Hyacinth vs. Rose of Lima

Today in the Saintly smackdown it's the Flower Follies as Hyacinth faces Rose of Lima. Every member of the Flower Guild should cast a vote! And maybe be a little judgy about their choice?

Yesterday, on Opening Day, Thomas the Apostle defeated Thomas Cranmer 56% to 44% with nearly 5,700 votes cast, to become the first saint to advance to the Saintly Sixteen.

It wasn't the smoothest start to our little bracket competition as so many people tried to vote early in the day that the server crashed. A few times. But we're up and running and looking forward to another full season of saintly thrills and spills. Please note that you cannot vote from the email we send out, you can only vote directly from the website. All of the extra steps involved are to protect the Lent Madness Global Public from voter fraud (yes, it's a thing). Thank you for your patience when you have trouble voting. You were patient, right?! it's supposedly a virtue.

Don't forget that tomorrow is the ONLY WEEKEND VOTE of Lent Madness as Kassia takes on Casmir.

Now go exercise your right to vote!


Hyacinth was born in 1185 to a noble family in Silesia, Poland. As young nobleman of his age did, he received a thorough education and was trained as a priest, where his uncle (a bishop) appointed him as a canon at a local cathedral. This same uncle took Hyacinth with him when he traveled to Rome, a trip that would change Hyacinth’s life.

During his time in Rome, Hyacinth encountered Dominic of Osma, who had recently founded the order of Dominicans, a group of avowed people committed to sharing the Gospel through preaching the Good News and preaching against heresy. Hyacinth received his religious habit in 1220 from Dominic himself.

Hyacinth then returned to Poland and Kyiv to establish the Dominican Order in the Northlands and preach to the people of Poland. Through his efforts, Dominican friaries soon existed in all the major cities in Poland and thousands of lay people were converted to Christianity through the preaching of Hyacinth. Tradition holds that Hyacinth evangelized throughout northern Europe in city squares, markets, and streets and if necessary, churches, leading to his title as Apostle of the North.

When Hyacinth was in Kyiv, the city was invaded by Moguls. Hyacinth ordered his friars to flee for their safety. He finished praying Mass, then prepared to move to safety himself. In full vestments, he took the Blessed Sacrament with him. As he was leaving, legend holds Hyacinth heard the voice of the Blessed Virgin Mary asking Hyacinth to take her, too. Hyacinth realized the statue of Mary, Mother of God, was quite large and heavy, but he complied, and to his surprise, he was able to easily carry the large statue. Images of Hyacinth frequently show him carrying a monstrance (even though monstrances weren’t used until over a century later) and a statue of Mary. He is also the patron saint of weightlifters.

A Polish saying, “Swiety Jacek z pierogami!" (St. Hyacinth and his pierogi!) comes from another miracle attributed to Hyacinth. The saying is one of pleasant surprise, and comes from the story that Hyacinth, while walking from one village to another, came upon the town of Kościelec, where the crops had been destroyed due to hailstorms. The villagers faced certain starvation with no crops to harvest for bread. Hyacinth invited the villagers to pray with him. They all knelt, praying for God to deliver them. The next day, the crops were restored, and the harvest was plentiful. In gratitude, the villagers made pierogi for Hyacinth to celebrate the miracle.

Hyacinth died 15 August 1257 in Kraków, Poland. He is buried in the Basilica of the Holy Trinity, which also houses a Dominican monastery founded by Hyacinth.

Collect for Hyacinth
O God, who didst make Blessed Hyacinth, Thy Confessor, glorious amongst the people of divers nations for the holiness of his life and the glory of his miracles, grant that by his example we may amend our lives, and be defended by his help in all adversities. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Laurie Brock


Rose of Lima

Rose of Lima was born around April 20-30, 1586 in Lima, Peru.  She is the patron saint of all of Peru, South America and the Philippines and is known for being the first saint canonized in the western hemisphere. She is also the patron saint of embroiderers, gardeners and those that suffer because of their piety.

Rose’s story is one of parental conflict, coupled with extreme devotion and chastity. She was a beautiful woman.  Her story is one that is uncomfortable: in conflict with the physical beauty she was bestowed, she preferred to seek the beauty of God. Early in life, Rose felt called to serve God. She was drawn to a penitential and spiritual life focused on study, prayer, and self-denial.

