In a recent issue of Brisbane’s The Catholic Leader, there was an interview with Sr Margaret Mary Birgan, the new congregational leader for Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor.  The Brown Sisters, as they are also known, were founded by Eileen O’Connor and Fr Edward McGrath MSC in Sydney, Australia, in 1913.  Eileen (Little Mother) and Fr McGrath shared a love of Our Lady, and a desire to serve the poor.  Little Mother’s tomb is in the convent at Coogee, Sydney.  She may one day be another of Australia’s canonised saints.

It is some years now, but through a friend I came to visit the convents in both Coogee and in Brisbane.  The Sisters were very impressive in their simplicity, humility, and their love of their work with the poorest of the poor, especially those forgotten.  This article brought back happy memories of meeting those Sisters.

In the article, Sr Margaret Mary shares her own vocation story:

“(It was) a simple desire to love the Lord and peel potatoes and swell the numbers – if that was His will.  Because I had been given so much love I felt I had so much to give.”

The Congregation is probably one of the least known in Australia, and no doubt one of the smallest, with fewer than 15 Sisters.

The article ends with Sister’s invitation:

“It all has to begin with a young person’s relationship with God and that love.  And then it is a matter of being big enough to sacrifice.  The way has been shown, the need is there, all that is missing is the willing labourer.”

I pray that more young women will be those willing labourers, moved by that same “simple desire to love the Lord … and swell the numbers” and continue this work begun 98 years ago by Little Mother and Fr McGrath.

Read the article here.