Last Thursday, a special centenary was recalled by parishioners in Dungarvan, Portlaw, Cork and, odds have it, in many other places across Ireland and abroad.

Nellie Organ, better known since her death in Cork on February 2nd 1908 as Little Nellie of Holy God, was born in Portlaw in 1903 and had close family ties in the Dungarvan area.

From an early age, Nellie demonstrated a special reverence in the Blessed Sacrament.

Indeed, the strength of her devotion reached the Vatican, from where Pope Pius X granted special permission for her to receive the Blessed Sacrament at the age of four.

Nellie received the sacrament on Friday, December 6th 1907. Two days later, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Nellie was admitted as a Child of Mary.

Two years after Nellie’s death, Pius X issued an Encyclical which urged the early and frequent granting of communion to children.

In 2003, a special scroll dedicated to Little Nellie was unveiled at Saint Mary’s Church in Dungarvan. A wallside memorial dedicated to Nellie also features on an exterior wall of Saint Patrick’s Church in her native Portlaw

Next February marks the centenary of Little Nellie’s death, coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the foundation of St Patrick’s and it’s anticipated that her passing will be extensively commemorated at home and abroad

Philomena Queally of Dungarvan, a strong devotee of Little Nellie who contacted The Munster Express last week, was introduced to the story of this exceptional girl during her youth.

“Before my First Holy Communion, my mother explained to me in my own parish church of St. Mary’s that Holy God lived behind the gold doors of the tabernacle and she said that He would be very lonely if I did not go in to see him every day on my way from school,” she wrote in an email.

It was the beginning of a lifetime of devotion to Nellie, a little Waterford girl who won the attention of a Pontiff almost a century ago.