Monday 23 September 2019

Robert Southwell Priest,Poet and Martyr - Fiorella De Maria - CTS Saints of the Isles Series

Robert Southwell:
Priest,Poet and Martyr
CTS Saints of the Isles Series
Fiorella De Maria
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860822155
CTS Booklet B674

My first reaction to reading this booklet was that it was a double blessing to read this book. It is out of print and was not easy to track down. It is one of the best of the CTS Saints of the Isles Series. And I have been trying to read all of Fiorella De Maria's books. The Saints of the Isles of one of my favorites among the CTS series. In the last year and a bit, I have read and reviewed over 90 books from the Catholic Truth Society. And in the last month I have read and reviewed 4 of the novels by Fiorella De Maria. The description on the back cover of this booklet states:

“With his father an ambitious (and protestant) courtier to Queen Elizabeth, Robert was brought up in the Catholic faith by his mother. Accomplished writer of prose and poetry, he worked as a priest with great Zealand success around London from 1586-1592. He was betrayed, tortured with extreme severity and imprisoned in the Tower. At 33 he was executed at Tyburn, London, (near today’s marble arch) profession his faith and his priesthood, and praying for his enemies. One of the forty Martyrs, he was canonised in 1970.

The Saints of the Isles series brings together telling accounts of the extraordinary lives of men and women from the British Isles – lives of holiness, courage and true discipleship to Christ and the Gospel message.”

The chapters in this volume are:

Catholicism in England under Elizabeth
The Early Life of Robert Southwell
The Student in Exile
Arrival in England
Life on the English mission
Robert Southwell the Poet
Robert Southwell and Shakespeare
Arrest and Torture
Robert Southwell on Trail
‘The Scaffold was the Block Where Ease I Found …’
Robert Southwell: A Saint for England

This book was a fascinating read. I first encountered Robert Southwell in another book in this series, Forty Martyrs of England and Wales by James Walsh. Southwell was one of several saints from that booklet that I wanted to go further in my reading. And this booklet was an excellent next step. Fiorella does an amazing job of fleshing out the life of this saint in just under 60 pages. The booklet can easily be read in a single afternoon. I have read it once and am already part way through it again.

This book sticks to the facts. Especially around his formative years and in relation to Shakespeare. The one thing that was not in the book that I would have loved was a prayer. Either a prayer to Saint John Southworth or one of the ones he wrote. There were a number of quotes from his writings. And the extensive bibliography will provide great jumping off points for exploring either his poetry, his writings or going deeper into his life and ministry.

As much as I love Fiorella's fiction after reading this book, I hope she writes more books about saints. For her fiction is excellent but this book was amazing. This book is an excellent read. And though currently out of print well worth tracking down.

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


Books by Fiorella De Maria:
The Cassandra Curse
Father William's Daughter
Poor Banished Children
Do No Harm
We'll Never Tell Them
A Most Dangerous Innocence
I Am Margaret The Play
Father Gabriel Mysteries:
The Sleeping Witness
The Vanishing Woman

See No Evil
Death of a Scholar

Skaters Series:
The Second Skater of the Apocalypse

Robert Southwell – CTS Saints of the Isles

Books as Fiorella Nash:
The Abolition of Woman: How Radical Feminism Is Betraying Women

Author Profile and Interview with Fiorella de Maria.

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