Henriette Delille vs. Absalom Jones

Whether or not you missed us this weekend is immaterial. Because we’re back! This week we’ll be finishing up the opening Round of 32 and kicking off the Saintly Sixteen on Thursday.

Today Henriette Delille faces Absalom Jones, as two modern(ish) American saints go head-to-head.

In case you missed the Friday results, Benedict the Moor defeated Nino of Georgia 68% to 32%. He’ll face Euphrosyne in the next round. Now go vote!

Henriette Delille
Henriette Delille (1813-1862) had a very specific education. She was the Creole daughter of a freed woman and a European father in New Orleans. Her parents had a common-law marriage under the plaçage system. In this system, European men entered into a common-law marriage with women of color. When the man became financially established, then he would marry a white woman. There was an understanding that he would continue to provide food, shelter, and education for children of the common-law marriage.

Henriette lived in the French Quarter, and she was groomed to follow in her mother’s footsteps and expected to marry a European man in New Orleans society. As a young woman, her mother educated her in literature, music, medicine, and dancing. Henriette wore fine gowns and made her rounds at the balls, while her mother hoped that she would make a match that would increase their family’s security.

When Henriette was a teenager, she gave birth to two sons. Both of them died at a young age. Henriette also began to teach at the local Catholic school for girls of color. During this time, her dedication to the poor in the city grew, and she began to question the plaçage system.

While her mother tried to entice Henriette with the trappings of New Orleans society, children in poverty captured Henriette’s attention. While the family tried to educate her so that she would be accepted in higher classes, she used her knowledge to educate slaves, even when the law prohibited their education. Henriette’s brother urged her to stop working with the Creole community, because it highlighted the family’s identity as formerly enslaved. While her family’s property was supposed to establish her family in New Orleans’ society, Henriette Delille used it to educate, care, and shelter.

Eventually, Henriette Delille found her identity in another family. She started the order of the Sisters of the Holy Family that was made up of free women. They provided nursing care for the elderly and a home for orphans. The order grew after Delille’s death, and the parochial schools that the order founded became instrumental in educating children in the Jim Crow South.

Collect for Henriette Delille
Almighty God, You gave to your servant Henriette special gifts of grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus: Grant that by this teaching we may know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

—Carol Howard Merritt


Absalom Jones
Absalom Jones was born in Sussex, Delaware, in 1746. After being sold to a farmer, that owner sold Absalom’s mother and the rest of his family to another slaveholder and moved with Absalom to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when Absalom was sixteen. Absalom’s owner was a member of Christ Episcopal Church, and when Absalom met and married his wife Mary, the priest of Christ Church married them in 1770.

Because children took the mother’s status in the colonial states, Absalom purchased his wife’s freedom so that their children would be born free. When Absalom was thirty-eight, his owner finally freed him. Absalom added Jones to his name since enslaved people were typically forced to take their owners’ names, and upon freedom, assumed their own names.

The Methodist church allowed Black people to attend and lead, and Absalom Jones and his friend Richard Allen were among the first African Americans to be licensed to preach in the 1780s. But being allowed to do something doesn’t mean being granted full authority and equality. When informed that they would be segregated to the church’s perimeter and balcony, Jones and most of the other African Americans walked out.

In 1787, Jones and Allen founded the Free African Society, an organization created to provide the African American community’s social, economic, educational, and spiritual needs in Philadelphia. The Free African Society established a strict code, including dues paid by all members to benefit those in need, mainly widows and orphans. The first African American church grew out of this organization’s commitment to Christian community and ethics. When the yellow fever epidemic hit the Philadelphia area in 1793, twenty times more Blacks than Whites helped those afflicted, thanks to The Free African Society. When the Society began to establish The African Church in 1792, Jones founded the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas.

Ordained a deacon in 1795 and a priest in 1802, Absalom Jones was the first African American priest in the Episcopal Church. In 1973, the Episcopal Church established February 13 as the feast day for remembering and honoring Jones’ ministry and life. No matter your race or ethnicity, we’ve all been blessed by his relentless pursuit to diversify the Episcopal Church.

Collect for Absalom Jones
Set us free, heavenly Father, from every bond of prejudice and fear; that, honoring the steadfast courage of your servant Absalom Jones, we may show forth in our lives the reconciling love and true freedom of the children of God, which you have given us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

—Miriam Willard McKenney


Henriette Delille vs. Absalom Jones

  • Absalom Jones (54%, 3,870 Votes)
  • Henriette Delille (46%, 3,305 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,175

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Henriette Delille: Wikicommons, public domain
Absalom Jones: Raphaelle Peale / Public domain

151 Comments to "Henriette Delille vs. Absalom Jones"

  1. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    March 8, 2021 - 8:01 am | Permalink

    When their vestry denied them a pew
    Jones and others declared they were through;
    Then this group, once enslaved,
    Many plague victims saved.
    So I hope that you’ll vote for him too.

    • Thankful for John Cabot's Gravatar Thankful for John Cabot
      March 8, 2021 - 8:18 am | Permalink

      I enjoy reading your poems, I just wonder how you come up with them. Thanks for being a light!

    • Tiffany's Gravatar Tiffany
      March 8, 2021 - 10:31 am | Permalink

      Two thumbs up!

    • Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
      March 8, 2021 - 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Keep up the limerick stylings. Clever and entertaining!!

    • Kathleen Walker's Gravatar Kathleen Walker
      March 8, 2021 - 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Awesome poem!

  2. Jackson Day's Gravatar Jackson Day
    March 8, 2021 - 8:12 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one. Both lives are commendable — else why would they be in Lent Madness — but in the end my vote went to Jones because I see him empowering other people organizationally as well as serving them.

