Isidora the Simple vs. Simeon the Holy Fool

Just to be clear, today’s saints were not named after the two members of the Lent Madness Supreme Executive Committee. I mean, how would you even distinguish which one was which? But we return to the ever-popular Confusion Corner quadrant of the bracket as Isidora the Simple takes on Simeon the Holy Fool, two unconventional saints who have much to teach us about what really matters in this life.

Yesterday, Dunstan swept past Maryam of Qidun 68% to 32% to advance to the Saintly Sixteen. But enough of this. Go vote!

Isidora the Simple
Little is known of Isidora the Simple, a fourth-century nun. There are no biographical records of her, so her age and place of birth remain a mystery. But we know some details about her life in the Tabenna Monastery, the first religious house for women in Egypt.

At the monastery, she sought out the most strenuous and dirtiest of physical labor. She was nicknamed “the sponge” because of her willingness to do filthy tasks. She was considered mentally deficient by the other nuns, who ostracized and sometimes beat her. Hagiographers describe Isidora as a fool for Christ, not someone with a mental disability but someone who humbled herself to embody the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:18, “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise.”

As part of her spiritual practice of humility and rejection of worldly rewards, Isidora did not dine with the other nuns. Legend says she was never seen eating or drinking but subsisted entirely on the crumbs of the other sisters’ plates and the water she used to wash the dishes. Isidora wore a dishrag on her head rather than the nun’s cowl the other sisters donned. Although she was mistreated by her fellow nuns, she never retaliated or complained.

The story of Isidora reveals her manner of devotion to be a willing self-humiliation. A very old desert hermit named Saint Piteroum had a vision that rather than being proud of his own sacrifices and devotion, he should go to Tabenna and meet a truly religious woman. In a scene that echoes Samuel’s search for David, he met every woman in the monastery, and none wore the crown he’d been told to look for. He asked if there was another woman remaining, and so they brought out Isidora from the kitchen. Piteroum recognized the dishrag on her head as the crown he’d been told to seek and fell on his knees asking for her blessing. When the sisters realized she was not a fool but a devout spiritual leader, they repented and began to revere her. Isidora could no longer live humbly in the peaceful isolation of work and prayer, so she fled into the desert to live out her life as an anchoress.

Isidora’s life is a reminder that service to others and true humility are the paths to intimacy with God. Her feast day is May 1.

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

—Amber Belldene


Simeon the Holy Fool
Have you ever been a fool for Christ? Done anything stupid? Then you, too, are like Simeon. Holy fools have been known throughout time as those whose actions and words disrupt the status quo. Saint Paul declared himself a “fool for Christ.” These “fools” often focus more on the teachings of Jesus than the social, political, or traditional construct of the time.

Saint Simeon (or Symeon) of Salus, is known as the Holy Fool. Born in the sixth century in Edessa, Simeon was a Christian monk who entered the monastic life at age twenty at the Abba Gerasimus Monastery in Syria near the Dead Sea. Simeon spent the next twenty-nine years developing his spirituality and a desire to serve others. Through his prayer, he found he was called by God to move to the town of Emesa and serve others in ways where he would not be thanked. He asked God to provide him a way to serve his fellow man and not be concerned with conventional mores.

Simeon developed a reputation as a madman, whereby he would turn over tables, throw food, and extinguish the lights in the church to gain people’s attention. Sometimes he was found to be jumping around, sometimes limping, and sometimes scooting around on his backside. His goal was to flout societal conventions of what was “normal.” He was taunted, jeered, and teased by this town, but his reputation grew as people saw his other actions of feeding the poor, tending the sick, and admonishing the sinner and calling them to repentance. He was a known healer and devout preacher of the gospel, one who cared deeply for the homeless and hungry. Many came to Christ through the care of Simeon in spite of, or perhaps because of, the craziness of his ministry. Simeon was a dichotomy. He would gladly flout society’s conventions to bring attention to the spiritual works of mercy and grace.

Simeon’s life calls us to do crazy things in the name of God, where our actions to others speak more loudly than craziness and the goodness of charity and love far outweigh foolish antics. If there were an epitaph of Simeon’s life, it would be, “He was crazy, but he was kind and served God.” Would your epitaph say something similar?

Saint Simeon’s feast day is July 1, which is also known as Fools for Christ Day. He is the patron saint of ventriloquists and puppeteers and fools in general.

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

—Anna Fitch Courie


Isidora the Simple vs. Simeon the Holy Fool

  • Isidora the Simple (54%, 3,823 Votes)
  • Simeon the Holy Fool (46%, 3,192 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,015

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Isidora the Simple: Wikicommons, public domain
Simeon the Holy Fool: Aleksije Lazović, 1819 / Public domain

210 Comments to "Isidora the Simple vs. Simeon the Holy Fool"

  1. John Cabot's Gravatar John Cabot
    March 4, 2021 - 8:00 am | Permalink

    St. Simeon, born in Edessa,
    Had no patience with greater and lessa;
    When his madness would peak
    Cryptic limericks he’d speak;
    Praise the Lord that I’m not his confessa.

    • Deborah Kaufman's Gravatar Deborah Kaufman
      March 4, 2021 - 8:08 am | Permalink

      Fabulous, @John Cabot!

    • Steve Niccolls's Gravatar Steve Niccolls
      March 4, 2021 - 8:12 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the chuckle, John

    • Josh Nixon's Gravatar Josh Nixon
      March 4, 2021 - 9:34 am | Permalink

      If any among you now wishes
      To be humble instead of ambitious,
      Isadora the Fool
      Had this one simple rule:
      You begin by just washing the dishes.

      • Gwen Gerety Hays's Gravatar Gwen Gerety Hays
        March 4, 2021 - 10:13 am | Permalink


      • March 4, 2021 - 10:18 am | Permalink

        Many homes could benefit from someone who does this willingly & regularly!

      • Tiffany's Gravatar Tiffany
        March 4, 2021 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

        I really like this one.

      • Craig Ewing's Gravatar Craig Ewing
        March 4, 2021 - 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Josh. A simple limerick with a simple message from a simple nun. Powerful writing, my friend.

      • Marie's Gravatar Marie
        March 4, 2021 - 1:40 pm | Permalink


      • Jeanie's Gravatar Jeanie
        March 4, 2021 - 2:02 pm | Permalink

        You had me with “just washing the dishes”!

      • Julie Morris's Gravatar Julie Morris
        March 4, 2021 - 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Josh. With your permission, that’s my Maundy Thursday sermon.

      • yeopa's Gravatar yeopa
        March 5, 2021 - 2:03 am | Permalink

        first rate Lenten limerick!

    • Keith Davis's Gravatar Keith Davis
      March 4, 2021 - 9:49 am | Permalink

      John, that was hilarious! Another espresso for you, my friend!

    • March 4, 2021 - 10:56 am | Permalink

      You have outdone yourself, John.

    • Joy's Gravatar Joy
      March 4, 2021 - 11:42 am | Permalink

      BAHAHAHAHA thank you for this XD

    • Laura S.'s Gravatar Laura S.
      March 4, 2021 - 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Very well said! good laugh. Inspired by Simeon?

    • Laurie Neely's Gravatar Laurie Neely
      March 4, 2021 - 5:23 pm | Permalink

      One of your best!

    • Anita's Gravatar Anita
      March 4, 2021 - 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Great words

  2. March 4, 2021 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    This one was tough as I take issue with some of the actions of both candidates.

    • Carey Harveycutter's Gravatar Carey Harveycutter
      March 4, 2021 - 8:56 am | Permalink

      I so love your daily chuckles. Thanks so much.

    • Tiffany's Gravatar Tiffany
      March 4, 2021 - 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Me, too, Steven.

    • Liz Charlton's Gravatar Liz Charlton
      March 4, 2021 - 8:20 pm | Permalink

      I agree. I won’t say how I voted, but I wish I had the strength to be A fool for God.

    • Liz Charlton's Gravatar Liz Charlton
      March 4, 2021 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

      I agree. I won’t say how I voted, but I wish I had the strength to be God’s fool.

  3. March 4, 2021 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    As a side note to yesterday’s match-up, several commenters questioned Maryam’s inclusion in this year’s bracket, due to the troubling nature of her story and the way it was presented. A popular Syriac Christian saint, Maryam of Qidun is commemorated in the Episcopal Church’s Lesser Feasts and Fasts on October 29. As always, we encourage further study into the lives of the people who make up the 32 saints we highlight each year. We also recognize that some of these lives are inspiring, some troubling, some uniquely tied to a particular cultural context. But in the end, we trust that they all point us in some way to the risen Christ. Thanks to all of you for your continued engagement in this patently absurd concept of saints competing against one another.

    • March 4, 2021 - 8:33 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Tim – that was needed.

    • Mary Winston's Gravatar Mary Winston
      March 4, 2021 - 9:17 am | Permalink

      Thanks Tim, I voted for Maryam.

