Melbourne News

Papal praise for wonder woman

Helena Adeloju, Friday 3 October 2013

EILEEN Nelson is a one woman wonder. Even Pope Francis thinks so, recently awarding the 82-year-old St Patrick’s Murrumbeena parishioner the Benemerenti medal.
 
The medal was presented on behalf of Pope Francis by Bishop Peter Elliott on Sunday 26 August at the parish’s 9am Mass, in front of Parish Priest Fr Barry Tobin and Eileen’s fellow parishioners, family and friends.
 
The Benemerenti medal is awarded to Catholics in good standing who have provided long and exceptional service to the Church.
 
Eileen was nominated for this rare honour by Fr Barry.
 
“At the age of eighty-two,” Fr Barry said, “Eileen continues to contribute to the life of the local Church with zeal, enthusiasm and genuine humility. She is a loyal and faithful daughter of the Church. She is an absolute marvel for a woman her age and an inspiration for all those who know her.”
 
Eileen was informed of her award in a letter from Archbishop Denis Hart.
 
“I am honoured to convey to you the fact that, in recognition of your sterling service over many years to the Parish, the Holy Father has awarded you the Papal Benemerenti Medal as an indication of gratitude for the service to the Church which you have rendered with such distinction,” Archbishop Hart wrote.
 
“I personally thank you for all that you are and do, for your very real faith and love of the Church, and of your Parish.”
 
Her wide-ranging contributions to the parish of St Patrick’s, Murrumbeena include her weekly “storytelling” sessions with students of St Patrick’s Primary School, conducting and leading the church choir, reading at Mass, participating in the Altar society, flower arranging, visiting those in need as a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society , editing the monthly parish magazine Tara Light, running the parish senior citizens  SPARKS social club and Walking Explorers group, organising and performing at the annual St Patrick’s Day concert as well as performing as a member of the Lah-di-Dahs, a group of four ladies who provide entertainment to those living in retirement homes.

Eileen’s papal honour came just days after St Patrick’s Parish celebrated the 50th anniversary of the blessing and opening of the Church in 1963.

Photo courtesy of St Patrick's Parish, Murrumbeena.