Her mother wanted her to marry. In defiance, Rose cut off all her hair and burned her skin with hot peppers to make herself repugnant to the men her mother was parading for marriage. Their struggle continued for years. Upon taking a vow of chastity, her mother finally relented and allowed Rose to become a Dominican. However, they would not let her join the convent and instead confined her to their home with strict boundaries on where she could worship. Rose spent her days in embroidery and gardening. She would spend hours in prayer, adoration of St. Mary, and in taking communion daily.  Unfortunately, Rose was known for self-flagellation, fasting, wearing a crown of thorns, and sleeping on a bed of potsherds. She lived a life of solitude, self-rejection, and denial.

To the reader, this life may seem repugnant. It appears that everything about Rose was uncomfortable. She was uncomfortable with her looks, the attention her looks garnered, her parents’ wishes for a “normal” life of marriage and children, and discomfort with almost anything but prostration before the cross. It is often difficult to reconcile our understanding of God’s love in light of Rose’s story. However, we are reminded, that in the presence of a story of great suffering, great self-disgust, and self-loathing, the beacon of this story is God.

Collect for Rosa of Lima
Merciful God, you sent your Gospel to the people of Peru through Martin de Porres, who brought its comfort even to slaves; through Rosa de Lima, who worked among the poorest of the poor; and through Toribio de Mogrovejo, who founded the first seminary in the Americas and baptized many: Help us to follow their example in bringing fearlessly the comfort of your grace to all downtrodden and outcast people, that your Church may be renewed with songs of salvation and praise; through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (GCW 2015)

Anna Courie


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198 comments on “Hyacinth vs. Rose of Lima”

  1. When the Mongols (not Moguls) reached Kyiv
    Most inhabitants hastened to lyiv.
    But ere Hyacinth fled,
    Hailed by Mary (it’s said)
    First her statue he ran to retryiv.

  2. I surprised myself for voting for Hyacinth. Young, well educated noblemen with good family connections are behind so much of what's wrong with the world. But Hyacinth bucked the trend and preached the gospel and changed lives for the better. I appreciate that the celebrity blogger acknowledged the problematic story of Rose and her self-disgust and self-loathing but I found it hard to see the fullness of life we are called to in such a story.

    1. Rose subscribed to the same harsh penances that A LOT of religious people did in the 15th Century. To reduce that to self-disgust and self-loathing is holding a 15th century woman to 21st century standards, and in my opinion, a very unfair and not particularly accurate write-up. Rose had a deep love for God and the poor, supported her family through her gardening and embroidering, used the proceeds to care for countless poor and homeless, and did her best to honor her desire to stay single in the face of immense societal pressure to do otherwise given her knowledge of the time. To reduce her life to "a problematic story of self-loathing" is grossly misguided.

      1. To be honest, I found the piece on Rosa de Lima upsetting. Rosa is the patron saint of Peru because of her dedication to GOD'S work, giving and caring for the poor. The collect mentioning this was used but sadly, no mention of it in the bio! I would like to ask for a bit more respect for our saints and the times in which they lived.

        1. Thanks for these thought-provoking saints to learn about. Today, I agree with Evan and Marianab above, about the difficulty with the depiction of Rose, the patron saint of Peru and the indigenous peoples of the Americas, and of people who suffer for their faith. It might seem easy for us at first, through a 21st-century-lens, to impose a label of “self-loathing” on Rosa. I don’t think the label sticks. Judging thus her decision to take one of the only options available to a young 15th-century woman against the pressures of her family and society to marry and conform, ignores her context and risks belittling the strength of her character and her faith in God. It comes across as disregard for her survival of then-unquestioned systemic control and abuse of girls and women, and of Rosa’s accomplishments as a person of deep faith and a helper of the poor, and even her care and financial support of the family who had been oppressing her.

          At core, from what we can research about Rosa’s life and work, she completely loved God and her neighbors, aligning herself to serve poor and othered people whom the world counts as last and least. Surviving great challenges as a woman of that time and culture, and bearing no doubt many inward and outward scars, she persisted in doing good and showing care to all - even to those who harmed her, and because of whom she felt driven to mask her appearance in order to live as herself. What does that really say of her? Not self-loathing, surely. So whoever wins today’s “contest”, I will move forward with the question: what more can we learn, when trying to see through Rosa’s eyes and heart, from her persistence in love for God and, in loving identification with and work for her most vulnerable neighbors?

      2. I agree absolutely. I think 21st century women still struggle with self-image, society’s demands, and trying to meet the outside world’s expectations in conflict with their inner selves. Rose, meet Taylor Swift and the First Lady a certain ugly segment of America call “Michael” Obama because she’s tall and athletic looking.

