Permalink

      What struck me in Melangell’s story is that rather than sweeping the “beauteous virgin” off her feet and marrying her as would happen in most fairy tales, the prince here recognized and respected the extraordinary nature of what he had found and moved to safeguard it for the benefit of all – even those of us reading about it thousands of miles and years away. That got my vote although Megan Castellan nearly got my vote for her fun Hermoine write up.

      • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
        February 23, 2021 - 1:31 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Denise, for pointing out an early respecter of women as fellow human beings rather than something to be used.

      • Emily McFarlan Miller's Gravatar Emily McFarlan Miller
        February 23, 2021 - 3:08 pm | Permalink

        I love this!

  8. Martha Richards's Gravatar Martha Richards
    February 23, 2021 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    This was a very difficult choice to make. I did however choose Hermione

  9. Jim Wheeler's Gravatar Jim Wheeler
    February 23, 2021 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    What fun! Great stories about victorious saints instead of woeful martyrs. Touch choice between a saint who dies in her sleep at 117 victorious against powerful emperors or a saint who protects hares and leads to sanctuary for all small creatures. Either way we vote we are the winners of two great tales.

  10. February 23, 2021 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    Though hares and rabbits are different species, I must vote for Melangell in honor of all the lagomorphs who have shared our home and strengthened our family. I hope they are eternally enjoying a place like that refuge. To Peppermint, Tyler, Buttercup, Pepper Grey, Lopsie, Buster, Pippin and Allie. Saints and angels bless you forever!

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      February 23, 2021 - 10:13 am | Permalink

      You inspired me to do a search for the difference between hares and rabbits. I knew that hares were larger than rabbits, but I did not think they were separate species. My top hits were recipes: rabbit in red wine and buttermilk fried rabbit. Interestingly, I got no hits for hare recipes, perhaps because people have long objected to finding a hare in their soup. I look forward to many jokes beginning with “Waiter, there’s a hare in my soup” in the kitsch round. Now I wonder whether jackrabbits aren’t an American version of hares. Bingo!

      • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
        February 23, 2021 - 10:35 am | Permalink

        They are. Search on “jugged hare” and plenty of recipes will turn up.

        • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
          February 23, 2021 - 10:51 am | Permalink

          Waiter, there’s a hare in my bain marie!

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        February 23, 2021 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

        You always make me laugh, lady!

      • February 23, 2021 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

        We do not mention such recipes in our home. There are sensitive ears about.

        • Melissa Sites's Gravatar Melissa Sites
          February 23, 2021 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

          Jackrabbits and snowshoe hares are hares, while cotton tails are rabbits
          Also, American and European cotton tails are not the same species. Domestic rabbits are the European cottontail. 🙂

          • Shelly's Gravatar Shelly
            February 23, 2021 - 11:37 pm | Permalink

            Thank you for the clarification. I see both in my yard often!

      • Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
        February 23, 2021 - 2:58 pm | Permalink

        Hares and rabbits are certainly different species, though in the same family. Hares are larger and have longer ears and legs; think about the difference between a jackrabbit (which is actually a hare) and an American cottontail. Hares are solitary and bear their young, called leverets, aboveground; rabbits live in underground warrens in large groups and give birth in burrows. Hares will run away, rabbits go to ground as soon as possible.

        However both are herbivores and, story about Melangell saving a hare aside, I’m sure both types of animal made a frequent appearance on the table in Melangell’s day. Hermione’s, perhaps not, because neither species is considered fit to eat per Leviticus.

        And while there is one university in the US that has a jackrabbit as its mascot (I am a proud parent of an alumna of South Dakota State University, go Jackrabbits!) there do not seem to be any that have a cottontail or other rabbit as a mascot.

      • Emily McFarlan Miller's Gravatar Emily McFarlan Miller
        February 23, 2021 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

        OK, I’m bookmarking this for the next round! 🙂

    • Jean's Gravatar Jean
      February 23, 2021 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

      But I once had a cat named Hermione

    • Emily McFarlan Miller's Gravatar Emily McFarlan Miller
      February 23, 2021 - 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for sharing about your furry friends! I thought the picture of Melangell looked like me pleading with my cat in the morning: “Why are you tap dancing on my face at this hour?” “What is with the screaming, ma’am?” “Get a drink or get out of the tub, I need to take a shower.”

      Melangell is basically a cat lady, but with rabbits.

  11. Susan C.'s Gravatar Susan C.
    February 23, 2021 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    This is a difficult choice! A second century indestructible woman who studied under a disciple of Paul and defied emperors, or a 6th century equally strong woman who created a refuge for all living creatures (I assume that includes people!) and a liminal place whose trees are still strong. As a healer, I was tempted to vote for Hermione, but as a seeker of Truth I must vote for Melangell. I’ll check out the books of Ellis Peters about Brother Cadfael!

  12. Mary Margaret Yates's Gravatar Mary Margaret Yates
    February 23, 2021 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    Tough choices this year! I love Bother Cadfael, and Fr Brown is a joy to have on while ironing. Please also check out Sister Fidelma, and Irish princess, nun and detective.
    But I vote for Hermione and hospices.

