When Victorian-born Dr Sr Mary Glowrey JMJ set sail for India in 1920, she wasn't striving to have a building named in her honor. She was driven by a vision of service, to care for those in immediate need and to train women to become doctors, nurses, pharmacists and midwives to stem the tide of suffering.
The newly redeveloped Mary Glowrey Building at ACU's Melbourne campus was officially named and blessed on Friday 27 March by His Grace, The Most Reverend Denis Hart DD, Archbishop of Melbourne, with Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven.
Dr Sr Mary Glowrey follows Saint Mary MacKillop as the second Australian on the road to becoming a saint. She devoted her life to the poor and disadvantaged, particularly women and children. In 1943 she established the Catholic Health Association of India, which today provides health care services to an estimated 21 million people each year. In 1916, she was elected as the founding president of the Catholic Women's League, Victoria and Wagga Wagga. The League's offices were in Cathedral Hall on the St. Patrick’s Campus.
ACU Associate Vice-Chancellor (Victoria) Dr John Ballard said, "Dr Sr Mary Glowrey, a graduate in medicine from Melbourne University at a time when few women did so, she was a pioneer in so many ways. Her story and her extraordinary, drive, humility and dedication is an inspiration to all who hear of her.
"Many of the places associated with her early life are within close proximity to ACU's Melbourne Campus, including St Vincent's Hospital and the Eye and Ear Hospital where she worked. In addition to naming a significant building in her honor, including a permanent historical display, plans are underway to establish a Mary Glowrey Museum in the space allocated to Sr Mary and the Guild by Archbishop Carr in 1916 in Cathedral Hall."
The Prime Minister, Mr Abbot, although unable to attend, sent a recorded message acknowledging Sr Mary's unique contribution to the world and congratulated ACU on honouring her in the naming of a major building on campus.
Attending the Official Naming and Blessing from India was the Postulator for the Cause of Mary Glowrey, Sr Mary Karickakunnel JMJ and Sr Innama Yeruba JMJ, Convenor of the Historical Commission; Mrs Jewell Start General President Catholic Women's League of Victoria and Wagga Wagga and the League's representative Ms Robyn Fahy. ACU graduate Ms Louise McGrath – a spokesperson for the many extended family members of Dr Sr Mary Glowrey and Principal of Mother of God Primary School, Ivanhoe, was also present.
The Official Naming and Blessing of the Mary Glowrey Building was the culmination of a number of significant upgrades to ACU's Melbourne campus, including the café; cafeteria; reception; bookshop; collaborative learning areas for staff and students; new space for Office of Student Success and Jim Baa Yer; as well as flexible spaces for recreation; events and functions.
The extended Glowrey family followed the festivities of Friday with a family reunion on campus on Saturday.
Read more about the new features of the Mary Glowrey Building here.