Thomas Cranmer vs. Emma of Hawaii

Before we head into the weekend and another bout with LMW (Lent Madness Withdrawal) we must first finalize the saints of the Faithful Four. Mary Magdalene? Check. Dietrich Bonhoeffer? Check. Margaret of Scotland (very close call yesterday as she barely squeaked past Enmegahbowh!) Check. Today you will decide whether Thomas Cranmer or Emma of Hawaii will join this august trio in forming the holy quartet that will move forward in their pursuit of the Golden Halo.

To get this far, Thomas Cranmer defeated Ephrem of Edessa and Columba while Emma's road included surprising victories over Catherine of Siena and Paul of Tarsus. Check out the updated bracket to see how things have played out thus far.

We will begin the Faithful Four straightaway on Monday morning with Mary Magdalene taking on Margaret of Scotland. Then on Tuesday it's Dietrich Bonhoeffer battling the winner of today's match-up. Finally, voting for the winner of the Golden Halo will take place on Spy Wednesday. Enjoy a breather this weekend -- you've earned it! And be ready to go on Monday of Holy Week.

To this writer’s dismay, it seems no one has yet made a Thomas Cranmer action figure. If anyone has pull at Mattel, please put in a good word for the archbishop. The kitsch surrounding the writer of the Book of Common Prayer is pretty thin; however, Cranmer has the distinction of being the Archbishop of Canterbury played by more film and TV actors than any other. Most recently played by Hans Matheson in The Tudors, 22 actors have stepped into the role since 1911 (according to The character of Thomas Cranmer has even appeared in a film that won the Academy Award for Best Picture – A Man for All Seasons in 1966. This makes Cranmer the only member of the Elate Eight to appear in a Best Picture winning film.

Several Do-It-Yourself-ers provide goodies for those of us interested in Cranmer’s kitsch. Coffee mugs, T-shirts, bags, and mouse pads, among other things, are all available. If you head to England, you can stop by the site of Cranmer’s martyrdom, marked by a brick cross on Broad Street in Oxford. The Martyrs’ Memorial, built in the 1840s, includes a statue of Cranmer, and it stands in St. Giles Street, also in Oxford.

Looking to test your Cranmer knowledge? Take a ten-question quiz here. Finally, if you’re into historical fiction and mysteries, take a look at C.J. Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake mystery series. Running into our archbishop is a real treat: he is a character in Sovereign (2006) and Revelation (2008). One last thing: I want a Cranmer bobblehead. Can someone get on that?

--Adam Thomas

While Queen Emma of Hawaii - unlike her opponent in today’s match-up - never composed beautiful language that I will babble from the depths of memory (along with all the words to the Brady Bunch theme) when I am old and eating strained carrots in a nursing home, she influenced and improved the physical, spiritual, and mental health of thousands, perhaps millions, of people in her time and moving forward to our own day.

Kitsch-wise, she has her share but, after a small sampling, we’ll take a look at her real influence.

This Queen Emma beer stein allows you to “Make any day Oktoberfest whether with this impressive stein on the shelf or in-hand. Cheers!” The same photo of Emma may be purchased on a regular mug, a throw pillow, or a journal in which to pour your soul to the kindly queen.

For those who wish to share their enthusiasm for Queen Emma on their person, there is the “Emma and Proud” tee-shirt (pink only).

If you feel the need to cuddle up, there is always the 14-inch Emma friend doll from Buns of Maui on sale for only $25.19.

The philatelists among us are not left in the cold in the Emma-Commema-ration department. There are postage stamps, both old and new, commemorating Queen Emma, including a $9 stamp issued in 2011 to celebrate the 175th anniversary of her birth. A nine dollar stamp! The U.S. Postal Service just issued stamps bearing the visages of José Ferrer and Danny Thomas for a mere $.45.

[Celebrity Blogger’s Note: “In 1989, the 500th Anniversary of the birth of Thomas Cranmer...was celebrated. Actually, the event barely raised a whisper in England, where the good man...was denied a commemorative postage stamp!” Journal of Anglican Studies, November 2009, Vol. 7, No. 02, p. 246. Just sayin’.]

