Tuesday, 6 December 2016

FAITH AND WORKS, Saint John Almond, Tyburn Martyr, today's reading, 6th December

Filming for the Martyrs © 2010
DVDs of the English Martyrs - Mary's Dowry Productions
AT the scaffold one of the preachers had urged that the Catholic Church taught that good works justified our faith. Saint John Almond answered that faith and good works justified together. The minister said that faith alone justified. Saint John Almond asked what faith an infant could have before he had the use of reason? The minister left that question and talked of something else.
Saint John Almond, kneeling down, begged God's Mercy, not doubting that, many as his sins were, Christ by His Death and the shedding of His Blood would remit and forgive them, and that He would now accept his willingness to shed his blood for His Glory.
English Martyr Saint Polydore Plasden
Executed at Tyburn © 2010 Mary's Dowry Productions

"What," exclaimed a minister, "can you match and compare Christ's blood-shedding with yours? Cannot Christ by Himself work your salvation?"
"You mistake me," replied the martyr; "my sins deserve Christ's wrath and punishment. It is His death alone, and the shedding of His Blood alone, that is not only efficient but also sufficient to save us all. I have not much more to say, one hour overtaketh another, and though never so long at last cometh death; and yet not death, for death is the gate of life to us, whereby we enter into everlasting blessedness; life is death to those who do not provide for death, for they are ever tossed and troubled with vexations, miseries and wickedness, but to use this life well is the pathway, through death, to everlasting life."
"Faith without works is dead." - James 2, 26
Reading for 6th December
Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales
For films of the Saints and English Martyrs:

BLOOD FOR BLOOD, St. John Almond, Secular priest, Tyburn gallows, London, December 5th 1612

Screenshot © 2008 Mary's Dowry Productions
'Saint Edmund Campion - Jesuit Martyr'

ON the scaffold, Saint John Almond emptied his pockets of money and other things, which he threw among the crowd, except for a gold piece which he gave to the hangman, "not to spare him, but to treat him as he should". He had come hither, Saint John Almond said, to shed his blood for our Saviour's sake, Who had shed His Blood for his sins. In which respect he wished that every drop that he would shed might be a thousand; that he might have St Lawrence's gridiron to be broiled on, St Peter's cross to be hanged on, St Stephen's stones to be stoned with, to be ripped, ripped, ripped and ripped again! Then he kneeled down, and often repeating "Into Thy hands O Lord I commend my spirit", he waited till the hangman was ready without any sign of fear.
The hangman and the Martyr's heart
© 2010 St. Edmund Gennings DVD
Ever smiling, Saint John Almond protested that he died CHASTE, not through his own ability or worthiness but by Christ's special GRACE - this for the benefit of a doctor of divinity who was present and had declared the thing impossible. At last the cart was drawn away, and with the words "Jesu, Jesus," Saint John Almond's soul went to Him for Whom he shed his blood, at Tyburn on 5th December 1612.
"Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people by His own Blood, suffered without the gate."
- Heb. 13, 12.
Reading from
The Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales
5th December
Our original films on the lives of the English Martyrs are available on DVD from our online shops:

Sunday, 4 December 2016

KEEPER OF THE VINEYARD - Blessed John Beche, Abbot of Colchester, Tyburn Martyr 1st December

Reading for 4th December
Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales
Screenshot of St. John Houghton from our DVD 'Saint John Houghton'
© 2015 Mary's Dowry Productions
Also Martyred at Tyburn
ABBOT BECHE was a friend of Saint John Fisher and Saint Thomas More and in repute as a devoted monk; but like his brethren of Glastonbury and Reading he took the oath of supremacy on it being tendered to him in 1534.
When called upon to surrender the abbey he refused, denied the king's right to take it, and asserted his loyalty to the Holy See: for this he was committed to the Tower. Later he endeavoured to explain away what he had said, asserted the king's supremacy against the pope's "usurped authority," and made a piteous appeal for mercy. But however lamentable this defection, he atoned for it by shedding his blood in the event. He was sent down to Colchester and tried there by a special commission, and he appears to have acknowledged the charges made against him.
He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Colchester on 1st December 1539.
©2015 Mary's Dowry Productions
Screenshot from 'Saint Robert Southwell' DVD
On his pectoral cross, still preserved, is inscribed:
"May the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ bring us out of sorrow and sadness. This sign of the Cross shall be in the heavens when our Lord shall come to judgement. Behold, O man, the Redeemer suffered for thee. He that will come after Me, let him take up his cross and follow Me."
Blessed John Beche was the last Abbot of Colchester Abbey.
For films about the Martyrs of Tyburn and other Catholic Saints:

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Three Tyburn Martyrs - December 1st - "A cause for all Englishmen and all Catholics in the world."

