Thursday, 30 September 2010


I had not planned to post today. Today I was just going to take it easy and look in on some of my favourite blogs. However, what I found at BATTLEMENTS OF RUBIES has changed my mind. Clare has done a wonderful post and I think you all should take a look at it here. Thanks, Clare, and keep up the good work.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


Devotion to St Michael the Archangel spread from Brittany to Wales in the 8th century. Churches dedicated to St Michael abound. Interestingly, many of these churches are associated with hills or mountains. One such place is Ysgyrid Fawr (Great Skirrid) in the Black Mountains of Wales. Ysgyrid Fawr lies on the outskirts of Abergavenny, the birthplace of St David Lewis. Ysgyrid Fawr is also known as ‘The Skirrid’, ‘The Holy Mountain’ or ‘St Michael’s Mount’.

At its highest point, St Michael’s Mount rises to 1,595 feet. It is here that one finds vestiges of a mediaeval Catholic Chapel dedicated to St Michael. Centuries ago, Catholics of the area struggled up the rough path on Good Friday and on 29th September, the feast of St Michael. There is not much left of the ancient chapel now but the sharp eyed will discern hints of its presence.

Even during Penal Times, Catholics were known to attend Mass and other services amid the ruins of St Michael’s Chapel. St David Lewis led Catholics there for the annual Michaelmas Pilgrimage. At that time, the altar was still intact. All of this must have been a very bitter pill for John Arnold to swallow. From his home, Llanvihangel Court, this rabid anti-Catholic and priest hunter could see the Catholics at their devotions atop the Holy Mountain. In 1680, in his Examinations as to Popery in Monmouthshire, Arnold stated that: “He hath seen a hundred papists meet on the top of an high Hill, called St Michael’s Mount, here is frequent meetings eight or ten times in the year, as he is informed. Mass is said, and sometimes Sermons are preached there. Mr John Scudamore of Kentchurch also deposed that:- He saw very great numbers of people at their Devotion on top of a high hill in Monmouthshire called St Michael’s Mount, where there is a ruinous Chappel and a stone with crosses on it, which he took to be an Altar and that he hath seen people with Beads in their hands kneeling towards the said stone, both within and without the Chappel and he has been informed that Mass is often said there.”

The Catholic Church of Our Ladye and St Michael, Abergavenny, possesses a *rescript of Pope Clement X. This rescript, dated three years before the martyrdom of St David Lewis, reads: “Pope Clement X grants a Plenary Indulgence to those who devoutly visit the Chapel of St Michael on the Skirrid Fawr on 29th September-Michaelmas Day. Anyone making this Pilgrimage and wishing to gain the Indulgence is required, first, to go to Confession and Holy Communion, then, on the Holy Mountain itself, to pray for peace among Christian Princes, for the rooting out of heresies, and for the exaltation of Holy Mother Church. Given at St Mary Major’s, Rome, under the Seal of the Fisherman, on 20th June 1676 and valid for seven years.”

St Michael’s Mount has belonged to the National Trust since 1939 and, with its magnificent views and ancient history, it is much favoured by hikers. It is said that Rudolph Hess, Hitler’s deputy, used to walk there when he was held at nearby Maindiff Court during WWII.

What of the pilgrims? Do they still come? Indeed they do! Every September, St Michael is honoured on his Feast Day as pilgrims wend their way to the summit, to the site of the ancient chapel where their ancestors risked danger and even death to remember Michael the Archangel and to practise their cherished Catholic faith.

*an ecclesiastical ruling - a formal reply by the pope or some other high dignitary of the Roman Catholic Church on a matter of doctrine or discipline

Friday, 24 September 2010


Wow! Thank you bloggers for your overwhelming response to my little book giveaway! I had four books to give away and I said the books would go to the first four names and allowed a whole week to get the names in. Well, I am sorry but, to avoid disappointing anyone, I have to close the little giveaway now because I have more names than I ever expected. I have managed to come up with two more books so I will be able to send out six books instead of the planned four.

I am very grateful to all of you for your interest and support and, owing to the great response to this giveaway, I will have another one in the not too distant future. So thank you all and keep watching for the next giveaway.