  13. Julie's Gravatar Julie
    February 23, 2021 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    I too wanted to vote for the bunnies! But, I feel Hermione has a better chance to advance further in the tournament, so I voted for her! Difficult decision.

  14. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    February 23, 2021 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    Gotta give my vote to Hermione. If all the power of two emperors of Rome could not take her down, nor renounce the faith, who am I to try?

  15. Kitty Whitman's Gravatar Kitty Whitman
    February 23, 2021 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    How many times might we repeat “tough choice” which this morning’s duo provided us. I am aghast and amazed at the tortures which were attempted and applaud the withdrawal and sanctity of those who find thin places. I am able to lean into and identify with finding and appreciating the moments of thin places so I cast my vote for Melangell.

  16. Jane T. Brady-Close's Gravatar Jane T. Brady-Close
    February 23, 2021 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    I visited Pennant Melangell a few years ago as part of a Celtic spirituality offered by Gladstone’s Library, the UK’s only prime ministerial library in Hawarden. It is, indeed, a thin place. The shrine was in danger of being closed, but then The Rev. TW Pritchard (in his capacity as Archdeacon in the Diocese of St. ASAP) gathered a multi-disciplinary team to restore and save it. The church with its healing center offers hospitality to many pilgrims. Melangell’s story is typical of female saints (e.g. Winifred) in that they come to notice when their virginity and desire for a life of prayer are threatened. You can find photos of this spot via a search for “Pennant Melangell.” A collection of contemporary poems about St. Melangell is “The Hare That Hides Within” by Norman Schwenk.

    • Jane T. Brady-Close's Gravatar Jane T. Brady-Close
      February 23, 2021 - 9:05 am | Permalink

      That’s St. “Asaph.” Sorry for my typo.

      • Denise LeGendre's Gravatar Denise LeGendre
        February 23, 2021 - 10:15 am | Permalink

        But the typo seemed fitting! and thanks for the leads about Pennant Melangell.

        • Jane T Brady-Close's Gravatar Jane T Brady-Close
          February 23, 2021 - 10:57 am | Permalink

          Thanks for your generosity. Hope to get back there some day.

      • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
        February 23, 2021 - 1:37 pm | Permalink

        I wondered for a minute if there were a saint of doing something promptly.

    • Carin B Delfs, SSG+'s Gravatar Carin B Delfs, SSG+
      February 23, 2021 - 11:30 am | Permalink

      I too have visit Melangell’s church area. This was a few years ago and there were veterans there at times seeking peace of the area who were suffering from PTSD. I have visited many thin places in Wales and on the British borderlands. but Pennant Melangell was outstanding.

    • Emily McFarlan Miller's Gravatar Emily McFarlan Miller
      February 23, 2021 - 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for sharing your experience of Pennant Melangell! I definitely want to visit and am adding this book of poetry (and a bunch of detective novels) to my shopping cart as we speak.

      • Jane's Gravatar Jane
        February 23, 2021 - 3:21 pm | Permalink

        Dear Emily,
        Hope you will get to Pennant Melangell. (And maybe that you can master the pronunciation of the saint’s name.)
        Blessings,
        Jane
        PS If you do get to northern Wales, try also to visit Bardsey Island, which has been a place of pilgrimage since the Middle Ages.

  17. Kane's Gravatar Kane
    February 23, 2021 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    Melangell

  18. Melanie's Gravatar Melanie
    February 23, 2021 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    “And Melangell is not the one from, well, no best-selling book series we’re aware of. Yet.”

    Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael mysteries, specifically The Pilgrim of Hate. Not best-selling books, I suppose, but worth a mention.

    Hermione’s story was a little too fantastical for my tastes, not to mention rather gruesome. My vote goes with the small woodland creatures today.

    • John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
      February 23, 2021 - 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Good for you, Melanie! I had forgotten that an important character in The Pilgrim of Hate is “named for some outlandish Welsh saint, she is, Melangell, if you ever heard the like!”

  19. Susan S's Gravatar Susan S
    February 23, 2021 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    This is difficult. As a Hospice volunteer, I want to cast my vote for Hermione. But as a woman whose Celtic blood flows through her veins, I am drawn to Melangell. I believe she built a refuge for all creatures great and small. I shall vote for Melangell and her convent is on my list of places I want to visit before I leave this plane.

  20. February 23, 2021 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    As a pastor of St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church – yes, Hermione’s daddy – I am FULL ON Hermione! Courageous healer! Standing up to emperors! What could be better than that?? A few rabbits? Hardly! (Sorry, rabbits, I actually like you a lot.)

  21. Rita's Gravatar Rita
    February 23, 2021 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    A Harry Potter fan I had to vote for Hermione

  22. Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
    February 23, 2021 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    As a vegetarian of Welsh descent (my grandfather’s name was Bevan), I’m going for Melangell, despite my love for Hermione Granger.

  23. Grace's Gravatar Grace
    February 23, 2021 - 9:18 am | Permalink

    My head says Hermione but my heart says Melangell. Always follow your heart.

    • Susan S's Gravatar Susan S
      February 23, 2021 - 10:49 am | Permalink

      I agree and I did follow my heart

  24. February 23, 2021 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    I was also put off by the violence in Hermione’s story. My church has a lovely triptych featuring the images of Sts. Lawrence and Stephen, each holding the instruments of their deaths. I understand the glorification of those martyrs who withstood horrible tortures and yet maintained their faith, but I don’t appreciate the value of all the gory details.

