Camillus de Lellis vs. Melangell

Welcome to the Saintly Sixteen! With your help, we have successfully whittled our field from 32 saints to 16. For this round, rather than the basic biographical information, we enter the realm of Quirks and Quotes. Our brilliant Celebrity Bloggers will provide unusual information or legends surrounding their saints along with quotes either by or about their saints.

If you need a quick refresher on those first round battles (and want to look at the initial bios), click the Bracket Tab. Just beneath the bracket, you’ll find all the previous matchups sorted by round.

We kick things off with Camillus de Lellis vs. Melangell. In the first round, Camillus trounced Matthias while Melangell narrowly defeated Hermione.

Yesterday, we finished up the Round of 32 as Catherine of Genoa smothered Catherine of Bologna 65% to 35% in the Battle of the Deli Meats. Just be glad there’s no patron saint of head cheese…

Camillus de Lellis
Camillus would not be described as being quirky, which carries with it a nuance of odd but charming. Camillus was, quite honestly, rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome. He was a gambler, a habit that led to financial, physical, and spiritual ruin throughout much of his life.

Having nowhere else to go and no way to earn a living because of an incurable leg wound likely a result of his short-lived military career, he went to the St. Giacomo hospital, from which he was eventually expelled because he was rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome. He gambled some more, lost even more, and eventually made his way to a Capuchin friary. There, he was overwhelmed by a sermon he heard, and realized he could serve God and those in need with his life. However, he was denied admission to the order, in part because he was rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome.

So he returned to St. Giacomo, and while still having the qualities that got him excused the first time, God was focusing those same qualities into passions to help the sick. He also discovered the Jesuits, who appreciated his rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome ways; he was ordained to the priesthood at age 34.

He organized a group of lay and ordained people to become servants of the sick, which eventually became Order of the Ministers of the Infirm. Camillus chose red crosses on their black cassocks and capes to terrorize the devil while they cared for the sick and dying.

His roughness found energy in making sure hospitals were clean and those who cared for the sick were competent. He did not suffer stupidity and filth around those in need of healing. He continued to have an unpleasant streak that showed when people limited him from his ministry. While caring for plague victims, Camillus discovered people were being buried alive—they weren’t dead yet. So he demanded all members of the Order pray for those who had died for 15 minutes after their apparent death, just to make sure.

His quarrelsomeness became a passion for his ministry to the sick and dying. Camillus, in his later years, suffered many sores on his legs and feet, greatly limiting his mobility. On days he couldn’t walk from bed to bed to offer prayers for the dying, he crawled to their bedsides to minister.

At age 64, Camillus learned he himself was dying. He replied, “I rejoice in what has been told me. We shall go into the house of the Lord.” He received the Eucharist as he died, confessing that he was the most wretched of sinners, undeserving of the grace God has bestowed on him that saved him.

—Laurie Brock


St. Melangell doesn’t leave behind any words, just the place where she—a sixth-century Irish princess—once sought and offered sanctuary.

But her story—of fleeing marriage and royal life to become a hermit, of protecting a defenseless hare from a prince’s hunting dogs, of providing rest and safety to all creatures in need at Pennant Melangell in Wales—continues to offer sanctuary to many.

“It dramatizes the strength of contemplative resistance; it tells us that there is a place to be away from hunting,” writes Welsh Anglican bishop Rowan Williams in a foreword to the poetry collection “The Hare That Hides Within: Poems about St. Melangell.”

“Whether this is read in connection with human abuse of nature, male abuse of women, or power’s abuse of prayer in general, the pattern is similar,” Williams continues.

Some writers have lent their voices to Melangell, who says in Norman Schwenk’s poem “Rime of St. Melangell,” that she was “weary of running, like the hare / Hounded day and night.”

Welsh antiquarian Thomas Pennant wrote Melangell had “lived fifteen years without seeing the face of a man” at Pennant Melangell, making her relatable after a pandemic year largely spent in lockdown.

And a recent guide to pilgrimage in Wales points out she and her abbey connect with people beyond her own tradition. With its pre-Christian and ancient Celtic connections, Pennant Melangell was and continues to be a place of pilgrimage for followers of pagan traditions.

Other writers have offered readers sanctuary in their words about the saint, especially the poets.

For those seeking a place away from hunting—perhaps a “thin place” like Pennant Melangell, where Celts believe heaven and earth are especially close—there are the words of Anne Cluysenaar’s poem “On a Visit to Pennant Melangell”:

In this Welsh valley
her Irish Gaelic
quested for God.
The valley speaks
no language. In exile
she was at home,
trusting the place.

