Friday, 27 July 2018

The Souls in Purgatory and Saint Mechtilde of Magdeburg - Coming soon to DVD



The Poor Souls
Mary's Dowry Productions is presently working hard to finish production on several of our DVDs that we have filmed for over the past 2 years. Finally, at the end of this month (July 2018) we are now ready to complete work on a new film: 'Saint Mechtilde of Magdeburg and the Souls in Purgatory' so before we start editing we would like to tell you a little bit about this upcoming DVD.

We wanted to have a film that looks in greater detail at Purgatory in the teachings of the Catholic Church and while we could have used many examples and stories, accounts and teachings from well-known Saints such as Padre Pio, Faustina, Catherine of Siena and more, we have focused upon a little known German Beguine and Mystical author, Mechtilde of Magdeburg who had a deep concern for the Holy Souls and wrote about Purgatory often in her book 'The Flowing Light of the Godhead'. It actually worked out that way through several circumstances providing an excellent presentation of purgatory, sin, Saints and teachings of the Church, especially through the councils. 

Beguine - St Mechtilde of Magdeburg
© 2017 Mary's Dowry Productions
We actually had a tough time producing this film from day one. Our first action was to set off to a ruined Sussex barn in the next village from us to acquire costumed footage of a Beguine. It was SO windy, but not only that, we forgot the safety pins for fastening part of the Beguine habit so it kept blowing off the whole time - a real test of patience.
So our actress's hand is often seen beneath her throat in a humble aspect, actually fighting the elements to stop her wimple flying away.

Beguine - St Mechtilde of Magdeburg
© 2017 Mary's Dowry Productions

Production upon this film has suffered many set backs since.
We have been trying to compete the research and narrative for almost two years, with other projects coming to the forefront of necessity. Now we are finally able to set about finally editing the film production together and making it available on DVD.

It has been a goal of ours and important to us to produce a couple of films about the Beguines as we share their vocation. Beguines first appeared in the 12th century with women called by God not to live in religious community or take religious vows but to give their lives in service and devotion of Him as single laywomen, often with apostolates. Modern Beguines today can live with their parents or alone or can be widowed. They are often classed as 'single people'. Because a Beguine does not take a vow she is free to stop becoming a Beguine at any time. She is also able to focus upon different devotions such as favouring Carmelite spirituality or Benedictine spirituality. She may pray the Hours, attend Mass when possible, pray the rosary and psalms, keep notes from the lives of the Saints and writings that inspire her, practice the virtues, undertake simple work in the world to support herself or her apostolate, and seeks to be in the world but not of it. Many Beguines throughout history were mystics and compiled writings.

Beguine - St Mechtilde of Magdeburg
© 2017 Mary's Dowry Productions
They followed no rule of life, had spiritual independence, were deeply Sacramental, imitated the lives of the first Apostles, lived in solitude, were self-defined, passionate about ministry, were often reformers, poets, servants of the poor and undertook manual work, study, teaching and prayer.

Beguine - St Mechtilde of Magdeburg
© 2017 Mary's Dowry Productions
Beguines were similar to anchoresses. They have always been important for the Church in that they prayed and pray daily for the Church. They are also devoted to the Pope and share or defend the Faith. There are many Beguines around today but because most of them are hidden we don't hear much about them. Historically, Beguines enjoyed times of favour and times of condemnation in the history of the Church. Because they often rebuked laxity or corruption within the Church, and because they were not under the control of a local bishop or priest, the clergy often regarded them with suspicion. Beguines were officially approved by the Church and then it was decreed that Beguines must join religious orders or live in Beguine communities. The last Beguine in an enclosed community died in 2013.

Beguines also had and have a deep love for Our Lady who, according to Saint Douceline, a Beguine of Provence, was the first Beguine. There are famous Beguines such as Hadewijch, Douceline, Mary of Oignies and Beatrice of Nazareth. Some Beguine's writings were condemned and some were approved and continue to be a source of insight and inspiration today. There are a few books about Beguines available today, but not many, and it is difficult to find translations of the writings of Beguines of their spiritual directors. Laura Swan's book 'The Wisdom of the Beguines'  gives a good inside to this often overlooked and hidden women's movement.

