Monday, November 29, 2010

The Mass Graves at Cimitiere Picpus

Finally, I reached the wall behind which were dumped the bodies of the martyred Carmelites and the other victims of the Terror. Visitors had recently placed (thrown?) flowers through the gate to honor them.

Memorials on the wall named the victims:
I also found the gate through which their bodies had been brought:
With this detail about how it was used:

Then I noticed this little statue of St. Michael the Archangel: And then I left Cimitiere Picpus:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Birth of Margaret Tudor

The eldest daughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York was born on November 28, 1489.

Gareth Russell discussed her life on his blog while commemorating her death in October and referenced this blog's discussion of her political significance.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Grounds of Cimitiere Picpus

Entering another gate to the left of the chapel, I saw a narrow long expanse of lawns and trees ahead of me, with the cemetery grounds at the end to the right. A nicely dressed lady came toward me and left the grounds. For awhile I was alone. When I entered the cemetery proper, I saw another narrow space, crowded with grave markers.

The grave of the Marquis de Lafayette and his wife (whose mother and sister were guillotined and buried in one of the mass graves behind the wall to the left):

The Polignac family monument and chapel:
I also saw the grave marker of Francoise Pauline de Lamoignan de Malasherbes, the daughter of Guillaume-Chretien de Lamoignan de Malasherbes who defended King Louis XVI.
For more detail on the monuments in Picpus, see this site from Northwestern University.
I'll conclude this story in my Monday, November 29 post.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Visit to a Site of Martyrdom

Last Tuesday while in Paris, I visited Place de la Nation, the site of the guillotine near the end of the Terror. There the Carmelites of Compiegne were executed within sight of the great Avenue du Trone. On either side of the Avenue du Trone there are tall pillars with statues of St. Louis and Louis-Augustus, the great crusading kings of France. The kings of France would enter along this avenue into Paris to the Place du Trone.

During the Revolution, the Place du Trone was renamed Place du Trone Renverse (turned upside down) demonstrating the fall of the monarchy. The sixteen Carmelites were executed there on Jully 17, 1794. There bodies were then transported to Cimitiere Picpus and dumped into one of two mass graves there.

I walked along Avenue du Trone to take a couple of pictures of the statues; then returned to the Place de la Nation to photograph the statue of the Republic in the center of the circle. After lunch at one of the restaurants ringing the Place I walked to Cimitiere Picpus, one of very people visiting during their open hours that mardi, starting at 2 p.m. I pushed a button to open the gates and stepped inside.

Upon entry I saw the chapel straight ahead with a very neatly raked secton of gravel between an old well and the church steps. There was no caretaker present so I entered the chapel. Inside the rather spartan chapel, two huge tablets on either side of the altar displayed the names of the guillotine's victims. (This picture may be a little a dark, but it gives you an idea how massive these lists are).

When I came out, the caretaker and his little jack russell terrier greeted me. The former requested I pay two euros to enter the cemetery and gave me a little flyer with a map. The latter sniffed at my skirt and heels and asked, "Who are these dogs? Where are these dogs?" until his master called him off.
While I toured the cemetery, I heard the laughter of children at playtime in the school next door--and the racket of some construction in the area. Inside the cemetery grounds, leaves and broken branches covered the pathways, creating an eternal stillness. I found the memorial to the Carmelite martyrs, the grave of Lafayette ("Lafayette, we are here!"), the door through which the bodies were brought, and many other interesting monuments.

Please see tomorrow's post for more.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Updates on Interviews

Saturday, November 26--"The Good Fight" will repeat my discussion with Barbara McGuigan and Richard "Doc" Geraghty this holiday weekend on EWTN radio.

Tuesday, November 30--I'll be on the "Son Rise Morning Show" on Sacred Heart Radio/EWTN Radio at 7:45 a.m. Eastern/6:45 a.m. Central to discuss November 30, 1554, when Reginald Cardinal Pole led a solemn service of repentance and reconciliation between England and the universal Catholic Church.