For those seeking healing like the prince who was changed by his encounter with Melangell, there are the words of John Freeman’s poem “The Rebirth of Brochwel”:

You need her healing love.
She will flourish from the good
you take from here to do
in her name in the world.

And for those who would, like Melangell, offer a picture of God’s rest and safety to a weary world, there are the words of Ruth Bidgood’s poem “Hare at Pennant,” told from the hare’s perspective:

All I have been, am, she shelters.
‘Not, I,’ she says, ‘it is my Lord.’ But she
is what I know, soft-robed saint,
gentle one, who heard my piping cry,

Cudd fi, cudd fi, Melangell, 
Monacella, hide me!

—Emily McFarlan Miller


Camillus de Lellis vs. Melangell

  • Camillus de Lellis (52%, 3,476 Votes)
  • Melangell (48%, 3,152 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,628

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John Haynes / Marker post for the Pererindod Melangell

116 Comments to "Camillus de Lellis vs. Melangell"

  1. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    March 11, 2021 - 8:00 am | Permalink

    Saint Camillus, with a leg past repair
    Formed his Order to offer health care.
    It’s instructive to ponder
    Whether this first responder
    Could foresee the red cross everywhere.

    • Missy McArdle's Gravatar Missy McArdle
      March 11, 2021 - 9:26 am | Permalink


    • Joyce's Gravatar Joyce
      March 11, 2021 - 9:41 am | Permalink

      I wish there was a like button for your limericks. They are wonderful.

    • EMILY's Gravatar EMILY
      March 11, 2021 - 10:03 am | Permalink

      Love this!

    • Linda S's Gravatar Linda S
      March 11, 2021 - 10:48 am | Permalink

      Two opposites, both in service to God. The perfect pairing with perfect write-ups. Melangell appeals to me this Lent so I voted for her and, yet I was most inspired by Camillus’s story today. I loved that it was the Jesuits who came to appreciate Camillus’s personality flaws and that those flaws were exactly what made him such a success in ministry! Another huge takeaway, thank you, Lent Madness!
      This is why I come back years after year! And, I’ve already ordered the Melangell poetry book. ❤️

      • Bee Durban's Gravatar Bee Durban
        March 11, 2021 - 3:52 pm | Permalink

        You will love the book, Linda. We are studying Melangell in my community just now and lots of us have ordered it. It’s wonderful!

    • Amy Cook's Gravatar Amy Cook
      March 11, 2021 - 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Oh this might be your best yet!!! Bravo!

    • Pat Blair's Gravatar Pat Blair
      March 11, 2021 - 11:29 pm | Permalink

      Love it!

    • Ali's Gravatar Ali
      March 12, 2021 - 7:15 am | Permalink

      Does Camillus remind anyone else of Dr. House (played by Hugh Laurie)?

    • Hank's Gravatar Hank
      March 12, 2021 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Well said John Cabot. I’ve seen your wit elsewhere.

  2. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 11, 2021 - 8:04 am | Permalink

    I voted for Camillus because I’m all for clean hospitals! (sounds like our 2017 winner of The Golden Halo, Florence Nightingale)

  3. Kit Kleinhans's Gravatar Kit Kleinhans
    March 11, 2021 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    It was the poem from the perspective of the hare that secured my vote for St. Melangell. Powerful female imagery for the divine.

    • Glenn Horton-Smith's Gravatar Glenn Horton-Smith
      March 11, 2021 - 8:52 am | Permalink


    • Emily McFarlan Miller's Gravatar Emily McFarlan Miller
      March 11, 2021 - 10:22 am | Permalink

      I loved it, too!

    • Elizabeth Hastings's Gravatar Elizabeth Hastings
      March 11, 2021 - 10:34 am | Permalink

      I agree most profoundly!!!

    • Amy Leeson's Gravatar Amy Leeson
      March 11, 2021 - 11:47 am | Permalink

      Like! 😀 I voted for Melangell in Round 1 because I felt the world needs as many places of sanctuary as we can get. This round is a harder choice for me, but “Powerful female imagery for the divine” persuades me to stick with Melangell today. Melangell all the way for the Golden Halo in 2021!

      • Cindy Page's Gravatar Cindy Page
        March 11, 2021 - 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Yes!! I agree. All the way for St. Melangell. PLUS we get to continue to hear Tim and Scott try to pronounce her name — bonus! (And the limerick writers find its rhyme?!)

        • Jackie B's Gravatar Jackie B
          March 11, 2021 - 9:09 pm | Permalink

          I would also like to hear TEC pronounce her name. And good point about the limerick.

