Tuesday, 7 April 2020

A leading figure in the work of England's return to Our Lady as her Dowry - Fr Ignatius Spencer

Did you know that Father Ignatius Spencer of Saint Paul was born as Hon. George Spencer, a son of the 2nd Earl Spencer and was a very important figure in Our Lady's plan for England, her Dowry?

 Father Ignatius converted from Anglicanism to the Roman Catholic Church and entered the Passionist Order in 1847. He was given his habit by the Italian priest and missionary to England Blessed Dominic Barberi who had a special calling from Our Lord for England and who received Saint John Henry Newman into the Catholic Church. Ignatius and Dominic were very good friends and Ignatius spent his life working for the conversion of England to the Catholic faith. He is an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her two sons, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and he played a vital role in Our Lady's plan for England, her Dowry.

 During a visit to France in 1838, Father Ignatius proposed a Crusade of Prayer for the Conversion of England to Hyacinthe-Louis de QuĂ©len, the Archbishop of Paris. Many of George's influential friends joined this campaign, and news of it spread throughout Britain and the Empire. In May 1839, he was appointed spiritual director to the seminarians at Oscott College and in the same month preached at St. Chad's, Manchester on 'The Great Importance of a Reunion Between the Catholics and the Protestants of England and the Method of Effecting It'. 

In January 1840, Fr Ignatius visited John Henry Newman at Oriel College, Oxford to ask Newman to join him in prayer for "unity in truth". Newman sent Spencer away and refused even to see him, but later apologised for this in his Apologia; 

 "This feeling led me into the excess of being very rude to that zealous and most charitable man, Mr. Spencer, when he came to Oxford in January, 1840, to get Anglicans to set about praying for Unity. I myself then, or soon after, drew up such prayers; it was one of the first thoughts which came upon me after my shock, but I was too much annoyed with the political action of the members of the Roman Church in England to wish to have anything to do with them personally. So glad in my heart was I to see him when he came to my rooms, whither Mr. Palmer of Magdalen brought him, that I could have laughed for joy; I think I did; but I was very rude to him, I would not meet him at dinner, and that, (though I did not say so,) because I considered him " in loco apostatx " from the Anglican Church, and I hereby beg his pardon for it." 

 Ignatius threw himself into Passionist life and after making his religious profession in 1848 began preaching sermons throughout Britain and Ireland, always calling for prayers for the conversion of England. After his death he was buried alongside Dominic Barberi and Elizabeth Prout in St. Anne's, Sutton, St. Helens on 4 October and now rests in the shrine church there. 

When his body was exhumed in 1973 it was noted that Father Ignatius suffered from horrific arthritis, but that his tongue had not suffered any decay since the day of his death. In March 2007, the Church announced that the first stage of Father Ignatius' cause for beatification had been completed and that all the necessary documents had been forwarded to Rome. 

 At 2016, the Servant of God Ignatius Spencer was standing for the second of the "four steps of the path to canonization as a saint in the Catholic Church", that are in the following sequence: Servant of God, Venerable, Blessed and Saint. The firsts step is competence of the local diocese, and the next two steps require the recognition by the Vatican's authorities of two different miracles, attributed to his intercession.  

For a fascinating history of this important Shrine church in England, visit:  

 Mary's Dowry productions is currently producing a film about Blessed Dominic of the Mother of God. 

Monday, 30 March 2020

Signboards, Taverns, Hotels and Ale Houses throughout England when it was the Dowry of Mary

Signboards throughout England when it was
the Dowry of Mary

Taverns, ale houses, public houses, hotels, shops and street signs - so many named after Our Lady or emblems of Our Lady such as 'The Salutation' or the 'Bleeding Heart', were a large feature of Catholic England when it was the Dowry of Mary.

A signboard in former times was not just confined to taverns. Each shop had its sign; and the choice of the sign might be an act of piety, just as the choice of a motto may indicate the bent of a man's mind at the present day.

The Blessed Virgin was unquestionably a very common sign before the Protestant Reformation in England. Our Lady of Pity was the sign of Johan Redman, a bookseller in Paternoster Row, in 1542 London. John Byddell, also a bookseller, had introduced this sign in the beginning of that century.

