A Remarkable Person — Surayia’s Friend Sister Joseph Mary
Posted by Cathy and Len
One of the most inspiring parts of making Threads has been the opportunity to meet so many remarkable people who were touched by Surayia over the years. Among the most remarkable are the Sisters of the Holy Cross, who came to Bengal — modern day Bangladesh — with a mission to educate women. Holy Cross College in Dhaka, one of the schools they founded, remains to this day a premier institution of learning for women.
We were saddened to hear of the recent death of Sister Joseph Mary, formerly head of the College. We met her in late 2010 when we visited Dhaka doing research for Threads. Sister Joseph Mary was a wonderful, wise and determined woman who loved Bangladesh and spoke fondly of her memories of Surayia. She and colleague Sister Perpetua were interviewed on camera by Mishuk Munier, and their insights into Surayia’s life and art helped us immensely as we worked on Threads.
When we visited, Sister Joseph Mary took us on a tour of Holy Cross, showing us the artwork — including some by Surayia — that helps to enrich the learning experience of the young women studying there. After the tour Anil Advani did a blog post with a photo of Sister Joseph Mary that captures the essence of this unique woman.
Sister returned to the United States from her beloved Bangladesh in 2014. We were fortunate to be able to make arrangements with the residence where she and Sister Perpetua were living to show them Threads. Holy Cross Sisters Joseph Mary, Perpetua and Margaret Shield, among others, knew and encouraged Surayia and her children at critical stages in their lives. Thank you for your selfless devotion!