Our Lady's Nurses
For the poor
1913 - 2013

100 years of serving the poor – and the poor only.


Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor has served the sick poor throughout Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle and Wollongong for 100 years. These are some of the special places in Sydney that feature in our early history.

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Our Lady’s Home
35 Dudley Street, Coogee

The congregational headquarters of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor was blessed and officially opened by Reverend Father Peter Treand msc, parish priest of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Randwick, on 15 April 1913. Our Lady’s Home maintains two rooms containing artefacts, furniture and memorabilia belonging to Eileen O’Connor and Father Edward McGrath msc. Among these treasures are Eileen’s writing desk, her wheelchair, photographs from the early days and Father McGrath’s military chaplain’s kit and medals. Eileen’s bedroom was converted into a Chapel in 1932. Her bed and statue of Our Lady was transferred to the verandah, where they remain lovingly preserved as they were in her lifetime. Visitors are always welcome by appointment.


Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
193 Avoca Street, Randwick

The Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, which has been in the care of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart since 1885, features prominently in the history of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor. It was here that 20 year-old-year Edward McGrath arrived in 1901 to begin his training at the MSC monastery at Kensington. A decade later, he met the O’Connor family in the course of his parish duties as an ordained priest living in the Randwick presbytery. Two years later, he and Eileen O’Connor founded Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor. The community attended daily Mass at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart for many years before the Chapel at Our Lady’s Home was opened in 1932. Eileen O’Connor’s Requiem Mass was celebrated here on 13 January 1921.


Randwick Cemetery
Malabar Road, South Coogee

Eileen O’Connor died on 10 January 1921, aged 28 years, and was buried in Randwick Cemetery. For almost 16 years, the community at Our Lady’s Home walked to the cemetery each morning to recite the rosary at her graveside. In 1936, the community gained permission to reinter her casket in the Chapel at Our Lady’s Home. Deceased members of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor and co-founder, Reverend Father Edward McGrath msc, are buried in nearby plots in Randwick Cemetery to the right of the northern entrance.


Our Lady of Mount Carmel
2 Kellick Street, Waterloo

Eileen O’Connor was born on 19 February 1892 in Melbourne, the eldest of four children to Charles O’Connor and Annie Kilgallin from Sligo, Ireland. A decade later, the family later moved to Sydney and lived in Surry Hills and then Redfern. The family were parishioners at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Waterloo, for many years. Eileen and her siblings attended the nearby school, which was conducted by the Sisters of Mercy and the Patrician Brothers. A stained glass window depicting Eileen O’Connor was blessed by His Eminence Cardinal George Pell during the Church’s sesquicentenary celebrations in August 2009. It is located near the front entrance of the church.