Few signs have undergone so many changes as the well known 'Salutation'.
Originally it represented the Archangel Gabriel saluting Our Lady, in which shape it was occasionally seen in the 17th and 18th centuries, as appears from the tavern-token of Daniel Grey of Holborn.

In the times of the Commonwealth however, the Puritans changed it to 'The Soldier and Citizen', and in such garb it continued long after , with this modification, that it was represented by two citizens politely bowing to each other.

The Salutation Tavern in Billingsgate shows it thus on its trade's token and so it was represented by the Salutation Tavern in Newgate Street (an engraving of which may still be seen in the parlour).

At present it is mostly rendered by two hands conjoined, as at the Salutation Hotel, Perth, where a label is added with the words, 'You are welcome to the city'.

The 'Angel' was derived from the Salutation, for that it originally represented the angel appearing to the Holy Virgin at the Salutation, or Annunciation, is evident from the fact that even as late as the 17th century, on nearly all the trades-tokens of houses with this sign, the angel is represented with a scroll in his hands; and this scroll, we know, from the evidence in paintings and prints to contain the words addressed by the angel to the Blessed Virgin Mary, 'Hail Mary, full of grace'.

Probably at the Reformation it was considered too Catholic a sign; and so the Holy Virgin was left out or removed and only the angel left.

From that period in England also dates the sign of the 'Bleeding Heart', the emblematical representation of the five sorrowful mysteries of the Holy Rosary, the heart of the Holy Virgin pierced with five swords. There is still an ale house of this name in Charles Street, Hatton garden, and Bleeding Heart Yard, adjoining the public house is immortalized in the novel Little Dorrit by Protestant English author Charles Dickens.

The 'Wounded Heart', one of the signs in Norwich in 1750, had the same meaning. The heart was a constant emblem of the Holy Virgin in the Middle Ages. Thus, on the clog almanacs all the feasts if St Mary were indicated by a heart, It was not an uncommon sign in former times.

At the Protestant Reformation, one of the main intentions was the obliteration of Our Lady from England, Her Dowry, yet many traces of the piety and devotion that made this little country known as the Island of Saints can still be seen.

For more information on England as the Dowry of Mary watch our film for FREE:

Saint Bega of Bees, a Saint of Solitude - England (Film Clip)


Saint Bega's love of solitude, her understanding of its fruits and her special love for Our Lady is relevant especially now. This delightful and inspiring Catholic Saint was born in Ireland.

When her father arranged a marriage for her she fled to England and lived a solitary life until she was forced to flee up to Northumbria where St Aidan suggested she join a community of nuns for her safety. She had a deep love of Our Lady and imitated her perfectly. 

She is most famous for founding the abbey convent of Bees which was a place of graces, Catholic Faith and several miracles until the Reformation. In this clip from Mary's Dowry Productions 2014 film, this relevant segment of her inspiring Catholic story looks at her love of solitude, her understanding of its fruits and shows us its relevance especially now. 

 Our full film about St Bega of Bees is available now on DVD and On Demand from Mary's Dowry Productions:



If we had faith the size of a mustard seed we would be able to move mountains. Saint Bega of Bees, an Irish princess, had such a faith that it bore fruit in the events of her life. When she was promised by her father in marriage to the son of the king of Norway, Saint Bega, a devout Catholic who had vowed herself completely to Our Lord, set in motion a plan to escape her father’s court at night and flee to England.

She arrived upon the shores of the Cumbrian coast and for some years lived life as a devout anchorite. Eventually, fearing raids from pirates on the coast, Saint Bega was guided to the court of King Saint Oswald in Northumbria where she met with Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne.

She was advised to enter a convent and received the veil from Saint Aidan. Saint Bega led a holy life of virtue and piety, courage and wisdom in a mission among the English people that saw her become one of the great Saints of England. Devotion to her was once widespread and popular but waned after and because of the Protestant Reformation.

She remains, however, a great intercessor and example of Catholic Truths and devotion especially for today. Learn about the inspiring journey and life of Saint Bega of Bees in this new DVD.

Our film production style has been internationally praised for not only presenting information, details and facts about Saint Bega of Bess but a prayerful and spiritual film experience.

Friday, 27 March 2020

The churches and chapels of England when it was the Dowry of Mary

The Churches of England when it was the
Dowry of Mary

At the Protestant Reformation, some of our churches in England changed their designation. That which is now called St. Saviour's, near London Bridge, was formerly St Mary Overies.

