12 July 1922: An alleged favour in South Africa through Fr Doyle’s intercession

A nun in South Africa wrote the following letter on this day (July 12) in 1922, alleging a favour through Fr Doyle’s intercession:

One of our Community had for some time been seriously ill in a sanatorium. One evening I got a telephone message to say Sister was on the point of death and that the doctor declared there was no hope unless a change took place at once. I called the Community together and we knelt down and asked Fr Doyle to send a change for the better by seven o’clock. It was then 6.30pm. Next day I went to the sanatorium. The infirmarian came out to meet me and her first words were: ‘Sister is out of danger, the change came in time’. I asked at what hour. ‘Seven o’clock last night’, was the reply. I had promised Fr Willie to have Masses said if he got our request granted, and that day i arranged for a number to be said in thanksgiving.

Of course, we do not have the competence to say for certain that this cure was brought about through Fr Doyle’s intercession, much less that it was a miracle. However, it is worth noting that this was a community of nuns praying to him in 1922, less than 5 years after his death, and we know that within 14 years of this death, there were at least 6,426 alleged favours from around the globe reportedly through Fr Doyle’s intercession. Were they all mere coincidences? Were there purely natural explanations for these favours? That is a judgement for others to make. 

But what we can say with certainty is that there was a real and substantial global devotion to Fr Doyle, and that this interest in his life and message is growing again.


Trailer for Bravery Under Fire out today!!

The trailer for the EWTN docudrama Bravery Under Fire is now available. The programme will be aired on EWTN in August and again in November. Congratulations to Campbell Miller and all others who were involved in the production of this programme which is so important in creating awareness about Fr Doyle.

Please share and spread the news, so that more people can learn about Fr Doyle’s physical and spiritual bravery under fire!

Irish Times documentary featuring Fr Doyle

The Irish Times journalist Ronan McGreevy has done crucial work in creating more awareness about the role of the Irish in World War I. He is the author of Wherever the Firing Line Extends which documents the Irish involvement. I was honoured that Ronan agreed to launch To Raise the Fallen last August, and he delivered a brilliant speech about Fr Doyle at the book launch- you can find it here: https://fatherdoyle.com/2017/08/11/speech-by-ronan-mcgreevy-at-launch-of-to-raise-the-fallen/  has produced an excellent documentary about the Irish involvement in World War I, and in particular about how Irish Nationalists and Unionists fought alongside each other. Fr Doyle features prominently in this documentary.

It is now available on YouTube – the section about Fr Doyle starts around 42 minutes into the programme.

This website is 8 years old today (Post 3 of 3 today)

This website was launched 8 years ago today. At the time, I wasn’t sure how it would develop or whether anyone would be interested or whether I would have personally have the interest, or material, to keep it going. I honestly never thought that I would still be running it 8 years later.

I guess I now know the answer to all of these questions!

The last 8 years shows me that there is a global interest in Fr Doyle’s life and spirit. Many people around the world write to me asking about Fr Doyle’s cause or asking about the possibility of a posthumous award of the Victoria Cross or reporting a favour allegedly granted through Fr Doyle’s intercession. Others write to tell me about the inter-generational devotion to Fr Doyle in their family because of the help he gave to their grandfather or great-grandfather in the war.

Perhaps the most interesting of all are those – especially the young – who write to me having heard of Fr Doyle for the first time, and who have become intrigued by his spirit and his message and want to know more.

The last 8 years have seen a huge increase in interest in Fr Doyle. This is most clearly seen in the range of books that have been produced abut him over this time. Links to these books can be found in the right hand column of this page (for those viewing it on a computer or laptop).

But the interest in Fr Doyle is not just limited to books. I have three interesting new announcements about Fr Doyle that I will be in a position to reveal soon.

Thank you to all of those who have helped and commented and become friends through this site over the past 8 years. Let us continue to work together to make Fr Doyle more well known.


Archbishop Eamon Martin, Primate of All Ireland, speaks about Fr Doyle

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, the Prime of All Ireland, is currently on a visit to some of the war sites and graves in Belgium. Today he mentioned Fr Doyle and read a quote about him from To Raise the Fallen.

Here he is with a copy of the book beside Fr Doyle’s name at the Tyne Cot Memorial:

And here is a video of him speaking about Fr Doyle and reading from the book:

Fr Doyle’s trip to the cinema 104 years ago today

Fr Doyle wrote the following in his diary on 21 December 1913, 104 years ago today. It relates to a recent trip to the cinema – it’s not clear what date he went to the cinema, but presumably it was the same day or at most a few days beforehand. 

