Sunday 10 August 2014

A film about St. Bertha, Queen of Kent, upcoming film in production, DVD

St. Bertha: Queen of Kent - Mary's Dowry Productions
We have been busy this past month filming visuals for some new productions on the lives of some of our early Saints.  Our film about St. Bertha: Queen of Kent is currently underway.
St. Bertha’s story begins in 7th Century Paris, France. The daughter of King Charibert I, she was a devout Catholic princess, descended from the holy Saint Clothide, wife to King Clovis I, considered to be the founder of the Merovingian Dynasty.  King Charibert I however lived in excess and sin and his immoral behaviour resulted in his being excommunicated from the Catholic Church.  When Charibert first became King of Paris he married his daughter to the pagan English King Ethelbert of Kent. King Ethelbert was the third king to hold imperium over the Anglo Saxon kingdoms. Raids on Britain by continental peoples had developed into full-scale migrations by the 5th Century. The newcomers are known to have included Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Frisians, and there is evidence of other groups as well. These groups captured territory in the east and south of England but at the end of the fifth century, a British victory at the battle of Mount Badon halted the Anglo-Saxon advance for fifty years. Beginning at about the year 550, however, the British began to lose ground once more, and within twenty-five years it appears that control of almost all of southern England was in the hands of the invaders.
St. Bertha married King Ethelbert of Kent - Mary's Dowry Productions
King Ethelbert’s marriage to Bertha connected the two Royal courts, although not as equals: the Franks would have thought of King Ethelbert as an under-king but the marriage would have forged useful bonds between the Kingdoms.  King Ethelbert permitted his new wife St. Bertha to practice the Christian Faith when she took up residence within his palace. So it was that St. Bertha arrived in Kent with the Catholic Bishop Liudhard as her private confessor.  King Ethelbert was immediately struck by St. Bertha’s disposition and with her he restored a Catholic church in Canterbury, which dated from Roman times, and the Bishop dedicated it to Saint Martin of Tours. It became St. Bertha’s private chapel where Bishop Liudhard offered daily the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  In the chapel St. Bertha spent time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and gave a good example of holiness, simplicity and devotion to her pagan husband with whom she had a good relationship.  It was about that time that Pope St. Gregory the Great decided to send a group of missionaries to England to preach the Gospel to the English people. The native Britons had converted to Christianity under Roman rule but the Anglo-Saxon invasions had separated the British church from European Christianity for centuries, so the church in Rome had no presence or authority in Britain, and the Universal Church knew so little about the British church that it was unaware of the unique developments of certain Celtic customs such as the erroneous dating of Easter.  Queen Bertha and King Ethelbert welcomed Saint Augustine and this incredibly important time in history is looked at in simple detail in our film. Saint Bertha’s influence in the Kentish court was instrumental in the success of St. Augustine of Canterbury’s mission in 597. St. Augustine of Canterbury owed much of his favourable reception to the influence of Bertha.
St. Bertha welcomed St. Augustine of Canterbury to England
Without her support, monastic settlements and the great Roman Catholic cathedral of Canterbury would likely have developed elsewhere.  So it is that we see King Ethelbert convert to Catholicism and St. Bertha’s continued example of holiness, fairness and devotion, where she helped share the Truths of the Faith with her English subjects.  Visuals for our film ‘St. Bertha: Queen of Kent’ were filmed locally to Mary’s Dowry Productions, up on Cissbury Ring in Findon, West Sussex, the largest hillfort in Sussex and the second largest in England. Our local folklore tells how Cissbury Ring was formed when the Devil tried to dig a hole in the South Downs to allow the sea to flood the Sussex Weald and all its churches.  As the devil dug out Devil’s Dyke, clods of earth fell to the ground forming Cissbury, Chanctonbury, Rackham Hill and Mount Caburn.  We have filmed visuals for many of our films up at Cissbury Ring, the fortifications of which date back to the beginning of the Middle Iron-Age possibly around 250 BC but abandoned in the period 50 BC – 50 AD.  The film presents a blend of simple, contemplative costumed visuals in the English countryside, sacred art, historical imagery and more to give a creative and enjoyable way to absorb the fascinating and important story of one of our great early British Saints: Queen Bertha of Kent. 
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St. Bertha: Queen of Kent
A French princess who brought her Catholic priest to Pagan England, paving the way for St. Augustine's Gregorian Mission, converted her husband, the king of Kent, through her prayer, gentleness and kindness.  A fusion of Gregorian chant, contemporary and contemplative original music with mysterious and beautiful imagery lifts this inspiring story of hope and new life to the present day.

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 Saint Bertha. 

Length and Format:
The film runs for 25 minutes and is available worldwide on Region Free DVD.

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