For one full week, the Supreme Executive Committee will be accepting nominations for Lent Madness 2024. The nominating period will remain open through Saturday, May 27, at which point this brief exercise in Lenten democracy will cease and the SEC will return to their regularly scheduled benevolently authoritarian ways.
Nominationtide, the most underrated of liturgical seasons, never begins at the same time other than the vague "sometime after Easter Day." This is partly because Tim and Scott have day jobs and partly because "whim" is one of their ecclesiastical charisms. But it's here! And the world rejoices!
To insure your SUCCESSFUL nomination, please note the Nominationtide Rules & Regulations, which reside in an ancient illuminated manuscript tended to by aged monks who have been set aside by saints and angels for this holy calling.
As you discern saints to nominate, please keep in mind that a number of saints are ineligible for next year’s Saintly Smackdown. Based on longstanding tradition, this includes the entire field of Lent Madness 2023, those saints who made it to the Round of the Elate Eight in 2022 and 2021, and those from the 2020 Faithful Four.
Needless to say Jesus, Mary, Tim, Scott, past or present Celebrity Bloggers, and previous Golden Halo Winners are also ineligible. Below is a comprehensive list of ineligible saints. Please keep this in mind as you submit your nominations. Do not waste your precious nomination on an ineligible saint! (it happens more than you'd think)
For the sake of "transparency," the rest of the process unfolds thusly: Tim and Scott will gather for the annual Spring SEC Retreat at a secure, undisclosed location/coffee shop to consider the nominations and create a full, fun, faithful, and balanced bracket of 32 saints. Then all will be revealed on All Brackets' Day, November 3rd.
Time to nominate your favorite saint! But first, look over this list. Don't throw away your shot.
The Saints of Lent Madness 2023 (ineligible)
Augustine of Hippo
Hippolytus of Rome
Joanna the Myrrh Bearer
Brendan of Clonfert
David of Wales
Florence Li Tim-Oi
Nicolaus von Zinzendorf
Martin de Porres
Maximus the Confessor
Cuthmann of Steyning
Olga of Kiev
Bertha of Kent
Stanislaus the Martyr
Past Golden Halo Winners (ineligible)
George Herbert, C.S. Lewis, Mary Magdalene, Frances Perkins, Charles Wesley, Francis of Assisi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Florence Nightingale, Anna Alexander, Martha of Bethany, Harriet Tubman, Absalom Jones, José Hernandez, Jonathan Daniels
From 2020 to 2022 (ineligible)
Teresa of Avila
Juliana of Liege
Thomas of Villanova
Camillus de Lellis
Benedict of Nursia
Ives of Kermartin
Arnulf of Metz
Albert the Great
Catherine of Genoa
Hildegard of Bingen
And remember, nominations are like voting: just one per person. Let the Nominations for Lent Madness 2024 start rolling in!
I nominate The Rev. Pauli Murray, civil rights activist and first African American woman ordained priest in the Episcopal Church.
Andrew the Apostle is the patron saint of Fishermen, Singers, Scotland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Patras.
Also, St. Andrews, Scotland, is the home of golf, the game that frustrates thousands of people every day.
I am nominating Dr Paul Farmer, public health saint. He worked on healing tuberculosis, AIDS, and bringing high quality healthcare to the developing world by founding Partners in Health and working his entire life “healing the world” through public health. I have admired him and been inspired by his work since I read his biography Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.
I nominate Dorothy Day (1897-1980), an acknowledged Servant of God in the Roman Catholic Church. Co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. A journalist, activist, pacifist follower of Christ. I believe she has been included in Lent Madness before but not for some time. She is a modern saint everyone should know about.
Dorthy Day! YES! I am a follower of her…. from a nonbeliever to writing, setting up a soup kitchen in NYC. …. advocate for farm workers… her personal life was certainly, bumpy- possibly pot holes. Raising her daughter, alone essentially!
For me, it was a toss up between Julian and Dorothy!
this was our 1st year participating & we did enjoy it a lot. So, I don't see his name so I would like to nominate St Hugh of Lincoln.