        But, yeah, the privileged white guy wasn’t a total waste of air, so let him win.

      3. I whole heartedly agree. Self-loathing is incompatible with the acceptance of God into our lives for we are his creations, therefore it is inappropriate for a write up to declare a sainted person to have been guilty of such conviction.

        This saddened me greatly.

  3. I did not get the opportunity to vote today. I went to the website and it said “Thank you for your vote.” This is the second day in a row that I have been unable to vote. Do you have a glitch with the latest iOS for the iPhone?

    1. I could not vote today. When I got to the end and ready to vote, it said “Thank you for your vote.”

    2. Same with me…I had that happen yesterday and by closing and reopening, I was finally able to actually cast my vote; today no luck so far

    3. Mine said “vote not allowed”
      I was going for Hyacinth as I feel his efforts were more helpful to the cause. I understand how Rose’s perseverance can be inspirational to many who struggle. So it wasn’t a blowout for me

  4. Huh. I have not voted yet , in fact I just finished reading but the website says thank you for your vote! Is it the case that I will be unable to participate from my phone this year?

    1. I have given up on using my phone to vote and will only use my laptop, which seems to work easily. I am sorry that those with only phone access are having such problems.

  5. Late yesterday my vote was twice declined, then accepted on a providential third try.
    Today, l read, digested, decided. Then l scrolled to vote only to have the site thank me for having already voted.
    No one else uses my device. Perhaps a spirit has invaded it. Ghost in the machine? Maybe one of yesterday’s multiple efforts played it forward?
    What lenten madness can this be! At least my choice is in the lead.

  6. For the second day in a row I can’t vote. Yesterday - okay the server crashed. NP. Last night I finally did get in. Now another crazy thing from my first try it keeps saying vote not allowed and re- presenting the humanity test. Sigh . I promise I am human and I do want to vote- just once. But now I’m afraid to try in case you think I’m trying multiples. Sheesh- maybe not worth the effort

  7. I can’t figure out where to vote. This is very frustrating. I have enjoyed it as part of my Lenten reading for years.

  8. Husband’s side of the family would want me to support Hyacinth but…
    The pierogis sealed it for me!

  9. Had to hold my nose for this one, to vote for Rose—a woman and an embroiderer—but clearly so messed up about her own worth! And the Hyacinth stories seemed thin to me, though he did good work. So…at 15 minutes into the day, Hyacinth is way ahead. Rose, stop hurting yourself!!! You got my vote and my pity and God’s love.

  10. This is so frustrating. I write a message and it says it’s a duplicate which it is not. It either tells me I already voted which I did not or the vote can’t be counted. Please correct.

  11. This was a tough one. I went with Rose of Lima because of the strength and sanctity needed to spend a lifetime defying family expectations, without any praise or thanks.

  12. "“Swiety Jacek z pierogami!" (St. Hyacinth and his pierogi!)" indeed!!

    I certainly learn something new each year of Lent Madness!

  13. I wanted to vote for Hyacinth, but just as yesterday, “Thank you for your vote” was already showing.

  14. I would like to vote, but the web site thinks I already did. However, votes are trending in the direction I would have chosen, so no harm done.

  15. Since yesterday many of us could not vote for technical difficulties, I think a new vote should be taken Thanks

  16. Today I was not able to vote. At tge bottom of the post it said “thank you for your vote”.
    I did not vote

  17. Curious why it says I already voted. Just accessed site and read through for the first time this morning. Never saw vote option -only results.

  18. Gosh, are we experiencing voter interference? As I had just finished reading today’s selection, ready to vote, but as I scrolled down to do so, there was a message thanking me for my vote. I had not voted. Mmmmm…

  19. This site is so frustrating. Two days now and I haven’t been able to vote. Hope it is better tomorrow.

    1. I have trouble believing God wants society to force unreasonable expectations upon women, especially pretty ones, yet it’s happening somewhere this very hour. There’s so much more to Rose of Lima than that.

  20. I am surprised that we didn't hear anything about Rose of Lima's work among the poor, given her line in the ending collect. Focusing on the aspects of her faith that we find problematic and ignoring her good deeds seems equally problematic, at least to me.

  21. I'm still grieving the loss of Cramner, father of our beloved BCP, and although he thrust his hand into the flames, he couldn't hold a candle to Rose!
    Today's vote was easy compared to yesterday.

    1. I can’t help but wonder if we’d all actually been able to vote that maybe Cranmer might have done better…