      • Carole's Gravatar Carole
        March 4, 2021 - 11:54 am | Permalink

        I did too.Think of Rahab… also a”fallen woman”…

    • Story's Gravatar Story
      March 4, 2021 - 11:19 am | Permalink

      I think this is helpful. I, for one, was not questioning Maryam’s inclusion in the bracket at all. I mostly thought it was odd that the write up about her never commented on the problematic nature of referring to her as a sinner. I was just surprised that there wasn’t some sentence like, “due to the way women were viewed at the time, Maryam saw herself as a sinner.” I am so used to witty insight in the write ups of these saints, that I found it odd that we didn’t get that with Maryam’s.

      • simple village priest's Gravatar simple village priest
        March 4, 2021 - 12:24 pm | Permalink

        Story, that was my issue as well — and many of my parishioners concurred. Sadly, victim-blaming and victim self-blaming have not drifted away in the sands of time since then. … Anyway, it will make for some spirited Zoom Coffee Hour discussion this Sunday.

      • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
        March 4, 2021 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Totally agree.

      • Betsy B's Gravatar Betsy B
        March 4, 2021 - 1:07 pm | Permalink

        These were my thoughts, as well.

    • Tiffany's Gravatar Tiffany
      March 4, 2021 - 12:07 pm | Permalink


    • Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
      March 4, 2021 - 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Tim. And thanks to both you and Scott for continuing this spirited, spiritual matchup!

    • Shelly's Gravatar Shelly
      March 4, 2021 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Thank you. I was hoping for a response. I look forward to Lent Madness every year, and enjoy both the lighthearted and informative comments. Yesterday’s matchup was not lighthearted and fun, but I found many of the comments to be particularly thoughtful and insightful, and although I was a bit confused about what was saintly about Maryam, I appreciated the discussion it inspired.

    • Jennifer Franz's Gravatar Jennifer Franz
      March 4, 2021 - 8:50 pm | Permalink

      This exercise is certainly absurd on the face of it, but if you look a little deeper and take it more or less seriously, I think this daily (well, OK, minus the weekends) practice offers us rich opportunities to grow in faith and understanding. I always walk away from each day

      • Jennifer Franz's Gravatar Jennifer Franz
        March 4, 2021 - 8:53 pm | Permalink

        OOPS … I hit some wrong key and didn’t finish. Sorry.

        I almost always walk away from a Lent Madness day with a better grasp of what is truly important in this life as well as a challenge to myself to explore the faith in some new way.

    • March 4, 2021 - 11:21 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Tim, for the reminder of Maryam’s importance to Syriac Christians. When LFF 2018 comes back to General Convention next year, Maryam’s biography and collect have been revised, to be a more frank that she was a victim rather than a sinner. We should confess not Maryam’s shame but that societies continue to do such injustice to women.

    • Richard Harvey's Gravatar Richard Harvey
      March 5, 2021 - 7:27 am | Permalink

      I learned that Maryam loved God and wanted to be worthy of God’s love. I also learned that she lived in a time when men had far too much influence over women and women had no recourse to choose the direction of their lives. The Church should support women like Maryam, to encourage their freedom. We must never go back to the misogyny of the 10th century. That is a good lesson.

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

    I would bet today we would be looking for a mental disorder to explain away these behaviors. My heart breaks for them, especially for Isidora – to be looked down upon by others who were supposedly her brethren. I don’t know what to say about today’s match-up, mostly because they break my heart. So, I’m going to vote for Isidora because I worked with the mentally ill for years.

    • March 4, 2021 - 9:57 am | Permalink

      I to worked at a mental hospital. All can teach us something of God’s love.

      • Andria's Gravatar Andria
        March 4, 2021 - 1:45 pm | Permalink


      • Jan's Gravatar Jan
        March 4, 2021 - 5:50 pm | Permalink


  5. Carole's Gravatar Carole
    March 4, 2021 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    I don’t know. Yesterday, there was a young woman who was groomed, lured and raped. Today, another who was bullied. What is going on with Lent Madness

    • Stephen Morris's Gravatar Stephen Morris
      March 4, 2021 - 8:43 am | Permalink

      Neither of these women are glorified as Saints because they were abused—but it happened. People can’t be Saints if something terrible happens to them? It is a tragedy that such things happen but they don’t disqualify their victims from holiness, do they?

    • Belle's Gravatar Belle
      March 4, 2021 - 9:16 am | Permalink

      Because these things have happened to women. Always. No reason not to acknowledge the challenges these circumstances presented (and present), especially when the women go on to remain active and effective in the world.

      • Francesca's Gravatar Francesca
        March 4, 2021 - 11:26 am | Permalink

        Sadly, these horrible events do NOT happen only to women. I represent many men who have suffered horrible sexual molestation and abuse as well. There is no excuse for the behavior against any person.

    • Melissa's Gravatar Melissa
      March 4, 2021 - 9:16 am | Permalink

      Human beings do terrible things to one another, even human beings who have assembled as God’s Church. To become a saint is to trust God above all else, even in the face of the terrible things that have been done to us (or that we have done).

      I find myself leaning toward Isidora today. I am hoping to become a Deacon in this church, and our diagonal stole is the Washrag (truly) that she wore. We have to walk a fine balance between Serving and being taken advantage of. I imagine Isidora praying as she washed the dishes of those she willingly served — not for herself, but for their eventual repentance and salvation. It’s a hard lesson!! The crown of this story is that the sisters repented. And, I pray, the crown to all these stories when people have been taken advantage of or mistreated (even through the auspices of our Church!) is that we must recognize human evil, learn, and turn away from it and towards God.

      Even the first martyr, Stephen, was a Deacon, who placed himself in the Service of the Church, and was stoned by the religious believers of his day as a result.

      Perhaps one function of these shocking stories of Saints is to awaken our grief, and allow us to Learn and Turn? while Blessing the names of those who example we hope will teach us something about walking in a life of faith and service.

      (Intentional use of terms from The Way of Love)

      • Gwen Gerety Hays's Gravatar Gwen Gerety Hays
        March 4, 2021 - 10:16 am | Permalink

        Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and came among us as a Servant.

      • Lee's Gravatar Lee
        March 4, 2021 - 10:22 am | Permalink

        As a Deacon candidate myself, your words resonate with me. Here’s to Isadora! May she inspire the self-emptying love of Christ in us.

      • Scott's Gravatar Scott
        March 4, 2021 - 10:33 am | Permalink

        Thank you.

      • Kate Mason's Gravatar Kate Mason
        March 4, 2021 - 10:47 am | Permalink

        Thank you, Melissa – and thank you Ellen L. and Ellen B. I find both of these saints a bit troubling, and Isidora’s story particularly so. But your reflection helps me decide to cast a vote for the humble Isidora.

  6. Cath Fenton's Gravatar Cath Fenton
    March 4, 2021 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    I follow “Ship of Fools” (“the magazine of Christian unrest”), which is where I first came across Lent Madness.
    It’s “patron saint” is Simeon, the Holy Fool, so he has my vote.
    I did like the story of Isadora though.

  7. Linda S's Gravatar Linda S
    March 4, 2021 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    This day’s pairing had me looking for the “Other” voting option.
    My goodness! Both of these tortured and misguided people needed an intervention by caring people. I propose The SEC introduce the Mr. Yuck symbol to precede these kind of write-ups.

    • Isabel Bonnyman Stanley's Gravatar Isabel Bonnyman Stanley
      March 4, 2021 - 8:49 am | Permalink

      I agree with Linda S. These poor souls need help. I won’t vote today.

    • Andria's Gravatar Andria
      March 4, 2021 - 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Ah, but this is what the world really was like for them. And they sought God above all else anyway.

    • Josie's Gravatar Josie
      March 4, 2021 - 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Why do you think they were tortured and misguided? Genuine question. Both were following what they authentically believed was God’s path for them. Perhaps they are not choices that you or I would make, but they were their own choices none the less. Why should we diminish their experiences because they make us uncomfortable?

  8. Susan H Titus's Gravatar Susan H Titus
    March 4, 2021 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    I was really taken with Isadora’s dishrag wimple but in the end I had to chose Simon as his crazy goodness seemed to reach more people, especially the hungry and the homeless. We need more holy fools.

  9. Jane Christmas's Gravatar Jane Christmas
    March 4, 2021 - 8:18 am | Permalink

    Isidora’s story sounds too much like Cinderella. Plus, I’m suspicious of those who indulge in extreme acts of self abasement and deprivation in the name of piety. As for Simeon, he wasn’t crazy for Christ, he was a show-boating exhibitionist! I fail to find any holy purpose in their stories, so I’m abstaining from today’s vote.

    • Marjorie's Gravatar Marjorie
      March 4, 2021 - 8:28 am | Permalink

      Sounds right to me. These two may have been as holy as their mental illnesses allowed, but this year we’re being presented with an awful lot of mentally unhealthy people. Enough already!

