Canonisation process begins for Alumna Mary Glowrey
If the first stage is successful, Vatican officials will decide if Dr Glowrey should be considered for sainthood based on a detailed brief prepared over several years.
The preliminary phase involves an evaluation of her work, writings and religious life.
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences Professor James Angus said Dr Glowrey’s achievements were very significant and demonstrated the breadth of careers chosen by the faculty’s alumni, and the many different paths they followed after becoming doctors.
“Dr Glowrey’s work to help people in India and establish a medical college there is an early example of the work in developing nations that many of our students and graduate doctors continue today,” he says.
Mary Glowrey was born in 1887 at Birregurra in Victoria. Dr Glowrey’s academic achievements earned her a University Exhibition, a cash scholarship, which allowed her to begin studying for a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne in 1905, but after switching courses to study Medicine, she graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery in 1910.
After completing her residency in New Zealand, she returned to build her own successful private practice in Melbourne, later working at St Vincent’s Hospital and the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.
In 1920, aged 33 she joined the Society of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Guntur, India. In time the small dispensary in Guntur grew into St Joseph’s Hospital where Mary, for many years the lone doctor, trained local women to be pharmacists, nurses and midwives.
Recognising the vital need to promote the use of medicine, Dr Glowrey founded the Catholic Hospital Association of India (CHAI) in 1943.
Her vision for establishment of a Catholic Medical College in India to train health professionals was realised in 1967, 10 years after her death, when St John’s Medical College was built in Bangalore.