By Kate Barry-Murphy
Little Nellie was born in County Waterford in 1903 and died in Cork City at the tender age of 4 years and 5 months on the special Feast of the Presentation.
Nellie, consecrated as a child of Mary, would recite the nightly rosary reverently. She understood the faith beyond her years and could also tell if a person had received Holy Communion or not. The Infant Jesus of Prague apparently danced for the tiny Irish Mystic and gave her a flower!
Little Nellie had tuberculosis, which caused an agonizing spinal defect and caries of the jaw bone. She united these sufferings to Jesus on the Cross. The saintly toddler unable to tolerate any food –not even broth one month before her death, seemed to have solely lived on Jesus in the consecrated Host.
Nineteen months after Nellie departed this life, her grave was opened, and her tiny body was found to be incorrupt and fresh. St. Pius X lowered the age of Holy Communion, following her death, recommending frequent Communion to children, proposing Nellie as their model.
Nellie and the Eucharist
When Nellie first attended Eucharistic Adoration, she just kept talking to Jesus. The Bishop allowed Nellie to receive her First Holy Communion, even though she was just 4 years old! When hearing the great news, with inexpressible joy Nellie unceasingly repeated, “I will have Holy God!” Her little face illuminated, when she first received Jesus. Nellie’s thanksgiving after receiving the Eucharist, often would last for three hours, and once proceeded until evening.
We pray, may the Church glorify little Nellie at the earliest opportunity, so we can call upon her publically to intercede for all, to adore the Eucharistic Jesus, by following her loving example!