The books go to the lovely people at the following blogs. (Click on the links to have a look at their excellent blogs.)

Once again, thanks to all who entered. Your support is very much appreciated.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


It is entirely appropriate that I begin this post by quoting the newly beatified John Henry Cardinal Newman. "No one is a martyr for a conclusion; no one is a martyr for an opinion. It is faith that makes martyrs"

On Sunday, 25th October 1970, Pope Paul VI canonised the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. The forty were selected from among the hundreds who, during the 16th and 17th centuries, had given their lives for the faith.

The new saints were a very mixed group of priests and laypeople whose martyrdoms spanned the years from 1535 to 1679. The group was comprised of 3 Carthusians; 1 Augustinian friar; 1 Brigittine; 2 Franciscans; 3 Benedictines; 10 Jesuits; 13 Priests of the Secular Clergy; 4 lay men and 3 lay women.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the canonisation of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, I have four little booklets to give away. The booklet is published by the Catholic Truth Society and although just 56 pages long, it tells the story of each of the martyrs from the first martyr of the Reformation, St John Houghton in 1535 to St David Lewis in 1679.

If you would like one of these interesting and informative little booklets, just leave your name and mailing address in the comments below. I have activated ‘comment moderation’ so your details will be strictly private. The first four bloggers to leave their details will receive one of the books. You have one week to get your name in, from today up to and including 30th September. So come on, don’t be shy! I promise to keep your details private and to destroy them as soon as I have sent the books to the winners. And, because the books are small, I will post them anywhere so don’t be put off because you live in another country or on another continent! Remember, I will post them to anywhere. Let’s hear from you bloggers.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


Thank you very much, Mary 333 at THE BEAUTIFUL GATE for this award.

Here are the rules for passing it on:

1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2. Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.
3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.

I don't know if I can come up with 15 but I will certainly have a good try .

I choose:

Sunday, 19 September 2010


Anthony Turner was born in Leicestershire in 1628, during the reign of King Charles I. He was born into a staunch Protestant family, his father being a Protestant minister. Anthony, along with his mother and brother, Edward, began to seriously question the Protestant religion. This, understandably, infuriated his father. Anthony went to study at Cambridge University and while there he converted to Catholicism, despite his father’s rage. Edward also converted to the Catholic faith. The two brothers then went to Rome to study at the English College.

The Government’s objective was to eradicate Catholicism in the land. Therefore, laws and statutes were introduced which imposed dire penalties on any who had the audacity to practise their Catholic Faith. Of course without priests, there could be no Mass, no Sacraments and no help for those who still clung to the Old Faith. There were no longer any seminaries in England. In an effort to redress this problem, Cardinal William Allen established seminaries on the Continent specifically to train priests for England and Wales. These brave men went in secret to the seminaries and, after ordination, they returned, again in secret, to minister to their persecuted countrymen. Cardinal Allen established the English College in Rome in 1579.

In 1653, Anthony left the English College in Rome and travelled to Flanders where he entered the Jesuit Novitiate. He was ordained in 1659 and two years later, in 1661, he returned to England where he spent the next eighteen years ministering in Worcestershire.

When the terror of the phoney Oates/Popish Plot spread its poisonous tentacles over the country, Fr Anthony Turner was more than willing to give his life for the Faith which was so dear to him. However, his superiors insisted he leave the country. In January 1679, Fr Turner reluctantly made his way to London. He hoped to find a Jesuit who would provide him with sufficient funds to escape to the Continent. The search proved fruitless so the priest gave what little money he possessed to a beggar. He then turned himself over to the authorities. He was promptly arrested and thrown into Newgate Prison where several other Jesuits were awaiting trial.
On 13th June 1679 Anthony Turner was brought for trial at the Old Bailey. The witnesses against him were the convicted perjurers and embezzlers, Titus Oates, William Bedloe and Stephen Dugdale. One of the trial rules was that ‘no Catholic could be believed in court’ so the false testimony of the miscreants was taken over that of credible witnesses. As was the custom, the jury was instructed to find the defendant guilty and this they obediently did. Anthony Turner was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

