About Mary’s Dowry Productions, from an Article written for Arundel Cathedral Proclaimer, April 2016

About Mary’s Dowry Productions
By Bernadette Bevans
Co-Founder and Co-Director

Mary’s Dowry Productions is named for Our Lady.
Tradition tells us that England was first consecrated to the Blessed Virgin as Her Dowry by Saint Edward the Confessor and that England has always held a special place in Mary’s heart. In 2007 my sister Emily and I felt so inspired by the lives of the saints, particularly our English saints and martyrs, that we wished to present these stories in a way that would inspire others too. I had a background in music composition and Emily in media and film. Having grown up in A&B Diocese and living not far from Arundel, we had visited the Cathedral many times for events such as confirmation but it struck us that we did not know a great deal about Saint Philip Howard whose tomb is there. We decided we would create a film on his life which would be inspiring and uplifting and help people to encounter this great saint.

Saint Philip Howard DVD by Mary’s Dowry Productions

We use the format of DVD so that anybody can pop a DVD in their player and encounter a saints’ life immediately. Using the simple means that were available to us at the time has led to the creation of a new form of film media to present the lives of the saints. We try to recreate stunning silent visuals, informative, devotional narration and original contemplative music that touches the spirit and draws the viewer into a spiritual encounter with the saint. We wanted to achieve more than just films, but spiritual films that really capture the atmosphere and essence of an individual saint and not just information about them. Our DVD on St. Philip Howard helped us to learn about this saint too and has led us to produce films on other English Martyrs such as St. Edmund Campion, St. Margaret Clitherow; Anglo-Saxon saints like St. Cuthman of Steyning, St. Etheldreda; and popular saints like St. Francis of Assisi, St. Teresa of Avila also. Our visuals over the years have become more creative, we try to incorporate local scenes and landmarks into the films and some of the saints we choose are very unknown but whose stories are remarkable and relevant today. Our films seek to offer a window into the lives of our saints so, 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 the saints. Our growing catalogue of DVDs and music CDs now numbers over 70 films which are all available online at www.marysdowryproductions.org
and
www.marysdowryproductions.co.uk

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Saint Margaret Clitherow, A Valiant Woman, the Shining Pearl of York, English Martyr

A VALIANT WOMAN – Saint Margaret Clitherow, English Martyr, Recusant Catholic, Elizabethan, Mother, Saint.

Margaret Middleton married John Clitherow, butcher and grazier, a freeman of the city of York, in 1571, and shortly afterwards became a Catholic. During the following twelve years her house was a refuge for priests, whom she received at her own peril, and she brought up her children in the faith; her husband was not a Catholic, but seems not to have hampered his wife’s activities. For her persistent recusancy, Margaret was several times put in prison, even for two years together, but her sufferings only increased her fervour. “Were it not,” she said, “for my husband and children I would rather stay there always, apart from the world with God.” She was most attentive to the care of her house, witty, cheerful and good-looking, and her constancy and patience never failed. Her husband was later to say of her, “Let them take all I have and save her, for she is the best wife in all England, and the best Catholic.” She has, he said, only two faults, fasting too much and refusing to go to church. On 10 March 1586 Mr Clitherow was summoned before the council at York, and in his absence his house was searched. The priest in hiding there escaped, but Margaret and her children were taken. Enraged at their failure, the searchers terrorized a Flemish boy of twelve years, staying in the house, till he showed them the priest’s room and where the church stuff was kept. At her trial, lest her children might be forced by evidence to be guilty of her blood, Margaret refused to plead, on the ground that she had committed no offence. At her second examination she again refused to plead, saying there was no evidence against her save that of children, whom you can make say anything by a stick or an apple. An Anglican clergyman who was present boldly protested to the bench against the iniquity of the proceedings. The judge urged her to demand a jury, but in vain, and she was sentenced to be pressed to death, the ancient penalty for standing mute to a charge of felony. Margaret told the judge that, if this was his conscientious judgement, she prayed God to give him a better judgement in future. Forbidden to see husband or child, pestered by people who tried to shake her resolution, Margaret yet thanked God for all that was befalling her. The judge unwillingly issued an order for the execution on the following Friday (25th March 1586). Margaret had prepared herself by fasting and prayer; but she begged for a woman to be with her during the night, for, “though death is comfort,” she said, “the flesh is frail.” As no one could be admitted, the keeper’s wife sat with her for a while. The first hours of the night Margaret passed on her knees in prayer, clothed in a linen habit made by herself for her passion. At three she laid herself flat on the stones for a quarter of an hour, then rested on her bed. At eight the sheriff and his officers came, and with them she walked barefoot, going along through the crowd to the Tolbooth. There, turning from those present, she knelt and prayed by herself. Then she laid herself on the ground clothed only in the linen habit, her face covered with a handkerchief, her hands outstretched and bound as if on a cross. The weighted door was laid on her; at the first crushing pain she cried, “Jesu, Jesu, Jesu have mercy on me,” and after a quarter of an hour passed to God. So died Saint Margaret Clitherow, of whom it was said that “everybody loved her.”

