Henry Whipple vs. Canaire

The Round of Saintly Kitsch continues as Henry Whipple takes on Canaire for a shot at the Faithful Four. To get here, Henry defeated Jackson Kemper and Clare of Assisi, while Canaire made it past Barbara and Cyprian of Carthage.

Yesterday, Andrew the Fisherman hooked Ambrose of Milan 82% to 18% to make it to the next round.

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Henry Whipple

Well, Lent Madness voting public, you’ve done it. I searched for “Whipple kitsch” and this was Google’s first image hit:

This, beloved, is terrifying, but it is not Bishop Whipple. But you brought that picture upon yourself. The second result was a poster for “women in crime,” and that also is not Bishop Whipple. The limits of this round’s format must be stretched if you want something, anything, this round. For each item, I’ll assign a “Whipple Number” – the larger the number, the more your humble author must stretch the connection to make it work.

You know that Bishop Henry Whipple was the first Bishop of the Diocese of Minnesota. And do you know what Minnesotans like, aside from passive-aggression and hot dish? They like ice hockey, and sundry things done in frigid temperatures of the icy north. Some even watch the NHL. And the tie between Bishop Whipple and ice hockey, you ask? Why, Bishop Whipple founded the Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, MN, which is where none other than NHL Legend Sidney Crosby played ice hockey. And you, dear reader, can buy a Sidney Crosby autographed figure in Shattuck-St. Mary’s colors for a mere $685.00 if you so choose. (Whipple Number: Sidney Crosby to Shattuck-St. Mary’s to Whipple for a surprisingly robust 3)

This is a Rubik’s Cube. Although created in 1977, it became a major hit in the 1980s, with over 450 million units selling worldwide by 2021. Alas and alack, Bishop Whipple, having died in 1901 after a fulfilling 42 years as Bishop of Minnesota, never had a Rubik’s Cube. It’s a shame, as he was known for visiting the many congregations across the vast state of Minnesota; for travelling to Washington numerous times on seeking better treatment of indigenous people in his diocese; and, as noted in a previous round, he had his own experience of frustration (and yes, likely boredom) while attending several successive General Conventions. Bishop Whipple didn’t have a Rubik’s Cube. He died 80 years too soon. But I suspect he could have used one in moments of frustration or boredom. But you, dear reader, can have one for $8.50. (Whipple Number: Rubik’s Cube to things you do when bored to General Convention of the Episcopal Church to House of Bishops to Bishop Whipple for a very generous 5.)

This is a Hot Dish. Minnesotans love Hot Dish. It’s a Minnesota thing; I don’t fully understand it. I also have been told about Minnesota Sushi, but I showed you that clown photo earlier. Anyway, Whipple was the First Bishop of Minnesota, where they serve Hot Dish to this day.

Finally, this is the Whipple Cross, which has been worn by the successive Bishops of Minnesota since Whipple’s own tenure over a century ago. In time, 22 replica crosses have been given out to clergy and laity of the Diocese of Minnesota for exemplary service and leadership. It isn’t kitsch at all, but it is the closest we can get to showing and embodying the continuing legacy of Bishop Whipple on the church, especially the church in Minnesota – carried on by faithful people in today’s world when they choose to follow Jesus, just as the Saintly Bishop once did. (Whipple Number: a blessed and unimpeachable 0).

David Sibley



Pack your bags and get ready for a journey through saintly kitsch with St. Canaire!

First up, we need a bag to pack. How about this tote bag with a message reminding others how highly Jesus regarded women? It echoes Canaire’s famous words reminding her brother St. Senan that Jesus “came to redeem women no less than men. He suffered on the Cross for women as well as men. He opens the kingdom of heaven to women as surely as to men.”

Next, we’ll need a copy of “Dreams for Dummies” to help us decipher where we’re headed. Canaire set off for Inis Cathaig after having a vision. In the vision, she saw a pillar of fire rise to heaven from each of the churches in Ireland. The tallest and straightest rose from Senan’s monastery on Inis Cathaig. She took that as a sign she should make her final journey to the island, knowing that her death was near.

We’ll probably need a map to figure out how to get to our destination, too. This map of the mythical beasts of Ireland by Púca Printhouse marks Inis Cathaig with a dragon-like creature known as the Cathach. As legend goes, the Cathach occupied the island before Senan and his fellow monks, eating anyone and anything that dared to get too close. When Senan arrived, the monster charged. Senan made the sign of the cross in her face, telling her, “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, leave this island and hurt no one here or wherever you leave to.” Evidently, it worked.

Canaire made her pilgrimage on foot. In addition to a good pair of hiking boots, we’ll need this human-sized floating hamster ball to make our journey across the waves to Inis Cathaig — unless you’re Canaire herself, who reportedly outdid St. Peter by walking on water to the island.

Finally, don’t forget to pack a travel hair dryer to dry off after that long walk over the water. The Conair Worldwide Travel Dryer features something called “Smart Voltage Technology” to automatically detect and adjust to the correct voltage, no matter where in the world you are traveling. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to figure out why a hair dryer company (Conair) is named after this saint (Canaire, sometimes spelled Conaire, Cannera, Cainder or Cainnear). Apparently, there’s no connection between the two, except for the way my brain has been pronouncing them. To be fair, last Lent we all thought I was writing about a merbear.

Bon voyage!

Emily McFarlan Miller

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75 comments on “Henry Whipple vs. Canaire”

  1. I loved Canaire's kitch, but I am hoping for Bishop Whipple to go All The Way to The Golden Halo (in spite of Minnesota Hot Dish). Thanks to both bloggers.

  2. Credit goes to both bloggers for originality and humor. Well done. Very hard choice once again,

  3. I love the imagination shown by these two authors, who had to make some stretches to come up with possible items. The idea of packing for the trip was great!

  4. Thanks to both bloggers for their profiles of today! While I love the Canaire kitsch, I had to stand by Bishop Whipple and the Minnesotan love for hockey. I'm a Michigan girl whoh grew up a rink rat and loves her Red Wings! We folks have to stick together!

    1. Have you read Swedish writer (of A Man Called Ove fame) Fredrick Bachman's ice hockey novels, the Beartown trilogy?

  5. I thought I’d vote for Canaire (her kitsch write up was quite persuasive) but had to go with Henry in honor of a week spent in MN for hockey camp at Shattuck- St. Mary’s. Wondering if Henry, too, purchased a blanket from the Faribault Mill…
    Thanks for another superb round of kitsch!

  6. The "hot dish" shown is the traditional tater tot hot dish. A simple recipe with browned hamburger, mixed vegetables, can of cream soup and topped by Tater Tots. Baked in the oven until bubbling. We love it and we love Bishop Whipple. He went around the state on horseback to start churches in all the far reaches. yes, we want him to go the distance.

    1. In Lent, the hot dish was tuna noodle casserole, topped with crumbled potato chips. I still love it.
      Other times, it could be hamburger, canned diced tomatoes and elbow macaroni, topped with Velveeta (yes, I know) and baked in the oven until bubbly. I am very hungry right now for hot dish!

      1. “Hot dish”, in all its concoctions, is well known and loved at Lutheran potlucks. You need a side to go with it, and that would be Lutheran Jello: red cherry jello, carrots, well drained and rinsed fruit cocktail and, if you were lucky to get there first, Cool Whip on the top or mixed in.
        Dudgum this Lenten Fasting! I think I will make a hot dish a jello salad for Easter!

  7. I’m just…amazed…at the internet-scrubbing lengths our pun-beset bloggers go to find kitsch or kitsch substitutes. And Emily, we see you and that Jesus-empowering-women piece: you used that for Joanna the Myrrhbearer last time!
    Great fun. Had to go with Bp. Whipple this time.

  8. I voted for Canaire for the kitsch. I have a T shirt printed with the words of the tote bag (one can get it at Happy Givers).