      • Josie's Gravatar Josie
        March 4, 2021 - 6:45 pm | Permalink

        OK, as a mentally unhealthy person with mentally unhealthy children, I am deeply hurt by this statement. Am I less holy because of my mental illness? Would you find it troubling should I be called to serve in your church as a leader because of my illness? Do you think I am less called than you because I struggle with my head sometimes?

        In these comments we’re presented with an awful lot of prejudiced people. Enough already!

        • Jacqueline Blake's Gravatar Jacqueline Blake
          March 4, 2021 - 8:33 pm | Permalink

          My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. My younger son struggled with bipolar disorder until he took his life 8 years ago.

        • Jan LaBonte's Gravatar Jan LaBonte
          March 4, 2021 - 9:35 pm | Permalink

          Thank you for your call that we all be more compassionate!

        • AmyJ's Gravatar AmyJ
          March 4, 2021 - 11:23 pm | Permalink

          Thank you Josie! What we consider mental illnesses today, often would have been described as being “touched by the gods” in earlier times. While those of us with mental illnesses may struggle with the modern understanding of “problematic” behaviors, we are also blessed with being able to see completely unique perspectives on the world.

    • Kristenza Hatch's Gravatar Kristenza Hatch
      March 4, 2021 - 9:23 am | Permalink

      I voted!!!! There is goodness and spiritual enlightenment in all God’s children.

    • Katherine Grimes's Gravatar Katherine Grimes
      March 4, 2021 - 9:31 am | Permalink

      I, too, thought of Cinderella when I read about Isadora.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 4, 2021 - 10:44 am | Permalink

      Add my name to this list of people who thought of Cinderella with Isadora’s story. I found Simeon to be the antithesis of what Jesus recommended vis-a-vis piety. It seemed he was just about bringing attention to himself. He lost me at “scooting around on his backside,” and I think he missed Paul’s point of being a fool for Christ entirely. Isadora’s asceticism turned me off as well–asceticism for asceticism’s sake, it seemed to me–but at least she served the people around her. I voted for Isadora for her service.

    • Emily's Gravatar Emily
      March 4, 2021 - 11:52 am | Permalink

      Maybe Cinderella is derived from Isadora!

    • Andria's Gravatar Andria
      March 4, 2021 - 1:50 pm | Permalink

      What I respected about Isadora is that when the tide turned and she was venerated, she stuck to her principles and just left. No part of her was looking for a Prince Charming ending.

  10. Johanne Hills's Gravatar Johanne Hills
    March 4, 2021 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    Here is another troubling duo. I could not vote today, both lives felt beset by issues that deal more with how we treat others who are different and suggest mental illness of some nature….their times may have rendered them saints but I cannot…their peers using Godliness as a cover for neglect perhaps.

    • Shelly's Gravatar Shelly
      March 4, 2021 - 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Although the past two matchups have been less “fun” than usual, I have found it interesting to read the discussion of the issues that their stories bring up.

  11. Richard's Gravatar Richard
    March 4, 2021 - 8:28 am | Permalink

    In oder to honor the spiritual gift of Isadora, I have voted for Simeon. I imagine, she would be grateful.

    • Tom's Gravatar Tom
      March 4, 2021 - 9:44 am | Permalink

      So well said Richard. They are an example to me that the lowest of tasks and the calling attention to the needs of people are ways to serve God. So I dance a silly dance and weave a hot pad wimple to honor Isadora. I give this Easter to feed the homeless for Simeon.

    • Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
      March 4, 2021 - 9:48 am | Permalink

      I don’t know whether your comment is serious or ironic, but it is truly clever either way! Also as good a way as any to decide how to vote in today’s impossible contest.

    • Ethel Hellman's Gravatar Ethel Hellman
      March 4, 2021 - 9:06 pm | Permalink

      Clever….and probably true.

  12. Kim W's Gravatar Kim W
    March 4, 2021 - 8:31 am | Permalink

    Simeon reminds me of my sister. Her mental health has been a problem for years and her behavior often defies societal norms but there is no question of her devotion to Christ. Simeon gets my vote for giving me a new view on my sister.

  13. Julianne's Gravatar Julianne
    March 4, 2021 - 8:32 am | Permalink

    I think we need to stop projecting our “enlightened” modern views onto people who lived in a very different world. It doesn’t make what happened to them “right” or “wrong”, but the essence of the modern curse of “cancel culture” is just this: punishing people for simply being part of the prevailing culture of the time. We can and should try in our own times to do better, but judging someone who lived 1500 years ago by our own standards is pointless, and trying to erase or ignore those parts of history that make us uncomfortable is downright dangerous.

    • Linda T.'s Gravatar Linda T.
      March 4, 2021 - 8:42 am | Permalink


    • Susan Kirwan's Gravatar Susan Kirwan
      March 4, 2021 - 8:48 am | Permalink


    • Scott's Gravatar Scott
      March 4, 2021 - 10:34 am | Permalink


    • Anne Lane's Gravatar Anne Lane
      March 4, 2021 - 11:10 am | Permalink

      Yes! Thank you, I agree!

    • Marcia Morgan Lazaro's Gravatar Marcia Morgan Lazaro
      March 4, 2021 - 11:17 am | Permalink

      Truly! I also question the decision to not vote because one doesn’t care for the choices, similar Election Day behavior has contributed to the political schisms of which we’re now reaping the benefits. Voting in Lent Madness isn’t going to wreak havoc on the world, and the choices aren’t always “easy” or obvious, but I choose to choose, and to be daily enlightened by meeting new saints and being inspired to put my faith to work.

      • Shelly's Gravatar Shelly
        March 4, 2021 - 7:46 pm | Permalink

        I agree. Also, although voting is fun, for me the main point is considering what we can learn from these stories. I think even the more disturbing stories have important points to make.

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 4, 2021 - 11:57 am | Permalink

      Good point, Julianne! Thanks for the reminder. What makes this match-up difficult is how similar the “contestants” are in being “different” in some way. I admire the way each found ways to glorify God.
      I’m voting for Simeon in honor of my grown-up godson whom some would call rather odd, others might reject as being “other”, but who loves God and Jesus and I’m sure has brought other “odd folks” closer to God.

    • Eric Adams's Gravatar Eric Adams
      March 4, 2021 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Well said, Verdery!!

    • Tiffany's Gravatar Tiffany
      March 4, 2021 - 3:33 pm | Permalink

      A worthy point.

    • Sarah's Gravatar Sarah
      March 4, 2021 - 5:14 pm | Permalink

      I mentioned that earlier in the week. Thank you for making the point more clearly.

    • Shelly's Gravatar Shelly
      March 4, 2021 - 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for saying this.

    • Carolyn's Gravatar Carolyn
      March 5, 2021 - 12:21 am | Permalink

      Thank you Julianne for your wise words. Last year was my first Lent Madness, when the pandemic took hold of our country. I found welcome
      wisdom and solace in the replies I read each evening. This year, I feel as though there has been no break from the judging of others… who lived centuries ago in such different times—- that I seem to hear about constantly in my daily life. Let us concentrate on these saintly people with compassion and kindness.

    • Dee Webster's Gravatar Dee Webster
      March 5, 2021 - 12:29 am | Permalink

      Julianne, I agree completely. I am a substitute teacher and my specialty is history. I am frequently telling students that we cannot project current ways of being on people who lived in a different time, even in our own country.

    • Mary-Beth Esser's Gravatar Mary-Beth Esser
      March 5, 2021 - 11:57 am | Permalink

      Thank you for this insight.

  14. Claire in Quincy MA's Gravatar Claire in Quincy MA
    March 4, 2021 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    In the mad rush for vaccination during our pandemic, I heard a funny line about being “at the back of the line behind the ghosts of ventriloquists’ dummies.” I am deeply grateful for my good health and being employed (yay!) in a non-Covid facing job. If I am lucky, maybe I’ll be vaccinated on St Simeon’s Feast day July 1st.

  15. Scott W Anderson's Gravatar Scott W Anderson
    March 4, 2021 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    This was a simple choice! 🙂

    • LA's Gravatar LA
      March 4, 2021 - 11:08 am | Permalink

      I see what you did there.

  16. CB Clinton's Gravatar CB Clinton
    March 4, 2021 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    The bullied and the bullier are equally loved by God.

  17. March 4, 2021 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Faced with such saintliness, it is impossible to single out one over the other. No vote today.

  18. Margo Miller's Gravatar Margo Miller
    March 4, 2021 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    I do not understand those who cannot choose because one or both of the stories offends some personal value. We are looking at the lives of people, real or legendary, that exemplify some aspect of devotion for Christ. If the situation is too violent, sexist or unpleasant for you, please remember that the world is full of saints who are currently dealing with life in all it’s worst and best. Just vote for a saint without the judgement of their times and environment, but on their hearts and legacies.