    Then I was blessed with the opportunity to read the lovely, fantastical story of St. Melangell. I love Wales, many, many years ago, my wife and I had the pleasure of visiting Wales. I studied Welsh for six months at the local St. David’s society before going, and made the effort to stay at a village, Y Bala, where a number of people spoke Welsh. Although I could barely say more than hello, please and thank you, I was known about the village as the American who spoke Welsh.

    Someone such as Melangell would have fit in nicely in Y Bala, and I only wish I had known about her before my wife’s and my visit, as I would have visited her sanctuary. I am desperately in need of a thin place, where I can be closer to God.

    Heddych!

  25. Vicar Mollie+'s Gravatar Vicar Mollie+
    February 23, 2021 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    I love Megan’s writing; this was one of her best dry-wit examples. But the Celt in me can’t resist the lady of the thin place—where do I sign up for a pilgrimage? Melangell for me today. Someone please tell us how to pronounce her name!!

  26. Cap'n Black the Pyrate's Gravatar Cap'n Black the Pyrate
    February 23, 2021 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    I be thankin’ you all for these 2 storys. I and the crew hold high honors for thin places, places where grace can reach across the waves and hold us up. I invite all to seek such places on the high seas. Me hat is off to m’lady Melangell.

    • Lucia's Gravatar Lucia
      February 23, 2021 - 10:11 am | Permalink

      That’s lovely, Cap’n Black!

  27. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    February 23, 2021 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Could have chosen either. Voted for the Welsh saint because I’ve got some Welsh in me as well.

  28. J.J. of Cape Cod's Gravatar J.J. of Cape Cod
    February 23, 2021 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Melangell’s life of prayer and solitude led to the preservation of a natural sanctuary still accessible to all God’s creatures. A beautiful example of the power of prayer.

  29. Gray Family's Gravatar Gray Family
    February 23, 2021 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    Our family is voting Hospice over Hare…

  30. Lisa Keppeler's Gravatar Lisa Keppeler
    February 23, 2021 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    I’m betting the vote will go to Melangell, by a hare…
    Both Hermoine and Melangell were fascinating and faithful women who made a difference. However, Hermione may have escaped martyrdom, but did not dodge the mawkish and bloody legends that attend the stories of martyrs. The woods and mists and liminality of Melangell’s life appeal more strongly to my poetic sensibilities. And the bunny. Put a cuddly little animal into the picture, and you’ve snared me.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      February 23, 2021 - 11:12 am | Permalink

      May God bless every hare on your head, reverend Lisa.

    • Emily McFarlan Miller's Gravatar Emily McFarlan Miller
      February 23, 2021 - 3:19 pm | Permalink

      “By a hare” made me actually LOL.

  31. Linda LeBreux's Gravatar Linda LeBreux
    February 23, 2021 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    As a former hospice nurse it had to Hermione – plus I can pronounce it!

  32. Kate Cabot's Gravatar Kate Cabot
    February 23, 2021 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    For my many hours walking the coast of Wales with my favorite Saintly Limerickist, I vote today for Melangell and her forest friends.

  33. Steve Van allen's Gravatar Steve Van allen
    February 23, 2021 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    Had to go Welsh.

  34. Ruth Douglas Miller's Gravatar Ruth Douglas Miller
    February 23, 2021 - 9:57 am | Permalink

    Apparently we don’t know very much about Hermione. And I’m probably somewhat Welsh (my grandmother’s name was Pritchard, and Birmingham isn’t far from the Welsh border) and I learnt Welsh pronunciation from Susan Cooper’s The Grey King. So I’m partial to Melangell, though I’d say the “ll” is closer to a cross between the German (and Gaelic) “ch” and “l”, than to “th”. Richard will have to correct me! Next time I am across the Pond, I must seek out Melangell’s retreat; meantime, our snowy Berks County woods serves that peace well enough. I would do better to dwell in it.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      February 23, 2021 - 10:31 am | Permalink

      The “ll” is basically an unvoiced “l”. To pronounce it, get ready to say “l”, and blow out silently. The same difference as between “z” and”s”. Now you’re ready to say the longest name of a British railway station:

      Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. I

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        February 23, 2021 - 11:12 am | Permalink

        Pronounced: “El station.”

    • Sasha Bley-Vroman's Gravatar Sasha Bley-Vroman
      February 24, 2021 - 1:22 am | Permalink

      Hurrah for Susna Cooper and the whole series!

      • Sasha Bley-Vroman's Gravatar Sasha Bley-Vroman
        February 24, 2021 - 1:23 am | Permalink

        *Susan

  35. Walker A Shaw's Gravatar Walker A Shaw
    February 23, 2021 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    St Melangell, Patron Saint of Animals for Wales pulls at my heart this morning and gets my vote.

  36. Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
    February 23, 2021 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Since the parish I serve is dedicated to Francis of Assisi, it seemed appropriate to vote for another saint known for her love of animals.

  37. Michele May's Gravatar Michele May
    February 23, 2021 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    This story of tortured Hermione was just too gruesome! I wanted to be rid of her!