Three English Converts and Our Lady of Victory

Last week I visited Notre Dames des Victoires near Place des Victoires with the statue of Louis XIV in the center of the ring. His father, Louis XIII, commissioned this Notre Dame in thanksgiving for all his military victories in 1629. The church is filled, however, with ex voto plaques from believers thankful for more personal favors and miracles: healings, conversion, marriage, health, birth, happiness--just "Thank You".
There is one plaque I saw on a previous visit, but because the Benedictine sisters working in the parish were instructing some students I did not want to interrupt by taking a picture (so I waited a couple of years!): "A Thank Offering From. Three. English. Converts.":

I am stilll researching who A.R., I.A., and I.G. are, but notice that they are placing this rather large plaque in response to the urging of George Spencer, and that they are praying for the conversion of the English nation, commending this intecession to Mary's care. This ex voto is close to the statue of Notre Dame des Victoires.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Back Home again from Paris

I'll have some posts in the next few days on some historic sites in Paris--a few that even have a connection to the English Reformation. My husband and I arrived hom late on our flight from Chicago to Wichita (weather delays in Chicago, of course). After downloading pictures from our two Canons, I'll have some fun posts.

Thomas Tallis

The English composer Thomas Tallis died on November 23, 1585. He composed and performed music at Court as a Gentleman of the College Royal for four of the five Tudor monarchs: Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I. He adapted his style to the desires of each monarch, but remained a Catholic. Before serving at Court he had been a musician at Dover Priory and Holy Cross Abbey (the second until the Dissolution of the Monasteries) and at Canterbury Catheral.

Both Mary I and Elizabeth I honored Tallis with very profitable arrangements: Mary granted him lease on a manor in Kent, while Elizabeth gave him (and William Byrd) monopolies and printing patents.

Gramophone magazine published a CD interview between Catherine Bott and Peter Phillips of the Tallis Scholars covering his career noting that he may never have heard an adequate performance of one of his most famous works during his lifetime: Spem in alium. There probably weren't the musical forces available to deliver eight five-voice choirs; I recall that Phillips said instruments might have provided some of the voices for this motet.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mary of Guise, Mother and Regent

Born November 22, 1515--doesn't that portrait look like a real person? You know what I mean--sometimes the faces look like the ideal of an era. You see her Frenchness--her will--her whimsy, even. She is Mary, of the house of Guise, and none other.

She was the second wife of James V of Scotland, mother of two boys who died young, and then mother of a little girl who became Queen of Scotland as an infant when her father died after being defeated in a battle with England.

Mary of Guise was part of a great family of France often at odds with the reigning house of Valois. Because of her family ties, her daughter Mary was betrothed to the Dauphin of France when Henry VIII of England wanted to arrange a marriage between his son Edward and Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary of Guise pretended to go along with Henry VIII's wishes (which at one time included his marriage to HER) but escaped to Stirling Castle. This led to the "Rough Wooing" of Scotland by English forces--that is, military attacks, inncursions, murders, etc.

Once the marriage between Mary and Francois, the Dauphin of Henri II and Catherine de Medici was arranged, the young Queen went to France while her mother, Mary of Guise, remained in Scotland, serving as Regent.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mass in St. Germain-en-Laye

My husband enjoyed the trip outside of Paris to Chartres so much today that he wants to leave town again tomorrow--and so we intend to travel via RER A to St. Germain-en-Laye to attend Sunday Mass at either 10 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. at the parish church where the praecordia of James II, Mary Beatrice and their daughter Louise are interred. Then we plan to visit the chateau, which today houses the Musee des Antiquities Nationales.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Away from the Blog

My husband and I are in Paris this week. I won't be posting anything here over the weekend, because we are going to visit Chartres tomorrow and perhaps St. Germain-en-Laye on Sunday after Mass at Sacre-Coeur. We head home on Monday and will soon enjoy the Thanksgiving break! I'll post some info and pictures from Paris later next week.