    • Debra K McLaughlin's Gravatar Debra K McLaughlin
      March 4, 2021 - 11:45 am | Permalink


    • Diane's Gravatar Diane
      March 4, 2021 - 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Amen! Choosing not to vote because the nominees offend you in some way is a reminder of the “it’s all about me” society of our day. Perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at Isadora and Simeon and open our hearts to whatever inspiration they have to offer us.

  19. Carl Peterson's Gravatar Carl Peterson
    March 4, 2021 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Finally a Saint after my own heart. I must have some of Isadora’s DNA, as many of my traits and beliefs in helping and caring for others are very similar to her actions. She really did do some saintly things, even though not always recognized for what they were worth. It is through her eyes that I felt the connection. In fact, I almost did not read about Simeon, as I was ready to vote.

  20. Janet from Bucks County's Gravatar Janet from Bucks County
    March 4, 2021 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    Isadora’s service in the kitchen reminds me of Martha of Bethany, who won the Golden Halo a few years ago. However, Martha was not bullied and put down by her community. Her story gives us pause to reflect on how we treat those who provide humble service.

  21. Betsy Amey's Gravatar Betsy Amey
    March 4, 2021 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    Cinderella vs. Robin Williams? Regardless of how these two expressed their “holy foolishness,” each was eventually able to inspire better behavior in their fellows — maybe that’s what a saint does?

    • Denise LeGendre's Gravatar Denise LeGendre
      March 4, 2021 - 8:59 am | Permalink

      Well put.

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 4, 2021 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Good analogies, Betsy! Thanks for a good laugh and the mental image of the four of them sitting around chatting–or more likely gathered together and dancing.

  22. Rita Pino Vargas's Gravatar Rita Pino Vargas
    March 4, 2021 - 8:49 am | Permalink

    Thank you Tim for your remarks. I was uneasy about yesterday but you have laid my concerns to rest.

  23. leyton's Gravatar leyton
    March 4, 2021 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    vote for da fool!!!!!!!!!

  24. John Angermayr's Gravatar John Angermayr
    March 4, 2021 - 8:50 am | Permalink

    So in many comments the idea that these two might be mentally ill popped up. But my question to those who are thinking along those lines is : why can’t a mentally ill person bring the Light of Christ to the world? Why does the Saint have to be completely neurotypical and “normal” to be “holy”? Idk, discounting the works and beliefs of someone just because they simply appear to be mental ill seems base at best and honestly contains a TON of prejudice.

    • Josie's Gravatar Josie
      March 4, 2021 - 6:47 pm | Permalink

      THANK YOU!

  25. Susan C.'s Gravatar Susan C.
    March 4, 2021 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    I vote for Simeon the Holy Fool because he was devout and crowned his devotion with good works. I have known people who would make a ruckus just to get the attention of others, who were not mentally ill. And even more important, mentally ill people can be saints as well. We all have our quirks.

  26. Corey Sees's Gravatar Corey Sees
    March 4, 2021 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    Simeon threw nuts at clergy while they preached, that’s enough to win him my vote.

    • Gillian's Gravatar Gillian
      March 4, 2021 - 9:53 am | Permalink

      I was about ready to abstain until I saw this comment! What chaotic energy Simeon had lol. He’s got my vote!

  27. Barbara Eckman's Gravatar Barbara Eckman
    March 4, 2021 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Could Simeon have had a seizure disorder?

  28. Joyce's Gravatar Joyce
    March 4, 2021 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    Isadora had me at the dishrag. Having been closed up at home these many months has allowed my housekeeping to be less than fastidious. After all, there is no one coming to visit.I’d rather be online with such creative ventures as Lent Madness. Isadora has called me back to Good Housekeeping–she’s an inspiration! I woke up this morning knowing I needed to start spring cleaning STAT!

  29. Rita Pino Vargas's Gravatar Rita Pino Vargas
    March 4, 2021 - 8:58 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we want the perfect saint and are taken aback by those folks that do not fit our mold of what a saint should or should not be.

  30. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 4, 2021 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    Two saints that I struggle to relate to. I am aware that for some extreme self-abasement can be a besetting sin and a denial of God’s gifts. I find Isidora’s story diffiuclt for this reason and am also concerned that her behaviour led her sisters into sin, firstly in mistreating her, and then when their sin was exposed to revering her. I vote, reluctantly, for Simeon for the good he acheived, aware that I would be deeply embaraased by his behaviour and challenged by my response to his unorthodox methods of drawing attention to Christ.

  31. Barbara Ross's Gravatar Barbara Ross
    March 4, 2021 - 9:04 am | Permalink

    It troubles me that Isadora was mistreated by her sisters until she was validated by a man. But as several have said, we shouldn’t judge the ancients by our contemporary standards.

  32. John Mears's Gravatar John Mears
    March 4, 2021 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    I’ve been to the Abba Gerasimus monastery. But it is in the Occupied (by Israel) Territories on the West Bank of the Jordan several kilometers north of the Dead Sea and probably close to two hundred kilometers south of Syria. Beautiful small church there.

  33. Charlotte Desilets's Gravatar Charlotte Desilets
    March 4, 2021 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    I loathe and despise doing housework, especially doing dishes (cuts into my reading time), so I voted for Isadora as a reminder of chores that have to be done, no matter how unpleasant.

  34. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 4, 2021 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    Today is another good day to sit out the vote. Isadora the Simple reminds me of the popular medieval story “Patient Griselda.” Griselda’s husband beat her, cheated on her, and took her for granted. But Patient Griselda bore it all . . . patiently. I really hate these stories of women who endure all manner of abuse and their womanliness is marked by how much abjection they can be reduced to. Fellow nuns beating you, husband beating you . . . what’s the difference? Then Simeon the Holy Fool fits neatly into the Greek category of the Cynic. The Cynics were the “dog” philosophers, who did outrageous things like have sex in the middle of the road to flout social mores. I prefer to celebrate July 1 as Canada Day. Kudos to the Celebrity Bloggers for gamely Keeping Calm and Carrying On.

  35. Laurie Earle's Gravatar Laurie Earle
    March 4, 2021 - 9:13 am | Permalink

    My perceptions are skewed by 40 years in nursing-a sense of humor that borders on the societally inappropriate makes the horrible and tragic bearable. Those that lose that humor soon exit the profession. Laughing heals. And, you probably want your nurse to put your or your loved ones needs ahead of their need to pee, eat, or engage in other extraneous activities. I can relate to Isadora. I can also relate to her just wanting to be left alone to do her thing. I can relate to Simeon, having married a man who frequently skipped down the grocery store aisle with the cart before hopping onto it to do a 360, just because. If I commandeered the cart, I would hear him call my name from the other end of the aisle and turn to find a can of soup being bowled to me or a roll of paper towels being lobbed for me to catch and place in said cart. Our knees and our throwing arms have aged, but our foolishness has not, thanks be to God! I will grant Isadora her wish to be left alone and vote for Simeon, because of the above and also John Cabot’s rhyme.

    • March 4, 2021 - 11:08 am | Permalink

      Amen and amen. I loved your story and thank goodness your “foolishness has not aged.” So many comments are SOOOOO serious in a contest that was meant to combine light heartedness with learning and spiritual awakening. I remember my adult children, desperately worried when their father was having emergency open heart surgery, finding a box of surgical gloves, blowing them up like balloons and playing volleyball in the waiting room (perhaps not becoming popular with some others there) until we found out he was all right. And the distinguished, learned judge, wearing his Cursillo clown suit for a quick trip to the grocery store when we had a kitchen crisis. The clerk asked him if he was a professional clown and he said no, he was a referee.
      I voted for Simeon.

    • Ellen M's Gravatar Ellen M
      March 4, 2021 - 11:26 am | Permalink

      Your description make me LOL! Please let me know next time you go grocery shopping – I love seeing people being playful with one another! (Says a woman whose aging husband once grabbed a scooter that was for sale and rode it around the store yelling “wheeeeeee”! )

    • JustMeJo's Gravatar JustMeJo
      March 4, 2021 - 5:23 pm | Permalink

      Laurie, your husband must have studied under my father! And I think that that must have been somewhere in my subconscious when I decided to cast my vote for Simeon! Dad’s crowning embarrassment for me as a child was when, after perusing the specials in the store windows and finding one that proudly proclaimed “navel eating oranges”, he stood inside the entranceway and shouted “Cover up your belly buttons! Here come the navel eating oranges!”

      • Deirdre's Gravatar Deirdre
        March 5, 2021 - 2:05 am | Permalink

        Thank you, Jo, for my first out-loud laugh of the day. D

    • Mary-Beth Esser's Gravatar Mary-Beth Esser
      March 5, 2021 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Laurie for bringing some wonderful insights into our discussions. Wheeeeee!