  38. Cath's Gravatar Cath
    February 23, 2021 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    Blood will out! I have to vote for Melangell, as she was Welsh.
    (Richard, there are many “thin” places, mostly where there is a tradition of prayer – we were discussing this at our Lent group today. It’s not only in Wales, and I hope you find a “thin place” near you. Heddwch I chi, hwyl fawr)

  39. Renee's Gravatar Renee
    February 23, 2021 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    Although I was very impressed by Hermione’s faith and her ability to withstand all the horrors done to her, I am such an animal lover that I had to vote for Melangell.

  40. Brian Perkins's Gravatar Brian Perkins
    February 23, 2021 - 10:18 am | Permalink

    Two varsity contestants!

  41. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    February 23, 2021 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    The Wikipedia article on Hadrian states:

    “Hadrian continued Trajan’s policy on Christians; they should not be sought out, and should only be prosecuted for specific offences, such as refusal to swear oaths.[239] In a rescript addressed to the proconsul of Asia, Gaius Minicius Fundanus, and preserved by Justin Martyr, Hadrian laid down that accusers of Christians had to bear the burden of proof for their denunciations[240] or be punished for calumnia (defamation).[241]”

    That, and the absence of any reference to Hadrian’s having injured a hand, seems to me to cast more than the usual doubt on the pious legends recounted in her bio. Moreover, I too am a lover of Wales and things Welsh, including the Welsh rabbit.

  42. Hugh Matheson's Gravatar Hugh Matheson
    February 23, 2021 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    Just noted that in the pic, Hermione is the one laying down with no head.

  43. February 23, 2021 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    My children reminded me that we needed to resume our Lent Madness Haiku practice

    St. Hermione
    undeterred by threats of death
    held on to her faith

    • Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
      February 23, 2021 - 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Bravo to Sylvia and children!

  44. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    February 23, 2021 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    Today’s match-up was no contest for me. Melangell has always been one of my favourite saints. I spent my childhood in that part of Powys then known as Montgomeryshire. One of my great-aunts lived in Pen-y-Bont Fawr, near Pennant Melangell, some 63 km (about 40 miles) from my home. In my Sunday School days, I was a Wyn-Melangell, which was the designation used for the youngest students.

    • Melissa Jo Sites's Gravatar Melissa Jo Sites
      February 23, 2021 - 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Please tell us how you were taught to pronounce her name, if you can?

  45. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    February 23, 2021 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    It’s gonna be a close one. Go Hermione Go!

  46. Susan Gage's Gravatar Susan Gage
    February 23, 2021 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    Such a tough choice. The write up on Hermione was hilarious, but Melangell’s devotion (and protection of small animals) won the day for me today.

  47. Henry R Cooper Jr's Gravatar Henry R Cooper Jr
    February 23, 2021 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    If the Greek superscript on the icon of St. Melangell is accurate, then the stress in her name falls on the second syllable and the “g” is hard: meh-LAN-ghel. I voted for her: St. Hermione had a few too many miraculous escapes from martyrdom to be completely credible.

  48. February 23, 2021 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    It was so refreshing to read of an early saint who survived the various attempts to dispatch her, but Melangell’s story (and locale) is too appealing to me to pass up. And not a hare shall be harmed.

  49. Patricia Anne's Gravatar Patricia Anne
    February 23, 2021 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    Oh well – another hard decision. If I could split my vote would that be like splitting hares? Sorry – bad joke. I voted for Hermione – but she will probably be the third one I voted for that doesn’t win. My streak continues but I ‘m still having fun and learning about new (to me) saints. ❤️

  50. Bee Durban's Gravatar Bee Durban
    February 23, 2021 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    Hermione’s story is powerful indeed, but Melangell is one of my favourite saints and her chapel is one of the most peaceful and powerfully spiritual places I have ever visited. Also, hooray for our animal activist saints who remind us that the other than human is holy too. Melangell all the way!

  51. Charles Stuart's Gravatar Charles Stuart
    February 23, 2021 - 10:57 am | Permalink

    I could have gone either way but ended up voting Melangell for the bunnies and the thin places.

  52. Jane Bucci's Gravatar Jane Bucci
    February 23, 2021 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    You had me at “thin place”. Melangell for me today.

  53. Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
    February 23, 2021 - 11:09 am | Permalink

    I’m with Melangell for her work in founding and leading an abbey. Hermione’s work was important, but Melangelll’s had a more lasting significance. They both had cool stories!

    • Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
      February 24, 2021 - 12:53 am | Permalink

      Hmm, hospices are still very much in evidence. No matter of course, just thought to point that out. I voted for Melangell, but originally was going to overlook Hermione’s incredible bio just to vote for her work with hospices.

  54. Ann Tottenham's Gravatar Ann Tottenham
    February 23, 2021 - 11:11 am | Permalink

    Spent several summers in the Berwyn mountains near LLangollen as a child so couldn’t resist Melangell.

  55. Carl Fuglein's Gravatar Carl Fuglein
    February 23, 2021 - 11:17 am | Permalink

    Simple choice for me. Anybody that is an animal lover gets my vote

  56. JoJo's Gravatar JoJo
    February 23, 2021 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    There ought to be a pronunciation guide or phonetic spelling included in the write-ups this year. I didn’t know of either saint before and it was hard to choose but I went with Hermione for this COVID pandemic we need healing from.
    Although I may recommend Melangel to my godson Jason as a patron saint of his Red Rabbit Coffee business venture.