    • Gwen's Gravatar Gwen
      March 11, 2021 - 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Love it!

    • Patricia Gordon's Gravatar Patricia Gordon
      March 11, 2021 - 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I was touched by the poem from the hare’s point of view. Lovely. I cannot believe Camillus is leading: Rough, unpleasant and quarrelsome vs. the strength of contemplative resistance? I’ve had more than my fill of the former for the past 4-1/2 years – I am ready for the latter. Melangell is my choice, at home in exile, providing rest and safety. Thank you Emily McFarlan Miller – your piece was moving and beautiful.

  4. Catherine Linberg's Gravatar Catherine Linberg
    March 11, 2021 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Red Crosses are everywhere; let’s seek those (more?) subtle crossings where earth and heaven touch. Melangell for the silver.

  5. Pam Griffin's Gravatar Pam Griffin
    March 11, 2021 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Kudos to our two celebrity bloggers for getting blood out of stones! As I read Camillus’ story, I couldn’t help but laugh at Laurie’s description of him as “rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome,” and how she used it for her theme. I knew then that I had to vote for Camillus/Laurie!
    Then I read Emily’s creative discourse on Melangell which was equally as good, drawing from other sources. Good job Emily, but I still voted for Camillus.

    • Emily McFarlan Miller's Gravatar Emily McFarlan Miller
      March 11, 2021 - 10:23 am | Permalink

      Thanks for letting me down easy! 😉

      • Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
        March 11, 2021 - 10:49 am | Permalink

        Your piece on Melangell was beautiful.

    • Jennifer Franz's Gravatar Jennifer Franz
      March 11, 2021 - 8:59 pm | Permalink

      I, too, found Laurie’s use of “rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome” quite delightful. Beyond the clever writing stands a stronger message to me: God can use all of us, however challenged or challenging we may be. I don’t think I’m any of the above, but on my worst days I’m sure I can come across that way. Praise be that my service, such as it is, will still be welcome.

  6. JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
    March 11, 2021 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Camillus was certainly rough around the edges, but he was tireless in his actions for the poor in their sickness. His love and caring shone throughout.

  7. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    March 11, 2021 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    The thought of him crawling from patient to patient after he could no longer walk brought me to tears.

  8. Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
    March 11, 2021 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    These become tougher as the bracket narrows. Camillus fought for patients’ rights (clean hospital and not being buried alive) and I couldn’t help but smile over the repeated “rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome”. However, I had to go with Melangell today because we can all use a peaceful sanctuary and “thin spaces”.

  9. Ruth Douglas Miller's Gravatar Ruth Douglas Miller
    March 11, 2021 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    The #MeToo movement vs the Red Cross! I must wait for more comments, but I will say here, Emily McFarlan Miller, you have done a masterful job promoting Melangell!

    • Emily McFarlan Miller's Gravatar Emily McFarlan Miller
      March 11, 2021 - 10:26 am | Permalink

      Thank you! I hadn’t heard of Melangell before Lent Madness, but I think I’ve been just as taken by the idea of thin places and seeking sanctuary in nature and small, furry animal companions as everybody else.

  10. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 11, 2021 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Oh, well done, bloggers! Emily was inspired, using the words of poets to advance the cause of her saint, and Laurie eloquently pleaded the case of her “rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome” sinner-saint. Both saints can appeal to us today, one roughly, unpleasantly, and quarrelsomely caring for plague victims (as Monte Python said, “Bring out your dead!”), the other experiencing lockdown like us. I don’t know whom to vote for. I had thought Melangell would easily get my vote, not the rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome bloke. But after a full year of covid, I feel that all the life has been crushed out of the world, and I’m wondering if a rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome figure might not be precisely the one to bring it to those reckless and irresponsible people who promote the folly of masklessness in the name of a fetid and nihilistic “freedom.” Melangell might listen with pity to the paeans of the foolish rabbits in Watership Down that sing to the shining wire that will snare them for the jug, but Camillus would throttle the poachers and stuff their silly flags down their throats. Three percenters, meet the 100% rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome.

    • Linda L's Gravatar Linda L
      March 11, 2021 - 8:45 am | Permalink

      St Celia, you convinced me!

    • Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
      March 11, 2021 - 9:08 am | Permalink

      There is no freedom when we’re sick or dead, and there should be no freedom to spread a lethal disease. In God, who created science, medicine, and masks, we trust, especially in states that have been opened 100% and have declared masks optional. Greetings from Texas.

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 11, 2021 - 10:41 am | Permalink

        God bless you!

