*** DEBUG END ***
Important information: We are currently experiencing technical issues with the webiste and it is currently running with reduced functionality, some category pages may not contain a full list of articles and the search is not currently working. We apologise for the inconvenience and should have everything back to normal as soon as possible.

Call to exhume remains of "Little Nellie"

28 August 2015

Revered: a portrait of Ellen Organ aged around 4, based on a photograph taken by her father, William

Revered: a portrait of Ellen Organ aged around 4, based on a photograph taken by her father, William

THE remains of a five-year-old girl who died in 1908 and who was renowned for her spirituality may be exhumed for a second time, after the intervention of the RC Bishop of Cork, Dr John Buckley.

The grave of the girl, Ellen Organ, known locally as “Little Nellie”, is located in the grounds of the now derelict Good Shepherd Convent at Sunday’s Well, in Cork City, and had been an unofficial site of pilgrimage until the premises were bought by developers in 2005, and subsequently acquired by Ulster Bank and KPMG five years later.

The child, who died of tuberculosis, was originally interred in a local cemetery, but a year after her death was exhumed at the request of the nuns at the convent, and reinterred at the present location.

Tradition has it that, at the exhumation, her remains were found to be intact — possible evidence for canonisation in the Roman Catholic Church — and that she had been given holy communion before her death, despite her early age, prompting the then pope, Pius X, to reduce the lower age of communion from 12 years to seven.

Dr Buckley said that it was difficult for people now to pray at her graveside, as the site was privately owned. He would like the remains to be moved to an accessible grave site, so that people could pray there.

Forthcoming Events

29 September 2020
Festival of Preaching
A one-day online version of our popular preaching festival. With Mark Oakley, Sam Wells and Anna Carter Florence.   Book tickets


19 October 2020
Creativity out of crisis: Hymns and worship webinar
In association with RSCM, this online event will explore creative uses music and liturgy in the context online and socially distanced worship.    Book tickets

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)