Legion of Mary Envoy to Africa
Born September 14, 1907
Died May 12, 1944
Cause for the Canonization opened in 1952
|Born in Kanturk, north Cork, the oldest of five children. Baptized days later in Casltemagner – a nearby parish.|
|1916 June 1st||
Edel received her first Holy Communion in the parish Church of
Cahir, Co. Tipperary.
Confirmation at Enniscorthy Cathedral, taking the names Josephine
||Went to a finishing
school for girls at Upton Hall, Cheshire, England
|c.1924/1925||Edel went to commercial college to learn business skills.|
||Edel goes to work for
P.J.O’ Hanlon industrial agency.
||Accepts better paying work
with Pierre Landrin of the Chagny Tile Company
||Pierre proposes to
Edel. She declines. At this time there are only 13 praesidia of the Legion
||Joins the Legion. Soon
makes a deep impression on Frank Duff.
||Early in the year Edel
makes plans to enter the Poor Clares.
|1932 Feb. 5||Taken to Newcastle
Sanatorium, Wicklow to recover from TB.
||Left sanatorium unable
to afford it. Then Employed at Callow’s auto building shop.
pilgrimage to Lourdes. In this year, the Legion started in Africa –
Nigeria and South Africa.
||Edel goes with Muriel
Wailes to Wales and England on extension work for two weeks.
|1936 Oct. 30||Edel sets sail for
Africa from Tilbury in London.
||Edel travels the rounds of Uganda, Kenya, Tanganyika & Zanzibar. In four months had founded 14 praesidia. First East African Acies held on 4th April.|
|1937 June||Apparent attack of Malaria. Archbishop Riberi gives full support to her work and letter of reference to all heads of vicariates in his area.|
||Edel visits Tanganyika
(now with Zanibar is Tanzania)
|Edel purchases her
first ‘Rolls Royce’. Her travels are extending. Passes her driving test on
|1938 July 22||Edel arrives in Kampala, Uganda.|
||The beginning of WWII would affect considerations in English colonial countries. Tanganyika had strong German connections. Edel would continue her work regardless in spite of fuel rations etc.|
|Edel arrives in
Mauritius. By April, a new Curia started. Stays 9 months.
|Edel arrives in Durban, South Africa. Stays a few days and then heads for Nyasaland (Malawi) via Mozambique. Sea-sickness and travel was beginning to take its toll.|
|Good progress is being made in the two vicariates of Nyasaland. By February, Edel was seriously ill with dysentery and an attack of malaria and then pleurisy. Her weight falls to 75 pounds. Decides to recuperate in sub-tropics of S. Africa.|
|Flies to Johannesburg.
Met by Ruby Roberts. Admitted to sanatorium there in May.
|Moves from there to
Umlami. By February 1942 her weight rose to 90 pounds.
attempt to return to Nairobi sees her join Ruby Roberts in another
hospital in Nongoma, Zululand.
|Arrives by air back to Nairobi. By May she was back on her travels and envoy work up until 9th April 1944 returning from Kisumu to Nairobi where illness took its final hold on her.|
labor in this world ends as she is called home to God.
Cause for Beatification
||Cause for canonization
introduced. Formally opened in 1963, tribunals were set up in 73 dioceses
or vicariates and 258 witnesses were examined.
|Pope John Paul II issued the decree affirming her heroic sanctity giving her the title Venerable. A vast number of people have reported favors, some very remarkable, which they attribute to her intercession. And she appears to have a universality of appeal which of itself is an indication of the purity of the supernatural light she radiates.|
The Pope has confirmed a vote of the Cardinals and Archbishops of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints affirming the outstanding holiness of Edel Quinn, the Legion of Mary envoy who died in Nairobi in 1944. She is now given the title Venerable. One miracle, attributed to her intercession, is still required for her beatification. If an adequately attested miracle is forthcoming the beatification should follow quickly. The Pope has asked the Congregation to give priority, as far as possible, to processing the Causes of lay people.
What are the virtues and qualities that marked Edel as a holy person fit for Canonization? Why was she so different from others of her time who may have been holy persons yet were not mentioned for Canonization? What were some of her virtues which made her so different?
Everyone who knew her, including her parents, her three sisters and a brother, describe Edel as having been totally unselfish, giving herself to others without consideration of herself. Edel had a concern for everyone and shared in their sufferings, but never revealed her own. She was truly patient in her suffering, which was considerable, but she never gave evidence of pain or worriment. She was always cheerful, even when she was in intense pain or extreme discomfort.
