Saturday 19 August 2017

A priest's defense of the Most Holy Eucharist - Elizabethan England, English Martyr, Saint Polydore Plasden

A Priest's Defense of the Most Holy Eucharist

In 2010, Mary's Dowry Productions produced three films, intricately linked, on the lives and missions of three English Martyrs, who were also three friends: Saint Edmund Gennings, Saint Swithun Wells and Saint Polydore Plasden. Saint Swithun was an Elizabethan gentleman with connections to Shakespeare, who left his countryside sporting life to relocate to the heart of London. There he established a safe house for hunted Catholic priests complete with a hidden, upstairs secret room where the outlawed Mass could be offered. 

Two missionary priests and friends, Saint Edmund Gennings (24 years old) and Saint Polydore Plasden (28 years old) traveled to Swithun's home in Autumn of 1591 where they greeted once more Swithun, his wife, daughter and staff, and stayed at the safe house to offer Mass.
It was during Mass that Queen Elizabeth I's chief priest-hunter, a ruthless torturer named Richard Topcliffe, stormed the house with an army of men to arrest all in attendance, especially the two priests. Young Father Polydore bargained with Topcliffe at the door that should they be permitted to finish Mass they would go quietly with him. Surprisingly, the priest catcher agreed.
Father Polydore took meticulous care to consume every fragment and particle of the Most Holy Eucharist and purify every sacred vessel used in the Holy Sacrifice, knowing that Topcliffe was waiting to drag he and Father Edmund to the Tower to torture and then execute them both. Despite imminent terror and crushing oppression, this devout, calm and deeply reverent English priest was determined that the Most Holy Eucharist would not be subjected to sacrilege or desecration at the hands of the impious Topcliffe and his men.

Father Polydore Plasden, along with Father Edmund Gennings, several laymen and women, servants and Swithun's wife, were taken under guard to be questioned, imprisoned and tortured.
On a cold, dreary December morning, Saint Polydore joyfully went to his death, parting with his friends, Saint Edmund and Saint Swithun who were executed outside Saint Swithun's house, to the infamous Tyburn Triple gallows.

Saint Polydore Plasden's incredible witness to the Catholic Faith at the gallows so moved the crowd that among them, Sir Walter Raleigh, stepped up to stop the execution. He sent a message to the Queen to spare Father Polydore, but the Queen refused. Sir Walter Raleigh insisted that this brave, young Catholic priest be allowed to hang until dead before his body was brutally butchered.

Our films about these heroic witnesses to the Faith are available on DVD through our online shop.
As seen on EWTN

Saturday 5 August 2017

Blessed Margaret Pole and Queen Mary I of England - two historical, Catholic films now available on DVD


Two historical Catholic films now available on DVD

Our film about Margaret Pole: Countess of Salisbury was produced in 2009 and filmed with permission at Cowdray House ruins in Midhurst, a significant location in the life of Blessed Margaret Pole. We love to produce films about known historical figures, especially those with important English and Catholic details, so a film about Blessed Margaret Pole was completed two years after we founded Mary's Dowry Productions.
Our film journey with Blessed Margaret Pole is an informative and moving testimony to her faithfulness to England and her unwavering devotion to the True Faith. Blessed Margaret Pole was the Countess of Salisbury and the last of the Plantagenet Dynasty. She was the friend of Queen Katherine of Aragon and the Godmother of Princess Mary Tudor. She made an enemy of King Henry VIII when she refused to accept the King's break with the Church. King Henry VIII imprisoned his daughter's Godmother in the Tower of London and had her beheaded when she was 67 years of age. We wanted to produce a film that especially journeyed with Margaret Pole in this turning point of English history that presents both information and facts as well as her character, bravery and spirituality.

After producing our film about Blessed Margaret Pole, we were keen to produce a film about her Goddaughter, Queen Mary I of England. It took us 7 years to get around to finally making and releasing our film about Mary Tudor, which is now available worldwide on DVD.
We hope to be able to produce a film about Queen Katherine of Aragon within the next year or two (we are presently working on her costume) and are pleased meanwhile to have films available on DVD about these two important women in England's Tudor history.


are both available on DVD through our online shops:

Saint Edith Stein - FEAST DAY Wednesday 9th August. Carmelite Martyr - film

Feast day - August 9th

In 2015 we filmed for a DVD about Saint Edith Stein. Many people in our parish had never heard of Saint Edith Stein (!) so we organised a filming day for three Catholic Martyrs who were murdered for the Catholic Faith by the Nazis. These were Saint Edith Stein, St. Maximilian Kolbe and Blessed Titus Brandsma. We spent a day filming key moments from their lives for a DVD presenting each of their biographies with the help of parishioners and friends.

