Lent Madness: For the Golden Halo: Francis of Assisi vs. Brigid of Kildare

April 1, 2015 Comments Off on Lent Madness: For the Golden Halo: Francis of Assisi vs. Brigid of Kildare

2014 Golden Halo Winner Charles Wesley prepares to welcome this year’s saintly champion.

2014 Golden Halo Winner Charles Wesley prepares to welcome this year’s saintly champion.

And then there were two… Brigid of Kildare beat out Egeria on Lent Madness site,  whereas on the St. Luke’s site, we chose Egeria!

But here we are. The last two standing looking to capture the Golden Halo. For the Golden Halo: Francis of Assisi vs. Brigid of Kildare.

Remember: vote at Lent Madness here AND ALSO below the saint bios here so we see how the readers of the St. Luke in the Fields blog compare! Results of this match up will be reported TOMORROW!

 

Stigmatization of St. Francis by Carducho

Stigmatization of St. Francis by Carducho

Francis of Assisi

Lord God, living and true.
You are love, charity.
You are wisdom; You are humility; You are patience;
You are beauty; You are meekness; You are security;
You are inner peace; You are joy; You are our hope and joy;
You are justice; You are moderation; You are all our riches;
You are our enough…
You are all our sweetness,
You are our eternal life:
Great and wonderful Lord,
God almighty, Merciful Saviour.
Amen.
From ‘Praises of God’ in a letter to Brother Leo

a4c92b4075b9e85131fdde01f35abef0-190x300Brigid of Kildare

I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us.
I would like an abundance of peace.
I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich treasures of mercy.
I would like cheerfulness to preside over all.
I would like Jesus to be present.
I would like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us.
I would like the friends of Heaven to be gathered around us from all parts.

Lent Madness: Brigid of Kildare vs. Egeria

March 31, 2015 Comments Off on Lent Madness: Brigid of Kildare vs. Egeria

Lent Madness 2015Francis trounced Molly Brant on Lent Madness site, running away with 71% of the vote. On the St. Luke’s site, Francis was the overwhelming winner, winning a whopping 91% of the vote.

This match up is Brigid of Kildare vs. Egeria. Winner of this will face off Francis of Assisi for a shot at the Golden Halo!

Remember: vote at Lent Madness here AND ALSO below the saint bios here so we see how the readers of the St. Luke in the Fields blog compare! Results of this match up will be reported the next day.

Bridget_Kildare2-240x300Brigid of Kildare

I fear I must trouble you with a story.

I was ordained to the diaconate on February 1. I learned that it was St. Brigid’s day when I was filling out the form for my ordination certificate, but I didn’t think much of this — merely that she sounded Irish or something, which might please my grandmother.

During the service, several things went awry. Not so badly as to spoil the day (it was glorious) but just as to be disorienting. So when it came time for the bishop to lay hands on our heads, I guess he was a mite flustered. He put his hands on my head (I came first, alphabetically), and said the prayer of ordination, ending with “By the power vested in me, I now ordain you a bishop….
no, wait….
a priest…..
no, wait….
Look, I’m just going to start all over again.”

Everyone got a good chuckle, and he took a breath and finally ordained me to the correct order of ministry. Thank the good Lord.

Afterwards, at the reception, my presenting priest commented to me that this was a really appropriate occurrence for Brigid’s day. I looked at her blankly, and she smiled, and told me to do some research.

Sure enough, I discovered that Brigid has much to commend her, even besides her penchant for microbrewing before it was popular. Her leadership, her wisdom, her generosity, her tenacity in what she knew was right (she marched across Ireland and back!) are rare and valuable indeed...Read more here.

egeria-2 (1)Egeria

Holy Week, as observed through liturgy, changes a person. From the shouting, singing frenzy of Palm Sunday, to the poignant movements of Maundy Thursday, and the descent into the darkness, to the bleak desolation of Good Friday, to the expectant waiting and watching of the Vigil, which finally explodes into sunlight and the joy of Easter. One week captures all human emotion and wraps it in prayer.