But back to influence.

Beyond the legacy of creating the premier healthcare center in the Pacific, beyond her tireless promulgation of the Anglican way in the Hawaiian islands through the establishment of schools, churches, and the Cathedral of St. Andrew’s, she exerted a profound influence on western social and cultural trends.

To wit:





A Renaissance queen indeed.

-- Heidi Shott


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Margaret of Scotland vs. Enmegahbowh

The Elate Eight continues with an intriguing match-up between Margaret of Scotland and Enmegahbowh. One of the sub-plots of this round has been "What will Celebrity Blogger Heidi Shott possibly come up with for Enmegahbowh kitsch?" This will be answered today as these two pillars of the faith vie for the third spot in the Faithful Four.

Yesterday, Dietrich Bonhoeffer punched his ticket to the next round by ousting Jerome 74% to 26% and joining Mary Magdalene in keeping their Golden Halo hopes alive.

To make it this far, Margaret defeated William Temple and John Cassian while Enmegahbowh beat Thomas and David Oakerhater. Check out the updated bracket to see what's coming up in Lent Madness.

Meanwhile, back at Lent Madness HQ, Tim and Scott plot to launch an entire line of saintly kitsch. Kitsch-meisters? You bet! Speaking of which, check out our recent post Kitsch Cranks (which really should have been spelled "Kranks") and read about Lent Madness in the Huffington Post.

Hey, all you Margaret fans! How does one show one’s admiration for and devotion to (Queen) Margaret of Scotland? There are just too many options to show here, but I picked out a few for your consideration:

If she’s a queen, there must be a doll, right? And indeed there are several dolls one can purchase for your saintly queen doll collection. First, there’s this wooden peg doll, made to order, featuring the blonde queen (she was Saxon after all) holding a black cross and wearing a tartan sash (“not historically accurate but cute all the same”).

Or, if a wooden doll doesn’t seem cuddly enough, here’s a whimsical Margaret of Scotland Felt Saint Softie. This Margaret is holding her special book of Gospels that miraculously did not show any water damage after being dropped into a river and she is also wearing a special prayer on her back. I personally am planning to buy one of these!

Want to color your own St. Margaret? Download this coloring page and experiment with different queenly shades for her outfit and fingernails!

Or get a St. Margaret tote bag to carry all your St. Margaret stuff around with you. The same design is featured on a keepsake box to keep all your St. Margaret stuff safely at home.

Speaking of home, if your taste runs more to home furnishings than dolls and coloring pages, here’s a St. Margaret throw pillow for your sofa or favorite chair so that you can read your morning prayers and devotional books with the saint by your side. The same design can be ordered on a coffee mug, ornament, or keepsake box.

St. Margaret can also reign over your refrigerator from this handy (and lovely!) “attention-grabbing” magnet set. Order just one, or a pack of 100, so you can share with all your St. Margaret-loving friends! (Yes, it’s the same design as the pillow, but, hey, it’s “stained glass!” And you can also "Liven up any room or party with our fun, hip" St. Margaret tile coasters!)

Finally, while you’re out and about (visiting the St. Margaret Pub in Twickenham, say), show your Team Margaret pride and solidarity while wearing this great Team Margaret Hoodie and make everyone guess why there’s a shamrock on the front. Pair this with the Team Margaret doggie shirt for your canine companion for the ultimate in kitschy Margaret-wear!

Go Team Margaret!

 -- Penny Nash

As predicted by a member of the SEC, commercial kitsch featuring Enmegahbowh, the first Native American to be ordained as an Episcopal priest, is scarce. In fact here’s a screenshot of an early attempt to turn up any product that would even begin to rival yesterday’s St. Jerome/Lion Reversible Doll.

Alas, “0 results found for “Enmegahbowh kitsch.”

Enter the fans! Team E supporter Mary-Elise Haug offered an assist by sending along a Not For Sale (and one-of-a-kind, we suspect) item honoring the “Providential Man” himself. This handmade doll depicting Enmegahbowh was on display in 2007 at the Native American Ministries Winter Talk Conference held in Jamestown, Virginia, to mark the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown.