    • Sue's Gravatar Sue
      March 8, 2021 - 8:26 am | Permalink

      I sadly agree. Both so deserving but in the end I think Absalom affected more lives.

      • Marie's Gravatar Marie
        March 8, 2021 - 9:16 am | Permalink

        Here too Sue!
        I really wish both of them could move on , but my choice had to be Absalom today
        for that same reason.

        • Rosanne Adderley's Gravatar Rosanne Adderley
          March 8, 2021 - 6:01 pm | Permalink

          Same era African-American saints up against one another for scarce spots in the Saintly is an unhappy challenge indeed! As a Black Episcopalian in the most special city of New Orleans, I am so torn.

          • Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
            March 8, 2021 - 7:53 pm | Permalink

            agree that this was an unfortunate match-up that knocks out a promising African-American in the early round.

          • Jeanne Virgilio's Gravatar Jeanne Virgilio
            March 8, 2021 - 11:05 pm | Permalink

            So agree. Both should move on

          • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
            March 10, 2021 - 9:50 pm | Permalink

            In looking back on this match-up (I’m writing this on Wednesday the 10th), it occurred to me that by putting both African-Americans in the same bracket, the SEC made sure that there could be no hint of racism in the outcome. (Or very little, if one considers Henriette as being of white ancestry.)

      • Pamela's Gravatar Pamela
        March 8, 2021 - 1:12 pm | Permalink

        I went with Absalom – but it wasn’t an easy choice!

    • Connie C's Gravatar Connie C
      March 8, 2021 - 11:02 am | Permalink

      I agree. I wish they had not been paired. Probably among my two favorites of all the Saints so far.

    • Mary's Gravatar Mary
      March 8, 2021 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Ugh, why they gotta pit the Black woman against the Black man in round 1?

    • Linda Strode's Gravatar Linda Strode
      March 8, 2021 - 6:40 pm | Permalink

      This was too close so I dug deeper. In one site was stated that Henrietta continued to possess her own slave, Betsy, whom Henrietta freed in her will after she died. Therefore despite Henriette’s great deeds of mercy and kindness, I must vote for Absolom.

      • Byron Rushing's Gravatar Byron Rushing
        March 8, 2021 - 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Lent Madness needs to do a better job on the accuracy and completeness of their biographies

        • Christine Louise Caines's Gravatar Christine Louise Caines
          March 9, 2021 - 11:33 am | Permalink


      • C.S. Coolidge's Gravatar C.S. Coolidge
        March 9, 2021 - 2:47 am | Permalink

        I am glad this issue has come up, because however one ends up voting, it is in facing the least convenient facts that one gains the most thorough understanding. My own understanding, which has been evolving for a half century and which I trust will continue to expand but which I also know to be a prisoner like my self of time and space, is that the particular evil of slavery was not the exploitative economic relationship, which is not a very distinctive evil, but the accompanying and “justifying” denial of the full humanity of its victims. This account still does little to decide my vote, though.

  3. Chris Eggert-Rosenthal's Gravatar Chris Eggert-Rosenthal
    March 8, 2021 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    Difficult choice, both were definitely leaders in the world od “”everyone “ welcome.Perhaps overly simplistic, but in truth simplicity probably is one of the better ways to go when trying to make decisions of faith

  4. Patrick's Gravatar Patrick
    March 8, 2021 - 8:16 am | Permalink

    Although both candidates are certainly worthy I am going with Jones, the first African-American Episcopal priest. Must admit being an Episcopalian myself did enter into the decision.

    • Cindy Stavenhagen's Gravatar Cindy Stavenhagen
      March 8, 2021 - 10:59 am | Permalink

      Well, perhaps Henriette would have been a priest, except for, well, you know.

      • patsleepslate's Gravatar patsleepslate
        March 8, 2021 - 11:49 am | Permalink

        Thank you!

      • C.S. Coolidge's Gravatar C.S. Coolidge
        March 9, 2021 - 2:21 am | Permalink


  5. Scott Madison's Gravatar Scott Madison
    March 8, 2021 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    Are you serious putting these two against eachother IN THE FIRST ROUND! UGH!

    • Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
      March 8, 2021 - 8:28 am | Permalink

      Good call, Scott! Why put the (only?) two Americans of African descent in this year’s bracket against each other right at the start, the year of all years? Both of these holy people are potential Golden Halo winners. It seems the SEC likes to set up pairs of folks with some similarities (e.g. Theodora vs. Theodora), but this one seems just wrong in the midst of the racial reckoning we are in the midst of in the US.

      • Jennifer B's Gravatar Jennifer B
        March 8, 2021 - 9:09 am | Permalink

        I agree, I have a family connection to Nola, and some things in common with Ms. Delille, easy choice, but I resented not being able to vote for both!

      • JohnS's Gravatar JohnS
        March 8, 2021 - 11:14 am | Permalink

        Right, Scott Madison and Jack Zamboni… SEC: you seem to be having a serious lapse of judgment, in pairing-by- supercilious-characteristics (thematically, as St. Celia observes), which serves to force out one of these two fine saints.

      • Karen Rhodes's Gravatar Karen Rhodes
        March 8, 2021 - 11:16 am | Permalink

        I agree. First round pairings have been more difficult than in previous years.

      • Patricia Gordon's Gravatar Patricia Gordon
        March 8, 2021 - 3:34 pm | Permalink

        I’m with you, Jack Zamboni. Thanks for you impassioned comment. Usually I am pretty much live and let live with the sometimes (IMO) unfair matchups but this is just plain mean!!!! Such worthy candidates – neither deserves elimination in the first round.