Reading from Mementoes of the Confessors and Martyrs of England and Wales by Henry Sebastian Bowden of the Oratory. (Imaged used in the post taken from the DVDs ‘Saint Margaret Clitherow’ and ‘The Shining Pearl of York’ by Mary’s Dowry Productions)

Our DVDs about Saint Margaret Clitherow are available worldwide, region free, from our online shop: www.marysdowryproductions.org

 

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Saint David of Wales, a new film of his life on DVD

Our NEW DVD about Saint David of Wales is NOW available worldwide, region free, from our online shop. This 30 minute film invites the viewer to take a prayerful and informative journey with one of our well known and inspiring British Saints. Saint David was a monk and bishop who left a great example of simplicity, joy and prayer to the Universal Church. In this film we walk with Saint David as he treads the path Our Lord lay out for him, with humility, zeal and holiness. We look at the life Saint David and his monks led, the miracles that occurred by his hand and the shining example he has left us today. An original music score accompanies the narration to create an atmosphere of reflection, prayer and joy. Imagery includes a simple variety of footage showing Saint David at prayer and journeying over the hills and woodlands of Wales. This original film is available on DVD through our online shop at: www.marysdowryproductions.org

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Saint John Houghton DVD, a film about a Carthusian English Martyr

Our NEW DVD about Saint John Houghton is now available through our online shop worldwide region free. The film follows the life of this humble and holy Carthusian Prior who was one of the Protomartyrs of the English Reformation. It looks briefly at his early life and lingers reflectively upon his prayerful and spiritual example given during his time as Prior of the London Charterhouse. When the good religious of Tudor England were called upon to deny the Pope as head of the Church and accept the English Monarch, King Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the Church of England, Saint John Houghton refused. We follow him to the Tower of London, his trial and his final, beautiful witness to the Catholic Faith in England at Tyburn in London where he gave his life. His most famous quote took place as he was dying. The executioner held up his heart and Saint John Houghton breathed, “Good Jesus, what will You do with my heart?” He is an English Martyr, one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales and an English Saint. The music that accompanies the narration is meditative and absorbing, the visuals include sacred art and original imagery that we filmed portraying Saint John Houghton at prayer, teaching, in his cell, at trial, in the Tower of London and at the gallows. This is a spiritual and prayerful journey with one of our English Martyrs, suitable for people of faith and those interested in history. It is now available from our online shop at: www.marysdowryproductions.org

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Shielding a Friend – Saint Alexander Briant (1), Elizabethan English missionary priest, Tyburn, Reading for 27th December


Robert Persons and Alexander Briant – best friends, missionary priests – screenshot © 2012 Mary’s Dowry Productions

SHIELDING A FRIEND – Saint Alexander Briant (1), Elizabethan Missionary Priest, martyred at Tyburn 1581 – Feast day December 1st.

