Homeless Hostels
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Three Legionaries we hope will be declared Saints
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There should be no depths to which the Legion will not penetrate in its search for the lost sheep of the House of Israel. False fears will be the first obstacle. But false or founded, someone must do this work. If capable and trained legionaries, safeguarded by their prayerful and disciplined system, cannot essay it, then no one can. (Handbook Chapter 37 Suggestions as to works, Section 6 : Work for the most wretched and dejected of the population.)

The Morning Star Hostel

Our Lady the Morning Star The Morning Star Hostel was opened for homeless men by Frank Duff with the help of some members of the Society of Saint Vincent De Paul on the 25th of March 1927. The hostel caters for homeless men who are 18 years old or more. The building itself is known to have existed since 1780 or so and is believed to have been originally built as a house of charity for the poor at the time. Frank Duff was a civil servant before Ireland got its independence in 1926 and he knew Willam Cosgrave the minister for local Goverment who gave him the hostel which had been used as an army barracks prior to Irish Independance by the Black and Tans British soldiers. It is believed that the hostel was run by Frank Duff and members of the Saint Vincent De paul Society in the early years and later on became solely a Legion of Mary hostel run by Legion volunteers.

Old fire escape In those early years there was great poverty in Dublin and the hostel used to house over 200 homeless men a night. Homeless people in Dublin at the time could only stay for two weeks in the other hostels that were available. At the time the hostel would have had four large dormitories filled with beds lining the walls on the left and on the right. The survival of the Hostel is a miracle when we stop to realise that the hostel has been operated since 1927 on the sole reliance of volunteer Legionaries and has catered for so many homeless men in Dublin all that time. There has always been some permanent indoor brothers who have helped to keep it going but the day to day running of the hostel relies heavily on the usual Legionaries who go to their meeting once a week and do their two hours legion work in the hostel.

Tom Doyle 1905-1992

Tom Doyle 1905-1992 Tom Doyle was the manager of the hostel for about 50 years and he is regarded as an unknown saint by most if not all the people who knew him. Tom was on duty seven days a week, was up very early in the morning to attend 6am Mass and then came back to get the indoor brothers breakfast ready. He worked up until lunchtime and did a Holy Hour of adoration after lunch and was then back on duty after that until probably late at night. But it wasn't what Tom did that made him special it was what Tom was that made him stand out, Tom was a very humble , gentle and holy man. Tom was a great legionary and he tried always to live the standing instruction of the handbook of seeing and serving Christ in union with Our Lady in those he worked with and in the homeless people he faithfully served for over 50 years in the Morning Star. He was a member of the Morning Star praesidium up until early September 1988 at which stage for health reasons he was transferred to Sybil Hill nursing home where he remained until his death on the 30th of October 1992.Even in the nursing home Tom still was on duty and used to contact and help other residents and offer them Our Lady's medal or just be someone to talk to.

When Tom became manager of the hostel there was around two hundred residents being admitted every night due to the high level of poverty that there was in Dublin and Ireland in the 1920's and indeed for most of the twentieth century. All kinds of people passed through the hostel, lonely types, violent types, drunk types, mental illness types, orphan types and in more recent times drugs types. Rows and scuffles and fist fights were regular occurences and poor Tom had the resposibility of calming every storm. No doubt Tom who was small in stature was on the receiving end of some of those blows and it is well known that near the end of his life one of the residents very badly beat him up so that he had to spend time in hospital but when he came out he made himself the best friend of that resident! Another man who at one stage had been a resident and who unfortunately murdered another man in a drunken brawl in the late 1940's was sentenced to death by hanging but before his execution he sent for Tom Doyle to visit him and whatever Tom said to him he went to meet his maker with peace in his heart. Tom although he was the manager of the hostel always obeyed the Morning Star praesidium meeting in his decisions. Tom understood the merit of obedience and he let the praesidium make all the decisions even when those decisions were not the ones he wanted! If his suggestion was rejected he knew that if God really wanted his suggestion to be enacted then God would work it out that way in His own time. Tom had great trust in God. Many if not all of the legionaries who knew this great man hope that one day Tom will be canonised.


As the Morning Star Hostel is run on a voluntary basis, donations are essential to its continuing existence and are always welcome. If you would like to donate you can download a direct debit form by clicking on this link or you can also donate by clicking on the Paypal button below. Thank You.

“It is hard, you say, to put up with the evil-doer. But just for that very reason you should devote yourself lovingly to him. Your set purpose must be to wean him from his sinful ways and to lead him on to virtue. But you retort that he does not mind what you say. nor follow your advice. How are you so sure of this? Have you appealed to him and tried to win him round? You reply that you have often reasoned with him. But how often? Frequently, you say, time and time again. And do you look on that as often? Why, even if you had to continue for a whole lifetime, you should neither relax your efforts nor abandon hope. Do you not see the way in which God Himself keeps on appealing to us through His Prophets, through His Apostles, through His Evangelists? And with what result? Is our conduct all it should be? Do we set ourselves to obey Him in all things? Alas such is far from being the case. Yet in spite of that, He never ceases to pursue us with His pleadings. And why? It is because there is nothing so precious as a soul. ‘For what doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul.’ (Mt 16:26)” (St. John Chrysostom)”
(Handbook Chapter 37 Suggestions as to works, Section 6 footnote: Work for the most wretched and dejected of the population.)

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