  36. karen's Gravatar karen
    March 4, 2021 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    Thank you to Julianne – good comment about projecting modern sensibilities on other centuries. Based on today’s thinking, how would we see Mary or Jesus or Paul?
    Also, I did not try to vote twice! It was a slip of the hand…operator error. Poll id#312
    Please do not banish me

  37. Belle's Gravatar Belle
    March 4, 2021 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    Generally, I tend to favor women if the matchup seems to be fairly equal. But in this case, Simeon got my vote. I don’t think that abegnation, on its own, qualifies someone to advance — and it amuses me to consider that Isadora herself would refuse it!
    Simeon’s actions qualify him, in my opinion.

  38. Peg S.'s Gravatar Peg S.
    March 4, 2021 - 9:20 am | Permalink

    Today’s choices are tougher than I anticipated, because each of these people did things that would make me very uncomfortable. I have to think hard about them. Isadora humbled herself. Did she feel humiliated? Simeon made a spectacle of himself. Yet somehow, he drew attention to caring for others, not just acting up. These two make me uncomfortable. I know I’m too comfortable with doing things that are meant to preserve my social status and with NOT doing things that really help people in need. Do I turn away from the weirdo with the head rag? Do I drive by the nut burger hopping up and down on the corner? I better embrace both fools, and look for a bell cap of my own. Bless us every one.

  39. Judy Hoover's Gravatar Judy Hoover
    March 4, 2021 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    Voted for Simeon because he reminded me of my brother in law Rev. Henry Hoover (now deceased) who hopped up on a table, sat cross legged and sang a parody from Pinafore to raise money for the church.

  40. SDC's Gravatar SDC
    March 4, 2021 - 9:29 am | Permalink

    Poor Isidora, she was stuck in a convent with the Mean Girls. I wouldn’t be surprised if she just ate on her own, away from the nun middle schoolers who picked on her constantly.

  41. Joyce's Gravatar Joyce
    March 4, 2021 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    I know God loved each of these mentally challenged Saints as much as He loves me. However, I had to vote for Isadora, the Cinderella story and of course the dishrag.

  42. Wayne C Whitney's Gravatar Wayne C Whitney
    March 4, 2021 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    I am voting for Isadora. She reminded me of Bob Dylan’s You gotta serve somebody.

  43. Beth Parkhurst's Gravatar Beth Parkhurst
    March 4, 2021 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    Gah! I want to vote for both of them! Isadora’s behavior seems more directly connected to her spiritual practice, though,

  44. Rhee H.'s Gravatar Rhee H.
    March 4, 2021 - 9:41 am | Permalink

    Dangit! — after several days when I didn’t feel very inspired by either saintly option, now I have to choose between two I love! Will be happy for either of them to win — although maybe Isidore would *hate* winning!
    Btw, I found an interesting perspective on Symeon and his friend John here

    • TH's Gravatar TH
      March 4, 2021 - 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Thank for this link. It sealed my vote for Symeon.

  45. JoJo's Gravatar JoJo
    March 4, 2021 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    “I pity the fool” Simeon, but I voted for the dishwasher Isidora.
    I’m not the chief cook around here, I do the dishwashing-a never ending chore.

  46. Chris's Gravatar Chris
    March 4, 2021 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    So today’s contenders are quirky. Does that mean that they were too weird to glorify God? I don’t think that is possible. To be honest, I wish that both of them could advance to the Saintly Sixteen. Jesus gravitated toward those who did not fit the mold. Isadora found God’s presence in solitude, and Simeon in gaining attention. Clearly, they both influenced others, as they are represented here.

    • Sue Campbell's Gravatar Sue Campbell
      March 4, 2021 - 12:36 pm | Permalink

      I agree, Chris. I could vote for both, but chose Isadora…the dish rag won me over!

  47. Vicar Mollie's Gravatar Vicar Mollie
    March 4, 2021 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    Thanks to John Mears for the geographical correction—even without a map or a clue as to the monastery’s actual location, I know the Dead Sea and Syria are nowhere near each other. While I might take issue with CB Amber’s understanding of true humility apparently equaling self-abasement, and I can’t say I understand Isidora’s methods of practicing her piety, she gets my vote today.

  48. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 4, 2021 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    When I read the story of Isidora the Simple I immediately thought of the adults with intellectual disabilities who are part of our congregation. They help with the chores of the church – helping to take out trash, run the floor sweeper, as well as serve as acolyte, bell ringer, usher. Their faith is pure and they have inspired many. Our little church is a better place because they are part of it. I voted for Isadore in honor of them.

  49. March 4, 2021 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised no one has connected the dishrag headcovering with the House Elves of Harry Potter world. It was the first thing I thought if. So, in honor of all house elves, my vote goes to Isidora

  50. Karen Rhodes's Gravatar Karen Rhodes
    March 4, 2021 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    For centuries the Church counseled women to endure whatever humiliations were heaped upon them, in service to God. Endure cruel and violent husbands and receive a reward in Heaven. Great way to keep us down. This is a troubling way to encourage Christian behavior. Not going to validate that view.
    Simeon took up the useful profession of Fool. Fools followed the rule of “Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” and that’s sufficient for me to pick Simeon.
    I highly recommend Alan Gordon’s books, probably out of print, about a Fool, spy, and consulting detective, beginning with Thirteenth Night.

  51. EllieT's Gravatar EllieT
    March 4, 2021 - 9:55 am | Permalink

    Isidora could have been a Down child. It could explain both her constancy and humility, as well as fleeing the sudden attention. My interpretation is not so much that she chose this life as a way to serve God, but that she was a gift from God to show the sisters what holy beauties of service they were ignoring and degrading. It’s shameful that it took a crotchety old man to show those women what they were doing. He was a saint, too.

  52. Marie Fortune's Gravatar Marie Fortune
    March 4, 2021 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    I think I am done with Lent Madness
    Yesterday a rape victim, blamed for her victimization, seeking “forgiveness”.
    Today an abused woman, sainted for being a doormat
    I don’t need Lent to remind me of the horrors that patriarchy inflicts on women to this day
    The portrayals here only serve to reinforce timeless images of women celebrated for their suffering
    Enough already

    • Jan Van Pelt's Gravatar Jan Van Pelt
      March 5, 2021 - 3:22 pm | Permalink

      I’ve found these troubling too. No way can I celebrate these “saints.”
      Before retirement, I encouraged my congregation and others to join Lent Madness. I would not do so now. There are enough church women who still live in the shadow of patriarchy that no way would I want to reinforce that image.

  53. Wendy Saunders's Gravatar Wendy Saunders
    March 4, 2021 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    I am casting my lot with Isadora. As others have pointed out (far more eloquently than I could) her constancy in carrying out her duties so humbly despite her poor treatment at the hands of her fellows in Christ, is as heroic (and perhaps more so) as a St. Joan of Arc. She did not deserve the treatment she received from her supposed allies, and while their actions speak to their own sins, it does not detract from her faithfulness. Let’s try to learn from the shortcomings of the past, and address the wrong doing we see both past and present.

  54. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 4, 2021 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Yesterday there was consternation over Maryam of Qidun, and today Tim Schenck (aka Tim the Complex) has responded. I just want to say, my appreciation for types of spirituality has expanded enormously since doing Lent Madness. Over the years we have encountered forms of religiosity that have really “stretched the bounds” of the imagination. I remember being repulsed by Margery Kempe’s “gift of tears.” Levitating saints? Saints that carried their own heads? Saints who possibly never even existed but are entirely apocryphal, existing only in the enthusiasm of simple folk repeating stories? Actually, I’m to the point where I might vote for a saint who never actually existed, or at least for whom there is no empirical proof. And I’m definitely going to vote for St. Guinefort, whenever he shows up in a bracket, doggone it. Because, people, the resurrection itself has no empirical proof. We have only . . . an empty tomb and the assurance that “their hearts were burning within them.” A couple of angels spouting stuff. And the ejaculation “rabbouni.” What if the resurrection is apocryphal, some fanciful narrative simple folk adore? Ought we to vote for it? Currently opinion columnists are arguing that the public expressions of grief most recently manifest in the Black Lives Matter movement are powerful means of effecting political and social change. Just two months ago Judith Butler said in her presidential address to the Modern Language Association that “grieving is a powerful form of protest.” Is not that a contemporary, post-modern re-articulation of the “gift of tears”? I had never heard of taking a saint’s name when I was confirmed, but I find myself musing over the offerings we have had and considering whom among the saints I might choose to “have my back.” The Virgin Mary, duh, but she’s awfully busy. The clumsy guy from last year who broke all the dishes? No way. What in these stories most speaks to me and gives my heart strength? What a wealth of possibilities we have before us. I concur with someone who posted that perhaps Lent Madness faces a redefining moment. How shall it go forward as a Lenten devotional practice? Tim and Scott have labored in the vineyard for a decade and built a successful, even an amazing, project. I cannot imagine Lent without it, and it has sustained me through two springs of COVID. What might the future look like? Have we a saint of prophetic inspiration with strong organizational skills and access to an NGO venture capitalist in the offing? We just might! I give thanks to everyone who has been involved in this annual pilgrimage to Canterbury, each of us on his or her various mount, jostling together over pot-holed roads and occasionally helping one another pull mired steeds out of the mud, except on Sunday. Here’s to the fellowship, and the limericks.

