Visit the Bookshop

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Traditional Feast of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales

Approval of the feastday

In England, these martyrs are commemorated in the traditional calendar within the Catholic Church by a feast day on 25 October, which is also the feast of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, but after the Second Vatican Council they are also now celebrated together with all the 284 canonized or beatified martyrs of the English Reformation on 4 May. In Wales, the Catholic Church keeps 25 October as the feast of the 'Six Welsh Martyrs and their companions'. The Welsh Martyrs are the priests Philip Evans and John Lloyd, John Jones, David Lewis, John Roberts, and the teacher Richard Gwyn, Wales continues to keep 4 May as a separate feast for the beatified martyrs of England and Wales.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Our Lady of Prinknash

a statue which belonged to St Thomas More was stolen this day in 2002. It has not been returned. Please pray for its return.

"One of the saddest things that happened at Prinknash was the theft of a statue of Our Lady of Prinknash in 2002. There are many statues at Prinknash but this one was extremely beautiful and so special. It was about 20 inches tall, carved of Flemish Oak, and had belonged to St Thomas More. After the Reformation, it was taken abroad but returned in 1925 when the Benedictine monks founded their new abbey at Prinknash. Of course this means it was hundreds of years old and priceless in the truest sense. The Abbey Church was always open for visitors and those who wished to pray, and the statue used to stand on a shelf to the left side of the church. One day it just disappeared while the monks were at tea, stolen to order presumably as nothing else was taken. It devastated the community in the abbey and the wider community, including myself, who attended mass there. I almost believe it took the heart out of some of the monks and the community itself. I have a picture of that statue and I often think that one day it will return to its rightful home. Maybe when the current unrightful owner dies he will leave it in his will to be returned to Prinknash ~ after all he can’t take it with him!"  Source

Sunday, October 19, 2014

+ Venerable PHILIP HOWARD, Layman, 1595



AFTER his condemnation he rose at 5 A.M., and spent four or five hours every morning and three or four in the afternoon in prayer, so that his knees grew very hard and black. He fasted thrice a week, and on the Vigils of the great Feasts he had neither meat nor drink. In his spare time, besides a little physical exercise, he used his remarkable intellectual gifts in translating spiritual works. To the poor he gave much of his scanty allowance, and he intended, if ever it were possible, to restore all Church lands in his possession, to make his two houses monasteries, and himself to enter religion. Through his rigid confinement his body wasted while his soul waxed strong, till one day, at dinner, he was seized with a dysentery, which consumed him to skin and bone. The Queen refused his petition for a priest or for his wife and children to visit him, though this latter she had promised, but she sent word that, if he would go to church once, all would be granted, his honour and estates restored, and the fulness of her favour. He refused her offer, and after eleven years' imprisonment gave back his soul to God. He inscribed on his cell, " The more of suffering for Christ in this life, the more of glory with Christ in the next."

" The sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come."—ROM. viii. 18.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cardinal WILLIAM ALLEN, 1594



IN his defence of the Seminary Priests he wrote thus: " First and foremost for the clergy, it is wholly distrained and destroyed, as the world knoweth. The Chief Prelates, Bishops, and others, all spoiled of their dignities and livelihoods, thrust into prisons, forced into banishment, till by manifold and long miseries they be almost all wasted and worn away. These, then, so many, so notable, and so worthy, for whom God, nature, and their place of birth do challenge a part of that so much prized prosperity, feel none of it; but for mere conscience and confession of the truth, which their holy predecessors laid and left with them jn deposition, have lost their terrene lot, and either are dead or have passed so many years in misery, as those other good fellows, their intruders, have lived in joy and felicity ; who, indeed, are ' filii hominum qui nubunt et nubuntur,' (contrast Matthew xii, 25) that is, certain fleshly companions, unordered apostates, and contemptible ministers, who entering into the right and room of others, provided not for them, do think all fair weather in England, and have good cause to like the luck of these late years, which maketh true men mourners, while these thieves be merry."

