Father William Doyle S.J.
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The Irish military chaplain Father William Doyle S.J. (1873-1917) combined humour, holiness and courage in an outstanding degree. His death during the third battle of Ypres left intact for posterity the detailed spiritual diaries in which he had recorded for private use his methodical and gruelling path of self-conquest and the growth of his passionate love of Christ. Providence furnished him as biographer the most learned Irishman of his generation: his friend Professor Alfred O’Rahilly. The resulting biography is a compulsively readable and revealing exploration of sanctity under the microscope, by an author whose calm judgement never falters.
Father Doyle had devoted his life to the preaching of parish missions and had received the extraordinary grace of never once failing to obtain the conversion of the straying sheep, even hardened sinners, he sought out. But the grace he most yearned for was martyrdom, and he finally won his palm on the bloodiest battlefield of history.