A bientot!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Queen and the Cardinal Die

On November 17, 1558 Queen Mary the last and only Catholic Queen Regnant of England and Reginald Cardinal Pole, the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury both died.

Anna Mitchell and I will discuss the effects of these deaths on their anniversary--broadcast time TBD on the Son Rise Morning Show this Wednesday morning.

e-book availability

Supremacy and Survival is now available for the Nook at Barnes and Noble. It should soon be available for Kindle on and is also available for the iBook app on your iPod or iPhone. The English Reformation has gone digital!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Anglican Papalism

I heard Father Dwight Longenecker use the term "Anglican Papalists" on the Son Rise Morning Show last week. Michael Yelton is the author of this book, Anglican Papalism, An Illustrated History, 1900-1960. Anglican Papalists were those ultra High-Church, ritualist Anglicans who wanted to accept the infalliability of the Catholic Pope and yet remain in the Church of England: they were a very small group. While they wanted the authority of the Pope they regularly flaunted the authority of their own Bishops, disobeying orders against Benediction, processions, and celebrating Mass in Latin.

The Church Times reviewed it favorably in 2006, and when I read it last year, I noted that the author was "very close to the subject and the men and women who led this small movement within the Anglican church. Sometimes the tone is almost gossipy, as personality quirks and even scandals take over the narrative" (I'm quoting my book journal entry). The photos document the vestments and altars of Anglican Papalist's churches.


1. In Terra Aliena: An Introduction to the Papalist Tradition
2. The Historical Development of the Papalist Tradition: Part I, 1900-1930
3. The Historical Development of the Papalist Tradition: Part II, 1930-1960
4. The Revision of the Prayer Book and the Unpopularity of Anglican Papalism
5. The Development of Religious Communities
6. The Outer Fringes of the Church of England: Father Victor Roberts and Dom Gregory Dix
7. Shrines of Our Lady: Walsingham, Egmanton and Middleton
8. Anglican Papalism in London: St. Saviour, Hoxton, St. Alban, Fulham, and the Annunciation, Marble Arch
9. Anglican Papalism in Cornwall: Father Sandys Wason and Father Bernald Walke
10. Episcopi Vagantes and the Reordination of Anglican Clergy
11. The Architecture and Furnishings of Anglican Papalism
12. Anglican Papalism: A Retrospect

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Get it while the getting is good

Or possible.

According to the counter on my book at Scepter Publishers, there are only twenty--20--copies of Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation left.

Scepter will be reprinting soon, but the first printing has nearly sold out!

Thank you.

News on the Ordinariates in England

From the Telegraph:

Church of England in crisis as five bishops defect to Rome
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is expected to announce the resignations as parishes across the country meet to discuss the Pope’s offer to accommodate disaffected Anglicans within the Roman Catholic Church.
Senior Catholics are finalising plans for a new group for Anglican converts who cannot accept women bishops and a detailed timetable for its formation could be announced as early as next week.
The defections have been triggered by a vote at the General Synod of the Church of England in July to support divisive plans for women to be ordained as bishops in England for the first time.
A compromise plan, backed by Dr Williams, was rejected, leaving many opponents of women’s ordination with no option but to consider leaving the Church.
Pope Benedict XVI announced last year that he would create a new body, known as the English Ordinariate, for Church of England traditionalists who wish to switch allegiance to Rome while retaining some of their Anglican traditions. . . .

Concluding with:

Church wardens are arranging meetings to discuss the move in parishes across England. St Peter’s in Folkestone, in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s own diocese, became the first parish to declare publicly that it intended to join the Ordinariate last month.
Holy Trinity church in Reading is expected to make a decision on whether to follow in the next few weeks. Meetings are also planned at St John the Baptist church in Sevenoaks, Kent, and Holy Trinity, Winchmore Hill, in north London.
Fr David Elliott, parish priest at Holy Trinity in Reading, said many traditional Anglo-Catholics felt “squeezed” by liberal reforms in the Church of England.
“For congregations like this it is a big moment in their history,” he said. “These decisions aren’t made lightly. I haven’t resigned but I don’t see that there can be a future for Catholics within the Church of England.
“My own future I think does lie in the Roman Catholic Church but I can’t say when that will be. Obviously I have got to weigh up my responsibilities to the congregation.”

