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Brown Nurses continue work with the poor

Serving the dying

Home visits: Our Lady’s Nurses of the Poor visit a patient in his home during their early days of service.

OUR Lady’s Nurses for the Poor await the Church’s permission to pursue the cause for sainthood for their founder Eileen O’Connor.

In April 2013 a Centenary Mass of Thanksgiving was held at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, recognising 100 years of service to the community by the order, affectionately known as the “Brown Nurses”.

In the early 1900s Australia was a developing nation.

Many had prospered, however, these were difficult times for those who had not.

The most disadvantaged were the “sick poor”.

The story of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor, founded in 1913 by Eileen O’Connor, herself a woman with disability, and Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Father Edward McGrath, is one of how the poor were helped in their own homes.

Eileen died in 1921 aged 28, leaving behind the fledging society which continues to carry on this work.

Her body was returned to Our Lady’s Home in 1936 and found to be just as the sisters had laid her out. 

Visitors to Our Lady’s Home pray through Our Lady and Eileen for their intentions.

A spokesperson said that, over the years the sisters had gleaned the many stories of favours granted and they “wait in anticipation for permission by the Church to pursue Eileen’s cause”.

“As November approaches, we reflect on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day,” the spokesperson said.

“The sisters begin their day with the dedication – ‘All for Mary, with Mary, all for Souls’.

“They are reminded of Eileen’s words ‘Do All things with love’ and ‘If God is Love, how then can I do naught but love?’  

“On All Saints’ Day, we remember the silent witnesses who have gone before us paving the way for us to have the faith we have today.  

“We acknowledge these men and women who dedicated themselves totally to God and to the spiritual and physical welfare of their neighbour, the sick poor and the disadvantaged.

“These are the silent witnesses, the unsung saints.

“As Eileen O’Connor said, ‘This work needs saints!’

“ It is for them we pray today.”

Written by: Staff writers
Catholic Church Insurance

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