Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Venerable Matt Talbot image by a first-time painter

Grzegorz Jakielski at, has posted this image of Matt Talbot by David Nykiel of Poland.  David used the only known photograph of Matt above as his model.

Photo: New Matt Talbot image by Polish painter Dawid Nykiel

Sunday, January 19, 2014

An archbishop's meditation about Venerable Matt Talbot

Our Sunday Visitor will be publishing on 31 March 2014 a collection of meditations titled, A Journey to the Heart of Jesus: Guideposts Along the Way by J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle.
Within Chapter 5, pages 140-143,  titled, “Handing Ourselves Over to God,” Archbishop Sartain shares some experiences of his family and friends regarding Matt Talbot as a family patron of loss causes, as a patron for alcoholics working the A.A. program of recovery, and as a model of Christian life and holiness for all. This and other meditations can be read at

The original meditation that was published earlier can be read at

Saturday, January 18, 2014

One visitation to Matt Talbot's tomb

People have multiple reasons for visiting the tomb of Venerable Matt Talbot. For this daughter it was to fulfill a request of her father with 40 years of sobriety.

“For now, I’ll simply mention that when we returned to Dublin on August 29, Barb satisfied a request of her father and sought out the church (Our Lady of Lourds) that contains the crypt of Matt Talbot, 1856-1925.  Although not a formal saint, he is known as the patron saint of alcoholics. After 16 years of alcoholism he maintained 40 years of sobriety. Barb arrived just as the priest was locking the doors of the church but he was more than willing to keep it open to show her around and to share with her information about Matt Talbot. The priest said that many people from overseas stop in because of Matt Talbot but most are from the USA and Canada.  He brought out a chain that Talbot wore as a symbol of his devotion to the Church and had Barb put her hand on the box containing the chain while he said a prayer for her family.  Her father should be pleased.”

Source: for text and 3 Matt Talbot related photographs.

Friday, January 10, 2014

A 2014 image of Venerable Matt Talbot

This 2014 acrylics on canvas image of Venerable Matt Talbot was created by Eamon Reilly.

A Conversion Prayer

Michel de Verteuil
Lectio Divina
with the Sunday Gospels  – Year A

Second Sunday after Christmas, 2014
"Lord, a conversion experience is always a home-coming:
- turning away from an addiction,
- being reconciled with our family,
- forgiving an old hurt,
- going to confession after a long absence.

Once we are there we look back and wonder at our resistance.
Here was something that we needed in order to live, and yet we did not recognise it;
the truth of ourselves demanded it, and yet we did not accept to do it.

Now, Lord, by your grace, we know that your Word has been made flesh
and found a home in us. Thank you, Lord."

Sunday, January 5, 2014

"Called to Hope"

This is just one powerful example of a life-changing experience. "Don't give up hope before the miracle happens.
Transformed by His Word: Called to Hope
 by Terry P.*
The Word Among Us
January, 2014
“Three weeks without a drink: I was hanging on by my fingernails. I was on a long-planned vacation with friends and had come armed with literature from the Alcoholics Anonymous program I had joined. But I despaired of ever getting what the AA people had—a sure faith in their “Higher Power” that they could stay sober, one day at a time.

One Sunday at Mass, missalette in hand, I followed the first and second readings of the day. Then, as we stood to hear the Gospel, the Alleluia verse pierced my heart with an intensity that brought tears to my eyes: May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our heart, that we might see how great is the hope to which we are called (Ephesians 1:17-18). I tore the page from the missalette and folded it into the palm of my hand, gripping it tightly, as if to assure my hanging onto the hope that St. Paul was talking about.

That mind-blowing verse called me to hope, yet I was not suddenly struck sober. In the days that followed, I continued to suffer and experience powerful cravings for a drink. But I didn’t give in. I wore out the torn missalette page that reminded me of the promise—a hope that I was incapable of fulfilling on my own. Over and over, I willed my unwilling self to answer God’s call and stay sober.

Hour by Hour. Between swimming and sunning on the beach, I read my AA books and went to an AA meeting in a building across the road from a bar and poolroom. I could hear the click of the pool balls and thought I could hear the drinks being poured as the AA speaker told us of the hope for a sober day that meetings gave him. 

A million times that week, especially when ordering bottled water while others ordered cocktails, I silently repeated the AA slogan: “The first drink gets you drunk.” With all my heart, I prayed that God would enlighten the eyes of my heart so that I would know the hope of new life in Christ.

When I got back home, I called out to the Lord more and more. Often I pounded on my desk at work, as I prayed for hope that God’s power would keep me from a drink for the next hour. Then, when the next hour came, I would pray, “Thank you for the last hour, Lord. Now you must give me your power in which I hope again.”

How Great a Hope! I got what I prayed for—the ability not to drink, the grace to be faithful to what I was learning in AA about changing the way I lived. 

The Gospel acclamation that God gave me during my vacation became my prayer in the toughest, darkest moments: “Lord, please open me to the hope that is mine as your daughter.” One day three months later, I realized that I had not thought of a drink for an entire morning, and I thanked God for the respite from the cravings.

The hope I had been offered was moving from my head to my heart. It opened me more to God’s power. It energized me to put one foot in front of the other, to count my blessings, and to thank the Lord for keeping me sober each day.

In that one moment at Mass, the Spirit grabbed my heart, opened my eyes, and showed me that I had the right to hope in God’s power to help me change. I know now that I can live as God wants me to live—happy, joyful, and free. One day at a time, I thank God.”

*A pseudonym has been used at the author’s request.

Note: We are grateful to the publisher for such articles as well as five that specifically mention Venerable Matt Talbot.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Prayer of Trust

As we begin a new year, we share a prayer that resonates with a wide variety of people, including those affected by alcoholism. It was written by Trappist monk, Thomas Merton,  o.c.s.o. (1915 – 1968) in his book Thoughts in Solitude (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999 edition, p. 79).
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.

And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this
you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
For those interested in learning more about Thomas Merton, a talk by internationally renowned expert on the life of Merton, Prof. Michael Higgins, will take place in Dublin on Monday, 13th January.  See this link for more information: