The purpose of a Matt Talbot Retreat is to assist alcoholics with their spiritual journey. Our retreats are facilitated by a retreat master and are centered on the 3rd and 11th steps.
Our men's retreats are held at the DaySpring Episcopal Conference Center in Ellenton, Florida. Our retreat masters are also members of our fellowship. Sign-in begins at 4:00 pm on Friday. The retreat starts with dinner on Friday at 5:30PM and ends Sunday morning. The registration fee includes all meals.
If you plan to attend, the total cost is $140 (economy) or $185 (semi-private). The semi-private lodging is on a first-come first-serve basis.
Our Next Retreat is June 2nd-4th, 2017
The Retreat Master will be Dave Maloney.
Download the registration form and Chairman's Letter below: Matt_Talbot_Chairman_Letter_June_2017.pdf
Payment options (including Credit Card options) are included on the registration form, second page of the Chairman's letter
We will have Matt Talbot T-shirts for this retreat. These will be available at check-in for $15 each.
You can visit the DaySpring web site at dayspringfla.org for more information and details. You can also call them at 888-314-5744 for additional information.
Directions to DaySpring Episcopal Conference Center
8411 25th Street East, Parrish, FL 34219
- Take Exit #224 from 1-75 (just south of the 1-75 and 1-275 merger in Manatee County) - turn left and head north on Hwy 301 for approximately 2 miles - turn right at Marathon station onto 80th Ave East (aka Wellon Ranch Road) - go 400 yards and turn left at stop sign onto 25th Street - entrance to DaySpring will be on your right - follow the Matt Talbot signs for check-in.
Future Retreat Dates & Retreat Master's
October 6th-8th 2017 - Sister Karen Jackson
February 2nd-4th, 2018 - Gregg Day
If you are a 109 member and have not updated your address information please use the "contact us" tab and fill out the form. In the comment box type "address change" so that we can update our list, and be able to mail you upcoming information and registration form for the next retreat.
On behalf of the other members of the committee, I want to thank you for allowing us the opportunity to serve you and the brothers of Matt Talbot Group #109. We hope to see you in June, 2017 at DaySpring.
BOB Hayward - Chairman - MTG #109
Story of Matt Talbot
Matt Talbot was born May 1856 in Dublin Ireland. He was one of twelve
children, six of whom lived to adulthood. His father was a heavy drinker
and, as a result, the family grew up in poverty. Typical of his era,
Matt spent just two years at school. There was no compulsory education
and he was unable to read or write. He entered the workforce at age
twelve, employed by E & J Burke, a firm which bottled beer. His
drinking began with taking the dregs from the bottom of bottles, which
had been returned. Within two years, he graduated to whiskey and by the
time he was sixteen, he came home drunk regularly.
By the time he was in his twenties, he spent all his wages and spare
time in O'Meara's Tavern. As far as the neighbors in that area of Dublin
were concerned, Matt Talbot was a habitual drunk. Today with our
understanding of the illness of alcoholism there is little doubt that he
was already a chronic alcoholic.
Drink had become Matt's only interest in life. When his wages were
spent, he borrowed and scrounged for money. He pawned his clothes and
boots. He supplemented his wages by doing extra work after hours. Among
other things he minded horses outside a tavern, while the owners enjoyed
themselves inside. The tips he received bought him more drink.
He became a thief, once stealing a fiddle from a blind man. On Saturday
he would come home with just a shilling from his wages for his mother.
His life had become unmanageable. His drinking companions had several
hobbies: swimming, playing cards, and girl friends. Matt had only one
By the time he was twenty-eight, he was well on the road to
self-destruction, when a traumatic incident changed his life. On a
Saturday morning in 1884, he waited outside O'Meara's without a penny in
his pocket. He had been unemployed that week. His problem, he told
himself, would be quickly solved. When he had money, he shared it
generously with his drinking friends. Therefore, he reasoned, they would
not reject him in his misfortune.
But they did. One by one, they passed him. Some greeted him; others
ignored him. Perhaps he had scrounged money from them too often, but
they left him standing on the corner. Matt Talbot was stunned and
shocked. Years later, he said that he was "cut to the heart." But, it
was a moment of grace. After some time thinking about his problem, he
realized that he was totally enslaved to drink. He made his way home
slowly. His mother was preparing the mid-day meal when he arrived.