    • Rita Pino Vargas's Gravatar Rita Pino Vargas
      March 11, 2021 - 9:47 am | Permalink

      thank you for your words

    • Laurie Earle's Gravatar Laurie Earle
      March 11, 2021 - 10:47 am | Permalink

      “I feel fine! I think I’ll go for a walk!” While we need the respite of a thin place during this crushing time, I too have to go with the grumpy advocate of excellent care.

    • Sue Campbell's Gravatar Sue Campbell
      March 11, 2021 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Love the reference to Watership Down! Loved the book and the movie. I voted for Camillus due to his intensity.

  11. Lee Greenawalt's Gravatar Lee Greenawalt
    March 11, 2021 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    I go with Melangell feeling the need to get and give respite. Camillus was active in demanding cleanliness but lacked the TLC really needed more than physical care.

  12. Jane Christmas's Gravatar Jane Christmas
    March 11, 2021 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    Camillus gets my vote though I have great admiration for Melangell. Curious as to why “Welsh Anglican bishop Rowan Williams” was not described by his normal title of “former Archbishop of Canterbury.”

    • Emily McFarlan Miller's Gravatar Emily McFarlan Miller
      March 11, 2021 - 10:27 am | Permalink

      Because he has that in common with Melangell. 😉

      • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
        March 11, 2021 - 10:43 am | Permalink

        I love it that you read and respond to the comments! I wish the other CBs would join in as well!

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 11, 2021 - 11:36 am | Permalink

      I THOUGHT that name was familiar! (all caps because underlining doesn’t work here.)
      Thanks, Jane Christmas.

  13. March 11, 2021 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    I had trouble making a decision but my fondness for people who are rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome won out.

    • Donna Watson's Gravatar Donna Watson
      March 11, 2021 - 10:23 am | Permalink

      Are you Sister Mary Lois who worked in St. Bart’s food pantry?

  14. Helen's Gravatar Helen
    March 11, 2021 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    You had me at “He also discovered the Jesuits, who appreciated his rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome ways; he was ordained to the priesthood at age 34.”

    Our world needs a few more “rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome” souls who show through their actions their love and service to their fellow men and women.

    In the spirit of the Jebbie “Go forth and set the world on fire,” Camillus gets my vote.

  15. Ben's Gravatar Ben
    March 11, 2021 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    Melangell for me today;
    To offer sanctuary to those who had no recourse but to flee when threatened.

  16. Carol Duncaan's Gravatar Carol Duncaan
    March 11, 2021 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    We could hardly imagine two more opposite saints! I want to vote for Camillus because of his conversion from repulsive to compassionate. I want to vote for Melangell because my favorite Archbishop portrayed her in sweet poetry. Selfishly, I’m going with Melangel because I have so much more in common with her. Thank you for posing the breadth of saintliness.

    • Sue's Gravatar Sue
      March 11, 2021 - 12:50 pm | Permalink

      I, an RN who did home nursing care for 20 years and specifically wound care for 10 years, am pulled (selfishly) to vote for Camillus whose red cross is still used today. I can’t help wonder if his wound was arterial or venous, with or without a bone infection. Either way, it led him to gather a group to care for the sick, the dying, while meeting the needs of the poor. Imagine us caring for all
      the poor…..

  17. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 11, 2021 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    I voted for Camillus in honor of all medical personnel who have risked and even lost their lives caring for patients with Covid-19. My years working in laboratories and hospitals taught me much about infection control, and these lessons served me well during the past year. Mask, keep social distance, and wash or sanitize hands, everyone.

  18. March 11, 2021 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    The Welsh connection is important! But not only my ancestry (Cymry am byth!) makes my vote for Melangell a no-brainer, but she is one of the saints who watch over me as I start my Retreat House (yes, in the middle of a pandemic) in Maine. Our name means The Quiet Place Between the Rapids and Melangell is a provider of such quiet havens. See for more information.

  19. March 11, 2021 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Melangell for me. Anyone who can inspire so much poetry gets my vote. Went to Wales many years ago with my wife. Sadly I didn’t know about Melangell at the time. I’m always on the lookout for thin places. They’re hard to find in the Bronx, but I know they’re here somewhere.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 11, 2021 - 9:17 am | Permalink

      Try the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

    • Amy Leeson's Gravatar Amy Leeson
      March 11, 2021 - 11:56 am | Permalink

      Frankie and Johnny’s Pine Restaurant = a thin place for me when I lived in NY. Heavenly, authentic Italian food! (Sadly, for many years now I have lived in places where Olive Garden gets people’s vote for favorite “Italian” restaurant, so I miss Frankie and Johnny’s!) I second St. Celia’s nomination of the Botanical Garden, as well — especially in spring!