Saint Mechtilde of Magdeburg was a Beguine of Germany. She lived the last years of her life in the convent at Helfta with Saint Gertrude the Great and Saint Mechtilde and Saint Gertrude of Helfta. Gertrude the Great and Mechtilde of Helfta were both renowned for heralding the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The writings of Saint Mechtilde of Magdeburg can be noted in both Gertrude and (the other) Mechtilde's beautiful books.

Beguine - St Mechtilde of Magdeburg
© 2017 Mary's Dowry Productions
Our film about 'Saint Mechtilde of Magdeburg and The Souls in Purgatory' is not only a good way to get to know the life and writings of this 13th century Beguine and mystic (she was the first mystic to write in German; Gertrude and Mechtilde of Helfta's books were in Latin), but it is also a good way to meditate upon the Souls in Purgatory, with Saint Gertrude's prayer, examples from Saint Mechtilde and the Catholic teaching about Purgatory throughout the film. Her encounters with purgatory and specific souls is really moving and inspiring.

The footage that we shot back in 2017 will be used for Saint Mechtilde in this upcoming film and we hope to be able to produce future DVDs about the Beguines so as to offer some more imagery and portrayals to help make their spirituality, heritage and vocation better known.

will be released on DVD and available from Mary's Dowry Productions:

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

A future DVD about 'Edel Quinn' and her Legion of Mary missionary work, filming, DVD, Catholic Faith


We have been taking advantage of the super hot weather here on the south coast of England this week to go out filming some scenes for a DVD about 'Edel Quinn' that we have wanted to produce for sometime. We are auxiliary members of the Legion of Mary, which means we pray the Legion prayers, but sadly our Praesidium in our parish church closed about a decade ago. We were always interested in Edel Quinn and would like to share her story on DVD. She is very inspiring.
Part of Edel's biography takes place in Africa, the last eight years of her life in fact. With the baked ground and scorched grasses on the south down and surrounding fields here we decided to get creative and go out into the local areas to capture some 'African missionary' imagery we will be able to incorporate in our film.

We organised a suitable costume (from our mother's wardrobe!) and a wig from Amazon and set off with a notebook, pencil and rosary for props. Our location was in Findon at a place called Cissbury Ring, an ancient hill fort with fields and hills we have used before in our films.

Camera work was tricky, trying to keep the British trees out of the shots as much as possible, plus we were accosted by lots of dogs enjoying their walks. But we returned home with twenty minutes of footage which we looked at and played around with some burnt orange filters to give an even hotter 'African' feel to it all.

We hope to go out again sometime, while the hot weather is still scorching our English fields, to acquire some more footage. For the beginning of Edel's story we will need some lush green countryside for her life in Ireland, so we will be waiting for the rain to get on to that part.
Meanwhile, our film about 'Our Lady and the visionaries of Knock' is underway and we are keen to complete the several films already in production so as to make them available on DVD and spread the word about these great Catholic figures of the Church.

More information here:

Saint Claude de la Colombiere and The Sacred Heart in England, First Shrine in England, Maryvale, Titus Oates, DVD


