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.


19 March 1939. Most Rev Norman Gilroy, Archbishop Coadjutor of Sydney, lays the foundation stone for a new building at Our Lady’s Home, Coogee. 

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

12 January 1915. Most Rev. Michael Kelly, Archbishop of Sydney, meets with Rev. Father Edward Gell (pictured), the parish priest at Ryde to discuss his involvement with Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor.  

10 January 2018. Year after year, the faithful have quietly come to Our Lady’s Home each year to pray at her tomb on the anniversary of her death or to place their petitions in our intercessory box – and this year was no different.

1 January 1968. Rev. Mother Agnes (May) McGahey is nominated to become a Member of the Order of the British Empire for outstanding service to the sick and poor. 

28 December 1915. Julia Cooney enters Our Lady’s Home, taking the total number of volunteer nurses to seven. Julia went on to have one of the longest vocations of all the nurses.

19 December 1936. Eileen O’Connor’s body is exhumed from Randwick Cemetery for reinterment in the chapel at Our Lady’s Home. Upon opening the casket, her body is found to be incorrupt.

8 December 1913. Benefactors, Rev. Father Edward Gell and Miss Frances Gell, present two cheques to Eileen O’Connor and Father Rev. Edward McGrath msc to purchase 35 Dudley St, Coogee.

2 December 1970. His Eminence Norman Cardinal Gilroy presents Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor co-founder, Rev. Father Edward McGrath msc, to His Holiness Pope Paul VI, during the papal visit to Australia. 

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