101 years ago today the First World War came to an end. It was a dreadful war fuelled by stubbornness and nationalism. It was the first industrial war; millions were killed, and many more millions were scarred and wounded. As Fr Doyle once wrote:
This is a sad, sad war, of which you at home have but the faintest idea. May the good God end it soon.
Yet sanctity still shines through in the midst of the horrors. Apart from the case of Fr Doyle, the heroic examples of Blessed Rupert Mayer SJ and of Blessed Charles of Austria, both on the “other side,” also come to mind. Even in the midst of horror and bloodshed, the Holy Spirit continues to inspire many to acts of heroism and sanctity.
Traditionally this is a day on which all those who have died in war are remembered. It is thus a special day for remembering Fr Doyle and his own special sacrifice in giving up all worldly comforts, and laying down his own life, in order to bring comfort and the sacraments to those dying on the field of battle. He was dedicated to dying soldiers, and lost his own life while rushing into danger to assist them. In remembering Fr Doyle, it is thus right that we remember and pray for those for whom he offered his own life.
It is also a day in which we can talk to others about Fr Doyle, and seek to spread awareness of his life, and devotion to him.
For anyone interested in Fr Doyle’s military services, there is no better source than Carole Hope’s Worshipper and Worshipped. It is a definitive account of Fr Doyle’s life in the war, and can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Worshipper-Worshipped-Across-Chaplain-1915-1917/dp/1908336862