    • Debra K McLaughlin's Gravatar Debra K McLaughlin
      March 4, 2021 - 11:54 am | Permalink

      Thank you!
      Deacon Deb

    • Sue Campbell's Gravatar Sue Campbell
      March 4, 2021 - 12:40 pm | Permalink


    • Melissa's Gravatar Melissa
      March 4, 2021 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

      I think that it’s true right now, that due to COVID, people are carrying an enormous load of stress and grief that they may or may not be able to acknowledge. During this year we find things that we could have coped with before to be “the straw” that breaks our backs. It’s a cumulative strain that becomes TOO MUCH (similar to the current joke being “too soon”). A story about a woman who suffers while becoming a saint? I thought that was every woman saint in the book!! but because we are carrying so much right now, no one has the capacity to deal with one more terrible story. It is not Lent Madness that has changed, it is certainly not the (maculate) history of the church that has changed– it is we who have changed and our perception of that history that has radically changed in a relatively short amount of time. I hope we will continue to look at different saints with different stories — and when those stories bother us, take note and ask ourselves, what that botheration is whispering that we should try to do or try to become. 🙂

      • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
        March 4, 2021 - 5:42 pm | Permalink

        How wise!

    • Sally Clark's Gravatar Sally Clark
      March 5, 2021 - 8:56 am | Permalink

      You write so movingly, compellingly, cogently. Thanks for all your comments over the 7 years I’ve engaged in wonderful (“wonder” truly) Lent Madness.

  55. Elizabeth Morley's Gravatar Elizabeth Morley
    March 4, 2021 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    Some people chose not to vote and their reasons trouble me.
    We tend to assess history with 2021 knowledge, science and technology. It is always easy to criticize people and events from the past, but we really do not know what we would do or how we would act if we lived at that time in history.
    I agree we need to study the past, insofar that we do not not want to repeat harmful behaviours and actions. However, we should be careful about judging the people involved. For the most part they were doing their best with the knowledge and values available to them.
    Remember, some future generation will be judging us, and it is my hope that they will far more be generous, understanding, and forgiving than we seem to be at times.

    • Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
      March 4, 2021 - 10:44 am | Permalink

      Spot on, Elizabeth!

  56. Cindy's Gravatar Cindy
    March 4, 2021 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    Have to vote for Simeon as I was a a fool for Christ as I was a Clown for God in my younger years.

  57. Mama J's Gravatar Mama J
    March 4, 2021 - 10:04 am | Permalink

    Julianne said it well; judging the past by our ‘modern standards’ is pointless. Isidora reminds me of Brother Lawrence, an early influence on my personal spiritual development. Bless you, Isidora, for the example you set for a people who do not see the value of menial tasks as a way to connect with the Lord’s teachings of humble service.

  58. Lois Alworth's Gravatar Lois Alworth
    March 4, 2021 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    This was difficult because both candidates made me uncomfortable. I did not want to vote for Isidora because I felt that she would not want the attention or position but then Simeon turned me off with his silly behavior. I could not vote for someone who threw food and scooted around on his backside, no matter what else he did. So, with apologies to Isidora, I have given her my vote.

    • tully monster's Gravatar tully monster
      March 4, 2021 - 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Most of these saints are exemplars. But I think sometimes it’s not their lives from which we should be learning but our response to them–or that of the people around them. I feel like Isadora’s convent failed her terribly, even after they recognized her worth (and I’m actually not so sure they ever really did). So, if an Isidora ever comes into my parish, I’d love to have her help me and keep me company in the kitchen during coffee hour, and I would save some of the best cookies for her. But if she felt the need to wear a dishrag on her head, I’d insist it be a clean one!

  59. Mary Larson's Gravatar Mary Larson
    March 4, 2021 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    While I can’t bring myself to vote for either, I do think it is good that they are in the bracket. They serve well to remind us how far we have come in our understanding of God. Having a teenager in the house,this is a great opportunity to talk about the importance of respecting sincerity although it be misled, cultural shifts and how an unchanging God fits in with that and lastly…..Wondering what Christians in a 1000 years will cringe about when they read about our faith lives. Have a great day! I can hardly wait for tomorrow ‘s match up! New and interesting things to think about…..Thank you, Tim and Scott!!!!

  60. Charles Ellis's Gravatar Charles Ellis
    March 4, 2021 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    Simeon the Holy Fool is the patron of the Ship of Fools As a 20 year veteran Shipmate, I had to vote for him.

  61. Tom Coleman's Gravatar Tom Coleman
    March 4, 2021 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    I have a simple rule to get past days like today.
    When I can’t make up my mind, vote for the one
    with the lest votes.
    Today it was Simeon ,
    Something about Isidora really pulls at my heart though
    Love one another

  62. Sharon Henes's Gravatar Sharon Henes
    March 4, 2021 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    My youth group is championing Simeon because they can relate to actions can speak louder than craziness and the goodness of charity and love outweighing foolish antics.

  63. Peggy Nelson's Gravatar Peggy Nelson
    March 4, 2021 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    My mother was a special education teacher of high school mentally retarded young women in
    the 1960’s and ’70’s. At that time these young women were categorized as educably retarded. They
    were not mentally ill and I don’t think Isadora the Simple was mentally ill…she had retardation
    and had the ability to learn. My Mom taught basic hygiene, appropriate social skills, cooking,
    cleaning of a home, ironing ( every day tasks). Each graduating class went on to hold jobs in
    our community in the local hospital housekeeping staff, employed as a housekeeper, laundries,
    nursing homes in a variety of capacities. They were often referred to as “simple minded” and they
    were not mentally ill. I was concerned that in 2021, others in this group referred to mental illness
    rather than retardation…thought that had been resolved many years ago.

    Simeon – I was drawn to his comic genius to draw attention with foolery to attend to the hungry and the homeless. Instead of laughing myself to sleep each night with the Late Night Shows on TV, I think
    I should get up and with their foolery in my mind, find a better way to serve the hungry and homeless myself. Going with my mother today for voting.

  64. Ren's Gravatar Ren
    March 4, 2021 - 10:48 am | Permalink

    As a participant with other adults in a Conga line for Christ, I had to vote for Simeon, the fool for Christ. As a woman, there is a difference between being reverent and lowly and being a doormat, so Isidora not standing up for herself doesn’t seem to me as being worth my vote.

    • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
      March 4, 2021 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

      I do not see her behavior as being a doormat but following the words of our Lord in Luke 14:11 and our Lord’s example as noted in Philippians 2:8. Christ chose to be silent before his accusers, and are any of us greater than him? I think not.

  65. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    March 4, 2021 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    My vote today went to Simeon, because rather than shutting himself away from the world, he took his faith out into the midst of need, and tended the sick, fed the hungry, preached the Gospel – all that good Matthew 25:31-46 stuff. He may have engaged in some outrageous behaviour but he got people’s attention, and that’s what matters. The man was a fool, perhaps, but he was a fool for Christ, and that’s praiseworthy.

  66. March 4, 2021 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    I am parish admin of a church that is occupied by a fairly large soup kitchen that serves breakfast & lunch 365 days/year. At any given time, there may be a few Simeon-like folks hanging out in our parking lot. I don’t work directly with them, as the soup kitchen has its own staff, but just being exposed to these souls has taught me so much. I look at some of them and think “There is our homeless Jesus.” Homeless Jesus is not a statue, it’s every one of these “crazy” people we see. Is there really a Simeon behind that facade, or a tortured mind, or a dangerous criminal? We may never know. But they don’t have to do anything saintly to teach us something, we can learn a lot just by observing and trying to live out our baptismal covenant in such circumstances. It is a serious challenge that I struggle with daily.

    • Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
      March 4, 2021 - 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Good reminder. Thank you.

  67. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 4, 2021 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    I’m a fool for Christ. St. Simeon it is.

  68. Story's Gravatar Story
    March 4, 2021 - 11:11 am | Permalink

    I was going to vote for Isidora, but I changed my mind and had to vote for Simeon because he was essentially a performance artist. Also, he is the patron saint of puppeteers and I am a maker and a performer of giant puppets. Come on Simeon! You can do it!

  69. BBW's Gravatar BBW
    March 4, 2021 - 11:18 am | Permalink

    Keep in mind all the write ups are based on the “legends” surrounding the individual. Experience tells me there will be much culturally biased selective reasoning in the telling of the old stories and the narratives given today. I look to get to the essence of the individual’s life story and decide from there. I agree too much emphasis on some of the more base actions and behaviors in the Saints lives this year.