25 year old Father Alexander Briant
Arrested after he was searched and a small Chalice was found upon his person
Executed with Father Edmund Campion (aged 41) and Father Ralph Sherwin (aged 31)
December 1st 1581
Screenshot © 2012 Mary's Dowry Productions
Tomorrow (December 1st 2016) we remember the sacrifice of three Catholic priests in Elizabethan England - Father Edmund Campion - a Jesuit; Father Ralph Sherwin - a Roman Catholic priest, and Father Alexander Briant - a Jesuit.
These men willingly gave their lives at TYBURN for the Catholic Faith.
At his trial Saint Edmund Campion said:
"Sirs, our cause is committed to your hands. Bear in mind that the matter in debate is not an affair of small moment, nor one concerning mere temporal affairs, but it touches the lives of innocent men, an account of whose blood will be demanded of you. It is not our cause only, BUT THAT OF ALL ENGLISHMEN, and of ALL CATHOLICS IN THE WORLD. Let not yourselves be deceived. If a sheep where stolen and a whole family called in question for the same, would it be a good way of proceeding for the accusers to say, 'Your great-grandfathers and fathers, your sisters and kinsfolk, all loved mutton: therefore you have stolen the sheep'. Much more in this case, where so many are accused of the crime of TREACHERY and TREASON, and that, too, on slight presumption (some of us no presumption at all), surely you ought to be cautious lest you condemn the innocent and become guilty of shedding their blood."
Father Edmund Campion arrives back in England in disguise
To minister the outlawed Catholic Mass and Sacraments
To the people of Elizabethan England
Screenshot © 2009 Mary's Dowry Productions
Father Ralph Sherwin was a convert from Protestantism in Elizabethan England. He entered the English College in Rome and returned a Catholic priest to England in 1580. After some months' work he was apprehended by the government, while preaching in London, and imprisoned, first in the Marshalsea and then in the Tower of London. He was there nearly a year, subjected to torture and examination. After his second racking he slept, as he thought, before Our Saviour on the Cross, and on coming round found himself free from pain. He was offered a Protestant bishopric if he would openly go to Saint Paul's Cathedral. He refused. After Father Edmund Campion was executed, the hangman took hold of Ralph Sherwin with his hand all bloody, to terrify him, but one martyr simply kissed the other martyr's blood, and then shed his own.
Father Alexander Briant was only 25 years old when he was executed by Queen Elizabeth I and her government. While in prison he made a cross of such wood he could get, apparently a small wooden trencher, and upon it he drew with charcoal a figure of Our Lord. This crucifix he carried with him when he went to trial in Westminster Hall.
Saint Alexander Briant makes a small crucifix
Screenshot © 2012 Mary's Dowry Productions DVD
When the ministers approached him and bade him cast his crucifix away he answered, "Never will I do so, for I AM A SOLDIER OF THE CROSS, nor will I henceforth desert this standard unto death."
On the scaffold, his fair and honest face beaming with joy, he expressed his great happiness in being made worthy to die for the Catholic Faith, and in the company of Edmund Campion whom he heartily revered.
As the words of the Miserere were on his lips the cart was drawn away. He is counted among the Jesuit Martyrs as he had made a vow to offer himself to the Society.
"The blood of the TYBURN MARTYRS in LONDON, England, who while yet still alive, had their HEARTS torn from their breasts for the LOVE of JESUS, for the LOVE of the SACRIFICE of the HOLY MASS, and for the UNITY of the CHURCH, was also the final grace of sacrificial LOVE that MARIE ADELE GARNIER lived out during the last twenty-three years of her life to save and preserve for HOLY CHURCH the little Religious Community God had called her to found on the Hill of Montmartre, in France. She was indeed the LAST TYBURN MARTYR."
- Tyburn Mission Newsletter, Christmas 2016
Mother Adele Garnier founded TYBURN CONVENT in 1903 upon the sight of the triple Tyburn gallows where so many of our Catholic Martyrs gave their lives.
English Martyr GREGORY GUNNE, a venerable priest, confessed Christ before his judges and predicted that one day a religious house would be founded at TYBURN in honour of the Martyrs.
The prophecy was made in 1585 by Fr Gregory Gunne when, during his own trial, he rebuked the Elizabethan court for having sentenced Father Edmund Campion to death at Tyburn.
“You have slain the greatest man in England,” he said. “I will add that one day there, where you have put him to death, a religious house will arise, thanks to an important offering.”
Ever since March 4 1903, when the order’s French foundress, Mother Marie Adele Garnier, opened the convent, the Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmartre OSB – also known as the Tyburn Nuns – have prayed at Tyburn in perpetual adoration of the Eucharist.
Mary's Dowry Productions presents the life and martyrdom of
Saint Alexander Briant on DVD
© 2012 Mary's Dowry Productions
At Mary's Dowry Productions, we especially honour, and have devotions to, the English Martyrs. Our presentation of the life of SAINT EDMUND CAMPION was produced in film for our parish of the ENGLISH MARTYRS in GORING-BY-SEA in 2008 and has since been broadcast on EWTN and spread on DVD throughout the world.
Using his own words from his writings and trial, we invite the viewer to enter into the spirituality of Saint EDMUND CAMPION for an hour's meditation and reflection upon his sacrifice and understanding. Our film style was developed in 2007 and is aimed particularly for a spiritually minded audience. Using our own recreations of key moments in the lives of a Saint or English Martyr, our films convey the message and faith of each individual using the NEW MEDIA, especially music and imagery.
On set for 'Saint Alexander Briant'
© 2012 Mary's Dowry Productions

