Security guards at Little Nellie of Holy God’s grave in Cork have been stopping devotees from accessing the site for several days The Irish Catholic has learned.
Ongoing concerns about visits to the graveyard since the site was sold has made it a contentious issue. Developers told this newspaper a month ago they would allow people to visit Little Nellie’s resting place now and in the future.
Little Nellie is said to express a great faith and understanding of the Eucharist. She is often credited with being an influential factor in Pope St Pius X’s decision to lower the age children could receive Holy Communion.
She suffered from several medical afflictions throughout her life, including curvature of the spine.
Little Nellie is associated with the miraculous ability to know when someone had received Communion. It is said that the nuns would go to Mass in the morning, out of sight of Little Nellie’s room, and some would receive the Eucharist and others wouldn’t. Apparently, the young girl was able to tell each time who had and who hadn’t received the Host – one of the supernatural signs people say is an example of her holiness.
This comes as a pilgrimage is set for this Saturday to mark Little Nellie’s birthday, who was born on August 24, 1903. Already 73 people have said they were attending the remembrance and almost 500 expressed interest on a Facebook page publicising the event.
However, according to reports from locals, the developers said the grave will not be accessible for the next few years.
Historian John Flynn, who organised the event, said: “My first reaction was I was upset and disgusted that people can’t go up to visit the grave.
“We’re still going to go, we’re going to do the prayers,” he said, adding that they’ll make sure the remembrance goes ahead even if they’re stopped at the entrance to her grave.
Little Nellie died on February 2, 1908.
The former Good Shepherd Convent at Sunday’s Well is being sold by a private company, Moneda Developments.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Cork and Ross said: “This office has not been made aware of any these matters at a local level and accordingly is not in a position to comment. Furthermore, the Diocese of Cork and Ross has not ever been involved in this property.”