What’s in a name? Perhaps your name is Edel. Did you ever ask your parents why they chose that name for you? Around the latter half of the 1900’s in Ireland quite a number of people were given the name Edel by parents, who had great admiration for Edel Quinn, now Venerable Edel Quinn, who was very much associated with the Legion of Mary.
Edel was born in Kanturk, Co. Cork on the 14th September 1907. Her father was a bank official, who moved around before settling down in Dublin. A few months after her birth the family moved to Clonmel where she attended her first school run by the Loreto Nuns. Then the family moved to Cahir, where she received her First Holy Communion in 1916. Legionaries gathered in that same church on 1st June 2016 to commemorate the centenary of that occasion.
At the age of 20 she joined the Legion of Mary in Dublin and was actively involved in her praesidium. She decided to enter the Poor Clares in Belfast but on the eve of her departure her plans were changed on receiving the news that she had TB. She was obliged to spend one and a half years in a sanatorium in Wicklow, where she won the affection of all the patients. There she devoted much of her rest time to spiritual reading, a time which was to prepare her for an important chapter in her short life. She resumed her work again in the Legion in a campaign of extension outside of the Dublin headquarters.
In 1936 Edel was appointed Legion of Mary Envoy to Central Africa. The delicate young girl bade her final farewell to her family and friends and undertook the three week ocean journey and the 350 miles inland journey until she reached Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. From there she travelled with her driver in a dilapidated Ford, which she called her Rolls-Royce, through the jungle paths and swamps of Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, and Nyasaland to reach missionaries and help them start up praesidia of the Legion. She also travelled to Mauritius Island in the Indian Ocean. In spite of ill health she radiated a great inner strength and her charming manner endeared her to many. Finally, not able to work any longer, her final days were spent in the Convent of the Sisters of the Precious Blood at Nairobi where she died 12th May 1944. She is buried in the Missionaries’ Cemetery in Nairobi. One of our legionaries on a visit to Kenya had the privilege of visiting and praying at her grave there.