William Laud vs. Kamehameha

Ah, a battle between an Archbishop of Canterbury and a king. That seems rather familiar. But the real question is, which island will emerge victorious in this matchup between William Laud and Kamehameha? England or Hawaii? Whoever it is, the winner will advance to face David Oakerhater in the next round.

Yesterday's battle between Thecla and John Keble led to some respectfully passionate debate in the comment section. In fact, we set a record for most comments in a first round pairing with over 300. Impressive! In the end, Thecla prevailed 58% to 42% meaning we'll be hearing more about those ravenous seals in the Saintly Sixteen when she squares off against Brendan the Navigator.


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John Keble vs. Thecla

Today we experience something of a time warp, traveling from the 19th century back to the days of the early church. We encounter John Keble -- priest, poet, academic, and major player in the revival of the Church of England and Thecla -- companion of the apostle Paul and passionate pursuer of holiness.

In yesterday's saintly action, Juan Diego advanced to the Saintly Sixteen with a 57% to 43% victory over Hadewijch. He'll face the winner of Dorcas vs. Frederick Douglass. 

As an aside, we've been delighted to see the number of comments that come in throughout the 24 hours each matchup is open. They are a wonderful blend of thoughtful and gracious and educational and inspirational -- basically the opposite of nearly every other online forum!

And in case you missed yesterday's episode of Monday Madness, it included a verifiable miracle involving a corporeal Golden Halo. Not that Tim and Scott are angling to make it into the 2089 bracket or anything...


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Hadewijch vs. Juan Diego

As Lent Madness voting resumes for the week, we encounter Hadewijch and Juan Diego, two outsiders in their own unique ways. In case you're wondering about the pronunciation, Hadewijch rhymes with hate-a-witch (if you're either a Wiccan or from Salem, Massachusetts, please don't get offended). 

In the only Saturday match-up of Lent Madness 2015, Molly Brant sent Swithun back to the proverbial swamp 58% to 42%. Molly will face the winner of Bede vs. Cuthbert in the Saintly Sixteen.

 Yesterday, in case you missed it (and if you did, you should sign up on the home page to receive e-mails every time we post something), we shared some resources to supplement your Lenten journey. We've invited folks to add others in the comment section, not because we don't have all the answers but because we're lazy. So check out what we're calling "Lent beyond the Madness" and feel free to add to the list.


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Swithun vs. Molly Brant

"Wait, St. Swithun was a real person?" We get that a lot. "Wait, Molly Brant was a real person?" We never get that. Nonetheless, welcome to the first and only Saturday match-up of Lent Madness 2015. Go ahead, sleep late and dally over your coffee while you read about these two saintly souls. But don't get used to it: after today's battle, voting will return bright and early on Monday morning with Hadewijch facing off against Juan Diego.

In yesterday's action, David Oakerhater stunned Teresa of Avila in the first major upset of the season. In heavy voting (another day, another record total), David scored 60% of the vote to Teresa's 40% and will go on to face the winner of William Laud vs. King Kamehameha in the Saintly Sixteen.

Yes, folks, it's called Lent Madness for a reason. If your bracket is busted, you're not alone. But stick around -- the real goal is to learn about some amazing people, not to "win" Lent. Of course if you do stand victorious at the end of the season, you have every right to gloat. In a loving, Christian kind of way, of course. 

As long as you're enjoying a leisurely morning, why not listen to Tim chatting about all things Lent Madness from yesterday's edition of Boston Public Radio? Click here and then scroll to 1:28 of the broadcast to catch the only segment that really matters.


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Teresa of Avila vs. David Oakerhater

Today's match-up between Teresa of Avila and David Oakerhater is Lent Madness at its confounding best. A 16th century Spanish mystic vs. a 19th century Native American deacon. How can you possibly compare these saintly apples and oranges? Well, that's the challenge you're confronted with on this second day of Lent Madness 2015 and you may as well get used to it.

Don't forget, tomorrow is the one and only day there will be a Saturday Lent Madness battle. It's a math thing. So Molly Brant will face off against Swithun. In case you were wondering about the timing, these match-ups are always posted at 8:00 am EST and the polls are open for 24 hours.

Remember to vote only once. The SEC is vigilant about multiple voting (Scott used to work for IBM so he can zap votes if necessary and Tim, well, he has two teenage sons so he has at-home tech support). Voter fraud is a sin. Don't be cast into the outer darkness of Lent Madness where we guarantee there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth! And perhaps even public humiliation. If you will be casting multiple votes from a location because you're at a school or other institution, just let us know in advance. Also, you'll be glad to know that we keep Jimmy Carter on retainer to insure safe, honest, and open elections.

In yesterday's battle, Brendan navigated his way to a comfortable victory against Gregory the Illuminator 61% to 39% and will face the winner of John Keble vs. Thecla in the Round of the Saintly Sixteen. It was an historic day at Lent Madness as voting totals were at an all-time high with 7,800 votes cast. We also shattered the previous record for website page views in a single day with 38,000. So, in a fleeting moment of humility, we thank you all.

For an updated bracket and links to past rounds, click the Bracket 2015 tab on the Lent Madness homepage. Bracket Czar Adam Thomas updates it every day for your clicking pleasure.

Oh, and if you can't get enough of the Madness? Check out Scott's interview with Fr. Benjamin Gildas on the podcast Priest Pulse. And tune in to hear Tim talking about Lent Madness on Boston Public Radio today at 12:20 pm (Live radio! Could be a train wreck!).


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Gregory the Illuminator vs. Brendan the Navigator

And thus it all begins: Ash Thursday is finally upon us. Hang onto your halos as we start "navigating" the bracket and "illuminating" the lives of 32 saints throughout this Lenten season. All are worthy (yes, they have already received their respective crowns of glory) yet only one will attain the coveted Golden Halo.

Along the way there will be debates, ire, angst, rejoicing, and holy trash talking. Just remember, it’s all in the spirit of this season specifically set aside to grow closer to God through our relationship with Jesus Christ. On behalf of the entire Lent Madness team, we’re delighted you’ve decided to spend some of this holy season with us.

If this is your first year playing Lent Madness, welcome! You’re in for a fun, informative, engaging, occasionally wild, ride. (Looking for a how-to-vote primer? Click here). If you’re back for more heart-stopping saintly thrills, it’s good to see you!

After you vote, the Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness encourages you to do three things: First, like us on Facebook. Second, follow us on Twitter (if you just can’t get enough of the Madness, social media is the perfect way to continue the conversation). Finally, visit the Lentorium where you can purchase ebook versions of the Saintly Scorecard: The Definitive Guide to Lent Madness 2015 and other Lent Madness paraphernalia such as mugs, Bracket Posters, and Golden Halo Flying Discs. Perhaps you'd like to be among the first to wear a Purple Lent Madness T-Shirt, available starting today in small, medium, large, extra-large, and double-extra-large. You can play Lenty Claus by donning a purple hat and presenting Lenten gifts to your cat groomer, local barista, long-lost cousin, etc. -- they will be thrilled with such thoughtful and wholly unexpected gifts.

P.S. Here’s a Lent Madness “Pro Tip” — if you want to receive all the daily match-ups in your e-mail inbox, we encourage you to go to the home page and “subscribe” by entering your e-mail address (near the top right). This will ensure you never miss a vote!


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