Luke the Evangelist vs. Dorothy Day

With this our final round of Saintly Kitsch, the last spot in the Faithful Four is up for grabs. After a close race, Hilda of Whitby snuck by Harriet Tubman yesterday to join Frances Perkins and Oscar Romero as Lent Madness semi-finalists. Today it's Luke the Evangelist squaring off against Dorothy Day. Will the writer of Luke-Acts add another illustrious chapter to his legacy or will Dorothy carpe diem?

To get to this point Luke defeated Absalom Jones and John Donne while Dorothy made it past Edward Thomas Demby and Benedict of Nursia.

We've seen mugs and tote bags and trucker hats this week. Most of the Lent Madness faithful have enjoyed the respite from the serious business of learning even as the choices have become ever more agonizing. A handful have stormed off in a huff (though we have a funny feeling they're still voting). It's hard to believe there are only three voting days left in Lent Madness 2013. On Monday Frances Perkins will face Hilda of Whitby; on Tuesday it's Oscar Romero versus the winner of today's match-up; and on Spy Wednesday the two remaining saints grapple for the Golden Halo!

Luke the EvangelistLuke

Keep your iPhone cases and T-shirts. Kitsch is not just about the cheap stuff. Questionable religious taste belongs to rich and poor alike, and for truly high-end saintly kitsch, apparently you need an evangelist.

It’s obvious that Luke, whose Mary extolled a God who has sent the rich away empty, would need a 14 Luke2Karat Gold prayer medal. This stunning beauty, originally priced at $2,438.99, is available on Amazon for only $928.99  -- a 62% savings! Of course, it will take a couple days extra to ship from the seller, a company named (and I am not making this up) CleverEve Inc. Clever, indeed! Especially since numerous other 14K gold St. Luke pendants can be found on Amazon or eBay at prices ranging from $157. This one, for a mere $199, is especially tasteful.

Luke5If you are looking for something more practical and economical, perhaps this Italian Charm Watch with Stainless Steel Band would do the trick. Available on eBay, the St. Luke watch “has 16 stainless steel blank Italian charm links and measures approx. 5.1/2", fully expanded approx. 7.1/2" and will fit most average sized wrists.” Add extra charm with extra charms! Question: Is Luke looking up like that in pain after being stabbed from the back by the watch hands? Or is he merely resting his hand on the mechanism to manage his carpal tunnel syndrome after writing the bulk of the New Testament?

You might wish to match the watch with these fabulous St. Luke earrings. That is, if you want to picture Luke earringsLuke as a creepy bibliophile, inviting to look closely at your earlobes and his etchings.

Luke silverBut for the truly highbrow, what you really want is Art, such as this “Nicely Cast European Silver Saint Luke.” I have no doubt that it is, as the seller describes, “a finely cast, European silver figurine made during the 19th century…in fabulous overall condition.” And to be fair, if kitsch describes something mass-produced, then this does not fit the bill. However, if you allow your definition to stretch to religious representations of dubious taste, one might allow that spending $960 for a 4½ inch tall silver representation of a gospel writer particularly concerned with the poor and needy might merit the mantle of kitsch.

-- Laura Toepfer

 Dorothy Day

day5Like beauty, kitsch -- especially as it relates to the saints -- is in the eye of the beholder. What seems to some as appallingly cheesy as dogs playing poker with Elvis appears to others as magnificently inspiring as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, where, as it happens, we once lost a son to a dense pack tourists for 30 long minutes. But that’s another story.

Dorothy Day, the American lay woman who co-founded the Catholic Worker movement and served tirelessly throughout her life on behalf of people living in poverty, did indeed spawn kitsch, but, like the woman herself who always wore donated clothes and lived a very simple life, it’s austere kitsch.

There is the famous poster by Bob Fitch who captured Day’s calm demeanor framed by police at a day2California protest organized by the United Field Workers in 1973. Seventy-six years old at the time, she was arrested later that day.

