Australia is one step closer to getting its next saint with the Vatican advancing the cause for the beatification of Sydney woman Eileen O’Connor by awarding her the title Servant of God.
The announcement comes six months after Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP appointed Rome-based priest Father Anthony Robbie as postulator for her cause – the person who guides the cause for beatification or canonisation through the Church’s rigorous processes for recognising a person as a saint.
“Eileen’s was a life of immense suffering and judged by today’s standards many would have viewed it as lacking in dignity, value or hope,” said Archbishop Fisher.
“That she is on her way to possibly being our next saint shows even a short life, marked by incredible suffering, can be an inspiration to all and reminds us of the dignity of every human life.”
Former congregational leader and Eileen O’Connor Project Leader, Sr Margaret Mary Birgan oln, described the news as “simply wonderful” and the new Servant of God as a “very human, beautiful soul”.
Fr Robbie said the Vatican green light means the task of formally presenting the co-founder of Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor to the world as an outstanding Australian example of holiness and charity can now begin.
“With every passing year since her death a century ago, Eileen O’Connor has grown in the love and devotion of the people of Sydney and of all Australia,” he said.
“Always thinking of others in need despite her own severe hardships, she is an outstanding role model for today’s Australian youth and for the lay apostolate in particular.
“May she inspire many others to devote themselves to the needs of the outcast and forgotten as her own life becomes better known.”
Sr Margaret Mary said that Eileen’s is “a story waiting to be told and now we have the opportunity to tell it”.
“This is simply wonderful news and my sister companions and I are extremely happy that Eileen has been recognised in this way,” she said.
“Eileen has always belonged to the people of God, not us, and we pray that she becomes a ray of sunshine to the faithful today as she was in her short life.
“We are extremely grateful to Archbishop Fisher and Bishop Randazzo.
“The journey has finally begun!”
For Eileen to be beatified, a miracle would have to be rigorously investigated and scientifically approved by Vatican experts.
Such miracles are usually medical cures of terminal illnesses which are scientifically inexplicable in the eyes of experts.
Prayer for the beatification of Servant of God Eileen O’Connor
Holy and loving God, we give you thanks for your faithful servant Eileen O’Connor. By your grace she united her sufferings to Christ and her prayers to Mary.
With great patience she inspired and called other women to be devoted to the care of the sick and dying poor, both in body and in spirit.
We humbly ask that the Little Mother, Eileen, who by her ceaseless prayer and suffering inspired others to live the Gospel, may be lifted up and counted among your saints in heaven.
Graciously hear our prayers through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
Supplied by Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor.