Eileen O’Connor was found “incorrupt” when her body was exhumed some sixteen years after being buried

Today is a big day for Australia and a big day for the Church. It is the anniversary of Eileen O’Connor’s passing into eternal life.
Servant of God Eileen O’Connor was born in Melbourne but was severely injured as a young child after falling out of a pram. Her development was stunted and she grew to a height of only 115 centimetres. She suffered immensely due to get damaged spine, and would often pass out from the extreme pain. The pain remained with her over her entire life. I am hard pressed to think of another Saint in recent times who suffered as much as Eileen.
However this pain did not stop Eileen from doing the will of God. She prayed and offered up her sufferings while co-founding Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor along with Fr Edward McGrath. He was the brave priest who served as chaplain in the army and was the only Australian priest to be nominated for the Victoria Cross. He carried a wounded British soldier from a bloody battlefield under heavy fire and was awarded the Military Cross for “conspicuous gallantry”. He stood over six foot tall and with Eileen’s short stature they made quite an impressive team.
Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor looked after the poorest in Sydney, and provided nursing treatment for the sick poor in their homes. They also cleaned their dirty houses, provided food and clothing parcels, provided free meals and as part of their work led many lapsed Catholics back to the Church along with the conversion of non-Catholics. They were a body of action, living the Gospel of Christ on the streets of Sydney and later also in Brisbane.
To give you idea of how much good they actually did, in the 1960’s they performed around 15000 visits per year, delivered 1290 clothing parcels in 1964, 3079 food parcels in 1968, provided some 3812 meals for the poor in 1941, in 1944 they saw 47 lapsed Catholics return to the faith and also saw conversions and baptisms. Not bad for a small group of nurses filled with the Holy Spirit who were based in Coogee!
Eileen O’Connor was found incorrupt when her body was exhumed some 16 years after burial, and a later statement from the funeral director stated, “…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…All of this happening is still very vivid in my memory as it was a sight I shall never forget, and I must admit to being rather scared and shocked”. Brothers and sisters, we have one of God’s special “incorruptible’s” right here in Sydney Australia, buried in the Coogee chapel of Our Lady’s Nurses of the Poor.
Let us keep praying for the canonisation of Eileen O’Connor, and let us also imitate the nurses and bring the love of God to the poor in Australia and throughout the world by directly alleviating their suffering. Their motto is, “For the Poor and the Poor Only”.
Born: 19 February 1892
Died: 10 January 1921 aged 28
For more information about this great women, please read the book “Eileen O’Connor - for the poor and the poor only” by T.P.Boland, St Paul’s Publications Strathfield.
More about Eileen’s story here:
Eileen's Story - The Path To Canonization