As we mark the anniversary of Sr. Dr. Mary Glowrey’s passing on this solemn day, we reflect upon the extraordinary life of a remarkable woman whose dedication to healing and service continues to inspire us all.

On 29th November, 1921, Australian-born and educated Dr. Mary Glowrey made her Temporary Vows as a religious Sister at St. Agnes Church in the town of Guntur, in south-eastern India. Just two years earlier, Mary Glowrey had been an established doctor and eye specialist in inner Melbourne, and a well-known member of the Victorian Catholic community. However, her journey took a transformative turn when she embraced her religious vocation and became the world’s first Sister doctor.

Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart JMJ, as Mary was known, devoted the rest of her life to medical missionary service in her adopted homeland, based at Guntur. For more than three decades, she provided and oversaw medical care, particularly for marginalized women. Her tireless efforts extended beyond individual patient care; she worked collaboratively with others to establish healthcare systems and facilities that benefit millions of people in India today.

In the last year of her life, Sr. Mary, in obedience to a request from her Superior, wrote her autobiography. Despite being confined to bed with a debilitating illness, she managed to recount her remarkable journey. The autobiography, titled “God’s Good for Nothing”, provides insights into her childhood in the Western District and Mallee areas of Victoria, her education, training, and medical work in New Zealand and Melbourne, her vocational calling, and the beginning of her mission in India.

A century after Mary completed her novitiate and made her Temporary Vows, the Mary Glowrey Museum has published her autobiography, with the support of ACU. This marks the first time her account has been published in its entirety. The publication also includes Sr. Peter Julian’s continuation of Mary’s story and beautiful photos from the Mary Glowrey Collection. Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli has contributed the Foreword.

Sr. Dr. Mary Glowrey’s passing on May 5, 1957, marked the end of a remarkable chapter, but her legacy endures in the hearts of all those touched by her kindness and dedication. Today, as we honour her memory, we reaffirm our commitment to upholding the values of compassion, service, and excellence that she exemplified throughout her life.



Rev. Dr. Mathew Abraham C.Ss.R, MD
Director–General, CHAI