Our film about St. Edith Stein runs for half an hour and is packed with biographical and spiritual detail. We journey with Saint Edith Stein through her early life, her studies, writings, her conversion to the Catholic Faith, her entrance into Carmel, her escape from Germany and her beautiful Carmelite spirituality, letters and writings to her arrest, her journey to Auschwitz and her moving death.
We were able to cover some truly inspiring elements of St. Edith's thoughts and writings, prayers and example in the face of evil.

Our film about St. Edith Stein is available on DVD and is a good way to learn about her, to share her story with others, and to celebrate her feast day this year.

To purchase copies:

TWICE HANGED - Blessed John Woodcock - English Martyr. Reading for August PART TWO


St. Alexander Briant - Mary's Dowry Productions
Screenshot © 2012
On hearing his sentence, Blessed John Woodcock exclaimed,
The priests Thomas Whitaker and Edward Bramber were condemned at the same time. The following night Father Woodcock spent in prayer and contemplation. At the dawn of day, he and his companions were led out in the usual way to execution. An immense and noisy crowd followed them. Catholics present were greatly heartened by their constancy, and not a few others were astonished at it. Father Woodcock was the first to mount the ladder. After he had said a few words on the Catholic Faith he was interrupted and cast off.
 It is said that, by some accident or through the carelessness of the executioner, the rope broke, and he fell to the ground. At the sheriff's order he mounted the ladder again, and, after being thus hanged a second time, was cut down and butchered alive; Lancaster, 7th August 1646.

"Thy dead men shall live, my slain shall rise again; awake and give praise, ye that dwell in the dust." - Isa. 26. 19.

Reading from the Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales by Henry Sebastian Bowden - 5th August.

For films about the lives and missions of the English Martyrs on DVD visit:

FORWARD TO THE MARK - Blessed John Woodcock - English Martyr - Reading for August PART ONE


St. Edmund Campion - Mary's Dowry Productions
Screenshot © 2009
We were privileged to attend the beatification of Blessed John Woodcock by Pope John Paul II on 22nd November 1987. He and the other 84 Martyrs who were beatified that day have a special place in our hearts and in Mary's Dowry Productions.
Blessed John Woodcock was executed on 7th August 1646.
Blessed John Woodcock was born in Leyland, Lancashire, in England. His parents, Thomas and Dorothy Woodcock, the latter a Catholic, were of the middle class. Woodcock converted to Catholicism about 1622, and after studying at Saint-Omer for a year was admitted to the English College, Rome, on 20 October 1629.
On 16 May 1630, he joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin in Paris, but soon afterwards transferred himself to the English Franciscans at Douai. He received the habit from Henry Heath in 1631 and was professed by Arthur Bell a year later. For some years he lived at Arras as chaplain to a Mr. Sheldon.
Late in 1643 he landed at Newcastle-on-Tyne, and was arrested on the first night he spent in Lancashire. After two years' imprisonment in Lancaster Castle, he was condemned on 6 August 1646, on his own confession, for being a priest, together with two others, Edward Bamber and Thomas Whittaker.
On 7 August 1646, in an attempted execution, he was flung off a ladder, but the rope broke. He was then hanged a second time, was cut down and disemboweled alive. The Franciscan Sisters at Taunton possess an arm-bone of the martyr.
John Woodcock was among the eighty-five martyrs of England and Wales beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22 November 1987. (Wikipedia)

St. Alexander Briant - Mary's Dowry Productions
Screenshot © 2012
Reading for 4th August from the Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales:

Born in Lancashire in 1603, he was educated at St Omer and the English College at Rome. There he conceived a desire for a stricter life and found admission with the Capuchins in Paris.
"I have put on the habit, I praise sweet Jesus, almost three months," he wrote; but his joy was short. Owing to the opposition of relatives in England and to his weak health, he was dismissed. He felt these reasons to be insufficient, and his aim never slackened to be a religious and, further, to go on the English mission. Eventually after many difficulties, he was professed among the English Franciscans at Douay, and ministered zealously for a time in England.
Although his health got worse, he was allowed for a second time to sail to England. He had scarcely landed at Newcastle when he was apprehended; he remained for two years in Lancaster Castle, till he was sentenced, his perseverance rewarded.

"Forgetting the things that are behind, I press forward to the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation of God in Christ Jesus." -  Phil. 3, 13-14

For films about the lives and missions of the English Martyrs in England visit