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

Comment: 

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  

47 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.

      • Greetings
        I am a Catholic doctor of Goan origin, currently practicing in the UAE. I have a been a devotee of Little Nellie for many years.
        I will shortly be submitting an account of my miraculous survival from a very bad episode of Covid-19; as proof on Little Nellie interceding on my behalf . I should have been dead from what I went through. I want the diocese to open the case for the cause of her canonization on the basis of my miraculous survival.
        I had previously unsuccessfully tried to acquire the St Vincent’s Church in Cork which I wanted to dedicate to Little Nellie.
        I have been also making an effort to acquire the graveyard that has Little Nellie’s grave
        I believe God will help.

        Dr. Neil de Jesus Rangel

      • I am a traditional Catholic . Having arrived at the conclusion that there is absolutely no salvation outside the Catholic Church; that admission or entry is solely by the water of baptism or the blood of martyrdom and no other means or desire whatsoever and that one has to die a Catholic to be hoped saved. No one outside will be saved. Quite unhappy with VC2 but pray for the Pope and a restoration

        • Neil Rangel

          I must correct one error in your otherwise superb comment, which is that souls can also enter the Church by baptism of desire and invincible ignorance. There are modern day heretics who deny this consistent teaching of the Church – these are called Feeneyites and their harsh doctrine must be rejected as the Church rejects it. What the preach with regard to the infallible dogma ‘extra ecclesiam nulla salus’ subverts the mercy and charity of God by bitter zeal.

          • Neil Rangel

            I feel I should clarify on the “invincible ignorance” I mention above.

            This would apply to souls who, without any fault on their part, are deprived of all knowledge of the true religion yet live by their limited lights according to God’s Commandments, written in every heart. Such people, likely to be few in number given modern access to information, are considered to be united in spirit with the Church even though they are depived of formal membership.

            One example might be a person with severely limited mental accuity born and baptised in a Protestant setting with no way of learning about the true religion. If such a person is devout before God in accordance with his lights, keeping the Commandments, then I think it fair to say that God will not reward him with Hell.

            Different matter, however, for those who have the intellectual and supernatural wherewithall to search out the truth and yet prefer to reject the divinely instituted Catholic religion in favour of the more accomodating errors of their heretical sects.

            • I am fully aware of this ignorance issue.. It actually insults the omnipotence of God. What He starts.. Will he not lead it to completion..

              • Neil Rangel

                What about the Good Thief on the cross: was he baptised? It is not for us to second guess the omnipotence of God, for His ways are not our ways.

          • I must say I have been partly influenced by Fr Leonard Feeney. I am more extreme in my view. No one was saved outside the Ark of Noah. So how can anyone be saved outside this Ark of Salvation.. The one and only Church of Christ.. The Catholic Church. I believe the denial of this defining dogma.. Is the root cause of all our problems. If there are dispensations..i mean this membership and salvation by desire.. Then I have no reason to be a Catholic.. No reason to even believe in Christ. Absolutely nothing in sacred scripture.. Besides some wishful interpretations.. Says that any one can become a Catholic without the water of baptism or the blood of martyrdom or be saved without these.

            • Neil Rangel

              Your problem is you apply the Church’s dogma in a literal sense to the point of exaggeration. It is indeed the normal way for the majority to enter the Catholic Church through baptism, no one is disputing this, but there are exceptions in cases of invincible ignorance or for those, say, who desire baptism but are martyred before receiving the Sacrament.

              Hence your insinuation that the non-Feeneyites, which is just about the entire Catholic world, are suggesting that baptism by water and/or blood are somehow unnecessary for general salvation is really extreme and not remotely in keeping with the justice and mercy of God. Fr. Leonard Feeney repented of his error before death and was received back into full communion with the Church, pity his ardent followers perpetuated the falsehood after his death.

              Remember, the Pharisees were condemned by Our Lord for their rigorous and forbidding applications of Scripture and doctrine. Our Lord was all about the spirit of the law while they were solely fixed on the rigid letter of the law, which killed mercy.

              In light of this, would you seriously propose that some poor soul with mental retardation who was baptised and raised in, say, a Protestant sect, but who nevertheless lived according to God’s law and never actually committed a mortal sin, will be consigned to Hell by Our Lord for not having been a physical member of the Catholic Church? Is this what you seriously propose? If so then I’m afraid you do not know Our Lord very well.

