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: 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:  

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:

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: 


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:

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:

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…

Another book launch about Fr Doyle, another huge crowd

Carmel Uí Cheallaigh launched her children’s book about Fr Doyle – Man of the People – two weeks ago. I am only now getting an opportunity to post about it today – apologies for the delay.

The book launch was a huge success, with another massive crowd in attendance on a cold winter’s night, once again showing the widespread appeal of Fr Doyle. The book is a great introduction to Fr Doyle’s life for children, and it would make a great gift for any child. We live at a strange time in history in which empty celebrities attract far too much attention, often to the detriment of our children. Fr Doyle was a true hero, and is is important that children be introduced to the example and spirit of heroes like him.

The is the 4th book about Fr Doyle to be published in as many years, all written by lay people. There is also a major docudrama in production right now – more on this later in the week. Fr Doyle’s appeal is surely growing. When initial investigations into his canonisation cause were completed in the late 1930’s, the Jesuits of that time said that his case should be left to Providence. Perhaps that time of Providence has now arrived?

Man of the People would make a great Christmas gift, and it can be purchased here

Carmel Uí Cheallaigh speaks at the launch of her book about Fr Doyle
Renowned writer Tim Pat Coogan launches the book Man of the People
Part of the huge crowd at the launch of Man of the People