Johann Sebastian Bach vs. Martin de Porres

Today we have the final battle of the Elate Eight as Johann Sebastian Bach faces Martin de Porres. In 24 hours the Faithful Four will be set! One of these two saints will join Joanna the Myrrhbearer, Jonathan Daniels, and Chief Seattle (who defeated Bertha of Kent yesterday 55% to 45%) as one of the last four saints standing in Lent Madness 2023.

To get to this round, Bach bested Harriet Monsell and Richard Hooker, while Martin defeated Maximus the Confessor and Leoba. (Note to Kitsch Kranks: click on these links to view the write-ups from previous rounds).

After Palm Sunday weekend, we'll be back on Monday morning to close out this year's tournament just before the start of the Great Three Days.

Vote now!

Johann Sebastian Bach

All too often, your humble celebrity bloggers don’t have much to work with in terms of saintly memorabilia. Not so for Johann Sebastian Bach! There is merch in every possible medium–shirts, hats, socks, and coasters; stately posters and sedate books; sheet music and recorded performances. 

I was overwhelmed, honestly. I needed to take a step Bach, and consider my options–go Bach to basics, if you will. Merch is one thing, but kitsch is special. Kitsch is rarefied air.  

For example:

Bach bust: merch.

Bach nutcracker: kitsch.

Bach Bach: Bach.

It got clear pretty fast that I would only be able to scratch the surface of Bacchic* kitsch. These guys get it.

Maybe you want to curl up with your favorite cantata, like a cozy blanket.

Maybe you want a Bach you can play with now, and step on in the middle of the night later. Did you know that is how the soprano hits the high A in Jauchzet Gott in allen Lande

A warning to saintly shoppers: “Bach” has seemingly replaced “Bachelorette.” If you just search for “Bach,” well…perusing those search results would make the Kapellmeister himself blush. But perhaps you’re feeling cheeky! If anyone asks you who’s getting married, you can tell them it’s for Johann Sebastian and Anna Magdalena. 

People once collected vintage records. But apparently there’s now a growing market for vintage…CDs! I thought this one was particularly lovely. And a nice reminder that Bach wrote music for every text and every feast of the church year

I also loved this one, with Bach and Leopold Stokowski conferring over a score. 

Because of course, it’s Leopold Stokowski (and Mickey Mouse) who introduced many children to Bach’s music for the first time–in that 1940 classic, Fantasia. 

*Meaning of or relating to the worship of Bach, right?


— Eva Suarez


Martin de Porres

Martin refused to eat meat.  Here he is as a vegetable:

Martin was known to levitate when he prayed.  I don’t think he used “wingardum leviosa”  from Harry Potter, but…….

As the patron saint of misfits, the forgotten, and lonely, Martin is also the patron saint of animal shelters. Everyone simply wants to belong:

If you struggle to remember the teachings of St. Martin to include, welcome, care, and love, you can wear his prayer around your neck to keep you on track:

If a necklace isn’t enough to keep Martin’s teachings on your mind, you can put St. Martin in your pocket here.

But to really incorporate St. Martin into your life, live Micah 8:6:







Anna Fitch Courie



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135 comments on “Johann Sebastian Bach vs. Martin de Porres”

  1. It's 8:15 am and there is a statement that "this poll is no longer accepting votes." How can that be?

  2. On the brackets , dates for left bottom quadrant and upper right quadrant dates were switched.

  3. Bach's music will continue to inspire people forever. He's my choice for the Golden Halo.

  4. Two of my heros close to my heart- that was a tough choice!(Spoiler alert: The church musician and pipe organ builder half of my personality won!)

  5. You can’t beat Bach kitsch. The write up was a lot of fun. But Martín de Porres is special!

  6. Okay, Bach has it in the kitch department. But Martin de Porre's "as the patron saint of misfits, the forgotten, and lonely, Martin is also the patron saint of animal shelters," totally won me over. I'm voting for Martin de Porre.

    1. Voted for him for the same reason. Fame isn't everything. And I listen to his music regulary.

  7. Sung to When Jesus Wept, Hymnal #715 Tempo picked up

    With Bach among the eight elate
    we’ll try to count in nine o’er eight.
    But for humble Martin de Porres,
    we’ll sing a simpler three to four.

