Thursday, 20 March 2014 at 8.00 pm

The Jesuit priest Fr William Doyle was born in Dalkey, County Dublin in 1873 and died in 1917. He was stationed in Clongowes Wood College in his early career as a Jesuit and helped to found The Clongownian and the Clongowes Union. He served on the mission team of the Irish Jesuits for 5 years during which time he established an enduring reputation as a preacher in high demand throughout Ireland. He was also an effective fundraiser for the foreign missions; a successful writer and spiritual director; a pioneer in his concern for the welfare of ordinary working people as well as being a renowned practical joker who brought cheer wherever he went.

But it is for his service as a military chaplain in World War 1 that he is most well known. He was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery in the Battle of the Somme and was also nominated for the Victoria Cross. His care for his soldiers was legendary, and having risked his life on innumerable occasions, he was killed while rescuing wounded soldiers in the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917. His example and his spiritual writings have been a source of inspiration for many, including canonised saints.

This lecture will examine Fr Doyle’s action packed life, mostly allowing Fr Doyle to tell his story in his own words, using many of his published letters. It will also examine some aspects of Fr Doyle’s spiritual life using his private diaries and spiritual notes.

Patrick Kenny is a college lecturer. He became fascinated with Fr Doyle after having read his life story, and established a blog and website (www.fatherdoyle.com) dedicated to Fr Doyle’s life and writings. He regularly gives talks and interviews about Fr Doyle. He is married and is the father of 3 small girls.