  57. February 23, 2021 - 11:42 am | Permalink

    Expecto Petronius! I have to go with Hermione. Too tough to be martyred! The stories gave me a chuckle, and that’s worth my vote. Also I prefer people that go out and seek to heal people rather than hide away from life, only helping those that come around.

    • tyler's Gravatar tyler
      February 23, 2021 - 12:03 pm | Permalink

      It’s expecto potronum

  58. EllieT's Gravatar EllieT
    February 23, 2021 - 11:43 am | Permalink

    Loved Megan Castellan’s fantastical tale of Hermione. What is it with martyrs and kitchen appliances? But Melangell had me from the start, for Wales and Cadfael and bunnies and for thin places. Iona, where my mother’s ashes lie, is another thin place. Melangell’s abbey is now on my bucket list. Thank you!

    • EllieT's Gravatar EllieT
      February 23, 2021 - 11:44 am | Permalink

      and the puns 🙂

  59. Peggy Nelson's Gravatar Peggy Nelson
    February 23, 2021 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    Being a proud breeder and owner of Welsh Springer Spaniels, my vote went for Melangell.
    We have shown Welshies for 20 years and recently decided to no longer show or continue
    breeding…47 puppies were enough so, we live with our current crew of Amelia ( age 14 and
    just as bouncy as ever), Ginger ( age 10), G.G. ( age 5) and Gryff ( 14 months – who is the only
    boy dog in the house). Amelia and Ginger have continued in the tradition of Melangell by
    being certified therapy dogs that work with school children in special programs in
    elementary school either because of behavioral issues, mental health and they have worked with
    children who were deaf and had profound speech problems. So, Melangell’s healing spirit
    lives on in our Welshies! Love those red and white dogs!!!!

  60. Deborah's Gravatar Deborah
    February 23, 2021 - 11:46 am | Permalink

    These saints were so long ago that extremely little of a factual nature is in their legends, tales & stories. It seems there is actually something (albeit rather general) known about Melangell’s work, leading me to vote for her.

  61. Marceliano & Joseph's Gravatar Marceliano & Joseph
    February 23, 2021 - 11:47 am | Permalink

    Hermione’s faith was tested,
    Her body bent and bruised,
    She held fast to her values in Christ as she thwarted the Emperor’s abuse,
    Hermione focused on healing all as did Jesus Christ,
    Awe inspiring, spiritually moving, a guide to act,
    We’re voting Hermione and that is fact!

  62. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    February 23, 2021 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    My entire family have been hunters. My mother got her deer every year until she was 90. My brothers hunt everything. So I do have concern for the hunters.

    • Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
      February 23, 2021 - 3:05 pm | Permalink

      We need hunters. (And this is a vegetarian speaking.) The non-human animal responsible for the largest number of deaths in this country each year is the deer. Not because they attack humans, but because they step out in front of cars and people are killed swerving to avoid the animal. Hunters deserve thanks for reducing the number of fatalities caused by deer each year.

  63. tyler's Gravatar tyler
    February 23, 2021 - 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Hermione Granger from harry potter

  64. Sue Fisher's Gravatar Sue Fisher
    February 23, 2021 - 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Hermione is a bad-ss. She got my vote.

  65. Zazzsu's Gravatar Zazzsu
    February 23, 2021 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Such wonderful choices! I had to vote for our Welsh Lady, for her protection of small animals, her strength of character to be herself rather than follow her father’s orders and her protection of this area where our world meets the heavens.

  66. James Lodwick's Gravatar James Lodwick
    February 23, 2021 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I wish Lent Madness would choose saints for whose lives there is at least a kernel of truth among all the fantastical and improbable “miracles,” as for example in the case of Hermione! I don’t find such fanciful tales at all edifying. There are plenty of legitimate saints to choose from, of whom we actually know something of their lives.

    1

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      February 23, 2021 - 1:11 pm | Permalink

      The first improbable miracle was turning water into wine. The rest are appreciative footnotes.

    • Shelly's Gravatar Shelly
      February 24, 2021 - 1:04 am | Permalink

      I find the fanciful tales entertaining. There’s usually something of truth to them. It’s also a way to include the older saints.

  67. Lee Greenawalt's Gravatar Lee Greenawalt
    February 23, 2021 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Interesting tale of Hermione, but too fanciful to offer me inspiration, guidance or solace. Hadrian died with both hands. I doubt if he could grow a new one like a crab. Melangell leads me to be kind to small animals and observe even tinier creatures as I sit and meditate in meadow or glen.

  68. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    February 23, 2021 - 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Today, Hermione had me at “Hospice” as Hospice gave my mother such a wonderful experience for her last 3 weeks! Besides, I am in a snit over how darn hard it is to get my hands on Brother Cadfael books these days!

  69. Amy Leeson's Gravatar Amy Leeson
    February 23, 2021 - 12:25 pm | Permalink

    St Melangell gets my vote today. The world needs more places of sanctuary.