        • March 8, 2021 - 4:05 pm | Permalink

          Just wondering – Should the first round match ups be determined by the SEC’s opinion of worthiness or unworthiness?

      • Diane's Gravatar Diane
        March 8, 2021 - 11:02 pm | Permalink

        I agree.

      • Jeanne Virgilio's Gravatar Jeanne Virgilio
        March 8, 2021 - 11:08 pm | Permalink

        Totally agree. Almost did not vote. I am late in voting and sorry the male is ahead. Both should move on.

    • Susan Fisher's Gravatar Susan Fisher
      March 8, 2021 - 8:34 am | Permalink

      No kidding. I was trying to write a limerick a la Cabot about the heinousness of forcing a decision like this before breakfast on a Monday, but I couldn’t keep the, um, colorful language from making the opus a little bit inappropriate. Postponing my vote for later and my limerick indefinitely.

    • Betsy B's Gravatar Betsy B
      March 8, 2021 - 8:58 am | Permalink


    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      March 8, 2021 - 9:11 am | Permalink

      For years Mad pilgrims complained that the brackets placed some apocryphal ancient legend against a modern reformer and were impossible and made no sense, and now Tim and Scott are carefully placing “like” against “like” and categorizing the brackets thematically, which has to be a lot of work, and now Mad pilgrims are . . . complaining. I cannot help but think that Tim and Scott must very much be feeling that they are “damned if they do, damned if they don’t.”

      • Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
        March 8, 2021 - 9:17 am | Permalink

        Good point — but within the Mostly Modern part of the bracket, they still didn’t have to put the two African-Americans head to head in the first round. If this pairing resulted from one or two rounds of voting, my reaction would be different.

        • Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
          March 8, 2021 - 9:20 am | Permalink

          Further on this, other pairings within that part of the bracket don’t put people from similar demographics head to head in the first round. This was unneccessary. But, SEC, please know that I am very grateful for your work and know it’s challenging — not least, at times, we in the commentariat.

      • Linda Strode's Gravatar Linda Strode
        March 8, 2021 - 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Yes. We may not agree with the pairings. So we should take care to research these Saints on our own as well. Don’t blame the messengers.

  6. Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
    March 8, 2021 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    Such a hard choice. When I first read the names, I thought surely I would vote ffor Absalom Jones whose story I have long known. But when I read the stories, my mind and heart were changed. Henriette Delille’s choice to leave behind such privilege as was available to her at the time and put her education and gifts to use for the benefit of those at the bottom of the Caste system (yes, I’m in the midst of Isabel WIlkerson’s must-read book of that title). wins my vote today.

    • Rev Paul Longstreth's Gravatar Rev Paul Longstreth
      March 8, 2021 - 9:39 am | Permalink

      I have long appreciated the work of Jones and Richard Allen. As a longtime lover and resident of New Orleans, however, I learned today of Henriette and am completely enthralled by her story. She gets my vote especially because she is the “undersaint” here.

    • Amy Leeson's Gravatar Amy Leeson
      March 8, 2021 - 10:32 am | Permalink

      I agree with Jack Zamboni. I see that Absalom Jones’s ministry was saintly, indeed, but he was called to a community of free African-American people, and he had his free male friends and his own wife and children (also free people) for aid and comfort in his life. Henriette DeLille had to go against the wishes of her birth family, and after her own two children died in infancy she had no husband or children of her own for aid and comfort. She ministered to slaves, old people and orphans, all of them more powerless than free black men. And of course, as a mixed-race woman herself, she had precious little freedom in early 19th Century United States, yet she managed a life that made a huge difference for Christ.

      • Kyle Lovett's Gravatar Kyle Lovett
        March 8, 2021 - 2:31 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely this! Amy, you put into clear and convincing words what my heart felt at reading about these two saints today. I, too, choose Henriette today – for these very reasons!

        March 8, 2021 - 4:26 pm | Permalink

        I absolutely agree. I was planning on voting for Absalom because of what I already knew but when reading Henriette’s story I changed my mind. This was the most difficult choice so far.

      • Byron Rushing's Gravatar Byron Rushing
        March 8, 2021 - 11:41 pm | Permalink

        Am not takings sides. However there is no excuse for ignorance about the life of an African American on the Calendar since 1979. Please try to get your facts straight about Absalom before February 13, 2022.

    • Susan's Gravatar Susan
      March 8, 2021 - 5:17 pm | Permalink

      That was my response as well. She gave up such a hard won easy life to help others

  7. Shan's Gravatar Shan
    March 8, 2021 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    I want to speak to the manager! These two amazing Saints shouldn’t have to face one another in the first round because they each pushed boundaries until those lines disappeared! Can’t vote until I think about this all day.

  8. Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
    March 8, 2021 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    I’m sure that Absalom Jones will win today and if he was pitted against someone else I would probably vote for him. But Henriette Delille gets my vote today. She bucked the system: educated slaves and formed a sisterhood that cared for the elderly and orphans. This sisterhood formed many schools that educated children that otherwise would not have gotten any education.

    • Lois's Gravatar Lois
      March 8, 2021 - 9:42 am | Permalink

      I agree with your reasoning, Michelle, and it’s also important to recognize Henriette Delille because of International Women’s Day.

      • Kathy Brett's Gravatar Kathy Brett
        March 8, 2021 - 10:07 am | Permalink


      • March 8, 2021 - 10:08 am | Permalink

        My thoughts exactly. Besides, Absalom Jones gets attention already.