Please take note that the stole he’s wearing is identical to the one in the icon displayed during the Saintly 16 round.  Excellent attention to detail, Dollmaker!

Are we surprised by a sad lack of cheesy saint crap? No! John Johnson Enmegahbowh was a serious man serving his people and his Church during a very serious era of the American experiment. It’s not surprising that his kitsch-factor is low.

However, that’s not to say he wasn’t a funny guy. So, in lieu of sufficient kitsch, here are a couple of stories: In 1874 Enmegahbowh wrote with stunning poignance to the Office of the Indian Commission at 30 Bible House in New York to report the death of his great friend and fellow Christian, Chief Nabunashkong, aka, Isaac H. Tuttle.

In telling the story of Tuttle’s conversion and his role in it, Enmegahbowh revealed his mischievous side. As a mark of Tuttle’s new faith, he asked his Enmegahbowh to cut his long locks of hair, a symbol of his standing in the tribe. Enmegahbowh wrote:

“[Tuttle said] ‘If the Great Spirit has so big a love for poor Indian, surely Indian ought and must give back big love to the Great Spirit. Now dear brother,’ he said, ‘to be true to return my big love to the Great Spirit, I brought this scissors, to have you cut my hair locks which I shall throw away forever.’

“...When it was all over, he took wild, and threw his head in every direction, to see if any one coming to see him. I smiled, and pitied him greatly. ‘Friend,’ he ask, ‘what made you smile?’

“I said: ‘You look precisely like the baboon I saw at Barnum’s Museum in New York, some years ago.’”


Then there’s another story that tells of the feistiness of his wife, Biwabiko-gizig-okwe or Iron Sky Woman, (or Charlotte, if you must). It also indicates a measure of Enmegahbowh’s humanity, if not his good humor, and offers a fuller explanation about why he and Methodists at Fond du Lac parted company early in his ministry. The “Man Who Stood Before His People” also stood by his wife. Fair play to him! The story goes that in 1849 Iron Sky Woman and a fur trader got into an argument.

According to Owanah Anderson in Forward Movement’s 1988 volume, Jamestown Commitment: The Episcopal Church and the American Indian, “...a white man insulted Enmegahbowh’s wife Charlotte and that Enmegahbowh knocked the man down and held him while his wife gave the worthless man a sound beating.”

Beyond the pricelessness of story, there is at least one thing for sale that offers a wonderful reminder of Enmegahbowh’s legacy. Holy Women, Holy Men credits him with training “many others to serve as deacons throughout northern Minnesota. The powerful tradition of Ojibway hymn singing is a living testimony to their ministry. His understanding of Native tradition enabled him to enculturate Christianity in the language and traditions of the Ojibway.”

For $.99 cents you can buy an MP3 and hear the Ojibwe Hymn Singers’ lovely rendition of “On the Beautiful Beyond.”

And finally, if you need a button to sport on your General Convention nametag, how about this? Unfortunately they only come in packs of 100.

-- Heidi Shott

The Supreme Executive Committee subtracted 80 votes from Enmegahbowh at 12:33 a.m. EDT, because of voting irregularity we discovered. The person(s) involved have been blocked from Lent Madness. Remember, we encourage you to spread the word about your favorite saints. However, voting 50+ times from one computer is not allowed.


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Dietrich Bonhoeffer vs. Jerome

Today it's the second of four battles comprising the Elate Eight as Dietrich Bonhoeffer faces off against Jerome. Could there possibly be any saintly kitsch for these two? A Vulgate Snuggy perhaps or a Bonhoeffer chew toy for your puppy? Let's see what our intrepid Celebrity Bloggers dug up.

In yesterday's Elate Eight kick-off, Mary Magdalene made quick work of Evelyn Underhill 77% to 23% to make it to the Faithful Four. She'll face the winner of tomorrow's match-up between Margaret of Scotland and Enmegahbowh.

To get to this round Bonhoeffer beat James and Brigid while Jerome defeated John Patteson and Philander Chase. Click on the links in the previous sentence if you need a refresher course on today's combatants. And check the updated bracket for upcoming battles.

