Brisbane’s faithful mark the centenary of Eileen’s death

Brisbane’s faithful mark the centenary of Eileen’s death


A Thanksgiving Mass to mark the centenary of the death of Servant of God and Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor co-founder, Eileen O’Connor, was celebrated at St Stephen’s Cathedral, Brisbane, on July 24. 

Archbishop Mark Coleridge encouraged the congregation to pray for Eileen’s ‘eventual canonisation’ and consider Mary, the Mother of Jesus, ‘who, like Eileen, leads us to Christ, crucified and risen’. 

Archbishop Coleridge spoke of the liberating obedience of Eileen’s commitment to serving God. “It is certainly true of Eileen O’Connor that she lived the sacrifice and entered deeply into the mystery of the Lord’s Cross,” he said. 

“Therefore we pray this morning that she who founded Our Lady’s Nurses of the Poor, and who entered her own poverty which is the poverty of Christ … that the time will come that she will join Mary MacKillop in the joyful company of all the saints. 

“It’s not that they are perfect but they have found their way to that radical obedience into the mystery of the Lord’s Cross and therefore into the mystery that is Easter.” Full story.

Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor has a long and joyful association with Brisbane. Our Lady’s Home, New Farm, was blessed and opened by Most Rev. James Duhig, Archbishop of Brisbane, on 1 July 1956.

The Sisters were soon making more than 3000 home visits and distributing 1000 food, medical and clothing parcels each year, thanks to the untiring generosity of Brisbane’s Catholic community. 

Many older members of the Archdiocese of Brisbane would fondly remember Srs May McGahey, Lucy Mackay, Irene (Rene) Madrid, Peggy Shead, Patricia Davis, Kathleen Flannery and Anne O’Shaughnessy (all deceased). Srs Patricia (Pat) Malone and Greta Gabb were also based at New Farm over the years. 

The New Farm ministry also proved to be a fruitful source of vocations for the order, including three from All Hallows’ School in Fortitude Valley: Srs Marie Carey (deceased), Margaret Mary Birgan and Kerry Macdermott.

Unfortunately, only one of the Sisters – Sr Patricia Lord oln – was able to be present due to border closures. After Mass, Archbishop Coleridge presented an Apostolic Blessing to Sr Patricia celebrating the 60th anniversary of her religious life.

Members of the Lord, Birgan and Macdermott and Lord families with Sr Patricia Lord and Archbishop Mark Coleridge after the Mass at St Stephen’s Cathedral, Brisbane.



For further reading, visit our resources page where you can discover more about the Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor, Eileen O'Connor, Fr Edward (Ted) McGrath and the work of the Brown Nurses.
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