  20. Joyce's Gravatar Joyce
    March 11, 2021 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    We once lived in a “thin place” on an island in Wisconsin, where we saw God’s creatures form our breakfast table. Just had to go with one who is known for the “thin place” and sanctuary she provided. Thank yuou Melangell.

  21. Chris Rhoads's Gravatar Chris Rhoads
    March 11, 2021 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    It’s a yin vrs. yang! Wish they were married and I could vote for both.

  22. March 11, 2021 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    To Laurie Brock, thanks for your telling of Camillus’ story. I needed the chuckle this morning! Also, nice Monty Python reference. “I’m not dead yet!” Camillus gets my vote.

    • March 11, 2021 - 10:30 am | Permalink

      Anika, I had the same thought about Monty Python! This was a tough one – I could almost have tossed a coin, but in the end I had to go with Camillus.

    • Mars Nealson's Gravatar Mars Nealson
      March 11, 2021 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

      YES! I was raised on Monty Python! It was a difficult decision, but as someone who occasionally feels “rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome”,and who wants people to make sure I’m dead before they bury me! I had to go with Camillus.

  23. Helena Mbele-Mbong's Gravatar Helena Mbele-Mbong
    March 11, 2021 - 9:34 am | Permalink

    Let us not confuse the Red Cross of the Camillians, the order founded by Camillus de Lellis to care for the sick and infirm in the late 16th C, with the Red Cross of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement which wasn’t founded until the 1864 Geneva Convention – nearly 300 years later, and which is based on reversing the white cross of the Swiss flag. We have all read above why Camillus chose a red cross. The crosses are even different shapes. While I like the story of Melangell and the hare, Camillus founded an order which is going strong to this day – an order caring for the sick and destitute with care, love, and humility. I vote for Camillus de Lellus.

    • Mary O'Donnell's Gravatar Mary O'Donnell
      March 11, 2021 - 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Ty, I did have the Red Cross confusion.

  24. Ellen L Mintzmyer's Gravatar Ellen L Mintzmyer
    March 11, 2021 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    I agree, the bloggers were exceptional. But I voted for Melangell.

  25. Rita Pino Vargas's Gravatar Rita Pino Vargas
    March 11, 2021 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Had to vote for Camillus .
    Are not we at some point in our lives a little
    rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome?

  26. Loretta's Gravatar Loretta
    March 11, 2021 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    I aspire to be as peaceful and contemplative as Melangell but frankly, relate more to Camillus’ “rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome” nature!

  27. simple village priest's Gravatar simple village priest
    March 11, 2021 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    I will cast my vote and efforts in with Camillus, and, with others who, like me and this holy curmudgeon, are blessed/cursed with at times being “rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome,” help to make the world safe for healing and nurture of all who are wounded, battle-weary, or oppressed.
    Then I will seek sabbath refreshment with Melangell in the holy thin places of solace and safety, poetry and empowerment.
    May we have both the strident and impatient strength of Camillus and the deep and gentle strength of Melangell, to help us break down and make thin the walls between us and God’s love, presence, justice and will for us here on earth.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 11, 2021 - 10:00 am | Permalink

      Well said!

  28. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    March 11, 2021 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    Having voted for both Camillus and Melangell in Round One, I am now letting my heart and my Welsh heritage rule my head, so Melangell it is. (Maybe am drawn to her because I was one of her hares in a previous life.)

  29. David's Gravatar David
    March 11, 2021 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    I relate more to Camillus’ “rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome” nature, but frankly, I aspire to be as peaceful and contemplative as Melangell!!!! She’s got my vote!

  30. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 11, 2021 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Only 7 of my picks in the first round made it to the Saintly Sixteen, and here are two of them facing off against each other. And both Celebrity Bloggers did outstanding jobs in their write-ups today. And as I write at 9:43 a.m. the results are only 1 vote apart! Wow. I finally decided to vote for Camillus because I, too, have sometimes been described as rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome. I would love to retreat to some peaceful, solitary place in the woods, and yet I feel called to serve those in need as Camillus was finally able to do.

  31. Craig Ewing's Gravatar Craig Ewing
    March 11, 2021 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    Heal the sick or shelter the hunted? I cannot help but think that our duty as Christians is to do both these things. Our spiritual relationship to God would suggest that sheltering the hunted is the higher calling, but our physical nature and its need for healing is just as much God’s gift as our soul. To me, these two saints capture as much of who we are as Christians as any pair so far and to make a choice is a tough call. I”m going with Melangell because she stood for the lesser creatures in a world of power and persecution – it is where Christ also stood.

