Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Two biographical articles about Matt Talbot

Two introductory biographical articles about Matt Talbot are linked here.
"The Matt Talbot Story" by Fr. Morgan Costello, former Vice-Postulator of the Cause of the Venerable Matt Talbot, is posted on the
Matt Talbot Retreat Group 27 website at http://matttalbotretreatgroup27east.org/matttalbot.html.
The second is "Story of Matt Talbot" which is posted on the Matt Talbot Retreat Movement, Inc. website at
http://matttalbotretreats.org/2009/10/story-of-matt-talbot/.


The Matt Talbot Story: Hope for Addicts

[This article was originally posted at http://www.matt-talbot.com/, the “official” Matt Talbot website when Fr. Morgan Costello was the Vice- Postulator of the Cause of Matt Talbot. This site is no longer active. Today, however, more information from this site than we have presented here can be retrieved at http://web.archive.org/web/20030613025345/http://www.matt-talbot.com/. The different type used may suggest sections were written at different times during 2000-2001.]


His Story


Matt Talbot (1856 - 1925) was born in the poverty of Dublin's inner city. He began drinking at twelve years of age and became a chronic alcoholic. It was the drug culture of the 19th century. Matt was an addict. After sixteen years he decided to 'kick the habit'. A priest helped him, giving him a rehabilitation programme, which providentially incorporated the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. That was fifty years before AA was founded. After a horrendous struggle, he found sobriety through prayer and self-sacrifice. His Higher Power was the Christian God. He remained sober for forty years until his death. His life story has been an inspiration for alcoholics and addicts throughout the world. He is a candidate for canonisation in the Catholic Church.


His Life


With the help of his priest friend, Matt modelled his life on that of the monks, who lived in Ireland in the 6th and 7th centuries. It was a tough programme of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. To his neighbours and his work mates in the timber yards, he was a cheerful, happy friend. He gave away most of his wages every week to the poor at home and abroad. "Matt had no time for money", his sister remarked. He was keenly aware of his fellow workers struggle for social justice. A loyal member of Ireland's Transport and General Workers Union, a Union leader, Stephen McGonagle, described him as "a beacon of light to Irish workers". After a life of heroic perseverance, he died suddenly on the way to Mass on 7th June 1925.


Canonisation


AS OTHERS SAW HIM

His Prayerfulness

He "sought through prayer and meditation to improve his conscious contact with God" (11th step of AA programme). He converted his incessant craving for drink into a drive for closer union with God - a one-day-at-a-time approach which lasted forty years.

His Perseverance

"It is consistency that God seeks", Matt Talbot said. He carried out faithfully each day the spiritual programme given to him and visited a priest friend every Saturday for direction - a help to addicts who are advised to attend regular meetings and have a sponsor.

Total Giving

He gave himself totally to his new way of life. Once a self-centred alcoholic, he showed outstanding kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness to his family, his neighburs and to his fellow workers.

Sense of Justice

He was keenly aware of the unjust treatment of workers in his day. He refused to return to work after a strike in 1900 and sought another job. "He was very strong in the rights of labouring men", according to Ted Fuller, a workmate "and said they should stand up for themselves." He shared his small wages with his poor neighbours and even contributed to an orphanage in New York.


The Making of a Saint

Matt Talbot was declared Venerable in 1973 which means that the church has decided that from a human point of view, he has the qualifications of a Saint. However a physical miracle is required to show Gods Approval of this judgement before he will be Beatified and another Miracle after that, before he will be canonised.

The Holy father believes that Matt Talbot has been chosen by God as a model for addicts. He was a recovered Alcoholic. It is now known that the rehabilitation programme given to him in 1884 incorporated the 12 step programme of Alcoholics Anonymous. although these steps were not formulated for another 50 years.

Devotees of Matt Talbot may be interested to learn that the present Pope wrote a paper on Matt when he was a young man.


His Addiction


Matt's programme of recovery was built around devotion to the Eucharist, love of Mary, Mother of God, spiritual reading, self-discipline and manual work. But he never forgot his struggle with his addiction. "Never look down on a man, who cannot give up the drink", he told his sister, "it is easier to get out of hell!".

Most of the favours attributed to his intercession world-wide are for addicts and their families. Hundreds have been reported. Some day he may be declared the patron saint for addicts. Short version of the prayer for his help: "May Matt Talbot's triumph over addiction, bring hope to our community and strength to our hearts, through Christ Our Lord. Amen."


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Remembering Matt Talbot: Mary Purcell (Veritas Publications; 7 Lr. Abbey Street, Dublin, Ireland)

Matt Talbot and his Times: Mary Purcell (Franciscan Herald Press, Chicago.)

Matt Talbot: Sr. Susan Helen Wallace FSP, (St Paul Books & Media, Boston).


Pamphlets

Matt Talbot: Hope for Addicts: Fr. Morgan Costelloe,(VeritasPublications, Dublin.) price:IR0.95.

The Making of Matt Talbot: Mary Purcell, (Messenger Publications, 37 Lr Leeson Street, Dublin) price:IR£1.50.

