Perkins Moves On to Final Round in Lent Madness

March 27, 2013

Can Frances Perkins win the Golden Halo in today's final round of Lent Madness? From now until 8 am ET Thursday, you can vote for Mount Holyoke's beloved alumna on the Lent Madness site.

After defeating Hilda of Whitby, Jonathan Daniels, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Damien of Molokai, Perkins now faces the daunting Luke the Evangelist. Do you or someone you love depend on Social Security? Are you grateful for a 40-hour work week and child labor laws? Show your gratitude for Perkins' many good works by voting for her today!

March 22, 2013

Frances Perkins has become the Cinderella of Lent Madness, defeating Jonathan Daniels by a wide margin on March 19 and moving to the Faithful Four. She will compete again on Monday, March 25, against Hilda of Whitby, a seventh-century abbess who played an important role in the conversion of England to Christianity. If she is successful in this contest, she will compete for the Golden Halo in the final round of Lent Madness on Wednesday, March 27. We hope you'll give her your support!

No one expected Mount Holyoke’s Frances Perkins to beat American civil rights hero Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Saintly Sixteen round of the Episcopal Church’s Lent Madness campaign – but that’s precisely what the former U.S. Secretary of Labor did on March 13.

Garnering 52 percent of the vote to King’s 48 percent (2,160 to 2,014 votes, respectively), Perkins now moves on to the Elate Eight round of the competition, where she will face off on Tuesday, March 19 against Jonathan Daniels, an Episcopal seminarian murdered in 1965 for his work in the U.S. civil rights movement.

Lent Madness is a lighthearted competition started in 2010 by an Episcopal priest from Hingham, Massachusetts, who wanted to combine his love of sports with his desire to stimulate interest in the lives of religious saints. Each weekday during Lent, visitors to the competition website can vote for one of two saintly nominees in a one-day match-up, beginning at 8 am ET and continuing until 8 am ET the following day. The winner of each 24-hour contest moves onto the next round until the last contestant standing wins the “Golden Halo.”

Perkins, class of 1902, has long been one of Mount Holyoke’s most beloved alumnae and role models. From her work in the wake of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, to becoming the first woman to hold as U.S. cabinet position, she has embodied Mary Lyon’s charge to "Go forward, attempt great things, accomplish great things" for generations of students.

"Frances Perkins was an extraordinary champion of social justice and an outstanding role model for women and girls," said MHC President Lynn Pasquerella. "The prestige of Mount Holyoke College is built upon the lives of our alumnae, and we are so very proud to have had Frances Perkins as a member of our community."

Although Perkins is now credited as the author of Social Security and New Deal programs, many Lent Madness voters commented that they had never heard of her until they saw her name on the ballot. Several said that was precisely why they voted for the Mount Holyoke alum; they want her – and her many accomplishments – to become better known to the American public.

“Voted for Frances, while admiring Martin. Sometimes it’s the folks out of the limelight, not in the history books, that need some public recognition for their accomplishments,” wrote one voter. “I was a youngster during the Civil Rights era, in college when Dr. King was assassinated; I never heard or read one word about Ms. Perkins. It’s time more people learned about her as well.”

In recommending Perkins to voters, Heidi Shott, the canon for communications and social justice in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, cited a quote from Adam Cohen, a former New York Times editorial writer and FDR historian.

Cohen wrote, “If American history textbooks accurately reflected the past, Frances Perkins would be recognized as one of the nation’s greatest heroes – as iconic as Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Paine. Like Franklin, Perkins was a brilliant self-creation…. Like Paine, Perkins helped to start a revolution…. The New Deal was Perkins’ revolution, and it did nothing less than create modern America.”

Perkins advanced to the Saintly Sixteen after beating out Damien of Molokai in round one on March 1 by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent. If she gets by Daniels in this round of voting, she’ll move on to the final four.

Said Shott, “Certainly Frances Perkins’s life and commitment to the common good has benefited millions and millions of people. She is a saint to get behind!”

If you'd like to see Frances Perkins 1902 win the Golden Halo and become better known to the American public, vote for her on March 19!