Jerusalem, too, changes a person. There is a saying you hear when you visit on pilgrimage: “Go to Jerusalem for a week, you write a novel. Stay for two — you cannot write even a sentence.” It’s a comment on the difficulties of conveying the depth of the experience, the complexities of people, the intensity of faith in this place. The heat of Jerusalem dries up your words.

Egeria, however, held onto her words. She not only held onto her words, she gifted us with words that would echo down the centuries and affect each and every one of us.

When she went on pilgrimage, she wasn’t content with a surface view of the things she saw. She asked questions, she took notes, she recorded everything, she sent her observations back home so everyone there could share her joy...Read more here.

Lent Madness: Francis of Assisi vs. Molly Brant

March 30, 2015 Comments Off on Lent Madness: Francis of Assisi vs. Molly Brant

Lent Madness 2015Egeria eeked out a win 51% over Frederick Douglass’s 49% on Lent Madness site. On the St. Luke’s site, Egeria was the overwhelming winner, winning 87% of the vote.

Here we are at the Faithful Four. This match up is Francis of Assisi vs. Molly Brant.

Remember: vote at Lent Madness here AND ALSO below the saint bios here so we see how the readers of the St. Luke in the Fields blog compare! Results of this match up will be reported the next day.

St.-Francis-with-the-animals-300x213Francis of Assisi

Our church garden is well-used holy space by all of God’s creation. One afternoon in October, members of our church gather with our companion animals and ask God’s blessing on these precious beings of God who share their lives with us.

Over the years, more and more neighbors of many faiths join us, and what began as a small gathering has grown into a lively and sacred time filled with the chorus of barks and meows. Our St. Francis statue, nestled in a corner of the church garden, stands in witness to this holy gathering, reminding us of the man who saw God fully visible in every aspect of holy Creation.

Francis, for his many gifts to the Christian faith, is likely most well-known as the namesake of the Blessing of Animals. I suspect Francis, who spent his life responding to the great generosity of God in all he encountered, would probably offer he was just stating the obvious: that God is present in all that surrounds and sustains us and of course we should offer thanks and prayers.

Francis’ most well-known prayer which he actually wrote, Canticle of Brother Sun, is a song to God who has so deeply entered creation that everything is connected in mystical union. Francis saw everything in creation related to one another and deserving of honor and love. The words remind us that no part of creation is too small or too great, too insignificant or too vast, to stand separate from each other. Brother Sun and Sister Moon are honored. Sister Water, Brother Fire, and Sister Mother Earth are all part of the unity of God. Even Sister Death, “from whom no living man can escape” is praised as part of God’s creative experience...Read more here.

mbrant-bio-portraitbMolly Brant

The first time I read Molly Brant’s history, I was immediately struck by her ability to navigate between two vastly different cultures and political systems. As one historian said, she was a “bridge between two worlds.” In the midst of our currently fractured political system, Brant’s life illustrates that there is another way — perhaps not a perfect way — but a means nonetheless of how people of differing cultural and political systems can strive to co-exist in times of uncertainty. Molly’s faithfulness to her Christian faith and her Mohawk family shaped her commitment to harmonious relations even amidst a war that sought to attain the allegiances of Native American tribes no matter the cost to tribal culture and way of life.

Naturally, many debates have circled around Molly’s Loyalist leanings. However, one must remember that history is often on the side of the winner. Were we to step into Molly’s shoes, our view and esteem of her might be a bit different.

Indeed, Molly’s life causes us to examine our own interpretations, leanings, and motivations and how they impact others.

Ultimately, Molly’s goal was to preserve the cultural vitality and independence...Read more here.

Lent Madness: Brigid of Kildare vs. Kamehameha

March 25, 2015 Comments Off on Lent Madness: Brigid of Kildare vs. Kamehameha

Lent Madness 2015Francis of Assisi is the first to make the Faithful Four, trouncing Thecla 71% to 29%  Lent Madness site. On the St. Luke’s site, we sent Thecla home too with only 33% of the vote.

The next match up is Brigid of Kildare vs. Kamehameha.

