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Who was Matt Talbot?
Matt Talbot was a working class Dubliner born in the middle of the nineteenth century. He was someone who through a profound religious conversion overcame his addiction to alcohol and went on to live a reformed life of heroic sanctity. He is the model and inspiration for all those struggling with addictions of various kinds and for those who work with them. Below is a brief chronology of his life.
1856 Matt Talbot was born on 2nd May to Elizabeth and Charles Talbot at Alderborough Court, North Strand. He was baptised in the Pro-Cathedral, on 5th May of that year.
1868 Having attended school for only one year, Matt got his first job. At this time he began to drink and later admitted that from his early teens to his late twenties his only aim in life was heavy drinking.
1884 Matt stopped drinking and made an initial three month pledge to God not to drink. Despite great temptation in the early stages he never took a drink again.
1884-1925 His remaining forty-one 'dry' years, were lived heroically, attending daily Mass, praying constantly, helping the poor and living the ascetic life-style of Celtic spirituality. This life was his prayer to God and his defence against a reversion to alcoholism.
1925 + Matt died in Granby Lane on Trinity Sunday, 7th June on his way to Mass in the Dominican Church in Dominick Street. The chains found on his body at death were a symbol of his devotion to Mary, to whom he wished to devote himself as a slave.
Within a short time of his death, Matt's reputation as a saintly man and especially as a protector of those suffering from all forms of addiction and their families was being established. Matt Talbot was declared Venerable in 1973 which means the Church has decided that from a human point of view he has the qualifications of a Saint. His tomb is in the Parish Church of Sean McDermott St. near the heart of his native city.