          • TRUE CATHOLIC Doctrines are harsh. The truth about salvation must be proclaimed.. I studied in detail.. And consider these heresies against the omnipotence and power of the Trinity.. Desire.. Implicit or explicit.. Invincible ignorance.. No bath without water… It’s true..

            • Neil Rangel

              No, Catholic doctrines are not harsh, they are simply divine truths revealed to us for our salvation. Remember Our Lord’s words: “My yoke is sweet and my burden is light”. There is joy and freedom in Catholic doctrine, not hardship. Harshness is Protestant doctrine and that of Feeneyism, which are products of bitter zeal, like the zealots of Our Lord’s day.

              I have studied the Church’s doctrines and the errors of Feeneyism and the like probably longer than you – in my case about 30 years – and I can assure you that you do not have Papal teaching on the dogma “extra ecclesiam…” in your corner. The Popes have all taught about baptism of desire and invincible ignorance as rare, yet real, events that compliment rather than oppose the dogma.

            • Neil Rangel

              I forgot to ask how you think the Patriarchs and prophets of the old law, including St. Joseph, were saved, brought to heaven from the limbo of the just on the first Easter Sunday. These were not baptised with water or blood but with desire, were they not?

              I would be interested to know what you think about this in light of your position re the dogma.

              • About salvation in the Catholic Church.. That’s what I commented upon.. We are under the new law of Christ.. The Church starts with Christ.. Prior to That was the old covenant that terminated.. They too had to wait to be saved by the merits of Christ’s death..

                • Neil,

                  Like all dogmas, the dogma “outside the Catholic Church, no salvation” needs to be properly understood.

                  Christ said “Unless you eat My Body and drink My blood, you will not have life in you.. “- i.e. you will not be saved, but that does not mean that everyone who receives Holy Communion is going to be saved. You know that, I’m quite sure.

                  Similarly, not every Catholic who holds, formally, to membership of the Catholic Church will be saved.

                  In the same way, not everyone who through no fault of his/her own does not hold formally to membership of the Church on earth, is damned.

                  If logic/common sense does not tell you that, then your Catholic sense should kick in because it is very elementary theology that God is the Supreme Being Who is all-powerful/seeing and perfectly good. He is totally just.

                  That does not fit with a God who will damn people to an eternity of suffering in Hell because, despite wanting to know and love God in accordance with His will, they did not – for whatever reason – realise that to do this they had to enter His Church. Just reflect for a moment on a person of good will genuinely trying to work out what to do for the best to secure his salvation, witnessing the horrendous scandals in the Church today, right to the very top where we have a Pope who gives his assent to an alleged nativity scene that looks, in and of itself, to have come straight from Hell.

                  Goodness me – it’s a miracle that there are any converts at all to the Faith at this time of unprecedented crisis and scandal. Our Lord, in fact, speaks about the terrible fate awaiting those who cause scandal because it obstructs the light which leads souls to His Church. And there are quotes attributed to various saints, who say that the road to Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.

                  Those, the Fathers said, who DO know the dogma “outside the Catholic Church no salvation” but choose either to refuse to remain in the Church or to reject her, cannot be saved. The rest we entrust to the perfect mercy, charity and justice of God who wants every soul to be saved. As should we.

                  • What I say is that only Catholics have a chance to be saved. No one else. One needs to be in a state of grace at the time of death. Not every Catholic will be saved but for sure no non Catholic will be saved either. This would amount to saying that many outside the Ark of Noah were saved. I have heard this ambiguous comment.. Dogma.. Needs to be properly understood.. In other words.. A watered down dogma.. Why should a dogma that defines the very purpose and need of its existence.. Of the Catholic Church.. Should have exceptions. Dogmas have no exceptions. It’s like saying something and immediately contradicting it with something contrary. God desires that all be saved and come to knowledge of truth.. In other words.. God desires that every human be baptized and incorporated into his only church.. The Catholic Church.. To this end sufficient grace in some way or the other has been given to every human being.. If they did not get baptized finally.. It just means they didn’t deserve it.. . Even miraculously.. If need be.. God Wil provide the water of baptism.. ignorance is not an excuse.. All this would deny God’s omnipotence…. Invincible ignorance is a heretical idea..
                    He is just and righteous.. Does not condemn people to damnation without a reason.. If this is not true.. I. Will rather not be Christian and not believe in church or in Christ.. Show me one statement in the scripture.. Which unambiguously states that anyone can be saved without an actual water baptism…

