Two Marys united by family and faith

Sr Mary Glowrey with a photograph of her father’s family, including Dr Sr Mary Glowrey (far right) (The Southern Cross)

A doctor and a nurse with the same name whose lives have crossed two continents and two centuries – it’s the story of two Australian women who responded to God’s call. Source: The Southern Cross.

Dr Sr Mary Glowrey is a saint in waiting as her cause for canonisation proceeds in Rome, but to her niece, also Sr Mary Glowrey, she is simply Aunty Mary or “Bubs”.

The Victorian-born missionary and the world’s first sister-doctor left Australia in 1920 and spent the next 37 years as a doctor and health administrator in India where she died in 1957 at the age of 69.

The founder of the Catholic Health Association of India, whose members today care for more than 21 million people, Dr Glowrey was declared a Servant of God in 2013.

If her sainthood cause is successful, none will be happier than 92-year-old Sr Mary Glowrey, a Little Company of Mary Sister who has lived in Adelaide since 1993.

Sr Mary’s father, Gerard, was the youngest of six children and about 12 years younger than Bubs, who was the second oldest.

Gerard named the eldest of his four children Mary, after her famous aunt. Born in 1928, she never met her aunt, who by then had been in India for eight years. But she remembers the many letters from her that circulated throughout the family.

At the age of 20, she came across a pamphlet about Venerable Mary Potter in the back of the local church and she made inquiries about joining the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary.

Last month, Sr Mary’s own very successful career as a nurse, midwife and pastoral carer was recognised when she celebrated her 70th anniversary of religious life.


Two Marys united by family and faith (By Jenny Brinkworth, The Southern Cross

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