Our film style has developed and settled into a specific approach over the past 10 years.
Part of our film Apostolate is to involve a variety of people in the production of these films for their own encounter with the life and example of the Saints. Many of these people struggle with their own beliefs and some are estranged from the Church or even unbaptized. Others are fervent for the Catholic Faith and have a deep and inspiring love for the Saints and the Sacraments.
We have found that each film is guided from the first moment as a journey through production to launch and broadcast for everyone involved or who encounters them.
In 2017 we hope to produce a film presenting the life and mission of SAINT RALPH SHERWIN so that we will have DVDs on each of the brave priests who shed their blood for the Catholic Faith at TYBURN on the 1st December 1581.
Visit our Youtube channel to view some of our films, trailers and documentaries about our film apostolate, and our WEBSITE to see the films we have available on DVD:

Monday, 28 November 2016

Tyburn Martyrs for December - Mother Adele Garnier, the Last Tyburn Martyr

Saint John Almond - executed at Tyburn 5th December 1612
Saint Alexander Briant - executed at Tyburn 1st December 1581
Saint Edmund Campion - executed at Tyburn 1st December 1581
Saint Ralph Sherwin - executed at Tyburn 1st December 1581
Saint John Robert - executed at Tyburn 10th December 1610
Saint Polydore Plasden - executed at Tyburn 10th December 1591
Mother Adele Garnier called the Mass 'the SUN of my life'.
We have held the Convent of Tyburn in London close to our hearts during our years of producing films for our apostolate 'Mary's Dowry Productions', and have a special love for the Servant of God, Mother Adele Garnier.
Mary's Dowry Productions film apostolate was founded through our devotion to Saint Philip Howard, an English Martyr, which led to the discovery of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales and all of our heroic English Martyrs, especially those who gave their lives at Tyburn, London.
We produce our films with a prayerful, spiritual approach, as 'homilies' on the life of each Saint or English Martyr for use especially as visual aids and encounters.
We receive the Tyburn Nuns calendar each November for the following year as well as newsletter updates. In the Christmas newsletter which arrived today we were inspired by the following article:
"The mystery of Christian MARTYRDOM, is inherent in MONTMARTRE, but the blood of the TYBURN MARTYRS in LONDON, England, who while yet alive, had their HEARTS torn from their breasts for the LOVE of the SACRIFICE of the HOLY MASS, and for the UNITY of the CHURCH, was also the final grace of sacrificial LOVE that MARIE ADELE GARNIER lived out during the last twenty-three years of her life to save and preserve for HOLY CHURCH the little Religious Community God had called her to found on the Hill of Montmatre, in France.
The suffering manner of life and her sacrificial death did not escape the eye of the Church, for one of the most eminent Cardinals at the time of her Passover from this mortal life proclaimed to her religious community that she MARIE ADELE GARNIER was indeed, "the LAST TYBURN MARTYR"." - Tyburn Mission Newsletter, Christmas 2016
We love the connection that Mother Adele Garnier has with the Tyburn Martyrs and her title 'the LAST TYBURN MARTYR'. Having read her biography we are especially drawn to her example and devotion. We highly recommend it!

Saint Edmund Campion was executed at Tyburn on December 1st 1581, ten years before Saint Polydore Plasden, both priests who gave their lives for the LOVE of the SACRIFICE of the HOLY MASS and for the UNITY of the CHURCH.
"The coming of Jesus gives us the right to ask for everything and to hope for everything." - Servant of God, Mother Adele Garnier.
We especially remember the Martyrs of Tyburn in December.
Our short films are filled with the spirit of the Martyrs and are a unique way to spend half an hour or an hour in prayerful meditation with these great heroes of the Faith in England.
Find our more:
Saint Alexander Briant's sacrifice remembered on DVD at:

Writing the music score for SAINT JOAN OF ARC - A Catholic composer's insight

Writing the Music Score for 'Saint Joan of Arc'
Bernadette Bevans

The last few days has seen me writing the music score for our new production on Saint Joan of Arc.  At a length of nearly 45 minutes this was a challenge.  It was also a French saint, not something we have really done before.  I love writing English Medieval themed music but I set about facing the challenge head-on. 
As with each music film score that I start, I hate the initial stages.  My sister Emily gives me a small file containing the whole film, made very small so that I can insert it into Cubase, the program I use to write music in.  What I have before me is 45 minutes of silence with just the narrator telling the story, in this case the story of Saint Joan of Arc.
With the film inserted I usually think about what kind of instruments will suit the production but I steer myself away from being predictable so find something interesting.  Soundscapes are marvellous for adding depth so I found some nice atmospheres in a category which features the theme of dragons and merlin and decided that this was a unique opportunity to play with these sounds.  Using the 'Flying with the Dragons' sound and relying heavily on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I hit record and began playing.  The only instruments I really decided upon specifically were Barbarian Frame Drums and Celtiberic War Horn so as to immediately have an ancient War feel.  By hitting record I played in a simple drum rhythm as my first layer. 