His feast day is Nov.16th Hugh was a Benedictine & Carthusian Monk from France. Summoned or sent to England he found a monastery is disarray but worked hard with many to improve and work with Kings & others. Elected Bishop in 1186 and died in 1200. He rebuilt the cathedral into a large and glorious one. One of the largest buildings in the world for a while. His symbol was a swan that lived there and ate from his hands and attacked others. The swan would wait for when he traveled and could tell when was returning to Lincoln.
Known far and wide for standing up to Kings and Nobility, upon his death his funeral was attended by many Royals as well as commoners as they all respected him.
I am writing this mostly from as I attend a namesake church in Elgin, IL for over 2o years. My wife and I visited Lincoln tears ago & it is magnificent. Much is written about him and your witty and talented writers can find much to write about his contributions.
I nominate Saint Raymund Nonnatus. His benefactions and miracles are many (see Wikipedia etc.), but I'm mostly nominating him because he lends his name to the good works of the sisters and nurses in that delightful TV series, "Call the Midwife."
I nominate Brother Lawrence. I, too, seek to find the Holy One in the most mundane moments of life, "whether in the kitchen or at the holy altar." Kathleen Norris (not dead and not my sneaky second nomination) calls this the Quotidian Mysteries, a beautiful and fancy phrase for the the most humble and basic parts of our daily lives.
I nominate Father Damien of Molokai because I have long admired his dedication to the people he served there to the point of him becoming one of them (a leper). I lived in Hawaii for almost 9 years and feel a kinship to the islands.
I nomonate Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
The feast of Thurgood Marshall is celebrated on May 17 and has now been added to the church's Calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. This feast day is appropriately held on the day of the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.
At the time he was a very active member of St. James, Baltimore, but gave up his active involvement in church business so as not to have it thought his court decisions may be based on his religious beliefs. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry later beccame rector of St. James and served there from 1988 to 2000.
On August 30, 1967, the Senate confirmed Thurgood Marshall as the first Black person to serve as a Supreme Court Justice. Marshall was no stranger to the Senate or the Supreme Court at the time.
Marshall was confirmed in a 69-11 floor vote to join the Court. He had previously been confirmed by the Senate twice for two other government positions, first when Marshall was confirmed as a federal judge in the Kennedy administration and then as Solicitor General for President Lyndon Johnson.
President Johnson nominated Marshall in June 1967 to replace the retiring Justice Tom Clark, who left the Court after his son, Ramsey Clark, became Attorney General. Johnson said Marshall was “best qualified by training and by very valuable service to the country. … I believe it is the right thing to do, the right time to do it, the right man and the right place.”
As a long-time civil rights litigator for the NAACP, Marshall had won most of the cases he argued in front of the Supreme Court in that capacity. Arguably his biggest win was the case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954), one of the true landmark decisions in the Court’s history, which invalidated the concept of segregation at public schools under the Fourteenth Amendment. “This Court should make it clear that that is not what our Constitution stands for,” Marshall argued successfully.
I nominate John Paul ll. I am a Polish American and I cannot fully describe what I felt when he was made a pope.
He may not be a perfect person but he did survive many trials and still remained strong in his faith. He is the most traveled pope and he personally brought the word of Jesus Christ to many people. I once chaperoned a group of young people to Toronto to see him. It was an experience I will not forget. Over a million people singing and praying. It was amazing.
I nominate John Lewis!
Son of sharecroppers who had only seen two whites in the first six years of his life. Lewis’ world expanded at a Rosenwald school library and led to his championing race relations. Bloodied as a participant in several prominent protests as a young adult, later he transitioned to Congress for 18 terms, continuing his focus on addressing inequality and personal justice. Lewis also saw understanding history as key to addressing social ills today, and authored a series of graphic histories to expand access. An ordained Baptist minister, he saw God’s love and promise in all. He laid a solid foundation for those continuing this quest.
