Monday, December 27, 2010

Imagining Matt's Tenement Room

In contrast to Flora Mitchell's commemorative painting of Matt Talbot's room (THREE WORKS COMMEMORATING THE LIFE OF MATT TALBOT, the second photograph is of "a typical room in a tenement, not unlike the room in which Matt Talbot would have lived," according to the St. Agatha's Parish, Dublin, website ( St. Agatha is a church where Matt regularly attended mass and where the current parish priest is Fr. Brian Lawless, the current Vice-Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Matt Talbot.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


These paintings are by Flora H. Mitchell, 1890-1993, and this text is from Whyte's at

"The Venerable Matt Talbot (1856-1925) was a working class Dubliner who renounced alcohol and led an exemplary life of piety and clarity. He died on the way to Sunday Mass and was initially buried in a pauper's grave. In 1952 his remains were exhumed and transferred to a double vault, depicted here. He was beatified by Pope Paul VI.
Individual titles are No. 18 Rutland St, Dublin, where Matt Talbot resided (exterior of building), Vault, Glasnevin Cemetery, and No. 18 Upper Rutland St., Dublin (interior)

Note: We appreciate these paintings being available online for viewing by Whyte's.
Information about the artist can be found at or by emailing us at
for the complete article.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stained Glass Image of Matt Talbot Praying

This "cropped" 2010 stained glass image of Matt Talbot is from a larger stained glass located at The Shrine of the Penitent, St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Kentwood, Michigan. See our December 21, 2010 post for more detail:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 Stained Glass of Matt Talbot


This stained glass surrounding one exit at The Shrine of the Penitent, St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Kentwood, Michigan, represents Venerable Matt Talbot, as a drunkard (on the left) and after conversion and recovery (on the right). The overall architectural design of the Shrine and church focuses on a place where sinners and penitents, might find refuge, comfort, and forgiveness. 

(Besides the Matt Talbot stained glass, each of the additional eight exits surrounded by stained glass, not reproduced here, represent a saint or other whose actions before total conversion to God reinforce the belief in penitence: St. Mary Magdalen, a woman possessed by seven demons; St. Augustine of Hippo, a hedonist; King David, adulterer and murderer; St. Dismas, a condemned thief; St. Peter, who denied the Lord; St. Paul, a zealot and persecutor of the early church; The Prodigal Son, the selfish squanderer; and All Souls, in need of God's mercy.)

This slightly reorganized information above is from the "The windows of St. Mary Magdalen" brochure
which can be downloaded at

A newspaper article about the artist and some photographs can be found at

(The image of Matt Talbot praying appears in the December 22, 2010 post at

UPDATE:  On July 1, 2012, a destructive fire destroyed most of St. Magdalene Catholic Church in Kentwood, Michigan, which housed “The Shine of the Penitent.”
Of the nine stained glass exit images created by Maria Orr (, five were totally destroyed while four survived with repairable smoke damage, including that of Venerable Matt Talbot.
While the church will be rebuilt, the status of the stained glass images is uncertain at this time. The pastor’s column can be found at and contributions may be made at

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stained Glass of Venerable Matt Talbot

This image of Matt Talbot is located at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As noted at, this stained glass of Matt among others..."depict saints who best represent the occupations and professions of the church members." We appreciate this image being available online.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Matt Talbot and the Gardiner Street Parish

"The Church of St Francis Xavier in Gardiner Street was one of the first churches to be built in Dublin after Catholic Emancipation (Catholic Relief Act) in 1829. The church in Hardwicke St opened in 1821. By 1829, however, it had become too small for the congregations. In that year, then, the first stone was laid, and the first Mass was said in the new parish church on May 3, 1832.
The Jesuits had been in the Hardwicke St area since the 1730s, on the site now occupied by the Sacred Heart statue. They opened a school there, and in 1841 this became Belvedere College.

