Friday 24 July 2015

The English Martyrs and the Rosary

Anne Howard, the wife of Saint Philip Howard, praying the rosary
Screenshot taken from 'Saint Robert Southwell' film
© Mary's Dowry Productions

From the start of Saint Henry Garnet's missionary work to defend and preserve the Catholic Faith in England in Penal times, he had encouraged Catholics to enrol themselves in a pious sodality known as the Confraternity of the Rosary.  At no time did he doubt that the fight for the old religion was to be won mainly by spiritual weapons.

From his own experience, Saint Henry Garnet set great store by the merits and prayers of the martyred priests, and it was this that made him their first and most detailed historian.  He treasured also the prayers of his Roman friends.  Whenever he wrote to Acquaviva he included a petition for his prayers and the prayers of his Roman friends.

Saint Henry Garnet and Saint Robert Southwell
Screenshot taken from our film 'Saint Robert Southwell'
© Mary's Dowry Productions

In Rome, Saint Henry Garnet had witnessed a growing devotion to the Rosary.  When Pope Pius V had called for a crusade against the Turks he urged all Catholics to support it with the regular recital of the rosary.  Devout persons in all countries attributed the victory of Lepanto to the widespread use of the rosary in the churches of Rome and Italy.  Garnet himself had witness the inauguration of the feast of the Rosary by Pope Gregory XIII in 1573.  Before leaving for England he had received from the Dominican General special faculties, reserved normally to the friars of that Order, to admit English Catholics into the Confraternity.  A crusader at heart, Saint Henry Garnet believed that prayer would be effective against heresy in England as it had been in the time of Saint Dominic against the Albigenses.

While Saint Robert Southwell was engaged writing the Supplication, Saint Henry Garnet wrote his first published English work, The Societie of the Rosary.  The title page explains his intention.  There the antiphon of the office of Our Lady is printed - Gaude Virgo Maria, cunctas hereses sola intermisti in universe mundo: Rejoice Virgin Mary, since thou alone hast crushed all heresies throughout the world.

In October 1591 Saint Henry Garnet wrote urgently to Acquaviva reminding him that he had already asked him for a renewal of his special privileges regarding the Confraternity of the Rosary, for he feared that they had lapsed with the death of the Dominican General Sixtus Fabri, in 1589.  Now he added a request for the new Master General to grant a dispensation from the rule that the names of members should be inscribed in a book. 

It was one thing to allow Catholics to risk arrest by keeping rosary beads secretly in their homes, another to draw up a list of members which if they fell into the hands of the priest-hunters would bring ruin to their homes.  To spread the devotion more quickly, Saint Henry Garnet was anxious that more English priests should be given the faculties that he himself had been granted.

Anne Howard, wife of Saint Philip Howard, praying the rosary
Screenshot taken from our film 'Saint Robert Southwell'
© Mary's Dowry Productions

Saint Henry Garnet's book on the rosary was widely diffused.  When the stock of the first edition was seized in a raid on Saint Henry Garnet's press a second edition was out within a year.  An engraving of the Virgin with her infant son appeared on the new title page.  This was Saint Henry Garnet's hope against heresy.  He was "fully persuaded" that Catholics should enlist on their side the power of Our Lady's intercession and "obtain from her a new rainbow, which being a sign of God, cannot signify falsely, but (must) most certainly foretell our comfort and relief"'

Taken from 'A study in Friendship - Saint Robert Southwell and Saint Henry Garnet' by Philip Caraman, S.J.  

Screenshots from our filming day of SAINT JOHN HOUGHTON, English Martyr

St. John Houghton prepares for his execution
© Mary's Dowry Productions
Alongside filming visuals for our film about Saint Robert Southwell which took place in the Barn attached to our parish church of the English Martyrs in Goring-by-Sea, we also filmed some visuals of Saint John Houghton.
Saint John Houghton is the protomartyr of the English Reformatio'.  He was prior of the London Carthusian Charterhouse and when he was called upon to take the Oath of Supremacy he refused. 
Saint John Houghton during his trial
© Mary's Dowry Productions
At the Tyburn Gallows Saint John Houghton was permitted to speak.  He said:
"I call Almighty God to witness, and I beseech all here present to attest for me on the dreadful day of judgement, that being about to die in public, I declare that I have refused to comply with the will of His Majesty the King (Henry VIII), not from obstinacy, malice or a rebellious spirit, but solely for fear of offending the Supreme Majesty of God.  Our holy mother the Church has decreed and enjoined otherwise than the King and Parliament have decreed. I am therefore bound in conscience, and am ready and willing to suffer every kind of torture rather than deny a doctrine of the Church. Pray for me and have pity on me, my brethren, of whom I have been the unworthy prior. In Thee, O Lord I have hoped; let me never be confounded."
Saint John Houghton at the Tyburn gallows
© Mary's Dowry Productions
For our film presentation of Saint John Houghton's life we recreated some visuals of key moments such as his trial, his death and his time in prison.  We also portrayed moments from his life in the monastery such as his teaching novices and the three days preparation that he and his monks underwent before the Royal Commissioners returned.

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 Tudor Saint.
At the gallows, when the executioner groped for Saint John Houghton's heart, Saint John looked upon it and said:
"Good Jesus, what will You do with my heart?"
There is a famous painting of Saint John Houghton holding his heart and we recreated that image for our film.  Our DVD about Saint John Houghton is due out in 2015, visit our website for its release:
Saint John Houghton holds his heart
© Mary's Dowry Productions

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Filming for 'Saint Robert Southwell', English Martyr.

Richard Topcliffe tortures St. Robert Southwell using the infamous 'Wall Torture'
Screenshot © Mary's Dowry Productions
We spent Saturday filming visuals for an upcoming DVD production on the life, mission and Martyrdom of Saint Robert Southwell.  The film is currently in production and will be released this year.  Saint Robert Southwell was a Catholic priest who ministered to the persecuted Catholics in Elizabethan England.  St. Robert offered the outlawed Mass, travelled throughout the country and was Anne Howard's spiritual director - Anne Howard being the wife of Saint Philip Howard, the Earl of Arundel.  Saint Robert was eventually captured, tortured, tried and executed for his priesthood and holding firm to the Catholic Faith. 
'St. Robert Southwell' - COMING SOON from Mary's Dowry Productions.
Visit our online shop for current DVDs about the Saints and English Martyrs: