Our Lady Immaculate Church, Guelph Photo by Michael Swan

The great crash in Guelph, circa 1957

By 
  • February 13, 2012

There’s a story that circulates around Guelph, Ont., about how Cardinal-elect Thomas Collins barely escaped Our Lady Immaculate Church with his life.

In one version, a 10-year-old Collins was almost killed when a statue of Our Lady came loose from the roof of the church and crashed at his feet. This somehow drove him into the priesthood.

The story is utter nonsense. We got the true story from the man himself.

“When I was a child, as I walked out of the church one Sunday after Mass, a large stone cross fell from the top of the church, and smashed into pieces beside where I was as I went down the steps of the church. My parents, who were behind me, were concerned as they heard the crash, but when they got outside they could see that the cross had not hurt me or anyone else nearby, but had just smashed the railing,” Collins told The Catholic Register in an e-mail.

“That is it. It had nothing at all to do with my vocation to the priesthood.”

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