The Secret Mass Room: Saint Swithun Wells
The Secret Mass Room - Saint Swithun Wells:
In Elizabethan England, when the Catholic Mass was outlawed and it was illegal to be a Catholic priest within the Queen’s realm, a Catholic gentleman named Saint Swithun Wells set up a secret room in his town house in London.
Saint Swithun was a fascinating man, a convert to Catholicism, a country gentleman who enjoyed sports and reading in his younger days. He had a wife, Alice and a daughter, and he travelled abroad and worked with one of William Shakespeare’s patrons.
In his Secret Mass Room in London, Saint Swithun Wells kept illegal vessels, vestments and all the means for hunted Catholic priests to stay in his home, rest and offer the outlawed Mass for the recusant Catholics of his area.
Thanks to Saint Swithun, many missionary priests eluded capture and the Catholic Church endured during the cruel years of persecution. When the Queen’s most notorious priest hunter, Richard Topcliffe, got wind of Saint Swithun Wells’ activities and the existence of a Secret Mass Room, Topcliffe marched upon the house with a rabble of men while Mass was being celebrated. Saint Swithun happened to be out at the time, but his wife, servants and two priests, Saint Polydore Plasden and Saint Edmund Gennings, were led from the house in chains through the streets and taken to prison.
When Saint Swithun returned home and his daughter told him what had occurred, he promptly marched to the prison and demanded the release of his wife. He was arrested on the spot and thrown in prison as well. Although questioned and tortured, Saint Swithun remained cheerful and refused to denounce the Pope, the Catholic Church or provide any information regarding the survival of the Catholic Church in England or about priests.
He was sentenced to death in an unjust trial and because Topcliffe despised him so much, was led to a gallows constructed outside his house. Saint Swithun greeted old friends in the crowd and encouraged young Saint Edmund Gennings, a 24 year old Catholic priest, who was hanged, drawn and quartered before him. Saint Swithun then gave his life cheerfully as a great witness to the crowd that remains an inspiration for Catholics today. He was canonised in 1970 and is one of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales,.
Learn about Saint Swithun Wells and the Secret Mass Room in a film that has been internationally praised for not only presenting details, information and facts but a prayerful and spiritual film experience. As seen on EWTN.
Length and Format:
The Secret Mass Room - Saint Swithun Wells runs for 30 minutes and is available worldwide on Region Free DVD
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