Those who are intent in promoting Day for sainthood have recognized the power of t-shirts and bumper stickers to make their case. The “Sainthood Now” campaign seems to speak with a revolutionary tone that Day might have endorsed for a less self-referential cause.

day4Speaking of revolution, this t-shirt captures the spirit of her conversion nicely, “The greatest challenge of the day is how to bring about a revolution of the heart.” Ain’t that the truth?

Of course, not all Google searches turn up treasures you can buy -- or even see. For example, the Dorothy Day Archives at Marquette University apparently house, tucked away in some “Raiders of the Lost Ark” storeroom, the following items:

  • Runner hand-loomed by Dorothy Day, ca. 1936
  • Clothing worn by Dorothy Day: belt , coat, night gowns (2), scarves (2), stockings (2), n.d.
  • Prison smock autographed by inmates and Joan Baez on 2 August 1973
  • Hair clippings from Dorothy Day's brush, 6 April 1980
  • Straw hat worn by Dorothy Day when she was arrested in support of farm workers in 1973
  • Last typewriter used by Dorothy Day (acquired ca. 1974)

Hair clippings! Sday8tockings!

And unlike web searches on St. Luke the Evangelist or, say, Macrina the Younger, it is possible for a Celebrity day9Blogger to land on the Jacksonville PD’s website and realize that in 2005 Dorothy Day, aged 56 -- after what must have been a bad night -- was arrested for domestic assault. Obviously not our Dorothy Day.

Day wrote, “My strength returns to me with my cup of coffee and the reading of the psalms.”

That brings us to the most ubiquitous of kitsch: the mug, both travel and ceramic, and its night-before cousin, the stein.

day7Then there is this deliciously funny mug. My boss, Bishop Steve Lane, has a terrific laugh and it’s fun to find ways to crack him up, which, verily, he did yesterday when I told him about this mug.day3

But always, always, we circle back to where we started. Back to truth and beauty and its beholder. One of the best finds of all is a mural of Dorothy Day painted by Amanda Webber at Luther Place Memorial Church in Washington, D.C.

day6Other doorways at the church are arrayed with murals of St. Martin of Birmingham and St. Francis of Assisi. At the dedication of the Dorothy Day door in May 2011, Pastor Karen Brau said, “We celebrate today the gifts of Biblical hospitality lived out in the life of St. Dorothy Day of New York. A woman who came to her faith in adulthood, St. Dorothy took the words of Jesus so seriously that she sought ways to live out Jesus’ love for all people, particularly the most vulnerable — the poor.”

And the people said, “Amen.”

-- Heidi Shott


Luke the Evangelist vs. Dorothy Day

  • Luke (60%, 1,995 Votes)
  • Dorothy Day (40%, 1,315 Votes)

Total Voters: 3,310

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Harriet Tubman vs. Hilda of Whitby

The ever-kontroversial Saintly Kitsch Week continues with a tough choice between Harriet Tubman and Hilda of Whitby. Harriet made it thus far by storming past Nicholas Ferrar and Martha of Bethany. Hilda of Whitby made it to the Elate Eight by overwhelming Samuel Seabury before holding off a pesky Ignatius of Antioch. The winner of this match-up will earn a spot in the Faithful Four and a date with Frances Perkins. Get a preview of today's match-up from the hardest working video blogger this side of the Yukon Territory, Maple Anglican.

Yesterday we bid farewell to a valiant Florence Li Tim-Oi as she was soundly defeated by Oscar Romero. The martyred archbishop of El Salvador will now face the winner of tomorrow's battle between Luke and Dorothy Day.

We're halfway through the Elate Eight! By the weekend there will be just four saints standing. Is your favorite still in the bracket? Do you have someone you're passionately pulling for? Are you out campaigning and driving all of your friends and relatives crazy with this little churchy game you're playing? Has Lent ever been so awesome? Have you ever dreaded the approach of Easter? These are some of the questions hanging out there as you prepare to face more kitsch.