Now available on DVD, our completed film takes us on a journey from 17th century France, direct from Paray-le-Monial to England, where Saint Margaret Mary's confessor Saint Claude de la Colombiere, a Jesuit priest, was sent to be the preacher to the Duchess of York, Mary of Modena, the devoutly Catholic wife of the future King James II of England (the last Catholic Monarch).
Not only do we look at Saint Claude's life but we see how he was chosen specifically by God to take the Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion to England, where it took root and began to spread among the faithful Catholics in the midst of fresh persecutions during the infamous 'Titus Oates Plot'.
We look at England in the 17th century, including King Charles II and his Catholic brother, heir to the throne in England, James, who would become the rightful King only to be exiled by the Protestant usurper William of Orange, who took the throne and reigned with Mary, James' Protestant daughter.
We also look at Saint Claude's willingness to give his life in martyrdom for the English to return to the True Faith, his secret meeting with Saint John Wall, a Franciscan priest who had laboured for 22 years in England and a future English Martyr; Saint Claude's imprisonment and exile during the Titus Oates Plot, and the spread of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus throughout England in the centuries that followed, especially looking at the first shrine to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Maryvale, Birmingham and its link to Blessed John Henry Newman.

This new film offers an inspiring and encouraging look at God's plan for England during the anti-Catholic persecutions, in a country once named 'Mary's Dowry', showing that Our Lady continues to watch over the land dedicated specifically to her.

'Saint Claude de la Colombiere and The Sacred Heart of Jesus' is NOW available on DVD from Mary's Dowry Productions, through our Amazon accounts ('Mary's Dowry' seller) or worldwide from our online shop here:

Sunday, 8 July 2018

The Garnets and The Gunpowder Plot, a Catholic perspective, an English Martyr.


Saint Thomas Garnet was the nephew of Father Henry Garnet, the head of the Jesuits in England during the Elizabethan and Jacobean persecutions of the Catholic Church.

When Father Henry Garnet learned about the Gunpowder Plot from one of the conspirators in Confession, the Jesuit priest wrote to Rome asking the Church to warn English Catholics not to use force against the oppressive, anti-Catholic government.

His nephew Thomas travelled England, illegally administering the outlawed Sacraments and offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. His uncle admitted him into the Jesuit Order.

When he was captured in the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot and it was discovered he was the nephew of Father Henry Garnet, Father Thomas Garnet was imprisoned in the Tower of London with Father Henry and suffered much but was released when no evidence connecting him could be produced.

 Exiled, yet longing to assist the Catholics in his homeland, young Father Thomas returned once more in disguise and worked courageously for the Catholic Faith. He was finally captured, imprisoned, sentenced to death at his trial and gave his life joyfully at Tyburn in 1608. He was canonized an English Saint and Martyr in 1970.

In ‘St Thomas Garnet and The Gunpowder Plot’, Mary’s Dowry Productions presents a film about an English Martyr, English history, priest holes, safe houses, secret Mass rooms, illegal Sacraments, gunpowder, treason and plots as we remember those who fought for the Truths of the Catholic Faith before us and have left us an heroic example.

We also look at St Nicholas Owen, another of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales who travelled with Father Henry Garnet.

'St Thomas Garnet and The Gunpowder Plot' presents this infamous 'plot' from a Catholic historical perspective.

It will be available July 2018 from Mary's Dowry Productions online shop:

Thursday, 5 July 2018

'A SIMPLE SOUL' - A new film about Saint Mary Mazzarello - Pope Pius XI, Salesians, Lives of the Saints

Mary's Dowry Productions DVDs

Saint Mary Mazzarello was an Italian. She died at the age of 44 having dedicated her life to the service of young women and girls in Mornese, deeming that by serving them she would save her own soul. Mary was gifted with a strong character and strong physical abilities. As a young woman she undertook manual labour on her parents farm. She joined the Daughters of Mary Immaculate and loved to give her time to prayer and helping people.
When a typhoid epidemic swept through Mornese, Mary took care of her uncle, aunt and their children and contracted the disease herself. She was 23. It was thought she would die and a coffin was even prepared for her. But she recovered. The illness left her weak and she was no longer able to work the land as before, so she prayed for guidance as to what to do.

Mary and her friend learned sewing and were moved by the plight of many young girls about Mornese, uneducated and in dire circumstances with many threats to their lives and virtue. Mary was given a vision of a courtyard filled with happy girls and a voice told her: "I entrust them, to you."
At the same time, Saint Don Bosco had a similar vision in Turin.
Mary and her friend decided to set up a sewing school for the girls where they also taught them the Catholic Faith.

