The way of the cross

Eileen O'Connor's crucifix

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. During the apparition, Our Lady picks up the crucifix and returns it to Eileen’s right hand, which has been paralysed for some years. Eileen gifts the crucifix to co-founder, Rev. Father Edward (Ted) McGrath msc, who takes it with him during his long exile from Australia. When he finally returns to Australia in the early years of the Second World War, he is worried about losing the priceless relic if his ship is torpedoed. Father McGrath leaves the crucifix in the care of the Burns family, who live near the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Monastery in Natick, Rhode Island, USA. Mrs Marguerite Burns continues to use the crucifix as Eileen had intended, encouraging the sick and the troubled to pray for Our Lady’s intercession and to place their faith in the Way of the Cross. The wooden backing of the crucifix becomes depleted as she removes slivers to give to the troubled. The Burns family returns the crucifix to Our Lady’s Home after Marguerite’s death in 1988.


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