At this point it is a matter of patiently building up the intro layer by layer.  Here is the intro so far with just the drums and horn played in and now as data that I can manipulate:
I added strings and 'Flying with the Dragon' to these initial layers and the effect was atmospheric.  The main task in starting out with a Mary's Dowry Productions film score is to set the theme and mood with the opening credits.  This gives me a chance to get a feel for the production.  After this is mostly underscore which is much easier.  I wrote about a minute of music using strings, harps, guitars, recorders, cello as well as 'Flying with the Dragons' and this took me to St. Joan's early life as the narrative began.

 Some of the visuals in St. Joan are very beautiful.  We spent the Summer acquiring an entire new database of scenery for the 2016 and beyond productions so I was able to really get into writing to this beautiful imagery. 
What is great about being a composer for spiritual films is that there is a strong element of the mystical and the spiritual so I never feel under too much pressure because I can step back and write what I feel. 

The best example of this is when I see a painting of the Mass and the saint is speaking about their devotion to the Eucharist for example, I can draw upon various voices such as Gregorian monks or choirs. 

With St. Joan of Arc she spoke about 'her voices' and I was able to make the mood very mystical with lots of pads; a convenient choice was a pad called 'before the battle' and it added a poignant depth of expectation.  Fresh out of writing the music for Mary Tudor, I had used a lot of Gregorian Monks for the narrative about the Church in England, the dismantling of Catholic culture and the Mass. 

As I did not want to repeat this I went for 'Mystica' which is a lovely sound base of female choirs.  This was useful both for beauty as well as mystery.  I used the voices in a slightly discordant way with the visions/voices but then at poignant moments of extreme heroic holiness the choirs added real beauty that was quite moving.

 At about 18 minutes into the film I was writing a segment with simple strings and I was very moved at how the army focussed on St. Joan's banner.  It is always a good idea when I am writing and I feel a lump in my throat; I did at this point as I felt that St. Joan was giving so much and everybody loved her and followed her but I knew that she would be betrayed.  I decided at this point to repeat the theme of 'love of St. Joan' at her death because I believe that on a subconscious level, the listener will be reminded that the person who is being unjustly executed was once so loved and it adds to the tragedy.  I did this at the end and it worked well, the same theme for when a person is admired and when they are being condemned.  I do that a lot for our English Martyrs.

All in all, the score is a blend of medieval drums, horns and strings with moments of reflective, moving atmosphere with an emotional cello sometimes taking the lead.  There are segments of simple harp and piano with voices and soundscapes like 'Flying with the Dragon' giving the film an unearthly feel. 

The film has exciting moments where I was able to use sound effects of battles.  Overall the mood is mystical, mysterious and spiritual.  I used the sound of real church bells when the narrative speaks of St. Joan praying the Angelus and the visuals depict peasants of that time stopping to pray.  The bells, the choirs, the mystery all make this film very Catholic and very spiritual. 

I did not know much about St. Joan.  My first encounter was editing the audio narration a couple of weeks ago but I really encounter the saints when writing the music score.  As I got to know St. Joan over the last couple of days I truly felt that her life was heroic, she was tried and tested but really trusted.  I really like her!  Watching a Mary's Dowry Productions film and listening to the music score should be an encounter with a saint, almost like a prayer.  I hope that you enjoy this film and meeting St. Joan as much as I have.  I will make the soundtrack available in the future too.
(Bernadette Bevans - Co-Director and Music Composer of Mary's Dowry Productions UK)
SAINT JOAN OF ARC is available NOW on DVD worldwide from:

A shooting star across France - SAINT JOAN OF ARC - new film release for 2016

We are delighted to have finished our film - ST. JOAN OF ARC - and are now offering this 45 minute presentation on DVD in which to meditate upon and encounter one of our great Catholic Saints. The film is suitable for all ages and draws us into the spirituality and prayerfulness of Saint Joan's unique mission.
Despite having lived over 500 years ago, this French Catholic girl’s life continually fascinates us. Remembered for her military feats, Saint Joan had a great love for the Sacraments and for purity, a mystical mission, a unique calling and a terrible death, burned at the stake after a politically-motivated trial.
Devotion to Saint Joan of Arc became especially strong and widespread in 19th-century France and later among French soldiers during World War I. Saint Therese of Lisieux wrote a prayer and a play about Saint Joan (which we look at in this film) and portrayed Saint Joan at Carmel. Saint Joan of Arc was canonized in 1920 and continues to be loved and honoured throughout the world today.
Our new film ‘Saint Joan of Arc’ runs for 45 minutes and is available worldwide in all region formats.
BUY NOW for Christmas. We are still shipping to the USA.
 Joan of Arc is like a shooting star across the landscape of French and English history, amid the stories of the Church’s saints and into our consciousness. Women identify with her; men admire her courage. She challenges us in fundamental ways. Her issues of mysticism, calling, identity, trust and betrayal, conflict and focus are our issues still.” (Joan of Arc: God’s Warrior, by Barbara Beckwith)