  70. LA's Gravatar LA
    March 4, 2021 - 11:25 am | Permalink

    at the risk of drawing unnecessary attention to myself, I’ll say here that I connected with Isadora today based primarily on one stand-out experience of mime (pun intended). I’d arrived 2 days late for training camp for a mime-and-discipleship-mission-trip where I was to be the primary mime teacher and a chaperone. I hadn’t worked with that ministry for a few years so the teens were all new faces to me. After overhearing a church leader say to the ministry leader that “we” had to clean up the mess in the non-working garbage disposal (blaming our group, which turns out wasn’t true anyhow), I quietly volunteered to do the job. Not because I’m pious, but simply because I don’t gross out easily. It turned out to be very messy and gross and STINKY (which I’d failed to account for) and also somewhat hilarious (especially when the church handyman was horrified to see what we’d been asked to do). But, I digress… what my actions inadvertently did, unlike for dear Isadora, is immediately garner the respect of the teens I was going to be helping to lead. Which was a good thing!

    So my vote went today for Isadora. Perhaps ironically since my felt connection to her happened during mime ministry and I had put down Simeon the Fool when making my initial bracket guesses because mimes are known as fools. 😛

  71. Patricia Samuel's Gravatar Patricia Samuel
    March 4, 2021 - 11:31 am | Permalink

    I, too, had a hard time choosing today, so have fallen back on my second profession, a B&B innkeeper. (Before that I was a college professor who both taught & did a lot of organizing; as a book publisher’s rep once said to me, “every organization has a “washer woman.” ) A typical B&B is a micro-business and the owner-innkeepers must be ready and willing to step in on a day you come up short-staffed, for whatever reason; this involves cleaning toilets, etc, not just the pleasant tasks. Good staff are like gold & rubies & you thank God everyday for them. So, kudos to Isadora, who could pray while she worked. Also, Simeon reminds me of my mother: church musician and volunteer music therapist for mentally ill Veterans, farm wife, and lover of fun. One of her favorite comments, “ Live, and let live!”

  72. Scott's Gravatar Scott
    March 4, 2021 - 11:36 am | Permalink


  73. A Jennifer's Gravatar A Jennifer
    March 4, 2021 - 11:38 am | Permalink

    If we’re not going to accept stories of abusive behaviour towards God’s holy ones we’ve got some heavy re-writes to accomplish before Good Friday.

    Sometimes everything’s not awesome. Choosing not to vote is a statement – okay. Is there anything else that might also be done to channel that holy indignation?

  74. Julia Prospero's Gravatar Julia Prospero
    March 4, 2021 - 11:40 am | Permalink

    I won’t vote yesterday or today. Nothing I can compare fairly.
    You should improve, and consider your criteria .

  75. Mariclaire Buckley's Gravatar Mariclaire Buckley
    March 4, 2021 - 11:49 am | Permalink

    Hmmm-coming from a family riddled with mental illness, I have sympathy for both of these saints. Simeon seems to suffer from some sort of schizo-affective disorder that I think would drive people away from Christ. I wonder how likely people would be to follow the teachings of someone so unwell. My vote goes to the simple, lonely Isadora living in a convent full of classic “mean girls” who felt she had to leave once she was accepted.

    March 4, 2021 - 11:57 am | Permalink

    I’m inspired by story of Simeon the Holy Fool.
    What came to my mind, right away, is the call from our own Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, in his book Crazy Christians: A Radical Way of Life…”We need some Christians who are as crazy as the Lord. Crazy enough to love like Jesus, to give like Jesus, to forgive like Jesus, to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God like Jesus. Crazy enough to dare to change the world from the nightmare it often is into something close to the dream that God dreams for it. And for those who would follow him, those who would be his disciples, those who would live as and be the people of the Way. It might come as a shock, but they are called to craziness.”
    I’m voting for St. Simeon the Holy Fool! I need more holy foolishness in my life.

  77. Debra K McLaughlin's Gravatar Debra K McLaughlin
    March 4, 2021 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Isadora with her dishrag for a wimple reminded me of the story of the choosing of David to be king – “Don’t you have any more sons?” “Yes, he’s tending the sheep”. “Yes, she’s doing the things no one else wants to do.” They are chosen by God for being who they were, thus were forced to be a mirror to others.
    God bless those who love and serve the Lord (and others).
    A deacon

  78. Len Freeman's Gravatar Len Freeman
    March 4, 2021 - 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Disturbing, sad stories today… I’d vote for Isadora, but it strikes me that she wouldn’t want that… as it bothered her so when brought up to adulation by the other sisters. that she was driven to flee and go into isolation.
    Yet I prefer her to Simeon… so for me it’s no vote today.

  79. Tiffany's Gravatar Tiffany
    March 4, 2021 - 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Isadora called to mind Cinderella. She did the menial tasks in service of others without complaint, she was mistreated by her sisters, and she was discounted as a full member of the household, only to be discovered by one who knew of a specific marker by which to identify her, and then was not put off by her station. And as in the story of Cinderella, once someone else treated Isadora as desirable, the sisters began to fawn over her. (I will, however, give the nuns the benefit of assuming that they did sincerely repent, rather than assuming they were acting in self-interest at that point.)

    I wasn’t thrilled to read that she ignored her own bodily needs by refusing anything but crumbs and dishwater. But I was impressed that she willingly volunteered for the most menial tasks and by her apparent sincere humility and desire to serve. How shameful of her fellow nuns to beat her when they believed her to be “stupid”.

    I wonder whether the nuns felt that Isadora was showing them up by taking their life of poverty to an extreme by refusing to eat, wearing a dishrag instead of a cowl, and quite possibly appearing to be unfriendly by not speaking with them (for some reason, I picture her not speaking much, and that fact contributing to their presumption that she was mentally challenged). I do not in any way excuse their mistreatment of her. I just wondered – partly because I wondered why Isadora felt the need of such extreme humility. It almost seemed like she abased herself unnecessarily and to what end? Did she suffer from lack of self-esteem?….And maybe she was called to bless others rather than to run away to be alone. Was she an extreme introvert?

    However, in the end, I decided to credit her with her ability to shed all ego and self-interest, something I have not been able to do nor do I even try that hard, I must realize and confess. Isadora took to heart Jesus’ words that one should make oneself a slave to others, that the last shall be first. She tried to live this out in the manner in which she felt called.

  80. Tiffany's Gravatar Tiffany
    March 4, 2021 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I really liked Simeon’s story until I got to the part where he seemed to be performative to me. It seemed like he was feigning outrage by turning over tables, just to get attention – and what was scooting around on his backside supposed to accomplish? I do understand the message that we tend to avert our eyes from and dismiss those who do not observe certain societal norms, who make us too uncomfortable. But couldn’t his example of service the poor and the ill have stood alone, without the theatrics?

  81. Linda H's Gravatar Linda H
    March 4, 2021 - 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps I’m experiencing a bout of Covid isolation grumpiness, but neither Isidora nor Simeon really spoke to me. Even my amusement towards some quirky saints in the Before Times has abandoned me. I did end up voting for Simeon because a hint of a smile broke out when I saw he is the patron saint of ventriloquists (honestly never thought of that possibility).

  82. tully monster's Gravatar tully monster
    March 4, 2021 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I suspect “The Simple” is a misnomer for Isadora. I think she was likely deeply misunderstood–and continued to be misunderstood even after the stranger’s words elevated her into a living object of veneration. If only the other members of her order had included her and treated her with respect and compassion instead of suddenly worshipping her in an act of public piety, she might not have felt the need to escape to the desert. Perhaps she had a mental illness; perhaps she was deeply traumatized; she might even have been “on the spectrum”–but whatever the case, she never really got the sisterly love and friendship she deserved. I’m not going to wear a dirty dishrag on my head next time I host coffee hour (whenever that is, God willing), but I am going to try to be better at looking out for the Isadoras in my life. Today, she gets my vote.

  83. March 4, 2021 - 1:36 pm | Permalink

    As a retired “Special Education” professor my career has taken me to K-12 classes, institutions, centers, etc. that provide classes/services for children/adults with labels across the spectrum. I have been privileged to meet Isidoras in all those settings. No two of us are alike

  84. Barbara Brooks's Gravatar Barbara Brooks
    March 4, 2021 - 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Seems Isadora and Simeon are going through another, modern rejection. Maybe Isadora was stupid; maybe Simeon was mentally ill — does it matter? Were they answering a call only they heard, a call every bit as valid as the philosopher saint we’ve also read about? What is it they have to teach us? Sometimes I wish for the superpower of looking right into a person’s heart, speeding past the externals — what would I see there? Only damage, or a weird triumph?

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 4, 2021 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

      They were “answering a call only they heard, a call every bit as valid as the philosopher saint we’ve also read about. . . What is it that they have to teach us?” I don’t know about looking into people’s hearts, but it seems to me you got right to the heart of this one, Barbara. Thank you!

    • Mary-Beth Esser's Gravatar Mary-Beth Esser
      March 5, 2021 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Excellent point Barbara. We are judging based on external actions. How can we accuse someone of being humble for the wrong reason if we cannot know what their own heart is telling them and how they offer their actions to the Lord. And as for acting foolish, I know there have been times when I look at what this world seems to value and I’ve wanted to rant and turn over tables and throw food!