Commentary from:

Notice that quote: " . . . I don't see that there can be a future for Catholics within the Church of England"--that's the difficulty that Blessed John Henry Newman wrestled with in the early 1840's until his conversion in 1845. Between the Broad church on one side and the Low church on the other, the "catholic" via media as he tried to frame could not last.
And the National Catholic Register agrees: as James Kelly notes,

Just weeks after the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, the death knell may have been struck for his original idea of the Church of England as a middle way between Protestantism and Catholicism. This notion, which he subsequently disowned, became the basis of the Anglo-Catholic wing within the Church of England.

Newman himself realized that this experiment was impossible, hence his reception into the Catholic Church. And it now appears to be at an end. The announcement that five Church of England bishops are resigning to take advantage of Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic constitution,
Anglicanorum Coetibus, indicates that fence-sitting is no longer an option.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Follow up to The Good Fight

EWTN has posted the audio from my appearance on "The Good Fight" November 6, with Richard "Doc" Geraghty and I discusssing lay response to the English Reformation with Barbara McGuigan. We focused on the martyrs Blessed Margaret Pole and Saint Margaret Clitherow, although our conversation was wide-ranging.

You may listen or download here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Preparing for an Interview

Thinking about an interview I'll do next week on the Son Rise Morning Show about the deaths of Mary I and Reginald Cardinal Pole on the same day, I recalled this novel by Lucy Beckett: The Time Before You Die: A Novel of the Reformation, published by Ignatius Press in 1999. It was a fairly effective novel charting the effects of the Dissolution of the Monasteries on one man's life, a former Carthusian monk. The novel also reflects on the efforts of Reginald Pole to re-establish Catholicism in England during Mary's reign.

The novel lacked the tone of apologetic certainty in Robert Hugh Benson's novel The King's Achievement, and it lacks the poignancy and range of H.F.M. Prescott's great chronicle, A Man on a Donkey. Robert Fletcher, the monk who converts to Lutheranism and marries, finds much to criticise in the Church. Reginald Pole saves him from the burning he would have surely faced and even communicates his feelings of guilt for the death of his mother, Margaret Pole and his brother, while his surviving brother Geoffrey blames himself for succumbing to threats of torture. Pole knows, however, that it was his letter to Henry VIII that caused the fall of his family--the letter in which he told Henry that what he was doing was wrong.

Lucy Beckett has also written a novel about Germany between the two world wars of the twentieth century, A Postcard from the Volcano, a study of Western literature, In the Light of Christ, and several studies of Richard Wagner operas and Wallace Stephen's poetry.

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8 in 1603, 1620, and 1745

Three dates of importance:
  • Robert Catesby, Gunpowder Plot organizer, died on November 8, 1603, shot during a fight with the Sheriff of Worcester at Holbeche House on the border of Staffordshire. His head was displayed outside Parliament.
  • The Battle of the White Mountain was fought and won by Catholic forces against Frederick, the Protestant King of Bohemia on November 8, 1620--in about two hours.
  • Prince Charles Edward Stuart, Bonnie Prince Charlie, invaded England on November 8, 1745 after defeating the government's army at Prestonpans. While heading back to Scotland in April 1746, his army was met by the Duke of Cumberland's at the Battle of Culloden and the Young Pretender lost that fight.

Sit transit gloria mundi.

Blessed George Napier

Via Once I Was a Clever Boy.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Just a Sample . . .

Scepter Publishers have given Google books permission to publish a sample of Supremacy and Survival on line. You will be able to read the introduction, view some of the tables and glossaries I've prepared, pages in some chapters, a few illustrations, and the first page of the list of recommended reading and of the index. Just enough to whet your appetite, I hope.

