June is the anniversary of the death of Matt Talbot. In remembrance of this man, we thought we’d share some information from Wikipedia.
Talbot was on his way to Mass on Trinity Sunday, 7 June 1925, when he collapsed and died of heart failure on Granby Lane in Dublin. Nobody at the scene was able to identify him. His body was taken to Jervis Street Hospital, where he was undressed, revealing the extent of his austerities. A chain had been wound around his waist, with more chains around an arm and a leg, and cords around the other arm and leg. The chains found on his body at death were not some extreme penitential regime but a symbol of his devotion to Mary, Mother of God that he wished to give himself to her totally as a slave. Talbot’s story quickly filtered through the community and there were many spectators when his funeral took place at Glasnevin Cemetery on 11 June 1925. In 1972 his remains were removed to a tomb in Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Sean McDermott Street, Dublin, in the area where Matt spent his life. 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 emigrant communities. Many addiction clinics, youth hostels and statues have been named after him throughout the world from Nebraska to Warsaw to Sydney. One of Dublin’s main bridges is also named after him. A statue of Talbot was erected at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay in 1988. Pope John Paul II, as a young man, wrote a paper on him.
“Never be too hard on the man who can’t give up drink. It’s as hard to give up the drink as it is to raise the dead to life again. But both are possible and even easy for Our Lord. We have only to depend on him.” – Matt Talbot