37991_12555_4625_XTPLBSTKR1_-1853363819Harriet Tubman

Harriet Ross Tubman, abolitionist, activist, soldier, spy, visionary and all-around fighter for justice, has much paraphernalia to her illustrious name.

First of all, there is an elementary school named after Harriet. They have much merchandise for the purchasing, and they are the Harriet Tubman Frogs. No clue why, but hey, frogs are intrepid little amphibians with their transforming and their adaptiveness! So, you go Harriet Tubman Frogs of Washington DC! Hop with bravery!

keep_going_mico_the_bearWhile you're hopping, you might get scared. In this case, why not get a cute Harriet Tubman-quoting teddy bear? YES. These exist.

(Ok, it would appear that this bear is quoting Hilary Clinton, who is quoting Harriet Tubman, at the '08 DNC, all in support of Obama in 2008. Which is a heck of a lot for one small bear's tummy to do, but still. Behold a multitasking teddy bear!)

If the idea of a politically-affiliated plush toy upset you, I have a solution. Behold, Harriet harriet_tubman_steinTubman barware! We have several options here:harriet_tubman_bff_drinking_glass

One, if you are assured of your closeness with Lady Moses, and one if you have some humility about you, somewhere.

(These are also available as wine chillers, for you die-hard Episcopalians.)

pl_harriet_tubman_throw_pillowBut if you are inspired, and want to fully decorate your abode in this theme, this can be done. Here, Tubman-themed throw pillows, and Tubman-quoting messenger bags.

(You thought the bear was confused on his message -- I don't know what the throw pillow is communicating. But you can get that message on a teddy bear too, so if the earlier teddy bear confused you, here's a viable alternative. You can also get this message on a pet bowl, which I'm not even going to attempt to unpack.)

Then, we have the usual dizzying array of t-shirts. Again, we have ones for those who want to take on the saint's identity:hello_my_name_is_harriet_light_tshirt

And finally, we have my personal favorite:have_a_harriet_moment_womens_long_sleeve_tshirt

As for me, I am totally ordering one of those glasses.

-- Megan Castellan

Hilda of Whitby

Hilda, the great Abbess of the double monastery at Whitby, is more appropriately known as Hild of Streaneschalch (this proper Old English form of her name). However, since most of us can barely spell Episcopalian without spell-check, she is known in the church and throughout the world as Hilda.

whitby_abbey_england_uk_hat-r7c5cc4609cd94da391a654b73f85537e_v9wfy_8byvr_216Whitby is seaside town in the English county of North Yorkshire. The actual monastery was sacked by the Vikings in the 9th-century and dissolved under Henry the VIII’s reign, eventually falling into ruins. The Abbey ruins inspired Count Dracula’s castle and served as a prominent landmark for sailors. So, if you’re looking to meld God and the current vampire fad together, you can purchase this stunning hat that shows you are hip and holy, all at the same time. Especially tasteful is the elegant “trucker cut” of the hat, sure to be flattering on clergy and laity alike.

Being a coastal town, the beaches of Whitby are home to ancient ammonite fossils. To the mere novice, they might simply lookSilver like the fossilized remains of prehistoric predatory squid-like creatures (hey, I wonder the Sy-Fy Channel has considered a “The Horrors of Hilda” movie, pitting predatory squids against Dracula? But I digress…). To the knowledgeable readers of Lent Madness, you know that these are in fact the skeletal remains of the plague of snakes that Hilda turned to stone after they messed with the wrong abbess. Scientists even named the genus of these particular ammonites Hildoceras. Hilda’s ammonites exist today, commonly known as snakestones. You, too, can order any number of jeweled settings such as this lovely silver cuff bracelet. Because trust me, it’s the classiest thing in this post.

marmionIf you’d like to read more about this particular snakes-to-stone account, Sir Walter Scott wrote all about it in his epic poem Marmion, filled with accounts of lust, betrayal, dishonest nuns, duels, being walled up alive, heroism, and love. Hilda’s involvement in the plot of about the locale only, in case you’re wondering if she and John Donne had more in common than being Anglican saints.