  70. Sharon Davis's Gravatar Sharon Davis
    February 23, 2021 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I learned about two fascinating saints today. Hard to pick one. Joy is learning something new every day. Both of them are bad woman. Hit in the face and still you survive and thrive. Look at God Melangell gets my vote she provided sanctuary to all creatures in need. That can be hard to do sometime. Melangell is my pick today.

    • Sara L's Gravatar Sara L
      February 23, 2021 - 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Same here, Sharon. Even though I marked for Hermione in my bracket, I’m voting for Melangell. Had never heard of the Irish/Welsh saint, and find her story enchanting!
      Love the Mabinogion, and her story echos the tales in that collection.

  71. Loretta's Gravatar Loretta
    February 23, 2021 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Yay to Melangell standing up to being married off. Also, yay to the Prince of Powys who, upon seeing a beautiful woman, didn’t try to marry her but instead respected her chosen vocation and gave her space (literally) to continue in it.

  72. Bob Chapman's Gravatar Bob Chapman
    February 23, 2021 - 12:55 pm | Permalink

    I was expecting all the literary references to be with Hermione. Leave it to Lent Madness to immediately turn the literary references to Melangell.

  73. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    February 23, 2021 - 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Impressed as I am by Hermione and her work establishing hospices, not to mention the write up, I vote for Melangell, for her refusal to accept anything other than her call, for her care for animals, and for hallowing a thin place. The pandemic has kept me from Iona so a reminder of a thin place lifts my spirit. I am also rather impressed by the prince who recognised a woman’s vocation and supported her.

  74. PAMELA THOMSON's Gravatar PAMELA THOMSON
    February 23, 2021 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I think it is colonial, misogynistic and unfair to place 2 women together in the first round. We are not given a fair chance. Odds count! Live your show as they say

  75. Pamela D.'s Gravatar Pamela D.
    February 23, 2021 - 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Melangell all the way! Her life continued to benefit others to this day.

  76. Claire Abraham's Gravatar Claire Abraham
    February 23, 2021 - 1:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure I buy all the gory details in Hermione’s story, but I do approve of somebody who created a hospice. Hermione it is – by a hair, not a hare.

  77. February 23, 2021 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    As a deacon, how could I not vote for Hermione?

  78. Lesley Lancaster's Gravatar Lesley Lancaster
    February 23, 2021 - 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I had difficulty accepting Hermione’s story with all its miracles. And in today’s world where we are focused on protecting the environment I had to vote for Melangell. Thanks for the tip about Cadfeal. I remember seeing some of the episodes with Derek Jacobi many years ago and we do enjoy the Father Brown series. I will order some Cadfael from our local library and, if I like them, present them to our book group for reading next year.

  79. Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
    February 23, 2021 - 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Arrghgh! So difficult, but I decided to go with Hermione, mainly for her Hogwarts’ namesake.
    But now I have yet another reason to go to Wales besides The Dark Is Rising series, which I own and which make me want to go to Wales and Cornwall.

  80. Pamela Wren's Gravatar Pamela Wren
    February 23, 2021 - 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Today in Texas it’s 75 degrees! I went out to the deck and removed all the furniture covers.
    Clearly, an animal (rabbit perhaps!) had escaped the storm by using my chair under the tarp.
    Melangell and her care for animals speaks to my heart!

  81. Anne Wrider's Gravatar Anne Wrider
    February 23, 2021 - 2:17 pm | Permalink

    My cat is named Hermione, but she is clearly not in THIS Hermione’s league, being a creature who demands comfort above all else. So I had to vote for Melagell, whose legacy is more concrete.

  82. Lane Johnson's Gravatar Lane Johnson
    February 23, 2021 - 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Celts do remarkably well here. Both our figures have strong stories.

  83. Deborah Sampson's Gravatar Deborah Sampson
    February 23, 2021 - 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Hospice is one of the best services I can imagine for families going through the death process. If Hermione was behind that concept, she should get the vote of anyone, without regard for ancestry, who expects to die or have a lived one die.

  84. Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
    February 23, 2021 - 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I cast my vote for Melangell—for bunnies and hares, for Cadfael, for thin places, and for strong women who follow God’s call to serve.

  85. Edwin Cox's Gravatar Edwin Cox
    February 23, 2021 - 3:24 pm | Permalink

    My family is awash in very strong women, and this was a difficult choice.
    I voted for Hermoine. I suspect she was the role model for Harry Potter’s friend.

    • kelinkc's Gravatar kelinkc
      February 23, 2021 - 5:06 pm | Permalink

      I suspect that J.K. Rowling must have been thinking that as well when she developed the character of Hermione. 🙂

  86. Susan Frambach's Gravatar Susan Frambach
    February 23, 2021 - 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Hermione, because of her hospice work. Both my late husband and just 2 weeks ago, my Mother, spent their final days in a wonderful hospice. I am eternally grateful for the care of the staff.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      February 23, 2021 - 4:20 pm | Permalink

      So sorry fir your losses, Susan.

    • Isabelle's Gravatar Isabelle
      February 23, 2021 - 11:39 pm | Permalink

      My condolences for your losses, Susan. I hope the levity of Lent Madness helps a little. I also am a great supporter of hospice, birth my mom and my dad. And caring for the family, too. What a blessing! I voted for Hermione as well.