Remember: vote at Lent Madness here AND ALSO below the saint bios here so we see how the readers of the St. Luke in the Fields blog compare! Results of this match up will be reported the next day.

brigid-ceramic-200x300Brigid of Kildare

As a patron saint of both Ireland and beer, Brigid has much merchandise to her name. For starters, the depictions of Brigid one can procure are as numerous and as varied as the Irish diaspora.

Here’s one in ceramic tile work, in the style of the American Southwest (of course!) It is complete with a little flame above her head, and a butter churn for all her dairy-related miracles.

If you can’t find a commercially available depiction to suit your needs, there are online classes devoted exclusively to making your own Brigid-collage....Read more here.

StainedGlass2-130x300Kamehameha IV
Kamehameha IV may have reigned for less than a decade, and he may have died as a young man at only 29 years old, but over 100 years later, his legacy and lasting marks can be seen clearly. His imprint remains on the Hawaiian Islands, and images of him, often with his much-loved wife Queen Emma and their young son Prince Albert, are still prominently evident.

Kamehameha IV is credited with being foundational in introducing Anglicanism to the Hawaiian Islands, and one of his great accomplishments is that he translated the Book of Common Prayer into the local language. So it is fitting that, at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Honolulu, the church they were instrumental in
establishing, a stained glass window depicting him and his queen fills the pews with heavenly light....Read more here.

Lent Madness: Thecla vs. Francis of Assisi

March 24, 2015 Comments Off on Lent Madness: Thecla vs. Francis of Assisi

Lent Madness 2015 From the Lent Madness site: “Yesterday, Egeria defeated Thomas Ken 54% to 46% to nab the final spot.” On the St. Luke’s site, Egeria was also the clear  winner, running away with 75% of the votes.

The next match up is Thecla vs. Francis of Assisi. This is going to be a toughie today.

Remember: vote at Lent Madness here AND ALSO below the saint bios here so we see how the readers of the St. Luke in the Fields blog compare! Results of this match up will be reported the next day.

thecla-totebag-300x300Thecla

You may anticipate, Lent Madness reader, that Thecla – proclaimed as an “Equal-to-the-Apostles” and honored as a saint since the time of the early church – would be devoid of saintly kitsch. All hope would seem to be lost, especially when paired against Saint Francis, the saint whose face inspired a thousand birdbaths. With Thecla being most highly venerated in Eastern Christianity – a tradition not particularly known for turning its saints into garden gnomes – some kitsch would, it seem, be missing for Thecla in this round of Lent Madness.

But that, dear friends, is why Zazzle and Etsy exist. Truly, it seems, there is no member of the communion of saints beyond plastering on a tote bag. Thecla, revered for her own self-denial, may have travelled light, following in the footsteps of Saint Paul, but that won’t prevent her from helping you carry home your latest purchases from the supermarket in this sophisticated canvas tote bag...Read more here.

StFrancisGrottoBirdBath100GKC090Francis of Assisi
Faithful Lent Madness readers, Francis, whose life and ministry preached the Gospel both with and without words, gives us such a rich tapestry of love, faith, and adventures that the kitsch is most certainly strong with this one. Sure, he didn’t hang with someone named Paul in the New Testament, but his feast day ups most average Sunday attendance figures if clergy count the two and four-legged souls in church at the Blessing of the Animals.

After all, not every saint has the gravitas or the holy presence to be the final perfect touch for a garden. This particular birdbath captures Francis in the holy position of orans, blessing the water and birdseed for the very birds who set quite the high standard for a flock listening to a sermon. Squirrels, a lamb, a wolf, and bunnies listen in rapt attention. Bunnies. Bunnies loved this man!...Read more here.

Lent Madness: Brigid of Kildare vs. Dionysius the Great

March 19, 2015 Comments Off on Lent Madness: Brigid of Kildare vs. Dionysius the Great

Lent Madness 2015Francis of Assisi trounced Cecilia, winning 69% on the Lent Madness site. On the St. Luke’s site, Francis also won by 67%.