      • Lorraine T. Pacocha's Gravatar Lorraine T. Pacocha
        March 8, 2021 - 10:53 am | Permalink


  9. Denise's Gravatar Denise
    March 8, 2021 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    National Woman’s Day had to go with Henriette!

    • March 8, 2021 - 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Yes. Henrietta denied her family and picked up her cross to follow Jesus’ example. What an example of a woman stepping out of her circumstances and doing what she knew was right. Henrietta is an example to all women and girls that they can follow their hearts.

  10. Ellen L's Gravatar Ellen L
    March 8, 2021 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    My bracket is already blown. I feel that Henriette never had a chance again Absalom. So, I’m throwing in my vote for Henriette. This is the first that I have ever heard from her and as the underdog, she needs the love. Plus, like Absalom, she is an incredible saint. How do you choose from so much goodness.

  11. March 8, 2021 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Henriette Delille started an order, and schools that educated poor people of color that they might become the Absolom Jones’ of the world. Do you think her lack of popularity speaks to the sexism and classism still extant in both the country and the Episcopal church? Hmm.

    • March 8, 2021 - 10:14 am | Permalink

      No, I don’t think that is why Henriette Delille is not better known . . . most Episcopalians (clergy and laity) know nothing about our own Religious Orders, much less Roman Catholic ones.

  12. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 8, 2021 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    I voted for Henriette Delille, someone who seems to have defied the stereotype of the “tragic mulatto.” I find myself confused by the use of the term “Creole,” which by my understanding applies to white children of the Spanish and Portuguese, born in the New World. The Creoles were the settlers and had power and status, whereas mixed-race people were mestizo or mulatto. If Henriette’s mother was herself a mulatto placee, then Henriette would have been a quadroon. The brothels of New Orleans were filled with octoroons, very light-skinned “black” women, very high priced. American racism was such that these categories were carefully kept, and the freed “coloreds” were driven out viciously. The French Code Noir, which regulated slave conditions until the US took possession of Louisiana in 1803, stipulated that children took the status of their mother; if she was a slave, they too would be slaves. Henriette was born just ten years after the end of the Code Noir and its replacement by American law. I see Henriette’s work educating poor black children as an effort to undermine both white supremacy and placage by resisting the legal condemnation of children to their mother’s abased status. By educating them, she gave them entry to a symbolic world and a life of the mind. I note with interest that a white Frenchwoman tried to join Sister Henriette’s order but by American law was prevented, as no white woman could join an order of women of color. Given American rage against the very existence of freed blacks, I find Venerable Mother Henriette’s effort to educate black children remarkable, commendable, worth my vote.

    • Mariclaire Buckley's Gravatar Mariclaire Buckley
      March 8, 2021 - 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Thank you-you taught me a lot I didn’t know. Interesting things. I wish I had voted for Henriette.

    • Patricia Watson's Gravatar Patricia Watson
      March 8, 2021 - 10:05 pm | Permalink

      Well stated facts without anger or blame. I can see the injustice of the times because I did not feel the need to defend my self. True learning can’t happen when one is fearful. Henriette is a worthy role model for all races and all women.

  13. Curtis Harker's Gravatar Curtis Harker
    March 8, 2021 - 8:39 am | Permalink
  14. Susan C.'s Gravatar Susan C.
    March 8, 2021 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    When Absalom Jones was last featured in Lent Madness, I voted for him until he was voted out. This time I read about the unknown Henriette Delille, and was so impressed by her intellect, her dedication to nursing care and orphans, her turning her back on the plaçage system that would have given her a easy life. I also had never heard of that system, in spite of the fact that my father was born in New Orleans, and my grandmother loved to tell stories about life in New Orleans. Top that with the fact that I’m studying French right now, this time I will vote for Henriette Delille.

    • Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
      March 8, 2021 - 11:28 am | Permalink

      If you like mysteries, you might enjoy the series of books featuring Benjamin January (free man, son of a placee, educated in France, physician and musician, in c.1835 New Orleans) by Barbara Hambly. First one is “A Free Man of Color”.

  15. Kathleen Sheehy's Gravatar Kathleen Sheehy
    March 8, 2021 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    As a native of Philly, I vote for Rev. Absalom. A tough choice indeed!

  16. Veronica's Gravatar Veronica
    March 8, 2021 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    This is an unfair match!

  17. Carol Kelbaugh's Gravatar Carol Kelbaugh
    March 8, 2021 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Both so deserving, Absalom Jones has my vote today

  18. Dallas Heikkinen's Gravatar Dallas Heikkinen
    March 8, 2021 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    I want this to be a tie!
    Then we would force the SEC to have to make the choice that is so difficult today!
    Let them suffer!

  19. Richard's Gravatar Richard
    March 8, 2021 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Here’s to two most excellent lives. PTL.

  20. John Michael Sophos's Gravatar John Michael Sophos
    March 8, 2021 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    Whilst learning about Henriette was a gift in and of itself. I had to go with Absalom Jones
    Born not far from my home in Lewes, DE on plantation land that is now incorporated ad a part of Milfird, there is every probability that he was baptized by the then rector of my parish, St. Peter’s, Lewes, as ours was the only parish that baptized slave babies at the time. Our St. Peter’s chapel is named for him and we have recently been gifted with a beautiful icon of him…

    • Joscelin's Gravatar Joscelin
      March 8, 2021 - 9:59 am | Permalink

      Good morning, John Michael! Greetings from the Steiner family, former fellow parishioners of yours in Lewes. Having worshipped at St Peter’s and being from New Orleans, my allegiance is torn today. Will have to reflect a while before voting.