Saint Robert Southwell poems, Jesuit, Horsham, Martyr - THE BURNING BABE - A Martyr's Christmas poem


Robert Southwell, Jesuit, priest, English Missionary, Martyr, Poet.
This Christmas poem was penned by a distant cousin of William Shakespeare, a Catholic missionary priest, St. Robert Southwell, in 1595, shortly before his execution.
He was a poet and prose writer of William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson's generation. He spent his adolescence and early manhood in Italy, training for the Catholic priesthood. His brief literary career flourished during the years when he was an underground Jesuit priest in Protestant England.
Contemporary writers seem to have been impressed by his clear, precise English, by the beauty of its rhythms, and by Southwell's gift for combining passion with moral and intellectual analysis. Southwell's poetry is entirely religious. Like some of his Continental contemporaries, Southwell wished to turn poets' attention from the pagan, classical, often licentious subject matter typical of the period toward religious and moral themes. He explains this intention in four places: in the prefatory matter of Mary Magdalen's Funeral Tears , in the prose letter "to his loving cousin" accompanying his own (no longer extant) manuscript of his lyrics, and in the poems "To the Reader" prefacing the short poems and Saint Peter's Complaint . "Passions I allow, and loves I approve," he tells the dedicatee of the Funeral Tears, "only I would wish that men would alter their object and better their intent." 
Screenshot 'St. Robert Southwell' DVD
© 2015 Mary's Dowry Productions

The constant themes of Southwell's poetry are the absolute beauty and truth revealed in Christ and his mother and a correspondingly absolute necessity that humanity respond to revelation with contrition, repentance, and love. The circumstances of his mission in England, where state power required Catholics to deny their religion, invested his themes with extraordinary pathos and drama. Saint Peter's Complaint is about contrition and repentance, as Nancy Pollard Brown argues, but it is also about apostasy and betrayal. The bestknown poem, "The Burning Babe," presents, as the prelude to Christmas, a vision of absolute love constant in rejection. (From an article about St. Robert Southwell at 'The Poetry Foundation' online)
As Christmas draws near we recall his poem, which is included in our DVD:

The Burning Babe

As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surpris’d I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty Babe all burning bright did in the air appear;
Who, scorched with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
“Alas!” quoth he, “but newly born, in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I!
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel Justice layeth on, and Mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defiled souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
      So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.”
      With this he vanish’d out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
      And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.
St. Robert Southwell shows us so powerfully what is at stake at Christmas. The newborn Christ, though innocent, already suffers from the abandonment of souls. His pure heart burns for love of souls and literally burns up their sins, which fuel the fire of his heart, with the result that souls are purified and made to shine like metal. (R. Jared Staudt - Catholic Exchange)
'Saint Robert Southwell' is available on DVD worldwide through our online shops:


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Saint John Southworth - Westminster's Priest

Saint John Southworth

Saint John Southworth came from a Lancashire family. He lived at Samlesbury Hall.
Saint John Southworth was born in 1592. His life was filled with grace and guidance during a time of danger and persecution for England's recusant Catholics.
In 1618, Saint John Southworth was ordained a Roman Catholic priest at the English College, Douai (Douay) in Northern France. He was determined to minister the Catholic Faith to the persecuted people of England despite the threat of imprisonment for Catholic priests.
After returning to England, Father Southworth was arrested and condemned to death in Lancashire in 1626, and imprisoned first in Lancaster Castle, and afterwards in the Clink Prison, London.

