“Just as they last saw her”

Eileen's rosary beads and mantilla

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. Mr W.J. Dixon of Darlinghurst Funeral Directors recalls: “After the exhumation at the cemetery, the unopened casket was taken to our Funeral Chapel at 347 Anzac Parade, Kingsford, where a large number of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor awaited us. The Nurses asked me to open the sealed lead casket and remove the inner pine lid. This was done, and I was startled to see Eileen O’Connor lying there as though asleep in her simple blue gown, her hair lying naturally down each side of her face, and her hands joined on her breast. The skin appeared slightly dark and the eyes seemed a little sunken, but, not having the good fortune to know her in life, I could not know if this was natural. Our Lady’s Nurses then gathered around the open casket and appeared not in the least surprised at seeing their ‘Little Mother’ (Eileen O’Connor) as they last saw her 16 years earlier.” The nurses rested rosary beads and other religious items on Eileen’s body and recited the rosary and other prayers for about an hour. This image shows a set of rosary beads that were removed from Eileen’s casket that day. Eileen’s casket was re-interred in the new chapel at Our Lady’s Home, Coogee.

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