Saturday, November 21, 2015

Father Ed Dowling and Bill Wilson

Glenn F. Chesnut, who earned a doctorate in theology at Oxford University and has had a long career teaching religion and history at multiple American universities, has published Father Ed  Dowling: Bill Wilson’s Sponsor (iUniverse, July 2015). 

“This is the story of Father Ed Dowling, S.J., the (non-alcoholic) Jesuit priest who served for twenty years as sponsor and spiritual guide to Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Father Ed said that the graces he received from meeting Bill Wilson were as great as those he had received from his ordination as a priest, and Bill in turn described encountering the Jesuit as being like a second conversion experience, where he could feel the transcendent presence of God filling the entire room with grace...”

There is much information about the early years of Alcoholics Anonymous and includes Matt Talbot in Chapter 7, which can be read at 

The entire text can be read at, with Chapter 7 beginning on page 76.