                  • Finally submitted my letter.. To the Bishop of Cork.. With all details.. Requesting him scrutinize my case and to formally initiate the process.. For canonization of my favorite child mystic.. Little Nellie.. Please pray they accept it.. I am not in very good standing with the diocese of Cork and especially the former Bishop John Buckley.. I fought them and the Vincentian superior general.. All the way to the Vatican courts.. They sold St. Vincents church in Cork… For secular use.. In an illegitimate manner.. Breaking Canon Law..they lie and cheat.. Even Cardinal Sella at the Vatican.. They do all in their power to destroy our churches..

                    • Neil Rangel

                      Given the circumstances you describe with the hierarchy in Cork, you should also send your case and request directly to Rome. You have to bear in mind, though, that at present they only seem to be interested in canonising the architects and peddlers of the Vatican II revolution!

                • Neil Rangel

                  Absolutely every soul from the foundation of the world to the end of the world is saved by the Redemptive Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ. There is not a single soul in heaven who got there without the precious blood of Our Lord shed on Calvary, including those of the pre-Christian world.

                  Under the old dispensation, the Jews who believed and practiced faithfully did so in anticipation of the Redeemer yet to come. In other words, they expected the Messiah, they believed in the Messiah, they DESIRED the Messiah and the salvation He promised. Hence, they were saved by faith and baptism of desire. That’s why the Patriarchs, the prophets, St. Joseph and an unknown number of other souls are now in heaven.

                  To suggest that Our Lord subsequently closed the Gates of heaven to all but those who become visible members of His Church through baptism of water, is to suggest that God has restricted rather than extended His infinite mercy to men. It’s kind of like the Pharisaical Jews of Our Lord’s time who argued that no one can be saved without circumcision.

                  In fine, Fr. Feeney’s rigid doctrine places limits on God’s mercy and too readily consigns to Hell souls of good will who keep the Commandments in this life and desire to do God’s will despite invincible restrictions on their understanding and/or ability to become physical members of His Catholic Church.

                  Under the right circumstances, say the Popes, which is to say invincible ignorance and/or desire of the heart, which God alone knows, some are saved by spiritual membership of the Church, though this has to be understood as being the exception rather than the rule.

                  This makes perfect sense, for if Almighty God saved souls under the old dispensation in anticipation of the Redeeming Sacrifice of Our Lord, then He is perfectly capable of applying the same Redemptive merits to those who, through invincible ignorance or with good will and desire, assuming the keeping the of the Commandments written in every human heart, are prevented from entering the physical Church on earth, remaining always spiritual members unknown to men.

                  We are speaking here of our infinitely merciful God for whom every soul is more precious than His entire Creation. We are not discussing an earthly legislator who supersedes one law with another with strict application. The Pharisees were like that, men of strict legal application of the law. Our Lord on the other hand thankfully judges by the spirit of the law and what He reads in the hearts of men.

                  I urge you to abandon the harsh Feeneyite doctrine in favour of what more holy and learned Popes have taught with regard to the infallible dogma. Remember, Our Lord will judge us by the same measure we have applied to others.

                  You will not cease to be Catholic because you side with the Popes in mercy. The Feeneyite doctrine is harsh and errorneous, arising from bitter zeal in a spirit that is more Pharisaic than Christian.

                  If you decide that you’re right and the Church is wrong, however, then I fear it would be fruitless to continue this discussion.

  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.
    https://www.irishpatriots.com/urgent_call_to_all_patriots_saturday_2pm_knock_shrine

    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
      https://catholictruthblog.com/2020/08/12/ellen-organ-aka-little-nellie-of-holy-god-a-future-saint-of-the-catholic-church/#comments

      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.

  9. I have just emailed the SSPX in Cork attaching the link to this blog post. I hope something good comes out of it.

    • 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

      • Editor,

        I have to say, it didn’t appeal to me, the bit about the Child of Prague “dancing”.