      • Isabelle's Gravatar Isabelle
        February 23, 2021 - 11:40 pm | Permalink

        Both, not birth.

  87. Wynne Osborne's Gravatar Wynne Osborne
    February 23, 2021 - 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Wynne O. must vote for Wyn Melangell.

  88. Anne Lane's Gravatar Anne Lane
    February 23, 2021 - 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Hermione for me. I was taken by her healing, prophecy, studying, spiritual guidance, hospice, and her bravery and determination.

  89. Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
    February 23, 2021 - 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Although I don’t believe that Hadrian’s hand was burnt off (his statues show no such deformity) I honor Hermione for aiding the people of her adopted city.

  90. Kevin's Gravatar Kevin
    February 23, 2021 - 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Mel. Her bio touched me and seemed a touch more grounded. Grew up in Bryn Mawr…near Bala Cynwyd, Merion, Narberth, Haverford, Radnor, St. David’s. Wales prevailed.

  91. kelinkc's Gravatar kelinkc
    February 23, 2021 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

    I love the stories about strong females bucking the norms of the day, but how can you not vote for Hermione? She was beyond strong, having avoided death three different times because of her faith and thus avoiding martyrdom. Go Hermione!

  92. Judy Bye's Gravatar Judy Bye
    February 23, 2021 - 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I spent the weekend searching, on line, for the missing parlor of Gwydir Castle in North Wales, home of Sir John Wynn, 1st Baronet. William R. Hearst bought two rooms at the sale in 1921. Needless to say I’ve had a very interesting several years searching and learning about North Wales. Gwydir has been restored for the last 25+years. She is a grade 1, 16th century Tudor Manor with grade 1 gardens. To my delight Judy Corbet trimmed a giant boxwood into a giant rabbit. So, I’ve decided to trim some boxwoods in the corner of our yard into a giant rabbit. For years I have fed our little critters year round and yes, we have a rabbit. Also squirrels, chipmunks and a growing variety of birds. My late husband, Richard Wynn, traces back to Gwydir. Some my family have visited. Prior to the pandemic they were open for tours and are a B&B. Sir Richard Wynn was the 2nd Baronet. He built a chapel and a bridge both still standing. I have gotten to know much of the history of ancient Wales and the current political state of the area. We are fortunate to have the early history, plus letters and furnishings. Recently Gwydir was gifted the table from the missing parlor–the oldest and rarest furniture known to Wales. So Melangell and the many posts with mention of Wales was a treat for me. I love all the bizarre tales of many saints and tend not to be too hasty to reject them. I think it was last year one of them walked out of the ocean carrying her head–I did dismiss that. I do not dismiss that Gwydir’s owners believe Gwydir is calling her things back.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      February 23, 2021 - 6:32 pm | Permalink

      St Denis carried his own head. And that was before the Revolution and that newfangled invention the guillotine!

  93. Conny Santana's Gravatar Conny Santana
    February 23, 2021 - 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Hopefully polls are still open as it is only just after noon here in Hawaii but my view of the voting appears to be a final count. Surely not because that would mean Hawaii polls close by noon. I often vote at days end.

  94. Tiffany's Gravatar Tiffany
    February 23, 2021 - 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I found the story of Melangell charming, and I liked that she was able to follow her own path by avoiding marriage as she wished. But Hermione also avoided being married off, and chose her own path, first pursuing spiritual study, then becoming a healer. Moreover, I decided that I rather like the notion of men getting comeuppance for trying to harm a woman.

  95. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    February 23, 2021 - 6:29 pm | Permalink

    SEC ALERT! Please check the server records over the last couple of hours. Every time we have had a winner overtaken by a “loser” (note to self: saints are never losers), it has been because of cheating. This sudden surge on behalf of Hermione is suspicious. As worthy as Hermione is, that old Harry Potter black magic is not acceptable during Lent Madness. Please conduct some surveillance and “doo doo” diligence.

    • Kate Cabot's Gravatar Kate Cabot
      February 23, 2021 - 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it does seem less a miracle than an act of some suspicious nature. I second the request that SEC do a thorough look here.

    • John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
      February 23, 2021 - 8:52 pm | Permalink

      It appears that as of 8:30 PM EST the SEC has taken action, 389 duplicate votes have been discarded and some unscrupulous voters have been cast into Lenten Darkness…

      If I’m not mistaken, that’s far and away the largest case of vote fraud in this country in the last year.

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        February 23, 2021 - 9:26 pm | Permalink

        well apart from the massive purging of voter rolls to deny black voters the franchise . . .

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        February 23, 2021 - 9:29 pm | Permalink

        but seriously, I ask you, WHO CHEATS IN ROUND 1?

        • John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
          February 23, 2021 - 9:45 pm | Permalink

          I dunno, but I’m glad they’re out early.

          Are you suggesting that it’s more productive to cheat in rounds 2, 3 and 4?

        • Shelly's Gravatar Shelly
          February 24, 2021 - 1:09 am | Permalink

          Who cheats in Lent Madness at all??

