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Chronology Talks Slides Pierre Landrin Favours Words of life Archbishop Ndingi

Pierre Landrin as a young man in 1934

Cameo of Edel Quinn by Pierre Landrin

Published in Maria Legionis Vol.19, No.1, 1971, pp.12,13.

Readers of the brilliant biography of Edel Quinn by H. E. Cardinal Suenens will remember frequent references to “P.L.” in Chapter III, one of the most captivating, interesting and instructive Sections of the biography. “P.L.” is Pierre Landrin the writer of this “Cameo” and the kindly, hand-some Frenchman who engaged Edel as his business Secretary in Dublin. Thus began a life-long friendship which had a profound effect on both of them. If you wish to learn about one major sequel of this friendship, Pierre urges you to read Chapter III of “The Life of Edel Quinn”, which is still available at the bargain price of eighteen new pence (3s.6d. or $0.65), plus postage, from Legion centres. (Prices are for 1970! Please contact Concilium Website for more details on buying Legion literature)

“Please do not say you are not worthy to serve Christ and His Blessed Mother, Pierre; it is not true; you are far above me in every way. God knows that, and it is only His merciful love that could call me to serve Him in religion, seeing what I am. Please pray for me that I may become a little less unworthy of Him” - so wrote Edel of her estimation of the character of her good friend, Pierre Landrin.

I am delighted to have this opportunity of record-ing briefly in Maria Legionis some memories of Edel Quinn, who was my business secretary in Dublin over 40 years ago. In spite of the distance of time I still retain a deeply felt conviction of her beneficent and active influence which in fact trans-formed my life.

In my memory, while some material images of my dealings with Edel Quinn have become blurred, certain other aspects of our co-existence are clearly engraved in my mind. Throughout the years I have been very conscious of what it has meant to me to have met and worked with her. I can express this only by saying that as a result of my experiences the true meaning of my life has appeared to me in its real light.

May I refer to the period of the beginning of adult life. Instead of settling down to a comfortable existence, I had chosen adventure. For me it was a real adventure at 21 years of age to set out from France for an unknown country with only my trifling savings and a trunk full of samples of various merchandise. Shortly after my arrival in Dublin I secured an office over a cinema at 51 Lower O'Connell Street, and I boldly announced the open-ing of a general agency. I still regard with tenderness a few sheets of office notepaper which had been printed by Hely's of Dame Street, in black and green - green, the colour of Ireland and of hope - with the heading: “Wholesale Agency for French produce, raw materials and manufactured goods.” After varied experiences and mixed fortunes, I finally concentrated on importing French building materials.

I had the good fortune to strike up a friendship with a generous hearted Irish business man who, like myself, lived in Blackrock, Co. Dublin. I refer to Mr. P. J. O'Hanlon, another commercial agent, to whom I was indebted for his notable kindness and good offices. Later in life Mr. O'Hanlon became a priest in England. He proved himself to be a really apostolic and enterprising pastor at Brigg, Lincolnshire, where on his retirement the District Council recognised his notable apostolic work for the entire community by naming a new street “O'Hanlon Avenue”. I was delighted to learn that Rev. Fr. O'Hanlon is still happily living in Dublin, where he had been a tireless worker in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Mr. O'Hanlon had his office over Mr. M. Lalor's well-known tobacconist shop in Nassau Street. Mr. Lalor was then one of the most zealous and prominent officers of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. He was also a highly and widely respected figure in the commercial life of the city. Later on he was closely identified with the early years of the Legion of Mary in Dublin.

Mr. O'Hanlon, who knew that I was on the look-out for a secretary, kindly asked me to call to his office to interview a young girl whom he could confidently recommend for the post. The reader will quickly guess who the candidate was: Edel Quinn, then 19 years of age, who had been working for Mr. O'Hanlon for some time. During a chat with Edel I quickly perceived her goodwill and I was forcibly struck by the character and charm of her general appearance and attitude. She showed a little timidity during our conversation, but there and then I engaged her as my secretary.

At the Windmill Lane depot of M. Landrin's factory Edel and
Mr. Fegan, fellow member of the staff

At the Windmill Lane depot of M. Landrin's factory-Edel and Mr. Fegan, fellow member of the staff.

Very quickly Edel Quinn proved to be a most efficient and valuable collaborator. She was highly intelligent, most exact and conscientious in her duties and conducted the affairs of the office with courtesy, diligence and devotion. I realised that I was more than blessed in securing her invaluable services. Then there was that frank and winning smile and abundant sense of humour which made things so pleasant for me and for my customers. Edel had a wonderful gift of establishing friendly contact with everybody with whom she had to deal: her charming looks and manners plus the force of her strong, open personality made an obvious impression on all those who conducted business with her.

Before long she became a very firm and reliable friend of mine. The sequel is told in detail by His Eminence Cardinal Suenens in his outstanding Biography of Eden Quinn.

I can testify that during all the years since I left Dublin I have benefited by the protection and influence of Edel in many difficult and even dangerous circumstances, and on occasions when I seemed to be at the parting of the roads. In a life spent in various countries, in my happy married life, in the dangers and risks which faced us during the war years and in severe illness (all of which our children escaped), I received outstanding graces and blessings through the intercession of Edel Quinn.

Hence, my sense of gratitude to her knows no bounds. I have experienced the strength of the spiritual links that bind and unite souls together and the remarkable efficacy of fervent prayer. I sincerely thank Providence for having permitted me to travel some of the road of life with Edel Quinn.

I know that when my last hour comes and before my dear wife closes my eyes, I will make a last effort to pray: “Edel Quinn, come to my assistance.” May the innumerable hearts which have been touched and influenced by the example, grace and virtues of this heroic lay missionary of the Legion of Mary address the same prayer to her now and always.

Pierre Landrin and his family in 1971

The Landrin family in France in 1971. Children and grandchildren in happy mood. Standing behind her mother is Edel (Landrin) with her baby.

"59. We should realise that those things which run counter to our own plans and likings are graces one and all. The Will of God permits them for us; they represent His persistent following of us. We should embrace them, make the most of them, pay the little price that they entail. His Will must always over-ride ours. Little sacrifices are all we are able to bear; let us be faithful in accepting them gladly with our Mother's help. We have only this life, and perhaps only a short one, in which to prove our love. If we make the effort, Jesus and Mary will help us to carry it through. If one saw things truly, how one should be grateful and rejoice at every physical weakness, tiredness... These are our slight share of Christ's sufferings and graces"
(Words of Life from Edel Quinn booklet)

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