Hilda’s monasteries became havens for those looking to worship God, live in community, and be educated. Hilda saw the poetic skills of Caedmon 007and urged him to write poetry in his native tongue. Her efforts as Abbess led to her being named the patron saint of learning, culture, and poetry.  Several schools are named in her honor, including the College of St. Hild and St. Bede, which has produced many scholars, artists, musicians, politicians, religious leaders, and not one, but two – two, I say -- of the actors who portrayed James Bond.

the_abbess_hilda_offering_iphone_4_covers-p176838253281781588en7lp_216Historian JoAnn McNamara says of Hilda: She assumed a prestige usually reserved for bishops when she presided over the Synod where the Irish and Roman churches compete for the allegiance of the Northumbrian king. Hilda is likely most remembered for her presence at the Synod of Whitby. Hilda, along with St. Colman, lobbied for the Celtic expression of Christianity. Wilfrid supported the Romanized expression of the faith. In the end, Wilfrid and his supporters won. Hilda graciously accepted defeat and implored all present to conform to the Synod’s decision. Hilda may have conformed, but legend holds that she remained a critic of Wilfrid for the remainder of her life, even challenging his decision to withhold part of his diocese from one of Hilda’s protégé’s who was establishing a new monastery by sending her personal ambassador to the Holy See. Hilda, it seems, may have conformed to Romanized Christianity, but she still had Wilfrid’s number and may have used her very own iPhone case to call him out on occasion.

Some criticize Hilda’s actions at Whitby. Perhaps if she had lobbied harder, Celtic Christianity would have heldWhitbyshirt the day and produced a very different Church. Maybe. Maybe not. Hilda, we may surmise, was personally not pleased with the outcome, but she did realize the value of community unity over personal opinion. But one does wonder if, had this nifty shirt been available in the Whitby gift shop, she would have made it part of her regular monastic fashion.

-- Laurie Brock



Hilda of Whitby vs. Harriet Tubman

  • Hilda of Whitby (54%, 1,828 Votes)
  • Harriet Tubman (46%, 1,574 Votes)

Total Voters: 3,402

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Florence Li Tim-Oi vs. Oscar Romero

Well, we hope you enjoyed your first foray into the round of Saintly Kitsch. If you didn't, that's a shame since we're all kitsch, all the time here at Lent Madness for the rest of the week.

Yesterday Frances Perkins continued her Cinderella-like run through the bracket defeating Jonathan Daniels in heavy voting to earn a spot in the Faithful Four where she'll face either Hilda of Whitby or Harriet Tubman.

Today it's another trailblazing woman facing off against another modern martyr. Florence Li Tim-Oi made it to the Elate Eight by stomping on Chad of Lichfield in the most lopsided match-up of Lent Madness 2013 and then sailing past Gregory the Great. Oscar Romero emerged victorious in his two previous battles soundly defeating Elizabeth Ann Seton and trouncing Lucy.

Along the way we heard from at least a few Kitsch Kranks -- if we don't, we start to get worried. Among the comments were

"The kitsch thing is're trying too hard to be funny."

To which we respond: Kitsch, like Lent Madness, is serious business. Also, we're never funny. We leave that to circus clowns and cats making funny faces on Facebook.

Yesterday's match-up also had someone "quit" Lent Madness for the first time:

"I give up. Obviously PC has governed both the brackets and the voting. When Christ's own apostles are beaten out by simply good people, the humor and fun goes out of the game. I'm glad, however, Jesus was not one of the 'contestants.' He would have lost to a feminist, ecologist, or chicken-raiser. It was fun for a while, but I quit."

First of all, both members of the Supreme Executive Committee use Macs so the statement "Obviously PC has governed both the brackets and the voting" is impossible. Secondly, there are two untouchable in Lent Madness -- you will never see Jesus or Mary in a bracket. Finally, we prefer our saints to be hell-raisers (like  John Donne) not chicken-raisers (like whatever you're referring to).

