Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"St Patrick's Day, addiction and Matt Talbot"

As St. Patrick's Day nears, this blogger publicly describes some of what this feast day, addiction, and Matt Talbot mean to her. Thank you, Jackie.

"St Patrick's Day, addiction & Matt Talbot"

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ
Thursday, 8 March 2007

Just wanted to reflect on the above. March 17th sees the wonderful Feast of St Patrick, which is a Holy Day of Obligation in Ireland. I am second generation, Irish, with my father coming from Dublin. One of my grand-parents was from Crossmaglen, in the North..bandit country as it was more recently known! My favourite part of Ireland is Wicklow & its mountains. It has a shrine to St father's name is Colm.

In Ireland it was common to take the abstain from alcohol for life. Some of my aunts & uncles did that. Myself & my mother have never had an alcoholic drink..yes i do mean 'never', & are Pioneers, dedicated to The Sacred Heart. We are supposed to say a daily prayer..oops!

Sadly, in my very large, wider family there are many alcoholics. This addiction to alcohol has been excruciatingly painful to watch & has caused untold misery. One family member, by the grace of God gave up alcohol after 20 years of binge-drinking, with several hospitalisations, & now attends AA..Alcoholics Anonymous. This is a wonderful programme of recovery. It has 12 spiritual steps,

Number 1..We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, & that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will & our lives over to the care of God (as we understood Him).

4. Made a searching & fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves & to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all people we had harmed, & became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory & when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer & meditation to improve our conscious contact with God (as we understood Him), praying only for knowledge of His will for us & the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others & practice these principles in all our affairs.

I personally find it a wonderful programme. There is a group Al-Anon, for the family & friends of alcoholics, which offers excellent support, by telephone, & weekly meetings. There are also on-line groups.

One person who suffered from the disease of alcoholism, was of course, the Venerable Matt Talbot. Prayer for the Canonisation of MATT TALBOT

Lord, in your servant Matt Talbot you have given us a wonderful example of triumph over addiction, of devotion to duty, and of lifelong reverence for the Most Holy Sacrament. May his life of prayer and penance give us courage to take up our crosses and follow in the footsteps of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Father, if it be your will that your beloved servant should be glorified by your Church, make known by your heavenly favours the powers he enjoys in your sight. We ask this though the same Jesus Christ Our Lord- Amen.

Matt Talbot's tomb, is in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Sean McDermot Street, Dublin 1.
Anyone who receives a favour through his intercession is requested to write to the Vice-Postulator of the cause, c/o the above named Church.

As i mentioned above our family is 'riddled' with least 4 generations being affected. It is a 'family illness' with a high genetic cause as well as circumstantial. If anyone wants to ask me questions or know more feel free to e-mail me.

Calix is a Catholic Organisation, with its own Chaplains (alcoholic in recovery), which meets in Birmingham, monthly. It begins with confessions, Holy Mass & then a meeting, with alcoholics & their friends & families..It should be listed in The Diocesan directory.

Well, that's addiction & Matt Talbot, taken care of!

I will just finish on asking the great St. Patrick to intercede for all our intentions during the time close to March 17th...

God bless,


Fr Sean Coyle said...

I'm delighted that you've put up a post about alcoholism. There's an excellent article on Matt Talbot at: . You’ll also find interesting material on St Patrick whose feast is still a holyday of obligation in Ireland. The website of the Pioneers is . The recent pastoral letter of the Irish Bishops, Alcohol, the Challenge of Moderation, is available in PDF format in English, Irish and Polish at , the website of the Irish bishops. You can also read the text in simpler format at

I introduced a friend here in the Philippines to Matt Talbot. She has a brother who is alcoholic and also gay. She and her family have been praying through Matt's intercession and the last time I met her she told me that her brother was recovering from his alcoholism. When I was a kid going into town in Dublin with my mother, we sometimes passed through Granby Lane, at the back of the Dominican church, where Matt died and we'd say a prayer there. Paul VI and JPII were both very much aware of him (Paul served in the nunciature in Dublin for some years) and wanted to advance his cause. I think his sanctity was and is evident. And while his asceticism was quite extraordinary, it was done under the guidance of a spiritual director and, clearly, didn't take away from his work or anything else. On the contrary. His asceticism was that of the early Irish monks. The evidence available too suggests that the chain on his body was something he wore only occasionally and it was more of a symbolic chain rather than a shackle. (I don’t think the early Irish monks wore chains.) And it was the chain that drew the attention of the press to Matt after his death.

Fr Sean Coyle

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

It was facinating listening to your 'walks' with your mother round Dublin, & visiting the place Matt Talbot died. it was interesting your explanation of the 'chain' as we all can get a bit carried away spiritually, when mostly the saints were very level-headed 7 their use of penances was highly 'regulated' by their directors. Generally, Matt was 'just a humble servant in the lord's vineyard'..where have we heard that before?

Re the 'dual-diagnosis' of that gay & alcoholic, that scenario is very common. Also mental illness is often associated with usually knows which comes first, or if the 2 just co-exist.

All the same it would be good to pray for all those suffering from all these afflictions, through the intercession of Matt Talbot.

Thanks so much for posting Fr Sean, & it's great to know St Patrick's Day is still a Holy Day of Obligation in Ireland!

God bless

Joee Blogs said...

Wow Great that there's another supporter of the cause of Matt Talbot. I too wrote about alcoholism and a post about Matt Talbot recently but didn't publish it. I think his cause has gone rather quiet recently which is extremely sad.