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.


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: Egeria vs. Thomas Ken

March 23, 2015 Comments Off on Lent Madness: Egeria vs. Thomas Ken

Lent Madness 2015 Bernard Mizeki won 52% over Jackson Kemper’s 48%  Lent Madness site.  On the St. Luke’s site, Brigid also won by 60% to Dionysius’s 40%. Bernard Mizeki also won on the St. Luke’s site 67% to 33%!

The next match up is Egeria vs. Thomas Ken.

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.


Egeria was a Spanish nun who traveled throughout the Holy Land and the Near East from 381-384 CE, recording what she saw and experienced. Her letters home provide the earliest record of Christian liturgy during Holy Week that we have.

It is, however, not only liturgy enthusiasts who are Egeria fans. Medieval scholars also appreciate her, because her writing is the oldest example of non-church Latin in existence, and provides us with exciting glimpses of how the language developed. Are you a fan of the word “the?” So was Egeria! She was one of the first writers to use it...Read more here.

thomas-ken-image-244x300Thomas Ken

Thomas Ken was a celebrated preacher, writer, and teacher. His works have endured through the years, though perhaps his most noted piece of writing is the doxology sung at so many parishes as gifts are being brought forward, “Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” This line, in so many ways, summarizes Ken’s focus in life and ministry.

He was focused on the source of true gifts and unswayed by blandishments, bribes, or intimidation. His abiding faith in the Triune God as the grounding of his life gave him a prophetic courage to speak truth no matter the cost to his career. Lord McCauley (an ecclesiastical opponent) said of Ken, “His character approaches, as near as human infirmity permits, to the ideal of perfection of Christian virtue.”...Read more here.

Lent Madness: Brendan the Navigator vs. Thecla

March 12, 2015 Comments Off on Lent Madness: Brendan the Navigator vs. Thecla

Lent Madness 2015

In the Barbie vs. Ken match up, Barbara was vanquished 33% to Thomas Ken’s 67%. on the Lent Madness site. Thomas Ken also won on the St. Luke’s blog site, but by a narrower margin 54% to 46%.

With Barbara sent home yesterday, today begins the Saintly Sixteen! Today’s first match up in the Saintly Sixteen is Brendan the Navigator vs. Thecla.

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-Brendan-2-247x300Brendan the Navigator

Brendan lived a long a full life in service to God. His courageous and adventurous spirit led him to the ends of the world. The many hagiographies written to honor him speak to the inspiration he provided to the faithful. Even the most fantastic stories give a glimpse of his extraordinary character.

As Brendan and his friends set out to sea he insisted that they follow Jesus’ command to the seventy that they bring no provisions, trusting that God would provide all their needs. He encouraged his fellow travelers, “Fear not, brothers, for our God will be to us a helper, a mariner, and a pilot; take the oars and helm, keep the sails set, and may God do unto us, his servants and his little vessel, as he wills.”….Read more here.


Thecla is among the earliest saints of the church, and is often referred to as “Equal-to-the-Apostles,” for the fervor of her witness to Jesus Christ and the power of her example.

While the story of her life as documented in the Acts of Paul and Thecla may raise a few eyebrows – with its scintillating accounts of Thecla twice making miraculous escapes from martyrdom, including a notable self-baptism by throwing herself into a pool filled with ravenous seals – Thecla’s life and ministry made an undeniable and well-documented impact on the early church.

The great Cappadocian Father Gregory of Nyssa hailed Thecla as an example of holiness and asceticism in one of his homilies, writing that “she undertook the sacrifice of herself, by giving death to the flesh and practicing great austerities, extinguishing in herself all earthly affections, so that nothing seemed to remain living in her but reason and spirit.”.Read more here.

Lent Madness: Barbara vs. Thomas Ken

March 11, 2015 § 2 Comments

Lent Madness 2015

Bernard Mizeki prevailed over Margaret of Antioch, the Lent Madness site, 57% to 43%, and on the St. Luke’s blog Margaret of Antioch killed it winning 62.5% over Bernard’s 37.5%.

Today’s match up is Barbara vs. Thomas Ken. Yes, that’s right…between Barbie and Ken!

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.


Barbara is one of the fourteen Auxiliary Saints. Her story is difficult to reconstruct due to inconsistencies and obvious embellishments. She maintains her place on the Roman Catholic and Anglican lists of saints.

Barbara was born in the third century in either Heliopolis in Syria (or possibly in modern-day Egypt) or Nicomedia in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) to a wealthy pagan family. After the death of Barbara’s mother, her father was worried for her safety so he built a large tower to protect her and her virginity.

A traveling physician introduced Barbara to Christianity during one of her father’s extended absences. She believed the message and was baptized. While her father was away, she hired workmen to construct a third window in her tower to represent the Trinity. She also used her finger to etch a cross upon the wall.….Read more here.

LMThomasKen-202x300Thomas Ken

Born in 1637 and ordained in 1661, Thomas Ken was a bishop, hymn writer, author, royal chaplain to Charles II of England, and one of seven bishops who (in 1688) opposed James II’s Declaration of Indulgence, which was designed to promote Roman Catholicism.

In 1663 Ken became rector of Little Easton, Essex, then rector of East Woodhay, Hampshire, and presbyter of Winchester in 1669. He published A Manual of Prayers foruse at Winchester College in 1674.

Perhaps no story sums up the moxie of Thomas Ken as Royal Chaplain more than an exchange he had with King Charles II.Read more here.

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