It was only now on this trip that Mary Kuriacose reminded me of how it all began. At that time Mary, born and living in India, was in communication with Rev. Ernest Braun, MSF. Rev Braun, who was the rector of the seminary when I began my studies in St. Louis, Missouri, was now living in Rome. Mary, who learned to speak English as a child, was studying linguistics and was interested in obtaining several books on linguistics written in English. Rev. Braun wrote to me asking me to obtain these books and send them to Mary. And so began a correspondence with Mary that has lasted to the present time.
At that time Mary was single and working in the customs department while continuing her education. Mary is fluent in Sanskrit, and speaks several of the Indian languages.
Mary married in the early 1960s and bore Reena, her only child. Not too long afterwards she came to live as a single mother, and later became widowed.
Mary went to great lengths to assure that Reena received a good education. Reena studied medicine and became a certified doctor, and then went on to specialize in ophthalmology.
Later Reena came to this country, but since this country does not acknowledge the certificates from India, it was necessary for her to study and retake the examinations. She is now on the staff of a University hospital in Johnson City, TN.
For a long time an effort had been made to obtain a visa for Mary to come and visit Reena, but always the request was rejected. Suddenly about a year ago for some reason a visa was granted not only for a visit, but also for permanent residence. And so mother and daughter are now together again. This was, of course, the first time I met Mary in person.
I asked them while I was there , and they said that ordinarily when they are alone in the house they speak their native language , Mayalam of southern India, but when I was present, out of courtesy, they always spoke English. I would like to add that their grammar is faultless.
Geologists say that the oldest part of the mountain is an intrusion of granitic rock 1.1 billion years old. Most of the mountain is metamorphosed beds of sand stone. The mountain was created 730 million years ago when Africa and the North America continents collided.