For more than 100 years, Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor – fondly known as the Brown Nurses – has performed a unique ministry of healthcare, advocacy and friendship for the sick poor and disadvantaged.
Eileen O’Connor – dubbed ‘Little Mother’ by her congregation – is considered by many to be a saint-in-waiting.
“Make a resolution to love Our Lord, giving Him all yourself, to be used in saving or helping to save souls, by giving all the help in your power. Act through love; prove your love by ever keeping Our Lord before you.”
28 December 1915. Julia Cooney enters Our Lady’s Home, taking the total number of volunteer nurses to seven. Julia went on to have one of the longest vocations of all the nurses.
19 December 1936. Eileen O’Connor’s body is exhumed from Randwick Cemetery for reinterment in the chapel at Our Lady’s Home. Upon opening the casket, her body is found to be incorrupt.
30 November 1909. Co-founder of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor, Rev. Edward (Ted) McGrath is ordained a priest of the Society of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart at St Mary’s Cathedral by His Eminence Patrick Cardinal Moran.
2 December 1970. His Eminence Norman Cardinal Gilroy presents Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor co-founder, Rev. Edward McGrath msc, to His Holiness Pope Paul VI, during the papal visit to Australia.
11 November 1918. The community at Our Lady’s Nurses rejoices that the Great War is finally over. It has been a long and anxious period for Eileen O’Connor, Cissie McLaughlin, Julia Cooney and May McGahey, who have seven brothers serving on the Western Front.
“You have my heart in such a hidden way—do even the Angels know? Love is the only teacher. Believe because love teaches. Believe because there is something in yourself that is bigger than yourself, and that makes you believe, that you can believe. Love is love and love is true in all things.”
9 November 1914. Rev. Edward (Ted) McGrath msc boards the Moamoa for a three-week cruise of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga in the company of Eileen O'Connor, Emma Duffy and Katie Lynch from Our Lady’s Home. The trip outrages his superiors and sets tongues wagging.
1 November 1911. Co-founder of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor, Eileen O’Connor, holds this crucifix as she joyfully experiences an apparition of Our Lady at ‘Restwell’, Beach St, Coogee.