  21. Margaret Chapman's Gravatar Margaret Chapman
    March 8, 2021 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    I echo the comments above
    In a world where we aspire to
    privilege over the tugs of love
    how could you not vote for Henriette
    But when it is all too clear
    the need for courageous founders is dear
    to cast a vote for Absalom, is a must
    to compel a choice so early
    will rightly provoke a fuss

  22. Barbara Ross's Gravatar Barbara Ross
    March 8, 2021 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    A difficult choice! I’m sure this will be a close race. To learn more about the bizarre caste system in pre-Civil War New Orleans, read The Feast of All Saints by Anne Rice. It’s a melodrama, but I learned a lot about placage and the free people of color in Louisiana.

    • Katherine's Gravatar Katherine
      March 8, 2021 - 11:14 am | Permalink

      I learned about this system from Barbara Hambly’s excellent mystery, A Free Man of Color, and its sequels, set in early nineteenth-century New Orleans.

      • Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
        March 8, 2021 - 11:29 am | Permalink

        I recommended the same series above before I saw your post. Excellent tip for readers!

  23. Leamarie's Gravatar Leamarie
    March 8, 2021 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    What St. Celia said better than I could. A Jones is already so welll kn999owmwm, I went with the woman. Both most commendable though.

  24. Leamarie's Gravatar Leamarie
    March 8, 2021 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Known. How my ipad does this I have no idea.

    • Chris's Gravatar Chris
      March 8, 2021 - 9:24 am | Permalink

      O’s and 9s, Ms and Ns. Hey, they’re close together! 😉

  25. Carl Peterson's Gravatar Carl Peterson
    March 8, 2021 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    We need a separate losers bracket and the have the winner of the losers play the winner of the winners. Is there some sense in that?

    • Chris's Gravatar Chris
      March 8, 2021 - 9:25 am | Permalink

      Consolation round?

    • Richard's Gravatar Richard
      March 8, 2021 - 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Hey SEC – you need to give this idea serious consideration!

  26. simple village priest's Gravatar simple village priest
    March 8, 2021 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    I’m glad to learn about Henriette, who also left a lasting legacy. But I’m in my 15th year of serving in Absalom Jones’ own Diocese of Pennsylvania, and will cast my vote for our hero, whose stubborn loyalty to the Episcopal Church continues to bear fruit — including, at long last, our first African American Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry. I also have great admiration and respect for our sisters and brothers in the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Zion Church. Founded by Absalom’s friend and colleague Richard Allen, the AME Church continues to champion diversity, justice, and opportunity for all — and they were also early adapters to including women among their clergy!

  27. DJ Elzie's Gravatar DJ Elzie
    March 8, 2021 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    Tough choice!

  28. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 8, 2021 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Way back when, when I first saw the 2021 Bracket, I bet on Absalom Jones for The Golden Halo (AKA: “no-brainer”). But I enjoyed learning about Henriette Delille and gladly voted for her today #InternationalWomensDay.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 8, 2021 - 10:25 am | Permalink

      I have Absalom for the Golden Halo as well

    • Kate Cabot's Gravatar Kate Cabot
      March 8, 2021 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

      As do I! Go Absalom Jones!

  29. John Blackwood's Gravatar John Blackwood
    March 8, 2021 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    I agree with others that it seems wrong to put the only two people of African descent against each other this early in the competition. Both worthy, I’m going with Henriette. She seems to be the underdog and, I suspect, needs my vote.

    • Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
      March 8, 2021 - 11:32 am | Permalink

      Perhaps the only two Americans of African descent, however not the only two people of African descent. Bartolome, last Friday, and Euphrosyne/Smaragdus and Theodora, both of Alexandria. Alexandria’s in Egypt and Egypt’s on the north coast of Africa..

  30. March 8, 2021 - 9:25 am | Permalink

    Every year the Diocese of New York holds a celebration at the Cathedral in honor of Absalom Jones (this year was virtual, of course), and I have attended and volunteered at it a number of times. So familiarity this time breeds admiration. We always make it a celebration of the entire diversity of the Diocese, having performers from different churches giving us a glimpse at their culture along with a buffet which also features specialties of different cultures within the Diocese. So to thank him for the good times, I am casting my vote for Absalom (I also love his name!).

  31. Lois Keen's Gravatar Lois Keen
    March 8, 2021 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    I would vote for Absalom Jones because I was raised in lower Delaware and served as priest in Milford in the church which established a shrine to him. Yet, he’s so well known and Henriette is not. So it’s important to me to raise her up.

  32. Len/Lindsay Freeman's Gravatar Len/Lindsay Freeman
    March 8, 2021 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    Gotta go with Absalom just because he’s Absalom, the first clear African American honored by our church, But frankly I love Henriette and agree that these two should have been in differing brackets and not in competition (at least at this stage) with each other

  33. Len Freeman's Gravatar Len Freeman
    March 8, 2021 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    Gotta go with Absalom just because he’s Absalom, the first clear African American honored by our church, But frankly I love Henriette and agree that these two should have been in differing brackets and not in competition (at least at this stage) with each other

  34. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 8, 2021 - 9:33 am | Permalink

    This is a year of difficult choices. I am delighted to make the acquaintance of Henriette. I would like to know more about the two sons she had as a teenager, and how that shaped her calling. My vote, however, went to Absalom Jones who, faced within the church with prejudice, did not give up on God. As an Anglican priest who at times is holding on with my fingertips Absalom encourages me to keep on keeping on.

