Cork Capuchin community of which Fr. Mathew was a member; was originally located at Blackmoor Lane, where there first chapel was built. When that chapel became inadequate for their needs, Fr. Mathew selected a site on Charlotte Quay (now Fr. Mathew Quay) for a new church and friary. The foundation stone of the Holy Trinity Church was laid on 10th October 1832. Work on the George Richard Pain’s designed building was hampered by site difficulties and lack of funds. The unfinished church was consecrated on October 10th 1850, Fr. Mathew’s birthday. A friary designed by Robert Walker was built beside the church in the late 1880s
In 1890, the centenary of Fr.Mathew’s birth, a competition was announced for the completion of the church. Dominic Coakley’s successful design reduced the scale of G.R. Pain’s original plan; the spire and façade were added in 1891. The church contains a beautiful stained glass memorial window “to the memory of Daniel O’Connell, the Liberator of his fellow Catholics from the inflictions of the Penal Code”.
A replica of the Crucifix of San Damiano –“the Crucifix that spoke to St. Francis of Assisi” is also contained here.
Saint Francis of Assisi was the founder of the Capuchin’s. He is called the poor man of Assisi. He was born in 1182 in the town of Assisi in Italy. His father’s name was Bernadone. He was a very wealthy merchant of Assisi. Francis was a very good-looking boy. He was merry and soft-hearted with many friends; all the noble men’s sons were his companions. Francis was brought up in luxury and gaiety. He spent a considerable portion of his wealth in extravagant pleasures. He used to drink with the young princes of the land. One day Francis was joking and laughing with his friends. A beggar came along crying for alms. Francis, who was soft hearted, gave whatever he had in his pocket to the beggar. His companions mocked at him for his charitable act. Dispassion dawned in his heart. The sight of the beggar set him thinking about the poverty and misery of mundane life. He gave much money to the poor. His father thought that Francis was wasting his money and rebuked him.
Sometime after this, Francis was laid up in bed for many months on account of some serious disease. He was about to die, but the Lord saved him as he had to carry out a definite mission in his life. The nature of Francis was entirely changed. Francis prayed to the Lord for light and guidance as to his future. He had a vision of Lord Jesus. He made a strong determination to renounce his old way of living to tread a life of purity and to dedicate his life to the service of humanity. As soon as Francis got well he turned to God. He started to give away his fathers money to the poor to his father’s annoyance. Friends mocked and teased him and his father turned him out of the house. He lived like a beggar wearing a coarse dress and eating simple food. Francis called his body ‘brother ass’. He kept this brother ass under perfect discipline and control. He loved God’s creatures; he treated all the outcasts, birds and beasts as brothers and sisters. He invited people to join him in his life of service to the Lord. Bernard, a rich man of Assisi, was attracted by the saintliness of St. Francis and became his first follower. Eleven others also joined him. Francis and his followers went all over Italy preaching, teaching, healing and blessing wherever they went. Francis collected many followers and founded the Order of Mendicant Friars or Franciscans. The members of this order have to take a vow of poverty, chastity, love and obedience. St. Francis died in 1228. The followers of St. Francis built a beautiful church round him on the hill of Assisi, the hill he so dearly loved. The influence of St. Francis and the sweet aroma of the life he lived will last for ever.