At the end of the performance of “Quo Vadis?” the words of our Lord seemed to go through my soul. ‘I am going to Rome to be crucified for thee.’ Jesus must have given me a big grace, for I walked home stunned, with these words ringing in my ears: ‘crucified for thee.’ Oh, Jesus, Jesus, why cannot I be crucified for You? I long for it with all my heart, and yet I remain a coward. Thank you at least for the dear light You have given me about the life You ask from me, namely, ‘to give up every comfort and gratification, to embrace lovingly every possible pain and suffering.’

As O’Rahilly wryly comments on this passage of Fr Doyle’s diary, this was ‘a devout conclusion not always deducible from cinema shows!’

Quo Vadis? is an excellent and gripping novel written in the late 19th century – I highly highly recommend it. It tells the story of the early Christians and the persecutions that had to endure. Fr Doyle was always attracted by the lives of the early martyrs, and it is this no surprise that the story in Quo Vadis? would really appeal to him. 

So, here we have the modern Fr Doyle, enjoying a trip to the cinema!

Incidentally, this is the 1912 version of Quo Vadis?, which is presumably the one Fr Doyle went to see.

Give the gift of Fr Doyle this Christmas…

Christmas is only 4 weeks away. If you haven’t yet bought Christmas presents, why not consider giving someone a gift of one of the recent books about Fr Doyle? Books are always great gifts, but even more so if the subject matter is inspiring and spiritually uplifting. 

Remarkably, there have been 4 new books about Fr Doyle within the past 4 years (a clear sign that something is “stirring” in terms of interest in Fr Doyle). Any one of these would be a great gift to someone. Each has its own contribution to make.

Firstly, I will mention my own modest contribution – To Raise the Fallen. This is 200 page book is a broad overview of Fr Doyle’s life – both military and spiritual – mostly in his own words, with some commentary from me. It would be a great gift for someone who knows a little about Fr Doyle and wants to know more, or even for anyone with a passing interest in history or World War 1. Fr Doyle’s letters are sure to grip people, and they might even gain from his fascinating spiritual notes. It is a useful tool of apostolate – it is a credible gift to give someone who is indifferent to – or alienated from – the Church. It is available here: http://www.veritasbooksonline.com/to-raise-the-fallen-a-selection-of-the-war-letters.html as well as on Amazon and Book Depository.

Worshipper and Worshipped has the distinction of being the largest (700+ pages) and most detailed book about Fr Doyle, and the first book published about him in approximately 75 years. It is the definitive account of Fr Doyle’s war service. It would be a great gift for any World War 1 buffs and for those who already know Fr Doyle but who want probably the most complete assessment of his war years possible. It is available here: https://www.amazon.com/Worshipper-Worshipped-Across-Chaplain-1915-1917/dp/1908336862  

Man of the People is the most recently published book about Fr Doyle, and the first children’s book about him. One of there greatest gifts we can give children is a love of books, and especially when they are inspiring and uplifting from a human and spiritual perspective. This 35 page book is available here: http://www.alanhannas.com/Search.asp?SearchTerm=ui%20cheallaigh

Fr Willie Doyle and World War 1, published by the Catholic Truth Society, is a wonderfully compact and well written booklet giving an essential overview of the life and spirit of Fr Doyle. CTS booklets are wonderful tools of apostolate – why not buy a bundle of them and distribute them liberally to others? Available here: http://www.ctsbooks.org/fr-willie-doyle-and-world-war-i/ 


And let’s not forget the classics! The original book from the 1920’s that started it all, the biography by O’Rahilly is a spiritual masterpiece. It may not be to everyone’s taste 100 years later, but it remains the definitive overall biography of all of Fr Doyle’s life. The very detailed spiritual notes mean that it will be of most interest to those who appreciate Fr Doyle because of his spiritual brilliance, though the final two chapters about the war will be of interest to anyone of good will. The second edition is available as a reprint here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/professor-alfred-orahilly/father-william-doyle-sj/paperback/product-15463211.html

Merry in God, published in 1939, is perhaps the most intimate book about Fr Doyle. That’s because it was written (anonymously) by his brother, Fr Charles Doyle SJ. Currently out of print, it was (largely) republished (with some minor editing) as a magazine called Trench Priest. The content is, of course brilliant, although the production values are not exceptional. The significant upside of this is that the book is tremendous value. Once again a brilliant present for those with an interest in Fr Doyle’s life as a whole. Available here: http://www.papastronsay.com/bookshop/product.php?ID=21

If you appreciate and admire Fr Doyle, do not keep him to yourself – get a book as a gift for others this Christmas.

Next year it is hoped that a DVD can be added to this list. More news on this in the coming days…