Saint John Southworth ministering to a plague victim
© 2014 Mary's Dowry Productions
On 11 April, 1630, he and other priests were delivered to the French Ambassador for transportation abroad, but in 1636, he was released from the Gatehouse, Westminster, and lived at Clerkenwell. From there Saint John Southworth frequently visited the plague-stricken dwellings of Westminster to administer the sacraments and comfort the sick and the dying. This he did with Saint Henry Morse, a fellow priest, risking their lives to bring the outlawed Catholic Sacraments to the sick and dying.
Fr. Henry Morse and Fr. John Southworth
© 2012 Mary's Dowry Productions
In 1637, Saint John Southworth was been based in Westminster. He and Saint Henry Morse wrote a letter to the Catholics of England, asking for their assistance. Finally, he was arrested on 28 November, before being again sent to the Gatehouse. From there he was transferred to the Clink and, in 1640, was brought before the Commissioners for Causes Ecclesiastical. On 16 July, St. John Southworth was again freed and daringly continued to assist the persecuted Catholics, despite the continued threat to his own life. By 2 December he was once more imprisoned in the Gatehouse by the anti-Catholic government. After his final apprehension on 19 June 1654, Saint John Southworth was tried at the Old Bailey, where he insisted on pleading guilty to being a priest. He was condemned to be hung, drawn and quartered at the infamous Tyburn gallows in London.
St. John Southworth in prison
© 2014 Mary's Dowry Productions
His death was a brave witness to the Catholic Faith and the holy Catholic priesthood.
The Spanish ambassador bought Saint John Southworth's body from the executioner and, in 1655, returned it to Douai after the body had been sewn together and embalmed. It was taken from England.
When England and France went to war in 1793 St John Southworth's body was buried in an unmarked grave below the college for its protection. The grave was discovered in 1927 and his remains were returned to England. In 1930, his major relics - the only complete body of a Reformation martyr - were brought to Westminster Cathedral, where a shrine was prepared for them.
St. John Southworth's body in Westminstr Cathedral
© 2014 Mary's Dowry Productions
Saint John Southworth was beatified in 1929 and was canonised in 1970 by Pope Paul VI, as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. St John Southworth's feast day is 27 June, which is observed as a Solemnity at the Cathedral.
Our film about Saint John Southworth captures his spirit of prayer and sacrifice during a time of danger, persecution and mission in 17th Century England.
This is an informative yet spiritual way to spend half an hour absorbed in the mission and message of one of England's inspiring Catholic priests.
Available on DVD through AMAZON and
Visit Westminster Cathedral to pray before the relic of this wonderful English Martyr.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Editing for our new films over the next week - St. Joan of Arc and St. Bernadette of Lourdes - PRODUCTIONS UPDATE - DVD, film, Catholic

Two new films on the lives of the Saints
Screenshot 'St. Joan of Arc' © 2016 Mary's Dowry Productions
Over the next few weeks to the end of the year we hope to finish our films on the lives of Saint Joan of Arc and Saint Bernadette of Lourdes.
These two inspiring women of the Catholic Church have lives of great witness and inspiration to the virtues and Truths of the Catholic Faith. These films will offer an informative and spiritual way to walk with each Saint in a prayerful and inspiring encounter.
Our film about Saint Joan of Arc includes visuals of key moments of her life, as well as famous and familiar paintings, scenery of lavender fields and nature with narrative and a specially written score.
We also recreated the image of Saint Therese of Lisieux as Saint Joan of Arc for the final sequence of our film.
In the summer we filmed visuals of Saint Bernadette of Lourdes in the largs and wild meadows of West Sussex.
We are hoping to finish these films by the end of the year and make them available on DVD through our online shops and AMAZON.
Meanwhile, we are currently planning for two filming days in 'the barn' attached to our local parish church of the English Martyrs. When we use the barn we are able to invite parishioners and students/teachers from the local Catholic schools to come and portray the Saints for us.
We hope to be able to produce four new films:
We hope to film our original visuals for these over two days and then produce these films as prayerful and informative encounters to spread the lives and messages of these inspiring Saints of the Universal Church.
We are also prepared to film visuals for five more films over the course of the next six months, out and about on location:
Costumes and props are ready for these as well as narration. We hope to be able to make the time for these new productions from Mary's Dowry Productions as soon as possible.

Bishop John Fisher's sermon against the doctrine of Martin Luther, printed in 1521 - Part Four - FOURTH INSTRUCTION - English Martyr, Catholic, Reformation

Bishop John Fisher
Sermon Against the Pernicious Doctrine of Martin Luther
preached during the octave of Ascension (1521)
Screenshot 'Saint John Fisher' DVD © Mary's Dowry Productions


The fourth and the final instruction takes away the defense that may be laid for Martin Luther by his adherents, which defense also may soon overthrow weak souls when they hear it. Their defense is made up of three points.

First they say that Martin Luther is a man deeply learned in the Scriptures, grounding all his opinions upon them, and that he is a man of religious life and someone who, because of his learning and virtue, has many adherents.

Secondly they say that he has a mind fixed in God and is kept by no one's authority from speaking the truth. So much so that he has excommunicated the pope, because he thinks in his own conscience that those who do not follow his doctrine do not belong to the Catholic Church.

Thirdly, he has a marvelously fervent zeal for God, because of which he labors to convert all the world to his opinion, thinking assuredly that he renders God a special sacrifice and pleasure thereby.
When a weak soul hears this, he or she is immediately in danger of putting faith in it and of mistrusting the doctrine of the church. For who may not think that such a man is on the right path?

But the rest of the Gospel that follows answers clearly: "These things I have told you beforehand, so that you may not quail in your faith, for they will put you out of their synagogues, and the time will come that everyone who murders you will think that he is doing great service to God thereby" [John 16:1-2]. Some people may teach that these words pertain only to the time of the Jews, who expelled the apostles out of their synagogues, or to the time of the tyrants, who slew many Christian people in the beginning of the church. But if that were true, then these words would be no general instruction for the universal church, something which we concluded against Luther at the beginning of our sermon.