  35. Mary O'Donnell's Gravatar Mary O'Donnell
    March 8, 2021 - 9:35 am | Permalink

    Tough choice. Black men got to vote before white woman. So I think Henriette path more difficult. The path to education for colored women was huge. Henriette helped educate the possibilities.

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 8, 2021 - 10:56 am | Permalink

      Getting the right to vote and being able to exercise the right to vote are two different things. Especially in the South. And the fight against voter suppression continues across most of the State Legislatures in the United States to this day. Bills have been introduced in move than half of the States to limit access to voting, and are in danger of passing in more than a few. Fewer voting locations, decreased number of days for early voting, fewer specific reasons for voting absentee, an end to no-excuse absentee voting, and Voter ID laws, all work to restrict access to voting in the name of curtailing the actually very vary rare crime of voter fraud.

      Whilst I miss going to a polling place to vote (I lived in Texas for almost nine years), I’m glad to live again in my native Oregon where we have voted-by-mail for almost a quarter century and as of a few years ago have automatic voter registration for any eligible U.S. Citizen who gets a Driver’s License or State-issued ID Card.

      Yesterday was the 56th Anniversary of the 7th of March 1965 when a group of African-Americans attempted to march from Selma, Alabama to the State Capital in Montgomery to demand their civil rights to register and vote be enforced. On the bridgehead opposite Downtown Selma, they were set upon by police in what became known was Bloody Sunday. Today the National Voting Rights Museum & Institute stands on the westside of US Hwy. 80E where that brutal attack on the peaceful protestors happened. Highly recommend a visit to anyone who is ever in the area (post-COVID that is).

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        March 8, 2021 - 12:35 pm | Permalink

        Which parish are you in, Miss Puddle Jumpin’ Jan?

  36. Melanie's Gravatar Melanie
    March 8, 2021 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    I figure that Absalom Jones will go all the way, so naturally I’m voting for an upset in the opening round just to mix things up. Go Henriette! (Though if she does advance, she’s up against Marianne Cope in the battle of the Sisters in the Saintly Sixteen.)

  37. John's Gravatar John
    March 8, 2021 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    This was a tough one I wanted to vote for both of them. You got to remember how rough it was back then for people of color to do what they did.

  38. Lee Greenawalt's Gravatar Lee Greenawalt
    March 8, 2021 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    I solemnly swear that although I have great respect and honor the Supreme Executive Council, they did not exert any undo pressure in my vote for the Episcopal hero, Absalom Jones.

  39. madameseñora's Gravatar madameseñora
    March 8, 2021 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    Today is International Women’s Day, so a vote for Henriette was an easy one, even though the choices were evenly matched.
    NB – next year make it a match-up between two women on March 8

    • Sue Goodman's Gravatar Sue Goodman
      March 8, 2021 - 11:39 am | Permalink

      My sentiments exactly! No other choice possible today.

    • Shelly's Gravatar Shelly
      March 8, 2021 - 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Good idea!

  40. JoJo's Gravatar JoJo
    March 8, 2021 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    Oh Absalom my Absalom , would that I could vote for the Episcopalian today, so worthy a saint for racial equality. However, my system favors the women often overlooked while just as worthy. Henriette gets my vote also because she used her advantages to help & educate others.

  41. Story's Gravatar Story
    March 8, 2021 - 10:23 am | Permalink

    Vote for Hentriette Delille! I want her to win the whole thing!

  42. Verlinda's Gravatar Verlinda
    March 8, 2021 - 10:32 am | Permalink

    On this International Woman’s Day, Henriette gets my vote. Absalom did great things, but time for the lesser-known to become better-known.

      March 8, 2021 - 10:54 am | Permalink

      Verlinda, my thoughts, exactly this morning!

  43. Jerry Mansholt's Gravatar Jerry Mansholt
    March 8, 2021 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    Since I’m serving for a time as Interim Pastor in the greater New Orleans area, my vote has to go with Henriette Delille. Love learning this history.

    Jerry Mansholt
    Hosanna, Mandeville, LA

  44. Lucretia Jevne's Gravatar Lucretia Jevne
    March 8, 2021 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    I am disappointed to find that Henrietta isn’t even included in Holy Men,Holy Women. All the more reason to vote for her!

  45. Kevin's Gravatar Kevin
    March 8, 2021 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    Bad decision here Tim and Scott. You should have known better. You intentionally set it up so that only one African American could be left after the first round. Now you have guaranteed that a lot of us will vote for the one left through the subsequent rounds–regardless of who they are up against– in protest. A lot of the fun just left Lent Madness.

    • Sandy Warren's Gravatar Sandy Warren
      March 8, 2021 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

      I agree.

  46. Melissa's Gravatar Melissa
    March 8, 2021 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    Both of these Saints deserve respect and admiration. I am voting for Henriette Delille because just like Absalom Jones she used her resources, strength, and courage to resist an insidious and exploitative system. It’s a very hard choice, but I’ll vote for Sister Henriette in hopes that people who already know about Father Absalom will learn about her as well.

  47. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    March 8, 2021 - 11:19 am | Permalink

    Why are black Americans referred to as African-Americans? That’s nonsense. Most black Americans are descended from people who came to North America well before the antecedents of most white Americans. Forget with ethnicity and the skin colour and just be Americans, please. And I don’t suppose it has occurred to anybody that to complain about two worthy people being bracketed together just because they are black is racist? Is the implication that neither of them would win if they were paired with white people?

    Both Henriette and Absalom cast a long shadow, and I could have voted for either of them. However, my vote today went to Absalom, in memory of the powerful worship experience I had during Eastertide 1972 at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Chicago (I can’t remember the name of it but it was near the Palmer House Hotel where I was staying). I will never forget the uplifting joy of the worship and the warmth of the welcome I received.

