Anniversary of Sydney’s ‘saint in waiting’


Eileen O’Connor Anniversary News Story
Eileen O’Connor.
From Catholic Communications,
Sydney Archdiocese

9 January marked the 92nd anniversary of the death of Eileen O’Connor, considered by many to be Sydney's very own saint-in-waiting.

Affectionately known as ‘ Little Mother’ by her community, Eileen embodied a distinctive spirituality marked by a devotion to Our Lady and a willingness to bear a lifetime of pain and suffering.

She has also been described as determined and feisty who inspired a congregation of nuns despite her at times less than favourable dealings with the Catholic hierarchy.

Each year on 10 January, hundreds of devotees gather at Our Lady’s Home in Coogee to say the rosary, seek Eileen O’Connor’s intercession and pray for her beatification.

The anniversary of her death also marks the official start of centenary celebrations for the religious order she co-founded, Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor.

Charged to assist ‘the poor and the poor only’, the order has performed a unique ministry of healthcare, advocacy and friendship to the poor and disadvantaged in Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle and Wollongong.

What is all the more remarkable is that Eileen was severely handicapped by a fall that broke her spine when aged three.

Despite numerous operations, she remained crippled and frequently confined to bed throughout her short life, never growing more than 115 centimetres and her condition complicated by tuberculosis.

Missionary of the Sacred Heart priest, Reverend Father Edward McGrath, met Eileen in the course of his duties with the parish of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Randwick.

Both shared a deep devotion to Our Lady and the desire to establish a ministry of compassionate service to the sick poor in their own homes in her honour.

Read full story at the Sydney Archdiocesan site

Learn more about Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor at the Catholic Outlook site 

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