Our Lady Immaculate Church, Guelph Photo by Michael Swan

The great crash in Guelph, circa 1957

  • 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.”

[issuu width=600 height=360 shareMenuEnabled=false showHtmlLink=false shareButtonEnabled=false searchButtonEnabled=false backgroundColor=%23222222 documentId=120213145325-3bfc806d6b34412495cfeafcd1f595f4 name=cardinalcollins username=catholicregister tag=canada unit=px id=210c4e7b-566f-f004-1010-691ae972570f v=2]

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.