A week later, on 20th June 1679, Fr Turner was taken to Tyburn where the sentence was to be carried out. At the last minute, which also appears to be the custom, a messenger arrived from the King offering a pardon. All the priest had to do was to admit his guilt and tell all he knew of the plot. Fr Turner replied that no plot existed. He could not disclose details of a plot that existed only in the putrid mind of the perjurer, Titus Oates. The Jesuit was not willing to lie to save his life. In a speech from the gallows, he told the spectators: “I am bound in conscience to do myself that justice as to declare upon oath my innocence from the horrid crime of treason with which I am falsely accused. I am as free from the treason I am accused of as a child that is just born. I die a Roman Catholic and humbly beg the prayers of such for my happy passage into a better life”. He prayed privately for a few minutes then the cart was pulled away.

After the gruesome sentence was carried out, the brutalised remains of Fr Turner were taken away by friends who buried them in the churchyard of St Giles in the Fields. In December 1929 Pope Pius XI beatified Jesuit Martyr, Fr Anthony Turner.



Saturday, 18 September 2010


I post this video because, as I watched Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, together, I felt a kind of joy that things have changed so very much. This blog is dedicated to a Martyred Welsh Jesuit Priest, St David Lewis. I have also written about many other Catholic priests who were put to death simply for being Catholic priests and for celebrating Mass. This video, and the above photograph, are a joy to behold. They illustrate just what God's grace can do if we allow it to work in us. Our beloved Queen and our beloved Pontiff! Isn't it wonderful to see them together in friendship? I think St David Lewis would be very pleased. May God bless our Queen and our Pope!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


Today is the Feast of The Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It is a good time to post this short video from the Apostleship of Prayer.

Friday, 10 September 2010



A plot, known as the ‘Oates Plot’ or the ‘Popish Plot’ was conceived in the fertile but warped mind of the malevolent Titus Oates. In August 1678, Oates claimed that a plot to murder the King, bring down the Protestant Establishment and re-establish Catholicism in England was being hatched by Catholics. The Jesuits, according to Oates, were the leaders of this imagined plot. In reality, there was no plot against the Crown or Protestantism. The real plot was the one which Oates was building up against the Jesuits. Before Oates and the bunch of criminals who were his co-conspirators were finally exposed many innocent Catholics had suffered and died. Among those who were put to death for their faith were eight Jesuit priests. The horror began for the Jesuits in January 1679 when Fr William Ireland was executed at Tyburn in London. Another victim was 39 year old Fr John Gavan or Green.

John Gavan was born in London in 1640. The young Gavan went to St Omer and, in 1660, he entered the Jesuits. He was ordained in Rome in 1670. Like all priests who returned to minister in England, Fr Gavan was fully cognisant of the dangers under the severe Penal Laws which existed at that time. Nonetheless, Fr Gavan returned to his homeland in 1671 and commenced his work, chiefly in the Staffordshire area, where he laboured untiringly.

At the height of the Oates Plot, the Government offered a £50 reward for the apprehension of any priest. This lead to a vigorous search for and betrayal of priests, Jesuit and otherwise, up and down the country. In the hope of escaping to the Continent, Fr Gavan made his way to London. Unfortunately, that was not to be and he was apprehended on 23rd January 1679. Along with four other Jesuits, Fr John Gavan was brought to trial at the Old Bailey on 13th June 1679.

Fr Gavan was an erudite and articulate priest and he skilfully defended the group. In this instance, the skill and honesty of the Jesuit were no match for the false witnesses, prejudiced Judge and rigged jury. As was expected, the jury returned a verdict of guilty. Fr John Gavan was martyred at Tyburn on 20th June 1679. His mutilated and quartered remains were claimed by friends and buried in St Giles in the Fields.


The Perjurer Titus Oates and Eight Jesuits (Part 1)

(Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4)

Friday, 3 September 2010


All of Fr Robert Barron's videos are interesting and informative but I have chosen to post this one because it concerns two English martyrs, Blessed Peter Snow and Blessed Ralph Grimston. Fr Barron tells their story beautifully and, amazingly, brings their faces before us. I hope you like this video as much as I do. It was a new and exciting experience to see the faces of the two holy martyrs.

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