Many well-known people of faith have been associated with the church. Among them is [Venerable] Matt Talbot, a recovered alcoholic whose cause for beatification is in process. He prayed in the church each day at the 5.30 a.m. Mass, and in fact died on his way to a later Mass in Dominic St Church in Granby Lane, on June 7, 1925. John Henry Cardinal Newman celebrated Mass here when he lived in Dorset St in 1854; his cause for beatification is in process too. [John Henry Newman was declared "Blessed" in September, 2010.] Also, it can be surmised that Blessed Dom Columba Marmion visited the church when he was Professor at Clonliffe College.

Gardiner Street Church is also the resting place of Fr John Sullivan SJ whose cause for canonisation is in process in Rome. His tomb draws a daily stream of devotees, as does the monthly Mass in his memory. Fr John worked for a short time in the church in 1907..."

This is also the church where "The Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart" was founded on 28th December, 1898, by Fr. James A. Cullen; Matt Talbot was a member of the PTAA.

Friday, December 10, 2010

"Saint in Overalls: The Lesson of Matt Talbot"

by Edward Duff, S.J.
The Irish Monthly, Vol. 68, No. 807, (Sept, 1940), pp. 490-500

0E6C1CC3d01.pdf Duff 1940 Saint in Overalls.

Note: This article was published 15 years after Matt Talbot's death.
We are grateful such
articles are available by the publisher, Irish
Jesuit Province, through

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Matt Talbot Birthplace Plaque


The birthplace plaque of Matt Talbot was unveiled in Dublin on 30, November, 2010.
Source: (By Lord Mayor of Dublin's photostream) Additional photographs of the unveiling are available at this link.

It would appear that the image of Matt Talbot on this plaque is the preferred one of the Dublin Diocesan Matt Talbot Committee, whose Executive Chairman is V. Rev. Brian Lawless, Vice-Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Matt Talbot.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Saints show the way"

By F. MacN.

The Irish Times

October 31, 1998

We enter the leaf-strewn paths of November on a day of victory recalled and of hope made new. The feast of all our saints brings a special radiance to dispel the winter gloom. We take time to remember the women and men who made glad the landscape of our lives by the beauty and fidelity and generous love of the pilgrim days. Their example shines as a beacon to guide us safely even in our darkest days. We have our cherished favourites among the women and the men who brought holiness into the daily round. They made the world a better place for all of us who now follow their footsteps on the once-made journey. Like us, they knew the daily struggle between high ideals and inherent weakness, between Gospel challenge and the siren call of selfishness and sin. They realised that the spirit could indeed be willing but the flesh could be forever weak. In fidelity to the Godgiven faith which we now share they realised that our help was in the name of the Lord who made both the majestic heavens and the wondrous earth.

Their memory inspires us still. Their prayers reach out to help us and to heal. They summon us to turn aside from folly and from falsehood. When we make our pilgrim way to Lough Derg, to Clonmacnoise, to Kildare, to Glendalough or Gougane Barra, we realise we are on holy ground. We breath a purer air and, made clean in body, mind and heart, we return to our daily task alive to Gospel truth.

On this glad November day we allow ourselves to be touched by the example of Edith Stein and Oliver Plunket, of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, George Simms, Matt Talbot and so many more. The torch-bearers go before us. We ignore them at our peril. Great lights shine so often. Do we close our eyes and turn away? Or do we live by truth of Scripture and by grace of Sacrament?

Many of us may say "Gospel values are beautiful, life-giving and forever true. But we live in evil times." St. Augustine calls us to reject shallow cliché. "We ourselves make the times. If we are good we make good times. Let us fashion the times by the quality of our lives."

Grace built in nature develops us and brings all qualities to perfection. The women and the men we honour to-day to prove us that we can live and love and work in happy, well-ordered days of sanity and full development as people of the Beatitudes. To this we are called. On the pilgrim way we discover fulfilment and lasting peace. When we stray, the Good Shepherd awaits us in love to lead from darkness back to light.

We rejoice today with the women and the men who walked before us in faith, in fidelity and in love. The guiding star of Resurrection hope shines for us as for them and leads us safely home.

May all the splendid company

Whom Christ in glory came to meet

Help on our once-travelled path

Made clearer by their pilgrim feet.

Lord, that I may see!