Those persons who knew her speak of her natural simplicity, her generosity, and her fearlessness. To Edel her Legion work was sacred. With an extraordinary ability to organize, she gave her time, her talents and her toil to the Legion, without ever counting the cost. But you might say, is that all that set her apart as a candidate for official sainthood? We know that there has to be more than all the above virtues and qualities.
One of the virtues that will help Edel towards Canonization was her extraordinary love of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. Any day that she could not attend Mass and receive her Lord in Holy Communion was considered by her as incomplete - as a lost day. Her greatest joy of the day was to be in union with her God in Holy Communion.
Eternal Father, I thank Thee for the grace Thou didst give to Thy
servant, Edel Quin, of striving to live
always in the joy of Thy presence, for the radiant charity
infused into her heart by Thy Holy Spirit, and for the strength she
drew from the Bread of Life to labour until
death for the glory of Thy name, in loving dependence
on Mary, Mother of the Church.
Some of the favors attributed to the intercession of the Servant of God Edel Quinn
Edel on O'Connell Bridge
In the course of her office work in Dublin Edel Quinn met and befriended a young married woman who had a lot of domestic and financial trouble. Edel was a constant source of strength and encouragement and also of material help: "I could write a book on all that she did for me and my family," wrote the friend later. When Edel left for Africa she missed her greatly, and though she did not forget Edel's assurance that God was with her in her suffering she frequently became very down-hearted. One day, in May 1944 Edel's friend was crossing O'Connell Bridge in a state of such deep depression that the sight of the river suggested the thought of doing away with herself. Then suddenly she saw Edel standing on the pavement a short distance ahead. She saw her quite clearly and was certain of her identity. She was about to approach her when her attention was momentarily distracted and when she looked again there was no sign of Edel. She was puzzled but thought that Edel mustn't have seen her and had moved away in the crowd of pedestrians. Disappointed, but thrilled by the fact that Edel was back in Dublin she went home and told the good news to her husband. Two days later she read in a newspaper that Edel had died in Nairobi shortly before she had seen her, as she firmly believed, on O'Connell Bridge. From then on she constantly prayed to her and received many blessings which she attributed to her intercession. Among these was the conversion of a close relative who had seemingly lost the faith and obstinately refused to see a priest even on his deathbed. She besieged Edel to intercede for him and almost immediately he spontaneously asked for a priest and died in peace with God. In her old age, Edel's friend gave an impression of great peace and happiness and loved to talk about Edel Quinn's holiness, and her kindness to herself and her family.
Edel Forestalls the Surgeon
In October 1988, Mademoiselle X underwent a major operation for an abdominal tumor in a French hospital. Following the operation, an ulcer (fistula) formed on the pancreas, with continuing discharge of pus. The patient was extremely ill, suffering great pain and frequent vomiting. Unable to eat or drink, she had to be fed artificially. Things went on like this for six weeks and then the surgeon (a professor of surgery) informed her that, as the ulcer showed no signs of healing, another operation would be necessary. Mlle. X pleaded that she was too weak to face up to further surgery. However, on the surgeon's insistence that it was her only hope of recovery, she agreed to the operation and it was fixed for the two days later. During her stay in hospital, Mlle. X had learned about Edel Quinn from some Legion of Mary visitors from whom she also received a prayer leaflet. The legionaries joined with her in earnest prayer for a cure through Edel's intercession. She herself had great confidence in Edel's power with God and kept calling on her day and night, and now all the more earnestly with the operation so near. Then the extraordinary thing happened. On the morning of the day preceding that fixed for the operation, she felt vastly improved and examination disclosed that the recalcitrant ulcer had healed overnight. The surgeon came to visit her and when he saw her new condition he exclaimed, "This is fantastic, it is a miracle! This is the best gift you could give me" (alluding, apparent, to his imminent departure to take up a post overseas). After this spontaneous reaction, he added that two years of non-recurrence would be needed before the cure could be confirmed. The proposed operation never took place and Mlle. X s general health steadily improved. At the end of 1990 she underwent a thorough medical examination which resulted in an excellent report.
