From Chennai to Pembrokeshire: Shirley Murphy – Part 2

On the day of her first eucharist with parents and Reverend Martin


We asked Shirley, the first Indian woman vicar to be ordained into the Church of Wales, to tell us about her life. This is her continuing story…

In 2013 I was blessed with a baby boy, Dylan. Everyone said I would never get pregnant as I was too old at  37. My son was supposed to arrive on the 23 September, but he refused to come. He finally arrived on 1 October at 11.10pm after 26 hours of labour. All through the labour both his heartbeat and my heartbeat were not good. The consultant was very persistent that I should have a caesarean.

I refused because I was very strong in my faith that I would have a healthy baby. The consultant even told Julian that maybe he should speak to me, and he said my wife is very adamant and if she has made up her mind, she will not change it.

Shirley and her son, Dylan

I had seen a vision of a man in white robes sitting across from me, telling me everything would be all right. I lost a lot of blood but finally our healthy baby was born weighing 8lb.

It was that experience that made me understand my true calling. I felt God’s presence strongly all through my labour pains and the final moment when my son finally did arrive. This was  the moment that ushered and strengthened me to come forward and accept that God has definitely had a plan for me.

My first call the next day was to my vicar confirming that I was ready to go forward to becoming an ordained minister.

I had been preaching and doing morning prayer services and other different services for over eight years and I was enjoying every single moment of it. I was happy that I now understood that God’s plan for me in life was to make a  difference in people’s life through my ministry. I knew I could only do this by committing myself to becoming an ordained minister.

When I decided that I want to become an ordained minister, the first thing I did was to discuss it with my husband and parents whose first reaction was: “It’s about time.”

My parents then told me about a vision they had never revealed to me before my decision to become a minister. When I was about five years old I had severe whooping cough. The doctors had told my parents that they could  do no more. There were no medicines those days to treat me.

My parents  took me to the church and knelt in front of the altar. As they prayed, they told me, there was a ray of light which shone on me and a voice which told them that  I was chosen and would come to serve him.

That’s when I realised that the people around me knew that it was the right thing for me way before I realised it. It also made me realise that the song, which was going on in my mind for around a fortnight, was also a way for God telling me what I had to do. The song was I Have Decided to Follow Jesus. The words of the song go like this:

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back…

The next part of Shirley’s story will be coming soon.

Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says " has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

You may also like...