Congregation of Jesus Mary Joseph

Congregation of Jesus Mary Joseph

(CJMJ)

Sr. Mary was a ‘special creation of God’ as Bishop Ignatius Mummadi presented her in his homily at the Requiem Mass offered for her on 06 May 1957. From childhood, Mary had obtained many special privileges including the favour of her teachers and being much loved by her parents and siblings. She was a gifted girl and woman. As she grew she continued to shine as the FIRST in many instances of her life.  She was one among the first three women to study medicine from Melbourne University. Though successfully passed her M.B.B.S Examination, being a woman she was not eligible for the post of resident doctor at the Melbourne Hospital.  She got her first appointment at Christ Church Hospital, New Zealand thus she became the first woman resident doctor in New Zealand.  

She was the first president of the Catholic Women’s Social Guild established by Fr. Lockington in 1916 in order to uplift the women and children. In 1920, the Society of JMJ in India had to get special permission from Rome to begin a novitiate, as the new candidate arrived and she was the first JMJ Novice in India.   Thus in God’s plan she became the first JMJ Religious professed in India on November 29, 1921.   After her temporary profession, Dr. Mary Glowrey known as Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart became the first nun-doctor-missionary and participated in the healing ministry of the Eternal Healer, again after having received special permission from the Holy See.  She became the first President of the Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI) which she founded in 1943 with great vision to contribute more through the healthcare ministry.

More than these achievements, her inner beauty is being recognized by everyone who came in contact with her. The spontaneous responses of people in Guntur, Australia and around the world after her death are expressions of this:  The Resolution passed by the Indian Red Cross Society on the occasion of celebration of the International Red Cross Day on 08 May 1957 states, “Sr. Mary was always smiling, cheerful and hard working.  She worked as a Doctor for thirty six full years in Guntur with the zeal of a missionary and brought happiness and life to so many people”. For Capt. V. Anantaram, a Hindu ophthalmic surgeon from Guntur, her life has been as great as that of the Holy Virgin and she had been the kindest Doctor ever lived.

Her life was most inspiring to many and even immediately after her death there were people who were not at all surprised to hear of her canonization. People recognized her as holy and saintly whose healing touch brought relief and comfort to thousands of suffering men and women, who lived a dedicated life – dedicated to the love and service of God and of His poor suffering children. A Benedictine monk, who was a distant relation of Sr. Mary Glowrey, declared decades ago that one day she will be elevated to the Altars where the virtues of her life will radiate all around the world particularly for the benefit of the doctors who laboured under so many temptations and false approaches.

Others considered her as a perfect religious who never let her outside activities run away with her.  Her wonderful humility and spirit of zeal was appreciated and people felt her presence and her holiness as an example for everyone. She was a model religious and a model doctor whose loss was not only for the JMJ Society or for Guntur alone but for the whole Catholic Church in India. Her life was a living testimony to the charity of Christ, charity which made her leave her native Australia and labour and die in India for its people.

She was a wonderful example, a good religious whose heart and soul devoted to the advancement of the medical mission apostolate in India. Miss. Mary Naidu, one of the Members of the Parliament in those days, had written a beautiful and very inspiring letter about Sr. Mary: “Sr. Mary is a saint, a person of great brilliance, a person vital and vivid, a person with so many gifts but above all a gift of understanding which made her unique.   To me she was a mother, a teacher and a goddess. … . While living she guided me and now after death I still go to her and cry my heart out to her.  To me she is not dead she is ever by my side”.

Sr. Mary Glowrey could live her life to the full as she directed her life always according to the holy will of God and guided by the Holy Spirit. It is said that she never began or ended anything without praying to the Holy Spirit. We, as JMJs are proud to have such a saintly person lived among us. Let us imitate her life of charity, generosity, humility and service giving ourselves completely in the mission entrusted to us with total dedication and commitment being open to the inspirations of the Spirit. It is for each one of us to reflect today: Is my life an inspiration and example for others? By looking at my life will people be able to say, my life is a witness, an example and I live a holy and saintly life? If yes, let us praise and thank the Lord for the graces! If not, let us plead the Lord for His grace and be transformed.

The influence of the Servant of God did not end with her bodily death. It continues in the lives of the people who seek her intercession and experience freedom from sickness and receive other favours. Let us pray that she be soon raised to the altar of God and pray to her for our  personal, community, family, congregational and world needs especially for the sick and suffering. 

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