Little Nellie of Holy God
Little Nellie (Ellen Organ) was born in 1903 in Waterford to a family of four children. Her mother died when Nellie was only a few years old. Since her father was in the army, he could not look after his children and they were brought to various religious houses. Nellie and her sister Mary went to be brought up at the Good Shepherd Convent in Sunday’s Well, Cork.
Nellie was a very holy child. She could sense the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
‘Katie was the name of the girl who attended Nellie. One morning, instead of going to Mass as usual, she remained in the kitchen but was careful to see that Nellie did not know this. What was her surprise on entering the Infirmary and approaching Nellie to be reproached with “not having Holy God”?
Next day Katie determined to deceive Nellie. She arose at the usual hour, went down the passage and opened the outer door of the cottage, closing it again with a bang, but herself remaining within. Then she removed her shoes and crept soundlessly back to the kitchen, staying there in the most cautious silence till the regular Mass time had elapsed. Then, entering unconcernedly into Nellie’s room, she smiled at the Little One. “You did not get Holy God this morning”. The tone was sorrowful.’ (source)
However, Little Nellie suffered a lot. On first coming to the convent, she had whooping cough. She was very frail and had an injured back from having been dropped as a baby. She was also diagnosed with TB and her jaw began to disintegrate from a disease called caries. It was difficult for her to eat and from 1907 she spent a long time before her death in the infirmary. Little Nellie bore all her suffering with a patience remarkable for a child her age.
By 1907, Nellie was in danger of death and for this reason received the Sacrament of Confirmation.
She earnestly desired to receive Holy Communion but at that time the earliest age for at which a child could make his First Holy Communion was 12. However, an exception was made in this special case and, with the bishop’s permission, Little Nellie made her First Holy Communion on 6th December 1907.
She died on 2nd February 1908. She was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Cork but her remains were later transferred to the Good
Shepherd Convent Cemetery, Sunday’s Well.
When Pope Pius X, the then reigning pope, heard of Little Nellie of Holy God, he was amazed and issued a decree, Quam Singulari, lowering the age for First Holy Communion to seven years.
Prayer (transcribed from image below)
O Jesus, Divine Friend of little children, we thank Thee for the signal graces Thou didst confer upon Thy holy servant Little Nellie by inspiring her with such great devotion to Thy Sacred Passion and such ardent love of Thy Blessed Eucharist.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the fulfillment of Thy designs regarding Thy loving little servant. for Thy greater Glory and for the sanctification of souls.esus, Divine Friend of little children, we thank Thee for the signal graces Thou didst confer upon Thy holy servant Little Nellie by inspiring her with such great devotion to Thy Sacred Passion and such ardent love of Thy Blessed Eucharist.
We adore Thee, o Jesus, ever present in the Blessed Sacrament; we pray that Thy Sacred Prescence may be honoured daily more and more, that the little ones, whom Thou desirest to come to Thee, may frequently approach Thy Holy Table.
O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.
Imprimatur: T. A. O’ Callaghan, O. P., Bishop of Cork.
Little Nellie’s grave: Own picture. Feel free to use it.
Little Nellie of Holy God: Taken from Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Little_Nelly_of_Holy_God.jpg