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As a cousin of Queen Elizabeth I of England, Saint Philip Howard, the Earl of Arundel, spent his youth enjoying the luxuries, sports, pastimes and indulgences of the Elizabethan court, neglecting his wife and the Catholic Faith of his ancestors. He was one of the wealthiest men in England and a favourite with the Queen.
When he heard Saint Edmund Campion’s disputations in the Tower of London, Saint Philip Howard’s conscience was troubled. He was greatly moved by Saint Edmund Campion’s explanations of and defence of the Catholic Faith, and, combined with the great Jesuit priest’s witness and the prayers of Saint Philip’s devoutly Catholic wife, Anne Dacre, Saint Philip experienced a profound conversion.
For a short time he deliberated over his conversion and on one occasion travelled to Walsingham in Norfolk with Queen Elizabeth I. When he saw the destroyed remains of the Holy House and the ancient Saxon Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham due to the Protestant Reformation, it is believed that Saint Philip Howard penned the famous ‘Walsingham Lament’.
Saint Philip Howard was reconciled to the outlawed Catholic Church and dedicated his life to assisting the persecuted Church in Elizabethan England. Fearing the wrath of Queen Elizabeth I who learned of his conversion, Saint Philip attempted to escape England by ship, but he was captured and arrested.
He was offered his freedom if he but once attended a Protestant Service, but the Earl refused and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Saint Philip Howard lingered in the infamous Tower for eleven long years with the constant threat of a barbaric death over his head, and the promise that should he attend a Protestant Service he would be able to return to his wife, daughter and the son he had never met. But Saint Philip Howard refused. He was also accused of praying for the success of the Spanish Armada.
His time in the Tower was spent in prayer and meditation, his faithful dog by his side. He wrote hymns and prayers which are still used today. He received encouragement from fellow English Martyr Saint Robert Southwell, who became chaplain to Anne Dacre, and when Saint Robert Southwell was imprisoned in the Tower, Saint Philip’s dog paid the holy Jesuit priest a visit.
Due to the terrible conditions of his imprisonment, Saint Philip Howard suffered from ill-health and suffered greatly. He famously inscribed in the wall of his cell ‘The more suffering for Christ in this life, the more glory with him in the next’. He eventually died of his ailments and was declared a Martyr for the Catholic Church. His shrine is located in Arundel Cathedral, a stone throw away from his Castle in Arundel, Sussex, England. Saint Philip Howard was canonised one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales.
Learn about the inspiring life of Saint Philip Howard in a film that has been internationally praised for not only presenting information, details and facts but a prayerful and spiritual film experience. As seen on EWTN.
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