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Beatification of Australia's next saint

Posted by https://www.catholicvoice.org.au/ on 6 March 2020
Beatification of Australia's next saint

The joy was palpable when 1000 people filled St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney for the official opening of the cause for beatification and canonisation of Australia's next possible saint, Eileen O'Connor on 20 February.

Beatification is the first of two major steps to being officially declared a saint by the Church; Eileen has already been accorded the title 'Servant of God.'

Born in Melbourne in 1892, Eileen Rosaline O'Connor suffered a broken spine at the age three and lived in in constant nerve pain from what was later diagnosed as tuberculous osteomyelitis.

She co-founded Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor with local priest Father Edward McGrath msc in 1913 to care for the sick and dying poor in their homes.

Lovingly known as 'Little Mother', she measured only 115cm tall when she died aged 28 in 1921.

In his homily, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP said God makes far more saints than are recognised, but that "the Church is graced to recognise a few".

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP signs the official document formally opening Servant of God Eileen O'Connor's official cause. Photo: Alphonsus Fok, The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.

"For a century now the Church in Australia has kept alive the memory of the 'Little Mother'," he said adding that it has seen "many answers to prayers through the intercession of Eileen".

The next steps in the process which would raise her to the altars, official confirmation of her reputation for holiness and indications from God [in the form of two miraculous healings], will require from Catholics 'the patience of a saint', he said.

"But we hope that day will come in our lifetime."

Present at the Mass were the members of Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor, the congregation Eileen co-founded with Father Edward McGrath msc, their staff and friends, and families and staff from Eileen O'Connor Catholic College in Lewisham.

Also in attendance were diocesan, education, religious and civic leaders including representatives of the Sisters of Charity which administers the congregation.

The evening included a ceremony to swear-in Archbishop Fisher and his four Sydney-based delegates who will now prepare all of the material relating to Eileen's life and reputation for the consideration of experts in Rome.

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