In nineteenth century Ireland it was common for someone who wished to
stop drinking to take a solemn pledge before a priest to abstain for a
period of time. Mrs. Talbot could not believe her eyes when Matt came
home sober on that fateful Saturday morning. "Ma, I'm going to take the
pledge for life," he said. He headed off to a nearby school where the
priest persuaded him that he should take the pledge for ninety days
Those three months were sheer hell. We understand today the withdrawal
symptoms of addiction, but in 1884 Matt Talbot had no one to share his
suffering — the hallucination, the depression and nausea. But he had an
iron will, a rock-like stubbornness that stood him well down through the
years. "I know that I will drink again when the three months are up,"
he would remark to his mother..
To fill in the time he used to spend in O'Meara's, Matt went for a walk
every evening after work. During one of those walks his resolution
almost broke. He passed Bushe's Public House about a mile from his home
just as it opened. He caught the strong smell of beer and saw the
crowded bar. The barman was busy serving the local men, and he paid
little attention to this stranger waiting at the counter. Matt felt
humiliated for the second time within a few weeks. Deeply hurt, he
stormed out of the bar down the street and into a Jesuit Church. That
evening he made another resolution, never to carry money with him. He
kept that resolution for the rest of his life.
Dropping into a Church to rest during his walks became a habit. Matt was
neither fit nor religious-minded. He grew tired quickly and since he
could not rest in a Tavern or sit down on a public street, a church
provided the haven he sought. Gradually he began to pray, to ask God to
To find the strength to remain sober he decided to attend Mass every
morning before work and to receive Holy Communion. This was very unusual
in the 1880's when the average good layman went to Mass just on Sunday
and received Holy Communion only at Easter and Christmas. At the end of
three months, Matt took the pledge to abstain from alcohol for six
months and finally took it for life.
Matt Talbot now turned all his effort to increasing his union with God
and developing his life of prayer. The strict ascetical life of the
early Irish monks attracted him. Their love of prayer with the emphasis
on penance and humility, and manual labor dedicated to God, appealed to
him. He turned to a Jesuit Father, Father James Welshe to help him.
His austere daily program may shock us today in an affluent society that
demands comfort. He allowed himself just four or five hours sleep at
night and arose about 5 a.m. to prepare for early Mass. Then he would
return home for breakfast. Afterwards he would set off for work in the
lumberyard of T. & C. Martin. He was a conscientious worker. Many
years later, one of his former foremen described him as "the best worker
in Dublin" who was often chosen to set the pace for others. But at a
time when Dublin laborers were often exploited, he was not a "bosses"
man. He had learned to read and write and was quite ready to discuss the
rights of workers.
Since he was a member of many religious associations, he attended a
meeting almost every evening. When he came home about 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.,
it was time for his spiritual reading. His spiritual reading ended
about I a.m., and he retired for four hours rest before beginning his
daily routine again. He did not go to work on Sunday but went to one of
the City Churches and would kneel in an obscure corner from the first
mass at 6 a.m. until mid-day.
Despite his austerities, Matt was a small tough man — "as strong as a
little horse", according to a fellow worker. He had an iron will and a
constitution to match. Neither the other workers in T. & C.
Martin's, nor the fellow dockers on Dublin's waterfront had an idea that
he was leading a life modeled on the early Irish monks. He was a happy
little man, although more silent than others. "Matt smiled at everything
except a dirty joke," a friend remarked. But many workers knew about
his generosity. Matt lent them money to buy clothes or shoes for their
children or to pay overdue rent.
Matt Talbot died suddenly from a heart attack in Granby Lane on the way
to Mass on Sunday, June 7th, 1925. He was buried in what was virtually a
pauper's grave in Glasnevin Cemetery a few days later.
The story of his life came to light because when his body was undressed,
three chains were discovered wrapped around it. Inquiries disclosed
that he practiced a devotion known as the slavery to Mary. The
underlying idea was that a person who considered himself a spiritual
slave to the Mother of God would remain close to her and to Jesus, her
son. The devotion included wearing one fine, loose chain. It was typical
of Matt Talbot to wear three.
In 1975 the Holy See conferred the title "Venerable" on him, which means
that from a purely human point of view, Matt Talbot has the
qualifications of a Saint. If this Opinion is confirmed by the Miracles
required by Canon Law, he will be canonized.
Content copyright . Matt Talbot Group 109. All rights reserved.