Cobh Man Progresses Sainthood Cause For Cobh’s Little Nellie

By Seamus Whelehan


A Cobh man who has spent most of his adult life gathering evidence to support the sainthood cause of Ellen (Nellie) Organ, is hoping to bring his cause to another level.
Historian John Flynn has teamed up with the Irish Catholic in an effort to advance the case of Little Nellie the “unofficial patron saint of children” for canonisation.
There are a number of stages to go through before Nellie who spent part of her childhood on Spike Island can be recognised as a saint in the Catholic Church.
The first step is a servant of God. Then it’s venerable, then beatification and the final stage is Canonisation. Each part comes with specific criteria to be achieved.
“The main priority for now is to promote devotion to Nellie through whatever means possible, it’s so important to promote devotion to her” said John Flynn.
Born in Port Law, Waterford in 1903 to William and Mary Hern Organ, Nellie was the youngest of four.
The family left Waterford and moved to Spike Island in 1905, where her father William, a member of the Royal Artillery was posted.
Two years later her mother passed away and Nellie suffering from TB and other complications was sent to the Good Sheppard Sisters, where she died in their care in 1908 and was buried in St Joseph’s cemetery, Cork City.
When her remains were exhumed a year later for burial in the convent grounds her body remained intact.
Many in the Roman Catholic Church venerated Little Nellie for her mature spiritual awareness.
Mainly dedicated to the Eucharist, the story of her life inspired Pope Pius X to admit young children to Holy Communion. In 1910, the Pontiff issued “Quam Singulari” which significantly lowered the age of Holy Communion for children from age 12 to around age 7.
In 2017 a reflection room devoted to the “angle child” was opened on Spike Island, where retired Bishop John Buckley presented a case for her canonisation.
Many have claimed miraculous healing following an intercession from Nellie Organ.
Among those who claim miraculous healing are the family of 27 year old Christopher Wyse.
Born with Rubenstein Taybi Syndrome an extremely rare genetic disorder, with an estimated prevalence of one case per 125,000 live births.
Rubenstein Taybi Syndrome is primarily characterised by delayed growth in height and weight, microcephaly, dysmorphic facial features and broad thumbs and big toe.
While those born with the condition generally live to adulthood, doctors had just given Christopher months to live.
Praying for a miracle Christopher’s father, Henry, brought him to Nellie’s graveside where he placed the three month old on the grave.