Innumerable churches were pulled down at the Reformation in England. But even to this day there are very few towns which do not have a St Mary's Church, the dedication, if not the fabric, dating from Catholic times.

This custom of dedicating churches to God in honour of Our Lady did not begin in England in the 12th century. It was as common among the Saxons as the Normans; and the Saxons themselves believed that they derived it from the Britons.

It is not necessary to engage in the controversy concerning the introduction of Christianity into England by St Joseph of Arimathea. Even though this be rejected by some, there remains the fact, proved by primitive traditions and by existing charters, that Glastonbury, before the Saxon invasion, there had been a church dedicated to Our Lady.

In 725. Ina, King of the West Saxons, writes concerning the church of the ever-virgin Mary as being the first in the kingdom of Britain, and the foundation of all the Christianity of the island.

Our Lady's abbey of Glastonbury took the precedence of all others, until in the 12th century this was given to St Alban's. It remained famous until the Reformation, when its last saintly abbot Richard Whiting, who had refused to surrender to King Henry VIII at the Reformation, was barbarously hung without trial.

A century before Ina rebuilt Our Lady's church at Glastonbury, St Augustine, England's Apostle (AD 607) built a church in honour of the ever-virgin Mary at Ely. This church, having been destroyed by Penda, was rebuilt and rededicated to Our Lady by St Etheldreda about fifty years later and became famous for miracles.

St Lawrence, Archbishop of Canterbury (Catholic at that time) companion and successor of St Augustine, built a church of the Holy Mother of God in the monastery of St Peter's at Canterbury. St Bede tells us how St Cedd, Bishop of London, who died in 664, was buried in the stone church of the monastery of Lestringham, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.

Many more examples in history show us the special devotion to Our Lady learnt by the Anglo-Saxons from their first Christian teachers. We find also from St Aldhelm, who wrote in the 7th century, that these churches were farther intended to recall some special mystery of Our Lady. Thus the festival of the magnificent church built by the Saxon Princess Bugge was Our Lady's Nativity.

In the 12th century arose the orders of Citeaux and of Sempringham, both of which it was a rule that all their churches should be dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. In course of time there was scarcely a town in England without its church of St Mary, and in large cities were two or three or even more.

From Arnold's Chronicle, written about the year 1500, we learn that there were then in London 118 parish churches besides 36 non-parochial. The churches named after Our Lady are 18, perhaps more, for he does not give the titles of some of the churches of the regulars. They were dedicated in honour of the Assumption, of the Salutation, of Our Lady of Bethlehem, of Grace, of Pity etc...but were popularly called from some object in the neighbourhood:

Mary Wool-church
Mary Avery, or Overies
and the rest.

- Our Lady's Dowry, or how England gained and lost that title by T E Bridgett

At the Protestant Reformation, one of the most targeted attacks was upon Our Lady. Statues were smashed, churches destroyed, the carrying of rosary beads forbidden. It seemed that Satan was determined to cast Our Lady out of Her Dowry of England.

Learn the history of England as the Dowry of Mary through film:

The chapels on bridges in England, Mary's Dowry

Chapels on Bridges in England, Mary's Dowry

Did you know that Catholic chapels mostly dedicated to Our Lady, built on or beside bridges throughout England, was a common and devotional practice and way of life in England when it was Catholic?

Very many chapels built in England were constructed on or at the sides of bridges, so that on entering or leaving a town it was the custom to pause in prayer in these little sanctuaries. This was a popular custom throughout England while it was dedicated to Our Lady as her Dowry.

In most of these chapels beside bridges, Masses were said at a very early hour, especially for the benefit of travelers. The chapel on London bridge, dedicated to St Thomas, is one such famous bridge chapel.

Such chapels were erected on bridges in York, Sheffield, Lincoln, Leeds, Wakefield, Durham, Rochester, Salisbury, Rotherham, Droitwich, Bradford, Derby, and other places.

The present Ive Bridge in Bradford may have been originally called 'Ave Bridge', and derived its name from the custom of saluting some statue of the Blessed Virgin, though the chapel itself was dedicated to St Osith or Sitha.

