Monday, May 31, 2010

The Irish Trench Priest

The book Trench Priest, an exciting and very moving story of an Irish Jesuit,

Fr William Doyle, his lifelong war on himself and finally his magnificent triumph in the trenches of Flanders where he laid down his life for Our Lord and his Irish Battalion in the First World War. Anybody who comes to the final chapters will not fail to be moved by the descriptions of the gallant and courageous soldiers and their child-like love for their priest who went out with them into the firing lines to anoint and console them as they fell.
The book is full of pictures of Fr Doyle's life and of the places and battles he describes. There are also numerous maps so that you can follow him through the maze of trenches.

Link (here) to the Transalpine Redemptorists blog and post on Fr. Doyle


Anonymous said...

I think you would be interested to know that there is a wonderfully thick book about Fr. Doyle called "Fr. William Doyle, SJ" by Fr. O'Rahilly.

It was published several years after his death and chronicles his life as a Jesuit through the stages of Jesuit formation.

God bless,

Brother Juniper

Father Mark said...

Ah, dear Father Willie Doyle, S.J. has long been a spiritual friend of mine. I featured him on Vultus Christi not long ago. A hero.

Anonymous said...

For a time there was a cause for Fr William Doyle. It was, however, brought to a swift end in the 1930s by no less a person than Fr Cyril Martindale SJ. He knew Fr Doyle when they were both scholastics and was appalled by Doyle's aggressive tactics, fouls and bad language on the rugby field in matches played against the English scholastics. He sent a detailed memorandum to the postulator and from that time the cause was quietly abandoned. There have been no attempts since to revive it.

Anonymous said...

The original biography mentioned by Brother Juniper has been reprinted and can be found here:

I read a LOT, especially about the lives of the saints. I don't think I have ever read a book that has had such a profoundly moving impact on my life.

I live about 2 miles from where Fr Doyle was born and grew up. Coincidentally, even before reading this post, I made a resolution today to contact the Irish Jesuits to encourage them to resurrect this cause. It is interesting to read Anonymous' explanation for the dropping of the cause. If anything, this story makes him an even more endearing figure and proves something I believed about Fr Doyle - he was no plaster saint, but he did achieve great sanctity slowly and with great effort. In that sense he is a great model for all of us.

Pray that his cause can be revived!

Joseph Fromm said...

Thank you all for such wonderful comments and insights. It is my assertion that the readers of this blog are some the smartest around.