    • Diane's Gravatar Diane
      March 8, 2021 - 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your comments that I have been hesitant to post. Can’t help but think about Martin Luther King’s quote about judging people on the content of their character, not on the color of their skin.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 8, 2021 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Wow. I am speechless.

    • Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
      March 8, 2021 - 3:58 pm | Permalink

      As long as systemic racism remains the huge problem it is in this country — and in our Church — we cannot just “forget with ethnicity and the skin colour and just be Americans.” I, too, long for the day MLK dreamt of, but we won’t get there by ignoring the ongoing power of racism and, as I’m learning from Isabel WIlkerson, Caste, in America. Our Diocese (New Jersey) is just starting work on exploring what reparations for the costs of slavery and the enduring economic injusties suffered by African-Americans means in our corner of the Church. I’m honored to have been asked to serve on this by our Bishop. In two just meetings, my knowledge of what my Black sisters and brothers have endured and continue to endure keeps growing (and this is after 3 rounds of anti-racism training over the last 12 years). We have so, so far to go. Let’s keep doing the work, pray as we go, and our honor all our Black saints for their amazing, courageous witness.

    • Kathy Munroe's Gravatar Kathy Munroe
      March 8, 2021 - 4:33 pm | Permalink

      I too voted for Absolom as he was the patron saint of my Cursillo weekend, but I’m disappointed in all the black vs white comments here. I try so hard to see beyond color or race, and this just sets everyone on one side or the other. Delille sounds like an amazing woman and either would be worthy of the win.

    • Terri Matthews's Gravatar Terri Matthews
      March 9, 2021 - 12:04 am | Permalink

      I don’t think the implication is that neither would win if they were up against white Saints, but that both of them would win and Ben the competition longer if they had not been paired against each other.

  48. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 8, 2021 - 11:21 am | Permalink

    My instinct was to vote for Henriette Delille because she was a woman, but after further thought I swung back to Jones. Jones was born a slave and had to overcome that. Delille was born into relative privilege. However, the both did wonderful work. I do wish Delille was remembered as well as Jones for her legacy.

  49. Diane Lancaster's Gravatar Diane Lancaster
    March 8, 2021 - 11:30 am | Permalink

    On International Womens’ Day my vote is for Henriette who challenged the inequities of the treatment of women

    • Kim Gray's Gravatar Kim Gray
      March 8, 2021 - 10:55 pm | Permalink

      The Gray Household agrees, Diane! While both saints were worthy of advancing, and may have been our toughest match to date, here’s to Henrietta today!

  50. Sue Tyler's Gravatar Sue Tyler
    March 8, 2021 - 11:41 am | Permalink

    It’s International Women’s Day, so of course you need to vote for Henriette

  51. Donald MacLeod's Gravatar Donald MacLeod
    March 8, 2021 - 11:42 am | Permalink

    My first year at Lent Madness. At first I was bothered by the idea of making a game of judging some of God’s holiest people. Now I understand the value in thinking about their contributions. I’m OK with having to choose between African-American saints in the first round because it helps to concentrate on the issues of both of their contributions. It is not who is the more worthy; both are worthy. It is a question of their impact on the church and society of today, I think the one chosen today will go on to the Golden Halo. I think it is right to be affected by the Black Lives Matter movement. What started as outrage because Black deaths matter grew to a greater recognition of how Black lives continue to matter, including the lives of these two saints.

  52. Sam Barger's Gravatar Sam Barger
    March 8, 2021 - 11:42 am | Permalink

    Anne Rice’s book The Feast of All Saints is about the free people of color in New Orleans and the (sort of) marital arrangements between people of color and whites with money.

  53. Heather White's Gravatar Heather White
    March 8, 2021 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    Like others I expected to vote for Absolom today. But I just heard a talk by our church organist, a Black woman from New Orleans whose entire life path benefited from the Catholic education she received that was founded by Henriette. She in turn has worked tirelessly in education and for civil rights. At 80 she is just retiring from her professorship but continues to support the community in countless ways. In honor of Althea my vote goes to Henriette.

  54. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    March 8, 2021 - 11:54 am | Permalink

    As a retired teacher, I had to vote for a woman who established an order that educated orphans and Black children in the Jim Crow South. Even as I voted, I felt that Absalom would win — and he is certainly deserving. However, Henriette lived out the teachings of Jesus by using all of her privilege to help the poor, the elderly and children.

  55. Deborah Sampson's Gravatar Deborah Sampson
    March 8, 2021 - 12:28 pm | Permalink

    On international womens’ day, it is good to recognize how much this woman accomplished when both gender and race were held against her.

  56. March 8, 2021 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

    again, two worthies as candidates. I went with Henriette who, as is typical for women, is the less recognized. Absalom will be remembered whether I vote for him or not.

  57. Sharon Davis's Gravatar Sharon Davis
    March 8, 2021 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Both did remarkable work in an unjust system. It took courage for Henriette to fight both society and her family to show this system was wrongs. “temporary” marriage, teaching enslaved people to read. She has my vote

  58. Amy Cliffe's Gravatar Amy Cliffe
    March 8, 2021 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Henriette, Absolom, I rejoice,
    To the poor and oppressed, you gave voice,
    But I deeply regret
    That you’re in the same set,
    As it poses a difficult choice.

    • Kate Cabot's Gravatar Kate Cabot
      March 8, 2021 - 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Well done!

