In 1936 Edel Quinn had been sent from Dublin to establish the Irish movement called Legion of Mary in East and Central Africa. The difficulties were enormous but she met every challenge with unwavering faith and courage. When others faltered her invariable response was, “Why can’t we trust Our Lady?” or “Our Lady will see after things”. For nearly eight years, her health steadily declined, but she continued to work over the vast territories committed to her. Because of people like Edel, thousands of Africans are engaged in the Church’s work of evangelization.
At the source of all Edel’s activity was her deep union with God, sustained by constant prayer. The Eucharist was at the centre of her life: “What a desolation life would be without the Eucharist”, she wrote. Her devotion to Mary was marked by childlike trust and utter generosity. She said she could never refuse Our Lady anything. Edel’s rosary beads seemed to be always in her hand.
Edel died in Nairobi on May 12, 1944. On December 15, 1994 Pope John Paul II declared Edel Quinn “Venerable”. During the process of her beautification, the Vicar General of Mauritius was speaking for many when he said “I want to lay special emphasis on her constant joy; she was always smiling; she never complained; she was always at people’s disposal, never stinting her time”. In the words of a Spanish Cardinal, Edel was “an image of the eternal youth of the Church.” (See www.legionofmary.ie/causes/profile/edel-quinn/ (accessed 9 February 2018))
Edel Quinn is a wonderful patron for Spiritual Transformation. Her tremendous zest for life should be an inspiration to young people today. We cannot help but be touched by her complete trust in Our Lady and her devotion to Christ’s Eucharistic Heart.