A chapel dedicated to St Mary the Virgin was built together with the bridge at Leeds in 1376. It stood at the North-east end. At the dissolution of the chantries under King Edward VI it was made into a school, and subsequently a warehouse.

Ancient histories tell us that it was often monks and priests who built the bridges in England, or how the exhorted the rich to this good work.

"The bridge at Beford-upon-Turege is a very notable work and has twenty four arches of stone. A poor priest began this bridge, and it is said he was animated to do so by a vision. Then all the country about set their hands unto the performing of it. There stands a fair chapel of Our Lady at the very end of it." - Leland's Itinerary.

In his History of Wiltshire, Sir Richard Hoare gives a very detailed account of the bridge and chapel built over the Avon at Salisbury. Mass was said at dawn every morning. To the chapel a hospital for old people was attached.

The source of revenue by which bridges and chapels and hospitals were maintained was entirely cut off by the Reformation. The very altar stones were taken from the chapels and placed on the bridges to be trodden under the feet of men and cattle. After this, barriers had to be substituted on our bridges in England in the place of open chapels, and forced tolls instead of voluntary offerings.

Learn the history of England: The Dowry of Mary through film:

Thursday, 26 March 2020

England:The Dowry of Mary FULL FILM

A spiritual re-dedication of England to the Dowry of Mary has been organised by a lady linked to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, to help promote this important Marian Shrine and ancient title for the whole of England, and will take place on Sunday 29th March 2020 at noon.

Everyone is invited to dedicate themselves and England to the Most Holy Mother of God with the traditional event in mind, united to the kings of old who dedicated England to the Mother of God as her Dowry in more formal occasions. This is a time of grace for England.

Mary's Dowry Productions was founded in 2007 to promote this beautiful title especially through the lives of the English Martyrs, British Saints, Catholic history and more.
We have produced a 1 hour 16 minute film explaining the history and meaning of this title which is helpful for people discovering it for the first time.

Our film 'England: The Dowry of Mary', which has been ten years in the making, is now available to watch FOR FREE on Mary's Dowry YouTube channel. We invite you to watch it full a full explanation of the history of this title, England's relationship with Our Lady and its importance today.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Saint Ralph Sherwin, English Martyr - missionary in Our Lady's Dowry - FILMING DAY 1


This year Mary's Dowry Productions will be producing several more films about the English and Welsh martyrs, mainly from the group canonized as The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales in 1970 by Pope Saint Paul VI.

Saint Ralph Sherwin was thirty one when he was executed for being a Catholic priest in England, for refusing to acknowledge the Queen of England as the head of the Church, for remaining loyal to the Pope, for celebrating the outlawed Mass and for spreading the Faith throughout England during Penal Times.

This Saturday (7th March 2020) we recreated some specific scenes from the life and mission of Saint Ralph Sherwin so as to make him more accessible and real as an important Saint for England, especially as we draw close to the re-dedication of England to Our Lady as her Dowry at the end of the month of March 2020.

Saint Ralph Sherwin (right) and John Paschal (left) in prison

Saint Ralph Sherwin left England after a highly successful career in Exeter College, Oxford (where he met Saint Edmund Campion, the priest he would be executed with in 1581) so as to become a Catholic priest, despite a promising career in the world. He had also met John Paschal in Exeter college, the young man and Ralph's very dear friend who would accompany Saint Ralph and a group of priests and another layman back into England from the English college in Rome.

Saint Ralph Sherwin at prayer
Saint Ralph was raised a Protestant but converted during his Oxford days. His uncle was a Marian priest loyal to the Catholic Faith. Saint Ralph was deeply devout and very fervent. He heard within his soul the call of Christ to become a priest. He was ordained and immediately yearned to be sent on the English Mission where many priests were heading back into his homeland. It was dangerous territory with the Catholic Faith now outlawed in a country that had been dedicated to Our Lady as her Dowry and had been known as the island of Saints.

In Queen Elizabeth’s England it was illegal to be a Catholic priest. The Mass was outlawed and lighting devotional candles, carrying Agnes Dei’s or rosary beads, sheltering a priest or refusing to attend the state services became punishable by fines, imprisonment, torture and often death.