Finally, check out Maple Anglican's Lent Madness video of the day as the Archbishops preview today's match-up and answer viewer mail.

Li TimFlorence Li Tim-Oi

This much beloved daughter of Lent Madness was baptized as a student and took the name Florence, in honor of Florence Nightingale. She was the first woman ordained to the Anglican priesthood on January 25, 1944. This is her beautiful icon.

The Celebrity Bloggers prayerfully celebrate and thank Florence for her witness and courage as she paved the way for women’s ordination by her faithful ministry and witness. However, Florence has no saintly kitsch. None. Nada. And believe me, if the Celebrity Bloggers and the Supreme Executive CFlo italyommittee couldn’t find kitsch, it simply does not exist.

So, bewailing the lack of anything resembling kitsch or even things oddly funny (we found a calendar, but it was just, well, a calendar), the snark triumvirate of Fr. Tim, Megan, and Laurie combined their respective superpowers and give you the best we have: Famous Flos.

flo kyFlorence, Italy. The birthplace of the Renaissance, the home to the Medici family (which weren’t all that honorable like our Florence, but they did support many starving artists), and the place where the monk who lambasted immorality and greed (especially in the church) Savonarola was killed and Machiavelli, the political thinker, wrote The Prince.

Florence, KentuckyIt has this awesome water tower.

Florence Jean Castleberry is noted for her servant ministry. Born in Cowtown, Texas, to Edsel and flo melsVelma, she dropped out of school at 16 and subsequently married three times before finding her true calling as a waitress at Mel’s Diner. She became a confident and spiritual director of many patrons and fellow waitresses alike, most notably Alice. Flo (as she was known) eventually returned to Cowtown and bought a roadside juke joint, naming it Flo’s Yellow Rose. Her main liturgical response to many men and women is, “Kiss my grits.” Flo’s alter-ego, Polly Holliday, is an active member of the Episcopal Church.

flo hendFlorence Henderson is best known for her role as Mrs. Brady. She was married before and had three daughters, but her former husband was apparently abducted by aliens, as he was never mentioned in the series. Mrs. Brady married Mr. Brady and this group would somehow form a family. That's the way we all became the Brady Bunch. The Brady Bunch, The Brady Bunch. That’s the way we became the Brady Bunch.

You’re singing the theme song now, aren’t you? It will be in your head all day long. You’re welcome.

Florence Nightingale  Also a saint, this Florence was born in the afore-mentioned Florence, Italy in the early 19th flo totecentury. She became a nurse and volunteered to serve as a nurse during the Crimean War. Her strict approach to cleanliness and sanitation drastically reduced the death toll in field hospitals, and her leadership and innovation elevated nursing into a profession.  Nursing Florence, we might add, has kitsch, like this Andy Warhol-esque tote bag, because…why not?

Yes, yes, we KNOW about Florence + the Machine, about the Jefferson’s maid Florence, and a few others, but we do have day jobs. Sort of.

 -- Laurie Brock


romerograffitiOscar Romero

The RELICS: There are first-order relics. When Romero was killed, he was celebrating mass at the cancer hospice where he lived. His vestments have been preserved, and can be viewed in San Salvador, (or online, at the Romero Trust, here). His body, on the other hand….

So we know Romero was killed by a death squad member. But we don't know who. And lo these thirty years later, we still don't really know for sure. (Though, there 201132412947956427_20be many theories). After his death, his funeral was held on Palm Sunday, March 30 (appropriate.) It was a huge event, with thousands flocking to the cathedral, and TV crews broadcasting it around the world. During the service, the army threw smoke grenades into the crowd, then opened fire on the mourners. Over 40 people were killed by the end. The service was never finished, and Romero ended up hastily buried under the cathedral. When Rome recognized that there was a case for canonization, Romero was re-buried in a nicer (read: an actual) grave. As the government feared, this site has become a place of pilgrimage for many, including Pope John Paul II, and President Obama.