  96. Barbara Brooks's Gravatar Barbara Brooks
    February 23, 2021 - 6:46 pm | Permalink

    I love the wonderfully tangential nature of so many of the comments today. It feels like conversations that take off around the dinner table. I think it speaks, too, to the worthiness of both the contenders that our minds are goofing around instead of wrestling with our choice. Today, in honor of my son Reese (or Rhys, if you want to be Welsh about it) and the hare, I vote for Melangell.

  97. Melissa Jo Sites's Gravatar Melissa Jo Sites
    February 23, 2021 - 7:02 pm | Permalink

    I am voting for Melangell. I had a pet rabbit who was a dear friend to my child for a number of years, so I appreciate that she is a patron of hares. 🙂 I also love that her hermitage become a nature sanctuary, and I love the beautiful old tree that survives there (google photos of her church to see it).
    I do tend to vote for the more historic saint when possible, and Melangell got me with her ties to a real and beautiful spot in Wales.

  98. Donna Roath's Gravatar Donna Roath
    February 23, 2021 - 7:26 pm | Permalink

    I find both of today’s Saints beautiful in story and in faith. My hope is that this year’s goes to a little known Saint – preferably a woman.

  99. Donna Roath's Gravatar Donna Roath
    February 23, 2021 - 7:28 pm | Permalink

    That’s “this year’s HALO”

  100. Mama J's Gravatar Mama J
    February 23, 2021 - 7:40 pm | Permalink

    I find myself wanting to find a place of refuge in the midst of caring for an ailing husband (back surgery) and a pandemic community. It used to be ‘Calgon, take me away!’ (according to an old TV ad) but now it more like ‘Melangell take me in!’ I think want to go to Wales for a retreat!

  101. Laura Schick's Gravatar Laura Schick
    February 23, 2021 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

    This one is a close race. I voted Melangell because of her protection of ALL of God’s creatures at her abby.

  102. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    February 23, 2021 - 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Hermione gets my vote for her dedication to her ministry of care of people both spiritually and physically. And to stand fast against torture . The rabbits can’t compare.

  103. Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
    February 23, 2021 - 8:37 pm | Permalink

    I definitely want to go to Melangell’s place (or anywhere else, for that matter). Had to vote for her because of her care for small animals. Maybe the hare that got sanctuary was the Easter bunny!

  104. Sara's Gravatar Sara
    February 23, 2021 - 9:05 pm | Permalink

    People! Hermione is one of the founding mothers of the Holy Unmercentary Physicians, which should win her SO MANY VOTES
    https://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2018/10/three-holy-unmercenary-female-physicians.html

  105. Hill's Gravatar Hill
    February 23, 2021 - 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Hermione is so amazing! She’s clearly JK Rowling’s inspiration. Healing powers and escaping death! She must win.

  106. TJMannion's Gravatar TJMannion
    February 23, 2021 - 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Hey, I don’t see any comments from Oliver, who used to be ten years old. Anybody know what’s up?

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      February 23, 2021 - 10:21 pm | Permalink

      Oliver was nine and aged out of the “cute” category. That was a couple of years ago. At puberty one has to hold one’s own. We need to recruit among the “Godly Play” set.

    • Myrna Mai's Gravatar Myrna Mai
      February 24, 2021 - 12:50 am | Permalink

      I’m glad you asked about Oliver, 9 years old. I wondered about him.

  107. Betsy A Leonard's Gravatar Betsy A Leonard
    February 23, 2021 - 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Just for perseverance, I vote for Hermine. She accomplished much in her life and certainly stands up for her faith.

  108. Lauren D's Gravatar Lauren D
    February 23, 2021 - 11:07 pm | Permalink

    I had to go for the girl who allegedly had run-ins with two of my favorite Roman Emperors! (My research of both Trajan & Hadrian doesn’t seem to back up the story, but oh well!)

    • Linda Maloney's Gravatar Linda Maloney
      February 24, 2021 - 2:52 am | Permalink

      Lovely as Melangell is, I‘ve got to go with Hermione. I‘m finishing a feminist commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, and what to do with 21:9, „He [Philip] had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy.“ End of story. Not so! Thanks be for the authors of the apocrypha who fleshed out the lives of those intrepid souls!

  109. February 23, 2021 - 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Hermione’s story was too over the top for me.
    But imagine traveling such a distance to study with the apostle John… and ending up with a disciple of Paul instead!

  110. Myrna Mai's Gravatar Myrna Mai
    February 24, 2021 - 12:53 am | Permalink

    Today I had to go with Melangell. I’m fascinated by Wales, and I always loved my pet rabbits. I also love the idea of thin places and animal sanctuaries. It’s always hard to choose between two wonderful people, but my hardest choice was the other day between Tarcisius and Egeria.

  111. Barbara A. K. franklin's Gravatar Barbara A. K. franklin
    February 24, 2021 - 2:28 am | Permalink

    For once my choice looks to be victorious. I go for Mel because of the rabbit. Of course.

  112. MARY ROSA's Gravatar MARY ROSA
    February 24, 2021 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    MELANGELL WAS THE ONE WHO SET WHERE HEAVEN AND EARTH SEEMES CLOSE AND ALSO BECAUSE OF THE RABBITS. HERMIONE WITH HEALING AND MIRACLES AGAINST TYRANTS SEEMS RIGHT BEHIND.

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