Mary Glowrey Museum to open

Photo of Associate Vice-Chancellor Victoria, Dr John Ballard.

A message from the Associate Vice-Chancellor Victoria, Dr John Ballard: After three years of discussion and planning, the Mary Glowrey Museum will open on 29 May at the St. Patrick’s Campus.

The Museum is situated on the second floor of Cathedral Hall in the offices originally allocated in 1916 to Mary Glowrey by Archbishop Carr as the founding president of the Catholic Women’s Social Guild (now the Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga). Background information by the Museum team below outlines who Mary Glowrey was and her ongoing significance.

Mary was born in Birregurra in regional Victoria, winning a scholarship to the University of Melbourne and graduating in medicine in 1910. Mary worked at St. Vincent’s Hospital and the Royal Eye and Ear Hospital – both coincidentally opposite our Campus, giving up her career as a doctor in Australia in 1920 to go to India to minister to the poorest women and children. She became a religious sister with the Society of Jesus Mary Joseph in Guntur. For many years she was the only doctor in her area and ministered to thousands of patients who would not otherwise have received care. Along the way, she founded the Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI) whose members today provide care for 21 million people a year. Mary died in 1957.

Image of Mary Glowrey.

Image: Mary Glowrey Collection.

The Museum will feature Mary’s story and legacy, illustrated by selections from her extensive correspondence with family and friends in Australia. It will highlight the difference one person, motivated by faith, can make in the lives of others. There will be audio-visual and interactive experiences and it is anticipated that the Museum will attract many school tours from across Victoria and beyond.

This Museum has been extensively supported by ACU, in conjunction with the Melbourne Archbishop’s Charitable Fund and Catholic Education Melbourne. It is possible due to the extraordinary efforts of the owner of the Mary Glowrey Collection, the Catholic Women’s League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga.

Mary is only the second Australian to be considered for official recognition as a saint and was declared Servant of God in 2013. An announcement widely acknowledged and celebrated throughout India. I encourage you take the winding stair (or small lift) to the top floor of the Cathedral Hall to visit this new and beautiful addition to our Campus and to Melbourne’s cultural heritage.

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