Today we celebrate the feast day of Venerable Matt Talbot, patron of men and women struggling with alcoholism.
I received this in an email from Catholic.org (I would have provided linkage but for some reason I am unable to find the info on Matt Talbot in the site):
Matt was born in Dublin, where his father worked on the docks and had a difficult time supporting his family. After a few years of schooling, Matt obtained work as a messenger for some liquor merchants; there he began to drink excessively. For 15 years—until he was almost 30—Matt was an active alcoholic.
One day he decided to take “the pledge” for three months, make a general confession and begin to attend daily Mass. There is evidence that Matt’s first seven years after taking the pledge were especially difficult. Avoiding his former drinking places was hard. He began to pray as intensely as he used to drink. He also tried to pay back people from whom he had borrowed or stolen money while he was drinking.
Most of his life Matt worked as a builder’s laborer. He joined the Secular Franciscan Order and began a life of strict penance; he abstained from meat nine months a year. Matt spent hours every night avidly reading Scripture and the lives of the saints. He prayed the rosary conscientiously. Though his job did not make him rich, Matt contributed generously to the missions.
After 1923 his health failed, and Matt was forced to quit work. He died on his way to church on Trinity Sunday. Fifty years later Pope Paul VI gave him the title venerable.
Searching the internet I found a couple of pics of a sculpture of Matt Talbot in Dublin and some additional information on his life at VenerableMattTalbot resourcecenter.
“Matt Talbot (May 2, 1856-7 June 1925) was an Irish ascetic who is revered by many Catholics for his life of self-sacrifice and mortification of the flesh.
Talbot was born the second eldest of twelve children to a poor family in the North Strand area of Dublin, Ireland. His battle with alcoholism from a young age became famous through the posthumous discoveries on his body. Having drunk excessively for 16 years, Talbot had successfully given it up and maintained sobriety for the following forty years of his life. He was known to his peers as a generous and, perhaps surprisingly given what was to follow, happy man who gave much of his wage to the poor as well as played an active part in the Irish Transport and General Workers Union in the city. He was, also, an extremely devout Catholic and was reportedly on the way to his third mass on the day he died. CONTINUED
Let us pray for all those alcoholics and recovering alcoholics who struggle each day to stop drinking and those who try to avoid taking a drink in order to stay sober that they may find the strength to stop picking up that drink or have the fortitude to say no to drinking that alcoholic beverage each day through the intercession of Venerable Matt Talbot. God Bless.