When Saint Don Bosco learned about the work and sanctity of Mary Mazzarello, he brought his oratory boys on a field trip to Mornese to meet Mary. They discussed their mutual aims for the girls and Saint Don Bosco knew that Mary Mazzarello would be the one to help him found the female Salesian counterpart to his Salesian order.
After correspondence, spiritual direction, prayer and discussions, many of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate agreed to become The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the Salesian sisters, under the guidance of Saint Don Bosco. Mary designed the habits they would wear and Saint Don Bosco wrote the rules for the nuns.

Mary Mazzarello was chosen to be the superior of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians but she said, "Our Lady will be our superior and I will be her vicar."
The sisters cared for and educated many girls. When she was 44 years of age, Mary fell ill with pleurisy. After a long time suffering and giving advice and counsel to the dear nuns she would leave behind, Mary died having received the Last Rites, in an edifying, holy death.

Pope Pius XI proclaimed the heroic nature of Saint Mary Mazzarello virtues and said of her: "Here is a woman of simplicity, extreme simplicity - a simplicity as pure as that of the simple elements, as simple and unmixed as gold without alloy!"

'A SIMPLE SOUL: The life of Saint Mary Mazzarello' DVD
will be available July 2018 here:

Monday, 25 June 2018

English Martyrs - Why are the English Martyrs so important for Catholics?

Why are the English Martyrs so important for Catholics?

St John Fisher
© Mary's Dowry Productions
English Martyrs. The English Martyrs give us an opportunity to remember some of our ancestors who willingly laid down their lives for their faith, Recalling their lives and accounts is an opportunity, too, to renew and strengthen our own faith in today's Church which is at once unchanging and also very different.

St Swithun Wells
© 2010 Mary's Dowry Productions
The Martyrs lived in times of religious persecution. Illustrations of the martyrs are not easy to come by. Some contemporary paintings exist in the English college at Valladolid, Spain, and there a few examples of stained glass windows dedicated to particular martyrs.

Blessed Margaret Pole
© Mary's Dowry Productions
The Martyrs were from every social class. Among them were highly educated men, prosperous landowners, sons and daughters from wealthy families, but there were also craftsmen, ordinary unskilled workers and serving men.

St Nicholas Owen
© Mary's Dowry Productions
Many of the priests came from well-to-do landed families. Francis Ingleby's home was Ripley Castle in Yorkshire, in the family's possession since the 14th century and still occupied by them today. Anthony Page was 'born of a gentleman's family' in Middlesex. But they came from the Yeoman class (landed people ranking below the gentry) too: Roger Cadwallador's father is described as 'a yeoman and man of substance.' There were professional and merchant classes a well, for instance, Thomas Bullaker's father was a medical doctor, Arthur Bell's father a lawyer, and Thomas More was the Chancellor of England.

St Thomas More
©Mary's Dowry Productions
St Thomas More
© Mary's Dowry Productions
 The laymen and women suffered mainly because they were closely involved with the hunted Catholic priests, helping them in one way or another with their ministry, such as Anne Line and Margaret Ward, Margaret Clitherow and Swithun Wells.

St Margaret Clitherow
© Mary's Dowry Productions
Jesuits and St Nicholas Owen
© Mary's Dowry Productions
St Margaret Ward
© Mary's Dowry Productions
St Swithun Wells
© Mary's Dowry Productions
Without the co-operation and assistance of such laymen and women, the priests simply could not function. Many 'received' the priests, to use the official legal term. They sheltered them in their homes and provided a base from which they could operate and where they could gather the faithful together with relative security for Mass and the Sacraments. These places were the 'safe houses' by means of which the underground Catholic Church of the time was able to survive.

The English Martyrs
© Mary's Dowry Productions
Thus Marmaduke Bowes in Yorkshire, even while still externally conforming to the Establish Church, gave hospitality to priests, to whom he 'opened his doors bountifully' and whom he 'received and entertained as gladly as any men could be'. His wife was brought before the Council of the North at York with him in 1585 on the charge of sheltering priests, but the case against her was not pursued.

The English Martyrs
After arrest the martyrs were carried off under guard and lodged in prison. Some of them spent just one short period in prison, a month or two awaiting trial; others were arrested and held captive more than once in the course of their ministry; others again were confined for years at a stretch.

The English Martyrs
St Robert Southwell
© Mary's Dowry Productions
English prisons in the 16th and 17th centuries were even less pleasant places that they are today and the martyrs confined in them had much to endure. Their gaolers treated them roughly and were often hostile to Catholics, though we do occasionally hear of sympathetic gaolers.

The English Martyrs
St Henry Morse
© Mary's Dowry Productions
Their fellow prisoners were murderers, thieves and criminals of all kinds, and no doubt their manners were often uncouth and their language coarse. The prison buildings were dark, forbidding places: the Tower of London, Newgate prison besides the Sessions House, old castles around the country like York Castle and Lancaster Castle.

St John Southworth
© Mary's Dowry Productions
In English winter the cold and damp must have been severe and the whole atmosphere gloomy and depressing. The food must have been bad and insufficient.
Dominican Robert Nutter spent 16 years of the 18 years he was on the English Mission in prison confinement. He was shackled with chains, tortured with a notorious instrument known as 'the Scavenger's daughter' and twice confined to an underground dungeon known as 'the pit'. He was deported but returned and spent several more years in London prisons. 16 years and 5 different prisons, with confinement in a dungeon and torture thrown in, all ending in death on the scaffold where he joyful offered his life and sufferings for the Catholic Faith.

English Martyr
St Polydore Plasden of Fleet Street, London
© Mary's Dowry Productions
English Martyrs
St Swithun Wells of Gray's Inn Lane, London
© Mary's Dowry Productions
It was dangerous to keep the memory of the martyrs alive on paper but accounts written found their way to English Catholic exiles on the continent and were preserved for us today.

Mary's Dowry Productions was established in 2007 with the desire to bring the memory of the lives of the English Martyrs to life through film. We have recreated film imagery of many of these Martyrs to assist in imagining the heroic missions, deeds and sacrifices that these great men and women of England offered for the Catholic Church.

English Martyrs
Several Martyrs at a secret Mass
© Mary's Dowry Productions
We were privileged to be present at the Beatification of the 85 Martyrs in Rome, 1987.

Blessed Margaret Pole
© Mary's Dowry Productions
The then Cardinal Basil Hume has left us some inspiring words about our English Martyrs;

English Martyr
St John Fisher - Bishop of Rochester
© Mary's Dowry Productions
"Several of these martyrs were lay people. They all lived in our land, walked the same fields and lanes, lived under the same skies and, to their contemporaries, appeared to be perfectly ordinary neighbours.

English Martyr
At the gallows
© Mary's Dowry Productions
 They show that sanctity is within the grasp of any of us.

English Martyr
St Edmund Campion arrives in England
© Mary's Dowry Productions
What was special about them was the way in which they were dedicated to Christ, steadfast in prayer and generous in the love and service they offered to their families, neighbours and friends.

English Martyr
On the rack
© Mary's Dowry Productions
The strength of their commitment to faith was stronger than all opposition, even death itself.

English Martyr
St Margaret Clitherow at The Shambles, York
© Mary's Dowry Productions
They are an inspiration to Christians of every Church in the daily following of Jesus Christ."
- Cardinal Basil Hume, 23rd February 1987.

The films of Mary's Dowry Productions have been broadcast on EWTN and Sky and featured on BBC. For a full listing visit:


Sunday, 24 June 2018

Mary's Dowry Productions Website 24th June 2018

 will be down at for a couple of days as we make some important updates. These updates are to make viewing of our site and use of our online shop vastly improved on mobile devices.