As you might have guessed, it’s one thing to discover a few quirks about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and quite another to find saintly kitsch related to this 20th-century martyr who died at the hands of the Nazis. Nevertheless, there are items that can indeed be purchased to provide a bit of inspiration for the uninspired masses who see you wearing or using them:

Those who like to hug trees and, therefore, dislike buying “stuff” might want to reconsider that noble and principled position after reading about this t-shirt, which is made from 100% certified organic cotton and, therefore, green both in color and in composition. It comes with a quote from Bonhoeffer to disturb the consciences of those who cross your path each day that you put it on. It is also, as stated on the website, “kind to the environment,” so how could you not feel guilty wearing something else. Lastly, it appears to be “signed” by Bonhoeffer himself in a cursive-like font.

Alternatively, if you prefer to be a little more subtle in your public witness, there’s a plain white t-shirt available with a simple drawing that’s based on a popular photograph of Bonhoeffer. Here’s the rub: You’ll either have to tell everyone the identity of the person on this article of clothing or use it to weed out the theologically and historically uneducated folks in the crowd because Bonhoeffer’s name doesn’t appear on it.

Over at Zazzle, there are a couple of Bonhoeffer-related coffee mugs that you might want to add your collection (but only after obtaining your official Lent Madness coffee mug, available out there somewhere on the interwebs). One features a picture of Bonhoeffer surrounded by a group of young people and declares, “I’m with Bonhoeffer.” The other has a picture of the ten statues of 20th-century martyrs, including one of Bonhoeffer, that can be seen above the west doorway of London’s Westminster Abbey and represent those who have died under oppression and persecution.

Last but not least, Zazzle also carries this mousepad with a quote from Bonhoeffer that seems like the right note on which to end. So here it is:

-- Neil Alan Willard

 If you thought there would be little to no kitsch involving the author of the Vulgate, you'd be wrong. Jerome is well represented in the saintly kitsch department.

Let's start with the obvious: a coffee mug. Surely, that's the first thing that springs to people's minds when they think of Jerome. They think, as the ad with the mug says, Jerome "is in the desert where he spent five years praying and learning to overcome his flesh." The next obvious thought is: coffee! Coffee mug. "It has a large handle that’s easy to hold and comes in 11oz and 15oz sizes. Dishwasher and microwave safe. Makes a great gift."

If coffee isn't your first thought when considering Jerome, surely your second thought MUST be a doll.

"St. Jerome lived as a hermit in the Syrian Desert, and it is reported that he once removed a thorn from a lion's paw, and the lion remained at his side for years. Measures 18" tall with head and hands made of flexible urethane rubber attached to a soft poly-fil cloth body." What is particularly stunning is that this doll "becomes a lion when flipped inside-out." Not only that but it "Includes a Certificate of Authenticity." Perhaps it's even signed by Jerome himself.

Then there's the St. Jerome T-shirt, complete with long sleeves for those cold desert nights. And for lowering the chance of sunburn.

But wait there's more. Do you love Jerome? Wear your heart on your sleeve, or at least on your chest, with this snazzy short-sleeve t-shirt.

Finally, there's the Jerome keyring complete with image of Jerome's unlockable cave.

-- Bosco Peters


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Mary Magdalene vs. Evelyn Underhill

Welcome, friends, to the Round of the Elate Eight. As we get deeper into the madness, the tone changes  from the educational to the whimsical as we focus on saintly kitsch. At this point, we've learned about 32 saints -- 16 in even greater detail. Now is the time to see what popular culture has done to/for them. We don't view such items as sacrilegious but merely fascinating -- see Meredith Gould's footnote below. But, then again, if you've stuck with Lent Madness to this point you know that we have a great reverence for the saints even as we keep our sense of humor intact.

In yesterday's final battle of the Saintly Sixteen Emma of Hawaii surged past Paul of Tarsus 56% to 44% with over 2,000 votes cast. Later this week Emma will face Thomas Cranmer with a trip to the Faithful Four on the line.

