Mary Maria Andrews was born at Dry Plain Station (near Cooma, NSW) in 1915 to Albert and Ann Andrews.

She underwent training as a General Nurse at Gladesville Mental Hospital from 1933-1935, studied at Sydney Missionary and Bible College from 1935-6 and was a resident at Deaconess house from 1937-8 at the recommendation of the Church Missionary Society of Australia (CMS), to which she had applied as a missionary to China in 1937.

Sailing to China in September 1938, she engaged in language learning at the College of Chinese Studies in Peiping (which was under Japanese occupation at the time) and later in Lin Hai, where she performed missionary work until she was forced to leave in late 1943 in fear of Japanese troops. She worked in Lahore, India, during 1944, and returned to Australia on furlough in 1946, during which time she was 'set apart' as a Deaconess. She returned to China in June 1947, working as a missionary in Shaohsing until she was forced to leave due to pressure from the Communist government in 1951.

She began work as the Principal of Deaconess House in 1951, and was commissioned as Head Deaconess in the Diocese of Sydney in early 1952. She held the position until her reluctant retirement in 1975.

She then took on the role of part-time chaplain to three retirement villages - Goodwin Village, Woollahra (where she also resided); Elizabeth Lodge, Kings Cross, and St John's Village, Glebe.

In 1980 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her Services to Religion. Late in her life she was fiercely in favour of the ordination of women as priests, and was a member of the Movement for the Ordination of Women (MOW). She died on the 16th of October 1996, a few weeks after the 50th anniversary of her 'setting apart' as a Deaconess.

This collection contains audio recordings made by Mary Andrews

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