Father Persons, being regarded as a most active and dangerous leader of Catholics, was ever an object of the pursuviants search; they never succeeded in his capture, but many other prizes were secured in his stead. Amongst these was taken Alexander Briant, a young man some twenty-five years of age, of gentle manners and a countenance of striking beauty. After three years at Oxford, he was reconciled and entered Douay, and in 1579 started as a priest on the English Mission. He laboured first in his own county,

Persons and Briant hiding outlawed Liturgical vessels in their room - Screenshot © 2012 Mary's Dowry Productions

Somersetshire, where he brought back Persons’ father to the Church, and thence went to London and took lodgings next to Persons, his closest and dearest friend.

On his arrest he was confined to the Counter, and in that revolting prison, in order to extract from him Persons’ whereabouts, he was for two days and nights entirely deprived of food and drink.
He then contrived to get some stale cheese and hard bread with a pint of beer, but this brought on a maddening thirst. After six days in the Counter nothing had been gained from him, and sharper methods were resolved on.

“With thy comeliness and beauty set our, proceed prosperously and reign, because of truth, meekness and justice.” – Ps. 44, 5-6.

Reading for 27th December

Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales

by Henry Sebastian Bowden of the Oratory

For our film about Saint Alexander Briant: www.marysdowryproductions.org

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Honey from the Rock – Saint Robert Southwell, English Martyr, Elizabethan Missionary Priest, Tyburn – Reading for 26th December

HONEY FROM THE ROCK
Saint Robert Southwell – Reading for 26th December

From a letter written before his arrest:

“We have written many letters, but it seems few have come to your hands. We sail in the midst of these stormy waves with no small danger, from which nevertheless it has pleased Our Lord hitherto to deliver us. We have altogether, with much comfort, renewed the vows of the Society according to our custom. I seem to see the beginnings of a religious life in England, of which we now sow the seeds with tears, that others hereafter may with joy carry in the sheaves to the heavenly granaries. We have sung the canticles of the Lord in a strange land. and in this desert we have sucked honey from the rock and oil from the hard stone. But these joys ended in sorrow, and sudden fears dispersed us into different places; but in fine we were more afraid than hurt, for we all escaped, I, with another of ours, seeking to avoid Scylla, had like to have fallen into Charybdis, but by the mercy of God we passed betwixt them both.

In another of mine I gave an account of the martyrdom of Mr Bayles and Mr Horner, and of the edification the people received from their holy ends. We also, if not unworthy, look for the time when our day shall come.”

“He set him upon high land, that he might…suck honey out of the rock and oil out of the hardest stone.” – Deut. 32, 13.

Reading for 26th December – Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales by Henry Sebastian Bowden of the Oratory

For our film about Saint Robert Southwell visit: www.marysdowryproductions.org

Screenshots in this post © 2015 Mary’s Dowry Productions, taken from the DVD ‘Saint Robert Southwell.

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A Priest’s Epitaph at Douay – George Muscot – Secular priest – Reading for 24th December

A PRIEST’S EPITAPH AT DOUAY
George Muscot – Secular Priest

Saint Henry Morse meeting with Saint John Southworth - two English Martyrs also reprieved by King Charles I at the intercession of Queen Henrietta, yet both were later martyred

“After a great many labours endured in England for the Catholic faith, with great profit to souls, here rests the very Reverend George Muscot, an English priest. Having suffered the miseries of prison for above twenty years, he was condemned to death for that faith. The hurdle was waiting for him at the prison gate when, at the intercession of the Queen of England, he was reprieved by the King (Charles I). Promoted by the Supreme Pontiff to the presidency of the English College at Douay, by his government he gave new life to its discipline, and in four years of the hardest times increased its temporal estate by 20,000 florins. At length, being increased in merits but reduced by sufferings and infirmities, he gave his poor body to the earth, his rich soul to Heaven and the fragrance of his example to all priests. He died, aged sixty-five, in the fortieth year of his priesthood, the fifth of his presidency, on the eve of the Birthday of the Lord. On that same day formerly, he had been thrown into a filthy dungeon amongst felons and kept there three days, but his stay bore good fruit. Out of ten malefactors condemned to die, nine were reconciled to the Catholic faith. May he rest in peace.”

“He chose him out of all men living to offer sacrifice to God, incense, and a good savour, for a memorial to make reconciliation for his people.” – Ecclus. 45, 20.