    1. Oh, Sister Mary, I had not thought of Canaire's story that way. Thank you for that insight. My mom gave a lot to the church (married a preacher, e.g.), but when she was widowed at 30 with 5 children — in 1961 — the church she had so loved didn't have a place for her. She felt ostracized because she no longer fit the "wife" part of the "wife and mother" profile. For the rest of her life, she would try to attend one church after another, and have to just walk out, it brought up so many painful memories.

  9. A statuette of Henry Whipple's wife once stood in the china cabinet of my childhood home. When my mother died, I inherited it and it stands in one of my china cabinets, safe from the predations of the numerous cats I have rescued over the years.
    Behind every man on the frontier in Minnesota, where I grew up, is a strong woman. The woman in Henry Whipple's life was Cornelia.
    Did you know that Bishop's Whipple's name among the Dakota was "Straight Tongue"? The Dakota honored him because of his integrity.
    His advice to Lincoln saved over two hundred Native Americans.
    Yes, I may have left Minnesota, but I treasure the history.

    And, by the way, the Minnesota "hot dish" can be truly delicious. It depends on which strong woman made it and where it is served, be it at a church supper or a family table. If you are privileged to be invited to enjoy a Minnesota hot dish, enjoy! Tell me you are coming and I'll make one for you.

    1. I believe that sometimes the spouse is truly a partner in such new endeavors. I will vote for Whipple simply because his wife has kitsche of her own and had to be an amazing a strong woman. Not many men of that, or any era, would be comfortable with that.

      (And the Whipple Procedure saved a dear friends life.)

  10. This is the most difficult decision thus far. My furbabies and I will have to ponder this before placing our vote. Both of these deserve the Golden Halo!
    Hats off to our bloggers! Headbonks and Tailwags too!!

  11. I shouldn't be voting for HEnery Whipple because I was mad that he defeated two of my favorites: Kemper and Clare. HOWEVER, I am a huge hockey fan (go Bruins!) and simply had to go with Whipple this time. Please don't squeeze the Charmin.

  12. My husband graduated from Shattuck School in 1962. It remains a beautiful and vibrant school. I recommend taking a few moments to check out their website as well as the lovely Cathedral in Faribault. Bishop Whipple deserves the Golden Halo for the many, many lives he touched including the young men and women who were and are blessed to attend Shattuck-St. Mary's.

  13. All praise to our Celebrity Bloggers, who have taken the Saintly Kitsch commentary to a new level this year.

  14. Minnesota was home to my closest friend, a devout Renaissance man. He taught me that Minnesota's most infamous food, Lutefisk, eaten ceremoniously at holidays, was "the worst ***** food in the whole world!" When I thought to vote for Henry Whipple, I thought Lutefisk. My vote is for the Irish monk who made sure Christianity survived in the darkest of ages.

  15. Talk about creative kitsch! Thank you both for making this one so delightfully hard. I voted Whipple and was pleasantly surprised to see an even 50/50 split at 9:30am - can’t wait to see who pulls ahead. Has there ever been a tie?

  16. One of the best things to learn in today’s write up’s is the reference to the Happy Givers program! I just bought a tote bag and a meal for a family in hurricane Maria’s aftermath of devastation in Puerto Rico. Thank you, Emily!

  17. At this hour, this is not a slam dunk as so many of the match ups have been. I'm left to ponder a hot dish for an upcoming church supper. Let's hear it for Bishop Whipple! And a shout-out to all our kreative kustodians of kitsch.

  18. The Whipple Cross was the deciding factor for me. Of the huge stretch to find SOME sort of related merch, my sympathy to the writers. Merch is not a great category within which to compete.

  19. Both writers did a bang up job making unlikely connections. Loved David Sibley’s, although hot dish didn’t have a rating; but Canaire’s hair dryer was great! You go, girl.

    1. Nope, unfortunately not. At least one has surfaced later than your comment. I join many others in congratulating all the Celebrity Bloggers on an outstanding kitsch round this year!