    While Bach composed a Passion for
    each Gospel, harmonized for four;
    Saint Martin served with love and more
    to show compassion for the poor.

    Alas! Again, we now complain:
    Let’s vote for both is our refrain.
    Yes for Martin, who served by choice,
    AND Bach, who surely heard God’s voice!

    How else could Bach have been inspired
    for Jesu Joy of our Desire?
    And how could Martin give such love
    unless it was from God above?

    And so, win, lose or even draw,
    we know that both hold God in awe
    in heav’n where they most surely dwell,
    to sing their praise to God as well.

  8. The verse from Micah that my father lived almost persuaded me to vote for the vegetarian de Porres but I’m Bach! All set for Johann vs Joanna, remembering the bust of Bach we’d rub before playing recital piece.

  9. My sainted theology professor, Robert Jenson, stated, “God is a fugue.” Nobody knows fugues like Bach….

  10. I am voting for the vegetarian who acted justly, loved mercy, and lived humbly. That, even though I am a musician and adore playing Bach.

  11. Brava to the writers on this round, great fun!

    If this were about the kitsch only, Bach would swamp almost anyone. But imho, that’s not all it’s about. Does Bach belong in the Final Four over Martin de Porres? I think not!

    And besides, the patron saint of misfits and animal shelters? I’m all in.

    Martin de Porres for the Final Four!

  12. Wow! This may be biggest collection of Saintly Kitsch ever assembled!
    I'm blown away. Thank you Eva and Andy

  13. I love Bach’s music, and he is honored for it worldwide. But Martin de Porres, who lived a humble, loving, and sacred life, deserves greater honor here for his saintly nature.

  14. The quote from Micah and being the patron saint of the lonely cinched it. One for St Matin. Thanks Lent Madness for introducing this Saint to me

  15. Love the Bach kitsch especially the Bach bust. My piano teacher gave us mini busts of composers every Christmas but Martin got my vote because of the animal shelters.

  16. At 9:23 the vote is really close, 1025 for Bach vs 892 for Martin de Porres. I'm glad it' so close as it feels like a vote between contemplation -- Bach, music that brings me into God's presence -- vs. action -- feeding, healing, living in brother & sisterhood without hierarchy, as Martin modeled. We need both. I need both. But I had to vote for Bach. Right now our choir is preparing to sing the chorales from the St. Matthew Passion on Good Friday and I am listening to the music online and thinking about the words in German and English and thinking about the Passion story. Also, the arts -- music, literature, theater, visual art, etc -- are so under-appreciated in America. They don't just provide "entertainment," they provide a means of reflecting on who we are, what we value, and what is true. That's why dictators turn to propaganda and suppress art -- art is too dangerous. I'm voting Bach for helping us pray through music.

  17. The dogs and the vegetables swung it for Martin, that and the expectation music fans would swing behind Bach.

    1. Sit out this round, then.

      We've already learned about the candidates who have made it this far, first with the biography and then with the Quirks and Quotes round. The kitsch is a little lighthearted interlude before the Final Four; I think many of us need this as we head into Holy Week.

    2. Oh, lighten's only once, and if you've read the previous sites you have plenty

  18. Dear Madness Lovers, No need to pile on! One message about the website's issues is sufficient. Unless, perhaps, you can't see that there are already 20 messages to the same effect? But if you can see them, how about some grace for the people who are working so hard to bring us this amazing daily devotional? Even if there are only three votes: THANK YOU, LENT MADNESS! 🙂

  19. Easy vote for me today, since Martin de Porres is the only one left of those I voted for in the first round! (Nothing against Bach even if I preferred each of those running against him.) I want to see Joanna and Martin in the final.

  20. Much as I love the music and respect the deep faith of Johann Sebastian Bach, it is Martin de Porres, the patron saint of the lost, the lonely and the misfits (which many of us have been at one time or another) who gets my vote. What clinched it for me was the Micah 6:8 t-shirt - kitsch I can live with.

  21. Does anyone know why John Cabot has not posted his delightful limericks of late? I miss them and pray that he is well.

    1. He votes with his bracket and writes limericks for his chosen saints to move them forward. Both of our brackets are broken now. We both went down with Donne. But he’s fine!

      1. I can relate Still in mourning about Donne! And now it seems that Bach may be defeated as well! I’m crushed.