Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Venerable Edel Quinn

Reading about saints and holy people who passed away at a young age is a very humbling experience.

While a person can always dwell on the loss of a youthful person in the prime of their life, when someone has lived a saintly life such sentiments are sometimes misplaced when there is joyful recognition of the fact that the person in question had lived a life deserving of eternal reward with God in Heaven.

One such soul departed from this world at a young age was the lay missionary Edel Quinn. Having grown up in Kanturk in County Cork, Quinn became a member of the Legion of Mary who devoted her life to helping those in need in Kenya. Having harboured a deep desire to fulfill a vocation to the Poor Clares, Quinn had to watch that dream disappear as her poor health stopped her from entering the convent. Her choice to become a member of the Legion of Mary instead was a fateful one which gave her the singular vision that many young saints seemed to have possessed, perhaps intuitively aware of the brevity of their lives upon this Earth. At 29 years of age, she travelled to Africa, ultimately settling in Nairobi, Kenya, where she set up various Legion of Mary groups that would carry on the good work of the organisation after her passing.

What is striking about her life, and indeed the lives of other admirable young Saints like St. Therese of Lisieux or the recently canonised Pier Giorgio Frassati and Jose Sanchez Del Rio, is how simple their lives appear to be. With so many distractions and complications in our world, young people need to recall that Our Lord does not make attaining heaven impossible, He has laid out those ways in which we can get to know Him best. And yet, modern living complicates and the distorts the beauty of simplicity and informs us of meditation and 'Wellness' as a substitute for the true spiritual growth to be found in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praying the Rosary and practicing charity towards others.

 To be a holy soul we need not great years, just great love. And should God decide to bring us out of this life at a young age, it is worth weighing up the things before us as the Venerable Edel Quinn did time and again when she chose to leave Ireland to serve Our Lord and one there to work tirelessly in His name. At aged 36 she passed away, but behind her was the wonder of having passed on the faith to many of those around her and of keeping her own soul devoted to Our Lord also. Daily we have to choice to serve Our Lord and to serve others or to serve our own desires and material needs. The peace that seems present in the lives of these young people who gave their lives to Him should prod us to do likewise as best we can.

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