  85. Andria's Gravatar Andria
    March 4, 2021 - 1:51 pm | Permalink


  86. Andria's Gravatar Andria
    March 4, 2021 - 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I love reading all these comments. These saints are really making people think and react. Thanks to you all, including the Supreme Executive Committee.

  87. Tessa's Gravatar Tessa
    March 4, 2021 - 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Simeon made messes, throwing food and overturning tables and scooting around on his bum which presumably added more dirt to his clothes than they would have been carrying otherwise.

    Isidora cleaned up messes made by others.

    In this matchup my vote goes to the one who tried to slow down entropy in her own quiet way.

  88. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 4, 2021 - 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Isadora because her plan was really quite simple:
    to be among the last on Earth so that she would therefore be among the first in Heaven.

    And how better to recognize her hard-earned rank in Heaven
    than by awarding her a Golden Halo to replace this nun’s “dirty dishrag” wimple?

    [My poetry might lack proper meter but there are rhymes to be found at least.]

  89. MARY ROSA's Gravatar MARY ROSA
    March 4, 2021 - 2:56 pm | Permalink


  90. Sharron Hanna's Gravatar Sharron Hanna
    March 4, 2021 - 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Picture it: Jacob Ludwig Carl and his brother Wilhelm Carl a.k.a the brothers Grimm in casting about for material for their latest bit of folklore stumble upon the story of St Isidora and Eureka – the genesis for “Cinderella” is unearthed. Guess who got my vote today.

    • Katelyn's Gravatar Katelyn
      March 4, 2021 - 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Yes ok I’m not the only one!

  91. Katelyn's Gravatar Katelyn
    March 4, 2021 - 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Anyone else getting Cinderella vibes from Isidora’s story?

    • Shelly's Gravatar Shelly
      March 5, 2021 - 12:07 am | Permalink

      Oh yeah.

  92. Gaen Murphree's Gravatar Gaen Murphree
    March 4, 2021 - 4:54 pm | Permalink

    I’m voting for Isadora because that story has made me reflect on people that I look down on, if I’m honest, and all the times I have failed to see others’ true worth. I’m thinking right now of grocery store clerks, the men and women (lots of women) who ring up our groceries so we can eat! Right now and for the past year during covid and for who know how long until we get this thing under control, the grocery store checkers — a low paying job that requires a high school education or less — have been there for all of us. This past year they’ve been my new heroes, and I’ve felt pretty ashamed at they ways in the past I’ve looked down on them.

    I have read ALL the comments thus far (and it’s almost 4:45pm so there are a lot of them) and here are my reflections:

    – These stories have come down to us because something about these individuals truly moved people at the time. Something about these individuals struck folks deeply. But they are palimpsest, written all over, smudged, erased. They are also like a jewel or treasure, dug out of the past, caked in a lot of mud, maybe even excrement. But the jewel is still there — or most likely still there — even if others, in another time used that story for their own un-God-given purposes, like reinforcing a social order that degrades women. Stories are never simple.
    – I empathize with everyone who is tired of women’s oppression as seemingly upheld in many of these saints’ lives. (I, too, was thinking of Patient Griselda). But many of these stories — today’s are from the 300s and tbe 500s — aren’t meant to be read literally. If they still hold meaning for us, it’s as a story to reflect on.
    – Last year, it was great to vote for Harriet Tubman, someone I can admire in all ways. That felt great!
    – So I want to honor the exasperation that’s been expressed today, which I take as a hunger for saints like Harriet Tubman that truly inspire us; while also encouraging a reflective reading of these lives that allows them to percolate on different levels.

    • St Celia's Gravatar St Celia
      March 4, 2021 - 5:45 pm | Permalink

      I always enjoy your thoughtful comments. Thank you.

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

      Good comments. Thanks.

  93. Constance Santana's Gravatar Constance Santana
    March 4, 2021 - 5:47 pm | Permalink

    After much thought today I must give my vote to Isadora. My precious eldest sister was born “retarded” as a result of oxygen deprivation. She loved God and classical music. I recall her being subjected to terrible acts by other kids who enjoyed tormenting her because she was different.

  94. Sharon Davis's Gravatar Sharon Davis
    March 4, 2021 - 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Isidora was a saintly Cinderella. She had a lot of mean step sisters.

  95. Linda Nichols's Gravatar Linda Nichols
    March 4, 2021 - 6:18 pm | Permalink

    I love the story of Isidora — patient, humble — but I am voting for Simeon because he actively brought souls to Christ.

  96. Elizabeth's Gravatar Elizabeth
    March 4, 2021 - 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Ugh. What a contest! I think both of them had mental-health or development issues, but it sounds like Simeon’s were more severe. I am going with him, because, to me, he more clearly exemplifies the ways in which all of us, even those who have several behavioral health or developmental challenges, can still serve God and the community. Isadora’s m.o. seemed more like “simple,” deliberate self-abasement with no other end in sight. I don’t think that this sort of religiosity sets a dangerous example without serving God or our fellow humans very well.

  97. Bee Durban's Gravatar Bee Durban
    March 4, 2021 - 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I recommend reading Bishop Steven Charleston’s ‘The Four Vision Quests of Jesus’ for more on holy fools. As a Native American Christian, he compares John the Baptist to the ‘heyokha’ or sacred clown of the Lakota people. It certainly gives a different perspective on these two saints!

  98. Terrie Ann Wallace's Gravatar Terrie Ann Wallace
    March 4, 2021 - 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Although I first was not going to include a comment, I have since decided to. My vote was for Simion as despite him being labeled a mad man and his own town jeering, bullying, and rejecting him, he did not care, but exercised his gift of care and concern for the sick, the homeless, and those that like himself, society shunned and rejected. Dispite how much others may have tried to push him out of his ministry to others, and opening their hearts to Christ, Simion ignored it and went on. This is to be admired in my opinion, especially with all the bullying and the being made to feel like he did not fit into the pre-conceived mold of what a “monastic should be like, look like, behave like, etc., etc., etc.”

    I also found it interesting to read that Simion was the patron Saint of Lent Madness! In also reading a little farther into reading about Simion on this page, I noticed that he is also the patron saint of Ventriloquists,which was interesting to read as well. Lastly, those who encorporate anything unorthodox in a positive, and fun way into their ministry as well as people who use humor for ministry, or Clown ministries are also sometimes called “Holy Fools.

  99. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 4, 2021 - 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Kudos to both celebrity bloggers today!

  100. simple village priest's Gravatar simple village priest
    March 4, 2021 - 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Well, I guess I’ll throw my voice in after all. With both family members and friends on the mild end of the autism spectrum, I might guess that both Simeon and Isidora could have been on the deeper end of the spectrum, each in their own quirky ways — Isidora very socially awkward and clueless about her own hygiene; Simeon dealing with his awkwardness by acting out, and perhaps self-comforting or stimulating by scooting around on his backside. But both nonetheless did get good and needful things done.
    Not sure which to vote for, so I decided to vote for the one I’d rather have over for a dinner party. Izzie would be on the kitchen floor eating crumbs a la cat hair out of the dust pan, so no. Simeon would at least come to the table, so at the risk of a food fight or having to replace dishes or furniture, I voted for him for the entertainment value.

  101. Rebecca Person's Gravatar Rebecca Person
    March 4, 2021 - 8:53 pm | Permalink

    I think there’s a winner here. Ironically they would not want it.

  102. Terrie Ann Wallace's Gravatar Terrie Ann Wallace
    March 4, 2021 - 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Oops, on the comments on Simion, that should be “on reading a little farther down this page”- my appologies! I wanted to add as well that I was absolutely appalled at the treatment of both Isadora and Simion by their own cloisters, and monasteries as well as those within the town that Simion lived in! Also, when someone came along that finally treated Isadora as the worker, and servant for God that she was and the sisters also started treating her well- all of a sudden she could not stand all the attention, and positiveness she was getting and scrambled off to the desert. Such a picture of past abuse having damaged her so deeply she had a hard time with positive treatment Although the abuse by fellow nuns at the cloister had stopped, her damaged past was so deeply set in it had colored her ability to distinguish that the abusiveness by other nuns was not normal, and instead, she went running to a life in the desert in solitary where although she could now concentrate on serving God, she also was heading off to an even worse quality of life. A solitary life in the desert would not have helped her mental state as well at all.

  103. Mark MacLagan's Gravatar Mark MacLagan
    March 6, 2021 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    A tough decision, between Isadora and Symeon. (Should we go with most authentic spellings of saints’ names, or the most modernized?)
    Isadora was more thoroughly humble, thereby more to the virtue of humility.
    Symeon brought more attention to the divine behaviour.
    Due to our current culture, we need to bring more attention to behaviour which exhibits the World to Come, simply put, Love thy neighbor. Thereby Symeon gets my vote by a nose. (A big, red bulbous one?) 😉

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