Page 193. " the Virgin Mary and St Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower "
St Therese of Lisieux
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeSt Therese of Lisieux - Credit: Zorba the Greek

St Therese was a French Carmelite nun, canonised in 1925.  After her death from tuberculosis in 1897, her remains were preserved. 

In 2009, these relics were brought to England to tour 28 centres of prayer. Monsignor Keith Barltrop, the organiser of the tour, said in an article in The Times (16th September 2009), “St Thérèse has always been popular, I suppose for her simplicity and the very direct, almost childlike relationship she had with God."

Official web site

Page 198. " A Modest Proposal. Read that to me. "
Jonathan Swift
Public DomainJonathan Swift

Frank McCourt was a great admirer of Jonathan Swift. 

A Modest Proposal is his famous satire of the state of Ireland, portraying not only the useless politicians and bullying English but also the inability of the Irish to help themselves. 

Jonathan Swift on Book Drum




Page 198. " Never a Catholic dog. They'll eat you every day including Fridays. "

Roman Catholics usually ate fish on Fridays as they were not allowed to eat meat until recently, a penance to honour Jesus dying on the Cross.