Monday 19 April 2010

Jesuits, Birettas, Priest Holes and St. Nicholas Owen

The Society of Jesus (Latin: Societas Iesu, S.J., SJ or SI) is a male religious congregation of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits. The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations on six continents. Jesuits work in education (founding schools, colleges, universities and seminaries), intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, and promote social justice and ecumenical dialogue.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola founded the society after being wounded in battle and experiencing a religious conversion. He composed the Spiritual Exercises to help others follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 1534, Ignatius and six other young men, including Francis Xavier and Peter Faber, gathered and professed vows of poverty, chastity, and later obedience, including a special vow of obedience to the Pope in matters of mission direction and assignment. Ignatius's plan of the order's organization was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540 by a bull containing the "Formula of the Institute".

Saint Nicholas Owen measures the wall inside a house in order
to built his ingenious priest hole.
Screenshot from 'St. Nicholas Owen'
© 2010 Mary's Dowry Productions

In England, during the troubled days following the reformation, the Jesuits played a very important part in bringing the outlawed sacraments to the English people.
Many young English men travelled abroad to train as priests and Jesuits and return to England to bring the Gospel back to the people.
Saint Nicholas Owen was a Jesuit layman who travelled with the Jesuits constructing secret rooms and priest holes up and down England.

St. Henry Garnets and the Jesuits hide Nicholas Owen before
they too conceal themselves in priest holes as the
house is raided in the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot
Screenshot from 'St. Nicholas Owen'
© 2010 Mary's Dowry Productions
St. Nicholas Owen's fascinating, spiritual and evangelical life of priest hole making is looked at in this DVD available through our online shop:
 Fr. Henry Garnett, Superior to the Jesuits in England until his capture and execution during the reign of King James I was arrested with St. Nicholas Owen.
 The Jesuits hid in one of his priest holes in the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot.
In 2007 Mary’s Dowry productions created a new form of film media to present the lives of the saints. Mary’s Dowry Productions recreates stunning silent visuals, informative, devotional narration, and original contemplative music that touches your spirit to draw you into a spiritual encounter with the saint. Watch with your spiritual eye, listen with your spiritual ear. Our films seek to offer a window into the lives of our saints. Using your spiritual senses we invite you to shut out the world, sit prayerfully and peacefully and go on a journey of faith, history and prayer with this inspiring English Saint. 

1 comment:

rin72lay said...

How excellent!