Ellen Organ aka Little Nellie of Holy God – A Future Saint of the Catholic Church?


I received an email today from a Glasgow reader, enthusing about the story of Ellen Organ, popularly known as “Little Nellie of Holy God”.  I was intrigued, and decided to search for a video.  The above is the best I could find, not least because others are either far too  sentimentalized or a tad too lengthy.   Here is a slightly edited version of the email from a reader, which arrived in my inbox this afternoon….

[Dear Editor]…

The background to [little Nellie’s] story is wonderful. Just after lockdown, a relative of mine was in Cork for a family wedding and decided to travel to the graveside of Little Nellie. She hadn’t heard about it until I told her about it a few years ago. She also bought the small book I recommended to her about Little Nellie. She loved it and said she wanted to buy it for her grand-daughter’s First Holy Communion. Anyway, while she was in Cork, she went to the grave (miracles have been known to have happened at her graveside). The caretaker said my relative couldn’t get in because there was a strong weed-killer over all the overgrown weeds, as it has not been looked after and it is as if it was abandoned. 

My relative has read up on Little Nellie, and said that in the past, her body was exhumed and found to be incorrupt. The caretaker said that the adjacent convent has been sold to a business man and she wonders what will happen to the graveyard because although people do visit, it doesn’t look like it is well-known – not that many people visit. My relative thinks that’s a shame and it would be good for Cork to revive the story about Little Nellie. My relative said that maybe if they exhumed the body again it would be incorrupt and she could be made a saint in the future. 

She and I said we could write to the Council and alert them to the grave being important and that it could attract visitors and somehow should be looked after. We also discussed that may be some attention should be brought to it somehow. e.g. local parish, Rome, Council. I suggested that I could contact Catholic Truth and see if you can put it on the blog or newsletter just to draw some attention to it.  Ends.

I replied to say “happy to oblige” – it’s a beautiful story and it would be wonderful if we could spread the knowledge of this little girl, and, who knows, perhaps even play some small part in a future Cause for Canonization of a new, great – and very young –   saint of the Catholic Church… 

Share your thoughts  

28 responses

    • RCA Victor,

      Yes, I believe that is mentioned in the video.

      She sounds like a darling little girl. A great role model for small children. My 7 year old Great-Niece loves her story.

  1. I would like to visit the grave myself in the near future. I did plan to take my daughter prior to her First Holy Communion as a little pilgrimage in preparation for her special day but was not able to do this but plan to take her one day. What a beautiful story.

  2. That’s a beautiful story. How my heart went out to the father, though, what a heartbreaking decision to put his children into care. It shows, though, how grace can work in such a young child. I’m sure all young children would be inspired by her story.

    The Irish are so apathetic now though – I even remember a time when there were a few Irish bloggers here but they seem to have disappeared. That’s a pity because they would be in a better position to take steps to have her grave cared for that people in Scotland. It’s still good to spread the story of her short life.

  3. Someone gave me a booklet on ‘Nellie Organ’ once. I’ve still got it somewhere at home. Must dig it out and re-read it. It was a moving story.

  4. I have just been reading and replied to Gabriel Syme’s post about a group of Irish people who are challenging the bishops of Ireland about closing the Knock Pilgrimage (after attending a Moslem event) so I wonder if they would be interested in following through on the cause of little Nellie? Here is the website, which I copied from Gabriel’s post, which is on the General Discussion thread.

    Maybe if the people mentioned in the intro who are writing to the local council etc emailed this group as well, they would get some good response.

    • Fidelis,

      On reading your comment with Gabriel Syme’s link, I decided to contact the Irish group. I left the following message a few minutes ago:

      Firstly, congratulations on your challenge to the Irish Bishops, who, like our own here in Scotland, are a disgrace. You were right to challenge the attendance of the Archbishop at the Islamic event -absolutely.

      Late last night I posted a thread on our blog, at the request of a reader, about Ellen Organ aka Little Nellie of Holy God. Someone suggested contacting you to take things forward over there; it would be simpler if you read the introduction and the handful of comments posted so far. Here’s the link

      Again, sincere congratulations on your efforts and be assured of our support as you seek to do what we are seeking to do in Scotland – contribute to the restoration of the traditional Catholic Faith, in your homeland. God bless you.

      Now, folks, I’ll be away from my computer for much of today, so…. behave! I will be back… God – and technology – willing!

      • Editor

        I’d be interested to know if you got a response from the group about Little Nellie because their website seems to be broadly “Christian” with no mention of being Catholic (not that I could find. I might have missed it.)

