I have posted about this before, but now that Lent is upon us I am posting it again, simply because the book is so good.
I can think of no better book to read during the holy season of Lent than Professor Alfred O’Rahilly’s biography of Fr Doyle. It is a masterpiece on many levels – a psychologically astute review of Fr Doyle’s character, a wonderful history of World War I that reads like a novel and a remarkable overview of Catholic spirituality. Far from being a mere work of hagiography in the mode of the “Golden Legend”, O’Rahilly’s biography of Fr Doyle gives a rounded insight into one of the most incredible Irishmen of the twentieth century. If you have an interest in Fr Doyle, if you have an interest in Catholic spirituality, if you have an interest in military history you will love this book. And in loving this book, you will learn to love Fr Doyle.
O’Rahilly’s biography was translated in numerous European languages and has inspired many individuals (including canonised saints…) over the poast 90 years.
I know that some people have read the anonymous biography Merry in God (which was probably written by Fr Doyle’s brother). Merry in God is an excellent book, but it is really only a summary of O’Rahilly.
One of the great things about the biography is the access that O’Rahilly had to Fr Doyle’s private notes and diaries. Fr Doyle wasn’t born great, but he acquired greatness by slow, steady effort. O’Rahilly maps out this process through Fr Doyle’s own intimate thoughts and resolutions. That’s what makes this book so powerful. I do not know of anybody who has read this book without being deeply moved and spiritually enriched. Further, it deals at length with the topic of penance and reparation, very appropriate reading for the holy season of Lent.
High quality and newly typeset reprints of the 2nd edition of O’Rahilly can be purchased by clicking on the image below. (Please note: This website is not in any way connected with the sale of the book and does not profit in any way by it. My interest is only in promoting awareness of Fr Doyle).
For those who are not in a financial position to buy the book, it can be found online in a variety of formats here: