Sunday, September 3, 2017

"Matt Talbot: An Introduction"

Matt Talbot


A sixty four page book has been published by Veritas Publications, Ireland, at

The publisher’s book description:  

"This short book explains how a seemingly unremarkable Dubliner became an inspiration for those suffering from addiction around the world. Born into poverty in the mid-nineteenth century, Matt Talbot’s early adulthood was blighted by crippling alcoholism but, in a remarkable turn of events, he would go on to overcome his addiction, join the Pioneer Association and inspire Christians around the globe with his forbearance, spiritual zeal and charitable acts. Declared venerable by Pope Paul VI in 1975, Matt Talbot’s example of great faith triumphing over adversity continues to inspire those struggling with alcohol and drug dependence to this day."


While this book does not list the author’s name, a recent book review at states the original source of authorship: Mary Purcell (1906-1991).


“Though this little book is unsigned on the title page, it is actually extracted from Mary Purcell’s Remembering Matt Talbot published in 1954. Mary Purcell was once a well known writer and her authorship should be recognised on the title page. 


When local veneration of Matt Talbot began to emerge in 1930s Dublin the focus was on Matt Talbot’s stoic abasement of his flesh – this is the figure of Tom Kilroy’s play Talbot’s Box. Today, however, as his shrine in Sean McDermott Street shows, his name is associated with prayers for those who struggle with addiction to drugs or drink.


He was a quintessential working class Dubliner, and his life and circumstances will always be of interest. His escape from poverty was through the wonders of religious faith and a vision of something better, though the sinner in Matt Talbot was easier for the Church he lived with to encompass than the saint was.   


Irish society has so greatly changed that many of the younger generations have only the vaguest idea of what life and religion were like in the early part of the 20th Century. This little book will be a step towards deepening their knowledge."



Besides used copies of Mary Purcell’s books on Matt Talbot are available for sale online, two of her books can be read online at  and