I would like to nominate Saint Gregory the Illuminator of Armenia, who was responsible for making Armenia the first nation to accept Christianity as its state religion in 301 AD. There is an interesting story about his spending several years imprisoned in a pit.
I would like to nominate St. Anthony of Padua. As the Paton Saint of lost articles he is always my ‘go to’ saint when looking for something lost - the best part is my prayers are usually answered!
I nominate Thurgood Marshall for Lent Madness 2024. We just celebrated his Saint's Day (May 17th) during our weekly Healing Service focus on a saint. As a life-long Episcopalian his presence in my life has been a consistent role model. Elementary students I taught, studied his life and connections to our life in this area. He successfully argued 29 of 32 cases in the Supreme Court and blessedly was the first Africian American Supreme Court Justice Known in his DC Episcopal Church, St. Augustine, as "The Judge" he followed God's call wherever it led. My students loved to learn that when he was an elementary school student in Baltimore, he was so argumentative that he was sent to the basement coal cellar where he read and memorized the US Constitution.
Do I really need to say why? Archbishop, theologian, pastor, scholar, activist, exemplar of holy joy; Nobel Peace Prize.
Maybe he's not on anybody's calendar yet and I'm throwing away my shot. Too bad. You should make an exception if he isn't. He deserves the Golden Halo with no further delay.
I nominate St. Casimir of Poland. His example of caring for and about others has had a lasting effect on the people of Poland, their neighbors in the region and people everywhere.
Ladislaus of Hungary(László in Hungarian). He is canonized. As a king, he exhibited great chivalry and established the Kingdom of Hungary as a Christian state, assisting in the canonization of King Stephen (Istvan) and his son Duke Emmerich (Imre).
We Hungarians haven't produced many saints, so we need to highlight the ones we do have!
Alcuin of York, today’s saint. My primary reason for nominating him is that he was responsible for Carolingian Miniscule, the transformative script of the late Middle Ages. He also led an interesting and influential life, moving from York to Charlemagne’s court.
I nominate John Lewis--for years of faithful service to the cause of justice "good trouble" and for working within the political system to try to make it better for everyone.
I would like to nominate Florence Nightingale. I know that she has been beautified by the Church, but what she did for the nursing profession is nothing short of miraculous. She took a profession that was once considered a step above a streetwalker and made it acceptable. Florence improved the conditions in British military hospitals during the Crimean War. She did much for the modern field of nursing.
Florence Nightingale already achieved the Golden Halo in 2017. As a fellow nurse, I agree that she was most deserving. I drank my morning tea from her Golden Halo mug in honor of International Nurses’ Day on May 12!
I nominate St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne because when teaching my children history the notion of Cuthbert walking into the cold sea to pray and then having his feet dried by otters upon his return to land captured their young minds in an adorable and pictorial way. My children even made "frescos" of the scene. St. Cuthbert and otters give my heart the warm fuzzies.
St. Fiacre of Meaux is worthy of consideration for Lent Madness 2024. He died c.670. As the patron saint of gardeners this Irishman moved to France, reclaimed waste ground to grow food, and shared his bounty with the poor. At this time of rising childhood hunger his example is instructive.
As I read the rules, I see that being in the process of a "cause for canonization" prevents an official nomination. So this is just a note about someone I hope will one day be an official nominee: Bishop Frederic Baraga. I grew up in the shadow of his Shrine of the Snowshoe Priest. He canoed and snowshowed around Lake Superior, developing Catholic Ojibwe missions, translated the Bible into Ojibwe, and in government reports he was obligated to write, insisted that the Native communities did have a spirituality already. He is from Slovenia so it does seem Slovenian immigrant descendants have the most interest in his canonization: https://bishopbaraga.org/
Really enjoy Lent Madness!
I nominate St. Jude. He is honored by Roman Catholics, the Eastern church, the Anglican communion, and Lutherans. They celebrate his feast day as October 28.
