Fr Doyle’s writings

Fr Doyle wrote many letters, many of which can be found in O’Rahilly’s biography. O’Rahilly also produced a book with excerpts from Fr Doyle’s letters and diaries for each day of the year. This book is entitled A Year’s Thoughts. As far as I am aware, it is out of print, but it may be possible to find it in second hand bookstores, especially those that specialise in books of Catholic interest. However, the full test of the book can be found here:

By and large the thoughts for the day for this blog are taken from this book, although they are sometimes shortened and occasionally different writings are chosen to reflect special feast days or anniversaries.

Fr Doyle wrote a number of best-selling pamphlets during his lifetime. The most popular of these was “Vocations” which was published in August 1913 and by 1945 290,000 copies had been distributed in eight different languages. We will never know in this life howm many religious and priestly vocations Fr Doyle may have been responsible for!

The full text of this pamphlet can be found here:


Fr Doyle followed this pamphlet with another entitled Shall I be  Priest? First published in March 1915, 160,000 copies were distributed in ten different languages by 1943.

The full text of this pamphlet can be found here:


Fr Doyle also published a guide to the rubrics of the Extraordinary form of Mass. I am no liturgist and I don’t know if there were any slight adaptations in these rubrics between their publication in 1914 and the publication of the 1962 missal. At the very least, the pamphlet will be of historical interest to some. Special thanks to Dave from New York, a reader of this blog, for sending this to me.

The full text can be found here:

Rubrics of the Mass

Fr Doyle didn’t just write about priests and religious, the concerns of lay people were also of importance for him. It is not very well known that he had sketched out notes for a booklet on the treatment of scruples before his death. This booklet was an adaptation of a previous French work by a Fr R.P. Dupois SJ. The manuscript for this booklet was found amongst his papers and was published after his death. Perhaps the pendulum has swung in the other direction today; instead of being scrupulous perhaps this generation has lost something of the sense of sin. Nonetheless this booklet will still be of interest to many.

The full text can be found here:


Fr Doyle wrote about the importance of retreats for laymen in a pamphlet entitled “Retreats for Workingmen: Why not in Ireland?” This was originally published in 1909. I have been unable to locate a copy, but will keep looking. If anybody happens to have one, please let me know and I will happily post a copy of it here.

Fr Doyle wrote a famous pamphlet on retreats for working men. Full text is here:

Retreats for working men

Finally, it is worth noting that Fr Doyle translated a biography of a French Jesuit called Fr Paul Ginhac. While Fr Doyle didn’t write the biography, he thought it important enough to make the effort io get it published in English.The example of Fr Ginhac had an important impact on the development of Fr Doyle’s own spirituality. I have not read this book, so I cannot comment on it. It may be possible to pick up a copy in a specialist second hand bookstore. The full text is also available here:

19 thoughts on “Fr Doyle’s writings

  1. Ever since I read his prayer for priests I have been a devout fan of Fr. Doyle and look forward to your daily messages. What I have read so far inspires me even more. What a beautiful priest! Thank you for sharing his life with us.

  2. Several times i [dutch] read the biography by pr.O Rahilly it came out in the dutch language several years after W.W.I [i found it on the fleemarket in 1987] and doing that, i got a relation with Fr.Doyle.This book is able to inspire and infire our Roman Catholic faith enorm..Fr William Doyle is a real hero of faith…thank you and compliments for this site

    • Many thanks for your comments! It’s great to hear from someone who has read the O’Rahilly biography in a different language! Yes, Fr Doyle is a real hero. Please continue to promote awareness of his life and pray for graces through his intercession.

  3. Thank you particularly for the text on scrupulosity; I don’t suffer from it myself (like many, I am too lax rather than too strict, I fear) but I have need of it for a friend and finding it here is an answer to prayer.

  4. Thomas Holohan in Galway here. I have a postcard sent by father Willie Doyle to father Isadore O meehan in 1910. Would regard this postcard as a relic.

    contact: 086-8332807

    • I am delighted to share my grandfather’s story. He, along with all the other hundreds of thousands of young men from all countries, gave his life because he believed it was the right thing to do.James Murphy was a husband and father of 3 young children living in Kilbirnie in Scotland when he enlisted in 1914. He firstly joined a Scottish regiment but, after his brother joined the Royal Irish Fusiliers, James deserted from the the Scottish regiment and enlisted in the same regiment as his brother. He was caught by the military police at a railway station and was on his way to military prison. A priest witnessing his arrest pled his case and he was released to his new regiment.He served in Ireland firstly then was posted to France. My mother, although only 2 can remember watching him marching in Dublin on his way to France.He fought in Arras and was killed on April 11 1917 aged 28.Father Willie risked his own life to give him the last rites on the battlefield.Father Willie ensured that my gran was sent the postcard that James had written to his children before going over the top. Dear Bridie, James and Catherine,The weather here is pretty bad just now. I will be in the frontline before you get this. See and be good children for your mother. Love Daddy.’I have this postcard.My Grandmother was eternally grateful to Fr Willie for the comfort he gave her husband. Fr Willie’s photograph always had pride of place in her home.I too have reason to be thankful for his intercession. Because of privacy of those involved I am unable to give names but I know that Fr Willie’s intercession did cure someone dear to me and gave us joy beyond belief where there had been no hope. I promised I would do all I could to keep his memory alive and hope that by telling the present generation of children about his bravery, I am in some way doing this.God Bless

  5. Please ask Fr Doyle to intercede for Christians suffering because of their faith throughout the world at present

  6. Please pray that Fr Doyle might intercede for me and that I shall be cured of my illness and cleansed in soul, mind and body. Amen Thank you

  7. I have read many books about scruples, and Father Doyle’s pamphlet ‘Scruples and their Treatment’ has been by far the most helpful.

  8. I’ll be brief, because mostly I want to share with you where O’Rahilly’s biography can be found, but I can’t pop in without letting you know how thankful I am for this blog, how often Father Doyle’s writings hit me right at the center. This was the first blog I ever subscribed to so that it will be in my e-mail inbox every day. I feel sure that I have found a patron in Father Doyle, even if he hasn’t been canonized – yet. 😉

    So, the O’Rahilly biography has been reprinted by “Forgotten Books”

    This edition is also available on Amazon (that’s where I purchased it, I didn’t know forgotten books had their own website until recently).

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