The next match up in the Saintly Sixteen is Brigid of Kildare vs. Dionysius the Great.

Remember: vote at Lent Madness here AND ALSO below the saint bios here so we see how the readers of the St. Luke in the Fields blog compare! Results of this match up will be reported the next day.

brigid-of-kildare-icon-211x300Brigid of Kildare

Brigid is the most-beloved Irish saint, alongside Patrick, in the hearts of the Irish people.

Known as Mary of the Gael, she is said to have miraculous powers over beer: both changing a bathtub full of water to beer to feed a starving family, and causing a single barrel of her monastery’s brew to last from Christmas straight through to Pentecost.

However, she didn’t limit her exploits to mass beer production — Brigid was a shrewd leader as well. Her double monastery was the first of its kind. When she went to the king, to request land to build her abbey, she explained that she had just the right spot picked out: it had trees, access to water, good for building, a lovely view, etc. The king flatly refused...Read more here.

dionysius-image-233x300Dionysius the Great

Dionysius the Great, as he would come to be called, was an agent of reconciliation in a time of heated dispute. As Bishop of Alexandria, the chief episcopal see in the third century, Dionysius saw his flock subjected to the horrors of the Decian persecutions and is remembered especially for his role in the question of how to treat those Christians who had lapsed during the persecutions.

Many fled Alexandria seeking safety, others went to their reward loyal to the faith, and yet others gave in to the pressures of the Roman Empire and apostatized. Dionysius himself was furious when he was not allowed to go to his martyrdom after he was kidnapped by supporters who could not bear to see him become a victimRead more here.

Lent Madness: Francis of Assisi vs. Cecilia

March 18, 2015 Comments Off on Lent Madness: Francis of Assisi vs. Cecilia

Lent Madness 2015Frederick Douglass won 60% to to Juan Diego’s 40% on the Lent Madness site. On the St. Luke’s site, Frederick Douglass won by an even better margin with 70% of the votes.

The next match up in the Saintly Sixteen is Francis of Assisi vs. Cecilia.

Remember: vote at Lent Madness here AND ALSO below the saint bios here so we see how the readers of the St. Luke in the Fields blog compare! Results of this match up will be reported the next day.

2-st-francis-of-assisi-randy-wollenmann-300x300Francis of Assisi

The Francis of ideas is often quite different from his actual life, ministry, and words. We envision him as a quiet man surrounded by animals who founded a gentle monastic order. In reality, Francis lived his life with a holy blend of rashness, mysticism, and devotion many modern Christians would call extreme.

G.K. Chesterton notes the Bishop of Assisi, when visiting the Order and seeing them without comforts, without possessions, eating anything they could get, and sleeping on the ground, was greatly disturbed. Francis met the Bishop’s concerns with a stunning in-your-face-ness (bishops were often called upon to support military engagements) by saying, ‘If we had any possessions, we should need weapons and laws to defend them.”…Read more here.

Orazio_Gentileschi_-_Saint_Cecilia_with_an_Angel-300x261Cecilia

Cecilia is the patron saint of singers, musicians, organists, and poets. While witnessing the deaths of her husband and brother-in-law, it is believed that she was singing praises to the Lord during her own martyrdom in Rome in 280 AD.

The songs that Cecilia sang while she was being martyred have been lost to the ages. However, the many poems and songs written and performed in her honor remain great contributions to the literary and music world, and are firmly planted in society’s juke box over the centuries.

Henry Purcell’s 1692 “Hail! Bright Cecilia,” also known as “Ode to St. Cecilia,” has a text by Nicholas Brady:

Hail! Bright Cecilia, Hail to thee!
 Great Patroness of Us and Harmony! 
Who, whilst among the Choir above
 Thou dost thy former Skill improve,
 With Rapture of Delight dost see
 Thy Favourite Art 
Make up a Part
 Of infinite Felicity.
 Hail! Bright Cecilia, Hail to thee!
 Great Patroness of Us and Harmony!

Equally famous is Georg Friedrich Händel’s “An Ode For St. Cecilia’s Day,” from 1739Read more here.

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