A new phase of sanctity dawned in the record of JMJ Society especially in Guntur Province when Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart, JMJ, known as Dr. Sr. Mary Glowrey was declared as “Servant of God” at Infant Jesus Cathedral Phirangipuram, Guntur Diocese on 27th March, 2013 at 5.30 p.m. during ‘Chrism Mass’ officiated by Most Rev. Dr. Gali Bali, Bishop of Guntur concelebrated with hundreds of priests belonging to the diocese of Guntur and various congregations.
Most Rev. Dr. Gali Bali the Bishop of Guntur applauded and appreciated Dr. Sr. Mary Glowrey during his homily. He exhorted, “She was a great visionary leader and a gifted doctor from Australia who lived and radiated Christ to the simple people by her word, deed and sacrificial life. He emphasized on the importance of sainthood, that declaring as ‘Servant of God’ is the first of the three titles as “Servant of God, Blessed, the Saint”. As the procedure for canonization is a long journey, the faithful were recommended to pray to God to glorify Dr. Sr. Mary Glowrey so that she will be very soon numbered one among the saints in heaven”.
Brief sketch of Dr. Sr. Mary Glowrey:
Mary was born in Victoria, Australia in 1887, to devoted Catholic parents of Irish descent, the third of nine children. She began studying for a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne in 1905. However after a great deal of prayer and the encouragement of her father, Mary switched over to the medical course and graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in 1910. Mary also studied for a higher medical degree with a particular emphasis on obstetrics, gynecology and ophthalmology and was conferred as a Doctor of Medicine in December 1919. She also specialized in Ear Nose and Throat (ENT). She worked in St. Vincent’s Hospital and the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.
A chance reading of a pamphlet about the appalling death rate amongst babies in India, and the desperate need for medical missionaries, fundamentally changed the direction of her life. Falling to her knees, Mary finished reading the pamphlet and knew that God had called her to help the women and children of India. Mary, describing this moment many years later, said: ‘It brought me face to face with Christ. My life’s work lay clear before me now. It was to be medical mission work in India.’ Mary answered: ‘Fiat’. In 1920, Mary at the age of 33 left her thriving career as an Ear Nose and Throat specialist, surrendering herself completely to God’s will, and sailed for India to become a medical missionary with the Congregation of the Society of Jesus Mary Joseph in Guntur, A.P. Pope Pius XI bestowed a special blessing on her medical mission work.
Mary Glowrey dedicated her life to care for the sick and bring consolation to the afflicted. Unparalleled was her sacrificial service of love in attending to the crowds who used to flock to her for medical assistance from the villages far and near in spite of the minimum means of transportation. She extended her services to the outlying villages, even at times unaccompanied. She had an indomitable zeal in rendering medical assistance almost crouching to relieve the sick and suffering who lay huddled in their small huts.
In 1943, Sr. Mary founded the Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI) which today stands as a reputed NGO in the health care sector. It’s a coincidence that CHAI celebrates its “70 years of service to the Nation” in 2013 when Dr. Sr. Mary Glowrey, the founder of CHAI has been declared the ‘servant’ of God. The historical edifice of St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore, established after her death in 1967 is a monument of her dream to promote the Christian value of Medicine and to train health professionals to serve the humanity.
Dr. Sr. Mary Glowrey was an exemplary and model religious, simple, sincere and dedicated. The poor were the people of her choice and incurable patients had a special place in her heart. Her life was a holocaust as was her terminal sickness. She breathed her last on 5th May 1957 with the words “Jesus, Mary and Joseph and My Jesus I Love you”. Her mortal remains were interred in Bangalore. Rev. Most Ignatius Mummadi, the then Bishop of Guntur said, “She was a “special creation of God and a great soul who embraced the whole world”.
The person of Dr. Sr. Mary Glowrey stands as a beacon for our time, a sign of contradiction in the midst of our prevailing culture – a woman, a brilliant doctor, a visionary leader, a person of great holiness transformed by the power of Jesus’ love, who in the witness of her very person became a source of life for countless thousands. Through the intercession of Dr. Sr. Mary Glowrey many have received favours and blessings.
Declaration of Dr. Sr. Mary Glowrey as ‘Servant of God’
After presenting a brief biography of Dr. Sr. Mary Glowrey, Most Rev. Dr. Gali Bali, Bishop of Guntur, unfurled the scroll and declared Dr. Sr. Mary Glowrey as a “Servant of God”, in both languages, English and Telugu. It was a grace-filled moment of jubilation and a heavenly experience for all the JMJs, and the audience of nearly seven thousand people seated in front of the huge open dais.
A video clip on Dr. Sr. Mary Glowery’s life and service in Guntur was presented. The celebration ended with a hymn composed and sung by JMJ choir for Dr. Sr. Mary Glowrey, (Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart, JMJ). “Sr. Mary Glowrey’s life has been as great as that of the Holy Virgin. She had been the kindest Doctor that ever lived. Guntur has lost one of the most worthy citizens” – so said a Hindu Doctor. Dr. Sr. Mary Glowrey pray for us!