I would like to tell you about a humble woman who made a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of people around the world. Her name was Linda O’Neill and she was the partner and soulmate of a remarkable spiritual leader and healer from Ireland, Derek O’Neill. Linda too, was a remarkable spiritual leader and healer in her own right, but because she preferred to stay out of the limelight, many more people are familiar with Derek. Linda was a classic example of an enlightened being who chose to let her light support and guide those on a spiritual path from behind the scenes. She seldom taught from the front of a room. Rather, she taught by example. Only those who knew her well knew of her higher consciousness and contributions to their mission and the world. She was an inspiration to many, and a teacher by example of service and love in action to many more.
Linda began her mission of love and caring for others with her first breath, yet it wasn’t until her first trip to India that she knew how she was needed the most. While in India, she witnessed first-hand the abject poverty and suffering endured by children and animals. As Derek tells it, “We flew into Madras and while we were pushing through the crowds, we noticed a group of street children. We thought they were playing in a sandpit. It turned out they were amputees. We were told that criminal gangs inject these children with bleach to deform them. It makes them more valuable as beggars. Linda and I decided that, from then on, we would just take what money we needed to live on and give the rest to charity.” They went on to quietly raise millions to help impoverished and at-risk children bringing much needed healing and love all around the world.
Motivated by this fundamental love for humanity, Linda and Derek created SQ Foundation and other charities to build schools, orphanages, medical clinics, and bring water, education, nourishment, and other basic needs to people and animals in need. They’ve helped over 35,000 children around the world in 11 countries across North and South America, Africa, India and Europe. Countless young girls and women around the world are now safe from the perils of poverty; now they have safe shelter and receive the necessary education to earn wages and support their families. They provided specialized swings for paralyzed and wheel chair-bound children so those children could experience the same joy and sense of freedom as other children. They’ve also built clean bathrooms and safe drinking water systems for indigenous tribes in South America. And that’s just an overview.
In addition to the Foundation work, she also helped manage Creacon Lodge Wellness Center, a hotel she and Derek bought and turned into a sacred space for people seeking greater self-awareness and personal growth and healing. She also helped raise two wonderful children who now help carry on the family mission to help others, working in the Foundation as needed, armed with the values she and Derek taught them.
Guided by the precept ‘hands that help are holier than lips that pray’, Linda was a shining example of selfless service and love in action, with the gift of loving and serving people simply by being. She lived a simple life with her needs being small, often saying, “the only thing we need is love,” and gave it to everyone she met. She was always willing to listen to someone’s problems, have a cup of tea with a friend, and freely shared her incredible wisdom and guidance to those in need. There are numerous stories of individuals (myself included) who were lucky enough to spend time with her and personally experience her great gift for healing. She never lost her Irish wit or her compassion for anyone, even though that person may have been afraid and unkind. Linda personified the principles of living with integrity: truth, right conduct, peace, love and non-violence, and inspired others to do the same. She was a strong yet gentle force. And she was the rock her famous husband leaned on for support and advice. Derek often joked that he was the mouth and she was the rock.
Since one of Linda’s most endearing traits was her humility, even with her many accomplishments she was almost unknown, except for those who attended their workshops. But for scores of people, children and animals all around the world, Linda O’Neill remains firmly in their hearts. Hers is a legacy of incredible compassion, selfless service and love in action that lives on. What will yours be?