Saturday, December 17, 2016

Two 1949 Books About Matt Talbot

The following Friars’ Bookshelf book review was published in 1949, which was found on page 12 at

The Story of Matt Talbot. By Malachy Gerard Correll.
Cork, The Mercier Press, Ltd., 1948. pp. 110. 8/6.
Matt Talbot The Irish Worker's Glory. By Rev. James F. Cassidy, B.A. Westminster, Md., The Newman Bookshop, 1948. pp. 62. $0.90.

Malachy Carroll's personal knowledge of the character, customs, and habits of the Irish enables him to reconstruct the atmosphere which pervaded the Ireland of Matt Talbot's day. In his treatment of Talbot's boyhood and early life he introduces the reader into intimate contact with the members of Matt Talbot's family, placing due emphasis on the strong bonds of love and sacrifice which unite the members of an Irish family.

Relating the story of Talbot's fifteen years of slavery to drink, the author
points out three traits which marked Talbot as an exceptionally principled
man who would not, even under the deadening influence of alcohol, 
abandon his Sunday Mass obligation; nor relax his guard against impurity of thought, word, or deed; nor rob his employer of a minute's time by being late in reporting for work.

In his twenty-eighth year, becoming aware of the selfishness of his drinking companions by their careful avoidance of a penniless man, Matt Talbot determined to take the pledge. To accomplish this conversion and the subsequent victories over the paralyzing temptations of the devil he sought his strength in confession and return to the sacraments. Thus began a life of unflagging devotion to God which drew him ever up the ladder of contemplation. His waking hours became for him a period of prayer, as all his actions and thoughts were performed for the glory of God, Whose presence he ever felt. To him there was no such thing as free time. To commune with God and His saints was a treasure which he could not neglect nor forget. His long vigils in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament; his avidity for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; his prayerful devotions to the Sacred Heart, to our Blessed Mother Mary and her Rosary, coupled with his fast and abstinence, and self-imposed bodily mortifications and disciplines, gained for him a reputation for holiness which savors of the men of God in the ages of great sanctity.

Fr. Cassidy, in his book, has not attempted a biography at all. Rather, he has unfolded the outstanding virtues of Matt's life, with a view to presenting him as an example for all workmen. In nine chapters he shows the practical spirituality of Matt Talbot, which stands as a challenge to workers who would compromise a principle for the sake of human respect. 

Note: This 1948 edition book is from the Dublin publisher, Clonmore & Reynolds.  Although long out-of-print, these books are periodically available for purchase online, such as at