    • Jack Zamboni's Gravatar Jack Zamboni
      March 8, 2021 - 4:00 pm | Permalink


  59. Valerie McEntee's Gravatar Valerie McEntee
    March 8, 2021 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

    This year’S theme for Day and Year of the Woman is “Choose to Challenge”. Henriette certainly did.

  60. Michael Dishman's Gravatar Michael Dishman
    March 8, 2021 - 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I think this was the first time I really struggled to make a choice. Both had so much to overcome. I made my final choice for Hariette as I feel as a woman she had more to struggle against.

  61. Helena Mbele-Mbong's Gravatar Helena Mbele-Mbong
    March 8, 2021 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Henriette was up against an impossible situation of virtually no choice – but she took another choice that offered greater freedom and dignity to many. Bravo. As good Episcopalians, we know all about Absalom, but we haven’t heard about Henriette. I’ve gone for the underdog. – In addition to the books already mentioned, another novel that sheds light on the society of New Orleans end 18th-early 19th C is: Isabel Allende “Island Beneath the Sea.”

  62. Mary Browne's Gravatar Mary Browne
    March 8, 2021 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

    This choice was a no-brainer for me. I live in Delaware, I am a cradle Methodist (I’m sorry we didn’t do right by Absalom Jones and Richard Allen), and I attended Absalom Jones School in Belvedere, DE for 7th grade.

  63. Byron Rushing's Gravatar Byron Rushing
    March 8, 2021 - 4:02 pm | Permalink

    https://hsec.us/news/9398482 for factual correction Also Absalom and Mary were married at St. Peter’s. Here’s the record of the marriage of Absalom and Mary (although the annotation continues the error of him buying his own freedom)

  64. Millie's Gravatar Millie
    March 8, 2021 - 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Henrietta on this International Women’s Day whose motto for this years celebration in “Courage to Challenge”. Let’s lift up this courageous woman of color!

  65. Donna Kerry's Gravatar Donna Kerry
    March 8, 2021 - 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Both worthy of my vote but since today is International Women’s Day, Henriette gets my vote.

  66. Maria Hassanin's Gravatar Maria Hassanin
    March 8, 2021 - 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Very hard choice today! I had to go with Henriette. Love Absalom too, but he is already well recognized.
    Henriette had just as much bravery……and little know of her. This is why it’s called “Lent Madness”!

  67. Scottie Jackson's Gravatar Scottie Jackson
    March 8, 2021 - 5:28 pm | Permalink

    I am choosing Henrietta because it was much more difficult for a women to choose a path service. She showed great courage.

  68. Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
    March 8, 2021 - 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Not an easy choice, but since I was introduced to Absalom Jones only a few years ago here in
    Lent Madness, I voted for him. But if Henriette Delille wins, I won’t complain. (I’ll just re-nominate Absalom again next year.)

  69. Martha Cook's Gravatar Martha Cook
    March 8, 2021 - 7:00 pm | Permalink

    This was very educational today. Such a tough decision between such deserving people. Of course, I’m familiar with Absolom J , but Henriette’s story is fascinating. they both suffered so much and achieved so much. Blessings on them both.

  70. Amy Cook's Gravatar Amy Cook
    March 8, 2021 - 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Very difficult choice! However, I voted for Henriette because teaching slaves to read and write was a punishable offense and you could get 39 lashes for doing it. She was incredibly courageous. And since I just finished reading the slave narrative of Harriet Jacobs (I highly recommend this) I had to vote for Henriette and for all the women of color who had difficult choices and made selfless and courageous decisions!!

    • Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
      March 9, 2021 - 2:58 am | Permalink


  71. Laura Schick's Gravatar Laura Schick
    March 8, 2021 - 7:25 pm | Permalink

    This one was a tough vote because both Saints strove for social justice. Henrietta got my vote because she did not let the temptation of earthly riches take her away from her “Lord of the streets” ministry to the poor and destitute. A salon of course did the very same and his distinction as the very first Episcopal priest is indeed inspiring.

  72. Glennda Hardin's Gravatar Glennda Hardin
    March 8, 2021 - 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Someone way up the line said they’d voted for Absolom Jones because they felt he’d touched so many more lives. I disagree. One can never know how a teacher touches lives, and founding an order of teachers means lives upon lives upon lives. Maybe not more than Absolom Jones, but maybe not fewer either.

  73. Sandy Warren's Gravatar Sandy Warren
    March 8, 2021 - 8:14 pm | Permalink

    This was a terribly hard choice today – both so worthy.
    I hope in future years the SEC will consider changing the way the brackets are structured so some incredibly inspiring people don’t have to eliminate each other in the first round, and we’d have a chance to read more about them in the second round. It would be so much better to have these accomplished, relatable real people matched against the shadowy, largely legendary saints of early centuries. By the second round the write-ups for those amount to creative fiction.

  74. Terrie Wallace's Gravatar Terrie Wallace
    March 8, 2021 - 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Both of the saints are very deserving of winning, and I too didn’t really care for a lot of the black and white comments today. I voted for Henrietta due to her courage, and her diligence to live out her faith despite all the setbacks, roadblocks, and prejudicial thinking by others that she endured.

  75. Linda Burnett's Gravatar Linda Burnett
    March 9, 2021 - 2:56 am | Permalink

    I voted for Henriette Delille today. Although also a worthy contender Absalom Jones is more well known and has already been recognized for his part in history. I like hhe unsung heroes who may havd never been heard of except for Lent Madness. Hurrah for the unknown servants!

  76. MARY ROSA's Gravatar MARY ROSA
    March 9, 2021 - 11:58 am | Permalink


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