        • Laura,

          I did receive a reply, but it was simply to offer to send me some copies of their newspapers to review. I spent some time checking over their website and replied to say that I would certainly publicize their site in our November newsletter (too late for the next edition, unfortunately) but no need to send the newspapers.

    • Fidelis,

      I visited that website but they speak about working for a “Christian” Ireland, I can’t find the word “Catholic” anywhere, so it may be an ecumenical group, and if so, they may not be interested in little Nellie. They are pro-life, but lots of evangelical Protestants are, as well.

      • Laura and Editor,

        I also noticed the missing word “Catholic,” though one of the background pictures was of a Crucifix.

        • RCA Victor,

          I think they may be at the stage we were at (or, rather, I was at) for quite some time before realising that I had to abandon the new Mass and all things diocesan if I wanted to make any serious contribution to the restoration of the Faith in Scotland. The rest of the team had beaten me to it… by several years, I’m ashamed to admit. I said as much in my reply email just now…

          It just isn’t possible to keep a foot in both camps, whether those camps are “modernist vs traditionalist” (Catholic) or “Christian/ecumenical vs Catholic”. Just doesn’t work. Sooner or later, we have to pick one or the other. Or, as they say in Yorkshire “one or t’other”.

          You know what they say about Yorkshiremen? Not that they’re mean, stingy, or anything, but a Yorkshireman is like a Scotsman with the generosity squeezed out 😀

        • RCA Victor,

          You may imagine (being an American) that a Yorkshire Pudding is a dessert, or sweet dish. Nope. It’s a very nice part of a roast beef dinner… just looking at this photo makes me feel hungry…It’s defined as a “baked batter pudding typically served with roast beef” (she said, fresh from the Free Dictionary Online…) 😀

          Can you spot it? Clue: it’s neither of the “greens”; it’s not the carrots; it’s not the onions; it’s not the beef… Go on, take a wild guess 😀

  5. That’s a lovely story, very moving. It would be great to organize care of her grave and make it a sort of pilgrimage destination. It would be ironic if she was canonized, a child saint in a formerly Catholic country where they now kill unborn babies. I just hope she would be known as Saint Ellen” and not “Saint Nellie” LOL!

  6. A number of years ago I stayed with a friend in Cork and only latterly found out that his house was just a few hundred meters from Little Nellie’s tomb. I would like to go back and visit it one day.

    The neighbourhood was called Sunday’s Well and was very interesting and pretty. A famous prison (now a museum) is in the area, which I did visit.

    My (religious) impression of the local area at the time was that it was obvious how much the Church had declined. There was a ruined monastery nearby, as well as a large Church and buildings complex which had been taken over for use by a secular University.

    The most lively thing I experienced associated with Christianity was a brewery and pub called the Fransiscan Well!

    There was a functioning Church very close to where I stayed, and – similarly – it was only years later I found out that it was the SSPX Chapel in Cork (Our Lady of the Rosary). I would like to visit it one day too.

    And so, given the SSPX Church is very close to Little Nellie’s tomb – less than 500m as the crow flies (measured on google maps) – perhaps the congregation there might be encouraged to become involved in the upkeep of the tomb?

  7. An amazing story and I have started praying to her already. If I ever get the chance, I will visit that grave.

  8. I need to remind myself of the story of this little siantly soul, right now I can vaguely remember the basics. I’m sure she will be formally canonised one day.

    I like Gabriel Syme’s suggestion that her grave be cleaned up and kept tidy by the faithful who attend the nearby SSPX church. How to get in touch, though? Maybe through the main house in dublin.

    • Catherine,

      Now, you’re showing off 😀

      Seriously, that’s terrific. Let us know if you receive any replies from the SSPX. That would be a golden opportunity for a priest to mobilize his congregation. There would surely be, at least, a handful of people willing to take on that work of charity.

  9. It’s a beautiful story of a holy little girl. I hope this discussion wakens up some Irish people to the importance of caring for her grave and, eventually, when it’s allowed after due process, creating a shrine for visitors.

    I’m now praying to her for a special intention, for special graces for a young person in my own extended family who is in danger of losing her faith, maybe already has done so.

  10. Was anyone else bothered by Nellie’s description of one of her visions, that the Holy Infant of Prague danced for her?

    • RCA Victor,

      I noticed that, but dismissed it as a childish interpretation of whatever she (may have) witnessed.

      She was a very small child and God knew that she would be taken to Heaven soon, so she was not a messenger of any kind; merely, a model of profound faith in the Real Presence.

      I’d be interested, though, to know what others think. Who knows, that may be something which prevented her cause being launched.

      • Editor,

        My first thought upon reading about that particular vision was to recall the “mystical” Sufi sect, who claim that Jesus danced on the Cross.

        But you’re probably right about the childish interpretation.

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