Venerable Matt Talbot

Matt Talbot was an Irishman who lived from 1856 to 1925. He is considered the patron saint of alcoholics and sobriety, even though his canonization process is still underway. He drank excessively beginning in his teens until taking a sobriety pledge at the age of 30 and turning his life around. It was very difficult for him to remain sober, but he turned to his faith to help him. Matt entered the Secular Franciscan Order and expended much time and energy reading the Scriptures, praying the Rosary, attending daily Mass, and carefully repaying the debts he had incurred during his alcoholic years. After his death, popular devotion to his memory increased, and in 1975, Pope Paul VI declared him Venerable. His feast day is June 19.

“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.” — Venerable Matt Talbot

Questions for Reflection

  • While we may not suffer from physical addiction, all of us are in some way less than free to fully follow God’s call and become the people God created us to be. Where are the places of spiritual captivity in your life? How can you find a release?
  • Reflect on moments in your life when you experienced the grace of deepening freedom. How did you find the courage to do so? What advice would you give to others who want to experience this kind of freedom?