“An unwavering devotee of the Blessed Virgin, she experienced a visitation from her and agreed to offer up her suffering for Our Lady’s work,” the archbishop stated.
He added that when O'Connor's body was translated to a convent in Coogee 16 years after her death, it was found to be incorrupt, and pilgrims continue to visit her tomb.
Because of the continual devotion to O'Connor, in 1962 the then-Archbishop of Sydney approved a prayer for her beatification, and in 1990 a preliminary investigation of her merits was permitted.
In 2018, the bishops of the province unanimously voted to initiate her cause, and the Holy See granted her the title Servant of God in confirmation of the work thus far.
“The time is now ripe for a more thorough examination of her cause, to pray that there may be many miracles to credit to that cause, and to hope that the Church may eventually raise her to the altars,” Archbishop Fisher said.
He noted that “for a century now the Catholic faithful have kept alive the memory of the Little Mother, cherishing the woman, her character and wisdom, her foundation and apostolates … And for a century now believers have received many answers to prayers to and through Eileen.”
“Popular devotion to her even in her life-time has not diminished since her death, even in a culture increasingly deaf to the supernatural and disrespectful to the handicapped.”
Fr. Robbie explained that at this point in the cause, “the process involves a forensic examination of her life, to find the presence of what we call heroic virtue in the Servant of God. If the panel of historians produce sufficient information in that regard, and the Roman authorities are satisfied by it all, then they accept this cause, [and] declare her venerable.”
Archbishop Fisher preached that “She certainly seems to have done ordinary things in an extraordinary way and extraordinary things ordinarily, like so many saints. Frail, crippled and in pain, she reached out to others and was tireless in their service. She gave her all to God, her sisters, the sick poor. Amidst all her troubles, she was united to Christ and Mary, drawing strength and inspiration from them.”
Fr. Robbie emphasized that should she be declared venerable, “at that point we will start investigating the existence of miracles” worked through her intercession, “and the nature of the miracles.”
“The main focus of this investigation is into the virtues of her life,” he added. “The saints are there both to provide example and intercession.”
(Story continues below)
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Michelle Climpson is a young Sydney woman devoted to O'Connor, who credits that devotion to helping her through a grave illness.
She told CNA that in June 2016, when going to donate blood she discovered that her hemoglobin was “very low.”
Sent to the hospital to have the matter examined, it was found she had a form of leukemia and would need a bone marrow transplant.
“Hearing that news … was very scary. And my mum is actually the one who introduced me to Eileen O'Connor. We started to go see her in Coogee and went to a few Masses where she lays,” Climpson said.
“Pretty much just from the first time I was there I wrote … for her to help me be cured, and every time I had a massive treatment … I just took all of my prayers to her, and I continually prayed to her every time it got a bit rough.”
Climpson said, “I just put all of my attention into praying to her. And so now I am in remission, and in June it will be four years since I was diagnosed.”