  32. Steve D's Gravatar Steve D
    March 11, 2021 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    Like the original “ugly American,” Camillus reminds us that exteriors can be deceiving, and to look for today’s saints with our hearts, not our eyes.

  33. Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
    March 11, 2021 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    I had first thought to vote for Camillus, as he recalled to mind a friend who can be rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome, but who uses those attributes to serve God and love others. But Rowan Williams on Melangell’s “contemplative resistance” and the final poem from the hare won me over. Like others, praise to both bloggers for their excellent work.

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 11, 2021 - 10:31 am | Permalink

      Jack, you said it so ell I didn’t have to–thank you.

  34. Tiffany's Gravatar Tiffany
    March 11, 2021 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    The story of the guy with the gruff exterior hiding a soft heart appealed to me – and was amusingly told. And it’s always inspiring to see someone who is obviously flawed work for good in spite of their flaws, reminding us that our faults are not really the obstacles we might imagine them to be.

    The poetry inspired by Melangell is lovely. She made quite the impression, it would seem.

    I voted for the priest whose write-up made me chuckle, however.

    • Carol's Gravatar Carol
      March 11, 2021 - 4:40 pm | Permalink

      Like you, I find it inspiring to hear our “flaws” are only flaws when not used for God. As a flawed individual among other flawed beings, that is reassuring, although it does leave the required “used for God” to be addressed…

      • Tiffany's Gravatar Tiffany
        March 11, 2021 - 7:49 pm | Permalink

        Haha, exactly!

  35. Carey's Gravatar Carey
    March 11, 2021 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    As a retired “First Responder” I must vote for Saint Camillus who was one of the first. In these troubling times we need those first responders and medical personnel more than ever. Thanks be to God for those individuals that get up every day to help us in our time of calamity and illness.

  36. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 11, 2021 - 10:40 am | Permalink

    I’m voting for Camillus for all the curmudgeons I’ve known and loved and been. May God use us to bring order and cleanliness and competence.

  37. Laurie Earle's Gravatar Laurie Earle
    March 11, 2021 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    Random thought when I should be working: Would it not be a terrific idea to place a pandemic compilation of John Cabot’s limericks in the Lentorium?

  38. Adelaide Kent's Gravatar Adelaide Kent
    March 11, 2021 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    If Camillus was so effectively quarrelsome, why didn’t he stop the practice of burying plague victims alive instead of praying for them?

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 11, 2021 - 11:17 am | Permalink

      The purpose of praying for 15 minutes was to get the “undertakers” to wait long enough to see if the “dead” were actually still alive. It was to pause them long enough for the weak and immobile to gasp and move. (Bring out your dead! But I’m still alive! No, you’re not!) Perhaps the undertakers could also have been taught to check for a pulse, but since it was plague, perhaps no one wanted to physically touch the bodies.

  39. Rufus Hallmarlk's Gravatar Rufus Hallmarlk
    March 11, 2021 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    I voted for Camillus, in part because the presentation of Melangell did not, to my mind, clearly present good reasons for regarding her as saintly.

  40. Joyce's Gravatar Joyce
    March 11, 2021 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    I voted for Melangell because she has inspired so many poets.

  41. Kathleen A Munroe's Gravatar Kathleen A Munroe
    March 11, 2021 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    As a retired nurse, I am voting for Camillus, as I now that sometimes to get things done, and save a life- or perhaps a soul- you have to be willing to act in a rough, unpleasant and quarrelsome manner. And I think that all of us at one time or another have acted in ways we may regret, yet we still love God and work for Her blessings.

  42. March 11, 2021 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    This week the U.K. is reeling from another woman killed while walking hike in the evening, and our social media (and traditional media) are filled with stories of women talking about how tired we are of changing our behaviour to protect ourselves from men who won’t change theirs.
    The words of Rowan Williams connected the dots for me: It’s Melangell’s moment!!

    • Teri's Gravatar Teri
      March 11, 2021 - 11:13 am | Permalink

      (Walking HOME. Thanks autocorrect.)

  43. Brenda's Gravatar Brenda
    March 11, 2021 - 11:15 am | Permalink

    Tough decision. Rough and tumble, yet effective, Camillus versus the contemplative resistance of quiet Melangell. Then I found a photo of St. Melangell’s church, Pennant Melangell and want to be there. Today I am going with the peaceful influence of Melangell.

    • Bee Durban's Gravatar Bee Durban
      March 11, 2021 - 4:58 pm | Permalink

      I hope that you get to visit there one day, Brenda. It is the most magical place; like being cupped in the most kind and loving hand.

