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Tuesday, January 24, 2017
MBE for pioneering nun from Brighton
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¬†Mother Mary Garson OSB, Prioress-General and founder of the worldwide Benedictine Sisters of Our Lady of Grace and Compassion, has been presented with the MBE. Mother Mary Garson, 83, received the medal last Wednesday, from the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Mrs Phyllida Stewart-Roberts, at the Congregation's headquarters, St Benedict's, on Manor Road in Brighton. The citation as a Member of the Order of the British Empire is for "services in the care of others in Southern England and overseas". Mother Mary received her award in Brighton because she had been unable to attend the Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony earlier this year ≠ on account of the fact that she was visiting the Congregation's convents in India and Sri Lanka. She is delighted that her MBE matches the award to her late father for his services as harbourmaster at Invergordon, Scotland, where she grew up. The honour comes 50 years after Miss Mary Garson, an educational psychologist, visited three elderly women at their home in Brighton, and was appalled at their circumstances. When a local priest asked how much she would need to open a home, she guessed "airily" at £800. In January, 1954, the priest was offered that exact sum by a lady who knew nothing of the plan. Today the Grace and Compassion Benedictine congregation which she founded numbers 200 Sisters in three continents. It runs five residential homes and a nursing unit in the UK and 13 schemes of retirement flats, four foundations in India, three in Sri Lanka and a home in Kenya. Shortly before her 82nd birthday, Mother Mary visited Africa again to open a new convent at Irundu, in Uganda. Their hospital in India helped over 40,000 patients in a single year. The original house in Brighton, now known as St Mary's House, in Preston Park Avenue, has been completely modernised and extended. It still offers accommodation to elderly and infirm people The former Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Pablo Puente, has described Mother Mary and her Congregation's work in caring for the elderly, the sick, the poor and disadvantaged as "a living miracle". In April, 2002, Mother Mary received the Papal Award Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice for services to the Church and the Pope.
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