"They have changed my delightful portion into a desolate wilderness. They have laid it waste, and it hath mourned for me."—
JER. xii. 10, 11.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Cardinal ALLEN, 1594


"NEVER teach nor defend the lawfulness of communicating with the Protestants in their prayers, or services, or conventicles where they meet to minister their untrue sacraments ; for this is contrary to the practice of the Church and the holy fathers of all ages, who never communicated nor allowed in any Catholic person to pray together with Arians, Donatists, or what other soever. Neither is it a positive law of the Church, and therefore dispensable on occasions, but it is forbidden by God's Eternal Law, as by many evident arguments I could convince, and it hath been largely proved in sundry treatises in our own tongue, and we have practised it from the beginning of our miseries. And lest any of my brethren should distrust my judgment, or be not satisfied by the proofs adduced, or myself be beguiled therein in my own conceit, I have not only taken the opinion of learned divines here, but, to make sure, I have asked the judgment of His Holiness (Clement VIII) thereon. 

And he expressly said that participation in prayers with Protestants, or going to their services was neither lawful nor dispensable."

" And their speech spreadeth like a canker. Let every one depart from iniquity who nameth the Name of the Lord."—2 TIM. ii. 17, 20.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Venerable THOMAS BULLAKER, Franciscan, 1642



"IN the year 1642," he writes, "on September 11, which fell on a Sunday, it pleased the Most High and Mighty God to put an end to my sufferings, and give me, His most unworthy servant, the consolation and hope that what I have so long desired and prayed for would shortly come to pass. Blessed be His Holy Name for all eternity. After having finished the Divine office on the morning of this Day, in order that I might better offer the unbloody Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, I recollected myself as was fitting and as best I could, and 1 prayed His Divine Majesty of His Infinite Goodness to grant me for love of Him to exchange life, and, knowing my own unworthiness, of His overflowing and Infinite Goodness to make up for my poverty. After having prayed thus with the greatest fervour that God granted me, I rose, and having washed my hands and said the Litany of the Blessed Virgin as usual, I began the Mass. But lo, as I was intoning the 'Gloria in Excelsis,' the apostate pursuivant Wadsworth came into the room, laid hands on me at the Altar, and took me to the Sheriff."

"Father, glorify Thy Name. A voice came from Heaven, I have glorified it and will glorify it again."—JOHN xii. 28.

Gloria in excelsis deo,
et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis
Laudamus te.
Benedicimus te.
Adoramus te.
Glorificamus te.
Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam.
Domine Deus, Rex caelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.
Domine fili unigenite, Jesu Christe.
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius patris.
Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Qui tollis peccata mundi suscipe deprecationem nostram.
Qui sedes ad dexteram patris miserere nobis.
Quoniam tu solus sanctus.
Tu solus Dominus.
Tu solus Altissimus, Jesu Christe.
Cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you.
We bless you.
We adore you.
We glorify you.
We give thanks to you for your great glory.
Lord God, Heavenly King, God Almighty Father.
Lord Only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father.
You who take away the sins of the world have mercy on us.
You who take away the sins of the world hear our prayer.
You who sit at the Father's right hand, have mercy on us.
For you alone are holy.
You alone, Lord.
You alone the Most High, Jesus Christ.
With the Holy Spirit in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

+ Venerable THOMAS BULLAKER, OSF, 1642



Son of a well-known Catholic physician at Chichester, he was sent to St. Omer's, and thence entered the Franciscan Order in Spain. He first offered himself for the Mission in the West Indies, but England being pointed out as a richer field for his labours, thither he went. On landing at Plymouth he was arrested and imprisoned, and his sufferings then endured affected his health for the remainder of his life. As nothing could be proved against him, he was discharged, and for eleven years laboured in the country. The heroic sufferings of Father Ward enkindled in him, however, a holy envy, and he obtained leave to remove to London. He chose that part of the city where he was most in peril, but his hope for martyrdom was constantly deferred. Pursuivants came to his house, but would not take him, though he declared himself a priest. The next day they returned, and, though his Breviary was on the table, they left without arresting him. Deeming himself unworthy of the crown, he re­doubled his prayers and tears, and was arrested on Sunday, September 11, 1642, at the begin­ning of his Mass, and to his great joy was executed at Tyburn, October 12, 1642.

"I am come to cast fire on the earth, and what will I but that it be enkindled ?"—LUKE xii. 49

Ignem veni mittere in terram.

The motto over the High Altar of the English and Welsh College in Rome.

Anniversary of the Canonization of St OLIVER PLUNKETT

Canonization of Oliver Plunket


Dia's muire Dhíbh, a chlann Phádraig! Céad mile fáilte rómhaibh! Tá Naomh nua againn inniu: Comharba Phádraig, Olibhéar Naofa Ploinéad. (God and Mary be with you, family of Saint Patrick! A hundred thousand welcomes! We have a new Saint today: the successor of Saint Patrick, Saint Oliver Plunket). Today, Venerable Brothers and dear sons and daughters, the Church celebrates the highest expression of love-the supreme measure of Christian and pastoral charity. Today, the Church rejoices with a great joy, because the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, is reflected and manifested in a new Saint. And this new Saint is Oliver Plunket, Bishop and Martyr-Oliver Plunket, successor of Saint Patrick in the See of Armagh-Oliver Plunkett , glory of Ireland and Saint, today and for ever, of the Church of God, Oliver Plunket is for all-for the entire world-an authentic and outstanding example of the love of Christ. And on our part we bow down today to venerate his sacred relics, just as on former occasions we have personally knelt in prayer and admiration at this shrine in Drogheda.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Venerable THOMAS BULLAKER, Franciscan, 1642



" IF you go on as you have begun, before many years," he said to the Sheriff, " the law will make it treason to believe in Jesus Christ. You must hate Him greatly since you cannot bear to behold the Statue and image which is a memorial of His Passion and our Redemption, and which the most praiseworthy piety of your forefathers erected at great cost." Hereupon those who stood around cried out," Where in the Scripture did Christ order an image of Himself to be made ?" Bullaker replied : " The precise words do not occur, yet the natural law, to which the Divine law is never opposed, approves of the practice. Reason teaches and experience proves that an injury done to a statue is done to Him whose person it represents. To make the thing clearer, if any one insulted, trampled underfoot, or broke to pieces the statue of the King, would you not say that he was guilty of treason ? And if it be so, ask yourselves, I entreat you, how much greater a crime it must be to injure and abuse the statue of Jesus Christ our Saviour, the King of kings, as you have lately done."

" Whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of His Son."—ROM. viii. 29.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Blessed RICHARD THIRKELD to Catholic prisoners

also known as THIRKELL


"IF the judges and commissioners have seized unjustly your goods, Christ your King will grant you to receive in this world a hundred-fold for every farthing you have lost, and in the world to come eternal life and bliss that shall never know an end. If wicked gaolers use force and cruelty, continually annoy and torment, frequently examine and persecute you, let not all these things cause you the least trouble of mind or make you remiss in the divine service. You will see that Christ will visit you the more quickly, that He will give you greater consolations day by day, and will make His throne in your hearts with the more frequency and the more pleasure. Therefore be of good cheer, beloved, clap with your hands, yea, let every member of your bodies exult with joy, in that you have a cause so noble, Christ for your Captain, the Holy Ghost for your Comforter, and for your advocates and defenders the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Angels, the Holy Apostles, the Martyrs, the Confessors, the Virgins, the blood of your fathers so freshly spilt which cries aloud to Heaven to obtain for you perseverance to the end."

"For it became Him who had brought many children into glory to perfect the Author of their salvation by His Passion."—HEB. ii. 10.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Blessed RICHARD THIRKELD to Catholic prisoners

also known as THIRKELL



"WHO has now cast you into prison, or who can do so without the permission of Divine Providence ? Whose cause is it that you have taken upon you to defend but that of Christ Himself? Whose soldiers are you but Christ's ? Whose is the Standard under which you serve Christ but the Holy Spirit? Who is the Captain of your warfare but Christ ? Who is it that will pay you the reward of veteran soldiers but Christ ? Who is it that will crown you as conquerors but Christ ? Who is it that will unite you to those holy men of God who have waged these battles before you but Christ? Who is it that will bring you to the glorious palms of the martyrs but Christ ? Who is He by whose help and blessing you hope to obtain for your possession the bliss of eternal glory, together with blessed Lacey, Kirkman, Thompson, and Hart, and your other fathers of happy memory, but Christ ? Be brave and faithful, then, and let no torments, crosses, or afflictions lead you to fail in courage. If the Lord Mayor should commit you to yet closer custody, Christ your Captain will grant you to roam far and wide in His royal palace of delights."

