Two members of our local Praesidium were included in a group of 23 Legionaries who left Thurles by bus on Sunday 22nd April for Dublin to visit places associated with the Servant of God, Frank Duff, founder of the Legion of Mary in 1921.
Our first stop was at the Regina Coeli Hostel, Morning Star Avenue, off North Brunswick St. Dublin, which was founded by Frank in 1930 for the care of homeless women, young mothers and their children as well as expectant single mothers. Here Legion of Mary members work on a voluntary basis making beds, serving meals and befriending the residents. This was the first time in Ireland that a formal effort had been made to facilitate mothers and their children in the role of a family unit. At present women and children are still catered for. Mothers have facilities for preparing meals in their own units.
Fr. Emmet O’Hara, former Director at Pallotine College, Thurles, celebrated the Mass. He presented us with a Relic of the True Cross for Veneration, which was always carried around by Frank Duff. David O’Keefe, Thurles Comitium of the Legion, gave an interesting and informative talk on the life of Frank Duff, whom he met when on a visit to Thurles. David recalled that the last time he was in this Chapel was in 1980 when Frank Duff was reposing there and so happy memories were created for him. Ireland’s 1st Taoiseach, Mr. Cosgrave gave a present of this building to Frank.
Nearby was the Morning Star Hostel for homeless men, founded by Frank in 1927. Like the Regina Coeli Hostel, Volunteers from the Legion of Mary provide the same services as well as organising activities for them like debates, concerts, and outings. Both hostels have remained open every day since their foundation.
Our next stop was to De Monfort House, Headquarters of the Legion where Concillium Meetings are held and from where correspondence is sent. Among the many articles on display was a display case showing 100 translations of the Legion Handbook for the worldwide use of the Legion, the 1st Legion altar, and family pictures of Frank Duff and Edel Quinn. At this stage we had our packed lunch, with tea provided for us and a sit down was most welcome.
After lunch we visited Frank Duff’s House, where we saw his bicycle, which he used to cycle around Ireland, the bed where he died and many holy pictures and statues from his era. Pride of place, in one of the rooms, was a picture of Sr. Columbanus, Presentation Convent, Cashel, whom many of the older generation of the parish would recognise, taken with Frank Duff and Fr. Aidan McGrath, Columban priest imprisoned in China for a number of years. Sr. Columbanus, a great Legionary went to Iceland in her 80’s to work with Fr. Robert Bradshaw there.
Our visit to Dublin concluded with a visit to Frank Duff’s grave in Glasnevin cemetery where we recited the Rosary for different intentions.
Click to expand image below.
Legion group at the grave of Frank Duff in Glasnevin cemetery.