To make it this far, Mary Magdalene defeated John Huss and Joan of Arc while Evelyn Underhill bested Nicholas and Monnica. Click on the links to see the previous write-ups by our fabulous Celebrity Bloggers and check the updated bracket for future match-ups.

When considering the following items inspired by Mary Magdalene, it's probably good to remember this adage when labeling something as kitsch*: “One person’s trash is another’s treasure.”  Consider this nod toward situational taste as my way of apologizing if any of the following Mary Magdalene-branded trash is something you’d treasure. Please note that I’m not including images of reliquaries out of respect for those who reverence such things.

Also note how popular depictions of this Apostle to the Apostles contain a mash-up of myth and legend.  In no special order – so don’t try to figure it out – I offer for your amazement and amusement the following items:

Hello Dolly!

From sales copy for the Mary Magdalene WisdomDoll: “… long, wavy auburn hair,  sunned skin tone, hand-painted face …. simulated leather boots, a sign during her time of ties to a wealthy family.  Her deep purple dress is regal and majestic. The color suggests wisdom and knowledge.”  Read the whole description here to learn more about the “powerful imagery” of the hand-made attire for this award-winning, 16” doll priced at $129.

Feeling manipulated? Then regain your power by getting the Mary Magdalene puppet instead. It’s 28” tall, has a workable mouth, comes with one rod that can be attached to either hand for movement, and currently on sale for $45.

Need some blessed super-bas relief? Go for this statue:

Now Who’s Light of the World?

Preparing His body? Woman of Sorrows bathing His feet with her tears and hair? Anointing His head with precious salve? Yummy-smelling Temple prostitute? This candle includes 100% natural essential oils of Frankincense, Ylang, and Spikenard, so you decide which Mary Magdalene is being honored.

A garnet is embedded in it. Why? Among other things, it’s a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice.  But why a fleur-de-lis, a symbol of Mary, Mother of God appears on Mary Mag’s third eye is beyond me.  (Enlarge the picture to behold her wild-eyed look of WhatEver.)


Love praying the Chaplet Prayer or The Rosary of St. Mary Magdalene in Seven Mysteries?  May I suggest that these earrings would make a suitable substitute for schlepping beads and medals?

At $78.95 for solid sterling silver or $280.95 for white or yellow gold, they’re pretty pricy kitsch, but remember: you’re honoring the person to whom Jesus the Risen Christ first appeared. Worth it!

And so what if this goodie is supposed to be a Christmas tree ornament? Consider  giving it to a loved one on St. Mary Magdalene’s Feast Day (July 22). The description of this $33.50 bauble makes my point about myth mash-ups, read it here.

*Definition of kitsch: “something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste.”

--Meredith Gould

Who better to inform the world of Evelyn Underhill kitsch than Dana Greene, the president of the Evelyn Underhill Association? Surely Evelyn Underhill merchandise abounds at the annual  Day of Quiet Reflection at the National Cathedral. However, in response to an email asking about Underhill kitsch and photographic evidence thereof, Dr. Greene replied, “Glad to help, but not absolutely sure what you want.”

Clearly, Evelyn Underhill products are not prevalent at Association events, leaving the path open for an enterprising person who wishes to capitalize on this lack—though further research shows that the field is far from clear.

First there is the (copyrighted) Underhill family crest, also available on a mug or keychain, linking you not only to Evelyn but to other notable Underhills such as Walter Underhill, a 19th-century Congressman who served on the board of managers of the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents in New York City. (No hobbits are mentioned among the notables listed.)

More specific Evelyn Underhill items do exist, such as the T-shirt, mug, mousepad, magnet, greeting card, tea towel and keychain featuring a portrait by Mary Evans, which seems rather pedestrian as far as kitsch goes.

There is, however, a great niche market left untapped: namely, the Evelyn Underhill™ personal home mystic kit! Searching in vain for such an item unearthed only the Mystic Tan Perfect Tan Kit, both body and face. Now all we need is someone to develop the Mystic Tan Perfect Soul Kit. Surely Evelyn Underhill would lend her name to such a worthy product. Other Evelyn Underhill™ franchisees may have further ideas for this untapped market, which would be wonderful to see in the comments.

-- Laura Toepfer


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