Paschal and Saint Ralph Sherwin
Saint Ralph and John Paschal were reunited in Rome and chosen to go back to England. In order not to be spotted they were required to dress up as as dashing young secular Frenchmen which annoyed Ralph but greatly amused Paschal. Their names were already on a list of wanted men before they even arrived back in England, but they managed to enter the country and set about visiting Catholics so as to bring the outlawed Sacraments to the persecuted faithful.

Hearing confessions in the homes of recusants
After three months eluding the priest hunters, Saint Ralph Sherwin was captured. He was dragged to the infamous Tower of London, questioned, threatened and tortured, promised riches and titles if he denied the Catholic Faith and was soon joined by Paschal who was bold and made fine, brave speeches which Saint Ralph warned him about saying that they would be put to a cruel test.

Saint Ralph Sherwin and John Paschal in prison
The two men remained in dire circumstances in the prisons but prayed together and encouraged one another.

John Paschal was eventually dragged away and tortured. Unfortunately he was unable to bear the pains and threats. He renounced the Catholic Faith and took the Protestant oath much to Saint Ralph Sherwin's dismay.

Paschal is taken to the rack

John Paschal renounces the Catholic Faith under torture
 Years later, Paschal would repent of his apostasy and be reconciled to the Catholic Church. He spent the rest of his life as a much persecuted recusant Catholic. But when Saint Ralph was told the news that John Paschal had apostatized he felt a terrible grief. The Protestants scorned Paschal, calling him weak and the young man was ill received by them once he had relented under their cruel persecutions. Saint Ralph would often say of Paschal, mournfully, "O John, John, little do you know what you shall do before you come to it."

John Paschal is reunited to the Catholic Church

John Paschal became a much persecuted recusant Catholic in England

Saint Ralph Sherwin remained firm under the most refined cruelties. He was almost torn apart from the racking, threatened, beaten and relentlessly questioned as the government tried to break the priest's resolution, Faith and spirit.

Saint Ralph endures threats and beatings in prison

Saint Ralph in the snow
The priest was placed out in the snow where he almost froze to death in agony, but he remained firm in the Faith and endured the relentless attempts of the Protestant authorities to crush him. His resolution in the Faith earned him much admiration, even from the gaoler who called him a man of God and the best and devoutest priest he ever saw in his life.

After a sham trial Saint Ralph Sherwin was condemned to death for his priesthood on a trumped up charge of conspiracy which no one believed, least of all Queen Elizabeth herself. He was to die with Saint Edmund Campion and Saint Alexander Briant, two fellow priests, at the triple Tyburn gallows on December 1st 1571.

Saint Ralph Sherwin kisses the executioners hands
It was snowing and bitterly cold but great crowds gathered to see the three heroic young Catholic priests die for the outlawed Faith. Saint Edmund Campion was first and after he had been butchered, Saint Ralph kissed the executioner's bloodied hands.

Saint Ralph Sherwin's last speech.

Saint Ralph gave a moving and inspiring speech as he stood beneath the gallows, even though his enemies yelled 'traitor'. He replied "If to be a Catholic only is to be a traitor then I am a traitor!"

His last words were: Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, esto mihi Jesus! (be to me a Saviour).

We shall be filming additional scenes for our DVD about Saint Ralph Sherwin this month out and about to show this priest's travels and his life on the run.

He is a very important Saint for England especially now as our country is historically re-dedicated to Our Lady once more as her Dowry.

Saint Ralph Sherwin, pray for us!

Mary's Dowry Productions was founded in 2007, named after an ancient title of England in honour of Our Lady, to share the lives of the Saints and Martyrs through film.

For films about the English Martyrs:

Thursday, 5 March 2020

The Blood of the Martyrs in England the Dowry of Mary


A group known as the 85 Martyrs were beatified in Rome in November 1987 by Pope Saint John Paul II. They provide a powerful witness to the defense of the Faith during the Reformation and an inspiration for us today.

But what is meant by the Reformation?

From the 14th century onward there were various groups of people opposed to the doctrine and power of the Catholic Church. The most notable of these were the Lollards who believed in the SOLE authority of Scripture in religion and denounced the worldliness of the clergy, They influenced the development of Protestantism on the continent.

