Descendants of three siblings of pioneering medical missionary Sr Mary Glowrey JMJ came from across Victoria and interstate for a unique family day in Melbourne. Source: Melbourne Catholic.
“History came to life for the Glowrey family in Cathedral Hall at the ACU Melbourne Campus,” said Joseph Connellan, who organised the November 12 event with his sister Pauline Adams and cousin Louise McGrath.
“It was wonderful to gather with over 100 family members to explore the life and achievements of a great Catholic Victorian woman, our Aunt Dr Sr Mary Glowrey.”
Angela Burt and Joan Hoare were among the attendees. Ms Hoare, the daughter of Mary Glowrey’s brother Gerard, travelled from Swan Hill for the event. Ms Burt, who lives in Melbourne, is the daughter of Mary’s brother Harold. Neither of these nieces was born when Mary Glowrey left Australia in 1920 to devote her life to medically caring for women and children in India, but they grew up hearing about their aunt’s service and seeing donated goods sent to the mission.
“Some of these were medical instruments, some of them food items and, on one occasion, a refrigerator,” Ms Burt said in one of several video recordings screened on the day. “It was returned to Australia because it had been sewn up in calico, and at the time it was sent, there was a calico ban in India.”
Family played a foundational role in Mary Glowrey’s life and mission. She saw only two siblings after she left Australia, and she never returned to her homeland, but she maintained her connection with her loved ones through letters, photographs and mementos.
In India, she joined the Society of Jesus Mary Joseph. With permission from the Pope, she became the first sister doctor. She medically treated and oversaw the health care of countless people for 37 years. The facilities, training and networks she established in India continue to benefit millions.
Mary Glowrey is just the second Australian-born person to be officially considered for canonisation.
Glowrey family members gather to remember ‘Aunty Mary’ (By Fiona Power, Melbourne Catholic)