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Little Nellie story illustrates God is greatest in apparent weakness

I am normally a fan of Victoria White’s excellent and perceptive column. But her article on Nellie Organ (Irish Examiner, 27 August) displays a profound lack of insight into the central mysteries of Christianity, whether of Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant variety.

I wonder what Ms White would have to say had she been reporting on Calvary? Let us borrow her words: “Every time I see a picture of the crucified Jesus I want to get sick. The horror of it. The dying man, arms outstretched in his last agonies, nails through his hands, abandoned by almost everyone…it is a repulsive image” .

Perhaps Ms White is unaware it is a tenet of Christianity that God is greatest in apparent weakness.

The ‘cult’ that grew around Little Nellie did so because it was obvious to all that she was an extraordinary child with an extraordinary love of Jesus in the Eucharist; and whose devotion transformed her otherwise rather ugly illness into a thing of beauty and sacrifice.

Ms White makes the classic error of all materialists: her focus on the physical horror of Nellie’s death misses the vital difference that Nellie died ready to meet, and full of love for, her God.

From the Christian perspective that is the most beautiful death of all, whatever the precise mechanics of our death. Christ’s own death was hardly a bed of roses.

In short, Ms.White’s perception of death seems literally only skin-deep. Perhaps she would appreciate the pictures of dying Little Nellie in her communion outfit better in this light.

Nick Folley



Co Cork


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