In England the Reformation came from the above. Although King Henry VIII was keen to keep the Lutheran ideas out of England he became increasingly autocratic and defiant of the Papacy. When Pope Clement VII refused to recognize the nullity of his first marriage to Queen Catherine of Aragon and threatened to excommunicate King Henry in 1533 if he did not dismiss Anne Boleyn whom he had secretly married, the King of England made moves to break with Rome. Laws were passed in 1534 giving the king of England the right to nominate bishops, culminating in the Act of Supremacy.

This Act declared King Henry VIII the Supreme Head of the Church in England. Under the Act of Succession, all officials and clergymen had to take an oath saying that Anne Boleyn's children had right of succession. Under the Treason Act, anybody questioning or refusing to accept the new Royal title was guilty of High Treason.

It was a result of these laws that the first martyrs died in England. Among them were St John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, and St Thomas More, the former Lord Chancellor, both executed in 1535.

As things progressed the Mass was gradually outlawed, it was illegal to be a Catholic priest in England, hundreds of men, women, monks and priests were executed by law and the beautiful shrines and statues, images and devotions to Our Lady, for which England was renowned, were destroyed, smashed and, as in the case of the Saxon statue of Our Lady of Walsingham, was dragged to Chelsea and burned.

King Henry VIII wanted control of the extensive monastery lands and had a law passed in 1536 suppressing nearly 300 monasteries and confiscating their property. It was not until the reign of Edward VI that any great changes in Church practice occurred.

Gradually the Mass was abolished and a new Liturgy was intruded in the Prayer Book of 1552. Under Queen Mary I, the Reformation went in reverse as the country tried to recover and return laws, properties and churches, union with the Universal Church and the Mass, statues, shrines and devotions to the people. Persistent leaders against the Catholic Faith such as Thomas Cramner were executed under the heresy laws that had been in place for centuries (remember that Queen Elizabeth I would burn Anabaptists etc...during her reign under the same laws).

When the Protestants came back to power they gave Queen Mary I the infamous sobriquet 'Bloody Mary' which lasts in history to this day. Almost 200 priests and lay people were put to death in Queen Elizabeth's reign alone, including many of our famous English Martyrs.

In 1886, Pope Leo XIII (who had a special love for England) declared 318 English and Welsh Catholics to have been true Martyrs for the Faith. Of these, 157 have been beatified and another 42 canonized. Another 85 were numbered among the Blessed in 1987 and are wonderful intercessors for the faithful Britain today.

Get to know the Martyrs of England and Wales through DVD from Mary's Dowry Productions:


Saturday, 29 February 2020

Prayer for England by Pope Leo XIII

As we draw close to the re-dedication of England to Our Lady as her Dowry, let us pray the prayer for England composed by Pope Leo XIII - our parish of the English Martyrs, Worthing, West Sussex has prayed this prayer together every week for over 50 years at Holy Hour and Benediction:

 "O blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England thy "owry and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee. By thee it was that Jesus our Saviour and our hope was given unto the world; and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more. Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the Cross, O sorrowful Mother. Intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold they may be united to the supreme Shepherd, the Vicar of thy Son. Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with thee, in our heavenly home. Amen."

Here is a photo of one of the paintings in our Beatification booklet of 85 Martyrs for Britain in 1987. We were privileged to be able to attend this beatification - Saints and Martyrs of the British Isles pray for us!: 

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

A Prophecy Fulfilled

A Prophecy Fulfilled

Here is a NEW film clip from Saint Claude de la Colombiere DVD from Mary's Dowry Productions. In this opening clip we see England's spiritual need in the wake of the Reformation and how Jesus chose the spiritual director of Saint Margaret Mary to take the Sacred Heart devotion to England.

FULL FILM available worldwide on DVD:

Saint Claude de la Colombiere and the Sacred Heart in England: 

As we prepare for the spiritual re-dedication of England to Our Lady as her Dowry, we look at many of the Saints who were called by Our Lord and Our Lady to bring the Truth to this land which was once known as The Island of Saints and the Dowry of Mary.

It was saint Margaret Mary’s confessor, saint Claude de la Colombiere, who was specifically chosen by Jesus to take the devotion of the sacred heart direct from Paray-le-Monial to England in 1678. Saint Claude was a French Jesuit priest, confessor to saint Margaret Mary and advisor to the saint as she received the great revelations of the sacred heart of Jesus for the world.