" But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour."—HEB. ii. 9.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

+ Blessed RICHARD DIBDALE, Priest, 1586


Biography (also known as Robert)

BORN in Worcestershire, ordained at Rheims, he began his labours in the English Mission in 1584. He was specially renowned as an exorcist. At Sir George Peckham's, Denham, near Uxbridge, and other places, by the virtue and power which Christ has bequeathed to the ministers of His Church, the martyr showed his mastery over evil spirits. They were forced to leave the bodies of the possessed, and to bring from their mouths pieces of metal and other things which could never have entered a human body. In obedience to the prayers and exorcisms of the Church, they declared, to their own confusion, the virtue of the sign of the Cross, holy water, and relics, both of the ancient saints and of those suffering in England in those days for the Catholic faith. These manifestations were slighted indeed by some incredulous and hard-hearted heretics ; yet others who were not so biassed by passion, but more reasonable, were convinced by what they saw, and thereupon renounced their errors. Father Dibdale was condemned to die for his priestly character and functions, and accordingly was, together with BB. Lowe and Adams, driven to Tyburn, and there hanged, drawn, and quartered, October 8, 1586.

"He gave them power over unclean spirits to cast them out."—MATT. X. I.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014




SUMMONED by the Council and requested to resign, with the assurance of a good pension if he would do so, he replied that he preferred death. "How then," they asked, "will you live?" "Nothing indeed remains to me; but I hope in God, who will not fail me, and in my friends, the more that I may be able to gain my livelihood by teaching children, which profession I did not disdain to exercise although I was a bishop. And should no one be found willing to accept my teaching, I am a doctor of law and will resume the study of what I have forgotten, and will thus gain my bread. And should this not succeed, I know how to labour with my hands in gardens and orchards, as planting, grafting, sowing, etc. as well as any gardener in the Kingdom. And should this also be insufficient, I desire no other grace, favour, or privilege from Her Majesty than what she grants to the mendicants who go through London from door to door begging, that I may do the like if necessary." When the Council heard this, his final denunciation, they said, "We have nothing more to do with you at present. Her Majesty then will provide herself with another bishop."

" Hath not God chosen the poor in this world, rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised to them that love him?"— JAS. ii. 5.

Monday, October 06, 2014

GEORGE GILBERT, Jesuit, 1583


OF an old Suffolk family, possessed of a large fortune, a Puritan by profession, he followed in his youth the life of a gay cavalier. Going abroad, however, his eyes were opened to the faith, and he was reconciled by Father Parsons at Rome. Returning to England, he devoted himself to the services of the missionary priests, and formed for this purpose, with Lord Henry Howard, Lord Oxford, Mr. Southwell, Lord Paget, and other young men, a " Catholic Association," which was solemnly blessed by Pope Gregory XIII, on April 14, 1580. The members promised to imitate the lives of the Apostles, and to devote themselves wholly to the salvation of souls and the conversion of heretics. They were to be content with the necessaries of their state, and to bestow all the rest for the good of the Catholic cause. They supplied the priests with altar requisites, with horses, and various changes of apparel, and disguised themselves as grooms or servants and escorted the priests through the country from house to house. To Gilbert is due the first idea of the frescoes of the English martyrs in the English College, Rome. He was admitted to the Society of Jesus on his death-bed.

" And the multitude of believers had but one heart and one soul, neither did any one say that aught of the things he possessed was his own, but all things were common unto them."—ACTS iv. 32.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Blessed WILLIAM HARTLEY, Priest, 1588



BORN in the Diocese of Lichfield and brought up a Protestant, he became Chaplain and Fellow of St. John's College, Oxford, but was removed from that part by Tobie Matthew 

(ironically whose son, also Tobie became a priest), the president, on suspicion of his Catholic tendencies. 

He then went to Rheims, was reconciled, ordained, and returned to the English Mission in 1580.

Within a twelvemonth of his arrival he was arrested, in the house of Lady Stonor, and imprisoned in the Tower. In 1585, after five years' imprisonment, he, with some twenty other priests, was sent into banishment, but his zeal for souls drove him back to England, though he knew death awaited him. He laboured again amidst good report and evil report, the heretics having pretended that he had apostatised, and he converted, amongst others, a Captain Cripps, a well-known personage at that time, who subsequently entered the service of the King of Spain. Father Hartley was carried to execution with John Hewitt, who was hanged at Mile's End Green, with Robert Sutton, who suffered at Clerkenwell, and was himself finally executed at Shoreditch, having refused to ask for the Queen's forgiveness, since his priesthood had been his only offence. His mother was present at his passion, and rejoiced exceedingly that she had brought forth a son to glorify God by such a death.