Reminds me a little of a scene in Show Boat, the Kern and Hammerstein musical: Cap'n Andy tells Frank and Ellie to give the audience "jest a sample of the dance" (Cap'n Andy's Ballyhoo). Parthy Ann, his wife and Magnolia's mother, complains that he'll give the show away for free! He knows it's a way to tantalize the audience and get them to buy a ticket to see the show on the Show Boat!
The sample pages in Google books give you an idea of the contents and style of Supremacy and Survival, but as it's still held in copyright, doesn't give you the whole book for free. Tantalizing.
Remember you can also get a sample of what Supremacy and Survival is all about today at 1:00 p.m. Central time on EWTN Radio as I appear on "The Good Fight" with Barbara McGuigan and Richard "Doc" Geraghty.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Two Couples: Meeting and Marrying

On this day, November 4, in 1501, Arthur, the Prince of Wales, and Katherine of Aragon, daughter of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, met for the first time. They would marry ten days later, on November 14 at Old St. Paul's in London. Arthur died in Wales nearly five months later, on April 2, 1502 and Katherine of Aragon remained in England while decisions about her dowry and marital future worked themselves out. Her father-in-law Henry VII obtained a papal dispensation so she could marry his second son, Henry, who had been intended for a life in the Church. When the first Tudor king died, his young son married Katherine of Aragon--quite happily and enthusiastically, too.

176 years later, Mary, eldest daughter of James, the Duke of York married William III, Prince of Orange on November 4, 1677. They married on William's mother's birthday. His mother was Mary, the Princess Royal, eldest daughter of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, born in 1631. Henrietta Maria left England at the beginning of the English Civil War in 1642 to deliver her daughter to William II of Orange (they had been married in 1641 but she Mary of Orange was too young--10 years old--to begin married life!). The marriage of William III and Mary in 1677 indicated a shift in Charles II's policy against France and towards Holland. Ten days after Mary and William III married, he celebrated his birthday, as he was born November 14, 1650.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thomas, Thomas, Thomas

As I recently posted on both Thomas Wolsey and Thomas More, I thought I'd pause to consider how many Thomases we know at Henry VIII's Court.
  • Thomas Wolsey, Chancellor and Archbishop of York--died on the way to probable execution; accused of treason
  • Thomas More, Chancellor--executed by Henry VIII's orders

  • Thomas Cromwell, Chancellor and Earl of Essex--executed by Henry VIII's orders
  • Thomas Cramner, Archbishop of Canterbury--executed by will of Mary I for heresy (could have been executed for treason too)
  • Thomas Wriothesley, Lord Privy Seal, Chancellor--died during reign of Edward VI (pictured)
  • Thomas Seymour--executed during Edward VI's reign; last husband of Catherine Parr (they had been contemplating marriage before Henry VIII got interested in the oft-married Catherine Parr)
  • Thomas Howard--survived Henry VIII; he was in the Tower awaiting execution when Henry died
  • Thomas Boleyn--father of Anne Boleyn; in disgrace after his daughter's fall
  • Thomas Culpepper--lover of Catherine Howard; executed
  • Thomas Wyatt--poet, held in the Tower of London, witnessing the executions of Anne Boleyn and her lovers while facing the same accusations

Of these ten men, half were executed, and three of the five who died of natural causes faced execution. Of course, no one was going to get out of there alive; but it was an achievement to die with one's head attached to one's body in the Tudor era.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Another Round on The Good Fight

This Saturday, November 6, I'll be on Barbara McGuigan's The Good Fight live call in show with one of her frequent guests, Richard 'Doc' Geraghty. Barbara will highlight two women martyrs: Blessed Margaret Pole and Saint Margaret Clitherow! Then we will discuss the role of the laity in reacting to the religious changes that took place throughout the English Reformation. You can listen live here and call in at 1-877-573-7825.