Less Upsetting Kitsch:

The MOVIE: Romero, with Raul Julia, made in 1989. Gomez Adams, as you have long wished to see him!  (The whole thing can be viewed in really bad quality on YouTube. Or, if you wish, it is also available on Amazon, as are all things, save salvation). It is very heartfelt, and quite moving.

Fortuitously, the casting of Raul Julia means that the saint Romero is name-checked in Mystery Science Theatre 3000: Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, a movie oscar_romero_bumper_sticker-p128267899489347304en7pq_216ALSO starring Raul Julia. Yes, even Tom Servo and Crow know and appreciate the good archbishop.

The MUSICAL! And not just any musical: a children's musical. Here, at long last, is an activity for that bored Sunday School class! Awesomely, when you buy the rights, the music or the backing track, the proceeds all go to development projects in El Salvador.

5576166155_e0216eb5f3_zThere are SONGS! Namely, the Martyrs' Project has a rather good song, with lyrics entirely taken from the Archbishop's sermons and prayers. The video is here (scroll to the bottom), and is also comprised of footage of that time of war.

There are STATUES. Like at the National Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.  While the Roman Catholics may be late to the game in even officially proclaiming Romero a martyr, we Episcopalians have no such compunction. Martyrs are martyrs, y'all.

And, of course, there are T-SHIRTS, BUMPER STICKERS, MURALS....oscar_romero_t_shirts-r78e14ded87c640688bed1ec25fb7f208_804gs_512

In all seriousness, Romero's face has become as recognizable in Latin America as Washington's or Lincoln's is to us here in the United States. He truly does live on in the Salvadoran people.

-- Megan Castellan


Florence Li Tim-Oi vs. Oscar Romero

  • Oscar Romero (63%, 2,134 Votes)
  • Florence Li Tim-Oi (37%, 1,256 Votes)

Total Voters: 3,389

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Jonathan Daniels vs. Frances Perkins

And then there were eight. Through your voting and politicking and advocating and agonizing, we have collectively whittled down the field of 32 saints to a mere eight as we continue our march to the 2013 Golden Halo. Welcome to the Round of the Elate Eight, aka the Round of Saintly Kitsch.

Here are the match-ups for the rest of the week: today it's modern Civil Rights martyr Jonathan Daniels vs. the 2013 Lent Madness Cinderella, Frances Perkins. Wednesday: Florence Li Tim-Oi vs. Oscar Romero. Thursday: Harriet Tubman vs. Hilda of Whitby. Friday: Luke the Evangelist vs. Dorothy Day (who defeated Benedict yesterday). Good luck with that. With all of these match-ups, if you need a refresher on these saints beyond the kitsch, simply click on the Bracket 2013 link and scroll down -- you'll find hyperlinks to all of the previous battles listed by round.

Jonathan made it to this point by defeating Macrina the Younger and Janani Luwum while Frances earned her spot in the Elate Eight by overcoming Damien of Molokai and Martin Luther King, Jr. One intriguing thing about this particular match-up is that both have New England roots and Massachusetts connections. Daniels hails from Keene, New Hampshire, while Perkins is from Newcastle, Maine. Daniels attended Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge while Perkins is an alum of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley. However, as far as Tim knows, neither one ever stepped foot in Hingham.

Last year the Supreme Executive Committee responded to those who didn't appreciate our kitsch in a post titled Kitsch Cranks. Sure, it's a bit snarky but it's a pretty good statement about where we stand on the issue. If there's anything we'd do differently, it would be to title it "Kitsch Kranks" because the "K's" form a better visual. Alas.

And finally, if you missed yesterday's Monday Madness video, Tim and Scott talk kitsch and even suffer through a certain holy "interruption." Oh, and like us on Facebook -- the Surgeon General insists it's good for your mental health.

Jonathan Daniels


From a series of exhaustive searches through the seedy underbelly of the internet that is Etsy and Pinterest, one might conclude that the Lent Madness kitsch cause for Jonathan Daniels is lost. In fact, Zazzle, that monumental edifice to internet kitsch, the site which is dedicated to the proposition that your cat, Mr. Biggles, is not only worthy of her own iPhone case – but that other people want to buy it – returns no results!

