The Venerable Matt Talbot (2 May 1856 – 7 June 1925) was an Irish ascetic who is revered by many Catholics for his piety, charity and mortification of the flesh.
Though he has not been formally recognized as a Saint, American Catholics have listed him as a patron saint for alcoholics.
After “taking the pledge”, having drunk excessively for 16 years, Talbot maintained sobriety for the following forty years of his life. He found strength in prayer, began to attend daily Mass, and read religious books and pamphlets. He repaid all his debts scrupulously.
His life would have gone unnoticed were it not for the cords and chains discovered on his body when he died suddenly on a Dublin street in 1925.
As word of Matt Talbot spread he rapidly became an icon for Ireland's temperance movement, the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association. His story soon became known to the large Irish émigré communities. Countless addiction clinics, youth hostels, statues and more have been named after him throughout the world. One of Dublin's main bridges is also named after him. Pope John Paul II, as a young man, wrote a paper on him.
A book about his life was written by Sir Joseph Glynn in the 1930s and published by the Catholic Truth Society. The book has since gone out of print but the attached is a transcript of the original publication which has been in possession of the Glynn family for many years.
We hope you enjoy reading it as a memory of this exceptional Dublin man.