  44. Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
    March 11, 2021 - 11:47 am | Permalink

    Though I voted for Camillus last time, partly in honor of the Jesuits who share space with the Episcopal church to which I belong, I went with Melangell this time for her concern for all creatures, including humans, and her “thin place”.

  45. March 11, 2021 - 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Irish princess protecting rabbits, perfect. Very deserving of the Golden Halo.

  46. Lyn Fuson's Gravatar Lyn Fuson
    March 11, 2021 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I voted for both of these Saints in the first round. I would have liked to know Camillus, he reminds me of some of the nurses and doctors I have loved to work beside. I respect that the order he started is still strong today. I feel we all need the peace of Melangell. The site of her Abby still open for overnight stays, still offering refreshing rest. Read all the comments and agree with everybody. So hard. Voting for the hard working troublemaker.

  47. Barbara Brooks's Gravatar Barbara Brooks
    March 11, 2021 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Bloggers! Excellent work! It’s a tough one. Who isn’t rough, unpleasant and quarrelsome some times? And hoping someone takes us on anyway? But today, the poetry got me: I heard the hare’s “piping cry,” and I vote Melangell from home, my thin place, the place I trust.

  48. Catherine Schuyler's Gravatar Catherine Schuyler
    March 11, 2021 - 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I loved the poetry, but my own manner is more rough, unpleasant, and quarrelsome than it is sweet, I’m afraid, so I went with Camillus.

  49. Elaine Chilcote's Gravatar Elaine Chilcote
    March 11, 2021 - 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Emily McFarlin Miller and Laurie Brock did so well today, which made a hard decision even harder. I voted for both in the first round. I had thought I’d vote for Camillus, but the poem from the hare’s perspective touched me so deeply that I voted for Melangell.

  50. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 11, 2021 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I’m a wee bit Irish and a wee bit Welsh, but I admire the Jesuits and Camillus de Lellis’s advocacy for the sick and the dying and the not quite dead yet too.

    I’m not sure what criteria was used at that time to determine that someone was in fact deceased, but having the monks pray for the person for 15 minutes surely gave enough time for movement or breathing or moaning to be observed and therefore prevent some poor plague patient from being impatiently immured in the Terra Firma before their time.

    Also, per Wikipedia, pallor mortis “occurs almost immediately, generally within 15–25 minutes, after death,” in lighter skinned people, which most Europeans would be, so if whilst they are praying for the person, the person’s skin starts looking not so rosy and even paler than normal, either they are hypothermic (unlikely to get that cold indoors in Italy), experiencing heart failure (without modern medicine, a sign of impending death), suffering a great shock (very temporary draining of the blood from the face et cetera . . . ), or they are dead and should be buried (and IMNSHO left buried so they can rest in peace).

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 11, 2021 - 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Miss Jan, you are at Trinity! I write icons there. There are two Celias. One is a very lovely lady, a pillar of the community, beloved by the entire congregation. That am not I. I am the one “most likely to be banned from the online service ‘chat.'” Camillus’ younger sister, sadly. So glad to “see” you on these threads, whoever you are.

  51. Leslie's Gravatar Leslie
    March 11, 2021 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Although I voted for both Camillus and Melangell in the first round, I have to vote for Melangell here. Although the results of Camillus’ work are admirable, I don’t appreciate leadership that would be aptly described as bullying. Melangell’s was quiet, effective leadership.

  52. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 11, 2021 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

    As someone who at times might well have been described as rough, unpleasant and quarrelsome, I am drawn to Camillus, but I yearn to be more like Melangell. In a week in Britain when a young woman walking home alone has gone missing and a police officer has been arrested on suspicion of her murder, I am voting for Melangell, who offered shelter to the hunted. I am also thankful for the prince she encountered who recognised her calling and gave her the wherewithal to live it without finding it necessary to tell her what to do and how to live.

  53. JoJo's Gravatar JoJo
    March 11, 2021 - 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I know a few rough, unpleasant & quarrelsome people who could follow the example of Camillus & use their privileges for the common good, but the isolation, protection and comfort of Malangell is today’s saint of the vote. Besides it’s the Easter bunny season!

  54. MARY ROSA's Gravatar MARY ROSA
    March 11, 2021 - 2:08 pm | Permalink


  55. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    March 11, 2021 - 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Tough Choice! Back and forth I went trying to discern who would get my vote. I need thin places in my life to equalize my spirit. However, the world needs tough pragmatic saints that are willing “to get their hands dirty” doing God’s work to heal and comfort the sick and dying. Oh, and I admit I am not “warm and fuzzy” and can, I am sure, be abrasive.