"There stood by the cross of Jesus His mother."—JOHN xix. 25.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Saint EDMUND CAMPION, Jesuit, 1581



"IT was not our death that ever we feared, but we knew that we were not lords of our own lives, and therefore, for want of answer, would not be guilty of our own deaths. The only thing that we have now to say is, that if our religion do make us traitors, we are worthy to be condemned, but otherwise are and have been as true subjects as ever the Queen had. In condemning us you condemn all your own ancestors—all the ancient priests, bishops, and kings—all what was once the glory of England, the island of Saints, and the most devoted child of the See of Peter. For what have we taught, however you may qualify it with the odious name of treason, that they did not uniformly teach ? To be condemned with these old lights —not of England only, but of the world—by their degenerate descendants is both gladness and glory to us. God lives : posterity will live : their judgment is not so liable to corruption as that of those who are now going to sentence us to death." "Never," says Fitzherbert, "was Campion's face more noble ; his conduct had been calm and dignified, and his arguments pointed and conclusive ; but in this last speech he surpassed himself'

"And after this the judgment."—HEB. ix. 37.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Venerable PHILIP POWELL, OSB, 1646



OF a good Welsh family, he was trained for the law in London under Father Augustine Baker, then a famous lawyer in the Temple, who became a Benedictine monk. Powel followed his example and entered the same order, and in 1622 was sent on the English Mission. He laboured for some twenty years in Devon, till this county was so overrun with Parliament soldiers that the only safe place for Catholics was with Goring's army, and Powel accompanied it till the force was disbanded. He was arrested when on a vessel bound for Wales. 

In his defence at King's Bench he pleaded that Henry VIII made a statute of qualification of all statutes, and that the reason of Queen Elizabeth's statute against priests was her fears and jealousies of the Queen of Scots and the Spaniards, with both of whom priests were believed to have relations. This was, however, a time of civil war, when the King's person was absent, and could not, therefore, be the object of a plot. Hence, both the person and the cause being taken away, this latter statute might receive the benefit of mitigation. He added that he was not guilty according to the letter of Elizabeth's statute, being taken not in England but at sea. He was, however, hanged, Tyburn, June 30.

"And all that heard Him were astonished at his wisdom and answers."—LUKE ii. 47.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Saint THOMAS MORE, Layman, 1535



" SINCE I am condemned, and God knows how, I wish to speak freely of your statute for the discharge of my conscience. For the seven years that I have studied the matter, I have not read in any approved doctor of the Church that a temporal lord could or ought to be head of the spirituality. For one bishop of your opinion, I have a hundred saints of mine ; and for one Parliament of yours, and God knows of what kind, I have all the General Councils for 1000 years ; and for one kingdom, I have all the kingdoms of Christendom. I say further, that your statute is ill made, because you have sworn never to do anything against the Church, which through all Christendom is one and undivided, and you have no authority, without the common consent of all Christians, to make a law or Act of Parliament or Council against the union of Christendom. The true reason for my condemnation is my unwillingness to consent to the King's second marriage ; but I hope, in the Divine goodness and mercy, that as St. Paul and St. Stephen, whom he persecuted, are now friends in Paradise, so we, though differing here, shall be united hereafter. I pray God to protect the King and to give him good counsel."

" Every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand."—MATT. xii. 25 .

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

+ Blessed JOHN ROBINSON, Priest 1588



BORN at Fernsby, Yorkshire, he lived for some time in the world in the married state, but on becoming a widower he went over to Rheims, was ordained, and sent on the Mission. He was a man of great simplicity and sincerity, and he used to say that " if he could not dispute for the faith as well as some of the others, he could die for it as well as the best." He was apprehended in the very port where he . landed, and cast into the Clink prison

His fellow-prisoners, in respect to his age and probity, called him "Father," and he in return styled them his "bairns," and when they were sent off to be executed in different parts of the Kingdom, the good old man lamented for days exceedingly, until at last the warrant for his own execution arrived. To the bearer of the warrant he gave all his money, and on his knees gave God thanks. He was sent to suffer at Ipswich, a long journey taken on foot, but he refused to put on boots, as he said, " These feet of mine have never worn them, and they can well travel now without them, for they will be well repaid." He was executed October 1, 1588.

" Behold a true Israelite, in whom there is no guile."—JOHN i. 47.

Popular Posts