Canonization cause opens for Australian woman who was a ‘champion’ of human dignity 

Catholic News Agency | 10/23/2019 | Staff
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Sydney, Australia, Oct 23, 2019 / 06:00 pm (CNA).- On Wednesday, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP of Sydney announced the opening of the cause of canonization for Eileen O’Connor, a young Australian woman who founded the order Our Lady’s Nurses of the Poor, also known as Brown Nurses.

As someone who cared for the poor and the sick, and who suffered greatly because of her own physical ailments, “Eileen becomes for us a symbol of hope in our time when so many issues where the life and dignity of the human person are under question,” Bishop Anthony Randazzo of Broken Bay told the Catholic Weekly.

Randazzo - Work - Brown - Nurses - Habits

Randazzo said he became familiar with the work of the Brown Nurses, so called because of their brown habits, while he was a priest in Brisbane in the 1990s.

“I have seen the way they have quietly worked amongst the poor and the dying and the spirit – the gentle but consistent spirit of Eileen O’Connor- was very obvious,” he told the Catholic Weekly.

Melbourne - Eileen - Injury - Age - Paralyzed

Born in Melbourne in 1892, Eileen suffered an injury at the age of three that would leave her paralyzed for some years and then confined to a wheelchair and in pain for the rest of her life. Doctors now believe Eileen suffered from undiagnosed Pott’s Disease (tuberculous osteomyelitis).

According to Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor biography of Eileen, despite her suffering and her lack of much formal education or religious formation, “Eileen embodied a distinctive spirituality marked by an unwavering devotion to Our Lady and her own willingness to endure a lifetime of suffering.”

Collaboration - Priest - Family - Home - Parish

In collaboration with a priest and family friend she met at her home parish, Fr. Edward (Ted) McGrath, O’Connor worked to found a ministry that would serve the poor in their own homes in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. McGrath was a...
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