EILEEN Hearn answers the phone around 3pm, if it happens to ring, but she doesn’t linger.
“We’re saying our prayers,” she said to several callers within a brief time frame on Holy Thursday afternoon. “Can you call back?”
The 80-year-old devotee of the Divine Mercy chaplet was light-hearted for the interruption.
“Most people know that Ken and I pray at 3pm each day,” she said with the brand of joviality she’s known for.
Eileen and Ken, of Strathpine, in Brisbane’s outer north, have been married for 17 years.
They met as widowers and Ken, who made Eileen’s cherished easel to proudly display the Divine Mercy image, visited from his home in Pittsworth some Easters ago.
“That Easter, I said to Ken, ‘You sit on one side of the church and I’ll sit on the other’,” Eileen, who was born in Mackay, said.
“That way no one will know what we’re up to.”
But “know” some did, and today, the pair shares dedication to prayer and holiness, Eileen instrumental in the organisation of Divine Mercy Sunday devotions in Holy Spirit Parish, Bray Park, for two decades.
With Divine Mercy Sunday on the Church’s calendar today, she’s looking forward to welcoming several priests for the Sacrament of Confession and to witnessing and participating in the Pine Rivers parish’s Eucharistic procession, Adoration, Benediction, Mass and the traditional blessing of the Divine Mercy image.
Others described Eileen as “the backbone” of decades-long, weekly Adoration on a Wednesday in Strathpine and she credits the Spiritan Fathers and a team of lay people, for assistance.
Ken and Eileen offer three rosaries a day including one before 3pm “for an end to abortion”.
It’s devotion to the Divine Mercy ritual that keeps her keeping on.
“Once you start working for God, He provides everything,” she said.
“People don’t realise how many blessings are attached to Divine Mercy.
“I often think the best (experience of) Reconciliation is on Divine Mercy Sunday.
“You can get total forgiveness of sin.”
It was on his “death bed” that Eileen’s father, aged 79, became a Catholic and experienced the forgiveness of God.
“My mother prayed solid for him all the time,” she said.
The eldest daughter of six children, the family prayed a daily Rosary.
Eileen’s mum died aged 73 and she joked she’s “beaten them both”.
Her health continues to challenge what she’d like to achieve however as Eileen’s no longer able to attend daily Mass.
On Good Friday, in her “special seat” in Holy Spirit Church, Bray Park, parish priest Holy Spirit Father Rogasian Msami brought the image of the crucified Jesus to her to venerate, knowing she wasn’t capable of the short walk.
“Handing over the reigns” of the organisation of Divine Mercy Sunday devotions, Eileen said “people are so good to help” but she “wants to get new people into it”.
It’s seemingly small acts of holiness that Eileen revels in.
“If a plane goes over, I ask God to send His mercy on them,” she said.
“If an ambulance goes by, I pray the Divine Mercy and I know that’s enough to save them.
“I say, ‘Please, Jesus, bless them with your Divine Mercy.
“That’s enough to make things right.”
Eileen’s ill-health isn’t a focus as she considers and prays for others first.
“The more souls that you can save the better it is,” she said.
“They come to the judgement seat with you when you die.
“I may not be in the best of health but I keep saying it doesn’t matter.
“I just need to look at the crucifix.”
The joy Eileen, who has three children and six grandchildren, exudes is palpable.
Even though mobility is a challenge, the Strathpine devotees enjoy time in their prayer room at home.
She described it as having “a lovely altar, the twin hearts of Jesus and Mary with God the Father, above that a statue of Our Lady and a lovely crucifix from Medjugorje”.
Eileen joked with her son who “travels the world” that he was not to bring home any more religious items “as the house is falling down from the weight”.
“My son said, ‘Nobody else has your wacky sense of humour’,” she said.
“(And) other people ask, ‘How can there be anything wrong with you, you’re always laughing.
“I laugh because I want others to be happy.
“It’s a gift from God.
“I accept all that happens.
“You have to learn to let things go, even things you can no longer do.”
Eileen’s advice to parents is to “start early teaching children about God”.
She often prays “for the sick and our priests” saying, “People need to pray for their priests”.
“It’s very important with everything that’s gone wrong,” Eileen said.
“Praying the chaplet of mercy in front of the Blessed Sacrament is a wonderful thing to do.”
Eileen said the Divine Mercy tradition “is for all of us”.
“Divine Mercy brings us back to God,” she said.
“He is showering us with so many blessings.
“We can’t say no to Him.”