Thursday, September 13, 2007

Centenary of Edel Quinn - 1907-2007

September 14th, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Venerable Edel Quinn.

She was born in Kanturk, County Cork, and died in Kenya on May 12th, 1944. She was a Legion of Mary Envoy, that is someone who basically works full time setting up Legion branches in what would be termed new territory.

Here is a link to the official Legion profile of her; you might have to click the link to her name at the top.

And here is a longer article about her from Down Under.

There are two biographies about her: the first written years ago by the late Cardinal Suenens of Belgium, the second written about ten years ago by Fr. Desmond Forristal, and I have read both.

My favourite Edel Quinn story is about the day when the Concilium, which is the highest governing council in the Legion, was debating whether or not to appoint her as Envoy to East Africa. Some Legionaries were concerned, mainly because she was a tuberculosis survivor, and they were worried that her health would not stand up to the demands of the job and the climate. Edel's response were words that rank as one of the best Catholic quotations of the century. She said: "I know I am not going on a picnic!" The Concilium approved her appointment.

The other very interesting story about her is one that did not appear in the Suenens book; my guess is that Cardinal Suenens did not put it in to spare the dignity of Edel's family. But it's in Fr. Forristal's book.

Edel's father worked for a bank, and he kept getting transferred around the country, meaning that Edel's childhood was divided among several locations. One location was in Tralee in County Kerry. What happened was basically that Edel's father was fond of the odd flutter on a horse now and then; that doesn't sound unusual, but this situation was different, because since Edel's father worked for a bank, he had access to other people's money!!

Luckily for him, and the family, he wasn't fired, but was transferred to Dublin and to a position where he did not have access to other people's money! And that was significant, because the Legion had not yet spread around Ireland, so Dublin is where Edel came into contact with the Legion! Such are the turning points of history!!

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