St. Charles Houben

St. Charles Houben, more popularly known as Father Charles of Mount Argus was born in Holland. He was given the name Johannes Andreas by his parents. He felt a calling to religious life and, in 1845, he was accepted by the Passionists who had very recently arrived in Belgium under the leadership of Dominic Barberi.

Father Charles, as he became known, was sent to support the Passionists in Ireland where they had recently arrived at the monastery of Mount Argus in Dublin. He would serve most of his life here except for a few years in England. Charles never managed to speak English very well. His Dutch accent was thick and he was often hard to understand. But he quickly gained a reputation for his amazing compassion for the sick and those in need of guidance. His reputation for healing and miracles was so great at the time that a reference is made to him in the famous novel Ulysses by James Joyce.

His ability to stand with people and to read what was in their hearts made him the apostle of the poor in a city filled with people who were poor. His love and amazing kindness shone through and touched the lives of thousands of people. “Our Father Charles” became the talking point of Dublin. He was named Saint Charles. His feast is January 5.