June 7: Remembering Fr Doyle is 1 year old today!

Today is the 1st birthday of the Remembering Fr William Doyle SJ website and blog!

This is the 325th post, so I haven’t quite managed to upload a post everyday as I had hoped and intended. I missed these various days mainly due to being just far too busy. Mea culpa!

The blog contains over 140,000 words either from Fr Doyle’s own writings or of commentary on his life and spirit, and there have been 140 comments from readers over the course of the year as well. I have also made some very good friends online through the site, I have met physically with some of them, I have been graced to receive emails telling me about favours granted through Fr Doyle’s intercession. I have also had the great blessing of being able to visit Fr Doyle’s family home in Dalkey on the anniversary of his death.

How did the website come about? Well, it was never my intention to set up a website at all. I had never done it before, and I didn’t (and don’t!) really have enough time for it. However, on June 5th last year, I was in a second hand bookshop which I frequent regularly. As I was leaving the store after buying an old book, the owner did something he has never done before, and has never done since. He called out to me and said that he had a book that would interest me. It was A Year’s Thoughts, a book containing snippets from Fr Doyle’s writings for every day of the year. Of course, I bought it immediately, and I was intrigued that he would call me back to give me this book. I thought that it would be useful for my own spiritual nourishment, and I never thought it would lead to anything more.

The next day at Mass the idea suddenly popped into my head that I should set up a blog to share these daily thoughts with others, and in this way introduce others to Fr Doyle and thus help us to “remember” this great man. And so that’s what I did. I started straight away after Mass. I knew nothing about setting up a blog and had no real vision for what it would look like. Originally I just intended to give Fr Doyle’s daily quote, but over the course of the three days of gestation and development before the site went live, it became apparent that it would be useful to contextualise his comments for modern readers.

Over time the site developed in a couple of new directions – the addition of commemorations for the feasts of saints whose lives of spirit might reflect something of Fr Doyle’s, and then the commemoration of various anniversaries in the life of Fr Doyle, especially as they relate to his experience in the war.

I originally intended to keep the site for one year, and then to leave it, perhaps even with a view to doing something for some other saint or someone who should be recognised as such.

However, it has become apparent to me that I should not abandon the site, nor should I cease my activity to “remember” Fr Doyle. In fact, the completion of one year’s worth of posts will enable to me to intensify these efforts…

Finding a relevant quote for each day and then contextualising it with a comment from a saint or some other historical explanation is a time consuming task, much more so than I had ever imagined. It’s a task that I have not always done well. But now that I have completed a year (minus about 40 days when I didn’t get a post up), I will have quite a bit more time to devote to other ways of making Fr Doyle known and loved. I intend to largely recycle the posts, but with improvements and better commentary in places. I also intend to commemorate anniversaries in Fr Doyle’s life that I might have missed. But now thankfully most of the heavy lifting has been completed, and I can devote time and energy to other writing projects related to Fr Doyle…

Thank you to those who have written to me personally over the year and to those who have commented on the site. And a special thanks to Fr Willie himself for the many favours he has procured for me over the past year.

One final comment on this anniversary. I have probably written more here about myself than in the previous 324 posts combined. All along I have been determined that the site would not be about me or my views about the world. I have deliberately kept the site anonymous, simply because the site is about Fr Doyle, and not about me.

Thank you for reading, and if you have gained anything from the site, please don’t keep it to yourself – tell others about it!

7 thoughts on “June 7: Remembering Fr Doyle is 1 year old today!

  1. Congratulations on one year! Thank you for this blog. I have not commented frequently, but I do subscribe to the post updates and have been reading them (almost) all along. Over the last year, I have been especially charmed by the account of your visit to Fr. Doyle’s family home. Believe it or not, when I first attended Mass in the Extraordinary Form, one of the things uppermost in my mind was Fr. Willie. I often thought that here — with a few modifications — was the very Mass that he celebrated in the trenches, with the noise of guns and bombs and shells all around. These days, the guns and bombs and shells are in the spiritual realm, but no less real.

    I too would like to see Fr. Doyle become known and loved again, and see some action on his cause for beatification. I think both his beloved Ireland and his beloved Jesuits need him now more than ever!

  2. Happy 1st birthday. I love your site and look forward to reading it daily.
    Thank you so much for the discovery of this magnificent priest.

  3. Thank you for bringing Father Willie Doyle back into my own consciousness. How blessed my native city is to have four potential canonized saints who were contemporaries: Matt Talbot (1856 – 1925), Blessed Columba Marmion (1858 – 1923), Fr Willie Doyle (1873 – 1917) and Frank Duff (1889 – 1980). I invoke them all each day that a number of persons close to me, almost all ‘Dubs’, will re-discover their faith.

    When I was growing up we Dubliners were known as ‘Jackeens’. I think it was the great Dublin football team of the 1970s who brought the term ‘Dubs’ back into circulation. Last year I met relatives who independently of me had discovered, sometime after I had done, the grave of my great-uncle Corporal Larry Dowd who died in Ypres ten days before Father Willie died there. They showed me one of Larry’s last letters, if not his last, in which he wrote that he had applied to be transferred back to his ‘beloved Dubs’, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, in which he had enlisted.

    The Wikipedia page on Father Willie gives the link to your blog. Some of your entries from Father Willie’s writings indicate unexpected moments of grace similar to what you experienced when the bookstore owner drew the book with the snippets to your attention.

    God bless you great work.

  4. Thank you so much for bringing awareness of Fr. Doyle to the world. He has been such a help in my own spiritual growth and understanding of Christ calling to me in my daily life.

  5. Thank you for your hard work in the name of Fr. Doyle. I look forward to this site every day.

  6. I got to know Fr Willie throught my wife whose half-autn, May McClure, was a friend of the Doyle family in Dalkey. She gave my wife a relic of Fr Willie which is in her possesion here..


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