One might begin to think hope is lost. But lo, out of darkness, a light breaks from Jonathan Daniels Elementarydaniels wall art School in Keene, NH. On the walls of the school hangs a very brightly colored mosaic of the school’s namesake, no doubt lovingly crafted by its students. (According to a story from the Keene Sentinel – unfortunately located behind an internet paywall - one student at the school has proposed the building of a museum dedicated to Daniels – a worthy cause indeed, and worth the Lent Madness public rallying around, if it is indeed still in the works.)

il_fullxfull.195528300While there isn’t much kitsch for Daniels personally, various aspects of his life are very well represented in the kitsch-o-verse. In what is either a deep act of homage or a statement of extreme passive-aggressive feelings towards the Granite State, one may buy this lovely cutting board of Daniels’ home state.

MoosePosterIf framed NH-themed art is more of your thing, I suggest this stunning image, entitled “Moose in the Moonlight.” For the record, we have no idea whether Daniels had a pet moose as a child. (You can also find various Moose-Themed Coffee Mugs, but we wouldn’t dare undercut mug sales over at the Lent Madness “Lentorium.”)

College kitsch is, of course, relatively easy to procure. Daniels’ alma mater, the Virginia Military Institute, offers this one-VMIKeychainof-a-kind “We’re Number One” flashlight keychain. When looking at a “left-handed” version of the keychain, we note it looks much like Daniels’ home state of New Hampshire – no doubt in homage to one of VMI’s most distinguished graduates.

Perhaps one of the most common threads in New Hampshire kitsch – from the state’s license plates, to trucker hats with bears, and everything in between – is a devotion to the state’s motto: “Live Free or Die.” That seems to be the right note on which to end: Jonathan Daniels ultimately gave his life in the service of God, and of that ideal – that all of God’s children should enjoy equal rights and freedoms given to them for the service and glory of Jesus Christ.

-- David Sibley


Frances Perkins

For a Celebrity Blogger,  the Elate Eight round is fraught with fear. What if there IS NO SAINTLY KITSCH? After all, Frances Perkins was a serious woman who took her faith and her public service seriously.

Q: How many kitschy items could there possibly be for Secretary Perkins?

A: A fair few.colorme-perkins-page-001

First, to help children learn about heroes of history, there is the “Color Me Perkins” coloring sheet. You can download it here.

frances_perkins_mugTo help you start your day, there’s the Frances Perkins mug. Available for $12.95, it’s “the perfect gift for the coffee and tea drinkin' feminists in your life.”

frances-perkins--3-greeting-cardLet’s say you’ve put the finishing touches on the most influential legislation of the 21st century and would like to send it off with a friendly handwritten note to the Congressional leadership, you could not go wrong with a Frances Perkins notecard.

There is also a Frances Perkins cartoon by Michael 87-frances-perkinsMcLean at Mini Dove Comics and, for the more serious among us, a lovely poster.



But the mother-perkins-lode may be found on the Mount Holyoke College website where some good soul has gathered no fewer than 57 (57!) examples of First Day Covers (FDC) of the Frances Perkins postage stamp issued to commemorate her 100th birthday on April 10, 1980.

Having studied all 57, I can assure you that not all FDC art is created equal. Here are two of my favorites. The first makesPerkins10 her look like she’s playing Mel Gibson’s mother in “The Patriot,” and the second, besides being a little goofy, gets her birth year wrong.

To see them all, click here.

“But these commemorations are all secular!” some may say. “What do they have to do with serving God?”

Perkins57fWhen Frances Perkins said, “I came to Washington to serve God, FDR, and millions of forgotten, plain common workingmen,” she demonstrated by her life and work that there is no secular world. It all belongs to God.

-- Heidi Shott


Jonathan Daniels vs. Frances Perkins

  • Frances Perkins (57%, 2,523 Votes)
  • Jonathan Daniels (43%, 1,938 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,460

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