On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we wanted to highlight the exceptional contribution of Sister Marie-Eulalie Perrin, s.g.m. (1829-1907) to pharmaceutical science. While working as a pharmacist at the Mother House, she invented pancreatin (or cyano-pancreatin). The drug was patented in 1871 and then marketed by the Grey Nuns to treat pulmonary and digestive diseases.
The sister pharmacist had a very special place in the congregation. Here is how the customary presented her functions and qualities:
‘This job, one of the most important in the house, requires a great deal of sagacity, prudence and discretion on the part of the person in charge, and above all a great deal of charity, gentleness and patience (…) She will have in her pharmacy all the drugs and medicines that the doctor deems necessary or useful. (…) It will be good for her to have a small square in the garden, reserved for the cultivation of the most useful medicinal herbs. It is up to her to prepare all medicines, drugs, syrups, preserves, herbal teas and other things necessary for the sick, such as distilled waters, ointments and all other compositions’. (Source: G01,B,1,03 ASGM-customary, circa 1855)