Saturday, June 29, 2013

Matt Talbot as an example of commitment

The book description of the newly published 74 page book, Freedom Fighters, by Amanda Maria Riley states, “Freedom from addiction or habits that enslave us is not a moment of accomplishment but a battle fought every day. From this perspective, Freedom Fighters enlists readers in boot camp. A series of "training exercises" with Bible quotes and Christian reflections strengthens the reader providing a new perspective, a greater awareness of the patterns leading to addiction, a deeper understanding of self-discipline, and Christ as a model for strength.”
The third training exercise on commitment centers on Matt Talbot, page 8, which is included in the book preview at

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Retablo of Venerable Matt Talbot

This retablo of Venerable Matt Talbot was created by Patricia Hostetter-Lopex of Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Retablos, referred to as “laminas” in Latin America, are small oil paintings on tin, zinc, wood or copper. The literal translation for “retablo” is “behind the altar.”)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Remembering Venerable Matt Talbot

Whereas a feast day is only officially declared by the Church when a holy person is canonized, multiple websites list holy persons who are not yet canonized as “Saint of the Day” but with different calendar dates. Such is the case with Venerable Matt Talbot. 

We have previously noted various feast day dates or what we call Remembrance Day for Venerable Matt Talbot.  Most sites lists either June 18 or June 19. One very popular “Saint of the Day” website, however, lists Matt Talbot for June 18 at one of their links
( and June 19 at another (,although  the recorded message at both links refer to only the June 18th date. (Archbishop Charles Brown, Papal Nuncio to Ireland, posted “Year of Faith-The Saints-Ven. Matt Talbot” on June 19 at
A third date that seems to be on the increase is June 7, the date of Matt Talbot’s death, such as at,,, and This may be the date that will be selected by the Church upon his canonization. Of course, each of us may choose to remember Matt each and every day.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Living proof of Christianity"

 In his homily for Divine Mercy Sunday 7th April 2013 at Knock Shrine, Archbishop Charles Brown, Papal Nuncio to Ireland, refers to both living and deceased Christians, including Matt Talbot, as proof of Christianity:

“...Jesus said to Thomas: “You believe because you have seen me.  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (Jn 20:29).  Thomas wanted proof.

What is the proof of Christianity for those who cannot see Jesus the way Thomas saw him?  Individual Christians.  We are the proof of Christianity.  Christians who live their Catholic faith in a radiant and wholehearted way; Christians like Matt Talbot, Edel Quinn and Sister Faustina Kowlaska.  They are the proof of Christianity.  They are the ones who help people who have not seen Jesus the way that Thomas did, to believe in him, to love him and to serve him.  Let us entrust ourselves and all our petitions today to Mary, the woman of faith and love, the Mother of God, Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland.”


Archbishop Brown also posted the following about Matt Talbot at

Friday, June 7, 2013

Reflection on Venerable Matt Talbot's Death and Legacy

Each of us will have a different way of reflecting on Matt Talbot’s death and legacy today, the 88th anniversary of his death.

One approach is to read and the following two Dublin Diocesan Matt Talbot Website pages and/or play the "5. Death & Legacy" video at and then record your reflection in a “Matt Talbot Journal.”

We have pasted the third page of the recommended reading below:

Matt sets before us a radical example which demonstrates that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. His life is a witness to the fact that people can by God's grace and their own self acceptance say no to that which leads to addiction or addictive behaviours and that in the meantime our communities must never lose hope and must continue to care for them.

Maybe it is because of this that so many have come to love and admire Matt Talbot. Matt's friend Paddy Laird always found it extraordinary that there were only seven people at Matt's funeral, but upon making public his life story hundreds of thousands have come to see him as a hero and a beacon of hope.

People need heroes, not in the sense of comic book or movie superheroes with superhuman powers, not pop stars or celebrities all art and pizzazz but with little or no moral substance. No what we need are ordinary people who against extraordinary odds do the right thing, like saying no to addiction or compulsion. Matt Talbot understood this and he would say to others, "If I can do it so can you with the grace of God".

Matt example has inspired many institutions, movements and individuals around the world giving hope of recovery to those who are willing to accept their weakness and need. Such people stand as beacons in our world to the truth that we can overcome addiction rise above our weakness and achieve great things even sainthood.

Jesus said, "Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest shoulder my yoke and learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls" Matt 11:28-30.

Matt Talbot's life as a labourer who was overburdened by addiction and guilt gradually grew in awareness through the gift of grace and the Holy Spirit that a life of meekness and humility of heart will lead to rest for our souls, and towards a better world where all self destructive drive will come to an end, where people will live in harmony of body, mind and spirit, in harmony too with each other, with creation and with God.

By following the example of Matt Talbot you tell the world that there is more to life than "sex, and drugs and rock n roll," that there is hope for every broken heart and that by God's love his kingdom comes into our hearts, our homes and our world.

At this time when so many of our communities are affected by the scourge of alcohol and substance misuse, God has chosen Matt to be set before us as a model of temperance and a source of strength and support to all who suffer from addiction or additive behaviors.

Matt Talbot ascetic and urban spiritual mystic, who overcame addiction by the Grace of God, his higher power, whose faith was nourished by his extraordinary love of the Eucharist and his sublime devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Christ told his followers, "You therefore must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect," Matt 5:48. When Matt found sobriety through prayer, his desire for drink was replaced by a desire for Christian perfection.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

New Matt Talbot Icon by Terry Nelson Forthcoming

[On this eve of the 88th anniversary of the death of Venerable Matt Talbot, Terry Nelson has announced that he is creating a new icon of Matt at  He has previously created the increasingly popular icon of Matt pictured below.]

“Venerable Matt Talbot exemplified the heroic virtue of temperance. He practiced the Christian life more or less as a solitary, although he was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis. The spiritual combat Talbot engaged in was associated with alcoholism, which in his case demanded the renunciation of a behavior, as well as an adjustment in lifestyle. 

Talbot overcame his attachment to the disorder through the practice of the virtues, prayer and fidelity to the duties of his state in life, and mortification.  He found support in the sacraments, spiritual direction and spiritual reading.  Although he 'took the pledge' to abstain from alcohol, he did not have a support group such as AA to aid in his recovery.  I especially admire Talbot's fortitude and perseverance, demonstrating that with God all things can be overcome... "In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall.

Tomorrow, June 7 is the anniversary of his death.  Matt died in 1925.

I mention Matt Talbot today because I just started a new icon of him yesterday.  It is smaller than the one shown above, the new figure is a bust, cut off just below the hands.  My intention is to redo the head and face somewhat.  The image shown here is in a private collection.”


Sunday, June 2, 2013

2013 Matt Talbot Committee Members

The 2013 Dublin Diocesan Matt Talbot Committee consists of:

Chairman: Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Primate of Ireland, and Parish Priest of Saint Mary's Pro-Cathedral.

Executive Chairman: V. Rev. Brian Lawless, S.T.L. is the Vice-Postulator of the Cause for the beatification of the Venerable Matt Talbot and Parish Priest of St. Agatha Parish, Dublin.

46 North William Street, Dublin 1. Tel: 8554078
Secretary: Breege Morris
Tel: 01 8554078.

Members: Mr. Patrick Behan, Brother Christopher Carroll,
Mr. Anthony Malone, Paula Murray, Vera Brady,
Sr. Briget O’Connor, D.C., Mr. Des Kelly, Mr Michael Murphy,
Mr. Shay O'Melia, Very Rev. Tim Wrenn & Mr. Michael Wall.