Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Matt Talbot: The Man Who Stumbled Into Heaven (Recording)

Fr. Ronald Gray, O.Carm. narrates the story of Venerable Matt Talbot in this 1964 twenty-seven minutes recording. It can be listened to and/or downloaded at

Fr. Gray (1918-2003) was co-founder (with Fr. Albert Dolan, O.Carm.) of the Matt Talbot Legion. (His obituary can be found at

Fr. Dolan (1892-1951) was author of 53 books, including Matt Talbot Alcoholic:
The Story of a Slave to Alcohol who Became a Comrade of Christ's (1948),
We knew Matt Talbot: Visits with his relatives and friends (1948), and The Life of Matt Talbot (1952). (His obituary can be found at Rev. Albert Dolan, O.Carm.)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lay Down Your Burdens at the Matt Talbot Novena

Parish of Shannon, Co. Clare, Ireland

(As noted in the last paragraph, people can send petitions to the novena via the internet. JB)

Suffering has many human faces; young, old, rich, poor, town, country, tall small, married, single, separated; it does not discriminate. A parent grieving the loss of their child, a young person rejected because they are “different”, a spouse separated due to compulsive drinking or some other addiction, a family with a drug addict, a person cut in their prime due to illness or disability. We all know the faces; we see them every day. Perhaps we see one when we look into the mirror.

Often it is hidden but the telltale signs of strain are there. Tragically some take their own lives; others take pills, drugs or alcohol, try to escape but only adding to their portion of suffering humanity. It is vain to try and explain their situation by neat spiritual formulae. Suffering is too commonplace and pain too real.

Suffering may be mysterious, widespread and at times overpowering but no more so than the reality of the grace and courage of sufferers. The secular world, that we are all part of, speaks of the triumph of the human spirit in the face of tragedy, but would this be possible if the human spirit were not part of God’s spirit?

Matt Talbot, whose annual Novena begins in SS John & Paul Church on Tuesday October 5th at 7pm is an example of a fellow Irish man who in his own life knew suffering as a result of his addictive behaviour, but he also knew the other side of the coin when he experience God’s love at work in his life. Matt Talbot is just one example of many who through their plight caused in part by circumstances, and in part by a personal vulnerability, still shine through and stay faithful to what they cherished and loved.

Despite all the reasons in the world for caving into deaths inevitability, Matt Talbot stayed focused on life’s hope and by so doing, shows us the truth of the cross’s triumph over suffering and death. Suffering from addictions, or indeed sharing in the life of addictions, has many human faces. It often defies explanation, leaving us stuck for worlds and at times helpless. However there is help available, be it medical or professional. There is also spiritual help available.

At this time of year our annual Novena in honour of Matt Talbot takes place in both Kilrush and Shannon. It’s the time of year when people gather for one hour each Tuesday from 7pm to 8pm to pray for all suffering or sharing in the life of addictions. This is the 18th year of the Novena and attracts hundreds of people at both venues for each of the 9 nights.

This year’s Novena begins on Tuesday October 5th and continues each Tuesday during October and November. This year’s preachers include:

October 5th Bro. Martin Browne OSB Headmaster Glenstal Abbey
October 12th Rev.Pat Conroy PP Ballinakill Co. Galway.
October 19th Rev. Tom Whelan CC Nenagh Co. Tipperary.
October 26th Rev. Gearoid O’ Griofa CC, Gort,, Co. Galway.
November 2nd Rev. Frank O’Connor, Pastoral Centre, Limerick
November 9th Rev. Ulic Troy OFM, Guardian, Franciscan Friary, Merchants Quay, Dublin
November 16th Rev.Kevin O’Boyle SSC, Quilty, Co. Clare
November 23rd Ms. Ellen O’Neill, Bushy Park Treatment Centre, Ennis
November 30th
Rev. Pat Larkin PP, Kilmurry Ibrickane, Co. Clare

Petitions can be left at the shrine in SS John & Paul Church. This year for the first time ever people can send petitions to the novena via the internet. The Shannon parish website has a section dedicated to the Matt Talbot Novena in an attempt to reach out to as many people as possible in their struggle with addictions or with people whose lives are caught up in addictions. The Matt Talbot Novena is offered each year to give encouragement and spiritual support to people in times of suffering and stress. A warm welcome awaits all who come.

Send us a Petition for the Matt Talbot Novena
(Name & email address not required) Click link.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Seamus Ford's Portrayal of Venerable Matt Talbot

In our March 28, 2010 post titled, "Actor Seamus Ford portrays Matt Talbot in 1988 video," we noted this 1988 forty-five minute movie video was for sale on EBay, which is no longer available from its producer, Pauline Books & Media.

Thanks to the "unclecoffee's Channel," a twenty-four minute version of this movie is now available in two parts on YouTube:

Note that this video's Part 2 title, "Matt Talbot: Servant of God, 1845-1924," has incorrect dates. Venerable Matt Talbot was born in 1856 and died in 1925.