Matt Talbot was born in Dublin on the 2nd of May in 1856. He was the second eldest of twelve children. He lived at home with his mother for a number of years in the North Strand area. He left school at the age of twelve and went to work in a wine merchant’s shop and by the age of thirteen he was a hopeless alcoholic.
At the age of 28, disgusted with the life he was living, Matt took the pledge and never again touched alcohol for the remaining forty years of his life. His first years of sobriety were especially difficult but regular prayer and daily attendance at Mass gave him strength to persevere. In time he developed a deep faith and became known for his life of prayer, fasting and service. Matt understood that every person who has an addiction of any kind is a beloved child of God. That is their true identity. He knew that nothing could change the truth that he was a beloved child of God. He also knew that alcohol and other drugs create uncertainty and dependence in a person’s life. Drugs, including alcohol make the addicted believe that they need them to be confident, to function and cope with life.
Even in the depth of his addiction Matt Talbot never forgot the truth that he was created by God and that God has a plan for his life. Through his prayer and life of service he came to see that God is more powerful than any addiction. He went to Jesus with his addiction and found freedom. He lived for forty years without alcohol until his sudden death on his way to Mass on Trinity Sunday, 7th June 1925. We ask him to intercede for us so that we will always believe that the power of God is the greatest power in the world and it can overcome everything.
(From the Ennis Newsletter – Adapted)