Mary's Dowry Productions is also hosted at
which will not be affected by the updates.

All of our sites are the same design and content now with our original range of DVDs about the lives of the Saints and English Martyrs shipping globally.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Saint Richard of Chichester and his Ecclesiastical statutes, Catholic Bishop and Saint of England


This weekend (June 16th 2018) saw us remember the life and witness of Saint Richard of Chichester. Saint Richard is local to Mary's Dowry Productions, being 20 miles away from where we are. His relics were housed in the once Catholic Cathedral in Chichester until the Protestant Reformation when they were destroyed. Saint Richard is often portrayed as an Anglican Saint, when in fact he was as Roman Catholic as you can get. He was so outspoken about the importance of the rubrics of the Mass and the sacredness of the priesthood that he made a lot of enemies. He valued the 7 Sacraments, fasted, wore a hair shirt and defended the Truths of the Catholic Faith in many blunt ways. St Richard also condemned 'married clergy' and wrote his famous statutes for pulling up priests in their vocation and duties.

In our film about St Richard we take a look at the history of Chichester, once a Roman Catholic city, looking at the Roman walls that remain around the city and the history of the Cathedral, as well as on location in Tarring where St Richard lived while exiled from the Cathedral by the king. It was in Tarring that he cultivated figs and we visit the ancient fig gardens too. More importantly, we present St Richard's life and words and how relevant he is to Catholics today.
Saint Richard of Chichester film is available worldwide on DVD at this link:

Film making at Mary's Dowry Productions for June


We have been working our way through a variety of films we shot footage for over the past year and a half and have now reached our film about Saint Mary Mazzarello. We decided to do a film about St Mary when we organised a filming day for Saint Don Bosco. Because we were on location for the whole day acquiring imagery of Saint Don Bosco we included separate shots from the life of St Mary Mazzarello, who founded the female branch of the Salesians with Don Bosco, and St Dominic Savio, who was one of St Don Bosco's students at the Oratory.

The actual motives for Mary's Dowry Productions making a film about St Don Bosco came from two factors:

1) We had read a book called 'The 40 Dreams of St Don Bosco' and his dream/vision of Hell had made a lasting impression! So we wanted to be able to put these Truths in film
2) One of our parishioners reminded us visually of St Don Bosco!

As well as filming for Saint Don Bosco we arranged to film for St Jacinta Marto on the same day too.
So we organised costumes, parishioners and sets to feature alongside our narrative and other images and filmed back in January 2017 for numerous productions. As always, Mary's Dowry Productions works on the smallest of budgets and sales of DVDs goes towards costumes, set production costs and feeding our enthusiastic 'actors' on the day. We are a film apostolate and love to share the lives of the Saints, especially the English Martyrs.

One of our local primary school teachers at English Martyrs Primary School was keen to be involved so we cast her as St Mary Mazarello. We also involved several of the school children who also attend our parish church of the English Martyrs.
All our cast are natural actors and portray the atmosphere we seek of gentleness, holiness, reflection and authentic spirituality in the settings we place them in.

Our films about Saint Don Bosco and St Dominic Savio are now complete and this month of June 2018 we have managed to record the narrative for our film about St Mary Mazarello.
St Mary's story is very simple and yet so very rich with everything we love about the Catholic Faith. Her calling and vocation was, as she said, to save her soul by educating and instructing in the Truths of the Faith the young girls and women of Mornese, Italy when their circumstances were difficult and even dangerous. St Don Bosco was drawn to St Mary's holiness and vocation and worked with her to found the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the Salesian counterpart of his order. He was as a father to St Mary and the sisters. St Mary designed the habit the nuns wore and when she was elected superior she said that Our Lady would be superior and St Mary would be Our Lady's vicar.
St Mary died aged 44 after a difficult illness and many painful sufferings that she was able to offer up for the salvation of souls. We are looking forward to starting editing our film about St Mary Mazzarello and making it available on DVD over the coming months.

Our films are available here: