Lenten Reflection: A Peek Behind the Purple Curtain of Lent Madness

March 3, 2015 § 2 Comments

TES-headshotPeople often ask me, “How do you choose the saints for Lent Madness?” It’s a good question – one that I’ve wrestled with since starting this “madness” on a whim in 2010.

I’d love to tell you that it’s entirely the work of the Holy Spirit and not just my trusty Ouija Board. Actually the process has evolved a bit over time. The first couple of years, back when I hosted it on my blog, I really did just go through Lesser Feasts and Fasts and pick 32 saints with good stories I thought people should know about.

In 2012 when I decided to partner with my online archnemesis, Scott Gunn, the executive director of Forward Movement, we collaborated and tried to be a bit more intentional about the choices. We always seek a diverse group of saints Biblical and modern, ecclesiastical and monastic, famous and obscure and I think we’ve done a pretty good job over the years.


For the last couple of brackets, we’ve solicited nominations from the general Lent Madness public sometime during Eastertide. I wouldn’t call it a “democratic” process since Scott and I still make up the (mostly benign) dictatorship that is the Supreme Executive Committee and have the final say. But each year a number of nominated saints do make it into the bracket.

Being into our sixth year, people also wonder if saints are ever eligible to make a return appearance. You know, if they were prematurely “martyred” in the early rounds. The answer is yes and no. Saints who went deep into the tournament the last few years are ineligible and previous Golden Halo winners are permanently retired from the competition. The whole idea is to give other saints a chance at Lenten glory (not that they need it) while allowing participants to learn about a whole new crop of saints.

So there you go. For the first time, the process of saintly selection has been fully revealed. Now go vote!

– The Rev. Tim Schenck

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§ 2 Responses to Lenten Reflection: A Peek Behind the Purple Curtain of Lent Madness

  • teddeacon says:

    In future, please be sure to include at least one Deacon Saint. This year it is David Pendleton Okerhater, who won in the first round. Go David!! Second round may be a tough battle against Kamehameha!

  • Jen Tarling says:

    Thanks for the explanation; I had been wondering how the saints are chosen. One observation: It appears that often the female contestants are credited with standing up to male domination, torture, and ultimately death; whereas many of the male saints DID things, accomplished things beyond refusing to be stifled. I realize this is the a reflection of the times in which these folks lived; and it is often difficult for me to choose between the value of these two types of contribution to our faith. Just sayin’.

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