According to tradition, after his martyrdom, pilgrims came to his grave to pray and many of them experienced the powerful intercessions of St. Jude. Thus the title, “The Saint for the Hopeless and the Despaired.” St. Bridget of Sweden and St. Bernard had visions from God asking each to accept St. Jude as “The Patron Saint of the Impossible.” Jude is remembered with St. Simon, and in the Church of England with a Festival on October 28.
Poor Jude! He was known by Jude, Thaddeus, Judas Thaddaeus, Jude Thaddaeus, Jude of James, or Lebbaeus and is considered as the founding father and the first Catholicos-Patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Sadly, he often was confused with Judas Iscariot.
Jude is one of the Twelve and the Seventy Disciples of Christ.
I love the Danny Thomas’s (Thomas’) testimony- how he prayed for St. Jude’s intercession in his musical/acting career. To honor the saint of the impossible, he built and funded the St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
This saint has guided me throughout a variety of “impossible” life situations, especially reconnecting with the man with whom I had a crush after 22 years. We have been married almost 28 years. He is often asked why we didn’t date because I was the fan club president of his band. I cover my ears, and he says with a grin, “She was a good Catholic girl and didn’t put out.”
I nominate Rev. Hiram Hisanori Kano
Reverend Kano was a Japanese immigrant who came to the US for education but went onto ordination in the Episcopal church. He was known for his activism in support of the Japanese community in Nebraska.
He was arrested after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and was incarcerated for the next four years. However, he continued to pastor other detainees, prison guards and German prisoners of war. He is also known for education in nature studies. He is included in the Holy Men and Women calendar of commemorations.
I nominate Thurgood Marshall for Lent Madness because of his brilliant legal acumen and his lasting positive impact on civil rights.
I nominate my namesake Saint Rita. She is known as a saint of impossible causes. She is also the patron saint of sterility, abuse victims, loneliness, marriage difficulties, parenthood, widows, the sick, bodily ills, and wounds. Ironically I didn't find any of this out until years after I had become a marriage and family therapist. She is not widely known and I would like more people to know about this determined woman
Nomination for 2024 bracket:
The Martyrs of Lubeck (as a group): Lutheran Pastor Karl Stellbrink, Catholic Priests Johannes Prassek, Eduard Muller, and Hermann Lange; All Martyred 10 Nov 1943 by guillotine less than 3 minutes apart at Hamburg Germany. See EKD web page at: https://www.luebeckermaertyrer.de/de/index.html and Wikipedia page
for Lubeck Martyrs for more info
I nominate Martin Luther King Jr. He would be a shoo in. A civil activist that I believe
would have created a more civil world. His approach to racial equality was handled with love & peace. If he were alive today i believe we would see a lot less tension & violence. He certainly preached that before his untimely death.
I nominate Syncletica the Desert Mother.
The Me, Too movement is revealing a double standard of defamation in which women are defamed as sexual objects, so it's timely to reflect on how the Desert Mothers grew closer to God after experiencing hostility towards women and a culture that shamed both their bodily passions and their housework.
Syncletica shared with other women how she rejected sexist insults to learn virtue, “You hear yourselves called mindless and stupid, poor and a beggar, weak and worthless, ineffectual in what you do and irrational in what you say, contemptible in appearance, weak in power. These insults are the sinews of humility.” (I'm taking these quotes of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers from Kendra Hotz in Women, Writing, Theology : Transforming a Tradition of Exclusion, edited by Emily A. Holmes, and Wendy Farley, Baylor University Press, 2011.)
She managed to postpone marriage, and then when her parents died she could pursue a life of asceticism. Freedom infused her teachings with a sense of purpose for women that calls us to encouraged action, “But since we women have grown wings like eagles, let us soar to the higher places, and let us trample underfoot the lion and the dragon; and let us now rule over those who once ruled over us.”
Her words are a balm to the unseen among us (think of those who do menial household labor as well as those recovering from traumatic experiences) especially because she appreciated that God works in highly personal way to each of us as individuals. “Just as one diet is not suitable for all animals, so the same instruction is not appropriate for all people.”