Screenshot 'St. John Fisher'  © 2012 Mary's Dowry Productions

Wherefore these words pertain much more to the time of the heretics. First because this persecution continued longer than the other two, since the persecution by the Jews was soon at an end, and the persecutions by the tyrants ran its course in a season. But the heretics have persecuted the church since Christ's ascension and will do so until the coming of the Antichrist. Furthermore, the persecution by the heretics is and was much more perilous. The Jews and the tyrants were manifest enemies of Christ and abhorred his Scriptures, but these heretics pretend a special favor toward Christ and color all their heresies with his Scriptures. The Jews and the tyrants slew the bodies of Christians, yet they sent these Christians' souls to everlasting glory. But the heretics, by misconstruing the Scriptures of God by their false doctrine and erroneous opinions and pestilential heresies, slay the souls of Christian people and send them to everlasting damnation. Wherefore these words must be understood of the persecution that was made by the heretics.    

Screenshot 'St. John Fisher' DVD © Mary's Dowry Productions

Now then, O Christian, when you hear that Martin Luther is a man of great learning and is expert in the Scriptures and has a reputation for virtuous living and has many great adherents, think that there have been many such people before him in the church of Christ who by their learning and misinterpretation of the Scriptures have caused great tempests in the church before this time.
How did one great heretic, Arius, tempt the church of Christ with his heresy! How many souls did he murder! Was he not a man of great learning, of singular eloquence, of virtuous life in outward appearance? Were not all his opinions grounded upon Scripture? Did he not in this way deceive many a soul? St. Jerome says: "Arius was a spark in Alexandria, but because it was not quickly extinguished, its flame raged through the whole world." For a long time it vexed the church of Christ and overthrew innumerable souls until finally, by the Holy Spirit of truth, which is the comforter of Christ's church speaking in the mouths of the fathers and doctors of the church, this heresy was convicted and plainly put aside. [Bishop Fisher then recalls other heresies, which had buffeted the church.]

And every one of these heretics grounded his heresy upon Scripture. And many of them were men of keen intelligence and deep learning, of mighty reason and of pretended virtue; they knew just how to twist and distort the Scriptures to make them support their erroneous opinions. Finally their life, learning, and treatment of the Scriptures were such that they had many great adherents and supporters, among the bishops as well as the emperors, and among other Christian princes too, whom they led astray.

Therefore it was necessary that our Savior Christ Jesus, because of his great, inestimable goodness and because of the tender love that he has for his church, should leave instruction and warning to all Christian people and to his universal church about this persecution. That is what he did when he said: "These things I have told you beforehand, so that you may not quail in your faith." What has he told us beforehand? This: that the Spirit of truth will remain in the church forever and that in all such storms and tempests he will be a comforter for us.

Screenshot 'St. John Fisher' DVD © 2012 Mary's Dowry Productions

O Christians, hear this gracious warning of our Savior Christ. Mark well what he says: I have warned you about these things beforehand, so that when they happen, you will not be overthrown in your souls. It is as though he said: When you see the storms arise, when you behold the thick black clouds overhead that darken the whole face of heaven and shadow over the clear light of the sun and show a false glittering light that issues out of the cloud, from the spirit of the tempest, and when you hear the terrible threats of their thundering, then be confident in your faith; believe as does your mother, Holy Church, with a living faith, and put your trust in the Spirit of truth who will be your comforter until the world's end.

Secondly, when you, O Christian, hear that Martin Luther has a mind fixed on God and is kept by no one's authority from speaking the truth and thinks that all those who do not follow his doctrine are separated from the Catholic Church, so much so that he has excommunicated the pope--what astounding presumption! what intolerable madness!--then know this for certain, that all the other heretics did the same thing. They thought that they and their adherents were the only ones who belonged to the Catholic Church, and they thought that all others who did not follow their opinions were separated from the church. [Fisher gives other examples.]

Nevertheless the church of Christ is but one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. This church is one, having one head, the pope, who is the Vicar of Christ, because of whom it is called "one." And even though there be many sinners in this church, yet because of the holy sacraments that renew and repair sinners daily, and because of the Holy Spirit, who continually remains in it, it is called "holy." And because it is not limited to any one nation but is common to all nations, it is called "catholic," that is to say universal. And finally, because it is derived from the apostles, and especially from the prince of the apostles, Saint Peter, it is called "apostolic."
Only this church is the spouse of Christ; all other things that resemble it that are not of this church are synagogues of Satan and councils of the devil. And therefore Christians should not be surprised that they excommunicate and separate true Christians from their synagogues. For our Savior has given us warning of it beforehand, as it says next in the Gospel: "They will excommunicate you from their synagogues" [John 16:2].