Providence sent saint Claude to St James’ palace in London to be preacher to the Duchess of York, Mary of Modena, the devout Catholic wife of the heir to the English throne, James II, who himself had converted to Catholicism.

When the infamous ‘Titus Oates’ plot broke out and a fresh wave of persecutions struck the recusant Catholics and Catholic priests of England, saint Claude met secretly with future English martyr saint John Wall and confided his admiration for the sacrifices priests were offering in the ‘land of crosses’. St Claude declared he would willingly give his life for the Catholic Faith in England but was exiled after having completed his task of giving the spark of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus among the faithful English. In this film we look at the life and mission of St. Claude, England and the Titus Oates plot as well as the first shrine to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in England, linked to Blessed John Henry Newman. 

Length and Format: This film runs for 35 minutes and is available worldwide on Region Free DVD format.

MORE news about upcoming films soon!

Sorting out the 'Film Prop Garage', Mary's Dowry Productions

Sorting out the film prop garage

This week we paid a visit to a friend's garage. He stores the props for Mary's Dowry Productions because we don't have a garage ourselves. It's very kind of him because it means we can keep backdrops and numerous furniture and boxes of props we use when we have filming days.

The last filming day we had was in March 2018. Since 2008 we have incorporated filming key moments from the lives of the Saints and Martyrs in specific backdrops in the 18th century barn attached to our parish church of the English Martyrs near Worthing.

This means that friends and parishioners don a costume and portray a Saint for us, and they do a wonderful job. Because we have a mixed media style of production, we combine sacred art, film footage, narration and music to present the life of a Saint in film. This means that we can film all day without worrying about sound, we don't use the sounds. This is a good thing because the barn is close to a busy road and the day is peppered with ambulance sirens and motorbike engines - not at all fitting for an Elizabethan Era!

The consensus is to keep the cobwebs that have accumulated on the props. So that will be a fun filming day. We shall be using various items in the sets we shall be dressing in March for three new films about 3 of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales.

This March we have planned (and are still planning) a filming day in the barn to acquire scenes from the lives of Saint Ralph Sherwin, Saint John Kemble and Saint David Lewis. We will also be heading off into the Sussex hills on a separate day to acquire film of our missionary Martyrs travelling.

We are excited to be able to make available through film media a biographical and spiritual look at the life of each of these Martyrs. More updates soon!

Full listing of Catholic films from Mary's Dowry Productions available here:

Thursday, 13 February 2020

In the wake of the Catholic Emancipation Act

This week we have been finishing the narration for our film about Blessed Dominic of the Mother of God who is known as an Apostle of England and The Shepherd of the Second Spring.

God had been guiding the British people towards passing the great Catholic Emancipation Act that would reduce or remove many of the restrictions placed upon Roman Catholics in Great Britain and Ireland introduced by the Act of Uniformity, the Test Acts and the penal laws.
Catholics had been required to renounce the temporal and spiritual authority of the pope and Transubstantiation, particularly if they wished to serve in public office. The penal laws had started to be dismantled in the year 1766. The Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829 finally removed by law the most substantial restrictions on Roman Catholicism in the United Kingdom.

For 23 years, Blessed Dominic of the Mother of God prepared to come to England, suffering and praying in anticipation for the fulfillment of his calling to the Dowry of Mary.
His heart was consumed with desire for the conversion of England and Our Lady had an important role for her little Italian Passionist son.

When he learned of the Catholic Emancipation Act, Blessed Dominic wrote: 

"O quam bonus Israel Deus! O quam bonus, O quam bonus Israel Deus! O quam bonus! O quam bonus? O Lord, other words can I not say! O how good thou art, O my God! “Merita supplicum excedis et vota:”

Yes O Lord, for thou hast infinitely exceeded the merits of him that offered his supplications unto thee! often and often have I prayed to thee for my beloved England, and now when I least expected it, I have heard the joyful news, which I so much desired, of the Emancipation of the Catholics of that Kingdom. “Merita upplicantisexedisti.”

 But why do I speak of merits? What merits could I have, excepting such as would cast me into Hell? Not for my deserts; O Lord, but for thy own infinite mercy hast thou wrought this work. Not as yet, however, hast thou accomplished all my desires. No, my God, too much still remains to be done. My object was not merely to witness the Emancipation of the Catholics of England alone, but the return of the entire kingdom to the bosom of the Catholic Church. 

