Thursday 28 March 2019

John Southworth - Michael Archer - CTS Saints of the Isles Series

John Southworth:
Priest and Martyr
CTS Saints of the Isles Series
Michael Archer
Catholic Truth Society

ISBN 9781860826689
eISBN 9781784693800
CTS Booklet B730

This is the third book in the Saints of the Isles series from the Catholic Truth Society that I have read. And I have read 60 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society in the last year. I have encountered many great books and many excellent series. And I love this series focused on the Saints of the Isles. It has been fascinating and inspiring to read about the Saints and Martyrs of the British Isles. There have been 13 titles in this series to date. Three of the 13 are available as physical books and are still in print, and I believe 7 are available as eBooks. The more I read about the saints, martyrs and faithful Catholics from the Isles, the more I appreciate my own spiritual heritage. And looking at the political environment in both Europe and North America, the more I pray for the future. Prior to reading this volume I am not sure I had encountered the name of Saint John Southworth other than in passing or in conjunction with the English Martyrs as a group. This volume 

The chapters in this book are:
Poor Persecuted Catholics
Douay 1613 - 1619
London 1619 - 1624
Lancaster 1625 - 1630
London 1630 - 1635
Plague-stricken Westminster 1636 - 1640
Old Bailey 1640 - 1654
Tyburn 28th June 1654
Return to Douay - 1655
Return to Westminster - 1930

The book ends with two prayers a Prayer for England and a wonderful prayer to Saint John Southworth:

Almighty God,
You made your Church grow
through the missionary zeal and apostolic work
of Saint John Southworth.
By the help of his prayers
give your Church continued growth
and an increase among its people
of holiness and faith.
We make this prayer
through our Lord
Jesus Christ your Son
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God
for ever and ever.

This is a family simple prayer, but one that really spoke to me. I created an email reminder to pray this prayer every evening after praying the Angelus

This book begins with these words:

“The England into which John Southworth was born in the year 1592, in the county of Lancashire, during the reign of Elizabeth I, was a land where the Catholic faith was under constant attack. In 1558 the Catholic bishops of the Catholic Queen Mary’s reign were deposed and replaced by Protestant bishops. Parliament with The Act of Supremacy in 1559 made it High Treason to maintain the Pope’s authority, and imposed an oath acknowledging the Queen as Supreme Governor in all spiritual or ecclesiastical things as well as temporal.”

Growing us as an Irish Catholic, I was always taught about the British persecution of the Irish. I am now learning so much about the persecution of British Catholics. There are parts of this history that are not easy to read. And The specific case of father John Southworth includes some of the most tragic events. But I really believe it is important that we are reading about these events. First, we will know our own history better, second we will be inspired and challenged, and third we can be vigilant in prayer going forward into the future. Events like those in this book are happening right now in many places in the world. And Saints like John Southworth, can serve to remind us of the value of standing up for the gospel, and being willing to follow where God leads. 

This is a great book in a very important series. The Catholic Truth Society is currently one of my favorite Catholic publishers. There are so many excellent books and series. And I give this book and the Saints of the Isles series my highest recommendation. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the Saints of the Isles Series:

Edmund Arrowsmith - John S. Hogan 
Margaret Clitherow - Jean Olwen Maynard
Edmund Campion - Alexander Haydon
John Southworth Priest and Martyr - Michael Archer
Saint Thomas More - Alvaro de Silva
John Ogilvie - Eleanor McDowell
Frances Taylor - Eithne Leonard
Mary Potter - Elizabeth Gilroy
John Fisher - Richard L. Smith
Robert Southwell - Fiorella Sultana De Maria
Ignatius Spencer - Fr. Ben Lodge
Sr Elizabeth Prout - Dominic Savio Hamer 
Forty Martyrs of England and Wales - James Walsh
Thomas Becket - J.B. Midgley

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