Thirdly, O Christian, when you hear that Martin Luther has so great a zeal for God and thinks in his conscience that he is bound to do what he does and thinks that in so doing he is pleasing God and is doing a special service to God and that he is recommitting to almighty God all the souls, which by his false doctrine he is slaying and murdering--yet nevertheless be strong in your faith and see that in this point our Savior has also warned the church, saying: "But the time is coming when everyone who kills you will think that he is offering service to God" [John 16:2].

[Fisher recounts how the Arians and Donatists killed not only souls but also bodies.] Did not the disciples of Wycliffe do the same, even though for fear of the temporal laws they did not dare to slay anyone? Yet they introduced a bill of articles to the temporal lords in the parliament, urging them to slay their adversaries who resisted them. And what do you suppose Martin Luther and his adherents would do if he had his Holiness, the pope, and his supporters, whom he so often in derision called papistas papastros and papanos and papenses? I fear that he would treat them with no more courtesy than he did their books, that is to say, their decretals which he burned. And so likewise, I fear that he would burn them or any other Christian whom he thought might prevent his opinions from going forward. And yet in so doing he would think that he was doing a great service for God.

Screenshot 'St. John Fisher' DVD © Mary's Dowry Productions

Thus may you see that these heretics, even though they were expert in the Scriptures and were people of keen intelligence and profound reason, and also had pretence of virtuous life and had great zeal, thinking in their conscience that they were bound to do as much as they did, yet they were deceived, and they were convicted of erroneous opinions by the holy councils and the fathers of the church.
And why may not likewise Martin Luther be deceived, as they all were before him, especially since he lacks the Spirit of truth, which they all lacked? For if they had the Spirit of truth, they would not have erred in misinterpreting the Scriptures. I attest that they were expert in the Scriptures and could turn the Scriptures around marvelously to suit their purpose and frame them cursedly to their opinions. But for lack of the Spirit of truth, they misconstrued these Scriptures. As St. Peter says, they perverted, or as St. Paul says, inverted, that is, turned the Scriptures wrong side out, following their own brain and imagination, led by the spirit of error and ignorance, as it says next: "They will do all these things to you because they have not known either the Father or me" [John 16:3]. If they had had the Spirit of truth, this Spirit would have led them to the true knowledge of the Father and of the Son, that is to say, to the true knowledge of the prophets by whom almighty God the Father spoke, and to the true knowledge also of the apostles, by whom the Son, our Savior Christ Jesus, spoke. But because they did not have this Spirit of truth which was sent from the Father and from the Son, they were ignorant of them both, and by that ignorance they fell into these errors. And so likewise has Martin Luther now done.

Screenshot 'St. John Fisher' DVD © Mary's Dowry Productions

Now then, here I make an end. I have reminded you, as I promised, of four instructions that are offered to us in this gospel. The first instruction showed that the Holy Spirit, who is the third Person in the divinity, was sent from the Father almighty God and from his Son, our Savior Christ Jesus, to be the Spirit of truth, residing forever in the church of Christ, and to be as a comforter from time to time against all storms and tempests of heresies, making us certain, in time of doubt, about the truth to which we are to hold fast.

By this instruction, I showed three things. First, that this instruction and the whole Gospel pertains to the universal church of Christ, something I proved by Luther's own words. Second, that the head of this universal church is the pope under Christ, which one point takes away one great basis of Martin Luther and shakes severely many of his erroneous articles. Third, that Martin Luther, by separating himself from the head of this body, cannot have in him this Spirit of truth.
In the second instruction, I showed that the heat of charity spread in our hearts by the Holy Spirit of God gives evidence of the lively light of faith shining upon our souls from our Savior Christ. By this instruction, another great ground of Martin Luther was undermined, namely that only faith justifies a sinner, without works.

In the third instruction I showed that the teachings left to the church by the holy apostles transmit to us testimony of the faith of Christ and what things we are to believe in his church. This instruction also dissolved another ground of Martin Luther, who admits of no other testimony than what is written in Scripture. Against him, I proved that he must receive, besides the written Scriptures, also the unwritten traditions of the apostles, in addition the general councils, in which the Holy Spirit spoke, and the interpretations of Scripture made by the holy bishops and doctors of the church, by whose mouths the third Person in the Godhead, the Spirit of truth, spoke and speaks, informing the church for this time as did the Father almighty God by his prophets before and as did the Son, the second Person, by his apostles.

In the fourth instruction I showed you that the defense which is made for Martin Luther by his adherents, whereby many weak souls are overthrown, is clearly taken away by the most loving and most gracious forewarning of our Savior Christ, as you have heard at the end of the gospel. And yet again, in his most excellent charity, he warns all his Christian people, saying and repeating: "These things I have told you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you them" [John 16:4]. Anyone who is thus often warned and yet gives faith to Martin Luther or any other such heretic rather than to Christ Jesus and to the Spirit of truth who stays with the church of Christ unto the world's end, with the special purpose of informing us of the truth, such a person goes far off the straight way and will surely never enter into the port of everlasting rest, which we all desire and long to come into. To this port may he bring us, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, God, for ever and ever. Amen.