Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Programme about the Life of Matt Talbot on 1st December, 2011 on TG4

“A programme about the life of Matt Talbot will be broadcast on Thursday 1st December at 10.00pm on TG4 as part of the Scéalta Átha Cliath series. (

Scéalta Átha Cliath
chronicles Dublin’s rich and diverse history in an eight-part profile and celebration of some of the capital city’s most famous personages or venues. From Molly Malone and Bang Bang to Matt Talbot and Orson Welles’ teenage stage début as well as the strange goings on at the Hellfire Club, this really is Dublin’s history uncovered.” (

Update: A review of this film was posted on 3/1/2012.

Photographs and relics related to Matt Talbot's life

Pilgrimage to the Tomb of Matt Talbot

“On Saturday 27th November, as the Matt Talbot Novena concludes, some parishioners from St. Senan's Parish, Shannon, Co. Clare made a pilgrimage of Matt Talbot in Sean McDermott Street, Dublin.
Fr. Brian Lawless, the vice postulator for the cause of Venerable Matt Talbot, celebrated Mass for the pilgrims at the tomb. He also spoke about the life of Matt and shared the relics with those who had come on pilgrimage...Our thanks to Pat Grue for the photographs.”

[Triple-click each photograph to enlarge]



Matt Talbot and the History of A.A. in Dublin

Alcoholics Anonymous in Dublin celebrates its 65th anniversary this month.

While Matt Talbot died ten years before the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio, USA, in 1935 and 21 years before the first AA meeting was held in Dublin on November 18, 1946, Matt's journey of continuous sobriety was based on the resources that were available in Dublin during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Certainly not to detract from his religious practices and individual approach to recovery (see, former Vice-Postulator of the Cause of Matt Talbot, Fr. Morgan Costello, has noted in his publication,"Matt Talbot: Hope for Addicts" (1987; 2001), that elements of A.A.’s twelve-steps can be identified in Matt’s recovery.

Three articles related to the history of Alcoholics Anonymous in Dublin can be found at:

Monday, November 21, 2011

St. Francis of Assisi: Another Patron Saint of Alcoholics?

[St. Francis of Assisi is perhaps most typically thought of as the patron saint of animals, ecology, and peace. But according to the recovering alcoholic quoted in the article below by Fr. Joe, we might add "patron of alcoholics," not because St. Francis was an alcoholic but because of the peace prayer attributed to him (see "Note" below). This prayer is included in the chapter about the 11th step of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (page 99). According to the editor of this book, which was written by Bill Wilson, co-founder of A.A., Tom Powers is said to have commented that Bill W. considered St. Francis as the patron saint of Alcoholics Anonymous (

While Venerable Matt Talbot may not have been aware of this prayer, St. Francis of Assisi was an important model for Matt as he joined the
Third Order of St. Francis, known today as the Franciscan Secular Order, in 1890, six years into recovery.]

"St. Francis: Patron of Drunks"

Fr. Joe Tonos

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A while back, a woman came to me and said she wasn't Catholic but she had a devotion to St. Francis. Thinking that she, like many others, knew of St. Francis as the "patron saint of yard ornaments, "I was waiting to hear what she had to say. She then surprised me and said, "He's the patron saint of drunks!" I had not heard that before.
She then explained that in the twelve step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), St. Francis' "Peace Prayer" is offered as a prayer to those who are recovering. His prayer is used in the context of "self-searching" on the way to being a better person. His prayer is in the "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" book of AA. The woman was a recovering alcoholic.

Here's an excerpt from the book:

First let’s look at a really good prayer. We won’t have far to seek; the great men and women of all religions have left us a wonderful supply. Here let us consider one that is a classic.

Its author was a man who for several hundred years now as been rated as a saint. We won’t be biased or scared off by that fact, because although he was not an alcoholic he id, like us, go through the emotional wringer. And as he came out the other side of that painful experience, this prayer was his expression of what he could then see, feel, and wish to become:

“Lord, make me a channel of thy peace—that where there is hatred, I may bring love—that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness—that where there is discord, I may bring harmony—that where there is error, I may bring truth—that where there is doubt, I may bring faith—that where there is despair, I may bring hope—that where there are shadows, I may bring light—that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted—to under­stand, than to be understood—to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.”
As beginners in meditation, we might now reread this prayer several times very slowly, savoring every word and trying to take in the deep meaning of each phrase and idea.

Click here for the direct reference.

The woman concluded her praise of the saint with this, and I paraphrase, "St. Francis was an irascible, ill-tempered man when he could be and he once wrote that, 'When I am at my worst, when I am at odds with everyone and everything, it is then I pause and give God thanks because he has shown me what I would be without his grace.' She then peaceably with a smile said, "He understands us alcoholics."

In response to this posted article, one person stated that "ÄA relies a lot on the St. Francis prayer to remove the alcoholic from his selfish, self-centered ways. Living the AA program is to live a life of service, a life devoted to helping all children of God."

Note: Two sources that dispute that St. Francis was the author of the Peace Prayer can be found at and

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Interceding for those who are addicted

by the Christian Brothers of the Midwest (USA)

“It has been said that all addiction is search for God, though addicts unfortunately search in the wrong places - whether in alcohol, drugs, gambling, food, pornography, or work, or in another person, through codependency, sex, or love. In order to recover from addiction, addicts must learn to search elsewhere for their Higher Power.

Many recovering alcoholics, however, have difficulties with prayer and traditional notions of God. For some, childhood experiences of religious communities and leaders have left them feeling alienated from organized religion. At the same time, they are learning Twelve-Step programs that in
order to ground themselves and find the spiritual center from which their recovery can grow, they need to cultivate their spirituality. Others, who may have strong religious beliefs, presently often feel alienated from God. Feeling guilt about the harm they caused themselves and others during
their active addiction, newly recovering addicts can all too easily shy away from contact with their Higher Power at a time when it is crucial to reopen those channels of communication. Let us pray today for all those fighting a demon in their lives...”

Source: Please go to Interced For Addicted or for the entire six page article, which includes a very brief biography and prayer to Venerable Matt Talbot.

Note: For other special intentions on this website, go to