This then now remains for thee to accomplish, and this thou wilt perform, not for my merits but for the infinite merits of thy divine son Jesus Christ. My heart, O Lord, will never rest content, until I behold that which I desire. Thou hast begun the good work, and do thou vouchsafe to finish and perfect it, through thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever liveth and reigneth one God world without end. Amen."

Mary's Dowry Productions film about Blessed Dominic Barberi and the Dowry of Mary will be released soon.

Monday, 3 February 2020

High Stakes for Souls (Film Trailer) Saint Alban Roe

NEW Catholic Film Trailer:

Mary's Dowry Productions new film trailer about one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales can now be watched here:

HIGH STAKES is a NEW Catholic film from Mary's Dowry Productions UK about Saint Alban Roe, an English Martyr, who had a high-rolling strategy for souls in England when the Catholic Faith was outlawed. Available from Mary's Dowry Productions on DVD and Instant Digital Download! 

 Saint Alban Roe was a convert to the Catholic Faith during Penal Times in England. Despite being expelled from seminary and getting into trouble with his fiery temper and often blunt wit, this pious and truly devout Englishman joined the Benedictines and returned to England as an outlawed Catholic priest to minister to the persecuted Catholics.

He was hunted and eventually arrested where he quickly learned the Fleet prison system that allowed him to walk the London streets by day, ministering the Sacraments, playing cards with prayers for ‘stakes’ and winning many converts.

This cheerful and often reckless soldier for Christ was eventually martyred for the Catholic Faith in England and is one of the celebrated 40 martyrs of England and Wales. Learn his inspiring story in this new Catholic film from Mary’s Dowry Productions.

Alban Roe was one of three Benedictine monks put to death for their faith between 1641 and 1646 under the ‘long, persecuting Parliament'. All of them are recorded by their contemporaries as notable not only for the zeal of their labours on the English Mission but also for their extreme cheerfulness.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Film prop hunting in Arundel, West Sussex for Mary's Dowry Productions


Part of the work of Mary's Dowry Productions is planning the visuals needed when presenting the lives of the English Martyrs in film. With very few images of the English Martyrs available in painting or engraving form, (often none), our film production apostolate developed the mission of recreating key moments from the lives of the Saints and English Martyrs for an original film presentation of them.

Over the past 13 years we have spent many a Saturday in THE BARN attached to our local Catholic Church 'English Martyrs' in Goring-by-Sea, filming on sets with a variety of props.

In January, two of the Mary's Dowry Productions team (founders Bernadette and Emily) headed over to our local historic town of Arundel for a rummage about the antique shops looking for some new and interesting props to dress several sets we will be filming on in March this year.

Arundel is where Mary's Dowry Productions began in 2007 with the inspiration to produce a film about the life of English Martyr Saint Philip Howard whose castle is shown above (renovated and extended in the 19th and 20th centuries) and whose Shrine is located in Arundel Cathedral.

Emily ran the secondhand bookshop in Arundel for almost 10 years (2003-2012) so the first port of call was in the antique shop next door to the bookshop. (If you like to read, Emily pens novels based upon her years of book-selling which are available on our website in paperback and from AMAZON on Kindle Unlimited, Kindle and paperback worldwide - all proceeds go towards producing the films of Mary's Dowry Productions) : BOOK LINK UK

A delightful surprise was to stumble upon this original modern oil painting of Saint Philip Howard hanging on a wall on the 4th floor of the antique shop. Sadly we don't have any room for it but for any Saint Philip Howard fans this is a beautiful work of art priced at £85 if you are in the town!

After a good rummage and discussion six NEW old items were purchased for March's filming day.

These are:

An antique screen
A Falstaff jug (see below)
Two wooden plaques
A welsh tea party ornament
Three very old looking bottles of wine (wine present!)
A small tapestry of The Last Supper

We look forward to placing them in our sets! 

Perhaps one day we will have a use for these...

This March we will be producing three more films about three more Martyrs for the group 'The 40 Martyrs of England and Wales':

Saint Ralph Sherwin
Saint John Kemble
Saint David Lewis.

More news soon! Head over to Mary's Dowry Productions YouTube channel for new film clips and trailers added regularly.