On the Saintly Father William Doyle, S.J.

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Yes, there are some holy Jesuits. Father William Doyle, born March 3rd, 1873 and killed in WWI in the trenches serving dying men, on August 16th, 1917, in the Third Battle of Ypres, is being considered a saint. His biography, and the earliest one I have here in my hand, called, Merry in God, by Longmans, Green and Co., 1939, indicates his holiness.

I only want to share a few of his own thoughts which he wrote shortly after his ordination, in a diary dated November 25th, 1906. This is his focus of prayer, labelled “The Practice of Humility.” That list, on an undated sheet near this time is that list below.

Father Doyle was ordained on July 28th, 1907. Shortly after that great event, on the same day, he wrote his sister, a nun. This is part of what he wrote, “ I can say at long last, ‘I am a priest.’ Even though I be so unworthy of all that holy name implies. How can I tell you all that my heart feels as this moment? It is full to overflowing with joy and peace and gratitude to the good God for all He has done for me, and with heartfelt thankfulness to the dear ol Missionary for all her prayers…” He added, “My loving Jesus, on this the morning of my Ordination to the Priesthood, I wish to place in Your Sacred Heart, in gratitude for all You have done for me, the resolution from this day forward to go straight for holiness. My earnest wish and firm resolve is to strive with might and main to become a Saint.”

He wrote this

What must I do to become a saint?

(1) Excite in myself an ardent desire and determination to become one, cost what it may. (To God)

(2) Beg and pray without ceasing for this grave and the desire of holiness

(3)Take each action and duty as if it were the last and the only one of my life, and perform it with extraordinary fervour.

(4)Have a fixed duty for each moment and not depart from it; never waste a moment.

(5) The spirit of constant prayer.

6)Relentless war against my will and inclination; agere contra at every moment in all things.

(7)The faithful practice of little mortifications.

He also wrote, while in the war-torn areas of France and Belgium, this list.

During a visit our Lord seemed to urge me not to wait till the end of the war, but to begin my life of reparation at once, in some things at least. I have begun to keep a book of acts done with this intention. He asked me for these sacrifices, (1) To rise at night in reparation for priests who lie in bed instead of saying Mass. (2) At all costs to make the 50,000 aspirations. (3) To give up illustrated papers. (4) To kiss floor of churches (5) Breviary always kneeling. (6) Mass with intense devotion. The Blessed Cure d’ Ars used to kneel without support while saying the Office. Could not I?

As I write this on July 28th, the 111th year anniversary of his ordination, I pray for saintly Jesuits and other ordered priests who are missionaries. Pray especially for Father Ninnian Doohan, of Scotland, who has chosen Father Doyle as he personal patron. And, please pray for my son considering the Jesuits.

Thank you,


JMJ, pray for us.

God is good,