Reading for 24th December

Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales

by Henry Sebastian Bowden of the Oratory

Reflection

Many of our English Martyrs were trained for the Catholic priesthood in Douay. Father George Muscot, although he was not martyred, suffered in prison in England for twenty years and almost received that blessed crown as the hurdle that would have dragged him to Tyburn awaited him at the prison gates. His sufferings and work for the Catholic Faith and for the English missionary priests bore much fruit for souls. Like Father Robert Persons and Father John Gerard, Father George Muscot can be remembered with the English Martyrs as great champions for the Catholic Faith in England.

For films about the English Martyrs:

www.marysdowryproductions.org

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New Saint Edith Stein Trailer

New Trailer for our Saint Edith Stein DVD

Available on DVD:

www.mayrsdowryproductions.org

 

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Lying Witnesses – Saint Edmund Campion (2), Jesuit, Elizabethan missionary martyr, Tyburn – reading for 22nd December, feast day 1st December

LYING WITNESSES

Saint Edmund Campion (2) – Jesuit, English Martyr

Screenshot above:

Saint Edmund Campion at his trial

© 2008 Mary’s Dowry Productions

To the jury at his trial:

“In common matters we often see witnesses impeached, and if at any time their credit be little, it ought then to be less when they swear against life. Call, I pray you, to your remembrance how faintly some have deposed, how coldly others, how untruly the rest; especially two who have testified most. What truth may you expect from their mouths? The one hath confessed himself a murderer, the other well known as a detestable atheist, a profane heathen – a destroyer of two men already.

Screenshot above:

Saint Alexander Briant – tried and executed with Saint Edmund Campion

© 2012 Mary’s Dowry Productions

On your consciences, would you believe them? – they that have betrayed both God and man, nay, that have nothing left to swear by, neither religion nor honesty? Though you would believe them, can you? I know your wisdom is greater, your consciences up-righter: esteem them as they be. Examine the other two, you shall find neither of them precisely to affirm that we, or any of us, have practised aught that might be prejudicial to this state or dangerous to this commonwealth. God give you grace to weigh our causes aright, and have respect to your own consciences; and so I will keep the jury no longer. I commit the rest to God, and our convictions to your good discretion.”

“Many bore false witness against him, and their evidences were not agreeing.” – Matt 14, 46.

Reading for 22nd December

Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales

by Henry Sebastian Bowden of the Oratory.

For films about the English Martyrs:

www.marysdowryproductions.org

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His Passion Foreseen – Saint Edmund Campion (1), English Martyr, Jesuit, Reading for 21st December – feast day December 1st

HIS PASSION FORESEEN

Saint Edmund Campion – Jesuit (1)

IN December 1579 Dr Allen wrote to Campion:

“My father, brother, son, Edmund Campion, for to you I must use every expression of the tenderest ties of love: since the general of your order (and he, I take it) speaks to you for Christ himself) calls you from Prague to Rome, and thence to our own England; and since your brethren after the flesh call you – I, who am so closely connected with them, with you and with our common country, both in the world and in the Lord, must not keep silence, when I should be first to desire you, to call you, to cry to you. Make all haste to come, my dearest Campion.” On receiving the command, he heard it in silence, blushed, and said, “Indeed, the fathers seem to suspect something about me. I hope their suspicions may be true. God’s will be done, not mine.”

The suspicions to which Campion referred had already found vent: the night before, Father James Gall, from Silesia, reputed to have visions, wrote over Edmund’s cell, “P. Edmundus Campianis Martyr.” The writer was punished for his infringement of discipline, but he declared that he felt obliged to do it. Another father had previously painted a garland of flowers on the wall of Campion’s room, above where his head rested.

“They shall condemn him to death.” – Matt. 20, 18

Reading for 21st December

Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales

by Henry Sebastian Bowden of the Oratory

God’s Champion – St. Edmund Campion: DVD

A shorter version of our long film about St. Edmund Campion with additional focus on his influence upon the Earl of Arundel, a fellow Catholic convert. Prayerful and insightful.

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 Elizabethan Saint.

Length and Format:

The film runs for 30 minutes and is available on Region Free DVD worldwide.

www.marysdowryproductions.org

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