The Mystery of Matt Talbot: Fr. Morgan Costelloe (Messenger Publications) price:IR£0.65. Prayer Cards price:IR£0.15 each.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Portrait of Matt Talbot

This portrait of Matt Talbot, painted by Rosella Eannelli, a member of the Legion of Mary, was unveiled in a 1966 ceremony at the Matt Talbot Lodge in Milwaukee, Wi. (Matt Talbot Painting Unveiled At Lodge .). It remains hanging in the lobby. (http://www.mtrcinc.com/pages.php?id=4)









Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Remembrance of Matt Talbot on Granby Lane

image for id 3003/070

Shrine to Matt Talbot, Granby Lane, Dublin.
The plaque states that this is the place Matt Talbot died on June 7 1925.
Collection RTÉ Johnson Collection, Photographer Johnson, Nevill
Search for "Matt Talbot" at
https://stillslibrary.rte.ie/index se


Commemoration plaque today

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Consecrate this Lent to Jesus through Mary

One of the most influential spiritual writers for Matt Talbot was St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, who recommended a particular method of consecrating oneself wholly and entirely to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and, through Mary, to Jesus. The chains that were found on Matt’s body after his death were part of his consecration to Mary.”

For those who might want a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to consecrate this Lent to Jesus through Mary, clink:

http://newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.com/2012/02/consecrate-this-lent-to-jesus-through.html#uds-search-results

A Reference to Being "Venerable"

In Bill Donahue’s, The Secret World of Saints: Inside the Catholic Church and the Mysterious Process of Anointing the Hold Dead (2011), Byliner Inc: Kindle Edition http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006P2X86U, he briefly describes the procedures of the Church’s saint-making process in Chapter 6. Donahue notes that “Venerable is a pretty high rank—akin to, say, four-star general or eighth-degree black belt. Very few servants [those declared “Servants of God”] get there, and when they do, the Vatican allows them some perks: You can build a church in a venerable person’s honor. You can put his image on prayer cards and build little shrines. Catholics pray to the venerable—and often allot them small plots of holy turf. For instance, the Venerable Matt Talbot, an Irish dockworker and drunkard who went on the wagon to live his final forty-one years as an ascetic, is the patron saint of alcoholics.”

Whereas Venerable Matt Talbot’s patronage is already established in the eyes of many, Donahue states in a footnote that "saints are never chosen on the basis of their patronage potential. Rather, they’re picked for their virtues and for their miracles—and then, over time, they accrue patronages...”

Monday, February 13, 2012

A note on Blessed Columba Marmion and Venerable Matt Talbot

January 30, 2012


“...Blessed Columba Marmion may very well be the greatest gift in modern times of the Church in Ireland to the Church universal. Catholic Ireland needs the affirmation, the consolation, the joy, and the holy pride that will come from the beatification and canonization of those sons and daughters of hers who illumined modern times with the radiance of the Face of Christ shining through them. I could mention, among others, Father Willie Doyle, Frank Duff, Edel Quinn, Matt Talbot, Father John Sullivan, and Little Nellie Organ but, of all of these, Blessed Columba Marmion is the one whose Christ-centred life and teaching, like a lamp on a lampstand, shone most brightly in the Church of the 20th century, and in souls....”

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Location of the Matt Talbot Memorial Sculpture in Dublin

There are multiple photographs online of this Matt Talbot memorial sculpture near Dublin’s Matt Talbot Bridge.



A very brief video at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HjjFrGOgkA provides a perspective on the sculpture’s location in relation to the surrounding environment.
It appears 9 seconds into the video, which might be paused.

For more information click
Matt Talbot Monument in Dublin

A new play with reference to Matt Talbot

"Those Sick and Indigent"

Peter Crawley

Fri, Jan 13, 2012

Bewley’s Cafe Theatre, Dublin

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/features/2012/0113/1224310187180.html


Everybody has a life story, but they rarely come to a satisfactory conclusion. Take Matt Talbot, a man who would have gone almost unnoticed as he hurried between work and Mass in the 1920s, until he died from a sudden heart attack and revealed a body bound with heavy chains and his own penitent narrative.


Alan O’Regan’s debut play makes room for a reference to Talbot, in all his destitution and saintliness, as it performs a similar act of excavation, interested not in building up a character, but in unearthing one.


When the play opens, Jack Gannon, a resident in a homeless shelter, has already passed away, and his few possessions are itemised by a strait-laced care worker, Ronan (Shane O’Reilly), assisted by the gregarious and conniving Finbar “The Cad” Lyons (Mark Lambert) and the near-catatonic Oxo (Gerry O’Brien).


The difficulty O’Regan and his director Daniel Reardon have anticipated, but not quite overcome, is how a lifetime can be translated into stage time. The play attempts to piece the absent figure together relic by relic: his radio, a photograph, a book on Talbot, a devotional scapular, and, of course, a lengthy letter.


The curious effect of this unhurried reconstruction is that three actors have been employed to perform a one-man show, more functionaries than characters.


O’Reilly does well with a nothing role (he’s principally there to read) and O’Brien is all nervy focus in a part that hints at wells of significance (he’s principally there to rock back and forth), but Lambert, with nervous scratching and loquaciousness, has been given the mannerisms that generally pass for a character.