  56. Elizbeth's Gravatar Elizbeth
    March 11, 2021 - 4:10 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful tribute to the gentle Melangell Emily writes. This is biographical writing at its best!

  57. Hazel's Gravatar Hazel
    March 11, 2021 - 4:10 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Camillus. My Mother received loving, long-term care at St. Camillus in Syracuse, New York many years ago.

  58. Nancy Wichita's Gravatar Nancy Wichita
    March 11, 2021 - 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Both are fascinating and true saints. I am voting for the veteran who bore the cross of physical and emotional wounds and who tenderly cared for the suffering.

  59. Bee Durban's Gravatar Bee Durban
    March 11, 2021 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

    I love a good curmudgeon but I again had to vote for Melangell and her example of non-violent resistance through contemplation. We need new examples of leadership, both spiritually and otherwise, and she offers me that; a different vision of what power truly means.

    “Lady and hare were one,
    an emblem of true power,
    the power to love and heal,
    not the false power of war.”

    John Freeman, “The Rebirth of Brochwel”:

  60. Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
    March 11, 2021 - 6:11 pm | Permalink

    What to do?? I voted for both of these saints in the first round, so I am predisposed to both. As a nurse and an alum of Loyola University Chicago, I am drawn to Camillus. As an animal lover who appreciates a refuge for the hunted of all species, I bless the example of Melangell and her thin place. Thank you to the Celebrity Bloggers for their wonderful write-ups and to all the thoughtful commentators for their inspiration. I may have to toss a coin!

  61. Margaret G Mock's Gravatar Margaret G Mock
    March 11, 2021 - 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Just to hear our Supreme Executors pronounce Melangell again was reason enough to vote for her.

  62. Sylvia Miller-Mutia's Gravatar Sylvia Miller-Mutia
    March 11, 2021 - 7:17 pm | Permalink

    She sheltered the hare
    She sheltered many a soul
    In God she found life

  63. Carrie's Gravatar Carrie
    March 11, 2021 - 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Camillus confirms for me that God can take a seemingly rough, undesirable package and work wonders.

  64. Katrina Soto's Gravatar Katrina Soto
    March 11, 2021 - 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Had to vote for Camillus because I too am pretty rough and tactless in pursuit of getting things done right. And he was ahead of his time in insisting on cleanliness for treating the sick. He would have been on top of the current pandemic.

  65. Bobbie's Gravatar Bobbie
    March 11, 2021 - 7:40 pm | Permalink

    I had to vote for Camillus as he reminds me of a couple of very special people I know. His flaws of rough, unpleasant and quarrelsome were also strengths I bet in maintaining a well kept and clean hospital and persevering in helping the sick even when informed himself. However, By reading comments I appreciate Melangell for what I now see as sheltering the hunted — which is very relevant today.

  66. William Loring's Gravatar William Loring
    March 11, 2021 - 10:30 pm | Permalink

    As a curmudgeon (or wannabe at least) I should vote for Camillus, but hares and thin places carry the day.

  67. Susan from Westford's Gravatar Susan from Westford
    March 11, 2021 - 10:58 pm | Permalink

    I was struck with a memory of the old
    camp song “In a cabin in the woods,” the final
    words of the song being “safely to abide,” ah,
    to abide. Such a visceral song, with those hand
    motions, of the man stroking the rabbit and taking
    the rabbit into sanctuary. I really feel that song!

    Both Saints are worthy and cheers for Camp Mechuwana’s camp songs.

  68. Anne the nurse's Gravatar Anne the nurse
    March 12, 2021 - 1:45 am | Permalink

    Anyone but me thought that Camillus story was in some way reminiscent of my beloved
    Golden Halo winner Florence Nightingale? She was as strong women who demanded clean sanitation in her wards, could not tolerate filth but also compassionately visited her
    sick patients at night. Sometimes it takes a curmudgeon to get things done.

  69. Terry's Gravatar Terry
    March 12, 2021 - 7:30 am | Permalink

    Based on a search for how to pronounce Melanges. Not definitive.
    So sorry she is not in the lead

    For the hare an experience most dangerous
    For the hunter th’ encounter was strangest
    To one God revealed
    By one God concealed
    Both when they met with Melangell

    • Terry's Gravatar Terry
      March 12, 2021 - 7:32 am | Permalink

      Actually, meant to write

      For the hare an experience most dangerous
      For the hunter th’ encounter was strangest
      To one God revealed
      By God one concealed
      Both when they met with Melangell

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