For the poor & the poor only

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.


Servant of God

Australia’s ‘saint in waiting’, Eileen O’Connor, has been recognised as Servant of God by the Holy See.


24 January 1915. One of the very first foundation nurses, Agnes (May) McGahey, enters Our Lady’s Home, Coogee.

22 November 1913. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Criterion Theatre will present a gala performance of the comedy, ‘Dandy Dick’, to raise funds for Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor.

8 August 1913. Ellen (Nell) Fitzgerald, one the foundation nurses, enters the community at Our Lady’s Home. Kind, patient and blessed with a humble spirit, she was often assigned to pray with the dying on the district. 

15 April 1973. Co-founder Rev. Father Edward McGrath msc and three of the foundation nurses celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor.


28 October 1914. Mrs Ada Holman, wife of the NSW Premier, opens a four-day ‘garden fete on a large and brilliant scale’ at Our Lady’s Home, Coogee, in aid of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor.

2 May 1906. Rev. Father Edward Gell is appointed priest-in-charge for the Ryde district in Sydney’s north-west. Father Gell and his sister, Miss Frances Gell, become generous benefactors of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor and lifelong friends Eileen O’Connor and Rev.

June 1926. Co-founder of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor, Rev. Father Edward (Ted) McGrath msc, returns to the Benalla district in northern Victoria to see his family.

13 April 2013. More than 850 people fill St Mary’s Cathedral to celebrate a Centenary Mass of Thanksgiving for Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor.

October 1915. Co-founder of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor, Eileen O’Connor, has an audience with His Holiness, Pope Benedict XV.

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