If the play seems to belong to another time, it’s because The Cad seems to have stumbled in directly from Sean O’Casey’s Dublin; a self-confessed “bowsie”, trailing songs, mythologies and malapropisms, and certainly the only homeless person in 2012 to begin a sentence with, “Begoddin”.


You couldn’t accuse Those Sick and Indigent of romanticising homelessness: “A lifetime in doorways makes you – what’s the word – suskeptible,” says The Cad. (Okay, maybe you could.) But largely it avoids the issue, alluding to The Cad’s much grimmer backstory without exploring it. O’Regan’s writing is most affecting when Gannon – through the letter – can speak for himself, but the theatre is better at showing than telling.


“We’ve all had tragedies, sir,” counters The Cad, “His is no better than mine.” If this short piece had more space to develop, he might prove his point.


Note: An excerpt of this play can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iStUpEOr_sI

Friday, February 10, 2012

The pearl at all costs

Joseph Lee L'Heureux
January 18, 2012
South Peace News
High Prairie, Alberta, Canada



I have frequently been asked why go to church daily?

It’s not the church, it’s the Mass and it’s the Eucharist of Thanksgiving! It’s receiving the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, daily.

It’s the pearl at all cost. Jesus told these parables, “The kingdom of God is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45-46)

The previous parable was about a hidden treasure. When he found it he hid it and sold everything he had in order to buy the field. (Matthew 13:44)

Just ask any recovering alcoholic or drug addict, one who is sober and clean for 5-10 years and more; sobriety and sanity are a pearl of great cost. Take that even one step further and one who knows personally His Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, then that’s the treasure at all cost.

Maria Goretti, of Italy, known to have a pious nature, found in prayer and chose to give up her life rather than submit to the affections of an unwelcome suitor. She died of stab wounds inflicted by her over a zealous suitor.

She was 12 years old.

Many years later after his long jail sentence, the suitor became a monk. He was in the front row at her beatification. He had found that pearl in prayer and Eucharist.

Matthew Talbot, an Irishman, discovered alcohol at an early age. By the age of 14 he was an alcoholic. Before the age of 20 he had stolen the cup from a musical blind man’s monkey to feed his addiction. In his late twenties, after many years of badgering, his mother asked him to attend Mass and Eucharist with her daily for one year and give up “the drink” as the Irish like to call it. He agreed to do this on the condition of “for one year only” [after the initial three months] which she would then agree to leave him alone, and he could go back to drinking.

After one year he continued to go to daily Mass and the Eucharist. When Mass time was moved from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m., which was the same time as his work, he felt his job interfered with the importance of the Mass. He gave up his job at the mill, choosing to live by faith that God would provide enough temporary work.

Talbot had found “the pearl of a great price”.

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” four times, He repeated this in the Gospel of John. (Chapter 6, Versus 35, 41, 48, 51)

In Verses 32, 33, 50, 51, 58 He repeats this six more times in different ways. Referring to Himself, “the bread I will give is My flesh” (Verse 51) and “this is that bread which came down from Heaven.” (Verse 58)

I’m sure he patted or pointed to His chest when he said these words.

He also said, “My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” (Verse 55.)

“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him.” (Verse 56)

“He who feeds on this bread will live forever.” (Verse 58)

In the other three Gospels, Jesus took bread and blessed it, in an example for His disciples to follow, known as the Last Supper. This was the example of the perpetual bloodless sacrifice we are to practice in remembrance of His great sacrifice offered for us on Calvary, for our sanctification.

Why would I go on so long on this subject?

It’s what the world of addiction needs. You see, to give up one’s deadly addiction and replace it with something to fill the void. Usually it’s work, bingo or gambling or another addiction.

Many people have discovered this pearl at all cost through reading the Holy Scriptures daily. They then went on to share the “Word” or their sobriety with others through service in Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or other 12-step programs.

It’s much safer and more pleasing to our Higher Power to give oneself in service to others, this is the twelfth step, or service directly to God in worship.

“The Word was made flesh,” St. John says, and “the Word was God” Jesus was and is that Word. (John 1:1-22)

When his disciples speak those words in obedience to His command from His Gospels, they recreate “His flesh and Blood” just like the world was created. (John 1:3 and Genesis 1:3)

That is Emmanuel, “God with us” Let us worship.

His flesh and blood is real food for our journey, by reading His Word “the Bible” daily or partaking in His Body and Blood we nourish our addictive personalities with the positive.

The Blood First Nations band in southern Alberta near Lethbridge drank the blood and ate the heart of the buffalo they had killed for strength and courage. How much more so if they ate and drank the flesh and blood of their Creator and Saviour?

Others have discovered this great treasure sitting and worshiping the Eucharist: the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the consecrated bread, his body and blood resting in the tabernacle.

Today there are 45 treatment centers called “Cenacalo” for addicts and alcoholics around the world focused on the real Presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Their success rate is 75-85 per cent of participants. Why?

They are discovering the treasure, the pearl of a great cost, Jesus Christ among His People.

God Bless!