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.


A Saint-in-waiting?

Eileen O’Connor – dubbed ‘Little Mother’ by her congregation – is considered by many to be a saint-in-waiting.


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“You have my heart in such a hidden way—do even the Angels know? Love is the only teacher. Believe because love teaches. Believe because there is something in yourself that is bigger than yourself, and that makes you believe, that you can believe. Love is love and love is true in all things.”

9 November 1914. Rev. Father Edward (Ted) McGrath msc boards the Moamoa for a three-week cruise of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga in the company of Eileen O'Connor, Emma Duffy and Katie Lynch from Our Lady’s Home. The trip outrages his superiors and sets tongues wagging.

1 November 1911. Co-founder of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor, Eileen O’Connor, holds this crucifix as she joyfully experiences an apparition of Our Lady at ‘Restwell’, Beach St, Coogee.

1 November 1911. On the eve of All Saints Day, 19-year-old Eileen O’Connor lies unconscious at ‘Restwell’ in Beach St, Coogee. Close to death, she receives another apparition from Our Lady, who offers her three propositions.

29 October 1901. 20-year-old Ted McGrath arrives at the Society of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart seminary at Kensington, NSW. He has spent the past four years working as a porter and clerk with Victorian Railways.

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.

“Let every word be as a lovely rose, falling gently on lovely loving hearts, falling as full of wonders, and peace as the flowers from our Lord’s hands."

27 October 1911. Mrs Annie O’Connor and her four children move from ‘St Elmo’ in Neptune St, Coogee, to ‘Restwell’, just 150 metres away in Beach St.

November 1914. During their trip to the Pacific Islands, co-founders of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor, Eileen O’Connor and Rev. Edward (Ted) McGrath msc, were presented with part of a war club reputedly used to martyr St Peter Chanel.

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