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it human and make it real. “Collins’ biggest attribute, I always thought, was his humility,” Noon said. That’s still who he is, and it’s because he grew up in small town Guelph, said Valeriote. “It’s how he talks to people. He’s a very down-to-earth person. He speaks the common dialect,” Valeriote said. “You know he is academically right up there.” Noon still remembers the talk he had with the seminary rector at St. Peter’s shortly before graduation. It was a chance for Noon to tell the rector (and thereby get word to the bishop) about his successes and frustrations in the seminary, and what they might indicate about his future ministry. But the two of them got onto the topic of Tom Collins. “I’ve taught here for 46 years and he’s the smartest person I’ve ever taught,” said Fr. Jim Carrigan. Collins’ first sojourn in Rome at the Pontifical Biblical Institute taught him about the deeper meanings and uses of scholarship. He graduated with more than a licentiate. There he experienced the role of the scholar in the Church.

The great crash in Guelph, circa 1957 CATHOLIC REGISTER STAFF

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-yearold 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

A scholars’ life has suited Collins well. He spent two decades guiding young seminarians. (Photo by Michael Swan)

The scholar’s life was something that suited him well. He thoroughly enjoyed his 20 years of teaching

and guiding young seminarians. The relative asceticism of his life

See THE WORD on Page A10

The Diaconate Community of the Archdiocese of Toronto would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations and prayers to Archbishop Collins on his elevation to the College of Cardinals. May the Lord continue to bless you in all of your future ministries.

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.”



A simple, yet scholarly life

What is true of the state is more profoundly true of the soul. A simple, personal, subjective feeling is not enough to govern conscience. It must be guided by an objective analysis of reality, rooted in reason and illuminated, if possible, by faith.

Thomas Collins From a speech to the Thomas More Lawyers’ Guild, Sept. 13, 2007

Margaret and Paul O’Connor would like to congratulate Archbishop Christopher Collins for his Elevation to the College of Cardinals. Paul O’Connor Funeral Home

Profile for The Catholic Register

The making of a Cardinal - Thomas Christopher Collins  

A special pullout section of The Catholic Register.

The making of a Cardinal - Thomas Christopher Collins  

A special pullout section of The Catholic Register.