Blind Child Receives His Sight
Not long after the birth of a little boy his parents observed that he gave no sign of being able to see. A few months passed and now seriously worried, they consulted a doctor who confirmed that there was absolutely no response to light. They then took the child to a specialist who examined him very thoroughly and declared that the child, in his opinion, was suffering from incurable blindness; there was no trace of an optic nerve. The parents were in great distress. A few days later they went to visit some friends in Ireland and brought the child with them. One of the friends advised them to have recourse to Edel Quinn on the little boy's behalf, and introduced them to a priest who had a relic of Edel in his possession. At the parents' request, the priest blessed the child with the relic praying that, through the intercession of Edel Quinn, he might be given his sight. The next day, to the amazement and joy of the parents, the child seemed to be following some moving object with his eyes. Subsequent days made it perfectly obvious that he was able to see. It was some weeks before the parents were able to bring him back to the specialist. The specialist was completely astonished when, on examination, he found the child's eyes perfectly normal. He said he couldn't understand how he had failed to detect the optic nerve on the previous occasion. He suggested that perhaps there had been a delayed development of the nerve but didn't offer any explanation of the fact of the whole process taking place so suddenly. The parents were quite satisfied with their own explanation and remain full of gratitude to Edel Quinn. (s.r) completely unexpected cure of severe ulcer following a superficial injury, Fr. Robert Hilton, a priest on the teaching staff of an English seminary, developed a very bad ulcer on the side of his knee which steadily grew worse in spite of careful treatment in hospital and in the infirmary of the seminary. At the end of three months a nurse who dressed the ulcer described it as "very angry and like a real hole in the knee." Three months later a different witness said it was "a deep hole into which one could put one's finger; the wound was full of pus and very raw. The doctor described it then as being "one and a half inches in diameter with a sloughing base extending to the lower tissues;" he warned that it would take a long time to heal. The ward sister of a hospital where the priest spent some weeks, also at that time, was fully convinced that the ulcer would take perhaps up to a year to heal if, indeed, it ever healed. The patient left the hospital to be cared for by .the very competent infirmarian of the semmary, a religious sister. A few days later, seeing that the ulcer had defied all medical treatment and was continuing to deteriorate, she began to pray earnestly for a cure through the intercession of Edel Quinn, and was wholeheartedly joined in her prayer by Fr. Hilton himself. Very soon after the start of this prayer the ulcer began to show improvement and within two weeks the heavy discharge of pus had completely ceased while the ulcer was seen to be healing from the base deep down. The prayers continued and each day showed a further improvement. By another ten days the ulcer was completely healed. The doctor subsequently made a statement describing the cure as a most extraordinary phenomenon and entirely unexpected. He was personally convinced that the cure should be attributed to the invocation of Edel Quinn and not to the medical treatment which, in this case, had proved of so little avail. (U.K)
Cure of Nervous Disorder
A Dublin client of Edel writes: "I wish to state that for the past ten years I have prayed solely to Edel Quinn to intercede with Almighty God for a close relative now in her fifties who had suffered a succession of nervous breakdowns and mental illness, was unable to hold any employment or face any responsibility for very long without deteriorating. Since the start of praying this relative not only has improved so much but has twice been promoted at work in those ten years. I have recently started praying for three other people I know who have had breakdowns and they are all making remarkable recovery so far. I am so grateful to Edel Quinn for the intercession to Almighty God and His wonderful answers to my prayer." (Ireland) Man Suddenly Hears After Years of Deafness "I wish to inform the Legion of my remarkable hearing recovery, which I attribute to the intercession of Edel Quinn. Previous to my experience I had been deaf for many years and found it necessary to wear a hearing aid. During the year, I became interested in the life story of Edel and decided to offer up a Novena that she would intercede and cure my loss of hearing - this she did. On August 4 last, while watching television, my hearing aid suddenly failed to function. On pulling it out, I discovered that I could hear very clearly. The aid was no longer necessary. There is absolutely no medical explanation. All this I owe to Edel Quinn." (Ireland) Hand Saved from Amputation A Dublin man writes: "A friend of mine received a bad cut in his hand with an electric saw. It had been stitched but when the stitches were removed the cut opened again. The hand became swollen and black and there was a very bad odour from it. The doctor said he would have to amputate. I called to see my friend who had resigned himself to amputation. I suggested that we start a novena to Edel Quinn and promised to lend him Edel's relic which was then on loan to someone else. We started the novena that night. The next day he was due to see the doctor and arrange to go into hospital. On his way up to the Mater Hospital he says he suddenly felt light and as if he had enormous strength. When the bandage was removed the swelling, blackness and odour had disappeared and there was no talk of amputation. He continued to improve and although he expected to have an ugly finger, it is back to normal. We believe this to be Edel's doing." (Dublin) A Vocation Saved in Thailand "On the day of the Mass commemoration of Edel Quinn a sister from the Congregation handed in a letter to the Superior General expressing her desire to leave the convent for good. The latter accepted the letter and had a talk with the sister. Everything was set for her departure but the Superior asked her to think again before leaving. The Superior placed the letter under the portrait of Edel Quinn and asked her for her intercession to change the mind of the sister. On May 12 (Edel's anniversary) the sister returned to the Superior and withdrew her resignation. So she is back in the Congregation and has promised to stay for good." (Thailand)