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. Kudos the the bloggers, whose creativity is awe-inspiring! Their contributions today caused me so much mental anguish that I was on the point of abstaining. After cogitating for a while, I am voting for Whipple.

  2. While Henry is my preferred 'saint,' in this round I had to go for Emily's delightful cobbling of merch. The mid-morning belly laugh had me in tears! Well-played, Emily! David's presentation was just too much of a stretch. . .(though a valiant effort given the paucity of 'stuff' available to him.)
    Feel safe in casting one vote for Canaire, as most of my other champions have been advancing in the brackets! Whoopee!

  3. Many Kudos to the Celebrity Bloggers today. They both created masterful collections of tributes. I loved the Whipple number scheme and all things Minnesota, especially the world renowned Hot Dish. We just celebrated inMichigan with the Hot Dish yesterday! The Conair product was a great stretch, and a good chuckle Thank you for all your research for this wonderful acrobatic part of Lent MADNESS.

  4. Wow. Very close so far. I had to go back and read again the original posts on each and I see admirable attributes for both of them. My heart lies in both camps but the scale tipped in Bishop Whipple’s favor. However, I will not jeer if Canaire advances.

  5. Among the books I am currently reading is “Lincoln's Bishop: A President, A Priest, and the Fate of 300 Dakota Sioux Warriors” by the late Gustav Niebúhr (yes, of that family—grandson of H. Richard, grand-nephrew of Reinhold, and nephew of Lansing Hicks of YDS/Berkeley). No, it doesn’t qualify as kitsch, but it is an inspiring read, and available on Kindle.

  6. I'm not a big hockey fan because, well, Texas, but am a great fan of tater tot casserole and all other things "hot dish" so went with Bishop Whipple today. His courage to take a stand for indigenous people in the face of what we would just call old fashioned racism is commendable. Bravo, Bishop!

  7. The Celebrity Bloggers deserve a Golden Mug for the kitsch they came up with for this round! Bravo and good job to you both!

    1. Brooke, Julian of Norwich is still alive! I’m hoping she wins the Golden Halo this year. All shall be well.

  8. I vote for DAVID SIBLEY!!! and Emily Miller, of course. The bloggers are red hot today. I deeply deprecate the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, but not today! Today both bloggers created kitsch out of NOTHING! I voted for Bishop Whipley, and would point to poetpriestpotter's clever pun the other day: Whipple Good! Devo would be proud. (Insert orange safety cone meme here.) For my contribution to the kitsch round, I offer this cocktail on Bishop Whipple's behalf, a bit too tropical for Minnesota, but this is the kitsch round. I believe Anna Courie began the fine Lent Madness tradition of cocktails during Kitsch round, with the Yellow Death for the Memphis Martyrs, but memory may not serve. I honor Whipple's dedication to the indigenous tribes with this recipe for an Orange Whip (hey, if David Sibley can connect sushi with a clown, I can do this): 4 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice, 2 oz heavy cream (half and half), 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream, 1 oz orange liqueur, and ice. Blend all ingredients in a blender and pour into a tall glass. Garnish with orange slice and cherries. Do not count the calories. I hear they don't in Minnesota. This actually sounds more like a milkshake than a cocktail, but if you are snowed in, this might sustain you until spring. Go Whipple!

  9. Thank you to both of today's celebrity bloggers for the many laughs you gave me with the saintly kitsch. I especially laughed at the idea of someone in a giant inflatable hamster ball running across the sea to Inis Cathaig.

  10. A group of us do morning prayer on Zoom sponsored by the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. We have been playing Lent Madness for several years and though we have a collective sense of humor we hate the third round kitsch thing. Today we ignored it and read the first round posts. It was a great improvement.

  11. Ooo! the votes are pretty close, not surprising since each saint is remarkable. I voted for Canaire for a couple of reasons.
    ! the low number of females advancing, 2 my husband and I have been to Ireland a couple of times and love it. Logical? not particularly, but hey, this is Lent Madness, not Lent Sensibility.

  12. The Conair travel dryer was so kitschy, I’d buy one, and I don’t even use a hair dryer! Well done Emily with your kitsch write-up of the Saint I am voting for today.

  13. I see that the voting is very close today. I had to go with Henry, because my mother is from Monnesota, one of my best pals is from Minnesota, and mostly because I really admire his stance and his working with and for Native Americans.

  14. Voted for Whipple - there are so few Christians that stood up for Natives back in the day that we know about. This is the kind of person I want to share with my fellow tribal members who want nothing to do with Christianity.

  15. As a Minnesotan (who is making tuna hotdish for supper tonight--I'm not making this up!), who once had her office in Whipple Hall at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, and who realizes how much more she has to learn about the horrific treatment of indigenous people in my adopted home state, my vote went to Bishop Whipple for being a prophetic voice.
    But I'm buying that tote bag in Canaire's write-up!
    FYI: " ... Whipple Hall, a building which was originally a prep school built by Episcopalians but which was purchased by Norwegian Lutherans in 1891 as the main building of their newly founded Concordia College." Quoted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Benjamin_Whipple
    And for the record, I'm making my mother's tuna casserole dish this evening. As one born and raised in IL, I grew up with the alternate (more classy-sounding) nomenclature.

  16. I confess: been much more interested in Canaire than Henry.
    Perhaps: one of my first women friends was 1st generation Irish-American. Made for an interesting relationship. I'm born in the USA, but ancestrally after 4-5 generations here very much an ethnic German.
    If I voting for kitsch, then I like the tote bag stating what Jesus thought about women ...

  17. A very hard choice today, and the kitsch writeups were also equally hilarious! ...But that hot dish sure looks an esteemed Potato Toddler Casserole to me! Raw ground beef and chopped onion with herbs and spices on the bottom, then a layer of frozen tater tots, then empty and spread a can of condensed mushroom soup on top and sprinkle with paprika. One hour at 350 and dinner's ready. Of course I would have needed an Idaho-shaped pan way back when I started making it, and we just called it a potluck dish. Not very Lenten, so I'll have to make it after the resurrection and toast Whipple's advance to the final Four along with Julian's Golden Halo!

  18. Oh, wow. Seems Whipple didn't whip up enough excitement to generate a lot of kitsch, so the hockey and hot dish were a mighty stretch. But the Conair blow dryer gave me a good chuckle. Fun reading, bloggers!

  19. I'm a fan of Bishop Whipple for all that he did for the indigenous people... But if you'd like a medical connection: A Whipple is a very difficult surgery used to treat Pancreatic Cancer. Fortunately, I'm a 5-1/2 Whipple survivor, or I wouldn't be here typing this. So, even though Bishop W had nothing to do with the Whipple, my vote is for him!!

  20. The kitch was great fun, but not the best way to choose the Golden Halo winner. I stuck with the earlier write-ups and went with Bishop Whipple.

  21. Some of the funniest posts I've seen yet. Still rooting for Whipple, but I'm pleased to see how close it is!

  22. Doesn't anyone think of the poor male monks on the island trying to live a celibate life, not wanting women around tempting them.