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: